Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

Palin: An Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses

29 August 2008

96.9 WTKK in Boston has had callers all day arguing whether Palin was a good choice for McCain’s VP nominee.  I did some research on her past record.

If McCain was looking for a running mate who would have high conservative ideals to help draw in conservatives, Palin is a great choice.  She is a Republican but is not afraid to fight against corruption.  She has lowered taxes in Alaska and favored many Republican ideals including bans against same sex marriage, working for ethics laws, pro-life, and pro-gun.  This will help swing Republicans who were uncertain about McCain’s allegiance a bit more towards his side.

Palin went to the University of Idaho and got a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in political science.  I have heard a lot of people make comments about this making her unqualified.  Personally, I am not big on Master’s Degrees.  I have sat in on some classes for some of the Boston University Master’s Degrees and felt that not only could the work be done by an undergrad, but unless you are going in to be a doctor or possibly a lawyer you could learn as much if not more from real life experience and by keeping up on the literature of the topic.  But the fact that she didn’t have a masters wasn’t the only thing they picked on.  It was what her bachelor’s degree was in–Journalism.  Although my major is film, I have taken several journalism classes and believe that a Journalism degree is actually an advantage.  First there are many nuances of news reporting that politics relate to.  Second of all many communications related classes have a section that focus on politics because the two are so closely interrelated.  Since Palin also has a minor in Political Science, I feel that she has a pretty good understanding of politics from a theoretical stand point.  I do not think her education really works against her.

Experience is another concern people have about Palin.  Although she doesn’t have US Senate experience, she has held an elected office for more time than Barack Obama.  Also others who have run for president including Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney had the majority of their experience as governor not a US Senator.  Besides this, Palin has proved to be a quick learner in her past positions and I am sure would be able to do the same in the VP position.

Her family has come up and has mainly been seen as an advantage.  She grew up with humble beginnings as the daughter of a teacher and a school secretary.  Even now she has similar links, her husband is a union worker and has worked in the Alaskan fishing industry.  This helps create a link between her and the common person.  The concern that I do see with her family is that she has five children.  One of them is my age (19), and most of them are in their teens but her youngest one is 4 months old.  The child has Down Syndrome, which although it supports her pro-life stance, could be seen as a distraction if something were to happen to McCain and she became President.  This may not be a problem if Palin’s husband is the primary care giver of the children, but at this point it seems unclear.

Now to me one of the big issues is if she is pro-gun or anti-gun.  From some research I found that not only is Palin pro-gun, she has a life time membership to the National Rifle Association (NRA).  I think this is important because it shows that she supports what I believe to be one of the most important and controversial amendments of the Constitution and likely supports the entire document.

Another issue is her patriotism.  I personally have no doubt about her patriotism.  Not only did she applaud McCain’s service record, she has a son who is being deployed on September 11th and is in the United States Army.  In addition to this, she is the head of the Alaskan National Guard.  Palin has also taken trips to Iraq to meet with the troops and build moral.

Although she has some flaws, Palin seems to have many strengths that make her both electable and a decent VP candidate (although not perfect — and no one is).  Palin is patriotic, knows the struggles of the common man, holds conservative ideals, and has political experience.


Credentialed Teachers are not Necessary for a Good Education

11 March 2008

In California home schooling is being threatened due to a law saying that a credentialed teacher must teach home schooled students. The Supreme Court of California will be looking into the case after the appeal court ruled against the families. According to a AOL article, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will fight the courts ruling in favor of parents’ rights.

Now personally I don’t understand what parents’ rights actually are or where they are guaranteed. I think this might fall under one of the rights that people assume they have, when really they don’t (i.e. right to privacy).

But honestly, I believe that it does not matter if a parent is “credentialed” to home school their children. I know two families who have home schooled all of their children.

One of the families has four daughters. Part of their method of teaching was to join a group of home schooled students so that the girls would meet people their age and also learn from other people who may be more knowledgeable than the mother was. They go on hands on field trips at least once a month, but usually more often than that, in which they learn more on subjects like history and biology in a few hours than I learned in a few months. The oldest daughter spent her last two years of “high school” taking classes at the local community college and graduated the top in her class before going to Northeastern. The second oldest daughter has a tutor for Spanish but her mother teaches her most of her other subjects.

Both families have been highly successful home schooling their children, and all of their older children have proven to be upstanding members of society, even without credentialed instructors for all of their classes.

My parents and I considered home schooling me as well. In a way I wish I had been because it allows a personal relationship between instructor and student and also allows for a more focused education. My favorite subjects have always been math, science and history. If I had been home schooled I would have been able to focus on those subjects and been able to go on many hands on “field trips” to national parks and museums—where I learned the majority of my history and science anyway.

I don’t think a credentialed teacher is any benefit or requirement for a home schooled child. By using the many resources available to home schooling families, children can get as good, if not BETTER, education being home schooled without a credentialed teacher than being in a classroom with at least one credentialed teacher.

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