Category: School

The Romeike Misdirection

So, I happened across a post about the Romeike family and how they are being forced to defend their religion and prove persecution in their home country of Germany so they can have asylum here in the United States. Countless hours have been logged by some religious law club in an attempt to argue in favor of these poor folks being granted asylum so that they do not have to endure the continued persecution which the German government heaps upon them.

As an United States citizen I was appalled that our government would even think about not granting asylum to these people who are being persecuted for their religion. Our constitution has enshrined in it the very ideal that religion is something we should all be allowed to practice (or not) in any form reasonably (unless you’re Muslim, because they’re bad). These people should be taken in, given freedom as we take it for granted, and enjoy their lives. We all deserve freedom no matter what our country of origin.

Then I did some background checking.

The only article I could find with supposedly first-hand information was written with 90% composition by their primary lawyer. Obviously that was biased as can be. This family claimed religious persecution, was granted temporary asylum, and this court proceeding is to determine if they can stay permanently. In the article I found it is laid out that the family didn’t like some of what their kids were hearing in the state run school, and so pulled them out. In the US – no big deal. In Germany – big deal. All children are required to attend school up to a defined level in Germany. This is a good requirement I feel. However Germany was about to put the parents in jail for not sending their children to school.

I can imagine ‘Oh those poor people. They must send their child to a state school. If only (insert religion) was allowed to have a school then this could be avoided.’ Great news! There are many church schools in Germany which are acceptable to the state since they meet the minimum education guidelines. I do not know if the family chooses to not like any of the religious schools or if the cost is prohibitive however there are other options the family could choose from if they had the desire.

This then leads into people screaming religious persecution and an attack on the right to raise your kid how you feel is best. No, this is a law passed to ensure a country is not populated by uneducated morons. Germany has a long history and much different circumstances than the US. Their laws are different for many reasons. This does not mean your religion is being persecuted, it means you don’t like something and threw a fit. Frankly, I don’t like the district my kids are enduring. I would love to send my children to a private school so they could actually learn, however this is waaaaaay too expensive locally – because I’m not Roman Catholic. Mother Church has decided that since I am not of their faith we must pay more than double the cost of Catholics. Perhaps I should seek asylum somewhere.

This is not a case of religious persecution. End of story. These folks should be shipped back to Germany post-haste.

Why, herro, SIUC

So, I’m now a student at SIUC. I’m attempting to gain a bachelor of science in Information Systems. To be honest, I’m thinking this is a lofty goal. My time constraints are pretty tight, and so I’m afraid that my coursework may suffer as a result.

60 hours/week driving and working.

56 hours/week sleeping (I wish).

20 hours/week dedicated to family.

That’s 136 hours per week already tied up. Now if I add in the recommended time for coursework @ 48 hours/week, I’m up to 184 hours out of 168 used up. I’m already negative and I haven’t included anything for just relaxing. I suppose if I reduce sleep to 6 hours/night then I should be able to make it. Still, I’m thinking this may have been a severe lapse in judgment on my part. Time will tell.

The Primary Center is a failure, or is it NCLB?

For many years in a row now the Mount Vernon Primary Center has failed to reach the NCLB standards. This leads to an option for us to send our kids to other schools in the area, however the superintendents of the districts have allegedly colluded to not accept students from any of the other’s districts.

Recently, we were also informed that our children are afforded tutoring since the district continues to fail the standardized tests. I have not read up fully on that aspect, but how long can this go on before the government comes in and just shuts them down? I would think not too long.

Not to mention all of the wonderful new tools like smartboards the teachers have, but some don’t even know how to use by their own admission. No doubt these tools were paid for with one of the many, many fundraisers they send home for us to pawn junk off to our friends and family every year. Apparently the fundraising isn’t actually helping much.

However, the majority of teachers I have interacted with are nice and seem to care a great deal about the children they are charged with educating. However, the children must have some desire to learn. That desire to learn starts at home with parents enforcing that skool larnin’s is ipo’tent.

I fear that a chunk of the children are not receiving this reinforcement at home, and thus they do not give a shit about how they do on the standardized testing.

As a result, the rest of the school suffers with a continued failure to meed NCLB standards. This leads to absolutely zero education for our children outside of math, grammar, and spelling. A snippet of music, physical education, and a tiny bit of technology are about it from what I understand.

Now, instead of pinning the failure of the school to meet NCLB standards on one neighborhood school or two, all children must suffer. Those who can afford to do it, send their children to one of the local private schools to avoid the quagmire.

In turn, this leads to the school still receiving the same amount of taxes to operate, but having to educate fewer children. Was this planned? I don’t know. Still, it is the end result.

Still, the facility looks great when businesses or prospective residents take a tour. I feel sorry for them if they are not smart enough to ask for the NCLB results though…

Free school books? Closer than you think.

For years and years the major publishing companies have controlled how we and our children are educated. Paying an outrageous price for books has just been a fact of life with these corporations doing what they can to educate, but at a profit. From the books your kindergarten teacher used to the overpriced Linux books you buy in college,  this problem never seems to end.

Until now.

Frankly, I have been wondering why schools keep blowing through budgets by buying these overpriced novelty items. With the advent of the Internet, free operating systems, Linux running on oooooold PCs, free ‘Course Management Software’, and willingness of people like me to help schools – WHY?

Honestly, I can’t answer that question. I can offer some possible reasons, but I’m not the one making decisions at our schools. Perhaps too many educators are stuck in the rut of using the same way things have always been as their methodology. Perhaps the colleges don’t want to give up their revenue stream, as hypothesized here.

When I took Cisco courses over the past couple of years, there were no printed texts. Every bit of the curriculum, save for hands-on, was online. There is very little reason that schools could not move to the same format. The books are available if need be, but access to the world wide web negates that need.

Yes, I know that not everyone has a PC at home. However, quite a few do have one that they goof with quite a bit. Shouldn’t they have the ability to use it to study as well? Even without Internet access, CDs could be burnt, library access is available, and there are study halls.

Maybe I’m too much into wishful thinking, but it seems we are due for change. Hopefully sooner rather than later.


El yay. I finally got my AAS degree in the mail today. I now have proof that I spent two years fine-tuning my IT skills with official curriculum. Rend Lake definitely has a great program in my opinion. The instructors go out of their way to help you learn material.

While at RLC I picked up quite a bit of knowledge about networking, VoIP, and LAN/WAN design. While most of my Windows support experience was at my job/internship, that’s normal. Most of IT is basic knowledge with a lot of real world experience thrown into the mix.

It was a strenuous path to keep going sometimes, but well worth the trip. I met a lot of great people in the program too. Most of us are still in contact via the various social networks. Perhaps we can all have a reunion at some point. 😉

I have to say that I’m kind of proud of myself for attaining a degree. Yes, I know an Associate degree isn’t a huge accomplishment, but it’s what I’ve got and I worked hard for it.

Now if I could just get this job thing worked out…