What a Week!

Three Texans on Swim Team

Three Texans on Swim Team

Turtle patrol with Carly and Sean

Turtle patrol with Carly and Sean

Sean and Carly were here for three weeks and left today. We had such a good time with them.  Didn’t do much…Carly was studying and Sean was tutoring online.  Still it was so good to have them around.   Sean did play some golf, we all went out to dinner, Sean cleaned our gutters (Jerry is so done with walking around on the roof), they went to yoga and today they got up at 5:15 to go on turtle patrol with me.  We were out on the beach around 6:00 and it was DARK.  We walked the “zone” and then worked our way back, identifying and staking eight nests, finding eggs, recording all the data in the books, measuring….turtle patrol is not for the faint of heart.

I was sad to see them go.  We’ll see them again in Novmeber when we head out to Los Angeles to visit but that’s a long time away.  Why can’t everyone I love live no further than two hours away???

A crazy thing happened this week.  If you’re on Facebook, you may have seen a piece of it.  I saw a posting on Facebook about a primary school in the UK that had sent a letter home with kids’ test scores saying no matter what the scores said,  they needed to know that these scores don’t tell anyone the WHOLE story of who these kids are and what they can do.The letter went viral….tweeted all over the UK, Australia and New Zealand…hit lots of newspapers everywhere too….even made it across the pond to the Today show.  Most people loved it…said it was beautiful and that Rachel Tomlinson,who sent the letter, was an amazing woman.  There were also plenty of people weighing in on the other side…that sentimental garbage such as this is the  reason our kids don’t do well in school and get poor test scores.

The thing is, Rachel didn’t write it.  I did– back in 1999. I got in touch with Rachel who had already told the press and media it wasn’t her letter…she had gotten it from a blog…She thought she got it from someone named Kmberly Hurd but she wasn’t sure.  Kimberly Hurd heard about it and declared herself the source of “the letter” and graciously told the press that the message is more important than the author (she’s right) so she doesn’t mind that Rachel used it without permission.   Erin messaged Kimberly to tell her that her mom wrote the letter, but Kimberly wouldn’t back down…said she knows what she wrote and she wrote it (in 2013)  Erin sent her the 1999 letter and she said it was very nice but it wasn’t the same as hers.

I’m annoyed with Kimberly Hurd but I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s still being used (and absolutely disgusted that it is still needed) It’s been fun this week…to know that something I wrote has meant so much to so many people, even if they don’t know I wrote it.  Nice to know I wrote an international best seller, even if no one else knows it.

Anyway, it’s been interesting to see the story evolve.  I think it’s over…There is bigger news this week than a letter written to kids telling them that there are many ways of being smart and a test score isn’t everything.

What it taught me is that we all need to be careful when we send things out because someone will always know if we claim things are ours and they’re not.   (Note to self…watch it, Mary…with your failing memory you could easily do this)    I try to be careful.    I had a friend who once told me it was ridiculous how many sentences I began, “I read somewhere that…”

Quieter week ahead (I think)  My sister, Eileen, arrives tomorrow (need to get the guest room ready and do a quick grocery run)  We’ll probably do NOTHING for a week…sounds good to me.

The Ginley boys in the pool...Sean with his Kindle in a ziplock bag...just like his mom

The Ginley boys in the pool…Sean with his Kindle in a ziplock bag…just like his mom

Carly studying for the California Bar Exam...I used to do my lesson plans here.

Carly studying for the California Bar Exam…I used to do my lesson plans here.




14 thoughts on “What a Week!

  1. I remember your letter and your tireless advocacy against high stakes testing. The truth is, the person who falsely claims to have written that letter could never duplicate the art of such eloquent writing like only Mary Ginley can.

  2. Nina’s right! I have a copy of that letter too, which you gave me 2 ½ years ago when Anjeza was about to take the FCATs! Annoying woman claiming she wrote it; she’ll get haunted by all of us! hehehe.
    More importantly: you look positively glorious! So tan, relaxed, healthy and your hair is fabulous.

  3. You look terrific! And what a tan!

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Absolutely adorable picture of those 3 Texans on the swim team. Honestly – – I can’t believe those pictures of your grandkids . . . simply darling!!!! And what a pose. Oh my.

    But reading more about the letter on Facebook was astounding. I am so glad to read this. It was YOUR letter saying they need to know the whole story about kids . . . what a concept! Not a surprise – you DO know how to write, after all. My goodness . .. amazing. Love, Barb G.

  5. Love seeing your kids!
    You look great, Mary! Great to see you glowing!

  6. Linda Underwood

    Two comments. You look great and I love your hair. AND how I wish I had your grace. I would be wringing Kimberly Hurd’s neck!

  7. I made sure all my FB friends got “the truth and nothing but the truth” about that famous letter of yours.I, too, am sad/disappointed/disgusted/MAD that things have not improved in the 15 years since you wrote it. In fact, I’m afraid the high-stakes-testing-frenzy has only gotten worse. 😦

    Glad you had such a nice visit with Sean and Carly. Did Erin take that photo of her three Texans on Swim Team? Great shot…AND DECLAN IS NOT STICKING OUT HIS TONGUE!!! 🙂

  8. Quite the story about the letter, that we all know you wrote. You should have the credit but it’s exciting that you struck a nerve! Yes, you look great with a great tan!

  9. Deirdre Christman

    You look so healthy! No one would ever believe you’d been through hell and back this year. As for the letter, it proves you’ve been an inspiration, in so many ways, since 1999, at the very least. Keep up the good work.

  10. Kids are sooo cute! Was great meeting Carly and Sean and they certainly saw lots! I’m sure you’ll miss them!
    You know you wrote it…that’s all that really matters. She knows too and she has to live with it!
    So glad you’re getting your stamina back…you’ve come a long way baby! See you Tuesday…..

  11. I’ve got to tell you that I teared up when I saw that piece on the Today Show a few weeks ago. I even backed it up, in an effort to find the name of the school and principal, as I was SO impressed by the content of “her” message to the students. I’m not surprised those were your thoughts–you were always “that” teacher. Mary, you never cease to amaze me. 🙂

  12. flaithimh@aol.com

    I am impressed, letter author, with the sentiments, and all the kindness now toward an idiot. You are a big person, Mary.

  13. So funny about the letter, but not really funny. I’m not as gracious as you; I would’ve been angry! But so glad the letter is still out there. You’re such a good writer; it’s not surprising. And most important: you look great!

  14. Saw the posting about the school in England and immediately thought that principal must have read
    Mary’s open letter. It was published in the newspaper right? I hadn’t heard the rest of the story.
    It’s tough out there in the publishing world.

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