Archive | February, 2013

The 03/01/13 Joy Jar

28 Feb

Moi was watching the news and wondering if the ‘Sequester” is all heat and definitely no light. The news chronicled how across-the-board cuts would affect a variety of people. One women who was profiled lives in public housing and takes a variety of medications. The housing manager said that long term cuts would mean that fewer people could apply for housing as housing would be cut back. There would be quite a bit of deferred maintenance. Maybe the reason that the ‘leaders’ are holding onto their ideology is because so few of them are affected by the worst that could happen. Ideology and principles have their place, but ideology simply in pursuit of votes is nothing to glory in. We have entered a period of the permanent political campaign which leaves the well-being of the populace out of the calculation. There are very few statesmen or stateswomen. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is that elusive person, the statesman.

The difference is that a statesman thinks he belongs to the State, and a politician thinks the State belongs to him”                                                   


A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”

James Freeman Clarke

A politician is a statesman who approaches every question with an open mouth”

Adlai E. Stevenson

What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions.”                                                                                                        Aristotle

The man who is dishonest as a statesman would be a dishonest man in any station”                                                                                                         Thomas Jefferson

A statesman who keeps his ear permanently glued to the ground will have neither elegance of posture nor flexibility of movement”                                                    Abba Eban

Study of Washington community college students: Online college courses could widen achievement gap

27 Feb

Moi wrote in Online K-12 education as a cash cow for ‘Wall Street’:

There should be a variety of options and approaches in education. Still, School choice does not mean education on the cheap! K-12 education should not be the next sub-prime mortgage or derivative gambit for large for-profit companies. Lee Fang has written the alarming Nation article, How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools.

While most education reform advocates cloak their goals in the rhetoric of “putting children first,” the conceit was less evident at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, earlier this year.

Standing at the lectern of Arizona State University’s SkySong conference center in April, investment banker Michael Moe exuded confidence as he kicked off his second annual confab of education startup companies and venture capitalists. A press packet cited reports that rapid changes in education could unlock “immense potential for entrepreneurs.” “This education issue,” Moe declared, “there’s not a bigger problem or bigger opportunity in my estimation.”

Moe has worked for almost fifteen years at converting the K-12 education system into a cash cow for Wall Street. A veteran of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, he now leads an investment group that specializes in raising money for businesses looking to tap into more than $1 trillion in taxpayer money spent annually on primary education. His consortium of wealth management and consulting firms, called Global Silicon Valley Partners, helped K12 Inc. go public and has advised a number of other education companies in finding capital.

Moe’s conference marked a watershed moment in school privatization. His first “Education Innovation Summit,” held last year, attracted about 370 people and fifty-five presenting companies. This year, his conference hosted more than 560 people and 100 companies, and featured luminaries like former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, now an education executive at News Corporation, a recent high-powered entrant into the for-profit education field. Klein is just one of many former school officials to cash out. Fenty now consults for Rosetta Stone, a language company seeking to expand into the growing K-12 market.

As Moe ticked through the various reasons education is the next big “undercapitalized” sector of the economy, like healthcare in the 1990s, he also read through a list of notable venture investment firms that recently completed deals relating to the education-technology sector, including Sequoia and Benchmark Capital. Kleiner Perkins, a major venture capital firm and one of the first to back and Google, is now investing in education technology, Moe noted.

Henry M. Levin of Columbia University had some cautionary notes about for-profit K-12 education in 2001.

In the 2001 paper, Thoughts on For-profit Schools, Levin wrote:

The fact is that we know little about how for-profit schools will operate and how they will affect students and other schools. At least three major questions have yet to be answered satisfyingly:

If schools are a potentially profitable endeavor, then why did entrepreneurs wait so long to enter the market? Is there something unique about schooling that makes it difficult to earn a profit?

Now that we do have for-profit schools, how will they achieve cost savings? Will they bring fundamentally different approaches to education through curricular and technological innovations that will “break the mold”?

Even if they are more effective or less costly, or both, will they earn profits that are comparable to the returns on other investments?

Levin mused about some of the other issues that for-profit operators of K-12:

In short, even the most expensive private schools with the most elite clientele fail to cover their costs with tuition. This goes far in explaining why entrepreneurs have shied away from the K–12 market. This is not to say that an individual, for-profit, family-owned school can’t survive. I know of a few for-profit schools at the K–12 level and more at the preschool level that appear to be marginally profitable. But much of what appears as profit is due to the family members’ hard work for little pay. The salaries they draw on the school understate the value of their time, leaving the impression that the enterprise is profitable.

Whether this can be replicated on a large scale by corporate entities is doubtful. Historically, economic studies have not identified substantial economies of scale in education at school sites or in multi-school endeavors. Perhaps this is for the reason suggested by John Chubb and Terry Moe in Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools (1990): that the best results are obtained when schools are given great autonomy.2 A corporate competitor in schooling must establish brand and product identity, which necessitates relatively uniform operations and services from site-to-site. This puts the need for quality control and similarity from site to site in direct competition with the need to be responsive to differences among particular clients and settings.

The study, Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas reviewed Washington community college students and concluded that many college students do not benefit from online courses.

Jake New reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Online Courses Could Widen Achievement Gaps Among Students:

Low-cost online courses could allow a more-diverse group of students to try college, but a new study suggests that such courses could also widen achievement gaps among students in different demographic groups.

The study, which is described in a working paper titled “Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas,” was conducted by Columbia University’s Community College Research Center. The researchers examined 500,000 courses taken by more than 40,000 community- and technical-college students in Washington State. They found that students in demographic groups whose members typically struggle in traditional classrooms are finding their troubles exacerbated in online courses.

The study found that all students who take more online courses, no matter the demographic, are less likely to attain a degree. However, some groups—including black students, male students, younger students, and students with lower grade-point averages—are particularly susceptible to this pattern.

Shanna Smith Jaggars, who is assistant director of the Community College Research Center and one of the paper’s authors, said the widening gap is troubling, as it could imply that online learning is weakening—not strengthening—education equality.

We found that the gap is stronger in the underrepresented and underprepared students,” Ms. Jaggars said. “They’re falling farther behind than if they were taking face-to-face courses.”


Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas

By: Di Xu & Shanna Smith Jaggars


Using a dataset containing nearly 500,000 courses taken by over 40,000 community and technical college students in Washington State, this study examines how well students adapt to the online environment in terms of their ability to persist and earn strong grades in online courses relative to their ability to do so in face-to-face courses. While all types of students in the study suffered decrements in performance in online courses, some struggled more than others to adapt: males, younger students, Black students, and students with lower grade point averages. In particular, students struggled in subject areas such as English and social science, which was due in part to negative peer effects in these online courses.

Associated Project(s):

Online Courses in Community Colleges

Doug Lederman writes in the Inside Higher Education article, Who Benefits From Online Ed?

The new study is a follow-up prompted by questions from officials at the Washington State Community/Technical College System whose courses were examined. (The study examined the performance of 40,000 students in about 500,000 online courses.) “They asked us, ‘So who? Is it all students who fare less well, or certain subgroups?’ ” said Jaggars.

The answer is that virtually every group of students fared less well (defined by the number of course credits they completed, and/or by their grades) in online courses than they did in on-ground classes.

But some groups fared worse than others. Men showed a more negative effect from online courses than did women in terms of both course persistence and grades. Black students’ grades fell significantly more in online courses, as did those of Asian students. Students with stronger academic skills saw their course persistence and grades decline less in online courses than did students with weaker academic credentials.

Like other groups, older students were less likely to complete online courses than they were on-ground courses, though their grades were actually slightly higher. But traditional-age students saw their comparative performance decline such that while they outperformed adult students significantly in face-to-face classes, they lagged their older peers in online courses.

To the researchers, the working paper’s findings that “students who are already doing poorly in college do even more poorly when they take online courses” suggest several possible implications, said Jaggars. It may make sense, she said, “to restrict online courses only to students who demonstrate they do well in those courses.”

Other options would include incorporating into the sorts of lower-level courses in which struggling students tend to cluster training in online-learning skills, to help such students adapt better to online environments.

And most of all, the researchers suggest, colleges should focus on improving the quality of all online courses, to “ensure that their learning outcomes are equal to those of face-to-face courses, regardless of the composition of the students enrolled. Such an improvement strategy would require substantial new investments in course design, faculty professional development, learner and instructor support, and systematic course evaluations.”

The Study’s Implications

Jaggars acknowledged that the researchers did not do any analysis of the quality of the Washington State community college courses examined in the working paper. And that led numerous observers to urge caution in applying its results too broadly, as a New York Times editorial about the study arguably did last week.

The editorial focused on the terribly high attrition rates of noncredit massive open online courses and used the Community College Research Center’s study to extrapolate about online learning generally: “The picture the studies offer of the online revolution is distressing.”

Children are not the new sub-prime mortgage business or the new derivative gambit. People must be afraid, very afraid of the vultures who are now hovering around the education sector. If folks don’t watch them, the results will not be pretty.


The University of Wisconsin ‘Flexible Option’ program: A college GED?                                                                 

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The 02/28/13 Joy Jar

27 Feb

Soap seems to be a very individual thing. Some people have used the same brand of soap for years because that is what they have always used. Others go to the store and buy whatever is on sale. Some people choose soap by the way that it smells. Still others choose soap by the color of the bar. The newest thing is to get soap free of chemicals or perfumes or that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Thankfully, not that many folks that moi encounters, even on the bus, are allergic to soap. Soap is useful for washing hands, particularly in flu season. Moi likes her favorite soap store at the mall because it is a cornucopia of soap. The theory is one can never have too much of a good thing. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is soap.

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
Mark Twain

What is elegance? Soap and water!
Cecil Beaton

Anyone’s life truly lived consists of work, sunshine, exercise, soap, plenty of fresh air, and a happy contented spirit.
Lillie Langtry

What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul                                                  Yiddish Proverb

Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.
William Osler

Studies: Colleges don’t accurately assess which students need remedial courses

26 Feb

Moi wrote about remedial education in Remedial education in college:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

Key Cognitive Strategies

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

Key Content Knowledge

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

Key Self-Management Skills

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions.

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college.

Jon Marcus for the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit based at Teachers College, Columbia University that produces in-depth education journalism writes a guest post for the Washington Post, Many students could skip remedial classes, studies find.

Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Many Students Don’t Need Remediation, Studies Say:

At a time when more high schools are looking to their graduates’ college-remediation rates as a clue to how well they prepare students for college and careers, new research findings suggest a significant portion of students who test into remedial classes don’t actually need them.

Separate studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education come to the same conclusion: The way colleges are using standardized placement tests such as the College Board’s Accuplacer, ACT’s Compass, and others can misidentify students, and secondary schools and universities should work to develop a more comprehensive profile of students’ strengths and weaknesses in performing college-level work.

The problem is coming to the fore as more states move to align their academic standards for college and career readiness with the Common Core State Standards and federal Race to the Top requirements and more high schools receive data on how their graduates are faring in colleges.

Thomas W. Brock, the new commissioner of the National Center for Education Research and a veteran higher education researcher, said improving remedial education has become a top research and policy concern. “It’s a huge need,” he said. “At many institutions, it’s a majority of students coming in and being placed into developmental ed.—and this is where it starts to bleed into the financial-aid agenda, because they’re using up valuable semesters of financial aid, which of course are not endless.”


Improving the Targeting of Treatment: Evidence from College Remediation

Judith Scott-Clayton, Peter M. Crosta, Clive R. Belfield

NBER Working Paper No. 18457
Issued in October 2012
NBER Program(s):   ED

At an annual cost of roughly $7 billion nationally, remedial coursework is one of the single largest interventions intended to improve outcomes for underprepared college students. But like a costly medical treatment with non-trivial side effects, the value of remediation overall depends upon whether those most likely to benefit can be identified in advance. Our analysis uses administrative data and a rich predictive model to examine the accuracy of remedial screening tests, either instead of or in addition to using high school transcript data to determine remedial assignment. We find that roughly one in four test-takers in math and one in three test-takers in English are severely mis-assigned under current test-based policies, with mis-assignments to remediation much more common than mis-assignments to college-level coursework. We find that using high school transcript information—either instead of or in addition to test scores—could significantly reduce the prevalence of assignment errors. Further, we find that the choice of screening device has significant implications for the racial and gender composition of both remedial and college-level courses. Finally, we find that if institutions took account of students’ high school performance, they could remediate substantially fewer students without lowering success rates in college-level courses.


You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”


States Push Remedial Education to Community Colleges

What are ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks?        


Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education

Research: Summer bridge programs can help students succeed in college                                                         

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation

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The 02/27/13 Joy Jar

26 Feb

Today was the first day of moi’s prayer group which meets from 6:30 a.m. To 7:30 a.m. Every Tuesday. That’s right, 6:30 a.m. Definitely not moi time. The group meets and prays as the Spirit moves. Prayer is not only a great gift, but a great comfort. Those who are prayerful people radiate a sense of peace. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the gift of prayer.

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
Mahatma Gandhi

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
Søren Kierkegaard

Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.”
Robert Frost

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
St. Francis of Assisi

The Simple Path
Silence is Prayer
Prayer is Faith
Faith is Love
Love is Service
The Fruit of Service is Peace”
Mother Teresa

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
Abraham Lincoln

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”
Corrie ten Boom

If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
Meister Eckhart

Ryerson University Study: Some students are resisting to switch to e-texts

25 Feb

Moi is not the only OLD FART in existence. It seems some students are resisting the change to digital or e-texts. Rich Diehl writes in the Techcitement article, Studies Claim Students Prefer Traditional Paper Textbooks Over E-texts:

All of this begs the question, if e-books are cheaper than paper books, let alone more useful for allowing students to access them at will and have the added benefits of searchable text with other ancillaries, why is it that students not only don’t want them, but are going to some lengths to actively avoid them?

The answer seems to be that just possibly, at least in the case of education, the good old paper book retains several advantages over e-books that continue to make them a better tool for education. Despite the initial higher price paper books are seen as a better value for students.

Joanne McNeish, Mary Foster, Anthony Francescucci, and Bettina West of Canada’s Ryerson University have published “The Surprising Foil to Online Education: Why Students Won’t Give Up Paper Textbooks”, the results of a study looking into the continuing resistance toward e-texts in the fall 2012 issue of the Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education. Their study indicates that despite the supposed advantages of e-books, a large  majority of students participating in the study found paper texts preferable for studying. For the technology minded, the claims made by the study participants might seem counter-intuitive, yet the results consistently had subjects stating that paper texts were superior for highlighting, adding notes, bookmarking, and most surprisingly, search, which are all functions that e-books tout as reasons the platform is superior.

Another surprising finding is that the vast majority of subjects stated that the use of e-text was inconvenient compared to paper. Claiming that they felt constrained by the requirements for a specific brand of reader, the need for special software, and mentioned most often, the need for a power source, students consistently stated they felt that they had more control over their learning experience with paper then they did with e-text.

The Ryerson study also supports the conclusions of several other recent reports on the use of e-texts including Sheila O’Hare and Andrew Smith’s 2012 study for the Kansas Library Association of College and University Libraries, “The Customer is Always Right? Resistance from College Students to E-Books as Textbooks”.  O’Hare and Smith’s studies indicates that the brain processes how we read and learn from paper differently than we do for e-text. Research shows that in the case of paper, students tend to completely read a page, while in the case of e-text, the text is read more sporadically, with the student “dipping” into the text instead of full immersion.

See, Study: College Students Resist Idea of Switching to E-Books


Joanne McNeish, Mary Foster, Anthony Francescucci, Bettina West

The Surprising Foil to Online Education: Why Students Won’t Give Up Paper Textbooks

Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education, Volume 20, Issue 3, Fall 2012

Moi wrote in A textbook ain’t what it used to be:

Jeffrey R. Davis writes in TheChronicle of Higher Education article, The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook:

Textbook publishers argue that their newest digital products shouldn’t even be called “textbooks.” They’re really software programs built to deliver a mix of text, videos, and homework assignments. But delivering them is just the beginning. No old-school textbook was able to be customized for each student in the classroom. The books never graded the homework. And while they contain sample exam questions, they couldn’t administer the test themselves.

One publisher calls its products “personalized learning experiences,” another “courseware,” and one insists on using its own brand name, “MindTap.” For now, this new product could be called “the object formerly known as the textbook….”

Amid all this change, the lines separating publisher, professor, university, and software company are blurring: The blockbuster textbooks of tomorrow could be produced not by publishers but directly by universities, maybe with the help of MOOC companies like Coursera or Udacity.


Students Get Savvier About Textbook Buying

For Many Students, Print Is Still King

All one can say is that the question is not what will happen to the textbook, but where is information delivery to students going and what will be the format or formats.


Are open-source textbooks becoming a viable alternative to traditional texts?                                                           

Could ‘open source’ textbooks be cheaper than traditional textbooks?                                                    

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The 02/26/13 Joy Jar

25 Feb

Moi does not use any additional salt on food, but she sprinkles the pepper very liberally. There are many kinds of pepper and the better the quality the better the taste. So, hold the salt and please pass the pepper. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is pepper.

The disparity between a restaurant’s price and food quality rises in direct proportion to the size of the pepper mill.
Bryan Miller

Americans can eat garbage, provided you sprinkle it liberally with ketchup, mustard, chili sauce, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish”                                                    

Henry Miller

It takes four men to dress a salad: a wise man for the salt, a madman for the pepper, a miser for the vinegar, and a spendthrift for the oil.”

The chief pleasure in eating does not consist in costly seasoning or exquisite flavor but in yourself”                                                                                       


He who controls the spice controls the universe.”
Frank Herbert,

 “He who has the pepper may season as he lists.”                                             George Herbert

The 02/25/13 Joy Jar

24 Feb

Moi’s field trip would start in downtown Seattle and culminate in Renton at the closest Walmart. The purpose was just to hang out and see how working Americans were dealing with the new normal. Moi went to the METRO Trip planner and typed in the address, 743 Rainier Avenue South. The snarky computer program asked Renton or Seattle? Since moi rarely gets out of Seattle, she typed Seattle. Later, moi would find out the correct answer was Renton. As directed, moi got on the #7 bus and began an excursion through south Seattle. The trip takes one through the International District, Columbia City, and Hillman. This is where one encounters the diversity in Seattle. Moi didn’t see anything which looked like Walmart, so she asked the other passengers about how to get there. That started a group think session and the peeps thought moi should get off the bus and take the #106. Moi got the #106 and was headed toward Renton through Skyline. Moi asked the bus driver if he stopped by Walmart. He thought the best bus strategy was to go to the Renton Transit Center and take the #140 bus. Moi got to the Renton Transit Center and asked the #140 bus driver if he went to Walmart and he wasn’t sure. By this time, it was getting dark and moi walked around the Renton Transit Center and discovered a lot of busses don’t run on the weekends. The bus riding folks at the Transit Center are carless, either by choice or circumstance. If one leaves the Seattle core, one’s circumstance is tied to one’s ability to get around. Moi did not make it to Walmart, this trip. She will start out earlier in the day and find a way to get there on the bus. That tells one about just one of the challenges faced by those who work for a living and get so little recognition for what they do. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the knowledge gained from field trips in one’s neighborhood.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”                             

Mark Twain

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”                  

St. Augustine

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”                           Robert Louise Stevenson

I don’t do like diva trips and stuff.
Shirley MacLaine

People get really caught up in their own trips.
Max Cannon

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”               

Henry Miller

Can’t yoga be watered down like Christmas was? Is there a ‘happy holidays’ yoga?

24 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Remember when the forces of secularism pushed the “Happy Holidays” maximum because no one should be offended by the expression of “Merry Christmas.” The forces of tolerance and celebrate diversity did not want YOUR religion forced on ME. So much for that “celebrate diversity” thing. Let’s fast forward to the yoga movement and the attempt to spread love, joy, and flexible limbs into the education setting.

Marty Graham of Reuters reports in the article, Parents sue school for teaching yoga to children:

SAN DIEGO—The parents of two California grade school students have sued to block the teaching of yoga classes they complain promote eastern religions, saying children who exercise their choice to opt out of the popular program face bullying and teasing.

The Encinitas Unified School District, near San Diego, began the program in September to teach Ashtanga yoga as part of the district’s physical education program — and school officials insist the program does not teach any religion.

Lawyers for the parents challenging the yoga program disagreed.

“As a First Amendment lawyer, I wouldn’t go after an exercise program. I don’t go after people for stretching,” said lawyer Dean Broyles, who heads the National Center on Law and Policy, which filed the suit on Wednesday in a San Diego court.

“But Ashtanga yoga is a religious-based yoga, and if we are separating church and state, we can’t pick and choose religious favourites,” he said.

The lawsuit is the latest twist in a broader national clash over the separation of religion from public education that has seen spirited debate on issues ranging from the permissibility of student-led prayer to whether science instructors can teach alternatives to evolution.

The lawsuit, which does not seek any monetary damages, objects to eight-limbed tree posters they say are derived from Hindu beliefs, the Namaste greeting and several of the yoga poses that they say represent the worship of Hindu deities.

According to the suit, a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, which supports yoga in schools, allowed the school district to assign 60 minutes of the 100 minutes of physical education required each week to Ashtanga yoga, taught in the schools by Jois-certified teachers.

Broyles said that while children are allowed to opt out of the yoga program, they are not given other exercise options.

“The kids who are opting out are getting teased and bullied,” he said. “We have one little girl whose classmates told her her parents are stupid because she opted out. That’s not supposed to happen in our schools….”

See, Promoting Hinduism? Parents Demand Removal Of School Yoga Class

The Free Dictionary summarizes yoga:



The term yoga comes from a Sanskrit word which means yoke or union. Traditionally, yoga is a method joining the individual self with the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness. Physical and mental exercises are designed to help achieve this goal, also called self-transcendence or enlightenment. On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, and align the body. These postures are performed to make the spine supple and healthy and to promote blood flow to all the organs, glands, and tissues, keeping all the bodily systems healthy. On the mental level, yoga uses breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dyana) to quiet, clarify, and discipline the mind. However, experts are quick to point out that yoga is not a religion, but a way of living with health and peace of mind as its aims.                         

The problem for many Christians and particularly Christian parents is NOT that kids don’t need exercise, they do. The problem is the spiritual aspects which emphasize the “Divine.” That is not what Christians believe.  The majority of Christians believe in the Trinity. Guess what, the FIRST AMENDMENT protects those beliefs.

So, what is a “celebrate diversity,” we are soooo tolerant, and hip to boot school district supposed to do when confronted with the “yoga conundrum?” Well, bucky, one waters down the concept as with “happy holidays’ and the new name is ” yocise,” the divine becomes your healthy life. “Yocise” focuses on YOU and fits with the culture’s philosophy of ME and we are no more tolerant with “yocise” than we were with “happy holidays.” “Celebrate diversity.”

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The 02/24/13 Joy Jar

23 Feb

Usually, when moi gets a hankering for something, it will be chocolate. Lately, dark chocolate with sea salt is the fix. Today, while running around to and fro, moi got a hankering for a really good tuna fish sandwich. So, moi went to Which Wich on the Ave and ordered a baked tuna fish sandwich with the bread scooped out, pepper jack cheese, spinach, tomatoes, olives, banana peppers, lite mayo, a little oil and lots of pepper. Yum. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is a tuna fish sandwich.

I know people that could serve me canned tuna and saltine crackers and have me feel more at home at their table than some people who can cook circles around me. The more you try to impress people, generally the less you do.
Alton Brown

Instead of finding ways to discourage people from eating seafood, we should be busy finding ways to help everyone eat better. Canned tuna is so healthy and affordable that everyone can easily gain its benefits as part of a healthy diet.        

David Burney

Sandwiches are wonderful. You don’t need a spoon or a plate!
Paul Lynde

With faith the size of a mustard seed, you can indeed move a mountain, but you can hardly be expected to garnish your sandwich.”
Jarod Kintz, American Association for the Advancement of Aardvarks Presents: Dear Natalie

Give the right man two fishes and some bread,
and he will feed the world;
give the wrong man two fishes and some bread
and he will invent the fast-food fish sandwich.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Life is like a sandwich – the more you add to it, the better it becomes.”               Unknown