Fearless Prediction

Americas public school kids are in the middle of the biggest snow day in national history.

In-school classes in much, perhaps most, of the country are canceled for the rest of the year.. While schools are switching frantically to non-traditional, largely online instruction, it’s safe to say the apple cart has been completely upturned.

A former education bureaucrat and current consultant to the educational/industrial complex, writing in the Washington post, is very, very worried about What It All Means:

There is no research to measure what the effect of this massive break will be. In our lifetimes, Americans have never canceled so much school for so many children. But we know one thing for sure: The impact will not simply disappear. It will linger into next school year and beyond. Indeed, Hanushek and others have found that the effects of a single great teacher or a single substandard teacher can be measured into adulthood. And the negative effects of chronic absenteeism(typically defined as missing at least 15 to 18 days in a school year) on student achievement are clear — and dire.

My prediction: the only “dire” results, assuming the truth ever is let out by a media that is completely in bed with the establishment, will be to the establishment of the educational/industrial complex.; I predict it will be showing that the vast majority of children thrive, learning at their own pace, more or less, from home, and not being jammed into uniform desks in airless classrooms, having material presented to them in assembly line fashion as if they are widgets on an assembly line – which, cynical as it sounds, is the model for the vast majority of education, public and private, today.

I predict that most kids come out of this episode smarter than they would have had they stayed in school.

As the author notes, there will be exceptions; children of poor families, or whose parents aren’t able to devote as much attention to dealing with the kids needs while they’re quarantined.

Another fearless prediction: for the vast majority of those kids, this will still be the best educational time of their lives. And for the rest, they are the same ones that the public schools are leaving behind when they’re in class.

Prove me wrong.

Striking Out

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Teachers say they’re striking because the schools are unsafe, not just for money.  But the solutions they propose don’t address the root causes of the problem.

Society painted itself into this corner a little at a time, each new initiative sounding good but each one sacrificing a little, too.  In every aspect of life, when there isn’t enough to go around, society must practice triage, must decide who gets the scarce commodity and who is robbed of it.  I suggest we’ve been making the wrong decision.

Child 1 has autism.  He needs special education, extra attention from teacher, additional time on tests but we’ve mainstreamed him in the classroom with average and smart kids.  While teacher is working with him, the other 29 students are bored, learning nothing.

Child 2 doesn’t want to be in school but is lumped with students who do.  He acts out, picks fights, talks back, disrupts class but we can’t remove him because of his race.  While the teacher is dealing with him, the other 29 kids are bored, learning nothing.

Child 3 has mental health problems.  You get the idea.

Two kids might have better lives, the disruptive one probably will drop out soon.  27 kids fail the reading and math test for their grade level.  Which is understandable, since they’ve been sitting in class learning nothing all year.

The solution may not be hiring mental health counselors in the main office or racism monitors in every building.  The solution may be removing the three who need special attention so the 27 can thrive.  No amount of teacher salary raises will solve that problem.

Joe Doakes

All very true – if the goal is to actually educate children.

And for many, probably most, teachers that is the goal. But for the administrative class, and a public employee unions that really control the whole situation, it’s really about power and transfer of wealth. If any children actually get educated, chalk it up to collateral benefits achieved by pure happenstance.

Behold The Racket

As this is written, I’m not sure if teachers in the Saint Paul Public schools are going to be going out on strike today. It seemed very likely.

One things for certain: the teachers unions PR people have been earning their money. Minnesota Public Radio’s coverage of the strike in particular sounds as if it is written directly from teachers union talking points.

Seriously. You be the judge:

St. Paul educators lead the nation in a strategy of using their contract negotiations as a lever to not just get better pay for themselves, but to make their schools a better place for their communities, said Lesley Lavery, an associate professor at Macalester College who studies education.

“Teachers are continuing their strategy of bargaining for the common good which they started about a decade rago,” Lavery said. “They’re trying to listen to community members and listen to teachers’ concerns on the theory that teachers are working most closely with students.”

Raise? Hell, you’re almost wanna give them a medal, don’t you?

Seriously – the entire time of MPR is coverage smacks of one pseudo-governmental fiefdom scratching another pseudo-governmental fiefdoms back.

The center of the American experiment has some facts about the SPPS:

On the surface, these salary increases may seem reasonable, but a deeper dive into the numbers provides more clarity around the union’s demands. Pay increases are built into the salary schedule for the first 20-or-so years of a teacher’s career. The 3.4 percent and 2 percent increases would be on top of the salary increase formula already included in the existing union contract, commonly called the “step and lane” progression. Despite participating in countless media interviews leading up to the strike, the teachers’ union has neglected to mention these built-in increases that already exist.

Unexpectedly.

Unexpected

If “common sense” were truly common, we wouldn’t really need a word for it, would we?

If you give people money to do something, they will take it. If you give them more money to do the same thing, they will take more money. Put another way, the more money you provide for a good or service, the more the apparent cost of that good or service will be.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it?

Not simple enough for higher education policymakers, naturally.

Federally guaranteed student loans, as a cause-and-effect relationship, have made a college education unaffordable:

Secured financing of student loans resulted in a surge of students applying for college. This increase in demand was, in turn, met with an increase in price because university administrators would charge more if people were willing to pay it, just as any other business would (though to be fair, student loans do require more administration staff for processing).  According to Forbes, the average price of tuition has increased eight times faster than wages since the 1980s. In 2018, the Federal Reserve estimated that there is currently $1.5 trillion in unpaid student debt. The Institute for College Access and Success estimates that in 2017, 65 percent of recent bachelor’s degree graduates have student loans, and the average is $28,650 per borrower.

The government’s backing of student loans has caused the price of higher education to artificially rise; the demand would not be so high if college were not a financially viable option for some. Young people have been led to believe that a diploma is the ticket to the American dream, but that’s not the case for many Americans.

Financially, it makes no sense to take out a $165,000 loan for a master’s degree that leads to a job where the average annual salary is $38,000—yet thousands of young people are making this choice. Only when they graduate do they understand the reality of their situation as they live paycheck-to-paycheck and find it next-to-impossible to save for a home, retirement, or even a rainy-day fund.

And yet there are far too many people profiting from the current arrangement for any real hope of change.

Miseducation

The University of Minnesota is going to be starting mandatory pronoun training:

Faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota are gearing up to undergo pronoun training in order to make the campus a more welcoming environment for “transgender” and “non-binary” community members.
A university policy first floated in the summer of 2018 and recently finalized dictates that university employees “are expected to use the names, gender identities and pronouns specified to them by university members.” Failing to abide by this policy “could result in discipline,” according to the policy’s FAQ page.
Training for the new policy has begun, The Minnesota Daily reports. The training program involves instructing staff and faculty in the new gender pronoun rules; those staff will then be “tasked with working to educate their colleagues, helping them work through questions and mistakes.”

There are really two responses to this. Technically three, but “unquestioning acquiescence” is off the table. .

I can either:

  • Point out that this sort of thing is at best an unproductive and ultimately damaging diversion to someone’s mental illness, and at worst catering to someone’s attention-seeking
  • Tell U of M staff that my preferred pronouns are “His Highness / The Grand Admiral “

I’m leaning toward “B”. Satire seems to be more useful these days.

Intended Consequences

I work in technology. And for the past decade or so, the tech industries and the educational-industrial complex have been fairly begging women to go into “STEM” – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math”. Which is a fine and dandy thing – I work with a lot of exceptional engineers who happen to be women, and it’s not actually a new thing; it’s been true my entire career.

But the appeal has been getting louder, stronger, more strident lately. And I had an idea why.

Turns out I was only half right.


For thirty years now, the education system from kindergarten through the university system has been becoming more and more remorselessly feminized. Boyhood traits – physical play, roughhousing, restless energy – were stigmatized, pathologized and medicated. Being a boy – a young man – was, to the educational-industrial complex that sprang up over the past generation, something to be overcome.

It became, in the parlance of corporate human recourses, a hostile environment.

And as Christine Hoff Summers predicted in The War On Boys, a major result has been higher education becoming largely a female preserve. Currently, about 60% of post-secondary degrees go to women – up from under half forty years ago. Hoff Summers has data predicting it’ll level out around 66% sometime here. That’s two-thirds of all higher education.

“Is this a good thing” is one question – distorting higher ed by making it a hostile environment for one sex is a bad thing – but that’s not the real discussion here.

There’s been an interesting shift as a result of this distortion. Check out this graph, of percentages of bachelors degrees going to women, by year and by degree, over the past five decades:

While the percentage of women in engineering and hard sciences crept slowly up over the past nearly-fifty years – from just about nil in the case of engineering – the share of women in computer science programs actually peaked when I was in college (don’t I know it), has been eroding ever since, and seems to have plunged in the early 2000s. The velocity of the up-curve in engineering slowed around that time, and the percentage of physical science degrees peaked around the same time and is broadly down ever since.

I have absolutely no empirical, objective idea why. But I have a couple of theories.

Solid Ground – if you want to start a fight with a “woke” person with a background in soft science but who is nonetheless an expert at sciencing because they think Neil DeGrasse Tyson is the dreamiest sciencer ever, tell ’em there are innate differences between the sexes. But there is actual scientific evidence that a predisposition toward some traits that are well-suited to sciences – three-dimensional spatial visualization, single-track analytical affect and some others – tend to be associated with males (in a bell-curve distribution with exceptions all over the place, like most human traits).

As a result – my theory, here – young men fled the soft sciences, and especially the humanities (which were in the midst of being taken over by even loonier theorists than had run their high schools), as an alternative to four years of ritual self-abnegation for grades. Young men gravitated toward fields that didn’t innately hate them. Which may have both swelled the numbers of degrees going to males and lowered the proportion of women in the field.

Which, tangentially, is why I suspect gender theorists and “woke” administrators are trying to sqeedge gender theory into, and logic out of, engineering programs.

But I think its also…

Built On Sand – Thirty to forty years ago, before the compete feminization of the academy and the education profession, someone in school – male or female – with an interest in science, learned their math and science from people who taught, well, math and science. To both young men and women.

And that as that focus switched from teaching discplines (and discipline) to teaching ephemeral feelings and lessons in the new social rules, they became less capable of nurturing the STEM-oriented traits of young women who might have been interested in the field. Meaning fewer attempted it.

Since the public schools began their terminal dive into PC twaddle about twenty years ago, I’m going to call it a solid correlation.

Some Pathological Liars Are More Equal Than Others

Famous not-actual-Native American Elizabeth Warren, who was not fired from a job for being pregnant, didn’t actually send her kid to public school.

But it took other people, in every case, to make that info public.

The school thing? Oh, yeah:

Sarah Carpenter, a pro-school choice activist who organized a protest of Warren’s Thursday speech in Atlanta, told Warren that she had read news reports indicating the candidate had sent her kids to private school. Though Warren once favored school choice and was an advocate for charter schools, she changed her views while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
“We are going to have the same choice that you had for your kids because I read that your children went to private schools,” Carpenter told Warren when the two met, according to video posted to social media, which was first identified by Corey DeAngelis, director of school choice at Reason Foundation.
Warren denied the claim, telling Carpenter, “My children went to public schools.”
A school yearbook obtained by the Washington Free Beacon indicates, however, that Warren’s son, Alex Warren, attended the Kirby Hall School for at least the 1986-1987 school year, Warren’s final year as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The college preparatory school is known for its “academically advanced curriculum” and offers small class sizes for students in grades K-12. The yearbook indicates that Alex Warren attended as a fifth grader.

Running as she is for the nomination by party for which an outsized share of delegates work for the Teachers Unions, it makes good sense to throw black families under the bus (and promising “historic investments” is exactly that).

Except within the Democrat party.

Why Blue America Is Doomed

Math is racist. Achievement is supremacy.

Winston.

Seattle Public Schools adopt program that turns math into yet another grievance studies program:

In October, Seattle public schools unveiled a “framework” to inject “math ethnic studies” into all K-12 math classes, teaching “how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color.”
Students will be asked to “identify the inherent inequities of the standardized testing system used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color” and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.”
“Why/how does data-driven processes prevent liberation?” it asks. “How important is it to be Right? What is Right? Says Who?”

It almost reads like the Babylon Bee – which is something I realize I’m saying a lot about the modern American left:

The curriculum was pushed by the school district’s ethnic studies program manager, Tracy Castro-Gill, who on Oct. 19 tweeted a picture with her “Marxist ringleader” and said the “next step is matching “INDOCTRINATED” t-shirts!”
“I am an educator of color in Seattle whose job is anti-racist work within the school district. Seattle is very white — nearly 70%. It’s also one of the most liberal cities in the US, and these liberal, white Seattleites hate being called racist, but the thing is – a lot of them are,” she wrote.
Though she was hired by the superintendent and the school board, Castro-Gill said criticisms of the math proposal from one board member’s Asian wife were racist. She also asked people to “help me push” the board and superintendent to oppose “rewhiting.”

I used to joke that pretty much every “radical atheist” was a Catholic or Evangelical with Daddy issues.

And yet again, the joke is reality:

Castro-Gill wrote on her blog that her mother is white and her father is Hispanic, but that she has a strained relationship.
“I’m fairly radical atheist and consider myself a far left anarchist who fights for racial justice,” she wrote. “My parents are both Trump supporting Republicans.”
She is also at odds with her child’s father after their child declared herself “nonbinary” after reading literature about transgenderism.

Fearless prediction – which I started writing as a joke, but as with all such things, Berg’s 21st Law is in effect here – Ms. Castro-Gill will be hired as a consultant by the Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Edina or Bloomington Public Schools in the near future.

I Sometimes Wonder…

…if “educators” – secondary and university-level – in the “humanities” know anything about the history of the “humanities”.

Teachers are worried about teaching the otherwise (ostensibly) brilliant work of artists whose personal lives are, well, problematic, in the #MeToo era:

For Martina Myers, a high school English teacher on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, Sherman Alexie’s novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” seemed too good to be true: funny, well-crafted and focused on Native American youth.
Her students at Piñon High School, many of whom struggled with substance abuse and mental illness, took to it immediately. They wrote poems in response, on native pride, addiction, self-acceptance and suicide attempts.
So when Ms. Myers learned last year of the allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Alexie, who issued a statement admitting he had “harmed other people,” she felt two waves of betrayal — first for her students and then for herself, a survivor of abuse.
“When the #MeToo movement happened I told my story,” Ms. Myers said. She knew some of her students, too, had experienced sexual assault.

Where do these hamsters come from?

The history of arts and humanities is clogged with deeply dysfunctional people. The drive to be an artist seems, in fact, to be closely linked with personal and emotional instability.

And the “artists” that fit neatly into the bounds of what’s considered socially acceptable today largely aren’t that interesting.

Why, it’s almost as if someone is trying to dumb society down, or something…

Transfer Of Wealth

Chicago teachers are on strike.

Again.

But it’s not just for them, this time. Nosirreebob.

In the last two contract fights, the union brought up these issues, but they also had to concentrate on protecting their members whose jobs were being threatened by school closings and the opening of charter schools. The school district also had a budget deficit that made it difficult to argue for more resources.
This year, they saw an opening to try to win big on these social justice issues. The school district has more money after a change in the state’s funding formula and Lightfoot has said she believes schools need additional resources. The union also feels compelled to push these demands after years of budget cuts that led to staff losses in schools .
Many teachers say conditions in schools are unacceptable.
Lightfoot and her team have maintained they are committed to adding 250 more nurses, 200 social workers and more special education case managers to schools. But they say putting these promises in the contract would limit their flexibility.

Between the lines: it’s a weath transfer, from Illinois taxpayers to Chicago public employees.

Special “Elite” Media Messaging Bonus: Listening to MPR discussing the story this morning, “Morning Edition” host Bill Inskeep, talking with a Chicago NPR reporter, emphasized (and I’m very closely paraphrasing here): “Just to make sure we’re clear on this – the union is doing this for the kids’ well-being…”

Beware Leftists Talking “Conversations”

In 2010, Governor Dayton pledged to make education his top priority.

In 2018, Walz did the same

And after the spending of billions of dollars – much of it extracted with the same exploitive gaslighting and logrolling that were the calling cards of both Dayton and Walz’s gubernatorial races – the results are…

…well, predictable:

Math scores on the biggest statewide exam have plummeted for six straight years, troubling some education officials and teachers — and prompting deep discussions about how to teach math in a more holistic way.
Last year, just 55% of students met state standards on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, a slide of six percentage points in just over a decade. The decline spans all racial groups, and has diverged from the trend in reading scores, which have largely remained flat.

A smart government and bureaucracy would think in terms of, perhaps, inviting different people to the “conversation”.

A Thousand Times “Yep”

While driving about yesterday during the mid-day, I caught a piece on MPR – basically a recycled “Documentary” podcast on “Education” looking at the tension between free speech and “inclusion” at the U of M, viewed in the context of a squabble over a panel on the Washington Avenue bridge in 2016, where Campus Republicans wrote “build the wall”, spawning the usual suspects’ usual performances about the need to make free speech not nearly so free.

I sat, mostly dumbfounded, as a series of academics, consultants and activists responded to the notion of the importance (to say nothing of sanctity ,and vitality to a democracy) of free speech with an ever-increasing series of “Yabbuts”.

There were too many chilling moments to pick just one pullquote; I’d read or listen to the whole thing, if you’re in the mood to feel immense forboding.

But this part here caught my attention; I’ve added some emphasis:

Over the course of [Rebecca Ropers, a vice provost for faculty and academic affairs at the University of Minnesota]’s career, she has witnessed an increasing ability for people that are marginalized on campus to articulate what is going on in their lives, but she doesn’t see administrators and other students showing a commensurate ability to hear and acknowledge those experiences. She said that the university now knows more about managing diversity and free speech, but school officials don’t always implement what they know.
“If administrators and faculty could have students’ backs and continue to articulate the importance of free speech, while also saying, ‘Yeah, and I really find that reprehensible,” I think maybe that’s a good strategy for academic leaders to take at this point,” Ropers said.

“Acknowledgment”. It’s the “bring me a rock” of modern sociology; the “acknowledgment” sought is never, ever the kind offered; there’s always a bigger, better, different form that’s really demanded, although it’s up to the acknowledgor to figure that out.

If the modern academy – at least, outside most engineering and hard science departments – expends energy in anything other than endless self-flagellation over the current view of identity politics, what is it?

Although I’ll clarify – it’s not so much self-flagellation; call it flagellation of some “other” on the part of the upper-middle-class academics and activists doing the flagellation, who are never called upon for any meaningful sacrifices as a result.

Surprising Precisely Nobody

College Republican display at the U of M’s annual “Paint the Bridge” party vandalized.

For the fourth year in a row:

The group said their panel, which included text reading, “Donald Trump The Wall,” “Draining the Swamp,” and “America FIRST mentality,” was covered up within a day.

I wonder, sometimes, if the Democrats wonder what they’re messing with, here?

Conservatives on American campuses, after swimming upstream for four years and enduring the kind of abuse they endure, are going to be tougher than mule jerky.

In adult life, when those “kids” go up against the left’s generation of children of feckless entitled privlege, they’re going to slash through them like a lawn mower through a cabbage patch.

Campus Republican at Yale terms campus lefties’ eternal rage “Protester Derangement Syndrome”:

Sit-ins, hunger strikes and angry mobs: These are all things I became accustomed to in my late teens and early 20s. No, I haven’t been living in a country experiencing severe political unrest. I am living in New Haven, Conn., and attending Yale University as an undergrad.
While this may sound bizarre to you, behavior typical of a severely oppressed society has taken hold among students who are part of the Ivory Tower. I call it Protester Derangement Syndrome, or PDS for short.
Yale students enjoy luxuries akin to European aristocracy. Students live in resort-style housing that includes lavish feasts, massage parlors and recreational spaces that boast everything from a printing press to a pottery studio. However, Yale students afflicted with PDS display derangement symptoms similar to an oppressed religious cult. They refuse to interact with the world around them. They have demanded the buildings be renamed. They support the desecration of art. They sanitize history by demanding professors exclude certain authors from syllabi.
The Yale administration believes they can treat PDS through concessions and pacification. Unfortunately, their prescription has been ineffective.

I’m gonna so enjoy being “the real world” for these little twerps. Or at least the few of them that actually make it into the productive parts of the private sector, anyway.

The Future Is Orwellian

I went to a pretty unheralded little college in the middle of nowhere.

And it was one of the great experiences of my life.

It wasn’t that I learned things that directly helped me in the job market; my BA in English with minors in History and German didn’t kick open the doors of corporate America. Or non-profit America. Or anything.

But it taught me to think. Think hard. Sometimes to think hard about things I didn’t already know, or actively doubted. I had to study things – Freud, Nietsche, Marx – that I found disagreeable, and learn to understand them. I hard to confront ideas that didn’t comport with what the 18 year old me know about the universe. Sometime in my junior year, that cognitive dissonance led me, who’d grown up in a Democrat family, and who had written a Federalist party platform at 1980 Boys State that would have made Alexandria “Tide Pod Evita” Ocasio Cortez’ leg tingle – to vote for Ronald Reagan.

I was uncomfottable.

College kids today, increasingly, are deprived of this experience:

Post-secondary eduation in the US has gone through three borad eras;

  1. Christian education
  2. Gentlemens’ (and womens) education
  3. Consumer education (in the post GI-Bill era, where the student was looking for a good value for their money and time)

…and, well, something new.

What is that something new?

Elite private education in America is on the cusp of this new era. The controversies over free speech, safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions and the like are symptoms of this shift. They are currently considered controversies because the colleges are in transition, and many do not realize that the old standards no longer hold. Once the transition is complete, the “correct” side of the controversies will become central to a school’s identity — just as faith was to the Christian college, self-confidence was to the gentlemen’s college, and alumni devotion and achievement were to the consumer’s college.
Some have suggested naming this new college “the therapeutic university” or “the woke college.” I prefer “the comfort college,” because it combines the emotional component of the first with the political elements of the second. Our students are comfortable in their opinions but uncomfortable with their lives, finding their world and the Williams campus a threatening place. Once Williams’ transition to comfort college is complete, the students will expect to find their college truly comfortable in all respects.

And key to intellectual comfort is the suppression of all cognitive dissonance:

The slogan of the comfort college is “diversity and inclusion.” And just to be clear: The presence of previously underrepresented groups is vital, necessary and welcome. What’s more, insensitivity toward people’s identities should be self-censored, and social pressure to do so is a helpful tool.
But another agenda, an agenda that runs counter to true diversity and inclusion, has (often silently) accompanied these positive changes. At some point along the way, this laudable attention to the language of inclusion turned from a psychologically realistic sensitivity into a harsh and confrontational tribal marker. Much of comfort-college language — “neurodiverse” versus “mentally ill,” “minoritized” versus “minority” — simply identifies one as a member of the woke tribe, and using the wrong term will bring about social death.
The lack of cognitive significance in tribal language is a symptom of the deeper disease: the devaluing of the pursuit of knowledge. Students are now absolutists. Students, administrators and some faculty know what is right (and who is wrong). Any challenge to their views cannot be in pursuit of knowledge or even clarification. It can only come from the desire to crush and oppress.

I started this piece thinking that the future is going to be run by “elites” whose beliefs haven’t been forced to change since high school.

Given the totalitarian aspects to this change, maybe junior high is a better analogy.

Remember my definition of “Urban Progressive Privilege“; it’s a characteristic of people who can count on their worldviews remaining unchallenged throughout life.

That Moment When…

…you see a headline on social media that you just swear has to be from Babylon Bee, but it’s not:

St. Paul school board members aren’t paid enough, St. Paul school board members say

But sure enough, it’s a real story. Or as real as the mainstream media gets, anyway.

Of course, they preside over a crumbling district with one of the worst achievement gaps in the country, on a board that serves mostly as a DFL farm team.

But it’s all about keeping up with the Joneses:

Board members get $10,800 per year, which is less than what comparably sized metro districts pay. However, members are eligible for district health insurance; those who sign up get a premium subsidy that’s worth $9,643 this year.
Jon Schumacher and Mary Vanderwert, who are leaving the board next year after serving one four-year term, gave the strongest endorsements for a raise at a meeting Wednesday evening.
“I feel very strongly that there really does need to be an increase so we can make sure that we have people who have passion, who have expertise and who aren’t going to feel that serving on this board is going to make it impossible for them to meet their financial needs,” Schumacher said.
Vanderwert suggested a salary increase of $5,000 or more.
“I definitely think it’s time for us to do this,” she said. “It’s the most important work a community does, and the board positions need to be attractive to high-quality people.”

Full (but unneeded) disclosure – I worked with Mary Vanderwert a loooong time ago. Perfectly fine human being, although there’s that whole “SPPS School Board member” thing.

Did I mention the Joneses?

…Anoka-Hennepin, pays between $14,400 and $15,600, depending on the board member’s role, human resources director Laurin Cathey said.
Minneapolis, the third-largest district, pays $22,000.
Most board members make $9,000 in Osseo, $7,236 in St. Cloud, $7,200 in Bloomington and $5,000 in Brooklyn Center, Cathey said.
Cathey also looked at St. Paul’s national peers and found school board members receive no pay in either Des Moines, Iowa, or Portland, Ore.

I wondered if they bothered comparing school board pay to graduation rates, minority achievement or percent of students who need remedial classes in college?

And maybe correlate that with ideological distribution of the school board’s members?

Hmmmmm.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

The Problem…

…with trying to run a society with the entitled cranks that make up so much of the modern left is that if you’re a consevative, they really, really hate you and the idea of sharing a society with you.

University of Texas “Anarchist” (really Maxarchist) group promises to “dox” students who joint the campus’s conservative organization:

“Hey #UT23! Do you wanna be famous? If you join YCT or Turning Point USA, you just might be. Your name and more could end up on an article like one of these,” the tweet said, linking to previous doxxing posts of conservative students at the school. “So be sure to make smart choices at #UTOrientation

There are times I wish I was still in school.

Affirmative Consent

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Minnesota’s New Puritans trying to make college sex “safe” might destroy it, instead.  

The proposed legislation says consent to a sexual act must be given by words or actions that create mutually understandable, unambiguous permission regarding willingness to engage in, and the conditions of, sexual activity.   It goes on to say that consent may be withdrawn at any time.  

Does “at any time” mean “after the fact?”  Can a person regret having agreed to have sex and retroactively withdraw consent?  Do second-thoughts convert consensual activity into sexual assault? 

If a person is accused of engaging in sexual activity without obtaining express consent, at trial, how does the accused prove s/he did obtain explicit consent?  He-said-she-said testimony?  A witness who watched the sex act?  Sex video?  Who curates the library of sex videos? 

It would be much easier to enforce if they’d cut to the chase and say: “Students shall not engage in sexual activity while enrolled in college.”
Joe Doakes

My alma mater – at least while I was in school (I have no idea today) went through at least the formality of saying “nobody of the opposite sex in your room after 11PM – 1AM on weekends”. Everyone knew the rules were getting flouted – but the institution had the wisdom to imply “look, all you late-adolescents – we know you’re going to do it, because for all the academic jabbering you are all still governed by hormones. But we know you’re neither thinking clearly, nor ready for the consequences, and we’re at least going to nag you about it long enough that the consequences don’t happen on our watch”.

I’m pretty sure it was a better idea.

“Unexpected”

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The Democrats will be holding their convention next year in Milwaukee.  

Kevin Williamson thinks that’s pretty appropriate, all in all.  

In response to a particularly stupid column by Paul Krugman a few years back, our friend Iowahawk shared an interesting discovery: Schools in progressive Wisconsin on average outperform the schools in low-spending, Republican Texas — but the schools in Texas outperform the schools in Wisconsin when it comes to outcomes for white students, black students, and Latino students, each of which group produced higher test scores in Texas than in Wisconsin. Wisconsin came out ahead not because it does a better job with any particular group of students but because it is overwhelmingly white. In other states black and Hispanic students trail their white peers, too, but seldom as much as they do in Wisconsin’s graduation rates.

The Democrats own Milwaukee, which hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1908. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al. will be cheered to know that Milwaukee has had three times as many socialist mayors as Republicans since the beginning of the 20th century.

I’m exceptionally confident we’ll find Minnesota compares identically.

The World Academic / Intellectual War

The barring and harassment of conservative speakers on campus – even campuses like Grand Canyon and Northwestern in Saint Paul, which recently got heartburn over Star Parker – isn’t just a series of random snowflakes yelling themselves hoarse:

Lefties call this kind of challenge a structure test. It’s an evaluation of capacity. Organizations (or people) can either pass a structure test, or they can fail. In the case of the [Grand Canyon University] challenge, [Young America Foundation] passed. So, the next question is whether YAF has the capacity and willingness to pass that structure test somewhere else for the sake of Parker, who is a less prominent name than Shapiro.
After that, the question will be whether YAF can pass that test again, and again, and again. It’s an unending series of questions: Are you willing to fight? How much? For how long? How many fights can you sustain? How many fights can you keep track of? How many lawsuits can you afford to file?

Even I lose track.

The answer?

Organize – finally, once and for all. Of course, it’s easier said than done:

First off, let me stress that this kind of organization isn’t something just anybody can do. Some people are better placed to do it than others. The ideal person to be involved in this work is somebody who’s active in her alumni network, was active in campus life as a student, and has a good number of healthy contacts, preferably among people who are active donors.
If that’s you: sit down and make a list of people you know personally, who donate time and money to the university, who are unhappy with the way things are. Call them up on the phone—don’t text, don’t email, don’t Facebook. You’re using a personal connection here, and the human voice is important.
Sound them out, make sure they’re on your side, then make it clear you’re putting together a group of donors who want to pressure the university to make it a better place for conservatives. They should ideally be of a variety of ages — that way their networks will consist of different graduating cohorts. Discuss what you’re doing, what your demands will be, and get people to sign on.
This is your organizing committee

Read the whole thing. It’s worth it.

Disclosure: the pieces from the , which may as well be a click bait site these days.

On the other hand, there is nothing about what we know about political correctness, especially in the modern school and academic systems, that smells wrong in any way.

The principal at a New York performing arts high school ordered all Nazi symbol is removed from the stage

… of the play The Sound of Music. Which – if you’ve never seen it – was set in Nazi occupied Austria:

The principal at the elite “Fame” school, Lisa Mars, ordered Nazi flags and symbols removed from the stage set of the beloved tale of the Von Trapp family, who fled the Nazis from their native Austria as Adolf Hitler took power, students told the Daily News.

Now, there’s an old saying; “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is”. So this ext graf – In which a 15-year-old high school kid would seem to have gotten it right…:

“This is a very liberal school, we’re all against Nazis,” one sophomore performer told The News about the fuhrer furor. “But to take out the symbol is to try to erase history.

is perfectly likely to turn out to be false. But I do hope kids are smarter about history than the adults who run most of the educational/industrial complex today.

I hope Dash indeed, I pray – that it’s true.

Unexpected

Anti-bullying programs seem to result in…more bullying?  

Seokjin Jeong and Byung Hyn Lee set out to discover how bullying prevention programs could be effectively transferred from individual schools to schools on a national level. To their surprise, they discovered that bullying prevention programs don’t always produced the expected results:

“Surprisingly, bullying prevention had a negative effect on peer victimization. Contrary to our hypothesis, students attending schools with bullying prevention programs were more likely to have experienced peer victimization, compared to those attending schools without bullying prevention programs. It is possible that bullies have learned a variety of antibullying techniques but chose not to practice what they have learned from the program.”

Such findings bring up an important point. We spend a lot of time promoting awareness of different issues today. But while awareness of a problem should be raised, is it possible to fixate on that problem so much that we actually increase it?

The fact is, high attention on any one issue can work both ways. On the one hand, it raises focus on the victim. Being able to come out and say, “Yes, I’ve suffered, too,” even for the smallest thing, can be oddly gratifying and status boosting. On the flip side, perpetrators also stand to receive a certain level of prestige and attention for their actions, however wrong they may be.

In much the same way as saturation coverage of mass shootings creates more mass shootings I suspect.

Root Hog Go Hungary

Hungary bans Gender Studies courses at state universities:

A Hungarian government spokesman told Breitbart the country’s employers have “no demand for gender studies graduates.”

The new rule won’t affect many; only eleven students were admitted to the gender studies program at ELTE, and only two more at George Soros’s CEU according to the Breitbart report.

Wonder if we can get Viktor Orban to run for governor of Minnesota?