Thursday, January 20, 2011

Good morning, everyone, from what will be, for the next couple of days, the Northern Indiana freezer. Our patio thermometer registered a blistering 20 degrees and the weather report told us that is the expected high today. As I mentioned yesterday, we will be hibernating. We decided that today is as good a day as any to do laundry and I will vacuum the bedroom. Then I want to sit down with the seeds and get a planting schedule with notes on any special requirements. The Burpee order came in yesterday so all of the seeds I ordered a couple of weeks ago are on hand. We also hit a nice sale at our year-round farm market where I picked up four packets of seeds for $1.

HuffingtonPost picked up on this story which had barely a blip on one of the news shows I watch on TV. The report is right on the money when it concludes that a college education may not be worth the money and time it costs. Here at MaryContrary's house we have thought that for some time for many of the same reasons outlined in the story. The first two years of any college program covers basics the student should have mastered in high school, if not before. If students haven't mastered those basics, what the hell have the high schools been doing? If they have, then the colleges are collecting two years of tuition and fees and delivered no benefit to the student. That is just shy of fraud. But we don't see that as the end of the story. A college or university education, with a diploma at the end, once was a royal road to middle class (or better) life. That was a time when most people had less than an 8th grade education so education had a significant value. I know what the 'statistics' are supposed to show about the lifetime earnings of college graduates compared to those who have 'only' a high school diploma but statistics are something I am very skeptical of, as any who have read earlier posts know. Statistics can cover up a multitude of sins. While I have a lot of sympathy for the students in Europe and the U.S. who have protested the increased cost and the cut in funding that threatens their hopes of a prosperous adult working life, I think they are operating on an outmoded assumption that the education will result it a career that will justify the cost. The uprising in Tunisia should provide a cautionary message. Our news media has mentioned the increasing food prices most prominently but the second prong of dissatisfaction has been the high unemployment of college educated young people. That message should resonate with both college students and our government. Boosting college graduation may not do what either group wants it to.

We saw another not-unexpected evidence of rising food prices yesterday. As I said above we went to our year-round farm market. We do that about once a month during the winter mainly to buy eggs. They have jumbo cage-free eggs for about the same price our local supermarket has large industrial-production eggs. This is a no-brainer even with the longer distance to the farm market. Well, the price has gone up. Anyone who has read about the drastic increase in corn, soybean, and wheat prices would be expecting that increase. We have been reading about the commodity prices and easily made the connection to our food prices. No we won't be changing over to the industrial eggs--the cage free eggs simply taste much better and we would rather not encourage a system which abuses the animals that provide our food.

Henry Giroux has posted an interesting opinion piece on this morning that is well worth a read. A number of bloggers have posted in the recent past on the topic of an "I've got mine, screw you" attitude that seems to be growing in the country. Giroux label may be better: a 'culture of cruelty.' What do you all think?

The news has carried the return of Jean Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier to Haiti. It is interesting that he decided to return now and that the government has charged him with corruption for his 15 year rule which ended 25 years ago. But another little snippet caught my attention: his supporters. They showed one what surely was too young to remember the end of the Duvalier dynasty but who now supports the former dictator because he thinks that the Duvalier regime 'took care of the people.' This says much more about what the current government is not doing in the present than about what 'Baby Doc' did in the past.

Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By published a post today which includes a letter from Senator Bernie Sanders urging President Obama to stand by his previously stated commitment to Social Security. Let's hope the President and the conservative Democrats listen.


Looking to the Stars said...

Its been cold here also. 'Culture of Cruelty', that's a very good descrip of what's going on. I never thought that people would end up with this attitude but I see it more then I want to.

I read about Baby Doc also, I smell a rat about him going back to Haiti and the rat is our country. I don't like this at all and hope we are not involved :(

take care

Kay Dennison said...

I found your take on education most interesting. In 1987 I retured to college after dropping out in '67 and was appalled at how watered down and easy most of my classes were. Yes, I studied harder but it wasn't onerous.

The real awakening came with student teaching to discovered how watered down high school was. I worried for my kids and now I worry for my grands because I'm sure it's only gotten worse.