Monday, June 20, 2011

First it was My Heart, Not a Laptop!

"Government is not the solution.
Government is the problem."
Ronald Reagan
(see video to the right)

First it was my heart. The minute that child came into the world I was assured life would never be the same. I thought I loved my children. But I don’t think you become actually aware of love in its truest form until you have a grandchild.

Come on, you grandparents, memaws, nanas, GGs, Pas and others know exactly what I mean.

Makes you feel sad for your own kids, kind of! We’re so worried about just feeding our kids and giving them a safe haven to come home to each day that we forget to just enjoy them. It always seemed I never had enough money to buy that Barbie Kelly wanted or that cool GI Joe Chad wanted. And heaven forbid, I was absolutely against getting those motorized jeeps. I just knew I’d find one of my kids on one upside down and seriously hurt.

But somehow I always found a way at birthdays and Christmas to go overboard. (I still do). And somehow that grandson of mine has a cool Rubicon Jeep at Memaw and Pa’s and has a blast riding it. And it doesn’t bother me. Ha!

The worry for our kids occupies each moment of our life. When my son was a senior in high school, I didn’t rest until I had that phone call at 3:50 pm that he was safe and sound at home. And for a very, very long time, I had to have a nightly text back from him to let me know he was ok when he moved to Boone. Well, the text really was to make sure he was alive. He wasn’t ok. He wasn’t happy with himself and we didn’t find that out for a couple of years. He seems to be now. He’s working, paying his way, and living life. He’s happy.

Dean and I made a trek to Boone to deliver my grandson to his Nana and GG and to see Chad. Kayne will be staying with Nana for a couple of weeks. It breaks my heart to see him always on the go. Somehow it feels like we’re stealing his childhood away but really what we’re doing is sharing the love we all have in our heart for this little boy. This little boy who has made the world such a better place. It’s not his fault that his life is like it is. We all are just making the best of the situation. For Kayne.

Let me be honest, Kayne has made my world a better place.

Continue reading to hear my story!

So first he had my heart. Then I realized I would never have to watch another episode of “River Monsters” (Thank God!) nor be able to watch “Monk” (one of my favorite shows) when he’s around. He now owns our 46’ HDTV. He’s crazy about Blue’s Clues. So what does Memaw do? She finds him a Blue’s Clues dog. And what does Pa do? Finds him a “thinking chair”. Yep he’s wrapped us around his finger.

But that’s not all. Now, he’s discovered my iPad. I thought I would draw the line with that one. That was memaw’s Christmas present to herself. Don’t even think about it touching it now. But I’m addicted to those mystery games!  I have to have my daily fix. And I just love getting up in the morning, grabbing my coffee cup and filling it up, and then sitting down to read the blogs and news. Ha. Too bad.

Now my darling gets up, comes and gives me a hug and says “I want to play with my animals”. That means he want to play with my iPad.I cave in. And he sits in his “thinking chair” with Blue beside him and solves puzzles with the app of the day. All the while Blue’s Clues has monopolized the TV. Ha.

Now you may be asking why I’m rambling on like this. What does all this mumble jumble about what my grandson does have to do with anything conservative? After all, this is a conservative blog.

Well, friends, it has everything to do with. You see there was an article in our local paper today, The Sanford Herald, and the editor wrote about seeing “laptops” in action and that the program had some undue criticism.

I take issue with that. First, it is not the responsibility of our school systems to do everything for our kids. They already want to control our kids from cradle to grave. Want proof? Just listen to the shrills from Democrats and NCAE at the Republicans in Raleigh and Washington as they reign in spending and have to cut programs. Here in NC the General Assembly  combined More at Four with SmartStart. Why? Basically they are preschool programs that do a lot of the same things. Why do you need two bureaucracies? Why do you need two sets of administrators, clerical staff, etc, etc? Combine them, eliminate the overhead, and save taxpayer dollars. What the heck is so hard to understand?

The Herald editor makes the issue that just because we who think the laptop initiative program was a waste of taxpayer dollars didn’t have them while growing up that we have no right to complain about this program. I beg to differ.

Note to Billy: I didn’t go to More at Four or Headstart, Smart start, whatever you call it, either. Somehow I manage to graduate in the top 10% of my high school class, obtain an Associates Degree from CCCC with high academic awards and just graduated (yes I know it’s late in life) from NC A&T with a BS degree in Business Education and with Magna Cum Laude awards. Head Start, and More at Four didn’t do a thing for me. I didn’t go to Kindergarten either. Back then kindergarten was a choice not a mandate. I turned out pretty well, don't you think?  I constantly write Billy letters so he knows I have that skill.

Back to the laptop issue: Had my parents been able to afford cool toys for me they would have. Computers won’t around but other stuff was that would have enhanced my learning.

But they struggled to just put meat on the table once a week. The other nights we had vegetables. Meat was left for Sunday. And it’s not like Mama had a full house to feed. When I was growing up, my sisters and brothers were grown. I was a late baby. I also had hand me down clothes. From kids in my classes. Talk about embarrassing. But it was either that or no coat at all. I wonder just how much Mama could have done if she hadn’t of had to pay high taxes. You see, we’re talking about the Carter era here. Do your research. Times were tough.

This is the dilemma I have:  Government takes way too much money from all of us. I don’t care if you’re poor or rich. Government takes what they want and then tries to tell you they do it “for the children”. And if you fight it, somebody out there will tell you to shut up and deal with it. Government knows best.

Reminds me of “Tangled”. Rapunzel’s mother is always saying, “Mother knows best.” Mother, who is an evil witch, has never let her out to see the real world. Once she has a taste of it, Rapunzel never looks back. When people get a taste of prosperity (and I’m not talking about mega-riches), they never want to go back. The innate nature of individuals is not to be poor. Some can’t help it. But I’ll never believe we are born with a “poor” gene.

However, your trusty government is good at taking your money and THEN coming up with programs to spend it. This laptop initiative has been a contentious issue, to say the least. What was tooted to the public as a $1.4 million grant (still taxpayer money) was really a cost to the taxpayers of over $5 million. Yea, we’re just finding out how much it really costs. Along with other things that have been hidden from us by our bureaucrats.

And sure, in this day and age, having these tools is nice. But so is being able to read, write and do math. Those 3 things will propel a student much more than a box with some cool programs.

I know, seems like an oxymoron coming from a person who can build pcs, has some of the latest gadgets, like an iPad, iTouch, etc. But I didn’t gain them because my government said I needed them and they would provide. Nope. I gained these things after I was able to be on my own, feed my family, pay my bills, etc. I’ve said this a thousand times if not more: If a child is hungry and a parent can’t provide the basics, no amount of gadgets will help that child learn. No one, not even me at my age, will pay attention when our stomach growls. Think about a kid who didn’t have supper the night before. Think click clacking away on a laptop takes the pain away? No it doesn’t.

Government: Give us a break. Reduce our taxes. We all, rich or poor, black or white, are very capable of making the right decisions with the right tools at our disposal – mainly our hard earned money.

So to Mr. Sanford Herald Editor and others who think the crack pots have been unfair,
here's a few words to chew on:

Real Conservatives believe it is not UP to the school system to provide toys, playful or educational, to our children.

We believe the parent is the one who should make that choice. We believe government should stop taking so much from us so we can do what's best for our kids.

The entire argument boils down to this: The public school system consistently wants to be a nanny to our kids. They dictate where they go, how many blacks, whites, and Hispanics can be in a room; how many boys vs girls; whether they read Dick, Spot and Jane or Heather has Two Mommies; whether they can have chocolate milk with their school lunch OR NOT (Jimmy Love); and all the while eliminate God from the classroom and Pledge of Allegiance.

I will take this laptop initiative to task every time. I simply think it should be a parent’s right not a government program. So Government get out of my back pocket and out of my way. I don’t need the paper, the Board of Education, the Governor or Michelle Obama to tell me Government knows best, even with a laptop initiative program .

And if you ask, the answer is YES! That grandson of mine will have the finest gadgets money can buy. I won’t wait for some bureaucrat to take my money then tell me what they are spending it on for him. No, I will use the brain I have and with consultation from Nana, GG, PA, and a few others, Kayne will have the best. He’ll have the best because all of us who are entrusted with this dear little boy’s life, have his best interests at heart.

And he will always have my heart, my TV, my iPad and anything else in this world this memaw wants to get him.

Do your grandchildren a favor: 
 Get involved and demand the know-it-all bureaucrats do what's right and stop wasting your money!  I am.  Just ask the editor of the Sanford Herald,  the Lee County Board of Education and Board of Commissioners  and the liberals in town.  The Board of Education members won't even answer my emails.  I take it to mean they have no defense for the questions I ask.

Until next time,



Teri B. Clark said...

A computer is not a toy but a tool. In fact, a computer in the 21st century is more important than a textbook. Encyclopedias are outdated because information changes daily. A school can't order enough different newspapers for students to keep up with current events. There isn't a book anywhere that can show you the pictures of Space Shuttle Endeavor's last ride. Yet a computer has all this information and more.

Computers teach kids about the world in ways that books cannot. With a computer, our kids have a chance to collaborate with kids from another country on a problem posed by a teacher. They learn to work together in a global, digital environment. This is one of the many skills that employers seek in new hires today.

I want you to name a job that doesn't include a computer. Bank teller? Computer. Car mechanic? Computer. Librarian? Computer. McDonald's drive thru order taker? Computer. Walmart stocker? Computer.

Even when you suggest the "basics", they can be done via computer. Why write out reports by hand? Employers won't accept it that way. Keyboarding is an essential skill. Why not learn it in school? What better way to read than to read current events and the latest in science right on the web? Or how about getting the classics free as a download instead of having to purchase the book for every member of the class?

Do computers really help schools excel? Yes, they do. Look at school systems that adopted this technology several years ago and you will see school systems that are flourishing. You say you want to see NC at the top. You say you want to see Lee County at the top. Why not let them get there?

Computers are now part of the basics and we don't need to ignore that fact.

Sheila Barber said...


Thanks for commenting.

Sometimes, you and Keith take things a bit too far. Stop acting like I want cave men tactics.

Who said take away computers? again too far.

What we have said is "is the laptop initiative a good use of taxpayer money when you're laying off teachers?" No. No it's not.

Get out of my backpocket and let me decide what is best for my child. I could buy all the "cool" toys, and yes a pc is also a toy, if my taxes were lower. When did a laptop in 3rd grade provide groceries for a family?

But no not in this county. The same argument was made about LCHS. The poor kids couldn't learn a thing with a leak in the breezeway. Bull crap.

Both my kids graduated just fine. Now you're trying to tell me they can't do without a laptop in 3rd grade. Again, bull crap.

If a kid can't read, write or do math no toy at any costs or design will excel them in this world. The public school system has gone way too far.

So I would like to know what you think about Mr. Moss hoarding a nice fat fund while teachers are being axed. Huh? Think that's fair. I don't.

Many of us don't have the patience or the means to homeschool like you and others do. I commend you for that. But don't sit there and act like I have to take everything that comes my way from the LCSS or any system.

When we can get fiscal responsibility, the toys will come. The tools, whatever. Until then, and we have true fiscal spending and we are REALLY taking care of our teachers, we have no business throwing money at program after program.

The kids that have to go to public school need quality teachers, FIRST. Quality tools second.


Teri B. Clark said...

Please reread what I wrote. No where did I mention A. Keith. B. Cave man tactics or anything akin to them

A few other facts to take into account - A. The money for the laptops could not be used to pay teachers. Period. Please look at the budget to fully understand this fact. It was laptops or nothing with this particular money. Perhaps nothing would have been better?

B. I have spoken with teachers. I've spoken with a third grade teacher. They like the laptops. They say they are a great tool. They help kids learn things. They help them learn the basics. They keep kids that are ahead involved in learning even when they are "through" with their work. They help kids that can't read because they have programs for that, too.

C.LCHS had far more than a leaky breezeway. It's too late to go look now, but I looked. And I attest to the fact that the leaky breezeway was the least of their worries.

D. As stated in my response to you, computers help teach reading, math, and writing. Once again, it isn't a toy. It is a tool.

E. I will look into the hoard that you speak of. It has nothing to do with the laptops, which is what I commented on, but I am interested to know if this is true or not. I'll check it out on my own, if you don't mind.

F. I knew that by telling you that I homeschool that it would come back to bite me in the butt. Just so you know, we don't have the "means" to homeschool. We lived on one very modest income. My kids were not given the latest and greatest. They wore hand me downs. And got used toys at Christmas. It was a choice we made and I wouldn't do it any other way. But it isn't about means. Don't get me started on that.

G. I am not sitting and acting like you need to do anything. The tone of my response was not angry. Not like the tone of yours to me. You are free to talk to whomever you choose about whatever you choose. You are free to disagree about what the LCSS is doing. But if you put it out here on your blog, you need to realize that not everyone will agree with you. I don't.

H. Are you suggesting that we don't have quality teachers now? I'm sure that is not what you intended, but someone that wished to debate you would certainly say that your last sentence was stating just that.

I've run out of letters. Chat later

Teri B. Clark said...

Darn - I have an I.

I. The computers may not buy groceries right now, but by knowing how to use one, the kids as grown adults will certainly be able to.

I really do think I'm out of letters now.


Sheila Barber said...

Here's the deal Teri everytime I turn around I am accused of wanting to take kids back to dark ages. Chalk, etc? Come on. Anybody who knows me well knows that is absolutely ridiculous.

I have gadgets here and my kids were savvy with them from tots on.

Yea, I get angry when I get accused of such ridiculous notions. What you are missing from my statements is if the parents can't feed the kids, it doesn't matter. I know all too well from experience.

It never will to those who think government knows best. Period. I think the individual knows best what is for him/her and the parents know best with their kids. Are there some who are not as fortunate as we are, you bet. That's where government comes in.

A above =- 1.4 million couldn't be paid. The 4.3 million could.

B. You're right about this: Knowing how to use computers helps buy groceries. So does knowing how to read labels (could save a life), knowing how to count (so they don't get screwed at the checkout counter), and knowing how to write a check,etc,etc. We're both right.

E. above? - I didn't say it had anything to do with laptops. When Moss left Beaufort county, and after he sued the commissioners, it was found he had a million plus in a secret fund that should have been used for expenses. I am NOT absolutely positive when, where or how much now. I bet no one could get at it anyway.

F. No NO NO The homeschool thing was to make a point - not to bite you in the butt. Sorry no harm intended on that one.

Last one ABSOLUTELY NOT. If anyone has heard me publicly, it's that our classrooms must keep the teachers we have and never get rid of them.

Thanks again for your comments.


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