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It's Snowing In More Ways Than One

Posted Sunday, January 23, 2011, at 10:50 PM

It seems that the drug craze has swept the world. I couldn't help but wonder how so many people can get caught up in that horrendous cycle of addiction. One day last week as I was filling the tank on my truck I noticed a sign on the pump. On the sign was the picture of an ordinary fellow telling how he had lost everything, his home, his family and his job because of a drug addiction.

I did some research on the computer to try to inform myself about illicit drugs and the motives behind their manufacturing and distribution. It didn't take long to realize the motive of their manufacturing. I found out that Methamphetamine is worth just a little less than gold by the ounce. The street value of heroin is about $75,000.00 a kilo (1000 grams) in New York City. I also went online and found suppliers mostly in third world countries who were willing to sell over the internet and ship by FedEx freight prepaid any type or amount of any illegal drug that you can think of.

America is mostly made up of the working class. A class of people who find themselves last when thing are going good and first on the chopping block when things get bad.

It seems that crime has existed ever since the dawn of man. Sometimes crime are committed by thugs that would rather steal from someone else than try to achieve things by their own labor. Sometimes crimes are committed by ordinary folks out of desperation. I had a friend name Corky who was a policeman. When Corky found himself facing the loss of his house he committed suicide just so his mortgage insurance would pay off the balance on his house and his family would not lose their home. I guess Corky couldn't find any other solution to his dilemma or didn't realize that there was help available for him. Norman Matthews was going under. To alleviate the crises Norman robbed a bank for seven thousand dollars. Norman got caught and was sentenced to twenty-eight years in federal prison. His family then lost everything as a result.

I met a young man ( a drug dealer) in a 7-11 store in Kansas City on Truman Blvd. He was driving a gold colored Mercedes Benz. When he came into the store the clerk couldn't sell him a Big Gulp because he didn't have anything under a hundred dollar bill in his wallet. At first I wondered why couldn't he just get an honest job making minimum wage. Yeah really! There was no place in Kansas City where he could make the kind of money he was making.

Is selling and buying drugs the only way for some to keep on going in our society?

I know that this is not a easy problem to solve. God knows that the government has spent billions of dollars, hired thousands of federal agents, built numerous prisons, and jailed over one million people trying to stop the flow of narcotics. It's hard to believe that the United States, the home of the free, has more people in prisons that any other country on earth.

I don't have a way to solve this problem. Is methadone to only help for someone addicted to heroin? Is there a non illegal substitute for methamphetamine addiction? Marijuana can be legally prescribed for patients in some states in America to alleviate pain and nausea. Should it be available in other states. I don't know but I do believe that if drug addiction is to be addressed in America it will take many long and weary years of a concerned citizenry engaged in cursive fields of conversation addressing the problem and finding answers.

I don't know

I'm John Q What do you think?


Comments
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John Q,

I'm not a social scientist and have no real knowledge of the pervasiveness of drug usage, but I'm certain a multitude of reasons can be/have been identified for drug addiction (or any type of addiction).

I suppose if I had to categorize drug users, I'd label some as hardcore and the others as recreational.

One angle I've been curious about has to do with affluence. I believe our society has it too good, and that factor contributes to the continued and growing drug use.

The psychology of the habit is another intruguing element. No doubt we would see abnormal character traits and environmental influences if we examined the typical hardcore user. Also, I believe the seller would exhibit many of the same characteristics as the user.

The recreational user is like the social drinker, occurring occasionally and with little or no residual affect, but the insidious nature associated with hardcore usage makes me tend to believe we're stuck with the problem as long as people with flawed characters continue to be ignored and/or go unnoticed.

-- Posted by Slater on Mon, Jan 24, 2011, at 11:49 AM

people do as they please as often as they can without having to deal with negative side effects. Prohibition didn`t work neither will the "war" on drugs. the only way to exterminate drug use is the communist chinese model, but most people find this to be an unacceptable option.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Mon, Jan 24, 2011, at 12:07 PM

What she said.

It doesn't help any that we are constantly brain washed by advertising that states relief, at the least, and often contentment, and more, are promised with the pop of a pill.

The lines are blurred between the legal pushers, and the illegal pushers. It says something about us that there are more overdose hospitalizations because of Oxycontin than for meth, or anything else.

We now have a great separation between those who can afford to soften the harshness of their reality legally, and those who can only afford to find the universally advised remedy on the street. It remains all the same.

As usual the poor are punished, the rest go to rehab. It is just another manifestation of the greater sickness pervading our society. It is a sickness of the heart, individually, and the heart of our nation.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 12:21 AM

Slater, Nana and OKR thank you for your keen insight and frank discussions. You all seem to have a clear insight to the social stratification or our country. Now that the lid is off of the box what can we as a concerned citizenry do short of ??? What is someone like MLK jr would pick up the torch and speak out for social and economic justice; how long would it take to get the attention of those who have the power to change the laws that enslave us? Now more than any other time in my life I am hearing off hand remarks from people suggesting extra legal means of resistance. In reference to Myrle "our we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for HELL?"

"Are the good times really over for good?"

Thx

-- Posted by John Q. on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 8:43 PM

I'll agree that most of it is money, but I need to throw in here something noone has touched,and that is the feeling.

If you never tried anything other than what good ole doc gives you, you don't understand the feeling of being invinceable (not that you are) or being able to stay up for days at time' or even escaping to another universe for a time to forget any and all problems you may have.

By no means am I an advocate for leagalizing anything other than maybe pot it's the biggest cash crop in the u.s. I say tax it(alot) it'll help the budget'but anyway I speak from first hand experiance I'm also PROUD to say I've been clean for 20+ years and let me tell ya there are times still that it is difficult not like in the beging but just the same difficult.

-- Posted by midniterebel on Wed, Jan 26, 2011, at 7:58 AM

Rebel, I'm glad you brought up your point, because you're absolutely right by saying that anyone who hasn't tried any mind-altering drug would have no way of knowing what the experience is like.

I don't judge people for what they do - well, not true exactly. I do wonder about people like the guy named Reese in Colorado who Ron Monnig wrote about, but as a general rule I don't. Everyone has reasons for everything they do, and it's the reasons that interest me.

I'm glad that you're steering clear of the stuff. I suppose I understand some of what you feel, since I used to smoke. I quit 27 years ago, but every now and then I could puff on a good cigar if I let myself, but I don't and I never will.

Thanks for adding your viewpoint to the mix. :)

-- Posted by Slater on Wed, Jan 26, 2011, at 9:38 AM

I am very sorry, I may have been a lil confused earlier. Is the discussion of school mandated drug testing a "no-no" if so please let me know and I`ll keep it buttoned up.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Wed, Jan 26, 2011, at 2:23 PM

BFG, I don't know about mandatory drug testing at schools but according to a new bill in the Missouri Legislature there will be mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients in the near future.

-- Posted by John Q. on Wed, Jan 26, 2011, at 8:50 PM

Thats totally fine with me.

if you want help from the govt to "get by for a while" fill your cup to the line. but American students are gauranteed a "Free and Appropriate Public Education" Pl-94-182 no exceptions. even if they make a poor decision and put something the govt doesnt approve of in to their bodies.

being a child is about making mistakes and learning. I still say we should hold ourselves accountable for the future of our offspring.

what do you guys think of this proposed bill in Florida where the teacher would assign grades to the parents based on their involvement in their childs education? kids get report cards, teachers get quarterly assessments, now all three sides can get a check-up as to how well they are doing.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 8:51 AM

BFG, I wholeheartedly agree that parents are accountable and responsible for the actions and attitudes of their children. Of course, we've seen the aberration in a family where one sibling grows up to be president and the other sibling grows up to be the mafia boss, so parenting isn't the end-all, but it IS the imperative if a child is to have the best opportunity to succeed in life.

I don't agree with the Florida "experiment," primarily because it's superficial and will produce very little meaningful results, in my estimation. NanaDot is the teacher in the bunch, so I'll be looking forward to her thoughts on the Florida effort.

I disagree with what Missouri is doing by creating a law to administer drug tests to welfare recipients. I say what's good for the goose is also good for the gander. If we want to reduce the drug usage and dependency in our country, we should be trreating the reasons why people become users to begin with. That's my opinion, anyway.

-- Posted by Slater on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 10:08 AM

I didn`t think about that. well put slater.

but the president and mafia boss? at least they were both motivated to rise to the top....

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 12:08 PM

Yep, BFG. I used a poor analogy when I could've just said one grows up to be an upstanding citizen and the other one grows up to be the repeat offender.

As I see it, it's really a matter of collectively deciding to what extent our society is obligated to "cleanse" itself, however that would be defined.

Unlike the Army, we most likely can't be expected to field strip every cigarette butt and paint everything that doesn't move.

Our government has always been inclined to take only reactive steps when dealing with problem issues, always waiting until the last minute to apply the bandaid to the gaping wound, and we all know what sort of outcome that produces.

-- Posted by Slater on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 1:02 PM

Its tough to argue with that Slater, but I have to ask what you meant when you said the Florida experiment would produce little meaningful results?

how can you know? I would like to think that the grade card for parents would have a similar effect on parents as it had on a BigFatBoy in 7th grade when H realized that H was earning Cs and Ds.

he thought to himself "oh man, all my buddies are doing better than me! I gotta get it together" that same BigFatBoy graduated from Highschool and earned a college degree.

maybe it would be an eye opener..... maybe.... but isnt it worth a shot?

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 2:43 PM

.....He realized that He was earning..... Please pardon the error.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 2:44 PM

BFG, no, I have no idea if the Florida plan will work to any substantial degree, but, I agree that it's worth a try. I'm sure it'll produce some results, because in every crowd you'll find a certain number who respond favorably when encouraged.

I once posted a comment in the Speak Out that I don't belong to either political party, rather I'm a member of the Humanitarian Party, and that's the way I think about human beings.

I don't hold any racial prejudice, but I am prejudiced against deliberate ignorance and insolence. A number of my friends spent a career teaching, and I've heard pretty much the same comments when they've related their experiences with parents who were completely indifferent to the education process, so we can most likely conclude that the child's home life was no different. Kids of today demand to be entertained, so the electronic age has made that job easy for the parents. Kids don't have to be imaginative to entertain themselves, and all the time they spend playing games is largely unproductive in about every way you can think.

How many generations back does this pattern go, do you think? Two or more? Maybe from the beginning of time? I don't know, but I firmly believe that two adults bringing children into the world owe them more than a stack of video games. They owe themselves and their children (who'll become parents soooner or later) the opportunity to learn how to be better at parenting.

This is part of what I was thinking when I said our society has to decide how much better we want to be at taking care of each other.

I don't know if I've properly addressed your question about why I believe the Florida effort will fail. It seems to me to be just another example in a long list of initiatives with the best of intentions and mediocre outcomes.

One inherent problem with educators is that they believe they're right and everybody else is wrong. I'm interested to see how it works, and maybe we'll be privy to the telling details at some point in the future, but I won't be holding my breath.

We can't use your yesteryear experience just yet, because right now it's strictly anecdotal. However, it's heartening to hear stories like yours. I hope we hear many similar stories from Florida in the coming years. :)

I enjoy exchanges like we're having. This is a somewhat cumbersome way to do it, so if you feel inclined to chat about things, you'll find me at slater.mo41@yahoo.com

-- Posted by Slater on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 3:57 PM

Slater, one of the biggest problems that I had while I was in school was that the whole experience was boring. Teach me, challenge me but please don't bore me. I quit high school when I was in the 12th grade. My father had physical problems (two heart attacks in one month) and I had to go to work to help support the family. I did manage to attend night school and finish. Later I went on to college and graduate school. It was only when I went of college that the education didn't bore me to death. I also had something invested in it. Your right children want entertainment in their education. I would possibility equate that to being bored by the education process. Maybe that the reason why children who attend parochial schools consistently score higher on their state required testing. The parents also have a lot invested in their children s education. In MHO it doesn't really matter if your home life, your educational experience, your church life our your career choice is boring you are not going to apply yourself to those experiences.

-- Posted by John Q. on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 4:48 PM

John, school for me was a social event and not much more. Oh, I did my school work, but I wasn't striving to be the kid with the highest grade point average.

Like you, I started getting into academics when I got into college, partly because I was able to pick and choose the classes I thought I might enjoy (well, to a degree, anyway, once I got the bulk of the required stuff over).

Up through high school many of the classes weren't very challenging, and that was fine with me, since it gave me more time to lollygag, but once I started college, that scene disappeared in a hurry. After a time I found it exciting and rewarding to actually be learning something! I used to say that I could easily become a professional student. By the time I finished my undergraduate degree I had accumulated 171 hours and I had plenty of arguments with academic advisors about my choices. I reminded them that it was my money and I'd take whatever classes I wanted.

I don't know how effective this Florida effort will end up; the hurtles are significant, and the country doesn't have the right mindset for one, and certainly there's not enough resources to do the kind of job necessary for a rousing success.

I was fortunate in that I always had a desire to learn things - like BFG. When I needed the physical evidence of my labor, I had the report card to remind me what I could accomplish when I set my mind to it. I can only imagine what it must be like for anyone who struggles to learn. It's a sad situation, I know because I have friends who were in that boat. Many time I offered what little help I could provide, but most of the time they'd say never mind. It's the never mind responses that are troubling. All of them fall right through the cracks and are thereby prevented from enjoying the same kind of life like those who are more fortunate.

Not everyone can be a rocket scientist, but there could be meaningful training available for those who have a harder time with the academics. As fra as I'm concerned, trade schools should be closed down, or at the very least, made to provide useful training. It's sinful the kind of money those places charge for the quality of training the individual receives.

I've blabbed on again, taking up your hard-earned space in here. My email address is up above if you ever want to chat directly with me. I could tell you one or two stories about the first article of yours I read on this site. :)

-- Posted by Slater on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 7:49 PM

Slater,

While I would like to speak with you privately the "open-ish" style of blogs really adds to the conversation. I really like to hear/read the opinions of the many others who read and only interject when they have someting to say. ya know?

and some of the things you`ve written need to be read by more than just me as they are often important or interesting.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Fri, Jan 28, 2011, at 9:43 AM

BFG, I see your point, and that's cool. You're one of the few posting here who states his/her thoughts rationally and clearly without resorting to the use of blustery and demeaning tones.

My thing has always been to learn by listening and exchanging ideas and thoughts, and you struck me as being that kind of person, so, I offered my email address, not expecting you to respond, but making it possible if you ever wanted to have a more protracted discussion about a topic. In an open forum I don't usually say everything I might be thinking.

It looks like some of your snow could be melting. :)

-- Posted by Slater on Fri, Jan 28, 2011, at 11:35 AM

I hope that this has been a meaningful experience. I'm also pleased to see other bloggers find a common ground were they can really get into depth about things without the constraints of space in a short blog space.

-- Posted by John Q. on Fri, Jan 28, 2011, at 3:58 PM

This is definitely not meant to stir anything up, but all who posted here, seem to be folks, who are at the least somewhat liberal. It has raised my curiosity.

My questions are, was comity achieved because of this, would it have been achieved if folks of different political persuasions had commented, and finally, why did none of those of more conservative views care enough to post?

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Jan 30, 2011, at 12:32 AM

OKR... why the blanket statement saying "conservatives did not care enough to post"? I just read this opinion piece for the first time so maybe many people are like me and do not always read these articles.

I think one thing that would enable our public schools to function better would be to get away from the whole Federal government trying to run them with a one size fits all type program. States should be able to control their educational system in conjunction with the needs of each varying locale. The experience in DC with their voucher program that Obama ended was working pretty well and many inner city children were great success stories but because of Union influence that program was taken away from the children. I think that each school district, county, city, and state should have the flexibility to meet some basic guidelines and then have the freedom to develop programs that work for their own area and environment. I think with the ingenuity that Americans normally have, we could figure out better ways to teach our children more efficently all while keeping our children from being bored and probably keeping more kids in school because they are not bored. Society has so many other problems, like drugs, that we will always have people dropping out but that is a choice they make and they should be required to deal with those choices...

Another thing that I hated during school was the boredom of the classroom material and the extreme slow pace that we went. I know there are people who learn fast and many who learn slow and there are people who learn by reading, or by listening, or by doing and some who have trouble no matter which way they try to learn. The one size fits all system we have helps create a setting where many get bored and bored teenage minds get into trouble... That goes back to allowing schools to develop their own systems of learning that would allow the flexiblity to let children learn in a style that is best suited to the individual instead of a group where most often it is geared towards the slowest learner.

I think that the program in Florida is ok, I dont think it will matter much. The parents that are interested and involved with their children will do things like attend parent teachers conferences and the parental grade card will just go in the trash of the parents that are not involved.

I think the drug testing for anyone obtaining tax payer funded entitlement assistance should be drug tested because taxation is confiscation of the hard earned money of the working people and the usage of those funds should be sacred and only go to absolute necessities and if you are making the choice to do drugs, especially as a parent, then obtaining funds from hard working tax payers is not a sacred usage of those funds.

-- Posted by mrxray on Mon, Feb 7, 2011, at 2:16 AM

Some good stuff in your comment X-ray. It was a little surprising to see your idealism shining through.

I agree that the best methods are locally tailored, but the devil is in the details, as always.

By the way, why was it that you just now read, and commented on this blog? So much does usually provoke your interest, why was it that it did not catch your interest earlier? No condemnation intended, merely curiosity.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Feb 7, 2011, at 10:38 AM

mrxray,

I have to comment on some of your ideas. I totally aggree with your idea about tailoring the education process to fit the region. but the problem is way deeper than most people think.

nobody can afford to teach as their only source of income and raise a family. my mother was a teacher and an amazing one! but with that as her sole income and 2 children to care for we fell way below the poverty line and qualified for welfare assistance.

she was forced by a sense of responsibility to her kids to leave the profession and work 2 jobs that she disliked to make ends meet. most of your local teachers have some other job or alternate income just to stay afloat.

secondly our schools aren`t education facilities anymore; they are daycares with some teaching thrown in. kids arent allowed to fail in elementary school or middle school, EVER! even if they earn it. there are actually "no fail" policies in place at many schools.

the "one size fits all" net is designed to catch all the fish. not just the ones who are doing what they are supposed to be doing. so the gifted kid with all the talent in the world is stuck at the pace of the kid who smoked a joint on the way to school.(it happens more than you think)and the kid with mental or emotional chalenges is stuck with 20 kids who resent his presence and he is caught in an endless game of Catch-up.

on top of all this there is a solid month to month and a half where learning comes to a complete halt and is replaced with standardized testing and getting the kids ready for the new and unproven testing format that the state changes every single year for the last 5 years.

the clincher in my opinion is that the only proven and time tested practice for prepping kids for higher education has either been discarded or over looked.

that great educational secret was passed down from my mother and grandfather when I was very young. they both said in their own way: "BigFatBoy, if you can Read Write and do simple MATH you can do teach yourself anything in the world, any thing!"

here is a challenge to the people who read this: try to find a teenager who can read for content or meaning. I dare you! you`ll find that 90% will just spew forth a verbal copy or summary of what they read.

I believe that we are stuck on the bottom 2 rungs or blooms taxonomy. it rarely matters what a person knows or understands, but it often makes a difference if you can synthesize what you know or analize what you percieve or even make a decision based on prior experience.

I would have an opinion about drug testing but I dont want this post to get deleted.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Mon, Feb 7, 2011, at 2:54 PM

OKR... lol cause this article was labeled SNOW?

-- Posted by mrxray on Tue, Feb 8, 2011, at 9:36 PM

I agree with Nanadot about some of what she said... however, even I am not that pessimistic... lol

-- Posted by mrxray on Tue, Feb 8, 2011, at 9:38 PM

BigFatGuy...

So.. because of poverty all of life is doomed to failure?

I agree with what you are saying about one size fits all.. but the pace that we teach is NOT because of the slow learners but the inflexibility of the whole system. Then when a school system like DC has GREAT results the government shuts it down. example OBAMA shutting down the DC voucher program.

But when the feds can intice or bribe or coerce the states into buying into their programs in exchange for inadequate funding the education programs we have today are the result

Just look to colleges.. counselors are told to tell students that the classes they NEED are not available so they should take BS classes to fill out their schedule so they can get Pell Grants and other financial aid... happened to me and my brother and a ton of friends... until we argued and fought the system.

Universities and all their weird classes that pertain to NO career are all about the money and NOT about real education for our kids...

The system is screwed and the starting point to make changes is to get unions out of teaching and to get the fed out of local and state issues.... this is why the FED needs to be extremely limited

-- Posted by mrxray on Tue, Feb 8, 2011, at 9:45 PM

Nanadot, I agree that the system is screwed. and that the old "rich kids only" system is crap too. here is a solution for you.

Why dont we get somebody or even a commitee of people who have experence in the field to draft a working policy instead of letting the money grabbing politicians strap a quick fix Bandaid on the crippled system that we already have?

like the old guys say. "you wouldn't go to the proctologist to have him check out a sore throat? would ya?"

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 7:26 AM

and again the kids with learning disabilities arent the reason teachers teach at such a slow pace. AT ALL! I didn't mean to give that impression.

what I was getting at is the one size fits all only teaches to the middle. the kids on either end of the spectrum get the short end of the stick. those who deal with developmental or educational difficulties are dragged along with not enough regard for what they actually can do and what they really need and those who we lable as "Gifted" spend their whole educational experience frustrated by the lack of challenge.

its getting so bad that this country is starting to have a sharp rise in the numbers of gifted kids commiting suicide as a result of 12 or so years of constant frustration.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 7:57 AM

I didn`t say any thing about "try"

aside from that I totally agree with you. we need to work on what we know to be the most important skills. the ones that allow you to educate yourself. Reading Writing and functional math (up to and including algebra and geometry)

Have you checked to see what the 90-90-90 schools are doing? They have staggering graduation and post highschool college/trade school enrollment rates. and as I understand it they have focused on the three Rs (pardon the clichet) because it doesn`t matter how good your history/science professor is at his or her job if you cant read or respond to the questions or do the math to find out how many moles of Hydrogen are in a liter of water.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 2:10 PM

So, what insidious elements have infiltrated the educational process to produce what one study says is a population growing steadily dumber?

I've posted this previously, but here it is again. I read a study a couple of years ago which found that 75% of tested two-year college graduates and 50% of tested four-year graduates failed at a variety of moderately complex tasks, like understanding a credit card agreement and balancing a checkbook.

If one reason is the single-minded approach to curriculum development, surely that could be remedied. Since I've not been in the education business, I don't know all the subtleties influencing methods and results, so any suggestions I might offer would be of a general nature which have already been stated above.

One fact that bothers me comes to light every time I read a news report done by some person working for the Associated Press (or most all news sources, for that matter). If those people are formally trained, then many of them slept through most of the classes, in my estimation. Maybe the people teaching the skills are conditioned to let inaccuracies go uncorrected.

I use this example because effective communication skills are essential in every aspect of our lives. As BFG said, the three R's have lost out to some of the issued NanaDot stated. It sould be clear enough to those who are supposed to be overhauling our failing system that current methodology is inadequate, but government has always wanted to make the public believe that problems are far more difficult to resolve than may be the case.

The Florida experiment is just another example of how off-track educators are, either because of a lack of ingenuity, or a lack of interest. Taxpayers keep them in business, so the incentive to make the system workable is lacking, or dismissed.

Does anyone remember the Time newsmagazine article from roughly 40 years ago about the teacher in Alabama or Georgia (with a master's degree) not being able to write a coherent paragraph? As I recall, the article included an excerpt from a letter she wrote to a parent.

-- Posted by Slater on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 5:45 PM

Texas has some sort of teacher competency exam, and the last number I saw had a little over 10% flunking. I can't say if any of that total were forced out of the profession, but I doubt it.

And, I'm not in agreement with MrXray about turning over all decision-making to the states. We need a national framework, not a hodge podge of "Florida experiments."

Yes, credit card agreements are not easily comprehended, but they serve as one measure for determining how well prepared the individual is to think critically.

Our students are short-changed by the education system, to be sure, but I'm not prepared to buy into a conspiracy hypothesis. Notice I didn't say "conspiracy THEORY." :)

-- Posted by Slater on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 9:29 PM

first place the teacher competence test (PRAXIS) is a joke. I have a BS degree and have passed 3 of these things over the last 6 years, outside of my subject area: science, history(k-12), and Math(k-8) at 100 bucks a pop to prove my point.

secondly the point that Nanadot keeps trying to put out there is that every district in every state has different basic guidelines. so that the kids in Iowa get a whole different ed experience than those in West Va.

imagine if the Ford company made the F150 differently in each one of its factories with different saftey and quality controll standards.

Yes I know the education system -lower case by design- isnt an assembly line but when a New Orleans highschool senior can`t write a 3x5 essay but is still in contention to graduate with honors it means we need to look seriously at our quality control measures.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 8:53 AM

as they say: a educated Population is very easy to govern and nearly impossible to rule.

so why is it that when the govt needs money for their "programs" or budget issues the first people who get their funding cut are the ones who educate the youth of America?

how can you not look at this as a Orwell-ian truth. if the people running the show want to stay in power they can either do their jobs correctly or get rid of the people who are aware of their mess-ups and prevent others from getting the education necessary to become aware that the people on top are crooked

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 12:10 PM

I wonder how many people work at a job they really enjoy? It always seemed reasonable that the individual should have the opportunity to gain enough insight into career expectations so that sound and rewarding choices would be made for attaining the education and training to realize the goal.

Although I don't know the details of the structure of education in Europe, their way of channeling students into career paths seemed like a smart way to get people going in the direction of their choice. My approval of their system wasn't without reservation, but whatever misgivings I may have had were most likely due to my ignorance. However, I figured all things being equal, it probably was a good way to prepare people for a lifetime of work.

BFG, I'm concluding you're in the teaching profession and therefore see things from a clearer perspective than someone like myself has. I didn't know you have to pay to take the competency exam. What happens to someone who refuses? Is their contract not renewed? Is that the way "undesirables" are moved out? I wouldn't expect that every school district has its own way of presenting education, but I'd guess that every state may have its own form of curriculum development which the individual districts then synthesize to suit themselves. Is this right, or wrong?

When I started school (first grade-1946), it seemed that teaching was thought to be a noble endeavor, and teachers were well-respected members of the community. I wonder how much luster those two factors have lost over time? A lot, it seems to me.

-- Posted by Slater on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 10:03 PM

slater, All the luster is gone as well as the teaching. I am no longer in the field because I too was unable to keep up with student loans my own bills and the needs of my family on the meager 28000 gross base pay of the district in which I worked.

to answer your question no passed Praxis=no job. if things are still handled the way I remember. but its been a few years.

BTW the idea of carreer paths is "in my opinion" brilliant!

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 7:35 AM

Slater... I think that there needs to be a basic guideline for all schools.. like what subjects to teach and general guidelines. BUT a small rural school is not the same animal as that of a HUGE city school and something as simple as how many teachers and differenct subjects that can be offered are more limited the smaller school size you get because of lack of funding and lack of the numbers of students does not justify the increased numbers of teachers to teach the wider varitey of subjects.

AND what is wrong with having the ability for our teachers to "invent" new ways to teach? How can we expand and improve our educational process if we dont allow those teaching to use their own innovations? How is teaching to pass some standardized test helpful? The whole one size fits all system IS FAILING so we need to innovate new ways to teach.

Nanadot YOUR pessimism regarding the evil rich people never ends does it? LOL

-- Posted by mrxray on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 8:41 AM

MrXray - Most certainly your point about enrollment size will determine the curriculum. I recall as a senior in high school the total enrollment in the Slater school system was 335, and a few of us used to have conversations (***** sessions) about how our education lacked quality. Looking back on those years, today I'd present the opposite argument. I can think of only one teacher who I thought and still think was unsuited for the task. True, small schools don't have the resources to present an expanded curriculum like large schools, but that shouldn't prevent the small schools from hiring a well-qualified faculty. However, like BFG, too many people nowadays are forced to leave the profession for a job paying enough money to meet the obligations.

I have a close friend who was a teacher. She's the type who was born to teach, and I'm not doubting for a second that she was very good in the classroom. I go along with you that teachers should have the flexibility for inventiveness and creativity. Learning should be an engrossing and rewarding experience for the student, and it stands to reason that the atmosphere can be enhanced if a fundamental system is in place which teachers can use as a springboard to create the kind of environment that students could thrive in.

I'm thinking about history, for example. I never understood why history teachers were/are mostly all so dull and uninteresting in their presentation of such a rich fund of information.

Obama talks about enriching the experience, but to me it's all talk. Maybe he honestly believes in what he says, but it'll take a lot more than one person to make the kinds of changes needed for the coming generations to truly profit by their time in school.

-- Posted by Slater on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 11:45 AM

as a former history teacher in the american southeast I have to say that if we provided kids information about what actually happened in History/social science class they would be very interested and engaged.

instead we feed them piles of sugar coated nonsense for years and years untill they completely lose trust in the entire field.

for instance:

does anybody really thinks that those guys in boston who dressed up like Native Americans and threw the tea in the harbor did so because they were trying to gain national independence or lay the ground work for the American Revolution?

or is it more likely that some guys got drunk and decided to vandalize the property of the people who were inconviencing (imposing taxes on) their families?

think about how kids of the future are going to look at the 9/11 attacks. some guys from Saudi Arabia flew some american planes into some buildings and in response we invaded Iraq and Afgahnistan.........

good luck making that fit into a govt funded system's cirriculum!

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 2:27 PM

BFG, why do you think your subject is presented the way you described? Is it like the reverse of Hollywood taking a real event and turning it into a movie, "embellishing" in order to attract viewers? By writing history texts with erroneous information, it obviates a real discussion of the real facts?

This is as close as I can get to the idea of an entity conspiring to distort/withhold the truth from the students/public.

People in control have lied to the American public so often and for so long that it's become impossible to know when someone is actually telling the truth. Every utterance is calculated to meet the brain cramp notion of "political correctness." American citizens are expected to elect our government representatives, so why is it that it's "inappropriate" to inform the public in an open and straightforward manner? Because, as you stated previously, those in control don't want citizens to know about the dark side - e.g., the true reasons for the economic collapse, which the government has attempted to cover over by withholding the details from the public, the mindset being, "the public is too smart to let us get away with this." They count on an apathetic public to not make waves.

I've rambled enough for the moment.

-- Posted by Slater on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 2:59 PM

The great "THEY" cant bring their self to accept that people have been the same animal for thousands of years. We have the same motivations and desires as everybody else has. the only thing that seems to change is the size of the rocks we throw at each other.

the US (and I assume other countries) chooses to remember the world as they would have liked it to have been in stead of how it was.

For instance: they are trying to create a school friendly version of Huck Finn that has the "N" word completely removed/replaced. instead of fessing up to that dark period in our history we are going to try to push it out of our cultrual memory along with all the lessons we should have learned as a result of the struggle that followed. American schools are loosely guided by a government that doesn`t want to admit that it has ever been anyting but a perfect representation of the will of the masses. on top of that the schools are DICTATED TO by a school board made up of locals who (in my experience)have no background in the field of education and resign as soon as their kid graduates.

I know of an instance (I will not provide details because he was my friend) where one parent of a "student" was a school employee and the other sat on the board, Neither parent having any more than a Hs ed. their kid was failing an upper level mathematics class due to a complete lack of work. (3 weeks and not one homework assgn got turned in) these three grumbled and stomped their feet until the board replaced my friend soon after Thanksgiving.

the truth of history has been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness

History is ugly, sexy, dirty, bloody and beautiful all at the same time. there is no way to sugar coat such a complex dish with out cheapening it and robbing our kids of the lessons they will need to run this place when we are too old and broke down to do it.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 3:48 PM

Nanadot... I have to agree with you again... We have strayed away from the basic core educational subjects, at least strayed away from the importance of them. We tend to allow kids, who might not have grasped the material of a subject in one grade, pass on to the next. However, Dont we have standardized criteria already? Dont they dictate how many hours of what subjects they have to have? Dont they mandate test taking and then the teaching to the test?

I dont think the guidelines are wrong so much as the teaching methods and classroom setups and total lack of societal importance placed on people like teachers are wrong.

I guess what I am saying is that we can have all the set standards and national minimum guidelines we want but if the kids are not learning the material in those classes then nothing is changed.... I think more emphasis is placed on the cirriculum guidelines than there is on honest evaluations of IF the kids are actually learning the material.

I can get kids to memorize material for a standardized test but all that does is take away from the real cirriculum and wastes that time because after they memorize the information for the test it is not put into practical use so it is quickly forgotten.

-- Posted by mrxray on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 12:45 AM

Slater... my comments regarding school size did not pertain to the quality of teachers, ONLY that they have the inability to offer as many different subjects... but I wonder if the larger schools that have a wider variety of subjects are serving the kids well or if they should use the extra teachers to have more classes with less students or something.....

-- Posted by mrxray on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 12:48 AM

MrXray - I know what you were meaning. I added the quality element, but I didn't state my thoughts clearly or properly.

What I meant to say is that over time I've come to realize that a stereotypical way of thinking exists about the quality of education available in a small school.

The curriculum will be followed and the material presented in much the same manner as in larger schools, the difference being in the amount of additional classroom materials available in the larger school.

I doubt that students in small schools are any the worse for wear from their experiences. I believe we'd see the evidence to support this assertion if we were to compare scores between big and small schools on standardized tests.

-- Posted by Slater on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 11:51 AM

the finantial backing that big schools get is offset by the personal attention that small schools can provide with classes of less than ten students.

the high dollar supplies are just a way to get the information to alot of people in a short time.

I am convinced that a quality educator would do a better job of actually teaching at a small school and a poor educator could more easily hide his incompetence in a large class environment.

the catch is that a good educator can be swamped by the list of stupid non educational crap that a teacher in a big school saddles him with, and cant afford to feed himself on the salary at a small school where he has the time to ensure that the kids are "getting it" via question/answer sessons and individualized assignments.

-- Posted by BigFatGuy on Mon, Feb 14, 2011, at 12:10 PM


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LARRY MAXWELL
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Larry Maxwell is a retired businessman who often writes about topics related to faith and religion.
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