“Jonathan Grant just might be my new favorite writer.”

A review from Mama Zen at The Zen of Motherhood:

Tensions run high at Malliford Elementary when redistricting results in an influx of3d chain_gang minority students.  Newly elected PTO President Richard Gray just wants to do right by all of Malliford’s kids.  But, Principal Estelle Rutherford is willing to do anything to preserve her “School of Excellence” rating, even if it means sacrificing children along the way.

Jonathan Grant, author of Chain Gang Elementary (Thornbriar Press), just might be my new favorite writer.  You want to laugh?  Grant writes with smart, sardonic wit.  You want to be moved to tears of heartbreak or rage?  Grant can get you there, too.  And, he does it all within a story that speeds along like a bullet train and keeps you turning page after page.  Chain Gang Elementary might be every parent’s nightmare, but it’s a hell of a read, and I highly recommend it.

For a limited time, the ebook version of Chain Gang Elementary is free!

For a limited time, Chain Gang Elementary is free!

Click a link below to get a copy

Free Kindle version at Amazon.com
Free Nook version at Barnes and Noble
Free iBooks version at iTunes store.

Praise for Chain Gang Elementary

3d chain_gang

Average Amazon rating 4.2 stars

Now free for kindle, Nook & Apple devices

What the reviewers say:

“Grant provides trenchant criticisms of educational policy … (with) acerbic wit.” – Publishers Weekly

“Jonathan Grant just might be my new favorite writer. You want to laugh? Grant writes with smart, sardonic wit. You want to be moved to tears of heartbreak or rage? Grant can get you there, too. And, he does it all within a story that speeds along like a bullet train and keeps you turning page after page. Chain Gang Elementary might be every parent’s nightmare, but it’s a hell of a read, and I highly recommend it.”Mama Zen, The Zen of Motherhood

“… Chain Gang Elementary is darkly funny, entertaining, well-written, and has a great deal of heart.” – Shay’s Word Garden

“Exceptionally well-written.” – John Pearson, teacher and author of Learn Me Good

This book is (what) Desperate Housewives wishes it could be.” Indie Books List (“Book of the Month” award)

Required Reading: If you’ve ever clashed with a principal or fretted about passing a motion at a PTO meeting, you’ll be able to relate to some of the challenges faced by Richard Gray, a work-at-home dad who becomes PTO president in Jonathan Grant’s novel. … In addition to being an entertaining read, it tackles issues like school violence, racial discrimination, and teaching to the test.”PTO Today

“Those who have written education columns for newspapers, survivors of parent/teacher organizations as well as many others will find that Grant has done an exceptional job of weaving educational fact and enticing fiction together. For that, he deserves an ‘A.’” – Jack Kennedy, former president, Education Writers Association

The ultimate Chain Gang Parent. Seriously.

crownOMG! I found her! The ultimate Chain Gang Parent! She’s British, but … yeah, the ultimate Chain Gang Parent! I even think she’d move into the Malliford school district just for the name!

The headline: “Katie Hopkins, British Reality Star, Won’t Let Her Kids Play With Children Who Have ‘Low Class’ Names (VIDEO)”

Check it out.

Meanwhile, you can be as classy as you want to be and buy Chain Gang Elementary for only 99 cents!


Parents duke it out during kindergarten play

OK, so that’s what I’m talking about. And it’s from Rush Limbaugh’s home town.

No word on what the performance was that got them so riled up.

From the Southeast Missourian:

Two Cape Girardeau men were issued summonses for peace disturbance after a Tuesday night altercation at a kindergarten performance in the Alma Schrader Elementary School gym, Cape Girardeau Police Department public information officer Darin Hickey said Thursday.

Ryan D. Steck, 36, and Kevin F. Alexander, 38, were arrested, cited and released for peace disturbance, Hickey said. The incident occurred at 6:35 p.m.

Hickey said Steck and Alexander got into a verbal altercation that led to pushing and shoving. Two off-duty police officers were attending the performance as parents. As soon as the officers saw words being exchanged, they made their way toward the subjects. The two men got face to face and the officers reported the two men went to the floor where the officers “immediately separated them,” Hickey said.

Read more.

3d chain_gangFor a limited time, Chain Gang Elementary is free for Kindle, Nook, and iBad. Cleck here for details.

“Acerbic wit.”–Pub Weekly
“Offensive on so many levels.”–Angry Mom

After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a “school of excellence.” When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, 3rd-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers–where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict.



Average teacher spends $37 to feed hungry kids

The sad truth: Despite the school lunch program, food stamps, and other programs, millions of schoolkids go hungry. This effects their performance and behavior along with their well-being. Teachers try to help.  A recent survey shows that teachers spend an average of $37 a month out of their own pockets to help make up for the hunger gap.
NEA Today reports:

According to the 2013 Hunger in our Schools survey by Share Our Strength, seventy-three percent of educators teach students who regularly come to school hungry due to lack of food at home. Half say hunger in the classroom is a serious issue. Not surprisingly, educators and principals often spend their own cash to try to alleviate this problem. On average, teachers spend $37 a month and principals spend $59 a month for food for their students. Share Our Strength surveyed 1,000 public school teachers and principals.

On the other hand, there’s this Dickensian (in so many ways) story about the New Jersey school district that has adopted a policy of “No food for you!” when kids have no money.

When I saw the article in NEA TODAY, I immediately thought of Avon Little from Chain Gang Elementary.

Here’s the relevant passage from the novel:

Mrs. Little popped open the trunk, which was packed with grocery boxes and several dozen ten-packs of fruit juice. The back seat was filled, too, all the way to the roof. There had to be a ton of food in the car. Its suspension sagged under the weight.

“Did you hijack a grocery truck?” Richard asked.

She scowled, but her eyes twinkled. “Smart aleck. I bet you got in trouble all the time at school when you was a boy. Reason I do this is because they don’t give free breakfasts here, so I fill the gap.”

“Is this for the whole year?”

“Heavens, no! This may not last to September. I feed thirty kids each mornin’ before school, all grades. Be more this year. I got ten Chantilly kids, at least. I see kids aren’t getting fed at home, so I make sure they doan start the day empty. I give ’em something to take home, too.”

Richard did the math. Ten apartment kids in one class meant nearly two hundred in all. Guilt overcame him. Why didn’t I fight the redistricting? “How many students from the apartment complex in all?”

“Mrs. Baines says there’s fifty-six. I got all of ’em in third grade. Every blessed one. Any more come, I get them, too, I reckon. How’s that for coincidence?”

“It’s very strange,” he said, grabbing four packs of boxed orange juice, fighting back his growing anger. Taking the weakest students and dumping them in her class—ghettoizing, that’s what it was! An outrage!

Mrs. Little pulled a plastic sack from the trunk. “My husband died in Vietnam a long time ago, back when I was a young thing. I got no children of my own.” She looked off toward the pine trees along the school’s fence. “So I see them all as partly mine.”

“Do you pay for this yourself? I mean, I’m wondering why I haven’t heard about this. Seems like the PTO could help.”

After he followed the teacher inside, she gestured for him to put the drinks in the closet. “Miz R doesn’t officially admit I do this.” She put a finger to her lips. “She doesn’t wanna know. Have to admit we need a breakfast program or shut me down or somethin’. For me, it’s Christian duty. Can’t say that, though. Some folks think God wants nuthin’ to do with public schools, but they His children, too.”

Violent femme: Mom assaults teacher because … believe the children!

Today’s lesson: DO NOT automatically take your child’s word when they accuse others of wrongdoing.

UFCThis example of fresh, hot idiocy comes from my home state of Missouri. Here’s the allegation: Simone A. Baker, upon hearing from her six-year-old son, who had been scratched, that he had received corporal punishment from his kindergarten teacher, rushed up to the school and promptly administered a beating to said teacher.

According to reports, there was no discussion, no complaint, just a thrashing after screaming, “You better not touch my child again!”  She allegedly struck the 49-year-old teacher four or five times and banged her head against a filing cabinet.  She fled the scene as the principal and faculty members arrived at the classroom.

Police have cited Ms. Baker for assault.

Meanwhile, according to a news account, “The boy was brought to school by his dad the day after the incident. The child has reportedly retracted his original accusation now stating, that his teacher did not scratch or strike him in any way.”