Thursday, July 01, 2004

27 June, 2004


Jeff Jacoby: "If teachers unions in Massachusetts spent as much time trying to improve the large number of public schools they control as they do trying to hurt the minuscule number of charter schools they don't control, public education in the Bay State would be the pride of the Western world. Alas, quality of education has never been the highest priority of the unions and the many school-district bureaucrats who do their bidding. Like other monopolists, they are less interested in improving their product than in trying to stomp out competition -- especially when it comes from a tiny but popular upstart. In terms of numbers, charter schools are barely a blip on the Massachusetts radar screen. Of the nearly 1,900 public schools in the state, only 50 are charters. Of the 980,000 children enrolled in public education, only 19,000 -- fewer than 2 percent -- attend charter schools."

Dave Huber has some acerbic comments about the lack of "diversity" at the University of Delaware.

A fruitcake mother: "Kyle Samejima's decision -- to send her three children to the local public school here -- was an unusual one among her neighbors. But she liked the open-education philosophy of Windom magnet school [of Minneapolis, MN], liked that it was just a couple of blocks away, liked the diversity. Now she's helping to spearhead an effort to make Windom even more distinctive, turning it into a dual immersion Spanish school that her youngest child -- a kindergartner already bilingual in Japanese -- will begin next year. 'You can put a label on a school, and if you look at Windom's test scores, they don't look so great,' says Ms. Samejima. 'But test scores don't always tell the whole story.' Many other Minneapolis parents, though, are looking at the test scores. And with an exceptionally high degree of school choice, they're increasingly choosing options outside the district."

The latest Harvard flap over the fact that its small number of black students are mostly not American blacks is amusing. Blacks who come from REALLY poor environments in Africa and the Caribbean are twice as good at getting into Harvard as American blacks are. So the Leftist explanation that "poverty" keeps blacks out is sheer bunk. Surely, there is only one explanation for the difference: motivation. As black conservative sites like Crispus and Booker Rising often point out, instead of American blacks being challenged and being taught to strive and become independent, what affirmative action -- and "liberal" policies generally -- teach American blacks is passivity: the feeling of victimhood and dependency. The advantage that blacks from Africa and the Caribbean have is that they have NOT been reared in the poisonous politically correct environment of modern-day America.


17 June, 2004

A column here by David Brooks points out that America's highly educated elite is divided between the professions and the business managers, with the former usually Democrat and the latter usually Republican. He omits to say that both are graduates of roughly the same universities. So how come the first lot have stayed true to what they learnt at university and the business-people have not? Easy. It's a lot harder life in business -- dog eat dog -- so illusions don't last long. It's yet another example of how experience teaches conservatism.

16 June, 2004


Dave Huber has another post up about the desperate twists and turns of the education authorities in Delaware. They do and say ANYTHING rather than admit that blacks do less well at school because blacks are different. To admit to any differences would take away one of their favourite propaganda tools -- the claim that all men are equal. The tragic thing is that blacks COULD do well at school if given the high-discipline environment that the Left are determined to deny them. But if you understand that hatred of other people's success is the real Leftist motive, what they do makes perfect sense. When they forcibly "integrate" blacks into low-discipline classes of white students, they destroy the education of BOTH blacks AND whites. Bravo! Well done!

In a rational system, both high and low discipline schools would be readily available and students would end up in one or the other according to which helped them most. And if it were mostly blacks who ended up in the high discipline schools, so what? Leftists once advocated that official policy should be colour-blind. Now they advocate the opposite. Which shows again what sort of principles and guiding philosophy they have: None. As long as they can use a policy to create havoc, they will.

There is a full exposition here of how Leftists use government to create and perpetuate racial discrimination, disharmony and disadvantage.


15 June, 2004


No, not in Orwell's 1984 but in an American college today

"Two students are suing the State University of New York College at Brockport to overturn parts of its speech policy that they believe are unconstitutional. The lawsuit is the fourth such case filed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group dedicated to academic freedom. The group is seeking to rid public campuses of policies that violate students' constitutional rights, said Greg Lukianoff, the group's director of Legal and Public Advocacy.

Not only does SUNY Brockport tell students what not to say, it actually tells them what they must say and even what they must think," he said.

The suit claims that faculty members twice deemed materials distributed by the student group as offensive. A pamphlet showing photographs of outspoken liberal celebrities saying, "Bring Back the Blacklist," drew an angry response from a faculty member who demanded it be removed from the group's informational table, the lawsuit said. Another faculty member ordered that the group be denied funding or shut down after reading a flier encouraging the college community to help "End Liberal Indoctrination on Campus," the lawsuit said.

Lukianoff said the college's policy, which applies to students and faculty, bans constitutionally protected speech, including "cartoons that depict religious figures in compromising situations," "calling someone an 'old bag,"' or "making fun of any protected group," he said. The college also orders students and faculty to promote its sexual harassment policy and condemn all sexual harassment as defined in it, Lukianoff said. "Censorship is bad enough, but requiring individuals to voice opinions with which they do not agree is both unconstitutional and morally outrageous," Lukianoff said".

More here. (Via SCSU Scholars)

13 June, 2004

About time: "Employers are sick and tired of graduates who cannot function in the workplace, and university funding should be linked to ensuring students complete a graduate skills test, Education Minister Brendan Nelson has warned. In an interview with The Australian, Dr Nelson has flagged plans to force universities to publish the results of the tests, revealing how many of their graduates are ready to go to work.

8 June, 2004


I have lifted the post below from Joanne Jacobs

"Auto tech classes motivate students at a huge New York City school and prepare them for skilled jobs, writes Samuel Freedman in the New York Times. But the program is about to be junked.

On the ground floor of Kennedy, tucked between the football field and the weight room, a teacher named Manny Martinez runs an automotive technology program. In the combined garage and classroom, amid tool cabinets and hydraulic lifts and service bays, about 170 pupils a year study a '97 Grand Am and '96 Cavalier the way medical school students study cadavers, as a means of learning anatomy and organ function.

For many of Mr. Martinez's charges, auto shop offers the one place and time where they experience the utility of an education. The vocational program keeps them coming to school. It has led a number of alumni into skilled jobs with dealerships and service centers, jobs that pay decent wages and benefits, jobs that boast a career ladder.

At a time in New York public education when specialized minischools are being uncritically embraced, one could plausibly say that the Kennedy auto tech program provides many of the same attributes: a focused curriculum, a motivated student body, the application of classroom knowledge in the real world. Which makes it nothing short of astonishing that within two weeks, if plans hold, the whole program will be shut down. The auto shop will be gutted, the students and teachers left directionless, several hundred thousand dollars' worth of equipment hauled away.

Kennedy High needs to make space for three mini-schools specializing in theater, international studies and law and finance. Another Bronx high school also closed its auto tech program to make space for mini-schools. Why is there no space anywhere for a small school focused on automotive technology? The jobs are there."

5 June, 2004


There seems to be no complete transcript of what Bill Cosby said in his famous speech about black responsibility for black failure so I reproduce below the two sets of excerpts that seem to be the most extensive

"We've got these knuckleheads walking around. . . The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting." "I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol? And where is the father?" "People putting their clothes on backward: Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong? . . . People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up . . . and got all type of needles (piercing) going through her body? What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don't know a . . . thing about Africa." "With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail. Brown versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person's problem. We have got to take the neighborhood back. . . . They are standing on the corner and they can't speak English." "People used to be ashamed. . . . Today a woman has eight children with eight different 'husbands,' or men or whatever you call them now." "The idea is to one day get out of the projects. You don't just stay there." "We have millionaire football players who can't read. We have million-dollar basketball players who can't write two paragraphs." "We as black folks have to do a better job. . . . Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us. We have to start holding each other to a higher standard." ". . . We cannot blame white people. . . . ." "The incarcerated? These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, saying, 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"


"I can't even talk the way these people talk: `Why you ain't, where you is'.I don't know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. It's all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and when you got in the house you switched to English. Everybody knows that at some point you switch to English, except these knuckleheads."

"We're raising our own home-grown immigrants."

"I'm talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange (prison jump) suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you don't know he had a pistol?"

"Looking at the incarcerated, these people are not political prisoners. These people are going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake. Then we're all outraged. Ah, the cops shouldn't have shot him. What the hell was he doing with the piece of pound cake in his hands? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else. I looked at it and I had no money, and something called parenting said `if you get caught with it you're going to embarrass your mother; plus you're gonna to get your butt kicked.'"

"Grandmother, mother and great-grandmother in the same place raising children and the child knows nothing about love or respect from any one of the three of them. All the child knows is give me, give me, give me."

"We're not parenting ladies and gentlemen. Listen to these people. They are showing you what's wrong. People putting their clothes on backward; isn't that a sign of something going on wrong? Are you not paying attention? People with the hat on backwards and pants down around their crack. Isn't that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up?"

"Isn't it a sign of something when she's got a dress on all the way up to her crack?"


3 June, 2004


Multicultural dictatorship: "The University of Texas is considering requiring students to study another culture, and some students are upset. 'It absolutely is political correctness gone amok,' said Mark Tait, director of internal affairs for the Young Conservatives of Texas. Arguing that the University of Texas is already culturally inclusive, Tait said, 'Students don't need bureaucracy to tell them to increase and broaden their cultural perspective.' The proposal making Tait mad is one by University President Larry Faulkner, which would require students to spend one semester studying a different culture. 'That's not just about the principal cultural divisions in the United States, Faulkner said. 'It's even relating to cultural divisions around the world. It's evident to all of us right now that we don't know nearly as much about Islamic culture as we need to know.' The faculty will now debate whether studying other cultures will be mandatory or elective."


Overall, I comment very little on what Leftist bloggers are saying. Cleaning out the Augean stables is not a task for me. But sometimes they get too amusing for me to resist: Open Door is a graduate student of psychology at UTA (with a previous academic background including philosophy), who claims that there is only minimal Leftism in American universities.

In typical Leftist style, our Lefty blogger is good on mere abuse -- he calls me "doltish" and "benighted" -- but he is very short on elementary logic. He takes this statement by Keith Burgess-Jackson: "A recurring theme in liberal thought is that wealth and poverty are undeserved" and comments "This is simply false. The recurrent theme in liberal thought is that some wealth, and some poverty, are undeserved". But that is perfectly consistent with what Keith said! Where is the word "ALL" in Keith's statement? Without any qualifiers, Keith's statement simply spoke of wealth and poverty being GENERALLY undeserved. His attack on Keith is not only an attack on a straw man but in fact reinforces what Keith said! There is a lot more than doors open in the brain of that particular Lefty blogger. How he ever passed his introductory logic course is a mystery. I guess it shows that they teach Leftist "logic" in American universities these days. I note in passing also that our Lefty blogger cannot even cut and paste accurately. He quotes Keith as using the word "recurrent" when he in fact used the word "recurring". What a dodo!

As far back as 1972, I was pointing out that Leftists are very prone to the "projection" (i.e. seeing your own faults in others) that they often accuse conservatives as suffering from. So it is rather fun that this Lefty blogger is an example of it too. I pointed out above that his attack on Keith was an attack on a "straw man" (i.e. a misrepresented or fictional opponent). So guess what he was accusing Keith of? You guessed it -- of attacking a straw man.


3 June, 2004

Non-education: "To me, it seems as if the single biggest problem in this country today, after government, is education. No longer are our children required to learn to think, but only to memorize, with the material to be memorized strictly controlled by teachers, school boards, and religious groups. Our children are no longer taught history. Instead they are subjected to socialist propaganda, designed to undermine any attempt to see the failures of socialism in general and to downplay the importance of individualism."

2 June, 2004

Jeff Jacoby summarizes the case for school vouchers. Excerpt: "Education policy in the United States treats Americans as too incompetent to provide for their children's schooling. Unlike food or clothing or health care -- where the market generates lots of options and parents are free to choose among them -- education is mostly supplied on the Soviet model: Schooling is "free," but the schools are owned and operated by the state.... Putting power in the hands of parents is the real key to equality -- and the key to excellence, too".

Great news: Students at the University of Wisconsin -- birthplace in the 60s of the very radical SDS -- cheered every mention of GWB despite all the Leftist propaganda that had been poured out at them during their education.

1 June, 2004

Walter Williams argues that disruptive black students should be expelled from school on a large scale: "Educational triage would acknowledge that there are black youngsters who cannot benefit academically no matter how many educational resources are spent on them. They have little or no family support. Their very presence in school, through disruptive and criminal behavior, makes education impossible for others. Spending resources on these youngsters is the educational equivalent of medical practitioners spending resources on disaster victims who'll die even if treated. These youngsters should be removed and not allowed to take resources from and make education impossible for those who do have a chance for academic achievement."


Comedian Bill Crosby has aimed his wit at political correctness before. See his "essay" on "Igno-ebonics". An excerpt:

"If teachers are going to legitimize Ebonics, then all authority figures who interact with children-such as law-enforcement officers, will have to learn it as wll. In fact, the consequences of a grammatical accident could be disastrous during a roadside encounter with a policeman. The first thing people ask when they are pulled over is: "Why did you stop me officer?" Imagine an Ebonics-speaking Oakland teenager, posing that same question Ebonically, would begin by saying: "Lemme ax you." The patrolman, fearing he is about to be hacked to death, could charge the kid with threatening a police officer. Thus, to avoid misunderstandings, notices would have to be added to driver's licenses warning: "This driver speaks Ebonics only." Since people with driver's licenses tend to drive, what happens when an Ebonics-speaking youth drives into another state? Kids who speak Oakland Ebonics would be impossible to decipher. Consider the following phrase: "I am getting ready to go." Even before Ebonics, Southern people changed the way they announced their imminent departure by saying: "I am fixing to go." Ebonically schooled Tennessee kids, however, would declare: "Ima fi'n nah go." Meanwhile, depending on your geographic locale, that same idea would be expressed a variety of ways, such as: "Ima go now," or "I be goin' now," or the future imperfect "Ima be goin' now."

If Ebonics is allowed to evolve without any national standard, the only language the next generation would have in common would be body language"