Thursday, January 28, 2016

Let's Talk About Why Highschool Sucks

Jan 28 2016



Let's talk about why high school sucks.



       I could take the a less turbulent route on this subject. "High school sucks because it doesn't teach anything important." And yes, this is mostly true.  (http://educationoutrage.blogspot.com/2012/09/back-to-school-message-to-high-school.html)

      But being fed useless information doesn't necessarily mean the high school system as a whole "sucks." It might be a really crappy way to spend your time but it honestly doesn't "suck" on that merit alone.


 School seems to be troublesome for teachers as well.. Below is a letter written to me from an actual SED teacher when asked what bothers him regarding the school system.

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                            [Letter written to me yesterday by a real SED teacher]


Matthew, check this out. Tell me what you think

Student teacher ratio:
The number of students in the classroom dictates how the teacher interacts with their students; for example if the student teacher ratio is high, the teacher may not only complete the session, but during the delivery of the lesson may not have time to address student’s concerns. Also, with smaller student numbers, the teacher has the time to encourage open discussions and provide insightful feedback.

Students with technology:  
Students with technology is a concern in that it often takes students off task. It may appears not to be a big deal, but to a teacher who is trying to make a academic point, and sees student/s paying attention to their cell phone, it results,  in the teacher having to stop the lesson to ask the student/s to put the phone away. This causes the off task behavior of the rest of the class.

Teaching to the Test:
Testing to the test in itself is not the concern, Testing is a valuable tool to the teacher. Testing gives the teacher insight into how much students are learning and how much remediation they need to keep up. But, should a teacher’s pay be influenced by student test scores?

Testing has become a measure of how effective the teacher is in delivering information and motivating their students.  Which is far from wrong, but it doesn’t take into consideration those students who have disabilities. With the philosophy of inclusion, were students are placed in the least restrictive environment, we have students with learning disabilities, intellectual handicaps and event autism.  Prior to inclusion, the student teacher ration was limited to the needs of the student. For example those students who were determined to be Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED) were placed in a classroom with a 5 to1 student teacher ratio and a student who was determined to have a learning disability were placed in a classroom of 15  to 1.

So, the question is, can a teacher successfully educate these students if he/she is placed in a classroom with 35 and sometimes 40 students?
And can a teacher be expected to achieve a satisfactory outcome from the test scores of their students?
I believe it’s no they can not. So they resort to teaching to the test, having students memorizing answer and hoping their scores justify a pay raise.

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As stated above, apparently teachers are forced to drill knowledge into us as impersonally as possible because their pay grade depends on it.  Even this unsettling revilation doesn't call for a full scale revolution.

So... Does school really suck?


Hell yes.


Here's why:


According to the University of Phoenix College of Education high school students work on homework on an average of 17.5 hours a week. According to the National Center for Education Statistics the average school day is 6.64 hours. 6.64 multiplied by the 5 days in a week and we get 33.2hours of school in a week.  Add that to the 17.5 hours of average hours a week spent on homework and we get 50.7 hours of school in total for the average week. This is 3 hours more than the average adult workload per week of 47 hours based on the Gallup 2013-2014 work and education polls. [This does not seem to be taking into account more advanced AP classes as I could find no statistics regarding specifically higher echelon classes.]

(http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/27/students-spend-more-time-on-homework-but-teachers-say-its-worth-it) 
(https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass0708_035_s1s.asp)


This brutal workload can lead to the sleep deprivation epidemic currently plaguing our country. Don't know what it is? Ask your nearest student. There's a 69% {Lol, seriously?} chance that he/she's sleep deprived.  (http://www.startschoollater.net/wake-up-calls-fast-facts.html)







"So what?" I hear you ask. "A few missing hours never hurt anybody."



Gonna blow your mind with facts right now, babe.



Apparently sleep deprivation was a key factor in the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. Good news is us high school dudes aren't gonna be in charge of any nuclear codes for a while. 

So what are the dangers of a sleepless student? Well.. 

1. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old." 

2. Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:

Heart disease, Heart attackHeart failureIrregular heartbeatHigh blood pressureStroke, and Diabetes


3. [Most importantly] Lack of sleep kills the sex drive

[All of the numbered info along with the 1979-86 disasters were courtesy of http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss]

*You can also check out the link below for a full comprehensive list of risk factors associated with a lack of sleep.*
http://www.startschoollater.net/wake-up-calls-fast-facts.html

It doesn't help that 40% of high schools start before 8:00! AND IT MAKES IT WORSE THAT I GO TO THE 10% OF SCHOOLS THAT START EARLIER THAN 7:30 COME ON, PALMETTO!
(http://www.startschoollater.net/wake-up-calls-fast-facts.html)




So, are students faced with any other demoralizing prospects that make them wish they would stay in bed? Yep yep. Try stress.




According to The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2008/mar/18/schools.uk8)
Most teachers (89%) think stress comes from testing and exams. 


According to the American Psychological Association: "Teens report that their stress level during the school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy (5.8 versus 3.9 on a 10-point scale) and tops adults’ average reported stress levels (5.8 for teens versus 5.1 for adults)."

                                                                         - Let it be known that this number drops from 5.8 to 4.6 during the summer.-

"Many teens also report feeling overwhelmed (31 percent) and depressed or sad (30 percent) as a result of stress. More than one-third of teens report fatigue or feeling tired (36 percent) and nearly one-quarter of teens (23 percent) report skipping a meal due to stress."

(http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/02/teen-stress.aspx)


But what do psychologists know about psychology?! Let's ask the professionals themselves,
high school students.







[Below I asked a few students what they disliked about school. These are their responses]


{Adjusting conversations to add proper grammar. Original texts are shown on screen. None of these were staged or modified in any way}





























Me: Name some things you don't like about school. Thanks!

Afro: Homework, not being able to leave school at lunch, shit school food, shit science department other than Mrs. Joseph she's pretty good. Small school. Shit bathrooms.

Me: Beautiful! Does it stress you out?

Afro: Asshole security guards. Yeah. I mean the science and math department nearly ruined my life so yeah.

Me: Anything else?

Afro: A lot of people are stupid. A lot of people are just not interesting. That's why I wanted to go to SAS. More interesting people. Better opportunities. Administration is shit too! My counselor never helps me. Punishments are too harsh for little things.

Me: Last question, could you empathize with someone killing themselves due to school?

Afro: Yeah because I understand that for some people learning is the most important thing.

[It goes on but it doesn't really matter in the context of this blog]









Me:What don't you like about school?

Bean: It's stressful sometimes but i don't dislike it. Why do you ask?

Me: Is it too stressful?

Bean: Sometimes it's barely manageable. But usually I'm fine. Why? Is this about my hair?

Me: No. Is there anything else you don't like?

Bean: Ummmm.. some personal things, yeah.

Me: Bullies? Peer Pressure?

Bean: Umm maybe a little bit peer pressure.

Me: Ok. That's it?

Bean: I guess, yeah.

(Portion of conversation after this point omitted due to irrelevance)

Me: Last question! Could you empathize with someone feeling suicidal due to school?

Bean: Yes. Well, not based on academics but if he was bullied or pressured then yeah. And that includes bullied by teachers, {teachers mocking them due to their grades.}










Me: Could you empathize with someone feeling suicidal due to school?

Mr. Potato: Yeah...













Me: What don't you like about school?

A Really Smart Guy: Most of the administrators are on power trips, the food is shit quality, every person you meet puts on affectations, and the sheer amount of homework and commitments most students end up accumulating can easily overwhelm you. Now add that to the fact that school is taught in a way that assumes automatically that you are stupid and that you need everything to you, ad that school has only ever been taught a certain way, and you will find that there is better way to learn than every other way besides school. I hate school.

Me: Alright, got it. Could you empathize with someone feeling suicidal due to school?

A Really Smart Guy: Yeah, because that's me right now.
















Me: Name some things you don't like about school when you can.

Star: [Top of text omitted due to irrelevancy] School. People. Bathrooms. Lack of toilet paper, paper towels, and soap in the bathrooms. People. Homework. Teachers. School. Expectations. Waking up hella early.

[Chunk of conversation omitted due to irrelevancy]

Me: Could you empathize with someone feeling suicidal due to school?

Star: Depends on what reason.

Me: "Pressure from school."

Star: I'm sorry but no.

Me: Alright. Fair.

[Another chunk omitted due to irrelevancy]

Me: Between me and you, SAS made me attempt it.

Star: Yeah, I reconsidered it for a sec because, like some kids take, like all AP's and I know you get zero social life in SAS and some kids have, like parents and expectations and peer pressure and jobs and sleep deprivation and gosh like all my friends have some sort of problem plus personal life problems with family so yeah I'd have sympathy for 'em.
(Next three lines omitted due to irrelevance)
People make such a big deal about high school but it ain't THAT important, ya feel?
*Next three lines are redacted*

Me: College is everything.

Star: No it isn't. We're talking about high school here.

Me: Well, miss Miami-Dade! I'll have you know that everything after college sucks and that if you get into a bad college than your last fun years are spent with trash. [This was to trigger a specific response]

Star: So high school is worth screwing up your mental health? As long as you maintain an alright GPA and apply early and apply for scholarship, you can get in a good school. I'm just sayin'. I'm only going to MDC to get 2 extra years without drowning in debt. I have Florida Prepaid. I can go somewhere else.

Me: So high school does screw with your mental health most of the time!

Star: Of course. Scientifically proven too.

Me: Got what I needed. Thanks, sexy.

[Redacted lines]

Star: Gurl, if you need help on this I gotchu because I'm amazing at ranting about school faults.

Me: Give me more!

Star: Like a lil choo choo train.

Star: WHO THE FUCK DECIDED TO START SCHOOL AT  7:00?! Do they not know how humans develop? Do they not know how glands work? RETARDS. TEENS RELEASE MELATONIN OR SEROTONIN WHATEVER SUPER LATE THAT'S WHY WE FALL ASLEEP LATE BUT WE NEED TO WAKE UP LATE TO MAKE UP THE SLEEP SO WE CAN REGENERATE AND GROW AND SHIT.

Me: Keep it going.

Star: PLUS THE PILES OF HOMEWORK ESPECIALLY FROM AP. COLLEGE CLASSES DON'T GIVE A POO ABOUT YOU THEY GIVE YOU ZERO HOMEWORK . NO. SCHOOL COUNSELORS ARE ALL UNRELIABLE AND LIE TO YOU TO TAKE HIGHER LEVEL CLASSES WHEN IT'S HONESTLY NOT! YA KNOW PALMETTO USED TO KICK OUT STUDENTS LAST MINUTE TO KEEP A NICE REP?

Me: I didn't!

Star: PLUS THE FOOD IS DISGUSTING.

Me: Everyone hates the food I kinda like it...

Star: WHEN THIS SCHOOL HAD NO MONEY IT LITERALLY PLAYED A GAME OF "keep a teacher & loose supplies or have supplies and lose an employee." THAT'S SO GAY. SERIOUSLY. WE WENT LIKE WEEKS WITHOUT TOILET PAPER. THE FUCK. THE ONLY GOOD FOOD IS THE POPCORN CHICKEN, THE CHEESE STICKS, THE PASTA, AND SOME OTHER STUFF. BUT THERE'S STUFF THAT PROBABLY PASSES IT'S EXPIRATION DATE OR MAYBE IT DIDN'T BECAUSE IT'S LOADED WITH PRESERVATIVES. THIS PLACE AINT GOT GOOD SECURITY TOO! MY FRIEND BROKE INTO MR.PANTON'S ROOM. EVER WONDER WHY THERE'S A NEW HANDLE WITH A PRETTY LOCK AND A BLACK THING? PLUS PEOPLE ARE SHITTY. AND TEACHERS EXPECT A LOT FROM YOU TOO.  LIKE THEY EACH THINK THEIR CLASS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. THE TEACHER THAT ______'S SISTER HAS GAVE OUT THREE QUIZZES IN A WEEK. AND SHE'S AP SO THEY AREN'T EASY. PLUS PARENTS EXPECT SHIT FROM YOU. PLUS THE SOAP DOESN'T SMELL NICE SOMETIMES.

Me: Anything else?

Star: School is boring. They don't care about the well being of kids. If they did they'd have trust counselors.

Me: Alright!


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Even if you're still not convinced that school is trash, I have one more point. When you can, walk outside to your nearest high school and stand anywhere but the front entrance.





Breathe in the architecture..




Do you see it yet?



Give it time...




Any minute now...








Holy crap..





Holy crap it's prison..

Oppressive... bleak... it's legit prison. With arguably worse food!




According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in ages 15-24 and 2nd leading cause of death in ages 25-34 in Florida as of Jan 29 12:00 AM.
(http://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/#Florida)

This must be stopped. As someone who has fought and won the battle with severe depression I can safely say that waking up in the morning to go to school made me feel worthless. I was constantly ridiculed for being fat or having a prosthetic eye. Life, like for many many others, hasn't been easy. I've lost family and friends to get to where I am now. A job as a mediator's assistant and a good head on my shoulders minus a few pounds made me the stainless shield I am today. In fact. I would've never come to terms with my depression unless I realized that one life changing fact...


Say it with me, everyone..


School sucks. (At least public schools)





 See ya! And thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Let's Talk About Why We're Fat


So, let's talk about why we're fat.


 Normal weight or underweight (BMI under 24.9)
 Overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9)
 Obesity (BMI of 30+)
 Extreme obesity (BMI of 40+)                       



[According to this chart only 31.2 percent of adults in                                                                                              the U.S. were in the normal/underweight category in                                                                                2010. the rest were either obese or extremely obese.                                                                                Precedence dictates these numbers have proportionally                                                                            risen and will continue to climb unless we rip out the                                                                              problems from their source.]


       Truly astonishing. The downfall of our nation might just not be nukes or a catastrophic natural disaster. No, those are way too dramatic. The true death of our nation could be an epidemic caused from within our own homes. If we continue to endorse this gluttonous pseudo-suicidal tradition of eating chemicals masquerading as a well balanced meal it could spell your name on a grave.

Did you know that in 2012 one in three children were considered obese? *According to the CDC* Yet we turn a blind eye. At what point did we deter from common logic and just accept obesity as a necessary evil rather than a disease? In 1990, obese adults were only 15% of the U.S population as opposed to the 69%  prevalence of U.S adults making up the obese community today. Do these fatty facts transfer to other countries? Let's see!


This chart above shows the top 188 countries ranked from highest to lowest in obesity. The U.S comes in at an impressive 27th place as the most obese country in the world. We're behind a few pacific islands and a crazy amount of Middle Eastern countries. But 27th in the world is still quite abysmal, honestly. We've cured Polio before gluttony.

Even so, what exactly are the health risks that pertain to obesity? Could we possibly allow our children to be at dire risk for lifelong health complications? Duh, of course. 

The National Institute of Health (https://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/oehp/obesity/mortality.htm) states that the fatalities caused by obesity make up the second most preventable leading cause of death (300,000 ghosts per year) in the U.S right behind tobacco. If you're in a room with five average Americans, 1 out of those 5 is statistically going to die due to obesity.

So who's at risk?

According to the Food Research and Action Center low income neighborhoods are at high risk because they often lack a grocery store with proper nutritional options and instead substitute nutrition for convenience with cheap and unnatural knockoffs of organic food. Poverty, genetics, race, and sometimes even luck can contribute to our growing obesity issue..
Provided by: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx




So how do we stop an issue with so many variables? Awesome question!

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/prevention)
  • Follow a healthy eating plan. Make healthy food choices, keep your calorie needs and your family's calorie needs in mind, and focus on the balance of energy IN and energy OUT.
  • Focus on portion size. Watch the portion sizes in fast food and other restaurants. The portions served often are enough for two or three people. Children's portion sizes should be smaller than those for adults. Cutting back on portion size will help you balance energy IN and energy OUT.
  • Be active. Make personal and family time active. Find activities that everyone will enjoy. For example, go for a brisk walk, bike or rollerblade, or train together for a walk or run.
  • Reduce screen time. Limit the use of TVs, computers, DVDs, and videogames because they limit time for physical activity. Health experts recommend 2 hours or less a day of screen time that's not work- or homework-related.
  • Keep track of your weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. Also, keep track of your children's growth.

"But that all seems nebulous, right? If I could've done that I would've a long time ago." or "I just can't." Well, I've got something to tell all of you naysayers out there.. 

Quit it. 
Seriously. 


In the end, no matter how much you're pressed to eat healthy or body shamed by all those muscle freaks at the gym it's up to you what you do with your body. It's up to you! Make that step! Keep going and don't stop! Stand where the rest have fallen! Be the success story so your kids can look back on your life and say "Damn right my parent was a bad mother who did what needed to be done!" No amount of external motivation can push you off the couch. It's all in your head. It's up to you what you do with that dream.

Or you can be a statistic. Your call.
 *Pie chart provided by http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx
*2012 obesity statistics provided by http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx
*1990-Current obesity rate: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/an-epidemic-of-obesity/