Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
Let’s get started!
First News Item
A teacher’s op-ed about parental interference in their children’s education reminds me why I love the option of homeschooling. Her opening salvo is a direct shot across the bow of parenthood:
Part of the problem is that parents think they have the right to control teaching and learning because their children are the ones being educated. But it actually (gasp!) doesn’t work that way. It’s sort of like entering a surgical unit thinking you can interfere with an operation simply because the patient is your child.
You know who controls whether a child will have a suggested surgery? Parents. And when children have to have surgery and while not actually holding the scalpel, responsible parents nonetheless work to become as fully informed as possible about the whys and wherefores of said surgery. Beyond peppering the surgeon with questions, responsible parents read, talk to friends, colleagues, neighbors, and just about anyone who has had similar experiences. They pull up medical journals, log in to chat rooms about the subject, and learn about others’ experiences and the do’s and don’ts, and consume as much information and detail as possible before allowing their child to go under the knife. This is not unusual. This is is not interfering. This is not doing something one is not qualified to do. This is called responsible parenting.
Let’s look at one more statement from the op-ed:
Teaching, too, is a science. Unless they’re licensed and certified, parents aren’t qualified to make decisions about curricula. In fact, parental interference can actually hinder student advancement. An educator’s primary goal is to teach students to think. Parents who attempt to influence curricula with their personal opinions, ideologies, and biases hinder that goal.
In fact, many school districts across the nation have Parent Curriculum Review Committees and/or hold review sessions for parents to read and analyze suggested curricula and weigh in on the viability and appropriateness of said material, depending on the grade levels.
Moreover, the parents that I know consider teaching their children to think critically and independently one of their primary goals. I aspired to do the same when raising children. It’s sort of Parenting 101. But do you know what else can hinder student advancement? Teachers who have an obvious disdain and lack of respect for the parents of their students. Those students will pick up on it.
This writer paints a clear picture of why a lot of parents are angry with educators these days. Not all of the parents she holds in disdain are interfering nutjobs on a crusade to restrict reading lists and books in school libraries, or want to deny children learning about the experiences of little Ruby Bridges, or want teachers to whitewash the very dark and ugly moments in our history. To lump every angry parent into the same basket of interfering, unqualified irrelevancy is not doing teachers at large any favors. In fact, it’s simply confirming a lot of parents’ suspicions. But hey, if this clever teacher wants to campaign for more homeschooling, that’s on her. Also, this:
Parents absolutely do have a say in the medical decisions for their kids. Same should be true for education. And if surgeries had the same failure rates as our education system does right now, we’d be looking to change the standards/training for surgeons. https://t.co/FObJKk3Ztt
— AG (@AGHamilton29) November 19, 2021
Second news item
Rep. Paul Gosar, who was censured by the House on Wednesday after he posted an anime video edited to show him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said on Twitter that he would “arm wrestle” Rep. Matt Gaetz in order to “get dibs for Kyle as an intern.”
Gaetz said on Wednesday that he was interested in hiring Rittenhouse as an intern. “He deserves a ‘not guilty’ verdict, and I sure hope he gets it, because you know what, Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern,” Gaetz said at the time. “We may reach out to him and see if he’d be interested in helping the country in additional ways.”
The kid should run far and wide.
Third news item
Republican governors around the country have flashed streaks of independence based mainly on political calculations that they are better off giving priority to local issues and constitutional obligations.
As a result, about half of the 16 Republican governors up for re-election next year also face primary challenges from opponents endorsed by the former president or otherwise inspired by him.
The conflicts have highlighted divisions in the party—and among former Trump administration officials.
Fourth news item
President Donald J. Trump announces his endorsement of Congressman Paul Gosar pic.twitter.com/gKbX7YBnzK
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) November 18, 2021
Fifth news item
The senators are correct. It’s 2021, c’mon man!:
The Times has published four separate pieces analyzing the style and dress of our colleague Senator Kyrsten Sinema. We cannot imagine The Times printing similar pieces on the fashion choices of any of our male colleagues.
As Senator Sinema recently said about the commentary on her fashion: “I wear what I want because I like it. It’s not a news story, and it’s no one’s business.” We couldn’t agree more.
Senator Sinema is a serious, hardworking member of the Senate who contributes a great deal to the policy deliberations before us. Your repeated focus on how she dresses, rather than what she says and does, is demeaning, sexist and inappropriate.
Sixth news item
72% of voters want Biden to prioritize getting inflation and supply chain issues under control as opposed to passing new social spending bills, including 58% of Democrats who believe the same. pic.twitter.com/6AQlJH16mM
— Echelon Insights (@EchelonInsights) November 19, 2021
It appears that the President’s priority is not the people’s priority.
Seventh news item
Per John McWhorter, New York Times columnist, author, and Columbia University linguist:
“The people who are calling themselves black people saviors don’t understand this, but they’re hurting black people because what they’re caught up in is more about virtue signaling to one another than helping people who actually need help.”
His shortlist for what would most help black America? “There should be no war on drugs; society should get behind teaching everybody to read the right way; and we should make solid vocational training as easy to obtain as a college education.”
Eighth news item
I could almost get behind a boycott of this hotel group:
The Marriott hotel in Prague declined to host a conference of activists and leaders from China’s Uyghur diaspora this month, citing “political neutrality,” an email shared with Axios shows.
The Chinese government has condemned the World Uyghur Congress, which has attempted to rally global attention to the genocide in Xinjiang, China. The decision to reject the conference reflects China’s growing ability to extend authoritarian control beyond its borders by making clear to corporations that crossing the party’s red lines will be bad for business.
The World Uyghur Congress consists mainly of Uyghurs living in exile and advocates for the rights of those who remain in the Xinjiang region in western China, where upwards of one million people have been held in internment camps.
About 200 delegates from 25 countries gathered in Prague from Nov. 12-14 to elect the organization’s new leadership and hold discussions with politicians, academics and civil society representatives from around the world. The Prague Marriott Hotel declined to host the conference.
Melissa Froehlich Flood, Marriott’s senior vice president for global corporate communications, told Axios the hotel would be “contacting the group to apologize, as the hotel’s response was not consistent with our policies.”
Rejection letter to the group by Marriott:
“Thank you very much for your visit today. Unfortunately, I have to inform you that we are not able to offer the premises. We consulted the whole matter with our corporate management. For reasons of political neutrality, we cannot offer events of this type with a political theme. Thank you once again for your time and understanding.”
Uh, that’s not entirely accurate:
Marriott hotels frequently host political fundraisers and events.
The Marriott spokesperson clarified in a statement to Axios that hosting the conference would not have violated any “political neutrality” policy, and said the reference to “corporate management” in the email referred to “hotel-level management.”
Money over Morals for the “King” 👑
Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice
They really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss 🇨🇳 says so
Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research? pic.twitter.com/YUA8rGYeoZ
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 18, 2021
Thank you @EnesKanter for standing with #Taiwan & standing up for democracy. pic.twitter.com/DNBJfMiSvl
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) November 13, 2021
Ninth news item
Austria has imposed fresh lockdown measures on around 2 million unvaccinated people, with individuals facing fines if they fail to comply with the rules.
Those who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have been back under lockdown since Monday, with federal police stopping people in public places to check their vaccination status.
Unvaccinated people who breach the lockdown rules face fines of up to 500 euros ($567), and anyone who refuses to comply with vaccination status checks could be fined 1,450 euros.
The fresh restrictions apply to everyone over the age of 12 who has not had two doses of the vaccine. People who have recently recovered from the virus are exempt from the restrictions.
Full proof of vaccination is required to visit public places like restaurants, hair salons and Christmas markets. In Vienna, children over the age of six will need to show a negative Covid test result to be permitted entry into these public places.
Have a good weekend!