Friday, April 25, 2014

Racism rears ugly head. Japanese cats that blog for the Huffington Post are furious.

Can we as a society get any lower?
"It dismisses Asian culture and the women who choose to enjoy it as mindless pawns at white America's disposal."
With the David Dukes, Cliven Bundys, and Richie Incognitos of the world, what pray-tell could it be that drives the ugly veil of racism in front of the faces of the American people?

"(it) runs rampant with racist under and overtones"
My God, the horror!  What is it?  I must know!  I must know!  I MUST KNOW!




What in the hell?

That song is horrible.  Avril Lavigne has made some good music.  This would not fit in that category.  In fact "good music" screams away in the Dolorian at 88 miles per hour and goes back to Lavigne's earlier years to punch her in the face for even contemplating this song.

But it's not because it's racist.

So this song has caused a flap because racism or something.  And the quickest way to really degenerate the issue of racism into a matter that loses credibility is to start calling everything under the sun racist.  Imus, Avril Lavigne, making fun of Jesse Jackson, Lorde's lyrics.....there's a point at which wolf is cried so much we forget the real problems of race.  Black graduation rates are at an absurd level that demands a look at institutional racism but we don't make that the race issue, we make the issue the fact that the man who laughs at Al Sharpton's dumb ass is a bigot that probably hates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Bring the phony hatred into reality please.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Why the Exit Exam destroyed my entire class…

Now I understand why my Exit Exam results are so damn poor.1

From the California Department of Education’s Exit Exam website:

  1. What are the guidelines for sensitive topics on the CAHSEE?

To keep the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) free from potentially biased, sensitive, or controversial content, the following topics are avoided on the examination:

Keeping a written exam free from “potentially biased, sensitive, or controversial content” sounds fair enough.  You wouldn’t want to promote super disturbing topics that might create additional stress on the students taking the test, so I get this.  Let’s take a look at each topic and make sure that the guidelines are themselves void of being potentially biased, sensitive, or controversial.

  • Violence (including guns, other weapons, and graphic animal violence)

Fair enough.  And while high school is the place to teach about violence and it’s impact on society, I get why you leave it off a test.

  • Dying, death, disease, hunger, famine

Guess this leaves out Billy Ray Cyrus’ career.  Famine?  Disease?  Out of bounds?  Understandable but how about critical thinking problem that solves a global famine issue.  Nope, it’s out of bounds.

  • War

Ok now we are straight boring.  What is it good for?  Absolutely…..a great way to engage students on a test.  War and Peace studies?  Wait, Peace studies?  Nope, doesn’t have the same ring.  Sorry American Revolution, you are out.

  • Natural disasters with loss of life

Seems legit.

  • Drugs (including prescription drugs), alcohol, tobacco, smoking

You have now lost a significant teenage population and about 75% of Mendocino County students.  Have an essay prompt arguing the pro and con of marijuana legalization and you might have a thesis a mile long. 

  • Junk food

WHAT?  NO ESSAY PROMPT ON POP TARTS???

  • Abuse, poverty, running away

Abuse and run-aways I get.  Leaving out poverty is just straight foolish.  I know, give a written test to millions of elements of human capital, and leave out a massive social problem that impacts all of them.  Great call.

  • Divorce

Fine.

  • Socio-economic advantages (e.g., video games, swimming pools, computers in the home, expensive vacations)

Someone is living in the 1980’s if they think that a video game is a socio-economic advantage.  No, I’m not kidding.  Every cell phone, calculator, computer, and iPod has some kind of game attached to them, and believe me, they are very prevalent. 

  • Sex

Wouldn’t want to offend Standards and Practices while talking to kids about something they are already doing. 

  • Religion

Because America’s history isn’t about religion at all.  Is it. 

  • Complex discussions of sports

WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?  Seriously, what does it mean?  No sports talk?  Does this mean that Richard Sherman’s rant is ok but talking about Title IX is off the books?  Tiger’s lay-up on 18 at Augusta is cool but unionizing student athletes is a no-no? 

  • Slavery

Because, you know, slavery.  It might be the most embarrassing moment in all of American history so you might as well avoid nearly two and a half centuries of it.  Because, you know, slavery.

  • Evolution, prehistoric times, age of solar system, dinosaurs

Solar Systems and dinosaurs are out.  So are the little boys and girls that want to hold on to something interesting in testing.  Because we all know “Pluto:  Planet or Something More Sinister”  might rile up someone.

  • Rap music, rock concerts

Because the old geezers that work in the California Department of Education still refer to Chuck Berry’s music as “that damn Rock n’ Roll.”

  • Extrasensory perception, witchcraft

http://footprintsonsand.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/foxs-office.jpg    

Unhappy.

  • Halloween, religious holidays

How Halloween (which actually is religious) gets mixed in with perceived religious holidays is beyond me.  Quick, name me a religious holiday.  Don’t say Christmas, you liar.  You celebrate your new LCD television on that day, not the birth of a carpenter. 

  • Anything disrespectful, demeaning, moralistic, chauvinistic

Shit, and there goes the entirety of American society.  Start with Brian Wilson’s beard and end with an airbrushed Lena Dunham, and we now have nothing to write about.

  • Children coping with adult situations or decisions; young people challenging or questioning authority

Oh, so now the Beat Generation and the Sixties are out?  Just dump all of a person’s high school memories?  Gone?  NO JOHN HUGHES MOVIES?

  • Mention of individuals who may be associated with drug use or with advertising of substances such as cigarettes or alcohol

See “Complex Discussions of Sports”

  • Losing a job, home, or pets

Yeah, icky stuff.

  • Rats, roaches, lice, spiders

…….

Is it me or are we basically trying to protect students from anything, you know, not nice.  Let’s ask our guest how he feels about it:

 

Doesn’t seem to like the CDE’s choice of guidelines.

  • Dieting, other concerns with self-image

Dammit.  I already used up my Lena Dunham bit earlier in the post.  

  • Political issues

-slams head against desk

-quits job as government teacher

-moves to Ohio in hopes of finding Westerburg High School, Winona Rider, and Christian Slater

  • Any topic that is likely to upset students and affect their performance on the rest of the test

So just to be annoying, translated; anything else.

Guess that leaves only one real topic that kids can write about.

What can possibly be controversial about My Little Pony?

image

Dammit.

 

 

1  I teach Seniors, and therefore, I don’t teach kids taking the Exit Exam. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Welcome Back

I’ve been not writing, again.

That’s really not that big of a deal since the readership of this blog has probably dropped to that of the local school newspaper.  Probably even worse.  Maybe I need a movie review section.

Or maybe that’s the way it goes with teachers.  I’m backed up with my grading, behind in my planning, and overall just feeling like everything is a jumbled mess.  Even Spring Break (which is this week) is kind of wonky with the fact that my wife threw out her back.  She ran five miles Monday morning and now can hardly move.  Backs are funky. 

This is also funky. 

Bill Heath has been my hoops boss for the last thirteen years and has been coaching basketball for 37.  That’s an enormous amount of time and energy put into the process of positive engagement for kids.  I’m sorry to see him go but, as the article shows, he goes out with class.  People have often tried to guess my relationship with Coach Heath, even so far as to say that we actually got into a fight.  The closest we ever got to a fight was when he might have raised his voice at me in 2005 or 2006, when I was being a little shit.  Other than that the boxing gloves never came out.  And I’ll part this situation with this analysis of Coach Heath behind-the-scenes;  he never shut down other opinions.  Ever.  He was always asking his staff for opinions and while we didn’t always agree, I feel like he genuinely cared about the staff’s opinions.  I learned a ton of basketball from the guy and I owe him some serious gratitude for always allowing ideas to flow.  I’m a better coach thanks to Bill Heath.
 
And that brings us to the number one question I’ve been asked nearly every day for the last two weeks; am I the new varsity coach?  My answer……I applied.  What does that mean?  It means that I’m a well-respected teacher on campus with over twenty years of coaching experience, the last thirteen of which have been at Ukiah High School.  There is a process and it needs to be followed and I applied, and that’s pretty much that.  So how does that make me feel?
  

Yeah, politics.

It took exactly 24 hours after I applied to learn that someone didn’t like me enough to let it be known to a lot of people.  I contacted that person and they kindly discussed why they didn’t like me and I found that, like teaching, not everyone is going to be happy with everything.  The difference is that, unlike the classroom, the detractors are given a bigger microphone within the athletic arena because some reason.  I’m not entirely worried about it.  I’ve been teaching for 13 years and I’m very confident that I do it pretty well.  I’ve been a head coach now for twenty years and that means that it is engrained within my soul that what I do is good, fair, and right.  And in the end, it’s the entirety of the job that matters, not just the coaching.

photoSeriously?  I mean, check out my response. 

This was actually released the day the varsity job was flown within the district.  They eventually rescinded the tweet and ignored my request for a source.  Man.  Oh yeah, spotlight.  

So how’s your break?