Lou Steigerwald, Ed. S.

  • School Superintendent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • Plant Wrangler/Gardener
  • Middling Gamer

Parental Education Rights and Wrong Models

Republicans in state chambers have taken to trying to pass parental education rights bills that give parents the right to direct the education of their children. These bills seek to move the determination of what kids should learn and how they should learn it away from schools and society and over to parents through assertions of their rights. In addition to placing education’s and society’s needs and goals for individuals to the side, the often claimed thinking with this bill, that parents should be able to determine what and how their child should learn, is wrongheaded as a basic business model and, if enacted, could lead to employers, universities, the military, and other end users to not having well-trained and educated choices for hiring, placement, etc.

If we consider education from a business model standpoint, call it critical business theory (CBT) if you like, parental rights supporters are assuming the incorrect consumer of education’s “product” (the product being graduating seniors at the end of our K-12 assembly line). Unless parents are going to hire or use our product, they are not our end user. Our end users are the businesses, post high school training and education entities, the military and other users who rely on the education production line to supply them with the human resources they rely on.

Parents (and I am one myself) are interested parties in the supply chain and are important to the process. The parental role is to provide each child with love, shelter, food, care, and support, to name just a few responsibilities, but unless a child is going right from the graduation stage and into a family business (and any business of note needs all employees to be well-educated, family run or not), parents are not our end product consumers.

Very few parents tell their children to do well in school so that the kids can live in the basement until the death of the parent(s). Rather, the parents of the most successful students tell their children to go to school so they can get into college, get a good job, etc and begin their adult lives away from their parental abode. Those parents then focus their efforts on seeing to it that their children have what they need to be successful in school academically.

Supplying the end users of our model with the human resources they need is driven by the needs of the end users. These consumers need well-educated that are able to walk through the doors of businesses, colleges, and other programs that employ and train them. Parents are critical partners in education, but they should not be determiners of what students need to learn or how they are taught. That role falls to society and other post secondary end users, as it should.

The Resurgence of White Hate

It is long past time to accurately label the GOP as the party of white hatred. New laws discriminating against LGBTQ folks are just the latest step demonstrating that the GOP has decided that fear and hatred of anyone who is not straight and white are their brands and their best way to success in elections.

This fall Americans will not be faced with a choice between Democrats and Republicans, they will instead be faced with a choice between being an accepting, multi-cultural society or being a country that embraces hatred and exclusion as the hallmarks of our nation.

Folks who favor and accept the concept of America as a melting pot, whether they are traditionally liberal, conservative, or moderate will have to cast their votes based not on political ideology, rather they will have to cast their votes based on what sort of country they want themselves and future generations to live in.

While there certainly is merit to assertions that cancel culture has too often gone too far (mainly by passing judgment ahead of evidence), it is not equivalent to believe that hatred is equal to or less harmful than its counterpart. Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Trump are all hate filled, white power extremists. It is also not too far to state that in order to support these folks is to support hatred. There comes a point when, whether one holds some values in common with any such folks, one must make a moral choice between supporting acceptance or supporting hatred.

Today’s GOP presents not a choice between political ideologies, rather today’s GOP presents a choice between a loving, welcoming, diverse society, or a closed, cruel society of hatred and fear.

The DeVos Family and Limitless Greed

Now that Betsy DeVos is no longer a national scourge and ironic choice for federal education secretary, she has returned to Michigan and reset her sights on attacking public education in Michigan. Her Let Kids Learn campaign is nothing less than a Trojan horse for school voucher. Vouchers themselves are Trojan horse for tax breaks for the wealthy.

Michigan’s voters have rejected voucher campaigns twice already. Betsy and her family have restructured vouchers into “opportunity accounts” into which private donors or corporations can pay into these accounts, fund a child’s education, and receive a tax break on the account. Guess who has the money to fund expensive private education? If you guessed wealthy folks like Betsy DeVos and her family…congratulations! You nailed it!

These accounts are simply a sleight of hand to allow the wealthy to pay less taxes than they already do. Is anyone actually worried that families, such as DeVos’ are struggling so mightily to make ends meet that they need another tax break? Well, in case you are worried that maybe poor Betsy might have to suffer without freeloading some more on American taxpayers, you can sign a petition to help ease her troubled lifestyle.

Because most Americans are generous, even though they are not wealthy, we project similar values onto folks like Betsy. Too often those of us who actually have to work for a living believe that Betsy and her ilk actually give a damn about their fellow Americans. Not so. Betsy was born into wealth and married into more wealth. Like the blue-bloods and royals of centuries past, Betsy believes she is special, privileged, and entitled to treatment that allows her to be untroubled by the burdens of normal Americans. You know, troubles like paying taxes into the society that allows her to live her pampered lifestyle.

Michiganders need to not be fooled by Betsy’s latest assault on public schools. Let Kids Learn is another craven attempt by a spoiled, wealthy greed monster and her family to turn into law yet another tax break for the wealthy.

Charlie!

Charlie joined our family this weekend. He is 9 weeks old and learning new skills quickly. Potty training is definitely hit and mess at this point, but I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it. Charlie is very friendly and loves freeze dried liver treats.

Superintendent Gamers!

When I tell most folks my age that the PS5 in our home is mine and not my kids’ I am most often met with a little grin and “really?” When I tell them, yup, it’s mine and if my kids are lucky I will let them game on it, I usually elicit a brief laugh and then we move on to another topic. I don’t think some folks entirely believe me!

That’s why my conversation at dinner after a day full of superintendent meetings in Grand Rapids was so fun. When hobbies came up with a new group of superintendents and I mentioned my PS5, I was surprised when the other folks at the table started talking about their interest in games. Fellow supts who know about gaming?! Yay!

1st Workout Music List of 2022

Helped during resistance workout today!

Nino-The Linda Lindas
Oh Well-Deep Purple
Good Ones-Charlie XCX
Spike the Punch-Alex Lahey
Skinny Dipping—Stand Atlantic
Knead-Illumanati Hotties
Pool Hopping-Illumanati Hotties
When I’m Gone-Alesso & Katie Perry
Could Have Been Me-Halsey
Raspberry Beret-Prince
Monsters-All Time Low
Sugar, Were’ Goin’ Down-Fall Out Boy
Song 2-Blur
Are You Gonna Go My Way-Lenny Kravitz
Good Times Bad Times-Led Zepplin
Bring Me to Life-Evanescence
Oblivion-Royal Blood
Take My Breath-The Weeknd
Enemy-Imagine Dragons
Dirty Little Animals-Bones UK
Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself-Alex Lahey
You Will Never Work in Television Again-The Smile
Champagne Problems-Inna
Cola Song-Inna
Got You-Potty Mouth
Not Going Anywhere-Potty Mouth
Contessa Barefoot-Potty Mouth

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