Dusk was settling over Quapaw when we happened upon a tee-ball practice session. The coaches jokingly volunteered each other before Aaron Thomasson finally agreed to sit with us for a bit.
My experience during our discussion was as a teacher listening to another teacher. The fact that he was living the headlines of all that’s wrong with education was both validating and deeply disheartening.
Thomasson could have been from anywhere because his story is the same: over testing does as much harm as good; absent parents are absent for a reason, but their absence makes it that much more difficult for a child to succeed; and, male teachers balance the precarious position of being sometimes the only male role model in a young student’s life.
But, Thomasson was not from “anywhere.” He was from Quapaw, as was his family, and the generation before. His children can see their grandparents’ home from their own, and walk across the pasture to visit. His wife is from the area as well, and is an early childhood teacher in the same school system.
They are deeply embedded, and invested, in the Quapaw community. They help with renovation of the school and even come up with Playground Painting Ideas.
We sat with Thomasson at the end of May, 2015. In the midst of most likely the worst budget cuts in our State’s history THIS year, I just wonder…how is their school doing now?