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Another coffin nail for US public education

July 13th, 2011

by Kevin Ryan

California’s new gay-friendly curriculum raises questions about the future of government-run schools.

Earlier this month, the left-leaning California State Legislature overwhelmingly passed The FAIR Education Act (SB 48) and has sent the bill on Governor Jerry Brown for what will surely be a celebratory signing. The FAIR Education Act is the seventh sexual indoctrination law to teach the state’s children to regard homosexuality, transsexuality (sex-changes operations) and bisexuality as good and natural. This is another in an impressive string of legal victories by gay activists. On the other hand, it further fuels a growing national discontent with public education.

Among the bill’s provisions are that textbooks and instructional materials must positively promote “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” as role models and that children as young as 6 will be taught to admire homosexuality, same-sex “marriages,” bisexuality, and transsexuality.

Teachers, even those with religious objections to the gay life style, will be made to positively portray homosexuality, same-sex “marriages,” bisexuality, and transsexuality, because to be silent can bring the charge of “reflecting adversely”. School boards will be required to select textbooks and other instructional materials that positively portray sex-change operations, same-sex “marriages”, because to be silent on these subjects opens them up to charges of “reflecting adversely. Finally, parents will not be notified, nor will they be able to exempt their children, from this new core curriculum.

In a free society where parents were financially able to select and direct the education of their children, such a pro-gay curriculum would make a reasonable choice for that minute portion of parent population who believes it is healthy and useful to educate young children and teens into these complex and controversial issues of human sexuality. But such is not the case in the US today where only a small percentage of parents can afford to send their children to private or religious schools.

Given the brute fact that the state can and does put parents in the slammer for not delivering up their children for the state approved and directed schooling, this new legislation has about it a distinct Stalinist odor. The odor is particularly strong in the nostrils of those parents who believe such grave matters as how one lives out their sexuality is not the educational province of the state bureaucrats who create the lesson plans for teachers.

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  1. nerdygirl
    July 13th, 2011 at 19:56 | #1

    I think this is more a problem of how the American system is set up (of course, no system is perfect) But this isn’t the first time schools have been used as an ideological battleground. Remember Texas’ whole reworking of the history curriculum to downplay separation of church and state, emphasize the 2nd amendment and John Calvin?

    Both of these are good examples of why a centralized curriculum would be better. Allow content room for state/local history and topics, have an nationwide curriculum and keep it neutral, which ticks of both conservatives and liberals.

  2. John Noe
    July 13th, 2011 at 20:08 | #2

    Another brutal and disgusting aspect of this besides infringing upon religious freedoms is ths state lying to the children about public health.
    Just imagine if this applied to tobacco. They had so much power that they forced the schools to encourage, endorse, promote, and only portray smoking in a positive light. The health risks to children were not to be taught as it did not portray positively on the lifestyle. As a result children were lied to and some of them took up smoking. Some of them died due to smoking, and it was the schools fault for not telling them the truth about smoking.
    What is so sad is that the same thing is happening here. To appease the homosexual activists the children are to be lied to about the health matters of homosexuality. It can only be portrayed positively so therefore the children will not be made aware of the health risks involved in this disgusting habit. If they chose to be homosexual and later die of AIDS then so be it.
    Just imagine a health education teacher and that persons conscience. You have two choices. You can teach your students the truth that anal sex and same sexual activity is wrong and harmfull to your health and get fired or teach your children that same sex is healthy for them and be guilty of lying but you saved your job.
    The ultimate double standard on the part of the left and the homsosexual activists. They pass and justify laws based on public health and what is good for your health. Wear your seat belt or wear your helmet. In MA there were homosexual politicians passing laws mandatting smoke detecters and outlawing bake sales to combat obesity. They justified these laws on the basis that it is the governments job to promte the health and general welfare of society. Yet they promote homsoxual sex even though it is as unhealthy an activity as one can participate in.

  3. Leo
    July 13th, 2011 at 21:03 | #3

    There is a new proposal for the 13 mostly conservative California counties to break away to create a 51st state (see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/hottopics/detail?entry_id=92900). The new state of South California would be free to be more conservative, and the remaining part of California would be free to become more liberal.

  4. Deb
    July 14th, 2011 at 06:22 | #4

    @nerdygirl

    “oth of these are good examples of why a centralized curriculum would be better. ”

    And we want the same government that so efficiently runs the IRS to somehow run education and its curriculum? Do you not see how this will lead to an even greater dumbing-down of American children?

  5. Heidi
    July 14th, 2011 at 10:37 | #5

    John Noe, homosexuality is not unhealthy and does not lead to disease. Instead, it is promiscuity that is the problem and that is why we must reinvigorate a marriage culture for both gay and straight people. I am with a female partner in a long-term monogamous relationship. Please explain how our relationship and/or sex life will lead to AIDS or is otherwise harmful or unhealthy. We both enjoy excellent health and neither of us has any STDs.

  6. nerdygirl
    July 14th, 2011 at 14:00 | #6

    @Deb
    I don’t see how letting 50 inefficient state governments run education is any better then 1 inefficient federal government running education.

    If done right, it would even save money and allow for more equal distributing of funds.

  7. John Noe
    July 14th, 2011 at 19:34 | #7

    As usual Heidi, like so many of her homosexual allies is in denial and would rather lie than tell the truth. The overwhelming evidence agaist same sex and specifically anal sex and the STD”s that come with it speak for themselves. The NOM blog has numerous posts alluding to the unhealthy practice of homosexuality and the deadly diseases that come with it. On one website put out by the exgays, he was a nurse and hand seen first hand the hundreds of deaths of homosexual men from AIDS. For Heidi or any other homosexual to deny this is just plain lying and unethical.
    Homosexual conduct and behavior is extremely unhealthy and leads to deadly disease and premature death. Being promiscuous has nothing to do with it. Besides the homosexuals do even practice monogamy, go read the blogs from that Dan Savage guy sometime.
    It is simple really, it is the biology stupid. The erect male penis gets very hard and in no way belongs in an anus which is full of soft tissue. Those who engage in this practice always risk semen entering the bloodstream from broken tissue. This is what causes sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS.
    For any practicing homosexual to ignore this, is just ignoring reality.

  8. Anne
    July 15th, 2011 at 05:17 | #8

    @nerdygirl
    If done right, it would even save money and allow for more equal distributing of funds.

    Equal distributing of funds? Where do you think you live?

  9. Deb
    July 15th, 2011 at 05:26 | #9

    @nerdygirl

    “I don’t see how letting 50 inefficient state governments run education is any better then 1 inefficient federal government running education.”

    At one point in American history we had 98-100% literacy rate (1820s). By World War II we had a 96% literacy rates for whites and a 81% literacy rate for blacks (even after laboring under centuries of slavery and then segregation). By the 1990s 40% of blacks and 17% of whites were completely illiterate not to mention those who were functionally illiterate. What change occurred between 1930s and 1990s? Why, government schools and forced curriculum. Since 2001 to 2006 the Dept. of Ed. saw an increase of spending of 40 BILLION dollars. In 2006 the US spent $553 BILLION dollars on elementary education.

    I know you are working on you teachers certification with the genuine desire to help, but nerdygirl, the help starts with empowering the local schools, not the federal government. Children are individuals with unique learning styles. Federalizing the curriculum makes the children just numbers on a test score, not people with different interests and desires for their futures.

  10. Heidi
    July 15th, 2011 at 07:02 | #10

    I see that you didn’t answer my question John Noe, so I will repeat it. Please explain how our relationship and/or sex life will lead to AIDS or is otherwise harmful or unhealthy. We both enjoy excellent health and neither of us has any STDs. Again, the issue is promiscuity. There is no risk of acquiring any disease if you are in a monogamous relationship and don’t have sex with multiple partners. For the record, Dan Savage doesn’t speak for every LGBT person in America regarding monogamy. You seem to be focused on one sex act–one that is engaged in by plenty of straight people and that is never engaged in by lesbians. You have an issue with anal sex, I get it. Here’s my advice to you: don’t do it if it bothers you so much.

    Promoting a monogamous marriage culture among straight and gay people would help to reduce the spread of STDs, as would a public health emphasis on safer sex for those who refuse to be monogamous. Having unprotected sex with multiple partners is what spreads STDs, not any particular sex act. It is simple really–it’s the promiscuity stupid.

  11. Ruth
    July 15th, 2011 at 11:13 | #11

    @nerdygirl

    @Deb
    When we took the Scriptures out of schools, we ripped the foundations out from under education.
    There is no “there” there now.
    I have talked with people who are now in their 80′s, and they said there was a Bible verse on the blackboard in the morning, and they learned hymns to sing in public school.
    One lady, who is Jewish, really appreciates having learned a comforting Christian hymn now that she is experiencing physical illness.
    We have lost something important.
    As a Harvard professor of education said, “Everyone wants to hit a home run, but no one knows where “home” is.”

  12. nerdygirl
    July 15th, 2011 at 19:45 | #12

    @Anne
    I’m sorry I don’t believe children in urban centers and rural areas are less deserving of education funding because their location. It’s embarrassing the amount of inequality of education our children face based on where they live, and often their parents class standing.

    @Deb
    Isn’t that exactly what No Child Left Behind did though (I realize that was a federal act, but let me finish)? Throwing money at standards based testing isn’t the way to do it. Right now, local school districts are cutting programs. Add in that the individual states still set *their* standards. The two cities near me have cut nearly all art, music and other creative programs. The one nearly cut their librarians. I’m all for empowering local districts, but I feel like they need support, and not all states are up to or able to support them. And I feel like majority of the curriculum should be the same nationwide, it would cut down on the adjustment time and gaps students have when they move to a new district, and would cut down on a lot of local/state based curriculum squabbling.
    “Children are individuals with unique learning styles. ” This is very true (though learning-styles based curriculums show little to no difference between more traditional techniques) I would love to see a move away (far, far away) from standards based testing and towards portfolios, where a students work and progress are assessed instead of a one-time test.

    @Ruth
    Thats cultural. Eastern cultural have strong reverence for education without a basis in a christian god. Even European countries have a stronger inclination towards the importance of education, despite many of them now being considered godless and having little to no religion in schools. Why do we as Americans consider learning to be boring and not “cool”, to the point where we celebrate ignorance?

  13. Ruth
    July 16th, 2011 at 00:15 | #13

    @nerdygirl
    The vestiges of our Christian heritage are what make this country attractive to immigrants from Asia and Europe.
    If we are celebrating ignorance, then we have certainly lost something of great importance.

  14. Anne
    July 16th, 2011 at 05:32 | #14

    @nerdygirl
    “I’m sorry I don’t believe children in urban centers and rural areas are less deserving of education funding because their location. It’s embarrassing the amount of inequality of education our children face based on where they live, and often their parents class standing.”

    I agree with you totally that nobody is more or less deserving of anything based on where they live or their class standing.

    But redistribution of wealth doesn’t ever work. It’s not a case of entitlement either way. I don’t deserve to live better than anyone else. I have a responsibility to do everything I can for less fortunate people. But the best way to make that happen is in a free country where entrepreneurism succeeds and then there is more for everyone.

    We’ve taken God out of our legal system. And the free market out of our economy:

    Atheism + Socialism = Communism.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

  15. Deb
    July 16th, 2011 at 12:48 | #15

    @nerdygirl

    I would be happy to scrap No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Both are the federal behemoth trying to educate the individual.

    The school where I taught was involved in a long term pilot program for portfolios. I can speak with experience when I say that it was a joke. If you want me to go into detail on this thread as why I say this, I will.

  16. Leo
    July 16th, 2011 at 13:35 | #16

    @NG
    Yes, the Confucian tradition is very strong on education. The West got ahead in education, but the East is catching up fast to the West based on the Confucian values of education, hard work, thrift, strong family values and family loyalty, filial piety, and respect for authority and tradition. These values and traditions are very supportive of the values of the Ruth Institute. Confucius will be remembered long after Mao is a footnote to history. If the West loses its values, the East will surge past us.

  17. nerdygirl
    July 16th, 2011 at 18:40 | #17

    @Anne
    Yeah, but there’s a difference between handing out a welfare check and keeping urban and rural schools updated and with large enough budgets to keep good teachers from going somewhere with better pay/benefits.

    The current standard of funding mainly through local tax revenue largely perpetrates class differences, those in poor areas who need the most funding get the least, while spoiled suburban kids get an even larger advantage over their peers from poorer areas.

    “But the best way to make that happen is in a free country where entrepreneurism succeeds and then there is more for everyone.”
    The best trick ever played on christian americans is the idea that somehow a capitalistic system is inherently more moral then any other. Don’t get me wrong, capitalism is fairly decent system, and is certainly better then communism as far as real world situations go. But it’s not, and has never been for helping the average person. What good is the free-market when those on the top are merging and becoming oligarchies? Capitalism is not and has never been about helping society or the less fortunate. It has and always has been about keeping the rich rich.

  18. Deb
    July 17th, 2011 at 13:02 | #18

    @nerdygirl

    ” but there’s a difference between handing out a welfare check and keeping urban and rural schools updated and with large enough budgets to keep good teachers from going somewhere with better pay/benefits.”

    Maybe we could allow people in these environments to choose better schools instead of forcing them into the government school in their “designated area”.

  19. nerdygirl
    July 17th, 2011 at 18:02 | #19

    @Deb
    Actually, I am kind curious as to why portfolio’s were a waste of time.

    However, i don’t see how school choice is going to improve this situation. First off, if it’s not a public school, where’s the money coming from? Secondly, you can’t fit everyone into these “ideal” schools. How are we going to admit students, via lottery, tests, or whose parents have the most money? At best it’s a band-aid to the real reform thats needed.

  20. Anne
    July 17th, 2011 at 18:56 | #20

    @nerdygirl
    “The best trick ever played on christian americans is the idea that somehow a capitalistic system is inherently more moral then any other.”

    I didn’t refer to capitalism as inherently more moral than any other system, just more effective. Also, I have to disagree with your assessment of American Christans as simple minded. They are responsible for developing the greatest country in the world: The United States of America.

    “Capitalism is not and has never been about helping society or the less fortunate.”

    You’re right, Nerdygirl. Capitalism isn’t a charitable organization. It’s an economic system. It just happens to be the one that operates in a free market and therefore enables the greatest number of people to engage and succeed in the pursuit of financial independence.

    “It has and always has been about keeping the rich rich.”

    Sometimes the rich get richer in a free market. That’s good for most people in the system, because even if the rich don’t pay their income as taxes or donate it as charity, they spend it….that creates jobs. It’s not oriented toward oppression. Some people just do better than others: that is a reality in every system, in every country, in every age. It’s just a fact of life. And it doesn’t in any way suggest that the people at the top are more selfish than the ones at the bottom. There are selfish people in every economic class.

    No system is perfect. But ours is the best. Just ask all the people from all over the world who come here to partake in it. Either way Nerdygirl, like it or not, aside from being the best system in the world, it’s the law of the land.

    On another note, Nerdygirl;

    “spoiled suburban kids”
    “best trick ever played on christian americans”
    “those on the top are merging and becoming oligarchies”
    “always has been about keeping the rich rich”

    Some of your comments seem angry. If you are angry, perhaps you should consider that emotion isn’t really a great foundation for decision and policy making.

    Like I said in my previous post, I agree with you that no one is more entitled than anyone else. We live in an imperfect world. We have to do the best we can with what we have in light of the flaws in humanity. Our system as it is, really does work as well as anything history has ever seen.

    Your sympathy for the less fortunate is commendable. But it really isn’t fair for you to presume that people who do well for themselves, or believe that the free market is truly the best overall economic solution for society, are somehow less compassionate than you.

  21. Deb
    July 18th, 2011 at 12:43 | #21

    @nerdygirl

    For the sake of everyone else reading this thread, I will try to be brief (but I can’t promise!) about the portfolios. Do we both agree that a portfolio should be a collection of the student’s best work? Well, this is my belief and the belief that was at least expressed by the school I taught at. They had an outside group that evaluated the portfolios for awhile, but closed the program. To continue the program, the school I taught at just used their rubrics when evaluating the portfolios. So here is the first strike. What I saw as a 5 in one category of evaluation, another teacher saw as a 10. So we, the teachers, had to sit in endless meetings trying to gel our understandings of the rubrics. This didn’t happen in my department because one teacher, who was the favorite of the administration railroaded the rest of us (her students fed into my class the next year and were woefully unprepared because she was too easy). Many other teachers treated evaluation like grading- which totally negates the meaning of a portfolio. Since the portfolios were still a project for the school and themselves didn’t effect the students grades (some pieces of the portfolio could have been used for grading) the students didn’t care -at all. They didn’t care if the portfolio presented their best work because the overall, finished portfolio wasn’t going to graded and sent home to mom and dad (or Parent A and Parent B for the New Yorkers reading this). They saw it as a waste of time.

    Now, to my particular experience as to the portfolios. I taught chemistry and believed that as an empirical science, that lab reports should be the majority of samples of best work, while tests and well computed problems could also be included. How wrong I was! I was told repeatedly that the students needed more written compositions about scientific articles in their science portfolio. Look, these students couldn’t read articles about chemistry because they couldn’t find 80% of the elements on the periodic table. But I still had to have them write papers concerning things above their heads (above their heads because I couldn’t just teach them the actual science) and try to teach them about what they were reading. The results would have been comical if it were not so sad at how much they were not learning.

    The worst part is, the science class that fed into mine, biology- you know, with the easy teacher I mentioned previously- all that biology class did was write compositions. So, I got intelligent students who couldn’t even rearrange the wave equation ( a simple proportion) without fits, because to them, science was about writing papers on green science. If students can’t use the ideal gas law, they can’t understand the possibility of global warming, let alone write endless compositions on it.

    Of course, there is more to tell, but this is as brief as I could be. Feel free to ask questions.

  22. nerdygirl
    July 18th, 2011 at 12:52 | #22

    @Anne
    So, because capitalism is the best (I’d disagree, european socialism does pretty good) economic system it shouldn’t be criticized? And the vast amounts of companies merging, thus creating less competition (which is that thing that keeps capitalism from completely screwing the consumer) isn’t something to get upset about?

    I don’t have a problem with “some people doing better then others” what I have a problem with is the top 5% trying to get more tax breaks for themselves. Trickle down economics doesn’t work that great, and the ever increasing gap between the rich and middle class is something to be concerned with. It doesn’t lead to a healthy society.

  23. Deb
    July 18th, 2011 at 12:54 | #23

    @nerdygirl

    “First off, if it’s not a public school, where’s the money coming from?’

    Were it came from in the first place… the people’s pockets. Instead of taxing them, have people use it toward their children’s education.

    “Secondly, you can’t fit everyone into these “ideal” schools.”

    If allowed school choice, many new schools would pop up. They could use strip-mall space, empty former grocery stores, church halls, you name it. People are actually really resourceful when you let them be.

    Use your imagination a little, NG. Parents could get together and make there own neighborhood school and hire the teacher (think one-room schoolhouse- some of our greatest minds came from these schools). More church schools (even in underprivileged neighborhoods) could sprout up and provide education because of the former tax money coming in to the church school. Again, people are resourceful, if you let them. Forced curriculum and government schools have been around for so long that even you aren’t seeing that there is another way. Government schools have let parents and communities off the hook with regards to education. That’s the real problem, and everything else is a band-aid on a hemorrhaging leg.

  24. Anne
    July 18th, 2011 at 14:16 | #24

    @nerdygirl
    “So, because capitalism is the best (I’d disagree, european socialism does pretty good)……..”

    You are free to move to Europe where you approve of their economic system. You are not free to rewrite the American economic system.

    “……it shouldn’t be criticized?”

    Criticize away. In addition to a free market economy, we also have free speech. (Except of course when it comes to criticizing the homosexual lifestyle.)

    “Trickle down economics doesn’t work that great,…..”

    It’s not perfect, but it works pretty well. Again, better than anything history has produced to date.

    “………and the ever increasing gap between the rich and middle class is something to be concerned with. It doesn’t lead to a healthy society.”

    What is your measure of “ever increasing”? The market has always been fickle. Some times are better than others. The founding father’s were quite brilliant and designed a sytem that is very much self correcting. There is a place for regulation in the markets and in the government. But an overhaul of the economic and governmental systems geared at leveling the social and economic fields will result in absolute destruction. It happens constantly throughout history. And as far as a “healthy society”, our lowest income population still live better here than they would in any other country in the world. And the only reason that is, is because we live FREE. Be very careful what you wish for.

  25. nerdygirl
    July 18th, 2011 at 14:21 | #25

    @Deb
    I suppose I have an issue with that stance, mainly because culturally americans do not look upon education all that kindly.
    I still don’t think the money would balance. A lot of schools revenue comes from businesses within the school districts borders. The average parent probably wouldn’t be able to afford education for their kid, especially if there were multiples. I’d also be worried that these smaller schools wouldn’t offer as wide a range of topics and curriculum as found in public schools.
    And I don’t think a government run system is the problem. Japan, France, Denmark are ranked at the top school wise, but they are also largely government run and centralized.

  26. nerdygirl
    July 18th, 2011 at 19:22 | #26

    @Deb
    Ah, administration. Why bother being a good teacher when you can just suck up. *sigh*

    Although I’m curious if you felt the portfolios were more effective when there was an outside group evaluating them.

  27. nerdygirl
    July 18th, 2011 at 19:34 | #27

    @Anne
    “You are free to move to Europe where you approve of their economic system. You are not free to rewrite the American economic system.”

    And you could always move to a country that only defines marriage as that between and man and woman and denounces the “homosexual lifestyle” Funnily enough, no one ever seems to consider that here.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/28/income-gap-widens-census-_n_741386.html
    Continually widening gaps between the rich and the poor also tends to contribute to social unrest, revolutions and destruction. We don’t need to completely dismantle how our economy is run, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to look at it critically and tweak a few things (like huge corporate mergers. There’s no competition when every-thing is owned by a conglomerate. )

  28. Deb
    July 18th, 2011 at 20:58 | #28

    @nerdygirl

    I don’t think that the portfolios were more effective when the outside group evaluated them. Since the overall portfolios were never used as grades, and rightly so, the students still were not that motivated. Furthermore, the outside group was really stiff with their rubrics, so the students would send in their best work only to have it evaluated harshly. The incentive to “correct” the work to have it re-evaluated was low.

    As teachers, we spent SO much time prepping, implementing, evaluating, and collecting these portfolios and for what? It was a waste of time at the students’ expense. That is what bothers me about recent educational history. A “new and better” idea for making education “work” comes out of the education field only to find it flops in implementation. Who suffers? The poor students are guinea pigs to education elitists’ ideas and usually to their detriment.

    In response to “Americans not looking upon education highly”: really? Most parents are concerned, do you mean the students themselves? If you mean the parents, then intact married bio parents are proven for best outcomes (including education) for children. If you mean the children, then I would blame the schools themselves. No where else in life are you secluded away from all other ages of people in groups of 30 with just one adult supervising. It’s “Lord of the Flies” where the strongest win. So established norms of “being smart isn’t cool” take root.

    On money: The per student expenditure for public schools rages from $12,000 (Phoenix) on the low end to $27,000 (New York City) on the high end. Children who are homeschooled and their parents spend $300 a year on their books/supplies routinely do better on standardized tests than their publicly schooled counterparts. I saw on the documentary, “Stupid in America,” a small inexpensive private school in an underprivileged neighborhood with outcomes far better than their public school counterparts. (Watch that documentary if you can find it) It’s not the money, it’s the family and local involvement.

  29. John Noe
    July 18th, 2011 at 21:39 | #29

    Okay Heidi, instead of me explaining the obvious to you of how homosexual sex is unhealthy and dangerous, let me lead you to a couple of sources. Log onto Youtube and type in Dangers of the gay lifestyle and watch the videos, then watch the graphic ones on anal sex.
    They both then refer you to the CDC website. If you do not want to listen to me then try and tell the Cenrter of Disease Control that they are wrong.

  30. Anne
    July 19th, 2011 at 03:32 | #30

    @nerdygirl
    “And you could always move to a country that only defines marriage as that between and man and woman and denounces the “homosexual lifestyle” Funnily enough, no one ever seems to consider that here.”

    Because we already live in a country that does. I’m good with it. But the radical liberals want to change what they have no right to….you are the one with the agenda that opposes what is here.

    “Continually widening gaps between the rich and the poor also tends to contribute to social unrest, revolutions and destruction. We don’t need to completely dismantle how our economy is run, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to look at it critically and tweak a few things (like huge corporate mergers. There’s no competition when every-thing is owned by a conglomerate. )”

    The “Huffington Post”? Do you have any less political sources?

    The gap is not “continuingly widening”. It moves within a range as it always has. We have always “tweaked” regulations. That’s what keeps it all in check. Do you rembmer “Ma Bell”? It’s gone. The system works.

    Consumers need to be protected. But if you think taking the power from the hands of big business and handing it over to the government is the answer, you should read some history books. (The crooks don’t care where they work…..government, big business, welfare line, illegal drugs). Evil is not exclusive….it gets around.

    You can’t run the country from the bottom up.

  31. Deb
    July 19th, 2011 at 05:06 | #31

    @nerdygirl and @ Anne

    Nerdygirl, you are under the same false premise as most of America when you say: “I don’t have a problem with “some people doing better then others” what I have a problem with is the top 5% trying to get more tax breaks for themselves.”

    Actually, the top 1% PAY 38% of all income taxes whereas the bottom half (HALF! vs. 1%) pay 2% of all income taxes. Our system is already distributive and more progressive than the European social democracies you mentioned. How much more of their income should the rich pay? 50%? I got news for you, they will leave this country and take their job-producing businesses with them. We have such a heavily regulated, progressive economy that most of our manufacturing jobs have left the country (see “made in China” on all our goods?). Without these jobs, our economy will struggle to grow and the middle class is disappearing with these jobs.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/271843/are-rich-undertaxed-michael-g-franc

  32. Anne
    July 19th, 2011 at 06:20 | #32

    @nerdygirl
    “Gay-Rights Group Gave Cuomo $60,000 as He Pushed Marriage Bill, Records Show”

    It’s the title of one of the newer articles on this site. The one after it refers to the perks back to the republican Senators who voted for the “gay marriage” law.

    So when you talk about huge conglomerates and lack of competition, going to the government for the fix seems a little redundant.

  33. Heidi
    July 19th, 2011 at 07:54 | #33

    John Noe, I will refrain from watching videos about anal sex, thank you very much.

    As for the CDC, I encourage you to read about how stigma and discrimination negatively affects gay and bisexual men:

    http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/stigma-and-discrimination.htm

    The CDC site also states that:

    “How can I prevent STDs?
    The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”

    Again, if you are a sexually active adult, being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship is the single best way to avoid STDs. It is not any particular sex act that spreads disease–it is the practice of promiscuity that does. This is why we must encourage marriage for both gay and straight alike. Men especially (whether gay or straight) need a culture in which promiscuity is discouraged and monogamy is encouraged. Only then will we see a decrease in the spread of STDs.

  34. Anne
    July 19th, 2011 at 10:29 | #34

    @nerdygirl
    “Three states – New York, Connecticut and Texas – and the District of Columbia had the largest gaps between rich and poor. Big gaps were also evident in large cities such as New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta, home to both highly paid financial and high-tech jobs as well as clusters of poorer immigrant and minority residents.”-from the article in Huffington Post which you referenced.

    A few observations:

    The largest gaps in income status are in States such as New York, California, Massachusettes and Connecticut: All States which have legalized gay marriage – The money mongers aren’t necessarily the conservative big business/conglomerates you accuse, but are at least as much the media and entertainment giants financially pushing the liberal agenda. Oh, and of course, the District of Columbia: where all our representatives to the federal government reside.

    If you’re looking for a place to level the field, you might want to start in those places first.

    Also, the article refers to “income”. It’s a peculiar and “flexible” term as I’m sure the author could (but wouldn’t) tell you: Income does not necessarily include things like housing allowances, food stamps, disability insurance, welfare and social security.
    The people living at the lowest end of the income spectrum are not living in luxury by any means. But basic needs are met for people who are in need. That isn’t true in many countries in the world….least of all those who are singularly oriented toward socialist economies.

    Your worries are not unfounded nerdygirl. The Country has big problems. But the source of the problem is not economic disparity. It is a liberal mentality with a total disregard for the Creator who endows our inaliable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and Who created the “ultimate society” which is family in the natural order.

  35. nerdygirl
    July 19th, 2011 at 18:29 | #35

    @Anne
    You know, I wasn’t accusing all big business of being evil republicans. Greedy people taking advantage of the system comes in both flavors. I picked huffington post because it was both accessible and one of the more recent articles.
    Personally, I think politicians are paid too much. Funny none of them ever seem to talk about cutting their salaries to help balance the budget. (I also by the way, believe campaign finance/political contributions should be transparent)

    I don’t think an extreme liberal mentality is any more damaging then an extreme conservative mentality. In short, I find extremes in general to be damaging. I’d prefer, and personally am considerably moderate.

    ” But basic needs are met for people who are in need. That isn’t true in many countries in the world….least of all those who are singularly oriented toward socialist economies.”

    Really? Do you have proof of that?

    “Also, the article refers to “income”. It’s a peculiar and “flexible” term as I’m sure the author could (but wouldn’t) tell you: Income does not necessarily include things like housing allowances, food stamps, disability insurance, welfare and social security.”

    Yes. and studies that show children do better in married households also wouldn’t tell you that the majority of married couples have higher education levels and income compared to those who don’t marry.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-wealth-and-inequality-in-america-2010-4

  36. nerdygirl
    July 19th, 2011 at 18:38 | #36

    @Deb
    I think it depends on part where one lives. Overall, in my area, there’s not a huge amount of respect for education, at least for the average person. Sure, people “respect” (sometimes) doctors, but the average person doesn’t care or worry too much about their own quality of education. I also think that class comes into play a lot as well.

    “A “new and better” idea for making education “work” comes out of the education field only to find it flops in implementation.”
    The professor of my Compartive ed. class said the same thing. Good teaching is good teaching regardless of what the current trends are.

    ““Stupid in America,” Isn’t that the George Stephenouplousesesses(sic) one? We watched part of it. Most common response was something along the lines of “If I only had 5 kids in my class they’d all be achieving above average as well.” It highlights that throwing money at the system doesn’t help, but effective managing (hiring more teachers for smaller class sizes) however would be good.

  37. John Noe
    July 19th, 2011 at 21:03 | #37

    No Heidi the CDC is advocating a monogamous relationship with only one partner of the opposite sex. Nowhere does it say that monogamous sex among homosexuals is safe. You are as ignorant and in denial of the tobacco smokers I meet who say if they smoke safe cigarettes such as Marlboro they will not get cancer.
    Typical homosexual advocate, no matter how strong the scientific and biological and medical evidence there is against homosexuality, you insist upon on denying it.

  38. Anne
    July 20th, 2011 at 04:22 | #38

    @nerdygirl
    “” But basic needs are met for people who are in need. That isn’t true in many countries in the world….least of all those who are singularly oriented toward socialist economies.”

    Really? Do you have proof of that?”

    Yes nerdygirl, I do: The (formerly existent and very short lived) United Soviet Socialist Republic.

  39. Anne
    July 20th, 2011 at 04:43 | #39

    @nerdygirl
    “I don’t think an extreme liberal mentality is any more damaging then an extreme conservative mentality. In short, I find extremes in general to be damaging.”

    I agree completely.

    “I’d prefer, and personally am considerably moderate.”

    So you say. Yet your arguments here are considerably one sided.

    A true moderate considers both sides. You have consistently defended “gay marriage” without response to the inequities identified by those who oppose it. Each of your responses (while considerably more thoughtful and responsive than most other defenders) still assume “gay marriage” as justified. Your answers often begin with terms like “….but what about….” The fact that their may be injustice on both sides doesn’t justify it on either.

    Since “gay marriage” does in fact impose on many aspects of existing society it needs to be considered much more closely than it has been. Simply feeling empathy for the people who choose the gay lifestyle is not reason enough to grant them what they want.

    Children are being manufactured for a purpose. That is obscene. That is not a conservative concept. A moderate person should see that and be appalled by it.

  40. Deb
    July 20th, 2011 at 05:34 | #40

    @nerdygirl

    “Stupid in America” was made by John Stossel (a libertarian). If you can watch the updated one, where he tries to teach in the classroom on the request of the teachers union and then suddenly they won’t let him-interesting.

    Smaller classrooms- more teacher attention- is gained most efficiently when parents are really involved (local level schooling) not when a behemoth federal government tries to achieve it. A government that cannot collect taxes without millions of dollars in fraud refunds being sent out cannot make sure that the students in Ruraltown, WI are getting small classrooms. good teachers, and a good education. But the parents and local community have a WAY better chance of making this happen.

    If education is not a priority where you live, there are more than one “thing” to blame. But, as a future teacher, you need to admit that part of the blame goes to how we currently school our children. Again, no where else in life are children age segregated and watched by only one adult. In this current situation, the children establish a hierarchy not based on virtue. Instead the strongest, meanest, prettiest, what have you, survive at the expense of others. It is hard for children to learn in that environment. Put on top of this, apathetic parents, a bloated school administration and you’ve got our abysmal literacy rate (just to name one problem).

  41. nerdygirl
    July 20th, 2011 at 18:44 | #41

    @Anne
    Oh please. No one considers the USSR socialist. It was a totalitarian regime that used the “promise” of Communism, not the actual practice. Socialists don’t even consider the USSR socialist. That is a poor example.

    “ou have consistently defended “gay marriage” without response to the inequities identified by those who oppose it. Each of your responses (while considerably more thoughtful and responsive than most other defenders) still assume “gay marriage” as justified.”

    Because I am not swayed by the arguments presented I am biased? One issue (well, there’s a couple issues on this site that I voice an unpopular opinion, but this site takes a very conservative stance on everything). ((and I’m glad I come across as (mostly at least) as thoughtful and responsive))

    “Simply feeling empathy for the people who choose the gay lifestyle is not reason enough to grant them what they want.”

    And here’s the crux of our disagreement. I don’t think it’s a choice. Right now, science doesn’t *really* say one way or another. There’s evidence for both sides, nothing conclusive. I don’t think thats fair to say my stance on the matter is simply empathy.

  42. nerdygirl
    July 20th, 2011 at 19:10 | #42

    @Deb
    I think both teachers and parents should both be striving towards more of a partnership. BUT. I don’t think this means things like letting parents decide, or have a huge influence on things like curriculum.
    “Smaller classrooms- more teacher attention- is gained most efficiently when parents are really involved (local level schooling) not when a behemoth federal government tries to achieve it. A government that cannot collect taxes without millions of dollars in fraud refunds being sent out cannot make sure that the students in Ruraltown, WI are getting small classrooms. good teachers, and a good education. But the parents and local community have a WAY better chance of making this happen.”
    This is where school boards (which are a mixed bag overall) and administration(if only they’d actually administrate, right?) are to come into play. Of course, school boards themselves while voted in by the people, are not always trustworthy. This doesn’t have to be a either or situation. We can have both federal support and backing with parental involvement.
    A lot of issues with social hierarchy is going to take a while to get rid of. It’s a part of our cultural make-up, (look how many coming-of-age movies deal with the class nerd overcoming their inherent nerdiness, and then move on to achieve more then the jock) And because this is so embedded in us, parents and teachers both, often subconsciously reinforce them. Better parental involvement and smaller class sizes would certainly help, but it’s going to take a whole cultural change to remove the intense focus on social hierarchy. A lot of that also goes back to our very American concept of competition. We’re very competitive. Some people use that to study harder, but most kids are more interested in material, social, or athletic competition.

  43. Anne
    July 21st, 2011 at 03:33 | #43

    @nerdygirl
    ““You have consistently defended “gay marriage” without response to the inequities identified by those who oppose it.”

    Because I am not swayed by the arguments presented I am biased?”

    No Heidi, not because you have not been swayed, but because you haven’t in any way addressed or responded to, or even apparently considered the impact of the issue on the rest of society.”

    And here’s the crux of our disagreement. I don’t think it’s a choice. Right now, science doesn’t *really* say one way or another. There’s evidence for both sides, nothing conclusive.”

    You’re absolutely right nerdygirl, science doesn’t really say one way or the other. So why are we passing permanent laws as if it’s an absolute truth?!

    Either way, even if it’s not a choice to feel homosexual attraction, every action we take is a choice. And we can’t just go about legalizing every natural impulse we have without considering the impact to the rest of society:

    For example, the issues you still have not considered or responded to – natural parents rights to identify themselves as such, and children artificially manufactured for use by sterile homosexual couples.

    “Oh please. No one considers the USSR socialist. It was a totalitarian regime that used the “promise” of Communism, not the actual practice. Socialists don’t even consider the USSR socialist. That is a poor example.”

    It’s the perfect example nerdygirl: They made laws to accomodate the smallest segments of the population at the expense of the society at large.

    I lived through the Cold War and the ultimate demise of the USSR nerdygirl. It’s more than just a theoretical discussion. It’s the devastation of people. This is not “melodrama” as Heidi likes to refer to it. It’s a path to destruction. History is for real.

  44. Deb
    July 21st, 2011 at 06:37 | #44

    @nerdygirl

    “I don’t think this means things like letting parents decide, or have a huge influence on things like curriculum.”

    Remember that the teacher provides a service to the parent. The parents are in charge of the raising and education of their children. It seems that you live in an area where parents have willingly relinquished this right, but it doesn’t change this fact. We need to get back to parents understanding this and happily, willingly being in charge.

    Yeah, changing the social hierarchy is going to take a lot of work. But just doing school the same way we are doing it is, again, the definition of insanity. We can’t keep doing things the same way and expect different results.

    Why do you think, as a culture, we are more interested in material, social, and athletic prowess but not intellectual? I’m just asking, I don’t pretend to have an answer. I do think that media, especially television (and the massive hours kids watch-have you seen the recent studies?) plays a part. No one takes joy in reading a good book. Do you know what the equivalent to the NYT bestselling book was in the 1820′s? It was “Last of the Mohicans”. How many people of yours and my generation sit down to read something of that caliber? Instead we are watching “The Real Housewives of…”. Sad.

  45. Anne
    July 21st, 2011 at 09:06 | #45

    @nerdygirl

    I ask my children all the time to consider my motives before they consider my position. My motive here is not to prove that heterosexual people are better than homosexual people. Or to showcase some intellectual prowess that I don’t actually posess.

    I am beyond middle aged and the consequeces I’m concerned with are not likely to affect me in my lifetime.

    But a counrty willing to legislate what they have not truly considered is a dangerous place for my children to live and raise a family.

    The Obama healthcare law was over 2,000 pages long and was passed before people had a chance to read it much less digest it.

    Legalizing gay marriage in the individual States at record speeds is the same dangerous scenario – even more so to the extent that children are being created and placed with homosexual couples without consideration of those children’s rights as human beings to be raised by their natural parents. I’m not talking about adoption here. I’m talking about manufactured children. They are human beings and they are being used.

    I’m not here to prove a point nerdygirl. I’m here because I’m honestly afraid for my children and this Country. This process of legislation at breakneck speeds has got to be stopped before this entire government collapses. I’ts not drama. It happens.

    You seem like a pretty intelligent and compassionate person, nerdygirl. Your generation is the one with the power to fix this Nation or allow it to self-destruct. I sincerely hope you will all slow down and really consider what you choose to endorse before we all find ourselves in the dangerous place I suspect we’re headed.

  46. Anne
    July 21st, 2011 at 09:50 | #46

    @nerdygirl

    Are you familiar with this concept known as the “Tyler Cycle”?

    “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequences:

    1. from bondage to spiritual faith;

    2. from spiritual faith to great courage;

    3. from courage to liberty;

    4. from liberty to abundance;

    5. from abundance to complacency;

    6. from complacency to apathy;

    7. from apathy to dependence;

    8. from dependence back into bondage.”

    -Alexander Fraser Tyler

  47. nerdygirl
    July 21st, 2011 at 19:05 | #47

    @Deb
    “Why do you think, as a culture, we are more interested in material, social, and athletic prowess but not intellectual?”

    Intellectual pursuits do not drive the economy or media the way the others do. It’s not as profitable. Instant gratification is easier to produce and make a buck on then delayed.

    “Remember that the teacher provides a service to the parent.”
    I think, and believe, it’s more important to provide a service, a foundation of knowledge and curiosity, for the student. If I can do that *and* please the parent, awesome. But the parent isn’t my first priority. Parents don’t always know what’s best for the child’s education. I mean, my own parents whom I love, and I go to them for advice all the time, are not the best people to ask about intellectual pursuits. I struggled with math in school, my parents couldn’t help me because they never had algebra. One parent might not want their child to learn about evolution, but another might not want their child to learn about intelligent design. The same about health/sex ed. Some insist their child be put in honors courses, despite the child not meeting the requirement. Some insist their child shouldn’t fail for cheating. Should other kids have to miss out because one vocal parent complained?

    I can see the strengths of your position, but I don’t think we have to gut the system we have completely to utilize some if not all of them. Afterall, government run and funded schools systems works well in Europe and industrialized Asian countries, so it’s not the concept of it thats hurting us.

  48. nerdygirl
    July 21st, 2011 at 19:47 | #48

    @Anne
    “You’re absolutely right nerdygirl, science doesn’t really say one way or the other. So why are we passing permanent laws as if it’s an absolute truth?!”

    why/whynot?

    “Either way, even if it’s not a choice to feel homosexual attraction, every action we take is a choice. And we can’t just go about legalizing every natural impulse we have without considering the impact to the rest of society:”

    There’s something kinda cruel about saying “Sorry you’re gay, act straight like the rest of us”. I don’t think it’s fair to say the impact hasn’t been thought about, although, I still question *what* impact. Mainly because, I don’t think the average straight person is going to change their behavior because two dudes can marry another.

    “natural parents rights to identify themselves as such, and children artificially manufactured for use by sterile homosexual couples.”

    Identify yourself as such. I don’t care. But I don’t see how government forms saying parent A or parent B changes that. (Although I suppose the obvious compromise would be for government forms to say mother/father check one for both slots.) IVF I’m on the fence about, I would rather any couple considering IVF consider adoption instead, but I also realize that it might be better some of them don’t adopt. In short, I don’t think it’s any more immoral for a homosexual couple to use IVF then a heterosexual couple.

    “It’s the perfect example nerdygirl: They made laws to accomodate the smallest segments of the population at the expense of the society at large.”

    Yes. Like a totalitarian regime. Not socialism. Most of Europe is socialist. And for the most part Europe’s doing well. The problem isn’t that the USSR is a bad example of a bad form of government or economic set up, because it was, but I asked for an example of a *socialist* country that was not meeting the basic needs of its people. Socialism and Communism as applied in the world not theory are not the same thing. They’re not even in the same ballpark.

    “You seem like a pretty intelligent and compassionate person, nerdygirl. Your generation is the one with the power to fix this Nation or allow it to self-destruct”

    Thank you. Your responses are well thought out and your seem to be intelligent and compassionate as well. I don’t think the direction we’re heading is one of self-destruction. What mainly concerns me is that *everyone* is getting so politicized. It’s hard to be moderate when every issue is presented black and white. This is made worse by our nations two-party system, it would be really nice if there were a viable third party.

    “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequences:”

    I have not heard of that before, it’s interesting. Though, I’m not sure how it applies to the modern era. Afterall, Englands been around as England for 700(ish, I won’t claim thats 100% accurate) years. It hasn’t been top dog all those years, but it’s been around. So I don’t think we’re doomed.

  49. Anne
    July 22nd, 2011 at 04:54 | #49

    @nerdygirl
    I do hope you will continue thinking about what we’ve discussed here. It’s evident that you are trying to be openminded and fair and I genuinely respect that. But some things really are black and white. Infinitely permissible is a road to anarchy.

    With regard to the USSR, I honestly believe that what took them down was the atheism. We should be very careful not to go there, but I think we are getting dangerously close.

    You’ve grown up in a very lucky generation nerdygirl. You haven’t seen true devastation up close. It often comes quickly and quietly…..and subtly in the way of “peaceful revolution”.

  50. Deb
    July 22nd, 2011 at 12:36 | #50

    @nerdygirl

    Nerdygirl, just because a parent can’t teach math doesn’t mean that they are not their child’s primary educator. It just means they “contract out” the math teaching to someone who is more proficient at math. The math teacher provides a service to the parent.

    “If I can do that *and* please the parent, awesome. But the parent isn’t my first priority.”

    But, Nerdygirl, you are teaching THEIR children. Look, you can’t make every parent happy, but it is the parent’s choice to find the best teacher for their child. They should be allowed to use their tax money to do so instead of being forced to send their child to the school in their area. Please don’t take offense to this, but I would yank my child out of your class if I heard you say this, even if you were a good teacher.

    By saying that somehow schools know better than parents you usurp parental involvement (albeit incrementally). Over the years of public schools, the schools have incrementally taken over for the parents, and many parents have willingly participated, to the point that parents no longer care about education. Now we have schools telling parents how to feed their kids and parents just go along. The public school system is disabling parents and allowing them to not do their job.

    You have railed against big corporations on this blog. Schools are large conglomerations of state departments of education (see upper-level VP’s) who oversee administrators (see managers) who oversee teachers (see employees) to produce a product (see educated children). Schools are large corporations in the business of educating children. The only difference is that schools can’t get fired even if their product (the child’s education) is second rate. You still have to send you kid to the area school even if it is second rate. In this regard, the schools are worse than corporations.

  51. Deb
    July 22nd, 2011 at 14:09 | #51

    @nerdygirl

    ” Afterall, government run and funded schools systems works well in Europe and industrialized Asian countries, so it’s not the concept of it thats hurting us.”

    In Belgium students have school choice. Not all the schools that the student choose from are government run. Also, most European countries are small in area and population. For example, Holland is the size of Maryland with the population between New York state and Ohio. Having the federal government run education of a country that size is a whole lot different than the US federal government run the US school systems.

  52. nerdygirl
    July 22nd, 2011 at 23:10 | #52

    @Deb
    I’d prefer to see smaller state education departments and a slightly larger federal department. It would cut down on redundancy.

    I’m okay with more private schools and other alternative schools popping up. I don’t think there would be enough/ I think if it was only those type of schools they would still fall prey to many of the faults of public ed.

    I also feel that universal early childhood education should be made available to all, not just those who can afford it. I think thats actually my main fear with gutting public ed in favor of alternative schools, it would soon turn into a financial free-for all. Thats the nature of our country afterall, profit by any means necessary.

    I don’t know if anything would change my belief that as a teacher I am providing a service to the student first and the parent second. If a parent had a problem with my curriculum, they could come and talk to me about it, but, it would have to be very convincing.

    “just because a parent can’t teach math doesn’t mean that they are not their child’s primary educator.”

    I have heard some parents claim that because they didn’t learn something when they were in school, their child shouldn’t have to learn it or it would be useless to learn it. I’m glad you seem to live in an intellectually enlightened area, but until the average parent recognizes quality education as important, no one is going to go anywhere in this dispute.

    “The public school system is disabling parents and allowing them to not do their job.”

    I’m gonna say no to that. As in, any parent who believes that because their child learned about sex ed/bullying/certain jobs/algebraic equations/what-have-you they don’t have to talk to their kids, or raise their kids, is a BAD PARENT. Thats not something you can pin on education, but more a combination of cultural laziness and personal issues.

  53. Deb
    July 23rd, 2011 at 16:44 | #53

    @nerdygirl

    “Thats the nature of our country afterall, profit by any means necessary.”

    You act as if the current public school system, as it is, is somehow above this “profit by all means necessary.” Government largesse, i.e. other people’s money is the worst kind of profit. Did you not read my comparisons of the current school system as a corporation in post #50? If so, I’d like to know your thoughts.

    “I’m gonna say no to that. As in, any parent who believes that because their child learned about sex ed/bullying/certain jobs/algebraic equations/what-have-you they don’t have to talk to their kids, or raise their kids, is a BAD PARENT. Thats not something you can pin on education, but more a combination of cultural laziness and personal issues.”

    My grandparents were not lazy parents, AT ALL. Neither were my great-grandparents. And they didn’t have compulsory education the way we have it now. Slowly this 10 months a year eight day a week, federal/state run behemoth grew in the past 100 years. It has slowly taken over the feeding of children, for example. My mother, in the 40′s went to a two room, neighborhood schoolhouse and walked home for lunch. Her mother was 100% responsible and involved in her lunchtime care. Now we have schools confiscating packed lunches. Children often came home from school and worked with their parents. This is what my dad did. Now kids don’t get home until 7:00. The house is a mere hotel. Parents don’t have to be with their kids much anymore because the state (school) is taking the place.

    “I’d prefer to see smaller state education departments and a slightly larger federal department. It would cut down on redundancy.”

    Are you going to address the shear size of our nation? How is the federal government in DC going to make sure the student in Ruraltown, WI or Smallville, AL is getting a good ed? I know, with more high paid government officials in every state – paid for on the backs of tax payers! How is this part of the federal government going to be without the waste and fraud of all other federal programs? Lastly, this would be an overreach of federal power, to the detriment of the student and to the gain of the middle education mangers in Washington DC.

  54. nerdygirl
    July 23rd, 2011 at 21:47 | #54

    @Deb
    Because I don’t think it’s the same. Similarities, yes, but not the same. I don’t think public education is run, for profit, the way the average corporation is. Are there bloated parts that need to be cut or scaled back, sure. But look at the current climate. Local cities have suggested cutting all extra-curriculars, art and music programs. One of those cities ended up not doing any of that because of parental and community outcry. Another city cut all art and music, but a local theatre company is luckily offering some classes for the students free of charge. Also public ed is supposed to be non-profit.

    “My grandparents were not lazy parents, AT ALL. Neither were my great-grandparents.”

    Unless your great-grandparents and grandparents didn’t talk to their children about a particular topic because the local school-teacher already covered it, I never called them bad parents, or lazy. My problem is with the idea that because it’s covered at school, parents don’t have to cover it, and by extension the idea that learning something at school (usually sex ed) would completely foil the attempts of parents to teach their kids morals. If parents care, they will take the time to talk to their kids about it. And any parent who doesn’t because it was covered at school is a bad parent.

    “My mother, in the 40′s went to a two room, neighborhood schoolhouse and walked home for lunch.”
    So did my grandparents. The difference is, there was less traffic, fewer hazards and they were within walking distance. Not all schools confiscate packed lunches (aren’t those usually for classes with students with extreme allergies? Like the speck of peanut could kill a kid severe, and parents don’t pay attention to the warnings the school sent out and still sent little tommy to school with PBJ?) And not all students parents can afford food for lunch. For some students, the food they get at school might be the only food they get.
    “Children often came home from school and worked with their parents. This is what my dad did. Now kids don’t get home until 7:00.”
    In Japan, students get out at 5, and many go on to cram schools that don’t leave out till 7 or later. Now then, the average US school lets out around 3. If a student is in extracurriculars, usually 5. I remember my sisters band camp would practice late, (7 or 8, but I don’t think it started till 5) and plays, band/orchestra might stay till 7 before performances. The obvious answer is, if a family feels 5 or later is too late for a child to come home, their child doesn’t do extracurriculars. And even when I was in cross country, it was still expected of me to help around the house and keep my grades up. And when I got a part-time job, I was still expected to help around the house and keep my grades up.

    “Parents don’t have to be with their kids much anymore because the state (school) is taking the place.”
    No. First off, if anything is to blame for parents not spending time with their kids, it’s parents. It may be their dedication/obsession/whatever to their job/career. It may be they have their children involved in as many extracurriculars as possible. But like I said, schools are not keeping children captive, once the academic school day is over, the kids are free to go. The average kid ets off at three. Of course, the average parent works till 5. Maybe if the US actually wanted to promote family values, we’d have a better work/life balance, and have decent maternity/paternity leave.

    “Are you going to address the shear size of our nation?”
    Not really, because I’m afraid stating that we’re too large of a nation to be efficiently run would be interpreted as “unamerican”.
    But, realistically, we either manage ourselves under a national curriculum, with minor local variation (local history built into the curriculum), or we completely dissolve federal involvement, and let each of the 50 states completely control their states education, which would subject it to massive swings of policy every time a new party was voted in, make it extremely difficult for any kid who moves out of state to adjust to a completely new curriculum, and allow states like CA and TX to enact whatever pet policy they have at the time. I prefer a more consistent approach.

  55. Deb
    July 24th, 2011 at 13:12 | #55

    @nerdygirl

    “Maybe if the US actually wanted to promote family values, we’d have a better work/life balance, and have decent maternity/paternity leave.”

    Or maybe change how much families are taxed so that one parent is able to stay home and manage the kids so to cut out more time for the family.

    Otherwise, I think we will have to agree to disagree.

    I think a lot of our disagreement stems from our upbringing. You have said here that your parents were divorced and your dad was abusive. May parents have been married for 40+ years and my dad is a good guy. Could this be why we see the role of parents in education (and in life in general) differently?

    God bless you, nerdygirl. I am praying for you (whether you like it our not).

  56. Anne
    July 26th, 2011 at 07:58 | #56

    @Deb
    “I think a lot of our disagreement stems from our upbringing. You have said here that your parents were divorced and your dad was abusive. May parents have been married for 40+ years and my dad is a good guy. Could this be why we see the role of parents in education (and in life in general) differently?”

    I have been thinking the same thing all morning, Deb. Thanks for putting it into words.

    nerdygirl, you don’t know what you’ve missed. I’m truly sorry for you that you haven’t had the benefit of what a long term united family can bring (in spite of, and often times because of, all of it’s struggles). But please don’t disregard it for the rest of society simply because you don’t understand it. Don’t fall into the trap that Sean is in of defining the world by everything that goes wrong. There is so much beauty to be discovered in truth and righteousness. It is not binding as you seem to think. It is actually infinitely liberating. “A train runs best when it’s on it’s tracks.”

    I’m praying for you too. “God Bless nerdygirl and show her true happiness. Amen”

  57. nerdygirl
    July 26th, 2011 at 21:09 | #57

    @Anne
    What part of I have a great step-father means I missed out on a unified family?

    Also, Deb, I thought I had replied to you as well, saying something long the lines, I do have a great step-father, so while I went through a lot of crap, it hasn’t all been crap. I would argue, that because i’ve seen how wrong a marriage can go, I put a lot of value into being self-reliant, and independent. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or even unchristian-like about going into a relationship knowing that if the worst possible thing happens, I can take care of myself. I’d even go as far to say that thats a great quality. Afterall, how is it more moral to stay in a marriage you despise for fear of being alone or not being able to survive then to leave?

  58. Deb
    July 27th, 2011 at 05:14 | #58

    @nerdygirl

    You missed my point. I am obviously for the education of women, being an educated woman myself. As a woman, or man for that matter, you can never be certain of any outcome, so you should be able to provide for yourself. I say this all while not believing in divorce.

    My point was this: I believe that parents are the primary educators of their children and therefore should be able to use their tax dollars towards the education of their choice for their child. I believe that, while nothing is perfect, that the best answer for children’s education is to give power to families, because ultimately parents want the best for their children and can achieve that end better then some beaurocrat in DC.

    You, on the other hand, want to give power to federal government and have the federal government over schools and therefore parents. You repeatedly say that parents don’t care about education. I say that the government has taken over for parents so much that they don’t HAVE to care about their children’s education. But, if we let them be in charge, most parents would do a better job than the government.

    I think we share these differing views because you saw the dissolution of a marriage and the worst kind of biological father. I’m not saying you didn’t see a good step-dad, but you lived through a situation that makes you distrust marriage and parents, because you have been let down. So when you are in the classroom, you have a level of distrust towards the stability of parents and their relationship to their children, because you have seen the worst.

    I, on the other hand, do not have a low level distrust of marriage and parents. As a teacher, I trusted the married parents of my students (even marginal students whose parents didn’t seem to push them) because I don’t share your experience of distrust of marriage and parents. Although my parents aren’t perfect (no one is) they are and were good parents. I have seen them work through difficult times together and I have seen them put me and my siblings first. I don’t operate with a level of distrust towards parents having my background. I understand that there are bad parents out there, but I know that their numbers are very low in comparison to the bio parents who want the best for their kids.

    I have lived parents doing a better job than government in educating their children and so I know other parents can do a better job educating and raising their children than the government- if we let them. Right now, forcing parents into one particular school, because of geography alone, and only one curriculum is not giving them the chance to step up and really parent. By taking over, the government has weakened the family.

    Again, I believe you don’t see it this way because you have seen the worst of parents (in your bio dad) and the upheaval it can bring and therefore you operate with a level of distrust towards other parents that I do not.

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