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Podcast Email #5

Hello,

Ive been listening to your podcast for a while. Being a conservative, i tend to agree with your views, with a few exceptions. I disagree with your view on public education. I agree it has many shortcomings, but i believe it is better than homeschooling by leaps and bounds. I have had considerable exposure to the school systems, considering i myself am a junior in high school, but my family is also closely involved with public education. This allows me a fairly unique viewpoint on public and private education.

Dont get me wrong, I take no offense at your statements, i just respectively disagree. While homeschooling might seem to provide a quality education, I think it fails to educate in a few key areas, the most important of which, is social development.

Consider this. A child in public or private education has the opprotunity to interact with his or her peers for around 6 hours a day. Not only that, they interact with adults. Children are taught what is and isnt socially acceptable. They do not have the opprotunity for their parents to tend to their every need, and manage their entire day. They have to take some personal responsibility and initiative. Their mother or father is not right over their shoulder, reminding them not to talk in class, or telling them exactly what they need to do. This allows a kid to gain maturity.

In a school environment, children are bound not only by their values, and "what their mother or father says" but also by a set of classroom rules. They cannot get away with things they are able to at home, because teachers and other educators are available to discipline them. This allows them to develop responsibility.

I also think that a child in public or private school has a much greater chance to develop social skills and relationships with peers, and other adults. This is hindered somewhat by staying at home every day. Kids in public and private schools are more likely to participate in sports and other organized activities and clubs. No one can argue the benefits of these.

I know many people personally who were homeschooled. Most if not all had
considerable social difficulties returning either to a private or public school setting, or attempting to go to college.

School shootings:

Shootings in school are a rare event. School shootings are simply overplayed by the media. School violence is undoubtedly a problem, but happen mostly in public schools. By this i mean physical fights involving fists, or knives. A problem obviously. No disagreement there.

Brainwashing:

Ok, I dont disagree that memorization is a bad way to learn, but on the subject of schools detroying kids minds, and therefore society, well, i really have to disagree. I think that before we blame the schools, teachers, and books, maybe we should take a hard look at the entertainment industry. Movies, video games, music, and tv. I think they influence kids much more than school does. I think the childs home life,  and their environment also plays a large role. Maybe before we point the finger at schools, we should look at what we allow our children to be entertained by and exposed to.


I would be happy to discuss this in more detail. You can skype me or contact me via email.

I enjoy listening to your podcast, keep up the good work.

Ryan
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My reply to Ryan:

Ryan,

Great to hear from you. Glad you've been enjoying the podcast. Thanks for
being able to disagree without being disagreeable.

I don't know if you caught me saying that I attended 36 different schools
from Kindergarten through High School. It was not a pleasant experience.
Certainly some public schools are better and many are worse.

I've heard the socialization argument before. Most of these things depend on
the parents. Children are an extension of their parents. If the parents in a
particular community are sorely lacking in parental skills and willingness
to pay attention to their kids (a.k.a. dysfunctional families), then by
extension the kids in that community are going to be more of a problem when
dumped together in school. Children can be incredibly cruel to other kids.
Inner city schools are pure hell-holes. The suburban schools where incomes
are high enough to allow for stay-at-home parents and good parental
involvement by extension result in better kids and thus a better school
environment. But even here, many parents are too busy with self-pursuits to
be really good parents.

Then there's the "bully and coward" problem. In homeschool situations,
that's likely eliminated to the extent that the family itself isn't
extremely dysfunctional. In private schools, the problem kids can simply be
kicked out if they fail to adhere to the school's standards.

I'm not arguing that public schools be done away with. I'm simply saying
that if parents really love their kids, they will pay attention to the
environment they force their kids to endure. This includes making the
personal and material sacrifices necessary to either send them to private
school or homeschool them. Concerned homeschooling parents make certain
their kids participate in social activities including sports.

My youngest brother was starting to be a real problem for my parents about
5th grade or so. My Mom pulled him out of public school and slapped him into
a church-sponsored private school. At the time he hated it, but now he says
it's the best thing that ever happened to him. That particular school only
went up to 8th grade, so after that she put him into a Catholic High School.
Today as an adult in his 30's he's quite successful. His oldest brother may
have had something to do with turning him into a political and social
conservative, though!

Children are impressionable at young ages and can end up being
psychologically scarred for life. This is much less likely to happen with
parents who are willing to put the time and energy into protecting and
nurturing their offspring rather than looking at them as unfortunate
byproducts of sex that suck money away from the pursuit of pleasure and
technological toys.

I still maintain that our society's moral underpinnings are being destroyed
via the public school system. Few people are aware that not much more than
100 years ago, there was NO public school system -- parents were responsible
for educating their own kids. The literacy rate in those days was nearly
100%, a far cry from today's lousy literacy statistics. Each successive
generation that is forced into the public school system has their moral
standards systematically assaulted. Thus, we end up with ever-lowering
standards as each successive generation of kids become adults and become
lower-standard, ever-more-selfish parents themselves.

Ultimately, the lowered standards and moral decay is the fault of the
parents for not paying attention to their kids. Children, by definition,
demand attention from their parents. If the parents are more interested in
making money to keep up with the Jones' or escaping into rot-gut TV programs
or other forms of diversion than paying attention to their kids, the kids
suffer. Often today the parents are also losing themselves in violent video
games, not just the kids.

These topics can be painful to discuss, because a lot of folks are guilty of
attention neglect -- the so-called "latch-key-kid" syndrome, etc. Many
people who are guilty of not giving their kids enough attention will
immediately become defensive so they don't have to see their own
shortcomings, thus making it "someone else's problem."

The good news is that this is still America, and still relatively free, so
people can and often do change for the better. One of the nice things about
an ever-changing Capitalist economy is that it can come along and give folks
an occasional kick in the pants which can help bring about positive change.

There is no such thing as the "ideal" life. Even with the best parents,
people still face adversity and challenges.

I should be home towards the end of the month for time off so perhaps at
that point we can record a Skype conversation for the podcast. I think that
would be very interesting. My Skype name is tomwiles.

Hope you have a great evening.

TOM
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Hello,

My name is James Smith and I host a podcast from Northwest Arkansas. I saw your site. My
podcast is called IndependentCast "A weekly half-hour show featuring the best independent
music from around the globe." and the website for the podcast is www.independentcast.com
Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
James Smith
www.independentcast.com
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Hi Tom,


Just listened to your 9/21 show.

I'm a college student in Texas studying political science and use a laptop in all my work.

I was concerned about over heating the system while conducting statistical analysis since that is a very drive heavy process.

I found a great product made by Targus called the Targus Chil Mat http://www.targus.com/us/product_details.asp?sku=PA248U They also make one with on board USB hubs http://www.targus.com/us/product_details.asp?sku=AWE01US

You might want to try one of those before sending the laptop off for work that might not be needed. My CPU stays very cool while running and doing work with the chil mat on it. You can get one for cheaper than the Targus site through places like amazon.com or buy.com.

You'll notice a small reduction in battery life, but I would say, at least for me, it's about 15 minutes cut off of battery life.

I would also suggest next time you get a new PC you go the truely custom built rout and buy from http://www.pugetsystems.com/

Regards,
Reagan D. lynch

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Hey Tom,

Was just reading Robert Scoble's blog (http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2005/09/24.html#a11229) and he mentions an article within Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine that had a bit about you.

Congratulations! That's some great exposure.

-KHD
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