Category: Education

Stop scapegoating and alienating vulnerable people

Movie still from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," set in a high school, with a young man in the foreground looking off into the distance as two young women stand in the near background, talking about him

People on all sides of the issue seem to be looking for some kind of solution to school shootings and mass shootings in general. Which is good. They’re doing that at the expense of innocent, vulnerable people. That’s bad. Pro-gun control, pro-WalkingUpNotOut, everyone is pinning this violence on people who had nothing to do with it, are already dealing with enough on their own, and are actively harmed by being saddled with that blame.

Why walking out is good, walking up is insufficient, reaching out is important, and nothing is ever, ever simple or easy

Students rally in front of the White House on March 14, 2018

Today, thousands of students across the country walked out of their schools to protest gun violence and demand legislation that will protect them from such. But some students are being discouraged from marching. The < "https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2018/03/13/school-shootings-inspire-new-movements-national-school-walkout-and-walk-up-not-out/420837002/">Walk Up Not Out movement tells kids that instead of walking out to protest gun violence, they should walk up to a lonely kid and be nice to them to “possibly prevent the unjustifiable heartache of hundreds of lives in the future.”

The idea that abruptly being nice to the lonely kid is the answer, and the only answer, to gun violence in schools is ridiculous. Here’s why.

Resources for students who choose to march

Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzalez, surrounded by classmates and supporters, stands at a podium at a press conference to speak out against gun violence and claims that it can't be prevented

In the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, survivors from Stoneman Douglas High School and students across the country are planning a mass walk-out to call on legislators to prioritize their lives and safety when they’re passing laws to prevent gun violence. A lot of students are worried about what might happen to them if they participate in walk-outs and other forms of protest against being murdered in class by people carrying semiautomatic weapons that have no purpose other than to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. And it’s a valid concern.

Quick Hit: Florida legislates thoughts about prayers

Sheryl Acquarola, 16, a junior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is overcome while watching the Florida state legislature decline to debate laws about assault rifles

After declining debate on assault rifles after last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida — but supporting a bill to protect kids from the life-threatening evils of porn — Florida lawmakers have decided to do something even more useless: require every public school in Florida to display the state motto, “In God We Trust,” in a “conspicuous place.”

Yeah, that’ll learn those mass shooters. Put ’em right in their place.

Congratulations on your all-male panel, BYU

A crop from a poster for BYU's "Women in Math" panel, featuring four male speakers and no women

I have gleefully been introduced to Congrats, you have an all-male panel!, a blog dedicated to recognizing panels, seminars, and events that bravely manage to ignore the existence of women as academics and experts. It came to my attention because of today’s panel at Brigham Young University about “Women in Math” that happens to exclude a single one of those. (But there will be treats! So that’s cool.)

I reject the notion that our children have to die.

Screenshot of a tweet from a student in Parkland, Florida, as he takes shelter in a classroom while a former student shoots up the high school. The tweet includes photos from inside the classroom, and the text reads, "My school is being shot up and I am locked inside. I'm fucking scared right now."

Yesterday, a 19-year-old former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and pulled the fire alarm, drawing students and faculty outside so they could become easy targets for his semi-automatic rifle. He killed 17 people and sent another 14 to area hospitals with injuries. Students took shelter in barricaded classrooms, texting messages of love to their families while listening to their classmates and teachers getting gunned down in the hallways. The gunman was taken alive; the families of 17 children and adults weren’t so lucky. This was a tragedy and an atrocity, but I reject any notion that it was a mystery or an unpreventable inevitability.

Betsy DeVos to ask rape-denying MRAs all about campus rape

[Content note: sexual assault and domestic violence]

In her efforts to decide what to do with the Obama administration’s guidelines for addressing sexual assault on college campuses, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will be sitting down for a talk with people affected by on-campus sexual violence. Groups like victims of sexual assault and victims of false accusations, victims’ rights organizations, and men’s rights organizations including the National Coalition for Men, SAVE, and FACE, which are essentially based around the idea that women are lying skanks and only get hit because they started it. You know, balanced viewpoints.

Official government position: College girls are sluts and liars (Updated)

[Content note for sexual assault]

This Thursday marks the sixth monthiversary of the Trump administration, which, by all appearances, exists for no other reason than to undo everything that Barack Obama ever did ever. This time, the target is Obama’s efforts to investigate and improve the way colleges address on-campus sexual violence. Enter Candice E. Jackson, head of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, who says that most of the OCR’s 496 open sexual assault cases aren’t even, like, for-real rape.

Let’s talk about inspiration pr0n.

Rebecca Schmitt, Rashema Mason, Griffin Furlong, and Crystal Tarbell are incredible young people — they endured homelessness and incredible emotional hardship to become valedictorian at their high school and earn college scholarships. Their stories make for inspirational, heartwarming reads — unless you pause long enough to ask, “In what world should a girl and her family end up homeless because they can’t afford her mother’s cancer treatment?”

Betty Peters hates Common Core, PowerPoint, and “counting up”

Alabama School Board member Betty Peters really, really hates Common Core. Like, a lot. A lot. No, seriously, you really can’t appreciate how much she hates Common Core. And it’s because the homosexualists are trying to make our sons wear outfits, and do math in stupid ways that didn’t get us to the moon, and the SPLC and their PowerPoint presentations full of charts, and we have to stand up for our children.

Interview with Debbie Reese

After I did my last post, about representation in children’s literature and Debbie Reese’s blog, American Indians in Children’s Literature, it occurred to me…why not interview Debbie? She’s incredibly smart and well-read and knows what she’s talking about in ways…