Education, Politics

Back to Basics

The remainder of my schooldays were no more auspicious than the first… but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.

(Chapter 4, Voice of Scout, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee)

These words have pierced my soul a time or two this summer, as I re-read this forbidden novel with my two high school aged sons. The tone was cynical music in my ears, yet truth rang through each syllable. Even though this was written over 50 years ago, with the story taking place over 80 years ago, somehow the tragedy of forced education is surfaced through a child’s memory, embedded in disgrace and bitterness while yearning for real life.

I used to be envious of the stories that I would hear of the past century. Although life in general was much more difficult back then, I enjoyed listening to the pastimes of lazy summers that bled into a new school year filled with patriotism, prayer in school, and learning the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. I thought that the “happy days” of the 20th century were truly happy, but if one were to dig deep into the archives of education, she would see that not much has changed in its mission.

As I ponder over the direction of education in the 21st century I want to be that mom – that advocate – who fights for putting the basics back into real education! I don’t want to hear about “no child left behind” or the new “common core standards.” I want to know that the schools are teaching the children how to read properly; how to perform the four foundations of mathematics; and, how to write in both styles: print and cursive. My knickers are in a twist of the recent awareness that the new nationalized standards will not be teaching cursive writing. And, the icing on this political scheme of a cake is that the experts are more concerned about teaching the “process” rather than finding the correct answer! Really? 2+3=5 is not necessary as long as you know how to discover your own path. I sure hope that these children do not become surgeons or pharmacists or rocket scientists. We will be in a world of hurt if the right answer is not necessary.

I had to take a moment to vent about this change that will forever alter our children’s future. I can’t help but think that there has to be more to these standards than test scores or trying to fit all children into one common mold. It will be my new plea, rather, a new passion, to encourage all parents to teach as much of the “old” style of learning at home. Forget the matrix of multiplication… teach them how to multiply the old school way!

I know there is no perfect school out there. As humans we will always error when it comes to human-made institutions. And yes, the current educational system is bleak at best. But, please, don’t make it worse by further dumbing down the children. Take back the control into the local schools, by starting in your own home. Read to your children every night. Do the math flash card practice. Play a board game to strengthen the logic skills. Print out and copy some cursive practice words.

There’s one thing that cannot be taken from you, and it is your intelligence. Just don’t let some “expert” tell you what and how much of that intelligence will be allotted to your child. That type of progress, that type of control, that type of spreading-the-wealth… it’s not healthy, nor is it good for our future.

Politics, Reflection

In Five Days…

Five days from now our country’s citizens will be voting for new leadership. The past four years have been such a drastic change for my family and I, that I am anxious to know the results now. I just want to waive a white flag of surrender in the midst of the red and blue.

My hope is so simple, yet it is difficult to put into words. I want to see the next four years as hopeful, rather than helpless. I want to see the change that will bring personal responsibility and respect to the forefront. Here is my wish list for that I can only hope and pray:

Economically, I wish to see a cap on the spending and a beginning of reduction in expenses. There are only a few major players who hold the nation’s purse strings, and I’d like to see accountability, frugality, and clarity. This is much easier said than done, and I have yet to see positive results. Unemployment is higher, foreclosures are higher, and the debt is higher than ever. The trend needs to reverse or our country will become a national ghost town in the next century.

Environmentally, I wish to see the continued preservation of our national parks, to be enjoyed by all, but protected at the fullest measure. We have a symbiotic relationship with nature, and it needs to have the highest regard for its preservation and care.

Educationally, I wish to see passion and perseverance return to the classroom. Our schools are cranking out graduates that don’t care about learning, let alone the desire to learn on their own. Our children are bored with standardized teaching and testing, and they are being taught that they don’t have to think on their own. It is time to end the spoon-fed lectures and boring worksheets. Let’s bring “life” back into the classroom.

Executively, I wish to see more leaders show true leadership, rather than act like puppets funded by the highest bidder. We need more men and women to stand up and lead the masses with humility, honor, and privilege. We need the current leaders to train future leaders as they prepare to pass the baton of position.

Ethically and morally, I wish to see a return of a family-centered values for a harmonious community. Strong families build strong neighborhoods, and strong neighborhoods build strong communities. The process continues to build strong cities, states, and thus a strong nation. We need to stop thinking of “me” and what others can do for “me.” We need to become outward-focused and see what we can accomplish and provide to the community as a collective force.

Lastly, I wish that our nation will continue to uphold the beliefs of the founding fathers that drafted the Constitution and Declaration of Independence so long ago. My prayer is that people will have the desire to return to the foundation upon which our country was built. Most of us tend to run in many directions during each day, and we seldom take the time to breathe in fresh air through conscious thought. We forget that life doesn’t have to be so fast paced. We can take the time to become more thoughtful of our surroundings.

Again, these things are on my wish list. What may happen in the next five days will either create new hope or not.


My View on Health Care Reform

This is what I wrote to a dear friend of mine… whom we have to chosen to “agree to disagree” and still love each other as friends.

Yes, I do agree, the whole system needs to change, but unfortunately, I don’t agree with the step toward more federal governmental control and ultimately a step toward socialism. In a perfect world, socialism would be the ideal form of government. But, our country was founded on the principles on independence and freedom from government-led tyranny.  Our founding fathers wanted us to be free. Now, our capitalistic society is dying a slow, painful death, with one government-led takeover at a time.

I do believe we will see a drastic change in our health care reform, but it’s only going to bankrupt the US and there will be no future for anything else (no social security, no more capitalism, no more cash – yes, we will be a cashless society one day, mark my word). These changes are not new in my worldview, but I was hoping for a little more time to enjoy the American freedoms we so take for granted.

I’m not a political expert, but I do know that those who are in Washington DO NOT have our best interest at heart. I cannot honestly remember a time where our politicians were clean-cut, filled with integrity, and had the best interest in the people. The term “crooked politician” is quite accurate and not just a catchy phrase. But, how do we change the political scene? Some of the politicians who voted on this bill will not be alive in the next 20 years to see the damage it will cause our nation.

Yes, there are people who are prone to illnesses that are not by their own accord, but according to the research and literature I read, 50% of all cancer and other diseases could be eradicated by consistent exercise and diet changes. But, how many people will take the hard road? How many will give up their coffee, their cigarettes, their alcohol, their overeating binges, their addictions to drugs, their laziness?

I was appalled when I saw the level of junk food that was offered by the hospital yesterday!! I am on a mini-detox right now, eliminating sugar, breads, pasta, and even dairy and fruit (for a little while), so I can get my internal system recharged. I could not eat one, damn thing out of that machine or in the cafeteria last night. I was so hungry that I broke down and had some teriyaki beef and white rice. I don’t know what the sauce was made out of, but I’m pretty sure it was full of preservatives! Plus, white rice… come on… what about healthier brown rice.

The bottom line is that my illness with MRSA has made me realize how broken our health care system is, but it’s going to take more than just a 2000 page bill to change it. It really comes down to the individual. We can change community programs, and reform the grand scheme until we are blue in the face, but the bottom line is the individual. Each person should have the choice to live a healthier life, and not rely on some government-funded system to keep them “well enough” to get by. I don’t want to survive; I want to thrive!!!

Also, I don’t like the government forcing us to pay a fine for the 6% who will not be covered. Who are those 6% gonna be? They say it’s the undocumented immigrants, but that’s just their guess.

I am not afraid, I am pissed. I am sad. I am disgruntled. I’d rather have no insurance, and focus on prevention through my chiropractor, than to be covered, be told who to see, limit my rights and freedoms, and be accountable to “big brother.” All those stories I read in High School about the fictitious future are coming true… one by one.

I know I cannot convince you to change your mind, just as you won’t be able to change my mind. I just hope that our children won’t suffer too much. I’ve already seen the “skimping treatment” that my pediatrician does to my kids because they have AHCCCS coverage. I am still half-tempted to take them off and get them on my private insurance while I have it. My pediatrician will only do the bare minimum when we go to see him. I cannot even get a recommendation for my son for a CT scan of his head, just to see how his brain is growing since his accident 10 years ago. All because of state-funded insurance. Can you imagine what we are NOT going to receive in care because of federal insurance?

That’s what we should fear… the wait list for true help. The rationing of care… the survival of the fittest (and only the fittest will truly survive the longest). If the government could focus more dollars on prevention, maybe I would listen. But, they are just shuffling the pile – the “rob Peter to pay Paul” scenario – to have more people stuck in a system of perpetual pain and suffering. But, gosh darn it, they’ll be covered!

Well, that’s my mantra. That’s what I believe. Our country is no longer the same as it was in its foundation. I’m not just talking about political parties or religious bents. I’m talking about true character… honesty, integrity, care for others, living frugally.

I no longer consider myself a Republican. I choose to not align with any party because of all the deceit. I will be a revolutionary patriot until my dying breath. If I have to hang at the stake for my beliefs, I will hang. I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe.

I hope this helps you understand me a little better. I don’t know if I have a gift of healing, but I know have a gift of compassion. I love others because I know that we are all special creations from God. But, that’s a whole other mantra…