Tag Archives: education

So What Did I Miss?

(Gotta love Hamilton for all the phrases it gives.)

 

I have been amazing myself with how little I’ve commented on our present situation, how I have vastly reduced my presence on the VagueBook, and kept to my own counsel on the tweet machine.  At first, I figured “who cares what I think?”  Then I realized people did care, if only so they could rip me a new one.  Then I kept quiet more as a sanity-saving strategy, and reduced the number of websites I would normally (obsessively) check.

But what I’ve come to realize is, this is not a him-or-her situation, nor is it a D-or-R situation.  It’s a moment frozen in time where we are defined clearly not by who we support but HOW we support.  I’m not talking lawn signs, either.  I’m talking the response we have when confronted with a difference of opinion, and what that says about us.

I’ve observed some severe and completely out-of-proportion responses to something as banal as a question regarding voting times.  I’ve seen a vitriol-laced insult to someone posing a possible scenario.  And any disagreement from “the other side” led to hysterical promises of what would, in any other time, be noted as a potential threat to safety.

 

I call this the Super Bowl mentality.  It’s not enough to compare the facts, the statistics, the record, the analysts; no, we have to portray unwavering adherence to the team with a fervor bordering on hysteria or we’re not TRUE fans.  And we are so sure of the outcome, that we are on the side of the TRUE winning team, that there is no room for any disagreement.  We shout down our opposition because of course we’re right, and if you think the opposite then you are clearly demented.

This is worse than the Super Bowl, though.  This is not being a fan.  This is rabid and foaming-at-the-mouth hatred for anyone and everyone thinking differently.  This is raw and naked detestation coupled with venom and enmity towards those who have simply voiced a different opinion.  Why has it come down to such a violent way of thinking?  Why is someone’s way of thinking either right or wrong?  Why is it necessary to put down in the most acrimonious way somebody’s point of view?

 

I believe this can all be chalked up to a lack of thoughtful discourse, or, to go even further, a lack of thought.  Some of us don’t think carefully before speaking; we don’t even let the speaker finish their thoughts before we rush in with our assertions that “I’m right and you’re wrong and if you disagree then you’re just a _______!”  (Please insert your label of degradation here.)  When was the last time we heard an exchange such as:

Sam: Isn’t it amazing how beautiful the green air is?

Pete:  (Thinks a moment)  Is the air, in fact, green?

Sam:  Of course.  Don’t you see it?

Pete:  Well, no.  Can you describe it to me?

Sam: It’s……green.

Pete:  Interesting.  Like, a grass green?  Teal?

Sam:  I don’t think teal is considered to be in the green family.

Pete:  That’s interesting.  I always thought it was.  What would you call it, blue?

Sam:  You know, I’m not sure.  Maybe?  And you think it’s green?  Maybe I’m mistaken.

 

No, I can just see this happening today:

Sam: Isn’t it amazing how beautiful the green air is?

Pete: What are you, some sort of @%$!*&  Only a %^# would say something like that!  Are you one of those *@^#%$*@?   God, I’m so SICK of you &^$#&*@!!!  You are the reason why this world is the way it is!  Why don’t you smarten up and realize the only true air color is RED you moron!

Sam:  [backs away]

FIN.

 

Maybe instead of things like mandatory health care or taxes or car registrations, we should have mandatory book reports.  That way we’d be sure people are reading something that expands their worlds a bit and exposes them (without the “news” channels and social media gangs) to varying viewpoints that don’t threaten anyone.  You know, something they can put some thought into.

 

educate-ass

Nothing like a smart butt

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Lord-A-Mighty, Feel My Blood Pressure Rising

And I don’t even care for Elvis Presley, but that shows you how the right song in the right situation crosses all divides.  Or something like that.

I went to a retirement party for a lovely woman I taught with.  She has taught kindergarten for over thirty years, and commuted an hour and a half from Pennsylvania into New Jersey every day.  She stayed late to work, stayed late for meetings, came back on weekends to support community events, and was a cherished and valued member of the school community.

She was treated the same shabby way I was in that district.  Someone in the administration gets a wild hair that a teacher (usually tenured and a natural group leader) is detrimental to the American way of life and Must Be Dealt With Immediately.  Public humiliation, gossip, relocation without notification, suddenly terrible observations without any supporting documentation, a warning to all new (non-tenured) teachers forbidding them to consult with her… the mind boggles.

This is a district where the Board of Education declares sorrowfully that there’s nothing they can do about inappropriate behavior by administration because “their hands are tied.”  A teacher who takes more than six and a half of their allotted eleven sick days is automatically graded as “ineffective.”  Why?  Because it makes the district look bad.  To whom?  The board shakes their heads and mentions the tied hands.  An administrator puts a sign-up sheet for a “volunteer” faculty meeting at 3:30 on Friday, October 31, then takes away a prep period for those teachers who did not stay.  Hello, board members?  This is harassment.  “What can we do?  Our hands….”  Screw your hands.

There is so much information out there regarding the massive reform-in-education movement; read Diane Ravitch if you want a good start.  My understanding from what I’ve observed is teachers have become a target to distract from what’s really happening: a takeover to shake up the promise in America of a good, free public education to all citizens and turn it into a class-system of education where only the privileged few may explore a thorough education of their choosing while the vast majority become limited in their scope of understanding to become compliant and unquestioning workers.  We are moving away from a democracy when the educational advantages of learning and opening minds is throttled by those who see only a financial outcome bettering their own lives.

I don’t know how, but I am convinced that these sanctimonious and smug overlord-wannabes will be failing soon, but not before they’ve inflicted a serious wound on the public education system.  And how do I come to this conclusion?  I read my history, one of the courses that reformers want to remove from the curriculum.

If I had a nickel....

If I had a nickel….

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