Thursday, May 24, 2012

Evil Education Trends,

The links provided are not necessarily ones I agree with, but they prove my point...

In education, some trends are annoying, some are silly, some clearly don't work, and some are truly evil.  Annoying trends, like forcing parents of sick children to prove illness in truancy court, annoy those of us who don't have the problem, but create real hardships for the families involved.  Silly trends, like using purple pens to mark papers instead of red pens, just make kids hate purple instead of red.  Trends that don't work, like teaching to the standardized test, are so obviously wrong they shouldn't, (but do!), need any kind of argument made against them.

Then there are the evil trends.  These trends interfere with the core beliefs of Catholics and other Christians, or perhaps with other groups, forcing children into silence, or worse, bringing them to a loss of faith.  Even those who do not lose faith in the public or Catholic school systems, are placed in a position where they become duplicitous in order to avoid academic difficulties.  The trends start young, and continue through grad school.

In preschool and kindergarten, teachers have been taught to discourage best friends from spending too much time together.  Yup, just when the little ones are learning to get along, the teacher-ed colleges tell teachers that friendships must be stopped.  You see, if little ones become too attached to a friend, some other kid might be jealous.  Never mind that the development of fidelity as a virtuous pat of friendship is poisoned at its root.  Now any child who has a best friend, and keeps it, does so in a way that carefully hides the fact from adults.  So instead of teaching inclusiveness, we teach manipulation.

The grade school years  are marred by two major trends; the first is that we don't 'track' kids anymore, and the second is early sexualization.  We don't track kids anymore because it could hurt the self-esteem of slow Joe if he knows he's not as smart as Bright Bob.  Both Bob and Joe know the difference when Joe has to leave class to go the resource room.  (After all, only the slow kids need extra resources.)  But we put up a pretense with the effect that Bob is bored and Joe still has low self-esteem.

Early sexualization is fundamental to all later educational trends.  I'd rather have my son learn about sex on the playground, and say, "That's gross! It can't be true," than hear a teacher explain that all kinds of grown-ups can come together to make a family.  The former is handled in a family discussion.  The second creates a hostile learning environment.  If a child is taught that he cannot object on moral grounds to homosexuality in school, he is silenced, ridiculed, bullied.  The irony of the "no bullying" signs in grade school classrooms is...  I need a thesaurus.  The Green Circle program run by high school students for elementary students shames those kids who exhibit the slightest tendency toward discernment.  If during the program a child says, "I don't want Joe in my circle because he picks his nose and eats it," the child will be ridiculed for not being accepting.  Never mind that it would be better to give Joe a Kleenex.  Same with a child who feels uncomfortable around Elton's two dads.  The school tells the child, "Deny your gut feelings that God gave you to protect you from bad associates.  You are in the wrong."

For anyone who has ever taught junior high, God bless you.  At this age students have either reached full physical maturity, or they sit with the geeks at lunch.  The educational trend continues with a focus on feelings and sexuality.  Never mind that half the kids still want to go home and play after school.  They are told to 'hang-out' not play.  They are told to be cool.  This is subtle sexualization, and almost abusive force, to promote kids to become adults before they are ready.  A better trend would be to encourage the physically mature kids to think of themselves as younger, not older.  The heartbreak of junior high is all too often the loss of innocence, if any is remaining after previous indoctrination sessions.

In high school, very little time is actually spent on content.  I was once told I was trying to give my lower-tier students a silk-purse education because I wanted them to read Shakespeare, Chaucer, and even Shelly.  I stuck to content.  But many teachers do not.  I don't blame them. If you take a degree in education, much of your time is spent learning how to work with teachers' unions.  Teachers' unions fund Planned Parenthood, even though this is an obvious conflict of interest... for educators more children means more students, means job security, right?  The occasional gay teacher in a school is the king or queen of the union label.  But that's not true of just public schools.  I remember when my nephew was shocked to hear at his Jesuit high school that homosexuality is normal and acceptable from one of the Jesuit priests.  High school is not about teaching anymore.  It is about indoctrinating young minds so that they can accept the radical left-wing pap they will be fed in college.

Ah, college.  College in America today is the black hole of original thought.  Young people pay too much money to spend too much time with too many people doing things that are too wrong and learning things that are soo untrue.

If a person makes it into graduate school with his faith intact, it is likely that he will be told that his thesis is unacceptable until he writes one that is acceptable in content and opinion to the radical left.

Education trends will shape our future.  These are our future leaders.  We must change the trends.  Now.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Not if, but How Much?

It's not a question of if Obama has lied about his background and his core beliefs, it is a question of how much.  His logic and rhetoric are so completely twisted, and antithetical to everything we believe as Catholics, that it is sometimes impossible to know what to think.  But if we parse the story, maybe we can see that he says what he believes to be true, even if what he says is false by any normal standards.

He was born on August 4th to Dunham and Obama Sr. somewhere on the planet.  Since his concept of the beginning of human life does not extend to babies born alive during an abortion, it is possible that he doesn't consider the birthing process to be complete even days after his birth.  For him, there is no logical problem in saying he was born in Hawaii, or born in Kenya, depending on which place of birth is most expedient at the given time.  Newborns aren't really alive, as far as he is concerned.  Birthplace therefore is a relative thing in Obama's world.

In Obama's world all religions are equally false, and exist only as a template for pandering for votes.  He can probably say quite honestly that he belonged to Reverend Wright's church for 20 years without really listening.  Listening to anyone would require tuning out the voices in his head that serve to remind him how great he is every moment of the day.  Sure, he slipped and called himself a Muslim when talking to George Stephanopolis.  But George was there to correct him, and tell him he's a Christian.  Either way, it doesn't matter. In Obama's mind, he just forgot which constituents he was pandering to for the moment.
The voices in Obama's head probably don't really allow him to recognize the humanity of others around him.  He's the center of the universe, so everyone else is just an accessory or a useful tool.  So what if he created composite stories and characters for his autobiographies?  He may not have been able to remember the names of friends and women he dated, because once they ceased to stay in orbit around him, they ceased to exist.

He may really believe that Bill Ayers wasn't an important figure in his political development, even Bill's parents helped him with his education and Bill launched his political career from his living room.  After all, by the time he became president, they had stopped being the necessary support for his ever-growing cranium.  They were just old white folks.  Useful tools.

Obama may really believe that freedom of worship is the same as freedom of religion.  He never listened in any church, so he assumes no other person around him is listening.  He doesn't really pray, because that would be admitting that someone else has greater power.  Freedom of worship allows him to worship himself.  Freedom of religion would offer his acolytes a choice between serving him and serving someone else.  That would clearly be unacceptable.

In the end, we know Obama lies.  We know he does so for his own purposes.  It's not a question of if he is lying at any given time.  We need to know how much.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What kind of Mother are you?

I used to describe my upbringing as being almost military in its discipline.  And yet I have memories that are more like Downton Abbey or Little Women.  I don't know what kind of Mom my son will think I am when he's an adult.  I do my best, sometimes.  But I do know the Moms I admire.  So here's a tribute to those mothers who have shaped me, and those who I hope to emulate in some way.

My Mom:  I am blessed with a wonderful mother.  She has done her best, and that's pretty darn good, to raise her 12 children in a way that was strict, but loving and leading us to the right paths.  When I was theater major in college, she suggested I should be a teacher.  At the time I thought she couldn't be more wrong, but I was a moderately rebellious young adult.  When I eventually became a teacher, I knew I had found my life's work.  My mom also gave me a love of cooking.  She would make everything from Sauerbraten to Sukiyaki, and taught us to love the fruits of her table.  I remember learning the proper way to tear lettuce, or to bake, or to make pasta...  To see my elegant Mother, you would think she spent all of hr tie shopping and hiring caterers.  But that would not be true.  She is elegant, and has a real gift for interior design.  The greatest gift my MOm has gievn me as an adult is her prayers.  But I must also mention her love for my husband.  My husband calls her "Sweetie-pie".  It is sometimes annoying to think about how they coo and tell each other "I love you," but really, she is a Matriarch of the highest order.  I am proud to be her daughter, and wish I could emulate her in so many ways.

My sister Mary:  If the proof of the strength of the tree is in the fruit it produces, Mary is as solid a woman as any Catholic family could wish for.  Her daughters re lovely, brilliant, frankly amazing.  Her son who is in the seminary is a source of joy for all.  Hard working, stately, Mary is a Mom beyond measure. 

My sister Meg is a woman I honor more than she probably knows.   Her strength in the face of enormous adversity puts me to shame. Her sons and daughter are calm, self-sufficient, and really good company.  When trouble struck, she lost what most people would have thought most important, friends, money...  She held her family together in a way that leaves me in awe.

My sister Monica has three of the most wonderful children in the world.  Smart, kind, generous, thoughtful...  you know they were raised by a firm and loving hand.  She too has fought adversity in her life, and has, through faith, love, and hope, become a woman I admire more than I ever say.  I guess I don't say how much I admire her because she clocked me once too often when we were children. (I hope that makes her laugh if she reads this!)

My sister Amy:   When we were in school we used to say, "A is for Amy."  Amy is an intellectual force that disproves the notion that those who choose to leave powerful careers for motherhood never would have made it anyway.  Her six children are some of my favorite people on the planet.  We talk on the phone several times a week about educational issues, the culture, politics, our faith.  We spoke for an hour yesterday, jumping from subject to subject, as she made connections and tied it all together.  Then her son Joe, age three, talked to me about his black shoes.  That's life for a mom.  She thinks about the great philosophers and theologians she's read while folding the laundry or emptying the Diaper Genie.

So today I say a prayer, and pay tribute to my sisters who are moms,  and  my Mom.  May God hold them gently in His hands.  I am grateful for you all