Add Just One Thing--But You Have to Take One Thing, Too

Kids these days are so unprepared for college/the real world! They have no skills/critical thinking/knowledge base! Aack! I recall reading (somewhere) of a litany written more than one hundred years ago deploring the decline of the admissions requirements for some elite college. The writer was incensed that Latin and Greek were no longer both mandatory (possibly provided proficiency in one other modern language).

Truly, things are always already in decline.

I would agree, however, that there is a serious problem: a small portion of high school graduates are either functionally illiterate. That's just unconscionable. Another serious problem: too many kids these days (!) can't do math. More problems: no knowledge of how things interact with one another in the world, etc.

Most people would agree that these are significant ills. But what to do? Lots of people have great ideas about how to fix things... "if only they could add a class on estimating!" or "what they really need is training in life skills!" or "why don't they just..." Fine. I agree! But there are only so many hours in a school day (and only so many school days in a year [and both hours and days cost money, people, and you have to pay the dreaded taxessss to fund it-oops, guess that'll be the day, right?]). So: what would you add, and what would you take away to make room?



We watched Portlandia the other day. Susan had seen ads and so TiVo'd it. There was included a funny little music video called "Dream of the 90s is Alive in Portland." I enjoyed it. Of course it underscores how great Portland is.



Just what the hell is Brooks trying to say here? Has to be read to be believed.


One of Nature's Iron Laws

Susan gave me a mandoline for Christmas. Within a day of receipt I cut off a hunk of my thumb. Because I is smrt.



As you might now know from Susan's blog, we went down to Charlottesville for a quick trip last week. We saw James Madison's home, The UVa, and Thomas Jefferson's home. It was interesting, and generally very nice.

However... as I think more and more about it, I find that whatever their other virtues, it is almost impossible to admire "The Founders" on any personal level. They may have been diligent, intelligent, and full of righteous abstemiousness, but they owned other people. Bought and sold them, often without regard to their family or other attachements. They almost certainly engaged in illicit and ethically problematic relationships with them... And I find it impossible to believe that they didn't know it was wrong (obviously some even acknowledged the practice was evil, but didn't stop).

It's pretty "icky," for lack of a better word. I also am not at all sure that I can excuse it based on the norms of the times. Clearly the people we're talking about thought long and hard about ethical matters-and hardly lacked either insight or the fortitude to engage in perilous change.