Monthly Archives: March 2014

Zombies: A Teacher’s Guide to Dealing with Parents, Administrators, Students, and Peers

PART II

How to Conduct a Parent/Teacher Conference with a Zombie Parent 

            For a teacher there are few things more stressful than a conference with a parent.  This is particularly true in today’s society when parent conferences often become more about the parent than the child and can sometimes erupt into finger pointing and angry words.  Rather than meet with the teacher with an open mind about their child and his or her progress or lack of progress in the classroom, many parents look at the parent/teacher conference as an intrusion on their personal or work time, a question about their parenting skills, an embarrassment to their perceived status in the community, or all of the above.  There are even parents who look at the conference as their own personal venue for whipping teachers into line, and if you add the likely possibility that the parent or parents have been zombinized as outlined in Part I, it is easy to see why the parent/teacher conference becomes one of the most frightening and even dangerous experiences teachers will encounter in their careers.  As a result, many teachers try to avoid conferences with parents as much as possible.

            However, communicating with parents is a professional duty of all teachers that should not be ignored or avoided regardless of how unpleasant the experience might be.  It is essential that teachers learn how to deal with parents especially zombie parents in a conference situation.  At this point I must insert a word of caution.  Teachers must be aware that all parents have been subjected to the zombination process as described in Part I; therefore, no matter how normal they may appear, there is always the chance that a misplaced word or look by the teacher will trigger the awakening of the zombie lurking in the brain of all parents.  Therefore, it is crucial for teachers to learn how to avoid triggers that bring out the zombie in parents.  For example, teachers must learn to do simple things in the conference like carefully weighing each word spoken to parents and avoiding looking parents in the eye as much as possible.  This does not mean that teachers should never make eye contact with zombie parents, but they should NEVER try to stare down a zombie.  Zombie parents often mistake prolonged eye contact as a threat or an air of superiority by the teacher, which may result in a zombie assault against the teacher.

            However, initial identification of a zombie parent can sometimes be tricky since early in the zombie incubation period tell-tale signs such as a blank nobody home look, eyes rolled back in the head, pale almost gray complexion, or dragging the right leg may not be present.  Therefore, when there is no physical evidence that a parent has the zombie infection, it is important for teachers to focus closely on what parents say during the meeting.  One of the first indications that a parent is morphing into a zombie is they develop a sudden craving for sweets.  During this phase, everything around them including furnishings, rooms, smells, and people remind them of something sweet to eat.  Teachers should be alert to parent comments associated with candy and sweet recipes especially recipes in which the teacher is the primary ingredient.  For example, if a teacher is in a parent conference, and the parent makes such comments as “You smell delicious,” “This room smells like chocolate,” “I suddenly have a longing for Crepes Teachertte,” or “Teachers remind me of fine candy,” the teacher would be wise to find an excuse to leave the room immediately.  Of course, teachers must exercise some common sense prior to rushing out of the room.  If the teacher teaches home economics or culinary arts and the conference is being held in the classroom where the class has been cooking cookies all day, a parent comment such as “This room smells delicious” may be appropriate for that environment.  (NOTE:  It is never wise to hold parent/teacher conferences in the teacher’s classroom.  I will address the reasons to avoid this situation a little later.)

            Since identification of a parent as a zombie can sometimes be problematic, it is wise for teachers to assume that all parent/teacher conferences will involve zombie parents.  With that in mind, teachers should prepare themselves for the conference well in advance.  Never in all my years as a principal did I lose a teacher who came prepared to the parent/teacher conference – regardless of whether the meeting was with a normal parent or a zombie parent.  However, I cannot say the same for teachers who entered the conference without the proper preparation.  To survive a parent/teacher conference, it is critical for a teacher to remember the three “BE’s”:  BE PREPARED, BE ORGANIZED, and BE ALERT.

            To help teachers be prepared, organized, and alert, the following sections have been prepared with guidance from Agenda 8447-47-2-5653A (See Part I).  It is my hope that by following these guidelines teachers will be able to safely navigate the parent/teacher conference especially those involving zombie parents.  With the proper preparation, conferencing with a zombie parent does not have to be a frightening or a career ending tragedy.

BE PREPARED

            Being prepared for the parent/teacher conference with a zombie parent is probably the most important aspect of the meeting.  Preparation turns survival of the meeting into a reasonable expectation rather than hope and a prayer.  Of course, prayers are strongly recommended and encouraged, but a teacher who simply hopes all will go well in the meeting is taking a chance with his or her career and maybe even life.  However, Agenda 8447-47-2-5653A offers excellent guidelines for teachers on how to prepare for a zombie parent meeting.  These guidelines are designed to give a teacher the best possible chance of surviving.  In fact, if a teacher utilizes these guidelines, the chances of survival rise from 35% to 90%.  Remember, to provide the best protection possible, the teacher must assume that all parents are zombies.

Preparation Guidelines:

1)       The teacher should build a student folder that contains representative student assignments, a model for the expectations of each assignment (NEVER use another student’s work as a model.  Such comparisons have been known to cause zombie parents to violently attack teachers), student attendance, student check-ins and check-outs, tardies to class, and student discipline history.  It is much easier for the zombie parent to see and understand the information in print than it is for them to comprehend what a teacher is telling them.  Without the information printed and placed in front of them, zombie parents often believe the teacher is making up falsehoods about their child.  A true sign of a zombie parent is the parent who believes the teacher has a vendetta against their child.  Teachers must always remember that zombie parents believe their children never misbehave, always study at home, have never missed a school assignment, always do their work at school, are outstanding citizens in the community, a leader in their church youth group, spend hundreds of hours every month on their cell phone counseling with troubled youth in the community, and of course they never ever ever lie.  Therefore, it is always wise for the teacher to have documentation to back up whatever they say in a parent/teacher conference.  Without documentation the zombie parent will assume the teacher is working in cahoots with Obama’s government cronies to destroy their child’s life.

2)       The teacher should talk to the principal about attending the conference or having another school administrator attend the conference with them.  This will help take some of the focus off of the teacher.  This is important since zombie parents tend to become confused and disoriented when confronted by two or more people, and as a result they are less likely to attack.  Therefore, it is always in the teacher’s best interest to travel in pairs or even in packs. 

3)       Prior to the conference day, the teacher should arrange to have school security or police in the school office or reception area prior to the meeting.  Zombie parents tend to be less volatile if they know a badge and a gun are not far away.

4)       The teacher should make arrangements to use a school conference room or office for the meeting.  The teacher should NEVER hold a parent/teacher conference in their classroom.  There are several reasons why:

a)       It is a wise teacher who keeps the location of his or her classroom a secret from zombie parents as much as possible. 

b)       Keeping the meeting area confined to an office or conference room keeps potentially zombie parents from walking the halls of the school.

c)       There are too many potential weapons in a classroom that can be used against the unsuspecting teacher such as books, desks, rulers, yard sticks, pencils, trashcans, paper (There are few things more excruciating than a paper cut splattered by zombie drool), and crayons (Yes crayons!  Zombie parents love to gouge eyes with crayons – especially the orange and blue ones).

d)       Most school security congregate around the office area drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with the school receptionist and secretary.  Therefore, they are readily available if there is problem in a conference room or administrative office, but if a problem were to occur down the hall in a classroom where a parent/teacher conference was taking place, it might be several minutes before they could respond.  CDCP researchers state that the average response time to a classroom emergency can be as much as three to five minutes.  In 5 minutes, an agitated zombie parent can mentally and physically turn a teacher into a quivering vegetable; therefore, to decrease becoming a vegetable before their time, teachers should NEVER conduct parent/teacher conferences in their classrooms.  This also holds true for Walmart.  A teacher should NEVER engage in a conversation with a zombie parent about their child at Walmart.  Other than having a greater chance of getting the attack on video, the results will more than likely be even more gruesome than what would occur at school.

5)       Prior to the conference, the teacher should visit the conference room and check out the layout of the room including all furnishings in the room.  The teacher should remove anything that could possibly be used as a weapon such as hardback books, staplers, pencils, pens, small potted plants, coffee mugs, etc.  When agitated, zombie parents will often start flailing wildly with their arms to express their displeasure.  During this process they will grab at anything within reach such as a coffee mug and fling it at anyone who happens to be in the room.  (NOTE:  Although less likely to happen, zombie parents have been known to reach such a state of agitation even in the presence of two or more people, so be careful.  The CDCP guidelines have been proven to be very effective in ensuring teacher safety, but like anything else, there are always exceptions).

6)       Prior to the conference, the teacher should make notes of the quickest escape routes/exits from the room.  Teachers should NEVER seat the zombie parent between themselves and the door to the room.  The teacher should greet the zombie parent at the door of the conference room, and point them to a seat as far from the exit as possible.  This serves two purposes:  (1) It guarantees that the teacher sits next to the room exit for easy escape if needed, and (2)  It places the zombie parent deep in the room, which prevents them from escaping before the school security or police officer can arrive and Taser them into submission.  Also, the meeting room should ALWAYS have a table that separates the zombie parent from the teacher.  It is only fair to point out at this time that the vast majority of meetings with zombie parents are only mildly volatile, but it is always wise for the teacher to go into the meeting not expecting the worst, but prepared for the worst.

7)       The teacher should ALWAYS involve the student in the conference.  Unlike the “walking dead,” QDA (refer to Part I) zombie parents do not eat their young.  Therefore, having the student at the conference decreases the chances of the zombie parent becoming unstable. 

8)       Prior to the conference, the teacher should place two or three candy bars in his pocket or her purse.  If the teacher senses the zombie parent is becoming agitated, the teacher should slowly remove a candy bar (avoid quick jerky actions) from the pocket or purse and slide it gently to the center of the table.  DO NOT react with surprise when the zombie parent pounces on the candy bar with both hands and begins to growl hungrily.  This is normal behavior for a QDA zombie parent.  (NOTE:  If the zombie parent pounces on your hand rather than the candy bar, you have been deceived; you are dealing with a “walking dead” and not a QDA zombie.  If this happens, do whatever you must to get out of the room even it means cutting off your hand.  In spite of what you see in the movies, with proper medical attention within the first six hours of a “walking dead” bite, you can live a long close to normal life after being bitten by a “walking dead” zombie.)  Once the teacher places the candy bar on the table, the zombie parent should be given a few seconds (that is all it will take) to devour the candy bar.  The teacher will see almost immediately a look of contentment spread across the pale face of the zombie parent.  WARNING:  If a teacher resorts to this tactic, as soon as the teacher sees the calming effect on the zombie parent, the teacher and school administrator should leave the room immediately and send in the school security or police.  Although the sugar from the candy bar causes a calming reaction in QDA zombies, the sugar high is short lived.  The effect only lasts two to three minutes at best, and then a sugar crash ensues.  During such a crash, the zombie parent will go into a trance and become unresponsive, fall asleep and collapse in their chair, or go into a hissing rage.  The first two reactions are harmless, but the fit of rage can be physically dangerous to the teacher as well as to the school administrator; therefore, it is important for both the teacher and the school administrator to take advantage of the brief calmness brought on by the candy bar and flee the scene as fast as possible.

BE ORGANIZED

            Being organized once the meeting starts is also very wise when dealing with a zombie parent.  Just like teachers sometimes feel they are too busy to be bothered with a parent/teacher conference, parents and especially zombie parents often feel the same way. Therefore, teachers need to be aware and respectful of the parent’s schedule and time.  There is nothing that makes a zombie parent madder than taking off early from work for a conference with their child’s teacher, and when they get to the school, they are told the conference will start late.  Maybe, it is the physical drudgery of dragging around their right leg or that they harbor a perception of a parent/teacher conference as a meeting called by a teacher who is not capable of doing his or her job that makes zombie parents arrive at the conference with a chip on their shoulder.  Who knows, but invariably that is the frame of mind the zombie parent is often in when they arrive at the school, which means the teacher must do whatever it takes to de-escalate the tension.   Once again the CDCP has offered several excellent guidelines for teachers to follow that will help them be more organized when dealing with zombie parents.  The CDCP has found that the more organized a teacher comes across in the parent/teacher meeting the better the chances are of a successful conference.

Organization Guidelines:

1)        The teacher should respect the parent’s busy schedule and ensure the conference begins and ends on time.  One of the most frustrating things for zombie parents to endure is for the conference to be delayed waiting on a school administrator.  When a teacher arranges for the principal to sit in on a conference, the teacher needs to be aware that there are times when circumstances may call the principal in a different direction.  Therefore, when preparing for a conference the teacher should have a backup plan such as a second school administrator on standby in case the principal is not available to meet.  Waiting for a school administrator is not advisable, nor is rescheduling the conference due to lack of availability of an administrator.  The zombie parent often sees this as a ruse to not meet with them, and they become very offended and upset.

2)        At the beginning of the conference, whoever called the meeting should speak first (parent or teacher).  When it is the teacher’s time to speak, the teacher should stick to the reasons for the meeting.  The teacher SHOULD NOT go on and on about what a good child Johnny is and how he really wants to learn, and then drop the bomb on the parent a minute later that Johnny is a raving lunatic in the classroom who refuses to do any of his work.  The teacher should stick to the documented facts and be very professional about any issues the child is having.  The teacher is not a counselor in these meetings and should not try to take on the role of a counselor.  The teacher is not there to counsel the parents, but rather to seek help from the parents in responding to the needs of their child.  Remember, a teacher will get much more respect from zombie parents when the teacher comes across as organized and professional rather than someone who “prettifies” the issues, humors the parents, or comes across as someone who is more interested in not offending the parents than actually helping the child.  CDCP research indicates that teachers who are patronizing toward zombie parents are five times more likely to be attacked than the teacher who is professional, organized, and keeps to the documented facts.  

3)       When dealing with a zombie parent, the teacher should focus on them, but DO NOT stare them down!  WARNING:  Nothing disturbs a zombie zombie parent more than a teacher who focuses on taking notes rather than demonstrating they are listening to the parent.  If a teacher keeps his or her head buried in a notebook taking notes during the conference, the teacher should not have any delusions about the meeting ending amiably.  It will not!  In all likelihood both the teacher and the notebook will be torn to shreds.   

4)       The teacher should have a short agenda of what he or she would like to cover in the meeting.  The teacher should then stick to the agenda.  Zombie parents will often attempt to get the teacher off track by bouncing around between several irrelevant points, but it is the teacher’s task to keep them focused on the issues.

BE ALERT

           The third ingredient needed to have a successful conference with a zombie parent is that the teacher must BE ALERT to surprises.  Due to experience, teachers often enter into a parent conference with pre-conceived negativity, and as a result the tone of the conference is often impacted by their pessimism rather than any negatives brought to the table by the parents.  The CDCP recognizes this problem.  However, they also recognize that negativity is not necessarily an inborn characteristic of teachers, but rather a characteristic that has been cultivated through experiences in the field.  The CDCP states, “Teacher negativity is not an innate trait, but rather a learned trait.  The vast majority of teachers enter the profession with the belief they can “cure the ills of the world,” but after being knocked to their knees by reality over and over again, they begin to sour on their profession first, themselves second, and finally on the children they teach.”

           The teacher should remember that the attitude they bring to the parent/teacher conference sets the tone for the meeting.  If the teacher expects a negative meeting, they will most likely get a negative meeting.  Therefore, it is extremely important that teachers BE ALERT to their own negativity.

Be Alert Guidelines:

1)       Teachers who enter a parent/teacher conference with pre-conceived negativity about the meeting often get what they expect.  Even when dealing with a zombie parent, it is crucial for the teacher to come to the meeting with an open mind, a listening heart, and a positive outlook.

2)        In the conference, the teacher should state the facts and have documentation to support those facts.  The teacher should never speak negatively or talk down about the child to a zombie parent.  Even zombie parents will take offense if that happens, and from that point on the conference will become adversarial.  The focus will move from the child to the adults, which is not the intent or purpose of a parent/teacher conference.  Although it is important for the teacher to stick to the facts, it is nevertheless advisable to interject something positive into the conversation from time to time; however, it is just as advisable to avoid going overboard with the superlatives.  The teacher must BE ALERT to the fact that being overly negative can be construed as an attack even when that is not the intent

3)        The teacher must BE ALERT to being judgmental of the child or the zombie parent.  It is not the teacher’s job to judge a child or a parent, but rather it is the teacher’s job to help the child and the parent.

4)        The teacher should BE ALERT to finger pointing.  Zombie parents love to find fault with the system, community, other students, administration, and other teachers.  When zombie parents begin to lambast and blame others for their child’s lack of academic success or behavioral problems, the teacher should steer the conversation back to the positive.  The teacher should NEVER get involved with finger pointing.  The teacher must strive to remain neutral and steer the meeting back to focusing on helping the child.  If the teacher gets swallowed up by the finger pointing, everybody loses especially the student.

5)        The teacher should LISTEN to what the parent has to say – even a zombie parent!  The teacher should LISTEN and not be thinking about what he or she wants to say next!  By listening closely, it is easier for the teacher to detect when the zombie parent is becoming flustered.  CAUTION – When a teacher begins to hear gurgling sounds coming from the zombie parent, it is time for the teacher to slide a candy bar across the table and get OUT OF THE ROOM!  Remember, when in doubt RUN!

           The CDCP maintains that teachers who follow these simple guidelines significantly increase their chances of surviving a conference with a zombie parent.  The most important things to remember are the three Be’s – BE PREPARED, BE ORGANIZED, and BE ALERT.  To BE PREPARED, the teacher must think through and plan for any scenario that may arise in the meeting with the zombie parent; to BE ORGANIZED, the teacher must be professional, focused, and in charge of the meeting; and to BE ALERT, teacher must be vigilant to anything that may trigger an unacceptable response from the zombie parent such as hitting, biting, spiting, or blowing snot wads at the teacher.  By following these guidelines, hopefully much of the stress connected to zombie parent conferences can be significantly reduced.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 31, 2014

Agenda 8447-47-2-5653 (Operation Mindscape)

Part I

The Outbreak

          Although the following account is rather long (It had to be to provide a clear picture of what is happening), I hope you will not feel my little jape too childish, or my tone too roguishly insensitive to the greater perils of the jovial complicity of the circumstances.  I have never been one to put a lot of stock into government conspiracies, and I have generally attributed such conspiracies as little green men held hostage in Area 51 and government brainwashing through common core state standards to human paranoia.  However, a little witticism interlaced with conspiracy can sometimes be a fun thing.  However, fun or not, I am not the type person who goes looking for such things, but when it is lying in the open on Facebook for anyone to see who will open his or her eyes, it is hard to ignore or disregard it.  However, you may find this article somewhat platitudinous, but since when is anything written on conspiracies not platitudinous.

          Over the past thirty years, there has been greater change in human behavior than in all previous human history.  We have witnessed an entire psychic change that has eroded our confidence in who we are, perverted our search for spiritualism, and clouded our very reason for living.  People have changed, but why?  Some say it is because of the lack of moral principles, too much connectivity through social media, the pressures of living in a politically correct society, or simply sensory overload brought on by the explosion of the digital information age.  Any one of these could be responsible and all are indeed contributing factors, but the facts point to something even more sinister – the government’s secret agenda to take over our minds.  This is not just another contrived conspiracy theory found on the pages of Facebook; this is for real.  The first clue to its authenticity is a government document called Agenda 8447-47-2-5653 that was originally issued as a top-secret document in 1983.  The original document was so top-secret that the government used a DTMF (dual-tone multi-frequency signaling) code to encrypt it.  The agenda called for a government-funded plan to take over the minds of citizens of the United States.  The strategy consisted of three phases:  Phase 1 – Depriving the human brain of intellectual stimulation (Although Phase 1 was implemented experimentally prior to 1983, it did not really take off until around 1999), Phase 2 – Molecularly reconstructing the brain (Phase 2 was put into operation in November 1983), and Phase 3 – Depriving the brain of its primary energy source (Like Phase 1, Phase 3 actually began experimentally as far back as the 1960’s, but it did not become an official government tool of control until 1983).  Basically the idea was to starve American brains and create a population with defecated waste for brains.  The plan actually worked to perfection in the 2000, 2008, and 2012 presidential elections. 

          Think about it for a moment.  With television, video games, social media, computers, and cell phones stagnating any significant intellectual stimulation, phase one of Agenda 8447-47-2-5653 was accomplished quite easily.   Through electronic imagery flashing continuously in front of our eyes, electronic media plugged into our ears, and social media daily shaping and reshaping what we think and believe, the human brain has been effectively shut down.  We are no longer required to think or reason, but rather we have become sponges absorbing whatever is fed to us by and through the media.  We have been programmed to look at what we see on the tube, hear spoken into our earphones or printed on the computer screen in front of us as the pure and undeniably gospel truth.  Intellectually we have settled nicely into a comfort zone of irrationality and passive submissiveness.  As a society we are out to lunch, and there is no evidence we will ever be back.

          However, even without nurturing and meaningful intellectual stimulation, there are those who maintain with some degree of accuracy that the brain can still effectively function and experience a certain degree of independence as long as there is an adequate supply of oxygen as well as an adequate source of energy.  Therefore, to manipulate and control the biophysical aspect of free will, the government has been successfully controlling the quality of oxygen and glucose (the brain’s favorite energy source) people receive for decades.  It is important at this point that you take a deep breath, and clear your mind before continuing.  What you are about to read in the following paragraphs will shock and shake the very foundation of your existence as a human being,

          When it comes to oxygen supplied to the brain, our government is the largest non-commercial manipulator of oxygen supplies in the world.  For decades government guidelines have regulated the air/oxygen content ratios introduced into homes, schools, businesses, shopping malls, convention centers, etc. through the air conditioning and heating units that continuously blow into our private and commercial buildings.  Every air conditioning unit or heating unit built and issued in the United States since 1983 is equipped with a small electronic dispenser called a molecularcerebrumhypercolator or MOLE that injects microscopic molecules into the air each time the unit is activated.  Over time, these percolated molecules become addictive and eventually cause the brain to slip into a catatonic coma.  Why do you think that over the past three decades children have ventured outside to play less and less?  The reason is simple!  They have become addicted to the ionized brain regeneration particles that are injected into the air each time an air conditioner or heating unit turns on.  Due to these microscopic particles that are continuously swirling around in our homes, churches, and shopping malls, a child’s brain develops a hunger for the particles to the point that a child subconsciously is repulsed by fresh air from outdoors, which means they seek indoor recreation in the forms of television, computers, cell phones, and video games. These particles also cause an unexplained side-effect in children.  After prolonged exposure, many children experience a crippling phobia that causes them to fear the possibility of not being in the room when an adult conversation ensues.  The thought of being elsewhere (such as outside) when two or more adults are engaged in an adult conversation causes severe anxiety attacks in many infected children.

          However, even with behind the scenes government involvement in brain stimulation (video games, cell phones, etc.) and brain oxygen additives (MOLE), the government is wise enough to understand that to truly control the human mind; they must control the major energy source to the brain, which is glucose. The brain uses approximately 20% of the body’s energy, and glucose is the fuel that supplies energy for all cells in the body.  When glucose is in short demand, the body and the brain can utilize carbohydrates, but even with an abundance of carbohydrates, when the glucose minimum in the brain drops below 30 grams, the brain enters into a catatonic state of consciousness – a glucose deficient coma.  The symptoms of a person in such a walking coma are easy to recognize:  pale almost gray complexion; blank “nobody at home” eyes; since eye sight is greatly impaired in such a state, infected individuals often walk with their arms stretched out in front of them to act as a buffer from running into objects; also, related to their impaired vision, the clothes and grooming of infected individuals tends to be disheveled; and often but not always the infected individual will walk with a slight or in more severe cases a more pronounced dragging of the right leg.  Although similar in appearance, please do not confuse these individuals with “the walking dead,” they are NOT DEAD, so NEVER resort to shooting them in the head with shotguns or any other projectile emitting device if and when they invade your personal space.    If you do, you can be charged with murder.  (Please, refer to later information on how to bloodlessly avoid infected individuals.)

          The good news is that most people consume enough glucose related fuels in their normal diets each day to prevent such a glucose coma from occurring.  In fact, most diets of Americans are so jam-packed with carbohydrates and sugars, the chances of dropping into such a coma are very slim unless an individual suffers from some sort of physical disorder.  Therefore, the government has tapped into the physiological needs of the brain for glucose through the help and intervention of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Through the work of the CDCP, minute doses of glucose degenerative antigens (gda) have been administered to the general public through vaccines, sugar restrictive diets, and congestive nasal sprays for decades.  Over time, these antigens build up in the brain until the antigen mass is large enough to biologically trigger a normally dormant enzyme called Monosaccharide Acid that resides in the frontal lobe of the cerebrum.  This enzyme is basically a glucose carnivore that eats any glucose in the brain in excess of 30 grams.  Once the glucose level drops below 30 grams, the enzyme becomes inactive and remains inactive as long as the 30 grams mark is not breached.  Over the years, as the buildup of these antigens rises, glucose levels in human brains begin to fluctuate wildly, which explains the erratic behaviors many people sometimes witness in the people around them.   Eventually though, the brain will be reprogrammed to believe that the correct functional glucose level is 29 grams or less.  This accounts for the fact, that in just the past few years, we have begun to see more and more people shuffling through life in a brainless state of consciousness.  Initially this was especially true for individuals involved in the world of education.

          Why in the beginning were people involved in education more likely to succumb to this condition?  This is a phenomenon that no one can really explain, but prior to 2008 ninety-five percent of the documented infections involved teachers, principals, students, or parents of children ranging from age four to twenty-two.  However, today, the percentage of the infected connected to education has dropped to seventy percent, which illustrates that there has been a rise in the number of infected individuals outside of education.  The only explanation for this phenomenon from the scientific community has been a supposition that due to the stress people connected to education experience, they are more susceptible to fall victim to the government takeover of the human brain.  Their research seems to indicate that stress leads to an earlier and briefer incubation period. 

          Recently, there was an article in U.S. Worldwide Report about the epidemic rise in the number of sightings and interactions with glucose deficient individuals.  The report referred to infected individuals as ZOMBIES!  When I first read this, I was shocked and outraged that a tabloid such as the U.S. Worldwide Report would embrace such a nonsensical science fiction notion as zombies.  However, after a couple of very unpleasant encounters of my own with individuals that can only be described as mentally incapacitated, I have come to agree with their assessment.

          As ludicrous as it sounds, zombies are real, and they are as close as your neighborhood schoolhouse, but very little has been said about them in our politically correct society.  The CDCP has shied away from making a big deal out of the growing number of zombies walking our streets, but several local communities have actually declared local emergencies and even set up quarantine areas for infected people.  However, to date, the closest thing to an emergency statement or quarantine from the Federal government has been a cautionary warning or advisory sent to state governors advising them that uninfected persons should take every precaution when dealing with infected persons.  In a follow-up to Agenda 8447-47-2-5653 the government issued Agenda 8447-47-2-5653A in which CDCP outlined guidelines for recognizing and coping with the infected.

          However, it appears that shortly after Agenda 8447-47-2-5653 was issued in 1983, CDCP had a sudden change of heart and actually tried to warn and prepare states for what was to come.  In February 1983, CDCP issued potential zombie alerts in a coded appendix to a report entitled A Nation at Risk.   The document was rightly recognized as a warning that the nation’s schools were failing to adequately prepare children for the work force, and it touched off waves of local, state, and national education reforms.  However, in the rush to jump on the education reform bandwagon, the coded appendix was overlooked and as a result the true purpose of the report was lost, but it was not entirely the fault of hasty legislators.  Unknown to anyone outside the CDCP, the appendix contained a detailed though coded account of Operation Mindscape, the government plan supported by Agenda 8447-47-2-5653 to take control of the nation’s population through zombination.  Coupled with the absence of an official memorandum to bring attention to the appendix and a distribution error by the CDCP, the real purpose of the A Nation at Risk report was overlooked.  What happened to cause the oversight?  The code wheels needed to decipher the appendix code were mistakenly issued in Cracker Jack and cereal boxes around the nation rather than fastened to the inside covers of the reports that were sent to each state legislator.  After the discovery of the mistake, it was 2001 before the government re-released the alert as a supplement to the No Child Left Behind Act, but by then Operation Mindscape had already been leaked to most state legislatures across the nation, who much to the dismay of President George W. Bush didn’t seem to care at all.  In fact, most state legislators across the nation were delighted with the news; the idea of a possible zombie work force intrigued them.  Therefore, when President Barack Obama signed the 2010 Zombie Right to Work Act into law, the governors in every state quickly embraced the new law, and zombies were heralded as the answer to business and government prayers for a cheap labor force – especially in education.  As a result, zombie teachers quickly became the preferred teacher in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (Today, zombie teachers account for approximately 25% of the teacher workforce in the United States, and the percentage increases yearly).  Why?  One word.  Economics.  In fact, a complete list of why state legislatures preferred to hire zombie teachers was compiled in 2011 by the National Governors Association.  As can be seen in the list below, the NGA heralded zombies as very attractive teacher candidates for states struggling with escalating education budget demands.

National Governors Association

Benefits of Hiring a Zombie to Teach

 1.       GDA induced zombies are not a threat to children, and they are only marginally so to other teachers and administrators.  GDA induced zombies can be effective teachers if the school takes precautions to secure vending machines that tend to cause sugar anxiety attacks in GDA zombies.   For this reason, vending machines in many schools were eliminated or restricted to non-sugar products a few years ago. 

2.       Zombies do not have any use for money, so they do not care about pay raises.

3.       Zombies do not argue or question.

4.       Zombies do not complain about working conditions as long as they are fed regularly.  School districts that employ zombies are eligible to receive free special canned government commodities especially packaged for zombie consumption.

5.       Zombies are very capable of distributing handouts and conducting direct instruction in the classroom.

6.       Zombies are good at video games; therefore, they relate well to kids.

7.       Zombies do not have to take restroom breaks.  Scientists speculate that the reason is that zombies sweat profusely.

8.       Zombies cannot tell time, so they do not mind working long hours.

9.       Zombies are covered by the 2010 Zombie Right to Work Act, so unions have little to say about their working conditions, work hours,  pay, or duty schedules.

10.     Zombies are recyclable.  The professional career expectancy for a zombie educator is three to five years before they become bored and move on to other careers.  However, the same expectancy for longevity can be applied to their new career, so the odds are good that within three to five years, the zombie will return to the field of education even though many of them will return as superintendents or principals rather than classroom teachers.  Although this may sound harsh, zombies make excellent educators dead or alive.  A little publicized fact is that when a zombie dies there is a seventy-five percent chance he or she will return within a very short time as a “walking dead.”  Since there is no distinction between a GDA Induced zombie and a “walking dead” zombie in the 2010 Zombie Right to Work law, “walking dead” zombies have the same rights as GDA zombies when it comes to applying for work as an educator.  In effect, the zombie pool of educators never dies.     

          Zombies can make a lot of sense in a struggling school district, but like most teachers, they can come with their own unique baggage.  In the end, however, the question is no longer “Are zombies real?” but rather “How do we deal with zombies?”  This last question is of growing concern as more and more zombie families move into local communities and enroll their children in community schools.  Now that Operation Mindscape is in full force after an overly long incubation period of thirty years, zombies can be found just about everywhere.  They come in all forms – lawyers, doctors, business men and women, blue-collar workers, military, preachers, etc. and of course anyone connected to education.  In our politically correct world, it is safe to say zombies do not discriminate when it comes to vocation, race, politics, or religion.  As a result, zombies are becoming a major part of our communities and with care and caution can even become a part of our social circles.  

          Though the zombie threat is very real, there is little reason for uninfected individuals to panic and run for the hills.  Although zombies should be dealt with cautiously, they are more of a nuisance than an actual physical threat (Of course, “the walking dead” are an altogether different matter).  You do not have to like zombies, but the chances are good that there are one or more zombies where you work, where you socialize, and even in your family.  Therefore, it is important that we learn to live together in love and respect for one another regardless of whether we drag our right leg or not.  Zombiism is not going away, and within the next twenty years or so zombies will more than likely become the dominate species on the planet walking on two legs.  The CDCP sums it up rather nicely in their guidelines, How to Maintain a Positive Relationship with Zombies, when they state,

“Whether the government had a role or not in the rise of the zombie in the United States is no longer an issue worth debating.  The fact is that zombies are here, and citizens must learn to live and cope with them on a daily bases.  It is important for citizens to understand that zombies are not zombies by choice, but rather they are zombies due to factors beyond their control.  Therefore, it is wise as a society if we put our prejudices aside and embrace zombies for who they are rather than for who we would like for them to be.  You cannot catch zombiism from an infected person unless the infected person is a “walking dead” in which case you should avoid being bitten at all costs.  However, encounters with the “walking dead” are extremely rare except for in places such as New Jersey and Mexico.  Also, a little known fact is that if a person has not shown signs of zombiism prior to his or her 22nd birthday, the possibilities of becoming a zombie unless bitten by the “walking dead” are extremely remote. 

          This statement is not intended to dehumanize a person who succumbs to zombiism, but rather the statement is intended as reassurance that the human race is not yet in line for extinction.  However, it is important for humans to understand that zombies are one-dimensional; they live in a perpetual state of agitation and hunger.  Therefore, it is best to avoid them as much as possible, but sometimes interaction is unavoidable.  In preparation for such times, it is important for non-infected humans to study the CDCP guidelines for recognizing and coping with our zombie friends.  By following the guidelines set forth in Agenda 8447-47-2-5653A, there should be no reason whatsoever why zombies and humans cannot live together in harmony.”

JL

©Jack Linton, March 23, 2014

 

PART II

How to Recognize and Deal with a Zombie Parent

(Coming next week)

America’s Education Priorities: We Have the Education System We Want

            On just about any day of the week, you can open the newspaper or turn on the television and see and hear headlines about the poor state of American education.  Parents, educators, and politicians are continuously debating reforms that they say must take place in education if America’s children are to compete in the world market.  Year after year after year, we hear the same reform rhetoric about education, but little is ever done about it.  Why?  I have heard it said, and I have come to believe that in America the reason very little ever truly changes in education is that we already have in place the educational system we want for our children, and that the truth about education reform is that it is little more than a smoke screen for our real priorities.  Like it or not, education today is a direct reflection of what we hold important, our biases, and our beliefs about who we are as a nation, and as a result, the odds of education truly ever changing are very slim.  That is because, in spite of what we say and do, we have in place the education system we want.  Where the education priority of most countries is academics, in the United States our priority is threefold – academics, athletics, and the arts.  In most countries, the school day is academic oriented with maybe some time set aside for a physical education class, but in the United States academics competes with athletics and the arts for time in the school schedule.

            I spent sixteen years as a high school coach, and I believe athletics as well as the arts are an integral part of a well-rounded education.  However, when a student can spend as much or more time during the school day in elective classes such as football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and track and/or in music based performance classes such as band and show choir as they do in mathematics or science then maybe it is time to question our priorities.  If not, then it stands to reason that we have our educational priorities exactly where we want them.  If that is the case, maybe it is time to shut up about how our students compare academically with students from other nations where the non-academic classes listed above are rarely a part of the school day.  It does not make sense to compare our students who spend as much as 40% of their school day lifting weights, practicing dribbling the ball, batting practice, singing, dancing, and marching to students from other nations who spend maybe 14% of their school day in non-academic classes.  To make such a comparison is like comparing the proverbial apples to oranges.

            I can feel my ears burning and the sharp barbs of criticism shooting through my veins from having the audacity to tread on the sacred grounds of athletics and the arts.  However, I am not against either, and as I said earlier, I believe both are integral parts of a child’s education, and I stand by that.  However, my point is that if academics are our true priority then extra-curricular activities should be held after school and they should not be competing for academic time with such classes as mathematics and science.  Athletes, musicians, and dancers can train and practice for their choice of extra-curricular activities after school just as well as they can during the school day.  In fact, if that happened, some of them might actually have time to get involved in more advanced math and science classes, or they might find time for additional academic tutoring in other academic areas such as language arts and social studies.

            As the javelin arcs across the grey sky and impales itself between my shoulder blades, I can hear the coaches, directors, and community screaming and wailing about how moving extra-curricular activities to after school would destroy their competitive edge and severely dampen chances of ever competing for or winning a state championship.  First, if the same rules are applied and enforced for everybody, I say that is hogwash, and second, I say, “So what?”  What are our priorities anyway?  Is it our priority to compete for and win state championships, or is it our priority to educate children to compete and flourish in a global society?  In America, I believe the answer is to do both, and that is why I believe that we already have the education system in place that we want for our children.  That is also why I believe it is ludicrous for our children to be compared to children from around the globe when our priorities are so different.  Only in the public school system in the United States is there a multiple system of educational priorities in place, so why should we worry about where we stand academically in the world when it is clear that educationally we march to the beat of a different drummer.

            America’s multiple priorities in education makes world comparisons irrelevant.  However, rankings, lists, and comparisons are all part of our 21st Century culture.  The news media, politicians, and late night TV hosts would be lost without a top ten or a top twenty-five list, but are those lists really fair?  Of course not!  For a fair assessment of where American children stand in the world, the assessment instruments must be updated.  PISA, TIMMS, and other tests used to rank students should be revamped to include not only academics but athletic and artistic performance proficiency as well.  By developing a formula that calculates student success based on academic achievement, athletic achievement, and artistic achievement as proficiency measures, a more accurate picture of how American children compare to the children of the world could be fairly determined.  Heck, in the absence of a test to measure athletic proficiency, we could always average in medal numbers from the winter and summer Olympics, and for artistic achievement, we could factor in scores from school age versions of American Idol, The Voice, and maybe even a teen version of Dancing with the Stars.  If such revolutionary revisions were made to PISA and TIMMS, I believe American children could once again take their rightful place at the top of the rankings.  If America’s true priorities were factored into the assessment mix, I doubt seriously if Finland, Japan, Germany or any other country would ever kick our butts again on the PISA or TIMMS assessments.  It is time we stopped being judged by the priorities of the rest of the world, and started being judged on American priorities.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 17, 2014

The Not So Secret, Secret

       Have you ever wondered what is truly behind the anti-teacher and anti-education rhetoric that continually flows out of Jackson?  Have you ever wondered why it seems that over the past few years the state legislature and the governor have declared war against teachers and education in general across the state?  Have you ever wondered what is truly behind the push to privatize public education?  The answer to these questions is probably one of the best kept non-secrets in Mississippi, but every Mississippian needs to know about this not so secret, secret.  They need to understand that the crusade to link parent choice to privatizing Mississippi public education has not happened by chance nor did it happen overnight.  It is actually a part of an agenda that was put into place a little over forty years ago aimed at privatizing education across the United States; an agenda that has been called radical, dangerous, and a threat to American democracy.  Some people may not believe what I am saying, but if you are an educator, you need to heed what I am about to disclose and understand whether you like it or not, you are at war.  The war I am talking about is a long burning ember that has erupted into a full scale blaze that threatens the very existence of public school education not only in Mississippi but across the nation.

       First, I must admit I was in the dark as much as anyone else until about three years ago. I was talking to a friend who was a high school principal in Louisiana at the time, and as usual we were discussing the good and bad about education in our states.  We were rocking along nicely exchanging stories when my friend asked me what I thought about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.  My response was an unknowing, “Who?”  He laughed and said, “Get ready.  They already have a strong foothold in your legislature, so you need to pay attention.  This group is probably the greatest threat to public education in history.”  Despite my friend’s on-the-money warning, I did not pay much attention even when he told me a central theme to ALEC’s education agenda was privatizing public schools.  I just did not believe at the time that privatizing public education in Mississippi held a lot of merit or even if it did, that such a notion had a “snowball’s chance in hades” of taking root here.  I still believe I was right about the lack of merit, but boy, was I ever more wrong about that snowball.

       That snowball’s chance has exploded in the face of Mississippi’s public school educators.  ALEC and its Mississippi legislator members are running roughshod over the public schools by ramrodding charter schools, vouchers, tax deductions for private school tuition and home-schooling expenses, and special education vouchers down the throats of local school districts by declaring public schools in Mississippi are “educationally bankrupt.”  Claiming their actions are in the best interest of Mississippi children, they are in effect funneling public tax dollars into private schools (vouchers) and into private for profit ventures (charter schools).  To bring this about, ALEC has brought state legislators and corporations together to form an education task force that drafts model bills that are intended to be introduced at the state level.  At the state level, ALEC members or those affiliated with the organization in the house and senate insert applicable state language into the model bill that in effect makes the bill look like original legislation introduced by local politicians.  This is not only happening in Mississippi, but it is happening in state after state across the nation.  A common strategy is to introduce education bills in mass to prevent opponents of the bills from blocking all of them at one time.  If you look back at the number of education bills that have been introduced in Jackson over the past two or three years, it is easy to see that this strategy has been in play in Mississippi for quite some time.  The bottom line is that this organization is undermining public education by draining public education dollars from the public school system to subsidize private schools and private tutoring as well as lining the pockets of for-profit corporate run charter schools.

       What I am about to say may offend some, and cause others to scream party partisanship on my part.  However, I can assure you that I have little regard for the failed political platforms of either the Republican or Democrat parties or for the platform, whatever it may be today, of the so called Tea Party.  However, be that as it may, simply stated, ALEC is a marriage between large corporations and conservative Republicans in the house and the senate (ALEC membership is overwhelmingly Republican).  These large corporations buy seats on the education task force where they can receive tax breaks for donations, privately vote on model legislation, and generally influence the task force with their corporate agendas.  On the other hand, the conservative Republicans get to flaunt their brilliance for policy innovation without disclosing their bills were first crafted by the corporate world for the purpose of expanding their profit margins at the expense of Mississippi taxpayers (I have listed resources at the conclusion of this blog that provide lists of Mississippi legislators who are or have been affiliated with ALEC).  Renowned education historian, Diane Ravitch, clearly sums up the role ALEC has in the current crusade against public education when she says,

“This outburst of anti-public school, anti-teacher legislation is no accident. It is the work of a shadowy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Founded in 1973, ALEC is an organization of nearly 2,000 conservative state legislators. Its hallmark is promotion of privatization and corporate interests in every sphere, not only education, but healthcare, the environment, the economy, voting laws, public safety, etc. It drafts model legislation that conservative legislators take back to their states and introduce as their own “reform” ideas. ALEC is the guiding force behind state-level efforts to privatize public education and to turn teachers into at-will employees who may be fired for any reason. The ALEC agenda is today the “reform” agenda for education.”

       But why would anyone or any organization want to destroy public education?  What is their motivation?  In February 2012, Julie Underwood and Julie F. Mead wrote about the dismantling of the public school system in Phi Delta Kappan.  In that article, they said,

“The motivation for dismantling the public education system—creating a system where schools do not provide for everyone—is ideological, and it is motivated by profit. The corporate members on ALEC’s education task force include representatives from the Friedman Foundation, Goldwater Institute, Evergreen Education Group, Washington Policy Center, and corporations providing education services such as Sylvan Learning and K- 12, Inc.  All stand to benefit from public funding sent in their direction.”

If this is indeed true, and current legislation in the Mississippi legislature certainly seems to support that it is, then we can only assume that if corporations stand to profit from privatizing public education, maybe some of their membership stands to profit as well.

       When it comes to politics very little ever happens by chance, and the current state of affairs with education politics in Jackson is no different.  The only “chance” in play in Mississippi is the chance that Mississippians are taking by not paying attention to what is happening in the Mississippi senate and house chambers.  I have always been a believer in capitalism, but I never thought I would live to see the day that some in our state legislature would be transformed from serving children to serving private for profit greed.  It is time Mississippians started paying attention and responding with their votes before it is too late.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 2014

Resources you may be interested in reviewing:

1.         http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Mississippi_ALEC_Politicians

This is a partial list of Mississippi politicians that are known to be involved in, or previously involved in, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It is a partial list.  You may wish to call your state legislator and ask if he or she is a member of ALEC.

2.         http://www.alec.org/

American Legislative Exchange Council – website

You may want to look at some of their model education bills.  You might be surprised to see some of the same bills that have been introduced in Mississippi recently.

3.       http://www.alternet.org/story/155257/what_you_need_to_know_about_alec

What You Need to Know About ALEC:  The now embattled organization has been working to destroy public ed for the past forty years. Here’s   what you need to know about how they’re doing it.

By Diane Ravitch

4.         http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/01/kappan_underwood.html

A Smart ALEC Threatens Public Education:  Coordinated efforts to introduce model             legislation aimed at defunding and dismantling public schools is the signature work of this conservative organization.

by Julie Underwood and Julie F. Mead, Phi Delta Kappan

5.         http://alecexposed.org/w/images/7/7b/ALEC_on_Education_2.pdf

TEN MISCONCEPTIONS & TRUTHS ABOUT EDUCATION IN MISSISSIPPI

When it comes to education in Mississippi everyone has an opinion, and that is okay.  When it comes to education in Mississippi, almost everyone has ideas for solutions to education problems, and that is also okay.  However, the misconceptions that many of these opinions and solutions are based on are not okay.  Mistaken beliefs or false impressions about education make it difficult to find common ground on which to work for the good of all children.  Unfortunately, that does not keep the masses from weighing in with often misguided resolve to right the wrongs of education.

 MISCONCEPTION 1:

When it comes to education in Mississippi, EVERYBODY is an EXPERT.

The TRUTH:

In Mississippi, everyone who has ever attended grade school, high school, or college is a self-proclaimed expert on education.  Never mind the fact that some of them may have dropped out of school after the eighth grade, they are still experts.  In fact, with each passing year their expertise often doubles or even triples.  Like football, education is a favorite domain of the armchair quarterback.

 MISCONCEPTION 2:

When it comes to education in Mississippi, there is a “SILVER BULLET” out there somewhere that can cure all the state’s education ills.

The TRUTH:

There are 170+ “SILVER BULLETS” in the Mississippi senate and house, 1 “SILVER BULLET” in the office of lieutenant governor, and 1 “SILVER BULLET” in the governor’s office.  They know what is wrong with education and how to fix it as long as it does not involve adequate funding or a little common sense.

 MISCONCEPTION 3:

When it comes to education in Mississippi, lack of school success is exclusively the result of inferior teaching.

The TRUTH:

Poor teaching may be a factor, but research supports that school success is a direct reflection of the socioeconomics of the community in which the school exists.  The bottom line is that children living in poverty do not fare as well academically as more affluent children.  When you factor in the fact that Mississippi leads the nation with 35% of its children living in poverty, there is little doubt as to why Mississippi ranks last educationally in the nation.

MISCONCEPTION 4:

Educational change is ongoing in Mississippi.

 The TRUTH:

Change in Mississippi education is an illusion.  For example, recently a Mississippi parent removed her child from the local public school to homeschool the child after becoming concerned about her daughter’s homework.  She blamed common core standards.  She explained that her child’s homework was focused on writing out thoughts and not worksheets like homework from past years.   She could not understand why we need to change the way things have always been done.  Maybe this mother is right – Mississippi children rank number 51 in the nation (Behind Washington DC!), so maybe change is not necessary (Now that is what I call a misconception!).

  MISCONCEPTION 5:

Mississippi parents want their children to be challenged in school.

The TRUTH:

Many Mississippi parents believe if schoolwork is too difficult for the parents, it is too difficult for their children.

 MISCONCEPTION 6:

Education is a priority in Mississippi.

The TRUTH:

Education in Mississippi is not a priority when it conflicts with other priorities

MISCONCEPTION 7:

Class size in Mississippi schools does not matter.

The TRUTH:

In education we avoid putting more than twelve adults on a single committee because with more than twelve it is hard to maintain focus, and committees tend to be less productive.  However, we do not hesitate to place twenty-five plus children in a classroom with a single teacher and demand that the teacher keeps them totally focused and on task at all times, maintains perfect classroom behavior, and ensures that all students demonstrate proficient to advanced academic progress on state tests.  The bottom line is that class size does matter! Ask a struggling child in a classroom of thirty-five.

 MISCONCEPTION 8:

Large consolidated schools are better.

The TRUTH:

Any school that is so large that it allows children to become anonymous is too large.  An anonymous child is much more likely to strike out at a society that is blind to his or her existence.  The argument has always been that larger schools make more sense economically, and that the larger school can provide more program opportunities for students.  Those may be valid points, but the truth is that the larger the school the greater the chances that a child can become a number without a face.

 MISCONCEPTION 9:

Anybody can be a teacher in Mississippi.

The TRUTH:

It takes a special person to be a teacher.  However, anybody can be a state legislator in Mississippi.  Mississippi legislators are like a man who gets lost on a trip – he will drive around in circles for eternity before he will admit he needs help and asks for directions.   Why?  Refer to MISCONCEPTION #1.

 MISCONCEPTION 10:

The governor and state legislators claim the Mississippi Department of Education and state educators in general are not innovative enough to move Mississippi education forward..

The TRUTH:

Political posturing disguised as innovation is a big problem in Jackson.  However, a bigger problem is the governor and the state legislators’ mindset that they must save Mississippi children from the state’s educators.  Their lack of trust, respect, and support of educators has created a dysfunctional relationship between the state legislature and educators that has effectively crippled education in the state.  Their “us against them” attitude has established an adversarial atmosphere that will take years to reconcile if it can be reconciled.  The sad part is that the losers are the children.

The next time you read or hear a debate for or against education, listen closely and refer to this list.  You may be surprised to see several of these misconceptions raise their ugly heads, or sad to say, you may also find yourself adding new ones to an ever growing list.

JL

©Jack Linton, 2014