Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Protecting the Widdle Twannies Feewings

January 20th, 2015 1 comment

The formerly* all-women’s Mount Holyoke College has cancelled its annual performance of ”The Vagina Monologues.” While at first glance that may sound like a return to sanity, it’s anything but.

Mount Holyoke student Erin Murphy explained on behalf of the student-run theater board in an email to students on Wednesday that the play is problematic because it is not inclusive of trans women

You read that correctly. It was cancelled not because it’s inane, insipid, or insulting to the intelligence of normal, rational humans. Nope. Because it’s not inclusive of “women” who lack vaginas, i.e., cross-dressing men. We can’t offend their tender sensibilities now, can we?

Such is the state of higher education today. You just can’t make this stuff up, folks.

*I say “formerly” because last year they began admitting males who can’t tell the difference between the reproductive organs of the two—count them—biologically defined genders of our species.

Categories: Education Tags:

Boys Hit Harder By Mom-only Homes

March 22nd, 2013 No comments

In the WSJ, James Taranto has an incisive analysis of a new study (done by a moderate-to-left-leaning think tank and published in that bastion of conservatism—the NY Times) which shows that when a home is run by a single mom, boys suffer more—educationally and economically—than girls. Taranto makes a number of salient points, but what caught my attention was this thought experiment:

But of course it isn’t. To illuminate why, try a thought experiment: Think about the family as a “business” partnership whose “product” is the next generation.

One reason a business has hierarchies of authority and responsibility is to make the best use of the time of the most vital employees. The CEO may type faster or more accurately than his secretary, but he still delegates the typing because it isn’t the highest use of his time. By contrast, the lone entrepreneur may of necessity do his own clerical work, but at some point he won’t be able to expand further without hiring support staff.

Think of the single mother as the lone entrepreneur. Of necessity she takes on every responsibility of the household: bearing and nurturing the children, providing food, maintaining the physical plant—and, by the way, working outside the home in order to raise operating funds.

Now think of the traditional 1950s household with an employed father and a stay-at-home mother. The mother is able to devote her full efforts to the children and the home. The father may have some secondary household duties—taking out the trash and playing ball with Junior—but most of his time is spent away from home, doing a boss’s bidding, in order to raise money to meet the family’s needs.

Let’s stipulate that in the latter scenario, the mother could do the father’s job just as well as he can. Would that be the highest use of her time? Only if one thinks that office work is intrinsically superior to the development of the next generation. [Emphasis mine.]

I, for one, believe the latter is far more important, and deserves the full attention of a parent.

Starting Points

February 15th, 2013 No comments

In his State of the Union address (and a follow-up yesterday), Dear Leader said we need to fund preschool and all-day kindergarten for low- and some middle-income families so that,

…none of our children start the race of life already behind.

[Quite laughably, he also claimed this wouldn’t increase the deficit.]

I have a counter proposal that won’t cost a penny. In fact, it will improve educational outcomes, and reduce both crime and poverty—all three of which have the additional benefit of trimming federal and state budgets. It’s very simple, really.

Stop subsidizing illegitimacy and single parenting.

Before the creation of the welfare state in the 1960s, marriage rates were higher, and illegitimacy and poverty rates were lower. Then we made it much easier for poor women to bear children without either the financial responsibility for their support or the presence and participation of the father in the children’s upbringing. Guess what happened as a result?

Look at any inner city and you can see. Urban blight is not an accident, but a direct consequence of government policy at the federal and local levels. When you subsidize something you get more of it. Want less? End the subsidy. Economics 101. Duh.

But Democrats understand this already. Truly effective programs to reduce poverty would end their stranglehold on urban politics because they would reduce dependency on the welfare programs on which the Left thrives. Hence the continued subsidization of poverty.

Poor kids don’t need preschool. They need mom and dad under the same roof working together to provide for them. Instead of spending so much effort replacing literature and history with “Lesbian Readings” and “The Sins of Our Founders,” we should be telling our young people, “Don’t want to spend your life poor? Finish school, get married, have children…in that order.”

That will have a much bigger positive impact on their lives and our nation than having them start preschool a year or two earlier.

Categories: Conservatism, Education Tags:

Republicans have bad brains?

May 3rd, 2012 No comments

Jonah Goldberg@Newsday –Analyzing the Republican brain

If you really want to know why conservatives want to quit throwing money down the rabbit hole that is public and “higher” education, look no further. We aren’t anti-science. We’re against the nonsense masquerading as intellectual thought that inundates modern academia.

Categories: Conservatism, Education Tags:

A Guarded Mind

February 28th, 2012 No comments

[An open letter to my teenage kids.]

Dear Wade and Kandace,

As I rode in to work this morning, I came across one of the many popular but inane bumper stickers regarding closed minds. It set me to thinking of you two–not because your thought processes are deficient, but because you are fast approaching adulthood in a society which inundates you with foolishness cloaked as non-judgmentalism and rejects Biblical morality as quaint, archaic, and irrelevant. The moral relativism to which you are subjected on television, over the radio, and in the classroom has a tempting “feel good” quality to it that is hard to resist. But you should resist it, and for that effort the condition of your mind is paramount.

It may seem obvious that a “closed” mind is undesirable. A closed mind is incapable of growth or correction. Rejecting without serious consideration anything which conflicts with already-held notions, it can neither expand its domain nor examine and shore up its foundations. The closed mind is imprisoned–for better or worse–in stasis. Human nature being what it is, this is usually for worse.

Unfortunately, those who decry the “closed” mind far too often open theirs in the extreme. Like an uncapped bin behind the local Goodwill store, such an “open” mind accepts donations from whomever happens by. Occasionally the items are valuable, but usually they are not–and will be replaced at first opportunity by the next ones that drop in. Sadder still, the modern version of open-mindedness is open to absolutely everything except Biblical teaching.

Better than either is to have a guarded mind (Proverbs 4:23). Trite and overused as the term has become, being “teachable” is a necessary trait (Job 22:22 and throughout Proverbs). We all have gaps in our knowledge and understanding which can best be filled by paying attention to the wisdom and experience of others. The key is to exercise discernment in choosing sources. Examine everything you hear or read and consider it in light of what God tells us through scripture (1 Timothy 6:3-4 and 20-21). Sometimes you will even find it necessary to reject things you are taught in church or by leaders who claim to be teaching Biblical truth (Matthew 16:11-12). Remember that all of your instructors are human. Some may deliberately lead you astray; others may do so inadvertently because they, themselves, are not in line with God’s word. You will have a good head start toward a healthy, guarded mind if you, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

You are both growing–all too quickly in your mom’s estimation–into incredible young adults. As you do, keep one bedrock truth firmly in your hearts: as much as your mom & I want the best for you, God desires it even more. His moral instruction will not saddle you with limitations, but rather will open up for you a life of the greatest freedom you could possibly know. My prayer for you is that you internalize Luke 11:9-13 and seek truth in Him. He promises it will be found.

I love you,

Categories: Education, Religion Tags:

World’s Greatest Innovator

January 26th, 2012 No comments

In a recent poll, young people aged 16-25 picked Thomas Edison as the greatest innovator of all time. Considering his innumerable contributions to technological advancement, that’s not at all an unreasonable choice. But take a gander at the top 7, as highlighted in the article:

  1. Thomas Edison (52%)
  2. Steve Jobs (24%)
  3. Alexander Bell (10%)
  4. Marie Curie (5%)
  5. Mark Zuckerberg (3%)
  6. Amelia Earhart (3%)
  7. Temple Grandin (2%)

Are you serious? I’m often accused of being an Apple fan-boi, but Steve Jobs? A quarter of our youth think he was the greatest innovator of all time? I suppose if you were born after the Mac was invented you might be excused for believing Jobs was the greatest innovator of your lifetime, but in history? History is apparently limited to your generation.

The bottom four are equally revealing. Zuckerberg? If you don’t know how life could possibly exist without Facebook, …

The other three point out the success of the feminist movement within our educational system. Yes, Curie and Earhart were pioneering women in their field, but if you’re considering aviation, wouldn’t the Wright brothers have been a better choice? Inventing flight, and all that. Oh, but they’re men. Madame Curie was certainly a brilliant scientist, but, well…not so much as an innovator. But she was a she. Did I mention her work killed her? And Grandin? You watch one made-for-TV movie about an autistic woman and suddenly she’s a great innovator?

The ignorance of this generation regarding real innovators throughout history would be stunning if it weren’t so terribly predictable. Do they even know who da Vinci was? (Or that he didn’t actually have a code?) What about our own Founding Fathers, such as Franklin and Jefferson? Oops. Old, dead, white guys.

Sadly, most of this age bracket is old enough to vote. That should be enough to scare anyone into fighting for real educational reform.

Categories: Education Tags: on Science Textbooks

December 10th, 2010 No comments

Interesting that a web site dedicated to science shows so much animosity to one of the basic tenets of science—examining all sides of an issue and exposing both the strengths and weaknesses of any theory.

A subcommittee of the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6-to-1 Tuesday to approve an industry-standard biology text, which conservative critics had attacked for failing to teach the “controversy” about evolution.

While the article focuses on criticism of creationism and intelligent design, conspicuously absent is any mention that there are, in fact, gaping holes in every flavor of evolutionary theory—a fact which they fear having taught in public schools lest any thinking student have doubts about the validity of Darwinist thought.

Categories: Education Tags:

Liberals Still Focused On Race In Education Gaps

November 12th, 2010 No comments

The left—which for decades has dominated education in our country—has an obsession with race that never fails to fascinate (and disturb) me. While accusing the right of being racist, it is they who focus so consistently and intently on race. Consider a new study based on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) math and reading tests.

[A] new report focusing on black males suggests that the picture is even bleaker than generally known.

Race, race, race. The report compares blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians. You can read it in its entirety here.

Just once I’d like to see an analysis of this data which investigates things that really matter rather than race.

  • How do kids from intact families compare to those from divorced and single-parent homes?
  • What about kids whose parents take them to church or synagogue regularly versus those who watch TV all weekend?
  • Do kids who are involved in scouting and organized sports perform better than those who aren’t?

I mention these because in my experience they have a much greater effect on academic performance than do race and economics. For example, I have black friends who have been married for twenty years and go to church regularly. Their kids are doing really well in school. Meanwhile a white family I know has divorced and stopped attending church—their kids are struggling. Race is a non-factor while family cohesion is paramount. Yes, I know these are “merely anecdotes”, but I am quite willing to bet your personal observations are generally similar. (And at some point when you’ve collected enough anecdotes you have “data”.) Sadly, our society has come to substitute statistics for common sense and wisdom.

But I do suspect that these factors have a statistically significant impact on test scores. Unfortunately I can only surmise. Because I’m just an independent mathematician with a very good understanding of statistics—and not a “qualified researcher”—I can’t get access to the raw data. The real reason I suspect that these, and similar, factors other than race have a real effect on scores is the very fact that those factors are never reported. If they had a significant effect and that impact or a lack thereof agreed with the agenda of the researchers the results would be published in a heartbeat. (If you think educational researchers don’t have an agenda, with a list of acceptable pre-determined outcomes, you’re not awake.) That there is such eerie silence makes me suspicious.

There are a lot of factors that can greatly affect academic performance. Race isn’t one of them—unless you are a racist! That the left is obsessively focused on race speaks volumes.

Categories: Education Tags:

A Nation of Girly-Men

August 15th, 2010 No comments

Elementary schools are limiting the activities boys can use to productively channel their innate aggression and competitive drives, for example eliminating such useful games as dodgeball. Youth sports associations hand out trophies to every kid for the sheer act of breathing and their parents’ ability to pony up the $100 registration fee instead of reserving accolades for those who actually accomplish something on the field of play. Schools hand out awards for good behavior and “citizenship” (i.e., being nice to classmates) instead of mandating them and rewarding academic performace. After all, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s self-esteem by leaving them out as we hold up exemplary achievement as a mark to be emulated. Now we’re being told that modern superheroes are bad role models.

“There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday,” said Professor Lamb.

“Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity.

“When not in superhero costume, these men exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns.”

Now I’m not sure what movies and TV shows she’s watching, but today the only “superheroes” that wear costumes are either parodies or remakes of classic comic book mainstays. We just don’t do the whole tights-and-capes thing anymore. Further, I’m a big fan of action movies and TV shows—even the cheesiest—and I guess we’re simply seeing completely different images. Virtually every successful action hero of late follows the same model that has sold well on screen for nearly 100 years: chivalrous, confident but modest (except when it’s necessary to fling a good one-liner at the bad guys), and motivated to fight for the helpless and powerless.

In a second presentation, Dr Carlos Santos, from Arizona State University, examined 426 middle school boys’ ability to resist being emotionally stoic, autonomous and physically tough – stereotyped images of masculinity.

When, exactly, did these qualities become viewed as harmful to boys’ development? Our nation was made possible by the stoicism, autonomy, and physical toughness of generations of men (yes, and women) who lived hard, often brutally short, lives in an effort to tame a wild and dangerous continent. While most of the specific dangers they faced are gone, they have been replaced by others which can only be met by men of equal character.

Unfortunately, academics would have us believe there are no significant differences between the genders, and consequently have us raise the next generation of boys to be women. Such nonsense can only be perpetuated to the detriment of society.

NJ Teacher Smackdown

May 27th, 2010 No comments

In a townhall meeting with NJ Governor Christie, a teacher whined that, “You’re not compensating me for my education, and you’re not compensating me for my experience.” His response was simply sublime: “You know what? Then you don’t have to do it.”

Ma’am, step away from the left and join us in the real world.

You see, out here in the real world, we don’t get automatic pay increases based on the number of years we’ve worked, how many degrees we hold, or the number of initials and acronyms that follow our names. We get paid based on two things: perceived value and scarcity of skill. Until there are more teacher openings than applicants, the law of supply-and-demand is going to hold your salary down. And until the taxpayers believe you are providing something of increased value, they aren’t going to pony up more of their hard-earned cash.

Like those of us in the real world, you—along with the rest of us who haven’t had pay raises in years—have two basic options: find a higher-paying career, or quit whining and be thankful that in an economy running 10% unemployment you still have a job. Me? I live here in the real world. I choose the latter.

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