Category Archives: Opinion

Common Core or Common Crap? Fear of Failure

One thing that is for sure in the area of Missouri I live in. Kids are heading off to college on a scholarship named A+ program. They are entering college and taking remedial courses. Now I went to college in 2010 and so I was way out of touch with quadratic formulas and had to take 1 remedial algebra course for no credit. I didn’t understand how so many kids had these A+ scholarships and were in this class with me. I didn’t know what A+ was. Sounds like a smart kid’s scholarship right? Well as it turns out your final high school GPA and grades have little to do getting these scholarships. It is more focused on citizenship it appears then whether or not you have at least a 2.75 GPA.

Now I have seen some of the math they propose teaching our children. Our school is to begin next year. Being a Psych major has helped me understand a little better what is actually going on when kids are learning math. The truth is they are not learning anything. They think that everything has to be memorized and all you need to know is the answer. (This of course is not meant to be blanket statement) Well they give homework that looks identical to the one they just did and the test themselves are identical in form to the home work. Now this does for some I imagine reduce test anxiety but it does not allow them to build their own ways to get things done.

My son is in 7th grade now. I also have 2 daughters, one in 1st the other in 4th. My son is beginning algebra now and I have been working with all of my kids for a long time in solving problems. My first grader can do some multiplication and my son is probably a year and half ahead of his class in math abilities. I give credit to making sure they know how to solve the problems not just remembering the answers. This becomes more evident of the problem in my 4th grader who can memorize like crazy but if I give her something out of order I might as well have given her a Chinese manual to start with. Once the battle is over and I have showed her she already knows the answers she gets all excited and runs right through them.

Now there is not much of a “process” involved in basic arithmetic. When you get into linear equations and have to use quadratic formulas and factoring to solve for x on the other hand, the “process” is far more important than the actual answer itself. The curriculum for at minimum high scholars should be put together by college teachers. Now you would think this is already the case but it turns out that college professors say the majority of kids coming out of high school are not prepared for college level courses. Well what does that mean, not prepared?  They cannot formulate how to solve for 3x squared +2x = 1. They cannot put together that math now has a component to it that requires a person to have critical thinking skills and memorization alone will no longer suffice.

So is it crap or good? Unfortunately the jury is out on this matter because it has not been in effect long enough to determine if it will work or not. In my opinion there will probably be a better system of teaching in few more years and then a better one after that. With math I have found that if you can build on what they already know in math (like 10 times a number is that number with a zero added to it) I would bet you would find vast improvements in our nations mathematical abilities

Each state has its own rules and regulations concerning government and education. The truth is Americans are not getting the required normal exposure we once did and this is leading to inevitable despair and callousness as we allow our children to be wholly raised by those that think they know best and parents DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING when it comes to teaching kids. The solution is right in front us. You are going to be the most influential person our children ever meet. How do wish your influence to be received?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/prompt-fear-factor/

http://www.blogher.com/novembers-nablopomo-here?from=bhspinner

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Evil Psychology: Pharmacological and physiological Evil ?

While most of us have pretty good cookie cutter definition of what constitutes the difference between good and evil we sometimes fail to recognize that certain acts without intent become inherently evil by those perceiving it. So who gets to define what exactly is evil and what is just perhaps mean?  Does teasing and bullying fall into this category? What about high school? Some of the most evilest people I ever remember where during my high school years. Jocks (not all) tended to play a major role in facilitating acts of evil against those who were academic achievers or part of the rebellious crowd of smokers, skateboarders, Goths, and the obvious poor. Always a instigated fight in the locker room before the end of gym class by someone trying to manipulate someone else or someone trying to impress someone else but rarely the instigators themselves. Girls spreading rumors about other girls who may have said high to their man. Maybe to a boy that liked her about another boy who dared to approach her publicly as to teach him to stay in his social class. The popular crowd (often associated with the best dressed and those financially well off) who has such a fear of losing their status that they continually label all others to make sure everyone knows “where they fit in at”.

Fortunately psychology has answers for us in this four year battle royal of hormones, pimples and braces. It is known that the teenage years up until we are in our early twenties are a significant and sensitive time in our lives concerning brain development. The Pre-frontal cortex begins the long task of rewiring the mainframe to increase efficiency and eliminate neural connections no longer needed and create new connections in areas that were previously unused or underused for lack of need. It is believed that this part of the brain is what acts as the executive function in decision making and receives social cues about how we are supposed to act in a given situation. It is where logical thinking occurs and is responsible for regulating drives that are primitive in nature but necessary for survival with the exception of sexual drives. At this time the Hippocampal region which is where hormones and chemical messengers that trigger other hormone release are controlled. Excessive outward emotional expression as well as increased appetites and sexual urges all tie in to individual perception of ones self as well as others. Increased risk taking behavior and more of a desire to be around peers as opposed to the ever oppressing adults that are always messing up their good time. Do you remember when you were a teen? Are you now an adult that has a teenager? Ringing any bells yet?

Sorry to have to bring my next point of contention but consider for a minute two people. The first is in Aurora Colorado where the person went into a Batman movie and killed people who were watching it for no apparent reason. The next is Sandy Hook elementary school where a man walked into a school with guns and killed young children as well as teachers with no apparent motive for doing so. Are we calling these people evil or are calling their acts evil? Can we even separate the act from the person? This is where we as a society need to be very careful in how we label and publicize the horrific acts perpetrated by two random people. My personal opinion is you can not separate the act from the individual. I would venture to guess from media reports that both of these people potentially had some kind of psychiatric disorder. Does this imply temporary insanity? No because the individuals could make clear distinctions between right and wrong however,  there is this earlier mentioned process of teenage brain remodeling.

We know that there are markedly different reactions and chemical release and inhibition from people who have been diagnosed with some of these disorders.  There also seems to be a sort of disconnect between the frontal lobe and the rest of the brain in some patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. So there is/was a potential for these two individuals to be helped. Unless of coarse they were indeed evil then we need an exorcism perhaps instead of psychiatric care. If they did suffer from a mental health disorder then these can be typically treated with medications that alter the way chemicals interact with neurons such as SSRIs, SNRIs, anti-psychotics, neural modulators and the potential combination of these drugs. If we decide to label these acts as evil then we are saying to people that if you have a disorder then you are evil and this could further impact the stigma associated with having these disorders. and potentially cause the further decline in people seeking out help because they don’t want to be thought of as a potential mass murderer by friends and family. Parents would be less apt to have their children diagnosed for fear of stigmatization in school settings.

So what is evil? In my opinion evil is the person who witnesses an event where a person is being harmed and does nothing. Evil is the deliberate act of causing or causing to happen something that could or does harm another. That person knows what they did and does not have any intention of doing otherwise. Actually taking pleasure in causing another individual harm. Manipulating people who are in positions where they are subordinate to the manipulator. (boss : employee, Doctor:Patient or staff). Even in the before mentioned instances it is theoretically possible that these types of actions could be prevented through chemical manipulation or Cognitive Behavioral therapy.

In short there could be no such thing as evil intended only evil perceived. Maybe those three monkeys were on to something after all. “See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil”.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/daily-prompt-evil/

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Out with the Old: Time for a Political Cure for Liars

Why does everything have to be a lie and then to backpedal and then I know we said this, for a while we meant that, well we thought it was going to…..abuh abuh abuh. Millennial and Latino votes declined from 2008 to 2012 while those 70+ increased. Why are the young so vastly under represented in a political arena clearly designed for the young to wrangle in. Its been said that young people will not take care of the elderly. Wont they one day be Elders themselves? Its been said that being young is being naive. Isn’t this the most educated population in history? Are we educating liberals in universities and conservatives on the farm?  If America is behind other industrialized nations in education then why are we not voting on Obamacation instead of healthcare? Why are not fighting for the education of poor rural and inner city children? It seams to make sense that a person who has received a higher education is healthier than someone who did not.

A educated population is far more likely to create a healthier population then one that has a system of social safety nets to catch those that fall and for some reason seams it serves a dual purpose in some cases by keeping them down. So its no wonder that conspirators on the left and right fill our news channels and airwaves with the kind of crap that outside observers should be saying why the hell would we want to go there?  This isn’t the case though because immigration, illegal and legal, is still occurring. Do the young mind? Probably not as much as seniors since we are not as constricted in our views as our older counterparts. We spend the first 18 years of our lives trying to get out from under the thumb of our parental oppressors only to move under a bigger thumb controlled by the same types of oppressors. Oppression in this sense is meant to be metaphorical not literal.

It is time to group up. It is time be heard. Its time to show mom and dad what we learned and how its better to play together then to divide the groups into those that agree and those that do not. The funniest thing I think i learned in economics classes was that both side are right. Their ideas will work. We have to decide as a nation if we want higher taxes and more social programs or higher education and more global philanthropy. It is no longer conducive to our survival to lean one way or the other. Barack Obama does not want to put microchips in you to track you and if he did they would tie it to Facebook so you could share it with your friends. Republicans do not want to dump toxins in our rivers and release gazillions of tons of pollutants into the air and ground. Where are they going to go to get away from it? They cant stay in Washington forever. The current parties all need to be removed.  Its time for a political enema where if Joe the plumber thinks he can represent then let him speak and if we all agree then vote him in office. Locally, statewide and nationally. “Oh ya your plan is brilliant what about foreign policy and domestic issues of poverty and income inequality” they will say. There are a multitude of people out there who have degrees in international affairs and would serve proudly to help revitalize this nation to its proper status.

Maybe its you? Maybe its your older brother/sister or even the younger one? Maybe its your best friend,worst enemy, gas station clerk, checkout person, random person on the street? It is my belief that I should have an opportunity to help run my country and that everyone else should be afforded that same opportunity. It isn’t a free ride for fun and travel. It would be the hardest job you would ever experience but there is a vast amount of wisdom out there to call upon and vast amount of people who feel the same things but are socially restricted.The restrictions are only imaginary. Self created in our own minds. The ability for all to be heard is no longer imaginary. No segment should be left out.

STAND UP, SPEAK OUT,BRING A FRIEND AND REACH YOUR HANDS OUT TO THOSE THAT WISH TO STAND AND SPEAK WITH YOU AND EVEN THOSE THAT DON’T.

This is a opinion piece with broad implications but in order hold interest it has been self restricted to hope not to loose the messages intent. This is our land to and the future is ours to maintain and pass along.

References provided for numbers matching only. My advice is do your own homework and never take anyone’s word for it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/daily-prompt-health/

(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections

(2)http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/05/08/six-take-aways-from-the-census-bureaus-voting-report/

(3)http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2012G.html

(4)http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b9/Voter_Turnout_by_Sex_and_Age,_2008_US_Presidential_Election.png&imgrefurl=http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Voter_Turnout_by_Sex_and_Age,_2008_US_Presidential_Election.png&h=588&w=911&sz=36&tbnid=t79Ew4_vAix_vM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=139&zoom=1&usg=__HiniR_FxkepaNVzbuECV3autunQ=&docid=3saQ6wvaHQ1Z-M&sa=X&ei=ZFp3Uo2uKITR2QX6toGABA&ved=0CDAQ9QEwAA

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From your mouth to my ear: A know it all’s approach to listening.

Listening skills are the golden center of a therapist’s, friends, spouses, or significant others value to those that need an ear to fill. Not being a therapist it is sometimes more damaging to say what you think or know or think you know to the one who seems lost in a brightly lit, multi-signed world. We sometimes fail to conceive of another’s blindness and simply say “Open your eyes and stop this silliness”.  While I have found that sharing information about how to change undesirable events from re-occurring  is sometimes helpful, it is not always the case.

I have been the goto guy for people to expel their problems on for as long as I can remember. At times I have been Dr. Phil and alienated someone to the point that they never talked to me again. “I didn’t need your advice nor was I asking for it” I would hear sometimes,”I just needed to vent to someone because it was really bothering me but now I see how you think of me so I wont be bothering you anymore”. Most the time I felt bad about this but other times it was a much needed amputation of an infectious nature that antibiotics would only serve to make it grow.

So when you move on in life to relationships that become more than platonic it is usually best in these relationships to just “shut up and listen”. Your ideas and thoughts will most likely not be taken as empathetic, but rather a further attack or belittling of a problem that really disturbs the other person.  This is a bad habit or broken thought process that haunts me to this very day. It starts fires where there is friction and dumps water on soaked souls. Now does this mean you should never? Of course not. There will always be those that want to here and you should always know just because you and experts say so, you should clarify that yours  is just a screwdriver in the tool belt of life and yours is far from being full. Your just passing it along to someone else so they may see if it works for them. The more tools people have to work with, the more likely people can fix their own problems. Sometimes they just need to hold it in their hands for a bit before deciding to use it and rushing them or telling them how to do it can cause misuse and BLAM, Its all your fault.

So listen more and speak less. Sometimes “I see, wow or Uh huh” are all the more words a person needs to make them feel like you care.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/weekly-writing-challenge-dear-abby/000

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/daily-prompt-broken/

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