Back to School Night (well, sort of)

My wife and I just had Back to School Night (BTSN) for our 17-year-old son who is a junior.   The schedule was the same as in the past where parents follow their child’s daily schedule from Pers. 1 through 6 spending 10 minutes in each class.

Unlike in the past, it was a virtual BTSN from the comfort of our den.  Teachers had the option of holding a live Zoom meeting or posting a video.  Two of our son’s teachers had live sessions while the others videotaped their presentations.  Either way was fine with me.  A parent can easily get a glimpse of a teacher’s personality on tape or live. 

I found the live sessions stranger due to parents who chose to show themselves on camera with attention-diverting backgrounds distracting the rest of us.  The videos had more information allowing teachers to use more visuals economically, though one teacher displayed long blocks of text which she then proceeded to read each word out loud, not a good practice.

As a parent, I have always enjoyed BTSN, finding it exciting to meet the educators who will temporarily spend time with my child and help mold him into a more learned individual.

As a now former teacher, I can’t help but judge which teachers I think will connect with my son and which will not.  Not every teacher can connect with every child.

However, having done 11 weeks of distance learning, I recognize the challenges all teachers face in this anxious period of time in which we live.  We all have to be patient and have faith that in due time things will return to normal and children will return to school.  In the meantime, support your child’s teachers as much as you can.  Emailing a quick “thank you for teaching my child during these difficult times” can brighten a teacher’s day.

There Goes the Neighborhood

I am not a fan of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

He lost my respect years ago when as San Francisco mayor he had an affair with his campaign manager’s wife.  Any earlier time in history, and such brazen adultery would have finished his future aspirations.

But standards and morals not what they used to be, he was elected governor two years ago with plans on moving on to the presidency.  God help us.

His political views are to the left of former Gov. Jerry Brown.  Many bills that Brown vetoed in 2018, Newsom signed in 2019.  “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” should be the theme song for Sacramento Democrats.

He signed a law for schools which emboldens bad kids to misbehave without consequences.  He continues supporting legislation that will destroy single-family neighborhoods.

Right now, if you live in California and own a house, beware.  Senate Bill 1120 is in the state assembly which, according to the Los Angeles Times, would allow “property owners [to] convert their single-family house into a duplex or demolish the house and in its place build two new single-family homes or a duplex.  Property owners could also split a single-family lot into two and then build two additional units, thus placing four homes where there previously was one.”

In other words, one household turns into 4 households.  Think of the additional cars, air and noise pollution that would impact neighbors’ standard of living.

What is driving this insanity is the wrong-headed thinking that if only more housing would be available, the homeless population would decrease.  Are they serious?

That is assuming 2 large illogical beliefs.  One, that many of the homeless are mentally normal people who are on the streets because they can’t afford the rent.  Don’t buy it.

Two, that by destroying the American Dream and making each street un-uniform in appearance, two duplexes here, one duplex there, one house, etc., those homeless people will be able to move into that neighborhood.  Wrong again.

Unless the government subsidizes the cost of the new duplexes below market value, those on limited incomes will still not be able to afford a duplex in a nice neighborhood.  Instead, developers will bid on homes, knock them down, erect duplexes, and come away richer than before, leaving in their dust a permanently damaged landscape for people who have lived in their neighborhoods for decades.  Unbelievable.

To add insult to injury, he has botched this state’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.  Back in March, his reviews were glowing as he was the first governor in America to mandate a quarantine.   This did work for a while, until in May when instead of reopening the economy gradually, he opened the floodgates, leading to a surge in the summer worse than the spring’s number of cases and deaths.

If you live in California and believe as I do, run don’t walk to your laptop, find out who your local Assembly member is, and fill out the “contact” form imploring them not to vote for 1120.

And when the next gubernatorial election happens in 2022, don’t forget what is happening now.

Otherwise, the theme song for many of will be “California, Here I Go.”