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If Ron DeSantis Has His Way, My Granddaughters Won’t Be Educated Enough to Get Into College

If Ron DeSantis Has His Way, My Granddaughters Won’t Be Educated Enough to Get Into College

Is reading such a bad thing that we
actually have to ban books?

Education is taking a big hit in Ron DeSantis’ Florida. In January of this year, the Governor appointed six new people to the board of trustees of New College of Florida to free the students and faculty from an ideological “hostage situation.” Heavens to Betsy, let us not burden the kiddies with thoughts they can’t handle or make them think at all!

When I was in the fifth grade, while everyone was dreading moving on to Mrs. P’s class because it was well-known that we had to write 50 book reports a year for her, I was excited. On average, I read about a book every day anyhow and relished the challenge ahead. I read books about Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickock, and Calamity Jane. Then pressed on to books like Animal Farm, 1984, Peter Pan,  Hawaii, Moby Dick, the Sherlock Holmes series, and the entire Burroughs Tarzan series. I think I wear glasses today because of all those nights reading by flashlight under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping. If you don’t think someone would find something to ban in those books today, you’re not paying attention. Think about: fairies, child molesters with hooks for hands, bare-breasted native women, drug addiction, and blatant racism.

A small public liberal arts college, New College of Florida ranks as the #5 Public liberal arts college in the nation. I’m afraid all that will end with DeSantis and Company. In about ten years, when my oldest Floridian granddaughter starts looking for a college to attend, I don’t think there will even be a public college in Florida worth attending.

Under the guise of Parent’s Rights, our Florida legislature is considering a bill that would ban any book in schools statewide if even only one parent objects to the book.

Unfortunately, the point at which the government tells us what we can read and bans that which we cannot read is only the beginning. The Nazis burned books in Germany in 1933, and the signs are in place that this cycle of intolerance is starting again.

DeSantis won his last election by more than 20 points and has a rubber-stamp legislature, so who can blame him for his blatant rule-by-fiat approach to governance? The “Stop W.O.K.E” Act was passed last year. It prohibits teaching or having classroom discussions where “he or she (a student) must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress for actions, in which he or she played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

During his second inaugural address this past January, he decried wokeness this way: “We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where Woke goes to die.”

So, what exactly does “woke”  mean? At a recent dinner, my daughter-in-law asked me that very question, and I tentatively replied, “Enlightened?”

As it happens, it was originally used as a call to action for Black people dating back to the early 20th century. Today, it’s accepted as a compliment by the left but used as an insult by the right. A USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll recently found that fifty-six percent of the people asked defined woke as “being informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices.”

How do we counter social injustice, bullying, and disinformation?

We do it with knowledge and a worldview that is based on curiosity rewarded. Imagine the thrill of a little high-five after being excitedly told something (s)he learned in school today. Or being read to and watching the progression of words getting more difficult, yet mastered, week after week. With a lifetime of knowledge gained by reading, watching integrated classrooms, and knowing that racism is taught, not inherent, wondering if these kids will become suspicious of each other because the sins of the past are being swept under the rug.

Reading gave me knowledge and perspective and stirred my curiosity. Curiosity forces us to question the knowledge we have been given. If it doesn’t seem reasonable, continue reading, questioning, and searching until the truth is found.

Interestingly, the “truth” can, and has, changed if critical thinking is fostered and nurtured. Yesterday’s truth is only as good as the informed minds that found it. More informed minds refine the truth.

Can you imagine where the world would be if people simply accepted the “facts” that were given to them? Would we know the truths about the past? Would the great thinkers of yesterday be able to
build on the ideas of past generations to create new and improved medicines or machines?

Please. Ignore the politicians who would keep you rooted in the past. They are afraid you won’t vote for them if you know the truth because they. only. want. power. The more you know, the more you see they don’t work for your best interests.

Read. Anything and everything. Then vote them out so your kids and my granddaughters can get a decent education in Florida.

The Real Problem with America

The Real Problem with America

The Real Problem with America

Yeah, I know, you may have a different answer or answers, but to me, if we can fix this one, we’ll have brighter, more informed minds electing brighter, more dedicated public servants to truly represent them to solve the other issues.

I went to college with one goal in mind: to learn how to think. One can always look up facts and information. The goal is to learn how to process that information, to reason, how to find the right facts. With the ability to think, one can always deduce certain other bits of information. The thinking process gives us the ability to discern more information from what we already know and the tools to eliminate the wheat from the chaff. That’s what education should be doing.

Curiosity and education helped us to refine the fields of science and engineering to eliminate that which didn’t make sense and gave us more and better tools, which we use to further our body of knowledge.

Unless We Stimulate Our Minds and Encourage That Curiosity To Learn More,
We Are Doomed To The Status Quo

Imagine, if you will, the youth of the world will be told that their schooling will end after the 8th grade. Of course, some will be happy, but millions upon millions, seeing the accomplishments and failures of the previous generations, could find themselves lost and despairing. Curiosity, combined with the ability to reason (think), has made the world what it is today, for good or ill. And education is the institutionalized means to foster those traits. If we were not gifted with the heights of brilliance that so few of our species have attained, we can still learn to contribute and make this world a better place.

With all of that in mind, I’m going to confirm here something I’ve been observing for many years. The pattern I’ve seen across so much of our country is that Republican legislators, under the guise of fiscal responsibility (austerity), have sought to undermine our schools. They know that uninformed voters will buy into their sound bites without bothering to question their veracity. The easiest way to get elected is to lie to low-information voters. They will either not bother or be unable to discern fact from fiction.

All this research below is based on globally available information, so please prove it for yourself. The premise is basically this:

How Effective Is The Educational System in Red States
(Mostly Republican Voters)?

In each of the five following charts, our sample is for 60% of the states ranked lowest in the country. Of the 50 states, I’m going to look at the bottom-ranked 30. Note that these studies are not saying that people are stupid. They are showing where the state education system failed them.

The first one we will look at is College Readiness. (Click the links to see the data.) These statistics were published by the two testing organizations that colleges rely upon to determine student admissions, ACT, and SAT scores for 2017. So, for our sample, 80% of those students were unprepared for college, and they all came from Red (Republican) States. This begs the question either: what the hell were they doing for 12 years, or what minimal subjects were they being prepared for proficiency?

Next, the measurement is for High School Graduation. This means how many of the students who started in ninth grade graduated from high school? This one is a little bit better because, in our sample, 70% of the students from Red states did graduate from high school. Are we sure that’s a good thing if 70% graduated high school but they weren’t prepared for college?

The next two studies come from what the US Department of Education calls “The Nation’s Scorecard”. In Math and Reading, 77% of the lowest scores in our sample come from the Red States.

Finally, the statistics rank Spending per Pupil for each state. Again, 77% of the lowest scores in our sample come from the Red States. Surprise, surprise. What would you expect after looking at the other rankings?

And Yet, Most of These People Insist, Many Times with Rabid Ferocity,
That They Are Well-Informed

because all they listen to is the likes of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Breitbart.com, Alex Jones at InfoWars.com, and any other conspiracy theory that comes down the pike. This is undoubtedly due to the Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, the Dunning-Kruger effect is defined thusly in Wikipedia:

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.

By the way, something else I’ve said for many years is the following:

How Do You Convince Someone To Vote Republican?
Promise To Lower Their Taxes Because That’s All They Really Care About

Think about that one for a while. Democrats are smeared with the “tax and spend” reputation by Republicans who cut taxes. Then, when Democrats regain power, they end up raising taxes to pay for everything the Republicans couldn’t pay for. It’s a vicious cycle.

So, here’s a thought. Why don’t we vote for governing representatives and leaders who value education and visions of the future that will enable the students of today to solve the problems of tomorrow? Especially since we created them.

I rest my case.