Monday, April 20, 2009

Thoughts on Disciplinary Actions of Schools

Some of you may have heard about the now college student girl who was strip searched by school officials when she was in middle school(click here for news article). Her case is getting ready to be heard by the Supreme Court and I'm very interested in it's outcome.

My interest stems from what the verdict may possibly mean for discipline in schools. What are the lines that schools can't cross and how would they allow unruly behavior to either go rampant or remain in check?

It seems to me that everyone calls for a tougher school system, until its their child caught doing crap and has to be dealt with. Unfortunately, I see this continuing for quite a while because lets face it - people are simply raising assholes.

Yes, thats right - people are raising asshole children. Now before everyone gets up in arms, lets look at some examples:

The student who got the girl in trouble in the afore-mentioned case by lying about where she got her pills from - an asshole.

The students I've mentioned in some of my previous posts (here and here are doozies) - all assholes. Grade A assholes because I have to live with them.

So there, prime evidence. Be aware though that this isn't to say that every child adheres to such standards of asshole-dom, it is merely to say that as a culture, we are raising some wicked evil things.

Now, if the parents are indeed doing this, what could possibly have a chance at correcting such behaviors from roaming the streets, night and day infecting the younger masses and effectively making them our future liabilities. Schools are the answer - they are the second line of defence when the parents right out fail at these things.

However, I've noticed that most educator's hands are tied. One can't do this and one can't do that - all of it makes for a very bad environment to learn. And the reason this happens is because the limits on disciplie makes it non-existent - like I said before, parents and others alike call for a stronger staff and rules to prevent extreme incidents - school shootings perhaps? - yet they are the first to call fowl when the crap hits their door step.

I see this case as the big one that will set the stage for the next wave of disciplinary reforms to come. This will either make it so that schools will do their job or make it so that things become worst. I personally advocate for a system that downright forces parents to see their child for what the really are and take action accordingly along side of the school - that way, no one can dear point fingers at another party due to the fact that all hands were involved*.

Of course, all of this really makes me question what am I going to do in regard to my own children's education. It seriously makes homeschooling look like a positive alternative.

*And even this will cause its own problems. "YOU can't tell me how to raise my child!" type rhetoric and crap. ::sighs::

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Damn Tea Baggers

Can someone please tell me what these tea baggers actually want? I get the whole "governement extravagant spending" argument, but this seems a little too late for such things. Where the hell were they these past eight years? I really just can't comprehend what they're after.

I do however see this as a potential horse for the now debunked Republican Party to ride back in favor with the populous mentality. For some odd reason this country has a way of seeing some random, foolish as all hell school of thought rise up from obscurity and bite the rest of us in the arse - this is that next random, foolish as all hell school of thought. Lucky, some of us has been able to identify it for what it really is - but I fear it may be too late. I see it has been able to take root and it isn't dying (judging by the fact I'm still seeing this crap on my television screen). I'm quickly becoming fed up with the Republicans running around like chickens with no heads, attempting to rebuild their fallen throne. If they are allowed to, they will make this nonsense their core of their revival movement - a core that may be even more convoluted than it before all of this mess.

So I make this plead: Can someone please, in great detail, explain to me the premise of tea bagging? What is hoped to be accomplished and what are the fundamental ideas behind it. Maybe then I can come to understand the - most likely flawed - rationale fueling my latest political headache.

And by the way - the Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation and now you lot have taxation with representation, so how is tea bagging the most effective effort to your clause?

The Proposed Rail Network

There has been some talk lately about Obama's plans to create a rail network, allowing travel across America to become easier. I, for one, really like this idea. Whenever I travel its either by car or by plane so if this makes a third possible mode of transportation more accessible and worthwhile for longer distances trips, I'm all for it. Here is a map of what lines are being proposed:

The one thing I've noticed is a lot of grey area where there isn't any rail. Does this mean that the towns in those areas are out of luck and will have to stick to transportation now readily available to them? Wouldn't the best thing to do be to set up smaller scale systems that interact with the overall national grid?

Another issue of mine is how these rails would either utilize or cooperate with existing railroads, namely tracks that aren't in use anymore. I would like to see tracks that are just lying around be taken up and used for this project - for example, there are some rails here in New York that I've yet to see in 18 years have a train of any sort on them. It would be nice to see them used for something rather than remain ignored during all of this development.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thoughts on Potential Majors

Lately, I've been going through the Susquehanna course books to familiarize myself with whats offered. With a highlighter in hand, I burned through the book looking at fields of study that interest me. This post will be a nice little pros and cons list of each possible area.

Pros: Fell in love with it ever since I took an Intro to Sociology class at Hunter. The one thing I'm sure I'm going to study in college.

Cons: I always asked the question "What does one do with Sociology after college?". Now I have a better understand of what the answer is, but its still not clear. Also, I'll most likely *have* to do a Master's in this field before I can get to the good jobs.

Pros: Cognitive Science has always been a thing of beauty to me.

Cons: It can be a bit 'clinical' at times. I don't care for that.

Political Science
Pros: I enjoy politics...
Cons: ...not enough to actually major in it though. Though, those political circles would be great to get into.

Computer Science
Pros: Computers are my life. Its what I have the most experience in and one of the things I enjoy most.

Cons: CALCULUS - I have a thing against math. Plus I have to keep in mind my GPA (Honors program mandates that it can't drop below 3.4). Also, I'm sorry - some of those courses sound nice but must be boring as all hell. Do I have that type of tolerance?


Pros: A language would make me an interesting threat on the market. Also, theres no Japanese at the school so French won that fight.

Cons: I was already warned that if I don't test into a certain level of French, it might be an ill-fated idea.

Susquehanna allows for the combination of two majors into one - a nice curtail to double majoring *shudders* - so at my current idea is to combine Sociology and Computer Science while minoring in French. Perhaps I'll mix match things and minor in Comp. Sci., then move French up to the combining major. After all, I do think French and Sociology would mix better and wouldn't sound as odd as Sociology and Comp. Sci. would together.

In the end, the overall element to determine it will come from my experience with the classes and the 3.4 requirement. Whatever I pick for my major/minor, I have to make sure I kick ass at it should I want to remain in the program.

Great TED Talks - A trickster's theory of everything

Way too funny.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Journey to Susquehanna

The weekend of April 3rd finally saw me at Susquehanna. My family and I squeezed into a car and made the so called three and a half hour drive to the campus in Central Pennsylvania.

I should take some time to explain what is likely to be the worst part of what is otherwise a great trip. There were nine of us in one car. 9 in 1. What had happened was I invited everyone to come because three cousins of mine are reaching the stage of college looming over one's head - the very stage that I'm emerging from. And of course, their parents had to tag along. That drive became a war for space between everyone in the backseat of the car - a battle that left my sides rather sore for some time.

After the drive through hell, both inside and outside the car - we drove in rain, fog, and sunshine. Blasted bi-polar weather - we arrived. And I was charmed over. Everyone I met was completely friendly and helpful. I truly can see myself there for four years. Just one thing of interest - Central Pennsylvania.

See, I'm not a person who has much experience with America outside of major cities - namely New York City. In the countryside we past by, the houses were so far a part. When the night falls, its actually dark. Of course there were lights here and there, but that was just a darkness of night that I'm not use to - it was reminiscent of the Caribbean. Visiting Susquehanna had showed me something that I knew, but didn't really get until I got there - there is a different way of life out in the world.

What really emphasized this was my meeting with the Sociology faculty. There was a round table in the center of the room where the faculty members and accepted students sat - I being the lone student from New York. The conversation had somehow gotten to animals other than dogs and cats and the sort running around when one of the professors had - in the most nonchalant of ways - mentioned that there was once a bear in his back yard.

At that point, my mind went blank. Bears was not something that I signed up for, especially seeing as how I can just barely stand rats*. Maybe I'd make an allowance for Winnie the Pooh type bears, but then again everyone from that series has some sort of damage**. My face must have been some sort of reflection of my thought processes at which the professor turned to one of his co-workers and said "I really wanted to see the look on his face."

But this is what going to college is all about. The whole 'getting out there and seeing new things' bit. Central Pennsylvania should be good for me.

However, so help me god should I end up staring at the teeth of a hungry bear hanging over me...

*Get it? Bear and barely? Ain't I witty...
** Really, just think about it. Pooh had an addiction, Piglet was deathly scared of just about everything, Rabbit was anal-retentive, Tigger needed Ritalin and the list goes on and on. Most important was Christopher Robbin who needed serious help for hallucinating all those characters.
I'm a very, very big fan of anything NPR/NPI/ public radio type being, and so I have to put up links to pieces that I love.

Today's selection? Bits from On The Media, April 3rd's broadcast page. I would personally suggest Darwin's in the Details, The Net Effect, and The Future Brain. Those are some seriously great pieces, well worth spending time to listen to.

Have fun.