Monday, January 6, 2014

Is expensive education better?

For the first time in quite a while I'll not be able to show any pictures of our annual Christmas Village; it is gone.  Our living room is back to normal and everything is packed away until Nov. 11th.

While we were packing the stuff, I glanced out our living room window and this is what I saw:
That's our 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Mariah.  She loves being on top of the huge pile of snow left behind after our plow guy cleared our yard.

Naturally, seeing her out there called us outside for a couple more pictures which included both Mariah and our daughter's 7-month-old Golden puppy, Brandy.  Here's Brandy on that same snow bank:
Except she's a little smaller because of her age than Mariah, they almost look like they came from the same momma.  They didn't.
Meanwhile, Mariah has spotted an arch enemy, a neighborhood cat, and heads off to greet it.
Finally today, here are the two dogs together, still on that snowbank.
The news on the TV last night had a featured story on the new South Portland High School expansion.  It has all the modern technical amenities that one can possibly want.  I'm glad I don't live in South Portland and paying for that place in my tax bill.
I'm probably just jealous, but I can't help but remembering the old Leland School and Longfellow School in Deering Center.  Those two buildings are where I began my educational life.  The two schools were torn down and replaced by today's Longfellow School long after I had moved on. 
The junior high (no "middle" schools back then) and then high school were cold places compared with today's modern schools.  But we were educated.  We learned spiffy things that are either not taught at all or just passed by in today's schools.
We learned our "times" tables and how to solve arithmetic and more advanced problems.  I know they teach math today, but take away the electronic help, like calculators, and today's students sometimes are in deep trouble.  Simple tasks like making change are almost impossible by both youngster and young adults today.
I'll never forget the time a few years ago when I was in one checkout aisle at a large store when the cashier in the next lane had scanned the goods and told the customer how much was owed.  I don't remember the real amount, but it was something like $15.27.  The customer gave the clerk $16 and the amount was entered into the cash register.  All the clerk had to do was read that the change was 73 cents.  But the customer stopped her and said, "Oh, wait," said the customer.  "Here's a quarter and two pennies."  The poor kid stared at the change and tears came into her eyes.  She had no idea how to handle the situation and called for a supervisor.
Way back in the 1940s, I actually had a full year's course on spelling and handwriting.  Yes, using those cursive letters.  Today, schools that haven't already done so, are dropping handwriting as even a portion of a class.  I often wonder how today's youngsters will be able to sign check or contracts.
In high school I actually studied Latin for two years.  I've never spoken Latin, but even today there are few new-to-me words that I can't figure out the meaning.
We've been reading and hearing in the news lately that students in the United States are falling way behind students in other countries.  I can't help but wonder if all these modern technologies we in the classroom are really helping the kids.  It seems like the more money we pour into education the further down the knowledge base falls.
I guess I shouldn't be too critical of today's education.  I don't know how to send text messages or tweet.  I do have a Facebook page I think I used once a couple years ago.
I've read we shouldn't be too lulled into believing our cold streak Is over.  We do have simple rain today, but the cold will probably return in a couple of days.  Stay dry today.

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