Random Thoughts on RUSD Issues
With elections only days away, what matters to you as you vote for school board officials? Here are a few of my issues.
Unfortunately, I cannot make it to the Racine Unified District meetings because of my husband’s work schedule. As soon as that changes, so will my attendance. So I have to admit that throughout the years, and currently, I am not as aware or educated as I should be on the issues facing RUSD and the controversies that have arisen.
However, I am not left without opinion on certain issues. And some of those have been touched upon recently as the elections draw near.
I would like to just make some points in light of what I have read in past weeks:
The Doctor Police
Educators have a right to see a physician when they deem necessary. Candidate Brian Dey thinks that raising healthcare deductibles is beneficial because it stops employees from using healthcare services for issues he views as unnecessary. I don’t think one person or even a group of people have any right to tell a person who has earned their healthcare coverage when they should or shouldn’t visit a doctor. Perhaps usage will go down. But how do we know they might be choosing financial stability while sacrificing their health? The sooner an illness is caught and treated, the better it is for everyone. Statements like this and his support of vouchers (which I have discussed previously) would make it difficult for me to vote for Mr. Dey.
11 Year Old Grown Ups; Its Creepy
There are a couple things, however, of which I do agree with Brian Dey. The first being moving sixth grade back into elementary schools and moving ninth grade into middle school. I have felt this way since I was in high school. We live in a society where we force our children to grow up much too fast. This puts them into inappropriate situations and gives them stresses for which they are not prepared.
At The REAL School, they recently had a Winter Formal. Most of the attendees were the middle school students. However, it was open to the whole school and there were some high school students in attendance. Many of the young girls (as young as 11 years old) were wearing high heels, strapless dresses and faces full of makeup. Again, ELEVEN years old. While I was told that the dance was handled well by adult chaperones and was really quite an innocent event, I still feel very uncomfortable with situations such as this.
Not only do I feel young children should not be dressing and acting like grownups, I also do not feel that an 11-year-old should be attending social events like dances with 15, 16, 17 year olds. The maturity gap is far too wide and the social dangers are far too complicated. I was told by one person that a child had to be taken out of the school because as a sixth grader, she had a 16 year old boyfriend. As a mother of girls, that makes my stomach churn.
Even if safety precautions are put into place, I do not feel the opportunity should even be there. Let’s stop trying to turn our children into miniature adults, allow them to be kids and stop acting as though they are our friends instead of our kids.
I am not sure if these have anything to do with Dey’s position on the matter – these are simply my reasons for wanting to push the grades back.
Project Runway: Classroom Edition
Uniforms. I will preach about this until SOMEONE hears me. I cannot tell you how strongly I believe that simple, basic uniforms would improve our district tenfold. There will be less distraction, less competition, less inappropriate situations and more focus where it should be – on school work.
The idea that kids need a certain outfit to express their individuality is a bunch of crap. If you are teaching your child that it’s all in the clothing, then you are going to have much bigger issues to deal with. You express yourself with your thoughts, with your voice, with your actions. There is no way a pair of khakis and a polo are going to stunt your child’s creative growth – and if it does, chances are it had no shot to begin with.
When I was in school I would spend many nights trying to figure out what I was going to wear the following day that wouldn’t leave me in the outcast pile. I only had a couple pairs of jeans. I had to make sure I alternated so I never wore them 2 days in a row; believe me, it was noticed. We couldn’t afford the brand names that many kids seemed all too giddy to point out. Because I didn’t have an upside down triangle on my pocket, I felt inferior as silly as that sounds. Going to school was like going to a pageant – and you were most certainly being judged. Uniforms will level the playing field and take away that insecurity and competition.
The way many kids dress today makes me gasp and I am no prude. I saw a fifth grader with jeans so tight you could read the year on the penny in her back pocket. Her eyeliner was thicker than a member of a heavy metal band. I felt sad for her. Boys wear pants that hang off their butts showing us nothing but their underwear. I see young girls with shorts that say “Hottie” on the backside and tops that say “Call me.”
Kids need to be comfortable, they need to be able to run around at recess, they need to focus on why they are at school. A child worrying about what to wear each day should never, ever be an issue. Period. I want uniforms in our schools!!
I recently emailed the candidates (the ones who are publicly reachable) asking them about their feelings on these issues. That was well over a week ago. I have yet to hear a peep. It seems to me that with an election so near, these candidates would make themselves highly visible and available. I have no interest in voting for someone who will ignore their constituents. But like I said, it has only been a little over a week and I am sure they are busy. Hopefully I will hear back before April 3.