Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Trump no es amigo de los colombianos

Mi nombre es Eldon Lee. Soy de Carolina del Norte en los Estados Unidos. En mi pueblo, hay muchos latinos que trabajan aquí. Algunos son ciudadanos, y otros no.
Todos los latinos de mi pueblo tienen miedo de Donald Trump. Él dice que se deshará de todos los inmigrantes ilegales, pero lo que está haciendo es apuntar a todos los latinos. Dice que son asesinos y violadores y eso es mentira. Dice que los colombianos son narcotraficantes. Sabemos que hay algunos pero no se detiene allí.

El presidente Obama ha apoyado a latinos en todo el mundo. Es amigo de Colombia.

Donald Trump hará daño a todos los buenos latinos con el fin de obtener algunos malos. No es amigo de Colombia. Él dirá una cosa y luego hará otra. 

Joseph Weichselbaum 'fue condenado dos veces por traer drogas desde Colombia a Estados Unidos.  Trump apoya a los cárteles de esa manera, pero dice cosas malas sobre buenos latinos. Incita al miedo en la gente buena en mi país y alrededor del mundo.

Insultó a todos los mexicanos, incluso a mis buenos amigos. Tengo muchos amigos que son musulmanes y gente buena, insultó a muchas personas buenas. Incluso insultó al Papa con sus mentiras. Él no es cristiano porque los cristianos no difunden el odio. Tengo miedo de llevar mi novia a los Estados Unidos para visitar a causa de Trump, el hombre que odia

Cuando deporta los mexicanos, no diferenciará entre mexicanos, puertorriqueños o colombianos. Es un hombre malvado. Dígale a su Presidente que se mantenga alejado de Donald Trump. No le digas más odio, no más Trump


Friday, November 18, 2016

Why do small towns vote red?

I grew up in the small town of Three Oaks Michigan in the forties and fifties.  It was a peaceful time when little went wrong and crime was limited to a minor broken window or a stolen bicycle.  But there was more to a small town that meets the eye.  I never knew what the sign at the edge of town meant that said “restricted”.  But I soon found out.  I am not sure how I grew up without developing racists attitudes.  I remember Norah, a black girl new to our school, being called nigger Thomas and I was appalled.  I didn’t say anything because I didn’t say much back in the day.  

But it affected me.  Most of my classmates seemed to accept her and were compassionate but the few had to have their say.  She didn’t stay at the school long but the affect she had on me helped mold my future beliefs.  It tortures me to this day that I didn’t react in support of her.  I wish I could see her and give her a hug to say I’m sorry, I was silent.  The realization that I didn’t react to the racism around me in my youth, drove me to never again tolerate bigotry.

My mother had a big effect on me and church member and Sunday School teacher Simon Flourney, a black man and a friend of my family was such a positive role model that I couldn’t conceive of the racism that was in the hearts of many. However, he lived outside of town as he was not allowed to live in the city.  Although we grew up without a television until I was 8 or 9 years old, when we did get one I never watched the news, I only watched baseball, and a few westerns.  Not watching the news in the early fifties may have helped me avoid racial stereotypes.  

The reality is the advent of television news brought racism out of the shadows.  This was the only eyes small town people had to see diversity and it was primarily negative.  If the African American population was 15,000,000 and their only source of information was 50 demonized African American criminals, the perception by many was all 15,000,000 were bad and had to be kept in their places.

Even in that day, television news had to satisfy their sponsors and provide the scariest news possible.  This drew the attention of many in small towns and the Christian hate grew stronger hiding behind their artificial religious beliefs to allow the hatred to expand.  My parents taught me not to believe anything I heard and only half of what I saw.  And that was before we had a television.  See the good in everyone but those who use television as a guide only saw the hate.  And this grew with the revolution in the sixties. 

But in a small town, this hatred was allowed to fester. No one, including me, spoke up and the racist talk was held around the kitchen table and in the bars.  My house saw none of it.  I don’t remember one bad word spoken.  My mother admired Dr. King and followed a true Christian view of "do unto other as they would have them do unto you."

Kindness and Christian love, however was not the prevailing feeling among those in this small town.  Instead people were afraid but also felt abandoned.  Urban areas at the time were getting all the attention by the politicians and the cost of increasing support for integration and serving those who needed the most were taking from them.  African Americans were still seen as subnormal and not deserving of an education at the cost of serving the privileged.  

Why does all the money go to Detroit was the cry of the day.  When Christian values are brought up, they are perceived as only for “we the people” not for the dogs and cats and rats and cockroaches and African Americans.  “We the people” are only we the small town white people.  Their vision didn’t go any farther.  And those who left the town, left behind a group of bigots mixed in with those who silently supported true Christian beliefs, seldom to return.  

Quietly the Mexican workers would pick peaches and apples from my cousin’s orchard, but they were no threat as they remained “In their place”.  Billy Williams, a quiet black man, would park his car near my dad’s gas station to go to my grandfather’s theater but nobody bothered him because he knew his place.  My dad and I always greeted him and welcomed him to the theater.  Billy, Simon, my childhood friend, Robert Johnson, and the Mexican farm workers were perceived as not typical, they knew their place and were quiet, hiding in the shadows.  How dare they come out of the shadows.   

Racism and hate were subtle but deep, hidden behind the long flowing gown of Jesus.  They would go to church, pray, follow their version of Christianity and continue their ways, as long as no one of “those people” would bother them.  And God forbid they become President.  But that was a silly notion.

Much has changed since the fifties.  I spent my adult life in Milwaukee Wisconsin, a diverse city but one that was quite segregated racially. I learned a lot from that experience and it made my retirement transition back to the small town of Burnsville North Carolina traumatic.  The prevailing attitude here, as it was in my hometown, was to keep the town peaceful.  There was industry here although some had left but there didn’t seem to be much discontent. 

The current take on rural America is they voted for Trump because industry has shut down and moved out and that the small towns have been ignored by the politicians.  Of course that is correct but there is more to it than meets the eye.  Again, what they see on the news is influential. 

They heard TPP would take away jobs but they didn’t hear technology was the major culprit.  Those jobs are not coming back but new jobs will appear and that kind of change is scary.  But politicians like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Donald Trump continued to pound on the idea that singular job lose was NAFTA and the TPP.  Not a word about the effect of technology and the need to adapt to a changing world.  Fear tactics trumped education and critical thinking.

They kept hearing those deals were about corporations, of course not the corporations that owned the manufacturing they were losing but some far away mythical corporations that don't employ people.  Exporting corporations that have higher paying jobs are somehow worse than corporations that own manufacturing jobs that pay little. Change is scary especially when supported by an irrational political agenda.

There are many undocumented Mexicans in my new small town but there seemed to be of little concern.  Like in the fifties, everyone went about their business.  But then came the eye opener.  Undocumented Mexicans were criminals and rapists.  As evidence of this 6 or 7 relatives of those murdered or raped by undocumented Mexicans were paraded in front of the cameras.  And in small towns especially this is terrifying.  Like in the fifties, it didn’t matter that there were only 6 or 7 out of 11,000,000.  It only mattered that they were illegal, rapists and murderers and that put suspicion on the 11,000,000.  Nothing had changed in this small town except an artificial perception that didn’t connect with reality.

But now fears escalate as goon squads are believed to be preparing to round all 11,000,000 up and get them out of here to save the small town from what wasn’t a problem in the first place.  Can you imagine moving the equivalency of the entire population of Chicago and New York out of this country?

And now we have the Muslim issue.  This is no different when such a small percentage out of the over 3,300,000 Muslims in this country were involved in the 13 terrorist attacks that were connected to Islam in the last 12 years.
How do these figures get so distorted?  Both politicians and the media survive on fear.  And they not only depend on irrational behavior especially in small towns but they feed into it.  Politicians, to get elected and the media to get ratings.  And both are the real liars.

So when we say small towns are the victims, it’s not because of rational beliefs.  It is because they are fed fear and hate, and way too many believe it.  The solution is education that teaches people to look deep into the facts.  And not to be frightened by those who are manipulating them.  Remember how peaceful things were in your small town until you were reminded by unethical politicians and media to be afraid.  Yes, there are problems in the world, and an even handed approach will eventually lead to success.  However, the biggest problem small towns have to fear, is fear itself.  And don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see in person.  And all will be well.  After all, did anyone ever take away your guns?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Why Do We Believe

Words Cap Lee
Tune Buffy St Marie

Why do we believe          all the stories that we’re told
Why do we believe          All their lies
Why do we believe          Even though we know the truth
Why do we forever close our eyes

Why do we believe          black is white and bad is good
Why do we believe          When we must pay
Why do we believe          God is our guiding light
But He doesn’t really mean what he says

We’re the quintessential liar full of hate full of fear
We ask God to protect our mortal soul
We allow hate to those we love and love to those who hate
Don’t we know we are simply Satan’s tool

Why do we believe          Because it’s easier that way
Why do we believe          Because we must 
Why do we believe          Because we are weak with our fear
Our heart and soul is buried in the dust


Satan has escaped with our soul

click link for song

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Deep thinking is missing in politics

Education is a major issue in politics. Primarily this election was a White Lash getting back at a black president who was too uppity to suit the white right. If people were educated correctly, they would look deeper into what the problems really are.

Technology, not TPP or NAFTA are the culprits that eliminated industry jobs in this country and that’s not going to change ever. If educated, they would understand that there is an international shift from jobs tech can now do, to running the tech that does them.

If educated they would understand that the country is changing from an all white to diverse country, and that’s the way it is. And people aren’t horrible if their nationality is different.  We are all immigrants, the only difference was the Polish, Irish etc were all white.  Now the new immigrants aren't.

If educated, people would understand that being strong is sometimes being smart. What would you do if a terrorist leader was hiding among children and families? Would you bomb them anyway? And if they were your children, would you still bomb them?

Would you throw out immigrants here illegally just because they are breaking the law? Or would you recognize we have let them come in for close to 100 years and to throw them out would destroy our food industry as well as their families?

Would you give a speeding ticket to someone who broke that law 20 years ago? Most crimes have a statute of limitations.  If they aren't caught within 7 years, they can't be charged.  If we do this for criminals why can't we do it for those who help keep our food prices low and keep our food industry functioning?

These are all deep questions that many can’t answer because they aren't taught to think deeply.

Would you bomb Syria when they crossed the red line simply because it was a line, or would you realize that the vacancy would allow ISIS to take over the country and it would have Russia and Iran retaliating?

Would you ban all late term abortions if you knew a woman, having twins, with one already dead and the other with the brain outside his head and the mother possibly dying was dependent on it? Deep thinking.

And that same deep thinking would help realize that all people are different and all are the same. Not based on race or origin. And that if there are 11,000,000,immigrants here and 7 committed violent crimes that doesn’t make all immigrants bad. In fact they are probably better than the white peoples norm.

This is all about deep thinking when we are taught to depend on the teacher for the answer, they then depend on their favorite candidate for the answer.  

Do we call Hillary a liar when Politifact says Trump lies over 70% of the time and Hillary and Bernie 25%.  Tom Brady did not support or vote for Trump but he says it anyway because the vote was almost over when Tom's wife got on the news and discredited it.  And there never were people dancing in the streets in New Jersey when the twin towers came down.

Trump; 4% true; 11% mostly true; 15% half true; 19% mostly false; 34% false; 17% pants on fire

Hillary; 25% true; 26% mostly true; 24% half true; 14% mostly false; 10% false; 2% pants on fire

Summary  Trump 30% on true side;  70% on false side

                 Hillary 75.5% on true side;25.5 on false side

And Hillary is a criminal when she has never in her life been convicted of anything?  Of course we say "every one knows that she did wrong".  Which is a cheap way of saying she's guilty without her being guilty.  However Trump University comes up next so we will see who is really guilty.  Can you say "lock him up?"

And if someone read every e mail you sent over a 4 year period and still found nothing illegal, would you still say something was illegal?  And Trump wouldn't even release his taxes?  Why?

Just sayin’ If the people knew what would really help them, they might make wiser decisions rather than believing the line of crap politicians put out.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The farce of graduation rates

Hooray for us!  The President just announced that 85% of seniors graduated this past year.  Of course he meant 85% based on the adjusted cohort graduation rate.  "The four-year graduation rate is calculated by dividing the number of students who graduate in four years or less with a regular high school diploma by the number of students form the adjusted cohort for that graduating class." My first concern is the issue of "on time" At what point does the importance of graduating in four years or less become the be all and end all of graduation.  If someone was sick for a year and graduated a little later are they now chopped liver?  If they develop at a slower rate should they give up and not complete in four and a half years because they don't count anymore? If a school pulls a kid out of the streets and gets them to graduate a little later are they a bad school?  Isn't graduation the issue?

They use a formula akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Why do we do a formula? Beause we simply don't count the actual kids and follow them through their school years. That would scare us to see the reality of how many kids are pushed out into the streets simply because they don't fit the mold, simply because they are not good test takers.  And we don't give schools credit who serve the kids that need us the most, the kids that might take a little longer to make it.  We only give credit to those schools who serve the most children of privilege.  The kids who are good test takers.

How could anyone not be a good test taker when they are hearded into a room, put under enormous pressure, to take a test that is meaningless to kids if for no other reason that returns to the school four months later.  Well after their plans are in place.  What a waste.  A test that supports those who are good with paper and pencil tasks.  And then we brag about it.

And what is graduation anyway?  I remember a young special needs girl who left my middle school, went to high school for three years, dropped out and still walked across the stage with a diploma.  I was at that graduation, saw her diploma and had talked to her sister, who raised her and was told how and when she dropped out.  Cheating is at an all time high, not by kids, but by administrators who find a way to manipulate the stats to make them look good.

They don't blame the artificial common core fiasco that pushed kids out of school for not being at the same place at the same time fitting into that tiny box full of word games and math riddles. We struggle to force kids away from an education into a "teach to the test" fiasco totally draining them of every ounce of their individuality while assuring that they are not able to engage in critical thinking and innovation.

One of the greatest complaints of Asian nations is that the US is providing the innovators and their education system does not succeed in that effort.  However, we still keep trying to force kids away from critical thinking, understanding how our government works, being able to use their hands to maintain their houses and cars, how to be entrepreneurs, and a long list of skill areas that are not allowed in schools anymore.  Do we not want any more leaders like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey?

Is it today's reality that the Nazi style of every one in lock step is the only way to succeed?  Are we following the advice of  Thomas Jefferson when he called the purpose of the education system, "raking a few geniuses from the rubbish"?  And now we call those seen as rubbish being pushed out of school and thrown into the streets at earlier and earlier ages. Yet we brag about those of privilege who make it to their senior year and forget those who don't fit the mold.

Their is nothing in the current statistics that indicates success of the outdated system and philosophy of education called common core.  Those who haven't dropped out are forced away from a real education designed to prepare them for their future in their world after the classroom.  And that is even worse than dropping out!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Scapegoating unions for systemic problems?

Many believe that problems relating to the school system and especially the quality of teachers are squarely on the backs of the unions.  After all, unions protect bad teachers don't they? In a recent "letter to the editor" of Education Week, Richard Berman stated "America's national teachers unions - the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers - are notorious for protecting underwhelming teachers through generous tenure policies and last-in first-out firing procedures"  (Education Week, April 27 2016)

Although this may be the artificial consensus of many, it is essential that we take a deeper look at the process.  Having been a teacher and a school administrator, I have seen both sides of the issue.  My first thoughts are that if Principals would do there homework, they would be better able to hold teachers accountable.  The unions job, first and foremost is to assure an even playing field as well as insist on due process.

Of course scapegoating Principals would be another artificial quick fix.  Principals rarely have time to properly assess teachers not to mention provide needed support.  And without those two ingredients, neither the even playing field nor due process could be done effectively. By eliminating tenure, we simply eliminate due process.  And by eliminating last-in first-out simply allows a sneaky way to fire without due process.

But the question still remains, how do we provide teacher support as well as a thorough assessment to assure parents that their children are receiving the best education possible?  After retirement I served as a mentor and assessor for first year teachers.  I found my colleagues were of the highest integrity. Passionate about supporting quality teaching and just as passionate about keeping ineffective teachers out of schools.

The big difference between what we did and what Principals do now, is that we had the time to do an accurate assessment as well as provide a strong support system.  And when it came to due process, all of our ducks were in a row.  And that's what unions want, fairness.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Do we ask the right questions about school quality?

Several questions are often asked when determining the success of a school.

One of the questions that is asked is how many students graduated on time.  “On time” is the issue that forces most kids out of school.  And if the fundamental purpose of education is to assure students are prepared for the future, whether they do it on time, a month later or two months earlier should be irrelevant.

Consider this:  A student fails second grade.  Since that student’s chances of graduating on time are diminished, should he/she go home and forget third grade and beyond?  Of course that doesn’t happen but it does happen in ninth grade on a regular basis.  That is the number one reason for drop outs.

Also consider the reality that kids don’t get their teeth at the same time, they don’t start talking at the same time, they don’t start walking at the same time, they don’t recognize colors at the same time, but when they get into first grade they must be at the same time, at the same place in the text book, learning the same way, scoring the same on an artificial test and on and on.

2.     The second question often asked is "How many are proficient?"  Again proficient is based on everyone learning at the same rate.  If you are “proficient” 3 months later it doesn’t count as being proficient.

Everything has a deadline.  What if standards were guidelines for success rather than deadlines for failure.  What if we realized kids learn in different ways and at different rates?  And what if kids demonstrated learning for their assessment.  Rather than stating the scientific method, they demonstrated it through a science project for their assessment.

What is a good school and what is a bad school?  Under the current system, no one knows.  And a test score says nothing!