Good morning. I am honored and humbled to be in the presence of everyone here today and thank you for coming out to pay tribute to the sacrifices of those who have come before us. Before I get started I want to recognize American Legion Post 31 for organizing Westminster’s Memorial Day observance for over 80 years, and especially Skip Amass who has put so much effort into planning this year’s event, my brother, Michael, who, last year, asked me if I would participate in this year’s observance, canvassed for me to do it and whose daughters, Kayla and Mary Katherine, I borrowed for the parade this morning, my parents, Michael and Barbara, who are here this morning, and my wife, Christine, who out of 18 years of marriage has faithfully endured more than 9 of them without me. Although, sometimes I think she actually endured the times when I was home, not the other way around. Continue reading
From its earliest history, the United States has been identified as the land of freedom. In 1814, Francis Scott Key touted America as the land of the free and the home of the brave in his poem that later became America’s national anthem, but explaining American freedom has been problematic throughout our nation’s history. Freedom and liberty, although not synonymous, are very closely linked and many Americans differ in defining these terms as they apply to America’s brand of freedom and the liberties they think its citizens should possess. Oddly, this battle has been waged long before America obtained its independence.
Common Core, an education program developed with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve academic standards in public schools, will fall far short of its stated objective, but not very far from the tree upon which it grew.
Its promoters tout it to be a “state-led effort to establish a single set of clear educational standards for English-language arts and mathematics…” to provide teachers, parents and students with a set of well defined expectations and “[h]igh standards that are consistent across states…”
Underlying these statements is the proposition public schools are not performing very well or completely failing to educate students to a necessary standard. Based on the fact SAT scores, since 1962, have twice been adjusted downward to artificially depict higher scores among students taking the exam but have continued to decline and national literacy scores continue to decline as a percentage of the United States population it is difficult to refute the dysfunctional public school proposition. Their solution to this very real problem, however, is like putting a gangrene infected band aid on a gangrenous open wound.