Saturday, April 18, 2015

America The Dumber-err

The US has a Global ranking of 16th in literacy and 27th in Math. That is not good.

There are thousands of inexperienced parents across America allowing their kids to opt out of testing this week, with all sorts of reasons ranging from the testing being too rigorous, to it's too time consuming for the kids, to the idea that someone is making money off the testing. 

These well meaning, inexperienced parents are dumbing down America, by dumbing down their kids. Many if not most of these parents are first timers and are just now having their first experience at getting their kids ready for college and the global job market. 

Many are called 'Helicopter parents' for a reason and a little less of that hovering could prove to be a lot more helpful to their kids ... and the US as well. Unfortunately while they are hearing from all sides about the issues they and their children face in preparation for college, many are listening without hearing certain things.... 

As an experienced parent, I would like to add my voice. My experience comes from having one child recently enter the job market and the other finishing her last year of college in 2015. I have been there through the years, I understand the fears parents have. 

The question is where do you want your child to enter the job market? Would you want your child to make below 65k or above 75k, when they are fresh out of college at 22yrs old?. So... At what stage do you want your kids' eventual level of education and qualification to be? Do you want to get them to their flipping burgers stage or to the rocket science stage? 

When they go to middle school, they have a very limited number of years in which to learn certain things and they will have no time in High School to re-learn what they missed in those prior years. I remember my kids telling me that in their specialized high school (Stuyvesant)... they were told that their choice is simple.... sleep or study.

Neil Degrasse Tyson said in an interview on WNYC yesterday that reverse engineering something could have be done years ago because we were doing physics, but today we are using nanotechnology and Quantum Physics ... 

That statement alone reveals a stark reality...With a global marketplace we need to have a student that has a more global standard of education, as there are no more borders with the advent of the internet. 

CNN had some interesting interviews on this topic which parents should watch for themselves. Just click the CNN link.

As Melinda Gates mentioned in one interview, trajectory is important to a child. I would even say trajectory is everything to a growing mind. Parents must realize that a child's brain is a muscle... a muscle that needs exercise and challenges to grow, or they will get bored easily in class. Set your childs trajectory to a high level because that is really what they are capable of.

First rule in class... pay attention. Learning is or should mostly be done in class. Homework is just an opportunity to reaffirm what you learned in class and revise, and expand on it... having already gotten the basics in the classroom. Don't be afraid of having them take extra lessons after school to catch up in what they are lacking. I did that myself 40 years ago.

I know there are parents with kids who have certain disabilities, these tests will identify those kids so they can get the individual help they need without slowing down the rest of the class, the future depends on that. 

These standardized tests that kids are being allowed to opt out of are the building blocks of a great education, which gets them into a great High school and then a great College and an even greater job.
 The more they face the challenges of preparing for each test, they are putting the building blocks in place. If they opt out they have damaged that building process and it will impact them severly. 

When they get into high school, they will do so in a diminished capacity and they now have a limited number of years to learn everything from foreign languages and programming to rocket science, they can't slow down to try to catch up on anything they missed out in their earlier years. 

Same idea applies to middle school, they will be slowed down if they are allowed to not prepare for testing in their earlier years.

Testing and preparing for the tests, is their greatest opportunity for their next step, whether that next step is Middle school, High School, or College. Testing is an opportunity they simply can't afford to miss out on, and the preparation for these tests are priceless.

From the CNN article..."It's really a way of making children think for themselves and have teachers speak less and students become more responsible for their learning," said a teacher and a mom of two who didn't want to be identified. "I feel the teaching has become better because of what's expected. Where we go wrong is understanding that the Common Core is a guideline and we still have to meet the needs of the students where they are academically."
She also said parents -- rather than educators -- too often are the ones putting too much stress on students about the test."

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Global Warming Causes Climate Change.

I did not think I had to make this post, but being a member of various political debate groups on Facebook, I have come to realize that my many Republican friends have the wrong idea about climate change, global warming and how they are connected, so here it is up close. 

Many people have been sold on the theory that global warming is just a hoax dreamt up by Al Gore. It has also been laid down as a rule that Mr. Gore has made billions of dollars because of this hoax. I personally do not believe that he thought up this theory, as I remember hearing scientists' concerns about global warming since the seventies.

It is a simple idea, that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will cause it to heat up. This idea is commonly accepted amongst the scientific community. There are a rumored 3% to 5% of scientists who do not believe in this idea of global warming for their own reasons, and instead they cling to the idea that the earth goes through natural cycles of heating and cooling, this cycling being explained with the example of the ice age.

The fact that the earth goes through these heating and cooling cycles is in fact true, but it cannot be used to explain global warming in the 21st century because these cycles take place hundreds and even thousands of years apart.

This recent bout of global warming started only since the industrial era which began roughly 100 years ago. There has not been any indication that absent of our industrial explosion, there would have been a natural cycle of global warming occuring.
Republicans have embraced the term'Climate Change,' but refuse to connect said climate change to global warming. Let me explain this in detail... Global warming causes climate change.

Think of a hot saucepan into which you break an egg. The hot pan causes changes to the raw egg, causing it to fry and be cooked. That is the same process with a heated atmosphere...or a warming globe. It causes changes in the weather patterns and that in turn means the cooling and heating becomes more pronounced in many areas and is not to be misunderstood as a natural earth warming cycle.

In other words the climate norms change, summers would be warmer, and longer or shorter...winters would be colder, and longer or shorter... droughts would show up where you never expected and the sea currents would be changed, which would bring about more global changes. 

One of these changes, is the melting of the ice caps and that then causes the rising of sea levels and the devastation thereof, commonly seen as coastal flooding and the problems associated with this.

As the globe warms, that warming brings about changes in the climate... in effect, global warming causes climate changes... or climate change for those who still grapple with this.

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