| Category: 2012
, 2nd Amendment
, Taxes & Spending
| Posted at: Thursday, 10 May 2012
I suppose I ought to say something about President Obama’s flip-flop on gay marriage. Instead, I’ll tell you what I wish Mitt Romney had said when he was asked about the President’s stance:
“That’s nice; now what about jobs?“
In fact, that should be Mitt Romney’s response every time he is asked about gay marriage, immigration, guns, Trayvon Martin, global warming, eating dogs . . .
Pretty much everything except the economy, taxes, and spending is a distraction from the issues that are really important. Mitt Romney should drive the point home that everything else is secondary and frivolous and that he is not going to allow the debate to come off that point.
P.S. If you’re really interested in what I think about gay marriage, here’s a couple recent posts that shed some light on that. But rather than expect you to read them, here’s a two-word summation: Don’t care.
MORE: Roger Simon concurs and offers a warning:
“The issue is a sideshow intended to distract. If our country goes the way of Greece – and writing this from the City of Los Angeles, it’s not so hard to imagine – you can forget any issue, whatever your favorite one is. You won’t be living in America anymore.”
UPDATE: Thanks to Ed at Insty’s Place for the links. While you’re here, this is a story that’s not directly about jobs, but I bring it around to that point: She deserves pity, not a punch in the throat. (There’s a bonus Blazing Saddles clip at the end.)
More than 30 parents pitched tents over the weekend at Fairview-Clifton German Language School on Clifton Avenue, more than a week ahead of the Nov. 16 application date. This is the earliest parents have ever started camping out for the so-called “magnet schools” – schools that are sought after for their specialty programs like foreign language or arts or teaching styles like Montessori. The number of campers had swelled to 48 by noon.
Among the campers is my brother, a public school teacher himself, who hopes to enroll his daughter in a highly sought after magnet school.
What an indictment of the Cincinnati Public School system. No matter what the product is, a queue 200 hours long is evidence of a serious mismatch between the demand for a desired service and the available supply. Were education operating in a more free market system, this mismatch would spur expansion of those charter and magnet programs as well as prompt new ones to begin to meet obviously unmet needs. Instead CPS is blind to the problem that has apparently been around for years. They focus only on the symptom of people camping out for days on end who “deny” to non-campers an enrollment opportunity, without ever considering that the root cause of the campouts is that the product they currently deliver has no value to a large segment of the market. That in itself is ample proof that a magnet or charter education, operating outside the CPS mainstream, is a much better product than whatever regular education Cincinnati Public Schools can deliver.
There is no greater evidence than this campout, that my brother and his wife are deserving of our best wishes in their quest to save my niece from CPS.
| Category: Education
| Posted at: Thursday, 3 March 2011
As devastating as David Burge is in the role of Iowahawk, when he plays himself, he’s insurmountable. Paul Krugman may have a Ph.D. and a Nobel Prize, but those shields are no protection from Burge’s bite.
Read the whole thing.
The news-o-sphere is all abuzz about a report that high school graduation rates in urban areas stink, especially when compared to suburban areas. Really? I had no idea. Somehow, I’m sure, this is George Bush’s fault.
Certain elements of the Nashville political blogosphere have been embroiled in one of those MSM v Bloggers dustups that emerges from time to time. As in most such imbroglios, there is an element of truth to both sides: As Alan Coverstone states, journalistic coverage of local government and politics is not as informative as we wish it would be, and in Clint Brewer’s defense, he is right that too many bloggers are sloppy fact-checkers, and are reluctant to make corrections when they err.
Mr. Coverstone’s latest missive in this online fight caught my interest for one other reason. In it he laments the lack of local responsible journalism (my interpretation of his meaning), and that it has become as uninformative as he apparently believes journalism is at the national level:
. . . just because all CNN and FOX News give us on the national level is prognostication, that does not mean I have to be grateful when I get it on the local level.
Being that he is a government teacher at a prestigious college preparatory institution, I thought it would be interesting to see what resources Mr. Coverstone provides to his students to make up for the perceived shortfall of quality local coverage.
On Coverstone’s page on the school’s website there are links to CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, the Washington Post and the New York Times (no Fox News, btw). There are also links to the Republican NATIONAL Committee and the Democratic NATIONAL Committee, as well as the White House, and some documents of national historic significance.
Glaringly absent, however, from the website of a government and politics teacher bemoaning the lack of quality local journalism is ANY local information at all*.
If there is something the “Matter With Tennessee” (part of the name of Mr. Coverstone’s personal blog), oddly, there is nothing on his professional website that would seem to suggest to his students what it is, much less to recommend a remedy.
*Wait, there actually is a Tennessee-centric resource on his site. It’s about the Scopes-Monkey Trial of 1925. Not exactly timely information.
It’s interesting how different people can read the same thing very differently. When that occurs over a blog post, it sometimes says more about the commenters than it does about what is being read. Blogs as a virtual Rorschach, so to speak.
Earlier this week I posted about my experience at a recent high school graduation where I saw that women vastly outperformed men academically. My post was strictly an observation. There was no blame, no rant, no recommendations.
That’s not what some people read, however. (Coincidentally, in fitting with the original subject matter at hand, at least if screen names are indicative of gender, we can also add reading comprehension to the list of subjects where men fall short–as the misinterpreters were predominantly male.)
I was struck by how much projection of one’s own worldview was misinterpreted into my view. I did not call for “affirmative action” to remedy the inequality of outcome, nor did I view the inequality as an indication of some innately prejudicial system.
I did lament the lack of advocates for boys out there, but I did not call for boys to receive their advocacy at the expense of women, nor did I call for governmental programs to “fix” the problem.
Most of all what I was struck by was the zero-sum-game nature of many of the comments both on this site and at others discussing what I wrote (check the Technorati bug at the original post). ”Roy,” for example, read into my writing that “success is actually finite, and the more women get of it the less is left for the guys.” His comment was echoed by others who betrayed a zeitgeist that the advancement of one can only come at the expense of another.
Success in just about everything but sports doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. However, the culture of victimhood has apparently inculcated within a number of people a reflexive response to want to push the successful down, when what is needed is to lift up the failing. (Aside: If you haven’t read Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron since grade school . . . or if you’re male, and you haven’t read it at all . . . it’s really worth a re-read, as it carries this phenomenon to a horrible extreme.)
Penalizing success is absolutely the wrong response since it does nothing to solve the underlying disadvantage. It simply masks the problem by lessening the statistical distinction. Yet, I was struck again and again how by simply bringing up the difference in academic achievement between sexes, it was automatically assumed that I was suggesting a remedial quota that would punish today’s achievers.
To be fair, it works both ways, as a number of commenters argued that following rules, studying, and testing puts boys at a recent disadvantage–as if those haven’t always been a part of the American school system–even long before women began to outperform men.
If boys aren’t doing as well in school as girls, it is not because of what the girls are doing. Nor is it the fault of what the system is doing for girls. As the son of a mother, the husband of a wife, and the father of a daughter, I’m proud of the recent academic gains women have made, and wish not to see those reversed. However, as the father of two sons, I want the system to work as well for my sons as it does for my daughter.
One other thing troubled me about some of the responses, not so much here, but on some other websites. There was a definite air of gleeful schadenfreude in some comments. They saw it as a “good thing” that boys were finally getting their comeuppance.
It’s hard to know who anonymous internet commenters are, but I’d like to think that those writers don’t yet have children of their own. Because it would be really sad if there was a group of parents out there who think that it’s alright to punish their sons for the sins of their fathers.
I was concerned that in the sea of humanity this evening, I wouldn’t be able to locate “my” graduate. My friend was one of dozens of young adults with freshly minted diplomas from our local public high school. Luckily, the color-coding made it easier to locate my friend. There were yellow sashes for International Baccalaureate program graduates, blue and gold cords for members of the National Honor Society, and green cords for those graduating with academic honors. My friend was a member of the small minority of graduates with all three awards.
But my friend was a member of a still smaller color-coded minority. Instead of wearing the white graduation gowns the women graduates wore, he wore green, making him one of only two male graduates with awards in all three areas. (more…)
The Nashville City Paper asks, “Will the teacher’s union endorsement influence your vote in the mayor’s race?”
I answered “Yes”, but I’m guessing that my reasoning wasn’t what the question’s writer was thinking when he wrote the survey. The endorsement of the Metro Nashville Education Association absolutely will influence me to vote in another direction. While that alone won’t be the sole determinor in who I support, whoever has the local NEA affiliate’s support starts with a significant strike against him–especially given their recent dysfunctional past.
So there are two lessons here:
Endorsements work both ways, and writing survey questions/interpreting survey results isn’t always obvious.
As much as I appreciate your organization giving me a little publicity, I must request that you remove my “letter” from your video.
See, here’s the deal: I get letters all the time, usually in the form of prayers, and I do my best to answer them all, but, I got to tell ya, I’m overwhelmed, and, I must confess, I have a few, um, ghostwriters, so to speak, to do some of the heavy lifting. Give me a break: I’ve got a full plate up here, plus we’ve been undergoing some serious restructuring lately. Anyway, that particular response letter your little video recites was not meant for publication. It was actually supposed to be in the “rewrite” pile but somehow got misfiled and ended up in your hands. I’m still trying to figure that out. We have a team on it and they should be getting back to Me shortly.
Anyway, since you’re so interested, here is how the rewrite would have gone:
It pains me more than you will ever understand to watch my children kill one other. But, as you might have noticed, I keep divine interventions to a strict minimum. It’s a standard policy I have for reasons that you could not begin to fathom at this point in time. Maybe someday.
I understand, though, that some people may think that these things have happened because of cultural changes, namely, the removal of mandatory prayer in schools, the lack or parental notification laws and so forth. Well, that’s a natural reaction, I guess, but it sort of ignores this much more pertinent point: all of the people directly responsible for these events were disaffected sociopaths who developed, over time, propensities for random violence.
For every prayer I’ve gotten asking Me what I could have done to stop this, I can give you twenty times where I’ve tried to nudge one or some of my followers to reach out to these sorts of people before it’s too late. Unfortunately, too many of my followers turn a blind eye to people like this, or, worse, openly shun them, making the problem even worse. I’m sorry, but having prayer in school isn’t going to do a thing for a person with these sorts of issues. They need direct intervention. Not from Me, but from you. I can’t do it all. If you people spent one-tenth as much time truly helping those less fortunate–not just financially, but also physically and mentally–as you do putting together cheesy Web videos (love the flying skull, by the way–that’s good stuff), I guarantee you’ll see a major improvement.
Is this really too much to ask? I guess it is, because I’ve waited many millennia for it to happen.
P.S. You think I’m bad? Check out Christopher Hitchens. Not a believer, alas, but, if he was, oh! what I could do with the talents I gave him.
| Category: Education
| Posted at: Friday, 20 April 2007
Metro Nashville students will have fewer clothing options next year, but for teachers, anything goes.
That includes jeans, flip flops, tank tops and others fashions off limits to students under the new “standard school attire” uniform policy and, in some cases, under the student dress code in place this year.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of the teachers union to a possible teacher dress code.