Being Afraid of Minorities… Why??

canstockphoto8131990.jpgFear is what drives far too many of us in the US right now.  The majority of the most fearful live in the less populated rural areas of the country. You only need to look at the red/blue map to see that reality.  Here are some causes as I see it of this inordinate fear:

For many of these folks fear is due to just not knowing others different than themselves. Due to their isolated conditions, they just have a much smaller worldview than many of us.

Education is another factor. Almost twice as many urban Americans have college degrees as rural Americans. 

Another statistic is that many more in rural areas than urban end up living their lives close to where they were born.

I personally am part of several minority groups.  As a result, I am not afraid of the barbarians at the gate as I am one of them to many of you.  I want to tell you who are afraid of being a minority that in some ways is a very freeing thing. It helps you relate to all those you once feared. It gives you an additional dose of empathy. It makes you a better Christian if that is your flavor of spirituality.

The Urban/Suburban ratios are quickly changing and if the rural folks don’t widen their worldview they have the distinct possibility of becoming irrelevant in tomorrow’s world. When they realize that the barbarians at the gate aren’t really barbarians, after all, they will have happier and less fearful lives. Don’t we all want that?

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Intolerance And Education…

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“Intolerance is the first sign of inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility”. —Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I will come out of the closet here and admit that I get a weekly subscription from the “The Week” magazine which is a decidedly progressive publication. When I cam across this quote in the “Wit & Wisdom” column on the July 21st issue it got my attention.

72% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents believe that colleges and universities have an overall positive effect on the country. But 58% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents feel these institutions have a negative effect. Republicans also hold a negative view of the media by an 85% to 10% margin — Pew Research Center

I pretty much align with the idea that intolerance is a sign of the lack of education. Education, at least personally, caused my horizons to greatly expand. It caused me to enter a world that I was not familiar with. It caused me to see things in a different light. Thinking, and maybe more importantly pondering things caused me to move outside of my own sphere into the broader world.

I don’t have any immediate statistics at hand to back up my belief but I kinda bet that many if not most of the Trump supporters are without much education beyond high school. They were never forced to think outside their current beliefs.  All they do is see a world that is foreign to them and they don’t like it. They wish for a world of the past that in reality never really existed.

Of course this difference between Democrats and Republicans is not a black/white issue. 40% of Republicans do thing that a college education is a good thing while 28% of Democrats think it isn’t. Just like everything else the world is shades of grey.

I want to close this post with the admission that some people go through college without really broadening their horizons. I also recognize that an education is not the only way to see a broader world.  Again, shades of grey….

Thinking Outside The Box On Education

crayon-banner  “Thinking outside the box” is a new sub-category within the Crayon Marks category. The term “thinking outside the box” entails a thinking process, which uses an unusual approach to a logical thinking structure. It´s a process which aims to escape relational reasoning,  and rising to another level.

school-1465744-640x480 copy.jpgThere is just too much stuff today where people say “That’s the way we have always done it.” To me, that is just an excuse for being too lazy to try to find something better. One of those areas is in our educational processes. I recently read some articles written one hundred years ago that show we really haven’t made much progress in education reform. We are stuck facing the very same issues without really trying alternative methods.

Most people, especially progressives are pretty upset that Betsy DeVoss is the new education secretary, but I welcome the radical change in leadership. Maybe some basic change will finally happen in this area. I have several retired teachers who read RJsCorner and they often vent their frustration with the educational systems today. I hope some of them chime in on this post to give their opinions.

The public school system as it is currently set up seems to be biased against a child who really wants to learn. Instead, it is about handling the ones who just don’t seem to care about their educations. That attitude likely comes from their parents for any of a number of reasons. For teachers, it is mainly about keeping control of their classrooms and not actually teaching students.

I am a Hoosier and I’m pretty sure that Indiana is toward the front when it comes to charter schools and vouchers.  I know there are a number of charter schools in our adjacent county which includes a major university. We are told by our government representatives that having a choice allows those who really want to learn to find a venue to accomplish that. I kind of buy into that.

Teacher’s unions just seem to be more interested in teachers than educating students. That is another basic problem that needs to be addressed.  How much will Mrs. DeVoss end up accomplishing in this area is very much the question at hand? But I think it is finally time to do some destruction so that maybe a phoenix can rise from the ashes.

I know that educating future generations is and should be a top priority of our country.  I also know that the vast majority of my property taxes and even my State taxes go toward that purpose and that much of that money is currently being wasted. Right now change, any change is better than kicking the can down the road. I wish the new education secretary success in changing the status quo.

 

 

When Robots Make Cars….

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I know that robots have taken over many of the repetitive tasks from us humans. Many see that as stripping jobs away from those who don’t care to otherwise be ready for today’s workforce.  The mind-numbing jobs are being taken over my mindless robots and that is as it should be. Let’s take auto manufacturing as an example:

  • Robots don’t make mistakes... They do the same thing over and over again because that is all they are programmed to do.
  • Robots don’t know Monday from Friday…. They don’t take their eye off the task at hand because they are still remembering the weekend or are anticipating the coming one.
  • Robots can do the same thing over and over with the same accuracy…. Not only do they not make mistakes but they do what they are programmed to do with extreme accuracy. They simply don’t have other distractions on their minds.

Let’s face it, compared to today’s cars, the cars of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s were junk. The fit and finish were terrible and the lemons made because of absent minded defects were very troublesome to those who were unfortunate enough to get them. Humans just never did a good job of making cars.

So where does that leave us humans? For those unprepared for anything else but mindless  assembly line work it leaves them with flipping hamburgers or other low skilled work  that were once meant as entry type jobs. But for those willing to put in the effort to equip themselves with the necessary skills it leaves them with opportunity. Many young people today are taking that opportunity but many are not. Some think they are not smart enough to learn, some just can’t afford it. The later needs our help but then again so does the former.

We need to make higher education more affordable, if not free, for anyone who wants to improve themselves.  Free high school education has been the norm now for many decades and now its time to kick that up a notch to at least two years of free trade school or college.

For those who don’t think they are smart enough we need to do a better job of encouraging them. We need to make learning as important to them as high school sports are now.  Part of that is a teacher thing but the biggest share belongs to the parents.

 

3 In 5 Americans Have No More That A High School Education

2016-01-24_14-58-07.pngIt surprised me to see Russia as having a higher percentage of young people with degrees than the U.S. But then I guess that is probably due to my ignorant view of that country. We in the U.S. have been lead to believe that everyone in Russia is poor, uneducated, and starving due to lack of opportunities in a communist system.  To see that they are actually more educated then we are is a cultural shock but not an unpleasant one at least to me. I need to spend some serious time learning more about Russia instead of just believing what is fed to me by others.

The point of this post is why is it that 40% of Americans have only a high school education in the 21st century where robots are replacing all repetitive tasks? I personally think the following are a few possible reasons:

  1. Its just too expensive for most to go to college or even trade schools for that matter.
  2. Many teachers don’t instill the desire to learn in their students at an early enough age.
  3. Parents are not doing enough to promote lifelong learning in the home.
  4. Our country is geared more to sports/competition than to education/learning.
  5. Kids in the U.S. have in entitlement mindset.
  6. U.S. education is more about memorizing than learning how to think.
  7. Not enough kids have mentors/examples in their lives.

I don’t have enough space here to expand on these things so I will just say that all of them are in need of improvement. Instead of trying to find the “silver bullet solution we should be tackling each of the multiple underlying causes.  I hope someday that we can manage to put the solution to these things on a high priority that they deserve.