Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ending Mass Shootings

So we have yet another one. A kid with a violent history goes unreported because of a misbegotten protocol designed by liberals to keep troubled kids out of the police radar. Thirty nine visits to one address is alot by anyone's standards and should have been a huge red flag that this kid was trouble.

But, this is not the first time. A few generations back people who were mentally ill, violent, predatory or in other ways a danger to society were either institutionalized, jailed or hanged. For the most part that established a code that most Americans sought to uphold for many decades. All that changed starting with the 1970's. During that time we were urged to judge people not by how they looked or acted, but by their humanity. Brick by brick those walls of self-preservation were systematically eliminated with mantras of "don't judge." So instead of avoiding the creepy looking guy, young kids would ignore him. Young women put in earplugs on jogging trails tuning out the predators along the way. Young men following the social examples of celebrities and pro-athletes indulged in risky, dangerous and criminal behavior. Part of this was excused by a generation of parents who were not just reluctant, but diametrically opposed to using any sort of authority to raise their kids. Instead parents worked hard and threw material goods at kids missing the point that devices cannot be role models and machines can't raise kids.

Is it any wonder that many kids have no respect for life? I have heard horrendous stories of kids abusing animals, smaller kids, seniors and each other. We have a case in DFW where varsity soccer players sodomized new members of the team. And this is a repeat of a situation a few years back where the same thing happened in another district with the golf team. A couple of generations back, such things were uncommon and definitely not part of the average teens bolus of knowledge. Thanks to the actions in the Oval Office of Bill Clinton, all that changed. Private activities were suddenly in prime time and parents were faced with the dilemma of explaining what Monica did to their school aged children or having some older kid do it. We're now in an era where everything is open game and that in turn leaves our children open to exploitation by those we trust to take care of them. When more than half of kids are born into single parent families, at some level kids have to wonder if their lives mean anything to anyone at all?

Then there's the virtue signallers. These are the folks who demand that ALL kids be educated. This is why many teachers have kids who are dangerous in their classrooms. I've had kids on thorazine-so potentially violent that he came with a keeper. I've had kids with ankle monitors. I've had one girl who I discovered had never been in a general ed classroom since she tried to kill her mom at the age of 11. ADA requires that we provide a free education to these kids as well as the general population-basically giving these kids a wider range of targets. This same group also pushed for deinstitutionalization-removing facilities from the map and leaving loving families to become the first victims at the hands of someone in the middle of a psychotic rage. Do you doubt this? The Newtown shooter, the Aurora shooter, the Tucson shooter were all known to be seriously mentally ill. But the laws now make it almost impossible for someone to be involuntarily committed until someone gets hurt.

Now we have media and political types circling like sharks. I do not appreciate entities like CNN trying to manipulate and orchestrate the situation. That a young man who risked his life and used his head to protect others was denied the right to speak freely by CNN because his views did not jibe with the narrative CNN is pushing is disgusting. I understand that many of the students involved are upset. I also know that many of these same kids are adhering to what they see is popular in social media because nobody wants to be left out. I've seen this phenomenon before. Once, my son had a friend who was killed in a car/train accident. He knew the girl had been bullied by a group of girls, but those same girls sobbed and got all the sympathy and attention even though they were her tormentors. My son, then 14, was so outraged that he started yelling at them.  In another case, my younger son had a friend who died in an accident at 17. Kids who didn't even know him took the day off to "go to his memorial." I'm sorry, but kids often make bad choices and the ranting and marches are bad decisions for a generation that was entertaining the idea of eating Tide pods two weeks ago.

If you want to really stop school shootings-here's how you do it:
1. Uniforms-you can see instantly who doesn't belong.
2. Armed resource officers willing to engage (obviously not the case in Parkland)
3. Unseal criminal records of minors.
4. Background check everyone-this is going to be problematic to liberals b/c they like to claim those here illegally can't get ID's.
5. Remove ADA mandates that require schools to provide education for students who a dangerous, criminal or mentally ill in ways that cannot be predicted or controlled.
6. Make high schools smaller-these giant high schools only serve to make winning sports teams-we have more at stake here.
7. Reestablish mental health hospitals for teens-right now finding a space is almost impossible.
8. Stop allowing social media in school-there is no valid educational reason to have a cell phone.
9. Reinstate vocational programs that will give ALL kids purpose.
10.Eliminate layers of bureaucracy and put more educators in the classroom so that they know the kids and the kids know them.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Why Meddling With Enrollment to Ensure Outcomes Doesn't Work

Over 1000 elite colleges now don't use SAT scores as part of the criteria for admission. This was ostensibly done to increase minority enrollment (I'm guessing illiterate enrollment mainly), but as with all things, there are unintended consequences.
Here's the story and research: Story Here

Friday, December 22, 2017

Why Millennials Should Have Kids

There's a great number of stories in the media these days on why Millennials aren't having children. Most of those articles concentrate on the economics of children over the emotional investment. I find this to be a very sullen case of a generation that has documented every meal, every event and sometimes every emotion in online drama. In short, I think they need to grow up. But there are more reasons that Millennials should have kids. Let me outline why millennials-some of the most highly educated, carefully insulated and categorically managed group in history-should have children.

1. Having children will teach you to love on a level that you have never loved before.
If you buy sweaters for your dogs or toys for your kittens, if you watch then online at work courtesy of motion detection cameras, then you have a capacity to care, but not on the level that you will love a child. Babies grow into entirely separate people, which in and of itself is a miracle. More than that babies and children can think and reason and communicate on a level you will never achieve with your pet dog, cat or wombat. In the vast scheme of things, kids are just more fun.

2. Having children will help you grow up. No matter how affluent, parents too often find them must bend their own desires in order to accommodate their children. For Millennials who are used to having control of Every. Single. Aspect. of their lives, this is a good thing. Life is messy and disorganized. Whimsey and caprice are simple facts of life. Learning to roll with the punches, to deny yourself for the benefit of others is a good thing. It's the type of attitude our society needs to experience more, but seems disinclined to nurture. Having to stay up all night with a crying baby and still get up to face the day is a far more courageous action than partying with friends and moaning about the hangover at work the next day. Selflessness is an acquired trait-it builds character.

3. Having children will help you learn to be truthful. If you think you want to be the kind of person your dog expects you to be, consider how you want to appear to your children. Children are mirrors of family life. They are honest to a fault. They will let you know via word or deed when things are working and when they are not. Watching a child operate in the world is a far better template for behavior than most of what we see in the adult world. And troubled kids are a clear indicator of adults needing to clean up their acts.

4. Having children will expand your goals. Most Millennials don't think much beyond their own personal Venn diagram life. But what happens outside and beyond matters. It's been proven than societies that have fewer children value educational facilities less. Who is going to care for your ailments if there are not enough medical workers? What is more, who will take care of you when you are aging? Much of the Boomer generation is dealing with that right now. While you watch your parents care for aging grandparents have you considered who will handle your estate, your DNR orders, your demise? Who will comfort your spouse? Who will carry those family memories? Are you really willing to simply let them fade away? When it comes to that, if you only have one child, do you feel at ease leaving them alone with those memories?

5. Having children will keep you young. I've witnessed childless friends and their aging process isn't pretty. It's not that people with kids don't have medical issues, but childless couples seem adrift in our society. They are often limited to socializing with people their own age and as that group continues to get up there in years, the interaction with the current world fades. They become disconnected socially politically, emotionally. They frequently become people who only discuss medical care, funerals and politics. This more than any organic disease leads to much of the depression and dementia seen in seniors. Is that really what you want?

6. Having children will teach you fear.  That might seem like a bad thing, but it is not. Life is a rollercoaster. The depth of your fear is equal to the height of your joy. (Sorry-Khalil Gibran...) Being a parent is one of the scariest most joyous things you will ever do. You will watch a sleeping child just to see them breathing. You will wait up after dances and parties. You will feel your heart break when your child is left out or bullied. But you will also feel unbridled pride when your child gets an award, graduates, gets married or has children of their own. You cannot experience such emotion unless you take the risk of having children.

7. Having children will give you faith. While Americans are "unchurched" more, there is nobody more faithful than a parent worrying about a child. Do you think any parent at St. Jude's waits outside the treatment room praying to Science? Do you think that any parent can not marvel at the utter beauty of a sleeping child or that their own offspring are so creative, clever, talented and fun? Regardless of your faith or upbringing, you cannot truly care about humankind unless you understand that something beyond mere biology makes up the human psyche. If that's not faith, I don't know what to call it.

I think this generation of Millennials has been raised to fear everything. They want to be safe instead of free. They fear what they view as encumbrance of marriage, monogamy, children, family as some sort of trap instead of a support trellis on which they can grow. They want to know the answers to the test before they take it. They want insurance. Life is not a sure thing. It's a balance of risk and security. You can have your half caff latte daily or you can have love. You can have "experiences" traveling and doing, but your photos will eventually mean nothing. When nobody says your name, you die a second death. When you fail to have children, you may do it for yourself, but you do it TO everyone who came before. Their stories become lost. While I would never advocate for people who truly don't want kids to have them, the false cries over economics and social issues denies the very humanity Millennials claim to embrace.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Absentee Students

Recently my district had an entire week off for Thanksgiving break. Nine days from Saturday before Thanksgiving until the Sunday after is no short weekend. This evolved from what was earlier a four day weekend when my kids were in school. Then the parents would complain they had to leave early to get to grandma's house. So the districts changed the vacation period to five days. Parent then assumed that "it's only two days" and took their kids out the entire week. So again district buckled and the entire week was given to them. But that wasn't enough. I had kids leaving the Wednesday prior to the week off and one student whose family stayed in Mexico on vacation until the week after the break. Whatever happened to requiring students to be in class?

Oh sure, we have a 90% attendance rate requirement in Texas, but instead of enforcing some rules, our administrators willingly give permission to miss up to six days for "college visits" (which many times take place on ski lifts...) and allow students to miss time for cruises, family trips, etc to the point that make up work is almost impossible. And who gets to take up the slack and endure abuse from parents? The teachers.

When I was in school excessive absences were shown to be negative influences on a student's progress. When I had chicken pox in first grade and had to miss two weeks, serious consideration was given to holding me back in spite of my grades. Now students are allowed to make up "seat time" by sitting in an empty room biding their moments to make up missing classes. In talking to many students, they admit that if the advantage of seat time wasn't available, they probably could have made it to class.

We are teaching these future employees a poor lesson about accountability, responsibility and maturity. This is being aided by parents who seem unwilling to pay attention to a calendar and made worse by competition seasons that sometimes require days out of class. In the Spring we can look forward to soccer, golf and tennis students missing one day a week for the three months they compete. That's 20% of their class time. And THAT time is forgiven. But once you add in band trips, AcDec trips. Latin Club, Spanish Club, college trips and more and soon students are prolonging and delaying every project and exam. It makes grading impossible. But it makes learning negligible-with a dismissive attitude toward the process and the idea that graduation can be bought via threats and manipulation.

READ

Saturday, October 28, 2017

On "Culture"

Some people believe culture is something you acquire via experience, travel or training. Other people believe culture is strictly defined by geography-where you were raised and what resources were available shape how you develop. And then some people believe, mistakenly I think, that culture is solely a matter of race. Let me explain why I think this last group is wrong.

I have known people of color who were born in Ghana, Jamaica and other locales. When matters of "race" as defined in American politics comes up, they admit to being mystified at how so many people can allow history or their own behavior to hold them back. I have to admit all these folks were college educated and came here legally and intentionally to pursue careers. So how come people who come here legally can overcome hurdles that people of color seem unable to surmount? If "culture" as defined by the Left, by BLM, by ACLU, by DNC and by all liberals, is a matter of race, how come so many people of color come here and succeed, often without the educational or social props our nation current provides many citizens?

What is "culture" anyway? The visible aspects of culture include how we dress, how we act, what we eat, and sometimes what we drive and where we live. Those used to be the sum limit of culture. There was a time when everyone listened to music from every culture. Unfortunately a kind of narrow asceticism has entered our nation where one must declare to be within the limited norms of stereotypes set not by the individual, but by others within the society who claim special knowledge. Thus a six year old white girl dressed as a fictional Disney princess Moana or Jasmine is accused by the media elite, such as Comsopolitan Magazine, of being racist and "appropriating culture." I'm confused by this because these are made up animated characters and as such really have no culture to speak of. While I certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to put their child in blackface or don a sombrero and claim to be a Mexican, what harm is it to dress like a cartoon of another little girl?

I'm not sure who is in charge of this cultural definition thing. It seems that like so many school elections, universities have allowed the very few who want the title to have the position. It's probably so that they can be left alone to play beer pong in peace. These mouthy little snowflakes are very open in pointing out the offenses others make to culture. This exercise prepares them to be trapped in Academia as either a student or adjunct professor for the rest of their lives because honestly, who else is going to hire them? These puffed up little twits have an entire new vocabulary of offenses to match the slate of gender nuances that everyone else is supposed to embrace. I think I speak for millions when I say-I don't give a damn what or who you do, just leave us alone.

Going along with culture is the "new racism." According to these same arbiters of cultural norms-you're racist and I'm racist and we just don't know it. If we lock our doors, we're racist. If we avoid dangerous neighborhoods, we're racist. If we don't adhere to policies that support turning over most of your income to the nearest person of color even if they make more than you do....you guessed it-racist. Racist as a term has become almost meaningless. It's just something mobs like to shout along with "death to cops" and "f*ck---whoever". I see their mouths moving but none of their sounds make any sense. And that is because the claims of racism have become so outrageous that only the most doctrinaire liberal believes all of them.

Here are just some of the things I have heard defined as racist:
Devil's Food Cake
Black Holes in space
Blackmail
Reading to your white children at night. (shame on you!)
Not taking a knee
Marriage
Intact families
Manners
Writing
School

These are just a few of them-I'm sure there are more. I don't mean to pick on these people, but seriously don't they have other things to do? Jobs? School? Something? More and more when you get on social media it's another litany of woes from the Left. I don't think they are even listening to each other anymore. Rant, rant, rant. Scream, scream, scream. Pop in your earbuds and it becomes some sort of hysterical mime troop encountering an obstacle Daddy can't just write a check to make it go away. I'm tired to death of their constructed and constrained culture imposing itself on mine. Contrary to the spox on the Left, everyone has rights. And although it's only implied, one of them is the right to be left the hell alone. I'm asking nicely on behalf of the millions of us who are thinking this, but not saying it for fear of being fired, attacked or making liberals cry.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reality now

I went to in-service today. I finished up the Dyslexia trainting and then ESL/ELL training. I also sat in a meeting where evidence of how the whole chaotic nastiness of Antifa and the public protests have seeped down to the school level. Imagine my shock at two things revealed today that happened at my socalled "good' suburban school.

1. In protest, someone is taking it upon themselves to smear feces and menstrual blood in the boys and girls bathrooms. No wonder my students ask to go in the restrooms that are fulling in sight of teachers at all times. This is beyond nasty, it's unhealthy and borderline psychotic. In the hands of students the type of things they've seen from Occupy and Antifa and BLM register as normal. So we are beginning to see the new normal in schools.

2. Pot has been around awhile. But now we have dealers selling acid that is so toxic that just touching it with bare hands can get it into your bloodstream. How it was found was on the floor wrapped in a packet of foil. Any teacher or student or custodian could have picked it up and been impacted.

If this is happening in "good" schools, what is going on in others?

Monday, October 09, 2017

Indy

When my daughter was graduating from high school, my husband was out of work.

The only thing she wanted was a dog.

My kids have grown up with dogs. Our first "children" were a black Lab with a streak of wanderlust, named Pete, and a Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix,named Sandy. My kids learned to walk clutching Sandy's back. She would circle them in the yard making sure they were safe. The world seemed fresh and bright a new. After Sandy died and we moved, Pete would slip through our fence back to our old house looking for his friend. Sandy died at 14, Pete lived to be 16.

So there were two chaotic years where we had no pets except for Thor The Thunderbunny. Christi wanted a dog. So looking in the Greensheet, she found a "free" dog. We went over to a nice house in Richardson, an upscale neighborhood, and saw this poor hysterical Golden Retriever. She was thin, she was scared and she was terrified of men. So of course we took her. Only the mother of the family cried. Looking back I wonder if whatever abuse Indy suffered was domestic violence. It took a long time for her to trust.

We named her Indy because we picked her up on the day of the Indy 500. The owner, of course, lied. She was heartworm positive and had to go through two rounds of treatment. She became an inside dog-a hilarious, smart companion who stayed with my husband and me even when the kids moved out and up.

Indy was a very particular dog. She thought our rabbit was a puppy and licked it like one. She didn't chase squirrels, only rabbits because I think she thought they were Thor. She didn't retrieve. She loved what we called the Ch's-Chocolate (yeah I know, just a taste), Cheese and Chicken. I believe she had "cheeseradar" -she could hear me unwrapping cheese from outside. She was queen of our greenbelt park that trails along our backyard. She truly was the Alpha female ruling those that walked by. In her head though, she thought she was a little dog. She was scared of big dogs-never could get along with my daughter in law's chocolate Lab-but loved little dogs. The few times we boarded her she was always with the little dogs acting very much like a babysitter to them all.

Indy slept in our bedroom at the foot of our bed. Many is the time I would trip over her in the dark. She wasn't a cuddly dog-whatever trauma she suffered when she was a puppy prevented that-but she trusted us almost enough to let us clip her nails. Indy hated bathtime although she loved the results.
She was a beautiful, funny, caring friend. And I will miss her smile when I come home from work.

In a world where people are often untrue and unfaithful, dogs are always honest. If they don't like you, they let you know. And if they love you, you have a forever faithful friend. In the end, Indy could no longer walk. Brian would carry her outside several times a day. She couldn't eat anything, not even chicken. She was ready to go long before we were ready to let her go. She was a good girl and we will miss her. I hope if I am a good enough person, I will see her again, playing with Sandy and Pete in a place where there is no more pain and no more fear.