This was going to be a state of the writer post but, well, it got hijacked by the news this morning. But I will start with the state of the writer, I’m tired and waiting for the caffeine to kick in but, other than that, life is just about as good as it gets here in Casa Verde. Writing is happening and a major issue has been identified in Surtr’s Fury and is being corrected. Oh, and for those of you who read the first snippets here and then the updated shipped over on Substack, you’ll notice the MC’s name changed. Yes, they do that on occasion. I usually have no say in the matter. Now, as for what hijacked what was going to be the rest of the post, it comes down to the state of public education in too many schools and school districts these days.
As I noted in previous posts, if you want to get me on my soapbox, find a stupid education policy and point me at it. The second best way is to show me an idiotic homework assignment. I started this morning by seeing both, so you can guess where my head is at right now.
The assignment really isn’t that bad. It’s actually a good assignment with not so great instructions. It’s your basic set of pictures of what look like dissimilar objects but there is one connecting feature among them: the letter “t”. The students were supposed to then write down the “t” word to describe each image. The first ones were easy: top for the spinning top, tub for bathtub, ten for 10. But one image confused kids and their parents alike. It showed a group of rabbits, a food bowl and what looked like a fence in the background. Huh? What “t” word could that be? (and it needed to be a three or four letter word).
I’m still not sure what the correct answer is. The best guess I could come up with–as well as others who tried to answer it online–is “pet”. But here’s the issue I have with the assignment. First of all, the directions tell the students to “tap out the word in the picture and write the sounds you hear.” Huh? Okay, I get it. Phonetics. Kind of. Still, what the heck is the write word for the picture? Should it start with a “t” since the other words do?
Yet again, here’s an example of making things more difficult than they need to be simply because the assignment doesn’t have adequate explanation. If a kindergarten assignment is confusing parents, think what it’s doing where the kids are concerned.
But this is far from the most concerning–okay, infuriating–issue surrounding public schools I saw this morning. This one comes to us from the state of Florida where a school has a “no zero policy”. Simply put, your kid is guaranteed a 50 on every assignment, even ones they don’t turn in. What. The. Bleeeeeep?
We’ve had districts down here play with this policy and quickly learn it doesn’t help the kids. Not in the long run. It certainly doesn’t help the parents who are trying to get their kids to do homework. All it does is assuage the administration’s need to be “sensitive” and “encouraging”. But these same administrators forget the real world doesn’t work that way. If you are hired and part of your job is to get something done on time, you aren’t going to keep that job for long if you 1) fail to complete the work in a timely manner, or 2) fail to do the work at all.
What the policy does is create a false sense of security in our kids, one that will eventually rise up and bite them on their proverbial butts. Then who will be there to pick up the pieces? Certainly not the school administrators who advocated for the policy.
Making matters worse, teachers find themselves at odds with the policies and good teachers are either being reassigned, fired or are leaving the profession because of a policy they see as harmful to the students. But the administrators responsible for these policies don’t–or won’t–recognize that it is the policy helping to create a teacher shortage.
Instead, you have situations like one Florida school found itself in where a teacher lost her job after refusing to follow the idiotic policy. If I remember correctly, she wasn’t given a warning. Instead, she was called into the principal’s office and fired. Here’s the real kicker. When she reviewed the documentation about her termination, no reason was given. Not that she needed one. She’s convinced it was because she actually required students to turn in their homework and would give them a zero if they failed to do so. The administration finally responded to the media and denied that was the cause. Instead, it accused her of being disruptive and creating a toxic environment.
Hmm, anyone want to bet the toxic environment was because she didn’t want to roll over and simply pat the kids on their heads and tell them everyone is special and everyone deserves a 50, even if they DID NO WORK?
Why aren’t the parents asking why the administration is teaching their kids they don’t have to do work that’s expected of them? Why aren’t the parents demanding an accounting of the school administrators when their kids fail later on because of this false sense of security such an idiotic policy creates in them? Where is the accountability?
Okay, I’ve been on the soapbox long enough. Stepping down and going in search of more coffee. I’ll be back later.
Oooh, one more thing. The featured image, which I created using Midjourney AI, is a hint at one of my next projects will be. Any thoughts about what I might be starting in the next few months?