What’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you hear “San Francisco”?
Schools have been adopting liberal/progressive school discipline policies for years now, doing away with punishments like out-of-school suspension and replacing them with “less severe” alternatives like “restorative justice” — where misbehaving students get to “talk about” what ails them.
The idea is to keep disruptive kids in school so that they can learn, but it completely misses the point in that such kids don’t care about learning, and worse — they ruin it for the kids who want to learn.
And you know what they say about good intentions …
It seems even progressives have an upper tolerance limit. Teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District are fed up with restorative justice-style approaches as they claim “[s]tudents have been choked, they’ve been slapped, they have been given death threats almost daily.”
But the district, and the teachers union, remain committed to the current discipline policy.
“The policy is something we believe in, that kids should be in the school,” Lita Blanc, spokeswoman for Educators of San Francisco.
Ah, they believe.
The persistent problems with one first grade student at the school convinced teacher Erika Keil to complain to the principal, who opted not to renew the probationary teacher’s contract for next school year. The move sparked outrage from dozens of parents and teachers who descended on the school Tuesday to protest the principal’s decision.
The protesters toted picket signs reading “Advocating for student safety will cost you your job” and “Kick me, I’m a SFUSD teacher,” among others.
“To me, she did a fantastic job dealing with a difficult situation,” Keil’s colleague, Kathy Harriman, told ABC 7.
SFUSD board president Matt Haney told ABC 7 the school board could reverse the principal’s decision to dismiss Keil, but admitted that was unlikely.
Monroe students, parents and teachers, plan to continue to protest until Keil is reinstated.
The violent first-grader, meanwhile, remains in the classroom to torment his classmates, parents told the news site.
“That student has remained in the classroom without proper support,” [parent Louella] Hill said.
Talk about your Catch-22. Given that the federal Department of Education’s own policies have played a very significant role in tying schools’ hands when it comes to discipline — based on the premise that penalties affect a disproportionate percentage of racial minorities — it should be very interesting to see how this turns out.
But until then, parents will continue to vote with their feet. They’ll lobby their legislators to allow (more) charter schools, they’ll hoof it to private and parochial schools, and they will homeschool their children.
Cross-posted at The College Fix.
Philly.com laments the struggle the Philadelphia School District has in finding teachers:
And then right next to that headline we see this:
Though MSM outlets will never tell you, you can bet your bottom dollar that these two are linked. These "new" approaches to school discipline include things with fancy names like "restorative justice." While a good idea in theory -- doing away with harsh penalties like suspensions for relatively minor infractions like lateness or dress code violations -- the reality is that school officials are getting pressure not to suspend kids for serious violations, like fighting ... or worse.
"School choice should be easy, consistent and nondiscriminatory" says the Delaware Enrollment Preferences Task Force, and this means, in part, not having to provide any sort of identification to school officials.
"Our students do not care what party we are aligned with and they deserve schools that will, first and foremost, accept them and then nurture and educate them in a way that ensures that Delaware's future is bright," Task Force Co-chair Kim Williams, a Democratic state legislator representing Newport and Stanton, wrote in the report's foreword.
The report also noted that most task force members believe parents should never be asked to prove Delaware residency, provide proof of identity or show their child's birth certificate to school officials.
So, this task force cares not that Delaware taxpayers would fit the bill for those coming across the PA state line to attend northern Wilmington schools? Really?? Hey, a reminder: You represent us.
In addition, group members recommend that schools not be able to inquire as to the behavior (re: misbehavior) of school choice/charter applicants. In other words, if a kid has been suspended numerous times, the potential school shouldn't know ahead of time. Sounds just dandy! (/sarcasm)
Here's an idea: Why doesn't this task force take a poll about these concerns? Anyone wanna bet that the results will be akin to those regarding voter ID?
Just another reason why your average play-by-the-rules voter is beyond fed up.
Some people are just slow learners. This is not tragic because at least they can learn. They can finally come around to understand that they were wrong and admitting you were wrong is a mark of maturity. Bono has realized that only the private sector will lift people out of poverty.
But speaking at a UN aid conference in New York, Bono acknowledged that the private sector has a bigger role to play in development than governments.
Addressing business leaders, he said: 'I'm late to realising that it's you guys, it's the private sector, it's commerce that's going to take the majority of people out of extreme poverty. And, as an activist, I almost found that hard to say.'
Welcome to the party.
This give me hope. If he is as dedicated to solving poverty as ever, I expect him to bang the drum of capitalism as loudly as he's been calling for aid. If so, this could get interesting.
Yesterday, a 9th grader at a school in Texas brought a homemade clock to school. According to reports, Ahmed Mohamed, a supposed technology aficionado, wanted to show it off to his engineering teacher.
But apparently it began beeping in English class, and when Ahmed showed it to that teacher, she said "It looks like a bomb."
Here's a pic of Ahmed's device.
The English teacher held on to the clock, and, it seems, notified the principal. A little while later, the principal and a cop pulled Ahmed out of class. And that's when things got a little ... silly.
They led Ahmed into a room where four other police officers waited. He said an officer he’d never seen before leaned back in his chair and remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
Ahmed felt suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name — one of the most common in the Muslim religion. But the police kept him busy with questions.
The bell rang at least twice, he said, while the officers searched his belongings and questioned his intentions. The principal threatened to expel him if he didn’t make a written statement, he said.
“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed said.
“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”
“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”
The police believed Ahmed was being evasive. Nevertheless, they ended up not pressing charges after they were convinced everything was kosher.
It's seems highly unreasonable that Ahmed had to be cuffed and fingerprinted.
The police ended up not charging him with anything after everything settled down.
But the social justice warriors were aghast. Automatically, as if on cue, social media lit up blaming the fact that Ahmed is Muslim for his treatment. That (like the quote above says) because his skin is brown.
A popular former Delaware blogger took to social media yesterday too, emphatically stating that "His name is Ahmed -- that's all you need to know."
To all of which I say, "Bullsh**."
Ian Tuttle at The Corner shows exactly why:
And the list keeps going.
As Tuttle says, the story isn't about “Islamophobia” and “white privilege”— "it’s about a few people in positions of authority who overreacted to the possibility of a weapon. Which, as it happens, is a too-frequent occurrence all over the country, regardless of the color of your skin."
The real difference between Ahmed and all those above is that the former got invited to the White House and numerous other places as a result of his school's actions.
You can probably figure out why, in part. That bullet list (no pun intended) features discipline related to guns. All Ahmed did was make a clock that just happened, at a glance, to look like an explosive device. (/sarcasm)
If race/ethnicity played any part in this whole fiasco, in the long run it was to Ahmed's overwhelming benefit. What did all those (younger) kids get for their even more obvious innocent actions?
I dunno. Do you?
John Nolte has still more.
From the NY Times this past Sunday: Are College Lectures Unfair?
The notion may seem absurd on its face. The lecture is an old and well-established tradition in education. To most of us, it simply is the way college courses are taught. Even online courses are largely conventional lectures uploaded to the web.
Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that the lecture is not generic or neutral, but a specific cultural form that favors some people while discriminating against others, including women, minorities and low-income and first-generation college students. This is not a matter of instructor bias; it is the lecture format itself — when used on its own without other instructional supports — that offers unfair advantages to an already privileged population.
At this point, I'm surprised that the college lecture hasn't been blamed on global warming.
And if the lecture discriminates against women, especially, how is it that that group makes up the majority of the college population ... and its graduates, hmm?
If even some of these are authentic, the mindset behind them is truly scary.
Here's an example:
Ah, college students:
Ah, the lack of historical knowledge:
Remember, he spoke ill of Muslims, taking on Ben Affleck in the process.
Like a good "progressive," ASUC Senator Marium Navid said “It’s not an issue of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of campus climate.”
Back in May of 2010 -- May 5th, to be exact -- several (Caucasian) students at California's Live Oak High School wearing shirts with the American flag on them were asked to leave school because they refused to turn their shirts inside-out.
What, what? Students had to turn their shirts around ... because American flags were on them?
Yep -- it was Cinco de Mayo, after all.
School officials at the heavily Hispanic school were concerned that Latino students would be offended by seeing Old Glory on the Mexican holiday (a holiday not even widely celebrated in Mexico), and that some fights could result. Indeed, some 200 Mexican/Mexican-American students protested in a march that day upon hearing about their devious Old Glory-clad peers.
The gringos went to court ... and lost. The Ninth Circuit recently declined to hear their appeal, citing "prior events" that took place at the school, including an "altercation" (presumably between a white and Hispanic student), as a rationale. (There had been some 30 fights between white and Latino students in the past six years at the school.) The appellate panel said "school officials 'acted properly to prevent a substantial and material disruption of school activities.'”
The US Supreme Court indeed has granted a lot of leeway over the last few decades to public school officials when it comes to regulating student speech. One notable ruling from seven years ago is the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case (Morse v. Frederick) in which a (public school) student unfurled a banner with "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" on it across the street from his school during the Olympic torch relay.
SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority in the case (emphasis added):
Student speech celebrating illegal drug use at a school event, in the presence of school administrators and teachers . . . poses a particular challenge for school officials working to protect those entrusted to their care from the dangers of drug abuse. The First Amendment does not require schools to tolerate at school events student expression that contributes to those dangers.
Perhaps anticipating the ensuing controversy, those in the majority with Roberts emphasized that this ruling "applied only to advocacy of illegal drug use." Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, noted the "Bong Hits" case "'provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue' ... including student opposition to the drug laws themselves" (emphasis added).
You probably should be. The courts have pretty much been all over the map when it comes to lower ed. student speech rights.
The standard for such rights had been the Tinker case from 1969. The SCOTUS ruled then that students were indeed permitted to wear black armbands at school to protest the Vietnam War. The famous quote to emerge from the case was "Students don't shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates."
But since then, Tinker has arguably been eroded, despite Justice Alito's reassurance in the Morse case. In addition to Morse, 1988's Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier allowed school administrators to censor student newspapers, even despite "protective" measures taken by student writers and editors.
Which brings us back to the situation at Live Oak High School. Does Morse apply here? Why or why not? Have we actually reached the point in this country where showing the American flag can legitimately be banned ... despite it being displayed in front of our schools ... and in each classroom within?
As an educator, I can fully appreciate the need for an "orderly educational environment," and back in 2007 during the Morse case I was fairly sympathetic to the high court's reasoning.
But these days, I'm not so sure.
If we're actually at the point where a display of our own flag can be considered "offensive" -- and hence banned -- then where does it end? Will administrators now ban student displays of other national flags because they may offend some students, i.e. native-born Americans? And/or because such displays, like at Live Oak HS, may lead to some student scuffles?
Or, are only certain (politically correct) groups permitted to be "offended?"
More importantly, will this case now go to the US Supreme Court ... and will the justices legitimize the heckler's veto that the case enshrines?
(Cross-posted at The College Fix.)
Check out the pic accompanying this Politico story.
Titled "Race and the Modern GOP," it features notorious Gov. George Wallace -- a Democrat -- confronting folks in front of a schoolhouse.
As Insty notes, "Even more amusingly, it’s labeled 'History Dept.'”
Who knew? Who knew that math ... excluded so many? For, according to the Teach For America website, “math has traditionally been seen as the domain of old, White men.”
Hmm. I wonder how the Mayans, then, managed to create their exquisitely accurate calendar long before the rapacious Caucasian came ashore?
Just don't bring up such ... "uncomfortable" questions to those who believe the "OWM" (Old White Men) theory of math. Sure, it'll make them squirm a bit, but you'll most likely be subjected to a litany of the usual PC nonsense, notably that you're exercising your "white privilege."
But I digress. EAG news.org reports:
Judging from the math curriculum recommended, this TFA group, like all other social justice educators, wants minorities to believe that what relates most to their lives in America is racism and oppression.
For example, the site recommends “Critically Conscious Mathematics” and “Radical Math.”
Radical Math was created by educator Jonathan Osler several years ago while teaching at El Puenta Academy in New Jersey. Osler taught Radical Math along-side Cathy Wilkerson, a former member of the Weather Underground Organization (with Bill Ayers) who once participated in a plot to detonate a nail bomb at a dance for military personnel at Fort Dix.
Radical Math provides hundreds of social justice math lessons obviously meant to indoctrinate. For example, lesson titles include “Sweatshop Accounting,” “Racism and Stop and Frisk,” “When Equal Isn’t Fair,” “The Square Root of a Fair Share” and “Home Buying While Brown or Black.”
TFA also includes "culturally responsive" anecdotes such as the following "to suggest that the idea that math is neutral, rational, and logical is a myth and the premise that 2 + 2 = 4 is 'naive'”:
… a European explorer (presumably Francis Galton, the man who invented eugenics) agrees to trade an African shepherd two sticks of tobacco in exchange for one sheep. When he offers four sticks of tobacco in exchange for two sheep, however, the shepherd declines; the explorer later tells this story as evidence of the shepherd’s inability to comprehend simple mathematical reasoning and as “proof” of intellectual inferiority on the African subcontinent. But, if sheep are not standardized units, as there is no reason to believe them to be, then doesn’t it make sense that the second sheep might be worth far more than the first? And then doesn’t our premise of 2 + 2 = 4 look awfully naive?
I cannot think of a better way to keep minorities ignorant of mathematics than by turning the subject into yet another showcase for historical grievances. After all, these students/soon-to-be real world participants won't be able to make change at the store, or prepare the EZ federal tax form, but they will know that Christopher Columbus initiated a genocide against the native peoples of the Americas ...
... many of whom, it just so happens, were pretty good at math.
(Cross-posted at The College Fix.)
It began a week ago when Ohio University Student Senate President Megan Marzec took advantage of the then-popular ALS "ice bucket challenge" to ... bash Israel.
In a video she made, instead of ice/water, Marzec uses a red liquid to symbolize the shed "blood" of Palestinians for which Israel is supposedly responsible, all the while muttering about the "genocide in Gaza" and "occupation of Palestine":
Marzec goes on:
“I’m urging you and OU (Ohio University) to divest and cut all ties to academic and other Israeli institutions and businesses.”
“This bucket of blood symbolizes the thousands of displaced and murdered Palestinians- atrocities which OU is directly complacent in through cultural and economic ties with the Israeli state,” she explained.
Despite the rest of the Student Senate not taking kindly to Marzec's stunt, things went to the "next level" this past Wednesday.
At a meeting of the Student Senate that evening, pro-Israel students, the so-called "Bobcats for Israel," spoke out in favor of the embattled nation and against Senate President Marzec and her "blood bucket" stunt, among other things. For this, the students were arrested and charged with "disturbing a lawful meeting" (a misdemeanor):
Video is available at here.
Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection (to whom the major hat tip goes for this story) received a note from an Ohio U. tipster stating (my emphasis)
I don’t see how Ms. [Becky] Sebo was being unduly disruptive. Some of the context from the livetweeting shows that she was being shouted down by Marzec, and that audience members were attempting to physically assault her.
At any rate, Marzec ordering the arrest of her critics is ironic, because Marzec has been arrested for the same thing. And the crowd’s chanting of “fascist” and “undemocratic” is ironic, given their applause for arresting the Bobcats for Israel.
The student newspaper The Post reports that President Marzec appears to have been the instigator of the whole imbroglio, interrupting the initial "Bobcats" speaker (Sebo) who was criticizing Marzec and her past actions:
Three minutes into Sebo’s speech, Marzec interrupted Sebo, saying that the speech was blocking other students from speaking.
A chant was led by many of the Student Senate members, repeating phrases such as “this meeting is being hijacked by fascists” and “shame on bullies.”
Keep in mind that Sebo was speaking during time allowed for public comments, the "Student Speakout."
After the arrest of Sebo and three of her companions, Marzec "stood on a table" and said "she would 'never apologize for standing up for the people of Palestine.” She also stated "And I will never stand up for fascists. And this body won’t either.”
This, despite her interrupting someone else talking and then shouting her down (Sebo) ... and then having her thrown out of the forum.
Missed irony much?
(Cross-posted at The College Fix.)
An article at Inside Higher Ed highlights (no, not in hot pink) a ... "controversy" at the University of Iowa: the opposing team's (football) locker room is painted pink.
Well, this is the Age of Political Correctness, especially on college campuses:
While it remains a beloved bit of visual smack-talk for many Hawkeye fans -- and was even featured in a recent ESPN ad about college traditions -- some students and faculty have decried the color scheme as sexist and discriminatory.
"There is no denying that [former Iowa football coach Hayden] Fry’s tactic is rooted in an antiquated age when homophobic and sexist epithets were the norm in sports," [protester Kembrew] McLeod said.
Since 2005 Jill Gaulding, a former University of Iowa law professor, has threatened to sue or file a federal complaint against the university under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law that forbids gender discrimination at colleges. On Thursday, Gaulding, who is now a lawyer with the nonprofit law firm Gender Justice, said the "discussions are still ongoing," and that the locker room's color is a type of gender slur.
"It sends the message that anything associated with female is lesser-than," Gaulding said. "The minute I read about the pink locker room and how the university had built it even pinker, it felt like somebody had just reached out and slapped me across the face. It was that insulting. People know what it means."
Erin Buzuvis, director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies at Western New England University (uh oh), agrees with Gaulding that the locker room is a Title IX violation, but says a lawsuit victory would be tough. Still, she notes (my emphasis)
"Title IX's application to athletics is aimed at equalizing the treatment of female athletes as well as their opportunities to play," Buzuvis said. "If you accept that using pink in the visitors' locker room operates a symbolic gesture of emasculation towards the team's opponents, the pink locker room certainly represents a form of unequal treatment, since the symbolism trades on pink's association with women and stereotypes about women's inferior athleticism."
But ... is that a stereotype? In general and taken as a whole, are not men ... superior athletes?
Before you go off with steam coming out of your ears, consider:
The mean difference has been about 10 percent between men and women for all (Olympic) events. The mean gap is 10.7 percent for running, 8.9 percent for swimming and 17.5 percent for jumping. (Source)
Men golfers hit the ball farther, in some cases a lot farther. Men tennis players hit the ball harder and faster. Baseball players throw faster and hit the ball farther than (women) softball players. Etcetera, etcetera. Why do we have separate sports leagues for the sexes, after all?
Men's sports are far more popular with spectators because the competition level is greater. The athletes are faster, stronger, and more durable. This is just a biological fact, despite U. of Iowa's student newspaper's complaint that the "sexist norm of male superiority" still exists, and despite those who believe gender is merely a "social construction."
By the way, there's actually some psychological research to back up what the Iowa football squad (and others) have done to opponents' locker rooms. One researcher says the color pink acts like "a tranquilizer that 'saps your energy.'" Pink is also used frequently in "drunk tanks" and jail cells. In addition, the notion that pink is a "girl's color" is actually relatively new; it didn't really begin to take hold until the 1940s.
In closing, I get that efforts to encourage male athletes (and coaches) to cease using terms like "sissy" and anti-gay expressions need to be established and enforced. But over-zealous complaints about things like using pink in locker rooms -- because it facetiously calls into question opposing players' toughness, and even their masculinity -- are just another example of institutions like a "Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies" finding "reasons" to justify their existence.
(Cross-posted at The College Fix.)
Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy discusses the case of Steven Salaita, the former Virginia Tech professor who had been offered a gig at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.
Salaita's U. of Illinois job offer was abruptly rescinded after he had made a series of hateful tweets about Israel and defenders of that country. (The College Fix has numerous articles about the situation.) Immediately, many spoke out in favor of Salaita's right to free expression -- his "academic freedom," if you will. The support comes from both sides of the political spectrum, but has been most vociferous on the left.
Some of the pro-Salaita free speech arguments are persuasive (like FIRE's Adam Kissel's), but I find myself more in Adler's corner. He writes:
I largely share [Northwestern University law Professor Steven] Lubet’s views. His point about the disingenuous (or uninformed) characterization of the tweets in question is particularly well taken. As he notes, when defending Nazi marchers in Skokie, Ill., “the ACLU never soft-pedaled the Nazis as merely passionate critics of international banking.” I agree with Lubet that an academic should not be fired or denied a job offer, because of his or her political views, but I also question whether someone with Salaita’s record of hateful and offensive rhetoric is capable of being an effective academic and educator.
That last line really sticks with me. Trained in my last college undergrad years as a social studies educator, my (high school placement) cooperating teacher (amazingly, a conservative) was adamant about never allowing his personal opinions to leak into class discussions. He even outright refused to offer them when directly asked about them by students, in and out of class.
And these were mere opinions. We're not even talking about outrageous/vulgar/profane remarks in public forums.
Imagine if you were a Jewish student in one of Salaita's classes. What if his class was a requirement for your major? You think you'd get a fair shake knowing he knew you were Jewish? Or even worse, Israeli?
Which brings me to another aspect of this situation which really gets me: the brazen hypocrisy of "progressive" (I usually use quotes with the term because all-too often contemporary progressives are anything but) academics. They're often right on the front lines in the effort to abolish speech they do not like ... often dubbing it "hate speech." Speeches against affirmative action are "racist" (or, at least "racially insensitive"), people against abortion are "anti-women," and those in favor of traditional marriage are "homophobic," are a few examples.
Yet, Salaita's vulgar anti-Jewish/Israel tweets were instantly defended by "progressives." "Academic freedom," you see.
If Salaita's remarks are to be inviolate due to academic freedom, would Salaita's defenders say the same regarding a white supremacist professor? How many of you reading this believe they would?
There's a substantial difference between having a political opinion ... and gross inappropriateness. Salaita's feelings about Israel and Jews could have been offered in a much more seemly manner; indeed they should have been, given his position.
This being said, I admit this is a difficult arena in which to tread. Too broad a brush should not be used in making judgments; each instance, including that involving Professor Salaita, needs to be considered individually and carefully.
(Cross-posted at The College Fix)
It's bad enough when the vice-president -- a man in government for over forty years whose specialty is supposed to be foreign policy -- refers to the continent of Africa as "a nation" ...
... it's worse when a major news network -- which is supposed to have those "layers upon layers of fact checkers" -- botches a basic map of the same continent:
Oh, and how much you wanna bet that if the veep was currently a Republican, and if the network was Fox News, "progressives" and the mainstream media would be dubbing the goofs as "racist?"
Africa, after all, right?
Yes, we've come to this point.
I had to slightly shake my head and let out a brief chuckle when I read Joanne Jacobs' post on college schools of education. Titled "Learning to reflect, but not teach," it refers to Boston middle school teacher Peter Sipe's piece in the Boston Herald, and it perfectly encapsulates much of my own experience, both as an undergrad and graduate student.
. . . a professor would speak for a bit on some theoretical matter, then we’d break into small groups to discuss it for an extravagantly long time, then we’d get back into a big group and share our opinions some more. I remember a class one evening in which you could not speak unless you had been tossed an inflatable ball. My wife’s classes did not go like this.
Sipes' wife was in medical school.
Two of the courses I had to take as an undergrad were "Historical Foundations of Education" and "Psychological Foundations of Education." Both were completely useless for what those planning to go into teaching actually need. The former was basically a history course about education in the United States. To be completely honest, watching paint dry would have been more exciting ... not to mention at least as useful.
As an undergrad I also took a course called "Educational Psychology" and later as a graduate a class titled "Psychology of Teaching." Maybe there was a substantive difference between the two, but I certainly don't remember any. I do know that not very much from these courses was actually handy in the classroom.
The absolute worst education-related class I took was "Language Development in the Classroom." To this day I haven't the slightest notion of what this (graduate) class was supposed to be about. Every time we met the prof (a sixty or seventy-something year-old woman who was certainly nice enough) would pretty much ramble about what was on her mind at the time, and then we'd get into groups to discuss ... something.
One time, in one of my grad classes, I sort of attempted to call our professor's bluff. She had asked the class for one-word, yes, reflections about an article we were supposed to have read the previous evening. This wasn't checking our knowledge of the material, you see, but more the prowess of our vocabulary. Many of the terms offered up by my classmates were ridiculously repetitive ("Thoughtful." "Provoking." "Engaging."), but nevertheless the prof excitedly wrote each one down on the chalkboard.
Having had enough, I turned to a teaching colleague of mine who was also a student in the class, and whispered, "Watch this." I then raised my hand. When called upon, I offered the term "good." That's right, just the generically vanilla word "good." The prof repeated "Good!" and enthusiastically put it on the chalkboard.
My colleague couldn't contain her laughter and had to leave the room for a few minutes.
This sort of nonsense is what way too many ed courses include, unfortunately, just as Mr. Sipe notes in his article. And I'd bet good money that most teachers would concur, to a very large degree.
I'd be remiss if I did not mention the courses that were beneficial for educators. The curriculum planning course prior to student teaching was incredibly practical for constructing units, lessons, and activities. (I believe this course was so because the professor was what you might call "old school"). "Measurement Applications in Education," a grad course, taught teachers how to properly create assessments -- even down to how exam questions appeared on the paper.
Once I became an employed educator, the vast majority of what I learned -- and used -- in the classroom was garnered from other, mostly veteran, teachers. If education schools want to be truly practical, keep the courses like those I noted, and cut (or make optional), classes like "Historical Foundations." Expand the time undergrads actually spend in schools observing and teaching with an experienced instructor. (I've learned that in recent years my alma mater has implemented much of that last recommendation; student teachers' time and duties in their placement schools have expanded quite a bit.)
"Learning by doing," the saying goes, right?
(Cross-posted at The College Fix.)
The year: 1968. A science fiction show called Star Trek makes history by featuring the first interracial kiss on American television.
The year: 1959. A writer named Robert Heinlein makes a Filipino young man his protagonist in what many consider to be his best work, Starship Troopers.
The year: 1973. Marvel Comics' Captain America title features its hero tracking down a villain who ends up being none other than President Richard Nixon himself. The event causes Cap to become highly disillusioned, and he gives up wearing the American flag for a time.
The year: 1980. Writer Gregory Benford's novel Timescape warns of global environmental apocalypse if humans aren't more careful in how they alter their surroundings.
Science fiction has always been an avenue through which creators comment on political, cultural and social matters. Like racism. The nature of society and government. Abuse of power. Stewardship of our planet.
But only in the hallowed halls of academia will you discover such is not enough for this creative genre. No sir. If the creators are not of the "right" color or background, and if the "right" issues aren't being addressed adequately, then there's a problem.
At the University of California, Riverside, a grant was needed to explore "ethnic futurisms" -- because, it seems, "there has long been an unacknowledged tradition of SF written by people of color."
“Alternative Futurisms,” which will launch in September 2015, will bring together African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American scholars, artists and writers to examine the colonial roots and legacies of science fiction and the power of speculative fiction as a tool for social change.
Science fiction fans and scholars are rethinking what counts as science fiction, explained Sherryl Vint, professor of English and co-director of the SFTS program with Latham. Vint is co-principal investigator of the Sawyer Seminar with Latham and Nalo Hopkinson, professor of creative writing and an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy.
“The canon is not monolithically white,” she added. “Questions of social justice are emerging, particularly with regard to colonialism, borders, DNA, and profiling. Our seminar will elicit and sustain dialogue among the many peoples of color who are using speculative techniques to combat systemic racism and will seek to displace the hegemony of the post-racial imaginary with a range of ethnic futurisms.”
The "colonial roots and legacies" of sci-fi? Sounds like yet another university-based grievance fest. And who wants to translate that last sentence? Any takers? Here, I'll give it a go:
"Our seminar, comprised almost exclusively of non-white folks, will discuss how science fiction can combat the persistently and incorrigibly racist Western societies, and will strive to abolish the popularity of racial unity themes in the genre and replace them with various racial and ethnic separatist group fictions."
How was that?
Unfortunately for UCR, other than that last deconstructivist-based sentence, there's little new "Alternative Futurisms" offers to science fiction. "Speculative fiction as a tool for social change" is, after all, what sci-fi is.
This story comes about, ironically, at a time when there has been considerable debate within the science fiction community about matters racial and sexual. The rise and popularity of social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, have served as a catalyst for such. This online brouhaha, for example, between conservative author Larry Correia and lefty writer John Scalzi is a (continuing) microcosm of such. Unfortunately, the predictable accusations of racism, sexism and homophobia by those in the latter camp mar real conversations.
Over the last decade or so, the "Big Two" comicbook companies Marvel and DC have made headline-worthy attempts to "diversify" their ranks -- characters and creators alike -- sometimes by turning long-established characters into something they're not. And, like the liberal (general) science fiction crowd, progressive comicbook fans and creators alike are quick to denounce any criticism of such, however innocuous.
Most recently, for example, it was announced the Marvel character Thor would become ... a woman. (This is in the comics, not the movies, so don't worry about Chris Hemsworth ladies. Oh, wait, was that sexist? My apologies.) Even reactions such as "it's just a cheap gimmick" have been met with angry counters, invoking "misogyny," "angry white males," "marginalization," and, of course, "racism." Like the movie industry's predilection for churning out "reboots" of even classic science films, such announcements, much like comicbook character "deaths," are merely short-term gimmicks, guaranteed to result in a sales boost, however fleeting. I suppose it's just too much work to actually create new (diverse) characters, much like it's the same situation with writing original movie scripts ...?
Science fiction aficionados crave good stories, no matter the race/gender/sexual orientation of the creators or the stories' characters. An all-consuming desire for -- and corresponding knee-jerk criticism toward dissenters of -- superficial "diversity" does little to enhance and encourage the human oneness much of science fiction envisions. Nor, for that matter, does seeking to "displace the hegemony of the post-racial imaginary" with cluttered, separatist racial/ethnic literary enclaves.
Lastly, in terms of access and availability, today there is little to prevent minority science fiction creators from getting their creations out to the public. They certainly don't face, for example, what Benny Russell did in my favorite Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, "Far Beyond the Stars." All it takes is hard work and a lot of persistence. Just ask sci-fi author great Larry Niven; even a trust fund (white) guy's stories like his got rejected a gazillion times ... but eventually one broke through. And I, for one, am glad he kept at it.
(Cross-posted at The College Fix.)
Late last week I happened upon this article in The Federalist by Daniel Payne. He simply asks, "Why Do Teachers Complain So Much?" What struck me, in particular, was how even-handed Payne is. Many analysts of (public) education usually go all-out one way or the other -- either public education and its teachers are evil incarnate, or they're noble institutions and individuals, one step below deity status.
The object of Payne's interest is a teacher resignation letter published in the Huffington Post. Why, he wonders, do so many teachers feel the need to let the world know why they're bowing out? "Was the post office in Colorado Springs closed that day?" he asks. "Did she attempt to send the letter to her superiors and accidentally sent it to the editor of the website instead?"
Obviously not. Payne is right: Way too many educators travel to their jobs on a high horse. Too many think they're overworked and underpaid, and that somehow their situation is so different from that of other Americans in other professions. Early in my career at a school referendum meeting (my state requires that the public vote on raising taxes for increased school funding), a colleague stood up and, sounding all exasperated, exclaimed "Listen -- I got up at 5:30 this morning. I did not get home until 6pm. I was on my feet all day ..." The groans from the audience were quite audible. And my own was among them.
Nobody wants to hear that sort of whining, especially at a gathering where a community tax increase is on the table -- a tax that, in part, pays teachers. You think the guy who drives a delivery truck for ten hours across 150 miles of territory wants to hear such grousing? How about the woman who works retail at the mall and just spent nine hours on her feet, dealing with pushy patrons all day? You don't think they'd like a pay raise? Better hours? Improved working conditions?
The irony is, many of these teachers need to realize that they exist in a (teaching) world largely of their own making. By this, I mean their political and cultural philosophies. You're part of one of the most powerful unions in the country, so when you go on strike demanding salary increases and gold label health benefits - when you're already well compensated - it doesn't go over well with the Average Joe who works just as hard but does not enjoy such perks.
Granted, the strength of teachers' unions varies from state to state, as do the salaries and benefits. But keep in mind (and I know this will anger many teachers) the length of the typical school day, and the school year. Winter and spring breaks. Every holiday off. Half of June, all of July, and most of August ... off. Yes, yes, I know teachers will clamor that their day doesn't end after seven and a half hours, and that the numerous breaks and summer are filled with grading, book-keeping and professional development. Trust me, I know. I've put in many a ten-to-twelve hour day, and worked for weeks during breaks and the summer on lesson planning and curriculum.
But so what? Again, how is this so different from what any other person does in any other job? And, generally, what teachers won't tell you is how many in the profession don't do these things. Which makes the salaries and bennies even better, right?
And what about the teachers who have gone on to administration, both school-based and at the central office? Classroom teachers are renowned for their objections to inservice content (inservices are "workshops" that are supposed to enhance one's teaching abilities) but who do you think develops them? Former teachers. Or, at the least (worst?), those who have degrees in education and/or have worked in the field all their lives.
In 1979, President Carter and a Democratic Congress passed the Department of Education Organization Act, which established the federal Department of Education. Many (mostly Republicans and conservatives) thought the move was a Democrat payoff to liberals and the National Education Association (NEA), the largest union of any kind in the country. But even progressive-friendly media acknowledge that Carter had promised the NEA the new cabinet role.
What have we seen, in particular, over the last decade and a half from the NEA and others? Endless grumbling about educational federal mandates. It was easy enough when George W. Bush assumed office in 2000; he was a Republican. That Republican largely co-opted the typical liberal/Democrat tradition of intertwining the feds and education policy with No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The big difference here was that instead of largely throwing money at schools, Mr. Bush actually wanted something in return. The unions, and teachers in general, screamed and hollered about "unfunded mandates," "unrealistic goals," etc.
But in 2008 when Barack Obama came to Washington, his Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative was often referred to as "NCLB on steroids." The union and teacher complaints persist, although they were (are) less personal (Obama is a progressive Democrat, after all). With RTTT, not only was NCLB-based standardized testing continued with all the usual demographic components broken down and dissected as before, but selected states could now use federal monies to develop new teacher evaluation tools, and establish entities like "professional learning communities" (PLCs).
It's easy enough to understand the current kvetching. These new evaluation methods were too often hastily assembled and bring little to the table in terms of judging teacher effectiveness. I've personally seen outstanding teachers receive "ineffective" labels, and lemon instructors get "satisfactory" ratings based on the new assessment. Funding was provided for "data coaches" who are supposed to provide information to teachers on student progress. The problem, which no one could ever seem to answer, was when teachers would get this information and, more importantly, what to do with it.
To coin a cliché, haste really does make waste.
As someone who's been involved in public education for a quarter century I sympathize with many of my fellow educators' -- and union's -- complaints. The decline in student respect and discipline, to name one, remains a "bipartisan" issue, so to speak. But, as I noted previously, on whom can we blame a significant portion of that decline? And, even though left-of-center union complainers get most of the ink in the media, the general pubic should keep in mind that a large percentage of the NEA is comprised of moderates and conservatives, and many do not agree with the Association on national political matters.
The unions and statist educators may not have gotten what they wished for when the feds became a player in education thirty-five years ago. It was naïve to ever believe Washington would continue to throw money at schools ... and never demand anything in return. Grousing about that which you've been largely responsible, and doing so in wide-reaching public mediums, is unlikely to amass much general sympathy.
(Cross-posted at The College Fix.)
On the heels of students across the country petitioning for "trigger warnings" on college class syllabi -- so they won't have to be offended by any of the course material! -- comes New York University's Jonathan Zimmerman. The professor of history and education offers up his own ... unique syllabus for his "Introduction to United States History" course:
XI. The 1970s: Remember the disco hit “Stayin’ Alive”? If you’re not into that, you should think about stayin’ home. Talk about trauma! XII. The 1980s and the Conservative Revolution: Weaned on liberal heroes like FDR and JFK, left-leaning students have a tough time this week. They’re like, Ronald Reagan? Really?
XIII. The Clinton Years: Let’s imagine that your dad had an affair with a younger—OK, a much younger—work associate. If you don’t want to go there, you don’t want to come to this class either. It’s pretty gross.
XIV. George W. Bush and the War in Iraq: If you thought America was a force for good in the world, you’re in for some shock and awe. Let’s leave it at that.
XV. Obama and Beyond: To those who imagined that utopia was just around the corner: Sorry! And for people who still think the president was born in Indonesia, this class will make you even more bat-crazy than you already are. At least you were warned.
Be sure to check out the rest of the syllabus for even more chuckles!
Our DOJ chief did this at Morgan State University, an Historically Black College (HBC) in Baltimore whose enrollment is over 86% black. Yep, legal segregation has long since ended, but somehow, HBCs continue to exist, with percentages akin to the above.
And this -- when diversity is supposed to be the educational end-all to be-all. But where's the "diversity" at an institution like Morgan State where there is less than 2% white population, and the rest spread out among other groups? As Jeffrey Lord notes,
The school at which Holder spoke — had those percentages of race been reversed, with an 86.7 percent white majority and a 1.8 percent black minority — would soon have Eric Holder’s Justice Department swooping down on it to charge it with “disparate treatment.”
Indeed. First Lady Michelle Obama was in Kansas for the same reason Holder was in Baltimore, and lamented “Many young people in America ... are going to school with kids who look just like them.” Uh huh.
*Sigh* Just like "hate crimes" laws, "diversity" applies to only one group.
Now, using a camel to illustrate "Hump Day" is ... racist:
The “Hump Day” event, put on by the Residence Hall Association (RHA), was supposed to be “a petting zoo type of atmosphere” in which students could hang out and take photos with a live camel. According to Aaron Macke, the group’s advisor, the camel is owned by a local vendor and trained for special events.
But the event was subsequently cancelled after students took to Facebook to proclaim their concerns. The students said they were concerned about the money spent on bringing the camel to campus—around $500—and the implication that it would be racially insensitive to Middle Eastern cultures.
What. The. F***.
At this point I honestly wouldn't be the least bit surprised if an event is canceled because "attendees will be wearing clothing primarily made of cotton, and since the country has a sordid history involving the cultivation of that crop, we feel it would be insensitive to students whose ancestors were part of that sad chapter of said history."
Hmm, sounds like a movie title. Maybe it will be someday. But not if this professor has anything to say about it:
One professor wrote: "My approach would be to assure this student that going barefoot is not against the rules because the assumption is that by the time they reach college, students are expected to understand why wearing shoes is expected on campus. If s/he disrespects his or her peers and the college community enough to (un)dress like a hillbilly here, I would say, then s/he should be prepared to be dismissed as one, in whatever pursuits s/he favors, in the preference of someone more attuned to proper decorum and respectful behavior."
One can only imagine the reaction if this prof wrote about having one's pants down past your ass, thus showing off your underwear: "If s/he disrespects his or her peers and the college community enough to (un)dress like a gang thug here, I would say, then s/he should be prepared to be dismissed as one ..."
You know what would transpire: Protests by [minority] student groups. Demands for required "sensitivity" workshops. Demands for mandated "check your privilege" training (hey -- Harvard is doing just that!). Demands for a more diverse (i.e. minority) teaching staff.
It doesn't matter, you see, that Appalachia is a historically poor region. Most of the population is white. Thus, in higher ed-speak, check that privilege, 'ya redneck.
RELATED: Almost all "progressive" publications are overwhelmingly staffed by ... white people. But they believe the "right" things, so it doesn't matter. There's a similar situation with modern-day comicbook creators.
One of the concerns of the dirty Donald Sterling matter was the right to privacy -- the expectation that whatever you say in the privacy of your own domicile is (or should be) sacrosanct. Pundits discussed state laws which require only one party's consent to record something (audio or video; most states in the US are one-party consent), and, of course, whether Sterling has the "right" to be a bigot in his home.
Chug on over to Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where even if you tell a racially insensitive joke between two people of different races and a bystander/someone passing by hears it, you can be brought up on charges:
Lewis & Clark College has declared two students, one African-American and one white, guilty of creating a “hostile and discriminatory environment” after racially themed jokes spoken between the friends at a private party were overheard and reported to campus authorities.
On November 23, 2013, roughly 20 students, many of them members of Lewis & Clark’s football team, attended a private party at a campus residence hall. During a game of “beer pong,” one African-American student jokingly named his team “Team Nigga” and would exclaim the team’s name when scoring a point. The student also exchanged an “inside joke” greeting with a white friend, who welcomed him by saying, “How about a ‘white power’?”, to which the African-American student replied in jest, “white power!”
A student not present at the party overheard the language and reported it to Lewis & Clark’s Campus Living office, which turned the matter over to the college’s Campus Safety division. Campus Safety investigated the alleged “racial and biased comments” made at the party, interviewing the two students and questioning them about the language used both at the party and within Lewis & Clark’s football program. After the investigation’s conclusion, Lewis & Clark charged both students with “Physical or Mental Harm,” “Discrimination or Harassment,” and “Disorderly Conduct.” Although the students’ conduct charges and ensuing disciplinary hearings were spurred by the complaint about the November 23 party, Lewis & Clark made clear that it intended to investigate “[o]ther acts of potential hate speech and bias that have occurred recently on campus” as well.
Lewis & Clark found both students guilty on all charges and rejected each of their appeals. In one student’s disciplinary letter, Lewis & Clark wrote that the student’s language “contributed to the creation of a hostile and discriminatory environment.” In rejecting the same student’s appeal, Lewis & Clark claimed his speech “caused reasonable apprehension of harm to the community.” Lewis & Clark placed both students on probation and required each to complete “Community Restitution” in the form of “Bias Reduction and Bystander Intervention Training,” among other sanctions.
Sterling made legitimately racist comments and was clandestinely recorded to pretty much reveal that fact to the public at large. These two students are friends and if anything, their "racial jibes" towards each other demonstrate that -- gasp! -- we can indeed laugh at each other ... and still be comrades!! Who'da thought? (Idiot college administrators, that's who.) And they're reported on by someone who happened to be passing by?? I mean, REALLY?
Thank goodness for groups like FIRE (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). Their tireless efforts provide that needed "sunshine" as "disinfectant." It recognizes that Lewis & Clark is a private college; however, it
... does make promises of free speech to its students. Its policy on Freedom of Expression & Inquiry states, for example, that students are “free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately.”
How 'bout that.
Thankfully, even many in the L&C community know this case in BS. Forty faculty members sent a letter to college administrators "criticizing the college’s 'questionable treatment of free speech and of our students’ right to due process,'” and the stonewalling by same.
We'll keep you posted.
Asian-Americans outperform whites due to -- wait for it! -- working harder:
A growing achievement gap between Asian American students and their white classmates is due largely to greater work effort and cultural attitudes, not innate cognitive ability, researchers say.
In a study published Monday in the journal PNAS, two sociology professors found that Asian Americans enter school with no clear academic edge over whites, but that an advantage grows over time.
Even if they come from poorer, less educated families, Asian Americans significantly outperform white students by fifth grade, authors wrote.
Who'da thought? I mean, work hard and get ahead? REALLY? B-b-b-b-but ... white privilege!! B-b-b-b-but ... RACISM! B-b-b-b-b-but ... MICRO-AGGRESSIONS!!
Ugh, where do we find these dolts?
A Florida school teacher humiliated a 12-year-old boy in front of an entire class after she caught him reading the Bible during free reading time.
The teacher, at Park Lakes Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, ordered Giovanni Rubeo to pick up the telephone on her desk and call his parents.
As the other students watched, the teacher left a terse message on the family’s answering machine.
“I noticed that he has a book – a religious book – in the classroom,” she said on the recording. “He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.”
Um, actually, he is, Ms. Swornia Thomas (the name of the teacher). The boy was reading the Bible during a designated time set aside for reading. Not only is this Ms. Thomas woefully ignorant about religion in the public arena, so is the school's principal, Orinthia Dias, who wrote “You child is permitted to read the Bible before school, after school and during lunch, in accordance to the law.”
US Dept. of Education guidelines state
"...students students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour, or other noninstructional time to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious activities."
"Free reading" sure sounds like "non-instructional time" to me. And to other common sense thinkers. And the law.
It's bad enough that so many teachers and administrators have no clue about the law when it comes to religious expression in the public arena. Heck, public schools are legally permitted to have Bible Study clubs, as long as they meet after normal school hours. The Constitution "says" to schools, if they allow other (non-religious) groups to utilize their facilities, that they must also permit religious groups to do so if they request.
Additionally, as this Swornia Thomas is obviously a dope, her husband sure seems like a "winner," too:
CBS4′s Gaby Fleischman stopped by Mrs. Thomas’ home. Her husband told us she was not there and asked: “What the [expletive] do you want?”
Gaby responded that we want to speak to Mrs. Thomas’ to hear her side of the story.
“She ain’t got nothing to say to you, she ain’t got nothing to say,” responded her husband. “Get me on camera, get the [expletive] out of my yard.”
I wonder if that would be allowed in Swornia's class.
As reported this morning by The Corner, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has withdrawn from the commencement ceremony at Rutgers University. Why? What else? Because some radical, hypocritical "progressives" had protested her appearance, and she ultimately did not want to be a "distraction."
Jay Nordlinger's subsequent take is spot-on. (I particularly like this: "If conservatives wanted to try their hand at the Left’s game, they could say, 'Rutgers apparently can’t stand the sight or sound of an independent black woman.'”) Conservative students have to put up with "progressive" speakers all the time. And there's nary a protest. I'd add that's partly because conservatives, compared to many "progressives," actually have manners. Nevertheless, as personal anecdote, I had to put up with Jumpin' Joe Biden as my college commencement speaker back in the late 80s. Although I wasn't happy about it, and certainly didn't heckle the guy during his speech, my good buddy seated next to me wasn't as constrained. And in retrospect, good for him. Some of his heckling even caused a few profs to turn around and give him a nasty glare, but he remained undeterred. What were they gonna do, after all? We graduated!
Nordlinger calls it "a dirty game," but in my view, that's precisely what the Right has to start playing. Indeed, as a commenter notes at the link above, Boss Obama didn't withdraw as Notre Dame commencement speaker despite protests related to the president's abortion views. The college suffered millions in lost donations as a result, but it didn't back down, just as President Lemon did not. Conservative invitees need to follow this example.
The Legislative Black Caucus in South Carolina is demanding Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom apologize for comments he made about HBCs -- Historically Black Colleges. Let's just see what he said:
"I'm committed to the university because it's a university, not because it's a historically black university. I think the sooner this state gets away from the concept of talking about historically black universities is a step forward for this state," he said. "We no longer talk about historically white universities. I think we need to deal with the issues of funding needs at South Carolina State because it's an institution of higher learning."
The Black Caucus said "Eckstrom needs to research why historically black universities exist."
Funding matters aside, I'd imagine Mr. Eckstrom is fully aware of why such institutions exist. But how does that make what he said inappropriate? As we've noted numerous here at Colossus (see here, for one), when the University of Michigan argued before the US Supreme Court about affirmative action, much of its rationale hinged on what they dubbed a "critical mass" of diversity that [supposedly] enhances educational benefits. So ... where is this "critical mass" at HBCs that would enhance the education of its students?
Don't attempt to rationalize it. Because, like much of political correctness, you can't.
Stuff like this will only become more common, I fear:
A Montgomery County couple recently sued their son's private school in Potomac because they say the school let their son fail academically.
The parents of Max Bramson sued the Bullis School saying the school breached their contract by not giving their son the attention he deserved.
The mom says the school didn't notify her "that he was doing poorly" and that his advisor "never advised him." Thankfully, a judge with a modicum of common sense threw out the lawsuit, but the Bramson's are appealing. They say that Max was "rejected from every school (college) he applied to," so now he attends Montgomery Community College.
Um, I kinda doubt one "D" in Honors Biology is the cause of all those rejections. Seems to me there must quite a bit more, academically speaking, that we don't know about. And mom? You had no idea Max was doing poorly? How is that possible? Do you talk with your son? And a check of the school's website shows that teachers have pages for listing assignments and homework. Did you keep up to date on those, mom?
And, natch, the local News Journal report.
A bill unanimously passed the Cali State House that "encourages California schools to teach students about the racial significance of Barack Obama’s presidency." It also notes that Boss Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The original version indicated that he won the Prize, in part, merely because of his race. (Actually, the original wording seems to point out that the American people deserve the Nobel Prize for their "wisdom" in electing Obama.)
Since the bill uses the term "encourages," I don't see all that big a deal with it. However, I recommend checking this out, and then pondering if the current administration (and its acolytes) aren't following a more increasing "authoritarian patriotism" course ...
Mitch Albom has a conversation with Brooke Kimbrough, an outspoken advocate for racial preferences, er, diversity, especially at the University of Michigan where she was -- gasp! -- rejected. This comes on the heels of the recent SCOTUS decision upholding Michigan's referendum which ditched affirmative action in higher education.
MSNBC's The Grio, which specializes in African-American stories, has a profile of Kimbrough. Ironically, it notes that she is a member of her high school's debate team where she and a teammate "were the first African-Americans to win the University of California-Berkley tournament." Based on this, though, one wonders just how that debate was structured, right? Nevertheless, Albom tactfully demonstrates what a complete sham "diversophile" arguments for "needed" diversity are ... and how its proponents easily come apart when pressed:
When I asked Brooke why it's wrong for U-M to set a similar bar (she was denied admission with below the U-M averages of a 3.6 GPA and a 23 on the ACT) she said U-M needed to "represent the state. Blacks are about 14% of the population, so it should be 14% roughly."
I pointed out that whites were 79% of Michigan's population, but officially 57% of U-M's, so should we adjust that up? "That's ludicrous," she said, claiming it should only apply to minorities. I then noted U-M was 11% Asian American, but our state was only 2%. Should we adjust down?
"I don't understand what you're asking," she said.
Of course she doesn't. But if she cannot understand such a simple question, then I wouldn't be so miffed about being rejected by U of M.
Brooke feels that she has overcome a lot. "My essays were about, like, fighting racism," she said. "Getting into (Michigan) shouldn't just be about grades."
But when I told her many students write moving essays, overcome odds, have great extracurriculars (like her debate team position) and also don't get in to U-M — despite higher grades and scores than hers — she grew frustrated.
"I'm doing the best I can in this life," she said. "If it's not reflected in my academics, I don't know what else I need to do."
And it's here, as Albom notes, that the racial aspect becomes irrelevant. He writes that Brooke is just "one of countless kids today who feel that without their first college choice, their future is doomed." I'll add, too, that she is yet another of the current generation who possesses a vastly overgrown sense of entitlement, where rejection of any kind is not only seen as wrong and unjust, but, as Albom notes, Armageddon.
I wouldn't worry much if I were Kimbrough. She's obviously bright (yes, despite botching Albom's questions ... I seriously doubt she "didn't know" what he was asking; indeed, she most probably was seeking avoidance of the obvious and just didn't do it very well) and motivated, so there should be ample opportunities for her after college. At the very least, I'm sure the grievance industry will always have a spot available for her.
These days, an increasingly diverse group of participants has transformed debate competitions, mounting challenges to traditional form and content by incorporating personal experience, performance, and radical politics. These “alternative-style” debaters have achieved success, too, taking top honors at national collegiate tournaments over the past few years.
Well, if your judges share the same idiotic philosophy, of course you'll score well.
Two black women won a recent debate on whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted; however, instead of actually addressing the topic, they changed it: "The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities."
Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled.
This year wasn't the first time this had happened. In the 2013 championship, two men from Emporia State University, Ryan Walsh and Elijah Smith, employed a similar style and became the first African-Americans to win two national debate tournaments. Many of their arguments, based on personal memoir and rap music, completely ignored the stated resolution, and instead asserted that the framework of collegiate debate has historically privileged straight, white, middle-class students.
Aaron Hardy, who coaches debate at Northwestern University, tells of instances where "... judges have been very angry, coaches have screamed and yelled. People have given profanity-laced tirades, thrown furniture, and both sides of the ideological divide have used racial slurs."
Truly unbelievable. I wonder how these folks would feel. What's even more unbelievable is that this actually has to be said in 2014: “I think it is wildly reductionist to say that black people can’t understand debate unless there is rap in it—it sells short their potential.”
Uh yeah, 'ya think?
The News Journal asks today: Why do Delaware parents pick charter schools? Twenty state legislators are apparently upset that one of New Castle County's "big four" districts is primed for five more charter schools. They worry that more charters will continue to drain resources from [traditional] public schools. As for parents, "What prompts them to leave? What attracts them to the charter schools?" the editors ask.
Occam's Razor, my friends. More discipline, less constant behavior issues, and a streamlined process to get rid of said problems.
While I certainly agree with the Journal's take that traditional publics have to have an "answer" for the competition of charters, the editors have to understand that the competition has to take place on a level playing field, as well as play by the same rule book. How is it fair that charters can establish guidelines as to who can get in, and can much more easily get rid of a student if he/she doesn't measure up? Traditional publics have to take everybody ... and have to jump through innumerable hoops before a student can be removed? This, not to mention, that traditional publics have a maximum number (per year) of kids who can be permanently removed from their schools, so they have to really "be careful" that they pick the most disruptive.
Oh, and special education students? They can only be suspended out of school for ten days maximum. Per year. No matter how disruptive they may be.
And that is Helen Ubinas's Philly Daily News article "We allowed Bartram High fiasco to happen." The high (or low) light:
[The whole situation] should sicken and shame us. But if it did, we wouldn't have generations of young people more schooled in combat than chemistry.
Charles Williams, professor of psychology and education at Drexel University, calls it the "soft bigotry of low expectations."
"The message here is that we don't think poor and black [and] Latino kids can learn, that they ought to learn," Williams said.
"Soft bigotry says that Bartram High School is going to be off the hook because well, those are poor black and Latinos, so what do you expect? And so behavior that is not normal suddenly becomes normalized and accepted."
Uh huh. Isn't this the same high school that emphasizes so-called "restorative practices (or justice)," which is supposed to "build relationships" with chronically disruptive students instead of suspending or expelling them? How many times have schools all across the country been treated to inservices and workshops like these? How many times have teachers across the country been told that blacks and Latinos have their own "unique culture" and hence many "traditional" disciplinary measures enacted by teachers and/or administrators are "biased," "insensitive" and ultimately ... "racist?" And, perhaps "best" of all, our own president has issued edicts to address the "disparate" (and "racist") disciplinary rates in our schools.
Astonishingly, Ms. Ubina didn't even once mention what Bartram's students' home lives are like. Now, why would that be? Given all of this, please enlighten us, Ms. Ubina, how exactly -- and realistically -- would you remedy a situation like that at Bartram High?
You say we allowed Bartram High to happen. True. And it happened virtually purely a result "progressive" policies and theories.
"What Can Educators do to End White Supremacy in the Classroom?" Yes, this was more-or-less the title of a workshop at the 15th Annual White Privilege Conference hosted by Madison, Wisconsin this year. It was led by Kim Radersma, a former high school English teacher in California and Colorado. who's "currently working toward her PhD in critical whiteness studies at Brock University in Ontario, Canada." Critical. Whiteness. Studies. You can get a doctorate in that. And the only job available is in the Perpetual Grievance Industry.
Radersma compared being white to being an alcoholic: "What's the first step? Admitting you have a problem." The problem? Whites "carry within [themselves] ... dark, horrible thoughts and perceptions." She became "enlightened," so to speak, while teaching a lower-level English course which was composed entirely of "student of color." The Advanced Placement English course, was composed of all whites and Asians. (Remember, Asians do not count as "people of color" to these nimrods.) She notes,
That experience, and the fact that her boss did not know how to tackle the problem, led her to leave the classroom and work toward her Ph. D. Radersma told the group she realized the problem was the institutionalized racist structure of education and her white privilege was causing the racial achievement gap.
Naturally, the fact that the students in her class weren't prepared for an Advanced Placement class has absolutely nothing to do with what she saw at that school. And, natch, the real reasons for such a lack of preparation.
The rest of the article is an endless stream of far-left racialist garbage. If you can stomach it by all means read the whole thing. I almost became physically ill knowing there are actually people out there like this Radersma buffoon. I'll leave you with this lovely quote from her:
"If you don't want to work for equity, get the fuck out of education," Radersma said. "If you are not serious about being an agent of change that helps stifle the oppressive systems, go find another job. Because you are a political figure."
The Cape Gazette has more on the efforts by some on the Cape Henlopen (Delaware) school board to ditch the classic novel Brave New World from an Advanced Placement English curriculum. Previously noted board members Sandi Minard and Jen Burton say in this article that they don't want to ban the book, just give parents a choice: “If we have a choice, why can't we chose something that's not sexually explicit,” Burton said. “We can choose other books to show a dystopic society.”
Board Vice President Roni Posner defended the novel, but said that if parents don't want their kids reading the book, they should be able to opt out.
As I noted in my earlier post, the irony really is lost on some of these people. As Lea Tomer, young adult services librarian for the Lewes Public Library, notes in the article,
The overwhelming theme of the book is the loss of the individual and government control. While sexual promiscuity is portrayed in the novel, it is part of Huxley's negative description of a futuristic society. It's a small piece of the overall picture.
This is what I do not understand -- as conservative a place as Sussex County, Delaware is, Brave New World should, if anything, appeal to their political philosophy (as Ms. Tomer notes above).
That's what Philly HS teacher Stephen Pfeiffer said about teaching at Bartram High School.
Let that sink in for a minute. A Vietnam veteran says he had a better chance in a war situation than in a high school. And based on what solutions are being planned out, it looks like Pfeiffer's chances ain't gonna get a whole lot better:
[Superintendent William R.] Hite also said he, the assistant superintendent responsible for the school, and its principal, Kimberly Collins, would work together on Bartram's discipline plan and to emphasize restorative practices, a program that stresses building relationships to prevent conflict.
Yeah, that'll work alright. Read the whole [frightening] article and tell me how "restorative practices" (edu-jargon at its finest) is going to turn Bartram around. Someone like Joe Clark is needed, and needed desperately.
It seems there was some pretty provocative happenings at this past week's Cape Henlopen (Sussex County, Delaware) school board meeting. Colossus has learned via an attendee of the meeting that it seems a couple of school board members cited Delaware Code Title 11 Section 1361 -- that related to obscenity -- regarding a teacher assigning the novel Brave New World to her high school class. That's right -- school board members insinuated that a teacher could be hauled out of his/her classroom in handcuffs, and arrested on obscenity charges ... for having his/her high school students read the eighty-plus year-old classic novel by Aldous Huxley.
The problem? GASP! There's an "orgy" scene in the book. Yep. But as anyone who has read the novel can attest, it's hardly written in language you'd encounter in a book today. It's full of figurative language, metaphors and other imagery. The book was written in 1931. School board member Jennifer Burton was the one who referenced the "relevant" Delaware Code in regards to the novel. A man who identified himself as a Delaware State Police officer spoke at the meeting and agreed with Burton's assessment of the novel with regards to Title 11 of the Delaware Code.
Part of the catalyst behind this whole affair is that it seems the same teacher who assigned BNW had also given a homework assignment involving the video for the hit song "Blurred Lines." When students Googled the vid to check it out, apparently they discovered there are several other versions of it that are very inappropriate. It seems the teacher was unaware of this. (Note: In my opinion, the teacher should have been.) What the assignment was and how it pertained to the class is still unclear. With regards to this whole matter, Cape school board member Sandi Minard went on Dan Gaffney's radio talk show to discuss it. This was a violation of the "current [Cape Henlopen] Contract, Board Policy and Delaware State Law," according to the Cape Henlopen Education Association. However, Ms. Minard remained undeterred, saying "I will not be intimidated nor will I be silenced." On the radio with Gaffney, Minard remarked that she (and parents) were (paraphrase) "prepared to move forward" past the issue, but then had heard about the assignment of Brave New World and ended up right back at "the beginning," so to speak.
Attempting to keep the issues separate, I ask: When hasn't a teacher been questioned about an assignment ... especially when the topic is something (even remotely) controversial? This happens all the time, especially in the humanities courses (English, social studies). Isn't the proper course of action, as the CHEA noted above, to follow procedure -- you know, like contact the teacher about any concerns first, and then [school-based] administrators if no satisfaction is given by the teacher? Dan Gaffney, on his blog, notes that Minard went public "after the complaints didn't seem to grab any traction with superiors within the school." But what does that mean, exactly? Does not "grab[bing] any traction" mean that the explanations given by the teacher and administrators weren't good enough for the [questioning] parents? What were the explanations by the school? Were there assurances by the school that steps would be taken to rectify lapses in judgment/procedure? We don't know.
But then ... how does all the above evolve into attempting to censor one the greatest classic novels of the last 200 years? Our source at the school board meeting said that school board member Burton remarked that dystopian novels should contain "positive" messages. Apparently irony escapes Ms. Burton ... in more ways than one. And if she (and her constituents) really want to see teachers taken away in handcuffs for having students read classic literature, then go for it. This may assuage a hard-right conservative base, but it'll scare the beejeebees out of many others, libertarians especially, left and right. And it will also assist in keeping the state GOP a statewide non-force for decades to come.
Here's the American Library Association's list of Banned and Challenged Books based on reports from the Office of Intellectual Freedom. Yep, some real head-scratchers on there for sure.
UPDATE: The class in question (reading Brave New World) is an 11th grade Advanced Placement class.
Also, as kavips notes in the comments, here's more from Delaware Beaches. Comment of the day by a father concerned about the book:
“Why would we teach kids what is negative in society?” he said. “Let’s teach them what is right, to become good citizens and improve the fabric of society.”
Irony really does escape a lot of people, doesn't it?
Andrew Johnson at The Corner reports on the latest -- Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley diss of Chuck Grassley, suggesting the GOP senator "isn't qualified" because he doesn't have a law degree. Braley later apologized, but Charles Cooke notes a "progressive" website that refers to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as "College Dropout Scott Walker." Cooke notes,
I don’t care whether you love or loathe Scott Walker and his politics, the use of “college dropout” as a pejorative is absurd. The increasing fetishization of education is leading us all to some pretty bizarre places, not the least of which is to the conflation of one’s educational achievement and one’s intellect or worth.
Indeed. Maybe Boss Obama could lead the way by releasing his college transcripts so we could see Just how "smart" he really is. Another example of what Cooke is talking about is Sheila Jackson-Lee, whose education includes UVA law school. This cretin thinks the US Constitution is 400-some years old, and can't even put a coherent English sentence together. (And that's just for starters.) And what about Rep. Hank Johnson, another law school graduate, who once hilariously worried about the island of Guam tipping over if too many Marines were stationed on it?
How can one forget Delaware's own Joe Biden? Here's yet another law school graduate whose list of microcephalic utterances may know no equal. One of my favorites is this, regarding AZ Rep. Gabby Giffords: "Gabby Giffords, my good friend, was shot and mortally wounded.” Except she's, y'know, still alive. And doing quite well.
Just as Hillary Clinton plans to make climate change a big part of her 2016 campaign, I sure do hope Democrats attempt to portray Republicans as stupid. It'll make folks look like the entire Boss Obama administration -- "progressive" elitists who think they know it all, yet in practice are complete idiots. (Um, just look at the last six years.) It's like those who like to point out that those who watch Fox News rank lowest in terms of overall education -- what these buffoons omit is that, unlike the vast majority of the LIV American public (a majority of whom voted for Obama), at least the FNC-watching folks are interested in the news, and don't rely exclusively on quick sound-bites (if on anything at all) like Boss Obama's Lie of the Year, or tweets / Facebook posts which frequently carry nary a nugget of truth.
* Education spending has skyrocketed since 1972, but kids have gotten dumber, according to the Cato Institute.
* A must-read is this Heather Mac Donald article on another completely misguided federal "report" on racial school suspension disparities. Here's something you'll rarely, or never, hear in "honest" (or "courageous") conversations about race:
Actually, what Ms. Smith-Evans should be trying to fathom is the black crime rate, which explains the school-suspension rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age combined. Given such high crime rates, what do the civil-rights advocates and the Obama administration think is going on in the classroom — docile obedience and strict self-discipline? In fact, the same weak impulse control that leads to such high crime rates among young black males inevitably means more disruptive behavior in school.
Also on Friday, the New York media reported that a 14-year-old boy riding a bus in Brooklyn the previous night had opened fire on the bus and fatally shot an innocent 39-year-old passenger in the head. Did anyone doubt the race of the killer, even though the media did not disclose it? Blacks commit nearly 80 percent of all shootings in New York City, even though they are only 23 percent of the population; whites commit less than 2 percent of all shootings in New York City, though they are 35 percent of the population. The chance that that young bus killer was a model pupil, quietly paying attention in class and not disturbing his fellow students and teacher, is close to zero. (Follow-up stories revealed that the shooter was a member of Bedford Stuyvesant’s Stack Money Goons crew, and had been moved to open fire when three members of the rival Twan Family boarded the bus.)
And this doesn't even begin to address illegitimacy, over 80% in some [black] urban areas. The AP's predictable article on the matter is here.
* David French notes how a conservative professor was denied tenure because of his beliefs; he went to court and won.
* Go figure: A high school "conflict-resolution specialist" was attacked and knocked out by a 17 year-old student at a Philly school.
* Speaking of Philly, Temple University officials are warning students about attacks from a group of girls after a student of the college was smashed in the face with a brick, and another student faced unknown injuries. The assailants are described as "as black girls who were about 16 or 17 years old." No doubt these girls are model students in the high schools they attend and have never had to be suspended, thus not requiring Arne Duncan's and the feds' intervention on behalf of "disproportionate" discipline statistics.
Just when you think life can't get any more insane, the most overturned Circuit Court in the country -- the 9th -- comes up with this ruling:
A California high school is allowed to bar students from wearing T-shirts with the American flag on them during a Cinco de Mayo event after a 2010 incident involving white and Mexican students, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday.
The court found that administrators had reason to believe displaying the American flag would lead to violent confrontation, so it was justified in removing the students displaying it. Because only students wearing the American flag were threatened, students could still wear other national flags, such as Mexico’s, the court found.
The 1969 Tinker case ruled that schools can ban items or actions if they can “forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities.” However, Volokh notes that the 9th Circuit is likely to be overruled again by the SCOTUS as this decision essentially establishes a "heckler's veto" -- "in which speech can be limited to prevent violence from a group of individuals, rather than punish the individuals threatening the violence."
This is especially [worrisome] because behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated. The school taught its students a simple lesson: If you dislike speech and want it suppressed, then you can get what you want by threatening violence against the speakers. The school will cave in, the speakers will be shut up, and you and your ideology will win. When thuggery pays, the result is more thuggery. Is that the education we want our students to be getting?
I was beginning to have some hope for the 9th Circuit as they recently made a favorable ruling regarding the 2nd Amendment. But this is just nuts. Displaying or wearing clothing with an American flag?? Schools pledge allegiance to it. But it can then be banned??
I've opined in the past very much in favor of Tinker and allowing school-based administrators to make common sense decisions. (See the various posts here.) There certainly is a fine line between keeping an orderly academic environment and protecting free expression rights, but I definitely think the school (and the court) are wrong on this one. Again, the school flies the American flag and pledges allegiance to it ... but it won't allow students to display or wear it?
An op-ed in today's Wilmington News Journal by Melva Ware and Laurisa Schutt (the former "a former associate director of the Delaware Center for Teacher Education," and the latter "executive director of Teach For America-Delaware") argues that minority students need to see more faces like themselves as teachers:
The Center for American Progress' report, Teacher Diversity Matters, tells us that students of color taught by teachers of color perform better across several core academic performance metrics. Low-income students of color in particular need to see and identify with a range of caring adults to provide role models and resources to help them imagine and plan for expanded opportunities in life.
Of course, the Center for American Progress is a left-wing outfit so naturally "diversity" is one of their religions. And if you read the report, you won't find a reference to a study showing students of color do better in school if taught by someone "who looks like them." Correct me if I missed it. In addition, perhaps the CAP could explain why urban schools -- which as a whole tend to have more teachers of color -- don't perform as well as other schools with significant minority populations ... but with less teachers of color. Certainly [many] other factors come into play.
And what about Asian students? Asian consistently out-perform every racial/ethnic group in academic performance (even the less affluent in the group), yet they have virtually no teachers "who look like them" in schools. What explains this? Ms. Ware and Schutt share the opinion that "diversity" equates to academic progress. But this is not the case as we've pointed out many, many times here. Diversity is not a bad thing per se, of course, but it's not the end-all to be-all that academic "progressives" would have you believe.
Of note in the study are methods by which to increase teachers of color to go into teaching. The difficulty with this is that every employment arena is looking to increase minority numbers. Education is at a disadvantage since it generally pays lower than industry. I certainly favor streamlined methods to certify teachers (many "required" classes "necessary" for teaching are completely and utterly useless) as the study advocates, but will that really attract the numbers folks like Ware and Schutt want? I doubt it.
Oh boy, you know what that means:
According to one Harvard student, the “doctrine of academic freedom” should be replaced by a standard of “academic justice.”
“If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?” asked Sandra Korn, a member of the class of 2014, in an editorial in the Crimson, Harvard’s official newspaper.
Korn proposes instead that “[w]hen an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.”
Of course, you know by now that to radical "progressives," "justice" is whatever they deem it to be. In effect, no matter how factual or scientifically-based, Korn would thwart a study or class being available to students because it may fly against her supposed notions of "[academic] justice."
By the way, Korn "is a joint history of science and studies of women, gender and sexuality" major. So, this ridiculous edu-garbage is pretty much what you'd expect.
The original article is here.
Philly.com (and many other news outlets) are up in arms over members of Phillipsburg High School's (New Jersey) wrestling team posing with a wrestling dummy with a rival's jersey on it ... and with a noose around its neck. (Philly.com featured this story right smack at the top of its website this morning.)
Tuesday night, the Gloucester County NAACP issued a statement saying that it would request a meeting with Paulsboro officials and would seek an investigation. The NAACP also said it wanted "a letter of apology from the offenders to Paulsboro . . . and the Gloucester County community."
The superintendents of both districts met and said "actions were taken by the district consistent with its policies." What actions were taken, though, aren't as yet known.
Reading through the comments of the story shows a few readers stating that many wrestling "practice dummies" are, in fact, black in color. (If you're skeptical, just see this Google image search of "wrestling dummies" with no reference to color added.) And a Google image search of Paulsboro wrestling shows, well, overwhelmingly white faces. So was this photo really racially motivated?
Yes, the fact that this dummy was black in color, and yes, the fact that it had a noose around it appears racially insensitive. That this picture was taken at all is an exercise in extremely poor sportsmanship ... period. But the NAACP, before jumping the gun on this matter, ought to get its own house in order regarding racial insensitivity. And Philly.com ought to dig a little deeper before, as it does all too often, alluding to "racism."
Here's the solution: Become a felon.
A statewide initiative will start to expand opportunities for prisoners to get college degrees, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.
Cuomo said New York's recidivism rate for incarceration is 40 percent, and the state spends $60,000 a year to house each prisoner. He said the program would help keep prisoners from returning to jail and will start by partnering local colleges with 10 prisons, which are mainly upstate.
Cuomo said the program will cost about $5,000 per year to provide a year of college courses for one inmate. The program will be funded through a partnership among the colleges, state and private sector.
Yeah, notice how "state" was neatly inserted into the middle there, as that means taxpayers. You can sure the "state" will pick up the lion's share.
Play by the rules and lead a clean life? "Screw you," says Cuomo. He'll just add you to the list of folks already persona non grata in the state.
God help me, as my daughter is a college sophomore: Rutgers University course uses Beyoncé as a tool to discuss race, gender and sexuality
The class instructor, Kevin Allred, is a white, male PhD student and lecturer in Rutgers’ Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. “This isn’t a course about Beyoncé’s political engagement or how many times she performed during President Obama’s inauguration weekend,” he says. “Rather, the performer’s music and career are used as lenses to explore American race, gender, and sexual politics.”
Wait a second -- Allred is a white male?? How dare he presume to instruct others about a black woman!!!
Considering Allred’s race and gender, he often gets questioned for his ‘lack‘ of qualifications. “Of course, there are people who’ll say, ‘You’re not black. You’re not a woman,’” he says. “It’s something I’m always questioning and staying aware of so as not to overstep any bounds or make any claims for a group that I don’t belong to. It’s a fine line and I want to remain respectful of that.”
Oh, I bet you do, Kev. In the "progressive" (and academic) world of group-think, you'd better always be cognizant of that. I'm still amazed you've been permitted to teach the damn "course" in the first place, considering your gender and hue.
This should come as little surprise, nor should the paper's lies:
For example, African-American students represent only 15 percent of public school students, but they make of 35 percent of students suspended once, 44 percent of those suspended more than once and 36 percent of those expelled. Statistical information does not in itself prove discrimination. But research has shown that black students do not engage in more serious or more frequent misbehavior than other students.
Just don't ask they Times about that research. Because it's nonsense. As a former Education Dept. lawyer rebuts:
The Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Armstrong (1996) that there is no legal “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, since that is “contradicted by” real world data. For example, blacks, who are only 13% of America’s population, commit nearly half of all murders — four times the general rate.
[As] Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has noted, black teenagers are 25 times as likely to get arrested in Chicago as whites, and the black homicide rate for teenagers is 10 times higher nationally than for whites.
Yet, incredibly, the Education Departments treats that false presumption as fact, and insists that there is no evidence of “more frequent” misbehavior by some groups, and that ”research suggests that the substantial racial disparities of the kind reflected in the CRDC data are not explained by more frequent or more serious misbehavior by students of color.”
And check out where the Times says that there are "two kinds of discrimination": "... and cases where policies — like mandatory suspension, expulsion or ticketing — are administered in a race-neutral manner but have a disproportionate and unjustified effect on students of a particular race." This is pure Orwellian nonsense at its finest. How is it "discrimination" when the policies are administered in a RACE-NEUTRAL MANNER?? How, and on what basis, is this "unjustified?"
As previously noted, two US Supreme Courts cases -- United States v. Armstrong and People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education -- have established that what the Dept. of Education plans on doing in our schools is clearly unconstitutional.
There's a lot more here.
RELATED: The Wilmington (DE) News Journal agrees with the Times ("The statistics are on [the Obama administration's] side. Minority students and students with disabilities suffer more and greater discipline for transgressions than white students do. It is happening across the country, but a handful of states standout. Unfortunately, Delaware is one of them."); however, they offer this common sense caveat:
The trouble with the Holder-Duncan order is that the federal data is incomplete and the policy offers schools little help in fixing the problem. We are afraid it will merely create another federal mandate to fill out more paperwork merely for the sake of filling an in-basket in Washington.
In addition, as we noted in our last post, the Journal recognizes the Catch-22 schools are in:
Only a few years ago, after the shootings at Columbine and again at Newtown, Conn., the public – and elected officials – demanded armed guards in schools and zero tolerance policies for transgressions. Now the complaint is that the guards are leading to more arrests and zero tolerance policies are mindless bureaucratic traps. The schools will be criticized no matter which way they turn.
Indeed. What this is, folks, is an edict for outright denial of reality. The feds are mandating that teachers and administrators live in the Land of Make Believe.
ALSO RELATED: Linda Chavez tears apart this nonsense.
The Obama administration is seeking racial quotas in the nation's public schools. No, not quotas for some perceived racial balance just for a school's population, but for the number of students disciplined. In other words, if the discipline figures for a school don't more or less equal that of the school's [racial] population ... then it's racist.
It’s part of a larger effort — backed by teachers unions, civil rights advocacy groups and other organizations — to combat the “school-to-prison pipeline,” in which minority students are disproportionately kicked out of school and subsequently end up in the criminal justice system.
But within its guidance, most of which is not controversial and merely reinforces existing nondiscrimination laws, the administration also declares that schools’ disciplinary policies cannot have a “disparate impact” on one particular group.
In plain terms, it means district rules, guidelines and enforcement cannot result in the punishment of more black students than white students for the same offense, for example.
With that in mind, school leaders surely will keep a close eye on whether the same number of children from given racial groups are disciplined in equal number and equal measure for the same behavior.
“You have to make certain that your school discipline cases match those percentages. If you don’t, you’ll have the feds on your doorstep,” said Joshua Dunn, a political science professor at the University of Colorado and director of the university’s Center for Legal Studies. “If they actually do enforce these guidelines, there will be unintended consequences. This creates some rather destructive incentives. I don’t think there’s any way around that.”
The feds are pushing methods "for creating safe and positive school climates, which are essential for boosting student academic success and closing achievement gaps.” In other words, things the schools should be doing that parents used to. Yet another thing on teachers' and administrators' plates all the while politicians clamor for accountability on the academic front. At any rate, you now can't just kick a kid out of the classroom for being a constant disruption; you have to find out why the kid is doing what he's doing, and then take actions to help "remedy" it. You know, while your 30+ other kids are still sitting in class awaiting instruction. Take a look at the doublespeak and wishful thinking on the part of the feds:
"Maintaining safe and supportive school climates is absolutely critical, and we are concerned about the rising rates and disparities in discipline in our nation’s schools,” said Secretary Duncan. “By teaming up with stakeholders on this issue and through the work of our offices throughout the department, we hope to promote strategies that will engage students in learning and keep them safe.”
Requiring racial quotas in discipline will make schools and classrooms anything but safe and supportive. Why in the world does the government care more about the chronic problem students than the vast majority of students who wish to ... learn?
Hans Bader, a former attorney with the [federal] Education Dept., notes that ultimately, this sort of federal "oversight" could get it into trouble:
“The only practical way for a school system to comply with the Education Department’s demands is to adopt a de facto racial quota in discipline. But this itself puts the school system in legal jeopardy, since at least one federal appeals court has said that schools cannot use racial targets or quotas for school discipline, since that violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.”
Bader added that in the case of People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, the court ruled that “a school cannot use race in student discipline to offset racial disparities not rooted in school officials’ racism (so-called “disparate impact”).”
Bader adds that, regarding People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education,
... it didn’t just strike down overt use of race to achieve a racial target or racial balancing. It voided even the requirement of racial balance, thus disposing of any potential argument by the Education Department that it’s OK to require racial targets or balancing, as long as the school is merely told to achieve the target, but not (explicitly) told to use race to achieve it.
So, maybe a school district that'd be willing to stand up to Eric Holder and Arne Duncan (good luck, though -- money, after all) can emphasize this case, among others. Others such as United States v. Armstrong (an 8-1 decision) which held that "crime rates are not the same for different races, and that racial disparities in crime rates and conviction rates are not proof of racial discrimination." Bader continues that not disciplining black students for misbehavior or some other violation just because some other black students were previously disciplined (more than white students) is "as crazy as ordering police to stop arresting black criminals just because they previously arrested more blacks than whites."
The feds state also that even if a school discipline policy "is neutral on its face," and "is administered in an evenhanded manner," if it has that disparate impact on students of a particular race, it's bad. Ironically however, policies like much maligned "zero tolerance" measures (those applied to whomever no matter what whenever the policy is violated) came about partly because school officials were fearful of "lawsuits charging that principals disciplined unequally based on race or other factors." Setting straight, specific guidelines enabled administrators to say "Look, you did this. This is the consequence. It's written right here." Schools set up their own codes of conduct which did the same thing. But then ... the racial numbers still weren't "balanced" after the implementation of these measures! B-b-b-b-but ...! (Also take a look at Kilroy's coverage of Delaware's Christina School District's intervention by the feds regarding disparate disciplinary measures. One of the points of contention was that, yes, the district was using terminology that was too subjective, thus making the point about the origin of zero tolerance policies. What a Catch-22. A school board member even noted that the district's definition of "inappropriate behavior" needed to be "thoroughly defined.")
Let's cut to the chase: As was alluded to above, if law enforcement was required to arrest people in proportion to their numbers in the general population, the result would be chaos. Crime would be beyond rampant and society would crumble. (UPDATE: Has this already begun?) Why should we expect schools, then, to follow such a ridiculous idea? Would you want your child to attend a school where the most chronically disruptive students weren't only not removed from your kid's class, but weren't even disciplined period?? What do you think that class would be like? What do you think that school would be like? It seems that when consultants, lawyers, advocates, and school officials ask why there may be disparate disciplinary rates among races in schools, the reasons bandied about rarely, if ever, include the obvious: that maybe, just maybe, students in certain [racial/ethnic] groups actually misbehave more often than others. And then consider this: should we do away with penalties things such as lateness to school and/or class? If there is a preponderance of students of a particular race coming late to class, how would that be evidence of teacher/administrator/institutional racism? Would clocks now be considered prejudiced? (Well, yes, actually. Because staff would be treated to something akin to this, where they'd be "educated" on how certain groups are different, and that "linear time is an inherently Caucasian-Western concept." And, hence is discriminatory. Or something.)
Ultimately, this is all the product of the current Democratic-led Education Department which, as Bader says, "outsource[s] civil-rights policy to left-wing radicals" and leads to guidelines and interpretations "which were probably drafted by left-wing civil-rights bureaucrats with little understanding of how classrooms operate in the real world."
A southwest Ohio [white] teacher who allegedly responded after a black high school freshman said he wanted to become president that the nation doesn't need another black president has been disciplined.
The teacher claims he was misquoted. The district says he was disciplined in 2008 for making an inappropriate racial comment, and again for failing to follow school curriculum. There was no mention of anyone recording the comments, clandestinely or otherwise.
Naropa University administrators and religious studies professor Don Matthews are at odds about his suspension last week over complaints that he threatened students and refused to speak during classes.
Matthews was placed on paid suspension for the rest of the semester early last week.
He said the suspension was racially motivated and the university didn't grant him "due process" before suspending him. University officials, however, said Matthews' actions posed a threat to the Naropa community and warranted immediate action in the form of suspension.
Matthews was protesting "institutional racism" at the university, and had vowed to continue his classroom protest until "bias" was excised permanently from Naropa. He also filed a complaint at the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights regarding the college's "lack of diversity" and "racism." He claims the suspension is retaliation against him.
*Sigh* I'm constantly amazed at such complaints considering that colleges are, if anything, ridiculously overly conscious about racial and ethnic sensitivity. Diversity is essentially the official religion of the university community. Indeed, Naropa has a "Community of Color" group, the head of which is a big supporter of Matthews. Imagine the "institutional racism" which permitted a group like that to exist, eh?
Nevertheless, actions by guys like Matthews can only be experienced at a place like your typical American university. Frankly, I'm amazed he was suspended, and that Naropa took the sensible action that it did. A prof is basically free to engage in all the histrionics he wants, but if you're actually refusing to do that for which the college pays you -- namely, teach -- then there should be a problem. As Richard Aubrey says in the comments at Joanne's:
If I, a student, pay some hugely inflated price for four credits of, say, Reformation theology, I have contracted to get four credits of Reformation theology. I am owed it. I need it for the junior level class for which it is a prerequisite.
I did not pay a chunk of my parents’ savings, my summer job, or my future debt enslavement in order to watch a professor massage his ego in public. If I don’t get my four credits of Reformation theology, the U is in breach of contract and must take action regarding its agent which put it in this position. Or refund my premium.
Now, I know this is harsh, but it’s the way it works in the rest of the world. Like to apply it to academia.
As noted, Matthews is also accused of threatening and belittling students. He threatened to sue students on his Facebook page and via e-mail for "defamation," and told a student in class that he/she "needed therapy." Naropa President Charles Lief says that Matthews indeed is "passionate" and "teaches on the edge," which he claims is what makes the university "unique":
"He's provocative. He brings a different perspective, which is obviously unique to Naropa and unique to Boulder. He's an African American, Christian minister who comes to the university from an urban world that, frankly, many people here are not familiar with."
What does that mean, exactly -- "from an urban world"? Is this the same sort of "academic speak" that purports to exonerate Matthews for his actions because ... blacks are "[culturally] different"?
For the most part, the university is free to believe and apply such nonsense, and Matthews is free to believe as he wishes and to be as "provocative" as he pleases. However, some common cultural and societal norms have to be in place; penalties for refusing to actually teach and threatening/belittling students should be one of them, obviously.
A Halloween concert at Hampshire College in Massachusetts was canceled because the main act, a band called Shokazoba which specializes in "Afro-beat" style, was deemed "not black enough."
"Hampshire’s justification for the cancellation and censorship has morphed over the past two weeks," wrote the ACLU in the letter to Jonathan Lash, the school's president. "The genesis of the decision, as you know rested on the accusation that this afro-funk band had insufficient representation of people of color."
“Comments posted on the event Facebook page, maintained and monitored by the college, stated that the African-American lead singer was not black enough," he wrote.
Indeed. Check out a pic of the band. How dare a light-skinned black woman team up with a bunch of pasty white guys to play afro-themed music?? Hell, ya'd think that a black woman as the front person of the band would make the racialists and bean counters proud, right? After all, does anyone else recall how upset jazz great Wynton Marsalis was when [that "white Briton" lead-guy] Sting nabbed two of his [black] musicians, including his brother Branford?
Let's hope that the band Living Colour doesn't regroup and get booked to play a rock concert at Hampshire. After all, they're not white enough for the genre.
The latest allegations from the American Humanist Association are shocking, titillating, and (cue the 1950s soap opera organist) downright scandalous.
In a complaint filed by the organization on November 20 a Missouri public school teacher has been accused of praying for an injured student, organizing a project to feed hungry children and (brace yourself) -- cavorting with a Methodist.
“Teachers simply cannot participate in prayers with students at school, nor can they promote their religious beliefs in any other way to their students,” the AHA said in a statement.
Actually, they can. Courts have ruled that if schools are open (after normal operating hours) to secular groups, so too must they be available to religious groups. The school in question here, Fayette High School in Missouri, has a group called Fellowship of Christian Students led by teacher Gwen Pope. The group meets before school and is purely voluntary. But, somehow, the AHA "said the two unnamed complainants had been subjected to 'unwelcome encounters with the classroom prayer sessions.'”
It seems her classroom is near the entrance door of the school and apparently non-believing students could see their classmates engaged in religious activities.
They alleged that Mrs. Pope and the students were seen reading Bible verses and (again, brace yourself) praying for the ill.
“When a student was sick or injured, Pope frequently asked the students in attendance to pray for the afflicted student and joined the attending students in prayer by bowing her head, closing her eyes and saying amen,” the lawsuit alleged.
GASP! Non-believing students could ... see in! Hey, here's a novel idea: Turn your (big-browed) heads. Close your eyes.
Just another day in Hurt Feelings America. Cripes, I'm surprised these cretinous humanists didn't also sue because the teacher's last name is "Pope."
Nothing of this sort surprises me anymore:
In a letter sent to colleagues in the department after the sit-in, [professor emeritus Val] Rust said students in the demonstration described grammar and spelling corrections he made on their dissertation proposals as a form of "micro-aggression."
Student demonstrators alleged that there is a “toxic” racial climate in the graduate school, including in Rust’s classroom. Organizers told the Daily Bruin last week that they decided to host the demonstration after a recent report examining racial discrimination among the university’s faculty stated that UCLA’s policies and procedures do not sufficiently address racially motivated instances of discrimination.
Yes, you understood that correctly -- minority graduate students are claiming racism because their professor emeritus had the gall to correct them.
The hilarious thing is, such departments are staffed and headed by some of the most "progressive" individuals you will ever encounter -- people who would be eternally cognizant of such "micro-aggressions" in and out of the classroom -- but they still get eaten alive by the very "philosophies" they guard and/or espouse.
(Via Fausta's Blog.)
Duncan, who is now apologizing for his remarks about "white suburban moms" being worried that their kids aren't as bright as they thought (due to the "increased rigor" of the new Common Core standards), may not have been as completely far off the mark as some have been clamoring.
Now, I certainly think the Common Core standards are pretty much BS, won't "raise" standards or improve education whotsoever, and represent still more federal overreach into an area better left to the states and localities, Duncan's comment, while racially insensitive, hit a nerve among the group he was criticizing. Teachers will tell you that, on the whole, less affluent parents (who don't show up for open houses, PTA meetings, etc.) are rarely heard from about their kids' grades and/or behavior. More affluent parents (who do show up for open houses, PTA meetings, etc.) are heard from about their kids' grades and/or behavior. And, taken comprehensively, this is not a bad thing. However, sometimes that parental concern can come with a high degree of entitlement. What do I mean by this? Badgering about grades. Excuse-making for discipline infractions. Demands for higher placement in ability level "tracking." Do not misunderstand -- inquiries about all of these are very legitimate. What I am talking about is going beyond when everything has been explained to them to the Nth degree ... and more (if that's even possible).
I believe many teachers will tell you that that is more debilitating to them than the parent who just doesn't care at all. Perhaps this is what Duncan was expressing -- again, very poorly and out of frustration. Then again, how would he know? He never taught a class in his life.
Just look here.
Policies originally designed to keep guns out of schools have instead kept excessive numbers of Pennsylvania students out of their classrooms as educators applied the rules in an overly broad manner, says a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
And black students, Latino students, and students with disabilities are more likely to be suspended than their peers, says the Nov. 14 report, which is based on a statewide, district-by-district analysis of Pennsylvania data on suspensions, expulsions, and school referrals to police.
The implication being, of course, that such policies are racially motivated. But ... I thought the education industry is among the most progressive of institutions? How can this be?
The answer is, such policies are not racially motivated, but are borne out of a desire to protect students and maintain order. [For] all students. Certainly, "zero tolerance" policies in anecdotal cases have been taken to ridiculous extremes. There are plenty of examples. But consider:
But in practice, the law's reach extended beyond its original intentions as districts expanded the definition of "weapons" beyond firearms and removed students from the classroom for more minor, discretionary offenses, such as school uniform violations and talking back to adults, the report said.
"I understand the mentality that you've got to get the bad kids out of school so the good kids can learn, but when you actually look at who's doing what in schools, it really doesn't break down that cleanly or that simply," report author Harold Jordan said in an interview.
Actually, it does in most cases, Mr. Jordan. And while I can certainly sympathize with not suspending a student for a dress code violation (unless it involves repeated violations and/or highly inappropriate dress), talking back to teachers/administrators isn't supposed to warrant a suspension in certain cases? Saying "F*** you!!" wouldn't warrant such? And, exactly how have such disciplinary policies evolved from the 1995 federal Gun-Free Schools Act? Such student code of conduct policies have existed for long before that.
This is yet another flawed "disparate impact/proportionate representation" argument. Instead of focusing on making students behave better, the onus is on teachers and administrators to be more "accepting" or "forgiving" of [chronically] disruptive behavior. The article proposes "positive behavioral interventions" and no removal of any student unless "there is a real and immediate threat to safety." Which means that, a student could run up and down the hallway for a half hour screaming obscenities, and since there wasn't "a real and immediate threat," this pupil shouldn't be suspended. And an administrator or counselor would have to spend time "advising" and discussing with this student why what he/she did was "inappropriate." Not to mention, as we've written about many times here, it wouldn't be surprising if the staff was required to undergo "diversity" or "cultural sensitivity" training which, condescendingly, would propose that [minority] behavior is "misunderstood" by [white] teachers and other school personnel.
Ironically, whereas once liberals wanted the same rules to apply to all, regardless of background, now we have to take "certain things" into consideration. But these "certain things" must always be of a benign, or positive, vein. You know, that African-American students as a whole, "are loud", for example. it's anathema to ask hard questions or mention uncomfortable points.
Your average parents who actually care about their child's education don't give a hoot about the above nonsense, and/or they guffaw at it. And where such ridiculously PC school policies are in effect, such parents will vote with their feet -- if school choice is allowed where they live. I'm sure people like Mr. Jordan above would then label these parents as "racist," or at least "classist" or "elitist" ... merely for desiring a decent, chaos-free education for their kid, when, all in all, it's folks like Jordan whose advocacy results in such parental decisions.
... did dad really have to contact the school board over such supposed "slanted" questions?
Last week, his daughter’s eighth grade American History class at East Pennsboro Middle School was asked to analyze a New York Times story about the recent government shutdown. Barry, who said he is a registered independent, read the story and then read a list of questions his daughter was required to answer and he immediately determined the assignment was “grossly slanted.”
The worksheet included questions like “To what issue do House Republican leaders insist on tying the federal budget?” and “Whom do you hold most responsible for the government shutdown?”
The dad, Josh Barry, sent a letter to the teacher (right thing to do) but also, as noted, the school board. Like, why? And how exactly are those questions "slanted?" I'm the first to complain about [liberal] bias in media, education or anywhere, but I just don't see it here. Was there a question about Democrats on the assignment? Even so, how is the question about the GOP biased? It seems pretty straight-forward. Ditto for the second question. In my view, based on the info from this article alone, Mr. Barry overreacted.
Then there's what the head of the district's teachers union did afterwards: She allegedly made calls around the district accusing Barry of being a "neo-Nazi." Barry happens to be Jewish, so you can imagine how he felt upon hearing that.
Way to go Cydnee Cohen, president of that union. As if teachers unions needed more bad PR.
Why does the NEA (National Education Association) and the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) oppose this bipartisan bill?
A bipartisan bill that would stop convicted sex offenders from working in schools has been passed by the House but is running into a foe as it heads to the Senate: major teachers' unions like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
The unions have said that the bill "might jeopardize workers' protections under union contracts." Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison (MN) opposes the bill because it "does not allow for people to overcome their criminal backgrounds." Kyle Olson of the Education Action Group Foundation said that keeping sex offenders away from children is a "no-brainer." He's right. In this case, the unions and Ellison are brainless.
This is the sort of stuff that turns people's stomachs about unions like the NEA and AFT. They'll oppose this sort of stuff, but after an acquittal they'll take non-educational stances stances like urging the feds to investigate George Zimmerman. Gimme a royal break.
The city council has approved a resolution that calls for radical historian Howard Zinn's A People’s History of the United States to be taught in the city's schools.The resolution was supported by Jim Kenny and Jannie Blackwell. These two morons believe that "Philadelphia students need formal instruction in recognizing privilege and inequality," and in
the need for students to be taught an unvarnished, honest version of U.S. history that empowers students to differentiate between moments that have truly made our country great versus those that established systemic inequality, privilege, and prejudice which continue to reinforce modern society’s most difficult issues.
I'm curious -- if Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' opposition to using the book in schools was so "controversial," then why isn't mandating the book's use also so?
Ms. Blackwell apparently is a supporter of former long-time Cuban dictator Fidel Castro: “Castro did not do everything wrong, or he would not have lasted so long,” she said in a statement to CBS. Yeah, like, uh, he would have been voted out of office, y'know??
Then there's Will "Panties In A" Bunch who chimes in with his support:
A lot of conservatives are frothing at the mouth today over the Zinn conversation because -- regardless of what they say -- thousands of young Philadelphians thinking critically is the last thing they want.
Riiiiight. Perhaps Bunch oughta put more effort into clamoring for something that will make "thousands of young Philadelphians" think period, considering what a disaster that district is.
Bunch notes about Zinn that he "retells the last 500 years -- the book starts with an epic and harshly critical look at Christopher Columbus ..." Indeed. If Bunch is so worried that "standard" history omits so many things, he ought to be aware that Zinn does precisely that in his own version of events. Way back in 2005, when Colossus of Rhodey was still a fledgling blog, I noted how Zinn was quite selective about historical events:
In the article, of course, Zinn blasts Columbus and the West in general. What I found most interesting was Zinn's inclusion of Bartolome de las Casas, the Dominican priest, as the "hero" for speaking out against Spanish atrocities inflicted on the Natives (Indians). Of course, including that de las Casas advocated the importation of black slaves from Africa would have put a monkey wrench into Zinn's proselytizing. Even a high school history text, A History of World Societies, notes that de las Casas recommended black slavery because "the Church did not strictly forbid it, and he thought blacks could better survive South American conditions." My prof. indicated she had no idea about this when I brought it up in a "thought paper." She commented that this was "interesting."
No wonder Bunch is a fan. "Selectivity" is only significant if the other side does it. I mean, Bunch notes notes how he "was a bland center-left voters and a pretty "balanced" journalist in the '90s" ... that is, until the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, etc. He says, "Reading Zinn helped me understand what went wrong, and how everyday people could fight to get things right." Of course, you won't ever read from Bunch how Zinn "helped him understand" the Boss Obama administration and its misdeeds. Y'know, things like using the IRS as a political weapon, upping the ante on Bush era surveillance tactics to the Nth degree, drone warfare, health care ineptitude ... and much more. Leftists approve of such, because it helps to do away with their [political] enemies. I mean, just look again at how Jannie Blackwell admires Fidel Castro.
This is what I've been on about. I take issue with the label of "radical" but rather, this is ancient. Literally. Socratic method and all that. The idea that we are going to continue to use the Prussian factory model from the industrial age with digital age kids is insane. We are choosing an outdated modality and worse yet, a single modality for all types of learners and abilities. This. Makes. No. Sense. Article after article and study after study tells me education is about to implode. (If not, it ought to.) We need to radically rethink education and what it actually is. How it works and whom it serves. I imagine Hube has some ideas on this front but I believe things are going to change radically and pretty quickly.
Fast food workers are clamoring for wages in the ~$15/hr range. What they fail to understand is that they are going to find themselves unemployed should they succeed. Their jobs will either be automated further and fewer employees will run the shops. Or they'll be cut to part time and then be marginally employed. Or, they'll suddenly be surprised that all the marginally employed white collar people who were going to Manpower et al. for wages in that range will take their jobs.
There's a reason this guy is feared. He's whip smart and he just rope a doped a seasoned member.
Keep it up Sir, you're doing yeoman's work.
Mark my words, this guy is headed for the White House.
Many people do not like the so-called "common core" curriculum. Their reasons are numerous but a bit of googling will tell you why. What if your DOE had a meeting with parents designed to show you just how excited you are about Common Core. Well, let's let the Educrats speak and then field some pre-planted softball questions and everyone goes home happy, right? No. One parent, who knows that Common Core is crap decided to ask a question. He had the audacity to contradict The Party. His reward was being ejected and arrested. If you ever doubted that the schools have no interest in you or your kids and only exist to serve the big moneyed interest of the Unions, look closely. The Educrats are literally aghast at the temerity of a lowly parent to doubt their wondrous plan. They are so threatened that their unleash their lapdog on the man who immediately goes into bully mode. Watch the officer's demeanor. Does that man look like a reasonable person? Not to me. I see someone who is furious that anyone thought they had any right to do anything other than what he told them.
How much more are we going to roll over and take?
The IRS targets political apostates.
They collude with the FEC to steer elections.
The President allows Americans at a diplomatic post to be overrun and murdered so he can get some sleep and be bright and bushytailed for his fundraiser.
They ran guns into Mexico and tried to blame it on gun shop owners who outsmarted them by videotaping the encounters with the ATF.
The NSA is reading your email, tapping your phone, tracking your metadata, and still can't stop terrorists in Boston.
The police now track you everywhere you go with license plate readers they keep just in case they want to know where you are.
They're inflating your money away when they're not giving it away to cronies.
We're sending weapons to terrorists in Syria because they're the good guy terrorists or something. I never really got a good answer on this one.
Our VP says we need to spend money to keep from going broke and nobody bats an eye.
The Speaker of the House says we need to pass a law so we can find out what's in it and nobody bats an eye.
The President says that raising the debt ceiling and then spending up to that new limit is not raising the debt and nobody bats an eye.
Really? We're putting up with this? What's left? How much more will it take before enough is enough?
Jason Richwine examines this claim made by the OECD, "a group of the world’s industrialized nations." It seems it says American teachers work more hours than any other industrialized nation ... except Chile. The problem? The OECD relies "on the federal government’s School and Staffing Survey, which directly asks American teachers how much time they work."
Richwine notes that contractually, American teachers work 37 hours per week. Now, except for the biggest lemons in the profession, let's be honest -- no teacher works 37 hours per week. Especially English and math teachers in this Age of Testing. Richwine goes on to claim that the figure is probably around 40 hours per week, even though the self-reported hours the OECD uses state teachers work 53 hours. This is based on a "special time-use survey" which the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses. I still find that hard to believe. But ... are teachers' summer hours factored into this 40 hour figure?
Personally, I'd estimate I put in 45-50 hours per week in my subject area. My GF puts in probably more than that (she's an English teacher). There are some weeks where grading papers is at a minimum, others where I am swamped.
But ... the issue is: so what, really? Good teachers work hard, just like any other good employee in whatever profession. The typical difference is, teachers enjoy a lot of time off, and usually, pretty good benefits.
Joanne Jacobs links to a gent who's a “multicultural educator who facilitates creative writing and education seminars, as well as social justice workshops.” Which means you can probably figure out much of what he's going to say. In this case it's
The teaching of non-cognitive skills pushes a socialization process that homogenizes students into the mainstream culture if they want to “succeed.” These skills send cultural messages on how a student exhibits “good behavior.” They are built upon mainstream beliefs and values that could prove to be culturally irrelevant. Are low-income students therefore “bad” when they don’t assume mainstream society’s cultural ethos?
*Sigh* As Joanne writes after the above, "I hope [his] students enjoy being poor because they’re likely to stay that way." I am constantly perplexed at how radical multicultis fail to recognize that any society must have certain "common" values in order to succeed.
At any rate, the answer to the gent's final question is "no;" however, they'll certainly find it much harder to succeed when out in the real world. After reading through the comments at the original link provided at Joanne's site, I was left wondering just what the hell the guy was actually referring to in the quote above in the first place. He appears to have no qualms about teaching manners, politeness, and even hard work, and seems to restrict his beef to "socializations" such as speaking "correctly" and the like. Such nebulousness is certainly not out the ordinary for multicultis (much more difficult to pin down on specific points, after all).
As a foreign lingo teacher I harbor certain sympathies along these lines; however, in my view, it contains a certain conceit to not believe -- or teach -- that, for instance, certain language skills are indeed necessary to be successful in our society. If this gent (remember, he's a "social justice workshop facilitator") wants kids to be "free" of mainstream values so that they can change ("Revolution!") the system, terrific. But, as Joanne noted, the kids'll just remain on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. The solution would better be to inculcate both -- the values which make success possible in our country, and the knowledge (and/or pride) of maintaining certain personal cultural charateristics. For instance, over the years I've come across students who were embarrassed to speak their native language ... and only want to speak English. While most of these students' English had been exemplary, I tried to get across the huge advantage they have in being bilingual, and that it is no shame to be able to speak Spanish (or whatever), nor to be proud of one's heritage.
The problem with this overall theme, however, is that in the wrong hands (meaning, far-left educrats, which happens way too often anymore) we see stuff like this garbage, where vile profanity and even threats are explained away as "culture." This is insanity at its finest, and it's when it's never corrected that we see scores of unemployable individuals exiting our schools (those that actually graduate, that is). And then these same folks who never did the correcting will scream about said unemployment, in addition to poverty, hopelessness, etc. ... and they'll blame society.
Parents are up in arms about a policy at Calimesa Elementary School whereby students are not to be dismissed from anywhere ... until they kneel and wait for Principal Dana Carter (or another administrator) to allow them to leave.
The district superintendent called the now-discontinued policy a “positive behavior intervention.” A parent of a child at the school said that her daughter
ha[d] to drop down on one knee with her hands at her side, wait for the principal to come out, lift his arms and tell them to go to class ...”
If I was the kid, I'd have said "I'll kneel before you if it will save lives." Hopefully Carter's response wouldn't have been "It will -- starting with your own."
UPDATE (8/26): Ace reports there's more to the story, and that the principal has a good reason for what he does.
Reality is that which exists whether you believe it or not.
Capital flight is one such reality.
Fleeing New Yorkers took $46 billion with them when they left. The top three states with capital inflows: Florida, Arizona and Texas. All "red" states. Top capital outflows: New York, California and Illinois. All "blue" states.
Fact: Blue state fiscal policy encourages capital outflows. Red state policies encourage inflows.
Something that cannot continue forever, won't.
The problem with k-12: Common Core
TL;DR: Whether or not the answer is correct is immaterial. The important thing is if the child appears to be "thinking"
And at the university level: Music 286, called Music as Culture, or Emcee Lab, is being offered for the first time at UNC this fall.
Yes. You can take a college level course in being an emcee.
Federal student loan program rewards colleges for jacking up tuition, gives left-wing lawyers a free ride at taxpayer expense.
Folks in the real world left shaking their heads:
AMHERST, Mass.—In an effort to recognize a relatively young academic discipline that many in the academy have never heard of before, nearly a hundred students and scholars gathered at Amherst College over the weekend to discuss their research and ideas for how to grow Black German Studies.
Like African American, Women and Queer studies, Black German Studies has an admitted social justice focus, says Dr. Sara Lennox, a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an early founder of the Black German Studies movement in the U.S.
“We’ve made the field legitimate. You can now do this work and get tenure,” says Lennox.
Indeed! And that tenure surely a good thing since without that college employment (with said degree) you'd be waiting tables at Olive Garden.
That'd be one Mike Matthews on the local cable access "Community Crossfire" always on Sundays on Comcast. Since I no longer have Comcast, I had to beg Mike to alert me when the show was uploaded to YouTube. And, here it is:
Chicago teachers staged a walkout last year regarding funding and teacher pay etc. This is nothing new. I submit that if they are truly underfunded, they can start by cutting trips to Venezuela to learn about the "Honduras Resistance Movement".
It's gonna be an interesting beginning of the school year what with the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case still hanging over us. Robby Soave notes that the Hairpin, "a prominent liberal women’s blog," asked what teachers and counselors plan to teach about the case. Here's a sample of some of the replies:
An anonymous English teacher in Alabama said that she would be hesitant to formally “teach” the subject, but nonetheless thought it could be brought up in relation to vigilantism in literature such as “To Kill A Mockingbird” and the works of William Faulkner.
“The thing is, I see Trayvon Martins everyday,” wrote the teacher. “I worry about young black men and their prospects in a world where a man is able to kill one without being convicted of something. Even if it isn’t as simple as that, kids will see it that way. Rednecks are holding their heads a little higher and tapping the guns on their holsters eager for a stand your ground moment.”
Lovely. Then there's this:
... another teacher cited the verdict as evidence of the “fact that Florida law allows people to hunt and kill black youth,” and said that it was important to talk about it with students.
It's gonna be an interesting school year. Hopefully, there will be a decent number of sane teachers out there to counter this bullsh**.
George Mason will offer a course titled “Race and Politics, Trayvon Martin” in the fall. In it,
the Martin case will be presented alongside historic cases such the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision. Martin will also be discussed alongside African-American figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Emmett Till, and Rodney King.
It's a sociology class which will examine “why, and in what ways, did racial feelings, fears, and animosities surface as they did, how were intragroup and intergroup relations affected by such attitudes and behavior, and what were the short and long-term societal consequences of these attitudes and behavior.”
Got it. But there's no word on whether there will also be a class titled "Race and Politics, Joshua Heath Chellew" in the fall. Not PC enough, I guess.
ITEM: Our new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, "jokingly" asks an Indian college prof if he's "a member of the Taliban":
As JWF asks, "What is it with these bigots constantly insulting Indians?"
ITEM: Then there's southern cooking guru Paula Deen, who apparently likes using the "N" word a lot. I don't know which is more disturbing -- Deen's predilection for racial slurs, or those who wish she'd die because of it ... like the supposedly "tolerant" comics writer Gail Simone:
Paula Deen, please eat lots more butter. LOTS more. And some rocks and dirt and poison.— GailSimone (@GailSimone) June 20, 2013
ITEM: Insty's Glenn Reynolds thinks the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case in Florida was "all about boosting black turnout for 2012."
ITEM: Ace discusses an uncomfortable fact about the immigration debate: the high Latino DUI rate.
ITEM: John Rosenberg showcases An Unusually Wacky Defense Of Affirmative Action:
Tanya Hernandez, a law professor at Fordham, argues that affirmative action is necessary to counteract the implicit biases of university admissions officers and prevent from discriminating against blacks. Really. I’m not making this up.
She really does argue that that admissions officers — probably the most pro-preference cohort of citizens anywhere — need affirmative action to keep them from acting like bigots.
Hernandez also argues that the academic achievement gap is the result [white] teacher racism (or, "implicit biases"). Gee, now where have I heard that before?
UPDATE: Yeesh, how could I forget this one? The prez of the Chicago Teachers Union has blamed "racism" and “rich white people” for the fiscal hassles of her city's schools.
We gotta figure out how "to create education better." So says Ms. Utah from last night's Miss USA competition:
Funny I've been hearing of late that school lunch programs are vital because it's the only meal some of these kids get all day. My question: how do they survive all summer?
Two scholars who each primarily identify as a scholar of critical race/whiteness studies and a scholar of disability studies, respectively, engage in this article in a purposeful dialogue that responds to the invitation put forth by Baglieri, Bejoian, Broderick, Connor, and Valle to engage with the construct of inclusive education, writ large. Through purposeful engagement with one another’s discourse communities, the authors explore both the challenge and the tremendous promise of more theoretically integrated efforts toward abolishing ideological systems of oppression in schooling.
Even better are the "Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study," and the "Conclusions/Recommendations." Did you know that “smartness” is "an ideological system" and has its basis in ... whiteness? In addition, "smartness is nothing but false and oppressive." Who knew? Who knew that being bright, and that studying and working hard to improve one's intellect not only is "false," but keeps others down?? Is this merely a ridiculously wordy way of saying "Studying and being smart is 'acting white?'" At last! The "validation" that minorities need to do zilch in school!
But the best is saved for last! See if you can decipher this one: "... attempts to theoretically rearticulate or rehabilitate smartness may serve to illuminate, but ultimately fail to dissolve, the normative center of schooling."
I can't think of a more clever way to say "absolute bullsh**."
School year, that is. Actually, it's not completely over yet; the next four days are dedicated to final exams. But all that remains is grading them, then entering them, and then year 22 comes to a close. I saw this morning a few tweets by comics guy Jimmy Palmiotti which definitely made me feel good:
At the end of the school year , all parents should tip their high school teachers. Really.— Jimmy Palmiotti (@jpalmiotti) June 5, 2013
We tip Starbucks people and not a dime to teachers who have to deal with our kids day after day. Makes no sense.— Jimmy Palmiotti (@jpalmiotti) June 5, 2013
There are bad teachers sure, but there are amazing ones that deserve a little extra when they change our kids lives.— Jimmy Palmiotti (@jpalmiotti) June 5, 2013
Now, before you plotz, I am not advocating what Palmiotti said -- that you should tip your kid's teachers -- but the sentiment is surely a good one. Besides, many teachers get little gifts from students as a token of their appreciation at the end of the year and during the holidays (I got my first one yesterday -- a $15 gift card to Olive Garden!). At any rate, my point, such that it is, isn't to complain about how hard teachers have it or what a terrific job we all do. No, it's merely to point out that, despite the many cultural, societal and political changes over the years which have placed more and more onus on teachers for just about anything you can think of, there are a heck of a lot of great kids out there ... and parents, too. Too often, that gets overlooked by many in our profession at this time of the year.
And, to me, there's rarely anything more special than getting a little something -- like a small, handwritten "thank you" note -- from that nice, quiet, academically average student in the back row who never really said that much all year. To coin a cliché, "That makes it all worthwhile." Really.
A few sad stories in the education realm today. For starters, Tippecanoe Elementary School in Milwaukee planned to host a "Gender Bender Day." An elementary school. A school board member didn't care about parents' concerns "saying they were 'using the kids for political purposes.'” That's right, the parents were. At any rate, to assuage these parents, the name of the day was altered to “Switch It Up Day.” Yeah, that's so much better. The result was probably not what the school's "enlightened" staff wanted; it seems mostly teachers and other school staff participated, not students.
Down Under, a college newspaper's satirical piece on Islam was forcibly retracted because ... of fear of "violent reprisals from radical Muslims." That's right -- the paper already did similar pieces about Christians, Jews, Mormons and Scientologists, but only Islam got special treatment:
Administrators claimed the piece of satire violated the university code of conduct. They also feared it could inflame radical Muslims.
“In a world of social media, [there is] potential for material such as the article in question to gain attention and traction in the broader world and potentially harm the interests of the university and the university community,” said a statement from the Chancelry of the university.
But again, apparently the code of conduct wasn't violated when those other religions were satirized.
But here's the message for non-Muslims: Just threaten to rampage, inflict harm or worse if someone "offends" you, and our societal "enlightened" will make sure the offenders are stopped. I mean, if it works for them ...! It would do well for the West to remember Liam Neeson's words from Taken: "You come to this country, take advantage of the system and think because we are tolerant that we are weak and helpless. Your arrogance offends me."
In the annals of asinine "zero tolerance" policies, in Massachusetts a six year-old boy was given detention (later dropped) and made to write an apology to his bus driver after he -- wait for it -- brought a G.I. Joe action figure's toy gun on the bus. A gun that measures less than two inches in length.
That's "Low Information Voters," natch. Conservative guy Caleb Bonham journeyed to Colorado University and "asked several people to sign a 'thank you' card to thank the IRS for unfairly targeting conservative groups." Here's what happened:
I just had to laugh softly and shake my head at this story today at Philly.com. A dad is suing the "coach, athletic director, principal, superintendent, and school board" of Sterling Regional High School in Camden County. Why? His son was booted from the track team. Dad thinks his son is a total track stud and as such should be able to run whatever the hell he wants.
I just loooooove that. A perfect example of WTF is wrong with our modern culture.
Let's take a gander at some of dad's moronic statements:
Uh, no they don't. That's why they're children. They can't vote, buy cigarettes, buy alcohol, drive, etc. This isn't to say they have no rights, just not "like any adult."
Uh, no it's not unfair, especially in the sport of track and field. As noted in the article, track coaches always have to balance the needs of individuals on the squad with that of the entire team. After all, the ultimate goal is for the team to win.
A total crock. Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege, nothing more. If one does not want to do as the coach asks, then that person should either not try out or, if already on the team, quit/resign.
Hilarious. I wonder if the coach (and/or school, et. al.) have thought about counter-suing daddy on the same grounds.
Translation: Coach didn't do precisely what I wanted, so now I'm gonna act all pouty.
This may be the "best," however: Dad also says that his son was "'undefeated champ' in the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter runs as an eighth grader at a Catholic school in 2010." Which, for dad, "should have translated into a key spot on the team when, as a ninth grader." Whaaaa ...? As a runner myself, I was undefeated in the 400 and 800 while in middle school, much like this kid. Did I -- and my dad -- demand that, upon entering high school, I get a "key spot" on the track team? Hell no. And when track season (in the spring) arrived, it was soon apparent that there were many on the squad -- sophomores, but especially juniors and seniors -- who were better than me. And that's a key aspect not mentioned in this article; what were Mawusimensah's times compared to those of his teammates? Was he better in the 200, 400, and 800 meters than all, most, or even some of his peers? The article states the son wasn't permitted to run "even though he may have been faster than some seniors who raced." What does that mean? Was he or wasn't he? And if he was, does anyone buy that this track coach would not enter him to run in those events during meets?
Being a long-time educator and coach, my [educated] guess is this: Dad constantly complained to coach (and others) about what he perceived as "slights" to his son because of not getting what he wanted based on his [now-irrelevant] performance in middle school. When dad didn't get "satisfaction," he told his son (or implied it) to bag a few practices to "show the coach." (After all, the official reason Mawusimensah was booted from the team was unexcused absences. Dad claims there was a family death and an injury to his son. If so, where were the notes to that effect?) These absences then became the official means (or, if you prefer, "excuse") by which to dismiss Mawusimensah.
I also wonder why the Philly Inquirer ran a story like this. Well, not really. After all, as easily predicted, it is guaranteed to elicit a ton of comments, the vast majority of which side with the school and coach. (In fact, I haven't yet seen one siding with the dad and his son.) From a purely business POV this makes sense for the paper. But, I can't help but wonder if the paper ran with it out of a degree of sympathy for this family's "plight." Admittedly, there's really nothing in the narrative to indicate such (at least to me), but what is the reason for granting this dad the exposure?
UPDATE: Yesterday Philly.com switched article pictures to a more "plaintiff-friendly" one. The new one remains on the site's main page today; however, the actual article page has put back the original. Also (telling), the site has discontinued comments for the story. No surprise there for, as noted above, the comments were incredibly one-sided against the father and son.
As my daughter finishes up her freshman year at college, I must admit I've taken yet another look at how bad many college professors are ... in terms of delivering their material. Looking at it from a lower ed. teacher's perspective, it is more than apparent that if I -- or any (in particular) middle or high school teacher -- taught the way college profs teach, there would be 1) utter chaos in the classroom, and 2) little learning going on. Not to mention, when the instructor's first language is something other than English (a situation my offspring encountered in her fall semester to her dismay), and the conveyance of his/her second language is quite a bit less-than-optimal, not only is this ridiculous considering what parents are paying for college, but it's totally unfair for learning.
I never really had an issue with a professor who couldn't speak English; IIRC only my sophomore year physical science prof had a really bad accent. TAs were a different story. One TA in particular was virtually unintelligible at what was supposed to be a study session, and I ended up feeling bad for him when students began throwing up their hands and then walking out. But ... what were they supposed to do?
My first two years of college featured profs who mostly stood there and lectured. Bo-ring. Two notable exceptions were a sociology prof who taught a course on collective behavior, and a microeconomics prof (both sophomore year). Both delivered their lessons like a good lower ed teacher, engaging their classes and requiring a lot of student input. (Most upperclassman classes aren't like the common freshman and sophomore class because they're smaller and more intimate.) One of the worst profs I had was a professor of Russian history who just stood at a lectern and read his notes. Then, virtually none of the material was on his exams. You could tell he didn't like Americans much (he was Russian himself), and one student in the class led the prof to showcase some classic disparaging humor during exam days. This student forgot to bring a blue book to a test, whereupon he asked the prof if he had one. The prof sighed loudly, then asked the class (in his typical, but very understandable, Russian accent) "Does anybody have an extra blue book for this student with NO MIND??" Then, during the exam, this dude asked the prof how much time was left in class. The prof's retort? "Instead of buying those frisbees you throw around all the time, why don't you use some money to buy a watch?"
And anyone who attended University of Delaware: Did you ever have physics professor Harry Shipman? He was easily the best prof I had while at UD, and I only took two of his "non-major" science classes. He taught like one of the best high school teachers you ever had. The one thing I'll always recall is when he wore a t-shirt that was blue in front, and red in back ... and ran around the room. Why? To illustrate the Doppler Effect -- things moving towards you are blue-shifted in the color spectrum, and things moving away from you are red-shifted. Great stuff.
A Spanish teacher in the Bronx claims she was axed because she -- wait for it -- used the word "negro" in class:
A Bronx teacher says her language lesson was lost in translation when she was fired for calling a student “Negro” — though she claims she was simply using the Spanish word for the color “black” at the time, according to a new lawsuit.
The non-tenured junior high instructor, Petrona Smith, 65, was booted from the bilingual PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported the alleged insult.
Smith, who is black and a native of the West Indies, has been unemployed since her ouster.
“They haven’t even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who’s black to be using a racial slur to a student,” said Shaun Reid, Smith’s attorney. “Talk about context! There’s a lot of things wrong here.”
The instructor took a hiatus from teaching special education in 2005 to learn Spanish in South America, because she was passionate about learning the language in a cultural context, Reid said.
She denied calling the student a “Negro,” and explained to investigators that she was teaching a lesson about how to say different colors in Spanish and said the word “negro,” which is Spanish for the color black. She told her students that it was not a derogatory term and that the Spanish word for a black person was “moreno.”
That last paragraph is what I more or less am referring to in the title. Some time ago when I taught the subject, I too was covering the colors in Spanish, and in my case a student -- an African-American for what it's worth whose last name happened to be Black -- asked me if his last name would then translate to "Negro." (And by the way -- the Spanish word is pronounced "nay-gro," not "nee-gro.") I responded that technically that was accurate, but that proper names don't necessarily translate.
To my surprise, the next day I had a voice-mail from a parent of a different kid from that class, concerned about me using the word "negro." When I spoke with her, she said her child said I called the boy who asked about his last name "negro." Despite my [perfectly logical and common sense] explanation, the mom sounded quite skeptical. Nevertheless, though I awaited an eventual follow-up from an administrator (because of my belief that my explanation to the parent "wasn't sufficient"), it never came. I was so certain it would, too, that I typed up an almost two-page report of the whole deal just in case.
Though the teacher in this story was accused of calling a student "negro" (again, she denies it), this would in no way be considered offensive in any Latin American country. But while it obviously makes sense to convey this fact to American students, a teacher with just a bit of common sense has to recognize the history of that word in our own country, and be sensitive -- and cautious -- about the lesson approach.
The kid probably has a point if he's saying that all they've done is "packets" since he arrived and the teacher is yelling at kids for not getting it. I think he's probably right. My question: was he disrespectful? What's the right way for a student to handle this?
That is, the Firemen from Fahrenheit 451. Oh, wait -- these profs must be members:
These are San Jose State University Meteorology Dept. Profs Bridger and Clements burning a book because, y'know, they disagree with it. Un-freakin'-real. University professors. Can we call them Nazis? One of the best-ever TV shows did:
TRAPPER: Frank! What are you doing?
FRANK BURNS: Burning books.
HAWKEYE: Oh. Any special reason, Dr. Hitler?
FRANK BURNS: One of the greatest living Americans is coming and I'm not going to let him see some of the trash that's read around here.
Here's Amazon's page about the book.
A New Jersey second-grade teacher will appeal his firing for insubordination and inappropriate behavior, including urinating in class, his lawyer says.
The Record newspaper reports Ron Tuitt released a statement in which he denied sending students to flush bottles of his urine. He has taught in Paterson's schools since 1996.
Seriously. 8 minutes to overly complicate this simple addition problem. This is what happens when you keep churning out Ed Ds.
If this were my kid, she'd be out of that classroom so fast they wouldn't even know she was gone. Furthermore, I'd make it my mission in life to remove whomever was responsible for instituting this crap.
The University of the Connecticut unveiled a new school logo the other day -- a pic of a head of a Husky (dog) -- which then led to a "self-described feminist student" by the name of Carolyn Luby to protest. Why? ('Ya ready??) Because the image "will intimidate women and empower rape culture." She wrote,
“What terrifies me about the admiration of such traits is that I know what it feels like to have a real life Husky look straight through you and to feel powerless, and to wonder if even the administration cannot ‘mess with them.’ And I know I am not alone.”
Luby then went on to finish a paper for her class "Having No Life 101."
And I've absolutely no problem with that. Reading Stan Lee and Roy Thomas-written comics back in the day gave me a prodigious vocabulary and helped make me an excellent speller.
That would be "the advocacy group" Gender Justice. Here's why:
Jill Gaulding, a cofounder of the advocacy group Gender Justice, claims that the University of Iowa is engaged in “pink shaming” and “cognitive bias” by making its football team’s opponents dress and undress in a locker room that is painted . . . pink:
“Most people understand the pink locker room as a taunt against the other team, calling them a bunch of ladies/girls/sissies/pansies/etc.,” according to an information sheet Gaulding and Gender Justice law partner Lisa Stratton distributed to the workshop attendees.
Gaulding’s handout quoted a passage from [former Iowa football coach Hayden] Fry’s autobiography where he said pink was a “passive” color and might put opponents in a passive mood. “Also, pink is often found in girls’ bedrooms, and because of that some consider it a sissy color,” according to a quote Gaulding said she took from Fry’s book.
Gaulding believes -- wait for it! -- that U.I. could face a lawsuit for ... gender discrimination(!!) based on Title IX and Title VII rules.
An 8th grader at Northeast Middle School in Bristol, CT, apparently was given a worksheet about the Second Amendment to the US Constitution which stated:
Um, where to start?? Instructional Fair, the publisher of the worksheet, hasn't heard of a "little" thing called District of Columbia v. Heller? And McDonald v. Chicago? Really?? Let's see what occurred in these US Supreme Court cases ...
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home and within federal enclaves.
A-HA! Only federal enclaves, eh? Not so fast, Jasper:
McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010), is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that determined whether the Second Amendment applies to the individual states. The Court held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.
Now, given that I'm familiar with the field (teaching), it may be that the publication date of the worksheet is out of date. As you can see, Heller and McDonald are fairly recent cases. Dated materials are used in schools all the time. However, in a field like social studies where history and civics are covered, the instructor has to be on his/her toes to make sure materials are current. And this is a perfect example.
On the other hand, it may be that these materials are current and the author(s) have no idea what they hell they're talking about. I certainly hope it's the former.
Wisconsin's DPI (which I assume means Department of Public Instruction, which is what Delaware's education gurus used to be called) "urged white students to wear white wristbands 'as a reminder about your privilege, and as a personal commitment to explain why you wear the wristband.'”
Classy. Remind you of anything?
The funny part, for lack of a better term, is that once criticism of the program came forth, the state DPI put a statement on their website "claiming that the wristbands were a hoax perpetrated by conservatives." Pathetic. Especially since there was already a hard copy flyer from the department "explicitly advocated the wristbands."
Parents: Always be vigilant about such "progressive" bullsh**.
After all, the Third Reich effected the most thorough genocide of the 20th century, did they not?
Former Democratic Arkansas lieutenant governor Bill Halter, a gubernatorial candidate now in the state, has come up with a remarkable proposal: A full scholarship at a state school for students who manage to achieve ... a 2.5 GPA. Halter
... insists that it would not require higher taxes or mean increased spending; instead, the plan would be paid for through the state’s lottery, federal grants, and philanthropic support.
Uh huh. Aside from that dubious contention, c'mon, WTF -- a full-freakin' ride for a TWO POINT FIVE??? My daughter finished high school with a 3.85 and "only" scored half her tuition via scholarship.
Talk about rewarding mediocrity!
First, something which virtually no one cares about, yet get major comics site article space: Fantagraphics To Release Book Of Guantanamo Courtroom Sketches.
When the military trials at Guantanamo began in 2006, no cameras were permitted in the courtroom, and only one sketch artist -- Janet Hamlin -- was allowed inside to document the events, creating sketches of the prisoners which grant them a measure of dignity they'd otherwise not been afforded, while giving all of us a glimpse at this significant moment in our nation's history.
Four words: Cry me a river. I'm certain these socially and culturally regressed barbarians care about your dignity, right? Not to mention your life.
Next, Robot 6 is miffed that the graphic novel Persepolis has been removed from a high school's library. Now, even the article notes that the book won "the American Library Association’s Alex Award for adult books that have special appeal to teenage readers." Thinking that the term "adult" actually means something, perhaps that was the reason for what the school did?
I haven't read the book myself, so I did some checking. This review site states that the recommended age group for the book be 21. It goes on to note that there's profanity "on almost every page," and that the second of the tale has quite a bit of sexual content. I am about as pro-free speech as one can possibly be; however, as I noted on this post, age appropriateness is probably the only thing I have a real issue with when it comes to free expression. If the review above is accurate, then technically (and even legally), only 18 year-olds at the high school in question should be allowed to check out the book. If the librarian held the book in a special area that said just this, then fine. Otherwise, I fail to see why people would be up in arms about a school removing the GN.
If this was a public library that was available to the entire public, that's a diferent story. But this is a school library. There are better battles to pick than this.
Hans has some good stuff this time out. Check it:
We live in a culture where harsh but truthful criticism, or exposure of wrongdoing, is viewed by some as "bullying," especially when it affects someone's inflated "self-esteem."
-- DePaul University has punished a student for publicizing the names of fellow students who admitted vandalizing his organization's pro-life display," classifying his speech as "bullying." The display had been approved by the university, and the 13 students who wrecked it confessed.
-- When historian Michael Bellesiles's academic fraud was exposed by fellow historians, resulting in his forced resignation, a leading "anti-bullying" expert, who shared Bellesiles' progressive political views, got him a new job at her university, claiming that he "was the victim of a "mobbing" or group "bullying" campaign by his fellow historians, who were distinguished people from across the political spectrum.
-- The Minister of Education in Ontario, the most populous Canadian province, has sought to define pro-life advocacy in religious schools as gender-based bullying. Self-styled crusaders against "workplace bullying" want to impose broad definitions of bullying at the expense of free speech and use existing overly broad school bullying rules as models for laws against workplace bullying that would hold employers and co-workers liable for compensatory and punitive damages for speech and expressive conduct deemed to be bullying -- something that disturbs groups such as the Chamber of Commerce.
There's plenty more at the link above. Also check out Hans' More Calls for Censorship to Prevent “Bullying.”
Sorry but stupid stuff like this makes me laugh
Sixth-grade children in many Texas public schools are being tasked with designing flags for a new socialist nation as part of the state's curriculum, EAG News reported Monday.
"Notice socialist/communist nations use symbolism on their flags representing various aspects of their economic system. Imagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag," says a lesson plan being used as part of CSCOPE, the curriculum being used by over 70 percent of Texas school districts.
"Use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag. What kind of symbolism/colors would you use?" the lesson plan asks.
Y'know, if this lesson plan is utilized as part of a comprehensive lesson on political symbolism, and students are also asked to create flags based on democratic principles (and other philosophies), then I don't see much of an issue here. If not, it's just dumb.
The Atlantic reports on a teacher satisfaction survey done by the MetLife Foundation. It's titled "Teacher Job Satisfaction Hits 25-Year Low." Unfortunately, it asks the wrong questions and/or glosses over one of the main culprits for this: student behavior. Consider the article:
Only 39 percent of teachers described themselves as very satisfied with their jobs on the latest survey. That's a 23-percentage point plummet since 2008, and a drop of five percentage points just over the past year. Factors contributing to lower job satisfaction included working in schools where the budgets, opportunities for professional development, and time for collaboration with colleagues have all been sent to the chopping block.
Stress levels are also up, with half of all teachers describing themselves as under great stress several days per week, compared with a third of teachers in 1985.
No mention of deteriorating student behavior and increased student disrespect, cited by teachers as their number one difficulty. Why is that? Is it because it is just too politically incorrect to say ... let alone write about? Consider:
So what's the solution? The way to get more effective teachers into higher-poverty schools "is making those schools places good teachers want to go and stay," [the Education Trust's Sarah] Almy told me. "Some of the reasons why teachers are dissatisfied (on the survey) relate to opportunities for leadership and collaboration -- things we know are really important, and things that high-poverty and low-performing schools can and should be addressing."
Really? The way to retain good teachers in high-poverty schools is to provide "opportunities for leadership and collaboration?" Are you kidding me?? This is why this survey is laughable. Even substantial monetary incentives alone aren't sufficient to keep [good] teachers in (or attract good teachers to) high-needs schools, which are bastions of discipline problems. And as the Center for Teaching Quality notes,
The Massachusetts experience illustrates Richard Ingersoll's analysis of national teacher survey data. He found that teachers who leave because of job dissatisfaction do so not only because of low salaries, but also as a result of poor support from school administrators, lack of student motivation, little teacher influence over decision-making, and student discipline problems.
The MetLife survey does touch upon a current hot topic -- student testing and correlated teacher accountability -- and indeed in Delaware this is a continued concern among educators. No doubt that the increased workload associated with the additional record-keeping, [many useless "data"] meetings, and test administration have played a role in teacher dissatisfaction ... especially since the manner in which the state hauled out its testing and accountability scheme was prodigiously head-scratching. If "professionals" like those at the state education department did the job they did with DPAS II, one can only imagine how the upcoming Common Core State Standards will be utilized. My guess is that The Atlantic's story is only the beginning.
... about education in the First State (via Kilroy):
Mike, as many of you know, is a former prolific DE blogger (Down With Absolutes!) and still occasionally writes at the Mind of Mr. Matthews.
As I was saying the other day, capital flight is a reality. Technology only accelerates that reality:
Taxpayers Go Where Taxes Are Low: "Contiguous with the Empire State, Connecticut still is smarting over the relocation of hedge-fund manager Edward Lampert. With an estimated net worth of $3 billion, according to Forbes, Lampert was considered the fifth-wealthiest man in the Nutmeg State. In August 2011, Connecticut increased taxes by $875 million, retroactively to that January. It cut the maximum property-tax credit from $500 to $300 and lifted its top state income-tax rate from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent. Then, on June 1, 2012, Lampert moved his company, ESL Investments, to Florida. Lampert also took with him the $10.6 billion that ESL reportedly controlled at that time.
“We are all aware that the changes to the tax structure in Connecticut last year have given many people pause as to whether this is the best place to do business and reside,” Greenwich first selectman Peter Tesei told the Hartford Courant. “I am concerned about the departure of Mr. Lampert and his firm, and would ask the state of Connecticut to take another look at its policies.”"
That is just one guy. Not a small one either. He's denying them of tens of millions in tax dollars. How long will this go on? How long can it continue?
The piece also mentions Rush Limbaugh fleeing New York for Florida. That's another thing that would have been impossible a few years ago. He would have needed the huge antennas in New York to reach his audience. Now all the stations are networked and the feed can come from anywhere. Rush could have moved literally anywhere on the planet and continued.
Unfortunately, Connecticut and New York seem to be the types that have to learn the hard way. As technology makes these moves easier the blue state model will collapse under its own weight. Slowly at first, and then very quickly.
This article is a must read. I found it fascinating. As a parent of boys just entering the double digits this type of thing is on their horizon and something I think about often. My high school experience was pretty average. I was picked on occasionally but nothing I would ever call bullying. Mostly it was fun weekends and crushing boredom in class. Like every teenager my parents were The Most Unfair People Ever and blah blah blah. One part of the article that all but poked me in the eye was the bit about socialization. That is, high school creates its own values and culture and they're not necessarily good ones. Homeschoolers argue that interacting with people of every age group is more like real life than school is. That is why they decry the questions about socializing kids. I agree that kids need to be left to play with peers and frequently sort things out but I do believe that more regular interaction with the "real" world (i.e. the adult world) is not just necessary but instrumental in their development. Let me know what you think in the comments.
... and the News Journal, as you would expect, lionizes Judge Murray Schwartz. Perhaps the singularly most laughable paragraph is this last one:
Whatever costs Judge Schwartz paid for his blind loyalty to the intent of the Constitution in public life, every Delawarean and future generations will be indebted to him for such a singular principled focus that continues to pay off in our public and private lives.
"Blind loyalty to the intent ...??!!" Riiiiiight. Schwartz was the epitome of an activist judge. Then-US Supreme Court Associate Justice William Rehnquist dubbed Schwartz's deseg plan "[a] remedy more Draconian than ever approved by this court." He continued:
"There is substantial doubt that the abolition of these 11 school districts is an appropriate equitable remedy for the interdistrict violation found by the courts." Previous high court rulings require changes "only to the extent necessary to cure the violation. Yet the district court has here treated a series of independent school districts as if they were a 'railroad in reorganization' without any attempt to comply with the (prior) requirements."
Indeed, as I noted way back in 2007, the state did attempt to comply with what the court(s) desired, only to be told "It's not good enough":
But [former News Journal Editor John] Taylor obviously didn't get together with others at his paper, for a month and a half prior, the News Journal printed a "desegregation timeline" which clearly notes "U.S. District Court rejects state desegregation plans and says plan must include Wilmington and its surrounding districts." (This was in 1976.) Then, in 1977, the timeline says "State devises plan for busing black students out of Wilmington." If memory serves (from past reading, and I was a middle school student in northern DE schools at the time), this was a voluntary busing plan that the state legislature devised. Nevertheless, Judge Schwartz rejected the 1977 plan.
Be sure to read that nearly six year-old post for information you'll never see in the pages of the News Journal, for it doesn't fit THE NARRATIVETM.
And how did Judge Schwartz's "singular principled focus" "pay off" for the children of New Castle County -- in particular for those whom he believed he was helping most? Answer: It didn't. Check it:
"... the black-white achievement gap remains large and steady despite many years of "ideal" racial balance.
"This gap is revealed in both national studies and in studies of individual school systems, and the gap exists regardless of the extent and duration of desegregation.
"Most importantly, unlike the time of Brown, there is no reasonable way that school segregation can be invoked as a primary cause of this achievement gap, nor is there any credible evidence that school desegregation -- in the form of racial balancing -- has diminished the gap to any important degree."
Ironically, again, state lawmakers back then utilized (or, attempted to utilize) an early form of what the entire state now has as law -- school choice -- as the remedy for desegregation. But that wasn't (and never is) sufficient for the social engineers among us.
I can personally attest to this.
Scott Compton, an English teacher at Chapin High School in Chapin, S.C., apparently threw an American flag onto the floor, and proceeded to stomp on it -- in front of three of his classes:
“He drew a couple of symbols, like one of them was a cross, and he said, ‘What does this represent,’ and everybody said, ‘Christianity,’” [parent Michael] Copeland explained to WIS.
“Then he proceeds to take down the American flag, and said, ‘This is a symbol, but it’s only a piece of cloth. It doesn’t mean anything,’ and then he throws it down on the floor and then stomps on it, repeatedly,” Copeland continued.
“I asked what was he trying to get, the point across? And she (Copeland's daughter) said, ‘I don’t know,’ and he said, his explanation was there would be no consequences, it’s just a piece of cloth that doesn’t mean anything.”
*Sigh* Well, it could be that Compton was attempting to explain that here in these United States, a person can stomp on the flag without consequences. Such an act is protected by the First Amendment ... within certain parameters, of course. Profanity is protected speech, too, but Compton isn't permitted to use it in school due to the nature of his job.
Mark Bounds, a spokesperson for the school district, told WIS that the district frequently cautions teachers to avoid introducing personal opinions in the classroom.
According to FITSNews, a South Carolina-based conservative news and entertain website, people in the Chapin High community describe Compton a “good teacher” who is “very liberal” and “wears it on his sleeve in the classroom.”
*Double sigh* What is this predilection among some in our craft that makes them believe they're entitled to lecture their captive audiences rather than to teach? Why are they afraid to point out different points of view and let the students decide? In this case, why wouldn't it have been sufficient to merely tell students (if this was indeed a lesson on free speech) that one can stomp on the American flag (provided it is your own, not on someone else's property, etc.)?
I thought "progressives" were all about "sensitivity" and "tolerance?" Uh huh. Everyone but hardcore "progressives" know that is a total crock. Things "progressives" abhor are NOT to be tolerated -- because they're (to the dogmatic "progressive") inherently bad, and even evil.
Dr. James H. Fetzer, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), claims that the killing of 20 elementary school kids back in December was due to -- wait for it -- a secret plot by Israel's Mossad:
... members of Israel’s security force known as the Mossad had carried out the shooting to “strike fear in the hearts of Americans.”
“The killing of children is a signature of terror ops conducted by agents of Israel,” he wrote. “[W]ho better to slaughter American children than Israelis, who deliberately murder Palestinian children?”
Just as nutty, Florida Atlantic University's James Tracy thinks the US government, local law enforcement and the media all conspired to make Sandy Hook "appear" real.
Good to know we have such "geniuses" teaching our college kids.
Please read John Young's response to County Councilman Jea Street over at Transparent Christina (newly linked in our Delaware Bloggers section). It deals with the recent federal Dept. of Ed. probe into the Christina District's (Delaware's most populous) [supposed] discriminatory discipline practices.
First up is his PolitiFact Is The Liar Of The Year.
But more importantly (to us) is his Where Will the Senate ‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’ Hearing Lead?
But the facts do not support the kind of legislation that seems to be under consideration. Two recent and highly sophisticated studies by Rochester University professor Joshua Kinsler shed new light on the well-established trends noted above. For the first time, Kinsler factored-in between school variations in discipline policy when looking at the racial disparity in out-of-school suspensions. He discovered that, within any given school, black and white students sent to the principal’s office for a given reason are issued the same suspensions at the same rates. The disparity is all between schools.
Schools with predominantly black student bodies are more likely to issue suspensions, and to issue longer ones, for a given offense. White students at those schools get the same treatment, but most white students are in predominantly white schools that are less severe in their discipline policies. Black students at mostly white schools also get less severe punishments.
Kinsler did find that African American students were more likely to be referred to the principal’s office, which has long been seen as evidence of systemic racism. To investigate that explanation, Kinsler looked for any relationship between teachers’ referral rates to the principal’s office and the race of those teachers and of the students they refer. He found none. This does not mean that racism plays no role, but it calls into question the view that racism is a dominant factor in referrals to the principal’s office.
In a subsequent empirical study, Kinsler investigated what would happen if all schools were compelled to observe a more lenient suspension policy, to close the black/white discipline gap. He found that this would disproportionately hurt the achievement of African American students, widening the black/white achievement gap. The reason for this, according to Kinsler’s findings, is that serious suspensions do in fact discourage misbehavior, and that removing disruptive students from the class does improve the achievement of the other students.
Gee, who'da thought? Actually punishing misbehavior results in ... less of it!
We've said it here many, many times: Forced proportionate representation is a laughable joke, yet the Obama DOE's civil rights division has chimed in on Delaware's Christina District. Kilroy has all the details.
It's worth noting here Hans Bader's past column wherein he notes,
Crimes and infractions are not evenly distributed among racial groups, as the Supreme Court noted in United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). As that 8-to-1 Supreme Court ruling emphasized, there is no legal “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, since such a presumption is “contradicted by” real world data.
Kilroy shares a News Journal analysis which found that
... black students made up about 32 percent of the state’s public school population but accounted for 55 percent of students who were suspended or expelled.
Which, according to the United States Supreme Court, this in and of itself means zilch. But then again, this is Obama's America -- where the mere suspicion of racism means ... racism. School officials, instead of enforcing standard, rational discipline, will look the other way now -- because they certainly do not want to be labeled a "racist."
Get ready for chaos, American teachers.
From the inimitable Kilroy today:
The appointment of Mark Murphy as Delaware’s Secretary of Education has been a train-wreck. Three years of teaching experience in physical education and two years experience as school administrator is poor qualifications for such a position.
And this, in a nutshell, is a big problem in education today: Woefully inexperienced administrators appointed/hired for the most head-scratching of reasons. In Gov. Markell's case, though, the reason is pretty obvious -- the need for a head-nodding "yes" man that the guv knows he'll always have in his back pocket. Just do us all a favor, Murph -- don't show up in a 20+ year teaching veteran's classroom to offer any "advice" based on your "vast" amount of experience, hear? That, or don't act surprised if you're met with eye-rolling chuckles if you do.
(I know Kilroy blasts Murphy for other reasons, but this needed to be said!)
The ('unbiased" according to Mike Matthews) National Education Association has endorsed Barack Obama for president to no one's surprise. However, with the debacle that is Race to the Top, it almost defies reason that such an endorsement was given. Many have dubbed RTTT as No Child Left Behind on steroids. Yet, as anyone who received the NEA's monthly, NEA Today, during the eight years of the Bush administration, NCLB was regularly pilloried -- lambasted by magazine and letter writers alike. So, if RTTT is NCLB (see all the silly little acronyms us educators have to deal with?) on steroids, why is the NEA so in love with Obama?
I know, I know, it's ultimately a silly question. It's ultimately about unions, after all. Nevertheless, the vitriol with which Bush's NCLB was met by NEAers is now making these same folk out to be ridiculous hypocrites. And no more so than in the First State, Delaware. Governor Jack Markell is running TV ads touting Race to the Top, knowing full well it has been a clusterf*** of unimaginable proportions to the state's teachers. (Check out what Matthews thinks of it.) If you don't believe this right-leaning person, then merely venture over to the aforementioned Mike Matthews' blog, or that of John Young, a Delaware school district school board member. The so-called "Component 5" of the state's teacher evaluations is a sad joke: hastily assembled and rolled out by the bloated bureaucracy that is the state Dept. of Education (and the dept. is even more bloated since RTTT funds came rolling in), teachers having no idea what to do or what's expected of them, and possibly worse -- administrators not knowing what to do or what's expected of them.
Again, don't believe me? Ask virtually any state teacher or administrator. It's very simple.
Moreover, Gov. Markell has also vigorously touted his financial incentives to teachers who "raise test scores" (with the help of state news monopoly News Journal), granting up to $10K in bonuses. What's not mentioned, of course, is that "only six of the original 30 schools chosen to participate actually accepted the offer."
So, again, why are Markell and Obama so supported by the NEA? The programs they tout are traditionally loathed by teachers (and their unions), especially the so-called "pay for performance" rewards. George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind was chided constantly by liberals as an "unfunded mandate" and not having realistic [mandated] goals. It was chided by conservatives as an unnecessary federal venture into what is supposed to be a state/local matter. I agree with both of these complaints; in addition, I believe it was a brutally political move by Bush to co-opt a traditionally Democrat issue. (The one plus about NCLB, in my opinion, was that it did focus in on raising the achievement of traditionally lower socio-economic status groups, and special needs children. How it measured these groups [and others] was the problem, though.)
Consider this when you wonder how Delaware's teachers union agreed to all the RTTT stuff a few years back: the former president of the Delaware branch of the NEA -- Diane Donohue -- was hired in 2011 by the state Dept. of Education to "oversee teacher evaluation changes." Yep. Which led to the way-too obvious:
House Minority Leader Greg Lavelle said in a statement that the hiring would create "an unfortunate public perception" that it was "more about political payback than educational excellence."
Needless to say, First State edu-blogger Kilroy wasn't too happy about this job offer, either.
So, as the First State continues under one party (Democrat) rule, it seems its union will merely continue its usual Democrat-backing ways, with the Markell administration continuing its phony political ads touting the charlantry that is its "winning" Race to the Top application, and the financial incentive program for teachers that only 20% of the chosen schools agreed to be part of.
Two tales of educational nuttery today courtesy of Rhymes With Right. First up, a teacher in Indiana accidentally uploads a topless pic of herself onto an iPad used in the classroom ... and then a couple students -- who're using the device for a class activity -- happen upon the image. And guess what happens? The students get suspended ... with a possibility of expulsion!! Can you say "WTF??"
Next, we have a teacher in Chesapeake, VA who cut open a student's hand while "yanking her arm aggressively while trying to teach students an 'Islamic hand sign.'” The mom of the young girl said that the teacher "has a disturbing trend of 'indoctrinating' students with Islamic teachings," and that "the teacher openly campaigns for President Barack Obama in the classroom."
Surprise that. This teacher apparently has had her employment terminated.
John Young of the Transparent Christina blog commented on my Education Notes post from a few days ago noting that the First State is doing just what Florida was noted implementing in the post -- namely, measuring student progress by race:
So the U.S. Department of Education, through the waiver process, shifted the focus to closing achievement gaps between groups of at-risk students. And so while Handy and other critics are focusing on that end number—and how those numbers differ by race and ethnicity—it's important to look at the number at the beginning, and the resulting rate of growth. Those numbers also differ by race and ethnicity—but because they demand that schools show more growth in learning for the kids farthest behind.
In my example above from Delaware, the rate of growth for white students would be 12 percentage points, while the rate of growth for black students would be 26 points, and special education students would see 35 points of growth.
To me, this is mind-numbing. Not only is SES (socio-economic status) apparently ignored (a black student from a wealthy family would be expected to show more growth than a white student from a destitute background), but again we see so-called "progressives" clamoring to make more palatable the "message": "As the Center on Education Policy's Maria Ferguson told me, the problem is one of 'optics.' In other words, the messaging is problematic."
This is the conundrum "progressives" put themselves into. It's as I noted in my previous post: Remember -- "progressives" want you to consider skin color. That is, for anything with a positive connotation. It's "palatable" in this case to weigh students differently on their [academic] growth because, well, minority students apparently are "starting out behind." It's just head-scratching, then, that these same folks (the "progressives") cannot take into account that the same factors that cause these students to be behind academically are frequently the very same ones that result in disparate discipline stats in schools/districts. But in the latter case, schools/districts hold workshops that inform educators that their own latent, inherent racism is to blame, and our US Dept. of Education is going after districts for their racial "imbalance" of student discipline.
... Colossus has stopped getting e-mail campaign letters from the Sher Valenzuela campaign after I questioned the accuracy of her claims about "many" school employees making more money than Delaware's governor.
Campaign spokeswoman Kim Hoey Stevenson said she'd "recheck" the figures I presented to her. She must still be checking. It's been one month. Not only haven't I gotten any response from Ms. Stevenson about the matter; again, the Valenzuela campaign has ceased sending our blog any campaign announcements.
I guess they thought that since we're a conservative-leaning blog, we'd accept anything they put out without question. Unfortunately, with regards to education matters, we more-than-usually know what we're talking about. And the Valenzuela campaign's claim that "many" (we counted six) Delaware education employees make a bigger salary than the governor just didn't cut it.
University of Rochester Professor Stephanie Li claims Romney is successful "because he is white."
The Romney’s [sic] shortsightedness on this issue demonstrates their ignorance of one of the central ideas in the field of critical race studies, the unearned privileges accorded to whiteness. In her foundational essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh likens whiteness to “an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”
Oh gee! The Romneys are ignorant of Critical Race Theory! What a shame! As if there is something wrong with ignoring a theory that is, for all intents and purposes, post-modernist bullsh**. Whoopee-freakin'-do.
I had to read McIntosh's essay for grad class way back when. The [graduate student] instructor didn't like it much when I questioned it and pointed out its shortcomings.
Via Insty comes word that French President François Hollande has proposed banning homework from all French [public] schools. Why? Because "some homes are more conducive to homework than others." If you think that's silly, well, it is; however, sadly, I've heard similar stories (just not on such a scale) from districts across our own country. It's in the name of "social justice" and "fairness," dont'cha know.
Speaking of our own beloved United States, in Florida controversy has arisen as that "anointed" educational establishment has come up with the "terrific" idea of measuring student progress by race:
By 2018, Florida’s Department of Education wants 90 percent of its Asian students to be reading at or above grade level, compared to 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanic pupils and 74 percent of African-American children. In math, state educational officials want that figure to be 92 percent for Asian students, or 18 percent higher than that of African-American students and 11 percent higher than their American Indian counterparts.
“Separate but equal is not,” said Kris Amundson of Education Sector, an independent education think tank based in Washington. “I understand that this is recognition that students are beginning at different places — and that’s honest — but I think it is, at best, ill-advised to set different learning standards for students based on the color of their skin.”
*Sigh* Remember, though -- "progressives" want you to consider skin color. That is, for anything with a positive connotation. But while we're lumping students by racial group, perhaps these educational simpletons could recognize -- honestly -- just why certain groups do better than others. Nah ... because that would have to venture into the realm of the negative, and that is only reserved for the racial majority.
Lawyer: Education Department ignored the law in pressuring Oakland to use race in student discipline.
What to do when political correctness collides with ... political correctness?
Case in point: The chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University -- a federally funded institution -- was put on administrative leave because she signed a petition against gay marriage. Here's the real conundrum:
[Dr. Angela] McCaskill was the first deaf African American female to earn a Ph.D. from Gallaudet, where she has worked for 23 years in various roles, including becoming the deputy to the president and associate provost of diversity and inclusion in 2011, according to her biography on the university website.
How dare the university president do that to a differently-abled black woman!! That normative-biased racist-sexist!!!
To their credit, those campaigning for gay marriage in the state have more sense than the idiot college prez. The Marylanders for Marriage Equality said
We strongly disagree with the decision to put the chief diversity officer on leave and hope she is reinstated immediately. Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6 (the referendum on the ballot), which is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law.
Yep. And since Gallaudet gets federal backing and funds, Dr. McCaskill should have greater freedom of speech protections than a private university. But she's finding out the hard way that "diversity" in campus-speak means only one thing -- and that doesn't include diversity of opinion.
I know many educators will find this article quite truthful (including our own Hube). Here's a taste:
The American child has changed, and not necessarily for the better. Many shrill voices argue that teachers must change, too, by simply working harder. The favored lever for achieving this prescribed augmentation of the American schoolteacher’s work ethic is fear, driven by a progressively more precarious employment situation.
But teachers by and large aren’t afraid; they’re just tired.
Meanwhile, no one is demanding American non-teachers change anything. Michelle Rhee wastes none of her vast supply of indignation on American public policies that leave a quarter of our children in poverty while, not coincidentally, the profits of Rhee’s corporate backers reach new heights. And no one but Paul Tough dares to hint at the obvious-but-politically-incorrect reality that a swelling army of kid-whipped or addiction-addled American parents have totally abdicated the job of parenting and have raised the white flag when it comes to disciplining their children or teaching them virtues like honesty, hard work, and self-respect. Americans have explicitly handed off character education to schoolteachers. Such a practice says a great deal about our nation’s expectations of its parents.
The remainder is pretty in-your-face accurate as well.
I've often said that if parents expect teachers to essentially raise their children, then let teachers do almost all of it. I've heard clueless parents use the ridiculous line "But you're the educator -- you're responsible for what he does here" which means of course they're completely missing the point. Educators can't do their job if your kid is perpetually being an idiot in class ... and then the teacher has to listen mommy or daddy make excuses for their kid's misbehavior ... and then too often, too, the administrators who will back mommy and daddy up. Because, y'know, we don't bad PR for the school now, right?
As Hube might say, this is a recipe for chaos. And the slide towards that has been happening for some time now.
Why do you think there is such a demand for charters and magnet schools? Because the parents who do get it are fed up with the [way too many] who don't. And I don't blame them one damn bit.
Following up on the story of the idiot Philly teacher who compared a female student wearing a Mitt Romney campaign T-shirt to a KKK hood, it seems the parents of the girl met with the [idiot] teacher and the school principal about the incident. And it didn't go very well.
Richard Pawlucy said that during the meeting, the teacher insisted she had been joking, then stormed out and left the school. He said he was told he could file an official complaint with the district, which he said he planned to do Thursday. He said he was also given the option of letting the principal handle the incident, with the teacher getting some form of training.
When Samantha Pawlucy went back to her geometry class Tuesday, she said, she was shocked to find the teacher there. She claimed the teacher told the students she could no longer joke with them because a student had gotten her in trouble.
Verrrry classy there, teach. Not only do you not apologize for actions that were clearly over the line, but you up the ante -- twice. I mean, c'mon -- who "jokes" about the KKK?
Hopefully, this moron will get lectured by her fellow teachers about her idiocy. That is often good medicine.
He/She is only following the very standard established by "progressives" and the Boss Obama administration itself!
Philly Inquirer: Philly student's Romney T-shirt likened to KKK sheet.
... Americans need to learn that the rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order. Our own history suggests that they might have a point.
Let that sink in for a moment. "Free speech must yield to other values and the need for order." Now, that second part actually makes some sense. In our (US, that is) history, during times of war and domestic disturbances (riots), limits on free expression have certainly be implemented. But even with these, as Posner notes, the second half of the last century witnessed an expansion of 1st Amendment rights during such moments, notably during the Vietnam War.
But consider the first part of the statement: "Yield to other values. Folks, this is precisely what the Left wants. Because it'll be their values that will supercede free speech. Don't believe me? Check out what goes on at college campuses. Universities routinely impose "speech codes" and other provisions based on the "values of the community." Fortunately, thus far, groups like FIRE have been quite successful in thwarting many (most) of the more egregious examples of this anti-First Amendment nonsense.
But for how long?
... has as one of its foundations the idea that the American (and Western, for that matter) political system -- equal justice for all, due process, equal rights ... even freedom of speech -- is still oppressive if it doesn't take into historical account the plight of minorities. This is at the heart of "white privilege" -- since whites have constructed the very system under which we [all] live, it inherently will "maintain" the dominant culture (or race).
You see what this means, right? The freedom to post a video which insults the prophet Mohammed doesn't apply to a white person -- because since the whole political and legal system was constructed by whites, it is for the benefit of them, not minorities, so the "white privilege" of the video maker "blinds him" to the injustice his video has done to [Islamic] minorities. (Of course, Muslims are not a minority in the countries in which they rioted; however, I am certain CRI would posit that since the white/Anglo world power structure has "exploited" these countries historically, and on a "transnational basis" the videographer still does not possess freedom of speech if it insults Islam.)
Make no mistake about our current administration's posture on this. Boss Obama talks about freedom of speech, but his entire academic and legal background was flooded by stuff like Critical Race Theory. If you're a product of the Martin Luther King Jr. era and utter something like "I don't see color," or "I treat everyone the same regardless of race," that is a huge no-no according to this academic sophistry. To adherents of CRI, "that is the most overt kind of racism." Or, "to ignore race is to be more racist than to acknowledge race." CRIers call that "neo-racism."
Posner, in his Slate article, points out that "progressives" may be having second thoughts about all their hard-fought free expression gains during the late 20th century ... just as conservatives have now embraced them. In addition to campus speech police, liberals have been keen on hate crimes legislation and sexual harassment laws. But, "for the left, the [1st] amendment today is like a dear old uncle who enacted heroic deeds in his youth but on occasion says embarrassing things about taboo subjects in his decline."
Ironically, Posner writes that
Salman Rushdie recently claimed that bad ideas, “like vampires … die in the sunlight” rather than persist in a glamorized underground existence. But bad ideas never die: They are zombies, not vampires. Bad ideas like fascism, Communism, and white supremacy have roamed the countryside of many an open society.
And what did the Left do when the Right trounced on the First Amendment, especially during the 1950s during the Red Scare (see: Communism in the above quote)? Right -- they (rightly) screamed bloody (unconstitutional) murder at guys like Joe McCarthy. And "progressives" today still admire Communism -- that "bad idea" that's like a zombie, according to Posner. Indeed, academics and Hollywood types have little qualms about hanging out and lauding guys like Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro ... and no one can do a thing about it. Because these mental midgets have free speech. Yet these very same people would squelch others' First Amendment rights if it offended some value of theirs. Just. Like. Chavez. And. Castro. Have. Done. Routinely.
If it's scary that our president believes in such legal principle, it's even more worrisome that members of the US Supreme Court do, too. Recall this post where Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg expressed agreement with many similar legal precepts. If judges like Ginsberg ever gain a majority sway on the high court, especially together with a liberal chief exec like Boss Obama, you can kiss the 1st Amendment as we know it today goodbye.
Maybe this will never happen. I certainly hope so, and there are bright spots of legal sanity among Ginsberg's philosophical brethren. The highly liberal Ninth Circuit's Alex Kosinski tore asunder concepts put forth by Critical Race Theorists, stating CRIers "have constructed a philosophy which makes a valid exchange of ideas between the various disciplines unattainable." Indeed.
But that won't stop Critical Race Theorists and other "progressives." No way. These "theories" are merely yet another exercise in their grabbing of power -- the power to stop the speech of their political and philosophical opponents. And all in the name of "community values," "tolerance," and "mutual respect." But these excuses weren't good enough for them when it was their speech being quelled ... and they won't be sufficient for non-"progressives" today. Not as long as we remain vigilant.
Yours truly would have loved to participate in this one, but he's been very busy of late with school and change of domicile matters. :-)
It's those ridiculously racist "Courageous Conversations" again, led by the "heh -- we suckered you out of your school tax dollars again" Pacific Educational Group. This time they're infecting a school in Portland, Oregon ... where peanut butter sandwiches are -- you guessed it -- "racist." Yep -- "white privilege" is responsible for a "misguided" lesson that uses the bigoted sandwich.
Remember, "Courageous Conversations" are anything but. "White privilege" is all they look at ... and blame for social ills. They should be called "Cowardly Conversations."
Check out what teachers in Denver, CO will have to do in order to get the highest rating available:
According to NBC affiliate KUSA, Denver Public Schools is implementing a new system to evaluate teachers. In order to achieve a coveted “distinguished” rating, teachers at each grade level must show that they “encourage” students to “challenge and question the dominant culture” and “take social action to change/improve society or work for social justice.”
Thankfully, the policy is not yet set in stone and already there's an uproar ('ya think?). “I really don’t think it’s the right place for the school district to expect teachers to push students to become activists,” [History teacher John] Peterson said.
Pam Benigno, the Director of Education Policy for the Independence Institute, a libertarian-leaning Colorado think tank, said the policy is an abuse of power:
Younger children could become confused after receiving encouragement from teachers to attack the dominant culture, Benigno suggested. She also wondered how the new criteria would be used to assess algebra and music teachers.
“Half of the kids in DPS aren’t even reading at grade level, yet the school district wants to make them into little social activists,” Benigno said.
Heh. I suppose music teachers could concentrate on revolutionary music from across the ages, right? Spanish teachers could focus on Che Guevara, the Sandinistas, and the works of Shining Path, and phys. ed. teachers could focus on drills for urban guerrilla warfare. I'm sure these would make Debbie Hearty, executive director of the Office of Teacher Learning and Leadership at Denver Public Schools (the idiot in charge of this insane idea) very happy.
Teacher, class, abuse and bully kid in math class:
"Highlight": The teacher was merely transferred to another school.
Just how big is Africa? Really, REALLY big.
NEWARK, Del., August 10, 2012—In violation of its legal and moral obligation to protect students' First Amendment rights, the University of Delaware (UD) has adopted a prohibition on "bullying" that subjects students to punishment for constitutionally protected speech, including "teasing" or "ridiculing" other students.
"No one likes bullying, but most conduct that could be called bullying on the college level is already illegal. This policy goes much too far by prohibiting constitutionally protected speech," said Samantha Harris, Director of Speech Code Research for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
The policy, which FIRE has named "Speech Code of the Month" for August 2012, defines "bullying" as "[a]ny deliberately hurtful behavior, usually repeated over time, with the desired outcome of frightening, intimidating, excluding or degrading a person." Examples of bullying include "teasing," "ridiculing," and "spreading of rumors." The broad wording of this policy makes it highly vulnerable to abuse, with the potential to silence a great deal of protected speech such as parody and satire (which often ridicule their targets) and political speech.
As FIRE notes, doesn't UD ever learn?
I used to engaged with KAVIPS back when he/she was reasonable. Sometime back the author went around the bend. Today the blog is rife with castigation, logical fallacies, economic idiocy, mischaracterization and self-delusion.
If I need to sum up how far gone the blog has become witness this gem:
This is not hyperbole nor is it intended to mean "Pay 100% of their taxes due without deductions". This is a demand to make all businesses unprofitable. There's a word for a government that confiscates all profits from private industry. I'm sure you can figure it out.
Goodbye KAVIPS. My hopes for a sane, rational voice from the left side of the blogosphere is well and truly dead.
Continuing with the theme highlighted by Hans Bader regarding the Obama administration's pressuring school districts to implement what are, essentially, quotas in school discipline, Heather Mac Donald follows today with a rather lengthy -- and scary -- essay on the topic. Here's something we've heard of before -- and an example of the type of teacher we need more of to speak up against this politically correct garbage:
Aaron Benner, a fifth-grade teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota, scoffs at the notion that minority students are being unfairly targeted for discipline. “Anyone in his right mind knows that these [disciplined] students are extremely disruptive,” he says. Like districts across the county, the St. Paul public school system has been on a mission to lower the black suspension rate, following complaints by local activists and black parents. A highly regarded principal lost his job because his school had “too many” suspensions of black second- and fourth-graders. The school system has sent its staff to $350,000 worth of “cultural-proficiency” training, where they learned to “examine the presence and role of ‘Whiteness.’ ” The district spent another $2 million or so to implement an anti-suspension behavioral-modification program embraced by the Obama administration.
Benner sees the consequences of this anti-discipline push nearly every day in the worsening behavior of students. He overheard a fifth-grade boy tell a girl: “Bitch, I’ll fuck you and suck you.” (“I wanted to throw him against the locker,” Benner recalls.) The boy’s teacher told Benner that she felt powerless to punish the misbehavior. “This will be one of my black men who ends up in prison after raping a woman,” observes Benner. Racist? Many would so characterize the comment. But Benner is black himself—and fed up with the excuses for black misbehavior. He attended one of the district’s cultural-proficiency sessions, where an Asian teacher asked: “How do I help the student who blurts out answers and disrupts the class?” The black facilitator reminded her: “That’s what black culture is”—an answer that echoes the Obama administration’s admonitions to teachers. “I should have said: ‘How many of you shouted out in college?’ ” Benner remarks. “They’re trying to pull one over on us. Black folks are drinking the Kool-Aid; this ‘let-them-clown’ philosophy could have been devised by the KKK.”
Delaware's Christina School District gets a mention, too. It seems it was the target of a federal investigation into "disparate" discipline procedures because it supposedly "failed" to properly distinguish between a white first grader's Cub Scout tool (“a combination of folding fork, knife, and spoon”) and and 11 year-old black girl's box cutter. The girl claimed she had no idea how the box cutter got there. When school officials moved on expulsion, the mom screamed "racism" to the Delaware Human Relations Commission, and the rest is history.
And "history" is what school and classroom order will become very quickly if the current administration gets its way. Delaware already has the highest percentage of school children per capita attending private/parochial schools. Stand by for a national upsurge in such ... or, at least a lot more vociferous demands for charters, vouchers, and school choice.
On the heels of Maryland's educational head-scratcher regarding "proportionate representation" in school discipline, a school district in Florida is now the target of a federal lawsuit based on the same principle:
A federal civil rights complaint filed Tuesday against Flagler County schools alleges black students are suspended and expelled at a rate far higher than white students.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights against Flagler County and four other Florida districts -- Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa and Suwannee.
Black students made up 16 percent of Flagler students but accounted for 31 percent of the in- and out-of-school suspensions in the 2010-2011 school year, the complaint states. Black students accounted for 69 percent of those expelled and 22 percent of those held back a grade.
Flagler Superintendent Janet Valentine said the district will "take it very seriously," but she can't explain the disparities in the discipline rates for white and black students.
I wonder if it ever occurred to Ms. Valentine to ponder if it's because latter are ... more disruptive in school/class? Or, is that just way too anti-politically correct to even suggest?
As Hans Bader noted in his article about Maryland's shenanigans,
This proposed rule violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by pressuring schools to discipline students based on their race, rather than their individual conduct and the content of their character. That is at odds with court rulings like the federal appeals court ruling in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 534 (7th Cir. 1997), which forbid both racial-balancing, and quotas, in school discipline.
Crimes and infractions are not evenly distributed among racial groups, as the Supreme Court noted in United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). As that 8-to-1 Supreme Court ruling emphasized, there is no legal “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, since such a presumption is “contradicted by” real world data. For example, “more than 90% of” convicted cocaine traffickers “were black” in 1994, while “93.4% of convicted LSD dealers were white.” Crime rates are higher in some ethnic groups than others.
It's a wonder why school districts faced with such nonsense complaints don't stand their ground more often, based on such legal precedent. If there's the documentation to back up the statistics and consistency of applied discipline, there should be little to legally fear. Then again, maybe not: the ever-present (and ludicrous) fear of being labeled "racist" by groups like the SPLC and NAACP (among others) can override all rational thought and considerations.
If groups like the SPLC and NAACP are successful in getting schools to implement "proportionate" discipline statistics, it will lead to chaos, frankly. Teachers and adminstrators will be reluctant to discipline minority students out of fear of being called "racist" and/or "increasing the [minority discipline] figures," whereas white students will be disciplined more harshly for even innocuous infractions.
In addition, the SPLC and NAACP are miffed that there aren't sufficient numbers of blacks in gifted and AP classes. While it's certainly easy enough to increase these figures -- just add more black students to these classes -- the practical effect is too often ignored. As in higher education, the concern that black students are successful is of secondary concern; as long as the enrollment numbers are there, "all is good." So, sure, increasing the black enrollment in AP and gifted classes is easy. But what happens if they're in [way] over their heads? Then we have a widening of the achievement gap, which is yet another academic area which is too often addressed by PC means.
Perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP ought to look at more carefully at this racial disparity (snippet from here) and the role it plays on academic achievement and disruptive behavior.
Two follow-ups to this post from lawyer Hans Bader; the first is Hans' letter to the Maryland State Board of Education about their racial quotas in school discipline, and the second is titled "Obama Administration Aggravates The Minority Achievement Gap, Increases Risk Of School Violence."
Be sure to check them out!
Through his 30-minute speech to Ohio Democrats, [Montana Gov. Brian] Schweitzer repeatedly boasted of his gubernatorial achievements, putting special emphasis on the Indian Education for All project. Schweitzer spearheaded the program, which requires Montana school children to learn both American-Indian and U.S. history.
Why did Schweitzer shepherd the innovative and groundbreaking program? Well, because Montanans are a bunch of white, racist rednecks – the governor’s words.
“All over Montana, you can walk into a bar, a café or even a school or a courthouse and just listen for a while as people talk to each other,” Schweitzer explained, shortly after noting 93 percent of his state’s population is classified as Caucasian. “And you will hear somebody, before very long, say something outrageously racist about the people who’ve lived in Montana for 10,000 years.”
The governor delivered the program to sway the minds and hearts of Treasure State youngsters. “So, I decided, I can’t turn the heart of a 45-year-old redneck,” Schweitzer said.
How 'bout that? You'll actually -- before too long -- hear someone say something racist (uttered by a white person) in Montana. I wonder how that is significantly different from any other place in the freakin' country. Of course, the way "racism" is defined today, one can try to imagine just what standards Schweitzer has in defining the term.
But that's beside the point. He's mandating a curriculum because of ... what he overheard an occasional insensitive dolt said about the First Americans? YEESH. And ... WTF is that state doing with a Democratic governor anyway??
Yeah, this will work out just dandy: Maryland Board of Education seeks racial quotas in school discipline.
This proposed rule violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by pressuring schools to discipline students based on their race, rather than their individual conduct and the content of their character. That is at odds with court rulings like the federal appeals court ruling in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 534 (7th Cir. 1997), which forbid both racial-balancing, and quotas, in school discipline.
Crimes and infractions are not evenly distributed among racial groups, as the Supreme Court noted in United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). As that 8-to-1 Supreme Court ruling emphasized, there is no legal “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, since such a presumption is “contradicted by” real world data. For example, “more than 90% of” convicted cocaine traffickers “were black” in 1994, while “93.4% of convicted LSD dealers were white.” Crime rates are higher in some ethnic groups than others.
But the Board of Education seems to have forgotten that reality in proposing a rule that would require school systems to discipline and suspend students in numbers roughly in proportion to their racial percentage of the student body, and require school systems that currently don’t do so to implement plans to eliminate any racially “disproportionate impact” over a three-year period. Thus, it is imposing quotas in all but name.
This is, simply, a recipe for disaster for schools. As Bader notes in the article, teachers and administrators will be skittish to discipline, say, black students but may be more inclined to administer severe discipline to a white or Asian student that would have gotten a black student a mere warning. All in the name of "proportion."
You might remember several years ago the University of the Delaware was exposed to the sunlight -- or, that is, its Residence Life Program was. Before the exposure, students were required to attend a variety of controversial seminars and face numerous invasive personal queries. Now it seems its neighbor to the southwest, Georgetown University, is trying out something similar:
Enter the Community Scholars Program at the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access. The CSP reaches out to disadvantaged youth and provides full scholarships and assistance for to GU. By all accounts it is a wonderful program that has great intentions and has helped many young people achieve their dream of attending college.
Sounds pretty basic. What is not included in this summary is one other workshop that students were required to attend as a part of the CSP. It was an LBGT “Sensitivity Training” course and apparently it was a requirement for students attending the program. According to multiple sources who wish to remain anonymous, although many students were uncomfortable about being forced to attend the training they were told they would face disciplinary action if they did not participate. One student who has yet to be officially named refused and was allegedly escorted off campus by Georgetown Campus Police. He was expelled from the summer program but there is a possibility he will still be eligible to attend regular classes in the fall.
I never get why campus ideologues feel it necessary to mandate -- force -- students into this stuff. And then they wonder why some rebel? C'mon. But this old UD student comment about their old program says it all about liberalism on campus: "I don't think mandatory participation is a problem -- if it wasn't mandatory then who would go?"
Yeah. Just imagine if a college had a mandatory program about, say, Christianity. Or Judaism. Think that would fly?
A story from the Des Moines Register notes that a teacher's aide was fired from her private school for disrupting a classroom discussion about the novel Huckleberry Finn.
[Naiya] Galloway allegedly announced to a classroom full of students in October that Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was a racist book and should not be taught in schools. The next day, she was on a school bus with students when she allegedly renewed her criticism of the book as “racist,” forcing the bus driver to intervene, according to state records. School officials alleged she voiced objections to the book on numerous other occasions.
It seems Ms. Galloway didn't like it when the actual teacher brought up the Ku Klux Klan "in a discussion of historical and political events." She also allegedly accused a math teacher of being a racist on another occassion.
But what gets me is this:
At a public hearing dealing with her subsequent request for unemployment benefits, Galloway denied all of the allegations that she had questioned the school’s use of the book. She acknowledged that she had disrupted a classroom discussion of the Ku Klux Klan because it had triggered “flashbacks,” noting that she’s both black and Japanese.
Flashbacks?? About what? She's 31 years old. That's obviously not old enough to have suffered through slavery or Jim Crow, nor the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans. The KKK is still around, yes, though greatly diminished from its heyday. Ms. Galloway did claim to have been a victim of racism in the past ... but never said it was via the Klan.
Stop the presses!
The famous Blue Man Group founded an elite private school in NYC ($32,000 per year), yet parents are yanking their kids out -- because instruction is non-existent:
Parents are yanking their kids out of the “progressive,” $32,000 per-year private school founded by the Blue Man Group — which has no books and no tests — because their kids are barely learning to read, The Post has learned.
One mother, who is yanking her son at the end of the school year, complained that the school is “unstructured.”
Another parent who dropped her first-grade son off yesterday said he’s not coming back next year — because he’s got nothing to do.
This is a common thread in "progressive" education -- letting kids "discover" what interests them and letting them "discover" how things work. Unfortunately, this doesn't actually work very well when it comes to things like reading and mathematics. To wit: At this school, "School officials say students decide their own curriculum, and have no set arrival time." Yeah, that's terrific preparation for the real world now, ain't it?
In one of my first graduate classes -- a class dedicated to (supposed) classroom management (remarkably, taught by instructors with zero classroom experience) -- this "progressive" approach was highly favored. But in my final paper I spent considerable time refuting much of what had been "taught" in the course. I got an "A" on the paper, but the instructor who read it called much of what I wrote "visceral."
Yeah, well, maybe it was. But I'd rather it be visceral and have kids learn, than feel good about myself and produce a bunch of dopes.
The first one comes from the nearby City of Brotherly Love where its idiot mayor, Michael Nutter, was mulling over what the idiot New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, did -- ban sodas over 16 ounces. But Nutter was doing this ... while cutting the ribbon at Philadelphia’s first Shake Shack, "a fast food restaurant that has gained cult status for its burgers, fries and frozen custards."
You can't make this sh** up, I tell 'ya.
The second story comes by way of my buddy Greg at Rhymes With Right:
A Marine veteran and Academy Award winning film producer said he was barred from speaking to a U.S. government class at a Montana high school because he was “a right-wing conservative.”
Gerald Molen, who won an Oscar for co-producing Schindler’s List, had been invited to speak to a class of seniors at Ronan High School in Montana. He’s also one of the few conservatives working in Hollywood and is currently making a documentary based on Dinesh D’Souza’s book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage.
Molen, who is a popular motivational speaker, said his speech was going to be apolitical. He had planned on reminding students of their individual greatness and opportunities for the future.
But when he showed up at the high school — about 90-minutes from his home in Bigfork, Mont. – the principal informed Molen that he would not be allowed to address students because he was a “right-wing conservative.” He was told that there had been some calls to the school complaining about the planned speech.
“He said some callers didn’t want kids exposed to that, despite not knowing what my message would be,” he told the Hollywood Reporter."
Got that? They didn't even know what Molen was going to talk about -- and they still wanted him banned.
Greg wants the principal and any district administrator who advised him to nix Molen fired. Be sure to stop over there and find out why.
In a follow-up to this post, we read this today: SC mom busted at kid's graduation: 'I cheered for my baby and I got the cuffs.'
A South Carolina mother says she was humiliated when she was arrested during her daughter's high school graduation last weekend in Florence, S.C., for cheering too loudly.
But police say Shannon Cooper's shouting was nothing short of disorderly conduct.
Cooper said she was whooping it up when her 18-year-old daughter, Christin Iesha Cooper, walked across the stage to get her diploma from South Florence High School on June 2.
Did the police go too far? Most probably. But, if this ceremony is like way too many others around the country today, parents and other relatives simply do not listen to the innumerable requests by school and district officials to maintain a dignified presence in the stands. Ms. Cooper admits she was "whooping it up;" what about the students who followed her daughter in getting their diplomas? Don't those parents have a right to hear their childs' names announced?
And that's precisely a major problem with modern culture today -- it doesn't matter much anymore what the rules are, and it doesn't matter what people say or request. Politeness and decorum are a thing of the past. It's all about ME and MINE. End of story.
I don't know exactly how I'd have handled this situation; perhaps the police could have taken the podium and made one final warning to the audience before taking any action ... or perhaps the superintendent could have warned parents/relatives that if behavior does not improve, there will be no future graduation ceremonies -- diplomas will simply be mailed home to students.
All I know is that my daughter's ceremony degenerated into a "whoop" fest pretty quickly. And it was absolutely ridiculous.
Not-so-fascinating-anymore story about how colleges are increasingly under pressure to coddle students to the Nth degree. Geez, and I thought it was bad enough in lower ed!
Writing In defense of the F-word in K-16 education, J. Martin Rochester, a political science professor at University of Missouri in St. Louis, shares an e-mail from a student who failed his course. It was her first F ever, she wrote.
"I complied with the paper and the two tests, and you mean to tell me I did not get anything from the class. I will appeal this because who is the failure? You are the teacher whom I relied upon to teach me about a subject matter that I had no familiarity with, so in all actuality I have been disserviced, and I do expect my money back from the course, you did not give me any warning that I was failing! You should be embarrassed to give a student an F.”
Thus, on my campus and many others, “retention” centers are proliferating along with “early alert” warning systems designed to help students by sending them regular reminders to come to class, turn in work by the due dates, and perform other basic obligations that can be gleaned if they simply read the syllabus.
This is virtually incomprehensible to me. My daughter enters college this coming August and if I ever saw / heard about an e-mail she sent like this to a professor ... well, let's say the punishment would be quite severe. I mean, come on -- when do we expect these adults to grow up? Is not 18 the legal age of "adulthood?" Do these [clueless] students actually believe that their future employers will baby them so?
Hah. If these "adults" have never experienced tough love at any time through college, it'll certainly come about in the real world, that's for sure.
Speaking of my daughter, her high school graduation was last evening. I was appalled at much of the behavior among the relatives and friends and in the bleachers. Today, I came across this post by Darren at Right on the Left Coast (via Joanne Jacobs) which totally hit home:
Women, this one goes out special to you. You know that high-pitched screaming thing you do? It's like an icepick through my temples. Do you not know how loud you are, how high-pitched that yell is, how little anyone around you wants to hear that? Ugh.
And for all you people who bring air horns and vuvuzelas and such--yes, I know you want to cheer for your kid, and you want your kid to hear you cheer for him or her. What you clearly don't consider, though, is that the kids are going across the stage at a rate of 10 per minute, one every 6 seconds. While you're having a great old time, not only are the people next to you covering their ears to lessen the 120 db horns you're blowing, but the family of the child whose name is announced immediately after your kid's cannot hear their kid's name being announced because you're too busy acting low-class and selfishly trying to hog some limelight. Ugh.
Spot on. Despite the school principal's request, and despite the district superintendent's request for "respect" and "dignity," once the students began to line up for their diplomas those requests (if they were ever heeded in the first place) went right out the window. There were two early 20s-ish gents behind us talking loudly the entire time, and didn't seem at all worried about their constant use of profanity. To my left, an entire family began stomping up and down on the bleachers not when their relative got his diploma, but when he was merely in line. What about all the poor folks near us who may have been trying to hear their kids' names? (Thankfully, it was relatively quiet when my daughter's name was announced. If not, I may have started an incident.)
I particularly liked Joanne Jacobs commenter "Stacy in NJ's" remarks:
Now, manners are for suckers and modesty for tight-*sses. Now, everyone must loudly and sentimentally display their emotions and minor achievements with an excessive celebration and a tattoo. We are a classy bunch.Yep. *Sigh*
... you have selective entrance exams and/or can get rid of any disruptive student you wish. Let's be honest.
This woman teaches social studies, if you can grasp that. I sure couldn't, listening to her "facts" and "justifications" in this [mostly audio] video.
More on this lunacy here.
That is: A federal government mandate forcing schools to make kids exercise for 60 minutes a day. Because, y'know, obesity is a nationwide problem that requires government to step in.
In his report, [NBC's Robert] Bazell proceeded to detail the dictates of the health panel: "...requiring at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity in schools. Public and workplace policies that encourage people of all ages to exercise more. Industry-wide guidelines on marketing food to children, including healthier choices for kids in restaurants and having healthy food available at all public events."
It's bad enough we have kids testing left and right due to suffocating federal mandates; now we're magically going to make kids engage in physical activity for an hour during the school day. The thing is, this isn't too much of an issue for a lot of kids already, being that many are involved in sports activities. But for those kids who perpetually refuse to even get dressed for gym class by merely bringing in a parent note? How will these lofty "health advocates" work their way around that? And will phys ed teachers now be evaluated on how fit their students are?
UPDATE: Ed Driscoll offers NBC some advice:
NBC itself is in a perfect position to do so, by refusing all advertising from beer manufacturers, fast-food retailers and junk food purveyors. Not to mention banning coverage of sporting events where these products are sold by concessionaires. Think they’ll do so?
For this week's non-Council article for the Watcher's Council vote I submitted "Don't Pick Up" by the Chronicle of Higher Education. This was before I read about the news that the publication axed one of its writers for, among other things, "causing distress" to some readers for daring to opine about the apparent mediocre academic aspects of Black Studies dissertations.
Here's how the Chronicle's editor, Liz McMillen, rationalized the firing:
We now agree that Ms. Riley's blog posting did not meet The Chronicle's basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. . . .
Brainstorm writers were able to post independently; Ms. Riley's post was not reviewed until after it was posted. . . .
In addition, my Editor's Note last week inviting you to debate the posting also seemed to elevate it to the level of informed opinion, which it was not. . . .
I sincerely apologize for the distress these incidents have caused our readers and appreciate that so many of you have made your sentiments known to us.
By saying "we now agree ..." McMillen essentially admits that she buckled under to the complaints of the perpetually aggrieved -- usually academic "diversophiles" who, like Elizabeth Warren, view all of society through the lens of gender, ethnicity, and especially race. But most disturbing is the last sentence -- that McMillen feels the need to apologize for any "distress" the article may have caused anyone. Now, I wonder -- would the Chronicle have acted similarly if one of its writers opined positively about hackish programs such as these? Cheeyeah, don't bet on it. And just look at the titles of the dissertation titles that the fired Chronicle writer in question, Naomi Schaefer Riley, highlighted:
One is titled " 'So I Could Be Easeful': Black Women's Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth." Another is a denunciation of blacks who deviate from the leftist party line: "conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others," in the words of the Chronicle's report. (We know McWhorter and would describe him as a man of the center left.) A third argues that "the subprime lending crisis . . . highlighted the profitability of racism in the housing market."
I wonder if the Chronicle would fire these dissertation writers (especially the latter two) for their distress-inducing screeds if they were employed by the publication.
Of course, I support the right of a private entity to hire or fire whomever they choose. However, higher education is supposed to be about a free exchange of ideas -- not an exchange of ideas that are "distress-free." If that were the standard, then the vast majority of humanities professors' jobs might be in jeopardy because their political views could cause "distress" to a majority of their captive student body. That is, if "progressive" higher education used a thing called "consistency." But as we all know very well by now, only ideas that cause "distress" to "historically aggrieved/oppressed" groups are subject to scrutiny and censorship.
Delaware's new incoming secretary of education has a whole three years teaching experience ... in phys. ed.
Three. Years. And he's gonna be in charge of education. For the whole state.
I don't know if the word "unbelievable" is adequate enough.
This is what contemporary teachers have to deal with:
Caught copying another student’s homework, a California sophomore was kicked out of honors English. His parents admit he cheated, violating the Academic Honesty Pledge he’d signed at the start of the year. But the cheater’s parents are suing, claiming the teen’s due process rights were violated, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The boy’s father, Jack Berghouse, said the punishment is too severe and could make it harder for his son to get into a top college.
The school offered to let the boy enter the International Baccalaureate program in 11th and 12th grade with others in the honors track and to keep the cheating incident off his transcript. But that wasn’t enough for the parents.
Teachers who primarily teach low SES (socioeconomic status) students have to deal with constant unpreparedness, apathy, and disconnected parents. Teachers who teach high SES students have to deal with constant unpreparedness, apathy ... and parents like these. Both types of students have shocking degrees of sense of entitlement, for [obviously] different reasons.
And the public then often wonders about school discipline, values, and standards?
But, there is hope, to be sure. I recently caught two [very nice and smart] students copying off one another. School policy dictates a "zero" be given in such an instance. However, given that the students admitted to their error (without attitude, too), are historically excellent students, and were quite apologetic about it all, I merely gave them a sizable point deduction on the assignment. When the mom of one of the kids got my e-mail about the incident, she 1) thanked me for the note and for my generosity, 2) said she gave a stern reprimand to her son, and 3) told me she wouldn't have been as generous as I in that situation!
I still always try to live by a motto of the principal who first hired me, lo those many years ago: Have rules with a human face.
The deputy director of organizing for the AFT -- the American Federation of Teachers -- is named Shaun Richman. Now, just imagine if his credentials were the complete "opposite":
Richman’s previous organizing experience? The Socialist Party-USA. In 2001 he was quoted discussing the party’s plans to run candidates for office and in 2005, he was running the party’s national convention. In 2006, he was producing the party’s magazine. He’s a socialist true believer.
So he’s a socialist – what radical union staffer isn’t, right? But it gets much worse. He’s also an apologist for Osama bin Laden. In a 2008 article, CNSNews.comreported:
“The Socialist Party-USA does not believe that bin Laden is responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
“’I refuse to believe that Osama bin Laden...is behind all of these things he's been accused of,’ said Shaun Richman, the co-vice national chairman of the Socialist Party USA.”
To top it off, this socialist makes just under a cool $213,000 a year in salary.
And unions wonder why they get grief??
We need "studies" to figure this stuff out, folks. From Delaware's own News Journal: Parent provide key to student success.
Via the Daily Caller: College Democrats invite Louis Farrakhan to speak in Alabama.
Do I really have to explain just how ludicrous this is?? Perhaps I do, though, to Kris Taylor:
Kris Taylor, who leads the poetry club, predicted that there’s “going to be positive energy coming from this.” “I don’t believe he’s going to come here and bash the Jews,” Taylor said.
Farrakhan's history, however, proves otherwise, Ms. Taylor.
Now, envision the College Republicans inviting David Duke and someone like Taylor saying there's “going to be positive energy coming from this; I don’t believe he’s going to come here and bash blacks.”
A Virginia middle school teacher has his students do opposition research on the GOP presidential candidates and to find weaknesses in their positions ... which they'll then send on to President Obama:
The assignment was for students to research the backgrounds and positions of each of the GOP candidates for president and find “weaknesses” in them, the parent explained. From there, students were to prepare a strategy paper to exploit those weaknesses and then to send their suggestions to the Obama campaign.
Liberty teacher Michael Denman, who declined to comment, unveiled the assignment in mid-January when he broke the Civics Honor’s class into four groups, one for each Republican candidate. The students were then to collaborate as a group and research the backgrounds of their assigned candidate.
Denman assigned two kids to write a paper revealing the identified “weaknesses,” two to write the attack strategy paper and two others to locate an individual inside the Obama campaign to whom they could send the information.
No similar assignment was given to research Obama’s history, identify his weaknesses or pass them along to the Republican candidates.
I'm a trained social sciences teacher and nothing infuriates me more than reading about stuff like this. I don't care what your own beliefs and biases are; what right do you have to indoctrinate students to those beliefs? Your job is allow students to examine both (or more) sides of an issue, no matter how much it may pain you to do so.
Kevin Williamson goes after Rochester, NY school superintendent Bolgen Vargas for an incident last week whereby a 13 year old student echoed the sentiments of Frederick Douglass
Mr. Vargas is fortunate enough to have in his charge one Jada Williams, a 13-year-old eighth grader who voluntarily took on some difficult extra work: reading Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life and writing an essay on the subject. Frederick Douglass is dangerous reading, truly "radical" stuff. Miss Williams, like most of the students in her dysfunctional school, is black. Most of the people being paid to go through the motions of teaching them are white. Coming across the famous passage in which Douglass quotes the slavemaster Auld, Miss Williams was startled by the words: “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him. It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.” The situation seemed to her familiar, and her essay was a blistering indictment of the failures of the largely white faculty of her school: “When I find myself sitting in a crowded classroom where no real instruction is taking place I can say history does repeat itself.”
Williamson is spot-on in his criticism of Vargas because the reaction that followed in inexcusable: The teacher who received Williams' essay made copies of it and shared it with other faculty and administration. Williams shortly thereafter began to receive grades of "D" where she had previously been a straight-A student. Her mother got harassing phone calls from teachers. This is most certainly one big "WTF??" Williams had to leave the school and enroll in another.
But my gut instinct tells me that a lot on the right are jumping on this incident merely as a means to go after public schooling, teachers unions and Democrats in general, though this is short-sighted in many respects. The latter, of course, does hold a disproportionate amount of influence over the former two. But if such was written by a student in another arena -- one not controlled by liberals/Democrats -- would the Right be so vociferous in this student's defense? I tend to doubt it. Most of the time the Right [usually correctly] criticizes the quick use of the racism card when it comes to such matters. But if, say, Ms. Williams attended an affluent suburban school and used Douglass' essay to lament the lack of teaching African-American history as a component of an overall US history course? Would the Right then be as quick to take up her cause?
Again, since the Left does control so much of [inner-city] public schooling, they do share a disporportionate amount of blame for the state of these schools. But I wouldn't be so hasty to blame teachers for "not teaching" these children; I would place more blame on [liberal] administrators, politicians and like-minded teachers who believe the rights of chronically disruptive children are just as important as those of children like Ms Williams. That's the real problem with such schools -- teaching cannot occur if classrooms are too frequently zones of chaos. Teachers are told by administrators not to send kids out of class, and administrators want to keep school discipline figures down. So, it becomes a vicious circle whereby the misfits get away with [everything short of] murder. Young Ms. Williams, bless her, is very probably blissfully unaware about what really transpires in the school hierarchy ... and how "the game is played." Thus, she blames the only thing she deals with everyday: her teachers.
I read this report at several other sites (like this one) before happening upon Robert VerBruggen's piece at The Corner. He references the NY Times coverage of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights report on <"harsher" school discipline meted out to minority students. As you might expect (especially from the current Education Dept.), racism is heavily implied, whereas there is absolutely no mention of the possibility that minority students actually commit more [school] suspendable offenses than white students. (Asian students, by the way, aren't even mentioned as they frequently are not, mainly because they 1) do better academically than whites, and 2) are a minority that doesn't get into trouble a whole lot in school, making the "case" the Ed. Dept. wishes to make just a bit tougher.)
As VerBruggen writes,
Most liberals know that not all racial gaps are attributable to racism. At any rate, they should know this if they’re paying any attention to the facts; for example, scholars Glenn Loury and Bruce Western have conceded that the black-white gap in incarceration rates largely results from the fact that blacks break the law more than whites. Heather Mac Donald has made the case at length, which is almost a waste of her considerable talents, because the evidence is so overwhelming it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Yet we see this ridiculous spectacle in the Times: a story that reports the fact that black students are more likely to be disciplined in school, quotes some lefty sources about how this is a “civil rights” issue, and doesn’t even mention the possibility that black students might misbehave more.
Liberals always claim we need to have an open conversation about race in this country, but ignoring the reality of racial differences in behavior does nothing to move that conversation along.
We've long discussed the oxymoron that "brave" conversations about race are, whether they're called "Courageous Conversations," "Difficult Dialogues," or whatever. They're only "brave" insofar as whites must accept the blame for any and all racial disparities. There can be no other explanation permitted (and "Courageous Conversations" says this outright). Sorry, but if this is the case, then nothing will ever get solved.
But liberals will feel good about themselves. That's for sure.
Perpetually aggrieved Delawarean Jea Street -- a member of the Delaware Black Caucus -- is miffed that the state's "Race to the Top" education reforms aren't leading to "greater equality":
"The new millennium term is 'charter school' and 'choice school.' I call it segregation," he said. "There are black charter schools and there are predominantly white charter schools. You can call it what you want, but it is what it is."
*Sigh* Street really likes the term "new millenium [racism]," and he always views things through a racial lens. And only an anachronism like a "Black Caucus" can claim that "Delaware's modern education policies like school choice still retain an air of segregation." Um ... aren't liberals supposed to be about choice? Yeah, yeah, I know, as long it's the "right kind" of choice. Choices that people make freely -- even black people!! -- that may lead to some disparity in some progressive-desired racial "balance," are ridiculously compared to pre-Brown v. Board of Education.
Get. A. Grip. On. Reality. For. Heaven's. Sake.
Oh, and Jea? "Race to the Top" is a Barack Obama idea. He happens to be a black guy. Or, perhaps you don't consider him "authentically black?" (Another favorite progressive epithet.)
School counselor gets kids class credit for volunteering to work on Obama's re-election campaign. Now, as I read through this, I kept waiting to see if volunteering for Obama's campaign was just one choice -- like, could a kid volunteer for the GOP candidate's campaign?
"Sure," the counselor says. But "no students have asked her about that."
Well gee, why might that be? Could it be because this counselor has suggested herself that kids work for the Obama camp? (She admits she has.) How comfortable would a student be asking an outspoken advocate for one side ... about working for the other side?
Not very, I'd wager.
The mother of a seven-year-old boy was told to sign a school form admitting he was racist after he asked another pupil about the colour of his skin.
Elliott Dearlove had asked a five-year-old boy in the playground whether he was ‘brown because he was from Africa’.
His mother, Hayley White, 29, said she received a phone call last month to say her son had been at the centre of a ‘racist incident’.
This would be bad enough if adults were involved; this kid is seven. Unbelievably, the incident will undergo "further investigation."
Remember, too, this sort of nonsense would result if people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg get their way. Many "progressives" feel that our First Amendment is a huge impediment to "social justice;" y'know, like being able to "eradicate" racism by branding children as "racists" for innocent interrogatives.
Oh, that's right -- too busy worried about spontaneous student-led prayers and defending the loafers in the Occupy movement. But no word regarding where they are in this:
A Colorado high school student quit the school choir after an Islamic song containing the lyric “there is no other truth except Allah” found its way into the chorus.
James Harper, a senior at Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, put his objection to singing “Zikr,” a song written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, in an email to Mesa County School District 51 officials.
“I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, but I really don’t feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song,” Harper told KREX-TV. “This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet … I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth.”
He's certainly correct about that last part!
Hey, I agree with the district that a religious theme in songs is perfectly fine (the Christmas and Hanukkah season, for example); however, lyrics that promote the supposed truth of one religion over another certainly appear to be crossing the line. And, as noted, it should be something so-called "progressive" organizations should be all over like flies on you-know-what. So ... why aren't they?
I know. It's the 'ol "What the hell do we do when two competing politically correct idelogies conflict?" scenario. First , there's the obvious church vs. state issue, but then there's the PC promotion/protection of an "aggrieved" minority ingrained in their dogma which is combatting the first "progressive" tenet. What to do??
UPDATE: One important aspect of this story that is important (and one which I perhaps glossed over too much) is that the choir in question is an after-school activity. This makes quite a bit of difference in contrast to a choir class that would take place during the school day. Being an after-school activity is purely voluntary, and indeed allows for more leeway when it comes to the use of religiously themed songs and lessons. So, not only does Harper have the absolute right to NOT join this choir, the choir does have more latitude in utilizing religious material. This doesn't change my main assertion that it is surprising groups like the ACLU haven't joined the fray on this when it has done so in (perhaps) less controversial instances. Like here. Or here.
You've probably already read about this: A "state" food inspector deemed a North Carolina pre-schooler's home-packed lunch "inadequate," and made the little girl eat an "approved" school lunch of chicken nuggets instead. Worse, the school sent a bill to the girl's mom for the nuggets!!
Are you freakin' kidding me? I'd send back that bill with an attached digital photo -- that of my middle finger. Also attached would be a request for the school/state to demonstrate exactly how a lunch of chicken nuggets is "better" than a packed lunch consisting of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice, and potato chips.
A family in the Acton-Boxborough School District near Boston is suing said district to get the words "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance:
The Plaintiffs are named as Jane and John Doe out of concern for what they call “public hostility.” Their children are listed as ages 13, 11, and 9.
David Niose, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, describes the family as atheists and humanists. They say the children don’t have a problem reciting the pledge [sic], just the phrase, “under God.”
Niose told FOX 25’s Sharman Sacchetti, “Every day these kids go to school and the pledge is recited declaring that the nation is in fact under God. That marginalizes them and suggests that people who don’t believe in God are less patriotic.”
Since it was decided LONG ago that NO ONE is required to recite the Pledge, Mr. and Mrs. Doe aren't really concerned for the kids' "marginalization." They want to make a point, such that it is. And with cash-strapped school districts (Acton-Boxborough has alerady spent $10K in legal fees on this) scraping for every penny these days, many will simply settle -- ie, cave in -- when idiots like these parents bring suit.
Here's my very simple question: If the children "don't have a problem reciting the Pledge," then why don't they just omit the words "under God" when saying it? Who would know? Kids barely mumble the Pledge at the beginning of the day anyway; it's not as if anyone would notice. Superintendent Stephen Mills says
“This business that they’re marginalizing students. They’re absolutely no recriminations; no negative consequences against a child that chooses not to say the pledge or in this particular case the words ‘under God.’”
Yep. And attorney Eric Rassbach adds, “They’re not asking for the right to opt out. They have that right. They admit that they’re trying to get other people to shut up.”
Watch this video and scratch your head:
Some are using this to go after teachers unions. I suppose that's understandable; when we have idiots like this in our profession -- who believe it's their mission to indoctrinate kids instead of educating them, and allowing them to be critical thinkers -- well geez. But allow me another explanation (or two. Or three):
[Some] Teachers who really want to hold their students academically accountable can sometimes find "opposition" on two fronts: 1) their administration, and 2) parents. Administration: "Why are your students' grades so low?" Parents: "How can Johnny be failing your class?" Administrators want the "numbers" to look good, and parents (obviously) want their kids' grades to be good, even when they don't actually deserve it. If you were a teacher and faced these ... "obstacles," what would you do? If you're human (and if you're reading this I assume you are), you'd probably want to keep your employment, hence you'd "adjust" some of your methods and/or grading. Granted, this is not a blanket "indictment," so to speak ... many good teachers would battle through these obstacles, and there are many admins and parents who support high standards and sticking to them.
In addition, let me offer another tidbit: Kids today have so many more things to occupy their attention than ever before. The Internet. Facebook. Twitter. Cell phones/texting. YouTube. In my school years we had the [rotary] telephone and ... TV (sans cable). We went outside to play -- football, wiffleball, army, "I-Spy," even basic tag ... the only time we remained inside was when it was raining. In "down" times (and when nature called!) I'd grab an encyclopedia or one of those Time-Life books that my parents bought for my sisters and I. I've always had a thirst for general, abstract knowledge. (Ironically, a week ago, a current student of mine in the middle of class said, "Mr. So-and-So said you're that pretty smart -- that when you pop into his class and he has his [science] students ask you questions, you usually always know the answers." I replied, "Really? That was nice of him ... perhaps I get the correct answers because I just like to know things. Don't you like learning new things -- y'know, knowledge just for knowledge's sake?" His retort? "Nah, not really.")
So where am I going with this? I suppose it's to say that it's easy to bash teachers for videos like this ... but it's just that: easy. Keep in mind that there are a lot of conservatives in teachers' unions, and that many, many teachers (regardless of politics) do not always share the unions' official stances on matters. In addition, there are myriad factors within and without schools that affect educational progress (or lack thereof).
That's all. ;-)
An ... "interesting" article in today's Philly.com which could be classified as just another peon who is fairly clueless about what your average public school teacher does and goes through. Author Jason Kaye is described as a "writer and student advocate."
If you've read a even a little of this blog, you know I'm not a big fan of unions, even the teachers unions, when they act ridiculously and make outrageous demands. Kaye mentions that, but really -- it's old hat by now. And he goes beyond that. He wants teachers to stay after school, show up at night and even on weekends to accommodate the "parents [who] have no choice but to work two or three jobs."
Did he ever stop to consider that public school teachers themselves may need to work a second (and third) job? I know plenty who do. Then, Kaye goes on to compare -- ready? -- the hours put in by "the majority of employees with salaried positions at top-tier corporations (typically 60-80-hour workweeks)" and, yep, teachers ("works an average of 36.5 hours per week when school is in session"). You may be thinking that, "So what? Corporate types earn a ton more than teachers." But don't worry -- Kaye notes that teachers "get a very generous vacation package compared with other employees who work in the private sector, including summers off and holidays and school breaks ... throughout the year, teachers generally receive 10-12 weeks off ..." What Kaye conveniently omits here are the MANY hours that teachers put in on their own time at home (and, which I'm certain corporate types do too in those 60-80 work weeks). Ask a teacher of a major academic subject how much time they spend grading assignments and exams at home. If the teacher ain't a total lemon, you may be astounded at the figure you hear. And, again, many teachers work second jobs during those summer months.
I've just one question for people like Kaye: Were American teachers really a lot better 20, 30, 40 years ago? Because he concludes:
Other than parents, who is exclusively representing the interests of the children within the institution of public education? Because in the United States, clearly, teachers unions care more about teachers' rights than students' rights. The evidence is the abundance of failing schools across this great nation. America can do better, and many teachers need to stop coming up with excuses why they cannot produce better results in the classroom.
Personally, I'd amend that bit about the unions to say "some in the teachers unions care more about teachers' rights than students' rights." But to blame teachers (and their unions) exclusively for failing schools is preposterous in the extreme. Remember this cartoon we posted back in October? That doesn't have anything to do with failing schools? The ridiculous (and appalling) decline in basic discipline in schools has nothing to do with failing schools? Administrators who fail to enforce basic discipline has nothing to do with failing schools? Ask any teacher or person in the general public (check out the reader comments in response to Kaye's article) what they'd like to see improved MOST in schools. I'd wager the most popular response would be discipline. Teachers cannot teach if classroom discipline is not enforced (at all levels). Period.
As we noted back in November, former Philly schools chief Arlene Ackerman unbelievably filed for unemplyment compensation after getting axed by the city. Her severance package was worth almost $1 million ... but she filed for unemployment. However, we also noted that it appeared the state had the right to deny her claim.
Wellllll ... it seems that's exactly what the state has done. Couldn't happen to a "nicer" lady.
Photo of sleeping Mustang substitute teacher investigated is a headline today at The Oklahoman. Yep -- a 9th grade student snapped a pic of a sleeping substitute teacher with a cell phone camera ... and was then suspended. Why? Cell phones, while permitted on campus, aren't allowed to be taken in class. Not to mention that the kid promptly posted the pic on a social media site.
What do 'ya think about this? My first principal (whom I worked for) had a saying -- "Rules with a human face." The result of this student's actions was a positive: He showed that the school had hired a lemon substitute teacher whose actions endangered a whole class of kids. The kid's principal has, according to the article, discretion on what disciplinary action to take against the photographer. Is suspension a little too harsh? If this kid's past discipline record is unblemished, I believe it is. If it's not, it's probably justified. What I would have done was go to the administration with the pic, and said, "Hey -- look at what we had to deal with in class today. I know I'm not supposed to take out my cell phone in class, but these were unusual circumstances." I doubt there would have been any consequences in doing that.
The Messiah last night in his State of the Union Address:
I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: that government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work.
While it is accurate to say that Obama has been friendly to school choice and charter schools, how can he with a straight face say that he's offering "more control for schools and states?" Here in the First State, his Race to the Top monies have come with innumerable strings attached, from the same mandated tests statewide, to the same teacher evaluation system ... again, statewide. There's very little, if any, school (local) control anymore. The state DOE, if anything, is running things more and more rather than the individual districts. Which, unfortunately, means the vast majority of Race to the Top funds have done nothing but expand another bureauacracy.
That is, until you provide a balanced lesson plan. Check out this lesson ... "plan" via the NY Times' "The Learning Notebook":
Overview | What does income inequality say about contemporary American society? What should be done to address income inequality? In this lesson, students examine Times infographics about income and wealth distribution in the United States and discuss what this information says about society.
Related | Paul Krugman’s column “How Fares the Dream?” examines income inequality in the United States:
If King could see America now, I believe that he would be disappointed, and feel that his work was nowhere near done. He dreamed of a nation in which his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But what we actually became is a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin — or at least not as much as in the past — but by the size of their paychecks. And in America, more than in most other wealthy nations, the size of your paycheck is strongly correlated with the size of your father’s paycheck.
Read the entire article with your class, using the questions below.
Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:
- In what ways does Mr. Krugman believe that America has made progress since Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech?
- Why does Mr. Krugman believe that Dr. King would be disappointed in America today? Do you agree or disagree?
- What does Mr. Krugman mean when he says that “there are racial implications to the ways that our incomes have been pulling apart”?
- What phenomenon happened around 1980 that Mr. Krugman describes using the metaphor of a ladder?
- Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Krugman that income inequality should be discussed loudly and openly in American society?
I particularly like how Krugman claims Dr. King would be "disappointed," even though King actually addressed race and racism in his quote, and not income differences. Nice bait and switch there. Nevertheless, this goes to the very core of what ails American [humanities] education today: that progressives see absolutely nothing wrong with presenting a blatantly one-sided lesson like this in a civics class. I can think of several "counter" questions to use as discussion follow-ups; for example,
Thankfully, it appears many agree with me. Just scan through the comments at the end of the lesson "plan."
Please return the overage to Delaware's Treasury.
The director of a children’s music program has admitted to steering a third grade class toward singing Occupy Wall Street-themed lyrics during a songwriting session at a Virginia elementary school.
According to its website, Kid Pan Alley “uses the group songwriting process to inspire and empower children to become creators of their own music.”
That changed this week, when the founder and director of Kid Pan Alley, Paul Reisler, took responsibility for the lyrics and said he should have avoided certain phrases to keep the song neutral.
Who'da figured, eh?
Soccer Dad sends word of a Weekly Standard article which notes that President Obama's pet education project, Race to the Top, has been a dismal failure:
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education issued first-year progress reports for 12 states that received $4 billion in federal funds through an Obama administration pet project, Race to the Top. Not one had followed through on the promises they’d made to secure these grants. For three states — New York, Hawaii, and Florida — their progress was so lax Education Secretary Arne Duncan threatened yesterday to pull their grant money if not accelerated soon.
Our own First State, Delaware, gets a needed mentioned too (being that we were one of the first recipients of the RTTT monies). It notes that state teachers "complained federal mandates created a third of their paperwork" ... while RTTT was "contributing a tenth of their funding." And this ratio is actually better than the national average!
Ugh. C'mon, people -- education has historically been a state and local function. The sooner it reverts to this idea, the better.
For great local education reporting laced with snarky commentary (including a ton about the silly Race to the Top), be sure to pop over to Kilroy's place.
A Colorado teenager whose yearbook picture was rejected for being too revealing is vowing to fight the ban with her high school’s administration, but the editors of the yearbook insist it was their decision alone on the photo.
The five student editors of the Durango High School yearbook in Durango, Col., told the Durango Herald they were the ones who made the call not to publish a picture of senior Sydney Spies posing in a short yellow skirt midriff and shoulder-exposing black shawl as her senior portrait.
“We are an award-winning yearbook. We don’t want to diminish the quality with something that can be seen as unprofessional,” student Brian Jaramillo told the paper on Thursday.
The girl's provocative attire violates the school's dress code, too, which, if the school wants to maintain any credibility along those lines, it's proper to disallow the photo. But here's the part that really gets me:
Spies was joined by her mother, Miki Spies, and a handful of fellow Durango High students and alumni in a protest outside the school Wednesday after, she said, administrators informed her the photo would not be permitted because it violated dress code.
Look at the photo. And the mom is out protesting that it should be allowed? Call me ridiculously old fashioned but if I saw that pic and was informed that it was the one my daughter wanted in the yearbook, I'd be protesting too -- to my daughter ... telling her "What the HELL were you thinking???"
Nice job, "mom." Cripes.
As the Huff Post says, "irony":
(h/t: Joanne Jacobs.)
Two disturbing incidents to bring forth today in the realm of education. First, a six year-old with a broken leg who tripped and fell on a playground at a school in Skokie, IL was told to "crawl back to the school":
“His teacher told him, ‘You’re a big boy — I can’t carry you,’” the boy’s mother, Priya Chandani, said Wednesday, “She told him to walk back, but his leg was broken so he fell again and then had to crawl at least 200-300 feet back to the school building.
As a teacher I presume there's another side of the story; nevertheless, it's almost incomprehensible that this poor kid didn't get any sort of assistance.
Closer to home, the New Media Technology Charter School in Philly is dealing with a situation of a teacher who clearly took his position of authority way too far:
The school is supposed to "offer a culturally affirming education to its 481 students." Based on this, some multiculti types would probably argue that this teacher actually did nothing inappropriate. At any rate, there's no definitive word on the current status of this teacher.
Hans Bader details the politically correct ugliness at Widener University after a law prof used a ... "bad" example in class.
Elsewhere, Greg at Rhymes With Right ponders whether should schools be promoting -- and teachers be providing recommendations for -- scholarships that exclude students based on race.
Did eight-year olds write the following lyrics?
Some people have it all
But they still don’t think they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied Yes — they’re the 1 percent
I used to be one of the 1 percent
I worked all the time
Never saw my family
Couldn’t make life rhyme
Then the bubble burst
It really, really hurt
I lost my money
Lost my pride
Lost my home
Now I’m part of the 99
Some people have it all
But they still don’t think they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Yes — they’re the 1 percent
I used to be sad, now I’m satisfied
’Cause I really have enough
Though I lost my yacht and plane
Didn’t need that extra stuff
Could have been much worse
You don’t need to be first
’Cause I’ve got my friends
Here by my side
Don’t need it all
I’m so happy to be part of the 99
A Virginia elementary school is claiming they did -- and then was performed by them. Kid Pan Alley, which sponsored the program, expressed some concern over the content -- which is supposed to be free of any political or personal agendas:
“Last November, when the Kid Pan Alley Board of Directors was made aware of the song in question, we took swift action to clarify our guidelines for lyrical content,” the statement read.
School spokesman Phil Giaramita said, “We really don’t censor the topics that students come up with." To which (correctly) a commenter on the article replied, "Oh really? Let's just put 'Jesus' and 'God' in there and see what happens!"
Courtesy of The College Fix. My personal fave:
10). UC Berkeley chancellor blames Tucson shooting on those who oppose the Dream Act. Even as liberal pundits were drawing imaginary arrows between Sarah Palin-supporting Tea Partiers and apolitical killer Jared Lee Loughner, Berkeley’s chancellor found an even more absurd group to blame for the Tucson shooting: anyone who didn’t support tuition breaks for illegal immigrants.
Her research and scholarship diverge from and call into question the universalistic view of science. This perspective of science includes beliefs that the validity of a scientific account is objective and resides in the physical world itself; factors like power, culture, race, gender and ethnicity of the participants involved in and learners of science are irrelevant. In addition to investigating learning contexts with respect to culture and race, she employs constructs and findings from research on the education of Blacks. Specifically, she introduced a comprehensive framework that synthesizes and adds to the theoretical models used by a small cadre of science education researchers interested in the influences of social context upon the science educative experiences of groups marginalized in science.
In other words (since educationists absolutely love edu-jargon), she calls into question the basic objectivity of the scientific method and believes that science depends on the "context" by which it is derived -- the aforementioned "power, culture, race, gender and ethnicity." Somehow, apparently, something like the mass of an electron may vary depending on one's "cultural/racial perspective" ... and Einstein's Theory of Relativity is "oppressive" because it was conceived of by a[n] old, white male. (Einstein being Jewish doesn't matter for, like contemporary Asians, they're not considered "minorities" by the academy.)
This woman, besides being a complete and total a-hole, really thinks we're stupid:
"I'm taking something that is rightly mine," she told reporter Lu Ann Cahn from her new home in Albuquerque, which she said she was renting to be closer to her grandchildren.
Ackerman said that people who had criticized her for applying for unemployment, which could total $573 a week, didn't know her financial situation.
"I'm not a millionaire," Ackerman said, adding that she was "not living in luxury. I'm living a normal life."
She also told NBC10 that the money she would receive could not have been used instead to pay for children's educations because it comes from a special district fund set up to pay unemployment claims.
She got over a $900,000 severance package from the district!!! Her salary during her tenure was over $300,000 (with free bennies)!!!
But's she's "not a millionaire," and is just "living a normal life." Right.
Previous coverage here.
it's no good to bring a diverse community together if people don't talk to each [sic] and challenge each other.
In other words, if you won't talk to that fellow student who's different from you, we're gonna make you!
Yeesh. I sure wish educrats would concentrate on what they're supposed to -- educating students -- and leave the ancillary crap, especially at the college level (they're adults, after all, now) alone.
UPDATE: Of course the ever-PC News Journal has to jump into the fray on this topic. Interestingly, the article notes how UD's student and faculty population "doesn't reflect society at large" (as if that's such a big concern); however, I wonder why it doesn't ask the very same question about Delaware State University -- an Historically Black College? Does its population reflect the state's demographics?
You know the answer to that: No, it doesn't. But in the world of politically correct diversity, that isn't a concern. Diversity only is of consequence when any population is majority Caucasian.
And what is up with this from the article:
Prior to Tuesday's announcement, UD had engaged in several initiatives to improve diversity. It added a question to the forms students use to evaluate their teachers asking if their academic abilities were prejudged based on their race, ethnicity or gender.
How is this ... "an initiative to improve diversity"?? How, realistically, would college administrators take into account a student "evaluation" that answered in the positive? Knowing American universities' penchant for far-left PC, I'd wager these admins would take any such student "evaluation" at face value, and confront the "offending" professor as being "racist," "sexist" "homophobic," or whatever. Why? Because the rules of left-PC dictate that it's how someone interprets words and actions that are of paramount import. The interpretation may have absolutely no basis in reality, but this doesn't matter. Who are we to judge what someone else interprets, right? Not to mention there's the way-obvious "excuse" for students to negatively assess an instructor with such an "evaluation" merely because the student performed dismally academically. "How can I get this meanie prof back? Ah, yes -- he's racially/gender/sexual identity insensitive! Bingo!"
The university also started gathering and studying data on retention and turnover among female faculty and faculty of color, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faculty.
"I feel like this can be a great university," [Professor of psychology and Black American Studies and first director of the new Center for the Study of Diversity James] Jones said. "And to do that, we have to deal with issues of diversity."
Ah yes, the ever-popular director of The Completely Non-Essential Center chiming in here. I wonder if James feels similarly about Del. State -- does he feel it could "be great" if it evened out its vast racial disparities?
It's. All. A. Big. Joke.
This certainly comes as little surprise if you've been at all following the racialist nonsense of the current administration over the last three years. No need to dissect the contradictory inanity of it all (again), but once again just consider the following:
1) "Diversity," that ever-nebulous concept, has no proven effect on academic achievement, and
2) how ridiculous is the following in the article (ways to "legally" increase college diversity):
They could also "select high schools for partnership" based, among other things, on "racial composition of the school’s student body" and former partnerships with historically black colleges and universities"
As we've noted numerous times, if diversity is such a hallowed concept -- to be enacted at all costs -- then why do we even maintain "historically" black colleges anymore? How is it "diverse" to have a student that is predominately black?
Once again, educational "progressives" perpetually contradict themselves in their constant worship at the altar of diversity and political correctness. And if you question their beliefs, just like the heretics of old, you'll be [metaphorically] burned at the stake.
... from Matt Petrillo at Philadelphia Weekly just three weeks ago. It began thusly: "It’s been 11 weeks since the School Reform Commission unanimously voted to fire public school boss lady Arlene Ackerman." A quick visit to the relevant page at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry would appear to indicate that Ackerman should not get unemployment benefits, and that it shouldn't matter whether the district contests her claim:Who Can File for Benefits
Any individual who has become unemployed may file an application for UC benefits. Eligibility to receive those benefits will be dependent on whether the worker meets the various requirements specified in the Pennsylvania UC Law.
... To be Eligible to Receive Benefits
A worker may be eligible to receive benefits if the worker
- is unemployed through no fault of the worker;
So if you were fired, you can't collect benefits, because it's your fault (nebulous or not) that you don't have a job.
Here's hoping the state will put its foot down on this pompous idiot's claim -- the sooner, the better.
From the NY Times (via an e-mail from a teaching colleague): Principals Protest Role of Testing in Evaluations.
President Obama and his signature education program, Race to the Top, along with John B. King Jr., the New York State commissioner of education, deserve credit for spurring what is believed to be the first principals’ revolt in history.
As of last night, 658 principals around the state had signed a letter — 488 of them from Long Island, where the insurrection began — protesting the use of students’ test scores to evaluate teachers’ and principals’ performance.
Their complaints are many: the evaluation system was put together in slapdash fashion, with no pilot program; there are test scores to evaluate only fourth-through-eighth-grade English and math teachers; and New York tests are so unreliable that they had to be rescaled radically last year, with proficiency rates in math and English dropping 25 percentage points overnight.
Why should this be of local (Delaware) interest? If you're a First Stater the answer is obvious: Delaware was one of the first states to get Race to the Top federal funds. And a "race" it has been: With those funds has come a rapidity of ludicrous initiatives, many -- most -- of which are noted in this article about New York State. Administrators, who've evaluated countless teachers through the years, are required to attend "training" sessions to ... evaluate teachers. And then there's the so-called "experts":
The trainers at these sessions, which are paid for by state and federal grants, have explained that they’re figuring out the new evaluation system as they go. To make the point, they’ve been showing a YouTube video with a fictional crew of mechanics who are having the time of their lives building an airplane in midair.
The article goes on to state that the above “was supposed to be funny, but the room went silent ... these are people’s livelihoods we’re talking about.” Indeed! These evaluation systems -- admittedly established "on the fly" -- will "judge" whether teachers and administrators are doing their job "adequately."
And it certainly seems what has happened here in the Diamond State has also happened in NY State:
She (Katie Zahedi, principal of Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook in Dutchess County) said one good thing about the new evaluation system was that it had united teachers, principals and administrators in their contempt for the state education department.
As I've stated here numerous times, I don't know of any teacher who has a problem with a fair evaluation system. As previously alluded to, Race to the Top is aptly named -- states are racing against the clock to get whatever assessment system they can cobble together ASAP. And you can see the results of this in the first blockquote above. If states won't take the time to come up with fair and sensible evaluation systems, then with all of this cash being dropped in their laps, why not take a few master teachers from each subject area and pay them to, say, three times a year visit the classrooms of district teachers for the latter's evaluations? The obvious benefit of this is that not only would these evaluators be experienced teachers, they also know the subject area as well. Most administrators that have traditionally evaluated teachers only know one subject area well. And you know what? I bet this idea'd be a heck of a lot cheaper.
Lastly, if this miasma of confusion doesn't cause the NEA, ATF and many teachers in general to rethink their lock-step/no questions asked support of Democrats and the Democratic Party, then I don't know what will. George W. Bush was blasted by these folks for No Child Left Behind, but Obama's initiative is NCLB on steroids.
After being given an almost one million dollar severance package, former Philly schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has ... filed for unemployment compensation.
Speaking at the tribal headquarters of the Spirit Lake Sioux Nation, attorney Reed Soderstrom announced a lawsuit against the NCAA alleging copyright infringement and civil rights violations. The Sioux tribe supports the University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo, but the NCAA has deemed them to be “hostile and abusive.”
“Today, the Spirit Lake Tribe of Indians, by and through its Committee of Understanding and Respect, and Archie Fool Bear, individually, and as Representative of more than 1004 Petitioners of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association in direct response to their attempt to take away and prevent the North Dakota Sioux Indians from giving their name forever to the University of North Dakota,” said Soderstrom in prepared remarks.
Soderstrom alleges that the NCAA has violated “the religious and first amendment rights of the Dakota Sioux tribes.” He also alleged a double standard in the application of the NCAA’s policy against the use of Native American names and imagery.
“Though the NCAA has decided ‘Fighting Sioux’ is derogatory, the NCAA supports the University of Illinois’ use of the name ‘Fighting Illini,’ and the use by Florida State University of the name ‘Seminoles’ along with the Seminole mascot – someone dressed in Native American attire who rides into the FSU stadium on a horse and throws a flaming spear before every home football game,” said Soderstrom. “The NCAA claims these are not derogatory depictions because the Illini people and the Seminole people approve of the use of the name and mascot. Inexplicably, the NCAA fails to accept the tribal vote and the sacred religious ceremony as endorsements of the name ‘Fighting Sioux’ by the North Dakota Sioux Nation.”
Maybe the we-know-better-than-you academic elitists at the NCAA will see the light. But then again, no one ever said that academic P.C. ever made any sense in the first place ...
(h/t: The Corner.)
Interesting article here about teacher pay and subject taught:
There are 19 gym teachers in the Farmington School District who make more than $85,000 a year each. The average gym teacher's salary in Farmington is $75,035. By comparison, the science teachers in that district make $68,483 per year on average. That’s not unusual in Michigan schools, according to Freedom of Information Act requests received from around the state. In the Woodhaven-Brownstown district, 18.5 (FTE) science teachers average some $58,400 per year in salary, while 12 gym teachers averaged nearly $76,700. In Harrison, science teachers earned $49,000 on average while gym teachers averaged $62,000. This is not unusual, because school districts don’t differentiate what a teacher does when considering compensation, regardless of the district's educational needs. Teachers are paid on a single salary schedule based on seniority and education level.
And today that is just silly. Teachers in subject areas which are generally tougher to find -- math, science, foreign language -- should be paid more. That is, if you'd like an easier time finding them (and keeping them)! It shoudn't be too difficult for districts to make a case for such if they so wanted (just point out the demographics, applications vs. need, etc.); however, you can probably count on the various state and local unions to oppose it.
And in another aspect, here in Delaware, which teachers get the vast majority of the pressure from state testing? English and math teachers. Are they compensated for this? Heck, no. Should they be? Yes. Even teachers who do not teach a core subject area will be partly evaluated ... on the test scores of students in English and math. In other words, these non-core teachers rely on their English and math teaching colleagues to keep up good student test results ... so that they get good evaluations!! Aside from the inherent inanity in such an evaluation method, doesn't it make sense to compensate the teachers who bear the bulk of the testing pressure, i.e. English and math teachers??
Again, count me in as an emphatic "yes."
Look at that whiteboard carefully. Notice the misspelled word? Now, ok, it got by the teacher ... but everyone else at the CTA too??
The official allegations claim that CUA, “does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion,” according to a press release on PRLOG.com.
This formal complaint also maintains that the new same-sex residence halls are particularly discriminating against female students, which is a new position on the same-sex lawsuit that began last month.
That's a crying f'in shame now, ain't it? Check this: Catholic University is a PRIVATE university and hence can "provide" whatever the hell it pleases for its students. Don't like it? Go elsewhere. Try a public university where such "provisions" are given.
What I don't get is that the complaints also says
... [Catholic] University is denying Muslim students the same benefits that students of other religions are able to enjoy since there is no formal Muslim association sponsored by Catholic University but the Columbus School of Law has an association for Jewish students.
But here we read this:
Wiaam Al Salmi, a Muslim student at CUA who recently started the Arab American Association, which had is first meeting this week, said, “The community here is very respectful of other religions and I feel free to openly practice it.”
So, whaaaa ...?
If this nonsense persists, then I say Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Buddhists etc. should all enroll in Islamic schools across the country and file lawsuits when school administrators don't agree to "provide" accommodations for them. See how "tolerant" and "accommodating" these schools are.
LA Times headline: Study finds education gap for illegal Mexican migrants' children
Besides the obvious "Gee, y'think?" that immediately comes to mind, spot the ironic wording:
The majority of children of illegal immigrants from Mexico in the Southland fail to graduate from high school, completing an average of two fewer years of schooling than their peers with legal immigrant parents, a new study has found.
The study by UC Irvine professor Frank Bean and three other researchers documented the persistent educational disadvantages for such children — who number 3.8 million, with about 80% born in the United States.
In other words, they "documented the undocumented."
It never ceases to amaze me how big city MSM outlets like the Times fail to grasp the [vast] majority of their audience. You'd never be able to gauge such by reading the hard copy of the paper; however, the online versions allow reader comments (usually ... Philly.com frequently disallows reader comments on more "controversial" stories. Figures.), and comments on articles such as this simply lambaste the paper for its politically correct inanity. Indeed, the readers usually use a lot more common sense than the article authors.
Anne Foley, the principal at Kennedy School in Somerville, Mass., sent an email to teachers warning them about celebrating Thanksgiving, the Boston Herald reported.
"When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples," Kennedy School Principal Anne Foley wrote.
"We can no longer do so. For many of us and our students celebrating this particular person is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well."
She must have gotten that straight from some ed school course probably titled something like "Multiculturalism for New Teachers." But that ain't it. The laughable CYA moment comes from the district superintendent:
School Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi also issued a statement yesterday in response to the holiday flap saying Foley’s email was intended to “spark healthy faculty discussion” about Christopher Columbus and that the schools celebrate holidays “when related to the curriculum.”
Uh huh. And if that "healthy faculty discussion" included teachers telling their principal that she is being outrageously ridiculous? Yeah, I bet that'd go over really well, especially come evaluation time. Thanksgiving is a national holiday for goodness sake, and besides -- what does Columbus really have to do with Thanksgiving? He landed in the New World over a century before the Pilgrims landed further north. The idea that the Europeans were brutal, genocidal ogres and the Natives were idyllic, peace-loving utopians is laughable in the extreme. After all, for example, why didn't Foley mention the cannibalism that some of the Natives who Columbus encountered practiced? Easy: Doesn't fit THE NARRATIVETM.
Via Darren comes this superb post by the Math Curmudgeon. The M.C. is amused by a post put up by NBC's Education Nation site which states that kids aren't listened to in the classroom, and has a list of things that "need to be done" by teachers which will [supposedly] "help" them.
Needless to say, like Darren and M.C., I got a bit of chuckling enjoyment out of reading the list. It's almost akin to reading the "demands" by those in the current "Occupy" protests across the country. Nevertheless, this seems to be a boondoggle within the teaching realm today -- teachers who believe, like Darren, M.C. and myself -- that too many of the current educational "theories" and fads are pretty much useless and have transformed an appallingly large segment of our youth population into mewling babies ... vs. those who subscribe to such theories. Let's face it -- there's always been distrust by teachers of administrators and/or professors who pop into inservices armed with the latest fad du jour and then telling us (not asking) that we need to use it. Usually these fads are repackaged (or re-repackaged) ideas from yesteryear but now include the latest "edu-jargon." Furthermore, these fads are promulgated by profs and/or administrators who have either never been in an actual classroom (teaching), or have been out of one for decades. And, additionally, particularly when it comes to administrators, such dissemination of these fads is often due to the fact that one (or some) of them is working towards another degree and needs to "field test" his/her fad in a classroom.
I don't want to totally denigrate the list made by these students as some of the statements are indeed what good teachers should do. For example, one suggestion says "I can't learn from you if you are not willing to connect with me." Any teacher worth his or her salt will always try to "connect" with the students. That's part of the job! But students need to remember that this is a two-way street -- that they have to make an effort to connect with the teacher. But unfortunately, the vast majority of the list in question is mealy-mouthed "do-stuff-for-me" narcissism. For example, this one is way too often co-opted by the educrats: "We learn in different ways at different rates." This is, of course, true; but what these students and the educrats fail to realize is that the reality of modern public education makes it nigh impossible to address this as they would like. How does a teacher address over 30 students' different learning styles and paces in the span of 45-50 minutes? And consider: How will college professors address the learning styles and paces of over 200-300 students in university lecture halls? How will employers address the learning styles and paces of new hires? Answer: They don't. They expect their students/hires to adjust to their teaching style/job requirements. Therefore, should we not expect school students to similarly make adjustments in the classroom?
We also read this: "Caring about each student is more important than teaching the class." Again, any good teacher cares about his students, but it is not more important than teaching the subject matter. I tell 'ya what, students: When No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top say to teachers that we'll be evaluated on our empathy, maybe that above statement will have merit. But as it is, we're evaluated on how we teach the subject matter, and how we raise your test scores ... whether you give a hoot about raising them or not.
"We need more than teachers. We need life coaches" is the next suggestion. Nothing more, perhaps, epitomizes how education has changed in the last 30 years or so. (I direct you to this cartoon as evidence.) Y'see, parents used to fill this role. But I tell 'ya what, students -- if you want teachers to usurp the role of parents, then don't go running to your parents when you're disciplined for bad behavior or you get a poor grade in class. Fair enough? This student suggestion perhaps goes well with another which says "Tell me something good that I'm doing so that I can keep growing in that." Uh, no. The problem with the modern narcissism is that you've been told that too much.
Fifteen years ago while working on my masters I took a class titled "Discipline and Classroom Management." Having only been in the classroom then a mere six years, I figured it'd be beneficial. Oops. The course was taught not by professors (not that that would have made a bunch of difference, in my opinion) but by several counselors whose total "real" experience in classrooms I can't precisely recall now, but do remember it was pretty miniscule as a whole. I think the last straw for me in this class is when they showed a video promoting a program whereby the teacher and the student were to be considered "equal partners" in the classroom (or some such nonsense). It showed a student-teacher conflict being "resolved" by a school counselor where each presented his side of the story and then a "resolution" was "agreed upon." Here's what the Math Curmudgeon would probably say to that:
Apparently, no one listens to the students and that's bad. Of course, most of us do but that's not the Reformer Way of Describing Teachers so we obviously don't do that and obviously The Students Are Always Right When They Complain.
"In their discussion, young people provided insight into their own experiences with education and what they think needs to be done to ensure that every student receives a world-class education." Because we all know that students are the Font of Wisdom and teachers are morons. Quick note: Sleeping through class does not make you an expert on education.
The bold text is key. Why would any teacher want to be put on an "equal footing" with a 13 year-old in a classroom dispute? It's not his class, it's the teacher's class. A good teacher (and most are good) will establish fair rules and enforce them fairly. It's ludicrous to go to a mediation session because you booted a kid from class for talking constantly ... after you gave him numerous warnings. What would that boil down to?
Yes, the above is a hypothetical conversation, but the aforementioned video included a mediation session very much like that -- sans the teacher firmly holding his ground. In the video, the teacher meekly accepted the idea of being "equal" with a young teen.
I tell 'ya what: When a 13 year-old child has bought a house, has paid bills, has had children, and has held a job ... THEN you can put him on an equal footing with me. But until then he's just a kid, who at that age has as the most important thing on his mind playing Xbox after school.
For "Discipline and Classroom Management's" final paper, I spent an entire day in the University of Delaware's Morris Library researching scholars who believe that such management ideas are a lot of bunk. It was easier than I expected. I meticulously dissected and shredded the course in my final paper, putting worries aside that I'd get a lousy grade for not toeing the party line. I felt it more important to send a message. The result was a mixed bag: I got an "A" on the paper, but one of the instructors wrote a page full of comments on the back of it ripping me in return. I took it as a compliment, really, except for, perhaps, the remark that my paper was "visceral." "Visceral" means "not intellectual : instinctive, unreasoning; dealing with crude or elemental emotions : earthy." To the contrary -- my feelings about discipline and my final paper are (were) anything but. They're well thought-out based on research and real life experience.
Which brings us right back to where this post began. And which would you prefer? A theorist who thinks he knows what works, or a realist who knows what works?
That's how much William B. Harvey -- former Vice President for Diversity and Equity at the University of Virginia -- makes in a year. $315,000. If I had a kid at UVA and saw what the tuition I was shelling out cost me, I'd demand to know what this ridiculously politically correct dolt actually did to warrant such a salary. It certainly ain't because of "logic" like this regarding why Asian-Americans are underrepresented at the very top levels of American education:
Bill Harvey, vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, said this discrepancy between higher and lower levels of the University faculty may be because of culture. He said Asian-Americans typically do not actively seek out leadership positions and instead may prefer to take a more supportive role. For example, Harvey said, they may appear more comfortable in roles as senior faculty members.
Now, Harvey's "logic" isn't misplaced since he may actually have a [cultural] point here. The problem is that it is highly doubtful that he'd apply this logic consistently. If a Vice President for Diversity and Equity's role is to "ensure" diversity at virtually any cost -- even at the cost of skirting the law so much so that you may as well be completely over the border -- it would be his job to make sure Asian-Americans were represented at those mentioned higher levels. And, of course, were we to apply Harvey's logic elsewhere, this same explanation should suffice as to why, without racial preferences and quotas, there aren't as many blacks and Latinos at various universities ... for that "may be because of culture" too, might it not?
As we've noted ad nauseum here at Colossus, self-described diversophiles and multi-cultis inevitably just cannot help tripping over their convoluted racial/ethnic/diversity "logic." Consistency is anathema to them, mainly because there is no consistency inherent in what they believe and advocate. For [further] example, Harvey is now Dean of Education at North Carolina A & T University where the student body is 84% African-American, and ten members of its Board of Trustees (out of twelve) are black. If diversity is such the educational "necessity" as vice presidents for Diversity and Equity routinely claim (and get paid handsomely for), why isn't Harvey actively attempting to diversify A & T's population so that the institution will gain all these miraculous "benefits?"
Another indoctrinated-in-ed school idiot, it seems. Or, just an idiot:
When someone sneezes, a common response is, “God bless you.” But one California teacher finds this statement so offensive and disruptive that he’s working to cut back on its usage in the classroom.
Steve Cuckovich, a health teacher at William C. Wood High School in Vacaville, California, has attempted to banish the friendly gesture, as he believes it is both disrespectful and disruptive. To punish students who do, indeed, say “God bless you” after one of their classmates sneezes, he purportedly knocks 25 points off of their grade.
Steve says it isn't about religion -- he merely thinks the saying is "outdated" and "disruptive":
When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body. So they were saying, ‘god bless you’ for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, I said what you‘re doing doesn’t really make any sense anymore.
Amazing that a supposedly educated man couldn't conceive that the saying -- uttered by children -- just might be a respectful and polite gesture. At any rate, thankfully, the school seems to be siding with parents over this nut.
Henry Schleifer in today's Wilmington (DE) News Journal kinda proves he's merely working in the master's program at Georgetown University in Public Policy. What does his article offer that is truly innovative regarding education? Zilch. What he's saying is what his Public Policy professors want to hear -- the same old tired clichés about "not enough money," yada yada yada.
Interestingly, Schleifer invokes the story of a foreign (Colombian) student, a friend of his from college. Schleifer might want to check out this post of mine and how it pertains to foreign students, particularly from poor countries, vs. American students. Then again, he might not ... it might upset his college profs who view as anathema real world (and politically incorrect and inconvenient) situations and solutions.
As yet another example of how "progressives" view free speech, not to mention how teachers should NOT do their job, we see this:
Great job there, teach. Not only do you bring your students along to witness your how you're not impartial, but you call people with whom you disagree -- not to mention who hold a very popular (and legitimate) point of view -- "Nazis."
As WR Chandler notes (to whom the hat tip goes for this video), "If he taught my kids, I would pull them out of his class yesterday." Got that right, brotha.
UPDATE: Thanks to AJ Lynch, check out this local news story on the teacher. As AJ noted, notice how they don't ID the teacher but do mention how he's "in good standing." He also, by the way, expressed "regret" that his comments "went too far." Well that's a relief.
Kilroy has more.
... when there are such ridiculous idiots teaching at them -- and they have absolutely NO idea what a college is supposed to be about when it comes to freedom and exchange of ideas?
Students at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Texas found this out the hard way yesterday when they erected a “free speech wall” — a recently popular way for students to highlight the importance of free speech in which students put up a freestanding wall covered in paper, upon which anyone can write anything they want. Students jumped on the chance to participate. To cite a few examples: “Don’t hate against Gays …,” “If you make less than $200,000 Republicans don’t care about you,” “Life’s not a bitch, Life is a beautiful woman …,” “Han Solo Shot First,” “My boyfriend is a liar!,” “Legalize Weed!!!,” and “NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF!!!”
But just hours in, the free speech wall was vandalized by a professor — yes, a professor! — who was offended that someone had written “FUCK OBAMA” on the free speech wall. Students being students, the “F-word” was written on the wall many times about many different topics, but apparently the only expletive that offended this professor enough to take action was the one referring to President Obama.
The professor, whom students identified as Joe Kirk, demanded that the student groups sponsoring the wall — including Republicans, Democrats, libertarians and socialists — cover up only the Obama statement. They refused. He then told them that he would come back with a box cutter and cut it out of the wall himself, which he then did. You can see the before and after pictures at thefire.org.
Shocked that a professor would do this, the student organizers got in touch with the campus police. When the police arrived, they interviewed the students and the vandalizing professor. Then came the surprise: The police told the students that since Prof. Kirk was offended by some profanity on the wall, the students were engaging in “disorderly conduct,” a misdemeanor, and had to cover up all the swear words on the wall or take it down. Realizing that this would make a mockery out of the purpose of a free speech wall, the students simply disassembled the wall. Thus ended SHSU’s several hour-long experiment with free speech.
This is the conundrum the faux "progressive" academic Left has put us all in. They're all for freedom -- including speech -- but you have to exercise those freedoms in a manner that they want you to. Is it any wonder, then, why the faux "progressive" academic Left are so enamored with Marx, communism, Castro, Chávez, Mao, etc.? Nope. They act just like 'em.
UPDATE: Looks like UVA is dealing with its own similar incident. Again, "progressives," this is what you've sired with your overzealous zeal for multiculturalism and "sensitivity." In your world, "free speech" is the goal -- unless it offends some designated "historically aggrieved" group, that is.
How friggin' sick is this:
London’s Daily Mail newspaper reports that teachers are being pushed to brand thousands of children as racist or homophobic in a permanent database run by Great Britain’s Department for Education.Records of these juvenile utterances follow students when they switch schools, and can be used against them if a future employer or university asks the school for a reference.Teachers who do not report any incidents are criticized for “under-reporting.”
Using the word “gaylord” was considered a hate crime. One child was entered into the database as a racist for calling another student a “broccoli head.”
A total of 34,000 primary and secondary school pupils –and some children in nursery schools that teach children age three and under — have already been classified as bigots. More than 20,000 students under the age of 11 were reported for “hate-crimes.”
This blessed database, this political correctness, this multiculti madhouse ... this England.
Only at the modern American campus, folks. Only at the modern American campus.
Moms and educrats lament the use of plastic bags for [homemade] school lunches:
“Ziplocs are the biggest misstep,” said Julie Corbett, a mother in Oakland, Calif., whose two girls attend a school with an eco-friendly lunch policy. In school years past, she said, many a morning came unhinged when the girls were sent to school with disposable sandwich bags.
“That’s when the kids have meltdowns, because they don’t want to be shamed at school,” Ms. Corbett said. “It’s a big deal.”
Well, how about that. Apparently schools deem it acceptable to shame kids who have the temerity to use plastic, but they'll pay for everybody's lunch just so students who may not be able to afford 'em won't feel "singled out."
In addition, if you're really concerned about waste, maybe schools oughta keep track of how much "free meal" food is squandered on a daily basis. After all, if you don't have to pay for it, why do you care how much of it you eat/throw away?
Elmhurst College is the first college in the country to query incoming students about their sexual orientation:
“Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?”
With that one line, though, they became the first college in the country to ask potential students directly about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Increasing diversity is part of our mission statement,” said Gary Rold, Elmhurst’s dean of admissions. “This is simply closing the loop, in many ways, of another group who has a very strong identity. It may not be race and religion but it’s an important part of who they are.”
Being a private institution, Elmhurst certainly can do as it wants. However, once again, we see an educrat spewing the utter nonsense that diversity is of some paramount importance. As we've noted numerous times at Colossus, studies show otherwise. Not only that, why is a person's race "an important part of who" someone is? Answer: Because "progressive" educrats think it is, that's why. And that's all.
Consider this statement from towards the end of the article:
“It’s important that these youth have a way to express their sexual identity, like their racial identity,” he (Rold) said. “Colleges ask those questions so they can give them the resources to get them to be successful.”
I wonder: If a group of white students got together to express their "racial identity," what do you think the reaction of university officials would be? Do you think them throwing Rold's words back at him -- that "it’s important that [us] youth have a way to express [our] racial identity" would work? Or would Rold then regurgitate some socio-edu mumbo jumbo about "white privilege," etc.?
Last month, with the federal government on the precipice of default, President Obama & Co. repeatedly warned that any cuts in government would amount to a terrorist Tea Party attack on assistance to the poor and elderly.
Funnily enough, they failed to mention the recent $4.5 billion expansion of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which will now provide free lunches to ALL — rich and poor, needy and non-needy — of Detroit’s 65,800 public school-students. (Detroit is one of three pilot programs starting this month for a free-for-all that will ultimately cover similar districts nationwide.)
This new program is part of Obama’s orgy of spending, a binge that has ballooned the federal budget by 25 percent since his inauguration. But the program’s logic is even more insane than the price tag: The administration says it is giving rich kids free food to eliminate the shame that less-fortunate students may feel in receiving free food. We’re not making this up.
“We’ve worked very hard to reduce the stigma,” Aaron Lavallee, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman, told the Detroit News. “We’re seeing a lot of working-class families who’ve had to turn to free school meals to feed their children.”
Considering how I mentioned in last week's post that way too many kids getting free meals seem to have little difficulty purchasing cell phones, iPods, and pricey basketball shoes, is it really a hardship for working-class families to pack a PB&J sandwich and, say, a box drink in a brown bag for their kids?? My family was certainly working-class, and this is precisely what my mom did for my sisters and I each and every school day. That would sure heavily assist in avoiding any stigma, right? But no -- you and I have to pay these families so they can avoid "stigma."
What did I [snarkily] pen last week? "Wondering why that person is using food stamps to buy a bunch of junk instead of actual food at the grocery store? Who are you to judge? Just keep your mouth shut, dammit!"
And we wonder why we have an ever-growing sense of entitlement among our populace? As Henry Payne says regarding the Detroit lunch nonsense, "What’s next — handing out free Chevy Volts to all 16-year olds in order to reduce the stigma that low-income kids feel driving used 1990 Geo Metros?"
Two disturbing stories from the education realm today. First, a Missouri district failed to report the rape of a seventh grade girl, but unbelievably also made the girl write an apology to her attacker -- and hand deliver it! The girl's family is suing; part of the [shocking] district response is that the girl “failed and neglected to use reasonable means to protect herself.”
Meanwhile, in Florida, a school's "Teacher of the Year" -- a 22 year veteran -- was suspended for his Facebook comments against gay marriage:
Buell told Fox News Radio that he was stunned by the accusations. “It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights,” he said.
The school system declined to comment on the specific Facebook messages that led to their investigation, but Buell provided Fox News Radio with a copy of the two Facebook messages that he said landed him in trouble.
The first was posted on July 25 at 5:43 p.m. as he was eating dinner and watching the evening news.
“I’m watching the news, eating dinner when the story about New York okaying same-sex unions came on and I almost threw up,” he wrote. “And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?”
Three minutes later, Buell posted another comment: “By the way, if one doesn’t like the most recently posted opinion based on biblical principles and God’s laws, then go ahead and unfriend me. I’ll miss you like I miss my kidney stone from 1994. And I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one.”
According to the school system, what Buell wrote on his private account was disturbing. They were especially concerned that gay students at the school might be frightened or intimidated walking into his classroom. Patton also disputed the notion that Buell’s Facebook account is private.
The report notes that Buell has over 700 friends on his account, so the district claims that hardly makes it "private." But other legal experts say that the district is on shaky [legal] ground as it pertains to the First Amendment:
“It’s a little bit more complicated with a school teacher,” said Brad Jacob, a law professor at Regent University. “The first question you have to ask, did this context communicate that the teacher was speaking on behalf of the government?”
But what about on social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter? “School teachers generally have free speech rights, and the government may not censor the private speech on public school teachers,” he said.
Even though his comments may have been inappropriate, as long as Buell didn't proselytize about such opinions in his classroom, doesn't he have free speech rights like anyone else? After all, as his attorney says, Buell's views are hardly radical. I may personally disagree with Buell on this topic, but I think his lawyer is correct -- many do object to gay marriage on religious grounds.
What do you think?
Unless you've been living under a rock the last week or so, you may have noticed that there are riots going on in Britain, continuing riots in Greece, and here at home there has been a small epidemic of "flash mob" violence in various large cities. There has been no shortage of explanations as to why this is all happening, including, of course, the usual "progressive" conclusions: hopelessness, economic marginalization, poor schools, excessive greed by the "rich," etc. Admittedly I don't know enough about economic stratification in the UK (as opposed to the US) to make a more informed judgment about said "progressive" reasons above; however, it appears that stratification is more rigid in the Britain (less class mobility), and this site confirms it. And it is unlikely that said "progressive" reasons for rebellion are legitimate in and of themselves. But there is an underlying dynamic -- "progressive" in nature itself -- at the root.
Let's take two of the "progressive" reasons (or, if you prefer, "excuses") above -- hopelessness and a lousy educational system. Here in the United States, the question is why are many (typically urban area) schools so lousy? Is it because of lack of funding? Many urban districts have some of the highest per-pupil spending in the country. In fact, this funding usually [far] outstrips spending by Catholic and private schools, yet these schools produce better academic results. So what gives?
Well, let's see: For one, parochial and private schools have the ability to discharge students who perpetually misbehave and disrupt classes. Public schools do too, but it is an extremely onerous process, and one that district and school administrators are loath to invoke. Why? Potential lawsuits, bad publicity, and a general reluctance to deal with upset parents (or guardians). Thus, chronically disruptive students continue to wreak mayhem in classrooms, all the while knowing that there will be little, if any, repercussions. By law, special education students can only be suspended out of school for a certain amount of days per year. Did you know that? When that limit is reached, what happens? They either remain in the classroom causing problems, or often they're huddled into what's known as "in-school suspension."
(Note: I'm cognizant that the higher per-pupil spending in public schools includes the mandatory funds for special needs children, something which parochial and private schools do not have to deal with if they do not wish it. Nevertheless, overhead and administrative costs in public schools indeed outpace their private sector competitors.)
And it all begins with the small things. One of my favorite edu-bloggers, Mamacita, recently wrote about the notion of "community school supplies." Specifically, she laments that such a concept devalues the concept of ownership -- of valuing something that you purchased and thus, have a stake in (my emphasis):
I guess so, because teachers who don’t want to bother with a child’s private property are forcing the kids to dump it all in the pot for everybody to use. “Don’t be selfish.” “Share.” Well, you know what? I don’t like that kind of forced sharing. I had to share everything, EVERYTHING, and that little pile of school supplies was my only private stash of anything. I do not feel it was selfish, or is selfish, to want to keep school supplies that were carefully chosen, to oneself. Children who have their own things learn to respect the property of other children. Children with no concept of personal property tend to view the world as a buffet of free, unearned delights awaiting their grasping, grabbing hands. Both tend to grow into adults with the same concepts learned as children.
This business of everything being community property in the classroom causes problems in the upper levels, too. Junior high, high school, even college students, are expecting things to be available for them without any effort on their part. Upper level students come to class without pencils, erasers, paper, etc, because they’re used to having those things always available in some community bin somewhere in the room. They have never been required, or allowed, to maintain their own things, and now they don’t know how to. The stuff was always just THERE, for a student to help himself to. And now that they are supposed to maintain their own, they really don’t know how. Plus, why should they? HEY, I need a pencil, Teach, gimme one. No, not that one, that other one there.
In my own classroom, I've occasionally gotten grief(!) from parents and/or school personnel for my refusal to supply chronically unprepared students with pencils, paper, or whatever. Hey look, everyone occassionally forgets something at one time or another, I know that. I'm not that unreasonable that I won't lend a pencil out to a kid who usually is always prepared. I'm talking about the chronic offenders. All my school's teachers are given a fistful of pencils at the beginning of the year for a combo of personal use and for forgetful students. Being the "seasoned veteran" that I am now, I've tried just about all the "tricks" involved in lending things out and making sure I get 'em back: "minus points" for no return, kids give me something in return for a pencil (or whatever), a sign-up sheet ... Eventually I came to realize that, at my students' age, there should be no reason for such measures. That, and it always cut into instructional time more and more. Why should I waste minutes on the same unprepared kids day after day? So, today, when I hear "I don't have a pencil!" my usual retort is "And that is my problem how ...?" Then I'll say "Look around. There are around 30 others in here. I'm sure at least one of them has an extra writing utensil, so start asking." Hard-ass? Perhaps. Or, my little contribution of preparing kids to act more responsibly and to get ready for the real world. Or, at least the real world as it currently still is, God willing.
This sense of entitlement, whether it is the "rights" of chronically disruptive students to remain in classrooms to the detriment of everyone else, or the beginning seeds of "gimme" attitudes in the early grades noted by Mamacita, is not the result of an "oppressively hierarchical neo-conservative state." On the contrary, it is the direct result of progressive theories and teachings -- social, educational and beyond. In essence, when you are given things instead of having to put forth effort to acquire them, you value them a lot less, if at all.
This progressive theory also condemns any sort of "shaming" of bad behavior, often on the pretext that it will result in still more bad behavior. Notice I said I would sometimes get some grief for my stance on giving things out in my classroom to perpetually lazy students. Wondering why kids who get free breakfast and lunch have cell phones, iPods and $200 sneakers? Don't dare say anything. Don't these kids have the "right" to feel "included" by having what a lot of other kids do? Wondering why that person is using food stamps to buy a bunch of junk instead of actual food at the grocery store? Who are you to judge? Just keep your mouth shut, dammit!
During the so-called "Great Society" era we began to fundamentally alter society by giving people things. Housing. Vouchers for food. Extra money when you have another kid. Meals in schools. Transportation for after-school activities. Now I, like the vast majority of conservative-leaning folk, have little qualms about assisting people in need -- real need -- whether it's via private assistance or even some governmental help. But we've bastardized the original intent of such assistance so that the personal incentive to better one's own situation has plummeted to negligible levels. Some have recognized this perverse situation and sought remedies. Former VP candidate Jack Kemp, when he was Secretary of HUD (Housing and Urban Development), championed a program by which people in public housing could eventually assume [private] ownership of their homes. While it was not as roundly successful as one would hope, Kemp nevertheless had the right idea. After all, consider: why do public housing units quickly become blighted areas of disrepair? Is it because there is little-to-no incentive for residents to maintain upkeep ... because they have no stake in it? If it's not theirs, why should they care what happens to it? Someone will eventually come and fix it.
Ironically, what then happens when you take something away (or merely threaten to take something away) from a culture that has grown accustomed to getting something for virtually nothing ... and for whom there are little consequences for negative behavior? We witness something like that in the United Kingdom. Here in the US, on the other hand, you don't even need the former aspect; the mere fact that consequences for anti-social behavior are slim-to-none is sufficient alone for the recent series of "flash mob" violence witnessed in various big cities of late.
The good news is the public at large by and large no longer subscribes (if they ever really did) to the progressive BS about an "oppressive" society "holding down" the participants of these riots and flash mobs. Just scan through reader comments on the online reports and editorials about these events. What they recognize is that the anti-social behavior of these hooligans is largely the result of poor individual lifestyle choices made by themselves, their parents, their friends, their relatives, or any combination thereof -- and you and I who work hard, behave civilly, and act responsibly aren't accountable for it.
Or, check out where some of Obama's vaunted stimulus funds went to:
The Omaha Public Schools used more than $130,000 in federal stimulus dollars to buy each teacher, administrator and staff member a manual on how to become more culturally sensitive.
The book by Virginia education consultants could raise some eyebrows with its viewpoints.
The authors assert that American government and institutions create advantages that “channel wealth and power to white people,” that color-blindness will not end racism and that educators should “take action for social justice.”
The book says that teachers should acknowledge historical systemic oppression in schools, including racism, sexism, homophobia and “ableism,” defined by the authors as discrimination or prejudice against people with disabilities.
The authors argue that public school teachers must raise their cultural awareness to better serve minority students and improve academic achievement.
*Sigh* Here we go again -- educational charlatanry masquerading as scientifically-based research. Just like the preposterous "Courageous Conversations" (or "Difficult Dialogues" or whatever the edu-jargon du jour is) we've dealt with previously, this sort of crap does nothing to (or, at least, doesn't show how to) improve minority student academic achievement. What it does do is promote resentment -- among students and among faculty. After all, if one has to accept the premise of what the authors want, exactly what sort of "conversations" can be had? And how are they "courageous" when there exists that premise of acceptance ... and the implicit aura of "do not dissent"? Check it:
... these are “conversations” that
... follow a structured format in which participants examine and embrace specific premises, such as the ubiquity of white privilege and racism, and thus raise the consciousness of whites.
Participants must “come to recognize that race impacts every aspect of your life 100 percent of the time.” Meanwhile, “anger, guilt and shame are just a few of the emotions” whites should expect to experience “as they move toward greater understanding of Whiteness.”
Again, we've been all through this before over the years here. It's bad enough when local/state funds are used to purchase such feces, but now bucks that are supposed to stimulate our economy are being used to purchase it. Again, such huckster-ish programs have never been able to prove they're effective at reducing the so-called achievement gap; however, they have been very successful at uniting folks from across the political spectrum. And this is not because of any intransigence about discussing -- or wanting to discuss -- race; it's because these programs demand adherence to one point of view about it. And that view is the program creators': radical Marxian-Maoist-Freireian victimology. Even more "mainstream" organizations like the National Education Association (NEA) have fallen victim to this as they advocate getting away from a color-blind belief, the more "classical" Martin Luther King Jr.-esque philosophy.
Such demands should be abhorrent to any rational political bent.
But these diversophiles would do well to heed the warnings of Hans Bader (to whom a big hat tip goes for this post): making belief/adherence to such [racial] philosophies (or even participation in such workshops) mandatory can invite legal trouble.
UPDATE: Good timing: Toronto School District decrees that only whites can be racist.
UPDATE: More on the scandal here. I'm hardly unsympathetic to those who believe that NCLB is drastically flawed (as is its bulkier brother, Race to the Top), but to resort to cheating and deception (you're teaching KIDS!!) garners absolutely no sympathy.
(Got the following from my girlfriend, also a veteran teacher.)
You know you're a veteran teacher when...
*sleeping until 7 am is a treat.
*your response to the students' comment, "You're mean!" is "Thank you."
*you think 30 is a SMALL class.
*you find yourself teaching the child of one of your former students.
*you finally realize that a professional development day means administrators go to their comfortable offices and actually work while the teachers sit in hard chairs listening to boring speakers.
*you get excited about a 2% pay raise.
*you have a permanent horizontal white line across your fanny from the chalkboard.
*you no longer show up at school bright-eyed, but need a caffeine injection just to stay upright.
*you find yourself sitting on a stool more and more to get through the day.
*you remember the good old days when the teachers had rights, too.
*you aren't surprised a bit when asked to teach ESL students, even without the language skills or a text.
*you've learned the fine art of scarfing down lunch in 20 minutes.
*you no longer dream of passionate love scenes with Kevin Costner (Angelina Jolie for me!), but how to keep your ADD student in his seat.
*you remember when the boys' pants were tight enough that they didn't fall down when they stood up in class.
*the responsibility for getting a good education was placed on the shoulders of the students and parents.
*you've found 789 ways to say "Your child is really dumb" on a report card so that it sounds positive.
*you think fondly of the days when cursing was not commonplace.
*you start seeing your ex-students names in the newspapers - the listing of dean's lists, wedding announcements, the police blotter
*you've trained your bathroom breaks to work around your planning time.
*the "old math" was good enough.
*a "great" day at work means every student had a pen, paper, and books when they crossed your threshold.
*cell phones and pagers didn't go off during class.
*nothing shocks you anymore -- even when you walk into the girl's bathroom and find three students in one stall, and two of them are boys!
*your car is not as nice as your students'.
*you've learned not to ask questions in the faculty meeting.
*you realize that when the principal asks for your "input," he doesn't really want it.
*you've come to the conclusion that you obtained an advanced degree so you could serve as a hall and cafeteria monitor.
The News Journal goes out on a limb today with "End lax oversight of charter schools."
Delaware schools: Checkered past goes unchecked -- Multiple bankruptcies, child abuse conviction all part of charter school founder's record.
And the Delaware State Department of Education never ran a background check on this dude -- the guy who runs a damn building. Yet, teacher substitutes here (at least in the northern part of the state) are required to get a background check for the temp agency they work for ... and then get another background check if a school decides to permanently hire them. Said checks could occur within months or even weeks of one another, but that doesn't matter. The sub/teacher must get them, even though the same law enforcement folks do the checks... and it costs [another] hefty coin.
But the guy who runs a charter school doesn't get any sort of invvestigation. Absolutely remarkable.
UPDATE: Don't miss Kilroy's inimitable take.
A school in Indiana has become a target of public outrage over its decision to ban the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at sporting events, arguing the anthem's words conflict with the college's core values, FOXNews.com reported Tuesday.
"We recognize that some people may not be satisfied with this decision, but we believe it is the right one for Goshen College," Ricky Stiffney, chairman of the Mennonite school's board of directors, said in a written statement.
"The board has a diversity of views on this issue as reflected through the process of considering the anthem."
According to an online fact sheet on the issue, the college noted, "Historically, playing the national anthem has not been among Goshen College's practices because of our Christ-centered core value of compassionate peacemaking seeming to be in conflict with the anthem's militaristic language."
The Mennonite Church is peace-oriented but it does not have an official position on playing the national anthem.
Of course, as a private university, Goshen can do as it pleases in this regard. But, note the following: Mr. Stiffney didn't say the school polled the student body about this. Only its board decided. Also, the college says that the anthem seems to be in conflict with the its values, and the Mennonite Church itself does not have an official position on the whole matter. Therefore, what is one to conclude?
My [educated] guess: Typical "progressive" educrats took it upon themselves to act "in the best interests" of everyone. Because, you know, America is such an awful place.
Middle school yearbook lumps George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in with Adolph Hitler and Osama Bin Laden:
Open up the Russellville Middle School yearbook. You'll see the students' pictures, the administration, and a pretty controversial list that's supposed to be covered with a piece of black tape.
"My problem is the tape can be removed easily," said School Board Member Chris Cloud. Cloud has two kids in the Russellville School District and one brought home the yearbook.
"I'm furious as a parent and as a board member and as a tax payer and as a resident of Russellville," he said. "It's wrong."
The list is titled "Top 5 worst people of all time." The top three, in order, are Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Charles Manson. Numbers four and five are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Superintendent Randall Williams calls the list "an oversight." Parents caught it after the yearbooks were printed. The district's solution was to cover the list with tape. It didn't work.
"Really?" said Williams when told the tape could be pulled off. "Well that's disappointing because the yearbook supplier told us this was a definite fix." (Link.)
The yearbook sponsor, a teacher at the school, "is very very very upset about it." Williams claims she did not "pay any attention to that particular part of that particular page." Sorry, Mr. Super, but that's what the yearbook sponsor is supposed to do. Otherwise, who would know what's being printed if there's no editorial oversight, hmm?
This isn't surprising, though. Way too many teachers are left-of-center (the NEA is a Democrat Party shill), and too many of 'em think everyone else thinks like them. And, unfortunately, some of them pass this conceit off on to their students.
But look at this way, too: Your average middle schooler ain't gonna be all that up to snuff on who's really one of the worst people of all-time. (Hell, your average adult ain't, either.) So, how exactly do 'ya think GW Bush and Cheney would have gotten on the list (assuming, that is, that the school got to vote on this for publication in the yearbook)? That's easy -- the mainstream media. For the [very] casual amount of news that your average middle schooler will watch/read, the biased MSM can certainly shape opinion. I know it did for me back when I was that age. Hell, I even took Jimmy Carter's side in a classroom debate for the election of 1980! (It was actually in 10th grade, but that's only two years after middle school ...!)
The conventional liberal wisdom is that George Bush and Dick Cheney are "evil" much like they're stupid (like all Republicans are). Just imagine if this school had included Barack Obama's name on that list. It'd make national headlines. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the NAACP would be screaming for "sensitivity training" for the school's teachers. Every pundit on MSNBC would be ferreting out "racism" within the school and the district. The network morning shows would feature sociologists and psychologists explaining how children can still be "prejudiced." Etc.
You can bet your bottom dollar on that.
Great vid (h/t to Buckhorn Road) exposing the laughable "values" that are "progressive":
Yep, you heard all that right -- "I believe in free speech ... but let me sign this petition anyway."
Recently I said: Even democrats concede economic reality in a crisis: "Taxes matter. Regulations matter. Capital flight is a reality. Not just from state to state but from country to country."
According to The Wealth Report from The WSJ:
If there is one overwhelming investment trend among the American rich, it is capital flight.
Rather than investing in the U.S., they are putting more and more of their money abroad.
A new survey by the Institute for Private Investors of families with $30 million or more of investible assets showed that the families have one third of their assets overseas. One in five wealthy families has more than half their investments overseas. Most of them are buying overseas stocks, while they also are buying into hedge funds and private equity with exposure abroad.
Additionally, wealthy investors are moving away from the U.S. dollar. The IPI study showed that one quarter of respondents are managing currencies or hedging currency risk.
Spectrem Group, of Chicago, shows a similar outmigration of money from the rich. More than 60% of investors with $25 million or more are investing overseas, Spectrem found.
You can’t blame them, of course. Capital follows growth, and the strongest economic growth is in the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations and other emerging markets. Some may talk about the broken “social contract” of the American rich, who are taxed at low rates on capital gains and dividends in order to encourage them to invest in the U.S. and create jobs.
Yet the rich don’t sign any social contracts when they get rich. And so far, the flight of wealthy investors hasn’t stopped the U.S. stock market from roaring back to life after the recession. In fact, wealthy investors are at the forefront of the current tech bubble.
Since the wealthy control an ever larger share of the country’s wealth and investments, their aversion to the U.S. could create a vicious cycle–the wealthy don’t reinvest in the U.S., so the U.S. suffers from underinvestment and slower job creation, which slows economic growth and drives the wealthy to invest even more overseas.
Earth to Democrats: Capital flight is real. Capital follows growth. This is easier now than ever before. Consfiscatory tax rates and draconian regulation encourage capital flight. Unless or until you figure this out, you're going to turn the whole country into California or worse, Greece.
Insty had a brief blurb up linking to a Guardian (UK) article which asks "Why don't we love our intellectuals?" In response, Insty also linked to articles by Christopher Hitchens and the inimitable James Taranto. The question is a good one; conventional wisdom, such that it is, posits that conservatives are the "anti-intellctual" crowd ... you'll see this conceit uttered frequently by folks like the usual suspects, and by those "big brains" in the mainstream media. As partial evidence, it's conservatives who are frequently made fun of and derided. George W. Bush was a total buffoon -- even though he had better college grades than Al Gore; Dan Quayle was a walking, talking gaffe machine -- but our current veep actually makes Quayle look like a professional motivational speaker; Ronald Reagan was a "lovable dunce;" Sarah Palin is [insert demeaning comment]," etc. etc. etc.
Take Hitchens' article next: He dissects the "intellectual" that is Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is sort of a radical leftist academic pop-culture icon (he got a nice gratuitous shout out in Matt Damon's "Good Will Hunting," for instance), who somehow has managed to evolve into this deeply heavy political and cultural thinker even though his area of expertise is ... linguistics. He is greatly admired by a former big-time Delaware blogger many of you probably know, Dana Garrett. Let me state right up front that I love Dana to death -- he's an incredibly nice and personable fellow, who actually listens to conservative arguments and concedes good points when they're made ... a very rare trait for a progressive. (Notice that I did not put quotations around the word "progressive" this time like I normally do, for Dana is a true progressive.) Chomsky was one of the [many] items Dana and I argued about back in the day. It's easy to understand why the noted linguist is endeared by progressives: the virtually constant tendency to side with the "underdog," taking up the cause of the historically oppressed, fighting for minorities and the poor, etc. The problem is that Chomsky and his acolytes will overlook virtually every negative aspect about the causes they take up. Why? To be consistent? Because maintaining a contrarian view is of utmost importance? This leads to what historian Paul Johnson (noted in the Guardian article) stated about people like Chomsky -- they are "moral cretins." Hitchens' article dissects much of this aspect, and is pretty much in line with how I feel about him. In this case, 'ol Noam chimed in on the death of Osama bin Laden where he questioned the al Qaeda leader's actual responsibility for 9/11, said bin Laden was no worse than George W. Bush, and claimed that, by our commando raid on bin Laden's compound, we thus "would justify a contingency whereby 'Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.'" Chomsky also complained that bin Laden's killing was a "planned assassination," and that he "should have been accorded all the rights of criminal suspects."
It should come as little surprise, then, that bin Laden was apparently a fan of the MIT professor:
The New York Times, reporting on the intelligence haul from Osama bin Laden's house, paints a picture of the mass murderer's politics: In 2007, he complained that Democratic control of Congress had not ended the war in Iraq, a fact he attributed to the pernicious influence of "big corporations." In other messages he commented on the writings of Noam Chomsky, the leftist professor at M.I.T., and praised former President Jimmy Carter's book supporting Palestinian rights.
In a brief side-note here, one of my favorite bloggers early on my blogging "career," Benjamin Kerstein, in his [old] blog Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite dedicates virtually every post to shredding the "logic" that is the blog's namesake. It's a must read for those interested in dissecting the meanderings of Chomsky-thought, where Kerstein's prose is both terse and quite delightfully sarcastic. (Currently, Kerstein has a new blog and has written for various online publications.)
So, are you still wondering why so many people do not revere our [so-called] intellectuals?
Chomsky and others of his ilk also dabble all the time in moral equivalence. International law (like the professor noted above) is of paramount import -- unless, of course, some oppressed group is undertaking actions to support their "cause" -- much like the Palestinians against Israel. Closer to home, our old friend Perry and New Zealand's "Phoenician in a Time of Romans" (the moniker really says it all) over at Common Sense Political Thought predictably take up the Palestinian mantle whenever the subject is broached, and they're supposedly intelligent individuals. They'll scream about Israel violating UN Security Council Resolution 242 time and time again, for instance, but, of course, the constant threat of Palestinian (and other) terrorism -- that breach of international law -- is conveniently overlooked. Heck, if you're such a proponent of UN resolutions, what about the very one that created the state of Israel and a state of Palestine in the first place? If you demand "legality" so vociferously, what about that action by the world body? Which group crapped all over that plan, and began a war of annihilation to subvert it? Hint: It was not the Jews. And check out Chomsky and Vietnam. I mean, c'mon -- can anyone other than a hardcore far-leftist take such drivel even remotely seriously??
Supposed non-intellectuals can somehow -- just "somehow" -- manage to realize that, for example, Israel has absolutely NO obligation to return land gained in a defensive war of survival until and unless it gets guarantees from the other parties involved that they will refrain from terrorist activity, agree that Israel has a right to exist, and sign a peace treaty. Gee, after all, take a look at what happened when Egypt did just that in 1979: it got back the Sinai Peninsula which Israel had captured after the 1967 Six Day War. Regarding Vietnam, somehow non-intellectuals can accept that, yes, perhaps the US should not have even been there in the first place; however, somehow an authoritarian communist regime making use of a terrorist effort (Viet Cong) to infiltrate a neighboring government, not to mention next door's Khmer Rouge in Cambodia murdering millions is ... justified?
In the educational realm, so-called "intellectuals" are all over the place (and I am excluding higher education here for the nonce). Let's just examine what has happened, and what is currently on, here in the First State. With all that Race to the Top cash that it won a couple years ago, here's what the high-powered "intellectuals" have come up with and have proposed to evaluate individual non-core subject area teachers: They'll be evaluated on their schools' test scores in core subject areas. That's right -- if you're a "specialist" -- an art teacher, phys. ed. teacher, foreign language teacher, or chorus teacher -- over half of your performance evaluation will be based on a certain number of students' state test scores in core subjects (like math and English) ... students that you "touch" (and yes, that is the exact terminology that these "intellectuals" came up with!) on a daily basis. [Supposedly] Very smart people actually came up with this. Of course, it doesn't take someone with a very high IQ to then ponder, "How does that measure the teaching performance of a chorus teacher?" Or someone with a normal IQ might wonder, "If the chorus teacher is being evaluated on students' English and math scores, why does she waste her time working on singing? Doesn't it make sense that she tutor the subjects on which she's being assessed?" This is the best idea the state higher-ups could come up with!
Let's not forget the experience with judicial-enforced desegregation in northern Delaware. It was "intellectuals" who told us that all black children needed to succeed in school was to be sitting next to a white kid. And then that "super" intellect known as federal Judge Murray Schwartz rejected the state legislature's proposal of a voluntary busing plan -- y'know, putting the decision in the hands of the people -- and instead implemented the infamous "9-3 Plan": city students would attend suburban schools for nine years, and suburban students would attend city schools for three. (Schwartz, by the way, ended up sending his own children to private schools during the deseg imbroglio. Go figure, eh?) After nearly a quarter century, busing failed to increase student achievement, and now we see [minority] calls for ... a return to a city school district. A city school district in Wilmington, just like the one that existed before 1978, the year the federal desegregation order was implemented. But -- we were told (by supposed intellectuals) that minority children needed to be with white kids! That a predominately minority district should not exist! And people actually wonder why we don't revere our "intellectuals?"
How many of you have ever managed to sit through a typical school district-level inservice? Intellectual "educationists" -- usually Ed.Ds from within the district or professional "experts" -- package and repackage ideas and theories over and over again but with different colorful names or acronyms, and we're supposed to "oooh!" and "ahhh!" them as if they're the latest and greatest scientific discovery. Of course, many of these same folks are responsible for "great" ideas like Whole Language Instruction, which the (year 2000) United States Reading Panel concluded has led to reduced reading abilities in children. And whattya know -- there's 'ol Noam Chomsky's moniker linked to Whole Language Instruction! But, at least, this is his area of expertise, but a particular focus area that ultimately proved not very well conceived.
In another example, one of my favorite edu-bloggers, Michael E. Lopez, notes how "intellectuals" did a study which concluded the following:
School safety depends far less on the poverty and crime surrounding the campus than on the academic achievement of its students and their relationships with adults in the building, according to a new study of Chicago public schools. The report, released Tuesday by the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago, finds that while schools in high-poverty, high-crime neighborhoods tend to be less safe than other schools, students’ level of academic achievement actually plays a bigger role in school safety than a school’s neighborhood. Furthermore, even in high-poverty, high-crime neighborhoods, the quality of relationships among adults and students at a school can turn one school into a safe haven while another languishes as a center of violence.
As Lopez notes, though, this is hardly "some sort of X-causes-Y phenomenon":
The “root cause” of school-wide (and even neighborhood-wide) suckage — safety, academics, attitudes towards authority, graduation and literacy rates, etc. — if some root cause there be, is actually likely to be extremely hard to identify because it’s probably something missing rather than something present.
Still, it’s an interesting read. I was especially caught by this sentence:
After a trio of 7th graders “borrowed” a parent’s car for a joyride over the weekend, Ms. Hightower was able to retrieve the keys quietly and have the students meet with a community police officer—without threatening them with an official arrest.
This to me suggests that you not only need an involved, attentive faculty and administration, but it helps if you have a dollop of common sense, too. Children are not going to feel safe if they’re living in a thoughtless zero-tolerance prison system.
The problem with this is, when you do get someone in charge of such a school in such an environment -- someone like Joe Clark, the subject of the film "Lean on Me" -- the so-called intellectuals flip out. For proof, just check out this Time magazine cover from 1988. "Is Getting Tough the Answer?" the cover asks. "School Principal Joe Clark says yes -- and critics are up in arms" is the response. If you know the story of Clark, you know he was brought in to [hopefully] turn around the chaotic Eastside High School. He was a non-nonsense, no excuses kind of guy, with students and teachers alike. He "expurgated" (to use his words from the film) numerous chronic discipline-problem students, students who had repeated grades many times and "weren't going to graduate anyway" (again, his words from the film) as a beginning in restoring the necessary order and discipline a school requires if education is to even take place. But make no mistake -- Clark loved his students. He was the first to arrive at school, and the last to leave everyday. He told students to come see him in his office anytime about anything. In other words, he became like unto a father figure for many of the school's kids.
But to his critics, Clark was a loud-mouthed, egotistical authoritarian whose worst "crime" was expelling the perpetual troublemakers. The so-called intellectuals believe in the absolute "right" of students to get an education -- no matter what. And that "no matter what" includes countless -- innumerable, even -- discipline infractions, including countless violent offenses. It doesn't matter that these miscreants' behavior and attitude can disrupt not only individual classrooms but the entire building. The schools must "save" these kids -- even if it's at the cost of educating students who want to learn, and despite the fact that the vast majority of such kids can't be saved. And the "best" part of this whole debate is that those who are most vociferous about denigrating a man like Joe Clark either have never taught or have been out of the classroom for years (usually now in a comfy office at the central district office). But hey -- they've read theories on this stuff, don'tcha know!
In the arena of contemporary world politics, we've witnessed how our "intellectuals" have reacted to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Our president, long hailed as an "intellectual" by other "intellectuals" and so-called intellectuals in our media, campaigned on so many things that he has long since abandoned that it is hard to keep track. Among these are promising to close Guantánamo Bay prison, ceasing rendition of captured terror suspects, and promising civilian trials for terrorists. The instances of our intellectual class lecturing us common folk during the Bush years about the evils of all those things (and more) and endless. The biggest lecture, perhaps, was about the debauchery of waterboarding, and how it is not only depraved, but ultimately useless. But then lo and behold: It's revealed that the trail to Osama bin Laden was at least partially obtained thanks to the use of ... waterboarding the three al Qaeda bigwigs we captured in the early 2000s. B-b-b-b-but ... I thought such a practice was useless! And that's not the end of it: our "intellectual" class is also pulling out all the stops to justify shooting an unarmed, non-threatening man (bin Laden), while at the same time continuing either to claim that the waterboarding during the Bush years "didn't really work," or that there's "a legal and moral difference" between putting a bullet in a man's skull and subjecting him to simulated drowning (the former being legal and more moral, if you can fathom that; just take a quick look here for an example).
Is it any wonder why such "intellectuals" label President Obama an "intellectual?" Anyone who simultaneously claim that shooting an unarmed someone in the forehead is "legal" and "morally justified," but that waterboarding is not; claims that waterboarding was no factor in locating bin Laden despite all the evidence to the contrary; lauds the Navy SEAL team that offed bin Laden while at the same time bringing other SEALs up on charges for punching a captured terrorist; uses information obtained through waterboarding to locate and kill bin Laden while at the same time continuing to investigate these very same practices utilized by the CIA under the previous administration ... THAT, folks -- THAT takes some "brains."
But us "average folk" have very little difficulty seeing it for what it really is.
(Cross-posted at Truth Before Dishonor.)
From the University of Wisconsin, y'know, in the state where that nasty GOP governor Walker (or, in the parlance of our old friend and self-described champion of civil discourse[!!] Perry, "Governor Dictator Conspirator Walker") was much maligned by unions, and backers of unions (particularly the teachers unions), we see this:
A recording released by the Republican Party of Wisconsin exposes Professor Stephen Richards [UW-Oshkosh] using class time to actively campaign for the recall of State Senator Randy Hopper, encouraging his students to sign recall petitions offered by circulators present in his classroom.
In the tape, recorded during a criminal justice class, Richards can be heard encouraging a female student to sign the recall petition even though she thinks she lives outside the district, and instructing students to sign using their campus address instead of their parents' home address. He also tells students to look for petition circulators all around campus and "in the bars."
Surprising? Hardly. One, he's a college professor (just recall a couple classic movie instances regarding this tidbit: one, from "Cocktail," and the other from "Back to School" ... see also this one at around the 1:23 mark) and two, he's an ex-con. Oh, and three -- he's got a ridiculous rug on his head.
Based on a story today in the Wilmington News Journal, it appears that Greg Mortenson, author of the award-winning Three Cups of Tea story about his work in educating women in Afghanistan, is a fraud:
The book also was added to reading lists in many schools in the state and was the University of Delaware's choice as the book to be read by all incoming freshmen.
But a report on CBS' "60 Minutes" found that Mortenson exaggerated the number of schools he built. It also alleged that a large portion of the revenue from his charity, the Central Asia Institute, is used to promote his book, which is partly about his happening upon a village while lost during a hiking trip. Mortenson invented portions of his experience in the region, according to the CBS report.
You just gotta love the reaction by the professional educationists, too, in response:
Regardless of whether the allegations about Mortenson prove correct, UD students benefited from the broader subject matter of the book, [faculty director of first-year seminars Avron] Abraham added.
"It was really about building schools and educating women," Abraham said. "It was a great story about Greg Mortenson, but it didn't hinge on that. There's no doubt that he built schools and had an impact. How many schools? Those are all allegations I wait to see what his rebuttal is."
Ah, the 'ol "it doesn't really matter if it's true, it's the overall 'meaning and 'benefit'" bit. Which sounds very much like what occurred in the early 1990s with another "author," Rigoberta Menchu. Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her supposed autobiographical I, Rigoberta Menchu. But there's a problem: It's a fraud. But that hasn't stopped colleges from using "her" book; indeed, many educationists are outraged -- not at Menchu's fraud, but at those who exposed it. Professors, like Abraham above, invoke "the larger meaning" (Menchu's experiences in poverty-ridden Guatemala), and truth be damned. Much like the infamous Duke "rape" case (the accuser of which now is charged with murder), and/or the infamous Tawana Brawley hoax, which, as legal scholar Patricia Williams put it, "No matter who did it to her, and even if she did it to herself, Tawana Brawley has been the victim of some unspeakable violation." Menchu's "story," such that it is, must be so compelling that despite its lie has the Southern Poverty Law Center still maintaining classroom lesson plan information about Menchu up at their Teaching Tolerance website. And don't forget about the myriad fake "hate crime" instances scattered across the land (usually adjacent to schools or college campuses because the [phony] perpetrators certainly know their audience).
Ironically, as you may have noticed, Mortenson's phoniness being embraced by academia is sort of an anomaly in that he "reported" on the savagery of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Usually "progressive" educationists frown upon anything that puts "historically oppressed groups" in a bad light. (Admittedly, they face a conundrum with Mortenson's work -- women and fundamentalist Muslims are the subjects, and while the Taliban subjugates its women, the Taliban is, after all, a "victim" of Western imperialism and colonialism, not unlike how countless academics view the Palestinians in contrast to Israel.) Menchu was embraced wholeheartedly because "her" story was a distinctly concrete example of Western colonialism and imperialism, and of rich vs. poor. The Duke lacrosse players were "automatically" guilty because their accuser, a black woman, exemplified the long history of oppression against both African-Americans and women. Same with Tawana Brawley.
Semi-related case in point: A college professor responding with a "F*** you" is supposed to be OK because of the "historically oppressed" nature of her subject area (and possibly herself).
Uber edu-blogger Joanne Jacobs had a post up last week about giving -- or not giving -- a penalty for late work in school. She quotes two other edu-bloggers, pro and con. What caught my eye more than anything, however, were the comments by teacher "Cal":
I don’t assign math homework. When assigning history and English homework, I make it clear that the work will be on time, and if it isn’t, then they’ll will be staying in at lunch or missing any interesting classwork until it’s done.
Most of my students turned in the work on time and, if they forgot occasionally, got it to me the next day or so. The students who were consistently late at first changed their behavior because they didn’t like staying in at lunch and after a while, they got the idea that they were going to have to do it anyway, so may as well do it sooner rather than later.
Teacher convenience is, I’m sorry, just a ridiculous reason to use late penalties. So what if it makes your life a bit more difficult? It’s part of the job. Cope.
Later on, "Cal" calls teacher late penalties ridiculous "morality plays," and says that such is to prepare students for the real world is "nonsense."
Many other commenters address Cal's points quite aptly (especially Michael Lopez, one of my favorite all-time bloggers who now writes at Joanne's site), but I'll throw my own two cents in here.
First of all, Cal is correct in that not handing in assignments does not denote academic ability in the subject matter. The key is finding an adequate balance of assessments. But Cal's issues with late penalties have several flaws:
1) The SES (socio-economic status) of the children. He says that his students will miss lunch / any interesting classwork until late assignments are complete. My guess is that, by making this very statement, he teaches relatively well-off students where such penalties are much more easily enforced. You think such a ... demand would be effective in a tough inner-city school? Not a chance:
"Brian, you're going to have to miss lunch today so you can finish that homework assignment from three weeks ago."
"F*** you, Mr. Cal."
And that's the end of that!
2) Grade level of students. Based on the fact that Cal said he teaches multiple [diverse] subjects it's a good bet he teaches elementary school. It's certainly easier to enforce such things as a lunch detention to get past-due work done, or make kids come after school to do it. Middle schoolers and especially high schoolers are much more likely to say "screw that."
3) Teacher convenience is a legitimate issue. As Michael Lopez notes in the comments in response to Cal,
Why should you get to turn it in after the assignment is due? Should students just get to turn ALL their work in ten minutes before the teacher has to file his or her grades with the front office? Of course not. A group of students that did this would receive F’s, and rightly so, because they missed their chance to demonstrate their skill level. And why would they have missed their chance? Because teacher convenience matters, and administrative convenience matters.
Indeed. Teachers have deadlines to get interim reports done in addition to the usual report cards. Imagine if 100 students handed in a late assignment (and a lengthy one, at that) the day before report cards had to be done by the teacher. In an nutshell, there simply isn't enough time in the day to grade these assignments and get the report cards finished. Period.
4) The real world is a relevant consideration. Let's follow Cal's logic to its logical conclusion through various "real world" examples:
You can see where this is going. The real world requires punctuality quite often. There are deadlines in the real world, just as teachers have deadlines. The great NFL coach Tony Dungy wrote "Being late means it’s not important to you or you can’t be relied upon." I personally find it amazing that schools today are expected to be virtually everything to kids these days, yet people like Cal would not require that basic punctuality be enforced -- perhaps the most important "real world" skill needed as an adult?
I've no doubt that there are teachers -- too many, perhaps -- who assign tedious class and homework assignments with little or no real assessment value. Such has little value period let alone if a late penalty is added for it being handed in tardy. As I noted above, the key is finding a balance, so here's how I've done my grading for over 15 years:
Seem fair? I haven't had any complaints about it since I implemented it.
So, in conclusion, let's face it: As one "moves up the ladder" in our district, then on to college, and then the working world, the penalties for being late increase in severity. Not having tangible consequences for is doing a disservice to kids.
Visit her website here.
Her platform: Choice, Charter and Magnet schools, discipline, high academic standards (but only after the discipline piece is in place).
Hard to argue with those!
Is this any surprise? Supporters of Philly schools chief Ackerman call protest against her "racist":
State Rep. Jewell Williams, NAACP honcho J. Whyatt Mondesire, and some others suggested people opposed Ackerman because she's African American. [Parent Sylvia] Simms isn't sure. "The thing is, there's always going to be prejudice that exists in the United States. I believe that if it was a Caucasian man, there wouldn't be this treatment. I just think that people think they can bully a woman - not just a black woman, any woman."
This is a terrific strategy when you think about it -- no matter how lousy a leader the person is, if he/she is an African-American, merely pointing this fact out (a lousy leader, that is) is "racist." Because, y'know, the person is black. That's all.
Heard about this on the radio en route to school this a.m.: "Boobies" bracelets OK in schools, judge says.
Breast cancer fundraising bracelets that proclaim "I ♥ boobies!" are not lewd or vulgar and can't be banned by public school officials who find them offensive, a federal judge in Pennsylvania said Tuesday in a preliminary ruling.
The ruling is a victory for two Easton girls suspended for defying a ban on their middle school's Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
"The bracelets ... can reasonably be viewed as speech designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and to reduce stigma associated with openly discussing breast health," U.S. Judge Mary McLaughlin wrote in a 40-page ruling issued Tuesday. She added that the school district had not shown the bracelets would be disruptive in school.
I am a big proponent of free speech, (which should come as no surprise if you've ever read this blog!); however, the issue here is age appropriateness. Obviously the judge sees little hassle with 12-14 year olds using a slang term for "breast." Yes, the context is breast cancer awareness; so, why not have bracelets that say just that? After all, would a "I [heart] titties" be an acceptable phrase, then? How 'bout "I [heart] knockers"? Or "I [heart] nice racks"? These are middle schoolers. They laugh at anything even remotely connected to sex and/or genitalia. I can only imagine the innuendo that occurs with these bracelets and I'm sure that's what teachers and administrators were concerned about. High school is a different animal; the [student] maturity level is markedly higher, as a whole.
I actually hold the makers of these bracelets more accountable than the school(s). What were they thinking, distributing them in middle schools? Again, why couldn't the message be more direct and concise, like "Say 'no' to breast cancer"?
WPHT morning host Chris Stigall posited the following this morning: What if boys started wearing bracelets that said "Save your nuts" on them -- for testicular cancer awareness?
Where's the line drawn?
Welcome to the club, it's called "Everyone". We meet at the bar on Friday nights.
The rest of the point about "good" debt is a matter of perspective. I'm one of those people who thinks that education, any education, has intrinsic value. That is not to say it will make you smarter but it will probably make you more informed. The problem is that we tend to conflate education with critical thinking. The two are very different.
Instapundit has been tracking what he's been calling the "higher education bubble". I agree that the path its on is unsustainable. They're going to have to cut something. You can't keep providing more and more and charging more and more. If this does pop as expected I think we might see the rise of more vocationally oriented schools. More people taking certification classes rather than bachelor degree classes. Frankly, I would have done better to take technical certification classes and started working earlier rather than waiting until after the B.A. That is not to say I regret getting a B.A., far from it. Rather, I wonder if it was worth what it cost.
...a Seattle school has banned the term "Easter egg" and in its place utilizes -- wait for it -- "Spring Sphere":
Jessica, 16, told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show that a week before spring break, the students commit to a week-long community service project. She decided to volunteer in a third grade class at a public school, which she would like to remain nameless.
"At the end of the week I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that," Jessica said. She was concerned how the teacher might react to the eggs after of a meeting earlier in the week where she learned about "their abstract behavior rules."
"I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay," Jessica explained. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres.' I couldn't call them Easter eggs."
At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.
Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.
"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."
I wonder if, aside from her teaching/administrators degree, Carmona has a degree in nutrition.
(h/t to Jonah Goldberg's tweet for the title.)
At least in terms of screwy situations. Case in point -- Valdosta State University:
A mass media professor is facing battery charges in connection with an incident that occurred in his 10 a.m. law class Friday, March 25.
Assistant Professor, Dr. Frank J. Rybicki, was arrested Wednesday around 10:30 a.m., according to the Valdosta State University Police Department.
Dr. Rybicki is free on bail as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff Department.
According to the original incident report, a 22-year-old female student went to the VSUPD to report an assault involving a faculty member in the mass media building.
The altercation occurred when Dr. Rybicki allegedly closed a laptop computer on the hands of the student, said Dorsena Drakeford, another student in the class and Spectator sports editor.
Dr. Rybicki closed the laptop because he thought the student was on non-class related websites. The student began to argue with Dr. Rybicki about closing the laptop and about the websites she visited while in class. Class was dismissed early because Dr. Rybicki seemed upset by the incident, Drakeford said.
As Joanne Jacobs notes, many students in the comments section of the article have voiced support for the professor. Indeed, based on the information provided, arresting the prof for battery seems fairly extreme, to say the least. Did the student go to the hospital for treatment to her fingers? Are they even bruised?
I totally understand the prof being upset. But I learned early on not to mess with students' stuff. At most, if kids take out their cell phone(s) in class (prohibited), or have, say, a magazine out that you've already told them to put away, teachers are allowed to take it until the end of the day ... and then give it back. If a student refuses to give up the cell phone/whatever, it becomes "defiance" and then they can be requested to leave the class and face further consequences.
Mom complains of "excessive force" when police use pepper spray on her kid:
Teachers were so scared of the boy that they barricaded themselves in a room and called police because he was "spitting" at them and had broken "wood trim off the walls and [was] trying to stab [them] with it."
The report said the boy, identified in the news report as Aidan, told police, "I wanted to make something sharp if they came out because I was so mad at them. I was going to try to whack them with it."
The report also said when police arrived Aidan "was holding what looked like a sharpened one-foot stick and he screamed, 'Get away from me ...'."
Police told the boy to drop the stick twice but he refused so officers used two doses of pepper spray to subdue the youngster.
Mom said "I'm sure what he was doing wasn't right, but he's eight years old..." and that the police used excessive force. Well that's a relief! She's sure what her kid was doing wasn't right! Remarkably, mom said the kid wasn't on any meds nor has a mental illness. Might wanna look into that, mom, as well as examining the rationale that police were not only protecting other people from your kid, but from himself, as well.
... we read what some City of Brotherly Love parents and school officials are really concerned about.
An anti-terrorism drill based on a fictional scenario involving white supremacists angry over an influx of minorities and illegal immigrants was canceled Friday after officials of the school that was hosting the training exercise said they received threatening phone calls and emails.
You read the rest of the article for various reactions to this; nevertheless, the point in posting this isn't to criticize the school for the drill or even its choice of terrorists (because there are, after all, white supremacist terrorists!). The point is, what if the school made the terrorists Muslims -- or even illegal immigrants themselves? As James Taranto notes,
Is there any doubt that the Council of American-Islamic Relations, the NAACP and other such groups would object? Our surmise is that such scenarios were never even considered because officials have internalized a sensitivity to that kind of stereotyping. Why would anyone be astounded that [groups like] the Minutemen are as sensitive as CAIR or the NAACP?
I do believe that surmise is 100% dead-on.
If you can actually stomach to sit through and read the following remarks by Philadelphia School District Assistant Superintendent of Alternative Education Benjamin Wright regarding discipline problems in those schools, God bless you. I'll merely highlight the "best of the worst" here for some guaranteed jaw-dropping.
The past week, Philly.com has been running a huge exposé on the awful discipline problems in the city school district. Part 3 features incidents between students but also those against staff members. Here are some of Wright's classic remarks -- and excuses -- which personify why this district is such a mess:
He (Wright) opposes sending children that young to alternative schools or classrooms. They are in school to learn good behavior, and it's not right to banish them to a disciplinary setting, he said.
"It's not right" for whom? What about the many other children -- and staff -- who may be the victims of such out of control students? Is it "right" for them?
Wright says the problem is due in part to poor responses by staff, who inflame rather than defuse bad behavior.
Take the case of a young student who refuses his teacher's directive to take his seat. "Does that mean that child's being disobedient? No, that means the child is bored.
"So you might want to say 'OK, I'll give you five minutes to move around and then I'm going to ask you to take your seat.'"
Ultimately, who cares if the child is bored? Why is that an excuse to defy a teacher's authority? Consider how Wright would "handle" that situation: In the meantime, other kids see this, and they refuse to sit down too. They want five minutes to walk around the class too. And what do all these kids do during these five minutes? Tantalize kids who aren't walking around? What happens if the kids want five more minutes? If the teacher refuses, is he/she "inflaming" the situation further?
And then there's this classic gem:
Wright also blamed the staff's unequal treatment of boys and Hispanic and black students.
"A boy can't do what a girl does in some schools. A black or Latino kid can't do what a nonblack or Latino kid does," he said.
He also said that adequate counseling and resources were available and that the staff received ample training to deal with problem students.
In other words, since there's an "imbalance" of discipline referrals of a particular racial/ethnic group, it's something the staff is doing ... like "inherent racism."
There's barely anything more risible in education than advocates for differential treatment for different groups of people just because the bean counters may be offended. Just never ask an educationist like Wright why, if racial/ethnic groups are "different" -- so much so that teachers need to "understand" these differences and hence treat students differently -- why the "achievement gap" is such a big deal? I mean, racial/ethnic groups are different! Shouldn't we therefore expect differences in achievement (in this case)?
And it gets better. Here's what this idiot said about a pregnant teacher who was punched in the stomach by a student who didn't get what he wanted:
Hearing of the case, Wright said pregnant teachers should know how to protect themselves.
In this case, he said, the teacher should have given the boy what he wanted at the time and then called for help.
"If I'm in a school, and I'm a teacher, and I'm pregnant, make sure I don't put myself in harm's way, because the kids are going to be kids," Wright said.
"Kids will be kids" = punching a pregnant woman in the stomach. How does this mental pygmy have the position he has again??
Wright also "was skeptical" about a teacher aide who was attacked four times, "most recently by a 5-year-old kindergartner at Dobson Elementary who kicked and punched her." She suffered torn ligaments and tendons. Says Wright? "He probably only weighs 65 pounds. I can hold that kid off until some help comes."
Be sure to read the entire series. And then thank The Maker that your kids (hopefully!) aren't in the Philly School District.
Following up on yesterday's basketball hoop issue where Delaware's DelDOT took away several hoops that were put up too close to the street in a local neighborhood, the News Journal opines correctly on it today:
As DelDOT crews and police removed street-side nets from other residents in Radnor Green and Ashbourne Hills -- who also object to the law -- Mrs. McCafferty's kids got the message they are above the law. And that's unfortunate. One wonders what the parents would have done if a wayward car crashed into a lively game outside their home, or a youngster chased a ball into a passing car. Sue the state for not following up on its own pre-identified safety concern?
Mrs. McCafferty's husband, John, said he is considering emergency court action to prevent DelDOT crews from returning. That's extremely admirable parenting: Take appropriate legal action after you knowingly violate the law.
One message was clear, though: Even when the state sends out a warning months in advance that you are violating the law, ignore it until you can get some news coverage of your complaint.
Extremely well-stated. As I wrote yesterday,
I also don't think the parents are setting a particularly good example (like the mom climbing on top of her family's basket) for their kids. What's that say to the youngsters? "It doesn't matter what the law, or other neighbors, say -- we're gonna do what we want"? Great lesson, there. And they did receive warnings from the state about this, too. They just ignored them.
I'd also add, with this sort of situation, it's no freakin' wonder teachers bang their collective heads against the wall on a daily basis. Myriad methods of communicating grades and behavior are either ignored or not cared about ... until teacher takes some sort of disciplinary action against their child. Then mom or dad show remarkable speed in communicating and/or getting to school ... to complain about how those dastardly teachers and administrators are treating their kid!
Ilya Somin reports over at The Volokh Conspiracy the lunacy that is law school "diversity" rankings:
Larsen ranks schools on the basis of the percentage of students and faculty who are African-American, Hispanic, or Asian, with a bonus if that percentage is significantly higher than the percentage of these groups in the state population. Under this system, most of the schools that get the highest possible rating (“A+”) turn out to be historically black schools where the student body is overwhelmingly black. Ironically, many of these schools are actually not especially diverse if that concept is understood as having a wide range of different groups represented by a “critical mass” in the student body, the theory adopted by the Supreme court in Grutter v. Bollinger as a justification for affirmative action. For example, one of the schools with an A+ rating is Howard University, where the student body is 78% African-American. Why should Howard be considered any more diverse than a school that is 78% white?
Because, as we've noted here at Colossus for years, "diversity," as understood by the Left, is a colossal sham. Leftists twist themselves into literal pretzels attempting to rationalize "diversity," only to laughingly contradict themselves, ultimately.
Spelling is an important building block to teaching children how to read. Research shows children who are good spellers become more confident readers. The movie “Akeelah and the Bee” was a heartwarming story however; no African-American child has ever won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in its 85-year history. The African American National Spelling Bee Championships, Inc.’s (“AANSBC”) focus is to get children excited about spelling. The goal is to help African American kids expand their vocabulary, which will make them stronger readers.
It goes on to say that the AANSBC will "will train our children to be able to compete in spelling on a national and international level." That's a laudable goal; however, why have a segregated spelling bee to do this? Won't children have to prepare for the AANSBC too? So, why can't this same preparation be utilized to compete in the Scripps (and other) non-segregated bees?
I'm just getting the same vibe with this as I did with Eric Holder's DOJ mandating that Dayton, Ohio lower the passing score of its Civil Service test so that more African-Americans can pass it. It's a bad idea and sets a poor example.
Barack Obama Elementary School -- closed due to fiscal mismanagement and lack of achievement.
Lowering entrance scores for police exams ... because there aren't enough of a certain group being represented:
DAYTON — The city’s Civil Service Board and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed on a lower passing score for the police recruit exam after it was rejected because not enough blacks passed the exam.
The city lowered both written exams a combined 15 points that resulted in 258 more people passing the exam, according to a statement released Thursday by Civil Service officials. The agreement allows the city to immediately resume its plans to hire police and firefighters.
The original passing scores determined by Civil Service required candidates to answer 57 of 86 (66 percent) questions correctly on one portion and 73 of 102 (72 percent) on the other. The lowered benchmark requires candidates to answer 50 of 86 (58 percent) questions correctly and 64 of 102 (63 percent) of questions on the other.
What's next? Will the DOJ go after schools now because not enough minorities are passing state tests and/or assorted teacher tests? As it is, the Education Dept. is using "disparate impact analysis" to go after school districts for varying discipline rates among ethnic groups.
Is this not just a step on the road to chaos? Failing is "passing," and schools afraid to apply disciplinary measures for fear of DOJ lawsuits?
Maybe more people like Zachary Williams need to speak out:
Williams said he understands what the Justice Department is trying to accomplish, but he thinks it’s the wrong method and it’s keeping him from achieving his dream.
“You can’t blame the city for the lack of diversity,” Williams said. “This isn’t your normal 9 to 5 job and you have to want it. I don’t want to be in a department where I was hired because of my skin color. I want it because I earned it.”
Community leaders agree with Williams and said the Justice Department’s method stigmatizes blacks.
'Ya think? Why is this so easy to figure out for clear-thinking people, but not hotshot lawyers and career federal employees?
UPDATE: It gets "better": Check out what happens when you call for a paramedic in Massachusetts!
Interesting article in today's News Journal which quotes a Danny Young, a 1973 graduate of PS DuPont High School who wants a Wilmington city school district again:
In the future, he wants to see that children in Wilmington go to schools near their homes. He thinks they have the opportunity to get a solid education in their own neighborhoods, but the only way that will happen is if Wilmington has its own school district.
"Other powers that be have had control of our schools for 35 years and they failed," said Young, 56. "It's time to give it back to us. It's time to give us control. Even if the Legislature says 'no,' we're willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court to save our children."
Interesting choice of words there, Mr. Young. Because there exists a group from the city called The Coalition to Save Our Children which litigated to maintain the system of busing that had been in place since 1978! And those "other powers" you mention were the Coalition (or, its precursor), its plaintiffs ... and the then-extremely "progressive" judiciary, namely in the guise of one Judge Murray Schwartz!
So the question is ... which will save the children, then? Is it the system of busing which still essentially remains in place in New Castle County (the four major school districts have never substantially reverted to what they once were since the federal desegregation order was lifted in 1996), or is it going back to the existence of a Wilmington School District like that which was around pre-1978?
Back to the Future.
UPDATE: For a comprehensive overview of the New Castle County busing history, check out this classic Colossus post.
... this time -- and not surprisingly -- by New Castle County Councilman Jea Street. In a column disagreeing with the recreation of a Wilmington School District, he writes,
Sixth, the re-creation of a Wilmington School District would be deemed unconstitutional and new litigation would be required. Contrary to the Delaware General Assembly's action over the last 16 years and the nostalgic desire to re-create a Wilmington School District, the legal determination made in Brown v. Board is still the law of the land. In that regard, separate but equal is still inherently unequal. Therefore, segregation -- whether imposed by segregationists, the Delaware General Assembly or self-imposed -- is still segregation that is inherently unequal and in violation of the law.
Street must still be basking in the "progressive" desegregation heyday that brought Delaware the most "Draconian [plan] than any ever approved by this [US Supreme] Court." Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for rational, free will-favoring people), courts in the last 30 or so years have looked quite unfavorably on government-imposed, social engineering-based "desegregation" ideas, most especially ones that undercut the aforementioned concept of free will/choice.
Heck, even as far back as 1962, Judge Caleb Wright said, "Discrimination is forbidden, but integration is not compelled." Street therefore is pipe dreaming that a move to a new Wilmington District would be deemed unconstitutional, especially if based (wholly or in part) on the self-imposed choices of its participants/inhabitants.
Moreover, one may wonder if city residents (mainly minority) who favor a return to a district of their own are "racist" according to Street's very own rules. Because, after all, back during the debate over Delaware's Neighborhood Schools bill, he referred to the legislation as "new millennium racism."
There may be good reasons why a renewed Wilmington District shouldn't come into being. But it "being unconstitutional" and a return to "racism" sure ain't part of them. That's just trademark Jea Street bluster.
This is exactly the crap I hate about unions and public education. TWO YEARS to get rid of a teacher? Insanity. Me? I can be canned today. This minute and I gotta find another job. Sanity is somewhere in the middle of those two.
Teacher Hope Moffett spoke out against plans to turn her school into a charter school, and she was sent to what's colloquially known as the district's "teacher jail":
Moffett faces an "investigatory conference" today after she openly criticized the district's plan to convert Audenried, at 33rd and Tasker streets, in Grays Ferry, into a charter school as part of the Renaissance Schools initiative to turn underachieving schools around.
Moffett said she was first told that she was in trouble for "inciting a riot" after students protested last week, and that the district ordered her in a letter last Thursday "not to discuss this matter.".
"Failure to follow this directive will result in disciplinary action," the letter said.
Moffett hasn't stopped speaking her mind, however, including writing an opinion in Tuesday's Daily News, signed by six other Audenried teachers, outlining why community members and many staffers believe that the changes are unfair.
"There's an attempt to silence anyone who asks a question, and that's not healthy for the district," said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. "Teachers should be able to question what is going on. It's her personal business, and if she chooses to say something, then that's her constitutional right."
It's a touchy matter, to be sure. As a public employee, a teacher does have greater flexibility when it comes to First Amendment protections than a private sector counterpart. And, I certainly wouldn't base an opinion on the Daily News's report alone. Failure to follow an administration edict can result in insubordination charges, which, in this case, means Moffett was sent to the "teacher jail." It doesn't say what subject Moffett teaches, so if she was discussing school district planning matters in, say, algebra class, the district can [legitimately] claim she wasn't doing her job. On the other hand, if she teaches English or civics, she might have a lot of leeway to discuss the subject, despite what the district actually desires. I'm sure there's enough of a gray area in various law to take both sides here.
Still, a "teacher jail??" There isn't a more ... grown-up alternative? How cheesy is that?
You've probably read about/seen by now the situation involving Holy Family University basketball coach John O'Connor and player Matt Kravchuk. If not, at practice during a rebounding drill, O'Connor got miffed at Kravchuk and shoved him to the ground, apparently hurting the player's wrist. O'Connor later apologized to Kravchuk and the entire team, but that wasn't sufficient -- for Kravchuk. He filed a criminal complaint with the Philly district attorney's office.
Is Kravchuk going too far? I say "yes." I've opined on here before that as a society we are too quick to take offense, and too slow to accept apologies (and to forgive). Sure, this coach overreacted. No doubt about it. But to file a criminal complaint with the city about it -- even after O'Connor apologized shortly after the incident? Sorry, but that's going too far. Hell, as regular Colossus commenter "cardinals fan" can attest, our junior high school basketball coach was a hard-ass, and he verbally thrashed us regularly, not to mention forcefully grabbed our jerseys (and yes, occasionally shoved us) if we weren't making the proper moves during a [practice] play. Should we have filed charges? We weren't even adults, like Kravchuk is!
Maybe John O'Connor can reprogram a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 and really teach Kravchuk a lesson! Oh, wait, that was John Connor ... nevermind.
Look at what happened to Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's car after he unveiled an education reform plan:
Hey, I think his idea of basing 50% of a teacher's evaluation on student achievement (only one facet of his overall plan, BTW) is crackers as I've yet to see such a plan that remotely makes sense and/or is fair, but this is how you react?? Luna's also gotten death threats and a teacher even showed up his mother's house!
The mainstream media had to make up stuff about the Tea Party so as to give credence to their preferred narrative. There's nothing to make up here, but don't hold your breath waiting to see this on the MSM.
I particularly liked this line from Yankee:
After engaging in the lowest form of politics and dragging a child into the pit with you, do you imagine his father will see you as an honest, dedicated teacher who is “protecting” his son? Would any parent feel that way? Do you imagine that Gov. Walker’s son will find you “inspiring,” should you eventually decide to return to the classroom which you have dishonorably abandoned? Have you obtained your fraudulent “doctor’s excuse?” Tell me Ms. Gustafson, what would you do with a student who skipped a week of school and showed up with a forged doctor’s note? If he said he did it for a worthy political purpose, would you excuse him?
And go figure -- someone reported mom to the Department of Children and Families. Yeesh.
Remember -- no culture is any better than another:
BBC - Muslim students taught proper method for chopping the hands off of thieves
Is it believable that in the 21st century, schoolchildren could possibly be taught that certain Jews were transformed into pigs and apes? Or that certain crimes should be punished by stoning?
Both the BBC and the Telegraph newspaper of London are reporting that Muslim students within the borders of Great Britain are precisely being taught these things.
And it doesn't end there. Students are taught at the age of 15 how to cut the hands off of thieves for their first offence and that their feet should be amputated for any subsequent crime.
Students are also instructed by illustrated diagrams showing exactly where the specific cuts should be made. (Link.)
Just don't raise any objections, though. Because, after all, in the eyes of a "progressive" multiculturalist, raising such objections is not only "Islamophobic," but much more heinous than the fact that these lessons exist in the first place!!
According to the Wilmington News Journal, "a group of ministers wants to make unannounced visits to Wilmington's public schools to make sure students are getting the education they need to avoid lives of crime."
Members of Interdenominational Ministers Action Council said they will be speaking to principals in the coming weeks to develop plans that would give them access to classrooms so they can monitor teachers, administrators and overall school performance.
"We can't interrupt. We can't go in there and teach the lesson," said the Rev. Christopher T. Curry, chair of the council's education unit. "But we come in unannounced, we sit, we listen. We watch how the classroom discipline is, how the instructors are motivating our young people ...
"If we see that it is not happening, we certainly would want to have this conversation with the principals who are involved. But if there is a rejection at that point, then we need to talk to the Department of Education."
Thankfully, the state teachers union is against this silly idea. Unfortunately, the state secretary of education, Dr. Lillian Lowery, doesn't see a problem with it: "It sounds right on," Lowery said. "These are good people with good intentions."
As you might expect (because, after all, it's not like you would the News Journal to actually focus on this aspect), many of the commenters to the article think the idea is ludicrous -- and think instead these ministers should make unannounced visits to the homes of these children to monitor how their parents are parenting:
-- Or maybe these Ministers can "sit" in the houses these students come from and observe the root of their violent and defiant nature. Then they can see for themselves that schools are not the reason for street violence, nor will schools be the end to street violence.
-- Question: Are they also going to monitor the homes of the children in their 'adopted' schools?
-- Since it appears to be a well-known fact that many of the problems at school are as a result of lack of parenting at home, why aren't these ministers going to the heart of the problem? Perhaps conducting 'parenting classes' at their places of worship. Perhaps offering things to encourage parents to take an interest in their kids. Perhaps sharing with their communities the fact that out-of-wedlock children are not as likely to succeed as those from two-parent families.
-- I want to know what the Ministers are going to do with the parents that are not sending their kids to school. The problem is not the school. It's the parents that are not raising their kids.
-- Instead of walking into classrooms, why don't they walk into peoples homes and make sure they are being good parents.
I was wondering what precisely these ministers would be looking for in terms of what is motivating children and in terms of discipline. And did these ministers wonder what sort of artificial effect their mere presence would have on a classroom during their visit? In other words, kids tend to behave better when they see other "official" adults in a classroom. Do these ministers have degrees in the subject of the classroom they'll be visiting? Are they familiar with the teaching methods for that subject? Are they familiar with what the state test requires for that subject? Are they aware of how/what disciplinary measures are permitted for the school and/or district?
If, as I suspect, the answer to most or all of these questions is "no," then these ministers have no business "reporting" on anything from a classroom to a principal ... or anyone else. Personally, I don't have an issue with them visiting classrooms to make generalized observations -- as a public institution any member of the public should be so permitted (of course, with the usual school/child protection measures in place, i.e. administration chaperones, etc.) -- but the moment any sense of "officiality" about their observations becomes apparent, teachers (and their appropriate representatives) should speak up and have this practice cease.
Further, this idea wiffs somewhat of the aborted Consent Decree that city representatives wanted enacted during the battle to have the federal desegregation order lifted from county schools in the mid-90s. Included in that agreement were items such as the following:
Unlike others noted in the article and in the comments, I've little issue with their presence from a religious angle. But as they claim, their mission is merely "evaluation," what sort of "remedies" would they offer?
But even though Curry said this would be an "unofficial" evaluation, they would go to the district and education department if they find the school is not performing within the parameters they've set up.
What parameters exactly? Why weren't these laid out in the article so we'd all know precisely what these ministers would be looking for? Would [some of] their solutions resemble those from above from the mid-90s -- those that were soundly rejected by the state legislature?
I certainly hope not.
Via Ace, it's actions like these that give a certain profession of mine a bad rap:
Ye gad ...
Problem-solving skills used in one of -- if not the most -- popular real-time strategy games of all time are not unlike those used in the 21st Century real world. At least that is the song that the University of Florida is singing.
The school, located in Gainesville, Florida, is offering a two-credit honors couse titled, "21st century Skills in Starcaft." The eight-week class "does not teach about Starcraft," but combines weekly gameplay, analysis of recorded matches and "synthesis of real/game-world concepts," to develop workplace skills.
I don't know what's sadder -- the mere fact that such a course is taught, or the fact that it's an honors course.
... he'd have been suspended for ten days. Plymouth-Canton School District Allows Ceremonial Dagger:
A Detroit-area district says Sikh students are permitted to wear a small, religious dagger to school.
The decision by the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools reverses a ban put in place in December after a fourth-grader at a Canton Township elementary school was found with a dull, 3- to 5-inch kirpan.
It's either utter stupidity gets in the way of common sense, or political correctness gets in the way of common sense. It's lose-lose either way.
NY Senator Chuckie Schumer on checks and balances:
You know, we have three branches of government. We have a House. We have a Senate. We have a president.
With apologies to Thomas Sowell, of course:
Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting, said this week that reporting of the student assignment issue in Wake County had been too balanced. Goodmon, a vocal supporter of Wake schools' long-standing diversity policy, said that reporters typically talked with each side of the debate and then quit reporting. He compared it to a reporter working on a story about whether the Earth is round or flat. The reporter quotes one academic saying the Earth is flat and another saying it's round. "I've done my job. Film at 11," Goodmon said. He believes deeper reporting would show that the diversity policy is the correct course to take.
Goodmon made his comments Monday at the annual Martin Luther King Triangle Interfaith Prayer breakfast. Capitol Broadcasting owns WRAL-TV and its website. He said WRAL reporters are "the best." But he said, "I'm mad at them." (Source.)
The issue at hand shouldn't be unfamiliar to New Castle County, Delaware residents. Wake County, NC, like New Castle, is debating a move to neighborhood schools. Unfortunately, this would pretty much nix a "diversity policy" that has been in place.
And there you have it -- the magic word "diversity." Despite the evidence that the ambiguously nebulous term has no tangible effects on academic achievement, cultural elites like Goodmon and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert (mentioned in the immediate link above) know that support for anything remotely "diversity" related gets them approving nods from their limousine liberal brethren. I mean, after all, how can one be against diversity, right?? Perhaps when it costs a ton of money, destroys communities and, as noted, provides no tangible benefits, that's how.
But much more disturbing than the predictable Colbert opposition is Goodmon's analogy to Flat-Earthers. Aside from the fact that such a comparison is ridiculously laughable, it's his job position that makes such comments actually dangerous. This isn't a matter of basic, hard scientific facts like the Earth is round; it's a cultural, societal and educational matter with myriad facets that should be debated and discussed as much as possible. Goodmon's position is authoritarian and stifling, and is merely the typical "progressive" penchant for obliterating points of view which dare to challenge their ingrained orthodoxy. And Goodmon could do just that.
A "wow" essay by Peter Sacks about how the entitlement culture is infecting colleges at an alarming rate. Here's a taste:
There's little doubt that postmodern students, confusing engaged learning with entertainment and performance, have come to depend on universities and professors treating them as passive subjects. Some students, apparently from the University of Texas, even have a Facebook page they call Students Against Professors Who Don't Utilize Technology. The students complain: "Don't you hate it when you sign up for a class that SHOULD be really interesting, and it becomes your worst nightmare because your professor lectures the entire hour and a half of class? Some professors need to realize that we live in the 21st Century." The Facebook description goes on, in all earnestness: "We grew up with computers, video games, and cable television. We have short attention spans."
To be sure, technology has a place in the modern -- nay, postmodern -- classroom. Some topics lend themselves to a multimedia presentation or a real-time computerized assessment of student learning. But over-reliance on technology can turn higher education into nothing more than mediocre entertainment, dumbing down ideas and oversimplifying real-world complexities.
Such is the trade-off that the professor now faces: Sing, dance, and entertain at any cost, or else be prepared to deal with "disruptive" students, who chose disruption over hard work because, after all, they have short attention spans.
Engage the cliché and read the whole thing.
Far-left Prof. James Loewen connects slavery to ... extension of the George W. Bush tax cuts:
[T]wo ideological factors caused most Southern whites, including those who were not slave-owners, to defend slavery. First, Americans are wondrous optimists, looking to the upper class and expecting to join it someday. In 1860, many subsistence farmers aspired to become large slave-owners. So poor white Southerners supported slavery then, just as many low-income people support the extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy now.
Loewen is perhaps best known for his book Lies My Teacher Told Me. (You can just imagine the "lies" he discusses.) Lesser known is what Loewen believes an "appropriate" (i.e. "not culturally biased") SAT question for African-Americans would be:
Saturday Ajax got an LD:
a) He had smoked too much grass
b) He tripped out on drugs
c) He brought her to his apartment
d) He showed it off to his fox
e) He became wised up
Maybe Loewen's next column will discuss how his sample SAT question is connected to slavery. Nah, doubtful. Remember -- "progressives" such as Loewen believe African-Americans need their enlightened assistance to make it in this "oppressive" United States.
That is the question. Do what, you ask? Who's "they?"
Why do "progressives" insist on trying to link just about any evil occurrence to conservatives and Republicans ... despite virtually no evidence? What purpose does this serve, other than to make them look ridiculously foolish ... and to only galvanize the determination of their political opponents even more?
It's already been stated so here and on many other [right-leaning] sites over the past few days, but the rapidity of the Left in attempting to tie Sarah Palin's "target" graphic of Representative Giffords to her shooting has been nothing less than hideously revolting -- especially since the evidence of such a connection is zilch. This is called "THE NARRATIVE TM," folks. Y'see, the Left doesn't win -- and can't -- in the realm of actual ideas. The American public by and large wants smaller and more efficient government. Groups like the Tea Party came about largely around this philosophy. So what does THE NARRATIVE TM then dictate? Tea Partiers are racists, because our current Chief Executive happens to be a black man. In Arizona and across the country, Americans are fed up with illegal immigration and the federal government's inept response to it. States, like Arizona, take matters into their own hands as a result. The public overwhelmingly supports Arizona's efforts. So what does THE NARRATIVE TM then dictate? The state's governor and its citizens are bigots and xenophobes.
Republican politicians, notably George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and Ronald Reagan are/were considered "stupid" because they made occasional verbal blunders. Of course, myriad Democratic pols did precisely the same thing, notably Al Gore, Joe Biden and Barack Obama. But THE NARRATIVE TM dictates that the latter are just "Al being Al," "Joe being Joe," and "Barack being Barack." Or, they had hard days when their miscues were recorded. And so on. The former? Stupid.
American universities have had this whole concept down to a science for some time now. They enact "speech codes" and "hate speech" provisions so sweeping and broad -- and nebulous enough -- that just about anything they deem "hateful" or "offensive" will be treated as such. Unfortunately for conservatives, it is their speech that is usually on the receiving end of such specious judgments. Don't want to participate in "Gay Pride Day?" You're a homophobe. Oppose affirmative action (and run a "bake sale" to illustrate why it's wrong)? You're a racist. Support Israel's right to self-defense? You like "apartheid." This is the campus version of THE NARRATIVE TM. And campuses will do what is still as yet unthinkable in general American society: They will prosecute you for such speech that goes against THE NARRATIVE TM, using kangaroo courts, denial of counsel, refusal to face accusers, and forced "re-education" like "diversity" seminars and "sensitivity training" to "alleviate" what ails you. Funny, that, just like what was noted in the second paragraph above , the positions noted in this one (usually by conservatives) are also favored by a majority of the American public. (Thankfully, so far, one outstanding organization battles such inanity -- and usually emerges victorious.)
These type of "progressives" know their ideas are not popular, and they resent it. And they know their ideas aren't likely to become popular anytime soon. So what recourse do they have? Well, at American universities, such "progressives" do what is noted above -- because they have a young, captive audience who they think they can intimidate. It works often enough, but when one student fights back, and makes use of groups like FIRE, the sunlight shone on these "progressives" much more often than not causes them to skitter back into the woodwork.
In the real world, these "progressives" know they can't get away with what their campus brethren can. So they resort to their allies in the mainstream media and attack those whose views they find abhorrent -- and label them "racists," "bigots," and attempt to link any sort of politically oriented violence to them ... despite what the evidence actually proves. Again, this is THE NARRATIVE TM.
And you can tell how pathetically desperate these "progressives" are getting, especially now that the Democrats took a beating last November. If it wasn't pathetic enough when they attempted to create out of whole cloth a story that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were the victims of hollered racial epithets right in front of the Capitol, we're now witness to THE NARRATIVE TM being utilized once again to tie conservative speech and images to the shooting of a congresswoman and federal judge, among others ... Despite. Not. One. Scintilla. Of. Evidence.
The funny thing is, 'ya think these miscreants would learn, especially in this day and (Internet) age that it won't work. If anything, it'll end up backfiring. The phony story about the CBC and racial epithets didn't stop opposition to ObamaCare, and it didn't prevent the Democrats from getting crushed on Election Day. Perhaps this is why those invoking THE NARRATIVE TM are now so ridiculously transparent in their desperation, not to mention haste, in disseminating it. Unlike 20 years ago, now there is the Internet, Fox News, and myriad conservative radio outlets to counter the previous monopolistic and monolithic MSM. (And I don't know which is more comical -- the increasing desperation of those invoking THE NARRATIVE TM, or their "explanations" as to why Fox News and conservative radio hosts are so damn popular.)
So, in conclusion folks, it's OK to get miffed when these dimwitted "progressives" take advantage of an incident like that which happened on Saturday. But just keep in mind that ultimately it will come back to hurt them -- where it hurts most: in the wallet and at the ballot box. That is the cost to these "progressives" of ... THE NARRATIVE TM.
Aren't "progressives" those who most vociferously claim "don't tell me what to do with my body" when it comes to things like ... abortion?
The St. Paul school district will make all public schools "sweet-free zones" by the end of the school year.
Debra LaBounty, president of the Minnesota School Nutrition Association, said she believes St. Paul is the only district in the state to institute such a dramatic measure. National nutrition leaders say fewer than a handful of school districts in the country have tried such a thing.
With a nod to their role in reducing the nation's high obesity rate, Minnesota's second-largest school district plans to fully enforce the ban on sweets.
Reminders have been sent to teachers, students and parents that "sweet, sticky, fat-laden [and] salty treats" aren't allowed during the school day, said Jean Ronnei, the district's director of nutrition services.
OK, how are they going to "fully enforce the ban on sweets"? The article says that only verbal warnings will be given; however, knowing kids as I do, if that's the maximum punishment, what happens if said warnings don't suffice? I'd like to see the write-up: "Possession of Hershey's Kisses in sweet-free zone; refused to put away." Sheesh. A 10 year-old seems to understand the concept of freedom a lot better than the district's educationists: "A lot of us feel it should be up to us to determine what we should do with our bodies," said the [ironically named] Misky Salad.
But this has to take the cake, so to speak:
They call themselves the "Christmas Sweater Club" because they wear the craziest ones they can find. They also sing Christmas songs at school and try their best to spread Christmas cheer.
Now all 10 of them are in trouble because of what they did at their school.
"They said, 'maliciously maim students with the intent to injure.' And I don't think any of us here intentionally meant to injure anyone, or did," said Zakk Rhine, a junior at Battlefield High School.
The boys say they were just tossing small two-inch candy canes to fellow students as they entered school. The ones in plastic wrap that are so small they often break apart.
Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him, "They said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with your mouth and stab people with them." He said neither he nor any of their friend did that.
The kicker in this one? "Mother Kathleen Flannery said an administrator called her and explained 'not everyone wants Christmas cheer. That suicide rates are up over Christmas, and that they should keep their cheer to themselves, perhaps.'"
(h/t to Cato at Liberty.)
Must. Not. Mention. Ham. In. Class.
According to the account of the facts, the teacher was explaining the different climates in a geography class and cited the village of Trevelez due to its cold and dry climate. According to the newspaper account, ”as a story, the teacher told his students that such a climate was conducive to making hams (this refers to the procedure that it’s necessary between the pig is killed and the ham is actually ready to be eaten). Then the student asked the teacher not to speak of hams since it offended him, because he was a Muslim. “
The teacher told the students that in his classes, he did not consider the religion of their students, but apparently the family did not stay at home when they learned the facts, to the extent that they went to the National Police to file a complaint without speaking in advance with the teacher. (Link.)
The maestro “is accused of being the author of an alleged crime of abuse of workers, also alleging racist and xenophobic motives.“
UPDATE: Elsewhere in the land of Euro-"free" speech nuttery (via Tongue Tied):
Lars Hedegaard, President of The Free Press Society in Denmark, said,
"Of course [Danish MP] Lars Hedegaard should not have said that there are Muslim fathers who rape their daughters when the truth appears to be that they make due with killing their daughters (the so-called honour killings) and leave it to their uncles to rape them."
This violated § 266b of the Danish penal code so Hedegaard was fined $1,000.
In the UK, a bar that advertised a drink called a "Suicide Bomber" was accused of "insensitivity" by that area's Race Equality Council.
In Italy, an atheist requests "asylum" in Sweden due to the "overabundance" of crucifixes in his own country.
Back in the UK, a local pol got arrested for supposedly calling for the stoning of a Muslim woman ... in an attempt at irony -- since said woman had previously stated on the radio that "no politician had the right to comment on human rights abuses, even the stoning of women in Iran."
Lastly, in New Zealand (I know -- not Europe, but culturally close enough!), Air New Zealand's ditching of a commercial where an All Blacks (not a racial term) rugby player refuses a kiss from a gay flight attendant "could lead to gay male suicides" according to (surprise) a professor.
[Chicago] Mayoral challenger James Meeks recently said that the term "minority" should only apply to blacks:
“The word ‘minority’ from our standpoint should mean African American. I don’t think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title,” he said. “That’s why our numbers cannot improve — because we use women, Asians and Hispanics who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against.”
Meeks later apologized. But I'm sure that would be news to women, Asians and Hispanics! And maybe Meeks ought to check out a bit of history and the Constitution -- specifically, Amendments XV and XIX.
Nevertheless, Meeks merely voiced what is pretty much standard practice, notably in education: "Minority" doesn't mean "anyone other than Caucasian," including women -- especially Asian. Why? Because Asians outperform Caucasians in virtually every measure. And women? They're not the minority, either in general population nor college enrollment population, though higher ed certainly appears to be a lot more "sympathetic" towards them than Asians.
A California mother, Monet Parham, has filed a class action suit against McDonald’s. How come? Because she absolutely SUCKS at basic parenting:
“I am concerned about the health of my children and feel that McDonald’s should be a very limited part of their diet and their childhood experience,” Parham said. “But as other busy, working moms and dads know, we have to say ‘no’ to our young children so many times, and McDonald’s makes that so much harder to do. I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat.”
Using such "logic," why not a class action suit against candy makers? Toy makers? Video game designers?
Overlawyered's inimitable Walter Olson chimes in:
You’re probably wondering: How is this grounds for a lawsuit? No one forced Parham to take her daughters to McDonald’s, buy them that particular menu item, and sit by as they ate every last French fry in the bag (if they did).
No, she’s suing because when she said no, her kids became disagreeable and “pouted” – for which she wants class action status. If she gets it, McDonald’s isn’t the only company that should worry. Other kids pout because parents won’t get them 800-piece Lego sets, Madame Alexander dolls and Disney World vacations. Are those companies going to be liable too?
And, back to the title of this post, you can imagine how such ... "parents" react to their kids getting into trouble at school and/or them getting bad grades. "But as other busy, working moms and dads know, it tough to stay up on what our kids are doing at school! How are we supposed to make sure our kids are doing their homework? That they're studying for tests? Why can't the teachers check in on them -- after all, isn't that their job?"
I say all responsible parents file a class action suit against Parham (and those like her who've sired offspring) for defamation of parents everywhere.
Via Zero Out of Five:
Look at #6. Those of you who had even a little Spanish back in the day may remember that "pen" is usually either "[la] pluma" or "[el] bolígrafo."
"Pene" in Spanish means ... "penis."
"An Associated Press-Stanford University Poll on education found that 68 percent of adults believe parents deserve heavy blame for what's wrong with the U.S. education system — more than teachers, school administrators, the government or teachers unions." (Link.)
Only 35% said teachers deserve "a great deal or a lot of the blame."
Not surprisingly, conservatives blame parents more than liberals do. And those who placed more blame on parents cited "a lack of student discipline and low expectations for students as serious problems in schools."
Here's a good example of the liberal view: Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education, a Chicago advocacy group, says,
The problems children and their parents deal with inside and outside of school every day are growing. Children are tired, they're hungry and they need someone to help with their homework. Some kids face violence at home or in their neighborhood. Some parents are trying so hard to keep a roof over their family that they can't help with school.
Excuse me, but how exactly is this different from any other time in American history? How are the problems "growing?" And even if they are, why? Just to name one, but d'ya think the huge growth in illegitimacy might have anything to do with the downward trend in school discipline and academic performance?
And here's what kills me:
"A variety of research in past years backs up the poll respondents' sense that parenting plays key roles in school performance."
IT TAKES RESEARCH TO CONFIRM THIS !!!!!!!!!!
"Exposing kids under 2 to too much television can cause them to develop language skills later, researchers at the University of Washington have found."
IT TAKES RESEARCH TO CONFIRM THIS !!!!!!!!!!
Educating parents about how the school system works and welcoming them to get involved may also help their children, according to Joyce L. Epstein, research professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University, who focuses on school, family and community partnerships.
"Without programs to educate parents, everyone is working in some stage of ignorance." Epstein said.
True; however, just imagine attempting to ask a parent why in the world he/she cannot fix a simple lunch for his/her kid every morning ... like a very simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich, say. Or, get them a bowl of cereal in the morning. Even those on food stamps can do this. What do you think the reaction will be? Would it be like "You're right -- I need to plan a little better and do more," or would it be like "Who are YOU to tell ME how to live MY life?" And this is in large part why we see a lot of what we do in schools. Apathy. Irresponsiblility. No one's fault. Free school breakfasts and lunches should be for only those that truly need them. How many kids who receive such now have expensive sneakers and cell phones, for example? Therefore, in this regard, what sort of incentives do the parents of such children have to do things for their children ... themselves?
"These are tough times we're living in," [Mike] Principe said. "What's our world going to be like when our 2-year-old is an adult?"
No times are too "tough" when it comes to your own children, Mr. Principe. Or, at least they shouldn't be. More parents need to heed this very simple message.
MSM outlets across the land "sounded the alarm" (including our own Wilmington News Journal) about how American students fared on the recent PISA tests. But edu-writer Diane Ravitch has to slap the faces of the cretins at the WNJ to knock some sense into them, among others:
Consider the two top contenders on PISA: Shanghai and Finland. These two places — one a very large city of nearly 21 million, the other a small nation of less than six million — represent two very different approaches to education. The one thing they have in common is that neither of the world leaders in education is doing what American reformers propose.
According to the OECD, the international group that sponsors PISA, the schools of Shanghai — like those in all of China — are dominated by pressure to get higher scores on examinations. . . .
OECD points out that more than 80 percent of students in Shanghai attend after-school tutoring. It remarked on the academic intensity of Chinese students. Non-attention is not tolerated. . . .
Finland is at the other end of the educational spectrum. Its education system is modeled on American progressive ideas. It is student-centered. It has a broad (and non-directive) national curriculum. Its teachers are drawn from the top 10 percent of university graduates. They are highly educated and well prepared. Students never take a high-stakes test; their teachers make their own tests. The only test they take that counts is the one required to enter university.
Can you imagine 80% of American students coming for after-school tutoring? And "non-attention is not tolerated ..."?? Ha! Hell, teachers here can get a parental 3rd degree for booting a kid out of class for raising holy hades in the room ... and preventing any instruction!
The US used to allow what Finland does to a degree, though I doubt American teachers ever came from 10% of college graduates.
This all doesn't mean that the US can't learn anything from the Chinese, the Fins, or anyone else. But when doltish outlets like the News Journal completely overlook political and especially cultural differences when it comes to discussing education, you should be highly skeptical of their "sky is falling" rants.
Syracuse University College of Law (SUCOL) has threatened a student with "harassment" charges for the last two months because of the content of a satirical blog about life in law school, but the university has refused to tell him what expression in particular justified the charges or even who is charging him. Worse still, SUCOL is now demanding a gag order on law student Len Audaer, his attorney, and any media outlets that receive information about the case.
"Because of his alleged involvement with a blog intended to resemble The Onion, Syracuse has held harassment charges over Len Audaer's head for two months," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "Now the university is trying to force him into silence, despite the fact that Audaer still doesn't know the identity of his accuser or even what expression is at issue. Syracuse University College of Law should be demonstrating the importance of free speech and due process to its students by example; instead it seems to prefer the example of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland."
Yet again, folks, never believe it when a so-called "progressive" tells you he/she stands for freedom, especially freedom of speech. The only freedom faux progressives believe in is the right to agree with them.
Not to mention more than a few schools (for anti-US exam questions, of course): Teacher arrested in Kashmir for 'anti-India' exam questions.
The Dallas Independent School District has named a new magnet school after our current chief exec -- except they apparently forgot how Mr. Obama spells his first name (scroll down to second-to-last school):
Yeah -- teachers should not slap kids. I get it. But ... *shakes head*
Page 10 is where the fun really begins. Wow.
My jaw dropped when I read this:
Professors routinely complain about students who spend class time on Facebook or texting their friends or otherwise making it clear that their attention is elsewhere. But is it acceptable for a faculty member to deal with these disruptions by walking out of class?
Two years ago, a Syracuse University professor set off a debate with his simple policy: If he spots a student texting, he will walk out of class for the day.
Now two faculty members at Ryerson University, in Toronto, sparked discussion at their institution with a similar (if somewhat more lenient) policy -- and their university's administrators and faculty union have both urged them to back down, which they apparently have.
The Ryerson professors' policy was first reported last week in The Eyeopener (the student newspaper) .... Two professors who teach an introductory engineering course in chemistry jointly adopted a policy by posting it on the courses' Blackboard sites. ... [T]he professors said that after three warnings about disruptions such as cell phone discussions and movies playing on laptops, the professors would walk out of class -- and students would have to learn the rest of that day's material themselves. ...
The student newspaper described a chaotic environment in the class where the faculty members made the threat to walk out, with loud chatting among students and even paper airplanes being shot around the room.
Wow. The advantage professors have is that they can walk out. Garden-variety school teachers certainly can't. (Although substitutes can, and have.)
In a related matter, several teachers and I were chatting at lunch today and though we agreed that our students this year really aren't any less well-behaved than usual, the overall tone of parent complaints, inquiries and demands has been eyebrow raising. As you might expect, with this in mind, such just might explain (some of) the behavior witnessed in those college classrooms!
…the [“Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act”] bill redefines [campus-based] harassment in a manner that is at odds with the Supreme Court’s exacting definition of student-on-student harassment, which successfully balances the need to respond to extreme behavior with the importance of free speech on campus. In Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629 (1999), the Court defined student-on-student harassment as conduct that is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts from the victims’ educational experience, that the victim-students are effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities.” This definition has been relied upon by courts for more than a decade and has been adopted by many institutions across the country, including the entire University of California system.
Flouting the Supreme Court’s carefully crafted balance, the bill removes the requirement that the behavior in question be objectively offensive. The loss of this crucial “reasonable person” standard means that those most interested in silencing viewpoints they don’t like will effectively determine what speech should be banned from campus.
And gee, just who do you think will be making such decisions? Yep, the vehemently PC totalitarian Left.
No one I know has ever looked to the Wilmington News Journal as a bastion of intellectual heavyweights, and today's editorial about US schools (Delaware, in particular) vs. those in China and Taiwan proves it again by missing (on purpose?) one HUGE point.
Can you figure it out?
An update if no one can or there are no replies.
... the teacher who came to my room that late 1994 afternoon and asked if I wanted a Charlie Oberly yard sign for my house. "Why?" I asked. "I'm voting for Bill Roth." (Oberly was the Democrat going up against the long-time GOP incumbent senator.)
The look on the teacher's face was priceless.
Unfortunately, too many teachers are liberal Democrats, and seem to automatically feel that all their colleagues are too. Oops.
Which brings me to this pathetic story:
In a close election race against former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina, California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer is facing new ethics complaints over asking teachers to send their students to work for her campaign.
In an Oct. 27 letter to California education authorities, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), a non-profit group urging lower taxes, said, “In abject ignorance of California state law, the political campaign of Senator Barbara Boxer has openly solicited teachers employed by [Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)] to urge their students to volunteer for her campaign.”
If I had gotten such a letter, I'd send it back with a Post-It note saying "Go to Hell."
... begins in Delaware.
Funny how I mentioned it earlier without even knowing about this article. Soooooo predictable with this nonsense.
Too bad about that aforementioned voucher program.
Stupidity like this:
If schools discipline more blacks or Hispanics than white students, federal officials warn they’ll use “disparate impact analysis” to charge civil rights violations, reports Education Week.
Under “disparate impact,” schools can be in violation if discipline policies affect one racial group more than others, even if there’s no evidence of unequal treatment for the same offense or an intent to discriminate. An education agency would be found out of compliance if an equally sound policy would have less of a disparate impact, Russlyn Ali, an Education Department official, told Ed Week.
As mentioned, just another reason race relations have soured. "Stupid" is an understatement. What about the "disparate impact" of disciplining more boys than girls? Or what about that "unproportionate representation" of races on various sports teams?
No wonder The Messiah wants his daughters in a private school. Secretly, you know he wants to avoid edu-nonsense like this at all costs.
UPDATE: Sigh. Former director of [Delaware's] Moyer Academy Charter School Theo Gregory doesn't get it either.
RELATED: The dolts at the Philly Inquirer are distressed that in their city, which is 44% black, there's not enough black faces in the Philly Orchestra.
Via the Tween Tribune:
The American Civil Liberties Union claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that a North Carolina school violated the constitutional rights of a 14-year-old student by suspending her for wearing a nose piercing.
The lawsuit from the state chapter of the ACLU seeks a court order allowing Ariana Iacono to return immediately to Clayton High School, which has kept her on suspension for four weeks since classes started.
The complaint hinges on Iacono's claim that her nose piercing isn't just a matter of fashion, but an article of faith. She and her mother, Nikki, belong to a small religious group called the Church of Body Modification, which sees tattoos, piercings and the like as channels to the divine.
Personally, I don't know which is sillier -- the school suspending a kid for a nose piercing (quite common these days, and WTF is the essential difference between that and ear piercings, anyway?) or the ACLU actually suing on "religious" grounds?
Maybe I should have had the ACLU back me up back in the day so I could have freely dropped the F-bomb whenever I wanted in school. I was once a member of a "small religious group" called the Church of F-You. ;-)
Well, specifically conservative pundit Dom Giordano, whose column today on parents and their kids is right on the mark.
LAST week, a federal judge refused to suspend an innovative 24/7 policy developed by the Haddonfield School District that punishes students for off-campus drug and alcohol use. The district, trying to curb substance abuse, would bar students from extracurricular activities if they're accused of breaking the law.
The policy was cheered by many because it was a reasonable attempt to do what a number of Haddonfield, N.J., parents were failing to do - raise their children in a responsible manner. Fearing that the loss of extracurricular activities on their child's resume would prevent them from getting into a prestigious college, these parents opened their checkbooks and hired lawyers to fight the policy.
In the eyes of these parents, the fact that their children were arrested for underage drinking was irrelevant - the warning signs of potential substance abuse were secondary. Sadly, what was important was that nothing get in their child's way of getting into a "name" college.
First, good for that judge. And now -- that "other" aspect of parent hassles that teachers dread. Usually in the media and elsewhere, you hear about apathetic parents who never show up for meetings or open houses, and never return calls or e-mails. But on the other side of the coin are the type of parents from this article -- the mom and dad who believe their kid's feces don't stink. Every form of [disciplinary] action by a teacher or administrator is questioned and fought. (Who are we to make such a judgment about their child, after all?)
I mean, c'mon -- what good are you doing your kid by pulling this sort of nonsense??
Girodano has more examples:
While education reform is a hot topic today, what about parental reform? Bad parenting is equally harmful to a child's ability to achieve success at school and in life. If you don't think this is serious, consider some of these scenarios:
"Not My Child" Syndrome. At one time or another, most children behave badly. But way too many parents, confronted by another parent or teacher about their child's behavior, get defensive and go into blind denial mode. Without proper discipline, kids develop a sense of entitlement and the dangerous realization that their bad behavior will go relatively unpunished.
Enabled by clueless parents, kids soon realize there are no moral boundaries. Bad behavior escalates. Yet no matter how many times these parents are confronted, they refuse to see reality. It probably pains them to think they've raised less-than-perfect children - but it's more painful to see the damage these disruptive kids do to the other kids they victimize.
And this is the ... "intangible" which the endless educational "reforms" present and coming down the pike never take into account. Teachers today are not only expected to teach, but to act as a parent to the kids too -- but without the means to discipline the kids as an actual parent would.
Here's another classic (personal favorite) head scratcher:
"Why haven't you ever contacted me about my child's grades and/or him not turning in work?" Hmm, let's see: First, elementary school has long been bye-byes. At this level, I have almost 170 students. Not only do I have approximately that many homework assignments and tests to grade when I assign them, but then I have to grade the corrections on them too. Then, not only do I input these grades on a hard copy page, I also put them online -- updated at least once per week -- for you to view at your leisure. And not only that, I post homework assignments on my personal webpage -- when they're assigned, when they're due, what they're worth, and a description of the work -- so that you know what's going on in my class. This is all in addition to the district-mandated interim reports and report cards, by the way. So, in other words, I am providing you with more than enough information about your child for you to keep up with what he/she is doing... and how he/she is doing. Oh, and remember what I mentioned at that Open House? "E-mail me anytime if you have any questions."
In essence, it boils down to the fact that if I had to e-mail (or call) each and every parent about each and every single assignment, test and quiz, a 24 hour day would be insufficient. But more importantly, me doing that aborgates mom and dad of their responsibility.
An elementary school teacher from South Gate who mysteriously disappeared last week was found dead about 9 a.m. Sunday in the Angeles National Forest, authorities have confirmed.
The Coroner confirmed the body found by a search and rescue team near Big Tujunga Canyon Road is that of Rigoberto Ruelas, 39, a fifth grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School.
Authorities said it is a suicide, but did not say how he killed himself. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Friends and family said he was feeling stressed about work and a recent teacher evaluation report printed in the Los Angeles Times.
"He kept saying that there's stress at work," said Ruelas' brother, Alejandro.
In my opinion, Ruelas had problems that went beyond just the reporting of his teacher rating in the paper. The report in the LA Times was this. The paper used a "value-added" analysis which "estimates the effectiveness of a teacher by looking at the test scores of his students."
Each student's past test performance is used to project his performance in the future. The difference between the child's actual and projected results is the estimated "value" that the teacher added or subtracted during the year. The teacher's rating reflects his average results after teaching a statistically reliable number of students.
But then we read this under the "What are some of the limitations of the value-added approach?" section:
Scholars continue to debate the reliability of various statistical models used for value-added estimates. Each has an inherent error rate that is difficult to measure. Value-added estimates may be influenced by students not being randomly assigned to classes, or by students moving from class to class during a single year. Likewise, they could be misleading for teachers who team-teach. Even many critics of the approach, however, say value-added is a vast improvement on the current evaluation system, in which principals make subjective judgments based on brief pre-announced classroom visits every few years.
I don't know how many times I've opined here and elsewhere on the idea of basing teacher evaluations solely on student test scores; if you (the public) want that to be the way your teachers get evaluated on their "effectiveness," so be it. You pay our salaries, after all. But the Times itself admits, this value-added method has its skeptics -- there's plenty of debate on its use -- yet it still thought it a good idea to publish the supposed "effectiveness" of all area 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers via the method. And even though, through its article FAQ, it notes the limitations of "value-added," how many people would actually take the time to comb through it? Or (more likely) will parents and others merely head for the "Find A Teacher" and "Find A School" menus and take what the results say as gospel? For me, this is essentially the same as a biased newspaper headline -- people see the headline, and barely scan the actual article.
I've also opined that I have little difficulty with such assessments if they're well thought-out and fair. In Ruelas' case, I was left wondering (and perhaps I missed something from the various pages of the Times story) about the across-grade comparison. For example, say a student has truly excellent teachers in 3rd and 4th grade. But then when they reached Ruelas in 5th grade, their test scores dipped -- because, say, Ruelas was just slightly "worse" a teacher than his 3rd and 4th grade counterparts. Contrariwise, Ruelas rating would be the opposite if his 3rd and 4th grade colleagues weren't very adequate; his rating would be positive since when they got to him the students' scores went up a bit. In other words, it is highly dependent on the teachers that precede you for your rating. Not very good teachers preceding you can "mask" another bad teacher, and very good teachers can "mask" another very good teacher.
Delaware is moving in this direction, and trust me -- if you know anyone in education in the first state, they probably don't know much about Race to the Top (RTTT) and, specifically, how it will affect them yet. But it's here now. Don't'cha think they should know (by now)?
In my case, I teach a first-year course. What would be my baseline? There's no teachers in the pipeline before me that teach the subject. Should I assume that I'll always get an "effective" (or "highly effective") rating since it's essentially inevitable that my students will show progress ... because they've never had the subject before me? I don't know! Apparently, we have to have a baseline test in place by next school year. What is it? I don't know. How will I be measured? I don't know. What exactly is on this test? I don't know.
And so on. Yet, this will be part of my job evaluation.
That's why I titled this post what I did. Again, ask educators across the state if they're 1) anxious, 2) uncertain, 3) stressed beyond belief, 4) scared, and 5) very worried. I bet all five will be an "affirmative." I've never seen a school year begin like this. But I will tell you that if things had been concretely laid out and teachers knew what to expect -- and how they'll be evaluated ... well, it'd be a whole different story.
Par for the course for the state? Don't get me started.
About two-dozen people protested outside a school board meeting Tuesday night demanding the Indian River School District do more to hire minorities.