If an 86-year-old can be President, can a union boss become a mom at age 60?

“Greene faces pushback after saying Weingarten is ‘not a mother’” (The Hill):

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is facing pushback after suggesting that American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who’s a stepmother, is “not a mother.”

“The problem is people like you need to admit that you’re just a political activist, not a teacher, not a mother and not a medical doctor,” Greene said.

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) stepped in with a point of order after Greene’s comments, calling them “unacceptable.” … “You are a mother,” he added to Weingarten. “Thank you for being a great parent.”

The journalists report as a fact that Mx. Weingarten, age 65, is a “stepmother”. Wikipedia says that Mx. Weingarten’s marriage was in 2018, when he/she/ze/they was 60 years old. Mx. Weingarten married Sharon Kleinbaum, at least 58 years old at the time. If we assembled Kentaji Brown Jackson’s panel of biologists, I think they would likely say that Mx. Kleinbaum’s children were fully grown by the time the “rabbi” was 58 (rabbi in quotes because the congregation led by Mx. Kleinbaum is “not affiliated with any denomination or branch of Judaism.”). Thus, we would need a definition of parent as something that did not require “caring for a human under age 18”.

If I were to marry Warren Buffett, for example, would Democrats say that I was a “stepdad” to his 64-year-old youngest son?

Another quote from Greene at the hearing from Yahoo! News:

“I didn’t ask you a question. What I would like to talk about is your recommendations to the CDC, as not a medical doctor, not a biological mother, and really not a teacher, either. So, what you did is you advised the CDC?” Greene said.

My personal efforts in this area haven’t been very successful. When the kids were younger I explained to them that the reason Mindy the Crippler, our golden retriever, was so tightly bonded to me was that I had given birth to her and then nursed her for 8 weeks. They refused to accept my status as a dog mom and cited Mindy’s biological mom, Chaos, as the animal’s only real mother. More recently, I used the “Mother’s Room” at a downtown Boston law firm to change from MIT teaching outfit (jeans and Oshkosh T-shirt) into testifying-at-trial outfit. For this, I was mocked by a couple of female executives from Brazil. I said “This is Massachusetts and it is my right to identify as a mother any time that I want. In fact, I can be more of a mother than either of you will ever be.” Apparently Fox News and MTG are also popular in Brazil because they responded, “You can call yourself whatever you want, but don’t expect us to cooperate.”


Full post, including comments

21-day antiracism, inclusion, diversity, and equity challenge at our former public school in Maskachusetts

Email from the K-8 public school in our former suburb of Boston, featuring 2-acre minimum zoning to ensure that nobody with fewer than 3 million Bidies ($2 million in pre-Biden money) can afford to buy a vacant lot and build a house:

We believe that in order to become and maintain being a district and larger community in which AIDE [antiracism, inclusion, diversity, and equity] thrives, members must commit to their ongoing growth in learning and awareness … To complete the challenge, each day pick just ONE piece of content. We’ve included three kinds:

reading (articles, blogs)
listening (podcasts/audio)
watching (video)

… some are explicitly created for White readers and others speak directly to people of color or specific racial groups.

Many organizations across the town and our connected communities will be participating in the challenge and we hope many of you will join, as well.

My favorite part is that each racial group gets its own reading list!

The included link has a helpful chart:

We are informed that racism is a public health emergency (example from Minneapolis; and “Declare Racism a Public Health Emergency” (New York Times)). Yet, according to the above chart, the emergency is not so severe as to preclude a “Pause for February Vacation”. It is okay to sit on the beach in Aruba while daily oppression continues.

The white background indicates that white is the default and/or preferred race? One good thing about our former town is that I’m pretty sure almost everyone there is qualified as an expert on the Day 4 subject: “What is Whiteness?” Also note that the next step after identifying as 2SLGBTQQIA+ is joining the military (days 18 and 19).

Here are the local victimhood experts:

Here are some photos of Aruba (February 12, 2022) getting ready for the February break arrival of the anti-racists:

Full post, including comments

Should college applicants have to write essays in a monitored environment?

The college application season is mostly over. My friends whose kids were applying don’t have to edit essays anymore. I wonder if the system could be made more equitable by preventing parents from assisting with essay-writing, either by editing/authoring themselves or hiring a professional writer. If a child has Harvard-educated parents or parents wealthy enough to hire a New Yorker writer, he/she/ze/they has a huge advantage as an essayist compared to a child from a low-income low-education family.

Why not make the essay writing like the SATs? Kids go into a big room after being stripped of electronic devices and use a computer provided by the test administrator to write whatever they want. Rich kids can still get an advantage by acquiring a diagnosis of a learning disability that requires unlimited time, but it won’t be as huge as what they have now.

Maybe this is a dumb question because any kid who wants to get into college can simply check one of the Elizabeth Warren boxes (e.g., “Native American”) and sail through.

Suppose that the applicant turns out to be a great writer? Here’s what he/she/ze/they will find at MIT (as of January 2023):

You don’t think of a science and engineering school as the natural home of accomplished writers? It worked for me. Before I came to MIT, my vocabulary was small. Now it is big.

Full post, including comments

College-level thinking: overthrow capitalism and pay $trillions in reparations

Florida’s state Department of Education’s rejection of the College Board’s AP African American Studies Course (already obsolete? Why isn’t it called “Black Studies”?) provides a window into the problems being tackled by America’s best academic minds.

First, most media articles on this controversy are likely mostly false. “Ron DeSantis government bans new advanced African American history course” (BBC) says the course is “banned” and that it was done by Ron DeSantis and staff. The New York Times:

Florida will not allow a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies to be offered in its high schools, stating that the course is not “historically accurate” and violates state law. … Even before Mr. DeSantis signed the contentious laws last year restricting what can be taught, his administration rejected dozens of math textbooks for use in public school classrooms, claiming their incorporation of social-emotional learning and critical race theory.

See “Florida school boards, not state officials, choose textbooks” (Miami Herald, April 21, 2022) for an explanation of how the purportedly “banned” textbooks (“Florida says why it banned these math textbooks” (Washington Post)) could be used in any and every school in Florida. Was this course actually “banned” or was it “banned like the textbooks were banned”? Public schools in Florida are run by counties and if a county wishes to teach a particular class, I don’t think that there is a mechanism for the state to stop it. Palm Beach County Schools, for example, could teach a class on “The Social Justice of Kiteboarding” even if state-level bureaucrats allege that it “lacks educational value”. Here’s the “ban” letter from the Florida DOE, in which the cruel bureaucrats have refused to include the course in a “directory”, not banned counties, which they do not control, from teaching it:

More interesting is a document that is generally absent from media reports of the atrocities committed by Ron DeSantis. It contains excerpts of material in the class and, therefore, a window into what Black Studies scholars in our elite universities are grappling with. Students are taught the importance of “overthrow[ing] capitalism” (Topic 4.31) and also that reparations must be paid (Topic 4.30). For each American who identifies as Black (roughly 50 million says the Census Bureau) to get $5 million (the fair number according to a learned committee in San Francisco), the country needs to scrape up (or print?) $250 trillion, more than 10 years of current GDP. Given that our economy is based on transferism, how is the $250 trillion to be found if capitalism is overthrown? This is the question that the PhDs in Black Studies who put together the AP African American Studies course raise. Who says that high school students aren’t being challenged?

Full post, including comments

Kwanzaa versus Hanukkah, a first grade perspective

The Federal Aviation Administration likes to remind flight instructors that it is possible to control what one says, but not what the recipient of a communication hears.

The Palm Beach Public Schools prepared a helpful two-page document comparing the multi-day candle-oriented holidays of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. The local first graders were sentenced to read this document and answer questions about it. Our own first grader was asked by the teacher what the difference was between Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. His answer: “Kwanzaa is for Black people and Hanukkah is for white people.” (When he was at dinner recounting the interaction, I corrected this misinformation faster than a Hunter Biden fan working at Twitter. I cued up a Sammy Davis Jr. song and explained that people of any race could convert to Judaism.)

Shutterfly doesn’t seem to offer a tri-fold holiday card with Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year. So I’ve been adding a Kwanzaa stamp to the holiday cards that I mail to friends in Maskachusetts and California:

Happy Last Day of Kwanzaa to all of my readers who celebrate. And, for readers who aren’t following the Lunar New Year, Happy New Year!… please share your resolutions.

My own resolution? Threatened by SARS-CoV-2, a virus that attacks the obese, I’m going to try to eat more healthful and nutritious meals, as promoted by official scientists at the USDA. For example, pizza topped with extra cheese and supported by a cheese-stuffed crust:

Full post, including comments

Long COVID, Florida-style

Happy Labor Day to all of those who failed to absorb “The Work versus Welfare Trade‐​Off” (CATO, 2013). (Also, Happy Labor Day to those who are smart enough to refrain from labor!)

Part of an email from a teacher in the Palm Beach County Public schools:

… I have tested positive for Covid and was out of the classroom today [Monday]. I hope to be cleared for a return on Wednesday. Not my choice on how to start the school year but I’ll look on the bright side.

I checked in with her on Thursday:

Yes I am back and very happy to see my Fantastic First Graders again!!!

Compare to “1 in 5 Educators Say They’ve Experienced Long COVID” (EducationWeek).

So let’s celebrate those who continue to labor despite union contracts that would allow them to take a substantial amount of time off, at 100 percent pay, after a positive COVID-19 test.

As long as we’re talking COVID-19 and the Palm Beach County Schools… What’s the level of coronapanic as reflected in the Student & Family Handbook? The word “mask” does not appear. The word “COVID” appears only to provide historical context:

During the onset of COVID-19, in the Spring of 2020, the School Board supported the successful transition of instruction to Distance Learning. One of the supports for this transition was the implementation of a one-to-one student device initiative. Because of this, all School District of Palm Beach County students may be issued electronic devices. These devices are for instructional use to support curriculum goals and will be available for students to use at home or in school.

The corresponding document from our old suburb? The “top priority” is “Establish a culture that is built upon the intersectionality of social and emotional learning, Antiracism, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (AIDE), student and adult learning, and fostering strong connections”. However, the word “COVID” appears 20 times. The possibility of masks on buses and in the classrooms is explicitly discussed. Parents must swear a loyalty oath to Saint Fauci and Science:

Back to the topic of Labor Day… here’s a Florida native green anole taking a break from his/her/zir/their labors on our front door.

Let’s hope that this green anole wasn’t pushed out of his/her/zir/their tree. See “Densely packed invasive anoles outcompete natives”:

Invasive brown anoles might outcompete their native cousins in the southeastern U.S. merely by living more densely.

Brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) inadvertently came to Florida in the 1800s by tagging along on cargo shipments. Since then, the invasive species have moved steadily northward in the state, often taking over territories occupied by native green anoles (Anolis carolinensis). Researchers know that over time, the invasive Cuban anoles change the native species’ habits. After moving in, the newcomer species typically occupies the ground and lower parts of plants and trees, while the green anoles occupy an ecological niche higher up on trees and bushes. The native anoles also become less common once the brown anoles have established themselves in the new territory.

Instead, she speculated that brown anoles in the wild might be outcompeting green anoles based on sheer numbers. Brown anoles may lay eggs more often than green anoles. The Cuban newcomers also tolerate much denser living conditions, while green anoles don’t. This allows the invasive species to take over more territory.

In short, anole migrants have a higher birth rate and don’t mind living in squalid conditions that native anoles would consider intolerable…

Full post, including comments

Official Lincoln Massachusetts Public School LGBTQ+ Pride Community Celebration

From back in April, part of an email from the superintendent of the Lincoln Massachusetts Public Schools (K-8 only; high school is shared with another town):

The school-sponsored event (in a town-owned house) is happening today, so I hope that readers in Maskachusetts will attend and perhaps report back to us why some members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community are excluded (it is only for “LGBTQ+”). Here’s a T-shirt to wear:

The same email that reminded us to lump together everyone on the rainbow spectrum into a single category also lumps together all Asians and Pacific Islanders into a common “culture and cuisine” that can be learned about in just over one hour via Zoom:

Happy Pride Month once again!

Full post, including comments

An easy way for the FBI to ferret out the Deplorables

From the superintendent of the Lincoln, Maskachusetts public schools:

Subject: Addressing Recent Violation Across Our Country

It saddens me to have to write to acknowledge several more racially motivated shootings that have occurred across our country this weekend. They include a grocery store shooting in Buffalo, New York, the shooting of businesses in Korea Town in Dallas, and the shooting in a Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods, CA. While the motivation for some of these shootings have not yet been confirmed, they appear to be the result of hateful acts against Black and Asian individuals.

(I wasn’t aware of the ones outside of Buffalo. CNN says that a Chinese person shot some Chinese people in Laguna Woods. How is that “racially motivated”? Nobody seems to know who did the shootings in Dallas or why.)

These acts provide me with the motivation to continue our focus on becoming an antiracist school district that works to ensure that every individual in our schools feels safe, feels seen, and can bring all of their identities with them to school each day. Our students and staff of color, our LGBTQ+ community members, and everyone regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, or religious beliefs has the right to be safe at school, in their home and school communities, and in our country.

Noble intentions, but Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended a full course of diversity and tolerance education at the high school in Cambridge, MA and that did not deter him from waging jihad on the infidels at the Boston Marathon. Syed Rizwan Farook presumably got a similar indoctrination at his California public high school and then at Cal State. He was not discouraged from waging jihad in San Bernardino just a few years after completing college.

I know that we are not immune in our small district. We have experienced discriminatory attacks written on bathroom walls in our schools this year. Students and staff have been treated inequitably due to their identities and have been hurt by ignorant comments, questions, and actions towards them. Last week I received a few requests from parents asking to be removed from receiving messages about the LGBTQ+ Pride Community Celebration that will take place next month. This feels like a desire to erase the existence of those who are different than you. But none of us can be erased. We are all here and are members of our community. And, we all deserve to be here and to be able to be who we are without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence.

I question that last one (“we all deserve to be here”). Why does a young person who supports Donald Trump and, therefore, the January 6 insurrection, deserve to be anywhere other than prison?

I am kind of in love with a person who gets paid $250,000+ by the public education industry complaining about “ignorant questions”. Ordinarily, you might imagine that it was the job of the school to turn ignorance into knowledge. Therefore, an “ignorant question” would be more welcome than a non-ignorant question.

The main point of this post, however, is to consider whether the Biden administration’s FBI could make use of an important information source: the names and addresses of the parents who asked not to hear about the official town-sponsored rituals of the state religion (Rainbow Flagism). They’re probably guilty of something, right, if not the actual insurrection per se?

Here’s the poster for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ gathering that haters didn’t want to hear about:

Speaking of haters:

Ms. Blaire White says that her pronouns are “that/bitch”:

Full post, including comments

Sitting at home for 18 months results in long COVID (at least for unionized schoolteachers)

Does closing schools for 18 months protect teachers from COVID-19? Apparently not. “1 in 5 Educators Say They’ve Experienced Long COVID” (EducationWeek):

Two years into the pandemic, many Americans are eager to leave COVID behind. But that won’t be so easy for as many as 1 in 5 educators who, according to a recent EdWeek survey, have experienced the emerging, mysterious illness known as long COVID.

In a workforce that tops 6 million people, that percentage suggests hundreds of thousands of people who serve the nation’s K-12 students have suffered long-lasting symptoms after contracting COVID.

Working full-time has been impossible for Kathleen Law, an elementary school teacher in Oregon, since she contracted COVID in August. She’s had foggy thinking ever since, and she gets bone-tired easily.

Chimére Smith, 39, was a middle school teacher for Baltimore City Public Schools—until March 2020, when she contracted a severe case of COVID that has hardly abated since. She experienced everything from sharp spinal pain and migraines to overwhelming exhaustion, memory lapses, gastrointestinal issues, hallucinations, and suicidal ideation.

For months, doctor after doctor told Smith that her symptoms were nothing to worry about. Smith, who is Black, says she encountered racist skepticism at every turn.

What’s the biggest challenge after racism?

The first challenge for long COVID sufferers: recognizing you’re one of them

Sarah Bilotti, superintendent of the North Warren schools in New Jersey, said numerous students and several staff members in her district have disclosed that they have long COVID—or they’ve confessed that they have concerning symptoms that won’t go away, without knowing why.

“I think people are so unaccustomed to that diagnosis and this language that people aren’t sure what’s going on,” she said.

The federal government last summer officially designated long COVID as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. That means school employees are entitled to accommodations from their employer if they can offer documentation of their condition.

If you gave me unlimited paid sick leave and union job protection so that I could go back to work whenever I wished to, I am confident that I could develop long COVID!

Full post, including comments

Anti-hate reeducation at a Maskachusetts public school

I won’t put this one in quote style because the italics will make it harder to read…

Prior to the April break I wrote to let you know that I was concerned about hateful language that had been found in a bathroom and that we would be following up with an outside speaker. Today Mr. Mark Liddell came to talk with our students. Mr. Liddell is the High School Coordinator for the METCO program [busing children, based on skin color, from City of Boston schools to suburban districts, thus relieving the foreign owners of downtown real estate from having to pay for these kids’ education] in the Wayland Public Schools. Mr. Liddell has done at least six presentations with our parent groups through the generosity of the Lincoln METCO Parent Board who has brought him as a speaker over the last two years around many topics of race and history.

We spent an hour together first with 5th and 6th grade and then with 7th and 8th grade talking about language, historical context, and how we should respond when we hear hate speech. As Mr. Liddell is a high school teacher, there were pieces of his talk that might have felt difficult for some students to understand. There were other parts that were uncomfortable to sit through as they showed unfortunate pieces of our history. Students were given the opportunity to stay with Mr. Liddell and teachers at school to continue to talk and ask questions after the assembly.

This afternoon the faculty will further conversations on how to talk with our students as issues continue to surface. Mr. Liddell ended his time with our students sharing the following pledge:

Full post, including comments