Monthly Archives: July 2017

It’s Not Me; It’s Your Standards

Did you know that college professors often get asked to change the grade of a student who thinks he/she deserves a higher one?

“…plenty of professors have told me that when many of their students get to college, they lug into the classroom a sense of academic entitlement—a belief that their papers and exams should be graded on how hard they’ve worked, not how well they’ve mastered the material.”

This is relevant in my home state of Indiana right now–because the Board of Education is conducting an investigation about why so many college graduates are unable to pass the State exams to get their teaching licenses.

Instead of asking ourselves whether colleges are graduating students who aren’t actually ready to teach, many Hoosiers are simply concluding THE TEST IS TOO HARD.

Nobody seems interested in the fact that Universities have spent the last few years telling kids they’re smarter than they are.

Nobody even MENTIONED the term “College Grade Inflation” in this article.  (Look it up!)

Meanwhile, Americans across the board are lagging behind other developed countries in basic math/reading skills.

 

Check out this article: Americans are getting dumber.

“In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test…

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test…”

That’s kind of depressing, isn’t it, Americans? (I mean, assuming you could read and understand that block quote…?)

Maybe I’m wrong. But, it seems that people in Japan, Canada, Finland, and Australia are spending time learning how to apply facts, while Americans are spending their time learning how to make excuses for failures.

“I was tired.” or “I wasn’t given enough time” or “That wasn’t on the practice test!” or “I’m not going to need that information anyway”  or “I worked hard–so that should count.”

Nobody likes to fail. But it seems Americans are especially good at giving each other excuses for it. We hardly ever choose to accept blame for something, when we’re given the option to blame something that’s out of our control.  (We’re quickly realizing that there is ALWAYS something out of our control, that’s convenient for blaming.)

—–

Truly, I’d be more likely to believe the tests are unfair if our entire culture didn’t spend so much time elevating FEELINGS to the same level as facts.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty obvious that our entire education system focuses much, much more on “positive thinking” than on good scholarship, just by looking at the things we say to anyone who is struggling to get the result they want:

7.28.17 Meant To Teach

“I am meant to teach…” no matter what the tests say…

7.28.17 Meant To Teach (#2)

“I know at some point I WILL get it”…

(Well, no argument there.  Luck will be on her side eventually.)

7.28.17 Meant To Teach (#3)

“Our kids need loving teachers…”

(But why don’t we ever talk about “knowledgeable” teachers???)

7.28.17 Meant To Teach (#4)

“This test is keeping good educators from entering the classroom.”

(Again, he assumes he knows what a “good educator” is, better than the test.)

7.28.17 Meant To Teach (#5)

“Just because someone can pass a test doesn’t mean they’ll make a great teacher.”

(Apparently Orange Commenter thinks the only test a teacher needs to pass is whether another teacher likes them…)

Too many Americans–who likely graduated from public schools–now seem to believe that feelings and intentions count for more than whether a teacher actually knows his/her stuff.

You’ve seen the meme, I’m sure:  “Student’s don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

This has become a mantra in the education field.

“Students don’t care how much you know!”

“Students don’t care how much you know!”

 And I’m over here shouting, “Maybe they don’t care what you know–BUT THEY SHOULD!!!”

(For the record, I will teach my children that wise people seek out the most knowledgeable mentors–even if they’re not the nicest ones. If somebody has proven they are an expert in a certain area, you would be a fool to ignore what they say, just because you don’t think they “care” enough. That’s another ridiculous, American excuse for staying ignorant.)

—–

Meanwhile, it’s just a matter of time before we start complaining to the world researchers that their tests ranking us below Japan, Canada, Finland, and Australia were tooooooo haaaaaaard!

I bet we’d catch up with the rest of the developed world if we changed the test and started asking everybody how PASSIONATE they are about taking it.

If question #1 was, “How much do you believe in your ability to pass this test?” Americans would select, C. I can do anything if I work hard enough.  And, of course, by the new standards, that would be the correct answer!

We’ve got a lot of “passionate” and “positive” people in this country!

Somehow, we always find ways to believe we’re on the right track–and we deserve to follow our dreams–no matter how many times reality smacks us in the face.

We just know we’re MEANT to do it, even when our dream is to teach young minds how to become Olympic swimmers and we don’t know how to float.

The tests are wrong. They didn’t ask the right questions.

Indiana has plenty of caring people who are eager to educate the next generation about how to blame unfair tests for bad grades…if we can just make it a little easier for them to get a teacher’s license!

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“You Better Help, Lady!”

I get a lot of mom-related advertisements in my social media feeds.  (Because, obviously.)

Anyway, this gem from Yoplait popped up the other day…

…and I just couldn’t handle the glaring irony.

 

I’ll quote the relevant parts of the transcript to demonstrate what bothers me.

Host: “We’re doing this really cool hidden camera social experiment about moms…”

Host: “Moms face a lot of judgment on social media…”

*experiment begins*

Host: (*while watching from hidden camera*)  “Come on, Mom, get in there!…(*whispers*) Oh, you better help, Lady!”

There…do you see what I mean?

Did you catch what’s happening here?

Okay, I’ll spell it out:

They’ve set up a hidden camera to make sure that one mom isn’t “judging” another mom.

In other words, they’re literally monitoring from backstage–watching to see if these moms behave the way they want them to behave.

How does Western Don’t-Judge culture keep missing this?

How is a Hidden Camera Experiment not inherently judgmental?

And, if that’s not clear enough, then here are pieces of Experiment #2:

 “Let’s see if these other moms offer themselves up as impromptu audiences [for the little girl]…”

(*hidden camera rolls*)

Host: “So far, so good!”

(*after the test-subject does what they wanted*)

“We have hidden cameras everywhere. And you nailed it, girl!”

And then, here’s me, while I’m listening to this:

Come on, guys, this isn’t that difficult.

We’re not making the world a less-judgmental place.

We are trying to teach people how to judge in more socially-accepted ways!

Now, before anyone gets the idea that I’m AGAINST this experiment–or AGAINST judgement in general–that’s not what I’m trying to say.

I’m pro-judgement, for this very reason.

I embraced the idea that I’m “judgmental” a long time ago, because I realized it’s impossible NOT to judge. 

I’d much rather admit to everyone that, yes, I’m watching you in public (and, yes, I think some are making good decisions and some are making bad ones), than try to pretend I’m not judgmental…WHILE SITTING BEHIND A CAMERA AND MONITORING HOW OTHER MOMS BEHAVE.

That’s just silly.

We can agree about this, right?

The only way to thank each other for doing something nice/good is if we judge first. Think about that. The problem isn’t watching and judging the choices other people make.

Instead, the problem is when we judge by unfair or untrue standards–such as giving ourselves a pass that we don’t give to others.  Or judging to make ourselves feel superior.

Once we understand that our goal is to start judging correctly, well then we’ve made a breakthrough.

Then we can have the conversation about whether it’s really fair and true that mothers should always “help” take pictures of a snotty kid who keeps sticking out his tongue.

(Yes, the host whispering “You better help, Lady!” still rubs me wrong. Like, maybe, if it were MY kid, I really wouldn’t want another mother to “help” by begging him to smile, when he’s being a turd. But, whatever.)

Anyway, my point is, embrace the fact that you’re judgmental.

Just embrace it!

At least when we admit that there are certain standards of behavior we expect other moms to follow–then these hidden-camera experiments actually make sense to test each other…

…instead of being completely hypocritical.

It’s Science!

Science doesn’t “say” anything.

Occasionally, a scientist will get involved with a cultural debate by sharing his/her opinions.  But, most of the time scientists are too busy asking questions and doing experiments to say for certain whether God exists or whether you “should” use cloth diapers or co-sleep with your baby.

So, when someone claims that “science says” something, what they mean is:

“Scientists published a research paper, which was interpreted by an internet magazine, which was turned into click bait by a few bloggers that I follow…

…and then I did some ‘research’ which involved Googling ‘Why Vaccines Will Kill You’…

…and that’s how I came to be educated about THE SCIENCE!”

The enlightened scholars rarely admit that research papers only take small samples of populations–and then publish suggestions about what might be happening to cause a certain result.

If they ever actually read any of the studies, they might stop pretending that scientific literature ever says anything like, “Therefore, you are correct and your mother-in-law is wrong–and spanking REALLY IS child abuse. Case closed.”

(No, that would be the internet magazine editor who came to that conclusion.)

But explaining this to an Enlightened Internet Scholar may be a lost cause.

Whatever skepticism they are capable of using, they tend to reserve ALL of it for any research papers that disagree with their favorite theories…

“Well, that’s just one, small study!”

Or, “That research group is known to be biased!”

Or, “Correlation does not equal causation!”

They simply will not apply the same criticisms, with the same intensity, to their own  side.

Therefore, if you can’t beat them, join them!

Don’t try to reason with a person who honestly believes “science says” the same thing as an opinion piece in “Psychology Today.”

Instead, just show them:

There is a God. (click)

Crying-to-sleep doesn’t damage children. (click)

Vaccines don’t cause autism. (click)

(Also, parents ought to spank their kids!)

*shrugs* If you want to stay ignorant, that’s fine with me.

I’M JUST TELLING YOU WHAT THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH SAYS!!!

 

Sanctimommy

This Isn’t a Hard Question, Doc.

So there I was, engaged to be married in roughly six months, waiting to see the “Lady Bits Doctor” for the first time. I was there for a pelvic exam and my first prescription for hormonal birth control.

20-years-old.

Virgin.

Accompanied by my mother.

I think that pretty much sets the stage…

Unfortunately, things weren’t going super smoothly.   Within 10 minutes, the Doc had already doubted my claim to virginity (by asking my mother whether she “believed me”) and then proceeded to demonstrate on a plastic model where the penis is supposed to go.

(Apparently he thought the reason I hadn’t been sexually active is because I didn’t know HOW.)

Shortly after that, we discussed the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, which I wrote about on my old blog, here.

Doc:  “It only takes having sex one time to catch it!”
Me:  “And are some people just born with HPV?”
Doc: “No, it’s an STD. But it’s spreading like crazy, and having sex with an infected person once puts you at risk.”
Me: “But, my fiance and I are virgins.”
Again, Doc repeated, “The virus…could put your unborn children in danger. Is it something you’re willing to gamble?”
Finally, I demanded a straight answer: “If two people have sex with ONLY each other, for life, is there a risk for HPV?”
“No,” he said almost begrudgingly.
“Well, then that sounds like a prenup to me. Thank you, I will opt out.”

I thought that my questions were clear and based on a fairly solid understanding of reproduction, so I couldn’t figure out why Doc seemed to be dodging.

But it wasn’t over yet.

Finally, we arrived at the Contraception Discussion, and I told Doc I was interested in “The Pill.”  So he began explaining how they work…

“The advantage to hormone birth control is that it prevents pregnancy TWO ways,”  Doc began.  “It’s designed to trick a woman’s body into thinking she’s already pregnant, which usually keeps her from ovulating. But, even if you were to ovulate, there is backup protection built in. Hormone pills thin the lining of the uterus, so an egg cannot implant.”

Oops!

Hang on, a minute!

I had another question.

“You mean a fertilized egg won’t be able to implant, right?”  I asked.

Again, Doc looked as if he had no idea why I might even be asking such a thing.

“Riiiight,” he said.

“So the human zygotes can’t attach where they’re supposed to?” I continued.

“Well, it’s just a back-up,” he replied, back-tracking. “Most women won’t ovulate at all.”

At this point, I sort of felt like grabbing his face and saying focus!  But, instead I asked, carefully, “Does the Pill cause very early miscarriages?”

Doc looked relieved!

“No, not miscarriages!” he assured me.   And he repeated again, “It just thins the lining of the uterus to keep eggs from implanting!”

Then Doc wrote my prescription. And I confidently took that version of The Pill for roughly three years before my husband and I decided to have our first baby.

The only problem was, my doctor’s answer wasn’t completely truthful.

And, now, I have no idea whether that pill actually prevented me from ovulating for three years, or if my husband and I conceived any humans that weren’t able to survive because of the “back up” feature.

Now, I don’t want to believe Doc “lied” on purpose.

Maybe he misunderstood what I was asking.  Maybe it was my fault for saying “miscarriage” instead of “spontaneous abortion,” which is the more medically-common term for early miscarriage. (It’s kind of like the word “murder” gets used for average people–while important folks get “assassinated.”)

If I had asked Doc whether The Pill causes “very early assassinations,” he would have been correct to say “no, not assassinations!!!”  But he also would have been wrong, if he knew what I meant and said “no” just to get rid of me.

The fact is, sometimes as many as half of women on hormone contraceptives will continue to ovulate, at least occasionally. And, if any of their eggs were fertilized, then the newly-conceived human zygotes would not be able to burrow into the uterus to be fed and grown.

Thanks to The Pill.

You can read more about it here.

I understand why a doctor would hesitate to answer a moral question, like “should I take the pill?”  or “will this make me a bad person?”

But the question I was trying to ask was a direct and fairly easy one.

“Will ‘The Pill’ make my womb an unsafe place for a newly-conceived human zygote?”

The answer to that is: YES.

 

My White People Tears

Today I learned that the website AfroPunk exists…

And people actually sit at their computers and write stuff like this: “Having White Friends Comes With Trauma I’m not Willing To Deal With Anymore”

“I can’t take no ‘mo, White People…

My dad warned me about White People when I was around 7 or 8. He told me that no matter how close I felt to these people, I would always be first and foremost Black in their mind.

…I’ve learned that Daddy-o was onto something and the ugly truth is that in one way or another, White friends, largely, just aren’t safe to have.”

But, if that’s not enough stupidity for you, read the comments!

Oh, the comments!

“White People” (both words capitalized) are down there telling this person they are sorry! They’re APOLOGIZING to someone with clear Borderline Personality Disorder.

Oh, man, I was surprised at first. But, the irony of the whole thing eventually became hilarious…

It’s just hysterical, because some people are so, deathly afraid of being called “racist” that they will become patronizingly racist, just to earn validation from black people.  HAHAHA!

They know exactly what will happen if they say anything other than “I’m so sorry, and you’re exactly right.” If they don’t walk the line, they will be threatened (and “dragged”) like this poor, uncooperative soul:

7.22.17 Racism

 

“You were warned.”

You were warned!

And apparently that warning is enough to make certain white people whimper and obediently chirp, “Yes, Massah.  Sorry, Massah.”

LOL!!!!

It’s fascinating!

Human behavior is fascinating, I say!

How enlightening, to watch the way certain people fight for power, when they’re too stupid to reason.  And that goes especially when they’re actually able to get some of that power because being “reasonable” isn’t necessary in today’s culture.

(They do it the same way my unreasonable children get power…by being insanely loud/annoying and eventually earning pity from people who realize they’re immature.)

Anyway, they’re right about one thing.

They’re right about the tears.

Whenever I read stuff like this, I can’t help crying:

 “I said [I hadn’t found a boyfriend], and her mother leaned across the table and grabbed my forearm reassuringly and said, ‘At least now you can meet someone of your own kind.’
It was like a punch in the face… it was the first time I allowed myself to acknowledge the malice being spewed at me by a White person I trusted.”

The phrase “your own kind” felt like a punch in the face to the woman…who now writes and publishes phrases like “I’m finding it hard to trust any White Person.” 

I’m crying!

When a girl wants sympathy because a white lady encouraged her to find a boyfriend of “her own kind”–and now she’s writing about how she can only handle friends OF HER OWN KIND–I start shedding white tears.

They’re really falling now:

 

 

I Would Do It Differently

I’ve heard people lament, “If only I had known what I know now…I would have done [THAT THING] totally differently!”

Most often, this applies to people who wish they could get their childhood back or to grandmothers/grandfathers who wish they could get their child’s childhood back and raise them differently…

These folks long for a time machine, saying things like, “Those years are precious.”

“Cherish them!”

“Don’t take it for granted like I did!”

Those who miss their own youth declare, “I would love to be care-free again!”

Those who have regrets about how they parented will say, “I would yell less and cuddle more….the time is so short!”

But, forgive me for noticing:  that sounds like a typical grandmother talking–not a mother.

I wonder, would it really be such a good thing, if we could go back in time to “savor” those “precious moments”?

Or, would changing the past end up changing who WE ARE, negatively?

Children aren’t designed to be raised by grandmothers who just want to cuddle.

We know bad things happen, when kids are doted upon and indulged by a “grandmotherly” figure who believes the world revolves around them.

If grandmothers could go back in time and raise their children the way they want their grandchildren raised, I’m afraid the results would be disastrous.

Likewise, people who long for their own childhood only appreciate how great things were because they can see things with an adult perspective now.  The adult-mind is what makes the child-memories so sweet.  

But, if an adult COULD go back in time and become a child again, all of those innocent, child-experiences would be ruined. They wouldn’t be innocent or childlike anymore.  In fact, there’s nothing “precious” about a lazy adult who (immaturely) chooses not to grow up…

Can’t we just be happy with the way things are?

Can’t we recognize that past experiences lead to our current reality, and if we have any sort of wisdom to offer, it’s because we earned it through all those things we say we want to change?

Playing the “what if” game doesn’t help anyone.

And, more importantly, we may be doing actual harm by warning young children and young parents not to make the same “mistakes” we did.

Maybe taking certain things for granted is a normal part of the human experience. Maybe children/mothers HAVE to under-appreciate those “precious moments” in order to become adults (or doting Grandmas) themselves someday?  

Why would we rob them of that?

It really isn’t such a great thing when adults try to hang on to their childhoods. And we don’t really want parents to re-raise their children after gaining a more “grandmotherly” philosophy.

They may think they would do things differently.  But, in many cases, maybe we should be glad they can’t.

“You’re Bad!”

In a three-year-old’s world, a “bad guy” is anyone who stands in the way…

My son tackled his little sister, so I made him sit on the couch.

“She’s bad!!!!”  he yelled, angrily.

Yesterday, he decided to climb on top of the car, instead of into his seat as instructed. This got him in trouble.

“You’re bad!”  he hollered at me.

But my favorite example of Good-Guy/Bad-Guy confusion came when he was playing a video game at his grandpa’s house.

“HELP ME, GRANDPA!!!! THE BAD GUYS ARE SHOOTING AT ME!”  Collin exclaimed desperately.

The “bad guys” were actually the Sherriff’s men, coming to arrest him for terrorizing towns people.

“I’m not going to help you,” my dad told Collin.  “I warned you that they would come arrest you, if you started shooting the good guys.”

I added: “You made a bad choice, Collin. And now YOU’RE the bad guy!”


 

Nobody wants to think of themselves as the “Bad Guy.”    From our own perspective, we’re always the hero–always right.

I had a conversation with Collin at church yesterday which confirmed he still thinks this is true.

“I’m the Good Guy already!”

It’s only other people–like his mother and little sister–who are “bad” and need to change.

Again, this is normal for a not-quite-four-year-old. But it makes me wonder why some people never grow out of it.

Time will tell whether Collin comes to understand… or if he grows into an adult who still believes he’s perfect.

But, if the day ever comes when he changes his motto from “You’re bad!” to “I’m bad,” there is hope for him yet…

There’s “I’m sorry, that was wrong” and “Please forgive me” and “I want to do better.”

For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.