Tag Archives: education

50 Person 'Flash Mob' Shoplifts at 7-11

A Silver Spring, MD 7-11 was hit by coordinated shoplifting by a flash mob of as many as 50 teenagers and young adults last Saturday night.

Behold what our dumbed-down school system and anything-goes pop culture hath wrought;, 50 kids whose idea of Saturday night fun is using technology they have no idea how to create or improve upon to coordinate a crime against an innocent business to steal snacks.

We have quite a future ahead of us.

 

 

When Public Education Misses The Mark

The day had been planned for more than a week. My husband was taking the day off so we could spend it together. It was our 9-year Anniversary. For some strange reason, the day we planned went nothing like we had hoped.

It started off with me being sick. The day before I had awaken to the beginnings of a cold. By the next day, it had turned into more. Lovely. Nothing like being sick on a special day. My husband joked with me that it was my turn this year, the day we got married was his turn. We somewhat laughed, remembering how he stood at the alter with 101 degree fever. Not exactly funny, but we knew we would get through this too! Not the most romantic thing in the world, let me tell ya!

We made the best of things- on our wedding day, nor Wednesday of this week, our anniversary.

He went out and bought me my sinful addiction- Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino. The warmth of the liquid was heavenly on my sore throat. We snuggled with the 3-year-old and watched some TV together.

A bit later, we went to lunch, and had what would be our only anniversary celebration to speak of, this year…. at least on the actual day.

After lunch, we headed home to wait for the older kids to come home. Once again, we snuggled on the couch, just enjoying the day as best we could with me being sick.

It was time for the kids to come home. I made the usual afternoon preparations. Water was poured for all of the children; afternoon medication was put out for the two on medication; overhead light turned on for homework time; a glass of water for me as I sort through paperwork, sign folders and listen to reading fluency; and one last stop by the restroom before our afternoon became the loving chaos of a home with 5 children.

But something wasn’t right.

The kids were not coming through the door when they should be. I started pacing, watching the clock.  It was already 3 minutes past usual time for them to be home. (Yes, I know… 3 minutes is not really a long time, but in a mommy’s mind, 3 minutes is an eternity.)

My husband is not as familiar with the routine, and asked what time they usually got in. I told him they were late. So he decided to walk out to look for them. They were not walking down the street, but, strangely enough, neither were any other children.

Usually by this time, our entire neighborhood is teaming with children of all ages walking home from school. We live in the neighborhood right next to the school, so most of the children in the neighborhood walk home in the afternoon. Our children were allowed to start walking home last year, after much fretting on mommy’s side of things. I realize I have to let them grow up, but it is not easy!

My husband and I quickly got the 3-year-old and jumped in the car to see what was going on. It was obvious when we turned the corner that things were not the norm. Cars were backed up down the street, we still saw no children, and parents were getting out of their cars, talking to one another, gesturing in frustration. Several parents were walking back down the hill from the front of the school, and talked to other parents along the way. I quickly called on a phone appointment I was supposed to have at 3:00 and explained that I would have to reschedule. It did not look like this was going to be over “in just a few minutes”.

When we left, it never occurred to me I was still in my nightclothes. When we got in from lunch, I changed back into my comfy clothes to be comfortable. Being sick is bad enough, why not be comfortable?

It also did not occur to me that I was not the most presentable, until I am standing in the middle of the sidewalk talking to another parent, trying to find out what is going on. All she knew was that the school was locked down, they were not giving any information to parents, and they were not allowing anyone to leave.

I had my cell phone, and had already been trying to call the school. All I got was voice mail. I tried to look up the district number, but in my frustration I couldn’t find the phone number. We turned around and headed back home so I could get dressed, and to see if we could find something online about what was going on.

Once back at home, I finally found the school district phone number, and immediately started calling. I never got an answer, just more voice mail. I called back several times, trying different extensions. Once again, not a single answer. I again tried to call the school several times, but still no answer.

The only thing we could find out was this blurb on the local news website, which has now been updated to say the lockdown is over.

So the first information we received was from the local news media. It would still be almost half an hour before we would be able to find out any “official” information from the school.

The lockdown was officially lifted, and we were able to get our kids at approximately 3:25 pm, almost a full hour from normal release time. Thankfully, one of my dearest teacher friends at the school was at the door, and knew that I was very emotional. My words to her, as I fought to stay calm and rational were, “I know it is not your fault, but not a single phone call! We could not get through to anyone to find out what was going on! This is unacceptable!” I knew she would understand where I was coming from and not take it that I was blaming her. She was my soft landing place as I fought back panic. Mrs. T, you truly are an angel! It wasn’t long before another angel appeared with the first of my four school-aged children. Mrs. Hudson, you too were an angel that will never know how truly grateful I was to see you! My appreciation did not show, as I was angry and emotional, but again, I knew she would know where I was coming from.

We finally had all 4 kids, with the 3-year-old in tow, and headed towards the car. My husband said, as we were walking back to the car, “There will be no homework tonight!” He would receive no argument from me!

When we got home, we saw that we finally had a call from the school district. 3:28pm, just 2 minutes before I’m walking in the door with my children. The real question is this: Where were all the school officials at the district office during this lockdown?

We showered the children, and sat down to talk. We asked them if they knew what had happened, why they were locked down, if they had any questions or concerns, which of course, there were many. We talked through everything, answered questions, but still they did not understand why they were not going to do homework. They know what is expected of them, and I am sure they wondered what had happened to mommy!

We popped popcorn and put a movie on.  They asked once again if I was sure they were not going to do homework. I told them that after the stress of the day we were just going to relax and enjoy each other as a family.

We ordered in pizza, and after they ate, it was off to bed for them. After the eventful day, we decided to eat the left over pizza. While it was not the romantic day we had planned, it was definitely a blessing in disguise! Had my husband not taken the day off, I would have been home by myself, sick, trying to deal with the crisis and getting no answers. God knew I needed him home with me!

Thursday morning after I took the kids to school, I sat down and wrote emails to all four teachers, explaining my very terse note in each folder from the evening before telling them that my children were not doing homework and would not be made to make it up. I received prompt responses, stating they completely understood.

It wasn’t long before my phone was ringing. It was the principal calling to tell me that one of the teachers had forwarded my email to him and he wanted to make sure I was ok. I assured him I was not ok, and welcomed our conversation.

He walked me through the entire event, and I found out he did not even know the details of what was going on until the lockdown was almost over. While I understand that his job is to keep all the children and staff safe, and I am VERY grateful that he takes that as seriously as he does, there should be someone who is available to communicate with the parents. Maybe it is someone from the district who can walk among the parents who are asking so many questions. Maybe it is a robo-call saying there is a lockdown, everything is under control, we will give you information as soon as we can. Maybe it’s a skywriter. The point is, with no communication at all, people start to panic- as much as we try (at least most of us) to stay calm, these are our children! OUR CHILDREN! 

Seeing my beloved country disintegrate before my very eyes, no matter how hard I fight to save her, does not make the situation any better. While trying to stay calm and sane in a situation where I’ve been given no information is a challenge. All kinds of images go through your mind- from “another Columbine”, to an irate parent, to a terrorist attack. We’ve all seen it in the news- Primary Schools and Kindergarten Schools that have seen violence across the world are numerous, and many are in the United States. September 1, 2004, in Russia is the most devastating!

On top of not knowing what was going on, no one was allowed to remove their children. So now we have the inner battle against the nanny state setting in. I am tired of the Public Education System thinking they know better than me what to do with my child!

After a very lengthy conversation with the principal, he told me that with what I had told him, it was obvious that something had to be done regarding communication with parents in a situation like this. He told me he would start working on getting that taken care of. Public Education missed the mark yesterday. Yes, all children were safe, which is the most important thing. However, Judson Independent School District (JISD) missed the marked by not communicating with parents until the event was over. This is totally unacceptable!

In my conversation with the principal, I told him that I was already working on this article, and his phone call had made all the difference in the world. Had he not called, this article would have had a completely different tone. While I am still not happy with what happened yesterday, to know that Mr. Large actually listened to me, and took it upon himself to hear and understand that things MUST be different in a future situation like this, makes a world of difference.

Communication is the key to any problem. Without it, we will get nothing accomplished. With it, we will conquer the world’s largest problems. We must get involved. We’ve sat silent for too long. While things are not solved at this point, I know I have been heard. However, I will not be placated. I am fighting for my children, for my beloved country… the country I know and love. I miss the beautiful shine of my beloved country. She has become so sullied with political correctness and big government. This is not at all what our Founding Fathers intended our country to be! They warned us with their words of wisdom.  One way or another, I will win this fight- for my country, and for my children, so help me God!

__________

A special thank you goes out to Jennifer Lloyd with MySA.com/Express News. Your ongoing communication is greatly appreciated!

__________

Sources:
MySA.com 
WOAI.com 

Is Higher Ed to Blame for the Plight of the Occupiers?

While speaking at a recent EDUCAUSE Conference, higher ed journalist, Anya Kamenetz, commented that “Occupy Wall Street is a referendum on the value of higher education.” Even though the rest of her presentation was rather interesting, this statement went on to occupy my thoughts.

The OWS crowd is angry. The 20-somethings in that movement resent the fact that they have college degrees, a tremendous amount of student loan debt, and no job. They want someone to blame for their frustration. Politicians push them to blame the banks and corporations or to blame the government, but there is also a tangible amount of frustration being directed at higher ed. After all, these institutions have promised that acquisition of a college degree will earn them a “better job” or “brighter future.” The academic experience should instead be marketed as what it really is: an enlightened path to the life you are ready to earn.

Beyond this fallacy in marketing, academic institutions are being improperly blamed. When looking at the recent college graduate who is struggling to jump-start his life, one must consider more than the possession of a college degree. Employers also look at level of workplace skill, industry knowledge, work ethic, reliability, diversity of experience, professional and personal references, and general likeability. All of these characteristics can be developed during college, but many students choose not to do the necessary work.

Mediocrity is rampant in classes I teach: students who repeatedly miss classes and deadlines, who refuse to purchase required textbooks, and many who disengage but never even bother to withdraw from the class (thereby forfeiting scholarship – i.e., someone else’s – money). They spend more time defending or making excuses than it would have taken to do the work. If these students are lucky enough to meet the bare minimum requirements, they finish the class with a C. They move on to the next class, where they will repeat the same behaviors, ultimately making mediocrity a habit.

Eventually, this C student graduates and then competes for a job against a student who worked harder and applied herself more and, as a result, graduated with a better chance of employment. The former student lacks motivation, work ethic, and sufficient knowledge, while the latter is more responsible, more motivated, and probably has numerous faculty recommendations to vouch for these traits.

What it comes down to is how hard the individual is willing to work. Yes, the cost of a college degree is a challenge and can seem inhibiting for many. But the existence of post-graduation debt and financial instability isn’t based solely on the high cost of a college degree. Plenty of students graduate with manageable debt or no debt at all. They are the ones who worked their way through college, did the work to identify scholarship resources while still in high school, or participated in work study programs. Their financially-frustrated counterparts wanted the full “college experience” but wanted to pay for it later, thereby accumulating immense student loan debt.

Having a college degree doesn’t guarantee we will be debt-free and gainfully employed any more than having a gym membership guarantees we will be thin and healthy. There is real work and sound decision-making that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that one leads to another.

I would encourage the Occupiers who want a career and financial security to get to the business of making that happen. They can start re-appropriating the time, energy, and voice being wasted in trash piles of city parks all over this country to begin to earn their place in the world of work. More directly, to the 15% of OWS protesters who are unemployed, I would say this…

Study the organizations you want to work for, and market yourself to them. Earn some solid recommendations from people whose opinions a potential employer will value. Take on an internship or volunteer in the industry in which you intend to work (the research shows internships almost always lead to full-time employment). Begin making connections with the movers and shakers in the business world instead of scorning them with chicken scratch on 99 cent poster boards. Earn their respect, and you will earn your future position.

As an added bonus to this hard work and sound decision-making, you will likely find yourself in a better position to pay down your debt and better equipped to manage your personal finances going forward. It’s about choices. Make the choice to better your situation instead of waiting around for someone else to fix it for you. And rather than dismiss your college experience as a waste of time, reflect on the intellectual return on investment you’re experiencing. Oh wait, that’s a free-market metaphor, and you probably skipped that class.

Repeat After Me: “I am a Marxist Puppet Preacher from NYU.”

      NYU Economics Professor, Preaching Marxism at OWS

 

Watch this short video. Is it any wonder these many of these college age student-bots you see here can not get a job in the real world?

 

 Meet professor Richard D, Wolff,  (preaching at OWS above) who[supposedly] teaches college students economics at NYU.  Mr. Wolff believes he has come up with a new plan to promote Marxist ideology from within the United States educational system. Mr. Wolff, like all Marxist professors, is trying to re-write the history of Marxism in an attempt to make it more appealing to America’s youth under the guise of “ a new approach to the political economy.”

This tired retread of Marxist ideology/propaganda is being pushed as “new and improved” under the title,  Rethinking Marxism. For a glimpse of just what this NYU professor is teaching college students today, I point one chapter of “lessons” from the  Re-Treading Marxism  page linked above, by Mr Rick Wolff:

From Economic to Social Crisis: Deficits, Debt and a Little Class History by: Rick Wolff

Throughout its history, capitalism never succeeded in preventing recurring economic cycles or crises.  That’s right kids, evil capitalism is the reason you can’t get a job with your college degree in the liberal arts of Zimbabwe.  Not everyone can be a fluffed up, lazy, overpaid-for-producing-nothing-but-anti-American-rhetoric-academic like Mr. Wolff .  Here is what you get from these career college kids/academics like Mr. Wolff-  All fluff and no production, as in never worked a job in his life. He started out with a degree in History from Harvard, to Economics degrees from Yale, and Stanford, to a PHD in economics from Yale, all of them acquired in the 60’s when preaching Communism was cool, just as hordes of dope-smoking hippies and wanna-be Communists at the OWS protests are now parroting.

Combining economics with history studies can be a valuable combination, especially when you are attempting to cloud the true poverty-inducing history of Marxism as they do in Rethinking Marxism.  To quote Mr. Wolff: ”  The world is being held back by the capitalistic system.”  Do away with the evil “board of directors” he says, yet it is these very same types of evil boards of directors that have approved his lifetime of making money for his speaking engagements and being a visiting professor of economics around the country and abroad, such as when he was in France.  ( albeit for a very short period of time in 1994) Again, I emphasize that this Marxist professor has never done an honest day’s work in his life. He has never applied all of his supposed economic brilliance to actually earn a living, in say running a manufacturing company or an investment firm. What he has made a lavish living at is student indoctrination and societal manipulation, just as his apparent lifelong mentor, the Socialist revolutionary Carl Marx did.

The similarities between Marx and Wolff can be seen in the following short biography about Karl Marx:

Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, sociologist, economic historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist who developed the socio-political theory of Marxism. His ideas have since played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement. He published various books during his lifetime, with the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894), many of which were co-written with his friend, the fellow German revolutionary socialist Friedrich Engels.  Mr. Wolff relies heavily of retreads of Karl Marx’ book Capital in his current Rethinking Marxism propaganda campaign. If you look at the bio of Mr. Wolff here, you can see stunning similarities between his “career” and that of Karl Marx.

The last time I saw anything that parallels  the above video showing numerous adults parroting Marxism and anti-capitalism rhetoric was when I was in the second grade learning our pledge of allegiance:  The teacher would say repeat after me:  “I pledge allegiance to the flag…”   That example is of six-year-olds learning the words to our pledge of allegiance through repetition. Mr. Wolff is shown to be using the same form of “teaching” ( reprogramming is a more apt word for it) on ADULTS at the OWS protests to spread Marxist propaganda. How pathetic is that?  What is even more saddening is the fact that not one of those supposed adults listening to this bunk had the guts to call out the “esteemed professor.”  I know for a fact that if he had attempted this type of anti-American indoctrination at a Tea Party rally, he would have been denounced after the first Marxism-promoting line that came out of his mouth. The last thing Tea- Partiers are ever going to put up with is some self-important academic telling them, ” Repeat after me children, I hate America”  This is the difference between the Occupiers and the Tea-Partiers, and it is right out there for all to see. One group has a Patriotic love for America and the freedom she stands for and the other simply wants to tear her down and create some form of Socialist Utopia. Do you know which group is which?

 

As Homeschooling Goes Mainstream, 2012 Regional Homeschool Conventions Announced

CINCINNATI, Sept. 6, 2011 — In the face of widespread budget cuts and one-size-fits-all teaching in public schools, families from all walks of life are turning to homeschooling in record numbers. In recognition of that growth, Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. has planned five regional homeschool conventions for 2012 — and with dozens of renowned speakers, hundreds of homeschooling workshops and over 200 curriculum exhibitors at each convention, Great Homeschool Conventions aims to put homeschool resources within reach of every homeschooling family.

“The five regional convention sites allow GHC to provide home education information and resources to homeschool parents nationwide,” stated Mary Jo Dean, a homeschool parent who, with her husband, Brennan, founded Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. in 2006. “We are excited to see homeschooling growing so dramatically, and we look forward to providing parents with the information and encouragement they need to have successful homeschooling experiences.”

To that end, GHC’s regional homeschool conventions will be held throughout the country to make them accessible to as many homeschooling families as possible. The conventions kick off in the spring at theSoutheast Homeschool Convention in Greenville, S.C., March 22-24, 2012, followed by the Mid South Homeschool Convention in Memphis, Tenn., April 12-14, 2012, and the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 19-21, 2012. For homeschool families in the West, GHC has scheduled the California Homeschool Convention May 24-26, 2012, in Long Beach, Calif. The season wraps up with the Northeast Homeschool Convention in Hartford, Conn., June 14-16, 2012.

Those attending the GHC regional homeschool conferences will find camaraderie, support, entertainment, and a wealth of practical information. The conferences’ featured speakers include Chuck Colson, Andrew Pudewa, Diana Waring, Dr. Jay Wile, Amanda Bennett, David Hazel, Dr. Carol Reynolds, Todd Wilson, Sonya Shafer, John Stonestreet, Dr. Susan Wise Bauer, Pastor Tedd Tripp, John Rosemond, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, Carl Kerby, Dr. Jobe Martin, and over 20 other homeschool experts. Musicians and comedians will be on hand at each convention to provide family-friendly evening entertainment.

But the meat of the conferences is in the workshops. Parent-teachers can choose the workshops that are most appropriate for their families in subjects like math, science, language arts and music at all educational levels, along with workshops in special topics, including learning styles, gifted children, special needs and unit studies. Parents can also participate in workshop tracks covering creation apologetics and parenting, while teens and parents alike can attend the Teen Worldview Track, led by Summit Ministries of Colorado staff and speakers.

“All homeschool and unschool families are welcome at the GHC regional homeschool conventions,” said Dean. “We look forward to meeting more homeschoolers and hearing about their struggles and successes in home education.”

Register for any of the GHC regional homeschool conventions and learn more at http://www.greathomeschoolconventions.com.

"We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom" – Education or Hate?

We are just days away from the 10th anniversary of the day that changed America.

September 11, 2001, started off bright and beautiful for America, just as any other day. However, before the day really got started good, that bright and beautiful day turned into a very dark day.

Two thousand, eight hundred and nineteen people lost their lives that day. (The official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819)

As each year passes, as a nation, we risk the very distinct possibility of losing the significance this day had on our nation. If you were not old enough to realize what was happening on that day, and the months that followed, you have a very different understanding of how it changed this nation.

For those who were old enough to realize the reality of what we saw on our televisions, there is no way time can erase the emotions that were experienced when those planes flew into the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and crashed in the Shanksville, Pennsylvania field.

We’ve all heard the quote by poet and philosopher George Santayana:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

For those who do remember the past, the importance of educating those who do not remember the past is vital! Though they cannot remember, if we do not teach them what happened, we have no hope for the future.

Wayne Bell is someone who understands the importance of educating our children about the reality of what happened that fateful September morning almost ten years ago.

Mr. Bell is the publisher of Really Big Coloring Books, Inc., in St. Louis, Missouri. He has created a unique way to teach older children about the terrorist attacks on our nation with a coloring novel. It’s not just a coloring book, and it is not meant for younger children. Mr. Bell says the coloring novel is for children about the age of 9 to 11-years-old.

“We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom,” is a memorial tribute. Mr. Bell says:

“It is an informational piece to help educate children on events on 9/11. [It is] a simplistic, honest tool.”

Mr. Bell goes on to say that the novel is a “12-hour narrative of the events that happened on the day that forever changed America.” Kids can color pictures of the twin towers, President George W. Bush, Americans mourning the attacks, and other significant images depicting that day.

It’s hard to believe that an educational book could cause so much controversy, especially when it is something so important, but that is indeed what Mr. Bell is facing with his coloring novel.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that in our day and age where political correctness outweighs the facts so often, there are many people who do not want reality to be presented.

In fact, Dawud Walid, the Michigan representative for CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations), calls the novel “disgusting.”

“We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom,” refers to the jihadists as “freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists.” Mr. Walid is not happy with the fact that almost all of the mentions of Muslims also have the words “terrorist” or “extremist.”  He feels that by only portraying the extremist side of the Muslim religion, a disservice is being done to all Muslim Americans who were impacted by 9-11. Mr. Walid says:

“Little kids who pick up this book can have their perceptions colored by those images … it instills bias in young minds. Muslim mothers lost sons too.”

Mr. Walid also argues that the information and pictures in the novel are incorrect. One instance he says is incorrect is that Osama Bin Laden “wasn’t hiding behind a wife when he was shot.”

However, Mr. Bell disagrees, saying the book is an “honest depiction.” He went on to say:

“The truth is the truth. It’s unfortunate that they were all Muslim and that’s the part people want to erase … I don’t know what else you can call them.”

Mr. Bell appeared on Fox & Friends this morning. The full interview can be seen here:

 


 
 

Purchase “We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom

“These acts shutter steel but they
cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
President George W. Bush

 

 

__________
Source:
911 By The Numbers

GI Jobs Magazine Gives Military Friendly School Award

SAINT JOSEPH, Mo., Aug. 22, 2011 — “G.I. Jobs,” the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has awarded American College of Technology the designation of  Military Friendly School. A nationally accredited distance learning provider, American College of Technology offers 12 online associates degrees as well as certifications in IT, business, criminal justice and healthcare information technology.

ACOT was added to the publication’s Military Friendly Schools list after a rigorous screening process by the G.I. Jobs Military Friendly Schools®  team. The team found that the college offered numerous advantages to military students who opted for its distance courses. “We were considered the top tier of Military Friendly Schools out of several hundred or thousand that applied,” said Lute Atieh, ACOT’s director of operations and technology.

Among the financial support resources that resulted in the Military Friendly School title is ACOT’s registration with GoArmyEd, allowing military students to apply for the Department of Defense’s Tuition Assistance program. The college also offers Veterans Affairs education benefits and is also involved in the Service Members Opportunities Colleges (SOC(R)) program, so military students can make the most of their transfer credits. ACOT also provides military scholarships for active and non-active duty military students as well as their spouses and dependents.

“In addition to financial support, we offer our courses at half the cost of the national average,” said Atieh. “Many colleges and universities charge $350 – $550 per credit hour in addition to other charges. ACOT charges only $249 per semester credit hour, totaling $14,940 for any associate degree program. Students are charged $125 per course to cover cost of books, software and shipping. We guarantee that there are no hidden fees and that students’ costs will not go up while they are enrolled.”

Courses start every six weeks, and all courses are offered online three times a week. Instructors are specialists in their field, and the college keeps its instructor-to-student ratio low so that each student receives personal attention.

Audio and video streaming technology allows students to complete their degree or certification wherever they have Internet access, anywhere in the world. Students can use voice and video conferencing to participate in live, interactive lectures at set times. Classes are also available via mobile phone, so the distance learning provider can serve students who are literally on the go. ACOT also offers the option of accessing recorded lectures at whatever times are most convenient.

“Competition for military and veteran students is intense among tertiary institutions, and ACOT is extremely proud to have won the status of Military Friendly School,” said Atieh. “We are also very proud that military students already count for more than 75 percent of our student population, and we are committed to helping them achieve their career goals.”

Media Contact:

Lute Atieh
Director of Operations & Technology
American College of Technology
800-908-9329

The New Enemy, Part II: Marxism

 

            My last article introduced you to collectivism and its fallacies. In this article, I hope to explain Marxism and how it has intruded into the United States.

 

Background

 

            Karl Marx was born in 1818 and he died in 1883. He was trained as a philosopher, and he studied political and economic theory on his own. He became very interested in “class struggle” while he was in college. When he graduated in 1841, he was hired by the “Rheinische Zeitung,” a German newspaper, to be their editor. It is here that he began his public life. When he wrote an editorial column with his opinions concerning the life of peasants, he was labeled a communist by his opponents. He was terminated from the position due to the claim. This situation caused him to go to Paris where accusations continued, mainly from the French and Prussian governments.

            Beginning in 1843, he began to develop his political philosophy. The process took 40 years. His intentions were to liberate wage earners and workers from the capitalist system of 19th century Europe. His main point was the elimination of private property, which was the means of production, and it would be put into the purview of the “people” aka, the government that would be set up based on his economic and political principles.

            In a close relationship with Fredrich Engels, he further developed his economic and political philosophies. These included a call to a revolution of the workers which he deduced had been the sole producers of wealth due to exploitation.

            Both Marx and Engels were forced to leave Paris due to their writings. They traveled to Brussels, Belgium where they co-wrote The German Ideology. Marx’s next publication, The Poverty of Philosophy, was an analysis of French Socialist thinking. These two publications formed the basis of Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto, which is the most famous of their collaborations.

            The Manifesto was first published on February 21st, 1848 in London and was written in accordance to the wishes of the Communist League, a collection of German émigrés that Marx had won over to his philosophy.

 

An Overview of Marx and Engels’ Philosophy

 

A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality (Capital, vol. 1, chap. 7, pt. 1).

 

            Philosophy is an examination of basic concepts such as truth, existence, reality, causality and freedom. Early in his career, Marx developed a political-economic philosophy based in part on the works of Ludwig Feuerbach who had been a student of Hegel. He later abandoned Feuerbach’s line of thought and began to develop his theory of historical materialism.           

            “Marx and Engels’ vision was a purely materialist interpretation of human nature and development within nature that called for revolution. It represented a materialist view of history, based on the dialectic that supported Marx’s theory of political economy and his call for revolution. The interpretation distinguished itself because of its theory of surplus value, which asserted that the wealth of capitalist societies originates solely from the exploitation of laborers. Marx’s analysis of history saw human development as occurring due to a series of class struggles between the ruling class,[and] those who possess the means of production. To Marx, feudal lords, land owners and capitalists were pitted against the ruled working class. This claim is summed up in the opening line of The Communist Manifesto: ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.’ Marx predicted the demise of capitalism through a workers’ revolution that would lead to a utopian ‘classless society’ where, according to Marx, ‘people work according to their ability and get according to their needs’ and ‘in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.’” (From: The New World Encyclopedia)

            The Communist Manifesto was a collaboration of Marx and Engels which called for the communists of Europe to unite and publish their ideas, their political and economic aims, because the different organizations were a force of their own. They divided the population into the bourgeoisie; the people who owned the land and factories and other businesses, and the proletariat; those who worked on, or in those facilities.

            As a result of the Industrial Revolution, people left small craftsmen’s shops and flocked to the big factories in the cities for employment. Working conditions were horrendous and wages were low. Fires were common and people lost their lives in factory accidents due to improper training and employees not paying attention to what they were doing as well as unsafe factory environments. Unions used these conditions to form in order to start the workers revolution that Marx and Engels envisioned. Unionization, in fact, led to many changes in the atmosphere of the factories as well as being a link between the worker and upper management or the owner in order to negotiate wages.

            Marx’ historical analysis of the relationship of the classes produces an ever changing landscape; bourgeois and proletariat changing places in the social order throughout the history of mankind. Lenin adopted the Marxist idea however, he made elemental changes to Marx and Engels’ theories and conducted a successful communist revolution.

            The Manifesto contains the seed of Marxism which once planted, grows into a form of altruism that cannot be accomplished without violence, re-education camps and government control of subject’s thoughts, speech, living conditions and reasons for imposing equal misery throughout the population. The only exceptions to the rules of Marxism/Altruism are the ruling class.

            Within the Manifesto are ten conditions designed to destroy the capitalistic system of free markets and replace them with a communist-socialist system that sports an all powerful government. These are called The Ten Planks of Communism.

 

 

The Ten Planks of Communism

 

            The Ten Planks of Communism are essential when setting up a Communist Government in countries that are targeted by organized people. The destruction of Capitalism is the main goal of communism in order to impose their vision of Utopia on the population. Each generation of statists claims that despite the historic failures of socialism and communism, they know how to set the system up better than the previous people who tried it did.

            The Ten Planks are usually introduced incrementally into the legal system of the targeted country by twisting the meaning of words within the governing document.

            One of the first things that collectivists do is change the language of the country they are attempting to take over. By changing the language, leftists can highjack words whose definitions are the exact opposite of their meaning, for example; liberal used to mean someone who is for the free market system, aka capitalism, as well as a limited government, now it is someone who wishes to impose the theft of producer’s money, governmentally and it’s redistribution to those that are “less fortunate;” this requires a big government bureaucracy  Another word that has been abducted is gay for homosexuals. Studies show that the majority of homosexuals are anything but gay.

            Other conditions apply to the gradual take over of a society. Political Correctness and Multi-Culturalism are but two more of the necessary twisted views necessary to overcome freedom loving people.

            Marx designed The Ten Planks of Communism as an assessment of a society as to whether or not it was practicing the communist ideology.

  1. 1.      Abolition of private property and the application of rents from all land usage to public coffers. Zoning is the first step of a government to take over all private lands. The requirements of the EPA are designed to outline not only what land can be used for, but imposition of environmental impact regulations.
  2. 2.      A heavy graduated income tax. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution established in 1913 needs no explanation. Imposing the highest percentage to be paid by the rich is called “paying your fair share.”
  3. 3.      Elimination of all Inheritance Rights. This has been accomplished by Federal and State legislation, arbitrary inheritance taxes.
  4. 4.      Confiscation of property owned by emigrants and terrorists. There are many ways this element of the Ten Planks has infiltrated our legal processes, the most widely used being Asset Forfeit Law. The IRS, DEA, and ATF are the most frequent imposers of forfeit laws.
  5. 5.      Centralization of credit in the hands of the government, by means of a central bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. The Federal Reserve is a privately owned bank which controls the credit and debt system of the USA. It issues paper fiat money and practices economically destructive fractional reserve banking. All banks belong to the FDIC which is another privately owned corporation.
  6. 6.      Centralization of communication and transportation. There are numerous Federal agencies to control these areas of our infrastructure. The FCC, FAA, DOT; these are but a few of the controlling interests that the Federal Government has set up.
  7. 7.      Extension of factories and instruments of production under the control of the central government. The cultivation of wastelands and the improvement of the soil generally used in accordance with a common plan. We have the Department of Agriculture and the Desert Entry Act control and subsidize our “wastelands” and privately owned farms. The following agencies also control land usage as well as overseeing the compliance of businesses to regulations: the Department of Commerce and Labor, Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, and the IRS control of business through corporate regulations
  8. 8.      Equal liability of all to labor. The establishment of groups of laborers, especially for farmlands. This plank is adhered to by minimum wage laws and trading with foreign countries that use slave labor, such as China. We see it in practice via the Social Security Administration and the Department of Labor, the national debt and inflation caused by the communal bank has caused the need for a two “income” family. the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, assorted Socialist Unions, affirmative action, the Federal Public Works Program, Child Labor laws and Executive order 11000.
  9. 9.      The combination of farmlands and industrial producers along with the gradual elimination of the division of city and country through population redistribution. The zoning laws we have contribute to the implementation of this plank. The Planning Reorganization Act of 1949 as well as several Executive Orders provide not only for forced relocation of the population, but also for forced sterilization programs.
  10. 10.  Free education for all children including a combination of education and industrial production. The elimination of all child labor in factories, as well as other businesses including a family owned business. When the founders established this country, schools were privately funded and publically accessible to all children. Now, we have government at all levels intruding into our established educational system. The NEA is responsible for teaching Marxism in the schools, from colleges on down to child care centers. Even our private schools are regulated. Children are taught that the State is more important than the individual. This process has been going on since the mid 1800s when many German and Prussian philosophers were evicted from those countries. They came to America and received posts in our top colleges and universities. Their emphasis on collectivism has filtered down through our educational system reaching all citizens     at this point in time.

 

            As you can see, there are many ways that Marxism has been absorbed into America’s culture and society. I have left the Unions out of this discussion on purpose as I plan another article on how unions were not necessary and how they were the communists’ foot in the door to our capitalistic economy.

            Even though we believe we are free, we have implemented every one of Marx and Engels’ guidelines in the formation of a communist government. Not only do we have to vote the established politicians out of office, we are obligated to insist that the most harmful agencies to our freedoms are dismantled. They may have to be taken apart incrementally but the end game should be the total elimination of all of them.

           

 

None are more hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free….

 

           

 

 

 

What’s In A Name?

 

Education is on the list of topics to cover by every politician hitting the campaign trail. It’s one of those topics we hear more ideas and theories about than actual solutions that are effective. Some say we need to coddle the students, others believe all students should attend a boot camp style school, and then there are many other views that vary somewhere between the two.

Dallas Independent School District recently unveiled their latest school. The new school is an all-male public school starting with grade six and going to grade nine with plans to add grades all the way through grade twelve. The school is to focus on college preparation courses.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal? Sounds like a good idea”.

I think it is a good idea also, but the name floored me.

The Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy.

Yes, you read that right. Your eyes are not deceiving you.

Naming a school after a sitting president that has been controversial from the time he started his campaign for the White House. Under his “leadership” (for lack of a better term) we have endured failed bailouts, inflation, larger government and an administration with total disregard for the United States Constitution, just to name a few things.

Before someone asks, yes, the school is in a predominantly African-American area. The school board could have at least chosen a leader that has been good for this country. There’s Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, or even Allen West. These are just a few African-American men that have proven their leadership abilities.

Just because Obama is the first person with black skin to be elected president does not make him a leader.

The Working Man, Unemployment, and Education

I am so tired of politicians (of both parties) saying they want to protect, or call for tax cuts for, or pass legislation that favors the working man. They carry on as if what they refer to as “the rich” never worked. Isn’t it ironic that (the late) Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) was a vociferous mouthpiece for the working man, having never worked in profit-making business a day in his life.

Minimum Wage and The Working Man Champion

Kennedy was a life-long champion for the working man, a living wage, and a minimum wage, but he often put politics ahead of reality. While introducing his amendment to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in 1998, Kennedy chose to ignore the economic reality of mandated wage increases. For example, “Decades of research show that increasing the minimum wage creates job loss for low-skill employees while providing the majority of benefits to non-poor individuals who are not raising a family on a single minimum wage income,” said Employment Policies Institute’s director of research Craig Garthwaite. Garthwaite continued, “Senator Kennedy also claims that raising the minimum wage is a minority issue, but he declines to mention that adults suffer four times more employment loss from a minimum wage increase than other affected employees.” Why, you may ask, is this paragraph here? I want some of Kennedy’s tactics to be exposed, and to show that Kennedy was a grandstanding politician, looking for anything that would gain him publicity.

Who Earns Minimum Wage?

Data from the Department of Labor show that most minimum wage-earners are young, part-time workers and that relatively few live below the Poverty line. If Congress is serious about helping the working poor, it should look elsewhere than raising the minimum wage. Consider the following table:

Education Levels of Minimum Wage Workers
Less than high school High school graduate Some college Associate degree Bachelors degree or higher
29.8% 29.1% 28.5% 5.8% 6.8%

This table shows (clearly?) that there is a relation between education level and minimum wage. So the higher the education level, the less likely that a worker will make minimum wage. Or, conversely, higher levels of education equate with a lower chance of earning the minimum wage. And, by extension, higher levels of education equate with higher earnings, the “rich.”

Unemployment and Education

Rob Valleta and Jaclyn Hodges of the San Francisco branch of the Federal Reserve have analyzed the history of unemployment in the U.S. Examine the authors’ chart below that shows the unemployment rate by education level:

The pattern between the level of education and unemployment is clearly illustrated by this chart. Where the average rate of unemployment for those without high school diplomas rarely dips below double-digits in even the best of times, for college graduates, the rate of unemployment hasn’t risen above 4% in the worst of times.

Education and Wealth

I started helping other faculty with their studies and with statistics. One of the subjects most often studied was the relationship (correlation) between education and wealth. For over 40 years that relationship has existed. More education is highly, directly correlated with higher wealth, and the potential for higher wealth. For example, consider the following two examples.

Getting an education is work. Studying for exams and preparing assignments can become quite a bit of work. And the amount of work increases as the amount of education increases.

Making a decision is work. In fact, making a good, informed decision means quite a bit of work. Look at the decision-making process. A popular one is a five-step process, illustrated below.

  1. Need Recognition & Problem Awareness
  2. Information Search
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives
  4. Make the Decision
  5. Post-Decision Evaluation

Each of these steps is both time-consuming and a lot of work! Good decisions don’t “just happen.” And the process is never ending – Step 5 creates a new situation, calling for Step 1 all over again.

Add to the process the pressure of making a decision that can affect family, business, and all the employees, and (repeatedly) making a good decision can be a lot of work. And many business owners would gladly trade their decision-making responsibilities for factory or assembly line “work.”

A study by the RAND Corporation draws a correlation between education and wealth. The primary observation from this study is that there is a correlation between education and wealth. This observation is not surprising since degrees of higher learning generally lead to higher paying occupations, advancement and job security. The key is to be able to produce results, and education provides that ability. The more value you provide to your employer, the more likely you will be to keep your job and earn more money.

Another study produced these (national and individual) results: At the national level, a country’s wealth (measured by GDP per capita) and the education of its population (measured by in-school years expectancy) are highly correlated. A similar link can be observed at the level of individual households. Households whose members have a higher level of education are usually wealthier than households with less educated members.

Yet another study finds that the correlation between a higher education and career advancement is no secret. An education is in everyone’s best interest, not to mention the increase in salary that usually comes with an increase in education. Career advancement is very important, especially to those people who have been working in the same industry, perhaps even for the same company, for some time.

So?

So the next time you hear a politician refer to the working man, please remember this post! Realize that there is a relationship between (1) education and unemployment, and (2) education and wealth. And realize that the educated and decision-makers also work!

But that’s just my opinion.

Barack Obama and the Family Budget: A Complete Disconnect

Last week our President held a press conference on the ongoing negotiations regarding the debt ceiling.  The presser highlighted some real concerns about President Obama.

Obama Confused

The first thing I realized was how truly inarticulate he is when off the teleprompter.  Perhaps my political leanings have biased me when it comes to Obama, but I never really thought he was that great of a speaker to begin with.  He never really exuded passion or sincerity to me.  During his historic campaign, I felt people were so enamored with the color of his skin that they ascribed to him all manner of other imaginary skills in order to make him more palatable as the “historical candidate”.  I never really got it.

I remember the first time I ever saw footage of Malcolm X speaking.  Not to get all Chris Matthews-y, but it gave me tingles.  Although I fundamentally disagreed with his religious values and angry approach to Black empowerment, it suddenly became clear to me how so many people so willingly and gladly followed him.  His delivery was passionate, articulate, sincere and persuasive.  I find Barack Obama to be nothing of the sort.  He is a speech reader.  Off of the teleprompter he is monotone, flat and halting.  I find it excruciating to watch him hem and haw his way through a press conference.

The second thing that struck me was how truly out of touch this President is with the lives of average American citizens.  As he used various analogies of how family households manage their budgets to explain the current budget issues of government, I suddenly realized that this man has no idea what it is like to live in middle America today. None.  One particular statement floored me:

“ We have to do it the same way a family would do it.  A family, if they get over-extended…they don’t just stop paying their bills…they say, how do we start cutting our monthly costs?  We keep on making payments, but we start cutting out the things that aren’t necessary…. we don’t stop sending our kids to college; we don’t stop fixing the boiler or the roof that’s leaking.”

When was the last time this President had to worry about sending his kids to college or fixing up the house?  It couldn’t have been any time recently, because if it was he would know that is exactly what happens when you become financially overextended.  You most certainly do stop sending your kids to college and fixing things around the house.  And that is the problem.  We are suffering, Mr. President! We are making tough choices we don’t want to have to make and we expect you in government to do the same.

When my husband and I began our family, we worked at setting aside money for our educating our children.  However, those funds have been raided just to keep us afloat.  Forget about saving for college.  We are more worried about feeding and clothing them now.  Hopefully, when their college days arrive, they will be able to work and support their own tuition costs.  Our provision of a college education for our children is a dream we’ve let go for now.  We’ve had to.  We need gas in the car and food in the fridge.  We have stopped fixing the things in our home that need to be fixed.  I’ve needed a plumber for months to stop some leaks that we can’t fix ourselves.  The leaks are enough to drive our water bill up slightly and I hear the dollars signs racking up with every drip.  And yet, I can’t afford a one-time lump payment to a professional to fix the problem, so we let it be and choose to give that money to the water company month to month.  We need a new major household appliance and the window screens my three-year old pushed out months ago still need to be replaced.  But none of that will happen because we are completely tapped dry.  That’s what happens when you are overextended. You start cutting out even the necessities.  That is why this recession is hurting so badly.  It’s not that people are being forced to give up their toys, it’s that they are being forced to give up their most basic comforts, and their dreams.

Our President has been in government so long that he believes during hard times like these, families simply tighten the belt and restructure.  However, we families do a lot more than just tighten that belt.  There is no “magical” new revenue stream we can tap into to increase our bank accounts and help pay down our debts.  We are not the government.  There is no one to take money from.  We make our own money, and that supply is limited.  When the debt accumulates but our salaries stay the same, we start looking at cutting the necessities as well as the perks.

The President was right in the respect that we need to start asking the government to handle its budget problems the same way an average family would handle theirs.  However he is completely clueless about how real families handle their budget and income problems.  And that scares me.  And hurts me.  If our own President is so removed from the suffering as to make such an idiot statement, it does not bode well the future fiscal situation of this country.  When your own President shows zero knowledge of the day-to-day living situation of average citizens, what hope is there of an outcome that will benefit and help those same people?

There is no way to solve this crisis without pain.  We are far, far beyond any type of slow and steady solutions.  Cuts will have to be made, cuts that hurt people and their loved ones.  There is no way around that.  My family has had to go without some pretty important things that mean a lot to us.  Its time for our government to do the same.

Define “conservative”!

This is a subject I long ago should have posted about. It started to come up again as I posted comment to Wayne’s topic “Don’t Be Conservative”.

The point I want to open for discussion here is just what is a conservative. Each person’s answer is rather subjective and based upon their experiences and observational perceptions. To open this up I should make the point that I”ve long realized and NEVER seen observed by anyone else in my over 8 years of posting to ‘net political forums the points I’ll make.

One may fairly observe that in this country we have a great need to generalize political belief. It’s necessary so as to define positions and understand with whom we agree and whom we disagree. And thus the debate is engaged, ideally for the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions. I think it’s also fair to observe that one usually sees conservatives referred to by themselves and those  generally perceived as “the left” as “conservative”, or “fiscal conservatives” or “social conservatives”. Of course there are some latter day references like “neo-conservatives” also, but those three fit the common generalization of contemporary pidgeon-holing categories. Just to tickle your brain engrams a bit ponder upon this.

Why is it you’ve NEVER heard the opposition, liberals, broken up into similar categories of “fiscal” and “social” distinction? If the shoe fits for the right why isn’t the left wearing it too?

Breaking conservatives into two camps of descriptive is a way to divide and conquer with great subtlety so noone comprehends what is actually going on! If one is a conservative, he/she is not a partial or sometimes conservative. One can be conservative and have differing social and fiscal viewpoints and still be tolerated within the conservative community. The liberal community has a pervasive agenda of usurping this very system and therefore has no tolerance for those who opine with “off-the-reservation” opinion.

I submit that the answer closely resembles a Roor-back. That, admittedly arcane usage,  is used to describe a damaging report or influence circulated for political effect. The progressive liberal insurgents in this once great nation have been at their pro-active divide and conquer agenda for many years.

In the early-mid 60s, when my kids were in elementary school, that influence was manifested in the subtle seduction of parents to accept a “progressive” attitude that would allow the schools to accept a curriculum designed about each student’s ability to learn, rather than meeting a set curriculum standard that had sufficed and served us well for almost 200 years. They knew that parents with children quick to learn would appreciate giving those kids their ‘head’ so-to-speak and allowing a curriculum that allowed them to advance at their own rate. Those parents were always fed glowing reports of fine performance, which of course made their hearts glad. And parents of those kids with learning difficulties would appreciate the “special treatment” such afforded and they were told how those kids were bonding to other kids to gain a sense of “inclusion” and who, in the spirit of “empowerent” were being influence by “diversity” as contrary cultures and economic groups merged. Those descriptive codewords defined the agenda. It was a seduction, because it appealed to all for differing reasons and would allow the future perversion of the curriculum for political motivation to move on forward. And, believe me…IT HAS!

So much so that today a progressive liberal theology permeates every level of the educational system well up into the college level. To think that this is a manifestation of some sort of political paranoia is to be near criminally shortsighted. Our American education system didn’t simply morph into a political tool of perversion by coincidence. I have a habit of saying that when opinion can place the footprints of Machiavellian influences in the snow, then conjecture is elevated to a very distinct and “reasonable” possibility. Now we have the academia elite, most teachers,  public school worker unions, most elements of the lamestream media…all aligned against the best interests of this nation by using education to foment a political agenda to which the Fourth Estate has signed on to with glee.

I invite your comments.

Michigan Education Reform- Did They Go Too Far, or Not Far Enough?

Recently, the State House in Michigan passed an education reform plan which would make it easier to fire under-performing teachers. In addition, it made the tenure process more difficult and reduced protections based on seniority. The bill is now headed to the senate, controlled by Republicans, and teachers’ unions are getting ready for a fight. “Those bills, frankly, are a travesty,” said Doug Pratt, spokesman for the Michigan Education Association “We are looking forward to working with the Senate to pass real tenure reform, not just attacks on educators and their bargaining rights and their ability to do their jobs.”
Those who support the bill see it differently, “We want to ensure that we have the best-quality teachers in the classroom to give our children the best opportunity for success,” said Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, who wrote one of the bills.
Both Republicans and Democrats agree that reform had to be undertaken, but disagreed on how far to go and what shape the reforms should take. Recently, Michigan school districts had been criticized for allowing bad teachers to move to other districts, or to buy them out, rather than fire them. Firing a teacher in Michigan had simply become too complicated or lengthy. For example, a firing could take over a year in some cases.
Although some Democrats voted for the legislation, many think the issue should be considered more delicately. They propose teacher evaluations and accountability by principals before tenure is addressed. They would also like more clarity in how an ineffective teacher is defined. I spoke with an educator in Michigan who had an interesting point on this. If the state uses test scores to determine the quality of a teacher, it would act as a disincentive for taking on the challenging students in a school. That is certainly something that needs to be considered.
She also suggested that another root cause of poor teachers isn’t being addressed, and that is teacher education at the college level. She suggested that teaching students need to have more classroom experience to ensure that they are going into the right field. As it is now, a teacher may graduate with such burdensome student loans that they have to be a teacher, even if they come to realize it’s not the right career path for him or her. If they’d learned this earlier on, it would make for a much easier transition into another field.
The lack of parental involvement is something else that needs to be considered. Due to a lack of involvement or family issues, many students are not performing as well as they could in school, and the teacher is not to blame for this. Parents must bear some responsibility for their child’s education.
We’ll be waiting with bated breath to see how the Michigan Senate votes!

Charter Schools: A First Impression

For the first four years of his schooling, my son has been in a traditional public schools. At first, we had considered private schools. We visited several and even applied to one, but we also took the time to interview the principal and tour the school.

Initial Experience With Traditional Public Schools

The principal during his first 3 years really ran the place as a student-focused, parent-friendly facility. Her door was always open, the faculty turn-over wasn’t an issue and we always felt welcome to come see our kids in their learning environment any time we liked.

We volunteered to help, my wife became the class Mom for both of our kids and I helped with events and such when I could. This school was more like the private schools we had visited than the public schools I remembered -until the principal changed.

When our School Turned Into a Real Traditional Public School

This last year, the school has been the proto-typical traditional public school. Parents are almost discouraged from being in the classroom, the principal is available by appointment only, faculty turn-over is nightmarish and it seems like little – if any – learning is happening in the classroom.

In the current school year, our son has had FOUR different teachers. His first two years he had one. Each new teacher brings a new style, different expectations and introduces instability into the classroom. Won’t the kids detach from the teacher if they think he or she will be somebody else in a few weeks or months?

We had become used to being the reinforcement mechanism in his first few years at that school. He would come home knowing a basic math or reading concept, have homework to do, and we’d help him with the tougher examples. This last year, he flat out told us that the teachers really didn’t explain how to do whatever the basic technique was so we had to first figure out what the teacher wanted him to learn by looking through the homework, then we would create a lesson, teach him, then help him with the homework. My wife and I are not educators and we may not be doing this as well as someone with all the right tools in their bag, but right now, those persons are doing a disservice to the children.

Our son gets great grades. It is expected of him. We help him whenever the need arises, that is expected of us. His current school is not living up to either his, nor our expectations and it became time to leave it behind – and we soon found that many other parents from this school were doing the exact same thing.

Getting Into a Charter School

During the year, we filed an application to a science-focused charter school. Our son loves math and science so between this or the performing arts charter school, this academy made the best sense.

We knew that if he didn’t get selected in the lottery (1,500 kids didn’t) we would be putting him in private school and cutting back some things at home to pay for it.

Last week we got the call – he’s in. We were invited to an introductory event at the school and we both attended leaving the kids with a baby sitter.

The first 5 minutes of the principals opening speech told us that this was the kind of learning experience we wanted for our children.

What is a Charter School

According to The Center for Education Reform a charter school is different that traditional schools in several ways:

  • Choice: Charter schools give families an opportunity to pick the school most suitable for their child’s educational well-being. Teachers choose to create and work at schools where they directly shape the best working and learning environment for their students and themselves. Likewise, charter sponsors choose to authorize schools that are likely to best serve the needs of the students in a particular community.
  • Accountability: Charter schools are judged on how well they meet the student achievement goals established by their charter contract. Charter schools must also show that they can perform according to rigorous fiscal and managerial standards. If a charter school cannot perform up to the established standards, it will be closed.
    Check out CER’s Accountability Report: Charter Schools for more.
  • Freedom: While charter schools must adhere to the same major laws and regulations as all other public schools, they are freed from the red tape that often diverts a school’s energy and resources away from educational excellence. Instead of constantly jumping through procedural hoops, charter school leaders can focus on setting and reaching high academic standards for their students.

The first bullet point, “choice”, I believe is the key. Because parents can choose to go to the charter school and also choose to leave it, the school can’t take a local population for granted. A charter school must be superior to surrounding traditional public schools to attract students – which is the only basis for the school’s funding.

Why We Chose a Charter School

The first few minutes of the principals speech told us almost everything we wanted to know.

  • Children are expected to exceed state requirements, not meet them
  • Students will be taught critical thinking skills so that they understand how to learn, not just what to learn
  • The curriculum is taught through projects. A goal-oriented approach to learning subject matter. A test is not the final objective of the learning experience.
  • Parents are expected to help out in the class room
    • as teacher’s assistant
    • as lunch monitors
    • on field trips
    • during events
  • The school does not take on costs that have nothing to do with learning
    • No buses
      • parents will have to work out their own transportation
    • No cafeteria
      • parents will have to make lunches for their kids (much different that those schools that won’t even allow homemade lunches)
  • The dress code reflects the real-world, professional work environment
    • No denim, sweats or athletic wear in the classroom
    • Shirts with collars are required
    • No tight-fitting clothes

Then the teachers spoke. They genuinely seemed to love teaching in this atmosphere. They feel supported by the parents, respected by the kids, and free to teach instead of jumping through bureaucratic hoops. We were also surprised to learn that the school actually had competitive athletics – championship caliber competitive athletics. Why wouldn’t we put our kids into this school?

The Compromises

Charter schools may not be for everyone. Having no taxpayer-supported busing system helps the school contain non-classroom costs, but working parents will have to figure out how to drop-off and pick-up their children or pay for before and after-school care provided by the school or another facility. The lack of a cafeteria may be an issue for some families as lunches will have to come from home. These and other expenses are distractions from actual learning and expenses that all schools don’t need to take on.  For some families it will be too much of a burden, for us, it’s a time cost that is well worth an education-focused learning facility. This also might explain why charter schools spend $4,000 per student less than traditional schools.

Summary

As we go through our first year, I’ll write from time-to-time to let you know how the experience has lived (or not) up to the expectations set by the staff.

We know why the NEA and teacher’s unions fight against these kinds of schools, now I hope to present the case for why we should each be fighting for them – by going into the system personally.

Marco Rubio: 2012 Presidential Profile

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background

Marco Rubio was born in Miami in 1971 to a blue-collar family. His Cuban parents came to America after Fidel Castro’s takeover of their home country.

Family

Rubio and his wife Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio were married in 1998 and have four children. They live in West Miami, four blocks from the home his parents bought in 1985.

Religious Affiliation

Although Rubio is a Roman Catholic, he belongs to the Christ Fellowship Nondenominational Church, leading some to believe that he is truly Protestant. About his faith, Rubio has said “For those who have the Christian faith and are in politics, there is a constant struggle between a desire to do what is right and how that sometimes may not coincide with what is popular,” he said. “I hope that, more often than not, I make the right choice.”

Education

After beginning his college education with Tarkio College in Missouri on a football scholarship, Rubio transferred to Santa Fe Community College. In 1993, he graduated with a bachelor of science from the University of Florida. He earned his juris doctor in 1996, graduating cum laude from the University of Miami.

Political Start

Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000-1008. While there, his roles included Majority Whip, Majority Leader and Speaker of the House. His agenda was one of lower taxes, better schools, a smaller more efficient government and free market empowerment.

Political Career

Before becoming speaker, Rubio traveled around the state for 2 years hosting “Idearaisers” to hear from his consitutents on ways to make Florida better. This resulted in the book “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future,” on which he based his term. All 100 ideas were passed by the Florida House, and 57 became law. Newt Gingrich called this “a work of genius.”

Rubio has worked to develop a public school curriculum that would match the best in the world, increase performance-based accountability, allow for greater school choice and target factors which affect academic underperformance.

In 2010, Rubio was elected US Senator for Florida. He sits on the following committees:

  • Committee on commerce, science and transportation
  • Committee on Foreign Relations
  • Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Committee on Small business and entrepreneurship

Private Sector Career

After his time as Speaker, Rubio returned to practicing law. He also acted as a visiting professor at Florida International University, was Florida Chairman of GOPAC and a political analyst for Univision.

 

On the issues

Abortion- Pro-Life

Budget- Supports moratorium on all earmarks until budget is balanced

Economic- Supports a balanced budget and a line item veto

Economic- Supports a limit on federal spending growth to per-capita inflation rate

Education- Supports more scholarships for private schools

Education- Supports less federal control of education with increased local control, including increased parental choice

Energy- Supports exploration of proven energy reserves including ANWR

Environment- Opposes Cap & Trade. Does not believe it has had an impact on the global climate

Environment- Signed the No Climate Tax Pledge by AFP

Healthcare- Supports the repeal of any government-run healthcare

Healthcare- Supports a marketplace of affordable health insurance

Healthcare- Supports alternatives to employer-based insurance

Immigration- Believes Arizona law may unreasonably single out some citizens

Immigration- Opposes counting illegal aliens in the census

Immigration- Supports in-state tuition for children of illegal aliens

Immigration- Opposes amnesty in any form

Immigration- Supports full implementation of current border security laws

Legislative- Supports identifying the constitutionality in every new congressional bill

National Security- Believes that Islamic terrorists are the greatest threat to America

National Security- Supports the 2007 troop surge

National Security- Opposes timetable for Afghanistan withdrawal

Other- Opposed Ground Zero Mosque

Other- Opposes card check & Employee Free Choice Act

Second Amendment- Opposes restrictions on the right to bear arms

Social- Supported amendment to ban same-sex marriage and supports the ban of gays in the military

Tax- Supports making Bush tax cuts permanent

Tax- Supports replacing property taxes with state sales tax

Tax- Opposes capital gains tax

Tax- Supports flat-rate federal tax

Tax- Supports repeal of death taxes

 

Sources:

Rubio.senate.gov

Ontheissues.org

 

 

See the profiles of other potential 2012 GOP Candidates

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