September 24, 2004
I Stand Amazed
I am both amazed and ashamed that polls show the Presidential race too close to call. Are my countrymen reading the same news I'm reading? Have they been paying attention the last four years?
If Bush were a Democrat, the country would have ridden him out on a rail, if not for the Enron and other corporate scandals, certainly for the economy, the budget deficits, censorship of scientific data, environmental subterfuge, or the bald-faced lies about WMDs, Saddam, or Osama. Not to mention the American blood spilled for--what was it again?--oh yeah, democracy in Iraq.
But it's a testimony to the power of the Republicans to distract and deflect all criticism that enough people are willing to try another four years with Bush. I usually can see the other side of a political argument, but I cannot fathom why more of my fellow citizens don't see Bush for what he is: megalomaniac, fascist, liar.
I predict the election results will surprise a lot of people. I've never felt the level of anger and vengefulness that I'm feeling coming from my fellow Progressives. 600,000 more people voted for Gore in 2000 when most people didn't care who won. This time, however, I think a lot of previously silent voices, angered into acting, will be heard and will definitively re-defeat Bush.
September 21, 2004
Money Over Education
Sometimes I feel that we educate children despite the system, rather than because of it. From where I stand, money dominates the decision process, not what's best for kids. Priorities, priorities, priorities.
Priority: selling rings. Today, the Josten salesman got face time with the entire junior class at the expense of 40 minutes of my class. Message? Your education is less important than our profit.
Priority: selling snacks. Food is strictly forbidden in class, and everyone knows sugar and caffeine consumption is detrimental to focused learning, yet we conventiently place snack and coke machines in the hallway. Message: funding athletics through snack profits is more important than your mind or class discipline.
Priority: payroll reduction. Stuffing classes with 40+ students hobbles the personal interaction a teacher can offer, not to mention breaks the law. Message: you're on a production line; get an education if you can.
Priority: vendor-oriented IT expenditures. I've got a $900 printer, but no toner. All teachers have Office XP, which has a free alternative, but no need for anything but Word. I've got a fancy email program that tracks all my activity, but still must hand-deliver papers to Detention rather than attach then to a message. Message: technology money is spent regardless of any real need.
September 20, 2004
Roll Over Molly
Molly seemed to amaze herself this afternoon when she rolled from belly to back on her playmat. She's been teasing us with attempts, but today was the first time. After she rolled, her eyes were wide, and she gripped the mat with both hands for a while, which gave the effect of someone on a roller coaster for the first time.
She's been actively reaching for everything and turning to follow moving objects and towards sound for a few weeks now. Her progress is steady, with her skill level and size floating in the five-month-old range. She's even got a significant amount of hair now.
I'm exhausted from school and helping care for her. I lack motivation to provide anything more than minimal preparation for class, which makes me feel guilty, but it's out of self-defense. There's simply not enough time in the day for anything more than survival-level teaching. I'm thankful for the new AP classes, but I wish the timing of the assignment were a little more opportune.