Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Umpa Lumpas, BLM, and Internet Debauchery

Many things are really ticking me off. The Grand Imperial Umpa Lumpa (Trump) and the Wicked Witch of the East (DeVos) and the TEA (Texas Education Agency) and Governor Abott, have all decided that beyond all costs it is a must that schools must be in a face to face classes in the fall and that parent should have the final say in whether their children go to school face-to-face or virtually. The districts are mandated to offer this, but there are no firm safety guidelines, except some useless suggestions and no funding to go along with this. Teachers who have already been asked to do things way beyond the acceptable job description and with out adequate funding for so long, many of them are going to snap.

Also, there are no firm guidelines on how we are to start back to school safely, but we already have in place a testing calendar,

Now this is where a long convoluted conversation should begin that covers many different topics. Yes, Black Lives Matter, I get that and I truly understand the depth and gravity of that situation and the importance we should all be having that discussion. It is a matter of privilege and I will redouble my efforts to self examine my hidden biases (I have now for a while) and work to end them in the world around me. But there is another conversation of privilege that is not necessarily a racial one, but it is also an overlapping one, and that is the privilege to have a reliable, and affordable access to the Internet.

Most of my students have access to some sort of Internet capable device, usually a cell phone. There are so many discarded phones around, and statistics show that there are know more cell phones on the globe than there are people, an estimated 16 billion (Statistica).  Many of those are Internet capable regardless of cellular activation in a WiFi environment.

Do students have access to WiFi at home? Do students have access to other necessary supplies at home? Do students have adequate nutritional support at home?  With the rising unemployment, inflation, reduction of income, certainly indicate that many families will have to make some serious choices about finances, and WiFi and other school supplies are often, and justifiably so, are not very high on the family priority list. I get it.

I also get that we still know very little about this disease. We don’t know if you gain immunity, or how long you will have immunity. We don’t know why some people are infected with the exact same germ and are totally devastated, while others are asymptomatic, or are only inconvenienced by the illness. We don’t know what the true long-term effects are, because there appears to be neurological effects as well as devastating long-term effects on the pulmonary system.

So let’s go and send kids (by the way the infection rate for the population of the under 20 years old is rising) to face-to-face school environments in older buildings with cranky HVAC systems, and rooms to small to provide the suggested distancing rules with teachers, some of which have health conditions that are dangerous with Co-Vid 19 and no real plan on how this will work out. We are already in a national teachers shortage, and in Texas and abyssal supply of substitute teachers.  

This insanity needs to stop. I want to get off this ride.....

That is all for now, for me, and my typewriter too.

July 7 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Devotional inspired by Evan Hansen

Thursday, May 14

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
A couple of months ago I was listening to the musical Dear Evan Hansen, by Steven Levenson, I was driving so I didn't really pay attention to the storyline, I just noted that the lyrics of one song really hit home. This week, I revisited that song, and realized it is about each of us in some way. It was a song about our separation and the loneliness. We are a people in a modern culture, connected more through social networking than ever before in our history. We can and do communicate instantaneously with people on far sides of the globe, yet we have a hard time telling the people we love most, how we feel. Sometimes the largest separations come in the same house.
Somehow, somewhere in our digital age, during the time of tragedy or disaster people, pull together and reach out to those around them, usually in a digital way, that is not costly to them, but in a cheap digital tribute that makes them, and us feel better and more useful, because we have responded, to the situation.
Let us take time now, while we have to collectively pause, and renew the connections to those we love, to those who are disconnected and lonely.
Dear Evan Hansen, is a social commentary on a reality that we as Christians do not have follow. We can take action, and make connections, and serve those who may look ok on the outside, but are actually lonely and hurting inside.
For the moment, we may have to make do with a digital touch or hug, God's love cannot be taken away as long as we share it.
Heavenly Father, help us to remember those who are lost, who are lonely, who are isolated and without any hope. Father help us to realize who most needs your love, and how we as a people can connect them to You.  Amen