I’m finding that life is often complicated by life. I want to be here showering the world with drivel, but this can be a challenging challenge. To apply a serious thought to a trite matter, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But enough excuses. I’m here now and ready to extract the blood from your eyes with the power of extreme inanity.
Over the past several months I’ve tried hard to become involved. When I say involved, I mean actually doing something. It’s not that I think that #hashtagtivism is worthless. The problem is that posting, sharing, retweeting, etc. is really the least you can do. Soooo, I’m trying to take it to the next level. Whatever that is.
In the past couple of months, I’ve attended a WCSD School Board meeting (that was amazing, let me tell you!), the legislative session when AB303 was discussed (amazing), as well as the session last Monday when Assemblyman Brent Jones proposed his amendment to SB75, which would have allowed parents the choice to opt their children out of SBAC testing (A. Maz. Ing.).
Monday was a particularly good example of state government at work. More than an hour and a half after the session should have started, officials were still wandering around as if they had nothing to do that day. Once they finally started (a couple hours late), they began with the formalities and blah, blah. Eventually, Assemblyman Jones stood up and presented his proposed amendment to SB75. First, they called for the ayes and a substantial number called out in the affirmative. Then, they called for the nays. A seemingly similar number of people opposed, only MUCH LOUDER. Since they yelled their opposition instead of simply saying “nay”, the amendment went down in flames. Since the decision rests solely in the hands of the chairman based on what he hears, there is no accounting of who was for or against the proposed amendment.
In addition to meeting up with others and attending meetings where important decisions are made, I’ve tried to get those around me involved. I’m extremely lucky that my beautiful bride has taken the lead when dealing with our children’s school regarding Common Core. We met together with the principal and let her know that we would not allow our child the take the SBAC exam, but we were essentially told, “Not an option. Too bad.” When WCSD finally decided to allow opt-outs, my wife again marched over to the school and completed the official request to opt our child out. She has educated herself and has become a great voice against Common Core.
(Interesting side note: When they took our child out of class during the testing, other kids were asking why our child was not taking the test. The teacher explained that there weren’t enough computers available and our child would be taking the test later. Liar.)
A frustrating part of this experience has been the realization that our educators and government are pitted against us as parents. The amendment on Monday was nothing more than language that would have officially allowed parents to opt their children out of SBAC testing. Those opposed were very clearly stating that you should not, as a parent, have any say in the education of your child.
Most frustrating has been the realization about why we are where we are. Many (most) people I talk to don’t know anything about Common Core. They don’t know what the SBAC test is, let alone why they should be for or against it. They don’t wonder why so much money is being poured into education, yet schools are 2-3 times over capacity. How can we expect anything different from our elected officials when no one is paying attention to what they’re doing?
I can’t do anything about anyone else, but I can do something about me. I’m trying some new things and I’ve got a few other things in the works. If you’re reading this I hope you’ll make a commitment to do the same.
For my next trick, I’ll try explaining what issues I have with Nevada education, Common Core and SBAC testing. If I start writing now maybe I can have two posts in 2015!