Saturday, February 12, 2005

Creating a climate of fear

Crafty college and university professors have figured out how to intimidate their students and get praised for it. Thankfully, some students are no longer standing for this. By manipulating public respect for the First Amendment, some professors disguise intellectual pressure tactics as mere expressions of opinion offered in the spirit of open debate. What they are really doing is using their positions of authority to bully students into agreement. And for this they often are praised by their peers and bosses.

Take, for example, Keene State Professor David Stowell, who has some 15 political statements (left-wing, of course) displayed on his office door. The anti-war slogans (such as "How many Iraqi children did we kill today?") angered Shane Calchera, a veteran who happened to have Stowell as a professor. Calchera alerted the college that Stowell was creating an atmosphere that amounted to harassment of veterans. If Calchera's door had been plastered with anti-woman slogans, a student would have won easily. But making veterans feel bad about themselves by calling them baby killers is still considered OK on campus. Calchera lost.

Stowell, in turn, has filed a complaint with the ACLU, saying, "I was investigated because of my political views because someone objected to them, and that's frightening."

No, professor, you were investigated because you used your position to create a climate of fear. There is a huge difference between stating your views on your own time and using public property and a position of authority to badger people whose academic destinies you partially control. Professors, no matter their political views, ought to act like professionals and refrain from political sloganeering in the workplace. It is a breach of decorum, even if done with the most innocent motives. It is deliberate intimidation of subordinates (students) when done with malice. Of course, removing open politicking from professors' offices and the classroom will never happen. So at the very least professors ought to consider the effect their proselytizing might have on students who disagree with them and do it with the utmost tact - assuming they have any.



NYC now has to pay such high salaries to get teachers for its public schools that it makes the parochial schools unable to compete for teachers without raising salary costs to unaffordable levels

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn will close 22 elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens at the end of the school year in the biggest round of Catholic school closings in the city's history. Falling enrollment and rising salaries for teachers and administrators made the closings necessary, Monsignor Michael J. Hardiman, a diocese education official, said Wednesday.

The 4,000 affected students can enroll in the remaining 125 schools in the diocese. Officials told The New York Times they expect many of the 250 teachers will find work at the other schools. "It's wrenching to see this happen," Frank DeRosa, a spokesman for Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio, told the newspaper for Thursday editions. "We know how much good has been accomplished in those schools for so many students, by dedicated teachers, for so many years. But the reality of the situation now requires this kind of action."

The decision does not affect schools in Manhattan, the Bronx or Staten Island, which fall under the Archdiocese of New York.


If higher spending is sure to improve schools, why hasn't it done so in past?

At a press conference last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell once again called for higher taxes on parents as the putative remedy for California's lagging student performance. In so doing, he attempted to perpetuate the myth that more education dollars will mean a better education product for California taxpayers. The bad news for Mr. O'Connell is that taxpayers and voters are wising up. The education establishment has in the past repeatedly asked for more money with promises of better performance and has been consistent only in disappointing us.

As to the current condition of California's educational product, there is little debate. A recent study by the Rand Corp. analyzed national standardized testing and ranked California public schools at the bottom of the 50 states. Asked for an explanation, Superintendent O'Connell blamed Proposition 13, asserting that if his agency had more money, schools would improve. The Rand study found that the amount California spends on public education falls in the top half of the 50 states. California is one of the highest-taxed states, and public education consumes $50 billion of the state's $109 billion total budget. If there were a correlation between governmentspending and student performance, then California schools should at least score in the top half of the nation, not dead last.

In his press conference, Superintendent O'Connell announced his plan to improve California school performance in response to the Rand study. Does this plan have anything to do with the curriculum, accountability, grading policies, student discipline or reducing state bureaucratic and union control over local schools? No. Instead, Mr. O'Connell said he "will focus on increasing state money [by a] campaign to reduce the threshold necessary to pass local parcel taxes."

In other words, he wants to gut Prop. 13 by making it easier to raise property taxes, then send the money to Sacramento.

More here


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Friday, February 11, 2005


There is a war going on over the Middle East - right in the middle of Manhattan, at Columbia University. The school's Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, known as MEALAC, has been credibly accused of anti-Semitism and intimidating pro-Israel students (Some Jewish students have even made a documentary, "Columbia Unbecoming," which includes interviews with the cowed students.)

In fact, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz told an audience at Columbia, the faculty of MEALAC go further than merely being anti-Israel; they actively encourage Islamic terrorism, reports the New York Sun. Columbia is the university that raised $4 million - including a contribution from the United Arab Emirates - to create the Edward Said endowed chair in Arab studies.

Dershowitz, speaking to a full house at Columbia, reminded those gathered that Said was an extremist, and he ripped the university as a whole on the issue of its anti-Israel bias. "The kind of hatred that one hears on campuses like Columbia - and let me say, especially Columbia - is a barrier to peace," Mr. Dershowitz said. "They are encouraging the terrorists. They tell the terrorists you will have academic support even if you oppose the peace process. This is the most unbalanced university that I have come across when it comes to all sides of the Middle East conflict being presented," he said. "I have never seen a university with as much faculty silence."

To back up Dershowitz's point, the New York Sun reports that two authors attended a Columbia panel on the Middle East conflict last week entitled "One State or Two? Alternative Proposals for Middle East Peace." In the guise of talking peace, Sol Stern and Fred Siegel were witness to Columbia professors like Rashid Khalidi, the recipient of the endowed Said chair, and Joseph Massad opening wide the "floodgates of hatred," with Massad "demanding of one Israeli student, 'How many Palestinians did you kill today?'" and using "the phrase 'racist Israeli state' more than two dozen times."

Dershowitz blasted ivory-tower elitists for everything from their silence to trying to divest from Israel, singling out Massad, "who in 2003 called on the university to divest itself of financial holdings in companies that support Israel," reports the Sun. "Anybody who advocates for divesting only from the Jewish state ... at a time when Iraq was posing a great threat to the world, when Iran was posing great threats ... when China is oppressing million of Tibetans, when the Kurds are still denied independence and statehood, to single out only Israel for divestiture at that point in time cannot be explained by neutral political, even ideological consideration," Dershowitz said. He added, "I'm appalled at how many professors at Columbia University privately support Israel, and privately support many of the students, but are publicly afraid to speak out." For a solid hour, Dershowitz ran up one side of the Columbia faculty and down the other, saying at one point that peace in Israel has a better chance than it does on campus right now.

University president Lee Bollinger did put together a committee to look into complaints about the MEALAC, but Dershowitz pulled rank, so to speak, and warned that if Bollinger's group came to a "biased" conclusion, he would get a panel of Nobel Prize winners together to look into the Jewish students' complaints.



A senior education adviser has blamed the education profession for the re-election of the Coalition Government, expressing his disappointment that former pupils had voted for John Howard. NSW English Teachers Association president Wayne Sawyer's extraordinary remarks in a teaching journal have sparked a heated debate about the appropriateness of pushing politics in the classroom and the responsibility of teachers to adhere to the principle of impartiality. Associate Professor Sawyer, the former chair of the NSW Board of Studies English Curriculum Committee, said English teachers had failed to encourage critical thought. "We knew the truth about Iraq before the election - did our former students just not care?" Professor Sawyer wrote late last year in an editorial for the journal of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English. "We knew before the election that 'children overboard' was a crock, but as it was yesterday's news, did they not care about that either? Has English failed not only to create critical generations, but also failed to create humane ones? What does it mean for us and our ability to create a questioning, critical generation that those who brought us balaclava'd security guards, alsatians and Patricks Stevedoring could declare themselves the representatives of the workers and be supported by the electorate?"

The article sparked a political backlash yesterday, with Education Minister Brendan Nelson warning it confirmed "the worst fears" of parents that teachers were peddling political views. Dr Nelson said he hesitated to "give any dignity whatsoever to what has been written here". But he told The Australian: "It confirms in part what is held as the worst fears of parents that often teachers are seeking to impose their own particular views which they are perfectly entitled to have, but to impose those views on students. This person is doing a great disservice to English teachers generally and their representation."

A spokesman for NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt said guidelines were in place stipulating students be taught in an "impartial and objective manner". He added: "The guidelines are in place and we would expect teachers to adhere to them."

Associate Professor Sawyer, who teaches at the University of Western Sydney, defended his article yesterday, saying "this is not about teachers becoming Leftist politicians in classrooms". And he said the article, an editorial in the journal, was his opinion rather than the position of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English. "This is about the idea that students have to be able to analyse language and be critical of language and that's an important thing for citizens in a democracy to be able to do," Professor Sawyer said. "And I was throwing down the gauntlet to the idea that if we are going to create critically literate citizens in a democracy then the last two elections, in particular, have been run around the use of language." He said the Howard Government had used language effectively, coining emotive phrases such as queue-jumpers for asylum seekers. He said political material from both major parties could be analysed in classrooms when teaching critical literature to students.



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Thursday, February 10, 2005

No Wonder Teachers Union Hates Merit Pay

In response to my Sunday column about the teachers union and education establishment fearing competition from charter schools, one teacher called me and -- before he started screaming obscenities at me -- made the same argument all these union people make: there is no way to measure teacher performance. It's unfair to judge teachers based on test scores, they argue. Therefore, they say, there is no fair way to institute a merit pay plan. As a result, we -- the hard-pressed taxpayers who lack a powerful union to lobby for our interests -- should all accept that the lousiest teachers earn the same amount as the good ones.

This is an absurd argument. In every line of work outside government, people are evaluated on their skills in whatever it is they do. My editor does not judge me based on some objective measurement of, say, the newspaper circulation, but on her evaluation of my work performance. In other words, our bosses judge us and render a verdict. That's the real world outside the protected government civil-service/tenure system. We are "at will" hires, which means that, generally (barring certain protections in the law), our bosses can determine our fate based on any reason at all. That keeps us on our toes. In government, you cannot get fired short of some grievous activity ... and even that is questionable, as the firefighter scandal in Sacramento is proving. Why can't principals decide which teachers are good and which ones are losers? Why can't they give higher increases to the good ones and fire the bad ones? Gee, such a radical idea. No wonder the teacher was screaming.



Gone are the days when teachers' salaries rose automatically with years of experience, or academic credits. In this idyllic Mississippi River town, teachers get an annual raise only if they set and fulfill performance goals. The idea of performance pay — a notion once reviled by most teachers — is getting a warmer reception here. Teachers are trying hard to prove they're worth the money, from more frequent student testing, to e-mailing parents, to trying out different styles for their students. "Just rewarding people for having put in a lot of years, that's one of the things the public gets upset about — and justly so," said Kris Sandy, a high school English teacher. "In terms of having some more reasonable examples of what we do every year to improve our curriculum and be better teachers, that's perfectly reasonable."

The pilot project in the La Crescent-Hokah district and a handful of others in Minnesota comes as several other states examine the way teachers are paid. "Ten years ago, if you were for performance pay, you were a nut. Now we can have a discussion about it with the unions in a very constructive, positive way," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who wants to see merit pay on a much wider scale. "It's not meant to be a punishment. I think we're all big enough to realize the system we have now is outdated."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called for his state to demand teacher pay on merit and tie teachers' continued employment to their classroom performance. In Denver, residents will vote in November on a property tax increase allotting $25 million for a performance-pay model.

Teachers in Chattanooga, Tenn., can earn four-figure bonuses for boosting student achievement; in Douglas County, Colo., which established a merit model a decade ago, performance factors into raises for everyone from teachers to janitors. "We're seeing more action and not just rhetoric," said Michael Allen, who tracks teacher trends for the Education Commission of the States.

The idea hasn't worked everywhere. Cincinnati teachers were moving toward such a pay plan before pulling back in 2002, citing flaws in the proposed evaluation system. In Colorado, the Steamboat Springs school board reversed course after finding the program too expensive to implement. Teachers unions, most notably the National Education Association, are leery about losing the pay security of the traditional system of experience and academic credits. They worry performance pay can be too subjective, and that test scores — a measurement tool often linked with merit pay — aren't a fair way to judge student progress.

The Minnesota PTA, a parents group, favors blending the traditional system with bonuses for superior teaching performance. "They're trying to do this business concept where we look at a couple factors and make it nice, cut-and-dried, simple and easy. Education is not simple and easy," said Phillip Enke, the group's president. Pawlenty, Minnesota's governor, has proposed setting aside $60 million for districts that adopt some form of the merit pay system. His proposal would eliminate the old system and have teachers reviewed by administrators and peers; student achievement would be considered in awarding raises.

In the La Crescent-Hokah model, pay can never go down. However, teachers can go without an increase indefinitely if they don't make progress toward their goals. Superintendent David Krenz estimated 90 percent to 95 percent of the district's teachers succeeded last year, adding $750 to their base salary. Raises varied under the old system. For example, teachers saw a $220 bump between their first and second years. A 25-year veteran with a master's degree could count on $430 by coming back the next year. Darrel Collins, a social studies teacher in his 30th year, said he's noticed a difference in how his colleagues approach their jobs. Collins said the program has worked because peers are involved in the evaluations and teachers get some leeway on what constitutes progress. "It's not a game where you are trying to make yourself look good. We're not giving teachers the raise on whether or not they actually achieved (a stated goal)," said Collins, the head of the local teachers union.

Four years into the pilot project, it's not clear if it's made a difference for students. Reading and math test scores for third-graders have climbed steadily, but exam scores for fifth-graders have fluctuated.



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Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Post lifted from Turin He is discussing an influential educational reformer who helped get busing introduced in Boston

Kozol's school, with white teachers and Black students, was in chaos. "White was overcome in black among them, but white and black together were overcome in chaos."(P. 29.) What was the source of the chaos? For Kozol, the school's discipline and the racial bigotry of the teachers were the sources of the chaos. Of course, many social observers said that the chaos was already inside the students when they came to school. This view was the official position of the Boston school board. The chaos was created by social disorganization of the Black family and community. Kozol tackled this issue by retelling a conversation he had with a white (presumably Jewish) landlord in Roxbury. "I remember a talk that I had around that time with a man who owned a lot of property in the Negro section and who made a great deal of money out of this property..."(P.140.) The landlord thought that the schools gave a poor education to the Black students; nonetheless:

"'The schools are doing a wonderful job with what they've got. You take these kids from homes like those and parents from all over no place and everything all mixed up and nobody living right and how on earth do you expect a day in school to change that child's life?'"(P. 140.)

Kozol countered that the physical facilities of the school were poor and uncomfortable. Windows were broken. A window fell in on Kozol's class. Two classes shared the same room. Attentive teaching and learning was physically impossible. The landlord responded:

"'We did it, and we never had any fancy schools either and nothing special for us, no special classes or stuff like that. And if we did it then I don't see why can't they?'"(P.140-141.)

"We" were the Jewish families and Jewish community who lived in Roxbury a generation earlier. Jews had been able to obtain social mobility through education and move out of Roxbury's poor buildings. Jews had been advance in the face of discrimination and prejudice. Why could not African Americans do it also? That indeed was the question. Kozol, who was Jewish, evades it. (Instead of answering the question, Kozol accuses the landlord of hypocrisy. On the basis of Black rents, Kozol notes, the landlord sent his child to a "sophisticated little French school outside of Boston" [p. 141].)

There was no way for Kozol to answer the question. In 1965, the Department of Labor released Daniel Moyniham's report, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. The report documented - again - the well-known fact of Black family instability and its consequences. (Du Bois and Frazier had both analyzed it at length earlier.) The contrast to the strong family structure of the Jews and the role of the Jewish family as the base of Jewish community culture was obvious and clear.

It was not the law of the land in America (as it was in France, for instance) that the family was the basis of the nation's social structure; so it was not the law of the land that social policy should establish racial equality in family stability. It was the law of the land, however, that social policy should make schools equal; so schools bore the burden of repairing the damaged subjectivities of children attending them. And this is the story Kozol tells while disguising and evading the central issue.


LOS ANGELES: The L-A Unified School District spent nearly 50 (m) million dollars on a computer reading program that failed to improve student literacy skills.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the district bought the system four years ago to boost test scores at low-performing elementary schools. The Waterford Early Reading Program was used to supplement language arts instruction in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. However, a review of school district records reveal the system had no affect on most students and had a "negative impact" on some kindergartners whose teachers substituted it for primary reading lessons.

In other cases, some teachers were too busy covering the district's rigorous reading curriculum to devote enough time and energy to the computer lessons. Some teachers simply didn't know how to use the program, and some couldn't because of computers that froze and broken headsets. The findings prompted the district to order schools to limit the technology's use to struggling students. Now, school officials are questioning whether the program was worth so much of the district's funds.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Further to my post of 31st January regarding the anti-religious thought-police at the Smithsonian and their persecution of Dr. Sternberg, I have received the following interesting email from a reader:

The Smithsonian has NEVER been an unbiased museum. A good example is the blatant attempt to rewrite history and say that Samuel Langley's attempt at powered flight would have been successful.

Langley's first attempt plummeted like a rock into the Potomac almost killing the pilot. At the second attempt the rear wings, (the plane had TWO SETS OF WINGS,) folded up at launch. However, the head of the Smithsonian in 1914 wanted to build up Langley, so had Glen Curtis rebuild the plane (with extensive modifications) and fly it. (Curtis was involved in patent disputes with the Wrights, so would have loved to shoot down the Wright patents.)

It took until 1942 before the Smithsonian admitted to the shenanigans, and 1948 before the Wright flyer was displayed in the museum. (It had been in the British museum till then.)

See here


Abigail Thernstrom spoke with passion to Louisville's School Choice Scholarship group last week about the achievement gap between black and white students. She said Americans should be outraged about the poor achievement of black students and should demand change in the system.

After visiting schools all over the United States, Thernstrom said, while schools may fail for a variety of reasons, all successful schools share certain characteristics that you can spot within a couple of minutes. First, they are clean and orderly. You don't see trash on the floor or graffiti on the walls. Second, they have a great principal who has control of his budget and his personnel. In other words, he gets to decide how the money will be spent in his school; he has control over hiring; and he has the power to get rid of teachers who are not performing to his satisfaction. Third, if a student chooses to be disruptive or not to apply himself as required by the school, the school has the power to show him to the door. "If you don't want to be here, you don't have to be here. There are plenty of other children who would love to take your place."

Thernstrom said one definition of middle class is that people who are in the middle class have the power to choose their child's school, either by moving to the neighborhood from which that school draws its students or by paying tuition to a private school. However, poor people do not have the power to choose their child's school and therefore frequently are trapped in the worst-performing schools.

Thernstrom's book, No Excuses - Closing the Racial Gap in Learning, explores the issue of the racial learning gap in great detail -- shooting down the conventional wisdom about class size, funding, and "resegregation" and describing what needs to be done to solve the problem. Thernstrom is a supporter of vouchers, saying that the money should be strapped to the child's back and should follow him or her to any school the parents choose, as long as the school meets the government's standards.

The teacher's unions are strongly opposed to Thernstrom and to the voucher movement, due to their fear of competition. Many conservatives also oppose the voucher movement, fearing that it gives the government greater influence over private schools and will gradually convert them into government-controlled schools, with all the problems inherent in a government-controlled education system. Privately-funded scholarship programs, such as School Choice Scholarships, currently provide a non-government alternative that has had tremendous success with minority and white low income children. However, these scholarship programs have very limited resources. Some states have instituted tax credits for those who contribute to private scholarship programs, making it easier for resources to be allocated to those very successful programs while substantially reducing the amount of tax money that has to be spent on public schools.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Monday, February 07, 2005


Another attempt to intimidate conservatives

A UNLV professor under fire for comments he made about homosexuals during a class lecture last year demanded Friday that the university stop threatening to punish him. "I have done absolutely nothing wrong," said the professor, Hans Hoppe, a conservative libertarian economist with almost 20 years teaching experience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, on Hoppe's behalf, sent a letter to UNLV officials alleging that the university violated Hoppe's free speech rights and his right to academic freedom. "The charge against professor Hoppe is totally specious and without merit," reads the letter from ACLU attorney Allen Lichtenstein. He said they would sue the university if necessary, though they hope to avoid it.

UNLV officials would not comment on the case, saying they cannot talk publicly about personnel matters.

Hoppe, 55, a world-renowned economist, author and speaker, said he was giving a lecture to his money and banking class in March when the incident occurred. The subject of the lecture was economic planning for the future. Hoppe said he gave several examples to the class of about 30 upper-level undergraduate students on groups who tend to plan for the future and groups who do not. Very young and very old people, for example, tend not to plan for the future, he said. Couples with children tend to plan more than couples without. As in all social sciences, he said, he was speaking in generalities. Another example he gave the class was that homosexuals tend to plan less for the future than heterosexuals. Reasons for the phenomenon include the fact that homosexuals tend not to have children, he said. They also tend to live riskier lifestyles than heterosexuals, Hoppe said. He said there is a belief among some economists that one of the 20th century's most influential economists, John Maynard Keynes, was influenced in his beliefs by his homosexuality. Keynes espoused a "spend it now" philosophy to keep an economy strong, much as President Bush did after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks....

But within days of the lecture, he was notified by school officials that a student had lodged an informal complaint. The student said Hoppe's comments offended him. A series of formal hearings ensued.

He said university officials first said they would issue him a letter of reprimand and dock him a week's pay. That option was rejected by Hoppe's dean and by the university provost, Hoppe said. More hearings ensued, he said. In the end, the university gave him until Friday to accept its latest offer of punishment: It would issue him a letter of reprimand and he would give up his next pay increase. Hoppe, a tenured full professor, contacted the ACLU on the recommendation of an attorney friend of his. Hoppe is now their client. "I felt like I was the victim," he said, "not the student."

ACLU officials said the validity of Hoppe's economic theories does not matter. It is his right to espouse them in class. "We don't subscribe to Hans' theories and certainly understand why some students find them offensive," said Gary Peck, the ACLU of Nevada's executive director. "But academic freedom means nothing if it doesn't protect the right of professors to present scholarly ideas that are relevant to their curricula, even if they are controversial and rub people the wrong way."

Hoppe said he is dumbfounded by the university's response to the student's complaint. It is not his job, he said, to consider how a student might feel about economic theories. "Our task is to teach what we consider to be right," he said. The offended student, he said, should have been told to "grow up."

More here


Post lifted whole from the good Professor's site. More here

There's a ton of solid data showing that systematic (planned, logically progressive), explicit (clear models, definitions, and rules), focused instruction is highly effective.  In fact, Professor Plum has clogged this blog (note the clever approximation to a rhyme) with sprightly verbiage on that very subj, here.

In addish, as you may know, there are many field-tested commerical programs in reading, math, writing, spelling, science, logic, and history based on principles of systematic, explicit, focused instruction.  These go by the name Direct Instruction, as discussed here and here.  Programs very close to DI are by Saxon Math (at least it used to be the case), Singapore Math, and many programs sold by Sopris West and Curriculum Associates.

Natcherly, "little" di (systematic, explicit, focused instruction in general) and commercial DI programs are despised by the majority of pedagogues and decision-making eduhacks--possibly because these nitwits know that effective, efficient programs will put them out of business. Witness the evil nonsense going on in Rockford, IL.  The idiocy in the remarks of Ms. Hayes as she defends her decision to get rid of DI and replace it with whole language (which edufrauds call  "balanced literacy") is so blatant you'd think she'd have noticed--or perhaps not.

As principal, Parker used teacher-led direct reading instruction with a heavy dose of phonics. Chief Instructional Officer Martha Hayes, who arrived with Superintendent Dennis Thompson in May, wants more student-centered reading called "balanced literacy."

Hayes said Lewis Lemon's success did not translate to higher fifth-grade reading scores. Parker said direct reading instruction was new to the upper elementary grades and was not given time to show results.

You can read the latest here

Whole languagists and other intellectually impaired inhabitants of Edland are clever reptiles.  OF COURSE DI is not going to raise fifth grade reading scores YET; the school started using it in the LOWER grades.  This is akin to arguing that a medicine does not work even though no patients have taken it yet.  How people this stupid are able to put on their pants without strangling themselves or setting the house on fire is a great mystery.  I wonder if they THINK of these lines ahead of time, or if their madness just leaks out.

Having watched whole languagists, pseudo-child-centrists, and progressives since 1967, we know them to be unrepentant liars, cowards, and mentally negiligible hysterical harpies.


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

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Sunday, February 06, 2005


It seems that liberals are confused about why conservatives care so deeply about what goes on in the groves of academe. They do not get why conservatives are very vocal about political bias in the classroom, which is combined with lessons in everything from anthropology through to zoology.

2005 is proving already to be something of a vintage in this respect. First, we had the debacle over comments offered by Larry Summers at Harvard on women in science. Now we have a Colorado professor, Ward Churchill, hopefully no relation to the great statesman Winston Churchill, who wrote an essay comparing those who died in the horror of September 11 with the Nazis who perpetrated the Holocaust.

Liberals are confused about these skirmishes as well, and do not see any contradiction between their condemnation of Mr. Summers on the one hand, and their collegial support for the professor on the other. Mr. Summers is to be forbidden the defense of First Amendment rights, though he was positing an idea for intellectual debate in the best traditions of liberal academia. Meanwhile, our erstwhile professor is to have full access to the First Amendment defense for making insulting remarks in a third-rate essay.

Though perhaps not highbrow enough for his university's reading lists, the Dr. Doolittle novels featured something called the Push-me Pull-you animal. This confusing animal had a head at two ends and couldn't always decide which way to go. So he always seemed to be going in two different directions. Sound familiar?

In the debate raging across campuses up and down the country, this animal is often seen in human guise. The absurdity of academics jumping to the defense of the professor is that it now seems intellectually acceptable to call American people Nazis, but please do not call them Christians....

When President Reagan talked about Russia as the evil empire back in the 1980s, no doubt the professor was in the back row sniggering. Perhaps Mr. Reagan's rhetoric had too much that was abstract for some. When President Bush talked about evil in the wake of September 11, he meant it and we saw it, and we saw what evil men can do.

Of course, evil is one of those embarrassing words that secularists, and many liberals, like to dismiss. It is an embarrassing four-letter word that causes more distress to them than some other four letter words that we prefer not to hear in polite company.

Like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland, evil is a word that means just what it says it means, neither more nor less. Certainly, there is much to be said for a balance of ideas and opinions, and we should freely express our understanding in order to test our ideas against other opinions. The problem occurs when this process gets narrowed down to a politically acceptable set of biased views, and where disagreement is fine so long as you agree on the boundaries of what is disagreeable. In this scheme of things, many conservative and religious views are considered to be beyond the boundary.

So, here's the beef conservatives have. They care deeply that much of what is taught in universities, colleges and schools across the country is not reflective of America, nor is it intellectually rigorous. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the young students of today are being taught by the young students of yesterday, and they in turn will teach the young students of tomorrow. The system becomes self-perpetuating, with many academics having little exposure to the realities of the outside world. This enables them to entertain the most fantastical propositions, apparently without the need to test them empirically against how the world actually works. George Orwell put it best when he explained that there are some ideas so idiotic that only intellectuals would believe them. Well, the professor has certainly proven the point.

From David Cowan

An education chief who cannot even count! "Ontario Education Minister Gerard Kennedy got low marks for spelling and math this week when discussing the possibility of a strike by the Canadian province's teachers. "I think strike is a bit of a five-letter word in education and that gets people nervous," Kennedy said on Wednesday, according to media reports. After it was pointed out that the word strike has six letters, Kennedy, a member of the Liberal Party, said that he meant to say something else all together. "Pardon me, I was going to say four, but it really is a tough word in education."


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

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