Filed under: Domestic Policy, Education, Freedom, Music, Politics | Tags: 13 Year-Old Musical Prodigy, DC School System Truant, Mindless Bureaucracy
Avery Gagliano has been playing the piano since she was five years old. She was a straight A student at Alice Deal Middle School, and the Jack Kent Cook Honors Scholarship recipient at the Levin School of Music. She was chosen to join 11 other musicians from around the world to play in Munich last year at the Lang Lang Foundation Junior Camp.
Avery’s parents tried to persuade the school system to excuse her travels, when she was chosen by the Foundation to tour the world as an international music ambassador. Her parents created a portfolio of her musical achievements and academic record, and drafted an independent study plan for the days she would miss while touring the world.
In March, Avery traveled to Connecticut for a piano competition. She won the Grand Prix award for her performance of a Chopin Waltz and when she returned to school —a truancy officer was called. D.C. bureaucrats label any student with 10 “unexcused absences” as a truant. The truancy law gives school officials the option of deciding what an unexcused absence is. Not for a very young piano prodigy. Rules are rules and all that. The truancy office and the school wouldn’t budge. Here she is in Munich last year.
Avery has been forced to spend her eighth grade year as a homeschooler, and the Gaglianos are not happy.
“We decided to home-school her because of all the issues, because it was like a punch in the gut to have to face the fight again this year,” Gagliano told the Post. “We didn’t want to do this. We want to be part of the public school system. Avery has been in public school since kindergarten. She’s a great success story for the schools.”
Avery’s accolades include studying in the Inaugural Lang Lang Junior Music Camp in Munich, Germany, as well as under Dr. Veda Kaplinsky at the Aspen Music Festival. She was also featured in a NPR broadcast program “From The Top” and a two-hour PBS documentary titled “Arts and the Mind” that was broadcast nationwide. All the awards would not convince the D.C. public schools to recognize or reward Avery’s talent. But a little publicity did.
After a column about Avery was published in The Washington Post, Chancellor Kaya Henderson issued a statement saying the column was wrong and they would like to have Avery back at Alice Deal Middle School. They claimed they had excused Avery’s absences for international travel. But during summer vacation the family received another letter telling them their daughter was truant, and enclosed a helpful brochure on the possible police and Child and Family Services intervention for students who are truant.
We have all been reading and clucking over the idiocy coming out of our public school systems. It hardly seems a week goes by without another case being reported. What is clear is that school administrators need some remedial training in plain old common sense. It seems to be missing. Political correctness and mindless adherence to regulations is the order of the day—from children who are suspended for chewing a pop tart into a gun shape (or the state of Idaho) to punishing prodigies for their excellence. It goes on and on.
Let’s hear it for home schooling and charter schools. If the public schools cannot do a decent job of educating the next generation—fire them.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Education, Election 2014, Health Care, Immigration, National Security, Politics, Russia, Terrorism | Tags: Looney List of Concerns, Minority Leader Pelosi, The War on Women
Nancy Pelosi has slipped another cog. Desperate Democrats are trying to revive their “War on Women” theme for the upcoming election. I don’t believe women are that stupid.
Minority leader Pelosi said, on a conference call, that American women have been victims throughout the history of the nation. We’ve already established that President Obama is a little hazy on history. Seems Ms. Pelosi is as well.
It was a struggle all the way, Pelosi whined. Women marched, women starved. Women were starved. Women were force-fed. Women could barely speak up in their own homes.
Women left their homes to take the message. And it was successful, and the right to vote, again, so precious, so hard fought. …We hope women will continue to exercise forcefully, because than all of the issues we care about, whether it’s equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave, affordable quality child care, raising the minimum wage, women’s health and —and safety issues will all be well served.
I suspect she’s been watching Downton Abbey too much. Equal pay for equal work has been settled law since 1963. Paid sick leave is offered by most employers, with a limit as to how long you can have a sick leave. Endless sick leave is not in the cards.
Raising the minimum wage is bad economics, especially harmful to minorities who also vote.
Young Muslim women are being recruited as sex slaves for ISIS fighters. That would seem to be a matter of concern for women. Yazidi women captured by ISIS are set to daily rape and killed if they try to escape. An attack across our southern border is said to be imminent, but the matter of urgent concern is that Republicans are trying to prevent women from getting the right to vote?
Getting pregnant is not a desperate matter of women’s health, but a matter of choice. If you choose to get drunk and have sex when you shouldn’t, or choose to have unprotected sex, or choose to have sex outside of marriage, or choose to take your panties off — that’s a lot of choices you have before you even consider getting an abortion. And then you make choices about legal or illegal, carrying a baby to term, keeping the baby or putting it up for adoption so it will have a better mother. Lots and lots of choices.
Remarkable lot of things unmentioned by Ms. Pelosi. ISIS, the Federal Debt, Russia invading Ukraine, the crisis at VA hospitals, the failures of ObamaCare, the president’s inability to decide on a strategy against terrorists, the lack of job opportunities, the crisis at the border, with illegal immigrants being funneled into our schools unable to speak English and uncleared for contagious diseases.
These are big important issues for every citizen, and Nancy Pelosi is concerned with re-fighting the woman’s right to vote. That was settled in the 19th Amendment way back in 1919. You would think she would have noticed that there are even women serving in the House of Representatives. Truly embarrassing.
Filed under: Education, Entertainment, Freedom, History, Humor, Literature | Tags: History-Science-Fiction, The Reading Habit, What Do You Read and Why?
What do you do when someone asks you to read an article because it’s “an important one?” Do you obediently read it, assuming that if your friend recommends it, it is worth your time? Do you accept the article, suggesting that you will read it later when you have more time? Do you just refuse to read it because you’re sure it is not of interest?
I fit in the first category. I’m a speedy reader, and it doesn’t take me long to get through even a long piece. But I have known a lot of what I think of as ‘lazy readers’ whose first reaction is that they don’t have time. Or they only want to read what they choose to read. It’s as if reading is a task to be engaged in only when required. Was learning to read a struggle in school? There are people who read competently, but without enjoyment or need for information, but who will spend hours on Twitter. Do you prefer to get your information instead by video, or podcast? Is reading a chore?
I have a friend who is a special education expert, with particular emphasis on reading, and reading disabilities. She went into her state’s prisons at one time, to test prisoners, and found that the numbers who had some form of reading disability was far, far higher than in the general population.
There are lots of people out there who just don’t read much, and people who do not read books at all. They are just busy with other things.
If you prowl around the internet and read blogs, you are clearly a reader. But what about those other folks who are not? How do people go all the way through university, and, as adults, never read?
Seattle is usually described as the part of the country where most people read a lot. We have busy libraries, lots of colleges and universities, and lots of writers. Must be something to do with the weather, which encourages a brisk fire in the fireplace. a good book and a cup of coffee.
ADDENDUM: I guess I shouldn’t ask others about their favorite books, if I don’t reveal my own. Patrick O’Brian’s series of books about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin and the Royal Navy in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There are 20 books in the series and I have read them probably ten times, and always found them fascinating to re-read. Most novels don’t welcome even a second reading. Master and Commander is the first, and only a page in and you are hooked. Master and Commander was a great movie too, although based on bits from several of the books.
Filed under: Education, Humor, Russia | Tags: Command Performance, Get Your Ducks In A Row, Training the Reluctant
It’s simple. Lots of training, and the voice of authority.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, Intelligence, National Security, The United States | Tags: Eternal War, Principled Republicans, Unprincipled Liberals
Trying to succinctly describe the differences between the American Left and the American Right is a long-running and fascinating game for both parties. Liberals, as I often note, have told us specifically that they do not have principles—meaning they are not stuck with some old-fashioned, worn-out principles as a guide to how to behave. That is not intended as a compliment. They react, they say, to events, responding on a case by case basis. Much more noble.
Republicans do have principles which they believe are time-tested and proven to be effective and useful in human life. Things like equality of opportunity, free markets and free people, and small government. Those principles serve as a guide to actions, and research into how things work are a better guide to satisfactory policies.
Liberals react to things emotionally. For example, a UPI piece from Pew Research on the “Global Attitudes Project”poll says:
A new poll offers details on the way citizens of the world think about climate change, and U.S. participants are looking particularly ignorant to the risks of global warming. Only one in four Americans said climate change was a “major threat,” making the U.S. the least concerned nation. (emphasis added)
If we disagree with the “consensus” we must be ignorant. But nobody checks to see if there actually is a “consensus” among scientists. Emotional response. No, there actually is no consensus. And “consensus” isn’t science.
Here’s another from Investors, today: “For the Left, ‘Children’ Are the Battering Ram to Force Amnesty.”
Immigration: The White House and open-borders lobby have stepped up pressure for amnesty by painting the migrant tsunami as a flood of toddlers. But a Pew study, citing Border Patrol data, shows that more than half the entrants are teenage males. (emphasis added)
Here’s another example from Investors, by Robert Samuelson: Although a man of the Left, he suggests “To Keep corporations Here, Why Not Cut Their Taxes?”
Corporate America’s latest public-relations disaster comes under the banner “tax inversion,” where a U.S. company shifts its legal headquarters to a country with a lower tax rate.
He goes on to show how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and President Obama have charged the corporations as lacking in “economic patriotism.” Emotional response. Make a law against them. Keep them from doing so. Far better would be to reduce the corporate tax to something close to the normal corporate tax among industrialized nations. We do have the highest corporate tax in the world. Their first and only response is to prevent corporations from what is a valid business decision.
ObamaCare was a program built on emotion. Liberals thought that we should offer everyone free health care like European states did. Everyone would be so grateful to Liberals for that gift that they would forever vote Liberals into power. They looked at Britain’s way of controlling expense by limiting the costs of old folks in their final years, and loved it. No old geezer should be able to have a hugely expensive operation when they might have only months to live anyway. But they never looked into the way the program really worked in Britain, or Canada, or France or Germany. Their bright ideas don’t work. What were expected to be money savers aren’t. Tom Sowell stated the whole problem simply and clearly:
It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.
They imposed ideas they thought would save money, or be especially popular, or would give them more control, but they didn’t check how those ideas work in the real world, they just rushed it through on pure emotion and are astounded at the complaints from doctors, patients, insurance companies, hospitals and suppliers. And it’s all falling apart.
Wind and solar energy are emotional responses to perceived evils of fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy are presumed to be free because they are “natural.” But a turbine only turns at the right speed to produce energy when the wind is at the right speed. But the wind is intermittent, and requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power source, which makes the energy produced expensive, and slight. And it kills way too many birds. Eagles may become endangered if the kill rate continues. If subsidies are removed, wind is not worthwhile.
Solar is about the same problem. You only get energy with 24/7 backup, because clouds cause problems. Solar energy is too diffuse, unavailable at night, and in some locations simply fries birds in flight. If subsidies are removed, it’s not worthwhile. These things were known before the big investments in wind and solar, but emotional attachment to “free energy” trumped common sense.
Over and over you will find Liberals responding to or devising policy based on their feelings about the subject. They don’t do their homework, and they don’t think through the unintended consequences. They don’t seem to understand incentives.
Republicans don’t always get their policies right, and unintended consequences come back and bite them. Human beings are complicated and not only don’t agree on everything, but often don’t agree on much. There are lots of differing opinions in the big tent we hope to have, and creating successful policies to help Americans and their allies and enemies to do things that turn out well is not easy, and results are not always a success. But if we work with an open mind and an inclusive attitude, and an appreciation for human folly, we might not do too badly if we do our homework.