And through it all, there is no presidential leadership. He’s too busy raising money to run ads so he can tell us what a great leader he is.
Everywhere we see, in ruins, Obama’s plans for our country. His foreign policy has encouraged revolutions that have brought our worst enemies to power in the Middle East . . . His education reforms have no teeth and he sits by passively as they are challenged by his own local teachers union.
Credit much of the quick end to his bounce to Romney’s ads which, right off the bat after the Democratic Convention closed, rapped Obama for trying to convince us that we are better off than we were four years ago. Obama’s campaign essentially poses the question: What will you believe — your own eyes or my speeches?
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Teachers
Deadspin has an excellent “as told to” story on former Olympic discus thrower Mac Wilkins (What The Discus Can Teach You About Life: Lessons From One Of America’s Greatest Throwers)
Wilkins made four straight U.S. Olympic teams, winning a gold medal in 1976, a silver in 1984, and finishing fifth in 1988. He was also the first man to throw the discus more than 70 meters, and he held the world record for over two years, bettering his own mark three times between April 1976 and August 1978.
So one day I go out to train and I say, Oh, what the heck. Let’s just give it a little extra effort today. And I did, and I got better and it went farther. And I thought that was kind of fun. What if I could that again tomorrow? And so pretty soon, I’m hooked on, Can I do it better today? And it was fun. I knew I could get better and I enjoyed it.
It was all about, There are no limits. There are no limits. I have no restrictions. I have no inhibitions. And you can achieve anything that you set your mind to. There are no limits.
I thought that the [1980 Olympic] boycott was a stupid thing to do. We continued to sell wheat to Russia. We continued to sell Pepsi to Russia. We bought vodka from Russia. It was business as usual except for the Olympic Games. And, of course, we only boycotted after we won the ice hockey game in Lake Placid that year. So I thought it was very naïve, and I was very disappointed because I really liked Jimmy Carter. And there’s still a war in Afghanistan, even to this day. So it didn’t do anything.
Is there a moral to the story? Well, probably.
I have so many, so many times when I would fall down or fail. Being a teacher/coach, I have to be … well, it’s exactly like being a parent. You have to be a better person than you really are.
[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan -- PE]
Modesto police are investigating if there’s a criminal case against a former high school teacher who resigned his job to move into an apartment with an 18-year-old girl he met while teaching.
James Hooker, 41, was placed on administrative leave Feb. 3 by Modesto City Schools and resigned less than three weeks later, according to a report at the Modesto Bee.
The newspaper reports that the man, who had taught business and computer classes, left his wife and children, to move in with Jordan Powers, an Enochs High School senior whom he met when she was a freshman at the school. One of Hooker’s children also attends the same high school.
“In making our choice, we’ve hurt a lot of people,” Hooker told the Bee. “We keep asking ourselves, ‘Do we make everyone else happy or do we follow our hearts?’”
Follow your heart, you magnificent selfish bastard!
Follow it right out the front door of the family home and into a Modesto apartment with a high school girl whose poor single mom, from the looks of the photo, couldn’t afford to buy her a set of braces.
DON’T LOOK BACK!
And make yourselves available for interviews and photo ops. YES! YES! YES!
(Let me add parenthetically that, despite what you may have heard, being raised by a single parent does not screw kids up in the head and more people should be doing it.)
One of your own kids goes to the same high school as your new live-in girlfriend?! Oh, the collateral damage is going to be prodigious!
Wait — I’m now being informed that the two of you appeared on Good Morning America this morning?!
Brilliant move, Romeo! A sane person would have said, “No, I think I’ve done enough damage already,” let things play out as just a local scandal in the backwater of Modesto, and missed out on the opportunity to traumatize everyone involved at a national level.
If this doesn’t result in at least one suicide, then my name is not Satan.
See you in Hell, professor.
Look at this picture. Donald Bren is almost 80 and yet his face looks like a snare drum with eyes.
When state funding for Irvine public schools began to diminish some time ago, my Irvine Company colleagues helped me to provide private funding support . . . Additionally, we have developed annual teacher recognition and reward programs that provide financial awards for teachers who demonstrate outstanding results in educating our students.
By making capital available for unfunded programs and providing a balanced curriculum and financial incentives to teachers based on results, Irvine Unified School District continues to rank among the finest educational systems in the nation . . .
The interview goes on in this vein: I, I, I. Me, me, me.
Donald Bren is kidding himself, along with the staff and readers of Forbes. The Irvine Unified School District’s rank among the finest educational systems has nothing to do with money, and very little to do with teachers.
As far as I can tell, it results from two things and two things only: the effort of the students and the support of their families.
My kid was in the Irvine Unified School District from second grade through high school. I’m worn out by the number of people in Irvine who would like to take credit for what happens in the schools, when at best they have no effect at all, and in some cases are actually making the schools worse by impeding the progress of the students.
I have more to say on this subject. Stay tuned . . .
When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.
If you cut the pay of an overpaid worker, he’ll generally scream bloody murder. After all, overpaid workers like to stay overpaid. But if you cut the pay of a non-overpaid worker, you haven’t really damaged him. He just quietly leaves and gets a job elsewhere. After all, the ability to find a comparable job elsewhere is pretty much the definition of not being overpaid.
Now how are the Wisconsin public workers reacting to projected pay and/or benefit cuts? As if the rug’s been pulled out from under them, that’s how. Every time a worker says “These cuts will cause me severe pain,” that worker is saying, in effect, “I can’t get anyone else to pay me at the level I’m accustomed to,” or, in briefer words, “I am overpaid!”
So yes, they’re overpaid. And the louder they get, the surer you can be.
On Saturday, February 26th, Americans in all 50 states rallied to show solidarity with the people of Wisconsin, and to save the American Dream.
Ha ha — George Orwell couldn’t have said it better!
MoveOn.org doesn’t stand with the people of Wisconsin, they stand with the people trying to rip off the people of Wisconsin.
Union-elected legislators provide sweet contracts for public-sector unions, who in turn kick back a share the money to the legislators. Government employees take both sides of the action and the tax-paying fools who provide all the money are not represented at all.
That’s the American Dream?
Wisconsin public schools are among the lowest performing in the country. So it makes sense to me that this is one of the first teacher’s unions to get dissolved. And, this is a great example of how a union has outlasted its usefulness to the community.
Wisconsin has figured out a way to get all of its Democratic legislators to flee the state without so much as a BRB. How can we expand this nationwide?
Elected officials hiding out in undisclosed locations to prevent a quorum should wake everyone up to the extent to which public employee unions control our political destiny.
I have three words for the “sick” teachers in Wisconsin: Air Traffic Controllers.
We live in a top-notch school district in Irvine but it’s not because the teachers are so great. It’s the effort of the kids and the support of their families. Even in a good district, the teachers are very replaceable.
You’ll have to take my word for it but I could easily teach English, math or computer science at the high school level, even though I’m not government-certified to do so, and there are plenty of people in Wisconsin who could do the same.
The state’s largest school district has joined those that have canceled classes due to teacher shortages caused by union protests at the state Capitol.
I’ve got three words for protesting teachers in Wisconsin: Air Traffic Controllers.
I ask my boy how school’s going this year, his senior year in high school.
“It’s okay,” he says. “I don’t enjoy it that much but I do it anyway.”
When we get to the subject of his English teacher, he says, “He’s fine, other than he’s got a Napoleon complex and spends the entire class talking about himself. I know everything about him and I’ve learned nothing about poetry.
“He has a two-year-old daughter and another daughter six months old. He coaches a cross-country team. He considers himself the greatest runner of all time. We don’t know what pain is because he has a messed-up knee and he runs on it anyway.
“He thinks Mr. Plette [the AP History teacher] is soft because Mr. Plette give higher grades than he does but don’t tell Plette he said that because Plette’s his boy.
“He’s a San Francisco Giants fan. He’s missing class on Thursday to go to the Giants game.
“Did you know that he has a principal’s credential? When he took the test, other teachers were hanging their heads and walking out of the room, but he knew immediately that he passed it because he knows how to write essays.”
“I hope you’re not pointing these things out to anyone but your parents.”
“Are you kidding? It’s all I talk about.”
In our biggest school systems, it’s become virtually impossible to fight the teachers unions and fire bad teachers. The giant Los Angeles Unified school system, with 33,000 teachers, fires only about 21 a year, or fewer than 1 in 1,000, according to the findings of an L.A. Times investigation. Now either Los Angeles has the greatest teachers in the world or something is very wrong. Talk to parents and you’ll know the answer.
“Can you take me to the Barnes and Noble by your work?” my son asks. “I need to get AP study guides.”
I work in Aliso Viejo but since it’s Saturday and I’m not going to work, I ask why we can’t go to the Barnes and Noble right here in Irvine.
“Asian kids are running rampant on the selection,” he says. “I’m guessing there’s not as much hustle and bustle in Aliso, especially since our schools don’t go on strike.”
My son has a math test today. He was up till 3 a.m. studying for it.
In my experience, a positive mindset is essential to successful test-taking, so on the drive to school, I give him a piece of advice.
“Walk into the classroom,” I say, “look at the teacher and lay down a challenge, like ‘Let’s do it.’”
“It’s not her test,” the boy says.
“What does that mean?”
“It means every class takes the same test — Schneider, D’Antonio . . .”
“THAT DOESN’T MATTER,” I say. “The important thing is to lay down the challenge. ‘Stop bitin’ on my styles.’ Granted, that one doesn’t make any sense, but it gives you the positive mental framework that you need for mathematical success.”
At Northwood High School, Honors Euro Lit is known by its acronym — HEL (pronounced hell) — and widely regarded as the hardest class at the school.
In order to get an A in the class for the first semester, my son needed a very high score — around a 98 — on the final exam, didn’t get it, and finished with a semester grade of 89.27 — a high B.
If he’d had at least an 89.5, the teacher would have rounded it up to an A. So out of 1,000+ possible points over the course of the semester, an 89.27 means you missed an A by only three or four points.
I’ve always encouraged the boy to be proactive with his teachers. Some people call this “sucking up” but I’ve been a teacher myself and I can tell you that teachers like students who are engaged and make an extra effort. When there’s a close call on a grade, those students may get the benefit of the doubt.
Being a public school teacher is unrewarding in many ways. You’re not going to get rich, for one thing. And you’re not going to be held in high esteem because the conventional wisdom is that public education in America is a disaster.
The only real attraction of the job is that every day you have an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. And even there, in most cases you will fail.
“Make sure the teachers know that you want to do well in their class,” I tell my kid. “Ask them what you need to do and they’ll tell you. They want to help you.”
After his final score was posted in HEL, he went in after school to talk to the teacher about his grade. They went over some previous assignments and exams, including a Macbeth exam where the teacher found a question that he felt he “didn’t teach very well.” He gave the boy four points back on the question, which gave him an 89.55 for the semester. That’s an A.
Father knows best, suckas! Academic success is not (just) about academics.
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First semester grades are out. My son missed getting straight A’s by a point and a half. He had an 88.5 in honors history.
He got an A in honors English with a 90.14.
The honors classes at Northwood are very demanding. Even the best students get low A’s and high B’s.
Three kids got A’s in the history class. The high score was a 91.1.
“The 91.1 is Ted,” my son says. We know Ted. “Ted is history. He’s bad at math, average in English, but he knows everything there is to know about history.”
“Make sure you touch base with the history teacher,” I say. “Let him know you’re really doing your best for him and ask him what you need to do to get that extra point and a half this semester. He’ll tell you.”
“He’ll say, ‘Study hard, get a good score on all the assignments, blah blah blah.’”
“You’re a pessimist,” I say. (I was going to say “fatalist” but I’m not sure he knows what that means.) “I’ve been a teacher myself and I can tell you that teachers like students who are engaged and make an extra effort. They want you to do well and if there’s a close call on a grade, they may give you the benefit of the doubt. So be proactive with this guy.”
His mom chimes in at this point: “That’s right,” she says.
“I hate that,” the boy replies. “You don’t even know what he’s talking about. You just say ‘That’s right.’”
I say, “She doesn’t have to know what I’m talking about to know it’s right. If my lips are moving, it’s right.”
As a music teacher I often ask myself if we are truly preparing our students for success. I am not just referring to how well we teach the students to play their instruments, but more importantly if the students will take with them lessons/knowledge/experiences that will prepare them to be strong contributing members of any challenging discipline, and to any organization, in music and other areas of interest.
Approximately 70% of students in any youth orchestra will more than likely select a non-music related profession. Of the students who pursue music as a major in college, a strong percentage of them will end up pursuing a livelihood that is not centered around music.
So then, what skills will the young person take with him if he does not become a professional musician? … I began coaching chamber ensembles how to communicate and lead from within the ensemble, and play without a conductor. While the model was successful it required Team building aspects to make it whole. From this grew a set of core principles; Trust, Unfiltered Dialog, Commitment, Accountability, and Attention to Team Results.
This is also the critical issue with kids and sports, the main difference being that the percentage of kids who will not be professional athletes is closer to 100 than to 70.
I know a guy — let’s call him Goofus . . .
Goofus is dumb. I don’t mean that in a colloquial way. I don’t mean that he’s uneducated. I mean he clearly has a subnormal level of intelligence.
The most striking thing about him though is that he’s completely unaware of his own limitations. I’ve never heard him utter anything but platitudes and nonsense but in his mind, he’s the most interesting man in the world.
So many kids by the age of 12 or so have had their confidence in their own abilities extinguished by parents and teachers, that I really have to give Goofus’s parents a lot of credit.
I’m not kidding. They raised a supremely confident idiot.