Vote for Me, Education

Vote for MeWho honestly would want to be a politician? Who honestly would want to run for office and participate in the cesspool that is the legislative process today, whether at a Federal or State level. I ask this in all seriousness, who would wish this on their enemy, let alone their family, friend or self. What level of masochist do you have to be? Or is it something else, something far more sinister and ugly. Sure, there are a few good ones. A few that start out wanting to do the right thing, wanting to change the world or at least their small slice of the world. Some of these wonders amaze me, their bright and shiny faces all agog with zeal, with the need to do good; they rush out of university with their freshly inked sheepskin, searching for that dragon to slay. They hunt down their Senator or Congressperson, begging for the opportunity to prove their value, for free no less, just to get their foot in the door. If they are not disillusioned within the first ninety days, they are either corrupted or entirely in the dark.

Who would want this job? Who would want to serve this nation under these circumstances, who but the thoroughly corrupt, ego driven diehards, they fight tooth and nail for the job. Hell I suspect there is another reason for their pursuit of high office, beyond ego, certainly beyond the desire to do good. These pompous, blowhards, these cretins of horror, they want the opportunity to line their pockets while violently masturbating in their exuberant rampages across the world. Leaving behind nothing but death and destruction in their wake.

But let me stop. I did not intend to rip into those who are showing their asses in this run for the prize. Indeed no, instead I would like to talk about what all of us should be considering, those things that would indeed make a difference to this nation, to the next generation and ultimately perhaps to the world. Possible policies and programs that could not only be implemented but could be paid for without a significant pounding of those already struggling to keep body and soul together between paychecks. Isn’t it time we start considering realistic policies and changes to the ‘Wars’ we have been fighting for decades that have proven both fruitless and socially damaging. We are truthfully a nation with PSTD, we are a nation of the walking dead. Isn’t it time we change direction and start dragging ourselves out of the grave?

This is the beginning of a new series, Vote for Me. I intend to look at policies from both sides of the aisle and try to find reasonable options we can all live with. Policies that make sense. Policies that are fit for human beings, which are humane, compassionate and fit for a society that intends to continue. I am not going to call out the ugliness or stupidity of those who take a different stance than I intend to take, I am only going to take the stance I believe make sense and in some cases draw comparisons to where we are today or where the current crop of politicians are leading us.

Free education through University? Let’s be realistic, not every person is in need of a University education, not every person will thrive within a University atmosphere. Not every person wants to toxic_applebe a Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Scientist or Business Person. Honestly, we also still need Plumbers, Mechanics, Construction Workers, Crane Operators and a whole host of others to Labor. What we need is to start changing our views of who these people are, the value they bring to our society and our lives, the skills they need to do their jobs. Let us set out to change our education system, change how we teach and how we approach skills. Whatever happened to Shop in middle and High School? What happened to the idea that young people learned how to change a tire, how to change oil, hell how to rebuild an engine in a car if they were so inclined. The thought that we only value those who are able to sit on their asses all day versus those who make our day to day lives easier, well there is simply something wrong with our values. Do not misunderstand me, I went to college, loved it and value the opportunities I received by doing so. What I don’t understand is why there is now a drive to give every young person a college education for ‘free’. The following is my proposal.

  1. Early education starting at pre-K, cost should be needs based and must be available to every single child. This must include daycare to make certain every parent can work and has a safe place for their children. I would be happy to offer employers a tax break if they established daycare with pre-K education on their campus.
  2. Let’s wipe out teach to the test system and get back to real education solutions, shall we? Our students are failing on a worldwide scale, many must take remedial courses once they reach universities. It is shameful. No child left behind my happy ass, damned near every child is left behind these days. We have dumbed down entire generations. It is simple ya’ll, Reading, Writing, Science, Arithmetic; start there and once we have those down let’s move on History, Philosophy, Literature, Earth Sciences, Advanced Mathematics, Arts and host of other interesting subjects that fill young and curious minds with wonder. Let us not forget Life Skills!
  3. By the Ninth Grade let us test our students for Aptitude and start focusing them on where both their skills and interest might be best suited. Is it computers? The Arts? The Sciences? Is it yoUtensil-weidingerworking with their Hands? With all things Mechanical? Whatever it is, let’s not shame them but instead let’s work with them and the community to find opportunities for them to learn.
  4. By High School we should have partners in the community who work with our schools to help teach trades, who are ready with summer apprentice programs. I don’t know about you but I think our young people have lost their minds, so many of them think they are entitled to so much, it often amazes me.
  5. At graduation, no one goes straight to University or Trade School. No one, not rich or poor, don’t care if your family name is Bush or Logar, you are not heading off to the luxury of more school on someone else’s dime. Certainly not on societies dime. Every single person on reaching their majority will give to society two (2) years of their time before entering their next years of schooling. Whether this service is military, working in state sponsored homeless shelter, or something else as yet undetermined it doesn’t matter. Every person will give two years to social volunteerism before they get their education.

No more entitlement, no more free anything. We have to start somewhere, let’s start here. Want an advanced degree? Give more, offer more or partner with a company who sees your potential and is willing to invest in you for a commitment of several years of your future. Other countries do this very successfully, why shouldn’t we? We have to stop giving away our future. Yes, student debt is terrible, I don’t disagree. I will likely die before mine is paid off. I don’t regret my education, I surely do regret the cost though. There are two sides, I don’t disagree there are two sides. We must fix what is broken. We must find ways to educate our young, from pre-K on. We must fix our entire system. We must invest in education for every child, whether in Mississippi or New York, whether in suburbia or the inner city. We must take responsibility for outcomes and demand all our children be treated respectfully, given the opportunity to shine and become the best they can be. But at the same time, we must stop the silliness of entitlement and begin to teach accountability, responsibility along with compassion and empathy.

One example of industry, community and education partnering successfully. I love this school!


  1. Politics need not be a “cesspool”. There are many decent people in politics who are good citizens. They do not get news coverage. They don’t bluster and call people names. They quietly try to solve problems and compromise. They won’t be headlining on Fox news.

    The real success of the radical right has been in convincing people that government is “bad”. This allows people to distrust government and is exactly what the multinational corporations want. It is what the “deregulators” hope for.

    Without government what would our environment, working conditions, food supply, etc look like? Would we have Social Security or an 8 hour work day? A minimum wage (as low as it is)? Worker protections? Would we even have free public schools?

    Don’t let the anti-democratic forces get the best of you. Think of the real progress we have made in the last 65 years (since I was born) and consider.

    Government may not be perfect and it does attract scum. But it also attracts people who want to do good. Seek them out. Support them. But don’t expect perfection.

  2. Where is the Ballot Paper Val.. You have my X marks the spot 🙂 Spot on and hope to read more about Common Sense policies 🙂

    Have a wonderful Weekend Val… sending you love and Oh by the way.. that Crown suits you lol 🙂

  3. Adore this. Yes, we do need crane operators. 🙂

  4. I’m voting for you.
    Where do I go to do this?!!! xxxxxxxx

  5. I would vote for you! I like “policies that are fit for human beings.”

  6. Sadly, you could not pay me enough to run for an elected office.

  7. Kudos. Applause. I totally agree with your views on education. I just attended a 30-year reunion of students I taught that long ago, and was delighted to see, among the many lawyers, a plumber. God bless him. We need mechanics and plumbers and chimney sweeps, and more people to keep our society going. We need more police and fire men. We need more administrators in education who will listen to their successful, seasoned teachers as to what works and how it does in the classroom. I think we have reached the demise of education by men who believe in theory,not practice, who are so arrogant they will not consult the lowly teachers they load down with mindless, useless paper work. Somebody better stop commanding and start listening to common sense.

  8. Val, this is great. And I look forward to the subsequent pieces in this series. And I agree with you on nearly all of it (tax-breaks, IMHO never work because they are most often offered to folks who pay little or no taxes because they make so little).

    Well done.

    • Thanks Elyse. I can’t decide what to do next. My inclination is guns of course, but this is such a heart piece I don’t know that I could do it pragmatically.

      I agree with you on the issue of Tax Breaks, unless they are well structured and thoughtful they are useless.

  9. Couldn’t agree more, especially coming from a country whose exchequer is burdened by populist sops. “Free’ anything without accountability can only be good for politicians.

    Would you consider migrating to India and giving our goons some real competition? You might win by a landslide! 😀

    • Oh My Dear Friend, I think your nation would give me the shivers. I am such a introvert and you are so big and so populated.

      But there is a certain thoughtful idealism to it, isn’t there?

  10. I’ll vote for you! This is my favorite line: “But at the same time, we must stop the silliness of entitlement and begin to teach accountability, responsibility along with compassion and empathy.”
    It’s so true! Empathy is so important and vital for a tolerant and compassionate society. Whatever happened to compassion, anyway?

    • We forget to teach it to our children. It starts in the home, but we forget. Our churches are turning hate filled. Our homes are losing focus. Our schools are certainly not the place to learn.

      I tell you Monica, we are a nation that has lost its way.

  11. I do think we need to have some sort of mandatory service to the nation, but I think it would be helpful if people could defer the service until after they finish their education? I think it could have more impact to have a surgeon, a lawyer, or an engineer doing the national service than a high school graduate with no skills.
    Also, we could follow the Australian example, by offering the education for free, but paid for by extra tax after graduation. Combine the two ideas, and you can give free education, with the education tax paid until the service requirement is completed, which creates the incentive to complete the service early.

    • I am good with deferment actually and this is a great option. But not every person is going to pursue an education where this makes sense.

      Love your idea!

  12. I agree that we should concentrate on the trades; however, living in FL, there is no difficulty at all about hiring plumbers, electricians, etc. These people are very busy and there is no slow-down in business for them – particularly the HVAC industry. My son is a tradesman – master upholsterer-furniture repair person – and he is very much in demand. He’s quite talented.

    Also, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are the recommended avenues of study. We need more of these people for the present and future. The Europeans have it right.

    As far as politicians – the requirements – as far as I’m concerned – are greed, power hunger, and narcissism, to name a few. Unfortunately, there are too many of those who possess these “attributes.”

    • There are shortages in all the trades today. Ask any business trying to hire. It is one of the issues we have to address as we address comprehensive immigration reform.

  13. Israel has the required two year service after high school–usually in the military. You have stated great ideas that I don’t disagree with, but I can hear the Greek Chorus shouting “socialism” as they read it. I can see us one day implementing many of your ideas but only after the current generation of hardline conservatives die off. Sigh!

  14. Interesting post, as usual. Let me start by saying that I spent over 32 years teaching high school Social Studies (History, Government, Psychology. Anthropology, Sociology, African/Asian Studies and too many more to list).

    The high school system you describe is one that seems to be in place in much of Europe. A basic early education followed by some options around the age of 15 or so. I think it is a good idea. Most students are not scholarly and should be directed to areas that they find interesting, without depriving them of exposure to all kinds of subjects. Too many kids just do enough to “pass” a course because they are not interested. I understand that. It is just a waste of time and ..well…I can’t say energy!

    Another point about high school in the US. I think that the obsession , by kids and adults, with sports is a real core problem. Not only the financial burden on the taxpayer but the time taken away from study is enormous. I have been in a number of schools where they cut English and Math and Gifted Programs due to “budget” constraints.. But guess what. I have never seen those same schools cut a football or basketball program. Those seem to be higher priorities than academics. And when administrators and parents set that tone there is not much a teacher can do about it. I have had kids taken out of class to discuss sports-related problems or to go to games. I cannot imagine what would happen if I went to a football game and tried to take a player off the field to do his Government homework!

    We cannot compare our test scores with other nations for one simple reason. We test EVERY kid. Many nations test only the cream of the crop. So, making comparisons using any test scores is comparing apples to oranges. I think our “higher” kids do just as well as the “higher” kids from other nations, maybe better.

    Another issue with secondary education is that it has become politicized. As more and more parents become “involved” it has lead to administrators wanting to see “passing grades” rather than quality of education. Teachers learn early that you will not be called down to the office and yelled at if all your kids pass. And no parent will complain that his kid’s grade is too high. The days when teachers were viewed as professionals have long gone. They are viewed as servants and “grade givers”. I have to say that if I were starting out today I would not go into education for that reason. And I have seen some high quality young teachers quit after a year or two for just that reason.

    I will stop ranting here although I could go on and on (just ask my wife).
    Bottom line. Let the professional teachers teach. Get rid of sports. Track kids by interest and ability. That will lead to more success for students.

    • I agree with you, in everything. I want the profession of teaching to be given a higher priority and far more respect. I wouldn’t want to see sports cut, but I would like to see it take a back seat.

  15. The current student debt load is actually a drag on the economy. But the U.S. spends more on the criminal justice system than it does on education. We build a greater number of prisons jails than we do schools. Then again, the school-to-prison pipeline that some of the elite have built (with the help of elected officials, of course) is a source of certain revenue. No wonder U.S. grade and high school students continuously rank low in math and science scores, when compared to their foreign counterparts.

    You do say something that I’ve proposed before: every able-bodied / able-minded person in the U.S. should give at least 2 years of military or community service. I mean as in mandatory. It’s not politically correct and will offend so many hapless souls who want to wander the wilds of Alaska trying to “find themselves,” but I don’t care. If someone wants to live in this country and enjoy the benefits of a democratic society, then they need to give something of themselves first. We’ve become too much of a privileged / victim society. This should be done, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, etc. I believe in full equality across the board.

    I also believe voter registration should be automatic when one turns 18. If more people voted, we’d have a more productive nation, with politicians being held more accountable to EVERYBODY!

    See, Val! Our elected officials should listen to us because we have the best ideas. But no! They’re content to keep their heads up their asses and only pull them out when somebody threatens their money or their guns.

    • I agree on registration being automatic, however being registered doesn’t guarantee voter participation. I will get to the issue of voting in this series, so I am not going to give my thoughts away here.

  16. Mr. Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  17. Totally agree. This is why I’m not going to vote for Bernie Sanders.

  18. Interesting thoughts, Valentine. I enjoyed reading through your post. I do think we are doing a disservice by not supporting the trade industry more. I read an article not long ago about how houses are waiting to be built but can’t be finished due to shortages of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc. These are good jobs and often well paying.

    I wish they still taught shop in school. My sons could use that knowledge. They certainly won’t get it from me!

    • I talk to so many friends in the trades who say the same thing Carrie, there are very real shortages and yet we talk down to those who are interested in following their desire to enter the trades. Our politicians, on both sides don’t seem to understand the real needs of this nation for the trades. Hell, come live in Texas for a summer season and have your air conditioner go out, get told it will be a week or more before someone can get to you.

      I think we really need to start thinking about what we value.

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