Tag Archives: communication

The American Public Education Factory: what is it producing?….Volume 1

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The American Public Education Factory: what is it producing?….Volume 1

I have been really trying to get some sort of an outline in my head about this topic for a while; I have decided to just start blogging it as it comes because every time I think I have it concretely fleshed out in my head, some new thought comes in about the social injustices associated with public school systems. From epistemology to NCLB, to “common core” to booster clubs, regurgitation vs. creative thought AKA actually thinking, ingenuity to different types of intelligence, to the perpetuation of rape culture and #Iammorethanadistraction, ugh the list can go on.

I am going to start with socioeconomic inequality in schools. Studies have shown that the more engaged in school a child is, the better they do. It isn’t rocket surgery. If a child is involved in sports, music, drama, whatever their choice of extracurricular activities are, the busier they are (no time for other naughtiness), the more invested they are in better grades, the more involved their parents might be in their world, “the more” everything. Things like teamwork, hard work, friendship, conflict negotiation, community, working for success AFTER failure, etc. are learned without the child knowing that they are learning it. But when these things are made to be so expensive that only the middle class and up can participate, well then, now we have yet another layer of oppression adding to the intersectionality of what it is to be a middle or high school student.

To over-share with a little self disclosure, I make what I assume to be a pretty “comfortable” wage, although it is definitely not the magical salary I was led to believe a masters degree would grant me. I make a little more than 50% of the “average median income” in America this year. I believe this probably makes me considered “middle class” but just barely. We still qualify for free lunch, thank sweet ancient baby alien space monkey Jebus, but it is not easy. I am still living paycheck to paycheck. I have come to terms most days with living one paycheck away from homelessness, mostly because as a housing case manager, I know what resources are available in the area.

I digress.

Anyhow, my point was that my child is involved in the school sponsored dance team, the fine arts credit required orchestra, and the foreign language credit required Spanish. We receive a discounted “activity fee” for the “sport” but the uniforms ($135 to start, with additional costumes throughout the year), “required contribution to the booster club” of $100 (which my child/myself get to harass friends, co-workers, family, and social media with in order to raise by selling coupon books or car wash tickets, not to mention the $1,200 dollar “Spring Break trip to Disney World” that all the “rich kids” get to go to, but sadly, probably not my child. This causes lateral oppression within the team of the haves vs the have nots; because the kids KNOW who will be able to go and who will not from the beginning. It is not fair. And yes, I know, “Life isn’t fair, Princess.” One+ more kiddo(s) financed OUT.

But come on! What is the booster club for anyway? Isn’t it there to support the kids who WANT to participate and work their asses off to participate? The answer sadly is, “No.” It is there to make up the difference between public support/donations from the school’s budget for sports. That is a shame. But go ahead, buy some more computers. Make the teachers learn a different way to teach because they aren’t churning out productive enough regurgitaters at the rate the country wants. That is a much better use of funds……And tell me again why kids here are obese and live online?

Ah, speaking of obesity….the school lunch. It is not what it could be. I recently read about France’s model and how lovely it is. What a pipe dream for good ol’ Merikah. Instead we have corporate sponsors, such as Subway and energy drinks in the schools. Which always look better than god knows what is really in the instant processed mashed potatoes and goo.

Spanish class requires fees. For what? I have no freaking clue. Is there a lab associated with Spanish? One+ more kiddo(s) financed OUT.

Orchestra requires not only a $100 fee per year to “pay for music” but also a rental of an instrument if you cannot afford to buy one. The schools do not even loan instruments anymore. How many kids love music but cannot participate in band or orchestra because of the cost?  I was told that because the school was making photo copies of music for the students they were fined $4000. Isn’t there some sort of fair use for schools to use copyrighted music?

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

Yeah, I thought so.

So tell me again why I have to pay for music for my child to continue playing in the school orchestra? And why must they also have “orchestral uniforms” which include for the gender binary, long black dresses for the females, penguin suits for the males. Could we not just wear black pants and shirts or skirts? We must buy these clothes for a high school class? Good grief. One+ more kiddo(s) financed OUT.

Did I mention all these fees are due either at registration or during the first MONTH of school (save the spring break trip, luckily “they understand what a hardship it might be for some families so they give them until late winter to confirm these amounts.” Cause between you and me, as a single FT working parent that gets minimal child support, registration, extras, school supplies, school fees, school clothes, and anything else needed at the end of summer/beginning of Fall, is freaking HARD to figure out.

These examples and many others show it is unaffordable for many if not most kids to participate in the activities that studies show teach resilience and community. It is unreasonably expensive for ALL kids to get the protective effects of participation in these activities. So they must find other outlets and no one seems to like those outcomes, and yet…..

I contacted the school to find out what options are available as a low income parent. You know, because despite being on whatever magical list they keep us free lunch families on, they do not send home any information on these sorts of options. There are some “scholarships” available the first week of October, I was told. But it doesn’t cover everything. It’s a first come, first serve sort of deal where a committee decides who gets it. Based on what? I don’t know. But you better believe it is not a blind decision. Someone is making judgments either internally or perhaps even out loud. I imagine fucked up words like “deserve” and “worth” and “investment” are tossed around in that conversation.

So back to the original point and not my own personal struggle…The socioeconomic injustices of a public school system…. You want a college scholarship? You want to take classes you might *GASP* be interested in? You want to do sports? Music? Drama? Prepare to pay my friend cause this is college. Public High School.

If your parents can’t afford it, screw you.

If your parents feel shame asking for help, screw you.

If your parents don’t speak English as a first language and aren’t sure how to advocate for you/your family, screw you.

If your parents are too busy because they work 8,327,498,374 hours a week and don’t have the time to contact the school, screw you.

If your parents have nothing but time because they are unemployed, depressed, worried, stressed, whatever, screw you.

Welcome to Public High School.

To be continued.

Warning: Passive Aggressive post ahead…. #crazyexes

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Warning: Passive Aggressive post ahead…. #crazyexes

I haven’t had time to do anything meaningful on here in many moons and this will not be truly mind-shattering either. There are lots of things in the world going on that I could write about, Ferguson, California Earthquakes, new ancient aliens episodes, rape culture, journalists being beheaded, etc. But those things are too heavy and I am feeling quite solipsistic. So instead I am taking this space to passive aggressively speak to a cyber stalker whom I (perhaps egotistically) believe will read it.

I have exes. Most of us do. But while I have engaged in some “harmless” ex-stalking in my day like casually checking out their public facebook profile photo just out of plain morbid curiosity, I can with all honesty state I have NEVER friend requested his or her new partner.

I do not want to be their pal. I do not want them to know I was sizing up them up as a previous partner.  

It has actually been sometime since I have done that regardless and I like to think that was due to some insecurity I have outgrown. 

Now, in the last year plus, I have had not one, BUT TWO of my partner’s exes cozying up to me in the cyber world. Really.

One sent threatening messages, showing her true 40+ year old age to be somewhere about 14, this was easily squashed with a magical feature called BLOCKING. No further contact. ¡Salud! 

Oh, but recently, the last month or so, another one popped up. Now mind you, I think my social media presence is ridiculously large, I concur. BUT I have things as locked down as the illusion of privacy permits (sans this blog) and most things have a fake name associated with them or require you need my REAL email to communicate. Well this one, I give her hacker search crazy bitch toolbox props cause she is EVERYWHERE.

On my twitter.

On my facebook.

On my tumblr.

On my instagram.

On my F**KING Pinterest. I had to disable it. I am very sad. Pinterest, get some better privacy settings. Sad face emoticon.

And when the above modes of contact were not successful, she started liking my things or communicating through my partner’s family members we had in common. So I had to delete THEM. That is not good in a newish relationship when you are trying to establish relationships with family members who live out of area, especially when THEY added you, now I just seem rude.

What can be gained of this for you?!

Yes, I can see from your very public disclosures you just got left recently by your partner.

I get it.

I am sorry, but….my partner isn’t available as a back up.

We are currently still together sooooo……

Get some counseling. Talk to a friend in real life. Focus on your kids. Focus on yourself. Self Care. Exes are exes for a reason. Truly.

If my partner wanted communication with you to continue, it would have.

And if that was your angle, um, why would you approach me, not them? Oh, that’s right. They deleted THEIRS cause of this.

DOH.

Stop it.

Just stop. 

Fire walk with me…

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Fire walk with me…

I haven’t blogged in a while. It’s been a combination of not having time and not having really anything nice or uplifting to say about anything. Yesterday was probably the lowest day energy and attitude-wise I have had in a couple years. I don’t think that it was necessarily anything in particular, just a lame culmination of the last few months and the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. So as things just seemed to domino in my world, professionally and of course personally because I am not one of those cool people that can leave my job at the office…. I just kind of gave up yesterday.

 

But as I always do, I woke up this morning and decided to try again cause really that’s all you can do.

I went to work, decided no matter what I was going to have a good GD day.

And I did.

I helped a family get housed that has been in shelter since January and it was a win. I really left work yesterday sure that it would not happen for them and rehearsing that conversation of sadness.

When I went to the shelter today to meet them and have them sign some final paperwork, I was showered in the grace of the experience. Everyone there is like a family. The family I work with has been there longer than anyone else in the shelter and literally had a couple days left on their 3rd extension. Everyone was happy and congratulating them, high fives, hugs, tears, etc. Their kids? One of them was so happy he was about to burst. He couldn’t even imagine having a room of his own again. The mom who has not let herself have any hope the last few months was over the moon. I honestly had never seen her smile a real smile. She had not even allowed herself the anticipation of this house.

It was the best experience I can remember having in a long time.

And it reminded me of this song:

So I ask you….

What is YOUR fire?

Is it waiting for fuel?

Are you the fuel for someone else’s?

Whatever lights that passion in you, however briefly….

FIND IT.

FEED IT.

The fuel is out there.

Let the spin stop.

Ignore the distractions and feel the burn.

 

Lens Filter

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Lens Filter

 

 

 

 

By an odd coincidence, this week your tattoo is getting covered up;

Under the ocean it will be.

Reflectively, my time with you was the happiest

I’d been until now, a true peace I have found, it

Eluded you I guess.

Dreamed you hadn’t died, that you were in a caved in hole but watched you climb out on the news…

That reverie, I like to think it was you coming out of your darkest place, crawling toward the light.

Honestly, I learned so much from you, practical and emotional you taught me many things.

Echoes of his six word story come to me late at night

“Bullies are just very sad people…”

Understanding of you came later,

Life and love are funny that way.

Looking back, my own ignorance was bliss…

Even the most negative memories somehow benefit from it;

The lens filter of time.

 

*I doubt they will play this for you, but I know you always wanted it at your service so I will post it for you here.

Love and Light.

When I am wrong, I admit it.

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When I am wrong, I admit it.

Sometime last year my friend Daniel posted a video of a girl sitting in a car with a crazy system. She appeared to be, well, really enjoying it. I called bullshit. Maybe if it was a Harley I said, but not “just” bass.

Well, this previous summer I had to buy a hamster car…totally stock 2013 Kia Soul, but it has a freaking badass stock system. This song came on my Pandora station and suffice it to say, I was driving down I-84 and had to pull off for a second or 4 minutes.

Straight up.

No joke.

I doubt most computers can pick up the low frequencies in this song, but if you have a way to find it and play it through a good system, it’s pretty effing sweet.

Ladies, you are all welcome.

Men, you should buy this album for me. er, your lady, if you like ladies.

Kiss with a fist

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Kiss with a fist

Oh, Valentine’s. What a strange holiday. I decided to send one of my loves a video on the Facebook “kiss with a fist” because of the potential interpretations and started pondering potential interpretations…Is that song promoting domestic violence? Is it a secret lady love song? Hmmm. I digress.

My original purpose for finally posting after a being a fairly negligent blogger was to share some insight for my impending doom er, birthday. I am officially going to be in my mid-thirties rather than my early thirties….I am not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I am more comfortable with myself than I have ever been; the realization of that has been enormous. No longer do I truly wish to be the size 4 of my youth, I am ok with what I look like and the size I am…Not to say I do not wish to be more svelte and healthy but I do not feel unlovable because I do not have a BMI of 20. I am more able to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses without feeling too terribly defensive of either; unconditional love of self is amazing. Having someone do that for you to mirror is a gift.

I am growing more comfortable with the place that I live. Although I still have the inherent panic of “in case of zombie apocalypse where the f**k will I go and what if they blow the bridges and what if the Cascadia Fault goes, etc. etc etc.” HOWEVER, it is much more manageable.  I worry less and drink more. It’s a thing and I am OK with it.

I could go on and on about what I have learned just in the last year, but I will leave you with a mere ten vague thoughts, as is customary for me. Cheers.

  1. Do something different and uncomfortable and scary. It could turn out to be the best choice you ever make. Or it could be the worst…Either way, it’s an adventure.
  2. Never stop trying.
  3. Always apologize and sincerely, screw pride. No one is right, perspectives are just different.
  4. Glasses are great and all, but sometimes we all look a little better in soft focus.
  5. Drink more water.
  6. Drink more wine.
  7. Eat more chocolate.
  8. Have more sex.
  9. Always say goodnight.
  10. Just because A, B, C, D, and E did _________, does not mean F will.

That is all my loves. Off to get some birthday ink set up.

XOXO

Jani

Poverty. Totally a choice.

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Poverty. Totally a choice.

Bootstraps. Pull yourself up by them!

Unless you are barefoot and pregnant….and that was YOUR decision. Fu*king breeders!

Just kidding. I get tired of feeling like I have to explain my clients or enlighten people on oppression and poverty and every other ism that exists in my world (your world too, just FYI). I digress.

When I started out down the social work path, I was very vigilant and ready to educate the masses; I was excited to understand the criminal justice population I had previously been working with in another light. I wanted to fix the world, change society.

Now I just want to help individuals. I am sure that is why nothing changes and if it does it is a very slow painful process….because all our passion gets sucked out and replaced by not apathy but sheer exhaustion. Or we feel liuke we did something by liking something on Facebook or blogging about it or signing a dumb ass petition on change dot org….

You can’t fix ______________ so you just try to negate the damage.

It’s sad, but it is what it is.

I read this today and thought it was a nice look into the lives of the people some of you are blaming and bitching about.

http://killermartinis.kinja.com/why-i-make-terrible-decisions-or-poverty-thoughts-1450123558

And just for fun, here is my favorite explanation of white privilege for you white boys who don’t believe in it.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

I hope Daniel reads this.

Positive thoughts and creation of reality…..

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Positive thoughts and creation of reality…..

I really have been neglecting my blog….out living life and being in love and junk…… but I do think of you often…. my readers ;) But I wanted to share this with you as I was salvaging my poor dying computer’s data onto a gigantic TB external hard drive…..

I am also doing this thankfulness thing on Facebook….And my November 2nd thankfulness? I am thankful for love and Damon.

Proof that things can be created with thought…especially when working with powerful people… Cody and Alanna helped on this…. and the list below? I wrote that in February/March and lo and behold…. come July BAM. Got it.

I only ever wanted to fall asleep smiling.

 Sleeping while smiling

a most admirable feat,

Seen by another

 

Smiling in ones sleep

One of many things we know,

Only through others.

 

secrets shared between

lucid dreams and reverie

trust as a real verb

 

When vulnerable,

we allow our hearts to bloom;

a midnight blossom.

 

Jasmine in moonlight

a slow growing southern treat

winter can unfurl

 

Better to be still

held in memory, a smile

Viewed when you need it

 

The warmth of winter

radiating from the south,

waiting to enfold.

 

bleak the path becomes

when we expect summer heat

yet feel bitter cold

 

The role of the muse

is to inspire the passions

myriad, though they may be.

 

Don’t expect summer.

Rather, be the source of heat:

radiant and true.

The list of traits I require:

  1. Cannot hate their mother;
  2. Cannot be in or formerly in the Army: Active, Guard or Reserve;
  3. Cannot be less than 30 years old or more than 40 years old;
  4. Cannot be an adrenaline junkie;
  5. No misanthropists;
  6. No misogynists;
  7. No racists;
  8. No bigots;
  9. No bullies;
  10. Must have a good vocabulary;
  11. Must be honorable;
  12. Must read books;
  13. Should expect as much as I do;
  14. Should believe in respect, trust, loyalty, and honesty;
  15. Must practice No. 14;
  16. Must believe omission is the same as a lie;
  17. Must have outside interests;
  18. Must dance;
  19. Must be able to drive a stick shift; and
  20. Must not have any unsupported children.

Huzzah Muthatruckas!

Don’t forget to play! It keeps you young…..

Gambling

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Gambling

Anyone who has ever been out gambling with me at a casino knows that if I do anything but play penny/nickel slots, I become quite nauseated. Regardless of how much money I have to blow, I always spend my time thinking of what I SHOULD be spending that measly 10 dollars on.

In my personal life, I find that it appears that I gamble a lot. I try to always be willing to put my money where my mouth is and am willing to lose big for the potential payout. It bites me in the ass at times (ok more often than not), but it has always worked out eventually… Even if that payout is only that I have the ability to keep playing.

Right now in my world, I am slightly gun-shy and have the potential to win big and I am fu*king scared as shit. And it is a safe bet! Comparatively speaking. I’m looking down the barrel of a more sure thing than I can remember ever experiencing…

So what is the fear from?

Is it the fear of potential loss?

Is it the fear of trusting in myself?

Is it the fear of trusting someone else?

Is it the fear of a blow to my ego if I am wrong again?

Or is it the fear of being successful?

I am not sure.

My eyes are open but I am jumping off this cliff.

Boom, bitches.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon