Different kids have different needs and different students have different skills and needs. Obvious, right? So why is it that public education tries to fit them all into the same mold? Some teachers may object to the last statement and mention AP, Pre-AP, Resource, and Sheltered classes, depending on the various levels of intelligence and skills. Allow me to explain my thesis more extensively and clearly: Even within the specialized classes, every student has different needs, different backgrounds, and different levels of interest and skills. The ideal teaching method is the one that fits the child’s requirements perfectly, attending to all his individual exigencies. That would include satisfactors (neologism) for Emotion, Intelligence, and Social background.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming ( Goethe)
I can imagine the classroom of the future and it doesn’t look at all like the present format. No, it will not disappear: I do not espouse, for obvious reasons, Mr. Santorum’s opinion that students should be homeschooled ; his disdain for public education is a clear invitation to class warfare. Only the wealthy and the well-educated could teach their children all the academic areas needed to succeed in real life. Even then, these kids would become recluse, lacking the essential social relationships with their peers. One can observe the daily shuffle in the schools: Some students going to an Estudiantina class where they learn how to play the guitar; others have soccer or football practice, or art, or the pillars of a good education, Languages, Math, Science and Social Studies. But nowadays, in most schools, the physical equipment is sadly outmoded. Uncomfortable desks, whittled by the past generations, torture young bodies and make learning unpleasant. The teacher lectures for 20 minutes, models during another 10 minutes, and walks around the rest of the period to make sure they are doing what is expected. Our modern technology should offer a better, more efficient learning environment.
Rick Santorum just destroyed public education in a recent interview with Bob Schieffer (CBS) last Sunday. His recent rise to prominence at the expense of Mitt Romney, the moderate Republican candidate to the White House, has allowed the public to hear more details regarding his various ideas to improve our nation. He managed to insult President Obama’s religious beliefs by mentioning a strange theology in reference to contraception, a practice espoused by the vast majority of American women. By the same token, he proposed leaving education to parents and local communities and doing away completely with both federal and state governments’ intervention.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. (Thomas Jefferson)
The presidential election next November looks more and more skewed in favor of the incumbent, Mr. Obama. The present front runner for the Republican party, Mitt Romney, is sliding (backwards) in the polls as the economic situation is improving.
Now that Congress is (finally) poised to forbid insider trading by all branches, we can expect as a result much poorer legislators and White House staff, right? Come on, do you believe in the fairy godmother, or Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny? If I am a member of Congress working on a bill that would make land prices jump, I can’t visit the local realtor and buy all the adjacent properties the way I could before the new law. Instead, I just send one of my buddies, or distant cousin, to do the deal in his name and share the profits later on.
Is there any doubt in anybody’s mind that Romney will be the nominee of the Republican party for the 2012 presidential election? No, his recent landslide victory in Florida tells us that he will keep marching on to victory, nothwithstanding Mr. Gingrich’s bluster and Mr. Santorum’s brave statements. So the burning question is: why do they keep fighting? The answer my friends is obvious; they are looking for a position in Mr. Romney’s government should he defeat President Obama.
The Republican candidates to the White House have addressed the OWS (Occupy Wall Street) movement as just one more bunch of rabble-rousers who have nothing better to do than to disturb the peace where honest, hard-working people are trying to make a living. In their capitalistic minds, they call it Class Warfare, instead of confronting the real problem head-on.
As a high school teacher, I meet all kinds of students and I usually can tell whether they are destined for high level jobs or menial poorly paid positions in life; they will always belong to the bottom of the totem pole. We can all admit that if you are reading this blog, you most likely navigate the waters of the middle or high class, and are therefore blessed with a better than average intelligence. Human beings with low levels of intelligence must be treated with all due respect and consideration; they were born that way and until science comes up with some magical gene therapy to correct the mistake, they will remain that way until they die. Can they be happy? Of course, I have met many such individuals who seem to enjoy life much more than I did.
Political systems, however, within capitalistic societies, offer very little protection to people who cannot fend for themselves sufficiently to enjoy a carefree old age. Oh, we have Medicaid, a bonafide mana from heaven for those who find themselves below the poverty line! But many end up on the street, depending on the generosity of passers-by. They starve, freeze to death, and die of unnamed diseases. Even worse: When they have children, these end up sometimes as preys for crazy sick predators. Every year, 50,000 kids are sexually abused in the United States. If they survive the rigors of poverty, these children will do very poorly in classrooms across the country. What they learn might help them get a job flipping burgers or burning their hands picking up lettuces.
Yet, we cannot have a happy society in which nobody wants to do the dirty jobs. There is even a TV show on the subject where the star gets his hands dirty for a couple of hours. But the real workers suffer day in and day out for the rest of their lives. We seldom reflect on those hardy souls who make our lives more comfortable; we very rarely thank them for their efforts. And we never think of those Chinese “slaves” forced to work for 30c a day for 10 to 12 hours without a break and without the possibility of escaping; they make our precious cell phones.
A purely capitalistic society is synonym with inequality and injustice. Do we treat very poor people the same in court as we do with the rich ones? Ha, ha! What a stupid question! “They are too lazy, too stupid, to enjoy the American Dream,” said a prominent businessman to his buddy in a moment of rare candor.
But how can we call ourselves a successful nation if we don’t protect the less fortunate with every means at our disposal? Private charities do a lot, certainly, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the immense needs of millions of American citizens. Remember the War On Poverty of 1964 launched by President Lyndon Johnson? Well, 40 years later, we are still fighting it and we still have a long way to go.
He surely was thinking of the OWS movement, a resistance to the present cozy alliance between politicians and bankers.
Considering all the problems that are presently affecting the United States, why don’t we ask a group of the greatest thinkers to re-think America; they would be chosen among philosophers, scientists, writers, historians, poets, comedians, teachers, and a few farmers, engineers, military guys, and ordinary people such as common sense imbued senior citizens. The membership would have only one condition: no politician, present, past, or future.
Colbert For President?
The idea came from an unexpected source: the candidacy of Stephen Colbert, the well-known entertainer who launched an exploratory committee toward the presidency. Why a comedian, some people would ask? Well, why not? One cannot have “experience” as a president, one must learn on the job, which is why Obama will be a much better Commander-in-Chief the second term if reelected. A professional politician like Romney or Gingrich brings a lot of “baggage” to the task. They have extended their tentacles over Washington for the last 20 years at least. They have “obligations” or IOU’s all over the place, which they would “repay” if elected. A brand new civilian would have no such load on his/her shoulders and could thus concentrate on governing rather than finding positions in the government for his cronies.
The “thinking” group mentioned in the first paragraph would be charged with re-inventing the United States, and that would include a new way to s’elect (sic) a president, if they judged that our present republican system is adequate for our needs as a super power. Maybe a king would be better (just kidding); but a Parliament might work better than our present Congress. Just look at the British Parliament in action to see the Prime Minister being grilled mercilessly. I would love to see our president respond for his actions and decisions the same way. Perhaps the “elite” group could be trusted with picking a new president from among the most successful businessmen, or academics, such as a Nobel prize winner. We could even do away with elections altogether!! Oh Democracy, how much wrong has been committed in thy name!
Meanwhile, is there any way we can have political campaigns without polls? No, of course not. There is too much money at stake; but the trouble with polls is that they have become extremely accurate; what’s the point of voting if the results are already known? Who is to say that voters are not influenced by the polls in such a way that they finally pick the candidate ahead in the preferences? If true, it negates the very foundations of a democracy, just as super PAC’s are destroying the fairness of elections. Just pour enough money into a candidate and even the most incompetent politician can be elected. Furthermore, with today’s instantaneous communications through smart phones, the first voters are able to tell the later voters and the media whom they selected. The whole system is flawed and the “super group” should find a new way to restore our democratic ways.
I don’t believe for a moment that my idea will bear fruit; political and financial interests are so entrenched in the present system that nothing of importance will be changed, nothing that could give us back a real democracy. The same people who must be eliminated are the ones who have the power to do it. No respectable (if not respected) Congressman (woman) will vote for self-immolation. It would take a popular tsunami to realize that dream, much more than the Occupy Wall Street movement.