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The World is in Turmoil, but America is not Oz

No nation can prudently open its doors to every refugee on earth; it is time for a global response and the shared burden of responsibility

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When you add it all up – serfdom, indentured servitude, slavery, the Holocaust, genocide, ethnic cleansing, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, dust bowls, pandemics, epidemics, famine, wars, human trafficking and every day skirmishes – within the annals of human history, it’s evident that a significant portion of the population has experienced, or has ancestors who have experienced horrendous times, conditions, or upbringings.

No Let Up

As we proceed towards eight billion people in the world, humankind doesn’t appear to be progressing, en masse, toward some more hallowed state, wherein we learn to share the planet effectively. Ancient rivalries and hatreds, some lasting thousands of years, seem to be as molten today as they were in antiquity:

Consider the Sunnis versus the Shias, Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics, Albanians and Serbs, Armenians and Turks, Tutsis and Hutus, Jews and Palestinians, Japanese and Chinese, Indian and Chinese, everybody and Chinese, Indonesians and Malaysians, and Assamese and Bengalis, among dozens of others.

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Today, Muslim attacks on Christians are occurring worldwide. Christians are not the instigators. Persecution of Jews is occurring in unprecedented ways, on many levels, particularly in France, but alarmingly in Great Britain, Germany, and the U.S, as well as in other supposedly enlightened nations, largely fomented by extremist Muslims in general, but in the U.S, by Leftists in particular.

Statute of Limitations

With so many people here and abroad descending from ravaged lineages, how much acknowledgment should surviving members receive? Is anyone to be entitled because of what happened 100, 500, or 1000 years ago? What is the expiration date on special status? Or is there none?

When does engendering a “protected class” impinge upon the rights of everyone else? How long should the state be responsible for the income and livelihoods of those who are downtrodden, even if legitimately so? Where is the sunset clause that says after so many years of welfare, it’s time to get going on your own?

What about our immigration policies? Socialism, extreme poverty, and corruption in South America and particularly Latin America leads to untold masses who want to escape to America. What do you do with the actual family at the border? Let them all in, ahead of those who have followed legal channels? The situation is like the ship Exodus – which countries are willing to take in the poor and persecuted?

This is Not Oz

Those who, to this day, have experienced indentured servitude or slavery; genocide, earthquakes, other natural disasters; pandemics and epidemics; and man-made hostilities and skirmishes, cannot come to our shores or our southern border en masse, where we will accommodate them in such numbers that our sovereignty will eventually be lost.

The Cuban refugees, most recently, are deemed by many to have the worthy cases. Biden and Company, however, shuns potential future Republicans, in favor of orchestrated groups walking up from Latin America, who are likely to be future Democrats, or at least will become a drain on our resources.

On balance, in America, we cannot prudently open our doors to every refugee on earth, even in our own hemisphere. Nor can any one nation. It is time for a global response and the shared burden of responsibility.

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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

Academic Underachievement As a Permanent Condition

Academic achievement occurs through individual effort: One boy and one girl after another rising above

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On the state and local level, as decisions are made about how and in what form we will educate the nation’s children, an age-old issue remains. The underlying causes of income inequality and civil unrest likely has less to do with media-inflamed coverage and more to do with a lingering issue that few people want to earnestly discuss: educational disparity.

In virtually every U.S. school system, the disparity year after year, decade after decade, and even longer, in mathematics competency, reading proficiency, test scores, honor roll status, and graduation rates, between African American students and other students is disturbing.

A Disturbing Reality

Here in the third decade of the third millennium, with a male African American high school dropout rate at 40% across the U.S., can anyone view the situation optimistically? Any responsible American would understandably be concerned.

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As Eric Hanushek, who is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as well as a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, exclaimed “It’s remarkable.” Following his extensive analysis of the situation, he remarked, “I knew that the gap hadn’t been closing too much, but when I actually looked at the data I was myself surprised.”

In one community after another, and one school system after another, when strenuous efforts to bridge the gap do not bear fruit, invariably someone yells “foul,” as if some grand conspiracy is occurring and a magic wand, yet to be waved, could suddenly redress all. And, as if hard-working, dedicated teachers are not attempting their utmost for each of their students.

An Undesired Path

Consider the school system in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina. This locale, deemed, “The southern part of heaven,” by a variety of writers, is among the most progressive in the United States. The teachers and educators here have a vested interest in demonstrating that their school system, beyond all others, can succeed in the vital area of closing achievement gaps between whites and minorities.

Nevertheless, year in and year out the gap remains. So, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education becomes primed to try anything! Another in an endless line of supposed “fixes” was to eliminate the advanced math classes in the middle schools and to lump all non-pre-algebra students together, with similar plans to eliminate other advanced classes such as in language arts.

Just as you cannot easily erect a sound building on quicksand, and you cannot expect to solve a decades-old problem by starting with a shaky foundation. Taking a lowest common denominator approach to developing school curriculum has never consistently worked, anywhere. It frustrates the students and dramatically increases a teacher’s burden – all such students must then be taught at individual learning speeds. Do you know any superhuman teachers? If so, could you afford them?

Face the Real Issues

Permanently closing the academic gap between underachieving students and the rest of the student population requires addressing reality – airing the truth about the disparity – not resorting to politically “correct” psychobabble and curricula finagling for another ten years, and then another ten, and then another.

This disparity encompasses such issues as the number of hours the television is on in given households, family or parental encouragement for completing homework assignments, a regular workspace, and established hours for studying in a quiet environment, among other factors.

Until solid analysis, exploration, and programs that address these issues are undertaken, no amount of wrangling with classes will prove to be the “winning formula.” And, school boards will have no chance of effectively addressing the continuing problem of poor academic performance among student groups.

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story The Sign of Four, detective Sherlock Holmes says, “…When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The schools in U.S. communities routinely exhaust talented teachers with a task that cannot be solved by them, nor is it theirs to solve.

Students Eager to Learn

However improbable to those who wish to pretend otherwise, academic achievement occurs through individual effort: One boy and one girl after another rising above and cracking the books, then coming to class as serious students, eager to learn, and primed to excel. Such achievement is not likely to occur any other way.

Otherwise, expect that income inequality and civil unrest will continue for decades into the 21st century.

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