Monday, September 3, 2012

Comments Re the RNC Platform

Comments made after reading - http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Renewing/

This year 2012, The Republican party has moved forward as the party of No. The party has said no to almost every one of Obama’s concepts, plans and ideas. In some areas I do agree with the Republican Party. In many others I think that the party has lost sight of what Politics truly is – Negotiation of finding a way agree. The Republican party of 2012 is spinning itself out of control and with respect to all of the people trying extremely hard to move more right than ever before – STOP and think of what you are doing. With a successful campaign you are going to be called liars simply because many of the plans you have in place will never come to be.

Another issue I am having is the rhetoric of a social policy. Lets talk about Marriage. The Republican party states through research that children who come from a married home are far better off than those who come from a single family home. As a trained Counselor (no longer practicing) I cannot agree more. Good point and 100% the truth. The institution of marriage must be validated and further we must find ways to help keep families together. What is left out is that children who grow up in same sex families fair just as well as children from opposite sex households. The argument to ban gay marriage has removed 8% of the population for what reason? The Republican party wants to be involved with the Church which is a fair place to be, yet if we review history well enough, the church does not play well with others and has only 1 goal, to be in control. Should we assume then that the Church is actually controlling the Republican party? If that is the case then respectfully, the Founding Fathers would be appalled, since they were philosophers who knew enough to keep the two apart.  The reason for calling on a ban of Gay people is not politically a good move and nor does it bring a nation together.

Healthcare, Social Security and Medicare all need to be reformed. Obama offered his best shot and respectfully to the GOP, he tried to appease you in his plan. This shows his weakness as a leader and also shows us that what this country needs is less important than is creating a political rift. I am a proponent of a Flat tax with no power for the Federal government to raise said tax 20%. I believe 5% of this tax goes to create a national health care system that all Americans (not illegals) use. This system would also mean that many tax credits/deductions will be removed and yes it also means that the impoverished pay their 20%. I also believe if we are to maintain social security, then 3% of our taxes go toward that and that upon our retirement there is a true tiered system that people receive until they pass away. This is not a popular option yet is a system that the people deserve rather than the political answer. Politicians are the voice of the people, and the people are asking for this type of system..respectfully it is necessary for the Republicans to take up this fight and think of the people, not of the corporations. Additionally this system will be better for the business environment as they will not have to participate in any health care plan. 

Then I read further into the Republican plan to develop a better educational platform. Respectfully to both parties, your ideas are all horrid. The Democrats want a competition, yet education is not about competition. The Party states that money is not the answer. We agree, yet we cannot succeed in education without money. The Federal and the State systems all require money for the unfunded mandates, which include testing, retesting and more testing of our students. The mandates are there for special needs, which children of all different situations fit this category. The money is required for children living in poverty, mandates for enhancing diversity etc etc. So respectfully to the Republican Party, yes money is necessary. Above all of this is the argument that the Unions need to be busted.
Within the Educational environment, the Unions have a balancing act, and they also help to offer some professionalism. The education of our American future needs the funding, and it needs the collaboration of the profession, not the divisiveness of competition or the rhetoric of ignorant politicians.

With my last sentence I would like to share some final thoughts with the Republican Party. Every person who runs for office and gets elected is ignorant. There is no person on the planet who can share that they know everything. Each person has a finite amount of information they can retain and they rely on the direction of others to help them make decisions. Within the field of the American Social system, the GOP needs to adapt and to utilize a different environment than the one they are moving to. The use of the Constitution and Founding Fathers is being used incorrectly. The use and reliance of corporate funding to guide is being irresponsibly utilized; and the weakness of attracting the young is going to destroy the principled ideology of the Republican party. The GOP needs to remove the ‘old’ label and allow itself to be the Grand Open-minded Party. This will allow for the system to develop and enhance the nation of America and bring the goals of the Founding Fathers. To be the greatest open-minded nation who is ok with change and allows for the people to develop themselves philosophically by their own abilities and desires.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Response to a misguided ex-teacher

Today I was given the opportunity to read the work of an ex teacher. (http://ateachertransformed.com/)  This is a young lady who was very good with her students and who spent a lot of time trying to reform those people and mold them into good citizens. In this particular school there was no parent involvement, never any parent complaints and most certainly little or no administrative support. This lady worked as the Honors Language arts teacher and was able to ignore the many violations of human indecency that went on around her so she could aide her students. A very admirable role that was taken, yet in all her effort, was she ever able to help lift those students out of their cultural situation and save them to become scholars. Real research says No!

Attacking this lady is not the purpose of this post, it is instead to enlighten her and the many other misguided people who feel that American education is failing because of Unions, bad teachers and the Democratic party. Respectfully, none of these factors are the direct result of a failure yet are all parts of the system which is no longer allowed to work as a system.

At the RNC in 2012 Education is under attack. The teachers are still at fault for the ruination of education and the reason they are still in the classroom is because ultimately Unions are to blame. To all of the people who are saying this, lets share a coffee and allow me to share with you more than I will here.

Over the past 10 years I have been involved as a Faculty Representative to help aide the teachers in situations that involve administration. Sometimes the situation was blatantly an administrator pushing for power and or satisfying to want of a parent when no such need was necessary. Other times it was the teacher who was at fault and I was there to maintain balance of the situation. In other situations we did have to bring in the association for guidance and support. As a reader you may be saying – this is what Unions do. I answer – yes they protect the workers. I urge anyone who wants to remove a Union or association to first learn why these institutions are important and further why they are so necessary in America. Add to that even more important in a right-to-work State.

One story that comes to mind is from the above mentioned teachers school. My wife was told she is no longer wanted at her place of employment because she was pregnant. The principal chose to fire my wife from her position as a teacher and let her know it was because she was pregnant and that the children did not need to see this in his school. This is one example of the abuse that occurs in our nation and in our schools. With a call to the association office and a following of contract law my wife had her job back. This is an example of abuse which can and does occur in the private sector – which is respectfully not allowed in the government environment.

Another comment I would like to make is this notion of educational reformers doing an amazing job. Some of the worst educational reformers are being hailed as martyrs today. Michelle Rhee who cheated and lied to get where she is is no reformer, she is simply a dictator who no respect in the field of education, yet in the field of politics she is beloved. The same can be said for Jeb Bush and Arne Duncan. All of these people are working to create a private sector system where it does not belong.

John Thrasher, a Florida Legislator, recently shared that he never envisioned charter school abuse in the way it is occurring. His idea for charter schools was for the poor people to get an education. This is another example of how a politician spins a story.

In the field of academia the exacted result is not known until years after a child leaves the classroom, yet the tea party fanatics, who have no idea of American history, want teachers to compete for financial compensation. Education is a teamwork environment more akin to research and development of a product that may or may not ever work better than another, it is not a widget factory to create automatons.

Finally – and in respect to the person this blog post was written for:  There are many ways to develop education and there is one sure way to destroy it. Pitting teachers, administrators, school systems

The system of education needs to overhauled. Not to test and test and test. Rather it needs to be given the chance to be a professional environment in which teachers are given professional wages and offered the chance to teach what they are experts at. Parents should never be given the power over the school, even if the tea party wants it to build more charter schools. the PTA is there to support the system and they understand the value of a teacher. The NEA and AFT understand support of the teacher. Consider the support of a family, would you prefer for me to tell you I appreciate you and never hug, assure, respect or care for you. In psychology we call this a schizophrenic mind. In education we call this tea part politics.

I am a Republican teacher who has asked to work with government to help develop a professional environment. Until people learn that the problem is rarely in the classroom, rather it is in misguided legislative hands and in the hands of the profiteer, then this country will maintain the educational process it always wanted – Wealthy Superiority over the majority.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Judge strikes down state merit pay rules as 'invalid'

Today there was a victory for education in the State of Florida. I realize that many of the Florida Republicans feel that public school system has been given a free pass for a period of time prior to their arrival in Tallahassee. Respectfully, you went too far in trying to create a Corporate Model for education that is not designed to work. The passion that is shown to try and help alleviate the problems of education is extremely appreciated, yet you should be working with professional educators to facilitate the change and to stop working with Private Groups who have a goal of profiteering. This ruling states what teachers already know..merit is not for the world of education. I respectfully ask each of the Legislators to put their heads together now, develop an educational caucus of State Teachers and use the information from these people to learn how to create a better educational system. Use this opportunity to remove the words Merit Pay from your vocabulary and develop a fair market pay scale for teachers utilizing accurate data. Make the teachers State Employees and treat them as professional. Use the successful European models and lets teach the other States in America how to do it right.

That’s my 2c, thanks for listening

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-teacher-merit-pay-ruling-20120822,0,1384356.story

http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/Judge-Finds-Florida-Department-of-Education-Failed-to-Follow---167110645.html

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Value of Being Educated

The following is an Opinion Article Written by Cade Resnick

When a person is talking to another person and shares with them that they are educated, the person receiving the compliment often says thank you and leaves it at that.  Over my tenure of being involved in education, I have come to learn that the term, educated is used far too often without a true measure of its value. In the field of studying conflict, and human culture he meaning of educated extends to the ability to question and research all systemic possibilities.  The most important aspect of being educated in the field of culture is to begin your research trying to remove all aspects of your bias. It is after all, bias that is the downfall of the validity within research.

Read the Rest here

http://tinyurl.com/93he2xs

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Comments to Dean Cannon

In Response to http://tinyurl.com/79y4mmw Article in Orlando Sentinel
Dean Cannon: Measuring students' progress critical to education's success

“Florida received some good news recently. Education Week reports that Florida's African-American and Hispanic students are more likely to graduate from high school than their peers in other states.

The 2012 "Diplomas Count" report compared Florida to the rest of the nation and found that our Hispanic graduates beat the national graduation-rate average by 10 percentage points. African-American students exceed the average by 3.5 points. In fact, Florida places third in the nation for the largest increases in graduation rates of all students over the past 10 years, jumping from 52.5 percent in 1999 to 70.4 percent a decade later, in 2009”.

Attention Mr. Dean Cannon.

We did all of the above by lowering the standards to say we are worthy. I will gladly ask you to sit with me and go through how education has changed in the past 12 years to make sure that access is more open (not a bad thing) and that teachers are to teach to the lowest denominator not the highest.

There are many ways to alter data for our best conclusion, and respectfully this is what we have done. Florida is an amazing State, yet we need a national test to compare where we are. We also need a national measure to see drop-out rate vs actual graduation rate and we need national comparitive data to see college readiness. Keeping everything in home is, in my opinion called inbreeding.

I offer you an invitation to sit and listen before you write your next article

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Perception is Reality


                Over the past few years, the American society has been enveloped in the negativity of the educational environment. The Federal government has shared that the most important factor within a person’s education is the teacher, and that this teacher needs to be evaluated through a one stop evaluation system. This same message has resonated in many of the State Legislatures and is now being implemented.

                President Obama (D) orchestrated the Race to the Top program, which simply gave millions of dollars to States to develop an evaluation system and to remove ineffective teachers.  Although the selling of this program was not listed in this manner, the reality seems to be that all failure of education belongs to teachers. Therefore, the system has worked to develop a robust, very expensive evaluation model which, in Florida, was implemented through SB 736 in 2011.

                The monies that Florida received for Race to the Top did not go into the classroom. The reality is that most of that money has been spent in buying the rights to use the Marzano model of evaluation. The irony of this model, is that Marzano himself has stated in his own books, “I strongly believe that there is not (nor will there ever be) a formula for effective teaching”.
With the hypocrisy continuing to develop, Marzano sold an evaluation system to the State of Florida for an unspecified amount of monies, and the majority of the 67 counties in Florida are now using this system. The system is being utilized to evaluate teaching, yet, in reality it is being utilized for punitive reward or removal of favored teachers. The government has said that the system was created to be more collaborative within the field of education and that great teachers would be validated while bad teachers would be removed.

                The irony of a statement such as this is that education is an art. Every teacher has a different method for designing their art and they work within their own style to develop the future of our educated workforce. I certainly understand that there are some artists that are better than others, yet I do not understand an Evaluation tool that is designed that can truly to define who the great artists are from the not so great ones. To me this is perception.

                This year, I have spent a lot of time talking with teachers and administrators and have been listening to the disconnect within my educational circle. Within my own county, the disconnect seems to be the same as in surrounding counties, so I do not believe this to be an abnormal evaluation. Through my analysis, what I am seeing is that administrators are grading teachers based on a review through arbitrary factors. Administration is supposed to walk through classrooms on a consistent basis. My administrator was so busy through the year that he was only able to see me for a total of 16 minutes throughout the year, and when he came to me for my formal observation, he was only able to see a portion of the class. When he and I met for my final evaluation, he looked at me, saw that most of the check marks were within the evaluation and said, “Effective”. I did ask what it takes to be highly effective, and I was told that Effective is the new Highly Effective. Respectfully, for a teacher who considers their art work to be toward the highly effective model, I want to know why I am just effective, and how I become highly effective. I have asked this question to my administrator, to other administrators and to the Union, and at this time none of them are able to qualify what makes a Highly Effective teacher.

                Any qualified teacher knows that they are going to be evaluated by an administrator. What the teachers would like to know is how they are able to reach their full potential. As teachers we offer to our students a rubric which allocates point scores. The observation system that we are being held to has no definitive idea of the skill of teaching. Rather it is very prescriptive to place teachers into a box. Further, when teachers are able to follow the script as it is being asked, the power to evaluate is then left in the hands of an administrator to decide how effective the teacher is. Respectfully, without a true rubric, the aspect of truthful evaluation is further turned into an open ended joke. Talking among teachers, we are now pondering how this evaluation system is moving the abilities of teachers forward. The power to decide the fate of a teacher is now in the hands of an administrator. This is not collaborative at all.

This means that every teacher has to succumb to the whim of the administrators and principals for fear that retribution may arrive from any disagreements. Collegiality is being removed from the field of education and is being replaced with a one size fits all punitive model. If this was the goal  of the Florida Politicians, then I can share with them that their goal has been achieved.  Yet I believe that the original intent of the Political environment was to develop a system that moves the field of education further ahead. The reality is very different, which is why teacher morale is so low. Every teacher has to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, yet the field of education is treating teachers as ignorant children.  

The field of education needs to be overhauled, and designed for the 21st century. Presidents need not make education a competition, State legislators need not force the hand of school systems to create Charter Schools for their own gain and school administrators need to learn that teachers are the foundation of our future. There are many ways to evaluate art, yet with every critique there is a differing argument of perspective. Our American Society needs strong, powerful teachers who are able to design their art to stand the test of time. There are many ways to do this; yet this cannot be done with a one stop model to contain every teacher. Perception is reality, and right now, the reality is that every teacher needs to stop the art of teaching and begin the color by number evaluation model.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Purpose for Educating a Globalized Negotiation Model


Social cognition is the mental state upon which our biology and mental abilities combine to create who we are. The development of this concept begins at birth and continues throughout the social environment of our lives.  Recently I was able to see firsthand how the different concept of individualism versus collectivism has an impact on the belief system of people. This difference in beliefs allies with our abilities to negotiate; and the expected outcome of the negotiation.  

Upon entering a cruise ship guests are greeted by people (cruise ship employees) who have given up their normal state of being and are working in a consistent state of flux. Using this example, I mean to say that these people are working on a rotating schedule, and are in different countries, cultures and environments on an everyday perspective. The working people also deal with thousands of different personalities each and every day, and then over a short period of time, have to reset and do this once again. For the majority of westernized people, this idea would be awful and something that we cannot live with.  When taking the time to talk with people who work on a cruise ship, you learn very quickly that it takes a lot of sacrifice in order to maintain employment. My recent excursion taught me that all of the people on this particular boat were on there for 6 months, and were only able to call home when they were in a port. Further, most of the people I spoke to had been part of the company for many years, had children and a husband/wife at home and were comfortable living in a 135sq foot room. Further, all of these people are only guaranteed the contract they currently have, and if they receive too many negative surveys or complaints from customers who are on the cruise ship, then at the end of their cruise, their contract is not renewed. With that in mind, the majority of the people I spoke with was very friendly, and was constantly aware to make me happy in worry of offending me, rather than being honest with me and stating that I am just being ridiculous.

The culture of people on a cruise ship is certainly an interesting study. The part that made me most open my eyes to the different lifestyle was that most of the people working are not Caucasian. The majority of the people working seemed to be from countries that are considered developing. So I put together a small list of questions and began to build a profile of the type of person working on a cruise ship. To begin with I asked the educational level of all the workers I met with, followed by asking of their family life, socioeconomic situation before being on the cruise ship and also since. I also asked if these people had children and if they did what they did with them. The answers would shock many of the people living in a western culture which shows so much of an individualistic mindset. One would think that the western culture would like the cruise ship life due to the ability to see much of the world, yet, in further investigation, the life on board a cruise ship does not delve into the western ideals at all.

When I ask people in the western culture research based questions, I usually get people questioning me, asking what I am going to do with this information and for some of the people, I am asked to go away. It was the opposite through this very short study. The people I asked questions to were only too willing to share, and for some, I think they were offended I only had 6 questions to ask. It was evident that I was supposed to spend more time talking and building a friendship. This is not the same behavior I witness when speaking with people from a more western background, which is part of the reason cultural negotiation, is so difficult.

 In talking about all of the above, one of the areas that I found to have a distinct difference in culture was the aspect of hours worked for monies paid. The people on the cruise ship are not paid a lot of money. The person who cleaned my room began to work at 6am each day and did not end his day until the last person on his section of rooms had given him access to their room to turn down the bed and offer a towel animal. The room steward shared with me that most nights he gets to eat dinner around 8pm and then is in bed himself by 11pm. Although this may seem like a good opportunity, the time between 6am and 11pm is all work. He is given two, 30 minute breaks to eat and redress before he is back on the floor. In the western culture we would state that we deserve overtime, and for that many hours per week we deserve more than an hour break throughout the day. This is a primary reason that you don’t see many western cultured people in positions such as cruise ship steward. With that in mind, I was able to find out that the same hours and work intensity exists for all of the lower classed ship workers. To clarify, even on a cruise ship there is a hierarchy.

For Further Reading, please visit the rest at the following link:  http://tinyurl.com/7lo35mo

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Importance of History and Memory

The following commentary is taken from a post on Quora’s Website and although I don’t fundamentally agree with all of it, I believe that the post idealizes why the USA has allowed a social rift to be developed through Political Principle

Why are U.S. politics and Culture so polarized?
Stephanie Vardavas (Author of this work)

 

Let's take a stroll down memory lane (well, memory lane for me, anyway; I was born in 1956 and actually remember this stuff, unlike most Quorans, who are much younger).

I trace much of the currently visible polarization of US culture back to the Vietnam era and the social upheavals of the 1960s: the distribution of the birth control pill (thanks in part to the 1965 Supreme Court decision Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down state laws prohibiting the use of contraception), the anti-war movement (and disrespect for military leadership), the haircuts, the emergence of a new recreational drug culture around marijuana and LSD, the civil rights movement, even the British Invasion heralding the new rock and roll era -- all of these things were perceived as assaults on the established order, and were met with hostility by cultural conservatives.

Also, believe it or not, as late as 1962 American children were still reciting the Lord's Prayer in public schools every morning! (I remember this, and I remember wondering why? -- it didn't seem right to me, even at age 6 as a second grader.) It took another Supreme Court decision to end that practice, which infuriated many religious people. (I think it was this decision that indoctrinated me with the idea that the Supreme Court was the good guys, a view I no longer reflexively share.) This was the Warren Court, of course, the Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren; both he and the Court were extremely controversial in those days, dating back to the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 that prohibited state-sponsored segregation in public schools. The Warren Court also handed down a number of other decisions that were anathema to social conservatives, including Gideon v. Wainwright [right to counsel for criminal defendants], Reynolds v. Sims [striking down the apportionment of the Alabama legislature, commonly referred to as the "one-man one-vote" case], and of course Miranda v. Arizona [requiring that criminal defendants be informed of their rights, especially their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, and expressly waive them, before they could be questioned]. The social conservatives were very unhappy with the Warren Court's treatment of the Constitution as a living document instead of a fixed text. When you hear conservatives complaining about "judicial activism" today, this is what they are talking about.

In the earliest iterations of this answer I also failed to mention the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. This was not a political event per se, but it did foster a robust conspiracy industry within the United States' political culture, and the long term effects are still with us.

The Vietnam War tore America apart. It tore families apart. I don't think it's possible to overstate its effect on our modern culture. Remember that at this time cable television penetration was vanishingly low, the Internet was unknown, AM Top 40 radio was still powerful, and there were basically three and a half television networks (plus public TV) to choose from in most cities. So such a thing as mainstream culture still existed and was still potent. But a huge cultural gap was emerging between the young and the old / middle-aged. Clothing was different. Music was different. Sexual attitudes were different. Teenagers considered their parents hypocrites for drinking Martinis and taking prescription uppers and downers while smugly telling their kids not to smoke pot. There was a TV game show called "The Generation Gap" in which teenagers and their parents competed to see if any of them understood each other.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 also alienated conservatives. The Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race in employment, accommodation, public facilities, and access to voting, among other areas. The Voting Rights Act prohibited literacy tests, poll taxes, and other techniques that had been used successfully in southern states since Reconstruction to impede voting by black Americans. These laws were widely perceived as infringing on "states' rights," shorthand for the way Southern states routinely discriminated against and segregated black people. Until the passage of these two laws the white voters and political leadership in the American South were primarily registered Democrats (legacy of the Republican Party, as the party of Lincoln, taking an active role in registering newly freed blacks to vote). In signing the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, President Lyndon Johnson mused aloud that he was probably handing the South to the Republicans for at least a generation. In this he was 100% correct.

Also during this period J. Edgar Hoover was at the height of his powers as FBI Director. The FBI tapped telephones, paid informants, and maintained dossiers on millions of loyal Americans who were innocent of any crime, simply because they attended antiwar meetings, participated in political protests, or engaged in other lawful exercises of their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly. A popular TV program, "The FBI," glamorized the lives of agents. But civil libertarians feared and resented the FBI's domestic surveillance activities, feeding antigovernment paranoia on the left.

1968 was a crucible. In 1968 The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated, and Presidential candidate George Wallace was crippled in a failed assassination attempt. These shootings -- especially the deaths of Dr. King and Senator Kennedy -- served as major drivers of gun control advocacy on the left, and added to the alienation and disillusionment felt by so many young people during this time. Later that year (after a nominating convention that was plagued with credentials challenges between mainstream and insurgent delegations, actual rioting, police actions and arrests, all played out on national television -- including the arrest of CBS News' Dan Rather on the convention floor) the Vietnam War cost Vice President Humphrey the White House, and Richard Nixon became President.

President Nixon cultivated a deep and paranoid resentment of "hippies" and "liberals," even went so far as to establish an "enemies' list" that included names like Paul Newman, who was on the list because he was famous and liberal and had criticized Nixon in public. By Nixon's second term he was well on the path to self-destruction, but he did manage to have a very potent effect on American culture.

In January 1973 the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade, thus inciting more anger and resentment among religious conservatives. At that time, though, they had relatively few ways to channel those feelings, outside of shouted sermons and church newsletters.

The impeachment of President Nixon occurred in this atmosphere and created a certain amount of resentment in conservative circles. Even though it had been a truly bipartisan affair, and once it became clear that Nixon had engaged in obstruction of justice the leadership of his own party called on him at the White House and made it clear that he could not remain in office, some conservatives preferred to consider Nixon a victim of the antiwar liberals.

President Ford was a likeable man who had been more vigorously partisan in his younger days (he had supported efforts to impeach Chief Justice Warren, back in the day). Ford pardoned former President Nixon, which infuriated large number of liberals, who wanted to see Nixon tried and convicted for his crimes. Ford issued this pardon because he felt it would be in the best interests of the country to put Watergate behind it, and did his best to calm the passions unleashed by the pardon, with limited success. When he was defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1976 the pardon was probably one of the principal reasons. President Carter became wildly unpopular for a few reasons, notably the economic stagflation of the era, the 1979 energy crisis resulting from the unrest in Iran, his decision that the US should boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and the taking of 52 Americans in Iran as hostages of the new revolutionary government for well over a year.

In November 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States in a landslide. The same night Reagan was elected, the US Senate was also taken over by the Republicans, most of whom were far more conservative than the Democrats they had defeated (and some of whom had defeated authentically liberal Republicans in primaries -- think Al d'Amato beating Jacob Javits). More seeds of our modern culture war were sown during the Reagan Administration in a number of ways, many but not all of them political.

As you know, the President nominates all Federal judges, who have life tenure once they are confirmed by the Senate. Before Reagan, mindful of the judges' life tenancy, Presidents had always made an effort to make bipartisan appointments, normally in consultation with both of the Senators from the states where the judicial vacancies existed. No more. Reagan set up an office inside the White House whose sole function was to vet the conservative credentials of prospective appointees to the Federal bench, and made a point of selecting nominees who were young enough and conservative enough that they would remake the Federal bench for generations to come. With a Republican majority in the Senate, these nominees were easily confirmed, with the one most notable exception being Reagan's appointment of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.

Bork was a law professor at Yale who was best remembered for his stint as Solicitor General of the United States. In October 1973 when the President ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, Richardson resigned in protest rather than carry out the order. Richardson's deputy, William Ruckelshaus, also resigned in protest. Next in line was Solicitor General Bork, who carried out the order. When Reagan appointed Bork to the Supreme Court fourteen years later, Bork's views on executive authority, civil rights, voting rights, and other subjects were controversial. He became the first Supreme Court appointee ever opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, and ultimately the coalition of organizations opposing him persuaded enough Senators to vote against his nomination.

This event crystallized a huge amount of political anger on the right, and at about the same time the Federal Communications Commission decided to repeal the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine had required broadcasters (as a condition of holding licenses to use the public airwaves) to present differing and contrasting views on the controversial issues of the day. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine set the stage for the birth of modern conservative talk radio and hate radio, a new and very profitable platform from which to conduct culture wars, which fed on all the resentments that had been brewing on the right since the 1960s.

The election of Bill Clinton as President in 1992 was another moment of upheaval. He was the first baby boomer President and had avoided Vietnam era military service in a manner that was not uncommon among that generation, but which contrasted to poor advantage with the WWII heroics of the man he defeated, President George H.W. Bush. The cultural conservatives didn't like the Clintons one bit. They treated each other like peers, they both had degrees from Yale Law School, Mrs. Clinton had not changed her name at marriage (but rather later on), and he seemed undisciplined and slick, hence his "slick Willy" nickname. I don't need to take you through the whole drama of the Clinton impeachment except to say that it was during the Clinton administration that the Internet became a mainstream feature of people's lives and it began to seem that just about everyone had access to cable television. These technologies supported further fracturing of mainstream culture and exacerbated our tendencies to demonize those who did not share our core beliefs.

Thanks to more recent events which are more familiar to those reading this answer (2000 Presidential election and its aftermath including Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore, events of 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Supreme Court decision in Citizens United case), those tendencies seem even more pronounced today

 

*Resnick’s Comment – In my opinion this is a good starting point where we can develop an outline of what has occurred to fracture society. There is a lot more that can be added over time, yet this perspective is a great starting point”

 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Society Deserves Social Self Actualization


As human beings we have a need to consider various options. The further upward human beings move within the evolutionary scale the more developed they are supposed to become. If we follow the teachings of Abraham Maslow, he would say that the more evolved a person becomes the more they are self-actualized. This theory may hold true for an individual, yet it does not seem to maintain the same premise when it comes to group dynamics and or group theory. -
http://tinyurl.com/7mw6psa
Feedback is always appreciated

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Florida’s new Grading System–Punitive once again

The following are my comments from the following article - http://tinyurl.com/78kncaz

Accountability is only fair when the process is made available and then tested prior to initiation. This is simple a way to admonish schools that are doing well in order to pay for charters by saying public schools are failing.

Yes, there are plenty of kids that fail (can't read or do math) and the teachers pass them. The public does not ask why..they simply accept. If the public wants the truth, look at the State. They want every student with others, not left behind. The FCAT has been dumbed down each year in order to develop the same NCLB criteria.

I am all for accountability at every level. 1 Nationalised test in every grade level 3-12. That is my goal and hope for this country when the dust settles on the testing and accountability argument. Until we have an equal playing field for all people we cannot get a true measure of any City, County, State or Nation. As for what I believe this test should measure; this test measures a students abilities and guides the life of the student. If absolute failure to read or write, then the student is held back. If weak in a few areas can be tracked into classes to help in this area. Yes, I believe tracking is a positive guide to the development of students, teachers, coursework and curriculum.
For the students that are passing every area, we assess a harder curricullum to compete on the global scale. Through the above tracking we can know how hard to push and still allow for a life outside of school.

And most important, Public, Charter and Private schools are all held to the same standard. Therefore the complaints are on an even playing field. Until this is all done, every grading system is punitive.

Finally, without parental involvement, advancement is very difficult. Therefore all arguments are null if there is 0 parent involvement.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Irresponsible Politicians–Equates Unequal Loss

In the private sector, when a company runs out of money they close the doors. This means that the product they are selling is not longer wanted and therefore their service is no longer desired. Simple enough model. Either you evolve or you die from the laws of Adam Smith who shared in the system of balance.
This makes perfect sense. I love it. The problem with this model is that I am selling a product I am not developing one.

Enter the field of Research and Development. This department is one of the most costly to most corporations. In fact, in many of the R&D departments, when these people run out of financial capital the product starts to fail. The company runs out very quickly to get them money in order to keep the wheels turning.  This is a system of borrowing for which the outcome is often a product that is able to be sold. What I am explaining is not a true R&D department, rather a department called Education. The system of education has come under attack from many of our State and Federal politicians who have no idea what the role of education actually is.

For this commentary, we need to understand, that education is not the location to create a perfect item. It is an ever going process of development in which the United States of America is developing students with the lowest common denominator as its primary goal. I would like to believe that the system has been designed to develop the highest achievers above all else and then let the trickle down concept work, yet, as any educator will share with you, education is now more focused on the bottom than it is the top. The problem with this model is that it does not create a system of improvement, rather a system of mediocrity, in which the politicians are now being held accountable and they have no idea how to fix the problem.

With this in mind, the political arena has realized that there is a problem, which they created, and now want others to clean up their mess. They started by blaming teachers and have continued now to blaming administrators. They blame the monies these people make, and state that they are not professionals. They attack the skills and abilities of the profession in order to save their own errors. I have written in the past about the Privatization of schools and this is being done by further hiding the problem behind Charter schools. Now, in order to facilitate this error even further, the private Charter School is going to be handled with more taxpayer monies. This problem will continue over and over since we are not going back to the root of the problem: Government Ineptitude.

The aspect of human development is always changing, and when we seek out why our competition (Foreign Nations) they respect the profession of education, pay more accordingly to the skills and understand that they are developing people rather than setting up the lowest common denominator for further failure. The American Education Model has become a declining model in which testing continues as if we have one product to maintain, and further destroyed through the defunding of necessary programs. Unfunded mandates  are the bane of destruction in which the politicians continue to facilitate.

It is time that the political environment realizes what they are doing to the Development of the American Human Being. We have helped to create a negative system in which the responsibility of parenting and community support are removed, the political scope has removed the respect of the profession and now teachers are being monitored in the same vein as students through a  scalable matrix.

Change is now necessary toward a more respectable aspect of the teaching profession. The Politicians need to step aside from their arrogance and start to realize that America the Super Power is about to fall because of their errors, and how they have helped to create a system of inferiority. Be the politician you need to be and responsible for the people you represent…all of the People.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Politicians and Parents in the Classroom

The following comments arrive from the arguments that Parents and Politics belong in the classroom
http://tinyurl.com/6qzkby2

In Florida, we can see that there is a push to allow for parents to mandate what their students are learning within a classroom. The need for this change is said to be because there are so many bad teachers that the State needs parents to be more involved. The idea on paper makes some sense. If a teacher is not working with their students, then a parent should certainly have the right to complain and or find a manner to get that teacher working or removed. This would be the professionalism clause of working as a teacher.

Politicians work desperately hard to make a difference. There is absolutely no truth in sharing that politicians don’t work hard. Well, there be a lot of untruth in that comment, yet if politicians think they work hard, then they should realize that teachers tend to work that much harder to stay ahead of the curve. I will always state that there are some teachers who fall behind or just don’t try hard enough, yet, with that in mind, there are politicians that do the same. Therefore, I say that if the people that want to make this concept legitimate, then the people should be allowed to remove any politician who has a polling less than 50%. At the end of each session, each politician gets a survey, and if the people say these people did a poor job, then they are removed and a private company arrives to take on that role until a new person can be elected.

Within the classroom, parents have a role of providing an enriched environment for their child. This means that when the child comes to class they are dressed, fed, have their homework complete and respect the teacher. If that is not the case, then the parent is not providing what they need to. Within the classroom there is a lot that is needed to be done…..and quite frankly….we do not need more private schools taking public money. The goal of this bill is to create more charter schools and that continues the embarrassment of where politicians want to take education. Privatizing an environment for the benefit of a corporate entity is legitimate in the business world. This is not a viable option in the public or human sector world. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Education needs a National Focus

The American public have no real understanding of how education works, yet each person has an opinion of how education is not working. The fallacy of this concept is that the same people who are making the decision for education have never, themselves, been educators. Unfortunately education has become intertwined within the arena of politics throughout history, and quite frankly, there is no system in place right now to correct this. I am witnessing every one of the Republican nominees for President stating they are going to remove the National Department of Education as is it not working. When asked why they feel this way, so far none have been able to answer me (or they did not reply to my question). In my opinion, they can’t answer this question because, just like the general public, these people have no idea what the National DOE actually does. This is not their fault, since I won’t assume to know what every national agency does. The fault lies in their trust of organizations who want to promote an agenda and the National DOE is in their way. It is these organizations that elect a President or demolish a candidate.

Continuing my synopsis, I believe we need to truly consider a redo for education. Not in the traditional manner of argument and say we need to keep up with the times, I believe we need to look inside our own history and realize we made a mistake.
As part of my education,  I have been looking at how to develop a model that works. What is wrong with our model right now is that we have 51 different models and no true way of assessing a value. Most every culture has moved to an assessment type system, similar to NCLB, without the punitive damage that NCLB offers. A major problem with the American culture is our competitive nature of absolute victory or else, and this in my opinion is part of the reason NCLB is a failure (more to come on this another time).  With this in mind, what really needs to occur is to develop a true model of national education, similar to France or Japan. We need to offer a national standard, and make sure that all students are taught these standards. We measure this by having a national test administered at the end of each year and we validate the growth of each student through this model. This means that the each State developing its own test is removed, and that also means that the true measurement of each state can be defined through a nationalized test. Many people wont want this, since it infringes on State’s rights, yet within the field of education, State’s lines need to be crossed and we need to develop all students fairly and accurately and not compete with artificial and deflated models.

To do this, the United States of America needs to become United and we need to accept education for what it is. The advancement of our peoples toward an elevated State of understanding to be better citizens, employees, employers and leaders. This also means that we need to enforce this system into Public, Private and Home School type systems so that the playing field for everyone is fair and equal. There is a lot more development to my argument, yet with this starting point, I want everyone to know that change may be hard, yet unless we are playing on an even setting and are all given the same opportunity, we cannot know where the change is needed or how it can be developed further. I believe strongly that until we have a United Education system where we teach the same information across all 50 States and we are evaluated the same across all 50 States, we will not continue to be the world power we assume we are, and we will continue to have the 1% rule the 99%.