Framing the Dialogue

Posts Tagged ‘education’

School Daze

I am soooo glad that my youngest child will be a senior in high school next year and getting out of  the public school system.  We chose to live in a community primarily based on the quality of the school district even though the property taxes are rather high.  I wouldn’t characterize it as a conservative area as the population is probably 50/50 split Republican to Democrat, but most of us have traditional values.  I am glad about getting out of public schools as there is a sustained push from the left to “consolidate” school districts along county lines which would lump our suburban district in with other, low performing, high cost urban districts.  The folks who screwed up the inner city schools will finally be able to ruin the rest of the schools. 

Everything But Money

Sam Levenson grew up in a time and place where money was in short supply and immigrant families had to struggle to survive. There were no welfare systems, no government handouts, and no free cell phones. Levenson and his family had to rely on each other, their family, and neighbors to survive. To use the book’s title they had Everything but Money.

Parse-imony – Vouchers

In “Parse-imony” I break down current news stories with my pithy, running commentary…

First the headline:

Poll: Most Pennsylvanians oppose school vouchers

Nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians oppose creating a voucher system that would use tax dollars to pay private-school tuition, according to a public opinion poll released yesterday.  [Sounds bad for voucher proponents]

The poll, commissioned by a coalition of groups opposed to school vouchers [What are the chances that a poll commissioned by a “coalition” of groups opposed to vouchers will get these results?], was conducted by Terry Madonna Opinion Research. Madonna is a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster County.

If A Crook Falls In The Forest….

A famous philosophical puzzle asks the question whether a tree that falls in the forest makes any sound when there is no one around to hear it.  As an engineer by education and thought I really did not enjoy these types of “core” classes in college even though they gave me a “well rounded” education.  My philosophy class was perhaps the most tedious class ever and was dominated by seemingly endless discussions about what ifs and could be’s.  Our bearded professor certainly looked the part and in many ways I was happy that at least one person with a degree in philosophy was gainfully employed in his profession.

Higher Education

As my two eldest children prepare to go back to college life our house we again begin looking at ways to pay for our portion of the bill.  We have been fortunate because the schools that they chose (both are private schools) have been very generous with scholarships, grants, and work-study jobs.  There still is, however, a significant portion of the bill that we have to pay in some way.

Left Hand – Right Hand

Politicians and government officials you just have to love them.  Okay you really don’t have to love them, but they do the darndest things.  As I sat through a recent presentation by a transportation official who was selling a program to construct additional roads within his district.  I don’t know if you have heard, but there is a lot of stimulus money for shovel-ready projects to create billions of new jobs.  It should not be a surprise to have a transportation agency wanting to build more roads.  That’s the left hand.

My Turn At Bat

Sorry this is not a baseball post.  Those of us living in Pittsburgh with the hapless Pirates; holders of the longest losing streak of all professional sports (17 years and counting) don’t talk about much about professional baseball.  Our president gave his first pitch at a State of the Union speech and apparently did not hit the strike zone.  I confess to not watching as I could not bear to see Ms. Pelosi popping up every 30 seconds, Obama’s use of the words “I” or “me” a gazillion times or his unusual speech pattern whistling his S’s.  The fact that he is on television every 17 hours giving a speech did not weigh in his favor either.  I played tennis on our Wii (I achieved “Pro” status during his speech).

Growing Up Catholic

Growing Up CatholicDid you know that there are around 900 million Catholics in the world and that the population of the United States is 22.7% Catholic?  That could help explain the fact that most of my friends growing up were Catholic or it could have been the fact that my family is Catholic, I went to a Catholic school, and went to CCD each Sunday.  If you grew up Catholic in the 1960 or before, Growing Up Catholic will be a nice trip down memory lane.  If you have Catholic friends or are married to one and want to understand them better, this may help.

Predictably Irrational

predictable irrationalSome of the great truths that most of us (actually all of us) believe about ourselves is that we are great drivers (it’s always the other jerk), that we look good in our favorite outfits, and we make good, rational decisions.  In Predictably Irrational author Dan Ariely leaves our delusions about driving and fashion alone and focuses on “The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”