Friday, January 22, 2016

College Sets April Aside to Trash White Americans

When Black History Month was officially instituted in February 1976, President Gerald R. Ford remarked, “[W]e can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Unfortunately, not only have progressives turned Black History Month into what black Tea Party activist Lloyd Marcus mockingly calls “Annual White America Sucks Month,” but at institutions like Portland Community College, whiteness-shaming has taken on a whole new level.

In April, PCC will observe “Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences, and Change,” or what its website calls “a multidisciplinary, district-wide, educational project examining race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness, its origins and heritage.” The description makes clear, “Whiteness History Month Project, unlike heritage months, is not a celebratory endeavor, it is an effort to change our campus climate. The Project seeks to challenge the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness. Challenging the master narrative of traditional curriculum is a strategy within higher education that promotes multicultural education and equity.”

Black History Month was meant to raise people up, not tear them down. Portland Community College is another example example of how leftists have turned MLK’s dream into a nightmare — through “learning” institutions, no less.


Seeing Bigots Under Every Rock

Remember when universities used to encourage freedom of academic inquiry and were seen as intellectual and social preparation for the transition into adulthood? I know; that was a long time ago — before the left infected these institutions.

Everyone knows about the leftward slant of most American universities: their monolithic biases; their bent toward politicizing their curricula; and their practice of indoctrinating students. But increasingly the results of leftist community organizing — the toxins of political correctness — are seeping into university disciplinary rules.

This deplorable trend has concerned me for years, but it is particularly disturbing when it is occurring at my alma mater, the University of Missouri.

I’m not talking about Mizzou’s recent racial controversy but reports that the university is now encouraging its students to file a report any time they witness or experience a “bias incident.” It would be one thing if they were talking about true incidents of racial or some other form of discrimination, but it appears it’s much more expansive than that.

According to the university’s online statement, a “bias incident is an act of intolerance which is committed against any person, group or property and which discriminates, stereotypes, harasses or excludes anyone based on” any of some 20 different categories, from race to religion to gender expression, and yes, even physical appearance.

Look out, social fraternities. You better make sure no one overhears your actives talking to pledges.

Does it ever bother you that liberals seem to be preoccupied with these kinds of things — as if they just sit around stewing about how they might be offended?

Do you think it helps society for academic institutions and government to shove these things in our faces all the time and invite us to feel offended at the drop of a hat? Shouldn’t we aspire to colorblindness, not look for slurs at every opportunity?

Is it good for students that institutions of higher learning proactively try to turn them into thin-skinned, paranoid wimps? Isn’t it bad enough that they offer classes largely devoted to convincing students that men hate and exploit women, whites routinely abuse blacks, the rich are evil and exploit the poor, cops are the enemy and Christians are science-averse Neanderthals — as well as other types of poisonous bilge?

I am not discounting actual incidents of racial bias where people are harmed. But I don’t think it’s healthy for our institutions to pressure students to see racial or other types of prejudice at every turn. Why pit people against each other? Why stoke people’s suspicions of each other? Won’t that lead to distrust instead of reduce it?

College students are being groomed for the workforce where they will encounter all kinds of challenges. Should our schools train them not to handle even minor perceived sleights on their own but instead hone their skills as tattletales? I suppose it’s not that surprising, considering that progressives advocate cradle-to-grave dependency in other respects.

The progressive mindset thrives on generating angst between different groups. Along those lines, Katherine Timpf has observed in National Review Online that the university is encouraging not just alleged victims of “bias” to report these incidents but also others who witness them, even if the alleged victim doesn’t feel victimized. The school might as well supply volunteer student thought policemen with uniforms to troll around campus to chill speech.

It appears that this nanny-state administration wants students to report, for example, teasing based on physical appearance. It may not be nice, but does this rise to the level of a disciplinary matter?

Indeed, “name-calling” is listed on the form as an “act of intolerance.” The instructions go so far as to say that “extreme examples of bias incidents — regardless of severity — can be reported using this form.” Regardless of severity? Wow.

There’s another problem with these speech and conduct codes. Those who promulgate and enforce them often have their own biases and generally don’t recognize certain groups as worthy of protection. Do you think, for instance, your typical university administration would consider the dissing of Christianity or conservatism actionable violations of the code?

These types of overzealous regulations trivialize actual incidents of discrimination and harm the very groups they purport to help as well as society as a whole.

Maybe the people obsessing over “intolerance” are projecting their own malcontented worldview and would be better served, and would serve others better, if they would just chill out and back off a little bit. Students aren’t as helpless or as prejudiced as progressives enjoy depicting them.


Common Core Is Bad for Ohio and Bad for You

Six years after ranking fifth in the nation, Ohio’s public education system has fallen to 23rd. The annual Quality Counts report by Education Week includes indicators such as test scores, education finance, and graduation rates to determine a score out of 100. The best state in each category receives 100, and all other states are graded relative to that state. Ohio received a score of 74.9, a C.

What is most interesting about this drastic decline is the year Ohio was ranked fifth, 2010, is the same year the state went on to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Furthermore, five of the eight states that have either rejected or not fully implemented Common Core scored above Ohio in the 2016 report. Two of those states, Minnesota and Virginia, are in the top 12. This simple fact suggests the education systems in nonconforming states outperform those who have been plagued by federal influence.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative began when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve Inc. all teamed up to push for nationally uniform education standards in 2007. These groups labeled students as “human capital” rather than valued individuals, and their end goal is high test scores rather than learning. The standards use international benchmarks to determine where American students should be in the subjects of English and mathematics to compete globally. They were published in 2009, and by 2010 the federal government had gone so far as to exploit cash-strapped states by linking funding with the adoption of Common Core through the Race to the Top grant program while maintaining the claim that states’ freedom is intact.

Special interest groups – see textbook producers and standardized test developers – are strong proponents of the standards. These groups use their power and money to effectively bypass state autonomy in an effort to gain more power and money. Just this week, a video emerged with a senior Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt sales executive saying, “it’s all about the money”. Parents, teachers, and students – those most affected by the education system – oppose Common Core. In fact, a Columbus Dispatch poll found that 42% of Ohio voters do not want the standards in their state, with a mere 26% in favor of them.

Americans across the country need to join movements, like Ohio United Against Common Core, to advocate for both state autonomy and parental rights within their education systems. These groups campaign for state-level repeals of the standards. Education is a personal matter, and individuals should have the freedom to decide the details of their children’s schooling. Stop letting Washington dictate how and what our children learn. Common Core began as an application of evidence-based research into education. Well new evidence is in, and Common Core is out.


Jeb Bush calls for overhaul of nation’s education system

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush rolled out a broad education reform plan Monday that would shift power and money to states and local school districts — and away from the federal government.

The former Florida governor also wants to revamp how high school graduates and their parents finance college and other career training.

Bush released his education “blueprint” in observance of Martin Luther King Day, saying that “access to a quality education is the great civil rights challenge of our time.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Monday, Bush said he believes King, if he were alive today, would be fighting to “close the education gap between the haves and have-nots” to lift families out of poverty.

He posted an overview of his education reform plan on the blog publishing platform

As a two-term Florida governor, Bush built a national reputation for reforming the state’s public school system. He pushed for high-stakes testing of students and the grading of schools based on their overall academic performance.

As he campaigns for the Republican nomination, Bush has repeatedly promoted his gubernatorial record in Florida as a means for billing himself as the most qualified candidate on issues relating to education and the economy. Still, he continues to lag in the polls behind other newcomer candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who are wooing voters with their anti-establishment pitches.

Conservatives, including most of Bush’s GOP rivals, have blasted Bush for his support of Common Core education standards, which they view as the federal government’s effort to dictate education policies at a state and local level. Bush says he favors raising school standards.

Bush is calling for a “complete overhaul” of the nation’s education system “from one that serves bureaucracies to one that serves the needs of families and students.”

He said the current education system is “failing to prepare the next generation of children for success,” noting that only about one-third of high school graduates are prepared for college or the workplace.

If elected, Bush said he would reduce by half the size of the staff at the federal Department of Education and hand more power and money to state and local school district officials.

“We will empower states with the flexibility to improve their schools, while ensuring the federal government does not interfere in academic standards, curriculum or content,” wrote Bush. “Right now, too many regulations drown the system in compliance costs, wasting valuable resources.”


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