There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you – Maya Angelou

Archive for the ‘Social Issues’ Category

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Which One Is True? Both? Neither? Here is my take on it.

Which One Is True?  Both?  Neither?  Here is my take on it.

Our Educational System Through Time:

There was a time when our educational system in America was valued. No matter how small a town was there always seemed to be a school, or a parent that taught their child at home. Teachers and a good education were valued and respected. The Three R’s were considered basic necessities. Not so much these days. And I think this is the real problem.

Over time we have dumbed our education down to the point that students are bored, and we have tied teachers’ hands by having stupid things in place like “no child left behind,” and teaching to state tests, not to mention discontinuing basic educational classes that gave children a chance to express themselves and burn off some energy like art, music and gym. It is no wonder we have a multitude of children in this country with ADD and ADHD! Half these kids are probably bored to death in school and cannot focus because their creativity and activity outlets have been stamped out and may not be ADHD at all.

When my child brought home an “A” paper in the 2nd grade that had atrocious spelling and punctuation errors, I questioned the teacher about it. Her response was that it was more important for the children to get their feelings on the paper than it was to correct their spelling and punctuation. It was important to build their self-confidence and not hurt their feelings. I was livid! And so went my child’s education.

Do you know they have stopped teaching handwriting in school now?!  I have always known that was a bad idea! And I was proven right when I saw 1st hand the result of this at my job the other night when I sat next to a young gal who continually handed me every letter written in by someone because she could not read the handwriting! GRRRRR! I was doing her job as well as mine, and I hardly think that is fair. If she cannot do the job required, then what is she doing there? Reading handwriting is a requirement of that job even though it is not an official requirement. But God-forbid if we should discriminate against someone on their lack of education!

My partner is an instructor of English at the college level and has been teaching for about 26 years. Do you know that she actually gets phone calls from college student parents wondering why their student “got” the grade they did?! Why wasn’t it an A? Well, there are two problems she faces: First, these students often know nothing about basic English, reading or writing skills; second, these students fail to show up for repeated classes and/or fail to turn in their homework. And yet, these students and their parents expect to be handed an A just by virtue of the fact that they are registered for and paying for these classes.

Other countries are far smarter than we are because they still value an education. Teachers are still respected. And in some places, teachers are actually given a fair salary! Our society as a rule cares about the standard of education, the parents care, the teachers care and the students have to care, because everyone else does too! Many Amercians are complaining that foreigners are taking our jobs, but has anyone ever stopped to think about why? (We won’t get into corporate greed sending all the unskilled and low paying jobs overseas.) Well, our white collar jobs require an education, and foreigners are being brought in to do our jobs because we can’t and they can! So, if you don’t like it, then get smart! Because this is a world economy now, and that is not going to change. Highly skilled jobs are still going to be needed no matter where we are in this world, and the people who have the education are going to go where the money is.

So, even though we may have blamed the the student and now blame the teacher, what we really need to do is look at ourselves and our overall societal attitude towards education. If the student doesn’t care, it is because no one around him does either. Social apathy. If the teachers fail, it is because of restricting laws and rules that prevent them from failing students who did not make the grade, or even preventing them from doing any real teaching because state laws mandate that X-number of students must pass the state test in order to get funding, so education halts before state tests come up so teachers can teach to the test!

And what about the parents? How many parents are sitting down with their kids every night to do homework with them? How many parents answer questions for their kids, or help their kids manage their time, or hire tutors for kids who are stuggling, or even volunteer at the school? Now, before all you parents get upset with me… I know that society does not support you either. I know many of you are out there working jobs and simply do not have the luxury of volunteering at the school or hiring a tutor because you are struggling financially and are too tired by the time you get home to do anything else. So, when do we get a society that supports us parents and our need to help our kids, too? Why are we working so hard and not rewarding parents, students and educators for quality education?

Zimmerman, Martin and Racism

Over the last few days I have read post after post on the case of Zimmerman and Martin and how this has become an issue of racism.  I have not actually read the news stories on this, so forgive me if I have the facts mixed up, but from what I have picked up from the posts, Zimmerman and Martin somehow ended up in a fist fight.  Zimmerman ended up retreating to his vehicle, where he was advised to remain.  But instead of following instructions, he took it upon himself to grab his gun, exit his vehicle and shoot Martin.  If, in fact, this is what happened, this is plainly and simply a matter of a man, who in the heat of the moment, shot and killed an unarmed man – not in self defense.  And I believe he should have received prison time for his actions.  But, he did not.  He was set free.  There are a good many people across our nation, for many reasons who are angered by this and feel justice has not been served.  I am one of them. 

The story above is explained without talking about race.  It is about two angry men, one of whom ends up dead.  And this is what the foundation of this story is.  But, as with all stories, there are details that “color” the story (pun not intended).  If we add in the fact that Martin is a black man and Zimmerman is white/Hispanic, then the story takes on new meaning in our society.  Ah, this story is about racism.  And truly, this is what most of the posts I have read have been about.  The accusation is that Zimmerman was let go because of White privilege.  Martin, the dead man, apparently was not entirely innocent because he had a history of violence, perhaps even a rap sheet, and he allegedly attacked Zimmerman first.  So, the victim in this case, became the aggressor.  Some people thought he deserved what he got.  Even if Martin is guilty of all of these things, Zimmerman had still retreated to the safety of his car.  At this point, the story could have turned out very differently.  Martin could have been charged with assault.  But, then it would still be a story about racism wouldn’t it?

You see, regardless of the outcome in these two scenarios, it is a story about racism.  But what if Martin and Zimmerman were the same race?  There would be no racial argument.  So, why is there now?  Is this truly a story about racism or is it a story about injustice?  What exactly did go wrong in that courtroom?  Why in today’s society do we assume it is about race? 

I think it is because racism is alive and well in our country.  We would like to believe we overcame it, but we still have people who cling to it.  Some white people still want to hate anyone who is not white, and some black people (and others) are racist against the white people.  It really is a shame we have all this hatred.  Imagine what we could accomplish as a society if we just let go of all this hatred and just started working together.   But, I think that is still far off. 

Whether the Zimmerman-Martin case is about racism or not, I think Zimmerman should have gotten prison time.  He got out of his vehicle against advice and shot a man resulting in his death.  This is an intentional act.  If people can go to prison for accidentally killing someone, then Zimmerman should certainly have gone to prison.

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