Archive | Education RSS feed for this section

The Other Homeland Security?

24 Nov

Senior citizens won’t be getting any raises in their Social Security checks next year. There will be no Cost of Living Adjustment for about 65 million Senior Citizens in 2016. That’s the first time in 5 years because…well, you know, the cost of living has gone down. Hasn’t it?

The inflation measure used by the Social Security Administration was down 0.6% for the 12 months that ended in September — and what does the SSA base it’s inflation measure on?…Gas prices of course!

Because…well, you know…what senior citizens do the most is…drive around, right? It’s not like paying the rent or eating, or medicine or health care are on their lists of top priorities. Nope. It’s like they always say: Fuel is wasted on the young.

Anyway, while those seniors can gas up their cars next year with no worries, they’ll have to do without their annual 22 dollar per month raise! That doesn’t sound like a lot but, then again, when you multiply 22 dollars by 65 million?  well, that sure is a lot of extra money to help fight the bad guys with, whoever and wherever they might be.

And Thankfully, here in the U.S. we’ve all got our priorities straight. Happy motoring!

The Hunger Games

22 Nov

As I was reading one of the blogs that I follow, I came across a statistic that claimed that over half our public school students here in the United States qualify for free and reduced lunches because they are poor.

And I thought to myself, is that possible? The wealthiest, most powerful country in the world sends one half of its public school students to school hungry? And so I did some research on my own and discovered that in this school year, most public school students are racial minorities, and more than half come from low-income backgrounds, living in or near poverty…and that’s according to the latest federal data!

The Southern Education Foundation found that on average 51 percent of students across the country were low-income, with more than half of the students in 21 states qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches. In fact More than 31 million children participated in the National School Lunch program in 2012, with the majority qualifying for free lunches.

More than 16 million children or 22% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States are living in poverty! And most go to school hungry and what are we doing for them? We are testing them! To try and find out why their scores in math, science and language aren’t competitive with the children of Finland or with other children living in the developed world…when we are the last out of 35 developed countries in our child poverty rate. (and not last in a good way, but rather as in the worst)

But the truth of the matter is our students already are competitive! And in most cases our students score better then children in the rest of the world…when you read the data correctly and notice that comparing all of the students in Finland where the child poverty rate is 4% to all of the children in the United States, where the child poverty rate is 22%…just isn’t fair.

When you remove our poor, hungry and tired students’ scores from the comparison, and only compare students of like socioeconomic backgrounds… and nourishment… our students out perform Finland! But if you want to compare all of America’s students to the students living in countries with poverty levels similar to our own then you need to compare us to countries like Romania, Latvia or Bulgaria, because, believe it or not, those are the countries that we most resemble!

And guess what? When it comes to the Hunger Games…our students score better than those countries too!

So we don’t need to test our children more! We need to feed them more! We need to provide them with better housing, better clothing, better opportunities, better living conditions. What we lack here in the United States and what we don’t provide to 22% of our children is EQUALITY! and that’s what sets us apart from comparing ourselves to places like Finland and Sweden and France. They are countries of equality. We are a country of INequality.

We are firing administrators. Laying off school teachers. Slashing budgets. Cutting salaries. Closing schools, eliminating programs and cutting supplies all in what we say is an effort to provoke, prod, motivate, hound, badger, goad, inspire and frighten our schools into “doing better”, “scoring better”, and “catching up to”, the Asians and Europeans when what our children and our schools really need is to be lifted out of poverty, relieved of hunger and properly housed.

But instead poverty, our country’s greatest problem, is the one problem that is always most ignored. Case in point: In the findings of a previous report from the foundation, the number of America’s low-income students in the last decade has grown at a rate three to four times greater than the increase of per-student spending in most of the country. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in October found that 30 of 47 states analyzed were spending less per student this year…than they did before the recession! And while America’s measured wealth has grown by 30 trillion dollars in the past 6 years!

And in fact the number of public school students from low-income backgrounds, has steadily grown from less than 32 percent in 1989, to over 50% today. So regardless of how you and your family live in today’s America, the reality is that in the year 2015, America’s children are mostly poor…hungry…tired…homeless…or soon to be all of the above. How’s that for a multiple choice questionnaire?

And testing them six ways to Sunday is a sad, sick, misdirected strategy that won’t solve the problem, make it any less true nor make it go away.




Goodbye Columbus!

19 Nov

Here is a copy of the map that Dr. Ben Carson’s presidential campaign shared recently on Facebook in an effort to show how America’s governors are standing up and saying no to Syrian refugees.

However, upon close inspection you’ll notice that the good doctor and his campaign specialists know very little about what America looks like…at least on a map!

Five New England states are in the wrong location, and where’s Connecticut???

And what’s that crazy blue state shaped like a gun next to New York?

And get a load of all that great beach front north of NYC!

Massachusetts borders Canada! They can see Sarah Palin’s house now!

What’s Maine doing up around the North Pole!

And Maryland’s got a new crab claw! Sorry Virginia!

Who is this Dr. Carson anyway? A brain surgeon?!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you are an idiot you should not be allowed to run for the Presidency of the United States. We have tests and standards that students must pass and demonstrate before they can graduate high school.

But we have no test to determine whether or not our politicians are qualified or intelligent enough to run and manage one of the largest countries in the world, with over 300 million citizens and trillions and trillions of dollars in bills and expenditures.

Our only qualifications are: Citizenship, age and immense access to great wealth…period.

Here’s a thought. Let’s send Dr. Carson and his campaign aides to wherever the refugees are so they can lead them to their promised land. God knows where they’ll end up… but I doubt they’ll be able to find the United States.

Still Not Interested!

15 Nov

I was doing some on-line banking this morning and as I was scrolling through my recent transactions I happened to notice that my bank, one of the largest in the world by the way, made an interest deposit in my favor…for 5 cents!

Once upon a time when I was little an interest credit of 5 cents would have meant that I was a five year old whose dad had just opened a savings account for him with 1 dollar.

I’m all grown up now and I have quite a few more dollars in the bank but I’m still getting 5 cents in interest!

I tried to figure out what kind of a percentage that meant I was getting on my money but my calculator melted while trying to do the math.

Honestly I don’t even bother to add the interest into my balance anymore. It’s not worth the time or worth using up one of the spaces in my register to add just pennies to my balance. I just wrote pennies didn’t I? Imagine that! Pennies in interest on a banking account in the 21st century… when I was teaching high school the students would throw pennies at each other rather than keep the annoying coins in their pockets. Now they’re my investment income.

Honestly, I’d rather they kept their 5 cents than insult me with such a transaction.

But sadly, just the other day, while I was making a transaction at the drive up window, a bank assistant manager asked if I would like to transfer my money from my checking account to a fabulous new Platinum Savings account where I’ll earn 3 times as much money in interest! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful idea?! And she was so cheerful and peppy and excited for her offering me this great new prospect for my increased wealth!

Wow! I thought. 3 times as much interest! So, instead of .01 percent or .0001 for those who do math. I can get .03% or .0003 in interest on my hard earned and saved money. Why that’s 3 dollars instead of 1 dollar as thanks for holding onto my 10,000 dollars (that’s if I had 10,000 dollars…I’m only using that figure so my example can have real numbers in it instead of imaginary ones! As it is that’s 25 cents or one quarter per month…in interest on 10 thousand dollars.

Soon I suspect they will be paying my interest in imaginary numbers.

I’d love to be able to take out a loan from the same bank and then hand them 5 cents when the interest on that loan came due… wouldn’t you?

Of course that probably would have meant that I had only borrowed a dime.

I mean really, one of the largest banks in the world can only afford to give me 5 cents in interest these days on the money I put in there for safe keeping and which of course they are also allowed to use to make themselves money?

Has our government heard about this?

The one that’s made up of 47% lawyers and 43% millionaires?

Or is it the other way around?

No matter I guess…Because most of the candidates running for president this election cycle are promising NOT to bail out the big banks should they fail again, like they did in 2008. Do they realize that “in the banks” is where Americans keep their money? (those that have any) And have these lawyers and millionaire candidates ever heard of FDIC insurance, a law that’s been in effect since 1933…whereby the Federal Government (them) promises to insure our bank accounts (us) up to 250,000 dollars. (By the way, that’s 75 dollars of interest per year! Yay!) So if the banks fail…and they don’t get bailed out…we’re all penniless. Literally and figuratively!

Which, by the by, is how the banks ran their scam the first time! They couldn’t lose!

Anyway, I don’t know whether I’m more angry, insulted or depressed by the whole situation…in which the banks seem to know the law all to well and the candidates pretend to know no law at all?!

But it does kinda make you lose interest in more ways than one doesn’t it?

Live Long and Prosper?

10 Nov

Each year the Legatum Institute, a division of a private investment firm, creates The Legatum Prosperity Index, which is an annual ranking of 142 countries, based on a variety of what are seen as human prosperity factors including wealth, economic growth, education, health, personal freedom, personal well-being, and quality of life.

This year Norway tops the list as the most prosperous country in which to live with the United States coming in a distant 11th, which isn’t too bad though when you consider that their are 131 other countries behind us. However, last year we ranked 10th (in 2008 we were 6th) while Norway was still number 1. This year Ireland jumped from 12th place to move ahead of us. Now how did that happen?

Anyway, those countries still ahead of us, in their respective order from number 2 are: Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Netherlands and Finland. Not bad company but what I find most curious is that if you look at the map above showing the world’s most recent population growth rates you’ll see that these are also the countries that mostly have the lowest growth rates and where their prosperous citizens are giving birth to the fewest children.

And if you’re wondering who’s at the bottom of the prosperity list well, all you have to do is look at the map and see where all of the children are being born and those are the very same places that are among the least happy to live in, including such happy places like Chad, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and most of Africa and the Middle East.

So Why do all of the happy and prosperous countries produce the fewest children while just about all of the sad places are veritable population bombs? Why do people who are poor and living in the worst of conditions want to have children while those humans who are most affluent and able to afford and care for offspring, do not?

In fact affluence is the only form of birth control among humans that actually seems to work long term. And It seems that the more one has, the more likely one is to want to live separated from others and in larger spaces and often with extra homes that they don’t even use. And affluent countries are also the most likely to want to build walls and fences to keep other, less fortunate folks out…and/or deport those who they see as poor baby making squatters who don’t belong to their citizenry and probably never will.

Money and happiness seem to work hand in hand to make people more reclusive and stingy. Which begs the question: Which came first? The children, or the eggs-istentialism? the happiness or the un? Does one just have to look at the map above to see who the future inheritors of the Earth shall be? Was all that hard work just for zero growth… or rather… nothing…so to speak?

Where’s the Beef?

8 Nov

In the Hindu religion, if you take care of cows, your family will prosper and you will have peace. Your children will have a good spiritual life. God will look after them. In India’s capital city there are as many as 3 cow shelters that serve as both barn and sanctuary for thousands of urban cows. And in a city of 17 million, people that is, an estimated 40,000 cows roam freely on the streets.

So imagine my surprise this week when I read in Time Magazine that India is the world’s largest exporter of…beef! In fact India accounts for about 23% of the world’s beef exports with Brazil close behind and the U.S in a distant fourth place at around 11%. (Australia is third)

But how is this possible? Is sacred now a word synonymous with delicious? Well, as it would turn out, with a little more research on my part, what India exports is carabeef, which is another word for the meat of a Water buffalo, which is a relative of the American Cattle from which our delicious and very own cow derives, which of course is what we also call a female Water Buffalo…even in India.

Anyway, It seems to me that all religious belief among humans, as with any other form of belief or worship, present or past, and even among those of us who choose to cling to our beliefs religiously… is all relative in the end…and no matter how devout or casual, probably just as tasty as anyone elses.

Can You Find the Scandal in This Story?

2 Nov

Here’s another heart warming story from the world of American college athletics.

A salacious sex scandal is beginning to unravel at the University of Louisville, where campus parties provided by the director of basketball operations and a local madam, provided strippers and sex for players, recruits and their guardians along with money provided to the players to pay for the sex…and wouldn’t you know it…the head coach, Mr. Rick Pitino, knew absolutely nothing about it!

How scandalous! Young college men, students and basketball players all, provided with strippers and with money to pay for sexual favors! And now the NCAA is launching an investigation to get to the bottom of the whole sordid story…and even the University of Louisville has hired an investigator to find out what it actually is that the University of Louisville has done! Because apparently no one there knows.

And should the investigations prove that money was provided to students and basketball players and guardians… then the punishment will most likely mean a postseason ban and loss of scholarships for the Louisville basketball team. Or in other words, the students will be punished!

Because the real scandal here is that athletes were given something, when we all know that athletes are supposed to perform for nothing except the privilege of attending their university for free…even though their work precludes their ability to find the time to attend that university.

The University of Louisville is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a member of the Kentucky state university system, where room and board and tuition for a Kentucky resident comes to around 20 thousand dollars per year. And where the director of athletics is paid 1.4 million dollars per year and the basketball coach has a 51 million dollar contract. That’s the equivalent of 2550 students each year.

But I digress because the real scandalous and salacious part of this story is not that young athletes were provided with sexual favors at a Kentucky university but rather that millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars are made by the university off of the labor of their athletes and is then spread around among university officials and coaches, while their academic students are still required to pay thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to attend the university.

And what do the athletes get? Illicit sexual favors in exchange for their hard work? That’s it?

The new American University business model: Pimp and prostitute. User and Usurer. And they know not what they do…

Now that’s a scandal.


creative expression and imaginative exploration


Perspectives, Musings, and Messages from the All

Making it write

Taking reality into the realm of fiction

a cooking pot and twistedtales

Thoughts and Tales Etc..

opening the shutters

Musings of a Mad Woman...

Terminal Cruise

One woman's weird and wonderful world

The Arm Chair Pontificator

Satirical & Poetic Musings Of A Self-Proclaimed Nobel Prize Winner

jeffrey m hartman

Examining The Flaws In Special Education Law And Practice


A Blog About Ordinary Life Told In Extraordinary Fashion!

KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog

Rural doctor, mom, writes poems, dance, sing.

Pacific Paratrooper

This site is Pacific War era information

The Happiness Trick

Let's Get Happy!

Loving a Frenchman

My Cultural Adventure


What they never taught me in teacher school.

The Last Half

Spitting into the online ocean.

Voices from the Margins

A welcoming space for resistance to the forces of oppression and hegemony.

Joanna Funk

a MeLODica, a PiANo & Me

Long Awkward Pause

A Humor Mag Of Sorts...

rona black photography

occasional visual essays


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,094 other followers

%d bloggers like this: