Thursday, January 27, 2011

(Oxy)Moron Bush*: Education failures to be trashed

Moron Bush's school days? (Wiki Commons)
Is Amurika goin too git smarter? Are it feesabal possabale two over tourn Goerge W. Bushes Know Child Lift BeHind inishativ? At the same time, are well we be abel to git rit of boguz collages like FeenixPheenix?


President Obama would like to do two things that cannot help but have a positive effect on American education. He would like to diminish the prevalence of pseudo-colleges like the University of Phoenix and DeVry. And he would like to abolish his predecessor’s addlepated excursion down a road so unfamiliar to him  (education) that his pet program, No Child Left Behind, has put American kids at the forefront of the world’s dummies in a less than a generation. That's quite an achievement for the barely educated Mr. Bush, a man who derived little from the educational opportunities bought for him by a rich daddy whose pockets were not deep enough nor connections wide enough to keep the world from finding out little George was not even a ten o'clock scholar.

The problem is, of course, that No Child Left Behind, if it were replaced tomorrow by actual education (that thing requiring scholarship, dedication, independent thought, etc.), it would take a decade for produce a crop of publicly educated kids capable of anything with greater similarity to a college or university than the University of Phoenix. To cavil about the fact that such paper mills charge outrageous fees for virtually worthless degrees is one thing; it’s quite another to instantly create an educational opportunity, or even a chilling-out place, for thousands of students short-changed by their experiences in Mr. Bush’s educational quagmire.

Perhaps the answer, then, is to create some sort of publicly funded remedial educational system that will prepare the less successful NCLB graduates (is that even possible?) to do something other than collect a dole check and skip out on humongous so-called higher education bills when they come due. If going to a for-profit culinary institute makes a student into a pot-washing grunt for ten bucks an hour rather than executive chef for a resort Hilton, then perhaps the answer is to rectify the gaps in that student’s education at public expense. And then, if he or she really wants to be a chef, let that person do it the traditional way―by working a food-prep job in a big kitchen for ten bucks an hour and learning as they go. Only a few would make it to executive chef. Some would change fields. Some would stay low on the kitchen-work ladder, and accept that. But at least they wouldn’t have $100,000 in loans to repay, and may well have acquired some general knowledge they can use for working or living.

But how would the newly impoverished, post-Moron Bush United States ever pay for such a thing, for two or more extra years of public schooling for those ill-served by the Moron’s juggernaut? Darned if I know. Possibly the government could seize some of his or Neil Bush’s assets (Neil sold the computer garbage that made NCLB lucrative for the family) to help pay for it.

Or maybe they could simply use what’s being shoveled into the pockets of the for-profit stink tanks now. According to Huffington Post:
Students enrolled at for-profit colleges make up only 12 percent of college students nationwide, yet the sector takes in nearly a quarter of federal student aid dollars and accounts for 43 percent of student loan defaults, according to a recent analysis from the Education Trust, a student advocacy group. Students at for-profit colleges typically carry an average of $14,000 in debt--almost twice as much as students at non-profit colleges, according to the Department of Education.
Preventing the student loan defaults alone would probably help the economy enough to eke out some extra dough to use for real education.

Real education encompasses infinitely more than Moron Bush’s notion (calling it a concept or even idea would be to falsely elevate the substandard snapping of his mental synapses), encapsulated in No Child Left Behind.  Mr. Obama would like states to adopt “standards that ensure students are ready for college or a career rather than grade-level proficiency – the focus of the current law.” (Could it be that Moron Bush could hope for no more himself, and in typically greedy and self-centered fashion, desired no more for others?)

Huffington Post also noted that, in Congress―THANK THE LORD AND PASS THE DIVIDED NOTEBOOKS―
Lawmakers also said they want to allow states to use subjects other than reading and mathematics as part of their measurements for meeting federal goals, pleasing many education groups that argued No Child Left Behind encouraged teachers not to focus on history, art, science, social studies and other important subjects.
Moron Bush had destroyed American education well before the end of his first interminable term. It will take a lot more than Mr. Obama’s current term, halfway finished already, to begin to turn American education around, and another decade before public schools in many locales produce graduates capable of performing well on a job or benefitting from bona fide higher education.

Moron Bush has much to answer for, but possibly the most egregious of his multiplicitous attempts to terminally weaken the United States was NCLB, a program that rewarded schools for failing to educate, and that rewarded teachers for making their students into gormless, clueless parrots unable to synthesize and analyze, unable to use logic, unable to understand ethics, unable to succeed beyond subsistence in a wildly complex modern world.

But in a Moron Bush world, it made sense. Uneducated citizens are essential to the sort of world Moron Bush―and to be fair, his one-worlder father―envisioned. A world where a few wealthy, powerful people are able to do as they please with the rest of us, making us into cannon fodder, paupers, petty thieves stealing for survival. In short, a world that would not be acceptable to a population with a decent education, and which those decently educated people would be at pains to renovate or overthrow.

*The Education President

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Are you devoted to cancer? No? Are you sure?

Ancient Greek terracotta plaque of woman with snakes, probably from devotional shrine. (Wiki Commons)

In college, the term self-fulfilling prophecy was used a lot, in many different contexts.

Later, when I studied Science of Mind, I began to see how it worked; whatever you focus on, you will experience. Focus, as one of  my aunts did, on what you are  going to do “when your ship comes in” and that ship will stay out in deepwater forever. My aunt died penniless, as she lived. If she voiced the “ship comes in” phrase once, she voiced it four million times. She was devoted to it, and it served her as she bade it to.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, guru of quantum physics for the masses
Dr. Wayne Dyer has popularized the notion of creating your own physical reality in two dozen books and myriad tapes. Here are a few of his titles dealing with the issues: You'll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation, The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way, Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao. All have been best-sellers.

And yet, people still don’t get it. Especially, those who make money and careers on reinforcing the misery of others don’t get it. Paramount among these is the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Huffington Post ran a story recently about Komen’s vicious attacks on any other fundraisers who dare to use a term they use―but hardly invented―and the color pink in their efforts. HuffPo noted:

In addition to raising millions of dollars a year for breast cancer research, fundraising giant Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a lesser-known mission that eats up donor funds: patrolling the waters for other charities and events around the country that use any variation of ‘for the cure’ in their names.

One woman, whose unique dog-sledding fundraiser is called Mush for the Cure, said she was warned by the National Breast Cancer Foundation to trademark her fundraiser’s name before Komen came after her.

Pit Bulls for the Cure
Too late. Komen is fighting the woman’s trademark application and will likely prevail with its enormous self-protection war-chest.

But this isn’t about the depredations of a scurrilous do-gooder organization, exactly. It is about the devotion of American women to breast cancer, and of Americans generally to cancer generally.

My mother died of lung cancer that spread to her adrenal glands and every other place it could get a toehold. She smoked for years, and there’s little doubt it was causative. I have never given one single cent to a pancreatic cancer cure organization, nor will I. I might possibly give to something trying to shut down tobacco companies, but probably not. My mother’s choice to smoke was her own, as was her choice to give it up. The damage had been done, however, and she knew why she died. She accepted it, and faced it bravely and with dignity.

Why would I sully her memory by wrapping the rest of my life around finding a cure for the disease that killed her? Wouldn’t that unwavering devotion to cancer cause more of it, either in me or some unwitting person who got in the way of my devotion and therefore inspiriting of the disease? In the rubric of Dr. Dyer, Science of  Mind and numberless college professors, yes it would. And, since quantum physics―the underlayment of Dyer’s work, Science of Mind beliefs and self-fulfilling prophecies―is not only available, but has been amply proven as the mechanics of the universe, it is just plain ignorant to hold in mind anything one DOESN’T want.

The mind works in mysterious, but known, ways
Those who are devoted to cancer are going to say, “No, no, it’s the CURE we are devoted to.”

Really? Can you think about a cure without thinking deeply and often about the disease itself? Another precept from the three rubrics mentioned here is this: You can tell someone over and over “Don’t drop the glass”….and they will drop the glass. The mind latches onto the most prominent idea, which is not don’t, but drop. If you want to avoid broken glasses, you’d do better to say “Hang onto that glass!” In this case, hanging onto the glass is the operative, cogent phrase, the one the mind―looking for positive instructions to latch onto and direct the body to follow―accepts.

All that having been said, one thing is obvious: The Susan G. Komen Foundation is invested in the continuation of cancer. It wants everyone to believe in cancer, but only its own kind of cancer, breast cancer. In that respect, since women are multiple times more likely to get breast cancer than men, it is an anti-feminist organization.

It is also a self-perpetuating bureaucracy. Nothing it does can possibly, in the end, find a cure for cancer. How can an organization spending so much donor money on keeping other fund-raisers from contributing to research possibly find a cure for anything? Except of course poverty among its own executives and cadres of lawyers.

Time to let Susan G. Komen have a long, if undeserved, rest. Time to get one’s mind off cancer and onto life.

What about all those women dying of breast cancer? Very sad. But how many of them smoke? How many chose not to have children and breast feed, which seems to offer some protection? I would be among that later group, but not the former. I accept the risks.

Consider: Nuns get a lot of breast cancer, relative to all women. But they get a lot less cervical cancer, ostensibly because they don’t have sexual relations. One will die of something, usually caused by how one lives. Usually. There is chance involved, the odd safe falling on one’s head. There is genetics. There are probably factors humans will never understand.

One factor we can understand, however, is the self-fulfilling prophecy. As far as I can see, the Susan G. Komen Foundation wants everyone focused on breast cancer―but only Susan G. Komen breast cancer, the kind that opens wallets in their direction―all the time.

Good. Let them be. Pay them no mind, literally. And pay them nothing else. Then go on your way living, and not considering their coffins or their coffers anymore than the media forces you to.