Wednesday, February 19, 2014

University Textbook Says Reagan was Extreme, Sexist, and Pessimistic

What is a leftist supposed to do when history doesn’t perfectly fit their ideological narrative? Well… If you’re in charge of creating textbooks for college students, you just write your own version of historical events. And while you’re at it, throw in a few editorial comments cleverly disguised as “facts”. Apparently, the end result should look something like the textbook that a University of South Carolina student was required to read. In a nutshell, it explained that Ronald Reagan was a sexist, that Conservatives hate people, and that the “rich” like to exploit the lower classes because they don’t want to rake their own yards… Or something. reported the story of Orwellian indoctrination on the University’s campus (I know, I know… Nobody’s surprised). According to Campus Reform:

The mandated reading includes sections such as “Conservative Extremes in the 1980’s and Early 1990’s,” which claims Reagan “ascribed to women primarily domestic functions’ and failed to appoint many women to significant positions of power during his presidency.”

“Conservative Extremes”? Is that what we call it when a President gets elected with 489 electoral votes? Oh, and for the record, Reagan appointed over 1,400 women to positions of power; including Sandra Day O’Connor (first female Supreme Court Justice), and Jeane Kirkpatrick (First female US Rep. appointed to the United Nations)… But I guess neither one of those are “significant positions of power”. (I mean, really, who cares about the first female Supreme Court Justice? Right?)

But, it gets worse. The “textbook” then makes an attempt to define “conservatism”. I guess we should be thankful they didn’t put a picture of Ted Nugent wearing a tin-foil hat holding an AR-15. (Nothing against the Nuge… I’m a huge fan.) The definition was, however, pretty cartoonish:

"Conservatives usually oppose change and thrive on tradition. Conservatives tend to take a basically pessimistic view of human nature. People are conceived of as being corrupt, self-centered, lazy and incapable of true charity."

Pessimistic? Well… I’m beginning to get that way, if this text is typical of university “enlightenment”. It’s true: socialism is a morale buster for free-market advocates. So… Yeah. Euro socialist entitlement programs bum me out a little.

As for the rest of the text’s “definition”… Well, let’s address this piecemeal:

Corrupt? Is there really an argument that corruption exists? To argue that corruption is a minimal risk in any institution is bordering on ignorance of incomprehensible proportions.

Conservatives don’t believe everyone is corrupt… But then again, it doesn’t take everyone in the IRS to target the political opponents of the President. The simple fact is, there will always be a degree of corruption. Conservative philosophy hinges on minimizing government’s influence over daily life so corruption (to any degree) is incapable of infringing on the rights of average citizens. (After all, it’s a lot harder to misuse government resources when there are less resources to misuse.)

Self-Centered? So… Did the authors of this text book read the footnotes of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and scrape together a cartoonish definition of objectivism for their well-documented indoctrination educational material? I guess I wasn’t ever made aware that all my neighbors were looking out for my family. I kinda thought people went to work and saved so they could provide their own families with comfort and opportunity…

Lazy? Well… Only when sloth is subsidized. It’s kinda tough to argue that anyone would turn down “more money for less work”… Especially when you’re being promised more of other people’s money. But lazy still seems like a strong word. Especially when a robust economy (in the minds of Conservatives) depend upon masses of motivated hard working middle-class folks trying to climb their way to success.

By far, the most insulting few words in this passage had to be the supposedly conservative beliefe that people are “incapable of true charity.” The truth is, Conservatives believe intensely in the charitable nature of average Americans. In fact, it is the fundamental decency of human nature that propels the faith in Laissez Faire economics. Private charity, raised through the goodwill of individuals, has traditionally proven to be far more effective than cumbersome bureaucratic wealth redistribution. In fact, government “charity” is non-existent; it is a confiscation scheme orchestrated to reallocate private property to key political constituencies. True private charity is a gesture of benevolence, among members of a community, without the coercive and invasive nature of government force.

Oh… And by the way, this is why wealth creation is a good thing. You know all those rich people that are demonized by the left? Yeah… They’re the ones who have the monetary capital to contribute to “good causes”.

Which brings us to the final stage of the textbook’s Orwellian trifecta… Heck, they’ve already re-written Reagan’s Presidency, redefined “Conservatism”, what’s one more factual edit? (Karl Marx may deserve co-author credit for the following passage.)

The wealthy find that having a social class of poor people is useful. First, poor people can do the ‘dirty work’ for rich people that the latter don’t want to do… Second, having a poor social class emphasizes that the wealthy are higher in the social-structure . . . and allows them to look down on classes below them.

Yeah… Poor people are useful. Of course, so are rich people (AKA: employers). The insinuation that the rich enjoy being rich so they can “look down” on the other classes may be plagiarized from Marx’s Capital… The Euro-socialist trash pushed through these handful of sentences should be sickening for Americans who have grown up in a nation with unparalleled income mobility. While the leftists and progressives concentrate on class structure, conservatives focus on the ability to move upward on the socioeconomic ladder.

Who likes class structure? Leftists. Only by demonizing the rich, can the Bill de Blasio’s of the world create a political class. And what exactly is the alternative to a world with classes? (Oh, how did the Soviet model turn out? From what I remember, it wasn’t such a big hit.) The rich like the poor because they can employ them… And the poor generally have the rich to thank for employment. You want to start a business? You better hope a rich guy decides to invest, directly or indirectly, in your start-up. You’re going to have a tough time raising capital from the impoverished.

The Ministry of Truth is hard at work on the University of South Carolina campus. Remember when half the country called themselves “Conservative”? Remember when Reagan was elected in a landslide? Remember when textbooks were used as a tool to educate instead of indoctrinate? Remember when Orwell’s 1984 was considered far-fetched science fiction? Maybe the textbook was right… Maybe I really don’t like change.


Will Obama Help Poor Whites to Find Jobs?

President Obama is launching a new initiative to help young men of color. It’s called My Brother’s Keeper.

The President told Charles Barkley in a television interview last night that he wants create special educational, mentorship and apprenticeship programs – for a specific segment of the population.

“We’re going to pull together private philanthropies, foundations working with governors, mayors non-profits and we’re going to focus on young men of color and find ways in which to create more pathways to success for them,” the president told Barkley.

He said he wants to expose young men of color to career options that could pay as much as $35 an hour.

“Across the board from the time they’re young all the way to their first job, we want to help more young African-American men and Latino men succeed,” he said.

I applaud the president’s initiative – but what about the young, white man looking for a job?

Where are the special programs designed to help him get a leg up in the world? Where are the mentoring and interning opportunities for white kids from impoverished neighborhoods?

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once had a dream that his children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Let’s hope in the future that President Obama applies that same standard when it comes time to helping young men find jobs – no matter the color of their skin.


China’s poorest beat Britain's best pupils

British schoolchildren are lagging so far behind their peers in the Far East that even pupils from wealthy backgrounds are now performing worse in exams than the poorest students in China, an international study shows.

The children of factory workers and cleaners in parts of the Far East are more than a year ahead of the offspring of British doctors and lawyers, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Researchers said the study, which looked at the performance of 15-year-olds in mathematics, showed countries to could overcome traditional social class divides to raise education standards among relatively deprived pupils.

The report was published as a senior European Commission politician attacked the standards of British schools and warned that UK politicians must improve the education system before focusing on changing the country’s relationship with the EU.

Viviane Reding, the vice-president of the European Commission, warned that ministers should focus on raising school standards instead of blaming the country’s problems on foreigners. In a speech in Cambridge she suggested that the UK’s poor education system is the reason Britons cannot compete with foreigners for jobs. She said politicians needed to “work on the quality of education and welfare, so that people in this country can find employment and enjoy reasonable social standards”.

The OECD findings underline the extent to which British pupils now lag behind their peers in high-performing countries in subjects seen as vital to the nation’s economic future and will intensify calls for the UK to adopt a more rigorous education system.

Elizabeth Truss, the education minister, will next week lead a delegation of head teachers and education experts to China in a fact-finding mission. The visit could lead to schools adopting Chinese-style tactics such as more evening classes and eliminating time-wasting between lessons to boost performance in key subjects.

She said English schools needed to adopt the “teaching practices and positive philosophy” that characterised schools in parts of the Far East.

“They have a can-do attitude to maths, which contrasts with the long-term anti-maths culture that exists here,” she said.

“The reality is that unless we change our philosophy, and get better at maths, we will suffer economic decline. At the moment our performance in maths is weakening our skills base and threatening our productivity and growth.” The OECD study was based on performance in independently-administered exams in reading, maths and science sat by 15-year-olds in 65 developed nations.

Overall, the UK was ranked just 26th for maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science while China’s Shanghai district was the top-rated jurisdiction in each subject. The study assessed how students would be able to use their maths knowledge and skills in real life, rather than just repeating facts and figures.

As part of the study, children were asked to name their parents’ occupation to determine its effect on pupil performance. Across the world, children whose parents work in professional careers generally outperform those in elementary jobs such as caterers, cleaners, factory workers and labourers.

The study, involving more than 500,000 pupils worldwide, found children of elementary workers in many Far Eastern nations outperformed the sons and daughters of professional British children.

The children of UK professionals scored an average of 526 points in maths. But this was overshadowed by an average score of 656 registered by the children of professionals in Shanghai-China and 569 among children of the country’s elementary workers. The children of parents in unskilled jobs in the UK scored an average of 461, the equivalent of two and a half years behind.

Elementary workers’ children in Hong Kong (542), South Korea (538) and Singapore (534), also outperformed more affluent British peers. In Japan, Vietnam, Liechtenstein, Japan and China-Taipei, relatively poor children were only marginally behind the wealthiest British pupils.

The report said: “In the United States and the United Kingdom, where professionals are among the highest-paid in the world, students whose parents work as professionals do not perform as well in mathematics as children of professionals in other countries — nor do they perform as we as the children in Shanghai-China and Singapore whose parents work in manual occupations.”

Andreas Schleicher, deputy director for education and skills at the OECD, said: “If school systems want all their students to succeed in school, they should give the children of factory workers and cleaners the same education opportunities as the children of doctors and lawyers enjoy.”

The delegation to China will include Dame Rachel de Souza, of the Inspiration Trust academies group in Norfolk, Shahed Ahmed, who runs Elmhurst Primary School in east London, and Charlie Stripp, of Mathematics in Education and Industry.


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