Jan 012016
 

you-are-beautiful

by John Donnelly…….

Children and the world at large continue to unnecessarily suffer in pain and ignorance. Abundant “Answers and Solutions” await these young ones, however, leaderless adults within the fabric of a broken society beckon approval from their Masters, while cowering before the ‘god of political correctness’.

Empirical data with proven results are available to anyone seeking clarity and sound outcomes; when it comes to devising effective strategies and techniques that actually advance and educate our children.

On the ‘firing line of life’ empty rhetoric, ideas and instructional approaches bring failure and destruction to all who abide in such foolishness. Where the rubber meets the road; how have we faired as a nation and partner in the world at large, when comparing the accomplishments of our students to their counterparts?

Children and adolescents under the most severe of circumstances, placed in an environment that actually meets their real needs, have been catapulted into dimensions filled with hope, positive anticipation, achievement and courage to face new challenges, when provided with information pastoring the ‘wisdom of the ages’.

Students in a “Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane”, upon participating in programs designed to awaken them to their ‘True Selves’ and ‘Potential’, while restoring the Relationship they share with Society; were able to change their horrific lives and ugly crimes into learning experiences that healed and transformed their lives.

After their release from confinement, I randomly came upon some of these young men sitting at a bus stop, as they were making their way to a job interview. I stopped and gave them a ride to their destination, while we discussed the progress they were making through a difficult period of readjustment. We arrived at the work site, it was a truck terminal where they would be loading and unloading vehicles. They were grateful for a job, fresh ideas and the new start they developed while under our tutelage.

They had defied the odds. Enlightened by a new reality defining them as individuals competently able to improvise, adapt and overcome anything that came their way, without resorting to crime. Their resolve and determination to maintain the awareness and uplifted consciousness birthed in prison was eclectic. The disabling mindsets of the past had been smashed. The focus of their attention was upon moving onward and upward; towards dreams and a future filled with infinite promise and possibilities.

In public school classrooms filled with ‘disabled & troubled’ students; the results were significantly more beneficial, when the instruction and activities outlined in this article were appropriately delivered to these children.

The accompanying “student scholarship proposal” was submitted to the Superintendent of Schools & School Board on September 1, 2015…

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Peace & Social Justice Award…

The recipient of this ‘annual prize’ will receive a $3,000 scholarship. It’s open to all high school students in the district. There will be one recipient selected from each high school. It does not necessarily have to be given to a 12th grader.

Plan of Action:

1) Advertise the availability of scholarship.
2) Meeting and orientation with interested students.
3) An overview of goals and short term objectives required to be met by those seeking the award.
4) Sign up and ‘information exchange’ will initiate the process. Supervision, consults and answers to any questions will be provided. Contact will be maintained with each ‘scholarship candidate’ via electronic mail, telephonic transmissions and personal visitations.

Criterion To Be Met:

1) Participants will be introduced to the scientific techniques, effects and benefits of Meditation; while learning the proper methods and procedures utilized in Meditation. A bio-feedback device will allow each student to visualize, experience and compare their brainwaves, while in a meditative and active state of mind.
2) Guidance and direction will be provided to each student throughout the program, alerting them to any adjustments that might improve their experience.
3) A meditation group will be developed and meet regularly at each high school.
4) Individual proficiency in this practice will be assessed, reviewed and expanded upon.
5) These meditation groups will in turn keep their doors open for any new students who may want to drop in to participate or seek an instructional session. Techniques for Uplifting Consciousness, while Expanding Concentration, Awareness and Student Achievement; will be developed and maintained.

Program Design:

1) After the group completes their meditative session; topics to include bullying and school violence, along with racial and religious bigotry, will be discussed and elaborated upon.
2) Insights, perspectives, suggestions and potential solutions will be shared regarding the improvement of academic performance, creating a valuable school experience, correlating school with career ambitions; along with addressing any impediments and distractions impeding goal acquisition.
3) A series of ‘collaborative networking’ will be developed, to include principals, teachers, parents, students, convicts, the wrongly accused and law-enforcement.
4) “A Change Is Coming” will be considered as a theme, when addressing bullying, school violence and personal improvement.
5) I will meet regularly with the students.
6) Daily contact will be available for those interested parties via the aforementioned means of communication.

Long-range Goals:

1) Develop a relationship with the ‘Innocence Project’, ‘Southern Poverty Law Center’ and ‘Wounded Warrior Project’.
2) Invitations will be extended to members from these organizations, seeking them to share their experiences as Guest speakers.
3) Individuals who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to ‘death or live in prison without parole’, will be available to speak, answer questions and provide clarity concerning their ordeals.
4) Law-enforcement officers injured in the line of duty and wounded in action, along with the family members of officers slain in the line of duty, will share their personal accounts and experiences, defining the horror and suffering caused by their loss.

Conclusion:

As the school year nears completion, I will consult with the Principals concerning their recommendations for the scholarship. At an agreed upon time and location, I will present the recipient of the award with their ‘prize’ and $3,000 check.

If possible, as the school year nears completion I would like to sponsor a county wide luncheon memorializing the successful conclusion of this ground-breaking project. This commemorative event will include the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Corrections, Former Inmates Wrongly Accused, and members of Law-Enforcement; along with anyone else deemed appropriate by the Superintendent and District Staff.

Request:

I welcome and value your input, along with any suggestions that might assist me in getting this scholarship proposal out of the gate.

I would appreciate it, if you would please get back to me in an expeditious manner, as I’m in the midst of advancing this vision via the development of projects for those school districts desiring this opportunity for their students.

I thank you so very much for your time and consideration.

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John Donnelly
John Donnelly, a resident of Key Largo was born, raised and went to high school in the South Bronx. Upon graduation he was awarded several scholarships to college. He chose to enlist in the United Sates Marine Corps. While serving in Vietnam John was wounded in action. He received two meritorious promotions, one during combat. Upon discharge and return to America, John had a difficult time transitioning back into civilian life. He found himself homeless for the next 4 years. As he worked out some troublesome concerns, he began to yearn to make some sense of his experiences via education. He sought and received his GI Bill benefits. He later graduated frpm the University of Miami on the President’s Honor Roll. While working at a Maximum Security Prison Facility for criminally insane adolescents, he earned a Master of Science degree from Florida International University.
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More Articles by John Donnelly prior to November, 2014.
 January 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #147, John Donnelly  Add comments

  9 Responses to “Missed Opportunity–Keeps Students In Darkness & Blinds The World…”

  1. John, I can only admire your commitment to something like this and congratulate you for it. I have nothing against any of the programs you lay out here and hope they can reach fruition. Having said that, I have believed for quite some time that there really is no “education” problem in America, but rather, a problem of marginalization. Our education facilities work just fine in places where the students are ready to be educated. The problem in America is that there are just way too many dysfunctional environments in our midst. That is more a socio-economic problem than an educational problem. Now, education is a key to breaking this vicious cycle, but the way in which our society develops and distributes it resources is of primary importance. This is not to say your program is a waste of time. No! It can be a great tool, but social justice is the first necessity. If the schools abroad work better than ours, it is because there are less marginalized environments. Good stuff, Jerome

  2. Mr. Grapel. I am surprised at you; to acquiesce to the educational system as a paradigm of academic relevancy is absurd. The formal public educational system as always been a tool of indoctrination and subjugation, and anathema to critical and independent thought.

    Ask any 10 kids at Key West High to find Afghanistan on a map, then ask those same kids to name the Kardashian family; any guesses as to which one gets more right answers? Ask a kid to solve a long division problem, sans their calculator, and they can’t do it. Ask a kid to write a paper without spell check, and they can’t do that either. Ya know what, ask a college graduate to do those same things and I bet you get the same result.

    When I entered UCLA in the 70’s, the MINIMUM starting entrance requirement was you had to be in the top 10% of all California high school graduates. The reality was much more severe. In 2001, The UC system, I presume under those same minimum standards, expelled 6% of their incoming freshman class due to their inability to master basic english and math skills. And these were supposedly the cream of the California student crop.

    Schools have always focused on retention skills rather than processing skills. That is so, as George Carlin said, they produce workers just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, but not smart enough for critical, independent thought.

    The educational system, like everything else, has always had a purpose not related to its stated one.

    • Keysbum, Cool, I expected and agree with all you’ve said. I simply did not have the time or space to go deeper in a comment of this kind. I does not surprise me that you got in some licks here, so I’ll further explain what I mean. I do not like the kind of individual our educational system turns out. It, like all educational systems, reflects the attitude of the socio-economic system it operates in. It will turn out a person who is adept at functioning in just such an environment. What I am saying is that this educational system will accomplish this if the raw material it is given is ready to learn it. Therefore, there is no need for any fancy educational experiments — Charter Schools or other lavish schemes to improve it — because it will work if the student is ready to learn. The problem is that in our country there is just way too many dysfunctional places, which is also a function of our socio-economic system. The problem is a socio-economic one, not an educational one. Now, regardless of what you want to teach the student, if he or she comes from an environment not interested in being educated, it does not matter what you try to do (though I am not at all against what John is trying to do, but it will be very, very difficult). In short, we are trying to solve an “educational” problem that is the result of something much bigger than just education. You have to improve the societal problem before we can fix the educational problem. Very good stuff KB, ciao, Jerome

  3. Jerome,

    Always great to hear from you. Value and appreciate your taking the time to comment. Blessings for the New Year.

    What I get is; our “educational facilities work just fine”; where children don’t need them. You cannot fix socio-economic problems with more under-educated and dysfunction high school, college and graduate school graduates. Soon they will be getting in the way of the dropouts.

    The minds designing and maintaining this seriously flawed program of indoctrination (education) are cognizant of their deficient product, Obama et.al, as posing a “threat to our national security”; along with being a causation for lingering societal decay.

    The program I outlined was successfully applied to societies’ most marginalized of children and young adults. All of them; significantly benefited and dramatically changed their lives.

    Again, thanks for the honest and astute commentary.

    • John, No, all children need education, even ones who come from healthy environments. What kind of human being they are being led to be is another subject. (See my comment to KB). John, whether you want to admit it or not, all educational systems are trying to indoctrinate their students with their society’s idea of “good”, or “right”, or “correct”, etc. I agree, what our society believes in this respect is not optimal. In fact, I hate the kind of things our society glorifies and someone like Donald Trump is the fruit of this kind of education. It’s not our educational system that is failing, it is our societal model that is failing. Great discussion, one really worth having. Thanks, Jerome

  4. Keysbum,

    Sincerely appreciate your entering the discussion. Thank you.

    Blessings to you for the New Year.

    Excellent assessment of some of the realities not addressed by preparatory schools, feeder schools, for paradigm maintenance and survival.

    If you can, stay on board for further discussion…

    Keysbum, your analytical reasoning and analysis provides valued input. Thanks again.

  5. Jerome,

    How might one change the societal model you speak of? By continuing to indoctrinate (educate) more subjects into the societal manner in which they must think, behave and view the world?

    Of course not…

    The spell needs to be broken and a remedy applied that will actually uplift a child’s consciousness and awareness; devoid of societal conditioning.

    As I’ve alluded to; that remedy has been administered to a diverse group of students in extreme circumstances; and it has never failed.

    Accelerated students have been catapulted into advanced academic states of creativity and genius. No additional cost, and every student is assured a successful outcome!!!!!

    Jerome, I sincerely admire and respect your comments and commitment to excellence. Blessings to you.

  6. John, Your response is cogent and well thought out. The question is: is the societal model effecting the education apparatus, or can the education apparatus change society? I’m not sure as to that answer, but I tend to give more weight to the former. Mass education (which I see as necessary) is usually a reflection of the broader society it exists in. My efforts are usually an attempt to change that societal model thru socio-political machination, something you seem to ignore. This, for me, is the front line in having a more just and socially mobile society, one that the educational system would eventually more reflect. But your efforts are also very relevant. In a more just society they’d probably be less necessary but as we progress (if that happens) such efforts will always be excellent tools for an improvement in the human condition. As for now, you’ve had some success, but it is still anecdotal. I’d love to think it could work for the masses of people living in marginal settings … but that, without some kind of moving away from the paradigm of the consumer society, seems very difficult to me. Look, John, perhaps I live too anchored in the hard core reality of things, but I also think just the “spiritual” has never been enough. I suppose they rely on each other, but one without the other will never work. Great discussion, thanks, Jerome

  7. Jerome,

    You frame our different perspectives perfectly. Demonstrating an ability to honestly and accurately reflect the ideas and insights of another, whom you may disagree with.

    Your poise, clarity and integrity are sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

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