Education, Exploitation, & Examination

It’s been fifty-four days since I had a Coca-Cola. I used to drink 4 to 6 (or more) of them per day, and I quit, cold turkey. I also stopped eating or drinking anything with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.

Since the first of the year I have lost seven pounds, bringing me to a loss of 16 pounds since November 1st of last year. I still have about 14 pounds to lose, but I am pretty sure I can accomplish that goal before spring comes to an end.

The only side effect of my new eating habits, is the re-occurrence of headaches, which usually hit later in the day and sometimes last until the following morning. Once I figure out what’s causing the headaches I should be golden with this whole “eating right” thing.

I have quite a few articles piled up here in my browser, so I thought I would pass them on to you this evening. It’s been about a month since I did a “thoughts” post, so it’s time.

Thought #1

I’m all for improving our current education system, but I hardly think increasing the “assessments” will solve any of the current problems plaguing the system.

Obama’s 2011 budget will call for the reauthorization of the 1994 version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which would require states to meet six tough standards to help high school graduates prepare for college or careers. The administration said schools need to focus on better teacher preparation, improved teaching and tougher student assessments.

It’s no secret that we homeschool our children. There are several reasons we choose to keep them out of the public school system, and one of those reasons is the current “teaching for the test” mentality. Too much pressure is on too many teachers and when time gets away from them they end up focusing only on the specific subjects and problems that will be covered in “the test”.

We have seen neighborhood kids stressing about “the test”, and we have spoken to teachers who wish they could take time to cover some subjects more in-depth but they are so constrained by “the test” they don’t dare take a even a moment out of their already tight schedule.

I wish I knew the solution to improving our educational system, but I am quite sure it isn’t making the assessments tougher or telling teachers they need to prepare more. Have you spoken to a teacher lately? Do you realize how much time (and personal money) they devote to their jobs as it is?

Thought #2

When was the last time you bought an article of clothing that was made in the United States of America? I feel for the people of Haiti, but I do not think this is the answer to their problem, and it only exacerbates ours.

In the quest to rebuild Haiti, the international community and business leaders are dusting off a pre-quake plan to expand its low-wage garment assembly industry as a linchpin of recovery. President Barack Obama’s administration is on board, encouraging U.S. retailers to obtain from Haiti at least 1 percent of the clothes they sell.

The garment industry in America is dying as it is. One percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but when there is little to nothing being manufactured here in the United States as it is, one percent will actually have quite an impact.

I find it ironic that this plan is endorsed by the current administration. If it had been proposed by a Republican administration (or endorsed by it), there would be cries of exploitation and we would be seen as taking advantage of the Haitian people.

Does it really make a difference if your clothes are made in China, Thailand, Indonesia, or Haiti? No matter which one you pick, the workers are exploited and taken advantage of. I guess it’s okay this time, because they’re calling for it in the name of “hope” for the people of Haiti.

Thought #3

The Washington Post has a pretty good explanation of President Obama’s latest health-care “modification”. Rather than starting over because the majority of the American people are unhappy with the current proposal, he slapped some lipstick on the pig and pushed it out the door.

Mr. Obama, following the advice of nearly every economist who has examined the issue, identified a tax on high-cost insurance plans as a key mechanism for curbing the growth of health-care costs. He was right. Unfortunately, in the legislative process the tax already was whittled down several times. Now the president proposes delaying it until 2018 — long after he leaves office — and raising the threshold at which it applies. Meanwhile, to recoup the $120 billion lost by the delay, Mr. Obama would apply the Medicare payroll tax to unearned income for the wealthiest taxpayers — money that should be used to shore up Medicare’s shaky finances rather than subsidizing cushy insurance.

Go read the rest of the article, it summarizes the President’s health-care changes quite succinctly.

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