Archive for the ‘Education’ category

Obama: Speak more than just English speech causes uproar

July 10, 2008

Well, at least it caused an uproar in the usual republican circles.

In what I thought was a very good, down to earth speech, Obama suggested that American children should learn a foreign language along with English. OMG! NOT A FOREIGN LANGUAGE! AMERICANS?

Yeah, pretty ridiculous idea. Why should Americans, the rulers of the world – the superior race – the most intelligent people on the planet – the chosen people by God, have to learn someone else’s – anyone else’s language. DAMN THOSE HEATHENS! If they want to talk to us, they damn well better be able to speak our language. Even if we are in their country!

Guess what? Many of them already do speak your language. Because they have such a better public school system than exists in the US, because they understand the advantages of being bi-lingual, because they have a clue about being prepared for international business, their syllabus includes English.

Because Obama suggested that it might be a good idea for American people to be able to say more than Merci Beaucoup, or Si Senor when they are in a foreign country, the right wing biased, drippingly wealthy, racist msm jumped on it and tried to make it sound as if that was a bad thing. And the Americans will go, “OOOOO…” what a bad suggestion! He wants us all to be Mexicans! Or Chinese! Or some such idiotic ignorant bullshit.

You know what, gang? It’s a damn good idea for American children to be required to speak a second languadge. You know, like almost all of the other modern countries require. It’s a small world and who knows what business is going to look like even 20 years from now? We currently are teaching our children how to do the jobs that exist today. But many of the jobs, indeed about 50%,¬† that will need filling in 20 years don’t even exist now.

Not to mention the fact that, if the US stays on its current course, if it continues to sink into economic depression, if it continues to produce failure after failure internationally and to lose respect around the world, if it’s weakened knees finally give out and it crumbles, your children would be well served to be able to communicate with foreign people from perhaps the new, more powerful nations.

Singapore Trek – Kusu Island

June 21, 2008

Yawn, it was just another day on a lush tropical island in the South China Sea. Ho hum. ūüôā

Kusu island is a very small, but beautiful island just south of Singapore. Two fellow teachers and myself took 20 of our foreign students on this trek to celebrate their last day of school. No one lives on Kusu, it is strickly for visitors and there are very few of those. Besides ourselves, there were only one or two couples along.

I especially enjoy getting close to the huge ships that sail into Singapore harbor to load and unload their cargos and Kusu sits right in the middle of the shipping lanes. There are no stores although cold drinks can be purchased at the Buddhist temple that is there.

Because I found out too late that someone had removed the memory card from my digital camera, I had to take these shots with my phone. The quality sucks but you’ll get the idea. So let’s take a look at Kusu.

On the way to Kusu the ferry makes a stop at St. Johns Island (above). It is also for day use only but does include more jungle area.

One of the many cargo ships coming into port. At any given time, you can easily count 100 ships within view.

Despite the shipping, the water is a clear, clean bluish green and very warm. Lagoons have been created for swimming but one must be mindful of the jellyfish.

As we approached the dock at Kusu, other, smaller transports were just leaving.

A small but friendly staff greeted us upon arrival at about 11am. They did caution us that the return ferries only left at noon and 4pm. I don’t know what happens if you miss the last boat.

There are several varieties of unusual flora on the island. This unusual palm is native. You can see part of the temple in the background.

The island is dotted with small covered picnic huts. It rains often and the sun is hot, so these are very useful. They also offer protection from the lightning which is very common.

Kusu is a turtle and tortoise preserve. Close to shore, you can also spot very large sea turtles gliding around near the surface. These are some of the students from China and Vietnam.

We parked ourselves in one of the huts on this lagoon. Some of the students went exploring on the breakwater where they found sea snails, jellyfish and a large crab of some kind. They tried to feed it watermelon but it was more interested in getting a grip on someone’s fingers.

The rest of us broke out the food which was plentiful.

A couple of the more adventurous boys found a small raft and brought it to shore to offer rides. Eventually, and predictably, it capsized which proved to be embarrassing for the normally ultra modest girls. They had worn thin, white blouses and when they got soaked, well, you get the point.

Here’s a couple of short vids of the kids having fun.

This will give you an idea of how close by the ships are. These two were just outside the breakwater of the lagoon.

The students had a great time. Most of them will be returning to their home countries to pursue further studies. They’re a great group and I’m gonna miss them.

Off Station

June 7, 2008

I may be off post for a while as I prepare for and start a new job. A whole new career actually.

Catch you on the flip-flop.

What we’re really teaching our children

April 2, 2008

child.jpgI actually love stories like this because, while rare they are a true testament to what our country, our way life has become. Instead of being coddled and pampered with the absurd promises that everything is going to be ok, Americans need to be bashed over the head with a little horrifying reality.

If it ever dawns on us how truly uncivilized we are becoming, there might be a chance for our society to survive. But if we don’t save our kids, we have no chance at all.¬†With what our children are watching on TV, the games they are playing on their computers and Play Stations, and what they actually witness in the streets, its no wonder this kind of shit happens.

A group of third-graders plotted to attack their teacher, bringing a broken steak knife, handcuffs, duct tape and other items for the job and assigning children tasks including covering the windows and cleaning up afterward, police said Tuesday.

It seems the students, 8 and 9 year olds, were upset at their teacher because she had scolded one of them for standing up on a chair. So about nine of them plotted to teach her a lesson. With duct tape, handcuffs and a knife. Sounds like it was going to be a serious lesson.

“We did not hear anybody say they intended to kill her, but could they have accidentally killed her? Absolutely,” Tanner said. “We feel like if they weren’t interrupted, there would have been an attempt. Would they have been successful? We don’t know.”¬†

The obvious question is, what sociological conditions must exist for any group of students, let alone 8-9 year olds, to even imagine doing something like this? What have we as adults allowed them to be exposed to and conditioned by? Will we ever change course so that those conditions no longer exist? If not, what’s next?

Brazil Tells Catholic Church to Shove It

January 31, 2008

mchriststatue.jpgBrazil, with one of the largest Catholic populations in the world, has told that church to keep its nose out of government policy. Yeah!

The church tried to sue The Brazilian city of Recife for it’s plans to distribute “morning after pills” to carnival goers this year. The Catholic Church lawsuit claimed the initiative promoted sex and provided “abortions.”

(Can you imagine! Those dirty, filthy, disgusting carnival goers might want to have….sex!!)

On top of its legal defeat, the church has come under fire from the Brazilian government for attempting to sway public health policy.

“The (Recife) mayor’s office is right and the church is wrong, again,” Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao said Sunday.¬† “The morning-after pill is used with medical guidance and is a matter of public health, not religion,” he said.

God, it is so refreshing to read about a government that is willing to stand up for what is good for it’s people despite pressure from the church. And the Recife mayor’s office didn’t stop there. How’s this for a modern attitude from an other wise 2nd world nation.

The municipality says its aim is to “guarantee the sexual and reproductive rights of women who have been victims of sexual violence or who have had a failure of contraceptive methods.”

According to the newspaper Pernambuco, the archbishop at the center of the storm, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, is not prepared to back down on the issue, and had threatened excommunication to any church-goers who use the pill.

¬†I have news for those church-goers. Get excommunicated. You’ll save money, have a lot more fun and be better off in the long run.

Sex Ed Dramatically Reduces Teen Sex

December 21, 2007

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[Reuters] Teens who have had formal sex education are far more likely to put off having sex, contradicting earlier studies on the effectiveness of such programs, U.S. condoms1.jpgresearchers said on Wednesday.They found teenage boys who had sex education in school were 71 percent less likely to have intercourse before age 15, and teen girls who had sex education were 59 percent less likely to have sex before age 15.

Teen boys who had sex ed in school were nearly 3 times more likely to use birth control the first time they had intercourse. But sex education appeared to have no effect on whether teen girls used birth control, the researchers found.

Black teenage girls who had sex education in school were 91 percent less likely to have sex before age 15.

Abstinence only does not work

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancies.

“At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners” among teenagers, the study concluded.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having “positive outcomes” including teenagers “delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.”

“Two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens had positive behavior effect,” said the report.

Bush has asked for $140 million for abstinence only sex ed funds. He refuses to fund child health programs. He is a religious fanatic, like his christian right supporters and if you want more of the same, stick Huck or Mitt in the White House.

Unintelligent Design

November 27, 2007

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For any reasonable person, the arguement that Intelligent Design has any place in our school curriculum is absurd. For those who are still on the fence, take a look at this very comprehensive list of renowned organizations and their positions on ID.

There is nothing intelligent about intelligent design. It’s¬†hogwash.¬†If we’re ever going to truly progress as a people and a species it’s time we admit it and move forward. We’ve already wasted enough time on fantasy and myth.¬†

The very stability of our planet and all that it supports is threatened. I think it’s time to tell the bible thumpers and faith healers to shut up, get out of the way,¬†and¬†give science the platform it deserves and needs to show us how to save it and ourselves. ¬†¬†¬†