New book Reality Lies Beyond the Fog, by first-time author Kevin Terence Ratigan, uses humorous fiction to reveal the very real problems that face America’s school districts. In it, protagonist Terry Truman changes careers at the age of 33, after he decides to leave the world of business to teach in a public high school. As an outsider, Truman has a Nick Carraway-esque perspective on the politics, workings, and flaws of the public school system.
Truman quickly discovers that all is not what it seems. As in life, throughout the book, reality is obscured and twisted by those who are taking advantage of the system to their benefit. Ratigan interweaves real-life challenges that plague our nation’s school systems, including the detrimental effects of tenure, lacking teacher qualifications, flawed pay structure, preferential treatment of athletes, the over-emphasis on sports over academics, drug problems, and more.
Truman is determined to teach his business students, but he faces many pitfalls as others who are using the system to their advantage create roadblocks for him and leave him disenchanted. At one point, Superintendent Dr. Lee says, “You think like George Bush—that a school is some fairyland here no child is left behind. I’m here to tell you that most students are left behind.”
Ratigan, himself, has discovered that the public school system is no fairyland. Ratigan was inspired by his experiences working in the Penn-Delco school system as a business and English teacher, as well as a basketball coach. After ten years, Ratigan was forced to leave his job, due to health problems that arose from the effects of mold. The mold problem was fogged by fake air quality tests, repainting of walls, disposing of affected supplies and books, and replacing ceiling tiles.
The corruption that Ratigan portrays, in Reality Lies Beyond the Fog is not isolated. Detroit has faced the crisis of millions of dollars being misappropriated through contract kickbacks. Ratigan says, “The title says it all: the real workings of the school system are covered by a fog that is created by the people who are taking advantage of its pitfalls; and by those who like to pretend that their district is great. Reality lies beyond that fog, but no one is looking beyond the fog.” He adds, “It is my hope that, through this book, the public will be inspired to look beyond the touted public image to uncover the corruption, mismanagement, and unsustainable pension benefits that exist in many of our nation’s school systems.”
Kevin Terence Ratigan was raised in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He’s had a variety of careers, including jobs in auditing, education, real estate, retail sales, wellness, and writing. He pursues work based on his passion, not on his salary.
Ratigan spent twelve years working in high schools, first as a substitute, then as a full-time teacher, basketball coach, and volunteer administrator.
He is a CPA with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Villanova University, a master’s degree in education from Widener University, and a principal certification from Gwynedd-Mercy University.
Ratigan is an avid reader of books that speak to the truth of unlimited human potential via an expanded self-awareness, proper thinking, and meditation. He is an enthusiastic Red Cross supporter who has donated eighty-eight pints of blood.