History In Halstead

Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Open Letter on Immigration

I agree with almost all of the ideas listed in the letter open letter below. It was prinited by Alex Tabarrok and he lays out some great points about immigration that often time get left out of emotional political speeches.

Dear President George W. Bush and All Members of Congress:
People from
around the world are drawn to America for its promise of freedom and
opportunity. That promise has been fulfilled for the tens of millions of
immigrants who came here in the twentieth century.
Throughout our history as
an immigrant nation, those who are already here worry about the impact of
newcomers. Yet, over time, immigrants have become part of a richer America,
richer both economically and culturally. The current debate over immigration is
a healthy part of a democratic society, but as economists and other social
scientists we are concerned that some of the fundamental economics of
immigration are too often obscured by misguided commentary.
immigration has been a net gain for existing American citizens, though a modest
one in proportion to the size of our 13 trillion-dollar economy.
do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there
are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and
open to all workers on an equal basis.
Immigration in recent decades of
low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers,
but the effect is likely to be small, with estimates of wage reductions for
high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero
While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by
immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that
immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade
in goods and services, the gains from immigration outweigh the losses. The
effect of all immigration on low-skilled workers is very likely positive as many
immigrants bring skills, capital and entrepreneurship to the American
Legitimate concerns about the impact of immigration on the poorest
Americans should not be addressed by penalizing even poorer immigrants. Instead,
we should promote policies, such as improving our education system that enables
Americans to be more productive with high-wage skills.
We must not forget
that the gains to immigrants from coming to the United States are immense.
Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. The American
dream is a reality for many immigrants who not only increase their own living
standards but who also send billions of dollars of their money back to their
families in their home countries—a form of truly effective foreign
America is a generous and open country and these qualities make America
a beacon to the world. We should not let exaggerated fears dim that

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thoughts and Reflections

Well, the year is just about done and these are a few of my observations and feelings:

1. Our school changed the grading scale to 90-80-70-65. This is not a huge change and it is being sold as lowering the standard to raise the expectations. I voted for it because I did not see it having a major impact on the way that I teach or the process that my students go through to learn. Still, the perception is that we simply lowered the standard.

2. I was notified I would be getting a Deans Honors for my masters degree since I have a 4.0 GPA. I found it interesting the fact in high school I graduated with a 3.2 and then I got a 3.8 GPA for my BSE and now I'm up to a 4.0 for my graduate degree. I must have gotten smart at some point? I wonder what I would get with a doctorate degree.

3. Golf is great. I enjoy my team, the other school's coaches, my assistant coach and most everything about this season. There are always small road bumps but overall it has been my most enjoyable season in the past four years. Regionals are Monday and we have a slightly outside shot of qualifying someone for state.

4. The seniors graduate this weekend. They have been a solid class with a good variety of people. Too many of them are graduating with the idea that gas prices are high because oil companies are greedy but that is their fault for not taking my economics class. I hope they don't do anything stupid this week to tarnish their image as they leave.

5. My teaching this year would earn a grade of a C+ or B-. It has not been as strong as years past but I know exactly what I want to do to improve. Also, my economics class was excellent and my US history class did pretty well. Next year, I already know what I need to do to improve so I am cautiously optimistic about the future.

6. I found out that there is a campaign to get me to run for president on facebook.com. I think my chances of winning are a bit weak since I am only 31 but I must admit the picture they have makes me want to vote for myself.

7. The summer will be really busy but fun. I have a week long seminar in at Washburn, two weeks in Parsons and a road trip to Washington DC along with golf, basketball and a new closet. Luckily I don't have to work in the summer so I have plenty of time.

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