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Pop Goes The Political Culture, Week of August 27

Pop Goes The Political Culture, Week of August 27

Actual evidence of summer learning loss in American students.

By Rebekah Kuschmider, MPU co-host

Happy Labor Day, MPU-niverse! It’s another week in Trump’s America, only Trump is feeling all squirrely because no one it paying attention to him. The eyes of the world have been locked on the funerals of Aretha Franklin and John McCain, instead of on the White House. I just saw a tweet from a White House pooler saying Trump left the White House wearing a white cap and didn’t say where he was going. The weather isn’t great for golf right now but I guess Trump thinks it’s better than sitting around feeling mad that everyone is saying nice things about other people.

In other important news, the White House announced a renegotiated NAFTA agreement that may only include 2/3 of the North Americans countries. DJ will explain that on the podcast, in between bouts of primal screaming. And Andrew Gillum pulled off an incredible primary upset to become the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida. He then went on to quote Hamilton on Twitter so now I will love him forever.

I hope you’re enjoying a a day off and sales on major appliances, to celebrate the efforts of organized labor throughout American History. Meanwhile, here’s all the news that’s not fit to ‘cast!

Good-Bye, Summer: Now that we’re at the end of the summer season, I want to talk about teachers and school calendars and money. Most kids in America will be back in school by Tuesday, after months-long breaks where they were helping their parents bring in the harvest and get the farm ready for winter.

Wait…I’m being told that almost no American students were doing that. Instead they were being shuttled to summer camps or other childcare arrangements, or working parents were juggling schedules to cover for all the hours of childcare that they needed over the summer. Students who normally rely on the Free and Reduced Meals program are going hungry or their family’s grocery budget is strained to make up for the lack of school-provided food. And they’re forgetting what they learned the previous year.

The whole idea of a summer break that spans more than two months is stupid and antiquated and needs to stop. In this day and age of families that need two incomes to make ends meet, trying to find affordable childcare during the long break from school is a hardship. Not only is there a financial cost attached to summer programs, there’s often a logistical cost in getting kids to and from summer programs – a logistical problem that doesn’t exist when kids just have to walk to a corner to meet the school bus.  Academically speaking, summer learning loss is a verified problem, as well.

All of these issues affect lower income families more than they affect families with more money, of course, but all kids are affected to some degree. Basically, summer break makes kids dumber, and hungrier, and makes parents poorer and more stressed.

It’s time to re-examine the school calendar and do what’s best for students and families. This upcoming election is a perfect opportunity to get some lawmakers who are willing to do that.

Show Me Your Papers: This item is for the women and transfolks and others who have changed their name at some point in their lives. And also for adoptive families, especially families who adopted from overseas. I have a message for you and I want you to pay close attention:

Go find all the paperwork that documents your name changes over the years. Collect it all in one place and be able to lay hands on it easily. Birth certificates, social security records, marriage and divorce decrees, adoption papers, passports, student IDs, drivers licenses and other state issued ID. Find it all, collect it, and put it somewhere safe.

I’m telling you to do this because Fuckface von Clownstick and his goons are now accusing US citizens born near the border of them faking their citizenship verification. This is happening to people as they try to return from trips over the southern border or as they try to renew passports. They’re saying that the birth certificates could be faked and the people may have been born in Mexican territory.

If they can make up spurious accusations like this, they can certainly call into question the validity of a birth record wherein the name doesn’t match current ID.

I hope we don’t reach the point where we’re all being required to prove that we are who we – and our official IDs – say we are, but I’m not ruling it out. So, find your paperwork and keep it close. Better safe than sorry.

Wrap It Up: In a distressing trend. the CDC has confirmed an uptick in sexually transmitted infections. It’s so serious that David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STDs (NCSD) is calling on President Trump to officially declare a state of emergency.

Heck, even Trump knows that STI’s are serous, famously saying that avoiding them was his personal Vietnam. (Yes, he really said that. Yes, he’s an asshole.)

The distressing part of any discussion about STIs increasing is that we have known for decades how to prevent them. Proper use of condoms, regular testing for people engaging in sexual activity, and giving people adequate knowledge about sexual health all works to prevent the spread of STIs. This isn’t news and the fact that we don’t do more to ensure such measures are universally accessible is a poor reflection on us as a society.

The CDC has a great infographic about STI prevention. You can find it here. Go ahead and be part of a public information campaign and share it on your own social feeds. Let’s make information go viral, not infection.


We’ll be recording Monday evening this week so look for a new podcast to drop Tuesday. Until then, enjoy the long weekend!


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