velvetpage: (exterminate)
This point brought to you by a debate in booju. It started out asking if parents would run back into a burning home to save their pets, but the thread I got involved in was actually saying that some people wouldn't tell the firefighters that there were pets still in the home. The reasoning is that they wouldn't want the firefighters to risk their lives for the pets, so they wouldn't inform the firefighters that the animals were even there.

Simply put, it's disrespectful.

Part of a firefighter's job is to evaluate risks. They're equipped and experienced to tackle much higher risks than you or I. If they don't think they can save Fluffy, they won't go in after Fluffy. Do they sometimes make mistakes? Yes. And they sometimes pay the ultimate price for those mistakes. But at the end of the day, it's their decision to make, not mine. I don't have the right skill set to make the decision for them.

By not telling them an important piece of information, not only am I dooming Fluffy to a horrible death, I'm also affecting the firefighters' ability to evaluate risk. I'm trying to do their job for them, rather than letting them do it for themselves. Any decision that involves taking on oneself a decision that should be left to the professional at hand is disrespectful of that professional. It's saying you don't trust them to be able to do their jobs, which in this case include protecting their own lives above those of animals.

Some other examples: changing schools and not telling the new teacher that your child has had trouble with X in the past, in the hope that the new start will be good for them and will help them outgrow their issue; not telling your doctor about your shortness of breath, because the doc can't do anything anyway (only applies to those with ready access to doctors, of course;) withholding a piece of information from your lawyer because it won't have any impact anyway; the list goes on.

When people take on a job, any job, they deserve the respect of trusting them to do it the way it should be done. If that means they need some information from me to get it done right, it's respectful of me to give it to them. Withholding it isn't saving them - it's disrespecting them.
velvetpage: (Default)
I'm continually amazed at the lack of understanding of some basic statistics. No, the world is not any more dangerous now than it was when you were a kid. No, kids are not more likely to be abducted, raped, murdered, or anything else. No, data from 25 years ago are not less accurate in terms of whether or not crimes were reported, though the convictions may be less accurate because of new methods of collecting data since then. No, I do not believe that the stats on stranger abduction have stayed almost exactly the same for the entire time governments have been collecting such stats, purely by coincidence, or that the oldest stats were wrong just because they're old.

I mean, really people. The chances of your child being abducted by a stranger at any point in their childhood are about one in twenty thousand. The chances of them being abducted by a non-custodial parent, if they have one, are one in a few hundred. The chances of them being abducted or hurt by Mom's new boyfriend, if she has one while they're kids, are about one in fifty. And the chances of you looking like an overprotective helicopter parent while you scream about stranger danger in a livejournal community are nearly 100%.

Get over it and let your kids develop age- and ability-appropriate independence, already.

Arg.

Jan. 29th, 2007 12:10 pm
velvetpage: (exterminate)
Very sleepy today. Something to do with five wake-ups in four hours will do that to a girl.

According to one person in booju, who subsequently pointed it out in [livejournal.com profile] stupid_free, I'm a racist misogynist who is unworthy to teach her kids. The reason? I agreed with the statement that much of the history in North America, at the level taught to elementary school children, was created by white men. I also challenged her assertion that the only reason history books concentrate on white men is that the books are written by white men.

Where do I begin?

Okay, let's start with the pyramid example. Throughout history, it's been the people at the very top of the social pyramid who got the most press, because they had the power to direct events. When teaching elementary school history, I have to focus on that top of the pyramid because keeping it simple is absolutely necessary. Believe me, I've tried to get into the complexities. It generally doesn't work, and I end up giving A's to the kids who get it - which means I didn't expect them to get it, it was just a bonus. As you go further in the study of history, you start to learn about the next levels down - the supporting cast, if you will. These are the inventors, the writers, the philosophers, the rebels, and there are plenty of people of colour amongst them. I teach about these in elementary school, but usually, it's not as part of the grand scheme of history; it's more of an anecdotal story. They get woven into the Big Picture later, in middle school and high school, as kids get better at drawing links between disparate items. The next levels down on the pyramid start to get into people who weren't literate enough to leave us their own voices, or who chose not to, and except for painting a broad picture, their stories are mostly left for college/university studies.

Does it make me a racist to focus on the people who made the laws and ordered the armies to war? No - it makes me a teacher of history. After they have the idea of what happened, then they can go back and fill in the details, and that's where the broader picture will come in. But they need a framework to do that - and the framework, until the last forty or fifty years in North America, was provided mostly (not exclusively, but mostly) by white men.

As for misogyny - I find it rather ironic to accuse a woman who is as much a product of feminism as I am, of misogyny. I want everyone treated fairly, which means that I don't want one group to get ahead at the expense of another, innocent group. School isn't working for boys these days. They drop out more often, don't read as well, don't get as many helping hands, as girls do. Adjusting or adding to my teaching strategies in order to help everyone achieve their best is MY JOB. I'm not going to let the girls suffer for it, but I'm not going to encourage the girls at the expense of the boys, either. It's not fair to anyone to do that.

Okay, that's my rant.

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