The Impact Of Common Core On Education

By 2014, 45 states and the District of Columbia were using the Common Core standards as the basis for the public education of their children. So what has been the impact of Common Core?

U.S. News & World Report posted an article today with the headline, “Across the Board, Scores Drop in Math and Reading for U.S. Students.” So what is going on in our schools?

On October 26th, the website Lady Liberty 1885 posted an article that might give us a clue as to what has gone wrong.

The article included a form to allow teachers to make a “social, emotional and behavioral assessment” of each student.

This is the form:

No wonder to test scores are sinking–the teachers are too busy evaluating the emotional condition of students and filling out forms. Look at some of the items on this form–they are very subjective. If something about a student makes a teacher uneasy or vice versa, will the form be filled out objectively? Who gets to see this form? Does the form follow the student all the way through school? If a student has a bad year, does it follow him into the next year?

The article at Lady Liberty 1885 sums up the situation as follows:

Let’s Recap

So, for those keeping score:

    • A letter about the assessment dated Oct. 18 to parents went out to some students but not all at our schools. The letter did not name the assessment.
    • I got a copy of the letter from another parent at our school on Oct. 23 but had not received one for our child yet.
    • On Oct. 24, the day after I received the copy of the letter and started asking questions, a copy of the Oct. 18 letter magically was given out to my son’s class.
    • Only when I received the opt-out form did I learn the name of the assessment, which is the BIMAS-2.
    • So far, I am being denied my rights as a parent to inspect this tool.
    • No one at my child’s school can show me the tool because no one has access to this behavioral screening tool, not even the principal. This begs the question: how is this second period teacher even rating the kids?
    • According to the principal at my son’s school, only the district communications director, Tim Simmons, can discuss this tool with parents. I have emailed Mr. Simmons directly and have not received a reply yet.

None of what I just enumerated is remotely OK.

WCPSS’ tactic of using district-wide dragnet to pull all students into this experiment is not OK either.

If the district wants to make this tool available to families who may have an at-risk student, great, go ahead and do that, but make it OPT-IN.

This district, and in particular the WCPSS School Board, has a proven track record of running right over the top of parents and it has to stop. Parents have been an afterthought if we are even considered at all. We should be the first thought.

Children belong to their parents and what starts with parents changes everything.

The article at U.S. News & World Report notes:

Most concerning, she (Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics) said, was that compared to 2017, the scores of lower performing students declined in three of the four grade-subject combinations and those drops are what accounted for the overall drop in average scores.

“The distributions are pulling apart, with the bottom dropping faster,” Carr said. “It’s not clear what’s happening here, but it is clear and it’s consistent.”

“The fact that students who need to make the most academic progress are instead making no progress or are falling further behind is extremely troubling,” Tonya Matthews, vice chairwoman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, said in a statement. “We need to see all students make progress.”

Carr said the score drops cannot be traced to any one specific student subgroup, as almost all of them logged declines. For example, black, Hispanic, Native American and white students in fourth and eighth grades scored lower in reading in 2019 compared to 2017.

“They are generally all declining,” she said. “So we can’t say it’s due to changes and shifts in the populations.”

Carr said that she’d love to be able to more fully analyze all the subgroup data they collect, but her team is strapped for resources. She encouraged other researchers to dig deeper.

How about we go back to the teaching methods that worked in the past? We can get our  curriculum from Minnesota and Massachusetts who have traditionally ranked high in both mathematics and language. Common Core has been a failed experiment that has cheated our children out of the education they need. It has also been a way to force social programs on our children that are an invasion into the privacy of parents and have a detrimental impact on the family unit. It is time to go back to basics. It wasn’t broken–you shouldn’t have tried to fix it!

Holding The Media Responsible

Yesterday Breitbart reported that a federal judge has reversed his previous ruling and allowed Covington Catholic pro-life student Nick Sandmann to proceed with his defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post.

The article reports:

Judge William O. Bertelsman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, a Jimmy Carter appointee, partially reversed his previous ruling in which he dismissed Sandmann’s $275 million lawsuit. The reversal will permit the Covington student’s lawsuit to proceed, reported LifeSiteNews.

Following the March for Life in Washington, DC, in January, many media outlets alleged a video depicted Sandmann, wearing a red “Make American Great Again” cap, and fellow students from Covington Catholic High School, as intimidating Native American activist Nathan Phillips near the Lincoln Memorial.

As Breitbart News reported, Sandmann “became the focus of the anti-Trump media” as an extended video and additional in-person reports of the confrontation showed it was Phillips who had intimidated Sandmann while the teen and his fellow classmates were simply performing school cheers as a group of Black Hebrew Israelites shouted racist insults.

The article concludes:

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement to Breitbart News that, each day, her organization “defends the free speech rights of students to stand for life in public in what is supposed to be a free society.”

She continued:

The mistreatment of students as they attended the March for Life should offend all Americans who believe that each of us is protected when we act on our own consciences. It’s a good thing when a judge decides to respect students’ rights to be heard and to be seen with respect.

“As someone who works every day to defend the rights and needs of mothers and their preborn children, I know that the media often ignores and mischaracterizes pro-life Americans,” Hawkins added. “But our system of justice should protect the rights and freedoms of Americans who stand for the weakest among us, those whose life exists in the womb and who don’t have a voice or a vote.”

Hopefully the courts will hold the media for their total mischaracterization of the Covington High School students.

More Insanity In Our Public Schools

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about the oppressive nature of mathematics. Barbie said that math class was hard, but I don’t remember her using the word oppressive.

The article reports:

The Seattle public schools have developed a new “ethnic studies” curriculum that tells students that mathematics is a tool of oppression. Sure, some of us thought that back in junior high school, especially when we didn’t get around to doing our homework. But to have this view endorsed by the schools is remarkable. Robby Soave reports at Reason:

The [Seattle public school] district has proposed a new social justice-infused curriculum that would focus on “power and oppression” and “history of resistance and liberation” within the field of mathematics. The curriculum isn’t mandatory, but provides a resource for teachers who want to introduce ethnic studies into the classroom vis a vis math.

Why, exactly, would you introduce “ethnic studies” into mathematics? This is from Education Week:

If adopted, its ideas will be included in existing math classes as part of the district’s broader effort to infuse ethnic studies into all subjects across the K-12 spectrum.

Again: why would a school district do this, unless it is deliberately trying to foment ethnic division? The rot, sadly, is not confined to Seattle:

“Seattle is definitely on the forefront with this,” said Robert Q. Berry III, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “What they’re doing follows the line of work we hope we can move forward as we think about the history of math and who contributes to that, and also about deepening students’ connection with identity and agency.”

Why is it the mission of the public schools to “deepen students’ connection with identity and agency”? If “identity” means ethnic identity, which I understand it does, I would think the public schools should be trying to do the opposite.

For whatever reason, our education system and our political leaders are more focused on emphasizing the things that divide us rather than the things that unite us. Why not encourage all students to identify as Americans?

Fighting Back Against Indoctrination

The College Fix posted an article yesterday about a course being taught at the University of North Carolina Wilmington by Dr. Mike Adams.

The article reports:

“What does the evidence say about the claims of the Black Lives Matter movement?”

“Is the criminal justice system really systematically racist?”

“Is there really a rape epidemic on our college campuses?”

“What was that you were saying about white privilege?”

“What was that you were saying about patriarchal oppression?”

These are some of the study prompts for a new class to be offered at the University of North Carolina Wilmington called “Issues in Criminal Justice.” Were these topics taught by a left-leaning scholar, the classroom conversations and readings might have gone one way.

But the class is the brainchild of one of the most well-known and outspoken Christian conservative scholars in the nation — criminology Professor Mike Adams — and he promises that students will finally get a chance to hear how those on the right would answer these questions, and more.

He calls the class “a reasoned response to systematic academic malpractice.”

“Please note that whereas political leftists author virtually all of the readings in your other courses, conservatives and libertarians author most of the readings in this course,” the syllabus states. “This is done so that you will be exposed to beliefs that contradict those of the vast majority of your professors. Often, these dissenting views are presented only as caricatures. In this class, you will hear from the proponents of such views directly.”

Among the required reading list: Mike Lee’s “Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document”; John Lott Jr.’s “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime And Gun Control Laws”; K.C. Johnson’s and Stuart Taylor’s “The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack On Due Process At America’s Universities”; and Heather Mac Donald’s “The War On Cops: How The Attack On Law And Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.”

The article concludes:

Adams said he is disappointed in how his colleagues no longer teach both sides of an issue.

“There’s a legitimate question as to whether all my colleagues are just incompetent or whether it’s just that they have a moral compass that points to them,” Adams told The Fix. “I’m really trying to figure out if they’re intellectually herniated or just morally herniated. But in all likelihood it’s improper to attribute it to one or the other. It’s got to be a combination because the situation has just gotten so bad. I just have to teach a course like this one.”

Adams made national headlines in 2014 when he won a seven-year court battle against the University of North Carolina Wilmington for retaliating against him for his conservative, Christian views. As part of the settlement, campus leaders agreed to adopt procedures protecting Adams from renewed retaliation.

Adams told The Fix that in light of his past experiences, he is not worried about his academic freedom or the pushback this class might receive from some corners of campus. In fact, he added, controversy is one sign of robust intellectual diversity.

“I’m worried if I don’t cause controversy,” he said. “I’m extremely worried about that. A lack of controversy on college campuses is a sign of sickness and intellectual atrophy.”

Thank you, Dr. Adams, you are a courageous man who is making a difference.

Under The Radar

Here are some highlights from remarks by President Trump at the 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference. This is the link to the entire speech.

HBCU graduates have improved and uplifted every feature of American society. From your halls came great Americans like Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, acclaimed inventor Lonnie Johnson, Air Force General Daniel James Jr., NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice, and legendary Coach Eddie Robinson. Eddie Robinson was a good coach. (Applause.) I think Eddie Robinson won more games than anybody, didn’t he? (Laughter.) Is that true? Is that true? I think so.

And we are — by the way, have Scott Turner, speaking about good football players. Where is Scott? He’s leading such a great charge with the Opportunity Zones. (Applause.) Thank you, Scott. He’s a great, great gentleman. He works so hard. He goes — he’s all over the place. I say, “Where’s Scott today?” He’s in about six cities at one time. (Laughter.) And the Opportunity Zones have really caught on. Been incredible. Thank you, Scott.

During World War II, Tuskegee University trained the young Americans who would become the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. That was great group of people.

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. graduated from Morehouse College. (Applause.) That’s great.

And African American students helped plan the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the basement of another HBCU, Alabama State University. (Applause.)

Our Historically Black Colleges and Universities have always challenged our nation to be better and braver, to do what is right, to dream bigger, aim higher, and always be bolder in pursuit of what is just, decent, and true.

HBCUs represent only 3 percent of America’s higher education institutions. You get graduates — 80 percent — think of that: 80 percent of African American judges, 40 percent African American engineers, and more than 50 percent of African American doctors. That’s an incredible statement. From 3 percent overall to 50 percent and more for doctors. (Applause.) That’s an incredible statistic. It’s an incredible achievement.

My administration is deeply devoted to advancing this amazing legacy of success, commitment, and contribution to our nation. You have never stopped working to improve this country, and you deserve a government — you have to just keep going. You really do deserve a government that never stops working for you. And you never stop working for it. You’re amazing people in this room. Incredible people. And I congratulate you for it. (Applause.)

That is why, in my first weeks in office, I took action to make HBCUs a top priority once again. I signed an executive order to move the federal HBCU initiative to the White House, right where it belongs. (Applause.)

…And thanks to Secretary DeVos leadership and her work with many of you, we’ve also made unprecedented progress to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens so that your institutions are free to innovate and offer more flexible ops — you know, options for the students. And you’re doing that. You’re doing a lot of great options. I looked at some before. They’ve got a lot of really great options, and that’s what you need.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce another major action we’re taking to protect HBCUs. Previously, federal law restricted more than 40 faith-based HBCUs and seminaries from fully accessing federal support for capital improvement projects. This meant that your faith-based institutions, which have made such extraordinary contributions to America, were unfairly punished for their religious beliefs. Did we know that? Did everybody know that? Because it was — it was hap- — that was not good.

This week, our Department of Justice has published an opinion declaring such discriminatory restrictions as unconstitutional. (Applause.) It was a big step. And from now on, faith-based HBCUs will enjoy equal access to federal support. (Applause.)

When I came into office, I directed the entire federal government to develop a strategy to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Today, 32 federal departments and agencies have released statements of priority that are helping your institutions receive resources and support that you deserve.

To read the entire speech, follow the link above. Those who are accusing the President of being a racist need to look at his actions toward minority communities. His economic policies have done more to lift minority communities out of poverty than any previous president. I think actions speak louder than words, and I think this president should be evaluated on his actions, rather than words the media has twisted and taken out of context.

Maybe There Is A Solution Not Yet Tried

Breitbart posted an article yesterday about an aspect of the transgender population that has not yet been fully considered.

The article reports:

A new study that examined students who claim to have gender identity issues found that, compared with 45 percent of students who are comfortable with their biological sex, 78 percent of gender-disturbed students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem.

Researchers affiliated with the Boston University School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and University of Michigan School of Public Health, conducted the expansive study, published at the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study, which included more than 1,200 college students with gender identity issues across 71 U.S. college campuses, found that, across commonly used mental health measures, 78 percent of the gender-disturbed students met the criteria for one or more of the outcomes of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-injury, and suicidality.

The article concludes:

In 2018, Dr. Lisa Littman at Brown University set out to learn more about why the number of adolescent girls identifying as transgender at Britain’s Gender Identity Development Service had increased from 41 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2017.

The researcher said she had observed teens without a history of gender dysphoria – a clinical term describing psychological discomfort caused by a sense one’s gender is incompatible with one’s biological sex – were “coming out” as transgender “after a period of immersing themselves in niche websites after similar announcements from friends.”

In her study of 256 parents, which was condemned by LGBT activists, Littman found 87 percent of the young people were reported to have “come out” as transgender after increased time spent on social media and the Internet and after “cluster outbreaks” of gender dysphoria among their groups of friends. Most of the teens who ultimately identified as transgender also showed increased popularity with peer groups afterward, according to their parents’ reports.

Additionally, Littman found nearly two-thirds of the young people whose parents participated in the survey had already been diagnosed with at least one psychiatric developmental disorder prior to the onset of the gender dysphoria. For example, nearly half of the young people had already attempted to harm themselves or had experienced a trauma, suggesting the mental health issues preceded the reported gender identity disturbance.

Recently, the academic response to a child who expresses a desire to change their sex has been to aid them in the process, sometimes without parent knowledge or consent. It would make more sense to search for underlying issues and deal with those issues before encouraging a child to walk down such a life-changing path. I recently read an article about a young boy, about nine or ten, who told his parents he wanted to be a girl. The parents sought counseling for the child, rather than simply go along with his wishes. The counseling revealed that because the child noticed that his younger sister who was handicapped got more attention from his parents than he did, he thought that if he were a girl, he would get more attention. His going through the transgender process would not have helped his problem at all. After counseling, the family dynamic was altered, and the boy went happily along the way as a little boy.

Not every person who claims to be transgender is actually transgender. Some have simply walked down that path in a desperate attempt to deal with other underlying issues. We do these people a disservice when we don’t look for and attempt to solve those underlying issues.

The Pandering Continues

One friend on Facebook commented that the last Democrat debate looked like an auction to see who could give away more of other people’s money. We have a debt problem in America. So far, neither the Democrats or the establishment Republicans have been willing to address Washington’s addiction to spending. However, based on the Democrat debates, the Democrats would increase the debt rapidly. The Republicans are only leading us off the cliff slowly.

The Federalist posted an article today about the Democrat plans to forgive all student loans.

The article reports:

Of all the pandering showcased during Democrats’ attempts to win back the presidency, wiping out student debt ranked at or near the top.

“I believe that education is the future for this country,” socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders barked during the first round of Democratic primary debates, explaining that’s why we must “eliminate student debt and we do that by placing a tax on Wall Street.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke similarly. “I can tell you this,” the Minnesota senator demagogued, “if billionaires can pay off their yachts, students should be able to pay off their student loans.”

There can be no serious discussion of this issue, however, in 60-second sound bites. So, beyond the soak-the-rich shtick that shades every Democratic economic debate point, the candidates resorted to two tactics: shock and sob stories.

The article reminds us of some basic reality that reveals the absurdity of the sob stories:

There are many ways to counter these arguments, based on both economics and equity. But it’s hard to counter soundbites with sense, so instead, here are my inquiries for these politicians, the press, and all the students demanding relief from the burdens of their debt: Tell me your sob stories from age 12 on, not what you can’t do now, but what you couldn’t do then. Tell what you had to do then and through college to avoid what is now, to you, crushing student debt.

What time did you get up to deliver papers in junior high? How many hours a week did you work since 14 to save for college? How many toilets did you scrub? How many high school football games did you miss because you were working? What dream college did you forgo to avoid taking out student loans?

Which 8 a.m. class did you take so you could complete your major’s requirements and still work in the afternoon? Which bus line did you take to get to your job because you didn’t borrow to buy a car? What job did you work full-time while completing your MBA at night?

What did you do to afford college? What didn’t you do because of the cost of college? Were you getting tattoos and traveling your way through college? Were you pledging and partying? Did you go to your top-choice university? Maybe an out-of-state public university with higher tuition rates? Which spring break and study abroad destinations did you visit along the way?

The article concludes:

Did you splurge on your fairytale wedding instead of paying down your student loans? What cars did you buy or lease? Where did you live? What electronics did you own? What clothing and other personal expenditures did you have? In short, show me the money and how you spent it!

None of my business? You’re right. Nor is your student debt my business or my problem.

Usurping Parental Rights

Yahoo News posted a USA Today article about a 14-year-old school child who decided that she was a boy. The story is heartbreaking because the parents tried to provide the help the child needed, and the school undermined them every step of the way.

The article reports:

In April 2016, my then 14-year-old daughter became convinced that she was my son. In my attempt to help her, her public school undermined me every step of the way.

Throughout my daughter’s childhood, there were no signs that she wanted to be a boy. She loved stuffed animals, Pocahontas and wearing colorful bathing suits. I can’t recall a single interest that seemed unusually masculine, or any evidence that she was uncomfortable as a girl.

The only difficulty she had was forming and maintaining friendships. We later learned why: She was on the autism spectrum. She was very functional and did well in school, helped by her Individualized Education Program (IEP), a common practice for public school students who need special education.

At her high school, my daughter was approached by a girl who had recently come out at school as transgender. Shortly after meeting her, my daughter declared that she, too, was a boy trapped in a girl’s body and picked out a new masculine name.

The school began treating the girl as a boy and addressing her with masculine pronouns. The parents were unaware of this. When they found out about it, they requested that those in the school call her by her legal name at all times. Their request was ignored–the school continued to address her by a masculine name and masculine pronouns.

The article continues:

We met with the school district’s assistant superintendent, who told us the hands of school personnel are tied and that they had to follow the law. But there was no law, only the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleagues” letter of May 2016 that said schools need to officially affirm transgender students. Just three months later, in August 2016, a federal judge in Texas blocked the guidelines from being enforced. And in February 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidelines, leaving it to the states to set their own policies.

I also learned that the ACLU has sent threatening letters to schools stating that it is against the law to disclose a student’s gender identity, even to their parents. But this letter appears to misunderstand federal law. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requires that schools allow parents to “inspect and review” their child’s education records as long as the child is under 18.

The article then reveals the peer pressure in the world of psychology:

We had our daughter evaluated by a psychologist approved by the school district. He told us that it was very clear that our daughter’s sudden transgender identity was driven by her underlying mental health conditions, but would only share his thoughts off the record because he feared the potential backlash he would receive. In the report he submitted to us and the school, he did not include these concerns that he would only share in person.

Please follow the link to the article to read the rest of the story. I need someone to explain to me how this sort of behavior by schools is in any way helpful to our children.

A Disturbing Trend On College Campuses

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Basically that means that even people you disagree with have the right to speak. However, that principle is not being taught on many of our college campuses.

The Daily Signal posted an article today about some recent events at Williams College.

The article reports:

At Williams College in Massachusetts, biology professor Dr. Luana Maroja wrote online last year that she was concerned about student and administrator attitudes regarding free speech. She gathered more than 100 faculty signatures on a petition calling for the school to adopt what is known as the “Chicago Principles,” a statement in favor of free expression developed by the University of Chicago.

More than 60 schools have endorsed this statement, a welcome response to the disrupted events and other nonsense that have plagued universities around the country.

Some Williams students will have none of it. Maroja says that more than a dozen of them barged into a faculty meeting last November holding signs such as “free speech harms” and saying faculty were trying to “kill” the students.

After that, tensions escalated. The College Fix reports that a professor subsequently “threatened violence” if Williams adopted the Chicago statement. All this, because Maroja dared to promote the idea that Williams should maintain a “climate of mutual respect.”

If that isn’t troubling enough, a poll of the students is even more troubling:

A recent survey of college students found that more than half of respondents say shouting down speakers is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable. Sixteen percent of respondents say it is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable to use violence to stop a speech protest or rally.

These responses are disturbing. Civil society – life in the office, in your neighborhood, at your child’s soccer game – depends on people tolerating those who do not share their beliefs, not trying to silence them through intimidation or violence. The American Dream dies if we live in fear of persecution.

Williams officials should take seriously the threats posed to the next generation of adults that come from limiting the ideas that can be considered on campus. The school should require students to attend sessions on free speech during freshman orientation – and explain that hiding from ideas with which you disagree is a poor strategy for life.

New policies for public universities in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin now serve as examples of how to protect everyone’s freedom of expression in a campus community.

These policies affirm the idea that anyone should be allowed to protest or demonstrate in public areas as long as they do not prevent others from doing the same. Moreover, they stipulate that their public universities must be prepared to penalize individuals who silence others.

The article notes that Williams is a private college and can set its own policies regarding free speech. However, it is troubling that the First Amendment is no longer appreciated or practiced on some college campuses.

News That Goes Against The Political Grain

Fox News posted an article today about the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain.

The article reports:

Two health professionals penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday that despite society’s shift on marijuana use, it does not change the fact that the drug is not safe for high school and college students.

Kenneth L. Davis, the president and chief executive of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Mary Jeanne Kreek, the head of Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University, cited studies that show a “deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents.”

The column said marijuana use can impair “executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration.” They said the explanation is simple: the adolescent brain is still vulnerable “especially the prefrontal cortex.”

“The chemical in marijuana responsible for producing mood elevation and relaxation, THC, interferes with the exchange of information between neurons,” they wrote in, “Marijuana Damages Young Brains.”

Davis and Kreek penned the column in response to New York and New Jersey considering legalizing marijuana for those over 21.

Marijuana is not as harmless as it is being made out to be. In October 2018, I posted an article about a man who had begun using marijuana is his 20’s and became addicted to the drug.

The article reported:

There’s a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition. Alcohol abuse became rampant, and the country almost drank itself off the rails. Will the same thing happen with marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t alcohol or an opioid. You can’t die from an overdose. It doesn’t really evince physical cravings. So is it better to call my problem marijuana “dependence”? Does it matter?

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life. If you have a problem, you are not alone.

I am not convinced marijuana should be legal. I think we have more Americans addicted to marijuana than we realize.

Upholding The Law Even When Challenged

Yesterday Yahoo News reported that Oberlin College will be required to pay Gibson’s Bakery $44 million in damages after the College accused the Bakery of racism.

The article explains the root of the controversy:

Problems between the Gibsons, their once-beloved bakery and the college began in November 2016 after Allyn Gibson, who is white, confronted a black Oberlin student who had shoplifted wine. Two other black students joined in and assaulted Gibson, police said.

The day after the arrests, hundreds of students protested outside the bakery.  Members of Oberlin College’s student senate published a resolution saying Gibson’s had “a history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment.”

When news of the protests spread online, bikers and counterprotesters soon converged on the town to jeer students and make purchases from Gibson’s. Conservatives derided the students on social media as coddled “snowflakes” with a mob mentality, while students attacked the store as a symbol of systemic racism.

The Gibsons sued Oberlin and the dean of students in November 2017, accusing faculty members of encouraging the protests. The lawsuit said college tour guides informed prospective students that Gibson’s is racist.

The Gibsons said the protests devastated their business and forced them to lay off workers. They said they haven’t paid themselves or other family members since the protests.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported:

For decades the college would buy baked goods from the small family-owned and operated business, but the bakery says that ended after the students were arrested. The administration reportedly told the bakery that they would restore the business relationship only if they stopped prosecuting first-time shoplifters and notified the school instead. Owner David Gibson declined the offer, citing the difficulty in determining who is a first time offender and the high cost of stolen goods.

Though the three men were clearly in the wrong, the bakery was subject to Black Lives Matter protests and even pressured by the college’s administration not to pursue charges.

According to the lawsuit, faculty members encouraged the demonstrations by suspending classes, helping to distribute flyers accusing the bakery of racism, and providing food and drinks to protesters.

I have a word of advice for all future social justice warriors–make sure the person you are claiming was treated unfairly is innocent of the charges. Otherwise, you may be the one thwarting justice and paying the price.

Hanging On To A Lie

Townhall posted an article today about Justice Brett Kavanaugh being hired by George Mason University to co-teach a course this summer called Creation of the Constitution in Runnymede, England, where the Magna Carta was sealed 800 years ago.

The article reports:

Some George Mason University students and faculty have become triggered. One student told George Mason’s Board of Visitors, “It has affected my mental health knowing that an abuser will be part of our faculty.” Another said, “The hiring of Kavanaugh threatens the mental well-being of all survivors on this campus.” The Washington Post reports that a petition to fire Kavanaugh has gathered almost 3,500 signatures and has the endorsement of George Mason Democrats. GMU students have created separate forms for parents and alumni to pledge that they will not donate to the university so long as Kavanaugh is teaching.

Note to parents and students protesting–the charges were investigated–they did not hold up. Justice Kavanaugh was cleared in the investigation. Why are you still holding on to something that has been proven false?

The article concludes:

GMU students and faculty may also be disturbed about what Justice Kavanaugh is going to teach. In the course, Creation of the Constitution, he will explain how much the Magna Carta influenced the founders of our nation. The 1215 Magna Carta limited the power of central government and it forced a reigning monarch to grant his English subjects rights. It contained a list of 63 clauses drawn up to limit King John’s power, resulting in making royal authority subject to the law instead of reigning above it. It laid the foundations for limited constitutional governments, an idea offensive to most leftists.

I guess if you are cleared of a crime, it doesn’t count if you are a conservative.

 

The Killjoys Who Want To Control Everything

High school proms are a major event. I think they have gotten a little out of hand since my day, but even then they were a major event. Today they may include hotel rooms, limousines, and hotel ballrooms. We had the high school gym and my future husband’s ’53 Ford convertible. That was it. I do think that high school proms have gotten out of hand, but to me that is an issue the parents need to have to courage to deal with.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about a new policy at Lakeland Regional High School regarding the senior prom.

The article reports:

Students and parents at a New Jersey high school plan to protest a new policy banning limos and party buses as acceptable transportation to and from the senior prom, CBS New York reported this week.

Under the new policy, Lakeland Regional High School prom-goers will be required to take the bus to the once-in-a-lifetime event on June 4.

“We have students from various. . . socioeconomic backgrounds, “ Superintendent Hugh Beattie told ABC 7’s Eyewitness News this week.

“And we wanted to provide an even playing field for all students,” he added.

The superintendent said the group decision by the administrative team was “based on the concern over the safety of all our students and in providing equity for all students so that they all could enjoy a shared ‘prom experience’ despite socio-economic status,” according New Jersey 101.5.

Students will reportedly pay $15 for a 45-minute, chaperoned bus ride from the Wanaque, New Jersey school to Rockleigh Country Club.

Parents and students have objected to upending the traditional pomp and circumstance of renting limos for transportation to the prom.

The article concludes:

“A prom is a school-sponsored function, a school district has the authority to make rules concerning the event,” New Jersey School Boards Association spokeswoman Janey Bramford told New Jersey 101.5.

The school does have control of the event, but do they have control of how the students arrive and depart from that event?  It is unfortunate that they are using that control to seriously curtail the fun for the seniors. I can’t imaging climbing into a chaperoned bus in a prom gown and being excited about it. I would also think that renting limos or party buses might avoid some of the consequences of teenage drinking and driving (which unfortunately does happen during prom season).

This ruling is a perfect example of how socialism works–since not everyone can afford this, you can’t have it. What about the kids who worked all year to save money for the limousine? Aren’t they entitled to the fruit of their labor? High school seniors are old enough to understand that not everyone has the same amount of money. Seeing kids in limousines at the prom might encourage them to work hard to become successful. I think this decision by the school board is ridiculous. If parents don’t want their kids to have limousines at the prom, they need to band together with other parents to discourage the practice. I think the school board is overextending their authority when they attempt to control how the students get to and from the dance. Again, would you want to climb on a school bus in your prom gown?

Rules For Radicals In Action

Rule number 13 of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” That is currently what the mainstream media is doing to the students of Covington High School in Kentucky. The students are being targeted because they are pro-life, Catholic, go to private school, and support President Trump. A full viewing of the video shows that they were simply waiting for a bus while being harassed by a racist group and rudely treated by an elderly native American. I can pretty much guarantee that if Nathan Phillips had done what he did to the Covington High School students to a group of New York City students, the invasion of their personal space might have been handled very differently.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article illustrating how this works.

The article cites the media’s bringing up a previous story that has already been proven false:

Nevertheless, the media jihad continues, and that includes NBC shamelessly running a debunked and deceptive smear story that had been reported on and debunked all the way back in May.

NBC’s deliberately misleading headline reads: “Gay valedictorian banned from speaking at Covington graduation ‘not surprised’ by D.C. controversy.” The story accuses “Covington” (I’ll explain the quote marks in a bit) of “banning” a speech that was to be given by an openly gay student.

The article then explains the problem with the story about the graduation speech:

  1. NBC News does not concede the fact that Bales submitted the speech late, instead framing it only as an allegation — an excuse from the diocese.
  2. Nowhere does NBC News reveal that Bales’ speech was a Parkland-inspired diatribe about gun control.
  3. Christian Bales was not a student at Covington High School.
  4. Christian Bales graduated from Holy Cross High School, a completely different high school.
  5. If his speech had been approved, he would have given it at Holy Cross High School, not at Covington High School.
  6. Holy Cross High is run by the same Catholic diocese as Covington High, but they are two completely different schools.
  7. NBC News bombards the story with more than a dozen references to “Covington” but goes out of its way to obscure the fact Bales attended a completely different school…

Since Covington High School is the target of the current media attack, the fact that the incident happened at a different high school is not relevant to the media. This is how fake news works, and this is how Rules for Radicals are implemented.

 

The Video vs. The Media

Yesterday Reason posted an article about the incident at the Lincoln Memorial. The magazine took the time to analyze the entire video of the incident.

This is the entire video as posted at YouTube:

Here are the key points of the video as noted by Reason:

Phillips enters the picture around the 1:12 mark, but if you skip to that part, you miss an hour of the Black Hebrew Israelites hurling obscenities at the students. They call them crackers, faggots, and pedophiles. At the 1:20 mark (which comes after the Phillips incident) they call one of the few black students the n-word and tell him that his friends are going to murder him and steal his organs. At the 1:25 mark, they complain that “you give faggots rights,” which prompted booing from the students. Throughout the video they threaten the kids with violence, and attempt to goad them into attacking first. The students resisted these taunts admirably: They laughed at the hecklers, and they perform a few of their school’s sports cheers.

It was at this moment that Phillips, who had attended a nearby peace protest led by indigenous peoples, decided to intervene. He would later tell The Detroit Free Press that the teenagers “were in the process of attacking these four black individuals” and he decided to attempt to de-escalate the situation. He seems profoundly mistaken: The video footage taken by the black nationalists shows no evidence the white teenagers had any intention of attacking. Nevertheless, Phillips characterized the kids as “beasts” and the hate-group members as “their prey”:

“There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey,” Phillips said. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”

Again, all the evidence suggests that Phillips got it backward.

He also claimed that he heard chants of “build the wall.” While I cannot rule out the possibility that some of the kids indeed chanted this—those who were wearing MAGA hats are presumably Trump supporters—I did not hear a single utterance of the phrase in the nearly two hours of video footage I watched. Admittedly, the kids do a lot of chanting and it’s not always possible to tell what they are saying. Their stated explanation is that they engaged in a series of school sports chants: That’s what one student told a local news reporter. His account largely tracks with the video.

“We are an all-male school that loves to get hyped up,” said this student. “And as we have done for years prior, we decided to do some cheers to pass time. In the midst of our cheers, we were approached by a group of adults led by Nathan Phillips, with Phillips beating his drum. They forced their way to the center of our group. We initially thought this was a cultural display since he was beating along to our cheers and so we clapped to the beat.” According to this student, the smiling student was grinning because he was enjoying the music, but eventually became confused, along with everyone else. (Indeed, multiple people can be heard to shout, “what is going on?”)

It would be impossible to definitively state that none of the young men did anything wrong, offensive, or problematic, at some point, and maybe the smiling student was attempting to intimidate Phillips. But there’s shockingly little evidence of wrongdoing, unless donning a Trump hat and standing in a group of other people doing the same is now an act of harassment or violence. Phillips’ account, meanwhile, is at best flawed, and arguably deliberately misleading.

Unless other information emerges, the school’s best move would be to have a conversation with the boys about the incident, perhaps discuss some strategies for remaining on perfect behavior at highly charged political rallies—where everybody is recording everything on a cell phone—and let that be the end of it.

The writer accurately sums up the situation:

The boys are undoubtedly owed an apology from the numerous people who joined this social media pile-on. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest major media misfires in quite some time.

This is what a media mob looks like, and provides us with another reason to distrust the media.

 

 

A New Approach To Getting Out Of Doing Something You Don’t Want To Do

High School is not fun for everyone. Teenagers are often not the kindest of people–particularly to anyone who might actually be an individual or be different in some way. Social media has made that worse–bullying doesn’t stop anymore when you close the front door of your house behind you. Bullying on social media has resulted in teen age suicides. Bullying has always been a problem, but it seems as if we are not teaching our children to be resilient. One article seeking to solve the problem might without realizing it illustrate why the problem exists.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article stating the following:

Middle and high school students are citing anxiety as their reason for pushing back against assigned in-class presentations as research shows that nearly one-third of teenagers have an anxiety disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that an estimated 31.9 percent of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 exhibit some form of anxiety. It’s an increase that experts say has been driven by the rise of social media, more pressure on students to go to college and other factors.

Students and teachers are split about whether offering alternatives to oral presentations will help anxious students or hurt them by letting them get around developing public speaking skills. The issue was brought to the foreground of discussion after a Sept. 8 tweet from a high school student that said “stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to” was retweeted more than 130,000 times.

“Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable,” a 14-year-old eighth grader identified only as Ula told The Atlantic in a Wednesday story. “Even though speaking in front of class is supposed to build your confidence and it’s part of your schoolwork, I think if a student is really unsettled and anxious because of it you should probably make it something less stressful. School isn’t something a student should fear.”

The word I would use to describe the above statement is not suitable for this blog. If students are not taught to face their fears as students, how are they going to face them as adults? Taking challenges away from students robs them of the opportunity of learning how to overcome challenges. The world is not always going to be sweet and padded. They might as well learn that before they leave school. For example, if I were allowed to vote on whether or not to go for my annual physical exam, I would vote not to do it. It makes me anxious. Therefore I should not have to do it. I really don’t think that works in real life.

What Are We Teaching Our Children In School?

According to Business Insider, the median age of an Apple employee is 31 years old. That really doesn’t tell us much except to imply that half of the employees are under 31 and half are over 31. A much more interesting number comes from an internal survey of Apple employees.

On September 1, InfoWars reported that 71.98% Of Apple Employees Say Repeal The First Amendment. It is ironic that the First Amendment protects their right to say that. I would venture to say that the number who also want to repeal the Second Amendment is probably comparable.

This is what happens when you do not teach history to American students. Our republic is always a generation away from disappearing. If we are to maintain our freedoms, we need to teach the value of those freedoms to our children. If they don’t value those freedoms, they will not preserve them.

This is a warning to young parents. If your children are not in a school that teaches the founding documents of America, the principles behind them, and why they are important, find another school. It’s that important.

What Is Happening At Our Colleges?

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article some recent events at Swarthmore College. The administration of the college has announced that it may discipline five students for taking over an administration building for four hours last month. The students have responded with disappointment and confusion.

The article reports:

The demonstrating students are part of Swarthmore’s Mountain Justice group, a campus organization which is perpetually demanding that Swarthmore’s trustees sell all the fossil-fuel stocks in the school’s luxurious $1.9 billion endowment portfolio.

The latest divestment protest occurred on Swarthmore’s campus on Feb. 24, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

…Then, on March 17, Swarthmore’s administration sent disciplinary citations to five of the students. The quintet of protesters now faces punishments ranging from a mere warning to possible probation.

In a statement, Swarthmore president Valerie Smith observed that the college has a long tradition of student protest, but noted that the protesters “crowded into” Amstutz’s (Mark C. Amstutz, the chief investment officer) office and prevented him “from completing all but the most menial of tasks and restricting his movements and rights.”

The students “were warned multiple times that they were in violation of the student conduct policy and were given the chance to move to the hallway to continue their protest,” Smith said.

Turns out, keeping administrators from doing their jobs is a violation of Swarthmore’s student conduct policies.

The students claim that they broke no rules and even helped with shredding some papers in the office. Wow. I wonder if they were papers that Amstutz wanted shredded.

There are a lot of things to think about in this article.

The article reminds us:

Swarthmore costs $63,550 for a single year of tuition, fees and room and board.

By way of comparison, Swarthmore’s $1.9 billion endowment is worth more than the entire annual gross-domestic product of Belize.

The students who attend Swarthmore are either very smart and go there on a scholarship or they are the children of privilege. These students find it disappointing and confusing that they were expected to follow the rules listed in their student handbook. Theoretically, these students would be the leaders of tomorrow. If they cannot even follow the rules in the student handbook, what kind of leaders will they make?

The article concludes with an amazing fact:

In 2014, a then-sophomore at Swarthmore, Erin Ching criticized her school for allowing Christian conservative thinker Robert George to speak on campus. “What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion,” Ching whined — apparently without irony.

Wow.