Taking The Tools To Success Away From People Who Need Them

Like it or not, people judge you by the way you speak. There is also a link between vocabulary and success. (See article here). So why has Rutgers University declared that proper English grammar is racist?

On July 24th, The Washington Free Beacon reported the following:

The English department at a public university declared that proper English grammar is racist.

Rutgers University’s English department will change its standards of English instruction in an effort to “stand with and respond” to the Black Lives Matter movement. In an email written by department chairwoman Rebecca Walkowitz, the Graduate Writing Program will emphasize “social justice” and “critical grammar.”

Walkowitz said the department would respond to recent events with “workshops on social justice and writing,” “increasing focus on graduate student life,” and “incorporating ‘critical grammar’ into our pedagogy.” The “critical grammar” approach challenges the standard academic form of the English language in favor of a more inclusive writing experience. The curriculum puts an emphasis on the variability of the English language instead of accuracy.

“This approach challenges the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage,” Walkowitz said. “Instead, it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the variety of choices available to them [with] regard to micro-level issues in order to empower them and equip them to push against biases based on ‘written’ accents.”

Additionally, the department said it will provide more reading to upper-level writing classes on the subjects of racism, sexism, homophobia, and related forms of “systemic discrimination.”

Our universities are supposed to be training the future leaders of industry and of our country. These leaders will need to be able to communicate effectively to do their jobs. Like it or not, correct English is the best way to communicate in the American corporate and political system. You can call that racist if you choose, but it is how things work.

Our education infrastructure has forgotten its responsibility to educate a person to become a contributing member of society. The decision by Rutgers not to teach basic grammar skills will limit the success of their graduates. The tuition at Rutgers is approximately $15,000 per year for out-of-state students. That’s an awful lot of money to pay for an education that fails to teach you the basics you need to succeed.

What Does This Have To Do With Educating Students?

Yesterday Just the News reported that the Los Angeles teachers union says schools can’t reopen unless charter schools get shut down and police defunded. Charter schools generally outperform public schools, so why are the teachers trying to shut them down?

The article reports:

A major teachers union is claiming that the re-opening of schools in its district cannot occur without several substantial policy provisions in place, including a “moratorium” on charter schools and the defunding of local police. 

United Teachers Los Angeles, a 35,000-strong union in the Los Angeles Unified School District, made those demands in a policy paper it released this week. The organization called on local authorities to “keep school campuses closed when the semester begins on Aug. 18.”

The union outlined numerous major provisions it says will be necessary to reopen schools again, including sequestering students in small groups throughout the school day, providing students with masks and other forms of protective equipment, and re-designing school layouts in order to facilitate “social distancing.” 

The article continues:

Police violence “is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the union writes. The document calls on authorities to “shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.”

“Privately operated, publicly funded charter schools,” meanwhile, “drain resources from district schools,” the union states. The practice of “colocating” charter schools in existing structures, it continues, “adds students to campuses when we need to reduce the number of students to allow for physical distancing.”

The union also demands the implementation of a federal Medicare-for-All program, several new state-level taxes on wealthy people, and a “federal bailout” of the school district.

“The benefits to restarting physical schools must outweigh the risks, especially for our most vulnerable students and school communities,” the document continues.

“As it stands, the only people guaranteed to benefit from the premature physical reopening of schools amidst a rapidly accelerating pandemic are billionaires and the politicians they’ve purchased,” it adds.

I want teachers and students to be safe when schools open. I think we all do. However, the teachers union has overlooked the negative impact on the students as a result of the schools being closed during the end of the last school year. They have also overlooked the fact that many foreign countries have had their schools open for a while without any negative results. They are also overreaching into political issues that have nothing to do with education. I wonder if the teachers who are members of the teachers’ union agree with the demands that their union is making.

The Supreme Court Gets It Right

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding religiously affiliated schools in state school choice programs. The court ruled that that families have a right to seek the best educational opportunities for their children, by preventing states from blocking the participation of religiously affiliated schools in state school choice programs. The decision was the usual 5-4 split–only this time the five were in favor of not discriminating against religious schools.

The article reports:

Tuesday’s decision in Espinoza removed the largest state constitutional obstacle by holding that so-called Blaine Amendments cannot be used to deny choice to parents.

Under the U.S. Constitution, states no longer may prevent parents from choosing religious schools if they are participating in a school choice program.

“A state need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools simply because they are religious,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion of the court in Espinoza.

This decision struck a blow to the notoriously anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment in Montana’s Constitution that sanctioned explicit discrimination against religious schools in funding. Montana’s discrimination hurt families who have a wide variety of values and preferences when it comes to their children’s education.

As the Supreme Court had previously noted, Blaine Amendments have an “ignoble” history. The amendments are named after Sen. James G. Blaine of Maine, who in 1875 sought a federal constitutional prohibition of aid to “sectarian” schools.

The article concludes:

In Mitchell v. Helms, Thomas wrote of Blaine Amendments: “This doctrine, born of bigotry, should be buried now.” On Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza took us one step closer to achieving that goal.

Now is the time for states to cast aside these 19th-century rules rooted in prejudice that unfairly punish religious families, students, and schools. The Constitution requires states to provide a level playing field for religious and secular education.

The legal impediment to school choice programs is now gone, and it’s up to state legislatures to move forward advancing education choice.

The court made it clear that policymakers across the country now have the power to enact robust school choice programs. They should do just that.

If the education establishment wants American children in public schools, they have a responsibility to make public schools better. Until then, parents who want their children educated will seek out voucher programs that will allow them to send their children to schools that teach the basics–not get bogged down by the social justice trend of the day.

Commentary From Someone Who Knows

The following was posted at CNS News today by Lt. Col. Allen West:

In the aftermath of the George Floyd incident, everyone seems to want to have a conversation about race in America.

Just recently, presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, asserted that if you couldn’t decide whether to vote for him or President Trump, “you ain’t black.”

So, let me clarify something: I was born in February 1961 in a “Blacks only” hospital, Hughes Spalding, in Atlanta, Georgia. I was raised by a proud Black man, Herman West Sr. and woman, Elizabeth Thomas West in the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood in Atlanta. My Mom and Dad are buried, together, in Marietta National Cemetery because of their service to our Nation.

The Old Fourth Ward is the same neighborhood that produced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and where the American civil rights movement emanated, “Sweet Auburn Avenue.”

There is a high possibility that I have forgotten more black history than some may ever learn — or certainly know. I just authored a book titled, “We Can Overcome, An American Black Conservative Manifesto.”

I do not need to “qualify” my being Black based upon some pre-determined ideological agenda. I was raised to believe that I was an individual who could think and believe as I determined. I was taught that America is a place where regardless of where you were born, where you came from, there was an equality of opportunity.

That equality of opportunity has enabled me to attain immense success for myself and set the conditions for the success of my two daughters. My wife Angela, an accomplished former marketing professor and financial adviser, and I now teach our daughters about the perils of equality of outcomes, and those who cleverly disguise that intent within the cries of social justice.

With this being stated, I am tired of our Nation cowering, appeasing, acquiescing, and surrendering to this absurd organization calling itself Black Lives Matter (BLM). There is nothing true or sincere about this ideologically aligned progressive socialist, cultural Marxist organization.

BLM is just another leftist organization created by the same ilk of progressive socialists who created the NAACP. When one reviews the goals and objectives of BLM, they have nothing to do with the real issues facing the Black community in America. The focus of BLM is to cleverly advance the leftist ideological agenda under the guise of a witty name that forces people into guilt, shame.

I do not need any white person in America to kneel before me, apologize, wash my feet, or as the insidious comment of Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathay, shine my shoes. I did a doggone good job of shining my own boots during my career in the US Army — that was my individual responsibility, in which I took great pride.

I am tired of these businesses and corporations being shaken down by BLM to the tune of some $464M, $50M right here in my home of Texas. Why?

Black Lives Matter does not support the critical civil rights issue of this day. The major civil rights issue in America today is educational freedom. How many young black kids are relegated to failing public schools in failing neighborhoods? Where does BLM stand on that issue? They stand with the progressive socialist left and the teachers unions. Ask yourself, has BLM ever condemned the action of Barack Obama in April 2009 to cancel the DC school voucher program?

Yesterday was Father’s Day. How many young black kids are growing up without a father in the house, a strong positive role model, like my Dad, US Army Corporal Herman West Sr.? The policies of the progressive socialist left decimated the traditional two parent household in the black community. What does BLM say about the traditional, nuclear, two parent (man and woman) household? They say that is a tool of white supremacy.

If there is to be a conversation about the rule of law in America and the black community, let’s have that honest conversation. However, BLM wants us to believe that there is some focused, dedicated, intentional genocide being enacted against the Black community by law enforcement.

In 2019, there were a total of nine white law enforcement officer shootings of unarmed black men. Yet, how many blacks have taken to the streets to kill other blacks? And where is the outrage from BLM?

But, even worse, since 1973 there have been over 20 million unborn black babies murdered in the wombs of Black mothers. The organization mostly responsible for the industry of murdering unborn babies is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was founded by a known white supremacist, racist, a woman who spoke at Ku Klux Klan rallies — Margaret Sanger. Planned Parenthood has over 70 percent of their “clinics” located in black communities across America.

I have never heard Black Lives Matter speak up, speak out, or speak against Planned Parenthood. Why? Simple, the white progressive socialist masters who fund, resource, and enable Black Lives Matter don’t give a darn about the lives of Black children.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. Black Lives Matter is an oxymoronic and disingenuous organization. As a proud American Black Man, I find Black Lives Matter an offensive and condescending organization whose hypocrisy is blatantly evident. Yet, thanks to the lucrative support of the white progressive socialist collective elitists, it survives, and extorts financial support from the useful idiots in our corporate structure.

All lives matter, but this radical organization, Black Lives Matter, is the ultimate Trojan Horse. The consistent purveyors of systemic racism in America is the Democrat Party. They have smartly devised this organization to enable their ends, the proliferation of the 21st century economic plantation. Black Lives Matter serves as overseers on this plantation, stoking the irrational emotionalism and angst to support their agenda, their purpose.

What is the purpose? Simple. The new plantation of the left is not about producing cotton. It is about creating victims who will be dependent, and produce the new crop — votes.

Just in case you are not familiar with Allen West, he is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. During his 22-year career, he served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, receiving many honors including a Bronze Star. In 2010, West was elected as a member of the 112th Congress representing Florida’s 22nd District. He is a Fox News contributor and author of “Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom” and his latest book from Brown Books Publishing Group, “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.”  Mr. West writes daily commentary on his personal website theoldschoolpatriot.com and is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias.)

Just one more note–the two-parent family is the backbone of American society. Before Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” the majority of black and white families were two-parent families. The government programs in the “War on Poverty” undermined first the black family and then the white family. The “War on Poverty” could be described as the gateway to the crime and poverty we find today in our inner cities.

Standing Strong Against The Mob

Hillsdale College is unique in many ways. Its students are required to study the founding documents of America and its Constitution. The College accepts no federal money and operates with only private funding. It also offers many free online courses dealing with American history and the founding documents of America. Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about the College that included some recent comments by the College administrators.

The article reports:

The nationally recognized liberal arts institution Hillsdale College has a history of defying political pressure in order to uphold what is good and true. Its recent refusal to give in to the demands of those who think a public statement is necessary to fight social injustice is just the most recent example.

Some of the college’s alumni publicly pushed their alma mater to comment on the recent controversies regarding the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and riots. When a petition began circulating calling on the college to release a statement, arguing that its “silence” supported violence, the college responded in an open letter.

“The College is pressed to speak. It is told that saying what it always has said is insufficient. Instead, it must decry racism and the mistreatment of Black Americans in particular. This, however, is precisely what the College has always said,” the letter says.

The letter signed by the college’s administration argues the institution’s steadfast devotion to fighting for the truth that all men are created equal is proven by its actions rather than empty words. Hillsdale was founded by abolitionists in 1844 and has, since its inception, pledged to educate all students, “irrespective of nation, color, or sex.” Such strong anti-discrimination practices were viewed as fiercely radical at the time, and made Hillsdale among the first in the nation to grant education to black Americans and the second in the nation to provide four-year liberal arts degrees to women.

This education produced students who care about the dignity and equality of all people. When the Civil War broke out, a higher percentage of Hillsdale students enlisted to fight for the Union than from any other college. It stood as an anti-slavery symbol during this time, such that the revered abolitionist Frederick Douglass came to deliver a speech on campus.

“The College founding is a statement — as is each reiteration and reminder of its meaning and necessity. The curriculum is a statement, especially in its faithful presentation of the College’s founding mission. Teaching is a statement, especially as it takes up — with vigor — the evils we are alleged to ignore, evils like murder, brutality, injustice, destruction of person or property, and passionate irrationality” the administration writes in the letter. “… And all of these statements are acts, deeds that speak, undertaken and perpetuated now, every day, all the time. Everything the College does, though its work is not that of an activist or agitator, is for the moral and intellectual uplift of all.”

The article concludes:

The college’s commitment to its principles has never wavered. In the 1970s when the federal government attempted to require the college to discriminate against potential students based on their race, the college refused. This meant the loss of all federal funding to its students as well as the institution. Hillsdale has instead generated private funding to continue its mission.

The college operates today as it always has, educating another generation of students to aspire to the great principles animating the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Statues of Douglass and Abraham Lincoln adorn campus as students study, reminding them of the virtues the college upholds.

While other companies are busy regurgitating statements capturing whatever ideas are trendy at the time, Hillsdale is busy fulfilling the same mission they set forth 176 years ago.

Actions speak louder than words.

Are Colleges Living Up To The Principles They Were Founded On?

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog about the recent virtual graduation at WSU Tech, an affiliate of Wichita State University. Ivanka Trump was scheduled to speak at the school’s virtual commencement.

The article reports:

Some students, faculty members, and alums objected.

WSU’s president responded as college presidents do. She decided that Ivanka would not speak at the virtual ceremony. Instead, her address would be available online.

Ivanka posted it on Twitter. She included a reference to the “cancel culture,” of which WSU’s actions are an example.

The article details the rest of the story:

The Kansas Board of Regents called an emergency meeting and went into “executive session.” After the meeting, the board issued a statement expressing support for free speech, diversity, and inclusion.

It decided not to fire WSU’s president, notwithstanding her obvious lack of commitment to these values. In turn, she issued a statement giving lip service to them.

I suspect that this “resolution” will satisfy Wichita State’s donors. Whether it should is another question.

At this point in the descent of nearly all American colleges and universities, I wonder why any conservative would donate a penny to almost any of these institutions. Such donations subsidize the indoctrination of students by those who dislike conservatives and despise our values. The effects of this leftist indoctrination are there for all to see. In my view, they are undermining America.

We conservatives should do our best to “defund” the nation’s colleges and universities until such time as they demonstrate a true commitment to free speech and viewpoint diversity, and cease the systematic leftist indoctrination of students.

Not only should conservatives ‘defund’ the colleges that are limiting free speech–we should refuse to send our children there.

Some Helpful Suggestions

Yesterday The City Journal posted an article with the title:

False Prophets

If you really want to help black America, don’t look to Black Lives Matter.

The article notes:

Over the past two weeks, we have seen peaceful protests, but also looting, businesses torched, attacks on police, and the desecration of some of the nation’s most revered memorials. All of this is numbing. Recently, I thought that I had finally turned the corner on my anger over the Floyd killing. (I’m African-American myself.) “Where do we go from here?” I wondered. “How do we get something positive out of this?”

But then the demands shifted. Cries for justice morphed into “Defund the police.” We started hearing calls from white Americans to do something to help ease the difficulties blacks are facing. On the surface, this seems good; the intentions definitely are good. The problem is that, with no context or reference to what is needed in the black community, and often with few black friends or colleagues to consult, many Americans—from those in corporate America to vocal social media consumers—are throwing support and resources behind Black Lives Matter, without considering carefully what the group actually stands for.

Black Lives Matter was started in 2013 to shed light on mistreatment of and brutality against blacks by police, but it has become a radical leftist organization. The “Herstory” section of its website, for example, reads: “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.” This proclamation is demonstrably untrue: there is no evidence that anyone—including the police and white supremacists—is killing black people in a targeted campaign, nor are the numbers of such deaths significant compared with the number of blacks killed by other blacks. But beyond BLM’s inflammatory and false rhetoric, there are important reasons to avoid the group.

The article notes that defunding the police would hurt the people that BLM claims to want to help. It would create chaos in already dangerous neighborhoods. This would probably result in businesses and commercial enterprises leaving these neighborhoods.

The article continues:

BLM was started by three black women, but their stated goal—to achieve equality for blacks—masks a different agenda. In the “What We Believe” section of the BLM site, they highlight the work they do to “dismantle cisgender privilege” and their desire to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure”—a structure that many, including myself and Kanye West, believe is key to rebuilding black communities. The mission statement mires a message that should be about black lives in a slew of buzzwords and Marxist psychobabble. Not all the sentiments are bad, but none will create positive change in the black community.

I’ve never known of a nonprofit organization more than two years old and with national name recognition that posts no financial report on its site and no glowing list of “wins.” Most charities get donations by pulling at your heartstrings, highlighting all the lives they have touched. The only thing remotely resembling action on the Black Lives Matter website is a timeline under “Global Actions,” listing activism on behalf of illegal immigrants. Even this consists mostly of petitions and demonstrations.

Many well-intentioned people want to support the black community, especially now. We need to point them in the right direction. The most vulnerable blacks, and the ones most adversely affected by racism, are struggling financially. The best thing that we can do for them is lift them out of poverty. Defunding the police, dismantling the nuclear family, or focusing on immigration will not accomplish that goal.

The two most important things we can do to help the black community are to encourage the formation of nuclear family and encourage better educational opportunities. Part of the problem in the black community is the culture, and the community itself needs to begin to change the culture. Those of us outside the community can help and encourage, but we can’t do it for them.

News The Mainstream Media Is Likely To Overlook

On Monday, The Blaze posted an article about a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the death rate of the coronavirus.

The article reports:

The CDC just came out with a report that should be earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class, yet it will go into the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public. For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26%. Officials estimate a 0.4% fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35% rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26% — almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it a month ago.

The article includes the following chart:

…Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50% asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2% – exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected.

More importantly, as I mentioned before, the overall death rate is meaningless because the numbers are so lopsided. Given that at least half of the deaths were in nursing homes, a back-of-the-envelope estimate would show that the infection fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1% or 1 in 1,000. And that includes people of all ages and all health statuses outside of nursing homes. Since nearly all of the deaths are those with comorbidities.

The CDC estimates the death rate from COVID-19 for those under 50 is 1 in 5,000 for those with symptoms, which would be 1 in 6,725 overall, but again, almost all those who die have specific comorbidities or underlying conditions. Those without them are more likely to die in a car accident. And schoolchildren, whose lives, mental health, and education we are destroying, are more likely to get struck by lightning.

The article concludes:

Four infectious disease doctors in Canada estimate that the individual rate of death from COVID-19 for people under 65 years of age is six per million people, or 0.0006 per cent – 1 in 166,666, which is “roughly equivalent to the risk of dying from a motor vehicle accident during the same time period.” These numbers are for Canada, which did have fewer deaths per capita than the U.S.; however, if you take New York City and its surrounding counties out of the equation, the two countries are pretty much the same. Also, remember, so much of the death is associated with the suicidal political decisions of certain states and countries to place COVID-19 patients in nursing homes. An astounding 62 percent of all COVID-19 deaths were in the six states confirmed to have done this, even though they only compose 18 percent of the national population.

We destroyed our entire country and suspended democracy all for a lie, and these people perpetrated the unscientific degree of panic. Will they ever admit the grave consequences of their error?

We have been scammed. It’s time to end the scam and open up the country.

 

Good News From Florida

Local 10 in Miami, Florida, posted an article on February 7 about Common Core.

The article reports:

Florida has officially done away with the controversial academic standards to establish benchmarks for reading and math.

The Florida Department of Education, acting on an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, eradicated Common Core from its classrooms Friday.

“Florida has officially eliminated Common Core,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I truly think this is a great next step for students, teachers and parents. We’ve developed clear and concise expectations for students at every grade level and allow teachers the opportunity to do what they love most — inspire young Floridians to achieve their greatest potential.”

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said, “Florida has completely removed ourselves from the confines of Common Core.”

Other states need to follow Florida’s example.

Addressing A Politically-Created Problem

Breitbart reported the following yesterday:

The New Hampshire House Education Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday on HB 1251, legislation to protect female athletic programs from men, or transgender women, who want to compete in girls’ and women’s sporting events.

The bill — sponsored by New Hampshire Republicans Mark Pearson, Judy Aron, Regina Birdsell, Linda Camarota, Linda Gould, Kathleen Hoelzel, Alicia Lekas, Jeanine Notter, Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien, Kim Rice, and Ruth Ward — states it is about “Discrimination Protection in Public Schools.”

The article reports the reaction to the bill:

Organizations for and against the bill are mobilizing the public. Save Women’s Sports and Cornerstone are hoping for the legislation to become law.

Cornerstone wrote in a notice about the public hearing:

Female athletes deserve a level playing field. They should not have to compete against biological males for a spot on the podium, even if those males claim a female gender identity. Biological males are already starting to dominate women’s competitive sports.

The Citizens Count website is reaching out to people who support transgender sports.

If the bill becomes law it would be effective 60 days after its passage.

Athletic scholarships are one ticket to college for athletic high school girls. In recent years many of these girls have lost scholarship opportunities because of losing to high school boys transitioning or claiming to identify as girls. Anyone who understands basic biology understands that this is simply unfair. I don’t have an answer to a transgender high school student who wants to complete athletically. Do we need a transgender athletic program? I don’t know. What I do know is that letting boys compete in girls’ sports is simply unfair to girls.

A Really Good Idea

On October 24, The Federal Times posted an article about relocating some of the Washington bureaucracy. What a great idea. We need to move some of the people in charge of government agencies closer to the people they are supposed to serve. We also need to break up the concentration of power that is the Washington swamp.

It is not a coincidence that many of the wealthiest counties in America are suburbs of Washington, D.C.

According to Wikipedia (a questionable source, but I suspect this is correct):

Presented below are the 25 highest-income counties (with populations of 65,000 or greater) in the United States by median household income according to the 2016 American Community Survey[4] prepared by the US Census Bureau. Five of the counties are located in the state of Maryland, five are in Virginia, four in California, three in New Jersey, two in New York, and one each in: Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. (Disclaimer: This only includes counties that participated in this single survey)

The Federal Times reports:

The Trump administration’s decision to move three agency components outside the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has spurred a sizeable amount of controversy, but Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., want to keep going with that trend.

The two senators introduced a bill Oct. 23 that would move about 90 percent of the workforce at the headquarters for 10 federal agencies to other states around the country and pop the “bubble” of D.C. federal employment.

“Every year Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars fund federal agencies that are mainly located in the D.C. bubble. That’s a big part of the problem with Washington: they’re too removed from the rest of America,” said Hawley in a news release.

“The HIRE Act will move policymakers directly into the communities they serve, creating thousands of jobs for local communities and saving taxpayers billions of dollars along the way.”

Under the proposal, the Department of Agriculture would move to Missouri, Commerce to Pennsylvania, Education to Tennessee, Energy to Kentucky, Health and Human Services to Indiana, Housing and Urban Development to Ohio, Interior to New Mexico, Labor to West Virginia, Transportation to Michigan and Veterans Affairs to South Carolina.

Obviously there are objections to this idea. The swamp is not enthusiastic about being split up!

The article concludes:

About 20 percent of D.C. residents are employed directly by the federal government, according to OPM and population data, while each of the 10 states slated for agency relocation under the bill have about .3 to one percent of their populations working for the federal government.

But Washington has an incredibly small population when compared with these states, and even if the entire D.C. federal workforce were to be relocated equally across the 10 states, the state with the lowest percent of federal workforce, Michigan, would only move from .3 percent to .4 percent.

The bill is bound to get strong pushback not only from the Democratically controlled House, which has been opposed to many of the Trump administration’s smaller moves, but also from the Virginia and Maryland members of Congress, whose states and districts would be likely to lose a number of jobs due to a relocation.

Relocation might also clear up the incredible traffic jam that is Washington, D.C. I suspect that it also would be cheaper to run government agencies in places where renting or owning office space would be considerably lower.

This will probably never happen, but it is a great idea.

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!

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?

What Are We Doing To Our Children?

Watch the video below that appeared on American television while considering the fact that the family is the building block of American society:

If children can be taught to be part of their community at the expense of being part of their family, the community can shape their views in ways that might not be in agreement with their family values. If children can be taught to value the ‘common good’ over property rights, part of the foundation of America’s prosperity can be dismantled.

The United Nations was established for the purpose of promoting freedom, democracy, and world peace. At least that’s what we were told. It has since drifted from those ideals. The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines rights given by government. There is no mention of the concept in the U.S. Declaration of Independence that rights come from God and that governments are put in place to protect those rights. The education group of the United Nations focuses on teaching children a perspective based on the UN’s ideals of sustainable development which do not include the concept of nation states or individual freedom.

It should be noted that a document posted on the UN education agency’s website about “Education for Sustainable Development” states, “Generally, more highly educated people, who have higher incomes, consume more resources than poorly educated people, who tend to have lower incomes.” The UN ‘toolkit’ for global sustainable education explains, “In this case, more education increases the threat to sustainability.” So the UN sees education as a threat to their agenda.

The concept of ‘The New World Order’ has been the goal of some in our government for a number of years. This concept is tied up with the United Nations and the move in American education to create ‘global citizens.’ There is nothing wrong with the concept of teaching children to consider themselves citizens of the world as well as Americans, but we are not teaching them to be American citizens. We are not teaching them about the values in America that are worth defending.

So where am I going with this? America is the biggest obstacle to those who believe in the “New World Order” (which means a one-world government ruled by an elite group of people). The New World Order is simply tyranny on a global scale. The public school education our children are getting is preparing them to be open to this form of government. Our AP History courses are distorting our history, the Christian values upon which our nation was founded are being undermined and mocked, and the foundations of America are being attacked in our public schools (and also in some of our private and parochial schools).

Right now, the answer to this problem is homeschooling. Until enough parents wake up and hold local and federal officials accountable, I don’t see the curriculum in our public schools changing.

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.

When Is Higher Education Against Diversity?

Yesterday Christian Headlines posted an article with the following headline, “Duke University’s Student Government Rejects Young Life over LGBTQ Policies.”

The article reports:

Duke University’s student government has denied the Christian organization Young Life official status as a student group on campus, citing its policy on sexuality.

The decision by the Duke Student Government Senate on Wednesday (Sept. 11) comes amid ongoing clashes nationwide between religious student groups and colleges and universities that have added more robust nondiscrimination policies.

Young Life, like many evangelical groups, regards same-sex relations as sinful. Its policy forbids LGBTQ staff and volunteers from holding positions in the organization.

The student newspaper the Duke Chronicle reported Thursday that the student government senate unanimously turned down official recognition for the Young Life chapter, because it appeared to violate a guideline that every Duke student group include a nondiscrimination statement in its constitution. 

Young Life, which is based in Colorado Springs, is a 78-year-old organization with a mission to introduce adolescents to Christianity and help them grow in their faith. It has chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges in all 50 states and more than 90 countries around the world.

But the student government objected to a clause in Young Life’s sexuality policy. After the student government was told the organization would not change its sexuality policy, it rejected the group.

The Young Life policy states: “We do not in any way wish to exclude persons who engage in sexual misconduct or who practice a homosexual lifestyle from being recipients of ministry of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in Jesus Christ. We do, however, believe that such persons are not to serve as staff or volunteers in the mission and work of Young Life.”

So following the Biblical guidelines on sexuality (both heterosexuality and homosexuality) will prevent your Christian group from being recognized on a College Campus.

The article concludes:

Over the past two decades, many colleges and universities have attempted to exclude religious groups because of their positions on sexuality, among them InterVarsity and Business Leaders in Christ.

Greg Jao, senior assistant to the president at InterVarsity, said about 70 colleges and universities have attempted to exclude InterVarsity chapters over the years — in some cases because it bars LGBTQ employees, in others because its faith statement more generally violates school nondiscrimination policies.

In most cases, the issues are resolved, but others have ended up in court. InterVarsity is now suing the University of Iowa and Wayne State University.

“Most of the time universities back down because it’s a violation of students’ First Amendment rights,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a law firm that defends religious freedom cases.

Duke, however, may be in a different category as a private institution. Private universities don’t have the same obligations under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause that a government entity does.

As a private entity, Duke may actually be able to do this, but any Christian who sends their child to Duke is supporting an anti-Christian agenda.

Taking Away Religious Freedom And Parent’s Rights

On September 13th, CBN News reported that the New York Department of Education is moving to force all private schools in the state to perform as public schools. The department is reevaluating a 125-year-old law that would require private schools to offer the equivalent instruction to students as required in public schools.

The article reports:

This means all private schools’ curriculum, scheduling, lesson plans, hiring standards, and reporting requirements would have to follow all regulations as required by the state for public schools. The new regulations would also give the power to local school districts to oversee and inspect private and parochial schools. If a school was found lacking in compliance with the proposed regulations, the school could be closed. 

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a non-profit legal defense organization, represents Parents Union for Religious Integrity of Torah Education (PURITE). The parents and rabbis who sought PJI’s assistance practice ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Judaism. They have been training their youth in small religious schools known as yeshivas for thousands of years. The schools instruct in subjects such as math and English language while focusing primarily on the Torah and Talmud. 

PURITE notes that the proposed regulations would essentially outlaw their way of life and education. Parochial school leaders and homeschool families are also concerned about the suggested rules. 

PJI attorney Kevin Snider sent a letter last week to the New York Department of Education, which had been accepting public comment. Snider’s letter explains in some detail the conflict between Torah-based education and the goals of NY public schools.

This is the precursor to a move against homeschooling. Unfortunately the American public education system is failing the students. Many students who go to college are having to take remedial courses in English and mathematics before they can actually take a college course. Our children are graduating high school with no marketable skills and no practical life skills. The have been schooled in what to think, but not schooled in how to think. As parents realize that the public schools are failing their children, they are turning to other ways to educate their children.

The following chart shows the growth of homeschooling in America since 1970. People taking their children out of public school is a threat to the education establishment. We already know that children in Charter Schools, private schools and homeschooling do better than children in public school.  That is the reason the State of New York is going after private education.

Ultimately parents are responsible for raising and educating their children. That is a responsibility and right that the government is slowly infringing on.

My Favorite Democrat Got It Right Again

My favorite Democrat has always been former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. He understood human nature and how government policies would actually hurt the people they claimed to help. He understood that the War on Poverty would destroy the African-American family structure (and eventually the white family structure) and he also understood the long-term impact of the Higher Education Act passed in 1965.

Today The Federalist posted an article about higher education in America that deals with some of the issues behind the indoctrination that is currently happening on our college campuses.

The article reports:

Far too many pundits believe culture is upstream from politics. That might be true, but bad policy is often upstream of culture. And it is shocking how often Republicans use the “culture” trope as an excuse for long-running inaction and lack of serious thought on needed policy changes.

One such example is higher education. Speakers such as Heather Mac Donald have done an excellent job of highlighting examples of the far-left bias that is prevalent at America’s higher ed institutions. Conservative YouTube channels are great at highlighting the perils of conservative speakers attempting to speak on various campuses.

But few address the elephant in the room. Taxpayers are heavily subsidizing the entrenched and blatant anti-American and anti-Christian bent in our colleges and universities.The huge budgets of these colleges — and their ability to pay professors well over six figures to teach for only several hours a week, only during the school year — is entirely the result of choices our elected officials have made.

…It started in 1965, when as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s fateful Great Society, Congress passed the Higher Education Act. Among other things, the legislation introduced subsidized student loans to increase the number of Americans attending college, and it has been reauthorized multiple times since. Ever since, the terms of those loans have become more generous (the subsidization has increased).

The effects have been predictable, and many did predict them. For example, Democrat Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, early in his career as a policy wonk, warned the system would lead to higher college costs.

Generally speaking, more money chasing after something raises its price. But the money chasing after higher ed is uniquely dulled of its price sensitivity. Borrowers are young and have little perspective about how much they are borrowing. These young, subsidized borrowers are also robbed of price signals, as everyone gets the same rate no matter what major he or she chooses.

The article points out that college costs have increased dramatically since 1965–the costs have increased much more quickly that the rate of inflation (four times faster than inflation since 1978).

The article continues:

Nevertheless, Congress certainly succeeded in its goal of more Americans attending college: Almost 70 percent of high school graduates now enroll in college, and the percentage of Americans aged 25 to 34 years old who have a secondary degree has moved from about 25 percent in 1990 to almost 50 percent today. But although college on average still provides a positive return on investment, that return has dropped significantly. Here’s The Economist, again:

By the universities’ own measures, this [binge of money and increase of administrators] has produced splendid results. Students are more than twice as likely to receive ‘A’ grades now than in 1960. When outsiders do the grading, however, they are less impressed: One study found that 36% of students ‘did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning’ over four years of college.

For many Americans, the return on college is negative. Part of this is because many Americans going to college are ill-suited for it. For example, 40 percent of American students fail to get a four-year degree within six years of enrolling.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is fascinating. In the meantime, encourage you child to attend trade school instead of college. In the very near future, electricians, plumbers, and mechanics will have more job opportunities than engineers.

The Results Of Our Education System And The News Media

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about the changing values of Americans. The article includes the chart below:

According to statistica.com (2017 data), there are 97 million Americans born between 1928 and 1964 currently in America. There are 65.45 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980 currently in America. There are 72.06 million Americans born between 1981 and 1996. I realize that these dates do not exactly correspond to the graph above, but they give you a general idea of the age of the American population. Thank God the old people still have the young whippersnappers outnumbered. Evidently we are the generation with the strongest traditional values.

This shift in values did not happen in a vacuum. In 1962, prayer was taken out of American schools. Students no longer started the day with some sort of simple prayer. I remember in Junior High School (now Middle School) we began every day with an assembly where we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and sang The Lord’s Prayer. I don’t remember being significantly harmed by that. By high school, the prayer and the Pledge were gone.

The article at The Wall Street Journal goes on to describe different feelings about racism.

The article reports:

The survey also found partisan divides on views of race relations. When surveyed six years ago, about half of Republicans and a slightly larger share of Democrats said relations among the races were on a good footing. Today, half of Republicans say race relations are good, while only 21% of Democrats say so.

Overall, the latest poll found 60% of adults saying race relations are in a bad state, a smaller share than in mid-2016, before Mr. Trump took office, when 74% said relations were poor. At the time, two incidents of police shootings of African-American men had been in the news.

In the new survey, only 19 percent of African-Americans said race relations were fairly or very good, the lowest level in Journal/NBC News polling over more than two decades.

While views on race relations improved overall, the change didn’t come through when Americans were asked about Mr. Trump’s time in office, the poll found.

Fifty-six percent of adults said race relations had gotten worse since Mr. Trump became president, while 10% said they had improved.

The Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 1,000 adults from Aug. 10-14. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

I blame the news media for that one. We had more racial unrest under President Obama than we have seen under President Trump.

The article also includes an interesting comment on patriotism:

Megan Clark, a 31-year-old from Austin, Texas, said her experience as a child living overseas due to her father’s military career influenced her views on patriotism.

“Patriotism for the sake of patriotism means nothing to me,’’ she said. “If you believe in the values that your country is expressing and following and you want to support those, then, sure. But just as a blind association with wherever you happen to be from, that just doesn’t seem logical.”

Generational differences on personal values were most pronounced among Democrats. In fact, the views of Democrats over age 50 were more in line with those of younger Republicans than with younger members of their own party.

Part of the responsibility for the decline in patriotism goes to our schools. It is disconcerting to me that the Advanced Placement U.S. History books focus on the negative aspects of American history–slavery, mistreatment of Indians, etc. They don’t focus on how unique the concept of God-given rights and freedom were at the time of the American Revolution. Part of the responsibility for the decline of patriotism also falls on parents. It is up to us to teach our children to love our country. Our freedom is always only one generation away. Hopefully we are not currently watching that generation grow up.

A Program That Is Getting Results

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the oldest voucher program in the United States. This program began in 1990. The program offers private school vouchers to low-income Milwaukee kids using a lottery system. The article reports that just 341 students participated in the program’s first year. Today, that figure is nearly 30,000 across 126 public schools.

The article reports:

Because it has been running for so long, the MPCP has been widely studied. Past analyses have found that it increases math scores (although not reading), as well as high-school graduation and college enrollment rates. Other voucher experiments have also shown encouraging results: A 2013 study found that Washington, D.C.’s voucher program increased graduation rates by 21 percentage points, while a 2015 analysis of New York’s voucher system saw an increase in college enrollment among students with black mothers.

The authors of the new paper looked at data on students from elementary school through ninth grade who were enrolled in Milwaukee private schools in 2006. They identified 2,727 MPCP students, then used a detailed methodology to “match” them to comparable students in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system based on where they lived, their demographic information, their parents’ educational backgrounds, and other controls.

Having constructed their “treatment” and “control” groups, the researchers then looked at how each group faired in relation to pivotal achievement milestones: completing high school, ever enrolling in college, completing at least a year of college, and graduating from college.

The article concludes:

“MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and have more total years in a four-year college than their MPS peers,” the authors write. “We also find evidence that MPCP students are significantly more likely to graduate from college, although that college completion finding is only statistically significant in our sample of students who entered the program in third through eighth grade.”

Specifically, MPCP students who were in ninth grade in 2006 were 6 percentage points more likely than their MPS peers to enroll in a four-year college—46 percent versus 40 percent. MPCP students who were in third through eighth grades were 4 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year college, and 3 percentage points more likely to graduate (all effects statistically significant).

These results contribute to what the authors call “a growing body of evaluation results indicating that private school voucher programs positively affect student educational attainment.” They point in particular to a Florida program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the effects of which on graduation are “nearly identical.”

“The collective evidence in this paper indicates that students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program tend to have higher levels of educational attainment than a carefully matched comparison group of Milwaukee Public School students,” the authors conclude. “The MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and experience more total years in a four-year college.”

Obviously the children using the vouchers to attend private schools are getting a better education than the students in public schools. I would guess that children involved in the voucher program also have a higher level of parental involvement–one of the keys to success for students. The children involved in the voucher program probably also know that there may be penalties for not doing the work required. I suspect that discipline in the private schools is probably more prevalent than in public schools. Our public schools have become places where children are not held to an academic or behavior standard. The success of the children in the voucher programs is an indication of problems in our public schools.

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.

Does The North Carolina Legislation Really Want To Protect School Children?

I do not consider myself a person interested in guns although I am married to a person who grew up hunting and handling guns all his life. However, I am not against armed citizens. I don’t believe our crime problem is guns. I believe our crime problem has more to do with people not respecting the basic rules of an ordered society. I have also learned over the years that the only way to stop an evil person with a gun is to have an armed citizen protecting other citizens. That is why I support H216 which was introduced into the North Carolina legislature on February 28, 2019.

H216 is a simple two page law. This is the bill:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE FACULTY OR STAFF OF A SCHOOL TO CARRY A HANDGUN ON THE SCHOOL GROUNDS TO RESPOND TO ACTS OF VIOLENCE OR AN IMMINENT THREAT OF VIOLENCE.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION1.This act shall be known as “The School Self-Defense Act.”

SECTION 2.G.S.14-269.2 reads as rewritten:

Ҥ 14-269.2. Weapons on campus or other educational property.

(a)The following definitions apply to this section:

(3a)Volunteer school faculty guardian. –A person who (i) is a member of the faculty or staff of a school, (ii)is a full-time or part-time employee,and (iii) possesses a valid concealed handgun permit issued to the person in accordance with Article 54B of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.

(3b)Volunteer school safety resource officer. –A person who volunteers as a school safety resource officer as provided by G.S.162-26 or 16G.S.160A-288.4.

(g)This section shall not apply to any of the following:

(8) Subject to the condition set forth in subsection (m) of this section, a volunteer school faculty guardian, while on the grounds of the school the person is employed by or assigned to, who meets all of the following requirements:

    1. Successfully completes 16 hours of active shooter training in the School Faculty Guardian program developed and administered by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission pursuant to G.S.17C-6(a)(21).
    2. Submits to the chief administrator of the school on an annual basis written notice that the person continues to possess a valid concealed handgun permit issued to the person in accordance with Article 54B of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.
    3. Provides evidence satisfactory to the chief administrator of the school on an annual basis that the person has demonstrated proficiency with the type of handgun and handgun retention system used.

d.When on school grounds, only possesses the handgun during the conduct of his or her duties.

e.Except when responding to an act of violence or an imminent threat of violence at the school, keeps the handgun concealed at all times while on the school grounds. For purposes of this subdivision, the term “violence”means physical injury that a reasonable person would conclude could lead to permanent injury or death.

    1. Submits to annual drug testing.

(m)The governing body or entity of a school may opt out of the authority granted under subdivision (8) of subsection (g) of this section and prohibit a person from possessing a handgun pursuant to the authority in subdivision (8) of subsection (g) of this section on the grounds of the school or schools under its control.”

SECTION 3.G.S.17C-6(a) reads as rewritten:

“(a)In addition to powers conferred upon the Commission elsewhere in this Chapter, the Commission shall have the following powers, which shall be enforceable through its rules and regulations, certification procedures, or the provisions of G.S.17C-10:

(21)Establish and administer the School Faculty Guardian program, which provides active shooter training to volunteer school faculty guardians, as defined under G.S.14-269.2.”

SECTION 4.The provisions of G.S.143C-5-2 do not apply to this act.

SECTION 5.There is appropriated from the General Fund to the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to be used to cover costs incurred in establishing the School Faculty Guardian program required under G.S.17C-6(a)(18), as enacted by Section 3 of this act.

SECTION 6. Section 5 of this act becomes effective July 1, 2019. The remainder of this act is effective when it becomes law.

Note that the teacher participation is voluntary. Also note that there is training involved. Since many of our teachers are military veterans, I think they would be well-suited for the training. Note that schools have the opportunity to opt out of the program.

Something else to consider:

 

  • Arming faculty reduces school shootings: A new study entitled “Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry Guns Are Extremely Safe: Data on the Rate of Shootings and Accidents in Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry found that:
    • Zero school shootings at schools with armed faculty: During hours when armed teachers would logically be present, none of the schools with armed faculty experienced school shootings.
    • A significant increase in school shootings at schools which do NOT allow armed faculty: Between 2001 and 2018, the number of school shootings at schools which did not allow armed faculty more than doubled.

Calling your North Carolina legislator to vote this bill out of committee and on to the floor for a vote would be a really good idea. The website to get names and phones numbers and email addresses is ncleg.gov.

 

 

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The New York Post reported yesterday that in a commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, billionaire tech investor Robert F. Smith promised to pay off the student loans of the graduating class. Wow.

The article reports:

Billionaire tech investor Robert F. Smith stunned college graduates on Sunday as he gave their commencement speech — offering to pay their student debts despite it costing an estimated $40 million.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith told the 400 graduating seniors at the all-male Morehouse College in Atlanta.

“This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

The announcement was initially met with stunned looks — before the graduates broke into cheers and tears at the largest gift ever given to the historically black college.

This is brilliant. The students were graduating–they had completed their studies–they had not dropped out. Now the students were faced with serious debt that they had accumulated in order to pay for their college education. Now they are free to pursue whatever career they choose without having that debt hanging over their heads. Paying off these debts not only helps the students, it helps America by making sure those student loans were quickly paid off. Wow.

Ruining The College Board

David Coleman has been the President of the College Board since 2012. David Coleman was one of the people responsible for developing the Common Core standards. He has now brought his total misconceptions of what works in education to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), long used as an indication of a student’s ability and possible clue to how well they would do in college.

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article that reported the following:

The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam taken by about two million students a year, will for the first time assess students not just on their math and verbal skills, but also on their educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, entering a fraught battle over the fairness of high-stakes testing.

The company announced on Thursday that it will include a new rating, which is widely being referred to as an “adversity score,” of between 1 and 100 on students’ test results. An average score is 50, and higher numbers mean more disadvantage. The score will be calculated using 15 factors, including the relative quality of the student’s high school and the crime rate and poverty level of the student’s neighborhood.

The rating will not affect students’ test scores, and will be reported only to college admissions officials as part of a larger package of data on each test taker.

The new measurement brings the College Board squarely into the raging national debate over fairness and merit in college admissions, one fueled by enduring court clashes on affirmative action, a federal investigation into a sprawling admissions cheating ring and a booming college preparatory industry that promises results to those who can pay.

Below is a picture of what constitutes the adversity score:

The American Thinker quoted Tucker Carlson, who noted the following about the idea:

It’s kept a secret. “Trust us,” in effect, they say. There is no appeal possible. And as a black box whose inner workings are secret, it becomes an ideal vehicle for engineering the racial results admissions offices desire.

It is easily gamed – fake addresses, even possible income manipulation (by claiming a lot of depreciation, for instance, the way that Donald Trump reported negative income in the 1980s)

And it provides perverse incentives, rewarding victim status, not achievement. Parents who start out with no advantages and work hard to provide a better life for their kids will now be handicapping them if they have high incomes and live in nice neighborhoods with good schools.

Obviously if you are a middle class parent living with the father of your children in a respectable neighborhood, the answer would be to divorce your spouse and move to Detroit. That is obscene.

It might also be a good idea to consider the consequences of this new program–how will children who do not have good SAT scores but have great adversity scores do in college? What will be the drop out rate? Will they understand the classes they are taking? The way to achieve diversity in colleges is to change the culture in communities where the work ethic has been lost. There are many first-generation Chinese children living in New York City in poverty that are gaining admission to the top schools in the city because their parents have taught them to work hard in school. Rather than risk putting students in college that are academically unprepared for what they are going to face, shouldn’t we simply encourage a cultural change in poor communities that rewards hard work in school. It can make a difference–Ben Carson is a shining example of a child growing up poor with a single parent who lacked education that taught her children the value of education. Let’s lift people up instead of making excuses for them because of where they grew up.

Poverty In America

Below are the U.S. Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines:

This is a chart from The Heritage Foundation showing changes in the poverty rate since 1959:

As you can see, the War on Poverty actually slowed down the decrease in the poverty rate that had begun in 1950.

This is a chart from Pew Research showing how the American family has changed:

First of all, living in poverty in America is not the same as living in poverty in any other part of the world.

The Heritage Foundation reports:

Because the official Census poverty report undercounts welfare income, it fails to provide meaningful information about the actual living conditions of less affluent Americans. The government’s own data show that the actual living conditions of the more than 45 million people deemed “poor” by the Census Bureau differ greatly from popular conceptions of poverty.[7] Consider these facts taken from various government reports:[8]

  • Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, at the beginning of the War on Poverty, only about 12 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Nearly three-quarters have a car or truck; 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.[9]
  • Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television.
  • Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and a quarter have two or more.
  • Half have a personal computer; one in seven has two or more computers.
  • More than half of poor families with children have a video game system such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
  • Forty-three percent have Internet access.
  • Forty percent have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
  • A quarter have a digital video recorder system such as a TIVO.
  • Ninety-two percent of poor households have a microwave.

I think it’s time to examine closely the impact of the War on Poverty. One of the differences between business and government is that in business when something doesn’t work, you fix it. In government when something doesn’t work, you simply add more money to it. It is obvious which solution is more effective.

The goal of any poverty program should be to help people develop self-reliance and get out of the poverty program. Obviously that is not happening–we have generations of welfare recipients. Another goal of any poverty program should be to support the family unit. Obviously our current welfare programs do not do that. It’s time to reevaluate and redo our poverty programs–they are breaking the budget and not accomplishing their goals.

In March 2013, The Brookings Institute posted the following three rules to avoid poverty:

First, many poor children come from families that do not give them the kind of support that middle-class children get from their families. Second, as a result, these children enter kindergarten far behind their more advantaged peers and, on average, never catch up and even fall further behind. Third, in addition to the education deficit, poor children are more likely to make bad decisions that lead them to drop out of school, become teen parents, join gangs and break the law.

In addition to the thousands of local and national programs that aim to help young people avoid these life-altering problems, we should figure out more ways to convince young people that their decisions will greatly influence whether they avoid poverty and enter the middle class. Let politicians, schoolteachers and administrators, community leaders, ministers and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.

Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year). There are surely influences other than these principles at play, but following them guides a young adult away from poverty and toward the middle class.

Those three rules should be the foundation of any poverty program.