To The Daily Sun,
As with my letters of the past I take the first paragraph to name my letter. This one I will name "The New Critical Thinking".
At a meeting of the Shaker Regional School District with parents and taxpayers to sell the decision to participate in Obama's federal school initiative called "Common Core" a lot of really good, critical questions were asked concerning the new education guidelines and what would be changed and left out in the new curriculum. A lot of questions were ignored and a lot of those answered were based on rhetoric and not facts. One of the statements from a parent was that the schools no longer teach "Critical Thinking". The response was that Critical Thinking was a vital part of the curriculum. So I decided to go back to my college books and the course I took called "Critical Thinking" and apply it to both this answer and the decision to go with Common Core.
Critical thinking, as it used to be taught, was a process used to determine a conclusion based on facts. Here is how the process used to be taught:
1. Choose a subject. This could be any subject such as political, science, the meaning of a book or a decision to go with a certain education curriculum.
2. Collect as many facts from as many diversified sources as you can on the subject.
3. Vet the facts and sources to verify the legitimacy of those facts. Use all the facts that pass the vetting process.
4. Organize the facts into points of conclusion. More than one conclusion may result from the organization.
5. Weigh the facts in each conclusion to determine the most reasonable conclusion.
6. Present your conclusion and why you developed this conclusion instead of others available using your vetted facts as support.
7. Open a forum for detractors who bring vetted counter facts that you might have missed to challenge or enhance your conclusion. The forum is based on facts concerning the conclusions of the chosen subject only.
The re-defined method of Critical Thinking being taught and used:
1. Choose a subject. Same as above.
2. Make a conclusion.
3. Collect facts from any source that will back your conclusion.
4. Present fictitious detractor conclusions with a high level of emotion as the only reasonable conclusion and sell your sources as the most qualified experts in this subject.
5. Avoid an open forum. If one must happen, avoid answering questions or give answers that distract from the question but don't really answer them. Ridicule, demeanor and demonize personally any detractors and sources that counter your conclusion. Avoid questions and discussions based on any facts, including your own.
A sample of this new method can be found in one of the answers a parent asked in the meeting about Common Core not teaching to a Bell Curve. The answer was along the lines that the Bell Curve is an old teaching model that does not fit in the new age of education. Instead, the Common Core will draw a new and improved standard which is a straight line starting low and going high. This would place the greatest population of students in the top of the learning curve (line). The new curriculum will then be changed and teachers retrained to obtain these results. The problem is that the old Bell Curve was not an arbitrary curve made up, then taught to. The Bell Curve came from education statistics collected over hundreds of years from different societies and systems. The statistics take the averages, percentiles and standard deviations of a populace and each and every time the standard deviation (that makes the bell looking curve) came out the same. In the past the Bell Curve was used as a check to see if your curriculum/teaching or testing was skewed from the norm. You had several choices to fix this if it was such as changing the percentage range on each grade (ie A+, A, B etc) for a test, or re-teach the block with a different approach and so on. What is totally ludicrous is to create an arbitrary curve for a populous and then completely change your curriculum in an attempt to match your education results to the curve. In the case of the new Common Core chart, the value of the top of the chart or highest level of education will end up being what is now the top of the Bell Curve which is the median (middle level or grade of C) of the current system. For any of you readers that are lost with the statistical information, all you have to remember is "The Dumbing Down Of America".
In the end, knowing both the original and the re-defined methods of Critical Thinking, it becomes easy to find the real conclusion that the Shaker Regional School District has chosen. It has nothing to do with the effectiveness of our great teachers, the curriculum in respect to preparing our children to function in society and prepare for continuing education or bringing our education system up to a higher standard. The true conclusion to go with Common Core is to receive large amounts of federal funding (at what-ever cost to our students, communities and society) and nothing more.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:28
To The Daily Sun,
In September I received my notice from my Health Insurance Company, MVP Healthcare, that my health insurance plan I have had since 1982 will no longer be available because of the Obamacare requirements. So much for If you like your plan you can keep it.
Senator Shaheen and Congresswoman Shea-Porter will never know what it is like to be 62 years old and lose your health insurance because they are exempted from Obamacare. They will most likely be getting free health insurance on us taxpayers for life.
In their zeal to beat their opponents, Obamacare became the Democrat's orthodoxy, they ignored all the warnings and pushed this mess through Congress.
Now literally millions are being told their health insurance is cancelled at the end of their policy year causing untold stress and anxiety to those affected. This of course is not to mention the increased cost to replace the old plan with a new one.
I doesn't matter anymore if Obamacare is repealed or collapses under it's own weight. The damage this is causing to the fabric of nation is done.
Senator Shaheen and Congresswoman Shea-Porter should be ashamed of themselves. Their conduct in support of Obamacare is a disgrace. They either didn't want to know consequences of the legislation or didn't care. Either way it is unforgivable.
They need to be held accountable in 2014.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:18
To The Daily Sun,
Bob Hamel is running for the Ward 5 Laconia City Council seat for a 5th 2-year term against former Mayor Tom Tardif. Hamel doesn't believe his constituents know what they are talking about. At the Laconia City Council Meeting on April 24, 2013 for recycling options, "Councilor Hamel stated that in looking at all the letters he would have to say that 70 percent were misrepresented by not having the facts about what the PAYT program actually is. If you read the letters most of them are emotional and that is understandable but the facts that people believe are how the program works are wrong and that is a problem. Councilor Hamel has read the comments closely and the people are misguided." Yet Laconia Mayor Mike Seymour did listen to the voters who elected him. From The Laconia Daily Sun on April 23, 2013, "Conflicted Mayor says pay-as-you-throw right way to go but most Laconians don't want it Seymour estimated that approximately 80-percent of some 300 comments he has received expressed opposition to PAYT."
At the Weirs Action Committee Laconia City Council Debate on October 25, Moderator Neil Young started the debate off by asking who supported Pay-As-You-Throw versus Mandatory Recycling. The Citizen reported, Ward 5 City Councilor Bob Hamel, "added that right now, Pay-As-You-Throw is a thing of the past, as the mandatory recycling trial period has been a success at about 25 percent of the community recycling." The motion made at a special meeting for Pay-As-You-Throw on April 24, 2013: "Councilor Baer made a motion to adopt Option #3, Mandatory Recycling for a six month trial period. Seconded by Councilor Doyle." The motion made by Councilor Baer is for a period from July 1st to December 31, 2013." Pay-As-You-Throw is not a thing of the past. PAYT will come up for a vote again after December 31st.
PAYT is a regressive tax. Blacks Law: "A tax levied at rates which increase less rapidly than the increase of the tax base, thus bearing more heavily on the poorer taxpayers." At the April 24th meeting, I asked what the savings in property tax per thousand would be if PAYT was implemented? City Manager Myers replied, "that a ball park number would be $.25 to $.27 per thousand." This a regressive tax, the more your property is worth the higher your savings, renters will see no savings just a tax of $2 for every 10 cent garbage bag. That's a $1.90 tax on every garbage you buy.
Vote for Tom Tardif Ward 5 City Councilor. He will listen to the Laconia voters and vote against PAYT
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:04
To The Daily Sun,
The election is fast approaching our city. By now, hopefully all residents of our great city, have had a chance to listen to the candidates as they explained what their position is in regards to Laconia. I wish that I could vote for all the candidates in all the wards, but I live in Ward 4, and will vote once again for Brenda Baer. She has supported our ward and city thoroughly through the years. As is the case for mayor, we will choose a new mayoral candidate this year. This will be a very important position for the city. If you have met these candidates or read of what they both feel is the best position for the city, then you are prepared, to make your choice. My choice is Ed Engler. I believe Ed is ready for the challenge and has the leadership to ensure the direction of the city remains positive and forward to a sound future.
Please join me in voting for Ed Engler for Mayor of Laconia.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:00
To The Daily Sun,
Are we seeing the end of American culture? Recent events have caused me to look a little closer into what is our American culture, and what's happening to it. Maybe it's because I'm a little older and wiser and think the younger generation doesn't care about anything anymore.
According to Wikipedia, American culture began with Jeffersonian democracy. Our sports, holidays, prevalent ideals, arts and entertainment give a strong sense of national pride among the population as a whole. Some call it American exceptionalism. We're proud to be American. I'm proud to be American.
American culture incorporates many Christian ideals specifically about redemption, salvation, conscience, and morality, ie, confession and forgiveness to public figures. Christians comprise 80.2 percent of the American public. Atheists, 4 percent. Then why do atheists control the thoughts of the rest of the country?? Why can't we exhibit the 10 Commandments or prayer in public places if we want? They call it "Political Correctness". That 4 percent may be offended! What about the 80 percent being offended by NOT having their say?
Other diminishing cultural norms are the family unit, illegality of hard drugs, the majority of Americans speaking out (they are silent!), volunteerism, nudity in movies. If the new culture is "do whatever we want", then why political correctness to stop one from doing or saying whatever he wants? Why do we now have "victims" where before, people would excuse misuse of language as a flaw of that person's thoughts. Now Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive, or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic, even when that wasn't the intent. You could be accused of a "hate crime" even though that wasn't the intent.
Such restraints on our speech is an offense against the First Amendment. Yes, we don't want to hurt others, but it's not always intended that way. Political correctness was intended to help instill sensitivity in the student body of colleges, and encourage them to refer to ethnic and social groups in a politically correct manner. Then came the "thought police".
Now, it is at the point that on Halloween, in some places, children are not allowed to dress as cowboys or Indians! It this what it is coming down to? How can we stop this? My favorite football team is the Washington Redskins. Heavens, they've been Redskins for 100 years. Indian peoples don't care if they have that name. It may be one tribe somewhere who complained, because now complaining results in money, lawsuits, etc. My gosh, people, grow up!
We want our First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech back!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 08:58