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ISTEP Testing and Time Traveling without a Tardis March 10, 2014

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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Today my stomach is a little queasy. I woke up an hour earlier than normal because our clocks were made to “spring forward.” I know it’s just me and my sour grapes, but this annual event continues to set my teeth on edge (Ezekiel 18:2) and upset my digestion. I suppose I should look forward to this as one of the signs of the impending spring season. But my feelings of involuntary jetlag remove a certain measure of the joy I might otherwise feel.

I am grateful that spring is coming. I am grateful to know that soon I will be planting my tiny garden, so that the growing population of rabbits and other rodents will not starve. I would like a bumper crop, so that I can get some food out of the deal for myself and my own family. I have considered large mousetraps for the fat little hungry creatures, but I don’t think my kids would appreciate them. I am also grateful for the arrival of warmer weather. It’s supposed to snow again this week.

I drove to work today in the dark, in my car, because I don’t have a TARDIS. If you’re not in the fandom, it’s a kind of space and time traveling machine. If I had one, I would probably abuse the privelege of sleeping in and teleporting in to handle a days work, if I had to. Or, more sensibly, I would go forward to the next large lottery jackpot and jot down some numbers before taking a nap and returning to the present. I might be tempted to go backward to tweak a few things as well. Every time the minimum wage is raised, inflation of the American Dollar devalues what we earn, so in the long run we’re all a little closer to poverty unless our wages go up with the increased cost of living. I don’t even want to start about food prices, and the much more volatile gas prices are even worse.

I listened to the radio and was horrified to hear that the ISTEP testing is beginning this week, along with daylight savings. They save daylight by making us drive to work and go to school in the dark. On so many levels it’s a bad idea. First the kids are suffering from the same jetlag as the adults. They are groggy and probably sick to their stomachs from their parents fretful yelling at them to wake up and get out of bed and catch the early school bus, which would most certainly be there on time.

If they’re late, it adds the possibility that they didn’t eat anything for breakfast, and my kids tell me they aren’t allowed to eat any food on the bus. There isn’t time, or a rule allowing, a snack at school. My children further tell me that school lunches taste like cardboard because, in the name of healthier kids, a presidential authority declared that all salt is bad for kids. This is the same government that once declared ketchup counted as a serving of a vegetable, but a new administration deciding what’s best for us. So they don’t eat the horrible-tasting unseasoned foods while they are at school. Instead they are snacking after school, eating dinner, and then they’re hungry again before bed time because they’re normal growing kids. Then add the stress of normal school days and normal homework, and then add the extra stress of testing their aptitudes while they are half asleep from the missing hour of rest they would normally get and starving because, who can eat at Six AM when it suddenly feels just like Five AM? And this is how we strive to improve our children’s futures? This isn’t why Johnny can’t read. This is why we THINK Johnny can’t read.

For so many reasons, I need my next car to be a TARDIS. There would be room for my clutter, since a TARDIS is much bigger on the inside. There would be a soundproof room where I could take naps. I might never come out. Time would be relative, so I wouldn’t have to worry about arriving late, or shifting clocks in spring and fall. I’m looking forward to fall already, and I haven’t even had spring or summer.

I fear this week, with ISTEP mingling with Daylight Savings Time, is just a bad mixture that will cause problems for everyone. I feel sad for my kids more than for me, because little adjustments are more traumatic for them. Poor things. They’re already caught up in the drama of growing up. I don’t want them to have to endure an extra strain that should never have been brought back by former governor Mitch Daniels.

Bless his heart. Ex Governor Mitch Daniels, proclaimed by some as “my man Mitch,” was never my man. He didn’t improve my employment situation, and then he made things just a tiny bit worse with enacting daylight savings time. But it was just his way of enabling time travel for all of us, in some limited fashion. We don’t have a Tardis to allow us to go back in time and catch an extra nap, so he gives us one every year. We can’t go forward in time at all, to see the future, so he lets us see it once every year. I see it on my way to work, while I’m dodging sleeping drivers whose bodies are telling them it’s still 6 AM when the clocks say it’s 7 AM. The future I get to see is very dark, and a little scary.

Studies have repeatedly shown that this strain is bad for people’s health and draining for the economy, rather than being of some actual value. But we still have the legacy of our man Mitch, until someone decides to go back to common sense. It will never happen. The kids are too tired and confused to have any of that. And their test scores will show it, so the ones who might have been successful and demonstrated the measure of common sense necessary to change the future, won’t be able to rise to the occasion because their test scores are too low. All of the jobs that might have helped them advance in life have been outsourced to India, China and Mexico anyway.

Here comes the peanut gallery’s nutty suggestions: Corporate American fat cats should have to figure out how to live on whatever the average income is for someone in their employ, instead of paying themselves so much more than anyone who works for them. Congress and the president should earn annual incomes that match the average of their constituency, no more. And Madame Dietary Restriction, I mean Madame Nutritional Reformer, should have to eat an average school lunch from the same trays as my kids get to eat from. At least twice a week, instead of eating whatever her chef cooks for her. And take away her salt shaker while you’re at it. The school lunch reform cost America 3.2 Billion dollars according to some estimates. I would think the food would taste a whole lot better since it costs so much, but according to my kids, it’s trash (they used a different descriptive noun). If my kids are obese, it’s because I let them eat too much junk food and don’t send them outside to play because the streets aren’t safe. But that is another article. If my kids have bulemia or anorexia I blame the people who told them they were fat when they were still growing kids.

Then I have my son and daughter, who both are still growing up, all worried about their weight versus the obesity standards, because people are telling them they are fat when they are still growing up. When you are going to be as tall as my kids are, it’s too soon to tell them when they are kids that they are fat, unless they are couch potatoes who eat nothing but burgers and french fried potatoes. My kids are relatively active, and not very heavy for someone of their respective heights. When I was growing up there was a cycle. I would beef up, and then grow and be lean for a while. My kids have the same pattern. I would be willing to guess that unless you feed your kids burgers and fries on the regular, and let them stay indoors all day on their video games, that your kids aren’t that different than mine. They are reasonably intelligent kids who need their food and their rest so they can grow up healthy. Unfortunately, they get neither from our schools or our current clock settings.

I’m not holding out much hope for the future of our country when the quality of a school lunch is dicated by someone who has a gourmet chef cooking her meals, so she doesn’t have to eat the cardboard they’re serving at the schools. Or when their advancement, and a teacher’s paycheck, are determined by the outcome of days of this groggy torture. Or when American job security is at the whim of corporate America, who decide it’s more profitable to export jobs and then try to import all of the manufactured goods we can’t afford to buy because we aren’t making enough money. Or when time is dictated by an antiquated system that costs more to continually implement than it saves.

The only good thing about springing forward is falling back.



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