We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, February 24. 2009
Ecstasy is safer than peanuts?
Few American cars driven by the Admin
Men and women view art differently
The upside of the foreclosure mess
The War Against Drugs has failed.
Is the world experiencing "Green fatique"?
The big picture: Obama wants to move the center to the left. No kidding. He is a Socialist, and he never had a real job.
Is letting kids excel racist?
Don't blame Obama. A Pres cannot take an economy out of recession
Economic indicators, early 80s vs. today, via Coyote:
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I have finally figured out what the group Survivor meant, with their song Eye of The Tiger.
I need a career change, and that's it. Female body painting. Now all I need is permission from my ball and chain. Sorry Luther, I'm done with the sheep.
Larry Summers and Tim Geithner or Paul Volcker. Volcker hands down.
"Female body painting."
jappy, it would be necessary to relocate to:
Duval St.- Key West Fla.
a strong and healthy heart would be a plus
During Mardi Gras of 2001, Seattle residents had the opportunity to watch live on their tv sets, the stomping to death of a young white male. What was this young man's crime? He stepped in to try to help protect a young woman being abused by a group of African/American males. What was so startling about this event? We could also watch as our newly hired police chief held his men together outside of the commotion and refused to allow his police men to interfere--to break up the brutal attack. Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen we got to watch live on our tv sets while our police department stood by and watched a young man brutally stompoed to death. Was the real problem that the police department was negotiating a new contract with the union--or, was the real problem that the new police chief had to demonstrate his command and control over his troops to the local poliical animals?
If you wish to read about your new drug czar and his efforts to decriminalize drugs read here:
However, we've got more good news for you folks coming from Seattle. Your new Director of Commerce is the first Chinese/American governor (2 terms of course). Working as a team with Senator Patty Murray's husband (Port of Seattle) your new Director of Commerce felt a lot more concern for the Chinese than he did for unemployed Americans! Finally, what can we say about your new undersecretary of housing: Ron Sims--you'll have to Google that one yourself. But, what you should be doing is ask yourselves this: why are so many of Obama's new top level appointees coming from Seattle?
Read the link: "Is letting our kids excel racist?" It's enough to make your jaw drop. Can't that fat fairy who gave Cinderella glass slippers and a pumpkin come back and turn libs into lemmings so they'll all run off a cliff? UGH... too stupid for words.
Love your "Key Economic Indicators" chart. Apples meet oranges. 1980s the problem was low growth and inflation. 2008-? the problem is asset deflation and excessive debt. The chart explains nothing.
"Is letting kids excel racist?" The National Education Association thinks so. This country is founded and fueled by exceptionalism, by folks who used its unparalleled freedom and elbow room to make a name for themselves and get money and fame for it. The NRA has tried for the last 50 years not to level the playing field, an admirable concept, but to level the players. Exceptional young people are forced into classes with less talented, less interested youngsters who just want to do their time and get automatically promoted. Class levels are determined by the least intelligent of the members, not the most intelligent.
The results have been predictable. Until recently, European schools have surpassed our schools in giving training and encouragement to their talented youths. Today, in comparable testing of their young people against ours, we've had our pants beat off by the Europeans, in everything from English composition to physics.
The excuse given by American school administrators is essentially that we mustn't leave behind the poor little folks who can't or won't concentrate and don't have the enterprise and motivation to learn on their own. If they claim this would be racist, they're lying. Some of America's citizens, like the Asians for instance, prove out to be much more bright and hardworking in accomplishing their class work than others of our polyglot citizenship.
It's a matter of motivation at home, I think. I wonder if you would agree with me, Meta. Asians have a tradition of hard work and excellence of effort built into their family life. When the Vietnamese boat people fled to this country, many of them settled here in Houston and environs, most with very little of value from their homes, just what they could carry, so to speak. They liked our climate, and our closeness to the Gulf of Mexico, because many of them were fishermen back in Vietnam. They immediately went about getting jobs as crew on our local fishing boats, saving their money and then buying their own boats.
They worked hard at their fishing. And soon, our local fishermen became angry because the Vietnamese were exceeding their catches and working longer hours. We had quite a little race war going on here for awhile, as the news stories from that period show. This being America, and this being Texas, it settled down pretty quickly. And today, one of the fastest growing, most profitable areas in the city is the Asian settlements just down the road from us.
All of which kind of thrills me, because it is such a demonstration of the vigor of the way America works, when it is allowed to function freely.
The National Education Association being a union, operates along classic union lines. And it sets its standards that way. Classes should be organized so that the poorest scholars won't lose their self esteem. The bright ones may be bored but that doesn't matter.
There's nothing really racist about this. It's an accumulation of stupid decisions. But if Eric Holder has his way, it will be called racist. And more of our freedom, the freedom to excel, will be taken away.
You laid out the problem and solved it all in the same good heartbeats. Exceptionalism rises to the top no matter what, and no school system can stop it. For sure, a school/teacher may slow down and uninspire a promising student, but your particular notice of the Asians, and from my experience, Muslims, as well, does make a difference. They value education as most important, and the culture within the family centers around it. But I won't make any blanket statements that we don't have the same dynamic here. What you describe as 'mainstreaming' - putting lower level student into upper level classes happens in the elementary and grammar schools. However, even there, they have gifted and talented students who are given services, and those who need extra help are given that help. In high school and junior high, the classes are separated from lower level to average to honors to AP. Kids can weave their way in and out of these levels if they can do the work, so it is not as if one is stilted in place forever. The opportunity is there, I guess is what I'm saying, to honor and promote any kid who works his way up through the system. The system is designed to accommodate everyone, including those kids who want nothing more than the requirements and a trade/skill. No school in my state, and I hope in any other state, wants to leave a kid behind. Social promotion is long gone replaced with tutors and after-school tutelage, and every effort is made to help the slow learners. Sometimes it doesn't work, but the fault is not always the school's, and it's a shame people tend to blame the schools. For sure there are bad schools: U.S. News did the top 100 high schools in the country and four of them are in Virginia, all within less than a hour of me. Virginia ranks sixth in the nation in education. Our culture is so diverse that you can imagine the diversity of students who walk through the doors of our public schools. We have no choice but to deal with them, and I mention culture once again: There is an element in our culture that does not value education, that expects schools to deal with their troubled kids as if schools were the parents they refuse to be.
As I said - you laid it out and noted the fix. We will never get there as much in our culture is not devoted to the value of an education as some other cultures are. You cannot point one finger without pointing all ten.
Meta ... huge thanks for your thoughtful answer. And I think you are right when you say "there is an element in our culture that does not value education, that expects schools to deal with their troubled kids as if schools were the parents they refuse to be."
That's a terrific insight and it nails the problem right there. I just wish you were running the NEA.
Meta - Marianne
great topic , thanks for your opinion and insight
was wondering if you could shed some light on this.
Mateika Washington's needs are addressed with set-asides
affirmative action, Quotas, financial aid from the government
and private sector, lower test scores permissible, and ends up
at a major State University.
Kim Lee comes to this country 'Hungry' willing to work
hard & in short do anything necessary to take advantage
of the opportunity available.He comes from culture that
stresses education, graduates at the top of his class and
is on his way to Harvard.
Mary Jones comes from a single parent family,her Mother
has two jobs, Mary works after school to help out.
Mary is no dummy, is in the top 15% of her class but
because of the combined two incomes and her race, she
does not qualify for aid. Mary will be lucky to finish
Mary and many like her make up a large portion of this
country, do we not see her slipping through the cracks,
or do we only focus on the top and bottom and ignore
the Majority in the Middle ?
The kids in the middle. Nobody is ignoring them. Each year in my school, scholarships were left over as kids did not apply for them. Most were private scholarships and were there for the asking. Pell Grants also are there for the asking. The only ones who get left behind are those who don't ask.
American taxpayers currently spend about $21 billion on trying to reduce drug supplies and on domestic enforcement, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Of that, $14 billion is spent just on jailing drug offenders. The number of people incarcerated for drug offenses increased an incredible tenfold to 500,000 in 2007, from 50,000 in 1980.
The "war" has not been lost. What is required is a shift in tactics. Following the principle that property=freedom, we should be substituting jail time for fines. Casual users should be receiving short sentences and large fines.
In Florida, they had a program that focused on the users. The police would stake out a dealer and arrest the buyer after a deal had taken place. The buyers vehicle was confiscated, and sold at auction, because it was used in a drug transaction. In very short order trafficking disappeared in that part of town and overall transactions city wide dropped. Of course, the "civil liberties" complainers lobbied to end the program but it shows that by adjusting tactics the costs can be brought down and enforcement improved.
As for Mexico, this guy should get a copy of "Killing Pablo".
Oh dear--lookee here:
This school opened mid 90's--it's a fully funded PUBLIC school. Originally, the plan was this: bus in African/American children and sit them in a classroom with Asian/American kids. You see the planners were not stupid--they know that Asian parents and their children work harder, value more dearly a good education. The Asian kids get the skills at home after dinner-each night, every night. These kids get the skills whether they are taught in the classroom or not! Well you see---that was the whole plan--to have Asian/American students drag the African/American students along with them. Along about this time we saw a new focus, a new academic ideal--COLLABORATION--WORKING IN TEAMS. YEA--now if we can just get those Asian/American kids to drag those African/American kids through the system with them-wow! The union will look great.
Only one problem with this "new 21st Century School of the Future". The Asian/American parents were no dummies and within three years started pulling their kids out of the school!
Yep! You got it--seems the Asian/American parents did not want their kids held back for the sake of a community they perceived as not working as hard, or caring as much! Geez: so much for "collaboration and team work!" Now, of course after several years of covering up what a terrible failure this place is--now we have "a deal". Now, we have a place where kids can go and learn one of two languages. Big come down from the original plan--but better than nothing. It does however, make one wonder what they are covering up this time!
Meta- of the six VA school districts in the Top 100, how many are Inside The Dreaded Beltway? We've all seen the SMSA consumer numbers for the Beltway area and there seems to be no recession there since the Gummint has so nicely taken care of it's own, as it does everywhere.
I think the top two counties are Prince George (MD) and Fairfax (VA), and perhaps one other in VA, and inside the Beltway, a/k/a The Burbs for The Imperial Capitol. What bothers me is that it may tend to confirm a high dollars per pupil argument, i.e., that of the NEA and Educrats, whereas we know it is a much more complicated cultural issue than just the money spent per pupil part.
Anyone have any experience with this? When does the rest of the country wake up and rebel against feathering the Capitol-Beltway Nest any further? This concentration of economic and gummint clout can't be good for the rest of the country, can it? Now VA is voting Democrat, a sure sign there is too much gummint prosperity inside the Beltway.
Four was the number in the list...not that it matters. All are in counties that surround the Beltway area. You can't say it's just money, but for sure that plays a large part as the taxes in this area are close to the highest in the country. The parents better get what they're paying for in that regard. But consider, as well, that these counties are generally filled with educated people who do value education and who are not afraid to demand it - and who do their part to see it done. Parental involvement in schools is crucial, and when those parents are smart, educated, and motivated, they take the time to help schools, not criticize them. That sounds like a sappy point, but plenty of schools have the most ignorant, vile parents come in and make demands that just blow your mind. Schools have to deal, and it is extremely disheartening to have to waste time with such. In a school supported by parents who work with the school, the difference is profound. Also, that area near the Beltway is filled with foreign students, and the mix is magic.
Don't be too harsh. The government can't do everything. It's not all about money. Washington, DC, has one of the worst records for education. You could throw buckets of money into a rural Georgia community and not change a thing in terms of people's attitudes about education. Who changes that? ??
Just reread my original post above and realized that my fingers betrayed me, friends. I was speaking of the NEA, not the NRA, an organization for which I have great respect. For the NEA -- not so much.
Oh well ... even Mrs. Homer nods.