This student fucking needs to stop, you guys.

Lots of profanity coming your way!

I was watching last Thursday’s The Nightly Show a few nights ago, and a couple of things really upset me.  The topic of the evening was the recent slew of female teachers (sweet mother of god, why are there so many of them?!?!?) having sex with their male middle and high school students.

The first thing that bugged me was that the group mentioned the double standard regarding gender and sex with minors, but didn’t really address it in any way except to say that they had no problem with the female teachers in question getting a slap on the wrist for bangin’ their kids, but if it were a male teacher having sex with female students, we should “lock him up” for good.  I’m much more bothered by the fact that this double standard exists than by the fact that the guests were being flippant about it; it is, after all, a comedy show. 

So here’s the thing.  Teachers shouldn’t be fucking their students.  Period, full stop, the end.  Hey, teachers!  I don’t give a shit what gender you identify as.  I don’t give a shit if that student is technically of legal consent age.  I don’t give a shit if that student isn’t in your class.  I don’t give a shit how attractive the student is.  And I definitely don’t give a shit if the student came on to you first.  Being a teacher means being able to make big girl decisions.  You are a trusted authority figure and there is a discernible power discrepancy between you and that student.  If you can’t manage to harness the will power to keep it in your pants until the student graduates, then you shouldn’t be teaching.

I recognize teenagers as people with sexual desire and sexual agency, fully capable of making responsible decisions.  But I also recognize teenagers as people who are in hormonal flux and generally more susceptible to the power of suggestion than adults are.  Something that’s often taught in teacher training programs is that a teacher should never engage in a power struggle with a student when (s)he’s angry because the teacher is the one in charge — the adult.  The one with the power to reward, punish, give scores, and make a tangible impact on the student’s life.  I think that concept applies here. 

When I was a senior in high school, I was quite taken with a young PE teacher at my school, fresh out of college.  I was 18 and he must have been… 23?  I wore revealing clothing, flirted with him shamelessly, talked to all my friends about how badly I wanted that guy’s dick in me, and gave him the sex eyes every time I passed him.  I knew exactly what I was doing, and I’m very thankful that he never even looked at me inappropriately.     

Tying into this, the second thing that irritated me was when Mo’Nique said that she couldn’t fault the male students because boys were just natural horndogs; her exact quote was, “At sixteen, a boy is just looking to get laid; a girl is looking for love.” 

FUCK. THAT.

I was stupid horny when I was sixteen.  I had sex all over the place and as often as I could, and not only that — I craved it.  I masturbated frequently and fantasized during class.  I had a sexual bucket list (anyone remember that 500 question purity test that was floating around the internet in the mid-90s?).  This girl was looking for hot sex.

Mo’Nique was trying to say that it’s no big deal if a male student has sex with a teacher because he’s not emotionally invested, but it is a big deal if a female student has sex with a male teacher because she’ll end up hurt.  I find this highly problematic because it implies that men have no feelings.  And that’s some bullshit.  Boys and men want to be liked and wanted just as much as girls and women do.  They feel and express love, regret, hurt, and desire.  They are as vulnerable as their female counterparts. 

There’s a reason teachers call their students their kids.  They feel like our children because ideally, we want to protect and encourage them.  We want to help them learn, grow, and become amazing adults.  We want to foster their curiosity, take care of them when they need help, and be there for them. 

Teachers: if you wouldn’t fuck your children, then don’t fuck your kids. 

Also, I’d really like this blog to show up on a search engine one of these days, and if you keep fucking your students, then my dream will be merely made of pipes. 

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US Middle and High School Dropouts are Fuuuuuucked.

Over the past year, the United States has seen an increase in employment, and the economy is finally beginning to recover a bit after a long recession.  So the good suits over at Pearson, the for-profit company (the largest education company in the world, worth billions of GBP and headquartered in London) that is responsible for writing and producing the GED diploma, was like, “Wait, what?  People are getting jobs?  And learning?  And being able to support themselves?  Before you know it, they’ll be wanting a voice and power!  Well, we’ll just see about that.” 
   
The new GED test was implemented at the beginning of 2014 to reflect the Common Core national educational standards for public schools that most states adopted quickly (but which some are beginning to drop).  Ostensibly, the reason for the changes in the content of the test is to prepare GED test takers to enter a four year-university, which is one of the primary goals of the Common Core.  Changes to the test included:

  • More of a focus on critical thinking and analytical skills, such as close reading, essay writing, and advanced algebra;
  • The test is now only available online;
  • Test samples now cost $6 per sample and require a credit card to purchase;
  • The cost of the test itself has tripled, from $40 to $120.

The reason this has been in the news recently is because passing rates from 2014 have just been released; in 2013, the last year that the old test was implemented, 540,000 test-takers passed.  In 2014, only 55,000 passed.  That is a decrease of 90%.  Ninety percent!  Imagine if your local DMV suddenly changed the written test to get a driver’s license, and suddenly 90% of people were failing. We would find that problematic, no?

Who does this affect?

  • Anyone who’s just trying to get a high school diploma equivalent in order to get a job and doesn’t plan on entering a college or university;
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a computer;
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a hundred and twenty fucking dollars to fork over to a wealthy company which is profiting off of making the test more difficult;
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a credit card;
  • Anyone who didn’t grow up with computers and doesn’t have computer skills;
  • Inmates, many of whom need to pass the GED in order to get a job upon being released from prison

Basically, anyone who’s already screwed from the start.

In addition to all of this, most adult education is taught by volunteers who might not have the skills or knowledge to teach the new material.  Luckily, there are other testing companies that have developed alternative equivalency tests, which some states are beginning to accept.  Being able to pass this test has real-life implications for hundreds of thousands of people; passing the GED and being a better job candidate because of it can mean being able to financially support a family, get health benefits, and work on paying off debt.  It contributes to agency, self-actualization, and survival.  This shit is important. Read about it more here.

#FuckYes

Someone sent me an article a month ago that focuses on doing things in your life that you are enthusiastic about (take five minutes to read it); the thesis of the text is that if you’re not saying “Fuck, yes!” to something, then you should just say no — especially in relationships (sexual relationships, romantic relationships, friendships; all the ships).  The piece begins with the question: Why would you ever choose to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? 

People sometimes stay with partners they’re not that into for reasons of financial or emotional security, sex, a boost in self-esteem, or out of habit.  Or because they don’t want to hurt their partner’s feelings.  Most people have experienced power imbalances in their relationships, and many of us have been hurt by people who have held onto us while only having lukewarm or ambivalent feelings toward us.  

Someone recently said to me that this is a bullshit binary (not in those exact words), which is a fair point.  There is a lot of grey area between being stoked to be with someone and feeling “meh” about a partner, and it’s hard to be in a state of excitement all the time because, realistically, we have lives outside of our relationships that need tending to.  The ways we feel about people can’t be shoved into a binary, and peoples’ feelings and relationships change and grow over time. That being said, as Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert say in More Than Two, “ambivalence has little place in romance” — it can be and often is incredibly painful.  Which is exactly why “Fuck yes or no” IS a binary (hence the or); emotional purgatory is the worst place to be.

A few important things I took away from this article:
1) Know thyself.  Know what you want in a partnership.
2) If you’re not sure how someone feels about you, ask, and really be ready to hear their answer.  If you’re not sure how you feel about someone else, then tell them so they can make informed choices. If your feelings shift while dating someone or fucking someone or mid-relationship, say something. 
3) When you really feel excited to be with someone, tell them you are, because maybe they don’t know it!  Conversely, if you know someone is really into you and you’re not feeling it, even if you think it will hurt their feelings, be honest about it. 

Basically, just communicate more often, more honestly, and more compassionately.

**A note about the “Fuck, Yes or No” article: I like the premise, but it’s problematic.  It’s heteronormative and it uses war imagery to describe relationships, sex, and love (happiness is not a war).  The author claims that the law of fuck yes or no “instantly resolve[s]” consent issues.  What the what?  Consent is an ongoing conversation that can’t be “solved.”  He says if someone is “pressuring you into doing something you’re unsure about, your answer is now easy.”  No, it’s not.  It’s never easy to say no, especially while being pressured.  Finally, this article (this blog as well) is situated in a framework of privilege.  I have the privilege of entering into and exiting from relationships freely without the threat of violence or coercion, in a community and culture where sexual activity and relationships are choices.  I don’t have financial obligations that require me to stay with someone I don’t want to be with, or children to take into consideration.  This is certainly not representative of everyone, and it’s important to acknowledge that there are people who don’t have the choice to say, “Fuck, yes or no.”