I Have a Gripe

June 19, 2011

The Ultimate in Helicopter Parents

Filed under: New York — alvb1227 @ 10:47 pm
Tags: ,

A woman in East Meadow, Long Island has been arrested for sending threatening letters to a little league coach after her son failed to  make the travel team.

Seriously?

Now, let’s think about this for a moment. Maybe the kid did his best and it wasn’t good enough. Maybe the kid doesn’t really want to do this and the mother is pushing this. Maybe the mother is just nuts. Whatever the reason, this is definitely the ultimate in “helicopter parenting.”

There is one lesson many children are missing in today’s “everyone’s a winner” society. Some people are just better at some things than others. Everyone is good at something; that “something” will be different for each person. For example, I loved music and band in high school; but I didn’t “have it” to go to the next level. Did that keep me from not loving it? From not doing my best? From participating? Certainly not. I recognized that there were others who were better at it than me and that was fine. I found what I excelled at later on in life. I’m good at crochet, writing, and printing/publishing technologies. I’m a good wife, Aunt, and Godmother. Those roles are just fine with me. And for the record, I was terrible at sports.

Parents like this woman work hard to live vicariously through their children, for whatever reason it may be is not my concern. Not every child can be a winner in everything. By learning what it is to win and what it is to lose, they learn important life lessons. This woman’s child will learn on his own what he does well. I hope she allows that to take place naturally.

Lesson: Don’t be a “helicopter parent.” Don’t hover.

June 17, 2011

Christie and Sweeney: Shame on You Both

As Governor Christie and NJ State Senator Sweeney made a deal with the Devil, I submitted yet another letter to both of them. I wanted to share it with my readers…

June 16, 2011

In regards to: Subject: Teacher’s Pension & Health Benefit Legislation

Governor Chris Christie

State Senate President Sweeney

Gentlemen:

I have contacted your office via email and phone several times in the past to express my frustration regarding this constant assault on teachers and their pension and health benefits. I am writing again to voice my outrage.

I am the proud wife of a 24-year band director. He became a teacher for all the right reasons – to give back, to influence the lives of youngsters, and to share his love of music with others. He has successfully taught thousands of students not just how to play an instrument and appreciate music, but what it takes to be a good citizen and adult. It is also worth noting he is not one of those “80K a year teachers” you hear about on the news.

This constant barrage “on union leadership” as I often hear you say Governor, has certainly trickled down and has turned into an “us vs. them” argument. Many people already have a negative opinion of teachers. You have certainly added to that negativity. And for the record, I voted for you. I believed you when I thought you were going to make positive changes on the state’s school system. In my opinion, your changes are far from positive. You should really try reading the bully legislation you signed into law, because that is exactly what you have become.

Today, teachers are much more than teachers. They are counselors, pastors, and sadly, all too often, parents. Add to that list since Columbine, police, hostage negotiators, and body guards. When I was a child, I was told the three safest places I could be were home, school and church. Now, that is far from reality.

You want the best and brightest to be teachers in order to continue the high performance of New Jersey’s students. With your constant barrage, why would anyone want to become a teacher? Being a teacher is not the easy job many believe it is. The teachers I know spend a sizable amount of their own money on school supplies, endless hours preparing lessons, tutoring students and being active participants in their communities. This battle of yours has put neighbor against neighbor.

What I would like to see is the state government acknowledge that the reason the pension system is having financial trouble is because politicians have been using that system as their own personal piggy bank. That would be a good place to start. Next, I would like to see those politicians fix this without hurting those who had nothing to do with the problem being affected.

I would also like to know why there is such outrage about limiting healthcare options on the federal level through “Obamacare” by the GOP (my party, by the way), when you, Governor Christie, are trying to do the exact same thing to teachers? According to what I have read, there is even a limitation in the proposed legislation that you will limit the ability to seek medical treatment outside New Jersey. We live across the river from some of the finest medical institutions in the world and we wouldn’t be able to do whatever would be necessary if my husband or I was ill? I wonder how Senator Lautenberg would feel about that, given his insistence on going to New York for his cancer treatment.

I would like to know if either of you have ever gone to a school and watched first-hand what teachers do everyday. No cameras, no entourage, nothing. Just you, teachers and students. I would like to see you really understand what a teacher does on a day-to-day basis. My hope is that you would have more respect for what they do and change this from an assault to a conversation.

Shame on you both.

June 14, 2011

The Importance of American History

Filed under: Education — alvb1227 @ 11:55 pm
Tags: , ,

A report was released today that highlighted the poor understanding today’s students have of American history. I believe this issue is due to a variety of different reasons.

First and foremost, if you aren’t a test score, you may as well not exist in today’s school system. At this point, history is slightly above music, which is pretty far down down the list. Additionally, if your class’ subject matter isn’t associated with either math or science, you really aren’t getting much attention. Those three items are what makes up today’s schools: math, science and testing. Period.

I also firmly believe that today many are far too focused on being a “citizen of the world” as our President likes to call it. We are failing to teach today’s students what American exceptionalism is all about. I also believe that we are becoming too politically correct. As a result, we do not feel proud to be American and all we have accomplished. Everyone is too worried they will offend someone who is not an American or has a different heritage. How can we move forward as a nation if we don’t understand our past?

I believe we as a nation really need to take a serious look at what we are teaching our children and how we are teaching it. First, eliminate standardized tests. They are just about useless. By doing so, we can actually teach our children how to think critically instead of just spitting out data for a meaningless test. It is critical thinking that is key to innovation and moving our nation forward. Second, be proud to be an American! Take your children to national landmarks during summer vacation. Talk to family members who have served in the military to learn about their experiences. Most importantly, be proud to be American!

June 3, 2011

Christie and the Chopper…Ahhh, the Hypocrisy!

This week, a story surfaced that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used a State Trooper Chopper, not once, but twice, to see his son play in a baseball game. There are multiple levels of hypocrisy here.

First, and most obvious, is the so-called champion of eliminating waste in government spending using a state chopper as his own personal joy ride. What is even more ridiculous is that a car took the Governor and his wife 100 yards to the bleachers after they got out of the chopper. In my opinion, this is the ultimate “I’m the Gov. and I don’t care what you think” moment.

Second, I find it fascinating that he has his son enrolled in a private school (Delbarton). Now, as a parent, you absolutely have the right to place your child wherever you think is appropriate. More often than not, however, politicians have their children enrolled in public school to show they have a belief in the public school system. Well, it is no secret Governor Christie has absolutely zero respect for the work teachers do. Yes, I know; “it’s not the teachers he hates, it’s the union.” What I say to that is it all rolls downhill. His negativity towards unions is easily picked up by many of the masses and spreads to the overall opinion of teachers at large and for quite a while, he really didn’t distinguish between the union and the teachers.  But, hey, if you have $26,500 a year to spend on tuition for Delbarton…

Finally, what bugs me the most is his lack of understanding that this was completely offensive to the public at large. I mean, can I borrow the chopper to drop in on my niece’s spring concert? Must be nice to have that at your beck and call. He has agreed to pay for the use of the chopper, not because he understands it was wrong, but to get the press and his constituents off his back.

Maybe the Governor should try going back to school himself and try to learn about responsibility and economics again, among other subjects.

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