Women Rights Movement

Women’s Right Convention & The Women Who Risked it All

July 19th and 20th of this year mark the 175th Anniversary of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls!

For those not familiar, this historic two day convention was the first event to focus on “the social, civil and religious condition and rights of women.” About three hundred women attended and after two days of discussion, they drafted the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. This document described the ways in which the laws of their time failed women. They failed to protect their rights, their safety and their potential. Their proposed solution was calling for the woman’s right to vote. 

This was the official launch to the women’s rights and suffrage movements. Sadly, it took seventy years for women to actually be granted this right and few got to ever celebrate or see the fruit of their labors. But there was at least one woman, Rhoda Palmer, who at 102 cast her first ballot in the 1918 New York State election.

Women's Right Convention

It’s amazing how second nature and even taken for granted voting seems today. I’m guilty myself of not voting in every election. It’s just a small one. There’s no candidate I care for, etc. But, to think of the blood, sweat and tears so many put in to grant us this simple privilege, I know I should do better. 

As we head into what appears to be another contentious election season, let us remember these courageous people from our past. And let us most importantly remember, even one vote can make a difference. Let your voice be heard!

Are you currently registered to vote? REGISTER TODAY!

For more information about the Seneca Falls Convention and to really get a clear picture of the attendees and the risks they took to attend the convention that day– take a look at this keynote speech from the 150th anniversary.

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Mensa Annual Gathering

Parenting Growth at the Mensa Annual Gathering

Discovering Mensa and journeying TOGETHER

This has been an interesting week for my family. We brought in July with a bang– a huge fireworks display and party with friends. And now we’re at the Mensa Annual Gathering in Baltimore for my son. I’ve been reluctant to speak about my son’s neurodivergence too much in the past. However, I know I’m not alone in parenting a child like him and wanted to share our journey to potentially help others as well.My son is highly gifted. Like off the charts- Mensa gifted. For those of you not familiar with Mensa- it’s an organization for individuals who score at the 98% or higher on a standardized IQ test. 

This is why I’m often reluctant to share this information. I feel like it comes across as bragging- hey, look how smart my child is. But, for anyone who knows someone who falls into this category, you know these academic abilities are often accompanied with challenges.

My son is amazing. But he is NOT an easy child to parent. There are the quizzes about flags, country capitals or sports statistics that begin first thing in the morning before my morning coffee. Finding reading material that is topically appropriate for an eight year old on an 8th grade reading level can be difficult. There are also the extreme emotions, inflexibility and difficulty with social cues and friendships. 

Finding our village: Mensa Community

Mensa Summit

Enter Mensa Gifted Youth. One thing I need to stress up front, many of Mensa’s materials and resources are available for anyone, including children and adults who do not necessarily score at member level, but are still academically gifted. There are reading challenges with appropriate suggested reading lists for young advanced readers. There are also enriching lesson plans for educators and activities for either educators or parents at home. 

For members, there are also both regional youth activities and access to the annual national gathering which has an amazing gifted youth camp track. 

I want to clear the air here and say Mensa is in no way “elitist”, “pretentious” or composed of individuals only concerned with bragging rights as many might imagine. In reality, I’ve found it to be a welcoming place of acceptance, good conversation and nerdy fun for both children and adults. I’m amazed to actually see a ton of families here all enjoying the benefits together. I’ve even met a number of people who admit to meeting their spouses at gatherings in the past!

We’ve thrived here this week. My son is loving the camp activities and most importantly he’s met other kids like him. I’ve found it helpful to meet other parents who share my frustrations, struggles and concerns. I’ve also received a ton of helpful information, ideas and suggestions to hopefully improve our journey moving forward.

So, if you know anyone else facing these struggles, are an educator teaching children like this, or are an adult looking for an enriching community for yourself– I strongly recommend checking out the Mensa community. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Education for Women

How an Education Bill Changed the Story for Women

Trekking down a paved path: Education for Women

Do you have women in your family who have gone to college? What about any doctors, lawyers or other ceiling busting women? If so, you have Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink to thank.

Fifty-one years ago, Rep. Mink authored a bill and got Congress to pass this landmark piece of legislation. The Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in educational institutions and programs that receive federal funding. 

Education Reform

This legislation was groundbreaking for a number of reasons. For the first time women were entitled to an equal education on every level. No more could colleges turn away women from entering particular programs of study!

It also paved the way for sex equity in school sports and other school sponsored extracurricular activities. 

Ultimately, The bill was renamed the Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002 to honor her contributions to civil rights, and economic and social justice.

An interview with Rep. Mink in 2002 shared her personal motivations for authoring the bill.

“I have a very personal connection with Title IX because while I was wanting to go to medical school and I had written to a dozen or more medical schools to seek entry, each one of them turned me down by saying that they did not admit women to their schools. It came to me as quite a shock that in America it was not a person’s grade, aptitude, tests, recommendations that got the person into the careers of their choice, but that it had to do with one’s gender.”

Luckily, we have come far from those ceiling-inhibiting days. What is something you’re grateful you were able to accomplish as a woman in your lifetime that your mother could not?

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Grammar- Should We Be Teaching It?

Grammar- Should We Be Teaching It?

Why Schools Feel It Is Not Necessary.

Grammar- Should We Be Teaching It?

Somewhere in the last twenty years schools decided to stop teaching grammar. This was not really discussed or debated– it just happened. Why?

The main argument has been a shift in educational philosophy. Instead of previous generations, where the focus was on rote learning and memorization and worksheets, new philosophies sing the praises of critical thinking and hands on learning. In theory, this is great. Critical thinking skills are necessary across the board and will set children up for success in life and in the workplace. But are these philosophies missing something?

Current Grammar Curriculums

If you look at most public school primary grade curriculums there is a hole in grammar fundamentals. The approach is that students will learn these skills as they go. Teachers will use grading rubrics touching on punctuation and basic grammar principles as a scale to teach as necessary. But does this work? What happens when no one teaches the basic principles of the English language? Will a foundation ever be laid if students never learn the basic rules?

Arguments abound from high schools, colleges and superiors in the workplace saying no, students have not picked up these fundamentals. Today’s recent graduates including those with university degrees, seem to be unable to construct a simple declarative sentence, either orally or in writing. They cannot spell common, everyday words. Basic grammar and punctuation appear to be a complete mystery to recent generations.

Do We Need to Understand Grammar?

But is this a problem? Many would still argue no, that with technology capabilities what they are, it is no longer necessary to understand grammar ourselves. It is true that most writing is done on computers and tablets now. Most students no longer even carry notebooks and pencils to school. But should we rely on spell and grammar check for everything? Is it even entirely accurate?

The flawed approach to this argument is computers will never replace the conversational tone of human beings. In theory, grammar and spell check will pick up basic level mistakes, but will it ever replace the true understanding of sentence structure? Or possibly capture the beauty and fluency of the English language? 

Computers can also never replace the use of grammar understanding when it comes to our conversational interactions. Much like the cashier who can no longer make change on their own, our reliance on technology impairs our own intelligence and skillset to connect.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Are we sacrificing by losing our fundamental understanding of the English language?

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