Archive for the ‘Educational equality’ Category

Manuscript Monday: how we became “traditional”

Monday, December 2nd, 2013





First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Elliott in the baby carriage!  That Matt and I became the poster children for the “Traditional” (hetero) American Family was no accident.  We didn’t have to ponder our choices because many of our paths were proscribed for us years before we met.

Matt was born into an educated, upper middle class family, expected from childhood to match the level of education obtained by his parents, who started dating while pursuing advanced degrees at UC-Berkeley.  His natural aptitude for mathematics was encouraged by his parents and high school teachers, who encouraged him to college level study while still a teen.  After earning his BA, he knocked around in a skronk-punk band, earning beer money at the record store where he met me, aware all the time that dorking around after college was a choice for a man of his socioeconomic status.  When he decided to leave, he could.  He started on the bottom rung of a startup software company’s ladder, but today his salary comfortably supports himself, his wife and his two children.

As for me, I found math maddening, and I heard no objections when I decided to drop the subject after tenth grade.  My guidance counselor did not raise the notion that taking all these English and history classes might land me in a pink-collar ghetto….

Ultimately, I got an English degree that would have prepared me for graduate school, had I not been so burned out by academia after earning it that I couldn’t face another day in the classroom again. But If I’d changed my mind, and jumped in the professor pool with both feet, I still would have been paid less and been less likely to receive tenure than my male peers!  





Reclaiming family values, or: Blog-In 2011!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Two feminist mom bloggers whom I greatly admire, Avital Norman Nathman of The MamaFesto and Lisa Duggan of The MotherHood Blog, wrote the following message and asked writers like yours truly to repost it today for what they’re calling a virtual Blog-In.  I am very happy to participate, for I believe in and support every single word!

I encourage all of my media-connected readers to participate, via blog or with the Twitter hashtag #BlogIn2011.


Dear 2012 Presidential Candidates,

We are your future constituents and we are parents. We are American mothers and fathers and grandparents and guardians. Our families might be the most diverse in the world. Blended and combined in endless permutations, we represent every major religion, political ideology and ethnic culture that exists. We are made from equal parts biology and choice. Our children come to us in every way possible—including fertility miracles, adoption, and remarriage.

Our very modern families embody the freedom that defines America. We embody America. We are rich in diversity, but we are united in our family values. We come together today, with one voice, to express our grave disappointment in the national political discourse.

The 2012 countdown has barely begun and we are already being bombarded with the warmed-over, hypocritical rhetoric of 2008. We are living in a time where 15.1% of Americans now live in poverty, the unemployment rate stands at 16%, and we are spending close to $170 billion annually between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan*.

Given the current state of affairs we would expect every candidate to focus on the issues that truly matter: job creation, debt-relief, taxes, education, poverty, and ending the war(s). Instead, it is already clear to us that the conversation has been hijacked, with the goal of further polarizing our nation into a politically motivated and falsely created class-war.

We will not stand for another campaign year in which politicians presume to know what our family values are as they relate to the nation.

To be clear, here are our family values:

  • Affordable health care, including family planning, for all Americans. We will not tolerate any candidate using the shield of “Choice” to blind us from the issues that really matter. When funding is stripped from organizations like Planned Parenthood, access to sliding-scale health care (including yearly pap smears & mammograms), comprehensive sex education, and family planning is blocked from the poorest of the population.
  • Access to education, and the ability to actually use it. We want quality, affordable, federally-funded pre-K programs made available in every State, in order to provide an even starting point for all children enrolled in public schools— regardless of the wealth of the district or town they live in.
  • A reinstatement of regulations for banks issuing mortgages and full prosecution for those who engaged in fraudulent lending practices. We want full accountability —investigation, indictment and prosecution— of those individuals and institutions who engaged in fraudulent lending practices and who helped create the massive foreclosures that left many families homeless or struggling to keep their homes.
  • A return of strict environmental regulations protecting water, air, food, and land that were removed in the last two decades. We want our children to grow up in a world not weighed down by the strains of pollution and global warming. Between BPA in our products, sky-rocketing rates of asthma in kids, questionable hormones in our over-processed food, and more, we need leaders who will put our needs and safety over the desires and profits of large corporations.

Family planning, healthcare, education, economic solvency and environmental safety: these are our national family values. Candidates who demonstrate the ability to understand the gravity of these issues, and their impact on our families, and who can provide actual, viable solutions to these problems will garner our support and our votes.

We believe in this democratic system of ours, and we will continue to use our voices and our votes to see that it reaches its fullest potential.


Your future constituents,

The mothers & fathers of America

If you would like to forward this letter to your elected officials, you can find their contact info at the following links:

* Sources for stats:

The newest Minnesota GOP attack

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

First they came after my womb:

Anti-abortion rights bills advance in Minnesota Legislature
Nine bills introduced this session to curtail abortion rights

Then they came after my friends:

DFLers ding GOP for social issue ahead of budget shortfall

Now they want…..MY SON??

From an action alert issued by the PACER Center, a nonprofit organization that provides education, support and advocacy for Minnesota children with disabilities:

Senator John Pederson (SD 15—St Cloud and surrounding communities) has introduced SF 1291. This bill repeals, or eliminates most of the sections of Minnesota law that tell schools and districts how to serve students with disabilities. In addition to the 54 sections of Minnesota law eliminated, the bill also removes 28 parts of special education rules that give further guidance to schools and districts. It would repeal most Minnesota special education law and rule, which provide needed protections and exceed Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) law. This bill, if enacted, would cause delays in service for children with disabilities, increase misunderstanding and complaints about special education services, and strip 50 years of protections from Minnesota’s special education system.

I don’t think “jaw-clenching,” “tooth-cracking,” or even “vision-blackening” comes close to describing the level of rage I feel right now.