Just a Quick Thought #1: Illiteracy Rates

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

October 8, 2015

According to the CIA, the United States ranked 45th in the world in adult literacy in 2003.  (That sounds alarming.)  At the same time, 99% of American adults were deemed literate by the same intelligence experts.  (That sounds reassuring.)

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 14% of American adults were below basic readers (that’s a euphemism for illiterate) in 2003. (That sounds alarming, and it’s also confusing because it seems to contradict the CIA’s figures.)  To make matters worse, the National Center for Education Statistics claims that only 13% of American adults were/are (gosh, it’s old data) proficient readers.  That means that 87% of American adults do not have strong reading skills.  Those numbers would be scary if American adults preferred reading books to watching  movies about superheroes or their childhood toys.

#here’sagoodexampleofwhyyoushouldn’talwaystruststatistics             #whichgovernmentagencyiscorrect?

Free Samples: Works in Progress #2

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

September 4, 2015

Backwards Dictionary Challenge was designed to help students navigate encounters with unfamiliar word patterns and phrasing. The increased uniformity in education has narrowed students’ exposure to the English language and has helped to condition children to seek the comfort of the know.  This isn’t a habit that most people are naturally inclined to try to break.

Backwards Dictionary





Backwards Dictionary Challenge



Depressing Existential Teacher Movie Part II: The Transcendent Moment

Originally posted by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

February 23, 2015

(See Depressing Existential Teacher Movie Part I for context.)

DALLAS, Texas (AS) – There is a time in nearly every movie teacher’s career when he or she is driven by a sense of urgency to pour everything out in a lesson that takes a sudden, sharp turn away from the expected.  The teacher attacks the chalkboard with a violent passion.  Inexplicably, the students are mesmerized by the hypnotic tattoo of chalk against slate.  No papers are thrown while the teacher’s back is turned.  No attention spans crash during the long seconds it takes the teacher to finish writing.  There is a hushed moment of anticipation as if the teenagers know that someone is about to get real with them. They may not yet be willing to put words to what they are feeling, but they all know that they are being shown love, perhaps for the very first time.  It is a beautiful thing.  It is inspiring.  It is usually enough to cause most viewers to suspend their disbelief. Continue reading Depressing Existential Teacher Movie Part II: The Transcendent Moment

Depressing Existentialist Teacher Movie Part I

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

February 16, 2015

Disclaimer: This review makes no attempt to summarize the reviewed film’s plot.  Key plot details have been ignored.

DALLAS, Texas (AS) – Back in July, I mentioned plans for investing a few of the allegedly endless hours of free time with which society has graced me as an educator in embarking on a journey of discovery through a personal exploration of one of the least respected art forms in all of recorded human history: the teacher film genre.  The display of hubris in boasting of being a public servant with leisure time did not go unpunished.  Only a matter of hours after watching The Dead Poets Society on Netflix DVD, my motor vehicle was totaled in a low-speed freeway accident by an unlicensed teenaged driver.  Not only did I fail to seize that summer day, the following months were wrenched from my grasp as life became a hamster wheel of routine that had me running in an endless loop driven by the demands of physical therapy and work.

By the time the wheel slowed to a manageable pace, the dead poets had long since made their way back to the Netflix shipping hub in Irving, Texas.  It was time to move on to something new, and I was willing to take whatever low-hanging fruit Netflix happened to be streaming, which is how I found myself spending a late evening watching Detachment, an indie flick starring Adrien Brody. Continue reading Depressing Existentialist Teacher Movie Part I

Blame it on the Cannon Fodder

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

February 1, 2015

Disclaimer: The Scapegoat will vigorously support the immediate termination of every single bad teacher in America on the day that a system is put in place that will ensure that their replacements will all be good teachers.

Dallas, Texas (AS)- A recent need to retrieve a piece of information that was stored in my shuttered Facebook account prompted a brief journey into the online world that I had happily kept at a distance for over a year.  Like the dog that returns to its vomit, I gave in, surrendering myself to voyeuristic temptation before once again deactivating my account.

Not much had changed since my last visit.  Facebook is still the perfect dance floor for the attention seeker who is looking to hook up with any enabler eager to engage in the social media two-step.  In the early scrolling, it looked like it would be an easy night for the chaperones.  The skirts were modest and nobody was twerking.  The boy who posted grainy concert photos of a band that he should have outgrown a quarter century ago was publically affirmed for having done something cool.  The girls who shared snapshots of not quite nearly identical step-by-step acrylic paintings that were produced while following a tightly rehearsed script delivered by an art instructor who was too young to share their wine were praised for their talent and creativity.  It was a dull, yet polite affair until some knucklehead had to ruin the evening by dropping a turd in the punchbowl. Continue reading Blame it on the Cannon Fodder