Saturday, May 10, 2008

Newspapers/Magazines vs. Electronic Media

No way will I give up my daily local newspaper; my Wall Street Journal or Forbes Magazine. I can scan printed media rapidly, select the articles I wish to read in detail and review the balance in a matter of minutes. Then I can settle in; usually an hour or more, and enjoy or become alarmed or say "I told you so" as I read on, clipping what I want to file and hopefully to blog on later.

For example, today's JS reported "Shaky Foundations, ICC sees a "frightening" increase in number of students who must take remedial courses."

Of course, "I told you so", as did thousands of other concerned people starting years ago, so what's new? Make the taxpayers pay for our public schools that are susposed to be educating our kids and then pay property taxes again to support the community colleges to teach what the public system should have taught. Do you really believe that our school systems are reaching a majority of kids who are participating in the formal school education process? Many of the lower grade teachers are doing a great job with kids who are trying to learn as much and as fast as they can. With good teachers, learning progress is made until the kids reach the upper grades, maybe as early as the fourth grade. Then many with high promise start to lose interest in the system.

They become bored and easily distracted. Reading becomes less of an interest and talking on cells, playing computer games and now text messaging takes their interest from the classroom.

Why? At this point all kinds of hormones start kicking in and kids start visibly separating into "gangs", "cliques", "by cultures", "opposite sex,(and sex) by ethnic grouping, by "prejudice"; some kids who did so good slow down or stop doing well because they don't want to "show up" their "disinterested friends". These separations can be both good and bad. Most good families want there kids to be selective with who they associate. Kids with more attentive parents take notice and regularly consult with their teachers and counselors as to what's happening when their kids are in class and in the hallways, study halls, at lunchtime or participating or not participating in extra-curricular activities. Eventually many parents move to better schools or decide to home school if dissatisfied.

So what's new? As long as the emphasis is on keeping kids in the classroom whether they are learning or not, (pays off by body count thru government subsidies), as long as leaders feel that expensive new schools are the answer to better learning, as long as discipline is not enforced, as long as schools open late and close early allowing kids to have too much unsupervised time; they'll find something to do and it likely won't be homework, working, picking up litter, helping around the house including cleaning up their rooms or visiting the library to scroll on free computers. Yes, many will do constructive things. The ones who don't are the ones we later set up perpetual care funds from welfare, to free health care to baby care to prisons.

And mainly, if the need of a good education is not "sold" to the kid; if the education field cannot attract and hold good teachers; if the entire business of education isn't turned on it's head we will see an acceleration of what happened in a California School yesterday, 600 kids involved in a school fight, schools closed down because of threats, curriculum's and teachers so dull that even the best students struggle to maintain interest and finally if the unions keep increasing their stranglehold on what they know to be inept systems, all medias will have plenty of "breaking stories" about our own groups of homegrown terrorists that are being "hatched" by uninterested and uneducated "women" and their gangbanger "boyfriends".

Not all people can be lumped together as failing, including myself, but together we are ALL affected by what goes on in our community and it all starts the day a child is conceived. Overall, we appear to not be doing a great job or there wouldn't be such a clamor in this country for "change". Most clamoring for change don't know exactly what to change and how to do it but the slogan sounds good.(From what I can discern they are also trying to pick the wrong guy).

What is most needed are better trained, better teachers, better paid by performance teachers, less union strangling of the system and a complete changeover of the leadership system as I've detailed many times on this site.

Stories of interest in today's WSJ are "Becoming Little Red Riding Hood", by Glenn H. Miller, a child psychoanalyst, "How the Grimms' fairy tales give children a model for living". Bet more than half the kids and teachers in #150 wouldn't know who Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were and the messages they attempting to convey. Or approximately what years they published and revised "Children and Household Tales". Worth reading, especially if you are raising a family.

Another article is "War Funding Still a Sticky Issue for Democrats". It sure is.

Another article is "Inflation Data May Create a False Sense of Security"; it sure does to me. Another is "Union Forge a Secret Pact with Major Employers", giving the union the right to designate which of their locations, and how many workers the union can seek to organize. These actions by major employers put a greater burden on smaller unionized employers both in the private and public sector.

I greatly enjoy the "Letters to the Editors" of all newspapers but moreso the letters published by the WSJ. Today's letters debate the advantage and disadvantage of making ethanol from grains used in foods of all kinds, human and animal.

The article that disgusted me was titled "Dress-up: Moms Put their Tykes in Star's Clothes". Exactly what we need in a world of child predators and adult acting and looking kids. The article says "It's hard to pin down what's behind this fascination with the sartorial splendor of celebrity offspring. Are the stars having more babies? And is the media paying for intimate details of star's family life and exclusive baby pictures?

And we wonder why this country looks nuts to many in the rest of the world.

Anyway, we claim the "more you learn, the more you earn" and that to many is what it's all about.

So sad that more than enough money is apparently what so many in our society feel that it is what it's all about.

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