Rich Kids Do Better In School?

Vietnam Oceania 122NY Times Sunday Review 4/28/13 “No Rich Child Left Behind” by Scott Reardon. Income is a better predictor of success in school than race says the Stanford professor of sociology. This is hardly new data because we have known for many years that social class is more significant than race.

But now Reardon says there is more separation between the upper class and the middle class and this was not true in the past. He thinks we should not blame failing schools and should instead concentrate on providing childcare and preschool education for the poor.

Never mind that Headstart programs have not been successful and we all know we have too many failing schools. I suspect that wealthy parents are spending more money on tutoring and supplementary education because they realize schools are failing . Wealthy parents have figured out the system:.There are excellent public schools for kids in rich neighborhoods and mediocre and poor schools in other  neighborhoods .

Wealthy parents get their kids into the best public schools and supplement their education, hoping for college scholarships. It’s ironic that the Florida Supreme Court struck down  the voucher because it might create inequality between schools . . This would be hilarious if it were not so tragic.

Yes, rich kids do better in school for a host of reasons and that isn’t likely to change.



The End Of The Family As We Know it.

107_0744I came across the concept of “soul-mate” marriages in the writings of Ross Douthat. My take is that these unions focus on love and emotional gratification disconnected from the links of institutional marriage. Soul-mate vs. institutional. That explains a lot.

As part of a move toward secularism and self-gratification, the soul-mate is an unavoidable consequence of shifting cultural paramenters. Liberty without responsibility, freedom without community constraint and marriage without children or even a nod to spiritual foundations.

This ties in with the analogy of “flower cutters,” which I think also came from Douthat. Folks claim no need for history, traditon or religion. “We’re good people so we don’t need any of that stuff.” But they are similair to people who cut beautiful flowers off  plants without any interest in — or awareness of — how the flowers got there in the first place. As with soul-mates, it’s all about now — and it’s mostly about me.

A GK Chesterton quote seems especially appropriate here: “We have no particular reason to suppose that a Lily was intended to be beautiful. It was intended for the far nobler purpose of producing other lilies.”

And John-Paul: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

The question becomes: How long will we have beautiful flowers without care or cultivation? Maybe we can replace them with computer games!



In my last article, Kids and iStuff – Give Me a Break! I asked whether children enjoy free choice when using electronic games. After all, we have naïve, dependent children up against the adults who design and operate these games. And these adult merchants and consulting psychologists use behavioral modification and learning theory to entice and seduce kids into using their products. I likened it to David vs. Goliath, except that sturdy slingshots are nowhere to be found.

First, let’s take a look at Goliath. According to Anton Troianovski, Spencer E. Ante, and Jessica E. Vascellaro, in a recent Wall Street Journal online article, “Mom, Please Feed My Apps!” mobile games generated $2.7 billion in revenues last year and venture capitalists poured nearly 1.2 billion into Internet-based entertainment companies. Consider: The creators of one popular game said that a year ago, thanks to promotion, their game had pulled in $1- million in sales in a single day.

Continue ………….

Disconnect’ : Texts, Lies and Webcams



What kind of person thinks that texting a friend in the same room is superior to speaking directly, face-to-face?

In a recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, a novelist wrote that it makes perfect sense for teenagers to text each other even when they’re at the same party, or sitting on the same couch. No one can overhear them and texting gives them time to frame their words more carefully. “We are still the same human beings we always were,” he says, but the Internet has “freed us from the boundaries of distance and many of the risks of embarrassment in social interactions.”

He recalls writing a 1985 sci-fi novel that showed how anonymous kids could use something like the Internet to pass for experts and influence public opinion. Now he supports the Internet (except for the Web’s anonymity). “We blinked, and suddenly there are portals. There are these portals in our homes and offices that take us instantly to other people’s homes and offices, to stores and libraries, to communities of every kind.” He sees glowing advantages to the Internet with few reservations about its inherent dangers.

As the movie Disconnect’: Texts, Lies and Webcams demonstrates, there’s more to this picture and it ain’t all good. Continue . . .


Everyone has an opinion on the new pope. Everyone. I think we are still in the honeymoon phase, but sooner or later criticism will erupt. Maybe that’s the way it goes with popes.

If we think back to the year A.D. 42, The Roman Register Newspaper had a story on Peter, the new pope. “A really questionable selection,” the article said. “Peter? The Rock? In the  first place he’s from out-of-town and we know little about him. We’ve got too many immigrants in this country– need to build a wall or something. We also hear he’s unreliable. Apparently let down his mentor, this Jesus fellow. Denied him a few times — in public!

“Peter will probably be a conservative, too. He’s already invoking the 10 commandments and spouting crazy talk from his mentor such as ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ Maybe he’s not conservative, maybe he’s really a communist. Anyway, he’s a scary guy.

“Then there was this preacher named Jesus. He wouldn’t have been fit for the popeship either. Wanted to be king, but he was never employed, although he caught a few fish in his time and they say he was a winemaker. Anyway, he hadn’t  been thoroughly vetted and probably wouldn’t have done any better than this Peter fellow.

“So what do we think of this new pope? Maybe we better wait and see if this new Christian thing is still here a year from now.”




Is The Sheltering Tower Catholic Fiction?

IMGP1825The book reminds some readers of “The Bells of St. Marys'” and Edwin O’Connor’s “The Edge of Sadness.” O’Connor also wrote “The Last Hurrah.” Both books focus on Catholic culture. Sheltering certainly includes Catholic culture and a Catholic Priest who is dealing with family issues and alcohol, but the Irish immigrants of O’Connor’s day are replaced by Hispanic parishinors and a Jewish man living on the street. Sheltering is also post-Vatican II.

Other differences include action centering around scientific research, Homeland Securtiy corruption and the question of free will.