Armchair Ponderings
Is T-Ball to blame for this crime wave?

Guy Geller

Donuts on Cake

Last week’s telephone conversation with a respected friend, who now lives in Arkansas, covered a number of topics. The prevalent subject was the inordinate rise in crime among the 15 to 30 years old demographic. Michael advanced a theory that it started the 1990s when all kids who were members of T-Ball leagues received a trophy, regardless of their ability. Everybody was a winner and no one was taught how to lose. The well-intentioned plan was to increase participation among that age group. The theory was; if your kids were guaranteed a trophy, they were more likely to join a T-Ball team.

That brought about the next step; why study hard, followed by later in life, why work hard? I’m going to be rewarded anyway. Then it was; you owe me or I deserve it. In fact, if you don’t give it to me, I’m going to take it. Then it evolves into, I’m going to take it at gun point. If I sink so low as having to get a job, if my boss has something I want, I just take it; he won’t miss it. I know, it’s a bit cynical, could it be true?

At the beginning of our conversation, I was grinning into the phone; then his words began to make sense. Added to that, there is the “my child can do no wrong.” syndrome. One of the Sunday morning news programs showed four teenagers attacking a seventy years old Asian woman, she was knocked down, lying on the ground, they all took turns kicking her about the body when an eleven-year-old boy ran up to her and kicked her head several times. They all wore full face coverings. In spite of that I feel certain that mom or dad could identify the culprits if they saw the film. Then what would they do?

There seems to be a resurgence of anti-Asian prejudice regardless of national origin. During World War II that was against Japanese Americans; they were forced to leave their homes and were incarcerated in internment camps for the duration of the war. President Roosevelt once called them Concentration Camps. Family members were separated and placed in different camps. The justification was simply a “military necessity” to ward off any chance of espionage and possible sabotage. That was over, a long time ago! Later Congress was mandated to pay each person $20,000 as reparation, along with a letter of apology from the President of the United States. Wasn’t that a deal? For four years as prisoners for doing nothing other than looking different. Now with the anti-Chinese sentiment anyone who looks like they might come from that part of the world is fair game for a segment of the American population that is prejudiced against anyone who may look differently from their perception of what a “true” American should look. My question then would be, what is a true American among this amalgamated population?

Is the marginal education available to the masses of the younger population reaching a point of no return? America was once a leader in education when teachers at all levels were intent on teaching the basics instead of going off on political tangents. Now we can proudly look at being 38th in math scores and 24th in science. These are rankings from the Business Insider. I can’t vouch for their unprejudiced ranking.

Elementary education is the foundation for all areas of learning. We should all know, and there is little doubt that the teaching profession does not receive the respect that it should. Much of what should be taught in the home by joint parents has been relegated to the classroom teacher. I’m spitting in the wind! There were 13.7 million single parents in the US in 2011.

Even then, when I was in high school seventy years ago, the curriculum was divided between college preparatory courses, then known as academic, versus the vocational; then there were the aspiring teachers who would plan to attend the regional State Teacher’s College. Those students were stigmatized as being unable to manage the academic college preparatory curriculum. Right or wrong that was the perception.

Here is a quote from Thomas Jefferson to ponder, it was pertinent during his day and has not lost any value since. “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.” For some of us who may not remember, Thomas Jefferson was a lawyer, architect and statesman who was also a founding father of this country and the third president of the United States.

The latest dream for a percentage of teachers, seems to be a four-day work week; using the ever-blamed COVID stress as justification. This request is during the most extensive teacher shortage that this country has ever seen. The undergraduate student enrolment in pre-education has dropped from 200,000 per year to 90,000. Of course, everyone wants to improve their status in life and I have always championed equal pay for equal jobs if males and females can qualify equally. Should coaches make that much more than a science or math teachers? We are not speaking about the college level. I’m talking about the phys-ed teacher called “Coach.” Before teachers burn me in effigy, let me point out that most of that thinking comes from the northeast and from the west coast.

Back when I was thirteen, I was adopted by a couple. Both he and she had earned doctorates in their respective fields; he in Marine Biology and she in Chemistry. Both were and had been college professors. Needless to say, I learned to have the utmost respect for the teaching profession. I still do!

Donuts on Cake