Sunday, September 27, 2009

Longer School Year-Who Pays

"Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school.
"Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here," Duncan told the AP. "I want to just level the playing field."
While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it's not true they all spend more time in school.
Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests -- Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days)..."

This is an argument we will see more as the year goes on and as unemployment remains high. I would question how the president plans to pay for this. This year our district cut all departments' funding 10% across the board and in electives an additional 10%. As property values continue to decline, the tax rates will have to go up just to maintain the status quo. Add days, weeks, months to the calendar and you had better have some meaningful way of paying for it. As a teacher I already spend at least an hour and a half after school every day and two to three hours over the weekend just to keep up with grading, mandated reports for IEP's and BIP's not to mention online lesson planning and keeping a website up to date for parents and students to access. I don't need more time in class. In fact the argument could be made that most public schools waste far too much time.

But the bottom line is that there is a difference between just lengthening the school calendar and providing a babysitting service. I am sure that in some sectors the idea of not having to pay for after school care would be a winner. But quite truthfully, by the end of the day kids are tired. Teachers are tired as well. I am not sure how much effective learning will really take place between four and six in the afternoon. And I am not sure that this is a good way to attract quality graduates into education by offering more hours for what would effectively be less pay per hour than working at Starbucks. I am also unsure whether this is the best and most efficient use of resources. If you add hours to any program, you must also add money to apply and staff that program. A program without resources is no program at all-it's play time. Most districts already offer remedial tutoring before and after school. Every district I know offers summer school to help students who have failed assessment tests for their grade level. What then is the purpose of opening schools and making all kids attend around the year other than to provide day care under the guise of education. As someone who has worked far too long and far too hard to be considered a professional, I don't consider this a way of improving education, but instead a way of invading family lives for the purpose of God knows what.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Political Blindness or How Dallas Dodged a Bomb

In Dallas today a potentional repeat of 9/11 was stopped. I know the mainstream media will bury this story because it falls directly against the pervasive attitude of this administration toward terrorists and terror states. This morning, a Jordanian national parked a car bomb in front of a tower in downtown Dallas. It was late rush hour. Luckily, the FBI had become involved in this plot early and although the self-proclaimed jihadi pushed the detonator, it was to a flawed bomb.You can read the full story here:

Fountain place is 60 stories tall and located in close proximity to several buildings, theaters, museums as well as the Dallas ISD Arts Magnet High School. The tower houses outlets for many financial agencies. It is also important to remember that Dallas has seen a surge in many residents from Asia and the Middle East who seek places to live that have good schools and stable environments. Many Muslims have moved into the area and most are good citizens. But there are those who continue to support terror regimes in the same manner as the Holy Land Foundation out of Richardson, a Dallas suburb.

It is also odd timing. Ramadan has just ended, traditionally the time when insurgencies renew as the weather cools in the Fall. Likewise another terror attempt against New York which centers around a Denver insurgent was foiled this week. At some point our luck will run out. At some point a crucial communication will be delayed either by accident or deliberately by sources within our government who are so blissed out by their own egos that they cannot foresee that despite our president's role at the UN as Apologist-In-Chief, terror nations who do not accept us will try to destory us. Just as they will Israel, just as they will the United Kingdom, Just as they will the entire history of western culture if they get the chance. For a long time now, we have been told that we should not fear, nor be concerned about the Islamist threat. It was something that happens in other states, in other lands. After all 9/11 was eight years ago. And we should never never never be concerned about the legal status of foreign nationals. Instead we should NEGOTIATE, we should undermine our allies and appear our enemies, or at least that's the message from our president in his role of Apologist-In -Chief.

Yet doesn't anyone find it the least ironic that within hours of the president's speech that threw Israel under the bush to somehow placate Iran and Libya and all the other terrorist regimes that he seems to feel so strangely close to that Jordanian national, a self-proclaimed jihadi, tried to create a local terror incident that could have had consequences similar or worse given the time and location? So tell me now, tell me how safe we are, tell me how this institutional political blindness that is in reality political blindness to dangerous people in our midst. And while this applies to a terrorist from the Middle East, on a smaller but no less devastating scale we have a virtual invasion of people from many other nations who conveniently overstay their visas, come for one reason but get lost in the vastness of America. Is this not how 9/11 attackers managed to learn how to fly, but not to land? For all the 911Truthers and useful idiots out there, your blindness will get us killed. You continue in a baseless campaign of disinformation trying to peg the blame for 9/11 from within while on the outside we have active terror groups who are infiltrating and organizing to destroy us.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I spent the day in RAINY Ft. Worth with thousands of my newest friends. We marched, we read signs, we chortled and shared stories. One lady I ran into was a former military attache in Washington. The stories she had to tell about Hillary and Tipper would curl your hair. Let's just say that a number of treasured gifts to the American People were protected thanks to swift action by Secret Service personnel. Never did replace that Ming Vase did you? But I digress.

Judge Napolitano was very informative and made me question some things that I had formerly wrongly supported. He discussed how our founders worried about the creation of an imperial presidency. Washington refused it. Jefferson wrote against it. And yet we have once again the cult of personality that filled the Kennedy White House in the current administration. At some point we must define the limitations of style over substance.

It was a long wet afternoon, but I feel surprisingly upbeat. I think there is hope. But I think this will be a battle to the end. People who believe we must regroup and restabilize the nation on the path of true freedom must get off their couches and participate. Today I saw everyone from bikers to teenagers to seniors. Every shade and every economic background was represented. While liberals want you to believe they represent the "big umbrella" they only represent the factions that they use to consolidate power. And this goes for BOTH sides of the aisle. Vote carefully, read the candidate's platforms and DEMAND that they follow what they promise.

It was a good day for America. There will be more.