The Coddling of American Children

The Coddling of American Children Is a Boon to Beijing

By Ron Munden — 11/22/2021

Editor’s note:  For over 30 years I have thought that the downfall of the United States from its dominant world power position to a  second tier power would happen because of  a failure to educate our children. 

I still believe this but the pace of the decline is being aided by the accelerants – civil unrest, climate change and income inequality.

Today I was on the distribution list of an email from a friend.  The email said:

Wall Street Journal: The Coddling of American Children Is a Boon to Beijing

This article in the Tiger Mom vain.  I am getting very close to being “old” and therefore of course believe the younger generations are coddled. I do believe public schools no longer teach but baby sit and don’t do a good job of babysitting. Growing up I knew only one person who attended private school and that was one of my best friends Colin and he only attended grades 1 – 3 in a private school.  Today private schools (vs. public schools) provide a distinct advantage to their students.

I worry that our average national scoring on STEM subjects is in a free fall and this doesn’t make one think the country as a whole will continue to be a leader.  Then again maybe we will get smart and allow anyone with a doctorate or maybe just a master in STEM subjects to stay in our country after they graduate.

Of course, there are exceptions to everything I have written above but in general the above is more correct than incorrect.

He included a link to the article.  Here is a little of the article and the link.

The Coddling of American Children Is a Boon to Beijing

In China, my son had to study hard. Here in the U.S., he just needs to bring a ‘healthy snack’ to school.

By Habi Zhang

Nov. 21, 2021 

As a Chinese doctoral student raising a young son in the U.S., I am mystified by how American elementary schools coddle students. In China, schools are run like boot camps. What do the therapeutic comforts America showers on its youth portend for a growing competition with China?

I recently registered my son in the third grade at a New Jersey public school. Hattie had recently finished two years of elementary school in Chengdu, China, where he trotted off to school each day with a backpack stuffed with thick textbooks and materials for practices and quizzes. Here he leaves for school with little in his backpack other than a required “healthy snack.”

——

My son is not a genius, but he started studying math at an early age. When he was 5, I taught him fractions. Two years later, I introduced him to algebra. It is a core belief in Chinese society that talent can be trained, so schools should be tough on children. Chinese students score at the top of international math and science tests.

This is not a philosophy shared by American schools. On Friday night my son came home announcing in bewilderment that he didn’t have any homework. In China students tend to receive twice as much homework on the weekend, given the two days to complete it. How will America compete with a China determined to train the best mathematicians, scientists and engineers?

To see the complete article click here

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Scottsville Texas

75688

MISD Superintendent Addresses Community Advisory Council

By Ron Munden — 11/02/2021

On Monday,  Dr. Richele Langley, MISD School Superintendent, spoke at the monthly meeting of the CAC.  Dr. Langley arrived in May to assume the duties of her new position.  She is not new to the MISD system.  She is a 1983 graduate of Marshall High School.

The presentation “Marshall ISD – Promise for Our Future” covered the topics:

  • Where are we now
  • Opportunities
  • Goals
  • Strategy

In July a new Assistant Superintendent came on-board.  Currently student enrollment is up 200 students from this time last year. MISD has also started a Strategic Planning Process.

MISD began the 2021-2022 school year with in-person learning.  COVID positive numbers are below 2% for both staff and students.  Enrollment is back above 5000 after a 4800 low.

The COVID sliide is real at MISD.  After a steady increase in STAAR scores from 2017-2019 STAAR scores from 2019-2021 dropped on average 10% per subject and grade level.  Over the last decade average enrollment dropped from 5600 to 4800.

Langley sees an opportunity to develop a school system that begins with the end in mind.  That is – an education that equips every student with the tools to go out into the world and get a job.

MISD will assign K-12 with the 4 endorsement pathways:

  • STEM
  • Fine Arts
  • Business & Industry
  • Public Service

MISD is working to develop a 5-year Strategic Plan by February 28, 2022.  In order to manage complex change MISD  must have 5 factors present:

  • Vision
  • Skills
  • Incentives
  • Resources
  • Action Plan

MISD goal is to begin implementation of the Strategic Action Plan the first day of school – August 2022.  This will  require the strategic plan to be converted into a set of specific actions.

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2022 Best Global Universities Rankings

 2022 Best Global Universities Rankings

U.S. News

Editor’s note:  Today the Dallas Morning News reported that the University of Texas — Austin was the top-ranked Texas university in the U.S. News “Best Global  Universities.”   Since I went to undergraduate school at UT, Austin I was happy.  I went to the source document to see the ranking for Berkeley, the place where I went to graduate school.  Number 4 not bad — but Stanford beat us again.  Please don’t tell Allan Loudermilk.

Ranking     University

1.                  Harvard University

2.               Massachusetts Institute of Technology    

3.               Stanford University 

4.               University of California — Berkeley

5.               University of Oxford

6.               Columbia University

7.               University of Washington

8.               University of Cambridge

9.               California Institute of Technology

9.               John Hopkins University

11.             University of California — San Francisco

43.              University of Texas — Austin

140.            Texas A&M University — College Station  

To check out the complete list — click here.   

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14-year-old FOMA volunteer working to raise money for new Animal Adoption Center’s Medical Room

By Jessica Harker Jharker@marshallnewsmessenger.com

Alera Waite, 14, has had a love for foster animals as long as she can remember. As one of the Friends of Marshall Animals youngest foster volunteer, Waite took it upon herself to start a fundraiser to help fund Marshall’s new Animal Adoption Center which is under construction.

The fundraiser, which is available on gofundme.com at https://gofund.me/058c71c6 has a goal of $60,000, a price tag that Waite thoroughly researched.

Visiting and speaking with local veterinary specialists, Waite determined the price of all of the equipment that would be needed by the new medical room to offer spay and neutering services on site, along with vaccinations.

These items include:

$75 Blood Pressure Monitor

$350 LED Binocular Compound Microscope

$750 Medical Scale

$1,000 Examination Table

$1,500 Patient Monitor

$2,000 Hydraulic Surgical Table

$2,500 LED Surgical Lighting

$3,500 Anesthesia Machine

$4,000 Digital Ultrasound Machine

$5,000 Surgical Power Tools- Full Set

$30,000 X-Ray Machine

The goal of making sure that these items are equipped in the new shelter, according to Waite, is to help the shelter to achieve no kill status.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that there will be a lot more grants available to the shelter if we are able to achieve no kill status,” Waite said.

She explained that many organizations will not give money to shelters who are not signified as no kill, so the addition of these medical supplies will not only help current animals in need, but will affect the future of the shelter in a positive way.

“We need a new shelter, and I think this is a good opportunity to fix these problems as well,” Waite said.

Waite has been volunteering with FOMA since she was 10-years-old, and is one of the youngest volunteers in the organization.

“I have always had a love for foster animals,” Waite said. “I feel like you can connect with them so much more than other animals that already have a good home. You can’t do as much for them, but foster animals they need you.”

Waite is the sole caretakers of the foster animals in her care, taking the time to care for, clean up after and purchase any and all supplies needed for the animals on her own.

Not only does she foster dogs and cats through the FOMA, but Waite also fosters horses and other farm animals, even boarding other community members horses to raise the money needed to care for the animals in her care.

Since her house is currently at maximum capacity for foster animals, Waite said that she has volunteered with the group’s events committee to assist in funding for the organization.

Waite also participates in 4H, formerly holding the title of president of her local chapter, and is an active member of the Girl Scouts, hoping to turn her ongoing funding project for the medical room into her Silver Award project.

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Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Environment?

EVs produce fewer emissions overall than their gas-powered counterparts, but there are caveats 

Editor’s note:  This article contains excerpts for a Wall Street Journal.  Their article is much more complete and contains great graphics. I would encourage readers to go to that article. If you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal click here

By Russell Gold, Jessica Kuronen and Elbert Wang

Published March 22, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. ET

Carmakers including General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG are retooling their companies to make electric vehicles on the premise that their battery-powered motors are cleaner than gas-burning engines.

Are EVs really better for the environment, though? A close look at all the factors shows they are — but it’s a complex answer with some asterisks.

The environmental cost of a car includes both building it and fueling it. That means factoring in emissions associated with oil drilling and power plant smokestacks, as well as from mining metals such as nickel and cobalt that are needed for electric-car batteries.

How quickly the U.S. fleet switches from combustion engines to electric motors will have a huge effect on the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. Light-duty vehicles currently contribute 17% of the U.S. total.

To help prevent the global average temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius, a goal of the Paris Agreement, cumulative U.S. vehicle emissions should be limited to 39 gigatons between 2019 and 2050, according to the University of Toronto researchers.

We looked at four possible scenarios for the future, using the University of Toronto data. In all four, cumulative emissions continue to rise steeply. Two scenarios stay under the 39 gigaton goal—barely. It comes down to reducing gasoline consumption, which has a bigger effect on cumulative emissions than a rise in demand for electricity and minerals with EVs.

SCENARIO 1 — BUSINESS AS USUAL

What happens if gasoline-powered engines continue to dominate for the foreseeable future?

In this scenario, where EVs don’t reach more than 10% of new car sales by 2050, gasoline demand is basically flat.

Emissions from U.S. vehicles would be nearly 49 gigatons, well above the target to stay within Paris Agreement levels.

SCENARIO 2 — HYBRID NATION

What happens if drivers, worried about where they could charge their EVs, flock to hybrids instead?

Gasoline consumption would fall in half and emissions would be lower, but still above the 39 gigatons to stay on target to meet the Paris goals.

SCENARIO 3 — CALIFORNIA DREAMING

What if states push aggressive mandates similar to California, which said last fall that it wanted all new cars sold in the state to be EVs by 2035?

Emissions would drop to 35.4 gigatons—below the two-degree threshold. Electricity use would grow astronomically, as would demand for minerals, but gasoline would shrink to 8% of 2020 levels.

SCENARIO 4 — MIX OF STRATEGIES

What if the U.S. promotes EVs, and also pursues other strategies to reduce emissions, such as improving fuel efficiency, making cars lighter and decreasing miles traveled per person?

Emissions would fall the most. Gas demand would drop. Electricity and minerals demand would rise—but not as sharply as in the California-style scenario.

No matter what kind of engines they run on, cars add to greenhouse gas emissions. But the data show that switching from gas to electric vehicles will make a huge impact.

Consumers making individual choices between cars will make a difference. So will policy decisions made by governments and investments by companies as we drive into the future.

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STOP THE UNNECESSARY DESTRUCTION

Scenic Texas

SCENIC TEXAS CALLS ON TXDOT TO STOP THE UNNECESSARY DESTRUCTION OF 250+ ACRES OF TREES IN EAST TEXAS

State Agency Fails to Provide Evidence to Support “New Traffic Safety Program”

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) August 24, 2020 — Scenic Texas, the state’s only non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of our state’s visual environment, particularly as seen by the traveling public, is urging the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to stop two TxDOT highway projects in Northeast Texas from destroying 250 acres of trees. This project is part of a “safety program” that TxDOT is piloting in East Texas to be applied to the rest of the state.

In a July 13 letter sent to the Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT and legislators, Scenic Texas outlined its concerns about two TxDOT projects (see below for project details) in the agency’s Atlanta District which encompasses nine counties. Combined, these projects will clear approximately 250 acres of trees along 110 miles of public Rights-of-Way (ROW) by an unprecedented doubling of clear zones from 30 feet to 60 feet. Scenic Texas believes these are the first two projects approved under this program but because the program is state-wide, these types of tree-clearing projects could happen anywhere in Texas.

Scenic Texas Executive Director Sarah Tober says that, “Scenic Texas agrees our state’s highway infrastructure should meet rigorous safety standards and provide ample clearance in case of an accident or need to pull over. However, engineers from TxDOT have seemingly based their decision to double this already generous clear zone on intuition rather than evidence. No state or national studies, data, or calculations have been publicly provided to support this decision. While TxDOT provided information to Scenic Texas on the number of off-road crashes in the area, no detail was given to demonstrate whether the injuries or fatalities involving drivers who ultimately hit trees had contributing factors before leaving the highway. For example, distracted driving, drunk driving, texting, or other driver error could have been the actual cause of most if not all of the accidents and thus the real reason the driver left the road and hit a tree.”

Tober continued, “In fact, a number of studies exist that conclude trees along highways help to slow down drivers. Trees also provide valuable environmental benefits including the protection of pavement and a scenic drive that, in some instances, took decades or centuries to make. Additionally, the decision to double the clear zone in the public ROW will have fiscal implications for TxDOT since broader ROWs require more maintenance.”

Scenic Texas maintains that the current 30-foot clearance zone has proven to be ample enough space for public protection, and that clear-cutting publicly-owned trees beyond 30 feet has not been proven to increase highway safety. Moreover, it reflects a lack of good stewardship of taxpayer dollars and harms the state’s scenic beauty. If allowed to proceed, these projects will set a negative precedent for TxDOT to arbitrarily double the clearance zone in the public ROW and destroy hundreds, if not thousands, of acres of publicly-owned trees, many of which are native.

In his August 11 letter to Scenic Texas, TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said that TxDOT, “will be planting wildflowers along the stretch of roadways where the trees have been removed.” Scenic Texas believes that most Texans cherish their trees and would consider this a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars and contrary to the 20-year-old Green Ribbon Program. This taxpayer-funded initiative is intended for abatement of non-attainment standards under the Clean Air Act through the planting of highway trees and shrubs. While Scenic Texas is in support of most beautification efforts by TxDOT, the nonprofit organization of 35 years is adamantly against the clearing of trees only to plant wildflowers in these trees stead. In addition to severely altering the beauty of our highways, taxpayers will first be paying for the clearcutting of trees and then will be paying for the planting of wildflowers and other maintenance of the expanded ROW.

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A Small Town Gave Up Tackle Football. It Came Storming Back.

A community’s struggle with when children should play tackle football reflects a broader debate over the sport and who is left playing it.

New York Times: By Ken Belson Photographs by Brandon Thibodeaux

MARSHALL, Texas — One evening last spring, a retired doctor named James Harris carried a pickle jar filled with bright red Jell-O to Marshall’s school board meeting.

He shook it up so the Jell-O sloshed against the glass, a representation, he told the school board members, of what happens to the brain during a hard hit in football and what can happen to those who are allowed to play the sport at a young age.

“The brain is like this Jell-O in the bottle,” he told them. “When the head hits the ground, it hits front and back, and swishes, twists, sloshes and stretches inside the skull.”

It was a dramatic presentation. It was also futile.

The board listened and then voted unanimously on the matter at hand, to bring back tackle football for seventh graders, which it had banned only five years ago.

Football is a powerful, cultural force in Marshall, a city of about 24,000 people in East Texas, where high school games can draw half of the city’s residents and church ends early on Sundays when the Dallas Cowboys are playing.

Still, even Marshall has not been immune to the nationwide debate over whether and how young children should play tackle football — and the shifting demographics of who is left playing it.

The most urgent battle lines are forming along the first years of tackle football, including middle school in many parts of the country, even as football remains by far the most popular sport in the United States. But high school participation has dropped more than 10 percent in the past decade, even in football hotbeds like Texas, Ohio and Florida, as young athletes and their families seek alternatives they perceive as safer.ON DEFENSE Articles in this series are exploring the debate about the future of football.Inside Football’s Campaign to Save the GameNov. 8, 2019

Despite all the warnings about the risks of tackle football in Marshall, two youth leagues popped up to replace the programs that had been disbanded in recent years. And this year, the school district’s new athletic director, Jake Griedl, who is also the high school football coach, persuaded the school board to restart seventh-grade football, too. He reassured trustees that the game was safer now because of new rules, more medical attendants at games and expanded training for coaches in modern tackling methods and concussion protocols.

“Anything you can do to ease the minds of parents is good,” Griedl said this fall. “People don’t realize it’s safe.”

Read the complete article at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/16/sports/youth-tackle-football-marshall-texas.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 18

18 — Hiccups are no big deal

It’s important for managers to learn which mistakes are important and which are mere hiccups.

A hiccup is here and gone. It is not permanent. A single hiccup does no lasting damage and few people will remember it.

A business hiccup is (for example):

  • An e-mail sent without its intended attachment.
  • A typographical error in a report.
  • The wrong date on a document.
  • Missing a minor deadline.

There are major chasms between hiccups and certified disasters. It is a frightful

part of human nature that some people cannot differentiate between the two extremes. A temporarily misplaced report arouses the same reactions in some people as does an account lost to a competitor that shouldn’t have been lost.

For active, multi-tasking managers, hiccups are like mosquitoes in swampy areas. They are going to pop up no matter what you do. Business hiccups, while aggravating, don’t make or break careers. Those who do the hiccupping or evaluate their effect on the business may think so, however.

Swallow the hiccup by acknowledging it as a mistake, apologize if necessary, and get on to more important issues.

There will be bumps in your career path. A bump is a bump. Don’t make it bigger than it is and don’t allow it to ruin the journey.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 14

14. ‘Tis better to shovel than bail

It is an old axiom, but a business truism just the same, that shit flows, rolls, or bounces downhill, depending on the individual consistency and age of said waste. 

It’s a fact of business life: You will have unimaginable and unimaginative chores to do in a corporate environment. There often are tough assignments that nobody wants to do, but almost everybody has to do.

The avalanches of shit you will face in business will be awe-inspiring – or downright scary. Learn to master and manage them, not to be buried by them, and to shovel shit with efficiency and aplomb. Learn to look over and past them to the emergent light on the horizon.

Lesson 1: Accept shoveling shit as a rite of passage. Know that the company CEO was a Supreme Shit Shoveler in his day. Follow his or her example: Do your duty, shovel to the best of your ability, and move on.

Lesson 2: It’s impossible to pick up a turd from the clean end. Grab it with both hands and dispose of it as quickly as possible.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 13

13. Where’s my ladder?

Ambition is like a ladder. Without two strong sides and rungs arranged at regular intervals, chances of a safe climb are very slim indeed.

Young managers want to scamper up the ambition ladder. The faster the pace, the better they like it. Seasoned managers, either patient and not in an unrealistic hurry to be put in a position that might expose their weaknesses, or who have decided later in their careers to tackle the climb, use each rung as a learning experience to assist them on their vertical climbs in their chosen professions.

Is there one route that is best? To each his own.

But on principle, each rung of a career ascension should be used as an opportunity to learn about your company and yourself.

A career should not be judged by how fast a person gets to a certain position, but what the person brings to the corporate table when placed in a decision-making role.

 Whatever your pace, make it your ultimate goal to learn how to manage in a way that realizes the most efficiency and effective benefits for your company.

Find the company that you know is a good fit. Secure the ladder that fits your personality, abilities, and goals.

There’s no elevator to the top of the ladder. It takes hard work and you need to be in shape to climb it.

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