That Soapbox Was Getting Dusty. (Rant – be warned)

**Note – if you are sensitive to this issue, in favor of over-legislated public education, you should probably click away from this post. There are LOTS of happy, mommy posts to laugh and smile at. Or, you could always click on the category, “I’m a Dork…and your point is.” You’ve been warned.**

Chicago Teachers Strike

Pathetic. Senator so and so “urges a quick resolution?” Really? How nice. She got her name in the paper. The LEGISLATION that starves school districts to death (funding) and ties a standardized testing noose around their necks is to BLAME for this; not teachers. Not school districts. Kids lose because BURRO-crats are running education.

School districts put measures in place because they are staring at a “federal intervention” shotgun in their face. If a district doesn’t perform at some ridiculous standard (a standard that completely disregards REAL children), they will deny funding and even shut you down. They don’t give a damn about kids. Or teachers. Or schools. Or scores. It’s all talking points and campaign sound-bytes. It’s popular to slam public education.

What people FAIL to accept is that there are PEOPLE who make up those classrooms. People. Not buildings. Kids. Teachers. People who spend their entire lives dedicated to OTHER PEOPLES children. These people are worked to DEATH. They are buried under BURRO-cratic paperwork, unfunded federal and state mandates (you HAVE to do this – or we’ll come in and make you do it – but, oh yeah, you don’t get any extra funding) , children with social/economic/emotional/learning issues that would make your head spin – every single day of the year. These people work HUNDREDS of hours of overtime. Buy supplies for the children who come to school with nothing. Keep food in their classrooms to feed children who have NOTHING else.

This senator wants a quick resolution? Fund schools appropriately. Pay teachers for PROGRESS. And STOP wasting everybody’s time with “accountability standards” that do NOTHING about improving education for all children and everything about creating a culture of fear and anxiety. Create the learning objectives to create a top-notch workforce and support children who choose higher education OR workforce preparation, then GET THE HECK OUT OF THE WAY and let the professional educators decide what’s best for the children in their classroom/school/district.

End of rant. *stepping off soapbox*


Dig Deeper!

Dig Deeper!

No, I’m not talking about Insanity workouts.  I’m talking about education.  This is a great article about the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress report.  I am sick to DEATH of people making surface judgements without really digging into the data and waiting until they actually know what they are talking about before they start spinning those headlines.  (or worse, knowing the facts and spinning those headlines anyway)

But really, this goes so far beyond education.  In our lives, how often do we make surface judgements before we’ve even had a conversation with someone?  Completely disregarded something because of a brief moment with it?  Passed along some dumb email without checking the facts our ourselves simply because it came from somebody we trust?  Smeared on some silly platitude based on selective scripture searches, rather than spending actual time getting to know the Word and, therefore, know what it REALLY says?

Dig deeper, people.  Demand the truth; not headlines.  NEVER accept what you read on the internet, in the newspaper or magazines as gospel.  Do your own research. 

The slant to the left or right in the media is not new.  Media bias is as old as the craft itself.  Why?  Because people write it.  That is not condemnation; it is fact.  I’m not telling you to get out the tar and feathers or begin a denigration of media, in general.  I’m telling you to recognize they are out to increase circulation, ratings and sell advertising.  Yes, there are MANY reporters out there with a commitment to telling the story accurately and without bias.  LOTS and LOTS and LOTS.  But do your own research.  Don’t take their word for it.  EVER.  Don’t take my word for it.  DIG DEEPER!

Waiting for Superman

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, Nazi Germany

I read Waiting for Superman and…you guessed it…it made me mad.  Will there ever be a day when we can have a logical conversation about education in this country: Communities and school districts on one side of the table – GOVERNMENT on the other side.  What will it take to realize schools and school districts are NOT the bad guys?
It is so easy to point the finger of blame at “schools” for “failing kids.”  But, the reality is this: For a long time now, people hundreds and even thousands of miles away are legislating how teachers teach and how districts write curriculum. They grade them on some moving target standard that assumes all children have the same motivation, early learning experiences and levels of parent involvement.  They assume all children are going to be college-bound when that has never been the case but they deny funding to schools, do mass firings of teachers who don’t conform to the State and even shut down schools who don’t meet these impossible standards. 

They pit school districts against each other in a ratings cage match, reducing the CHILDREN in the buildings to data points on a color-coded chart all for the sake of some rating.  This is a travesty. 

All because some education lobby got in front of the legislators and told them this was “best for children,” when, in reality, they were saying, “this is best for ME.”  What do they know about MY children?  What do they know about our teachers?  NOTHING.  So, why have we allowed them to have so much power over something that should be solely a local decision? 

Do I believe there is inequity in the education system?  yes.
Do I believe there must be a way to hold schools accountable for educating children? yes. 
Do I believe there will always be people in the wrong job?  yes.
Do I believe schools sometimes make mistakes? yes.
Do I believe some POLITICIAN should tell me how my child should be educated?  absolutely not.
Do I believe there is a conspiracy to dismantle public education in this country?  absolutely.