Archive for October, 2008

No Child Left Behind at the High School

October 29, 2008

CNN informs us that the current administration is seeking to push NCLB at the secondary level in these last few months of their time at the helm of policy

Now I don’t disagree that dropping out of high school is a tragedy, and ashamedly I admit that I witnessed more than 10 percent of my Senior English class dropped from my original, first day of school roster over the course of 36 weeks.  That means of the 3 classes of 32 each I started with, I ended the school year with more than a dozen students missing from the original roster.  Some graduated in January.  Some went on to our night school program where students are eligible to fulfill their English requirements online.  Some dropped out entirely with plans to work at the factory down the road. 

It’s wonderful to target dropouts, but I’d like to know how the federal government would like local schools to go about making students turn in work that they do not turn in.

Admittedly, we failed to educate the student wishing to drop out and work in the factory down the road because that student clearly had no idea how to read his world.  There are no job opportunities in the factory down the road.  In fact, the factory down the road produces gas guzzling dinosaurs and is laying off workers — not hiring. 

When it comes to increasing our graduation rate, I’d like to know how to encourage the upper-classman to focus on schoolwork as her family struggles to make ends meet.  Are the feds planning on interviewing these drop-outs to find out why they drop out?

Presidential Debates — Greatest hits

October 16, 2008

Q:  Do you think we’re meeting our obligations properly?


I’m not sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say this is the way it’s got to be. I want to empower people. I want to help people help themselves, not have government tell people what to do. I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you. We went into Russia, we said here’s some IMF money. It ended up in Chernomyrdin’s pocket. And yet we played like there was reform. The only people who are going to reform Russia are Russians. I’m not sure where the vice president’s coming from, but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.

October 11, 2000 — Wake Forest University — George W. Bush

Let’s be Honest

October 8, 2008

From Forbes:

McCain claims:

“They’re the ones that, with the encouragement of Senator Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back.” 
Obama claims:  “I’ve got to correct a little bit of Senator McCain’s history, not surprisingly. … In fact, Senator McCain’s campaign chairman’s firm was a lobbyist on behalf of Fannie Mae, not me.”
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.  If we’re being honest, it’s not the fault of anybody in Washington, it’s not the fault of anybody at the banks, it’s not the fault of the individual mortgage agent who told you your original interest rate and how much you qualified for.  It’s your fault. 
I recognize predatory lenders exist, and I’ve been seduced by easy lines of credit, but as a consumer I’m getting smarter, and I’m learning what I can and can’t afford.  When my wife and I learned we qualified for 3 times as much as our combined income for a home mortgage loan, and we learned the monthly payment on such a loan would be 3 times as much as we were paying in rent at the time, we knew — let me say that again, we KNEW — we could not afford such a loan. 
We were ignorant about a lot of things regarding our mortgage, and a lot of education needs to happen for the average American consumer of loans.  At the same time, a little common sense goes a long way. 
We need a president who can change the climate of sense in this country.  We need a president who can say things we aren’t going to like, but who we can appreciate for telling us.  We need real straight talk, not the fake talk we get from the candidate who claims to provide it straight. 
I want sense.  I don’t want gut reactions. 

What I want to hear

October 3, 2008

When asked why he or she has changed position on a matter of national importance, why don’t we ever hear:  “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of LITTLE MINDS.” 

Where would our nation be had not John Kennedy reconsidered Civil Rights as a moral issue rather than just a legal one

Where might our nation be had George W. Bush reconsidered our relationship with Iran in the days immediately following September 11, 2001, when a moderate Iranian president (Khatami) may have received political collateral, enabling sweeping philosophical change, in opening dialogue with a hurting yet furious United States who looked for a fight on Iran’s eastern and western borders. 

We would bring democracy to those nations on the eastern and western borders with assistance in the east by a military dictatorship armed with nuclear weapons (a situation we claim to abhor).  All the while, a moderate, democratically elected president watched from the middle.  

The possibility for dialogue existed prior to 9/11.  The need for dialogue existed before and after.  But maybe I’m just naïve.

Just when you think it’s safe to go back to school

October 1, 2008

Boy’s week has started out rough. 

Sunday night he cried at bedtime because he’s afraid of the dark despite the landing strip night lights available throughout the room. 

Monday night he cried at bedtime because his tummy hurt and his feet hurt because he ate too much and he’s afraid of the dark.  He may have eaten too much as we’re celebrating Big Sister’s birthday and cake and ice-cream were eaten after dinner, so I assumed maybe that was the issue. 

Last night at bedtime (Tuesday, marking three nights in a row), he cried because his legs hurt and his arms hurt because he ate too much and he’s afraid of the dark.  He continued to cry when I told him to go potty one last time and nobody would turn on the light for him. 

“Come here,” I said. 

He walked over with his head down and tears running down his face (I swear if I could make myself cry as an actor like he can, I’d probably be doing some serious paid gigs). 

I reminded him he could turn the light on when he was three and now that he’s four, he ought to be able to turn the light on by himself. 

While he was in the bathroom my wife told me he’d exited the bus that afternoon crying.  Someone “grabbed and twisted” his ear.  The bus driver knew the perpetrator and responded, and an apology was given from the offender, but I’m worried about the excessive crying and its root (not that little boys shouldn’t cry, but the more a little boy cries the bigger a target he paints on himself), and I’m worried about returning to bullying in preschool.  Is the crying symptomatic of not wanting to go to bed because waking up represents going back to school where we’re not having as much fun as we thought we would? 

Is it simply symptomatic of not wanting to go to bed and a fear of missing out on all the fun mom and dad might be having without him?  

Is he just overtired as he falls asleep within seconds of opening the bedtime book?   

So I have some reading to do: 

For empathy:  “Another Preschool Bully” is an Indianapolis’ mom’s reaction and reader commentary.    And for possible exploration (I haven’t had a chance to explore the whole yet:  the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute’s website looks like it has some resources. 

Luckily, we are in a school now that is both accredited and within the public system, so the network of assistance we have available is vast as evidenced by the bus driver’s immediate handling of the situation.  I just want to find out more.