And Then…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

White, Jewish girl from Kansas City pretends to be Black girl from the ‘hood, for her entire career.  

She has a Ph.D.  from U-W, Madison.  Figures.

What do you bet she rode the Affirmative Action express all the way up?  “Black” woman applying to college and then to grad school – guaranteed admission.  “Black” woman doing “research” for a Ph.D – easier grading, more help, less criticism.  “Black” woman academic with excellent grades applying to be college professor – the script writes itself.

The news story compares her to Rachel Dolezal, the White woman who pretended to be Black to get a white-collar job (running a branch office of the NAACP).   True, but oddly, the story makes no mention of Elizabeth Warren, the White woman who pretended to be an American Indian so she could ride the Affirmative Action escalator into a professorship at Harvard.

That’s all fine, this woman confessed, she’s out in the open, and then . . . well, then what?  The college says they can’t comment on personnel matters, which implies she’s still working there.  She didn’t quit?  She didn’t give back the job she gained under false pretenses, the money that should have gone to another, more morally deserving person?

I see the confession . . . where’s the penance?

Joe Doakes

Penance is a form of white supremacy.

Haven’t you been paying attention, Joe?

Hail To The…Er, VIP

A friend of the blog emails:

Last night at a prayer meeting one of the members of the group told us that Minneapolis public schools made a change to job titles. This friend of mine is a teacher at Minneapolis South. He said it was announced yesterday that all titles in the Minneapolis public school system with the term Chief in them will be changed. It’s the end of racism as we know it.

Excising a word that existed in a constant context in the English language for hundreds of years?

Yeah, that oughtta fix it.

Cop Out

Hopkins School Board Vice-Chair Chris LaTondresse – did he tell you he’s an “Obama administration alum” yet?

The Defund the Police movement hitches it’s wagons into the western suburbs.

In the apparently halcyon days of April 2018, students and school officials of the Hopkins School District gathered together in what was called “National Walkout Day” in memory of the horrific tragedy of the Columbine school shootings 19 years earlier.  Students spoke of issues of gun control and school safety.  And while none of the student speakers were even alive when Columbine occurred, a common theme of seeking safety at school echoed in the various speeches.

A time-traveler from that April day in 2018 would have a hard time reconciling the Hopkins School District of just two and-a-half years later as the School Board voted to keep guns out of their schools – guns in the form of local police protection:

The Hopkins school board on Tuesday night embraced a student-led call to remove police from Hopkins High School — with the action to come at year’s end.

The 6-1 vote brings a suburban voice to a national movement that has sought to end the use of school resource officers, or SROs.

The move to defund Hopkins School Resource Officers comes after several months of intense online lobbying by a group calling themselves “CopsOutHHH” and a poll of Hopkins students in favor of the movement – a poll in which only 183 of the District’s 1,600 students voted.  By the end of the year, Hopkins will sever it’s relationship with the Minnetonka Police Department (the Hopkins School District includes parts of Edina and Minnetonka) in a move that supporter and Board Vice Chair Chris LaTondresse bizarrely described as not actually “defunding” the police since the contract was due to expire anyway.

LaTondresse, a DFL endorsed candidate for Hennepin County Commissioner who touts his consulting work for USAID as making him an “Obama administration alum” in the same way that I apparently was a member of Congress because I visited Washington D.C. once, claims the move will allows for more mental health funding.  Considering the SRO budget is $113,142 out of a budget of $91,502,418, the idea that shifting 0.01% of the School Board’s resources away from security and towards mental health will address either issue is laughable at best and incredibly dangerous at worse.

It’s also a conclusion that files in the face of peer-tested research.  Carleton University conducted a two-year study of SRO programs and in their report, published by Routledge in 2019, they concluded that for every dollar invested in the program, a minimum of $11.13 of social and economic value was created.  While attention would likely focus on the role the SRO could or did play in the estimated 525 school shootings over the past decade (a number in partial dispute as it groups any gun-related incidents on a school campus together), left unreported are the number of incidents prevented by early SRO intervention.  The group Averted School Violence has begun to attempt to collect and analyze such data, a task made somewhat difficult by the very nature of the endeavor – incidents that don’t escalate into violence rarely make the news.

LaTondresse and the Hopkins School Board also want to cite that SROs make students of color fundamentally uncomfortable.  While data can’t contend with feelings, even a Brookings Institute report from 2018 which was less than fully supportive of SROs as agents of school safety didn’t see any correlation between SROs and race.  Brookings believed context for arrest records and racial backgrounds were lacking and thus a poor metric to judge whether or not SROs were more likely to discriminate or otherwise negatively impact minority students.

But no amount of data – or even common sense – was present on Tuesday night as the Hopkins School Board voted to eliminate basic security without even so much as a concept of what would replace their School Resource Officers.  Instead, a small but vocal minority has continued to push a partisan agenda that endangers students for the goal of striking symbolic blow against the police.

Choice

A friend of the blog writes:

Just had an online meeting with our kid’s teacher. Expectations were laid out and kid is expected to be on time and we can expect a daily schedule that has the kid doing school work live, on line from 9-3:30. (There are breaks built in as there are during in person learning). 

We are at a charter school. Compare that expectation with the public school teachers union, who wanted one hour weekly of live in person, online learning.

We need more advocacy work like what Rashad Turner is doing. here. 

These are crazy days indeed, with me being on the same side of an issue as Rashad Turner.

Urban Progressive Privilege: The Free Market Of Ill-Informed, Class-Privilege-Sodden Twaddle They Are Pleased To Call “Ideas”

I listen to NPR so you don’t have to.

And there are some reasons it’s worth it. I mean, that’s where you get Live From Here with Chris Thile.

Well, for now, anyway.

Otherwise, there’s…

…well, a lot of racial virtue-signaling. I suspect the most lilywhite of America’s organizations is fearing a lot of backlash when the Bolsheviks come for the Mensheviks.

Speaking of which, it’s always a bit of a chuckle when the “progressives” that are NPR’s staff, social circle and pool of sources try to explain things like economics to the pool of “progressives” that are NPR’s audience.

Case in point – a piece from yesterday’s All Things Considered, an interview with one Eula Biss, about her new book about Capitalism.

Biss – a “non-fiction writing” major who has lived within the academic echo chamber her entire career, is the author of “Having and Being Had” – a primer on…

…wait for it…

…Capitalism.

Or, rather, a coddled, over-schooled/undereducated resident of the academic echo chamber’s perversion of the cartoon term “capitalism”, itself a hijacked representation of “the free market”…

…not that either term isn’t completely lost on Professor Biss.

Let’s start with this passage, which the NPR crowd will no doubt take for an emanation of wisdom, but merely proves that Biss’s son and babysitter are smarter than she is:

PFEIFFER: At one point, you’re talking about your son paying for a Pokemon card, although someone else thought he overpaid for the Pokemon card. What was it like for you to watch your son try to figure out what something was worth and why and maybe not figuring it out correctly?

BISS: Oh, it was amazing. In watching him learn how to play Pokemon the way it was being played in first and second grade at his school, I felt like I was seeing an economy be invented. But it was also somewhat excruciating to me because I saw the ways in which other children and his babysitter and I were training the values of capitalism into him. So, yes, at one point, he gave away a valuable Pokemon card because he just didn’t like it very much.

And then I heard his babysitter saying to him, were you a smart negotiator? And I thought, oh, no. What are we doing? This kid is only 6, and we’re already training him not to be generous and to get as much out of an exchange as he can possibly get out of it even if he doesn’t care about the thing he’s giving away.

PFEIFFER: Oh, that’s so interesting. I mean, diamonds are objectively very expensive and valuable, but if I don’t care about them and I just want to give them away, is that fine, or is that flawed financial thinking?

BISS: Under the logic of capitalism, it’s insane, right? But by some other logic, it makes perfect sense, especially since diamonds aren’t incredibly useful. You can’t eat them, and you can’t live inside them.

The interview – and one suspects the book – is a cavalcade of white progressive guilt, the sort of consequence-free wailing that afflicts our current layer of pseudointellectual societal overburden:

BISS: One of the things that I didn’t want to have happen to me as I entered this new life and lifestyle [i.e. – bought a house in a tony neighborhood near Northwestern Universitiy] was I didn’t want to begin to think that I had what I had because I’d worked hard, which is one of the patterns of thought very common to upper middle class. I don’t believe that I got what I got because I worked hard. I believe that I got what I got because the system favors me in a number of different ways – one, because I’m white, but also because I started out middle-class.

Notice she doesn’t mention “…because I’m part of an academic-industrial complex to which being a recipient of Urban Progressive Privilege gives me a priority ticket”.

Ms. Biss: If you’re that concerned about the things your “work” didn’t “earn” you, give up your teaching gig at Northwestern and become one of the people you describe later in the interview:

I think one of the possibilities that I could perceive, especially once the pandemic arrived, was the possibility of – what if we compensated the people we speak of as essential workers? So what if everyone who is essential to the daily workings of our lives was paid well and had health insurance and had basic security? That’s entirely possible. It’s even possible within capitalism, but that involves us making a series of changes in policy and, to some extent, in what we collectively value.

It’s entirely possible – say, within the context of a real epidemic, a modern-day Plague with a two-digit mortality rate, something that legitimately shuts down society for the duration of a disease serious enough to impinge even Nancy Pelosi or Lori Lightfoot’s lifestyles – for the skills and presence of “supply chain” workers, from the farm to the Walmart, to become very, very valuable. Vastly moreso than, say, writing professors at Northwestern.

But I don’t think that’s the “policy change” she’s referring to.

The bad news: these are the people teaching the “next generation of leaders”

The not-so-bad news: nobody she teaches will amount to anything outside the academic-industrial complex.

Badly Conceived

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The governor’s hybrid school plan troubles me.


 I’ve been informed integrated schools are neccessary so white students get the rich diversity of Black Latino and Asian students in the classroom to share their experiences. Will students coming to school on even-numbered days be carefully selected to balance racial and gender diversity?

I’ve been informed slow students should be mainstreamed with excellent students so they get a social experience. Will the students attending class on odd numbered days be carefully selected to maintain the ratio of geniuses to dummies?

What happens to students who fall behind, perhaps because they lack Wi-Fi, their parents work, they’re unmotivated… Will we still pass them along to maintain progress through grade levels, or will we flunk them?

Troubling

Joe Doakes 

The answer: the same “cracks” into which millions of kids, including a hugely disproportionate number of Twin Cities “students of color”, fell before Covid, just turned into chasms.

The union will wash their hands of those kids (after blaming Orange Hitler and Paul Gazelka); afterwards, of them no more will be spoken.

Wage Terrorists

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Teachers unions typically threaten to strike if they don’t get more money. It’s like strapping a bomb to the kid and saying, “Pay us the money or the kid gets it.”

This Time It’s Different. They strapped a bomb to themselves and are saying, “Close the school or the teacher gets it.”

Millions of parents are muttering, “Yeah? Push the damn button.”

Joe Doakes

I’d hate to be a teacher that is, shall we say, a “skeptic” about Education Minnesota these days.

Let The Record Show

While Marquette University has always leaned as far left as any other American university, one of its graduates – my major advisor, Dr. James Blake – got his PhD in English from Marquette.

And Dr. Blake – who used to describe himself as so conservative he was a “monarchist” – was the first person to tell me that I wasn’t really a Democrat, and Wood in fact probably fit in best as a conservative.

But from the sounds of things, I doubt that Dr. Blake would get admitted these days.

Epiphany

A friend of the blog emails:

My child is not going to public school. Now that we are doing home based learning, the school continues to provide the excellent education we expected. We have a high quality teacher who gives a daily schedule that has my child doing educational work, physical activity related to the daily lesson, and 2 daily live meetings online with the entire class. This is how I envision the home school program should look. Advanced grade levels at this school are doing online group work in addition to the daily meetings with the entire class. This school is taking learning seriously. But, they were before being sent home, too.

My colleagues who have children in public schools have a different story. They tell me all their kids get is “busy work.” They tell me their kids are no longer learning anything and that home based learning “just doesn’t work for public schools.” “It’s a joke, really,” they tell me.

I honestly believe a percentage of the problem is the parents- they may be too busy to be involved, dealing with other family members, dealing with this economic crisis, etc. But, I also wonder if they have forgotten their own school experiences. Or how involved were they when their children were in actual school? In my view, a lot of public school is busy work. Why would their home program be any different?

I have a hunch that for kids whose notion of ‘education’ is learning from what goes on around them in life and applying their innate curiosity to the found opportunities the world is full of, this period could be a fantastic learning experience.

The public factory school model is not designed to foster that.

I’ve also heard – anecdotally, natch – that some public school parents, coming face-to-face with their kids curriculum for the first time, have been genuinely horrified at the, well, general uselessness of the whole charade.

One hopes that feeling carries through when the crisis is over.

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.