Do Schools Kill Creativity? (Sir Ken Robinson)

Sir Ken Robinson states very well problems with the Public School System in this presentation: Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

I suggest that the same reasons apply to private schools, too

Here are some quotes from his presentation:

They [University Professors] look upon their body as a form of transport for their heads.

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.

The Universities designed the system [Public School System] in their image.

Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip mine the earth for a particular commodity, and for the future, it won’t service. We have to re-think the fundamental principals on which we are educating our children. 

A Positive Side of A Public School

I do my fair share of raggin on public schools here and elsewhere, but these last two weeks have provided me with reason to compliment our Middle School and District Sped Staff. I’m still not a fan of public school, and I’m not really a fan of private school, either, for that matter. I think home school is the way to go. But since I don’t have that option, I do the best with what I’ve got.

My Youngest, special needs, daughter began 6th grade Middle School last week. Our Middle School has 8 periods, one of those being a 30 minute home room/study hall type of class, in addition to lunch. There are only 4 minutes between classes in a 1000 student body school. Moving 1000 kids from point A to point B in 4 minutes or less is nothing short of organized chaos, but I digress.

Youngest has two incredible Special Ed (sped) teachers who have literally held her hand (and mine, too) and met her every need. The office staff, school nurse, teaching/coaching staff, school counselor, and principal staff have been excellent. We have needed all of their help and services already, especially since she had an adverse reaction to a medication the second day of school.

We have also needed to rearrange her schedule to accommodate certain needs. In doing so I have tapped into a District EdD for advice, and she responded to my email by calling me immediately and talked for as long as I needed, answering all of my questions and addressing all of my fears.  

And we have called a parent/teacher meeting for this Friday with all of her teachers and her father and myself. Not only are they accommodating our requests beyond our expectations, they are doing so with amazing attitude and great compassion.

I have put in hours of work before school began and since school began to help her be successful in Middle School, and I’ve shed many, many tears over so many things. But it’s going to be worth it. It’s still not perfect. But as far as public schools go, it’s pretty darn good.

I will still have my rants. There are still many things I do not like and will not like. But as far as finding a school with qualified and caring staff who take the time to get it right the first time while being flexible to make it right when it’s wrong or in need of repair, we’re in a pretty good place. And for that, I am very thankful to God.

Woman Dies Waiting for the Cops

These kinds of deaths are totally unnecessary.

Most of the cops I know are good folks, but they can’t be everywhere all the time. If you think that–when a bad guy shows up–all you have to do is call 911–you are badly mistaken. In such a case, the police will arrive just in time to determine the cause of your death.

Given that she lived in Florida, Rucker–provided her criminal record was clean–could easily have obtained a concealed carry license. She could have gone to any local gun store, and received instruction on how to use and maintain a firearm. Had she taken this route, she would probably be alive today.

Oh, and you can pretty much forget about those “restraining orders”; they are worth the paper they’re written on.

A Few Thoughts about Irene and Libya

(1) As far as hurricanes go, Irene was largely a dud. It was a Cat 1, much weaker than Katrina, Rita, Andrew, Hugo, Ike, Ivan, Camille, Erin, and other nasty hurricanes that have smacked the Gulf region and the East Coast.

(2) At the same time, it was a large storm that carried a lot of rainfall and stronger than average sustained winds. Anyone with a meager amount of common sense should have known this.

(3) Meteorologists called it pretty well. While Irene was weaker than other storms, it carried its own set of dangers: lots of rain and wind in areas that are at or below sea level, and not accustomed to such sustained storms.

(4) While conservative pundits will attack Obama for his management of FEMA, they oughtta cut this tit-for-tat crap. It really is getting juvenile.

(5) Speaking of tit-for-tat, many conservatives are hitting Obama over Libya, but not in the manner that non-interventionist Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is. In effect, they are being petty. If you’re for us intervening in Libya–I’m not–then let him do as he wants and lay off the nitpicking.

Punditry–that great art of second-guessing–is a tricky game, especially when your positions are rife with inconsistencies. Showing why we were right to invade Iraq and knock off a leader we supported for decades–while opposing our support of rebels in Libya, who are waging war against a leader who has more American blood on his hands than Saddam Hussein had, is an inconsistency that requires more than soundbites to explicate.

Personally, I am a general non-interventionist whose sympathies are slightly at variance with Ron Paul. My reasons are:

(a) our biggest problems right now are domestic: borders and economy;

(b) we don’t have the money to fight all these wars;

(c) it is not our place to fight everyone else’s wars;

(d) using our troops to defend our borders carries more marginal benefit than using them in nation-building exercises in the Middle East;

(e) if we are going to send our troops to fight and die, we need to have a formal national security reason for doing this, expressed with the support of Congress in the form of a Declaration of War;

(f) the premise of a hostile nation having nuclear weapons is not a valid reason to go to war. North Korea has them–and has tested them–and we have not lifted a finger. Nor have the South Koreans, for that matter, in spite of the fact that the Norks have sunk their ships and even bombed one of their islands. If the Israelis (South Koreans) don’t even think it is worth fighting the Iranians (North Koreans), then it is not our job to fight those wars either, not even by Proxy.

And if they do, it’s their war and not ours. I’m cool with selling weapons to our allies, but we need not be providing troops unless these nations have committed acts of war against us.

Those Bible Belt Divorce Rates

…are too [substitute modifier of choice here] high. Having seen my share of them in the Church, I can match cynicism with almost anyone in the blogosphere. For a few years, I was at a certain church in Louisville. During that period, of all the wedding ceremonies performed by that pastor, all but one of the marriages ended in divorce within a two year period.

(As for the one that “survived”, they are now facing divorce, as she has left him. I’ve blogged about that one.)

That said, Glenn Stanton of Boundless does a good job putting this report in perspective. When you factor in regular church attendance, robust premarital counseling, and analyze divorce rates by cohort, both overall divorce rates and the divorce rates for Christians fall like a paratrooper on a bad day.

Stanton also provides a credible explanation for the divorce rates in the South, and it is one that–having observed myself–I find credible. The only item of disagreement I have with him is his choice of the term “Trailer Home Belt”. More accurately, it is the Trailer TRASH Belt.**

In fact, this dynamic had much to do with the divorce rate that I witnessed in that inner-city Louisville church, which happened to be in the middle of the crack/meth/gang section of town. In the other churches that I have attended, while there were a fair share of divorcees–and those married for the 2nd or 3rd time–I saw very few divorces materialize during the time I was at those churches. In fact, those married only once–and not divorced–dwarfed the number of divorcees. This is also true of the church of which MrsLarijani and I are members.

And in MrsLarijani’s home church, divorce has been breathtakingly low–only 2 to my knowledge–in proportion to the total weddings over the last 20 years.

**This is not to knock anyone who lives in a mobile home–I’m not averse to it myself–but rather to make a qualitative observation of the general culture associated with a variety of dangerous practices that are incompatible with any reasonable understanding of Scripture. These practices include the production/usage/trafficking of methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs, sexual promiscuity, alcohol abuse, financial profligacy, lack of regard for basic personal care, etc. Let’s just say that all those jokes you hear about “rednecks”…in some parts of the affected states, they are true.

Pessimism and Optimism

On the more pessimistic front, we have Karl Denninger.

On the more optimistic front, we have Barry Farber.

Denninger gives us a glimpse of what a worst-case scenario can look like. His supporters can point to the fact that he has been right about the economics. He called the housing bust. He and others–such as Vox Day and the Austrian schoolers–insisted that the stimuli, bailouts, and other monetary gimmicks would not work and would only make the problem worse. They nailed it qualitatively, and, on the quantitative side, are closer to reality than Geithner, Bernanke, Krugman, Greenspan, and the other high-profile talking heads have been thus far.

On the other hand, Farber is right thus far: those bandied-about social uprisings, catastrophic riots, violent governmental upheavals, that hasn’t happened. Yet. At least not in the West.

The question remains, though, whether “the center will hold”. Economically, we are headed for a nasty train wreck that–when the smoke clears–will be seen at least as bad as the 1930s. I submit that it will be much worse.

When that happens, will the center hold? Will cooler heads prevail? Will this bring out the best–rather than the worst–in our generation?

Will we reap the whirlwind we have sown for the last generation and a half, or will this generation–seeing that this is the result of the malfeasance of past generations–come to its collective senses and do the right thing?

Those are questions the answers to which are nebulous. No one really knows how this is going to play out. No one knows the timetable, or how the collapse will materialize. Whether it will be a slow-motion train wreck that lasts decades–think Japan—or whether it will be a spectacular fall–think the Old Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain/Warsaw Pact meltdown, we shall see.

Is Denninger right? Is Farber right? Personally, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. I sure don’t want to be in any big cities when the defecation hits the circulation. I also want to have a stockpile of supplies so that I’ll have a few months of wiggle room if things get bad enough. I’m glad I have most of that covered.

If Farber is right and the center holds, we will recover well even if slowly. Americans will be more sober-minded, realizing that government cannot deliver on those grandiose hopes, and will make the necessary adjustments, albeit painful. The civil disturbances will be there, but won’t be plenteous enough so as to cause a full-on collapse of all civil order.

On the other hand, if Denninger is right, those disturbances could reach a critical mass and we could experience more widespread meltdowns in civil order. If that happens, then that recovery–if it materializes–could be fragmented at best, as parts of America descend into Balkanization. This is not unprecedented in recent experience.

In 1984, Sarajevo was the host city for the Winter Olympics. Ten years later, it was a war zone. Civilians could not roam the streets without considerable risk of encountering sniper fire. Yugoslavia disintegrated.

Out of the ashes of that collapse, six countries emerged. Economically and politically, things have been very tough. Before Mugabe’s monetary insanity in Zimbabwe, Bosnia-Herzegovina held the record for the worst hyperinflation of all time.The ethnic clashes were also quite brutal: we still have pending genocide charges against some of the agitators. While some stability has emerged, it has not been without severe pain.

Personally, I hope Farber is correct. I’ll still prepare for the possibility that Denninger is correct.

Thoughtcrime!

The gay marriage proponents–from day one–have always sought to dismiss the objections of religious conservatives, insisting, “You have no business imposing your morality on anyone else!” (Never mind that there isn’t a law on the books–state, local, or federal–that doesn’t represent someone’s morality.)

At the same time, any governmental recognition of gay marriage–due to the influence of teacher unions, as well as government entities that provide large sums of tax dollars to the education establishment–is going to result in an educational mandate for public educators to promote moral neutrality and even demand it from educators.

That shoe is already dropping, even in a state that has not legalized gay marriage.

If you are a parent, and if you do not wish for your children to receive social indoctrination cross-dressed as education, then it is on you to get your kids out of public schools and either (a) send them to private schools or (b) homeschool them.