Saturday, April 17, 2010

Living in a Culture of Youth

I went to a local CVS pharmacy in search of suntan lotion and other "age defying" products. I admit that living in a sun drenched state does tend to dry a person out from time to time. As I wandered up and down the aisles of hair and skin products (my hair too, once oily is now dry), when I happened upon stacks of books by well known authors. These were all hardback and unsold even with the huge discount on them.

I thought it discouraging for someone like myself who is trying to get her memoirs out on paper. I do the worst thing an aspiring writer can do. I tell myself that if these well known writers have stacks of their books gathering dust, what can I expect from my feeble attempts.

Today I heard a story on NPR programing about a person who'd been sent off to an orphanage when he was 9 and I said to myself--ah that's like me. Only I was sent away to a "boarding" school when I was at the ripe old age of 5. I felt a bit of solace and wondered if anyone would be interested in boarding schools AND happier memories of summers in the country side. Apparently boarding school teachers needed summers off.

Back to my original musings. Who reads?: Who cares? Are our feeble attempts worth the effort or are they indulgences to our egos?

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Week

I've been reading several books each for a different purpose. The first is The Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism. The history related in the text makes sense when you take a long view of what has been happening during the past 50 years. I have no background in economics so I depend on balanced reporting, which I believe Naomi Klein has conducted very thoroughly. Just in the first two chapters I feel vindicated in observations that I've made to students in my former classes---I always mentioned that to an average citizen living here in the USAmerica most hold dear the type of capitalism has undergone a drastic change. Now I understand that a theory of economics has worked very hard to have its ideas take over public lands and interests while enriching the "producers" of wealth. In other words, what were once jointly owned and administered infrastructures and responsibilities by public and government in balance with corporations are increasingly in the hands of corporations--many or them multinationals and not beholden to the USAmerican tax payers. All structures put in place during the New Deal era are being dismantled in the belief that governments must, like business make profits.

I have never thought that all things should operate like corporations because there are many works like health, education and maintenance of public buildings and roads which should be done for the people regardless of the almighty bottom line.

People learn in different ways and need different approaches in order to grasp concepts. SO the privatization of Education does not take this into account and in stead insists on tests. Now some students do well in responding to standard tests. I never did yet with time I came to the point of earning a doctorate. Had my teachers insisted on evaluating me solely on results of GED or other standardized tests, I might never have succeed in earning my degree.

Not all students have the same family backgrounds and support for continuing in higher education. so they must work harder at both learning substance of the courses they take and passing standardized tests that make politicians feel as if they've accomplished something wonderful for the public schools. Of course the information in the Klein book points to the great desire of the followers of Milton Friedman to privatize all of education.

So as I get deeper into the Klein book I'd like to see what other have to say that either add further light on my findings or make any corrections for errors in reading which I may have made.