This Mysterious Life

Friday, July 07, 2006

Accountability. . . America's New Religion.

Sociologists have claimed that America's religion is Capitalism, our church, the Mall, and our savior, Santa Claus. But I think we are witnessesing the evolution of a new faith in this country, that of Accountability. Accountability is a break-out religion, founded by a partnership of right-wing conservative politicians, a few well known publishers, and the the fast-growing testing industry.

Politicians, like George Bush, have adopted and imposed legislation that demands strict adherenece to this faith's tenets, in the form of achievement that can be measured on tests. The most recent and, perhaps most controversial law is the administration's No Child Left Behind policy, which imposes sanctions on students, teachers and schools who fail to generate high test scores. Rather like money collected during Sunday's church service, this faith builds its wealth on profits generated by the sale of standardized tests.

Failure to follow the new faith's dictum results in sanctions that inlcude public humiliation and loss of federal funding. But, at what cost comes redemption in this religion? In this one, our children are the ones who are paying by occupying classrooms which are becoming increasingly focused on learning how to succeed at taking tests. This not only undermines authentic learning, it commodifies their achievement. High test scores amount to more money, while not-so-high scores become a fingerprint that reflects their potential for academic success. Yes, that's right; test scores, not unlike astrological chart readings, have become the system for determining whether children will be allowed to continue to participate in education. High scores may mean acceptance into top-ranked colleges, while low scores may mean a life of time-card punching and factory work.

As teachers, we need to protect our classrooms from being turned into Churches for Accountability, and stop the spread of legislation to use our children as capital to support the savior of this faith, the Testing Industry. Parents need to take notice of how their children are being commodified and brokered to corporate America in the name of Accountability. This is too great a sacrifice for any god.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Some days are too sad....

Several of my friends are enduring painful and difficult life events and it breaks my heart to know they are suffering. If I could, I'd invite each one to take a walk with me along the beach. There is something majestic about the ocean and an awesome sky that forces us to reconsider boundaries and other ideas we think of as intractable.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flooding.... All around us, even in the sunroom. Ach! This bad rain!

I have another photograph of this bridge on my blogsite that was taken before the "rains." In that picture, the stream is but a trickle. Last night, water began to dampen the carpet in the sunroom and creep into the basement. A quick check revealed that the rain gutters were clogged with leaves. And, today, I spent a very hot afternoon, using a wet-dry vac to get water out of the sunroom. More rain is forecast tonight.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Sun's Out. . .

I just had to get outside before the sky clouded up again to snap some photos of these lovely day-lillies that seem to spread everywhere along rural roads. We've had so much rain that a little sun is cause for celebration.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's Raining, again....

In south central Pennsylvania. The forecast calls for a week of steady rain, so out come the photographs. This is another of the cloud-series photos I took at the lake a few summers ago. The little white dots in the background are sails--this lake is very popular for sailboaters. About three dozen were on the lake the afternoon I took this picture. Along with the clouds came a nice wind for sailing.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Looming on the Horizon.. .

Just a couple of summers ago, my husband and I took a boat ride at a nearby lake and, as soon as we left the dock the sky filled with these ominous clouds. We were able to stay on the lake for about two hours before the rain started, but the clouds remained in our lives for over a year. Now, when I watch weather conditions, I pay closer attention to the sky.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rescuing Dill . . . .

The ongoing battle for ground in my garden has escalated to a higher level, with more poppies opening their buds. So, I rescued this bit of dill and brought it indoors. For now, it waits safely in this glass; but soon, the dill will be diced and added to a creamy butter sauce for salmon, or used as a flavor-enhancer for a salad.