Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged education

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This is the only education issue the anti-gay, anti-choice PAC WyWatch cares about enough to put on its candidate questionnaire. 
I’m not even going to tell you how many others support this because I lost count.
That’s it. I’m proposing using Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as an elective because it could have happened. You guys don’t know! You weren’t there!

This is the only education issue the anti-gay, anti-choice PAC WyWatch cares about enough to put on its candidate questionnaire. 

I’m not even going to tell you how many others support this because I lost count.

That’s it. I’m proposing using Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as an elective because it could have happened. You guys don’t know! You weren’t there!

Filed under Wyoming Wyoming is weird Politics Education Christian wait what? WyWatch PAC The Bible Religion Separation of Church and state rules Separation of Church and State First Amendment public schools

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San Francisco teachers vote overwhelmingly to support strike

San Francisco teachers voted overwhelmingly to support a strike Thursday night, with 97 percent saying yes in what was the first of two required votes.

"Last night the teachers of San Francisco sent a message loud and clear to the San Francisco Unified School District," said Dennis Kelly, United Educators of San Francisco President, in a statement after votes were counted Friday. "It is time for the district to stop seeking unilateral cuts and sweeping program changes, and to start treating the teachers and paraprofessionals with respect and to recognize what we have done to keep this district afloat."

About 1,900 teachers voted. A second vote required to give union leadership the ability to call a strike has not been scheduled.

Fuck yes. The union is pushing back on more cuts to the education budget and layoffs. Way to send a message.

Filed under San Francisco strike education politics organized labor union

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Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.
Labor organizer, co-founder of United Farm Workers union, and civil rights activist César Chávez. Chávez was addressing the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in 1984.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under César Chávez social change civil rights education oppression United Farm Workers organized labor

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Things that cannot screen for breast cancer and things that can.
And for those who are yelling about PP not doing mammograms, “screenings” are not just mammograms.  ”Screenings” are also breast exams, which are the first line of defense. Those breast exams are done every time a woman has a pelvic exam, which she needs in order to get birth control or STI testing. Get it together. Semantics do not change the facts. 

And boom goes the truth dynamite…


Things that cannot screen for breast cancer and things that can.

And for those who are yelling about PP not doing mammograms, “screenings” are not just mammograms.  ”Screenings” are also breast exams, which are the first line of defense. Those breast exams are done every time a woman has a pelvic exam, which she needs in order to get birth control or STI testing. Get it together. Semantics do not change the facts. 

And boom goes the truth dynamite…

Filed under breast cancer choice education feminism lgbtq occupy the cure pink planned parenthood politics priorities susan g. komen until there's a cure women health

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Teacher disciplined after writing 'stupid' on student's forehead

A teacher in Overton County is in big trouble and about to lose his job over a single word and a permanent marker.

The middle school math teacher wrote the word “stupid” across a student’s forehead. Administrators found out about the incident and took fast action, suspending the teacher indefinitely. The school director plans to fire the teacher, Alex Boles.

"We’re here to help the children and not to hurt them," said Matt Eldridge, director of Overton County Schools. "One word can break a child. I mean, I’ve got three children. I wouldn’t want it done to mine," Eldridge said. "The teacher said, ‘I was trying to joke with him,’ and of course, I said, ‘That’s not the way you joke with anyone,’" Eldridge said.

Until last week, Boles taught math at Allons Elementary. He was new to the job after he just started this fall. The district will allow the teacher due process, but the director said he will insist Boles lose his job.

As if the story isn’t tough enough, the teacher wrote the word “stupid” backwards on the student’s forehead, so he’d be able to read it when he saw himself in the mirror. The extra thought that went into it is especially troubling for those in charge of the district.

Teaching. You’re doing it so, so very wrong. Bullying students is not an effective teaching strategy.

And really, you’re not hanging out with your bros in college - even if a kid falls asleep with his shoes on, it’s not a party foul and you don’t get to decorate his face, much less for asking questions.


Filed under Alex Boles Education bullying Tennessee Overton County Schools Teacher Bad teacher

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Antigay Survey a Fumble for Prep Football Coach

A high school football coach in Wyoming has resigned after giving his players a joke survey filled with homophobic and sexist language.

The Johnson County school board in Buffalo this week accepted the resignation of head coach Pat Lynch, who had distributed the questionnaire, titled “Hurt Feelings Report,” before a playoff game last month, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. Lynch, however, will retain his guidance counselor position at Buffalo High School under administrative supervision.

The survey, under a list of reasons for hurt feelings, includes such choices as “I am a queer,” “I am a pussy,” “I am a little bitch,” and “I have woman like hormones.” It asks for the name of the “little sissy filing report” and his “girly-man signature,” plus the “real-man signature” of the person accused of causing hurt feelings.

Yep. They’re still letting him counsel high school students. I am horrified. You can view the survey here. I used to live in Buffalo, and I’m sure the board thinks they’re playing it safe.

They’re not.

Imagine needing to talk to someone, being gay, and knowing your counselor thinks this is hilarious. This is bullying and intimidation. A petition was just started to get him fired. Sign here. Please.

Filed under Buffalo Wyoming Pat Lynch Homophobia education high school Anti-gay misogynist conservative conservatives GLBTQ GLBT gay gay rights football high school prep football

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Sex Work to Pay Off College Loans? How the College Debt Racket Sucks Young People Dry -- And Led Many to Occupy Wall St.

The young man standing next to the “Jail Sallie Mae, Cancel All Student Loan Debt” sign in Liberty Plaza last night could very well end up in jail himself – not for protesting economic injustice and marching on Wall Street, but for doing sex work to pay off his student loans. “My loans are $1,300 a month,” he said. “My rent is $1,300 a month. My salary is $2,600 a month. You can see the problem. So I work as a prostitute for food and utilities.”

Though he works a day job in the tech sector, it’s not enough to get by. “But it could be worse,” he continued. “I could have to do sex work for all of it.” 

With the Department of Education estimating that outstanding US student loan debt will soon exceed $1 trillion and job growth stalled, students face the very real prospect that there’s no way to ever pay back their debts. As of this May, new graduates are leaving college with an average of $22,900 in debt each, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, makes the class of 2011 the most indebted in history. 

I don’t even want to think about my student loans and what will have to happen for it all to get paid off. It’s because I don’t know how it’s all going to shake out. I fear that getting a law degree won’t be enough.

Filed under student loans politics economy debt college university financing education education sex work prostitution

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Rick Perry Wanted to Make Money Off of Dead Teachers

Is it wrong to benefit from someone’s death? What if you knew that at your job, the higher-ups took out a life insurance policy on you, and when you died they would be paid an uncertain amount of money? As your job counts the cash, your family would then be left to pay for all the medical bills, funeral arrangements and more. It sounds devilish, who would ever want to be involved in something like that? The answer: Republican evangelical Tea Party favorite, Rick Perry.

The idea of making money from dead people isn’t a new one. Many corporations, including powerhouses like Walmart and Bank of America, have taken out policies on their employees, who, at the time had no idea it was happening. The practice is called Corporate-owned life insurance, other wise known as Dead Peasant Insurance. When these policies go into action (i.e., the employee dies) the company would cash in on thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. As the families grieved, the company grew its bank account.

This is disgusting and horrifying. Wal-Mart used to do this, but no longer takes out these policies. For more on Dead Peasant Insurance, watch Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story (Yes, I know it’s Michael Moore, but just watch it.)

Filed under Rick Perry Dead Peasants politics Michael Moore conservative conservatives heartless education

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Too many Americans ignorant about their use of government programs

The study’s author, Suzanne Mettler, a Cornell professor of American Institutions, attempted to explain the difficulties the Obama Administration faced in trying to reframe the debate about the effect of government social spending on the economy and on the quality of life of all Americans. [Read the study: The Submerged State]

Mettler argues that most of the effects of social spending are hidden, which she calls the “submerged state.”

To illustrate the difficulty President Obama would have - and is having - in surfacing the submerged state so that we can have a rational discussion about it, she included the results of a 2008 government study asking recipients of government social spending if they had ever used a government social program.

The results are an indictment of American civic literacy.

To wit, 44 percent of Social Security recipients, 41 percent of military veterans, 43 percent of unemployment recipients, 40 percent of Medicare recipients, 43 percent of college Pell Grant recipients and 27 percent of welfare recipients all said they had never used a government social program.

But those programs are not the submerged state, as Mettler describes, instead they were included to illustrate that even obvious government programs are not so obvious to their millions of beneficiaries.

Her main point had to do with other, hidden forms of government spending, such as the home mortgage interest tax deduction. Six out of every 10 respondents to the survey didn’t recognize the deduction as government social spending.

I’d like to see how many people acknowledge corporations benefit from government spending that’s affecting the social programs Americans benefit from every single day. Let’s see how those numbers stack up.

Filed under government government spending politics spending social spending medicare medicaid social security welfare education Pell Grants

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Overindustrializing Accountability in our Schools


Today I woke up to a world— just like many days before— in which capital has triumphed completely, labor has been marginalized and moneyed interests have purchased enough political infrastructure to prevent reform in the lives of my students from Oakland, East Palo Alto and those with whom I will collaborate in the future from NYC, WESTOP and Harlem. If it isn’t abundantly clear, I miss teaching. I miss serving those students who won’t simply be cherry-picked by a perpetuating machine of educational confirmation bias found in “US NEWS AND WHATEVER THE EFF” report.

This world in which our students must have to confront, and in a smattering of cases, violate unjust laws to fight for ethnic studies. This world in which our students of color are exclusively perceived as athletic commodities, or as labor commodities in the prison/industrial complex (see: 13th Amendment which enforces “slave labor while in incarceration” even for the sick and physically prostrate). They are anything  but valued as intellectual commodities that bring unique dynamicism and perspective to the community. This world, in which rules and values of the free market and maximized profit have been mistaken for a social framework, a world where institutions themselves are paramount and every day my students are human beings that matter far less and less.

The result: students blame themselves. They internalize modest expectations placed upon them, when they encounter academic difficulties—simultaneously taking the pressure off the school system to do right by them. People aren’t indispensable, they take time. But there’s value and as educators… we don’t judge talent, we promote talent.

Like the saying goes: “The world going one way, people another.”

Perhaps I’m just trippin’. Perhaps East Palo Alto, Oakland, and Harlem are just more screwed up than some other places…but I doubt it. If that were the case, then these stories would only have meaning for the people there rather than resonate with others such as yourself, Meg. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know… on my favorite journal… that we need people like you—that you matter to the lives of disappearing children (and future generations) within the landscape of survival—and I love your commitment to the movement. On my pride, I do.

The only question is just how many young people we will lose while the public settles for failed systems of reform. But it’ll be a helluva longer wait, without hope.

-Arash D.



Thank you for this letter. I get what you’re saying here one-hundred percent. I tutor athletes and I see their frustration with missing classes and struggling with 1000 level classes. Some of them come from the areas you talk about and receive an athletic scholarship, which they must keep, and many are ill-prepared for college classes. Most of the students who struggle are students of color and a few are from the American Indian reservations in and around Wyoming. We undergraduate tutors try to help them hold on, but the missed classes on top of little preparation means we have an almost insurmountable hurdle. We can’t and won’t do their homework for them. Some of the athletes I work with are incredibly devoted to their academic work, and some care just enough to stay eligible. Frequently, the students who are the most devoted and ill-prepared are students of color. Either way, they’re a commodity, as you described. It is not their individual faults - it’s a world that gives them few options.

And there’s the prison industrial complex… A friend of mine did time in prison and received an award from the data entry company that employed the prisoners 10 hours a day. The award was for the “millionth keystroke” or something similar. So he received a certificate for his forced labor. And prisoners in Wisconsin are now forced labor for county duties, just like many other places. How is this not sickening to people? When we have millions looking for work, the prison-industrial complex “employs” millions who have no choice to refuse, no coverage if they’re injured or killed on the job, and are punished if they refuse to work. The irony? Many of these companies will not employ people if they have criminal convictions - unless they’re behind bars, of course.

It’s just as screwed up in Laramie, Wyo. It’s not endemic to Harlem, to Oakland, but that’s what we hear about because we expect it. This is America, where our citizens of color are still entertainment and indentured servants. Where our teachers are held accountable for results of standardized tests and not the actual lessons they teach students. And where our public schools are warehouses producing and reinforcing systemic inequality.

You’re right - how many more young people will we lose? Hopefully, people like us working towards reform can help stem the tide.

- Meg

Filed under submission reader submission Schools education inequality prison industrial complex commodity

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It is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children. It is not the government’s job. We have sort of lost focus here a little bit. Of course, the government wants their hands on your children as fast as they can. That is why I opposed all these early starts and pre-early starts, and early-early starts. They want your children from the womb so they can indoctrinate your children as to what they want them to be. I am against that.

We need to get the federal government out of that business. We need a leader in Washington to start talking with the states and the communities to rally parents to demand that the educational establishment in this country start meeting the needs of their child, not children. See, that is the difference. Obviously, socialists love children, just like they love people in groups of one million or more.

Republican presidential candidate and professional right-wing wackjob Rick Santorum getting all frothy and attacking early childhood education on the campaign trail in Iowa.

Really, Rick? You’re going to attack preschool? He was probably the biggest dick in pre-k, hoarding all the cookies and trucks for himself in the name of the GOP’s main economic argument: “Mine!”


Filed under Rick Santorum frothy frothy mixture politics 2012 education early childhood education preschool socialism socialist i don't think that word means what you think it means Conservative conservatives Republican republicans

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So you can go to college on Pell Grants — maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it’s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century. You can go to school, collect your Pell Grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, Section 8 housing, and all of a sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don’t have to graduate from college.

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) voicing his opposition to subsidizing higher education back in April. And sure enough, Tea Partiers are attempting to cut Pell Grants.

I could fully rebut this, discuss how hard it is to get Section 8 housing - virtually impossible without dependents. I could point out that Pell Grants are disbursed to the university first, and the student does not receive anything if tuition is not paid in full. I receive the Pell Grant. It’s $2,750 a semester, $5,500 a year. This does not go far. I could go into more details, but I’m tired of this shit. This guy’s net worth makes him the 14th richest member of the US House, though he thinks he’s “cash-poor” and “struggling like everyone else.”

Here’s my message to those people like Rep. Rehberg, who think it’s perfectly acceptable to make it even harder to go to college:


Filed under Pell Grant politics Denny Rehberg Montana college tuition education higher education