politics and culture: January 2006 Archives

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Why Does High School Fail So Many?

An interesting overview of a school system that is creaking under its own weight.
I graduated from Westchester HS in the LAUSD, my two oldest children graduated from Cleveland HS, also in the LAUSD. These two high schools are 25 miles apart, and do not even begin to represent the huge diversity and geographical span of the Los Angeles educational chaos. I was able to find a reasonable education for my children in this public school system but only by working the system - getting them into magnet programs, and trying to keep after the teachers and administrators to see that my kid's unique needs were addressed. I admit that I could have done better, but I was raised to respect the public schools. We left LA in January 1997 and I have heard that things are continuing to deteriorate. But I have also seen public education deteriorate in Oregon and even here in New Hampshire. This says to me that the problems are probably inherent in the system and that it is time for something to change. But I also admit, that I don't know what needs to change first. I think that it is possible that the problems in the schools are just a microcosm of the problems in our culture.

A tribute to the Challenger crew

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The depths of exploration...

Here in Concord NH, we have the Christa McAuliffe planetarium, and the High School's auditorium is named after her.
Yet this year's senior class weren't even born when the Challenger was lost. My eldest daughter sees the Challenger disaster as a defining moment for her generation, much as the assasination of JFK was for mine. My youngest daughter (a senior at Concord High!) will probably consider 9/11 the defining moment of her generation. Ironically, she did not hear about it for several hours, as the teachers in the Middle School deliberately cut off the news and computers after the disaster struck.

om media and bias

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speeches from Michael Crichton

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Fear, Complexity, Environmental Management in the 21st Century
Aliens Cause Global Warming
Environmentalism as a Religion
Mediasaurus: The decline of conventional media
I first read Mr. Crichton as a teenager - I think the book was The Andromeda Strain. I also remember reading The Terminal Man somewhere that published it as a serial. I'm fond of medical fiction but much of his non-medical fiction I found unappealing.
I also watched the early seasons of ER, when Dr. Crichton had a little more control over the medical veracity of the stories, but eventually I was turned off by the inaccuracies, and after the episode "Love's Labor Lost", I pretty much quit watching the show.
Anyhow, I think it is pretty interesting that a Harvard trained physician and writer should become such an iconoclast - shattering the images that many other media savvy scientists have put forth over the last decades.
I found the first speech listed here via my blog pal Bene Diction, and was interested enough to look for the other links. I know that Julie D has been reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, and this seems to be some of the same. I am a person who sees science as a tool, but not as a god. Technology lo mismo. So much of what we regard as proven facts, on closer examination, are closer to statistical deductions masquerading as gospel truth. I don't remember who said it (Mark Twain?) but I think of the saying, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the politics and culture category from January 2006.

politics and culture: December 2005 is the previous archive.

politics and culture: February 2006 is the next archive.

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