Tag Archives: EDUCATION

Ignorance May be Bliss But it Can Bite Your Butt!

I love it when ignorance comes home to bite people on the butt cheek. Such is becoming a frequent reality as the truth of the Trump campaign promises unfold. One example is that 35% of Americans don’t know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Obamacare are the exact same things. Same thing, different names. Ironically lots of  those who supported the conservative right favored the ACA but were dead set opposed to Obamacare.

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Video Tour of McClain High School

The included video was shot by students of the Radio and TV class at McClain High School in Greenfield, Ohio. McClain is where I graduated from and where I taught American History and Government for twenty-six years.

It was built for and gifted to the people of Greenfield by early twentieth century industrialist, Edward Lee McClain and literally is a one of a kind public school. In the late 1990s, when older public schools were being demolished and replaced with new modern facilities, the state of Ohio exempted McClain because of its historical importance.

Yes, We Have No Checks & Balances

Most people have heard that power corrupts and it isn’t just an old wives tale, power really does corrupt. Knowing that, the founding fathers drew up a Constitutional form of government that included several ways to attempt limiting power and the abuse that comes with it.

Click to enlarge!

They established three branches giving each several ways to override the others. They depended on rivalry and jealousness to create a competition for power between the three branches. They created a bicameral or two house legislature as a means of making law more difficult. They created an independent judicial system that is free of political pressure and serves for life. That judicial system has the power to review law and decide what is or is not permitted by the Constitution. That means the courts can overturn actions by the president and the congress that it finds in violation. The president is the chief enforcer of law and can chose which laws to vigorously enforce or which to pay little attention to. And, of course, the president has the power of veto. All this together is referred to as America’s system of checks and balances and it’s pretty much kept us from autocratic tyranny for two-hundred and forty years.

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Vote for Sale, Vote for Sale, Get your Vote Here!

The US Senate just made history for all the wrong reasons. For the first time ever the Vice President had to cast the deciding vote in a confirmation hearing. In this case Mike Pence broke the tie to award Betsy DeVos the position of Secretary of Education. A woman who has never attended a public school, whose children have never attended a public school, has no professional experience in education, and is highly opposed to public education. She and her family have donated over $200 million to Republican causes and guaranteed her success by heavily supporting the candidacy of a number of Republican US Senators. If any on the list below, or others, had broken ranks she would not have been confirmed. As an Ohioan I notice that our Senator Portman sold his vote for $51,000. Well, at least his vote cost more than Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Remembering Pearl Harbor and James Louis Wise

Originally published on December 7, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

70 years ago today a young man from Greenfield, OH survived and suffered from a tragedy that would forever mark his life and end the lives of so many of his friends ans shipmates. James Louis Wise, Seaman First Class, of Greenfield, was serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the air forces of the Japanese Empire began their early Sunday morning bomb runs on the just arising soldiers and sailors of America’s military establishment in the Pacific. It would mark the beginning of America’s entry into the Second World War and a personal war Wise would deal with the rest of his life.

No one of my generation doesn’t know the significance of December 7, 1941. I hope such is true of today’s generation. Have a discussion with your kids today.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

No More Memes, Please

political-memeA meme is a, “humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users,” that in today’s Internet world is almost impossible to avoid.

Memes are what substitutes for independent thought and the ability to openly express one’s thoughts. Memes are those never-ending pictures that show up on social media and frequently inaccurately express some political statement or make a false historical claim.

If you have twenty-five Facebook friends at least one of them does little other than post memes on their account page. They almost never write or express anything that came from their own thoughts and creativity.

Al Gore and Mark Zuckerberg gave us all the means to communicate with each other but failed to give us the communicative ability to do so. Recognizing that, Richard Dawkins gave us the meme. Dawkins was an evolutionary biologists and probably realized many of humankind had evolved as far as they were going to go and needed a lift. Thus the meme.

Sittin’ Here Thinkin’ About Riots

Sitting here reading the bitches and complaints from those who really don’t like it when Americans exercise their rights to protest. My conclusion is that there can be a million person march against racism and if one guy sets fire to a garbage can the bitchers and moaners instantly label the whole event a riot of morons, goons, and unpatriotic thugs.

Anyway it got me thinking about an anti-war protest I took part in back in the 60s. It went without incident but many of the protest marches and demonstrations of that era didn’t. Especially following the killing of four students at Kent State in Ohio. Cal-State Fullerton, where I was just finishing my degree, wasn’t immune from it. Most were peaceful but one, on February 9, 1970, turned ugly.

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Open Letter from Greenfield Cutler-Konneker Scholars

November 14, 2016

To members of the Greenfield School Board and Community,

Our names are Madison Foltz, Rachel Onusko, Ryan Kline, and Makenzie Olaker, and we are proud alumni of McClain High School. Currently, we attend Ohio University as Cutler Scholars thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Will and Ann Lee Konneker and the continuous support of the Greenfield community.

With recent events that have happened in our beloved hometown, we feel that not sharing this letter would do an injustice to the values instilled in us by the town of Greenfield. These values include integrity, community, grit, and growth. While it would be much easier to stay silent, we have learned that staying silent also means staying apathetic. If we are apathetic and do not share our voices, then the investment that Will Konneker and the Greenfield Community has made in us becomes worthless and wasteful.

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The Trail Forward

I’ve written lots of words, and read even more, about the ongoing Trail of Tears controversy. I’m going to try to make this the last blog I write on the subject and the topic is how to move it forward, how to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Based on what I’ve read in the local newspapers the school’s path forward is to take a couple of class periods and teach the story of the forceful removal of Indians during the early 1800s. This was ordered by president Andrew Jackson, in defiance of a Supreme Court order, and resulted in the tragic deaths of thousands of Eastern Native-Americans.

Additionally the cheerleaders involved met with Hillsboro’s cheerleaders where an apology was offered.

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Update; Social Studies @ McClain

Since it’s been a long time since I knew for sure what was being taught by McClain’s Social Studies Department so I made some enquiries. To my pleasure I discovered that both US History (10th grade) and US Government (11th grade) are still being taught on a two-semester basis. World History is also being taught at the 9th grade level for two-semesters. Two electives, Psychology and Ancient History, are offered for a full year during the 11th and 12th years.

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The Need for More Empathy

I’m going to wade into waters that some of you won’t find sweet enough. For a long time it’s been generally accepted that conservatives are not as empathetic as liberals. You won’t find this carved on any of the stones Moses brought down from the mountain but it is a generally accepted truth.

Certainly you’re aware that conservatives like to call liberals, bleeding hearts or crybabies. I once heard a conservative comic say that, “When a man is down the best way to get him up is to kick him.” When a liberal takes exception to that thought they are looked down on as being a bunch of gullible mamby-pambies. Many believe reaching out and offering the hand of government weakens individual self determination and makes people wards of government and not self-sufficient individuals.

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The Trail of Tears & Teaching History

My hometown made the national news and in a way that doesn’t reflect well on it. Our cross-country sports rival is known as the Indians and this past Friday evening we played our annual “county championship” football game against them. Our cheerleaders, not realizing the historical significance of the infamous “Trail of Tears” painted a large banner warning the Indians they were about to face Trail of Tears #2.

This caught the attention of a local student who took a photo of the banner and posted the event online. The story was picked up by area news outlets and from there it went national. It’s no surprise the matter has become the subject of local discussion and our school board has scheduled a meeting to investigate what happened and hopefully use it as a teachable moment and not a lynching of those involved. I know many of the people involved and I know for positive that their purpose was not to make light of one of the most horrible incidents in America’s long and nasty history with Native Americans.

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Freedom of the Press

In today’s American politics the media has become a major target for every politician who doesn’t like what the media is reporting about them. And while the media does say a lot of things about a lot of people many lose sight of that being exactly what the Founding Fathers wanted to happen. That’s why they established the almost unabridged right of the media to do what it does best, be critical of politicians and government.

You’ve probably heard that, “power corrupts and total power corrupts totally.” It’s one of the basic truths about government and our founders knew that preventing total power was imperative. The Constitution establishes three competing branches of government along with a system of “checks and balances” to help limit power of each branch. Our free press has been called the fourth branch of government and given the role of being a set of eyes that exist outside of government and having the freedom to report on what government is up to.

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