EppsNet Archive: Kids

Making it Through High School Alive

10 Sep 2017 /

Baltimore schools spend a staggering $16,000 per student – the fourth-highest rate in the nation – and still an investigation by Fox45’s Project Baltimore revealed that at six city schools, not one student scored proficient on the statewide tests for English and math.

At West Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High, one of five high schools and one middle school where not one student scored a four or a five on the state test, only one out of 185 students who took the test last year scored a three, while 165 students scored a one, the lowest possible score.

Frederick Douglass

The schools are:

  • Booker T. Washington Middle School
  • Frederick Douglass High School
  • Achievement Academy at Harbor City
  • New Era Academy
  • Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High
  • New Hope Academy

It looks like if you live in Baltimore, you want to avoid sending your child to a school whose name includes the word “Academy” or the name of an eminent black American.

The mother of one Frederick Douglass student is quoted as saying, “That’s absurd to me. That’s your teacher’s report card, ultimately.”

In Irvine, CA, where I live, the school district spent $9,488 per student last year, so I think it’s fair to say that Baltimore parents are not getting good value for their education dollar, but I also think that Irvine parents would be much more likely to say that sub-par educational performance indicates a problem in the home rather than with the teachers.

Accentuating the positive: At Excel Academy, 300 seniors started the school year, 104 graduated and 5 were shot to death. In some towns, just making it through high school alive is an accomplishment.


We’re Dreamers Too

6 Sep 2017 /

There are lots of people who went to school, worked hard, provided for our families, raised our kids, tried to do the right things . . . no one lionizes us but we’re dreamers too . . .

A Real American


Some Things You Never Get Used To

27 Aug 2017 /

Our whole family has been seeing the same doctor for about 15 years.

I had an appointment with her today and she was a nervous wreck. She told me she’s flying to Houston tonight with her son, who’s starting college at Rice University.

I’ve already had a child move away for college so she asked, “How did you handle this? I feel like I have a rock on my chest.”

“Well, it’s a challenge when you love someone so much and they leave. Maybe prescribe yourself some Xanax.”

“What do you do at the end? How do the parents leave? Does everyone just hug and say goodbye?”

“You probably have to follow your heart on that. My goal was not to cry in front of the boy and I did accomplish that. I hugged him, I said ‘I love you, I’m proud of you,’ he walked into the dorm and I got in the car and drove home.”

She started grasping at straws. “I guess you get used to it over time,” she said.

“Not really. It’s been six years and I still haven’t gotten used to it.’


More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: X Hours of Homework

23 Aug 2017 /
Boy doing math problems

School is back in session and I’m listening to one of my colleagues say that his son started junior high school this year and had 6 hours of homework last night.

It’s a way of bragging: My kid’s school is more academically oriented than your kid’s school.

Maybe your kid is just slow. Maybe other people’s kids are finishing the homework in an hour.

Or maybe your kid finished his homework 6 hours after he said he was starting his homework because he worked for an hour and spent 5 hours surfing the net for pornography.

It doesn’t make sense to say the school assigned X hours of homework . . .


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

17 Jul 2017 /
Infant

Acquisitive yuppies who, instead of holding their infant, wear the child in a harness on their chest, thus keeping their hands free for grabbing more stuff . . .


Amber Alerts

7 Jul 2017 /

I got an Amber Alert on my phone last night. The same Amber Alert is posted today on those lighted freeway billboards.

How did we decide that child abduction is the one activity that merits a notification to the entire country?

In this case, the woman in the photo, Kandice Johnson, stole a car at gunpoint with a 16-year-old boy in the back seat.

I’m going to feel ridiculously bad if this ends poorly, but for a 16-year-old boy, being kidnapped by a femme fatale like Kandice Johnson is maybe not the worst way to spend a few hours of your life . . .


Great Moments in Socialized Medicine: Charlie Gard

4 Jul 2017 /

If I’m understanding this correctly, socialized medicine really does mean that the government decides if you will live or die, and if your children will be allowed to live or die.

I’m glad to see that the current president of the United States is not on board with the idea of a government being able to decide on the life or death of a baby, and to deny the parents of the baby the ability to counter that decree.

This is a good reminder — since there are people who think that “single payer,” i.e., socialized medicine, i.e., the government runs the healthcare system, would be a good thing to have in the United States — that the government, if you’re very old and/or very sick, is not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years or months or days of your life to keep you going.

It’s too expensive, so they are going to let you die.


Why Are Black Americans Against School Choice?

10 May 2017 /

Most or all of the people booing Betsy DeVos know little or nothing about her except that they’re expected to dislike her for reasons that they may know are related to her views on public schools and school choice.

But why are black Americans against school choice?

I don’t want to overgeneralize — my son went to public schools and got a good education — but it’s all on the kids and their families to make it happen. Without school choice, public schools don’t have the right incentives.

People running public schools aren’t paid by customers who voluntarily send their kids to those schools and who could choose to send their kids to another school if they wanted to.

Public schools are paid for by taxing citizens who may or may not have kids in the schools and regardless of how well the schools actually perform. The funding is independent of customer choice. Each child is assigned to a particular school.

So where is the incentive to provide good education?


Parenting Blunders Ranked

2 Jan 2017 /
American pit bull terrier

In other pit bull news, our neighbors across the street, who have a 5-year-old son, just brought home a 1-year-old pit bull from the animal shelter.

This is a terrible idea because they don’t know the background of the dog, what is its history with people, adults, children, with other dogs, etc.

Of course that’s true of rescue dogs of any breed, but the worst-case scenarios with most breeds don’t include maiming or killing a family member, probably your 5-year-old.

Even the most poorly socialized pug, golden retriever, chihuahua, etc., is not going to kill anyone.

By the way, I think pit bulls are great dogs but they need to be socialized and trained. I wouldn’t get one from an animal shelter because I don’t know the background of the dog.

As parenting blunders go, this is not quite up there with letting your child fall into a gorilla enclosure, but it’s close . . .


How to Tell If You’re Too Busy

17 Sep 2016 /

A colleague shared this on Slack:

Busy Guy

It’s a slide from a presentation given by somebody somewhere . . . it’s hard to read but the gist of it is:

In the past, I’ve worked every holiday, on my birthday, my spouse’s birthday, and even on the day my son was born.

I asked the guy who shared it, “How do the birthdays fit in there? I don’t even remember when my spouse’s birthday is, but I certainly didn’t work on the day my son was born.”

“I think he meant on the nights of the birthdays,” was the reply.

“Was he working on the night his son was conceived? I bet he was. He seems like a very busy guy.”


20-Something Girlfriends

17 Sep 2016 /
Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson expecting NINTH child: Lethal Weapon star, 60, announces his girlfriend, 26, is pregnantDaily Mail Online

Here are the ages of Gibson’s current children: 36, 34 (twins), 31, 28, 26, 17, 6.

OK, Gibson is better looking than I am, he has a lot more money than I do . . . on the other hand, I’m younger and taller (Wikipedia lists him as 5’10”).

It gives one pause . . .


We Did It the Old-Fashioned Way

2 Sep 2016 /

I overheard a couple people discussing IVF today . . . here in Southern California the cost apparently runs $15,000 – $20,000 for a single IVF cycle, which of course includes no guarantee of success.

When my wife and I decided to have a child, I knocked her up on the first try. Just wanted to put that on the record . . .


For My Daughter

10 Aug 2016 /

When I die choose a star
and name it after me
that you may know
I have not abandoned
or forgotten you.
You were such a star to me,
following you through birth
and childhood, my hand
in your hand.

When I die
choose a star and name it
after me so that I may shine
down on you, until you join
me in darkness and silence
together.

— David Ignatow, “For My Daughter”

Good to Great

31 Jul 2016 /

Browsing a bookstore with my son . . . he checks in to say that he was skimming through Good to Great.

“Have you read it?” he asks.

“No, and I’ll tell you why . . .”

“Because you’re satisfied with just being good?” he interrupts.


Don’t Let Your Child Get Lost

16 Jun 2016 /

View post on imgur.com


Doors That Didn’t Necessarily Need to Be Closed

12 Jun 2016 /

You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that a some point in the future everything you see there will one day happen to you: that you too will win a Formula One race, hop a train, foil a group of terrorists, tell someone ‘Give me the gun,’ etc. Then you start secondary school and suddenly everyone’s asking you about your career plans and your long-term goals, and by goals they don’t mean the kind you are planning to score in the FA Cup. Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg — that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you’d imagined, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor tiles is actually largely what people mean when they speak of ‘life.’ Now, with every day that passes, another door seems to close, the one marked PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN or FIGHT EVIL ROBOT, until the weeks go by and the doors — GET BITTEN BY SNAKE, SAVE WORLD FROM ASTEROID, DISMANTLE BOMB WITH SECONDS TO SPARE — keep closing, you begin to hear the sound as a good thing, and start closing some yourself, even ones that didn’t necessarily need to be closed . . .

— Paul Murray, Skippy Dies

Could Falling Into a Gorilla Exhibit Happen to Anyone?

2 Jun 2016 /
Harambe, 1999-2016

I hope our boy appreciates that his mom and I never let him fall into a gorilla enclosure. He’s 22 now. Anything he falls into going forward is on him.

I’m not in the “could have happened to anyone” camp on this. The Cincinnati Zoo has more than 1.2 million visitors per year. Out of tens of millions of visitors, only one has fallen into the gorilla exhibit.

A 1 in 10 million occurrence doesn’t fall under the “could have happened to anyone” umbrella in my opinion.


The State of Motherhood in America

6 May 2016 /

Mothers Day surprise

I’m in an office this morning where a TV is tuned to Good Morning, America . . . it’s Mothers Day weekend and a woman is being honored because she has children, who are now grown, and she prioritized the children in her life and made sacrifices for them.

That’s where we are in the 21st century — a mother who centers her life around her children is a national phenomenon.

Can’t wait for Fathers Day . . .


Parents Use “Naturopathic” Remedies to Treat Toddler, Who Dies

11 Mar 2016 /

A southern Alberta couple accused of allowing their meningitis-infected toddler to die four years ago tried home remedies such as olive leaf extract and whey protein rather than take him to a doctor, a Lethbridge jury heard Monday.

David Stephan, 32, and his wife Collet Stephan, 35, have pleaded not guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life for 19-month-old Ezekiel, who died in March 2012.

CBC News
Ezekiel

First point: If the name “Ezekiel” shows up on a birth certificate, alert the local authorities to be on the lookout for additional crazy behavior in the future.

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

The Stephans run a nutritional supplements company called Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., which distributes a product called Empowerplus. They also tried treating Ezekiel with Empowerplus.

The Stephans have said that they prefer “naturopathic” remedies because of their family’s “negative experiences” with the medical system. Now that they’ve also had a “negative experience” with naturopathic remedies, I’m thinking it’s a good opportunity to reassess their position.

The family has posted on social media that they feel they are being unfairly persecuted and that their approach to health should be respected.

If your son dies because you refused to take him to a doctor even though you knew he was sick, then I’d say that any persecution of you is both fair and appropriate.

As for respecting your “approach to health,” that would require ignoring the fact that your approach to health resulted in the probably unnecessary death of a 19-month-old child. That’s a pretty strong argument against your approach to health.

Remember folks, there’s not such thing as “alternative” medicine. There’s “medicine” and there’s “things that have not been proven to work,” like curing meningitis with maple syrup.


Harper Lee, 1926-2016

25 Feb 2016 /

28 Sep 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

I took my son to the bookstore to buy To Kill a Mockingbird for his English class. They had two paperback editions available — one with a fancy binding for $15.95 and another one for three dollars less.

I pulled the cheaper one off the shelf and my son asked, “Why are we getting that one?”

I said, “Because it’s three dollars less for the same book.”

“I like the other cover better,” he said.

“Gimme three dollars.”

 

23 Oct 2008

FATHER: Would you take out the trash please?

SON: Are you KIDDING?! I’m doing homework! I’ll take out the trash if you read To Kill a Mockingbird and tell me what each chapter is about.

FATHER: I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. You want to know what it’s about? ‘Racism is Bad.’ Now take out the garbage.

 

RIP Harper Lee


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