One year after the most devastating hurricane to hit New Orleans and almost five years after the towers came crashing down, WE KNOW NOTHING. We’ve been distracted, disinformed, and obviously disinterested. Not only do we not know the answers, we haven’t even asked the questions. We have collectively failed the people of New Orleans, New York, and New Baghdad. Our nation has an attention span of about 10 minutes. We’re told more about John Mark Karr (who DID NOT kill JonBenet Ramsey) and what he ate on his first class trip from Thailand than we are about Ray Nagin’s constant struggle, exactly what happened on 9/11, and why, OH WHY, we are fighting a war in Iraq. And it seems like that’s okay with us because we don’t ask. I am ashamed of us. Maybe we deserve what we get.
Archive for August, 2006
I wonder how many people stay together for the sake of the children. In this country it’s not many since we have a divorce rate so high it’s embarrassing, like everything else Americans do., but I think it might be better for the kids if divorced parents continued to live in the same home but carried on slightly separate lives. There’s no reason why consenting adults can’t come to an agreement on how to date, when to introduce a new member of the family, and how to live, compound style, if need be, so that the kids have access to both of their parents every day. Someone would be able to stay at home with the younger kids at all times, and schedules could be arranged so that an adult is home by the time the kids are back from school. That leads to more supervision for the children, equaling a better education (because someone can make sure their homework is finished), more parental involvement in school (because someone will have the time), and fewer instances of children getting access to things they shouldn’t have (like video and computer games, music parents disagree with, TV shows that are inappropriate, etc…) Besides all of that, with several adults paying the bills, more children would have access to private schools.
Update: For the less liberal, click here for information on housing cooperatives.
Why is it that no one can seem to use this phrase? Whenever anyone is interviewed about the current crisis in the Middle East or the reduced number of barrels from Alaska, their response is that Americans will have to import more oil from overseas, causing a rise in gas prices. They never say, “Americans will have to use less oil”. Obviously no one but Al Gore wants to put a kink in our consumer chain (but who listens to him anyway?), and NO ONE wants to see the oil companies make less money, but how hard is it to say, “Take a walk. Take the bus or train. Build green. Cut down on your use of plastics. Recycle. Put on a sweater. Use cloth diapers. STOP DRIVING SUV’s!!!”
They won’t say these things because Americans don’t want to hear that in order for us to do better individually, we need to make sacrifices as a nation. Americans aren’t really good at that word: sacrifice. They’re much better at dealing with or repressing the guilt that comes with not sacrificing, if it comes at all. Isn’t it our patriotic duty to use less oil, especially when we’re at war with one of the major producers of it, and every country that harbors terrorists gets most of their money from oil? This is not a game, people, and it is certainly not a dress rehearsal. THE WORLD IS NOT ENDING. We can reverse the damage we’ve done and do better in the future.
I attended a women’s college. The skills I learned there are enumerable, and though I could have gotten many of them from a co-ed university, I feel Rosemont has given me an incredible advantage. Statistics have shown that women in my age group were not called on as much in classes, did not participate in after-school activities as much, and were fairly timid and quiet in the classroom. At a women’s college, it was just us. We had to answer questions in class because there were no men to call out. We had to run the campus organizations or give them up. We had to speak our minds because no one would present our opinion first. We learned to be confident, intelligent women. I never would have written my own blog before I went to Rosemont. I never thought what I had to say was important enough for others to read, let alone comment on.
In my opinion, school should be co-ed until 7th grade. After that, boys and girls should be separated for academic classes, but not for lunch, study hall, or homeroom. They still need to interact with each other in a supervised setting, but should be in separate classes.
Bill Gates is doing something for education. Given the amount of money he has, he’s not doing enough, but that’s beside the point. He has finally put together a modernized version of the three R’s, so let’s discuss them, shall we?
Rigor: Making sure all students are given a challenging curriculum that prepares them for college or work.
Relevance: Making sure kids have courses and projects that relate to their lives and their goals.
Relationships: Making sure kids have adults who know them, look out for them, and push them to achieve.
Rigor – A curriculum that prepares students for college or work is important, ,but we need to standardize what is needed for college. A student who graduates in Florida certainly isn’t prepared for even state college in Pennsylvania. Many countries have nationalized their curriculum. I know people have issues with this as they think it is all about state’s rights. The problem is national at this point, and needs a slightly national solution. Also, no one seems to be seriously thinking about bringing back apprenticeships. I have greatly benefited from the experience of those around me. Imagine what kind of teacher I would be if I had the added experience of some field work when I was in high school. Students should have more hands-on experience at a younger age. Hopefully, Bill Gates has made friends with Howard Gardner.
Relevance – Though I agree with Bill on this, I think it was worded wrong. Teachers are trying to create projects to suit student’s individual needs and interests. Most of us spend a lot of time on current events – as long as we don’t get caught by our principals (these subjects are too controversial). The real issue is class size. Teachers can not individualize (or differentiate, to use the new buzz word) curriculum if they have 30 students at a time. Twelve is the perfect number, though eighteen is acceptable if it is absolutely necessary.
Relationships – Bill, you’re right. Kids need adults who love them and care for them. I have a great relationships with my students. I mentor them, I take them to lunch when there’s something serious going on in their lives, I even offered to adopt one who lost both of his parents. The thing is, teachers and schools can’t be responsible for everything. We do the best we can, but if kids don’t have a stable home environment, nothing we can do will help them reach their best potential. Most schools don’t have the money for volunteer after-school programs, and Bill Gates can’t fund all of them.