A Schoolwide Plan for Educating Boys

The concept that female teachers may inadvertently teach more to the learning styles of girls than of boys was very much discussed in the mid-1970s by the former Associate Superintendent of Schools who became my principal. His multi-aged groupings of students in reading and math levels based on mastery learning and varied rates of learning (instead of strict grade level curriculum) in his model school well accommodated the learning style of boys.  The elementary/middle school’s building design had been built to incorporate open walls among 5 classrooms, with 5 teachers in one large pod – housing either 1, 2, 3 grade students together, or another pod housing 2, 3, 4th grade students together, or 4, 5, 6th together or 5, 6, 7th grades together.  The model children were the oldest in each pod.  They became the leaders within their pod.

Boys, as well as girls, became leaders and there was much movement between areas of the pod, which accommodates the energy level of boys and the need they have for periodic movement.  This outstanding principal often held workshops with his teaching staff to inform them of how that model was efficacious for boys, who often were required to sit still for too long a period of time under some female teachers.  This was in 1975 – 1983.  The pods were open in space for movement between levels as different students advanced at their own rates and could easily find another instruction grouping, if necessary, in the same multi-aged pod, if they were faster or slower than their assigned groups of about 7 or 8 children. My principal was way ahead of his time regarding instruction.  I was blessed that he promoted me to be his ILT for I learned much working with him.  He had studied the educational theories and works of Dr. John Goodlad, who was still working into the 21st century.

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Democrats in Connecticut Eliminate Name of Thomas Jefferson

 I posted the following remarks on Jay Bookman’s blog, relative to the news in the link below, which was posted on that blog in the early morning of July 24, 2015:

“For the Democrats in Connecticut to remove the name of Thomas Jefferson from their state’s organizational event under pressure from the NAACP, simply because Jefferson owned slaves, is abhorrent. The ignorance about Thomas Jefferson in the nation today is appalling. The average American indulges in generalized and stereotypical thinking because it is so much easier and less taxing on the mental processes to do so, even if this kind of generalization is lacking in truth.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the main architects of the nation we live in today and of the freedoms we all are blessed to have today.  The spiritual tenet he set in words in the Declaration of Independence will stand forever in the annals of history for all ages and for all of mankind. Whose mind and soul can encompass his brilliance and care for humanity today? Jefferson had wanted this nation to be freed of slavery as soon as possible in its ongoing evolution. Is that too complex for many to understand since he had slaves?  Why did all of his slaves rush down the hill from Monticello to carry him up that long hill themselves in delight of his having returned after five years away in Paris if they did not value him and appreciate him? Are people today too afraid to look at complexities and to look truth in the face or do they just go with the current fads and generalizations of thinking about our individual Founding Fathers.  Read.”

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Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

I responded to various posters on columnist Jay Bookman’s blog, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 4th, 2015, as follows:

 If you had read the book by black historian Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed of Rutgers University, as I have, you would realize how wrong your assessments are. I concur with the analyses of Dr. Gordon-Reed, which I had speculated, prior to having read this well researched book, would be truth as related to Thomas Jefferson and his slaves, especially regarding his relationship with Sally Hemings.

Sally Hemings was free while she was in France..  She “demurred” (word used by her son with Jefferson, Madison Hemings), but they had come to a negotiated agreement.  Hemings would go back to America with Jefferson and return to her mother Elizabeth Hemings and other siblings who were also the half-brothers and sisters of Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, if he would agree to free her children when they turned 21 – which he did except for his oldest son with Sally, Beverley Hemings, who was probably 23 when he left Monticello with Jefferson’s approval.  In terms of why Jefferson did not free Sally Hemings legally, and instead had his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, release her informally after his death by giving her “her time,” I will repost information that I shared from Dr. Gordon-Hemings’ book earlier on this blog, next for you to read.

Another poster had stated that she was quite knowledgeable in how the masters of slaves of that era treated their chattlel slavery, and she made assumptions that Jefferson would have been reacted (and thought) as did the slave masters about whom she had studied  You and and a third poster had concurred with her.  But, the three of you were wrong according the information in Dr. Gordon-Reed’s book.  To label Jefferson as a ‘rapist’ and a ‘hypocrite’ based on what other masters did in that era shows a lack of refinement in one’s thinking processes, in my opinion.  Every human being deserves to be seen as an individual.  Dr. Gordon-Reed analyzed with that kind of nuanced thinking with Thomas Jefferson and with Sally Hemings based on the research she has ascertained. Her book will stretch your preconceived and generalized conceptions, I believe.  I will give one example:  Gordon-Reed wrote that there was no written contract of the agreement between Hemings and Jefferson but that Sally Hemings had trusted him to be true to his word for 37 years until he died in his 80s.  She wrote that it was highly unlikely that if Sally Hemings had been raped by Jefferson (and all that that implies) that she would have trusted him to that extent without legal documentation to back up his words.  And, her instincts were correct for Jefferson freed all four of their living children.  Two by letting them leave Monticello and passing for white in probably Philadelphia.  One was his oldest living son, Beverley Hemings, with Sally Hemings, who was about 23 when he left and Harriet Hemings, Beverley Hemings’ his younger sister, to whom Jefferson gave money when Jefferson saw her off in her carriage to leave Monticello to join her older brother in Philadelphia.  These two children of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings never returned to Monticello because they had passed for white, thereafter.  The other two sons were 21 and 18 when Jefferson died, and he had had them to be apprentices with their uncle, John Hemings, Sally’s brother, so that they could earn a living on their own when they left.  He wrote in his will that both of these Hemings’ slaves, Madison and Thomas Eston, would be free at ages 21; however in reality Eston was freed at 18.  Martha Jefferson gave Sally Hemings “her time” (as she was instructed to do by Jefferson) which meant she was given her freedom soon after Jefferson’s death in order that she might live with her freed sons by Jefferson until she died, 9 years later. Martha Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson’s daughter, freed Sally Hemings eight years after Jefferson’s death.  There was a law in Virginia at the time which said that freed slaves had to leave Virginia within a year of their freedom, and I suspect Martha Randolph did not want that to happen to Sally Hemings, whose entire family were in Virginia.  Sally died the next year, nine years after Jefferson.  She was in her early 60s.  Jefferson was a man true to himself and true to his word with Sally Hemings, with whom he had a 37 year relationship.  She saved his eyeglasses, his pen and inkwell, and his shoe buckle when she left with which to remember him.  Her progeny tried to have these items placed in a museum in a generation or two later. Jefferson was hardly a ‘rapist.’  Read in more abundance, please, before you assume.

If one thinks in stereotypical ways, without nuance, then one misses the truth.

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Jefferson’s wife died when he was 39 and he promised her that he would never marry again (probably for the inheritance of their daughters as much as for sentiment).  Jefferson was beside himself with her death for weeks and that is one reason he took the Ambassorship to France in order to have a change for environment to gather his emotional resources again.  He stayed in France for 5 years.  He honored his promise to his wife, Martha.  When her half-sister, Sally Hemings, joined him and his daughter Martha (Patsy) as the escort over the ocean to his younger daughter Maria (Molly) even though she was only 14, Jefferson made a match – after several years – with Sally Hemings, a beautiful, 3/4s white slave of his which lasted for 37 years until his death and produced 6 children, 4 of whom lived.  Sally Hemings did not have to return to America with him in 1789 for she was free in France, but she did so and remained his concubine (word of that day) until his death.  He also honored his word to Hemings in that he freed all 4 of their children together in their early 20s, two in his will, finessed to be hidden for reasons of his paternity so that the public would not catch on for two centuries. He lived a code of honor all his own because he did not see the world as most people, and he knew it.  He believe in God, but refused to have a minister at his bedside as he was dying but only as his neighbor.  Much was written about his relationship with Sally Hemings in newspapers in his day, however except for a rare denial, he chose to ignore those attacks for propriety and shrewdness.  But, the conventions of others never affected how he chose to live his moral life. He told his legitimate daughter, Martha, in his last days, as he was dying, “Take care of Sally,” and Martha did do so, freeing Sally without legal documentation which would cast their relationship back in the public eye, to live out her days with her freed sons by Jefferson, the youngest of whom was only 18 years old and the other 21. Sally Hemings told their story to her children and their children told their story to their progeny.  A very unorthodox but very caring story, in which Sally Hemings passed to her children 3 of Jefferson’s personal items upon her death only 8 years after Jefferson had died at 82 and she died in her early 60s.  Her two sons, Madison Hemings who gave an interview in his older years to a newspaper to confirm what I have written, and Thomas Eston Hemings (named by Jefferson himself) left VA for Ohio and then Eston left for Wisconsin where he assumed a white identity and took the name Eston Hemings Jefferson. Eston’s children today identify as white and take the Jefferson surname.  Their cousins, the progeny of Madison (named for James Madison) Hemings, identify as black today and take the name Hemings.  Go to the website for Monticello to read more.  I have read about 5 books on Jefferson by some outstanding biographers.  And I am presently reading the 6 volume biography of Jefferson by Dumas Malone.

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(Added words by me to Jay Bookman’s  Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog article of July 7, 2015:

http://jaybookman.blog.ajc.com/2015/07/07/sifting-through-our-confederate-attic-what-stays-what-goes/

Bookman: “. . . fathered children with a slave and held some of those children as slaves until his death. . .”

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Mary Elizabeth: “Yes, Thomas Jefferson did keep Thomas Eston Hemings (later surnamed “Jefferson” by Eston himself at age 44 when he passed for white with his whole family in Wisconsin), age 18, (named by Thomas Jefferson himself) and Madison Hemings (named for his friend James Madison by Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson), age 21, both being taught as apprentices to be skilled craftsmen under their Hemings’ Uncle slave at Monticello at the time of Jefferson’s death so that they could both earn their livings when freed (as well as their Hemings’ uncle being freed) upon Jefferson’s death in his probated Will, as he had promised his concubine Sally Hemings, half-sister to his deceased wife, with whom he had had six children, 4 having lived past toddler stage, and with whom he had had a 37 year relationship.

Thank you for that photo of Jefferson looking down upon the living leaders of our nation in the 1960s.  I have no doubt that LBJ was following the spiritual leadership of Thomas Jefferson when he almost single-handedly insured that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would be passed into law, a historical, momentous decision for our nation, one Jefferson had dreamed of happening and hoped would happen as early as possible in America.

I agree with the thoughts you expressed in this commentary, Jay Bookman.  I must also add that the racist leaders of the South, whom you cited, were representatives of the consciousness of most of the Southern people at that time in our history.  The consciousness of most the Southern people, as well as all Americans, has now finally caught up with the consciousnesses of Jefferson and Washington, of 2 centuries earlier. . .We must learn, as an educated American populace, how to contain paradoxical and complicated situations and persons, within our minds, without simplifying them to absurdity.

Hence, the reason Jefferson advocated so strongly for an educated populace of all citizens of this nation – poor and rich.  He had placed on his tombstone that he was ‘Author of the Declaration of Independence, Author of the Rights of Religious Liberty in Virginia, and Founder of the University of Virginia’ – and that that was all that Thomas Jefferson had placed upon his tombstone.” )

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The Enlightened Minds of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington

I wrote the following on AJC columnist Jay Bookman’s blog during the 4th of July weekend of 2015:

REGARDING THE ENLIGHTENED MIND OF THOMAS JEFFERSON:

In Jay Bookman’s column in today’s Sunday paper, entitled, “Liberty, equality expand,” (Link: http://jaybookman.blog.ajc.com/2015/07/03/in-the-man-or-in-the-jackass/) Bookman writes:

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“Opponents of the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling are admittedly correct when they argue that Jefferson would probably be horrified and astonished to learn that his words were being applied to same-sex marriage.  That wasn’t what he had in mind.  They are also correct that in the past two centuries we have expanded the meaning of terms such as equality and liberty significantly beyond what Jefferson had imagined.”

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I am as disappointed in Jay Bookman’s understanding of Jefferson’s mind as I am in his understanding of Washington’s mind.  Lawyers who argue cases are not historical intellectuals, as Jefferson was.  Here are Thomas Jefferson’s words, not Bookman’s words nor the words of attorneys:

“As. . . new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. . . .Each generation. . . has. . .a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its own happiness. . . . ‘Nothing then,’ he told Major John Cartwright in 1824, ‘is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.’ ”

So little does Bookman understand Jefferson that he does not acknowledge that Adams and Jefferson were opposed in matters of the average man’s rights in America. That difference in views was a point of difference between them in the election of 1800.  Jefferson’s mind was fluid, not static.  Bookman fails to see that.  Jefferson advocated for public education for all citizens – rich and poor – so that they all could participate in their own self-government.  He purchased the Louisiana Territory in large part so that average men might go west and be landowners.  Jefferson considered Adams to be unduly influenced by status, as had the Royalists been, and Adams was a Federalist.  Jefferson’s support came from the average man because they understood Jefferson’s egalitarian mind better than many today.  Jefferson stood above the other Founding Fathers in moving this nation forward, over centuries, toward progressive ideas. Thomas Jefferson would have supported gay rights and Civil Rights of all kinds, if he had lived today, because of the inherent freedom within those rights.

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(Added words by me to Jay Bookman’s  Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog article of July 7, 2015:

http://jaybookman.blog.ajc.com/2015/07/07/sifting-through-our-confederate-attic-what-stays-what-goes/

Bookman: “. . . fathered children with a slave and held some of those children as slaves until his death. . .”

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Yes, Thomas Jefferson did keep Thomas Eston Hemings (later surnamed “Jefferson” by Eston himself at age 44 when he passed for white with his whole family in Wisconsin), age 18, (named by Thomas Jefferson himself) and Madison Hemings (named for his friend James Madison by Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson), age 21, both being taught as apprentices to be skilled craftsmen under their Hemings’ Uncle slave at Monticello at the time of Jefferson’s death so that they could both earn their livings when freed (as well as their Hemings’ uncle being freed) upon Jefferson’s death in his probated Will, as he had promised his concubine Sally Hemings, half-sister to his deceased wife, with whom he had had six children, 4 having lived past toddler stage, and with whom he had had a 37 year relationship.

Thank you for that photo of Jefferson looking down upon the living leaders of our nation in the 1960s.  I have no doubt that LBJ was following the spiritual leadership of Thomas Jefferson when he almost single-handedly insured that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would be passed into law, a historical, momentous decision for our nation, one Jefferson had dreamed of happening and hoped would happen as early as possible in America.

I agree with the thoughts you expressed in this commentary, Jay Bookman.  I must also add that the racist leaders of the South, whom you cited, were representatives of the consciousness of most of the Southern people at that time in our history.  The consciousness of most the Southern people, as well as all Americans, has now finally caught up with the consciousnesses of Jefferson and Washington, of 2 centuries earlier. . .We must learn, as an educated American populace, how to contain paradoxical and complicated situations and persons, within our minds, without simplifying them to absurdity.

Hence, the reason Jefferson advocated so strongly for an educated populace of all citizens of this nation – poor and rich.  He had placed on his tombstone that he was “Author of the Declaration of Independence, Author of the Rights of Religious Liberty in Virginia, and Founder of the University of Virginia” – and that that was all that Thomas Jefferson had placed upon his tombstone.” )

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Expanded quote from Thomas Jefferson:  (From Dr. Saul Padover’s book, “Jefferson” )

” ‘Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. . . .I know. . . that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. . . .As. . . new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. . . .Each generation. . . has. . .a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its own happiness. . . .a solemn opportunity of doing this every nineteen or twenty years should be provided by the constitution.’

“His (Jefferson’s) conclusion in the matter of laws and institutions was that they were perpetually subject to change for the benefit of humanity. ‘Nothing then,’ he told Major John Cartwright in 1824, ‘is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.’ ”

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Of course, Jefferson’s “attitude toward homosexuals doesn’t match that of a modern person.”  That should be understood without having to write it.  However, what you and Bookman are failing to acknowledge is that Jefferson lived in his own times, but had an intellectual vision which allowed for changes in society over time which enhanced civil liberties.  Reread his words which I have excerpted today, and which are found in the Library of Congress and in his book “Notes on Virginia.”

IF Jefferson were living today, he would support gay marriage, and anyone who understands the intellectual vision of Jefferson would understand that to be true.

Again, I have no “romanticized vision” of Jefferson.  I am simply well-read on Jefferson.  I have been reading on Jefferson’s thinking and other statesmen and women since I retired from teaching, 15 years ago.  I know what I am talking about intellectually, and I am not indulging in soft-headed adolescent emotions.  I have have a tough intellectual mind,  and romantic mishmash is abhorrent to me, as a well-read person.  That is one reason I do not enjoy inane films.

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Jefferson’s original words in The Declaration of Independence, which he authored, condemned slavery.  Benjamin Franklin,  older, wiser, and more pragmatic than Jefferson, being almost a half century older than the young, idealistic Jefferson, had Jefferson remove those words condemning slavery so that Georgians and South Carolinians would join the other colonies’ signers of the Declaration of Independence, making for more voices from America to King George of England as our Founding Fathers tried to get the United States of America afloat.

Link for Jefferson’s removed words from the final version of “Declaration of Independence” can be found at the following link: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/slavery-declaration-of-independence-july-4

How little most citizens seem to internalize historical events and the flow of the consciousness within humans in history’s ongoing flow.  Jefferson had that gift, and a progressive mind, and that is why he was acknowledged to be great in his time, by even Hamilton, as well as Washington, and Adams, and certainly Madison (for whom Jefferson’s son by Sally Hemings was named) and Monroe, as well as Lincoln, later.

And, Ben Franklin was an abolitionist – Oh, the irony – what a paradox to work through!  Can we at least try to expand our thinking enough to understand complexities of thought and action, as did our Founding Fathers?

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There is no need to place labels, such as Deist, upon Thomas Jefferson’s beliefs (or anyone else’s, imho) for Jefferson considered himself, religiously, a sect unto himself.  See below.

“Thomas Jefferson was deeply but unconventionally religious. An empiricist, he believed that a rational and benevolent God was evident in the beauty and order of the universe. He professed “Christianism,” a belief in the morals taught by Jesus of Nazareth, but he rejected Jesus’s divinity, resurrection, the atonement, and biblical miracles. As such, Jefferson’s beliefs resisted conventional labels, and in 1819 he suggested to a correspondent that “I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.” Jefferson meticulously cut up four copies of the Gospels (in English, French, Greek, and Latin), retaining only selected passages, without miracles, to create The Jefferson Bible, his own book for spiritual guidance and solace. Jefferson’s career was also marked by religious controversy. He was denounced as an “arch-infidel” in the presidential election of 1800, and his efforts to prevent the appointment of a minister to teach religion at the University of Virginia, one of the first state-owned colleges in the United States, met strong resistance. Jefferson embraced god-given human rights and opposed their abridgment by government. He is known as one of the founders of American religious freedom, and his phrase “a wall of separation between Church & State” has been viewed as emblematic by historians and by the modern United States Supreme Court.”

http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Jefferson_Thomas_and_Religion

Addition from the link above:

“Jefferson’s religious beliefs provided a crucial foundation for his political views. Jefferson believed not only that God created man, and gave humans certain rights, but that the right to think freely for oneself—free from the restraints of ministers, dogma, and government—was central to people’s humanity.He argued that neither religion nor free government could flourish if members could not think for themselves. Forced belief was an oxymoron for Jefferson.”

I could not agree more with the views of Thomas Jefferson in this regard. That is why I say today, especially, the 239th celebration year of the Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson, “Thank God Jefferson lived.”

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Another poster: “This NYTimes article today might interest you, as a great admirer of Lincoln: ‘What Did Lincoln Really Think of Jefferson? ‘ ”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/04/opinion/what-did-lincoln-really-think-of-jefferson.html

My response to that Poster: “You are more impressed with the writings of college professors who make the NY Times than I am.  I believe that is the way you have been trained.  However, I am more unorthodox and unconventional than that and I will take Allen Guelzo’s opinions with a grain of salt.  What I do know, is that Lincoln made the point to stop in his travels from Illinois to Washington DC on his way to become President at Independence Hall in Philadelphia so that he could step in the same place where Thomas Jefferson had stood.  That I learned when I visited Independence Hall in 2011.  Here is more evidence that Lincoln valued Jefferson:

Lincoln on Thomas Jefferson April 6, 1859: Letter to H.L. Pierce

In this letter Lincoln explains his thoughts on Thomas Jefferson and the phrase “all men are created equal.”

‘All honor to Jefferson – to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.’ ”

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REGARDING THE ENLIGHTENED MIND OF GEORGE WASHINGTON:

Jay Bookman does not see George Washington with individual clarity, either, imho.  Here were Bookman’s words, contained within his blog’s comments on June 25, 2015, on this nation’s first President and Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolutionary Army:

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” . . . I give no ‘bonus morality points’ for freeing your slaves after you have died and have no further use for them. And to be accurate, Washington didn’t do even that. His will called for his slaves to be freed only upon the later death of Martha, whom they had to continue to serve.
I admire Washington and acknowledge that he was a man of his time and place, and should not be judged harshly by the standards of our own time.  But the fact remains that he kept slaves, whipped slaves, obsessively hunted down runaway slaves, and bought and sold slaves. ”

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Bookman’s is a one-dimensional understanding of George Washington, imo.  Here is what Washington, himself, wrote about his responsibility to his inherited slaves:

“Writing to Robert Lewis on August 17, 1799, Washington reflected on the baffling conundrum posed by excess slaves: ‘To sell the overplus (of slaves) I cannot, because I am principled against this kind of traffic in the human species.  To hire them out is almost as bad because. . .to disperse the families I have an aversion.  What then is to be done?  Something must or I shall be ruined (financially).’ He possessed ‘a thorough conviction that half the workers I keep on this estate would render me a greater net profit than I now derive from the whole.’ That he owned fewer than half the slaves himself perhaps set the stage for the most courageous action of his career.  If he emancipated his own slaves in his will, he would satisfy his conscience, set a sterling example for futurity, and still leave a viable plantation behind.  In 1799 a convenient convergence of economic and moral factors enabled Washington to settle the issue that had so long gnawed at his mind.”

– From historian Ron Chernow’s Pulitzer Prize winning Book, “Washington: A Life.”

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From “MaryElizabethSings,” my blog’s entry entitled, “A New Year: A Budding New Consciousness,” which I wrote and posted December 26, 2010, regarding, in part, the consciousness of George Washington:

“The voluntary relinquishing of power is the primary ingredient needed to move from a vertical to a lateral manner of relating to others. The first president of the United States, George Washington, modeled great wisdom for his nation’s progeny, when – after having guided the American military forces to victory over Great Britain – he chose to relinquish his power and to return to life as a private citizen at Mt. Vernon. Most generals, such as Napoleon, would have seized more political power with newfound military power, but Washington in his wisdom knew that, if the future held a place for him within the public arena, he wanted to be viewed as the servant of the people as their elected president, and not as their powerful ruler/king. That simple gesture by George Washington was a gigantic step in changing the order of reality in the world. Today, the world is moving even more rapidly toward that egalitarian spirit, which fosters the dismantling of previously preprogrammed roles, or labels assigned from the outside, and seeks to look inside for greater authenticity. In my second post I had said, “the essential premise in finding one’s true spirit is understanding that all are equal within the spiritual universe. We are all part of the One. We each have equal, individual spirits within the One.”

“. . .  a new age is rapidly rising – one which fosters a more egalitarian spirit as people relate to one another as inherently equal beings. The old realities of hierarchial thinking are giving way to realities based on truths not mandated from outside of oneself, but which spring from within oneself. We are beginning to relate to others laterally, instead of vertically – as brothers and sisters, instead of as masters and servants. Long held hierarchial communication within religious, social, and political institutions is giving way to a more egalitarian form of communication. Within my lifetime, dramatic changes have already occurred which reflect this paradigm shift of consciousness. The races see themselves, finally, as inherently equal. The public acknowledgement of homosexual orientation is quickly becoming acceptable, and one no longer has to deny outwardly who one innately is as a sexual being. In the threat of worldwide nuclear disaster, world leaders are realizing that they must work together to achieve common goals rather than to continue a long held pattern of domination and submission. Even this blog, through access to the worldwide web, represents an egalitarian change within the communications arena, in which one voice – my voice – has the possibility of sharing individual truths as widespread as only the mainstreet media had in the past.”

https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/a-new-year-a-budding-world-consciousness/

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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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