Archive for the ‘education’ Category

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Chamber Readability

November 18, 2007

cash advance

I’m not sure what formula the site was using, but this isn’t too far from where someone would want to be when trying to reach a fairly broad audience.  The NY Times’ website, for example, gets the same rating.  For more info on readability, just google “readability”.

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What Does “American” Mean, Anyway?

June 14, 2007

 First, Harry Reid referred to 12 million “undocumented Americans“.  Watch it:

Second, the uproar! [1], [2], [3], [4], [etc.]

Then, while I was out grabbing lunch yesterday, I heard Rush Limbaugh take a call from someone (named ‘Carol’, I think) who claimed that the phrase was technically accurate.   Argument being?  Well, everyone living on the North or South American continents are “Americans”.  Rush was stunned.  In fact, he even felt he had to call the woman back (which he claimed was a first for his show).

Now, I know that Reid was probably making the characterization out of political correctness or whatever.  “Illegal aliens” just sounds so, well, threatening and mean after all.  Or, maybe he was stating in the context that these people are actually contributing to “American” life in some shape or form, but are suffering from the handicap of being ‘undocumented’.  Put that aside, and I think there is something to be said about ‘Carol’s’ argument however…

Of course, there’s the whole issue of colloquialisms and semantics.  When someone says “I’m an American”, they usually assume that you are a citizen of the USA.  But “America” (the continents) were named well before the United States existed.  Have we just monopolized the term?  I mean, someone from France is as much French as they are European, right?  Same would go for a man living in the Congo would be considered African?  Is the term “American” in use to describe a citizen of the US just an acceptable inaccuracy?  Is a Canadian really just as “American” as I am? 

Is this a silly topic for a post?  I don’t think so.  I think I could get a lot sillier.  This “American” thing gets weirder, if you really think about it.  Here we go…

A commonly accepted euphemism for a black person is “African American”, right?  But is that an accurate description of race?  I mean, it would seem a little odd from a logical point of view to call the aforementioned man from Congo an “African American”.  Even stranger would be to call a white US citizen who immigrated from South Africa the same thing, even though it would seem to be more technically accurate than the previous example. What about “Native American”?  That would refer to the group of people who can trace their lineage on the continent back to before European colonization.  That term appears to be much more logical. 

Uh oh.

Well, technically, the majority of Mexicans can make the same claim.  From a certain cultural-historical-geographical point of view, most of those 12 million illegal aliens can say that they are more “American” than I am.

So there.  That’s my silly little deep thought of the day, even if I haven’t really answered the question.

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‘Duck And Cover’ In The 21st Century

May 14, 2007

I saw this on the memeorandum page: Teachers stage fake gunman attack on sixth-graders

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) — Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

“We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said.

Now, as depressing as this sounds (the fact that such a drill would be needed at all), I think this probably makes more sense than the old ‘Duck and Cover’ drills taught in American grade schools decades ago.  I think it’s less about the actual ‘ducking and covering’ , and more about creating awareness amongst impressionable youth about the modern risks of attending school.  ‘Cause, let’s face it, we seem to have a problem with school shootings in this country

I’m not sure this would have been the best way to approach it, however.  When I was in high school, all we really had was the occasional fire drill.  The difference was, I guess, that we knew it was a drill.  Nevertheless, we did it often enough so that when that buzzer rang, the majority of us would line up like Pavlovian dogs and exit the building in an orderly manner.  That’s a good thing.  But this?  Scaring the crap out of some elementary school kids?  Good grief. 

It’s be interesting to compare how many children and faculty have been killed by fires vs. crazed gunmen.  I’m leaning toward the gunmen.  So, maybe this school had the right idea, but I think they should rethink the execution.