Idaho and Kentucky Treading on Dangerous Ground With Bible Studies in Public Schools


Idaho and Kentucky are treading on dangerous ground with passing bills for Bible study in regular classes (Idaho) or electives (Kentucky) in public schools.  I first learned of this from Education Week in an article written by Jackie Zubrzycki entitled “Bible Study in Public Schools Sought in New State Laws“.  In theory, the Idaho law says that the Bible will only be used as source material for classes in history, literature and the arts rather than for proselytizing while the Kentucky law will only make the class (called “Bible Literacy”) an elective.   There’s mixed reactions to this.  Legally, the Bible can be used as source material but only “when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education” according to the 1963 Supreme Court ruling concerning the use of the Christian Bible in public schools. However, each state has raised concerns about how far these bills will allow Biblical teaching.  In Idaho, an early copy of the bill was going to allow the use of the Bible in science classes (and was thankfully killed off) and the only way the current version would pass is if other holy books could be used as references as well.  In Kentucky, the Anti-Defamation League said they wouldn’t support the bill unless teachers were well-trained in teaching the Bible.  While Education Week’s article is a good starting point and yes, I highly recommend reading it for the details, I had to know more about each state’s plans for their Bible studies.

Idaho

The website Idaho Ed News discusses what recently happened with the Bible in School bill in the House Education Committee in the article “House Debates Bible-in-Schools Bill; Vote Slated For Thursday“, which was written on Wednesday March 26th, 2016.  It was a hotly debated bill, so much that Chairman Reed DeMordaunt had to call the committee to recess until the next morning for a final vote.  The key text of the bill is this:

“The use of religious texts, including the Bible, is expressly permitted to be used in Idaho public schools for reference purposes to further the study of literature, comparative religion, English and foreign languages, United States and world history, comparative government, law, philosophy, ethics, world geography, archaeology, music, sociology and other topics of study where an understanding of religious texts, including the Bible, may be useful or relevant.”

This bill has been causing controversy because it mentions that other texts can be used but only in a “nonsectarian” way and the bill’s sponsor, Republican Cheryl Nuxoll believes the Bible is nonsectarian.  The article then provides Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary definition of nonsectarian, which is “not having a sectarian character: not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group.”  The head of the Idaho ACLU shares concerns of dissenters that using the Bible or any religious text could violate the separation of church and state.

Unfortunately this cliffhanger is currently where the Idaho bill is.  Thursday has passed and there is no more current information on the state of this.

Kentucky

In an article posted on WSAZ Channel 3’s website as recently as Friday March 18th 2016 called “Kentucky Bible Literacy Bill Moves Forward; Draws Mixed Reaction From Community“, we have considerably more information.  First we learn that the bill was created by Democratic senator Robin Webb as a way to study the Bible for literature/literacy purposes.  Webb explained that “The Bible is part of our historical context both internationally, the world civilization, and certainly in these United States.  I remember what it looked like when I had it as literature and it was just like the dissection and discussion of any other book.”  Then we learn that this class would be an elective rather than a required part of the curriculum.  Finally, we learn that the bill could allow “Bible Literacy” to students in ninth grade and above.

The bill is meant to be informative rather than a way to convert students, as it contains language such as it would “…give students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy” but the course would follow “all federal and state guidelines in maintaining religious neutrality and accommodating the diverse religious views, traditions, and perspectives of students in the school” and “would not endorse, favor, or promote, or disfavor or show hostility toward any particular religion or nonreligious faith or religious perspective.”

If you read comments from some of the supporters of this bill, you wouldn’t know it’s just meant for education and not a sneaky way of pushing Christianity in public schools.  This comment by a man named Chris Hall says “I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing to be in schools because we’ve taken too much of the morals out of the schools.  It would improve their principles and their way of thinking.”

You’re probably wondering what Newsgirl would say about this.  Well, I’m not against using the Bible in context of history, literature, and art.  In my college British Literature One course, the majority of the readings were based on religion, specifically forms of Christianity.  Of course, our instructor also said that many stories were partially Christian-based and partially secular because not all of the original audiences were Christian. Are these high school students going to learn that?  See, I understand referencing the Bible for various classes, but not if the Bible is the only book used.  By this I mean a) that it’s only the Christian Bible as opposed to all sorts of religious texts as appropriate and b) that the only textbook is the Bible.  These bills in Idaho and Kentucky seem dangerously close to being a way to convert students to Christianity and no, I am not okay with that.



Social Justice Warriors, Higher Education, Racism, and Me

I seem to attract the most challenging Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), the people that don’t bother to read my full posts before arguing with me.  Today I met multiple SJWs, two more reasonable than the other one but still lacking reading comprehension.  It’s not that they aren’t intelligent, but their extreme views on social justice clouds their common sense and communication skills.  I have photographic evidence of this that I will share very shortly with you, but we have to start from the beginning.

An open letter published on Inside Higher Ed by Dr. Roksana Badrubboja, the instructor of Race and Ethnicity at Manhattan College, New York , bluntly addressed her frustration with student feedback about her lesson on “white privilege”.  It’s extremely detailed so if you’re interested in learning more you can visit the provided link.  The key that I took from her open letter is such:

“The ways in which my lecture about white privilege unfolded today, coupled with your hostile reactions in the classroom and accusatory emails, have led me to map how privilege and oppression are working in our own classroom.”

This instructor is creative and resourceful by using sociological theory/race theory and comparing it to her classroom experiences.  I have to give credit where it’s due.  How great is it that you can use classic theories in real life and make the combination more relevant to the field of sociology, education, and general academia?That aside, my response to Dr. Badrubboja’s open letter was as follows:

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Enter the Social Justice Warriors.  This lady has a lot to say.

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I thought “Okay, this is a good stopping place.  I don’t agree 100% with her and she doesn’t agree at all with me, but I can respect this.”  This lady didn’t see it the same way.  To be fair, it wasn’t always me and her talking.  She and a second user got into a discussion.

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This one is fun, admittedly in part because I get to watch it without having to say anything.  In addition, this second user is so confident in their words.  I like watching them stand up for their beliefs and not waver.

The conversation then involved me and the lady once again.  Notice that there is a profile picture of me that shows up.  This is part of the story, which I look forward to explaining.

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By this point I have lost interest in being tactful in my responses.  It’s admittedly a personality and communication flaw, but in spite of knowing that, it happened anyway.  I responded as shown above, leading to this exchange.

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This is in two pieces because in between our discussion a professor of race studies chimed in.  If you know my interest in sociological issues, you would not be surprised that my response to her was considerably different.  I may not fully agree with her personal take on “white privilege” or other aspects, but I take her more seriously because of her academic background.  She would have the education and experience to back up anything she says.  My discussion with the lady continued as such:

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I have been holding out on providing a Facebook picture because of how conversations can turn from the issues to “Oh my god, you’re so ugly!”  I felt like in this case, this lady needed to see that the person she is talking to may not be the person she thought she was talking to.  So I post one of my selfies and even make a sort-of joke about the weirdness of it.  This doesn’t work.

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She says some stuff and I say some stuff.  I make some grammar and spelling failures that ha ha, still need to be corrected.  The one sentence in particular is (spelled and fully complete) “I am willing to learn about issues of race/ethnicity/diversity but not from people with a sense of superiority (demonstrated by everything you have said) and strict requirements for being allowed a voice.”  I am embarrassed by stating that the sentence in my screencap was correct when I still needed to add an end to it.  The point is that if this lady wants discussion, it should welcome all voices rather than closing off some voices.  Of course people with experiences of injustice should speak.  The conversation should be welcome to them.  It should also be welcome to others.

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In my final post to the lady, she makes heavy contradictions of her own values in her reply.  I was going to rail her out, but an earlier use of SJW covers it.  She is not an advocate, she is a warrior (and not in a good way).  I know what that means and she does as well.  Hence her replies.  I responded in what I think is a good conclusion.  Now she can rant and rave and make herself look ridiculous (a term she has bestowed on me) while I can move on.  This doesn’t mean I don’t have additional learning to do or that I am in any way perfect, but it’ll show that I can walk away when the conversation gets downright nasty.

Since the overarching conversation relates to SJWs versus regular advocates of social justice, a final thought: I hope that one day my actions of reporting hate speech on Facebook can take a less virtual, more real-world community aspect.  Part of being a social justice advocate is doing real-world good.

 

 

 

 

The Body Positivity Movement

It’s weird how in one year, give or take six months, you change your perspective on various movements.  In 2014 I wrote “Sometimes I enjoy researching a new-to-me social movement.  Tonight it’s the body positivity movement.  I know that at its core body positivity is simply being positive about your body just the way it is. What I’m not sure about is the ins and outs of it.  Check out the things I learned about it!”  I never got around to completing that post because of my long hiatus from blogging and researching non-college stuff.  Now that I’m returning to the body positivity movement post, I have new thoughts about it.

Credit to an unknown creator and Pinterest for hosting this image.

Credit to an unknown creator and Pinterest for hosting this image.

At the core of the body positivity movement, everyone is encouraged to do away with self-hate of their body and love themselves for who they are and what they have.  What it should be is a movement that sends the message that you can be beautiful or handsome at any weight and there needs to be less of an emphasis of the “ideal” man and woman. That is a movement with universal appeal. Unfortunately, that is not how the body positivity movement presents itself.

Image credit to J. Adam Snyder

Image credit to J. Adam Snyder

J. Adam Snyder’s article “The Body Positivity Movement and Why it Matters” is the middle ground for followers of the body positivity movement.  He recognizes that for women (his area of interest) there are societal standards that put outrageous pressure on them but those standards don’t tell the full story.  In his mind, women are comparable to art and flowers in that they are all beautiful in their unique ways and should all be recognized for it.  Nowhere does he say that only a particular body type is beautiful.

Credit to Victoria's Secret

Credit to Victoria’s Secret

This image is from Victoria’s Secret, the lingerie/undergarment store, specifically for a line of bras called “Body.”  Hence the play on words with “The Perfect ‘Body'”. This ad does have unfortunate implications by featuring thin women and deserved all the criticism it received. However, the body positivity movement went a step too far.

Credit to "Dear Kate"

Credit to “Dear Kate”

Personally, this response ad makes me much happier than the original Victoria’s Secret ad.  None of these women look like me, but I’ve seen real-life women who look similar to these models.  They’re all beautiful and have the varying body types that represent women.

On the other hand, the body positivity movement is supposed to support all women’s bodies.  The Victoria’s Secret models have thin bodies, which should be okay in the movement because “thin” is a type of body.  Unless the body positivity movement is only for larger bodies.

Some of my concerns about the body positivity movements are:

  • Who is it really for?  If you happen to be thin, can you be a member?  Do you have to be a certain size and above to be considered worthy of support?
  • The body positivity movement doesn’t look at men’s body image concerns, but men also face societal pressure and have self-esteem issues.  It should broaden its scope.
  • Does the body positivity movement only look at body size?  What about the condition of the bodies?

 

 

Will There be Safety Precautions at UIC’s Trump Rally?

In my blog post “Free Speech is for Everyone” I addressed a controversy at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) where Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at the UIC Pavilion on March 11th and the students are requesting that he is banned because his rallies get violent and his rhetoric is vile and bigoted. I concluded that yes Donald Trump holds disgusting views and his rallies incite violence but even he has free speech rights. It was a hard thing to write but in the end I am against censorship and I had to say it. Today there is additional information coming out of UIC. Faculty members are alo against the Trump rally because they worry that there isn’t enough safety measures in place to protect the university community and vulnerable populations of people.

The website Inside Higher Ed provides details on what the University of Illinois-Chicago faculty members are concerned about. In an open letter signed by faculty and staff, the key of their concern is this:

“We are asking you, Provost Poser and Chief Booker, to provide answers to our questions above and updates on how the UIC police will oversee any and all security forces from the campaign assigned inside or outside the Pavilion. We also request that all logotypes and UIC brand representations be covered inside the arena so that it is clear that UIC has no connection to the event.”

The article on Inside Higher Ed is a human interest look into events that the University of Illinois-Chicago hasn’t considered when approving Trump’s rally at the UIC Pavilion.  Mark Donovan, the vice chancellor for administrative services, has said that UIC police will be working with “local law enforcement, the Trump campaign, protest organizers and the U.S. Secret Service to ensure that security plans are in place to address the safety of the UIC community.”  It sounds promising on its face, but a UIC associate professor of women’s and gender studies as well as history brought up a point against Donovan’s assurances.  Jennifer Brier’s response is

“I’m worried that whatever security forces or personnel or agencies — Secret Service or somebody else — won’t be working to protect the safety of our students, and if they’re told to eject people from a protest, I’m worried that that is going to happen, and that’s a complete contradiction to the mission of this university.”

Professor Brier makes a good case for the concerned faculty members.  Does the UIC police working with Trump’s people mean that they will be working for the students’ protection or working for Trump’s protection?  I stand by stating that even a person with hate-filled rhetoric such as Trump deserves their free speech, but how are vulnerably and hated populations going to be protected from potential violence and harassment?  This is the question I will be answering after March 11’s rally.

Free Speech is for Everyone

One difference between K-12 education and higher education is that institutions of higher education support free speech in certain areas.  While the classrooms require civility and following a social justice code that promotes a safe educational environment for everyone, there are “free speech zones” around the campus for the exchange of ideas no matter how controversial. We free speech adocates are tested in our committment and sincerity when people or groups that we think are dangerous want to use a free speech zone to spread their message.

The University of Illinois-Chicago is faced with a tough decision:  Allow Donald Trump to hold a rally on their campus to show that the administration is fully committed to free speech or side with a graduate student’s petition to block Trump from speaking.  The website If You Only News quotes the graduate student saying “In many instances Trump rallies have led to students, youth, and people of color being violently attacked by attendees.  UIC should not be host to hate.  Please cancel the event.”  The graduate student is correct in their claims, but should Trump’s rally be cancelled based on where it’s being held?  The rally would be held at the UIC Pavilion on March 11th.  I checked the official website of the Pavilion and it’s written on the calendar.  More importantly, I learned that the Pailion is a place to hold culturally diverse events  that further education.  It isn’t officially part of UIC’s free speech zone, but its purpose is to expose students and the public to entertainment and ideas.  If You Only News quotes the school chancellor explaining Trump’s rally and the surrounding controversy with “…and we endorse the idea that the answer to speech that one does not like or finds offensive is more speech and not censorship.”  A protest outside of Trump’s rally will be permitted so long as it remains peaceful. In this way, the flow of ideas is present.

The graduate student has made solid points against the University of Illinois-Chicago inviting Trump to hold a rally.  It’s ironic that an institution that promotes social justice and respect towards all people (written into the student code of conduct, in fact) will allow a dangerouas, hateful person to speak at their enertainment center. Certainly everyone who is against this should continue speaking out.  That said, Donald Trump deserves his free speech as well.

Struggling With Social Justice Warriors

The title of this post is accurate but doesn’t fully explain the conundrum.  First there is an internal struggle in which I support various forms of social justice and won’t hesitate to point out the problem areas of society, but I don’t want to cross into Social Justice Warrior (SJW) territory. Second there is a social struggle in which I’m apparently failing at finding the middle ground.  At the moment I am in the middle of being “too progressive” and “too privileged”.  The “too privileged” comments come from SJWs that think they know my life story before asking for confirmation or denial.  How do you interact with people that are not willing to learn more about your values and what you support before writing you off?

I remember the first time I had a personal run-in with a Social Justice Warrior.  It was on Tumblr, the blog-style social media website, sometime around October.  I was searching on a news blog and there was a post about racist Halloween costumes.  It was more specifically about how a Social Justice Warrior visited a local costume store and stuck a sticker that said “Racist!” on the cardboard image of any costume they deemed racist.  Most of the commenters congratulated them for taking a stand.  I was working retail at a party supply store that carried costumes at that time and I made the mistake of writing “What if the employees at the store get in trouble for your actions?  Most bosses are not very nice about vandalism of the store or its metchandise.”  At least one SJW jumped on my post and responded “I don’t care about the employees!  People are being oppressed by these costumes!”  Other SJWs chewed similar comments out, assuming that the only way a person could possibly disagree with the original poster’s actions was that they were too privileged race/ethnicity-wise to be outraged. To be fair to the SJWs, some of the costume names are cringeworthy.  My favorite (by which I mean “Oh my god!”) is “Bollywood Ho”. That said, there are appropriate ways to express disgust and/or concern.  Talking to the manager of the store is a good local option.  Contacting the costume company’s corporate office is a good national option.  Blogging about the problems with the various costumes is a good way to unload some immediate frustration.  Putting stickers on store merchandise is not okay. I learned that on Tumblr, god help you if you speak up against an SJW’s actions.

More recently, I’ve taken screencaps of various things I’ve been told by Social Justice Warriors.  I posted this one on a previous blog, but it is as relevant now as it was then.

A screenshot of a response to my post.

A screenshot of a response to my post.

I said in the beginning of this post that I struggle with supporting social justice.  If you are familiar with my other blogs, you know that some of my values include wanting diverse representation in entertainment media and wanting fair representation of non-white people in the news media.  I have posted that there is a pressing need for educators of color in all levels of education so that children and young adults can see someone that looks like them in a positive role.  I talk about how being mixed race/ethnicity confuses people and it would be nice to start being recognized as a person rather than an “other”.  I happen to follow issues of race/ethnicity in the news because my interest in social justice is race/ethnicity related.  At the same time, I don’t take extreme stances on all of the things I hold. I want to see more diversity in literature, for example, but I will not call for every single character to be non-white.  I support diversity education in all levels of education, for example, but I don’t join in the calls for extensive diversity/sensitivity training.  I can enjoy movies that are imperfectly cast but fun, for example, and still want better representation in future releases. Sometimes that upsets the Social Justice Warriors.  I try not to make powerful enemies, but the SJWs I’ve encountered have reacted in extreme ways.

Readers, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you try to do or support the right thing but you make others angry by not taking a strong enough stance?

Why We Shouldn’t Bash People Based on Their Job

Have you ever been involved on a heated hot topic debate on a social network website and saw someone write “Well, you only work at a deli” or “Look at their profile. They’re self-employed/ unemployed!” to prove superiority? I have, I think it’s ridiculous, and I have on occasion defended people that I otherwise disagree with against those comments. Degrading someone based on their employment or lack of employment is low in addition to not making a compelling rebuttal about the topic of conversation.

Just today I saw this in action on Facebook. The original post was from Occupy Democrats, a very left-leaning political news organization, concerning Iowa Republicans passing a bill to allow toddlers to use guns. This is going to be problematic when toddlers with guns start shooting people, not knowing the damage guns can do. For that reason, there are many outraged comments posted on this story’s Facebook page. Most of them are “You have got to be kidding me!” but some are more emotionally-charged. The one that I am focusing on is this one:

Screenshot_2016-02-24-16-02-27-1As you can tell from this original post, “Sandy Brumer Sidoti” is not impressed with this law.  Her post sets off a storm of angry responses, some directed at her and others addressing the stupidity of the Iowa lawmakers.

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I don’t support this “Americo Magalhaes'” use of profanity and lack of a true argument, I will tell you that right now. I also don’t support “Connor Do” attacking him based on his reported self-employment.  Unless we commenters are intimately familiar with Americo Magalhaes and know what he does for self-employment and if it is legitimate or not, we are in no place to judge it as being less than traditional employment.  Furthermore, by degrading self-employment in an already emotionally-charged thread, this is only escalating the name-calling and hatred.  A better response, oddly demonstrated earlier by the same Connor Do that is insulting Americo Magalhaes, would be:

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Insulting people about their employment, their intelligence, their appearance, and so forth is problematic because it hurts them and encourages them to strike back.  The topic then devolves into name-calling and immature “I know you are but what am I?” replies.  Nobody leaves the debate looking superior.  Arguing based on what a person said never guarantees an end to the debate, but it is less likely to escalate the debate either.

In a separate incident, I was in a debate with a user on Facebook who held views that I thought were unfortunate.  We were debating her views when a new person wrote “Well, your profile says you work at a deli so you’re obviously stupid!”  I responded “What does this woman working in a deli have to do with the topic?  It’s honest work for honest pay and has nothing to do with this discussion. Now argue with what she says, not where she works!”

I am not perfect when a discussion gets heated and there have been occasions when I have called people stupid or ridiculous.  I freely admit to it.  However, I will never degrade people based on where they work.  We’re not all fortunate enough to have a prestigious, highly-respected position.  It doesn’t even matter in all conversations. I’m learning that “superiority” in a debate comes from being the person with solid arguments, not the person who can shoot off a string of insults.  If we want to come out on top, let’s stick to debating our opponent’s arguments.

Intra-Racial Mentoring and My Encounter With a Social Justice Warrior

Insider Higher Ed is my go-to source for news on all things higher education.  While my focus is on trigger warnings/content warnings and censorship on the university campus, I also have been following race relations in higher education.

On February 17 2016, Inside Higher Ed published a column entitled “Can I Mentor African-American Faculty? “.  This white man is writing because he is an experienced professor who wants to mentor a tenure-track black woman but since he knows he wouldn’t understand her racial background experiences, he’s not sure that he can effectively serve as her mentor.  The answer in short is that yes he can mentor her but he needs to think of it more as coaching than mentoring and he should choose one area (not race-related) that he can best serve her.  This leads to the idea that instead of him being her only mentor, he could help her in his area of expertise while introducing her to other faculty members who can form a mentor network for her.

I agree with the overarching idea of the response because I firmly believe that intra-racial team members can still find common ground that relates more to the nature of the job duties and how the newbie instructor can gain necessary experience and have success in their career.  I consider race/ethnicity “superficial” in that it might come up during the newbie’s career but it doesn’t have to be the first thing mentors focus on.  I said as much in my Facebook response to the link.

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A screenshot of my take on intra-racial mentoring.

In comes a social justice warrior (SJW).  This man doesn’t know my race/ethnicity and experiences with all that or that I’m not perfect with race relations but I will call out blatant bigotry and hate speech, but he decides to tell me about my privilege and how I should express myself.

A screenshot of a response to my post.

A screenshot of a response to my post.

“I think you should not speak to any other experience other than your own.”  Let’s think about this for a second.  I used the word “personally” to mark that my statements were my own.  How much more speaking to my own experiences can I get?  Don’t even get me started on race privilege!  I thought it over and decided that I was done quietly accepting SJWs taking a conversation that was awkwardly worded but clearly one person’s opinion and blowing it up for whatever purpose they have.  I responded with the following:

A screenshot of my response.

A screenshot of my response.

I am clearly done with SJWs.  I mentioned Tumblr because it’s where SJWs are encouraged and headquartered, plus that was where I had the most negative experiences with them.  If I had an unpopular opinion on Tumblr, I had to list my atypical qualities just to prove to the SJWs that I was “oppressed” and therefore deserved to contribute to the discussion.  It wore on me until I had to leave Tumblr in order to maintain a shred of sanity and self-confidence.  I refuse to engage with SJWs on any other website.

Does Sharing Superior Work Help or Hurt?

A bit of context about the title of this blog post.  “Superior work” can refer to any assignment or project by any person of any age, but here I am focusing on how it plays out first in K-12 grades and then in college. There are differences, especially in the end goals of the projects.  I will be using a mix of research and personal experience to inform this post.

Think back to when you were a student of any age.  Do you remember if your teacher finished explaining a project by saying “Here are some student examples of the best work”?  How did you feel as your teacher pointed out how the superior work differed from the standard work?  If you felt like there was no way you could match or compete with those works, you were and are not alone.  A study published in the magazine Psychological Science and described in Education Week looked at how young adults and college-aged adults responded to seeing “superior” student work.  Let’s just say they were not fans of it.  If the students thought the superior work was normal, they were more likely to feel dejected about their own attempt and lose the motivation to do well.  It’s sad that showing student work can be harmful because even I believe that’s an unintended consequence.

In K-12 I was another student hearing “This is what the best student work looks like” and hating my own work.  I remember in first grade I liked my art teacher but he had a few students that were his go-tos for superior work.  The one guy eventually got accepted into a prestigious art school, which says a lot about his art abilities.  In fourth and fifth grade there was a boy who was a literal math genius.  He was taking high school math classes and of course our math teachers pointed out how smart he was. While part of his academic success was based on him coming from a culture that valued intelligence and success, he was freakishly smart.  Us losers were expected to at least aspire to be him.  I finally got a chance to shine (to a point) in high school from 9th to 12th grade when I was known for my English skills.  It was not publicly announced that I could write and everyone should follow my lead, but it was admittedly nice being recognized for my skills through notes on my homework.

My undergraduate career in college was finally when I was publicly recognized as producing superior work in my English classes.  I enjoyed the attention, I did, but I wondered how my fellow students were handling it.  I knew that I would major in English and work at the Writing Studio while they had other goals and were only in English 101 and 102 because it was required for everyone.  I would’ve hated being told “Here’s an example of quality English writing” after being told the same thing my entire academic life when my work was not considered superior.

One thing I wished the study went more in depth on was how being shown examples of superior student work is different in K-12 versus college.  My theory is that it hurts more in K-12 because you don’t know how to handle potential dejection as well and may be more likely to lose interest in school as a whole.  College is different because most students want to be there and are more willing to learn from “superior” work without taking it (so) personal.  Also, in college we might be motivated to make said superior work even better.  The researchers who conducted this study as well as future researchers of success in academia should definitely look into this further.

In the meantime, my question for all of you is, have you been shown examples of superior student work in your various classes?  How did you react to it?  Do you believe this method is more helpful or hurtful?

 

Evidence of a Former Local Store Owner’s Bad Attitude

I have mentioned the former Sunnyside Superette’s demise in at least one post and I may have mentioned that the former owner Peter McGinley had a horrible attitude towards competitors (Sheetz) and former customers.  In my town you don’t talk bad about family-run businesses, especially those that have to compete with West Virginia University-owned businesses.  The older residents make sure of it.  That’s why I have turned to blogging about it.  Where Sunnyside Superette is concerned, I admit that I get a spark of energy every time I find out that McGinley is pulling another low stunt even after he claimed that he was hurting about being put out of business but he was over holding grudges.  I knew he wouldn’t accept his fate graciously and it gives me a sense of joy to write “I told you so!”  At the same time, I approached any previous writings about Sunnyside Superette with caution, knowing that if I wrote anything negative it would either be ignored or torn to shreds.  If you check the Sunnyside Superette Facebook page you’ll see that the store has received nothing but praise and former college students will say that they have fond memories of shopping at or working at the Sunnyside Superette. Nobody believes that the owner is a world-class jerk.

Today I come bearing photographic evidence.  At least one of these signs has been on the empty building since late January but today is the first time I saw it in person.

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All criticism that Peter McGinley used to express was geared towards Sheetz, so I was at first surprised by the vitriol McGinley directed towards West Virginia University and President Gee.  I got over the initial shock quickly in favor of some more substantial thoughts.  First, I am beginning to think that not only does Peter McGinley still hold multiple grudges, he isn’t sure who to be most angry with (whether it’s Sheetz or West Virginia University).  I’m not saying it’s that McGinley has been lying about thinking Sheetz is an evil corporation because he’s been angry at both entities since WVU approved the public-private partnership with Sheetz, but if he is still posting angry signs then it would at least boost his credibility to pick one, the other, or both. Second, McGingley needs to knock off his bad attitude and stop posting angry signs.  He was the one who chose to close Sunnyside Superette and hating on the other businesses is not going to bring his back.

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