Kettle Belle Chronicles: “Why I’m hostile to exercise”, or… “follow the way of the Wrecking Belle in the Real Madrid T-shirt and yoga pants.”


I sometimes toy with the idea of attaining exercise god status. The black yoga pants wearer,  that adored symbol of strength and power.  The all knowing being whom saunters into Pinkberry without a care or a ripple on her behind.  I endeavored to be the cut / toned / tony-excessively smooth pantaloon wearer.

I embarked on this journey with some reservations but higher than proper expectations.   I only wanted to do this if it fit nicely within my carefully crafted idea of invigorating exercise, and I painted a pretty good picture of the journey in my mind.  A precise one in fact.   I would accept it if it was moderately tiring but yet refreshingly rejuvenating.  If I could meet other ladies and affiliate with them and we could form a team of supportive women working toward the goal of being ridiculously hot!   Where shared experience and hardship made the journey that much easier and rewarding.  I couldn’t picture myself caring much about some sweat.  It might only serve to make me look like Jennifer Beals sans chair but still like Jennifer Beals.  I had the curly hair that hung around my face uncannily like her…when I didn’t blow dry that is.  And  I accepted that I may feel a modicum of pain, but that soon my muscles would be toned and sculpted.  But how much pain would be bearable?  And, as I would learn, I wouldn’t get to determine that.

Well it hit me like a kettle bell on the side of the temple when I found out that there was no magical group of women welcoming you into their leg pumping lair. The women arrived, threw down their keys, knock-off sunglasses, squeezed their water bottles into cubbies and threw their white towels round their necks.  They visually organized eachother, preened, hands on hips slowly checking out newcomers.  There were no smiles, just long gazes, that if you caught one, a sort of straight grimace was returned.  I seemed to have entered a paddock of overweight racehorses readying for competition.

I wasn’t exactly sure why all the life lessons I had had drilled into my psyche about ‘listening to pain’ were lost on the Exercise gods.  I reasoned, I was the person who was feeling the pain, the person whose brain was responsible for the urgent messages to cease and desist whatever the particular activity was at the moment, so why was ‘ignoring the pain’ the instruction that I was given? .” I had discovered the essence of the problem that I had with ‘exercise’  Do they believe that our minds are separate from our body? Does the body not work in conjunction with the brain?  does the brain not field signals from the body and then decide what actions to take?  Is it then wise that we keep working the body in the repetitive manner when the body is clearly saying, “NO YOU CANNOT KEEP THROWING THAT KETTLE BELL OVER YOUR WANING LEFT SHOULDER AND EXPECT NOT TO LAUNCH IT INTO THE CHEST OF THAT ELABORATELY SWEATING CROATIAN WOMAN!

We began with two laps around the building and were told not to stop.  One of the evil geniuses was stationed at the opposite side of the building to ‘keep an eye on us and make sure we did not stop.  Our herd returned bounding for the water fountain.  Seconds later we swang kettle bells to and fro.  We then did burpies until dizziness set in. We lifted heavy bars while doing jumping jacks. We swung ropes as though ceaselessly straightening them out.  We did squats that threatened to re-open our episiotomies.  Even if they were given to us years ago.  “Wider, Wider!”  How My mind begged my mouth to shout, “yah? let’s see you open that wide!”  We did push ups, chin ups, and fast weights to keep the cardio effect going.   We army crawls and the dreaded burpie.  Every time my body began to revolt, writhe with the equivalent of a physiological scream, heart pulsing out of my chest easily seen by passers-by, like some comic book grinch in love, and I would point at my chest signifying my lack of breath, The exercise god (female or male),  Impervious to my impending heart attack, would glance at me momentarily finally offer a deliberation,  “you can go further, you can do it Christine!”  As I looked up with long eyes, intentionally trying to clear my double vision, my soaked shirt seemed to bangle in the wind like some latvian wet towel air conditioner.  My jello thighs danced. My exercise god lavished a wide smile unto me saying, “THERE YOU GO!!!” Usually finishing off with the dispassionate and quite routine 90’s meme “YOU GO GIRL!!!”

The exercise gods believe in “pushing oneself” It’s a rite of the baptismal font of back sprains.  The ungainly church of belly crunches and impossibly performed burpies.  “If you push yourself, you will surprise yourself.’  ….”If you push yourself….you won’t be sorry…”  “If you push yourself you will be so proud!”  I find an extreme dichotomy in the fact that the women or men that are ‘coaching’ you, many of whom you do not know from Adam or Eve, are ripped beyond belief and do not remember their own days of cookies and carmel macchiatos. Well not really anyway.   Those discretions are seen through skinny-latte coloured glasses. If you ask them, the cookies are remembered as necessary ‘Tiger Milk Bars” maybe only two a day, and the caramel macchiatos are declared but suddenly remembered as intermittent at best.   The bad ‘ol days of minimal muscle and ripped adipose are forgotten and that is the disconnect.

Half way into the reality of the work out, the dry throat, the slight dizziness.  The women wince in pain and look up as they rise from doing push ups.  They begin to knowingly glance at each other.  The tired faux warrior princesses realize that they need each-other.      They begin to look for the affiliation that they narcissistically did not seek in the beginning of the workout.

Class after class this social machination repeats itself.  Ignore each other, then feel pain and affiliate. Rinse and repeat. Do they like it?  Do they like communal pain? Additionally, Do they enjoy paying the Exercise Gods to “make” them push themselves?  I offer that they do.

Part of the motivation comes from pure peer adulation for ‘just doing it’ being ‘brave.’ I was recently told I was a ‘real trooper’ I kept going in part because I didn’t relish the idea of letting everybody know that I thought it was ‘too hard‘ for me.  I had just been given the rather militaristic moniker of “Trooper” and I was feeling a tad nationalistic at the time.  I pictured myself a sort of stylized  Jane Q. Public  upholder of the exercise ethos. Well, within my circle of soft-bellied family and friends.

Ultimately, I found that the exercise gods wanted me to believe that my body was my enemy and that I must conquer it with my Jedi mind.

It was not proper to let my body tell me that one or another exercise could not be done.  Somehow I was to overcome all of the brutal messages that my body was sending me about my pain and satiety.  I really WANT TO DO THIS, but my analytical nature may be getting in the way, oh! that and my muscle capacity!  How can I know whether I can actually do this? …Guess I’ll just have to trust the ‘wrecking belle’ in a Real madrid T-shirt and Yoga pants.

______________________________________________________________________

Stay tuned for hopefully twice weekly updates on “The kettle Belle Chronicles” (Written by unwilling exercise maven, Christina Long) about the ugly and hopefully someday ‘beautiful’ side of cardio / strength training classes in Los Angeles on “The Trouble With Milk.”  http://thetroublewithmilk.com

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My Story of Retribution and The “You Pissed me Off You Bastard” Blog..


My Song of Retribution via The “You Pissed me Off Blog”

Last week in my car whilst waiting for a spell for my children to return from their math tutor, a large black rolling living room pulled up along side of me.  The first inhabitant sitting in the backseat leaned toward their window, and threw all of his 60 lbs or so, of tutor-weary-angry-tiger-child right into throwing open that door right into the side of my car!  Big as a Mexico quake (too soon?..sorry), my car shook this Mexigringa right into next Tuesday and forced my shaken hand to load a screwed up Instagram photo. Okay, Hey! I was not done profusely editing my mediocre photo! ! I took a breath actually feeling sorry for a probable overwhelmed tiger-child who was obviously arriving to ‘tutoring’ at dinner time and I knew that must suck…when…a second door (this time the driver’s side) whipped open with wreckless abandon with ANOTHER CRASH RIGHT INTO MY CAR!! this time the driver’s door!  

The little snark’s mother now repeated his event right into my passenger side door!  Now I was done, fried, livid, seeing red and not about to sit there and ignore it, I got out of my seat and into the rain.  The sky had really opened up, but paying no mind to the rain, the heat traveled up my neck to my face and the top of my head, as I neared the snape who was exiting her door and grabbing her purse as I came around and yelled at her, “I CAN’T AFFORD THIS!!!  I CAN’T AFFORD THIS!!!…AGAIN…I CAN’T AFFORD THIS!!!  YOU SEE THE TWO DENTS? YOUR LITTLE SCHOLAR SLAVE  DID THE FIRST ONE AND I FIGURED KIDS MAKE MISTAKES, BUT NOW YOU DO IT TOO?  I CAN’T AFFORD THIS!!  she just looked at me wet hair, getting wetter, glaring with angry green eyes, my finger still pointing to the dents, she stared at me righteously,  collecting up her Juicy Couture overly patented bag, as her kid bounded past us into the tutoring center leaving his mother to deal with me. After what seemed like an eternity, she uttered,  “not my fault, sorry” as she pushed past me.  This woman did not offer to pay anything nor did she offer to help me.  I then yelled to her as she turned her back, I WAS GOING TO SELL MY CAR! BUT WHAT DO YOU CARE? YOU’VE GOT A ROLLING LIVING ROOM!  YOU SNAPE!  KEEP PLAYING SPONGEBOB UNTIL YOUR KID ROTS HIS MIND!”

She looked at me blankly over her shoulder. I was most certainly grabbing at straws.  I got back into my car, my head was hurting by that time, sorry that I used Spongebob in a negative manner, cuz I really love that guy.  I really do.  At least I said my peace. Later my boys got in my car, My hair all curly and ruined.  It was obvious I was out in the rain.  But why? The kids wondered. ‘Mom what happened?” “snapes” I said, “Snapes happened,  big rude, entitled uncaring snapes a whole family of them.” I continued, “now we’ve got two big dents in the side of the car !”  “‘who did it?”  my son Cameron persisted.  “A woman driving a Behemoth gas guzzling Suburban with multiple kid- stunners (movie screens), rolled up in all of her superiority and crushed the side of the honda’s doors!”  Cameron was livid. I had unknowingly transferred my anger to my freshly tutored “A” student who is taking criminal justice and was in the law and government program at his high school. I felt a little bad for synopsizing the event in such a railing way.  Maybe I should have just NOT told my kids?  Naw…the truth is always the way.  Of course Cam wanted to run recon and get pictures of the woman’s license plate once she returned to pick up her little uber-scholar-demon. Of course…. I let them.  I needed that plate anyway to litigate.  We actually waited for an hour after tutoring was done, (was I being a little maniacal?)  I wondered for a hot second but was back to my anger the next.  Later I posited that there must be a website where you can tell your story, and publicly shame someone.  Vindication!? was it to be had? at least online in a public forum before I did all the footwork to make her pay? Well I never found that site but tonight I sure found something funny called “you pissed me off you bastard” Click on the link under the title of this blog, and enjoy the restless griping within a well written blog.  This gentleman hails from  the UK and talks about things that piss him off in general.  The gripes are both large and small but the laughs are big.  Just what I needed to let off some of the steam!  Cheers!

My Post secret Synchronicity


On New Year’s Day, (okay yesterday)... I woke up and decided to visualize my new goals and resolutions. I decided that before I got to the real  angst and torture from which all sacrifice must come,  I would flounder in my old habits just a little longer.   I proceeded to roll out of bed at 1PM, eat cereal for my breakfast / lunch / afternoon snack.  (one bowl accounted for all of those meals, but lord it was a large one).  I then lain in an extremely hot bath hoping to settle the granola that was without a doubt nefariously swimming in my breadbasket like paunch.

After enjoying my scalding dip (which lasted approximately an hour), I dried off and took a seat next to my husband at our local Mexican food eatery, “The Whole Enchilada.”  I consumed “Street tacos.”

It did, in fact, cross my mind that i just paid $10.00 for a plate of ‘street tacos’ not on the ‘STREET but ‘in THE ‘KITCHEN’ of a corporate restaurant.  I probably should’ve  mosied back down the boulevard and bought some those tacos for about $2.00!   Yes, I did get a tiny bowl of frijoles de la hoya with a ‘pift’ of cacique cheese floating in it, but even that didn’t make it a moderate economic gain.  After whooshing the corporate cloaked ‘street tacos’ down my gullet,  Steve and I decided we would see the latest Coen Brothers’ movie, “True Grit.”  but with an hour to kill before our flick,  we decided to first go to our local bookstore use it like a library (as usual.)  Usually we purchase a coffee and cookie reading books in their entirety and taking pictures of weird titles.  We’d wait until the movie started or they kicked us out.  Whatever came first.

I hung in Cultural studies / social issues because I can’t get enough controversy, stories of intervention and political unrest.  I must say that I do have a ‘highbrow literary fantasy’ so sometimes I break character and skulk over to the literary fiction looking for affecting coming of age tales with political overtones set in middle America.  Ahem Thomas Pynchon..Ahem…

Steve dallied in Tech, computing, cooking or building.  But I was hoping to find something different in my usual domain, running my finger along several spines, the  new P.J. O’Rourke, the new Amy Goodman, 

some blasted books blasting Obama, some social book applauding Oprah, what it feels like to be half black and half white, how it feels to be transgender.  Partisan stuff, union stuff, struggles of women with eating disorders and how to talk to your child if he’s in a gang.  I noticed some opinion stuff on Kabul and then… there I spotted it.  “PostSecrets.” Intrigued in general with ‘secrets,’ I opened the book.  “PostSecrets” is a book created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard.

The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before.

Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams.  I was intrigued to say the least.  I flipped through the book dazzled by the humor, the honesty and yes the sadness.

The sadness was striking and hard to digest at the same time since it was expressed with such artistic beauty.

Some of the revelations sworn to secrecy were familiar.  Yes, at times I do hate people who display some of the same traits that I do hate within myself.  But I read on.  I found people who felt ignored, unloved, bound and angry.  Some were flippant, using the platform / art piece / literary work as a context to simply goof on the idea of a secret through the use of exaggeration or minimalism.  There were ‘matter of fact secrets’ and then there were ones that we only have had inklings were occurring in some of our family friends and neighbors.

As I perused the expanse of artwork, now with Steve looking over my shoulder, I was turning the pages and found this!  It said, “I cheated on my husban with a woman and i’ll do it again.”  In a way I felt honored to be the unlikely and completely unexpected

recipient of one woman’s “secret.”  I felt sad that she (whomever she was), was obviously torn in her relationship, and that she was burdened with something she seemed to feel ashamed of.  I felt sorry for the unknowing party, the deceived, the husband.  This unknown woman had seen the book, gone into the bathroom which was only 10 steps from the end of the aisle where the section was located, and tore a sheet from the towel dispenser, authored her admission and left it for discovery.

I felt as though the sadness and beauty of this book had just reached out and touched me in reality, there on that shelf in that bookstore while killing time waiting for a Coen Brothers’ movie.

"I only ever played sports to feel like my father loved me."

What’s the ideal body? Who says the media gets to tell us? A constellation of sociocultural factors that are making us sick.


We all know that gender roles in media affect people mentally, and consequently physically. During childhood and adolescence these media exposure events become part of a constellation of sociocultural factors that promote a thinness schema for girls and the muscularity schema for boys amongst other ideals.

Consider these facts about the development of body image which begins developing when we are just newborns. A child immediately begins to explore what his or her body feels like and can do. This process continues his whole life. A child’s body image is influenced by how people around her react to her body and how she looks. A pre-adolescent becomes increasingly aware of what society’s standards are for the “ideal body.”

It is long known that the media (television, movies, magazines, etc.) have, since World War II, increasingly held up a thinner and thinner body image, (and now ever more physically fit image) as the ideal body configuration for women. The ideal man is also presented as trim, but muscular.

the association of attractiveness and thinness was present in over 100 female characters appearing in 23 Walt Disney animated films (cel cartoons) produced over a 60-year period.

Thin female characters in television situation comedies were more likely than heavier female characters to be praised by male characters, and less likely to be insulted by male characters.

Since the 1980s magazines have increasingly depicted the male body in a state of objectified undress, such that a significant focus for the camera and viewer is raw, exposed (“chiseled” or “ripped”) muscularity. This might be the reason my oldest son was chomping at the bit at fourteen to gain permission to start working out. (He didn’t get that permission until he was sixteen, but at that juncture he jumped right into it, buying a gym membership and start working on a “six pack.”

Most working class adolescent girls are dissatisfied with their weight and shape. A study done by ‘Field, et., al in 1999, found that 70%  the girls stated that pictures in magazines influenced their conception of the “perfect” body shape, and over 45% indicated that those images motivated them to lose weight. Further, adolescent girls who were more frequent readers of women’s magazines were more likely to report being influenced to think about the perfect body, to be dissatisfied with their own body, to want to lose weight, and to diet.

Teen-age girls who viewed commercials depicting women who modeled the unrealistically thin (yet ideal by media standards), type of beauty, caused adolescent girls to feel less confident, more angry, and more dissatisfied with their weight and appearance. I wonder what the percentage is of girls that go on to form medical and psychological maladies like shyness, depression and others?

In a study on fifth graders, 10 year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show which showcased people thin “media ideal but uncommon in real life’ bodies.

In another recent study on media’s impact on adolescent body dissatisfaction, two researchers found that:

Teens who watched soaps and TV shows that emphasized the ideal body typed reported higher sense of body dissatisfaction. This was also true for girls who watched music videos. Reading magazines for teen girls or women also correlated with body dissatisfaction for girls.

Many children watch between two and four hours of television per day. The presence or absence of role models, how women and men, girls and boys are presented, and what activities they participate in on the screen powerfully affect how girls and boys view their role in the world. Studies looking at cartoons, regular television, and commercials show that although many changes have occurred and girls, in particular have a wider range of role models, for girls “how they look” is still more important than “what they do.”

In a 1997 study designed to study how children described the roles of cartoon characters, children (ages four to nine) “perceived most cartoon characters in stereotypical ways: boys were violent and active and girls were domestic, interested in boys, and concerned with appearances” (Thompson, 1997).

In another study, three weeks of Saturday morning toy commercials were analyzed. Within the sampling,
50% of the commercials aimed at girls spoke about physical attractiveness, while none of the commercials aimed at boys referenced appearance.
What are we teaching our young girls and boys?  Young males interacting with the toys or items being advertised, acted aggressively in 50% of the commercials aimed at them, while none of the girls behaved aggressively. Even voice-over for young male’s toys was overly presented with speed and aggression.

With regard to work roles depicted on television in a study doen by Sobiera in 1995, no boys had unpaid labor roles, while girls were mainly shown in traditional female jobs or roles of unpaid labor.

Dr. Nancy Signorielli, Professor of Communications at the University of Delaware examined the types of media most often viewed by adolescent girls: television, commercials, films, music videos, magazines and advertisements. While the study did find positive role models of women and girls using their intelligence and acting independently, the media presented an overwhelming message that girls and women should be more concerned with romance and dating (as it follows how they look and looks supposedly determine how successful they will be at their roles), while men focus on their strength, aggressiveness and occupations.

I would like to extrapolate out the conversation and ask you to consider the lasting effects of this ‘body image / gender moulding pre-occupation”. Can the high incidence in male and female dissatisfaction and deprssion be linked to these practices in our media or in a larger context, in our society?

Can we further say that physical maladies such as bulemia, anorexia and a host of anxiety disorders are a result of such seemingly unbalanced ideologies? I have to venture a ‘yes.’ Don’t forget about the boys.   Consider the boys who are twelve and thirteen and already asking for ‘muscle building supplements.’ or ‘chin up bars.’ All you have to do is visit any  MySpace profile pics for young boys and we see them flexing their muscles, which have yet to even finish developing!   Our society is sexualizing, under contextualizing / and gender moulding our children into very narrow roles causing them to see a narrow purpose that is connecting attractiveness with general personal worth.  These are dangerous times.  Kids are worried that they don’t fit in. Worried that they don’t measure up.  Some of them have acquired negative mental and physical manifestations of these anxieties and are killing themselves slowly or in a quick and deliberate way.

What can we do at a grass roots level? I invite discussion.

Chrissylong

Chatroulette…It’s dead serious, or is it?


Will anybody talk to me? anyone? anyone? Bueller? Aparently just when we thought we couldn’t get any more desperate to connect, we do. So here’s Chatroulette mind you! I guess it’s better that there’s a person just as eager to connect by accident or through fate to another person instead of a bullet to the brain. I’m sure using it can be as painful as a bullet to the brain at times!  Looks easy enough but I wonder if a tag line like “So lonely you wanna just shoot yourself in the head? then try Chatroulette!” or  “Don’t be stupid just because you don’t have friends… play CHAT roulette instead.”  Or how about,   “Meet random boring non-speaking people who may type a few words to you, or may not want to talk to you at all  based on your looks, and consequently hit the “next” button within the first 2 seconds!”    The most telling tag line would be…”Use our social networking site until the feds take it down citing the nefarious “next button” as a contributing factor to teen depression and low self esteem!”     I smell tons of Chatroulette addictions and legal cases on the horizon.  There could even be an MSNBC nightline story in the works, where they’ll put Shooter Jennings in for Peter Jennings as ‘ol Pete went to the chatroulette lounge in the sky… and Shooter? …well he resonates with the MTV crowd and the YouTuber generation!  It’s natural. He’s playing Coachella right?  Okay then.  Chatroulette  basically is it’s own innate  supply and demand! What could be better?  First the site’s architects used the resonating  desperation and depression and the ever increasing “nature-deficit” of afflicted teens who are locked in dark rooms inavertantly basking in EMF’s from computer screens all day…and then solve that big ‘ol collective hole in their hearts by offering up strange people at the end of some packets of code over an ip address!  to visually classify them!   Nice job, multimedia site wizards!  nice job.   Basically these kids and adults are  hooking up with strange and  loney people who don’t necessarily want to talk to eachother! If your an emotional elitist, you’ll just love the pain that the “next” button inflicts on an eager young loner.   If you are a masochist you’ll just love being “nexted”  and you’ll probably think of really insane things to do during that “first look” from the lucky viewer that happens to pop in on your monitor, order to get the satisfaction of being ‘nexted”   I think this social networking service says loads about the American Psyche. We are bored, friendless, locked in, longing, and yet hopeful still.  We are reaching out but somehow we don’t truly ‘want to connect. If we did, we’d be outside together, talking, walking checking out life – where we could talk, touch, feel and genuinely make good on getting to know someone.  Unfortunately friendships are only formed once both parties decide to ‘keep listening,’ ‘keep giving that person another chance.’ When we decide to make a commitment to ‘see what that person is all about’ is then and only then do we actually make ‘friends.’ Friendship is a process, not a quick look and a “next” or a one line chat.  For those that aren’t in it for ‘friends,’ chatroulette has become a “slow-sift” way to find other pornsters  willing to video chat and show it all.  Somehow I don’t see the benefit in this site, but it will be interesting to see what people ultimately do with it.  Merton’s video where he goofs on random folks on Chatroulette is classic.  His experiment was hilarious.  I had the video posted here but Youtube, who hosted it,  unfortunately had to take it down due to a permissions conflict.  The good news is that I’ve posted an interview with Merton here instead.

NCLB: Our Children… Left Behind and basically handed to recruiters for the military? Be outraged!


NCLB is more than Under-funded and Under-planned, it’s Under-handed.

Here’s my list of nefarious things about NCLB and…WE CAN AND SHOULD PROTEST THIS first one ASAP!!!….

(at the end of this entire post..there is an amazing video on this subject, don’t forget to view it)…

#1 NCLB gives military recruiters the names, social security numbers  and addresses of your children!!!! (once they they become juniors in high school!!! – boys and girls alike).  You must opt-out of this process, but the problem is that neither of these two facts are publicized, so our kids sixteen and older are ripe targets for recruiters.  They are then allowed to call your homes, talk to your young adults (teens), and visit them on the school campus without your knowledge…unless of course you opt out.

Here’s the part of NCLB that puts this process in motion:

NCLB  Section 9528

  • Requires that school districts release the names, addresses and telephone numbers of juniors and seniors to military recruiters upon request unless an Opt-Out form is signed and returned.
  • In LAUSD the Opt-Out form must be returned to the local school by OCTOBER 27th, 2007.  All others check with your school district.

ASVAB – a way to get around the “Opt-Outs”

  • The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a voluntary military placement exam used as a general aptitude test for career options.
  • IT IS A MILITARY RECRUITING TOOL and was given in 75% of LAUSD schools in 2005.
  • Schools are guilt of violating family confidentiality by giving military recruiters access to private information gathered from students via the ASVAB testing information (including social security numbers)
  • Military recruiters use the ASVAB to ignore the Opt-Out process.
  • The ASVAB skirts parental rights by giving incomplete information to parents about it, and by releasing private information to military recruiters without parental consent.
  • The only way to ensure student privacy is to use other aptitude diagnostic tools instead of the military entrance exam.
  • It’s voluntary, don’t take the ASVAB.  If you choose to take it request Option 8 that means scores will not be released to military recruiters.

PENTAGON DATABASE

  • The Pentagon has been collecting a centralized data base without Congressional authorization of over 700 pieces of information on millions of youth between 16 to 25 years of age.

Act to Protect Your Privacy from Military Recruiters!!

You may be harassed at home by military recruiters because your name, address and phone number will be given to them by your school — unless you tell your school to not give out the information. To exercise your legal right to have this information kept private, you should notify your school office as soon as possible. Some school districts may provide their own forms for this, but they must obey your request no matter how you submit it. You can write your own letter or use the one below. (I was told at our school that they will not consider a handwritten note from a parent, that we MUST use one of the official forms.  Use a letter or form for each individual student and keep a copy. It is not required by law, but we recommend having a parent or guardian also sign.

Section 9528 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 (No Child Left Behind) mandates that school districts must provide
the contact information (names, addresses and telephone numbers) of juniors and seniors to the military upon request unless an Opt Out form
is signed and returned to the school.

Students must Opt Out every year.

here is the link to the paperwork that must be turned in to The Pentagon allowing you as a parent to “opt-out” your student from potential recruitment, which NCLB gives them the right to do.

ENGLISH:     http://www.militaryfreeschools.org/PDF/optout09.pdf

SPANISH:     http://www.militaryfreeschools.org/PDF/LAUSDoptout09sp.pdf

More information on NCLB in general:

#1 NCLB does not FIX anything!  It is making our students, teachers and administrators suffer.

NCLB has good intentions: It aims to improve teacher quality, provide school choice for families, and hold schools accountable for academic achievement. It does this last bit by measuring kids’ performance in grades 3-11 and in a very unfair and odd way.

Additionally, results must be reported in such a way that demographic groups are reported separately. This way, a school can’t make progress with some groups, while leaving others behind. This disaggregated data reveals the performance by ethnic identification, income level, and disability status. It has the capacity to shed light on the dark corners of discrimination that has been historically reinforced by our multi-tiered school system.
In fact it creates problems:

One the  biggest problems with NCLB is that it stipulates 100% compliance by the year 2014. That is to say that every group of students in every school is responsible for performing at grade level by then, and in every year between now and then, they are to make what is known as “adequate yearly progress,” commonly referred to as AYP. This means that they must meet the linear target between where they are now, and grade level proficiency. The thing is: every school, in every district, is being held to the same standard. They are all expected to reach that common standard by 2014.

It’s a great idea, but the supports necessary in order for schools to reach that performance level are not in place!  If a school has been performing at grade level all along, they’re golden. If a school is serving a community that has historically been underperforming, they are in big trouble, because every year that they haven’t made AYP-which increases proportionally the further they are from grade level performance to begin with-the greater the gains they must make each year.

So, if a school which has been lacking the resources and supports in order to demonstrate proficiency misses the AYP target one year, it must not only meet that target the following year, but also hit the next target on the linear path to proficiency, as if they had never gotten off track. This is nearly impossible. It’  The problems in a school not meeting AYP are always varied, complex,  and sometimes ethereal. And what happens if a school doesn’t make AYP by 2014? (I mean really, once you’ve missed it one or two years, the chances of catching up are quite slim.) Well, there is no plan for that. Your school gets redesigned- but the kids are the same, and so are all the unsolvedand unaddressed problems that made the school unsuccessful in the first place, are still there!

So what should be done?  While it is true that some data indicate some things that are useful, but testing is not the silver bullet, and we are killing our kids with it, and there is no excitement in the curriculum and no spark to interest the children in learning.  (What happened to the ‘wonder of learning?)  Isn’t it more important to plant the seeds of curiosity, organization and critical thinking?  This cannot be done with a mundane one size fits all curriculum where teachers have no ability to make their message maleable! and creative!   We need to provide low-performing school communities with the enrichment opportunities that are known to correlate with what are  thought to be the cause for later high academic achievement.   We need to make teaching a harder job to get, and a more attractive professional choice.

We need to recognize this as the keystone issue that it is: the fundamental reform of our schools is not the work only for teachers and administrators, this is a civil rights issue.  These are our children, we have a right to give our children a public education.  We pay our hard earned tax dollars into the state and federal coffers in order to fund a fair and just curriculum.  There are items here which should be an outrage.   This is a community development issue, and a global economy issue.  The fight to end NCLB requires the commitment of everyone in every sector in our society.  Let’s take our children’s education back.  Childhood is a journey, NOT A RACE!!!!

#2 NCLB is underfunded

This destructive program is imposed and enforced by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, which has made federal funding for public education contingent on the states holding teachers and schools accountable for “achievement” as measured by student performance on standardized math and reading tests, with the putative intention of narrowing and eventually (by 2014) totally eliminating the “achievement gap” between students in affluent suburban schools and students in innercity schools. The law stipulates punitive measures for schools that don’t measure up. These schools, invariably already cash and resource starved, must use some of their federal Title I funding to pay for private after-school tutoring programs

#3 NCLB is underplanned

#4 NCLB turns schools into starving wolves punishing chronically ill children as truants as their continued absence dilutes the AYP and state monies.  Schools are quick  to litigate against students’  parents until either the family leaves the school or  complies with inordinate and almost insurmountable compliance process in order to avoid truant status,  per the California state attendance rules and the definition of  “truancy.”

#5 NCLB turns kids in to wonderful test takers and strategizers!  Not critical thinkers!  (there are classes on ‘test taking strategies!)

#6 NCLB schools are indirectly encouraged to cease funding ART, MUSIC and even PHYSICAL EDUCATION, in order to reapportion funds to accounts that support raising test scores and providing  for remedial options for children who are not making progress toward the school’s goal.    Monies are thought to be better directed toward the goal of   Making AYP and hence getting closer to “100% proficiency,”  therefore they opt to take from art, music and P.E. in order to assure better test scores in the basics and make sure they don’t miss achievement of the AYP.    (Usually Physical education is not taken out of the curriculum but minimal benchmark changes  are made with less or lower cost equipment.)**

#7 NCLB slaps so much work on kids in order to ensure that they test high and contribute to the school’s AYP, that the stress is detrimental. We experienced 12-13 pages of homework every night, where my son (who was an “A” student at the time and still is), would work from after school, through dinner and even after bedtime in order to complete all of the tasks assigned to him. Sometimes sneaking a flashlight in his bed to finish his assignments.!  This was common with other students also.

#8 NCLB creates a “one size fits all” curriculum by grade, higher achievers must wait and do busy work while students slower to grasp concepts struggle to understand curriculum. Higher achievers are not challenged. On the flip-side “mentally challenged” or “special education” students are given the same curriculum as the standard students and mandated to reach the same goals!

#9 NCLB Makes teachers statisticians. There is no intuitive teaching aspect to working with children. There is no personal touch, in fact, teachers cannot even touch students. No pat on the back or handshake unless those occurrences are mandated by curriculum and are necessary to a learning module.  There is only speed-tests, test taking strategies and rubrics.  It is now well known that students can be classified by ‘learning style’ for example: tactile, verbal, viusal, and any combination therof. The problem is that even with this knowlege, there is very little flexibility in the NCLB curriculum that allows the teacher to reach individual students via these concepts.

#10 NCLB makes time ‘of the essence’ as each student must have scores that contribute to and help the school reach their AYP. (Adequate Yearly Progress), or they will become a liability to the school. Each school must achieve AYP every year and each and every student must be deemed 100% “proficient by 2014

#11 NCLB places a “monetary value” on a student’s capacity to attend school consistently.  (If a student’s cost to attendance ratio is skewed by illness, therefor necessary absence, the school will try to rid themselves of the ‘liability! . See my older post ! This is happening to me, (my son and my family)!!!