Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barry Day Educational Jetsam - Gannett

Want to know why the first American diplomats and military attaches in Tripoli were totally unaware of the remains of the men of the USS Intrepid and unattended issues from the First Barbary War?

Just read this, and Jonathan Tamari explains it all.
And why they keep requiring certain subjects to be taught even though certain teachers don't really want to bother teaching them.

It reminds me of a time when I was in Ireland, back packing around Europe, staying at an "anarchist commune," squatters living in the gate house of what was once a great estate that had fallen into disrepair and these hippies were living there. I joined them for a few nights, plowed their little potato garden and ate dinner with them at the end of the day.

While the dinner guests at those meals deserve a story of their own, what makes me think of it now is the young, teenage Irish lass who prepared the dinners, a school girl who complained about having to take compulsory Galic as a language in school.

"It's a dead language," she complained, "and we'll never get a chance to use it, unless we moved to the islands, and they make us take it, by law. It's a waste of time."

And everyone seemed to agree with her, and sorry she had the misfortune of having to learn Galic in Irish schools, but then she said something funny, yet true, and wise beyond her years.

"If they'd outlaw it, we'd all be speaking it," she said.

And indeed, instead of requiring schools teach about John Barry, Richard Somers, the Holocost and 9/11, they should out law them from being taught in the schools, like prayer, and then their stories would be secretly taught, and the lessons of their lives learned.

I think Jonathan Tamari needs a lesson in Constitutional democracy and Jim O'Neill a lesson in researching the lives of early American heroes, John Barry in particular.

There probably wouldn't be a Constitution as we know it today if it wasn't for Barry, and his group of "Persuaders," who acted as an unofficial sergeant at arms, tracked down reluctant delegates and escorted them to Convention Hall to ensure a legal quorum.

And having recognized the role of John Barry, schoolmaster, in educating Somers, Decater and Stewart - the first generation of midshipmen, and the role of Captain John Barry in the development of the Navy, exemplified in three Presidential Resolutions, I have easily determined a dozen lines of inquiry that have yet to be adequately researched about both John Barrys, and Terry Jacob's idiotic statement, "Not much about Commodore Barry has changed." And he says it with a smirk.

Someone will have to change the minds of narrow minded reporters like Tamari, ignorant administrators like O'Neill and idiot principles like Jacob.

Commodore Barry Day? It's educational jetsam.

By Jonathan Tamari
Gannett State Bureau


Today New Jersey school children celebrate the holiday that almost wasn't. At least some of them will.

After all, it's Commodore Barry Day.


You know - Commodore John Barry, the Revolutionary War captain often called the Father of the American Navy. Kids learn about him in school. It's required.

State law mandates that schools teach Commodore Barry Day. Sept. 13. If it doesn't ring a bell you're not alone.

"You're one of the six people who remembers?" Chatham Schools Superintendent Jim O'Neill asked when a reporter called to find out how his district will mark the day.

The little-known holiday had a moment in the limelight earlier this year when lawmakers almost wiped it off the books while trying to eliminate some educational mandates as part of their effort to lower property taxes. Teaching certain holidays would have become optional.

Veterans, however, objected to provisions eliminating the school requirements for Veterans Day and Memorial Day, saying soldiers should be honored and remembered, and Gov. Jon S. Corzine, using his veto, preserved the mandatory teaching of those holidays - along with Presidents Day, Columbus Day and Commodore Barry Day.

The change became a small symbol of property tax reform backpedaling. Even the Commodore Barry lobby flexed its muscle.

O'Neill would have like to see the mandates go, saying more learning has little impact on real education. So will his schools still honor the Commodore?

For a moment, he demurs. This is, after all, required.

"Our teachers recognize Commodore Barry when we cover a part of history that he was involved in. But we do not make special note of the day," O'Neill said. "I think that nine out of ten who are honest will tell you the same thing."

Surely someone must celebrate Barry, an Irish-born seaman who spent most of his life in Philadelphia. What about Logan Township? The Gloucester County community is home to 6,000 residents and the New Jersey end of the Commodore Barry Bridge, which spans the Delaware River.

"You would think of all the schools, we would do something," Terry Jacobs, principal of Logan Elementary School, said with a laugh.

Only it doesn't. The school used to hold an annual essay contest, with the winner reading his or her submission over the P.A. system. But the essays were the same, year after year.

"Not much about Commodore Barry changed," Jacobs said.

But Barry gets his due just down the street, at the Center Square School, home to prekindergarten through first grade. Each year first-graders make telescopes and naval hats out of paper, explained Donna Lezar, a teacher. One lucky student gets a hat from a real Navy uniform, and the school sings a Commodore Barry song to the tune of "Yankee Doodle."

For a school where two of the teachers' husbands helped build the Commodore Barry Bridge, it's simple and fun, Lesar said.

And how will the man who saved Commodore Barry Day mark the first celebration since its near demise?

Corzine has only one public event on his schedule today, and it doesn't involve Commodore Barry. The governor will be at a morning bill signing in Cherry Hill, some 30 miles from LOgan.

Jonathan Tamari
Camden Courier-Post
Thursday, September 13, 2007

No comments: