Friday, August 12, 2016

Around the Horn – 8/12/16

At first, in honor of “back to school” is an interesting article on the uselessness of homework for elementary age students. Reading the article spurred this thought: Kids go to school for seven hours or more. They come home to an hour or so of homework plus instrument practice. (If your child isn’t taking piano lessons by the second grade, repent and start now. He or she needs it badly. You can add another instrument later. Piano comes first.) That means our children in elementary school have the equivalent of a nine hour work day. And many are not even in double digits agewise. I believe teaching kids to work young, but I am not sure elementary age kids are ready for an eight or nine hour workday that mostly involves sitting. Maybe homework is a good thing to change, and shortening the school day probably won’t kill anyone.

At second is a NY Times article about the vanishing jury trial. It remarks that justice frequently takes places behind closed doors with (overzealous) prosecutors and no arbiter of actual facts. They offer plea deals that are guarantees while threatening long prison sentences if the accused goes to trial. The article says that jury trials were designed to protect against prosecutorial abuse and the decline in jury trials is increasing the danger. One judge says that because plea deals are prepared before a case is prepared for trial, the evidence against the defendant is never scrutinized by anyone objective to the case. A prosecutor threatens and a defendant weighs the risk of a short guarantee vs. a long risk. I am not sure what the answer is, but I would hate to be tried before a jury of my peers.

At third is an open letter to Hillary Clinton. It is a good read about the kind of image that is being put before our young ladies today. There are a lot of women that I would love for my daughter to grow up and be like. They are found in all kinds of fields in life. But there are a lot of women I hope she never follows, and Hillary Clinton is one of them. It is a dreadful shame that in a country of about 150,000,000 women, she is the one chosen. Of course, it is a dreadful shame that in a country of 300,000,000, Clinton and Trump are ones chosen. But I will save that for another day. As parents, we need to be reminded that parenting is like politics. Remember the old saying, “All politics is local”? Well, parenting should be all local. Don’t outsource your modeling to anyone, least of all politicians. And perhaps pray often the parent’s prayer: “Please don’t let me children turn out to be criminals, or worse yet, politicians.” (Though perhaps it would be hard to tell which is which.)

And last, speaking of politicians, much is being made by some of Trump’s comments about the NRA and Clinton’s threats about guns. (It was a dumb comment, whatever he meant by it.) But someone dredged this up today: Biden threatening Obama with a Berreta. I don’t remember this getting a lot of press coverage. You probably don’t either.  Let’s face it: People who talk a lot say a lot of dumb things. If you doubt that, just read Facebook. But it’s a good reminder to guard our tongues. Speaking fewer words is a good way to minimize the risk of saying stupid things.


1 comment:

Michelle Shuman said...

I like and generally practiced the idea when I taught that there is one assignment for the day for each subject. You get it done in class and you are finished. If you choose to play in class, then you take it home. No need for double assignments.