Thursday, July 31, 2008

Schooling system passes laws to discourage over-achievement

In the 1960s and 70s and even during the recent decade of 1990s, USA was considered a land of great opportunity and where people were provided opportunities to excel in the field of their choice. The concept of American Dream has been hyped up and continues to stir passions among people here.

But sometimes when I read newspapers I feel that the American Dream is perhaps only for Americans i.e. White people. Couple of months ago I had blogged about Anjali Datta a student of Grapevine High School, Texas who had completed the four-year high school diploma in just three years and had managed to achieve the highest GPA. Anjali's GPA surpassed the topper in the four-year category by a large margin. Yet despite this demonstrated superior achievement, Anjali was denied the title of Valedictorian by the School district, which cited an age-old rule to prevent a brown-skinned Indian from attaining the top-honor and ensured that a "White American" got it.

But naturally people of all color and race stood in support of Anjali who had truly worked hard for three years to achieve the grades that others would not be able to in four years. There was a huge outcry and loads of media coverage on the issue which led to public shaming of the Grapevine ISD. Despite all the uproar Grapevine ISD went ahead and conducted its graduation as planned, Anjali was not named the Valedictorian. Indeed the ISD was stubborn enough to carry out its discriminatory policies.

Now the latest news is that Grapevine ISD learnt its lesson thanks to the Anjali Datta controversy but did not reform itself, rather it went ahead and passed a new law which denies any honor to a student who over-achieves. According to the new law any student who takes lesser than 4 years to complete high school will not be considered for the title of Valedictorian.

I was under the impression that school boards in India had absurd rules and stupid administrators. But US school boards have outsmarted Indians in this aspect, denying honor and recognition to someone who truly deserves it and giving it to their own preferred candidates.

Anyway, in the US, enforcement of rules is very high. So once the law is passed, can anyone question it? No. Students have to just sit back and relax and forget about working hard or attempting to stretch themselves to achieve more than normal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Illegal immigrants number reducing!

One of the biggest complaints of the US government as well as a majority of its citizens was about illegal immigrants (mostly hispanic) living, working and enjoying the facilities paid for by the taxpayers. According to the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies this number was pegged at about 11.2 million, about 4 percent of the entire population. When I came to know of this statistics I was a little surprised. Consider this population break up of the US:

Total population: 300 million
Adult population: 230 million
Population in Jail: 3 million
Illegal immigrants: 11.2 million (12.5 million in August 2007)

I read a newsreport in todays Dallas Morning News which talks about illegal immigrants reducing in number by a staggering 1 million. This was kind of expected with prices of essential commodities rising rapidly and falling employment and salaries. Many illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries left US to return to their home countries because living here had become too expensive.

These findings are the result of an exhaustive study conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies, Washington. Among the report’s conclusions: “The decline in the illegal population, whatever the cause, seems to directly challenge the argument that illegal aliens are here to stay and there is no way to induce many of them to return home. … In fact, if the current trend were sustained, it would cut the illegal population in half within just five years.”

A majority of the US legal population is hoping that this trend would continue and grow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Technology solutions for businesses

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

My first flying experience

I had blogged about my experience of flying or rather co-piloting a small Cessna 4 seater aircraft. Well I hadn't been able to edit the mediocre video I had shot at that time and post it on Youtube. I finally got to it last night and here you are. The video of my flying experience. Since I was co-piloting I couldn't really do a good job of shooting the video. This is the best part of whatever I shot on that flying trip from Addison to Sherman.