Archive for March, 2013

Another View: STEM is a Problem, Not a Solution

March 25, 2013
  • My blog posts are also posted on Facebook. People seem to be more inclined to comment on Facebook for some reason. Here is one response to my last blog post on the education crisis. For those who only read the blog at this site, I’m posting an interesting reaction to it.
  • I hate to say this (and I’m sure that I’ll be bombarded with negative responses), but one of the problems with education IS STEM. In so many places, the fine arts and performing arts have been abandoned in favor of adding additional requirements for students in other disciplines. We’re going to end up with a generation of young people that can execute based upon formulas, yet don’t have the ability to figure out how and why they’re doing something.
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STEMMING the Education Crisis

March 25, 2013

Just about all of us know there is a crisis in public education, one that must be overcome in order for America to continue to lead globally. There is a program that offers hope. It’s called STEM. Instead of institutions of higher education just decrying the fact that our public schools are not properly inspiring and preparing students for college,  they are starting to do something about it, to get involved in helping them do that, and Columbus State University is accepting the challenge to, as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tom Hackett says, “create innovative solutions to expand and energize the next generation of STEM leaders.” STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, disciplines in great demand for the economic success of our country.

The school is about to launch NeXtGen STEM with a one-day Immersion Conference on Thursday, and it is bringing Dr. Bernard Harris, an astronaut, physician, businessman, and the frist African-American to walk in space, to  work with the Columbus Middle and High School Educational Community, and to be the Hunter Lecture Series speaker Thursday night at seven at the Iron Works Convention and Trade Center.

This is an encouraging development.

 

 

 

It’s Education, Stupid!

March 18, 2013

The number one crisis in America is not the national debt or the deficit.  It is the crisis  in education and the growing income inequality between the one percent and the ninety-nine percent.

That growing income gap is what made it possible for President Obama to totally surprise a lot of people and decidedly win reelection.  The average American can now easily observe that corporations are doing very well with record profits, and CEO  salaries get fatter and fatter, while he struggles to make ends meet, to properly support his family.

Education is widely touted as the solution for the unemployed.  Maybe it is.  There are jobs crying for people to fill them, but finding workers educated enough to fill  them is a problem.

Just check out these stats provided by the National  Commission on Adult Literacy:

One in three of our children is not graduating from high school.

The global competitiveness of our workforce has significantly declined.

Says the commission, “Among the 30 OECD free-market countries, the U.S. is the only nation where young adults are less educated than the previous  generation.”

The 2007 State New Economy index reports, ” Workers who were skilled with their hands and could reliably work in repetitive and sometimes physically demanding jobs were the engine of the old economy. In today’s New Economy, knowledge-based jobs are driving prosperity…jobs held by individuals with at least two years of college.”

In our state, Georgia, we have a 25 percent illiteracy rate. That is incredible. A state with compulsory public education has a 25 percent illiteracy rate.

Nationally, the National assessment  of  Adult Literacy showed that in 2005, “a staggering 30 million American adults scored at ‘below basis’ – meaning they could perform no  more than rudimentary literacy tests. Another 63 million adults could perform only simple basic everyday literacy activities.

Just think what this means to the children of illiterate parents who do not get intellectual stimulation and training at home.

The Commission says something can be done. It recommends Congress enact a new Adult Education and Economic Growth Act to  overhaul and expand adult education and workforce skills training.  You can read about it this site.

The results of not doing anything about this means the global  market will furnish the needed educated workers if America fails to educate new workers “from the adult ranks.”  “88 million of 188 million adults aged 18 to 64 will struggle with only a high school education and low English proficiency. Large numbers of them will become a drain on the economy, rather than a positive economic force.”

Wonder why news media does so little reporting on this crisis.

20 Years of Keeping Brains Healthy

March 11, 2013
Ruth Kiralfy and Gerda Smith, who have been memberss of C.A.L.L. since inception.

Ruth Kiralfy and Gerda Smith, who have been members of C.A.L.L. since inception.

When my old friend Gerda Smith retired from her many years of teaching elementary school students, she decided she needed “something  to do after retirement to keep my brain healthy.”  That’s why she became a charter member of the Columbus College Academy of Lifelong Learning in 1993.  Columbus College is now Columbus State University, so, I guess that would have been a little  long for the group’s name so it was shortened t0 the Columbus Academy of Lifelong Learning, or C.A.L.L.

Gerda was happy to be among the current C.A.L.L. members who gathered Saturday to celebrate the organizations 20th birthday.  Since I have been a member for a number of years, I was there, also.  I need to keep my 82-year-old brain healthy, too.

You don’t have to be as ancient as me to become a member.  I think some of our members are in their fifties, mere babes.  If you do become a member, you’ll be offered a whole array of classes that range from Beethoven to current events to line dancing, and lots more, including card games and social events. So if  you are retired, keep that brain active and healthy and have some fun at C.A.L.L.  

For more information go to this link.  

And You Can Quote Me When I Say…

March 6, 2013

For some reason I am having a hard time deciding what subject I should entertain for a new post.  I know there is plenty to talk about.  For instance, I could weigh in  on the sequester thing.

Well, all right, I  will.

I’m sure there is plenty of waste in federal spending.  Of course, just as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, one politician’s waste is another one’s necessity.

Perhaps the greatest waste in Congress is Congress.

I guess another subject I could tackle would be Jon Stewart’s decision to take four months off to direct a movie about a journalist being imprisoned in Iran.  The Daily Show is something I enjoy daily and I’m sure will still enjoy it while he is gone.  John Oliver will probably do a fine job as fill-in host.  I’ve always wondered why they didn’t just substitute a host when Jon was on vacation, especially since he was   on vacation so often.

Then there’s the weather to talk about, and the networks have really been talking about it a lot.  So, it’s snowing in D.C., so it’s always snowing in D.C. where we get snow jobs year round.

You really want to get some idea of what’s going on in our nation’s capital? Go to C-SPAN.  There you get it unfiltered, instead of what some news editor decides you should get.   It’s sort of like reading the Bible yourself and not just getting it interpreted by some cleric. In both cases, some of it will astound you.