Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Not a dimes' worth of difference..."

This campaign sound bite leaped out at me this morning, as it was meant to.

The candidate who prefers change says the current economic policy's are failed, and we need change. Perhaps he's right.

On the other hand change is not always good. A bad fiscal policy can be followed by a worse one, and, taking JFK's economic stimulus from the Sixties as an example, lowering private sector taxes, both on income and business, did improve the economy.

What do you think raising taxes might do, economy-wise?

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

And those who are in power will have us (the common folk) repeat history whether we want to or not.

I was hearing noises from the pundits on Sunday that blasted Reagan's supply-side economics, saying it didn't work. Yet, plainly it did, as when our personal taxes went down, including income taxes on the rich, tax revenue increased!

(Don't take my word for it. Check out the government's own figures.)

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.

How's by you this Tuesday morning? Shaken off the Monday blahs, and the effects of housing on the stock market? Remember that within adversity is opportunity, if you're quick enough to see it.

Ah, well. Constant change is here to stay, as my mother tried to tell me so long ago. Just remember, not all change is good, just as not all current policies are bad.

I remember a time when punishments were severe, and consequences were stiff, for wrong behavior. This was a time when gum-chewing in class and whistling in the halls were considered major disciplinary issues in school. Change brought us a kinder, gentler outcome for school infractions. The result? Schools would love to have those old problems back, as they've been pushed off the radar by things like drugs, guns, and schoolhouse mayhem of all sorts.

Imagine That!

I'm generalizing, of course. But forty and fifty years ago schoolhouse shootings just did not occur. And I'll give you a weird factoid to go with that: a lot of boys brought their shotguns and twenty-two calibre rifles to school, so they could hunt game on the way home, leaving the guns in the cloak room. And the teachers and principal were okay with this! No mass murders ensued. Kids were trusted to know what to do and what not to do with firearms.

One final word about change: it ain't all it's cracked up to be.

What can you and I do?

We can hold the line on the good things, the helpful things. And change things that need to be changed.

Good Book time: "Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire"; by Rafe Esquith, available at Amazon and other bookstores. (side note: it's time to throw out Skinnerian Psychology from the classroom, for something better. Kohlberg comes to mind...)

If you teach, or otherwise work with kids, this is a much better book than the one I was handed in my student teaching days: "Teaching As a Subversive Activity"; by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner. Parents have been largely disappointed in what has been taught to their young subversively over the years, and are clamoring for choice. That the Powers That Be are not allowing easy school choice is a shame.

We can work to change things for the better, by encouraging teachers like Rafe to get the best out of our children. We can even teach our children like this, ourselves! For those of you who remember "Little Women" by Louisa Mae Alcott, did you not try your best to recreate the kind of atmosphere the Marches had in their home? It was a fun learning environment, wasn't it?

Do you think you could create this environment at home? That would be a good change.

Can you teach like your hair is on fire?

Yes, you can!

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