University drops sonnets because they are ‘products of white western culture’

https://www.thecollegefix.com/university-drops-sonnets-because-they-are-products-of-white-western-culture/

University drops sonnets because they are ‘products of white western culture’

By Margaret Kelly

May 18, 2022

The form has appealed to major poets for five centuries

The University of Salford, a public university in Greater Manchester, England, removed sonnets and other “pre-established literary forms” from a creative writing course assessment, The Telegraph reported.

Course leaders of a creative writing module titled “Writing Poetry in the Twenty-First Century,” removed an exam section that required students to write the traditional forms, including sestinas and sonnets, according to the newspaper.

The sonnet, a poetic form that likely originated in Italy in the 13th century, has been taken up by writers such as Petrarch, Shakespeare and John Donne, according to Britannica.

“The sonnet is unique among poetic forms in Western literature in that it has retained its appeal for major poets for five centuries,” the encyclopedia stated.

A University of Salford slideshow shared with staff stated that teachers have “simplified the assessment offering choice to write thematically rather than to fit into pre-established literary forms…which tend to the products of white western culture,” according to documents cited by The Telegraph.

The slideshow affirmed the change as an example of best practice in “decolonising the curriculum.” The Telegraph defined “decolonising” as “a term used to describe refocusing curricula away from historically dominant Western material and viewpoints.”

Instead, the course will incorporate “inclusive criteria” that better “reflect and cater for a diverse society,” according to internal training materials review by The Telegraph. The materials also showed that the courses could be upgraded by utilizing “a choice of assessment methods” allowing students to be tested “in a way that suits them.”

British historian: assuming sonnets alienate non-white students is ‘hugely patronising’

The Telegraph quoted Oxford-trained historian Zareer Masani’s statement that the course overhaul was “outrageous.”

“It is hugely patronising to assume non-White students would be put off by Western poetic forms,” he said. “Poetic forms vary widely across the world, but good poetry is universal.”

Scott Thurston, leader of the creative writing program at Salford, said the course was “often updated to take account of new trends and development in contemporary writing,” according to The Telegraph.

Thurston said that teachers would still instruct creative writing students in traditional forms in their first year and give them exercises in writing them. However, the curriculum would also include creative experimentation with students’ “own forms.”

May 20, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Books, Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Washington D.C. schools spent more per pupil than any state but had the lowest scores in the nation

https://thebullelephant.com/washington-d-c-schools-spent-more-per-pupil-than-any-state-but-had-the-lowest-scores-in-the-nation/

Washington D.C. schools spent more per pupil than any state but had the lowest scores in the nation

By Hans Bader

May 14, 2022

“D.C. Public Schools Spent $31,843 Per Pupil; But D.C. 8th Graders Had Lowest Math and Reading Scores in Nation,” reports CNS News. Washington, DC spent more per student than any of the 50 states:

The public schools in Washington. D.C., spent a total of $31,843 per pupil in fiscal year 2020…Meanwhile, the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered in 2019 showed that only 23 percent of the eight graders in D.C. public schools were proficient or better in reading and only 23 percent were proficient or better in mathematics.

The average reading test score for D.C. eighth graders was lower than the average for eighth graders in any of the 50 states. The average math score for D.C. eighth graders tied with the averages for eighth graders in Alaska and New Mexico for lowest in the nation.

By contrast, Utah spent only $9,424 per student — less than a third as much as D.C. — yet its students performed above average. The Washington, DC schools have been spending more than any state for years, even as its students lag behind the students of all other states on tests, according to the National Center for Education Statistics:

In 2019 …. eighth graders in D.C. public schools had an average score of 250 out of 500 in the NAEP reading test. That was a lower average than any of the 50 states.

That same year, according to NCES, D.C. public school eight graders had an average score of 269 out of 500 in the NAEP mathematics test. That tied D.C. eighth graders with those in New Mexico and Alabama for the lowest average mathematics score in the nation.

You can find all this data and more in reports from the National Center for Education Statistics.

May 15, 2022. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

Judge rules against school that had lowered its admissions standards in order to admit more black students

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Bcgl11-9bNcJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/02/25/judge-thomas-jefferson-high-admissions/+&cd=12&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Judge calls Thomas Jefferson High admissions changes illegal

The prestigious Fairfax school ‘disproportionately deprived’ Asian Americans of a level playing field, according to the ruling

By Hannah Natanson

February 25, 2022

A federal judge ruled Friday that a new admissions system for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a prestigious magnet program in Fairfax, discriminates against Asian American applicants and must end.

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton concluded that an effort to boost African American and Latino representation at TJ, as the school is known, constitutes an illegal act of “racial balancing.” He added that the school board’s alterations to the admissions process — including eliminating a notoriously difficult test and a $100 application fee, and choosing instead to evaluate students on “experience factors” such as socioeconomic background — took place in a rushed, sloppy and opaque manner.

Hilton wrote that “emails and text messages between Board members and high-ranking FCPS officials leave no material dispute that, at least in part, the purpose of the Board’s admissions overhaul was to change the racial makeup to TJ to the detriment of Asian-Americans.”

“The proper remedy for a legal provision enacted with discriminatory intent is invalidation,” Hilton wrote, before issuing a stark order: “Defendant Fairfax County School Board is enjoined from further use or enforcement of” its revised admissions system.

An attorney for Fairfax County Public Schools, John Foster, said Friday that he believes “the ruling is not supported by law.” He said Fairfax “will consider asking a federal appeals court to review the decision.”

Foster said officials were studying what the ruling will mean for how the school conducts admissions for the next cycle of TJ applicants, those destined for the Class of 2026.

The plaintiff, the Coalition for TJ — a group of TJ parents, students and alumni that formed to oppose the admissions changes — celebrated Friday afternoon. Asra Nomani, who is co-founder of the coalition and parent to a TJ student who graduated in 2021, said in a statement that Hinton’s ruling is thrilling.

“Today’s decision is a victory for all students, all families and the United States of America,” she said. “It is victory for equality under the law, merit education and the American Dream.”

The case, filed in March of last year by the Coalition for TJ, was supposed to go to trial Jan. 24. But Hilton chose to issue a ruling and avoid a trial because, he said, no facts were in dispute.

The Fairfax school board voted to revise admissions at Thomas Jefferson in 2020, a move meant to boost diversity at the school, which has long enrolled single-digit percentages of Black and Hispanic students.

The new admissions system is a “holistic review” process that, in part, judges students on four “experience factors”: their income status, their English-speaking ability, whether the applicant has a disability and whether the applicant comes from a historically underrepresented high school.

In 2021, the first year the admissions changes took effect, officials at TJ enrolled the most diverse class in recent memory. The TJ Class of 2025 includes far more Black, Hispanic and low-income students than any class in recent memory. But Asian American representation dropped from roughly 70 percent to around 50 percent of the class.

The changes were controversial from the start; they inspired two swift lawsuits. In November 2020, a group of parents sued to stop the revisions, arguing that they violated a Virginia law. That suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, is ongoing.

In March 2021, members of the Coalition for TJ — some of whom were also plaintiffs in the November lawsuit — sued in federal court over the admissions changes. They are being represented pro bono by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a California-based conservative legal group that opposes affirmative action.

The coalition claimed that the TJ admissions changes were specifically designed to drive down the number of Asian American students. As proof, the lawsuit cited presentations, documents and comments given or made by the superintendent and school board in the months leading up to the admissions changes.

Fairfax officials denied every allegation. Foster repeated those denials Friday: “The new process is blind to race, gender and national origin and gives the most talented students from every middle school a seat at TJ,” he said. “We believe that a trial would have shown that the new process meets all legal requirements.”

But in his 31-page ruling Friday, Hilton, a Ronald Reagan appointee, sided with the Coalition for TJ on almost every count.

He wrote that throughout the revision process, Fairfax school board members and the superintendent made clear that their goal was “to have TJ reflect the demographics of the surrounding area, described primarily in racial terms.” Hilton wrote that this aim amounts to “racial balancing for its own sake,” and as such is “patently unconstitutional.”

He pointed to text messages and emails exchanged between school board members and some of the highest-ranking school officials in the Fairfax district. These communications, he wrote, prove that the school system’s goal was always to decrease the percentage of Asian American students enrolled at TJ — to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students.

“The discussion of TJ admissions was infected with talk of racial balancing from its inception,” Hilton wrote.

What’s more, Hilton said, Fairfax’s use of racial data and attempt to consider the racial composition of TJ’s student body demonstrates “discriminatory intent.”

“Discriminatory intent does not require racial animus,” he wrote. “What matters it that the Board acted at least in part because of, not merely in spite of, the policy’s adverse effects upon an identifiable group … The Board’s policy was designed to increase Black and Hispanic enrollment, which would, by necessity, decrease the representation of Asian-Americans at TJ.”

He also criticized the revisions process more broadly, writing that the changes were rushed and that the decision-making process lacked transparency. School officials, he charged, did not properly engage the public.

He concluded by noting that Asian American students have been “disproportionately deprived of a level playing field” in competing for a spot at TJ.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who said during his campaign last year that he would work to undo the new admission system, tweeted Friday evening to praise Hinton’s ruling. He posted that “today’s decision reaffirms that TJ’s admissions should be based on merit.”

But another school advocacy group — the TJ Alumni Action Group, which supports the admissions changes — criticized Hilton’s ruling Friday. In a statement, the group said “this decision will make TJ less accessible once again for underrepresented students, including Asian American students who are low-income or English Language Learners.”

April 21, 2022. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

San Diego’s largest high school eliminates advanced English, advanced history, and advanced biology, and says it’s because of “equity”

https://web.archive.org/web/20220410124259/https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/story/2022-04-10/san-diegos-largest-high-school-quietly-eliminated-several-honors-courses-parents-are-outraged

San Diego’s largest high school quietly eliminated several honors courses.

Parents are outraged.

Principal wanted to eliminate stigma of non-honors courses, but parents say their kids need the courses for a competitive edge.

By Kristen Taketa

April 10, 2022

SAN DIEGO — Pamela Broudy was set on enrolling her eighth-grade daughter at Patrick Henry High School this fall. Her older son, a junior, is already enrolled there, and the school has done well for him — he’s enrolled in five AP classes and he has been in the school’s gifted program.

Then Broudy learned last month that the high school’s principal had quietly eliminated several advanced courses from the school’s catalog, including advanced English, advanced history and advanced biology, according to the school’s course listings.

If the principal doesn’t bring them back, Broudy said, she will enroll her daughter at a private school instead.

“My daughter’s coming from a private school who didn’t have learning loss (during the pandemic), and now she’s going to be bored to tears,” she said.

Broudy is one of many parents who are up in arms after they found out Patrick Henry High School’s principal, Michelle Irwin, has been cutting several honors, advanced and gifted education courses without their knowledge or input.

Irwin cut the courses for equity reasons, according to an email she wrote to parents. She told parents she wanted to move away from “stratifying” classes and remove the stigma from non-honors courses. She has also cited racial disparities in honors course enrollment — a problem that is mirrored nationwide.

But parents question whether cutting honors courses is the right solution.

The controversy has rattled Patrick Henry, a racially diverse school in the middle-class neighborhood of San Carlos that is also San Diego’s largest high school, with more than 2,500 students.

Parents emailed complaints to the principal, San Diego Unified School District leaders, journalists and school board members. They created a Facebook group that now has 300 members to exchange information. Some parents, like Broudy, said they are planning to leave Patrick Henry for a charter or private school, which parents say may cause a “brain drain” of high-achieving students from the campus.

“Parents who have the means to send their kids to another school are going to do so … because they’re losing faith that their kids will be prepared to be successful,” said Happy Feliz Aston, a parent of a fourth- and sixth-grader in the Patrick Henry High School cluster.

Parents are concerned that the course cuts will hurt their children‘s chances of getting into their preferred colleges. Honors courses boost grade point averages with a weighted credit, and college admissions officers consider how many advanced courses a student has taken.

“Unilateral decisions to eliminate these classes unfairly disadvantage the students at Patrick Henry because their competition around the nation, not just in California, is having these classes,” said Lauren Hotz, a parent of two Patrick Henry sophomores.

Irwin and district officials argued that the advanced and regular classes share a curriculum and are essentially the same, so district officials said it was disingenuous to have one class labeled “advanced” and another labeled “regular.”

While advanced classes may cover the same material as regular classes, advanced courses typically go at a faster pace and often cover more material or go more in-depth into the content.

Irwin didn’t ax all of Patrick Henry’s advanced courses. There are still honors and advanced math and science classes, according to the school’s course catalog. The high school also offers more than 20 Advanced Placement classes, plus several dual-enrollment community college classes, all of which offer weighted GPA credit.

But parents argue it’s still important for the school to offer a range of honors courses because they provide a less-overwhelming alternative to AP classes and still give students weighted GPA credit. They say honors courses are also a stepping stone that can prepare ninth and 10th graders for the rigors of AP and college classes.

And some of the advanced courses that were eliminated are prerequisites for AP classes, parents noted.

Some parents argue that it’s not equitable to cut the courses when students at other San Diego high schools, like La Jolla and Crawford, still have access to them.

“If this is about equity, then it seems to fly the face of that argument because your zip code shouldn’t determine your access to classes, and in this case it appears to do so,” Aston said.

San Diego Unified School Board Trustee Richard Barrera said that in the district’s efforts to address inequities, the district is not taking anything away from students — it’s not watering down curriculum, it’s not lowering standards and it’s not taking away chances for students to earn weighted GPA credit, he said.

“We believe in expanding access to opportunities for all of our students, and when we expand access … that doesn’t mean that we’re taking anything away from students who have already had access to those opportunities,” Barrera said.

“I understand parents are worried about that, and when they hear we’re making a change from … decades of existing stratification, and if your students are part of the higher stratification … of course you’re gonna be concerned about that. But that’s not what we’re doing.”

A problem of representation

Experts have long known that honors, gifted, Advanced Placement and other selective academic programs enroll disproportionately lower numbers of students of color.

Latino students made up 54 percent of California’s public school students in 2017 but they represented only 43 percent of students who were enrolled in at least one AP course, according to the U.S. Civil Rights Data Collection. Black students made up 6 percent of the state’s enrollment but just 4 percent of students who were enrolled in at least one AP course.

A similar trend is happening at Patrick Henry, according to limited data presented by Irwin at a school council meeting earlier this year. White and Vietnamese students made up a disproportionately higher percentage of enrollment in Honors American Literature and Honors U.S. History, while Latino students were disproportionately lower, according to Irwin’s data.

The underrepresentation is a problem because enrollment in advanced courses is associated with a host of academic benefits, such as better attendance, fewer suspensions and higher graduation rates. Participation and success in honors and AP courses are also key factors considered in college admissions.

Experts say the disparity in enrollment is not because Black and Latino students are less capable, but because educators often enforce prerequisites, such as a teacher’s recommendation, for honors courses that end up shutting out students of color due to bias.

“A lot of times it happens … because of the implicit or explicit biases of the adults who are making decisions about either who to enroll in these courses or who to encourage to enroll in these courses,” said Allison Socol, assistant director of P-12 policy at Education Trust, a nonprofit that focuses on education equity.

San Diego Unified leaders have not recently announced any system-wide policy changes on honors and advanced classes. But in recent years they have taken other steps that move away from the classification of students.

For example, the district has cut classes specifically for gifted students, and enrollment in the district’s gifted programs has shrunk over time. And the district rolled out a new math initiative called “enhanced math,” which is meant to make general math instruction more rigorous for all students without using an “honors” or “accelerated” label.

District officials said they are wary of labels such as “honors” and “advanced” that could be excluding students of color.

“Now whether … it’s labeled in a certain way, that’s a question of, is that label getting in the way of expanding opportunities of access to more students?” Barrera said.

But some parents said it seems like the district is cutting programs that cater to students’ different needs, and is instead trying to put all students of different learning styles in the same classroom.

San Diego Unified officials said the district expects all of its educators to differentiate their teaching to cater to all students’ needs within the same class. But some parents said it’s unrealistic for all teachers to do that.

“If you put everybody in the same class, your distribution of needs of the students is going to be wider and one teacher is going to have to address those needs — which they can’t,” Hotz said.

Expanding access

Patrick Henry parents suggested other ways to address inequities in course enrollment besides cutting classes.

Hotz said she wants to see the school invest more in counseling and tutoring, while Aston suggested that Patrick Henry enroll more students in AVID, a program that helps underrepresented students hone study skills and prepare for college.

“How about we up the actual representation in those classes, and give students options?” Hotz said. “Killing the classes … it’s actually a disadvantage to the entire population.”

Education Trust recommends expanding eligibility to advanced courses, adding advanced courses to schools that serve the most Latino and Black students, and providing more support to prepare students for advanced courses.

“In general, what we want to see is more access to rigorous, engaging, culturally relevant courses that prepare students for college and meaningful careers,” Socol said.

April 19, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Top female scientist canceled over 13-year-old ‘Michael Jackson’ Halloween costume

https://www.thecollegefix.com/top-female-scientist-canceled-over-13-year-old-michael-jackson-halloween-costume/

Top female scientist canceled over 13-year-old ‘Michael Jackson’ Halloween costume

By Jennifer Kabbany

March 7, 2022

‘UW Medicine is helping to ruin a woman who devoted her career to finding a cure for HIV’

Highly decorated virologist Julie Overbaugh has been forced out of a position of leadership at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and resigned her faculty affiliate position at the University of Washington School of Medicine due to accusations of racism and investigations involving her decision to wear a Michael Jackson costume to a Halloween party in 2009.

A picture of the 13-year-old incident, in which she is accused of wearing “blackface,” has prompted peers to accuse her of racism despite the fact that her research has focused on aiding Africans for the last three decades.

“Overbaugh has devoted her professional career to studying viral pathogens that cause HIV. But amid publishing papers, running her own research lab, and flying back and forth from Kenya, she has also pursued another professional passion: mentoring. Overbaugh is one of two recipients of this year’s Nature Award for Mentoring in Science, which is awarded to select scientists in one country or region each year,” a 2016 report in GeekWire reports.

Last year, Overbaugh was elected to National Academy of Sciences.

“I am really happy to see gender balance in this year’s elected members and hope this signals a future trend,” Overbaugh said at the time. “In my field, HIV, which is a very large field, there have only been a couple of women elected — hopefully, there will be more in the future.”

But Overbaugh’s accomplishments during an age in which female STEM recruitment and retainment is a social justice priority apparently could not outweigh the 2009 incident of emulating the King of Pop at a party that was reportedly themed after Jackson’s famous “Thriller” album.

Members of the Overbaugh lab apparently enjoy celebrating Halloween and have posted pictures of its themed parties every year. In past years they have dressed as emojis, bumble bees, fish — and even as “Binders of Babes” — a riff on Republican Mitt Romney’s gaffe while running for president.

The picture from the year 2009 is conspicuously missing from the webpage.

“The act depicted in the photo is racist, offensive and hurtful, and we offer our sincere apologies to anyone who has experienced pain or upset because of the act or this photo,” the cancer center announced in mid-February, adding Overbaugh was put on administrative leave and placed under investigation.

“Dr. Overbaugh has stepped down from her senior vice president role at Fred Hutch. She will continue working in her lab and will take a hiatus from her leadership duties in the Office of Education & Training. During this time, she will engage in an intensive education and reflection process.”

The Federalist reports:

Though the incident didn’t occur at UW Medicine, its CEO and equity officer also waded into the faux controversy. UW Medicine CEO Dr. Paul Ramsey and Chief Equity Officer Paula Houston notified UW Medicine staff in an email that Overbaugh was punished for engaging in the “racist, dehumanizing, and abhorrent act” of “blackface.” During a separate formal review process for UW faculty, the email confirmed, Overbaugh resigned from her UW affiliate faculty member appointment.

Overbaugh released a short statement to me. “I did not know the association of this with blackface at the time, in 2009, but understand the offense that is associated with this now,” she said. “I have apologized for this both publicly and privately and beyond that have no other comments.”

Ramsey and Houston claim that the UW Medicine community was “harmed” by the 13-year-old photo that most staff didn’t know existed until reading about it in the Feb. 25 email. “We acknowledge that our community has been harmed by this incident and the fact that 13 years elapsed before action was taken,” they wrote. “We are convening a series of affinity group meetings in the next few weeks to provide spaces for mutual support, reflection, and response.”

Neither Ramsey nor Houston explained how the photo “harmed” anyone. Indeed, beyond one confirmed complaint, it’s unclear if anyone even cared about the old photo.

The full memo from UW Medicine was republished by journalist Jesse Singal on his Twitter page. The memo notes that Overbaugh resigned her post at the university once administrators began their own probe into the incident.

Her faculty bio is no longer on the UW School of Medicine website, although its Department of Global Health has, as of Monday afternoon, yet to strip her from its webpage.

“A U. Washington doctor who has dedicated her career to fighting HIV in Africa, including research w/sex workers, is having her reputation and career incinerated because she dressed up as Michael Jackson, in blackface, once in 2009,” Singal noted.

https://twitter.com/jessesingal/status/1497289911996760064

“Just to situate everyone, the event in question happened several years before the most recent instance of 30 Rock airing blackface-oriented comedy to tens of millions of people. What she did was a bad idea but at the time was obviously not seen as too risque even for network TV,” he added.

Writing for The Federalist, Jason Rantz points out that “UW Medicine is lashing out against Overbaugh to show its wokeness and earn social currency.”

“That UW Medicine is helping to ruin a woman who devoted her career to finding a cure for HIV is immaterial to its leaders. To progressive activists, highlighting one’s virtues is more important than curing a deadly disease.”

March 8, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Health care, Political correctness, Racism, Science, Sexism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 1 comment.

Speech Therapist: 364% Surge in Baby and Toddler Referrals Thanks to Mask Wearing

https://summit.news/2022/01/27/speech-therapist-364-surge-in-baby-and-toddler-referrals-thanks-to-mask-wearing/

Speech Therapist: 364% Surge in Baby and Toddler Referrals Thanks to Mask Wearing

Young children developing cognitive problems due to widespread use of face coverings.

By Paul Joseph Watson

January 27, 2022

A speech therapist says that mask wearing during the pandemic has caused a 364% increase in patient referrals of babies and toddlers.

Jaclyn Theek told WPBF News that before the pandemic, only 5 per cent of patients were babies and toddlers, but this has soared to 20 per cent.

Parents are describing their children’s speech problems as “COVID delayed,” with face coverings the primary cause of their speaking skills being seriously impaired.

As young as 8 months old, babies start learning how to speak by reading lips, a thankless task if parents and carers smother themselves with masks to comply with mandates.

“It’s very important kids do see your face to learn, so they’re watching your mouth,” said Theek.

The news report featured one such mother, Briana Gay, who is raising five children but having speech problems with her youngest.

“It definitely makes a difference when the world you’re growing up in you can’t interact with people and their face, that’s super important to babies,” said Gay.

According to Theek, since the pandemic, autism symptoms are also skyrocketing.

“They’re not making any word attempts and not communicating at all with their family,” she said.

As we previously highlighted, Forbes deleted an article written by an education expert who asserted that forcing schoolchildren to wear face masks was causing psychological trauma.

A study by researchers at Brown University found that mean IQ scores of young children born during the pandemic have tumbled by as much as 22 points while verbal, motor and cognitive performance have all suffered as a result of lockdown.

Michael Curzon noted that two of the primary causes for this are face masks and children being atomized as a result of being kept away from other children.

“Children born over the past year of lockdowns – at a time when the Government has prevented babies from seeing elderly relatives and other extended family members, from socialising at parks or with the children of their parent’s friends, and from studying the expressions on the faces behind the masks of locals in indoor public spaces – have significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance compared to children born before, according to a new U.S. study. Tests on early learning, verbal development and non-verbal development all produced results that were far behind those from the years preceding the lockdowns,” he wrote.

Perhaps all the virtue signalers who think of themselves as such morally upstanding people for wearing masks will change their behavior given they are literally contributing to causing major cognitive problems in children.

Or maybe they simply won’t care, given that the mask is now a political status symbol above anything else.

January 29, 2022. Tags: , , , . COVID-19, Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

What an idiot: “I have $131K in student loans and can’t afford my life, despite making $110K a year…. I didn’t care what the cost was – I didn’t even look at what I was signing”

https://www.marketwatch.com/picks/it-doesnt-seem-fair-she-has-131-000-in-student-loans-and-cant-afford-her-life-despite-making-110-000-a-year-how-she-and-other-borrowers-can-get-out-of-student-loan-debt-faster-01632845888

‘It doesn’t seem fair’: I have $131K in student loans and can’t afford my life, despite making $110K a year. How to get out of student-loan debt faster

By Brienne Walsh

December 29, 2021

Question: I’m now 39, and in a better place in my life than I was roughly 10 years ago, when I decided to take out over $100,000 in student loans to attend a food policy and nutrition master’s program. The program was the only master’s program I got into, and I didn’t care what the cost was — I didn’t even look at what I was signing.

Now, in total, between my undergrad and grad loans, I owe $131,000. Some of the loans are federal and some of them private; one of those companies charges an interest rate of 6%. Though most of my loans are on pause now (thanks to the federal government), I’m worried about what will happen when that stops. The loan payments are too expensive, even though I’m now a nutrition and public health consultant who works on a contractual basis, and I make a good salary — $110,000 a year.

But our mortgage costs $1,100 a month; daycare is about the same, and car payments are $400. Otherwise, I feel we live very frugally: We even bathe our son in a Tupperware tub because our bathroom needs to be renovated, but we don’t have the money for it! We can’t even afford, as it is, to contribute to retirement or pay for some much-needed dental work. I honestly don’t know what we are going to do when my loans become unfrozen. How can I get out of debt faster? — Erin

Answer: First up, you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed by student loan debt, and you’re doing some things right, like “limiting the mortgage and the car loan,” which are both “well within your range for your income level,” says Mitchell C. Hockenbury, a certified financial planner at 1440 Financial Partners in Kansas City. But, Hockenbury says, with your low mortgage and other seemingly reasonable expenses, you should see if there is more money to put towards debt payments. Even if there’s not, once the daycare stops, you will have that money to more aggressively pay down debts.

The next question is whether to refinance loans to save money. But first, consider that right now your federal loan payments are on pause through May 2022, and that you should be careful about refinancing a federal loan into a private loan as you will lose some of the federal loan protections, such as income-based repayment and forgiveness options. (You can get details on how much a refinance could save you here). But Ethan Miller, the founder of Washington, D.C.-based financial planning firm Planning for Progress, says Erin should likely refinance some of her private loans, as rates are pretty low right now (see the lowest fixed student loan refinance rates you can qualify for here). “If you feel confident in your income, and you know you’ll have a job for many years, this is the best option,” says Miller.

There are other options as well, says Hockenbury: “Is there a possibility to take a cash-out refi?  Interest rates are low, housing prices have soared.  Perhaps she could use the cash to pay down some debt,” he says. Though, of course, she needs to be sure she can repay that or she risks losing her house.

Though for some borrowers, student loan forgiveness may be an option, it does not sound like Erin would qualify for a loan forgiveness program like the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, as she’s a contractor at a government agency, not a full-time employee, explains Miller. (See details on loan forgiveness, cancellation and discharge here to see if you might qualify.) But if she looks at her budget, she may find extra money to pay down her debt faster; refinancing at least some of her loans at today’s low rates could make the payments more manageable, and a cash-out refi on her home may be another option. Best of luck, Erin!

December 30, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Economics, Education. Leave a comment.

Ontario Schools Will No Longer Require [math] Teachers to Pass Math Proficiency Test Due to ‘Racial Disparities’ [People who don’t know math will be allowed to become math teachers, because requiring math teachers to know math is “racist”]

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/12/ontario-schools-will-no-longer-require-teachers-pass-math-proficiency-test-due-racial-disparities/

Ontario Schools Will No Longer Require Teachers to Pass Math Proficiency Test Due to ‘Racial Disparities’

By Cassandra Fairbanks

December 22, 2021

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has deemed math proficiency tests for teachers “unconstitutional” due to “racial disparities.”

The court ruled that because non-white teachers are less likely to pass the math test, it should no longer be required.

As one social media commentator aptly pointed out, Ontario teachers no longer need to pass basic math in order to teach basic math.

https://twitter.com/EsotericCD/status/1472031435393585157

The Daily Caller reports that “schools in Ontario had previously offered candidates the opportunity to retake the test multiple times, but the court ruled that ‘racialized teacher candidates who have been disproportionately unsuccessful on the MPT should not have to keep retaking the test.’”

Obviously, as was pointed out in court, students learn more from teachers who understand the subject that they are teaching. However, the court ruled that it was more important to have diversity in the classroom.

“Racialized students benefit from being taught by racialized teachers,” the court decision stated. “The deleterious effects of the MPT on racialized teacher candidates who have been unsuccessful in the test outweighs its benefits.”

According to the Ottawa Citizen, “the test has 50 mathematics content questions and 21 questions about math pedagogy. The applicant has to score 70 per cent on both parts to pass.”

“Racialized teacher candidates have gone through an education system in which they have suffered discrimination and disadvantage,” the decision said. “The candidates are then required to take ‘high stakes’ standardized tests which the available data shows they are more likely to fail.”

December 22, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Equity, Math, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 1 comment.

Howard University journalism professor Stacey Patton falsely said that Kyle Rittenhouse was “illegally in possession of a gun.” She also falsely called him a “white supremacist.” Yahoo banned readers from pointing out her errors.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

November 24, 2021

On November 15, 2021, the Chicago affiliate of NBC News published this article, which says the judge dropped the illegal gun possession charge against Kyle Rittenhouse after the defense argued that because his gun was long-barrel and not short-barrel, it was legal for him to have it.

However, nine days later, on November 24, 2021, Yahoo News published this opinion piece by Howard University journalism professor Stacey Patton, which says that Rittenhouse was

“illegally in possession of a gun”

Here’s an archive of that in case Yahoo ever deletes it.

I would have thought that a journalism professor would be intelligent enough to avoid committing this kind of defamation.

I guess I would be wrong.

And even though all of the people that Rittenhouse shot were white, Patton falsely and repeatedly referred to him as a “white supremacist” – six different times all in that one piece.

Specifically, she wrote the following: (the bolding is mine)

“Welcome to a white supremacist theocracy that is regressing back to its barbaric prehistoric impulses.”

“What I see is saltiness over the intergenerational failure of white supremacy being passed on to their youth as racial resentment and a mandate for racial redemption.”

“And they need man-boys like Rittenhouse to strap up and kill because the future of white supremacy can only be secured by their criminality.”

“Rittenhouse is a young man who was destroyed as a boy by a toxic white supremacist culture”

“The coercive parenting and socialization of white boys is central to understanding white supremacy”

“As such, he had to be acquitted. Once you understand what white supremacy requires to sustain itself and secure its future, you’ll be less shocked and upset over its contradictions and evil.”

Meanwhile, in the real world, all of the people that Rittenhouse shot were white.

Patton gives zero evidence to support her repeated claims that Rittenhouse is a “white supremacist.”

Patton also seems to have zero understanding of the legal concept of self defense. Apparently, she thinks that if people are chasing you, hitting you with a skateboard, assaulting you, pointing a gun at you, and trying to kill you, you have no right to defend yourself from them.

I’m glad she wasn’t on the jury.

It’s interesting that 12 citizens picked at random for a jury showed far, far more awareness of the law than a journalism professor.

After the end of Patton’s opinion piece, Yahoo News wrote:

“Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting”

I’d been reading Yahoo News, as well as the reader comments, for many, many years. One thing that I learned a long time ago is that when it comes to Yahoo News, the reader comments are almost always more informative than the articles.

The real reason that Yahoo didn’t allow reader comments for this particular piece has nothing to do with “creating an engaging place” or “helping users to connect over interests and passions.”

Instead, the real reason they banned reader comments is because they do not want people to know the truth.

November 24, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Media bias, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

The English Touring Opera has just fired 14 of its musicians because they are white

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/columnists/2021/09/19/sacking-white-members-english-touring-opera-shows-woke-will/

The sacking of white members of the English Touring Opera shows how woke will destroy the arts

I for one would never go to watch an orchestra just because it had been lauded for diversity

By Zoe Strimpel

September 19, 2021

As a child and teenager in Boston, USA, I played in various orchestras. I didn’t much like it, largely because I found it boring, thankless and tiring. Rehearsals were long. Sometimes I didn’t like the music that had been selected: why had the conductor chosen another obscure piece by César Franck? But one thing that I had the luxury of never having to worry about was the ethnic makeup of the players and my own fate auditioning as a young white girl. As it happened, in the youth orchestra scene back then, the top symphonies and seats were dominated by children whose parents were Russian or Chinese. This was not a source of much comment; it’s just how it was.

Since then, we have sunk into such a quagmire of identity politics that even orchestras are now selecting players not because they are the best, but because of their skin colour. The English Touring Opera (ETO) has dropped 14 white musicians in order to increase the ‘diversity’ of the company. Aged between 40 and 60, they’ve been told their contracts will not be renewed because of ‘diversity guidance’ from Arts Council England, which gives the ETO £1.78 million a year.

Arts Council England, one of the most woke funding bodies in the land, protested lamely, arguing that it never meant to get players sacked. “We are now in conversation with ETO to ensure no funding criteria have been breached,” it said. Err. Perhaps this has been a valuable wake-up call for the Arts Council: what did it expect? If you insist on exporting the warped logic of critical race theory, pressuring arts organisations to prioritise skin colour over all else, you can hardly be surprised when they respond like this. If the ETO’s policy of race-based contract non-renewal smacks of the kinds of policies my own grandparents faced in post-Nuremberg Laws Germany, then that is entirely the fault of the institutional bigwigs slurping away at the woke Kool-Aid.

The hideous optics of the ETO debacle offer a particularly stark reminder of how in the era of wokedom, the arts are doomed. Sure, the arts have a social component, but they are fundamentally rooted in creativity and talent, and they must delight, rivet or intrigue. They are not meant to be primarily didactic. I for one would never go to watch an orchestra just because it had been lauded for diversity. I would never read a book because it had been commissioned as part of a ‘diversity and inclusion programme’ and I would never admire a work of art simply because it had emerged from a person of the right colour. Yet such ideas are gaining popularity: earlier this summer, Labour MP Janet Daby, a former shadow minister for faiths, women and equalities, put to then-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden the merits of issuing “mandatory diversity quotas” for artists that appear in publicly funded galleries like Tate Britain. Thankfully, that quota hasn’t yet been mandated, but under a different government it might well be.

If the ETO rejig seems particularly shocking, the arts have in fact been at it for ages. Back in 2018, Penguin Random House sent a stern email round to agents and employees: the new commissioning policy would have to fall into line with diversity targets, with diversity defined by sexual identity, skin colour and whether one was able-bodied or not. The “company-wide goal” was “for both our new hires and the authors we acquire to reflect UK society by 2025”. Aside from the utter madness of assuming that the percentage of people able to write excellent books should map onto the demographic makeup of British society, this dictum showed that from now on, the narrowest, most box-ticking form of ‘diversity’ – what you are rather than who you are – would determine Penguin’s contribution to literature.

The sprawling diversity and inclusion drives our funding bodies, arts organisations and publishers, who have fallen over themselves to instigate from part of a broader domain of deranged and misapplied moral virtue. One aspect of this became particularly apparent during #MeToo, when man after man found to have a polluted past was chopped from ballet companies, films and comedy careers. I can see why men who sexually molest women might be kicked out of offices. But films? Ballet shows?

A couple of years ago I did a debate at the Oxford Union, arguing that art should not be judged by the biography of the artist, because on that score, there would be no art at all from any time before about five minutes ago. But also because it’s simply wrong: it flattens creative work, with all its many and unpredictable interpretations, into something chilly, Manichean and moralistic.

We won the debate, but only just: there were many who were adamant that art was indistinguishable from the moral virtue of its creator. For today’s arts institutions, virtue and the skin colour of artists have become one and the same thing. Not only is this an immoral equation, as the ETO clearout showed with crystal clarity, but it’s a death knell for the very notion of artistic quality.

October 16, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Music, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Racists at this Minnesota middle school are dumbing down the academic standards for black students

https://www.foxnews.com/us/untraditional-grading-scale-implemented-at-minnesota-middle-school

Minnesota middle school will eliminate ‘F’s to combat ‘systemic racism’

The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students

By Pilar Arias

October 1, 2021

A YouTube video posted by Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, details a new grading scale that lacks the letter “F.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9LYheOKda0

The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students.

“Our whole intent is to ensure that grades focus on the process of learning,” Principal Christina Pierre said in the video. “Therefore, grades will not include behaviors, attitude, tardiness to class, whether the assignment was turned in late or on time. There’s other ways that we can communicate those things to parents.”

Associate Principal Norman Bell went on to elaborate that students are encouraged to retake/revise tests, quizzes, papers, projects and have a 10-day window to do so from the date the grade is posted.

Sunrise Park Middle School serves students in grades sixth through eighth in the White Bear Lake Area Schools, ISD 624. It is located in a suburb of St. Paul. 

Fox News reached out to the district to see if the grading scale would be implemented at middle schools district wide, which only includes one additional campus, but has yet to hear back.

The district’s superintendent, Wayne Kazmierczak, was named Minnesota Association of School Administrators 2021 Superintendent of the Year.

The school website discussing the award details how the district conducted an “equity audit,” which showed grading disparities among students of color.  

“Grading can be one of the largest areas in which systemic racism and inequities are perpetuated. Dr. Kazmierczak and WBLAS believe grades should be a measure of what a student knows and has mastered in a given course. Grading should not be a behavior punishment and should not be a measure of how well a student can survive stress at home,” the website reads. 

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Racist UCLA wants lower academic standards for black students. This professor had the courage to oppose this racist policy. UCLA fired him for it.

https://justthenews.com/government/courts-law/professor-removed-refusal-grade-black-students-easier-after-george-floyd

Professor removed after refusal to grade black students on a curve sues UCLA

Gordon Klein claims he lost $10 million consulting business after UCLA said he violated its “core values.”

By Greg Piper

September 29, 2021

A lecturer removed from the classroom after refusing to grade on a racial curve is now suing UCLA and his dean for costing him at least $500,000 in consulting contracts in just the past year — and an estimated $10 million long term.

Gordon Klein also accused the public university, where he’s taught accounting since 1981, of retaliation by halting his long string of merit-pay increases after his email response to a student went viral.

It has ignored his requests for security escorts in light of “serious physical threats,” including anti-Semitic death threats he reported as recently as March, Klein alleges. He said a psychiatrist diagnosed him with PTSD last summer. 

UCLA and its Anderson School of Management engaged in a “disingenuous publicity stunt to promote that it was at the forefront of rooting out racism” and to chill the speech of Klein and other faculty, the state lawsuit alleges. 

Klein claims breach of contract, violation of privacy, retaliation and “negligent interference with prospective economic advantage,” and is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. 

Student activists had been threatening harassment against faculty in multiple UCLA schools if they didn’t offer black students preferential treatment, including “no-harm” final exams, following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

(more…)

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Leaked documents show Baltimore high schoolers perform math, reading at grade school level

https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/city-high-schoolers-performing-math-and-reading-at-elementary-level

Leaked documents show Baltimore high schoolers perform math, reading at grade school level

By Chris Papst

June 2, 2021

Baltimore (WBFF) – An alarming discovery out of Baltimore City Schools. Project Baltimore has obtained student assessment data that North Avenue does not release publicly. That data shows some students who could soon graduate, are performing at an elementary school level, academically.

Project Baltimore, over the years, has heard from many parents who say their children are being pushed through Baltimore City Schools without getting the education they need. Julie Gaskins told us back in 2018 that her seventh grader was doing math and reading at a second-grade level.

Project Baltimore also spoke with Gregory Gray, a Baltimore City Schools father, back in 2019.

“My son is really in desperate need of tutoring in math,” Gray told Project Baltimore. “And, how did my son pass if he didn’t know none of this math?”

Now, Project Baltimore has obtained student assessment scores from just one class, in one high school, that show how widespread the problem appears to be.

iReady is a system schools use to measure at which grade level a student is performing. In Baltimore City Schools, iReady assessments are given in math and reading, three times a year, to measure a student’s progress. The scores we obtained show some students are performing 10 grade levels below their age.

Fox45 News is not disclosing the school or the class to protect student identities. But we can report the iReady scores are for 11th graders in math and reading. Nine students completed the reading assessment, but only two scored at a high school level. One scored at a seventh-grade level. The other six scored at an elementary school level. In math, seven students completed the assessment. Two scored at a high school level. The rest, who are high school juniors in Baltimore City Schools, scored at an elementary level, including one student doing math at a first-grade level.

According to Education.com, a first-grade math worksheet includes simple addition and subtraction, like 2 plus 3 and 9 minus 7. First graders also do connect-the-dot puzzles where they draw lines in numerical order to create an image. The iReady assessments done by North Avenue, show that for at least one student, this is highest level of math they can do, yet that students made it to 11th grade in City Schools.

“They were passing students on who couldn’t read, who couldn’t compute,” said Carl Stokes, a former City Council member and charter school operator. “I know principals in schools who say, it happened to me, who said, ‘I can’t pass this student to the next grade. They’re not ready.’ North Avenue refused to allow us to fail the students without a fight. And we fought because we knew we would be hurting the kid.”

Stokes said at his charter school, which closed last year, about 90 percent of his incoming sixth graders, every year, were not reading or doing math at grade level. Ninety percent had iReady scores below the grade the students were in at the time.

“That’s the deal we have here. We have thousands of kids who are not getting an education, who get out of school or quit school and they have no skillset to sustain themselves. They can’t. They can’t get a decent job. They can’t live well,” said Stokes.

The iReady scores we have are for just 16 students in one class at one school. Project Baltimore has filed a public records request with City Schools for additional iReady scores, minus any personally identifying student information. We reached out to Baltimore City Schools for this story but did not receive a response.

August 13, 2021. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

Oregon Democratic governor Kate Brown signs bill to end reading and math proficiency requirements for high school graduation. Her spokesman, Charles Boyle, said this will help “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

August 11, 2021

Oregon’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, just signed a bill that eliminates the reading and math proficiency requirements for high school graduation in Oregon’s government-run schools.

Brown’s spokesman, Charles Boyle, said this will help “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

Of course I totally disagree with Boyle. This will not help those students. On the contrary, it will hurt them.

I support high academic standards for students of all races and ethnicities. I hope the parents in Oregon will remove their children from these abominable, dumbed down government-run schools, and send their children to private schools. Not all private schools are expensive. Montessori schools, Marva Collins schools, and Catholic schools have a long term, proven track record of providing an excellent education to minority students, and they do so at a dollar cost that is far less, per student, than what the government-run schools spend on their dumbed down education.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/oregon-bill-ending-reading-and-arithmetic-requirements-before-graduation

Oregon governor signs bill ending reading and math proficiency requirements for graduation

By Kaelan Deese

August 10, 2021

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown privately signed a bill last month ending the requirement for high school students to prove proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic before graduation.

Brown, a Democrat, did not hold a public signing or issue a press release regarding the passing of Senate Bill 744 on July 14, and the measure, which was approved by lawmakers in June, was not added into the state’s legislative database until more than two weeks later on July 29, an unusually quiet approach to enacting legislation, according to the Oregonian.

Secretary of the Senate Lori Brocker’s office is responsible for updating the legislative database, and a staffer tasked with dealing with the governor’s office was experiencing medical issues during the 15-day time frame it took the database to be updated with the recently signed law, Brocker said.

SB 744 gives us an opportunity to review our graduation requirements and make sure our assessments can truly assess all students’ learning,” Charles Boyle, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email to the Washington Examiner. “In the meantime, it gives Oregon students and the education community a chance to regroup after a year and a half of disruption caused by the pandemic.”

The bill, which suspends the proficiency requirements for students for three years, has attracted controversy for at least temporarily suspending academic standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Backers argued the existing proficiency levels for math and reading presented an unfair challenge for students who do not test well, and Boyle said the new standards for graduation would aid Oregon’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

The requirement for students to demonstrate proficiency in essential subjects on a freshman to sophomore skill level in order to graduate was terminated at the start of the pandemic as part of Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives order in March 2020.

Democrats largely backed the executive order and argued in favor of SB 744’s proposed expansion, saying the existing educational proficiency standards were flawed.

“The testing that we’ve been doing in the past doesn’t tell us what we want to know,” Democratic Sen. Lew Frederick told a local ABC affiliate in June. “We have been relying on tests that have been, frankly, very flawed and relying too much on them so that we aren’t really helping the students or the teachers or the community.”

Supporters of the measure said the state needed to pause the academic requirements, which had been in place since 2009, so lawmakers could reevaluate which standards should be updated, and recommendations for new graduation standards are due to the Legislature and Oregon Board of Education by September 2022, the Oregonian added in its report.

Republicans criticized the proposal for lowering academic standards.

“I worry that by adopting this bill, we’re giving up on our kids,” House Republican Leader Christine Drazan said on June 14.

Still, the measure received some bipartisan support, with state Rep. Gordon Smith, a Republican, voting in favor of passage. The state House passed the bill 38-18 on June 14, and the state Senate voted 16-13 in favor of the measure on June 16.

While some lawmakers argued against standardized testing for skill evaluation, the state of Oregon does not list any particular test as a requirement for earning a diploma, with the Department of Education saying only that “students will need to successfully complete the credit requirements, demonstrate proficiency in the Essential Skills, and meet the personalized learning requirements.”

“Senate Bill 744 does not remove Oregon’s graduation requirements, and it certainly does not remove any requirements that Oregon students learn essential skills,” Boyle said, adding it is “misleading” to conflate the subjects of standardized testing with graduation requirements.

The Washington Examiner contacted the Department of Education but did not immediately receive a response.

August 11, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 3 comments.

Social justice organization asks white liberals to avoid sending their children to “any Ivy League School or US News & World Report Top 50 School so that position at that school is available for people of color”

Original: https://www.dallasjustice.org/college-pledge

Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20210725160619/https://www.dallasjustice.org/college-pledge

Dallas Justice Now

An Open Letter to Wealthy White Liberals of HPISD from DJN

To Our White Allies:

Talk is not enough. Commit yourself towards taking action and making sacrifices to correct centuries of injustice. Open up spaces for Black and LatinX communities by refusing to send your kids to Ivy League and US News & World Report Top 50 schools and encourage friends, neighbors, and family members to do the same. Imagine if those hundreds of thousands of spots at these institutions were occupied only by marginalized communities. Imagine the opportunities. We can achieve true equity within our lifetimes but only if white folks are willing to sacrifice their privileges.

The Dallas Justice NOW College Pledge:

As a white person with privilege both from my whiteness and my neighborhood I recognize the need to make sacrifices for the purpose of correcting hundreds of years of murder, slavery, discrimination, and lack of educational and economic opportunities perpetrated upon people of color. I understand that access to top schools is a key component in economic and social advancement. Therefore, I commit that my children will not apply to or attend any Ivy League School or US News & World Report Top 50 School so that position at that school is available for people of color to help correct historical wrongs.  If I do not have children under 18 then I will commit to encouraging my white privileged friends, neighbors, and family members with children to sign the pledge and holding them accountable until they do so.  

Have you been asked to take the pledge? Don’t be a racist hypocrite. Sign the pledge today!

Sincerely,

Dallas Justice NOW 

 

July 26, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Spoiled college students with designer clothes and expensive phones say the U.S. is horrible and they are oppressed. But when asked to name a better country, they can’t.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6tBQRslg14

July 4, 2021. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Professors declare correct grammar is racist

https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=17695

Profs declare correct grammar is racist, no such thing as standard English at symposium

Towson University hosted a virtual symposium to discuss anti-racist teaching practices.

One professor argued that “correct grammar” and “standard language” only “reinforce master narratives of English.”

By Ethan Khaldarov

June 25, 2021

Speakers at Towson University’s virtual “Antiracist Pedagogy Symposium” criticized university writing curriculum and programs for being racist and perpetuating Whiteness. 

The event occurred on June 17.

April Baker-Bell, associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education at Michigan State University, argued that idea of Standard English among teachers is used to maintain racist assumptions about “Black language.”

Bell stated it is evident that “anti-Blackness that is used to diminish black language of Black students in classrooms is not separate from the rampant and deliberate anti-black racism and violence inflicted upon black people in society.”

“Teacher attitudes include assumptions that Black students are somehow linguistically, morally, and intellectually inferior because they communicate in Black language,” said Bell.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania English professor Cristina Sánchez-Martín stated that her efforts are designed to contribute to “undoing Whiteness” in university students’ writing. 

“The repeated references to ‘correct grammar’ and ‘standard language’ reinforce master narratives of English only as White and monolingualism and a deficit view of multilingualism,” said Sánchez-Martín. 

June 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Bill Maher talks about college

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x5SeXNabd8

June 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

Another school district ditches honors classes in the name of ‘equity and inclusion’

https://www.thecollegefix.com/another-school-district-ditches-honors-classes-in-the-name-of-equity-and-inclusion/

Another school district ditches honors classes in the name of ‘equity and inclusion’

By Dave Huber

June 26, 2021

Another school board has decided that honors classes will have to be done away with … in the name of “equity and inclusion.”

According to The Globe and Mail, the Vancouver School Board declared its math and science honors courses “do not comply” with the district’s goal of “ensuring that all students can participate in every aspect of the curriculum.”

The district said in a statement that its revised curriculum requires “an inclusive model of education” so “all students will be able to participate in the curriculum fulsomely.”

Yeah, I had to look that last word up too. This is what educationists do when they enact a sketchy policy — stack it with flowery lingo to make it more palatable.

Parents were angry that they were made aware of the board’s decision just last month, which was long after students had decided which secondary school to attend. As it is, only two of the district’s 18 secondary schools had even offered the advanced courses.

A spokesman for Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said because of this “limited” number of locations, “not all students […] have an equal opportunity to enroll” in these accelerated classes. Instead, advanced students can “complete their own grade-level work […] and then work ahead into a higher grade level” (but only if there’s enough space). Or, they can apply to a “mini-school,” a “school within a school” which have specialized offerings “ranging from academics to the arts to hockey to leadership.”

The University of British Columbia’s Jennifer Katz, a Vancouver district consultant who favors abolition of fast-track courses, poo-pooed parents’ concerns about gifted students not “fitting in,” saying such a belief is “part of racism and systemic racism.”

Programs and courses such as those for honors kids are “’almost always’ made up of ‘middle- and upper-class kids whose parents have had them tutored for who knows how many years,’” Katz said. She added that teachers should be teaching to students’ ability levels so that those “of different abilities can work on the same assignment but with more advanced inquiry for some.”

But Katz’s UBC peer Owen Lo said the move to ditch honors classes is “radical, oversimplified and irresponsible.” And here’s where he nails it:

He said teachers are currently working with students from a variety of racial and linguistic backgrounds, as well as with students with ADHD and autism.

“Then, all of a sudden, you’re also adding students with advanced learning needs in the classroom. It’s a very reasonable thing that a teacher will actually sacrifice first the student with advanced learning needs. … When you don’t give them enough challenged curriculum, how do they have a growth mindset? They don’t grow.”

I know exactly to what Lo is referring. Over a decade ago, Delaware had the “brilliant” idea that every public school student, regardless of academic ability, would have to take at least two consecutive years of a foreign language in order to graduate from high school. Up until this point, foreign languages were electives.

The effect of the mandate, which started in 2011, was immediate. Whereas before my classes were composed of students who had demonstrated proficiency in their English classes, now they were a mix of such kids and special education students who didn’t know a noun from a verb. Appeals for separate classes based on (English course) performance went unheeded. The response from administrators was like that of Katz’s: Teachers were expected to teach to each student’s ability.

In classes totaling more than 30 students, that is.

Before the mandate in my level-one Spanish course, I would cover subjects like stem-changing and reflexive verbs, the differences between “ser” and “estar,” and even using the past tense. By the time I retired, just five years after the state requirement, I was unable to get to any of these topics. Indeed, I had to spend a lot of time, especially at the beginning of the school year, (re)teaching the basic parts of English speech.

Contrary to the illusion that Katz and those like her believe, the reality of Vancouver/Delaware-style mandates is that high and low-ability students suffer. The former get bored from the (to them) remedial instruction, and the latter get frustrated by their inability to grasp even basic concepts.

A further reality is that teachers will cater to the latter because their grade distributions will look better. Honors students will get the good grades regardless, so teachers focus on making sure the grades of lower-ability students are acceptable to administrators.

June 26, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Villanova University sociology professor Glenn Bracey encourages adoption of Critical Race Theory due to its roots in Marxism

Thanks to Gateway Pundit for this article on it.

The video below shows Villanova University sociology professor Glenn Bracey saying the following:

“The Marxist foundation of Critical Race Theory is at base a spiritual concern. If you read Marx you know that he was concerned about alienation. Specifically, alienation of the species being. That element of humanity that provides creativity that is unique to the individual – that really gives us – it is what defines humans from animals in that case. Marx was concerned that our modern systems were flattening that humanity and alienating us from the creative endeavors that we were – Christians would say – we were designed to emulate and to practice. So the core question for Critical Race Theory is one of releasing people – especially people of color, especially Black people – from the oppressive systems that deny us access to our species being, including racism. It’s Marxism, my point being Critical Race Theory’s Marxism is fundamentally a spiritual concern.”

https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1398644441129365504

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS5tLQcYRbU

https://www.bitchute.com/video/CuMe28VYzy93/

 

May 30, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Communism, Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

California Leftists Try to Cancel Math Class

https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/index.asphttps://www.wsj.com/articles/california-leftists-try-to-cancel-math-class-11621355858

California Leftists Try to Cancel Math Class

The proposed curriculum framework aims low, abandons the gifted, and preaches ‘social justice.’

By Williamson M. Evers

May 18, 2021

Oakland, Calif.

If California education officials have their way, generations of students may not know how to calculate an apartment’s square footage or the area of a farm field, but the “mathematics” of political agitation and organizing will be second nature to them. Encouraging those gifted in math to shine will be a distant memory.

This will be the result if a proposed mathematics curriculum framework, which would guide K-12 instruction in the Golden State’s public schools, is approved by California’s Instructional Quality Commission in meetings this week and in August and ratified by the state board of education later this year.

The framework recommends eight times that teachers use a troubling document, “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.” This manual claims that teachers addressing students’ mistakes forthrightly is a form of white supremacy. It sets forth indicators of “white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom,” including a focus on “getting the right answer,” teaching math in a “linear fashion,” requiring students to “show their work” and grading them on demonstrated knowledge of the subject matter. “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false,” the manual explains. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates ‘objectivity.’ ” Apparently, that’s also racist.

The framework itself rejects preparing students to take Algebra I in eighth grade, a goal reformers have sought since the 1990s. Students in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan master introductory algebra in eighth grade or even earlier.

At one time, California took the goal seriously and made immense progress. California Department of Education data show that while only 16% of students took algebra by eighth grade in 1999, by 2013, 67%—four times as many—were doing so. Success rates, meaning the percentage of students scoring “proficient” or above, kept rising even as enrollment increased dramatically.

The biggest beneficiaries were ethnic minority and low-income students. While student success tripled overall, African-American students’ success rate jumped by a factor of five, and Latinos’ and low-income students’ by a factor of six.

Many highly selective colleges expect students to take calculus in high school. To get to calculus by senior year, students have to proceed on a pathway of advanced courses. The framework condemns this as a “rush to calculus” and indicates that California schools won’t provide such a pathway. California high-school grads may be put at a disadvantage in applying to top colleges.

The framework explicitly rejects “ideas of natural gifts and talents.” That some are gifted in math implies some others aren’t, and this is “inequitable.” The framework’s authors also fear that those designated “gifted” may have their fragile egos hurt if they later lose that designation. So it writes an obituary for gifted-and-talented programs, which would hobble the rise of many talented children in California.

The framework rejects ability grouping, also called tracking, even though studies show that students do better when grouped with others who are progressing in their studies at the same pace. We have known for years, including from a 2009 Fordham Institute study of Massachusetts middle schools, that schools with more tracks have significantly more math students at advanced levels and fewer failing students.

The proposal’s agenda becomes clear when it says math should be taught so it can be used for “social justice.” It extols a fictional teacher who uses class to develop her students’ “sociopolitical consciousness.” Math, it says, is a tool to “change the world.” Teachers are supposed to adopt a “culturally relevant pedagogy,” which includes “the ability to identify, analyze and solve real-world problems, especially those that result in societal inequalities.”

Under this pedagogy, “students must develop a critical consciousness through which they challenge the status quo of the current social order.” Don’t think that kindergarten is too early for such indoctrination: “Teachers can take a justice-oriented perspective at any grade level, K-12,” the curriculum revisionists write. Students could be taught fractions in the distracting process of learning the math of organizing a protest march.

This program is quite a comedown for math, from an objective academic discipline to a tool for political activism. Society will be harmed: With fewer people who know math well, how are we going to build bridges, launch rockets or advance technologically? Students will pay the heaviest price—and not only in California. As we’ve seen before, what starts in California doesn’t stop here.

My advice to California’s Instructional Quality Commission, when it meets on Wednesday and Thursday to evaluate public comments on the curriculum framework, is to scrap the document and return to the 1997 math content standards and associated framework. Written largely by professors in Stanford’s math department, it resulted in the aforementioned stupendous statewide gains in algebra attainment. Teach math, not propaganda.

May 19, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Math, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

2 Oklahoma Boys Pulled From Class for ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-Shirts

I totally support the boys’ right to wear these shirts in school. The school is being completely ridiculous to suspend them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/09/us/black-lives-matter-shirt-oklahoma-school.html

2 Oklahoma Boys Pulled From Class for ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-Shirts

In addition to the disciplinary action they have faced, the boys’ mother said that at least one of her three sons has been bullied because of the shirts.

May 9, 2021

Two brothers, 8 and 5, were removed from their Oklahoma elementary school classrooms this past week and made to wait out the school day in a front office for wearing T-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter,” according to the boys’ mother.

The superintendent of the Ardmore, Okla., school district where the brothers, Bentlee and Rodney Herbert, attend different schools had previously told their mother, Jordan Herbert, that politics would “not be allowed at school,” Ms. Herbert recalled on Friday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has called the incident a violation of the students’ First Amendment rights.

On April 30, Bentlee, who is in the third grade, went to class at Charles Evans Elementary in a Black Lives Matter shirt, which Ms. Herbert said he had picked out himself to wear.

That evening, Ms. Herbert learned that the school’s principal, Denise Brunk, had told Bentlee that he was not allowed to wear the T-shirt. At Ms. Brunk’s direction, he turned the shirt inside out and finished out the school day.

On Monday, Ms. Herbert went to the school to ask the principal what dress-code policy her son had violated, Ms. Herbert said. Ms. Brunk referred her to the Ardmore City Schools superintendent, Kim Holland.

“He told me when the George Floyd case blew up that politics will not be allowed at school,” Ms. Herbert said on Friday, referring to Mr. Holland. “I told him, once again, a ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirt is not politics.”

Neither Ms. Brunk nor Mr. Holland responded to emails or phone calls seeking comment on Friday.

On Tuesday, Ms. Herbert’s three sons — Bentlee; Rodney, who is in kindergarten; and Jaelon, a sixth grader, all of whom are Black — went to their schools in matching T-shirts with the words “Black Lives Matter” and an image of a clenched fist on the front.

Later that morning, Ms. Herbert received a call from Rodney’s school, Will Rogers Elementary, telling her that she needed to either bring Rodney a different shirt or let the school provide one for him, or Rodney would be forced to sit in the front office for the rest of the school day. Rodney did not change shirts, and he sat in the office until school was over.

Ms. Herbert learned later that day that Bentlee had also been made to sit in his school’s front office, where he missed recess, and did not eat lunch in the cafeteria with his classmates.

Jaelon, 12, encountered no issues at Ardmore Middle School because of his T-shirt, his mother said.

In an interview with The Daily Ardmoreite, Mr. Holland suggested that the T-shirts were disruptive.

“It’s our interpretation of not creating a disturbance in school,” Mr. Holland told the newspaper. “I don’t want my kids wearing MAGA hats or Trump shirts to school either because it just creates, in this emotionally charged environment, anxiety and issues that I don’t want our kids to deal with.”

Mr. Holland said there had been similar cases in the district this year.

“Most of it has not been an issue until this lady here has been angry about it,” Mr. Holland told The Ardmoreite. “I wish she weren’t so upset.”

Ms. Herbert said she met with Mr. Holland on Monday and asked him what would happen if she sent her children to school in “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts again.

“He told me nothing could be done because it wasn’t against policy,” Ms. Herbert recalled.

Indeed, the dress code outlined in the district’s Elementary Student Handbook makes no mention of politics. It says that “sayings or logos” on shirts or tops “should be in good taste and school appropriate.”

“Any clothing or apparel that disrupts the learning process is prohibited,” the handbook adds, stipulating that principals have the final say on “the appropriateness of dress.”

To Ms. Herbert, the idea that her 8-year-old son would not “be able to express that his life matters” was ludicrous.

On Friday, the A.C.L.U. of Oklahoma sent a letter to Mr. Holland, Ms. Brunk and James Foreman Jr., president of the Ardmore City School Board of Education.

In the letter, the A.C.L.U. said it would be a violation of the students’ First Amendment rights to be prohibited from wearing clothing that says “Black Lives Matter.”

If the school district does not reverse its policy and allow students to wear “Black Lives Matter” clothing, it must be prepared to prove in federal court how wearing the T-shirts creates “a substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities,” the A.C.L.U. said. “Anything less than that would be found to be a violation of the students’ First Amendment rights.”

It cited a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which addressed the issue of a group of students who wore black armbands to object to the Vietnam War. A principal told the students that they would be suspended if they wore the armbands at school.

The court ruled 7-2 that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

“This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years,” the A.C.L.U. said.

Mr. Foreman and the other members of the school board did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

In addition to issues with disciplinary action, Ms. Herbert said Bentlee has now been bullied at school over his T-shirt. When Bentlee returned from school on Thursday, he told his mother that two white boys had picked on him.

“One boy told him that his life does not matter, and the other one told him to just get suspended,” Ms. Herbert said.

The principal told Ms. Herbert the situation would be handled, she said.

“With everything going on in the world today, I keep my boys informed,” Ms. Herbert said, adding that the family watched the news together. “They know what’s going on.”

Out of principle, Ms. Herbert said she would continue to support her sons in wearing the T-shirts to school.

Despite the turmoil, the shirts were never intended to be an “attention-seeking ordeal,” Ms. Herbert said. “I don’t see Black Lives Matter disrupting anything.”

May 10, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Black lives matter, Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Racism. 2 comments.

In the Name of Equity, California Will Discourage Students Who Are Gifted at Math

https://reason.com/2021/05/04/california-math-framework-woke-equity-calculus/

In the Name of Equity, California Will Discourage Students Who Are Gifted at Math

The new framework aims to keep everyone learning at the same level for as long as possible.

By Robby Soave

May 4, 2021

California’s Department of Education is working on a new framework for K-12 mathematics that discourages gifted students from enrolling in accelerated classes that study advanced concepts like calculus.

The draft of the framework is hundreds of pages long and covers a wide range of topics. But its overriding concern is inequity. The department is worried that too many students are sorted into different math tracks based on their natural abilities, which leads some to take calculus by their senior year of high school while others don’t make it past basic algebra. The department’s solution is to prohibit any sorting until high school, keeping gifted kids in the same classrooms as their less mathematically inclined peers until at least grade nine.

“The inequity of mathematics tracking in California can be undone through a coordinated approach in grades 6–12,” reads a January 2021 draft of the framework. “In summary, middle-school students are best served in heterogeneous classes.”

In fact, the framework concludes that calculus is overvalued, even for gifted students.

“The push to calculus in grade twelve is itself misguided,” says the framework.

As evidence for this claim, the framework cites the fact that many students who take calculus end up having to retake it in college anyway. Of course, de-prioritizing instruction in high school calculus would not really solve this problem—and in fact would likely make it worse—but the department does not seem overly worried. The framework’s overriding perspective is that teaching the tough stuff is college’s problem: The K-12 system should concern itself with making every kid fall in love with math.

Broadly speaking, this entails making math as easy and un-math-like as possible. Math is really about language and culture and social justice, and no one is naturally better at it than anyone else, according to the framework.

“All students deserve powerful mathematics; we reject ideas of natural gifts and talents,” reads a bulletpoint in chapter one of the framework. “The belief that ‘I treat everyone the same’ is insufficient: Active efforts in mathematics teaching are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current inequities.”

The entire second chapter of the framework is about connecting math to social justice concepts like bias and racism: “Teachers can support discussions that center mathematical reasoning rather than issues of status and bias by intentionally defining what it means to do and learn mathematics together in ways that include and highlight the languages, identities, and practices of historically marginalized communities.” Teachers should also think creatively about what math even entails: “To encourage truly equitable and engaging mathematics classrooms we need to broaden perceptions of mathematics beyond methods and answers so that students come to view mathematics as a connected, multi-dimensional subject that is about sense making and reasoning, to which they can contribute and belong.”

This approach is very bad. Contrary to what this guidance seems to suggest, math is not the end-all and be-all—and it’s certainly not something that all kids are equally capable of learning and enjoying. Some young people clearly excel at math, even at very early ages. Many schools offer advanced mathematics to a select group of students well before the high school level so that they can take calculus by their junior or senior year. It’s done this way for a reason: The students who like math (usually a minority) should have the opportunity to move on as rapidly as possible.

For everyone else… well, advanced math just isn’t that important. It would be preferable for schools to offer students more choices, and offer them as early as possible. Teens who are eager readers should be able to study literature instead of math; young people who aren’t particularly adept at any academic discipline might pick up art, music, computers, or even trade skills. (Coding doesn’t need to be mandatory, but it could be an option.)

The essence of good schooling is choice. Individual kids benefit from a wide range of possible educational options. Permitting them to diversify, specialize, and chart their own paths—with helpful input from the adults in their lives—is the course of action that recognizes vast differences in interest and ability. Holding back kids who are gifted at math isn’t equitable: On the contrary, it’s extremely unfair to everyone.

Yet the framework seems to reject the notion that some kids are more gifted than others. “An important goal of this framework is to replace ideas of innate mathematics ‘talent’ and ‘giftedness’ with the recognition that every student is on a growth pathway,” it states. “There is no cutoff determining when one child is ‘gifted’ and another is not.” But cutoffs are exactly what testing and grading systems produce, and it’s absurdly naive to think there’s nothing innate about such outcomes, given that intelligence is at least partly an inherited trait.

If California adopts this framework, which is currently under public review, the state will end up sabotaging its brightest students. The government should let kids opt out of math if it’s not for them. Don’t let the false idea that there’s no such thing as a gifted student herald the end of advanced math entirely.

May 4, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Math, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 1 comment.

Poll: What do you think of the New York State Board of Regents eliminating the requirement for new teachers to pass a literacy test?

The New York Times wrote:

“The Board of Regents on Monday eliminated a requirement that aspiring teachers in New York State pass a literacy test to become certified after the test proved controversial because black and Hispanic candidates passed it at significantly lower rates than white candidates.”

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20181112191532/https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/nyregion/ny-regents-teacher-exams-alst.html?_r=0

April 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 1 comment.

Equity = getting rid of advanced math classes

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

April 23, 2021

In the name of what progressives refer to as “equity,” Virginia is planning to eliminate all accelerated math courses before 11th grade.

On a personal level, as a person who always took the highest level math classes that were available during my entire schooling, and who always scored in the 99th percentile on standardized math tests, I think this is a horrible idea.

On a practical level, as a person who wants bridges that don’t fall down, I think this is a horrible idea.

And on an intellectual level, as a person who knows that Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” was written as a warning, and not an instruction manual, I think this is a horrible idea.

“Harrison Bergeron” was a fictional story that takes place in the future, where the government tries to make everyone equal. So the best ballet dancers were forced to wear weights on their arms and legs so they couldn’t dance better than anyone else. The best looking people were forced to wear masks on their faces. And the smartest people (like those who were the best at math) were forced to wear a noisemaking device inside their ears so they couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than 20 seconds at a time.

April 23, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Math, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 1 comment.

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