Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Things that Must Go: Scapegoating Public Schools

The Issue: Childhood obesity has reached such a crisis that it is a threat to national security.

The Reason: Potential recruits don't meet the strict physical requirements for military service.

The Solution: Fix the school lunch system?

I heard about this on the news, then read this article about it. Honestly, I am incensed. Is it unacceptable that 27% of young Americans are obese? Absolutely. Are school lunches (and breakfasts for that matter) sub-par? Why else do you think I brown bag it each day? What frightens me here is that, once again, society's ills are solely depicted as the schools' responsibility.

I call foul.

We educators are in the business of educating. That is why I became an educator--to teach. However, schools as a whole have been assigned the task of playing band-aid to societal issues better suited for surgery. If there is one thing I've learned about the public's attitude toward education it is this: it is ALWAYS our fault. Whatever it is, we did it. Blame us. Sorry 'bout that.

But I can't help but wonder: why not tackle the entirely corrupt and completely disgusting system of mass-produced "food" companies? What about city governments that allow for a fast food joint on every corner in the lowest socio-economic neighborhoods? And whatcha gonna do about those who believe good parenting is as simple as sitting their child in front of the nearest video game console?

I'm sure part of school scapegoating originates because government agencies can ask favors of other government agencies. And there is some truth here--school lunch isn't anything to write home about. Furthermore, when you see what is being served it becomes a bit saddening that those students on free and reduced lunch in my neck of the woods eat two of their daily meals in the cafeteria--Monday through Friday. I completely support that school lunches should be addressed as a part of the solution to this epidemic obesity. But something tells me that school lunch is where this big government solution for obesity ends.

The recipe is simple: Fix something about the school system, pat yourselves on the back, call it solved. Works like a charm every dang time. Except when it doesn't.

To "The Man's" credit--it has to be difficult to point fingers when some of these "food" companies tip their hats--and wallets--to certain politicians. But what happens when a school lunch revolution is the only attempt at fixing this issue?

School lunch: definitely a place to start. Frankly, if lunches improve I might be able to buy my lunch every now and again without fearing the Frankenstein Food down in the cafeteria. It isn't so much the notion that we need to improve the quality of what we put in our mouths--including school lunch--but that the first (and potentially only) culprit for blame is placed public schools. If I could change one attitude in this society it would be this: The public school system is not the culprit of every societal ill, rather, it serves as a microcosm of the society it in which it exists.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Which I Assign Myself 500 Pages of Bad Reading

Let's start by clearing up this one little detail: I'm an idiot. Stupid, really.

Case(s) in point:

1. Call it a delusional vision of who I wish I were (read: a hard *assed teacher), but I assigned the AP kids 10 page research papers on self-selected debatable topics they've lived with all year long. Nearly 50 kids, 10 pages. All due earlier this week. Yup. That was stupid.

2. Add that lapse in judgment to the pile of Spring Break grading I procrastinated beyond, you know, Spring Break and you start to see that teaching English is far less preferable to, say, teaching gym.

3. I'm blogging rather than facing any of this because ignorance is bliss.

4. Combine all of the above with the brilliant timing of after school study sessions with the AP kids, starting back on the weight-loss-get-in-shape band wagon from which I so miserably fell over the past three months (oops), and teaching an all-new unit on argumentative writing with my 9th graders (not my forte nor theirs) which requires the time and energy equivalent of my first year of teaching and I'm thinking I've got to be on a top ten list somewhere.

Like I said. Stupid.

*For obvious reasons this is not the week to give up my ever-so classy tendency of talking like a teamster. We'll save that one for later.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Worst Part About Vacations?

Coming back from them.

I'm suffering whiplash trying to adjust back from vacation mode. Forgive me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

By the time you read this

I'll be headed here with all the single ladies (or, at the very least, with some of my very favorites).

I'll try not to leave my heart. No promises, however.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One Year Ago Today

A (read: former) friend on Facebook feigned her own engagement for an April Fools' Day "prank" left standing for several days/weeks.

Like I said: former fb friend.

So what are your plans for early April tomfoolery? I'm plum out of such silliness.

Besides, I've never topped myself since the blessed April 1st in 8th grade when I convinced my newly returned (in glory, so he presumed) missionary brother that some girl from the (now defunct) Mormon Youth Chorus called. The message read "Myra Maines from Mormon Youth called--something about your tux" along with the phone number of a crematorium in Salt Lake City.

I believe my trickery elicited his first post-mission curse. "In glory" my a...