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Simon Steele

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Everything posted by Simon Steele

  1. I'm not pleased with the "public option." Biden has clarified, it's what it is now (the medicaid expansion under Obama), except in states that make it too hard, people can get it again. It literally is just Obamacare.
  2. I do think that until Trump is gone (please let it be just two months instead of four years), it's hard to get over that 2016 trauma. Trump subverts every expectation. I think this is also relevant to U.S. politics too (for the reasons you noted). Religious dogma has twisted itself so much into U.S. politics, that a lot of decisions and votes are cast based purely on religious leaders. We have to consider such statements from religious right now as we're seeing judicial activism trying to rollback the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community. My students and I discussed this earlier in the semester. One of them said that as a future teachers, they believed you shouldn't be political in the classroom. We brainstormed a list of "topics" you couldn't address in a classroom (based on this "no politics" rubric), and we quickly came to the conclusion: you can't avoid politics. In the U.S., everything is political--including religion. And much like my stance on healthcare--while I'm glad the Pope is potentially moving in the right direction, so many people just cannot wait for these dogmatic leaders to shuffle into modernity.
  3. Yeah, knowing the details now, it's super fucked up. I left my camera on the other day without realizing. Luckily I just was muttering to myself while folding laundry.
  4. Ugh, I remember when it was floated in our school--"what do you all think about carrying guns?" I think it was after Sandy Hook. It was the most silence I'd ever heard in a staff meeting (and attended by the superintendent). I volunteered first and said, "I was in the military for 8 years, I am comfortable with guns, but if that became a requirement here, I'd find another profession. That is the worst solution." Superintendent didn't care for it, but a lot of teachers later thanked me. All this to say, I don't think these are virtues of a profession (taking work home, buying supplies). We train pre-service teachers to understand this is the reality of their chosen profession though. Much like I think homework for school should go away, I also wish we could make professional unpaid homework go away as well.
  5. A non-related note first: I think this is a worthy discussion for this thread. Equal access to schooling has huge political implications. The better our education system, the more informed and active our future citizens will be in the political process. I put this here because I can't figure out how to insert text above Fury's quote box. Hi Fury--my work is the same, and ultimately, I agree--I think this is true of a lot of careers. We take work home, we manage what we need to do, etc. And this is why I hate making that connection of compulsory schooling as job training (but I did, so let me walk it back a bit). First, as a former Language Arts teacher, trying to tie my classroom content and skills to future careers is a losing battle. Writing essays, reading literature--I was always trying to find ways to make it more relevant and meaningful to their out-of-school experiences right now, as opposed to some career in the future. In fact, I'd argue adolescents in general struggle with the "you need all this to be good workers" or even "good members of society." That seems an infinite amount of time away for a significant percentage of middle and high school students. Thanks for being much more thorough (and kind) than I was. I should not let past squabbles with @Tywin et al. determine how I respond to him. Tywin--you deserve better than that, and I apologize. Guy--that's correct. I taught in public school for 8 years, then traditioned into postsecondary teaching while working on my master's in teaching secondary English, and now working on my PhD in ed psych. (I just passed my comprehensive exams proposal defense this morning--what a load off. I have no doubt the stress and anxiety didn't help me with how I responded to this argument). One thing I've been able to reflect on since leaving secondary ed is that a lot of things we do as teachers that we truly believe are in the students best interest are things we don't always critically evaluate. Homework is the prime example, in my opinion. We believe it's good because that's how it's always been done. We use the same logic that our parents and teachers used on us. Also, there's a stigma surrounding teachers who try to break that mold. In my last few years of public school teaching, I'd begun being exposed to research on homework being ineffective and, worse, harmful to students who need the most support. This occurred at the time our school went to a 1 to 1 technology model--every student has a Chromebook assigned to them in the school. The writing in my class went from a mix of students who had computer access at home, and students who hand wrote everything to all students using Google docs and cloud storage in Google Classroom. This transition, coupled with the research, was a lightbulb for me. For years, students would come to me saying they lost their homework. And of course teachers are snarky to these habitual defenders. "Oh, did you lose it in between your locker and this classroom? Oh, did you forget it at home?" All sarcastically indicating the student was lying. When everything went to the cloud, that's the lightbulb moment I mentioned. Those habitual offenders suddenly had work they completed in class (and sometimes at home), and it wasn't getting lost. I had been teaching and accepting the widely held belief among teachers (this belief existing for generations) that students who didn't have their homework at school, didn't do it. What was really happening was that these students didn't have the same supports at home as more affluent peers. Their parents loved them, wanted them to do well, but their parents worked non-traditional work shifts, couldn't afford technology in their homes, couldn't always be there to reinforce the value of schoolwork. This is an issue of inequity, and it's something we can fix. Those last two years of no homework meant I radically redesigned our curriculum. We read a ton in class, but I never sent it home with them. We read short stories and fewer novels. If we read a novel, we'd work through it in class. What started happening is that a lot of kids would go home and keep reading anyway! I remember one student who came to me once and said his friends were accusing him of cheating for going home with his Chromebook and listening to the audio of a classroom text on Youtube. He said he liked the story and kept wanting to hear it. I told him to absolutely keep doing this. That was it. And his reading scores skyrocketed that year. He never felt "in trouble" or "ashamed" of coming to class, because we completed everything in class. Sorry for the long reply, but I just have to emphasize this point as I see it as a truly political one: Low-socioeconomic status and often race are barriers that subvert equity. These kids will grow up and learn how to work (and bring work home if needed). These lessons are not why they're in school in the first place. I teach future English teachers now, and so many of them love this point of view, and they take it with them to their new teaching careers after graduation. I never tell them they must do this, but I think once you research it, talk it through, the answer is obvious: homework is extremely harmful (and has life-long impacts) to the students we need to help the most. I think the models of education like in Finland are such excellent frameworks we could adapt for our kiddos. ETA: On my self-bolded point above. Homework as we know it is a cultural construct as well. It comes from white middle class and upper middle class values, which is fine, but that culture is not representative of our rapidly changing demographics. We have to start rethinking a lot of education. If some let me make changes, the first thing I'd do is cut the school day in half. Kids are in class in the morning or afternoon (their choice), and the rest of the day they are working with mentors relevant to their culture. The issue is, of course, the hyper-capitalist nature of this society makes mentorship like this hard to achieve. So maybe you'd keep them in school, but not chained to a desk. Teachers would teach less classes and we'd retool their contract to be something like 60 percent teaching, 20 percent research and scholarship, and 20 percent service (this is the higher ed model), but the service could be those mentorship roles. And rightly so! Homework sucks.
  6. Yeah, that's your choice, and guess what? No matter how much or little homework you get has literally nothing to do with college success. Primary and public school is compulsory, college is not. They are not comparable in this instance. Edit: In fact, homework and punishment (low grades) prevent low SES students from going to college. You don't even need to be invested in this research to see how many other countries have successfully moved away from homework and their students flourish. This is literally an argument you can't win because you have no clue what you're talking about.
  7. How many low-paying (or no paying jobs as students are not paid) have you worked where every night and weekends you were sent home with two plus hours of extra work--for which, again, you weren't paid? It's bullshit. You can't argue around it. Look at good educational systems around the world. Some, like China, really push this framework to great success. Others, like Finland, don't have much homework (if any).
  8. I'm working on my doctoral degree in educational psychology. I'm with you. Homework only punishes those who need the most help. Additionally, education in general, (speaking as a researcher and former middle school teacher), hold kids to ridiculous standards of timeliness that no adult has to live by. Sometimes deadlines are serious, and you meet them. Sometimes you talk to your peers and supervisors and ask for more time depending on the circumstances.
  9. I don't like the guy, but yeah, this was a good message. "Anyone would be." I like the humbleness of it.
  10. I see. So, essentially, keep those "bad" races and SES types out of the suburbs. You know, I hate to say it, but it's honestly a message that probably resonates with a ton of suburbanites. My mom and her friends vehemently opposed social housing in their neighborhood back when I used to still communicate with her.
  11. And this is just a narrative I am baffled by. What is he talking about? When were the suburban neighborhoods in danger? I might have missed it, but does this claim have a root in something (aside from the "Great" days of America when white people were terrified of people of color moving into their neighborhoods)?
  12. Thanks for the thorough response. I'm with you--voting rights and money in politics are two battles we have to wage. There are no easy solutions. For me, I have to wonder, is this current system so broken it can't be salvaged. How would we go about a new constitutional convention? Would that even be possible at this point?
  13. I think a lot of political scientists argue that getting rid of the electoral college would be a huge step toward fixing this problem (and ending the two party system which seems to be really the problem). Maybe @DMC can confirm or dispute this? I've only read this second hand through opinion pieces (not the actual people who study this). I have a lot hope things can change if we don't pick the wrong battles. Packing the court seems intuitive to me, but I think Scot's right, it doesn't solve the greater problem.
  14. I'll say it again, Pelosi is wrong (and condescending). This apparently is "good politics" but it's definitely harmful for a lot of people suffering. I don't think it's good politics either. It's nuts. She admitted it's about a check with Trump's name on it. Which, again, is pretty easy to counter.
  15. I feel like it's easy messaging though, right? "We agreed to Trump's plan, but we wanted so much more, and he just wouldn't budge. While it would have cost a lot more, we value you that much." In that way, you draw the most rudimentary difference between Democrats and Republicans: we want to help you and money isn't an issue, vs. Republicans who don't really give a fuck about you. I don't think the net gain for Republicans (if Dems accept) isn't enough to help them in any meaningful way, but the gain for Dems could be huge.
  16. I feel like this is more evidence that they aren't following a logical plan (and I mean the Dem establishment). For Biden, no plan except to do nothing seems to be working. For Pelosi, the plan to say "no" to Trump seems borderline ridiculous when people need help. I mean, it's the same thing with Amy Barrett. No plan. Why are they even showing up for the hearings. She is getting through either way, but to show up and shake your finger at the Republicans still means you showed up and validated the proceedings. Dems should be doing a few things. Not showing up to the hearings, but making it known why they aren't. Pelosi should take Trump's deal because people need help and it shows the Dems aren't obstructionists like McConnell. I think saying they don't have a plan isn't right either. They don't have a vision. Once Trump is gone, they'll be left kind of like the Republicans would be if they overturned ACA. No idea what to do next. People make fun of Trump (rightly so) for berating Clinton and Obama right now, but I'm not so sure the Dems won't be talking about Trump in four years.
  17. I bet we have 1320 polling stations for every 350,000,000 people.
  18. Yes, this is what I meant. That he was living his authentic life--thank you. He's a shitbag separately from this, but any time a person can admit who they really are is just a good thing. I wish he'd do something more positive with it.
  19. I believe her too of course. I was just trying to clarify details (which she may not know).
  20. I'll have to go back and look. I typed it on my phone, which is always a disaster for me. But the intimidation was at the ballot box. The story I saw shared was that people stood in between them and the ballot box (as if on accident--like they were looking at something on the sidewalk). They didn't have masks and would cough loudly toward people. The person shared pictures and video but since took it down because she was afraid she would discourage voting. It's a mess out there.
  21. Yeah, I wasn't clear on that. I know he's not out on a public/national stage, but I was curious if he'd admitted it to himself, or if it was something he was trying to repress. I always assumed the latter. But it sounds like he's well aware of it. Good for him. Too bad he can't be a good person to others in his community.
  22. So he's acknowledged that about himself? I suppose plenty of people that belong to a community have worked to hurt that community, but damn, this guy is a scum bag.
  23. It's in city limits. But ballot box issues are county related. However, the protesters are on the street and sometimes surrounding the ballot box. If the sheriff won't take care of it, I think the police could find some loophole (like they always do when they shoot at us) to get over there and do something. The fishy part of the story is that the local sheriff is a HUGE Trump supporter in a liberal town. Why he and his deputies aren't there, I guess, isn't fishy to be honest. They are, in fact there, just not in uniforms.
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