Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Okay, I have to say it, no matter how hard I resist.  (This election year is the most exhausting on record, especially for those of us who never thought ourselves particularly "political.")

This idea that 47 percent of the population cheats by not paying taxes (coming from a man who salts his money away in foreign accounts and is loop-holed into the smallest bracket) is obscene and the ultimate reflection of what we will get from a Romney presidency.  Even if the money is refunded, I have still given it to the government for use until my refund (and in my case they owed me, not the other way around--which is often the financial situation of the majority of the 47 percent).  I also pay into social security, Medicare, sales tax, and state and city tax.  We don't really know much about where or what Mr. Romney pays, do we? For a man so under fire for his own taxes, the choice to make this statement alone is clearly poor judgment--and despite it being a hidden recording (which I do not approve of), it was not a private statement but at a fund-raising dinner, a public event.  When one is obfuscating non-stop, it is way too easy to put one's foot in one's mouth, which this candidate does with great regularity.

Also--doesn't one join a society for its infrastructure?  Its ability to administer such commonly used and needed items as healthcare, education, roads, protection and shelter?  Safe food?  Government by its very definition was not designed to keep people out but to protect and serve its membership.  This is not dependency or freeloading entitlement--these are the benefits of living in a country, the fiber and responsibility of any society to take care of its members, not just the exclusive elite.  It is often the conservative Republican defense to point to cheaters and scofflaws (and away from themselves doing larger scale versions of the same thing!), but an honest look at the average American would prove that there are not the number of cheaters the right claims, that there are people with legitimate needs.

As for his plans for the country, his game book?  Details will be available AFTER the elections.  He and Paul Ryan seem to think this is an appropriate answer, one size fits all. The only headline he seems to be willing to commit to is 12 million new jobs in the next four years--which sounds impressive until you realize that all economists of both sides have said that if either candidate did NOTHING, this would still be the projected rate of increase for the next four years.  Either the Romney team has no concrete plans for how they would fix the economy or they know that once declared no one would like it (or vote for them).

Again, Mr. Romney's disdain for the people of this country is clear--the people he loves are those in his own tax bracket, and his care doesn't extend much beyond that (other than to court votes, so he and his cronies can go back to what they were doing during the Bush years.)  His campaign continually comes up with new plans to "re-introduce" the candidate--don't you think we've already had enough introductions?  If he's not let us know who he is by now, then he never will.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Failure of Education Following a Business Model

Okay, business is a process of buying and selling consistent product, and it is crucial to the economy, granted. It succeeds when it dishes out the same at the lowest common denominator to everyone. But there is a HUGE mistake when it is applied to education, where the business model fails consistently—and it is proven every year by the "improvements" modern administrators and politicians add to it and the test results that follow. Education is not about dishing out the same to all, sink or swim. It is about stimulating all to find their own voice, individuation, and CAN be done when standardization is not the sole deciding factor of a successful teacher. It can be done one-on-one and it can be done with a large class, as history has shown us from the little red schoolhouses that used to be the norm in this country, providing Nobel laureates, Pulitzer-prize winners, and future world leaders. Education's equal opportunity should be in its stimulation of all, not in its doling out of a restricted curriculum and its success measured in digitally-scored testing. If you want to know why we have slipped educationally as a nation, just compare and the results are brutally clear. Of course, developing a group of individual thinkers is terrifying to politicians and bureaucrats, as they are harder to control than sheep. But then again, those who would enforce their power never see the greater advantage of having an educated, powerful, creative electorate. (Then again, these folks also think government should function that way and approach it in the same, mind-numbing way.)

As a new year in education begins, let’s honor our future with creative teachers who open doors and imaginations first over those who are aim for the highest percentile test scores. Let's aim for the highest-quality, happiest-learning students.