Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

2 Articles from June 2015

  1. Report cards are not the problem here

    Yesterday Martin Regg Cohn wrote in the Toronto Star about how the work-to-rule action by ETFO is harmful to students because of the inconvenience and delay it causes in notifying parents about those students’ final marks. He says:

    Marks don’t matter. Achievement goes unnoted. Adversity remains unremarked.

    Cute—far cuter than Cohn’s attempts to belittle the seriousness of the industrial action happening here later in the column with his own work-to-rule parody.

    But this post, unlike my last response to someone protesting labour action, is not actually about labour, collective bargaining, or the right to take these actions. Rather, I take issue with the way Cohn, and others, have chosen to focus on the refusal to complete report cards as some kind of grave sin that demonstrates the insincerity of teachers’ commitment to our students.

    Here’s the truth: if teachers and schools have been doing their jobs all year, then those final report cards don’t matter as much as you claim.

    Firstly, I’m so disappointed that anyone wants to make this a debate about marks in elementary school. What, are you afraid your kid isn’t going to get into the most prestigious Grade 6 class? If a student is in…

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  2. Trends I'm sensitive to in current science fiction

    This post began as part of my review of The Man Who Sold the Moon. I began contrasting Heinlein’s subject matter with what’s hot in SF these days. Gradually I realized I was eliding too much in my attempts to be as succinct as possible, so I was faced with the choice of expanding an already long review … or excising most of the discussion. Fortunately, I have a soapbox all my own where I can put this kind of stuff.

    First, a disclaimer: science fiction is a diverse field. Nor do I claim to have a comprehensive knowledge of recent SF works. I’ve been pretty good about reading some of the most notable releases each year, mostly thanks to my Worldcon membership for Hugo voting. Nevertheless, this is not intended to be a survey of the current state of the field. Instead, I’m looking at some of the current obsessions within SF based on my own particular lens.

    It’s a truism to claim that science fiction becomes hung up on the future of the technology fetishes of the present. Heinlein, of course, talked a lot about atomic power, the bogeyman of his day. Probably the most memorable recent

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