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School’s IN – For Summer!

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For the past five years I've been telling my sons that if I had my way, there would be no such thing as summer vacation for kids, and their reactions have been, shall we say, not extremely positive. Sure, most kids love their summer vacations, but all good things must come to an end.

If President Obama follows through with his proposal to significantly shorten summer breaks and possibly even lengthen school days, that alone garners my vote for him in 2012. Why? Because as most working parents here know, it's not good to have a teenager home by him- or herself while both parents are out trying to make money to pay the rent (for we all know the old saw about idle hands), and if the child is too young to be alone, then the parents wind up forking over a lot more C-notes to pay for day care. Most importantly, lengthened school days and shortened summer breaks will mean our kids will be more competitive in the modern world — for it's no secret that America's turning out substandard graduates even compared to many Third World countries.

Now, the increased school hours in and of themselves do not solve the problem; after all, there are countries in Asia where kids spend fewer hours in school than we already do. But I think most of us can agree this is a big step in the right direction, if we take this step.

There's one more consideration: politics. Since it's a Democrat (and especially one who's a liberal black president who many claim is Muslim, isn't native-born American, and pals around with terrorists), the conservatives are sure to cry out against this new assault on a sacred agrarian tradition kept since the founding fathers worked the fields as kids. Not only that, but lengthened school hours will cost more money, more taxpayer money more taxes – Horrors! It's another step towards socialism! Be afraid! Praise the Limbaugh and pass the ammunition; there be a census taker a-comin' down the road.

Silliness aside, of course the BC conservatives are generally intelligent, sensible, and certainly aren't part of the far-right militaristic-birther lunatic fringe. I suspect that a few BC conservatives will in their hearts agree with President Obama's proposal, even if they don't publicly do so. Perhaps some conservative politicians will see this as a possible wedge issue, a way to weaken President Obama's (and the Democrats') standing among America's youth, but I don't think so, because youth under the age of 18 don't vote. Grownups do.

And President Obama's proposal is a wonderful example of what happens when the grownups are in charge. As they have been since January 20th, 2009.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m sorry but I disagree, Glenn.

    We’re children only once, and the idea of shortening this most happy period of our lives just doesn’t sit well with me. The parents should do their best to put their kids’ welfare first – no matter what it takes.

    And we shouldn’t be using the excuse of our inadequate education system at the expense of the kids. If it’s inadequate, then let’s fix it. Stretching something that’s not good to begin with somehow doesn’t strike me as a viable solution.

  • Julie

    Personally, I don’t see how more school for MY children would be a good idea. They come home from school sometimes not understanding what the teacher has tried to teach in their overcrowded, noisy classroom and I take up the slack and teach them what the teacher couldn’t/didn’t. I am there for my kids and don’t need someone else raising them. I am not in need of free daycare as some others in this country are, and I do not wish to have my children raised by other people anymore than they already are. That, in essence, is what is being proposed here, as far as MY children are concerned. Because MY children have a loving mother and father who both work full-time but are still home with them whenever they are not in school and who do take the time to sit down with them and TEACH them, LOVE them, NURTURE them, and PARENT them. My children will be home-schooled if this proposal goes through.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Some school districts in Michigan already have the year-round school. Their summer break is actually broken up in winter, spring and summer, with only three weeks between instead of three months.

    I think year round school is a good idea. Kids brains go soft, and it’s not just the modern ones. I distinctly remember forgetting a vast amount of information by the first few days of August. However… try and sell that to the teachers’ unions. They want their 180 days, nothing more or less, year long or not.

    The flip side to all this school leads me to wonder why we can’t do better with the time already allotted. I’m in schools quite a bit and in more than a few, it’s just organized babysitting services, even for high school. (Oh, yes… the argument that teachers are underpaid and overworked. Not in Michigan they aren’t.)

  • Julie

    Oh, and PS… just so you don’t get the wrong idea… I am a liberal Democrat and voted for Obama and still strongly support him. So, I’m not a gun-toting, pass the ammunition, praise Rush Limbaugh nut.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Besides, Julie, the argument tends to make an unwarranted assumption that what’s wrong is the kids, that somehow the kids don’t want to learn or are somehow deficient.

    Let’s put the blame where the blame is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Same here, Julie, but what’s a bad idea is a bad idea – no matter who initiates it.

    Now, that would really be government’s intrusion into people’s lives.

    Some people may need help or a safety net, but nobody needs a Big Brother.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    School is school, Joanne, and recreation is recreation.

    If there was a school to speak of, then recreation is an excellent idea.

    So if the kids’ brains “go soft,” as you say, it’s because there had never been to school. But that’s my take.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    …if the kids’ brains “go soft,” as you say, it’s because there had never been to school.

    Funny how that seems to be on the mark….

    When my kids were in school in the States, |I remember having to teach them an awful lot of basic things that they never learned in school. It really pissed me off, the way most teachers seemed to be only time-clock punchers – no better than cashiers at the Burger King I managed.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, I went to the primary and high school in Poland, Ruvy. And we were subject to quite a regimen, the satellite country that it was. (And Israeli high school was no picnic either.)

    So when the two months vacation were on, it was like manna from heaven.

  • Baronius

    Roger, I’ve got to tip my hat to you. My instinct is with the President’s proposal, but you raise a very good point – the same point that I’ve been raising about health care, incidentally – that the first thing we should do is fix what’s actually wrong.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Why are there people on school-boards in this country.. If anyone believes it is for the betterment of the students they are dead wrong.

    They don’t give a damn about the children. It’s their taxes they want to keep down.

    Good luck trying and get more education for your kids.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Woo-hoo, I didn’t expect these replies! Just goes to show how much I still don’t know….

    But I still think that two months’ break in summer is a bad thing, because the first three to four weeks in September are always – ALWAYS – spent re-teaching the kids what they forgot during the summer.

    If you’ve just got to have breaks for the kids, then spread it out during the year – a week here, a couple weeks there – long enough to be enjoyable but not so long that everything they learned in the last month of school has to be retaught when they return.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And FYI to all – I’m all for school uniforms, too. Fewer fights, less problem with the local fashion gestapo, less money the family has to spend….

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    My nephew is in school again now for 3 weeks. Already he has:

    1 Warning for PDA (public display of affection): for kissing his gf goodbye as they headed off to class.

    1 Detention for Insubordination: for politely declining to give up the name of said gf and thereby refusing to aid authorities with the enforcement of their punishment scheme.

    1 ‘Go directly to the Vice Principle': for advocating for a vision impaired student who was punished by being seated in the back of the classroom.

    1 ‘Just for that you can sit in the back of the classroom too': Not as a punishment of course, just for being a ‘distraction’.

    He’s a good kid. I’m proud of him.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Baronius.

    Perhaps this issue is clearer to me than the other one. But what seems indisputable here is an attempt to redirect our attention from the real problem – which is our failing education system – and lay the blame on the kids.

    As if putting more hours in what’s essentially not a right learning environment would somehow made that very environment better. The logic is just preposterous.

  • Clavos

    Well, Glenn, this conservative/libertarian agrees with you regarding year-round school, though I do think Roger is right about addressing the flaws first.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Just goes to show how much I still don’t know….

    Yeah, well, I don’t think you’re alone there. ;-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    *makes her way to the back of the thread and exits out a door onto the lawn…feeling kind of sick*

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger, you went to school 50 years ago, or more (sorry to make you seem so ancient, but you’re just a bit more ancient than me). And the schools you went to were tougher than anything I ever attended. You had to actually learn. In all truth, I read the textbooks the first weeek I got them in school, and for most of elementary school and high school (except for Spanish, Math and Chemistry) I breezed through, bored stiff. If not for Math, Spanish and Chemistry in high school, I would have been on the Dean’s List with a 90 average when I graduated Midwood, would have gotten higher SAT scores, and therefore would have gone to Brooklyn College, instead of Hunter in the Bronx (which was a couple of notches lower academically).

    My boys would never have gotten the level of education I got because I was curious on my own to read encyclopedias – (you know, egg-head, geek, nerd, four-eyes) – and when we were raising the boys in the States, we didn’t have the money to buy encyclopedias.

    In Israel, since we didn’t and still don’t have a TV, they learned how to read English at at least grade appropriate levels for the States (which is a lot higher than the typical Israeli kid these days).

    The school systems in both the States and in Israel have declined woefully.

    The bottom line is that teachers, like most people, come in the “I love my job” variety (a couple such fellows write here), and the “I love my paycheck” variety. The second kind of teacher only damages the kids. The first kind is a blessing, an angel. The second kind outnumber the first – for a variety of reasons.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And now she’s about to recover from her dizziness and nausea with the help of smelling salts.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Also, it always struck me that the teachers seemed to make school boring – far more boring than it needed to be. If you go check out books by Carroll Quigley, you eventually understand why. The educational system is not supposed to educate – it is supposed to indoctrinate, kill original thinking, dumb down kids and dampen curiosity. And heck, if after three years of indoctrination in all these things, they don’t succeed! Is it any wonder that kids “don’t learn”? Why do you think home-schooling is so popular? And why do you think the home-schooled kids seem so much smarter?

    In America, you are not supposed to be an independent thinker – you are supposed to be a good boy (or girl) who does as you are told.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m certain, Ruvy, that the standards are no longer the same.

    I wasn’t any different from the other kids. I didn’t want to learn, but I had no choice. The regimen was there. We had Latin in high school, and German, and Russian, and Logic. No typing or home economics classes or basket weaving.

    It was either that or going to a vocational school and work in a factory. And when I was delinquent, my father’s belt kept me (more or less) on the straight and narrow.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    *reopens the door and whispers futilely to nobody in particular*

    Would it be too much trouble for you people not to feel you have to determine and dictate every facet of life for for every human being you’ve never even met? Has anyone ever woken up and said to themselves, “You know what, self?–I’m sort of tired of telling every other person in the world what to do and how to live, I think I’ll go to a museum, or a movie, or sing a song instead, maybe do some living myself, less time for telling other people how to live that way.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, my advantage was that I’ve never had the privilege to attend American high school.

    Straight to college – Brooklyn College. And it was quite alright in the sixties.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Hah! I told you so, Roger. I never had to take Latin or German (Spanish is easy compared to either, and I damn near failed that!) or Logic in school. I there had been a few hours of Latin or Logic each week in the schools I went to, the level of my formal education might begin to match yours. And school would have been a lot harder – though not necessarily more interesting.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And another thing, I can tell you exactly what’s wrong with ‘education’ in the US. It’s being run by people exactly like the people talking here.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Tell you something else. I tried to apply to the University of Jerusalem (1960) – in mathematics – but didn’t make the cut. The competition was out of this world.

    In retrospect, I’m glad I haven’t stayed, or I would have developed an inferiority complex.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I hope I’m excluded, Cindy. We even if not, what else could you expect.

    We Are The World!

  • Baronius

    Cindy – People like Clavos, Roger, Ruvy, and me? In what respects are we similar? Come to think of it, in what respect is your comment #26 anything other than a pointless personal attack?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    lol I’m not sure what you just said there, Roger. But, nah, you aren’t included, I gave you a ‘hall pass’. ;-)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glenn, this has nothing to do with politics, but I would have to vote NO on more school. For two reasons 1) I have enough damn homework, tests, teachers, etc. to deal with 9 months out of the year and 2) I enjoy my time with my daughters during the summer!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    PS, even if this proposal came from the Pope…it is a “lame ass” idea, however, I would have to take the “ass” out of that statement!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius,

    My comment is what I think is true. If you saw 42 gardeners out in the garden all chopping up the shrubbery and causing a hell of a problem whilst all telling each other that something’s wrong and we’ve got to do something about it, and meantime they just keep chopping away, would it be a personal attack to say to them, ‘I think you are what’s wrong.”? But the gardeners never think of seeing if maybe they, themselves, are the problem.

    I didn’t name any names but why didn’t you include Glenn in there and Joanne? And anyone else who thinks they know what they’re doing and knows it so well that they should have a say that impacts others. Poor Julie, She sounds like the only person who actually has any kids in school here.

    I think that ‘people’ are the problem, Baronius. Not kids. The people who make the decisions about what education is and what needs to be done–they think reality should work the way they think it should work, even though it doesn’t. They don’t know what they’re doing. I see what they do, and what I see as the problem, being replicated in this thread.

    No personal attack. Just my opinion. What do you consider a personal attack? Is saying you think someone is wrong a personal attack?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But it is politics, Christine, government’s control of education.

    Next thing, they’ll take the kids away from their parents and keep them in schools all year round.

    Remember the indoctrination video that Doug Hunter posted on one of the threads, the kids clapping and chanting “Obama, Obama,” after the best tradition of Chinese indoctrination techniques.

    This should become an important issue for all Americans – indicating the direction this country is going. And it’s so right-headed at face value – educating our kids.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The “42 gardeners” parable. That’s a good one. And they’re all chopping away.

    So let me get it straight:

    The gardeners are the commenters. The cut- off must be the children. And poor Julie, the only mother in the bunch, is lamenting and shedding tears at the entire spectacle. All the while Cindy (playing Jesus) relates the parable to the disbelieving Pharisee (Baronius).

    I think I’ve got it.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    1 Warning for PDA (public display of affection): for kissing his gf goodbye as they headed off to class.

    1 Detention for Insubordination: for politely declining to give up the name of said gf and thereby refusing to aid authorities with the enforcement of their punishment scheme.

    1 ‘Go directly to the Vice Principal': for advocating for a vision impaired student who was punished by being seated in the back of the classroom.

    1 ‘Just for that you can sit in the back of the classroom too': Not as a punishment of course, just for being a ‘distraction’.

    If after three weeks, this is the record your nephew is acquiring, you are right to be proud of him. Someone has been teaching him to stand up for what is right and just, and not to back down before “authority figures”.

    Strikes me that if this is what your nephew’s school is really about, it would be more honest to call it a prison than a school. And frankly, I’m willing to bet that more and more schools are really about the same things as your nephew’s school.

    I wouldn’t want my kids in prison all year round. And to be blunt, I could never figure out a way to home-school them. If we’d had enough money to get by mostly on my wife’s salary, I would have home-schooled them. The more I got involved with their schooling, the more disgusted I got. And the more I could see it was a prison. It wasn’t till I moved here and learned about Carroll Quigley that I understood why.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy, I should have mentioned that comment 36 was directed at you. Now go re-read my comment #21.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    They’re nothing like that in Alameda, CA. But we’re talking here about a middle to upper-middle class community, island community. More of an exception than the rule.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    32 – lol, Christine. That was good.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    35

    lol! That is hilarious Roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not certain I got it right, Cindy, but I thought it was worth the try.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    36 Ruvy,

    Sorry for the flying shrapnel.

    That is something I think is very true. More so than ever before (not that I think ever before was ever good anyway). How else can they force feed children more irrelevant crap so they can spit it out on some test later. Demonstrating what? That they got them to memorize something irrelevant for a little while?

    Definition: School –
    1. A place where the most important lesson is “Don’t think; just obey.”

    (Roger, that smelling salts thing was a hoot. You’re on a roll tonight.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I have to take my breaks from Althusser. If you think Foucault is tough, this guy is almost impenetrable.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    #39 – Cindy

    “32 – lol, Christine. That was good”.

    I actually made Cindy laugh! Wow I must being doing something right!

  • Julie

    LOL you’re right, Poor Julie does have children in school and one who is yet to come. I completely understand your gardener’s example and that is exactly what I feel is happening as well. How is more time with these people who are teaching inadequately in the first place going to improve our children’s so called “education”? I’m not trying to knock all teachers because I have had experiences with MANY good teachers who are actually in it for the sake of teaching and the excitement of getting through to a student who hasn’t been “getting it” up til now… those are the types of teachers that deserve a raise, deserve our praise, and who I wish there were more of. For now, I will continue to fill in at home where the teachers leave off at school and hope to heck this proposal goes nowhere for the time being.

  • Leighann

    My local newspaper came out with an article a couple of weeks ago which claimed that the schools on the military base where I live outscored the public schools. Since I have worked in both, I knew that the article was misleading.
    First of all, the demographics are totally different. On the military base, there are no students living in poverty. Now, I know that privates do not make much money but I also know that they do not pay rent or any utilities if they live on base, so these students at least have a home to go to every night. They are far less likely to teach students who have been to six different foster homes in the past year or who have been out gang banging all night long. When there is a major problem with the parents or even getting in touch with a parent, there is no commanding officer that a teacher can call. Many parents are not let off for school meetings as they are at the military base.

    Second, military schools are not under No Child Left Behind. They will say that they try to follow it but they do not have to since they do not rely on federal money. They are federal so it is already their money. This means they are not being pulled in a thousand different directions.

    They (well at least the school where I worked) do not follow standardized procedures when administering the tests. They allow the teachers to keep the tests in their room all week. In public schools the tests are counted and checked out just before testing and just after testing every day so the teacher will not be tempted to look at the next days’ questions and teach those questions to the students that afternoon. I guess this would be very tempting if your reputation as a teacher were on the line.

    I could go on and on about the differnces in these two systems that could effect test scores.

    These two school systems can not be compared as far as test score outcomes go. There are too many extraneous variables.

    I bring this up because I often wonder how comparable the United States is with the other countries in which it is being compared. Are factors taken into consideration such as that we educate and test ALL of our students? I include students in special education for things such as Mental Retardation, Learning Disabilities, Autism, and Behavior disorders in “ALL” as well as students who are considered At-Risk, in foster homes, or just do not care.

    From my understanding, this is not the case in many other countries. If that is true then the education systems are not comparable. It’s like comparing apple and oranges.

  • Leighann

    Oh, here in TN we do still have students who work their parents farms during the summer.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You know, we’re neighbors. I’m in KY.

  • Leighann

    Yeah, I know. We may be closer than you think. You have posted where you live before. We are just across the state line from each other.

  • Doug Hunter

    Cindy #23

    Thanks for putting into words exactly how I feel about this topic and politics in general. My only interest in telling people what to do or how to think is to tell them not to tell me what to do or how to think.

    It is futility.

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes our public schools are in sad shape and yes it has been the liberal left that has been in charge of them for the last 30 years.

    All the studies that have been done show that private Catholic schools generally spend less per pupil and produce students that score better on tests. I guess while the kids at public schools were learning songs of praise to honor “the one” and having the virtue of gay marriage explained to them in the second grade the Catholic school students were actually learning to read, write, do arithmetic and studying history.

    Go figure.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    #51

    You can’t just spew bull in the comment threads ARCH.

    Yes our public schools are in sad shape and yes it has been the liberal left that has been in charge of them for the last 30 years.

    can you provide a link or some proof of this statement?

    Our experience for the last thirty years has been to fight with the conservative school board members for new teachers and resources for the classrooms, not the administration that skims a whopping thirty percent off the top!

    In this county, every school has a superintendent making 100+ K not to mention their personal staff and beautiful air-conditioned office suites, catered lunches and endless trips to resorts all in the name of “conferences.”

    Meanwhile the teachers struggle to get supplies and the technology in the classroom,where we really need it!

    another point here:

    Most teachers have to hold summer jobs to make ends meet!

    I guess while the kids at public schools were learning songs of praise to honor “the one” and having the virtue of gay marriage explained to them in the second grade the Catholic school students were actually learning to read, write, do arithmetic and studying history.

    The above quote is also complete and utter trash.

    First of all, Who is the “one?”
    and finally. What school are you referring to that teaches gay marriage in the second grade?

    Please name one of these schools Arch, so I can call the school for myself and find out if you are for real or just a load of hot air.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Bing,

    Catholic schools, like Jewish day schools, produce students who do well on tests. But they are just as indoctrinated to be cogs in the corporate wheel as the kids in the public schools – perhaps moreso, because the discipline tends to be better in these schools.

    I leave you to deal with Jeannie on your own. She is right about the way school superintendants are way overpaid while teachers have to scrape by, buying materials out of their own pockets to completely supply classrooms – this even in relatively well off school districts.

    Jeannie has trouble with realizing that there is a personality cult surrounding Obama, similar to the one surrounding Chávez, Hitler and Stalin. She may have trouble acknowledging the Soviet roots of much of this personality cult. Lots of frustrated cheerleaders of the obamanation have trouble seeing that as well.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Ruvy,

    I am going to ignore your ending paragraph in #53 because it sounds like dribble.:(

    However, thank you very much for agreeing with me on how these schools are being sold short by the administrative powers that be!

    We would get along soo much better if you would lay off the same rants!

    – *
    _ ( a wink for Ruvy!)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    I would also like to publicly apologise to you Ruvy.

    You have every right to comment here. Although I find many of your words to be distasteful, I will try harder to tolerate them! That was a cheap shot I took at you the other day saying YUK…:(

    I hope you will accept my apology Ruvy.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jeannie,

    Of course I accept your apology. And naturally, you have the right to ignore what you choose to here. This is concommitant with the right to post.

    But I humbly ask you to consider the things you regard as dribble as something worth considering.

    Look at it this way. Whatever I think of Barack Obama, he is a man I would like to like. He is bright, he is a good writer, he finished law school! I may not think much of ACORN, but he was a community organizer! This is something I tried to be in St. Paul, when I lived there in the ’90’s until 2001.

    They were pissed off at me when I resigned my position on the Ramsey Action Programs Board of Directors because I led and repesented people who needed a voice in an organization that more and more was wandering off in the direction of elitists who don’t give a damn. I only quit because I had to concentrate my energies on the move to Israel. I didn’t like leaving my faction there weakened. But I digress.

    To return to my point, I’d like to like Obama because he learned from a fellow like Sol Alinksy, because he has done things I would have like to, and has been reasonably successful at it. And he got rich authoring books!

    But for all that, I cannot afford to like Obama. You’ve seen why with your own frustration over how he is handling a health reform bill you would like to see passed. He has been deceptive and quick to shed the interests of those who cannot afford to hob-nob with Wall Street bankers, people like you.

    I see much more that is evil in the man. Leaving aside his obvious antipathy to Israel, he is in the process of trashing what remains of democracy in your country.

    Don’t believe, me Jeannie. Believe Gerald Celente, a trends forecaster who has called things like the financial panic of 1987, the dot.com bubble and its collapse, the collapse of the housing market, and all sorts of other things. The man has a record of being right, which is why he has been on CNBC, amongst other stations.

  • Doug Hunter

    I don’t agree that our education problem is based on funding. Several studies have noted that there is little correlation between spending and educational outcomes. One example that sticks out, New York has triple the per pupil spending of Utah but a 10% higher dropout rate. Surprisingly, on SAT scores and dropout rates the midwestern states perform best even into those states like Nebraska where there isn’t alot of money around while rich northeastern states spend the most per pupil.

    Real educational improvement comes when families, communities, and parents put a focus on education, make an effort to enrich their children’s lives, and invest themselves in their kid’s education. That’s where real progress is made. Where you have underperforming schools you have bad parenting and poor environments at home not a lack of funding. (which is why there is a push to get kids out earlier, Head Start, and keep kids out longer, Year Round School)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    #56 here we go again RUVY!

    he finished law school!

    President Obama holds two law degrees. One from Harvard, here he was president of the Harvard Law Review at age THIRTY!, and the other degree is from Columbia University in NYC.
    He was and is soo much more than a Community organizer. (not that there is anything wrong with community organizing:))

    I have to say again how it is jealousy and prejudice that is holding his efforts back right now.
    Imagine being a Senator for years and then seeing a junior Senator rising to the top in only four short years! I’d be jealous too!
    If he was caucasian( especially of English decent) then he would be held on high!by everyone.
    I watch BBC World News now Ruvy ; they are not owned by corporate America. Also there is a whole world out there, not just US.

    p.s. The Ed Show is still one of my favorite shows. Ed fires my husband and me up!!!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jeannie,

    It matters to me that Obama finished law school because I didn’t – not that you would necessarily know that. I wasn’t putting the guy down.

    Also there is a whole world out there, not just US. Good! You see that then! Try watching this video in English from Russian TV.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Ruvy, I watched that video and I am amazed at how many people try to blame the present administration for AIG, Freddy and Fannie and the auto industry.
    1. AIG was on Bushes watch and you know it.
    2.Freddy and Fanny actually help many first time homeowners acquire a little crumb of the pie, so they have to survive if the middle class is to survive.
    3. Who killed the EV1? corporate lobbyists that’s who!

    So please realize that this country has been in a stranglehold for the past 40 years!
    We just got rid of some of the fascists, and they are not us…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Who killed the Sherman Anti Trust laws?
    Wasn’t that Reagan’s admin? Please correct me if I’m wrong…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    When I researched English as a school subject–reading and comprehension–I discovered ‘The Problem’ with the schools goes back as far as there were schools. For 200+ years people in this country have been talking about and trying to solve ‘The Problem’ with the schools.

    There are 75-100 years worth of studies that came out of Australia. (Ignored by people trying to solve ‘The Problem’.) Tons of studies all over the place showing pretty much similar things. Guess what?

    The schools are designed to teach English exactly opposite of the way children learn. Exactly opposite.

    Why? That’s a good question to ask oneself, I think.

    Ruvy,

    Catholic schools, like Jewish day schools, produce students who do well on tests. But they are just as indoctrinated to be cogs in the corporate wheel as the kids in the public schools…

    That sounds right to me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So how do you account, Cindy, for American literary output? Arguably, it’s been the most prolific and ground-breaking in the world.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #61,

    I think it predates Reagan, Jeannie. Even Eisenhower was talking about the military-industrial complex, and that was in the fifties. The collusion between government and big business has been growing ever since, and nothing was being done about it.

    It’s a shame!

  • Doug Hunter

    Roger #63

    Does true creativity lend itself very well to the confines of structured education?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    63-

    “It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom.” –Albert Einstein

    I account for them because those with a love of a thing have less to struggle with than those who have any potential love of a thing drummed out of them. It was no effort for Einstein to study a multitude of subjects. The rest he ignored and so was a failure. Why does no one ever think of reading what Einstein says about schools and learning? People want children to be smart, why not ask a smart person what the problem is?

    Albert Einstein – Failure
    “Einstein didn’t like to study except for those things that interested him. Albert was interested in mathematics and philosophy. He just didn’t bother with the other stuff.

    A high school official wanted young Einstein expelled from school. The teacher complained that Einstein never said anything. He just sat in the back of the class and smiled. At the age of sixteen Albert dropped out of school.

    Albert Einstein would probably have fared even worse today in the United States than he did in late Nineteenth Century Wurtemburg, Germany. He definitely would have been one child left behind in the era of No Child Left Behind.”

    Biographical background from the American Institute of Physics:
    “Einstein hated the academic high school he was sent to in Munich, where success depended on memorization and obedience to arbitrary authority. His real studies were done at home with books on mathematics, physics, and philosophy. A teacher suggested Einstein leave school, since his very presence destroyed the other students’ respect for the teacher.”

    Here is a text worth reading. Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar by Patrick Hartwell. (pdf) If nothing else, just read the opening page–about three paragraphs.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    65 – Or I could have gone with that one sentence answer Doug gave. lol

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #65, Hi Doug.

    No. But it’s brought to the forth thereby. Sort of like a rebellion.

    Anyways, I don’t share Cindy’s idealistic vision that all are equally gifted and talented. And in addition to that, I may disagree with her about the purpose of elementary education. It’s not to create geniuses but only a certain level of competence.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Rebellion is good. Let’s never underestimate it. It’s definitely more beneficial to the individual than conformity.

    In fact, there’s a sense in which I find a certain contradiction between our desire to create a fool-proof educational system (and how can one argue with that) and the best possible outcome. Conflict, struggle and yes, rebellion, are the necessary ingredients of society and, may I add, the determinants of individual growth. (Foucault) In absence of that, aren’t we creating a society of robots.

    Once again, I refer both of you to revisit Doug’s link concerning the indoctrination of children – all clapping for Obama.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jeannie,

    First of all, thank you for watching the video. I appreciate that. Now to your comments. Please have patience with me – this may get a bit long.

    The collapse of September 2008 was building from the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated to be president. He was elected because Carter was seen as ineffective – and he was – but that is irrelevant. What is relelvant?

    This.

    Reagan chose a path of massive deficit spending to get the States out of recession with relatively high inflation and very high interest rates. This kind of deficit spending was justifiable when the States had an industrial base and could produce its way out of economic disasters, but by the time Reagan took office, that base was nearly gone.

    In addition, his spending turned the United States from a creditor nation where foreigners owed the Americans, to a debtor nation where Americans owed foreigners.

    For all the good Reagan may have done in bringing down the Soviet Union, it has become negated by the time bomb of debt that he planted in the American economy and the American psyche. The Republicans, that party of stingy bastards who wanted balanced budgets on the backs of poor people, were suddenly spending our money (I still lived in the States then) like drunks with the bosses payroll in their hands!

    What came to America’s rescue was the development of the PC (that machine I’m using to communicate with you right now) and other advbances in the computer. While the PC’s themselves were largely made in Korea or China, the programs to run them were developed in the USA, and there were plenty of plants producing various parts (what I was familiar with was circuit boards) for computers all over the country. In other words, the United States sort of produced its way out of the recession. When a panic hit the market in 1987, again computers saved the day, this time with further applications and the development of the world wide web, which took off in the early 90’s. That was the last time there was an American produced recovery.

    While Clinton strove for balanced budgets, he weakened the walls between stock brokerages and banks, which was a time bomb that was not seen – until too late. In rthe mean time the housing market heated up – at least it did in St. Paul – which is why we were able to move here just 6 months after the dot.com bubble finally burst.

    The Bush administration, inheriting Clinton’s recession, spent money like Reagan did – and then really started the money machine rolling with a war in Iraq that you guys didn’t even need. And when it all came crashing down, Bush had to combine the government with big business – fascism.

    Obama has only continued what Bush did, combining big business with government – more fascism – and his irresponsible spending will leave you with an inflation rate that will make inflation under Carter look like a picnic in July on a pretty lake.

    Now, this don’t have much to do with schools – except there won’t be any money to pay for them. And it don’t have much to do with national health care either – there won’t be any money to pay for that. Or rqther there will. Doctor visits will cost $500 or more as the co-pay, the dollar will be that low. America is about to go on a very unpleasant diet of non-consumption. The credit cards are maxed out and the cash is going to become worthless.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Anyways, I don’t share Cindy’s idealistic vision that all are equally gifted and talented.

    I have no vision regarding all people being equally gifted or talented. What I’m saying has nothing to do with such a notion. I think you aren’t seeing the point.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And, quite frankly, I SHOCKED! lol (not)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    It’s not to create geniuses but only a certain level of competence.

    Well, it fails miserably and as I said, has been failing since its inception. Again, people will keep debating about what they think, whilst tossing into the circular file any evidence for how things actually work.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You didn’t shock me. What point am I missing?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But can’t you see, I may have a greater faith in the individual than you, which is to say that for all these obstacles we shall overcome.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    And who ever said anything about creating geniuses? I certainly didn’t. What I said is, rather than getting the opinion of, say, some superintendent, who wants the schools he commands to have children getting high test scores so he can feel like some sort of superhero, it might be a better idea to a) look at the evidence and b) ask someone who’s smart (whereby I gave Albert Einstein as an example of someone who might know better how people learn).

    That’s what I said. I said nothing like the presumptions you made about what I said.

  • Doug Hunter

    Roger, #68,69

    Good points, it looks like to me that the primary purpose of education is churning out spare parts for our economic machine. Geniuses don’t fit the mold and have little future value as a cog in society so they can easily be tossed aside if you’re not careful.

    Circling back to the original article, could it be that the diversity of experience and the sheer time to reflect that a season off of structured learning provides has allowed more than a handful of writers, artists, musicians, and geniuses of all stripes to find themselves?

    Just like my #65 I don’t have an answer, I just have a gut feeling. Cindy did have a good case study in #66.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Why do we fail to create a level of competence? The answer should be simple: we want a nation of morons.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Sorry the word ‘am’ was missing.

    I meant ‘I am shocked.’ Which was an ironical statement.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    78 – I don’t think so. But I’ll discuss it in the philosophy channel.

  • Doug Hunter

    And using an argument in the extreme, as is the case with geniuses, is not always folly. The same principles likely apply to less gifted individuals.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    81- I could have just said it in one sentence like Doug did again.

    (but really I’m far to blabbery to use one sentence)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    So how do you account, Cindy, for American literary output?

    American publishing houses.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    But can’t you see, I may have a greater faith in the individual than you, which is to say that for all these obstacles we shall overcome.

    Could you say more about that? I can’t tell what you mean.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Good points, it looks like to me that the primary purpose of education is churning out spare parts for our economic machine.

    It sure does look that way to me. And I bet most people would even say that’s a good thing.

    But I think there is another problem related to authority, in that schools serve to indoctrinate obedience.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Cindy. It looks like Doug raises some good points, and so do you.

    But if you do agree with me on the major proposition that we’re not all equal, where do we go from there? What is the object?

    If you say the object is to make each and everyone a valuable member of a civil society, that’s one thing. But I know that’s not what you’re about. Your concern is, rather, to turn each and everyone into a sentient, thinking human being – apart from their relation to the community or state or any other form of political or social organization to which they may belong.

    And what I’d say to that, it’s each individual’s responsibility to become such a sentient and responsible agent. Why should you expect the State to do the work that, in the long run, it’s not only detrimental to its own interest but in fact “revolutionary.” To have such expectations doesn’t make any sense.

    And so we go on.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I disagree, Dreadful. Even D. H. Lawrence was espousing the value of American literature, and he adored England.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Why should you expect the State to do the work that, in the long run, it’s not only detrimental to its own interest but in fact ‘revolutionary.'”

    A fine question indeed that’s much broader in scope than education, although I’m not sure Cindy is the person it’s best targeted towards. I’ve found that she, like me, is not real fond of the state as it is currently understood.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Ruvy #70 is a little too long because I have to leave. I just read it and have to say one thing here:
    I was taught that Reagen did not tear down the wall, the PC did. So, we might have common ground here…:) and not to instigate any nuts that might be reading this comment but…I totally agree that Bush + big corp = fascism! now when I return…….

    P.S. Hi and bye Cindy , Roger and Ruvy

    P.S.S. I am happy to be back…:)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, it was directed at Cindy precisely for the point you mention. Which is to say, she knows better,

    Yes, Jeannie, we’re alive and kicking. And we’re all glad you’re back.

  • Doug Hunter

    #85

    I wouldn’t say that’s a bad or good thing but I also wouldn’t confuse that sort of job training and preparation, which certainly includes obedience and submission to authority, with the loftier ideals of education.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Your concern is, rather, to turn each and everyone into a sentient, thinking human being – apart from their relation to the community or state or any other form of political or social organization to which they may belong.

    Well, sort of, but not quite. I don’t propose turning anyone into ‘a sentient, thinking human being’. In fact, I think stopping turning people into things is a better description of what I think.

    And what I’d say to that, it’s each individual’s responsibility to become such a sentient and responsible agent.

    I think you’re missing something Foucault is saying.

    Why should you expect the State to do the work that, in the long run, it’s not only detrimental to its own interest but in fact “revolutionary.” To have such expectations doesn’t make any sense.

    I agree. The state has no interest in sentient human beings. To have expectations that it would makes no sense. Therefore, I have no such expectation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t think there had ever been a time in human history when kids had their way, completely. Discipline was always part of the process.

    Young minds have to be trained. And once they are, it’s time for school – the Greek term is “leisure.”

    What’s amazing, and I’ll say it time and again, is that the individual has always been able to rise above the fray, to free themselves from the constraints of the straitjacket.

    It’s this and no other that I find encouraging. The human spirit shall prevail and pave the way.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    First you propose putting people into a straitjacket. Then you are cheered by their ‘presumed ability’ to get themselves out of it.

    What’s amazing, and I’ll say it time and again, is that the individual has always been able to rise above the fray, to free themselves from the constraints of the straitjacket.

    They have? Where? (looks around and thinks–weren’t we just exploring the reasons why the world is so fucked up?) Then you disagree with Foucault?

    Young minds have to be trained. And once they are, it’s time for school – the Greek term is “leisure.”

    You are the person Foucault warned you about.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “A sentient, thinking human being” is all anyone can hope for.

    “Turning” may not be the best term, I admit, but it doesn’t happen by a miracle. It doesn’t just happen.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #1: I was speaking of freeing oneself from the straitjacket. We all are, in a sense. The idea is it get free.

    #2 Examples: Chomsky, Foucault, you, me, Mark Eden. We’re all individuals. I haven’t seen a mass movement.

    #3 Yes, you have to be regimented and disciplined before you can rebel. Otherwise, rebellion has no meaning.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Wow, I’m getting sharp. Again!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    “A sentient, thinking human being” is what can be expected when one doesn’t meddle in turning people into things.

    another way…

    If one does not indoctrinate–if instead, one freely permits thinking and learning; offers tools where needed; provides stimulating, rich environments–one allows the sentient, thinking human being (that is what we are) to have a chance.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeanne –

    I hold the opinion that – just like the captain of a ship – the president gets credit for everything that goes wrong and everything that goes right in his or her administration.

    Reagan knowingly allowed Iran-Contra to happen. Reaganomics is still tearing away at the fabric of America’s economic infrastructure. Reagan is responsible for both of those.

    BUT the end of the Cold War came on his watch – and the Cold War threatened to end human civilization as we know it (at least twice we and/or the Soviets came within an hour of launching a full first strike). That far outweighs anything he did that was wrong – and regardless of whether it was a result of his ‘grand design’ or whether it was simple stupid luck, in my opinion this alone makes him one of our five greatest presidents along with Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Truman. Personally, I think it was luck – but luck wins the lottery, doesn’t it?

    I know that opinion is not agreeable to most of my fellow liberals…but I have to call it like I see it. To do aught else would be untrue to others and to myself.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Once you become a “sentient, thinking human being,” Cindy, there;s no more fear – of indoctrination, propaganda, any of the above. But the trick of it, cant’s you see? is how to get the young minds to that state.

    I know it’s possible, I see it everyday. Not enough though. So I don’re really see where you’re disagreeing with me.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Roger @ #87:

    I wasn’t disparaging the quality of American literature. Merely pointing out that American publishers have a huge market, most of which wants to read American authors.

    There are doubtless hundreds of highly accomplished and popular Chinese (for example) authors of whom you and I have never heard and probably never will. The Russian bloc, too (as you are doubtless aware) had and continues to have a stable of writers of the highest calibre – who continued to thrive even through the tightly-controlled Soviet era.

    But America has the jump on other literary traditions because of the global spread of English – which is one reason why so many American authors came to prominence, even from the nation’s earliest beginnings.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Ruvy is sort of right about my nephew. He said, “Someone has been teaching him to stand up for what is right and just, and not to back down before ‘authority figures’.”

    Someone has been teaching him. That someone is him. I have never told my nephew to think or do anything.

    Example: I talked about the Tupac Shakur thing. But, it’s worth repeating.

    Children don’t need to be taught what to think or how to think. But they do need support. When my nephew was younger and came to me with his puzzle about whether or not Tupac Shakur was still alive. He said he believed he was alive and that was his conclusion. He didn’t need me to tell him that was or was not true. Why should I care whether or not he thinks Tupac Shakur is alive? He was thinking about something and needed a way to figure it out, as evidenced by his sorting through all the arguments of what other people told him. How to decide what to believe is what I saw him asking. So, I told him what an urban legend is and that people pass around ideas without going to find out for themselves whether they are true or not. But one could look for more information oneself and not have to rely on whether or not someone else is credible.

    So, he didn’t need me to tell him what to do or think. Another way–he did not need another person who would add to the collection of people who gave him opinions. He did need me to suggest a way that he didn’t realize was available to him where he could find out for himself what to think.

    I didn’t tell him to go find out or even that he should go find out. I just mentioned that people can find things out. I didn’t know what he would do with that information . But I was pleasantly surprised. I had forgotten all about it. He came back to me a couple weeks later and told me that he now believed Tupac Shakur was dead (as he had found his autopsy photos).

    The lovely thing that happened, was that because he himself had found a way to get information he needed for his own use–he now regularly comes to me and tells me what things he researched. He has researched what career ideas he has, for example.

    So, he got that tool of researching information, not because I taught him anything. I just suggested it existed (like saying hammers can be used to build things). He, having a need, went and discovered that it was useful to him (picked up the hammer to build something he wanted to build). Because it was useful he now uses it all the time (he now uses it to build other things).

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Glenn,

    BUT the end of the Cold War came on his watch – …. That far outweighs anything he did that was wrong

    The cold war did not come to an end, Glenn. It appeared to come to an end, and the Soviet Empire that was its hallmark did come to an end.

    But the pendulum has swung back and now the Russians, from their smaller Russian Federation, are calling the shots of an anti-American policy round the world. They are not the top dog in the anti-American coalition, they are more primus inter pares but they and their nukes still heft a lot of weight. The rivalry between America and Russia has taken a very different form, but it is still there, as the brou-haha over the missile defense system in Poland shows….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy,

    What you wrote about your nephew was a pleasure to read. But somewhere, somebody gave him the model of the person who seeks to do what is right, in spite of what the “big folks who know better” say. His attitudes did not come from nowhere.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dreadful,

    I was only alluding to the quality of “the American experience,” nothing else. I regard it as unique, and literature, such as it is, is but a reflection.

    The way I see it, English novels are stagnated, after the mode of Sir Conan Doyle and such, (Agatha Christie was an exception, a breath of fresh air.) But for the most part, perhaps because the US situation is explosive, we have the lead in literature.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The way I see it, English novels are stagnated, after the mode of Sir Conan Doyle and such

    You have got to be kidding.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD,

    I was sitting in the doctors’ office yesterday looking at the magazines that they provide. Since they are French, the magazines are either in French (like Elle) or in Hebrew. In either event, all of them are glossy womens’ magazines. I was looking at Elle and could not help noticing how much English was used. The boys at the French Academy must be having heart attacks as their native language turns into Franglish.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I mean think about it. Boostez votre look was the name of one article on looking prettier….

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Once you become a “sentient, thinking human being,” Cindy, there’s no more fear – of indoctrination, propaganda, any of the above.

    We are a sentient, thinking human being, Roger. We start as such. Allowing that state to continue is what is wanted. Then, there is no fear of indoctrination. The way we learn things naturally involves questioning, those questions include questions about the status quo. School indoctrination works at shutting that whole process down.

    There are things to learn at school: 1) obey authority, 2) accept the cultural consensus within a certain acceptable range of thinking, 3) be competitive, 4) being ‘normal’ is desirable.

    But the trick of it, cant’s you see? is how to get the young minds to that state.

    No, no to me. That is what people have been trying to do with children–get them to some state that they have in mind for them to be in.

    I know it’s possible, I see it everyday. Not enough though. So I don’t really see where you’re disagreeing with me.

    You are suggesting you have a better way to ‘get children to a state’. I’m saying they are already in that state. All there is to do is, as I said above is –not interfere, but provide tools and a rich environment.

    What I was hoping to convey with what Einstein said was–his learning was advanced by having freedom. He saw school as hampering the freedom to learn and therefore strangling the desire to learn.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What goes around comes around, Ruvy. I mean, think about all the French words that have found their way into the English language over the years.

    I can’t remember what the word was right now, but I was reading something a few weeks ago about a common English word that had been borrowed from French, had subsequently fallen into disuse in the French language but was now being reintroduced as ‘franglais’! If I remember what the word was, I’ll post it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ll go for precisely the opposite effect: Hampering is good because it encourages rebellion; indoctrination is bad.

    I’m more of a revolutionary than you are!

    Again, you’re displaying insufficient faith in the human spirit. Look at your own life, example, and case. You haven’t come about by the benificence of your teachers, educators and what have you. Certainly not, it was as school of hard knocks. So why should you expect it should be different with anyone else. Some just come to the top, like you, Cindy, and some do not. Believe me, there’s nothing I’d love better than for all people – all brothers and sisters – to share in a sense of liberation.

    Meanwhile, before we reach heaven on earth, forgive me for posting this rather humble comment.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    OK Dreadful. If I’m wrong, point me in the right direction. Most of the people who win the literary awards are either from India or Japan, And in the latter case, it’s the traditional, stylized detective novel.

    My point really is – there isn’t enough (yet) to talk about. Aside from detective stories, you’re out of genre.

    No reflection on you, personally, facts of life.

    So correct me if I’m wrong, please. I love to be wrong.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    111- Roger,

    I’ll say 1) most children’s rebellion will end in acquiescence and indoctrination (that is the problem with the state of the world) and 2) if there is no indoctrination, what is there to rebel against in the first place? If we are sentient, thinking creatures, then supporting that will produce a state of non-rebellion, in my experience. There goes the myth of the inevitable rebellious teen. (ha! Mark’s wording comes in handy)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    104 – Ruvy,

    I can only suspect that freedom and respect are natural desires. When given respect and freedom–I have never found a child who didn’t respond. (Including me, when I was a child.)

    Perhaps experiencing that, one is moved to uphold that state of affairs and naturally moved as a social creature, to solidarity with one’s fellows who are being repressed/oppressed. Maybe empathy is human. Maybe it is quite natural to experience authority as ‘sickness’, and when when one has experienced other ways of interacting, maybe one would like to see everyone free.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Glen,
    I have to disagree very strongly with your assertion that Reagen was a great president.

    First of all, most of what Reaganomics did for this country was to start this downward spiral of the middle class.
    Many social programs were cut, people that could not care for themselves were literally let out on the streets from institutions all across this country and even the nutritional standards were lowered for school lunches.
    Many children in this country depend on public school lunch programs to sustain them. People can say “so what” if they want, but then they are not going to bed at night hungry, are they?
    Will Bunch wrote a book titled, Tear Down This Myth; he asserts that it was the neocons that used Reagen to further their agenda during his life and especially afterwards.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Roger @ #112:

    Three of the last ten Nobel laureates were British. Likewise two of the last ten winners of the Premio Principe de Asturias and one winner of the Franz Kafka Prize. Award winners from Japan and especially from India are pretty thin on the ground in comparison.

    There are many other literary awards – the Booker and the Edgar, for example – but they tend to be much more parochial and/or limited in scope, so they should be disregarded for such an argument as this.

    And you’re not seriously going to suggest that the English crime novel hasn’t developed since Christie. As I said: you have got to be kidding.

  • zingzing

    “And you’re not seriously going to suggest that the English crime novel hasn’t developed since Christie. As I said: you have got to be kidding.”

    i read one recently… white tiger? maybe…. something like that. i think it’s british, but it’s by a guy whose parents are indian, i believe. pakistani? i dunno. he might also be american. the structure was pretty neat (the criminal tells his story years later in a letter to a visiting chinese official) and the setting (mostly india) was rendered amazingly well. the use of language was also pretty cool–because it was to a “chinese” official, the book could explain portions of indian society to an outsider in a very direct manner, but of course that audience was an english-speaking one, not the chinese. there was lots of neat little things about it. and it read extremely fast, with developing malice and tension, and the ever-increasing arrogance/delusion of the author.

    after all that, i hope the author is british… would be a shame if he wasn’t at this point.

  • zingzing

    ahh, yes. he’s pretty well-traveled, but holds indian/australian citizenship and has lived in both england and the us. so i don’t know who this counts for, but i think he’s working off a british literary tradition (at least as much as he is an indian one).

    aravind adiga is his name.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, deinstitutionalization was largely a phenomenon of the 1970’s. It wasn’t driven by financial concerns, but by patient rights. Not that the mentally ill were deinstitutionalized, really – you can see the uptick in prison population as the mental hospitals closed.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    aravind adiga is his name.

    Never heard of him, but he sounds interesting. I’ll look him up next time I’m at the library.

  • zingzing

    he won that booker prize you were speaking of (for the book i was speaking of). it’s not the greatest piece of literature i’ve ever read, but for a genre exercise, it was pretty ambitious. and great fun.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I hear you, Dreadful, Zing. (And sorry for belated response – too much bourbon)

    But that’s the problem, as I see, The genre is dead. How many regurgitations can you have?

    So yes, now we have Japanese-born English citizens writing crime, after the style of Conan Doyle, or the Indian-born writers (although their work is more authentic).

    But that’s the point. The genre is dead, as is the spy novel – so let’s retire Eric Ambler, Maugham, and even John La Carre, good old boys that they were.

    The last great writer you had is Graham Greene – covering the entire gamut of human experience. Sorry – experience is the rock!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy, #123

    But precisely because the world isn’t perfect, rebellion will always be potent and a fact of life – the only intelligent response. So don’t confuse the ideal with the real – at least not yet, not until we get there, that is.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Not sure what you mean, Roger. Rebellion strikes me as a response to something.

    So don’t confuse the ideal with the real – at least not yet, not until we get there, that is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What I mean, Cindy, is that in the real world, situations when rebellion is possible are good ones.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I didn’t say the goal was to stamp out rebellion. I merely said that huge gaps in understanding (the generation gap) between teens and parents are not necessary, though they are considered ‘normal’.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How is the generation gap coming into this?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Well, who do the children rebel against?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    They rebel against stupidity.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Baronius, you wrote in #115

    deinstitutionalization was largely a phenomenon of the 1970’s. It wasn’t driven by financial concerns, but by patient rights. Not that the mentally ill were deinstitutionalized, really – you can see the uptick in prison population as the mental hospitals closed.

    I found this reference to the 80’s release of many patients into the streets as a direct result of Reagen’s policy regarding the mentally ill:

    Electronic Journal of Sociology (1998)
    ISSN: 1198 3655
    Ronald Reagan and the Commitment of the Mentally Ill:
    Capital, Interest Groups, and the Eclipse of Social Policy

    Alexandar R Thomas
    Department of Sociology and Anthropology
    Northeastern University
    alex@telenet.net

    Conventional wisdom suggests that the reduction of funding for social welfare policies during the 1980s is the result of a conservative backlash against the welfare state. With such a backlash, it should be expected that changes in the policies toward involuntary commitment of the mentally ill reflect a generally conservative approach to social policy more generally. In this case, however, the complex of social forces that lead to less restrictive guidelines for involuntary commitment are not the result of conservative politics per se, but rather a coalition of fiscal conservatives, law and order Republicans, relatives of mentally ill patients, and the practitioners working with those patients. Combined with a sharp rise in homelessness during the 1980s, Ronald Reagan pursued a policy toward the treatment of mental illness that satisfied special interest groups and the demands of the business community, but failed to address the issue: the treatment of mental illness.

    I am sorry I didn’t embed the url. I can’t find my cheat sheet on how to do it!

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I can never remember how to hyperlink either. I always go to the Wikipedia article about it.

    PBS graph

    This Frontline article shows that about 80% of the deinstitutionalization in the US took place in the 1970’s.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Interesting statistics, Baronius. It does make sense that the rate would plummet, and steadily, since the introduction of anti-psychotic drugs and Medicare. It’s all about administrative costs.

    Why then did the Regan Administration get all the bad rap? I was living in San Francisco at the time and I tell you what. Almost all of a sudden, homelessness because as visible as a sore thumb.

    There had always been a skid row, not just in SF but in any huge metropolis (like the famous Bovary district in NYC), but as I say, all of a sudden it seemed to assume enormous proportions. And it happened in the early eighties.

  • Baronius

    A mentally disturbed person could spend years in and out of jobs, in and out of prison, before he found himself living on the street. Combine that with the increasing mental illness caused by drug abuse beginning in the 1970’s, and add in the fact that not all homelessness is caused by mental illness, and top it off with the New York-based press framing the discussion in terms of Reagan’s budget cuts.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Roger @ #122:

    With respect: bullshit.

    But that’s the problem, as I see, The genre is dead. How many regurgitations can you have?

    As many as you want. The variations are endless. You might as well say the English language is dead because all the words have been used.

    So yes, now we have Japanese-born English citizens writing crime, after the style of Conan Doyle

    Except for pastiches, I haven’t come across anyone writing after the style of Conan Doyle in a long, long time.

    or the Indian-born writers (although their work is more authentic).

    How?

    But that’s the point. The genre is dead

    I could give you a list as long as your arm of illustrations as to why you’re talking out of your arse, Roger, but let’s start with just one ground-breaking British crime writer for each of the decades since World War II (writing at the peak of their powers during that decade): John Creasey, John Wainwright, Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, John Harvey, Ian Rankin.

    as is the spy novel – so let’s retire Eric Ambler, Maugham, and even John La Carre, good old boys that they were.

    You may have more of a point there. The Cold War was those guys’ goldmine and with that era gone, attempts at updating the spy novel always seem to end up rather far-fetched.

    The last great writer you had is Graham Greene – covering the entire gamut of human experience. Sorry – experience is the rock!

    Once again, I could give you a list as long as your arm… but I suppose we must agree to differ.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m aware, Dreadful, that the detective genre is capable of a great many dimensions, no doubt about it. But I’m sorry if I can’t keep my level of excitement with every new detective novel. Sure, it’s great entertainment, so what?

    And I haven’t heard yet of any new British writers approaching the level of Greene. Of course, time will tell.

    So I will maintain that experience is a bedrock, and yes – America’s experience for the past hundred years or so has been vaster that anywhere else on the continent. And the scope and range of American literary output is but a reflection.

    French have been known of course for their great novels, too, but not of late. So I am sticking with my point and I don’t mean to be offending you when I do. I don’t have a horse in this race and I don’t believe my view is influenced by any true or false sense of patriotism. I believe I’m being objective.

    So let’s be free to disagree.

  • Sunny22

    i think it wouldnt be a good idea beacause already we have enough teens getting stressed. adding more school just wouldnt be a good idea. Besides do you know the suicide rates asia? Don’t want people going round killing themselves do we.