Senator Edward Kennedy died on August 25, 2009. I remember when Ted Kennedy was an irresponsible playboy. I never expected him to amount to much, but I was wrong. Over the years I have tried to get better at recognizing the seeds of greatness in people who don't appear to be remarkable. This has been rewarding to me as a classroom teacher. I've learned NEVER to write off any child. It has distressed me to sit in various teacher lounges and listen to the constant put-downs of kids by teachers, particularly since I believe these negative prophecies tend to be self-fulfilling.
THE DEATH OF A YOUNG FATHER OF MY SIX-YEAR-OLD STUDENT MADE ME BELIEVE IN UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
I have fervently hoped for universal health care ever since one of my first grade students was home alone with her 32-year-old father when he died of an easily treatable heart problem. I hope someone will step forward and take Kennedy's place in the effort for universal health care.
My student's hard-working and responsible young father needed a rather simple heart procedure, but couldn't afford it.
He was not eligible for Medi-Cal because he owned his own humble little house and a small business that supported the family in a very modest style.
THIS SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE SPEND SO MUCH MONEY ON HEALTH CARE FOR TERMINALLY ILL ELDERLY.
In the last six weeks of life, elderly patients are usually given hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of care, perhaps delaying their deaths by several weeks. The young father of my student had many years of life ahead of him, and only needed a thirty-thousand dollar operation.