I will grant you that young people today easily use and evidently understand a plethora of hi-tech devices and gadgets that weren't even in existence when I was in school, but isn't it troubling that in a recent test, only 12% of high school seniors demonstrated proficiency in American history? And what' s even more discouraging is that this is approximately the same sorry level of proficiency shown by high school seniors when the test was last administered five years ago. In addition, fourth-graders and eighth-graders also did poorly, showing proficiency rates of 20% and 17%, respectively. Sure, I'll also grant you that there was (ahem) a helluva lot less history to learn when I was in school, but achieving a basic understanding of history, not to mention geography, math, literature and science, SHOULD be a given in our public schools. And it concerns me that it isn't.
Let me add a caveat here after the fact. I am in no way intending offense to any teachers, parents, or students. I am merely passing comment on the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress testing. The percentage of students who passed these tests is appallingly low. I'm not passing judgement as to why that's the case, only that it is the case.
Although today's teens may know more about the latest American Idol than they do about our American presidents, I'll betcha they all know something about a certain Representative Anthony Weiner. Unfortunately, we ALL know much more about America's latest "folk hero" than we ever wanted to know. For those of you who live beyond American soil, this foolish man rocketed into our collective consciousness when pictures he took of himself and then sent to a number of young ladies came to light. When the first round of photos became public, he tried to tell us he "couldn't say with a certitude" that it was his underwear in those pictures, and that someone had obviously "hacked his twitter account". Not an easy position to maintain, however, when the next round of pics came out, because unfortunately for him, they showed his face. Not to mention other anatomical parts. Got the (ahem) picture?
Now, I wasn't planning to write anything about him. I really wasn't. I mean, what can you say about a politician whose current claim to fame is wiggling his (ahem) weiner at young women via twitter and facebook? But after reading this morning's newspaper, I simply cannot resist.
Would you believe there is now an action figure in his likeness?
Not into dolls, you say? Fear not. Everybody wears tee shirts. Now, you too can own your very own Weiner tee shirt. Here you can find shirts with such unforgettable logos as
- Tweet your meat, lose your seat!
- A bigger weiner than Dick Nixon
- Don't tweet your meat
and, to be a little different,
- Junk mail
And here you can find shirts with such logos as
- Try not to trip over my weiner and
- I can't say with certitude that this is my shirt
I mean, you've gotta love the enterprising spirit of America, don't ya? It seems that no matter what happens, somebody in this great country comes up with a tee shirt to mark the occasion. So we've pretty much come to expect the tasteless tee shirts, but how about some genuine Weiner condoms??? I kid you not. About these only-available-for-a-limited-time condoms, the webpage says, Sure to last longer than his marriage.
It isn't very kind to pick on someone when he's down. After all, Weiner claims to be going into treatment, so perhaps I should show a little more charity and compassion toward him than our late night comedians have shown. But I ask you, exactly what kind of treatment is available for what ails this man? The best I can tell, his only remorse is over getting caught, and I suspect he rather likes the notion of an action figure in his image.
For our students of today, there is always opportunity to further their education. For politicians like Weiner, all I can say is, You can't fix stupid.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.