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Education

Myths and Lies That Permeate Society

If myths can survive for decades, is there any hope that the Left’s current manufactured myths will ever die

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To anyone with an ounce of objectivity, it is apparent that the Left is fueled by myths, purveyed by Joe Biden and the mainstream media. Consider the “fine people on both sides” myth or the “Trump hates immigrants” lie that they routinely draw upon to slander Donald Trump.

Consider the myths and lies that Jen Psaki seeks to initiate at every press conference — the withdrawal from Afghanistan went accordingly to plan, school children need to wear masks, Biden doesn’t advocate open borders, $3.5 trillion in spending will cost nothing, inflation isn’t rising, etc.

Non-political myths, however, have circulated for years. More than a quarter century ago researchers for Nova, aired on the Public Broadcasting Service undertook an exhaustive examination of the myths surrounding the Bermuda Triangle. They found absolutely no statistical deviation in the incidence of disaster or disappearance of planes and ships in that area. The team concluded that those people who propagate the myth do so with limited, anecdotal “evidence,” usually for considerable commercial gain.

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Full Moon

Rising crime with the full moon – Several studies in scholarly journals have found no correlation between the incidence of a full moon and aberrant human behavior. More people tend to be out on nights with a full moon, which correlates directly with mishaps, accidents, and predictably, crimes.

A similar phenomenon occurs during holiday seasons. Since more people leave home and drive long distances, more burglaries, admissions to hospital emergency rooms, and arrests by police occur. Yet no one suggests that Christmas or the 4th of July are directly linked with abhorrent human behavior?

Ancient Aliens?

The great pyramids of Egypt – The Learning Channel aired a program in 1988 in which a team of scientists and engineers visited Egypt to determine how the great pyramids were built. Recreating the activities needed to build a pyramid, the team found that with arithmetic equations – without the knowledge of pi – the Egyptians built the structures that many people erroneously believe involved aliens. In fact, construction of the Great Pyramid requires only seventh-grade arithmetic.

The Egyptians were masters of moving stone by using sand and working in coordinated teams. Rather than using slaves to build the pyramids, the researchers deduced that an inspired citizenry, seeking to be part of the first great nation, chose to offer its labor.

A Bogus Industry Thrives

JFK conspiracy theories – These won’t die, but they should. There is no question as to who shot and killed President John F. Kennedy. It was Lee Harvey Oswald, and he was acting alone. This is explained in intricate detail by Gerald Posner in his landmark book Case Closed (1993).

Mr. Posner dislodged every conceivable stone (including Oliver Stone) to show why it was Lee Harvey Oswald and only Oswald who committed this crime. After illuminating Posner’s work in 25-page feature in its publication, U.S. News & Word Report declared it would never review another book on the topic because the case, indeed, was closed.

Yet, people are invested in having JFK’s death be surrounded by controversy. Since 1995, JFK conspiracy theories annually support a $250,000,000 industry.

The Thing That Wouldn’t Die!

If myths and lies can survive for decades, or even centuries, is there any hope that the Left’s current manufactured myths and non-stop will ever die?

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Education

Despite the Lures, Reduce Complexity and Take Charge of Your Day

Dial down the level of enticement that otherwise surrounds you to maintain effectiveness and to have more of a life

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The news media has society in a stranglehold. Even if you actively choose to ignore political events, the media has a way of reeling you back in, through soundbites, captivating headlines, and lurid photos, most of it for a ‘progressive’ agenda. Then throw in the non-stop pitches for the array of all the newfangled products and services that you ‘ought’ to acquire.

Juggling all of our personal and professional responsibilities, along with the ever-represent ‘requirement’ to stay informed adds up to a world of complexity, which can confound and debilitate us.

Complexity is frustrating. It causes us to spend countless hours paying attention to what could be summarized in minutes or avoided altogether, and untold sums of money to diminish or undo what perhaps didn’t need to be done at all.

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Complexity Won’t Subside

How does complexity show up in our lives? You’re frazzled by the staggering amount of technology already in your life. You need to find a manual to understand the manual that came with your computer.

You constantly find yourself immersed in a sea of technical terms, such as data relay, encryption, USB debugging, and CPU usage, that you would greatly prefer to not have encountered at all. You have no chance of understanding the two-dozen buttons on the remote control devices that come with your television set, DVR, DVD, Tivo, Dish, DirecTV and Roku.

Simply because you were born in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s and are a functioning member of society, the relentless drumbeat of complexity continues every day. Yes, the world is complex, society is complex, and your life is complex, but antidotes that offer relief are available and they are within your grasp.

Designed with Intelligence?

Any product or service that you acquire, any piece of technology, or anything you add to your professional or personal life comes with instructions, options, and features that someone else – an engineer – designed before it ever made its way to you.

As author Vance Packard told us more than 60 years ago in The Waste Makers, when it comes to operating a gadget, what we think represents our own shortcomings is often erroneous. The manufacturer made many decisions before the product was ever shipped from the plant, involving the quality of materials to be used and the design and layout of the various switches, buttons, and dials that adorn the appliance. The intelligence with which engineers design a product dramatically impacts how easy or difficult it will be for the typical consumer to use it effectively.

Consider clothes dryers, microwave units, blenders, radio/alarm clocks, and DVD players. Some of them, mysteriously, have instructions too complicated and confusing to fathom, while others are easier to operate. Did you luck out, or did the engineer/designer back at the plant have something to do with it? Hereafter, seek products designed with intelligence.

Recognize that having fewer switches, buttons, or dials does not necessarily mean that the product is less sophisticated or offers fewer benefits or features. Quite the opposite might be true! Simplicity, rather than complexity, is your product preference among items that otherwise are relatively equal in terms of cost, durability, expected life cycle, and warranty. If one item has dozens of features, while another has only a handful (namely the ones you need!), choose the latter and don’t fret about a possible upgrade later.

Who’s the Boss? You Are

Purchasing items with excessive instructions and complex operating procedures invites complexity into your life. You’ve personally acquired most of what surrounds you and are largely responsible for your immediate environment.

Less, quite often, can be more in terms of the favorable impact on your life, peace of mind, and quality of leisure time. In an age where a satellite dish can bring 60,000+ programs per month to your television set, ask yourself, would 4,000 or 5,000 programs be sufficient?

When I face a technical challenge, I give that task to a younger person – someone who has grown up with technology and to whom it is second nature.

Keep Complexity at Bay

By making basic but effective purchases and identifying needed helpers, we can keep complexity at bay. We can dial down the level of complexity that otherwise surrounds us in order to maintain effectiveness and have more of a life.

Exercise your power to acquire fewer television channels, subscribe to fewer publications, select products with a greater ease of use, and remember who is in control. You are! Not the government, not the media, and not some unseen force.

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Education

Angry Parents Aren’t Terrorists—They’re Just Terrors to Public School Boards

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parents
Photo credit: Ryan Snaadt

Dear school boards: When you poke mama and papa bear, don’t be surprised when they growl and bare their teeth. And writing a letter to the president asking him to sic the FBI on parents rather than treating them as partners in education seems more political than needful.

To understand the gulf between parents and educators, just watch a school board meeting on youtube (if you still can). You’ll see concerned parents voicing their concerns at microphones. They look like defendants standing before judges in a tribunal. What happened to PTAs?

In school board meetings across the nation, parents are treated as opponents rather than partners. They’re frustrated and angry with imperious school boards who seem to insist that they know what’s best for their children.

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At times their anger causes them to raise their voices in passionate speeches. They love their children and seek to protect them from what they view as indoctrination, not education. Parental love drives their passion and triggers their protective instincts. This doesn’t make them domestic terrorists.

If school board members and teachers feel threatened by genuine threats in public meetings or on social media, they should be investigated—by local authorities, not by the federal government.

Yet last week the National School Boards Association (NSBA) wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to direct the Justice Department to investigate angry parents for hate crimes and domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism.

Why are parents so angry? Three issues come to mind: mask mandates, sex education that includes transgenderism, and Critical Race Theory.

Mask mandates

Masks can and do help prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. But they’re not necessarily a good option for children simply because, by and large, the virus is not deadly to kids.

In fact, 98-99 percent of children who get COVID fully recover. With this in mind, by doing a simple risk assessment of masking schoolchildren versus not masking them, we’d conclude that it’s better to let them learn without masks.

Additionally, we simply don’t know the longterm adverse effects forced masking has on learning. Most kids are visual learners and take cues from facial expressions. Their socialization may also suffer as a result.

Clearly, because educators are more at risk of death from COVID-19, they should continue masking. Thoughtful parents know their children who do not have preexisting conditions are generally safe to attend school without masks.

Why do school boards and teachers unions continue to push unnecessary and likely harmful mask mandates on children? For whom are they most concerned with protecting? If they believe in masking, they should mask up and suck it up. If they’re still afraid, perhaps they’re not cut out to be educators.

Sex re-education

Teaching children about the birds and the bees is a parent’s job, not a teacher’s. Sex ed is a family issue, not the state’s. Can’t it wait until just before puberty, rather than being taught to kids K-5?

Many traditional parents share this opinion. So is the self-evident truth that binary genders exist in human biology—and in reality. Parents who embrace this truth and passionately speak up about it are now at risk of being accused of hate speech.

We are born male or female. No amount of surgery or hormone treatment changes this reality. Parents know this and also know that confusing kids with fantasy genders and damaging gender reassignment harms them.

Public school educators have more than enough on their plates with teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. They should leave sex education to parents and resist pressure to push gender nonsense on impressionable children.

Parents are also concerned with the prospect of hormonally-altered boys competing against their girls in sports. This obviously gives males unfair physically advantages and presents a danger to the health of welfare of overmatched females.

The Journal of Medical Ethics affirmed this reality in a recent study in which the researchers concluded that “the advantage to transwomen afforded by the IOC guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

Bad theory

What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical Race Theory (CRT), as defined in a video by the Heritage Foundation, is a philosophy founded on Marxist analysis that claims America is “systemically racist.”

CRT proponents, active in colleges and universities for years, now seek to impact public policy in public schools. As a result, CRT is beginning to gain a foothold in K-12. This makes parents angry.

Most parents and some educators and school board members reject CRT’s racial discrimination for equity in favor of equality and opportunity for all— regardless of skin color.

The vast majority of thoughtful and caring parents believe that CRT teaches children to feel guilty for their “whiteness” while accepting the lie that America’s systems are inherently racist.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act dealt a mortal blow to systemic racism in America. Critical Race Theory ignores this landmark legislation and the fact that racism resides in people, not systems.

Obviously, there a differing definitions of systemic racism held by those on both sides of the issue. Just as there are differing definitions of “hate speech.” Perhaps it would be helpful to rely on definitions that are based in logic and common sense rather than emotion and agenda.

In the minds of many parents, Critical Race Theory is nothing more than partisan propaganda. CRT is harmful because it produces unmerited guilt, divides us and denies the attainability of the American Dream for people of color.

This is not borne out by our nation’s history. Rather, it’s debunked by generations of immigrants and people of color who came to America legally and made better and more prosperous lives for themselves and their families.

Terrorists or terrors?

To justify their appeal to the president for federal law enforcement support, the National School Boards Association is misapplying words and phrases to vilify angry and frustrated parents. Why? They’re either seeking to clear obstacles to their agenda and/or they mistake parental passion for peril to themselves.

Have some angry parents (or those who side with them) gone too far with social media attacks and threats? Probably. Does any of this have to do with genuine hate speech or domestic terrorism? Unlikely.

What’s more likely is that words like hate and terror are being misused to trigger more government interference in the lives of parents and their children.

Branding angry parents domestic terrorists is absurd hyperbole at best and political weaponization at worst. Parents who are merely resisting ideological intrusion into their public schools—and their children’s lives—deserve better.

What we need is an overhaul of a failing public school system and vouchers for charter schools and alternative educational systems like home schooling.

Why should we continue funding increasingly political public schools? Why should we believe school boards who claim parents are engaging in hate speech, threats of violence, and terrorism when most seek merely to protect their children by exercising their freedom of speech with passion and conviction?

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