What if Dr. Seuss had been alive for this election? Meet the Grump who sacked Greatland.

Ready for storytime? This is called "The Grump Who Sacked Greatland."

On the third of Octember
in a land far away,
a young woman was reading
and knitting one day.


All illustrations by Aphee Messer.


And as hours went by
as she read the day’s news,
her mind started to wander.
She started to snooze.

Then she dreamed a strange dream.
She was older and gray.
She was walking outside
on a dark, rainy day.

All the streets were deserted.
No one was in sight.
With the shops boarded up,
something didn’t seem right.

As she walked, she passed by
an old man in the street.
And he said, “Can you help me
buy something to eat?”

“STORIES: 1000 dollars”
was scrawled on a board.
She was shocked.  That was far more
than she could afford.






















“Could you tell me a story?
My name’s Nixie Knox.
I don’t have any money,
but here’s some new socks!”

Then he clutched the wool socks
in his gnarled old hand,
and he said, “Here’s the tale of
The Fall of Greatland.”

In the country of Greatland  — 
this land that you see  —
 lived a proud, wealthy people
much like you and me.












We worked hard and were happy,
and people soon knew
that if they moved to Greatland
then they could be, too.

We got used to our wealth,
and each year wanted more.
But some people were not
as well off as before.

So we made a mistake,
a huuuuge, big-league mistake —
for a country, the biggest
mistake you can make.

We elected a leader
who wouldn’t prepare.
And to make matters worse,
he did not even care.

















Mr. Harold J. Grump
was the name of this chump,
but most people who knew him
just called him “the Grump.”

No one knows why the Grump
got so grumpy at all,
but some say that his hands
were two sizes too small,

For when he was a little Grump
going to school,
the kids who played Greatball
made him feel like a fool.












His Grump hands were too little
to grasp the big ball,
and they grabbed it so fast
he would stumble and fall.

So his little Grump heart
didn’t grow. Not at all!
His poor heart was so hurt,
it’s four sizes too small.

(This is why it’s not good
to torment anyone!
They grow up and they grab
other people for fun.)












As years passed, he grew older,
and made lots of wealth
with big loans from his father
(not all by himself).

How he loved being rich!
He wrote “GRUMP” on it all!
And it made those mean kids
seem so silly and small.

He built Grump University,
Grump Plaza too,
Grump Casino and Towers,
Grump Park and Grump Zoo.












He tried selling Grump Roast
and Grump Water (so cold!),
but no one wanted food that
tastes bitter and old.

With the years passing by,
he got bored of his life.
“I should be more historic!
I’ve got a new wife!”

And one day, looking out
from the 99th floor,
Mr. Grump saw that things
weren’t as good as before.

He saw crime. He saw people
who’d lost jobs and health,
and he said “I can fix this!
I know how to wealth!"

















“There are poor people here
who are living in hell!
I can make it all better!
Make sick cities well!

Yes, we need law and order!
Things must be set straight!
And there’s no one but me
who can make Greatland great!”







“All these poor foreign workers
are taking your jobs!
We will bring your jobs home
and kick out all the slobs!

Then we’ll build a big wall
to keep all of them out!
No more crime! Bring our jobs back!”
he started to shout.

“Lower taxes are just what we need!”
said the Grump.
“And this ‘Greatcare’ has made
our economy slump!”












And when not enough voters
said “NO” to his lies,
this man won the election,
to my great surprise.

The Grump did what he promised.
He built a huuuuge wall.
He sent immigrants home,
families, children, and all.







But then later that year,
farmers asked him to stop.
“All our workers are gone!
Who will harvest our crop?”

The Grump taxed all the shipments
across the Great Sea.
So things got more expensive,
from clothing to tea.

Now for Greatland this meant
food and clothes cost a lot.
So most people who used to go shopping
did not!












The shopkeepers went home,
and the workers did too.
With no customers left,
there was no work to do.

Then the Grump canceled Greatcare!
When people got ill,
they spent all of their cash
on a big doctor’s bill.







“Greatcare helped us get by!
If we’re sick, we can’t work
to earn money to pay for a doctor,
you jerk!”

But the Grump and his friends
didn’t care about health.
They were lowering taxes
and counting their wealth.







“This is ours! We deserved it!”
said Grump. “Can’t you see?
If you only worked harder,
you’d be rich like me!”

And that’s how Greatland fell.
All our jobs went away.
There was nothing to buy,
and no money to pay!







Then the old man’s sign changed.
He said, “If you elect
Mr. Grump, this will happen,”
and pointed: “EXCEPT…”

And the man disappeared
in a puff of blue smoke.
Nixie stirred in her sleep.
With a start, she awoke.

”This will happen, EXCEPT…“
Nixie sat up and thought.
”This will happen, except
if I care a whole lot!”

Then she said, “I will vote,
and my friends will vote too!
We can stop this mean Grump
and his bright orange ’do!”

















Nixie logged on to Greatbook
and Instagreat too,
and she told all her friends
Greatland needed them, too.

“Who you vote for’s your business,”
she wrote on her Wall,
“but you must, or our Greatland
will crumble and fall.”







And millions of people
just like you and me
went to vote to make Greatland
as great as could be.


Though some well-meaning folks
voted Grump all the same,
he still lost, and flew home
in his fancy Grump Plane.

Then he said, “It was rigged!
It’s unfair! They all cheated!
It’s the only way I could have
been so defeated!”







The people of Greatland
were smarter than that,
and they paid no attention
to such a big brat.

“We are done with your lies!
We are better than this!”
And they waved at the winner,
and blew her a kiss.

With that, Nixie dozed off
as she watched GNN.
And with Greatland now safe,
Saw the future again…












THE END

More

A celebrated teacher's 5-point explanation of why she's quitting has gone viral.

"The school system is broken. It may be broken beyond repair."

Talented, dedicated teachers are leaving public schools because the system makes it too hard to truly educate kids.

When I studied to become a teacher in college, I learned what education can and should be. I learned about educational psychology and delved into research about how to reach different learners, and couldn't wait to put that knowledge into practice in the classroom.

But after graduating and starting to teach, I quickly saw how the school system makes it almost impossible to put what we know about real learning into practice. The structure and culture of the system simply isn't designed for it.

The developmental default of childhood is to learn. That's why four-year-olds ask hundreds of questions a day, why kids can spend hours experimenting and exploring in nature, and why kids are so much better at figuring out how to use technology. Children are natural, fearless learners when their curiosity is nurtured and they are given an environment where learning can take place.

Most teachers know this. And many find themselves so frustrated by trying to teach within an outdated, ineffective system that they decide to leave. I only lasted a couple of years before deciding other avenues of education were worth exploring. A viral post written by a celebrated teacher highlights why many teachers are doing the same thing.

Michelle Maile was a first grade teacher before she resigned this month, and her 5-point explanation of why she did it is resonating with thousands.

Maile shared on Facebook why she, a celebrated teacher in a great school district, decided to turn in her classroom keys. Her post has been shared more than 67,000 times and has thousands of comments, mostly in solidarity.

"Why would a teacher of the year nominee, who loves what she does, who has the best team, the best students and parents, and was lucky enough to be at the best elementary school not want to come back?", she wrote. "Let me tell you why….

1. Class size. Everything in my training, what I know about kids and what I see every day says that early childhood classes should be at 24 or less. (ideally 22 or less) Kids are screaming for attention. There are so many students who have social or emotional disorders. They NEED their teacher to take time to listen to them. They NEED their teacher to see them. They NEED less students in their class. The people making these decisions are NOT looking out for the students' best interests, and have very obviously NEVER taught elementary kids.

2. Respect. I feel disrespected by the district all year long. They don't trust that I know what I am doing. I have a college degree, go to trainings every year, read books and articles about kids, and most importantly, work with kids every day. I KNOW something about how they learn and what works best for them. Please listen to us.

3. Testing. Stop testing young kids. It doesn't do anyone any good. Do you know which kids slept poorly last night? Do you know who didn't have breakfast? Do you know whose parents are fighting? Do you know who forgot their glasses and can't see the computer? Do you know who struggles to read, but has come so far, just not on your timeline? You don't, but I do. I know some of my best students score poorly on their tests because of life circumstances. I know some of my lower students guessed their way through and got lucky. Why stress kids out by testing them? How about you ask ME, the professional, how they are doing? Ask ME, the teacher who sees these kids every single day. Ask ME, the teacher who knows the handwriting of all 27 kids. Ask ME, the adult in their life who may be more constant than their own parents. Ask ME, then let me teach.

4. I felt like I was drowning. So many things beyond teaching are pushed on teachers. Go to this extra meeting, try this new curriculum, watch this video, then implement it in to your next lesson, fill out this survey monkey to let us know how you feel (even though it won't make any difference), make clothes for the school play, you need to pay for that yourself because there's no money from the school for it. There's no music teacher today, so you don't get a planning time. There are weeks I truly felt like I was drowning and couldn't get a breath until Friday at 5:00. (NOT 3:00)

5. Pay. I knew becoming a teacher would never make me rich. That has never been my goal. I wanted to work with kids. I wanted to help kids. I wanted to make enough money to take care of my own kids. Sadly this isn't the case for so many teachers who have to work two jobs to support their own families. This isn't right."

Maile says the system may be broken beyond repair, which is why she's tapping into a growing educational movement.

"The school system is broken," Maile continued. "It may be broken beyond repair. Why are counselors being taken away when we need them more than ever? Why are art and music classes disappearing when these forms of expression have been proven to release stress in an overstressed world. Why are librarians being cut when we should be encouraging kids to pick up an actual book instead of being behind a screen? Do you know how many elementary students are on anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications? Look. The number will astound you.

So where am I going? Because I still love kids and want to help them with their education, I will be an online charter school teacher. I will be helping families who have chosen to homeschool their kids. They also see that the school system is broken. When I told my school I was leaving, I had multiple veteran teachers say, 'I would do the same if I was younger.' 'I am so glad you are getting out now.' 'It is only going to get worse.' 'I don't see it ever getting better.'

It makes me sad. I have three kids that are still part of this public school system. If you are a public school parent, fight. Fight for your kids. Fight for smaller class sizes and pay raises for overworked teachers. Fight to keep art and music in the schools. Please support teachers whenever and wherever you can. I have been so lucky to have so many amazing parents. I couldn't have done what I have without them. I am sad to leave, but happy to go."

What do you do when an enormous system has so many inherent flaws it feels impossible to change it?

What to do about public education a hard question. Many former teachers like myself strongly believe in public schooling as a foundational element of civilized society, but simply can't see how to make it work well without dismantling the whole thing and starting over.

When I chose to educate my own kids, I was surprised by how many former teachers end up in the homeschooling community. Many of the most well-known proponents of homeschooling were or are public school teachers who advocate for more effective models of education than what we see in the system. There's a lot that could be debated here, but alternative models may be the best places to look for answers to the question of how to fix the system.

At the very least, until we start moving away from copious amounts of testing and toward trusting educators (and paying them well) to do what they've been trained to do, we're going to keep losing great teachers—making an already problematic system even worse.

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