Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why Isn't Your Kid Learning?

Well probably because he doesn't want to. In high school, there are so many things more important to students than learning. The system is not set up in a very productive way. There are three groups of people who are stuck in a place where they do not want to be- prisoners, mental patients, and students (got that from TV, but it's true).
Even we as adults can remember the priorities we had as teenagers. There was food, sleep, hoping we weren't regarded as a Nerd, driving a car (one young man told me today, "I am a man- I got my driver's license this morning." cute is that?), the opposite sex, body obsession, and even grades. Not learning-- but grades. I believe that finding the high school student who is content to go to school for the joy of learning would be as easy as finding a specific dust speck on a specific clover in a field of clovers (thanks Ted).
We as parents and teachers attempt bribery, punishment, threats, praise...yet all those nasty children seem to care about is their own physical and emotional comfort. Unlike adults, who can forego climate control, leather seats, a 15 minute break every 2 hours, cheesecake, entertainment, sex, and the internet. Why is it that teens can't or won't just stop complaining, try their hardest on every subject for 7 hours every day, do their chores and homework without being told, take whatever we can afford to give them or get a job to afford more, and ignore the need to be heard, appreciated, taken seriously, thanked? Why? It seems so easy when adults perform at those standards!
Are you getting some idea of what your child's teachers are up against? They are doing a job that will benefit the entire country if the students are successful, have more degrees than most people on Earth yet make a mid-line salary, they help raise other people's children, and are then villified by the uneducated, uninformed public whose kids fail the state test.
Studies have shown repeatedly, for years and years, from the fields of education, psychology, and sociology, that the most successful students have smart, involved parents. If you are a parent who views school as a free babysitting service, or if you are so worn out from raising kids for 14 years that you use the convenient excuse, "he has to learn to take care of himself" to feel less guilty about not fulfilling your parental obligation to the kid's education-- then fine. The teachers and the school will discipline your kid then argue back with you about it. They will teach your kid manners, industry, kindness, self-awareness, birth control, math , and English while you sit around and bitch that they don't deserve another dime of your tax money; that $500.00 you paid last year over the course of 52 weeks to have help with your child, for the benefit of society.
Can you read this? Thank a teacher.
Did you learn in a public school? Thank your state Boad of Education.
Are public servants collecting welfare and food stamps? Thank the Unions.
Just think- you can pay for schools now or prisons later. (i know i know...the racists will say 'prisons later'...)
Now. Is your child getting enough healthy food on a daily basis? School lunches are mandated to meet certain nutritional criteria - unlike the twinkies in your pantry.
Is your child receiving enough love and emotional support at home? Teachers are required to show their students respect - unlike the mother who yells and hits every time she feels her fat ass has not been sufficiently kissed by her kids.
Teachers are required to refer at-risk students to the guidance counselor or school psychologist - unlike many parents who have to work long hard hours to get food on the table and gas in the car and are then too wiped out to listen to their kid's needs (which admittedly often sound like hostile bitching and complaining, but so did you at that age). Yes its admirable that you work so hard, but it does not negate your obligation to your child.
Now then, to solve the problem as a pragmaticlander:
1. Make tenure renewable every 5 years instead of every lifetime.
2. It is important that teachers have access to legal representation in case they get sued by a moron who needs a scapegoat for their own failure.
3. Can parents be held accountable for homework and behavior?
4. More vegetables and less soda = improved focus and attitude.
5. Meet your child's teachers. Email your child's teachers. Check your child's grades.
6. Call the cell phone company. Pay $5 a month to have your kid's phone shut off during school hours. They can call you when it comes back on at 3:00.
7. Set the example. If learning appears to be important to you it will become important to them.
Remember-- teachers, social workers, and cops save lives every day. Pay them like doctors, soldiers, and politicians.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Those Darn Illegals

Who is the criminal? The person entering the United States to reap the benefits of a better life which has been allowed by us, or the employers who exploit human beings in order to get their avocadoes picked as cheaply as possible?

Example: I recently heard a story about a family farmer in California who employed illegals for a pittance and defended it by providing housing. He would bitch when the workers sent the little bit of money he paid them home to their families in the Old Country. Then, lo and behold, the workers unionized and he could no longer afford to provide housing because he now had to provide higher wages. Now, doesn't it seem that any home that costs less than minimum wage must be kind of a dump? Does this sound at all like plantation slavery to anyone else?

Poor me, I have to pay people to work for me. Even though I broke the law as much as they did, it's the union's fault I can't tell them where to live anymore. boo hoo.

Now, the simple law of supply and demand, which should be well understood by all adults in a free economy, would say that if we cut off the jobs and entitlement benefits to undocumented people, they would not try to come here illegally. The problem with that is the US based criminals who are all too willing to provide assistance. It is not that the workers are UNdocumented, it is that they are FALSELY documented. How many forms of proof should an employer require of a job applicant who might speak little or broken English? Because no matter what paperwork becomes required (Arizona), they will find a way to get it. The point is- how do we prove whether the employer knew s/he was hiring illegals?

Um, if they are willing to work for less than minimum wage. That's how.

"But what if the employer pays cash?" Well, then we need investigators to go over the tax records of businesses very carefully, and intensify the negative consequences.

"You mean put business owners in jail with drug dealers and killers?"

That sounds a lot like "You mean put the rich in jail with the poor?"


Drug dealers are business owners in a manner of speaking, just undocumented business...oh wait- isn't that the same thing?

I am at the top of the list of people who believe in personal liberty, but when it comes to selling products and services to the American people, regulation is certainly in order. We can't stop people from developing a taste for money and power once they get that first whiff, but we can attempt to theoretically legally control the immoral things they might to do one another to get it.

Want to prevent the exploitation of anchor babies? First I want to know this- how many pregnant women have died trying to enter this country to have an anchor baby here?

Second- you loons who want to selectively apply the 14th amendment-- get over it. The anchor babies have citizenship and they are citizens. BUT, children who are American citizens whose parents go to prison are sent to foster care. We need to be more strict at the food stamp office. Parents who are illegal but whose children are citizens should be given the choice between deportation together or parent deportation/ child foster care. The only way to avoid having one's child taken would be to not apply for any public services. School included. Here is where the republican principle of "take care of yourself" would be perfectly applicable. The parents would need a job that pays well enough to obtain all of the child's care without public asistance so they could remain under the radar.

"But how can an illegal immigrant acquire such employment" you ask?... Precisely.

Or, through the legal channels, of course. Get documented before coming. People do it every day. Every single day.

"But what about giving legal custody to a legal resident who is a friend or relative?"
Obviously, they would need documentation/ identification to enter into such a contract.

"But it is so easy to get fake ones!"

OK, so intensify the penalties for anyone (the relative) who withholds the location of an illegal. Send everyone into hiding except the child. The child will be in foster care hidden from family and parents, and like all foster children, available for adoption after 12 months if the parents do not meet requirements.

"Wouldn't that lead to millions of uneducated children working long hours for slave wages?"

Possibly, and if that's what the parents want for their children then that is their choice. Otherwise, don't be illegal.

So to sum up:
1. Punish employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants. If you are worried this might lead to racial discrimination, the ability to speak basic English could become a mandated employment requirement. (Face it, there are a lot of US born Americans who can barely speak proper English.)
2. Increase vigilance toward business activity.
3. Remove the anchor babies from their criminal parents as we do to US born citizens. Remove access to public support from illegal parents of anchor babies.
4. Punish those who would hide and/or help illegals by falsifying documents or impersonating a guardian. You may love your cousin, but is her desire to avoid legal documentation worth your own nickel in the pen?
5. Figure out if an immigration quota is absolutely necessary or if it can be relaxed; and ease the naturalization process.
6. Once people are documented, they can send all the money back to the Old Country they want, after they have paid taxes and living expenses here.

If these measures are not a step in the right direction toward balancing the budget and stimulating the economy, what is?

Progressives get- more opportunity for everybody in the form of jobs, including prison and IRS jobs; and at least minimum wage for all workers in the US (except tipped employees).

Conservatives get- reduction in the number of illegal immigrants, more tax revenue without raising rates, less entitlement expense.

We can use negative reinforcement productively to ensure the availablity of opportunity, and to decrease the exploitation of workers both directly and indirectly through tax-funded entitlement costs.

Also, we should cap the salaries of Congresspeople at $100,000. They do not deserve any more than that. If anyone should make more money, it's cops, teachers, social workers, paramedics, and rescue workers. I think soldiers are well compensated, but will have to look into it.

Maybe next time we will examine public salary schedules. If your child is not learning, have you asked what more you could be doing at home? Or the actual cost for smaller class sizes? Public servants' perspective coming soon.