Thursday, May 25, 2023

Death of Debate

 As annoying as they were, debate students were some of my favorite students. They were smart. They were informed. They would argue with a wall, but their discussions would offer insight and clarity far beyond their years. Many of them sought to be lawyers and that's important, because we need good lawyers clarifying the strange, chaotic world in which we find ourselves.

Knowing all that, imagine my dismay at this story. The erosion of any sort of measured debate in regional and national debate competitions is tragic in ways I can't easily articulate. In many aspect, this is even more tragic  than the hideous atrocities of transgenderism as they are seeking to warp young vibrant minds into conformity to their ESG/DEI worldview. This is wrong on so many levels. But read it and decide for yourself.

Death To Debate

Friday, May 05, 2023

It's Time to Make Choices

 If you have elections tomorrow and haven't already voted, I have a strong suggestion to you. Go to Ballotpedia and look up your election. If it includes school bond issues, drill down and look at the testing. I knew it was bad, the district we live in usually had its ups and downs, but generally the kids tested out in the upper half across demographics. I was honestly shocked. For example in 2010 89% of Black kids passed, now it's 33%. For White kids 96% passed in 2010, now it's 67%. For AAPI kids it was 95% down to 68%, for Hispanic kids 89% down to 59%. Yet, graduation rates are 90% and up. How does THAT work? I don't know whether it is COVID, disruptions, distracting from academics for social justice issues or what, but this is not acceptable. I know how I'm voting.

I know right now someone is saying it is counterintuitive to give a struggling district less money. I disagree. Having taught for 20+ years, I know districts waste boatloads of money on things that have nothing to do with academic excellence. I've said for years that in every admin building in the nation entire layers of bureaucracy could vanish over night and nobody would know or care. We have administrators now that are more like politicians in that they mandate actions guaranteed to keep them in their jobs. That needs to stop.

Other things that need to stop is the Federal programs that have turned schools more into daycare centers than schools. Right now in every high school in the nation their are kids who can't read, write or walk who have one on one training all day long. In that same school there are forty kids crammed into an Algebra 2 class with outdated books and few supplies.

We break the bank to provide for EXTRAcurriculars and have administrations who swear those outside activities actually improve student achievement. Just try to get a football player out of practice to make up a test or a band member out of a 6A band to get needed tutoring during marching practice. We have kids who are going to be functionally illiterate and the scariest part of that is they will be able to vote.

When you look at elections, this is a chance to force a change in a system where the inmates think they have all the power and do not owe any sort of accountability to the people they serve (See also: Congress and White House). By forcing districts to make hard choices, maybe they will jettison they very woke and very expensive productions that have divided us as a nation. What is more, if we can force schools at the public school level to move out of the job of shaping opinions and back into the business of teaching academic skills, we can start chasing down the wokies at the university level so that ESG and DEI grievance offices, all of which must be lavishly funded, will be removed.

Most important of all...VOTE. You must vote. Even if in your heart you don't think it will implement change, you must vote. Do not give them the satisfaction of thinking they have tacit approval to poison the next generation with far Left, Marxist, Hate everyone dogma.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

This Time of Year

 It's Christmas.

For retail and online sales, it's been Christmas for months. But now it is Christmas for all. I am a sappy sentimentalist. I buy Hallmark ornaments for my kids (incidentally Classic Cars are sold out and I REALLY need one for my son...). I watch movies and even replays of Christmas episodes of sitcoms and court cases. Yes, I watched the "Matlock" episode this morning with a very young Brian Cranston playing the part of the suspect. I am fully engulfed in every silly, shallow Christmas tradition and my house looks like an alien spaceship landing site. 

I love Christmas. I love it for all the traditional reasons-the Nativity, the celebration of the Birth of Christ and all that rolls out before us in the New Testament originating with this one act. Sadly, I am a Lapsed Catholic. I miss the Advent wreaths and sermons anticipating the birth of Christ. But I left the Catholic Church, for the time being, because of a creeping wokeness that led one misbegotten member of the to use Passion Sunday to lecture the congregation on social justice. That was on top of the previous hiding of predatory priests. My husband and I were (unfortunately) married by Rudy Kos. He was the first domino to fall in that debacle. But I miss the liturgy, the music, the candles, Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve with early breakfast after. I feel like it has been stolen from me thanks to COVID and social forces. I yearn for the sights and smells and sounds like an addict seeking their drug of choice. Its absence saddens me and makes Christmas difficult.

Christmas, like all such events, is a day of happy visits and sad absences. I think of Dad, who died on Christmas Day 2002. Imagine me, still a relatively young mother, coming home with three kids on Christmas night only to get that phone call from East Texas. We were heading there the next day. Instead we had to plan a funeral, driving in the dark of night with three sad sleeping children to sleep on a lumpy bed and plan. It began one of the more difficult periods of my life. It was that point I found out just how helpless my Mom was and how much I would have to parent her along with my own children.

The years passed. Christmas stayed as festive as I could measure. Mom would always be included and her needs accounted for first. My children grew into adults and adaptations to the celebration moved from Christmas Day to Christmas Eve. Our celebration of gifts and gathering became a feast of tamales, enchiladas, beans and all the Christmas cookies you could eat. Our grandchildren could share that night with us, leaving Christmas morning for them to establish their own traditions-a point I believe is important because if you always go to Grandma's house for Christmas, then the traditions you hold die when Grandma passes? Parents of adult children need to learn to allow their children the freedom to create their own traditions. 

I wouldn't lie and tell you I am giddy all the time about Christmas. I work very hard to create events that will make others happy. I don't think I always succeed. There are always misses as well as hits. My daughter is divorcing which is a source of pain for us all. My brother is estranged from the family still, although his war with Dad should've been buried 20 years ago when Dad passed. My in-laws are still somewhat overbearing and demanding. Our nation is at a critical stage with people in charge who seem to embrace evil over good. Those things weigh on me. But I am trying very hard to bear up under the disappointment and resentment that such actions can create. I'm reading uplifting accounts and reading through commentaries on Christmas along with a book of Newberry Award winning Christmas stories. I think as adults, we all seek that spark of joy and a few of us achieve it. But most of us, just like the Magi, will spend the next year searching for the Divine Spark that can delight and heal. 

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a blessed New Year and a 2023 that is a delivery from the burders we seem to have chained to our ankles over the last three years.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Yes Things Are Really This Bad in Public Schools.

 I didn't write this, but I agree with much of what this self-admitted leftwing teacher says. Schools are out of control and everything is predicated on race, diversity, intersectionality-in short everything except teaching children how to read, write, do math, understand basic science and relate to our shared American and Global historical events. 

Just Read it. Then share it.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Once again the question is "Why?" And as before the answer comes down to Accountability.

 See if you can spot the problem. Read This story on the Uvalde shooter's mom.

For the last five years, maybe more, I've written blogs describing how young people are being raised without any sort of personal accountability for their actions. Helicopter parenting was a manifestation of this, with parents intervening at every turn to prevent their child from every suffering any consequences for their bad choices. When you start in Pre-K to soften every blow and refuse to let children learn how to function on their own, you risk building an adult who has no feelings for anyone but themselves. 

The shooter's mother, who no doubt has her own burden to carry, says we shouldn't judge her murderous son. But that's the problem with out society at large. We expunge criminals if they give the "correct" political group traction on their narratives. Why should we not judge the teachers who refuse to abide by basic security protocols? Why should we not blame police for not going in? Why should we not blame the Biden administration for lockdowns that have resulted in record teen suicides? The exclaim "Don't Judge" needs to be put to rest. A person who hurts another deserves blame.

We've seen many of these shootings. We've also see way too many politicians jump on their automated bandwagons to get their share of demographics. Let me just say here, no matter what message Beto O Rourke and his followers think he was delivering, a news conference intending to give crucial information and to inform the public is not the place to do it. Beto epitomizes what I despise in the Left. Children are dead and he's crowning himself with the attention. Shameful and disgusting.

We have guns in our home. My husband is licensed in Texas and had to undergo background checks and had to wait as do all other lawful gunowners in Texas. Criminals and psychopaths won't go through these channels. But if it makes people "feel" better go ahead and raise the age to purchase a gun to 21. While you're at it, raise the age to vote back to 21 as well, because if you aren't sober and sane enough to own a gun, you have no business voting. But don't be surprised if down the road some other young psychopath decides to blow things up or become a pyromaniac because people inclined to kill don't really care much how they do it.

Background checks are fine, but unfortunately they often don't delve into sealed juvenile records. I'm tired of juvenile criminals having their slate swept clean so they can continue a reign of terror all over again. I'm also tired of mentally ill teens being treated on an impersonal "medicate and release" protocol which does little but give them more drugs that they can trade for far more dangerous street drugs. We have too few beds for the mentally ill. Back in the day liberals thought mental hospitals were bad, that they unfairly restricted the mentally ill. But now we have mentally ill among us, many are homeless, and some are bounced in and out of jails and hospital wards until they die or kill someone else. It is not cruel to put someone in a facility that keeps them from harming themselves or others, but under the laws today police are unable to do anything until someone gets hurt.

Many will say this is not a topic that a teacher or former teacher should debate, but it does have serious impact on society in that it impacts our youngest citizens. As a teacher I've had students who were deeply disturbed. I've had kids on Thorazine, kids with ankle monitors and one kid escorted into class by an assistant principal who whispered "Just don't make him mad." I've had students so menacing I was afraid of them. I've had students openly planning chaos and violence. And this was in a "good" school. We have a generation of kids who are not all bad, but there are enough growing up without morals or ethics that they come across as almost feral. If I am casting doubt on safety, imagine how children feel.

There are many ways to change this story. First, have armed resource officers on duty every day, all day. The resource officer was gone from Robb Elementary in Uvalde, which I find a strange coincidence. Second, lock all doors leading outside and only have one monitored entrance. At Robb Elementary someone propped open the door near the Teachers' parking lot. I've stumbled across similar things and one time when going up to work during the weekend, I called the police when I found a door propped open. These seems like small things, but they make a huge impact. Third, have staff fully trained under the Guardian programs or something similar. Shooters want to be the center of interest and they will avoid armed buildings. This would help schools stay safer.

As for society, we've got to stop thinking that laying blame is the end of the world and that nobody should ever be judged for their actions. The Don't Judge mantra needs to go away. It should never be taught to children and certainly should be used by adults. 

Friday, April 08, 2022

This Didn't Happen Overnight

 I grew up during the late 1960's and early 1970's. In direct opposition to the sex kittens like Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield and even Tuesday Weld, suddenly as a young woman, my curvy figure was not acceptable. The dawning of the age of Twiggy and the era of mini-skirts and hip hugger jeans shunned the normal figures of young women, preferring the androgynous look of skinny boyishness that included long eyelashes and short hair. Early on I wanted to design fashion and I read about the various designers. No longer were the classic designs of Chanel and Dior and their celebration of the female form popular. Instead a gauntness and lack of curves was pushed through women's and teen magazines.

Is it any wonder anorexia and bulimia came to the forefront during the 1980's? Heroin chic and use of cocaine sped up the idea that all the popular kids, the party kids, were thin. How many stars and celebrities did we lose to anorexia or other eating disorders? Karen Carpenter was the unfortunate poster child for this disorder. And again, we have a new class of celebrity fashion designers, many of the male, many of them gay, who seem to be designing for a figure that is not female. There was a short respite during the mid 80's where big shoulder pads and bow blouses were what passed for feminine attire

The 1990's and into the 2000's, we see advancements in the cause of feminism, Title IX forced many colleges to defund Men's programs to give equal amounts to Women's athletics and while the new message was "be healthy" the reality was the women who were often in our ads, movies and magazines were unreasonably thin and girlish in direct contrast to the population at large. There was an increase in the concept of Unisex dressing. Repeatedly during this period fashions for young women were boyish in nature, often mimicking the same slate of gay male designers who had originally establish the androgynous model. The thin model becomes an icon. Sports Illustrated sells out their issues with gorgeous unrealistically thin female bodies.

In the 2000's  the children who were born after 9/11 start watching Sailor Moon as it came to the US from Japan. They embraced anime via Pokemon and other animated stories. These innocent images would eventually lead many older kids to darker manga, even gender bending, sexually provocative  imagery. By 2009 half the high school kids in the US had cell phones. Once they moved to smart phones, images, websites, cameras were easily accessible. Remember, all during this time girls are still getting messages about being strong, but thin, sexy but innocent. Converging messages at a time when teenagers are already confused.

By the last ten years of the 2010 to 2020, many girls who viewed themselves as weak as females, assumed new personas of males. Some, seeking notoriety over popularity, claimed to be lesbian or bisexual often walking down the hall holding hands with other girls and sometimes even making out in corridors. It was bad enough having to patrol hallways and classrooms for straight couples seeking to act out sexually, but these girls often did it in as public a location as possible. They wanted the new edgy reputation in place of an unattainable image of what fashion designers and people like Wintour placed before them. 

When in 2015, gay marriage was legalized, many on the Right said it was a slippery slope. Too many others said "oh let them alone, they're happy, they got all they wanted." But that wasn't the case. What was originally just an alliance  of gay and lesbian adults, became a spectrum of 70 or more "gender preferences" each with their own impossible to remember pronouns. What is more, since they cannot reproduce on their own, they feel they need to mentor children into gayness, which is what coaching young children in sexual behavior is meant to do. Just as a child seeing violence done to others can desensitize them to violence done to them or those they love, exposing children in what psychologist usually consider a dormant period to sexually explicit material desensitizes them.

I have come to this conclusion. The Left does not like children as a rule. They view they as either burdens to be eliminated or interns to be rigorously trained in every opinion and behavior abnormality acceptable to the Left. Now that we have states like Colorado LEGALIZING MURDER OF INFANTS we have evidently come full circle. The Left has always hate children and while feminists may think as lesbians they are freer now, they fail to realize that girls are being victimized systematically by counselors, doctors and teachers to mutilate themselves for the sake of political cause-not personal joy. 

Realize as well that many parents are allowing this to happen to boys and girls based on temporary whims being reinforced by parental urgency to appear with it. Sadly many of these cases of no fitting in are depression, autism or bipolar disorders. This is helicopter parenting on steroids. The same parents who believe their offspring should suffer no drawbacks in life are the ones trying to "fix" their kids. There are clinics and doctors making fortunes off of this. It will go down in history as the worst child abuse since footbinding and the castrati.


Sunday, March 06, 2022

There are Actions and there is Illusion

 While Germany, Poland, Switzerland and even France, are hitting Russia with major sanctions and acquiring the properties and yachts from Russian oligarchs, why isn't the US doing the same? Why aren't we shunning Russian oil and producing our own energy? What ties does the Biden administration have with Russia these days?

"...The 237-foot Stella Maris, which was seen by an AP journalist docked this past week in Nice, France, was believed to be owned by Rashid Sardarov, a Russian billionaire oil and gas magnate. After publication of an earlier version of this story, AP was contacted Sunday by yacht broker Joan Plana Palao, who said his company represents a U.S. citizen from California who purchased the Stella Maris last month. He declined to disclose the name of the buyer or the person from whom the boat had been purchased..."

I kind of wonder what tech magnate here in the US bought the Stella Maris, don't you?

Pardon my cynicism, but I have a serious question about the news we're being shown. I have great sympathy for the Ukrainian people who are fighting for their freedom and even more for the women and children fleeing the violence in their homeland, BUT On NBC News today they showed a clip of how they were trying to keep things normal for the children and in that clip they were presenting a birthday cake and singing "Happy Birthday" IN ENGLISH. I don't begrudge the cake or celebration (although most celebrate their Baptismal day, not their birthday...) but wouldn't a child prefer to hear birthday wishes in their language? Gut instinct tells me something isn't quite right. Is this "news" manufactured for US consumption? If so, WHY?