Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

No, Stay At Home Moms Don’t ‘Waste’ Their Education

original article: No, Stay At Home Moms Don’t ‘Waste’ Their Education
March 7, 2017 by Anna Mussmann

Anyone who castigates a woman for failing to cash in on her degree reveals a complete misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of education and the actual needs of society.

In Dorothy Sayer’s 1936 novel “Gaudy Night,” a minor character refers to the “question of women’s education.” Famous detective Lord Peter Wimsey responds, “Is it still a question? It ought not to be,” and adds, “You should not imply that I have any right either to approve or disapprove” of what women do.

Most progressives today would agree heartily with the first half of his sentiment. Feminists consider it a settled question that educating women is essential to a humane, egalitarian society. At the same time, however, few are quite so restrained as Lord Peter. Most venture to “approve or disapprove” of women’s choices, especially if what a woman chooses is to follow years of education with life as a stay-at-home mom.

Smart, educated women who decide to end, pause, or part-time their careers are often treated as defective parts in the machinery of egalitarian social justice, or as children who have asked for a plate of food and then thrown it in the garbage. The general argument is that an education, like a treadmill or a bag of flour, is wasted if it is not used (the definition of “used” being, “used to make money”).

The thing is, though, anyone who castigates a woman for failing to cash in on her degree reveals a complete misunderstanding of two things. 1. The nature and purpose of education, and 2. The actual needs of society.

Education Is Not Just a Synonym for Job Training

The American founders argued routinely that ordinary citizens ought to be educated. This was not because literacy would help farmers milk their cows more sensitively or because familiarity with Plato would open up additional career prospects for pioneers, but because it would change what sort of people they were internally.

Education is much bigger than any specific field of work. Career coaches recognize this when they tell students that their choice of college major rarely dictates the field in which they will later find employment. Education helps people do a better job at any task by helping them discover how to think, how to learn, and how to exercise the self-discipline necessary for achievement. Educated people know useful facts, of course; but more importantly, they know how to live.

Unless we want a society in which an elite few rule over the wider peasantry, we must recognize that people—men, women, lawyers, mechanics, stay-at-home moms, everyone—benefit when they pursue the learning and wisdom that make them more fully human. To say that moms “waste” education is to show tremendous disrespect for the actual importance of education.

Education Is Supposed to Open, not Close, Opportunities

We tell our children they can become anything they want. On the other hand, when young people aspire to careers that may or may not be achievable—when she wants to major in art, when he thinks he can open his own restaurant—we encourage them to hedge their bets. We talk about double majors, business minors, and back-up plans.

Likewise, many young women hope to eventually become mothers, and many would prefer to stay at home while their babies are young. They, too, are wise to hedge their bets. What if they never meet the right man? What if they do, and illness or disability keeps him from being able to support a family? What about divorce? Hitting pause on a career may still leave them somewhat vulnerable to later financial challenges, but less so than if they possessed only a high school diploma. For them, a degree is a prudent investment regardless of the outcome. It maintains options.

The inflated cost of modern college is admittedly a complicating factor. A debt load that shackles a woman to a particular career path is probably a bad investment for anyone. We should absolutely encourage young people to think outside of the box when acquiring an education. And, of course, universities are not the only places one can become educated.

Society Should Trust Women

Feminists encourage society to trust women in matters like abortion. Yet feminism distrusts females who want to stay home with their children. Perhaps such critics assume that if a woman’s daily work belongs to the domestic sphere, with no raises to compete for and no performance reviews to hold her accountable, she is likely to lounge around in yoga pants while surfing the Internet. That is, they imagine that outside accountability is inextricably tied to meaningful accomplishments.

Yet the most meaningful human work transcends accountability. As an analogy: the best classroom teachers do wonderful things for students not because they adhere to any checklist, but through who they are. They communicate a love of learning by loving to learn. They inspire compassion by being compassionate. They engage by being engaging, challenging people who care both about truth and about their students.

When school administrators distrust teachers and hold them to overly rigid guidelines or testing schedules, it hampers the efforts of excellent teachers. The best work in all spheres of life is not about accountability, but about the sort of person doing that work (yet one more reason why we should value education for everyone!).

When women make sacrifices to stay home with their own children—the babies for whom they would die—they are likely to be highly motivated to be the sort of people who make a difference in their children’s lives. We need to trust women on this.

Society Also Benefits from People who Do ‘Less’

The current culture delights in volume. Bigger boxes of French fries. More volunteer activities on college applications. Our values make it very easy to see the merit in those high-energy achievers whose packed schedules allow them to accomplish what seems like everything at once. It is often harder for us to admire those who delve more deeply into only one or two things. After all, their list of what they do each day seems short. To people who do not understand, their daily activities might even sound trivial.

Yet society needs deep-focus people as much as it needs multi-talented, multi-tasking people. We need the lab assistants who stare faithfully at computer screens all day. We need the cellists who devote the majority of their lives to practicing. We need the scholars whose years of devotion to mathematics produce a single work upon which others can build. These people do their work just as faithfully as those who juggle a greater variety. In fact, they do it in a unique way that requires sacrificing variety.

Hard as it might be to realize, society benefits when we recognize that there are many ways of being useful members of society, of serving others, and of finding joy in our work. Stay-at-home moms are able to bring a deep focus to the lives of their children and the needs of their community. By sacrificing volume, they are able to serve others in a unique way.

We Can Value SAHMs without Condemning Working Moms

Ultimately, I suspect many women are uncomfortable with arguments in defense of stay-at-home moms because they are concerned about the specter of simplistic consistency. After all, if a woman provides an important benefit to her child by becoming his full-time caretaker, doesn’t that imply that the opposite is also true—that the children of career moms are missing out on an important benefit? And that, therefore, homemakers are better moms?

In reality, life is complicated. No two mothers can provide their children with quite the same good things. Trying to do so is crazy. Every life choice brings both costs and benefits. In fact, it is not always easy even to know whether a given difference is a benefit or a handicap. Living in poverty can prevent a child from gaining access to resources—and can teach resilience and determination. Watching a parent struggle with a disability can teach compassion and grit—and be confusing and depressing.

Being a good parent is not about competing with other women to magically give one’s child everything that seems good. It is about faithfully doing one’s best in all kinds of circumstances. Often that means making a careful, thoughtful choice about how best to put the needs of one’s own children first, whether by remaining in the workforce or taking time off from it.

I remember when a very conservative friend warned my mom not to let us girls pursue career-oriented degrees. This friend was afraid that educated women would be unlikely to stay home with children. Most feminists would decry the idea of trying to “trap” young women into any particular life path. If they are to be consistent, however, feminists—and society at large—need to recognize that education is not a trap, either. It is something that helps all women live their lives in a more fully human manner, no matter what their work may turn out to be. Even if it involves teaching children how to go potty.

conservative, culture, education, family, feminism, freedom, ideology, opinion

Filed under: conservative, culture, education, family, feminism, freedom, ideology, opinion

Harvard orders students to spy on each other

original article: Harvard orders students to spy on each other with broad new rules against single-sex clubs
March 7, 2017 by Greg Piper

Don’t worry, it’s not ‘intrusive’

No one expects the Harvard Inquisition!

That is, unless you saw snippets of an implementation committee’s report that called for Harvard to not only punish and exclude members of single-sex clubs from a broad range of fellowships and leadership positions, but to block those students from running for office or leading The Harvard Crimson.

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana has finally released the full 46-page report by the committee in charge of deciding how best to undermine freedom of association, and he said he agrees with practically all of it, The Crimson reports:

Under the recommendations, students starting with the class of 2021 who seek leadership positions, captaincies, or fellowships will have to sign a written statement affirming their commitment to “nondiscrimination on the basis of characteristics of ‘intrinsic identity,’ including gender.” Students will also have to affirm they do not currently belong to an “unrecognized single-gender social organization,” did not belong to one in the past year, and will not belong to one in the year after their tenure in a leadership position or athletic captaincy ends.

Sound like the House Un-American Activities Committee? We’ll get to that later.

Harvard wants students to attest in writing that they are not in final clubs–but noninvasively! Hello, Upside-Down! http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/3/6/implementation-committee-recommendations/  pic.twitter.com/CAh9xymlr6

Harvard: We evaluated our peers’ practices targeting Greek orgs closely
World: Can we see your results
Harvard: Surehttp://osl.fas.harvard.edu/files/osl/files/implementationcommitteefinalreport.pdf pic.twitter.com/MxrAf4bRe0

View image on Twitter

The main change: Khurana “did not accept the committee’s recommendation that members of single-gender social groups be barred from leadership roles on The Crimson and the Undergraduate Council.”

But this wholesale attack on campus democracy and freedom of the press still might happen when fewer people are paying attention. Khurana said those ideas deserve “further deliberation.”

MORE: Harvard’s anti-male committee wants to overturn campus democracy, free press

The most stunning part of the report is how it plans to enforce compliance, and the disingenuous way it describes the method, which may explain why committee leaders refused to even give its members copies of the report while its future was in doubt:

The committee recommended that the Honor Council investigate students who violate the policy by “falsely affirming compliance,” though the report emphasized that students should “not perceive the policy as intrusive or punitive.”

Harvard wants students to attest in writing that they are not in final clubs–but noninvasively! Hello, Upside-Down! http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/3/6/implementation-committee-recommendations/ 

The Honor Council judges allegations of academic-integrity violations. It includes administrators, faculty and – yep – students who might want those coveted fellowships and leadership positions for themselves.

A spokesperson told The Crimson the Honor Council would stick to investigating those who apply for fellowships, while those who hold “organizational leadership positions” in prohibited groups will be evaluated under a “trust-based system,” whatever that means.

MORE: Harvard is ready to blacklist 1 in 4 students

Ryne Weiss at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) describes the council’s new mission as leading “inquisitorial efforts for those suspected of fibbing when asked whether they are, or have ever been, a member of the Communist Par— I mean, single-gender sorority, fraternity, or final club”:

So it looks like a modern-day version of the Secret Court is back, and this time, it’s enlisting students along with the faculty and staff traditionally tasked with ferreting out those with associations too unsavory for Harvard. Given that students compete with each other for the very positions that the students on the Honor Council will have the power to deny (athletic captaincies, scholarships, leadership of student groups, etc.) this is obviously and unmistakably ripe for abuse.

Keep in mind that two days after the committee delivered its report to Khurana, the dean created a faculty review committee that had (in theory) authority to scrap or revise the very single-sex sanctions in the report.

He was probably afraid that if faculty saw the report, they would quickly quash the sanctions with their own “nondiscrimination” motion, which was slated for a vote just days later. (The motion’s sponsor, former Dean Harry Lewis, withdrew it after Khurana’s concession, and recently announced he’s teaching only two more semesters before officially retiring.)

Now Khurana’s conveniently timed creation of the faculty committee looks like “a dishonest diversionary tactic to kill a motion by faculty members that which would have challenged the sanctions regime” in the still-hidden report, Weiss writes:

If Harvard administrators had any kind of accountability, the use of such a tactic might pose a real problem. But given that they can apparently read faculty emails without any real consequences, that might be too much to ask.

How dare you slow our ‘momentum towards greater inclusivity’

If there’s one piece of black comedy in this sorry display of Harvard’s most illiberal impulses, it’s the implementation committee’s annoyance at having to compete with a new lover (the faculty committee) for Khurana’s attention.

In a section that specifically credited “student members of the committee,” the report says this:

[T]he lack of clarity as well as the events of the past month, namely the formation of a new faculty committee to review this policy, have had a particularly negative effect on conversations with numerous existing stakeholders in the College’s social scene. These events have fostered skepticism about the intent and commitment to the policy, discouraged those students who are supportive of efforts to transform the nature of the clubs, and undermined the confidence and progress of those groups who have already made difficult decisions to move in a more inclusive direction [by capitulating to months of threats]. Momentum towards greater inclusivity was stalled by lack of clear leadership and legitimate concerns as to whether institutional support was unstable.

Such Newspeak is just the beginning, though. As The Crimson points out:

The report also details a plan for the “dissemination of a positive narrative around the new policy,” including a draft of a letter to incoming students, and “professional brochures.”

You can see more about the propaganda campaign under Section C, “Communications and Benchmarking,” page 21 of the report. Note the multiple references to “diversity” and “inclusion.”

Committee whose recs sought to expand Harvard’s anti-freedom/association policy urges college to push “positive narrative.” Remarkable.

The remaining single-sex clubs aren’t being bludgeoned into nonexistence just yet: The report creates a “provisional social organization” designation for clubs that pledge to forsake their right to free association (and apparently their ties to national organizations).

And once more, the women are getting preferential treatment:

The report also calls for … a five-year “bridge” program for traditionally female final clubs and sororities that would allow these groups “to operate with gender focused missions” for some time after the College’s policy takes effect next fall.

If you don’t want to see Harvard take a step backwards to the good ol’ days of communist witch hunts, sign FIRE’s petition to Khurana and President Drew Faust while it might still change this Orwellian policy.

abuse, bigotry, bullies, bureaucracy, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, oppression, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, scandal, victimization

Filed under: abuse, bigotry, bullies, bureaucracy, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, oppression, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, scandal, victimization

Pages

Categories

March 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb   Apr »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031