Showing posts with label Teachers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teachers. Show all posts

July 20, 2019

Children's Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Children's Voices and Scars."

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are "destroyed" from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children--those that are still innocent and defenseless--are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:
  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don't be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can't as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 18, 2017

Sleepy Education USA

Education is fundamental to learning, development and preparation for career and life. 

We've always believed that if you invest in anything, invest in education!

However, despite initiatives like No Child Left Behind and Every Child Succeeds Act, scores in the fundamentals like reading, math, and science all lag behind other advanced industrialized nations.



However, the comparison is flawed because university rankings are based not on student academic performance, but rather on research performance, including things like journal articles published and Noble Prize winners. 

When academic proficiency is tested for American adults, the rankings again lag and are at best mediocre. 

While there are many dedicated and good teachers, still too many teachers and unions continue to fight testing and reform so that progress of our education system continues to fail our children and our nation.

We need to end education by memorization, and focus instead on hands-on learning (by doing), critical thinking and problem-solving.

Sleeping through a lecture may not mean a student is missing squat in the current failed education system. 

(Source Photo: The Blumenthals)

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January 28, 2014

The Movers and Shakers

For a long time, I've heard of "The movers and shakers" as the ones who get things done. 

But I think there is another and more accurate meaning to this phase.

And it is related to the old adage of "those who can do, and those who can't teach." 

Note, there is no disrespect intended to good, solid teachers here, as they have one of the most important jobs in society in educating and molding our children, but the point is that there are some that can only talk theory, but haven't actually done the job!

Similarly, in the organizations, movers and shakers are often not one and the same, but two different types of people.

We have those who are "the movers"--who actually get things done, who break logjams, who overcome bureaucracy, who solve problems, who make things better.

And then there are "the shakers," those who do more jumping up and down and waving to get attention for themselves, their egos, their resumes, and their bogus brands, but don't or can't actually deliver the goods--real results. 

The movers are the genuine, hardworking doers and carers of our organizations; the shakers are the Billie Big Mouth Bass showpeople. 

The movers work the problems everyday and make progress and it is wonderful to celebrate their hardwork and successes, but the shakers are the attention-grabbers, boasting more about what they do, instead of actually doing much of anything. 

Beware of those that talk a good game, but can't actually hit the ball--and the recognition and attention they are bathing in may actually just be a good cover like from a tanning salon and not from the real beach. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to RedHerring1up)
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April 13, 2013

Academic Assignments In Hate

According to the New York Times (12 April 2013) a high school English teacher in Albany, New York on Monday asked students to write a persuasive essay on why Jews are evil and the source of our problems. 

The assignment stated: "You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and...convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!"

This assignment echoed a similar assignment given to students in Georgia and New York City earlier this year instructing students to calculate math problems by using number of slave whippings and killings. 

Yes, these school assignments--to our children--are shocking and appalling. 

Although they call these teachers giving these assignments, these are not real educators, but rather bigots given a classroom pulpit.

Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, the school district superintendent, said: "Obviously, we have a severe lack of judgement and a horrible level of insensitivity."

But this "apology" does not go far enough--in fact, there is no apology--just excuses and calls for sensitivity training. 

Wyngaard should've called this behavior for what it is--discrimination, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred, and announced the firing of the teacher--who shouldn't be teaching anyone, anything!

With the Holocaust Remembrance Day this past Monday, April 8--this teacher added insult to injury in making such an assignment.

While teaching students how to write persuasively and argue different points of view can mean that sometimes you have to argue "the other side"; it crosses the line to assign students to write about why a whole race of people are evil, and on top of it to force them all to take that position.

According to CNews, a third of the students stood up and refused to complete the assignment--thankfully, there are some good and decent people left in this world.

Excuses are not apologies. Sensitivity training is not removal of a hateful bigot. And this school superintendent should've had the ethical backbone and courage to join the students who stood against this wrong. 

These "teachers" and school superintendent have at least six million reasons to do better, much better.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 27, 2013

Personal Bulletproof Shields


In light of the horrible school shootings we have witnessed in Sandy Hook Elementary School, Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and more, people and companies are trying to figure out how to fight back. 

In some cases, ex-Marines have decided to stand guard at their children's schools.

In others, companies are coming up with emergency protective devices as a last line of defense for teachers and school children. 

Hardwire Armor Systems has developed a white board that doubles as a bulletproof shield. 

According to USA Today (22 January 2013), the whiteboards are 18" by 20", a quarter inch thick, and 3.75 lbs. and have three rubberized handles on the back for slipping your arm through.

The shield is large enough to cover the head and torso, is 2 1/2 times as strong as Kevlar, and "can stop a bullet from a handgun shot at point-blank range." 

The whiteboards are made of a similar ultra-strong polyethylene material used in Mine Resistant Ambush Protective (MRAP) vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are light enough and less dense than water and will actually float. 

While we hope our teachers and children never need these to hold off an attacker until first responders arrive, it is good to know that they are there just in case to stop that deadly oncoming bullet. 

The whiteboard costs $299 and a smaller 10" by 13" bulletproof clipboard costs $109.To outfit a standard high school with whiteboards would cost $15,000 and for all 7 million teachers and administrators in America $1.8 billion. 

From teaching math and science to protecting our children and teachers, these ballistic shields can be part of a multi-layered defense plan for our schools--and I would think for corporate America, religious institutions, and government agencies as well--and is an awesome idea. ;-)

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