Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday March 4th 2010

I will begin my post today with some good experiences from the last week or so and then move on to commentary about local and national news.My wife and i were very fortunate to recieve some tickets to a concert as a gift from a close friend,and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together.My wife is the breadwinner in our household and she has'nt gotten a vacation in about 10 it was great to have a night together.The concert was fantastic and we really liked the venue.It was at one of Donald Trumps casinos in Atlantic City called the Taj Mahal.After the concert we gambled for around three hours and ended up breaking even,so it was really a great time.My sister in law watched the kids and took care of our animals for us while we were gone,and it went off without a hitch.There was an Art Exibit of Jerry Garcia's artwork at the Hard Rock Cafe inside the casino and we marveled at the great artwork,but i was a little taken back by some of the other stuff they had for sale.For example,they had mounted in a frame an ashtray and bic lighter once used by Jerry,and i found that a bit morbid to be honest.I think Jerry would find it strange for someone to pay large sums for everyday items just because he had touched or used them.Anyways i want to say THANK YOU to my friend Wayneo for his generousity in giving us the tickets for the show,i count myself lucky to be your friend.
Well,i guess its time to comment a bit on things with the kids happening lately.First and formost was the meeting i had with my older boys 6th grade team regarding some performance issues they noticed at the beginning of the school year that have progressivly gotten worse.A little backround is warrented here to put my commentary in context.My older son,Jeromy,is new to this school as i wanted both my children in the same school.My younger son,Matthew,is in the autism spectrum and our neighborhood school does not offer inclusion classes,so i opted for another school in the district that does.Jeromy was in our neighborhood school for 6 years and was,as far as i knew,was up to grade level and had no discipline issues at all.At our first meeting the team mentioned the fact that Jeromy's writing and reading skills were sub-par and needed alot of work.Unfortunately for us there were no spots left in any of the after school or even in school programs designed to help kids like Jeromy.Our options at that point were few so we decieded to address it ourselves at home and try to get him caught up.Fast forward to this meeting,where they had the school pschycologist sit in to listen and comment,and we not only have not resolved the academic deficienctcies,we now are lookin at some discipline issues as well.So as a parent i want to do anything to help my child function as a active classroom participant and not a problem student.My first question was how far behind do they believe he is?The answer was they need more time to access his skillset,and they also need time to prepare.I wondered out loud why,after noticing this problem at the beginning of the year it took until now to realise the extent of the problem.And i was also concerned that he had attended our neighborhood school for the six years prior and showed no signs of any kind of acedemic delays or diffeciencies of any kind.I realise this school has higher acedemic standards than his prior school,but the source of this severe of a delay should have been apparent long before now.The team seems to believe this is a learning disability and want to begin a process to find out the source of this apparent signifacant deficiency in his acedemic skills.In the public school system there is a pre-set series of things that take place in order to do this but the team felt unprepared to begin this process yet,so they asked me not to sign anything yet.I readily agreed to a pre-referral intervention targeted specifically at his readind and writing,and whatever else they deem neccesary to bring him to grade level.
During the course or this meeting with my son's 6th grade team,i was discussing my younger son's aptitude in writing and his habit of helping his older brother spell words while they are at the kitchen table doing homework.I happened to mention the fact that my 7 yr old has been diagnosed in the autism spectrum,and the school pshycologist Dr.Coen spoke up and said"your son is not autistic!he may be a little Quirky,but he is not Autistic!"to which i responded "i wish the specialist would tell me that"and i continued with my conversation with the team.Dr.Coen is familiar with my son as he has accessed him twice before,and both times felt he had to point out to me he did not believe my son has autism.This seemed a tad out of the realm of his authority,and i feel he is in no position to diagnos Matthew or over-rule his current diagnosis from a specialist in childhood psychological disorders.And to add the comment "he may be a little quirky"was insulting to me as well.As the meeting came to an end and we were trying to work out a plan of action,Dr.Coen made another comment about my older son i found a little insulting as well.As we talked about our options he said"we need to find out if he has a real problem or if he is just lazy and the product of a broken system."which i found to be a bold statement in front of a parent facing major concerns about his childs achedemic abilities.As this new problem plays out i will post about it from time to time and continue to be the best advocate for my children as i possibly can.
Turning to national news,the health care legislation that passed the senate with a supermajority of 60 votes,the president has made it clear that using the parlimentary maneuver called budget reconcilliation is the only way his party can pass this bill.This works like this,house democrats approve and send to the president the bill passed by the senate last year.Both the house and senate would then approve a second bill containing the changes to the terms of the senate bill,using budget reconcilliation.Under Senate rules,bills voted on under that process can pass with a simple 51-vote majority,as opposed to the 60 vote supermajority needed to prevent fillibusters.During the second Bush administration it was used to pass the tax cuts for the wealthy,and a republican congress used itNow they are in the mid-90s to pass welfare reform.Now that it will be used against them they are calling it "the nuclear option"and saying use it and ignore the american people at your own risk."We shall see what happens from here,but one thing that is clear to me is that i won't support any political incumbants in this coming election,and will work hard to assure we have representation that works for the people and not for re-election.Perpetual campaigning must come to an end and Washington gridlock must be dealt with as well.
In this new global economy American corporations have been moving jobs overseas and into areas that provide cheap labor and lax enviromental standards and have found that it is highly profitable.The position of the U.S. DOJ on trade has been pro-consumer,while the position of European union and others is pro-competition putting more power into european hands to entice economic developement by investors.The power of emerging markets like China and india are enormous,but without putting restrictions on growth,China's 15% will lead to a bubble that will soon burst,leaving a whole lot of people who moved to cities from agricultural rural area without means to provide the aspirational goals for their children in the future.Wanting a better life for your children is natural and a product of better and better financial opportunities in these emerging market areas.American goals to provide a new jobs market through the "greening"of our manufacturing base are not realistic at all.The crumbling infastructure and the aged manufacturing plants are no enticement to corporations who can find much cheaper rent and labor,not to mention cheap power,low taxes and lax enviromental standards all over the world.And without a large and robust middle class in America,the world will be much less able to sustain any type of large manufacturing as its engine for expansion of their own burgening middle class population.I hope we are able to address this discrepancy so we can move forward together into the future.until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker

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