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thoughts on life, parenting, news, and crazy shit

Month: July, 2020

Another Irritated Rant About Pandemic Education In Manitoba: It Still Sucks

yellow and black caution wet floor sign

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The Manitoba Provincial government just announced its plans for sending all children back to school full time, 5 days a week in September.

Oh GOODY.

Look, as a parent part of me is doing the fucking happy dance. My children need an elsewhere to be. As in anywhere that isn’t right beside me on the couch while I work, while I teach, while I take a shit.

I can’t even express how tired I am. And before you get all preachy and remind me to cherish this time with them, back up.  I have been cherishing them every single second of every minute for 5 months now, and I have run out. I need a break. I need some off time. I need to take off one of the hats I have been wearing because for reals my kids need to hear the perspective of someone who is not me.

And obviously, the best place for them is school in normal circumstances. They need some structure, and social development, and math and all of that French stuff.

So yes, part of me is over the moon.  I can almost taste the moment I shoo them off to school and the house will be silent for the first time in over half a year.

BUT.

And it’s a big but. Baby Got Back sized BUT.

As usual with this fucking government, the “what” has been decreed upon us, with absolutely no thought about how it is going to actually be implemented.

As usual, despite the fact that not one classroom teacher has originally been consulted about how they are going to logistically make this work in their classrooms, the buck is now being passed onto the school divisions that now have about a month to figure out how to keep thousands of school aged kids and their staff safe once we cram the kids back into school this fall.

SO many questions haven’t been answered:

  1. Classrooms are overcrowded as it is.  How do we expect to configure classrooms to keep them 6 ft apart?
  2. If my child has a runny nose, are they not allowed to go to school? Do they need to stay home for two weeks?  Does their sibling? How will working parents cope with this with their employers?  Has the Minister of Education collaborated with other departments that will mandate flexibility with employers for parents who will need to accommodate their children?
  3. If a teacher is sick, do they need to stay home for two weeks? Do we have enough substitutes? Will substitutes be trained in all the health and distancing protocols at schools? Will they only be allowed to work in one school?
  4. If a student in one cohort tests positive, will this affect all of the children in a sibling’s cohort as well? Should it?
  5. Will more time be spent washing hands and managing behaviour than is reasonable? How will this affect learning?
  6.  How will we take care of our educators and the stress this will undoubtably cause them? Are we prepared for the toll this will take on staff? Is it reasonable for us to force them to be responsible for the health of our children?
  7. Why hasn’t the government committed to hiring more teachers, educational assistants and custodians to support a system whose needs have been amplified exponentially?
  8. If masks are recommended in all other indoor places, why are they not for schools?
  9. If it is same for hundreds of students to be in school together, why is community use of schools not permitted?
  10. Are we sure that we aren’t using our children as guinea pigs so that parents no longer have to scramble for childcare?  Are we sure we aren’t prioritizing the economy over the best interest of our community?
  11. Perhaps most significantly, is there a solid, thought out and viable plan in place for distance education when a second wave hits and we are likely all locked down again? Are we ready for that? Is there funding set aside to meet those challenges?

I get it, I really do.  We can’t live locked in our houses forever, we need to learn to live with this thing. The current situation is not sustainable and we need to move forward.

But why in the name of all the almighty fucks in the universe do these bureaucratic dipshits make all these statements without asking the people who actually have to put things in play whether or not it’s actually going to work? What SHOULD have happened is a committee or committees comprising of teachers, administrators and parents from various demographics should have been put together to assess needs, consider viable plans, and implement the best ones. Not some useless survey with vague yet somehow leading questions that helped the government feel better about themselves.

We need more information.  You have literally had almost half a year to have helpful conversations with front line staff, and instead you have sat in your ergonomic office chair, creating all these useless plans that really tell us nothing logistically.

My confidence in the leadership of this province is literally about as low as it could possibly get.

That wasn’t a challenge, Goertzen.  Get your head out of your politicized ass and start consulting the right people.

 

The Age Of “Google PHDs” is Threatening Actual Expertise

person holding white scroll

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Whatever happened to respect for expertise?  How did the definition of what makes us an expert get so blurry? When did folks get so arrogant that they became offended or suspicious of real credentials? When did an uneducated, unfounded opinion become viable in trumping years of study, experimentation, peer based discussion and review?

Like many folks, I have watched in utter disbelief during this pandemic as conspiracy theorists and regular everyday folks have tried their best to dismantle every single piece of advice or information given to us by experts in all fields. Whether it has been “debunking” public health regulations, denying systemic racism, denouncing the need for feminism, or calling every decision made by a political leader a quest for dictatorship and world domination…..suddenly everyone is a fucking expert. 

As these toxic practices progress, some are going even further by literally trying to dismantle or discredit the value of higher education. Universities and Colleges are accused of brainwashing people and threatening family values. Are we seriously entertaining the thought that spending your downtime doing confirmation bias internet searches are superior to years of thoughtful discussion, research and study? 

I’m sorry, but this is more than just offensive to me and most reasonable humans that I know. The arrogance stemming from absolute ignorance is astounding.  It’s terrifying to me.  It threatens real knowledge and the advancement of technology, social constructs and the recording of history. 

You know who else thinks they know it all but are an actual threat to themselves? Teenagers.  And then one day they become adults with more experience and wish that they had listened to the ones who most of the time knew better and most likely had their best interest at heart.  

When did expertise become a dirty word? When did having expertise make you in cahoots with some evil plot to control nations and the general public?

As someone who studied music from the age of eight, with almost two decades worth of teaching experience, several years of specialized pedagogical training, program development and administration experience, and ongoing peer support and discussion regarding all of those things, I would absolutely be horrified at the thought of someone deciding that they had spent several hours “researching” how to play and teach violin, and then publicly declaring that what my experience and education have proven time and time again are all lies. That I am lying to parents about the benefits of music study in order to control their children and degrade their family values. That they know the actual secret to becoming a virtuoso despite the fact that they do not even know how to properly hold their bow. They don’t know how to make a resonant sound.  They even don’t understand what resonance is.  They declare themselves to be more knowledgeable than an expert, despite the fact that they can’t perform the basic tasks associated with playing a violin.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?  

Expertise is earned. There is no fast track. It begins with basic understanding, then expands into proficiency and discovery. The discoveries happen when you have enough knowledge to know which questions to ask. Expertise is a product of real time hours logged and building on knowledge that has been passed down. Sometimes facts are challenged, and we evolve in our methods. This takes years, and guidance, and dedication.

And yet, there seems to be an entire movement of people out there who feel threatened by the validity of a higher education in a particular topic. We can’t all be experts in all things.  It’s ok for someone to know more than you and for you to accept what they tell you at face value. 

The internet is a double edged sword.  There is a ton of information regarding just about anything. It can be amazingly useful or downright hazardous. But we have to remember that while YouTube can teach us to change a car tire or manually empty a dog’s bladder (that’s a whole other post) those things don’t make us a car mechanic or a veterinarian. It makes us capable of performing certain tasks related to car or dog ownership. 

We need to be careful where we draw the line between being informed, being arrogant, and being insane. 

If you aren’t sure which stage you’re in, look up how to play violin, and challenge me to a play-off when you think you’re ready. That might help make it more clear.

 

Freedom And Entitlement Aren’t The Same Fucking Thing.

close up photo of red neon light signage

Photo by Ronu00ea Ferreira on Pexels.com

What does freedom mean, really?

Well, to me it means being able to make decisions that benefit oneself while still considering the greater needs of the community around them.  It means being able to study, worship, believe, exist, access, live, work, or play as you chose, as long as those choices don’t negatively impact or harm others around you. It means that men, women, and non binary folks are all on a equal playing field regardless of those things and regardless of race or faith.

But here’s the thing.  Freedom without consequences is a scary thing.   Just because we have the right to do something, doesn’t mean we should.  That’s where conscious, values, and ethics come in.   

I believe a lack of all of those things is what we are seeing in the United States right now.  Trump is somehow managing to convince people that their freedoms are at stake, while systematically removing their freedoms. Ironic, isn’t it?

He literally has been so good at creating these wedge issues that nobody right of centre seems to be noticing the actual infringement on real rights that is going on.  While these idiots are busy screaming about their rights because they are being asked to wear masks, he is little by little eroding the right to peacefully demonstrate against issues that really do threaten freedoms, while erasing any progress made to protect people over the last decade or so.

All these folks who support Trump are so full of shit.  Pretending like they give a rat’s wet ass about poverty or racism or child trafficking when the very man they support is so busy trying to gaslight the country into stupidity.  None of them is concerned about any of those things.  They are concerned about anything changing enough that the system built to benefit the few is in danger of changing to benefit the many.

Seriously.  Ask yourself, how does wearing a mask take away your freedom?  It promotes it, you dumb bints. You need a haircut? Want a sandwich?  Wear a mask. Bingo. Fuck already.

Stop confusing freedom with entitlement.  They aren’t the same.  Entitlement happens when we have such inflated senses of self importance that we no longer feel like we need to consider others in our decision making process. Entitlement happens when we can’t understand how our actions impact others and so we assume they don’t. It assumes that our own desires are the only ones that matter.

Take home:   If you think that you are going to convince me that being asked to wear a mask is an infringement on freedom, while simultaneously trying  to convince me that things like systemic racism aren’t real, you might as well just save your breath and your keyboarding efforts.

Cause I call bullshit.

 

 

 

 

Restricting Access To Contraception Isn’t About Faith, It’s About Control.

contraception pill

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Last week the US Supreme Court decided that employers could cite religious or moral objections for deciding not to cover women’s need for contraception.

Because OF COURSE they did.

Many US lawmakers also don’t want women to have access to abortions for any reasons, not ever, so logically you think that enabling access to contraception would be a no-brainer.

But instead of eliminating reasons women seek abortions in the first place, lawmakers have decided to create a situation where without affordable or free contraception options for women, they will find themselves more likely to be in a situation for needing one.

How the FUCK does that make sense?

I’ll be honest with you.  I don’t like abortions.  I don’t like the thought of eliminating the potential for life.

I also don’t like the idea of someone imposing their beliefs and opinions on me or other women through legislation.  I don’t like the idea of someone legislating my uterus.  I don’t like the idea of someone else deciding that a fetus has more rights or value than a living and  breathing woman.  And I certainly don’t like the hidden agenda behind doing so.

What I DO believe is that we can advocate for choices that encourage life where it is possible, while ensuring that women are supported no matter what they decide to do with their bodies.  I believe that if we eliminate the reasons why women feel like they have to terminate pregnancies: poverty, assault, abuse, coercion, trauma, illness etc etc and prevent unwanted pregnancies through education and access to good health care, we will greatly reduce the number of abortions that occur.

So that is why it is absolutely mind boggling to try and understand what one’s “moral objection” is to providing access to contraception?

Spoiler alert:   There isn’t one that should be recognized by the fucking Supreme Court of Anywhere.

If you are thinking that this is anything other than extreme right wingers trying to maintain control of women by forcing unwanted pregnancies on them and keeping the cycle of poverty going, you are either just plain lying to yourself or out to lunch.

Does anybody really actually think that it is your business if a woman has sex outside of marriage? Or if she is in a partnership but for whatever reason isn’t ready/able/interested in having babies you are here to tell her she has to anyway?  If there was really a moral objection to sex make sure and take all the dick hardening medications off the approval list for coverage too.  Because sex is dirty, right?

What the actual fuck is going on here?

I’ll tell you what I think.

People have used extreme religious views to try and control each other for just about ever. All the way back to the crusades and prior to that.  They use the things that they believe in or maybe just find convenient as an excuse to act like pieces of shit to one another.  They use Jesus or Allah or the God of Whatever  as a shield so that they can cite their religious beliefs for acting like a bunch of assholes.

Do you really think this is any different?

This isn’t about morals. It’s not about religious rights.  It’s about control.

And even if it wasn’t, the separation of Church and State is clear- you cannot create policies or laws that benefit one particular faith. The US is getting really really bad at remembering that.

This is just the beginning. The war on women will continue as long as Trump is in office. Wake up, America.

 

 

 

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