Friday, October 19, 2012

Wicked United for Marriage Melts Hearts

For those of you who bought tickets to the performance of Wicked at the Paramount Theater last night, you missed a great show!  The show opened with a surprise guest appearance from Governor Chris Gregoire who spoke about how the fight for supporting R-74 does not end until November 7th.  The performance was a wonderful experience with a series of intensely deep messages such as fighting to think for yourself, and to do what you believe is right.  It's a story that fights against stereotypes, embraces differences, and stirs feelings within those who feel like social outcasts, encouraging them to fight to rise above social stigmata of not conforming.  It's also a political intrigue, a comedy with over-the-top performances from GAH-linda (Glinda) and Elphaba, while also creating a touching and deeply complicated relationship between two very different individuals.  And finally it's also a love story, with a moving and passionate romance between Ms. Elphaba and the care-free Prince of the Winkies, Fiearo.  What really melted my heart more than anything was at the end of the performance, with the cast on stage in the background, the director of Zach Silk spoke to the audience about the importance of families being included in sharing the happiness and joy that marriage brings.  And how it's so important that we keep fighting to ensure that equal marriage rights are the law of the land.  If you missed Wicked United for Marriage, the cast is continuing to tour across the country and I encourage you to see the show at your first opportunity.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Education, The Great Seawall

How many of you have ever seen a Sea Wall.  A sea wall is a large structure built in areas where larger waves are present and prevent waves from moving inland into the communities they protect.  Just as Sea Walls are barriers to prevent waves from sweeping away civilization, the same is true with Education.  Education serves as a great wall against waves of ignorance, confusion, and misinformation.

Education today is something that I personally care deeply about.  The reason I care about this is because I truly think that knowing about the world around you can be a mechanism that creates peace, understanding, tolerance and world stability.  So, it disturbs me that math and science have gotten all the attention when  really, it should be reading and comprehension that get the attention more than any other field and discipline.  Just some simple examples of why:

1) You cannot do math if you cannot read and understand instructions or situations.

2)  You can't describe your findings to others if you can't write in coherent sentences with some basic organization.

3)  I truly believe that the US falling behind in the world through education is in large part because our society doesn't focus enough on reading and comprehension skills.

4)  Reading and comprehension skills are also to blame, in part, for people being ignorant about issues.  If something is "too hard", no one wants to do it.  Its too hard to read a voter initiative because it's long and uses big words.

So, what should schools focus on instead?  They should focus on drilling and dogging students to read and understand what they read more.  They should focus on teaching reading techniques to empower students with skills that teach them how to retain information and take notes.  Furthermore, money needs to be invested into spotting and offering special services to students with ADHD, Bipolar disorder, and well as other learning disabilities.  The current focus on math and science has sacrificed money that should be devoted elsewhere...and that "elsewhere" is the foundation to all other learning schools.  Without reading and comprehension skills...most people can't learn well at all, depending on their learning styles.

Reading is the foundation upon which all other learning schools and disciplines are built on.  If you don't take care of the foundation, then you end up with a broken, and wobbly building which may fall on it's face.  We should be devoting our education dollars to reading, comprehension, and most importantly civics.  It is astonishing to me how few people truly understand even a basic functioning of the government.  Teaching people about how government works is pivotal to preventing usurpers from taking over the government and spoon-feeding the public interpretations of law that is and isn't legal.

Education is the best defense against the possibility of powerful people manipulating us as a nation.  Education gives us opportunities for self-improvement, self-enrichment, and self-discovery.  Education equips us with the knowledge to challenge people's assertions, and gives us the means to grow and understand the world around us.