Tag: High School

It’s Time to Mandate High School Debate Training


One of my favorite high school teachers, Dr. Oliver, approached me sometime in late 1973 at my rural high school in the McClain County farm community of Washington, Oklahoma, with an offer.

“Would you be interested in starting a debate team?” I recall him asking me after class one day. My partner would be his son, Kelton, a classmate. My family had recently relocated there a few months earlier from southwest Oklahoma City to escape the madness of forced bussing during the desegregation battles of the early 1970s, where I was forced to change schools. My father had other ideas.

The Fragile Legs of the National Football League


Ask a sports reporter about the future of the NFL (such as the way Peter Robinson asked Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal on this week’s Ricochet Podcast) and one usually gets a recitation of the latest Nielsen ratings. Yes, football dominates today’s airwaves. But that is like complimenting a paint job on an old home where the timbers in the basement are a rotting mess of leaking water and a banquet for termites. The old place has charm – but for how long?

If you don’t like the building metaphor and wish to stick with sports, the National Football League is a thoroughbred racehorse, beautiful, sleek, and very powerful and yet dependent on very fragile legs that are sometimes asked to bear up to ten times the pressure of the horse’s weight. A slight bump, an entanglement with another animal, a sharper than anticipated turn and it collapses into a fall that is over 80% fatal.

As Peter noted in the podcast, more and more parents are saying “no” to the sport. Participation in youth leagues has been steadily declining, losing almost 40% of its participants since 2008. This has led to a decline in the high school game as well, but with the reductive nature of sports (most kids bail on organized sports by the time they turn 15) it’s off a more modest 3%.

Which Christmas Carol Is Really a Krampus Carol?


We all have at least one Christmas song we truly despise. Some can’t stand “I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus” for bringing hints of adultery into the Yuletide Season. Others hate “Last Christmas” because it really makes no sense. (This year the protagonist is giving his or her heart to someone special? Surely this person thought last year’s heart recipient was special as well at the time.) I’ve never understood the hate for “Wonderful Christmastime” but surely anyone who had anything to do with the creation of “The Christmas Shoes” should only receive stocking coal for a lifetime.

The Christmas song I hate the most is one I hate for more personal reasons.

When I was in high school, my drama teacher told me I’d have to take chorus if I wanted a decent role in the school musical. This was not all bad. I found out that the beginning chorus class had 24 girls and only one other guy. So I rather enjoyed the class until Christmas came around.

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I know it seems inexcusable now, but 1977 was another era. I deeply regret any pain I may have caused. I fully acknowledge my ignorance of other people’s truth. I will redouble my efforts to restore broken trust. Okay, now here’s what really happened. As a teen caught up in a frenzy of inspiration, I […]

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Business leaders, educators, and nonprofit donors across the country are intensifying efforts to revamp career and technical education in the United States. Recently, City Journal convened a panel of experts to talk about how these efforts can be applied in American high schools.

Fixing America’s crisis of long-term, persistent joblessness will also require major upgrades to K-12 education, where big spending increases and centralization of control in Washington have delivered disappointing results.

The Real Fallout from Weinstein


Set aside the revulsion or shock over what Weinstein did. Set aside too the anger over the hypocrisy of those who knew of what he did and let him get away with it anyway. Instead, spare a thought for those whom Weinstein damaged without ever meeting them. I speak of the very youth of America who will ultimately bear the brunt of the punishment for the fools and power brokers who ever have covered for the creeps among the powerful.

The system that allowed Weinstein to flourish will likely remain unchanged, as the powerful will ever and always be protected and shielded until the dam breaks, while the national outrage instead ever further confuses and separates the relations between men and women, leaving honest and decent young men confused and afraid, and honest and decent young women even more unprotected against offense.

Why is this likely? Because it keeps happening. I came of age in the wake of the Clarence Thomas nonsense and public hysteria over sexual harassment. Set aside the question of whether Anita Hill was honest in her accusations, the fact was that her accusations were national news and endlessly discussed. Schools, colleges, and businesses nationwide, seeing the damage wrought merely by an unproven and ultimately unprovable accusation, reacted rapidly to create and enforce sweeping new policies governing the interactions between men and women in order to mitigate against charges directed their own way. In many respects this reaction went entirely too far.

Recorded on July 24, 2017
With schools in session across the country, Hoover senior fellow Paul Peterson details this year’s survey of American education by Education Next. Among the more notable results: teachers are wary of their colleagues’ performance; parents are increasingly dissatisfied with charter schools.

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Paul Beston joins Steven Malanga to talk about the history of the American high school and making high-quality career training central in today’s high schools. This Ten Blocks episode is the second based on City Journal’s special issue, The Shape of Work to Come.

In 1910, less than 20 percent of America’s 15-to-18-year-olds were enrolled in high school. By 1940, that figure had reached nearly 75 percent. The phenomenon became known as the American high school movement, and the impetus for it came from local communities, not from federal, or even state, government.

The Art of Civil Discourse – and Treason


Teddy Fischer of Mercer Island High School near Seattle (Photo: KING 5/Tegna)

Back in May, the Washington Post published a picture of Keith Schiller, President Trump’s pre-Secret Service body guard with a Post-It note stuck on a stack of papers. Clear as day on that little slip of paper was Defense Secretary James Mattis’ cell phone number. The Post pulled the picture when notified but not before quite a few people called and filled up the SecDef’s voice mail.

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I know you’re all sick of hearing about how I went to high school with Hillary Rodham. Well, too bad. This is the story of Hillary and the Mock Political Convention. It was 1964, the year of the presidential election between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. Hillary was a senior and I was a freshman. […]

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Queen, At Last


You all know that I’m a farm girl. I haven’t actually lived on that farm for most of my adult life. I frequently went back home to spend some time with my parents, and twice I actually stayed, with my babies, and lived with them for a few months to help out. My dad was ill, and I was the only sister without an outside job (as opposed to staying home, raising the kids.) So, I did a fair amount of milking, shoveling, feeding, etc. as a grown-up, too.

However, being a farm girl wasn’t the path to glamour and honor at my high school. Or perhaps the problem was just being a tall, geeky, uncoordinated, not-cool farm girl…For instance, I would never have even considered trying out for the cheerleader squad. Nor would I have ever presumed to be elected Prom Queen, or even one of the Princess Attendants. I knew the limits of my personal popularity.

The Much Anticipated Dreaded Class Reunion


She was the first to greet me as I approached the banner hung over the room reserved for our group, smaller now, after so many years. Her lovely face, crinkled with many summers of smiling in the sun, was a bit different, but her voice and demeanor were unchanged. She was always meant to cheerfully organize these things. “I got on Facebook” she said, “And had my daughter check to make sure I did it right.” I told her that was smart and that Facebook events are perfect for us older folks. Then, I cringed.

I wandered about, struggling to recognize people. A guy approached and asked if I remembered him. I glanced at his name tag and thought I did. Wasn’t he the quiet one, who was always talking about sic-fi? He was bald now, but he sort of looked familiar. Yes, I did recognize him! Laughing, he told me that he came with his buddy, and was not a classmate of mine after all. Okay, now it feels like high school again.

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It was our first connection in years, but the conversation flowed. We were messaging on Facebook. I told her how proud I was of her large family of girls, her homeschooling and happy marriage. We reminisced a little. Then a toddler needed something, followed by a baby. She had to go right then, but it […]

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PC Insanity Run Amok, Amok, Amok


shutterstock_190412831First, kudos to you if you caught the reference to one of the great Halloween movies. Second, let’s talk about the latest installment of PC insanity now happening at Wisconsin high schools across the state.

In what many are panning as ludicrous, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) has come out with a list of words/chants/actions that they have decided are both offensive and disrespectful to other students, players, and officials during athletic events.

Here are just a few of my favorites … but will give you the link so you can chose your own top five.

Time to Rethink College (Part 1): Don’t Be a Lemming


LemmingsStudent2If you have kids and plan for them to step from high school straight into college without any work experience, take a seat: I’m about to disabuse you of that idea. I’ve got three kids, two already through college, so I have done this before. We finally figured it out with the last kid. Allow me to give you the new strategy, because we are bucking the trend.

The Problem

From all sides — her peers, her high school, and the larger culture — there was tremendous pressure on my daughter to choose a career and go straight to college. The private high school my daughter just graduated from boasts a college admission rate of 98 percent! That admission rate is part of the school’s marketing, and it wants that rate to be as high as possible.

Serious Wisdom from John Ratzenberger


439px-JohnRatzenberger08RIIFFJohn Ratzenberger was one of the first people I met on my first day in show business. For those of you under, say, 40, he played Cliff Clavin, the talkative fantasist letter carrier on Cheerswhich was my first job as a professional writer. (For those of you who would like to contribute to the Rob Long Residual Fund, feel free to buy the entire series here.) He was a lovely and smart guy back then. He still is. Here is his latest column for Time, in which he expounds on a subject he’s deeply passionate about:

The whole process of knowing how to make things, fix things and build things, fascinated me to the point that, by the time I was 14 years old, I had decided that I wanted to learn how to build a house and everything in it. In fact, I built the first couch I ever owned for my first real apartment. It may not have won any beauty contests, but it sure was comfortable. I ultimately saw my childhood goal of building a house come to fruition, many times over, while working as a house-framer before I landed the role of “Cliff” on Cheers.

Read the whole thing, but here’s the kicker:

My Time as a Ricochet Summer Intern


shutterstock_284543039As I end my month-long internship, I’m looking back on all the opportunities I had to write for Ricochet and to learn about running a website. My first task was to help create a Ricochet style guide. Before I had started this internship, I had no idea what a style guide was but, with the help of one of the editors at Ricochet, I learned fairly quickly. The process taught me various grammatical rules and even what should and shouldn’t be capitalized to make Ricochet consistent and aesthetically pleasing.

With my interest already being rooted in the editorial side, I was excited to write and can gladly say I’ve written two posts for Ricochet. From showing why increasing the minimum wage would lead to more unemployment to repeatedly calling Democratic governors’ offices to ask their views on Planned Parenthood, it has been a great learning experience.

Interacting with Ricochet members also stood out. I can safely say that the members here are the most pragmatic, smart, and articulate commentators I have seen on any website. I conversed with many during the GOP debate and during Ricochet podcasts; both were great experiences. Some assert controversial things and most have a firm grasp on politics and the world in general. They helped me to learn a great deal.

HS Football Coach Suspended for Joining a Team Prayer


It has been a tough few weeks for football suspensions. As lurid tales of players beating women and “whooping” children dominate the headlines, a successful Arizona high school football coach has been suspended for an even more shocking offense:

Tempe Prep football coach Tommy Brittain has been suspended two weeks for praying with his team after the Show Low [Ariz.] win two weeks ago, his wife, Melissa, confirmed.