“blowin” Ferguson, Toledo and New York

Please request your local radio station to play and replay “Blowin In The Wind” written and sung by Bob Dylan.  It was also sung by Peter Paul & Mary, George Harrison, ZiggyMarley and pretty much every generation of performers with the exception of this generation.

To hopefully inspire you to get the song played and another generation involved, I share with you the lyrics which I obtained from Mr. Dylan’s web site:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Copyright © 1962 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1990 by Special Rider Music
Read more: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/blowin-wind#ixzz3LGFAZVwD

If this is in violation of copyright, please delete.  No infraction was intended.

It’s Time to Make a Choice

Part of the problem with Christianity is that its followers have failed to throw off the yoke of The Old Testament.  The New Testament and the Old Testament are diametrically opposed.  The New Testament teaches love, compassion, caring.  The Old Testament is about violence and revenge.  What else can you call the threat of fire, brimstone and damnation.

What if our politicians were not allowed to quote the Old Testament, but instead were only allowed to quote the New Testament.  The New Testament is one of inclusion.  If we get rid of the Old Testament, we could really mean it when we asked, “What would Jesus do?”.

WWJD about extending unemployment compensation?

WWJD about funding meals on wheels?

WWJD about Medicaid?

WWJD about immigration reform?

WWJD about gay marriage?

WWJD about the money changers on Wall Street?

WWJD about Social Security?

WWHD about a man who couldn’t find a job?  (Would he suggest to his followers that they should teach a man to fish when there was one fish for each fisherman?

WWJD about casting the first stone at a sinner?

WWJD about any social issue?

How can we as a society continue to support and elect politicians who insist that our government does the exact opposite of WWJD?

THE ANSWER IS THAT WE ALLOW THEM TO SPIT THEIR THEIR VENOM UNCHALLENGED, AND THEN WE VOTE THEM INTO OFFICE.

 

 

 

 

A Parable

   The Animal School: A Fable by George Reaves

Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school.

They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

* * * *

This little fable completely changed my views of teaching. We all, each of us as individuals, have skills at which we excel and skills at which we, to use the vernacular, suck. And yet, all students are expected to excel in all skill areas.

Suddenly I realized why two thirds of my classes were bored or potential discipline problems.

One third were bored and potential discipline problems because they were skilled in my subject, and yet they had to wait for the other two thirds to continue.

One third were bored and potential discipline problems because they were unskilled in my subject, were always lost, and couldn’t keep up with the rest of the class.

The final third cruised along while wondering why the other two thirds were unhappy and causing problems.

The traditional solution is to give additional work to both outlying groups. No matter what you call it, additional work feels like punishment to a child/teenager. We are wasting our time and money as well as doing our children, society, and taxpayers a disservice when we try to improve our educational system in the United States.

Of Model Ts and Corvettes

Over my thirty plus years in teaching, I have seen many “fixes” forced on our educational system. You have experienced them also, whether as a parent or a student. Do you remember: phonics, new math, and new science grants? I particularly remember in high school getting new science lab equipment one year, and the school district not being able to fund the program over the long term. I loved science, and it killed me to see all that lab equipment setting idle because federal funding was gone.

Each of the programs above, and I would add the integration of technology, is like putting a Corvette engine in a Model T and expecting it to go ninety miles an hour. The car will destroy itself before it ever reached the the desired goal of ninety miles an hour. Isn’t that exactly what has happened to our educational system. The harder we have tried to reach our goals the worse the system has functioned.It’s time for an educational revolution. The system can not be improved without these basic changes.

REVOLUTION NOT EVOLUTION (A NOT SO MODEST PROPOSAL)

STEP 1

Make all education competency based; not based upon age or grade level. Currently, school is like a prison sentence      (twelve years without a chance of parole). Everyone does their twelve years, no less. I have seen schools where students have completed all the required courses and electives and still not be allowed to graduate until they have put in the whole twelve years.

Every student should take every course at his own pace until he completes the competencies required by the state or national government or employers. They may at the same time be in beginning reading, advanced math and biology. They may be taking one course at a time or they may be taking several courses at once.

There should be no age limit for people to begin or continue taking courses in public schools. If an eighty year old woman wants to study literature, she should be able to take the course.  After all, she is a taxpayer.  If a thirty year old man wants to take book keeping or accounting for his small business, he should be able to. If a six year old is interested in rocketry, he should be   able to study it.

STEP 2

The U.S. educational system is based on an agrarian society. Guess what? We haven’t been an agrarian society for decades, if not centuries. Being based upon an agrarian society, we only have school nine months out of the year. Name me a business large, small, service, manufacturing or agricultural that lays off its workers and shuts down down its facilities for three months out of the year. We need to make the school calendar be three hundred and sixty-five days a year, and we need to make the facility available twenty four hours a day. When rooms are not being used for classes, they may be used by community organizations for a small fee to cover utilities, janitorial service and security.  People who don’t have children will be more likely to support schools they can use.

Students may attend as many days a year as they want.  They could schedule their classes around outside jobs.

Teachers may teach as many days a year as they want. They would be compensated for the extra months they teach and wouldn’t need to find job(s) at minimum wage during breaks and the summer.

Parents would be able to better plan their work schedules and child care.

Step 3

Now that we are competency based and school and teachers are available all year around, lets use technology. Technology will allow students to proceed at their own pace. Teaches will be able to serve as mentors to the learning process instead of lock stepping students of varied abilities and interest through a one size fits all curriculum.

Let’s stop wasting money on textbooks which are out of date before they are published. Go digital. With the money saved provide every student with a laptop or tablet. If you are worried about getting them back, charge a fee. For those students or parents that cannot afford to either buy or rent, have a business partner step up. Don’t buy technology. Lease it. It changes too rapidly; and will be too expensive to update. Use free technology from the internet like Kahn Academy and Next Vista for Learning.

STEP 4

Get parents, grandparents, the business community and the general public involved. Get everyone involved. Get civic organizations to use the school facilities. Get adults using the gym for basketball, volleyball, community dances. Everyone should know where the schools in their community are. Encourage everyone to come to school to get involved in courses whether their eight or eighty. Find out what people want to learn and provide them with the opportunity.

Step 5

We must have two education systems.

The states can keep their state schools, but there will be federal “charter” schools which adhere to common core principals. I have long heard about how the federal government should stay out of state issues. I agree wholeheartedly.

The federal government would have the right to run federal charter schools any way it wanted. The federal government would fund their charter schools with federal tax dollars.

The states would have the right to run their state schools however they wanted. The states could fund their schools however they wanted but without federal tax dollars. No state monies would be used to fund federal charter schools and no federal funds would be used to finance individual state public, private or state chartered schools.

Parents would be able to choose whether to send their children to federal charter schools which were funded by federal tax dollars or state schools funded by state tax dollars. At last the hue and cry against big government involvement in education would be addressed.

States could have all the charter schools they wanted. States could write whatever curriculum they wanted with or without creationism. The states could teach that climate change is not backed by science. States could teach that the earth is six thousand years old by counting the begats.  States could once again manipulate who goes to what state schools because the parents would have a choice.

I am looking forward to your comments, particularly questions, suggestions, criticisms to help improve our educational system.

CANNON FODDER?

Based upon what we have seen our government do to our veterans for decades, the only conclusion is that all three branches view them as cannon fodder for the military, industrial, corporate, financial complex.  One Republican, the chairman of the committee, said basically in a letter to the veteran’s organizations after they testified before his subcommittee that they all were a bunch of self-serving whiners.  He also left the committee for the entirety of their presentations; returning at the end to dismiss them.

 

“ONLY THING THAT WILL STOP A BAD GUY WITH A GUN IS A GOOD GUY WITH A GUN”

What if the good guy with a gun becomes a bad guy with a gun?

 

What if the good guy with a gun meets a bad guy with a bigger clip?

 

What if a good guy with a 22 meets a bad guy with a 38?

 

What if a good guy with a 38 meets a bad guy with a 45?

 

What if good guy with a 45 meets a bad guy with a grenade?

 

What if a good guy with a grenade meets a bad guy with an IED?

 

What if a good guy with an IED meets a bad guy with a drone?

 

What if a good guy with a drone meets a bad guy with an atom bomb?

 

WHAT IF WE REALIZE HOW RIDICULOUS THIS ARGUMENT BY THE NRA LEADERSHIP IS?

 

 

Educational Revolution

pastedGraphic.pdf

The Animal School: A Fable by George Reaves

Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying.

To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming.But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

* * * *

This little fable completely changed my views of teaching. We all, each of as individuals, have skills at which we excel and skills at which we, to use the vernacular, suck. And yet, all students were expected to excel in all skill areas. Suddenly I realized why two thirds of my classes were bored or potential discipline problems.

One third were bored and potential discipline problems because they were skilled in my subject, and yet they had to wait for the other two thirds to continue.

One third were bored and potential discipline problems because they were unskilled in my subject, were always lost, and couldn’t keep up with the rest of the class.

The final third cruised along while wondering why the other two thirds were unhappy and causing problems. The traditional solution was to give additional work to both outlying groups. No matter what you call it, additional work feels like punishment to a teenager.

We are wasting our time and money as well as doing our children, society, and doing taxpayers a disservice when we try to improve our educational system in the United States.

Of Model Ts and Corvettes

Over my thirty plus years in teaching, I have seen many “fixes” forced on our educational system. You have experienced them also, whether as a parent or a student. Do you remember: phonics, new math, and new science grants? I particularly remember in high school getting new science lab equipment one year, and the school district not being able to fund the program over the long term. I loved science, and it killed me to see all that lab equipment setting idle because federal funding was gone.

Each of the programs above, and I would add the integration of technology, is like putting a Corvette engine in a Model T and expecting it to go ninety miles an hour. The car would destroy itself before it ever reached the the desired goal of ninety miles an hour. Isn’t that exactly what has happened to our educational system. The harder we have tried to make reach our goals the worse it has become.

It’s time for educational revolution. The system can not be improved without these basic changes.

REVOLUTION NOT EVOLUTION

(A NOT SO MODEST PROPOSAL)

STEP 1

Make all education competency based; not based upon age or grade level. Currently, school is like a prison sentence without a chance of parole. Everyone does their twelve years, no less. I have seen schools where students have completed all the required courses and electives and still not be allowed to graduate until they have put in the whole twelve years.

Every student should take every course at his own pace until he completes the competencies required by the state or national government or employers. They may be in beginning reading, advanced math and biology. They may be taking one course at a time or they may be taking several courses at once. There should be no age limit for people to begin or continue taking courses in public schools. If an eighty year old woman wants to study literature, she should be able to take the course. If a thirty year old man want to take book keeping or accounting for his small business, he should be able to. If a six year old is interested in rocketry, he should be able to study it.

STEP 2

Get rid of the nine month school year.  The U.S. educational system is based on an agrarian society. Guess what? We haven’t been an agrarian society for decades if not centuries. Being based upon an agrarian society, we only have school nine months out of the year. Name me a business large, small, service, manufacturing or agricultural that lays off its workers and shuts down down its facilities for three months out of the year. We need to make the school calendar be three hundred and sixty-five days a year, and we need to make the facility available twenty four hours a day. When rooms are not being used for classes, they may be used by community organizations for a small fee to cover electric, janitorial and security. Students may attend as many days a year as they want. Teachers may teach as many days a year as they want. They would be compensated for the extra months they teach and wouldn’t need to find another job during breaks and the summer. Parents would be able to better plan their work schedules and child care.

Step 3

Use technology to its fullest.  Now that we are competency based and school and teachers are available all year around, lets use technology. Technology will allow students to proceed at their own pace. Teaches will be able to serve as mentors to the learning process instead of lock stepping students of varied abilities and interest through a one size fits all curriculum. Stop wasting money on textbooks which are out of date before they are published. Go digital. With the money saved provide every student with a laptop or tablet. If you are worried about getting them back, charge a fee. For those students or parents that cannot afford to either buy or rent, have a business partner step up. Don’t buy technology. Lease it. It changes too rapidly; and will be too expensive to update. Use free technology from the internet like Kahn Academy and Next Vista for Learning.

STEP 4

Everyone needs to be involved.  Get parents, grandparents, the business community and the general public involved. Get everyone involved. Get civic organizations to use the school facilities. Get adults using the gym for basketball, volleyball, community dances. Everyone should know where the schools in their community are. Encourage everyone to come to school to get involved in courses whether their eight or eighty. Find out what people want to learn and provide them with the opportunity.

Step 5

We must have two education systems. The states can keep their state schools, but there will be federal “charter” schools which adhere to common core principals. I have long heard about how the federal government should stay out of state issues. I agree wholeheartedly. The federal government would have the right to run federal charter schools any way it wanted. The states would have the right to run their state schools however they wanted.

The federal government would fund their charter schools with federal tax dollars.

The states could fund their schools however they wanted but without federal tax dollars. No state monies would be used to fund federal charter schools and no federal funds would be used to finance individual state public, private or state chartered schools. Parents would be able to choose whether to send their children to federal charter schools which were funded by federal tax dollars or state schools funded by state tax dollars.

At last the hue and cry against big government involvement in education would be addressed. States could have all the charter schools they wanted. States could write whatever curriculum they wanted with or without evolution. The states could teach that climate change is not backed by science. States could once again manipulate who goes to what schools because the parents would have a choice.

I am looking forward to your comments, particularly questions, suggestions, criticisms to help improve our educational system.

 

My List of Takers

GE, big oil, corporate agriculture, Congress, air lines, railroads, Koch Brothers, and these 20 people who brought down the economy according to Time Magazine. (Please let me know what happened to them?)   Surely, they are in jail or barred from doing business.

Angelo Mozilo
Phil Gramm
Alan Greenspan
Chris Cox
American Consumers
Hank Paulson
Joe Cassano
Ian McCarthy
Frank Raines
Kathleen Corbet
Dick Fuld
Marion and Herb Sandler
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Stan O’Neal
Wen Jiabao
David Lereah
John Devaney
Bernie Madoff
Lew Ranieri
Burton Jablin
Fred Goodwin
Sandy Weill
David Oddsson
Jimmy Cayne

COGITO ERGO SUM III

My grandson, picks up my iPad and uses it to hammer the pegs in his toy pegboard.  Should I be angry with him?  No, to him it is a hammering device; to me it is my beloved iPad.

A student doesn’t turn in an assignment in a timely fashion; I see it has a lazy and irresponsible act.  He sees that a greater priority is fixing supper, doing laundry and taking care of his siblings while his mom is at work.

I see an administrator not standing up for his subordinates as an act of cowardice and self serving.  He sees it as guaranteeing that he has a job to support his family.

A politician votes in a way that is contradictory to the needs of his constituents.  He sees it as staying in office so he can continue to serve in the future.

The first step in problem solving is not to look at the facts, but rather at the perceptions of the parties, whether individuals or governments.  If you look at the current problem with Russia annexing Crimea, not from the so called facts, but rather from the perception of the Russian government; you may be able to resolve the issue.  Their apparent perception is that the buffer countries they have always had to protect themselves from the west are disappearing leaving them exposed.

Next time we look at the effect of perception in that most personal relationship: man and woman.