06 March 2012

News Roundup

Goooood grief.  I'm not sure about the credibility of this... but... getting your front teeth knocked out is sexxxy in "coloured" culture.  It is called a "passion gap."  If you're brave, you'll go read the article that describes how to knock your teeth out and why it's such a hot trend in places like South Africa.

I am a xenophobe, personally, so I think it's a disgusting trend.  I'll warn you ahead of time that the article has language in it that I am not personally condoning, K?

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In other news, I think we have all learnt this week that it is not nice to call someone a s--- because she thinks birth control is a right.  I would be kinder and say she's just a "delusionary little princess" if she thinks contraceptives are the big crushing medical expense most families need to face in the real world.  Wow, three thousand dollars for this important "medical" care over the course of four years?  I'm weeping for ya.  I'm sure transplant and cancer patients are too, sweetie.

I guess during an election year, people with special needs who would live without families in institutions the rest of their lives without extra help from the state are just not important demographically.

I'm not even getting into how this debate makes me feel as a conservative Christian.  As a special needs mom, though?  As a lower-middle class mom who has to pay for her own root canals?  There is a real disconnect from reality in this whole farce we call a "debate."

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Forbes.  Um, not exactly a "let's revolt and have an anarchist government" sort of publication.  A recent article posits that just as slaves fared better under slavery than they did after their initial taste of freedom, so too are students better off in the public schools than learning on their own.  But we need to free them anyway.

"Abolition of slavery was not postponed until there was a clear vision for how to integrate millions of former slaves into society. Mass recognition of the fundamental evil of the institution demanded immediate action. Freed slaves embarked into a hostile world of profound deprivation and misery."

See, if I were alive during that time I should *like* to think I would want slaves freed after some provision for their well-being were made.  To my mind it is cruel to remove the few supports these people had so suddenly, but that's war for ya and they weren't the only ones.  But is the writer intimating that if public schools were to disappear tomorrow that we'd have "profound deprivation and misery" in the educations of millions of young people?

Just... sort of a strange article.  I can't quite pidgeonhole it.

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I had no idea that when I was in school, I learnt to read and write because some dude in an office made up some standards!  I mean, you can't have education without curriculum.  And you can't have curriculum without standards (?? apparently yeah).

So. Therefore, we need Common Core and we need it now.  Because even if those standards are bad, we can't have good curriculum without them. 

"It seems to me a bit of a silly shell game to walk around talking about how standards don’t matter when every educator knows that quality standards can be a crucial ingredient in improving education."

Every educator knows this.  If you don't know this, you must not be an educator.  Because every educator knows that quality standards can be a crucial ingredient in improving education.

I swear, just for fun, go google your local school district's "mission statement" and report in the comments.  See if it's in English.  I mean real English that people speak outside of educational committees.  :)

31 comments:

  1. Our district's, with very slight editing:

    "We are the Borg. Through our collective best, we do whatever it takes to inspire and equip every learner to find their voice and realize their unlimited potential. Resistance is futile."

    BAH. When one does not know the sex of a single individual, "he" ought be assumed. "Equip every learner to find their voice?" Fer real? This had to have been written by a committee *after* the joint was passed around and the munchies were served.

    I can't wait until my kids REALIZE their "unlimited potential," though.

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  2. The birth control thing bugs me too. Serioulsy--how much could one condom a week cost? You can pick those up for free at any community college health clinic. :-/

    Here is our ministry of education mission: Building a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st-century.

    That is laughable. I had a Maori client in today who lives off a sickness benefit--she is genuinely sick and in need. She is an excellent single mother to two fine young boys. Scnool camps are a required part of the education system here, as are books, supplies, and often uniforms. So much for free school. She had to choose between eating and paying for her kids to go to camp. She chose camp, because she didn't want them to miss out.

    Number 1--not sure how camp helps make all NZ's be successful citizens in the 21st centry. Number 2--not sure yet that NZ has a clue what it means to be poor and Maori here. Not sure that "all" is as inclusive as they think.

    But then according to that article even a school system that is failing many of our children is better than none. Hmmm...better for some, but definitely not cutting it for many.

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    1. I'm not sure how camp is going to do any of those things either... though it probably is a lot of fun. But on the mission statement... it's too bad your local schools won't help children of any other nationality who happen to live there.

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  3. We don't use standards. We never even do standardized test. What a miracle that my son entered public school in eleventh grade. His first standardized test was the state exit exam. He also scored the highest grade in his school for a mandatory history exit exam that had the principal sweating bullets on our behalf. The principal told us to get history out of the way in eleventh grade because he may have to take history again if he doesn't pass the exam and not many kids pass it the first time. It must have been a miracle that he passed standardized tests without having ever experienced either standards or standardized tests! LOL

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    1. See, and it could have gone very badly, too... and I don't buy the argument that homeschooling works because of how well hs-ers are being educated. It works because parents care about their children. Your children are both so different and yet have blossomed under your care. :)

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  4. I do so enjoy reading your take on the news [smile]. Great points!

    ~Luke

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  5. The district as a whole does not have a mission statement but it looks like many of the individual schools do.
    Now on the birth-control issue, I personally don't use birth-control as a contraceptive right now it is for a medical reason, I'm not even in any kind of relationship that would require a need for contraceptives. That being said not all families need it, just like not all families have members with cancer or who need transplants. I take birth control for medical reasons, when off the pill I can bleed for three weeks have a week off and start all over again, on the pill I now only have to deal with anything once every three months. I am lucky enough that my dad works for a company where the insurance company covers the cost, after the deductible is paid, but others are not as lucky and do need it for medical reasons as there are more uses for birth-control then just preventing pregnancy because really I would rather be in a committed relationship off the birth-control so that I could get pregnant, but that is not where I am in life at the moment and there is no need for me to feel like I am bleeding to death when all I have to do is take a little pill every day to fix the issue. Sorry for the rant and any tmi I know that many women have "normal"(I have normal hormone levels and should not have what I have but I do its what makes this all so fustruating) periods and don't see that there are medical reasons to take birth-control and to be honest that is what bugs me because life really sucks when there is that much bleeding and really I couldn't do a lot because of it, so I'm not saying every family needs it but many do and they should be able to afford it just like any other medication.

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    1. I know there are many conditions besides "trying not to have a baby" for which doctors prescribe the Pill. But in terms of expense and heartbreak, it's NOTHING, absolutely nothing compared to what many families have to go through to provide for their families. I'm not trying to belittle your concerns, but look... even info from Planned Parenthood puts your costs at between $15 and $50 a month:

      http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/birth-control-pill-4228.htm

      What I think has happened is that the politicians have taken this whole "women should decide what happens to their bodies/ employers shouldn't have to pay for something they find morally objectionable" fight to the public (because it's an election year) while ignoring the vast majority of truly struggling families in the process.

      You seriously can't be telling me that this is worth a fight. Not when there are families out there facing having to send their children away to live in INSTITUTIONS for the rest of their lives because necessary expenses aren't covered. Just say goodbye to little sister. She'll live several hours away now because Mom can't lift her to change her any more and there is no funding for an aide.

      Or people out there with cancer who have to think about the "is this worth an expensive fight I might lose" aspect of medical care, not what the best fighting therapy might be. Or even while dental care is not covered for a goodly number of Americans. Do you know how painful it can be to need a root canal and crown and not be able to get one? Depending on the location of your tooth and the damage there, they can run around $3000. PER tooth.

      This is the kind of health care we should be talking about.

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    2. EXACTLY. In comparison to MAJOR costs of medical help that many can't afford, birth control is nothing. Believe me. You won't believe what we've gone through to get my husband's root canal and crown covered. He had to be in pain for awhile. My blogging ended up saving the day but I don't know what we would've done otherwise.

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    3. Oh I get there are bigger issues and I don't want to belittle those, we did not have any form of insurance for a while because that company my dad works for is one he founded and therefore we were getting almost no income that went to the morgage,cars, and food. I did not see a dentist for 10 years because of no dental insurance, and my little brother had 6 theeth pulled that my parents had to pay out of pocket, and my older brother had to get his wisdom theeth removed during the non insured time as well. My pill is $80 a month and my parents pay for it, It is nothing compared to the many drug my dad gets for his blood pressure and other health issues or for what my parents just paid to rehab my shoulders. I'm with my mom who says we don't need heath care reform we need insurance reform but that is less likely to happen because of all the money insurance companies make.

      And no parent should ever have to put their child in a place like that ever and more founding should be given to families in thoses situation that need it.

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    4. Oh and I'm not complaining about the price, my mom may a bit but that becasue it went up $20 in the last year.

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    5. I triple, triple agree that we need insurance reform! And I would like to see health centers funded by the govt. that poor people can go to. Or just anyone.

      Public health should be in everyone's best interest. I don't mean Mercedes-level care, but basic health centers/ distribute antibiotics to people with strep throat, give vaccines, be the first line of defense when something breaks out... that sort of thing.

      Because whatever our insurance doesn't cover, we're blessed to have it!!

      :) Thanks for writing again, Cherryblossom.

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  6. If health insurance covers Viagra, as they all do, they should cover birth control too. Period (so to speak).

    I'm not interested in the argument that there are bigger problems in the world. There are always bigger problems in the world. The birth control issue is an important one to many women, and there's a serious equity issue.

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    1. The fact that you are not interested in the argument that children like mine face far bigger problems in this world is telling about the sort of society we live in. Kids like mine and others face life in institutions because we as a society are too cheap to give a little help; but that doesn't matter because there are more ladies who want their $50 prescriptions covered than there are families like mine who will be able to lobby for change...

      I do see your point on the Viagra as being an equity issue but all insurers do NOT cover it. Some that do are facing opposition. Well, here's an old one I found off the top of my head but I'm sure there are other examples.

      http://rightontheleftcoast.blogspot.com/2010/08/taking-rock-hard-stance-against.html

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    2. I didn't say I'm not interested in your kids' (or anybody's kids') problems; I said I'm not interested in the argument. Sure, the problems faced by your kids are important. So are the needs of women to have their prescriptions covered.

      This is something I see on my education blog all the time. I blog about the problems my kids face, and people write in that their problems aren't important because somebody else has bigger problems. My point is that there is always someone with a bigger problem. Kids freezing to death in Afghanistan have bigger problems than your kids. Kids in the inner city have bigger problems than my kids. So what? Everybody's problems are important to them.

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  7. I just cannot freaking imagine deliberately removing teeth so you can appear to be/ or actually be more affluent in jailhouse sexcapades.

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    1. I am not really sure if this is real or not. I just can't imagine it being serious. But then... the article had pictures and went into such detail...

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  8. Listen, if you can afford FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR to go to Georgetown, you can afford a $30 a month birth control pill.

    And this constant refrain that wanting to be able to decide what medical services you will provide due to a moral or religious objection, really means you want to deny those services to EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME so twisted and hysterical and UNTRUE that it makes my teeth hurt. It's not about freaking condoms, it's about FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Why can't people understand that? You just simply can't mandate that people do something they are morally opposed to. It's absurd.

    Try suggesting that Jewish people or Muslim people MUST serve bacon in their schools or hospitals and if they DON'T then it must mean they want to TAKE BACON AWAY FROM EVERYONE and eating is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT and OH MY GOSH SOMEONE SHOULD DO SOMETHING and see how much of an oppressive, intolerant, idiot you look like. It's the same thing.

    Gah. You've got me all worked up now, Mrs. C.

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    1. Luv ya, Deb! I do see the *point* that some women feel they want total privacy with their doctors and they don't want their employers or anyone else dictating these things to them. These things don't magically come free, however. An option no one really has put on the table is fully funding county health clinics and the like to be a true first line of defense for public health.

      It might mean someone gets birth control pills (and I don't like that), but I'd sure like to see ALL people be able to have some basic health care. Presently they specifically disallow people in the country illegally and those with insurance who cannot find vaccines on their own (like us) from participating. I'm thinking Mumps doesn't give a flying flip who we are. Public health, and basic preventives like vaccines and well-child checkups, should be available to everyone who wants 'em.

      JMO but yep. Why are we singling the churches out? Why are we so focused just on birth control?

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  9. Gosh, I can't believe about the birth control thing. Good grief. Now, if I wasn't married and wasn't worried about birth control aborting my babies I would take it for medical reasons. I just kinda wonder if the people that complain about the cost of birth control are the ones that buy $4 cups of Starbucks every day. Who knows.

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    1. I dunno. I try to stay out of people's personal decisions, but I see where both sides are coming from. I just don't think bc is THE issue that is breaking down families financially, yk??

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  10. While no one should ever feel like their religious freedom is being taken away, which it is not, those places of businesses are taking away emplyoees religious freedom by not offering birth control on their insurance, because not everyone that works at a catholic hospital is catholic. Beside any one who doesn't want to use birth control wont, and no business or cruch for that matter can truely tell someone what they can or cant use for medical purpose that their dr prescribed. My OBGYN works at a catholic hospital and they have no problem prescribing birth control to paitents.
    Yes this is crazy and not something of too much importance but still many women care, and really like my mom says this was disscused and worked out 30 years ago why are we debating it again it should be a non issue, just allow birth control to be covered and be done with it, I still pay for my pill until the deductiable is paid and that is a big chunk of money that goes to way more then just birth control, like my dads meds, doctors visits, rehab for both my shoulders and one of my dads shoulders. Unless one is never sick it is expensive to get any kind of heath care.

    Sorry for spelling error if any IE has no spell check and I'm dyslexic am and not sure on a few words that may be spelled wrong.

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    1. I hear what you're saying, cherryblossom. I absolutely do. But if it were that much of a moral issue for me, I wouldn't work for a Catholic institution because their values would be contrary to mine. One thing that bothers me about the whole gay adoption thing, remember that? Catholic charities shut down their entire adoption program rather than adopt out children to gay people.

      I am not Catholic, but I have to admire that kind of staunch morality. But how many other families were hurt in the process because they couldn't adopt. So. I think when you are saying these issues were "worked out," I don't think you mean that Catholic doctrine changed with the times.

      (I actually could care less if bc is covered or not, just by the way.) But I'm shocked, I really am, that people are making such a big poopie stink about it. I am guessing none of these people needed a certain drug that was actually EXPENSIVE and not covered under their plans. Seriously, in the scheme of things, bc is nothing. Some drugs run $500/mo and up. No one is petitioning Congress about that. :(

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  11. I didn't know that those flashy teeth jewels were called grillz. That part of the article is at least true...

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    1. And they look *terrible.* I just don't get it. :/

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  12. FedUpMom:

    I think the "so what" is telling, not because you're not a caring person (or I woulda deleted the troll spam), but because so many folks are buying into this idea of contraceptives being needed medical care. In the vast, vast majority of cases it is NOT. It's actually a product that will PREVENT a functioning body from working PROPERLY. At least with Viagra, one could argue that it is restoring function temporarily. (Though... ew. WHO researched all that and... talked about it and collected data and stuff? Yuk.)

    Unlike starving kids in Afganistan, we're talking apples to apples. AMERICAN families on AMERICAN insurance plans not getting what they need. I get that there are more people who care about whether some sexy college chick has "control" over her body than there are people who care whether families I know with severely disabled kids are gonna make it another year without having to seriously consider institutionalization.

    That's just political reality.

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  13. I don't see why it has to be either/or. Can't we care about the disabled kids and women too?

    The vast majority of American women, including 98% of American Catholic women, use birth control. If they didn't have access to it, we'd have a completely different society. If you don't want to use birth control, that's your choice, but yes, I think birth control is a basic part of health care for women.

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  14. When I say "so what?" I'm trying to describe the argument. I'm not saying that I don't care about disabled kids, or kids freezing in Afghanistan, or kids attending crummy inner-city schools. I do care about these issues, but they're not all relevant to the current discussion.

    If we're having a discussion about whether insurance companies should be required to cover birth control, the fact that other families have bigger problems is not relevant to the discussion at hand. (And it's not as if denying coverage of birth control will solve the problems of families with disabled kids.)

    Similarly, if I'm having a discussion on my blog about the problems faced by kids in suburban school districts, the fact that kids in inner-city school districts have much bigger problems is not relevant to the discussion at hand.

    There's always somebody with a bigger problem somewhere. Right?

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    1. Right. I do see where you are coming from even if I disagree with the premise that bc funding is important.

      The thing about 98% of Catholic women using birth control, though... I'm thinking they're not really Catholic, then. It's like talking about coffee- and booze-drinkin' Mormons, yk?

      Self-reporting is an odd thing. You know, I haven't sinned in about five months. And then? I said "shucky darn" by accident. :)

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  15. Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by being Catholic. If the Catholic Church actually threw out everyone who was using birth control, there would be very few people left.

    I think it's not a great idea to try to legislate morality by rationing health care (we already ration health care, which is another discussion.) Should insurance companies cover a Viagra prescription for an unmarried man? Should they cover prenatal care for an unmarried woman? Should they cover rehab care for a drug addict?

    I personally am in favor of a single-payer system like the one they have in England, where the government covers health care, period, for everyone. This seems to me like the sensible, humane solution.

    In the U.S., we spend millions of dollars for a system that makes money by denying health care to people. It's crazy.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)