School and Students:: How to Be and Remain a Good Student

Are you a good student? Do you want to be a good or a better student? Here is an article about how to accomplish that goal… or some good pointers at least.

1. The Phrase “dress for success” Really Does Have Meaning… and here is how it does.

What influences the manner in which you dress, in which you get ready for each day in choosing what to wear? Naturally the seasons of the year have bearing on what you wear; if it is warm you might wear shorts, lighter -colored socks and pants, and light -material and lighter -colored shirts and blouses. If the conditions are cold, you go for thicker socks, heavier pants, and coats, mittens, and thick hats and earmuffs.

What else has to do with what you wear? One factor is what you have that is clean and pressed. If you need to do laundry then do it; if the codes of your school require that your clothes are properly pressed and your shoes polished then do that or have someone teach you how to iron and how to keep your shoes clean and neat. Clothing also must be appropriate for the situations you are going into. Many schools have dress codes and uniforms, and it is suggested that no fuss is made when you encounter those rules. Rules are made for a reason and should be followed. If you are not sure of something, please ask a trusted teacher or other authority figure and listen to them carefully.

If your school does not have a dress code and what to wear is under your discretion, play it safe. If you put something on and you have ANY doubts at all about how you look in it or whether or not the clothes will cause trouble or attract undesirable attention or makes you look funny, then take it off and save it for the weekend or the beach or vacation. Refuse to follow trends if they do not make you feel comfortable; after all you are the one who for hours a day will wear that shirt, those pants or shorts, those shoes and socks and belts and jewels. Opt for simple clothes without a lot of graphics or loud colors that will definitely attract attention and distract you from your studies or will distract others from their studies.

Remember that there are other people around; the school is not just you alone.

2. Be Respectful and Punctual as Possible

Respect is not only a manner of behavior, it is essentially a duty of every citizen one towards the other. To “respect” simply means to look at again. You can certainly respect yourself in a healthy way and thus you are able to respect others as easily as you breathe and walk and eat. In any public setting, respect of others is just essential and vital to remember, simple as that. How do you respect others, or how can you learn the ways to do that?

One way is to wait your turn to speak, especially if those who are talking are older than you. It is just proper to respect your elders, including teachers, professors, and all school personnel, no matter what position they hold. They are your elders and experienced in what they do, and can provide you with direction and knowledge, so listen carefully to what they say.

Never shout down a hallway or on a street corner or in a quiet room or library or other places where people are reading and studying. Shouting and screaming in public is a vulgar habit and is not necessary. If you cannot reach someone right away, you can call them or text them or send electronic mail any time. If you contact someone electronically, remember to use the rules of proper electronic etiquette. There are plenty of resources that teach those habits.

Endeavor to be as on time as possible. Get up earlier for the bus if you have to, so you have time to dress, have breakfast and not rush through it, gather your supplies and head off to school. Do not keep the bus driver waiting, and do not keep the class waiting. Being on time is a life skill that you will always have and need to work on, no matter if you are going to school, going on a vacation, going out to dinner, or meeting someone. Punctuality is a good quality.

3. When You Have a Problem, Ask Questions.

Every once in a while we run into situations we do not understand, something about which we need clarification. At that point we need help… we need to ask questions. We need to gain understanding and problem solving.  This is where teachers and other trusted people enter the picture. These are folks who have the experience you need to get to the root of the problem and find out the answers. If there is a problem with the mathematics homework, ask your parents, or get onto a homework hotline, or ask your professor. Do not be afraid to ask for help; that is what these people are there to help with, solving problems. Be patient and learn the steps that will help in the future when you encounter other odd situations. Problem -solving is a life skill as well; you will need to learn to do this as you go through school, no matter what subjects you study. You will problem -solve in the workplace as well, so learn that skill and polish it every chance you have. Helping others to solve problems or get through concerns is a fine way to polish your own skills and such leadership is desirable. When you teach others you should get a good feeling and want to do more teaching.

4. Branch Out: Grow Out of Your Neighborhood and Into the Global Setting

Many people think that sticking to being in “the neighborhood” is a good thing. It is to a point, that point being that once you have seen everything, know everyone, know the habits and sights and sounds, you are probably ready to go to other places and see new things.

Branching out is a good thing and a vital element of growing up. Being social is just a part of what we do; it is why we are a “society”. You have to have the courage to say, “There are others out there who are different, and I want to get to know them. Sure others say to stick with people who look like me or talk like I do… but no one does that.”

Which is why you must take the lead and talk to others at your school. Is there someone who does not make friends easily? Talk with them. Is there someone who seems alone? Talk with them. Invite them to your lunch table or to sit outside on the school grounds and have a bag lunch out there and just talk about things. You will feel good, someone else will feel better, and both of you might become fast friends for life. Everyone is unique and individual and special, and because of that we must respect everyone.

You are the one who must take the first step away from the streets you find familiar, to reach towards that part of town you have not explored before but have heard about. Go there and look around, ask about what interests you and learn from the people in that area.

And when you have the chance, travel. When I had the chance for international travel I took the opportunity. Because I had the courage, the world was as an open book, but instead of looking at someone else’s photos, the pictures became living and colorful and alive and vibrant. In China there were people doing Tai Chi in the morning. In Japan there were people exercising and walking about and doing business. In Europe people went about their daily lives, playing and working and maintaining the home life. Some were there to take care of the tourists, and thanks to them my times in these areas was made pleasant and comfortable. Travel is essential in the growth process, even if it is just to another part of your city, and favorably if to another part of America and the world.

5. Growing Up, Have Fun!

No matter what you do, be your real self, learn what that means, and have fun exploring what that means. When you are sitting at the desk at home, burning the studying oil after dinner or late into the night to get that term paper ready, you are preparing for a lifetime of work and fun. You are the one who will grow out, make the changes, and learn to help others while helping yourself as well.

Enjoy your life!

Downtown Chicago

Photos taken with a Leica V -LUX -4 “bridge” style camera.

Communication is the Answer

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

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Race Relations? Are We Making Progress… or Making Problems?

Race relations is a very complicated issue… and we have made it even more so by allowing our government to put into our culture and our more vulnerable trains of thought and action and working the idea of demographics being so important. Well, perhaps “demographics” are important but only if the methods lead to actual, real, and tangible actions being done for those who are really in need of certain things being funded or built or done for a community.

But what is “good” and who is doing the “good”? Truly it should not even matter, but these days when Americans are so rude and crude in their manners that they are coming out and DEMANDING things, and DEMANDING this or that, and thinking that they are the only important factor because of their skin color or their ethnicity that they can push others out of the way and get in the front of the line, we need to be more on our guard than ever.

Race relations will not make progress until we lessen the role of the Census Bureau and wake up to the fact that it does not matter what you look like, “where you are from”, what your ethnic background is, or what you do for a living. People need to realize that the government is not really doing the average citizen any good at all.

Witness the recent talk of school segregation. Who really is at fault? Everyone or no one or the government or school officials? Is it the false idea of the “neighborhood” school that prevents  people from growing up and out and expanding their trains of thought and branching out? Is it the fear among these “neighborhood” people that if “someone does not look like me that they will have a bad influence on my family”? What kind of silly thinking is THAT?

Who cares about what the person looks like that is teaching your kids or treating your for a disease or selling you that house? And anyway, NO ONE looks like anyone else, so get that into your unique heads right now! NO ONE looks like anyone else, and we all think about things in different ways and see things in unique and variable ways. Someone can say there are “identical” siblings, but that’s not the real issue here. People vary in their coloring, in their hairstyles and hair coloring, in eye color, in a thousand different physical variables that push the idea of “looking like” another person completely out the window with the rest of the demographic garbage.

Think about this, a thought inspired by something I heard on the radio this morning, to wit that there are not enough “African – American” doctors in the “underserved” areas of Chicago, and no doubt other major cities. And then someone thinks the resources are not there to train and get these doctors -to -be, those “black” and “brown” children mentioned in the report on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago, out to those areas where the need appears greatest. Bologna.

Have you ever heard of a medical school, Mr. WBBM Reporter? Yes, there is actually something called a MEDICAL SCHOOL, folks. Just in case you in those communities are not aware, there have been doctors of every “race” and background for decades in America. Anyone, yes anyone, can go to a medical school, get the proper training, get incentive, and get to the business and the study of becoming a physician. Then they can choose where they want to go, and the choice is based on those variables such as where they will feel comfortable or needed or what kind of money they will make.

Well if the money is all that matters the doctor will not be a good doctor to the point of seeing the patients as people instead of as payments. If the doctor wants to get out there and serve the populace that is the target of the policies that have cause that population to be inadequately served and thus in need of care and comfort, then they will do so. An episode of the popular television show EMERGENCY! had a physician who put his private practice way out in an area of desert and scrub and no one around for miles, at least not another doctor who could provide his skills. The small office had a nurse, a couple of nice clean patient rooms, and a surgical suite.

Now in early parts of the episode there is a bad accident that the main EMERGENCY! characters come upon as they return from a vacation. They must get help for the victims since they cannot practice their paramedic skills in another state, so they eventually get help and race the mother and boy to that small clinic in that small town area. The nurse is the only person on staff there and so they must wait for the doctor, who eventually arrives and sees that there is need for his services. The paramedics are expecting to see an old man, the proverbial lovable old country doctor but instead a younger man with a thick mustache and in very casual clothes, comes in and assesses the scene. After the victims are treated the paramedics and the doctor talk about why he has put his practice in that part of the state. He says something to the effect of, “Well I just wanted to practice where I am most needed. That’s why I stayed here.” Marvelous. EMERGENCY! as a 1970’s television show had a cast that was wonderful in its professional presentation and diverse nature, and this one episode is only one demonstration of what happens when need and service and consideration outweigh “government” policies and separatist attitudes and action takes over and someone has the courage to establish that practice where they really are most needed.

Now think about this: when it comes to “race”, what someone looks like on the outside, what would you do if your house caught fire and you were trapped on a higher floor with no way out? The only “race” you should then be concerned about is the dash of the fire department to your home to save your life. Would it really matter to you who was first up that 100 foot Pierce Aerial in that basket to rescue you from the burning bedroom? I think not. If you looked out that window at the firefighter who came up in his or her heavy gear to get you out, what would you see – someone with a face that “does not look like yours”, or someone who is there to save your life, with arms at the ready to carry you down and get you some help? If you took one look at that firefighter and back at the flames coming through the bedroom door, I suspect you would reach out and let the firefighter carry you down that latter, with his or her words of reassurance as you go down to the ground, safely away from the flames and smoke.

There is next the issue of this stuff about “neighborhood” schools, especially in Chicago. A neighborhood is made up of people who can be of the same background or can be made up of a lot of different kinds of people. So what does it matter what the teachers or the officials “look like”? Goodness gracious, what digression… what aggression… what stupid trains of thought! “I won’t let you teach my kids because you don’t look like them!” Come on, folks. If the teacher is qualified, if the school system is providing qualified personnel and proper facilities, then there is nothing to worry about. People are letting words and concepts such as “charter” and “selective” and “magnet” and “private” and “public” get in the way of seeing that the students are provided a good and proper and higher education. We are being taken away from the real issue: EDUCATION.

My teachers were very diverse when I was growing up and attending public schools in Nashville. I didn’t care a bit what these ladies and gentlemen looked like: I respected them each and every one, I sat and listened in class, and I was respectful of the principals and other school officials and bus drivers. Had I thought, “I’m not taking math from him because he’s not from my neighborhood” or “I won’t listen to her because she has a different skin color from me” would have gone against the very principles of what education is meant to do and what its purpose is. Education is meant to challenge us to grow and expand our horizons, to get us to put different skill sets together and continue to learn and work with others, to make out the map of our lives and careers and our plans for the future. If we do not draw out the talents we have or that others have; if we do not march out and away from the ideas and thoughts that impede progress in the sense of us working together with others for success; if we do not lead others out of the mental captivity our government officials have chained many of us with, then our education system has failed.

We have failed, we have then wasted money and energy and resources, and we have not done our best.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

 

Ice Cream Parties and the ISAT: What is Our Education System Really Feeding the Kids?

NEWS STORY ON WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 PROMPTS THIS RESPONSE

After a week of hearing about the controversy surrounding the giving of the soon-to-be outdated ISAT, or Illinois Standard Achievement Test in this case (ISAT is an acronym for other tests and names- see Resources list at the end of this article), I am inspired to write this article.

First of all, according to parents and teachers this test is going to be done away with and so is obsolete. It is also wasteful, taking up classroom instructional time, and not to mention the amount of testing material which would be needed. Standardized testing has long been under fire for being discriminatory, wasteful, outdated and just a way to categorize and organize by a mere set of numbers (test scores).

What else are these statistics used for but to find a way into the clutches of the Census Bureau in some way or other regarding education funding, gerrymandering, and goodness knows what other unhealthy ways the government has found to divide and sort us out and bring on inferiority or superiority complexes.

And now what is evidence of this? Well, on the news report to night came word that some kids who took the test (or “opted in”) were treated to an ice cream party in their classroom while the students who “opted out” were made to sit and do work while the others enjoyed the party.

Well I would say to that, “How crass and materialistic can they get?” What message is that sending the students? I can think of a few, one being that “if you don’t do what the authority figures want to force you to do, you won’t get in on the sweets and the party. You have to sit aside and watch the others have fun!”

Well, so be it, take your lousy and rotten party. I’d rather sit far away from you as possible and do something productive that will further my education, away from the useless test and the ones who want the attention and the sweets. Let them have them. “Let them eat cake!”

Another message the students might get: “Food and attention mean more than getting a good education.” If I just give in and do what they want I can get a free meal or dig in to the ice cream and cake and oh… it must be good for me to have because that’s what the reward is!”

It’s not good for you, my young friend. It is sugar, sweet, playing for your attention. It will give you a sugar whiz and bang so tall you’ll climb the walls filled with excess energy and inattention. That sugar jump will quickly disappear and then you will feel tired and worn out and jittery. So your little friends who eat the huge amounts of ice cream and cake and maybe a few cups of those artificially sweetened fruit cocktail drinks with which the grocery stores are loaded, and which contain only about five or ten percent real juice, will soon get a big let down.

Meanwhile you who were made to do the quiet work, eating probably a healthier selection of a sandwich, vegetable sticks, milk, an apple, some nuts if you can safely have them for the energy they provide, peanut butter maybe, some fiber bars or other selection of fiber and vitamins, sitting there silently doing your reading, writing an essay, or practicing your mathematics or spelling, will have an overall better day. You have the productive use of time, the better and more balanced diet, the quiet time that is necessary for study and concentration, and no pressure about looking for some silly test score.

I side with the teachers who boycotted giving the test or having any part of it. They know that the best use of classroom time is truly more than some set of standardized test scores. Teaching to the test is not a true measure of academic achievement, so the entire testing system needs to be questioned and reformed. These tests are indeed tied to school funding- so where your tax dollars go and how important your neighborhood is to some ivory -tower government official who has no idea about your school or the students and is too far removed in the halls of Washington to give a flip about what your opinion is about some state -mandated test procedure.

Boycott all these tests, brave teachers and parents and students! Opt out of the stupidity and the uselessness and the waste of money and time and other resources that the government pushes in your face and braces with intimidation!

Intimidation? That’s grounds enough for a strike if ever one came up! Stop the importance of the tests until the system is completely burned away and reformed. The test serves no purpose, does not affect anything but census gibberish and school funding and is not relevant to the reception of a good education.

But as you will see by reading the article and the commentary so far given at the end of the news article in the resource list at the end of this article, the issue is up and down, with every side and every kind of person chiming in on the issue. What a situation…

Our students are treated as pawns in the hands of those who want them to turn to this or that side… what do they want then but to believe that these young citizens can be taken in by the appearance of the passing ice cream and cake? There will be time enough for parties and leisure, young learners, when you have earned the enjoyment. Now the time to take the leisure will not come by shirking your job or just “getting by” with your lessons and by breaking the rules that are there for your safety and health.

You must make the effort, take the time, be patient in your enjoyment of learning, gain wisdom and observe and most importantly listen.

In the meanwhile, good bye and good riddance, ISAT!

RESOURCES

1. ISAT Acronyms. http://www.acronymattic.com/ISAT.html. 4 March 2014

2. On the ISAT Controversy. http://www.suntimes.com/news/25979696-418/teachers-who-boycotted-isat-allowed-to-remain-in-classrooms.html. 4 March 2014

North and South: Does the Civil War (!) Exist in Chicago-area Education System?

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

PARENTS WHOSE KIDS ARE SLATED TO GO TO OTHER SCHOOLS GO TO THE “NORTH SIDE” TO MAKE A POINT. WHAT HAPPENED?

This morning on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago came the story of parents from the “south side” Englewood neighborhood and the Kenwood School, one of the schools on the chopping block for closing in the coming academic year, who united to board a bus and travel to a “north side” school, Pritzker, to make a point about enrollment and the disparity between schools in the city of Chicago and the CPS system.

The Pritzker school in question is located at 2009 W. Schiller St in ZIP code 60622. According to the overview of school page (see resources link at the end of this article), the school is known as a “regional gifted center” and serves grades K to 8.

Answer the question of qualification: Are your children qualified to be in a certain type of school? Well if it is in the CPS system, any student who has gone through the basics of the enrollment process should be qualified to enter any school they wish to enter.

Actually I side with the parents in going against putting their kids in one of the new “welcoming” schools and going to the north side school to make a point and get their kids in the place they believe will provide the quality education they desire for their child. With the corruption going on in the CPS system, the hot issues and topics and concerns behind the school closings and the talk of the “charter” schools and the funding going for UNO and the chitter chatter about “neighborhoods” and the negatives around that kind of talk, those parents had the right to go see another school and see about enrollment.

So is there a waiting list at Pritzker or is that a demographics -related ploy to drive the Englewood parents away and keep those children out of the Pritzker school?

Why all schools in Chicago are not equally provided for is anyone’s guess but surely racism and where the schools are located play a major role. But getting a quality, good education is the right of EVERY CITIZEN of this nation. No matter where the school is, no matter the demographics of your family or community, you have the right to enter your child wherever you please. There should be no boundaries for where a child should be able to go to school, and I think that any school that “bounds out” kids from other areas is not playing a straight game or throwing a fair ball. If you can get your child to the school where you want them enrolled, the school should accept the child, qualifications being met and any needed tests being passed and all judged and recorded fairly and properly and in due course.

Are gangs and the drug cartels your problem? Citizens, parents, elders, families, take your streets back now! TAKE YOUR STREETS BACK! Fight for what is yours, for what you work hard to keep clean and safe and free from harm and good for your kids! Fight back against the pimps, the pushers, the Sinaloa cartel, the addicts, the gang -bangers, the troublemakers who do not an honest day’s work but instead are around to make trouble, to cause harm, to be homegrown terrorists and engage in terrorism, to ruin your community and to make you afraid (or think they are making you scared). But YOU ARE NOT MADE AFRAID save by the reasoning of wanting to keep your kids in your own area and not wanting to branch out and grow. That is what the gangs want, for you to be scared, to cower and to hide and to not grow and prosper and be happy and content.

DO NOT GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION! Tell them right up front, you won’t get any satisfaction here! Use clubs, broomsticks, mace, bricks and stones, whatever you have to, and drive those people away from your children, your homes, your streets, your schools and workplaces, your transit lines and your parks! DRIVE THEM OUT, hit and hurt them, do not give in and do not give up. If the politicians and the police cannot do it, YOU CAN! YOU ARE GOVERNMENT and YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK! Then send Washington and Chicago City Hall the bill for your “community cleanup” efforts.

Send them the bill for the yardwork you do, send them the bill for park maintenance you do with your own rakes, shovels, gloves, bags, trash cans, bleach or other cleaning supplies you gather in to clear your areas of graffiti, of any signs of gangs or drugs or prostitution. Send them the bill for the work you do on your houses and your streets.

PERSEVERE, parents and teachers! Your families, your children, your schools and communities, your future… our nation’s future.

RESOURCES

1. http://cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=610229

2. http://www.pritzkerschool.org/

Chicago Public School Officials Behaviorally Challenged: Who’s Acting Uneducated Now?

CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIALS ACTING HIGHLY UNEDUCATED

Listening to Karen Lewis talk, you would think she wants some things to remain the same far as this business (overdone) with this chatter about “neighborhood” schools. She wants the present Mayor out of office, but what would she tell a new candidate about how the schools should be run and what ought to be done?

If I were going to run for Mayor and President Lewis came to me talking as she did today on the News Radio WBBM interview, I would turn her out of my office and tell her to come back when she’s not clouded by letting the demographers have power over her mind and the minds of those she works with. I’d say that when she is ready to really give an educated response and burst the bubbles of this talk of race and gender and gang lines, she can come back and settle down and use some Parliamentary Procedure manners and talk with me.

Listen folks, do not play the race game and the Census bit with me – I won’t buy it. I am tired of hearing people sound as though their world ends when their streets end or when the “people who look like them” are no longer visible. Pretty unsecure and prejudiced thinking, in my view, and we do not need such talk any further.

Demographic and racial gerrymandering talk does no good for anyone at all. Such talk only gives the government Census people more power to separate and categorize us and to make it sound like such talk is good for us and will give competitiveness, federal dollars, boost this or that and make  funds available for people who want to buy in to their “diversity” babble.

English: Seal of the United States Census Bure...

English: Seal of the United States Census Bureau. The blazon is defined here as: On a shield an open book beneath which is a lamp of knowledge emitting rays above in base two crossed quills. Around the whole a wreath of single leaves, surrounded by an outer band bearing between two stars the words “U.S. Department of Commerce” in the upper portion and “Bureau of the Census” in the lower portion, the lettering concentric with an inner beaded rim and an outer dentilated rim. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get on the horn, people! YOU ARE DIVERSE; everyone is “diverse”, because we are all different.  I don’t look like you and you don’t look like me and we don’t like the same kinds of food, but that does not make me inferior or superior to you. Come on, get grown up, folks. If you are in a fire are you going to watch for the firefighters coming up the aerial ladder and if he or she does not look like you are you going to be stupid enough to tell them, “I’ll want here until someone who looks like me comes up the ladder?” How silly is that?

So she thinks kids are not going to be welcome in a new school or in a new environment? That is a poor commentary on how good people can really be and how warm and open folks can be if given a chance. Such talk as she is spouting out is only adding fuel to the fire and keeping the wounds of racism, gangs, drugs, “turf”, neighborhoods, and “special” education going.

Perhaps the goals of our education system are wrong in the first place. For one thing, we are ALL in need of some sort of “special education”, considering that from observations I make that everyone is behaviorally challenged. We are not civil, we are not decent, we spit, we shout, we use phones at the dinner table, and we talk in church. People cut folks off when driving, people text when driving, act up in flight, push and shove, do not acknowledge when someone gives a resume in or have a job interview; people expose their underwear and exhibit other breaches of behavioral niceties.

Special education is for everyone, though some people need more attention than others due to physical or mental disorders that cannot be attended to in a regular school environment. Kids with severe deficiencies do need more attention during the day than those who can do normal activities such as feeding and dressing themselves, so they should be assessed and placed in a suitable environment.

But every school should be as good in quality as the very best schools in the Chicago area or schools around the nation, and if they are not then we need to take a close look at the real reasons why they are not. Who is playing the politics card, who is fomenting the racial and gender and gang issues and for what reason? Are they getting money and support from groups who are affiliated with demographers, demographic institutes or the Census Bureau?

I find that it is interesting that the Census Bureau has on its coat of arms an open book, the sign of someone getting an education and expanding their horizons, and the lamp of learning and the quills, with which people used to write with dipping in ink. And usually a wreath of leaves indicated the sign of a heroic accomplishment. The only thing the Census people are doing is dividing this nation along all kinds of lines and in all manner of categories, and I find nothing good, decent, heroic or honorable about that in the slightest. The way they are pushing their demographic divisiveness they ought to have a closed book and an extinguished lamp. Racial gerrymandering and prejudice have no place in this country and our government is making both legal, permissive, and acceptable.

What is really going on with those stubborn people? Do you want to have that kind of thinking plaguing you any longer?

If you need a further reason to burst your demographic social economic racist gender-biased bubbles and come out and break down the barriers, then look at the people in London who are by the tens of thousands participating today running in the London Marathon. Only a week after the events in Boston which drew us and the City of Boston together to assist the injured and traumatized, the London Marathon is drawing people supporting those in Boston and the sport of running and the spirit of good sportsmanship. THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO COME OUT, to come from other countries and get in that race and run and feel proud and happy! They are happy to be out there and showing the team spirit!

How come you folks in Chicago cannot do the same?

Here is the pin… burst the bubbles and take a breath. Surely the air will be fresh and not at all stuffy. You’re making it stuffy now so break the barriers, grow up, stop talking and start acting, but in everyone’s interest and not for your political or PR ambitions. Quit acting up and start behaving like good citizens should.

Thank you.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Chicago’s Demographic Distraction

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

EDUCATION SITUATION: THERE ARE NO LIMITS TO LEARNING

This is the story of a woman who had a fine education and opportunities to learn outside the formal setting of the classroom with its desks, maps, teachers and basic programming.

Her journey in the world of formal education began before “first grade”, when she attended kindergarten on a college campus in Nashville. As she recalls, a lasting memory from that era is being fascinated by a huge magnifying lens set in a wooden housing. But of course there came the time for her to leave that setting and move up in the wonderful world of making a mental map. Soon her parents moved to another part of the city and it was that momentous move that started the changes that, in retrospect, were profound.

When time came to start the graded system, there were schools in the area just fine for being in a “diverse” environment. The arts were offered, as were courses in spelling, the Language Arts, geography, Civics, history, mathematics and foreign languages. “Shop”, home economics, and drama were parts of the curriculum, as was physical education, which rounded out a complete system of learning for body and mind.

During physical education (or P.E. as it was known informally) there were team sports as well as individual instruction in strength training. Teachers would assemble the students for rounds of stretching and jumping jacks, warming them up before participation in the team sports. Every chance for learning the importance of teamwork was given to those classes, and everything was offered from track to basketball.

It was fortunate that her parents were not limiting when it came to the idea of just staying in “the neighborhood” and not branching out. Had that been the case she most likely would not be as happy and eager for learning as she is today. The people she knew were not cookie-cutter types or always the same with regards to “race”, “color”, religion, social-economic backgrounds or the careers their parents held. She was fortunate to get to know every kind of person there is to know, from rich to poor, from brilliant to mentally or developmentally challenged, and from hale and healthy to terminally sick. Some of them were students and others were teachers, and every person encountered presented the maturing citizen with opportunities to, as her grandmother’s mantra puts it, “Learn something”.

Thus she attended five fine schools, four public institutions and one private school for a year, finishing the graded system at a public high school. She moved on to attend a small college which later gained university status. The setting was historic, peaceful, in a residential area and not far from downtown Nashville. After graduating she went on to work in various career fields and is happy in her current position.

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There were fortunately opportunities to expand the gaining of knowledge outside the formal campus. The growing woman now had the chance to travel abroad and experience many of the cultures she had only read about before during hours on campus or in the home library.

Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre,...

Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre, Edge Hill University (Photo credit: jisc_infonet)

Yes, that’s right, an in-home library, stocked with books and a typewriter (and later a computer), with quiet places to read and write, and no noisy televisions or the presence of social media or a telephone. There was an aquarium with Angel fish; there was classical artwork on the walls, a globe to enhance the learning process, the National Geographic subscription, and the encyclopedias and the atlases and the Harvard Classics. There was Shakespeare, there was Beethoven, there was Bach, and for playing on the stereo system in there were cassette tapes detailing the lives of famous people from Isaac Newton to Mao Zedong.

It was in that room with its view of the back yard and quiet gardens that the young woman spent hours looking at books about exotic locations such as Easter Island, India, Japan and Machu Picchu. It was there where books and magazines filled her hands and presented articles about human development, about astronomy, about proper behavior and about architecture and gardening. In that room also, when the urge came to nap, she could close the door and lie back on the couch to take a few minutes for quiet contemplation, undisturbed by media noises or by other people until the time came for a meal, to go out, or to just wake up and resume reading or studying.

When there was the chance to travel, on the radar were England, Switzerland, Italy, France, China, Japan, and Hong Kong, as well as many locations in the United States. Going to these places brought learning to life and life to learning, as she sampled foods, took photos, wrote in journals, sketched the surroundings, and came to appreciate other cultures and their places in the reel of human history. There were the places from which we get some of the aspects of our legal system, our vocabulary, our foods, and our architectural styles and our furnishing styles, and many of our fashions. From these places come fabrics, flowers, antiquities and automobiles and musical instruments. During the hours of flight there was time to settle back and contemplate these places just visited. Such considerations cannot always be put into ordinary words, but as she recalls, these visits were profound, deep, inspiring, and door-opening.

Many say that the South is backwards when education is the issue, that the schools are not good and that standards are poor. That was not so in the era when this fortunate lifelong learner grew up. Thank goodness for teachers who made sure homework was done, who asked questions, who called on students and in some instances requested they stand up to give their answers. Thank goodness for professors who were reachable and fair, who listened when there were problems and offered solutions that challenged the students to expand their horizons.

And thank goodness for parents who were smart enough to realize that a good, complete education takes in every aspect of what the very term “education” means and what the very term “learn” is about. The word “education” comes from roots meaning “draw out, lead out or march out”, and “learn” comes from roots meaning bed, footpath, track, or furrow.

When you learn you make a sort of map, and when you get a real education you prepare for that day when you can march out onto that stage in the cap and gown and with your diploma walk off the stage in the presence of your relatives and peers. There will be a sense of accomplishment and achievement and the knowledge that YOU CAN do something good, something valid, something worthy and excellent.

Hopefully that woman will never stop learning; hopefully every day will bring the chance to meet someone new and experience something fresh and relevant.

Get the drift, Karen Lewis? Get the drift, Mayor Emanuel? Do you think you are acting like educated people, or like people who want others to learn and expand their horizons and think outside the neighborhood box? In the end you are not hurting anyone but the young among us. You might be limited in your thinking, but why do you want them to be?

English: Map (rough) Machu Picchu, own work co...

English: Map (rough) Machu Picchu, own work composed from various mapreferences (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Education and the Demographic Distraction

EDUCATION AND THE DEMOGRAPHIC DISTRACTION

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Now let us see here… what does education “mean”? ‘mid all the news and the talk and vague corporate chatter about the issue of “getting an education” we are not remembering the building blocks of what that has to do with us becoming good citizens in the first place. We need to take a deep breath, step back, and look at the whole idea of education from the beginning, in order to understand where our goals have failed and thus where we have failed ourselves and the children, the young citizens of America.

The roots of the word and concept of “education” mean to “draw out”, “march out”, or “lead out”. In that respect are those who talk of the issues and concerns regarding education doing those things? What is getting in the way of progress and satisfaction?

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

INSTRUCTION

EDIFICATION

TRAINING

CULTURE

TUTORING

Then you can move on to… GRADUATION, which means what… yes, that’s right, moving up, taking higher, grander, greater steps. You have “gradually” gained sets of facts and skills that you can use to pursue a career and to grow as a good citizen. You have “made the grade”, taking the ups and downs of the learning process, the good with the bad, the late nights with the easy reading and the details with the attainment of the goals.

Thus when you are able to walk that stage and think, “I GRADUATED!”, you have accomplished something special, walking in the torchlight that generations before have set up for you to follow. Now you can research, take their ideas and concepts and designs and make something new, do something different, and choose your path.

Instead of saying this big-sounding talk of “get an education”, take it a different way and “BECOME EDUCATED”. The latter indicates that the idea of learning will always be with you if you are fortunate, every day, to take in something new and useful for your way of life. To become educated is a goal everyone should have.

As my grandmother says as a great mantra, “Learn something, learn something.”

She is correct. Do the right thing; make the situation easier at the outset:

BECOME EDUCATED and LEARN SOMETHING!

THE DEMOGRAPHIC DELUSION

In Chicago this year, and especially in the past month, the concerns over the closing of many dozens of public “neighborhood” schools has drawn fire onto the Chicago Public Schools bureaucracy, and has resulted in name-calling and the use of foul language.

American Education is in the Dumpster

American Education is in the Dumpster (Photo credit: brewbooks)

What is behind much of this prattle about the closing of the schools and the possibility of the “public” school being replaced by the “charter” school? Many factors are to be considered, among them and what we might think of as the main problem is demographics.

Far as this author can see, demographics focuses on separating and talking about people with regards to skin color/ “race”, religion, ethnic background, where they live, how much they make, the supposed concentration of certain people in a certain area, social and economic and gender aspects as well.

Is such thinking helping or hindering genuine progress? Is not such thinking making us a country that is NOT united? Any kind of separation pits one person or group against another person or group when seen in the light of demographics- whether or not someone has something the others do not or that they want, comparing people based on what someone assumes a certain race or gender will want at a certain time of day, using language that makes someone seem dumber or smarter in comparison to someone from a lower social-economic background, and making other arrogant and insensitive assumptions based on the few people they see and what those people appear to do and stamping others of that look with the prejudicial factors.

The people who are boiling in these issues need to learn some hard lessons, apparently. If education means in part “to lead out” and “to draw out”, and they talk about keeping the kids in their “neighborhood”, what does that say about those in control? They aren’t acting very EDUCATED, are they? What if the areas they are in now are more dangerous than the places where the new schools are?

So what about the type of school it is that they attend- what about it? One school type is no better than the other- all of them can have problems. The important point is achievement and holding to academic standards and personal behavior standards.

Best then to eliminate the divisive junk about “neighborhoods” and this stuff about “remember where you came from” and the rest of this “heritage” trash, than to continue the bickering based on such silly issues. Such demographic thinking does nothing good for anyone at all. As for this junk about “neighborhoods”, I don’t care where one area starts and another stops, what “race” or “ethnicity” lives there and who does not, what they look like or do or what kind of cars they drive.

The government is guilty of fomenting division in this nation, you can see that. The Census is their way of trying to keep such divisive practices in the pipeline and because those in power push it at us we think it so good to fill out those forms and send them in.

Why does “the government” want that information? Why do you think? They want to use those separatist statistics to parcel out “federal” money based on what race, color, creed, gender or ethnic group is in a certain school, workplace, or part of the country. They want to “help out” or “build that area up” based on those factors. And then they want to make it seem that they are doing those people good and helping them by giving them money, buildings, and parks and such. But is it helpful to think about people in those ways?

IT IS NOT.

But you must remember this: YOU CAN AND MUST LEARN TO GOVERN YOURSELVES! You can branch out and get away from this derisive, delusional talk; you can wrest control from these terrible thoughts and patterns, you can break the chains those demographers are putting on you. You can think positively and forget the negatives so fast you will wonder why you didn’t focus forward in the first place.

You can stop thinking backwards and letting the Census and commerce and ad people keep hold on you. You can tell them, “I don’t like that way you portrayed X in this ad. It is not truthful and not every X acts that way!” You can tell them, “Your ad campaign and your business practices are highly offensive to X because of X!” You can write letters, you can stop watching the shows, you do not have to go to the movies and you do not have to take flack in the workplace due to some stupid demographic category.

You can stop thinking that something is happening on a racial basis; you can stop pulling your bag back because you think someone is going to take it on the street just because they are walking toward you and looking a certain way. If they happen to be looking at your level, so what- people DO move their necks and eyes! You cannot judge why someone is looking a certain way and doing something!

HOW DARE YOU PRESUME?

You just go ahead with your duties and tasks and let the guilty party realize their errors. Do you not presume, do you not assume, you just go about and take care of business. Let others “mind” the supposed problem, the offense that did not happen, the event that did not occur, their reasons behind their actions and their prejudices.

People of Chicago, learn some lessons of your own! Grow up, get your goals straight, and then air your differences and your ideas. When you can learn to do so in a civil manner, when you can act like the educated people you think you are or want to be, then come to the table and sit down and act like people who want to be civilized.

After all, who are you harming the most in the end? You adults, you officials, you people in control are not doing all you can to make the gang and drug areas less dangerous, then you say that closing the schools will put the kids in danger. Bologna. YOU are putting them in danger by being all talk and no action, or not enough action. You are causing more worry and harm than the good kids who want to learn and accomplish something no matter what school they attend. You could stop the gangs, get rid of the drug markets, punish the offenders in your family, and clean up your supposed “neighborhood” if you wanted to, if you were not saddled with corrupt cops and politicians and national red tape.

If you officials on the Chicago Public Schools board are harboring ANY kind of Census-type racial, ethnographic, gender biases of ANY degree, if you are nursing anything related to supposing who lives where, what they are like based on some survey results, what they look like or what they do, then you are inciting shameful behavior. ALL OF YOU are nursing this bad behavior, and believe me, it is BAD BEHAVIOR, and you are not attending to what the kids want at all, though you might say you desire things to go in their best interest.

YOU ARE SHAMEFUL, THE LOT OF YOU! SHAME ON EVERYONE WHO TRUSTS THE CENSUS STUFF TO DECIDE EDUCATION ISSUES!

What does it matter who lives where or how they ended up in a certain part of a city, town, village, state, community or “neighborhood” (what a ridiculous idea anyway based on how that data is now being used)? Who cares? You do, and based on those biases that divide us? YOU ARE AT FAULT THEN for any of the problems that arise because you are keeping the problems up and getting mad the moment anyone wants to go after this supposed security blanket of “identity” and “heritage” you are shielding yourselves with. It is a see-through shield, a false and shredded blanket, a wall that is crumbling and a guard that is losing power. Everyone loses when biases cloud progress, everyone loses when demographics takes over.

For the instant anything like this comes up, the VERY MOMENT, someone gets so angry and so mad that they cannot control their behavior and right away the anger bubbles up so heavy and hot and volcanic that their mouths erupt with slurs, race and gender terms, bias terms, and they finger-point at everyone else.

But do they take action to correct the small things in their own minds before they take out the boards in the other person’s eye? The people who get so mad so quickly are clouded to so deep a degree that all they can think to do is react, not pro-act; they can get mad but they cannot offer clear solutions to the problems. They cannot present themselves civil and decorous and disciplined because of the news spin and the corporate chatter that weights their minds with the demographic dribble. They want to hold others accountable, honest, transparent and trustworthy… but can these accusers and finger-pointers and yelling heads hold their lives to the same expected standards?

What does that say when you want to keep them in the same areas they are growing up in, with “their own kind” and “their own type” and filling them with such limiting ideas? That is not the idea of being educated. Keeping them in their own boundaries means that they will not expand their horizons, learn about other cultures and people except from a book or some online page that might not be adequate in information or might be skewed in one or another way that would not permit the reception of more information from all sides of a story. To learn about others, you have to experience others.

I was fortunate not only to learn about Asia but to visit China, Japan and Hong Kong in the middle 1980’s. Had I only read about these wonderful people or seen movies or television shows portraying some aspect of their culture my experience of Asia would be incomplete. As it happened I ate their food, tried their clothes, saw their homes and families, shopped in their stores, saw the local scenery and heard the language. I have experienced Europe and England and enjoyed the best parts of many cultures. Travel for certain brings a new meaning to the phrase “live and active cultures”.

Even though an American child these days might not be able to travel due to economic trials, they can branch out and learn from people of the cultures around the world. There are many communities in Chicago from all over the place. You can experience Mexico, China, Japan, Turkey, Korea, Greece and India.

But what I am talking about is simply mixing with other people, no matter what they look like or what they do. This talk of “Black”, and “White” and such other gibberish is trash talk and not suitable for educated, learned people or folks who want to consider themselves so and pass learning on to others.

You must be sure your standards are not prejudiced by thinking “Black” or “White” or “rich” or “poor” or any other demographic category. Anything less than ridding yourself of backwards thinking is showing that you are uncivilized and far from educated; you will only pass on skewed information to the next generation and keep them limited, dumb and thinking on the same low levels as you are doing.

What does that say to the students who want to branch out, who are tired of being hemmed in by so much talk of gangs, drugs, where one community ends or begins just because of who lives on certain streets or because of what the buildings look like or some other demographic detraction? What does that tell the serious learners who want to get away from thinking that someone who does not look like them is not “their own kind”? Their own kind is HUMAN and AMERICAN and that is foundation enough.

What then do you want to do- keep talking or dig deeper and get more active in ways to make the education system better and more appealing and attractive and efficient?

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO and WHY? ASK THE BASIC QUESTIONS!

Ask who, why, what, when, where and how… ask what is essential and needed. You do not build the roof first after all; you start by laying a strong foundation.

DO WHAT IS NECESSARY FIRST.

What do you NEED to do FIRST?

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...

Title page to Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, ©Chicago 2013.

Education: A Closer Look at the Education in the United States, Part 1.

Teachers’ strikes, dropouts, standardized test scores as a criteria for judging achievement… funding or underfunding for certain school districts or in certain areas; we are hearing so much related to the education system that it seems a step back and a look from other angles is warranted.

In this case the sooner the better. The education system is experiencing waste of billions of dollars a year and so many hot -button issues that there are obviously flaws, shortcomings and corrupted elements in the system as it now is.

I thought it a challenge to take one of those different angles, one which is skipped around in the news these days in the face of talk of competitiveness, longer school days or more hours added to every day, “learning” goals, test score goals and the like. If the United States education system is of sorts a laboratory to try and get people “standardized”, “normalized”, and put them in the state of losing their individuality and their uniqueness and their special gifts and talents in order to make everyone follow a sort of herd mentality, then I suspect that these failures are part of the grand experiment. There is control and observation in any experiment; there is learning from what goes into the experiment, and then there is how the results are disseminated and whether or not everyone who needs to know the facts is let in on said facts. As observed, the hot -button topics are just that, methods to quickly incite people to strike, to cause other forms of trouble in talking about funding, resources, hazing, bullying, vandalism of campuses, etc. There are part of the problem… and if there is one thing then there is its opposite, there is a solution.

It seemed best to begin at the head, at the top of the mountain, at the crown of the ruling body, naturally, and that is the federal level, the United States Department of Education, and what its goals are. One can gauge a goal from the mission or objective statement, and in this case that of the USDOE is as follows:

(The department’s) mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Among its other goals are:

Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds. Collecting data on America‘s schools and disseminating research. Focusing national attention on key educational issues. Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

****************************************************

Now perhaps to some these goals are well and good and sound complete enough, promoting achievement, preparing the students for the worldly workplace, fostering excellence and ensuring that everyone has equal access… but to what, we must ask. There can be equal access to the lane of a highway, but those who are using those lanes must cooperate to ensure that safety comes first, that it is all right to merge and that there is nothing going on that blocks one’s clear passage down the road. Thus there can be equal access to any resource that deals with providing students with the proper education: paper, school buildings, proper lunches, energy, water, science equipment, books, school nurses, music instruments, band uniforms, bus transport, sports uniforms, etc.

And what are the “key educational issues” spoken to in the goals of the USDOE? Why also are they talking in language that speaks to past failures, such as adding the words equal access, discrimination, financial aid, monitoring funds? Have we not yet become civilized enough to ensure that such issues can be as everyday as breathing and eating, things that can be taken care of without worry and concern clouding every move someone makes when money is an issue or when the idea of proper funding or the right kind of research is brought to the front?

What are we researching, as well; what sort of data are we collecting and for what purpose are the data being collected? The Census collects data regarding national demographics and then what happens with that data? When you gather information on something, what is the intention for which you do that research? Is it to talk up some sort of “diversity” issue and fund or not fund businesses based on the kind of people they are hiring and what neighborhood they are in and what they sell; is it to use the categories we use to separate people (race, religion, marital status, economics, education level, ethnicity) and then give a company or organization funds based on those divisive aspects?

We talk about preparing students to be “competitive”, but what comes before learning to fight someone or get into competition with somebody? Well, before you can get onto the plane that takes you to the battlefield you first have to learn to work with the people you will be in the same unit with. Take the basics from the classic TV show, “Gomer Pyle, USMC“. Before the recruits have any access to weapons or to battle, they must first learn to be a platoon, to drill properly and in step, and follow the clear commands of the leader. They must learn and practice military courtesy, a requisite for working together in a disciplined, civilzed, and respectful atmosphere. They must learn to dress appropriately, to do things at a certain time in the right time of day or night, and to be in the correct place at the ordained time. The point is the recruits must learn to work together and cooperate first. They tackle the obstacle course, take other training, and play the occasional joke on each other, but in the end they cooperate and become an honor platoon.

In later eposides the recruits learn to spar with the pugil sticks, they learn how to clean and handle their rifles, and they do other things to get them in combat readiness. But this process takes weeks, months, even years to achieve. The marksman’s medals do not come overnight; and neither does a proper education come in a week, even to the most aspiring student. Shakespeare, in the play Henry IV, may have touted the battle -ready Prince Hal as one endowed with the spirit of “teaching and of learning instantly”, but that is in an idealized moment when the prince, who in previous scenes was wanton in his ways, carousing, exploiting his rank and having less interest to the affairs of state than his younger brother, shows on the field in shining armor, his cloak flying, his weapons at the ready, his mind and eye set to victory. It takes years to get to such a level of accomplishment. This cannot be done by over -eager parents and officials gathering around the young children and telling them their life history in a matter of seconds, the “please your teachers, please your parents, get good grades, grow up, go to a great university, pass the tests, and get a job and maybe become president, and start a family and get a home and pay your taxes…”

That’s enough to make even the hardiest soul want to reverse course and go to another part of the battlefield to get another view, and that is what this series of articles is going to be about, that view of our education system that takes a challenge to the talk about competitiveness, business, global this and that, and such, and get to what could be considered the heart, the center, the cornerstone, the foundation of the matter.

This is the goal of preparing students in an atmosphere of teamwork and cooperation, that they may become productive and good citizens. Thus what is needed is to explore what it is to be a good citizen and what the USDOE is or is not doing to foster this essential element of what it means to live in any country and practice the duties that come with being a good citizen. Just as it is the duty of a recruit to learn to drill properly, to listen closely to the commands of the drill instructor, to learn to clean a rifle properly, and to learn the general orders, so it is the duty of every good citizen to learn how to get along with others, to follow the law, to keep up property in orderly appearance, to keep up with community issues and participate in improving one’s city/town/village, and other important aspects of being a proud citizen… a proud participant, that is, in one’s national happenings. It is, simply, having what is known as patriotism, or national pride.

Let us get started with a look at what the aspects or principles of GOOD CITIZENSHIP are. I consider that I and my best friends are good citizens, and we:

Are community -minded and work to improve the areas we live in; Do not use violence against others; Keep up our properties in neat and orderly appearances; Follow the law for the safety of ourselves and others; Do not cause trouble for others; Behave respectfully in public (in transit, while shopping, at worship, dining out, just walking in the park); Keep up with current events in order to stay informed on important issues; Exercising the right to vote; Respect others; Follow the principles of trust, accountability, and decency.

We endeavor to live quiet, humble lives, do our work well/ perform our jobs in a timely and orderly fashion, keep up with national events in order that we know what to discuss when an issue of importance arises or when natural disasters threaten our fellow citizens, and we are concerned for the safety of others, and that we respect others. This means the best of what it is to be ‘civil’ and ‘honorable’ and ‘duty -minded’.

You could also tie these facets of behavior, thought, and action into the principles followed by the folks of NASA’s Mission Control. Good behavior is vital the completion and success of any plan and the satisfaction of the participants. The goals of the Moon Program at the outset were twofold: to put man on the moon AND return him safely back to Earth. Had that second part of the plan been lacking, what would have been the point of the first? There is so much tied into ensuring the goals of our education system are proper and thoughtful, so that no more resources are wasted – no more time, money, hours, paper, energy, diesel fuel, food, anything.

Failure is not acceptable (read Gene Kranz’s book, Failure is not an Option). If we are talking up a system that has more holes than a Swiss cheese, more flaws than the worst – quality diamond, and more ruts than the surface of Mercury, a system that plainly has so many cracks that anyone could fall through them, we need to take a reverse course and go to doing the whole system all over again. After all, it would be rather silly to build the roof before you build the foundation of the house. And even then, it would not make sense to start on the house before the ground is prepared to receive the building materials… and naturally one must make a budget before even one order to the builder’s supply shop is placed.

It is known that round diamonds, also called brilliant cuts, have as a standard 58 facets. Some cuts have different numbers, and all of them are different. We can make it with 50 fine gems of our own, every one of our states… and a few territories, as the subject of this series on education in America. Like diamonds, our system has flaws, but there are good points about it and about the principles of good citizenship upon which we can all build to make our nation better, stronger, more civil, and, as the goal states, competitive.

SOURCES: WEBSITES ACCESSED

1. United States Department of Education. Overview and Mission Statementhttp://www2.ed.gov/about/landing.jhtml. Accessed December 4, 2012. Page 1.

2. An interesting site came up during my research: Citizenship Counts, at http://citizenshipcounts.org/index.php/about/vision-statement/.

3. M. Martin and Company, of Chicago. http://www.mmartinjewelry.com/diamond-buying-guide/.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

National Needs: What Do We Now?

We have had enough… we have had so much of negation, of politics and wasted millions of dollars, of droning ads and mudslinging. We have been fairly innundated with corporate big bully, big wig, big business chatter, talk of financial figures and celebrity name – dropping.

Are we tired of it, tired to the point of being sick of mind and being affected in body and in spirit? Have we lost that spirit which makes us great, special, diligent and hard – working?

What do we need, then, to do in order to foster a positiv e revival and bring our nation back from the brink of depression and recession? We have seen the negatives; now we need the positives. It is clarity we need, not vague, droning, clacking yakety – yack of repetitive commercials; clarity, not pollution that clogs the higher instincts of the intellect and the heart.

Certainly having a Congress that cooperates for the greater national good would be really nice, a great Veteran’s Day present for a nation in need in so many ways. Just consider what we are going through and, in the past year, have endured.

Right now, there are people enduring days of having power out, freezing temperatures, high winds, snow, rain and floods. They have wasted food, homes in shambles, children that need clothes, transportation requirements, job needs and the need for hope and attention. We have had tornadoes, hurricanes, nor’easters, fires, floods, hailstorms, exploding homes, airline accidents, wrong – way drivers, highway snipers, mall shootings, and an increase in gang and drug activity.

We are certainly a nation in need of repair and revitalization, of spirited people to come out and help those in need whenever and wherever possible. We are in literal need of repairs to our transportation infrastructure at every level, we are in need of companies to hire workers and invest in new products, and we are in need of something even more important, really the foundation to all of that and more.

We are in need of trust.

Our trust has been tested and compromised by officials we have elected to do a job, one they have not been doing for the greater national benefit. Our trust has been tested by business managers, by property managers, by journalists, by generals, and by colleagues. Perhaps the precious commodity of trust has been bent… but it has not been completely broken. Oh say can you see, it is trust that we need, between each other, between employers and employees, between officials of school boards and teachers and the students who are serious about sticking to the curriculum and achieving an education. We need the ultimate investment, the highest expression of the word “trust fund”.

For only with that highest form of expression of confidence (with faith) can we achieve, accomplish, and revive our spirits and our economy.

The golden jewel in the intellectual lotus is that relaxed sense of trust that ideally we should have towards each other. Certainly would be fine, to have that peace of mind that trust brings to everybody. We would be better all around for fostering that quality of life that is more precious than the oil we fight for, the diamonds we mine for and draw blood over, the gold we pan for, and the platinum we risk lives to find for use in jewelry and computers.

We need to govern ourselves and get with it, lead with the positives and inspire each other. Though the day be gray and the skies heavy with rain, though the shop be perhaps a little empty of customers, and though the parties fight it out in the halls of power and decision, we as (so they call us, average, ordinary and common) citizens of this great nation, which can be even stronger and greater, must learn to rule and govern ourselves and lead by example.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

Back to School: Retail or the Three R’s?

Learning by Doing
Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

Every August and into September you hear it, that old worn out, trite phrase “back to school“. And what do you hear in the same paragraph? Retailers are hoping for… or some other commercial, financial, or corporate talk. Geez whizz already… a little off the main course, aren’t we? (And I am not talking about a big banquet, either.)

It reminds me of the advertising and talking up people do for weddings. In the bridal magazines are advertisements for gowns costing thousands of dollars, for honeymoon vacations, for limousine rentals, for rings and shoes, for the bridal party, for photographers, for reception favors and for gigantic cakes.

One might forget that the purpose of the wedding is a ceremony uniting two people, for the start of life together, for what those who attend can hope will be bliss, happiness and a good family life for the couple. Just as this goes to the retail pot every time someone talks of getting married, so this gibberish about back to school has become blown way out of proportion.

I mean, whose business is it anyway if some parents dress their kids in outfits costing hundreds of dollars, as a local news bit had on the radio today (so what, spend what you want on the kids and buy where you please- no one has to know). Whose business is it where you buy the school supplies– from the local small business drugstore or from Walgreens.

Back to school should be about one thing- getting an education and preparing to be a good citizen of this great nation. It is not uniforms, clothes, shoes, the latest gadgets, computers, cliques (or how to avoid being caught up in one), sneakers, jewelry, hair styles or anything of the kind. These kinds of things are about as meaningless as the junk on the census forms, the demographic junk that inhibits national progress. Back to school should be about getting to the bus stop safely, behaving in school, paying attention in class, and learning what you are there to learn. School is not about what you are wearing or what part of town you come from- that is no one’s business but your own, and keep it that way.

There are the basics of course- the reading, writing, spelling, geography, history, social studies, civics, language arts and such. There are the niceties such as dance, music, band, shop, sports, and cheerleading, if one is so inclined to engage in these activities. You can learn the computer, you can learn the cello; you can learn auto mechanics, or you can learn physics.

It is vital that parents or guardians tell the students about avoiding bullies, about not being a bully, about sticking to one’s own business, about proper behavior and about staying out of trouble. Give incentives for being good, and emphasize the purpose of school and doing one’s best in academics, in sports, in whatever the student engages for achieveing a well-rounded education. After all, the roots of education prepare the student to grow strong stems (STEM, of course), in the future.

EDUCATION: From the root words meaning TO DRAW OUT, MARCH OUT, or LEAD OUT. That is what happens- in school one’s talents are drawn out and polished and used with wisdom and knowledge; the student is thus prepared, on graduation day, to march out to destiny with their class, perhaps as valedictorian. They will not only lead out the others but then will be come leaders and begin the cycle anew- drawing out the talents and gifts of others and leading them to do their best too.

Begin your students on a lifelong love of learning, literally a path to a good life and being a good citizen. LEARN comes from the root -leisa, which stems from words meaning bed, garden bed, track, furrow or path. Learning is creating a map of skills, talents, and knowledge you gain and put together for use in any situation, any kind of plan or for accomplishing any goal throughout life. Is it all “academic”? You better believe it is!

A love of learning plants strong roots and builts strong stems. The school campus is merely a ground for those roots and stems to be planted and to bloom and to be fertilized and grow. The learning experience takes place outside the campus too, and in the world away from those classrooms and the gym and the lunchroom is where many of the best learning experiences take place. Live it, love it, learn it and keep on “educating” yourself and others.

Have a safe, pleasant academic year!

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012. Please write for permission to use this article’s content to the author at in2intellect@hotmail.com. Thanks for your cooperation and courtesy.

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