May 21, 2009

Ramona Unified Censors Report on Harvey Milk

It’s a proud day for me. The Ramona Unified School District – my district from 3rd grade until I graduated from high school and the town my family still lives in – has censored 6th grade student Natalie Jones’ report on Harvey Milk. Apparently even talking about someone who was gay is “sexual” in nature, and requires special permission from parents. The ACLU is pissed, understandably.

From the ACLU press release:

In today’s letter, the ACLU is demanding that the school:

• Apologize in writing to Natalie Jones and send a letter about that apology to all the parents who were sent the principal’s letter about the presentation

• Give Natalie Jones an opportunity to give her presentation to all the other members of her independent research project class

• Clarify in writing that the parental notification and permission portion of the “Family Life/Sex Education” policy only applies to the curricula identified as “course content” for “Family Life/Sex Education instruction”

Ramona Unified says they were following their own policy:

“(P)arents/guardians shall be notified in writing about any instruction in which human reproductive organs and their functions, processes, or sexually transmitted diseases are described, illustrated, or discussed. In addition, before any instruction on family life, human sexuality, AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases is given, the parent/guardian shall be provided with written notice explaining that the instruction will be given…”

The idea that a 6th grade presentation (one that received 49 out of 50 possible points, BTW) on a historical figure who happened to be gay does not equate to talking about sex. Natalie was not given the opportunity to give her Harvey Milk presentation during class. She called into the principal's office, told that permission slips would need to be signed for all students viewing her presentation, which was moved to lunch recess. If we are going to start cutting gays and lesbians out of the classroom history (and English) class is going to be a lot shorter.

Just a few gay historical figures include Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Walt Whitman, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Heman Melville, Julius Ceasar, Langston Hughes, Hans Christian Anderson, J. Edgar Hoover.

You can view Natalie's 12-page presentation here.

UPDATE: Interestingly, today is the anniversary of the White Night Riots in San Francisco.

Posted by Ensie at 02:52 PM | Comments (135) | TrackBack

May 18, 2009

I am enraged.

Three weeks ago Frinklin was hired by Gideon, owner of American Healthcare Services, Inc. , a Seattle DME business. And I’ve been on edge. Of course I was pleased that he was able to find work after more than a year of unemployment, but the details about the job and his boss were frustrating. He went in knowing that the pay sucked and there would no sick or holiday time, or benefits. All the crappy working conditions were agreed to, just to ensure a regular paycheck.

The job sounded interesting. He would be the Director of Marketing and Client Services. His responsibilities included rewriting their (shitty) website and the (terrible) marketing materials and using these items to bolster outside sales. In addition he would staff the retail storefront and assist with billing.

Things started to go downhill on the first day. No one knew Frinklin was starting. He waited outside for an hour for someone to let him in. He was told he would work 40 hours a week which was immediately slashed to 32. Despite asking for time to focus on marketing and sales he was told there were other priorities. There were multiple projects (inventory, revamp the filing system, rework the catalog) randomly assigned by Gideon, forcing Frinklin to jump from one thing to another without being able to complete anything fully. A temp was brought in and undid all the work he had done on a billing project. Frinklin was left alone for hours to run the store, without breaks or time for lunch.

We both knew things were weird and Gideon was a terrible business owner and boss.

And then today.

Gideon showed up early and asked to speak with Frinklin in his office. Within 10 minutes Frinklin was fired and told to leave, “or I will have the authorities escort you out.” Exactly why was he fired? Apparently all that time spent on Gideon’s projects was taking time away from what Frinklin should have been working on – outside sales. What he didn’t explain is when exactly Frinklin should have been making those sales. While he was organizing billing? While he was alone, staffing the store for hours on end? In the middle of inventory?

There had been no indication that Frinklin was doing a poor job. In fact, Frinklin was doing a kick-ass job as far as I could tell. He was keeping detailed notes of what he was being asked to do, what the priorities should be, and learning the business. While I understand Gideon’s need for sales (I was in outside sales for several years), you have to allow time for that to happen, especially when you are telling your employee that his priorities lie elsewhere at the moment.

I suppose all of this could be answered by the fact that Gideon threatened to have Frinkin removed from the building by the police. My husband is extremely laid-back and spent most of their 5-minute morning meeting in shock, asking why he was being fired for something completely out of his control.

So thank you Gideon, you asshat. Not only did you assist in shattering my husband’s self esteem yet again, but you lied about his work performance. And you may have screwed over his chances to receive unemployment as he has now been terminated instead of laid-off. All for three weeks of work, paying barely more than UI.

At least now he's free to get a real job. And I'm free to distribute flyers (virtual and otherwise) telling everyone this guy is a total dickwad.

Posted by Ensie at 02:54 PM | Comments (182) | TrackBack

May 16, 2009

Curb Day

Today is Curb Day! What is Curb Day, you ask? It's the day to place all your unwanted, useable items on the curb for others to take. It's a pretty cool idea, even if Curb Day seems to be everyday in Tacoma.

Posted by Ensie at 08:41 AM | Comments (328) | TrackBack