Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Should brownies be banned from public schools now?

original article: Why police were called to a South Jersey third-grade class party
June 29, 2016 by Emma Platoff

On June 16, police were called to an unlikely scene: an end-of-the-year class party at the William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood.

A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was “racist,” the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.

The police officer spoke to the student, who is 9, said the boy’s mother, Stacy dos Santos, and local authorities.

Dos Santos said that the school overreacted and that her son made a comment about snacks, not skin color.

“He said they were talking about brownies. . . . Who exactly did he offend?” dos Santos said.

The boy’s father was contacted by Collingswood police later in the day. Police said the incident had been referred to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The student stayed home for his last day of third grade.

Dos Santos said that her son was “traumatized,” and that she hopes to send him to a different Collingswood public school in the fall.

And she wants an apology. She said she graduated from Collingswood High School and has two other children, a 21-year-old who also went through Collingswood schools, and a 3-year-old. Her husband, the third grader’s father, is Brazilian, dos Santos said.

“I’m not comfortable with the administration [at Tatem]. I don’t trust them and neither does my child,” she said. “He was intimidated, obviously. There was a police officer with a gun in the holster talking to my son, saying, ‘Tell me what you said.’ He didn’t have anybody on his side.”

The incident, which has sparked outrage among some parents, was one of several in the last month when Collingswood police have been called to look into school incidents that parents think hardly merit criminal investigation.

Superintendent Scott Oswald estimated that on some occasions over the last month, officers may have been called to as many as five incidents per day in the district of 1,875 students.

This has created concern among parents in the 14,000-resident borough, who have phoned their elected officials, met with Mayor James Maley, blasted social-media message boards, and even launched a petition calling on the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office to “stop mandated criminal investigation of elementary school students.”

The increased police involvement follows a May 25 meeting among the Collingswood Police Department, school officials, and representatives from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, where school officials and police both said they were told to report to police any incidents that could be considered criminal, including what Police Chief Kevin Carey called anything “as minor as a simple name-calling incident that the school would typically handle internally.”

The police and schools were also advised that they should report “just about every incident” to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Carey said.

Previously, the school district, following the state’s Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law Enforcement Officials, had only reported incidents it deemed serious, like those involving weapons, drugs, or sexual misconduct. Both Carey and School Board President David Routzahn described the protocol set forth after that May meeting as a significant change in procedure.

“It was a pretty clear directive that we questioned vehemently,” Oswald said.

But a month after the meeting, and after police investigations that parents consider fruitless had begun to gain attention, Maley wrote in a public letter that the May 25 meeting was intended to “reinforce the applicability” of the MOA, “not to expand its terms.” Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo, in an accompanying statement, said she hoped Maley’s message “clarifies” the responsibilities of school officials.

Maley said in an interview Tuesday that there had been a “misunderstanding” during the May 25 meeting. But Oswald said the Prosecutor’s Office was shying away from its own instructions.

“At some point, it seems, they’ve realized that the intent of the MOA that they’re leaning heavily upon is not what they directed us to do,” Oswald said. “It went way above what that MOA says.”

Another point of contention between the Prosecutor’s Office and school officials is what prompted Maley’s meeting in the first place.

In a public letter issued to parents Monday, Routzahn said he was “not aware of any single event” in the district that might have prompted the Prosecutor’s Office to ask for a higher reporting standard.

But Maley said the Prosecutor’s Office had been concerned about a “delay” in reporting an incident at Collingswood High School this spring. He would not comment further, noting that the incident was under investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Oswald said the high school incident had not been raised during the meeting May 25.

“I welcome discussion on that as well,” he said.

Several parents said they consider the recent police involvement not only ridiculous but harmful.

Megan Irwin, who has two daughters who have attended Collingswood public schools and who teaches first grade in Pennsauken, said the police had been called to deal with behavior the schools could easily have handled.

“Some of it is just typical little-kid behavior,” Irwin said. “Never in my years of teaching have I ever felt uncomfortable handling a situation or felt like I didn’t know how to handle a situation.”

And Pam Gessert, a Collingswood resident who works as a school counselor in Burlington County, said that because teachers have the best relationships with students, they are most qualified to determine what happened in a particular incident.

bureaucracy, children, criminal, culture, education, extremism, government, hate speech, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, relativism, scandal, victimization

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, criminal, culture, education, extremism, government, hate speech, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, relativism, scandal, victimization

Flawed anthropology leads to flawed economics

original article: We’re all Dead: How J.M. Keynes – And His Critics – Went Wrong
June 29, 2016 by Liz Crandell

“Critics of John Maynard Keynes were so determined his economics were wrong that they allowed Keynes to dictate the terms of the debate,” says Victor Claar, professor of economics at Henderson State University, in his Acton University lecture. He continues to describe Keynes flawed anthropology with respect to classical economists and the Great Depression. Key observations of human nature include the principles of work, property, exchange, and division of labor. We can survive and prosper, take ownership of our work, support and rely on each other through exchange, and specialize in exchange at an opportunity cost. Furthermore, these observations are linked to moral imperatives.

Work allows us to combat sloth, we can practice good stewardship, serve other people, and provide richer options for all. Keynes, who was focused on how consumption worked rather than what human life looked like, did not understand these things. Maynard, like his father, Neville, was a large proponent of the Cambridge method, and the distinctions between positive and normative economics laid out by John Stuart Mills. The great legacy and wide scope of this method still exists today, as most economists continue to try and steer clear of normative statements, and try to stick to descriptive value judgments. However, by the nature of the problems we face, dealing with poverty, unemployment, and development, we inherently deal with positive statements and issues.

Supporters of Keynes’ theories use The Great Depression and post-World War eras as evidence of their effectiveness. Claar grants insight into the attractiveness of such policies, saying that such a recession created pessimism about the ability of market forces to self-correct, and since government management worked “reasonably well” after World War I, state management became tempting again. There is fault in this, since Keynes “focuses on the inherent instability of the market and the need for active policy intervention to achieve full employment of resources and sustained growth.” Keynes maintains that recessions and high unemployment are due to the fact that firms and consumers in the private sector do not spend enough on new capital and equipment and goods and services due to insecurity and nervousness about the future. As such, the remedy lies in the public sector, with the government spending using deficit financing if necessary. Ideally, after people get back to work, revenues will increase and the budget will balance once more. The obvious downside to this thought is that reducing pain in the short run, putting a band aid on the problem, leads to inflation and slower rates of long-term growth. Claar draws students’ attention to a revealing quote from Keynes that creates a moral dilemma: “In the long run, we’re all dead.” Keynes is perfectly happy to allow future generations pay off the debt that his creates.

Claar concludes there are three keys to understanding Keynes: The classical model’s predicted equilibria are mere special cases and are rarely satisfied in practice; hubris, or that the State is more capable of managing the economy that we ourselves are; and consumption is the purpose of all economic activity. This “flawed anthropology leads to flawed economics,” and “caught hold in the same period that men and women of science began to believe that systematic management of human beings was both possible and useful in all areas of society.” Keynes himself declared eugenics to be “the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists.” Claar leaves students with a hopeful message that we can combat this dangerous line of thinking with well-functioning markets that let prices send strong signals to all of us regarding where our services may be needed most by others; clearly defined and enforced property rights that lead to good stewardship; and influential institutions, such as churches and families, to share wisdom.

bias, economics, elitism, eugenics, government, history, ideology, nanny state, philosophy, progressive

Filed under: bias, economics, elitism, eugenics, government, history, ideology, nanny state, philosophy, progressive

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