Saturday, January 26, 2013

...On Math

The evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

1. Teaching Math In 1950s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?
2. Teaching Math In 1960s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
3. Teaching Math In1970s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math In 1980s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is
$80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math In 1990s
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and
 inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the
preservation of our woodlands.  He does this so he can make a profit of $20.. What do you think of this way of making aliving? Topicfor class participation after answering the question: How did the birds
and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok. )
6. Teaching Math In 2009
Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuantodinero ha hecho?
 7. Teaching Math In 2013
Whocares, just steal the lumber from your rich neighbor's property. He
won't have a gun to stop you, and the President says it's OK anyway cuz
it's redistributing the wealth.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Down This Road

Today it was announced that new Federal mandates will require public schools to open all athletic programs to students with disabilities. On the surface this is an equality issue. In action what will happen is that parents and lawyers will use this new bully stick to intimidate schools into allowing their kids on teams even if they do not qualify for a position.For example, ADHD is technically a disability. So by that rule a student with this condition must be given inordinate access to programs even when their condition is detrimental to other students and to the program at large. Would any coach under the threat of lawsuit dare not allow a student to play? Not in this day and age.

 I have no quarrel with the various surrogates trotted out to present this action. A wrestler can certainly compete though blind and deafness is certainly not a hurdle to most sports. But when the Feds start requiring action, parents and lawyers begin to angle for more for their children.Can a lawsuit claiming discrimination for failing to allow someone on a varsity team for reasons as innocuous as mild reading challenges be far behind?  For those who doubt this will happen consider what happened with Title IX. Schools, including universities like SMU, had to rid themselves of successful programs in order to balance the books. With even more demand for athletics for men than women, women get the same amount. That's antithetical to supply and demand, but the Law doesn't care. With even more limited funding, the pie is smaller now. Dividing that up more to make it safe and feasible for a seriously disabled student to be on a team is opening up the door for the dissolution of many programs. All it will take is one serious accident involving a disabled student, and athletics will be removed from the schools.

Once upon a time schools existed for the education of the majority of children. Now it appears that education is to be portioned out based on some formula that is based on the nebulous boundaries of "fairness" rather than appropriateness or even need. While all students, even the so called typical ones, should be allowed to progress to the level of their potential, when you artificially impose such rules on schools or teams or even businesses, you set up a situation where legal abuse will be rampant. If you doubt that, consider the amount of angst and intimidation that exists in regards to special education in the core classes right now. As a teacher, I feel like a hostage to a system in which I am expected to perform over and beyond my capabilities or face the very real threat of legal action.

Monday, January 21, 2013

On Guns, Society and Insanity

Guns have been around a long time. What has not been around long is a societal acceptance of bizarre, even psychotic, behavior as normal. We medicate seriously deranged individuals and release them back into society with little or no oversight. It is almost impossible to involuntarily commit even the most deranged person. And while guns have been the most recent weapon of choice, we have had mothers drown their entire young family, religious despots administer poison laced Koolaid to men, women and children and bombs set off by self appointed political groups in the name of peace. In one of the most horrific killings in Dallas history, a young African American man, high on drugs, killed a father of two young children. The young man had a history of mental illness and drug abuse,yet was foisted out on society because of the difficulty of getting him committed. The twist is that the shooter was the son of the current Dallas police chief. Do you not think this man every single night wishes he had had some means to save his son-who died due to being shot by the police-and the young father shielding his children? Our laws work against even the most loving and vigilant of families.

People who want to kill will find a means to do so. What we as a society must demand is that we stop the politically correct idea of "we can't judge" and start putting people who are dangerous into facilities where they cannot harm others or themselves. Even in classrooms now, courtesy of ADA special education laws of least restrictive environment, seriously mentally ill students, some of whom tower over their teachers, can rail and threaten on a daily basis with impunity. Our children deserve better. Teachers deserve better. Our society deserves better. The idea that we must tolerate insanity in public has to end. This attitude has contributed to the rise in homelessness, domestic violence and child abuse along with a list of other crimes. Like it or not, some people cannot live in the real world.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Some Observations

What Liberals Believe

Liberals think… That embracing a religious cult invented by a drunken science fiction writer that nevertheless supports shallow hedonism is okay

But….Embracing a religion that was created from a Christian base but whose adherents shun caffeine, immodesty and other worldly occupations as sinful is weird.

Liberals think…that guns should be banned everywhere

But….want their own kids and offices protected by armed security guards

Liberals think…all war is wrong

But….continue to support war waged with unmanned drones that cause far more collateral damage simply because Obama says it’s okay.

Liberals think…America is waging a “war on women” that can only be won by offering free birth control

But….ignore that many cultures support sex selection and that far more female children are aborted than male children by these cultures

Liberals think…global warming is real

But….ignore the increasing number of well known scientists that are refuting these claims with scientific fact.

Liberals think…the federal deficit doesn’t matter

But….they are the first to complain about not wanting their subsidies cut when the money for special programs runs out.

Liberals think…that people with disabilities should have no stone unturned in making every school, office, and facility accessible

But…. Ignore the increasing cost of such programs on school districts and businesses and the increasing danger of exposure to seriously mentally ill children and adults who act on their delusions in violent ways.

Liberals think… more taxes is the answer

But…. They try to find every way possible to avoid paying them themselves.

Liberals think…all “big box” stores are evil because they earn profits

But…the love IKEA, which pays their employees less than Walmart because it’s Scandinavian.