School Levies and Betsy DeVos

Last weekend, I received a ballot in the mail. This was a bit strange as there was no upcoming local or state election so I was interested to see what it was. Apparently, Mount Vernon schools are needing a levy to fund them and the ballot (from the county auditor’s office) was just me marking “yes” or “no”. If the levy were to pass, property taxes would go up a certain amount per person per $1000 of property value. This could be a fairly substantial tax increase for my parents (who own the house I live in) and so I was discussing it with my mom when she shared some wisdom:

Always vote “yes” on a school levy because a funding schools helps to keep an educated populace.

We all saw what an uneducated populace did last November in electing Donald Trump so I did vote “yes” on both measures!

The school levy came to mind on Tuesday when Betsy DeVos, Trump’s horrid nominee for Secretary of Education, passed committee. I have never really gotten involved with administration nominees for Cabinet posts but DeVos and some others are so completely inappropriate for their jobs that I have had no choice but to call all the senators and advocate for them not to be confirmed! DeVos is probably the worst one with Senator Jeff Sessions being a close second.

So why is DeVos so unspeakably bad that I’ve spent hours annoying various senators other than my own?

[+] She doesn’t have an education degree. That should be the bare minimum qualification for the post. You wouldn’t want a doctor who majored in fine arts and never attended medical school, would you?

[+] She has never taught in a classroom setting. Again, this should be a minimum requirement. How can she make good decisions in her post if she lacks the experience to make them???

[+] She does not understand how higher education works and how higher education funding works. I’ll let Senator Elizabeth Warren tackle this one!

[+] She does not know anything about special education or the laws governing it. This probably the most important issue to me because of Daniel. Every teacher in every education program takes a class on special education and every teacher knows the terms IDEA, 504 Plan, and IEP. DeVos does not. As to why this is such a big deal, kids who are at private schools and who are homeschooled are eligible to receive services like occupational therapy and speech therapy through their local school district free of charge! Wouldn’t it be good to have a Secretary of Education who knows this???

Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire took her to task on this one!

[+] She has worked tirelessly to take public schools apart through voucher programs and trying to move education toward the private school and for-profit education model. I’m not saying that private schools, charter schools, or choosing to homeschool your kids are a bad thing — I have friends who were homeschooled and who have chosen to homeschool their kids. I also have friends who were homeschooled, were unprepared for college as a result, and are choosing to send their kids to public schools because they recognize that they do not have the ability to teach them.

Given that the Secretary of Education is effectively the superintendent of the nation’s education system and the lion’s share of the education system is comprised of public schools, shouldn’t they at least have an interest in saving them instead of defunding them? DeVos has never set foot in a public school building and that is quite disconcerting for those of us who depend on public education for their kids.

[+] She was nominated because her family is the largest donor of soft money to the Republican Party. Comments she made in 1997 are very telling:

“My family is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Committee,” she wrote in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. “I have decided to stop taking offense,” she wrote, “at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment.”

“People like us,” she added archly, “must surely be stopped.” (Source)

There were a couple of her financial recipients on the committee that passed on her nomination to the Senate at large. I find the idea of her buying this position to be horrifying and a sign that she doesn’t care about the education of the children of this nation — she only cares about getting political favors because she can buy them.

So please, I beg you, CALL YOUR SENATORS and tell them to oppose her confirmation. If you cannot get through to their Washington office, call their state offices. If you can’t get through by phone (a distinct possibility because a lot of people are calling in to try and get their senators to vote a certain way), fax them. Failing that, use the email form on their Senate website (http://[senator’s last name].senate.gov). Just please don’t let this unqualified woman be let loose on the nation’s schools!!!

7 Quick Takes: Rogue Twitter Accounts, Grumpy Kids, and Accounting Tests

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Twitter gone rogue. Since Trump’s gagging of government agencies and departments, rogue Twitter accounts have popped up. The list is here.

— 2 —

Nostalgia… *sighs* I remember when someone quoted the following on Rachel Maddow’s show in 2008:

Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists, and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences.

I counted 4 groups into which I fit. How many of these do y’all fit?

— 3 —

Update on the kidlet. Daniel got over stomach bug #1 from last week only to get hit with another stomach bug yesterday. Thankfully, this one just affects his lower G-I vs. him projectile vomiting like he was last week. I’m really hoping for the sake of my sanity that he can go back to school tomorrow — he was grumpy today! I am also hoping that this is the last bug he gets from school for a while.

— 4 —

Political Tip. The White House Comment Line is currently closed but there is an alternative. I figure that my tax dollars are paying T-Rump’s salary so he should be listening to what I have to say. 😀

— 5 —

March for Life. The March for Life is this weekend and I want to tell any marchers that read this blog that I am proud of y’all and to keep doing what you are doing!

— 6 —

A message from the Netherlands. I thought this was pretty awesome:

— 7 —

School update. I just got my test results from my first Accounting test for the quarter and did OK but not as well as I wanted to do. (Translation: I only got a 95 on it instead of the 98’s I was scoring last quarter.) Our tests are online this quarter vs. being taken on paper in class (this quarter is shorter than Fall Quarter was and we also lose days because of Monday holidays) and in order to test how well we know the subject matter, our instructor asks us questions that can be a little bit tricky. One question might be asked 2-3 different ways and I lost most of my points on those.

The good news: now that I know the format of the tests, I’ll probably do better on the next one.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: January 22, 2017

For Today… January 22, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… dusk. The high was in the upper 40’s today according to Weather Underground. (I was in bed trying not to puke.)

I am thinking… about how to structure my homework due dates this week. I have one assignment due tomorrow (technically two but the second one can be turned in late) and a test in that class to do that is due on Tuesday night. After that, I have work due for another class on Tuesday and thankfully, my other class has a due date of Thursday.

I am thankful… for the almost 5 million marchers in the US and another 300,000 worldwide who took part in 673 marches (including two in Antarctica) yesterday for the Women’s March on Washington. I couldn’t participate because of the kidlet so I cheered people on instead.

One of my favorite things… whoever runs the site for P22, the mountain lion in the LA Hills. They put a pussy hat on him. 😀

I am wearing… jammies. Church today was a blue-green long-sleeved shirt and black slacks. I didn’t make it more than halfway through before I had to leave and go home to go to bed because the smell of someone’s coffee was making me feel nauseated.

I am creating… nothing at the moment after finishing my pussy hats this week.

I am watching… NCIS re-runs.

I am hoping… this doesn’t turn into the stomach virus that landed Daniel in the ER on Friday. (Thankfully, I have Zofran if it’s needed.)

I am learning… about special journals and subsidiary ledgers.

In my kitchen… Dad is making spaghetti for him and Mom. I’d be joining them for dinner if I wasn’t feeling so crappy.

In the school room… Daniel is chomping at the bit to go back tomorrow.

Post Script… for those who claimed that pro-lifers weren’t welcome at the March this weekend, go read what Cammie has to say on the subject.

Shared Quote…

So much for silly hats!

A moment from my day… My favorite sign thus far:

Even introverts marched!

Closing Notes: Stories on the march are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: Subversive Crocheting, Betsy DeVos, and Puking Kids

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

My only thought on the inauguration tomorrow. I promise.

An inauguration poem

— 2 —

Yeah… no. This is my thought on Betsy Devos’ qualifications:

Betsy and bears

By the way, this and this are how you deal with bears in schools. Note that guns are not involved.

— 3 —

Fighting for education. DeVos is a threat to education across the board. If you’d like to fight for schools, here are the senators to call:



— 4 —

A tip. If you ever need to get contact information for your congressional representatives, here’s the special URL:

http://[lastname].house.gov
http://[lastname].senate.gov

Insert the House member or Senator’s last name for [lastname]. You’re welcome.

— 5 —

Subversive crocheting. I finished the first pussy hat yesterday and gave it to my (Episcopal) priest today. (She loves it.) God-willing, I can bang the second one out tomorrow and I can hopefully still march on Saturday.

Pussy hat #1

— 6 —

Wait, Jen. Did you just say that you might not march on Saturday? Yes. Daniel has been puking for almost 6.5 hours continuously and if he does have a virus, I’ll have to stay home and take care of him. While I’ll be pretty bummed to miss it, Daniel’s health comes first.

So seriously, pray that the kiddo’s tummy can calm down. I did two loads of puke laundry tonight and I’ve got at least two more waiting for me tomorrow morning.

**UPDATE** Sitting in the ER with Daniel waiting for them to give him fluids and check him out.

**UPDATE** They just gave him his first dose of Zofran. I’m definitely not going to be able to march tomorrow because of him. Thankfully, a piece of me will be there in the form of the hat I crocheted for my priest. I’m really bummed but this is, unfortunately, a part of motherhood — taking care of your kiddos and having to sacrifice your own plans for them.

**UPDATE** The kid was discharged around 3:00 p.m. with a script for Zofran. After getting his 5:30 dose, he went to sleep. I’m about to go fold and continue cycling all the puke laundry through but I’m kind of enjoying the quiet house and my dark room.

— 7 —

Some new music. I heard this on a local Christian radio station a few months ago and have had it stuck in my head since then.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: January 15, 2017

For Today… January 15, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… sunny and around 40F. It’s a nice change from mornings when it’s 15F when I leave the house with a high in the 20’s.

I am thinking… about various homework assignments that are due in the next week.

I am thankful… that my kiddo FINALLY went to sleep around 1 a.m. after tantruming on and off for almost 9 hours. #autismproblems #ADHDproblems

One of my favorite things… soft grey kitties like the one asleep in the cat bed on my desk.

I am wearing… a long-sleeved Cougars shirt and jeans. Church clothes this morning were a charcoal grey top, my black slacks, and my black boots.

I am creating…

I am reading… My Badass Book of Saints: Courageous Women Who Showed Me How to Live by my friend Maria Johnson. I got to know her through podcasting stuff on SQPN and am really jazzed to finally get to read her book after gifting it to a number of people.

I am hoping… to finish my book today in between all of the homework on my plate.

I am learning… how to get kitty litter out of the bleach receptacle of the washing machine and the fabric softener receptacle on the dryer. *glares at Daniel* (The answer involves a toothbrush, an F crochet hook, and a dust buster.)

In my kitchen… stroganoff for dinner tonight. Yay!!! Good leftovers this week!!!

In the school room… Daniel has a four-day weekend.

Post Script… So let’s talk about how many buses are headed to DC for the inauguration vs. how many are headed there for the Women’s March on Washington. (Hint: It’s not even close.)

Shared Quote…

My sentiments exactly.

A moment from my day… Our offertory hymn this morning in honor of MLK Jr.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: January 8, 2017

For Today… January 8, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… dark. We’ve had rain on and off today and it’s supposed to be cold enough tonight for any moisture on the ground to freeze into ice. I’m really hoping that my route to school isn’t an ice rink tomorrow morning!

I am thinking… about things for my Records Management class.

I am thankful… to be back to school. Though I’ll be very busy this quarter, it will give me something to focus on as I’m working through everything involved with the divorce.

One of my favorite things… quiet. Unfortunately, my precious sweetling is being obnoxious and screaming right now. *sighs* I’m about to resort to the clean version of THAT book.

I am wearing… jammies. Church clothes today were this dress and black cardigan, black tights, and my black flats. The rest of the day found me in jeans and my Cougars shirt. (Yes, I’m a Huskies fan and I was wearing a shirt from the Evil School. In my defense, it’s a warm shirt!!!)

I am creating… an Excel file with all the pertinent calculations for filing my taxes. (Self-employment taxes suck. Thankfully, there’s TurboTax Home and Business.)

I am reading… My Badass Book of Saints: Courageous Women Who Showed Me How to Live by Maria Morera Johnson.

I am hoping… the little beast stops screaming before I lose my hearing.

I am learning… about retail business accounting this quarter. Wheeeeee!!!

In my kitchen… Mom made broccoli and beef in the slow cooker.

In the school room… Daniel is back to school and loving it.

Post Script… some happy stories for your day.

Shared Quote… “Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.”
— Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: January 1, 2017

For Today… January 1, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… dark. I don’t think it’s snowing right now — it’s just down in the low 20’s.

I am thinking… about how to get all of my school errands done on Tuesday in addition to everything else on my plate. I have to buy books and get another parking pass.

I am thankful… that Daniel goes back to school on Tuesday morning. Kiddo has cabin fever.

One of my favorite things… quiet time in a dark room. Daniel just woke up so my chances of that for the rest of the night are shot.

I am wearing… jammies. Clothes today for church and the rest of the time were a charcoal grey/white speckled shirt, jeans, and my black boots. I usually dress up for church but we had enough new snow and the prospect of crappy roads so I decided to keep it simple.

I am creating… socks for my mom.

I am reading… The Abbey by James Martin, S.J.

I am hoping… using my phone as an e-reader ends up being helpful for me. (My NOOK died tonight.)

I am learning… how to drive in snow again.

In my kitchen… mom made pork chops, risotto, and salad for dinner tonight. Dessert was a Grand Marnier bundt cake.

In the school room… Daniel goes back to school on Tuesday and I start back on Wednesday.

Shared Quote… “Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.” — J.K. Rowling

Hosted by The Simple Woman.