The Importance of Understanding the Past

In keeping with the day of relaxation that I set up for myself today, I decided that I wanted to write a post that was based completely on opinion, no research, no digging around for information. Just my opinion out there for the world to tear apart. That way I was still able to spend the entire day with my wife and even watch a bit of the hockey playoffs and a movie with her. Unfortunately the movie was horrible (“The Spirit”, the only bright spot being a very sexy Eva Mendes) and the hockey game ended with my team taking a loss at home. But that did not dampen my spirit, as my wife prepared a wonderful dinner and I did get to stare at her all day, which is always a good thing.

bruins-logoI will rebound from the hockey loss. I am a Boston Bruins (and Red Sox and Celtics) fan. It is a difficult series for me because they are playing the hometown Carolina Hurricanes, who play 20 minutes from my house and whose players often frequent my business. That makes the Hurricanes my kind of “second” team and they are my wife’s favorite team (so the game was a bit more enjoyable for her). My wife, being the wonderful woman she is, has secured playoff tickets for me on Wednesday night. My Bruins will be here in Carolina for game 3. I am quite excited. Should you choose to watch the game you will find me as the one proudly wearing a black and gold retro Ray Bourque Bruins jersey in a sea of Hurricanes jerseys (including my wife’s). But I should be easy to spot, as I will be in the second row, right beside my Bruin’s bench. So if you watch the game and see me hi-fiving Bruins players, just chuckle and say “I know that jackass!” And if you hear about a Bruins fan getting beat up at a Hurricanes playoff game, you can also chuckle and say “I know that jackass!”

But I digress. I often get hassled by those who feel like I waste my time looking at the past. I don’t “dwell” on the past mind you. When something bad happens, I am not the guy to sit around and pine about it. But I do tend to analyze the past and figure out what it might mean for the future. There are several things that I tend to watch and there are reasons for each one. But I wanted to take a second and explain why I do things like take a walk through history with the “March Towards Socialism” Series. 

education-mugI believe, first and foremost, that the public education system in America is broken beyond repair. There are a couple of reasons I believe this. First of all I think the level of education being provided stinks. It has become a system that passes students on with or without skills needed to survive. The system doesn’t care one way or another. Americans have become weak and soft and that means that they want the schools to be weak and soft on their children too. So failing someone who has not met the standard is no longer done. Some school systems have even gone as far as to refuse to hand out failing grades. They are afraid they might hurt the self esteem of the children. This is perhaps the most bullshit proposal I have ever heard. But that is a post for another day. The point is that the school systems do not work. 

And even if the school systems could effectively teach and mentor students, the underlying principles of education form a flawed base from which to teach. You could have the perfectly set up system with which to impart knowledge to the youth of America and the public school system would still suck. Out children would still come out of school not prepared to face the real world and not able to properly analyze politics and make decisions based on an honest look at the past.

There are two reasons for this: The first is that the public school system does absolutely nothing to prepare kids for making decisions or for working to get where they need to go. Second the public school systems are teaching revisionist history and false realities to today’s kids.

As for the first… Let’s talk about some of the things that are missing. I will start with teaching our children the ability to think critically. This is a big miss. How many folks come to these blogs and forums making arguments that have no basis in reality, yet they fully believe them because they lack the ability to use critical thinking skills to evaluate their position? How many millions of people just elected a President based on false claims about the state of the business world, the previous administration, the opposing party, etc.? Millions of people voted based on those claims because they could not think critically and see that the arguments just didn’t add up. 

public-educationThey are also failing to teach our children key skills needed in today’s personal finance arena. How about a class on how the credit card companies really work and the ills of living beyond your means? How about a class on civics (which has been eliminated in many school districts) so that students understand how government really works? How about a class on capitalism or the free market principles or the CONSTITUTION and what the founding fathers thought as they were writing it? None of these key things are taught because the public education system wants to create new adults dependent on government to solve all of the ills for them, a government that will define the issues for them, and let them do nothing but be ruled.

The American public schools system teaches revisionist history. Nothing drives me crazier than that fact. As I have grown and aged and discovered the library and the ability to search the internet I have learned so many things that are different from what I was taught in school. Columbus discovered America. The Civil War was fought over slavery. Pearl Harbor forced a country determined to stay out of the war into it. The founding fathers were a group that agreed on everything. Reagan single handedly brought the Soviet Union down. You get the point, all of these statements are false. Yet that is what they are teaching in today’s schools. 

And when it comes to citizenship, the mantra of the public school system is an indoctrination into the liberal statist mentality. You are powerless without government. Regulation from government is the only thing stopping big business from screwing you. Loyalty to your government is more important that individual liberty. Being a good citizen means sacrificing (by force) for the greater good. The Supreme Court is unbiased and all knowing. Congress is looking out for you. If you don’t succeed it is not your fault, let government right that wrong for you. All of these things we know to be false as well. But that is what they are teaching.

The point is that relying on the public education system is not going to get us where we need to be. As many of you are finding out, it is up to us to educate ourselves on the reality of the world today. The media won’t tell us the truth. Politicians won’t tell us the truth. Our schools won’t tell us the truth. We will have to seek it ourselves. I have heard so many folks talk about how much they are learning in the conversations on this site. And that is good because you are taking the initiative to learn. But don’t rely just on me (I know you aren’t but I have to say it). Seek knowledge everywhere. 

constitutionTo that end, I implore those of you who have not done so to click on the links to the left and read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence again. They are not as long as you thing they are and are pretty light reading. Set a goal to read them both by the end of the week. And then ask questions if you don’t understand something you see in them. And then set a goal to start reading through the Federalist papers. They are enlightening and fascinating. They are longer and tougher reading but try to get through some of them. If you want recommendations on which ones are the most important to read, ask us on here. I know that Just A Citizen, BlackFlag, myself and others have read them. We are more than happy to offer recommendations. 

But here is the important thing going forward. SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE!  Share it with us, with your friends and neighbors and families. The only way we are going to get this country turned around is to get people’s brains re-engaged. Talk to people, get them thinking again. Teach them to question what they are told. Teach them to form their own opinions rather than relying on Teachers, Politicians, or the MSM. But most important, teach your children. Some of you go as far as home schooling and I give you a standing ovation. But for others that is not plausible. But don’t leave your children to be victims of today’s system. Teach them all the things we are learning together.

We don’t know the future. We may face a massive collapse of the government as we know it as BlackFlag has predicted. Or we may be facing a massive movement of government reform as I often talk about and am trying to make happen. Who knows? But the fact is that we here won’t be enough to make the world right again. There are only a thousand or so people who read this blog. We will all eventually no longer be here. Remember that we are raising the generation that we are going to be counting on to continue our work in fixing the mess that has been created. And that means making sure we don’t let it to chance that our children learn the things that we have learned. 

Revolution and I often joke that we and our spouses are raising our children to be the ones who lead the way in either taking back, fixing, or rebuilding our great country. While we joke and laugh about that, we can both see in each other’s eyes…. It is a task that is no laughing matter.

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Comments

  1. Good Morning to All,

    I would agree the the public education system is broken. The teachers (not all) have lost the desire to actually teach. Nowadays, it’s “read this chapter today and we’ll take a quiz tomorrow.” There just isn’t any teaching going on. My 10th grade U.S. history teacher would stand behind a podium and tell the story that each chapter covered and made it interesting. I got straight “A’s” in that class, but more importantly, I learned how to teach, which really helped professionally, and more importantly, with raising my kids.

    As far as the future, Black Flags prediction might be the hardest, but maybe the best way to fix the good ole USA. I just have no faith in our govt being smart enough (or willing to) fix the mess that they have become. Just some thoughts.

    G!

    • G!

      Absolutely love what you wrote; I believe your heart is in the right place, however, as we all know limitations will be limitations. I don’t think you’ll find an argument vis-a-vie public education is broken.

      Furthermore, as I was reading USW’s article sparks were flying everywhere which of course for me means good metacognition is going on inside the brain. Yet, it is imperative to understand (every one!) that the public education system is part of the corrupt, trashy, and pathetic government we have in the USA.

      Yep, right there in the middle of the executive branch –and the Dept. of Ed. — DOE is as inept as any other agency of the government.

      I hope that USW and a few other’s don’t mind but I do have some observations: Most teachers haven’t lost the desire to teach, and I am sure you and the audience here will agree, the desire to learn in this ‘conveinence oriented society’ has all but disappeared.

      You hit the nail on the head with your statement re: “…I learned how to teach…more importantly, with raising my kids.” Amen! I have been writing for the last two years on where the disconnect has happened between the ‘Agents of Change’ (teachers) and the self-serving, know it all, parents who simply are kids raising kids or irresponsible and ill-equipped for parenting (fancy wording for they don’t give a hoot).

      Seriously what is this ‘clown’ doing in office who overseas the expulsion of vouchers?

      I believe that the system can be changed; however, that will be after the government can no longer be involved. I also believe that the system will get better as soon as most parents realize that ‘critical thinking’ needs reflection and a mentor for anything to be learned.

      One simply cannot pull the crainial region open and like a box of cereal pour the Wheaties into a kids mind and Viola! the material is learned. Although you may get arguments from dissatisified parents.

      Thanks gang! (Sorry for the length!)

  2. I have several teachers in my family, and they are at their wits ends of how schools are ran. My aunt who has been a teacher for over 27 yrs, is constantly doing battle with the school system because she doesnt believe in the “new way”. Instead of teaching kids everything, you are forced to teach them what they are going to be tested on only. That way they dont fail. If you have too many kids that are not passing, they remove the teacher from that class. Unbelievable to me. They are not allowed to give much homework. She was actually pulled into the prinpals office last year and asked why she didnt give out gifts/toys to her kids when they passed the test! Needless to say she retired at the end of the year. Now she tutors out of her home and gives her time helping adults learn computers. improve their speaking skills etc. I am applied that we are not teaching our kids anymore! No wonder we are failing in this country. Throwing money at the system is NOT working. Lets be serious here, if we dont fix this soon, trouble is a understatement of what is coming.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Ellen – it seems like a catch-22. If funding is tied to test scores (I am assuming it is) then its only natural that they will teach to passing the test. We demand tests so we can score and label and determine who is making it and who is not – USW is pretty emotional about that (and I don’t necessarily disagree fwiw).

      • Alan F. says:

        As for schooling:

        One part of the answer is to allow those being shoveled along to actually fail. They might feel bad about being left back but their self esteem is utterly annihilated by being constantly in a situation where their abilities leave them unable to participate as an equal member of the class.

        The second is to take away their digital crutches and remind them that they CAN actually walk. Critical thinking is indeed just that, critical to developing a fully functional human being. I myself will never hire a drone who can’t see their way through a problem that isn’t laid out sequentially in “the book”. Its just not good business.

        The third is to get rid of those teaching because “its a job”. I’ve met more than a few teachers with that attitude who do little more than regurgitate a text book verbatim and await the scholastic “solvent drag” to move their students along to the next stage.

        Same situation up here folks. Canada is by no means immune to the educational “get them in, get them out” reality of modern schooling.

      • My state’s new math textbooks are divided into lessons, with each one titled “XX weeks until PASS.” Teaching to the test.

  3. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “The public schooling system is working as intended, it does not need any fixing.”

    Barack Obama and the NEA (and Kalgan)

    Really weird bonus points to anyone who gets the Kalgan and working as intended joke (or even has the slightest clue who Kalgan is for that matter).

    Anyway, since the purpose of the public schooling system is to create generation after generation of people who are dependent on the government and like it, and it is succeeding in doing just that, what, precisely, needs to be fixed? The machine is working.

    If we don’t like what the machine is doing, we either need to replace the machine or not put our kids into the machine. By definition though, the machine ain’t broken, so it is unlikely anyone is coming to “fix” it anytime soon.

    • Bama dad says:

      To be Kalganized is when your class either completely owns another class in a way the class being owned has no defense against or being completely owned by another class in a way that your class has no defense against.

  4. Ray Hawkins says:

    This is but my perspective. This year marks 20 years since I left the public school system. By way of disclosure USW and I (as well as my good friend Chris Devine – who no longer posts here) attended the same HS – one year apart. I have zero perspective on the current state of schools – my first child will not enter the world for another month. What I can offer is that I do not feel like the school system let me down or set me up to fail or brainwashed me at all. I have vivid memories of teachers who used the mandated school texts, healthy doses of self-starter approaches (Michael Ohler and Elizabeth Schofield stand out), and classmates who challenged each other on a daily basis to think beyond the text. I engaged myself to think through adventures in Scouting, confirmation classes in Church, talks with Mom and Dad, and long road trips for sports where we discussed more than just girls, music and booze. I suppose I have a lot to learn as I begin to raise my own and get involved in the School District and determine the public v. private v. home school path. To bridge to a theme in a previous post – accountability and responsibility were instilled in me at an early age – I’d feel that I cheated myself to blame ‘the system’ in my own experience.

    • Ray, I too feel that I received a good public education. With that said, I’m raising a 17 year old going to the same school I went to, and it is a far cry from what I learned there. They seem to concentrate, as Ellen said, on what the test will be on. AH! The test is the government mandated tests that each student must pass to graduate. My 17 year old has know real knowledge of the Constitution or why it was written and what it means. I’m not really for home schooling, mainly because I feel like my kid should have interaction with other kids her age to gain those types of skills. My best choice would be a good private school, faith based, that I could afford. None available where I live.

      G!

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Thanks G-Man – I guess suffice to say I’m not looking forward to those tough calls once my little guy is ready for school. We moved into what is/was a good school district but that is all relative.

  5. Spyder says:

    I have been out of school for a long time. When I started we lived on a closed Air Force base so I went to DOD schools. When my dad retired, I was 10. When I transfered into regular public schools, I had to be the “teacher’s helper” because I had already covered all of the material they were teaching at that level. I don’t have any children and I shutter to think what they would be learning or not learning. Something needs to be done, but I have no idea what. I know several teachers and many more ex-teachers. They are just as frustrated with the system.

  6. esomhillgazette says:

    Good Morning US.

    I am back from taking the weekend off. My youngest is on a Traveling Baseball Team and was supposed to have a tournament in Dalton this weekend, but it was cancelled due to bad storms. I wasn’t very dissapointed because it gave me a much needed weekend off. I do love to watch him play, but around 100, 13 and under baseball games a year gets tiring mentally ,physically, and financially.

    Our school system is fast becoming a world joke. The world’s 1 remaining superpower with the 14 highest education system. Why is that? Well one problem is, that that rank is simply not true. If you look at some countries above us on the rankings, ie. Japan, they have a different way of classification, Japan has two tiers in their education system. The College class, and the technical or working class. They are ranked by their College class alone. The US, on the other hand is ranked on their entire system lumped together as one. This makes for a unfair system of ranking, however, the US is the one that throws all studsents into one category so blaming the ranking system would be pointless. That is not to say either that we would rank much higher if we classed them differently.

    There is no doubt though, that our education system has been suffering at the hands of the Liberal, No Child Left Behind, Educate On An Assembly Line, style of Education. Every child is lumped together in one pile, regardless of considerations such as special needs or slow learners or intelligence levels. We can’t hurt any feelings so we treat them all the same. Then, when they can’t do the work, they are passed anyhow because, still, we can’t hurt anyone’s feelings. This is swiftly causing the destruction of our young’s education. I, like everyone in the past, have seen Government pass Act after Law concerning Public Education without ever focusing on the actual problem of why our children are not getting a good enough education.

    I fully agree with you too US. Our Public School systems do not teach thinking skills. Instead we are taught to go with the flow. You don’t “have” to learn. You don’t “have” to think. Just go along with what the Teachers and the Government is teaching you is right and you will be fine. You are not supposed to think on your own. You are supposed to be an Automaton. Following your leaders in their insane path to destruction of the Nation.

    Being a History freak, revisionist History drives me insane. I know the old saw that those who wins the wars write the History, but this is not the same. The right version of History is out there, it’s just not being taught because it might hurt some groups feelings to have the true, unvarnished, uncovered Historical facts told.

    The facts don’t hurt my feelings. If the different opinions on this site hurt my feelings I would have quit coming here long ago. To the contrary I am one of those who have learned greatly and had some of my opinions completely changed or altered slightly since coming here.

    I teach my children to think for themselves. To question even what I tell them. I want them to make their own decisions and make their own way in life, not depend on the Government or others to get them through life. Be independent. Be smart. And above all, Be Americans.

    • Black Flag says:

      Be cautious wanting a tier system in education – this is the European model.

      When the child is not yet even a teen, they have to take a battery of tests which will design the rest of the life of the student – they go to Technical College (or no College) or they get to go to University, based on their score.

      The pressure the parents put on children is so huge, the children – they are still ‘babies’ – go through an unbelievable torture and really messes them up.

      Even as an adult, the pressure to perform on these tests would cause my stress level to jump – I cringe what it does to children. I mean, its only matters for the rest of their lives based on their scores.

      NO to tier level education!

      • esomhillgazette says:

        I agree BF. I only said that our Country’s Educational System is ranked in the World against the highest tier of the other Nations Sytems. That fact is not told when politicians are browbeating our education. And if you compared our best and brightest against theirs instead of lumping all our students in one pile, we might not rank so low. I don’t think we would rank much higher though, and considering the entire world’s Liberal, PC attitude, it doesn’t really mean anything either.

        As I work in a Middle School, I have to agree that our Public Schools have become Politically Correct Indoctrination Centers. I also don’t think it will change, but in fact get worse. That’s because Government wants charge of our kid’s minds. It’s too late for my boys to take them out of school and I can’t afford Private School. Homeschooling is also impossible. I just have to teach them the way they should go and hope.

        • Richmond Spitfire says:

          Good Afternoon Esom…

          I’m curious…Do you ever finding yourself getting into “battles” with School Administration over policy, curriculum or the like? If so, do you ever find that you “win” any of the battles?

          Storming and nasty here in Richmond! Glad you had a nice weekend off…Weekend before last was our biggie with Little League! This coming weekend will be a big one too.

          Regards,
          RS

          • esomhillgazette says:

            Hey RS. It’s raining and stormy here too. It was very bad last night.

            As a Parent, I have had many battles with Administration over my younguns with respect to both Policy, and Cirriculum. We have occasionaly won, but not often.

            As an employee, I have to consider my job need. So I haven’t had so much as cross words with Administration. I’m a IT Tech anyway. I don’t teach, I just fix computers.

            I know teachers who have though. We have a reading program here called Rennaisance Reading. It is SUPPOSED to be a reward program to encourage reading. It is used in this County though as a grading tool. Short version: There are books on a list. Each book has a test. You can only read books that are on the list because you have to take the test for it after reading it. This limits what the kids are allowed to read and what the Library can get.

            As a consequence of this program, my oldest son hates to read worse than death itself. We have gone ’round and ’round with the School System over this program with absolutely NO success. Some teachers (who don’t teach reading) like this prgram because it saves them the effort of actually teaching. Most don’t however. The librarian at my school despises the way it is being used in this System. As I say, it is supposed to be a reward program, not a grading tool.

        • Black Flag says:

          Your kids will thrive when they get out of school – you did! So did I! ….and millions of others.

          You’re just seeing that it could be so much better….

          And don’t fret between the scores of the world – they are placing their elite against the USA average –

          True, most of the development of products is coming out of the East – but the ideas and discoveries are still, vastly, coming out of America and the West.

          We dream it – they build it.

          Its a good partnership, I think.

          …but it could be so much better…

  7. USW, I’m taking you up on your challenge of re-reading those documents by the end of the week and am also going to put out the challenge to my email list and my kids.

    Also Orwell’s “1984” made it up to the top of my reading list this weekend – another must re-read for everyone.

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Hey Kathy!

      Wow…you’ve mirrored my exact thoughts!

      Friday night, I downloaded “Animal Farm” and “1984” to my Kindle. Read “Animal Farm” for the first time! WOW! Plan on trying to read “1984” this week and am going over the “Dissecting the Libertarian Party” Series as we speak.

      Happy Reading!
      RS

    • Black Flag says:

      “Altas Shrugged”, I think, is better than 1984. An omnipotent government can’t exist – government’s own bureaucratic style makes it too inefficient to actually hold its own weight.

      According to a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, Atlas Shrugged was second to The Bible as the book that made most difference in American readers’ lives.

      Modern Library’s 1998 three-month online poll of the 100 best novels of the 20th century found Atlas rated #1 although it was not included on the list chosen by the Modern Library panel of authors and scholars. The list was formed on 217,520 votes cast.

      You have to read a book that the elite completely ignore – but the people vote it number #1!

      • I will check it out!

      • I just finished reading it. I took a month off once I finished with the loooonnnngggg speach. It is a tremendous book that everyone should read!

      • JayDickB says:

        I read Atlas Shrugged many years ago. For a long time, I thought it had an interesting point but was far from anything possible, let alone likely.

        In the 25 years or so since I read Atlas, our country has moved steadily in the direction the book describes. I now fear for our country’s future.

        Recently, I have seen snippets of 1984 and Animal farm in our country as well. All are worth reading but, I agree, Atlas Shrugged is the best.

        • Black Flag says:

          The story of a group of people breaking off from society maybe a bit of fantasy.

          However, the story of the government slowly stifling and clogging the wheels of society until it grinds to a halt – pretty darn accurate, IMO.

  8. Sorry for changing the topic for a minute…I wanted to correct myself. In a previous post I spoke about CIFTA and misspelled the acronym…I think I did SEFTA instead of CIFTA. Now it is continueously stated by BO that “I will not infringe on your gun rights”…why do they lie to us smiling like we are just some f-ing idoits. This really upsets me because all the laws are out there…we are just “Marching to Socialism” now.

    While speaking, in Mexico City, on April 16th, Barrack Obama stated that he will push the Senate to ratify CIFTA. CIFTA is the Inter-America Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials Treaty.

    To date; 29 countries have ratified CIFTA. These are countries that do not have a Bill of Rights or any guarantee of arms ownership, like the Second Amendment.

    CIFTA will criminalize simple acts, like cleaning a firearm, and calls the reloading of ammunition explosive manufacturing. CIFTA would also put the identities of American citizens in an international data base and make Americans subject to the firearms laws of other countries. A provision of the treaty states that it “shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, which shall forward an authenticated copy of its text to the Secretariat of the United Nations for registration and publication, in accordance with Article 102 of the United Nations Charter.” Thereby subverting our American citizenship and national sovereignty to the United Nations.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      Nubian

      After seeing your post I went and checked on the Cifta Treaty. I believe it takes 67 Senate votes to ratify a Treaty. I don’t THINK Obama can get 67 votes on it. I could be wrong, but at the least we need to keep an eye on it.

      • Hey Esom:
        Don’t be so sure of yourself. Keep an eye on it…nah, I think it needs to be brought to the forefront. Great example, we discussed and talked about HR 1388 and kept an eye on it, well while the world talked about the Swine Flu, Sebillius was sworn in and HR 1388 was implemented the same day of the outbreak. The CIFTA treaty will be the same way.

  9. Great post! I was concerned about our education system last year and wrote to Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Mind you, I have never wanted to be a teacher but seeing the outcome of our system, I decided to see what I could do in order to become certified in order to start teaching our children what they need to know, not what they are being told to know.

    Good Morning:
    My name is LaTala Cofield and I am emailing you because I am interested in becoming a teacher. I have been doing a lot of research to see what I can do to become a teacher and I came across the National Center for Alternative Certificates and your name was the point of contact for Georgia. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Columbus State University and I am 3 classes short of my Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from Strayer University Online. I am currently working in the insurance industry and despite my educational background I am really eager to learn about the opportunities of become a teacher. With all due respect although I know teachers work extremely hard, the school system is failing our children. One thing that I have learned from the educational system is that they teach us things that we knew to know. But the problem I see is how applicable are these subjects when it comes to being an adult in the real world. Because of this I would like to be a vocational teacher and assist high school students with the knowledge they need before they enter the real world alone.

    I am not sure what teaching category I would fall under but I am interested in teaching a class with the following objectives:

    • How to invest in your money
    • How to balance a check-book
    • What is credit
    • How to obtain credit
    • What is a credit report and score

    Please inform what procedures and certifications I will need in order to obtain this goal. Thank you for your attention to this material and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks,

    Mind you…I never received any type of response whatsoever.

    • Black Flag says:

      Nubian,

      Though the laws are different in every jurisdiction, most need no certifications to teach your own children.

      http://www.ghea.org/

      Georgia Homeschool Education Association would be a great starting point in helping you get started – there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling which tends to fog new teaching-parents, so these type of associations (and there is one in every State) are very helpful.

  10. First of all USW, let me congratulate you on your fine taste in sports teams!

    Now, as far as our public school system, you are right on, and though there is some significant variation in quality from state to state, by and large, kids AND taxpayers are being seriously shortchanged. We are fortunate that our kids go to one of the best private schools in southern New England, but we do so at GREAT financial sacrifice. Our philosophy is that a good education is the most important thing you can give your child (outside of good moral character), and we’d rather spend a gazillion dollars on their education than leave it to them when we kick the bucket. I know not everyone can do this, however, and recognize the value of a good public school system for the good of the community as a whole.

    RI’s public school system is a perfect example of where the public schools go wrong. We spend amongst the top in the country per child on public schools, and yet our kids perform at the lower end on testing. 90% of our VERY high property taxes go to the schools. Teachers unions here have the schools, the towns, the kids, and the taxpayers in a stranglehold. Some towns and cities are near bankruptcy, yet the NEA (teacher’s union) won’t even sit down at the table to negotiate their contracts, in which they continue to get pay increases and pay nothing towards health benefits and pensions. There is a complete lack of accountability in quality of education; seniority alone matters. So an energetic new teacher with fresh ideas will be let go before an older teacher who may be burned out, and who just may not give a crap anymore (FYI, I am generalizing here). I have heard of countless incidents in which a teacher will tell a kid who may have a learning disability (in front of the whole class!) that “school is just not their thing” or make the kid do the “walk of shame.” Horrible stuff. Initially, we tried the public school system and my extremely bright but dyslexic son experienced this attitude, as have the children of some of my friends. Some kids, especially boys, learn best via different methods (more visual vs auditory), but public schools cater to one type of learner. What bothers me most is the waste of human capital, especially when younger kids are turned off from learning by a teacher or a school which dismisses them early on.

    Parents are also at fault. They do not get involved enough with what’s going on with their child’s education. They do not hold their kids accountable for their actions. Nothing is ever their kid’s fault. The entitlement attitude is pervasive.

    This does not even touch on “what” the kids are being taught at school. Brown University just changed the name of Columbus Day Weekend to Fall Weekend. Can’t upset the Native Americans, you know! Doesn’t seem to matter that John Brown, founder of the university, was a big time slave owner. The PC stuff is out of control (and that is an issue in public and private schools), but I digress. The kids are not only NOT learning history, which affects their understanding of the role of government, but they are also not learning math and science, which is critical to an increasingly technology driven economy. In a global economy, we are toast if we don’t fix our public schools, and that does not mean throwing more money at the problem. It means making everyone in the game more accountable, from the kids to the teachers to the parents.

  11. Black Flag says:

    Public school is a disaster, but we all knew that.

    I can’t imagine how bad it is today when it was horrible when I was trapped inside it.

    In “Science” as it was called, the teacher asked the question “How can we measure the speed of light?” – it moves so fast it is impossible to time it…etc. It was rhetorical, but at the time I didn’t know that and at my desk I started to daydream my experiment

    Eventually I thought the best way was to use a series of spinning mirrors revolving at known and fixed velocity, bounce a beam from a known distance, then calculate the angle of deflection and you’d could calculate how fast light traveled over that distance.

    I raised by hand, and described my idea – and the teacher got irate, started calling me names, and kicked me out of the class! (I was 11 years old at the time) Why? Because that is how it was actually done (and won the Noble Prize for it) and he hated that a kid my age figured it out. He thought I was “cheating”. I was the laughing stock of my class for a long time…

    That is but one example of what I faced. Except for rare times, the system saw me as a threat by both teachers and the other students.

    Its only process to deal with me was to accelerate my grades in a warped attempt to keep my education speed in sync, but knocking for a tilt my age and maturity differences of my new peers.

    For my peers, is was hard to deal with a ‘little boy’ who gets better grades and simply ‘knows’ more than them – at a time, in their development as teenagers whe self-image becomes important. I badly distorted their image, and they never forgave me for it.

    But that is all the system could do – distort my education and/or my maturing process. It succeeded in both. Typical government warp.

    For our homeschooled daughter (there was no way on Earth I was subjecting my child to the hell called Public School), we had a plan, called the Thomas Jefferson Education

    It is an educational theory by Oliver DeMille based on the education of Thomas Jefferson by his mentor, George Wythe – and it resonants very powerfully with our family.

    Wythe’s pupils included Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, James Monroe, and John Marshall – not a bad student list!

    “Seven Keys of Great Teaching”
    1. Classics, not Textbooks
    2. Mentors, not Professors
    3. Inspire, not Require
    4. Structure Time, not Content
    5. Quality, not Conformity
    6. Simplicity, not Complexity
    7. You, not Them

    “Four Phases of Learning”
    * Core (birth to 8 years of age)
    Instill morals and right from wrong by direction, not punishment.

    * Love of Learning (about 8 to 12 years of age)
    Follow their sense of discovery – let them jump from bugs to birds; the “Why?why?whY?” days – and its important to answer the questions correctly even if they don’t understand the answer. We built the foundational “Why?” and the platforms for further investigation.

    * Scholar (approximately 12 to 18 years of age)
    Where we are now with my daughter – deep understanding of specifics – mastery in the mechanics – follow her desires and help her achieve the competence, mastery, and perhaps even virtuosity in her field of choice.

    * Depth (18 years of age and older
    Philosophy; Learning by Dialogue; “I don’t know either, so let’s figure it out together”

    (Not saying this is the best or only educational method – every child and family is different – we just liked this method because of its philosophy).

    There is no capacity in the public system for real learning – it is simply a process to indoctrinate.

    • CA Mama says:

      Would you consider that ‘unschooling’? Planning lessons around a child’s interests keeps it all relevant. Good for your family!!

    • Black Flag says:

      Love unschooling!

      Our daughter lagged behind in math – no interest at all. But she loves music, computers, chemistry and physics and ‘making stuff go boom’ – a real tom-boy 😉 No frilly girlly stuff -She’s my daughter!

      After a while my questions to her required her figure out ‘why this did that?’ and ‘cCan you predict what will happen?’ – all questions that required math.

      She didn’t have the skill. So….. suddenly she’s into math! Moved through an equivalent of three grades of Math in 6 months. Now she is really having fun – calculating the event and then watching her predictions come true!

      (PS: My wife is the primary educator in our family – I am really just the assistant, helping out only to overcome some complex question or explanation).

      • CA Mama says:

        Sounds like she is definitely learning and having fun!! Remember, assistants make the world go round too 🙂

  12. CA Mama says:

    Ah yes, the public school system. Well, I homeschooled my 2 sons until they were in 8th and 9th grades (respectively) and when they started attending classes at public school my husband and I were very sorry having to do that. While we haven’t had too much trouble with the teachers, the administration has been an entirely different story. Let’s just say they don’t like kids who are independent thinkers and speak their mind.

    Both of my sons are huge history lovers and participate regularly in Civil War, WW I and WW II reenacting which they view as an important community service. Years ago I let them run with what they were interested in and as a result they have found their passion. They have gone to school many times dressed in whichever era they are studying and that has made it so much more ineresting for their classmates who would otherwise be uninterested. It’s been a real labor of love and consequently has made them study so they know what they are talking about.

    I guess my point is that when our kids have to go into the public school system that we as parents must remember that they are OUR children and that OUR values and family must be the driving force in their lives. My sons found out that the public schools are just a cattle drive and the ‘pens’ just keep getting smaller and smaller to exhert control. I’m not going to miss having them in school.

    Hopefully my ramblings make sense…it’s still early 🙂 Let’s all have a good Monday!!

    • Black Flag says:

      Did you take your children back to homeschooling?

      • CA Mama says:

        Sort of. I enrolled them in an online high school (still public) which gave them back their autonomy. The teachers and administration are far more open minded. We are very happy that June is the end of that journey!

        I’ve already told my husband and sons that whenever we have grandchildren that I will be homeschooling them if their wives are unable to do so. I like the education plan your family is using, it’s very natural.

        • JayDickB says:

          CA Mama

          I have been interested in computer-based learning for a long time and am curious about your online high school experience.

          Was it well done? Were there many alternatives to choose from?

          I see this as a good possibility for replacing public schools if enough alternatives develop.

          What do others think of this idea?

        • CA Mama says:

          The online school format is still developing but I think that it’s a really good alternative to the classroom. There is accountability for both the students and parents who participate in it. Ours is considered a charter school.

          All of the subjects that student can take in a brick and morter school, an online school should have (ours does anyway). There are live sessions and virtual blackboards during the week but not everyday. It’s definitely self-guided.

          Is it the answer…I don’t know but it is an answer. I think it’s still early in the game.

          • Black Flag says:

            “… but it is an answer. ”

            …is the right answer. There is no ‘right way’ to learn and more tools, the merrier, I say!

            I’m not against government curricula either, it’s a great start to kick off an education goal because it is typically organized and wll laid out.

            I mean, most teachers aren’t stupid and most do good work in their classes. The system does betray them often, though.

          • CA Mama says:

            I think that was what I was trying to convey. Thanks BF.

            • Black Flag says:

              Nice to find you and MadMom – kinder spirits in the education of our children.

              I’m sure there are many non-vocal ones out there too.

      • Black Flag says:

        My wife was terrified of educating into our daughters teen years – she felt she didn’t ‘know enough’ to do it.

        But as it happens, everyone learns together. So as they are approaching those more complex education goals, they are right in stride – figuring it out with each other – my wife claims she is learning more about ‘things’ while working with our daughter then she ever ‘learned’ in school!

        Wife is actually looking forward to ‘high school’ – indeed, she can’t wait to see what she will learn (and the daughter too.)

    • Black Flag says:

      But homeschooling is not for everyone, nor is it all ‘happy-happy-joy-joy’. There are a lot of sacrifices.

      We had to give up my wife’s lucrative career and salary – we had to adjust to a single, irregular income (I’m a consultant – so feast and famine is our life style).

      Everything about her education we have to pay for it out of our pocket – no government ‘free’ stuff….and its all expensive. For example, we just bought a $1,200 microscope with a VGA output so she could record the images onto her computer for a science project of hers. Ouch. The university has plenty of them, rarely in use. But, oh no! Can’t use them unless you’re enrolled in a public school! No, thanks.

      But I have a cool microscope now! 🙂

      • CA Mama says:

        You are correct, it can be draining on the spirit and expensive but very much worth it. We were part of an independent study program early on so we weren’t hit with equipment expenses. The biggest drain has been the reenacting uniforms, equipment, weapons, etc.

        I’m not complaining because this has been a real joy to see them blossom into the young men they are today. I wouldn’t change what we did except for putting them in public school. You live and learn!

      • Providing a real education to kids today requires significant sacrifice, whether it is via home schooling, private schooling, or enriching a public education via outside studies and activities. Sometimes it means moving, which is what we did. Unfortunately, most people are not willing to put the time and/or money into their most precious asset; their kid’s mind. I would much rather drive an old car and live in a smaller house if it means my kids are being challenged and encouraged to be critical, independent thinkers. I know a lot of people who would prefer to be able to buy “stuff” and send their kids to public schools (some in inner cities), and will argue to death the merits of a public school education. These also happen to be many of the same people who don’t look at the consequences of grotesque government spending as a future burden on their kids. It’s all about the here and now, and instant gratification.

  13. Off topic again, I just read an article about The Cypersecurity Act of 2009. Now I have been hearing things about it but haven’t looked into it until it hit me with this forum; it triggered a thought.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=93966
    http://cdt.org/security/CYBERSEC4.pdf

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      As an InfoSec guy I will tell you that while some of the intent is good (security + safety) the implementation as such in this bill is horrible. They need to shred this bill and sharpen their pencils.

  14. Someone just sent me this link on the effects of Humanism in education. Not saying I agree or disagree, just that it’s another viewpoint.

    http://www.resistnet.com/forum/topics/how-great-the-battle-is

  15. I am not married but I have always dicussed with my childfather that I wanted to homeschool our daughter and he agreed. But we are both working parents…how can we both work 80 hours a week and homeschool at the same time? We are looking into homeschooling now because my daughter will be 3 this month. Any insight?

    Oh btw, while we are on the education system how do you all feel about your child being striped searched in schools?

    • esomhillgazette says:

      Being from GA, I know the case of the Strip searching the 13 year old. I can’t say what I think though because of the legal ramifications of my opinion on it. Let’s just say , “Not my Kid!” and “Bulldookey!”

      • CA Mama says:

        Bulldookey indeed!!

      • I would say some principal would be in a world of problems. While I’m generally a non-violent person, I was born a redhead and have a hot temper when the situation presents itself. This would be one of those situations where I might spend the night in the slammer. While I would regret my legal actions in the long run, it should put an end to this rediculus activity. And, it would make me feel good, cuz I’ve always wanted to crack a principal (LOL).

        G!

    • Black Flag says:

      Check out the Georgia Homeschool Association. They can guide you.

      For example, in my association (which I’m currently the President) we have a number of homeschool mom’s who homeschool other children.

      In our jurisdiction, you can do this as long as there is 6 or less kids in the home. No government cert, nor license of any type required. They charge about 80% what a day-care program would charge and you can negotiate meals. Obviously, its a mutual interview between the parents to ensure the fit, but it seems to work well here.

      • Black Flag says:

        PS: I assumed you were in Georgia – however, there are associations in every State. They are all eager to help in every way possible.

        Becoming a member of some sort of association is vital for your sanity. Homeschoolers need mutual support for they are always under attack from some segment.

        It’s either someone in the family that disagrees with homeschooling, like the grandparents (“You went to school, it was good enough for you, so why can’t my grandkids!”). We’ve had grandparents call Social Services.

        Or its government trying to enforce some bizarre standards which typically make it a requirement to use government curriculum.

        • I know that our local library has a very active program for the homeschoolers. The YMCA has some programs available. My biggest objection to homeschooling was the lack of social interaction, but, in practice, I don’t think that’s the case. Last week I attended a confirmation service for a group that was following the Latin mass. There are many resources available. When I was on the science fair committee, we reached out to the homeschoolers and had 10 or 15 participate.

      • CA Mama says:

        Black Flag is absolutely right!

    • Nubian,

      I don’t know much about home schooling but find it intriguing. BF answered a question I had about “knowing enough” as the child enters high school. But another method I wonder about is combining efforts with another family or two to take the time pressure off of people who need to work long hours. This would be particularly useful, IMO, if you had similar mindsets about what you want to accomplish, and if you brought different skill sets to the table to provide a more diverse learning environment.

      • Black Flag says:

        You bet! We’ve got families in our association that do that too!

        It started between the two members, who because of the association, became friends and hung out together a lot. One of them got very sick, so the other family, naturally, started helping out with the kids so that parents could concentrate on the sickness.

        It worked out so well, that they regularly trade off when one set is doing something interesting or going on some trip. I believe one family took the other kids to Europe with them on a Education-tour.

        Everything is possible!

        • This is something I would seriously consider if we needed to move somewhere which did not have excellent private schools available, for instance, if the crap really hits the fan here. We’ve got the added issue of needing to learn how to teach a kid with dyslexia, but I can figure that out if need be. It seems to me that people with work or hobby experience of almost any sort could make learning much more interesting by weaving their knowledge into a lesson plan and demonstrating how stuff in books is relevant in the real world.

          • Black Flag says:

            I was dyslexia in my early reading years – but for me I mostly ‘grew’ out of it though my spelling is still horrible.

            I could read just fine, but writing was hard.

            In grade 2, the class was rewarded for good spelling and neat printing by being ‘allowed’ to use a pen instead of a pencil.

            I was the last one with a pencil in the whole school of grade 2’s and finally the teacher simply gave up and allowed me to use a pen.

            I can remember the teacher sending me home with remedial writing exercises which I refused to do. I was a little-sized anarchist even back then.

            Now, I have a spell checker 🙂

            • BF,

              You never grow out of your dyslexia- it is with you for life. You learned to compensate for your different brain wiring at an early age, which many dyslexics will do as they are often extremely intelligent and creative (Albert Einstein was dyslexic). It is labeled a language based learning disability but it is really a gift, which is why I say that the public school systems’ inability to deal with it creates an enormous waste of human capital. I bet you are a very visual learner with a great sense of spacial relations. Dyslexics make up 10% of the population but 30% of business owners, due to their incredible adaptive and entrepreneurial capabilities.

              My son’s school is a small “school within a school” for dyslexic kids with high intelligence. It is part of a larger private school which my daughter attends and which is extremely academically and arts/music oriented. There are few options like this available in the whole country. Unfortunately many dyslexic kids have the same experience you did (like my son who was told by a public school teacher that “school just wasn’t his thing”). That’s why it’s so important that parents advocate for their kids and don’t take no for an answer.

              • Obviously I am among friends! I also am dyslexic but never knew it until my late 20s when i read an article in a science journal about the it and the coping mechanisms that dyslexics use. I was so shocked because I did all of them and never knew it! When I was in school I was told that I wasn’t studying hard enough and my spelling was crappy because I was lazy.

          • USWeapon says:

            Just call me if you have to deal with it MadMom. I was severely dyslexic. I know how to beat it! and most of your thoughts around it are correct.

            • My son is also severely dyslexic, but his teachers can’t wait to find out what he does in life, because he has such interesting and unique gifts. Right now, as an 11 year old, he is quite determined that he is going into Special Ops, so I might need to check with you on that!

    • USWeapon says:

      I had better not EVER hear that they strip searched my son at school. That will be the day I launch an all out campaign against the school system. I will make it my mission to shut them down.

  16. Interesting article that I found in my archieve emails. I thought this would be important as it concides with USW, “March to Socialism”. Now this happened last year.
    Homeschooling Banned in California as State Turns Parents Into Criminals for Teaching Their Own Children

    David Gutierrez
    Natural News
    September 23, 2008

    A California appeals court has ruled that homeschooling of children is illegal unless their parents have teaching credentials from the state.

    “California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home,” said Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association.

    The court overturned a lower court’s finding that homeschooling did not constitute a violation of child welfare laws.

    “California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said.

    The decision stunned parents of the state’s roughly 166,000 homeschooled children. While the court claimed that it was merely clarifying an existing law and not making a new one, the decision leaves the parents of homeschooled children at risk of arrest and criminal prosecution.

    “At first, there was a sense of, ‘No way,’ ” homeschool parent Loren Mavromati said. “Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation.”

    Parents’ reasons for homeschooling their children range from religious beliefs to dissatisfaction with the education received at public or private schools. But according to the court, all California children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend either a full-time public or private school or be taught by a tutor credentialed for their specific grade level.

    “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation,” Croskey wrote.

    California’s largest teachers union welcomed the decision as did the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles.

    According to the law center’s executive director, Leslie Heimov, children should not be educated at home, because they need to be “in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety.”

    • CA Mama says:

      According to the law center’s executive director, Leslie Heimov, children should not be educated at home, because they need to be “in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety.”

      ————————————————————-

      One more reason I hate living in CA! As if one’s home is not safe! It’s all about control, control, control!!

    • USWeapon says:

      According to the law center’s executive director, Leslie Heimov, children should not be educated at home, because they need to be “in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety.”

      What a twisted way that they look at things. Because the parents don’t have a duty to ensure their children’s safety? Man I despise California.

  17. esomhillgazette says:

    “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation,” Croskey wrote.

    ’nuff said!

    Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia.

    • Black Flag says:

      Fortunately, this will be overturned. Even Arnie says that if this is, in fact, the law he will introduce legislation to reverse it and ensure homeschooling remains a right in California.

      The bureaucrats backed off and re-phrased the issue as requiring some sort of measurement of some sort of educational standard – which, of course, they’ll write.

      But homeschooling bucks government – there is always some sort of war between public educators and homeschoolers. In most of Europe, you’ll go to jail for even trying to homeschool – so it is vital for vigilance here.

  18. JudyS.NV. says:

    USW. I enjoy your post’s each time I read it, you are very informative. I have to agree that the school system has gotten really bad. We took our youngest son out half way through the 10th grade because of the lack of teaching by most of his teachers. The only teachers who really taught anything ,were his Italian, auto shop, and I can’t remember the other one, but out of all his classes, only 3 taught anything. That’s really a shame too. He thought maybe his history teacher would be a good teacher because according to my son, had to have been around since WWII, and thought he would have some great stories to tell, but my son said all this teacher did was tell them what chapter to read and answer the questions at the end of the chapter. Needless to say, my son was very disappointed by this teacher. He said all the teacher did, was sit at his desk with his feet pr opt up on the desk reading a newspaper. He was not only bored with school, but wasn’t getting anything out of it. So we took him out and he went through a correspondence school from Scranton Penn. He was 16 at the time, and did 2 years of schooling in a year and a half, got his diploma, went into the Marine Corp. That was 6 years ago. It’s really a shame that teachers, not all, but some can’t take the time to teach instead of telling them to read the chapters and do the questions at the end, and to take an interest in their students. But I guess things have changed since I was in school, and that was 40 years ago.

  19. I'm learning! says:

    What is everyone’s view on extracurricular activates in school? I wasn’t allowed to participate in much due to “chores” needing to be done at home – my parents refused to run after us all the time. My son was not into sports much, but in high school, became involved in FFA. Now due to state/national conventions and regional competitions, he is missing school 6 – 7 days a year. But, his “advisors” and teachers are the greatest inspiration he has ever had in school – and they are objective and positive. They took our local FFA chapter from 20 kids to 140 within 2 years of being hired. These teachers are about the only ones I have encountered that I have a very high regard for. I encourage and enjoy seeing him train for a competition that involves critical thinking of agriculture issues or business, or identifying wildlife or knowing various plants in studying horticulture.

    So, maybe I am a bit prejudiced. While I enjoy seeing kids involved in FFA or Culinary competitions or Science Fair, or Math Competitions, I have a real dislike for sports. It causes them to miss out on classroom time. We live in rural area. Routinely kids miss the last hour or 2 of class to travel for games at least once or twice a week. Routinely, they don’t get home until midnight causing kids to be tired and not pay attention well the next day. But it is a school activity, so it is “approved absence”. If I pull my son out more than 10 min before school lets out to go to the dentist, and it is “unapproved”.

    Teachers get heat to not fail the “sports star”. Often kids are picked to be on a team based off their last name. Many coaches seem to only care about winning. If a team gave it their best shot and lost, then learn from what happened and move on, instead of getting in their face for not winning. (There is a difference between not even bothering to try and trying your hardest). Parents often act worse than 3 year olds when watching the game.

    We waste school money on gas, uniforms, equipment, and maintenance. Then we no longer have money for educational materials to teach them something other than how to score a touchdown! Since I don’t often attend these events, I am relying on what I hear from others regarding the sportsmanship (or lack there of) of the coaches and parents. But it isn’t just locally; it is from friends and family in other towns or states telling stories.

    I know the point often is brought up that it teaches teamwork, etc. But really – does it? Or do they make enough money from concessions and admissions that they need it now to bring in operation cash?

    Do sports have a place in a good school system? Do counties that do well in education this caught up in sports also?

    • Well I dont have kids, so I talk about the running around. But I do know that what they charge for kids to play in sports in my city is terrible. The last hike was for hocket, 950 per season per child. I understand that hockey has a ton of equipment- but really 950? We never had any extra money for sports for us,plus we worked and had homework after work. I think sports are a good thing, but the time and money spent is getting out of hand! Plus my neighbor has a kid who was going out for the baseball team. You have to order uniforms before the last of the cuts for the team. Then you only get a partial refund if you child doesnt make the team. Unfair to me!

    • Bama Dad says:

      Of our 6 children that went to public school 3 played in the band and 2 played football. It was a very positive experience for my children. They learned that if they worked hard they would reap rewards from that work. One daughter played in the high school state honors band and one son graduates from college this weekend after attending school on a full football scholarship. I feel any extracurricular program that promotes work and self worth is a good thing.

    • Amazed1 says:

      I am kind of mixed on sports…I know a young man that was an average student until he found out he was good enough at baseball to get a scholarship…but his grades were not good enough. He worked hard to remove the barrier and got his scholarship for baseball to college. I know another young man that was having trouble in school he was a world class basketball player but his grades were going down hill fast. His coach and the coaches wife started taking the time to work with this young man at night in math and science…..his grades really improved, his attitude imporved and it looks like he is on his way to college. Sports teach kids about losing, about being on a team, playing by the rules I can think of a whole host of things that sports can teach….but if it comes to sports or an education I say an education comes first. If a school has to drop something it should be sports…not forgein languages, or bookkeeping ect. first drop sports then drop education classes if necessary.

      • I'm learning says:

        I feel like you. Our son struggles with homework. He’s smart, but reading and testing just isn’t his thing. He don’t have a permant part time job yet so he can focus on grades. But he does work – he helps friends care for their dogs, cats, or horses when they are gone. He’s mowed grass, help roof houses, installed lawn sprinklers, pollinated corn, etc. He just don’t flip burgers on a regular schedule at BK. He helps people he knows when he can. I too feel education needs to come first! If you can handle it all at one time, great, if not, focus on what is important first and add more as you go!

  20. Birdman says:

    I’m reading Atlas Shrugged now. There are many things happening today that Ayn Rand wrote about in 1956. Obama is attacking wealth and producers. He recently attacked the hedge and mutual fund companies because they didn’t want to take 20 cents on the dollar over the Chrysler plan. Today he is talking about closing what he calls tax loopholes on corporations that have facilities in foreign countries. I believe his policies are doing real damage and investors are afraid and they should be.

    I agree that the public education system is broken. My wife substitutes and tells me how bad it is. My son graduated last year and had a liberal slant that he picked up in public schools. He is now at U of M in the Army ROTC and I keep challenging him on a variety of issues. I think he will come around. My daughter graduates this year and also has a liberal slant but was very active in debate and knows how to see both sides. She is very opposed to cap and trade — something she researched in debate. My other children are leaning on the conservative side, probably because of me and my opposition to Obama when he was running for President. We no longer watch any news on TV except FOX and they sometimes watch with me.

    I am fearful of the Obama administration and what he plans to do. I read, listen and watch to remain informed. One big problem that we all face is the main stream media propaganda machine that influences public opinion and is in bed with Obama.

    • I use to love history as a kid-because my teachers had us debate both sides. I really learned from that experience. Makes you look at the whole problem, then try for a solution.

    • I just started reading ‘Atlas’ too, and find it very good. It led me to go to the website for the Ayn Rand Institute–great site.

  21. Kristian says:

    I think that US is dead on about the public education system. My brothers both have learning disabilities, it’s something that runs on my dad’s side of the family. When they were in school they were put in what was called “Special Ed” classes. Basicly they were put in a class room and given crayons and coloring books to keep them out of the teacher’s hair. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that our daddy had been taught in the same schools that we went to so our last name was well known. That wasn’t a good thing as my daddy was a hell raiser. It didn’t help that my brothers took after daddy in that way but it also didn’t help that they were immediately written off because of their name. My brothers are now 37 & 34 and neither of them can read and they can barely write their names. That has made it damned near impossible for them to get and keep a job. Neither of them are stupid they are both very smart they just had a hard time learning basics and their teachers never took the time to help them. I think that it’s sad in this day and age when a student can graduate from high school without being able to read. I ask my 14 year old just about everyday what she learned in school that day. I always get “nothing” as a response. I guess that’s truer than I thought.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      My 1st Cousin’s son had a Learning disability. My cousin and his wife went to war with the school system here for 12 years and contiued it with his sister when she started school. The school system may not say it or do it, but they are required by law to help children with Learning disabilities. My cousin’s son is now a junior in college and doing well. If it had not been for his parents though, he would never have gotten through. they paid my wife to homeschool his sister for 1 year. Since then she has had no problems except for her Conservative views. 🙂 She wore a Sarah Palin shirt to her Basketball game and wore it on the bench (she is a starter). When asked, she told everyone she was exercising her 1st Amendment right! Very headstrong young lady. 😀

    • Kids with learning disabilities are at a huge disadvantage, despite the fact that many of them have higher IQ’s than their peers. 10% of the population is dyslexic, and that’s only one type of learning disability. The one thing to note about this group that it is critical that the parents intervene on the child’s behalf with the school and DEMAND appropriate intervention. But the vast majority of parents do not do this because they don’t know what to do (and the school sure isn’t going to tell them), or they are cowed into silence by a group of “experts” who tell them this is what your kid has and this is what they need. The schools will do everything possible to minimize a child’s documented needs, because they know that they have a responsibility to educate that child no matter what their resources are. If they do not have the appropriate resources to educate a dyslexic child, for example, they are required to find someone who can. This is a battle faced by families in even the best public schools in the country, and it takes an iron will, lots of information, and tenacity to take on the system.

  22. I'm learning! says:

    We need a minimum of 1 credit of foreign language to graduate high school. Which I get – after all they teach foreign languages in school in other countries. Mostly English I would imagine, but it isn’t exactly a bad thing to know. Our school offers Spanish and French. Passing grade in that class is 75%. Anything less is failing. The point is you have to understand at least 75% of the language to speak it effectively. However, I bet 75% if these kids will probably never use this language.

    What annoys me is that we live in America. If they should be that strict on grading a language – shouldn’t it be English? Or at the very least, take the students that don’t speak “English as a first language” and make them abide by the 75% knowledge in order to pass? It annoys me that our school puts more emphasis on making sure our students speak Spanish or French well than understanding math, science, social studies or ENGLISH!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      My plans with my kid/kids is that they speak proper English but also learn Spanish and Mandarin.

      • I'm learning says:

        Interesting. Foreign language was not required when I was in school. I wish I knew spanish sometimes. A very dear friend in the Navy just married the woman of his dreams (after waiting 45 years) – in Japan. They will be visiting around Christmas. I want to learn just a little to help make her feel welcome in our home. He said she is a little worried about feeling out of place in America. I will need to find a book or website to help with some basics.

  23. I’m Learning:

    I did the sports thing in high school and college and lived far out of town. So let me tackle (no pun intended) this one.

    “It causes them to miss out on classroom time. We live in rural area. Routinely kids miss the last hour or 2 of class to travel for games at least once or twice a week. Routinely, they don’t get home until midnight causing kids to be tired and not pay attention well the next day.”

    IF THEY MISS CLASS TIME THEY USUALLY ARE NOT MISSING MUCH. I NEVER SUFFERED EXCEPT EXTRA HOMEWOKK TO STAY CAUGHT UP. BUT THAT WAS OLD SCHOOL. MY KIDS DID SPORTS AND OTHER THINGS AND WE TOOK THEM OUT FOR EXTRA TWO WEEKS A YEAR FOR FAMILY FIELD TRIPS. THEY HAD TO GIVE ORAL PRESENTATION TO CLASS UPON RETURN. THEIR TEACHERS WERE VERY SUPPORTIVE UNTIL ABOUT SOPHMORE YR IN HIGH SCHOOL.

    “But it is a school activity, so it is “approved absence”. If I pull my son out more than 10 min before school lets out to go to the dentist, and it is “unapproved”. ”

    SOUNDS LIKE A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ADMINISTRATION. NEVER HAD THIS PROBLEM ALTHOUGH ATTENDANCE RULES WERE ALWAYS A HASSLE FOR OUR KID. MY DAUGHTERS SENIOR YEAR THEY DROPPED ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS TO TRY OUTCOME BASED. GUESS WHERE ALL THE H.S. KIDS WERE DURING THE SHOOL DAY? THAT LASTED ONE YEAR ONLY.

    “Teachers get heat to not fail the “sports star”. ”

    THIS IS USUALLY VERY OVERSTATED PROBLEM. IF IT DOES EXIST GO TO SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT TO MAKE IT STOP. NEVER HAPPENED IN MY DAY YET SOME KIDS/PARENTS WOULD SAY IT DID. THERE WERE TO MANY SUSPENSIONS FOR GRADES AND OTHER PROBLEMS FOR IT TO BE TRUE. SAME FOR MY KIDS H.S.

    “Often kids are picked to be on a team based off their last name.”

    I NEVER SAW THIS MUCH IN MY DAY AS PLAYER BUT IN LATER YEARS AS COACH AND PARENT I DID SEE THIS INCREASE. USUALLY HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH DONATIONS TO THE PROGRAM. AGAIN, DISTRIC SUPER. CAN FIX THIS QUICK. IT TOOK THE ONE OVER MY KIDS H.S. ONE WEEK TO STOP SUCH A THING IN ONE PROGRAM.

    “Many coaches seem to only care about winning. If a team gave it their best shot and lost, then learn from what happened and move on, instead of getting in their face for not winning. (There is a difference between not even bothering to try and trying your hardest).”

    THIS IS A TOUGHT ONE. WE WANT OUR KIDS TO LEARN THAT COMPETITION IS TOUGH AND IT IS PART OF REAL LIFE. WE ALSO WANT THEM TREATED FAIRLY BUT THEN DEALING WITH PEOPLE IN THE REAL WORLD ISN’T EXACTLY FAIR ALL THE TIME IS IT? GOOD COACHES DON’T NEED TO YELL AND SCREAM ALL THE TIME. I WAS BLESSED BUT MY KIDS WEREN’T. THEY EACH HAD ONE GOOD COACH IN 8 YRS OF DIFF ACTIVITIES. THAT IS WAY TO FEW. COACHES ARE ABOUT WINNING BECAUSE SO ARE KIDS AND PARENTS AND THOSE WHO GIVE THEM THEIR JOBS. WHICH GOES TO THE NEXT POINT.

    “Parents often act worse than 3 year olds when watching the game. ”

    THIS WASN’T A BIG DEAL WHEN I PLAYED BUT BY THE TIME I WAS COACHING AND THEN WHEN MY KIDS PLAYED I SO MAJOR INCREASE. SCREAMING AT KIDS, COACHES, UMPIRES/REFS, YOU NAME IT. THEY ALSO INTERFERE MORE WITH COACHES THAN EVER BEFORE. I WAS CONSTANTLY DEALING WITH PARENTS WHO THOUGHT THEY SHOULD BE IN CHARGE. PARENTS HAD 3 COACHES AT MY KIDS H.S. FIRED BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T LIKE THE RESULTS, TO MANY LOSSES.

    THIS IS ONE OF MY BIG CONCERNS. THIS INCREASE IN PARENT ATTITUDE IS, IN MY OPINION,NOT LIMITED TO SPORTS. I HAVE HEARS ALL TYPES OF EXCUSES BUT THEY SEEM LIKE, WELL EXCUSES. THIS GENERATION IS UNDER MORE STRESS, ETC, ETC.. I SAY BULLDOOKEY. I THINK IT GOES TO THE GENERAL LOSS OF CIVILITY IN OUR COUNTRY WHICH I IN TURN PLACE ON THE IMPACT OF THE LATE 60’S EARLY 70’S. THE PAIN IN THE ASS PARENTS I DEALT WITH WERE THE KIDS OF THOSE HIPPIES AND RADICALS I GREW UP WITH, AT LEAST THAT IS MY HUMBLE OPINION. THERE IS A CONNECTION THERE.

    NOW THINK OF HOW OUR POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS HAVE DIGRESSED OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS. SEE THE CONNECTION?

    “We waste school money on gas, uniforms, equipment, and maintenance. Then we no longer have money for educational materials to teach them something other than how to score a touchdown!”

    MONEY IS A LEGITIMATE ISSUE. HOWEVER, MY KIDS H.S. ALL RAN FUNDRAISERS WHICH PICKED UP A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE BILL. THEY ALSO HAD THEM FOR ACADEMIC PROGRAMS. WHEN I WAS IN SHOOL WE TRAVELLED A LOT AND HAD ALL MAJOR SPORTS. SOMEHOW MONEY WAS NEVER THE ISSUE WE SEE TODAY. PERHAPS THERE ARE OTHER THINGS AT PLAY?

    I know the point often is brought up that it teaches teamwork, etc. But really – does it? Or do they make enough money from concessions and admissions that they need it now to bring in operation cash?

    IT DOES TEACH TEAM WORK AND MUCH MORE. I STILL HAVE LIFE LONG FRIENDS WHO WERE TEAM MATES. H.S. ATHLETICS AND MOST COLLEGE SPORTS DO NOT BRING IN MONEY. THEY COST MONEY OR BREAK EVEN.

    “Do sports have a place in a good school system? Do counties that do well in education this caught up in sports also?”

    SPORTS IN MY VIEW DO HAVE A PLACE IN SCHOOL. ASIDE FROM SOME LIFE SKILLS LEARNED THERE IS THE PHYSICAL FITNESS ASPECT. P.E. IS A JOKE AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. SPORTS TRAINING IS FAR BETTER.

    THE REAL PROBLEM IS THAT NOT ENOUGH KIDS ARE INVOLVED. WE SHOULD SPEND A LITTLE MORE TO HAVE MORE TEAMS OR ACTIVITIES NOT LESS. INDIVIDUAL SPORTS ARE GOOD ALSO, EVERYTHING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE TEAM ORIENTED, LIKE FOOTBALL. THEY ALL DON’T HAVE TO COMPETE FOR STATE TITLES.

    I GIVE YOU ONE LAST THOUGHT. WE SAY OUR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS SHOULD PROVIDE OUR KIDS WITH EXCELLENT TRAINING FOR LIFE AND JOBS IN THE REAL WORLD. WELL, LIKE IT OR NOT, PROFESSIONAL SPORTS IS PART OF THAT REAL LIFE. WHY WOULD WE NOT PROVIDE SOMEONE WITH TRAINING IN AN AREA THEY HAVE PASSION AND REAL TALENT, JUST BECAUSE IT ISN’T ACADEMICS? AT THE SAME TIME THEIR PARENT NEED TO GET A GRIP ON THE REAL ODDS OF THEM BECOMING PRO ATHLETES.

    THE ANCIENT TEACHER/PHILOSOPHERS BELIEVED IN ACTIVE MIND AND BODY. SPORTS HAS A ROLE. I DO THINK IT NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM TODAY. IMPROVEMENTS ARE PROBABLY NEEDED IN BOTH.

    I HOPE I HAVEN’T BORED YOU TO TEARS.
    JAC

    • I'm learning says:

      JAC,

      Bored me to tears? Never on this website! I am not an athletic person (however I have seemed to find my niche in Wii Sports). So when I hear about professional sports raking in a fortune then threatening to leave their loyal fans and move to another city if we don’t spend more tax money to build a bigger and better stadium than we built them 20 years ago, it annoys me to death. Because of that, on the lower level, seeing attitude from coaches and parents is just as frustrating. I think you are right – sports programs along with education probably need to have improvements. I firmly believe that we do need to learn teamwork, winning, losing, and pushing someone to do his or her best! There is a fine line between pushing a person or team to the best they can do, and being overly critical and breaking their spirit. Unfornately every person, parent and coach views that line differently. I admire anyone who can deal with that pressure.

      I agree activities are very important. Especially with the obesity problem in our society now. I may not play sports, but I enjoy aerobics, walking, swimming, and dancing. I know if I exercise on a regular basis, I feel better, both physically and emotionally. To get more involved, maybe there should be an increase in community organized sporting activities. I know many people who can’t afford activity fees, and uniforms and all the costs involved in allowing their kids to be in sports. Or even neighbor hood kids shooting baskets or playing flag football would help. But the parents need to be sure their kids participate. Then again, I know parents that have their kids so overscheduled; they never see their own bedroom. Once again, a fine line!

      Bottom line, I don’t want sports to replace core education in schools. I think as a society that we need to get back to the basics!

      • Im Learning

        You hit one issue that is the most significant difference between old school and today. I played three sports in H.S. and two in college. Almost impossible to do today because of the pressure put on kids to attend camps, off season work outs etc etc. Football goes all year, baseball all year, basketball, etc etc. We are doing two things to ruin sports for kids. This is one.

        The other is organizing every damn thing. We never let kids just get together and play by themselves. When it does happen watch the joy and fun.

        And yes, never sacrifice academics for sports but we should never allow those choices to be put in front of us. Cut the darn overhead in Admin first.

        good topic
        JAC

  24. TO HOME SCHOOLER JUST STARTING OUT, AND OTHERS IF APPLICABLE

    Immerse your children in foreign languages as soon as possible. If you can hire someone who speaks it as a native language to help. Like a nanny if you can. They will grow up to not only speak but to think in that language. And you can teach more than one. A friend of mine was fluent in 8 and could think in 6.

    I suggest, Spanish (our hemisphere), Chinese (new economy), Russian (somebody needs to), Japanese (they’ll be back some day) and Farsi (obvious need here). The future economy will reward those who are fluent in one or more of these languages and have the academic credentials or specific skills sets in demand. The Big Bucks will go to those who are highly mobile in terms of time, space and culture.

    Of course it won’t hurt if you teach them to read southern at the same time. C M Ducks.

    My Best to You All
    JAC

    • CA Mama says:

      My sons have taken Spanish, French and a little Russian. They have run across several situations that knowing at least the basics of another language has been helpful. You’re very correct JAC!

    • JAC,

      Teach “southern”? What about Bahston? LOL

      I agree with you about kids learning languages. REALLY learning them, through immersion. My 14 year old daughter has been taking Chinese since 6th grade and at some point I will send her to China for a complete baptism by fire. There’s nothing like living somewhere foreign for awhile to force one into learning a language. Fortunately, she’s an adventurer, like her mother! : )

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Is she taking Mandarin or Cantonese (or some other dialect)?

        Is rainy in Philly now – could use a nice bowl of Chowdaaaaaahhhh to the tune of Sweet Caroline……….

        • Mandarin.

          And yes, eatin’ chowdah and watchin’ the Sawx is a fine way to spend a spring or summah day!

      • Nevah.

        Yankee fan when I was a kid.

        Mariner fan once they got a team in Seattle.

        Mom was NY Giants fan and followed them to SF.

        LOL
        JAC

  25. Amazed1 says:

    In college I had a History professor who insisted you read…..anything except our textbooks. He would show us how different perpectives of writers cast different light on different points in history. He would tell us to look at their motives for writing, take out the perspective and watch history unfold. It was amazing what I learned. The critical thinking skills he nurtured went along ways getting me through college. He was one tough cookie but if you stuck around you were sure smarter when the semester ended.
    I schools teach a warped view of our history, and teachers do not teach critical thinking skills. Most kids can read and write but they have no idea how to find the truth most of them can’t even find the library. Our media gets away with leading people around by the nose because people have not mastered critical thinking skills….they just believe what ever they are told. These are sad times.

    • I recently sent a class to the school library to do research, using only the card catalog to find information. They had mass hysteria, until someone figured out that the old encyclopaedias had information alphabetized…of course, their lack of spelling skills hindered them somewhat!

      A few years ago, I took a homeschooling group of the same age to a library for research. I did not have to tell them anything – their moms had already taught them how to find information, write separate notecards with sources cited, organize their notes, and put together a well-written paper.

      “Traditional” public and private schools teach to the test, not how to think and apply learning in new situations.

      Homeschooling is a financial sacrifice, but the rewards are priceless.

      • Amazed1 says:

        You are right Rowe…and teaching to the test is what is ruining our kids. It is not the teachers fault…if the kids do not pass “the test” then they can get their funding cut…..another wonderful fix our government has gotten us into. I am really dreading what they are going to do to our health care.

        • Amazed1 says:

          OK…sorry I got tied up working on a broken appliance, but the act is so vague….I am not sure exactly what the results will be. Way to open ended to suit me….but I sure do not like the idea of another government (UN) running us and telling Americans what we can and cannot do.

  26. Amazed1 says:

    HELP…..
    I thought I read on one of the home schooling sites that the UN CONVENTION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD if ratified by the Senate would put a squash on home schooling. I know that OBAMA and our wonderful politicians are trying to get this ratified in the Senate. Does anyone know anything else about this? I am still looking for the UN resolution.

  27. I seldom use textbooks, as I do not like what the school has. I taught the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution using those documents, writings of Enlightenment philosphers, and anecdotes I’ve learned over the years through research. I also broke numerous rules because American government is not in the state’s middle school curriculum. If I was in public school, I would have been terminated.

    I am posting explanations geared for kids about American government on a great new website (if USW doesn’t mind the pitch).

    http://const4kids.forums.commonground13.us/

    There are other forums on this site as well http://www.commonground13.us/

  28. I just discovered this site and I am glad I did. This kind of forum is important. i will point
    my friends and contacts here. That said I will comment on the discussion of education. I agree that the system we have is failing. I live in a college town and work at a college(not as a teacher- computer geek). But I get to move among the students and observe and listen. Many of these students are not at the level I was when I finished high school even when they leave college. The sad part is they don’t realize that. They think the money they are spending is well spent. One of the biggest things I notice is they don’t talk to each other much except on cell phones or by email. Once noisy common areas are dead silence with only the clicking of laptops to be heard. I also seldom see heated discussions on hot topics. No protests, no sitins, no passion. You can tell I come from another generation…..

    • BeachBum says:

      The point about the constant alternative communication bugs me as well. I get the feeling we’re all getting way too wired. It feels as though in a relatively short time, we’ve gone from actually talking to each other like humans, to texting each other every 5 seconds. I admit I got caught up in it myself. I put down my cell phone finally when I realized one week I’d gone a total of 3 days without actually physically communicating with another human. Not healthy!

  29. High School: 1957 vs. 2009

    Scenario 1:

    Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack.

    1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

    2009 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

    Scenario 2:

    Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

    1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

    2009 – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

    Scenario 3:

    Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

    1957 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

    2009 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The school gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.

    Scenario 4:

    Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

    1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

    A d v e r t i s e m e n t

    2009 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

    Scenario 5:

    Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

    1957 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

    2009 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

    Scenario 6:

    Pedro fails high school English.

    1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

    2009 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

    Scenario 7:

    Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.

    1957 – Ants die.

    2009- ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents — and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

    Scenario 8:

    Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

    1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

    2009 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

    ——————————————————————————–

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