From the Midwest

From The Midwest

From The Midwest
North Carolina,
September 29
Never Give Up! Never Doubt Goodness and that Includes YOU!
Former English teacher-artist from the Midwest and just another statistic of "The Great Recession." Life goes on . . .


Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 15, 2009 9:51AM

Michael Moore: Republicans Killed the Newspaper

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Interesting. I am curious how online media has affected European newspapers? Are papers in other countries experiencing the death of print?
Not sure about that. But I've been to Europe and I know they revere their newspapers.
I just love Michael Moore, and his take on the state of education is correct. I would go further by saying that hard-line Republicans prefer the population to remain uneducated because it makes the people maleable/vulnerable to suggestion--its about power. We all know that education is related to power. Likewise with the papers--they educate. If I were a Republican, I would be excited by the dismantling of the U.S. newspaper--big score!
Yep, according to Michael Moore (the film maker not book writer) it is all the republicans fault. It is not the TV and film media which Michael is a part of that is killing reading. It's not the Internet or thousands of video games and cable TV channels that consume thousands of hours of students time. It is the republicans that are killing news papers.

We spend billions on public education. Some school systems work and some don't regardless of how much money they have or don't have. If tomorrow you started paying teaches double you would still have the same crappy teachers that you have now they would just be making more money.
I find his connection between newspapers and education a little tenuous, but that's OK. I always liked the good-natured, awshucks, muckraking style of Michael Moore even when his arguments hover well into the range of the broad. His targets are usually deserving of some kind of scrutiny, whether Moore's particulars are coherent or not. I'm curious about the illiteracy rates in Europe.
He can seem like an annoying guy at times, but I'm glad he's out there. In more ways than one.
strangely enough, that other bastion of capitalism, switzerland, has the highest readership percentage in the world.

it may have something to do with democracy, there, and oligarchy in the 'land of the free.'
Education is a local event. The kids go to neighborhood schools. The teachers are hired locally. They are supervised locally. What does the Department of Education have to do with the teacher who is in the class room with your child making sure they can sound out words and read the book? Nothing.

Now look at where kids are doing the worse. DC, Detroit, LA etc. So what do all these cities have in common? They are run by Dem's. So tell me again how Rep's are killing education and keeping our children from learning how to read?

Every time Moore opens his mouth he just proves how stupid he is.
No Catnlion, it is you that is the stupid one.

You cite troubled intercity schools as being the result of democratic rule. Then why is it that the conservative Red States seem to be the ones lacking in education?

Not only are they undereducated, they're a bunch of welfare queens too boot:

You are using out dated numbers. Here are the top and bottom 10 ranked in percent of high school or higher education. Got to love that number 4 state.

Now, if we are going to use outdated numbers I think I'll use my outdated map. It shows only DC and MN in blue.

Wyoming 91.2
Minnesota 91.0
New Hampshire 90.5
Alaska 90.5
Vermont 90.3
Utah 90.2
Montana 90.0
Iowa 89.6
Nebraska 89.6
Hawaii 89.4

South Carolina 82.1
Tennessee 81.4
West Virginia 81.2
Arkansas 81.1
Alabama 80.4
California 80.2
Kentucky 80.1
Louisiana 79.9
Texas 79.1
Mississippi 78.5
I'm with ghostwriter on this one. US papers are dismal, and TV even more so. The media has turned to appealing to our lizard brain rather than relevant social movements. They stopped being of service to the public...and now they wonder why they've fallen prey to bloggers.
He makes some good points, but I honestly suspect that a less educated population is not solely a Republican agenda.
I have been in love with newspapers since I learned to read. Sadly, the last few years I have watched great newspapers go from instruments of information to looking like a mildly re done version of Yahoo or MSN's home page with the same wire stories and no depth or real journalistic strength. Real journalists have been dismissed in order to court the wrong crowd and save a buck for the investors. IMHO, newspapers needed to go stronger for those of us who read them, not jut for straight information, but for some editorial insight as well. Instead, it was cheaper to reduce staff, go to tabloid formats and just lift wire stories and features with no effort of their own to provide this kind of reporting. my analogy is this, when faced with the challenge of the internet, newspapers abandoned being them selves and tried to become hard copy of it. It was like motorcycles, lots of people wanted Harley's so everyone stopped making their own and just copied them.
Thanks everyone for all the comments. Just an aside: I taught in the public schools for 20 years. One reason I quit was because I felt, and still do, that the government isn't interested in graduating an educated populace. Fixing public education is pretty simple. When I taught at efficient, well-to-do private schools, I was amazed at the contrast with public schools.

Also, it's a myth that schools are "local." Most neighborhood schools have been closed down or torn down. And "No Child Left Behind" is a perfect example of how government has intruded negatively into education--lots of requirements and standards but no money to back it up. It's pretty dismal.
The elephant in the room in this conversation (and I'm referring specifically to cat/lion's claims of dismal performance in urban schools and midwest's note that private schools are run better): it's the population of students that drives the school's success on measurable standards such as those required by NCLB. I don't agree that succeeding in education is simple, most especially with urban students whose lives are burdened with a host of struggles that the private/suburban school children either don't have or are aided in overcoming with the help of educated, wealthy parents.
I also worked for years with Purdue Upward Bound. Those kids were the poorest of the poor. But it was a great program and the kids really succeeded because they knew that education was "their ticket out." And it was a well-run program with great people running it. So a good education is possible even if one is poor.

Schools are just way, way, way outdated, institutional environments. The school day is still 8-3 with summers off. Makes no sense at all in the 21st century. Schools won't really change until systemic changes occur--such as changing the school day. But we can't even get universal health care passed. I really have to wonder is democracy as we "knew" it growing up is really a viable system or is it broken from special interest and corporatie funding influences. If not, how much longer can we go courting internal disasters????
From The Midwest

So when you were sitting in your classroom with "Fred" who was having trouble read, who's job was it to find a solution and help "Fred", you or some government yahoo in Washington?

When a student raised his hand it's the teacher who responds. Not somebody in Washington. When a student has trouble sounding out a word, it's the teacher, not someone in Washington who helps him. It's the teacher who knows that if he has to help two kids that he needs to help "Fred" more than "Jane" because "Jane" can and will get help at home and "Fred" is a latch key kid. Those decisions and responsiblites are made at teacher level, not Washington.

Lainey, I will give you that some schools are easier than others. While they all have problems, they are different problems. Teachers are the front line to solve and deal with these problems. If you are in a school where you can't/won't deal with the problems, go find another job. I really hope you knew what you were getting into before you took over a class room.

Who is making you stay in a job you either don't want to do or can't do?
Think the Republicans killed newspapers? Try reading the Incredible Shrinking Los Angeles Times. They killed themselves.
Catnlion: Oh, yea, Washington was WAY responsible. In my 20 years of teaching I never, ever had enough supplies to teach correctly. It was 20 years of begging and arguing for books, books, books, chalk, even staples. Days of no heat in the winter.I can't even begin to tell you how much of my own salary went for supplies.
@sealionlady. The LA Times when to the tubes when it was purchased by Sam Zell.

This article discusses Zell's take-over of the LA Times:
From The Midwest

But that stuff comes from your local school board. They are the ones who make the decision on what to spend money on. Tell me that your local school board never spent money on stuff that they didn't need and left you out in the cold.

That deals with supplies. You didn't bother address the student that needs help.
Devilgrrl, you are so right about Sam Zell! and the Times keeps getting worse! It seems every week they eliminate a section. The Sunday paper used to be large; I'd enjoy it all day. Now - no Book section (just a page or two), no local news section, lousy Travel section, bad grammer and cliched writing (all drug addicts are "struggling"). I still subscribe from force of habit, to see the advertisements and my husband enjoys the sports section.
Cat/lion, I am only just now returning to see that you've responded to my comment, and I assume your last set of statements/comments were not directed at me personally as you don't know me. But your question to generic teachers at large--What is keeping you at the urban schools you don't like being at? (paraphrased)--plays directly into the heart of my argument. The best teachers in fact don't stay in the harder-to-teach schools, if they were ever there to begin with. Barring the committed few who are acting out of principal and passion, the urban schools, already filled with organically more demanding populations, generally have the worst teachers available, capitalism being what it is. How fair is that?
And by "principal" I meant "principle" of course! Dang!