Thursday, August 29, 2013

Liberal Logic 101

I am sorry if the name of this post offends my liberal friends.  Wait.  Nevermind.  No I'm not sorry.  The story I am about to share with you is a classic example of liberal logic at it's best.

If You Send Your Kid To Private School, You Are A Bad Person.

Yes, that really is the title of an article written and posted on Slate this morning.  The title itself is a joke, but surely the article can't be as bad as it's title makes it sound.  Right?  Wrong.

If you feel up to reading it, please do so.  If not, I'm here to point out some of the more asinine statements made by Ms. Benedikt.  

You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murdererbad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.

Let's start with the opening sentence.  You aren't as bad as the Ft. Hood Shooter, or even George Zimmerman, but you are really bad.  Why?  Because the fact that you want the best for your own flesh and blood is selfish I tell you!  Your personal decision about your child's education means public education will be ruined!

 I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

Yes Ms. Benedikt, you are being judgmental.  You just told a good portion of your fellow citizens that they are bad people, because they pay their own hard earned money to not send their kids to a failing school.  Think about that.  Let's move on.  "It could take generations...".  Ok, so we sacrifice our children now, for something that may or may not happen somewhere down the road.  Unless she's become psychic, she has no true idea if this plan will work.  I wonder if she has kids, and has ever tried to change things within a system that is run by teacher's unions and politicians.  Where teachers sit in school board meetings of school districts they don't even live in, and just demand that the district's citizens pay more in taxes so we can keep full day kindergarten, and we don't have to cut any staff.  (In a school district where a good amount of classrooms have more than one teacher.)  It's all for the common good.  You sacrifice your kid, so maybe one day your great great great great grandchild can attend a better public school system.


She goes on to say that unless your kid is in the school, you aren't truly invested in how it works.  That's true.  I have often thought that people who send their kids to private school, or even homeschool, are taking care of their own without addressing the larger issue.  Taking your kid out of public school doesn't solve the public school's problems.  It just solves your own.  However, a parent's highest calling is not to every other child in the country.  It's to their own children.  Dumping them in a failing school and then trying to change it, is not in the best interest of THEIR child.  Ultimately, the author is saying you are a bad person if you don't sacrifice your own child to benefit future generations.  (A benefit that we don't really know for a fact will happen.  This is just one person's opinion.)

There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to private school. Yes, some do it for prestige or out of loyalty to a long-standing family tradition or because they want their children to eventually work at Slate. But many others go private for religious reasons, or because their kids have behavioral or learning issues, or simply because the public school in their district is not so hot. None of these are compelling reasons. Or, rather, the compelling ones (behavioral or learning issues, wanting a not-subpar school for your child) are exactly why we should all opt-in, not out

So, your child getting the best education you can provide for them is NOT a compelling reason to send them to a private school?  Or better yet, send your kid to a substandard school because you want them to have the best education possible.  Understanding of course, that your child won't get that education.  Some future child might.

I understand. You want the best for your child, but your child doesn’t need it.

Wow. Okay.  So now you have determined what my child and everyone else's child needs.  It's not the best education, they don't need that.  Nope.  They'll be just fine in a school that teaches them that getting the answer right doesn't really matter.  Where the teacher doesn't teach but just tells them to read the book and answer questions.  None of that matters because they have supportive parents.  (Who may or may not be able to teach them the correct way to solve for both x and y.)

After going on to say she got a terrible education in a school with no AP classes, and she even had a terrible college education (which she paid for, by the way), she turned out just fine.  Your child will turn out fine too.

 I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.

And there is your liberal logic.  GIve up your child's good education now so that everyone will have a good education in 25 years.  Not that it will really happen, but it might.  And just the idea that this could work is reason enough.

There is more, go ahead and take a stab at reading it.  Her colleagues that send their kids to private school are morally bankrupt.  Her worldview was changed by getting drunk with the trailer park kids before basketball games.  I'm sure these are all values you want instilled into your children.  Reading Walt Whitman?  Whatever.  Getting drunk?  RIght On!

Now comes my morally bankrupt, spent most of my life in private school, have sent my kids to both public and private school opinion.

Most of the children in America go to public schools.  Quite a few of them have parents who care and who get involved.  Not all parents have the same outlook on what's best, and their goals are not the same.

I sat in on a school board meeting last year where the discussion was on how to deal with our budget shortfall of 3 million dollars.  (About what it cost to put in our state of the art turf football field a few years ago.  The field used for a team that gets introduced with "they didn't count their victories in wins and losses". Mostly because the football team doesn't win games.)  There were teachers and parents arguing that we keep full day kindergarten and just shorten the high school day (which would  save the same amount of moeny).  As a matter of fact, the general consensus of those people was that we should cut high school and middle school, while leaving elementary school intact.  My guess is those people didn't have high school and middle school students.  I heard a few before the meeting discussing the cost of childcare if they could only keep their kids in kindergarten for half a day.  (Much much better for the school to shaft the high school so you don't have to pay for daycare, right?)

My point is, parents, depending on their children's ages, goals and what activities they participate in will fight for their OWN child.  Not the collective good.  A parent with a child in elementary school would much rather have their child's class sizes stay at 15-20, and keep all their teachers, than make class sizes 25 so the high school can keep an  AP class.  The elementary parent isn't considering high school yet.  They have time for that.  But me?  My daughter is a senior, and she doesn't have time.  This is her last year.  I wanted her to be able to get her AP classes, still have a music program and get the best education she can get.  So this idea that if parents who cared enough to put their kids in private school would just put their kids in public school. we could make the system better?  Not  likely.  You'd have a variety of parents, with a variety of opinions on what is good and what isn't.  

And this of course doesn't count in the teacher's unions.  Who want higher pay, better benefits, less working days, less working hours, a whole class period every day so they can plan (because coming in early or staying late just isn't an option).  This doesn't include the fact that firing a bad teacher is really hard because of union contracts.  

It's not as simple as Ms. Benedikt makes it sound.  Maybe  because she's never had to deal with it.  She's an idealist who has blindly ignored the reality of why our public school system is a failing, and has just decided that those parents who choose to not participate in that failing system are bad people.  All we caring parents have to do is sacrifice our own child's education, and this will solve the problems that come from parents who don't care, don't get involved, etc..

Liberal Logic 101:  Let's take away from one set of people and give to other people.  This will solve all our problems.  Except it doesn't.  It doesn't count in human attributes at all.  It doesn't account for individual ways of thinking.  It doesn't make our kids smarter.

Wanting the best for your child and sacrificing to obtain that does not make you a bad person.  And for Ms. Benedikt to say so, makes her woefully ignorant of what being a parent is all about.  Maybe if she'd spend less time drinking and more time reading Walt Whitman....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

That Which Divides Us.

My daughter was looking through posts on facebook the other night when she came across a term she didn't know:  Cisgendered.  I didn't have a clue either, so we looked it up.

Cisgender and cissexual (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where an individual's self-perception of their gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

So we need a term to describe people who are okay with either having male sex organs or female sex organs.  

I look around our country and watch politicians and regular people alike assign everyone they know to a group.  White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Male, Female, and now we have....Cisgender.

There used to be a time when we encouraged our children not to label people based on the circumstances of their birth.  We told our kids not to judge a book by it's cover.  Now, all we do is separate our society into groups based on skin color, religion, and it appears, sexual orientation.   Now according to all those people fighting for transgender rights, I am obligated to qualify myself as cisgender?  

Take a look at all those groups above.  Instead of seeing what's different about them, try finding what's the same.  Let me help you.

We all have a mother and a father. (Whether or not they were good parents, or even parents who were around, it's a basic biological fact that you need both to exist.  Crappy parents is a post for another time.)

We all have a beating heart and a brain.

If you cut us, we all bleed.

We all have fears, hopes, goals and dreams.

We've all smiled, and we've all cried.

We all have unique personalities.

And yet, we divide ourselves, every day, based on one characteristic.  Whether it's skin color or religion, political party or sexual orientation, we separate ourselves into groups.

I am not cisgendered.  I'm a person.  Just because I am a girl, who is perfectly okay with being a girl, doesn't mean I need to be separated into some group, just so that some other group has a name for me.

I am a white female, stay at home mother, of both Christian and Libertarian values.  But beyond every single one of those individual things you will look at to label me, I AM A PERSON.  Same as you.  Same as my neighbors.  Same as people who live on the other side of the world.  

And as far as this country we live in?  We have one more thing in common.  We are all Americans.

You want to end divisiveness and hate and bigotry?  

Stop.Labeling.People.

Period.

The End.