You know me, just a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll, but these days I be a little bit wonky and a whole lotta cock-n-bull, yes my pretties, the legislature’s in session, it has my time for the next 3 months, but I miss the blogging and will check in with link round-ups and shoot for an occasional complex and content-laden anti-psychiatry !!!11! screed, as there is never any shortage of that shit on my mind.
I won’t be reporting here on what Molly aptly described as the finest free entertainment in Texas, there are tons of blogs to read if you’re looking for a comprehensive Lone Star legislative recap. I will however mention a few items that make me tear patches of hair from my scalp when the going gets fucked up beyond all reason. I’m covering Finance right now, this is where agency commissioners go before the senate, describe their people-helping programs, defend these programs under the rubric of “evidence-based best practices” and ask for tax dollars to fund the initiatives. I’ve learned some things this week:
The greatest number of CHIP enrollees are the children of Wal-Mart and Sears employees.
Under the Alternative to Abortion program 166 women have been served at a cost to the state of 1.9 million dollars.
The Texas Education Agency eliminated budgeting for the Compensatory Education Allotment, which provides support for disadvantaged students, the autistic, dyslexic and learning disabled; and they requested zero funding for school counselors.
No school counselors in Texas, where the schools are authorized to file Class-C misdemeanors on kids for hanging out in the halls.
There aren’t many Democrats in the Texas legislature, but they go down fighting.
“I think it’s a huge mistake,” said Sen. Ed Lucio who cited school counselors as paramount in curbing drop-out rates, truancy and a host of difficult student problems.
Sen. Royce West condemned policy that leads to over-representation of African-Americans, subgroups, and other minorities in what’s known as Disciplinary and Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs, which he called dumping grounds for the above population — six year olds are languishing in these programs, though they’ve had no charges filed against them.
That’s right. Someone had better file charges against those six year olds who are languishing in disciplinary programs in this nation’s incubator of government policy.
The Commissioner admitted they’re doing nothing to reverse the trend since these students are a reflection of social problems whose remedies skirt the bounds of her agency.
Children inevitably have two institutions in their lives, the institution of family, and the educational institution they interact with daily. This is it. If one of those institutions is victimizing a child, it is morally incumbent upon the other institution to step in and intervene with the evils taking place in the environment that’s causing harm. Isn’t this how it works? What else is there? Kids have no veto, no power, they can’t quit home and they can’t quit school, they must not be left at the mercy of either, and in schools it’s the counselors who will most likely have an eye on what’s going on in a horrible family. That’s the link.
Why aren’t we going there? You’d have to assume that disruptive kids are acting out trauma they are unable to put into words, and to believe that you have to believe in meaning. For starters. And we don’t. As a society, we don’t. We don’t understand it, so it can’t mean anything. Someone has a lot to learn all right.
I was one of those problem first-graders, forty years ago in St. Paul, Minnesota where I went to school everyday un-washed, smelling of pee, covered in welts hidden by my mother’s oversized clothing, the only clean dress I could find, and would spend the day sleeping at my desk or laying under my classmates coats in the cloakroom where they let me cry all day, and that’s how it was for ten years, til I was placed, at 16 in an alternative school for emotionally disturbed at-risk youth, where the school principal wore a coke spoon on a chain around his neck and conducted “rap sessions” in the place of curricula. No one addressed the abuse, the hell that was my life at home, but no one arrested me either. Those were better days, and across the nation schools like that are long passed closed.
I’ve come to understand that some of the grown-ups had a clue about what was going on, and tried to do what they could for me despite the stultifying systems of denial in which they operate. If not for my school counselors I’d have been twenty times the mess I was.
Anyways, this is one thing that came up for me while listening to the Education Commissioner defend the disciplinary programs in place of counseling alternatives. The elephant in the room was of course psychopharmacology, funny no one mentioned the strides being made in controlling freak children via neuroscientific breakthroughs !!!11! but that’s coming too, and when it does expect me to dig into whatever comes up, but I’m determined to go easy on the policy stuff, I don’t wanna bore you.
Oh, and the Department of Higher Education has discontinued funding for the Office of Civil Rights. Best practices for who again?