Monday, March 06, 2017

‘Anti-Racism’ Preschool Coming to Seattle

Another attempt to brainwash little kids

Seattle’s Columbia City, a self-described “neighborhood of nations” and “one of the country’s most diverse zip codes,” will soon feature an “anti-racism” preschool that “focuses on experiences of people of color,” according to Western Washington’s news.

The school will teach a curriculum that endeavors “to change biases” through stories of race and racism.

“When we’re telling stories to our kids, especially about people of color, we want to make sure that we’re showing them stories about people of color that aren’t just about people existing in the past,” said teacher Jasen Frelot.

“We’re looking to create the confidence,” teacher Benjamin Gore added, “that when these kids go into predominantly white schools that don’t highlight counter-narratives, that they bring that to the school.”

“I like the idea,” parent Taryn Coe said, “of these kids being exposed to role models that don’t look like them…there’s a lot of Disney princess culture that happens in our house.”

“They see white princesses and think, ‘I want to be like that,’” Ms. Coe continued, “and I think it’s really important that they see there are so many other ways you can accomplish other than just being a white princess.”

Set to open next fall, the school is currently holding a series of community workshops for children and parents at Columbia City Church of Hope. The church describes itself as a “progressive community of faith” where “everyone is welcome,” including “old, young, gay, straight, believers, doubters, fence-sitters, activists, scientists, poets, and slackers.”

“We work for justice,” the church’s website explains, “especially for those who are systematically denied it: people experiencing homelessness, those who identify as LGBT, People of Color, those who are economically marginalized.


On Education, the Left Protects a Miserable Status Quo

Walter E. Williams

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, “The president’s decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country.”

Expressing similar sentiments, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond said, “I expect that Mrs. DeVos will have an incredibly harmful impact on public education and on black communities nationwide.”

Those and many other criticisms of DeVos, the Department of Education secretary, could be dismissed as simply political posturing if we did not have an educational system that is mostly mediocre and is in advanced decay for most black students.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, only 37 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in reading in 2015, and just 25 percent were proficient in math.

For black students, achievement levels were a disgrace. Nationally, 17 percent of black students scored proficient in reading, and 7 percent scored proficient in math. In some cities, such as Detroit, black academic proficiency is worse; among eighth-graders, only 4 percent were proficient in math, and only 7 percent were proficient in reading.

The nation’s high school graduation rate rose again in the 2014-2015 school year, reaching a record high as more than 83 percent of students earned a diploma on time.

Educators see this as some kind of achievement and congratulate themselves. The tragedy is that high school graduation has little relevance to achievement.

In 2014-2015, graduation rates at District of Columbia Public Schools, just as they did nationally, climbed to an all-time high. At H.D. Woodson High School, 76 percent of students graduated on time; however, just 1 percent met math standards on national standardized tests linked to the Common Core academic standards. Just 4 percent met the reading standards.

The low black academic achievement is not restricted to high school graduates of D.C. schools. The average black high school graduate has the academic achievement level of a white seventh- or eighth-grader.

As such, it stands as unambiguous evidence that high schools confer diplomas attesting that students can read, write, and compute at a 12th-grade level when in fact they cannot. That means they have received fraudulent high school diplomas.

There are many factors that affect education that educators cannot control. But they have total control over the issuance of a diploma.

Educators often complain that there’s not enough money. Census Bureau data show that as early as 2009-2010, Washington, D.C., spent $29,409 per pupil.

Starker proof that there’s little relationship between spending and academic proficiency is in the case of Detroit’s public schools. In 2009-2010, the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per pupil. According to the Census Bureau, Detroit schools spent $12,801 per pupil. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy claims that Detroit actually spent $15,570 per pupil that year.

There’s not much payoff for education dollars. The National Institute for Literacy found that 47 percent of the city’s adults are “functionally illiterate.” The Nation’s Report Card reports that Detroit students score the lowest among the nation’s big-city schools, and Washington is not far behind.

I’d ask Schumer how it would be possible for DeVos to make education any worse than it is for many Americans. I’d suggest to Richmond that if the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan were the secretary of education and wanted to sabotage black academic achievement, he couldn’t find a better method for doing so than keeping our public school system as it is.

Many black politicians and educators would never have their own children attend the rotten, dangerous schools that are so much a part of our big cities. Many black parents, captured by these schools, would like to get their children out.

But that’s not in the interest of the education establishment, which wants a monopoly on education. Black politicians and academics are the establishment’s facilitators.

That explains their hostility to DeVos. She would like to give more parents a choice.


What happened when a primary school stopped giving homework to its students

It actually just gave different homework

Whether or not primary school students should be given homework is a longstanding – and polarising – debate.

Those in favour cite its benefits for consolidating what children have learnt during the day, while those against feel it cuts into family time – and that it's simply not a battle worth fighting when kids are exhausted after school.

For a primary school principal in Vermont, lingering questions about the effectiveness of setting homework led to him conducting an experiment. Students at Orchard School, which includes kids from K-5, were asked to read and play instead. And the results of their no-homework trial are certainly food for though.

School principal Mark Trifilio told the Washington Post that when the school year began, he sat down with his staff and gave them a proposal: what if we stopped homework in every year and replaced it with reading and outside play?

"All 40 voted yes," he said of his teaching staff, "and not just yes, but a passionate yes. When do you get 40 people to agree on something?"

The school then devised a no-homework policy, the details of which are listed on their website.

No Homework Policy: Student's Daily Home Assignment

1. Read just-right books every night – (and have your parents read to you too).

2. Get outside and play – that does not mean more screen time.

3. Eat dinner with your family – and help out with setting and cleaning up.

4. Get a good night's sleep.

Six months later and the experiment has been a huge success. According to Mr Trifilio, the no-homework policy has not had a detrimental impact on students' academic progress and has given kids "time to be creative thinkers at home and follow their passions".

And while students are required to read, and are also given book recommendations, they're not required to fill out those dreaded reading logs. "We know that we all make up logs," Mr Trifilio said.

It's not only the teachers, however, who can see the benefits of binning formal homework: parents have also responded positively to homework-free afternoons. The "vast majority" of the 400 parents who responded to a post-experiment survey felt the change had resulted in their kids reading more and having time to pursue other activities.

Only a small number felt their children were missing out on further learning opportunities when formal homework ceased.

Research findings in the area certainly support Orchard School's approach. A review of studies conducted between 1987 and 2003 found little or no relationship between time spent on homework and academic achievement in primary school.

For high school students, however, the results were different. Time spent on homework for secondary school kids was associated with better academic outcomes.

Harris Cooper, who led the review and has studied the effectiveness of homework for over 25 years, cites the finding from cognitive psychology that there are age differences in children's ability to concentrate, when explaining the differences between homework for primary and secondary school kids. Primary school age kids, he explained, are more likely to be distracted by their home environment, making homework less effective.

It's a view shared by Richard Walker, associate professor of education at The University of Sydney. "There isn't much benefit in homework for primary school children," he told The Telegraph in 2015.

"There are some benefits for junior school students and around 50 per cent of senior high school students show some benefit when it comes to academic achievement. But not for primary school kids," he said.


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