The Confederate Flag in South Carolina

Take the Confederate Flag down especially in South Carolina (the state where the Civil War began), and place it in a museum as part of history, a terrible, unjust part of history. We must move on as a democratic nation in which we all acknowledge that all humans have been created equal by God, our savior and redeemer through the practice of love over hate.

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Every individual is connected to society and we cannot avoid speaking of God, as He exists in the souls of others, in society.  God is a god of love and not a god of hate.  I believe each of us has a moral responsibility to point out that not practicing that love has its destructive affects upon society, and thereafter society will have its destructive affects upon individuals, as a result.

MLK Jr. understood this and so did Benjamin Mays.

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No person is an island unto himself, even the mentally ill.  The hatred for blacks is shown every day on blogs on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a lesser form.  But this sick young man’s (Dylann Roof’s) words “You rape our women and you are taking over our country so you have to go” is not only insane but sick with the hatred found every day in our nation against our brothers and sisters of many different permutations.  We must all ask of ourselves: What and who do I hate?

The problem is greater than racism, imo.  The problem is hate.  And, I suspect much of that hate is self-hate projected outward into the world.

Deeper education, and by that I do not mean simply knowing more facts, will help.  And practicing in reality Jesus’ words.  The insane, however, cannot be helped without medical intervention, and that is a social issue we must all confront.  Our prisons are full of the mentally ill.  We must have compassion, even for them.

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Overcoming racism is  easy if people in this nation and in this world were truly spiritual.  Then, all would see that we are all equal children of God.  That is a critical starting point.Dylann Roof was a high school drop-out after he had failed 9th grade.  From the age of 16 until he was 21 he was a loner who visited white racist websites.  I understand he was intellectually impaired.  I do not believe that he was well-served in his educational development.  If you want to read more details on this factor, which may also have been critical, please see Maureen Downey’s blog, “Get Schooled” for my detailed remarks, there, regarding correct instructional delivery.

If Dylann Roof had been successful in school (and he could have been), then he would not have needed to find “friends” on white racist websites.  Very ironic because most of his “friends” on Facebook were black people.  Not only were his academic needs not addressed properly in his school, but his emotional and social needs were not observed closely enough in those schools to have given him the mental health support he so obviously needed.  It was too late for him the minute he dropped out of school, having failed 9th grade, at 14 or 15 or 16.

http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2015/06/18/opinion-if-governor-wants-more-opportunity-for-poor-georgia-kids-give-parents-8000-to-choose-education-path/

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How to Implement the Continuous Progress Instructional Model in Georgia

Below are the remarks which I posted on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s columnist, Kyle Wingfield’s blog, yesterday, regarding the necessity for a Continuous Progress Instructional Delivery Reform Model in all of Georgia’s public schools, as well as some concrete suggestions as to how to make it happen:

MaryElizabethSings

MaryElizabethSings:

Thank you, in behalf of all of the school-aged children in Georgia, Kyle, for posting my instructional thoughts and experiences.  I am very grateful to you for doing that because I know that educational reform was only one type of reform which your article addressed.  You care.

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Kyle, when most people think of educational reform, they think of charter schools.  Please allow me, as an instructional leader in schools from 1st – 12th grades, to post the following to allow readers to understand another type of educational reform.

Some children will never “keep up” with the RATE of learning concepts as their peers, and some children will always grasp the same curriculum concepts as their peers at a more advanced RATE than their age peers.  One might as well retain a student who does not master all of the 3rd grade curriculum not only in a 3rd remedial grade, but also in a 4th remedial grade, in a 6th remedial grade, in a 7th remedial grade, etc. through 12 grades.  This kind of instructional perception is pure folly in instructional delivery.

My innovative elementary/middle school practiced, very successfully, a continuous progress school model for a decade in which I was an ILT from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s, without retaining students or holding advanced students back in a boring curriculum.  As many years as I have tried to point out continuous progress’s advantages and wisdom instructionally on various blogs, some lay readers have never understood it. The Continuous Progress instructional design is an innovative, reform, instructional model which, in the ideal, would ensure the success of every student, continuously, until he/she earns his high school diploma, at grade 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14, depending on his RATE of mastery of curriculum concepts.  Moreover, when schools retain students (unlike continuous progress), they force children to go back over 60% or even 40% of the failed grade’s curriculum, which they did master.  (My next post will deal with the logistics of launching this type of innovative approach to educational reform within traditional public schools.)

PLEASE NOTE to readers:  When one conceives of 13 grades, instead of 12 grades or years-in-school, for some students to graduate from high school, that is theoretical thought which I would like to see implemented ASAP.  In terms of my actual firsthand experience, I aided teachers, as an Instructional Lead Teacher working directly under the principal’s model, in practicing a continuous progress instructional design only for grades 1 – 7, for a decade.  I did not actually observe high school teachers practice a continuous progress design in every curriculum area, until their students had mastered the criteria for a high school diploma, at 11 or 12 or 13 years.  However, having worked in instructional leadership in a south DeKalb County high school for 15 years, I know that that design is more sound than having students drop out of school and become incarcerated often, which costs society as a whole more in the short and long runs than simply addressing a better instructional design through the high school years, such as continuous progress.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings:

Please read my previous post on the necessity for innovative instructional reform within traditional public schools before reading this detailed, logistical one:

In order to work through a school’s design for continuous progress all the teachers in the school must collaborate, coordinate, and cooperate with one another to set up, along with the Assistant Principals for Instruction and Counselors, an instructional design for the school which works for them and all of the students.  They have to put in extra hours during the summer break to ascertain, together, where all the students are functioning, disregarding grade level per se.  They have to form groups for all of the variations of instructional need with instructional precision, but would not cause any one teacher to have more than 3 groups, herself, alone.  Working smarter together is the answer here.  And, someone in leadership showing them the way, as I did as an ILT.

If a school has 20 teachers and each teacher as 3 instructional groups for which she is responsible, then that gives 60 varied instructional groupings for the whole school on a continuum of low to high.  If the school holds 500 students, divided by 60 instructional groups, that means that each teacher would only have 25 students in her class. That, in turn, would mean that the teacher would only have 8 or 9 students within each of her 3 groups.  Easily manageable by good teachers who work together, with instructional insight.

They should continue to have instructional meetings throughout the year, together, in which they discuss each student’s advancement rate or lack thereof.  This way no child is falling through the cracks and every child advances at his own rate through the curriculum at a pace in which he can achieve mastery throughout his tenure in school.  Few discipline problems and attendance problems, not by being punitive but by being smart and wise.

Kyle_Wingfield

Kyle_Wingfield @MaryElizabethSings:
Education reform is just one kind of legislation that I was talking about in the post. This level of detail is probably better suited for the Get Schooled blog.

MaryElizabethSings

MaryElizabethSings@Kyle_Wingfield:

Yes, I have posted it there, but so many legislators, who are not educators, need to understand how traditional education can be modified, even with the collaboration with some charter schools, to affect instructional delivery throughout Georgia so that every student will learn, continuously, and no child will be left behind to fail.

I hope you will post what I have written, Kyle.  Thanks for even considering posting my educational experiences.  We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water simply because we are ignorant, as a state, of instructional principles.  Where does one start except to try to educate our political representatives?

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Why America Needs Hillary Clinton to be President Now

I had posted the following comments on AJC columnist Jay Bookman’s blog yesterday, June 4th and on June 12, 2015, regarding why America needs Hillary Clinton to be its next U. S. President at this point in America’s history.

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June 12, 2015:

 Mary Elizabeth Sings:
“Nothing at all personal, here, Jay Bookman, but I just got totally bored with this article, and didn’t even take the time to digest the last 4 or 5 lines.  It probably appeals to most because it is so gossipy, but I simply lose interest in the shallow perceptions of others – Democratic and Republican, and any other label.

The bottom line to me is where a candidate places his or her vision for America.  Is that vision to enhance the lives of the middle and working classes or not?  And, how intense is his or her commitment to that goal?

It mattered not to me that FDR and Eleanor were socially and financially elite.  Their commitment was to the working/middle classes in this nation.

I believe Hillary Clinton has that commitment to the American people deep in her soul and in her gut and, therefore, she will see it through if she is elected President.  I also believe that she well knows, politically and intellectually, how this nation got into the hierarchical mess it is presently in, and that is another plus for her.  All of the rest, mentioned in your article, is of no interest to me.  Again, please believe.  My opinion was not meant to be hurtful, offensive, and/or mean-spirited.  It is just my truth as I want to share it with you and with others.”

http://jaybookman.blog.ajc.com/2015/06/12/the-victory-of-conservative-punditry-such-as-it-is/?showcomments=true

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Mary Elizabeth, June 4th:

“My goodness, how this nation needs Hillary Clinton – right at this moment in its history.  Her words from the video, below:

‘We have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country because what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other (applause) because since the Supreme Court eviscerated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many of the states that previously faced special scrutiny because of a history of racial discrimination have proposed and passed new laws that make it harder than ever to vote  –  NC – went after practically anything that made voting either inconvenient or inaccessible – early voting, same day registration, extend voting hours to accommodate long lines. . . . We should be doing everything we can to get our young people more engaged in democracy, not less.  In fact, I’d say it is a cruel irony, but no coincidence, that Millennials, the most diverse, tolerate, and inclusive generation in American history, are now facing so much exclusion and we need look no further than Texas, where you can use a gun permit for a valid reason for registration but a student ID is not good enough, to see why. . . .’

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You go, lady.  Tell it, exactly like it is, and turn this nation back over to the people for whom it was designed – through your insight, courage to speak truth, and force of commitment to American justice for the middle and lower classes – the government of, by, and for the people, themselves.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/04/hillary-clinton-voting-rights_n_7513858.html

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“Two very significant accomplishments of Hillary Clinton which few point out:  Hillary Clinton spent her time in the U. S. Senate building good relationships with fellow senators on both sides of the political aisle, and spent her time as Secretary of State, following President Obama’s lead, in building good relationships with world leaders throughout the globe.  Don’t think that that reaching out to others is not going to help change the world’s trajectory one day from militarism, imperialism, and self-orientation to dialogue and nonviolence in solving world problems and in shaping the world’s consciousness more to egalitarianism, starting with women’s equal rights, than the hierarchical power perceptions that have long created chaos on the world’s stage.  President Obama’s visionary mind well knew what he was doing when he chose Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State.  They have the same world vision, but not the same personalities.

It’s time for Americans to see beyond personalities and to capture the visions of politicians.  And, it is past time for insecure men to get over feeling threatened by strong women like Hillary Clinton.  Not all women can be clinging vines and be true to themselves.”

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Looking Into the World’s Future. . .

Today, I posted the following on Maureen Downey’s blog and Jay Bookman’s blog, both columnists for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Looking toward the world’s future, I see the following, forthcoming:

I had just posted the following on Maureen Downey’s blog in response to another poster’s reaction to fewer jobs in the world today because of increasing technological advances.  My worldwide plan proposes a visionary impact to create equity and peace among all of the people of this world in contrast with the hierarchial vision of Disney, Inc., and other corporate visionaries, who see profit for the few, as primary, not service to the many.  Here are my thoughts brought to this thread, also:

“The world will become even smaller in this century.  The people of this world are going to have to determine the world’s most important values, as our Founders did in their day. I am hoping that those who support an egalitarian worldview will prevail.

I have thought that the idea of service jobs would be the most reasonable answer to the coming technological advances which will usurp many jobs of average workers into our future.

What I can envision is a required service of all of our young people to this nation, either through the military or through the Peace Corps.  I would suspect that most of our young would prefer the Peace Corp to the possibility of killing/maiming others or being, themselves, killed/maimed.  As that avenue of additional jobs were to develop more throughout the world, that model could expand to having older people join the Peace Corps in more numbers than are there today so that their service to the world’s most needy would not only help to lift our planet as a whole but these service jobs would be paid for through our government, in conjunction with nonprofits, or from a satellite financial vehicle created within the United Nations, to serve the needs of all of the world’s humanity in becoming self-sufficient and self-governing, with democratic principles underlying this humane, worldwide effort.”

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Just as the choice in America is stark today – self-interests or the common good – so will the world, itself, in the 21st Century, have to choose between these two diametrically opposed philosophies.  One or the other will dominate.  The other will still exist, but in a secondary role.

I hope that our democratic tenets are buried so deeply within the souls of most Americans that egalitarianism, in that degree, will be the philosophy which will prevail into the world’s future.

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The world is going through “growing pains” similar to those of adolescents, except the world is growing to be one unit. Eventually, we will consider ourselves to be more Earthlings, or citizens of the world who must survive or perish together, than citizens of separate nations.  This is the working-through period of details, i.e. our “growing pains,” to come to that state of future being, as I see it.

MLK:  “We will either work together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.”  (paraphrased)

http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2015/05/30/should-schools-follow-competitive-or-cooperative-models-can-they-be-both/

http://jaybookman.blog.ajc.com/2015/06/03/abuse-of-h1-b-visa-program-explains-a-lot-about-this-economy/

Posted in A smaller world | Tagged | 4 Comments

The Heart and The Mind of Egalitarianism

The American people have been manipulated by certain Republican plutocrats to vote against their own interests, and thereby the interests of average Americans.  America has always had its Puritanical streak, and the wealthy/powerful have seized upon that limitation of imagination in many Americans to program them, through effective propaganda, to vote for “hard work, family values, independence, morality” while laughing at their ignorance of what they are really voting for – the destruction of the oldest Democratic-Republic on Earth by lessening the political power of the masses in favor of the wealthy/elite in our nation.

America’s destiny has been to be a role model for the world, regarding the practice of democracy in action. Washington knew it, Jefferson knew it, and Lincoln knew it.

We must live out our destiny. We must keep America’s tenets enduring, as they were designed to be, by sustaining a government of, by, and for the people.  We must remain a model for the world in how to practice egalitarianism through our government.  The ideological Republican plutocrats cannot win this battle.  They must be seen through.  And, they must be voted out of office.  They have had the wrong ideology for America for 35 years, since Ronald Reagan became President.

When I came back to the South from the East Village in NYC in 1970, after having spent almost seven years in NYC, I had come to understand that there are really only two classes of people on this earth – the Living and the Dead – in contradiction to the long-ingrained Southern tradition of seeing others as part of a hierarchical class system. 

Death is the great leveler of life.  Death keeps things in perspective.  Those who pretend to be superior to any other human being, for any imagined reason while they live, are playing a fool’s game in their own minds. That is the heart and the mind of egalitarianism.

Posted in Only Two Classes of People: Living and Dead | Tagged | Leave a comment

“Jim Crow” Is Not Dead, Yet, in America

The citizens of this nation need to galvanize, once again, around a national movement of social justice for poor people in this nation, especially for poor black people who never have fully recovered from the stigma and destructiveness of America’s Jim Crow years.
Social action of a meaningful, impacting nature ended in America 35 years ago, with the election of Republican President Ronald Reagan.  The foundation was laid, and the footwork was accomplished, for this national change of societal focus in the mid-1970s (when ALEC was formed).  This new American societal focus became powerful (and made manifest) with the election of Ronald Reagan, who kicked off his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
The belief that people can “get there” totally on their own is naive.
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Slavery, Jim Crow, and Looters

I posted the following on Jay Bookman’s blog, April, 30, 2015, and following this post is my explanation on Maureen Downey’s blog, the same day, in answer to how my words below explore “unorthodox” thought:

The problem as I see it is that we want to think in stark terms, and do not see in terms of gradients.

Slavery was evil.  Jim Crow was evil, but not all people who owned slaves were evil and not all white people who were silent during Jim Crow were evil.   We all have elements of evil and good within our psyches.  In a rare twist of irony, in DaVinci’s painting of “The Last Supper,” the same man whom he had painted as Jesus Christ was also chosen to be Judas, 10 years later.  DaVinci was not aware of that fact until they talked near the end of the work’s completion. The man’s features had changed so much in ten years after a hard, rough life that DaVinci thought he was another person, not his original Jesus.

When we can accept the Evil in our own souls, then we become less judgmental and more aware of the fullness of human nature.  And, we stop thinking in stereotypical, caricatures images.

Ben Affleck’s reaction of wanting to hide the fact that some of his ancestors owned slaves shows me how emotionally immature he remains even as a grown man, who is an accomplished dramatist.

That is the richness of knowing about people more fully, discovering the nuances of good and evil and how those qualities interact within each of us.

This past President’s Day, Jay Bookman told a true story of George Washington’s search for his wife’s runaway slave.  Washington was presented with his petty side showing.  Frankly, I thought that, although that story was true, the reasons that it had been true were not explored deeply enough in the context of Washington’s total character, and in the context of his marriage, and in the context of that age of history.  Besides that, I thought, tell that truth and get it out there, but don’t tell it on George Washington’s birthday.  That was the time to honor all the good in that man’s soul from which we are all still benefiting today.  We must stop seeing others, like the looters in Baltimore, as all good or all evil.  That is an adolescent way to see the world.

I grew up in the system of Jim Crow in the South.  Unless you grew up in it yourself, you cannot imagine how there could be “good” people who supported segregation (as I did not.)  Likewise, none of us grew up in the days of slavery, so for us to judge others unduly who were born into a social system of slavery as I was born into a social system of Jim Crow cannot possibly understand the many variances of thought within ONE individual.  It is a current fad to condemn Thomas Jefferson because he owned slaves which he inherited, but what people do not register is that Thomas Jefferson was against slavery all of his life.  In the Declaration of Independence he tried to condemn slavery but the delegates from SC and Georgia would not sign unless he took that part out.  Finally, after about a decade, Jefferson simply gave up with that idea, as did Washington in his circumstances.  LaFayette had had long talks with Washington about how to eliminate slavery in America. Nevertheless, Jefferson always maintained that slavery was spiritually wrong and he predicted it would end about the time it did, though he voiced he hoped it would be a peaceful transition, not one which involved war.  In other words, there were “good” slave owners and there were “sadistic” slave owners.  Just as today there are good cops and sadistic cops.

The entire reason I am on this blog is to try to get people to embrace unorthodox thought.

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Someone earlier had asked of my one post on this thread, how my thoughts could be considered “unorthodox”?

The best way I know to answer that question is to demonstrate how I have applied the same thinking processes to the looters and rioters in Baltimore of this week, as well as to the educators found guilty in the APS cheating trial.  I just posted the following on Maureen Downey’s blog relative to the judge’s decision in that APS case, and I am reposting my earlier post here for those who did not read it many hours ago.  The way I see the world would have application to George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson’s owning of slaves, the looters and rioters in Baltimore presently, and the educators who were found guilty in the APS cheating trial.  See below my remarks just posted on Ms. Downey’s blog:

I have scanned this excellent article, and I plan to read it thoroughly tomorrow and comment directly on this APS scandal, as well as the judge’s lowering of the sentences.  I do not have time to give it the thought and response this evening which it deserves.  In the meantime, I would like to post what I had stated today on Jay Bookman’s blog about the intertwining of good and evil in every person’s soul, including, of course, the educators who were found guilty in the APS case, just as one should be able to see the good and evil in the souls of the looters and rioters in Baltimore, and not stoop to calling them the caricatured label of “thugs,” if my message, below, has any resonance and impact.

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There is an underlying reason for those riots in Baltimore that have valid spiritual reasons for existing.  When we can stop labeling people, we then are freed to understand the pain in their souls and how that pain manifests itself in differing ways.  The black people, especially the young black men of America, have been maligned by some police (who are only reflective of our society as a whole) and the rioters, as had been the case in Watts, California in 1968, have lost all hope that the system will ever work for them.  As Americans, we took the eye off of our common social inequities in the beginning of the 1970s and placed America’s soul upon the accruing of personal wealth and power, which created self-serving greed.  Today’s Americans are products of that phenomena in our collective consciousness.  We must pick up where we left off in the late 1960s and return to America’s destiny of helping all rise (of all races and classes) not in a spirit of judgment or competition but in a spirit of love and care for all humanity, starting with America’s poorest and most disenfranchised.  We are all one, under God. What happens to one, will eventually happen to all. We are all simply human beings; none of us are gods.

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Other poster’s comments:

“Seems to me that the situation re. critics and Thomas Jefferson is rather like the one that Ben Affleck has found himself in: he’s proud of his ancestor that fought in the Revolutionary War but ashamed of the one who was a slave-owner in Georgia. The Jefferson apologists would point only to the lofty words of the Constitution composed by Jefferson that all men are created equal, and ignore his more squalid actions as slave-owner who had several children by his slave-mistress (sex-slave?) Sally Hemings. African-American critics and historians were the first to point this out in the 1970s, and it was denied all the way till the DNA test in 2000 proved it.

Some aren’t bothered at all by this contradiction. But I remember the 20th century philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s comment: ‘There is no reality except in action.’ ”

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My response to this other poster’s comments:
“I believe that Thomas Jefferson is the father of Sally Hemings’ children.  All we know are that the facts tell us that Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner, or master, and that Sally Hemings was his wife’s slave (and half-sister) whom Jefferson inherited when he married his wife, Martha Wayles, who died when Jefferson was 39, asking him never to marry again.

Those are the facts.  However, those are, also, the labels.  Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else, knows the intricacies and the quality of the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings. Only they know that, and they are both dead.  Jefferson did, however, free his children by Sally Hemings as he had promised her he would, and Sally Hemings, herself, was released by Thomas Jefferson’s remaining child, Martha, shortly after his death, to live with her son by Jefferson until she died.”

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