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by Rayne

Win the Future? Win Our Children’s Food, Shelter, Safety First

6:00 am in Education, Executive Branch, Government by Rayne

Children waiting in line at a food bank, Nov. 2010. (photo: mirnanda via Flickr)

I confess that I didn’t watch the State of the Union speech. I’d already seen the leaked speech, already heard the spin in advance and many critiques before the speech even aired. And I agree, President Obama failed to make note of many challenges we face; it’s as if he was talking about some other utopian place where our struggles are meager and only more education is required to solve them.

Yeah. More education, that’s the ticket. We’ll “win the future” in a zero-sum world, where we only need to worry about improvement to Gross Domestic Product and the corporate bottom line to declare ourselves triumphant over the yellow- and brown-skinned hordes of Central and East Asia, with whom we have always been in a competitive war.

What poppycock.

If this president really wants a win of some kind, it should be over the know-nothings who embrace anti-intellectualism while demanding cuts to funding for our public education system. Call them out, don’t just broadly hint about needing more education, because the know-nothings aren’t pussy-footing around. They are actively encouraging the development of a for-profit education system where their corporate buddies will pick and choose students while picking our public pockets, pretending this will both save us money and improve our education system.

If know-nothings actually knew something, they’d know better than to advocate for a system which is inherently conflicted between making a profit and providing better educational outcomes.

And if this president really wanted a win over India and China through increased education, he’d have discussed the biggest challenges which face our children right now. In short, children cannot learn if their stomachs are growling from hunger and they are worried about having a roof over their head and afraid of violence at home and in the street.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

by Rayne

An Angry Mother’s Take on The Firing of Central Falls’ Teachers

10:58 am in Uncategorized by Rayne

There’s a very big hole in the center of the story about the firing of all teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island.

This article features quotes by students and teachers.

This one includes quotes by administration and union officials.

And this one includes quotes by education big wigs and pundits.

Notice the hole? It’s big, very, VERY big.

Where the hell are the parents?

I write this as I listen to my kids bickering in the background about the best way to present a science project which is due this week. I know exactly what phase they are working on right now, having finished a description of the process and the data chart and the graph of the data. And I will have a very good idea by the end of the afternoon whether the project is going to meet all the requirements of the project syllabus for a sixth-grade science class.

There’s another project going on here today, too; the older kid is working on chemistry and I’ll know by the end of the evening whether a paper has been completed in sync with an A.P. Chemistry syllabus.

Both kids will have shown me their grades on line by tonight, and I’ll have reviewed and signed my younger kid’s academic planner, reflecting the assignments and work done over the weekend.

School has taken up a big chunk of our weekend. OUR weekend, not just their weekend. This is my role as a parent, to answer some questions without actually doing their work, to find resources if they need them, to facilitate the learning process. And most importantly, to help set expectations. Failure is not an option here. Read the rest of this entry →

by Rayne

Conservatives Schooled by — and by Pres. Obama

12:43 am in Uncategorized by Rayne

President Barack Obama and

You probably missed it if you aren’t the parent of a school-aged kid, but there was a successful culture jam Tuesday night.

President Obama managed to get his remarks on the importance of education out to even more kids; he did an end run around the freak-show conservative parents who tried to keep kids from the scary evils of being indoctrinated into the socialist agenda of going to school, being personally responsible and studying hard.

But let me back up for a second. After asking my kids to read the President’s speech Monday and to share their opinions, they told me on arriving home from school that their high school and middle school didn’t show the speech Tuesday during their first day back after summer vacation.

I’m angry, but I shouldn’t be surprised; I live in a suburb where 60% to 75% of frequent voters identify as conservative, a mix of white-flight Republicans and Reagan-God-guns-gays Democrats. I’m sure they were burning up the phone lines this past week giving the school district’s administrator what-for about the impending socialist indoctrination. Many parents have pulled their kids from the public schools and put them in private religious schools or in out-lying districts simply because they don’t want their kids going to school with THOSE kids.

Damnable ignorant bigots.

So my son and I just happened to be talking about the speech about 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night when Nickelodeon network’s Get Schooled program started -— and lo, there’s President Obama and his speech writer Sarah Hurwitz, and they are talking about the value of education in getting a dream job.

Culture jam!!! Eff you conservative freaks, Viacom gave the POTUS a back door to your kids’ minds!

What tickled me most is my son’s reaction to the program. He’d gone upstairs to watch Get Schooled in his room, but ran downstairs at the end of the show, yelling at me, "Did you see Obama gave part of the speech??"

Yup, I did — or at least I saw that Obama gave a short, brief comment directly to viewers which looked like an excerpt from the actual speech he’d given to students earlier during the day. He told his young viewers to find something they were passionate about, to study hard and stay in school.

Which as we all know are the key tenets of socialism… /snark

Let me point out that the program is evidence that Jim Greer is wrong, that Obama didn’t change his speech to accommodate Greer’s whiny little hissy fit. The program demonstrates that the point Obama was trying to make to kids was already in the can with, and as the quote in the graphic above shows, Obama has been talking about the issue of improving education and keeping kids in school since he took office.

Be sure to check out as it looks like it’s a broader initiative to improve school as well as get drop-outs back in school.

It seems like it’s been a while since I was thankful to a corporation, but Viacom and, thanks much for doing the right thing by our kids, and for producing a constructive educational program which is more than entertainment.

[Graphic: composition generated from Viacom's]

by Rayne

An Offended Mother on President Obama’s Speech to School Kids

12:02 pm in Uncategorized by Rayne

Crazy bus by bunchofpants, via

The text of President Obama’s speech scheduled for delivery tomorrow to public school children has been released today; I’ve read it.

And I asked both of my kids if they read it.

With a bored, so-what shrug, the new sophomore said, "It’s rather elementary, but I suppose it has to be since it’s meant to reach elementary school kids. Like kindergartners."

The new middle-schooler was more forthcoming.

"Yeah, I read this part about Obama and his mom this past year," by which he referred to the portion of the speech in which Obama recalls how mother got him up at 4:30 a.m. to study. "I already knew about that. And the President is telling kids the same thing you already tell us, that we need to go to school and study and work hard." Read the rest of this entry →