Tag Archives: Education

Not on My Dime

Once upon a time, a high school girl and her boyfriend found out they were expected a child in her junior year. She dropped out to have the baby while he dropped out to get a job. They struggled to make a life for their little family for a number of years while living with her parents before he left to find a better life elsewhere. She never graduated and lived off of her parents and what little support the baby’s father did provide. Once the child was old enough, she tried to find a job, but without a high school diploma, no one would hire her at a pay level to afford day care and provide for herself and her child. She lived on welfare and the generosity of others until the child entered high school. The young mom finally got her GED and found a grant and several college loans to pay for college, which she attended regularly until she earned her degree. She found a job making enough money to pay back her loans and provide for her life and family.

The baby’s father found a manual labor job working in the oil fields making pretty good money. He paid his child support and was an attentive father when he was able to spend time with his child, which wasn’t often, as he had to work a lot of over time to make ends meet. He advanced at his job until one day when his supervisor asked to speak with him about his future. The young man was capable and reliable and the company thought he would be a good candidate to move into a leadership position. The only problem was that he didn’t have a degree. He had not even finished high school. In order to keep his job, he did manage to get his GED, but he was unwilling to go to college. He enjoyed his job as it was and had no wish to take on more responsibility.2015-01-09_1246

Today, the president of the United States made a proclamation that every American should have two years of free college education. Of course, it won’t be free. It will have to be paid for by taxes. He did magnanimously offer to let the states split the cost, which will just mean state taxes will help the federal taxes pay for it. Either way, it is coming out of the pockets of every American. This is wrong on so many levels, but I will try to narrow it down to two or three key points. First, not every American wants or should have a college education. Second, the history of this nation is based on individual sacrifice for individual success. Americans who scraped and saved and worked their butts off for a college degree should not have to pay for everyone else to have one handed to them. Third, once the government gets involved in education, it will turn colleges into degree mills with success being measured by the number of degrees issued rather than the quality of the education offered.

I taught freshman composition for two years at a state supported four-year university. It was a major turning point in my life; putting me on my current career path in corporate training. After fifteen years in front of a classroom I can say with no reservation that the colleges are already filled with thousands of students who have no business being in college. I had at least one student in each of my comp classes who was in school only because it was either that, or get out of their parent’s house and find gainful employment. Neither option appealed to most of these kids and their work and attendance showed it. They were wasting their parents’ money and my time—taking my attention away from other students who needed it.

Even now, in my role in learning and development, I meet adults who just do not possess the mental capacity to learn complicated thought processes or critical thinking skills. They are simple folk who know how to do what they need to do. Why should they be bothered with higher education? Just because it’s free?

America takes all kinds of people. Some are thinkers and some are doers. There are plenty of jobs that still need to be done that require no degree. In fact, even a high school diploma is wasted on some of these jobs, but they still need to be done. TV host Mike Rowe highlights many of these jobs in his cable TV show. These jobs require hard labor and a good work ethic. Many of them are not pleasant and not many people want to do them. Those who do, do not need formal education to perform them. Having the workers spend two years of tax payers’ dollars to get an associate’s degree would be a fundamental waste of money. But then again, that is what government is best at, isn’t it?2015-01-09_1245

Public education has been the law of the land since before the Constitution was written, and many of the most successful people throughout history have benefitted from state-sponsored learning. The flipside of that is the millions of people who drop out or barely pass gaining absolutely no benefit from 12 years of coerced mandated attendance. Many schools are merely churning out as many kids as the state requires in order to maintain their funding. The quality of the education is secondary to the process of moving the kids along the conveyor belt to graduation. Now the administration wishes to extend that process another two years on taxpayer’s dimes. Nothing will improve.

The utopia that the progressive leftists dream about is a land where every person in the land has a college degree, is in peak physical condition, does not worship any one diety, does not think or believe in any way that is contrary to the populous and does not question the authority of the state, since after all, the state is doing such a good job taking care of them. This ensures that every citizen is able to contribute to the welfare state with the taxes collected from the high paying jobs they get after graduating. The unfortunate reality is that the state cannot take care of the populous, since many humans are not lemmings willing follow blindly the leadership of others. Not every person is cut out for college. Not every person will benefit from a college education. Not every job requires a college education.

In his address, Obama started off making a broad generalization that, on the surface, is easy to support. “I think everybody understands that it [education] is the key for success for our kids in the 21st century.” I have already poked holes in that assertion.

He went on to say, “It’s not just for kids. We also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits.” This is so Americans can earn more, thus providing more tax revenue for the nanny state programs.

“It’s something that we can accomplish, and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world,” he said, adding “So that it benefits everybody and not just some.” Again, this is the socialist agenda at work, absolving the citizen (drone) of any personal responsibility and by extension, initiative.

There are already many programs in place to help those who wish to get a college education if those people are willing to work for it. The GI Bill pays for a full degree for those willing to serve in the military. There are grants available for those lower income families who wish to improve their situation. Many corporation offer tuition reimbursement for employees who wish to go to college. The reality is that many people who don’t have a degree don’t want one.

Those who do complete college feel a great sense of accomplishment in doing so. A four-year degree requires dedication, hard work, discipline and a significant investment in time and money. Not so many high school graduates feel that same level of accomplishment because while high school does take four-years, even the laziest student can complete it with the least amount of effort. In fact, it is almost impossible to fail at this point. High schools all over the country are turning out kids with diplomas who cannot read past a seventh grade level.

Obama would have us believe that every American is like our young mom; willing to work hard to make a better life for herself with a college degree. This is not the most common case. We have several citizens who cannot read, not because they didn’t go to college, but rather because our public education system does not work properly. If we wish to fix the problem of literacy in our country, if we wish to have a generation of educated citizens, sending the illiterate to college won’t do it. We have to stop graduating illiterate kids from high school, and we have to imbue a sense of responsibility in our young. The welfare state is the exact opposite way to do that.

Do not support this initiative. If people want education opportunities, let them work to pay for them as people have done for generations. They will value them more and work harder to be successful at them.

1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Society

Look For the Label

I have really been wrestling with blogging lately. It seems as though there are a million leftist blogs supporting every issue that I find either disagreeable or downright offensive, but there are also a few conservative blogs that I can find some agreement with, but they get some issue wrong, or they espouse a middle-ground mentality that appeases the left in efforts to try to please everyone. I am long past trying to make people happy, and I have come to the conclusion that no amount of logic can sway a die-hard leftist from adopting the force-fed media blitz ideology that inundates all of us. That is why I don’t blog as much anymore. That, and I am still working on my academic assignments and trying to finish my novel before the new year.

Having said all of that, my wife said something to me the other evening that got my hackles up. She works for a school district and said her district is labeled “majority-minority.” This because their student demographics are diverse; so diverse that Caucasian children are outnumbered, or underrepresented, in the student body. Now let that percolate for a minute. I realize that not everyone is a writer and the nuances of the English language might escape them, but as a writer, words are important to me. I like to use the best word to effectively convey the idea I am trying to communicate. If one group of students is smaller than the other groups, that group is the minority. Think about it. Minority, according to Merriam-Webster, is the smaller in number of two groups constituting a whole. Therefore, a smaller group cannot be a majority, even if one hyphenates it with the word ‘minority’. Conversely, a minority is the smaller number. So if the smaller group is white, that group is the minority. If the larger group is Hispanic, or any other non-white race, then that group is the majority. Period.

The leftist school board, not wanting to admit that Caucasians no longer have larger numbers, need that minority label on all non-Caucasians in order to get federal funding for their programs, or promote their socialist agenda. If Hispanics or blacks outnumber whites, that means whites are now the minority and should, God-forbid, qualify for those same programs. But that cannot happen. It would fly in the face of 40 years of affirmative action and social justice programs designed to help those races held down by centuries of white-dominated society. Or so they say.

What needs to happen is the school board, and the state board of education, and the federal Department of Education all need to come to the realization that after 40+ years of civil rights, mixed race breeding, natural migration patterns, and forced bussing, the whole race issue needs to be put to bed. Stop prioritizing children based on the color of their skin. Stop assuming that just because a child’s skin is white, they are “majority” and because another child’s skin is not white they are a minority. Those labels are not accurate, not beneficial and not worthwhile, but they are demeaning, insulting and erroneous. It only serves to perpetuate and reinforce the racist ideologies that the left purports to oppose.

Far be it from me to hold up a celebrity as an example, but actress Raven Symone recently spoke in an interview with Oprah wherein she eschewed these labels, to the chagrin of Oprah and other Hollywood liberals. The Cosby Show actress told the host that she did not wish to be identified as an African-American. “I want to be labeled a human who loves humans. I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American.”

Needless to say, this didn’t sit too well with Oprah. “You are going to get a lot of flack for saying you’re not African-American. You know that, right?”

I don’t know why she would. She’s from Georgia, not Africa. While I do not agree with everything the young actress espouses, I give her props for hitting this nail squarely on the head. Racism can only stop when everyone stops looking for it. If anyone of any race defines a person, or group of people, by the color of their skin for ANY REASON—beneficial or not—racism continues and thrives. If the left truly wants equality, they must stop lumping people together as a majority or minority and take people as one label…Human.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Politics, Society

Don’t Spank My Kids, Prosecute Them

Getting kids to behave has long been a struggle for many parents and teachers, and the struggle has been getting more and more difficult each generation. I know I could be a challenge as a child and I’m sure my teachers and parents had fits about my antics every once in a while. I know Mr. Keith had a conniption when I got into a paint fight with a girl while painting the sets for a play. He sent us to the principal’s office, which in those days was a big deal. If you found yourself in the principal’s office, you could find yourself on the long end of a paddle or waiting for your parents to pick you up. Today’s kids, however, don’t seem to fear the principal anymore. In fact, they don’t seem to respect any authority figure anymore.

I was on the receiving end of a principal’s phone call a short time ago and had to deal with several problems that I never created for my parents. I found myself dealing not with a kid in detention or Saturday class, but rather talking to police and attorneys. As a society, we can bemoan over-reaction by school systems in choosing to prosecute kids rather than use the discipline of old, but it is not really their fault. Parents have taken school districts to court too many times for perceived slights against their kids, or for what the parents (and unfortunately the courts) think is excessive disciplinary tactics. The paddle is all but gone from the principal’s repertoire of disciplinary tools.

Now, in order to protect themselves from potential litigation, school districts have attorneys making policy and overseeing disciplinary issues. Principals and teachers now have to spend time and resources documenting all manner of behavior so that they can face a potential lawsuit brought by an unhappy parent. Psychologists warn that any negative action may damage the child’s fragile self-esteem. If their self-esteem is damaged, they may experience any number of social ills like becoming a criminal or worse, failing to find their true potential.

The whole issue seems to stem from parents who are still rebelling against their parents. When I was in school—even elementary—we walked to the bus stop on our own and rode to school. If we were paddled for misbehaving, we faced a spanking at home too. Our teachers and parents worked together to mold our behavior and get us to perform in class and at home. Now, there are always exceptions, but most of the kids I knew are not crime lords or serving time in prison. We grew up just fine. Yet, some of us seem to think that our childhood was too hard. Perhaps their parents were too hard on them. Perhaps their teachers were unfair to them and their parents didn’t take their side.

These parents want to ensure their kids have a better childhood than they did, so they always believe their kid’s stories of how the teacher is unfair, or how the assignment is too hard or the principal doesn’t like them. I was once one of these kids. I have met these kids. I have these kids. Kids lie. They really do. Yes, even yours. It is the parent’s job to know when the kid is lying and when he or she is not and—more to the point—when to listen to the teacher and administration. The schools are not out to get your kids. They have bigger considerations. They have to teach them. They have to meet state regulations (and that is another issue). So instead of teaching your kids, they now have to worry about prosecuting them.

Our society has evolved to a point where in more than 95% of home both parents must work or it is a single-parent home. Parents don’t get to spend anywhere near the amount of time with kids as they used to. Parents rely on daycare centers or nannies or babysitters to take care of their young until they are old enough to get into school. Once in school, they have after school programs or—as happens in most situations—the kids go home after school alone. The result, kids have to entertain themselves. Kids turn to other kids to learn social skills. This is a clear example of the blind leading the blind. If society were run by children, anarchy would reign as the country would be run by sociopaths. Kids are not born knowing right from wrong. They are not born with the understanding of fairness. They only worry about themselves.

A one-year-old is playing with a toy. He is entertained and parents find delight in watching the child play. Another child toddles up and takes the toy. The first child grabs it back and screams; the second child struggles to keep the toy and screams just as loud. This may look cute to the parents, but it is a social lesson that both children are learning. The parents need to think about that when and if they intercede. What message will the child learn from this? How to share? Right of property? First-come first-serve? Possession is nine-tenths?

We as parents have our work cut out for us. We have to teach the kids how to behave in society. We have to teach kids how to get along with others. We have to teach kids a work ethic. We have to teach kids everything. And we are not doing a good enough job of it. This is a big reason why our teachers are struggling in their jobs of trying to teach our children.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Society