Is Politics Still Taboo? – August 4-9

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“I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.” – George Carlin, comedian

Hello, #SlowChatED. I want to talk, this week, about politics. Now, to address the question in my title, yes, politics is still taboo and probably for good reason. So, before we even get started, I want to put this out there. I don’t necessarily want to talk about your politics or my politics this week. I just want to talk about politics more as a concept, as a factor in our lives, and most importantly as a factor in education. So don’t be afraid to chime in. I don’t care whether you identify with donkeys or elephants, I just want to explore this thing in our society called politics and try to figure out where we as teachers stand with it all.

The reason that I decided we needed to talk about politics before the new year starts is familiar to many of you. The district in which I teach has experienced a mountain of political turmoil over the last year. In fact, many in my community would argue that our district has been experiencing this political turmoil for more than a decade now. Here is a brief synopsis of the situation written by one of our students:

Doublespeak and Literalism: BISD’s Fun With Language
During the last couple of school years, our district’s administration offices have been raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, members of the US Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency, and a body called the Legislative Budget Board. Our District Attorney has set up a Task Force whose sole purpose is to investigate and bring indictments against as many as 100 school officials and employees in the coming days.These are the days when people start asking questions like,

“How could all of this have been prevented?”

And the answer to that question usually is something along the lines of being proactive, standing up, making your voice heard. You see, many of the problems in our district stem from the very top, the elected Board of Trustees. So when people cry foul, listeners want to know who you voted for and why. They want to know if you intend to step up and be politically active in seeking a solution.
On a national scale, we’ve heard this summer that the National Education Association, after their National HOD in Colorado, has called for the resignation of President Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Legislators throughout the country are whispering the words “Common Core” in the halls of state capitols. Education is highly politicized here in America.
So let this be the backdrop for our discussion this week: Do the esteemed gentlemen – Twain and Carlin – quoted at the top of the page have it right? Is politics just a waste of everybody’s time? OR Is politics the thing that controls so much of our lives that we don’t dare let it out of our sight?
Have a good week, everyone. See you on Twitter.
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