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2016 Election Learning

November 11, 2016 Leave a comment

As I have grown older, I have begun to appreciate politics more than when I was younger. Maturity and wisdom are now replacing the inexperience of youth and the ignorance of youth. Disappointment in my political selections is nothing more than the recognition that nothing changes and does the joy of my political selections. I understand now that the government changes with the slow pace of societal changes. It is the process that I find most fascinating.

With all of the disappointment, crying, celebrating, and overall in your face nature, few Americans understand why our government was set up the way it is. How can I explain to that young latina who believes the solution is to fight and have deaths on “both sides” in order to have her way is not how America was set up? (Yes, there is an actual video of her stating this.) I simply can’t do this. I am even more disappointed, but not surprised, at our entertainers. What I can do is explain the process to my sons, though they should know.

As I watched the electoral votes Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, I could not help see the flaws in the electoral college. If you looked at the electoral college map, you could spot urban areas with ease. What had begun as a way to not marginalize smaller, lower populated states is now marginalizing populations within states. In reality, the origination of this method of voting can be found within chains of slavery. This does not mean that marginalizing groups or states isn’t an issue. The true goal of the electoral college was to protect the slavery interests of the South, since the North’s population was larger than the South’s (excluding slaves) and could have pushed through suffrage. The South could not have any of this, and did its best to “even” everything.

Is the electoral college bad? Should it be replaced by the popular vote? I would argue no and each account with the first needing a qualifier. The electoral college needs modified. As I looked at the red on the map, many of the states really didn’t matter. Does Alaska, Montana, North or South Dakota really matter when competing with California, New York Texas, and Florida? They do not. If we look in more detail at the state of New York, does it matter if you live in any area other than New York City, Albany or Buffalo to name a few? The population of New York City alone represent 42.4% of the state but does not represent the interests of the entire state. This issue can be found in all states for this is an urban versus rural issue. Does all of silly ol’ California want to leave the United States? No. Actually only the unhappy people whose candidate lost.

If we go to a popular vote, why should those in lower populated states bother voting? Their voice means nothing and the Republic portion of America goes away while the true Democracy version of America grows. Why should anyone care about Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maine, Hawaii, and even you D.C.? In many respects, this idea born of slavery ideals is an important method to involve everyone in the election process.

It may be time to update the electoral college by breaking out each state’s electors say Pennsylvania’s 20 electors, so regions may be able to cast their vote towards a more representative candidate. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could cast their allotted votes while more rural regions in the state can select the candidate that they believe represents them. This better aligns the country and keeps with the idea of a republic. Less populated states have value and are more included in the elective process. Their vote actually does matter than the myth propagated now.

How does this election help us learn? It provides parents the ability to educate their youth about the electoral college and why it was designed. This election provides the opportunity to explain to our youth why we need to accept the results especially when it was not what we wanted. We do not need the latina or any of the 2016 election protesters who didn’t get their way to be citing violence. The electoral college was an good idea created on poor principles. What appears to be a poor idea in this year’s election is in reality a better option than the popular vote. Our nation needs the electoral college more now than ever as we are a diverse and widespread country. The goals and ideals of New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and good ‘ol Philadelphia do not necessarily agree with the rural goals and ideals of Utah, Wyoming, the rural areas of Pennsylvania and New York, or even Alaska. We need to give these regions a fair voice and together we can continue grow.

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Stop the texting!!

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Youth 2 has been a strong speller since birth. Yeah, I’m using birth. Believe it or not, he was able to spell at a very early age. Indeed, his older brother relied on him for years to help spell words. This went on for a period of time until my youngest started to get close to the teenage years. Having the sense of humor, my youngest began to have fun with his older brother. You may have guess it. The youngest was beginning to provide bogus spellings to his brother much to all of our laughter. Some of the words were really, really funny. Yes, we did have to correct our youngest and plead with our oldest to concentrate on spelling while not relying on spell check. That is another story and a funny one, too.

Youth 2 converses with quite a few friends through the use of a phone, XBox (there are some good things about this), computer and an iPod Touch. The touch is mostly used for texting. After school is finished and his friends get home, the communication begins. Soccer has been the biggest initiator of this mass communication. There is one side effect – my youngest is losing his writing skills. He no longer capitalizes, punctuates properly and spelling occasionally goes awry. The Educator has noticed a similarity between texts and essays. What is normally texted is written in the essay. Spelling suffers because of the shortcuts in texting. We have a growing problem as my ninth grader is entering the important years of education. He needs to communicate through writing. His AP class requires his writing, and these errors cannot be tolerated.

There is a upside to this story. Unlike a public or private school where a teacher has more difficulty in directly influencing the student, we have direct access to my son. We can work on his regaining the skill that has deteriorated more efficiently and effectively than a school teacher. His work is monitored by us and if no improvement is made, the iPod goes away. In fact, we can remove the cause in order to ensure his writing skills no only improve but return to normal.

I was aware of this issue about texting. There have been many articles over the years about this subject. It was never an issue, so I didn’t bother thinking about it. When his grammar grades slipped, no started off poorly and differently than what his standard is, the Educator and I needed to take action. Fortunately, we caught on very quickly. This serves as a reminder to us parents that we must keep vigilant on education.

Important Computer Knowledge To Know

June 23, 2014 3 comments

People will ask me about what to teach their children when it comes to computers. They are your average adult with little computer skills other than what is required from work or email. Many have more smart phone skills than anything else. It is quite easy for me to name three items for their children to use. It comes in one package – Office.

The first item for their child is Microsoft Word. This is used everywhere and my oldest child has used this for his classes at the local university I use it at work though not as often as the other two. Have your child work with word. They need to know how to format what they are writing in word and even utilize tables.

The second item was my third a few years back but has now climbed to number 2 – PowerPoint. My oldest utilized this for presentations he has given to various organizations such as the local government. This comes in handy for scouting or other activities. My youngest is now experiencing the need for PowerPoint.

The third item can easily be considered number 2, and this is excel. This is the program I use everyday. My oldest needed to know how to use this at the university, too. There are sites with shortcuts to be gleaned. I see many people in the accounting side of things using this program. Even engineers get into the game with this. Why is this number 3? There is a point where this is limiting unless you know how to program. At the university, my oldest only needed to sum, add and copy the easy “stuff”. There was no complexity such as utilizing “if/then” statements in the individual excel cell or the VBA code. The real power with excel comes from the macros where programming is required. Though you can make a powerful tool, it can be a poor quality tool. That is another discussion.

Have your child write papers with word. Include homeschool labs with this especially if a table is required. Formulas and be implemented if you use the insert equation or symbol. PowerPoint is a great presentation format. Next time you are working on a homeschool project, this may be a nice method to show results. Your child can learn to add images and do slide layouts. Excel is nice too with homeschool labs. Your child should be able to utilize the cell functions at the least. If they like to program then implement the macros.

Are there any other computer skills needed other than working a computer? There are other software to use such as Paint.Net. These are not very important but are nice to be able to use.

Amazing Use Of Technology

January 21, 2014 3 comments

I have spent some recent posts discussing the positive of modern technology. Today I discovered another use with computers and Skype.

Youth 1 was in the bedroom struggling with a few problems. I was asked to help. Sitting at the small desk in the room looking at the computer was uncomfortable for me. Looking up information with the computer was difficult since we were sharing. I decided to run to my computer and do some work. I memorized the problem and ran off.

Okay, I’m getting old, and I forgot the question. I popped up Skype and after much prodding Youth 1 answered me. I asked for the problem. Youth 1 did better. Youth 1 shared the screen in the bedroom. I was able to do some research and assist Youth 1. Our conversation did not require my being there. I was able to look at the screen in the bedroom, and Youth 1 could look at my screen when needed.

This is a wonderful way to work together. I could not take my laptop to the bedroom, and Youth 1 didn’t want to displace all of the books, notes and computer in the bedroom. This was a win for technology.

I wish I could do a few extras with Skype, but this will do.

Categories: Elections, Homeschool Tags: ,