Don’t Call Me Stupid!

What’s with all the stupid talk? I’m getting annoyed. After all, I did attend four years of college, the last two at UC Berkeley in the turbulent, riotous, psychedelic sixties. However, my college career waned when I found the plush, wild nature of Berkeley’s surrounding hills much more fascinating than the innards of a classroom, and spent my time there. With four majors in four years, from Theater to Philosophy to English to Art, I needed more credits in the latter and didn’t complete my degree. I was searching for something between the lines. Like many of my baby boomer generation, I dropped out, not only from college, but from doing business as usual.

Since then, I’ve trained professionally and earned multiple certifications after long-term, in-depth study in my field of work. But when filling the education level checkbox on various online or official forms, I’m honest. Previously, for highest degree of education completed, one could only choose from high school and BA/BS, on up. Sadly, there must now be so many of us dropouts that we get a whole category called “some college.” (Maybe someday they’ll even have one specifically for me: FYCND, 4 yrs college no degree. kidding.) Please note that I am not advocating this or saying it’s a good thing. Ask my kids if I stressed the importance of completing college in order to better open doors, be able to continue with their studies later, not have to go back, etc. And as a parent I’ll admit, they did as I said, not as I did, to my relief.

The point is, I received a well-rounded education from kindergarten through college, and unbelievably something sunk in. There are many citizens and voters like me who may have completed vocational school, started their own business, entered the family business, pursued an art, craft, or skill. They may be a stay at home or a working mom, a mechanic, office, service or mine worker. They may have been called to other things in life, but it doesn’t mean that they, we, are stupid! The “hard-working, uneducated voters” that seem to be attributed to Hillary aren’t idiots, many of us actually keep up with politics, US and world current events, and cultural and societal goings on. (Thank God and Al Gore for the internet.) Some even call us “street smart.” woo hoo.

Sadly, our education system is in the dumpster, thanks to years of war funding, and the unfunded No Child Left Behind. These inane policies left no room for study of the arts, which saves and ignites the curiosity and literally stimulates the brains and minds of so many kids that don’t fit into the round hole. America is dumbing down and more children are being left behind. Luckily, one candidate, with a career-long commitment to improving education, has a plan to keep kids in school. Well, she has many plans, but here’s Hillary’s plan to reduce the dropout rate in high school students.

“Addressing the Crisis of Untapped Potential” was released on December 11, 2007, long before Super Tuesday. It’s clear that Sen. Clinton’s plans are an action step component of her comprehensive and compassionate world-view.

“Today in Bennettsville, South Carolina, Hillary Clinton outlined her plan to cut the dropout rate among minority students in half and help a new generation of Americans pursue their dreams. Clinton would invest more than $1 billion in programs that identify and support at-risk youth, provide early intervention, fund small schools with intensive personalized instruction, and recruit and train excellent teachers and principals in hard-to-serve areas. She would also establish high quality, universal pre-kindergarten to make sure all children are prepared to learn from an early age.”

“We know that the education system is not working when close to half of African American and Hispanic students will not receive high school diplomas with their class. Disparities in our education system mean poor and minority children receive an education that is often separate and rarely equal. And the consequences are devastating,” Clinton said.

“I am setting a big goal for this country: to cut the dropout rate for students of color in half within a decade. I’ll address the crisis of untapped potential. I believe we can do it. I reject the fatalism which says we cannot reform our education system. I reject the notion that children dropping out of school are a lost cause – because when I’m president, these children will be my cause.”

When students don’t complete high school, there are negative and long-lasting consequences for them and for society. On virtually all measures, high school dropouts struggle. They earn $35,000 less per year than college graduates – a wage gap that translates into $1 million over the course of a lifetime. They are three times more likely than college graduates to be unemployed and twice as likely as high school graduates to slip into poverty.

Read Hillary’s plans to reduce the dropout rate.

Uneducated voters–I’m not sure what anyone means by this category I seem to fall into, but I’m starting to find it insulting to my intelligence. I’m smart enough to decide on a candidate of substance who has thoughtful plans to tackle the failings of the creationist years, and raise up our education system once again. I’m smart enough, and I dare say, so are you.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Call Me Stupid!

  1. Has anyone stopped to think that may be these “poor minority” students realy could not give a rats ass about a european style form of education? Perhaps they do not enjoy learning about technology and western history. That could be the reason they are falling behind and not because mom and dad could not afford 150 dollar Nikes or plasma TVs. I for one consider myself to be intelligent but I have no interest in academics at all. Being an introvert might have been part of the problem but I also just could not sit there and listen to someone prattle on about things I had no interest in. Sure, i found history and some forms of science to be fascinating but for the other subjects, I felt indifference.

    With No Child Left Behind, my girlfriend is a teacher and she as well as others think it is a horrible idea. I can see her point. Schools now are so afraid of losing money or being “sanctioned” to the point that some are lowering standards and raising averages just to avoid being looked upon with scrutiny by uncle sam. I dont think government has any business meddling in the education of children. They cannot even get the economy right. Now you will have a generation of kids with trumped up grades who realy did not learn a thing heading off to college. Then reality sets in. The colleges which are businesses just like any other school will in turn inflate grades to put out a “quality product” and you will now have half-assed students entering the work force with little knowledge and a sub par reading level. I think this all stems from coddling children with all of these self esteem building trends. Trophies for all! No one is a loser! That sort of thing. Kids cannot handle the reality of life that some win, some lose and you have to try harder or move on to something else. Not everyone can be the CEO or the MVP.

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