Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mullet or Mohawk

An Essay on Professional Dress Code

            Professionalism is a fickle definition to make.  When we generally speak about professional dress, we are actually speaking of good taste.  Unfortunately, good taste is something that is not a commonality with all people.
            When we receive a dress code that simply calls for ‘Professional Dress,’ it becomes difficult to define exactly what this is.  To begin with, dress would indicate clothing only, when in actuality it refers to your entire appearance, even your hairstyle. 
While many people think that a mullet is in poor taste, it is not outside the bounds of normal dress code and therefore would be acceptable because mullets have become commonplace within certain regions of society.  Mohawks do not share such a positive place as they are ridiculed for being too outrageous and representative of ideals that are not professional, or even punk-like.  Why do punks have such a negative connotation attached to them?
            America has always prided itself on its freedom, outside of freedom of dress.  To become a successful, upstanding individual in business society, slick haircuts, polished shoes, and stylish suits or dresses are necessary.  Does what one wears accurately reflect the good or ill they could serve to society?  I remember when I saw the Enron employees on trial that they wore fancy, expensive business suits.  This is proof that just because you dress in a socially acceptable manner, that you are not necessarily doing positive things for society itself.
            As young people we are told the lie that what is on the inside counts when it is really the outside appearance that you are able to fool people with that really counts.  It’s an embarrassment that a person with a blue Mohawk and pierced nose gets turned down for a job despite having all the qualifications necessary for a position.  In youth, we’re told to look past the appearance of people, whether they are fat, ugly, or have a huge mole on their face.  When will come the day that this can apply to how people dress as well?
            In many cases, dress is a good thing because it allows people to look on the outside, the same way they are on the inside, fake. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Late Work Policy

An Essay from a Student's Point of View

            As a seventh grade student in the United States, I’ve learned that America holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.  I never bothered to look up what inalienable means, but I have a few ideas.  I think this idea has to do with turning in late work to my teacher.  It means if I’m not ‘in’ school and I have an ‘ail-ment’ or if I’m ‘ill’ that I will be ‘able’ to turn ‘in’ the work when I return. 
            Luckily for me, I don’t have to be actually ill to reap the benefits of this, I just have to miss school and have my mom call me in sick or write a note.  Thank goodness because the assignment I had due for History class was due this past Friday and I hadn’t even started it.  I knew about it for three months, but I didn’t see any reason to start it until the week before it’s due.  Unfortunately, this project was HUGE!  I didn’t have nearly enough time to complete it in the time I left myself.  I would have to miss Friday, the day it was due, to be able to get it in on time. 
            That was last week, and I still hadn’t finished it on Monday, so I was ‘ill’ that day as well.  That’s what the note said.  When I came back, the stupid teacher wouldn’t accept my assignment on Tuesday when it was really due!  My mom had been at work and thought I was really sick, so she was livid!  Thank goodness.  She called the principal of my school and complained to him.  She stated that she understood that a teacher couldn’t do this if her son was sick.  And I was.  That’s what the note said. 
            The principal folded.  He didn’t want to have to fight against my mom.  She could get pretty loud and mean when she has to and she told him that she knows people.  He didn’t want to deal with that I’m sure.  He made my stupid teacher let me turn it in late on time for full credit.  That showed him!  Like he can make me do work and turn it in when he wants!  The world doesn’t work that way.  Hadn’t he ever heard that I had inalienable rights?  Duh.
            The teacher was pretty mad about the whole situation.  I told my mom that when I got my project back with a C on it.  I told her I think he graded me differently than the other students because he considered mine late.  That just wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t going to fly with my mom. 
            Another call and some yelling to the principal and my mom convinced him to let another teacher grade it.  Guess what!  When they graded it, I got a B.  My teacher was trying to hold a grudge against me.  I would have failed his class if I didn’t turn in my project. He just wanted me to fail.  He thinks just because I sleep in his class and do next to no work, that I should fail.  I should really show him that thing that says I have those inalienable rights.  I wished I remember what thing said that.  He should have taught me about that in class instead of wasting my time making me do that project on the Declaration of Independence.  Who reads that garbage anyway?  That teacher was a jerk.  I was sick after all.  That’s what the note said.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ban That Book!

            I was surfing the Weird Wide Web, and found a site that has the history of banned books.  I never realized how many books have been banned before!  I still don’t think it’s enough though.  We need to get to work to ban more books.  A lot of people miss books that they may consider okay, but if they really examined them, they would agree that these books need to be banned.  For the children.  I find whenever you are trying to do something unpopular that as long as you say you’re doing it for the children, you are in the clear.
            Here are some of the other books that we need to ban, for the children.  We need to begin with shorter stories and the first I’d like to address is ‘The Little Engine That Could.’  The sexual references in this book are over the top.  The graphic imagery of the train again and again trying to reach the climax or the top of the hill is downright pornographic.  Beyond that, the integrity of our students and children come into question.  How can our kids be equally compared with this ‘Little Engine?’  Do we really expect them to try and try again, even against what may be insurmountable odds?  What if what our kids are facing is an impossible task?  What if they’re trying to turn lead to gold?  Shouldn’t they just eventually give up?  This book sends the wrong message and should be banned, for the children.
            Books that were written over a year ago should all be banned as well.  These books are not culturally relevant anymore.  They’re about olden times, and no one cares.  Hollywood has it right on always staying new, keeping with the ‘Tomorrow is yesterdays news’ credo.  Books need to do this as well.  Stay on the cutting edge.  Even if the book is about the future, it’s about yesterday’s future which is different than today’s.  Our children deserve better than left over thoughts from last year. 
            New books should also be banned because we haven’t had enough time to decide whether or not the content of the book is appropriate for our children.  Luckily, we could create a panel of readers to spend some time poring over the book to decide whether or not it is in fact appropriate for our children.  They could spend a year deliberating, at which time the book would be banned as it is over a year old.  This would effectively remove most of the reading material from our shelves.  By the way, I’d love to be paid to be on this panel. 
            How can we really be sure that a book won’t have a negative impact on someone?  I say we can’t.  We can no longer allow parents to make decisions on what their children should be allowed to read.  What if something they think is okay for their kids to read isn’t really okay?  What if they missed the character that was representational of Jesus and that character was evil?  We can’t trust parents to pick out all of these symbolic images that most books have.  We can’t even trust most parents to read the books their kids are reading before their kids do to decide it’s appropriate.  And when a book is banned, we can’t trust a parent to read that book and make a good decision on whether that book should be banned for their kid.  All of this is too political, and we can’t trust anyone by themselves making a political decision.  Ban books, do it for the children. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dumbin' it Down

Dumbin’ It Down

            Children are our future and boy will they be able to play video games and get fat better than any generation previously.  So much so, that their life expectancies are the first ever to be shorter than the previous generations.  Good job!  Now how do we fix that?  I say we ‘Dumb it Down,’ and change the standards so we don’t seem quite so stupid. 
            I’ll begin with test scores.  When I was in school, which really wasn’t THAT long ago, we were required to get a 94% to make an A.  We’ve already taken steps to make class easier by letting students get a 90% to get an A but I think we need to take that a step further.  We should be more like sports when it comes to this statistic so students can relate more.  Since most students want to be pro athletes, we should base their percentages more like the sports they hope to play.  For football for instance, a quarterback is successful if he can complete about 60% of his passes.  That would be an A rated quarterback.  So why can’t 60% of a course be an A rated student?  It can be though!
            In Florida, just ask our FCAT.  In case you didn’t know, FCAT is our standardized test that students take to see if they possess basic skills.  If students score above 50% on FCAT, they are put in advanced classes.  You may think that’s silly, but technically half of the people in the world are above average.  So for grading, I say it’s time for a change of policy!  A 4th grade reading level should be all that is required of students to pass.  Most of our newspapers are written on a 4th grade level and most of our television shows are written on one.  What need have students to actually read at a higher level than?  NONE!  Why are we even teaching kids to read to begin with?  Aren’t most books made into movies these days anyway?  If they’re any good they are.  And if there isn’t a movie made on the book, then you can probably find a book on CD... so what is the use of reading? 
            Math seems kind of worthless as well.  I mean, we have calculators don’t we?  Geography?  Don’t even get me started!  Ever heard of a map or better yet GPS?  I can get where I want to go if I need to go there.  Physical Education isn’t really even necessary in the armed services anymore since we have remote control everything.  I guess if you want to have sort of specialized degree to work for Microsoft or something, then maybe science would be sort of helpful, but why waste our time learning that in school when most people will never really need to know how to make inventions, but instead just use them. 
            So what are classes that are worth something for our students?  I’ve come up with a curriculum of classes that is fair, reasonable, and worthwhile. Something everybody can relate to, and use in their everyday lives.
            To start with, we have to revise how we attend school.  An 8 hour day is asking a little much from a student, unless we have better break times.  Judging by most television shows, American’s possess an attention span of about 15 minutes, so that is how long each class will be.  Socialization skills are focused on far more at school than anything else, so we can also give the students 15 minutes each period to change classes.  That way they can catch up on who recently got pregnant and can drop out of school.  (Did I mention if you become pregnant as a student, you can drop out since you probably have enough intelligence to raise another child on your own).  Lunch time will need to be expanded to an hour as well so students have enough time to digest their foods, and since they are American, it is likely they are overweight or will be overweight so they will need more time to eat to attain this goal.  So in total, we will need fourteen classes to fill up our day with, and here are some useful classes that could be used in this curriculum:
            Some classes will be labeled as academic core classes, which students will have to pass in order to move on to the next grade, and others will be electives which you don’t really have to attend or pass.  I think it’s kind of irrational for an authority figure to tell you what you have to learn anyway, so as long as you can orally submit an excuse as to why you failed an academic core class, you will be excused from failure in that class. 
            We begin each day with Electronic Operations, an elective.  This is the class that will teach you how to use a microwave, how to program your TIVO, how to add songs to your I-Pod, how to create a new contact in your cell phone, and other useful electronic related operations.  This is a class everyone should easily be able to achieve a 60% A in. 
            The next class we’d be off to is Hobby Time, which is also an elective since we don’t want to begin the day for our students with high pressured classes.  When kids are asked their hobbies today, I think it is a shame that so few of them can name any hobbies.  We need a class to help students refocus on wasting their time in interesting and non-educational ways.  If any work is actually turned in to this class, you would have to be placed on academic probation and possibly fail.  This class would be an exploratory curriculum designed to let students discover new ways to occupy their constant ADD induced boredoms.                
            Luckily, under this new curriculum, everyone will be labeled as ADD, ADHD, or Gifted.  If their ADD or ADHD is off the charts, it’s obvious they are bored with the work because they already know it all and need a challenge.  No challenge will be given to these students, but we will feel a lot better that they’ve at least been properly labeled even if they are dunces. These are the students we will label as Gifted.
            After all of this exhausting course work, a nap time would be necessary.  The third class will be designated sleep time for students and teachers, and this will be an academic core class because everybody has to sleep.  At this point students will have attended two classes and a total of one hour will have passed in class.  Students will need a quick breather after this rigorous curriculum that they have thus far been subjected to.  Students will be allowed to talk during this nap time if they wish to, but they have to pull their cots near the students they want to chat with.  This class will be an automatic A, even if you have not come to school because we can assume you have slept at home. 
            A fourth class that could be really interesting we could call, ‘Population Control,’ or ‘Reckless Regard for Authority Figures and Rules.’  This class will be taught as an elective.  Of all the subjects taught, I believe this one to be the most likely for students to get their 60% A in.  Students will be taught nothing in this class.  We will watch non-educational films, eat popcorn, be loud, and try to break as many rules as possible.  This class has a two-fold advantage since later in life it will have equipped most of our students with the ability to easily end their lives or others by their disregard for anything.  We certainly won’t leave any children behind with programs like these!  The only ones left behind are the dead ones that couldn’t think fast enough to not be dead. 
            A fifth class, which some would consider unnecessary (as we’ve eliminated a lot of the class in the fourth class) would have to be, “Your Diet and Decay.”  This class would focus on how to eat fast food each day, and the benefits of the extra value menus at each fast food establishment.  This class and the fourth one are actually a part of the same curriculum.  We would also use this class for our lunch period, as long as students brought items with little to no nutritional value.  This of course would be in addition to our real lunch time.  We need to give our students every opportunity to become overweight. 
            For our sixth class, we would have another core curriculum class on sexual harassment entitled, ‘You Can’t Touch This.’  This class would thoroughly cover all the basics of what is and what isn’t sexual harassment.          In order to pass this class, you would have to be able to go at least a 24 hour period without sexually harassing anyone.  I anticipate several failures, but with good excuses these students should be able to pass this class.  One of the most popular excuses could be, “She was asking for it by what she was wearing.” 
            Electronic operations class would not be able to fully delve into all the realms of electronics so another class may be necessary.  This class would be predicated on creating and maintaining a Myspace page or a Facebook page.  We would learn how to upload dirty pictures or send inappropriate comments to other students.  Granted, this seventh class may be the reason some students do not pass the sexual harassment class.  Then again, this would be a good excuse to give for the student to be allowed to pass.
            At this point in the day, we would allow students their one hour lunch break.  Some students may wish to go off campus to eat, and this would be allowed.  They wouldn’t even be required to return to school that day if they chose to eat off campus.  That would be left up to them to decide if they could be better educated to stay off campus and learn or return and goof off and learn.  Mark Twain always said to “Never let school interfere with your education.”  With stipulaions and programs like these, we can be nearly assured school will have very little to do with education indeed.
            After our extended lunch program, those students that wished to return would enter their eighth class entitled ‘Paper Product Construction,’ where we would show students how to fold notes in interesting ways, create poppers, wasps, and also construct paper airplanes.  This would be a core class seeing as we would have contests that determine which students have created the most durable and efficient paper products.  Since the word contest contains the word test, we would have to judge this class a little more stringently than others.  If the academic pressure of this class is too much, we will allow these students to return to any of the previous classes and count that extra time in that class for full credit for this class. 
            A ninth class, which could possibly be the most useful class ever, will be called ‘The American Work Ethic,’ or, ‘The Craft of an Excuse.’  In this class, we will teach them the most necessary tool in being successful in America, how to make an excuse for something you did, or did not do.  There are too many times when we expect someone, specifically students, to actually finish their work when it is obvious that they have other things to do.  I mean, even if they have enough time to finish the work you’ve assigned, they probably would just find something else to do that is more useful, such as sleeping.  Students will need to be well equipped to deal with high strung teachers and people that are always going to want them to complete work, be on time, and do their best.  These people will need to be able to contrive excuses to appease these silly Type A personality people.  If they want something done so badly, why didn’t they just do it themselves?
            The day is winding down.  Just five more classes to go, and class number ten is going to really help a lot of students.  “Fashion Follies, the Fashon Police Class.”  In this class we will be primarily teaching students how to judge others based solely on what they wear.  This is the Chuch of Dolce and Gabbana.  We will worship the all mighty pricetag in this class.  God forbid a child come to class not wearing a Logo T-shirt that cost them at least 25 bucks.  That student will be ridiculed and be made to stand in front of the class as we throw red paint on them, much like we do to those who wear fur.  Bad fasion is murder, too.  Don’t murder what others think about you.  This class will be an easy transition to our next class.
            “Your Mom, Your Face, and Your Dumb.”  A class on insult etiquette.  How do you come back from one of those Your Mother is so… whatever jokes?  We will have put down battles and will watch stand up comedy to atain new materials we can work with to really make others feel poorly about themselves.  Class number eleven will be a riotous hit and will make class twelve almost necessary.  Both of these classes will be core classes, as everyone needs to be equipped to judge others. 
            When we judge others, we still need to be able to cope.  “How to Cope with A-Holes” will be our class on personal guidance counseling. Since guidance counselors are some of the most worthless people ever, we will he gotten rid of them and now we’ll be foced to console ourselves.  Luckily, most of our students are A-holes and do not have to cope with themselves.  They will be excused from this class, and be allowed to wander the hallways, get water, go to the bathroom, and get the scoop on any other new pregnancies that may have occurred since lunch.
            Finally we’ve made it to lucky class number thirteen and we need something apropriate for such a number.  This class will be “Superstitions, Witches, and Vampires.”  There has been a big push for fantasy books lately, just look at Harry Potter or Twilight.  Students need to be informed about these superstitions.  At a minimum, this class will just have us telling scary stories, but if students want extra credit, they can go to see one of the movies they made out of these books and then discuss them at length in class.  If students actually read the book, they would have to disciplined, and sent off to a special school where they actually learn.  Gross.
            The end of the day will be our last core class of the day.  “How to Escape Another Day Unscathed.”  The first month of this class will focus on teaching students the meaning of the word unscathed.  Once we get passed that, we wil be teaching students how to leave school, whether it be by car or bus.  If parents arrive early to pick up students, they will be permitted to take them and the students will get an A+ for this class.  Mostly because they get out of our hair early and we don’t have to deal with them anymore.
            This curriculum is fair and non-biased unless it was intended not to be, in which case, it has achieved it’s goal either way.  With this program, we could not possibly leave children behind.  Instead, we will enact a new policy.  “All Children Pushed Forward.”  I used to think the reason you didn’t tell slow children they could be anything they wanted when they grew up was President Bush.  Now I know that if we follow the rigors of what he probaby faced as a student, children of all absurd stupidities can achieve anything.  Stive to be the best failure you can be.  O Captain, my captain.