On My Soapbox Today

1 Oct

Oh no… another rant!  Not much of one.

1) I teach computer science.  That said, I am not embracing the use of iPads and no textbooks in the schools.  I believe in the right tool for the job and the iPad is not the right tool for all things educational.  Our junior high has a 1:1 initiative.  That means that all students get an iPad to use during school in grades 6, 7, and 8.  If you pay $100 tech fee each year for three years, you can take the iPad home during the school year.  Because of this computer use, the school is no longer using textbooks – not even eTextbooks right now.  They plan on using SOME eBooks in the future.

Because our district has a large number of students under the poverty level, they can’t afford the $100 fee.  Even if they can afford a one time $100 fee, the students also need Internet access at home.  That’s a monthly fee of $20 – $60.  So the teachers can’t give homework!  No chapters to read; no hand outs – everything is online.  Math?  No textbooks PLUS he wants all work done on the iPads so it can be uploaded to Edmodo – a course management/grading site.  That’s ridiculous!  We have Gianna do her math work on scratch paper and then scan it in and have her upload that.

I’m always talking to the teachers, administration, and school board members about this.  But their minds are made up – this is the greatest thing for education – all aspects of education.  And as a result, we do more “homeschooling” than ever before.  We purchased a math textbook and sit and do problem after problem at home for 1/2 hour a day minimum.  Yes, she’s getting top grades in math as a result.  Yes, it reads a “false positive” on testing because they think that their system is working.  But what’s the alternative?  That we let her down, let her fail, just to prove a point?  I don’t think so. So we teach her at home in mathematics in particular and try to supplement the science as much as possible too.

2) Why doesn’t anyone volunteer?  The junior high band is planning on going to Six Flags Great America in the spring.  The band students and parents need to man the concession stand at home basketball games in order to get the profits and make this happen.  The band director sent home notes and sent out email for signup shifts.  Three parents signed up.  Three…  Really?  The students are forced to sign up by the band director.  But even though he has sent out numerous messages, there are a low number of responses.  I signed up for ONE shift but told him that he can put me in more AFTER everyone else gets a chance to sign up.  Some parents work – I understand that.  But others… I see them at the games.  Their daughter is playing.  Mine is too.  But I still work ONE NIGHT.  I can miss one of the gazillion games that she plays to work the concession stand.  Oh?  You have other kids?  Me too.  I work 5 days and one night during the week.  We are just asked to work the concession stand for ONE NIGHT!  Same with DJ’s high school.  I signed up to work the “fan gear” tent selling t-shirts and sweatshirts at football games.  I worked the two home games we’ve had so far.  DJ is in the band so if I work the first shift, I can still sit in the stands and watch him play at half time.  What about the other 400 students’ parents?  She has a hard time filling two workers for 1.5 hour shifts!  This weekend is homecoming.  ONE parent signed up to work!  That’s it.  Gianna has a pitching lesson during that time but Dan will catch her and so I signed up to take the first two shifts.  Oh… the other thing… the woman who runs it?  She’s nice. No personality conflicts, etc.  I don’t get it. If your child plays football – well, if he plays in the varsity game – work the JV shift.  And visa versa.

3) How’s the knitting and quilting going?  It’s not.  You have to be home to do either of those.  Or at least sitting down to do the knitting. (Hmmm… maybe that’s why I’m crabby and on my soapbox.  I need some good quality knitting and quilting time.) As you can tell from above, we had our only home cooked meal of the week last night!  🙂  Tonight: Concession stand at the 6/7/8th grade girls basketball game.  Wednesday: Work all day and night. (I’ll miss DJ playing in the marching band for the homecoming parade.  Bummer… But his two sisters will be there and maybe Dan will be able to get off work on time to see him too.) Thursday?  Gianna has another basketball game in Ottawa.  Friday?  The homecoming variety show.  If the kids need a ride there, I will take them and might stay.  DJ didn’t sign up to compete so it might end up being a night off for all of us.  And Saturday?  The aforementioned homecoming game.  Sunday?  Gianna has softball practice in the afternoon but that just involves her and Dan.  I may have some time to quilt and knit on Sunday!  🙂

4 Responses to “On My Soapbox Today”

  1. Anne Wiens October 1, 2013 at 9:52 AM #

    I hear you, sister. Unfortunately, those who need to hear you aren’t listening.

  2. cac19az October 2, 2013 at 1:00 AM #

    In my previous work life (I am a full-time caregiver and no longer work outside of home) I was involved with business/school partnerships back in the 1990s. A common area of concern was the amount of homework that was required. I live in Arizona and at that time a lot of schools did not have internet access, let alone computers in the classroom. My concern is that the education system is losing children. School is no longer fun, art and music have been taken out of the curriculum because it is perceived as “fluff” and the focus is on math and science. Kids have to want to learn. And if you live in a state where a large portion of children live in poverty, you lose both the kids and the parents. So many parents don’t have the time to be able to volunteer. Kudos for you and the amount of time you are willing to give to your children’s school.

  3. Nancy October 6, 2013 at 11:43 AM #

    It is Sunday Gina, here’s hoping you have some time to have creative fun today, just for you.

  4. Lee October 6, 2013 at 3:06 PM #

    I hope you don’t go through burnout as I did with some areas of involvement in the past where I faced the same struggles of getting folks to volunteer – where now I find I won’t volunteer. I imagine a lot of those non-volunteers would be the first to grumble should you shut down the concession stand and/or cancel the Six Flags event or make a one-time work night mandatory as part of the cost of going otherwise they have to pay more out of their own pocket.

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