To Kill a Mockingbird Is Less Rigorous Than Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever!

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

October 30, 2015Mockingbird

Renaissance Learning, Inc., those folks who brought us the abominable Accelerated Reading program, have published an interesting study detailing a survey of commonly read books among American public school children.  One of the most interesting aspects of this report is that it includes the AR reading levels* of each book.  Here are a few of the revealing highlights:

Of Mice and Men (4.5)

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (4.7) Continue reading To Kill a Mockingbird Is Less Rigorous Than Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever!

Just a Quick Thought #7: Postmodernism Is Only the Beginning

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

October 28, 2015


We tell children to trust their feelings, listen to their hearts, and pursue their passions.  We celebrate their uniqueness and all of the differences that make them special.  We praise their smallest attempts at creative expression.  Then, we pull the rug out from under them right when it really counts.  We stop preaching individualism in matters relating to the mind.  When it comes to thought, we train children to blindly trust experts and we shame them for making any value judgments that fall outside of well-established boundaries.  Once a child is conditioned to accept that the right to speak confidently is a privilege granted by experts, and that there are too many fields of study for one person to “know it all,” a new kind of person has been created, one who believes that self-doubt is the beginning of wisdom.

Just a Quick Thought #5: Fixing College 101

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

October 19, 2015


Disclaimer: This blog post will not solve problems.  I apologize for any false hope that the attention-grabbing title may have caused.

About the Problem:

There are a lot of underemployed college graduates out there who are buried in debt.  Every year, the odds that they will land their dream jobs grow longer as hoards of fresh graduates are ceremoniously dumped into already hypercompetitive job markets.  There doesn’t appear to be much hope that things will turn around anytime soon.

This problem has not gone unnoticed by our politicians who have spied an opportunity to win voters by promising to fix this education-debt cycle crisis.  The two leading proposed solutions are: 1.) free college   2.) debt forgiveness.

There was a time when I believed that politicians were stupid or naïve.  They aren’t.  They are cunning rascals who are fully aware that they will never be burdened by the negative consequences of their decisions.   Continue reading Just a Quick Thought #5: Fixing College 101

Just a Quick Thought #4: Congressional Report Finds American Colleges More Deadly Than War!

Originally published by AMERICANSCAPEGOAT.COM

OCTOBER 18, 2015

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

-Bob Dylan


During the Vietnam War, many young people enrolled in college to avoid getting drafted.  The logic that they followed was that they were less likely to die if they stayed out of a war.

In recent years, more young Americans have died in college than in war.  The government’s figures for college-related deaths can be found here. The government’s figures for military deaths can be found here (scroll to pages 11 and 12 for details.)

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