Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More School?

Here is the second paper I wrote for my government class. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to leave me some comments!

Link for the article…

I found an interesting topic during my daily review of the news pages on MSNBC today. President Obama is proposing a longer school day for our nation's children. The article is titled "More School? Obama could trim summer break, President, education chief want to lengthen days, keep schools open later". The article was published by The Associated Press on Monday September 28, 2009. The reasons the President cites for his proposal are; kids spend too little time in school which puts them at a disadvantage with other students around the world he also states that schools that are open later provide a safe haven for kids. Arne Duncan, the Education secretary, says that our current school schedule is based on an agrarian economy and we don't have very many farming students these days.

Some statistics mentioned in the article explain that kids in other countries spend more days in school than we do (US 180 days, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong 190-201 days) but not more hours (US 1,146, Asian nations 903-1,050). However kids in those countries consistently beat us in math and science scores. The article goes on to cite studies of charter schools in the US that make a strong case for longer school days and year round school. These kids go to school three hours longer than a typical student. The fact is that kids attending charter schools exceed the school district average on state tests.

The article mentions that underprivileged kids would have a better academic experience if they were in school during the summer rather than at home where they are seldom encouraged to read or learn. Also mentioned in the article, is the cost of these programs, which is of course substantial but says that federal stimulus dollars will pay for much of it.

As I was reading this article I could not help but remember my own childhood and school days. I went to school usually on the bus from eight am until three pm and had time to read or study before dinner and bedtime. I also thought about my summers and the family vacations we took that I would never trade for extra smarts as the memories are priceless. I grew up in a typical suburban, white, two parent family where I was encouraged to read often and was always a member of the summer reading program; however I did very poorly in math. I can't help but think about my math troubles as I watch my niece and nephews navigate through their grade school educations. I wonder if I had received the same opportunities and help that they enjoy, would my life and my grades turned out differently. As an adult I have lived in a place where year round school is mandatory and then moved here where kids still get their summer vacations. I am not a parent so it would be hard for me to say which is better for little children; however, I do believe that education is of the utmost importance and should be cherished. Anything that helps this nation become more educated I am all for, even if it means shorter summer vacations. I know it to be true that educated people do better in life; they raise better human beings, hate less, appreciate more, smile more often and tolerate better. Couldn't we all use more of this?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Simpler times…

Tomorrow I will have been on this earth for 37 years and today I can't help but think about the simpler times of the past, times when things weren't so hard. Back in the days when the hardest thing I had to do was get out of bed in the morning or decide what I was going to wear to school, or who my friends were going to be. Mom and Dad drove us everywhere and we could sleep when ever we wanted, although we never did. When little presents were the greatest and we looked forward to every new day. I remember when it seemed like an eternity until my next birthday and Christmas couldn't come soon enough.

Now I have to worry about mortgage payments, car payments, bills, where my next meal or tank of gas will come from and the never ending politics at work. I worry that I will never have a family other than the one I was born with and what that means for me when I get old. I worry about global warming, credit card interest, politics, housework, my dirty car, laundry, where I will be in 10 years and getting A's in all of my classes. I worry that I am not good enough to master life and that I will never be the person I see myself as. I have to watch what I say in the company of other adults, and my behavior is watched and criticized by everyone.

I look at my niece and nephews and see how hard they think life is and I want to shake them and tell them to enjoy it while they can. That it's never going to be this easy again. That someday they will have to make impossible decisions that affect the lives of others. To enjoy the simplicity that is theirs at this time in their lives.

Oh what I wouldn't do for just one day back in that life. When my Father was still here and we were all together, sliding in mud after it rained, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with out filthy fingers, catching boxes full of snails or bugs and bringing them in the house to the dismay of our mother. Wasting away the days in the swimming pool or playing "horsey" in the yard.

Tomorrow I am closer to 40 than 30 and I am feeling older everyday. I guess all I can do is keep trucking along and grasping at the simple things in life, a great shower, a beautiful day, a new flower in my yard, unexpected rain, clean sheets, cat fur on my feet, the smell of dog feet and knowing I am still alive.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trying Out Office 2007 Blog Thingy

This is probably going to be pretty uninteresting as I don't have much to say.

I am taking a computer class at school as a prerequisite for the radiology program I would like to get into (I am very excited it is almost time to start the registration procedure) and in said computer class, we are learning how to use 2007 version of Office®. Microsoft Word in the newer version, so far, is pretty cool. We have the 07' edition on our computers at work and I have used it to type up stuff I needed at work but I just fumbled through it and really had no idea what I was doing. Well now I have a better idea of how to use this program and have discovered a bunch of cool things.

Like this blogging feature. You are supposed to be able to type this in Word 07' (which I am doing now) and then when I am done it is supposed to just publish it to my blog. Some of you may be wondering why I think this is cool and so here it is, the sorry excuse for a word processor at BlogSpot SUCKS! So I usually end up typing my blog in Word anyway and then copying and pasting the whole thing to the blog… you know when you do this sometimes things get a little wonky and for me (who has so little time as it is) that is really frustrating. There have been multiple instances of weeping and gnashing of teeth. In fact you have probably missed several of my blogs for this reason. I just give up after spending a couple of hours on a blog to have the computer eat it up. Hopefully this helps…if you are reading this on BlogSpot…then it worked. This feature alone would make me want to buy Office 07'.

The computer class is going well, in spite of a few hitches. When the manufacturer packaged the books I spent over $200 on, they failed to include the "Case grader". One of those little codes you must have to do some of the assignments for class. Oh and while I am thinking about it, This whole textbook thing is a racket!!! I am not sure who is making the gazillions of dollars off of us poor unsuspecting students but when and if I find them I will sic my entire Pit Bull pack on them (they will die a slow death from slobber poisoning). But I digress. Anyway the case grader debacle has been trying to say the least. They finally got them into the bookstore today and the whole time my anal retentive brain is freaking out because there is an assignment due on Thursday and I still don't have my Case grader!…this normally wouldn't be such a big deal except that my first A&P exam is on Tuesday of next week and I should be devoting all of my time to studying A&P and not messing with this stupid computer class. On top of that you are supposed to get a 180 day trial of Office 07' with it, which I did but it is on a DVD ROM and not a CD ROM… My computer doesn't read DVD ROM's. So I was able to find a 60 day trial of it online…so that will last until November but I am not sure what to do after that. I am beginning to think it is time for a new computer…as my Computer instructor tells us relentlessly you can get a good one for under $300 these days.

Wow I sure did say a lot for not having much to say.

Hopefully this works….here goes PUBLISH!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Health Care Reform Paper for Government Class.

Hey all of you awesome blog readers. School is back in session which means you get to read pretty much everything I write and turn in. This assignment is for my U.S. Government class. The assignment was to find an article any article that had to do with the Federal Government and give a summary paragraph as well as a paragraph that includes our opinion of the article as well as our opinion of the subject matter. I can be pretty long winded when it comes to health care (see my health care paper I turned in for English Comp) I hope you all read this and the attached article and form your own opinion....a well informed opinion.

Here is the link for the article I read:

It seems these days you cannot flip on your radio, TV or computer and not hear about the Obama administrations proposed Health Care plan. I found the article “The Five Biggest Lies in the Health Care Debate” by Sharon Begley writing for Newsweek, in my daily news reading on MSN’s homepage. It details the five biggest lies about health care reform that are currently being circulated around America. The lies cover a vast range from; having our choice in health benefits taken away, illegal immigrants will get free health care, the government will set doctors wages and the last two are my personal favorites, that a “death panel”, one of Sarah Palin’s claims, will convene to determine when old people should “throw in the towel” and that anyone over 70 years of age will not be eligible for chemotherapy should they need it. The article states where exactly the lie started as well as the individual who started it. This is where it gets interesting. Almost all of these lies were started by right wing conservatives that picked one sentence, on one page, of the 1.017 page bill and skewed it to fit their lie. The author of the article goes on to defeat each lie in turn and give the actual facts as well as where to find correct information that is surrounding the myth.

I am a huge proponent for universal health care so of course this article caught my eye. I always want to know what the other side is talking about and what they could possibly be so upset about. I believe that we should adopt a single payer system; I know that I may not see this in my lifetime and I am prepared for that however, I do believe that this administrations plan is a step in the right direction. I believe that the health of the nation is the responsibility of the nation and a basic right that we all deserve. The President just wants all Americans to have health insurance. He wants to stop the needless suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of people. When I see articles like this I am encouraged that perhaps someone who believes these lies will read it and rethink their position. However, I would also love to think that common sense would take over when you read something that says the government is going to refuse seniors chemo therapy if they are over the age of 70. I would hope that no one would believe something so ridiculous. The article at the end mentions that some believe that health care reform is unconstitutional; the author did mention that we should disprove these ourselves and look at Article I, section 8 of the constitution. So I did, having never read it myself, and sure enough it says in the first paragraph of section 8, “The Congress shall have the power to … provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States …” I tend to believe that “general Welfare of the United States” includes the health and well being of our entire nation and not just that of the ones that are wealthy enough to afford it.