Bernhardt Varenius of Anti-Socialist Tendencies has drawn my attention to this article. I have yet to find an article written by a Leftist that I find worth fisking but this one tempts me. There is so much about it that is wrong-headed and self-congratulatory. I hope one of my fellow bloggers does a real job on it. I will content myself with taking up his initial point about Leftists being more likely to be highly educated. He thinks that shows that conservatives are stupid. He is right that there is a tendency for Leftists to have more formal education but he fails to ask WHY that connection exists. It would not be because of the heavy Leftist indoctrination that people almost always get in the universities and colleges these days would it?
But WHY are university and college teachers so Leftist? Too easy! They know that they are smart so therefore think that they should be the ones running everything. So they HATE it that people want to run their own lives! And that's what makes a Leftist. We know what's good for you is the Leftist credo.
OK. There is one more point that I cannot resist fisking: He says that conservatives were the ones way back who supported the flat earth theory. How he knows that he does not say. What I CAN tell him was that the people who most vigorously resisted Galileo and his ilk were the clergy of the day. And who were the highly educated people at that time? The clergy! So much for the wisdom gained from a higher education!
Parting shot: And it's not so long ago that the leading intellectuals of both Britain and America were supporting Hitler's eugenic ideas. Such wisdom!
Pickens, D. (1968) Eugenics and the Progressives. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press
25 August, 2003
My top post yesterday noted that the Australian middle-class has moved Leftward over the years. In response, Gerry Jackson of Brookes News emailed me: "For what it's worth, it seems to me that what moved our middle class to the left was the spread of tertiary education, which in many cases is nothing less than leftwing indocrination. Listening to some graduates as they try to talk about economics, history or politics drives me to distraction and makes me realise just how far standards have fallen in some of our faculties."
Great! American universities are cutting back on the number of classes they offer. Hopefully that will discourage some students from wasting their time with the so-called education that such universities offer. With the exception of economics, the Humanities and Social Sciences have become so unscholarly that scrapping ALL of their courses would be of net benefit to the world.
23 August, 2003
"What is the answer to this crisis in education? One of the answers is tougher standards, such as those imposed by NCLBA, with credible consequences to back those standards up. But this is merely a first step. A more important and far-reaching response would be to initiate comprehensive parental choice in education."
UNIVERSITY FASCISM UNDERMINED
"Hallelujah. Someone in authority is finally fighting back against political correctness. The Bush administration has warned campus thought-control bullies that it is monitoring their imperious tactics. The Washington Times' George Archibald reports that Gerald A. Reynolds, assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, has sent a long overdue brush-back letter to college and university officials concerning their odious and oppressive campus speech codes."
17 August, 2003
MORE ON THINK-TANKS
A reader writes:
"These outfits were established as a reaction to leftist domination of public sector academia. Conservative and market oriented thinkers found the leftist monopoly of state subsidied tertiary education corrupt, narrow and intellectually oppressive. Behind the facade of a progressive, social reformist academia and intelligentsia is the reality of careerism, vested interest and power politics played at public expense.
The social science arms of our universities these days are in many ways not much more than the marketing department of big government. I think it is appropriate to examine closely whether recommendations from private think tanks represent the special interests of their largest corporate donors. However the same skeptical eye also needs to be cast at the output of government financed universities and agencies. Just because someone works in the public sector, there is no reason to assume that they magically become an economic eunuch.
The left is always warning us about the cynical vested interests of the military industrial complex allegedly maniupulating public policy for their sectional gain. But is this risk mysteriously confined to those in uniform? what about the academic-big government complex? Few government-paid academics are prepared to bite the hand that feeds them. In fact this common sense observation underlies much of the work of the think tanks and is still resisted in State academia.
Real men don't do quilting and feminist refusal to recognize that is cruel to boys in the educational system.
China Hand has given us a little of the story of his earlier years in China. When I met him around 1970 he was a conservative but he later went to university and veered to the far Left. Various people then told him that if he thought Mao was so great he should go to China. Leftists were of course regularly told to "go to Russia" in the old days but China Hand is the only one I know of who really did put his money where his mouth was.
15 August, 2003
The teacher's unions all hate it but there have been many studies over the years showing that smaller class sizes do not improve education. The latest is here
11 August, 2003
Bernard Chapin says: "The political correctness that infects our colleges and universities has been well documented over the years. However, a lesser studied phenomenon is the amount of PC that is present within our primary and secondary schools. I noticed its presence during the time I interned at a major suburban district. The specter of Stalinist PC ended up having quite a bit to do with my future vocational decisions. Now I work at an alternative school, and when people ask me why I do, I answer by saying: "There is no such thing as political correctness at an alternative school. Life is real there and reality can't be covered up with lies and euphemisms. That's why I'll never leave."
6 August, 2003
American universities are not the only breeding grounds for educated stupidity. Australian universities have abandoned standards wholesale to lure fee-paying students from Asia. What do they think is going to happen when it gets widely known how worthless their degrees now are? But the universities concerned are of course run by government bureaucrats rather than by businessmen so why should they care about the future?
CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS PERSECUTED
Andrew Ian Dodge tells of his time as a conservative college student:
"In the early days of political correctness, in the mid-to-late 80s, some of us were on the bleeding edge of PC persecution. I was failed, expelled (for a week), harrassed, verbally abused and denied my first amendment rights. We, the right at Colby, told our Republican leaders about what was going on and they did F***-all. This crap could have been nipped in the bud, instead students, like me, were allowed to blow in the wind.
The Federal government should make it clear to colleges that, if they recieve any Federal funds, they will be expected to treat students in an acceptable way. If the college wants to behave like North Korea towards its students, then it must be entirely private. It is high time we stopped colleges that are recieving tax funds from allowing PC abuse to occur. Your constitutional rights should not end when you walk onto a university campus."
4 August, 2003
TESTS ARE VERY INCORRECT
So, test-happy Florida wants to have a statewide exam for university juniors.
News flash: We already have one. It's called CLAST, the College Level Academic Skills Test.
In their quixotic quest to re-invent the wheel, politically minded reformers let CLAST slip down the memory hole. Then again, so have a lot of college juniors. Since it debuted in 1982, CLAST has been riddled with so many exemptions, loopholes and waivers that only about 30 percent of students actually have to sit for the test. Why? Because some couldn't pass it.
The politically correct "solution," in the face of whining students, is to slay the messenger and bury the underlying academic problems. Thus, CLAST has turned into a cadaver of its former self.
31 July, 2004
This article points out how overwhelming the Asian, Indian and Jewish presence is at the top of America's scientific and engineering research tree and asks why. The politically motivated dumbing down of American education would seem to be one answer. Education in India and China still has standards and the USA imports the results of that. Pity about bright American kids, though.
23 July, 2003
An interesting comment on the introduction of free public schooling to America: "Supporters expected poor immigrants to rush to free public schools, but they didn't ... they were already in good schools, and many immigrants had come to the U.S. to avoid such intrusive, controlling government. When New York City offered free schools, attendance didn't increase. Even poor immigrant families valued education enough to pay for what they wanted."
20 July, 2003
"Since 1980, federal funding for education has grown an astounding 228 percent -- a good track record if your goal is to maximize federal spending. The problem is, liberals don't care if the spending actually goes towards better educating children. More education spending has not resulted in higher test scores."
16 July, 2003
"Public education in America is producing politically correct, properly sensitized, ignorant little socialists. Some of them can read and write and many can make change at McDonalds, given the machines that tell them what the change amount should be. All of the problems now besetting our youth can be laid at the feet of the socialist indoctrination required by the states before one can become a 'certified' teacher."
12 July, 2003
This story shows how good the Left-dominated U.S. educational system isn't. Note that the librarian who wrote the letter would undoubtedly have a college or university degree.
2 July, 2003
AND THEY CALL IT EDUCATION
There wouldn't be any blacks there, would there? "Marc Epstein teaches history at Jamaica High School in Queens, N.Y., with a student body of 2,500. [The school] has eight deans, Epstein being one of them. Student discipline occupies much of their time. The school has an assistant principal for security, and two secretaries and a school aide assigned to the dean's office. There are 10 school security agents assigned by the New York Police Department to patrol Jamaica High School's halls; there are more when there's random scanning of students for weapons. At least $1 million is budgeted for school safety ..."
26 June, 2003
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL FUNDING
The Australian alternative to vouchers is already well-established: "Federal funding of non-government schools is on a runaway trajectory but the Howard Government has no plans to rein in the cost, estimated to hit $5.4 billion by 2006. With enrolments in non-government schools growing - and a new religious school opening every six weeks in NSW - federal budget estimates of the funding have blown out by $150 million. "We have no intention of putting some sort of a cap on it," the Minister for Education, Brendan Nelson, said. "This is a society that values and believes in supporting parents in their choice of education." This year, the scheme will pay $4.37 billion to 2650 schools - more than federal spending on universities - while two years ago the budget put the bill at $4.22 billion."
24 June, 2003
U. MICH. AND THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
Since everyone else will be blogging on this I won't say much but I find this reasoning pretty incredible:
Justice O'Connor declared that the Constitution "does not prohibit the law school's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body." ... "Effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic groups in the civic life of our nation is essential if the dream of one nation, indivisible, is to be realized,"
WHAT educational benefit flows from having a racially diverse student body? No-one has ever shown any net benefit to my knowledge -- though there is plenty of evidence that it leads to dumbing down.
OF COURSE all racial groups should participate in the life of the nation but who said that blacks need favouritism before they can participate? Sounds like old-fashioned racism to me.
RC CATECHISM INCORRECT IN RC UNIVERSITIES
In U.S. Catholic universities it would appear that it is now politically incorrect even to refer to the RC church's teaching about homosexuality. You have free speech to say that homosexuality is OK but even Vatican representatives have no free speech to assert what the church's own catechism teaches. I am beginning to think that even the wishy-washy old Church of England (See here, here and here) puts up more of a fight for traditional Christian teachings than American Catholics do. How can you claim to be a Catholic if you reject the Chuch's catechism? Beats me! I think they are just using the Church for their own convenience while having no respect for it all. Totally dishonest, in other words.
21 June 2003
USA Today can have surprisingly sensible editorial pieces at times. This one about High School students being required to pass a final test before they get a graduation diploma makes a lot of good points. Example: "U.S. Department of Education researchers found that ''A'' students in schools in poor neighborhoods had the same reading scores as ''D'' students in schools in affluent areas." In other words, without the tests, a lot of diplomas are meaningless. But I guess we really knew that.
17 June, 2003
Andrew Bolt summarizes well the shocking story about how the exposure of systematic lies by Leftist historians caused not one shred of repentance among them. They of course attacked the man (Keith Windschuttle) who exposed them instead. Excerpt: "Windschuttle aims to take the discipline of history back to some golden age when it was all about facts," complained Professor Alan Atkinson. Well, yes, professors. That's his point."
A victory for home schoolers against the Fascist educational authorities of Massachusetts.
16 June, 2003
THIS SOUNDS MORE LIKE PAROLE SUPERVISION THAN EDUCATION
And they call it education: "Jefferson Parish public school students without a certain amount of head or body hair will be barred from playing sports or participating in other strenuous activities under a tightened drug-testing policy that will go into effect in the fall. Closing what they described as a loophole in the year-old policy, which they said resulted in some students shaving most of their hair so they could provide urine samples instead of hair for testing.
15 June, 2003
"If American education is to survive, it must completely abandon its current paradigm of enormous, age-segregated schools controlled by Federal monies and the NEA. A return to the one-room school house -- even in large metropolitan areas -- would be a massive improvement.... As long as we allow any government body to control education through funding, our children will continue to be either ignorami or bored stiff all day long."
7 June, 2003
The Leftist "educators": Recent studies suggest as many as half of today's college freshmen must take at least one remedial course in college, with more than four in 10 of these taking a remedial course in writing. Why would K-12 teachers put a low priority on grammar and usage skills? Because that's what they are taught to do by their professors in schools of education.