Friday, June 19, 2009

EXTENDED SCHOOL DAYS? Not the answer!

Our new leader, whose name I'll not mention so as not to set off an alarm by my "Big Brother" monitor, promised change and change he is delivering.

Delivering much anguish I might add. I might also add that, in my belief, that anguish will be experienced by more and more citizens as all of his changes take place.

Lying in the Cornorary Care Unit, probably from the effects of a virual infection rather than from a bad heart, after hearing one of our fearless leader's plans to provide extremely low interest home loans and about $8,000 for a down payment to what he termed as "unfortunate people", I watched as my heart beat grew erratic.

Today, observing the disparity of education of the poor and the wealthy, the president is proposing either extending the school week or the school year. This action may cost him one of his strongest bases, the teacher unions. Teachers do not want to work longer. At least those in my family do not.

All of my grandchildren attended private schools. Some for eight years and some for twelve. Along with nearly 100% of their classmates, they have all gone to college, excepting the two little munchkins, who are most certainly college bound.

What about public schools where the test results and the number attending college are much lower? Like health care, aren't all the so called "poor" children entitled to equal educational opportunities?

All my children attended public schools. Starting before kindergarden it was understood that their parents would be fully involved in their lives, including their education. The children were never allowed to have a "coast" class, no study halls! Again, importantly, their parents were totally emersed in all aspects of the kids lives, including education.

Although they went to church every Sunday and were active scouts, they were each encouraged to be independant thinkers, and their own persons. Kimberly was runner up to and senior attendant for the homecoming queen. She was the class speaker at graduation. Mark and Todd were active all around. If there was a trophy for being ornery, Todd would still hold that honor I'll bet.

Many of the grandchildren graduated early from high school with a year or two of college credits. Jillian, started at Cedarville last fall. Next fall she will be a senior.

At the Norton High School, which my children all attended, the elderly English teacher was known to be "tough". If you passed Mrs. Good's English class you had a good grasp of the English language. My oldest sons both had Mrs. Good.

My son Mark was certainly a teacher's pet. It was not a gift. He earned it. He got himself up at 5AM daily to study. He took Honor's English class as a freshman in college and considered it a breeze while getting a perfect 4.0.

Mrs. Good retired before my daughter got to senior english but her replacement so inspired my daughter that she became an English Major in college.

All my children are professionals married to professionals, all the products of public schools.

Compare two schools. Both are in the 44203 postal area. Norton and Barberton High Schools are 1.4 miles apart. Norton has older schools. Barberton has a shiny new, air conditioned school. Norton teachers average making $51,721, the state average, while Barberton teachers are paid $64,701.

The enrollment at Norton High School is 725 while Barberton is 1,085. Norton is 97% white while Barberton is 84% white. (THIS IS IN NO WAY A RACIAL ARTICLE!) How do the two schools compare in test results.

SCHOOL------------------NORTON----------- BARB-------OH AVERAGE

READING:.................. 94.9 ............. 81.0 ............ 81.7
MATH:...................... 91.6 ............. 73.0............. 81.0
SOCIAL STUDIES .......... 92.1 ............. 68.0............. 74.9
SCIENCE:................... 91.0.............. 64.0............. 71.1

What might account for the difference in results?

Are the teachers overwhelmed with large classes at Barberton? No, the teacher-student ration is 16:1.

Is it school environment? No, the facilities at Barberton far exceed those at Norton.

Are the teachers at Barberton lowly paid individuals? No, they are, indeed, paid 25% more than either Barberton or the state average.

What, then, is the difference?

Is a Congregational Study Group or a new Educational Czar needed to determine the shortfall at Barberton? I think not. Two elements of difference should indicate the cause to anyone with a brain and an open mind.

First, look at the dismal Social Studies comparison. A 91% to 64% difference, even below the state average of 71%. Abraham Lincoln espoused that "all men are created equal". I agree that all children are born perfect. Instantly, however, their parents change that equation.

Secondly, the average household income in Norton is $52,682 while in Barberton it is only $36,003. Why is that? The clue, again, comes from a comparison of the Social Studies in the two schools. Children are a reflection of their parents.

Are the people in Norton descendents of wealth and education?

Not on your tin type Tilly, although they are better educated with less single parent families. My Mother, may she rest in peace, went to the third grade and Dad to the eighth.

Wealthy? I think not. My inheirtance consisted of Mom's colored TV, her old iron skillet, which I revere and plan to pass on to her great grand daughter, and one dollar.

How in the world can this inequity, which most certainly exists in these two schools, be corrected by pouring more money into the Barberton School? It cannot! Will that happen? Almost for certain!

What will the end result be?

An even more abusive tax burden on those who have lived a good life, paid the price for their success, and invested time and money in their children's lives.

And, further generations of unprepared students who will look to the government to give them what they have nor earned. It is a most basic example of wealth redistribution and dumbing down.

What do I think about all this? I think it is time for "change". The elections of 2010 and 2012 cannot come too soon for me.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, I have taken a solemn vow to defend the President of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will honor that vow throughout my life.
I will still vote!

Norman Vincent Peale:

"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that!"

God Bless!

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