Monday, November 19, 2018

A Traditional American Thanksgiving ?

In the event you missed my post written 5 years ago, 'Truly Full of Thanks,' (11/18/13),
I've decided a repeat performance was in order. I believe my description of a traditional American Thanksgiving reflects thousands of family get-togethers across the country. The women will be working frantically in the kitchen, but still make time catching up on the latest happenings in their lives. The men will be situated in front of the television viewing whatever football game is being televised at the moment. And the kids will be in and out of the house either chasing each other or tattle-telling on their siblings. Oh, happy day!

Houses filled with amazing aromas and the usual chaos will eventually settle down to a scrumptious table laden with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, biscuits, etc. Although the recipes may vary, the essentials will be there. Once seated, whether at the adult table or relegated to the kids' digs, everybody will join hands, bow their heads, and give thanks to the Lord above for the many blessings showered upon them over the past year.

Before I reinstate the 2013 post, let me acknowledge that there will also be thousands of families that
unfortunately will not be celebrating the holiday in the same manner. Some folks will be sitting alone in a drafty room remembering Thanksgivings of long ago. Either all of their relatives have passed, or live too far away to be together. Others may not even have a drafty room, but instead make their homes under bridges or in cardboard boxes. The homeless will be truly grateful for a turkey feast at the local shelter. Then there are those who will find themselves in hospitals, stricken with horrible diseases that prevent them from eating at all. Their conditions so dire that even the smell of food makes them nauseous. Finally the drug addicts and alcoholics will be roaming the streets looking for their next fix unaware that Thanksgiving Day is upon them. And, if in fact they are aware, the family gatherings of long ago will only serve up nothing but pain and guilt.

Perhaps there is no such thing as 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving'  anymore, even though many may disagree. But our country has drastically changed over the last 50 years, and the usual traditions are becoming more and more, the unusual. Sorry to say, but unless we take an active role in bringing back the glorious celebrations we once embraced, days like Thanksgiving will eventually become erased from the environment. If people continue to disengage from what was once held sacred, there will be nothing left to hand down to our children.

I am by no means casting the blame on the unfortunate for this present state of affairs, but rather calling on those of us who still remember and can afford to celebrate 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving.' to include those who, for whatever reason, can't. If we can invite some to our dinner table, great, but if that's not possible, then be generous in other ways in order to provide 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving' for all!

Originally I titled this post, 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving' without a question mark, but as the Spirit took over, I was made to realize the ? was necessary, and for that reason I've chosen not to include the 2013 polyanna post, 'Truly Full Of Thanks'. Wow, what a difference 5 years can make!

Blessings and Peace to ya'll!

Monday, November 5, 2018

What Has Happened To Common Sense?

Should it matter what color of skin a student has as to whether or not he or she receives suspension from school due to seriously violent/inappropriate behaviors? Seems that our government/school districts have instituted bans on teachers' rights to suspend minority students because according to the powers-that-be they have reached their limit for the school year? This is not only a disservice to our educators, but more importantly to the students who are in school to learn AND to the students causing the disruptions since they then realize that suspension is no longer a threat, therefore empowering them to up the ante when it comes to their behavioral choices. 

Why have so many school districts embraced this ridiculous policy which clearly exhibits a lack of common sense in my estimation? President Barack Obama’s “Dear Colleague” 2014 letter on school discipline issued 'a warning to school administrators that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights would investigate the rates at which students of different races are disciplined. It advised school districts that traditional discipline policies ought to be used only “as a last resort.” '

"The 2014 letter is an affront to the separation of powers, federalism, and the rule of law. Nothing in the Constitution, legislation, or even regulation authorizes the secretary of education to dictate local school-discipline policy. Rather, the Obama administration did an end run around the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing a sweeping new policy by fiat. The Civil Rights Act unambiguously, and entirely properly, says that schools may not treat students differently based on their race. But the Obama administration declared that the Civil Rights Act forbids not only disparate treatment in school discipline, but also disparate impact. According to the 2014 letter, schools could face a federal investigation and potential loss of funding even if their rules are fair and applied evenhandedly."
Max Eden is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Jonathan Butcher is a senior policy analyst at, and Lindsey M. Burke is the director of, the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation.

Being in the educational field for my entire professional career, I can tell you with authority that there are times when teachers have no other alternative than to issue suspensions for egregious actions. If we abide by Obama's letter, we tie the hands of folks who have dedicated their lives to teaching our young to someday be positive contributors to society. Teachers are not responsible for the devastating effects of single-parent homes, neighborhood violence, and extreme poverty that statistics confirm plague black children at higher rates than their white counterparts. Because of these detriments, it only stands to reason that more suspensions are likely to be issued to minorities.
Not only are teachers adversely affected by this mandate, but the children themselves suffer immeasurably. Every child has the right to a quality education and a safe place to learn. When disruptions occur on a daily basis that take away from actual teaching time, and when said disruptions involve violent and inappropriate behaviors, the youngster that thirst for knowledge are denied their opportunities again and again. This leads to lower self-esteem, insecurities, and fear for their own safety. Common sense would tell us that by simply removing the offenders these injustices would be lessened if not eradicated entirely. 
Since it is the teachers who interact with students every day of the school year, don't you think they know best when it comes to handing out suspensions based on past behaviors and what is fair in regards for the good of all?
That's just plain common sense!
And  the Federal Government needs to stay out of establishing rules and regulations for school districts. If and when our congressmen and senators step into today's classrooms and accept the role of teacher for only one semester, I guarantee you, they'd rescind the "Dear Colleague" letter in a New York minute. 
And their common sense would return as well!