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Guest Commentary: An Economics Lesson at DJUSD Gone Wrong

by Duane Wright

My son is in 6th grade at Birch Lane Elementary and right now they are doing a “parenting” unit. Part of this unit consists of the cutesy activity of carrying around a sack of flour for a week, as if it was a baby they had to take care of. Another part of this unit was for the students to figure out a budget, with the stated intention of showing them the cost of having a baby. However, the implicit lessons being taught were not about being a responsible parent, but rather were subtle ideological messages about the “undeserving” poor, about who should and should not be reproducing, and about the value of life. This is a lesson that seems to be taught across DJUSD for years now and not something isolated to my son’s class or school.

For the budget exercise the teacher told them all to imagine that they were high school students who had a baby, and that in order to support their newborn they had to get a job working at McDonald’s, for 40 hours per week for $15 per hour. When students put together their budget, rent, utilities, food, transportation, healthcare, etc. they were supposed to see how difficult/impossible it would be to survive in Davis this way. They ultimately discovered that they would be dependent upon assistance, whether from their family or in the form of government aid.

This should have been an opportunity to give a social studies lesson on changes in the workforce and the economy and to discuss the ways in which our own city of Davis maintains its fiction of being a happy little liberal utopian experiment, by not actually having to deal with many of the social problems that come with poverty by maintaining class and racial segregation and pushing those problems into Woodland or West Sacramento or other neighboring areas.

The teacher could have explained that even the scenario the students were given was painting a relatively rosy picture. No one is getting $15/hour and working 40 hours at McDonald’s. McDonald’s is like many employers today, in that it tends to hire near the minimum wage and for only part time, in order to avoid paying out benefits to its employees. With the erosion of union membership in this country, spurred by one-sided trade deals which make it easier to outsource production to countries with less labor rights, we have seen a stagnation or decline of the average wage, despite a huge rise in productivity. Meaning that while workers are producing more, they are getting a smaller and smaller share. This is what is behind the rising inequality and the historic level of wealth owned by the richest 1% of Americans. The teacher could have even talked about current efforts to support working parents, such as the Raise the Wage Davis campaign in our own backyard, fighting to get a $15 minimum wage in Davis.

What transpired however was not a sociological lesson, instead it was an opportunity for poverty shaming and an implicit lesson in Eugenics. After students realized that realistically they wouldn’t be able to survive without the support of family and government assistance the teacher explained that that is why they shouldn’t be having sex. He then said that is wasn’t “fair” to the people who would be supporting them. He then added “Do you know who would be paying for your support? Me.”

The very next day his teacher explained that he didn’t want the kids to think that he was “against welfare moms”, but that the only message he was trying to send was that people shouldn’t be having kids in high school. However, the problem here isn’t any particular comments the teacher made, the problem is still the implicit signals in the lesson that is being taught across DJUSD. If it was only teaching kids not to have sex in highschool that might be something that many people would support, but lets think for a moment about this: What changes after graduation? Does getting that diploma magically change the reality of the economy? Does turning 18 somehow reduce corporate power or wealth inequality in this country? Having a college degree doesn’t even guarantee a well paying job with security and benefits anymore, so the budgeting lesson isn’t something that can be reduced to an “abstinence while in high school” message. Just take me for example, I am 32 years old, the father of a 12 year old, and I am a Teaching Assistant at UC Davis. I make about $18,500/year — significantly less per year than the the imaginary McDonald’s worker who makes $15/hour for 40 hours per week! Furthermore, I take out student loans every year, not to pay tuition, that is covered because of my union contract, but to help me pay rent. Graduation changes nothing about the budget exercise, and the message that students take away, which I am about to explicate, should be seen as applicable to anyone of all ages, not just high school parents.

Let me break down the various messages in the “hidden curriculum”, as scholars of education refer to the subtle ideological lessons learned in school, of this “parenting” unit lesson. First, people in poverty are not deserving of assistance because they have made bad economic choices. This is what we call poverty shaming. Second, you are only worth as much as the “market” says you are; you should not question the power dynamics of the economy, and never ask for a living wage.

Now we get into the biopolitics of the lesson. Third, poor people shouldn’t reproduce. Reproduction is a rational economic decision and if people “can’t afford” to have kids then they just shouldn’t have kids. This means that people who will never make $20/hour in their life, just shouldn’t reproduce. Again, let’s forget about the various inequalities of resources and opportunities that have made it easier for certain people to get better paying jobs while others are constantly stuck being working poor. My son and his classmates were being taught that it’s ok for the rich to have kids, but that poor people shouldn’t because it is “unfair” and they are a drain on society.

But that’s not the worst of it. Because of the institutionalized/structural racism People of Color face, they disproportionately make up the poor. Also, since welfare and other government assistance programs for the poor have been racialized in the public discourse for decades now, since the attack on the welfare state began in the 1980’s, most people are socialized to associate Blackness with poverty. So whether these kids make the connection now, or later when they’re a bit older, many of them are going to start to associate poverty with People of Color, and when the implicit message they were taught in school was that poor people shouldn’t be reproducing, will we act surprised when many former students of this class grow up and espouse ideas that harken back to Eugenics – that People of Color shouldn’t be reproducing?

Does the DJUSD have, to quote the hip-hop group Public Enemy, a “fear of Black planet”? Are these the lessons that we want our children learning? Or do we want to raise critical thinkers who develop sociological understandings of the world they live in?

My last point is one that is less macro in scope, and maybe in the long run, will end up being the most personally disturbing. What about those kids, like my own, who were born to young working class parents, parents who have always struggled to get by? What do they internalize about themselves from this lesson? Do they think that they are a mistake? Will they think of themselves as a bad choice, or a drain on society? We know that mental illness is higher among the poor, and that it is a problem among People of Color. Is this how it starts? A young kid, full of life, goes to school and is slowly beaten down, told that their life isn’t worth as much, that they are a drain, a mistake?

Is this “parenting” unit teaching our youth how to be responsible parents, or is it just reinforcing white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalist notions of life while inadvertently creating a mental health problem?

About The Author

Duane Wright is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at UC Davis and a member (and former officer) of UC Student-Worker Union UAW 2865. His research focuses on the restructuring of schooling around high stakes tests and the resistance to that by teachers, students, and the community.

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140 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: An Economics Lesson at DJUSD Gone Wrong”

      1. David Greenwald

        That’s far too simplistic a comment to be helpful…

        1. When I first got married, my wife and I decided to wait in part because of our economic situation, but as time passed, the advice we got is there is never a perfect time to have a baby…
        2. Circumstances change – my wife had a good job and lost it and it was during the heart of the recession – times got tight
        3. Unplanned pregnancies happen – is your recommendation that even married couples have abortions or give their babies away for adoption if their circumstances are tough. That parents give up their older kids too if circumstances get tough? We don’t have the families to support foster children as it is. Where do you draw the lines? If I lose my job and I have a ten year old, am I expected to give them up? And to whom?
        4. That poor people should never have babies?

        Bottom line it sounds like common sense, but practically speaking, it’s not going to work

        1. zaqzaq

          Really.   The first lesson is that girls should keep their legs crossed and not make babies while still in high school.  That is a really simple common sense lesson.

          The life lesson that should have been included is that they should get married before having children.  It is much more difficult for single parents to raise children successfully while going to school to get an education to get a better job.  The school should have created teams of married or partnered students for half the class and single parents for the other half and done a comparison.  That would have been really helpful.

           

           

          1. David Greenwald

            Ia that part of the implicit object lesson of them imagining the economic hardships of being high school students who are parents?

          2. Don Shor

            The first lesson is that girls should keep their legs crossed

            Yeah, because boys will be boys and can’t control their behavior, right? I think “the first lesson” would be that it takes two people to make a baby, and there are ways to prevent it.

        2. Frankly

          Yeah, because boys will be boys and can’t control their behavior, right? I think “the first lesson” would be that it takes two people to make a baby, and there are ways to prevent it.

          The girl controls it unless it is rape and then that is a crime.

          It takes two people, but consent of the girl.  Without the latter, there would be no pregnancy.

          Teaching the girls to say no seems like a real good idea to me.  As they say, “the buck stops there.”

          In fact, it might be a real good cause for feminists to take up to prove the power of the woman.  If she is unable to resist the advances of a man, then maybe she is more of a snowflake that requires special protection.  And if that is the case, I think we might have a problem with the whole equality thing.

          I am not condoning the behavior of boys and men that would have unprotected sex with a female.  But again, the chances of shaming them into better behavior seems a waste of effort given the simple binary solution of the controlling female to just say NO!

          1. Don Shor

            Teaching both boys and girls to control their sexual behavior seems like a more balanced approach. At the very least, emphasizing the economic consequences of having and fathering a baby might be a good starting point.

      2. Topcat

        …there is never a perfect time to have a baby…

        Yes, life is uncertain and there is no perfect time to have a baby.  There are however, bad times to have a baby and the class can point out the circumstances that are not appropriate for having babies.

        Unplanned pregnancies happen – is your recommendation that even married couples have abortions or give their babies away for adoption if their circumstances are tough.

        Yes, there are far too many unplanned and undesired pregnancies.  I would like to see a lot more education for young people on how and why to avoid unwanted pregnancies.  In addition, I would like to see much better availability of birth control.

        That poor people should never have babies?

        Of course not.  But poor people should think about when they want to have children, how they will support them and how they are going to raise and educate them?  In many cases getting a good education and getting a job and building some financial security before having children is the best path both for the individual and for society.

    1. wdf1

      B.P.: it’s a simple lesson that one shouldn’t be having kids if they can’t support them.

      Logically, yes.  But if you cannot imagine a productive future for yourself, then there is no incentive to follow that norm.

      Part of the problem with this assignment, taken in isolation, is that there is no indication to these kids that one can have a productive future that would involve a wage/salary higher than $15/hour at McDonalds, and how one would get to that alternative future.  And I don’t think this is a discussion that is well-embedded in the curriculum currently.

      Professional parents will have that discussion with their kids.  Lower income parents are not as likely to.

      In the contemporary school system, there is more concern about math and English language arts standardized test scores than with what kids can do with their lives.

  1. sisterhood

    I agree. It’s not fair to the people who have to support the child – the taxpayers. Also, sometimes the grandparents forego their own retirement/leisure years to babysit.

    I also think it’s unfair to reward these irresponsible moms by giving them scholarships. I know at least three pre-med students (one white, one latina, and one black) who had a full scholarship to UCD. My daughter, who was responsible and studied hard, could not get any financial assistance. But all these women did get help, just because they had a baby. (In one case, two babies she couldn’t afford, and got pregnant again while going to UCD.) It’s not fair and it sends the wrong message to all the responsible teens out there.

    And I don’t think thee teacher was being racist or elitist:

    ” “The very next day his teacher explained that he didn’t want the kids to think that he was “against welfare moms”, but that the only message he was trying to send was that people shouldn’t be having kids in high school.” “

    1. Davis Progressive

      given your other views, i’m surprised by this comment.  how is it unfair to give people with a serious disadvantages toward getting an education assistance?  it nowhere near makes up for the hardships they face.  single mothers with children in high school are among the most at risk population and without serious intervention, they will struggle for the rest of their lives.  it’s not like the scholarship offsets the hardship of having a baby and trying to take classes, study, get good grades and graduate.

  2. zaqzaq

    The simple reality is that young women (and men) should not be making babies until they can afford to support them.  That is a good lesson for the student to learn.  Somehow he twists this simple lesson into a silly tirade about eugenics.  [moderator] edited to remove personal comments. Please stick to the topic.

    1. Topcat

      The simple reality is that young women (and men) should not be making babies until they can afford to support them.  That is a good lesson for the student to learn.

      Yes, I completely agree.  Many of the babies that young women (and men) have are unintended.  I have seen the consequences of some of these unintended pregnancies and births and the results are not good.

  3. Topcat

    The teacher could have even talked about current efforts to support working parents, such as the Raise the Wage Davis campaign in our own backyard, fighting to get a $15 minimum wage in Davis.

    And the teacher could have talked about how a drastic raise in the minimum wage would hurt the most disadvantaged people in society the most.  Those with the lowest job skills, those with mild disabilities, those with criminal records, and those with poor language or interpersonal skills would be priced out of the labor market.

    The teacher could have explained how employers adjust to mandated price increases by cutting back on employees, substituting automation for workers, going out of business, or just not starting businesses in the first place.

    It is unfortunate that we have so many people that don’t understand some of these basic concepts of economics.

    1. wdf1

      Topcat:  And the teacher could have talked about how a drastic raise in the minimum wage would hurt the most disadvantaged people in society the most.  Those with the lowest job skills, those with mild disabilities, those with criminal records, and those with poor language or interpersonal skills would be priced out of the labor market.

      There is plenty of literature on various case studies, and it does not conclusively back your position.

      For example:  States That Raised Minimum Wage See Faster Job Growth, Report Says

      1. Topcat

        There is plenty of literature on various case studies, and it does not conclusively back your position.

        I prefer to look at situations that I am familiar with.  I have been around many people with low job skills and various levels of disability.  I have seen first hand how difficult it is for disadvantaged people to find work even at our current minimum wage of $10 per hour.

        Common sense and knowledge of basic economics tells us that a drastic raise in the minimum wage will have effects.  Imagine that you are the manager of an organization that employs low skilled workers.  If you were forced to suddenly pay 50% more for labor what would you do?  You can raise prices for the goods or services you provide.  What would the result of this be?  You will lose some customers who can’t afford the price increase.  Some customers may cut back on their purchases.  With less demand, you will need less labor so you would lay someone off or cut back hours.  If you lost enough customers, you might decide that it’s not worth staying in business and you might close up shop and lay everyone off.  If you were an entrepreneur thinking about starting an organization, you would be much more likely to NOT start your organization if labor costs were 50% higher.

        1. Frankly

          Don’t try to argue with common sense and logic, it will just cause wdf1 to look for another “report” that fits his ideological bent.

        2. wdf1

          Frankly:  Don’t try to argue with common sense and logic, it will just cause wdf1 to look for another “report” that fits his ideological bent.

          Because it’s too hard for you to argue critically?   There is nothing keeping you from reading literature that supports an opposing conclusion from you and point out where there might be shortcomings, if there are any.

          I have done it with your references quite frequently.

        3. Barack Palin

          Unions pushed for the higher minimum wage in LA, but now they want to be exempted from it!! Classic.

          I recently watched a debate about this and the guy defending the exemption for the unions got tore up.

        4. Frankly

          Because it’s too hard for you to argue critically?

          Read below.

          Sorry, I get a bit steamed because I work directly with small business that are destroyed by any large minimum wage hike.  I also know a lot of young people that are intelligent but lacking academic gifts and they are stuck in lower-wage jobs that are not challenging them enough only because of the lack of jobs.  So they are stuck and minimum wage hikes will just make it worse.

          This article you posted was a political hack piece lacking any critical analysis.

        5. wdf1

          Frankly:  This article you posted was a political hack piece lacking any critical analysis.

          Political hack job?  Relatively tame at most. This is the start of the article.  The rest is similar in tone:

          New data released by the Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

          In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, could cost as many as 500,000 jobs.

           

  4. Barack Palin

    It’s a simple lesson teaching kids about the responsibilities of having a child.  Carrying around the flour, being responsible for where it is at all times, having the resources to raise the child, etc…….

    Leave it to liberals to infuse their racism and classism agendas into everything.

    Typical

    1. Topcat

      It’s a simple lesson teaching kids about the responsibilities of having a child.  Carrying around the flour, being responsible for where it is at all times, having the resources to raise the child, etc…….

      Yes, I would think that these lessons are common sense things that would be supported by people of all political persuasions.

  5. Miwok

    There so many things about this article that intrigues me, but I am not sure how a “Student” who takes out Student Loans to pay rent, instead of tuition, can comment on economics?

    The other is how parents of children who want their kids to have a successful career can major and even get degrees in such topics that have no potential for any remuneration?

    The Family stuff, well, speaks for itself. When people make bad decisions, they are left with consequences, but in California, we cannot say such big words. It might make someone feel badly about themselves.

  6. wdf1

    Miwok:  The other is how parents of children who want their kids to have a successful career can major and even get degrees in such topics that have no potential for any remuneration?

    Author bio blurb:  His research focuses on the restructuring of schooling around high stakes tests and the resistance to that by teachers, students, and the community.

    I can see the author find plenty of employment researching and developing education policy, if he follows through with solid graduate research.  High stakes testing has, on the whole, been a failure of a policy, and has tended to be more damaging.   By not accepting that fact, we have wasted money and have lost opportunities to discuss and implement more productive alternatives.

    1. Miwok

      In other words, selling AIR. Talking about and studying things.. Not growing, making, teaching. Research.

      I see kids who are illiterate even after college. They cannot speak, talk, or even write and spell. Fix that, and you have something. Tests only measure the accomplishments. That is why all the testing they have now show so little. IMO, but I don’t have the PhD to be heard.

      1. wdf1

        Ideas count.  Those are what presumably get discussed in Congress and legislatures.  If course if they’re ideas that you don’t embrace, well then I guess that’s what you want to call AIR.

        Miwok:  That is why all the testing they have now show so little. 

        No, it’s because in the effort to measure accomplishment in math and English, schools are less likely to allow students to develop and nurture purpose or dreams in their lives to shoot for.

        If you were only valued in school for your standardized test score, then by the time you were a teen, you’d be saying, “f**k it.  I don’t care any more.”

      2. Tia Will

        Miwok

        Talking about and studying things….”

        Really, these things do not have merit in your mind?  All things that man creates are based first on an idea and then the application of that idea. Without the observation, followed by studies ( whether as primitive as discovering that one kind of stone sharpens better than another and thus is a better choice to bring down prey, or as sophisticated as astrophysics) nothing of any benefit to mankind would have been created by man.

        I really cannot let this homage to ignorance stand unchallenged. My apparently useless study of cultural anthropology was a major asset to my team in Fresno, and again on the reservation. From my study of different cultures, I brought to the team an awareness of the cultural values of a number of our patients, particularly the Hmong, Native American and Hispanic populations. This can make the difference to understanding and being willing to stick to a medically indicated plan of action by finding a way forward that combines our Western Medical Model with their traditional and social models. But by your characterization, my major was useless since all we did was “talk about and study things”.

        There may be many fields of study for which you have no appreciation. That does not mean that any particular body of knowledge is not valuable. Sometimes we do not even know what will prove valuable in the future. Who would have thought the our most potent aides to fighting bacterial infections started with the observation of mold growing on bread ?  I am sure glad someone made that observation and was willing to study and talk about it.

        1. Miwok

          If you were only valued in school for your standardized test score

          I had the highest scores in my school and it wasn’t enough to be valued. I don’t blame the school, though. They did what they could. I think my parents weren’t smart enough to do anything but see another field hand to exploit.

          I really cannot let this homage to ignorance stand unchallenged.

          I hear your pain, Tia. I was taught doctrine until I quit all the institutions that was feeding them to me. I am innately curious, but at a young age, in a Baptist University, I finally had enough of the doctrine and skewing of facts of science and reality because it fit their doctrine. What I learned from that is to be more open minded, then I say something like I said.. Old Habit, Sorry!

          You have made a life of doing something, where maybe Anthropology added to your knowledge, but it was not the goal. I have worked with Anthropologists, some of which are arrogant purveyors of their Truth, or else. They have made a life out of defending their turf, yet others are respected international members of scientific communities who I was proud to be a small part of their research. They are nicer people.

          But not all people can be that one in a million, they need to make a living. Teaching them to dream is not a service. That is why the “Dream Act” is so funny to me. Dreams don’t always come true.

        2. wdf1

          Miwok:  I had the highest scores in my school and it wasn’t enough to be valued. I don’t blame the school, though. They did what they could. I think my parents weren’t smart enough to do anything but see another field hand to exploit.

          I, too, was someone who tested very well in my day.  But I have raised a kid who was the exact opposite of me in that respect.

          In today’s system, if you have adequate standardized test scores, you are left alone to take electives and partake in the rest of the school curriculum and life, and get attention from counselors to contemplate those alternatives.

          If you don’t score well on standardized tests, then you might be counseled into an extra period of math or English, or study hall, or something equivalent.  You don’t get try out electives and are not as likely to be encouraged to partake of extracurricular activities.

  7. Frankly

    This article is all over the place, making good points and then delivering nonsense that indicates the author has already been corrupted by the same he rails about.

    There is a lot of hard-left ideological left talking points here.

    With the erosion of union membership in this country, spurred by one-sided trade deals which make it easier to outsource production to countries with less labor rights, we have seen a stagnation or decline of the average wage, despite a huge rise in productivity. Meaning that while workers are producing more, they are getting a smaller and smaller share. This is what is behind the rising inequality and the historic level of wealth owned by the richest 1% of Americans.

    First, the rise is productivity is from technology and automation.  The first jobs to go are the low-skilled jobs that pay lower wages but generally require lots of workers.  Technology and automation is also responsible for knocking out many high-paying jobs.   Unionize and demand more, and the company will just invest in more technology and automate more.  Cruse ships are installing robot bartenders.  Nuff said.

    Then we import millions of uneducated people from south of the border to swell the ranks of people needing low-skill jobs.  And we also increase the number of people working in the trades, thereby depressing wages because of the oversupply of labor.

    This one percenter BS has to stop.  First, the Great Recession significantly reduced the gap between low income and high income earners.  And even with this the left and left media continued to push the narrative of unfairness, inflamed the population into believing that their economic life was not fair and caused them to sweep in a liberal Democrat into the Presidency and liberal Democrats to control the Senate for half a decade after dominating all three branches of the Federal government for the first two… and guess what?.. the income gap started rising again even as these liberal democrats taxed and spent to their heart’s content.

    Globalism is the culprit.   There are many more customers and many more workers in the global marketplace.  Unionized labor will only result in fewer domestic jobs.  the problem in a nutshell is that business is willing to move where economic circumstances are better, but many people are not.

    Fighting the economic effects of technology and globalization with unionization is like fighting a rising flood adding a few boats equipped with a flame-thrower.

    First, people in poverty are not deserving of assistance because they have made bad economic choices. This is what we call poverty shaming. Second, you are only worth as much as the “market” says you are; you should not question the power dynamics of the economy, and never ask for a living wage.

    Don’t make high enough grades, go do the things that help you earn higher grades.  Don’t make enough money, go do the things that help you make more money.  WHY THE H&%$ CAN’T ACADEMICS AND LIBERALS CONNECT THESE DOTS!?   Are they hypocrites are just stupid on this?  The kid didn’t have a high enough GPA to get into a good college… academics and liberals will say he did not work hard enough… it is not the school’s or teachers’ fault.  But the older kid does not make enough and it is now whites, males, Republicans, CEOs, corporations… (anything they can label to help their politics)… fault.  Right… if you are brain dead.

    One of the damn frustrating things about this tiring liberal narrative of class war and economic unfairness is that they never adjust if for age and education attainment.  They lump every worker into the mix… so little 18 year old Johnny that dropped out of high school is compared to Bob, the 55 year old engineer that started a company and grew it to a successful business.  If little Johnny gets his GED and then goes to college to become an engineer and starts and grows a successful company, if at age 55 his earnings are a lot lower than Bob’s, then liberals have a point.  Otherwise they are just flapping their political gums.

    The main point of this article is spot on… political/ideological bias in public education.  Unfortunately, the author is just upset that it isn’t HIS bias being taught.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Yes, he drank the Koolaid. Nowhere does he mention …

      1. A record illegal immigrant wave of 300-40 million people that have hammered the middle and lower classes,

      2. Nowhere does he mentioned that both political sides bring in record numbers of H1B visas (legal immigrants), taking away previously desired upper middle class jobs. Gone are programming jobs which paid $70,000 – 120,000 per year when corporations can bring in young techies from India at 1/3 the price. California State Government has done this, SCE has done this, and even Disneyland in Florida, with record profits, did this. BOTH sides of the isle are selling us out, but this sociology student is blind and ignorant of what is transpiring.

      3. I’ve read that we’ve spent over $20 Trillion on the War on Poverty, hard to argue that we don’t “care”.

      4. Given your title, I have a problem accepting everthing you are saying as gospel.

    2. wdf1

      Frankly:   The kid didn’t have a high enough GPA to get into a good college… academics and liberals will say he did not work hard enough… it is not the school’s or teachers’ fault. 

      The schools these days are doing exactly what you want them to do — teach kids to perform well on standardized tests in English and math, and blame teachers and schools if those scores aren’t high enough.

      You have said that schools should “prepare students for the next step in their lives.”  I can agree with this, though I would rephrase that a little differently.  But there is much more to grade school education in this objective that is not accounted for in standardized tests.  Such as where to go after high school and how to get there.

      1. Frankly

        I am a student of history… and the history of public education is that standardization testing started because parents were complaining to politicians about the crappy schools and crappy education outcomes.

        Now the education establishment is hoping that there are few people like me that will actually remember this, and they can scapegoat it for the continued crappy schools and outcomes.

        1. wdf1

          Frankly:  I am a student of history… and the history of public education

          Me, too.

          standardization testing started because parents were complaining to politicians about the crappy schools and crappy education outcomes.

          Bashing public education (like you do), and embracing standardized testing in a big way came about with the Nation at Risk report in 1983.

          Prior to that, there was a stronger concept of public schools having a mission of preparing students to be good future citizens.  After that, it was felt that schools were more there to dispense knowledge, and ideally, make employable workers.  Dispensing knowledge and making employable workers are worthy goals, but that is only a small part of preparing students to be future good citizens.  We’ve lost the sense of preparing students to be good citizens.

           

           

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Part of that was we took out God, patriotism, the Pledge of Allegiance, and en locus parentis.

          It also may have been when the 60s radicals started to remake public education. I defer to those with more knowledge.

        3. Frankly

          Prior to that, there was a stronger concept of public schools having a mission of preparing students to be good future citizens.

          There you have it.  It is code for brainwashing everyone into liberal orthodoxy… and it was leading to companies complaining that little Johnny could not read or write or do math after earning his diploma.

          Like I said, NCLB came about only because the education system failed to adequately educated a great number of students… even though the US spent, and still spends, more per student than all other industrialized nations.

          I don’t like standardization testing for many of the same reasons you do not like it.  But unlike you, I do not trust the education system to do the rights things void of standards.  As this article points out, with a mission of “creating good citizens”, we would be nothing different than Nazi Germany creating good German “citizens” at the time.   This mission is way too subjective and way too exploitive.  That is why I would change it to “adequately prepare all students for their next step in life.”  This being the mission it would be a framework standard that would customize for each student in a “school of one” approach.  If little Johnny wants his next step to be a liberal activist then so be it.  But it should not be the education systems’ authority to force this on others…  especially while ignoring the three Rs.

          1. Don Shor

            Prior to that, there was a stronger concept of public schools having a mission of preparing students to be good future citizens.

            There you have it. It is code for brainwashing everyone into liberal orthodoxy…

            I don’t know, when I was young the mission seemed to involve a lot of brainwashing into conservative orthodoxy. You know: pledge of allegiance, patriotism, highly-sanitized history curriculum, mandatory civics classes, and (before my time) god and prayer in the schools — that sort of thing. It seems that any attempt at developing a “mission” will run headlong into the varied values that Americans hold.

        4. Frankly

          Agreed.  You make my point.  When you pick a soft and fluffy mission like “create good citizens” you open it up to be manipulated by the local area groupthink… or even the bias of individual teachers.

          But I will say that:

          pledge of allegiance, patriotism, mandatory civics classes, and (before my time) god and prayer in the schools

          …sound like things that might help prepare some kids for their next step in life.  I would not rule them out just as I would not rule out things that liberals hold dear like every white person is a racist and everyone else is a victim… rewritten “inclusive” history… and the world is melting because of man.

        5. wdf1

          Frankly:  …and it was leading to companies complaining that little Johnny could not read or write or do math after earning his diploma.

          I think you get a bit hyperbolic for the sake of being argumentative and contrary to whatever I write.

          You and I have both interviewed potential employees.  What do you look for in a potential worker from an interview process?  Just their reading and math ability?  Do you ask them for their reading and math scores on their SATs?  Do you ask them to give you a writing sample?  Work some math problems for you?  Is that all?

          How about ability to get along with others?  Their work ethic?  Ability to think creatively?  Ability to delay gratification?  To work as a team?  Ability to articulate their thoughts in public?  Can they convincingly articulate career and life goals?  Potential to support your organization?  Leadership potential?  A sense of community volunteerism?  Connection to community organizations?  Maybe the latter two aren’t as crucial to job hiring, but would be nice to see.

          To me all of these are major components of good citizenship, as it would have been referred to in prior decades.  But I would expand citizenship components to include voting and local, state, and federal government entities, knowing how to survive on one’s own (beyond just holding down a job), among other things.

          But nice move to just go out there to prove Godwin’s Law.   I guess you nailed me perfectly as a fascist.  Maybe next time you’ll show a little more restraint?

          Frankly:  As this article points out, with a mission of “creating good citizens”, we would be nothing different than Nazi Germany creating good German “citizens” at the time. 

          And which article do you refer to?

          Frankly:  But it should not be the education systems’ authority to force this on others…  especially while ignoring the three Rs.

          And what kind of employees do you get when they can only do the three Rs?

          This is just one of many articles I run into about what employers view as shortcomings in today’s job market.

        6. wdf1

          Frankly:  I don’t like standardization testing for many of the same reasons you do not like it.  But unlike you, I do not trust the education system to do the rights things void of standards.

          We already have standards.   We have plenty of standards everywhere.  You don’t have to worry about a void of standards.  If we didn’t have them before common core, we have definitely have them now.

           

        7. Frankly

          I think you get a bit hyperbolic for the sake of being argumentative and contrary to whatever I write.

          Not “whatever”, but I do absolutely respond to your generally thoughtful content more provocatively because you tend to focus a lot on topics I am passionate about, and I am well aware how strongly held beliefs cannot be effectively challenged without causing some agitation and possible hurt feelings.

          Basically, you have to shake up the box to get to a useful conversation.

          I don’t disagree with your points above that I would lump together in something I call “soft skills”.  But two points.  One – many of these things should be taught in the home, and in the church and general community.  Two – without a target/goal focus, those things become all muddled and politically/ideologically-biased… and tip to being damaging rather than helpful.

          I was blessed with two wonderful and smart kids that at a very early age demonstrated a similar personality trait as mine to be creative and independent.  They hated their dad telling them how to do things.  I understand that trait because I had the same.  Finally, with my oldest in college taking an accounting class I finally got to experience him asking for my help.  During that process I ended up giving him pointers for how to study and memorize (because the other thing he and his dad are “blessed” with is a big picture imagery mind, and not one that can store and recall copious minutia and details.”)  And he says: “I wish the schools had taught me this earlier because I probably would have done better and liked school more.”

          At this point I wanted to go find all the Davis education system administrators and teachers and “talk” to them.

          The public school system sucks.  It sucks because it does not care about the right things.  It sucks because it never had the right focus but the economy was such that kids could recover and find their way.  Now that path is diminished… maybe gone.   And so the sucking problem is a much bigger deal.

          What are the skills that kids need to be successful and happy in life?  That is what our schools should be constantly asking and responding to.

          1. Don Shor

            The public school system sucks

            NO. It didn’t work for your kid, and you didn’t make sure it worked for your kid.

        8. wdf1

          Frankly:  I don’t disagree with your points above that I would lump together in something I call “soft skills”.  But two points.  One – many of these things should be taught in the home, and in the church and general community.  Two – without a target/goal focus, those things become all muddled and politically/ideologically-biased… and tip to being damaging rather than helpful.

          Last night Davis High School had its year-ending awards ceremony.  The culmination of the evening every year is the awarding of the Gordon H. True Service Cup to the boy and girl who “possess to the greatest degree the qualities of loyalty, service and citizenship.”  This award has been given at DHS since 1930.

          I am struck that the award isn’t for academic performance, or GPA.  I am also struck that for as much prominence as the award has, those qualities — loyalty, service, and citizenship — don’t receive as much apparent focus as math and English language competency or other subject matter coursework.  And when I raise the issue of instilling citizenship earlier as a comment here, you immediately went to some weird Nazi reference.

          The award is supposed to represent qualities of value in students.  When I recognize student recipients I have known who have received the award, they are to me students who would generally have qualities that I would hope for in employees.

          So do you think that award is meaningful in what it tries to recognize?

          Are you concerned at all that those “soft skill qualities” represented in the award don’t seem to have as much prominent focus in the class room as stuff that gets evaluated by standardized tests?

        9. wdf1

          Frankly:   The public school system sucks. 

          Usually you follow this up with the comment along the lines of, ‘…therefore we need to blow up the whole system.’

          You use your personal experience to arrive at this conclusion.  You discuss in this comment that teachers did not teach your kids how to study.  You’ve also commented that your sons struggled in secondary grades (7-12).  Yet at the same time you have conceded that their elementary experience was great.  You have also commented that at least one of your kids had some positive experiences with the school music program.  Your personal experiences don’t really offer a strong case for ‘blowing up the whole system,’ but rather fixing, refining, and refocusing.

          In using the personal to justify broad reform, you extrapolate your experiences to those of everyone else in the school district.  That, of course, is excessive.  Don Shor has commented on having generally positive experiences as a parent.  Mine have also been positive on the whole, though I see areas for improvement.  I think on balance Davis parents find more to appreciate about their public schools than to dislike.

          Frankly:   It sucks because it does not care about the right things. It sucks because it never had the right focus but the economy was such that kids could recover and find their way.

          I can agree that this begins to focus on an area of common agreement, that schools often don’t focus on the right things (it is worse in lower-income communities), but high stakes standardized tests have played a role in this outcome.  But in my book that’s not a reason to say the public schools suck, any more than someone saying “America sucks because there’s income inequality, or because there’s too much coddling and sensitivity for racial minorities.”

          As a student of history and the history of public education in the U.S., I have found that there has never ever been a time when our education was unequivocally at its high point in quality and satisfaction.  In fact, what we have now can be argued to be as good as anything that we’ve ever had.  But that’s not a reason to be complacent.
           

    3. Miwok

      Frankly (because you are), this is a good explanation and some good questions I was only able to ask after about twenty years of seeing everything I was taught in college go to waste. everything I was taught in Business Management was bunk. Oh, the people at the University still use the words, but they know little about practicing the concepts.

      The students come here expecting and thinking, and yes, even have Faith, that the professors are spouting Truth and Honesty. Instead they get young post-grads giving lectures, never see their professors, and from what I have heard for decades, the undergrad education is largely left to Lecturers who sometimes cannot speak in easily understood terms.

      Every completely human thing that can be mechanized, even down to fighting for the country, is being mechanized. The only thing gone is the soul. Pretty soon one guy will push the button and the Police will show up at your door, but you will be talking to a robot.

      Sociology is one of those subjects you have to adhere to the “belief” system to be successful at. I am amazed at how much I have learned working at a University, more than being a student.

       

        1. Miwok

          Professors tell me they do the same kind of deprogramming. It is the culture here to ridicule anyone who doesn’t ride a bicycle, have a pet, or may have to have a job to live. I think the most real people are the medical, veterinarian, and engineers. Those students have the concept of not selling ideas for a living.

          The rest are salesmen who try to convince you of what they know or who they know. Ah, the exuberance of youth!

        2. Frankly

          Ha!  Yes, but they are hopelessly brainwashed into the free market capitalism economic development collective by the time I am done… no hope for them after that.

  8. Tia Will

    Duane

    First I appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective.

    so the budgeting lesson isn’t something that can be reduced to an “abstinence while in high school” message.”

    I doubt that the teacher was “reducing the message to abstinence only”. Now that may well have been the message that you and your child heard, but I doubt that the teacher was so limited in his intent. Have you had a conversation with this teacher about the core messages he wanted his students to learn ? About any ancillary points that he hoped they would pick up along the way ?  Have your reviewed his lesson plan with him ?  I suspect that what may be going on here is a limited understanding of what he was trying to convey based on second hand information. I suspect his because my own daughter and son came through this program with a very different understanding than just “abstain while in high school”. The message they took home is that having children is a decision and should be informed by an assessment of one’s life goals, priorities and values. Ideally only adults who were willing to commit to jointly raising a child to adulthood would become parents. However, I would caution those who believe that marriage is the answer…..it is no panacea. Many children in single parent homes are there because of divorce.

    Is this “parenting” unit teaching our youth how to be responsible parents, or is it just reinforcing white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalist notions of life while inadvertently creating a mental health problem?”

    Why dichotomize this ?  All teaching units have multiple effects with different “lessons” being heard and interpreted differently by different students and parents. For some students such a unit may be a lifelong lesson in responsibility for oneself and others. For others it may be you are correct and they only hear the abstinence in high school only part. If even one unintended pregnancy during high school is prevented, I see that as a major win.  I am wondering if you have any data to support your claim that this kind of program could lead to mental health problems, or is this simply speculation on your part ? You asked it as a question, so I am thinking the latter. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  9. Tia Will

    I am going to say something that I anticipate will raise a lot of hackles, but bear with me. No bragging intended when I say that I suspect that I have far more experience with pregnancy and the prevention thereof than anyone else who posts here regularly. This has been a large part of my job for the past 30 years.

    We have currently available a safe ( virtually no contraindications or major side effects), effective ( at least as effective as sterilization), easy to place with virtually no chance of injury to other body organs, contraceptive option called the Nexplanon. It takes < than 5 minutes to insert in the upper arm of the woman ( as we should be referring to those of reproductive capability). It does not require any fancy equipment, is minimally uncomfortable since it does not hurt after an initial injection of Lidocaine to numb the skin in the area. Removal is very simple if appropriately placed which with the new applicator is very, very hard to mess up. And, did I forget to mention, has the added benefit of being fully reversible immediately upon removal with prompt return of the woman’s ability to conceive when desired and is good for three years, and can be removed and replaced in the same sitting if desired.

    My proposal is simple. There is widespread acceptance of immunization now, even Guardasil the vaccination against the HPV virus has gained wide acceptance for both boys and girls. My proposal is to provide Nexplanon as a preventative measure for all women. Readily accessible, free. I would advise beginning to offer it to every woman as soon as she has her first period.

    Now I didn’t dream this up on my own. What has happened during the last few years is that I have increasing numbers of women bringing their daughters, or being brought in by their daughters for highly effective contraception. These are women who are used to having good insurance and who are fully aware of how to access it and leverage it to their benefit. Why would we not provide this on a voluntary basis for anyone who wanted it, or thought that they might need it in the future as one recent 15 year old told me. This, to me is the height of responsibility. A woman ( she has been having periods for 3 years and is capable of conception) who is now a virgin has the maturity and foresight to plan ahead in case she chooses to become sexually active.

    How much more impact would we have if we provided free, readily accessible highly effective contraception to all where the individual happens to be. That could be in the high schools, at work places, at public health fairs …..  I am sure you all could think of more locations. The rates of unintended pregnancy, abortion, pregnancy complications, child abuse and neglect, children raised in poverty would all drop. I would think that is a goal we could all get behind.

    1. Frankly

      At least you are consistent in wanting to get drugs into people to save them from themselves.

      The drug is expensive.  And doctors charge a lot to administer it.  And it has side effects.

      I would be more open to giving high school students an allowance payable at graduation if they don’t get pregnant or impregnate.  And that allowance would be doubled if used to pay for college.  That would be more expensive, but would pay greater social dividends… including teaching the kids that it pays to delay gratification to achieve long-term goals/benefits.

      It would be partially funded by the reduction in social service payments/costs that would result.

      I’m thinking though that Democrats might not like this since it would tend to disrupt their plans to grow more Democrat voters dependent on handouts from the government.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        There is a strong and growing argument that that is exactly why the Left, and Obama, don’t want to close the southern border. We may already have passed the Tipping Point. The more Latinos who are given Amnesty, and vote 75-80% Democrat, and then add in chain migration, we may soon become a one-party nation.

        We’ve seen how grand that has been for California, which now has 1/3rd of our nation’s “poor”. Our educational system went from number 1, to number 48 or 49 when Democrats gained control.

      2. Tia Will

        Frankly

        Regarding Nexplanon:

        Yes, I know it has side effects. I will be happy to enumerate them for you.

        1) The bruising involved with the placement ( usually resolves in a few days)

        2) A mild headache on the first day after placement.

        3) Irregular bleeding and spotting which usually resolves but can last the entire three years( this is by far the most common    significant complaint).

        4) Rarely, a woman may experience unacceptable mood alterations in which the Nexplanon is removed with effect gone within 48 hrs. Same for the occasional anecdotal report of weight gain due to stimulation of appetite. This is not born out by studies.

        Many young women agree with me that these are trivial compared to the risk of a pregnancy.

        Yes, I know it is expensive. But not so much so when averaged over three years ( its effective duration of action). But much, much less expensive than supporting child from an unintended and in some cases unwanted, unloved and uncared for child to adulthood, I guarantee you. You if anyone should support such a voluntary measure for its financial savings overall. Of do you dispute that supporting a child to adulthood is less expensive than a Nexplanon ?

        Don’t make high enough grades, go do the things that help you earn higher grades.  Don’t make enough money, go do the things that help you make more money.  WHY THE H&%$ CAN’T ACADEMICS AND LIBERALS CONNECT THESE DOTS!?   Are they hypocrites are just stupid on this?”

        You know, electronic shouting and name calling does not make you right. From your posts, it would appear that you do believe that everyone not only has the same opportunities, but has the same IQ and the same ability to acquire and process information. I am quite sure from having had a conversation with you, that you are aware that human beings have different abilities to learn and differing potentials. This leads me to believe that you are at least indifferent to if not out right hostile to those whose gifts and blessings ( yes, we didn’t choose our genetic background, or childhood exposures, or environment as much as you might like to credit yourself with having done so) are inferior to ours in our “money is all that matters society”.

        The girl controls it unless it is rape and then that is a crime.

        It takes two people, but consent of the girl.  Without the latter, there would be no pregnancy.

        Teaching the girls to say no seems like a real good idea to me.  As they say, “the buck stops there.”

        I can hardly believe that just a few days ago, I defended you against the charge of making a misogynistic comment and you come up with this piece of tripe. Why does the girl “control it”? How about the man taking some control of his actions. Your thinking is so outdated that I can hardly believe it. Do you honestly believe that girls are responsible for controlling not only their own actions but also those of their ( apparently in your eyes lunk headed male companion who can’t be expected to control either his libido or his bodily parts). Do you realize that this is exactly the same rationale that is used in the Muslim tradition of dictating the use of certain articles of female covering or segregating men and women. After all we can’t have all those women running around seducing men with their exposed faces, arms, legs….whatever. Not to put this on any one religion, it is the same amongst the extreme Orthodox Jews ( women being asked to change their seats so as not to “tempt” the devout Jew assigned the adjacent seat .

        As for the saying “the buck stops here”, the bill should be shared equally. Double dutch “as they say”. One party should not have to pick up the tab for the poor decision of both. So teaching both to say no equally if they don’t want to pay their fair share of the bill would seem a much sounder strategy to me.

         

         

        1. Frankly

          As for the saying “the buck stops here”, the bill should be shared equally. Double dutch “as they say”. One party should not have to pick up the tab for the poor decision of both.

          I am consistent in demanding equal responsibility for all behavior and decisions.  I am not at all advocating that the girl has any more or less responsibility for the pregnancy.

          Let me ask you a rhetorical question.  If you own a car and have the keys, and your friend is drunk and aggressively demands that give him the keys and then demands that you ride along.  And you do this and he crashes and you are both injured.

          Might you look back and realize that you screwed up?

          Yes, the guy driving drunk is responsible for the crash.  But you would be responsible for providing the car and the keys.

          Unless you think females should be be held to that level of responsibility for some reason.

        2. Frankly

          I was just thinking… feminists demand that pregnancy is 100% the woman’s decision to terminate or keep… basically their body that they get to control. However, when it comes to sex, they cede to demand that they are anything more than 50% in control of their own body.

          Let the name-calling begin.

          1. Don Shor

            Let the name-calling begin.

            Not necessary. Hoist by your own petard, and all that.

  10. Michelle Millet

    He then said that is wasn’t “fair” to the people who would be supporting them. He then added “Do you know who would be paying for your support? Me.”

    I find it very troublesome that a teacher would chose to frame a conversation about family life in this type of divisive, “me and against” you way. I don’t think it is an effective way to build trust with students, which I believe is fundamental when trying to have a productive and effective discussion about personal issues that come along with this subject. If I were a 12 year old who heard this from my teacher, I would view him as an adversary, not someone who is supporting me, or someone I could trust to ask for help and guidance. If the goal is to reduce teen pregnancies this is not an effective solution.

     

      1. Michelle Millet

        Neither of us know what the teacher meant by “me”.

        More importantly, if the goal is to reduce teen pregnancies, creating a hostile classroom environment, by making this type of divisive statement, is not going to get us there.

        1. Barack Palin

          Neither of us know what the teacher meant by “me”.

          Okay, then why did you jump the teacher for saying it if you didn’t know what he meant?

          I don’t see the “me” as devisive or hostile at all, if anything it’s the truth.  Do you see the truth as devisive and hostile?

        2. Michelle Millet

          Again, lets do go back to the goal, reducing teen pregnancies.

          My question is this: Do you think saying to to a group of pre-teens, “don’t have sex because the taxpayers will end up having to foot the bill and that’s not fair” is going to stop them from having sex?

          It may be the truth, but I don’t see it as effective birth control, or an effective way to delay them having sexual intercourse. (I have a lot of other issues with this approach BTW, but I’ll keep it simple for now).

        3. Miwok

          How about every teen mother has to take the baby to class, every day, until every other student has had a chance to feed, bathe, feed, change, and care for the infant. I have always speculated this is the best form of birth control out there.

          It also underscores the fact that although this society does its best not to see these infants, they still have a stake in caring for them, if nothing else but paying taxes?

        4. Barack Palin

          Do you think saying to to a group of pre-teens, “don’t have sex because the taxpayers will end up having to foot the bill and that’s not fair” is going to stop them from having sex?

          No, not that by itself, but that’s just a piece of what the students were being taught.  They were also being shown how much time, effort and costs go into raising a child.  I had the same lesson when I was in school, but instead of a sack of flour, we had to tote around an egg for a week and make sure we didn’t break it.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      This is now what, 3rd hand information? Not only that, it passed from a teenager, and through a graduate student with a clear political bias. This article is not a balanced piece, so everything written here should be taken with a pinch of salt.

      I see no interview with the teacher used for clarification. I see no attributions or quotes from written materials. But there is a lot here about hurt feelings, class envy, and liberal indoctrination.

      I recall getting s similar assignment in high school, and it fostered some very enlightening conversations at home about the cost of a mortgage, water (it actually cost money when I watered the lawns?), health care, the cost just for a birth, savings, credit, the importance of going to college or learning a trade, and more.

      I’d love to see a reply from this student’s teacher!

      1. wdf1

        TBD:  I recall getting s similar assignment in high school, and it fostered some very enlightning conversations at home about the cost of a mortgage, water (it actually cost money when I watered the lawns?), health care, the cost just for a birth, savings, credit, the importance of going to college or learning a trade,, and more.

        Okay.  That was high school.  And yes, I agree it’s a very worthwhile discussion to have in high school.  But do you argue that the same kind of assignment and discussion is age appropriate in elementary school?

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          I’d have to see the assignment and what was actually said. But isn’t it ironic there are examples where schools are pushing sex education sooner and sooner, but consequences are verbotten?

          FWIW, I just overheard a parent give a long explanation to a 10-year-old about what a transgendered person was, and how it was OK, blah blah blah. The child asked no question, it was a speech by the parent. Do you think that is age appropriate?

          1. Don Shor

            FWIW, I just overheard a parent give a long explanation to a 10-year-old about what a transgendered person was, and how it was OK, blah blah blah. The child asked no question, it was a speech by the parent. Do you think that is age appropriate?

            Sure.

        2. wdf1

          With my kids, I would answer any serious question that they posed to me, or if it came up in a conversation somehow that they were privy to and that they might be curious about, then at an appropriate time I would say, do you know what X means?  and give just enough information to answer it.

          IMO, if a kid asks me “what is transgender?” then it is an age appropriate question and I will respond in kind.

          My kids at that age have tended to tune out after maybe a couple of sentences.  So I don’t see that a lengthy speech is going to have much impact.

        3. Davis Progressive

          it better be age appropriate since ten is when a lot of kids start transitioning:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/07/transgender-child-acceptance-_n_7012214.html

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          wdf, the child didn’t ask a question, the parent was giving a sermon. Most 10-year-olds I know are interested in legos, superman, and the latest Internet game, not sexuality. I was taught in human sexuality to wait until they raised the question, not to sell my agenda to them.

          1. Don Shor

            Just FYI: Puberty usually starts some time between age 7 and 13 in girls and 9 and 15 in guys. You probably don’t really know what “most 10-year-olds” are interested in with regard to sexuality and gender. You also don’t know about previous conversations the child and parent might have been having. And some parents are weird. Somewhere along that spectrum is most likely the reason for the conversation. Why, just out of curiosity, was it any of your business?

        5. Davis Progressive

          the current thinking is that you educate kids before questions start happening because if you wait for them to ask questions, it might be too late.  there are 11, 12, 13 year olds in yolo getting pregnant, you really want to wait until then to talk about sex?

        6. Michelle Millet

          One of the best parenting classed I took at DPNS  we on this subject. It talked about how this is an ongoing conversation, not an isolated one, and that adults should follow a child lead when having them.

          Following this advice, when kids were 3 or 4 and asked how babies were made, I said a sperm from the dad and the egg from a mom mix and a baby starts to grow inside the mom. As the kids got older the complexity of my answers changed. (I will admit some topics are more awkward for me then others.)

           

        7. TrueBlueDevil

          Don, the conversation happened in my family. The same child has spent significant time around same-sex couples and he’s never asked a question about sexuality about anyone. Legos, magic, comics, kids movies, burgers, etc.

          1. Don Shor

            Is this parent in the habit of giving these kind of lectures? LOL — some are, that’s for sure. The kid probably tunes half of it out now, and will tune even more out later. But I don’t think it’s necessarily inappropriate as a topic.

        8. Davis Progressive

          doesn’t matter whether it was in your family or a perfect stranger, the fact is that kids a year older than that kid are having sex, he ought to know about it whether he’s asked or not.

      2. Tia Will

        TBD

        Class envy ?  How so ? Pointing out that our society has distinct economic classes with differing opportunities for success is factual. How is that a demonstration of envy ?

        If I point out that Bill Gates, or Soros, or the Koch brothers have lots more money than I do, does that make me envious ? I think it means that I am making a statement of fact. If I point out that there are many people that have less financial wealth than I do because they pursued art, or literature or teaching as opposed to medicine, does that mean that I envy them their leisure time ?

        I am totally with  you when you are putting forth information even if I don’t agree with your interpretation. I am completely with you when you put forth a list of suggestions for developing solutions to problems ( and would love to work with you except I don’t know who you are). But you completely lose me when you pull our the partisan ideologic drivel of “class envy” without any hint of support or even a definition.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Tia, what I seem to see more and more of is a denial of some basic life facts, basic common sense. It was drilled into my generation to go to school, to get a job, to either go to college or a trade school, get married, and buy a house … those were the choices needed to get to a middle class life. Save money. I have made both good and bad choices, had good and bad breaks. For the record, I am a very compassionate person on an individual level. I don’t see these basic lessons being taught as much anymore, maybe just the upper middle income and above?

          On top of this, we have imported tens of millions of lower-class, lesser educated workers who have killed the traditional blue collar middle class. I know these people, that was my family. We are making such dramatically poor choices on multiple levels, I think we may reach a point of no return where we do have a large entrenched lower class that spirals out of control. We can’t import half of Mexico and expect America to stay the same. I have nothing against Mexico or Mexicans, lets be clear. I’ve eaten hundreds of taquerias, I’ve traveled there a few times, my Spanish is poor but I like to try.

          But American is no longer “diverse” when we bring in half of Mexico, and we lose our identity, ethos, and customs to a failed country south of us. When we have such runaways illegal immigration, which hammers the lower classes you claim to advocate for. Even Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigeration. This has also hammered specifically the middle- and lower-class in the black community.

        2. Davis Progressive

          i have just come the conclusion that your obsession with immigration crosses into xenophobia.  “But American is no longer “diverse” when we bring in haf of Mexico, and we lsose our identity, ethos, and moracustoms when we have such runaways illegal immigration, which hammers the lower classes you claim to advocate for.”  that passage shows that you aren’t just against immigration, you’re against mexican in this country and fear it.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Firebrand writer Ann Coulter made this point recently. She claims that 30% of legal immigrnats are here from Mexico, and 60% of illegal immigrants.

          She also makes the common-sense observation that if we really want “diversity”, we’d have 5% from this country, 5% from that country, etc. I chatted with several Bangledesh immigrants in Italy, and wondered why I have never met a single person from their country here.

          Few people know the costs of having to deal with Mexico’s entrenched problems. I just found a DEA “Most Wanted” link a few weeks ago where virtually 100% of the “Most wanted” for Northern California were from Mexico. That’s staggerring. They’re not African, not Irish. My guess is that many are part of the Mexican cartel / drug gangs.

          I have friends who are trying to legally come here from Central American who can’t get here legally, and have family members here, but others can just walk across our border? Ridiculous. Its common sense, not “xenophobia”.

          Your hypocrisy is that these illegal immigrants are obliterating the American blue collar worker, the Black blue collar worker, and they’re targeting and driving out African Americans from South Central LA. I have posted the links before, but I know this adult conversation and logic is too much for you.

      3. Davis Progressive

        “This article is not a balanced piece, so everything written here should be taken with a pinch of salt.”

        you mean like every single article you post from right wing blogs?  it’s not supposed to be a balanced piece, it’s an article from a parent who is upset at something that happened in the classroom.  we’re not stupid, we know we have to take it with a grain of salt.  on the other hand, we also know this stuff happens.

  11. Barack Palin

    My wife is a preschool teacher in town.  I hope my wife never has to deal with these types of parents.

    My wife has a day each year where the students bring in a parent to talk about their career.  Those days are always a big hit.

    I can see it now:

    It’s not fair for the kids of color whose parents might not have as good a job as the white child’s parent.  This just leads the children of color to believe they’ll never have a decent job.

    The implicit bias of classism will be shown to the kids of the parents who dress better than the poorer children’s parents.

    It’s not fair to Johnny because his parents don’t have a job.

     

    1. wdf1

      B.P.:  It’s not fair for the kids of color whose parents might not have as good a job as the white child’s parent.  This just leads the children of color to believe they’ll never have a decent job.
      Does your wife teach in a pre-school that is subsidized by the government?
      Because if not, then the real dichotomy is really over income, not race.  It would likely be that fewer to no low income families would enroll in your wife’s preschool, because the tuition would begin to get prohibitive, or they didn’t have the flexibility to arrange dropoffs and pickups.
      In Davis, there are a lot of educated professionals from many different races (or “of color” to use your terminology).
      B.P.:  My wife has a day each year where the students bring in a parent to talk about their career.  Those days are always a big hit.
      Do any kids bring a parent to school who is a custodian, a farm laborer, or a house cleaner?

  12. Tia Will

    Do any kids bring a parent to school who is a custodian, a farm laborer, or a house cleaner?”

    I volunteered in our public schools for 15  years and have never seen exactly this. However, I have seen “stay at home mom’s” come in and talk about their work. I have seen cooking demonstrations, knitting and sewing, art projects, gardening, pet care to name the one’s that come readily to mind. My house cleaner could certainly give me lessons of the best practices and products for cleaning my house. When we got an upscale stove/oven and hood because my partner loves to cook, she told me in no uncertain terms that I could wipe off the surface with water only. Any further cleaning needed, I was to leave to her. She was right. Three years later, my stove looks new, except in the one spot where I went astray and tried to clean it myself…..oops.

    I am a doctor and I was loved by my daughter’s classmates. Not because I am a doctor, but because it turns out I love to read and am very expressive while reading to a group and very adept at engaging the interest of the kids. It is a skill, no less than delivering a baby or removing a uterus, two other skills I happen to possess. This problem of class distinction is going to exist in both directions until we make the choice to stop arguing over whose worth is greater than whose and start acknowledging that all have a contribution to make if we would just provide a living wage and respect for what each contributes.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      But if we provide a “living wage” to American low-skilled workers and the tens of millions of illegal immigrants, what will that do to businesses which much compete on a global or local level? I read where a Seattle restaurant had to raise prices 21%, and of a San Francisco independent bookstore that closed down when the minimum wage was just raised to $11 an hour.

      Socialism has failed wherever it was tried.

      How about this, Tia? We double the amount of doctors, we publish medical prices, and we allow significant cross-state health insurance competition. How much would that lower health care costs?

        1. Davis Progressive

          you’d have to ask them.  as i understand it, they want to trade the possibility for lower costs for the management for the ability to unionize.  so from that perspective it makes sense for them.  but you might want to ask someone who knows a bit more about it.

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        Now you are talking. Proposed solutions will always trump rants.

        Double the amount of doctors.

        At least !

        Publish medical prices

        Absolutely !

        Allow significant cross-state health insurance competition.

        Completely disagree. Health care should not be run like a competitive business. Our experience with health care insurers demonstrates over and over again that they would lie, cheat and steal to make a profit. Pre existing condition ?  No insurance for you. Canceling policies upon first detection of a serious disorder. Dropping health insurance if a person lost their job, or their spouse did. Our insurance companies have behaved abominably, competition not withstanding. Again, I don’t particularly care what competitive tactics are used if this is an elective or luxury item that no one needs…. fine compete away……but not with essential health care. But hey, agreement on 2 out of 3 points is not bad !

        As for your blanket statement “socialism has failed wherever it was tried” then please explain to me why virtually every other industrialized country that uses what you are choosing to call “socialized medicine” has better stats in most of the major indicators of health outcomes than we do in the US ? I am sure that Don would be happy to pull up those comparisons just as he has done in the past. I didn’t call for “socialism”. I did call for single party payer for health care delivery. The two are not synonymous.

        1. Barack Palin

          I’ve seen reports that state that Obamacare cost $53,000 per enrollee.   And that’s just the cost to get people to sign up, not the cost of actually insuring them.  Now how anyone can say that’s a success is beyond me.

          1. Don Shor

            Tell us in your own words what you think that number actually means.
            Hint: “that’s just the cost to get people to sign up” is not true.

        2. Miwok

          Pre existing condition ?  No insurance for you

          Really? I thought that was a major problem for children especially. If you had cancer or Downs, you could not get insurance for it? The ACA only put it back in after removing in the initial stages.

    2. Miwok

      it turns out I love to read and am very expressive while reading to a group and very adept at engaging the interest of the kids.

      Many people lack this skill. I remember in Elementary School we had to give book reports, and write and stand in front of the class. I see now how letting kids off the hook for that has fostered people who know only how to act out, or fail to express themselves except in anger. It is sad to see, but parents are not aware they have duties long after birthing the child. Is that cultural?

      1. Tia Will

        Miwok

        Of course different cultures value different skills more highly. I was very lucky. My mom although not herself educated, stressed the value of what she referred to as “book learning” ( I kid you not. Could I make that up ?) and also valued my willingness to work with her in growing berries in our yard to supplement our income after my father died.

        My former mother in law ( rural Turkish background) never learned to read and write in any language. But she made every single meal from scratch, made most of the families clothing until the boys went away to school and became professionals.  She delivered all of her children ( 5 who survived and one who did not) by herself on the floor of her home. She wove and knitted and taught these arts to her one daughter. What disgusts me is that while ( as she put it, my hand was trained to the knife while hers was trained to the knitting needle) we choose to honor my work while denigrating her skills and contribution by compensating her nothing although she did everything that her society expected of her.

        Just because someone does not hold money as their highest value does not  make them any less worthy as a person. We need the dreamers, observers, readers, the makers of garments, those who make our meals, those who keep our neighborhoods and homes and places of business clean as much as we need doctors, and in my opinion far more than we need the sea of  highly paid advertisers, lobbyists, and hacks such as Ann Coulter on the right and you name whomever you like on the left as her counterpart. But our society has chosen to reward the most brazen purveyors of the caustic sound bite over someone who is making an actual contribution.

        1. Miwok

          But our society has chosen to reward the most brazen purveyors of the caustic sound bite over someone who is making an actual contribution.

          There is my “selling AIR” statement again! 🙂

      2. Tia Will

        BP

        I’ve seen reports that state that Obamacare cost $53,000 per enrollee.   And that’s just the cost to get people to sign up, not the cost of actually insuring them.”

        Sources please if you are going to make that kind of statement.  This is the equivalent of “some guy once told me”And while you are at it, how about statistics on expensive hospital stays for adults, prevention of blindness or dialysis or neonatal intensive care unit stays. A handful of these multiple hundred thousand dollar expenses saved would cover quite a few of  those 53,000 dollar enrollees even if you were correct, which seems improbable.

          1. Don Shor

            So you now understand that your statement

            that’s just the cost to get people to sign up, not the cost of actually insuring them.”

            is false?
            That is the ten-year average cost of premium subsidies and Medicaid expense per person. Which is $5300 per year. Which equals $442 per month per person. Including all subsidies of lower-income people and all costs of Medicaid enrollees. It is, in fact, a little lower than the CBO had estimated originally as the cost of the plan.

          2. Don Shor

            The main driver of that cost is the expansion of Medicaid, because it covers older people and those with disabilities. Here are some statistics from 2011 about Medicaid costs per enrollee, to compare to that $5300 per year figure from your source.

            In FY 2011, total national Medicaid spending per enrollee was $5,790. When excluding “partial-benefit enrollees,” national spending per enrollee was $6,502. In general, states in the south tend to have lower spending per enrollee, while states in the northeast have higher spending per enrollee.
            Per enrollee spending is higher among the aged and individuals with disabilities due to the higher use of complex acute services and long-term care ($17,522 and $18,518 respectively for FY 2011). Average spending per Medicaid enrollee was less for adults and children ($4,141 and $2,492 respectively). For each eligibility group, there is considerable variation across states in per enrollee spending.
            In addition to variation across states, there was also considerable variation within states for each eligibility group, particularly for individuals with disabilities. For example, in Kansas average spending for individuals with disabilities was $17,153 (close to the national average) but ranged from $765 for those in the first quartile to $126,727 for those in the top 5th percentile.

            Expanding Medicaid is expensive. It is expensive because the people who get it need health care that they can’t get elsewhere and many of them are high health-care consumers due to age and disability. I don’t know how you plan to provide them with health care if we don’t expand Medicaid. The way to drive down Medicaid costs in the long run is to provide preventative care to as many people as possible (reducing things like obesity, for example). The Affordable Care Act mandates preventative care coverage be part of health plans.

        1. Frankly

          WASH­ING­TON—The Obama ad­min-is­tra­tion pub­lished more in­for­ma­tion Mon­day about hefty pre­mium in-creases for 2016 sought by large in-sur­ers sell­ing plans un­der the health law.

          Ma­jor car­ri­ers from around the coun­try are propos­ing big in­creases in the pre­mium rates paid by consumers who buy in­sur­ance poli­cies on their own.

          Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is look­ing to raise rates by av­er-ages of 29% or more. In Penn­syl­va­nia, High­mark Health In­sur­ance Co. is ask-ing for 30%, ac­cord­ing to pro­pos­als sub­mit­ted by in­sur­ers for the year ahead. Around the coun­try, some of the main mar­ket lead­ers are look­ing for dou­ble digit in­creases.

          We can thank Obama and the Democrats for this disaster.

           

          1. Don Shor

            Oh, then who should I have thanked for the double digit increases I experienced two years in a row two decades ago? And, of course, those are submitted. They aren’t going to get those increases.
            I can thank Obama and the Democrats, I guess, for the fact that I have health insurance. And so can millions of your fellow Americans.

          1. Don Shor

            Their answer is to create government supported high-risk insurance pools, operated by the states and funded with federal financial assistance for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

            Complete non-starter. Always underfunded. Doesn’t work, never will, and wasn’t a serious proposal. Put me in an insurance ghetto, subject to the appropriation whims by the party that likes to shut down the government? No thanks.
            You didn’t have an answer then, you don’t have an answer now.

    1. Michelle Millet

      The key is to tell them that tax payers will bare the burden of the costs associated with any unwanted pregnancy, that will stop them.  (sorry my B. Snarky side is being awakened)

      1. Barack Palin

        Once again Michelle, that was just part of what the teacher was educating the class on.  But I guess you choose to just focus on that to make your point.

        From B.P…….the anti-snark

      2. Tia Will

        Michelle

        sorry my B. Snarky side is being awakened)”

        Darn, and just when I thought you had gotten calmed down. Go have another cup of coffee……..oh wait , no….that’s probably part of the problem, not the solution.

  13. Alan Miller

    Is this “parenting” unit teaching our youth how to be responsible parents, or is it just reinforcing white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalist notions of life while inadvertently creating a mental health problem?

    Wow . . . WOW!

    I’m wondering how this guy got into UCD.  I hope he takes the time to massage the logic in his phD dissertation a bit better than he did this article, learns to cut down the number of sentences in a typical paragraph, and doesn’t end the dissertation with an inflammatory, accusatory, answer-hidden-in-the-question-cheap-rhetorical-tatic question in place of an actual conclusion.

    1. Barack Palin

      s this “parenting” unit teaching our youth how to be responsible parents, or is it just reinforcing white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalist notions of life while inadvertently creating a mental health problem?

      Like I stated earlier, I had the same type of parenting class many moons ago.  Now I know why I’m so f’ed up.

      Who’d of thunk?

  14. nsw

    I am curious if the author discussed his concerns with the teacher before crucifying him here — I didn’t see mention of any such dialogue in the article. Specifying the grade-level and school of his son’s teacher, when combined with the exceedingly bitter snark makes what could have been a thoughtful teachable moment into a grotesque hatchet job. Minds don’t get changed this way.

    1. Barack Palin

      I thought the same thing, he not only specified the grade level and the name of the school, he also gave us the teacher’s sex by adding “He then added “Do you know who would be paying for your support? Me.”  So how many male 6th grade teachers at Birch Lane are there?  I’d sure like to hear the other side of the story.  

  15. powerofcooperation

    I am a touch surprised and a little saddened by many of the comments made regarding this thoughtful (albeit taking it a tad bit far for me) article. There seems to be a lot of anger towards teen girls and the poor out there.

    1. Topcat

      There seems to be a lot of anger towards teen girls and the poor out there.

      I don’t see it that way at all.  The comments show me that the commenters care about educating young people and providing them with the knowledge they need to make good life decisions.

      1. gentlereader

        Yet no one has promoted this good life decision: If you and a female partner get pregnant, you (male) must provide for financially and emotionally for that child for the rest of your life.

        A sex ed course should not devolve into a shaming single mothers course

        1. Barack Palin

          A sex ed course should not devolve into a shaming single mothers course

          I don’t think it did.  From what I read here and in the parenting class I took when I was younger everything was applied equally to both sexes.  In fact this article is about the author’s 12 yr. old boy’s experience in the class.

    2. gentlereader

      I’m beyond saddened, I’m shocked. I never knew there were still people who blamed the single mom for being single, forgetting that she’s the one who stayed to raise her children. It’s the single father who is gone. Seems if there is any blame to go around, it should be on the fathers who left, not on the moms who have stuck it out and stand by their kids.

      And the “girls should keep their legs closed” comment??!! Whoa.

      1. Tia Will

        gentlereader

        It’s the single father who is gone. Seems if there is any blame to go around, it should be on the fathers who left, not on the moms who have stuck it out and stand by their kids.”

        Unless of course he is absent because he has become enmeshed in our school to jail pipeline, sometimes for a serious offense, but often because some over zealous prosecutor has decided to pile on enhancements, additional charges and “gang enhancements” because he happens to have a cousin who is involved in gang activities.

        Instead of providing avenues and incentives for these vulnerable young parents to stay together and build a success of their lives, we often incentivize them or force them into repetitive cycles and then blame them for their dependency.

         

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