Tag Archives: teaching

Human is, as Human ___?

18 Feb

Here’s a heartwarming story…

Earlier this month, After 41 days of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, all of the armed militants surrendered peacefully. And even though the armed occupiers were “heavily armed” and had multiple weapons that they at times threatened federal authorities and police officers with and had even pointed at them while shouting phrases like, “You’ll never take us alive” and “We’ll never surrender”, they were all captured peacefully.

No one was injured, and no shots were fired during the arrests in which officers of the law were heard to say, “nice and easy, hands behind your back.” I’m not sure if the words please were ever uttered by law enforcement officials but shouts of “hallelujah” echoed through the phone lines of those involved in the final roundup of the protesters.

Did I mention that the protesters were armed…with guns? And after their surrender they informed federal agents that the occupied area had been left booby-trapped…with explosives! And finally, after carefully (very) searching through the area, Investigators indeed found explosives, firearms and even human feces to add to the occupiers careless 41 day desecration of what was a 6,000 year old Native American archaeological site.

But the good news?

Not one of the heavily armed occupiers was:

shot in the back while running away, or shot in the front 15-20 times while holding what appeared to be weapons, or shot while surrendering, or shot while sitting in a wheelchair, or shot while being only 12 years old, or shot while holding a toy gun, or shot by a ricocheting bullet fired in fear of one’s safety, or shot to death while sitting in a car, or choked to death after surrendering, or found hanging in a jail cell after capture, or found dead in a van after the drive to jail.

So let’s all cheer “Hallelujah!” It can be done. Those who either are or are perceived to be, Threatening, belligerent, frightening, angry, heavily armed, militant criminals can be apprehended peacefully, even when law enforcement officers are in fear for their lives…even though I read no mention in any of the Oregon reports, of any law enforcement officers expressing fearfulness for their lives during the 41 day ordeal…although I’m sure, at some point, they must have.

01_06_oregon_standoff_fbi_01

Oregon Standoff 2016                                         Ferguson, MO. 2014

In conclusion: Humanity can and does work! Everyone should give it a try.

 

 

We’ve Come a Long Way…Maybe

27 Jan

A 17 year old senior at Edmonson County High School in Kentucky, got in trouble last week for wearing a dress that did not meet the stringent requirement of the Kentucky high school she attends. The dress, was considered to sit too high above her knees. According to the high school’s dress code, dresses worn by young ladies at the high school must not be more than 6 inches higher than the knee.

You’ll notice in the picture below that the student in question was also wearing black tights beneath her dress but still she had to prove that her dress was the appropriate length by kneeling before her principal (a man) so he could measure its distance from the floor and then by walking around with her arms in the air (again in front of her principal) to see if her dress rode up any higher than previously measured.

 

Screen_Shot_2016-01-25_at_8.13.49_AM.png

She failed her test…but only after walking around with her arms in the air. Otherwise she would have passed. Somewhere between 30 to 40 girls were sent home by the principal that day for similar violations.

Boys, in case you were wondering, have a dress code too but usually only get sent home if their clothing is ripped or torn in some way, as in ripped jeans etc. There was no mention as to how long boys had to wear their skirts when they wear them. This is 21st century America we’re living in isn’t it? So you know that boys get to wear skirts and make-up too… Don’t they?

But I digress because look at what girls in Kentucky high schools get to wear when they are not in the classroom… Here is the Kentucky high school championship Cheer-leading team…sans leggings…and you certainly wouldn’t want to use a ruler to measure their skirts distance from their knees. And are those skirts?

Cheerleaders competed in the KHSAA state championships Saturday.

Here’s a typical Kentucky HS field hockey team? Don’t they make shorts for girls anymore?

Oh…here are the Kentucky shorts…part of the typical girl’s HS volleyball team in Kentucky. They don’t look that comfortable to me, especially for running around and jumping and bending over,  but I’m a guy so what do I know about fashion…

Because here’s what the Kentucky boys wear when they play basketball. Their shorts seem to fall about 5 inches below the knee! Go figure!

What is appropriate for young women to wear in public high schools these days and why can’t they choose to wear what they like and are most comfortable wearing, like the boys do? As long as it’s not ripped or torn? Have we come a long way in our attitudes about men and women here in the United States or haven’t we?

I leave that question for the women to answer because I’m pretty sure that we men have absolutely no clue…oh we have a code…but I’m pretty sure it’s not for everyone.

Does Believing Make it So?

5 Dec

Scientifically speaking, we humans are all alike, because all humans can trace their family tree back to a surprisingly small group of common ancestors. And recent evidence shows that every person on Earth’s most recent common ancestor might have died less than 2000 years ago.

And If you simply count the number of parents you have (2) and then keep multiplying by 2 (because every parent also has 2 parents) for each generation of your family, you’ll discover that you alone have billions of ancestors just within the last thousand years or so. And that’s true for all people because…we all share ancestors.

Yet, if you ask people about this they will probably tell you about how different we all are.  And about how something as simple and as superficial as skin pigmentation can penetrate deep down into a human beings soul to make them altogether a completely different species of human being from you.

And they’ll probably tell you about how our belief systems are so different and varied and in such opposition to one another as to make us all completely incompatible. So much so that we all have to fight unceasingly, without the hope of ever agreeing with each other, forever.

And this is all because we are so different from one another…even though all of the evidence that we have discovered here on Earth and even out in space, shows us that we are not.

And not many of us ever seem to realize that our belief systems, which we hold so dear and to be incontrovertibly ours throughout time, are simply that. Belief systems: meaning based on beliefs that are not supported by facts but rather by… thoughts and ideas that we have or by stories that we have been told.

be·lief: noun: 
plural noun: beliefs
  1. an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
    something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.     

And even though we can provide no concrete or indisputable proof, evidence or even facts to support our firmly held beliefs, we don’t care. We just believe.

And even though we are presented with facts from years of scientific study that explain how much the same we all are and how we have all shared the same planet and are of the same planet and are all composed of the same elements and proteins and chemicals and “star stuff” from this finite world…

We still don’t care.

And so we fight, over ancient books written by ancient minds and untruths told by small minded people and misconstrued notions forged from ill conceived imaginations. And when the facts prove us to be wrong or when we discover that our proofs have no facts to support them?

We, at best,  say maybe…and then fall back on our beliefs, which we know, by the very name we give them…to be unsupported convictions held together by opinion, acceptance and faith.

So is this because thinking, that which separates us from the other animals in our world…makes it so? And is it that “making it so” is better than discovering “what is so”?

And is that what it means to be human?  That we embrace what we make… more lovingly than what we find?

And thus we tragically end up with… not “I think therefor I am”, but rather…I believe therefor I am…(with the addendum) and you’re not.

So isn’t it also interesting to note that while science seeks answers in an effort to provide hope for the future of all human kind, faith almost always provides us with the hope for global destruction of all human kind so that we can go to another place where we won’t be able to screw everything up with our belief systems.

Hmmmmm…kind of makes you think doesn’t it? (or maybe not)

Goodbye Columbus!

19 Nov

https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2015/11/Screen-Shot-2015-11-18-at-8.58.02-AM.png

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.

Violence IS the Last refuge of the Incompetent

29 Oct

Image: SC Police Officer Slams Black Student to the Ground, Video Sparks Outrage

https://youtu.be/dXK1eiY4FGc  (follow this link for the short 15 second video)

The girl in the above video was arrested for “disturbing school” and later released to her family.

A 2015 report from the African American Policy Forum found black girls, like black boys, faced harsher discipline than their white counterparts in a review of New York and Boston school discipline data.

adjective: incompetent: not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully. inept, unskilled, unprofessional, leaving much to be desired.

I am still amazed at how often people in authority seem to feel that violence or aggression goes hand in hand with their authority and is the logical go to option whenever they are confronted by people who do not readily submit to their orders.
In education, where I spent 33 years as a high school teacher, and 16 years before that as a student, the first lesson always taught to children (and to first year teachers I might add) is that fighting or aggressive physical behavior, is never the answer to anything.
But, ironically,  out in the adult world, it always seems to be the answer to everything…as in: More military! More guns! More threatening aggressive tactics will teach our enemies that we mean business! Fighting back is manly. Seeking peaceful solutions? That’s for weak minded sissies…
“Judge not”, “Turn the other cheek”, “Love your enemies”, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you”, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. We always seem to treat these maxims which we say are from God as being that which will apply to us when we are all dead and in Heaven…that most wondrous of invisible lands where we are all destined to live in peace and love.
But here on earth we fight…forever and always, and can’t ever seem to figure out why, except that we’re pretty well sure that it’s the other guys fault…almost always. What we need is a religion for the living here on Earth. Something that sticks with us and that we can apply when we feel disrespected and scorned and out of sorts with the world. Something that overrides our urge to always want to choose violence as the way to show others who’s the boss.
We’ve been around as practicing humans for thousands of years now and we still haven’t gotten the hang of it. Or maybe the trouble is that we have….but honestly, I fail to see the intelligent design in all that. Maybe we’re just all disaffected students of life who can’t seem to focus long enough to grasp the lesson…
Love is the answer.
Any questions?

Why War Is (Still) Stupid

26 May

I wrote this almost 3 years ago, early on in my blogging days, but sadly it still seems to be ringing truer than ever…

During Desert Storm, the first war in Iraq, a student in my class raised his hand and asked me a question.

“Hey, Mr. Picone, did you see that general on TV who was showing the video where a cruise missile tracks down an Iraqi truck and blows it up right there on a bridge?”

“Yes, I replied. I did.”

“Well, continued the student, how much do you think that old Iraqi truck was worth?”

“Oh about 20 to 30 thousand dollars,” I guessed

“And that bomb with the camera inside that tracked it down and blew it up. That cost a few hundred million didn’t it?”

“Yes, I think you’re right.” I said.

“So my question is, said the student who was about to give me something very interesting to think about, If our country is Spending 200 million dollars to blow up a 20,000 dollar truck how long can we keep that up before going broke?”

He asked me that question in 1992 and although I had no answer for him then, apparently my answer should have been, “Oh, I’d say about 16 years!” War is stupid because eventually we all go broke. You can bet money on it! Just ask Egypt and Greece and Rome and Persia and Spain and England and France and the Soviet Union and…now…US.!

We owe 18 trillion dollars and have no plans for paying off that debt except for the proposed dismantling of our Social services, pension systems and national infrastructure. Some plan, huh?

All civilizations eventually either spend all of their money on feeding the wealthy’s appetite for more wealth or on war, neither of which is an ingredient in any recipe for the extended prosperity and growth of a civilization and its people. And we here in the United States are doing both…at the same time!

Education however, no matter how expensive it may be for a civilization’s inhabitants to fund, sustain and expand never leads to the end of anyone’s civilization. When will we ever learn that?

Parents, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys

25 May

As Memorial Day arrives we take time to reflect on the liberties and freedom we all share due to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. My father served during World War II, My grandfather during World War I, and my great grandfather during the Civil War. They all saw action and survived while others did not and we can say today without any doubt that those who gave their lives in service to their country did so in valiant efforts to preserve what we so cherish here in the United States today…

But which of those wars was the war to end all wars? And will that war ever be fought? When I was young one American dream that was a big time favorite but by now really should have run its course was that of being a soldier. Whenever adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would always say “I want to be an army man!” That was back in the 50s and early 60s when playing soldier was a common pastime among young children. Once my father, a WWII veteran, explained to me that war involved fighting and possibly dieing, I soon changed my mind and as the Vietnam War loomed in my teenage future I wondered if perhaps my childhood boasting of wanting to be an army man would become an inevitable and now unwanted reality. Fortunately for me the draft and then the war ended and the country’s views toward wars and fighting them seemed to change for the better but now here in the 21st century we seem to have turned back towards war as a viable alternative to peace or perhaps even more insanely as a partner of peace!

Remember when you would get into a fight and your school principal or your teacher would tell you that fighting is wrong and that no matter who started it, it still was wrong to fight? When did we ever stop teaching and learning that lesson? We should no longer be encouraging any of our children to aspire to fighting or war. When will we ever learn that war is counterproductive to life? It seems like such a simple lesson to learn.

In my New Jersey high school we have a JROTC program. That stands for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and it is a class or series of classes and after school activities that help prepare high school children for a career in the military. Some believe that this is a good idea and I have seen many students proudly enroll in the program, graduate and continue on in a successful military career. However, that was back in the days when the United States was not actively involved in any wars and the graduating JROTC students went on to enjoy careers in a peacetime military. Today, most of these students are being groomed and prepared for active military duty in a wartime military and  many if not most of these young adults actually believe that they are preparing for something that will be fun and rewarding and once they develop their military skills they become eager to actually test themselves under real combat conditions. They look forward to becoming the new modern day cowboys of America.

This is something that I find very disturbing because these students are still children and we who work in the public schools are not just responsible for educating children. We are also responsible for protecting children. And part of what it means to protect our children involves making sure that they understand what it is that fighting and going off to war really means. And so as educators and citizens and community members we should all know better, and here’s why…

I took my own children shopping at Old Navy one day. You know that great American clothing store that sells the kind of clothes that young Americans just love to wear and have to have. As they were browsing I began browsing also and noticed that all of the clothes were made, not in America, (Gasp! Who else has an old navy?) But rather in Vietnam! Vietnam was the communist country America had fought over 40 years ago where we desperately tried to fend off communism and save democracy from the falling red dominoes that would crush us all one by one. And here today were my children happily sorting through the latest fashions in American clothes made by one of our most recent enemies, the Vietnamese! And then it dawned on me…apparently this is what our soldiers had fought for. 56,000 Americans fought and died and countless others were injured and forever scarred to ensure that someday a cheap labor source would be available to help put Americans out of work. Young adults of my generation studied hard, graduated high school, were randomly selected by our government in a lottery and sent halfway around the world in order to kill their own future jobs! Ain’t that a kick in the cargo pants?!

Is this possible? Am I remembering history incorrectly? The United States invaded Vietnam to stem the tide of communism. The war escalated. American teenagers were then drafted to bolster the armed forces desperate fight. The war continued for 10 years. Vietnam was devastated. 56,000 Americans were killed. Millions of Vietnamese citizens were killed. We eventually evacuated our forces in 1972. The communists prevailed and took over the country…and soon they began happily making clothes for Americans to wear! How did that happen? And what does this all have to do with your high school children and cowboys? Well, let’s see…

Back in the 1960s, when I was a teenager in high school, we all worried about the draft. During the year when a boy turned 18 he officially became a man, at least in the government’s eyes, and was required to register for selective service in the armed forces which meant that if your number came up in the subsequent draft lottery you would soon be headed to the war in Vietnam where your life would almost certainly be changed forever. As the casualties in Vietnam mounted, so did the public opposition to the draft. To randomly select recent high school graduates and send them off to war no longer seemed fair and although we all knew that it was all about fighting communism, and keeping the world safe for democracy, and serving God and our country and doing our duty etc., the prospects of going off to war no longer seemed exciting, just frightening. We probably have television to thank for this change in public opinion because that same medium that was bombarding us with advertisements and images of sex and violence that was surely going to rot our young brains was also showing us the truth about real violence and the real horrors of war. It was television and its pervasive sounds and images of real death and violence, along with the undeniable unfairness of a draft that could randomly pluck your children out of your home and end their lives at a moment’s notice, which brought about the end of the draft and the end of the Vietnam War.

So, what does that have to do with buying clothes made in Vietnam? Well, its 40 years later and we still have wars but now however, with an all volunteer army, it is harder to complain about those wars and how we as a country use our military because the government can always say, “They volunteered. No one made them join. They’re patriots proudly doing their duty.” That is a position that is very hard to argue with but still I am going to try to make my point and my point is this.

As teachers we need to present to our students all of the facts about history and especially the facts about the affects of war on the people who fight them, namely our children who become our soldiers, and who we send off to foreign lands to inevitably end the lives of someone else’s children. So here are some facts to consider…

In 1776 we fought the hated British for our liberty and freedom and the right to establish our own government. Then they invaded our new country again in 1812 and burned down Washington D.C. Later that century in 1863 they even considered aiding the Confederate states during our civil war to help divide our nation forever, but they decided not to so we eventually became friends again, saved their asses with massive invasion forces during two world wars and today we’re BFF!

In 1844 we invaded Mexico and fought the hated Mexicans who massacred Davey Crockett at the Alamo. Today, it’s the Mexican army (or so it seems) who shows up to fix my roof or cut my lawn or patch my sidewalks or trim my trees whenever I hire an American contractor to do the work. In 1898 we fought the hated Spanish in the Spanish-American war, remember that? Or rather remember the Maine?! Today, Spanish is the fastest growing language spoken in the U.S.A.

In 1918 and 1945 we fought the hated Germans who wanted to take over the world and kill us all, and yet by the 1960s every family in America it seemed owned at least one Volkswagen Beetle, the most affordable car of its time, made in Germany.

Who hated the Japanese more than us in 1941? If you had told my father and his WWII buddies in 1945 that someday a Japanese man nicknamed “Godzilla” would play the beloved Joe DiMaggio’s position in centerfield for the New York Yankees and win the World Series MVP while doing it, they would have plotzed! Right there in their pants! Right after their heads exploded!

My point is this. War isn’t hell. It’s stupidity! The people we kill today will tomorrow make our clothes and take our jobs. Why not just cut to the chase and just all be friends and go shopping? We need to teach our children to stop volunteering and to stop thinking that war is going to be fun. We need to teach them to stop believing that we’ve got to go over there to keep them from coming over here. They’re here already! And if not they’ll be here eventually and either with our soldiers help or because we simply invited them! Do you seriously doubt that “Made in Iraq” will be seen somewhere in your house in the near future or that a 7ft. something Afghani will be starting at center for the NY Knicks this decade and making 10 million dollars a year? I don’t.

We need to teach our children that going off to war today will only mean that if and when they come home it will most likely be with a shattered body and a rattled mind and the inability to enjoy as adults what they were sent off as children to protect in the first place.

So parents, don’t let your babies dream or grow up to be cowboys, unless they’re the kind who play in Dallas and get paid big bucks to wear their helmets and protect their heads when they do…although unfortunately that’s another story all together…

ruminationville

a gated community for the overthinker

Southern Georgia Bunny

Grab a bottle of wine and get comfortable.

Three's a Herd

Mothering a preemie, a princess, and a work-in-progress

Moments That Won't Run Away

from Michele Kendzie in Fredericksburg, Virginia

lilrant

...What you see is what you get.

ScribbleDartsfromtheHeart

creative expression and imaginative exploration

J.R.Goldrich

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..A Lifestyle Blog with a Zing.

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

alesiablogs

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 WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

The Happiness Trick

Let's Get Happy!

Loving a Frenchman

My Cultural Adventure

saneteachers

What they never taught me in teacher school.

The Last Half

Spitting into the online ocean.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,167 other followers

%d bloggers like this: