(Video) Student Debt: the Game of Loans

November 10, 2015

From Prager University, an explanation of how student loans drive up the cost of a college education and drive students further into debt:

My college days, both undergraduate and graduate, we more than 30 years ago, but I can attest how even then student loans were a scam: easy to take out, hell to pay off. I was lucky and able to pay mine off thanks to the dot-com boom of the 90s, but many, many others are still trapped with that burden, if they haven’t blown them off altogether. I can only imagine how the problem has grown worse since then. The system is in desperate need of reform.


(Video) Who killed the Liberal Arts?

October 26, 2015
Downgraded

Downgraded

Consider this a companion piece to last week’s post about why Modern Art is so bad. In this video from Prager University, Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute looks at the decline of the once-essential liberal arts education. As the text describing the video asks:

What in the world happened to the liberal arts? A degree in the humanities used to transmit the knowledge and wisdom imbued in the works of great Western artists, writers, musicians and thinkers like Shakespeare and Mozart. But today, that same degree stresses Western racism, sexism, imperialism, and other ills and sins that reinforce a sense of victimhood and narcissism. So, what happened?

Watch and learn the answer:

I’m embarrassed to confirm that my alma mater, UCLA, did indeed drop the study Shakespeare as a requirement for a degree in English.

But, hey, at least they get to study racism and imperialism, both of which are crucial to understanding great literature.

True, they still have to take course in English Literature pre-1500, 1500-1700, etc., but it is now possible to get a degree in English without more than a passing acquaintance with the greatest writers the language has ever produced.

I shudder to think of what’s happening in History departments, not to mention the rest of what was once called the “Humanities.” It’s one thing thing to critique Western civilization for its genuine flaws and dark moments, but it’s another altogether to make those the focus and frame of students’ understanding of a civilization and culture that’s produced so much that is wonderful and created so much good.

It’s a learned self-loathing that amounts to cultural suicide.

RELATED: Not all at UCLA were happy with this change. Prager on the intellectual and moral decline of modern universities. Heather MacDonald’s original article that lead to this video.


San Francisco middle school principal disrupts student election for not being “diverse enough.”

October 21, 2015
Lena Van Haren, Educator and Elections Commissar

Lena Van Haren, Educator and Elections Commissar

If California is leading the way toward the nation becoming a banana republic, then San Francisco is the drum major at the head of the parade. Case in point: the Everett Middle School there recently held elections for student government. Great! The kids learn public speaking skills, how to hold office, and participate in a democratic process. One small step in the creation of future good citizens.

Except in progressive San Francisco, where the principal of Everett withheld the election results because the outcome wasn’t racially diverse enough.

The results had been withheld immediately after the election because the principal felt that the winners weren’t diverse enough.

We’ve learned that the majority of the winners were white, despite the fact that the student body is 80% students of color.

The incident happened at Everett Middle School in San Francisco’s Mission District. The voting was held Oct. 10, but the principal sent an email to parents on Oct. 14 saying the results would not be released because the candidates that were elected as a whole do not represents the diversity that exists at the school.

The email went on to say they were thinking of ways to value the students who won, while increasing the diversity of the group.

In other words, the candidates all went out and campaigned, and the voters made their choices. That should be the end of it, right? Content of character, per Martin Luther King, mattering more than the color of one’s skin, right? The student body, 80% of which are “students of color,” freely chose a student government that’s majority White. But ethnicity shouldn’t matter, right? RIGHT??

Wrong answer, class. Just ask the principal:

According to Principal Lena Van Haren, Everett Middle School has a diverse student body. She said 80 percent of students are students of color and 20 percent are white, but the election results did not represent the entire study body.

In other words, democracy and personal preference be damned, it’s the color of skin that really matters. One cannot truly be represented, unless it’s by someone of the same genetic background. Just as the Founders intended, of course.

Some parents, unsurprisingly, were incensed:

Todd David, whose son, Noah, is an eighth-grader at the school, said the principal undermined the democratic process in the name of social justice.

“I think it sends an unfortunate message to students when you say that the people you elected, they’re not representative of you even though you’re the ones who chose them,” he said.

Yeah, such as “the will of the people is important only so long as it delivers results acceptable to progressive elites,” such as middle school principals and other victims of modern teacher-training programs.

More Van Haren wisdom:

“That is concerning to me because as principal I want to make sure all voices are heard from all backgrounds,” Van Haren told KTVU.

Call me hopelessly old-fashioned, but isn’t that what participating in an election does? Again, the minority-majority of the school apparently freely voted for the winners, who just happened to be White. The voters’ voices were heard. And those who didn’t vote expressed their voices, too: they didn’t care.

Message to the administration of Everett Middle School: San Francisco is part of California, and California is a state in the United States of America, not Venezuela. When election results happen, you announce the results and live with it. And you never, ever teach American children that they can be fairly represented only by their own “race.” Leave that racialist, tribalist garbage on the ash heap of history, where it belongs.

And, as for Principal Van Haren, I’m not going to call for her firing, but she definitely needs re-education in democratic politics, Civics, and the rule of law.


(Video) Does Free Speech offend you?

August 31, 2015

Yesterday I wrote about politically-correct silliness at Wesleyan University, head-shaking but largely harmless identity politics.

Today’s video, however, takes a look at a far grimmer trend at our colleges and universities: the assault on free speech in the name of not hurting anyone’s feelings.

What were once places of free inquiry and defenders of intellectual liberty are more and more becoming places where speech –and, by extension, thought– is controlled by a progressive “PC police.” The irony is rich, because it’s the intellectual descendants of the free speech movement of the Sixties who have become the new enemies of freedom of speech.

Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss.

via Prager University

RELATED: The narrator of the video, Greg Lukianoff, has written two books about the assault on free speech at our universities — Freedom from Speech and Unlearning Liberty.


I’m sure Wesleyan University has offended someone by leaving a letter or two out

August 30, 2015
x

“Wait? Which letter am I?”

There have been plenty of silly moments in academia’s race to be offensive to none, inclusive of all, and apologizing to everyone for anything, but this really crosses into the realm of self-parody. Via Kat Timpf at National Review:

Weslyan University in Connecticut is now offering “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” housing, because apparently “LGBT” — or even “LGBTTQQ” — wouldn’t have been inclusive enough. For the culturally ignorant among us, “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, flexual, asexual, genderf**k, polyamorous, bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism.”

The name of this super-inclusive, social-justice-hero of a dorm is “Open House,” and it is meant to be a “safe space” for self-identified LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM students, according to the university’s official website.

In case your particular self-identification isn’t covered in that alphabet soup, Wesleyan assures you that your “sexually or gender dissident” lifestyle will still be welcome.

And probably have its own diversity counselor, pronouns, and safe rooms.

I wonder if a straight male student at Wesleyan could apply, claiming to be “sexually and gender-dissident” against the dominant LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM culture?

Nah. Too radical.


Reduce Out-of-Control College Costs by Ending Government Subsidies

April 5, 2015

Having watched college fees skyrocket over the years while the rolls of overpaid administrators gets ever more padded, Dan is exactly right. Student loans, a subset of subsidies to colleges, are really a racket by which the university charges more and more, the taxpayer (the source of the loan) pays now, the college gets the money, and the student spends decades paying the bill.

International Liberty

I’ve written many times about the shortcomings of government schools at the K-12 level. We spend more on our kids than any other nation, yet our test scores are comparatively dismal.

And one of my points, based on this very sobering chart from one of my Cato colleagues, is that America’s educational performance took a turn in the wrong direction when the federal government became more involved starting about 40-50 years ago.

Well, the same unhappy story exists in the higher-education sector. Simply stated, there’s been an explosion of spending, much of it from Washington, yet the rate of return appears to be negative.

Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

Writing for the New York Times, Professor Paul Campos of the University of Colorado begins his column by giving the conventional-wisdom explanation of why it costs so much to go to college.

Once upon…

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California school district buys $14,000 espresso maker to save jobs. Or something.

September 15, 2014
"For the children?"

“For the children?”

No, really.

The break room coffee machine is a staple of many a workplace. Usually though, it tends to fall on the “economical” or “value” side of the java spectrum.

But not in Castro Valley, California, where officials with the Castro Valley Unified School District are taking fire for the purchase of a $14,000 espresso maker.

The outrage was immediate. According to KPIX News in San Francisco, the school board’s facebook page was flooded with angry comments when word of the pricey espresso maker – paid for with taxpayer money – got out.

According to a school board official, buying the espresso machine was “an opportunity” to keep a part-time child nutritionist on staff. If you can’t see that, you must hate the children.

Though how a $14,000 espresso maker for the staff and child nutrition go together is a bit baffling. When I was in fourth grade, we were served chocolate milk, not a double shot.

And for an additional fourteen grand per year, maybe they could have made that nutritionist full-time? Or used it to… Oh, I don’t know. Buy new textbooks and school supplies for the kids?

Silly me. I guess a Mr. Coffee is just too déclassé for the Castro Valley school board.

Can’t wait to see the board members justify this to the voters.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Hamas TV: children’s show encourages killing Jews

May 11, 2014

He’s back! Nahoul the antisemitic killer bee, whom we last heard was killed by those evil Jews, is alive! And, not only that, but he’s returned to Palestinian television, encouraging children to do the right thing.

Kill Jews.

Here’s an excerpt from the transcript, via MEMRI:

Nahoul (talking to girl TV host Rawan) : Rawan, I want to tell him to pick up a stone, and when the Jews come, to take it and throw it.

Rawan: That’s right, if the neighbors are Jewish…

Nahoul: He should beat them up.

Rawan: If his neighbors are Jewish or Zionist, that goes without saying.

[…]

Rawan (to Tulin, a little girl in the studio) : Tulin, why do you want to become a policewoman? Like who?

Tulin: Like my uncle.

Rawan: Who is your uncle?

Tulin: His name is Ahmad.

Rawan: He’s a policeman? What do the police do?

Nahoul: They catch thieves and troublemakers.

Rawan: And they shoot Jews, right?

Tulin: Right.

Rawan: You want to be like him? Allah willing, when you grow up.

Tulin: I will shoot the Jews.

Rawan: All of them?

Tulin: Yes.

Rawan: Good.

In fact, it’s even a little more evil, when you think about it; not only are they using a cute animal figure (something kids love) to teach a message of hate, but they’ve co-opted an older girl, essentially a “big sister” to the little ones, to make the murderous teaching explicit. “It’s okay.”

If Dante were around, he’d add another circle in Hell to his Inferno, just for the rats who who program this garbage.

Think about it: these are the people the Israelis are supposed to negotiate with. These are the people to whom our Secretary of State (and, in fairness, almost every Secretary before him for the last 40 years) is trying to be an honest broker, to reach a good-faith settlement between them and the Israelis. And it’s not just the Islamo-fascists of Hamas; the supposedly secular Palestinian Authority regularly pumps Jew hatred through its media, too.

How is one supposed to negotiate with someone who not only wants you dead, but teaches their children that killing you is a divinely-ordained duty?

RELATED: We’ve met other cute antisemitic animals before on Arab television. Here’s another: Assud, the Jew-eating rabbit. Also check out my “Teach the Children” category. And, for the adults, an important message: Muslims should humiliate Christians to make them convert to Islam.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Western Washington University: “Help us be less White!”

April 16, 2014

clueless1

Here’s a thought experiment for you: Imagine a university that, through sheer chance, wound up with a mostly Black or Asian student body. Concerned faculty meet, their brows furrowed gravely. What can be done to fix this problem?

And then, a solution! Solicit advice from students and alumni on how the university can make itself  “more White.”

And now imagine the national furor that would erupt.

That’s what should happen to Western Washington University in Bellingham, which is worried that it is too White:

Western Washington University sent a questionnaire to students asking them for advice on how the administration could succeed at making sure that in future years, “we are not as white as we are today.”

The question notes that WWU’s racial make up does not perfectly reflect the nation at large, and asks students to consider strategies that other universities have used to focus on skin color as the paramount indicator of a student-applicant’s worth.

The president of WWU has stated that his explicit goal is to reduce the white population on campus, according to Campus Reform.

“I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, that we as a faculty and staff and student body, as an administration, if we 10 years from now are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university,” said Bruce Shepard, president of WWU, in a 2012 address.

Maybe I’m just a parochial, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, supremacist White guy from a middle-class, suburban background, and so I’m too reactionary and by definition racist to comprehend the enlightened attitudes of our academic betters. Evidently I’m too stupid to see that nothing is more important than skin color. And I’m just crazy enough to still take seriously something once said by another noted reactionary:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

WWU President Bruce Shepard probably would like to tell Dr. King he had it backwards: he should have wanted his children judged not for the content of their character, for then they could have earned admittance to Western Washington University based solely on the color of their skin.

This is progressive racialist nonsense laid bare. Instead of looking for real diversity, such as an intellectual diversity ranging from Right to Left and a cultural diversity not inextricably tied to skin tone, the academic Left divides society into group identities, to which everyone is assigned regardless of individual belief (1). You can bet WWU’s struggle to be less White is informed by Critical Race Theory and is meant to battle the Leftist scapegoats, structural racism and White privilege.

The only factors that should ever be considered in admissions decisions are academic performance and, if you want to give aid, economic need. One of the few things California has done right in recent years is to ban “affirmative action” in college admissions, though that battle is never truly over.

If I were a student a WWU, I’d transfer. I wouldn’t want to be associated with such a race-obsessed institution. If I were a donor, I’d cancel my donation. And if I were a citizen of Washington, I’d demand to know why the state legislature is funding an institution that not only discriminates based on race, in contradiction to everything this nation is supposed to stand for, but asks for advice on how to do it better!

This is just bunk. (3)

Footnote:
(1) An example I came across years ago: a man of Black African ancestry, born in Francophone Africa but raised in France, identifies wholly with France — French culture, French history, the French language. His heart stirs when he sings La Marsellaise (2) or sees La Tricolore. Now, is he “French,” or (in American racial-cultural terms) “Black?” The gentleman himself would tell you he is French, and proudly so. The racialist, on the other hand, sees only the melanin in his skin. The rest just makes him a self-hating victim of “cultural imperialism.”
(2) Whatever else I might say about France, they do have the best national anthem on the planet.
(3) I’m sure you know what word I really meant. But, this is a family show.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood marketing BDSM to teens?

February 27, 2014
Teach the children

Teach the children

I’m pretty open-minded, but this is a bit much, even for me:

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE)–which received more than $2.75 million in government funding in 2012–has produced and posted online a video specifically aimed at teenagers that promotes bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) and proposes “rules” to follow when engaging in these activities.

“People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused—not true, it’s a total myth,” the host of the video, Laci Green, informs its intended audience of teens.

“BDSM relies upon and creates trust,” she says.

Lifestyle choices are, of course, within broad boundaries an adult’s private affair. But through the age of 18, teens are the legal responsibility of their parents; I have to wonder how many would be happy to discover Planned Parenthood encouraging their teens to explore “alternative lifestyles” under the guise of “sexual health.” And why is my (hypothetical) child’s sex life, which I should hope he or she didn’t yet have, the business of an abortion mill, anyway?

The other question I have, one that’s not hypothetical at all, is why my tax money is going to support this?

Video at the first link.

RELATED: This isn’t the first time the Left has been caught showing teens how to have safe, alternative sex. Warning, it’s pretty graphic.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More Bad News from Government-Run Education: The Corrosive Centralization of Common Core

January 17, 2014

Just what our over-bureaucratized, union dominated schools need: more centralization and control from distant masters not responsible to the people.

International Liberty

I’ve posted hundreds of charts over the past several years, including on favorite topics such as tax code corruption and counterproductive government spending.

But arguably the most powerful and compelling chart I’ve ever shared is on the topic of education. Prepared by my Cato colleague, Andrew Coulson, it shows that massive increases in spending and bureaucracy (which accompanied increasing federal involvement and intervention) have had zero impact on educational performance.

Keep that chart in the back of your mind as we consider what George Will has to say about President Obama’s scheme – known as Common Core – to expand federal involvement and intervention.

We have several excerpts, beginning with this passage outlining some of his concerns.

Common Core…is the thin end of an enormous wedge. It is designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity. …proponents of the Common Core want its…

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Five-year old suspended for “playing Army”

December 19, 2013
"Armed and dangerous"

“Armed and dangerous”

They had to do it; the kid was armed — with a finger gun! (The horror…)

A 5-year-old boy was reportedly suspended from school after making a gun gesture with his hand on the playground.

His father, David Hendrix, was furious when he found out his son was issued a suspension for the gesture.

“He was playing army on the playground,” Hendrix told WBTV. “I just felt like the punishment was way too severe.”

Let’s try, “shouldn’t have happened at all.” I mean, do school administrators not have the same childhoods the rest of us have? Little boys don’t play Army and make finger guns in their world? They don’t yell “bang-bang!” and argue over who’s “dead?” Do children in their universe sit around in their onesies talking about health insurance? What goes through these “educators'” heads, except air?

I mean, my goodness. It’s not like the kid was armed with a Pop-tart, or something.

via Pirate’s Cove

(Photo source: Wikipedia)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iran can go on enriching, but music teachers must be stopped

December 7, 2013

music teacher violin

And you guys worry about Iran getting nuclear weapons? Fools! Thank God the FTC is there to protect us from the danger of unregulated violin instructors!

The Federal Trade Commission was created in 1914 in the age of oil barons and rail tycoons to bust the big trusts. Today, it’s busting a smaller enterprise – the Music Teachers National Association.

Last March, the FTC sent notice to the MTNA that it was under investigation for “anti-competitive practices.” At issue: a passage in the trade association’s ethics code that says teachers should not actively recruit from other teachers.

“We feel that that provision not only protects the students but ensures that teachers are going to get along well with their colleagues, ” says Gary Ingle, the MTNA’s executive director. 

Ingle says it’s a method of avoiding the rare conflict, where, for example, an accomplished student pianist may be approached after a competition by a rival instructor who promises to help the student win the next competition.

The FTC sees it as a threat to America’s consumers. 

There’s nothing in the rules that prevents a student from seeking out another teacher on their own, of course, and the FTC hasn’t shown how anyone has been harmed by a rule that prevents teachers from poaching each other’s students, but, apparently some bored bureaucrat decided that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE about this clear and present danger.

The MTNA has removed the rule while it figures out how to respond to the FTC’s investigation. So far, it’s amounted to a waste of member’s dues:

MTNA’s Ingle says that’s already happening. His 12-member staff in Cincinnati, Ohio has had to compile 17 years worth of records, including its by-laws, ethics code, journals, finances and membership to satisfy the FTC’s demands.

Sounds like what the IRS did to conservative groups, no? Beat them into submission by hitting them with burdensome documentation demands — and legal fees, should the group decide it needs representation.

Obama’s America: Where nothing is beneath the Federal government’s notice, except Iranian nukes.

via reader Lance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#CommonCore: turning History into anti-American propaganda

December 4, 2013
x

Necessary

I honestly haven’t followed the controversy over the proposed Common Core national educational standards all that closely (1), though I’m somewhat familiar with the questions of lowered standards, loss of local control, and the constitutional issue over a national curriculum. But I do not claim to be an expert.

If, however, this is representative of how American History is to be taught, I’ll be reaching for my pitchfork and torch. The textbook in question is Prentice-Hall’s “The American Experience,” and its chapter on the Second World War, as well as the accompanying teacher’s manual, takes a, shall we say, “slanted” view of the war:

The opening page of the slim chapter devoted to World War II called “War Shock” features a photograph of a woman inspecting a large stockpile of thousand-pound bomb castings. The notes in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition set the tone:

“In this section, nonfiction prose and a single stark poem etch into a reader’s mind the dehumanizing horror of world war. . . .”

The editors of the textbook script the question teachers are supposed to ask students in light of the photograph as well as provide the answer:

Ask: What dominant impression do you take away from this photograph?

Possible response: Students may say that the piled rows of giant munitions give a strong impression of America’s power of mass production and the bombs’ potential for mass destruction.”

Translation: Americans made lots of big bombs that killed lots of people.

The principal selection of the chapter is taken from John Hersey’s Hiroshima. It is a description of ordinary men and women in Hiroshima living out their lives the day the bomb was dropped. A couple of lines reveal the spirit of the document:

“The Reverend Mr. Tanimoto got up at five o’clock that morning. He was alone in the parsonage, because for some time his wife had been commuting with their year-old baby to spend nights with a friend in Ushida, a suburb to the north.”

Further prompts from the margins of the Teacher’s Edition indicate how the selection is to be read and taught:

“World War II has been called a popular war in which the issues that spurred the conflict were clearly defined. . . . Nevertheless, technological advances . . . [and the media] brought home the horrors of war in a new way. Although a serious antiwar movement in the United States did not become a reality until the 1960s, these works by Hersey and by Jarrell take their place in the ranks of early antiwar literature.

Have students think about and record in writing their personal feelings about war. Encourage students to list images of war that they recall vividly. [Conveniently, there is a photograph of the devastation in Hiroshima next to this prompt].

Tell students they will revisit their feelings about war after they have read these selections.”

The entire section is littered with questions and prompts in this vein and plenty of photos that show the destruction of Hiroshima. In case the students would be inclined to take the American side in this conflict, the editors see to it that teachers will remind the students repeatedly that there are two sides in every war:

“Think Aloud: Model the Skill
Say to students:
When I was reading the history textbook, I noticed that the writer included profiles of three war heroes, all of whom fought for the Allies. The writer did not include similar profiles for fighters on the other side. I realize that this choice reflects a political assumption: that readers want to read about only their side’s heroes.

. . . Mr. Tanimoto is on the side of “the enemy.” Explain that to vilify is to make malicious statements about someone. During wartime, it is common to vilify people on the other side, or “the enemy.””

After a dozen pages of Hersey’s Hiroshima (the same number given to Benjamin Franklin in volume one of The American Experience), students encounter the anti-war, anti-heroic poem by Randall Jarell, “The Death of the Ball Turrett Gunner.” The last line in this short poem sums up the sentiment: “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.” The textbook editors zero in for the kill:

“Take a position: Jarrell based his poem on observations of World War II, a war that has been called “the good war.” Is there such a thing as a “good war”? Explain.

Possible response: [In the Teacher’s Edition] Students may concede that some wars, such as World War II, are more justified than others, but may still feel that “good” is not an appropriate adjective for any war.”

This is not a history lesson. It is anti-war propaganda masquerading as history. This is garbage designed to at best place America and Imperial Japan on an ambiguously equal moral ground, and at worst to make us out to be a villain or aggressor in the conflict. To focus on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki without presenting the reasons for the attack is intellectually bankrupt. The Truman administration dropped the bombs because of the experience of fanatical Japanese resistance along a whole string of islands, where again and again Imperial Japanese Army units fought until nearly wiped out. Imagine that occurring on the Japanese Home Islands themselves, in the event of invasion; bear in mind that the Japanese government was not of a mind to surrender and indeed was talking about “70 million dead” (essentially, fighting to the last man, woman, and child), and then look at the casualty estimates for just the American invasion forces, for which figures of 500,000 killed and wounded were common. And, should the invasion have been delayed until 1946 or the islands simply besieged, there was a very real risk of famine and the  mass starvation of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, because transportation networks had been destroyed. And that doesn’t even begin to account for hundreds of millions suffering under Japanese rule and who needed the war to end as swiftly as possible.

Beyond the question of military necessity and the lesser of two evils, Common Core “standards” engage in moral relativism. While quoting Hersey’s “Hiroshima” (actually, a good book) and Jarrell’s poem, students are apparently left in the dark about Japan’s aggressive intentions and regular atrocities from the 1930s through the end. No mention of the invasion of Manchuria, the war on China, the Rape of Nanking, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Unit 731, or the horrors suffered by prisoners of war and civilians living under Japanese rule.

But we do get pictures of American bombs, vivid descriptions of the wreck of Hiroshima, and the lasting impression that we were the ones committing evil, not doing what was necessary to end it.

Let me be blunt: Imperial Japan was evil and had subjected Asia and the Pacific to a horrific nightmare, all to satisfy a national ideology that dehumanized everyone else. Once the war had started, it had to be crushed; the Truman administration was right drop the atomic bombs to force Japan’s surrender (2). It would have been a greater evil to let the war drag on. And while innocent people died in the fight against Japan, to teach any sort of moral equivalence between the two nations is insulting and obscene.

And yet these are the new standards? This isn’t education, it’s pedagogical malpractice.

Footnote:
(1) On the other hand, Michelle Malkin has been an avenging angel on the topic.
(2) A superb book on the end of the war and the decision to use atomic weapons is Frank’s “Downfall: the End of the Imperial Japanese Empire.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Are Government Schools a Form of Child Abuse?

September 28, 2013

Not as satirical as you may think. Ending the monopoly of the teachers unions and education bureaucrats might be the best thing to happen to children in a long time.

International Liberty

I’m a big fan of school choice. If we bust up the government education monopoly and create a competitive education market, we’ll get a much better education system at much lower cost.

This isn’t just idle theorizing. The evidence shows that competition produces better results.

That will be especially good news for children from poor and minority neighborhoods, as even the Washington Post has admitted.

There’s even good evidence for school choice from other nations, such as Chile, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

And since we’re looking at international evidence, it’s worth noting that America spends more per student than any other nation, yet gets very mediocre results.

However, there’s also a non-educational argument for busting up the government school monopoly. Simply stated, we have to rescue kids from brainless school bureaucrats who impose crazy forms of anti-gun political correctness.

What am I talking about?…

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Tales of the Idiocracy: 7th-grader faces expulsion for playing with an Airsoft gun — at home. UPDATE: Expelled!

September 24, 2013
I said, no fun allowed!

I said, no fun allowed!

Yet another example of watery-kneed “educators” taking zero-tolerance way too far:

A suspended seventh grade Virginia Beach student will find out soon if he is expelled for the rest of the year for shooting an airsoft gun.\

Like thousands of others in Hampton Roads, Khalid Caraballo plays with airsoft guns. Caraballo and his friend Aidan were suspended because they shot two other friends who were with them while playing with the guns as they waited for the school bus.

The two seventh graders say they never went to the bus stop; they fired the airsoft guns while on Caraballo’s private property.

Aidan’s father, Tim Clark, told WAVY.com what happened next lacks commons sense. The children were suspended for possession, handling and use of a firearm.

At worst, you’ve got two teenage boys horsing around, maybe making mild jackasses of themselves. Something 13-year olds have been doing since the paleolithic, at least. It’s a parenting matter, not anything for “long arm of the school district.” And let’s emphasize this, they were on private property at least part of the time, and never on a school bus, nor at school. Since when does the school district’s authority extend onto people’s yards?

Of course, I’m not taking the kids’ story that they stayed in their yard and never, ever went to the school bus stop at face value. That would have been… un-13 year old-like. But it’s possible. Still, we’re talking Airsoft guns that fire plastic pellets. The worst their putative victims received was a stinger when their friends shot them in the arm and the back.

The real problem here is the overreaction of the authorities and the neighbor who called 911 on two kids with airguns. Check out the video report at the above link: the neighbor explicitly knew these were not real firearms. They just made her “uncomfortable.” Puh-leeze. Like my blog-buddy Sister Toldjah wrote:

Petty parent using law enforcement to solve a  harmless “problem” between her child and one of his friends? Sure sounds like it.

Even worse, though, are the school authorities threatening expulsion –which goes on the boys’ permanent records– over a massively overblown incident that didn’t even happen on school property and is none of their business. It’s a ludicrous overreaction on the part of stuffed-shirt officials and born of the anti-gun hysteria the Left loves to whip up, where common sense flies out the window and a spring-loaded gun firing plastic pellets becomes an object of fear and loathing, its bearer someone to be banished. Pathetic.

I mean, it’s not like they were armed with Pop-tarts.

via Bryan Preston

UPDATE: Preston with the “You’ve got to be kidding me” news. Unanimous?

The boys have been expelled from school by a unanimous vote. Unbelievable.

“VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A seventh grade Virginia Beach student previously suspended for shooting an airsoft gun has been expelled, WAVY.com has learned.

During a hearing Tuesday morning, Aidan Clark and Khalid Caraballo were expelled in a unanimous vote. Clark was offered the option of attending an alternative school, but his father, Tim, told WAVY News’ Andy Fox he will be homeschooled.

Caraballo will attend an alternative school.”

Unbelievable.

UPDATE 2: WAVY has corrected the story. The boys have received “long-term suspensions,” not expulsions:

During a hearing with a disciplinary committee Tuesday morning, Aidan Clark, Khalid Caraballo and a third friend were given long-term suspensions in a unanimous vote. The suspensions will last until June, but a hearing will be held January 27 to determine if they will be allowed back in school sooner.

I’m with the parents: this is a distinction without a meaningful difference. And the school administrators still need to be demoted to janitor.


Education: Court rules NY teacher unfairly fired

September 22, 2013
"Class, meet your new teacher!"

“Class, meet your new teacher!”

After all, he was only found carrying heroin while on jury duty

A high school teacher who was fired earlier this year for showing up for jury duty with 20 glassine envelopes of heroin stashed in a pack of cigarettes could get his job back.

A judge found that Damian Esteban’s firing was “unduly harsh” and ordered the Department of Education to impose a lesser punishment. City officials blasted the decision on Thursday, saying they would appeal.

“We cannot fathom how a teacher who took 20 bags of heroin into a courthouse is fit to stand in front of a classroom and teach the city’s school children,” Michael A. Cardozo, the city’s top lawyer, said in a statement.

Maybe he was planning a field trip on which the children would role-play being junkies.

Our children are in the best of hands.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Education: I don’t recall field trips like this when I was young

September 21, 2013

Nope. I remember going to museums, and zoos, and observatories. We even went to a farm, where we got to milk the cows, harvest some eggs, and pick some produce. For a little kid in grammar school, those trips were fun.

Then again, we were never treated like slaves and had abuse hurled at us by our teachers, unlike these kids in Connecticut:

It was revealed this week that a school from Connecticut took their students on a field trip last November where the students reenacted slavery and had their teachers call them the N-word. The Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy took a four-day filed trip to the Nature’s Classroom in Charlton, Massachusetts.

According to the parents, they were never told about the third day of the trip (when the reenactment took place).

“The re-enactment included having the students pretend to be on a slave ship, pretend to pick cotton, pretend the teachers were their slave masters, yelling the n-word at them and chasing them through the woods.”

This is a field trip taken by a group of 12 year olds! One of the parents spoke with a local news affiliate about the trip. She said, “The fact that they used the N-Word. How dare you say that to my child and call it an educational experience? How dare you say that to my child?” This same parent was shocked when the she found out this trip had been going on for years, but no one ever saw a problem with it.

And, yes, some of the children were Black. The stupidity required to think this would be a good idea is just mind-boggling. What’s next? Putting the kids in chains and staging a sale, so they can “develop empathy?”

Whatever happened to “let them read about slavery and explain to them why it was an awful thing?”

And this was in liberal, (supposedly) enlightened New England. Can you imagine the outcry if a school anywhere in the South did this?

These are the people we have teaching our children? No wonder home-schooling is becoming more and more popular.

via Wayward_Okie

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


NY school district: “We’re sorry for teaching Jews are evil”

April 12, 2013

School has certainly changed since my day:

An upstate New York school district is reportedly apologizing — and mulling possible disciplinary action — for a high school writing assignment that asked students to “argue Jews are evil” while making a persuasive argument blaming them for the problems of Nazi Germany.

The Albany Times Union reports that some students at Albany High School were asked to research Nazi propaganda before assuming their English teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems, the newspaper reports.

“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich,” the assignment reportedly read. A third of the students refused.

Wow. I’ll be charitable and assume a stunning lack of sensitivity and plain good sense on the instructor’s part. There are, after all, good uses for exercises that ask the student to explore and defend the other side or other points of view. But when you’re talking about one of the most monstrous atrocities in the history of humanity –the Holocaust– the only point of discussing the attitudes that lead to it is to criticize them and show their utter evil, not to learn how to be an apologist for them.

Yeah, I’d say this teacher deserves at least a suspension, if not termination, but someone should pointedly ask that school district why they don’t supervise their employees’ lesson plans more closely.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Genius: Maryland legislator proposes “Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act”

March 10, 2013
"Watch out! He's got a Pop-tart!!"

Protecting the right to keep and bear Pop-tarts

Proof once again that mockery is a wonderful weapon. In the wake of little Josh Welch getting in trouble with school officials for the horrible crime of biting his Pop-tart into the shape of a gun and playing with it, a Maryland lawmaker has introduced a bill to… Well, to tell school officials to stop being a bunch of idiots:

A Maryland state senator has crafted a bill to curb the zeal of public school officials who are tempted to suspend students as young as kindergarten for having things — or talking about things, or eating things — that represent guns, but aren’t actually anything like real guns.

Sen. J. B. Jennings, a Republican who represents Baltimore Harford Counties, introduced “The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013? on Thursday, reports The Star Democrat.

Presumably the provisions of this bill would also protect the infamous toddler-terrorist in Pennsylvania who gave delicate school officials the vapors with her dreaded pink bubble-gun. Perhaps she should consider asking for asylum, if this bill goes through.

My favorite part of the legislation, however, is this:

The bill also includes a section mandating counseling for school officials who fail to distinguish between guns and things that resemble guns. School officials who fail to make such a distinction more than once would face discipline themselves.

Now I call that a useful law!  It’s a shame our education professionals seem to need it.

RELATED: More insane anti-gun hysteria from Dan Mitchell and Eric Owens.

via Sissy Willis and Iowahawk

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)