31 January 2006

20 January 2006

Study: Most College Students Lack Skills - Yahoo! News

Study: Most College Students Lack Skills - Yahoo! News

I'm shocked! Shocked! This is the most upsetting news I've seen in, umm, about ten minutes.

I am jesting, of course. Why should I, or anyone for that matter, be surprised at a story like this? American public schools are dismally poor at graduating students with even a modicum of traditional skills such as reading, writing and 'rithmatic, so why should those same students fare any better once they get to college?

This quote really makes me cringe:

"Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills. That means they can do moderately challenging tasks, such as identifying a location on a map" [emphasis mine].

Since when is identifying a location on a map "moderately challenging"? I suppose it is to a fifth grader. The really tough assignments, that require really "proficient" skills, are interpreting a table about exercise and blood pressure, or understanding the arguments of newspaper editorials (oh, come on!) and comparing credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees. Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit of a challenge, given the abstruse and convoluted way the credit card companies present those offers.

Our public education system needs to be scrapped, or completely overhauled. John Stossel of ABC's "2020" gave an excellent expose of the public system, and demonstrated quite well that where there is competition (in the form of vouchers) that students do much better. I agree. The only way to improve the public schools in this country is to introduce competition into the system. This will weed out the poorer performing teachers and educrats, and then at least some of our students will get a decent education.

Update: here is a great quote by John Stossel that I pulled from The Patriot Post:

"Not enough money for education? It's a myth. The truth is, public schools are rolling in money. If you divide the U.S. Department of Education's figure for total spending on K-12 education by the department's count of K-12 students, it works out to about $10,000 per student. Think about that! For a class of 25 kids, that's $250,000 per classroom. This doesn't include capital costs. Couldn't you do much better than government schools with $250,000? You could hire several good teachers; I doubt you'd hire many bureaucrats. Government schools, like most monopolies, squander money. America spends more on schooling than the vast majority of countries that outscore us on the international tests. But the bureaucrats still blame school failure on lack of funds, and demand more money." [emphasis mine]

18 January 2006

Since when do we have a "right" to die?

Court upholds US right-to-die law - World - smh.com.au

The US Supreme Court held that the federal government does not have the right to interfere in the way states regulate the practice of medicine and the licensing of doctors. Basically this means that doctors in Oregon (and soon elsewhere) can dispense killer drugs to people they deem as being "terminal". Supposedly this will only be at the behest of the person who is dying anyway, a kind of "assisted suicide".

My question is this: since when do we have a "right" to die, or more accurately stated, a right to take our own lives?

The last time I looked at the Constitution, I didn't see anything that looked like a right to suicide. There are rights listed there, such as the right to free exercise of religion, the right of free speech, the right of a free press, the right to keep and bear arms, etc. Nothing about a right to die. I guess it's like the right to kill certain persons that the justices somehow "found" in the Constitution back in 1973.

The bottom line for me is this: Only the Creator of life has the right to give it and and take it away. Sometimes he delegates the authority to take life to human governments. He never delegates such authority to human individuals. When one human takes another human's life, and that human is not acting as an agent of a legitimate government, then the act is called murder, or homicide, or something along those lines.

God does not grant us a "right to die". He also does not grant us a right to assist another person in committing suicide. Suicide is murder - the unlawful taking of a person's life - even if that person is you.

The laws of this land are ultimately based on the fact that there is a universal Law-Giver. This remains true regardless of who believes it or is even aware of the fact. This is what makes abortion wrong, and it is what makes suicide wrong, no matter what the Supreme Court says.

God says "You shall not committ murder" in Exodus 20:13. God's law trumps man's law every time.

17 January 2006

Did the Chinese Really Discover America?

Chinese map claims to back theory that China discovered America - Yahoo! News

I read parts of Gavin Menzies' book awhile back. He has a very facinating theory that Chinese sailors and explorers discovered America about seventy years before Columbus. According to him, they also planted colonies in various places, but were never able to maintain contact with them due to a changing political climate back home.

03 January 2006

Self-help's big lie - Los Angeles Times

From the "I can't believe I'm reading this in the L.A. Times" category:

Self-help's big lie - Los Angeles Times

This is some very common sense, and refreshing, reading. I'm really surprised it made it into such a left-coast newspaper. I only hope that the educrats and teachers who might happen to read this will sit up and take notice.