Close the Schools – Save the Children

I’ve been reading about the high cost of diesel fuel for school buses and I’ve got a rather radical plan about education. I have a plan to save millions–no BILLIONS in property taxes every year. Why can’t kids telecommute to class? Colleges give degrees online, why can’t schools do the same thing? Why do we need school buses? Why do we even need schools any more? Do you realize how much we could save if we dumped all the schools, fired the teachers and gave each kid a laptop with a Kindergarten CD–the do the work and pass a test that is at the back of the CD at the end of the “school year” and then they get a 1st grade CD and so on all the way through high school graduation, take the high school test and then go on to college online.

Each child would work at his or her own pace in the safety and comfort of their own home, no teasing or bullying and if they need help, there would be a virtual teacher (or maybe even a real one) to help them with whatever they were having problems with. The cost of the CDs would be minimal–about $2 each and the entire curriculum for each year could be placed on each CD. A child would pop the CD into the laptop, go to a website to view a video on that day’s lesson, then do the exercise in the lesson on the computer and have it graded instantly.

They must complete the exercise lesson before they can go on to the next lesson on the CD, you could restrict access by making the program password protected and the child doesn’t get the password for the next lesson until the previous one is completed successfully and then the CD gives the child the password for the next lesson. At the end of each week, there is a test on the lessons that the child must pass in order to get the password for the next week’s lesson. Every month there is a major test that must be passed before the child moves on. There would be no reason for brick and mortar schools or teachers, administrators, insurance, school lunches, school buses, playgrounds, or anything else. The savings in taxes would be tremendous and the kids wouldn’t have to worry about being bullied, or shot or molested by rogue teachers.

There would be no teenage pregnancy, no detentions, no missed school buses, no competition for who had the coolest whatever and the students would have the benefit of having a first class education. If the student didn’t successfully complete the prescribed course work by the end of the term then s/he would have to continue all summer in order to keep up with their class in the fall and social promotions would be unnecessary because there’s no one to make fun of a slow learner. Children who wished to graduate earlier could go to school year round or do more work to get their education completed in less time and colleges could do the same thing–most colleges now offer online classes now anyway. Going to a brick and mortar school is an obsolete concept and should be ended. Children would socialize through activities with their parents in their communities and juvenile crime would be a thing of the past. Close public libraries too–no one needs them, we have the internet to do research–put the Library of Congress online and everyone would have access. Virtual field trips would be to places like the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa instead of to a crummy local museum. Kids would have a much better education and the taxpayers would not have to pay the outlandish property taxes they are paying now.

The savings would be astronomical!! Every child would be issued a laptop and an internet access card–like a prepaid phone card–at age 6 and given the CD for kindergarten beginning on the first September 1 (after their 6th birthday) and would have to complete all the coursework by June 1 of the following year in order to be promoted to first grade–which would mean being given the CD with the first grade coursework. Of course a gifted and/or motivated child could receive the next grade’s CD early if they completed the previous grade’s coursework sooner than June 1 or if they wanted to get ahead by continuing to go to virtual school during the summer.

This is an absolutely simple concept and it would be very easy to do. It would be so much cheaper to issue each child a laptop and provide internet access–look at all the parents who are homeschooling their children using this concept! $500 for each laptop and $50 for the entire elementary, middle and high school curriculum on CDs is dirt cheap compared to the cost of building and operating schools, paying teachers and all the other employees,operating school buses, paying for insurance, fuel for the buses and to heat and cool the schools. It’s the way of the future! Wake up and smell the 21st century! Stop preparing the leaders of tomorrow with the educational traditions of the 18th century!!

The author, Teri Davis Newman resides in the metro St. Louis area and is a wedding planner. She also owns and operates a nationally recognized limousine service. She answers questions on etiquette, social situations, sex, fashion, food, wine and general advice on her blog as an off-the-cuff running commentary on any subject that annoys, amuses or aggravates her.

Why the Right Hates Public Education

by Barbara Miner

In an article about education, it’s appropriate to start with a pop quiz. Today’s question: Republican strategists want to privatize education because:
a) Education is a multibillion dollar market, and the private sector is eager to get its hands on those dollars.
b) Conservatives are devoted to the free market and believe that private is inherently superior to public.
c) Shrinking public education furthers the Republican Party goal of drastically reducing the public sector.
d) Privatization undermines teacher unions, a key base of support for the Democratic Party.
e) Privatization rhetoric can be used to woo African American and Latino voters to the Republican Party.
f) All of the above.

OK, I admit it, the answer’s obvious: all of the above. But in the debates over education policy, the Republican political agenda (see d and e) is often invisible.

Occasionally, Republican strategists let the cat out of the bag and admit that vouchers–which divert public dollars to private schools–are about politics, not education.

Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform and one of the most influential Republican strategists in Washington, has long recognized the partisan value of vouchers, sometimes euphemistically referred to as “choice.” “School choice reaches right into the heart of the Democratic coalition and takes people out of it,” he said in a 1998 interview with Insight, the magazine of the conservative Washington Times.

Norquist and others see great political benefit in going after the teachers’ unions. During the last thirty years, as private sector unionism has declined, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA) have grown in strength. Today, the 2.7 million-member NEA is the country’s largest union. The AFT has one million members, mostly in education but also in health care and the public sector.

While both teacher unions overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, conservatives especially hate the NEA. It is larger, more geographically diverse, with members in every Congressional district in the country, and more likely to push a liberal agenda that includes social issues such as gay rights.

As the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation complained this fall, the NEA is “the nation’s largest, most powerful, and most political union.”

The teacher unions back up their support for the Democratic Party with money and grassroots organization. After all, public schools exist in every municipality and county in the nation. Unlike manufacturing, teaching cannot be outsourced to Mexico, China, or Bangladesh.

In mainstream publications, conservatives tend to muffle their partisan antagonism toward teacher unions. Not so in conservative publications and documents.

The issue comes down to “a matter of power,” said Terry Moe, a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution and co-author of the book Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools, in an interview with the Heartland Institute in Chicago this summer.

The NEA and AFT “have a lot of money for campaign contributions and for lobbying,” he said. “They also have a lot of electoral clout because they have many activists out in the trenches in every political district. . . . No other group can claim this kind of geographically uniform political activity. They are everywhere.”

School vouchers are a way to diminish that power. “School choice allows children and money to leave the system, and that means there will be fewer public teacher jobs, lower union membership, and lower dues,” Moe explains.

For those in the thick of the debate, it’s long been obvious that vouchers are an attack on teacher unions. Even Wisconsin State Representative Annette “Polly” Williams, an African American who helped start the Milwaukee voucher program, the country’s first, now admits as much. “The main motivation of some of the choice supporters was to weaken public education unions,” she wrote in a letter this summer to Governor Jim Doyle.

Eliminating public education may seem unAmerican. But a growing number of movement conservatives have signed a proclamation from the Alliance for the Separation of School and State that favors “ending government involvement in education.” Signatories include such Washington notables as David Boaz and Ed Crane of the Cato Institute; conservative author Dinesh D’Souza; Dean Clancy, who is an education policy analyst for House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert; and Howard Phillips, president of the Conservative Caucus.

Wisconsin State Representative Chris Sinicki, who was a Milwaukee School Board member when vouchers began in Milwaukee in 1990, says there is no doubt that vouchers “are a Republican strategy to take down public education and the unions. This is partisan politics, completely.”

Which brings us back to our pop quiz and, in particular, to Answer e: Privatization rhetoric can be used to woo African American and Latino voters to the Republican Party.

In the 2000 Presidential election, Bush garnered only 8 percent of the African American vote and about 35 percent of the Latino vote. (Overall, less than 10 percent of Bush’s votes came from minorities.) The following year, Republican strategist Matthew Dowd outlined a plan to boost African American support to 13-15 percent and Latino support to 38-40 percent for the 2004 election.

While universal vouchers remain the goal, for tactical reasons conservatives have wrapped vouchers in the mantle of concern for poor African Americans and Latinos. Indeed, voucher supporters are fond of calling school choice the new civil rights movement. This plays well not only with voters of color but also with liberal suburban whites who, while they may be leery of allowing significant numbers of minorities into their schools, nonetheless support the concept of equal rights for all.

Conservatives and their front groups in the African American and Latino communities have not been shy about comparing voucher opponents to Southern segregationists. During the Congressional push for vouchers in Washington, D.C., this fall, groups such as D.C. Parents for School Choice launched a particularly vicious campaign against prominent Democrats. “Forty years ago, politicians like George Wallace stood in the doors of good schools trying to prevent poor black children from getting in,” one ad said, comparing voucher opponents like Senator Edward Kennedy to Wallace.

Virginia Walden-Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, was vague in explaining to the Washington community newspaper The Common Denominator how her group financed the ads. She did admit that over the years her group had received money from the Bradley Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and Children First America–all prominent conservative organizations supporting vouchers. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian legal group, provided media support. So did Audrey Mullen, a signer of the Separation of School and State proclamation.

Even if Republicans fail to woo African Americans and Latinos to the Republican Party, they may dampen African American and Latino voter turnout–a neutralization strategy, as it were.

“The strategy is to get young black people not to vote,” says Michael Charney, editor of The Critique, the newspaper of the teachers’ union in Cleveland, which also has a voucher program. “These radio commercials are aimed at the hip-hop generation. The goal is to discredit Democrats and breed cynicism.”

The commercials, he continues, “are part of a conscious strategy by the most advanced elements in the electoral Republican machine. It’s smart from their view, even if it is disgusting.”

David Sheridan, an analyst for the NEA, agrees it will be tough for the Republicans to win over African American voters. “But I think it’s different with the Hispanic audience,” he says. “I think they see this as a major effort to get more Hispanic voters into the Republican camp.”

The Republican emphasis on vouchers runs the risk of alienating moderate Republicans who support public education. Such support is strong not only in rural areas where public schools are a vital part of the community and private schools are few, but also in suburban communities with strong, well-funded public schools.

Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, cautions his Republican colleagues that they shouldn’t even use the word “vouchers,” which he refers to as “the deadly V-word.”

“In my state, it’s a pretty divisive word,” he warned them in a speech on the Senate floor this fall.

But that won’t stop conservatives like Norquist, who view vouchers as a key ingredient in their effort to “downsize” government services. “The problem is that the federal government hands out billions of dollars, and people will lie, cheat, steal, or bribe to get it,” Norquist said in an interview with Reasononline, the website of the libertarian Reason Foundation. “If you have a big cake, and you put it under the sink and then you wonder why the cockroaches are in your kitchen, I don’t think any sprays or blocking the holes in the walls are going to get rid of the cockroaches. You’ve got to throw the cake in the trash so that the cockroaches don’t have something to come for.”

The American people do not view public schoolteachers and students as cockroaches. The overwhelming majority strongly support public schools. They don’t want them dismantled; they just want them to work better.

The attack by Norquist and his ilk is nothing less than a highly partisan attempt to undermine teacher unions and the Democratic Party, destroying our American tradition of public education in the process.

— Barbara Miner is a Milwaukee-based journalist specializing in education. via

Someone Stole My Country

I recently was sitting in the Atlanta International Airport with a (2) hour lay-over. I had some time to just think and look back on my own life. I had read the newspaper and was tired of surfing the net, when a couple of our “warriors” passed by and sat down a few rows away from me.

This kind of choked me up to the point that I think I had a tear in my eyes. Theses “warriors” in their fatigue uniforms looked like “little boys”. Hell, half of them didn’t even have to shave. But, the look in their eyes told a story and that prompted me to sit down and put my thoughts on paper.

Here was the “little boy” from next door that you never thought was a “trained” specialist in warfare, walked into dark unknown buildings, knowing that the enemy was just waiting for him so he could “kill” him in the name of some “kockamaney” idea of being brainwashed into “killing all Christians”.

This little guy from down the street went to Iraq or Afghanistan or Somalia or wherever he was sent to give all of those displaying “hate, fear and terror” the opportunity to do that without fear of any reprisal. What a country. This young “warrior” also gave the twisted minds of the media a chance to sell space by sensationalizing views of what they think sells print and NOT giving the American people the real story.

I asked one of these kids, “What are we doing over there to make those folks like Americans”? The answer was not what I expected, nor would I read it in the New York Times or any other bottom line media enterprise. The answer was this. “Those people in Iraq want America to succeed, because they want their children to be able to go to America”. Put that in your pipe you “mis-informed journalists, politicians, bureaucrats and any other idiot” trying to hypnotize, US, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Since America declared its independence this country has always been the “hope of the world” as a place to provide the dream. Things have not changed from over (200) years ago. America’s young men and women have always answered the call to defend our liberties all over the world and the pride that we all have in our hearts for today’s hero’s is no less as fierce as that which was evident during both world wars.

Now, lets look at reality. Here we are a land of sincere, hard working honest and God fearing people. I read on the Internet about the words “etched in concrete” THAT are embedded into the entrance into our supreme court. “In God We Trust” and there is also an image of “Moses with the ten commandments”.

I also read about a message that sits on top of the Lincoln Memorial that talks about our founding as a land based on Christian Ideals. None of the activists can scale the Memorial to deface the message and I would venture to say, none of them even know about the contents.

Latest surveys show that over 87% of the American people want the flag displayed in schools and at all public events. The survey also emphasized that “In God We Trust” MUST remain on our currency. Hell, no one can trust the “fun house” in Washington. We all know the secret to winning an election. Just surround yourself with enough losers and you become a winner. Tell them what they want to hear, tell them what you told them and finally tell them what you want to tell them. “Paralysis from analysis”.

So, with those numbers, IF I WERE PRESIDENT, I would follow the lead of the folks in Australia. They simply told EVERYONE, English is our spoken language, you are free to enjoy our country. BUT, if there is anything that you don’t like or cannot learn our language, you are FREE TO LEAVE.

IF I WERE PRESIDENT, I would let ALL of the media know, without restricting the “freedom of speech” that “behind the scenes” advertising dollars from big corporations that enjoy the “coziness” that they have with both the Democrats and Republicans will be scrutinized unless they direct some of their dollars to those media outlets that “let the American People” know the truth.

Call it “arm twisting, extortion” or whatever. But the “monkey house” in Washington has been “twisting arms” for hundreds of years. What else is different? I would also bring the leaders of our educational institutions into one big “backyard barbecue” and let them know that their “alumni dollars’ would be VERY highly scrutinized by the IRS as that tool has been used appropriately in the past to acquire results.

Now, for those activists that seem to crawl out of the cracks like “cockroaches” with their message of “hate America” I would, as your President arrange for an all expense paid trip to the vacation spot of their choice. To, the land of “no free speech” and a chance to “enlist” into the army of hate that they so willingly want to support.

If, I could, I would restore the MANDATORY taking off of your hat (males) at all public events. I would make it a law that when the national anthem is played, EVERYONE either salutes the flag or places their hand across their heart, just as our warriors do every morning and every night living thousands of miles from the comfort of their home. Everyone would have to stand during the playing of our national anthem. The only ones that cold sit would be “old folks” and “disabled veterans”. Hell, most of them that I know would stand out of “patriotism”.

Now for this religious extremism that is “rampant” because it is very easy under our constitution to express “freedom of speech”. My old accountant once said ” If someone wants to make an ass out of themselves, DON”T stop them.”

As our youngsters are taught the “real history” of our country, the pledge is restored into our schools and the national anthem resounds through ALL the halls of public gatherings then and ONLY then will sensibility survive. No longer will the media feast on “negatism” but by DEMAND have to report on the emergence of national pride.

Yes, someone STOLE MY COUNTRY, and I want it back. I don’t care how many people don’t like my country, I just want those that love it to stand up and let the world know “what a wonderful country the USA is”.

Respectfully, Regis Sauger

Regis Sauger is a licensed Mortgage Broker in Florida, an author, lecturer on credit awareness. He has conducted seminars for underwriters, attorneys, mortgage lenders, realtors and the general public. http://www.foreclosurewatchdogs.com/

School Systems

I am a teen who is in high school. I am right now an average high schooler with average grades(A’s B’s C’s and even sometimes D’s). In addition, I also have a lot of bad concerns about our school systems.

The first topic I want to talk about is cheating. At my school almost everybody in 3 out of my 4 classes cheats, with a few exceptions of me and a couple other people. I think it is very unfair when kids in my honors classes seem to be so much smarter than me when they really are not. So my GPA right now is 2.5 which isn’t that good. However a girl in my class has barley any knowledge in the class, and she has an 4.0 . So guess WHAT! She looks so much smarter, and all the colleges will be looking at her rather than me. You could also bring up the fact that my school has EOC’s, or exams which could show that she isn’t so smart after all. In addition if you don’t know what EOC’s are then EOC’s are a state test, and exams are a teacher made test. So for the teacher made test (exam) everybody knows that all the teachers are going to make a study guide for it; so she and whoever else cheats has it made on the exam.

However the EOC’s are different, it is made by the state; but the teachers also make unbelievable accurate study guides. So all you have to do is study that study guide tons and you will get a lot better grade in the class than someone like me who doesn’t cheat. Then once whoever is cheating passes the EOC and gets probably just as good as grade as I do, then I look 10 times dumber. So I just wanted to bring up that point to everybody, how our school systems are working.Thanks for reading my blog and keep on reading my post because I will bring up some great discussions on our school systems and some other topics. Thanks

Ben Bowden

The Real Reasons the “Mortgage Meltdown” is Happening

Today, I read an article in the paper that stated HUD was going to implement new rules that would protect home owners from the big bad, predatory lenders. I have been seeing this kind of drivel in the papers and on the evening news for a while now, and I have had enough.

Every good story needs a hero and a villain, and in this case mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers are being made out to be evil, predatory, foul and untrustworthy. Now that is not to say that there are not bad people in the lending business, because every industry has their share of pirates and crooks. People who conduct their business in any other fashion than honorably definitely need to be driven out of the business at a minimum. But, I can attest to my experience over the past 17 years, that the people I have worked with and know in the financial services are good, honest hard working people who truly care about their clients and work very hard to help them.

So, rather than be complacent and not speak the truth, which most people don’t want to hear, and the major media don’t want to discuss. I would like to share what I believe to be the REAL reasons of the so called housing crisis. Stand back, because here it comes, (this has been brewing for a while)

Lack of Jobs, Loss of industry, ridiculous taxes on businesses and payroll, insane gas prices, a lack of domestic oil production and refining capacity because of weird and wacky environmentalism, food costs going through the roof, inflation numbers that are cooked to look good, credit card debts that are out of control, credit card payments that were doubled in 2007 by the governments own rules, a banking industry that could care less about the damage it creates; much less be held accountable for it, repeated Fed rate increases to stop inflation (which according to them wasn’t really happening but could happen), Alan Greenspan recommending adjustable rate mortgages be offered by mortgage lenders in greater numbers, recommending that lenders offer the chance to own a home to people with damaged credit, a mindset that the American public is too dumb and cannot make good decisions about their own finances and therefore, should not be held responsible for any of their decisions, and last but not least…

Drum roll please….. a government that is so out of touch with the people, it is utterly ridiculous to think they can solve the problem when they have actually created it. The national motto is “In God We Trust” but no matter how pious you are, the Almighty didn’t cause this mess and chances are, he won’t be the one to fix it. Rather, we are somehow supposed to make the leap, once again, that the government can stop their own carnage and solve our problem(s). The truth is that they ARE the problem or at least the largest part of it.

The image of the Department of Housing and Urban Development riding in on a white steed, frantically waving additional regulations to save the day, is enough to make a person wretch. Call me silly, but to me, it is tantamount to letting a convicted thief come in to your home and charge you to explain how HE would rip you off under the guise of helping you to protect yourself. He still got your cash, the question is how you feel about it once it is done. Closing the barn door AFTER the horse is out is not exactly foresight.

The truth is, we need to return to a common sense approach to our money, our government, and taxes. My grandfather lived to the great old age of 99, and was the wisest person I have ever met. He once told me as he sat in his favorite rocking chair, “You know, common sense just ain’t all that common these days.”

I wonder what he would think about what’s going on. Somehow, I think he would tell us to get back to basics. Pay cash, don’t borrow, get the government out of your pocket and solve your own problems. It is a mistake to think the government is going to actually solve a problem. If you look at most of our problems as a nation, education, retirement programs, medicare to name a few; it is because the government is involved that you actually have the problem. “We the People” are the solution.

The first thing we need to do is buy back our country. We don’t actually own the companies that made us a great nation anymore. Most of us might own shares in mutual funds or 401(k) plans where we don’t actually have voting rights. But we are not active participants in our own economy other than to borrow, borrow, borrow some more. So, decisions on manufacturing operations that affect real Americans and their livelihoods are based on getting the highest level of return. Whether or not it is destroying American families and this country is irrelevant. It is all about the almighty dollar and not the Almighty, in whom we have placed our trust to protect us. We need to protect us from ourselves. The bottom line is that we created a great country once, and I believe we can do it again and we better get started pronto.

James Setters

DebtMasters, LLC

jimsetters@debtmastersllc.com

debtmastersllc.blogpsot.com

Fixing the Public School System

America’s school system is in a crisis. More children are illiterate, more children are dropping out, and more children are acting out. Oprah has talked about it, as well as John Stossel. Each person has a solution to this complex problem, but none have been tested in the real world. I think it’s time that the government takes a step back and start running schools like they did 50 years ago.

If you go back to the 50’s and 60’s schools were a much different place. America was considered the best place in the world to attend school. There were no school shootings. Children graduated and could read perfectly fine. Our school system was so great, that college educations were not needed to get a good job. Something drastic has changed since then. Both politicians and the media seem to be oblivious to it.

The Bible & God

As movements in America become more progressive, the American public school system was shaped from a Christian institution, into an Atheist institution. Children used to start the day with the Lord’s Prayer and the National Anthem. Today they’re lucky to even get our anthem played. Children were taught ideals of creationism and God, without interference from the science community.

As the American people, we need to demand more from our public school system. We need to stop this movement to remove the Christian values from our government. Our founding fathers fought hard to create this country and we are abandoning their ideals when we stop a child from praying in school. We need the Bible and God back in our public school system.

Christopher Francis is the creator and author of Conservatipedia. He currently works with local churches in the Las Vegas area to help people find the guiding light of God.

International Women’s Day

Mar 8 was International Women’s Day. Almost all the dailies sans language barriers carried headlines on the special day. Media channels were agog with interviews and status of women in the present day world. Women’s emancipation over the years was quite evident from the style and charisma that they carried along with them in their photographs on the dailies. Many a picture- where women donned in military uniform, commando fatigues, slender air hostesses accompanied by women pilots walking with √©lan, stand testimony to an evolving new class of women that is transforming the society.

When compared to the status of women a century ago, there is certainly a lot of improvement in their educational status, economic freedom and their general stature largely. In-spite-of the development there is also no gainsaying that the crime rates and harassments against the fair sex are also increasing concurrently. Workplace torture, sexual harassments and bullying in some form or other continues to take place. These problems need to be addressed jointly by the society and more teeth to be given to rules that govern women empowerment.

Even as the second autopsy has been done on the British teen Scarlette Eden Keeling, the 15-year-old British girl who was found dead last month in Goa, India; somewhere in the other corner of the world in Rome, an Italian court lets woman lie about adultery. These are but two instances of extreme freedom for women, which have cost the life of a young girl in the first case and a clean chit to women that may go the extra mile the luscious way.

Except for stray incidents, womanhood has established itself in a positive manner. It is heartening to see Indra Nooyi as the driving force behind Pepsi International and Sonia Gandhi, the Chief of the congress party being termed as one of the powerful women in the world. The first citizen of India Ms. Prathiba Patil is a woman and the growing list of Indian women in the Forbes fortune list speaks volumes for the achievements of women. Savithri Jindal, Indu Jain and Anu Aga have entered the Forbes’ listing for possessing assets several billions. Condoleezza Rice is a diplomat known in the International arena for her political diplomacy and widely respected for her participation in global events.

The 33% representation for women in the Indian governance appears to be a distant dream despite so many key accomplishments that women have made their fields. A lot of hype and furor of introducing the 33% reservation bill never fails to be in the debate, when it comes to wooing Indian women for votes. However, the fact is that the issue has remained a paper tiger and appears to be illusory. The race to the coveted president is getting hotter, what with Barack Obama and the former first lady Hillary Clinton overtaking each other in the primaries in their nomination from the democratic side. If only Hillary could make it to the top seat, well, she would be the first to adorn the media for the next International Women’s Day. It is also a poignant fact that Benazir Bhutto is not in this world this year, a woman who predicted her death, but who did not care for the mortal fear and laid down her life for her motherland.

About the Author

Murthy is a Freelance Writer from India and writes on different topics. He has several published works to his credit. His maiden work ‘One Indian’s View of Diet: How Food Habits Can Make or Break a Person’ was published in ‘The Positive Health’ published from Portsmouth U.K His travel articles ‘Legacy of City of Pearls’, ‘The Seat of Nawabi Culture’ and articles on social malice ‘Far from Maddening Crowd’, ‘Operation Crush’ were aired in the web portal hyderabadnews.

Murthy’s travel article Tranquebar – The Danish Connectioncan be viewed in webportal ‘worldpress’ in the Asia section.

He writes for interlinkcity and was selected as their Favorite Freelancer for the month of December 07. He is also a columnist for their column The Week Bygone

He is also a regular contributor for ooskanews, a leading waternews report, headquartered at Virginia, USA.

He posts on health related information at http://www.food-health-lifestyle.blogspot.com

His contact e-mail is caduvetimurthy@yahoo.com

Problems in American Education

Too many people think that schools are hopeless and that nothing can be done. Or they live in that dream world that says, “not here; not my school.” This is exactly the same mentality that we old-timers saw at the early stages of what later became a nationwide drug epidemic.

What all those parents who are so complacent about the alleged excellence of their local schools need to remember is: It was our best and brightest students that ranked 24th in global competition. No matter how good you may think your local school is, it still doesn’t stack-up against the rest of the world.

If you’ve been studying the news for any length of time, then you know about the relationship between our nation’s growing dropout rate and the massive increase in crime. With up to 75% of students dropping out in some of our large, urban areas, that converts to 3 out of four students with no diploma and no skills. Even worse, if that is possible, far too many students who DO graduate, cannot read or compute math adequately.

Many people don’t see how dropouts in large cities have anything to do with their own lives. They feel protected against the problems with schools in other areas and don’t believe that failing schools can have any impact on their own well being or safety. Thus, we see lethargy or denial when it comes to motivating people to insist on education reform.

Finally, in an attempt to try and FORCE improvements in our failing schools, the country adopted No Child Left Behind, a program of testing, testing, testing, supposedly to increase accountability. But it simply led to rigged results in too many states, and no basis for adequate comparison. Now it seems that even attempts to make NCLB work more effectively, keep getting postponed by Congress.

Complicating issues in our schools in 2008, kids are more exposed to drugs and drug use than ever before, both at school and at home. It’s extremely difficult to learn when the brain is scrambled on narcotics, prescription drugs, cold medicines, glue or whatever is the latest ‘high getter’. And, as the statistics show, parent’s expectations of their own children demonstrate awareness and denial of any drug use simultaneously.

On top of everything else, there is an appalling lack of leadership role models for our students today in the USA. Leadership is a skill that must be taught to our youth – along with critical thinking training and the ability to make life-enhancing decisions. For some reason, our school curriculum’s do not address these issues, or they are only implemented as of secondary, rather than primary importance.

Some people say that American kids are dumber, but I say “Phooey!” As a Grandmother and great-grandmother, I personally know that our children today are just as capable of excelling as any students in the past. Youngsters today grow up knowing more about new technologies than oldsters can even fathom. Children today know how to text message, play games and carry on internet or cell phone conversations simultaneously. Then we wonder why they are bored in class.

When are we going to wake up to the need for reform in our schools? Yes, there are some good programs being instituted on a small scale in a few schools across the country, but until now, there has been no plan that would improve every school across the nation.

Politicos and academic committees keep coming up with massively expensive programs that will take years, and tears, to implement. What is needed is a simple plan with solutions that can turn our schools around within 2-3 years and that are reasonably economical. Unfortunately, publicity goes to the unrealistic and expensive plans that have been suggested or implemented to date.

We need solutions not only to curriculum problems, but also the social ills that are impacting school quality in such a powerful way. It’s time to insist on implementation of techniques have already been proven to work in actual practice.

Policymakers and academicians KNOW we have a problem, but nothing is going to change until the public gets involved and DEMANDS changes.

Brennan Kingsland http://setourteachersfree.com

Education Problems and the Internet

The internet can be a wonderful educational tool for our students, but it also presents a whole host of threats and problems that must be taken into consideration.

Today’s youngsters are quick to assimilate the skills needed to become proficient on the internet, but they lack the experience to always know when to be on guard against sexual predators, or others who would take advantage of their openess. Of course another problem with unsupervised access to the internet can result in students who don’t do assignments, or who don’t get enough sleep to function effectively in school.

But there is help and hope on the horizon.

MySpace, the largest social networking web site, has concluded an agreement with the Attorney Generals of every state but Texas, to take steps that may protect children and teens who frequent the site. In the wake of the widely-publicized news about a young teen’s suicide over abuse of the site, MySpace has agreed to tighten controls and to actively take steps to protect children from predators.

Back in October 2007, Facebook started the ball rolling when it completed a voluntary agreement with New York’s Attorney General to accept responsibility for protecting users. The MySpace agreement goes further and is more detailed than the Facebook agreement. Whereas Facebook promised to respond more speedily to complaints about sexual messages and to use stronger language to warn it’s users about potential hazards, the MySpace agreement does all of that and more.

MySpace has agreed to form a task force, with input from online sites and child protection groups, to develop ways to verify ages and identities of it’s users. The site will install safeguards to protect children from predators, including making every site of users under 18 “private”. While several protective measures are, or will be, put in place, nothing is foolproof. The challenge to make the internet safe for children must be ongoing and parents need to monitor their child’s use of the computer. There are no substitutes for caring and vigilant parental guidance.

Brennan Kingsland
http://setourteachersfree.com

Educate Consciousness

We must educate to alleviate the problem of prejudism in our society. Prejudism is a worldwide phenomenon which has come along way since slavery, yet still we have light years of change to make as human beings. Our minds are trained to judge; we are constantly critiquing the news broadcaster, or an outfit a model is wearing on T.V. We are so blind to prejudice that most of us walk around with our eyes closed, and our judge robes tied tight. Whether we meet a stranger, or just pass one on the street, there is always at least a flicker of judgment, either conscious or unconscious, influenced by each person’s inlaid prejudism.

It is this smoldering fire that lies beneath the eye level of everyday consciousness; as life progresses the fire grows and the human race burns on with stereotypes and hatred. Human self expression is all too often discouraged, while our right to freedom is being suppressed by society, how are we to keep our human dignity as individuals? What can be done to stop such ignorant behavior? Well, the first step towards change is acceptance, and awareness of the problem through education.

Sometimes acceptance of your own flaws is necessary before others can learn to accept them. Once everyone is aware of the flaws, it is somehow easier to cope with them and learn to change the behavior. Sadly, most of America (by choice or by accident) is still oblivious to the flaw in society we call prejudism.

It’s simple; just take a look at your thought process when you come across a homosexual, an African American, a drug-addict, a transsexual, a gang-member, a disabled veteran, an ex-convict, a pushy preacher, or a prejudice southerner. What is your reaction to them? Do you feel uneasy, are you afraid, disgusted, or do you feel no different then you did moments before you met them?

Do you think that is something these stereotyped people face everyday? Well, it is, and there is something we can all do to help. We can talk about racism and stereotyping within our families, our jobs, our communities, and teach proper ways to handle these difficult situations. We must educate consciousness to alleviate the problem of prejudism within our society.

Acceptance is powerful; it can change an entire community for the better. Our society encourages its citizens at a very young age to conform, and be more comfortable with themselves once they act like everyone else. Individuality is something to be proud of; it is not an expendable human asset. Loss of our individuality as a country will result in defamation of our Constitution.

In the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution congress enforces that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

America may accept all ages, races, creeds, religions, and sexual orientations, yet somehow we as a society manage to stifle the progress of our citizens as individuals, by restricting their social rights to be an individual in the first place. Conform; choose the “right” way to live, as expressed by the popular culture of our time. Or welcome consciousness; accept who you are, be proud of your own personal diversity, make it a part of you that you cannot live with out. That is the way to true freedom and respect for our individual human dignity.

Our society and popular culture encourages us to stick with the masses, and conform to society, yet all of our instincts tell us to rear against the norm, and become an individual. So where do our spirits lie? In the depths of our souls we now that each person carries a future and has a purpose for their lives, so why does society become “paranoid” or make a show of those of us who are different? Are we bored? Have we nothing better to do as a society but make a mockery of our underlying diversity? This is something we should all be proud of, not belittle and objectify amongst ourselves. Why not use all that energy to focus on educating consciousness throughout the masses. Bringing home the fact that we are all in this together for the greater good of our society, and it’s impending future!

Rae Serenity