Trash It

I had a political screed ready to publish on Sunday, prior to the freak show that now serves as the template for our presidential debates. After listening incredulously to both candidates, I scheduled it to publish on Columbus Day morning—then I put it in my WordPress trash bin. Later, I pulled it out and set it to publish again, before finally deep-sixing it once and for all.

That trashed post is a product of being sick and tired of all the self-righteous posing that people that I once considered friends (and some, acquaintances) have taken to Facebook to spout about almost every day. Your moral superiority is an ugly look.

Here’s a snippet of what I had planned to post, but finally decided to delete

One thing I am positive about. I’m done reading anyone’s either/or equivocation. We’re as fucked with Hillary at the helm as we will be at with Trump. Both are pathetic excuses for a leader.

Don’t like my opinion. Well to hell with you! I’m still entitled to holding one until that right gets stripped away by whoever we end up with for our next president.

Speaking of opinions, The Baffler isn’t afraid to show you theirs. Whether you are a fan of their far left progressive takes, or not, at least they haven’t resorted to listicles (yet).

The fact that they actually still publish long-form articles by writers trumpeting autodidacticism is reason to at least consider their ideas. Not sure what that is? I touched down on the topic back in 2013. A lot of good self-learning has done me. But that’s a topic for another post I’ll probably write but not publish.

As much as I still want to like The Baffler, however, they lose me with articles like this one. I’m sorry, but promoting the idea that all we need to fix the problems facing America is come to “grips with womb-based womanhood,” as in, “let’s return to the womb,” is politically-correct nonsense.

I doubt anyone tacking an autodidactic route would offer up this kind of poppycock, straight out of woman studies 101.

Can women save us?

Can women save us?

No Reason

Driving home through yesterday’s midday deluge, I decided to tune in MPBN’s Maine Calling program. The topic was “The consequence of paying our teachers poverty-level wages,” at least that’s what their Facebook page indicates. I joined at some point, about 20 minutes into the program.

One of the guests on the show was Tayla Edlund, who was chosen as Maine’s Teacher-of-the-Year for 2015. She teaches third grade in Cape Elizabeth.

The show’s host, veteran journalist Keith Shortall, posed a question that basically captured an idea that well-to-do places like Cape Elizabeth—the top-ranking Maine community by income—are likely to have greater parental involvement. Anyone that knows anything about socio-economic data and education wouldn’t have had any problems with Shortall’s premise. Here is but one study on the subject.

Socio-economics affects educational attainment.

Socio-economics affects educational attainment.

Continue reading

The Quest for Education

 

Don't take my education!!

Don’t take my education!!

In the southern part of the state and mainly greater-Portland, events at the University of Southern Maine have highlighted for me (and maybe a small cadre of others) the challenges inherent in maintaining the status quo relative to higher education.

Is it possible and even feasible given the current landscape of diminishing public resources for taxpayers to be on the hook for what some consider an outdated education model? Along those same lines, is the current statewide higher education complex and namely, the University of Maine system, viable and more important, sustainable? Continue reading

Success and the Stories We Tell

I want to change the world, one story at a time. That’s my story for today, and it’s been my story for awhile.

You might say, “that’s a little over the top, don’t you think?”

“Not really,” I reply.

I’ll be talking about stories and their power to transform when I deliver two breakout sessions this morning at the MACTE fall conference. My topic will be, “Success and the Stories We Tell.” Continue reading

Reconsidering Our Education Model

Having a generalized set of skills can be an advantage if you’re an entrepreneur, a free agent, or someone who has already become fully immersed in the new economy of the 21st century. While colleges are abandoning liberal arts majors in droves in favor of specialization, the inherent value of what higher education offers is also coming under increased scrutiny by some.

What are these “general” skills that I speak of? Is there a core toolkit of skills that someone looking to make it as a free agent should have? What are the skills that I’ve been able to cobble together and master, or at least become proficient at many over the past 10 years? Continue reading

I Don’t Have a PhD

I lost a training bid to teach technical writing to someone with a PhD.

I learned to write by writing. I’ve written something almost everyday for the past 10 years, have three books in print (and a fourth on the way), blog regularly, etc. My competition has a blog that hasn’t been updated in almost a year and has a total of six blog posts over the past two. As far as I know, their total book output is 0. Their online presence is pretty lame. Continue reading

Communication Breakdown

School boy from the 1970sI’m glad that I went to school when I did. My public school teachers may have been part of a nefarious plot to turn me into a minor cog in some impersonal corporate machine. Or they might have just been putting in their time until retirement, weathering each successive storm of boomer births. Something along the way foiled their intent, however. Continue reading

The University of Autodidactica

Ben Franklin was an autodidact.

Ben Franklin was an autodidact.

An autodidact is someone who is self-taught. In today’s parlance we might call them a “self-directed learner.”

Autodidacts were common in Colonial America. Many of our founding fathers were autodidacts as well as polymaths. Ben Franklin might be one of our nation’s most famous autodidacts. Franklin abandoned formal education at age 10 and we all know how that turned out. Continue reading

The aftermath of a shooting

Sometimes words fail us. Other times, attempts at piecing together a few sentences that sound coherent and stop short of being preachy is nearly impossible. As a writer, you try but you know your framing is always going to be off kilter.

Since Friday morning when news reports first began intimating that yet another public shooting had occurred, I’ve been resolute about limiting just how much coverage and subsequent analysis I was going to allow myself, at least in the hours following an event that’s tough to get your head around. I’ve tried to stay removed from it. What do I mean by “staying removed”? I mean outside what’s become the norm when these regularly scheduled acts of random carnage take place; the usual hand-wringing, the ideological bleating, the moralizing—all made worse and amplified by the always on, 24/7 opinion streaming and lack of reflection made all-too-easy by the social media twins of Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading

Broken beyond repair

Education as a system is broken in America. Whatever method you use to evaluate schools will yield a result that’s disappointing. While there are still good schools and communities where the K-12 model works, most don’t.

In Chicago, a city with nearly 400,000 public school students, a labor impasse finds schoolchildren staying at home for a third day, as teachers picket, demanding changes in how they are evaluated, more autonomy to teach, and an increase in their salaries and benefits. Meanwhile, the students are the losers. Continue reading