Are We Losing our Good American Life?

1950s-homeBy Jeff Boone

Like other parents, what primarily motivates me and keeps me up at night is concern over the future for our children. And with respect to the things our children will require, I am both more determined and more restless to do what I can.

When camping as a young boy, and then later as a Boy Scout, I learned to leave my campsite better than I found it for the next people that would require it.   I believe this to be a fundamental moral principle of a sustainable humanity… leaving things better for the people that follow.  I know that I am not alone in my concern that we are failing to uphold this principle. The sky is not yet falling and Armageddon has not yet begun; but there are ominous signs that our better days are behind us and global humanity is heading toward some giant and prolonged infection of profound misery.

Note that I am not an alarmist, and I dislike alarmists. But it is clear we are on a downward trajectory.

Over a decade ago, as a soon to be recovering big company IT executive, I had a depressing epiphany that my job was to cost-justify new technology by the number of jobs it would cut or reduce. One project I distinctly remember was for a big healthcare company call center project. We would acquire and implement a state of the art Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and a customer website portal. The multi-million dollar price tag was justified by the expectation of a 50% reduction in the number of human call center employees. The pay-back would happen in about two years.

I felt like a criminal public defender… doing the work that had to be done, but without that definitive feeling that I was doing all the right things for humanity all the time. I was helping the machines and software take jobs away from humanity. I was on the wrong side of The Matrix. I began to seek a career change.

Marc Andreessen, the cofounder of Netscape and a frequent investor in new technology business, recently said “software is eating the world.”   It is true that technology and automation have transformed manufacturing to needing only a few high-skilled employees instead of the mass of low-skilled assembly line personnel.   Service industries are also not immune to job loss from innovation. How much self-service is available on the Internet?

I now work in small business economic development to grow jobs throughout California and parts of Arizona and Nevada. The change provides me much more positive internal feedback, and a consistent feeling that I am doing the right things for humanity.  But my reformed professional role also provides me a more detailed understanding of the true state of the economy. Small business is the bellwether for the economy; and small business is far from healthy these days. Even the sixth year after the epic crash of our financial and housing markets and the beginning of the Great Recession, things are not very rosy.   For example, new businesses were created at a 30% lower rate in 2012 than the annual average rate in the 1980s. The trends for 2013 are not much better, and in the first quarter of 2014 both the GDP and productivity declined at a 2.9% and 3.5% annual rate respectively.

And like the business trends for increasingly using machines and software, these economic trends for fewer new small businesses are troubling, to say the least. They are troubling because I believe the human animal is physically, mentally and psychologically programmed to work. Without work we can become humanly dysfunctional and humanly less good. And certainly, in consideration of our traditional American values, we become less American. We need to work. But there is negative inertia preventing many of us from doing so.

Big government sets the economic and environmental policies that either encourages or discourages economic growth and jobs growth. Big government also sets labor policies that impact the overall cost/value of labor. Lastly, big government sets the education policy that helps or hinders the creation of a skilled enough workforce. Big government is doing more harm than good in these things. And so it is clear that big government and technology are the co-conspirators in what I see as decline.

Note that I am not down on government, nor am I down on technology (machines and software). Both can be good and bad toward leaving the world a better place. But I do think we have a profound, but little-understood and little-discussed, issue where machines and software are advancing their labor value while government policies push down the value of the alternative human labor.

On the machine side, consider US agriculture. The percentage of US agriculture workers has declined from over 30% a century ago to between 1% and 2% today. Machines have allowed agricultural productivity to rise spectacularly while reducing the demand for agricultural workers. And agricultural workers have become more expensive as government has layered on wage and benefit and regulatory requirements.

In addition to big government making it more difficult and more expensive to actually employ human labor, we can also attribute part of the decline in human labor value to our big government education system that has failed to keep up with our economic needs. Lastly, possibly through necessity for dealing with inadequate work opportunity, we have experienced a shift in societal norms related to work in general. People just don’t want to work as hard as the generations before. They have “progressed” to have higher expectations for an easy life. In all, I think this is a wrongheaded and dangerous direction for a country that grew its greatness on hard work, inventiveness, enterprise and self-determination.   We just won’t be as great with fewer people working… whatever the causes.

My friends know I am a frequent advocate for education reform using technology. I think our current education system is wholly inadequate for our modern needs.   I expect profound changes within the next decade. Eventually the most talented single teachers in the nation will reach hundreds of thousands of students, and software will provide them with homework assignments customized to their strengths and weaknesses. And the school districts will save money not having to employ as many teachers to deliver the instruction. My expectation is that there will be fewer, but more highly-skilled (and more highly-paid) teachers, more electives and more tutors and career counselors… but effectively fewer education system employees than we have today. And the savings in human labor costs will be directed at technical education delivery solutions. Again, machines and software will eliminate jobs while making great forward strides in the products and services delivered. But until this happens, our education system will be mostly a jobs program for adults and be inadequate for the needs of our children and future workforce.

With respect to work, jobs, careers and prosperity, we have a great disconnect of competing and conflicting needs that are not being adequately addressed.   We have a fundamental negative trajectory in value and opportunity… and it means our children will have fewer opportunities to earn anything close to the good American life enjoyed by the generations before.

Obviously this is not good. Improvements are imperative.

So what do we do? Here are some ideas:

1. Shift government focus from primarily social to primarily economic.

We have to redirect the mammoth government ship away from focusing on the short-term needs and wants of people, and toward a new direction pursuing a vision of human long-term economic well-being.

Certainly we need some safety nets. And certainly not everyone wants to be, or can be, rich; but people need enough income to survive. What we need is an abundance of opportunity supporting independent freedom of choice, and a shift in the top-down expectation for all able-bodied people to work. We do this by directing our government to stop spending so much on entitlements and expanded safety nets, and instead direct resources into things that help grow the economy. Because without a growing economy we won’t have enough jobs, and without a job, and without a career, few people will truly and honestly admit to having a good American life.

The good American life has never been achieved through end-user handouts. The good American Life demands economic self-sufficiency.

2. Stop talking about transforming the country, and transform education to transform the country.

We have a huge potential opportunity cost for failing to modernize and improve our education system. The labor market went global, and the bar has been raised in terms of business need/expectations for labor skills. The current public education system is largely the same model of a century before. But today our children carry around with them a 4” screen where they have access to the world’s information 24 x 7, 365 days per year. Given this, why are we requiring them to sit still in a seat for 7 hours per day listening to a boring lecture on subjects they will most likely never use and will soon forget? We are missing the big picture here. American children are like information race cars being penned up like lambs that we aspire to grow to sheep. It is past time to recognize the mistakes we have made holding on to irrelevant and useless education tradition, and make education the next industrial revolution.

3. Reduce the cost of housing.

Too be continued…

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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175 thoughts on “Are We Losing our Good American Life?”

  1. Tia Will

    Great article Jeff. Many ideas to consider. Thanks for posting. As would be inevitable, I have a different perspective on many of your points.

    1. “I believe this to be a fundamental moral principle of a sustainable humanity… leaving things better for the people that follow”

    I agree. Whether or not we are “in a downward spiral” with regard to leaving behind a better world depends on what parameters we choose to look at. I recently saw a comparative map of what smog used to look like over the country and what it looks like now. The improvement in air quality has been dramatic.
    I doubt that this degree of improvement would have been seen without national recognition of the problem and both private and governmental efforts (regulation definitely has played a role here) to address the issue. This improvement has not only health and environmental benefits but also economic benefits as a health citizenry is more productive economically and less of a burden on our medical system. I believe energy production innovation and regulation are going hand in hand to leave a “better campsite” for our children.

    2. “I was helping the machines and software take jobs away from humanity”
    “I believe the human animal is physically, mentally and psychologically programmed to work. Without work we can become humanly dysfunctional and humanly less good.”

    I agree. And I believe that the core problem here is that we have far too limited a view of what constitutes work. For example we have decided that we only honor by compensation ,work done outside the home, or work that produces some kind of product that can be sold. This is artificially devaluing some of the most valuable work that a human being can perform. We provide no compensation at all as a society to the individual who stays at home and raises children. Nor do we compensate in any material way people who provide care for their ill or elderly relatives. These are arguably amongst the most valuable endeavors that a human being can be engaged in, and yet we provide no compensation at all for what is obviously difficult and valuable work.
    We encourage people to engage in volunteer activities because we recognize that without these activities there are people who would go without food and shelter. Are these kinds of activities really not “work” that could be acknowledged and compensated with something more substantial than our thanks ? If we were to support materially all types of work, we would not have to artificially grow, produce more and more items that no one really needs and probably in the long run be much more fulfilled and content with a contribution to the well being of our community far more valuable than producing the next gadget for consumption. To me, this would represent an improved “camp site”.

    3. “the good American life enjoyed by the generations before.”
    You seem to be defining “the good American life” only in material terms.
    However, humans do not judge the success of their lives solely in terms of material acquisition. We also value our freedoms to make choices for our own future. On the local level, you and I have a profound difference of opinion of what constitutes leaving behind a “better campsite”. You seem to feel that this is dependent upon our growth. I see continued growth chosen by us as limiting the choices that will be available to our children. If we do put in all three innovation parks now, we will have determined that our children have no opportunity to determine what they use of that land they would prefer. And we are doing this in order top pay off the amenities that we decided we wanted. My belief is that if we want amenities, we should pay for them ourselves, not use the resources that would otherwise be open for choices made by our children to pay for our desires.

    4. “The good American life has never been achieved through end-user handouts. The good American Life demands economic self-sufficiency.”

    Let’s use for the moment your definition of “the good American life”. I consider myself as a prime example of just how false your statement is.
    My economic self – sufficiency was enabled by the ” end user handouts” that you despise.
    I grew up on Social Security.
    I attended public schools.
    My first job was with a government sponsored program for disadvantaged youth.
    My degrees are all from public colleges and universities.
    My medical school education was financed by my own work, scholarships, grants, and the Public Health Service.
    My first job as a doctor was with a county hospital, my second as a general medical officer for an underserved population.
    I believe that over the 30 years that I have been practicing medicine, I have payed back far more than all of these benefits combined. I have payed back not only through taxes but also through volunteering my time and expertise as most doctors do.
    So what you call ” end user hand outs”, I call investment in a stronger society.

    1. Jeff Boone

      I agree. And I believe that the core problem here is that we have far too limited a view of what constitutes work.

      I don’t think I agree with this. Work is work. If you are talking about the value of different work, then certainly there are differences. And your values will be different than mine will be different from everyone else. That is why we let the market determine value. Because it is the most fair of all the flawed systems.

      end user hand-outs.

      Ok, you make some good points. In your circumstances you benefited from temporary end-user handouts. Now you have a good life. If you were still on those end-user handouts, there is no way you could honestly admit to having a good American life.

      Temporary is fine.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        The problem with the concept of how much to provide, or for how long in “end user hand outs” is that you cannot know in advance who will early be able to take advantage of the help and step up and provide back to the society what they have been given and potentially much, much more. It is a leap of faith.

        “Work is work. If you are talking about the value of different work, then certainly there are differences. And your values will be different than mine will be different from everyone else. That is why we let the market determine value. Because it is the most fair of all the flawed systems.”

        Here we fundamentally disagree. If you truly believe that “work is work” then why don’t we pay the related housekeeper and caregivers? If we pay them zero, then does that mean that their work is worth nothing. I doubt anyone would maintain that, and yet we don’t compensate them. I do not believe that the “fairest” of flawed systems is the “free market”.
        I believe as I have stated that we have a parameter that is equal for everyone. That is time.
        I believe that we should all be compensated for our time rather than some arbitrary decision that we choose to leave to some mythical entity called the “free market” which in reality is nothing but the sum of the individual decisions made by individuals in their selection of goods and services.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          What, in real life, is more fair than the free market?

          So where are the complaints about paying men for washing cars, cutting grass, and cleaning rain gutters?

          Fact is, families have chores, duties, responsibilities, and with that comes family benefits like holidays, a home, home equity, etc. I have known plenty of single women living in apartments who would prefer to be “burdened” with work around the house, which they are part owner of.

    2. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > For example we have decided that we only honor by compensation ,
      > work done outside the home, or work that produces some kind of
      > product that can be sold.

      Who is the “we” “that only honor by compensation for work done outside the home”?? Tia has brought this up twice in the past couple days yet I have never met a single person (rich, poor, conservative or liberal) with this view (NOT ONE)?

      My wife (and other women I know who “work” inside the home) does get an occasional snide remark from left leaning women who also have advanced degrees about how she is “wasting” her education when they wonder if she is “board”, but I have never heard (or heard of) a single one of then come out and say they don’t think she is working…

      I don’t want her to name any names, but am really wondering if she runs in to people in Davis that have a hard time with someone like my wife working at home raising kids or my Mom who volunteers three days a week or my mother in law that tutors underprivileged kids and takes (her specially trained) dog to work with special needs kids?

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Here is the difficulty I see.. It would seem from your post that your wife works exclusively in the home. I value this work as much as work that is done outside the home. I am making the assumption that your entire family lives off your outside earnings. Please correct me if I am incorrect in this assumption. Now, my question is, since your wife’s contribution will remain the same whether or not you are supporting her, why should she lose income if you were to die or leave her for another woman ? Will her housekeeping or child care skills become less valuable because you are gone ? I think not. I believe that she should be compensated equally for her contribution to the family just as you are for yours.

        1. Mark West

          So Tia, why don’t you just send her a check to help ‘pay’ for her work if you value it so much. Some people choose to stay at home to tend to their children in the belief that they will do a better job, or simply do it at a more reasonable cost, then someone they hire. This is a lifestyle choice, and more power to those who can afford it. It isn’t something however that anyone else should feel obligated to support financially, or something that ‘society’ should pay for.

          1. D.D.

            You’ll be financially supporting the neglected children who have little to no one-on- one time with either father or mother because parents are working minimum wage jobs to pay their rent in Davis. When these neglected kids turn to booze, pot, hard drugs, promiscuity, cutting, etc… taxpayers will end up paying for that.
            Very wealthy parents in Davis also neglect their children’s emotional needs. Not just low income parents.
            The country of Sweden used to pay mothers or fathers a full year maternity/paternity leave after the birth of a baby or the adoption of a baby. I don’t know if they still do that. I wonder if there is less of the unhealthy adolescent behavior of underage drinking, underage pot use, hard drugs, suicide, promiscuity, cutting, etc… in Sweden.

          2. Tia Will

            Mark

            “that anyone else should feel obligated to support financially, or something that ‘society’ should pay for.”

            On this we disagree. I believe that the individual who stays at home and raises children is making as valuable a contribution as is the individual who goes out and sells a product, or teaches in a classroom, or removes our garbage, or performs our surgeries. So what is it about the homemakers work that you feel is so less valuable that it should not be compensated the same as these other jobs ?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Some folks value their children more than money, and see these contributions as furthering the success of their children and family. The most recent examples are the famous “Tiger Moms”.

          Besides, when the husband kicks seven or more years earlier than the wife, she typically gets the house, car, and most or all savings and material goods acquired over a lifetime.

          Given this dramatic imbalance, maybe men should retire at 60, and let women work until they are 67 or 70. In these 10 years, the men can then tend to all of these household items.

          BTW, how will men be paid when they do yardwork or construction on their home? When they wash the car?

          1. Tia Will

            TBD

            “how will men be paid when they do yardwork or construction on their home? When they wash the car?”

            In my preferred system, in the same way that everyone else is compensated. With a stipend that allows them to live at a level at an agreed upon amount above the determined poverty level. The same as every other man, woman and child in our society. That , in my opinion, would be far more “fair” than the “free market”, which I believe is a construct that does not actually exist.

  2. Tia Will

    Jeff

    Have you seen the movie “Midnight in Paris” ?

    One of its themes is about being enamored with the vision of what a different point in time was like. I am beginning to believe that part of what informs our different world views is that we are each enamored to some degree by our perceived benefits of different eras in our country’s past in your case and potential future in mine.

    You seem to hold up the 1950’s as your ideal. A world in which “men were men”
    who were the breadwinners, heads of household, free to chart their own destiny.
    Women were dependent on these brave, hard working men and were grateful for their support and protection. The free market reigned and American was the beacon of the world. Unfortunately this vision leaves out the stories of those whose lives included total lack of choice, grinding poverty, death from preventable or easily treatable disease because they could not obtain care, pollution from unregulated industry….

    Now I’ll attempt to do the same with the future era with which I am enamored.
    I can envision a society in which all humans beings are honored based not on what they materially produce or own, but based on their character and what contribution they make to their society. I can envision a society in which the differences that do exist between individuals whether they are age, or gender, or religious or genetic in nature are seen not as sources of disparagement, but rather as manifestations of the complexity and diversity of life and in which these differences are leveraged to maximize the contribution of each individual.
    Of course, my enchantment with this vision also has its blind spots. For my vision to occur, we would have to accept very slow change, develop a willingness to fundamentally alter what we teach our children to value, and to trust in other human beings much, much more than we do now. But, I believe that this is possible because I believe that as humans, we have the ability to shape our world.

  3. D.D.

    Good morning Tia.
    I loved that movie. Feeling a little sick this morning after watching the local news stories about the botched execution yesterday. Your mention of Midnight in Paris made me smile.
    I don’t think our society will ever return to the lifestyle that the character Donna Stone portrayed on the t.v. in the early 60’s.
    I think we need to have a refined vision of the American dream. Women work outside their home. Men work. Women need reliable birth control so they can help support their family. The Catholic church needs to stop preaching that contraception is sinful. Men need to pitch in and do 50% or whatever their fair share, of maintaining their castle.
    Re: computers taking over jobs: two days ago I tried to pay my electricity bill online. The utility company tried to charge me a fee, in order to take my money. What if I went into Nordstrom to buy a pair of shoes & the clerk said she needed to charge me to take my money? Needless to say, I did not complete my online transaction for my electricity bill. I paid it the old fashioned way, and it was late. I don’t care.
    At a grocery store here, they have a man whose only job is to steer customers to the self checkout. I always politely tell him I’m retired now, in no rush, and I enjoy saying good morning to the live person who is the cashier. I learn a lot about the community by talking to the cashiers & people who bag. The young man who bags my groceries told me the name of a hair stylist. The cashier told me where she bought her cute jewelry. They are stimulating the local Tucson economy by talking to me. I worked in I.T at my last job so I really don’t feel like using a computer to check out my groceries. I like to do business with people, not machines.
    Many others have kindly directed me to a wonderful bakery, a great Indian restaurant, the place to buy pavers for our back yard. All these personal interactions stimulate the economy here.
    I’m glad this article was displayed today. It briefly took my mind off some other Arizona events that happened yesterday.

  4. Davis Progressive

    just seems like nostalgia for the past rather than critical analysis. yes, there were good things about the 50s, but they were overshadowed by all of the problems of the same era.

      1. D.D.

        Your visual for this article is a very large home with a white woman in a nice dress tending her flowers in the front of the home. There is a white young man, her son or her husband perhaps, standing close to her. It’s reminiscent of the Donna Reed Show of late 50’s early 60’s.
        You fondly remember the 80’s? Then maybe you could have displayed a gay couple or a bi-racial couple or a couple with one partner in a wheelchair? A little diversity, since Davis prides itself on diversity. Maybe even show the wife in running shorts & new Reeboks, tending to her vegetables. Or a dog playing on the lawn, or a lawn of succulents, rather than grass. A couple of bicycles nearby. Several college students playing frisbee on the lawn of their shared rental. Throw in an old beat up chair on a porch. That’s the Davis I lovingly remember.

          1. D.D.

            I think the point of your visual was to display a portrait of a time gone by: heterosexual white couple with a big expensive home. The article seemed to imply the writer liked the past better than the present SO I guess the visual is what the writer wishes we could return to?
            If the writer misses the 70’s or 80’s – Davis, was more diverse than that image.

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    Thank you for the article, some interesting ideas. I believe we have made progress in many areas, just one being medicine… I have numerous older friends who have survived cancer, strokes, quadruple bipass surgery, PE, and more.

    I think the breakdown in the family is brushed under the rug by many. I’ve read that 50% of our nation that are in poverty are single-women-led families. This is a problem for men, women, and our society. This is also an offshoot of the sexual revolution and swipes at religion. Many of our problems stem from this out-of-balance situation.

    Education, why let the parent / parents / student off the hook? Again, I’ve read that 80% of men in jail can’t read, and 80% grew up without a father.

    Gangs are also an exploding problem, I’ve read that Napa / Sonoma area cities have had a 20-fold increase in gangs in the past 20 years! This parallels what we see on TV and in the newspaper, shootings, stabbings, car jacking. Nancy who is working her way through college is not holding up the pizza delivery man.

    We have many modern conveniences, but there was an amazing level of security and lack of crime in many big cities in the 1950s. The flip side is that if you were African American, a woman, less educated, your options in life were sometimes or often limited. Cases vary by region and individual… I know black men who were doctors in the 50s.

    Were things really horrible in 1980? 1990? 2000? Because we have passed thousands upon thousands of new regulations that businesses have to deal with.

    Yes, this is the slowest economic “recovery” coming out of a recession, ever. Ronald Reagan and Volker put policies in place that led to new job creation topping 700,000 jobs per month! Today I think we’re at 120,000 per month, with a larger population.

    Technology can cut both ways. Human face-to-face communication is becoming more infrequent and scattered thanks (or not) to the iPhone. I’ve heard stories that people have died jumping into a frozen river to “save” their dropped iPhone!

    1. wdf1

      TBD: We have many modern conveniences, but there was an amazing level of security and lack of crime in many big cities in the 1950s.

      Crime in the U.S. was on an upward trend after WW II and peaked in the early 90’s and has been on a declining trend since then. As for violent crimes, the murder rate is lower now than it was in 1960. (source) Aggravated assault and rape/sexual assault is on the decline but still high compared to 1960. I suspect that those crimes may have actually occurred at higher rates than shown for 1960, but weren’t reported as much. I also suspect that crime in African American and minority communities was more under-reported in the 1950’s and ’60’s.

      If we’re looking at this kind of trend in crime rate, could it be that we are entering a period of “amazing level of security and lack of crime”? Better get ready to enjoy it, so you can wax nostalgia about these years when you’re an old man.

      1. Jeff Boone

        Correct me if I am wrong but many people with left leaning political views think we incarcerate too many people. If they get their way, crime will increase again.

        But you do bring up a good point that lower crime does not equal decline.

        1. Tia Will

          Jeff

          “If they get their way, crime will increase again.”

          This will depend on how “crime” is defined. If we make it illegal to smoke marijuana even when needed for validated medical indications, then yes, crime will rise.
          If we are more selective about who we choose to inaccurate and who we sanction in other ways such as ankle bracelets at home or hours of community service non violent crime, then no, perhaps crime would not increase and we would not be paying exorbitant amounts of money to house inmates who were never a threat to society as a whole in the first place.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            How many simple, solo pot smokers (not dealers) do you think are in prison?

            Given that recent studies (Ivy League) have shown that marijuana affects the brain of teenagers in 3 places, even with casual use, and can reduce a teenagers IQ by up to ten percent … do you warn teenagers about the dangers of this drug?

            Are you also aware of the sharp rise in driving while stoned, and deaths from driving while stoned?

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        wdf1, you contradict yourself: “Aggravated assault and rape/sexual assault is on the decline but still high compared to 1960.” … OK. you agree that 1960 was safe. Check.

        “I suspect that those crimes may have actually occurred at higher rates than shown for 1960, but weren’t reported as much.”

        You suspect? Why is that? “Suspect” isn’t proof.

        I will give you this anecdote: I spoke with a man in his 70s who grew up in the Bay Area who rode his bike to the train, left his bike unlocked for 3 or 4 hours, came back, and his bike was still there. Just like his friends. In a good-sized city.

        I’ve also heard numerous stories of female family members who were home alone during the Depression or WWII, and hobos would come to the back door to ask for food and / or work. I have also repeatedly heard stories that hobos / “homeless” were given odd jobs in exchange for food, because there was dignity in work. If you “gave” a man a handout, you took his dignity and self respect. This ethos has been lost with the modern welfare system.

        Also, I don’t recall thousands of gangs in the 1960s, and crimes like car jackings didn’t exist.

        The best anecdote I have read, though, were teachers top 10 complaints in 1965. They went something like this: 1. Running in the hallway. 2. Erasers not cleaned. 3. Gum under the desk. 4. Kids smoking in the restroom.

        Then, teachers complaints in 1990. 1. Kids bringing guns to school. 2. Gangs in school. 3. Girls / women attacked / raped in the restrooms / locker rooms. 4. Pregnancy. 5. Kids getting high in class.

        Teachers loved this comparison! They howled when they heard that dirty erasers were a top-10 problem!

        1. wdf1

          TBD: you contradict yourself: “Aggravated assault and rape/sexual assault is on the decline but still high compared to 1960.” … OK. you agree that 1960 was safe. Check.

          I believe that crime reports about some crimes in earlier decades are suspect. I think rape is likelier to be reported in 2014 than in 1960. source

          The 1950’s and the early 60’s was before much civil rights legislation went into effect. Unresponsive action to crime committed against blacks was but one of many issues that fueled the civil rights movement. One of the best known examples was that of Emmett Till

          Also, I don’t recall thousands of gangs in the 1960s

          Recall? How old are you? You don’t come across as someone who is nearly old enough to be able to remember the 1960’s.

          But take heart that you are less likely to get murdered in 2014 than 1960.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            But we were far more likely to be murdered in 1980, 1985, 1990, than in 1965.

            There has been an explosion in gangs the past 3 decades. In the Napa / Sonoma area I read that they had grown from 1 gang, to 20 known gangs. I can’t recall if that was the wider area, or a specific town. 19 of the 20 gangs I read about were Latino.

            I think graffiti also makes people feel less safe, even if crime has gone down.

            I did read a very interesting article that hypothesized that the reduction in lead paint had directly led to a drop in violence. It was backed up by a lot of data and analysis, it was no fly-by-night idea.

          2. TrueBlueDevil

            wdf1: Ironically, Margaret Sanger, the mother of Planned Parenthood, also believed in eugenics.

            Wikipedia: “Sanger also supported restrictive immigration policies. In “A Plan for Peace”, a 1932 essay, she proposed a congressional department to address population problems. She also recommended that immigration exclude those “whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race,” and that sterilization and segregation be applied to those with incurable, hereditary disabilities.”

            Wiki also wrote: “In one “What Every Girl Should Know” commentary, she observed that Aboriginal Australians were “just a step higher than the chimpanzee” with “little sexual control”…”

        2. Tia Will

          TBD

          “I suspect that those crimes may have actually occurred at higher rates than shown for 1960, but weren’t reported as much.”

          You are correct that “suspect” isn’t proof. But since you responded with anecdotes, I will share my clinical experience. When I first started in the field of Ob/Gyn thirty years ago it was rare for a woman to ever mention domestic violence or sexual assault even to her gyn doc. It has become more and more common for women to admit that they had been sexually or otherwise physically assaulted in the past and to be willing to talk about how they resolved this issue, usually by managing to remove themselves and often their children from the dangerous situation. It has also become more common for women to admit that they had been sexually molested by a family member or friend of the family and more and more common for women to report that they were approached by had the guts to say no and rebuff the individual making the unwanted approach.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            I agree. The OJ trial opened the box with a few female friends… polite, well educated, perfectly normal suburban women.

            I partly agree also with the admission of sexual assaults. However, I’ve also known a few people who seem to go on a long journey of victimhood, and every year they find a new culprit to blame.

            Same thing goes for claims of racism, which are reflexively mentioned at the drop of a hat. This is much more common, and now high school kids in highly diverse high schools throw it around recklessly. Students often reach for the racism card when stereotype, of just an observation of fact, are the case. This was probably proven best when Barack Obama’s camp accused Bill Clinton of being racist; and those on the Left accused George Bush Jr. of this, who saved millions of African lives and set the stage for President Barack Obama to exist!

        3. D.D.

          “”If you “gave” a man a handout, you took his dignity and self respect. This ethos has been lost with the modern welfare system.””

          Oh, boy. Where to begin?
          Where are women in your argument? In the 50’s, if you gave a man a condom, he may or may not wear it. He thought birth control was the woman’s responsibility. He wanted to enjoy himself. We were taught that woman must be chaste, the ones to say “no”, because young men just physically could not control themselves. (I found an old sex education pamphlet given to my older sister in the early 60’s. It actually stated, like it was a scientific fac, that a woman had greater control of her libido because most of her sexual organs were protected on the inside of her body. But the poor teenage boy had a large, unprotected organ on the outside of his body. Implication was that all you guys have absolutely no control over your libido and it is the woman’s fault if she has sex, and it is especially the woman’s fault when she has unprotected sex.) If a young woman pregnant in the 60’s or 70’s? Arrangements were made for her to “leave town to visit a sick grandmother” while she put her newborn up for adoption. (Sometimes hospital staff physically restrained the biological mother so she could not hold her newborn before signing over the adoption papers.) If no adoption, the young man was taught to do the honorable thing and marry the woman. Then support his child. Sometimes abortions were performed with coat hangers, and the young woman bled to death.
          Somehow the idea of a young man caring and supporting his baby by honorably marrying the woman, or committing himself to staying in the baby’s life through adulthood, is not so prevalent in today’s society. But other mores are still present. Ask any young woman in high school about “slut shaming”. It still occurs. Young women are often ostracized and bullied for the same sexual behavior that young men are high fived for.
          I really don’t think it is beneficial for our society to wish for the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or even the last decade to return.
          Every year we make progress.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            You’ve co-mingled charity & welfare, with a discussion of the sexual revolution and out-of-wedlock births. This is hard to follow.

            “Young men” today have been given a free ride by the sexual revolution, courts, and Big Government. Fifty percent of families in poverty are headed by single women. Thank you, too, to Murphy Brown.

            “Slut “shaming”? Actually, Bill Clinton made oral sex not sex, and now it is quite commonplace for young girls in high school to go to party’s and when they “like” a boy, to give him / them said sexual favors, with no type of relationship, friendship, or dating scenario. “Hooking up” is the new credo. I know a half dozen high school girls who are attractive, nice, a bit wild, and not a single one has ever had a boyfriend, many have never even had a real date!; but from their twitter posts, they have sexual knowledge and practices that would have made a 30-year-old blush in 1985.

            Now, add the iPhone, snap chatting, sexting, and 50 Shades of Gray on top of that.

        4. D.D.

          Re: less crime in the 60’s?
          Sexual assault: the 60’s were not safer. Young women still believed if they reported a sexual assault, word would get out that they were no longer a virgin – “damaged goods”. People did not report child abuse as often. Dr. Spock even recommended slapping your toddler. The Vatican covered up the priest scandal in America. Many other examples of un-reported crimes in the 60’s. Not a safer time for women and children. If a woman came to work with a black eye- fire her. She’s got too many personal problems. Ladies learned how to use “leg makeup” (makeup for vericose vein cover-up) to cover up their bruises. Not a safer decade.

  6. D.D.

    “This is also an offshoot of the sexual revolution and swipes at religion. Many of our problems stem from this out-of-balance situation.”
    Not really.

    1. Tia Will

      ““This is also an offshoot of the sexual revolution and swipes at religion. Many of our problems stem from this out-of-balance situation.”

      To me this implies that there was a better “balance” prior to the sexual revolution. I am not sure that this was the case. There have been times in our not so distant past when a woman was essentially considered the property of the man. Even more recently in many states a man could not be convicted of “raping” his wife even though his use of force could be proven. Even more recently than that, a Superior Court judge here in Yolo county made the statement ( paraphrased ) that a little wife beating was nothing to get upset about. To me, this did not represent
      ” a better balance”. Also from my point of view none of the religions that portray man as having a natural or God given dominance over women represents “a better balance”.

      1. D.D.

        Tia, re: spousal rape: I remember the famous spouse rape case because it was in the Salem, Oregon news (1978 or 79) when I lived there. Many men and women coworkers told me they believed a man cannot rape his wife.

      1. D.D.

        Re: founding fathers: If the founding mothers were included, and brown skinned people of both sexes, our Constitution would have been just as good, if not better. They may have even made African Americans a whole person, not a percentage of a person. And women would have had the right to vote, too.

  7. Jeff Boone

    Been traveling so have not had time to check the posts and respond.

    Interesting how a few have taken this to a gender war perspective. I really don’t know what to say about that. Are women’s rights only achievable with the destruction of economic opportunity for our young people and future generations?

    Then there is the environmental hazard perspective. I did expect that one, and am surprised that there wasn’t more. Again, are the goals of those most concerned about climate change only achievable with the destruction of economic opportunity for our young people and our future generations? So we older folks got all of ours and now we have to shut the door?

    I don’t see how this is “nostalgia for the 1950s” since I was not alive then and cannot comment on it. I am talking mostly about the 70, 80s and 90s. Again, this seems like another gender war swipe.

    Interesting. Very interesting.

  8. Don Shor

    there are ominous signs that our better days are behind us and global humanity is heading toward some giant and prolonged infection of profound misery.

    it is clear we are on a downward trajectory.

    It’s funny, it seems that the more extreme a person is — conservative or liberal — the more likely that person is to believe this. I don’t share this view at all, but I’ve also learned that it’s pointless to debate it. Trying to rate whether things are better or worse than in some past era is completely subjective, regardless of the reams of data points one tries to use to make the case.
    So extreme liberals think the world is getting worse: global warming is a disaster, income inequality is terrible, etc. Extreme conservatives think the world is getting worse: government is out of control, socialism is expanding, people are less moral and lazier, etc.
    I don’t share those views. But even more curious: evidently, we are told, these people are happier. Everything’s getting worse, but they’re happier?

    1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      As John Lennon wrote:

      I admit it’s getting better (Better)
      A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
      Yes I admit it’s getting better (Better)
      It’s getting better since you’ve been mine
      Getting so much better all the time
      It’s getting better all the time
      Better, better, better
      It’s getting better all the time
      Better, better, better
      Getting so much better all the time

      Paul McCartney wrote the music for that song. The music is very upbeat, and if you never think about the lyrics, it sounds like it is so positive, and thus fits my outlook on life.

      But, actually, John’s point was that in his opinion he was a horrible person–or at least the person singing the song in the first person was horrible–but things for him were getting better. It also is a bit revelatory of some of the domestic violence in John’s marriage to his first wife, Cynthia, who said he beat her. (I think he may have admitted to also beating up Yoko.) Here is the troubling lyric he wrote:

      I used to be cruel to my woman
      I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
      Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene
      And I’m doing the best that I can (Ooh)

    2. Jeff Boone

      Conservatives are happier than liberals. That is proven subjectively by reams of data. But they most certainly are not happier today than they have been in the past.

      1. South of Davis

        Jeff wrote:

        > Conservatives are happier than liberals.

        Conservatives have a lot of their own problems, but I’ve noticed that they tend to be happier than most on the left. I just read an interesting article (link to the entire thing below) that said:

        “Those posting messages in this left-wing forum publicly announced that they did what they did every day, from voting to attending a rally to planning a life, because they wanted to destroy something, and because they hated someone, rather than because they wanted to build something, or because they loved someone. You went to an anti-war rally because you hated Bush, not because you loved peace. Thus, when Obama bombed, you didn’t hold any anti-war rally, because you didn’t hate Obama.”

        http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/07/ten_reasons_i_am_no_longer_a_leftist.html

  9. Don Shor

    I believe this to be a fundamental moral principle of a sustainable humanity… leaving things better for the people that follow.

    Yes. This principle guides my land use values.

    1. Jeff Boone

      The point is economics Mr. Shor. How are you advancing the economic opportunity of young people and future generations with your land use values?

        1. Jeff Boone

          That is fine for those few farmers and for the fewer and fewer farm workers employed by those few farmers… but you failed to make your point how it helps improve the economic circumstances of young people and future generations.

          1. Don Shor

            Of course I made my point, but I realize you have little respect for farming as a profession. If you read the article, you see a story about young women entering the profession of farming. Small-scale farming provides local food, and good work for these hard-working young people. If you conserve the best land for farming, you allow that to occur. So you have a reasonable land-use strategy in place to protect farmland from development.
            Small-scale organic ag is a growing and profitable sector of our local economy and is especially attractive to young people entering the field of agriculture. It should be encouraged by means of education programs, especially in the high schools and local community colleges, and by good land stewardship.

        2. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > By making sure that when these young farmers enter the profession,
          > the best land for farming will still be there

          I know a lot of “young farmers”, (including the guy that sends us a CSA box every week) but I have not heard of anyone that just “entered the profession” without 1. Family Land or 2. Family Money.

          I’m (seriously) wondering of Don knows of any “young farmers” that were able to get started without free land or free money?

        3. D.D.

          I just read a great article about two women who do sustainable fishing in Mexico. They had a successful business. It is possible to be gentle to our environment and also make a decent living.

      1. Tia Will

        Jeff

        Your point is economics. That is not my point. I think it is as important to leave some decision making about whether or not to develop land for other than open space and agricultural purposes to the future generations rather than making all their decisions for them as has been done in Orange County.

        1. Mark West

          “I think it is as important to leave some decision making about whether or not to develop land for other than open space and agricultural purposes to the future generations”

          I agree, but you can’t do that if you lock the land up in perpetual agricultural easements. When you make that decision you are taking the choice away from future generations and locking them into your frame of reference and point of view. We have no way of knowing what the needs of future generations will be so making irrevocable decisions is the last thing we should be doing. Developing the land is more easily revocable than is a perpetual easement.

          1. Tia Will

            Mark West

            I am not surer that is true. Are you really ? Just because the word perpetual is in there, I do not know the laws effective in this area and I do know that laws can be changed just as buildings can be. If this were truly
            “perpetual” as opposed to “perpetual” until we change the rules of the game, I would agree. The problem that i have seen in many areas in which I have lived is that once those buildings go up, they are there “perpetually” whether they are being used or whether they are sitting there as blight…..they are still there for at least decades before someone decides to do some urban renewal. I have yet seen anything go back to its previous natural state. It is always converted to some other urban use.

            Can you think of an area that has been returned to its natural state once developed in some fashion ?

          2. Mark West

            In perpetuity has a pretty clear meaning Tia.

            Of endless duration; not subject to termination.

            Of course, all bets are off when the Zombie Apocalypse arrives.

          1. Tia Will

            TBD

            I would be up for that if it would ensure that it would stop the population growth.

          2. TrueBlueDevil

            This seems to contradict your Open Borders stance, which hits us three ways: new people, higher birth rate, and later, family reunification.

          3. Matt Williams

            TBD, when I read your post, I was reminded of the following passage from a book I read recently:

            Not until the beginning of the 20th century did Europe’s urban populations finally become self-sustaining: before then, constant immigration of healthy peasants from the countryside was necessary to make up for the constant deaths of city dwellers from crowd diseases.”

            ― Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

  10. tribeUSA

    Re: “I believe this to be a fundamental moral principle of a sustainable humanity… leaving things better for the people that follow. ”

    I wish I remember which native american tribes who, in the days before european american domination, would consider the effect of major decisions of the tribe (e.g where to migrate or set up their villages) on the great-grandhildren of their grandchildrens grandchildren (i.e. seven generations). The time horizon tended to be further out than the next fix, the next quarterly or annual statement, or the stock-option vesting period.

    I’d like to see more people seriously evaluate the current economic trajectory of a worldwide uniform transnational corporate, legal and financial structure and not consider it as inevitable; but compare the pros and cons with a world situation where countries put the good of their people first; i.e. rather than national sovereignity being trumped by the transnational economic machine, as it is now; instead national interests trump those of transnational economics, so that trade policy is designed with the goal of benefiting the citizens of the nation first; and not those of the transnational corporations and finance.
    I’m one of those who prognosticate that a system of one-world governance (economic first, more later) will not lead to a utopia or even to any kind of fairness or optimization of human creativity, work, and effort; but instead will lead to an absolute tyranny and hellish existence for most people. Consider that it was shortly after the fall of the USSR that the regulatory doors to international trade were thrown of their hinges, the transnationals and international finance made huge gains, and serious proposals for the rollback of social safety nets (welfare, social security, etc.) were proposed–communism acted as a counterbalance to keep the capitalism of the USA at a moderate level; if most people did not live significantly better than the average russkie, then the government of the USA would be put to question. So why not a world of more self-sufficiency and national sovereignity; where there is trade but that trade is regulated by each country independently with trade agreements hammered out with other countries with the primary aim of the most benefit for the citizens of the country (negotiators from each country would seek to do this for their own country), rather than of the transnationals and big finance. That’s right, bring back some tariffs and possibly even quotas for some goods. It seems to me it would be a good idea if the USA were mainly self-sufficient not only in food (there is danger of us losing this with relentless nonstop floods of immigrants and degradation of farmland), but also energy, and some steel-making and basic manufacturing. Why not gradually shift the economic boat of the nation towards the beacon light of self-sufficiency, and concomitantly roll-back the overwhelming dominance of the interests of the transnationals and global finance?–corporations and big finance have their place; but I would contend the power they wield is immoderate, to the continuing detriment of american society.

    1. Tia Will

      tribeUSA

      “So why not a world of more self-sufficiency and national sovereignty”

      I agree with the first clause of your sentence but disagree on the point of “national sovereignty”.
      I can certainly see the seeming security of a “drive towards self sufficiency” and I certainly do believe in local sustainability. However, I think that you are walking a very fine and dangerous line of isolationism. Your idea of self sufficiency seems to be based on the sovereignty of nations as we know them now. However, nations are not immutable. We have seen many, many changes of “nations” during the last 50 years ( roughly the amount of time that I have been politically aware). While it is now popular to wrap ourselves patriotically in the American flag, it was just a couple of years ago that Rick Perry and a considerable number of Texans were talking about secession.
      To me this demonstrates that “American society” is a construct that is sacred only as long as enough people are in support. Too often people equate “American” with “God ordained” . This is no more true for me than is the “God given” right of Israel or the Arab Emirates, or any other state to exist. All nations are the creation of man and thus can be changed essentially at the whim of those with the greatest amount of power, ours included. From my perspective the construct of nations has contributed as much to war, devastation and human suffering that perhaps any other institution than that of religion.

      1. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > I agree with the first clause of your sentence (more self-sufficiency)

        Correct me if I am wrong but it seems like in the past Tia has said she wants MORE government programs to make people dependent not LESS government programs that make people self-sufficient?

        > However, I think that you are walking a very fine and dangerous line of isolationism.

        If Tia really thought letting illegal aliens in to the US was a good idea she would unlock her front door and put a sign on her lawn letting the “undocumented” know that they were free to come in and have a snack and watch some TV.

        In the end it seems like Tia wants to keep illegal aliens (and everyone else with her no growth stance) out of Davis and force the (mostly poor) in the border communities to deal with (and pay for) the problems that result in having an increase in law breakers with no money.

        1. Tia Will

          South of Davis

          “Correct me if I am wrong but it seems like in the past Tia has said she wants MORE government programs to make people dependent not LESS government programs that make people self-sufficient?”

          I am happy to correct you. I have never said nor implied that I want more government program “to make people dependent”. What I have said repeatedly is that I want government programs that will provide the same kind of assistance that was provided to me. It was this assistance that allowed me to obtain my education and build a comfortable life style for myself and my children. I see these kinds of programs as promoting self sufficiency, not dependence and I consider myself an example of how this can pay off, not only for the individual but for the society as a whole. It is an investment, not a give away.

          As for the comment about my home, a snack and TV, I have offered all of the same at one time or another to those in need. I really don’t see how the sarcasm bolsters your position.

          As I have also stated in the past, I have no objection to those who are in real need being offered low cost ( or in the case of the children , free) housing in Davis and would indeed be willing to help defray the cost. What I do not think we need more of are upper middle class homes of which I believe we have plenty.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        But our Founding Fathers established that our Rights are given to us by our Creator: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

        Yes, she seems to have a contradiction between her Open Borders stance, and No Growth for Davis stance. Imagine how she’d feel if we put Section 8 housing in North and West Davis?

  11. wdf1

    J.B.: At present the U.S. education system is still decentralized enough that you can find thousands of school systems and school campuses trying all kinds of things to point to in support of your ideas, but your essay lacks any supportive research. Instead it is a personal vision based on personal perspective and unfortunately not grounded in something that we can all point to and say, “Wow. Now, he’s really on to something.”

    Internet courses, MOOCs, colleges and instruction are available right now. Rather than talk about an imaginary future, why not enroll yourself into one of these programs and then review it for us? Or as a parent who believes so strongly that the status quo (whatever that maybe) in education is broken, why not convince your sons to enroll in such a program and come back and report to us how superior their experience was to the hell you went through personally in sitting through the boring lectures you describe?

    How about this one, just because it has been in the news recently? That would be putting your money where your mouth is.

    Personally, I think technology will be an additional tool that educators will incorporate into their craft, but I doubt that it will replace teachers the way that you hope. Books didn’t replace teachers when the printing press was invented, nor did videos. Instead teachers incorporated books and videos into their pedagogical arsenal.

    Completion rates of MOOCs are pretty disappointing. source, another source

  12. wdf1

    J.B.: At present the U.S. education system is still decentralized enough that you can find thousands of school systems and school campuses trying all kinds of things to point to in support of your ideas, but your essay lacks any supportive research. Instead it is a personal vision based on personal perspective and unfortunately not grounded in something that we can all point to and say, “Wow. Now, he’s really on to something.”

    Internet courses, MOOCs, online colleges and instruction are available right now. Rather than talk about an imaginary future, why not enroll yourself into one of these programs and then review it for us? Or as a parent who believes so strongly that the status quo (whatever that maybe) in education is broken, why not convince your sons to enroll in such a program and come back and report to us how superior their experience was to the hell you went through personally in sitting through the boring lectures you describe?

    How about this one, just because it has been in the news recently? That would be putting your money where your mouth is.

    Personally, I think technology will be an additional tool that educators will incorporate into their craft, but I doubt that it will replace teachers the way that you hope. Books didn’t replace teachers when the printing press was invented, nor did videos. Instead teachers incorporated books and videos into their pedagogical arsenal.

    Completion rates of MOOCs are pretty disappointing. source, another source

  13. Don Shor

    We do this by directing our government to stop spending so much on entitlements and expanded safety nets, and instead direct resources into things that help grow the economy.

    I think it was Ronald Reagan who first used the term ‘entitlements’ to refer to our social insurance policies of Social Security and Medicare. Taken literally, there is nothing wrong with the term; in fact, recipients are ‘entitled’ to their benefits by virtue of age or disability after having paid into the programs during their working years. But as with so much rhetoric of that time, Reagan knew that the term had a pejorative meaning as well: that people felt ‘entitled’ to income from the government, and it was his core philosophy that government was harmful.
    So just to clarify: you are advocating that ‘our government’ spend less on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid?
    “Social safety nets” are programs to keep the poor above a certain poverty level. They are food programs, subsidies for home heating oil, fee waivers for schools and transit, Head Start, scholarships, interventions and support after natural disasters, and more.
    The impact of reducing these programs depends, of course, on how severely you want to cut them. So I guess I’d need to know what you mean by “so much.”

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      How about we investigate fraud with disability applications, which have gone through the roof?

      And go back to Bill Clinton’s welfare reform, which worked well?

  14. Tia Will

    “which have gone through the roof?”

    Please define “through the roof” with sources. This sound very much like the mythical voter fraud argument for

      1. Barack Palin

        Liberals don’t think there’s any voter fraud, I can’t blame them for feeling that way because they’re the beneficiaries of the fraud.

          1. Barack Palin

            And you knew this woman at the Voter’s registrar’s office was a Republican because? Do they tell everyone their political affiliation when they are registering someone?

          2. Barack Palin

            I tend to not believe stories like this. I feel they’re made up to try and make a fake point.

          3. D.D.

            BP
            A person who was working on a campaign with me recognized the woman and knew she was a conservative Republican because she spoke (outside of work) about her tea-partyish opinions. She hassled me quite a bit about the homeless woman. I wrote it all down in my campaign journal I kept. I don’t know is she still works for Yolo County. It was a few years ago.
            Re: fraud, you realize that Al Gore should be referred to as President Gore, right? He won the election, not Bush…Republican voter fraud that benefitted conservatives, not liberals.

          4. Barack Palin

            Haha, now a “conservative” Replublican and with “Tea Party” opinions. I’m surprised that you didn’t throw in that she belonged to the KKK too.

            Yeah right, I believe you.

          5. D.D.

            “I tend to not believe stories like this. I feel they’re made up to try and make a fake point.”

            Re: your claim about the U.K.:”…I was going off the top of my head and I was wrong…”

            Apology accepted. I won’t mention it again.

        1. D.D.

          B.P., Still waiting for you to back up your statement that the U.K. has the HIGHEST crime rate in th WORLD. (To refresh your memory, you were trying to establish why the gun policies in the U.K. do not work.)

          1. Barack Palin

            Okay Don, just want to know that I can respond and not get deleted.

            “According to the FBI, there were 1.2 million violent crimes committed in the US during 2011. FBI — Violent Crime

            According to the UK government, there were 1.94 million violent crimes in the UK during 2011. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_296191.pdf

            There are almost exactly five times as many people in the US as in the UK – 314 million vs. 63 million. The violent crime rate in the UK is 3,100 per 100,000, and in the US it is 380 per 100,000 population.”

            I was going off the top of my head and I was wrong that the UK has the highest crime in the world. I knew they had a high violent crime rate and a few years ago they used to be the highest among the industrialised nations, but that being said they still have a very high violent crime rate.

          2. TrueBlueDevil

            Are you guys serious? Have you seen the murder rate in South Africa? … all we hear about is Nelson Mandela, but that place crime wise is a disaster.

            That said, the independent movie Searching for Sugarman is a MUST SEE.

  15. Jeff Boone

    Interesting reading in the commentary.

    One of my takeaways here is that some people put social issues above economic issues. For example, they dismiss the loss of opportunities for growing individual prosperity and the growing economic difficulty we are leaving our children and future generations by pointing backwards to a time when white males were more likely to dominate the economy and power structures. Never mind the sexism and racism contained within that mindset, it still begs the challenge of means justifying the end.

    Like many compassionate fiscal conservatives, my view is that these people pushing a social justice agenda with an obvious vendetta against white males, are at worst a hazard that must be controlled, and at best are just missing the bigger picture.

    That bigger picture being that economics is the means to most of the ends they claim to desire.

    The trick in recognizing a credible historical argument in the debate is the trend line.

    The trend line for women, minorities, the environment… basically all the social justice equality demands… has been on a steady improvement trend. In fact the trend line for women is such that we might have gone too far in that their gains now appear to be coming at the direct expense of men. But in any case, people that continue to point back to a past time where things were worse for women, minorities and the environment… well let’s just say that I have had enough human psychology training to recognize the emotional dysfunction or cognitive dissonance… either this or it is just a political method documented in “Rules for Radicals” to skip truth and nuance and continue repeating the thing until enough believe it to be true. But in case, it is impossible to hold these arguments as credible.

    The point of this article was that the economic trend like for young people and future generations is on a steep downward trend.

    My worldview is that economic well-being solves most of our social justice problems. And I think this is non argumentative. The debate should not be this or the other. The debate should be this and what else.

    Justifying so much current and future economic damage to young people and future generations just because of our history of social justice is… well… not a good thing. I can’t help but see this as a position to be shamed.

    How about we live in the present and only consider history of a reference for where we have been and where we are going? If we are so unable to celebrate our gains, then there is little incentive for people to support additional improvements at the expense of other things.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Jeff, great points, well put. I recently sat with two female lawyers, both graduates of top-10 law schools, and both have had 20+ year careers in law, but the focus was often on how unjust society was, the one percenters. It was very ironic.

      BTW, the reason that Cesar Chavez and Barbara Jordan were against illegal immigration (and sometimes legal immigration) was because of how it hurt recent immigrants and minority communities.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          That is a generalization. Blue collar men have been shown to help far more, which I saw in my family, but several well-educated individuals sure knew how to flap their lips for minimal contribution (in my family).

          Men also tend to work more hours, take higher risk jobs, and put in more overtime and are willing to commute more, so those factors weigh in to the equation. The bigger the wage gap, the less work they generally do at home.

          American houses, in general, are less clean that they were 30-40 years ago, at least I think I heard a radio program on that topic. Less stay-at-home Moms, and more work-time pressure.

          I’ve also personally seen a monumental reluctance on modern parents to have children do chores. It seems like many parents prefer to be friends, rather than parents. There seem to be a lot more spoiled kids today gazing at their navels (or iPhones).

          It would also be interesting to see in these calculations on housework if they add in yard work, cleaning gutters, washing the car, and general household maintenance.

          1. D.D.

            Vicki Smith at UCD has done a lot of research re: work. You may want to google her name, Chair of Sociology Dept. at UCD, and become enlightened.

    2. D.D.

      “the trend line for women is such that we might have gone too far in that their gains now appear to be coming at the direct expense of men. ”

      Not really. Women may have had a slight advantage when computers replaced IBM Selectrics because women knew how to do data input faster than most men, (Many men didn’t know how to type quickly & needed to learn the keyboard on a computer.) But otherwise, your sentence is just not proven.

      1. Matt Williams

        This is a pure and simple situation of differing persectives depending on whose ox is being gored. Jeff sees it from the present day perspective of the goring of the males of the species, and you see it from the slightly less recent perspective of the goring of the females of the species.

        Off topic: my sister-in-law and brother had coffee this morning at Epic. Do you ever go there for morning coffee?

          1. D.D.

            I know a woman who is a school teacher in the bay area. Her slightly older cop husband retired, yet she still does the majority of their chores. I know a woman who works full time, many weeks over 40 hours, in Sacramento whose husband was laid off. He didn’t even pick the children up from school, let alone prepare dinner for his wife. He was not spending 8 hours job hunting, either. They wound up getting divorced. The majority of women in America do the majority of the housekeeping. These are not two unique anecdotes.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Educated men and women still do OK.

        It is blue collar men who have been hammered in the new economy, and have been hammered by 30-40 million illegal immigrants. I’m sure if we let in 5-10 million illegal immigrants who were doctors and lawyer and journalists, who would work for 1/2 the going rate, or less, we’d hear all about it.

        1. Tia Will

          TBD

          “It is blue collar men who have been hammered in the new economy”

          Since blue collar woman have also had a hard time since the recession, I am wondering how you reconcile this ( if you do) with Jeff’s frequent assertion that if their employer does not cover their needed medical care, they can just go out and find another job. Obviously not possible if their are no jobs to be found regardless of whom you believe to be responsible for that situation.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            I can’t speak for Jeff. When a carpenter working for a licensed General Contractor is billed at $95 per hour (wages, benefits, workers comp, overhead, etc.), but a moderate level illegal immigrants can be hired for $15 or $20 per hour, the American blue collar worker is often screwed.

            Whether there are 30 or 45 million illegal immigrants, that ready supply of labor is impossible to ignore. The Supply curve has been blown out, and many General Contractors will chose the compliant, young, strong, and cheap worker over the experienced, sometime a bit worn, often older and less strong American worker.

            The negative consequences are also sometimes far out … the fence that starts to look like hell in 4 years, or the hillside that starts to collapse around a multi-million dollar home because the dirt wasn’t compacted to the proper requirements. I have seen these first-hand.

            A friend had to go back to the midwest because he couldn’t make it here. He lost his county job when he busted someone with a marijuana grow; weeks later a female relative of said grower claimed sexual harassment. He was buried with legal paperwork, the union screwed with him, and he was gone. He then fell back to carpentry, but even customers in wealthy areas would give him a beef over $20 an hour, on holiday weekends. By the time he got a lawyer pro bono to file an appeal, the statute of limitations had run out. The grower took a plea deal on two felonies. And my single-father friend went back to the midwest where he continues to struggle.

            I should also add that the meth problem in some white communities has also led to this complex problem. And some employers, due to the massive labor pool, feel emboldened to ask workers to work longer hours, weekends, and such.

            Yes, this issue also affects American women, but more in the pink collar jobs (from what I have seen). A Davis professor 15 or so years ago did a study which found that illegal immigrants displaced hotel maids who were largely African American women. It cut their wages by 30 or 40 percent, and the hotels no longer had to pay health benefits. His name slips me … was it Matlock? … I think he also spoke fluent Mandarin … he brought this up because when his research brought up unpleasant facts, he of coarse was called a racist by some.

        2. D.D.

          It is my experience in Arizona that the brown skinned workers show up early, call you
          “sir” or “ma’am”, take their jobs seriously, and give you a very accurate estimate for the work they will do. The white workers did not show up at my home on two separate occasions, had the estimate for work incorrect, and delivered the wrong colored items. They did not even apologize, they made excuses. They took more breaks, did not finish on time, and never once called me ma’am. They immediately got overly familiar with me and called me by my first name, or ignored me altogether & would not admit when they made a mistake. They mostly did the bare minimum, and their work was sloppy, too. I have discussed this problem with other people from Arizona, and their anecdotes were all similar. The brown-skinned work twice as hard and are way more professional and polite. Their work ethic , job references, and quality product were the reasons I hired them, not their price.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            Summation

            Brown = good
            White = bad

            And I can give you anecdotes about “Sancho” behavior by Latino men. But I would add that it is not common, and takes some fluency in Spanish and slang to sometimes pick up.

            The African-American locksmith I hired yesterday showed up five minutes early, a Greek-American plumber was early, and a Mexican-American electrical was 15 minutes late, which I consider on time in California (traffic, distance).

            I would generalize that young people today seem to generally have a poorer work ethic. I think this is driven by enabling parents, liberalism, family handouts (why get a job?), lack of role models, and the iPhone / social media. Yesterday I prodded two young boys to help their mother bus their table at Taco Bell. The Mom was caught between liking my input, to also being a bit angry that I had to help teach her how to parent. The look on her face was priceless.

          2. Don Shor

            I would generalize that young people today seem to generally have a poorer work ethic.

            I hire young people. I’ve been doing so for three decades. I disagree with your generalization about young people ‘today’, nor was it true of young people in the 1980’s, 90’s, or 2000’s. Also, perhaps you should stop meddling in what other families are doing in Taco Bell.

          3. D.D.

            I apologize. “Most”, not all. Only have my own experience with hiring contractors and “handy men” in California and Arizona. Have no hard data on this. Just my own personal experience.

    3. Don Shor

      I think this is your key point:

      My worldview is that economic well-being solves most of our social justice problems.

      So it is important to grow the economy to help correct social justice issues. But that would depend, I think, on how the gains from a growing economy are distributed.
      From the NY Times, citing the Piketty book Jim Frame referred to earlier (which I haven’t read):

      In 2010, as the nation continued to recover from the recession, a dizzying 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 — $288 billion — went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households.

      Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent.

      The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Thank President Obama for enriching the upper one percent even more. Quite ironic, eh?

        His Fed gives Billions to banks at a zero percent interest rate, and then if they don’t use or invest it, the Fed buys it back at a 2% rate. Zero risk, 2% gain. So who benefits from that? Investment bankers, hedge funds (like the Clinton’s son-in-law), Wall Street.

        On the flip side, if they take risky or super risky investments and take a bath, then Obama will bail them out again. So it’s all a win-win-win for them.

        Obama’s economic policies have been a disaster. His stimulus failed, we may have another gov’t created housing bubble, and this is the slowest recovery out of a recession we’ve ever had.

        1. Don Shor

          I’m pretty sure the Fed Chair was appointed by two different presidents, and the bailouts were bipartisan, but don’t let me get in the way of a good rant.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            A $900 Billion Stimulus was Obama’s idea (crafted by Nancy Pelosi), and $1.5 Trillion debts every year are also the fruit of Obama.

      2. Jeff Boone

        Sigh… I wish you people had taken more economics and finance classes in college.

        There is capital out there. And capital naturally seeks a return. Government policies have made it less attractive to invest capital in new business starts and in business growth… they very thing that creates jobs and career opportunities for labor. Instead, capital is going into real estate and the investment banking markets. And so those with capital are making a return on those things without the trickle down to workers.

        If you want to improve the economic prospects for people lacking capital to invest in real estate or the stock market, then advocate to shift government policy to making it more attractive for capital to flow to business starts and business expansion instead of what we currently see… the exact opposite.

        1. Don Shor

          So all they need is to change tax policy so that business investment is more lucrative than the other markets. Sure, make it a revenue-neutral tax policy change and I bet you could get it through Congress in, oh, about ten years.

          1. Jeff Boone

            Lower tax rates on business, and reduce regulatory expense on business.

            Also direct more government money toward supporting/assisting business expansion that truly creates jobs primarily and secondarily.

            Reduce in incentives for capital investment in other things.

            But do it all at the same time as a job-creation incentives act.

            If Romney had been elected in 2012 along with a GOP Senate and House, this would have likely been done by now.

            But then libs would have been out of their heads screaming about global warming and unfairness in taxation.

            Which then gets us full circle to the point that libs will prevent the real solution if it conflicts with their ideology.

          2. Don Shor

            If it’s deficit-neutral, you can probably get it done when Hilary’s elected. There are Democrats who would vote for it. The progressive caucus doesn’t control the Democrats. Where I see it bogging down, though, would be if anything at all is perceived as a tax increase in order to make it revenue-neutral. How likely would that be to get by Grover Norquist and the Tea Party base of the GOP?

          3. Jeff Boone

            Actually – the Democrats should be the ones to do this, because the GOP is supposed to be too far in bed with the investment banking industry.

            Wait… oh it is the Democrats that are really in bed with the investment banking industry, and they like capital being directed away from main street where the jobs are created… and the libs support this too because business hurts the environment.

            So, if you are poor and unhappy that you cannot find a good-paying job, it is the GOP and main street business that is at fault.

            Right.

          4. Don Shor

            Actually – the Democrats should be the ones to do this, because the GOP is supposed to be too far in bed with the investment banking industry.

            Wait… oh it is the Democrats that are really in bed with the investment banking industry,

            I’m pretty sure both parties are.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Ronald Reagan and Paul Volker’s plans led to 700,000 new jobs – a month – for a while. The economy was screaming!

          Revenues also skyrocketed, but the budget cuts promised by Tip O’Neil to Reagan never materialized.

    4. D.D.

      people pushing a social justice agenda with an obvious vendetta against white males,

      I promise I’ll stop writing like I understand anything about white male if you promise you will stop writing about women, since you are not a woman. Write about what you personally know about: being a man in America.

      1. Jeff Boone

        I don’t see that as being helpful.

        Instead, why don’t we just focus on the present and future with the past only as a reference, instead of continuing to dredge up the past like it is the present and future.

        1. D.D.

          Jeff. it would be very helpful. Until you stop writing about women like you understand women, it will be difficult to take your writing seriously.
          I fully admit I have no clue how the male mind works. You need to admit the same.

  16. D.D.

    “why are we requiring them to sit still in a seat for 7 hours per day listening to a boring lecture on subjects they will most likely never use and will soon forget?”

    Teachers, out there – care to comment? Davis High?

    1. Don Shor

      It’s clearly been a long time since Jeff Boone was in a classroom. We’ve posted examples repeatedly, on other threads, about use of technology in Davis schools, about the many options available in good school districts, but he chooses to ignore that educational practices have changed.

      1. Mark West

        Really? I will wait and see once the younger kids get to Jr. High and High School, but as far as the Elementary Schools are concerned there is no significant difference between the educational practices at Valley Oak in the Mid ’90s and North Davis today. Actually that is not true, Valley Oak had a much better program for English language learners.

        The teachers today do use wireless microphones so they can be heard without yelling, but that probably isn’t what you are referring too when you mentioned the use of technology.

        1. Don Shor

          I was largely referring to the upper grades with reference to technology. I seriously doubt that interactive learning modules are appropriate to most K – 6 students. Computers and college interns — the Jeff Boone model for higher learning — won’t be replacing elementary school teachers any time soon, IMO.
          I do know that when my kids were at Valley Oak in the 90’s, they didn’t “sit still in a seat for 7 hours per day listening to a boring lecture,” at least not during the times that I was in the classroom helping as a parent volunteer.
          My kids got great educations in DJUSD. Jeff’s, apparently, didn’t.

        2. wdf1

          Mark West: Actually that is not true, Valley Oak had a much better program for English language learners.

          How do you know that? Did you have kids who used EL programs?

          1. Mark West

            I was Chair of the VO Site Council while my older children were in school there. I was very aware of the programs that they had in place for teaching reading for all students, and particularly the English Language learners. It was a very diverse student body at the time, and they had selected a multi-lingual staff to deal with it.

          2. Don Shor

            I was very unhappy about the closing of Valley Oak, argued vigorously against it on the Vanguard at the time, and wish the district had allowed them to try the charter proposal. That whole thing was a fiasco. It was one of the best schools in the district, serving a very diverse student body. My kids really benefited from having gone there.

          3. wdf1

            Don Shor: I was very unhappy about the closing of Valley Oak,…

            Davis passed Measure J in March 2000. By that point, DJUSD committed to its last bond measure (Measure K) to go up for a vote in May 2000. Measure K passed with 85% of the vote. It was a situation where the Davis electorate wanted very limited development, but they also wanted to see the remaining two elementary schools built. It was at least one elementary too many.

          4. Don Shor

            As you and I discussed at the time, from different viewpoints, the district’s enrollment projections were very inaccurate. They had other options than closing Valley Oak. The Best Uses Task Force had, in my opinion, a pre-determined outcome (closure), got skewed data that they didn’t dig deeper into, and went with the easiest option. Much to the detriment of the East Davis neighborhood that was served by Valley Oak and to the detriment of the district as a whole. It was a bad, poorly made decision.
            All of our discussions are right here on the Vanguard in the archives. To put it bluntly, I disagree with your very facile assessment. I was very much involved with their projection problems over the years, and had previously had a strong personal stake in that process.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        What happened to reading, writing, and arithmatic?

        California used to be number one in education, now what are we .. 48, 49, 50? All of these newfangled ideas have worked so darn well (sarcasm) the past 3 decades. Technology is going to teach kids. Really? Technology is a too – parents, students, and teachers impart knowledge, not iPads in LAUSD … btw, the teacher I know in LAUSD just uses her school-provided iPad to surf TMZ. Really.

        I heard on the radio that LAUSD supposedly has a 60% dropout rate for students of color … I’m sure ‘whole math’ helped with that.

        No shop, no PE, no cursive writing, limited English skills, and adept at playing the victim card. Not a good recipe. Thank goodness school districts like DJUSD, Palo Alto, and others (and families) will still turn out some top-notch students.

        1. wdf1

          TBD: I heard on the radio that LAUSD supposedly has a 60% dropout rate for students of color …

          Which radio station/show were you listening to?

          This is not a difficult statement to verify or reject.

          Link

          I’m sure ‘whole math’ helped with that.

          What’s “whole math”? (a serious question)

          What happened to reading, writing, and arithmatic?

          That’s all going strong. The better question is what happened to everything else?

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            I think it may be a little more complex than what you communicate. LAUSD had changed the requirements on how they expel students, allowing multiple suspensions and more unruly behavior. I have mixed feelings on the topic, it is valuable to keep kids in school, but at what cost?

            Ironically, with the reported increase in graduation rates at LAUSD, if it is true, then we’d have clear evidence that No Child Left Behind was successful. Yet we’re not pulling it for the unproven cluster called Common Core.

            This study showed that approximately 60% of African and Latino American students don’t complete the LAUSD A-G requirements. (2012)

            https://csulb-dspace.calstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10211.14/6/Erika%20R%20Gonzalez.pdf?sequence=1

            Standards and class requirements may also have been lowered.

            http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/04/29/Increase-in-High-School-Graduation%20Rates-Raise-Questions

          2. wdf1

            TBD: This study showed that approximately 60% of African and Latino American students don’t complete the LAUSD A-G requirements. (2012)

            I appreciate when you cite your sources, because at least we can point to something and note differing interpretations. What are A-G requirements? Here’s the answer from your first citation:

            The A-G Requirement consists of courses formulated by California’s University system. These courses are required for high school students to complete in order to attend a University of California (UC) or a
            California State University (CSU). In addition, they are also required to
            graduate from any LAUSD high school. The A-G Requirement consists
            of seven subcategories that need to be fulfilled in a specific timeframe.
            These are outlined in the University of California A-G Guide: (a)
            History/Social Science—2 years; (b) English—4 years; (c) 53
            Mathematics—3-4 years; (d) Lab Science—2 years; (e) Language other
            than English—4 years; (f) Visual/ Performing Arts—1 year; and (g)
            College Elective—1 year. These subcategories total 15 courses that need
            to be passed with at least a C or better.

            According to the A-G Requirement Guide, once completed, these
            courses should provide the critical and study skills that are necessary in
            the first academic year in a UC/ or CSU. For LAUSD the A-G
            Requirement is considered to be one of nine educational building blocks
            (Lopez, Rickles, & Valdez, 2008) and serve to prepare students during
            and after high school. LAUSD adopted the A-G in 2005 as a high school
            graduation requirement with the purpose of closing the achievement gap
            that exists among African American and Latino/Hispanic high school
            students (LAUSD Policy Bulletin, 2006).

            So the follow up question I have for you is, does it make sense to require every single student to be ready to go to a four-year college by roughly age 18?

          3. wdf1

            For reference, DHS (and DJUSD) does not require A-G for its graduates but it does make all the courses available, and I think a majority of graduates finish with A-G requirements.

          4. wdf1

            TBD: Ironically, with the reported increase in graduation rates at LAUSD, if it is true, then we’d have clear evidence that No Child Left Behind was successful.

            So now you’re celebrating a better graduation rate at LAUSD as clear evidence that NCLB is successful?

            The specific goal of NCLB was to have *all* children proficient or above in math and English Language Arts as defined by standardized test scores by the 2013-14 school year. That didn’t happen.

            Calculating dropout/graduation rates is more of a state effort. For years there wasn’t a standard definition of how to measure dropout rates. Now it is typically a measure of the 9th grade class cohort vs. that same cohort four years later in 12th grade.

            Another problem is tracking where students go if they leave a school. Do they really dropout? or do they enroll elsewhere? That was impossible to figure out until recent years when the state implemented statewide tracking of individual students, and could track if a student left one school and entered another. I see less conneciton with NCLB on this.

      3. D.D.

        I tend to agree with Jeff. Davis hHigh frequently lines up the chairs in the classroom in a manner where the students are sitting in a room for many hours staring at a teacher standing in front. DaVince has students sitting in a room in a circle, watching one of their peers giving a presentation.
        I would highly recommend DaVinci.
        DaVinci takes bullying more seriously, too. Positively.

        1. wdf1

          D.D.: Davis hHigh frequently lines up the chairs in the classroom in a manner where the students are sitting in a room for many hours staring at a teacher standing in front.

          I take issue with that being a broad brush generalization of DHS classes. I agree that there are some classes where it feels like what you describe. But I have seen a plenty of teachers (my sitting in on classes) where the teacher introduces a concept for 10-15 minutes, then has students work in groups or individually on questions or problems for a while, then comes back to lead the class in having students share results. I think many teachers are aware of the student experience of a “boring lecture” and do a number of things to break it up. There are other ways apart from what I describe.

          And there is Da Vinci and Independent Study for families who decide that those are better options, plus there are hybrid schedules, where DV and DSIS take most of their course work in their “homes school” then go to DHS for program that are otherwise unavailable — performing arts, athletics, CTE.

  17. Tia Will

    Mark West

    “In perpetuity has a pretty clear meaning Tia.”

    I agree that the dictionary meaning is very clear.

    “our Founding Fathers established that our Rights are given to us by our Creator: ” as posted by TBD

    I also agree that the dictionary meaning of the word “Creator” is quite clear. That does not mean that all of the founding fathers actually believed that there is a “Creator”. Some of the most prominent of these gentlemen were not theists. Words and their contexts and meanings are frequently re interpreted by future generations to suit their own purposes.

    1. Jeff Boone

      The Kahn Academy is one of many business models developing new instruction delivery technology that will revolutionize education within a decade.

      See here for significant efforts in higher learning that will end up being the early adopters of this next generation education technology:

      http://online.wsj.com/articles/at-purdue-a-case-study-in-cost-cuts-1406326502

      There is no doubt he will be targeted by the education status quo for doing the right things.

      1. wdf1

        Jeff Boone: The Kahn Academy is one of many business models developing new instruction delivery technology that will revolutionize education within a decade.

        Yeah, but I think you’re behind in appreciating how Kahn Academy technology is already being used. My kid’s teacher included Kahn Academy links in her communications with parents during this past school year. Kahn Academy will improve instruction delivery perhaps in some ways like the way that the printing press improved instruction delivery. Much appreciated. It didn’t replace a teacher, but augmented what a teacher was able to offer.

        What you very much desire is to be able to reduce the number of credentialed teachers that are employed. You are like a businessman who doesn’t understand education professionally, and that’s unfortunate.

        You hope that you can automate the delivery, perhaps by planting a kid in front of a screen all day and that will somehow replace a teacher, at least with a lower cost university student, sort of the way that parents park their kids in front of the TV to get some relief from the duties of immediate supervision. In earlier days in a similar way, I’m sure some enterprising businessman suggested that we could have a room full of 100 kids reading their lesson for the day and not have to deal with paying the salary of three to four teachers.

        What’s missing in your thinking is fuller recognition of the social component of education. A good teacher knows how to insert him/herself into classroom interactions at appropriate times to encourage, challenge, model, reprimand, validate, redirect, etc. Even my adolescent kids have shown signs of missing school by late summer, not just because they miss their classmates, but they want some different kind of adult interaction than what comes from me, their mom, and their neighbors.

        If you can design a fully functional and convincing human robot capable of doing most of the things parents are required in raising their kids, then you may have found a technology that is fully capable of replacing a teacher. But then that would bring us to another question. If robots could do all that, then what are humans for?

        1. D.D.

          I think it may not replace a teacher, but it will give kids another view point if they don’t like their teacher. Personalities and teaching styles are so varied. Sometimes a student just doesn’t click with a certain teacher. The Kahn videos give kids an option.

        2. D.D.

          Re: teacher replacement: It has been my personal experience with teachers that some seem so harsh and unhappy that they instilled a negative view of learning, rather than a love and wonder and curiosity. Fortunately, other teachers just exuded passion and positivity.

      2. wdf1

        From your article on Mitch Daniels:

        Soon after taking over as president, faculty questioned his commitment to academic freedom over emails he sent as governor lambasting leftist historian Howard Zinn and asking if his books were being taught in Indiana. Instead of backing off, Mr. Daniels doubled down on his criticism of Mr. Zinn’s writings. Campus protests ensued.

        A few months later, Mr. Daniels kicked up a second dust storm by using a university plane to fly to a conservative conference. After this blowup, he promised to steer clear of partisan politics during the rest of his tenure as president.

        1. Tia Will

          “he promised to steer clear of partisan politics during the rest of his tenure as…”

          Now if we could only get such a promise from the Supreme Court justices.

          1. Barack Palin

            Yes, I agree, I wish the four liberal justices would make their rulings using Constitutional law instead of always letting their politics play into their decisions.

          2. Matt Williams

            Okay BP I will bite, what recent decisions do you think were not made on the basis of Constitutional Law?

            BTW, I think this topic sounds like it has a lot of “Barack Palin article” potential. I’m looking forward to publishing your first submission.

  18. D.D.

    Gee, two felonies for growing pot. I feel so much safer now, knowing all those horribly dangerous pot growers in northern california are behind bars. Whew. I can really sleep better now.
    Any woman who falsely accuses a man of sexual harassment to get even with him should be arrested, IMHO. She ruins it for all the women who are truly sexually harassed. She makes it that much more difficult for women to be believed.

  19. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    “but I have never heard you pointing out bias against men”

    Really ? Then I guess you didn’t read the second paragraph of my post the point of which was that I stood up to our administrative team and said that it was unacceptable to discriminate against men when hiring. I also guess that you may not have read my other references to this on past threads, or to my multiple statements that I believe that human beings should be treated equally regardless of their gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual preference, skin color, socioeconomic group….. pick any discriminatory factor that we use to divide ourselves into tribes in order to gain.
    advantage over “the other”.

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