Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kick-starter for Family Togetherness

Okay, there’s two ways we can do this.
1)    Some Silicon Valley millionaire/billionaire can just give me two million dollars.
2)    Two thousand people can each give me a thousand dollars.
My grandchildren spent a day with me at my school. Zadie (4 ½) joined in with the kindergarten class and sang all the songs with elementary school kids (including all the words to Chattanooga Choo Choo—proud Pop-Pop here!). Then she went outside and fed the goats, spent a little time with her Aunt Talia in 5th grade and grandma Karen in Art Class. Malik (10 months) shook and shimmied to the music, dismantled an Orff xylophone, rang a few bells and generally charmed all the kids with his winning personality.
I’ve had a family/work constellation far beyond the norm. 41 years working alongside my wife, 15 years with one or both of my children at my school, another five with the youngest as a teacher colleague at the school, two nephews who attended for awhile. That’s unusual. When we say that The San Francisco School has a family-friendly feeling, that is the literal truth of most of my time there.
But like all my fellow humans, I’m greedy. I want my grandkids to be with me there! So sweet to be Zadie’s teacher for a couple of classes and to make music with Malik in company with 100 kids! But there are two problems:
1)    They live in Portland, Oregon, because unlike San Francisco, it’s actually an affordable place for families to live.
2)    If they could afford to rent or buy a house here, there’s still the matter of school tuition, some 30 times higher that when I began in 1975.
Hence, my kick-starter campaign above. Of course, it’s obscene that both decent housing and education are so outrageously expensive in San Francisco that it literally would take close to two million dollars to realize. When I began teaching at school, I believe I could have bought a house for my kids and grandkids and paid for 11 years of their schooling for under $100,000. That’s a sobering fact.
Punchline? I loved being in school with my grandkids, I’m sad about the inflation and disturbed that this simple dream would require an economic privilege that I wouldn’t be proud of.

But still, don’t let that stop you from donating!

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