Education

I have long known that when it comes to our government and politics I am, to say the least uneducated. I don’t really have a good concept of how things are supposed to work. I know there are ‘checks and balances,’ that involve our three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial). I know that one major premise of our government involves the separation of church and state (which a certain party seems to conveniently forget). I know there was a cartoon when I was a kid that talked about how bills are made into laws… Even as I write this I know how woefully ignorant I am…

Considering the current situation our country is in and my general distaste for not knowing things, I’m seeking out an education on the basics. I’m researching,  starting to study the Constitution, Bill of Rights, learn more about civics etc. I’m reading up on other political parties and what their stances are to find what truly reflects my values and belief in what a government should be. I’ve been following what our legislative branch has been voting on and who is voting what. I’ve called more senators in the last week than I have my entire life. I’m done sitting on the sidelines. I’m done being the person that complains but does nothing. We are supposed to be a government for the people, by the people. Sadly, too many of us have sat back on the sidelines allowing corporations, lobbyists, and the like to take over.

Our government, as it stands, does not serve the best interests of the people. The only way that will change is if the people make it change. I’m not telling anyone what party to support, who to vote for in different elections, etc. What I am saying is, if you’re unhappy about the way things are do something about it!shutterstock_252537448.jpg

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Mourning and Moving Forward


shutterstock_558143062.jpgI am sure it comes as no shock but I’ve been in a bit of mourning with the current political climate. I don’t know that it is even so much the results of the election but the sheer ugliness and divisiveness being expressed towards anyone that has different views. Being totally transparent, yes I was disappointed by the results of the election. However I know that we are not always going to get our way, you win some and you lose some. I’ve done a good job of sort of blocking it out since then but with the inauguration a whole new wave of ugliness has crept in, not to mention I have no choice but to face reality.

I’m not writing this post to rail against our current officials or trash talk his supporters. That sort of thing plays out on Facebook day in and day out. I’m tired of it. I’m writing this because I need to find a way to move on. I need to find a way to use my voice to share some positivity and tolerance. Many of us are disappointed as of late. Regardless of who had won the election, many of us wonder how anyone could vote for XYZ candidate. However that does not solve anything. Accusations and cruelness only serve to breed more contempt and anger. I’m looking for a higher road. If you’re happy or unhappy do something about it. Use your voice!!!

A couple things I have discovered in the last couple of days:

Countable (website and app)

https://www.countable.us

Helps you to identify your representatives, keep you abreast of current issues, and provides an easy platform to get your voice heard.

Petitions on WhiteHouse.gov

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/#signapetition

You can sign or create a petition that, with enough signatures, will illicit a response from the White House.

A couple last thoughts:

“We have far more in common than that divides us.” Jo Cox.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi (though I’ve heard he wasn’t the one who said this)

How We’ve Jacked Up The Educational System

I’m just going to say it: our educational system sucks. I don’t know that it was really a secret but in case one wasn’t sure, I’m announcing it here. Now, before any one gets up in arms I am not blaming the teachers. I’m blaming the whole damn system. What is wrong with us?

To start with parents are not parents anymore. That is issue number one. People just pop kids out like its nothing. They forget (or just don’t know) they have to raise these kids as well. Simply reproducing is not enough. If you don’t wanna do the time, don’t do the crime. Kids are not an accessory nor are they simply a check on the checklist of a successful life. Being a parent means teaching your children right from wrong, instilling manners, teaching them respect for themselves and others, teaching them the importance of education. It also means backing up your child’s teachers.

Does that happen? Few and far between. Nowadays parents want to see their children as their friends, their angels, or maybe the saddest of all they just don’t care period. They don’t demand that their children show respect for people in authority (the parents included), they don’t work with them to teach them at home. They don’t help them when they are struggling because to be honest, they don’t even know their child is struggling.

Now, on the off chance they have figured out that their child is struggling the automatic response? Blame it on the teacher. It’s always easier to make it someone else’s fault. Who really likes looking in the mirror and truly examining their own faults? Hell, I don’t even like looking too closely at my pores, so why would anyone want to look at the deep ugliness inside of them?

Then after basically failing as parents, they ship their kids off to school and expect the teachers to both teach and parent. Sounds like a winning plan right? So these kids that are not getting the stability, discipline, love, and support they need at home are sent to school where they are expected to learn in an overcrowded classroom. I mean we pay teachers so much they should be able to balance 30+ personalities and learning styles (and sometimes language barriers) all at once right? Oh wait, we pay the people that are educating our youth crap.

So here we are at the school. Classes are overfilled, teachers are overworked, and under paid. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge to deal with, we don’t encourage teaching anymore. Teachers have to basically teach the kids to pass tests. Tests that are used to grade the teachers and schools and districts to determine how much tax money they get. They don’t have the time to properly diagnose learning disabilities or other issues. Even if they do, chances are the parents are going to go ballistic and say the teacher is full of shit rather than taking a good long look at their kid and the situation they are in and making strides to fix it.

The kids that catch on quickly are being held back for the ones that need more time. More time that the teacher really doesn’t have because they are forced to push through the material whether or not the kids are keeping up. We’re really setting them up for success aren’t we?

Before you know it the school year is over and then we give the kids a two and half month break. By the time school resumes they have forgotten at least half of what they have learned the year before. So now time is spent catching up in order to pass the tests that determine how much money the schools will get. Vicious cycle.

Granted there are amazing teachers out there, children that learn, real parents rather than breeders, and schools that are doing a fantastic job. There are also amazing parents with great children and crappy teachers. All generalizations will have exceptions.

Ultimately I think the solution falls on all of us. Parents need to stand up and be parents and demand more. They need to partner with their child’s educators to create the best learning environment possible. We should also switch to year round school so that we don’t have this big gap where kids’ brains go dormant. And all of us, every last one of us, has to stand up and say enough is enough. We need to start getting back to basics and the most basic thing we can do is start employing our common sense.