Saturday, December 07, 2013

In Which I See Conspiracies Everywhere

Say what you want about conspiracy theorists. They almost always have it part right, and sometimes they have it all right. I'm going to join their ranks now. And I have some words to the wise for the conspirators. Free advice, if you will, that is free ... because they don't need my money.

On Thursday, one of my colleagues attended a teacher workshop in which some practice questions for the upcoming PARCC (don't know what those initials stand for) national high school proficiency test were revealed. One of the math questions was so difficult that the math teachers in the meeting all did it and all came up with different answers.

Cut to the conspiracy: Big business testing ($$$$) has created an "assessment" so hard that all but a few hardy, Harvard-bound individuals will fail it. When the catastrophe occurs -- trust me, reader, it will occur -- the scapegoats will be public school teachers.

Why would anyone want to vilify public school teachers? That's easy! They have collective bargaining. They have benefits. They are eligible for justly-earned pensions. Private school teachers don't get any of that stuff.

The conspirators hope that the nation's dismal performance on the upcoming national exams will have parents clamoring for charter schools, and vouchers, and "school choice" -- sending collective bargaining school teacher units into oblivion.

How do I know this is a conspiracy? Because our president, himself a graduate of a public school, is in on it.

Here's Anne's veiled threat to the conspiracy dedicated to eliminating teacher pensions: This might be a bridge too far. Our country's parents will indeed become furious when their children don't pass the proficiency test. But they might, just might, blame the test and not the teachers. I guess it might depend on who they like better -- the teacher or Fox News -- but I'm pinning my hopes on parents actually asking to see the test and to require public officials to pass it too.

A math test that even math teachers can't pass is not a test. It's an agenda.

Now to our second conspiracy: The War on Christmas.

No one has any money to spend on Christmas gifts these days. Salaries are stagnant or diminishing, and if you've got a job your credit cards are maxed out from previous gift-giving cycles. Alarmingly aware of this, our nation's retailers have solicited the help of the lunatic fringe in order to drum up business for Xmas 2013. What better way to win the War on Christmas than to buy lots of toys and electronics? Forget going to church. It's all about the swag. The so-called War on Christmas is nothing but a cynical conspiracy to get consumers into the stores. Read it and heed it: Walmart is the reason for the season.

Where this war is concerned, I'm waving the white flag. I have no money. This year it's gifts from the heart. Not that I would shop there anyway, having heard on the liberal t.v. channel that the six Waltons who own the store have as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent of our nation's population...

Six people worth the same amount as a couple hundred million Americans. You don't think there's a conspiracy or two afoot? No, of course you do! Who am I talking to here? Readers of "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm sure all three of you absolutely agree with me ... and thanks. We can all lose the war together.


Lucretia said...

Amen and amen!!!

From what I've read, even the guy who created the high school proficiency test was horrified by what they've done with it. He said that it was designed to be implemented, not when they actually implemented it, but FIVE YEARS LATER, giving the schools time to get the curriculum "up to snuff" so that the kids would have a chance to pass. Definitely an agenda going on there.

"Walmart is the reason for the season." I've GOT to remember that!!!

Katy Anders said...

A few years ago, I went and saw a political writer named Michael Parenti speak. He said that every time he talks about corporations making plans for the rest of us, he is told, "Oh. You have a conspiracy theory, huh? Do these people sit around in a room, plotting?"

He said, "I always tell them yes, these people are sitting around in a room, planning things. Just like the rest of us when we plan things."

I don't know why it's so hard to believe that powerful people might make plans that might benefit them more than the rest of us. "Conspiracy theory" makes the plausible sound less plausible...

Anne Johnson said...

Actually, maybe the term "conspiracy theory" is at fault. Makes us sound paranoid, which is exactly what they want.

Anonymous said...

The planning has evolved over a long time. Remember that Eisenhower said "beware of the military-industrial complex." That was the start of shifting America away from an agricultural and small town society to a military and technological superpower.

Then in the 1980s and the end of the Cold War the power source shifted away from military hardware into a more ephemeral computer network-financial complex based on greed, dominance, and fear. The poor, the sick, and undereducated are to be left behind.

And yes, devaluing public school teachers and knocking out their unions is a part of that plan. A free public education could empower people, well, we can't have smart, empowered people in fear-based society!

The negative spin the right wing has placed on teachers is disheartening; even more is the public's willingness to believe in the worst, overlooking the good that public school teachers have done and continue to do.

Deliberately, I think. For who else teaches people, in their daily lives, how to read, to think, to wonder about the world and the society we live in? It's usually public school teachers and public librarians...who are watching their professions being chipped away by the fearful and power-driven.

*adjusts tinfoil hat*

Jenn said...

I hate that the Common Core standards are being implemented so badly. I saw the standards in a list on a website and they are good. The implementation is terrible! I was horrified when I saw some of the word problems they made no sense!

As for Yuletide gifts; I worked a craft fair for the first time this year and got my gifts there. 90% of the gifts I give are handmade so take that system!!!