Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Occupy Movement's Classroom Roots

Anyone who has spent ten minutes teaching in an urban public school setting can relate to scenes of massive disrespect of property and individuals; rampant vulgarity and inappropriate behavior; random violence; mesmerizing expectations of delusional entitlement; oblivious arrogance steeped in wide scale ignorance simmering in a dismal brew of politically correct drivel; unfortunate victims caught in the crossfire of political impotence and social apathy; desperately apologetic leftist activists rationalizing, ignoring, and even promoting a destructive victimization among a lower class content to passively occupy. A ruling class and enforcement authority either sadly negligent in its duties, tragically resigned to its fate, or simply counting the days until an eventual escape through unionized retirement. Sound familiar? Well, it should, since this is what we have from Zuccotti to P.S. XYZ.

The American classroom used to be the foundation of civic and personal responsibility; American pride and patriotism; respect for authority and self-discipline; and, above all, a solid academic groundwork built on sound and proven educational principles. The result of this process, while not perfect, fed our society with a steady supply of responsible, rational, self-disciplined, self-motivated, ambitious, and passionately patriotic Americans from all walks of life and of all races.

Sure, injustice and disparity of opportunity existed but, by and large, the system at least provided a mechanism by which most people could express hope for a better future for their families. Regardless of our society’s weaknesses, it was neither an accident nor a mystery why this nation was the envy of the globe and the most successful and noble nation which this planet has seen and probably will ever see.

Add a generation or two of diluted academic standards steeped in pop educational and psychological theory. Also add rampant political correctness, unbridled worship of unrestrained subjectivity and rationalized personal responsibility. Add heaping servings of victimization, twisted notions that America is nothing but a source of oppression and injustice, authority figures whose appeasement and fawning surrender to students’ agendas turns every student gripe into a legitimate complaint and every legitimate faculty response into a sacrilege against the religion worshipping the lowest common denominators. Simmer until the bully who pushes a good student down a flight of stairs just needs to be understood, the chronic whiner who cries foul because a teacher expects decent work deserves a soapbox, and the administration starts defending the troublemaker over the good student and dedicated teacher.

When students who try to turn entire classes against their teacher are described as having integrity and students expect As for being alive and Bs for breathing, you are nearly done. Then hordes of teachers and loads of administrators sell out and begin an appeasement campaign which would make Chamberlain blush. It soon becomes more efficient and time sensitive to recognize those students who have not received honors ( all five of them) with you-are-almost-an-honor-student-so-don’t-worry-cards than to cite those who have earned honors ( the rest of the students plus the cleaning and cafeteria staff).

This dilution of quality, personal and civic responsibility, respect for self and others, academic integrity, actual constructive intellectual knowledge, and recognition of legitimate authority opens the door for the creation of a breeding ground promoting chaos, arrogant ignorance, disrespect at all levels, patriotic insolence wrapped in a twisted sense of entitlement which boggles all rational levels of common sense and decency. When you see authority figures actually defending and promoting this slide into intellectual, moral, societal, and national oblivion, you are done.

An elderly woman is pushed down the stairs at Occupy DC. There are reports of public defecation (giving the Occupy “movement” a new meaning) and urination on public and private property at various Occupy sites including Zuccotti Park in New York. There are reports of rape, sexual assault, and threats against those who want to report these incidents at various Occupy sites. A lice outbreak is reported at Occupy Portland. Destruction of property is reported at various Occupy sites including Occupy Oakland. Chants promoting everything from socialism to sex with animals are reported at various Occupy sites including Zuccotti Park.

When two vendors providing free coffee and hot dogs to Occupy San Diego protestors stopped providing the freebies, their carts were vandalized and items stolen. Most notably, one of the carts had urine and blood spattered on it, according to Councilman Carl DeMaio. When these goons turn on the very people who are lending them a hand, one begins to see just how depraved and mindless this movement really is. These protestors are the people claiming to represent 99% of our society. Their definition of representative government would be laughable if it were not so offensive.

By the way, the same pathetically biased and hypocritical media which dares to pretend objectivity while worshipping all things Left, which called any Tea Party gathering a raging mob full of violence and hate, pretends that all of the above at Occupy sites does not exist. This media’s blatant bias against the Right has become a national disgrace, tragedy, and embarrassment too absurd for even fiction.

At the root of both the Occupy movement and the pathetic educational system which has served as its breeding ground are three popular Leftist pet concepts. The first two are disparity and unfairness. It is contended that there will always be a teeming underclass as long as this basic disparity and unfairness exists. These notions can be answered with historical arguments. The Russian and French Revolutions are hailed by those promoting an overthrow of an upper class as classic examples of what can be done by people tired of unfairness and disparity.

This over-idealized and even romanticized view ignores the fact that these efforts did not really eliminate unfairness and disparity but only dressed it in different attire. Since freedom of itself creates unfairness and disparity, the notion that these two conditions can somehow be abolished through revolution is a myth since to completely eliminate these things freedom must be abolished and that very same abolishment in and of itself creates a different form of disparity and unfairness, as conditions in Russia and Cuba after their revolutions showed.

The third Leftist concept simmering beneath the Occupy movement is the idea that the above disparity and unfairness can superficially be destroyed through some promised form of entitlement. In order to be credible and legitimate, this concept demands that one accept the argument that much, if not all, of the disparity and unfairness above is beyond the control and personal responsibility of the victimized underclass.

That may, in a nutshell, be the difference between the Right and Left’s view of society. The Right argues that a good part of this disparity and unfairness can be overcome by personal ambition, initiative, personal responsibility, resourcefulness, order, and compromise. The Left, on the other hand, argues that most, if not all, of this disparity and unfairness is beyond the control or responsibility of the helpless underclass, which is in such a sad state that its only recourse is revolution demanding entitlement.

In a sense, the Right believes most of us can succeed on our own within the rules most of the time and the Left believes that nearly all of us cannot succeed on our own without breaking the rules or changing them to greatly favor us. This is the chant of the Occupy movement. Give us everything we want when and how we want it or we will take it from you. This demand is not based on merit but on perceived right.

If all of this sounds familiar to educators, it might be because many have faced the same thinking when a student with a 50 average demands an A, another demands an Excellent for her rambling façade claiming to be an essay, and a third student who spends more on sneakers than pens accuses his teacher of racism for not rewarding his rubbish with a good grade.

Our schools have instilled a consumerist attitude which prompts students to expect teachers, administrators, and schools to serve their wants, whims, and preferences over their legitimate educational, social, intellectual, moral, and civic needs. To make matters worse, the system rewards those teachers who cater to these twisted notions, punishes those who demand more from the system and their students, and then wonders why people are accusing said system of providing the farm system for the current major leagues of disorder found at Zuccotti and all its twins everywhere else.

When all is said and done, Zuccotti and its sibling sites are nothing more than reflections, reincarnations, and products of a twisted educational system where entitlement has become the norm, personal responsibility and respect the overthrown relics, and mob mentality the code of ethics. One would be tempted to pronounce Zuccotti Zoo-coddling if not for the fact that both the ASPCA and PETA might sue for defamation against animals.


Shocking teachers of special needs girl and a U.S. school that backed them up

Parents had to make secret tape-recordings to get any action

Two teachers have allegedly been caught calling a 14-year-old girl with special needs 'dumb' and 'lazy' – after she recorded them.

When the student's parents, from Washington Court House, Ohio, feared their daughter was being bullied, they hid a tape recorder in her clothing. They were stunned to hear teacher Christy Wilt and her aide Kelly Chaffins allegedly poking fun at the teenager’s weight and forcing her to run on a treadmill.

Chaffins, 46, who had worked at the Miami Trace Middle School since August 2008, was asked to resign by the district after her comments came to light. But teacher Wilt, 30, still remains at the school, after the officials claimed her involvement ‘did not meet what the educational aide had done’.

'Don't you want to do something about that belly?' Chaffins is claimed to have said to the student. The girl responds: 'Yes.'

'Well, evidently you don't because you don't do anything at home,' Chaffins says. 'You sit at home and watch TV.'

On a separate occasion, Chaffins allegedly asks the teenager why she did not know an answer to a question. When the student responds 'because I didn’t know', Chaffins becomes abusive.

She says: 'Are you kidding me? Are you that dumb? You are that dumb? Oh my God. You are such a liar. No wonder you don’t have friends. No wonder nobody likes you.'

On one further recording, Chaffins allegedly reacts after hearing the parents have complained. She says: 'They are ridiculous. Well, you know what? They are liars raising a liar.' Wilt adds: 'They are manipulators.'

The family also claims the audio reveals the girl was made to run on a treadmill for 15 minutes after getting an answer wrong. Chaffins is heard shouting at her while she runs.

The school claimed the use of the treadmill was designed to ‘refocus’ students, rather than punish them.

The girl, now a freshman at Miami Trace High School, told WBNS-TV that the abusive comments made her 'pretty sad'.

When her father heard the 'nasty, rude comments', 'all of it ripped my heart out', he said.

Before the recordings, the parents had complained to Miami Trace authorities. Superintendent Dan Roberts sent an email in response, saying there was 'absolutely no truth' in the matter, and the complaint was 'bordering on slander and harrassment'.

Confronted by WBNS-TV, Roberts added: 'When we found audio proof we acted immediately. 'We were distressed, very upset and angry by what was on those tapes.'

Instead of resignation, Wilt will undergo a probation period, as well as eight hours of mandatory classes in how to recognize child abuse and stop bullying.

The girl's parents sued, and the school district subsequently paid $300,000 in damages.

The family’s attorney Dan Modarski said: 'We were quite frankly shocked and disgusted with what we heard. What’s shocking to me is that there’s one teacher that is still employed by the district.'


Spend £27,000 on university? No, thank you...

Katya Edward would rather concentrate on work experience than spend £27,000 on going to university

When I tell people I’m not going to university, I am often met with shock and pity. I have the qualifications – three A-levels, including two As – but not the inclination.

This autumn, I have watched each and every one of my friends leave home for higher education. My entire school life had been based on preparing me for university. In Year Seven, my teachers would hold up failed maths exams and bellow, “You will never go to university if you carry on like this”. In sixth form, I had two classes a week devoted solely to my Ucas application; and after I’d been suspended for a second time, the headmaster put his head in his hands and sighed, “Well, there’s always secretarial college”.

So higher education of some kind was not an option, it was a given. Now, when people find out that I am not participating in this rite of passage, they tend to assume that I am either about to come into a huge amount of money or that I failed my A-levels. Neither of which is the case: I just don’t want to go.

I became disillusioned with the idea of university when I realised that every one of my friends was applying. Not just the clever ones, or those who wanted to carry on studying: all of them – including those who “simply couldn’t miss out on freshers’ week”.

But the intensive competition for truly desirable courses meant the majority had to settle for subjects of minimal interest. My two best friends, neither of whom is entirely unintelligent, both applied to relatively competitive universities because of pushy parents and the assumption that university is everything. They have ended up studying Construction Management and Sports Performance Studies.

I don’t think anyone has ever turned around to a builder and demanded: “Before you put up that scaffolding, do you have a degree in construction management?” Or said to an athlete: “That was the most impressive triple jump we’ve ever seen. Did you learn that in sports performance studies?”

People try and convince me that I will be unable to get a job without a degree in the current economic climate. But I believe that if I fetch enough coffees in a enough offices, learn about the businesses in which I’m fetching those coffees and make friends with the people whose coffee I’ve fetched, then I am more likely to end up with a paid job than someone who has a 2:2 in Animal Psychology from the University of Wolverhampton — no disrespect to animal psychologists or Wolverhampton.

I believe that being interesting, charismatic and driven – and I am working on all three – are worth more than any degree. In my experience, the people who end up relying on a degree are those who have not been brave enough to back their own ambitions or follow a path that their friends have disparaged.

If you love a subject, you should pursue it, carry on studying and, hey, maybe even get a degree in it. But most of the people that I know don’t go to university to study something they enjoy. They go so they can spend three years making friends, getting drunk and ending up with some sort of clue about work at the end of it.

I’m quite sure that if you try hard enough, you can do all of those things without shelling out £27,000.


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