These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Sunday, February 17, 2008

And The Discussion Goes On .......

*****If you haven't read the previous post, E.N.O.U.G.H., please scroll down and read it first.*****

The saga continues, but only for this one more post. A long one, but the last.

I'm happy to report an ongoing e-discussion with the person who sent me the previously offending email. I've come back here to the blog with a copy of our e-discussion, because I want to show that things can change. That is the most common "cop-out" that I hear ... "Nothing will change, so why waste my time?" Hello??? If you don't waste your time now for your ideals, your time will be wasted without your say-so somewhere down the line!! Do you want to give your power to someone else? I don't!!

Now, if any of my readers are educators and I've misstated anything, please correct me. Many of my "facts" are "as best I remember," from previous conversations with friends. I'm passionate about this, but I'm not infallible.

That person's comments are in green and mine are in blue. I've disguised names for the obvious reasons.

~ ~ ~ ~


I am not an educator, so I certainly can not speak with any authority about education. I probably do not really understand the no child left behind initiative, but I thought the purpose was to set standards so students were not promoted to higher grades without meeting these standards and then graduating from high school without being able to write or do math. This certainly is not fair to the student.
Nor am I an expert, but I've had conversation with several teachers, and here is my take: General scores have been lowered to allow more students to pass. I don't remember the exact numbers, but a C in the elementary/middle school level (and I assume HS also) are now about the same as a low D or D- when I was in school. It seems to me that it was about 65. Absolutely not fair to the student. Or to the future of our nation. These are the kids that will be entering the work world in 5-15 years. I hope they can make enough money to live!
It's also tough on a public school teacher who has to teach the entire class at the level of the slowest student while having to put up with disruptive students. A friend of mine sends her son to a private school. They are kicked-out if they cause any problems, but the public school can not do this.
T teaches at a private/parochial school. She is lucky, I suppose, in that way. My friends here in NM are public school teachers. Several are very capable teachers (at least I think they are/would be, based on their dedication, their general intellectual level of communication, their stated beliefs and values) but they plan to retire very soon because they feel, well, basically that their educational ethics are being compromised. Teachers are fined if the ratio of student passing their classes do not meet a certain percentage. Sorry, I forget the %, also, but it is insanely low. I think it was in the single digits.

I'm not a teacher, either, however, after about 20 years of working with the same population from a therapeutic approach, I can tell you that many of them were failing in school, not because they weren't bright, capable children, but because they knew they didn't have to put out effort. WTF???
I thought no child left behind is fairly new. Were those Master's level students part of no child left behind? No, I agree that this is not a new problem. I saw this in children I worked with in 1987-88 when I began my career in SW (Social Work). When did it begin? I don't know that answer, but it is a long-lived problem, and the "No Child" program has not helped. IMO, it has worsened the problem. "No Child" is Laura Bush's baby (so yes, it is "young"). Did she mean it to be a bad thing? Absolutely not! But it is!! It has further handicapped teachers in how they can deal with children ... and their unreasonable parents who seem to be more concerned with the child passing and graduating than the education they receive the educational process. This is a problem at the university level when these college students were allowed to obtain a degree at that level without being able to write. I saw this happen first hand when we had a few students in my Master's classes who could not write well and had a very tough time with graduate level work. I am not sure how or why they were graduated from college when they had such weak college level skills, but I don't think college is included in no child left behind. No, college is not included. But students come to college with ill-prepared skills. And there is pressure to graduate them, just as there is in HS. (When C first began teaching Spanish at college level, the students complained that she, gasp, taught in Spanish!! She was told that she must teach Spanish in English!! When I took French in HS, we had about 3 weeks to get the basics, and from then on it was totally in French!! IN HIGH SCHOOL!!) So college professors take them (often because they are guaranteed college education based on residence), do what they can and pass them on to grad school! It's is an insane process! Maybe there is pressure at the college level to graduate students, but there really should be no reason to pass a college student if they do not meet university standards. I thought this was the reason for no child left behind because students were graduating from high school without the ability to write coherent thoughts of do simple math, hence standards. I think it was. However, how do you change the decades of damage in one fell swoop? It will take a huge effort to turn it around, and it will need to involve children (all ages), parents, educators (all levels and all forms - teachers, admin, counselors, school boards), political power at the State and Federal level to do it. Unfortunately we can't see to muster that kind of power for anything, let alone the future of mere children. People forget that the future of kids is the future of the nation.

I think Laura Bush tried to put something in there that would strengthen the educational system. Truth (at the implementation level) is ... it didn't work. But rather than say that and figure out how to correct or at least improve it, her husband has glossed it over. Statistically it has worked. The numbers show it. In the real world, however, what is accomplished by lowering expectations and "leaving no child behind" if they still aren't prepared to support themselves in the world? I have a big problem with that. What has happened is that we have lowered the expectations of everything in our nation. After all, these children who are passed with grades nearing 50% are going to be running the country. They will be the Senators and Representatives, the lawyers, the doctors (!!), the teachers in 20 years or less.

I'm lucky. I'll probably be gone by the time the current generation of decline begins to truly impact. You're a little younger; I don't know. The children in your life and my grandchildren....I'm very sad for them. Yours, save X and perhaps XX at this point, will be among those who aren't ready for real life. My grandchildren are fortunate. They all are receiving "real" education, I think. All four of them are bright and are in schools that have AP programs, etc. They will do well. But they will also carry an extra burden for the others. I'm afraid our society will split even further, putting some of my grandchildren and your dear ones in wildly different classes from the others, the ones that have not succeeded in their educations.

I can imagine, for instance, X, XX, B, K, A and P being successful and having a decent lifestyle. And I can imagine the remainder of yours struggling hand to mouth, unless something changes in their lives and the educational expectations of them. Soon. The lack of standards has already put a handicap on them.

I certainly don't blame either political party for this. I don't blame Laura nor Hillary. I blame all of us!!!!! (Oh, and yes, the ACLU. I detest the ACLU and the way they accomplish anything. They, like Unions, were established for good reasons, but have morphed into something ugly and awful.) It has been a long term breakdown, surviving through several administrations and made worse by the general lack of emphasis put on education and children's need. If we don't do so (care for their needs), what do we expect about our future?

I know that several people in my family think I'm a raging Liberal. Raging, yes. Liberal? I don't know. I see good and bad on both sides of the coin, and I consider myself a moderate with liberal leanings. I frankly don't care who puts our nation back on track, but for the love of pete, let's get it back on track!! I will admit that I think Bush has glossed over a lot of things. I don't really want to open yet another can of worms, so I'll leave that alone. But honestly, when he said in the Union address that NCLB is a success, I thought I'd choke!!

BTW, despite what, again, people may think, I'm not a Democrat. I'm registered as "Independent." That is on purpose, because I plan to remain independent of any political party. I want to remain a thinking woman, making decision on my own brain power. I vehemently avoid falling into the traps of either political party. I'm afraid that is the only way to remain clear focused. For me, anyway.

Call me a Liberal if you want, but what I want to see before I die is a US that has turned itself around, beginning where it must begin, with preparing our children. Right now, we are not doing well, IMO.

I hope you will accept this as explanation as to why I reacted so strongly to the forwarded email. I don't think poking fun at something that I see as a serious problem is OK. I don't want to blame the children caught in this awful bind. I don't want to blame Laura or Hillary. I actually don't even want to blame the ACLU. I want all of us to stop mud-slinging and consider not where the problem originated, but focus on what we can do, individually and collectively, to change it. I hope we can, in 20 years, be proud of our educational system from K=>. I hope we will again be the leaders in the world for a good reason ... because we educate the best, the deepest, the most fully.

I hope I'm not completely disowned. I love you. But first and foremost, I must be true to myself and my beliefs. Now you know essentially what they are.

~ ~ ~ ~

Following in the communication we held today. I think this is the end. Please see my note at the end to wrap this up.

~ ~ ~ ~


Very interesting. I am afraid you have hit on a key point. It's the "all of us". Our political leaders either can't or won't do the right things with education because the "all of us" don't want the fixes. I suspect (a certain State) has no standards with home schooling because special interest groups do not want standards (to the child's determent). Look at what we are facing with Social Security and especially Medicare. Both programs are running out of money, yet no politician wants to address what really needs to be done to get these programs back on a sound footing again because they would be voted out of office by a landslide. I don't have the solutions, but we as a society are indeed the problem. We want instant gratification, universal health care, cradle to grave security, but don't want to do the hard things to obtain these initiatives.

Sadly. There are many things, issues that need to be "fixed," and yes, they are ignored by the powers that be, not understood by much of the general population. I'm really very sad about the general state of our nation. We have become over-self-indulgent and expect to be carried. Me, too. I like what I like and I don't want it to stop. The difference is that I (1) don't have the endless funds to continue like that and (2) don't want to be "beholden" to others, even if I could. Only if I have to, not because I can. What I've earned and tucked away...that's mine, but not what someone else has in their "pockets."

I have a fantasy that is the children of controversy, the Ebonie Li Whatever's, could sit in a classroom in the US and actually receive an e.d.u.c.a.t.i.o.n, and that those Ebonies would turn this situation into a win for everyone by bringing fresh ideas of, gasp, education=> ability to reason=> good jobs=> improvement in economy=> upward progress, etc. I know I'm in a fantasy there, I don't kid myself. But anyone, everyone who resides on US soil, regardless of how they arrived, holds the potential to be a winning force! I do think we should seriously reform and implement the immigration policies with plans to (1) consider who/what is a real threat (and the Mexican population does meanial jobs ... C cleaned houses and worked as a nanny to put herself through college prior to marrying S ... that a lot of us are too good to do!!! But yes, let's watch and monitor and limit certain known troublemakers carefully!!) (2) quit slamming people who are here without US citizenship and figure out how to put them into the positions to pay taxes and make progress, much as C did; let's help them become citizens rather than force them to hide in the shadows (3) limit immigration numbers so that it can be managed for everyone's benefit. If we poured resources into the education system like we do many other programs, I can only imagine turn around of success that is possible. But, as I said, I'm an idealist, a dreamer.

I also think we need election reform. Some aspects are antiquated, like the electoral college. I'd love to see a specific $$ cap on what can be spent in any election. If every candidate had to work within the same, gasp, budget, it might be more possible to see an equal comparison. Abundant $$ clouds the vision of the campaign process, IMO. OK, I'm not going into another tangent. Screech!!!!

I've done my best to pass along these values to my kids. I've encouraged them to think, to research before voting, to consider all the aspects of a situation they can, and then live what they believe. I hope it's enough. At least I feel good about how they live their lives. Both have stood their ground in situations that could have cost them jobs and/or friends. But because they think, I believe they will be good seeds in the population. Now they have passed this down to 4 more. If those 4 pass it down to 8....well, you and I won't see it, but I hope the nation will profit.

Thank you for this discussion. HA! Sorry, thanks for the opportunity to preach! Sometimes I forget the reasons I believe as I do, and putting it into words reminds me, brings me back to center. I believe the US is the best place in the world to live ... we all know people are doing crazy things to get here ... and while it ain't eezackly broke, it do need a tune up!

Have a good week. And don't report me to the asylum, OK?

~ ~ ~ ~

I don't give up easily. On anyone or any situation. I'm hardheaded that way. But when I care for someone, I think it is worth the time to share what I know and believe, and invite them to do so, also. I'll keep an open line of communication with anyone who is willing to discuss it with me. I won't, however, tolerate uninformed, offensive, misinformed, and ridiculous "Fw." to stand unchallenged. And when it is a lost cause, I'll call the fight. I won't debate with people who are simply going to stand on whatever misinformation they've internalized and solidified. They can keep those "facts" and I'll move along.

I wanted everyone to see that a change occurred. Or at least, the seeds are planted and sprouting. This person isn't an unreasonable person. She/he is uninformed or poorly informed. I challenge each of you who feels strongly about this or any other social issue to take a stand. You don't have to be obnoxious or in the face of your opponents. In fact, that usually doesn't win anyone over. But.......



My own "voice" is best in writing because I think it through better in that way, and I'm able to say what I need to say without simply pissing people off. Well, most of the time. But please do something to help change occur. When I said I was worried about the future of the US, I wasn't blowing smoke!! I think we are on a dangerous precipice.

Again, educators, correct me if I am misinformed in the above. I don't like to be standing on a foundation of incorrect information. That is a disservice to everyone.

Everyone ... go forth and stand on ... and for ... your principles for the future of our nation, and for your children and grandchildren.


  1. Wow, you sure do have some deep conversations :-). I just love that all my friend are so smart...:-)

  2. Just putting Madison in pre-school has been a real eye opener and i'm sad that I will have to pay to put her in Private School just to make sure she has all of the best opportunities to make a living from her education. The academic level in this area is in the cellar BELOW the cellar - and i'm not kidding. Sad. Good for you for standing up and explaining why you believe as you do.

  3. Hi Lynie - oh my goodness, I have been absent and look whats happening.....whoever that person is sure tangled with the wrong blogger and wtg woman...awesome reply. Glad I didnt miss it!!!!.Still away in Fla enjoying the beautiful weather and warm sunny days. Sure beats shovelling as I'm sure Sherry will agree. I bought myself a lap top so I'm trying to get used to new things lol I will have to wait till I get home to add my other blogger friends, but hope they are all fine. Off for a stroll around the resort and will chat later. Keep well...


  4. I think you guys both made interesting points...and even had some common ground...

    You can't win them all..though I think you found your voice and won this one :)

    The Egel Nest

  5. Dawn, I go from the sublime to the ridiculous on this blog, don't I? I don't know about smart, but I'm very persistent!! When I really believe something, I'll stick by my guns until I'm proven wrong or out-argued. LOL!!

    Patti, that is something that a lot of people are looking at. It's not a new concept, but these days it seems to be more important than ever. This is one of those things I'm passionate about, and I've tried to do my research so that I'm not just blowing smoke. :)

    Hey, Ruth!!! Wow, I'm envious! A laptop at a resort in Florida! Could life get any better??? I love it there at this time of year! I'm glad you will be able to stay in touch while you're away. Hint: a few of your blogger friends are in my sidebar to the right on my blog, if you want to go see them before you get home!

    Enjoy your holiday!!!

    Bradley, yes, we had some common ground, and I knew that, but I couldn't let the ugly email go unaddressed. I think sometime people really do forward things like that without giving it a thought. I will try to at least make them think!!

    You know as well as I do, it really isn't about "winning," but rather taking time to open the other person's thought processes. But if someone wins, I hope it is always me!!! LOL!!! :D

  6. I have mulled over your blog for a few days and considered our own exposure to the educational system. We had our child in private school, and we started that when we were in an area that was heavily populated by illegal immigrants. They came into the system at various stages and ages and most needing the most basic sustinance just to make it through the day. They had to have ESL teachers, had to be mainstreamed, and honestly slowed the rest of the class. They had little support at home because the educational level at home was usually limited.
    Our church's response to the no child left behind was to provide after school tutoring, four days a week, at the church, for identified at risk children from the lowest socio-economic school. We provided transportation, school supplies, snacks and a pizza party at the semester end. My husband & I loved being mentors, and many of the youth group helped. And no, we did not recieve government financial aid. The church also provided backpacks and school supplies about 200 kids, and provided Christmas for 200 families(Food, gifts and clothes.)
    My point is we need to get up off our rears and do the right thing, and we shouldn't need a nanny state just to help others. The local school boards have open meetings usually with little attendance. Voting for the right person is only one contgribution. Running for the board is another.
    NCLB only provided the frame work, the effort and responsibility is ours. -S

  7. Anon S, well said. And basically it's what my point was ... it is up to we, the people to be involved, to take action, to make our surrounding world what we want it to be. It is the responsibility of everyone, not just the parents of the children in question or the schools or the other guy.

    Thanks for your comment.


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!