Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Lessons Are They Teaching?

Teachers and other union members in Wisconsin are outraged by the attempt led by Republican Governor Scott Walker to return fiscal sanity and solvency to the state. Here's a summary of what the Governor proposes:
Walker proposed reducing spending by $30 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year by making changes to public employee benefits programs. The changes include making state, school district and municipal employees pay half of the annual contributions to their pension programs through the Wisconsin Retirement Systems. He also proposed increasing employee health insurance premium payments from 6 percent to 12.6 percent.

Walker also recommended tighter controls on collective bargaining with unions representing state employees. He wants to require a voter referendum for any new contract that would increase wages at a faster pace than the consumer price index inflation rate. He recommended limiting terms of state worker contracts to one year and to require annual votes by state employees over whether to remain part of a union. The bargaining limits would not affect state troopers, building inspectors and local law-enforcement and fire employees.

University of Wisconsin employees, on the other hand, would be prevented from participating in collective bargaining.

The state could save $165 million in the current fiscal year by deferring payments on existing debt to future years, according to Walker’s budget.

Walker’s proposal also would order the Department of Health Services to revise state Medicaid programs to help reduce a $153 million gap between fiscal year 2011 costs and money earmarked to pay for the program. Walker also plans to increase the amount of state money dedicated to pay for Medicaid.
He has also pledged not to lay anyone off if the bill passes, but if it doesn't he'll have to lay off up to 6000 state employees. There are not enough Democrats in the Wisconsin senate to stop passage so they took a bus to Illinois where they're staying (at taxpayer expense?) at a Best Western. This prevents the GOP-dominated senate from reaching the quorum needed to conduct business. It strikes me as a little futile, and a waste of taxpayer money. After all, they aren't being paid by the taxpayers to hole up in a hotel in Illinois. Nor are they being paid to run from the state's budget crisis.

Anyway, the Governor wants to make it more difficult for public employees to extort the taxpayers which has roused a thousand or more Wisconsin teachers to call in sick (a violation of professional ethics) to march on Madison in an ugly protest. Left-wing protests, as we've come to learn over the years, are often ugly. The video below is pretty funny, though, juxtaposing as it does the buffoonish allegations by liberals about the source of hate-filled rhetoric in this country with video of the signs carried by some of the Madison protestors:
And just think, these are the people who are teaching our children. If it weren't for the fact that I knew so many wonderful, selfless, dedicated teachers in my 35 year career in public education this demonstration would make me ashamed to be numbered among them.

Re: Nobody Gets Married Anymore, Mister

The post titled Nobody Gets Married Anymore, Mister got a lot of attention from readers. Some of the responses were captivating reading, and I'd like to share a few of them, all written by young women, with you. Names have been changed to protect anonymity. Dashed lines separate the replies:
Garibaldi's article, sadly, didn't shock me at all. In today's sexually driven society, it's no surprise that teen pregnancy has become such a major issue. The thing I appreciate most is that Garibaldi raises the issue of marriage having become a burden among these girls. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I hear adults complain about the show "16 and Pregnant" on MTV. The problem these days, though, is that they complain about the show glorifying teen pregnancy, but when MTV ran a similarly made show called "Engaged and Under-aged" it received the same criticisms.

I graduated with 75 students in my high school class. Three of those girls were pregnant at some point in their high school career (one in ninth grade, the other two were senior year). One dropped out. Teen pregnancy is not a huge "issue" for my school district because it has become a norm. Last year a good friend of mine broke that norm in a practically unheard of way, and she fell under scrutiny of many an angry parent.

My friend was 17 when she realized that she was pregnant. Her boyfriend was 20. Soon after she broke the news, they started wedding plans. I went to their wedding last May, they lived in the basement of my home (they were previously sleeping in their car) for several weeks last summer, and I was there with her in the hospital when she was having complications with her pregnancy. Their baby boy was born, healthy, in September of last year. Getting married was the right thing to do, wasn't it? Well, apparently what was right in the fifties and what is right today are two completely different things.

My dear sweet friend, who was not your stereo-typical pregnant teen, was ridiculed not for her pregnancy, but for her marriage. She went through four high school friends as matron of honor, because mothers refused to allow their daughters to participate in such an event, before a friend with a sister in a similar situation stepped up. My friend's own mother almost didn't go to the wedding and would not even hug her daughter afterward. What saddens me the most is that no one was upset about the pregnancy. All of the problems were with the marriage. It should be noted that this couple had been engaged for two months before her pregnancy and had planned on marrying as soon as she graduated high school.

When did we become a society in which teen pregnancy is okay as long as the mother intends to remain single and finish high school? When did our views switch? Never have I met a guy so loving of the mother of his child, yet they do what once would have been thought of as right and have their faces spit on. I guess I'm still just an old-fashioned thinker, but I believe we need to reevaluate our ways of thinking as a society.


I am not going to lie. When I read the title to this article, it intrigued me. I thought it could go so many different ways. Before I met my fiancĂ©, I was so against getting married and swore I never would. Too many people get married and within a year divorce. What was the point? You can love someone without a ring and a different last name. When I started reading the article written by Gerry Garibaldi and realized it was about unwed mothers, I immediately began to get defensive. I am an unwed mother of a beautiful 2 year old (going on 13) boy. Yes, my fiancĂ© is my son’s father. We did not get engaged until Valentine’s Day of 2010.

We met and shortly after I realized he was different from other men I have dated. We exchanged the “L” word, and shortly began talking about children. He is 5 years older than I am and did not want to be 30 when he had his first child. We made the decision for me to come off birth control after reading many reports that it takes almost a year to conceive when you have been on birth control regularly for a while.

Oops! Two months later and we had a positive pregnancy test. We were shocked, to say the least, that it happened so quickly. But we both made an adult decision to try to have a child. My situation is different than the girls in this article. My pregnancy was planned (maybe not so soon), but it was discussed and not the result of not taking the proper precautions.

My heart began to go out to these girls. I have the utmost respect for single mothers. Although I carry the title “single mother”, I do not feel that I am a single mother. It is a difficult job learning the ins and outs of how to be a good parent. I am sorry these girls grew up learning that being a single mother is practically the "norm" for urban residents. I am so thankful I have someone to share the responsibility with. If I didn't, I am certain I would have managed, but it would have been much more difficult. I currently work a full-time job, take 9 credits/semester, and my fiance works a 12 pm - 8:30 pm shift with lots of overtime. Again, if I didn't have our families to help, I would not be able to do any of this.

As far as welfare goes, they make it seem like it will all be just dandy with all the perks of having a baby and being on welfare. Welfare starts the day you find out you a pregnant and get a WIC appointment. You get food stamps, WIC checks, cash assistance, help with daycare, help with housing, assistance from numerous agencies, sometimes Social Security Income if you can no longer work because you need to take care of a child. It sickens me all the benefits they give children who have children. I don't know how the sex-ed programs are in schools anymore, but I know what I learned wouldn't have been enough to stop me from getting pregnant sooner. I think they need to show the gruesome labor and delivery videos, videos of everything that can wrong if you don't take care of yourself. I think there need to be more programs on adoption awareness.

These young girls think they can raise a child on their own, but most of them end up dropping out of high school. Why not allow someone who is having trouble conceiving raise your child in an environment that would be better suited for the baby than what you can give them? Give someone the gift of a baby.

I work in York City and I also see young girls pushing babies in strollers. Better yet, I work in the mental health field. We have a few consumers who are pregnant and/or have children. It is difficult to work with these people because I (and everyone around) know this person should never have had a child, but they're stubborn and think they can make it. Then they're always dropping their children off at the Lehman Center, which is a center for people who feel they're at their wit's end. You can drop your child off there for a few days until you cool down. It is great there is a place like this, but if you feel you are reaching that point a lot, don't you think you should consider adoption?

I worry so much about the welfare of these babies. I think a lot of these mothers are being greedy. Allow your child to have a good life, not be raised in a house with 15 other people. Or by a boyfriend who will beat your child to death with a playstation remote, which is my other concern.

Abuse rates in single-parent households are way too high. Mothers allow their boyfriends to come in and help raise their children but also lose their minds. Most recently in York, there was a story about 2 year old Darisabel Baez where the boyfriend beat her to death with a playstation control.

The documentaries from the York City police, detectives, hospital personnel was heart-breaking. That little girl never stood a chance. There is a program in MD called Justice for Justice where the father shook his baby to death. He is on trial. There was 5 year old Dominick Calhoun in Michigan where again the mother's boyfriend tortured and beat the little boy until he died. This story is also on trial right now. It breaks my heart to read these stories which is why I have become an advocate for child abuse prevention. These are the stories they need to show the 14, 15 year old girls who want to get pregnant, or already are pregnant and not sure what to do.


This article caught my interest and relates to me personally. First I will start by saying that I personally know many, many young women (many my own friends) who have had children out of wedlock. Not only that, but many of them have multiple children to multiple fathers. And many were born when the mother was very young. My friend Ashley, for example, is 29 years old. She had her first son (which was an "accident") at age 20.

I remember going with her to tell the father. He was at the time, seeing someone else. She never even asked him to be in the child's life. She just said to him, "I just want you to know I am pregnant, It is your baby, and you do not need to be in its life, my parents will help me support it." And that was it. She never did make him help, never made him see the little boy, and her parents helped her raise him. I personally don't know why anyone would do that. Especially with their first child. All the emotions and hormones and decisions to make.... How can anyone do that alone?

Anyway, long story short, she wound up pregnant again a few years later, and the scenario was much the same. This time she did take the father for child support, but he lived in another state, so he was never in the child's life. Finally, she did meet someone, who by the grace of God was a very respectable man, who took in her two illegitimate children as his own, and they were married a few years later. Things did wind up OK in the end for her, but I still don't know how she could have made it through those years before she found him.

Supportive parents or not, I feel it is ultimately YOUR responsibility to raise your own children, but I do find that many young mothers depend on their parents to help them raise, if not raise entirely, their children.

I myself was raised by my grandmother, my mother was hardly ever around, and I was the product of a what you call a "one night stand", so, needless to say, my parents were never married. I actually never met my real father until I was 20 years old. And like the article said, I grew up thinking that that was normal. Children who had "real" families seemed to me to be the abnormal way of life. I didn't have the easiest childhood, but I made the best of it, and of myself. I made the choice to never have a child before I am married, and to wait until I know for sure that the person I marry will be the one I will stay with my entire life. Life is ultimately what YOU make it to be.

Another issue that came to mind when I read this article, is the fact that so many people see marriage as a not so serious commitment any more. Divorce is so common, that I feel like many people feel they should be "allowed" to make a sudden and rushed decision to marry, because they know that they can easily just say, "OK, I meant what I said in my vows a year ago, but now I have changed my mind", and move on to the next one.

Marriage is a serious commitment. And a serious promise. I really don't understand how people today don't see that. Again, I have a friend, Nadia, who is 29, has been married 3 times, and has 3 children, each with one of her husbands. I think that that is ridiculous! I cant even imagine how her children feel when it comes time to go see daddy. I bet they wonder which one?

Bottom line, I feel that people should be held to take on the responsibility of their own actions. In this case, a father taking care of his children, and people in general just being more careful about unwanted pregnancies, and not rushing into the decision to get married right away. Because even if two people find out they are pregnant, getting married isn't always the answer. Many times, because the pregnancy was a result of a lack of judgment in the first place, the marriage will just end in a divorce. And the only person really suffering from all of this is the children, who had nothing to do with any of it in the first place.

All of this really comes down to the image of children and marriage that our society deems as acceptable. And from what is seen in the movies and on the news daily, this way of life is acceptable. I feel that if we as a people began to portray this way of life as it really is (single mothers who wind up living on welfare because they can't support themselves or their children, pregnant teenagers dropping out of high school, ultimately ruining their future because they can no longer continue their education, deadbeat fathers who never learn responsibility because they are never made to, and the children growing up in these families thinking that this is "normal", to name a few...), instead of how the media portrays it (because realistically, those single moms can afford to raise their children alone on their million dollar salaries), then maybe the youth of America will start to be more cautious and really think about the decisions they are making, and how it will affect them, as well as others, in the future.
There's a lot of wisdom, some of it learned the hard way, in these letters. Unwed motherhood is a calamity for most people who find themselves in that situation. Consider the prospects of both mother and child in that circumstance. The young mom, who usually has no marketable skills, has to struggle to provide the minimum for her child who is often raised by the child's grandmother who's often herself single and poor. What resources does such a child have to draw upon?

Compare this unfortunate child to another child born to a mother who waited until she was out of school and who's married to the biological father of her child. Both parents have at least some job skills and both share in providing for the child. The child, if a boy, has a positive male role model to teach him by example what it means to be committed to a woman. If the child is a girl she feels loved and valued by her father and will thus be less inclined to seek male acceptance in the back seat of a car when she's a teenager. Moreover, that child also benefits in many cases from having two sets of grandparents who have worked and saved all their lives for the sole purpose of being able to shower their accumulated wealth on their children and grandchildren whom they adore.

What happens when the first child needs a loan to go to college, to buy a car or a home? What happens when grandmother is sick and can't care for the child, but mom has to work? Compare the predicament of the child of a single mom to what happens in the case of the child with both parents and two sets of grandparents when it needs a financial boost. The second child has a tremendous head start in life simply by virtue of the fact that his or her parents got married and stayed married.

If people want to know why there's generational poverty in this country all they need do is look at the generational cycle of fatherlessness and single motherhood. As long as that continues we'll never end poverty no matter how much money we spend on it.