Monday, December 29, 2014

Fort Bragg upholds the Constitution

This just in from the Fort Bragg Advocate News:

From: Patrick C. Wilson, Senior Associate General Counsel for School and College Legal Services of California.

Issued statement read to us from Marc Woods, father of Mendocino High School player Connor Woods:

“This is to advise you that the district will not prohibit spectators from attending the Fort Bragg USD basketball tournament because they may be wearing a T-shirt that may have an expressive message on it.

I'm informed that there was at least one tournament game this morning; spectators were allowed into that game even if they were wearing such T-shirts.  Similarly, the district will not prohibit a student athlete participating in this tournament from wearing an expressive T-shirt during warm-ups.

However, student athletes must wear their designated uniforms during the game.

The district may revisit this issue if there is a bona fide disruption, linked to the activities mentioned above.”

Looks like the lawyers of the school district told the administration that they were not only having a public relations crisis, they might even have had a serious legal crisis.  The students should be proud that they stuck to their guns and members of the community that supported those kids should be proud of the young adults not only trying to raise awareness of current events but also for demanding their Constitutional being upheld. 

Fort Bragg High School gets a positive nod too.  They could have easily stuck to their guns and made a real long, dragged out mess of this thing that would have really taken away from the tournament.  But now the issue is dealt with (correctly) and the news trucks can pack up and head on to the next hype machine that they seek. 

All in all the situation worked out pretty dang well.   

Sunday, December 28, 2014

An #icantbreate cringe-worthy moment.

“Mendocino varsity teams first wore the ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts before a game with Fort Bragg on Dec. 16, according to the girls coach, Caedyn Feehan. The girls also wore them before games at two other tournaments and didn’t receive any blowback, Feehan said. ‘I didn’t even know what it meant. I thought it was a joke about how I had conditioned them so hard,’ Feehan said. ‘None of the administrators knew what it was or that any of them were doing it in advance. This was entirely for their cause that they had strong feelings about’.”

Sigh.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fort Bragg High School makes the wrong decision.

On December 16, the Mendocino High girls and boys teams wore the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts in their warm-ups at Fort Bragg High School.  Mendocino was then told that it was expelled from Fort Bragg’s Tournament, and then reinstated as long as the players didn’t wear the shirts.  All the boys but one chose to ditch the shirts and play in the tournament.  About half of girls said no thus leaving the Mendocino girls team with only five players and they pulled out of the tournament.  In summation, Fort Bragg High School removed another high school from its tournament due to political speech expressed by its athletes.   

Two things about this issue.

First, a Mendocino County sheriff named Ricky Del Fiorentino was killed earlier in 2014 by a man who committed multiple crimes in Oregon and was confronted just north of Fort Bragg. The officer, in his off time, made massive contributions to Fort Bragg High School with his time and energy as a mentor and coach.

Second, I know the Fort Bragg coaching staff and have known them for awhile. They are good people and have teams that act like gentlemen at our tournament, which they have attended for years.

But even with being aware of both those things I can't say I agree with how Fort Bragg High School has handled this incident. High school students have the right to political speech at public school events, that much is very well documented in Tinker vs. Des Moines. High school basketball games are public school events. Enough said. To censor the entire team, or one student, from expressing that political statement is wrong. Having young men and women avoid be forced to avoid critical thinking is wrong. Having our next generation be told that silence is the consequence to people being offended by politics is wrong. And telling the youth of this country that their voice is irrelevant because they are youth is flat...out...wrong.

What would I have done?

As the coach of the players I would have seen this as a grand teachable moment. I would talk to the players about their choices, social and political, and make sure that they have a good comprehension about not only what might happen but about the event that they are protesting. I would talk to them about why Fort Bragg is sensitive about the subject and why the choice that they make might have unintended consequences. Then I would let them make a choice. Now, if they warm up in the "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts then they break our uniform policy and don't play that game. On my team if you forget a part of your jersey, you don't play. If they choose to wear the shirts they are breaking a team policy and there are consequences to that. If they all choose those consequences, we forfeit. That simple. Political protest has consequences. 

But people seem to forget that regardless of disagreement or offensive content, the kids have rights that are protected by the Constitution.  And the amazing thing is that members of both Mendocino and Fort Bragg are brazenly ignoring that fact.   The commentary coming out of both Mendocino High and Fort Bragg is flat out frightening.  This was a message from Mendocino High’s Booster President, well former president now, Douna Scramaglia:

Please accept this as my official letter of resignation from Club Cardinal.

It has become apparent to me this past week that my vision of what Club Cardinal is and what it has become does not align with my personal political views which should never come in to play within our organization if we had the proper leadership in our school administration.

I sent out a letter to our board and top school administrators on Monday and the only person to respond was Sonya.  To me this shows a huge lack of respect for me and our Club as this issue has become a VERY volatile issue within our coastal community as well as nearby communities.  To sit back and do nothing has done irreparable harm to many.

Of course we all have our right to Freedom of Speech but we also have to suffer the consequences of how others may react and weigh if the consequences of our actions outweigh the message we are trying to convey.
For me, I have always felt that our student athletes are a representative of our school and our community. The message or impression that they leave is a reflection of us all. I do not post political campaign signs at my business for one simple reason...it is not the opinion of all the people at Sport Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

I do not give money to political campaigns for fear of alienating certain groups. I try to be inclusive of all.
I can not be a part of an organization that makes political statements that leave others questioning my beliefs or values because I have association to the group. I have no problem with those students wearing political billboards anywhere else other than the court.

Well, so much for pillars of the educational community.  The ex-president basically said that athletic events should be apolitical, except when it becomes about what Douna believes.  Then it’s time to bail on the students because God forbid she be the president of booster club in which students have different political beliefs.  Believe it or not a whole lot of people online are promoting the fact that the Mendocino students either:

A)  Have the right to protest at any time with the exception being athletic contests because they are supposedly apolitical.

or

B)  Have no rights to protest at all because they are at school – in Fort Bragg – are students – or whatever. 

The official statement from Fort Bragg High School…man, I just don’t get it.

“After much discussion with the administration of Mendocino Unified, we decided that in order to protect the safety and well-being of all tournament participants it is necessary to ensure that all political statements and or protests are kept away from this tournament. We request that all participants respect our position in creating an atmosphere of political neutrality that is centered on friendly and healthy competition among young athletes. We are a small school district that simply does not have the resources to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, students and guests at the tournament should someone get upset and choose to act out.

We applaud Mendocino basketball players for paying attention to what is going on in the world around them, and being willing to take a position that is in line with their beliefs. However, given the recent incidents involving the death of a law enforcement officer in our community, we simply feel this issue is too emotionally charged to allow such a demonstration to happen in our tournament and be able to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved. We simply do not have the resources to protect those involved should the situation become aggressive or physical.

Every school district that is participating in the event has been asked by our Athletic Director to respect our request to maintain a politically neutral environment while participating in this tournament. We want all athletes who wish to participate to have the opportunity to do so, but as the hosts of the event we also need to ensure that we can protect the safety and well-being of everyone in attendance. The only way that is possible is to make this event politically neutral and ask that all involved put their personal beliefs about a situation that occurred on the other side of our country on hold for the short time they are participating. If a team cannot or is unwilling to do that, we have no other choice but to exclude them from the event."

Rebecca C. Walker

Principal

Fort Bragg High School 

There is simply no basis at all for that response.  None.  There has been no history of violence or disturbance at Fort Bragg, and Mendocino wore those shirts at two other tournaments with no reaction at all.  Nope, the Fort Bragg principal totally ignored one of the absolutely wonderful things about the American public school system; student free speech and expression is protected to some of the strongest and safest degrees of any institution in the world.  We celebrate that kind of thing. 

Removing that ability to protest is unconstitutional and I'm kind of big on that whole Constitution thing. Varsity basketball players are young men and women who make their own choices regarding politics and schools are the breeding ground for ideas that make our country a better place. We might not agree with the Mendocino High School varsity basketball teams' politics, and we might find the entire act offensive, but the students are citizens of the United States and are protected by the rights afforded by the Constitution.  Let them learn.

And Ms. Walker, there is still time to get this right and mea culpa. 

Hat tip to the Fort Bragg Advocate-News for the photos, and a strong “thank you” to MendocinoSportsPlus on Facebook for locking on to this story and not letting it go, even during Christmas.  Yes, it is that important. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014 and whatever

Notice that the last time I posted was right before basketball season began.  There is a correlation between the season and the lack of posts, and damn do I miss writing.  I know, it's Christmas so why write now?  Two reasons.  One is the fact that I'm doing nothing right now.  Two, my wife was visited by Santa last night with the gift of the stomach flu.  She's sleeping now and I'm awake.

So what's up?

I would talk basketball except that it would probably be a bad idea.  I've gained more attention in the three months of the season than in 14 years as a teacher and the quickest way to create controversy is to talk about the intricacies of high school athletics.  Some day I'll write a book.

*****
    





That's from a Santa Rosa prep sports website.  Obviously not the New York Times (there, their, they're) and it has a history of not liking Ukiah athletics.  It was my first ranking as varsity coach of a boys basketball program that upgraded its schedule as soon as I was hired.  I was hardly surprised with the negative press.  I good word from that site would be like Al Jazeera doing a "Man of the Year" expose on Bibi Netanyahu.

*****

One thing that basketball has done is destroy my time for homework grading.  I'm behind.  Like way behind.  Some of this is due to unforeseen circumstances that occurred with our gym and the craziness that went with finding practice sites.  My second week of Christmas break will be catch-up time.

*****

Our school district is now looking at moving the starting time forward next year.  I'll save the rant for a later date but the idea that teenagers will increase their academic achievement because of later start times is fairly absurd, if only because the reason why the early start time was adopted was because the students wanted it in the first place.  If school board members want a reason why students aren't sleeping, check out Twitter and Snapchat at 1 in the morning.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Ukiah Teacher’s Association circumvents democracy, emulates the United States Congress

Hmmmmm.

The Representative Council of the UTA (Ukiah Teacher’s Association) looks a tad bit bigger than I remember.  It also looks vaguely like the House Ways and Means Committee, the tax-writing arm of the United States Congress.  Nah, unions…taxes…they don’t share the same space.

“The UTA Executive Board is recommending a $6 a month Local Dues increase. This money will allow UTA to send more teachers to conferences and qualify for California Teacher Association (CTA) crisis intervention funds. Most importantly the proposed dues increase will balance our budget.”

Typical.  The teachers get a raise and the union decides that they need more money to send members to propaganda functions and balance the budget.  But I am but one of many so let’s let democrat process play itself out.  Here was my response:

As with the contract raise, can it be requested that the fee increase be put to a popular vote?  That worked very well in June. 

In June the District and the Union worked out a contract agreement that our Union was not going to let membership vote on.  After some very pointed e-mails the Union set up an electronic polling site and we conducted a very simple vote.  The contract passed and all was well.  Since over $60 a year more was going to be taken out of our paychecks, I just assumed that the membership should be able to decide for themselves.  Well….. 

“We will vote in Rep Council. Please feel free to engage in the process. And to work with Rep Council to get a technical component integrated into our bylaws? Or, at least, to work at the high school level on democratic/representational delegation.”

Well that door totally closed quickly.  It’s an absolute conflict of interest that the group that reaps the benefits of a fee increase votes for a raise.  So the popular vote, the vote by the people getting fined, is out of the window.  Ok, they mentioned a “technical component”, so let’s start with getting an initiative process going for any and all dues increases.  Sounds good.  And since my Union is having a budget problem, how about we look at it!  So, I wrote this:

“I only request this because it is money taken directly from the membership.

But if we are not allowed to vote, then can each member be sent a copy of the budget so we can see where spending has outpaced current income?  You are requesting thousands of dollars from the membership without consent, and I think that at the very minimum we should have the information available about how that is being spent.  And your presentation is a one hour block that prevents many teachers (including myself, a coach) to get adequate information or have a voice in the process.”

The response I got….

“….if this is as important an issue to you as you make it sound, then re-arrange your schedule to make the meetings!”

I coach.  For Ukiah Unified.  And the practices and games happen to be at the same time as the meetings.  And a dues paying member is treated like this when requesting budget information that he helps pay for.  Interesting and disturbing.

Instead I was sent a copy of the bylaws.  Fine.  I tried the legal approach using the bylaws and wrote these words and these words only:

“I request a copy of the expenditures and incomes of the UTA.

I also request the standing rules for referendum and initiative created by the Executive Board.”

Silence.  Nothing.  A dues paying member to my Union and not only could I get no information about how my money was being spent, I couldn’t get information about the simple democratic processes that are supposed to exist within the worker’s friend that is this labor union.  I sent that request on October 7. 

On October 17 we were given this message:

“Last night (Oct. 16, 2014) we had a special UTA Rep Council meeting at 4:30 to vote on a proposed amendment to our bylaws.

Motion from Oct. 7th Rep Council Meeting read as follows:

“The Associations portion of the basic annual dues shall be established by action of the representative council as part of the annual budgeting process commencing with the first representative council meeting of the
school year.”

The Proposed Amendment was unanimously approved at this meeting by 12 UTA
Representatives.”

And now it’s all legal under the UTA bylaws.  It’s now October 24 and I still haven’t seen any information.  Ignore requests from the membership and take their money anyway.  Yep, sounds like Congress.

This is why I detest our Union.  I’m forced to pay into an organization that;

A)  Can’t manage a budget.

B)  Raises money by taxing members without their consent.

C)  Won’t respond to simple requests for information.

D)  Suppresses the power of membership by actively denying a majority membership vote.

I don’t quite understand why you wouldn’t make a rule that says that anytime anything that requires either a direct addition or subtraction to a teacher’s income is introduced, it requires a popular vote.  It would maintain legitimacy, it would answer to the will of the membership, and it would create a more participatory labor union. 

Of course, being a totally political organization, it’s probably exactly what they don’t want. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Corporation gets little girls to say “fuck” a lot to sell t-shirts, and thus troll all feminists.

There is a good chance that if you disagree with this video for any reason what-so-ever, you will be told that you are missing the point. 

And thus begins the uber-troll.

Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism by FCKH8.com from FCKH8.com on Vimeo.

How adorable. 

Little girls saying “fuck” doesn’t offend me if that’s what you are looking for.  It’s stupid and pathetic but hardly offensive.  No, the joy in this is the reaction online by people that find female empowerment within this video.  While some statistics are very accurate (one in five do report being a victim of sexual assault), and some are a bit more loaded (the 77 cents to a $1 stat can be debated), the whole thing loses it’s legitimacy when Cindy Brady starts going Denis Leary on the world.  But don’t tell those “feminists” because apparently people need to see through cursing girls and focus on the message. 

Ok then.  How about the message on, I don’t know, the shirt?

FCKH8.com is a for-profit T-shirt company with an activist heart and a passionate social change mission: arming thousands of people with pro-LGBT equality, anti-racism and anti-sexism T-shirts that act as “mini-billboards” for change.”

Let me translate. 

“FCKH8.com is a for profit T-shirt company that has tapped into a market just like any other T-shirt company, only they use little cursing girls saying “fuck” to effectively market their product.  Hey, at least they aren’t corporate.”

Yep.  Even the next generation of feminist can be given a market set and assessed a technique that will effectively promote and sell product.  They must be proud that a director that exploited young girls for profit was representing such a staunch feminist message.  But hey, at least they aren’t some corporation like Wal-Mart.

“In a effort to get tees to supporters even faster, the FCKH8.com brand recently became owned and managed by Synergy Media…”

Supply chain issues huh?  Say, about Synergy Media….

“Synergy Media Ltd. is a boutique design, merchandising and marketing company dedicated to innovative brand building. We generate results by engaging people's minds and igniting their emotions. We help a diverse range of businesses establish and strengthen their brands, developing brand identity, collateral materials, packaging…”

Oops.  Looks like a corporation decided to entice people to buy shirts by using young girls to talk fuckenese, and now it’s the new anthem of empowerment.  Shocking.  I’m sure it can’t get worse.

image

TROLLLLLLLLLLSSSSS……IN THE DUNGEON! 

Nothing like money hungry corporations marginalizing women and minorities in an attempt to increase profit margins. 

But wait, you are missing the point….

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Good for Shealynn and Charley. Homecoming still sucks.

 
Homecoming is over at Ukiah High School.  I didn’t say much about it because I’m past the point of hating weeks of pointlessness that invade the souls of Ukiah youth. 
Instead I’ll mention a Homecoming from a school about an hour way.  Maria Carrillo High School is a rival school in Santa Rosa; a very wealthy rival school who probably can do Homecoming like no other. 
“….Shealynn Stillman and Charley Gittins made history Friday night.  With the announcement of Maria Carrillo High School’s homecoming royalty, the couple — two girls — became the first same-sex couple in the school’s, and maybe the county’s, history to win the honor.”
Told you. 
I honestly don’t care about the royalty aspect of said popularity contest except that it seems like these two actually like each other.  That’s nice to see since most Ukiah couple candidates come together about day before the nominations are due and Billary it up for the contest.  Good for the Maria Carrillo High School administration for not discriminating based on sexual whatever and letting the vote take place as it should. 
By the way, don’t get pissy about the “sexual whatever” comment.  Shealynn and Charley see themselves as pansexual; which might be omnisexual, if it isn’t polysexual, ambisexual, or queer.  Why any teacher, or anyone else, should care about who-loves-who or who-likes-who or who-is-banging-who is still beyond me.  This story isn’t really news except for the fact that they seem to like each other.  Hopefully in the future this doesn’t become news because it really doesn’t matter.  They seem like two fantastic young women.  They won.   
And screw Homecoming.
And screw Willow Canyon High School in Surprise, Arizona.

The Advanced Placement U.S. History argument is full of dumb people


Ben Carson is the Islamic State personified. 
Take a fundamentalist and have him use vindictive rhetoric to attempt to eviscerate everything his puny little mind doesn’t understand.  Then have him march across the country and preach hatred for intelligence.  Yep, sounds like a clear ISIS/Carson standard for me.
Benji is angry because of the new Advanced Placement United States History framework.  Last year the College Board changed up outline curriculum requirements to become more thematic while attempting to create questions that were more within the realm of critical thinking.  Carson is fairly upset about that.
“There’s only two paragraphs in there about George Washington. George Washington, believe it or not. Little or nothing about Martin Luther King.”
Carson is correct in the dumbest possible way.  Washington is literally hardly mentioned at all, and the fact that he isn’t is not unusual in an AP framework.  In fact, because he is mentioned at all is a sign that he’s actually really important (or at least his Farewell Address is important).  No, instead of a huge list of names/dates/events, you have things like this:
ID-1:
Analyze how competing conceptions of national identity were expressed in the development of political institutions and cultural values from the late colonial through the antebellum periods.
Hey look, no names.  Well actually the teacher will have to address a whole lot of names because it is literally impossible to deal with that learning objectives without lots of information on the Founding Fathers and the Framers.  Any good teacher will nail that and any bad teacher that doesn’t should be fired anyway. 
And what about Doctor King?  Nope, Carson is idiotically correct here too.  The name is absent.  Instead, you have this:
ID-8:
Explain how civil rights activism in the 20th century affected the growth of African American and other identity-based political and social movements.
POL-5:
Analyze how arguments over the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution have affected U.S. politics since 1787.
How is Martin Luther King not a part of those learning objectives?  He is!  But there seems to be a radical fringe of the population that wants teachers to either be on leashes or they have the image of teachers that is incredibly demeaning. 

Then there’s Julie Williams, member of the Jefferson County School Board.  I’m sure that you have heard about the Denver area’s Board of Education taking the torch to the APUSH test.  What about it Julie?
“APUSH is new. This is important to state because some may not know it is NEW. It came into existence quite recently under dubious and secretive circumstances…”
The redevelopment of the APUSH standards has been common knowledge of most teachers for, I don’t know, about two or three years.  In fact, I would like to take you back to the Advanced Placement Annual Conference in San Francisco in July 2011.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post.  Notice the afternoon session.  Previewing the Revised APUSH Course.  For the record anyone that paid the fee could attend that conference and I signed no paper that revoked my citizenship if I gave up APUSH secrets.  In fact, we were asked to promote it. 
So back to Julie…
  “…instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”
Clearly Julie did not get the full scoop on the history of the United States.  Something is weirdly off when someone manages to put “materials should present the most current factual information accurately” and “materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage” in the same paragraph.  It hardly promotes the best and brightest thinkers.  What Julie and Ben both want to do is create Storm Troopers.  Who needs the next generation of Patrick Henrys when you can have armored simpletons running around checking on hull popping noises and smacking their helmets on bulkheads.   
At it’s core this isn’t about curriculum, it’s about teachers.  Julie and Ben fear that bad teachers can’t understand the outline and therefore want to define it for them because the Union won’t allow them to be fired.  Sort of, in a marginal sense, ok (hey thanks unions).  But more so Ben and Julie really fear good teachers.  Those that tell the whole story without censoring the mistakes.  Those that consider the United States exceptional (I do) and yet remind students that the whole democratic experiment has things like the Trail of Tears, Japanese Internment, Slavery, Women’s Rights, Jim Crow, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Good for the Jefferson County students, screw you Ben Carson, and school boards all across the land might want to focus on that really matter.

Hazing incident shows how stupid people are

Hazing is idiotic. 

It’s one of those things that one would hopefully look at in the modern age and say “wow, it was stupid that we did that” because it really served no point.  It was a “rite-of-passage” ritual that didn’t mean you accomplished anything at all except joining the organization that had just insulted you.  Brilliant.

Seven New Jersey teenagers from Sayreville High School took hazing to a disgusting level that included holding freshmen against their will and sexual assault. 

“….three of the players were charged with aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual contact, criminal restraint, and hazing for engaging in an act of sexual penetration upon one of the juvenile victims. One of those defendants and four others were charged with various counts including aggravated assault, conspiracy, aggravated criminal sexual contact, hazing and riot by participating in the attack of some of the victims.”

Seems like quite the geniuses.

So the school dumped the football season for the school and part of the community is outraged.  Social media is active and lots and lots of players and parents are saying that the season cancellation was an over-reaction by the school.  Those people are morons.  While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, let’s remember that police don’t simply arrest people without probable cause, and a freshmen simply complaining about hazing is not grounds for probable cause.  Something is out there that is strong evidence that a crime has been committed or this thing would not have blown up like it has. 

And yes, the coaches should be fired.  If they had any inkling at all that this was happening then they are just as guilty as the perpetrators.  If they had no knowledge of incident then they are guilty of complete and total mismanagement of an educational situation involving children.  Fire them.

If this act actually happened then the death sentence for program is more than appropriate.  Is is tragic for the kids involved on the team?  Yes but not as tragic as the fact that they didn’t act on what certainly had to have been a rumor about bad things happening to teammates.  A man wouldn’t have stood by while assaults were happening, a man would have stepped up.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Monday is Day 1. And Close Reading is Ebola.

Monday is my first official day back at school.  It’s my fourteenth year.  And the first three hours of my fourteenth year will be sitting in a large room discussing the enthralling topic of Close Reading. 

Again.

Excuse me for a second…..

/lights match

I’m not usually one to burn books.  In fact if you look at my home you’ll see that the den of my house looks more like a used bookstore than a den.  We have stacks of books.  Books everywhere.  Close reading just does something to me. 

For those of you that are uninitiated, Close Reading is basically hyper-analysis of a small text or a small piece of a larger text.  Kids identify first impressions, vocabulary, main idea, points-of-view, contextualization, and so on.  The goal is to get students to not only have a greater understanding of the literary passage but to also be able to apply it to something else.  It’s actually a very effective method of analyzing text. 

Ok then, what’s the problem?

The problem is that we’ve had in-school professional development for this strategy all the time, every year, forever and ever, Amen.  Close Reading has now become the buzz phrase that makes a teacher say “Are you kidding me”, and then begin the charge of the iPad so they can read a whole lot of Tweets during the presentation.  I could go on-and-on except that John Spencer has a better grasp of why I hate Close Reads.  In summation:

-It’s consistently forced because of bad policy.

-You are told you must use it.  A lot.  And damn the fact that you are a professional.

-It’s not really good for all subjects.

-Advanced students hate it.

-It’s often done within the context of itself, not with a bigger idea in mind.

-It’s horridly overused.

-It’s something teachers have done before.  Many times.

-It’s boring.

-Teacher’s chose bad literary choices.

-The skill becomes the important part of the exercise.

I even know and like the presenters and I’m still prepared to use my three hours of human capital in a more efficient way.  One of these days teachers are going to be able to figure out there own professional development and not cop out to the schools to rescue them from laziness.

In the meantime, Angry Birds is here somewhere….. 

School hasn't started but I’ll go back anyway.

I don’t have students until August 25 but I’ve already been to my classroom three times in the last few days.  It’s therapy time in the Coach Brown classroom and over the course of my first few hours I’ve purged many old projects, dumped an old television cart, and got rid of a massive bookshelf.  My classroom space has now become cleaner and more simple.  Textbooks found there way into enclosed locations, old supplemental materials found their way to the warehouse, and the recycle bin became my new best friend.  It felt good to purge.
*****
The varsity boys basketball team played 47 games this summer, and thanks to a very hard working staff, it went off without a hitch.  Now the question is whether or not this season will go off without a hitch.  A lot rides on our gym, which is currently a mammoth, gutted cavern that stands to be a pain in my side if not done by basketball season.  It’s supposed to be done by basketball season.  Being me, I’ve already got back-up plans in motion but the season would flow much better if I didn’t have to play in other gymnasiums. 
*****
This is going interesting start to the year if for no other reason than that I don’t teach AP U.S. History this year!
/dances around house
It was the ultimate pro-con class; I got to teach very driven students a very hard subject in a very rigorous manner.  And it was successful.  The bad part was that the class nearly took over everything and it never felt totally complete.  Now it is gone and I can drop the guilt of APUSH, moving forward with my AP Comparative Governments class, and my American Government/Economics class.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Four: Analyzing the data; 2014 edition

photo

I haven’t the slightest damn clue how I received a high score from kids, or how I received the Distinguished Educator Award from the Senior Class.  I am not being a fisher here, I honestly think that this was my hardest year and maybe some of my poorer teaching.  I was often stressed beyond all belief for the first time maybe since I began teaching.  Why was that?  And what connection does it have to the data I just listed?

*****

Notice the problem of keeping grades updated, again.  This time the updating of grades went for long periods of time and therefore I really tried the push the “don’t worry about the grade, concentrate on the learning” concept.  Yea it didn’t work.  Fat chance that you will get Seniors that have been told their whole life to care about grades to suddenly not care about grades.  So what to do?  Simple.  I need to get it done. 

*****

So I allowed a policy of making up any assignments, even if you did poorly on it initially and the result was just plain lame.  The Advanced Placement students took advantage of it almost exclusively.  The only other students that took advantage of the make-up policy were those that might fail at the end of the year.  Those that cared tried to relearn the information.  Those that didn’t….didn’t. 

*****

I’m mean to office TAs.  Get over it.  They are annoying and seemingly unending, and most have no sense of humor, no spine, and some even have the gall to engage my students while I’m teaching. 

*****

Remember this?

  “I don’t think it’s necessary to give recommendations because Silva-Brown does not treat his students with respect so I don’t think my opinions would be valued.”

First of all, I wouldn’t be giving out the surveys if I didn’t value opinions.  It would be a total waste of my time and the students’ time.  But this comment is one that I do ignore, not because I don’t value my students’ opinions, I just don’t value this student’s opinion.  Know you might be thinking “Shouldn’t you value every students’ opinion?  Doesn’t that make your class better?”  Um, the answer is no.  Lest we forget that we are dealing with homo-teenagerous, and the input they give is often laced with teenagisms that they believe are correct.  For instance, someone (like this) that has a horrid rate of attendance should not be complaining about the lack of detail of in-class instruction.  Someone who openly disrespects other students should not be giving grand seminars on the lack of respect that is afforded to themselves.  In Economics there are terms for these kinds of people.  Outliers.  When I read this information every year I look for patterns.

-Do the lectures still work?

-Do I have the right balance of interactivity?

-Does my sarcasm go too far?

-Does basketball season impact my instruction?

-Do people use online programs? 

-Does the tardy policy, dress code policy, cell phone policy, waste basket shooting policy, all seem fair?  (notice you saw nothing about tardies and cell phones, and I am hard core on both)

When I see trends, I need to act.  The grades thing is a now beyond a problem, it is actually something that is eating away at me becoming a better teacher.  It must, MUST change.  The teacher aide comment shows that my sarcasm might have been a little far this year.  I’ll blame stress and lack of rest and work on it.  But “lack of respect for students” is an outlier.  Period.  Therefore, I keep it like I keep all the surveys I’ve ever passed out, yet I don’t really act on it because its an inane analysis. 

*****

The great national nightmare is finally over. 

No not the school year; teaching APUSH.  AP U.S. History was the hardest class I’ve ever had to teach.  It wasn’t the students at all.  It was the content.  The meticulous, idiotic minutia of the content required for the class.  It could easily make someone really dislike history.  It was the writing and the grading and the grading and the grading.  It was extremely hard to engage students and get them prepared for the test at the same time.  I took the class about five years ago because no one else would take it.  My scores were good, I worked to create and evolve good content, and eventually I got to the point where now sixty people are signed up to take APUSH next year.  Well, I’m not teaching it, and I’m ok with that.  It’s pretty much a relief. 

*****

  Basketball created a massive amount of stress this year.  I coached both the Frosh and JV teams, there were personnel issues, the old varsity coach was removed, I took his place, and I have a posse of people that are really hoping that Ukiah Basketball fails.  That stress won’t be there this year because now it’s all my responsibility, which isn’t really as stressful as you might think.  The buck now stops with me and I’m more than willing to take that on.  Although it is new to me to have people writing against you in the local paper, especially when the season is months away.

*****

I think this year worked because I love what I do.  I love to teach, and Seniors are amazingly patient when you show them that you care about them and you care about the job.  I’ve been hard on myself this Summer and upon reading the student surveys, there is always room to get better.  But the fact that I wake up every morning and get to do this still blows my mind.  I get tired, I get cranky, I lose energy sure.  But it is all worth it to have this feeling every day.   

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Three: What were things that Mr. Silva-Brown did well? 2014 edition

Next, all the things, word for word, that the students thought that I did well.

-Explaining the subject.

-Has lessons and keeping me awake.

-He was organized and was not always in a crap mood. He made it fun to learn subjects because of how well it was taught.

-Humor and taught me in a memerable way.

-Organized and straight up. Teaching different subjects that we learned well.

-Class interaction, catching students' attention, teaching the material, letting us know that it's our choice to be here.

-Per Se Courts were helpful, along with Jeopardy.

-Pretty cohesive all around.

-Per Se Courts, Jeopardy, and quizzes.

-Per Se Courts were helpful in formulating information into a thesis. Practice FRQs were a lot of help.

-Videos and presentations.

-Watching and discussing news, Politica, Current events in all the countries we discussed.

-Everything worked. You are perfect just the way you are.

-Per Se Courts helped a lot even though I lost all my rounds. The debates really helped me understand the material.

-Per Se Courts and Jeopardy.

-Watching the news helped to understand what was going on around the world. Playing Jeopardy before tests.

-Per Se Courts, FRQ practice, videos, simulations.

-Politica was enjoyable but the country involvement was not equal.

-Organization, explaining himself and examples, answering questions.

-Each day was planned out well. The quizzes kept us on track.

-I highly enjoy your class because it actually taught me valuable life lessons. You are a well organized teacher and you know how to explain information well. You made us practice hard, then made the tests easier so we had higher chances of passing them.

-The news and Per Se Courts.

-Per Se Courts.

-Lecutres and debates.

-Per Se Courts worked well and boosted excitement in the classroom as well as knowledge. The little projects we did on specific people or events or documents were also fun.

-Lots of things.

-Per Se Courts, group presentations, group quizzes.

-Power Points and note taking, in class projects.

-Class discussions on news were interesting. Although I was terrible at Per Se Courts they were useful in studying the subjects and practicing debate skills.

-Per Se Courts were rad.

-The more creative lessons.

-Open discussions and Per Se Courts.

-Brown is a good teacher who knows a lot. Jeopardy.

-All of the things we did had good information that helped evolve my understanding.

-Jeopardy, news time helped connect to what we studied.

-Per Se Courts, Lectures, News, Edmodo.

-Per Se Courts and Jeopardy are the best ways to review chapters.

-Per Se Courts

-Funny discussions that were actually interesting and we actually learned useful things. In a lot of classes you forget everything you've learned when you leave. Not this class. Enthusiastic and positive.

-Always taught me how things should make me prepare for the world and how to handle life's annoyences.

-Mostly everything.

-You made everything clear and it wasn't boring.

-Answered even the dumbest questions. Also spoke about other situations outside of class, such as world news and the drought.

-Made the class interesting.

-The class overall worked well. Jeopardy helped a lot.

-Organized class well, taught the subject and answered questions.

-Taught, made us laugh.

-Lectures. I loved lectures.

-The lectures really weren't a bad way to do it because you're funny.

-Per Se Courts, APPARTS

-APUSH Wall of Fame, pretty much everything.

-The quizzes we took at least once a week kept the most relevant info fresh in our minds.

-You have a knack for keeping students' attention with humor, videos, and stories. This makes your lectures fun.

-News every day was nice.

-Killer vocab was really helpful.

-Per Se Courts, News Watching, and most importantly was the reading being assigned the night before we learned and then we went over everything in detail in class.

-Lessons. Some of the activities were tedious.

-Per Se Courts were a good addition.

-Per Se Courts helped develop and back up arguments.

-You make it very involved, unlike other teachers, and you genuinely care. Thank you.

-Jeopardy, Killer vocab, daily quizzes, propaganda, the Ten Rules of Economics, Econoland, Diminishing Marginal Donut Game, video clips, daily news, and Per Se Courts.

-Did examples and explained things and didn't move on until it was mostly understood.

-Answer all questions very thoroughly.

-I enjoyed the stories and the atmosphere of the classroom. I looked forward to the end of the school day because of this class.

-Able to explain things that were on the news. Able to be chill but loud enough so we didn't sleep.

-Make econonmics interesting.

-Prepared us for quizzes and tests, made things exciting and humorous, made good and easy notes for us to take down.

-Teach the lessons.

-I feel you made learning interesting and fun and I like how involved you were with the class.

-You made the class fun to be in. You never got to serious to where students would start spacing out.

-You made your lessons interesting and you were easy to talk to and humorous.

-Presentations were really good, projects and activities were helpful, Jeopardy was great. I really like how you stay neutral and let us express our opinions with wedge issues.

-Discussions and keeping kids awake.

-Make the class fun while teaching.

-He taught us well.

-Taught us about life after school.

-Actual face-to-face teaching with the class, confident and authoritative.

-Did a great job at helping students grasp certain concepts.

-Make-up work was useful.

-Videos, Power Points, allowing lots of students to ask all sorts of questions.

-Lectures, Per Se Courts.

-Per Se Courts.

-Everything but the Per Se Courts. (That's a new one)

-Less video, more notes and assignments.

-Poster presentations and APUSH Wall of Fame.

Per Se Courts, lectures were interesting and well done.

-Per Se Courts

-He presents material in a way that is easy to understand and makes the class enjoyable. Also gives a lot of quizzes which helped me get ready for a big test.

-Pretty much anything interactive. Per Se Courts are a highlight.

-Per Se Courts and vocab tests.

-Everything.

-Politica, Per Se, Killer Vocab helped so much, being about to make up quizzes.

-Quizzes every day was great. Reliable system and kept us accoutable. Personal favorite was the Per Se Courts. It made class topics interesting and forced us to look at them in new ways.

-Per Se Courts.

-Per Se Courts really helped with FRQs.

-Per Se Courts and Propaganda Posters.

-I love Per Se Courts. They work well and that infomation seems to stick the most.

-Per Se Courts. Helped me become more familiar with topics and improved my level of confidence.

-Lessons about love and respect. Liked the Barbie lecture and just the smile on your face. Econoland!

-I like how he tried to get on our level and make things easy to understand.

-When he spoke, you could hear him, that's for sure.

-Awesome at being a smart ass and getting us to pay attention.

-Talking and overall teaching.

-He did everything real good.

-Made things understandable by showing videos related to the subject. Very passionate about Economics and demonstrates it in many ways.

-Incorporated learning material in engaging activities making the class fun.

-Quite liked the news and how we talked about world events.

-Was very real and straight forward and was patient when it came down to teaching us difficult lessons.

-Taught the information very well. I understood everything.

-Hands-on class projects.

And there you have it!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Two: “What recommendations would you give Mr. Silva-Brown”, 2014 edition

Here are all my recommendations, live and uncut, from my students. I'm leaving none out, however some students did not fill out every category, which is why the numbers will not be the same. My comments are in italics.

-Try and make quiet, non-active people active. Print out practice packets and have people do it if you cannot spend a couple of days practicing for the AP test.

-From a sincere perspective, I honestly believe you are teaching in a flawless manner. You have taught me life lessons that I will forever keep in my heart.

-I think you do a great job but more Per Se Courts would be nice. (Once again Per Se Courts were massively popular.  I think I need to expand it to one every ten days in AP, maybe one every three weeks in College Prep)

-Nothing really.  This was one of my favorite classes.

-Have a better last round.  (This is in reference to Politica, my post AP test activity.  I changed the last round to be more collaborative than confrontational, and it was met with irritation.)

-Would have been helpful to learn more about how to write AP FRQs with specific examples.  This was done but I’d like more of it.

-More practice FRQs.

-Keeping up on grading is key. That’s the only thing besides lowballing us. (Running joke in one of my Comp Gov classes was that I “low balled” students that gave questionable answers.)

-Keep doing your thing, dog.  You’re a hell of a teacher.

-Don’t call a girl an umpa lumpa, even if she is orange.

-Stop giving TAs a hard time when they are handing out passes. (I hassle the hell out of office TA’s that bring in passes.  It starts out with a simple “hi” and the reaction from there determines the amount of terror I’ll inflict on them. Those that are kind and professional get the love. Those that act like I’m not cool for school face the full power of my snark.  Classes get a kick out of it.)

-Keep it up!

-Stop insulting the poor, innocent peoples of Ukiah High School, and let us eat in class because a growing kid needs food.

-Keep doing what you’re doing!

-I have no recommendation.

-Keep up the good work.

-Nothing really.  I think you’re a great teacher.

-Less depressing news.

-Bring us donuts.

-Don’t have any.

-Pronounce my name correctly. 

-To not be as tough.

-Nothing.  You’re a great teacher.

-Update grades on time or regularly.

-Be a sports commentator instead.  Your voice is more suited for that job.

-Listen to country music.

-Stop hating brown Mexicans!  (Another running joke in my Comp Gov class was that there was a difference between light Mexicans and “real” Mexicans.  BTW, this comment was made by a girl who called herself my Mexican daughter.

-Nothing. Maybe be careful of some students. Some can be sensitive every now and then to your harsh sarcasm.

-Make your own rules for Politica instead of folling some else’s rules.

-Rethink Politica with some minor changes to allow for some wiggle room as opposed to only zero sum games all the time.

-Do more Per Se Courts.  At least 3 times a month.

-Be quieter.

-“All Too Well” – Taylor Swift

-Per Se Courts aren’t always fairly judged.  People sometimes allowed their friends to win and I didn’t fine that fair, although I did find the info valuable.

-Be yourself like you were and everyone will have fun.

-Stop procrastinating on grading assignments and tests.

-If you wish to get along better with sensitive students, admit your sensitive side more.  But I assume you know that and I don’t mind.

-I can’t think of much except be a little more nicer to office TAs.

-Chill out with hitting of the desks with the large stick.

-A bit too sass for professional setting, stop hitting desks with your stick, make ur trash slam dunks.

-Stay awesome

-Be nicer.

-Stay based.

-Stop being so handsome.

-Be nicer to the TAs.

-More accurate and updates on Edmodo.

-None

-Update grades.

-Give more opportunities or make opportunities more clear for students to make up work who are looking for second chances.

-Keep it classy.

-Fewer quizzes.

-More review worksheets before a test.

-Update grades.

-Lay off some of the harsher jokes.

-More group quizzes. And I wanted to do a stock project.  We learned nothing about stocks.  (We did do a small look at stocks but the focus on a serious project is gone. I instead do a unit on financial literacy that is much more important.)

-Go over tests before and after.  Make practice test for Finals or something like a homework sheet for us to study at home.

-Grade fairer

-Keep your great sense of humor in the classroom.

-Don’t make people cry so much.

-Control yourself when it comes to the stick.

-Don’t rely on students to check the Internet for days they missed or tests not taken.  There are excuses for missing assignments.  (It’s not my grade and if you can’t be accountable for your own grade, that’s on you.  Excuses aren’t the issue. You not following through is.)

-Be nicer to people giving passes.

-More updated grade book on Edline would be nice to make up quizzes.  Also, having a weekly make up day at lunch would work better for planning purposes of busy Seniors.

-Do more of the Math part of Econ.  And more looks at the Stock Market.

-Your grading system drives me crazy.

-Keep it up.

-You did good.

-Update Edline so we don’t go crazy!  And return tests/assignments early.

-Update grades more often.

-Keep grades up to date.

-Can’t think of any.

-Keep it real.

-Be more efficient with grades for APUSH.

-None.

-I can’t think of any.

-A bit more on top of grading and specific info.

-None.

-Probably invest in Bitcoin, maybe some morality.

-Updating grades more often.

-Grades, grades, grades.  Keep up!

-An easier way to take notes. There weren’t many that could write and study.

-No.

-Don’t wait so long to enter grades and update them.

-Keep on track a bit more with the lesson plan.

-None come to mind.

-Stay funny but be nicer.  Sometimes you come off a little mean.

-Don’t show Persepolis and have more FRQ practice.

-Grading faster if possible.

-Update grades more often.

-To get all the quizzes in.

-Less quizzes.

-Grade more stuff.

-Maybe not target individual students.

-More essays.

-Tease everyone.

-Assign more essays and quizzes and grade promptly. Update Edline more than once a month.

-Don’t make fun of short people.

-Spend more time working on the grading system and making it more available to students.  More essay practice.

-Grade papers and post online.

-Be nice.

-Greater clarity on grades and make-up opportunities. 

-I have none. I feel you did a good job.

-I don’t think it’s necessary to give recommendations because Silva-Brown does not treat his students with respect so I don’t’ think my opinions would be valued.  (I’ll deal with this comment in the analysis.)

And there you have it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part One: “Ratings Game”, 2014 edition

I present to you, part one of a four part series that looks at the "graded" Mr. Silva-Brown. At the end of each year I give out a report card with questions about my performance during the year.

The questions are:

-One a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent), rate Mr. Silva-Brown's teaching this semester.

-Was I well organized?

-Did you understand what was going on?

-Do you think I have improved since September?

-Did you feel safe?

-Were students treated equally with respect?

-Describe your overall experience in the class

-What did I do well?

-What recommendations can you give Mr. Silva-Brown?

-Give one piece of advice for next years students.

Today, I'll give you the numbers rating. The rating is first, followed by how many students rated me at that level.  .

Here are the results:

Ten- 48 

Nine- 33

Eight- 28

Seven- 7

Five- 1

No Rating Given- 4   

My average is an 9.0, an A-. This is the highest grade I have ever received.  Here are the contrasts from past years.

2005-06: 8.3

2006-07: 8.9

2007-08: 8.3

2008-09: 8.7

2009-10: 8.2

2010-2011: 8.5

2011-2012: 8.5

2012-2013: 8.8

Out of the four evaluations that had no number rating, three were positive and one was negative.  They were not calculated into the above formula.  The one negative gave many of the standard complaints that a student makes when they miss a lot of class, and then added in that I discriminated against women because I enforced the dress code.  Six of the seven “7” ratings came from one class (AP U.S. History).  It was probably well deserved, as I will discuss in posts later this week.         

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Not something you see every day

It’s not often that you see a teacher’s union president throw the membership of a high school campus under the bus….

….then back the bus up to run over the wounded educators….

….then dump the bus septic tank on the mangled remains….

….then light the corpses on fire….

….then Riverdance on the ashes of teachers that were supposed to be represented. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

AP World History graders fall into trap of making unfunny shirt.

Advanced Placement graders get a little weird.  They are often cliquish and cult-like in their devotion to the subject, sometimes to the point of…….DUN..DUN..DUN…..making a t-shirt.

While hanging around in Kansas City you will see ridiculous t-shirts representing Statistics, Calculus, and Biology.  They are attempts at bringing forth a sense of AP Reader unity while at the same time showing that the serious subject matter can be made into something light and humorous.  It’s creepy.  You never see AP Comparative Government t-shirts.  Ever.  In the last four years someone always brings it up and the vets give them a look and a nice “we aren’t one of THEM” with a nod towards the grading sections of other subject areas.  T-shirts are weird, expensive, and they end up gobbling up money that could otherwise go toward drinking in the evenings. 

“At the 2014 grading of AP World History exams in Salt Lake City, conducted by high school and college educators specializing in topics related to world history, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and College Board leadership engaged in culturally insensitive and racist behavior toward Asians, particularly Chinese people.”

This is immediately amusing because AP Readers are quite the progressive lot, a least in the realm of Comp Gov.  They are high school teachers and college professors that often rank somewhere quite to the left of standard American political philosophy.  But, racism is racism.  So what’s the deal.

“The images above are from the front and back of a t-shirt designed for readers by the leaders of the AP World History exam grading.”

And the images?

THAT’S SO…….already done.

I’m fairly sure plenty of teachers have this t-shirt.  I know I do.  You know, the COMMUNIST PARTY.  And the German caricature….*shakes head*  

Look, another t-shirt that lots of teachers already have.  With wicked caricatures too!  Remember when Risk was awesome?

It’s obvious that the AP Test Readers tried to get creative with unoriginal ideas and came up with an unfunny t-shirt.  I mean come on, that group is OBVIOUSLY the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Readers left that whole part out.  And the Maoist propaganda attempt?  Look, I actually have an assignment where kids make Maoist style propaganda in order to recruit for AP Comparative Government for the next year.  “Culturally Insensitive” it is not, and just because someone doesn’t like it doesn’t automatically mean the Al Sharpton ambulance pulls up to take you away to therapy.

The racist image on the front of the shirt, combined with the “comical” and stereotypically “Asian” font on the back of the shirt, implies that the World History community believes it is acceptable to mock Asian people and cultures for laughs. Certainly the t-shirt and events at the reading are violations of ETS work policies regarding harassment. They created a hostile work environment by singling out and mocking a single racial group.”

Guess what; it is acceptable to mock every culture and every “people” for laughs.  And the Readers where hardly mocking Chinese culture (notice that the blog Hyphen lazily calls it “Asian”) and clearly trying to make a casual joke about a government that doesn’t allow its people to make t-shirts poking fun at the CCP.  Hyphen, in an attempt to get someone to notice their existence, went after hard working teachers and professors while trying to score website hits and garner advertising.  And I had to watch Trevor Packer (College Board Pres of AP) throw his AP Readers under the bus on Twitter by basically saying that the t-shirt was equal to workplace harassment.  

The t-shirt was stupid.  The ETS rep in Salt Lake City was correct in not diving into the hype.  Hyphon needs to stop attacking teachers and professors to try and raise their Klout scores, and Mr. Packer needed to support his Readers instead of diving head first into the morass of “cultural insensitivity”. 

Or just stop allowing t-shirts. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

California consent law drives media nuts because they are stupid

“You're in the heat of the moment, rounding third, but then you must stop and ask, Can I have your verbal or written consent to have sex with you?”

That’s the first sentence from the L.A. Weekly.

“A bill making its way through the California Assembly is attempting to address the problem of rape on college campuses by mandating “affirmative consent”—a verbal or written yes—before engaging in sexual activity.”

That’s the first sentence from the Daily Beast.

What’s funny about both those quotes is how wrong, wrong, wrong the analysis of the bill actually is.  Oh yeah, here’s the bill.  Ladies and gentlemen, California Senate Bill 967:

(1) An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.  Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

Don’t know about you but I don’t see anything written or verbal within the text of the legislation.  I see “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement”, which I would interpret as two people enjoying the moment with each other.  But maybe you’re a law snob.  Maybe your so freaked out about the law that you need to get into the nuts and bolts of what the law is about.  Ok, this might sum it up:

(A) The complainant was asleep or unconscious.

(B) The complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity.

(C) The complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

So what the law really is about is people taking advantage of people in a sexual situation, particularly in college.  It’s fairly clear that those people that are complaining about it didn’t actually read the law, they read the title of someone else’s analysis and then panicked. 

For me it is clear; this law is in response to some serious issues that college campuses are having with rape.  We, as a society, have totally decided to ignore the issue, the consequences of which are becoming more and more prevalent and disturbing.  There is more to this “rape culture” that needs to be addressed.  The hyper-sexualization of women, the plethora of drunken binges, and the necessity for constant attention all contribute to this outrageous social problem.  But this law is pretty much a no-brainer.

And if you are still confused about the sexiness of consent, I’ll let Laci Green take over.   A note; I don’t agree with some of Ms. Green’s ideology on new wave feminism.  But when it comes to sexual awareness and health, there might not be anyone better. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Back in KC again

Hey look, I'm back in Kansas City again!

You know what that means. I'm officially done with the school portion of my year and I have taken the quest to the Midwest to grade AP Comparative Government exams, which I can't talk about at all because it's bad.

Seriously, it's worse this year. There was an entire spiel about social media and not posting testing stuff on social media, including blogs. I don't think that I'm giving anything away by saying that I'm actually here but you never know with the College Board. Too many mentions on Twitter and a sand worm might come through the floor and swallow me whole. It could happen.

And this is the last year in Kansas City. That means that BBQ is on the menu and I'll probably experience my last Midwestern thunderstorm. Next year, Salt Lake City. They are bringing AP Comparative Government to the same building as AP U.S. Government so all the political science nerds can talk about how they would better rule the world.

I might read again. Might. One thing I look forward to at the AP Reading is the social lounge, where people consume food and drink while watching sporting events and sharing ideas. Teachers will often take this time to share ideas about how to enhance their classes. Now the social lounge doesn't really exist. The College Board decided not to fund the social lounge for AP Comparative Government, although apparently AP Statistics and AP Calucus have fully functional lounges. Interesting. Basically the College Board has shit on the Comparative Readers because we don't have the numbers. Fine. But they will lose readers. And they were short readers this year. So I'm probably done with my AP Comparative Reader affair.