According to this Wall St. Journal article, Los Angeles teachers’ unions tried to shut down a South Central charter school that had been very successful at teaching low-income black and Hispanic students

According to this Wall St. Journal article, Los Angeles teachers’ unions tried to shut down a South Central charter school that had been very successful at teaching low-income black and Hispanic students.

In my opinion, successful schools should not be shut down.

Instead, they should be copied.

Every child should be allowed to attend a school as good as this one.

The fact that the teachers’ unions tried to shut down this successful school, instead of copying it, is despicable.

This is the complete article from the Wall St. Journal:

https://web.archive.org/web/20081014175429/http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122394095677630803.html

Charter Success in L.A.

School choice in South Central.

October 14, 2008

With economic issues sucking up so much political oxygen this year, K-12 education hasn’t received the attention it deserves from either Presidential candidate. The good news is that school reformers at the local level continue to push forward.

This month the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), a charter school network in Los Angeles, announced plans to expand the number of public charter schools in the city’s South Central section, which includes some of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the country. Over the next four years, the number of ICEF charters will grow to 35 from 13. Eventually, the schools will enroll one in four students in the community, including more than half of the high school students.

The demand for more educational choice in predominantly minority South Los Angeles is pronounced. The waitlist for existing ICEF schools has at times exceeded 6,000 kids. And no wonder. Like KIPP, Green Dot and other charter school networks that aren’t constrained by union rules on staffing and curriculum, ICEF has an excellent track record, particularly with black and Hispanic students. In reading and math tests, ICEF charters regularly outperform surrounding traditional public schools as well as other Los Angeles public schools.

ICEF has been operating since 1994, and its flagship school has now graduated two classes, with 100% of the students accepted to college. By contrast, a state study released in July reported that one in three students in the L.A. public school system — including 42% of black students — quits before graduating, a number that has grown by 80% in the past five years.

Despite this success, powerful unions like the California Teachers Association and its political backers continue to oppose school choice for disadvantaged families. Last year, Democratic state lawmakers, led by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, tried to force Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that would have made opening a new charter school in the state next to impossible. Mr. Nunez backed down after loud protests from parents in poorer neighborhoods.

School reformers in New York, Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, Utah and Arizona have faced similar challenges of late. Last year in Texas, where 81% of charter school students are minorities (versus 60% in traditional public schools), nearly 17,000 students had to be placed on charter waiting lists. Texas is currently bumping up against an arbitrary cap on the number of charters that can open in the state. Unless the cap is lifted by state lawmakers, thousands of low-income Texas children will remain stuck in ineffective schools.

Back in California, ICEF says that its ultimate goal is to produce 2,000 college graduates each year, in hopes that the graduates eventually will return to these underserved communities and help create a sustainable middle class. Given that fewer than 10% of high-school freshmen in South Los Angeles currently go on to receive a college diploma, this is a huge challenge. Resistance from charter school opponents won’t make it any easier.

November 16, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Social justice warriors, Unions. Leave a comment.

Kjerstin Laine has been making tiny monthly payments on her student loan, and she doesn’t understand why her balance has been getting bigger instead of smaller. People who are this dumb should not be allowed to borrow money. Oh, and try drinking some water.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

October 31, 2022

Kjerstin Laine is yet another example of how it’s too easy to get admitted to college. Since she finished graduate school with $98,000 in debt, she’s only been paying $300 a month toward her debt. And she doesn’t understand why her balance has been going up instead of down.

It should be illegal for people this stupid to borrow money.

Also, she needs to learn to drink some water.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/meet-30-old-110-000-123000305.html

Meet a 30-year-old with $110,000 in student debt who chose her job in hopes of public-service loan forgiveness — but her balance just keeps growing

By Juliana Kaplan

October 30, 2022

Kjerstin Laine

Kjerstin Laine. Courtesy of Kjerstin Laine

Like millions of student-loan borrowers, Kjerstin Laine is in loan-relief limbo.

For Laine, a 30-year-old who has over $110,000 in student debt, the $20,000 in forgiveness she’s set to get from President Joe Biden’s plan is just a drop in the bucket. As a first-generation college student whose debt has shaped the trajectory of her career, she fears her balance will balloon even more after pandemic-era payment pauses end and interest starts accruing again.

I never miss a payment, always on time, and yet my balances never go down,” Laine told Insider. “I don’t understand how people can’t see that there is something wrong with that picture.”

Despite working through college and taking measures to cut down on the cost, Laine completed her degree in 2014 with a grand total of $98,000 in debt from her undergraduate and graduate studies. In the eight years since, accruing interest has brought her balance to today’s amount, despite her consistent repayment.

Laine chose her job in communications for an education-advocacy nonprofit because it was a good fit for her skills — and because it could set her up for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which forgives student debt for government and nonprofit workers after 10 years of qualifying payments.

But that program has historically been riddled with flaws, and she recently paused that strategy to take a marketing-agency job with a salary that brings her much closer to the $90,000 the federal government estimated she needed to make a year to afford to pay back her debt. She’s also paying off medical debt.

“I also had to leave the nonprofit sector to get anywhere near that, obviously,” she said. “So it’s like that Catch-22.”

Laine is one of many millions of US borrowers stuck in an untenable situation. She’s grateful for the relief she’s set to get — though the legality of Biden’s forgiveness is still under scrutiny — but she’s not sure she’ll be able to afford monthly payments when they restart in January.

Her situation points to the larger structural issues underpinning the student debt crisis, where first-generation and lower-income students take on huge debt burdens to get ahead and up their earnings but still find themselves buried under ever-growing balances. Many, like Laine, have shaped their lives around the hope of assistance — now that it’s here in some form, it may not be enough.

“The hardest thing is that I trusted in this system that I was told from a very young age was going to be my path to prosperity or a decent — not anything exorbitant — but a decent middle-class life where I could give back to the community that helped raise me and supported me through education programs, meal programs, things like that,” Laine said. “And it feels like that’s a big broken promise now.”

Interest on student loans can balloon, meaning balances don’t go down — and could go up

As a college student in California, Laine worked at several jobs in places like restaurants and grocery stores. She took classes at her local community college and at her university in the summer and winter to try and reduce her expenses. She graduated in 2012, a semester early to cut down on costs, racking up nearly $18,000 in debt total for her undergraduate degree in journalism.

She went on to a “dream school” for a master’s in journalism, still working part time and leaving with an additional $80,000 in debt in 2014. At the end of her time in school, she was hospitalized for dehydration after she said she ran herself ragged.

Despite consistent payments, the years since graduation have seen Laine’s debt grow. It comes down to the issue of interest capitalization, which is when accrued interest tacks on to a borrower’s principal balance and can lead to debt loads being much larger than what was initially borrowed.

Biden’s administration has taken steps to prevent interest capitalization. In July, it released a proposal to end the practice in every instance that isn’t required under the Higher Education Act, like forbearance periods, but those changes won’t be implemented until next year. And borrowers are still struggling to stay on top of their payments.

For borrowers like Laine, within a few years, interest could cancel out any of Biden’s relief she received.

“I was paying $300 until the pandemic hit. I was paying $300 a month, I think, for three to four years, and my balances never went down,” she said. “They always went up.”

Public servants like Laine can get their debts forgiven — but many can’t even get in touch with their loan servicer

While Laine is a big proponent of public-service loan forgiveness, she said it “has been plagued by its own issues.”

The company that manages the entire Public Service Loan Forgiveness portfolio — MOHELA — isn’t making matters any easier. After a number of loan companies ended their federal contracts last year, all borrowers enrolled in PSLF were transferred over to MOHELA, and the process hasn’t been seamless.

Insider previously spoke with two borrowers who wanted to get simple questions on their PSLF payments answered but ended up spending hours on the phone and never even got connected to a representative who could answer their questions.

“I’m really concerned about MOHELA as a servicer in total,” Laine said.

While MOHELA never commented on the hours-long hold times, Scott Buchanan, the executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance — a group that represents federal loan servicers — previously told Insider that the Education Department decided how many resources it gave loan companies, which affects how many customer-support staff they can hire.

But with the PSLF waiver expiring on Monday, which allows past payments, including those previously deemed ineligible, to count toward forgiveness progress, borrowers are in a time crunch to access the expanded relief. The department recently introduced permanent PSLF fixes for after the waiver’s expiration, but that doesn’t eliminate confusion some borrowers may be experiencing with their payment history.

“I’d love nothing more than to be able to dedicate my entire career to serving this sector,” Laine said. “All of my career choices are kind of centered around this debt, and that’s a really tough, not fun place to be in.”

October 31, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Education, Math, Student debt bailout. Leave a comment.

Video and transcript: Derrick Wilburn, a black father, criticizes critical race theory at a school board meeting in Falcon, Colorado

https://www.foxnews.com/us/black-father-slams-crt-colorado-school-board-meeting-video

https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com/colorado-school-board-bans-critical-race-theory-after-black-fathers-impassioned-speech/

https://thebluestateconservative.com/2022/10/20/epic-black-dad-unloads-on-woke-school-board-over-crt-gets-standing-ovation-from-room-video/

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

I’d like to begin my comments tonight by reading a quote, which in essence is the genesis of all of this Black Lives Matter, social justice CRT conversations we’re having in our country today, quote, I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, close quote, Colin Kaepernick, August 2016.

I am the direct descendant of the North American slave trade. Both of my parents are black, all four of my grandparents are black, all eight of my great great grandparents all 16 of my great greats. On my mother’s side, my ancestors were enslaved in Alabama. On my father’s side, we were enslaved in Texas.

I am not oppressed. I’m not oppressed, and I’m not a victim. I’m neither a press nor a victim. I travel all across this country of ours. And I check into hotels and I fly commercially. And I walk into retail establishments, and I order food and restaurants. I go wherever I want, whenever I want. I am treated with kindness, dignity, and respect, literally from coast to coast. I have three children. They are not oppressed either.

Although they are victims, I’ve taught my children, they’re victims of three things, their own ignorance, their own laziness and their own poor decision making. That is all my children. We are not victims of America, we are not victims of some unseen 190 year old force that kind of floats around in the ether.

Putting critical race theory into our classrooms is taking our nation in the wrong direction. racism in America would by and large, be dead today, if it were not for certain people and institutions keeping it on life support. And sadly, sadly, very sadly, one of those institutions is the American education system.

I can think of nothing more damaging to a society than to tell a baby born today that she has grievances against another baby born today, simply because of what their ancestors may have done two centuries ago. There is simply no point in doing that to our children. And putting critical race theory into our classrooms, in part does that putting critical race theory into our classrooms is not combating racism.

It’s fanning the flames of what little embers are left. I encourage you to support this resolution. Let racism die the death it deserves.

October 20, 2022. Tags: , , , , , . Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Op-Ed: Listen up, college students. You don’t ‘get’ a grade. You have to earn it

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-10-09/college-rating-professor-jones-petition-students

Op-Ed: Listen up, college students. You don’t ‘get’ a grade. You have to earn it

By Jillian Horton

October 9, 2022

Every fall, my mental timeline is flooded with memories of the teachers who changed my life. And last week — when I read about the controversial termination of Maitland Jones Jr., a distinguished New York University professor whose courses in organic chemistry were deemed too hard by students hoping to get into medicine — it took me back to the September I met my toughest teacher.

It was 1994, and I was a 19-year-old student in my third year at Western University in London, Ontario. I had signed up for a course in the department of English taught by one Donald S. Hair. My first clue that professor Hair would defy expectations? He was bald.

Standing at the lectern in a three-piece suit, he took roll, ever-so-properly referring to each of us as “Miss” or “Mister.” It was a distinct shift from the vaguely beatnik tone of many of our other professors, with whom students could sometimes be found drinking beer at one of the campus pubs.

A few weeks into the class, the professor administered our first test. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about — until he handed my exam back the following week with a 67 written on it in red ink.

Sixty-seven! I’d never received such a low mark. I was dependent on a scholarship, and any grade below 80 put my future in jeopardy. My seatmate’s murderous expression revealed her mark had been miserable too. We fumed silently: Professor Hair was an old weirdo! How dare he derail our GPAs? What was the old boy’s problem, anyway?

But the real problem was this: He was right. I knew it as soon as I’d cooled off and taken the time to digest his comments. My writing was sloppy, my understanding of key concepts superficial. Like many of my peers, I was used to earning top grades. Now, for the first time, a teacher had introduced an uncomfortable question. Were we actually “earning” them?

The next day, I went to his office. With burning cheeks, I told him I knew I’d butchered the exam. To my childish surprise, he wasn’t a “weirdo” in the least. He was funny, warm and uncommonly patient. He assured me if I worked hard, I’d achieve my potential in the course, and he’d be available to help me.

I went away, read and read some more. The more I read, the more interesting his classes became, and soon, his complex, spellbinding lectures were the highlight of my week. I worked my guts out in that course. The grade I earned in his class was the lowest I’d receive that year. But I had earned that grade. Nearly 30 years later, I’m still proud of that.

As an associate dean and teacher of medical students for the last 20 years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what usually makes a good doctor — and it isn’t organic chemistry. I disagree with the colleague of professor Jones who told the New York Times that he did not want anyone treating patients who did not “appreciate transformations at the molecular level.” The comment struck me as slightly less outdated than keeping a bag of leeches for emergency bloodletting. There is ample evidence other paths prepare students extremely well for a career in medicine.

That issue is a sideshow anyway, because the strong public reaction to this story is largely about something else: the commodification of education. For U.S. medical schools, the Assn. of American Medical Colleges oversees a rigorous and detailed accreditation process, which relies on the collection of mounds of data — including an exit survey that can heavily influence the school’s accreditation outcome. The survey begins by asking students to rate the degree to which they agree or disagree with this statement: “Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my medical education.”

Is that the right way to ask someone to evaluate their education? It seems more appropriate for rating their Starbucks latte. My job is not to ensure my children — or my students — are always “satisfied.” That metric would worsen the quality of my parenting and my teaching; both require me to do unpopular things if I am to do my job well. “Satisfaction” is the language of consumer experience, and when it becomes a target metric, it alters something fundamental about the interaction between people.

I have felt that shift as an educator. I’ve witnessed, and championed, long-overdue changes in the learning environment, including a focus on the psychological safety of students. But I’ve seen disheartening changes too — namely the evolution of a relationship with students that sometimes feels transactional, as if the primary objective is no longer just about turning them into doctors but, rather, keeping them constantly satisfied, the teacher less preceptor than proprietor.

That shift is deeply, deeply unsatisfying.

Long after I’d moved on from Western University, I heard professor Hair had been nominated for an award for excellence in teaching. “Professors are often afraid to employ his high standards,” I eagerly wrote in a two-page letter of support. “Setting the bar higher may initially be uncomfortable, but it gives students … a sense of self-respect and pride which is stolen from us when we work in circumstances where such experiences do not exist.” He won that award. And he also earned it.

If my low grade in professor Hair’s class had been a barrier to me becoming a doctor, would I feel differently? I really don’t know. I suppose I thought he had a right to be tough as long as he was also trying to be fair. The irony? What I learned from him made me a better doctor. Not because I was satisfied.

Because I grew.

Jillian Horton is a writer and physician. She is the author of “We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing.”

October 9, 2022. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Health care, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

New York University dumbs down its pre-med curriculum so students who are too dumb and/or lazy to pass organic chemistry can still become doctors

https://web.archive.org/web/20221004011409/https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/03/us/nyu-organic-chemistry-petition.html

At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame?

Maitland Jones Jr., a respected professor, defended his standards. But students started a petition, and the university dismissed him.

By Stephanie Saul

October 3, 2022

In the field of organic chemistry, Maitland Jones Jr. has a storied reputation. He taught the subject for decades, first at Princeton and then at New York University, and wrote an influential textbook. He received awards for his teaching, as well as recognition as one of N.Y.U.’s coolest professors.

But last spring, as the campus emerged from pandemic restrictions, 82 of his 350 students signed a petition against him.

Students said the high-stakes course – notorious for ending many a dream of medical school – was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores.

The professor defended his standards. But just before the start of the fall semester, university deans terminated Dr. Jones’s contract.

The officials also had tried to placate the students by offering to review their grades and allowing them to withdraw from the class retroactively. The chemistry department’s chairman, Mark E. Tuckerman, said the unusual offer to withdraw was a “one-time exception granted to students by the dean of the college.”

Marc A. Walters, director of undergraduate studies in the chemistry department, summed up the situation in an email to Dr. Jones, before his firing.

He said the plan would “extend a gentle but firm hand to the students and those who pay the tuition bills,” an apparent reference to parents.

The university’s handling of the petition provoked equal and opposite reactions from both the chemistry faculty, who protested the decisions, and pro-Jones students, who sent glowing letters of endorsement.

“The deans are obviously going for some bottom line, and they want happy students who are saying great things about the university so more people apply and the U.S. News rankings keep going higher,” said Paramjit Arora, a chemistry professor who has worked closely with Dr. Jones.

In short, this one unhappy chemistry class could be a case study of the pressures on higher education as it tries to handle its Gen-Z student body. Should universities ease pressure on students, many of whom are still coping with the pandemic’s effects on their mental health and schooling? How should universities respond to the increasing number of complaints by students against professors? Do students have too much power over contract faculty members, who do not have the protections of tenure?

And how hard should organic chemistry be anyway?

Dr. Jones, 84, is known for changing the way the subject is taught. In addition to writing the 1,300-page textbook “Organic Chemistry,” now in its fifth edition, he pioneered a new method of instruction that relied less on rote memorization and more on problem solving.

After retiring from Princeton in 2007, he taught organic chemistry at N.Y.U. on a series of yearly contracts. About a decade ago, he said in an interview, he noticed a loss of focus among the students, even as more of them enrolled in his class, hoping to pursue medical careers.

“Students were misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate,” he wrote in a grievance to the university, protesting his termination. Grades fell even as he reduced the difficulty of his exams.

The problem was exacerbated by the pandemic, he said. “In the last two years, they fell off a cliff,” he wrote. “We now see single digit scores and even zeros.”

After several years of Covid learning loss, the students not only didn’t study, they didn’t seem to know how to study, Dr. Jones said.

To ease pandemic stress, Dr. Jones and two other professors taped 52 organic chemistry lectures. Dr. Jones said that he personally paid more than $5,000 for the videos and that they are still used by the university.

That was not enough. In 2020, some 30 students out of 475 filed a petition asking for more help, said Dr. Arora, who taught that class with Dr. Jones. “They were really struggling,” he explained. “They didn’t have good internet coverage at home. All sorts of things.”

The professors assuaged the students in an online town-hall meeting, Dr. Arora said.

Many students were having other problems. Kent Kirshenbaum, another chemistry professor at N.Y.U., said he discovered cheating during online tests.

When he pushed students’ grades down, noting the egregious misconduct, he said they protested that “they were not given grades that would allow them to get into medical school.”

By spring 2022, the university was returning with fewer Covid restrictions, but the anxiety continued and students seemed disengaged.

“They weren’t coming to class, that’s for sure, because I can count the house,” Dr. Jones said in an interview. “They weren’t watching the videos, and they weren’t able to answer the questions.”

Students could choose between two sections, one focused on problem solving, the other on traditional lectures. Students in both sections shared problems on a GroupMe chat and began venting about the class. Those texts kick-started the petition, submitted in May.

“We are very concerned about our scores, and find that they are not an accurate reflection of the time and effort put into this class,” the petition said.

The students criticized Dr. Jones’s decision to reduce the number of midterm exams from three to two, flattening their chances to compensate for low grades. They said that he had tried to conceal course averages, did not offer extra credit and removed Zoom access to his lectures, even though some students had Covid. And, they said, he had a “condescending and demanding” tone.

“We urge you to realize,” the petition said, “that a class with such a high percentage of withdrawals and low grades has failed to make students’ learning and well-being a priority and reflects poorly on the chemistry department as well as the institution as a whole.”

Dr. Jones said in an interview that he reduced the number of exams because the university scheduled the first test date after six classes, which was too soon.

On the accusation that he concealed course averages, Dr. Jones said that they were impossible to provide because 25 percent of the grade relied on lab scores and a final lab test, but that students were otherwise aware of their grades.

As for Zoom access, he said the technology in the lecture hall made it impossible to record his white board problems.

Zacharia Benslimane, a teaching assistant in the problem-solving section of the course, defended Dr. Jones in an email to university officials.

“I think this petition was written more out of unhappiness with exam scores than an actual feeling of being treated unfairly,” wrote Mr. Benslimane, now a Ph.D. student at Harvard. “I have noticed that many of the students who consistently complained about the class did not use the resources we afforded to them.”

Ryan Xue, who took the course, said he found Dr. Jones both likable and inspiring.

“This is a big lecture course, and it also has the reputation of being a weed-out class,” said Mr. Xue, who has transferred and is now a junior at Brown. “So there are people who will not get the best grades. Some of the comments might have been very heavily influenced by what grade students have gotten.”

Other students, though, seemed shellshocked from the experience. In interviews, several of them said that Dr. Jones was keen to help students who asked questions, but that he could also be sarcastic and downbeat about the class’s poor performance.

After the second midterm for which the average hovered around 30 percent, they said that many feared for their futures. One student was hyperventilating.

But students also described being surprised that Dr. Jones was fired, a measure the petition did not request and students did not think was possible.

The entire controversy seems to illustrate a sea change in teaching, from an era when professors set the bar and expected the class to meet it, to the current more supportive, student-centered approach.

Dr. Jones “learned to teach during a time when the goal was to teach at a very high and rigorous level,” Dr. Arora said. “We hope that students will see that putting them through that rigor is doing them good.”

James W. Canary, chairman of the department until about a year ago, said he admired Dr. Jones’s course content and pedagogy, but felt that his communication with students was skeletal and sometimes perceived as harsh.

“He hasn’t changed his style or methods in a good many years,” Dr. Canary said. “The students have changed, though, and they were asking for and expecting more support from the faculty when they’re struggling.”

N.Y.U. is evaluating so-called stumble courses — those in which a higher percentage of students get D’s and F’s, said John Beckman, a spokesman for the university.

“Organic chemistry has historically been one of those courses,” Mr. Beckman said. “Do these courses really need to be punitive in order to be rigorous?”

Dr. Kirshenbaum said he worried about any effort to reduce the course’s demands, noting that most students in organic chemistry want to become doctors.

“Unless you appreciate these transformations at the molecular level,” he said, “I don’t think you can be a good physician, and I don’t want you treating patients.”

In August, Dr. Jones received a short note from Gregory Gabadadze, dean for science, terminating his contract. Dr. Jones’s performance, he wrote, “did not rise to the standards we require from our teaching faculty.”

Dr. Gabadadze declined to be interviewed. But Mr. Beckman defended the decision, saying that Dr. Jones had been the target of multiple student complaints about his “dismissiveness, unresponsiveness, condescension and opacity about grading.”

Dr. Jones’s course evaluations, he added, “were by far the worst, not only among members of the chemistry department, but among all the university’s undergraduate science courses.”

Professors in the chemistry department have pushed back. In a letter to Dr. Gabadadze and other deans, they wrote that they worried about setting “a precedent, completely lacking in due process, that could undermine faculty freedoms and correspondingly enfeeble proven pedagogic practices.”

Nathaniel J. Traaseth, one of about 20 chemistry professors, mostly tenured, who signed the letter, said the university’s actions may deter rigorous instruction, especially given the growing tendency of students to file petitions.

“Now the faculty who are not tenured are looking at this case and thinking, ‘Wow, what if this happens to me and they don’t renew my contract?’” he said.

Dr. Jones agrees.

“I don’t want my job back,” he said, adding that he had planned to retire soon anyway. “I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

October 7, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Health care, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Texas Wesleyan Cancels Play After Students Say Use of Slur Is Harmful [The writer of the play is black]

https://web.archive.org/web/20221006141216/https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/06/us/texas-wesleyan-play-racism.html

Texas Wesleyan Cancels Play After Students Say Use of Slur Is Harmful

The play’s author, who is Black, said he crafted its language to be historically accurate in representing civil rights struggles. But the theater program at the university heeded the call of students.

By April Rubin

October 6, 2022

Texas Wesleyan University halted its production of “Down In Mississippi,” a play about registering voters in the 1960s, after criticism from students who said racist epithets in the script could contribute to a hostile, unwelcoming environment. Its author said he was using that language to represent the reality of the period.

The play by Carlyle Brown, a Black playwright based in Minneapolis, focuses on the efforts of a movement that led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed racial discrimination and protected Black voters. The plot, which is set during the Freedom Summer campaign, centers on three student activists as they travel from New York City to the South to register Black voters.

In telling that story, the playwright included a scene in which a white character used a racial slur, repeatedly, to refer to Black people, opening up a controversy on campus that also spotlighted a larger rift in American society over discussions of race and the portrayal of the struggles of people of color in media and the arts.

Two students who were not part of the production, and were described as a Latinx woman and a Black woman, heard about the scene through word of mouth and submitted bias reports to the university’s administration on Sept. 23, said Chatashia Brown, the university’s assistant director for student diversity and inclusion programs.

Their complaints prompted administrators of the university, in Fort Worth, to host a “listening session” on Sept. 29, which had been previously scheduled as the opening night of the play. Students, actors and members of the university’s faculty and staff joined the open forum, as did Mr. Brown.

Black students said that the explicit language in the play would further aggravate problems on a campus that they said did not cater to the needs of its significant population of students of color. As of fall 2021, 58 percent of students at Texas Wesleyan identified as Asian, Black, Latino or biracial.

“They wanted to kind of come in and be able to see the story and understand its impact without being triggered by it,” Ms. Brown said.

The students who expressed their concerns said that the repetition of the racial slur, spoken about a dozen times in the play, would have caught them off guard and negatively affected their mental health. They worried that the play could lead other students who are not Black to feel more comfortable repeating the slur.

“We pretty much all understand what harmful language is and how it’s been used because a lot of them still deal with that today,” Ms. Brown said. “So they just thought the timing and the place of it was pretty upsetting.”

The playwright said that his intentions were for the performance to be historically accurate. To him, the past shouldn’t be sanitized — and he said that the racial slur was used provocatively, for audience members to feel the impact it has had in real life. The scene portrays one of the play’s three students, who is white, showing the Black student how he would be treated on their journey. Training sessions like the one portrayed were common at the time and were intended to help people understand the severity of the behavior they could face.

Mr. Brown, who joined the listening session on a video call, said the play seems to have become a catalyst for a discussion about racial relations on campus that is separate from his work

“As the conversation went on, a couple students went up and looked at my image on the screen and said, ‘It’s not your play, Mr. Brown; it’s just not the play at this place, at this time,’” he said in an interview.

Last school year, the president of the Black Student Association went on a hunger strike to raise awareness of the lack of diversity on Texas Wesleyan’s campus. Among the sources of her discontent: The university didn’t have substantial classes focused on ethnic or racial studies, despite having a diverse student body; and no established multicultural center existed for students to convene.

The protest, along with other feedback from students about concerns with the campus climate and diversity, prompted the university to announce earlier this year that it would emphasize “community, engagement and inclusion” through a strategic plan, which included measures such as incorporating multiculturalism, inclusion and anti-intolerance in its curriculum; engaging in culturally relevant teaching to connect with students of diverse backgrounds; and identifying a space on campus for multicultural student programs.

However, the discussions around the play showed that students’ grievances had not been addressed to the extent they wanted, said Jaylon Leonard, president of the student body.

“It was not the play itself, but about some things that we had dealt with in the past with the school in regard to diversity and inclusion recently that weren’t unanswered,” he said, adding that “for this to be thrown on top of those issues, it was something that we were not ready to accept.”

Production dates for “Down in Mississippi” were first delayed, and the theater program considered hosting the play off campus at the Jubilee Theatre, a Fort Worth venue that puts on plays that highlight African American experiences. But the faculty of the Texas Wesleyan theater department decided not to put on the play at all, after students involved expressed their discomfort, said Joe Brown, theater chair and professor of theater arts.

The theater program has produced plays about the Holocaust, the gay rights movement, religion and political extremism, and they have been well-regarded in the campus community, Professor Brown said. All of the upcoming plays this season will examine the theme of exclusion.

“Our motivation was what’s happening in the United States right now is pretty scary with women’s rights and L.G.B.T.Q. rights and voter suppression and Black rights,” he said. “There’s some scary things happening in different states, so we felt the timeliness of ‘Is history repeating itself?’”

Students in the play sought the guidance of D. Wambui Richardson, the artistic director of the Jubilee Theatre, early in the production process, since he has put on several other plays with similar themes. He has heard the critique that the approach of a play could be glorifying negative aspects of the Black experience, citing an act on police brutality as an example, Mr. Richardson said.

“Our response was if we’re not creating a space for the conversations to be had in a safe and nurturing environment, then those conversations are not being had,” he said.

He offered for the production of “Down In Mississippi” to be moved to his theater, but Mr. Richardson came to understand that the Fort Worth student community did not seem ready for it.

“A message is only as important and vital as the lips that will repeat it, the ears that will hear it and the legs that will carry it,” Mr. Richardson said.

As the only Black person on the production team, Mya Cockrell, who was responsible for the scenic design, had reservations but felt that she had to come to terms with a show that was moving forward.

She appreciated that members of the cast went out and spoke with people involved in the civil rights movement and learned about the history, but she said that the greater campus community would have benefited from that discussion.

“I personally don’t think that the theater was in a place to put on a show like this,” Ms. Cockrell said, “because I think there’s a lot more that we can do as a community to help people, and I don’t think we were necessarily doing that or educating people outside of the theater.”

October 7, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Barack Obama quote in the New York Times: “We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison.”

“We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled – doubled – since we were children. We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

– Barack Obama, New York Times

Original source: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/us/politics/15text-obama.html

Archived version: https://web.archive.org/web/20190218103937/https://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/us/politics/15text-obama.html

September 21, 2022. Tags: , , , , , . Barack Obama, Education, Parenting, Racism, Violent crime. 2 comments.

Sydney Rawls, a teacher from Tennessee, talks about the government bureaucracy regarding books

https://www.tiktok.com/@sydneyrawls/video/7131343584963398955

September 20, 2022. Tags: , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Police state. Leave a comment.

Sahar Tartak in the Wall St. Journal: My High School’s ‘Antiracist’ Agitprop: Teachers tried to bully me into signing a $375 student government check for a group promoting critical race theory. I refused.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/my-schools-antiracist-curriculums-education-teachers-students-open-minded-free-speech-racial-equity-systemic-racism-11663254720

My High School’s ‘Antiracist’ Agitprop: Teachers tried to bully me into signing a $375 student government check for a group promoting critical race theory. I refused.

By Sahar Tartak

September 15, 2020

I was educated in the school district ranked by Niche.com as America’s third-best. Immigrants from around the world come to Great Neck, N.Y., to raise their children. My best friend’s father was at the Tiananmen Square massacre. My classmates left behind their families in El Salvador. My mother escaped revolutionary Iran, and my grandfather escaped the Nazis.

Lately, though, the area’s diverse and liberal-minded residents may have reason to think their local school officials aren’t as open-minded as they thought. In 2021 Great Neck North High School directed the student government to give $375 of student funds to a “racial equity” group to speak to the student body about “systemic racism.” I was the student government’s treasurer, and I felt we didn’t know enough about the organization and its mission to disburse the funds. So I refused to sign the check.

In response, the teachers who advise the student government berated, bullied and insulted me at our next meeting, which took place over Zoom for my parents to overhear. They began by announcing that my social studies teacher would be present. Together, the three adults told me that the principal himself found my stance “appalling.” I had made them and the school “look bad,” they told me. One teacher said the situation gave her “hives.”

When I suggested that students might not need or want a lecture on systemic racism, my social-studies teacher asked whether I’d also oppose a Holocaust survivor’s presentation.

I objected to that comparison, but she cut me off: “If you’re not on board with systemic racism, I have trouble with that, girlfriend.”

When I didn’t back down, she made a bizarre accusation: “The fact that you think slavery is debatable . . .”

I logged off Zoom and started crying. My parents comforted me, and I decided I wasn’t going to sign that check.

That’s when I noticed how illiberal my liberal high school had become. I once expressed disagreement with the narrative of the “1619 Project,” and that same social-studies teacher snapped that I was opposed to hearing other perspectives. I had signed up for her class because it was described as “discussion-based,” but certain discussion seemed forbidden.

Later, a friend showed me a lesson from his English class—a Google Slides presentation urging that students pledge to work “relentlessly” in the “lifelong process” of “antiracism.” According to these slides, America is a place where racism is “no better today than it was 200 years ago.” I disagreed but didn’t mind the debate. Yet this wasn’t about debate: Immigrant children were being told to “pledge” to defend a view many of them don’t hold.

I doubt students could have comfortably objected in class. The lesson pre-empted criticism by imputing to them “white fragility,” which means they “close off self-reflection,” “trivialize the reality of racism,” and “protect a limited worldview.” The adult presenting this accusatory material was a teacher who had the power to grade them and affect their prospects of getting into college.

When parents caught wind of this presentation, their group chats exploded: “I feel like I live under a rock.” “I did not realize the extent of this at all.” “If you too are troubled by this, join us at the upcoming school board meeting.”

I decided to tell the school board about my treatment at the hands of teachers and school officials. I was nervous but I made my case. The response, to my shock, was a standing ovation. I also received many expressions of support from fed-up parents, from teachers who silently abhorred their one-sided “professional development” courses, and from students who had been punished by administrators for questioning the orthodoxy of systemic racism. (One of those students had been sent to the principal’s office for refusing to sign an “antihate” pledge.)

That experience prompted me and a few like-minded others to look into our school’s curriculums. What we found was an arsenal of lopsidedly race-obsessed lesson plans. One was about the American Psychological Association’s “Apology to People of Color” for its role in “Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism.” Another was titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” My favorite: “A Critical Race Theory Approach to The Great Gatsby.”

The schools in our district had always followed the guidelines of New York state’s comprehensive social-studies curriculum, which included teaching about the pervasiveness and evils of slavery, mistreatment of Native Americans, discrimination against Chinese immigrants and so on. What we discovered was something else—partisanship and race essentialism, mixed in with administrative intimidation and bullying that our officials refused to address.

District officials responded in the way school officials often do when criticized. They ignored us for as long as possible, then delayed taking action for as long as possible, clearly hoping everybody would forget the controversy and move on. They didn’t respond to my father’s freedom-of-information request until the day before a contentious school-board election. The board then promised to further investigate the curriculums, but we never heard anything after that. My school brought in a member of the state Education Department’s Board of Regents, to discuss curriculums, but that resulted in nothing.

I graduated last spring, but no one has moved on. Students and parents across the country are finally asking tough questions about anti-American curriculums. Immigrants like my mother and grandfather found refuge in America because for all its problems, it’s a wonderful place full of generous and open-minded people. The nation’s schools have a duty to teach students that basic truth.

Sahar Tartak is a freshman at Yale and a fellow at the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism.

September 17, 2022. Tags: , , , , , . Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Gender Studies Grad Demands Blue-Collar Worker Pay Off Her Loans

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIZd4x0mD0I

September 13, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Education, Humor, LGBT, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Gov. Kate Brown signed a law to allow Oregon students to graduate without proving they can write or do math. She doesn’t want to talk about it.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210807000800/https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2021/08/gov-kate-brown-signed-a-law-to-allow-oregon-students-to-graduate-without-proving-they-can-write-or-do-math-she-doesnt-want-to-talk-about-it.html

Gov. Kate Brown signed a law to allow Oregon students to graduate without proving they can write or do math. She doesn’t want to talk about it.

By Hillary Borrud

August 6, 2021

For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma will be no guarantee that the student who earned it can read, write or do math at a high school level.

Gov. Kate Brown had demurred earlier this summer regarding whether she supported the plan passed by the Legislature to drop the requirement that students demonstrate they have achieved those essential skills. But on July 14, the governor signed Senate Bill 744 into law.

Through a spokesperson, the governor declined again Friday to comment on the law and why she supported suspending the proficiency requirements.

Brown’s decision was not public until recently, because her office did not hold a signing ceremony or issue a press release and the fact that the governor signed the bill was not entered into the legislative database until July 29, a departure from the normal practice of updating the public database the same day a bill is signed.

The Oregonian/OregonLive asked the governor’s office when Brown’s staff notified the Legislature that she had signed the bill. Charles Boyle, the governor’s deputy communications director, said the governor’s staff notified legislative staff the same day the governor signed the bill.

Boyle said in an emailed statement that suspending the reading, writing and math proficiency requirements while the state develops new graduation standards will benefit “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

“Leaders from those communities have advocated time and again for equitable graduation standards, along with expanded learning opportunities and supports,” Boyle wrote.

Lawmakers and the governor did not pass any major expansion of learning opportunities or supports for Black, Indigenous and students of color during this year’s legislative session.

The requirement that students demonstrate freshman- to sophomore-level skills in reading, writing and, particularly, math led many high schools to create workshop-style courses to help students strengthen their skills and create evidence of mastery. Most of those courses have been discontinued since the skills requirement was paused during the pandemic before lawmakers killed it entirely.

Democrats in the legislature overwhelmingly supported ending the longtime proficiency requirement, while Republicans criticized it as a lowering of academic standards. A couple lawmakers crossed party lines on the votes.

Proponents said the state needed to pause Oregon’s high school graduation requirements, in place since 2009 but already suspended during the pandemic, until at least the class of 2024 graduates in order for leaders to reexamine its graduation requirements. Recommendations for new standards are due to the Legislature and Oregon Board of Education by September 2022.

However, since Oregon education officials have long insisted they would not impose new graduation requirements on students who have already begun high school, new requirements would not take effect until the class of 2027 at the very earliest. That means at least five more classes could be expected to graduate without needing to demonstrate proficiency in math and writing.

Much of the criticism of the graduation requirements was targeted at standardized tests. Yet Oregon, unlike many other states, did not require students to pass a particular standardized test or any test at all. Students could demonstrate their ability to use English and do math via about five different tests or by completing an in-depth classroom project judged by their own teachers.

A variety of factors appear to have led to the lack of transparency around the governor’s bill signing decisions this summer. Staff in the secretary of the state Senate’s office are responsible for updating the legislative database when the governor signs a Senate bill. Secretary of the Senate Lori Brocker said a key staffer who deals with the governor’s office was experiencing medical issues during the 15-day period between when Brown signed Senate Bill 744 and the public database was updated to reflect that.

Still, a handful of bills that the governor signed into law on July 19 — including a bill to create a training program for childcare and preschool providers aimed at reducing suspensions and expulsions of very young children — were updated in the legislative database the same day she signed them and email notifications were sent out immediately to people who signed up to track the bills.

No notification ever went out regarding the governor’s signing of the graduation bill. That was because by the time legislative staff belatedly entered the information into the bill database on July 29, the software vendor had shut off bill updates to member of the media and the public who had requested them. They cut it off because of a July 21 system malfunction, said legislative information services Systems Architect Bill Sweeney.

September 11, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

At Venice High School in Florida, an advanced placement and honors English teacher quit her job after the school ordered her to remove several books from her classroom shelves

Shame on the school for banning these books.

I trust the teacher to offer these books to her students.

This skilled and talented teacher is very brave to quit her job.

Atlas is shrugging.

Here’s the article:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/why-quit-sarasota-teachers-story-184654179.html

‘Why I quit’: a Sarasota teacher’s story

By Carrie Seidman

September 9, 2022

Janet Allen comes from a long line of educators. Her mother taught fourth grade, her father high school English. Her sister is a college professor and her brother was a teaching assistant before earning his MD.

“It’s sort of in my DNA,” says Allen, a national board-certified teacher rated “highly effective” during her time in the Sarasota County Schools district.

But this fall, for the first time in 16 years, Allen is not spending days in the classroom and nights grading papers. Last month – on the first day of the current academic year – Allen resigned from Venice High School, where she had taught Advanced Placement and Honors English since 2015.

“I didn’t quit until the last day for any other reason than hope,” Allen says. “Hope that something might change.”

Abruptly, she excuses herself to find some tissues.

“I might cry here,” Allen says apologetically. “It’s like a breakup. A very long, drawn-out breakup.”

Allen is among the teachers who felt so vilified, undermined and threatened by the legislative reforms instituted by Gov. Ron DeSantis that they chose to leave their jobs. The restrictions have not only hamstrung teachers, Allen says, but are harming students by undermining trust and depriving them of the education necessary to compete on a national level.

Allen, who recently shared her decision to leave with the blog Scary Mommy, says that in an effort to rile up his base for votes, DeSantis is “using the teachers and students as kindling and they are getting burned.”

“Education is about understanding as many different possibilities and perspectives as you can,” Allen says. You don’t have to agree with any of them. But to be exclusive with what kids learn is doing them such a great disservice.”

Allen began teaching in 2006 at an impoverished high school on Chicago’s north side with a largely minority and immigrant population. Her masters’ training at the University of Illinois at Chicago instilled a creative and experiential approach – for example, instead of a traditional report, Allen would ask students to create a commercial or a board game for the book they’d read – that proved highly successful.

When Allen and her husband moved to Florida in 2015 to be closer to her parents before the birth of their daughter, she was delighted to be hired at Venice High, a school where “nothing was dripping, I could use as much paper as I wanted – and there was air conditioning!”

The school seemed equally thrilled to have Allen. She says administrators often brought observers to her classroom to “show me off,” and that she was encouraged to “do my own thing.”

“I always branded myself as ‘teaching beyond the test,’” she says. “That I would teach critical thinking and that reading was not just for information, but interpretation. To get students to do something they didn’t think they could do and have it be a memorable thing for the rest of their lives . . . that’s the essence of learning.”

But Allen said she also “always treated my students as if their parents were in the room with me, as though anything was being recorded. I treated them with respect.”

When Allen discovered LGBTQ students at Venice High were being bullied, she volunteered to sponsor the school’s first GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance). From her years in Chicago, Allen knew that “sometimes the only place a kid feels safe is at school.” Almost immediately, she detected a shift.

“Whereas before I’d been seen as an asset,” Allen says, “now I was being seen as a liability.”

After the pandemic began – ostensibly for “practical reasons” — Allen says she was instructed to “get everyone on the same page” with standardized assessments. Last year administrations warned that teachers who taught anything outside of the pre-approved syllabus would not be “protected.” As mandates from the state increased and her autonomy dwindled, Allen struggled to maintain her standards.

Allen says she was pressured to change grades and forced to defend herself against lies spread when she became the GSA sponsor. She also says parental complaints were accepted without investigation, and that she was never asked for her side of the story in any conflict.

Allen had always gone above and beyond in her job, but now the stress, long hours and contentious atmosphere were taking a toll on her health and family.

The final straw came last spring when Allen says she was ordered to remove several books from her classroom shelves. One was Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” a book Allen says changed her life after her own sophomore English teacher gave it to her when she was bored.

“Maybe for some people it doesn’t seem like such a big thing to just take it off the shelf,” Allen says. “But for me it became ‘How much can I take? How much can I be a part of something where I’m sacrificing my entire teaching philosophy? If this is happening, what’s next?’”

Allen says that when even fellow teachers urged her to stop teaching certain material for fear of parental reprisal, she had nowhere left to turn for support.

“The message I got was that if I continued to be true to myself and teach the truth about literature and historical context, to allow kids to pick books that interested them and reflected their own lives or explored other cultures and experiences, to not tell on kids who prefer different pronouns, that it would only continue to make life harder for those around me,” she says. “Which would only make me feel even more unwelcome.”

Today Allen is a “room mom” in her 6-year-old daughter’s classroom; she is considering substitute teaching, but has no plans to return full time. She knows she’s fortunate to be able to make that choice but also feels she can “do more to help educators and education as a voter, a writer and a parent, unencumbered by the restrictions of being a teacher.”

A self-described “rebel” whose father, an active teacher’s union member, taught her to “speak truth to power,” Allen scoffs at the suggestion that speaking out publicly about her departure could sabotage future employment. “If burning bridges is what it takes, I’d be happy to burn them all,” Allen says.

“If parents had any idea of what is going on in the schools and how it is affecting teachers, they’d do the same thing. These kids are not going to be prepared for anything on a nationwide scale. And what does that mean about their being prepared for life? I’m much more interested in standing up for kids and educators than in having the opportunity to apply for a job with Sarasota County Schools.”

September 10, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Police state. 2 comments.

Carnegie Mellon University professor’s critical tweet about Queen Elizabeth II goes viral

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2022/09/08/carnegie-mellon-university-professor-tweet-about-queen-elizabeth-ii-goes-viral-uju-anya/stories/202209080145

Carnegie Mellon University professor’s critical tweet about Queen Elizabeth II goes viral

By Jesse Bunch

September 8, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University has responded to a Twitter thread posted by one of its professors that wished Queen Elizabeth II’s death would be “excruciating,” condemning the message that was sent out to her 84,000 followers on the platform.

Around 6 a.m. this morning, Uju Anya, a professor in CMU’s department of modern languages, posted the following message to her personal Twitter account.

“I heard the chief monarch of a thieving and raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.”

Twitter has since removed the message from the platform, citing that violated the company’s rules. But subsequent Tweets from Ms. Anya appearing to double down on her sentiments have since garnered both backlash and support.

Around 4:45 p.m., Carnegie Mellon responded to the Tweets in a statement posted to the university’s account:

https://twitter.com/CarnegieMellon/status/1567975991330615297

A Carnegie Mellon spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment on whether the school intends to take further against Ms. Anya.

According to the university’s website, Ms. Anya holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in applied linguistics, as well as degrees from Brown University and Dartmouth College.

Ms. Anya is listed as an associate professor of second language application.

September 8, 2022. Tags: , , , . Education, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

I wish that Democrats would answer my question: Why are Democrats funding student debt forgiveness with money from innocent taxpayers, instead of with money from the fraudulent colleges that sold worthless degrees?

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

September 5, 2022

I’m against student debt forgiveness.

But since it is happening, I have one question:

Why are Democrats funding student debt forgiveness with money from innocent taxpayers, instead of with money from the fraudulent colleges that sold worthless degrees?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1980 and 2020, regular inflation has caused average prices to increase by 228%.

However, during that same time period, college tuition has increased by 1,184%.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/hni7zy/us_college_tuition_fees_vs_overall_inflation_oc/

college tuition inflation

The student debt bailout is paying for hot tubs, spas, rock climbing walls, steaks, and movie theaters.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/caranewlon/2014/07/31/the-college-amenities-arms-race/

Another area where colleges waste money is in the worthless policy known as “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

The Federalist wrote:

“Some universities had strikingly large numbers of people with DEI responsibilities in their job titles. At the University of Michigan, for example, 163 people have formal responsibility for providing DEI programming and services. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has more than 13 times as many people devoted to promoting DEI as providing services to people with disabilities. Georgia Tech has 3.2 times as many DEI staff as it does history professors. The University of Virginia boasts 6.5 DEI staff for every 100 professors.”

The Center Square wrote:

“UC Berkeley employs 150 professionals and 250 additional students dedicated to addressing “systemic inequities,” according to a document obtained this week by The College Fix. The public research institution’s Division of Equity and Inclusion spends $25 million annually to support the 400 full and part-time staff to run diversity and inclusion-related programs, according to the document, an eight-page job description for a new Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion.”

So the real problem isn’t a lack of bailout money.

The real problem is that colleges are spending money on frivolous luxuries that have nothing to do with education, such as hot tubs, spas, rock climbing walls, steaks, and movie theaters, as well as on left wing brainwashing known as “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” with its overbloated budgets to pay huge numbers of employees who job duties have nothing to do with education.

Bailing out student loans doesn’t address these huge wastes of money.

On the contrary.

The bailout only gives colleges an incentive to raise their tuition even more.

I wish that Democrats would answer my question: Why are Democrats funding student debt forgiveness with money from innocent taxpayers, instead of with money from the fraudulent colleges that sold worthless degrees?

September 5, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Economics, Education, Equity, Government waste, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Jeremy Boland, Assistant Principal of Cos Cob Elementary School in Greenwich, Connecticut, has been placed on administrative leave after a Project Veritas video showed him confessing to illegally discriminating against prospective teachers who were Catholic or over 30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD2kM39S4d4

https://www.yahoo.com/news/connecticut-teachers-union-circles-wagons-170559875.html

Connecticut Teachers’ Union Circles the Wagons after Undercover Video Reveals Anti-Catholic Discrimination

By Caroline Downey

September 1, 2022

The Connecticut chapter of the largest teachers’ union in the country urged its district leaders to stonewall “unvetted” reporters who ask about a viral video which shows a Greenwich assistant principal admitting to discriminating against Catholic, conservative, and elderly job applicants.

After the video was released by Project Veritas on Wednesday, Greenwich Public Schools notified families and staff Wednesday evening that Cos Cob Elementary assistant principal Jeremy Boland was placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway.

“We have been alerted that Project Veritas has dropped a hit piece using an administrator in Greenwich. While a teacher was not used(so far) the narrative is that of hiring liberal teachers to indoctrinate students, so it is not kind to educators,” Kate Dias, president of the Connecticut Education Association wrote in an email obtained by National Review.

“Please do not search this,” Dias said of the Project Veritas exposé. “Veritas does not need our hits to drive traffic to the site. We will get a clean copy of the video tomorrow from NEA and will share it out as soon as it received.”

She instructed union leaders not to speak to reporters “that have not been vetted,” insisting that they “should not comment on the Greenwich video at all.”

“We know that Veritas uses this tactic to trap educators and union members into making incriminating statements. Don’t feed the beast,” she said. Dias implored union heads to spread the word that undercover journalists from the independent outlet are “lurking around.”

“Keep meetings closed and ensure your members are the only people present,” she said. “Remind your members that they could be the next victim of a hit piece if they aren’t fully aware of who they make comments to and what they say.

Boland told the Project Veritas reporter that he oversees the hiring of faculty and rejects applicants who espouse conservative or Catholic beliefs, are older than 30, or sympathize with concerns about parental rights in education. Instead, he recruits progressive instructors so that they may incorporate their ideology into classroom curricula in a “subtle” way.

“You don’t hire them,” he said of Catholic teaching candidates. “Because if someone is raised hardcore Catholic, it’s like they’re brainwashed. You can never change their mindset. So, when you ask them to consider something new, like a new opportunity, or ‘you have to think about this differently,’ they’re stuck — just rigid.”

“Believe it or not, the open-minded, more progressive teachers are actually more savvy about delivering a Democratic message without really ever having to mention politics,” Borland said.

September 1, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Project Veritas, Religion, Social justice warriors. 1 comment.

Video: Jeremy Boland, Assistant Principal of Cos Cob Elementary School in Greenwich, Connecticut, admits that when it comes to hiring teachers, he discriminates against conservatives, Catholics, and people over 30

This video from Project Veritas shows Jeremy Boland, Assistant Principal of Cos Cob Elementary School in Greenwich, Connecticut, admitting that when it comes to hiring teachers, he discriminates against conservatives, Catholics, and people over 30.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD2kM39S4d4

Here’s an article about it:

https://www.projectveritas.com/news/exposed-greenwich-ct-assistant-principals-hiring-discrimination-ensures/

EXPOSED: Greenwich CT Assistant Principal’s Hiring Discrimination Ensures ‘Subtle’ Child Indoctrination; ‘You Don’t Hire’ Catholics Because They Are More ‘Conservative’ … ‘Progressive Teachers’ Are ‘Savvy About Delivering a Democratic Message’

August 30, 2022

Jeremy Boland, Assistant Principal of Cos Cob Elementary School: “Believe it or not, the open-minded, more progressive teachers are actually more savvy about delivering a Democratic message without really ever having to mention politics.”

Boland: “So, it’s subtle. They [teachers I hire] will never say, ‘Oh, this is [a] liberal or a Democratic way of doing this.’ They’ll just make that the norm — and this is how we handle things, it’s subtle…That’s how you get away with it.”

Boland: “The conservative [teacher], who is stuck in her ways. I’ll never be able to fire her, and I’ll never be able to change her. So, I make an impact with the next teacher I hire.”

Boland: “Protestants in this area [of Connecticut] are probably the most liberal. But if they’re Catholic — conservative…You don’t hire them.”

Boland: “If someone is raised hardcore Catholic, it’s like, they’re brainwashed — you can never change their mindset.”

Boland: “For one position, I think we had 30 applicants. So out of all those applicants, I don’t think I interviewed anybody over the [age] of 30…the older you get, the more set in your ways — the more conservative you get.”

Connecticut Law, Section 46A-60B1, specifically bars discriminatory employment practices. A violation occurs if anyone refuses to hire or employ people “because of the individual’s race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression.”

[Greenwich, Conn. – Aug. 30, 2022] Project Veritas released the first video in its newly launched Education Series today exposing a senior official at a prominent public school.

Jeremy Boland, who serves as Cos Cob Elementary School’s Assistant Principal, was recorded bragging about how he oversees the hiring of teachers who will disseminate “progressive” political ideas in the classrooms:

Boland: You’re teaching them [children] how to think. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what they think about. If they think about it in a logical progressive way, that becomes their habit.

Veritas Journalist: So, you kind of like, gear them to think in a more liberal way?

Boland: Mm-hmm. Believe it or not, the open minded, more progressive teachers are actually more savvy about delivering a Democratic message without really ever having to mention politics.
The school administrator noted it is difficult to terminate an employed teacher, so his focus is on who to onboard next:

Boland: Remember that teacher I was talking about before? The forty-year-old? I’ll never change that teacher.

Veritas Journalist: You’re what?

Boland: I’ll never be able to change that teacher.

Veritas Journalist: Which one?

Boland: The conservative one, who is stuck in her ways. I’ll never be able to fire her, and I’ll never be able to change her. So, I make an impact with the next teacher I hire. So, my instinct for hiring — I’ve hired maybe four or five people. They’re pretty good.

Veritas Journalist: Okay.

Boland: So, that’s where I make my impact.
He explains to the Veritas journalist how the teachers he hires will advance his political and ideological objectives:

Boland: So, it’s subtle. They [teachers I hire] will never say, “Oh, this is [a] liberal or a Democratic way of doing this.” They’ll just make that the norm. And this is how we handle things, it’s subtle.

Veritas Journalist: And that’s how you get away with it?

Boland: That’s how you get away with it.

Veritas Journalist: And how do you make sure the parents don’t find out?

Boland: They can find out, so long as you never mention [the] politics of it.
The Assistant Principal is clear about how he judges a prospective teacher who sympathizes, in a hypothetical scenario, with parents during the interview process:

Veritas Journalist: Okay, so someone sides with the parent, then what?

Boland: You let them explain, and then you move on to the next question.

Veritas Journalist: But then eventually [what is] the outcome of that?

Boland: They don’t get the job.
Transgender ideology in school was also an issue discussed in the video. It has been a controversial topic, especially amongst parents, in recent years.

On this matter, Boland affirms that any teacher who refuses to acknowledge a child’s gender preferences has no place in his Elementary School.

“So, if you have someone [teacher] who is hardcore religious or hardcore conservative, they will probably say something detrimental to the effect, ‘Well, I don’t think kids have enough knowledge to make that decision [gender identity] at this age,’” Boland said.

“You’re out. You’re done,” he concluded.

Boland admitted to the Veritas journalist that he discriminates against potential hires based on their religion:

Boland: I’m not a huge expert on religion, but Protestants in this area [of Connecticut] are probably the most liberal. But if they’re Catholic — conservative.

Veritas Journalist: Oh, so then what do you do with the Catholics? If you find out someone is Catholic, then what?

Boland: You don’t hire them.

Veritas Journalist: So, would you ever hire a Catholic then?

Boland: No, I don’t want to…Because if someone is raised hardcore Catholic, it’s like they’re brainwashed. You can never change their mindset. So, when you ask them to consider something new, like a new opportunity, or “you have to think about this differently,” they’re stuck — just rigid.
The Elementary School administrator goes on to say that he discriminates against older individuals as well.

“I need younger [teachers]. So, because Greenwich pays very well, you get teachers from other districts who have been there for a long time, that want to come to Greenwich. But if they’re older, I’m not allowed to do that — I can’t tell them, ‘I’m not interviewing you because you’re older.’ I just don’t interview them. So, for one position, I think we had 30 applicants. So out of all those applicants, I don’t think I interviewed anybody over the [age] of 30…Because sometimes the older you get, the more set in your ways, the more conservative you get.”

August 31, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , . Education, Project Veritas, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Student debt bailout pays for hot tubs, spas, rock climbing walls, steaks, and movie theaters

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

August 26, 2022

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1980 and 2020, regular inflation has caused average prices to increase by 228%. However, during that same time period, college tuition has increased by 1,184%.

Source for image:

college tuition inflation

And what are colleges doing with all this extra money?

Forbes wrote:

The College Amenities Arms Race

A free movie theater. A 25 person hot tub and spa with a lazy river and whirlpool. A leisure pool with biometric hand scanners for secure entry. A 50 foot climbing wall to make exercise interesting. And a top-of-the-line steak restaurant with free five course meals.

This isn’t a list of items from a resort brochure. They’re facilities you can find on a college campus. And with college construction costs rising, it could be the best four-year getaway you’ve ever had.

In “Country Club as College,” a paper published last year, University of Michigan researchers examined college financial consumption against enrollment.

“We found that the lower ability students and higher income students have a greater willingness to pay for these amenities,” says Brian Jacob, a researcher from the University of Michigan. “The more academic, high achieving students cared about intellectual achievement.”

In other words? Harvard University might not spend approximately $700 million to renovate their campus, but High Point University would. Under the leadership of President Nido Qubein, High Point’s campus has grown into a collegiate theme park, complete with plasma televisions in dorm rooms, a free movie theater, and steak restaurant.  And their five-star, country club accommodations have made the percent admitted decline from 86.1% in 2002 to 64.2% in 2012.

The University of Iowa has an estimated $53 million campus recreation center, complete with an 18 foot diving well, bubble benches, and lazy river. Texas Tech University has a veritable water park in their backyard. California State University, Fullerton has a 30 foot rock wall. And California State University, Long Beach has a $70 million wellness center with hand scanners for secure entry.

So the real problem isn’t a lack of bailout money. The real problem is that colleges are spending money on frivolous luxuries that have nothing to do with education.

Bailing out student loans doesn’t address this problem.

On the contrary. The bailout only gives colleges an incentive to raise their tuition even more.

August 26, 2022. Tags: , , , , . Economics, Education, Government waste, Social justice warriors, Student debt bailout. Leave a comment.

Los Angeles high school principal Richelle Brooks says she shouldn’t have to pay back her $230,000 in student debt. Schools should teach their students about personal responsibility. Principal Brooks is teaching her students the exact opposite.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

August 25, 2022

This essay was written by a Los Angeles high school principal named Richelle Brooks. She thinks that she should not have to pay back her $230,000 in student debt. She is setting a bad role model for her students. Schools should teach personal responsibility. Principal Brooks is teaching her students the exact opposite.

Here are some of the rules of personal responsibility that Principal Brooks is teaching her students to break:

1) Keep your promises. If you borrow money and sign a contract where you promise to pay it back, keep your promise.

2) Don’t borrow money if you can’t afford to pay it back.

3) Live within your means.

4) Take responsibility for your actions.

Here is the essay by Principal Brooks:

https://therealnews.com/opinion-i-am-not-asking-for-debt-forgiveness-i-am-demanding-justice

Opinion | I am not asking for ‘debt forgiveness.’ I am demanding justice

President Biden has the power to cancel all student loan debt with a stroke of his pen, a move that will ensure Black women like me have, for perhaps the first time, a real shot at prosperity

By Dr. Richelle Brooks

March 31, 2022

When I graduated from college, I knew my purpose was to serve this country’s most vulnerable. For the last eight years, I have served as an educator and high school principal in Los Angeles, California, and in 2021 I founded ReTHINK It, a nonprofit that addresses the material needs of marginalized communities. I have dedicated myself to empowering and educating young people and advocating for folks victimized by systemic and systematic oppression.

But I drastically underestimated the cost of this work—both personal and financial.

At present, I owe $230,000 dollars in student loan debt. Like countless borrowers, I owe more than I did when I first graduated college. I am but one example of the stark racial disparity governing the student debt-loan crisis: After 12 years of payments, the typical white male in the US has paid off 44% of his student loan balance, while the typical balance for Black women borrowers grows by 13%.

On April 4, debtors and our allies from around the country will head to the doorsteps of the Department of Education in Washington, DC, to demonstrate our collective strength and send a clear message that Joe Biden must do more than simply extend the payment moratorium. He has the power to cancel all student loan debt with a stroke of his pen, a move that will ensure Black women have, for perhaps the first time, a real shot at prosperity.

For years, I believed my student loan debt was the result of my personal failings—a lie that countless borrowers, particularly those who are Black or from poor and working-class families, come to internalize. Then, in September of 2020, I joined the Debt Collective, an organization fighting for the abolition of all forms of debt through the creation of a debtor’s union. Soon, I became one of the Biden Jubilee 100; we declared ourselves on strike from ever repaying our student loan balance, and demanded the full cancellation of student loan debt within President Biden’s first 100 days in office.

Joining the Debt Collective allowed me to finally politicize my experience. More importantly, it showed me that I was not alone: All student loan debt is the result of the systemic failures in this country. And the policy decisions and economic arrangements that created this system, which has buried generations under mountains of un-repayable student loan debt, comprise a catastrophic societal failure that can and must be rectified.

Growing up, I was told that achieving the American Dream would require going to college so I could secure a career. Home ownership, one of the most important ways that families build intergenerational wealth, is comically beyond reach. In my hometown of Carson, California, the median home price has increased over the past year by 19.7% to over $700,000.

Racist banking practices have also made the prospect of home ownership increasingly infeasible for Black borrowers. Wells Fargo has faced renewed public scrutiny in recent weeks, following a bombshell Bloomberg report that found the bank had denied home loans to 53% of its Black applicants in 2020, at the height of the pandemic-induced crisis and the ensuing economic hardship. The highest-earning Black families, or those earning over $168,000 a year, were approved for home loans at a rate nearly identical to the lowest-earning white families, or those earning less than $63,000 a year. The blatant discrimation was infuriating, yet hardly surprising.

For my generation, the American Dream feels like just that, a dream—it is never going to become reality. With my student loan debt, owning a house of my own is a hopeless fantasy.

The same goes for most millennials. According to one recent survey, student loan debt has kept some 35% of millennial borrowers from buying a home—nearly double the amount of baby boomers. It is especially hopeless for those of us from poor and working-class communities. Student loan debt decimates our credit-worthiness, barring many from ever owning a home.

For millions of us, wage discrimination makes the dream even more illusory. Although Black women make up a substantial share of the workforce, they earn just 63% of what white men are paid. Overall, women across nearly all races and ethnicities experience higher rates of poverty than men, a disparity due largely to single motherhood and the gender pay gap. But Black women are disproportionately represented among all women living in poverty: In the US, they constitute 22.3% of women living in poverty, but only 12.8% of the population.

As women aim to “pull themselves” and their families out of poverty, low and stagnant wages fail to allow them to make a living. Debt piles up. Women graduate college owing, on average, about $22,000—for men, it’s $18,880. Black women graduate college owing nearly twice the debt of men, an average of $37,558. Thanks to astounding interest rates, these balances grow over time.

Without assertive action from the Biden administration, many families will be unable to free themselves from the shackles of debt. Between 1989 and 2019, the national household net worth for white families grew from $462,000 to a whopping $953,000; meanwhile, the national household net worth for Black families only moved slightly, from $82,000 to $141,000.

Evidence shows that the racial wealth gap is growing wider, decade after decade. Student loan debt will exacerbate this as the indebtedness of Black families continues to grow. While white families can and tend to pass on their wealth and net worth to succeeding generations, Black families pass on debt and use their resources to support family members who also lack wealth and net worth. On average and in the aggregate, wealth compounds with each generation for white families, while indebtedness compounds with each generation for Black families. We are fighting now for the survival of our children and their children.

As I came to be more involved with the Debt Collective, I watched Black women suffer under their growing loan balances, even as they continued to show up for their families, communities, and this nation. But I also realized that, together, we had power beyond anything I could have imagined.

Black women have been outspoken about the perverse systems barring us from any form of upward mobility. We are doing everything “right” to ensure our future generations aren’t forced into the same dire situations: going to college, graduating, pursuing well-paying careers, attempting to purchase homes and build savings and resources so we can pass them on to future generations. But we cannot dismantle entire systems without the help of those who most benefit from our marginalization.

Specifically, this means white men, the most privileged demographic in this country—they must use their power, wealth, and social capital, to repair the harm endured by people who are categorically oppressed by the very system that empowers them. The longer Joe Biden fails to act, the longer he perpetuates the violence of a white supremacist system that further traps us in debt.

By canceling student loan debt, Joe Biden could create jobs, stimulate the economy, and narrow the racial wealth gap. Doing so would keep trillions of dollars in the hands of people and communities. Families would have less debt and more money to spend, providing immediate and direct economic stimulus to those impacted most by the pandemic: Black families and other families of color. Debt cancellation would provide Black families, especially millennial-parent households, a chance at home ownership, immediately increasing the possibility of building up one’s net worth and having intergenerational wealth to pass on. It’s that simple.

As countless pundits have noted, Black women voters saved the country from a second Trump term, all without adequate recognition or compensation. Empty praise and calls to “thank Black women” are not enough. We need material redistribution and economic transformation. We are owed nothing less.

We have paid enough—and I say no more. I am not asking for “debt forgiveness.” I am demanding justice.

August 25, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Economics, Education, Social justice warriors. 1 comment.

These UCLA students don’t know what the capital of the United States is. This is proof that getting into college is way too easy. No wonder why so many college students think that borrowing money doesn’t entail paying it back.

This new video from James Klug is called, “BRUTAL: Gen Z Fails To Answer The EASIEST Questions.”

He asks adults the following questions. They don’t know the answers:

What’s the capital of the United States?

How many stars are on the United States flag?

What ocean is on the east side of the United States?

What country is the Queen of England from?

What was Adolf Hitler’s first name?

What is two times two times one?

Who was the first President of the United States?

They don’t know the answers.

This is proof that getting into college is way too easy.

No wonder why so many college students think that borrowing money doesn’t entail paying it back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsDVwYqs0ws

August 24, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Math. Leave a comment.

Lauren Chen: The Left Hates Asians (The Affirmative Action Debate)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkRB-X0vWlU

August 20, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, Violent crime. Leave a comment.

Clay County father’s mic cut off at school board meeting while reading high school library book

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcpRW4ySaG8

https://www.yahoo.com/news/clay-county-father-mic-cut-211133168.html

Clay County father’s mic cut off at school board meeting while reading high school library book

By Jake Stofan

July 19, 2022

A Clay County parent’s dispute with his school board has gotten national attention after he had his microphone turned off while attempting to read a passage out of a book from the Fleming Island High School library, which he considered “pornographic.”

Bruce Friedman is part of a national group called No Left Turn, which keeps a list of books parents have objected to across the country.

He found at least three examples in Clay County Schools he wanted pulled from library shelves, including one book at the Fleming Island High School library, “Lucky” by Alice Sebold.

The book’s description on Amazon characterizes it as a memoir of the author, who was brutally raped at 18 and chronicles her recovery.

Bruce Friedman sees it very differently.

“I don’t know a good parent that wants their child to read porn,” said Friedman.

Friedman took his concerns to the June 30 meeting of the Clay County School Board.

When he attempted to read an excerpt from the book, he was cut off.

“Turn off his microphone please,” said one of the members at the meeting not shown on camera.

The explanation he was given was, “There’s state laws that prohibit, and federal communications laws that prohibit you from publishing these things to a child,” said the person on the microphone.

In a statement provided by a district spokesperson, a similar explanation was given for cutting off Friedman’s microphone.

“When addressing the board, since our meetings are televised, we must abide by FCC laws and regulations,” said the spokesperson.

“Ironic, isn’t it?” said Friedman.

The district informed us an official complaint against “Lucky” was filed after the meeting, and the book has been temporarily pulled from the shelf pending an official review.

Friedman is glad the book is gone, but says he should have never had to complain.

“Why did I have to be the guy who found it? Why am I doing your job? Your job is to protect our children and educate them and send them home safely on the bus. The end,” said Friedman.

According to the district, the book was first purchased in May 2005.

The library had only one copy, which was checked out a total of 14 times since it was purchased.

The last time it had been checked out before being pulled was May 17, 2017.

July 21, 2022. Tags: , , . Books, Cancel culture, Education. Leave a comment.

Los Angeles public schools training teachers that ‘merit,’ ‘individualism’ rooted in ‘whiteness’

https://www.yahoo.com/news/los-angeles-public-schools-training-161055638.html

Los Angeles public schools training teachers that ‘merit,’ ‘individualism’ rooted in ‘whiteness’

By Jessica Chasmar

July 5, 2022

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is training teachers and staff that “merit” and “individualism” are concepts rooted in “whiteness” that must be challenged in schools.

LAUSD required all employees to undergo “implicit/unconscious bias training” guided by Tyrone Howard, a critical race theory (CRT) advocate and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, prior to the 2021-2022 school year.

The training materials, which were obtained by Fox News Digital through a California Public Records Act (PRA) request, instructed educators to work toward being “antiracist” by challenging whiteness at school, which Howard argued exists in the concepts of “merit” and “individualism.”

“This idea that white is the standard, white is the norm, white is our default has to be challenged,” Howard said in the training video.

Merit, or meritocracy, “assumes that each person operates and achieves based on his or her own personal capacity,” the training handout reads. “It incorporates the notion that the work put forth, the effort invested, explains why some groups and individuals do well and others do not. It does not consider historical factors or account for opportunities, advantages, and privileges to which some groups have access both historically and in the present.”

“The idea of meritocracy,” Howard said in the video, “I think we have to challenge that because we have to recognize that some groups have had much more opportunities, some groups have had far more advantages, and some groups have certain types of privileges that other groups have not had.”

Meanwhile, individualism, according to the training handout, “proposes that each person is responsible for his or her outcomes. It is very much tied to merit, wherein group responsibility and accountability are not goals. Personal success and achievement are the goals. This belief operates from a survival-of-the-fittest approach that stresses singular pursuit and accomplishment.”

Howard argued in the video that “the notion of individualism runs counter” to many LAUSD students’ “own cultural norms, which say ‘it’s not about me, it’s about we.’”

The training handout included a section about dismantling the “myth of meritocracy” that included examples of “microaggressions,” including the statement, “Everyone can succeed in the society if they work hard enough,” and “men and women have equal opportunities for achievement.” The training then offered an intervention example for dealing with the microaggressor, such as, “So you feel that everyone can succeed in the society if they work hard enough. Can you give me some examples?”

LAUSD employees who underwent the training were also required to “identify the specific ways the constructs of privilege, whiteness, merit and individualism may be present in your setting” and “determine the immediate changes you will personally make, small or large, to promote increased racial and cultural sensitivity, inclusiveness and awareness in your work.”

LAUSD mandated the training last May, saying in a memo that its goal was to create inclusive schools and to eliminate bias in the classroom.

July 9, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Here’s yet another news article about the “struggles” of a “low income,” “single mom,” where the article makes exactly zero mention of the father of the children

Insider just published this article about the “struggles” of a “low income” “single mom.” The article makes exactly zero mention of the father of the children.

The mainstream media has been doing everything it can to try to normalize the idea that children don’t need a father. I’ve previously written about this kind of thing here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In this particular case, the mother wants the government to give her $187,000 in taxpayers’ money. That’s the amount of money that the mother borrowed under her own name to pay for her children to go to college so they could become “successful.”

So here’s my question: If these children are “successful,” why aren’t they willing to use their own money to pay back the loans?

https://www.yahoo.com/news/single-mom-took-187-000-101500206.html

A single mom who took on $187,000 in student debt for her kids wishes Biden would consider parents in his loan-forgiveness plans: ‘I just don’t feel like it’s fair that we’re overlooked’

By Ayelet Sheffey

June 18, 2022

* Biden’s reported debt-forgiveness plan likely won’t include parents who took out loans for their kids.

* Adria Mansfield, 43, has $187,000 in parent PLUS student loans she took out for her kids’ college.

* It was the only way she could give her kids a higher education, and she can’t afford to pay it off.

Adria Mansfield will do whatever it takes to give her children the best futures — even if it involves a six-figure student-debt load.

The problem for her lies in President Joe Biden’s broad student-loan-forgiveness plans, and the fact that parents haven’t been included in that conversation.

“Half of our children would not be able to go to school and become successful if it weren’t for the parents,” said Mansfield, 43. “And I just don’t feel like it’s fair that we’re overlooked.”

Mansfield’s $187,300 student-debt load comes from parent PLUS loans that she took out for two of her kids, which allowed her to borrow the full cost of attendance minus any financial aid the child already received. About 3.7 million families hold parent PLUS loans that total $104 billion. Those types of federal loans have the highest interest rate at 6.28%, and they’re set to increase to 7.54% in July.

Working in a school as a behavior facilitator and being the sole provider for her kids, Mansfield didn’t make enough to pay out-of-pocket tuition at one public and one private university for her kids. She took out the maximum amount of PLUS loans for two of her children and plans to do the same for her daughter who is graduating high school this year. She says it was the only way she could ensure her kids would get a higher education.

While Biden is considering $10,000 in student-loan forgiveness for undergraduate borrowers making under $150,000, parents and graduate students haven’t been included in those plans, and Mansfield said she’s looking at payments for the foreseeable future without options for relief.

“Society pressures our kids so much into needing college because you have to get a degree to have a better job, so I felt it was important because that’s what my kids wanted to do,” Mansfield said. “But now we’re being punished for taking out loans so our children will be successful.”

‘Feeding my children and taking care of our necessities is my first choice’

After her children graduated college in 2017 and 2019, Mansfield was placed on an income-driven repayment plan that allowed her to temporarily make $0 monthly payments because of her low income. While she said not having to make those payments was helpful, the interest continued to build, making it almost impossible for her to get ahead of her debt — and she said that element has affected her “tremendously.”

“I had this debt on my credit, and it was restricting me from getting a house because my student-loan amount was so high that the lenders didn’t even want to lend me money to buy a house,” Mansfield said. “And I certainly don’t make enough money to pay off the loan, and feeding my children and taking care of our necessities is my first choice.”

Mansfield isn’t alone in her struggles — many other parents have taken out student loans under their own names to provide for their kids, and they’re left paying off debt that gets higher and higher because of surging interest. A recent report from The Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank, said the average PLUS-loan borrower still has 55% of the initial balance remaining after 10 years of repayment — and 38% after 20 years, which means most parents spend more time paying off student loans than they did raising their kids.

Kristin Blagg, a researcher at the Urban Institute, previously told Insider that the idea of giving loans to a student is so they’ll earn enough money with a degree to pay the debt back, but that’s not the case for parents.

“The math for parents, particularly if they’re really unable to pay the college tuition and other costs at the moment their child is going to school, that math doesn’t quite work out because the parents aren’t necessarily receiving that benefit of a college education,” Blagg said.

‘We need to be considered in the loan forgiveness’

Biden hasn’t yet confirmed an amount of student-loan relief he’s considering, and the only definitive statement he’s made so far on the topic is that $50,000 in relief — an amount progressives were pushing for — is off the table. But it’s likely the relief will focus on undergraduates, which would leave those with PLUS loans in the dark.

Peter Granville, a senior policy associate at The Century Foundation, recently told Politico the reason parents haven’t been included in the loan-forgiveness conversation might be because when it comes to parent PLUS loans “there’s very little data on these parents themselves,” and there’s “much less known about actual parents and their outcomes when it comes to taking on these loans.”

Either way, Mansfield hopes whatever decision Biden makes won’t exclude the borrowers who did what they needed to do to help their children succeed.

“I just want us parents that have put our name on the dotted line so that our children can be successful to be considered in the fact that we, too, have struggles,” Mansfield said. “We took the loans out for our children to be successful. We need to be considered in the loan forgiveness as well.”

June 18, 2022. Tags: , , , , , . Education, Media bias, Parenting. Leave a comment.

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.

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