Saturday, May 2, 2020

Half Empty

I’m going to apologize in advance for the following post which is largely made up of things that tick me off. Life isn’t all baby ducks these days.

First off, I’ve seen several news articles announcing Governor Hogan’s appointment of a new Insurance Commissioner. The photo used is of a man. (Outgoing insurance commissioner.) The new insurance commissioner is a woman: Kathleen A. Birrane. Surely she has been in public life enough to have a headshot available for such an announcement. You’d be amazed how often similar things happen in news coverage. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

In searching Twitter under the #Maryland hashtag I found far more people accusing Governor Hogan of being Hitler than I had expected to see. I was especially alarmed by the post approving of the armed takeover of the Michigan legislature with the suggestion, “why can’t we do that here?”

I engaged in a fruitless exchange on social media this week with someone who didn’t like the fact that essential workers were receiving free childcare. It was definitely a case of, “if I don’t get it, nobody should”. There was a no sense of gratitude or empathy whatsoever. I’m happy to report thatI wasn’t the only one to attempt to talk some sense into this person.

In the truly disheartening department, I continue to see people more worried about how a student who broadcasts their racist views on social media might be harmed by the backlash from her peers than people worried about how these racist acts harm the students who are the obvious victims. Who do we identify with when we look at this scene? If we haven’t had the experience of being targeted day after day, in big ways and small, do we “get” how damaging this is? Why don’t I see anyone saying, “these are kids whose educational experience is being actively harmed. Think of how their lives are being ruined.” Something is amiss if we see the perpetrator as the victim.

Finally, I’m concerned by BOE member Dr. Chao Wu suggesting the teachers should make themselves available for instructional support in the evenings as well as during the day to assist parents who are working during school hours. Teachers are already working days, evenings, and weekends just to keep on top of the demands of creating and facilitating distance learning, and many are doing that along with having the daily responsibilities of their own children present as they work. On its face it seems like something great to offer parents, but it shows a basic lack of understanding of the massive amount of work teachers are already doing. Do we respect our teachers enough to acknowledge they are human beings that deserve healthy work/life boundaries?

Sorry to be hanging out on the glass half empty side today. I’m going to get outside and enjoy some Spring weather and hope for the best.

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