Note 48. Tell Salon to stop whining and grow up. Keep this up and even less people will take them seriously the next time around.
Note 49. Older populations maybe? Less marriages? The scale only measures divorce against population, so if there are less marriages, wouldn’t this affect the figure?
I wouldn’t say the blue state people don’t talk about morality much. They talk about it all the time. It’s the kind of morality championed that is the problem.
Note 1: The election result map by county seems to resemble a map of population density by county. It seems that the more populate counties largely voted for Kerry. If this is true, then the election results may reflect a difference in mindset between dwellers in urban areas as opposed to those living in non-urban ones. This is the original point I was trying to make. It almost looks like Cityslickers vs Hillbillys.
Fr. Hans writes: “Older populations maybe? Less marriages? The scale only measures divorce against population, so if there are less marriages, wouldn’t this affect the figure?”
If the issue were fewer marriages I think we would see a much larger proportion of cohabiting couples. But blue states have only a very slightly larger percentage of cohabitants — perhaps a tenth of a percent or thereabouts. Some of the differences in divorce rates are quite striking, and it would be hard to explain those by lack of marriages.
Fr. Hans: “I wouldn’t say the blue state people don’t talk about morality much. They talk about it all the time. It’s the kind of morality championed that is the problem.”
It’s an interesting issue. In other words it may be that how people talk about moral issues, the stated opinions, perspectives, intentions, and priorities, do not reflect the reality of the situation. For example, you’ve mentioned on a number of occasions that some of the policies of the welfare state that were supposed to help poor people actually did the opposite. Perhaps we’re seeing the ironic flip side of that — that certain policies and pronouncements by the red folks that are supposed to encourage certain moral outcomes either don’t work or actually do the opposite. For example, Texas, with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, recently decided to omit mention of condoms in their sex education textbooks. Hope springs eternal.
Perhaps I can suggest a principle upon which we can all agree: rhetoric aside, the ultimate test of any policy or principle is the actual result.
Stephen writes: ” . . . the election results may reflect a difference in mindset between dwellers in urban areas as opposed to those living in non-urban ones.”
I think that’s the conclusion that a number of people are beginning to hold. If so, that’s going to cause some resentment in the blue areas because most of the money is in the urban areas. For example, here in Oregon the taxes from the urban areas are used to fund education and other programs in the rural areas. Then when tax measures come up for a vote the rural people vote against them in the name of “self-reliance.” Some of my blue friends are starting to say “Screw the rural people. If they want to be self-reliant, great, they can be self-reliant on their own dime. If they don’t want to support the system, they can pay for their own [insert epithet of choice] services and infrastructure and education.” I think the blue folks have a point: if you don’t want to help man the pumps, get out of the boat.
NOTE 49: A member to listserv I participate in posted the following message, which explains a great deal about how I am seen by the Left:
“After reading [an AP article on the election], and … arguments among Democrats and pro-Kerry observers, I suppose I now have a better idea about why I voted for Bush. I am, it would seem, a bigoted, gay-bashing, simpleminded, Bible-thumping, parochial midwestern (or southern) coward, hell-bent on murdering as many Iraqi civilians as possible and so easily cowed and manipulated by TV ads that I would vote for an obviously unqualified man and thereby risk the wrath of the entire civilized world, Osama bin Laden, and the editorial desk of the New York Times.”
If we add the Salon article into the mix, I’m also antisemitic and, according to some here, an ardent supporter of divorce.
As the listserv member wrote, “And all along I thought I voted for Bush because, with all his flaws, he was the right man for the job.”
I live near a major metropolitan area with a large urban public school district. Despite the recent injection of 100’s of millions of state dollars to upgrade the urban school district, the performance of the system is still abysmal. The physical plant has improved but not the test scores. If you are tempted to protest that test scores are not the measure of true education, you might want to pause when a 10th grader cannot read and comprehend what has, in the past, been classified as a 6th grade textbook. At this point, tests point out the painfully obvious.
Parents of all stripes are leaving this district. They are packing up and moving out of the district boundaries. The population of the district is decreasing, as are the property values. Parents are moving to communities on the urban fringe. Within the last 10 years several small communities, which are more than 30 miles from the edge of the urban area, have experienced incredible growth. These communities were, in the past, fairly isolated rural farming towns. Why did people uproot themselves and move so far away from their places of employment? Good schools. The schools in these rural districts had never fallen prey to the fads in education that had cursed the urban core. The schools had not adopted policies which hamstrung the ability of the adults of the school to control the conduct of the students of the school.
Just about 2 months ago teachers at the urban school picketed outside the offices of the their Board of Education. They were protesting the failure of the Board of Education to… get this…. protect teachers from the physical assaults of the students.
The economic and population trends are moving away from the urban core, away from the blue states and into the red states. California is losing its middle class. Millions of Californians are moving to Nevada, Utah and Arizona. They seek uni-lingualism, good schools, relief from over-crowding, reasonable housing prices. If nothing changes in California, only the very rich and their very poor servants will live there.
Note on California. I recently returned from a trip to Southern California. When we stopped at a gas station, I was able to overhear many conversations among the customers waiting to pay. I heard no less than 3 different languages. This sounds better than it is. What I had to realize was that if an emergency arose, I would probably be unable to effectively help these people or receive help from them. On a less important note, my husband and I gave our car to a valet at an expensive hotel which was hosting a conference we attended. I could not effectively communicate with the valet, I tried to ask him where he was going to put our car. He couldn’t understand my question. Eventually we gave our rental car to an unknown person relying on his uniform as proof that he worked for the hotel. The valet was polite and we retreived our car but I could not communicate with him.
Even if one is motivated to learn one additional language, who has time to learn 2 or 3 additional languages? What does this mean to emergency medical personnel? To police officers responding to criminal action? To school teachers trying to conduct a class? To political candidates speaking at a community forum? This is why a person could logically choose to move to a place where English is still the dominant language and one is not likely to be confronted with serious language comprehension problems on a daily basis.
How much of the failures of the urban schools are due to the teachers or the students and their families? I don’t think you can blame it all on the schools.
True, these schools need to maintain certain standards for who they hire and what their curriculum is. At the same time, it is much easier to be motivated to learn when you have a supportive family, have an abundance of resources for the basics (and niceties) of life and live surrounded by relative harmony and promise. All these are chronically lacking in urban areas.
All I’m saying is that while throwing money at the school system may not solve everything, neither will shipping the students elsewhere if their daily existence is a struggle to survive physically and emotionally within their own communities and families.
If anyone can point to studies done between the actual curriculum of a high-scoring private high school and a low-scoring public urban one, I’d be interested to know how they match up in terms of content. If they’re very similar, then something else is at play here.
My daughter used to go to Edison Elementary in Fort Myers, a charter school with a half mix of inner city children. The school ranked in the top five of all public and private schools in the state of Florida. Why? Because the principle ran a very tight ship, and the parents, middle class and poor alike, supported her to the extent that local politicians were afraid to touch her.
My wife works on the strategic planning committee for the public schools of Lee County, Florida. One school in the inner city area, predominantly black, has moved from a D- rating to a B rating in five years. It found funding for a swimming pool and tennis courts. Poor kids who never had a chance are now getting one. Why? Because the principle runs a very tight ship.
That’s what can happen in a city when Democratic control of education is broken.
Did you know that the Democratic politicos that refuse school choice sent their own children to private schools? Ask a single mom in the inner city whether she wants to send her child to public school or the Catholic school in another neighborhood. The Democrats won’t give her the choice. If they cared as much for the poor as they say they did, they would not hold back poor children from getting a decent education.
A news magazine show recently did a special program on a Catholic High School which had been founded expressly for the purpose of providing a high quality education to students born in an Hispanic barrio. The high school had been a terrific success, its graduation rate was close to 100% and its graduates did well in college. The policies adopted mimiced those of a 1950’s high school. First and foremost, the faculty put the education of the well-adjusted students ahead of rehabilitation of troubled youngsters. Any student who associated with gangs was required to leave the school. Any student who brought guns or drugs to school was required to leave the school. Students had a dress code and addressed adults as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Students were not allowed to leave campus during the day and had to eat lunch on campus. There was no student parking and all students had to walk to school or come by bus. School social events were closely supervised by parents and teachers.
Consequently, the administration and teachers were totally in charge of what happened in the school. The orderliness of the school allowed education to happen. Local students acquired proficiency not only in English but at least one important second language.
At this point, I anticipate the objection that the school obtained an unfair advantage by excluding students who were invovled with drugs, guns, or gangs. This policy allowed the school to exist. It created an island of civilized discourse which allowed education to occur. I suggest that this policy resulted in the greatest number of students graduating in good standing.
School districts should develop separate facilities for troubled students who have crossed a line of misconduct. Our current policies in our major metropolitan areas allows the misconduct of a minority of students to literally destroy the effectiveness of the faculty. Better to preserve the right of the majority of students who do not have a major behavior problem, then sink the entire ship because of a minority of troubled students. Again, troubled students should be sent to separate campuses where they can be supervised at a higher level of intensity and compulsion if necessary. In our metropolitan school district students quickly learn that nothing really serious happens to students who display serious misconduct. If this were not the case, teachers would not have been picketing for protection against violent students.
Society has a right to protect its peaceful members from its violent and disruptive members. Failing to take action to curtail the misconduct of disruptive students is truly anti-social. It leads to the breakdown of the good order needed for students to learn and teachers to teach.
Revolution in Academic Law
Prior to the legal “rights revolution” of the 1960’s parents had almost complete legal control over a minor child. Parents had complete control of what school a child would attend, whether or not the child would attend any religious observances, how the child would dress, act and behave. Within certain very broad guidelines, the parents ruled the child’s life. Similary, teachers enjoyed the rule of “in loco parentis.” Teachers had the authority of parents while actively involved in teaching or supervising students.
In the 1960’s federal courts determined that MINORS had First Amendment rights. This issue arose initially with respect to dress codes. Some schools had prohibited T-shirts that proclaimed a political message. During this historical time period, the political message was generally anti-Viet Nam war. A number of cases followed which for the first time cracked the facade of adult control over teenagers. Schools lost the ability to control the content of student newspapers and enforce some types of dress codes. Teachers increasingly become subject to lawsuits for various types of punishment, even non-corporeal varities. In many inner city schools we have students whose conduct simply cannot be adequately controlled by the adults in charge of the school. Attempts to control rowdy students can bring lawsuits for assault. Students know that they are effectively immune to many types of control which were taken for granted in the 1950’s.
Along similar lines, progressive thinking abolished the practice of expelling pregnant girls from high schools. Unwed mothers remained “mainlined” to finish their education. The reasoning, of course, had some merit. It did no good to cut off the education of an unwed mother. The unintentional consequence of this was the younger students just entering the school would enncounter unwed mothers going about the same business as other students. Unwed motherhood shifted from something shameful to something ordinary, something that the school and others now had to accommodate. This is a huge cultural change. Although the older policy was certainly harsh, it did prevent younger students from becoming accustomed to the “ordinariness” of the unwed mother. As our grandparents used to say “Shame has a good effect on most people.” Many people will restrain their conduct out of a fear of social shame and ostracism, sometimes more than would restrain their conduct out of a sense of morality.
Missourian – Only 3 languages? California is a majority-minority state. Less than 50% of the population is of European ancestry. California is also a gate-way state for Asian and Central American immigrants. There are some precincts in Los Angeles where over 60 languages are spoken. Southern California, for example, has Mexican immigrants of Indian ancestry who speak only ancient Aztec dialects and haven’t even learned Spanish yet.
In Sacramento, where I live, we have large immigrant communities of Chinese, Indian, Phillipine, Vietnamese and Laotian Hmong people, as well as thousands of Russian and Ukranian Pentacostals. When my daughter plays at the park there are children of so many ethnic and racial backgrounds it reminds me of one of those Benneton sweater advertisements.
Also our Governator is an Austrian immigant
Hmm, guess it is time for a “diversity” competition with Dean.
Dean, I spent three of my formative years in the New York Metropolitan area. It was very “diverse” in the 1960’s, before the term “diverse” had a political meaning. There were literally dozens of ethnic neighborhoods in New York City where the language of the old country could be heard. One of my favorite memories was an bakery owned by Orthodox Jews who made outstanding challah. On St. Patrick’s Day they sold green bagels. It was a friendly gesture to others in the City. As much as people valued and sought to preserve their ethnic heritage, everyone considered themselves American first. Everyone considered themselves to have a duty to learn English. The idea that you could be caught in the City in a emergency situation and not be able to communicate with passers by was unthinkable.
Again, my husband and I attended a convention at one of the most prominent hotels in a large South California city and we could not converse with the valet. Nothing wrong with multiple languages, Dean, but you have no response to the burden this places on interpersonal communication and the functioning of a democratic government.
You should be careful before you invoke the Governor of California. Arnold made clear that he left Austria and came to America to escape the clutches of the socialists. Living near the Russian communists, he had seen them up close and personal and had no illusions about their true nature.
The real school choice is home schooling. Education is not about learning specific facts, it is about being able to interpret those facts within a spiritual/moral construct, learning how to learn, being able to distinguish truth from falsehood, and having the freedom and the support to find one’s vocation.
More Diverse Than Thou, Dean
Dean, looks like we are engaged in an one upmanship diversity delighting contest. Try this..
In the mid 1960’s my family lived in the New York Metropolitan area. I have happy memories of that time, when my mother and I took every opportunity to explore that great city. One of the most engaging qualities of the City at the time were the dozens of ethnic neighborhoods where languages from the old country could be heard. New York is the home of Ellis Island and it has traditionally been a landing point for immigrants. The difference between my experiences exploring New York in the 1960’s and navigating South California in 2004 is that everyone in New York spoke English. It was understood and not debated that New Yorkers, as much as they cherished their history, learned English. I never had reason to fear that I would not be able to communicate with other New Yorkers in the event of an emergency. No one suggested that the heavy burdens of police officers should be made even heavier by requiring the police to learn another language, rather than requiring the populace to learn English.
You may want to remember that it was New York City schools which assimilated waves of foreign speaking children in the early 1900’s. These children went on to success in America. Those schools operated with far fewer material assets than the typical American school today, but, somehow managed to inculcate American values into the students. American values are those contained in our founding documents. American culture is far from accidental. It was created by people who sacrificed comfort and wealth and endangered their lives so that they could create a new nation. We have every moral right to insist that our children learn English and that they be taught about the sacrifices and accomplishments of their predecessors.
So, it ain’t really charming to encounter a person at one of the most expensive hotels in Los Angeles who is totally incapable of communicating in English, especially when one is expected to give that person the keys to one’s car.
I certainly hope that I didn’t detect a small touch of West Coast condescension to the poor culturally deprived Midwesterners? No couldn’t be.
Arnold Flees Dean’s Ideological Kin
Before you make reference to Governor Schwartzenegger, you might want to remember that Arnold made clear at the Republican Convention that he came to America to escape the socialists. The last thing he wanted was your overarching, all-powerful nanny state “improving people’s lives.” He left his home and traveled across continents to escape that.
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