Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Does University culture think racism is sometimes okay?

The University of Alabama recently found itself undesirably in the spotlight again when an administrator of high standing lost his job at the institution. The essence of the matter appears to be that Dr. Jamie R. Riley, dean of students and assistance vice president of student life, resigned from UA in a mutual agreement with the institution after some allegedly racist social media comments of his publically surfaced.

The Tuscaloosa News has two stories about the incident published Sep. 13 and Sep. 18, both written by Ed Enoch. The earlier story focuses on student reaction to Riley’s resignation, the latter focuses on the UA Faculty Senate’s reaction. While some details on the initial comments are mentioned, neither story focuses much attention on the controversial comments that serve as the catalyst for the entire situation.

In the Sep. 13 story, the reader can see some of Riley’s twitter comments pertaining to a politically loaded view of the American flag (though screenshots would have been more helpful since Riley’s twitter account is now visible only to approved followers), in which Riley expresses his opinion as if it were the opinion of ALL black Americans. (screenshots taken from the Breitbart article that originally broke this story)

Riley Twitter

Surely not all black people think of the American flag the way Riley does. In fact, some in the black community consider the American flag is a symbol of emancipation, as opposed to a different symbol (the Confederate flag) flown in defense of systemic racism.

Another of Riley’s contentious tweets claimed white people can’t experience racism and therefore have no right to an opinion on the matter.

Riley Twitter

Imagine, if you will, a white person making racially insensitive remarks about the black community and being given the benefit of the doubt with defensive comments such as “the context is unclear.” This is the Tuscaloosa News’ odd reaction to Riley’s racially combative comments. According to common understanding, if someone is discriminated against because of their race, that is racism. And that can happen to anyone, because hate and prejudice are not limited to one group or another. And we all know this.

The Sep. 18 article mentions only “systemic racism” and “police use of force” for context on Riley’s statements. In what may be a subtle effort to protect Riley, neither article makes mention of further comments he made, some of which border on the conspiratorial, such as his suggestion movies about slavery may actually be a means of putting black people “in their place”:

Riley Twitter

In the scenario where a university administrator makes racially disparaging remarks aimed not at merely an individual or two, but at an entire group of people, and he mysteriously resigns from his job soon after, one would think the nature of the initial comments would be the focus of subsequent reporting, rather than being glossed over. In this case, the reporting and those interviewed for these two articles instead show an odd focus on the lack of information produced by the UA administration about Riley’s resignation, as if his contentious comments themselves have little to do with the situation. To borrow from a statement of Dr. Riley, is it that hard to see the correlation?

Observe some of the interview material selected in the first Tuscaloosa News article focusing on student reactions:

“This is complicated, and I don’t have all the answers,” said Andre Denham, BFSA president and an associate professor in the College of Education.

Denham mentioned free speech concerns from faculty and staff whose academic work involves topics discussed by Riley or those who actively share their opinions on social media.

“The university not clarifying what has happened is making folks a little nervous,” he said.

Denham took questions from the students in the Ferguson Student Center ballroom. The students who spoke described frustration at the lack of information and inaccessibility to top administrators.

One of the students described frustration with university’s pledge to be a diverse climate and the seeming contradiction of a black administrator forced out for expressing his opinion.

Some of the students were upset an administrator whom they admired was “taken down” for being truthful and questioned what it meant for free speech and their sense of security on a majority-white campus.

Did you notice that gold nugget about Riley being “truthful”? Were there no students interviewed who were concerned about the apparent racism of Riley’s comments? A controversy such as this is controversial mainly because not everyone agrees with the comments or actions made. Clearly there is disagreement in the UA community about Riley’s quick resignation and the silence of UA administration on it. Was there no disagreement about the “truth” of Riley’s comments? In the American public, in general, there is strong disagreement about ideas like those Riley posted.

But the question of a double standard is not missed by the Tuscaloosa News. Another student is quoted who thinks there might be more than one set of rules in play:

(Freshman Kelvon) Malik argued the situation would be different if Riley was not black.

“If it was a white man, it would be totally different,” Malik said.

I should say Malik is right. If it was a white man whose social media footprint revealed racist comments, it would indeed be quite different. It’s likely that a white man in Riley’s position would also have mysteriously resigned, but conspicuously precipitated by (rather than followed by) a public outcry (calling for his ouster) and there would have been no worries about free speech or academic freedom. And how can we know this? Precedent gives us some insight.

There is another Tuscloosa News story from April 2018 in which an alleged white supremacist had been invited to speak by a UA student organization. That student organization had its status as a recognized UA group withdrawn and the event in question was cancelled. Apparently there was no one in the UA community who had concerns about endangering free speech or academic freedom, and none when UA president Stuart Bell encouraged students to avoid the event before it was cancelled. At least no such concerns were mentioned in the News report. Instead of including student interviews or comments from the Faculty Senate about the matter, the writer chose to seek outside the university community and quote the leftwing activist group Southern Poverty Law Center which described the speaker as:

“a courtly presenter of ideas that most would describe as crudely white supremacist — a kind of modern-day version of the refined but racist colonialist of old.”

In the case of a speaker identified by a politically partisan organization as a white supremacist, the UA administration and supposedly the UA community at large seem to agree that preventing the speaker from expressing his opinion was the right course of action. But with Dr. Riley, the community and a local newspaper apparently focus instead on “frustration and anxiety on campus with the perception that Riley was forced out for expressing his opinion…” The former incident seemed quite simple, whereas the latter is “complicated”.

Similarly, there were two other incidents in 2018 (in January and in March of that year) where a UA student was found, via social media video, to be spouting racially offensive language. In both cases the students in question quickly turned out to be no longer enrolled at the university. Nowhere in the local news reporting or in Editorials was there an outcry of concern about free speech or academic freedom, or a lack of information about the change in status of the students. The reporting focused merely on the content of the racially offensive statements, not on procedural matters. These incidents likewise seemed to be quite uncomplicated, as with the cancelled white supremacist speaking event.

Returning to Riley’s case, the UA Faculty Senate issued what seems to be a politically calculated response to his resignation. As reported by the Tuscaloosa News:

In the statement, the Faculty Senate said the silence from administration has perpetuated the university’s reputation as non-inclusive and discriminatory; does not align with its strategic plan commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion;

Faculty Senate criticizes UA’s silence on dean’s departure and raises questions about UA’s commitment to freedom of speech and academic Freedom.

The Faculty Senate also called on the administration to publicly and unequivocally affirm the university’s “commitment to creating and maintaining a safe climate that supports and encourages students, faculty, and staff to exercise their right to academic freedom and free speech, to denounce inequality and racism, and promote social justice.”

The instances of the two students and white supremacist show UA leadership had acted in a way that apparently the UA community thought to be apt and responsible. There is the appearance of a different standard in place for Dr. Riley, especially given the Faculty Senate’s absurd implication there has been no progress against racism at the university.

In 2018 an editorial at the Tuscaloosa News shows a more level headed approach to dealing with these matters. The editorial titled “When racism surfaces, a response is required” addressed the two student incidents of that year. It mentions no meetings of the student community or any other UA group questioning the actions of UA leadership or expressing concern about free speech or academic freedom. As the article put it:

In both instances, the university swiftly condemned the behavior and reiterated its commitment to inclusion. That was the right thing to do, of course.

The editorial rightly points out the university could have done nothing to prevent “disgusting social media posts” of the two students and the appropriate thing to do is to swiftly address and disavow those actions. It also points out “(President Stuart) Bell was correct to remind the community that the university condemns racist behavior.” UA leadership also quickly disavowed the white supremacist invited to speak on campus, evidently for the same reasons.

In one more Tuscaloosa News editorial titled No room for hate here, no tolerance for haters, the editor addresses the first 2018 racial incident. The title implies much of what the article is about. In it, the editor esteems UA leadership for swiftly responding to and disavowing the hate-filled comments. The editor ends the piece with what could easily be taken for a general consensus among American higher education culture (referring to the perpetrator by name for the incident in question):

There should be no room for hate here and no tolerance for those who would come here to foment it.

Yes, it was good to see reports that Barber has apologized, but ultimately her words did more harm to her than to anyone else. We hope she truly comes to understand how horribly wrong they were.

One lesson she should now understand is that her right to free speech doesn’t include a right to avoid consequences for her words.

Ah, there is no right to avoid consequences for one’s own words. Some evidently feel Dr. Riley’s controversial comments were hateful, both toward a group of people (based on their race) and toward the United States, but you might not know that if the Tuscaloosa News were your only source. If equality is really one of our goals as a society, why should he be treated any differently than a white person found to be making racially offensive comments? Given the UA community’s disapproving reaction to the Riley incident (disapproving of UA administration actions, rather than of Riley’s comments themselves), it almost appears that racism is sometimes okay.


bigotry, diversity, education, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, news media, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism, scandal

Filed under: bigotry, diversity, education, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, news media, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism, scandal

College level professor bias

original article: Paper: Professor Bias May Deflate Conservative College Students’ Grades
May 9, 2019 by Joy Pullmann

Conservative students enter college with higher SAT scores and GPAs than liberal students, but by the fourth year of college have lower GPAs than liberal peers, which may be a consequence of institutional bias, finds a new working paper from the University of Arkansas.

Self-identified conservative students saw the biggest grade dip when studying in the humanities and social sciences, none when studying in professional fields, and an extra grade advantage when studying in hard-science fields. The bias was more pronounced at higher-ranked colleges and universities.

“Notwithstanding the GPA advantages held by conservative students in high school, students who support banning racist/sexist speech, and who endorse dissent as critical to the political process (positions typically associated with liberalism) enjoy a relative advantage over their peers,” the paper finds.

The authors controlled for students’ family income, SAT scores, and demographics, and repeatedly caution that the GPA effect is comparatively small, although statistically significant, and may have explanations other than professor bias. For example, since other social science has found conservatives tend to follow rules better and score lower on spontaneity and creativity, perhaps those characteristics make them a poorer fit for college or humanities programs.

Statistical analysis on a large database often used by researchers shows that “by the fourth year of college, liberal students tend to have higher grades than conservative peers: ideological self-placement is the only variable in the model changing direction from high school to college” (emphasis original), write paper authors Matthew Woessner of Penn State, Robert Maranto of U-Arkansas, and Amanda Thompson of the University of Georgia. The working paper from U-Arkansas’s Department of Education Reform has not yet been peer-reviewed nor published in an academic journal, but has been released to generate academic input pre-publication, it states.

The paper includes the graph below, showing that conservative students have the highest overall grades in high school, although lower writing and verbal SAT scores than liberal students. This also could reflect conservatives’ higher compliance levels, political biases in the verbal (less objective) portions of tests, neither, or both. Other research has found that high schools highly value compliance and that K-12 teachers award higher grades to more agreeable students and students more similar to them, which lowers boy’s grades compared to girls.

“Rather than political bias, conservatives might earn lower grades if colleges play to the strengths of liberal students,” the paper says. “Prior work shows that liberals more deeply value independence and the creation of original works, while conservatives more deeply value family life, community, and loyalty (Kelly-Woessner and Woessner 2009; Haidt 2012). In short, one could interpret findings here as suggesting that as institutions, high schools fit the strengths of conservatives while colleges fit the strengths of liberals.”

Or perhaps college culture tends to be anti-conservative. The paper notes later that, in the authors’ field experience, students from rich, secular, liberal families adapted better to campus life than did students from conservative, middle-class homes. It suggests that’s because “students from conservative or religious household might face difficulties in the transition to college, losing the structure and community they enjoyed in high school.”

But it also could be that campus cultures can be actively hostile to family, faith, community, and a well-ordered life. A further indication of this comes later, when the paper discusses how students who support same-sex marriage “tend to feel more valued, and believe that faculty see their potential, show concern, and take an interest in their success” when rating their college experience. Students on the opposite side of the issue tend to say the opposite. This, the paper suggests, “opens the possibility that directly or indirectly, opposition to same sex-marriage contributes to alienation among some students.”

If this is just one indicator of the well-known reality that campuses have a culturally leftist bent, it’s no wonder that conservatives would feel less comfortable and have more difficulty adapting. Since conservatives tend to have better self-organization and perform better in the academically more difficult science fields, perhaps a politically leftist culture is a major hindrance to their adjustment to college life.

If we saw these difficulties among liberal students or minorities, we’d no doubt see op-eds in major newspapers and websites about how campus climates are “chilly” and “hostile” to such young people. Don’t expect that to happen when the difficulties apply more to conservative kids.

While all kids’ GPAs dropped in college compared to high school, the conservative students’ grades dropped more than the liberal students’ did. Other research has found that high school GPAs are the best predictor of college achievement, even better than SAT and ACT scores. Conservative students’ high GPAs also dropped more dramatically for some measures of political conservatism than others, as the graph below from the paper shows.

“[H]olding all else constant, the most liberal student would enjoy a 0.16 point advantage over the most conservative student on a 7 point scale. Given our large sample size [of more than 7,000 students], this difference is statistically significant,” says the paper.

Students’ views on abortion had the strongest relationship with conservatives’ high school to college grade drop, partly because pro-life students had the highest average high school GPAs. At medium to low-prestige higher education institutions, pro-life students’ academic achievement actually increased, but at high-prestige schools their advantage was erased. The reverse happened with students who opposed free speech: they saw higher grades in college than their high school performance would have projected.

“Whereas the advantage enjoyed by pro-life students declines, the advantage of those who would ban racist/sexist speech or who value dissent grows,” the paper notes.

Another factor here is that while college professors massively more leftist than the general American population, K-12 teachers are also significantly farther left than most Americans. Fifty percent of K-12 teachers voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, compared to 29 percent voting for Donald Trump. Forty-one percent of teachers identify as Democrats, and only 27 percent as Republicans, according to a 2017 poll by the trade publication Education Week. That’s a 12-point higher percentage of Democrats among K-12 teachers than among the general American public.

By comparison, a recent study found that high-ranked liberal arts colleges employ ten self-described Democrat professors for every one Republican. So if bias unfairly deflates conservative students’ achievements in college, it probably has an effect in high school, also, especially since these biased colleges train K-12 teachers. Bias just may not affect K-12 students as much as it does college students.

This may be one reason that public schools are the top choice for only one-third of American parents, even though eight in ten of those same parents have their kids enrolled in public schools. A recent poll in Wisconsin found that two-thirds of Republican voters are worried about politics in their kids’ public schools, and it’s certain they’re not alone. The question is: Are conservative parents and GOP politicians going to do anything serious about a system stacked against their kids?

bias, diversity, education, ideology, political correctness

Filed under: bias, diversity, education, ideology, political correctness

Public Education’s Dirty Secret

original article: Public Education’s Dirty Secret
February 10, 2019 by Mary Hudson

Bad teaching is a common explanation given for the disastrously inadequate public education received by America’s most vulnerable populations. This is a myth. Aside from a few lemons who were notable for their rarity, the majority of teachers I worked with for nine years in New York City’s public school system were dedicated, talented professionals. Before joining the system I was mystified by the schools’ abysmal results. I too assumed there must be something wrong with the teaching. This could not have been farther from the truth.

Teaching French and Italian in NYC high schools I finally figured out why this was, although it took some time, because the real reason was so antithetical to the prevailing mindset. I worked at three very different high schools over the years, spanning a fairly representative sample. That was a while ago now, but the system has not improved since, as the fundamental problem has not been acknowledged, let alone addressed. It would not be hard, or expensive, to fix.

Washington Irving High School, 2001–2004

My NYC teaching career began a few days before September 11, 2001 at Washington Irving High School. It was a short honeymoon period;  the classes watched skeptically as I introduced them to a method of teaching French using virtually no English. Although the students weren’t particularly engaged, they remained respectful. During first period on that awful day there was a horrendous split-second noise. A plane flew right overhead a mere moment before it blasted into the north tower of the World Trade Center. At break time word was spreading among the staff.  Both towers were hit and one had already come down. When I went to my next class I told the students what had happened. There was an eruption of rejoicing at the news. Many students clapped and whooped their approval, some getting out of their seats to do a sort of victory dance. It was an eye-opener, and indicative of what was to come.

The next three years were a nightmare. The school always teetered on the verge of chaos. The previous principal had just been dismissed and shunted to another school district. Although it was never stated, all that was expected of teachers was to keep students in their seats and the volume down. This was an enormous school on five floors, with students cordoned off into separate programs. There was even a short-lived International Baccalaureate Program, but it quickly failed. Whatever the program, however, the atmosphere of the school was one of danger and deceit. Guards patrolled the hallways, sometimes the police had to intervene. Even though the security guards carefully screened the students at the metal detectors posted at every entrance, occasionally arms crept in. Girls sometimes managed to get razors in, the weapon of choice against rivals for boys’ attention. Although I don’t know of other arms found in the school (teachers were kept in the dark as much as possible), one particularly disruptive and dangerous boy was stabbed one afternoon right outside school. It appears he came to a violent death a few years later. What a tragic waste of human potential.

As the weeks dragged painfully into months, it became apparent that the students wouldn’t learn anything. It was dumbfounding. It was all I could do to keep them quiet; that is, seated and talking among themselves. Sometimes I had to stop girls from grooming themselves or each other. A few brave souls tried to keep up with instruction. A particularly good history teacher once told me that she interrupted a conversation between two girls, asking them to pay attention to the lesson. One of them looked up at her scornfully and sneered, “I don’t talk to teachers,” turning her back to resume their chat. She told me that the best school she ever worked at was in Texas, where her principal managed not only to suspend the most disruptive students for long periods, he also made sure they were not admitted during that time to any other school in the district. It worked; they got good results.

This was unthinkable in New York, where “in-house suspension” was the only punitive measure. It would be “discriminatory” to keep the students at home. The appropriate paperwork being filed, the most outrageously disruptive students went for a day or two to a room with other serious offenders. The anti-discrimination laws under which we worked took all power away from the teachers and put it in the hands of the students.

Throughout Washington Irving there was an ethos of hostile resistance. Those who wanted to learn were prevented from doing so. Anyone who “cooperated with the system” was bullied. No homework was done. Students said they couldn’t do it because if textbooks were found in their backpacks, the offending students would be beaten up. This did not appear to be an idle threat. Too many students told their teachers the same thing. There were certainly precious few books being brought home.

I tried everything imaginable to overcome student resistance. Nothing worked. At one point I rearranged the seating to enable the students who wanted to engage to come to the front of the classroom. The principal was informed and I was reprimanded. This was “discriminatory.” The students went back to their chosen seats near their friends. Aside from imposing order, the only thing I succeeded at was getting the students to stand silently during the Pledge of Allegiance and mumble a few songs in French. But it was a constant struggle as I tried to balance going through the motions of teaching with keeping them quiet. 

The abuse from students never let up. We were trained to absorb it. By the time I left, however, I had a large folder full of the complaint forms I’d filled out documenting the most egregious insults and harassment. There was a long process to go through each time. The student had a parent or other representative to state their case at the eventual hearing and I had my union rep. I lost every case.

Actually, the girls were meaner than the boys. The latter did not engage at all. They simply ignored me. Except for the delinquents among them, the boys didn’t make trouble. The girls on the other hand could be malicious. One girl even called me a “fucking white bitch.” It was confidence-destroying and extremely stressful. I was often reported to the principal for one transgression or another, like taking a sheet of paper from a student. Once I was even reprimanded for calmly taking my own cellphone from a girl who’d held on to it for half an hour, refusing all my requests to hand it back. The administration was consistently on the side of the student. The teacher was the fall guy, every time.

The abuse ranged from insults to outright violence, although I myself was never physically attacked. Stories abounded, however, of hard substances like bottles of water being thrown at us, teachers getting smacked on the head from behind, pushed in stairwells, and having doors slammed in our faces. The language students used was consistently obscene. By far the most commonly heard word throughout the school, literally hundreds of times a day, like a weapon fired indiscriminately, was “nigga.” The most amazing story from those painful years was the time I said it myself.

Sometimes you just have had enough. One day a girl sitting towards the back of the classroom shouted at some boy up front, “Yo! Nigga! Stop that!” I stood up as tall as I could and said in my most supercilious voice, “I don’t know which particular nigga the young lady is referring to, but whoever it is, would you please stop it.” The kids couldn’t believe their ears:

“Yo, miss!  You can’t say that!”
“Why not? You say it all the time.”
“Uhh…  Because you’re old.”
“That’s not why. Come on, tell the truth.”

This went on for a bit, until one brave lad piped up: “Because you’re white.” “Okay,” I said, “because I’m white. Well what if I said to you, ‘You’re not allowed to say some word because you’re black.’ Would that be okay?” They admitted that it wouldn’t. No one seemed to report it. To this day, it’s puzzling that I didn’t lose my job over that incident. I put it down to basic human decency.

Of course my teaching method had to be largely scrapped. The kids didn’t listen to me in either French or English. But they had a certain begrudging respect for me, I think because I told them the truth. I’d plead with them, “Look, kids, you’re destroying yourselves. Yes, the system stinks, but it’s the only show in town. Please, please don’t do this to yourselves. Education is your only way out.” But it was useless. I didn’t possess whatever magic some teachers have that explains their success, however limited. 

Aside from the history teacher from Texas, other Washington Irving educators stood out as extraordinary, and this in an unimaginably bad learning environment. One was a cheerful Lebanese math teacher who had been felled as a child by polio. He called himself “the million dollar man” because of his handicapped parking permit, quite a handy advantage in Manhattan. Although he could only walk on crutches, he kept those kids in line! His secret? A lovely way about him and complete but polite disdain for his students. Where he came from, students were not allowed to act that way. Another was a German teacher, the wife of a Lutheran minister. Her imposing presence—she fit the valkyrie stereotype—kept those mouths closed. You could hear a pin drop in her unusually tidy classroom, and she managed to teach some German to the few hardy souls who wanted to learn it. 

The most impressive of all was a handsome black American from Minnesota. He towered over us all, both physically and what the French call morally. He exuded an aura that inspired something like awe in his colleagues and students. I think he taught social studies. He was the only teacher who got away with blacking out his classroom door window, which added to his mystique. He engaged his students by concentrating their efforts on putting together a fashion show at the end of each school year. They designed and produced the outfits they strutted proudly on the makeshift catwalk, looking as elegant and confident as any supermodel. To tumultuous applause. They deserved it.

Although the school was always on the verge of hysteria and violence, it had all the trappings of the typical American high school. There were class trips and talent shows, rings and year books—even caps and gowns and graduation. High school diplomas were among the trappings, handed out to countless 12th graders with, from my observation, a 7th grade education. The elementary schools had a better record. But everyone knew that once the kids hit puberty, it became virtually impossible under the laws in force to teach those who were steeped in ghetto and gangster culture, and those—the majority—who were bullied into succumbing to it.

Students came to school for their social life. The system had to be resisted. It was never made explicit that it was a “white” system that was being rejected, but it was implicit in oft-made remarks. Youngsters would say things like, “You can’t say that word, that be a WHITE word!” It did no good to remind students that some of the finest oratory in America came from black leaders like Martin Luther King and some of the best writing from authors like James Baldwin. I would tell them that there was nothing wrong with speaking one’s own dialect; dialects in whatever language tend to be colorful and expressive, but it was important to learn standard English as well. It opens minds and doors. Every new word learned adds to one’s wealth, and there’s nothing like grammar for organizing one’s thoughts. 

It all fell on deaf ears. It was impossible to dispel the students’ delusions. Astonishingly, they believed that they would do just fine and have great futures once they got to college! They didn’t seem to know that they had very little chance of getting into anything but a community college, if that. Sadly, the kids were convinced of one thing: As one girl put it, “I don’t need an 85 average to get into Hunter; I’m black, I can get in with a 75.” They were actually encouraged to be intellectually lazy.

The most Dantesque scene I witnessed at Washington Irving was a “talent show” staged one spring afternoon. The darkened auditorium was packed with excited students, jittery guidance counselors, teachers, and guards. Music blasted from the loudspeakers, ear-splitting noise heightened the frenzy. To my surprise and horror, the only talent on display was merely what comes naturally. Each act was a show of increasingly explicit dry humping. As each group of performers vied with the previous act to be more outrageous, chaos was breaking out in the screaming audience. Some bright person in charge finally turned off the sound, shut down the stage lights, and lit up the auditorium, causing great consternation among the kids, but it quelled the growing mass hysteria. The students came to their senses. The guards (and NYC policemen if memory serves) managed to usher them out to safety.

Once, on two consecutive days, enormous Snapple dispensers on a mezzanine were pushed to the floor below. Vending machines had to be removed for the students’ safety. On another occasion, two chairs were chucked out of the building, injuring a woman below. Bad press and silly excuses ensued. Another time, word spread that a gang of girls was going to beat up a Mexican girl. There was a huge crush of students who preferred to skip the next class to go see the brawl. The hallway was packed, there was pushing and shoving, causing a stampede. I was caught in it and fell to the ground; kids stepped over me elbowing each other in the crush of bodies. Eventually, a student helped me to my feet. Badly shaken, I was taken to the nurse’s office. My blood pressure was dangerously high; I was encouraged to see a doctor, but declined. My husband came and brought me home.

Shortly thereafter, the teachers union (United Federation of Teachers, or UFT) fought the Department of Education, which had recently loosened the already lax disciplinary rulings. They organized a press conference and asked me to speak at it about the worsening security situation. The principal refused me permission to leave even though my supportive assistant principal found a fellow language teacher to take over my classes. As soon as school was out, though, a union rep implored me to rush downtown with him as the press conference was still going on. Questioned by reporters in front of the cameras, I spoke about the stampede. There was a brief segment on the local evening news.  The principal was furious, and the next morning screamed at me in the lobby that I was a publicity seeker who just wanted to give the school a bad name. However, the UFT was successful in this case, as the former, less inadequate disciplinary measures were restored, and things went back to their usual level of simmering chaos.

Although it was clear that my generally robust mental state was deteriorating, I did not want to quit. The UFT encouraged me to go into counseling; I didn’t see the point but acquiesced and agreed to see one of their social workers for therapy. Her stance seemed to be, “What is a nice girl like you doing in a place like that?” I started to write about the situation to people in authority. The UFT president Randi Weingarten and the DoE head Joel Klein were among the recipients of my letters detailing the problems we faced. I visited my local city councilman, who listened politely. I did not receive a single response.

Soon thereafter, my beloved husband died after a brief illness. The students knew, so were somewhat subdued when I returned to work. But one afternoon a girl, I forget why, muttered “you fucking bitch.” I finally broke. I screamed at the whole class and insisted that they all get out of the classroom. Furiously. Any physical contact was strictly forbidden between staff and students, so my voice alone did the job. It was also strictly forbidden to send one student out of the classroom, never mind the whole class. The good-hearted teacher next door came to my aid. The administration took pity on me and did not press charges.

In the meantime, the UFT somehow found the “nice girl” a job at Brooklyn Technical High School. There was one going for a French and Italian teacher, as there were not enough classes for another full-time French teacher.

Brooklyn Tech, 2004–2009

Brooklyn Tech was considered one of New York’s “top three” high schools. Students had to test in. My first principal was a big, jolly black man, but he got caught on a minor offense and was sent packing. His misdeed was bringing his daughter to school in New York from their home in New Jersey, which, although against the rules, was hardly unheard of. There was a $20 million restructuring fund in the offing for his replacement. The new principal ended the unruly after-school program that purportedly prepared underprivileged children for the entrance exam. Disruptive behavior subsequently dropped considerably.

The new principal ‘s word was law. Under the last-in-first-out system, my job was never secure. Most students were the children of recently arrived immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. A minority were from older Irish and Jewish immigrant families. The many obvious cultural differences were fascinating.

Our assistant principal was an amusing old cynic who loved a hassle-free life. Under him, teaching was a pleasure. It was hard work, as classes were large and students handed in assignments to be graded, but it was rewarding. On Friday afternoons he would announce, “Okay, girls and boys, it’s time to go to the bank,” our signal that we could leave with impunity before the legally stipulated hour. However, some teachers always stayed behind for hours on end to avoid bringing work home.

Despite the disruptive students at first, the classes were manageable. What the youngsters lacked in academic rigor, they made up for in verve. However, as the years passed, micro-management became more burdensome. Supervision became stricter, with multiple class visits and more meetings. Some “experts” up the DoE ladder decided that we had to produce written evidence that our lesson plans conformed to a rigid formula. The new directives did not take into account that foreign-language teaching requires instilling four different skill sets (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and therefore a different, more flexible methodological approach. Unfortunately, our easy-going assistant principal had his fill of the worsening bureaucratic overload and retired. Instead of an eccentric opera buff with a sense of humor, an obedient apparatchik would enforce the new rules. 

In the spring of my 5th year there, he informed me that I had been chosen to replace the Advanced Placement French teacher, as her results were poor. I did the AP training course and prepared for the new challenge that would begin in September. The day before school began, however, he phoned to say that my job was terminated. “There wasn’t enough interest in French” to justify my position, apparently. This was despite vociferous protests from students and parents. I would like to know if, as a member of the UFT’s advisory council, I had asked the principal too many questions. He was so kind as to find me a place at a “boutique” school way down in Brooklyn’s Flatlands.

Victory Collegiate High School, 2009–2010

Victory Collegiate High School seemed promising. It could boast of Bill Gates money, and was one of only two or three new experimental schools co-located in what was once the venerable South Shore High School. It served the local, partly middle-class, partly ghettoized black community. The principal informed me proudly that the students wore uniforms, and no cellphones were allowed. The classes were tiny in comparison to other high schools, and there were no disciplinary problems.

Despite the devastating blow to my career, I set out hopefully on the long commute to Canarsie. The metal detectors should have clued me in. Any pretense of imposing uniforms was eventually abandoned. Cellphones were a constant nuisance. Administrators turned a blind eye to the widespread anti-social behavior.

It would be repetitive to go over the plentiful examples of the abuse teachers suffered at the hands of the students. Suffice it to say, it was Washington Irving all over again, but in miniature. The principal talked a good game, believing that giving “shout-outs” and being a pal to the students were accomplishing great things, but he actually had precious little control over them. What made matters worse, the teaching corps was a young, idealistic group, largely recruited from the non-profit Teach For America, not the leathery veterans who constituted a majority at the two previous schools. I was a weird anomaly to these youngsters. What? I didn’t feel pity for these poor children? I didn’t take it for granted that they would abuse us? The new teachers were fervent believers in the prevailing ideology that the students’ bad behavior was to be expected, and that we should educate them without question according to the hip attitudes reflected in the total absence of good literature or grammar, and a sense of history that emphasized grievance. 

One example of the “literature” we were expected to teach was as racist as it was obscene. The main character was an obese, pregnant 14 year-old dropout. The argot in which it was written was probably not all that familiar to many of the students. Appalled, I asked an English teacher why the students had to read this rubbish. She was shocked at the question: we have to teach “literature the kids can relate to.” Why on earth did the school system believe that such a depraved environment as depicted in this book was representative of the very mixed group of families that inhabited the area, many of whom were led by middle-class professionals from the Caribbean? The “language arts” department (the word “English” was too Euro-centric) made one obligatory bow to Shakespeare—a version of “Romeo and Juliet” reduced to a few hundred words. It was common knowledge that the Bard was “overrated.” 

My small classes faced a large photograph of Barack Obama displayed proudly in front of the classroom over the title “Notre Président.” The picture resonated as little with the students as the Pledge of Allegiance. Like at Washington Irving, all I managed to do was to get them to stand for it and sing some songs. I did have the rueful satisfaction towards the end of the year, however, of being told after the class trip, “Mary, you won’t believe it! The kids sang French songs all the way to Washington!”

In the classroom, the children did as they pleased. Since the classes were smaller, some students managed to learn a bit of French, but most obdurately ignored me. One memorable 16 year-old fresh from Chicago loved French but was contemptuous of me. She was tall and slender, quite beautiful, and in love, it seemed, with another girl in the class, who was not blessed with similar beauty. Throughout the year they were an item. I finally managed to separate them, insisting that they change seats when it became increasingly difficult to stop them from necking in the classroom. That was when, despite her love of French, the Chicago girl left my class never to return, except once, when we were watching a movie. She came in, sat down and watched with us, breezing out again at the film’s end. This was not unusual behavior. Some students had the run of the hallways, wandering around as they pleased.

As before, students engaged fully in the ancillary aspects of high school life. As before, I tried to encourage them to engage in the learning process. On one memorable occasion, I said to them: “You are not here to play, you are here to develop your intellect.” The puzzled stares this remark elicited spoke volumes. It seemed an utterly new concept to them.

The school had an exceptionally good math teacher, among other excellent ones. In November, students sat for the preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test that all juniors were required to do in preparation for the real thing in the spring. I had to proctor the first half. As instructed, I walked up and down the aisles keeping an eye on things. It all went smoothly. When the language section was over and the math part began, however, students stopped working. They sat there staring at the desk. I quietly encouraged them to make an effort, but the general response was, “I ain’t doin’ it, miss, it’s too hard.” I could not get them to change their minds; they sat doing nothing for the rest of my shift.

The preliminary test results that came back in the spring were abysmally low—despite the fact that every single response bubble on the math test had been filled in. Either the next proctor forced the kids to randomly fill in the bubbles, or some administrators did so, another example of the rampant deceit the school system indulges.

After the terrible 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a number of Haitians joined the school. These youngsters were remarkable for their good manners and desire to learn, for their outstanding gentility in fact. They provided a most refreshing change, but it didn’t last. They quickly fell into the trap of hostile resistance.

By June, things were really depressing. Not only was the academic year an utter failure, word spread that 10 girls had become pregnant. Since there were only about 90 girls in the school, this represented over 10 percent. The majority of the pregnant girls were freshmen, targeted it was said by a few “baby daddies” who prided themselves on their prowess and evolutionary success. One of them, however, was the beautiful “lesbian” from Chicago. As her jilted partner moped around, cut to the quick, it was impossible not to feel terrible for her.

Once again, I finally and suddenly broke. The threat was from an unlikely source, a big lad who was always subdued. He was in the special education program, and never gave any trouble when I substituted in that class. But one afternoon, for some unknowable reason, this usually gentle giant came up to me and said, “I gonna cut yo’ ass.” That was the final humiliation I would suffer in the New York City public school system. 

I left that afternoon never to return. I left much behind: trinkets I’d brought from France, hoping to use them as prizes for the highest achievers; my beautiful edition of Les Fables de Jean de la Fontaine; class records, French magazines, CDs and other educational materials. But I brought away something priceless: an insider’s knowledge of a corrupt system.

One teacher phoned me to say that in her culture “I gonna cut yo’ ass” should not be taken literally, it just meant that he would teach me a lesson. “I don’t care,” I replied. Another called to express her astonishment that I would abandon my students. Why on earth did that matter, I answered, they hadn’t learned anything anyway. The school would hand out passing grades no matter what I did. 

*     *     *

It is not poor teaching or a lack of money that is failing our most vulnerable populations. The real problem is an ethos of rejection that has never been openly admitted by those in authority.

Why should millions of perfectly normal adolescents, not all of them ghettoized, resist being educated? The reason is that they know deep down that due to the color of their skin, less is expected of them. This they deeply resent. How could they not resent being seen as less capable? It makes perfect psychological sense. Being very young, however, they cannot articulate their resentment, or understand the reasons for it, especially since the adults in charge hide the truth. So they take out their rage on the only ones they can: themselves and their teachers.

They also take revenge on a fraudulent system that pretends to educate them. The authorities cover up their own incompetence, and when that fails, blame the parents and teachers, or lack of funding, or “poverty,” “racism,” and so on. The media follow suit. Starting with our lawmakers, the whole country swallows the lie. 

Why do precious few adults admit the truth out loud? Because in America the taboo against questioning the current orthodoxy on race is too strong and the price is too high. What is failing our most vulnerable populations is the lack of political will to acknowledge and solve the real problems. The first step is to change the ”anti-discrimination” laws that breed anti-social behavior. Disruptive students must be removed from the classroom, not to punish them but to protect the majority of students who want to learn.

bureaucracy, children, education, government, racism

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, education, government, racism

Public education and hyper speed sex ed

original article: Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board
February 13, 2018 by AUSTIN RUSE

I usually avoid really sick, appalling spectacles. I skip movies like Saw. But last Thursday I saw something worse. I went to the sex-education committee meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. I have never seen anything as shocking.

Understand, that I have sat through years of shocking meetings. My day job is monitoring and lobbying the United Nations. But, I have never seen or heard anything like this. This meeting was a horror show. And a Soviet one at that.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC, pronounced flea-cack) advises the Fairfax County School Board for the content of the sex-education lessons taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This group has come up with over 80 hours of sex-education for these poor kids. And some of it is straight-up pornography.

Rich, Leftist, and Libertine

This school district in Northern Virginia, one of the largest and richest in the country, is among the most leftist in the country. No big surprise there. Twenty-five years ago, they were already promoting “Two Mommies” to the little tots.

But the sexual revolution ideology kicked into hyper speed a few years ago. Fairfax leftists put transgender ideology into schools a full year before Barack Obama’s Department of Education mandated it for the rest of the schools in the country. Last year the Trump administration cancelled the mandate, though Fairfax County is clinging onto it.

This committee has long embraced the rest of the LGBT program. “Oral sex” is introduced to kids as young as 12.  Thirteen year olds are told about “anal sex” 18 separate times in one year’s lessons.

The FLECAC committee is made up of about two dozen people. They’re appointed by the overwhelmingly leftist Fairfax County School Board. Four voting members are students, chosen no doubt because they’re members of student LGBT clubs, and most other members appear to be teachers and administrators.

If the idea behind the committee is to get community input, why stack it with people on the county payroll?

The School Board’s Supreme Soviet

Last Thursday night, two regular citizen members of the committee tried to offer amendments to the curriculum. What happened to them is right out of the Politburo of the Supreme Soviet.

The subject was the phrase “sex assigned at birth,” which appears numerous times in the lessons. This is a politically-charged slogan that teaches that it’s wrong for a delivery room doctor to say a penis means boy or a vagina means girl. A child should be left to his own gender choice later in life.

One citizen member made a motion to remove this phrase from the lessons and to simply use the word “sex” instead. Through parliamentary maneuvers, other members of the committee made sure the amendment was put off indefinitely without debate. The vote to cut off debate and never speak about it again passed 23-3.

The member who offered the amendment asked for a roll call, so that those voting to keep in “sex assigned at birth” would have their names associated with their votes. The motion for a roll call was killed by voice vote.

No debate, no accountability.

Another citizen member made a motion that, somewhere in the numerous lessons about various contraceptive methods taught beginning in eighth grade, there ought to be something about the possible health risks of certain contraceptives.

This, too, was shut down without debate, by a vote of 23-3. A roll call of the vote was shouted down by voice vote.

Hush, Adults Are Listening

The first citizen member made a motion to include a discussion in the lessons about the health risks associated with hormonal and surgical “transitioning.” This, too, was not allowed.

One county employee member asked why there was no lesson on anal sex for the seventh graders. There was oral sex, but why was anal sex missing? The chairman of the committee assured her that the anal sex begins with lessons in the eighth grade.

This revealing moment was followed by another: The chairman actually apologized, with a nervous laugh, for using those graphic terms.

Did it not occur to her, or anyone else on the committee, that she was apologizing to the adults in the room for using words that are scripted into the lessons they have created for children?

It was clear to me that much of the reaction to these motions was a kind of animus toward traditional morality. The glee with which the majority cut off the legitimate concerns of the minority was breathtaking.

Christians as the Taliban

One new member of the committee is a democratic activist named Daniel Press. He was the one who was most vociferous that these motions not only be trashed, but that they not even be discussed. On his Facebook page he calls Christians the Taliban and has an image of Christ on the cross over the mocking words: “Total Winner.”

The other thing that struck me was the sheep-like attitude of most of the members of the committee. There were a few loudmouth ideologues, to be sure.  One student member treated us to an anti-American diatribe ending with the charge that transphobia stems from white supremacy. For the most part the members were silent. But they were lickety-split to raise their hands whenever called upon to vote against debate, discussion, and accountability. That they could not allow.

Finally, it’s remarkable how fast such new and fantastical notions have entered the leftist mindset. The notion of “sex assigned at birth” was itself born just a few years ago. And yet, these people are so certain of its truth, they clap hands on their ears to avoid hearing anything contradictory. Even more, they clap their hands on the mouths of anyone who might want to question this new tenet of faith.

Blind Faith, False Faith

This brings to mind two things: brainwashing, and bad religion. The committee members may not know it, but they have been brainwashed to believe things that are simply not supported by either science or reason. Theirs is faith plain and simple, and the worst kind of faith, the kind that contradicts reason, the kind that can only be imposed. Theirs is a blind faith, taking as gospel whatever the sexual zeitgeist vomits forth.

And so what are parents to do? Opt their kids out of Family Life Education and take over the school board. One is easy, but both are necessary. Sexual Stalinism, of the kind I witnessed a few nights ago, has no place in the education of our children.

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anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

A mom’s/teacher’s experience shows big bureaucracy usurps the will of the people

original article: How Common Core Taught Me Bureaucrats Will Always Win Unless We Slash Big Government
January 3, 2018 by Jenni White

 

During summer 2010, while researching an article to address yet another tax-and-spend initiative to fund public schools, I stumbled upon a 33-page state law passed that spring titled “Schools; relating to teacher incentive pay plans; modifying requirements.”

Although a portion of the legislation did address teacher incentive pay, the bulk was used to establish a state longitudinal database, a “Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Evaluation” (TLE) system, a way to “turn around” low-performing schools, and institute something called the “Common Core State Standards” into Oklahoma policy with a single sentence.

A Google search led me to discover that cementing these four programs into state law increased the likelihood of our state receiving Race to the Top grants from the Obama administration. As a former public school teacher, the change in educational landscape represented by even one, let alone four, of these programs concerned me. As a small government gal and a parent with kids in public school, I wanted to know why our state would institute a whole raft of new, untested, educational programs just to get federal funds.

In June 2011, after months of investigation aimed at answering these questions, I published a paper with 179 references entitled “Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top; An Introduction to Marxism 101.”

Oklahoma’s Common Core Repeal

From 2011 to 2014, the Common Core Four, as National Review dubbed us, fought Common Core and student data collection in the Oklahoma legislature. We logged hours and hours of travel across the state and country, showing up anywhere we were invited—mostly Republican women’s clubs—where I talked about Common Core. Eventually I found myself on radio and news shows from Utah to Florida, including national media programs like Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and NPR, discussing my research.

Finally, and many thanks to the Herculean efforts of state Sen. Josh Brecheen and state Rep. Jason Nelson, a law repealing Common Core and requiring the state to develop new “Oklahoma standards” was passed the last day of the 2014 legislative session. Following a state Supreme Court ruling denying a lawsuit to scuttle the bill, from Common Core supporters including four State Board of Education appointees, Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill June 5.

By the time school started in the fall, we were fielding question after question through our Facebook page akin to, “They’re still teaching Common Core at our school! What do I do?”

I was not surprised that schools would continue to use Common Core curricula, but was surprised it was so blatantly done and with so little regard for the law. This turned out to be the least of my surprises. After an exhaustive search for an answer, the biggest shock we got was that we’d overlooked the most important part of House Bill 3399—an enforcement mechanism.

Unfortunately, our hard-fought, hard-won Common Core repeal bill was little more than a suggestion at best. Nowhere in its endless legalese did it address punitive action for continued use of Common Core. Other than contacting their local district attorneys (which several parents did and were ignored, with replies  of “Why would we spend money going after Common Core ‘law breakers’ when we’ve got meth labs on every corner?”) we were told parents should run for local school boards to keep it out of their schools.

After licking our wounds from this setback, we pulled up our big girl panties and prepared to watchdog the curriculum mandates re-write process, thinking we’d see Common Core end there.

Oklahoma’s Common Core Standards Re-Write Saga

The standards re-write process began in earnest in January 2015 under direction of a new state superintendent. In February, Dr. Sandra Stotsky—an education policy powerhouse and member of the Common Core State Standards Validation Committee who refused to sign off—and Dr. Larry Gray, a math professor at the University of Minnesota, were among four experts asked to testify before the Standards Process Steering Committee about how Oklahoma’s new academic standards (OAS) could advance beyond Common Core.

Very long story short, after producing critiques of all four subsequently released standards drafts, Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment, the grassroots organization I help lead, asked the legislature to grant more time to the re-write process before officially making OAS the state’s new curriculum and testing mandates. From that moment on, the Oklahoma education establishment (#oklaed) engaged in a series of social media attacks against ROPE, and me personally, to marginalize us as “tinfoil hats” for suggesting any overlap between OAS and Common Core, and me as a hater of public education.

Leo Baxter, a state school board member who sued to stop the Common Core repeal, was especially vocal, taking to social media every moment he could, at one point calling Stotsky an “arrogant miscreant” (while misspelling Massachusetts).

Rather than stand their ground against a vocal, largely uncivil, minority of Oklahoma teachers, the Oklahoma senate gaveled out of session rather than vote on Oklahoma’s new “Oklahoma Academic Standards” (OAS). On March 28, 2016, OAS became law through administrative processes written in the bill, leaving Oklahomans who fought desperately for better education standards with nothing for all our years of citizen advocacy.

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: One Teacher’s View

Emotionally spent after years of fighting government for better education opportunities only to end up very publicly attacked, I wrote a blog post detailing all the ways I’d come to believe Common Core had beaten us despite Oklahoma’s repeal. I stand behind every observation today, but I wanted to know if others had the same pessimistic conclusions, so I interviewed several.

Sandy Harrell, an Oklahoma math teacher who participated in the “Common Core Is Not OK” pushback, at first assured me, “Common Core is not gone from Oklahoma classrooms,” before telling me how unclear the new mandates are, echoing a common complaint about OAS. The thing that frustrates her most however, is the fact that, “Some teachers and administrators thought adopting CC was a step in the right direction. There are teachers who still use CC in their classrooms because they think it superior to OAS.”

An April 2015 article in the Hechinger Report called “Gone but not forgotten? Common Core lingers after Oklahoma’s repeal” reinforces Sandy’s point. Here, the author interviews several Oklahoma teachers including Oklahoma teacher of the year (2009) Heather Sparks, who admits that not only does she use Common Core-aligned teaching materials, she also writes Common Core-aligned lesson plans for a teaching website.

Harrell told me many of her fellow teachers are “grasping at straws” to satisfy OAS with limited budgets and outdated resources. This often leads them to reach for curricula from outside suppliers, which correlate OAS and CC math standards.

“I’m curious how Smith Curriculum and Consulting can equate each OAS and CC standard to provide teaching resources if the two sets of standards are not closely related, as some OSDE employees have claimed,” Harrell said. “As a teacher, I have to be able to justify every lesson and method I teach. I have yet to hear anyone justify why CC is superior to PASS [Oklahoma’s previous academic standards].”

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: A Legislator Responds

Josh Brecheen, the Oklahoma state senator responsible in great part for HB3399, told me, “It’s a teacher by teacher decision as to whether they are bringing Common Core aligned curriculum into the classroom. It’s my hope teachers continue to honor the wish of Oklahomans who voiced their opposition to the Common Core State Standards through their elected officials.”

For Brecheen, the biggest threat to Common Core independence in Oklahoma has to do with the new state superintendent’s desire to have taxpayers pay for every high school junior to take the ACT, a college entrance exam controlled by a private company.

“ACT is known to be aligned to the Common Core and if a teacher uses Common Core curriculum, rationalizing it will prepare students for the ACT exam, this undermines HB3399 and ultimately, the voice of parents in our state,” Brecheen said.

Interestingly, the information regarding ACT’s alignment with Common Core has since been scrubbed from its website. Thankfully, my experience with disappearing pages from the Common Core webpage taught me to take lots of screenshots.

The senator also believes using the ACT in such a way “puts private companies in charge of what is being taught in our state and not teachers and parents,” yet most Oklahoma lawmakers, as well as those in many other states, seemed largely content to mandate ACT for all juniors. “National curriculum uniformity driven by company profits and a national marketplace for their goods and service offerings will stagnate educational improvement long term as well as threaten each state’s traditional values,” Brecheen says.

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: A Parent’s Take

Like many Oklahoma parents, Melissa Wilkins watched her third grader, Ashlyn, turn into someone she didn’t know during the 2014 school year.

“We started every morning with a fight because she constantly complained of a stomach ache and cried because she didn’t want to go to school,” she said. “We would finally get her around and out the door to catch the bus, and then I would catch myself almost dreading her walking back in the door after school. It wasn’t uncommon for her to walk in the door, hit or kick her baby brother for no reason, and then run back to her bedroom where she would yell or cry, again for no reason I could understand.”

After talking to another parent, she found her daughter’s school was implementing Common Core math and English just in time to take the state’s new third-grade reading test, the results of which could keep her from moving to fourth grade. While taking part in Common Core repeal activities, she also met many times with Ashlyn’s teacher, wondering why her daughter had slipped from a fifth-grade reading level to barely above third grade.

When she saw her daughter’s practice tests, “I was appalled,” she said. “Not only was the content immoral, but the questions were so subjective that there simply could be no right or wrong answer.”

After fighting so hard for her kids’ education, Wilkens’ life changed once Common Core was repealed. Through her advocacy on Common Core, she became interested in “alternative means” of education, because her four children “all have very different approaches to learning.”

Wilkens homeschooled her other two children for a year, after which she enrolled them in an Oklahoma online charter school. Wilkens continues to be frustrated by numerous reading assignments given to her oldest son, who was required to read graphic, anti-Christian literature in his senior English class.

“Is Common Core dead in Oklahoma? I would say no,” Wilkens says. “Am I better prepared to lead my children through the challenges posed by this toxic set of standards? Yes! Being a political activist cannot be my primary role, but I will never again be scared to dig deeper when my gut tells me something isn’t right.”

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: A Teacher of Teachers

Barbara McClanahan is an associate professor of educational instruction at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Early in our fight, we were asked to give a presentation in the far southeast part of the state, where we met this diminutive powerhouse who had done all her own research on Common Core and come to the same conclusions. Until Common Core was repealed, she spent her time like we did: testifying before government committees, writing, and traipsing about talking to anyone who would listen.

Barbara says, “In the fall of 2011…I began to have my teacher candidates attempt to apply the new CC standards to the lesson plans they were required to write for 1st-3rd grade students. We began to discover that the standards components for these age groups and grade levels simply did not match the developmental concepts they were learning about in their textbooks. I became quite frustrated and began looking outside my institution, which seemed to have no answers, for an explanation.”

To her the Common Core victory was hollow, she says, in part because both Oklahoma City Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools loudly proclaimed their continued use, but also because the standards don’t help children learn to read well. In the end, she says, her position on standards changed.

“Whereas I used to feel that standards were a useful tool, the fact that they have been co-opted in the service of high-stakes standardized tests makes their usefulness highly questionable. Standards, in the end, lead to standardization, which is fine for widgets, but not for children,” Barbara says.

And What About Me?

I learned through this process that education policy in this country simply can’t be shifted by citizens anymore because there are too many moving parts and entrenched policy makers tied to progressive education methods to have any real impact. So I quit fighting for public education.

Part of me hates that, but I was beginning to look a bit like the Elephant Man from banging my head into unmovable walls, and my husband and kids deserved more of my attention. Today, I help run our small farm, teach three classes at our homeschool co-op, and drive my kids’ studies like a good natured tyrant.

If I learned anything from Common Core, I learned that local is the answer to nearly every government problem, and I turned my attention to my tiny Oklahoma town of 2,700 where, in April, I became mayor. Now I fight battles largely winnable, in a picturesque little town on a plot of land where I can see both the sunrise and sunset, and pray that national public education will get better despite the near impossibility of parents and local voters to significantly affect it.

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bureaucracy, children, culture, education, government, indoctrination, legislation, legislature, marxism, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, tragedy

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, culture, education, government, indoctrination, legislation, legislature, marxism, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, tragedy

Is your elementary student being instructed with sexualized propaganda?

original article: California elementary schools to use pro-LGBT history textbooks
November 14, 2017 by Dorothy Cummings McLean

 

Children in California will be learning to identify historical personages by their sexuality.

The Advocate reported that the California state board of education approved “10 LGBT-inclusive history textbooks” for elementary school students in grades K-8 last week. It also rejected two textbooks on the grounds that they did not include “LGBT history.” The exclusion of LGBT history violates California’s FAIR Education Act.

The FAIR Education Act, once informally called the LGBT History Bill, was written by Senator Mark Leno. FAIR stands for “Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful.” It ensures that the political, economic and social contributions of people with disabilities as well as those people identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender are included in textbooks of California’s state-funded schools. It also added sexual orientation and religion to a list of characteristics that California schools already could not present in a negative way.

In 2008, Mark Leno became the first openly gay man to be elected to the California State Senate. He introduced the LGBT History Bill in 2011. Fifty-eight other bills penned by Leno were made into law, including the California Universal HealthCare Act and the establishment of Harvey Milk Day in California.

When the LGBT History Bill was presented, there was opposition from traditional family organizations. Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family told LifeSiteNews that the Bill was unnecessary because “California has some of the most pro-active laws in the nation in this regard already on the books.”

Cushman added, “The appropriate emphasis in history books and social science books is to honor people because of their contributions. It just seems kind of crazy to be promoting them based on their political or sexual identity. You wouldn’t want to leave people out based on that, but neither do you want to base the entire reason that they’re included in history on sexual identity. It should be based on their historical contributions.”

However, homosexual rights advocates welcome the new LBGT-inclusive textbooks. Rick Zbur, head of Equality California, told the Advocate that this “is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions of LGBT people.”

“Approval of these textbooks means that California schools will now have access to approved materials that accurately represent LGBTQ people … ”

Renata Moreira, executive director of the pro-homosexuality Our Family Coalition, told the Advocate that “LGBTQ students, and those with LGBTQ families, will finally be able to see themselves and our history accurately reflected in textbooks in California.

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bias, children, culture, diversity, education, homosexuality, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, sex

Filed under: bias, children, culture, diversity, education, homosexuality, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, sex

She assured me this sort of thing would not happen, nonetheless it is happening

original article: A sixth-grade teacher tried to pull a fast one on parents by assigning a sexual orientation quiz
October 13, 2017 by Pat Gray

Parents in an Atlanta suburb were not happy when they found out their children were subjected to a sexual orientation and gender identity quiz by their sixth-grade teacher at Lithonia Middle School.

The quiz included wildly inappropriate fill in the blank questions regarding sexual preferences and suggestive references to homosexuality and transgenderism, but parents were having none of it.

“Why are they teaching that in school? What does that have to do with life?” an infuriated Octavia Parks told Fox 5 Atlanta.

“We’re talking about a sixth grader who still watches Nickelodeon. I’m not ready to explain what these words are nor what they mean,” said Parks.

The district is currently investigating. Pat pulled no punches when he got wind of the story and praised the parents for standing up to this kind of stuff but highlighted the double standard. Check out what he had to say in the clip.

To see more from Pat, visit his channel on TheBlazeand listen live to “Pat Gray Unleashed” with Pat Gray weekdays 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET, only on TheBlaze Radio 

children, corruption, culture, diversity, education, homosexuality, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, scandal, sex

Filed under: children, corruption, culture, diversity, education, homosexuality, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, scandal, sex

School choice: let’s be honest enough to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day

original article: Guest column: School choice data doesn’t reflect classroom reality
October 11, 2017 by Robert C. Enlow

Louisiana has become a closely watched laboratory for school choice, and for good reason. The state has several ways families can choose: voucher programs, tax-credit scholarships, a tax credit and deduction program, alongside a system of traditional and charter schools.

The spotlight shone a little brighter recently when a study from the University of Arkansas and Tulane University showed a negative effect on first-year students using private school choice programs to access new schooling options. But by the third year, things had turned around for those students. Unfortunately, much of the attention focused only on the first-year decline. That is simply not fair, nor is it the way we have ever judged traditional public schools.

Adults have trouble adapting to a new routine at the gym, let alone a new job or a relocation. Imagine how a second-grader feels to walk into a new school, meet new teachers and make all new friends — potentially while learning a new set of rules and adapting to a new school culture. Indeed, kids need time to adjust to new school settings, and their future success can depend on the extent of their mobility.

The recent study shows students in private school choice programs actually make gains after that first- and second-year decline — and in some areas wind up ahead of their public school peers within three to four years. Students in Louisiana saw steep declines in both reading and math scores in the first year of the voucher program, a result that may be attributable to the short window students initially had to enroll and the limited number of private schools participating. After the first year, outcomes improved in both areas, with reading scores higher after the third year than when students began the program. The Louisiana Scholarship Program had significant positive effects on reading scores for the lowest-performing students.

Simply put, kids need time to adjust to new circumstances the same way grown-ups do. And interviews with school leaders and staff in other states have found private schools participating in choice programs also needed to make some adjustments to better serve the students who were coming from public schools. School choice programs enable students to leave a school that is not working for them and switch to a school they believe will be a better fit. We know from our original research that families choose for a variety of reasons, but chief among them are better academics, smaller classes, a safer environment and a focus on morals and values.

While private school parents report overwhelming satisfaction with their choices, that doesn’t lessen the literal and figurative learning curve for students who may be coming from district schools with large classes, lower academic standards or less emphasis on character development. They’re not only in a new school; it’s a completely new experience for them. Which brings up a final point as we look at this new Louisiana study and anticipate additional research on the effectiveness of choice programs: Supporters and opponents alike have become far too reliant on standardized test scores — often from only one, state-mandated test — to determine whether a type of school or choice program is successful. As choice programs go, Louisiana’s is one of the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to testing.

Yet when you ask families whether and why they are satisfied with their child’s K-12 experience, test scores are rarely among their top indicators of a quality school. Rather, they tend to focus on safety, class size and college acceptance rates. And there are studies that show choice programs have positive effects on high school graduation rates, college enrollment and persistence in college. As school choice continues to gain support, we must broaden the conversation about effectiveness to include more than scores, and we must seek access to more data that can help us determine not just how students are performing in math and reading, but what effect expanding educational options has on them beyond graduation.

We also must resist the temptation to jump on every short-term data finding as a symbol of the success or failure of a school choice program — or for that matter schools, teachers or students. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and humans don’t adjust to new situations overnight.

bias, education, ideology, innovation, reform, study

Filed under: bias, education, ideology, innovation, reform, study

Professor offers ‘American Whiteness’ course

original article: Professor offers ‘American Whiteness’ course which describes ‘whiteness’ as ‘a very bad idea’
August 21, 2017 by Jeffy Fisher

A professor at an Iowa college is teaching a class called “American Whiteness” this fall that will explore the “historical expansion” of white people in the U.S. as well as “challenges to whiteness.”

Professor Karla Erickson is offering the course, which will look at “whiteness as a specific racial formation with a distinct history, proactive and defensive politics, and institutional and personal investments,” Campus Reform reported.

Students will learn about the “historical expansion” of whiteness; “formal and informal advantages that accrue to whiteness”; and potential “challenges to whiteness.”

On this week’s episode of “The Jeff Fisher Show,” Jeffy Fisher thought the title “American Whiteness” sounded like a TV series available to stream.

He pointed out that college and university campuses are tumultuous places where students protest in order to feel “safe.”

“What we need more of is people finding ways to divide us on college campuses,” Jeffy said sarcastically.

To see more from Jeffy, visit his channel on TheBlaze and listen live to “The Jeff Fisher Show” Saturdays 9 a.m.–noon ET, only on TheBlaze Radio Network.

bias, bigotry, diversity, education, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism

Filed under: bias, bigotry, diversity, education, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism

Transgender lesson for 5-year-olds, parents precluded

original article: School gives transgender lesson to 5-year-olds, refuses to give details to parents
August 24, 2017 by Lianne Laurence

Tensions continue to rise in a Sacramento suburb over a boy who “transitioned” to a girl at Rocklin Academy Gateway kindergarten last June during a lesson that some parents say left their five-year-olds traumatized.

Angry parents flooded the Rocklin Academy School Board meeting Monday to protest that they weren’t forewarned the boy was transitioning to a girl or that the kindergarten class would be taught about transgenderism, reported CBS.

Parents were notified only a week later and told only “that two books had been read, not that there was a transgender student in the class,” according to a parent statement provided to LifeSiteNews by Greg Burt of the California Family Council.

But kindergarten teacher Kaelin Swaney defended her actions at the board meeting.

“I’m so proud of my students. It was never my intent to harm any students but to help them through a difficult situation,” she said, according to CBS.

Teacher, board won’t tell parents what happened

But the teacher has refused to disclose to parents what happened during the lesson, according to the parent’s statement. Instead, she told the parent to “ask our student.”

The school board has taken the same line, says Karen England, executive director of Capitol Hill Resources, a pro-family public policy group.

Board staff “are refusing and they refused even afterwards to answer parents’ questions and have referred the parents to their children who were in their class, to the five-year-olds, as to what happened,” she told LifeSiteNews.

Because of state regulations governing open meetings, the board couldn’t legally address the issue Monday night because it wasn’t on the agenda, England told LifeSiteNews. The teacher and parents spoke during the general comments section.

Board accusing parents of inaccuracies

The board is now saying that parents’ accounts of what happened on the second-to-last day before summer break are inaccurate.

In a Tuesday email to parents, Rocklin Academy superintendent Robin Stout disputes the “timeline of events” but adds: “Because of our obligation to protect student confidentiality and safety, we are not at liberty to correct every detail.”

Stout states no “transition ceremony took place” but the “gender transition of the student had occurred before the day the book was read.”

LifeSiteNews contacted Stout and Rocklin Gateway School but did not hear back.

According to the parent’s statement, one-third of the class (seven students) said the teacher read one book in the beginning of the day and another at the end. (The two books pro-transgender books were “I am Jazz” and “The Red Crayon” and target four to eight year olds.) Somewhere in between, “the child changed his clothes from boy clothes to girl clothes.”

“All of the students knew that the child now had a girl brain in a boy body and that he had a new name that the students were to call him,” the parent stated. “Because of this we are assuming that there was some sort of presentation.”

At the next day’s graduation ceremony, the teacher introduced the student by “his girl name” and “all of the students knew he was now a girl and that he had to be called by his new girl name,” the parent stated.

“The school did not refute this happened until a week ago,” she wrote. “They are now disputing the sequence of events but not that the events did not take place.”

Parent getting hate mail; school fears lawsuits

That parent is also getting hate mail among the responses to a petition she has launched, Burt said. “People are afraid to talk about this issue.”

Parents fear not only the backlash but lawsuits, noted England. “I’m getting a letter from a legal group that lets them know that no, you can’t get sued for telling the truth.”

Schools also “are scared to death” they’ll be sued or charged with discrimination, Burt said.

He blames California’s lawmakers for this.

Indeed, Stout has stated the board didn’t have to tell parents in advance because gender issues don’t fall under sex education and aren’t subject to the state’s opt-out and parental consent laws.

California law also bans discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

A July 31 school board presentation stated a child has a “right” to self-identity and anyone who intentionally does not use a student’s preferred pronouns could be guilty of “gender identity harassment.”

More transgender laws coming

California’s senate is now poised to pass SB-179, which will create a “third” gender for birth certificates and driver’s licences, Burt said.

“This particular bill allows a parent to change the gender of their children, no questions asked, no doctor’s note required,”  he told LifeSiteNews.

“Plus there’s no age limit, so a parent can change the sex on their two-year-old’s birth certificate by simply filling out a form if they wanted.”

Added Burt: “So what’s a school do if a boy comes in and it says legally on his birth certificate that he’s a girl and he’s obviously not a girl?”

The California senate is also considering Bill 219, which will jail people for up to a year for not using the pronouns of choice for patients in long-term care facilities. The bill mandates such facilities place men claiming to be women in rooms with women.

Parents and faith leaders must fight back

The kindergarten blowup in Rocklin is the inevitable result of such legislation, Burt says.

The California Family Council is “pleading with parents and religious leaders speak out publicly regarding their opposition to laws that promote transgenderism and to call and personally meet with their legislators,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“Way too many people who disapprove of these government policies have been silent about their opposition. And policy makers have interpreted this silence as approval of the direction they have been going. That has to stop,” added Burt.

“This isn’t going away,” England told LifeSiteNews. “The school is digging in. … It’s erupting.”

bias, bureaucracy, children, cover up, culture, diversity, education, elitism, ideology, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, scandal, sex

Filed under: bias, bureaucracy, children, cover up, culture, diversity, education, elitism, ideology, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, scandal, sex

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