Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Education - The government response to education is often punitive instead of supportive. Firing teachers and starting business-run schools is not an answer to better education. I believe in quality education for all American children, not just those fortunate enough to live in a prosperous school district or those lucky few who get into a charter school. School choice is not the answer because it only helps some children and siphons money away from public schools. How is that improving American education? Do we really support the demise of our public school system?
The government should leave education to the educators and support all schools, not use money for trendy experiments. It has been proven that government mandates, especially "No Child Left Behind" have all been colossal failures, but the government is never blamed, just teachers.
Teacher's Unions - In my 30+ years of experience I have found teachers and teacher's unions to be overwhelmingly in favor of whatever is good for kids. We take pride in our jobs and our job is to educate and nurture children. My district recently proposed a longer school day and it was unanimously approved - no extra pay - in fact, we are on a pay freeze, which no one opposed either. Schools run efficiently, in part, because of union negotiations for class size, discipline policies, support for troubled and disabled children - and the list goes on and on.
Prayer in School - I don't get it. How can you stop someone from praying? If the issue is that everyone needs to do it that's not very respectful to those who choose not to, is it? (See Romans 14) Religious freedom is for everyone, not just Christians. I see groups on social media post things about children not being allowed to say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore, but it's not true - my school building does it every day. Don't make people angry for nothing - and if you want to pray - go ahead. The insistence that everyone believe the same thing is not American or Christian to me.
Evolution vs. Creationism - This is a no-brainer to me. I believe in both. If God created the earth and all that is in it - and called it good - then he created the laws of science as well. If we believe that God created human beings why do we need to agree on exactly how it happened? When I learned evolution in school it had no effect on my faith.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
I could write pages on the forthcoming issues, but I will keep them brief:
Gay Rights - if you have ever known or loved a gay person, if you have ever had that person look you in the eye and say "no one would choose this" you would never say it is a choice or a sin. Gays have always existed and always will. They are all races, faiths, and cultures. It is a human reality. They are not capable of changing someone's sexual orientation any more than you or me. They desire lifelong , loving relationships, as all humans do and deserve to have the same rights as the rest of us. The US government Accountability Office sites 1,138 rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples that are presently denied to gay couples. Almost 10,000 young men and women who were willing to serve their country have been thrown out of the armed services because of who they are. (2008 data)
A couple of verses from the Old Testament are used to condemn these fellow human beings without acknowledging that the Old Testament bans dozens of things that we do everyday. Just a few:
Do not eat shellfish (Lev. 11:10)
Do not wear two fabrics together (Lev 19:19)
Men should not cut their sideburns or beard (Lev 19:27)
If you are a Christian then you know that Jesus came to bring a new law and a new covenant of love. Jesus did not condemn gay people and neither should we. His commandment was to love one another. It is beyond me how Christians choose a verse in Leviticus over Jesus's constant command to love one another and not judge one another.
"It is impossible to tell people we love them if we deny them the basic rights we enjoy. And loving people - all people - is clearly preached in the red letters of the bible. (Matt 22:39)
Tony Campolo - renowned evangelist
Abortion - I personally would not have an abortion. I remember the first miraculous flutter in my belly. But I do not believe in making this choice for other women. A woman's body belongs to her, not the government. Although 73% of abortions are economically motivated, people who are vigilant about the sanctity of life do not seem to believe in federal support of all the children born into poverty or help women who are not prepared to raise or support children. We all pay for unwanted children through foster care, special education and social services.
To me, if you are truly pro-life then that means you should also be anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-nuclear weapons, anti-gun, and anti anything that kills human beings. One human being is not more valuable than another.
Poverty - Jesus told us repeatedly to care for the poor and hungry. There are over 300 biblical references to this. Jesus told us to be peaceful and love others. It is not up to us to judge why someone is homeless or hungry. It is not up to us to dictate people's lives. When Jesus met a crowd of hungry people he did not ask questions, he just fed them. It is a fact that the world produces enough food for everyone.
In 2009 - 39.8 million Americans were classified as poor in the US census which grew from 32 million in 1999.
49 million Americans go hungry every night according to Food Research and Action Center and 22% are children.
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough for those who have little. FDR