Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Target Sunday and getting Peg'd

I recently wrote a piece on education for a local magazine, but it didn't get published for all kinds of non-journalistic reasons, but Pegasus News is always looking for local writers in the Metroplex, and I'm looking to charm them because one day I hope they'll offer me a big salary to work from 9:00 to 2:45 Monday through Friday. You know--Moms's hours, in the salary I'd like to become accustomed to.

That's got to be more than a dream, doesn't it? I mean, I have friends set up in pretty good gigs. My college roommate is with the oil company that hired her right out of college and when she became a mom, she negotiated three days a week.

Of course, my best friend from tenth grade is also working for an oil company, but does not get those mom-friendly hours. I believe she told me she has two nannies, or at least one, two sounds like a Hollywood movie.

Lesson here: get a job with an oil company right out of college.

Things have happened in the time I've been apart from those friends. Twins, job loss, separation. It's time to catch up, so I've arranged to meet up next month. Maybe they'll give some advice about being a working mom. It has to happen some day. A lot is riding on our future income. Both my husband and I spent a lot of time flitting away our twenties and not saving money, nor investing or even starting a mortgage. No, for those things plus childbirth, we waited until our mid-thirties. My baby is recently out of diapers; it's time to get him in the work force.

Or maybe just me. Oh, not tomorrow, maybe not even next year, but likely the year after that. Sure that sounds like at least 365 days to you, but to me it's just a couple of semesters and one or two Christmases. It'll be gone like that.

It's been five year since I've worked a professional job and five years since we moved into this house and today, I'm happy to announce, we've finally come to a sense of completion on the furnishings in the den. With a little Christmas cash we replaced a mauve-colored leather couch that we inherited from my husband's mom. It worked beautifully in our little rented house in Austin, but we just couldn't make it fit up here. The new love seat and chair that we bought required a new rug to match, so I hauled my husband up to Super Target to check out their quality merchandise at low, low prices.

He got quite an eyeful and also chose a coffee table and lamp. We are done, for the most part, in this room. It's an important room because it's mine. Its where I spend most of my time. It's where I read and write and where the children play at my feet. So with the guilt at spending the money, I'm also feeling warm and cozy and complete, but that could be the Ray Charles coming from the speakers. This is the way weekends should be. Everyone should have enough money to buy a rug and coffee table and lamp from Super Target.

Here's part of what I wrote on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills:

Standards testing in Texas is not new. Back in the late 70’s, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) was tasked by the legislature to begin testing minimum skills of reading, writing and mathematics. The test was called Texas Assessment of Basic Skills (TABS).

By the mid 1980’s, the culture of education had changed and the TEA set out to ensure that Texas students were not just meeting basic skills requirements, but that their curriculum was paralleling the standards set by the State Board of Education (SBOE), called The Essential Elements, and to do so they changed the assessment to the Texas Educational Assessment of Minimum Skills (TEAMS). This meant that all students statewide would be taught the same curriculum and assessed with the same test.

But critics decried the new version as forcing teachers to teach to the test, which essentially diminished the curriculum. That’s why in 1990, the TEA launched a new version, Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), which, according to the Texas Education Agency, “assessed higher-order thinking skills.”

Had enough? We’re not done yet. In the late 1990’s, the SBOE traded in The Essential Skills, which were based on knowledge and comprehension levels, for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which are based on higher-order thinking. This meant that Texas needed a new—you guessed it—test!

I scrubbed the piece down to its general information, which makes it less compelling, and if I pitch it to another magazine, maybe that's how I'll introduce it--Dear Sir or Madame, submitted for your consideration is this smoothly written, but not very compelling article about the TAKS test. Please email me if you are interested in publishing it. Sincerely, etc.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


So with you on Target... it is our big Saturday outing...(we're a bit reclusive but a zip to Target is worth going out for)!

btw, what do you as a mom, a Texan, and journalist think about the Teas being the first state to make mandatory the Gardasil vaccine (cervical cancer/HPV)? Interesting to note the lobbyist for it was also your Gov's former chief of staff....


9:57 PM  
Anonymous luther said...

Although I haven't read any specifics about it - the vaccine must be considered safe and a good thing (hopefully). But it irks and scares me a little for things like this to be mandatory by state law, and motives seem somewhat questionable when it is a huge money maker for a single company, personal ties between decision makers, etc.

11:19 AM  

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