Texas Liberal

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No Kidding—Children Understand More Than Many Adults Are Able Or Willing To Grasp

Here is a shocker—Babies and small children understand more than many people imagine.

Maybe the only way to grasp this is to not have children–I have none– and see the idiocy and condescension with which many parents and adults address kids of all ages. 

I don’t know if this is because these parents are lazy or because they lack imagination.  Both I suppose. Maybe parents resent the presence of someone who they fear might have a real future.

Maybe the daily brutality and neglect with which we treat poor kids in our society seeps into people’s homes as a dislike of all children. Even people’s own kids are seen as not meriting full effort. 

From New York Times health columnist Jane Brody–“Keep in mind that preverbal children understand far more than they can say. One of my grandsons was a late-talker. When he wanted something to drink or eat, he went to the refrigerator or pantry and pointed. Our job was to ask, “Do you want water, milk or juice, cereal or raisins?” and wait for his response. When we guessed right, we reinforced the verbal message by saying, “Oh, you want cereal.”…Count the steps as you go up or down. My twin grandsons’ math skills flourished long before they could speak in sentences because they live in a third-floor walk-up. At whatever age your children start talking, let them know you are interested in what they are saying by repeating and expanding upon it and asking them to repeat what they said if at first you do not understand them.”

I don’t have kids and fair portion of my life is over. Why should I care? It’s just as how I’m willing to pay taxes for the benefit of other people’s kids, while so many parents won’t pay up for the good of their own children or other people’s kids.

And yet–I get tired in life of seeing kids who clearly have some smarts and who have questions about the world, being so poorly served by the adults in their lives.

If you have kids, please make the effort required to teach these kids. The future may well be one of disappearing jobs and rising oceans. Folks without the needed skills to do well are going to be out in the cold.

Beyond that—People with strong verbal and communication skills have better lives all around. They have better relationships and they learn more about the world.

So many parents just seem to be lousy parents.

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 8 Comments

Houston Mayoral Candidate Annise Parker Offers Plan For City Dog Pound, But Offers No Plan For Poverty And Houston’s Children

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The campaign web home of Houston mayoral candidate Annise Parker, our current Houston City Controller, has plenty of information about what Ms. Parker would do about the city dog and animal pound if she is elected.

( Above—Annise Parker. Ms. Parker is a Democrat running for Mayor of Houston.)

What you won’t find at her campaign web home is any information about Ms. Parker’s approach to poverty in Houston if she is elected. Also, you won’t find what Ms. Parker would do to improve the lives of children in Houston.   

The city dog pound is a mess and it should be made right. It is an issue our next mayor needs to address.

But what about poor folks and all the poor children we have in Houston?

Here is some extensive data on poverty in Houston for 2007.

Some of the facts—

* Just over one-third of kids in Houston under the age of 5 in Houston lived in poverty in 2007. The number for Texas as a whole was just under 27%.

* Nearly one-fifth of all women aged 35-44 in Houston lived in poverty in 2007.

* Over 8% of people in Houston had an income less than that of half the poverty level in 2007.

With the hard economic times in 2008 and 2009, it is likely that these already bad numbers are now worse today.

Given the condition of so many of our people in Houston, is it any shock we mistreat dogs? 

Ms. Parker is a decent person. She’s right that the pound needs to be fixed. Yet there are even more pressing issues in Houston that Ms. Parker does not appear to be focused on at the moment.

August 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling All Smart Kids—Come To Texas To Compete For College Spots And Jobs Against Kids Who Get Right-Wing Education In Public Schools

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The Texas State Board of Education is talking about changes in what  kids learn about history and social studies in public schools. They want to shift the curriculum away from the facts and towards the political and Christian right.

Here is a Houston Chronicle article on the subject.   

( Above–A schoolhouse in Maryville, Tennessee where Sam Houston taught in the early 1800’s. Here is the link to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum in Huntsville, Texas. This schoolhouse in Maryville is open to the public and has an interesting history. Please click here to learn more about it.)

The Wall Street Journal has also written about this subject. Here is the link to that story.  From the article—

“The Texas Board of Education, which recently approved new science standards that made room for creationist critiques of evolution, is revising the state’s social studies curriculum. In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history.”

The articles here speak for themselves. What is to be taught is a right-wing inaccurate version of the facts. Parents, and all concerned citizens, can decide to take a role in this debate or they can just ignore it all.

Here is the link to the Texas State Board of Education.

People say that having kids changes you and that people care about their kids more than anything. What I see is apathy about education and parents who lack the imagination and the willingness to prepare kids for the demands of adulthood.

I’m happy to be proven wrong on this— But it won’t be individual examples of great education and great parenting that impress. I know these things take place all the time.

What will convince me is a well-educated society as a whole, and parents who take the time needed for their own kids and who are willing to meet the tax burden required to provide a decent education for all kids.  

In the meantime, if you’ve got a smart hard-working kid, bring the kid to Texas and take advantage of the weak competition for college spots and good jobs. 

 From the Houston Chronicle article—

Biographies of Washington, Lincoln, Stephen F. Austin? Not fit reading material for children in the early grades. Cesar Chavez? Not worthy of his role-model status. Christianity? Emphasize its importance. Such suggestions are part of efforts to rewrite history books for the state’s schoolchildren, producing some expert recommendations that are sure to inflame Texans, no matter their political leanings.

The State Board of Education expects to start discussing new social studies curriculum standards this week, with members of the public getting their first opportunity to speak this fall and a final board vote next spring.

The process is a long one with lasting impact: reshaping the social studies curriculum, including history, for 4.7 million Texas public school children. “This is something that every parent would want to be paying attention to… ”

Curriculum standards are updated about every 10 years; the last social studies update came in 1997. According to a preliminary draft of the new proposed standards, biographies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Stephen F. Austin have been removed from the early grades, said Brooke Terry of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The early draft, which is likely to change multiple times in the coming months, also removes Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, and anthems and mottos for bothTexas and the United States in a section on holidays, customs and celebrations, she said. “You have the ability to shape the next generation on the beliefs about the government and the role of personal responsibility but also understanding our history and the principles that we want to pass down to our children,” Terry said. “With many of the suggested changes, I think we would be backtracking on many of the important things that people fight for in defense of our country.” Continue reading

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Care Bears Cartoon Had Commerical Every Six Or Seven Minutes

 

This morning I watched the Care Bears cartoon on CBS. I watched it while in a very nice room at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas. 

There was a commercial every six or seven minutes during the Care Bears. Don’t we have any standards for the amount of advertising in kids programming?

I bet we don’t.

This morning, Funshine Bear was cleaning up pollution in a place called Rainshine Hollow. I think that’s what the place was called.

While Funshine worked at picking up trash and cleaning streams, the other Care Bears just kept playing their games. Only when they saw how discouraged Funshine had become from the enormity of his task did the other Care Bears assist him. 

I’m glad they came to his aid. Though I’m not certain how bears so practiced in helping others would have allowed Funshine to go without help at any point. I found that to be a hole in the story.   

The given reason for the pollution in Rainshine Hollow was a “storm.” Maybe a kind of Care Bear Katrina had occurred.

I did note that the Care Bears talked in complete sentences and did not talk down to the audience. Adults could learn something from the Care Bears in that respect. I always speak to children in an adult tone to convey that I don’t think they are dolts. 

The Care Bears logo is owned by the American Greetings Corporation. The folks at American Greetings should realize that any good messages the Care Bears have are drowned out when you have an advertisement every seven minutes.  

November 4, 2007 Posted by | Politics, Things Watching Tv Made Me Think About, Ways We Hate Children | , , , , | 8 Comments