Sadly, the Blundering Bloggers membership is down by one-third, after the loss of our education issues blogger, Richard W. (Dick) Clark, who died last Friday. I knew Dick originally as a Deputy Superintendent of a school system, obviously someone many rungs higher on the ladder than I and an expert in the field who had no qualms about expressing strong opinions, but also one with whom I developed a comfortable working relationship.
Years later I retired and re-connected with him and travel blogger Jackie Smith. They were already meeting regularly and had named themselves the Blundering Bloggers. I felt honored to be welcomed into the group. It should be clear from the name that none of us felt we were experts and we spent many hours warming seats at Starbucks in Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond and asking each other for technical assistance as well as for ideas for topics to write about.
Dick lived and breathed education long after he retired from the public school system. He wanted his blogs to cause readers to think, to question their assumptions and challenge the pat and often ill-informed solutions to education’s challenges coming from politicians, conservative commentators and many other groups these days. When Dick complained that despite his high number of site visitors he received few comments, Jackie and I urged him to throw in more personal opinions, talk about his own experiences as an educational administrator, and challenge his readers to action. But that’s not who he was. He was looking for a give and take, an informed exchange of ideas based on research and experience, not pressing people’s hot buttons.
Dick was a scholar, which made me appreciate him all the more when he was willing to accept the occasional bizarre challenges we threw at him. “Let’s all write about spam” was the most recent one. Jackie and I addressed Spam, the food product, while he described the shallow answers people often give when talking about reforming the educational system as spam.
Despite his declining health, Dick told us that he both wanted and needed to keep the conversation going about how to improve education. It was his calling and he was posting blogs till the end.
We had a good thing going, the three of us. We could inspire each other, write encouraging comments on each other’s postings, test out ideas for improving our blogs and readership, and ask questions and present ideas in a safe environment, all qualities of a strong support group, which, after all, was the reason the Blundering Bloggers came into existence.
If ever the Blundering Bloggers add a new member, it won’t happen soon or without a lot of thought. We can never replace Dick and knowing this leaves a bigger hole than the one in our conversations about what to write about next week.