Sunday, November 1, 2009


Are the people who complain about Halloween being a "Pagan holiday" often the people who whine about Christmas time being overly crowded with other holidays (because god forbid other faiths get to celebrate)?

I wish people would actually realize the roots of Halloween. Suprisingly there is Christian street cred for the holiday, however much like all other holidays (including Christmas and Easter) it has been manipulated to be a money maker.

People need to get their heads out of their holy book and rear ends of their preachers and LEARN about what their profess to believe in and what they are condeming others for believing in.

Ok... feel better. Haven't had a rant on here for awhile.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Since B was born, Jeff and I have been struggling with how to deal with religion in our household. Considering our backgrounds, you can understand our dilemma. Jeff was raised a Catholic, but is very much a “recovering Catholic” now. He has outright rejected any forms of organized religion, going as far to say we could not consider daycares in churches. My dad was raised Buddhist and my mom Methodist, so very little middle ground there. Growing up we went to different churches, and finally settled on a non-denominational approach that presented views from all faiths. It was a great environment because we were told that church should be a presentation of values, beliefs, etc. and we should only take away the useful lessons to guide us in our everyday lives. I learned a lot of things about my belief system, the prime being that the whole concept of religion/belief/faith is incredibly overwhelming and it would be ridiculous of me to think I—this inexperienced human—could possibly comprehend it.

How does one possibly translate her confusion, coupled with her partner’s disdain, and turn that in to a lesson of personal faith for her child? We have discussed the possibilities. First of all, it would be hypocritical for us to go with the flow and label ourselves “Christian”. I decided long ago that while I certainly believe in Jesus and that he died for our sins, I don’t believe he was resurrected. That’s pretty much the linchpin of Christianity, right? Also, atheism was thrown around, but I can’t quite commit myself to that. Plus, Jeff didn’t get why we couldn’t tell our son there is no God, but Santa does exist. Stopping the perpetuation of lies is a biggie there for atheists.

As an educator it is important for me to be able to understand things fully—this often means putting labels on things, people, and ideas. That doesn’t necessarily mean I stick with the label, it’s just a nice jumping off place while I mull over all the nuts and bolts. As the mother of a toddler I feel I have to explain things in concrete terms—there is very little appreciation of the abstract. So how do I apply the concrete to the abstract when I am not really actually sure myself?

When I finally came across my answer I was even more perplexed. If you’ve read closely, you have already guessed the answer. I told you the whole concept of religion is overwhelming and incomprehensible for my simple brain. I am an agnostic. This label was surprisingly disappointing. I mean, it makes sense, but what it means is that I am accepting not knowing—in fact I am embracing it. So what does this mean for what I can tell my kids? “Well, mommy knows there’s something, but I don’t get it.”

The other thing that disappointed me was how closely atheism and agnosticism are associated. I know there are varying degrees of both, as there are with any belief system, but my concept of agnosticism is so far on the opposite end of the spectrum. I believe there is something out there, so big, so powerful, so beyond words, that it is almost insulting to think I could begin to wrap my brain around it. I do have faith that something like that exists, so I am not living without faith.

I don’t think it is my job as a parent to direct my child in his faith-based belief system. I have encountered so many people burned by their parent’s enforced beliefs. Rather I think my work should be to present all of the information and allow him to make his own decisions. Of course I will have my preferences, but his life is not mine to live.

It took a lot for me to get to the point of embracing the unknown: I went to church for years, took courses in college, I read about all sorts of religions, and I have studied and taught the Bible. I hope to pass this love of learning about religion on to my children. Perhaps—maybe, hopefully—they will come away with a different perspective than me. Whatever their path, I hope it is informed, well-rounded, and with an open heart and mind.

Monday, September 7, 2009

TV, part II

Days later, I cannot tell you how sincerely disappointed and shaken I am with the reaction to tomorrow's Obama speech to students. STILL! I just wrote about this on Friday, but the sensationalism has built to a fever pitch. I don't consider myself a naive person, but what these far right Conservatives are spewing is just astounding.

In my Friday post I went as far to call these people sissies, but I'd like to add on to that with closet racists and anti-Americans. Don't like that? Sorry. I didn't have a glowing recommendation of W, but I respected his position as President. I even went as far to sympathize with him at times because I acknowledged the hellish demands of that position. Being the leader of "the free world" is not an easy thing, but never did I think that there would be more hatred and anger coming from within our own nation towards our commander-in-chief.

Now that the speech is released and it is shown to be nothing more than a "go get 'em kid", the crazies are turning to the lesson plan proposed by the Dept of Ed and the obvious rewrites. As a teacher, the lesson plans were never a requirement, just activities for teachers to use if they wanted. Don't believe me? How is the DoE going to enforce that? As to the rewrites: really? Really?! I mean, you are SO sure? I am pretty sure there are aliens out there. I think there is more proof to that than your allegations of a nefarious first draft.

I don't think I have ever been more disgusted with my fellow Americans. Are people so angry that they an lost election STILL? Are people so unsure a biracial man can lead us? Are people so afraid of considering different perspectives?

Please don't tell me that this is a small few who believe the President is a bogeyman--crazies that CNN are picking off the streets or the typical FOX personalities. Sadly, these are people who are commenting on news boards, students in my classroom, Facebook friends, and sadly even family.

Now, schools are sending out permission slips to allow students to watch the President speak, or to avoid controversy altogether they are not watching. I don't remember having an option of watching Reagan or Bush Sr. when I was in school, I would have never considered NOT watching as it was simply unpatriotic and an act of apathy. Last year when I invited Jeff Flake (a self-described Conservative) to speak to my students and he thankfully accepted, I don't recall people screaming that I was trying to indoctrinate or brainwash. My students and I were thrilled to have him, whether we agreed with his position or not, because we care about being informed and involved citizens.

So many questions, so much sadness, so much regret that my children have to wander the world with this outright lunacy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Obama on TV

You knew I wouldn't be able to stay silent on this one. I have more questions on this one than anything. What are people so afraid of? Why are they so threatened by a speech by the President? What type of "indoctrination" can happen with a back-to-school speech?

I've heard my students say things like...

"Parents are upset because they can't watch it." Sweetie, it's on CSpan. As much as we would like that channel off the air, it is still there. The last time I checked it was accessible to everyone.

"My parents don't let me watch something they haven't watched before." BS. BS. BS. I doubt your dad screened the new episodes of Tool Academy you were talking about the other day.

"It's dangerous for little kids to watch something that might brainwash them." It's the President of the effing US. Isn't it brainwashing to tell someone the President is out to brainwash you?

I just cannot get past the ridiculousness of this entire situation. As long as I have been teaching, if the President (this includes Bush) was giving a speech, our TVs were on. It wasn't required, but I thought it was a learning opportunity and important to show an interest in national affairs. I guess that stuff is only ok if you voted for the guy.

PS- I don't recall such outrage over Bush being on TV from Dems, this is making the Repubs look like a screaming bunch of sissies. Sorry for the name calling, but c'mon, Repubs, do you really need anymore bad press?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Back to school message:

So we froze your salaries, but if the budget override doesn't pass in the November election you teachers will suffer a massive paycut.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Here are a series of emails between me and Rich Crandall, a former MPS school board prez and current legislator. This was before the governor vetoed the budget (bless her). I have heard him speak a couple times and as the head of the education committee he talks the talk but certainly doesn't walk it.

Mr. Crandall,
After hearing you speak in Walter Delecki's leadership class in the Spring I thought for sure you would be the advocate for education you said you would be. It was clear in your emails, newspaper interviews, and such you try to portray yourself as a positive representative for AZ education. Your involvement with the MPS board would seem to support this. Alas, Mr. Crandall, you are no better than the rest of the legislation. Even Russell Pearce who you try to distance yourself from. Your vote today for cuts against education shows this. How sad. As a native Mesan, product of Mesa schools, and present day teacher in Mesa, I was happy to support you. You no longer have my support. Enjoy the increased budget the House and Senate budget are proposing--and no doubt will pass. If it means anything to you, I 100% support the tax hike the Governor is proposing. Keiko Dilbeck

Note: my favorite part is the burn regarding Russell Pearce because no one really likes this guy and RC alluded at one point just because he was from Mesa and LDS didn't mean they were two peas in a pod.


Keiki (Ahem, yes, that is how he spelled my name. Classy.)
Thanks for your email. Now you know the challenge of solving a $3 billion hole. Even with the governor's tax referral to the ballot, which I support, we are still $2.7 billion short. You can disagree with me all you want and not support me, that's the greatness of the political process, but in the end I still have to find $2.7 billion. I was elected to make the tough choices, not the popular ones. I still respect your opinion, even though I disagree.
Sincerely, Rich Crandall

Note: I can totally imagine him cueing the patriot music on his boombox as he composed this.


My response #1:

Rich, Thank you for your response. In regards to the lack of cuts in legislative programs, I sincerely hope you are not with Burns and Kavanagh who believe that cutting their budgets, which would interfere with staffing, would be unfair and open them up to "legal errors". Well, join the club. Plus, I believe the legislature is doing just about enough accruing of legal debt at the taxpayers expense.Thanks for your time and response. Keiko

My response #2:

I am sending this email hours after a previous response I sent. One portion of your email kept rolling around in my mind. You say you were elected to make the tough choices, not the popular ones. Well, that sounds quite contrary to the idea of democracy. Elected representatives do just that: represent. Representatives need to start cutting the "I" out of their statements. If you are not representing the popular choice--which is the majority--then who are you representing? I have watched as theRepublicans have side lined Democrats during these budget talks and I am extremely troubled by these actions. Isn't good government one that involves everyone? After the last couple months I have seen "top" legislatures holding close door meetings, keeping other legislatures outof the loop, etc. This is not democracy, these are bully tactics. My representative could be excluded, which means I am not represented. How frustrating.

Truly, you must understand that I am concerned that in the face of the worst fincancial crisis we have faced in our lifetime, Arizona is not pulling together and considering all perspectives. This deeply troubles and saddens me. Again your time and consideration is appreciated. Keiko

When I return from work the end of July, let's go to breakfast. I want to better understand where you are coming from and vice versa. I hope your summer is fruitful. Rich Crandall


We'll see if this actually happens. However, I will make him pay and I want to pick the place.

In the end the governor's line item veto on education forced the legislators to makes some adjustments and accept some stimulus money. There still won't be any textbooks or extar materials, my salary will still be frozen, teachers will still replace substitutes, but maybe classrooms won't be as stuffed, districts can rehire some teachers, and I might not have to take an additional paycut. This is certainly a temporary fix, we'll be right back here next year. Well, unless we can get a 1% tax hike. I can only imagine that will help. Some people are acting like this tax hike is going to swallow people alive, but if we want public services we need to be willing to pony up for them. I'm just sayin.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


If you want to know how bad things can get when there is one political party who squats in power, look at Arizona. The State Legislature is populated with bullies--who happen to be Republican. I could easily make this a slam on Republicans, but I believe this is more about a group (it can be any group) that has been in power so long that they forget that there are others out there who do not share their opinion--or they don't care.

We are facing a $3.1 billion deficit for the new fiscal year that the current legislature is hollering has come because of liberal spending, blaming it on the past Governor. Ok, let's go with that and say that the Governor vetoed bills and made other legislation difficult. Now that she is gone this group is making the changes (i.e. cuts) that they think should have been in place all along, starting with education. I know that education is a huge chunk of any state's budget and I will even go as far to say that with this economy it would be ever more ridiculous not to make cuts to education. But the depth of the cuts will reverberate through schools for decades to come. Teachers are magicians, trying to make something out of barely anything--books and other materials--but now my hands have been twisted and tied that I can't even help myself.

Instead of working to create a fair budget, the legislature has dragged its feet and played games. Last night they worked an all-nighter. Democrats who were excluded from meetings and left in the dark for hours ended up leaving. One Republican tried to leave, but...

Sen. John Nelson, R-Litchfield Park, was a late-night holdout, snagged by
Senate leaders as he was trying to leave via a back staircase. After about an
hour of closed-door meetings with Burns, as well as Adams, Nelson threw his
support behind a budget that, he said, resulted from a deeply flawed

So shady. So sick.

I hope Governor Brewer vetoes this budget. I hope she has the balls to really push the one-cent tax proposal. No one wants to hear tax hike, especially now, but how is cutting going to help us any?

Speaking of balls, I hope Arizonans have enough to vote out these incompetent idiots. All of them. I don't care if they are red or blue, they are a part of the problem.