Veronica and Nguyen’s children and their children

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  Veronica and Nguyen were two high school students I taught years ago at Albuquerque High School. As a young teacher in my first teaching situation my opinion was teachers are the most important component to students learning, but this was before Veronica and Nguyen.
            It was the first day of classes. Veronica walked in, looked around and said plaintively, “God, is it boring in here.” Every ten minutes for a whole year Veronica announced that class was boring. Nguyen, another student in that same class never seemed to be bored.
            Every time Veronica said, “God, is it boring in here,” I flinched and kept thinking that if I tried a little harder she would come around. She never did. She graduated and I never saw her again nor do I know what happened to Nguyen. I lost track of both after they graduated.
            Still, I remember his ready smile as he absorbed lessons. Nguyen was one of the Vietnam Boat People who left ahead of the Communists. Over the semester I got to know him better. His parents were farmers in Vietnam. Neither could read or write but were related to a politician in Saigon so they had to flee.
            Until five years earlier Nguyen could not read since he had never attended school. When he arrived in America, he was put in an inner-city school in Los Angeles and then moved to Albuquerque the year before I had him in class. He quickly learned to where he was an on-track junior.
            Veronica was born in Albuquerque. Both parents worked and were high school graduates.
            Nguyen played on my after-school table tennis team so I saw more of him than just in class. One day I gave Nguyen a ride home after table tennis practice and met his parents. They spoke little English but wanted to talk to me. Nguyen translated, which centered on Nguyen’s school work. I said, “He’s one of the best students in my class.” They beamed.
            Later I asked Nguyen what would happen if he got a bad grade. His reply surprised me. “Dad would beat me until his arms gave out. Then Mom would take over until he could continue.”
            I immediately asked, “Do they beat you often?”
            “No,” he said, “They don’t have to beat me, I work hard to make them proud of me. They don’t understand math and English, but know if I’ve been working. They know I should get an A in each class.”
            A few days later I scheduled parent-teacher conferences. Over two weeks I called Veronica’s parents five times. Each time I got the brush off. Her mother said, “You’re the teacher, teach Veronica and leave us alone.”
            I never met Veronica’s parents. I asked Veronica, “What would your parents do if you got a bad grade?” She smiled slightly, “They don’t even look at my grades.” Veronica got a C and graduated. I asked her if she was going to college. “No, college is boring.”
            Nguyen, on the other hand, got a college scholarship. The last I heard he was in the field of biology.
            Now I did my very best for both students and never quit. In both cases it didn’t matter. Nguyen was going to be excellent regardless and Veronica was going to be bored.
            I learned that the most important component to student learning is not the teacher, it is the family. Having a good teacher helps, but having parents who care and demand effort is far more important.
            It would make a nice ending to this story to say that Veronica is a cashier in a store making minimum wage and Nguyen is a Ph.D. Researcher making big bucks. But as I have said, I lost track of them many years ago. Still, that is the way I would bet - Nguyen has prospered and Veronica is now paying her dues for not working hard in school.
            But what of their children? Assuming both got married and have children, I suspect Nguyen will take an active role in the education of his children and Veronica will not. Nguyen’s children will do well in school while Veronica’s do not. And what about their children’s children?

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Stupidity on display

© 2016 Jim Spence - Pundit Charles Krauthammer once said Democrats think Republicans are mean and greedy, and Republicans think Democrats are stupid. It is a pretty good summary of the differences in the two parties.
Why do Republicans think Democrats are stupid? It is mainly because Democrats insist on doing the same things over and over even after it has been proven that what they are doing does not work. Still, Democrats will continue to expect a different result. Seeing this endless doom loop, Republicans realize Democrats are stupid…..or perhaps more precisely put…..insanely stupid.
Let’s look at some of the evidence of the insane stupidity at the Hillary coronation last week.
It is ironic that the Democrats built an eight foot chain link fence around their convention arena to keep the riff raff out. Earlier this year the Democrat’s surrogates sued the Republicans to make them build their fence closer to the arena in Cleveland. But enough with the hypocrisy, let’s get on with the stupidity.
Perhaps the dumbest moment of the speech Hillary gave Thursday night was when she talked about when she and fellow Democrat Chuck Schumer were senators from New York. It seems that they were amazing fighters. They actually asked George W. Bush for $20 billion to help rebuild New York after 9-11. The question begs this; was it really a tough sell to get Bush to approve the building of New York when every elected official in the country was ready to belly up? Democrats nodded and cheered as if Hillary and Chuck had to prod ole “W” real hard to come across with the cash. Dumb.
Democrats love to call Joe Biden a middle class guy. Biden gave a droning speech to an adoring crowd. He did so without ever conceding that he has been living the life of luxury on the taxpayer dole for forty-four years. Democrats are also too stupid to realize Biden has been driving down the living standards of those he has been “fighting for” with one policy after another that simply does not work.
Barack Obama was supposedly in Philadelphia to build up Hillary’s reputation. Instead of building up Hillary, the narcissist Obama spent almost the entire time he was allotted talking about how great Barack Obama is. Obama mentioned himself at least 100 times. Near the end of his self-congratulatory oratory Obama finally gave credit to Hillary for get this……not opposing the Bin Laden raid. Wow! What vision. Of course the seas of stupid Democrats roared each pretending that it must have been an incredible epiphany that helped Hillary make her decision to support Obama in his decision to get the 9-11 killer.
Why else would the GOP think Democrats are stupid? How about the fact the Dems booed a Medal of Honor winner last week? Nice. Only Democrats could think of doing that as they try to persuade America they should be allowed to continue to lead.
How about Dems interrupting a moment of silence for murdered police officers with shouts of, “black lives matter?” You would have to be stupid to do this and gutless to tolerate it, let alone not condemn it after it happened. These are Democrats.
Apparently the Democrats forgot that Hillary voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq when they ponied up speaker Khizr Khan. It seems 14 Muslim soldiers died in the war on terror.  And Khan is the father of one of them. Amazingly, Khan made the quantum leap in pointing out that Trump, “sacrificed nothing,” as if somehow because Trump was working in the private sector at the time of Khan’s son’s death he was to blame. Khan spells his name wrong, tough phonetically the spelling is correct. He should spell it Con. Still, the stupid Democrats roared indignantly as Khan presented this twisted logic that somehow gave Hillary a pass for her yes vote on the war, and Trump the blame for not being involved in any way. Stupidity on display.
In the end the Democrats spent ninety-six hours trying to trick the country into believing Hillary actually has a resume of accomplishments. What makes them stupid is they believe their own tricks.
New York Times columnist William Safire nailed the defining characteristic of Hillary Clinton decades ago when he called her a congenital liar. That means she has had that trait since birth.


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