Lawrence E Stafford's Posts (4)

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Common Core is the Common Problem

I had the pleasure of substituting in a 9th grade math class recently.  I was astonished by my experience.  I realized that busy work is the norm and apathy is the rule for math classes in middle and high schools.  However, I found out much more about the system than I bargained for.

In the past, I have been in high school class rooms or various subjects and found that students are, in general, cuddled, bored and not challenged.  Most students lavish at the opportunity to do absolutely nothing, even if work has been assigned.

In this school, one of every nine students has failing grades.  Math and reading skills are lacking and, under the common core standards, they are allowed to pass on to the next grade, which may explain why 18% of the students at this school haven’t met the minimum standard.

There are reasons for the tacit and acute crisis in the schools.  Standards have been lowered; discipline is lacking among students and, in some cases, not enforced by the school, maturity and apathy has been at battle with brighter kids and teachers. Many students have the ability but are simply not challenged.  The minimum task is completed, time is the villain and apathy conquers.

Not all students are equal:

The major problem is that the kids that have the ability to excel are generally held back by the standardized testing.  Everyone is equal mindset is forced on local schools by the Federal Government.  Washington uses the almighty dollar to fund and provide materials in the form of text books which are more agenda driven than informative.  Teachers, nationwide, are teaching a state test, rather than a curriculum of critical thinking. Some states have a budget shortfall and will have to alter the curriculum to meet the common core testing.  Common Core takes the local control away, which makes it much more difficult to differentiate students into the learning progression.


New math method, in elementary school, confuses students.  Problem is that nearly half of the students do not need this creative confusing mess.  Give them special projects rather wait for the rest of the class to catch up. Peer teaching is also an alternative for the students that understand the subject as a way accelerate their progression.  Some ultimately will never catch up.  If they cannot meet the minimum standard for math and reading, why give them a pass?  This 9th grade math class was to simply connect dots that they graphed and then color the cartoon character with crayons.  Many students viewed this as a waste of time and I couldn’t agree more.  I wondered if this is the exception and not the standard. In other words, simply busy work.  However, students told me that they get a “break” when they complete different blocks in math.  I am wondering: a break from what?

Ever think about looking at the family unit?

There is one big difference between my school years and today, which is the breakdown of the family unit.  This attributes immensely to the failing of kids in school.  Study after study has proven that kids with involved parents with school work have increased the odds to become successful students.

It seems like Common Core is designed to provide for the less fortunate kids while leaving the more gifted kids at the station with them.  Common Core standards will further enshrine the public schools. The elaborate plans will include required national assessments within the Common Core Standards as a tool to institute massive data collection about American school children that has nothing to do with education, and everything to do about Government intrusion and control.

Today’s student must get used to cameras and monitoring at all activities, to include the food you eat, internet interaction, both socially and electronically, and, accept the changes, or modifications, to meet the “standards” set forth by common core.

I know that kids read George Orwell’s 1984 in school but are not aware that 1984 is closer to reality than not.  Most have no idea what the book Animal Farm is all about.  Civics may not be taught in some states, but where I am substituting, it is a requirement.  Therefore, at least a few will learn enough information to become an informed future participant in the American society.  Unfortunately, most of our youth are conveniently ignorant in civics and are only aware of bullet points, watching or listening capsules of filtered information. 

Most schools are not doing their job in educating, as cited in recent studies that a majority do not know much about the amendments to the constitution or do not know that the earth rotates around the sun.  This fits very well for the “global warming” crowd that has been editing dissenting information to support their scheme by slowing but very methodically eroding American traditions

Common Core is not the answer.  It was said a long time ago, that when government gets involved in education: education is finished. The Federal government is on the same page for a big city as it does for rural America: the same page for successful schools and unsuccessful, with no regard to family structures.  It just does not work.  Education, as most other things, starts at the home.  The Federal government, through common core, has determined that they know what is best for the youth of America, diminishing the role of even the traditional families that still have involvement with their kids at every level of their school life. When parents do not set the example, the school does and to their Big Government philosophy.

Some states have instituted Planned Parenthood to persuade that abortions and sex education on demand are in the student’s best interest as well as the degeneration of religion. The alternate family has a mother, father and children.  History of the US is rewritten and kids are tested on the revised history. The implementation of Common Core is the precursor for the Progressive hammer for higher education.  Conservatives, for example, are against the common American, are racist and are propped up by big business are randomly held as fact, until the hemorrhaged student finds the truth: Those who scream adhere to the accusations that they judge.

For me, it is clear that common core is not for the common good.

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The Civil War was in its third year.  America was surprised with the excessive brutality of the war in context of Union and Confederate casualties. President Lincoln boarded the train for Gettysburg, Secretary, John G. Nicolay, his assistant secretary, John Hay, the three members of his Cabinet, William Seward, John Usher and Montgomery Blair of his cabinet, and several foreign officials accompanied him.

It had been 137 days since Pickett’s charge, a Confederate Division attempting to break through the Union lines. Ultimately, it was the final charge for a Confederate victory in the battle, in the war and succession.  Over 1100 Southerners died during that charge and additional 1500 Union casualties were added to the three day total of around 7,000 killed on both sides. 

Lincoln composed a speech that did not reflect the battle tactics or the emancipation of slaves. Lincoln defined the sacrifice and commitment of the experiment of our forefather’s four score and seven years ago.  Historian Shelby Fotte described the Civil War as an event that defined us (the United States).  I would like to follow up that Gettysburg defined the Civil War.

During the train trip from Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg on November 18, Lincoln remarked to John Hay that he felt weak. On the morning of November 19, Lincoln mentioned to John Nicolay that he was dizzy. Hay noted that during the speech Lincoln's face had 'a ghastly color' and that he was 'sad, mournful, almost haggard.'

President was invited to Gettysburg to make a few remarks by a resident of the town, David Wills.  Lincoln was to add to the featured speaker and grand orator, Edward Everett. He served in the House, Senate of the United States and was the 15th Governor of Massachusetts.  During his address, on the 19th, he spoke for two hours. His remarks contained 10,859 words, of which not a single word or phrase can be recalled. On the other hand, Lincoln would only say 300 words and would define America’s resolve to refine government of the people, by the people and for the people.

He stayed at the Wills house the night of November 18, and revised his remakes for the next day. Lincoln's view of the government as expressed in the Gettysburg Address was influenced by the noted speech of Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster

Lincoln made copies of his speech. Each of the five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address is named for the associated person who received it from Lincoln. Lincoln gave a copy to each of his private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. Both of these drafts were written around the time of his November 19 address, while the other three copies of the address, the Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss copies, and were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes well after November 19.

The event was attended by over 15000 people. However, there were only a few photographers were on hand and none captured the image Lincoln delivering the speech.  One photographer did try it, but it took him so long to set up the camera, the speech was ending as he finally took the picture of Lincoln as he was sitting down. The next day, the NY Times printed the speech but it wasn’t the headline.  After the speech, when Lincoln boarded the 6:30 pm train for Washington, D.C., he was feverish and weak, with a severe headache. A protracted illness followed which included a vesicular rash and was diagnosed as a mild case of smallpox. It thus seems highly likely that Lincoln was in the early stage period of smallpox when he delivered the Gettysburg address.

Since that event in 1863, over 20 US Presidents have visited Gettysburg.  All have given remarks and phrases that have also been forgotten.  During the 100th anniversary, July of 1963, the mood and aura was much the same as it was with Lincoln’s appearance.  In June of that year, Civil Rights Legislation was introduced by Senator Everett Dirksen, with President Kennedy’s support. Later, the next month, Martin Luther King would deliver his “I have a dream” speech that began to close the divide in Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Kennedy, himself would not make the trip to the 100th anniversary.  Instead, he would go to Texas, with Dallas the last stop in the trip and his presidency.  Instead, Vice President Lyndon Johnson would make his mark as the first southerner to speak at the event. 

Now we come to the 150th anniversary of an event that defines the American portrait.  The 50th and 75th were highlighted by the President of the United States reflecting on what happen on the battlefield and legacy the remains.  President Kennedy had politics supersede the event.  Now, it seems that President Obama will do the same.  Kennedy did have his day in Berlin as President Reagan 25 years later.  So far, the most memorable quote from Obama is “If you like your health care, you can keep it....period”.  Maybe it is what he meant to say.  It does not matter.  He has the opportunity as a beneficiary of what Gettysburg represents and from a speech that represented an event that has separated America from the rest of the world. 





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Time to Sever ties?

Political comprises make me the most uncomfortable that a solution has actually not been reached.  For the last four and half years, compromises have been a delay or a cave for conservatives.  Tolerance has been a bitter pill for one side and a disguise for the other. 

Now, America, has reached the fork in the road of political, social and economic abyss.  Neither Democratic nor Republican has the determination to stand back and review the unintended consequences of the spending, legislation, pejorative attitude to the constitution and social bigotry, while encouraging the opposite. Since the leadership of both parties has capitulated to business as usual, it is time to look for new leadership to represent the forgotten population who has been defrauded for over a decade or more. 

Third parties have come and gone throughout the history of the United States.  However, the most successful have rallied to causes that eventually defined America.  The Republican Party was one such party that amalgamated for the abolition of slavery.

The Republican Party organized from discontented Whigs, Democrats and Free Soil faithful.  The beginning of the movement was met with ridicule and misinformation.  Southern Democrats were threatened by the notion to abolish their economic and social way of life, and the northern Democrats and Whigs had nobility like leadership that legislated compromises, such as the Nebraska Kansas act and the compromise of 1850, which did nothing but kick the can down road. 

A civil war may not have been averted, but only one group actually stood for something and ran on a platform that looked at the future of America, not to keep their seats in Congress.  The party platforms of the Whigs and the Democrats did not address the slavery problem that divided America.  The Democrats won the White House and America cut itself perilously deeper.  America was divided among social, economic and political trenches, much like America is divided today.

A radical approach to mending the divisions would come from such radicals as Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln ran for the Senate in Illinois in 1858.  His Democratic opponent was Stephen Douglas, whom I would describe as a Washingtonian, with autocratic ideals and solutions.  Lincoln lost to Douglas.  Should have the Republican dream and platform, perceived to be radical be abandoned?

Lincoln ran again in 1860, for President and America realized that it had enough of Washington nobility and wanted a leader.

History does repeat itself.

In late October, 1980, I covered a John Anderson rally in North Carolina.  He was an independent for President, running against an incumbent, Jimmy Carter and the Republican, Ronald Reagan.  Anderson, like many of the third party movements in our history, had a vision of the day, instead a vision of tomorrow. 

In our current political climate, we need a vision of tomorrow and an issue that can define a party, like the Republican of 1856. 

Senator Ted Cruz (R Tex) had a host of disapproving critiques, including his own party.  Our current nobility of Washington (which includes both parties) are bearish of challenges to authority and the Washingtonian way of life: of governing.  Unlike many movements that preceded the Tea Party, there is a coherent, organized vision for the future and a predictable consequence while staying on the current path.

The Tea Party is more popular than the combatants will admit.  Polls, cited by the talking heads on the media, refer to the low approval numbers for the Republican Party, but do not reveal the disapproval includes those within the party that would never support progressives from either party.

The filibuster by Senator Cruz was heralded by his critics as a waste of time.  But was it?  Leaders take the lead, despite what detractors try to portray.  It would not be surprising to find that the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party would be viewed as the few that have the credibility and principles to lead.

Therefore, the solution is to forward the agenda that follows the thought of the founding fathers, Abe Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan and reverse the trends of defeatism, dependency and deception and form a party of principle. 

The separation between the United States and the rest of the world is the first ten amendments to the constitution. If those amendments are watered down, the framework of our laws, social and economic structure is also lost.  That is why Obama care is so dangerous.  That is why the National Security Agency (NSA) is so dangerous.  That is why the abuses of the IRS are so dangerous. That is why the freedom of the Press is so important.

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