Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Talking to Kids About Trump

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
My Daughter's Whiteboard Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

My Daughter’s Whiteboard
Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

Well that didn’t go the way I’d hoped.  Welcome to a Trumpian world.  Or perhaps I should say dysTrumpian.  In case you hadn’t heard, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

I’m sure there will be plenty of analysis about how this happened and what went wrong and who is to blame.  Personally, I blame those who underestimated the amount of racism and hatred that has been hiding and festering in this country for at least the last 150 years.  I also blame not only those who fought for Trump but also those who fought against Hillary Clinton.  Too many people went around saying that while Trump was a nightmare, they didn’t trust Clinton or believed she was dishonest or even simply didn’t like her.

But that’s not the issue I need to deal with right now.  What I need to figure out is what to tell my kids.

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De-facing the Book

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

No_Face_logoSo, for a full month, I was off Facebook.

Over the last decade or so, Facebook has managed to become an integral part of our society.  Facebook pages are nearly as important as, if not more important than a company’s website.  A Facebook account has become the single account used to access many other websites, rather than a site-specific account and password.  It is our address book and is trying hard to replace e-mail as our primary means of electronic communication and interaction.

So the notion of not using the site for nearly a month seems ludicrous, even for someone like me who, while not in danger of being called addicted, did use the site fairly heavily.  So how did that go?

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Being a Model Citizen

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Voter PamphletOkay, I admit it.  Other than for a couple of critical issues, I am just not that into politics.  When an election rolls around, I try to pick people who will run things for me the way I want them to, and that’s about it.  So when I realized that today was the primary election here in California — on the way home from taking the kids bowling — I was seriously considering blowing off voting.

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San Francisco History — The Project

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Sara in her pride shirt and mouse earsA few weeks ago, my daughter came home with a list of topics and an assignment to do some sort of project about something related to San Francisco history.  She had been instructed to pick one that her parents knew about so she could get help with it.  I scanned the list of possible subjects and spotted The Gay Rights Movement.  That was a no-brainer.  I grew up in San Francisco and remember the assassination of Harvey Milk as if it were yesterday.  I spent a lot of time — for a straight kid with straight parents — in the Castro because it was close to where I had rehearsals and not too far from the Opera House.  It was a neat place to hang out on the way home.  So, it seemed obvious which topic would be best.  After all, what do I know about cable cars?

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Marriage Equality Is Not Acceptable

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Photo: Mensatic/Morguefile.comIn 2004, newly elected mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom threw away his political future when he directed the county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples, regardless of their genders.  This kicked the fight for marriage equality into high gear and here we are, almost ten years later, and we are well on our way to universal marriage equality in this country.  And that’s not acceptable.  Or, rather, it’s not enough.

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The Downside of Secular Parenting

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

646227_29155629_smAlthough I was raised a devout Catholic — none of this Easter-and-Christmas-only business for us, we were in the front pew every single Sunday — I’ve not been to a religious service in years and, other than Passover Seders with family, I’m not sure my kids ever have.  In general, I firmly believe this is a good thing.  I certainly don’t forbid them from going to church and, if they were interested in going, would definitely facilitate that, but, for the most part, I think they’re much better off spending Sunday mornings in swim lessons than in church.  And yet, as a parent, I recognize that there are some benefits to raising church-going kids that I’m missing.

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Why I’m a Girl Scout

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

I grew up in San Francisco, California and was definitely raised a city boy.  As a child, I could make my way around the Tenderloin at night as surely as Grizzly Adams navigated the Sierras.  I grew up on food from around the world and could use chopsticks as deftly as a country boy could handle a whittlin’ knife.  Buses and streetcars were my horses, alleys my hiking trails, skyscrapers my hills and mountains.  Guns, even the aquatic variety, were verboten (hunting was something done at antique stores or garage sales) and I think the only reason my mother allowed me fishing gear was because there weren’t any fish anywhere near us to be caught, other than at the grocery store; neither one of us would have known what to do if I actually did catch one.  In our family, “roughing it” meant going to “Opera in the Park”.

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Grading on a Curve — for Schools

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

A young girl, studying in schoolGenerally speaking, in order to get an “A” grade, you have to demonstrate that not only did you learn the material but that you demonstrated an understanding far beyond what was expected for the course.  You could say that someone deserving of an “A” would know the material so well that they wouldn’t even make careless mistakes on a test — the material would be far too simple to provide any wrong answers.  In the case of a school, an “A” would mean that the school is turning out students who not only meet the standards but go well beyond them.  But what do you do if your schools aren’t performing so well and you still want to say they get an “A”?  Well, if you’re the Public Education Department in New Mexico, you redefine what it means to get an “A”.

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Who marries who at 3 years old?

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Marriage is an abstract concept that, frankly, most young children don’t fully understand.  For them, it’s usually good enough to know that when grown-ups love each other very much and want to be a family together, they get often get married.  There’s no need to discuss the tax implications or workplace benefits or hospital visitation rights with a three-year-old.  But is it necessary to limit the concept to the traditional one-man-one-woman definition just because you’re talking to a three-year-old?  Even if you, personally, are okay with the idea of same-sex marriage?  Even if you live in a country where same-sex marriage is legal?  Lisa van de Geyn, writing in Today’s Parent, seems to think so, because talking about same-sex marriage is hard.

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The Shallowness of Parenthood

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Yes, like just about everyone else these days, it seems, I’m on Facebook.  Most of my Facebook “friends” are either family, parents of my kids’ friends, or fellow writers from the parenting world.  It’s a good way to keep in touch and share ideas, news, and information with them.  Sometimes, however, it becomes a source of revelation and insight as well.  Such was the case last evening as I was catching up on the day’s posts at bedtime.

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