Sunday, March 1, 2009

A silver lining

Rabbit rabbit rabbit! Evil spirits begone! Happy March, everyone!

I'm in a very quiet mood today. I wonder if it's the calm before the storm? I think I might be catching Ken's cold from last week. Bummer.

Like many of you in cooler climes have mentioned lately, it's time for winter to be over. I'm with ya. I commented elsewhere today that what really irritates me is when the high temperature doesn't even get up to the average high. I'm not asking for excellence, just for average, okay? [sigh]

Ken is putting together some DVD cabinets, and it will be nice to corral all the DVDs instead of stacking them up. We also got some more wine racks, so we're getting a nice little wine cellar going! I'm getting caught up on blogs, and then I'll read a bit on my book club book. I'm so behind, but it feels good to get back into books. I have to say, though, that the one I'm reading, Loving by Henry Green, has got to be one of the most God-awful boring books I've ever read. And yes, I used the word boring! About the only thing exciting that has happened so far has been one of the servants catching the young daughter-in-law in bed with the Captain (not her husband). It seems to be all about life during wartime (Talking Heads, anyone?) of an English family in Ireland, and the everyday lives of the servants of the house. Maybe things will pick up eventually, but so far...yawwwwwn.

Since I'm the eternal optimist, this morning I focused on one particular story in our local newspaper. I read about the bad economy, the ambitious budget of our President, watched the pompous arrogance of that asshat Limbaugh, and saw Rahm on "Face the Nation." (Thanks for the heads-up, Dan!) But it was a nice surprise to see an article about the local increase in the demand for GED classes and diplomas. In Elkhart, they added three additional classes, and there is still a waiting list. Elkhart apparently has a great program that includes vocational training along with classes, including teaching computer skills.

The article quoted one 50-year-old woman who recently lost her job at an RV manufacturing company. After a fruitless job search, she decided to get her GED. "It's time I got out of a trailer factory. It's time I do something that I want to do. I'm doing something for myself. I have to, I have to." A recent letter to the editor chastised those who refuse to learn new trades, citing their excuses that they are too old to learn, or that they've never done anything but [insert job here]. I have to say that I think the letter writer was correct. John McCain was also correct when he stated in Michigan that a lot of lost auto jobs just aren't coming back. The paradigm has changed, and people might have to rethink their positions and life pathways. I applaud the woman in the article who decided, even though she was scared, to go back to school.

I also applaud the President's position that dropping out of high school is no longer an option. The higher goal is that everyone get a college education if they choose, but the minimum has got to be that high school diploma. For too long we've watched the dumbing down of America, an attitude that it was okay to not focus on education, and I've even witnessed some ridicule of anyone who had a bunch of that fancy book-learnin'. Please. An education is something to be cherished and pursued and fostered, and even continued beyond the day the diploma or degree is granted. Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly out of reach for too many, and the attitude that it's really not that big of a deal anyway has prevailed for far too long.

The attitude change begins at home, with parents who set a good example by reading, intellectual curiosity, and fostering a love of learning. It continues in the schools, with teachers who understand how important their jobs are and who are appreciated and compensated for the vital service that they provide. It involves a collective belief of the populace that an education is a very good thing to have when it comes to global competition, a feeling that learning is more than's actually a lot of fun. And it is reinforced by a President who believes strongly in the value of an education and wants to help more people get one.

It's time to set the bar higher. Circumstances dictate it, and if I can find a silver lining in this Incredible Shrinking Economy, it's that we'll be dragged kicking and screaming into a more highly educated state.


  1. I am shocked that you used the "B" word. I am thinking some type of penance is in order.

    It was an interesting article regarding the GED's. Yesterday, there was an article about using the now abandoned trailer factories for fish farming. I think that would be a great way to bring some diversity to the economy.

  2. Very well said. Thank you for pointing out the silver lining; we all need to look forward to the future.

  3. Good essay Beth. A few decades ago I had the opportunity to work with the New York City public school system, whcih was one of the best in the world. There were high schools that were very specific voactional schools: nursing, aviation, maritime skills, electonics, science, music, art, etc. The students got a thorough high school education plus developed a skill that was useful if they wanted to go on to higher education or not. Some students simply did not fit in to the rigors of classroom education. So the city provided employment opportunites outside the classroom where they learned skills from on the job experience which were then applied to a high school diploma. It is important as you point out, that a high school education regain it's place as an important and valuable commodity. You don't have to have a PhD to be educated and get on well in life.

    As for Rush Limbaugh, every village needs an idiot.


  4. I like DB's comment about Rush - how true.

    Nice with the dvd cabinets & the wine racks. I think it would be great to have a wine cellar. I used to love my wine. It's been 12 years since I've had any and if spring doesn't come soon that streak may end quickly. LOL

  5. Between seeing that Limbaugh a-hole on the news, then watching the Bernie Madoff piece on 60 Minutes, I think I'm gonna need some blood pressure pills!

  6. Hi Beth,
    I couldn't agree more regarding the importance of education. If you can believe it, they're still giving out pink slips like candy to the younger (untenured) teachers here in Santa Monica.

  7. Heard of a van ... that's loaded with weapon's packed up and ready to go ... Heard of a gravesite, out by the highway ... a place where nobody knows..?

    I wonder if education is ever really going to sink in? I mean, this hasn't changed since I was in elementary school and the situation with the Big 3 was about the same, dealing with Japan.

    Is there always going to be underperfoming education that serves a disinterested populace? How do you change that?

  8. OK, OK, I guess I'll send the boy to college next year!! LOL!

  9. Beth, maybe spring will be here soon. At least it is March now. lol. Thanks for letting George and I be in your mafia (that's only a game in case anyone is reading - lol). You and Ken have brought us much good fortune. lol.

  10. We have had unseasonably warm weather here...even the vegetation is in a spring like state...sprouting all over!

  11. Obama's comments about the dropout rate were refreshing. I think he understands he has a huge potential as a role model (moreso than most presidents) and has a chance to really connect with a segment of society that has never given a damn what the president says. I hope he continues to sprinkle these little thoughts of encouragement in his speeches. We need it.

  12. I agree very much about education. I couldn't believe that you used the "B" word either! That book MUST BE very bad. LOL

  13. The begining of your entry had me wondering if theres a baby in your future. But I guess that would of been bunnies, bunnies and more bunnies. Thank you for your visits and kind words. Take care and enjoy your Today!

  14. I can tell you from experience that it is the NORM in many homes in the U.S. for a child to have to FIGHT to learn and achieve. Many parents are drunk, drug addicted, or absent. It is very hard to think ahead, even a day, when you are just trying to make it thru another night of instability.
    our paper is doing a big story on the recession here. I almost can not read it. All of it together, day after day, is too much.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?