Friday, February 28, 2014

Modern Slavery

There is an estimated 700,000 sex slaves in the world today. 700,000 people, boys, girls, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons, forced into an incredible world of hedonistic, violence, drugs and forcible rape.   That 700,000  is only an estimate of those forcibly taken and does not include those young girls and boys who work the streets within civilized cities, runaways and lost children who are manipulated into thinking they are worthless and must comply in order to survive.  All of these unfortunate souls are forced into a life of unbelievable violence degradation.

The economics of slavery are in full force with many forced into addictions to ensure their compliance, forced to sell their bodies under the watchful overview of a pimp, who proclaims to be their benefactor but can easily make 300,000 per girl, per year, making this form of capitalism worth 21,000,000 billion a year.

In the past if you were a slave there were ways to broker your freedom,  not many and generally once you were free you could stay free.  If you had help, if you moved away from the area and if you were careful.  It wasn't until the Emancipation Proclamation that true freedom, at least in part, was possible.

The Emancipation Proclamation broadened the goals of the Civil War. While slavery had been a major issue that led to the war, Lincoln's only mission at the start of the war was to keep the Union together. The Proclamation made freeing the slaves an explicit goal of the Union war effort, and was a step towards outlawing slavery and conferring full citizenship upon ex-slaves.

What we need today, for the nearly 27 million slaves worldwide, is a new Emancipation Proclamation, a document that unifies the world to the unspeakable atrocities of human trafficking and slavery.  There are more slaves now than in anytime in world history and we think we've come so far? 

Slavery in the early 19th century had a relative cost of around $40,000 per slave, creating a serious investment and commitment with the realization that most slaves were well kept (still slaves) but they were fed and cared for and for the most part, the owner understood at least the economic considerations of keeping his investment profitable.

Today a modern slave can average about $90 with some prostitutional costs hitting the higher levels of cost, make up, clothes, jewelry, no visible bruising, not strung out, non-responsive products, that all costs money to maintain.  The other side, the lower end, is mostly within the third world where children are sold for a few dollars by desperate fathers and mothers in order to buy rice for the remaining children. No maintenance needed, just work them until they die. 

From an economic stand it’s easy to make back your initial investment without having to worry about maintaining or “marketing” the product.    Supply and Demand has worked well within the modern slave trade, especially within the third world, providing unscrupulous land owners, businesses, pimps, etc.…with a well of ready and replaceable bodies that virtually cost them nothing.

Not too long ago unsuspecting parents and teenage girls were lured into a scam of modeling and free trips to Paris when at the last moment the police stepped in and rescued the girls who were getting ready to board the plan that would have taken them away from their mothers and fathers, not for the promises of fame and fortune but to be sold to lecherous and evil traffickers that prey on the unsuspecting.  These girls and families were the lucky ones, hundreds of thousands of others are not so lucky and many are never found, alive or dead.

Slavery in any form is still Slavery and it needs to be abolished and those responsible given the harshest of sentences imaginable.  Just like the children of African families, the mothers ripped from their husbands arms, the daughters displaced and sons stolen in unmerciful raids of familiar theft.  The scars that never healed are still a part of our society, even now, generations later those scars are a visible and constant reminder of a serious breach of morality.

Modern slavery is having the same effect but on an even greater scale.  The 27 million is only an estimate of the true numbers and it is feared that those currently enslaved is much higher, with the related costs and lifelong burdens, the psychological effects, the loss of humanity, at the peak of our existence.  

Like slavery throughout history it is assumed that it is an historical phenomenon, many believing that we are a better people more enlightened, more sensitive, we would never allow such a thing to happen in our age.  But just like the slave trades across the Atlantic, and just like the slaves sold to eastern European royals and just like the slaves by the Japanese during the wars, slavery is and will most likely remain with us a stark reminder of how little progress we actually make as “enlightened humans”, we are now worse than ever before.

When profits outweigh morality, when political capital outshines honesty, the cause of the human condition will always be a shadow in the glaring reflections of those that lead.  We have too many shadows today, not enough light to shine away those dark and shadowy places, not enough glory to banish the darkness. 

And I guess the worst part is those shadows of darkness are growing, infecting our own souls, our children and our families as we feign from right to left, dodging the shafts of gleaming reality, lurking, slinking from the truth that is our lives.  We can do so much better, be brighter and more of a shining light to all who see.  But alas the world of woe strains hard at our measure, leading us to disbelieve in ourselves and in our own divinity…. We enslave ourselves to the horrors of evils insatiable apatite,  unwilling to simply... chose the right

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The act of knowing what you don't know

The option of knowing, really knowing something is a very rare occurrence.  We may think we know and we may proclaim or espouse based on present understanding but that present understanding does not often translate to knowing.  Science and the search for truth through science is a great example. 

In 2006 the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer proclaimed a breakthrough in the fight of high cholesterol or the over production of LDL’s the bad cholesterol in a promising drug called torcetrapibSo confident was Pfizer that they had spent 1 billion in its development and an additional 90 million expanding the factory to produce this new miracle drug. 

On November 30, 2006,  Jeff Kindler, then CEO announced at their stockholders meeting that they were on the verge of changing the face of healthcare.  As he spoke to those investors his level of knowledge was backed by reams of research, billions of investment dollars and a track record of success in controlling high cholesterol with other Pfizer drugs like Lipitor, one of the most common and effective drugs for the treatment of high cholesterol.

FDA approval requires stringent testing with a track record of more than 40% failing the phase III trials.  Even before those trials officially started for Pfizer they announced on December 2, 2006, two days after the grand investors meeting, they pulled the drug and stopped production and abandoning the FDA trials.  They had discovered (in those two days?) that the drug was actually killing people by triggering higher rates of chest pain and heart failure and a 60 percent increase in overall mortality, not a good trade off to lower and safer cholesterol.

Another example is the famed fiasco of the fabulously flopped Ford, the Edsel.  The knowledge of the markets, the testing of the product and the overall consensus that the Edsel would be a success motivated Ford to invest millions in pre-production and advertising; we all know the end result, it was a monumental flop. 

The Nova by Chevrolet was a great success in the United States but when they marketed that same car in Mexico and South America the No Va (meaning no go) changed the successful scenario of understanding to a complete failure.

We may think we know, but in the end even with a complete understanding of the all component parts, how they work, how they interact, what they do, does not ensure that we have the level of understanding to proclaim a complete knowledge on any given topic, subject or research. 

Science is the process of accumulating understanding and the process of theorizing and testing.  The more tests the more accurate the results and the more assured we are about the future of those tests and interactions.  Science has accomplished miraculous strides in our overall understanding and has increased our knowledge of many things but like Pfizer the real result was quite different, primarily due to the simple aspect of not having a complete understanding of all the components or a complete knowledge of any given area. 

We will continue to try and we will continue to mostly fail, but therein lays the basic truth of life.  We live to learn, we learn to live and in the end we may have a glimpse of the promises of that life only to be to old too truly benefit from that accumulated understanding.

Science continues to tell us of their successes but the reality is that they fail much more often than they succeed and even with those successes the truth behind the future of those successes is mitigated by further research that invariably changes or makes moot the very promises postulated previously.

Science is then nothing more than a faith based approach to the physical world, hoping what is discovered will stand the test of time. The opposite is within the metaphysical, the religious, the spiritual, it requires faith first and verification second.  I don’t really see the difference except in the promises that were postulated in prophetic utterances, they provide real hope where science only gives us a suspected wish; I’ll go with the hope but still like all that cool science stuff.  I never could understand why we can’t have both.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day

The many stories surrounding the heroic efforts of courtship and love had its beginning in ancient Rome where a Priest named Valentine secretly married soldiers who were banned from wedded bliss and for administering to other Christians.  It is believed that he was imprisoned for his actions and actually healed the daughter of his jailer and upon the day of his execution wrote her a letter, signing it “Your Valentine”.

St. Valentine is now a revered and holy saint (I guess all saints are considered holy, it just wouldn't do to have an unholy saint), and his memory is extracted across the world on the same day, February 14. 

  The commercialization of love however is not quite as romantic as the mythology of St. Valentine.
From simple gestures of friendship to extravagant gyrations of devotion, Valentine’s Day has been co-opted by Madison Ave. to encompass everything from first infatuation to the very tawdry, making billions to those purveyor’s of love and romance.  It was estimated that in 2009, 17 billion was raked in through the selling of cards, gifts, diners, movies etc…it is a rather expensive non-holiday, holiday.

In the past, romance may have not been so expensive but the practices were no less complicated.  Beginning perhaps with the Greeks the complication may have had its start with the semantics with the word “love”, they decided that there needed to be two types, Eros to mean a more carnal or lustful love and Agape to mean a more spiritual and heart centered emotion.  We can clearly see the distinction but the two words we use are lust and love to distinguish between the animal and the spiritual.

Society has actually come a long way from the old practices of a brave but forlorn male physically capturing his “love” from a neighboring tribe and spiriting her away.  I would venture to say that those that try this method today would find themselves in a bit of trouble.   The couple, and I use that term loosely, the captor and the captured would hide away and tradition has it that they, the lustful couple would drink a brew called Metheglin made from honey and would stay hidden for at least one moon cycle giving rise to the name honeymoon.

Even though arranged marriages were the norm throughout history the concept of love was never abandoned.  Evan though a political appointment by marriage or property or position might  force a couple together the ever present desire to be loved and love created many more “happy” marriages than dismal association helping us all to understand that love does conquer all.

Regardless of the proposals of politics those being pawned would often court their intended in order to soften the arrangement and if possible create a real love connection.  Flowers were often used, poetry sighted and prose serenaded from thorny patches to open windows.  Can you imagine a young man today standing below your castle window and singing some rap song to your daughter?    It wouldn't take me long to call the police or more likely to retrieve my heaviest cane and run him off.

There are some very strange customs from history that I think we can all agree are best left in the past.  For example Eligible women in rural Austria during the 19th century would tuck apple slices in their armpits while dancing. When the music stopped, they would offer the sweat-soaked fruit to their partner. He would consume the exotic treat if he wanted to be “exposed to her personal fragrance.”  Yuck. 

Another example and a bit more practical was when fine English gentlemen would offer their true love a pair of gloves. If she wore them to church on Sunday, it was her way of agreeing to the relationship. If not, they spared themselves a lot of drama. That actually might not be a bad idea today, all that money saved with dinner and movies and flowers for just one pair of gloves, I’m all for that one.

In old Norway when a girl became ready for marriage; her father would let men know she was available by placing an empty sheath on her belt. If a suitor fancied her, he would place a knife in the sheath, which would signal to others she was taken.  Gloves or a knife, that’s a tough one.

In Wales, not whales like the gigantic sea swimming mammals, young men carved ornate spoons, called lovespoons and presented them to the ones they like.  Reciprocation with a womanly carved spoon signifies a keen interest.  There actually still doing this in Wales, not like in the past, but it is still an art form.  When I was in Wales most tourist shops had a few to sell to commemorate the once proud carving tradition.

Regardless of how you found your true love, through internment by a third party or a church dance the end result should ultimately be Agape, the love of the spirit to spirit.  Eros may be in demand in all we see and may be pervasive throughout our media but that deep, emotional, poignant expression of “true love” can only come through devotion, service and kindness.  In the absence of these laudable traits a good carving hand might come in handy. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wolves and Whales

Over the past few days and probably for the next week, I’ll be spending my time working on an old house.  There are so many little things to take care of.  Leaky faucets, doors that don’t close properly, peeling paint, dirty stoves and broken tiles, all fixable and all repairable, for the most part, this early 1910 house is in great condition, it’s bones are good.

In comparison, my own bones are showing age and weakness, my sinews, for those that don’t know what a sinew is: they are pieces of tough fibrous tissue uniting muscle to bone or bone to bone; a tendon or ligament.  These pieces stretch and weaken with age creating havoc with our joints causing pain and discomfort but for most, it’s simply the way of life, nothing lasts forever.

Unlike the old house or old cars it’s more difficult for us to replace worn out parts, there trying and in some areas their getting quite good at knees and hips some organs etc…there is even a new treatment that uses the stem cells found within your own bone marrow and blood platelets that when injected renew the tired and used parts by helping the body to build a new, repairing torn ligaments and tightening those stretched out sinews, helping the old and injured feel years younger.

The question of how long can Man live has been a hotly debated topic of late with some suggesting that if a child were to be given “proper” nutrition from the beginning and continue to feed his body appropriately then old age could conceivably stretch into the mid 100’s and perhaps even into the dual millennial line. 

Others suggest that the use and over use of harmful chemicals hampers our body’s regenerative abilities stalling the longevity that could be available even with our current abundance of foods and supplements.  It’s these chemicals that are pervasive in all we eat, that may be the cause of cancer, heart disease and stroke, the major reasons of death in today’s fast past environment.  It may be these life style choices that causes us the most harm or could cause us to live a more fruitful and healthful life, depending on those choices made.

The issues of longevity must however be balanced with the quality of life for what good is a long live is that live is solely filled with misery and sorrow? 

Let me change subjects and hopefully I’ll be able to tie the two together.   The Wolf was recently re-introduced into an old environment, Yellow Stone Park.  There were two divergent views about this process.  One side believed that the wolves would ravage the environment and destroy the fragile balance so carefully managed, while others believed that it didn't matter because the wolves had a right to be their regardless of the outcome.  The surprising aspect of this study showed results that were really astounding and provides a lesson to us all in the matter of balance.

After a few years the few wolves, started acting like wolves and the deer populations started thinning but with that thinning an amazing thing happened (keep in mind Man has been trying to manage the deer population for decades), the meadows where the deer felt safe and ate to their content became a hunting ground for the wolf, so the deer stayed away and they started acting like deer.  With the deer gone the meadows began to grow and with that growth the trees returned, the beavers returned and the once changing streams stopped changing. 

Birds were in a plenty, rabbits were managed, insect life returned and a new balance of nature took hold making life better for every species involved.  The same is true with plankton growth, when whales were allowed to roam freely within certain areas of the ocean.  There were problems with a serious loss of plankton and the reasonable thought at the time was that more whales would continue to decimate that growth but the opposite occurred.  This is kind of gross but when whales poop and they do poop a lot that poop floats to the top and actually feeds the plankton and with the increased plankton comes a variety of healthful species that fill the gaps brought on by the absence of the large species.
Balance therefore is not in the great changes we make to our lives but the small almost imperceptible changes we make.  Who would have thought that a wolf or whales life in an environment could have such a positive effect?  It is my contention that like the wolf or whale, man can create that balance that allows all species to live in harmony.  I don’t know how and I certainly don’t want to be reintroduced as  a cave man hunter just so the mastodons can become more plentiful but the lessons learned by how all species work together has to include man and it’s mans  duty to “dress this garden and to keep it” 
These are not metaphorical or symbolic, the Garden is the World and we are given that same advice to watch over the world and to help it to thrive.  Through proper management and self control this world can be in balance and with that balance Nature will bless all men, and women and all species with a greater sense of being, a greater sense of who we are and a more harmonious and health filled life.

Taking care of an old house is easy but we can all see that the more time and effort we put into that old house the longer it stands and the more it can do what it was built to do, shouldn't that same promise exist within our own lives and the lives around us?  I think I’ll adopt a wolf or a whale and see if my shoulder gets healed…what do you think?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A bad review

“In the event of an emergency please pull the red knob”.  That’s all it said and this was an emergency, or I think it’s an emergency.  Having ones hand severed by an angry chef qualifies as an emergency, especially sense his bouillabaisse was too salty and had the flavor of a tuna fish sandwich.  What was I supposed to do, just eat it and not say a word?  I’m a food critic, that’s what I do and he knew what I did and who I was.  Even with my hand lying on the floor, my stump gushing blood the irony taste of old tuna still lingers on my tongue. 

Ok this is an emergency, not the foul tasting soup de jour but my hand partially covered by a soiled napkin sitting calmly next to the table leg where it fell.  With my intact hand I reached the red button and pulled, never thinking how odd it was to have an emergency button sitting in the center of the table, I was just glad it was there.

Having the red emergency button is one thing, pulling it is another and thinking that it will do anything is far beyond my ability to fathom at this point, I was still in a state of shock over the incident of that mad and murderous chef wielding maniac flashing his blade with such precision that with one blow my wrist was without a hand.

The odd part, beyond the fact that I was still sitting at the same table, my hand was on the floor and I was pushing a red emergency button situated in the center of the eating area of a so-called upscale restaurant, was that the chef was still here, growling and complaining about my initial audible review, his knife still moving threatening and his demeanor, I think still murderous while the others at my table continued to eat, and happily I might add.

No alarms sounded, no screeching cries of warning, the red button did nothing but create a void in what little hope I had left.  I could feel the blood rushing out of the stump, the crimson fluid staining the once pristine white of the table cloth.  No help came, no one seemed to notice I was even hurt and here I was dying over a stupid but still indigestible slop of fish guts, I need a drink to wash my mouth, the taste is horrid, or is that my own blood I taste?

As I started to faint from loss of blood I could hear the chef starting to laugh.  His cackle an unforgettable mix between maniacal and gloating, having had the last hand in this epicurean deal, a hand that I had decidedly lost.  The others continued to eat, drink and make merry, a few looked at me with disdain and one older woman with a slight sigh of compassion but then she grabbed my full bowl of uneaten soup, blood spattered and all and started to slurp.

 I guess I was dead before I hit the floor but I can distinctly recall my eyes staring at my hand and my severed fingers give a little wiggle as my eyes looked up under the table to the label in very small print.  Just before my eyes fluttered shut for the last time I read, “The chef has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.  Any patron complaining will be severely punished and his remains used for the delight of other patrons”. 

It was then that I realized why this particular restaurant had never had a bad review, and would not get one from me, at least not now.

The Stay Puft Delemma

I am in a serious civilized juxtaposition, that on the outside may look completely normal but on closer examination may have complex and long-lasting psychological implications.  Any one in particular would seem completely normal and well within the lines of societal propriety but taken as a whole I have no choice than to submit to those implications and go with the flow.

My Corolla, a nice little car needs new tires.  At first I thought I could get away with buying only the two front ones, but in my ignorance of market needs and economic realities all four had to be replaced.  Not only do I need two extra tires but it seems the reason for the problem is that my car is out of alignment.  It was this level of negative configuration that prompted me and motivated me to find a resolution to this break in serenity. It’s a little disconcerting to be driving your car and it wants to drive off the road, pulling to the right at every opportunity.

After the initial shock of the price and the surprise of extra services to bring my once tranquil life back into balance, I sat down to be bombarded with the old Ghostbusters song, …Who you gunna call….da, dot, da, dot ditty, dot…you know the tune, it was blasting from a oversized rear projector, simulated flat screen TV with variations of color pulsating up and down from hues of red and green taking prominence, actually making the movie more in line with the topic of ghosts and the overall misalignment of man than could ever be achieved from the original production.

So here I am, sitting in an overly used, very uncomfortable, black vinyl chair, waiting patiently for my little car to receive the care to regain its balance to the fullest of its creation, while I try to reconcile my life after being summarily dismissed as a substitute with the Menifee Union School District for a simple act of responsible kindness.  It is really nothing more than that. 

After almost six months of diligently creating a positive learning environment and doing everything in my power to serve the K-2 special day class kids I asked to be paid like a real teacher for doing the same duties of a real teacher, they refused so I terminated my long term assignment and said my goodbyes to the few parents of the kids I had grown to love.

Apparently I needed permission from the principal before I could be gracious and polite in informing them that I would not be coming back.  That was a Thursday, on Monday I tried to log into my Subfinder sight and look for a different assignment but was locked out, later to discover that I was changed to inactive, no longer able to substitute in the Menifee Union School District.  A malicious move on their part, perhaps…..Retribution for not staying in an overworked and underpaid position, who knows? 

Therein lies my strange combination of events.  On one side I sit in a tire shop trying to align my car to run optimally while I write, watching the world in turmoil as ghosts attempt to transform the universe.   On the other side I have no job, no prospects, no desire to return to teaching and wondering what to do next to bring my alignment back in sync as Manhattan is being attacked by the overly inflated “stay puft man”.

If only life’s balance could be so easy as using streams of unknown light energy directed at a giant Marshmallow man, obliterating the cause of our discontent, recreating that needed balance and knowing that Nirvana is only a step away.  But as we all know life does not work that way.  Our balance is internal, a mindset of positive emotions that overshadow the negative aspects of life that continually bombard our lives and push and pull us off the true track of life.

 I may not have a job, a paying job, but I do have a life and that life is where that balance resides.  I have a wife who loves me. I have children who need me and who I think love me, I know I love them…you never really know with teenagers.  I have a belief that drives me toward goodness and it is that goodness that creates a level of character and it’s that character that reveals the balance between the good days and the bad days, the employed days and the unemployed, sunny days from the cloudy.  The earth may be in turmoil and it may seem hopeless but there is hope and we have the promise of eternity, if we live with character and faith. 

It’s really not about tires, nor about the expenses incurred, although they do seem to have a profound impact.  It’s not about the job or even about the thousands of inconsequential choices we make each and every day.  Life is a balance of knowing where our heart resides, where our devotions exist and what our true motivations are.  These give us balance and meaning.

The tires, the alignment issues, the giant stay puft man, these are diversions, reminders that this life is only a sleep from the reality of our true existence with God, who is our home.  (wordworth)  The tires will help me to drive straight and the alignment will keep my tires from wearing out.  The Ghostbusters will keep me entertained but in the end it’s all on me, it’s all on you to keep life balanced and moving forward on the straight and narrow path.

Whether I get an apology from Menifee Union School District may be important now and I am actively seeking that resolution but in the scheme of things we call life, it’s creating and living in harmony with our chosen and established principles and then realizing that integrity is the bedrock of all that we are.  (Elder Richard G. Scott)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

School Districts and Power

Perhaps the only outlet I have to expose the illicit and immorality of our school Districts is within this blog.  What that means is that most will not see what I've written and most will not become aware of the rampant selfish megalomania that is pervasive within most district administrative concerns. 

There is a massive disconnect between the teachers and staff, the hard working individuals that sacrifice, toil and sweat over the lives of their charges and those that look snootily down with raised noses and a visible disdain over the masses huddling to stay warm from the wintry separation that is the “District”.

There is a distinction as well between well meaning principals and the Districts that oversee every paperclip and every decision in order to micro-manage the dust that accumulates under their un-moving but all too precious feet.  They claim concern, they feign with twisted faces and oily words only to look aside with skewed eyes and a contemptuous demeanor as there right hand falsifies and as their left -hand hides.  Like a street-side shell game the pea is never to be found, always hidden, the shells rapidly moving from one hand to the other promising this or promising that only to make excuses regarding those un-kept commitments, placing blame on the very souls they employ like the empty shells the simple workers are shuffled around but left empty after all the games.

It’s never their fault, they can never be wrong.  Their salaries are never cut, they are too important to be consigned to the mediocrity of having to deal with the realities of paying bills, raising kids, buying food or cloths or even books or supplies or a discipline policy that actually supports the teachers efforts to ensure a positive learning environment.  This is below their vaulted status and such menial tasks are for those who live far below their exalted station.  Heaven forbid their hands get dirty having to deal with the tedious tasks of teaching. 

If the statement “for those who can’t, teach…” has any merit then “those who can’t teach go into administration...” qualifies as an eternal truth. I blatantly disregard the first part but completely agree with the second part.

The District makes rules, establishes edicts and pronounces standards, printed in flowery but unfathomable words, leaving the interpretation to those on the front lines, always ready to intervene to rewrite or elucidate those rules or standards ensuring their lily white persona remains untarnished regardless of the muck or mud they create.  Theirs is the perfect world and everyone else is tarnished and sodden. 

Nothing more than a political animal, ravenous over the dead bodies that lies in their wake, their insatiable appetite ensuring a fresh path of bones will line their way, causing fear and loathing to all who fall under their influence.  District politicians are nothing more than seedy used car salesman who white wash the wrecks with promises of grandeur and filthy contracts that protect them when their own deeds crumble and crash minutes after the sale, their gleaming white teeth proudly pronouncing, “you bought it as is!” while under breath they laugh and snicker. 

They're little fish in tiny ponds; thoughts of majesty fill their puny minds as they bully and threaten, pounding tables and heads of school boards who for the most part exist in the limelight of the superintendent’s gleam and influence, hapless lackeys that simply bend at the waste in absolution to  great one above. 

I proposed a drastic change in the educational makeup of schools, calling for school site autonomy with the principal being the responsible leader with a parent and teacher board to balance and oversee.  There really is no need for a “District” no need for overly large duplication's.  See article entitled

It is my simple and humble contention that principals are trained and ready to run each school independent of an overseeing District that does nothing to further the cause of education.  With each school autonomous the dollars designated for education would be better spent and more effectively spent by each community school with partnering schools buying in bulk as needed.

It’s time to end the monarchy of massive districts and bring education back to the children and teachers and out of the political hands that do nothing but perform circus tricks to entertain causing costs to rise and learning to fail.

I do have my own agenda based on recent developments within my own teaching career but that will have to wait until another time or if you’re so inclined ask away and I’ll try to explain my position and why my feeling about districts are so passionate.

In the mean time enjoy the read, for those who actually see this post and if you can share it, discuss it and perhaps between us all we can actually make a difference that helps our children maintain a positive mode of learning that actually works, like teaching does.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A little knowledge ....

The true nature of education in the United States is nothing more than a fraudulent shadow of subterfuge and deception.  Children’s needs and teachers please go unheeded as the once great institution of learning continues to fall and miserably fail under the specter of abject complacency and money hungry administrators.  Billions are spent and billions are wasted on the frivolous and inconsequential designs of a magic “program”, hoping that, at least one, fanciful expenditure will create that long hoped for solution that will create beautiful minds of promise while filling the silk lined pockets of its creator.

Education has eliminated the need to learn and replaced that essential aspect of knowledge with disproven and often damaging prospect of testing.  Testing has transformed the universal prospect of an educated populous into a statistical driven business that heightens the act of the test to a supreme status, diminishing education and knowledge and the heavenly achievement of learning just to learn.

It is important to evaluate our present levels and to gauge our understanding in order to more effectively plan how to learn or teach but the prospect of testing and grading is repugnant to the simple and humble process of learning.  In life we learn from our mistakes and our successes, the grading of our lives never really ending.  We may obtain an A+ in some areas of our lives and a D or worse in others but those grades never determine our placement for the future.  A grade is only a snapshot of where we are now not for the rest of forever.

Testing a student in math or science is essential in order to understand those present levels of understanding but almost universally those grades are static and fixed points of failure with only the top tier students gaining success and future promise of success.  A good example would be using a simple bell curve of any class to illustrate how learning is not the so called adopted process of our present education model.  Approximately 16% of all students excel in any given subject (those earning a B or better) the rest of the students achieve substantially less on each test, receiving a grade of C or worse. 

For those who achieve they have learned most of what taught or at least tested, while those who failed to achieve a B or better are in a serious deficit.  30% of the required knowledge is forsaken at the C level with 40% for D and 50% for F.  This is the reality of testing; it is not a function of learning.  For learning to be  supreme those who have not achieved at least 80% understanding should be re-taught and reinforced before they can move on to the next chapter.  Almost all learning is accumulative and without the foundational process extra learning is hopeless and a complete waste of time and resources. 

If a student is consistently a C student (a passing student) then by end of the year that student only has a rudimentary grasp on the essential aspects of those “important” topics we deem to be indispensable for future success.  The question must be asked, is it better to have 100% of a portion of a house or 70% of every part of the house?  You can ponder and decide which is better.

Education in the United States is falling further and further behind almost every other industrialized nation and many poorer countries as well and the reason for that failure is simply because we do not demand that our student learn.  We test, we drill, we advance with only partial understanding and expect our children to be able to build an entire house with only 40, 50 or even 70% of the needed materials.  It can’t be done.  One can build a livable and safe enclosure with less if the list is complete but no one can build a life of promise when a substantial portion of the needed information is missing.

A little learning is a dangerous thing; 
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

And for those who do not fully understand the statement above was first coined by Alexander Pope, an 18th Century poet (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744).

And for those who need further explanation, Pope is telling us all that it’s better not to drink or learn at all unless were willing to drink deep from that well and learn deeply.  For those who only suck the bug infested upper waters will forever have bugs in their teeth.  Ignorance is bliss some say and perhaps their right for once you start to learn ignorance is lost and the only way toward bliss is to embrace the light of learning, drinking deeply from the well of all knowledge.

Our schools, our administrators promote only the skim and sheen of a polished exterior, leaving the depth of those brains empty and grasping, never knowing the strength of truly understanding.  At least a few are making a good living, even if it is at the expense of our future and the future of this once great country.