The stakes in our near term elections could be enormous….
By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 27, 2007
(Updated March 28, 2007)
There are few possible connections between these topics or issues, right? What are the topics and issues we are discussing? Day Care, Family Values, National Culture, Education, Birth Rates, Population, National Economies, Foreign Students, Religion, and Illiteracy.
Lets continue with a few more questions:
– In Washington D.C., the Capital City of the United States of America, nearly 36 percent, or 170,000, of the District’s residents are functionally illiterate, compared with 21 percent nationally. The agency bills the report as “the first comprehensive review on the District’s state of adult literacy.”
Adults who have trouble doing such things as comprehending bus schedules, reading maps and filling out job applications are considered functionally illiterate.Is this a good thing for the nation and the society?
–The Washington Post reported today that High School students in the District of Columbia, starting next year, will have more stringent graduation requirements.
Our question is: why weren’t all students required to complete a curriculum geared to get them into college a long rime ago? Everyone knows that a college education almost always means better pay and a better life. Why would anyone not encourage every high school student to set college as a goal; and then make a system that fosters that goal?
So we congratulate Superintendent Clifford B. Janey of Washington D.C. on his announcement yesterday that the school system has adopted a new graduation policy. Staring next year, all students will be required to take four years of math, science, social studies and English, in an “attempt to increase academic rigor and give a high school diploma more meaning.”
And we ask, what about college? What about the high school’s responsibility to prepare students adequately for college and to counsel them and help them to achieve that goal? When do we stop “aiming our sights too low”?
–On March 28 this news from the World Economic Forum: European countries and Singapore have surpassed the United States in their ability to exploit information and communication technology.
The Forum’s index, which measures the range of factors that affect a country’s ability to harness information technologies for economic competitiveness and development, also cited the United States’ low rate of mobile telephone usage, a lack of government leadership in information technology and the low quality of math and science education. Good news?
–One final thought on America and education: Nationally recognized author and educator Alfie Kohn argues that there is virtually no statistical data to support giving daily homework assignments to young American students.
Kohn claims homework is a burden on parents, causes stress for children and family conflict, allows less time for other activities and leads to less interest in learning.
Well isn’t that too bad. I have news for Mr. Kohn: they do homework in places like China and Singapore because not doing so makes students fall behind the overachievers. And those same overachievers get better jobs and the students not doing homework to save themselves stress end up driving taxis in places like Singapore and Beijing. I have no statistical data (either) but I did talk to the cab drivers about it (and many regret they didn’t do more homework).
So the question is: Do Americans want to compete in the global economy or not?
–Germany has a very low birthrate (among non-Muslim women) and an ageing population. In an effort to reverse these trends, Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen has made the suggestion that Germany triple the number of day care spots for young children.
Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen has seven children of her own.
After the government introduced generous benefits in January paying parents to take time off work after having a baby, the day care proposal proved too much for the Catholic bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa.
In February, he attacked von der Leyen, a physician before she went into politics, for an idea that he said would turn women into “birthing machines” and hinder the development of a close maternal bond.
In the United States, the role of the Mother and Wife is sometimes lumped into the category of “Family Values.” Liberals hate this phrase and dubbed it an evil concoction of the “Religious Right.”
A low birthrate can mean a shrinking tax base to support a generous social security system at the same time that a growing elderly population requires more government spending on health care and pensions.
Also, Germany, the world’s leading exporter, would have difficulty finding qualified people for jobs in key industries. Those problems could be mitigated by increased immigration, but many German politicians remain opposed to looking abroad to solve the country’s baby gap.
This in part because the vast majority of new arrivals to German immigration lines are Muslims.
Is this a good situation?
–Meanwhile, in the United States we abort more than we graduate from high school. This might resolve our troubles in public education but it may impact our population, our cuture and our national psyche in other ways.
What do you think? No negative impacts?
–United Press International reported today that “U.S. children who spent time in day care settings may have more problems with aggressive and disobedient behavior in elementary school, a study found.
The study is the latest installment of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study, started in 1991 to examine relationships between children’s care in the first 54 months of life and subsequent development. Researchers also found children with higher-quality early child care have somewhat better vocabularies through fifth grade than children who are enrolled in lower-quality care.”
So, Day Care is a good idea?
–The Des Moines Register reported on March 22, 2007, that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told about 300 southwest Iowa supporters today that he maintains his tough stance on illegal immigration but proposes offering foreign students attending U.S. colleges and universities the chance to remain legally in the country upon graduation.
“Our immigration laws are upside down,” said Romney. “It makes no sense at all that we have concrete borders with people who have skills and education, but we’re wide open to people who have neither.”
What a concept. Governor Romney is saying, why are we allowing so many migrant fruit pickers into the U.S. without red tape and then we make it extremely difficult for American educated foreigners to stay in the U.S. after they get their college degrees?
There is a sea change taking place in the population of the world, how we view parenting and families, our religious attitudes, how we educate our children and other key factors in “culture.”
Muslim populations are migrating into Europe at a steady rate while the traditional populations of those nations are in decline. In Europe, fewer and fewer Christians attend public religious events; while more and more Muslims worship in Mosques.
Will this change the culture and the society?
The Pope in Rome thinks so. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI made a lengthy statement upon this issue in January 2006 (
But mostly, in Europe, what the Pope says falls on deaf ears.
We submit that the unifying fabric of many societies is changing at a breathtaking rate: and not all for the better. Public education in the United States is not receiving rave reviews. In fact, parents are increasingly choosing private schools for their children. And school vouchers now are somewhat codified making this acceptable: that we will allow the public schools to be sub-standard.
The U.S. population, already a melting pot of immigrants for two centuries, now is increasingly Spanish speaking.
The largest employer in the United States is no longer industrial: it is WalMart: a store that sells mostly products from China. In fact, in December 2006, 66% of the products imported by WalWart by ship came from China.
Seem like a lot to you?
China now hold a huge stake of America’s debt.
Al Gore keeps saying climate change is a threat to our very existance. Some experts say our ruination of the environment will cause widespread disease, famine, drought and crop failures: mostly in Africa and Asia. Other areas will become flooded and unusable. Mostly in the U.S.
The next presidential election in the United States is being billed as centered upon foreign policy and the war. But there are many more issues demanding our attention, care and management.
Our choices in the near term may partially shape our culture and the way of things for the remainder of our present century.