Archive for December 31, 2016

Illiteracy in the US

Today as I was scrolling through a few internet pages on a bit of down time I had, I was looking at an article discussing the American Education System, and how progressively, every single year we have declined in the world education ranking.

Out of forty countries that are measured for education, the US is ranked 14th, but if we include the curve that is given to the students it is more rightfully placed in the position of 17th.

I’m sure some people out there might say, “Hey, well that is not all that bad I suppose, at least we are not last.” That is the exact thinking and level of expectation that has put us all the way in 17th.

For a country that enjoys and even becomes overly proud of the fact that we are ‘so much better’ than other countries, I find 17th to be just plain old embarrassing.

But what else could be expected?

No Child Left Behind has made it impossible for teachers, Principals, and schools in general to actually educate our youth.

20% of kids that graduated high school in 2015 were illiterate. TWENTY PERCENT! It’s such a staggering number that it’s almost unbelievable.

And of course the teachers are pegged as the scapegoat and central problem. We are creating an environment where it is impossible for kids to learn, impossible for teachers to teach, and worse than that, nothing is even being done about it.

The problems just get swept under the rug, and everyone continues on with their lives ignoring the fact that these kids are graduating high school and can’t read, and are then forced to work jobs that never get them out of that rut.

We are breeding a generation of under-educated kids, who have been forced to become under-achievers.

And where does this all come from? I mean, we pay taxes, and a portion of that money is supposed to go to the local school system to help with expenses, but what improvements do we really see with the money being contributed by thousands of taxpayers?

The high school I went to did not have adequate heat, there was no air conditioning, barely enough books for all of the students, and my school/graduating class was small in comparison to the school that was 30 minutes away.

The nicer school was in a wealthier area, so of course I expect them to have nicer things, because it was enormous, the size of a college campus, and just as daunting. But the differences were almost unbelievable.

I personally, have never been one to EVER blame a teacher for the success/failure of a student, I mean logically, if a student does not do their work, how can they expect to succeed without putting in the work to do so? But the curriculum that teachers are now forced to follow is sickening, to say the least.

They literally have ZERO control of their classroom, they do no get to decide assignments, number of tests, content of tests, nor the books they want students to read from, or even what they even want to teach/emphasize to the students.

Their entire job is monitored, scrutinized, and even ‘sit ins’ are common (A faculty member will sit in and observe the class to make sure the teacher is doing their job properly).

And this is supposed to inspire people? How can a person be excited to do their job if they are constantly under fire for doing THEIR JOB. I am quite certain that no one wants to have someone breathing down their neck or against their back as they are trying to do their daily work. It becomes unbearable in a hurry. And even worse, teachers are still blamed for the failure of students. I have seen it/read about it many times that parents will go in and the conversation will ensue:

Mom: Why is Jimmy failing?

Teacher: Well, Jimmy doesn’t do his homework, and he doesn’t pay attention in class, and he doesn’t do well on tests.

Mom: Well it is your fault, how can you fail him? He is such a good boy, you are ruining his life and future. ETC.

How a parent can blame a teacher is just completely beyond me.

It’s the system. We do not create an environment in which kids can learn and teachers can educate, everything is set at one pace, so it is impossible to slow down for the kids who need more help, and impossible to speed up for the kids who learn quickly.

It’s all about the numbers. Schools need good standardized test scores to rank well to receive more aid, because it’s disgusting to say that the schools with higher average test scores get more money, but it is a heinous truth.

So the less educated continue to receive less. Yes, that makes sense (sarcasm).

And as a logical fact, I would think that every single year as a whole, humanity becomes more educated, learning new things whether they be on a scientific level, environmental, or simply just general observations. So, logically, our kids should be getting more intelligent with every generation. But that is not the case, unfortunately.

Not to mention Common Core, Tracking, and Red Lining, which are completely different topics and posts saved for another date.

Just let that sink in, 20% of kids who graduate cannot read. How the heck did they graduate then? Kids get pushed through the system because it is all a numbers game, no one cares about these kids, and even if they did the system is rigged against them, and THAT is the problem.

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-literacy-america

^^^^^^^ Some facts about Illiteracy in the US^^^^^^^

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My Weight Loss Journey – Part 1

I ate myself fat!

There is simply no way around this solid kernel of truth I ate myself fat.  I didn’t “get fat” I personally shoveled in all that food into my mouth and ate myself fat.

 

Big Fat Preacher

Pastor George at an enormous 294 lbs

The fact of the matter is that I had once again fallen prey to the all too easy and all too American sin of gluttony.  I made excuses and let other people make them for me.  I convinced myself that if I ate kind of healthy I could indulge other times.  Because I went to the gym a few nights a week and lifted weights it was a lot of muscle mass.  Yes I was a big strong fat man.   It was my own fork that led me to balloon up to 294 lbs.

6′ 2″ – 294 lbs with a body fat that was about 44%   YIKES!  I was huge!  I think the real wakeup call came for me in two parts, first my wife, my sister and myself went to a water park in Branson MO.  I looked at one of the rides I wanted to go on with my sister and it said there was a 300 lb limit.  I knew I had to be close to or over that.  How sad to not be allowed to go on a ride because you ate yourself fat I thought.  Later that week I went to play miniature golf with my wife.  I could not get down on one knee pick up a golf ball and stand up again without help.  I was just too heavy.  I noticed I was having trouble climbing stairs and I knew – I was FAT!

Is it sin?

Lets take a look at the bible: Exo 20:13  Thou shalt not murder.  Well there you have it.  Pretty obvious that I was murdering me one bite at a time.  Every burger, every pizza and all that ice cream and fried chicken.  We were given just one body by our creator and I am pretty sure that killing it with food is not what He intended for us.

As well putting any idol in front of G-d is surely sin.  Food had become for me an idol and that simply cannot be.  G-d will not share his temple with anything else.  Heck I had gone right past temple and had built a full fledged cathedral and I am not sure there was room for Messiah in there what with all that fried okra that I had stored up in there.

The road back

60 Pounds less

How I look after loosing nearly 60 lbs

As I write this it has been about 5 months since I was at my absolute heaviest.  I have lost just about 60 lbs and weighed in today as I write this at 234.7 lbs.  My body fat percentage as measured is 23.6% which is about average for a man my age (did I mention that I am 58 years old?)  I want to say it has been easy but that would be a lie.  It has been a struggle.  It has tested my discipline and faith quite a bit.

I am back to being in the gym 5 nights a week and doing 90 minutes or more of cardio and strength training just about 7 days a week.  I can run again and yeah I can pick up a golf ball and get up again.

I have learned a few things along the way and I want to share them.  I want to be healthy and not feed the medical establishment one dollar more than I have to.  I want that for you too.  So before we begin let me remind you of one simple fact.  If you have faith even as small as a mustard seed you can speak to that mountain and tell it to be removed into the sea and it shall go.  Now it was Jesus who promised that in Luke 17:6 and if a mountain can be moved by faith whats a few lbs of fat?

LET’S GO!

Thighmaster

The infamous Thigh Master!

OK for the first part of this let me tell you that gimmicks don’t work.  There is no pill – no machine – no electronic device that is going to get that fat off of you.  You ate it now you got to un-eat it.  Put away that Thigh master you won’t need it here

Here is what you need for the next two weeks – sneakers and a watch or anything that will tell time.  (Like your cell phone)  I guess this is where I give you the first advice before you start doing anything make sure you go see a doctor and tell him that you are fat and that you want to loose weight.  Have him or her make sure you are not going to die in the next few hours.

The Diet

OK got that done?  GREAT! First the diet.  You know all those diet books, recipes and diet foods you have been gathering around you for years?  Get rid of them.  They are complicated and they don’t work.  Here is your diet:

  • Nothing White
  • No Refined Sugar
  • Reduce Fat Wherever Possible

First nothing white no white bread, no white rice, no white flour if it is white it is not food for you any more.  Here is the sound science behind this.  To make foods white they bleach out all of the nutrients.  White bread is all calories and no nutrition.  This makes you get hungry right away.  That is why when you eat at McDonalds an hour later you are hungry again, you simply ate but you did not feed your body.

Second no refined sugar.  This is tricky but basically no cookies, candy, ice cream, pie and for sure NO SODA.  Sugar is as addictive as heroin maybe even more so.  In fact refined sugar hits the same pleasure receptors in your brain as heroin does.  That is why when you are depressed you sit on your couch eating a tub of ice cream.  Stop it!  You are better than that and you can do it!

Last reduce fat wherever you can.  Now I know I am going to get e-mails telling me YOU HAVE TO HAVE FAT TO LIVE!  Yeah I get it and trust me no matter how much fat you cut out of your diet you will still be getting plenty.  Fat combined with sugar is the number one additive in most fast food.  It gives you a feeling of well being and guess what your body knows that the hard times might come so it packs away all that fat for later when it will need it.  Only later never comes.  Now it is later for your body – when you take away all that extra fat it will burn some off of your massive butt.

The exercise plan

Remember those sneakers I told you to bring – put them on.  Now go to your front door.  Look at your watch.  Now go for a walk I want you to walk for 7 1/2 minutes.  Don’t run or jog just walk.  You can walk fast if you like but keep walking.  Go in a straight line.  Walk for 7 1/2 minutes.  Did you do that?  Good now go home.  Do this twice a day.  No excuses, yes I know it is cold out and that it is raining or snowing or what have you – tough!

No the walking you do at work doesn’t count.  No if you go to the gym and lift weights it doesn’t count.  Only walking counts that is your new complicated exercise regimen.

If you do these two things in 2 weeks you are going to loose about 5 – 6 lbs.  Stay tuned right here for part 2 and beyond – You got this!  G-d loves you and you can do all things through him!

 

 

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