Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the coughing up a lung edition

I am going to apologize in advance. I haven't slept normally in almost a week now, up every night having a contest with Little Boy to see who can cough more. No one is sleeping, every one is cranky, and that's where I'm coming from before I even write anything else.

This is what always happens to me, and apparently to my poor kid as well. We get a totally ordinary, run of the mill cold like everyone else does. The cold itself lasts only a few days then starts to go away, leaving us coughing for weeks and weeks and weeks afterwards. It's always the worst at night, and none of my tricks are working right now.

So I'm cranky. So there.

Mama Bear is Mad
On top of already being cranky, I found out yesterday that the reading support for Little Boy is being discontinued for the rest of the year because the teacher who helps him has to help with testing. For the rest of the year. There are still a full two and a half months of school left.

There are so many problems with this that I don't even know where to begin, to be honest. As much as people might think I am blaming the school or the teachers, I'm not. I know that their ability to really do anything here is limited because of the wonder that is mandated testing. I know that they are being dictated to from higher levels about the insane amount of testing they are required to give kids. I know that their job performance and pay is now directly tied to test scores, which is total bullshit. I know that the schools aren't adequately funded when it comes to the number of paid teachers and staff in the building as it is. I know that resources are limited.

I know all these things, and yet I'm frustrated because this is wrong. There is no other word for it. We should not be in a position where administrators have to sacrifice months of actual education for the purposes of testing. If all we ever do is test kids, when are they going to have time to learn? When are teachers going to have time to teach them if all they are doing is teaching the material on the tests themselves and administering the tests?

The problem is compounded for kids like my son. He's behind. He missed last year in preschool because of health issues. He has pretty serious communication problems. He needs all the extra help he is getting, and in a lot of ways, the extra help is the only thing that has made the difference for him this year. For him to lose it because a teacher needs to proctor tests for months on end is wrong.

We are failing these kids. We are failing these teachers. We are failing the schools. We are forcing administrators to spread already limited resources far too thin. And for what? Accountability? To whom?

As a society, as parents, we have got to rise up against this machine. We need to demand that teachers be allowed to teach again. We need to be angry. We need to be pissed off. We need to fight.

As an aside, I am always hesitant to write about anything going on in our schools here because it seems like my words are always misinterpreted. I am personal friends with teachers, staff and administrators in all levels of our district, and don't blame them for this situation. I blame the talking heads who've never spent time in a classroom but believe they are qualified to dictate how the education system should work. I blame anyone who fell for the lie that the only way to see if a child is learning is to test them repeatedly and constantly. I blame a system that is so lost that it can't even see how much it is failing.

And the ones paying the price? The kids who need the most help.

We Need to Re-evaluate Our Definition of Breaking News
OMG you guys.

Seriously. Drop whatever you are doing right now to read this breaking story of huge importance and significance in all of our lives.

Scarlett Johannson is pregnant.

Wait. What???

That's way more important than the fact that the Cold War is trying desperately to reignite itself in the Ukraine right now, right???

Please, dear news media...keep dumbing down the masses, convincing us that the very normal reproductive tendencies of famous people is somehow more pressing than an impending international conflict.

The Perversion of Religious Freedom
There has been much discussion of late about religious freedom. If you believe what you hear on television or in the debates being staged all over the nation right now, the religious freedom of people is being threatened by the "gay agenda". Conservative Christians claim that their liberties are being infringed upon by laws that would legalize gay marriage and create protections for the LGBT community against discrimination.

Here's the thing.

The notion of religious freedom is being perverted. Religious freedom is about the right to believe what you want, worship as you choose and live your life according to your chosen religion. Religious freedom is not about the alleged right to impose your faith upon others, to use it as a basis to harm others or as justification for discrimination.

Your religious freedom belongs to you, and you alone. It does not give you the right to affect other people. It does not make your rights more important than the rights of anyone else. Your beliefs do not trump the liberties of others. Period.

If you want to talk about a place where actual religious freedom is being infringed upon, talk about the case of a Muslim prisoner who is forbidden from growing a beard because of jail policies. His growing a beard is something deeply rooted in his religious tradition, it will not affect anyone else, it will not harm anyone else, it will not impose anything of his beliefs on anyone else, it will not cost anyone else. It belongs to him and him alone.

And yet, under current policy, he is forbidden from growing it.

The Supreme Court will hear his case this year.


  1. My favorite line: "Your religious freedom belongs to you, and you alone." I am clapping, seriously.

  2. "I know that their (teachers) job performance and pay is now directly tied to test scores, which is total bullshit." Well said.

  3. great line about religious freedom. That's brilliant.

    Thanks for reading my liberal post this week.

    I've been reading Reuters International, CNNInternational, Sky News and a couple of other Euro sources for Ukraine news. It's making me less stabby.

    I love your Tuesday posts. They don't piss me off.


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