the assimilation effect

Happy Cindo de Mayo!! Cheers! Err . . .  I mean, Salud! Err . . .

Oh, wait. You mean, that was yesterday? Ohhh, crap.

(Ugh, I have a headache! And who are you? And where are my shoes?!)

Lol, okay, so the above did not happen to me this morning. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I celebrated Cinco de Mayo. I’m not much a tequila drinker, and I’m too much of an introvert for rowdy parties. My idea of a wild night is running and looking for household items at discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s. ūüėā

That said, while I was out running and looking for household items at discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s (yes, that’s really how I spent Cinco de Mayo), I couldn’t help noticing how busy Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant in West Knoxville was until late last night. American’s sure do enjoy celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day!

Oh, wait. Say, whaaa? You mean that’s not what Cinco de Mayo is about? Continue reading

everything is connected

oldbooks..
The trouble with life is¬†it’s¬†too dang complicated. Very little is clear cut. I mean, sure, there¬†is good and bad, black and white. But issues are rarely isolated — everything is connected.

Take my last post, for example. I took¬†a¬†swing at an excuse-laden lazy society. I encouraged people to move. But what if you have selfless obligations that¬†keep you from moving? Or what if you’re injured? Or what if the weather is bad? Or what if you’re too¬†poor to afford a gym membership (like me)?

People come at topics from all different angles.

Another example is¬†education. I’ve seen a number of articles recently that address the decline of the American education system. “The American education system is failing miserably,” the authors say. To prove it, they compare old and current middle school reading lists. “A hundred years ago students were reading the classics; today, they’re skimming Twilight.” “It’s no wonder the United States is falling behind other nations in Math, Reading, and Science,” they moan. “Look at what they’re reading!” A quote by the late Joseph Sabron is often then shared. “In a¬†hundred years, we‚Äôve gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching remedial English in college,” Sabron said. “So sad and so true!” the authors¬†lament.

So sad and so true; so sad and so true. Yes sad, and yes true. But, but . . . My question is: Is anyone asking what’s responsible for this decline?

The trouble with statistics is that they can’t possibly examine all of the probable¬†contributing factors to a problem. Isolating factors doesn’t do us any good, either.¬†Take the above education crisis, for example. Based on the authors’ comments above, one might easily assume American students are to blame. “Kids are lazy these days!” “Twilight? Bah!”¬†After all, it’s our children who are taking these tests. If we look a little harder, though,¬†we realize¬†perhaps it isn’t our students’ fault at all.¬†And¬†maybe not¬†our teachers’.¬†And maybe not even our government’s.¬†Perhaps the issue is much larger than that.

On any given day American students are likely to hear stories about, witness, and/or be subjected to racism, illegal immigration, gangs,¬†gun wars, drug wars, government corruption, cultural clashes, school shootings, natural disasters, violence, murder, and more — much more. Education starts at home, and unfortunately not all children have a home to come home to.¬†I¬†witnessed this firsthand while working at an elementary school last year. Acknowledging this, I believe it’s safe to say: Certain places in the States (and everywhere)¬†might be¬†more sheltered¬†than others, but no child,¬†school, system, or government is¬†immune to the various connected issues of man.

For a few related articles, look here:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/12/03/248329823/u-s-high-school-students-slide-in-math-reading-science

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32608772

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/u-s-students-improving-slowly-in-math-and-science-but-still-lagging-internationally/