‘Star Wars:Republic Commandos – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 2 (Part 1)

Well, I tried to get back into the saddle again today, but things didn’t quite work out.  I ended up having to write the next five day’s worth of blogs on the following Monday as I just got WAY too busy on other things since my laptop came back to us.  Once I got the laptop back, I had to take two evenings just downloading and loading the programs that I once had on the laptop.  I’m finally caught up and now I’m scrambling to get things together to have my students do their video projects starting next week.  Today was the second day of ELA testing for New York State.  I was actually proctoring the exam this year instead of relieving other teachers that were proctering.  It was a different perspective giving the test instead of being the person who relieves the proctor.  I had the same six kids yesterday all morning long and I had the same six kids today all morning long.  Even I was starting to get claustrophobic.  I felt bad for these kids.  I was never a good test taker and if New York State had asked me to do this every year of my school career for both Math and English, I think I would have hated the state myself.  So, this gets me onto a topic I would like to expound on for a minute.

I would like to talk about the “No Child Left Behind” Act.  When I first read about this concept at the inception of the Bush administration, I thought, “wow, someone is really starting to understand where education fits into the picture of this country”.  Then came the implementation, the twisting, and the mismatched expectations of NCLB.  You see, NCLB stated that no child in this country should be given up on.  I think most teachers would totally agree with this premis.  No teacher ever wants to give up on a child.  Yet, there was a time when administrators in school districts were quick to give up on children if they felt as if the child wasn’t going to be successful according to state/school standards.  So, the U.S. Government said enough is enough and we won’t give up on any child.  Great concept!!  Many teachers agreed and said we shouldn’t give up on children.  Then came the irrational thinking.  Such as, we will no longer hold children back if they are ineffective learners, we will no longer consider where a school is place such as a city or rural area, we will no longer care how much of your student population uses English as a Second Language and have just entered, and my favorite, we will not tell each state how to execute this plan.  What has this meant for NCLB?  We have millions of illiterate students being shoved through the system because we can’t hold them back.  Students in city and rural school districts are falling farther behind and getting less funding because NCLB punishes these districts for not meeting their standards.  Students who are ESL are now being embarassed into taking a test that they don’t even understand half of.  On top of that, no one’s plan matches.  For example, New York State has set insanely high expectations for NCLB, to the point that administrators are estimating that over half the schools in the state will be on the “School In Need of Improvement” list and will loose funding from the state because of this.  However, other states have not changed standards in over a decade, such as Mississippi, and most of their schools still remain off the SINI list and receive full funding.  Mississippi’s standards are much lower than New York State’s, but no one is taking this into account.  The system is broke and it needs to be fixed.  I’m beginning to question the system, and much to my wife’s shagrin, I’ve been seriously considering a career in politics.  I guess I’ve always been interested in it, but just have never had the guts to get involved.  Now, I could see myself involved trying to change the educational system in this country.  It’s broke, and someone needs to fix it.  Maybe I’m the one.  Maybe God is calling me to act instead of sitting on the sidelines bitching about the situation.  Only time will tell if I have enough guts to make it work.

Okay, time to talk about Part 1 of Chapter 2 of James Luceno’s “Star Wars Republic Commandos – Hard Contact”…..


Chapter 2 (Part 1):  Ord Mantell secure briefing room, three months after Geonosis – Darman was in a cold briefing room staring at a holoscreen of information.  As he did, he noted all the new information that had been loaded into the HUD of his helmet.  To his left sat his new sargeant named Niner and a new squad member named Fi (or RC-8015).  They too were sole squad survivors and knew what Darman was going through.  There was a fourth empty seat in their row, however.  Jedi Master Arligan Zey paced in front of the screen while he talked to the troops while another was standing there watching the front row of officers.  Darman also observed a black furry alien creature on four legs that prowled around the room, sniffing cracks.  Zey referred to them as Valaquil or a Gurlanin, a shapeshifter.  An armored trooper burst into the room just then and introduced himself with call sign RC-3222.  The new trooper moved down and sat next to Darman.  The squad was complete, now to be referred to as Omega Squad.  Zey introduced their new objective, Qiilura.  He told them the world was technically neutral, but that wouldn’t last long at all.  The map scanned in and showed them a wonderful world of wooded islands on brisk, blue oceans.  Zey continued to explain that many luxuries in the galaxy are produced there, but no formal government exists.  Most of the people live on a subserviant level and the Neimoidians keep control through a militia led by a Mandalorian named Ghez Hokan, who was thrown out of Death Squad for having too much fun killing…..


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