Thanks for the many comments about my prior blog posting about the need for a revolution in American education. Please don't jump to the conclusion that I know the answers. I'm an old geezer who happens to know something about education, but I am only trying to open the door so we do something revolutionary to re-gain American prominence in education. We are falling farther and farther behind. It must be stated that a major reason for our decline is the way religious and right-wing anti-intellectuals have tried to foist their beliefs onto all Americans via education. These sorts of ignorant and sinister intrusions stymie education. They try to force religious mumbo jumbo into curriculum and further deny scientific principles. This is anti-American. God is correctly not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Trying to inject creationism into the curriculum is religious. Trying to deny climate change and global warming in the curriculum is religious. Evolution and changes in climate are science. Trying to mix the two has no place in American education. Feel free to do that in your own religious circles, if you want, and that is fine and is American. Making religion the law of the land or the basis of education is a religious forcefulness. There will continue to be an ignorant group that will try to wedge God into education, and the prevention of such anti-intellectualism is a fight we all must undertake if we are to sustain our American democracy.
Your offerings were mostly little tweaks of the current system that I identified with the Industrial Revolution. It is a totally outmoded system, and simply making classes smaller or year-around were still tied to the old, outmoded model. We need to revolutionize our education model, not tweak it. I am not a genius and so I do not have the answers, but there are people --intelligent people-- who are creative and know about educating children and adults, who should be given the power to overthrow the old models and come up with revolutionary ideas that would get education in the U.S. into the 21st century. All this should be thrown into the hopper to be analyzed and re-formulated. Creative thinking is needed about...
"A school should not be a preparation for life. A school should be life." -Elbert Hubbard
"To be able to be caught up into the world of thought -- that is being educated." -Edith Hamilton
As we ponder the proposed new iron mine in northern Wisconsin, we seem to be oblivious to the past when it comes to large U.S. corporations, especially mining companies. The very same company proposing the mine in the Ashland area is in the midst of complaints in southern Illinois concerning environmental damage and leakings into water near Carlinville. The history of mining in the U.S. is littered with environmental damage and huge scars in the landscape. Pollution abounds. Why should we trust them?
The death of Hugo Chavez, dictator in Venezuela, points to the populist uprisings against irresponsible American corporations and the horrible history of U.S. big business in Central and South America. To permit these American corporations to have their way in abusing the people of Latin America, we supported horrible despots who allowed our big corporations to destruct and make huge profits. Pablo Neruda, poet from Chile, wrote about this some time back. Just like the American Indians in the Ashland area who are protesting the new iron mine, their brothers and sisters in Central and South America suffered greatly. Read this poem from Neruda, and consider your Native-American fellow residents of northern Wisconsin...
I grew up in a Roman Catholic setting, and all my friends were of that faith. I went to CYO dances, church picnics, raffles, fish fries, etc. Later in life I received a Master's degree from a Jesuit university. Still later in life I was the Vice President of a Catholic college. I have known bishops and archbishops. I have sat in on theological and ecumenical meetings and discussions with Catholics and Episcopalians. My entire life has been filled with a variety of events and experiences with the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore I make no apologies for the following comments.
As people in the United States become fixated on events taking place in Vatican City to select a new Pope, it is quite apparent how this major Christian denomination has evolved into something far more materialistic than what was founded by a very humble and poor Jesus of Nazareth.
As people around the world acknowledge and even celebrate the humble nature of the new Pope, we have to wonder if there is hope that he could bring his immense power and influence to bear on the greed that has infested the United States of America.
As democracy, freedom, and equality evolved in the U.S. from the 18th century through much of the 20th century, sometime in the later quarter or so of the last century things began to change in the U.S. While prior to about 1980 the culture, economics, and political face of the U.S. showed great support for the middle class and for those who were less privileged. From FDR to LBJ efforts were made to extend helping hands to the poor and underserved in the U.S. It was considered right and proper to help those less fortunate and strenghten the heart of American democracy, the middle class. Both FDR and LBJ established programs to help in this regard. But the extreme right-wing and the most greedy in this country dragged their feet in support of a social democracy. Slowly a plutocracy developed. Amazingly, helping the poor and strengthening the middle class became something to be criticized. And much of the platforms of Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Nixon, and Bush II showed more and more that the richest of Americans plotted to take even more out of the American economy for themselves and gut programs for the poor and middle class. If they failed in the attempts to estabish a plutocracy, they dug in their heels and threw their greed-money at furthering their right-wing causes.
In case Pope Francis is not effective in witnessing in the U.S. for the poor, perhaps something can be done to wake up Americans to their insensitivity to millions of underserved people in their midst. We have been led to believe that we have no obgligation to help them, and that they are poor because they do not want to work. We have drunk the greedy Kool-Aid and believe what we have been told by our "leaders' from both political parties. We have been in denial far too long. The poor and underserved in the U.S. need a voice.
"America is an enormous frosted cupcake in the middle of millions of starving people." -Gloria Steinem
When George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their "advisers" like Wolfowitz and Pearle and Rumsfeld decided to concoct a series of lies to "permit" them to illegally invade Iraq, many Americans believed them and were patriotically ready to serve. Many who served in Iraq came back bitter and disillusioned. Some were wounded physically and mentally. Some tried to re-gain their life and move on. Some vets struggled against the weight of their mental and physical ailments for years. Some committed suicide. Some lived with thier agony and regret and anger.
An Iraq War military veteran who is dying in a hospice in Kansas City from wounds he suffered in Iraq, has had to deal with his anger, and he wrote a "last letter" to Bush and Cheney. He is terminally ill, but his letter shows the strength he still possesses to act on his anger and frustration. Here is part of that letter to Bush and Cheney from Iraqi veteran Tomas Young...
On the very day that the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq, I stated many places that it was going to be a mess. I pointed to the absolute assurance that there would be civil unrest between the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. And sure enough, that is exactly what happened. Iraq is now a divided mess. There are checkpoints everywhere. People are constantly checked as they move about. And bombings continue all over Iraq today.
The ignorance of the Bush regime in initiating the Iraq war was topped only by the greed, avarice, and empire building that that group displayed and exhibited. The Bush team of G.W., Cheney, Wolfowitz, Pearle, etc. were eager to show their power. What they showed was a total lack of understanding of what they had embarked upon. But their own riches were rewarded. I guess that's really all that mattered to that cabal.
Recently the state legislature in Montana passed a bill that would allow the use of "road kill" to feed the needy. How's that for empathy and generosity?
They didn't mean road kill that was inspected as being safe to eat or free of disease...just good old-fashioned road kill that can be scooped up off the highway and offered as food for the poor. There were no standards included in the bill.