Archive for August, 2010

Making the grade…

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

School has begun in earnest and the bus routes are humming. Parking lots burst at the seams and kitchens echo with the clang of pots and pans as the cooks prepare meals for thousands of students around the county.

The introduction of student laptops rule conversations at some schools, while the upcoming football season is the topic of the day in others. Teachers ramp up their lessons plans and backpacks strain the spines of the younger set as a fresh semester gets underway.

Nobody sings the old refrain “readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmetic” anymore, but the specter of the report card still holds forth from day one in the classroom. Over the past thirty or so years I have noticed an alarming trend in the schools. I noted it when my own sons were in high school in the mid to late 1980s and it continues to baffle me.

I suppose it is a reflection of some of the baby boomers that don’t want officials to keep score in ballgames. These are the same people who scream to high heaven at a Colts game when the call goes against the home team. Do you suppose that they would buy tickets to a pro game where the scoreboard stayed blank? Hmmmmm…..

Then, how — please tell me — does it make sense to water down the grading system? Once these students are out of high school, their performance will be measured. If they go to work, their supervisors and/or bosses will rate them on how well they work.

It only stands to reason that children should learn — from an early age — that work and results are linked. That goes for expectations, too. If you don’t expect much from another individual, you won’t be disappointed.

Let’s stand for high achievement among our students. No matter the grade, let’s emphasize academics to the hilt. If we want to take a measure of our actual achievement, look at the exchange students who come to America for a high school year. Most of them are at least two grade levels ahead of their US counterparts. And why, pray tell, is that?

Their teachers and parents expect them to excel. Are we ready for a world in which our children will take second or third place to foreign children in the workplace? I hope not. If you have any connection with a child in school — whether a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, neighbor or friend — make it a point to learn about what the children are doing in school and if or if not the educators place the bar high for them. I remember when it took 95% or above to get an “A”. It’s not that way now, and I have never heard an adequate, or common sense, answer as to why.

Schools should prepare our kids for the future, not allow them to slide along in an atmosphere that fails to parallel the world after high school. Think about it.

A Million Bucks, but for WHAT?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Well, now I’ve heard it all. I thought every modicum of common sense had been exhausted, but evidently I was wrong. Mexican drug cartels have placed a bounty on Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix. And how much? One million dollars. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not seeing immigration by any stretch of the imagination. We are facing an invasion.

Legal immigration has, for more than century, been paced, monitored and controlled. This movement of millions lacks such characteristics. Exactly what does the term “illegal” mean today? In common terms, illegal means against the law. And what happens when one violates the law? Consequences. Good luck with that one.

Tens of thousands of Mexicans have been shot, stabbed, beheaded (where have we heard THAT one before?) and slaughtered over the last year. To a person, we Americans bristle when more than five people die in any violence incident. Meanwhile, our government ignores the great numbers killed in the drug wars raging along the border and the huge numbers moving across the borders. Let’s face it. The identities and motives of these people are unknown.

Don’t delude yourselves. Not all of these illegals come merely to work. Only 19 terrorists murdered 3000 innocent Americans on 9/11. How many among those invading our country share equally heinous aims? It doesn’t take many, does it?

In a column several years ago, I suggested that the national emblem was degrading from a proud eagle into an ostrich. Sadly, the administration is sticking its head into the sand. You can’t see what’s coming when your eyes are buried and your rear end is in the air, can you?

It’s not the severity of the punishment that forms the basis of justice; it’s the certainty of it. Over the past forty years, America has been sliding into a position where criminals have more rights than victims. Prisons are no longer a place to dread. With libraries to research possible appeals, exercise areas and top rate medical care in an atmosphere of three “squares” and a bed daily, prisons offer better living than some of the criminals have ever experienced. Oh, they are incarcerated, but one would hardly deem the surroundings harsh.

What ever happened to isolation from society augmented by hard labor to deter a felon from ever committing another crime? We lost that in a blur of “human rights” that defies rationalization.

Are innocent people wrongly convicted? Undoubtedly, but in very small numbers compared to the general prison population. And then, there’s Sheriff Joe. His tent city with harsh conditions and hard work speaks volumes. Criminals leaving his facility vow to never return again. How’s that for a statement for recidivism?

In the wake of a compassionate rancher who was murdered by an illegal to whom he carried water, the specter of what we face is there in stark blood and treasure. An American lending a helping hand to one in need, his loss is no less bleak than that of one of our soldiers overseas.

How many decades have American soldiers died to enforce the borders of a foreign land? Does it make sense that our government will not enforce its own borders? If America is the beacon for peace and opportunity, then it should be worth the effort to come legally.

Miles after miles of “noise barriers” abut our interstate highways in populated areas. How much money do we spend to insulate ourselves from noise? It defies common sense that we cannot build a fence to defend ourselves.

Pray for Sheriff Joe. Pray that more law enforcement officials follow his example. He is a no-nonsense man. What we need at the federal level is “more show and less blow”. Hot air is useful — when it’s in an oven. Otherwise, it only makes life uncomfortable. It’s time we lifted our voices like the man in the movie “Network”. His words are prophetic when it comes to the border: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” The question is will anyone in authority listen. Time will tell.

It may be that another American Revolution is underway. If you love your country, join it.