Category Archives: Education

But My Mom Says I’m Perfect…Just The Way I am!

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Grad school has begun again. Usually, it’s busy and stressful in the beginning and then I tune out and just go through the motions. This time is a bit different. I’m taking a class called…GROUP CHANGE. It’s difficult because I don’t like groups and I don’t like change. It’s also an elective outside of my program with a whole new set of unknown, unpredictable liberal commies. It didn’t start well when my teacher asked me if I had worked on the Obama campaign when I mentioned I worked in politics. (Way to show your colors early, lady!)

We did this NASA Survival activity where you pretend that your space ship crashed on the moon (I think mine did years ago, by the way) and you have 15 items. You have to number the items 1-15 as to how important you believe they would be to your survival. You can see the entire exercise here. My first 4 items were oxygen, water, food and 2 .45 pistols. None of the other items seem to matter (matches, flare gun…um, people….we just crashed on the moon. There is no air. A solar-powered FM transmitter? Leave it behind). Of course, not one of my group members selected keeping the gun in the top 10 and ultimately, I lost out and had to surrender my gun in our group presentation. I pushed hard to keep it and even offered to give up my food. They weren’t having it. One even said, “No way, guns are bad.”  Yes. Even hypothetically…in a space-shuttle crash, the liberals still want me to give up my rights.

Then the teacher explained the use of the books for class, –one of them titled “Helping”– and she explained how we would be able to look into ourselves, evaluate and change to be better group workers after this course. “We’re all in this together!”, she said. [No. We're not. I'm all about the individual.] She then explained that by the end of the course, we will have a sense of how to ‘facilitate’ others into the group mentality as well and co-participate.

So let me get this straight: I need help. I need to change. I need to shift to collectivism and rely on others while helping those others shift towards a group mentality as well? You can ask my mom and my boyfriend: I am stuck in my ways, stubborn as they come and I’m not changing. In this instance, I consider that a good thing. What’s scary to me, though, is that my cohort members do not see any of the underlying messages being projectile vomited into their laps. The liberal bias of education no longer surprises me, however, the increase of ‘in your face’ in denouncing of individualism and self-accomplishment is just baffling to me.

Graduate school has taught me very little about the field, but taught me priceless information in terms of stamina, patience, strength and keeping my mouth shut. As a whole, it’s been a learning experience for government funding, the student loan process (the lack of checks and balances pertaining to the dispersion) and a look inside the post-secondary educational arena as a whole. The countdown is on. July 31st…I’m waiting for you. I’m sure the university will be happy to see me go as well.

An Open Letter to Comcast: Thank Goodness Incompetency Isn’t Contagious

Dear Comcast Customer Relations Department,
First, you should know that I am writing this letter with my middle fingers. I recently transferred service from one apartment to another, within the same complex. Some would consider this a fairly easy feat, but not for Comcast. Apparently this is as difficult as Americans electing quality leaders. Since the instatement of my new account, I’ve experienced nothing but a lack of service, outrageous bills and charges and customer service representatives incapable of understanding my issues. We all have spoken the same language…English…so I’m confused as to why this is.

Because of my new location, I was eligible for a decreased rate in service and a few other “special offers”. Understandably, I took them. The following week I received a bill for $502 for “miscellaneous equipment”. You can imagine my surprise when I received such a bill after I carried my own equipment from the old apartment to the new apartment. After much confusion on a 30-minute phone call and “box tracking”exercise, they were finally able establish that since they had not shipped me a new box and a technician had not provided me with a new box, I must be using my old box. Genius!

After hooking up my box myself–to avoid a $39 installation fee– I had all the channels but my DVR wasn’t working. I called Comcast technical support. Heaven knows I wish I never had. This nonsense began on a Wednesday. Over the next 4 days, I experienced a litany of hour-long technical support calls, box resets, confused phone reps and me shuffling armoires back and forth to try and “reconnect the cords”, as if that was the problem. Everyone know they are color-coded and I’m not color blind. Every time I called in, I lost more channels until I was left with only GPB. I’m not a fan of Big Bird, so this doesn’t work for me.

The final phone rep I spoke with was so frustrated herself, she offered to send a technician the following day, free of charge since this entire debacle was at the fault of Comcast.

The following day, the gentleman arrived to fix the TV box. Two hours, 3 cable boxes and the technician excusing himself into the hall to yell at the dispatchers at HQ later…he finally fixed my TV. He determined that all along it wasn’t the box, the cords, the wires, the customer or the technician but the ding dong account representative who deactivated my account “on accident”. Whether that’s true or not, I’ll never know. I do know that I was able to resume watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and that was good enough for me.

Fast forward 2 weeks when I receive my bill. There was a $50 charge to have the technician come out!! Upon calling, the lady on the phone offered to reduce the fee to $30. I will admit, after all of my patience, my hours on the phone and the unplugging and replugging of cords, I lost it. $50…$30…any dollars charged to me because of your mistakes? I don’t think so. She said a supervisor would call me. I am still waiting on that call. You can bet your hiney that I’m not paying the bill until this is settled- even if it results in disconnection.

Unfortunately, because I live in an apartment complex, I am limited in cable service providers. I am not a fan of satellite and because my complex has an exclusive contract with Comcast, I cannot use AT&T Uverse, a company that is actually capable of providing quality customer service.

Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve spent upwards of 11 hours on the phone with your representatives and the reality is that TV is not worth the elevated blood pressure. You are rated as the Worst Company in the US for a reason. You can rest assured that when I do leave my apartment complex, I will never use Comcast again. I will not recommend your company to anyone and will make sure that anyone considering Comcast knows the ridiculousness that is your company.

May God Bless your lyin, cheatin’, fee-chargin’ souls.

Fondly,
JS

Charter School Amendment: 2 VERY DIFFERENT Conservative Perspectives

Ahh, The Charter School Amendment: the issue which has conservatives calling each other liberals, debating ’til they’re blue in the face and liberals…well…just stomping their feet, like usual. So that’s why me and my pal Tori Wester (seen above fighting during our yard sign blitz) from ToriPundit decided to present two different conservative view points on the Charter School Amendment. She voted ‘Yes’ on Amendment 1 and I will be voting No.

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?

The Perspicacious Conservative:
As I mentioned in my Sample Ballot, I don’t condone any sort of government expansion regardless of the circumstances. That alone is reason enough to vote NO.
This amendment isn’t about the kids. It’s about government control. I would like to note that I am not as opposed to Charter schools as I am to this amendment. Sometimes, there is a need for a charter school in a district. There is a never a need for this amendment or its’ repercussions.

  • Georgia already has more than 100 charter schools in operation. There will be ZERO effect on the already operating schools whether the amendment passes or fails. If a charter is denied, there is already an appeals process in place: to the Board of Education.
  • Everyone says this is about ‘local control’ and ‘the parents’. Tell me what is local about a board appointed, NOT ELECTED, that is accountable to the Governor and his friends at the Gold Dome? This will allow states to override a denial decided by the local school board and require them to honor the charter. (I’m legitimately asking someone to tell me how this is local because I don’t understand.)
  • The denial of charters is not as common as proponents are making you think. It’s actually a rare occurrence for a charter to be denied. Revisit bullet #1.
  • 2010-11 State Department of Education report shows that 73 percent of traditional public schools in Georgia met AYP targets while only 70 percent of charter schools met those same targets. I thought Charter schools performed better? Isn’t that what this is about? Better schools?
  • I’m not one to propose more spending, but if you’re claiming students need more money, maybe you should take a look at the overall spending on education for Georgia and how it’s being distributed. Food for thought.
  • ALEC. I would encourage you to take a look at this analysis by PoliticalVine of funding, nationwide rankings and the role that ALEC plays in education around the nation. Do we really want an organization the size of ALEC intervening in our educational system and crafting our policies? I don’t.
  • Revisit the Fulton Science Academy Charter issue that caused a plethora of destruction for students, teachers and taxpayers. And what about where some charter school funding comes from? That mixes with your tax dollars. State charters are almost always managed by out of state for-profit corporations with no accountability.
  • Choice is not the issue. Parents may already choose public, private or homeschooling choices. They may choose which school district by living there, may enroll in any school within the local school system or any school in another school system, if there is room available. Another charter school or two will not significantly increase choice options.

I’m not sure anything could measure up to the ridiculousness of the TSPLOST, however, the government overstep with this comes close. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and find a different solution for the public education crisis. You can read more about Voting NO at VoteSmartGeorgia.

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ToriPundit’s Opinion

I struggled with the charter school amendment, truly I did. Having no children and never having the extreme responsibility of putting a child through school laid heavy on my heart. I had to do a LOT of research. Also, I know so many well-informed voters (whom I respect greatly) that each have very strong opinions about the amendment, both in the affirmative and the negative. I did a little social media experiment on my Twitter and Facebook to get some of my lingering questions answered. I took the arguments I was worried about and posted them, asking supporters to defend them and nay-sayers to reinforce them. I weighed everyone’s arguments and played devil’s advocate until I felt like I had a very good understanding of what is at stake with this amendment.

  • Competition, Competition, Competition. School boards, teacher unions, and local elected officials are reinforcing the status quo. Is the status quo in public education good enough? I say no. Georgia is the “black sheep” of the states in education. Let these schools have an easier route to incite competition. In doing so, you make every school better. Competition is one of the biggest feather’s in a conservative’s cap. Let’s bring that principle to the public schools system.
  • Choice: Let me make this clear… PARENT’S DESERVE A CHOICE. Refer back to bullet point one – do you want them making choices for your kids, or do you want to make the choice? Who ultimately knows what is best for his or her own child? (Hint: it begins with “p” and ends with “arents”). Yes, parent’s already have a choice of where to send their child to school, but when a school board shuts down a charter request, that choice becomes much more limited. Allow the choice. Vote for freedom.
  • It creates more government… but not really. Many (conservative) folks who oppose the amendment do so because they felt a change to Georgia’s constitution was creating more government. I was one of these people, too. That was my final reservation. While the state can now overrule the local school board, it is because of the PARENTS. The state can now intercede, but it is when the parents ASK for the help…. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! Individual liberty > local control. The state doesn’t want control’ the state wants parents to have control and is helping them get it.
  • Show me the money. This amendment is not a declaration of support or non-support for charter schools. Charter schools are here. At least, some are. Many, especially in rural south Georgia, are blocked from creation by local boards. Should the parents (the people whose children have to go through these schools) want a competitive alternative to the status quo public schools in place, this amendment allows the state to provide that funding

I will close with this little tidbit of wisdom from my old-man crush, Neal Boortz: “If you want Georgia schools to continue to suck, vote no.”

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The most important thing is to VOTE. I encourage you to take these facts, from both sides, and do a little of your own research to make the best decision. Which is, of course, voting NO.

Subsidies: Kids, Housing, Education & Mental Illness

I have always said that graduate school is the most difficult mental thing I’ve ever had to do. Not because it’s intellectually challenging, but because the liberal agenda is blatant and in your face it’s sickening.

Last night, my class was discussing higher education in European countries. The agenda was to discuss how education policy is crafted, how its’ funded, things of the like. The first half of the class had been on a completely different topic and the European discussion was planned for the 2nd part of class. During our break, the discussion of politics came up. I made the comment that my whole program is “one big liberal indoctrination fest” to which my teacher laughed a bit. I explained my disdain with the “gift” of a textbook during orientation titled “10 Steps to a Federal Job”. He then mocked me and “What do you expect from a program like this?” (It’s a Masters in Public Administration). I explained that placement in federal jobs is not the only scope of this program and I was disappointed with the lack of focus on the nonprofit sector (to which we’ve been offered no classes) and the local and state government levels. My teacher actually agreed.

He then asked me where I thought he was on the political spectrum, if 1 was the ‘most extreme liberal’ and 10 being the ‘most extreme conservative’. I said based on his comments in class, I would give him a 2. His response? “I’m not that moderate.” Lord. The follow-up question was of course on me and where I stand. My answer was simple: I believe in the Constitution, and I believe in the most amount of freedom with the smallest amount of government. Not one person in the class commented. I guess this is a new concept.

As we moved on to our discussion on European education, we had a student from the Netherlands discuss his educational career. He explained that he had 2 undergraduate degrees and 5 Masters degrees. Pretty fancy. Everyone was praising him and shocked by this profound concept when I asked who footed the bill of this education.”The government, of course”. The discussion carried on with talk of progressive policies, government dependency and subsidies out the wazoo. This panelist emphasized the ‘wonderfulness’ of receiving ‘stipends’ for every thing from child bearing to education to being poor or having a mental illness. He also emphasized the greatness in the inability to be wealthy. “Equality. Equality Equality.”

I could feel my blood pressure rising. Based on my breathing, I would imagine it was somewhere around 160/90. I could feel my face getting read and I was sweating. This panelist again described this socialistic nanny state with great pride when I asked what the tax rate was. “52%” in most cases. My classmates emphasized their desire to go there when my teacher interrupted and asked ‘What is your point, Jessica? If the result is the same, and you attain your goals, why does it matter if the tax rate is high?” My response again was simple. I explained that it seems to be a great concept for the Netherlands, and other socialist nations, but not for America…here we have a Constitution…” and I was again interrupted “The Netherlands has a Constitution, too!!” “Yes, but ours is based on freedom. That IS the basis and the point.” –Silence-

My teacher said “So what is the value of money in the United States, Jessica?” to which I replied “Personal accomplishment and responsibility.” He said “You nailed it.” Yes folks, that’s right. I was able to nail my own personal views. At this point I just wanted class to be over. But it wasn’t.

We carried on with the love of nanny states when finally a classmate asked, ‘Well it sounds so wonderful! What do people complain about?’ Our visitor explained that women only make up about 20% of the work force there and that they are subsidized to stay home…they encourage women in the home. He also described some inequalities and disparities amongst minorities. Socialism didn’t fix those things.

So… the truth comes out in the final minutes of class. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows. It seems as those liberal women prey on the “War on Women” here in America. Why don’t you test the waters in some other countries if it seems so fine and dandy? He also praised the healthcare system but mentioned the slowness, the inefficiencies and the lack of diverse medical care. When discussing policies and minorities, he emphasized the vast disparities and how they affect minorities on a daily basis, detailing the need for more policies to equalize all races, genders and nationalities. Hmm, seems like what they need over there is a little FREEDOM!

I’ll end on this note: My teacher looked at me and said “Why is the word progressive so bad?! What’s so wrong with progress?” Progress is not bad when we extend voting rights to every American and ensure freedoms are guaranteed to every citizen. Progress is bad when we leave our foundations of what this country was based upon. Progress is bad when open our borders or spend our way into becoming Chinese or force one to pay for another. Progress is bad when we lose sight of the Constitution. Progress is bad when we ignore the very freedoms that are protected for you, by others, and put you in a place of higher education. Progress is bad if this is what you’re doing with it.

Thank God I’ve only got 10 months to go.

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Yoga is the New Indoctrination

So…some parents in San Diego are considering legal action because of free yoga classes offered by the school in San Diego. They are claiming two things: 1) that public resources shouldn’t be used for yoga classes and 2) that yoga is a practice of Hinduism and therefore, they are teaching religion in schools.

I will give you #1. Yoga classes are probably not the best use of public education funds when the education system is failing, we can’t afford adequate teachers and California is broke. And I am usually the first one to point out ridiculousness in the classroom and obnoxious abuses of power on behalf of teachers and school districts alike, but this one is just off the wall.

“The lessons are funded by a $533,000, three-year grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes Ashtanga yoga. Some schools began classes last month and others will begin holding them in January, at which point roughly 5,456 students will be participating.” according to The Blaze. I researched Ashtanga yoga. While it does have an Indian origin, it’s main focus is on breathing techniques and body alignments with emphasis on concentration. The school made sure to eliminate all religious forms and phrases from the class as well. This is California we’re talking about. Land of the hippies. Of course they want everyone to breathe deeply (and think slowly). This is a state full of proponents of alternative approaches to health. It’s not that outlandish.

Plenty of people practice yoga and it has nothing to do with any religious practice. Even Christians. I’ve been to plenty of yoga classes where they don’t say a word the entire class, with the exception of hello & goodbye (This is mainly because it was a hot yoga class and the temperature was roughly ~110 degrees and everyone was mostly focusing on breathing without dying).

However, the Encinitas Union School District is not attempting to brainwash your children through yoga. I NEVER give people the benefit of the doubt, but even I, as cynical as a I am, know that indoctrination is not what is happening here. Also, you ave the option to remove your child from the class. So if you don’t like it, don’t have your child participate.  Fight for appropriate use of your tax dollars on the basis of tax dollars, not indoctrination.

Student Loans: A Failure by Legislators

Every so often, I have the opportunity to discuss something I’m passionate about in my graduate classes. Below is the PDF file of a policy paper for my Higher Education Seminar class. In it, I discuss the student loan opportunities, implications of “over-receipt”, how it’s effecting our economy and the failure of proposed legislation on the federal level. Personally, I believe in a complete cessation of federal student loan lending, but that extreme measure has a small likelihood of taking effect at this time. The paper is broken down by headers in case you prefer not to read it in its’ entirety. I also included a class handout which briefly details the overview of the paper with graphs, charts and bullets…for people who like pictures!
Note: Just because you are not a student, doesn’t mean the mountain of student loan debt doesn’t affect you. This is an overall economic issue, not one affecting only a single generation of millenials.

StudentLoanDrain

BriefSummaryHandout