To The Daily Sun,
Society, with help of schools of all sizes, has taken games (sports) to an unrealistic level, which directly threatens the very existence of scholastic excellence. This bold statement is not just a cursory observation, but hopefully a notice that classroom studies are distant to games on the field, and academic success is fading in notice and acclaim. It is the game that counts (for so many) oblivious to the actual reason children attend school — in the first place.
There are semi-frequent notices about grade levels and academic achievements and exceptional students (few as they may be.) especially this time of year. But newspapers are loaded with ballfield events, game scores and endless stories of huge wins and crushing defeats. And on and on it goes day after day. Math, science, reading and writing are nowhere to be seen. In essence, nothing else seems to have the enthusiasm, the gusto, the thrills and chills as the daily game. This seems perfectly fine. But in all this hullabaloo most children are failing in the classroom, and nobody seems to care or is able to significantly improve percentile grades, year-to-year. Win the football championship and all else is forgotten and pushed aside.
As a nation we are falling further behind in competitive skills and knowledge. Our minor children are not getting the grades they need to advance in a tough world market. In spite of this, parents are blind to the damaging effects of near-idolatry of their children playing endless games that have no real or usable consequences.
I enjoy watching my grandkids play on the field or court. They are excellent students, and games don't have that win-or-else mentality. I hope that's the case.
This is a very serious problem. We have to make a 180 degree turn from where we are now. The most recognizable scale we have tells us to educate the children, do not accept failure and excuse. Don't be foolish, let your children know you want them to do well in school, That is the most important thing in their young lives.
Games must take a minor role, slink into the background where they belong and no longer be the dominant and overbearing entities they have become.
Leon R. Albushies
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 10:33
To The Daily Sun,
Today we are celebrating the achievements of graduating students. We applaud them and wish that they achieve their dreams.
While we are happy for those who are prepared for their next endeavor, we need to recognize that many of our schools are just not good enough for students or for our country's needs. Too many graduates are not prepared for the next level of education or for a decent job. And, far too many students drop out of bad, dangerous and uncaring schools and end up poor and/or incarcerated.
Changing the names of top-down driven programs, e.g., now Common Core, previously No Child Left Behind, continues to fail and neglects the real problems anyway.
There are thousands of great and millions of good public school teachers. But thousands of bad teachers and administrators, who cannot be fired, harm school morale and deprive millions of students of their opportunities for good starts in life.
We have tried sending our public schools increasing amounts of money and federal directives for decades, but that doesn't fix the problems caused by bad teachers, bad administrators, and an educational establishment stuck in the past.
Charter schools provide options for the fortunate few lucky enough to get in. Some parents, even very poor parents, struggle to send their children to private schools so they can avoid failing public schools. Their stories are heartbreaking. I recommend watching the documentary movie, "Waiting for Superman," available in many libraries, including Meredith's.
Taxpayers fund great public educations, spending (in 2011) on average $13,041 per pupil in public schools versus $8549, $8001, $6018 in private, charter, and Catholic schools respectively (http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/). Sadly, too many public schools don't deliver quality results. It's long past time for Americans to demand the changes needed so each child can get a good education in a good, safe school.
It's time to change how public education money is spent. Every tax dollar collected for public education should be directed by a child's parents to the school the parent selects for his or her child.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 10:29
To The Daily Sun,
While the impotent hashtag nation implores Boko Haram to "Bring Back our Girls" after 276 school girls were kidnapped into slavery by a faction of Jihadi terrorists from Nigeria, they responded by breaking into an agricultural college in Nigeria, killing some four dozen students. The students were mostly Muslim and made the mistake of attending a non-Islamic school, reports Mark Steyn.
As amazing folks like Ayaan Hirsi Ali try their best to educate us about the Muslim world, our government, academia and the media choose to ignore the truth. She tells us that the meaning of Boko Haram is "western education is forbidden" or more precisely "non-Muslim teaching is forbidden." The Taliban terrorists, who have been so heartened by the release of five Islamic "killing generals" by Barack Obama, have also slaughtered many women and children for the high crime of "non-Muslim teachings."
Ali, along with others who have escaped that part of the world to live in America, remain perplexed as to why "we Westerners" choose to ignore reality and paint those who try and give us the truth as "Islamophobic." Some of those others include Nonie Darwish, Brigette Gabriel, Whalid Shoebat, Walid Phares, Reza Kahlili and Zuhdi Jasser. They tell us that "nothing is more anathema to the jihadists than equal and educated women."
It is true that the average Muslim rejects the use of violence and does not share the radical belief that western culture must be replaced by an Islamic one. Hirsi Ali believes that all those average Muslims must align with and wake up a Western culture that chooses to ignore the reality that Boko Haram is not an aberration, but rather reflects a new wave of jihadism that extends far beyond Nigeria and poses a moral threat to women and girls throughout the world.
Bill Warner, director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam, reports on the 1,400 year history of jihad. He tells us that every detailed history that comes from the original documents from history, include rape as a constant. Our school history books have erased that portion of the history of Islam. Those books will not reveal that rape is permitted and encouraged by Mohammed and the Koran. Warner wonders just how and why feminist scholars can remain so silent in the face of horrific and heinous crimes that continue to be committed against women.
Raymond Ibrahim, in his book, "Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians," reports that Boko Haram has killed more Christians, many of them women and children, than in the rest of the world combined. Should the Obama administration and academia continue to keep their heads in the sand by implying that these actions have no connection to the "tolerant and noble teachings of Islam," then Islamic terror will continue to proliferate. Should they continue to blame these terrorist actions on poverty and economics, then the "Arab Winter may come to America" as Robert Spencer warns us in his new book of the same name.
I'm willing to bet that our liberal, tenured professors spend more time discussing Procol Harum's, "Whiter Shade of Pale" than they do Boko Haram's hellish, holy grail of jihad. This counterculture song from the 1967 "Summer of Love" is more to the liking of the "professors of terror," Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. The Weather Underground gang sure did like to "turn cartwheels 'cross the floor" as the anarchist crowd "called out for more." "She said there is no reason and the truth is plain to see", yet this administration prefers to just "let it be."
In the case of Boko Haram, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terrorist groups, there will be no "vestal virgins leaving for the coast". No, just more of the savagery of kidnappings, rape, slavery, pedophilia, female genital mutilation, homosexual beheadings and mass murders of Christians and other non-believers. Why, oh why does that not make every red-blooded American turn a "whiter shade of pale?" Why does the fact that 250 million people slaughtered by various groups of Islamist terrorists, which leads the world in the killing of other human beings, not make liberals, feminists and other leftists, cringe and wail?
Why does the "give peace a chance" crowd still not understand that when this country leaves a vacuum like it did in Iraq by not putting together a "status of forces agreement" thereby ensuring stability in the region, evil will fill that vacuum? Over 4,000 lives and a trillion dollars lost in Iraq, and now al-Qaeda forces have come over from Syria and taken over whole cities in their march toward Baghdad.
President Obama says he ended the war in Iraq when he actually ended the victory in Iraq, won by General David Patraeus. Al-Qaeda is not on he run Mr. President. Rather, al-Qaeda and its offshoots are overrunning countries in the Middle East and are now poised to become the beast of the east that can't be beat. A new caliphate with which to launch attacks against all infidels, with renewed vigor and hate.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 10:25
To The Daily Sun,
Apparently, The Laconia Daily Sun has opened up a restaurant in the Lakes Region featuring a Friday night special of "pasta boutineska."
The only problem with this dish (named after one of the loud-mouth bass in the lake) is that it's all carbs and no protein — much like the thinking of its namesake. I'm referring of course to a recent simplistic article claiming that income inequality is less in red states than in blue states. Without referencing any of his sources, the author is obviously referring to the analysis of Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder, paid gun-slingers of the Heritage Foundation entitled: "The blue-state path to inequality." This article appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal.
Their analysis is based on the Gini Index (named after the Italian statistician, Corrado Gini in 1912 which purported to measure inequality of a distribution). It should be noted that this index is over 100 years old and no serious economist would remotely suggest that it is without flaws — the first of which is that the index does not count the effects of taxes or government transfers. Second, the authors refuse to admit the relationship between inequality and population density choosing either to deliberately misunderstand it or at the very least ignore it.
Quoting from the authors: "John F. Kennedy had it right that a rising tide lifts all boats." This may have been correct when Kennedy said it, but changed shortly after his presidency. The gap between average wages and productivity gains started to widen after 1970 and continued for the next four decades. If wages did keep pace with economic growth and if the "rising tide" did lift all boats, then growth would be much stronger overall. The problem is that growth is concentrated at the top which in fact is suppressing growth because it is suppressing consumer spending everywhere except at the top.
The authors conclude with this: "It would be better for lower and middle income Americans if growth and not equality became the driving policy goal in the states and Washington, D.C."
Refusing to admit that growth and equality are inextricably entwined the authors will never admit that we haven't had more of the first because we've had less and less of the second.
As for the article in The Daily Sun, perhaps a quote from Alexander Pope's "Essay on Criticism" will suffice: "A little learning is a dangerous thing: Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again."
Last Updated on Monday, 16 June 2014 09:03
To The Daily Sun,
It isn't often I agree with Lynn Rudmin Chong, but this time I do. Ms. Chong rightfully slammed the rising costs of education in our institutions of higher learning in her June 12 letter. The cost of college has increased well above the rate of inflation, pricing it out of the reach of students unless they and their families take out student loans that leave them deeply in debt when they graduate. However, I must disagree with one point she brought up as the cause, not because she's in error but because it is not the main driver of rising tuition costs.
There are two factors that have worked to make college less affordable: An increasingly skewed administrator to faculty ratio, and too darned much money available for student loans.
As to the first, it used to be that faculty outnumbered administration by a decent ratio. Today administrators — and by this I mean upper- and middle-level administrators — outnumber faculty by 2 to 1 or more, depending upon the college. What makes this even worse is that too many of them are earning six-figure salaries way above their actual worth. Some even earn seven-figure salaries.
Why so many administrators? Does any college really need to have that many administrators, or is it the Rule of Bureaucracies ("A bureaucracy's sole purpose is to expand itself beyond its original purpose") driving this need to have an ever increasing number of administrators?
Have you noticed that when colleges announce layoffs because of money problems it's almost always faculty being laid off and not administrators? The administrators aren't the ones generating revenue, it's the faculty. After all students attend college to be taught, not to be administered.
Addressing the second cause, it's a straightforward economic principle: the more money that is available to pay for a college education, the higher the cost of a college education will be. With a seemingly endless supply of student loans available, is it any wonder colleges have raised their tuitions? All that money is out there for the taking, so of course they want more of it. All they have to do is raise their prices and they can have it, knowing students and their families will be more than willing to pay it. But as happens every time when the money supply is too big, reality eventually reasserts itself and people will come to realize the cost of the product — in this case a college degree — is too high. I'd say we've just about reached that point and the so-called higher education bubble is starting to collapse.
Unless the colleges and universities change their ways and do away with the imbalance between faculty and administrators, and the government stops subsidizing unaffordable student loans, this problem will continue.
Dale Channing Eddy
Last Updated on Monday, 16 June 2014 08:58