I just got insulted on Twitter by being called a “Boomer.” Like I had anything to say about that? And where did that come from?

I’ll admit that, overall, I didn’t enjoy the last generation I taught very much. I didn’t “get” them and they didn’t get me. Raised in the world of “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s equally egregious “educational” policy that focused on testing, this was a generation that grew up viewing teachers as adversaries and open questions as sadistic tricks. I left teaching 3 years before I’d planned because I no longer respected my students.

No teacher who feels that way should be in a classroom.

I’m very aware of the divide between the “young” and the “old” these days. It’s flamed by the media and in the eyes of the “young” we “boomers” are often equated with others who happened to have been born when we were — creatures such as Old 45 (known here as Offal, acronym for our fearless leader). The slam came when I agreed with Nancy Pelosi’s wise remark that the Democrats need to focus on winning the upcoming election, the presidency if possible, and seats in the Senate.

Nothing matters more. Right now the race is between Democrats competing for that slot on the ballot against Offal. When the primary circus is over, it will no longer be progressives vs. centrists. It will be Democrats vs. whatever the heck Offal is. I do not think he will be removed from office. The Repubs are viewing his selling out to a foreign power as “Just the way Trump does the Presidency.”

His machine is relentless and unyielding. It is completely subjective and not responsive to the rule of law. Behavior that should have had the Repubs shocked and dismayed seems to have had no effect at all. I truly (naively) expected them to turn around and say, “Offal, you can’t do that. That’s a crime. That’s a felony. That’s being a traitor.” But no. Politics trumped (ha ha) ethics. Whomever the Dems end up with will have to defeat Trump; they will have to get the Electoral College votes. Pelosi is completely right.

Pelosi made the point that what works in San Francisco won’t work in Michigan but what works in Michigan will work in San Francisco. Her focus there was workers rights. She was flamed by the young as being “over” and a closet Republican. She is making a case for strategy which is the right direction for any underdog.

What many young people don’t seem to understand is that 1) none of the progressive agenda can or will happen as long as Offal is in office; 2) once he is out of office and a transfer of power is made, the damage he’s caused will have to be repaired; 3) THEN the government can focus on the progressive agenda. None of this “boomer” stuff obviates the progressive agenda; it just very wisely points out that that agenda will not win enough votes in many states to get the electoral college vote.

So how do I, a Boomer, feel about the key progressive questions — ie. Medicare For All, the green new dal and free college? Well, since THIS is my bully pulpit, I’ll tell you. I think the Affordable Care Act — with all its flaws — is/was meant to be a step in the direction of health care for everyone. The “green new deal”? We’ve made more progress toward green technology than any shrieking 16 year old can possibly perceive. Can we do better? We have to. I support anything that will work. As for free college? I think high school should be better. I think elementary school should be better. Once people can graduate high school and go into the work force, then we can talk about free college, but as it is, high school is graduating people who cannot do anything. In my opinion, that’s a huge problem and one I’m very familiar with. I taught what was sixth grade English back in 1964 to college students in California in 2012. Truth. Our educational system is broken and it’s not, to me, about free college. It’s about returning power to teachers, getting parents out of the teachers’ faces, about nurturing curiosity and the willingness to try (and possibly fail). It’s about an end to constant standardized testing and an end to publishers determining curricula.

As for you young people? I’m not dismissing you with a label. I suspect that you are all individuals and, as you are young individuals, you’re going to learn a lot as time goes by.

We all do.

13 thoughts on “Boomer

  1. Hah! I like to think of myself as a pre-boomer — I was born shortly BEFORE the beginning os WWII, so am not truly a “baby boomer!”

    I completely agree with you! ACA was never anything but a first step rather than a be-all and end-all. The “green new deal” seems to me to be a hokey name for what previous administrations were doing — it must all be continued, as the environment is, in my mind, the #2 priority (getting rid of offal is #1). And college will never be free — but it could be better priced so students can afford their choice at least of college type. Education does not necessarily mean college, though, and I total agree that K-12 MUST be improved before anybody attacks the issues of college.

    • You guys were labeled the “silent generation” — I don’t who makes up these labels. I remember being young and thinking that the changes I wanted must not have happened because the older generations were incompetent. Now I know better… If OFFAL could be elected, the problem is the same as it always was. People don’t agree with each other. Some people are smarter than others. Some people are in dire circumstances. Some people are greedy SOBs. Like always. šŸ˜¦

      • We’ve definitely become far more divided over the years. I think that we were the silent generation because people were pretty united in rebuilding after the war! Otherwise, like always!

        • Like that joke about the kid who didn’t speak until he was 10. Then, at dinner one night, he said, “The potatoes are cold.”

          His mom and dad go, “Timmy! You can speak!”

          “Of course I can speak.”

          “Why didn’t you speak before?”

          “Well, everything’s been fine so far.” ā¤

          In fact, your generation hasn't been all that silent. I don't know when you were born but here's a bunch of people born in 1939 that were/are pretty loud. ā¤

  2. What Nancy Pelosi said makes a lot of sense to me. There will be a lot of damage to undo before you can move forward the same as it will be for us and it won’t happen all at once. I also agree with you that while free college or at least less college debt would be great college is not a lot of use to kids who arrive not being able to read and write. Spending money on educating the younger kids better first makes sense to me.

    • Thank you — I think it’s pretty hard for our public school system to admit it is terrible. It’s now deeply entrenched in this testing mania and I don’t see an easy solution to the problem. And teachers are not trained otherwise, either, since they came out of the same factory. I dunno… šŸ˜¦ In time it will change, I’m sure. But for now we’re in a struggle on way too many fronts at once.

      • I can’t speak from personal experience but from what I hear from parents I know education does seem pretty test focussed here too. I don’t feel like teaching people to pass a test is really educating them.

  3. The opposite trend – everyone is a winner and nobody gets graded for fear of discouraging the underachievers – is also pernicious. I see a lot of it in K-6 right now. Moderation and balance are a lost cause today.

    • That stragedy for teaching has been around a while. That led to grade inflation in the 1980s/90s which was blamed for a “lack of rigor” in our educational system opening the way for the whole fascistic test based curriculum. I remember a student back in the 90’s telling me about how she lost a race in 4th grade and still won a ribbon. “I wasn’t stupid,” she said, “I knew it was a loser’s ribbon.” I don’t know the answer and I’m grateful every day that I’m not teaching any more.

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