Oh, come on

Keeping a blog is sometimes a pain in the rear. I’m posting a new entry so that I can republish and hopefully get my site to index… rrrrrgh

Sometimes you gotta go with it.

I can’t help myself, got to make a comment about something going on right now with public education in our country. The Education Secretary really frightens me. First it was her lack of credentials to serve in such an important positions. Then there is her ties to private education companies through investments and other arrangements. Then her push to privatize our public schools. I mean, come on, her job is to improve public schools. That’s the whole deal. She’s been around the country touring schools but I bet the majority have been private. That isn’t an exaggeration. We know that school choice is a concept created by big business to make money. They trick you into thinking that schools will improve when everyone has a choice, but actually the choice belongs to the school, not the student. And when you look at the data, private schools fare no better than public schools when all the student factors are part of the weighting. And add to it that a $5,000 voucher to a private school does absolutely no good to a poor family in a “failing” public school if the tuition is $13,000. This is just a boon for private schools because it essentially allows them to lower tuition for the families they already have or are trying to attract. And then take into account that some students are failing because they lack support at home. Those students are not going to find their way into a private school and they will only have a harder time in their current public school as resources are drained away into the private system. And don’t get me started on kids who have learning disabilities or behavior problems. The private schools don’t even have to take them. And if they do, they aren’t held to the same accountability standards as the public schools. So parents of those kids are left to judge the effectiveness of the education their kids are receiving from the very institution that is trying to sell them on it in the first place. And then there is the whole accountability piece. Public schools must make available exactly how they spend the tax dollars they receive. No such requirements from private schools. And public schools have the oversight of publicly elected school boards. Who oversees a private school? It could be anyone.

There are good private schools out there but they simply don’t have the resources to meet the widely varying needs of the different students living in each community. And there are bad ones, too. Just look at the news to see reports of private schools locking their doors in the middle of the year when they can’t pay the bills. Then where do those kids go? That’s right! To the public schools who didn’t get any tax dollars for those kids because it went to some scam or some poorly run private school.

Ok, rant over. But come on, guys. Use your brain. Don’t fall for the tricky slogans developed by big money groups that want to take a piece of the education pie. And don’t fall for people like the one we have now put in charge of the public school system for the entire freaking country.

Hello world! (Don’t worry, I’ll get more creative as we go.)

Athens plaza
This is a screen shot from a webcam, taken of the plaza in front of the original olympic stadium.

I suppose it is cheating to use the Word Press default title, but hey! It kinda works, right? I promise to get a little more creative as this thing kicks into gear, but for now that one will get me started.

Today I’m probably writing this to no one, which in a way is liberating, but eventually I hope to have a few followers. Beyond my mom and my daughters, that is. I’m a pretty quiet person if you ever meet me face to face. More interested in listening than talking it seems. But all that listening and observing has filled my head up over the years and this will be my place to let some of it escape. I wonder if any of it will make sense? I’ve journaled on and off over the years and now, instead of having notebooks scattered throughout different drawers and cabinets, I can have it all right here.

So I’ve done some traveling over the years. By some standards I’m sure it’s not much, and by other’s its a ton. I usually stay in VRBOs or AirBnBs. The process is really easy and you can get a pretty good idea of the accommodations just by looking at the photos online. You can also read the reviews to get a better understanding of the strengths and drawbacks of any particular location. Some of the places I’ve stayed have been over the top – like a five level, palapas-topped private home on the sea in Mexico. The whole thing was stone and open to the ocean, with only shutters to keep out mother nature. (I’m getting jazzed just thinking about it, but it is definitely a post in itself so I will save it for later.) And some of the places have just been the cheapest room I could find, like the time I took a last minute hiking trip to Devil’s Den in Arkansas. That one-bedroom home was tired and dated and a little drafty but the owner lived right next door and he was so proud of it. He came over to welcome us when he saw the car pull up late at night. Such a sweet old guy! And I think we paid about a fourth of the rate of a standard hotel. And I’ve also done a few walking trips. Have you ever heard of those? You basically see a region on foot with a small group and a guide. It’s the perfect way to get a feel for a place and you make some great friends doing it.

In a previous career I was a photographer, so there will be lots and lots of pictures. I used to carry around my great big digital slr and a variety of lenses but all that changed when I got my iPhone6. You don’t have the same variety of different lenses (think 150mm zoom or wide angle) but the sensor on that phone was really awesome and it is so much easier to capture a fleeting moment when all you have to do is reach in your pocket and push a couple buttons. Now I have the iPhone7 and that has a slight zoom lens (never do the digital zoom!) and an even better sensor for low light. Some people like it for the portrait mode, which does an artificial bokeh, or the HDR feature but I say leave those photos up to the people with the slrs and take incredible pictures without the fancy.

Ok, well that is enough for now. I hope you got an idea of what you can expect from this blog. And I hope you will come back for more. Please leave a comment if there is something you question or would like to know more about. I’m happy to share! Thanks for reading.