Ohio Class Submarine  US Navy

Saw a good friend today over Easter Break, who offered this comment.

He does submarines.

One, it brought home how dangerous our technology has evolved in order to protect us and keep us safe by mobile storage of nuclear missiles underwater.

Two it spoke volumes of a professionalism that exists, I believe in every member of our armed forces, that seems to be sorely lacking in the top circle of advisers of our government.

I mentioned before, that our military succeeds in taking complicated bits of knowledge, breaking them down into logical pieces, and feeding them piecemeal to a collective group of every race, religion, educational, and economic background known to man. This would be a good model for our education system to copy, in order to start the rectification of America’s excellence in math and engineering.

The difference between discipline and brutality, is that one is positive and the other negative. Discipline is enforced because all parties, both the instructor and instructed, understand that it saves lives. Brutality, however, is when we allow the worst part of ourselves to intimidate those who oppose us, and hope such a blatant display of force will subdue them into submission. The latter is primarily supported by the argument of “because I said so.”

I think Von Steuben, the fowl mouthed Prussian drill instructor who relentlessly drilled the Revolutionary American troops at Valley Forge, is the one who said, “it takes great discipline to overcome the natural tendency to flee the enemy, after seeing a cannonball disembowel your best friend standing next to you.

One of the best teachers I have seen was Ms Roane, a first grade teacher for my son. She understood the energy level inside of a first grader and pro actively channeled that energy into acquiring knowledge, instead of useless time-consuming ploys to keep them quiet, but do nothing to teach.

One, she was nice to look at. Every day she dressed as if she might be called on to plea for the salvation of the Newark Chrysler plant. She was methodical with her praise and always corrected and disciplined in a positive manner. Example: she would explain to the class how a persons action was preventing the entire class from doing their task, and then would address the student publicly and discipline him for his action.

After a few short weeks, she had no discipline problems. I have seen her accolades in various local publications as parents often write in to praise her for her demeanor and effectiveness.

I remember another educator, Mr Pritchett who headed one of the inner city schools I “choiced” my child into. His job was larger and tougher, he had a entire school to run, but he ran it well. (I often tease him for giving us George Bush, because Bush had lost all his primaries up until Pritchett introduced him at Riverfront Center as the “next President of the United States.” Thereafter, the curse was dropped.)

Again, he explained why an infraction was bad for everyone and then he would address the infractee and persuasively win a promise of support.

This approach to discipline is readily seen on the sideline of our schools athletic fields, and one must wonder why it fails to permeate into the classroom. It, along with ability, is what differentiates a good from a bad coach.

But we see little of this accountability in our elected officials and their appointees who oversee the process of educating our children. We used too. Tom Carper, at least did something towards improving the standards to which we hold our students accountable. The sad case is that, after he moved on, the wheels began to spin.

As Mike Protack would be inclined to say, perhaps it is because we have the wrong officials.

As we gear up to new elections, and even right here, right now, as several districts go to the polls this spring to fill replacement seats, we Delawareans need to hold them accountable on the single greatest issue that affects the future economic viability of our state.

And that is education. Or more specifically, education in science and math. Or even more specialized, engineering. What can these candidates bring to the table to improve the engineering capability of Delaware students?

Expected answer: “Gee, I haven’t really thought of that.”

Appropriate answer: The state should fund .5 mil for stipends to assist engineering classes. Those students who possess superior math skills should be challenged by an interesting and enlightening curriculum. Visiting professors could be brought in to generate interest and excite students into the possibility of pursuing a career in engineering.”

But what is most needed, is to change the image of the future engineer from being a geek, to something to be sought after. Immigrant cultures pursue this naturally when they come to this country. The problem lies not with our abilities as a culture, but with our attitudes.

There is no shortage of raw material for potential engineers. Our cities are full of them. Right now, these resources are wasted. Particularly in Delaware, the students of the city are deemed a curse imposed by an archaic judicial order upon the suburban elite. I find this demeaning attitude to be the culprit. To bypass it, Wilmington needs their own school district, hopefully headed by Mayor Baker, after his mayoral term expires, to prove there is nothing wrong with students who happen to live in the inner city.

I am sure racial skeptics will scoff at this suggestion and say privately that inner city kids can never rise above their inadequacies. What a delusional state one must be in to even suggest it………………………………

To them I answer:

Take a look who is running our submarines………………………..