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Re: Pepsi vs. Coke..

Well, hmmmm ... Since you asked...............................

> >And they wonder why kids spray down other people at a fire drill.
> Non sequitur.  I'm sure you were looking for a cute way to tie in the deaths
> of 4 students and an adult in a funny/educational way, but if you honestly
> give one iota of thought to the possibility that is the school system's
> duty/obligation/commitment to teach moral standards to children, you're out
> of your mind.  Hell, it's not even their job to teach the laws of this
> country on a local level.

No, I was just being obnoxious. They're unreleated. However, like it or not,
and I personally don't, the school system IS 1) a major player in teaching
morals to students and 2) IS a major player in the socialization of children.
The #1 reason for school is not education, it's socialization. Do you REALLY
think it should take 12 years for kids to learn what a god damn noun is? 
No WAY! 

To say that the school had NOTHING to do with this incident is ridiculous. The
boys were ACTIVELY saying around school that 1) they were gonna kill those
bitches that pissed them off and 2) that something big was gonna happen. This
isn't over yet. This is gonna blow up in a BIG way. The school can't take the
power over socialization of our kids and then drop it on the parent's doorstep
when the kid screws up like this. No, I'm afraid it is all working together
to create these little monsters.

> Well, considering the pay, did you expect to draw Nobel laureates to Roswell
> High?

You draw people who liked school to schools. This is 1) an odd subset of
society and 2) a small subset of society. There are reasons for this. Sometimes,
especially when dealing with arts, and unfortuantely teaching is as much of an
art as it is a science, you can not be motivated for money. In fact, money
is NOT the leading motivator for jobs. I would say it is a strong de-motivator
but it isn't why you decide to be a teacher. Would you do a better job if MS
paid you $32K per year for your work? Puhshaw, you'd do the same thing you do
now... I'm sure if they paid your parking pass you'd be happier, though. But
that's another benefit I suppose...

You do it because you like it and because you feel it is an important contri-
bution to your work.

You also have to consider that teaching has a lot of benefits... for the right
people, it is a godsend. School days only, summers off, pseudo 9-5 hours, etc..

>  It's amazing
> > how much more you can teach people when you educate instead of domninate.
> Nice catch phrase.

No, not a catch phrase. It's real. Too many people in the school systems
attempt to dominate their students... pepsi vs. coke is a prime example of this.
They feel that if they can force kids to conform to their rules of society
they will become better adults. Remember when they said use a pencil not a pen
and if you used a pen they gave you a zero? That's more of the same; it has
a valid purpose, at times; at other times, it is someone trying to make a point
that is not necessarily worth doing.

My point is: With kids, like most things, you choose your battles wisely. 
There's a time to step on people and there's a time to let it go. This was a
let-it-go time. Plain and simple. Let it go and spend more time teaching
how to titrate an aqueous solution of 6 molar sodium hydroxide.

>  What's your solution, instead of just pointing out some
> obvious flaws in a system?

Well, first I would make some federal changes. I'd yank out the department of
education (aka nea lobby), and hand off most pieces to the states, along with
the purses that match. I would perhaps keep a "small" panel of people to over-
see this process as well as help encourage cross-state communication between

Second, I would encourage states to take the money and do some work with their
schools. I would encourage spending money on aesthetics of the buildings and 
make them happier more fun places to be. Of prime importance would be desks,
where students spend a majority of their time.

Third, I'd like to see some more incentive on the student loan process. Now that
grants are lower in number, and thus hard to get, I think it would be a good 
time to push the student-loan-reimbursement program. I'd also like to see
a better base salary than 17K. Cobb county starts at 27K, that's a reasonable
amount given a bachelor's degree.

I'd like to see more schools hire bachelor's students and less masters require-
ments, with the understanding that those hired in with BS will have to have
an MS in 5-10 years tops. I would reward the success of my staff with a nice 
pay increase.

I would encourage developmental learning/education in every educational venu
possible. I would encourage current events-based learning, and actively
discuss things like what happened in Arkansas. I would also encourage out-of-
school learning on "non-essential skills". Essential skills are reading, 
writing, math, etc... I'd like to see ordinary parents, such as MindSprings
very own Kevin Bernard, to get involved with schools and work with kids to
develop groups and educational roles OUTSIDE of school hours. 

I'd like to see some money spent on an advertising campaign designed to involve
parents in education more. Parents oftentimes feel like they are victims of
the education system; they feel powerless to make changes etc.. Getting the
parents involved is extremely important. Let the parents make choices for their
child, and let the CHILD make some choices too (as they get older). 

To that end, I would like to see some more efforts at the high-school level to 
educate parents that require it. Educated parents tend to have more educated
children. Ignorance tends to breed more of the same. I've seen lots of parents
who are so embarassed by their own stupidity they want to keep their kids in
the same boat: "I dropped out at 8th grade, why should Junior finish hiiiii

There are other things, and money sources, but I could go on for a long time
and I do have to get to work...

> Would you be willing to support higher taxes if the money was funneled to
> education resources?

No. I am confident the money can be found elsewhere to do this. I think it is
about high time this place (USA) decided that education was important to our
livelyhood and made some reasonable sacrifices. Lots of people do, but large
#'s of people do not. A small statistic I always found interesting. If we
just did not build ONE just ONE B2 bomber, we could take that money and give
25K to each high school, public AND private in the United States.

Like most things, it is a matter of priorities. When you say education 
resources, be specific. Lots of things are "education resources". There are 
some of them that are a higher priority than others, and there are some that
are bullshit. I think schools can be more frugal in some ways, and less in 
others. It's about prioritizing and managing - something the governements have
always been horribly ineffective at doing.

>   Would you campaign for such a resolution if it were on
> a ballot?

Most likely not, since I'm not for it anyway.

>  Would you take the time to read the initiative and try to track
> down where the money would come from and where exactly it was going?

This is, unfortunately, pointless. The inherent craziness of the public
bureaucracy makes this nearly impossible. 

I've gotta go now, I have a 10am meeting. I can say this. If you look at
MindSpring, we've been VERY succesful. We have our nay sayers, and the
company itself is not perfect. However, we have done a LOT with our basic
core values and some good initiative. 

The fact that we have several geeks that are willing to work for low pay shows
you that compensation is not a big deal. The fact that we are frugal and we
reflect it shows you that you are able to do a lot of things on a budget. 
Lots of people are stunned when they find out just how well we do things at this
company. Vendors are literally blown away with the things that we are able
to do with both their systems, as well as other items. 

It comes back to what I said about energy and control and attitude and 
encouragement. We have lots of energy because we have a driving passion toward
our work. We accomplish lots because we have the control of our "world" and
can make relevant and necessary decisions. We, generally, have a good attitude
toward our customers and treat them with respect (as well as each other),
and we receive lots of encouragement. 

I think if we find ways to put that BACK into schools, remove the POLLUTION
that is there (all these trite issues over bullshit that all the splinter
groups want to piss about), and refocus our efforts on the CUSTOMER: read
c-h-i-l-d-r-e-n, we'll be a lot better off.

OH! And one more thing. I keep thinking about the commercial "Expect the best
from a girl. That's what you'll get?" here. Well, I think that applies to 
everyone. It's about time we started expecting decency, respect, and obedience
from our children and not letting them run their own lives as if they are

Thank you.