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Fighting words

 
 
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aaron
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:34 pm    Post subject: Fighting words Reply with quote

U.S. Education Secretary Ron Paige resorted to name-calling recently, telling a group of governors that the National Education Association is a "terrorist organization", in response to criticism of Bush’s education plan.

Was this a slip of the tongue or an example of the house of mirrors that Bush has substituted for reasoned judgment?

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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
U.S. Education Secretary Ron Paige resorted to name-calling recently, telling a group of governors that the National Education Association is a "terrorist organization", in response to criticism of Bush’s education plan.

Was this a slip of the tongue or an example of the house of mirrors that Bush has substituted for reasoned judgment?

It is truly tragic that the National Education Association is called "terrorist organization" just because it did not align with the current administration. That's all I can really say, tragic.
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Mauveduh
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that has bothered me more than anything was a terrorist mentality that has grown from the events of the last few years and this administration. We have seen our freedoms erode, some may be necessary for security but free speech and free thinking are supposed to be what this country is founded upon.

I saw the turn of the tide when the people and the media suddenly became very quiet in expressing any opinions that were not in line with the administration. It was like a Stepford existence and the thinking man did not exist. We have always questioned and been open to more than one side of the story in any situation, whether we agreed or not.

But that seemed to change with some hidden fear of being labeled unpatriotic or being blacklisted, like the events that took place in the 1940’s and 50’s with communism. It was eerily disturbing when those who had always been outspoken seemed to be mute.

Fear and oppression changed the landscape. It’s only recently that anyone is daring to voice any differing opinions and they are definitely treading lightly.
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO, the incident was silly and a waste of news reporting space. The man obviously lost his composure and resorted to schoolyard name calling. That's all. He apologized, and he was slapped on the wrist, and end of story. Sheesh. It's really a "non-story" that was blown out of proportion by the media.

{When I was a kid, the worst name to be called was "stupid idiot rat." Today, one of the worst names an adult could be called is "terrorist." It's all silliness. Some people just never grow up. Just their vocabulary changes.)

Regarding "erosion of rights" and "fear and oppression chang[ing] the landscape," this is all hyperbole (exaggeration for emphasis or rhetorical or dramatic effect). The US is still a hotbed of opposing opinion and vocal dissent. Same as always.

There was a short time following 9/11 when most people had the decency to respectfully stop arguing. That time has long gone by. Freedom of political speech and dissent is alive, well, and kicking up a big healthy fuss.
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm. My intention was to veer slightly to the left, though not promote a radical theory. My point is that discussion should be open for both sides of any issue.

I still stand by my statement that discussion of anything other than a singular opinion on actions taken at that time was heavy-handedly discouraged. There was a great deal of fear and with that came oppression. I think people were afraid to speak out. They may be targeted as anti-American or unpatriotic. This fear has lasted more than a brief period. We are just now hearing open discussion with the impending election opening up the dialog.

For the sake of refuting the accusation of “exaggeration for emphasis or rhetorical or dramatic effect”, I have to correct you in misquoting me with the term “erosion of rights”. I used the words, “erosion of freedoms”. These are two different things to me. Our freedoms have most definitely been eroded by the very act of that 911 tragedy. Increased security on many levels has been necessary, as I stated.

My point addresses freedom to express thoughts and opinion without fear of recrimination. Looking at a problem from many angles brings a more viable solution. I saw that freedom eroding and with that I have felt very uncomfortable.
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"terrorism" has become a new marketing slogan. Sad
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:51 am    Post subject: Re: Fighting words Reply with quote

aaron wrote:
U.S. Education Secretary Ron Paige resorted to name-calling recently, telling a group of governors that the National Education Association is a "terrorist organization", in response to criticism of Bush’s education plan.

Was this a slip of the tongue or an example of the house of mirrors that Bush has substituted for reasoned judgment?


Getting back to the main topic... here are some excerpts from Armstrong Williams' most recent column on the issues of NEA's extreme opposition to educational reform programs (such as President Bush's No Child Left Behind program).

I share Williams' low opinion of the NEA. And I support educational reform, including much closer scrutiny of teachers and schools. IMHO, there is much reasoned judgment in the No Child Left Behind plan.

Quote:
"The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 2.7 million elementary and secondary teachers. Their professed goal is to make public schools great for every child. The real goal is to increase their own bargaining power by ripping to shreds any education reform that seeks to hold public schools accountable to their failures.

"For example, their most recent anti-voucher edict... starts out by saying, the NEA's goal is to "focus the energy and resources of our 2.7 million members toward the promotion of public confidence in public education." So, in other words, their top priority is not the oft professed goal of "making public schools great for every child," but rather massaging the perception of public education.

"... protecting the perception of public education is inextricably linked to keeping the teachers from being perceived as failing. This is important because it reminds us that the organization exists to advocate for the teachers who pay their dues, not the children. At least one way that the NEA has accomplished this is by sparing public teachers any close scrutiny. They are fundamentally opposed to any education reform-like vouchers or the No Child Left Behind Act-that seeks to hold public schools accountable for their failures.

"Not surprisingly, the NEA's 108th Congress Legislative Program formally announced that they "oppose federally mandated parental option or choice in education programs." In case anyone missed the point, during the 2003 NEA convention delegates approved business item 11, which directs NEA officials not to use the title "No Child Left Behind" Act. In other words the level of opposition is so great that union representatives are barred from even raising the words "No Child Left Behind" to consciousness for examination.

"Remember, their stated goal is to protect the "perception" of public education. The NEA's budget is constructed accordingly. Far and away, the majority of their money is funneled into improving government relations and corralling new members. According to their 2002-2004 budget summary, the NEA dedicated $13, 532 million to "governance and policy," $19, 582 million to "government relations," and $14, 114 million to "state affiliate relations." By contrast, they spent $2,699 million on "Student achievement." Get it? The NEA isn't using their money to help our kids, or to make our schools better. They're using it to increase their own collective bargaining strength-that's their real mission-by doing everything they can to prevent public schools from being held accountable."

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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Important note: Those of you following the 9-11 conspiracy theory discussion that cropped up within this thread will find it has been split from this discussion and moved into the General Chat Forum. To go to it, click on the link below:

9-11 (split from "Fighting words" thread)

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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I 100% behind vouchers. I think private enterprise could do much better for both the teachers as well as the students. However somethings need to be dealt with from a regulatory standpoint so indeed no child gets left behind, eg special needs and the like.

Heres my thoughts.
Average cost of a student in public ed locally $9200/year, average class size 24 students. Thats a net cost of $220800 per class. A highly experienced teacher with benefits may cost $70,000, leaving $150,800 in overhead..... The track record has been that teachers take home pay decreases every year by $100-$200 out of pocket, thats a pretty poor motivator. And yet, the overhead costs continue to rise, as evidenced by higher and higher taxes.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mnphysicist wrote:
The track record has been that teachers take home pay decreases every year by $100-$200 out of pocket, thats a pretty poor motivator. And yet, the overhead costs continue to rise, as evidenced by higher and higher taxes.

Here's something interesting regarding paying teachers.

Quote:
Unions, which generally oppose performance-based pay for teachers, argue paying teachers more across the board will improve student test scores.

But Vedder [economist], who favors tying pay to classroom performance, doesn't buy it. He questions how private schools manage to outperform public schools on standardized tests when private-school teachers earn much less than public-school teachers.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33485

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mauveduh wrote:
... discussion of anything other than a singular opinion on actions taken at that time was heavy-handedly discouraged. There was a great deal of fear and with that came oppression. I think people were afraid to speak out. They may be targeted as anti-American or unpatriotic.


Freedom of speech was -- and is -- alive and well in the USA. So what causes some US citizens to feel scared to speak their mind? The answer is they emotionally crumble under criticism.

When people don't like someone's point of view, they are entitled to be critical. Expressing criticism is an exercise in freedom of speech. But some people are particularly unable to deal with criticism -- and they respond by incorrectly invoking the first ammendment to squelch their critics. An odd turn of logic, no?

This was especially a problem in the US education system.

Quote:
Excerpt from Loose Lips in American Academia and the Press
by Thomas Sowell
October 18, 2001

Some of the intelligentsia are yelling louder than ever that they are being silenced. Professors, journalists and others who have made grossly offensive remarks in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attack are shocked that other Americans are criticizing them for it. To them, apparently, free speech means being free of criticism by others who want to exercise their own free speech rights.

As the Chronicle of Higher Education -- the trade publication of academia -- put it, "professors across the country have found their freedom to speak hemmed in by incensed students, alumni, and university officials." Apparently none of these people has a right to be incensed or to express their reactions to the profs.

The self-righteousness of those who want to be exempt from criticism is incredible. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, [the events of 9-11] "have left emotions so raw that people are struggling to think critically about what happened -- and some administrators would prefer that professors not even try."

Thinking critically? When a professor at the University of New Mexico makes a joke approving the attack on the Pentagon, is that thinking critically -- or thinking at all? At one of the California State campuses, a professor who said that American actions had helped bring on the terrorist attacks was "shocked by the anger his remarks prompted."

Even the Chronicle of Higher Education, while characterizing these responses as "part of the American impulse toward anti-intellectualism" has to admit that "no one has been fired or locked up for joking about bombs or criticizing President Bush." All that has happened is that others have asserted their own rights of free speech. But even that is said to have a "chilling effect." As one professor at the university of Texas put it, the message from the academic administration was "if you stick your neck out, we will disown you."

Apparently other people don't even have a right to disassociate themselves from your remarks. Apparently anything short of uncritical acceptance of whatever asinine statements the profs make seems to them like a violation of the First Amendment.

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