Initial thoughts on fixing US public education

Ok, the first thing I want to share is a few premises. These are determined by a lot of different books, articles and statistical analyses and from this point forward I am considering them facts. If you want to disagree or argue with these premises I completely understand, but it is based on these that my ideas come from. Most of them are correlations rather than causations, so if you want to provide an alternative theory as to what actually causes the correlation, I am open to that as well. Also, most of these are looking backwards on a large society wide scale. They may or may not be the case moving forward, but they have actually already happened and I believe/agree with the interpretations.

Also, for the purposes of this discussion I am going to use the word 'success' a lot and for now we are going to assume that means something on the scale of being admitted to a four year college, graduating from a four year college, adult salary and/or lifetime earnings, not committing crimes or going to jail. Something on that scale that has the data for long term studies. It may or may not look at standardized test scores, but overall, those are not a great indicator of success of the student, teacher, or system. We are not looking at happiness or contentedness with life, getting married, having kids, etc. According to this definition becoming a plumber who provides for a family is actually a failure of the education system if he did not go to college.

Last preface, my mom teaches first grade, so while I understand her situation on an individual basis (time she spends on tasks, what she pays for out of pocket, how difficult parents are), there is a good chance I would disagree with her on large scale changes.

Which photo is better?


I took both of these at sunset just outside my place. Just put Violet down to bed, saw these colors through the window, grabbed the camera and went outside. So what do you like better? The silhouette of the bushes with the colors in the background? Or the colors reflected on the water?

Which photo is better?


I'm unveiling a new regular addition to the blog today. I really like to take photos and have recently invested in a really nice dSLR camera. In the world of digital photography and memory cards where people are upset when a card hold only 1000 photos, there are many, many occasions where I have two similar but different shots of the same scene or subject and I often have trouble determining which one turned out the best.

So I am going to post them both and let the public decide. Eventually I'll open this up to competing photos by others, I'll add a better voting system and I will probably come up with a better/catchier name. But for now, here are a couple photos from Paris to whet your appetite. I know MP will be ready to expound all things Paris.

Chocolate Wednesday - Chocolate Palette by Trader Joe's

I might be stretching the 'Wet Wednesday' template a bit for this one, but my chocolate review is in the same spirit as a beer review or anything else. If you are the type of person who likes tasting and experiencing new flavors to expand your palette, and you like chocolate, then I strongly recommend Trader Joe's Chocolate Palette.

Music Tuesdays - Calgary by Bon Iver

Bon Iver is one of my favorite recent artists, and in honor of the self-titled new album that comes out today, here is the first single they've released for it.

Beer Wednesday: Mother's Milk Stout by Keegan Ales

While in New York recently, I tried a local beer from Hudson Valley-based brewer Keegan Ales. I usually prefer to try local brewers when I'm somewhere new, and I'm glad I did, because I really enjoyed Keegan's Mother's Milk Stout.

Beer Wednesday: Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale by Cigar City

I have long been intrigued by Cigar City Brewing, based in Tampa, but their beers don't make it to me in Los Angeles. On a recent trip to New York I was finally able to try their Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale and I was very impressed.