Early morning ponderings on common core education and an update

Stayed in last night and remained totally sober after my situation the other night. That sucked. Knee is still healing and will be for a while. Partly my fault but to hell with any guy who plays that rough with a woman while drunk. Given up that bar for at least the month of June and perhaps forevermore considering that sort of shit is allowed to go on there and seems to be celebrated as spectacle. Already heard it from my close guyfriend and my former and a couple other bar-pals from another location who encourage me to leave that shit alone.

Ever since my last bar closed in March I have been set adrift with nowhere new to land and set down roots. Have also been frequenting another local bar that’s far less busy yet calm and not known for drama. That other watering hole was a hell of a place, and I had been warned in advance. Proved too rough and tumble for me. Hence why so few women like to go in there alone. I’m just not cut out for a joint like that, despite it being so close to my home. In past years I typically avoided it and only on rare occasion went in for a beer or two and stayed to myself on the end, usually when particularly ticked off at my former partner and not wanting to head to my usual bar. That’s all it ever was to me until my bar closed. Gave it a try — unable to assimilate to the atmosphere there, particularly late in the evening. Just too no-holds-barred. The lawyer that owns the joint doesn’t much care about it or what goes on in it, so says everybody. Only interested in money and the police not being called over incidents occurring there. C’est la vie. Didn’t pan out for me there. I don’t have the patience to put up with bullshit when I’m spending money to go out and relax.

So I headed to the other calmer local watering hole this evening and met up with a buddy there. Because I apparently am not interested in pursuing full sobriety at present. Right or wrong. This buddy in question seems pretty smitten, albeit a bit too clingy. Says he’s been married 3 times already. Wow. Not a whole lot older than me. Has one child out of the mix, which he’s involved in serious court battles over at present. Likes to get on to me for not being more of an advocate for fathers or children and whatever else. Because, ya know, those of us who opted to not have kids should totally concern ourselves with yours. Feels like tangling with an MRA sometimes.

He was complaining tonight about the common core curriculum being introduced in schools these days. Yeah, it sucks. I’ve looked into it and detest it, particularly what I’ve viewed pertaining to mathematics. Absolute waste of time, IMO. Told him your options are either to try to change the educational curriculum (with the aid of other parents who feels as you do), put your daughter in a private school (assuming they don’t teach common core there), or figure out how to home-school (or at least supplement school teachings with home lessons). To which he got all haughty and threw a fit because he’s paid property taxes for over a decade at his house and he’ll be damned if that money is all for naught. Hey man, I’m just stating your options. Didn’t make the rules and I didn’t change the curriculum. I personally was pissed when they first talked about doing away with phonics however many years ago. Been disinterested in the education system as a whole ever since, particularly after being subjected to 9 different schools across 3 states before dropping out and getting my GED at the beginning of the 11th grade (circa 1998). Went on to attend the university (and rack up student loan debt) — three actually across three states — and eventually graduated from all of that in 2008. Done dealing with formal education.

My own educational experiences at least have been varied enough to where I gained a bit of a perspective on how much schools can and do differ. Mississippi is known for having the lowest and poorest educational system in the nation. Alabama was a little better, depending on what school you attended. Nebraska proved to be a step up, at least until high school. Attended three years overall at private schools in two Southern states during my k-11 education as well, so I am somewhat familiar there too.

Anyway, he wanted to argue and get irritated because I recommended homeschooling. Well, either you provide your child’s education or you, as the parent, at least supplement it, but if you choose to allow the schools to provide ALL of your child’s education, you’re a fool. That is my firm opinion. Placing way too much trust in these schools while knowing that they are teaching a crazy curriculum that is confusing and likely to hinder your child’s understanding of the subject matter, particularly in mathematics.

Need examples? Here ya go:

I don’t hate it, just don’t find it appropriate on its own, especially for the youngest ages whom I prefer to see the traditional algorithms taught before later moving on to this sort of breakdown as supplementary material. But I don’t have kids and therefore apparently don’t have a dog in that fight.

Still, it’s complicated for young minds whereas memorizing traditional algorithms is less so. First learn the facts of the matter, then later learn the details as to WHY. Because our brains can only comprehend so much when young. Memorization and shorthand is easier at an early age than complex, behind-the-scenes explanations as to how that answer was derived.

At least that’s how it strikes me. Hence why folks need to properly educate their own children more and more if the schools refuse to do so. I don’t like the situation any more than any parent, but THIS is what you’re currently up against. Whether you like it or not. Reason #243 for why I opt to not have kids. Yes, it’s bullshit, I agree. BUT you bred in this day and age, knowing shit has been going insane since the 1960s (or at least should have some sort of inkling in that direction), and now have kids subjected to the bureaucratic nightmare known as the U.S. education system, particularly public schools (and most especially those in low-income areas, rural and urban). Welcome to it. Yes, it indeed does suck. I wouldn’t want to be subjected to any further bullshit beyond what I experienced during schooling in the ’80s and ’90s — yet, here we are as a society, dealing with an even more defunct education system in this country. Not improving. Why? Lots of reasons. Not an easy topic to tackle.

But a big problem certainly is NOT due to learning to carry over numbers in multiplication problems and comprehending in your head what the adding of zeros below means, now claiming that tried-and-true methods are somehow too complex for young minds to grasp. What young minds? Which ones? I’d like to see a breakdown of who this actually entails, specifically among elementary students. Math scores tend to drop as youths approach and enter high school, which many believe is more of a cultural matter than anything else (i.e., teen peers and the wider “pop” culture encourage kids to not appreciate Math and English and whatever else because that’s supposedly nerd behavior, which we all know is deemed lame). I know. I went through it too. So did plenty of others. Just ask around. Nerds aren’t en vogue in middle or high schools typically. And most especially among certain sub-cultures, excluding many Asian students.

We know this shit. And yet we can’t seem to communicate it to one another effectively as often as needed. This man got mad at me, called my idea of home-schooling “stupid” repeatedly, and got all indignant over how much he’s already paid in property taxes before his daughter even entered school. Yeah, well, tough titty said the kitty. What does a man like that expect me to tell him to remedy his plight? Tried relating that property taxes are obviously computed into my rent by my landlord (i.e., we all pay property taxes), but he dismissed that as not counting. Guess only home-owners get to weigh in on this one. And parents.

Yet people still wonder why I choose not to involve myself in matters pertaining to kids? Parents freak out if you’re not 100% in line with their way of thinking. He actually agreed with me by and large but couldn’t cease reacting long enough to figure that out until several minutes had passed in our conversation. Got all self-righteous at the start. Parents like to do that, from my experience. Just prone to do so. Can’t take criticism well, which I can understand to a degree, but damn. It’s not even criticism of you personally, just taking a look at your options.

You as a parent are unhappy with what your child is taught in school.

SO…your choices are:

1.) Tolerate it anyway (and keep bitching while doing little to nothing to alter the situation)

2.) Change what your child is being taught (via lobbying your school boards and whatever else)

3.) Send your child to a different school that doesn’t teach what you’re objecting to (likely at a high financial cost)

4.) Home-school your child so that you can control their curriculum to the best of your ability (though standardized testing from the state remains in force)

5.) OR, supplement your child’s learning with what you deem more valuable and/or preferable so that they learn other approaches to material (which requires a great deal more effort and time on the part of parents)

THOSE are your options. Other than not having kids in the first place, tell me what your other options might be. I can’t think of any.

So when parents get pissed off at me for weighing in and not sounding like I am 100% in accord with whatever their positions are, I have to say rubbish. These are your options and YOUR kids. I can only tell you what I theoretically would be inclined to do, but I am not in your position and therefore am not burdened with that conundrum. Which seems to tick parents off for some reason, probably the mere fact that I am not having to endure this experiment alongside them.

That’s something I run up against time and time and time again. Beginning to think parents are just jealous of those of us who don’t have kids. Because, yes, life is simpler. Might be more shallow too, I don’t doubt it, at least compared up against parents who care (since not all do, as news stories regularly enough attest to). Probably good for most folks to have families and give a damn about them and find ways to improve their children’s odds of succeeding in life. If that’s your thing, go for it. Please don’t breed if you’re not going to give a damn about your kids and show it in meaningful ways. That’s my only request, though it falls on blind eyes and deaf ears since only a caring potential parent would heed such a moral request. But it’s a warning too, because those who breed haphazardly without regard for the fathers’ involvement or the child’s genuine welfare are unfortunately out-breeding everybody else. Sad fact of life at present. I don’t like it any more than the rest of you.

Yet some folks out here squawk at people like me, saying we’re selfish assholes for not breeding so as to counteract this trend. LOL  As if it were that easily solved. Already over-populated enough, at least according to my own sensibilities. (Tired of so many of you. Ha! True though.)  We can’t breed ourselves out of this conundrum. Way too easy to do and so incredibly not likely to work. Because I’m not having 6 kids to offset what some welfare-collecting single mom is doing. Nope. Not about to happen. And even if it had happened, my kids likely (possibly?) wouldn’t be raised to be such depraved hooligans that they’d stand much of a chance up against those who are. And I don’t wish to subject my child to that, nor do I want the responsibility of raising a child in the first place. Certainly wouldn’t know how to prepare them for the future, that much I do know. Crazy times ahead. Not going to be pretty. People are going to get hurt and killed in the process of whatever is unfolding politically and socially. Extends way beyond our educational system at this point. Do we not know this?

Yet ya’ll breed. And then complain that life is not conforming to your expectations and wishes. Then you berate people at the bar with no more power to change this shit than you have. And give grief to those of us who don’t have kids since “it must be nice” (Ha! Yes, actually it is. No lie.). We’re a bunch of whiners. Become a nation of assholes and idiots. How long has this been the case? Sixty years? More than that? Yes, it sucks. So much sucks. And what are we going to do about it? Bitch louder? That’s mostly all I hear.

We’re cowards. Proving to be not a whole lot better than the naive Swedes, come to find out. Apparently. This is so far what we’re demonstrating. How many of us will actually step up and in what ways, to what extents? Time will tell…

Talking about secession

Thought just went through my mind that I probably should share to help better clarify my position on secession in the United States. I’ve come to the point where I think we’d be better dissolving the Union into however many factions it takes to get most of us off of each other’s necks. We need some breathing room. And there I’m mostly thinking about physical space, our present environment and those we interact with daily. When it comes to locality, we need to be able to agree on at least a few things. We need some sense of unity and belonging within groups we can navigate in effectively, unlike how we have it today with a national population stretching toward 300 million. Even in our states we have, what, a couple million at least? In our cities and towns we’re up against thousands if not a million or more people, and this creates the situation we have now where we have lost political control.

Can’t hold onto the reins anymore. Not under these conditions. At present, we’re screwed. I’ve thought about all of this for a long time and can’t figure out how to get the majority of Americans to embrace truly life-affirming principles that we can practically all agree on, not when these contradict and threaten the current political setup and its financiers. Most people are too invested in this Game — they’re not willing to turn tail and try something radically different. BUT, I personally think the risk could pay off if we can start laying the groundwork for producing the basics we need to survive. If we can’t break free from our dependence on major corporations and government aid and subsidized goods, we’re in no real position to bargain with the powers-that-be because we have no alternative to retreat to. We’re growing increasingly dependent on this system, plain and simple.

So there I see physical and legal secession as useful to break apart from the stranglehold of federal power. I also see it useful for separating ideologically opposed groups so they can cease fighting incessantly and just go live how they think is best. This is real diversity — tolerating people going their own ways. Some folks will never reconcile their differences and preferences, so I say let’s see what happens when ideologies and social theories hit the pavement. I want to know how various groups will fair if left to do so. Trade relations and cooperation across groups is fine and dandy, but maybe we don’t all need to live right next door to one another. Maybe this violation of our sensibilities can never be fully cured because some people will remain bigoted or otherwise opposed to others no matter what. How else can we ends these useless political feuds? They’re turning out to be competitions to nowhere.

With all that said, I think the internet is fantastic for allowing various people to observe, listen to, or read the works of people we are curious about. This is where we can really come together on some level because we’re each at a safe distance from one another and can take time with one another’s inquiries and arguments. This is a wonderful medium for allowing people who otherwise wouldn’t come into contact in a candid setting to be able to consider and express ideas. This is where we shouldn’t all divide off into separate tribes but instead come at it with our own questions, concerns and thoughts. In a sense, the internet is a good place to get real. Anonymity aids in that as well. Unfortunate that we so often waste this opportunity by spending our time provoking and jabbing one another, because we are provided a safe distance. This medium can allow for so much more than that, and I see so many smart people reaching out to interact. Would be nice if we could turn our attention to more important matters than popularity contests of opinions and cutting others down to make ourselves feel better.

There appears to be a yin and a yang to human needs. On one hand, we need physical space and separation. On the other, we need community support and identification. We require both respect of privacy and freedom of expression in order to be fulfilled. We need a place to rest our weary souls and be loved, and we need a place for intellectual stimulation and interaction with a wide assortment of people and ideas. Maybe if we could get the fuck up off each other’s necks, we’d be in a better space to community more openly and honestly. But as it stands now, we’re all turning neurotic, all jammed up under one big umbrella together, trying to drag one another in the direction we think the whole society should go in. There is no one-size-fits-all that people will be satisfied with, so we’re guaranteed to feud forever. What’s the point in that? We get to where we can’t discuss anything since we’re so much in opposition and projecting onto—to where we wind up mirroring—competing groups. These aren’t all matters we can compromise on. People’s principles are involved and idealized visions vary. Just a fact of life.

This experimental melting pot has been useful in showing us new ways of relating and exposing us to people we otherwise might not have bonded with. This has allowed people to expand beyond old tribal thinking where racial homogeneity was typical. We now have the power and insight to redefine how we shape tribes, if that is to be desired. But we have to keep in mind that humans have evolved the entire time up until fairly recent history to be tribal peoples. Our psychologies are adapted to handling clans and tribes. Confederations proved valuable as well over time. But where we’re headed now with our civilizations is proving destruction and unsustainable — ecologically, socially, and psychologically. In short, our current path is fucking us up. And we know this. And I’m not convinced we can navigate effectively in this massive of a system as we have today. That’s my own opinion.

But we can faction off, theoretically anyway. We possess that power as both citizens and human beings. But we must create sustainable alternatives in order for this to be feasible.

We’re not all going to get along, no matter how small the group we associate with, but when it comes to shared values, we do need a community on board with us. That’s social empowerment, and it helps us stay in line with our key moral beliefs when others we interact with share them enough in common that we can coincide in relative harmony (as compared against the chaos of today in our neighborhoods and cities). We want different thing in life,  and we can’t coerce all others into accepting our way of looking at things.

This is just my dream. I don’t expect it to occur, but this is where my imagination keeps taking me. I wish there were a way, because I think we’d be happier and more tolerant of differences if exposure in some cases could be more limited. We’re currently locked in moral/legal competitions that getting us nowhere other than in hotter water. While we stay distracted with that shit, those who do possess great amounts of power continue sealing a deal that most humans won’t be better off with. Because that’s the nature of power. This is how it can and usually does roll if left unchecked. And we’re way past the point of controlling the reigns through the legal “proper” channels.

Care to hear a song that captures my attitude about those who wish to live 180° differently than some other group? Here ya go:

You can move
You can move to the moon
If I don’t see you again for 20 years
It’ll be too soon

That was “Time To Let It Go” by Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm. Pretty much sums up my sentiments at this juncture.

Clans are what we make of them. We’re always going to face disagreements, but as it stands today we can’t avoid them bombarding us. At what point do we let it go and turn in another direction?