The GOP has a plan to stop Wendy Davis: blatant voter suppression.
Women don’t like having their bodies policed, and are supporting Davis like no Democrat has been backed before. But Republicans aren’t fighting back on the issues — they’ve pushed through a Voter ID law that blocks the votes of countless Texas women.
Starting this November, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name instead of IDs like a birth certificate. That’s not a problem for single or married men — but it leaves a third of Texas women scrambling in a state with just 81 DMVs in its 254 counties.
The only way the GOP can keep Texas is by rigging the game. Women have the power to turn this state blue for the first time in two decades, but we need to help secure their rights first. Please, join us in calling on the Texas legislature to get rid of this unconstitutional Voter ID lawand stop trying to strip women of their votes.
DANGER! DANGER FOR TEXAS WOMEN!
fucking shit is this for real
Shit, over half the married women I know in my generation right now don’t have their names changed yet, my sister included.
I find it amazing to go over this list of rights and pick out which ones are being violated by world governments this very minute, those which society denies us, and those we deny ourselves personally.
Today is Human Rights Day
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1950, sought to establish the ‘inalienable rights of all members of the human family.’ It bestowed on all people the rights of security, education, and self-government, among others. The reality of human rights protection has, of course, been far trickier. While organizations worldwide struggle to uphold the ideals of the Declaration, evolving political and environmental situations constantly present new challenges.
Images (top to bottom): KURIGRAM, BANGLADESH: Villagers hack away the embankment left by the most recent flooding in the area where their village used to be. They are doing this on the orders of the local landowner who is using the earth for construction in another area. These men are effectively further removing the only barrier between them and further flooding but they desperately need the small amount they are paid so do the work anyway. Flooding, Poverty and lack of protected land ownership amongst the poor is driving a serious food crisis in Bangladesh. Extreme poverty and rising food prices couple with an oversupply of cheap labor has meant that many people can only afford to eat once a day. (photo by Brent Stirton, from Global Water Issues)
QAMSHILI, SYRIA: Faycal, 77 years old, presents his military service record book of 1951. Neither he nor any member of his family have Syrian nationality. They are part of more than 300,000 stateless Syrian Kurds. Most of them lost their Syrian nationality in the census of 1962 and have no national rights. (photo by Julien Goldstein, from Kurdistan: Anger of a People Without Rights)
SAN VICENTE, MISIONES, ARGENTINA: Fabian Rodgriguez suffers from hydrocephalus. His mother, Candida Rodriguez, works in the tobacco industry, as does her husband. They use agrochemical products for the cultivation of their fields, following the guidelines set out by the cooperatives of large local producers, who require the use of such agrochemicals as a condition to the purchase of their crop. Fumigations in the agricultural fields of Argentina are being denounced as the cause of the increasing number of children born with malformations. (photo by Alvaro Ybarra Zavala, from Stories of a Wounded Land)
Initiate a National War on Ignorance. Forget the failed war on drugs; use that money to do some actual good by starting a campaign to change American attitudes about education, which are currently piss-poor. We did it with cigarettes. Once ubiquitous, smoking in public—when it’s even allowed—now practically makes you a social pariah. Madison Avenue convinced us we need designer jeans, Starbucks coffee, and smart phones. It can do the same with education. Imagine it. The message that learning is vital appears on billboards and TV. It saturates the internet, thunders from every pulpit. The eleven-o’clock news starts with “Did your children attend school today?” Actors and pop stars make public service announcements as conditions of their parole. When honor roll students are depicted as being as cool as teenage vampires, every kid in America will want an education.
Put teachers in charge. School administrators are necessary—for administration. It’s questionable, however, whether a former business teacher who hasn’t been in the classroom for fifteen years can lay much pedagogical acumen on seasoned science, math, and art teachers. Administrators frequently accept administrative positions as stepping stones to better positions. As they travel along their career paths, they feather their CV nests with “flavor of the month” initiatives. I once assisted in developing a highly touted comprehensive ten-year district improvement plan that no one remembered five years later. Teachers tend to be less transient, often staying in one place for thirty-plus years. They are repositories of school history. Educational Leaders would be teachers chosen by their peers to oversee evaluations, address educational challenges, and maintain consistent pedagogical initiatives through shared decision making. An Educational Leader would not receive extra pay, but would have greatly reduced course loads. School administrators would still create schedules, manage budgets, enforce discipline, and stand in the hall and wave as kids arrive. This could be tried now in magnet or charter schools.
Restore respect for teachers and schools. If you are over fifty, you remember when educators were admired and respected. This was before movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and The Breakfast Club popularized the image of teachers as insensitive dolts. Just as unrealistic are the largely fictionalized “true-life” teachers portrayed in films like Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, and Dangerous Minds. There were few, if any, teachers like this when we were in school, and it’s no different now. Teachers are not miracle workers or saints. But few resemble Ben Stein’s character in Ferris Bueller either. The truth is, there are far fewer bad teachers than you probably imagine. Low performing schools are virtually always in areas hindered by poverty or language barriers, and need the greatest support and encouragement. Instead, they are threatened with accountability for that over which they have very limited control. A continuous drumbeat of blame is undermining the morale of the professionals educating our children. For a comprehensive account of the problems with standardized testing and teacher accountability, read Diane Ravitch’s book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.
Emphasize the arts. Stop sacrificing the arts to raise standardized test scores. Years of brain development and cognitive research link arts to academic achievement, social and emotional development, creative problem solving, and civic engagement. This is what we say we want out of our schools, right?
Make charter schools what they were meant to be. Charter schools were intended as laboratories for experimental education. They should demonstrate this intent before being granted a charter, and their funding should not be diverted from traditional public schools. Charter school enrollment should reflect the populations from which they draw or they fail as experiments. Successful charter schools should welcome other public schools to learn from them or they fail in their mission.
Make all schools excellent. Fully fund all schools equitably. Then provide extra funding where immigrant populations, single parent households, socio-economic challenges, and other known educational obstacles are prevalent. So Buffalo would receive more per pupil funding than Clarence, for instance.
End school budget votes and funding through property taxes. All funding should be state or national. We don’t vote on police, street sanitation, or parks and recreation budgets; why should education, a vital national birthright, be left to the capricious whims of provincial voters?
Learn from countries that do better. Specifically, Finland. My plan would closely emulate Finland’s model because following best practice is what everyone agrees we should do. The well-funded Finnish education system emphasizes equity and quality over choice; there are no private or charter schools. All students receive free health care. Virtually every child attends free or low-cost daycare from infancy through kindergarten, with one daycare teacher and two nurses for every twelve students. The emphasis is on play, but children learn nutrition, health, communication, empathy, responsibility, self-awareness, and respect for the individual. Parents are welcome. Formal education starts at age seven. There’s no selecting, tracking, or streaming; students of all capabilities learn together. Nine years of required education is followed by non-compulsory academic or vocational training. Teaching is a highly respected, well-paid, unionized profession requiring a master’s degree. Competition to enter teaching is fierce, with only ten percent making the cut, same as doctors and lawyers. Teachers are given complete autonomy, right down to choosing their own textbooks. Classes are small, rarely more than twenty. Teachers spend just four hours a day in the classroom, and two hours a week on professional development. There’s no merit pay. Finland’s government does not gather data to assess schools; teachers and principals are trusted to report how they are doing. Finland’s Director of Education Pasi Sahlberg has said, “We know very well that the inequality that our students have through the parents’ socio-economic background is a very strong factor explaining their performance, and, in many cases, this is far beyond the teacher’s control.” Finns study art, music, cooking, industrial arts, and two languages. Homework is minimal. Finnish students eat one or two healthy meals a day at school. Schools are spotlessly clean, and the atmosphere is relaxed and informal. Struggling students are tutored, with thirty percent getting extra help during their first nine years. Tests are scarce; grading is often verbal, and for the first six years, children are not measured at all. Finns take only one standardized test, at age sixteen. Finnish students beat the pants off other nations in international measurements in science, reading, and math, and yet Finland spends thirty percent less per student than the US does. Norway is similar in size and culture, but follows an education model similar to ours; they rank where we do.
Don’t expect overnight success. We don’t give schools enough time to implement one educational philosophy before replacing it with a trendy new one. Radical improvement doesn’t occur overnight. If we overhaul the system tomorrow and remain consistent, we could expect comprehensive results by the time this year’s newborns reach their senior year. Seventeen years may sound like a long time, but if we had spent ten years transforming our system after “A Nation at Risk” identified the problem in 1983, last year’s graduating seniors would have provided the first cradle to grad results. Think long term, not quick fix.
Messier 77, NGC 1068
Messier 77 is a barred spiral galaxy about 47 million light-years away in the constellation Cetus.
Credit: NASA/Hubble, Judy Schmidt