Category Archives: Education

Running just to catch myself: Life at Elon

Elon University students are busy people, there’s no doubt about that. If you’re someone who isn’t heavily involved in at least one extra-curricular organization, if not more, then you are in the minority. We like to bite off giant chunks (some of which are bigger than we can chew) and devote ourselves to everything and anything, making time to go to events, speakers, performances and, of course, social gatherings commonly referred to as “parties.”

And then there’s, oh yeah, homework. The reason we’re all in college.

But college isn’t just about those pesky classes, papers and exams. Its about exploring your passions, which may or may not directly fall under your field of study. Maybe you’re a biology student who’s a devout Catholic. Maybe your economics major doesn’t offer many chances for service, but you like to spend your afternoons at the Boys and Girls club. Maybe you study history but you have a secret desire to be a photographer for National Geographic.

In college, and specifically at Elon, it’s about striking the right balance between maintaining an academic standing that pleases you and fulfilling your commitments to your other pursuits and, of course, having a life. For many of us, that last part might be the most difficult one to squeeze in, and for others, it may be the one we should really cut back on. No matter how you do it, make sure you’re doing it on your own terms. Don’t participate in organizations because you feel like you’re supposed to because that will only lead to resentment. Don’t neglect your classes because you’re trying to get your money’s worth here. And, don’t schedule yourself into a black hole.

You never get to live these four years over again. So, too busy or not, make it count.

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We don’t need no education

Keep your kids out of school. And if you are a kid, keep yourself far away from the classroom. Not only just on Tuesday, when king commie fascist progressive Nazi-cuddling Empire-loving Khan-supporting butter-side-down-eating President Obama will be addressing schools that decide to broadcast his subversive message.

And what message is that? Well, it’s actually to work hard, stay in school and all of the typical stuff that my generation learned from Captain Planet and Darkwing Duck. But since no one has actually heard the speech, no one can actually accurately gauge it’s content, unless you’re anybody in the media, in which case you don’t have to wait until Monday, when the White House will release a transcript of Obama’s speech.

Or you could tell your kid to join up with P.A.S.S. Day (Parentally-approved-skip-school-day), a group formed by folks who also, presumably, will also dropkick teachers who even mention that Obama is the current president.

Or you could raise your arms in uproar over Obama’s “indoctrination and grabbing of your kids.” (As called by Glenn Beck) Or you could look at Arnie Duncan, the Education Secretary, and his letter sent to principals encouraging them to show Obama’s video (how dare they! the gall of people in Obama’s cabinet to support Obama!).

Or, and here’s the big one…you could wait until the transcript comes out! Maybe he doesn’t say anything about the kids going out and smashing their capitalist parents beneath ACORN-purchased tanks. Maybe he won’t use hypno-beams to turn all of your kids into homosexual illegal immigrants. Maybe he’ll just tell them to go to class, believe in themselves, strive themselves and drink their milk. But then, even if he did that, someone would find a cow with a spot that looked vaguely like Lenin, and accuse Obama of using communist dairy propaganda.

Though I did hear from a decent source that he just might do that...

Though I did hear from a decent source that he just might use those hypno beams...

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Filed under Culture wars, Education, Government, Media, Morgan, Obama

An ugly golden goose

“If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, we will eat for a lifetime.”

So goes the oft-repeated proverb, but it unfortunately ignores the matter of whether or not the man is question is the least bit fond of fish. Maybe he’s allergic, trying out a new “anti-healthy diet or just doesn’t want the darn tuna. To lather with cliche for a bit longer, we’re told not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but just as often as not, folks seem to do just that.

Perhaps it comes along with the whole, “decadent western civilization thing” or perhaps it’s a component of the perpetually lusty gaze we Americans turn to things we don’t have. Whatever the reason, just because something is beneficial, whether it be a material object or a skill, doesn’t mean that people will want it, even if their personal sacrifice in obtaining said gift is negligible.

Case in point: This show, otherwise titled as "Young Narcisists Want More Sparkly Junk: Why Everyone Under 18 Should be Mailed to Madagasscar."

Case in point: This show, otherwise titled as "Young Narcisists Want More Sparkly Junk: Why Everyone Under 18 Should be Mailed to Madagascar."

Dan Rather, in an op-ed for The Washington Post, echoed his calls for federal hand in solving the current crisis in the transition from old media (newspapers) to new media (tweets from some girl you hooked up with in sophomore year).

“I want the president to convene a nonpartisan, blue-ribbon commission to assess the state of the news as an institution and an industry and to make recommendations for improving and stabilizing both,” Rather said, obviously equating the quality of his commission to the upstanding quality of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

“Why bring the president into it? Because this is the only way I could think of to generate the sort of attention this subject deserves. Academia and think tanks generate study after study, yet their findings don’t reach the people who need to be reached.”

The problem with Rather’s suggestion, which is actually something I’ve considered advocating, is threefold. First, involving President Obama with anything at the moment is guaranteed to drag said thing into a cesspool of partisan bickering and a subsequent bout of amnesia about what the shouting was about in the first place.

Then, Rather suggests moving the study of the media’s evolution away from the academic sector, which sounds fine and dandy, except by involving the feds, you involve…well…the feds. Not only is the entirety of congress focused on solely on health care (and planes! more planes!), but any sort of government involvement in media at this time could be the most counterproductive way to create a trustworthy relationship between the public and reporters.

“But it worked with the BBC! It’s government-funded and is arguably the most highly-regarded news source in the world!” you may exclaim. While that may be true, the BBC also originates from a radically different time, when the populace was a bit preoccupied with the whole “post WWI fiasco,” along with an approach to free speech that was littered with seditious libel (remember, the monarchy actually mattered back then). To even involve the federal government in something as superficially innocent as a collection of assessments and recommendations on the media raises that damning specter of censorship and further speculation of a liberal bias in the media.

Oh. But that already happened.

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Filed under Business, Culture wars, Education, Government, Media, Monkeys, Obama

One nation, under whoever or whatever the majority in the board of education decides

Kids are often compared to sponges, absorbing everything they see and experience then presumably, scrubbed against the backs of the geriatric or on a crusty plate. The key element of that absorbency is how there are no barriers to exactly what is taken in. Toss a sponge onto a puddle, and its response will be akin to the result of tossing it on some soda.

Likewise, throw a kid into a household where the air sags thick with slurs and profanity, and chances are they’ll carry the same air wherever they go, until on their deathbed, the nurse is so repulsed by the tumult of foul speech that she’ll cram soap in their mouth. Just as when kids are raised and surrounded by particular ideological doctrine, they’ll carry that train of thought until they’re old enough to wonder whether or not they should get off at each passing station.

Look at how cute my kid is! He certainly is a big fan of the Republican party, and in no way am I tackily enforcing my own beliefs upon him. No sir. He even voted for Dole!

Look at how cute my kid is! He certainly is a big fan of the Republican party, and in no way am I tackily enforcing my own beliefs upon him. No sir. He even voted for Dole!

But kids aren’t treated like the sponges they’re often compared to, they’re not tossed indiscriminately into seas of knowledge, instead they’re coddled, sheltered and in many cases, methods by which to perpetuate particular systems of belief. They’re to be taught to believe what their elders believe, to reach conclusions not by their own deductions, but by the assumptions of those in power. Masters of particular ideologies feel such an incredible compulsion to in essence, brainwash the young, because if they can’t persuade the most impressionable, what does that say for their own intellectual validity? A charade caught by the most gullible of citizens isn’t likely to fool most of the masses.

That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with parents and other figures of power trying to instill their beliefs upon the younger generations. How else is a society expected to perpetuate if the youth are left while still in the nest? But there’s something a bit sickening when figures who already have their own pulpits decide to encroach upon the domain of others when educating the young, and who seek to monopolize the way in which history, the most underrated of all of education’s pillars, is told.

Case in point, the oncoming struggle of Texas’ educational curriculum, in particular, the tone of the historical lessons. It’s the classic example of the traditional academic hierarchy facing off against the religious right over the various subtleties of historical lessons.

Be warned, this goes on for a while…

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Filed under Culture wars, Education, Monkeys, Religion