Money Moves No Minds



Why Teach For America Works – Michelle Rhee

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

In the Fall, this year and every year, in this nation talk turns to Education.  The President of the United States delivers a speech to students.  Articles appear in the news.  Television broadcasts beckon us to think about our Education Nation.  In 2010, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, did what many thought novel.  He donated $100 million dollars to Newark City Schools.  Some were skeptical of his motives.  More rejoiced.  Certainly with abundant cash in the coffers, change would come to the nations schools, or at least to the chosen educational institutions.  However,  it might not.

Even Michele Rhee, Chancellor of Education, Washington District of Columbia and numerous others who may not always agree with most Teachers have doubts when talk of real transformation in education abound. Geoffrey Canada also has voiced concerns.  The two are amongst the masses who have observed, that money does not necessarily move minds nay, academic agendas.

For years, Educators and learners articulated disbelief and discontent with educational doctrines. Reform, while a popular reframe, rarely bears fruit.  The prideful profess solutions. Philanthropic folks throw money at educational endeavors.  Yet, just as was reported in regards to the endowment awarded to the Newark, New Jersey schools,  ” We can’t speculate too much at this point.”  Specifics are often too-welled defined or not defined at all.

A person briefed on the Newark plans said. “O)n issues like expansion of charter schools, rigorous testing and rewarding teachers and administrators whose students succeed their [Mayor Booker, Governor Christie and Mister Zuckerberg] vision is very much in step”  In other words, what has been the unsuccessful conventional-wisdom-way will be the strategy going forward.

Once again, persons with authority and funds forget.  What we learn in our homes and in our schools becomes who we are.  Adults [and peers] are mentors. Persons who we perceive as authorities and authority figures have power, the power to influence our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Disagree or agree, what our friends discover and experience informs us as well.  At any and every age, we absorb and acquire knowledge.  This greatness is known as awareness.  However, the quality of the insights gained might be questioned.  Our comprehension shades our future.  The past is our foundation.  The present can be a gift or it can be proof that “all that glitters is not gold” Today, in America, indeed, worldwide we must consider what we have created beginning in childhood for our experiences and the emotional effect of these will follow us forever.

Please ponder.  None of us has a singular interpretation or emotional response to what we encounter. There is no standard soul.  This notion is one that the boyish-billionaire, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg could understand. After all his life experience personifies this truth.  Moreover, one might think that policymakers, such as Mayor Booker, Governor Christie. would realize this.

Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, students, Teachers see the veracity. These persons feel it.  Particularly those immersed, if not paralyzed by a flawed system do not need to assess the statistics the people in power peruse. It is their life.

While Administrators might denounce the appraisal, dollars will do the deed, at times, they too focus on the “finer” financial narrow realities.  

Those imprisoned in a system void of inspiration, creativity, curiosity, do more than sense the damage done when rankings are more prized than people, pupils.  Student react to the wrong that is standards; it negates their existence.  That is why so many pupils and Professors ultimately leave our nation’s schools.  Yet, those outside the classrooms notice nothing.

“Mature” Americans move on, pour money on a problem that cash cannot correct.  As evidence, $100 million dollars donated to city schools is set to stress, again, that Educators teach to tests.  Gift the Instructors and institution that can produce “results.”

No money is spent on a subject worthy of research.  “Adults” might evaluate the topic that speaks to individual identities.  Perchance, were powerbrokers and prominent people to study their own personal past, then possibly they would acknowledge and act on the concept, each of us are, as schools must be, our own unique entity.

References for Reform and Realities of Education in this Nation . . .

BP and CEOs Fight the Laws



Kendrick Meek; Blast BP and Corporate Irresponsibility

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Whispers whirled around the White House, on The Hill, within the Department of Justice, and finally filtered down to the streets.  In truth, talk could be heard on the avenues, where average Americans roam, long before declarations came from above.   Should BP CEO Tony Hayward Go to Prison?  The public wonders.  What would the Obama Administration do.  Countless clamored; with full knowledge that President Bush’s DOJ Killed a Criminal Probe Into BP.  It was believed that the potential indictments threatened the most senior officials.  More recently, words of warrants have become a distinct possibility.  Criminal charges are being considered against BP in regards to the Gulf oil rig tragedy.

Currently, the possibility or probability of legal action is plausible.  After all, the Gulf region was not the only shore or sea affected.  A planet, inclusive of people, were placed in further peril, the repercussions cannot be calculated.  Someone or ones must take responsibility, or be taken to task.   BP certainly has shown a desire to shift the blame.  However, a frustrated electorate may not be so anxious to forgive and forget.  For the common folk ,BP and other corporations are responsible for what occurred.  Constituents applaud the idea floated months ago; BP Execs Could Face Potential Jail Time.  These people have a friend in Congressman Kendrick Meek; they always did.  

Senatorial candidate  Congressman Kendrick Meek heard the indictments. He saw the future, and decided long before most Americans did; the behavior of BP and other corporate Executives is unforgivable.  The question is, laws of the land or laws of nature?  Might citizenry or corporations lose or rule.  The test case could be before us.  The defendants are BP, Transocean Limited, and Halliburton, or their Chief Executives.  The plaintiffs; the American people.  

Today, many more than Mister Meek or a scant number of citizens immediately affected by the crisis have begun to wrestle with the arguments and past and present applications.  “Principles” adopted by Corporate Executives, heads of companies such as BP, Transocean Limited, and Halliburton are a concern that might affect all of us for years.  Local persons in the Gulf region  have chosen to take action.  A judge, with over 400 Gulf disaster court cases on his roster explained.  BP and other companies will face “thousands” of lawsuits as a result of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion.  In April, no one in the area imagined how his or her life would be threatened by the derrick that had been the source of [economic] survival.  That is, most did not fully comprehend what Florida Congressman Meek did.

As a profound predictor of the future, or as a Senatorial candidate with a vision and a mission, he spoke of the doom and dire consequences he believed would, or should follow.  Mister Meek mused.  With anticipation, he addressed what he thought needed be spoken about months before today’s events.  It was June.  United States Congressman, Kendrick Meek stood before an audience at America’s Future Now! 2010 conference.   Kendrick Meek spoke of justice.

I was there for the pronouncement.  I recall the day and the proclamation.  Florida Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek called for corporate integrity.  All those months earlier, he understood that irresponsibility could not be repeatedly rewarded, if it is rewarded at all.  Decisive disciplinary actions for those tycoons and companies that aggress against the planet and us must be taken.  Unscrupulous moneyed moguls, who wrongfully attack the people, must meet their reward.  Mister Meek said, then, in early summer, BP should pay the price for the folly they reaped.  Even then, he understood; if a company rapes Mother Earth, robs the people, plants, indeed, all that is our Earthly sphere, jail time must be served.  All who break the laws of nature and the people, must suffer the consequences.  Microbes, mammals, and much more will!

Might we heed what was a warning, or will we harvest the seeds sown.  We must choose.  Hopefully, we will remember before it is too late, Newton’s Third Law of Motion.  “For every action there is an equal and opposing reaction.”

References and realities . . .

How Much Money is Too Much?

Recent reports reveal a reality that invites further questions.  If money can’t buy me love, can it buy me happiness?   “When has having more money made you less happy?” asks The Take Away, America’s Conversation News Program.  I share my answers.

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

From birth to the ripe old age of near nine, I was very well-off, and yet, not very happy.  Later, after having been extremely poor and ecstatic, I became well off again.  The two experiences of being with and without wealth were as dissimilar as can be.  Bliss, I learned, is not a by-product of affluence.  I share the story.

I was born into a wealthy family.  My natural father and Mom made much of their lives.  Together they started a business.  The firm, with my natural father at the head, grew.   The person who was never emotionally, ‘Dear Old Dad’ to me, was skilled at what he knew.  He knew how to calculate the numbers and create great wealth; however, not necessarily ethically.  As much as this troubled my Mom, who had stopped working with him almost from the first, for twenty years and ten days, she stood by his side.  For her, the last eight and a half were a struggle.  The reason; I was born.

You see I was an unexpected and unplanned birth.  My parents did not want another baby.  My sisters were older and could be left with sitters.  My natural father had come to love the social scene.  Mommy, years earlier, realized that her husband was not the man she had hoped he would be.  The thought of having his child . . . Well, let me just say, this possibility did not appeal to her.

Nevertheless, the two brought me into this Earthly sphere.  However, neither spent time with me.  A woman was hired to raise me.  Kind as she was, Mary was not Mom or a semblance of a Dad.  All the material goods I could ever want, and more were bestowed upon me.  After all, the man I might have wanted to call “Daddy” had big bucks.   Perhaps, this papa figure thought he could buy love.  I know not with certainly.  We barely ever spoke.

Thankfully, Mommy divorced the person who never was my Dad.  She refused all child support and alimony.  Mommy said the “money was dirty.”  She wanted none of it and took nothing.  We moved far away and were extremely poor.  Ultimately, my Mom married again.  At the time my true Dad, the person who cared for me and chose to live and act as a caregiver to me, was a student.  Neither he, nor my Mom made enough money for a single person to survive; let alone a family.

We grew our own fruits and vegetables.  Mommy cooked and baked every meal from scratch.  We purchased food fare when whatever we needed was on sale.  Bulk prices were the best bargains for us.  Mommy, Daddy, and I ate all our dinners together.  Conversation flowed freely.  We traveled to State and local parks for entertainment.  The company was good.  The quality of life was better.  

Years passed.  Each parent finished graduate degrees and went on to earn large sums.  Life remained glorious.  I realized the difference between the” good life” and greater is not found in dollars and cents; it is in dignity and sense.  Daddy had the ethics that my natural father did not.  Mommy never lost her moral principles and honorable practices.  Their values and habits were ones I consciously adopted. Thankfully, these have served me well.  I hope, as my parents taught me to appreciate and act on, I have served others.

Related Research and Reports . . .

Labor Day 2010; President Obama, Let Labor/America Begin Anew



Labor Day 2010 President Obama Labor Day Speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Part 1

President Obama speech Labor Day 2010 on Economy in Milwaukee Wisconsin Part 2

President Obama’s Speech in Milwaukee Wisconsin on Labor Day 9/6/2010 Part 3

Please review and reflect upon text Remarks by the the President at Laborfest

Laborers; Let Us Work For Us



Robert F. Kennedy challenges Gross Domestic Product

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On this, another Labor Day the average American finds him or herself underemployed, and over worked.  People see the prospects of unemployment in the rearview mirror and through their front windows.  Loss of jobs appears just around the bend.  Today, might we ponder the fruits of our labor?  In 2010, the twenty-first century, Americans have few dreams.  The future seems dire.  Most of us already receive less in benefits.  Further reductions are on the horizon.  The common folk face greater wage cuts, coupled with the threat of layoffs.  Indeed, a substantial number of citizens claim unemployment.  Those without papers who share this status are not even counted.  People who have been out of work for so long do not qualify for any relief. Certainly, these laborers are not calculated into government statistics.  

Yet, these innumerable individuals are also at a loss.  Quality jobs do not exist anymore.  Proud people sweat and toil or did; still, their lives are torn asunder.  In September 2010, most Americans are economic slaves to masters of industry and a system that starves the “little people.”  This need not be.

True; Presidents and policymakers talk about change.  They give the public  some sense of hope.  We, the everyday people, believe, only to find ourselves once again immersed in the status quo.

Americans, of every political persuasion may find fault with Legislators and those who live larger than most of us can imagine.  Yet, were we to be honest with ourselves we might acknowledge, Chief Executives, Congress, and the Commander-In-Chief are not the problem.  Nor are these the solution.   Change cannot be commanded, commissioned, or controlled by another.  Evolution does not rise from sources outside us.   We must do the work if we are to reap the authentic rewards.

When we do not work for ourselves, we see all that is this September 6, 2010.  Our reality will be our children’s fate and our grandchildren’s future.  Robert F. Kennedy understood this veracity forty-two years ago.  He spoke to the past as prologue.

“Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now,  is over $800 million dollars a year, but that Gross National Product- if we judge the United States of America by that- that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs , which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet, the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to country; it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”

If we choose to do as we have done, we will achieve as we had in the past. Laborers, let us reflect, and then should we choose, organize as corporate Chieftains and the esteemed elite have.  Let us not work against ourselves or just for wages.  Let us labor for us.

Resources and reference for reality . . .

Doctor; Your Diagnosis. My Death



DrDgnssDth

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Dearest Doctor, I have come to my senses.  Days ago, when you offered your diagnosis, I died.  No, not literally.  Had you done me in, I would not be here to write what I hope will help inform your bedside manner.  Well, in my case only the way in which you approach a patient who merely sits in an examining room chair near you is the concern.  You may recall our time together began so innocently. We sat down to review the results of annually scheduled blood-work.  I had not felt sick all year or on that day.  You had even expressed, it had been so long since we last saw each other.  You scanned the pages, and proclaimed, that I must have returned to my bulimic ways. My spirit perished.  I had done nothing of the sort!  Yet, you said you were sure I had.

The pain you inflicted killed what could have been a relationship built on trust.  Today, I realize your proclamation was but part of a pattern.  Indeed, you reminded me that during our last consultation, a year ago, you also decided that I must be near death.  In August 2009 you insisted that I arrange for an appointment, which you openly stated, would affirm your fears. I must be seriously ill. Yet, once that test was done, it affirmed that I was as I am better, than fine.

Upon further reflection, and after the telephone conversation I initiated hours after my appointment, I thankfully, feel more serene.  No, you did not change your diagnosis nay your assertion that I must be vomiting.   Still, the talk helped me, although it seemed to alienate you.  I wonder if you now have a sense of how I felt and feel since you pronounced me dead and a liar, or do you merely believe of me, “The lady doth protest too much.”

Might you ponder that my grievance is grounded.  Oh, how little you know of bulimia, and me.  In the two plus years we have had an acquaintance, I see you for maybe, ten minutes a visit.  Since only once did I come to your office for other than a check up, what you observed this week is true. I rarely visit.  When I do, you are booked.  Patients arrive back-to-back.  We chat for a bit, but not really.  All is said and done rapidly.  I wonder, might the speed of conversation and the shallow nature of a consultation affect your appraisal.  After all, you too are human; although from what you said to me today, it seems at times such as this you define yourself as a trained medical professional, more perceptive than a mere mortal.

During my most recent appointment you admitted, you did not even recall what I had shared so often; I disdain exercise.  I was never amongst the anorexic/bulimics who think they must work out endlessly. Only injuries incurred late in life took me to my current routine, a daily swim in the pool.

I know you recall that I swim, only because I often come dressed to swim.  Even that concerns you, exposure to the sun.  Do you remember that I switched to an indoor facility.  Probably not.   While the truth of the locale and my loathing exercise may not be memorable or visible in an office visit, what can be seen is a sign of bulimia.  My teeth.  

Doctor, did you notice what my Dentist and Dental Hygienist have?  My once translucent boney choppers are now denser.  The color has returned to white.  For so long, even when you and I first met, the hue was dark gray.  Other dental conditions were already on the mend when I first entered your sphere.  Deep groves, once etched into the enamel, gone.  With my tongue, or a look, I can tell, the surface is smooth once more.  As I said in our phone conversation, less than twelve hours after you declared me dead,   Charlene stated with delight, “Your teeth finally look alive.”

Funny. Charlene, my dental hygienist, detects a difference in my body and being since I left bulimia behind.  Yet, you are intent on my being ill.  Charlene sees and speaks of how my life without food benders and bile has helped me be healthier.  Yet, you dear Doctor, only see standards, the stats that you think are real, more real than me.  

You do not see, hear, or open your mind to who I might be.  I marvel as recall the day Charlene had expressed a doubt.  She offered, in Dental School professors taught the conventional wisdom.  Teeth do not substantially re-mineralize.  Enamel and density loss are permanent.  However, Charlene wonders aloud.   She has come to accept that what she learned may not be valid.  Months earlier she mused, “Well” after much assessment, “I have witnessed the metamorphosis.”  There is a change.  

Transformation from bulimia to health has occurred for Charlene, for me.  Then there is you, dear Doctor. Apparently, what was, will always be in your mind.  Oh, Doctor, if only you had truly engaged me in the past two years . Had you looked and listened or even spent more than a scant few minutes with me in any of our sessions, just maybe you would have learned that supposed facts and figures may not mean whatever it is medical professionals teach.  

Might you think to speak to me rather than seek the “expertise” of more and more specialists [sic] before you declare me to be on my deathbed?  I know not what to say.

I tried to talk to you, to share my reality, my family history, and myself.  My words fell on deaf ears. You so sweetly fight me at every turn.  When I worked to offer an analogous story, you scoffed.  Might I assume that you see me as less knowledgeable, credible, or just crazed.  Perchance, I might try to tell the tale again?  Perhaps, the read will help you to authentically relate.  

As I said, the day after you delivered your diagnosis I traveled to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned.  By the way, dental visits last for well over an hour and I go every few months.  Charlene and I talk the entire time.  This week, since I had just seen you and was so devastated, my exam and your evaluation were the topics of discussion.

Charlene smiled and stated she is all too familiar with Doctors such as you.  While she has had her own experiences her Mom’s was most worrisome to her.  While under the care of her Doctor, Charlene’s mother’s organs were forever damaged.   The Doctor thought it wise to bring this adult female’s blood levels to “normal.”  However, with age her heredity set in.   What had been usual for the patient was no longer as it was.  

Yes Doctor, I acknowledge that you listened to this story, for seconds, and then, abruptly interjected your disregard of my attempt to share personal accounts, or the details of my family history.  Doctor, you preferred the argument, “Charlene is not a Physician.”  Might you trust the words of others Physicians, those who have misdiagnosed me or correctly assessed my well-being?

Please indulge me.  Allow me to present a nonfictional narrative.  Eight years ago, after a serious automobile accident, an Orthopedic Surgeon told me I would not be able to walk for at least a half a year, probably more.  He assured me that one leg would be shorter than the other for the rest of my life.  I needed full bed rest for at least six months, maybe seven.  The specialist said he could not speak to the pain I had in my chest and ribs.  He saw nothing in the X-Rays.  Weeks later, another bone MD whom I thought it wise to consult, was shocked to discover my broken sternum and four fractured ribs.  

That Surgeon, I will call Doctor Thom, was more than a second opinion; he saved my leg, heel, my life.   Dr Thom told me that I needed to begin an exercise regime immediately!  He then showed me exactly what he wanted me to do as soon as possible.  While he concurred, I could not walk or bear even the slightest weight on my heel, I could get around on my hands and knees.  My father, relieved went to the store and purchased the best fluffy-filled cotton kneepads money could buy.

Dr Thom helped me realize that the pain in my chest was very real.  He helped me to feel safe, secure in the knowledge of what I could to.  Dr Thom spoke of a means for stability, and provided time frames.   Most importantly he attended to my needs, not as just another “patient,” but as me, Betsy!

Thankful that this physician asked of my history, and accepted that two past injuries necessitated a regular daily swim, I was able to feel comforted by his care.  Indeed, months before I was authorized to walk, with a promise from me that I would not place my leg on the ground, not even in water, Dr Thom prescribed a return to the pool.  Yes Doctor, he wanted me to swim unlike you who said, stop the swim or at least cut the time in the water done to near nil.  Fifteen minutes or less a day?  Doctor, have you read the research and recommendations for minimal daily exercise? Perhaps you have no desire to do other than prove yourself right.

For me, what is right is a healthy relationship with one’s body and other beings.  If only we had genuine caring, sharing exchanges.  I believe we do not.  In each of our talks, your trepidation for what you feel is my impending death, is inescapable.  It seems to shade your every diagnosis..

Doctor, I know you are not G-d. You do not have the power to give me life.  However, a professional such as you, can cause my demise.  The innumerable reports that document a patient’s passing at the hands of his or her physician cannot be ignored.  

Certainly, I may have over-reacted or reacted as any healthy person would to your decree; I lie or I die, possibly both.  Imagine my surprise, I entered your office the picture of health, and was pronounced a perishable commodity.   You said, were you to review my chart in a hospital, you would order a full body transfusion.  Until you were certain why results of the blood tests were so dire, you wanted me to see four specialists and a therapist.  A therapist?  

That statement alone spoke volumes; however it was a hush in comparison to the stated accusation.  You were concerned that I had returned to the world of bulimia.  Oh had you, or most any Doctor who diagnoses, what professionals call an eating disorder, experienced the thrill of leaving that past behind, you might understand how wonderful it is to have my life back.  

For years now, days, weeks, months, decades, devoted to food do not consume me.  Close to a decade has passed since I spent more time bingeing and purging than you do sleeping or working. Can you imagine? What might you feel if you were finally free of all that constrained your very being?

Oh Doctor, I know you cannot conjure up such a connection.  Were you able to relate to my reality you would not have said and done as you did.

You dismissed my words, my truth, all that I had learned, felt, and experienced in the twenty-five years and three months that I battled with the bulimia.  More significantly, you concluded that the many years since I last vomited were null and void.  In your infinite wisdom, you decided that a Doctor knows much more about an individual than the person, his or her self, does.

With few visits in our past, and little conversation, you know what is real for me?  You think practitioners who have never met me before will assess my health more accurately.    Based on what, more standards of “normal.”

Your counsel crushed any sense of a connection.  Your stated distrust of me is as a surgical knife; it cuts to the core.  When a Doctor doubts a patient, the effect is profound.  At least it has been in my experience.  However, it seems you are not truly interested in my experience or that of others.  Oh, how I wanted to explain my truth when we spoke on the telephone today.  Your response, “He, she, or I am not a trained medical Physician.” may have cured me of that desire.

However, happily I was able to sneak in one thought whilst we chatted.  A Doctor I am acquainted with has often expressed, medical school is like a technical college.   Practitioners and Surgeons are analogous to Mechanics.  For each, diagnosis is the greatest challenge.  An educated guess, or “evaluation” only captures what is typical.  You offered no thought on what another Physician pronounced his truth.  Perchance, you are still of the mind that you know what you know.  

As an Educator and an observer of humanity, I share what I believe.  Knowledge is not power!  Empathy empowers.  If only you chose to be empathetic, to consider what is beyond book knowledge. Perhaps, then, people, patients, might be real to you rather than fall into one or two categories. Terminal or test-proven fit as a fiddle.

Dear reader, you may wish to peruse Chapters One through Seven. Please do. These reflective diaries discuss my life as an anorexic, bulimic, a person.

Or Similar Discussions . . .

Reference for review and reflection . . .