Monday, May 23, 2016

Marine Can't Wear Her Uniform To Graduation

The background:
An Illinois high school is facing backlash after refusing to let a U.S. Marine walk at her graduation while wearing her dress blues.

Marine Corps Pvt. Megan Howerton technically graduated from McHenry West High School several months ago, finishing up early so she could attend bootcamp, but she attended Thursday’s ceremony so she could walk with the rest of her class, a local ABC News affiliate reported.

When she arrived at her graduation in full uniform, officials determined she violated the dress code and wouldn’t let her participate without wearing the traditional gown, the station reported.
It shouldn't surprise you to learn that I side with the school on this one.

As a Marine, young Pvt. Howerton should understand the concept of a "uniform"--which, at graduation, means a specific cap and gown.  While her accomplishment in becoming a Marine is certainly one to be lauded, a high school graduation is not the right venue for that.  She wore her Marine uniform at her graduation from boot camp, when and where it was the appropriate uniform.  I don't think the Marine Corps would have approved of a "compromise" to wear her uniform under her cap and gown; I assume that would have been against regulations.

Dressing requirements for graduations are published well in advance of the event; it couldn't have been a surprise to her that she would be expected to wear the appropriate cap and gown.  Absent further information it appears to me that she just wanted to stand out, and that is not what a high school graduation is for.

Single Sex Classes

If the study referenced here is valid, would we in the United States think that single sex classes would be worth the philosophical cost?
Single-sex education improves outcomes for boys and girls, concluding a working paper by economist C. Kirabo Jackson, a Northwestern professor.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

George Orwell, Call Your Office

Despite the evidence:
The Portland Public Schools board voted last week to ban any materials that cast doubt on climate change, the Portland Tribune reported.

According to the resolution passed May 17, the school district must remove any textbooks and other materials that suggest climate change is not occurring or that says human beings are not responsible for it...

A petition, meanwhile, circulated by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) currently lists nearly 32,000 signers, including 9,000 Ph.D.s, who say, “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Is This How She'd Run The Presidency?

This morning I started receiving emails from Hillary Clinton and her campaign.  Not being interested in participating in this joke, I went to the bottom of the email and clicked on the "unsubscribe" link.  Twice I entered my email address and twice I received a message saying I could not unsubscribe.

Success with Russia. Success with Libya. Success with a Web site.

A couple minutes ago I tried a third time; this time I appear successful.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Candy In The Staff Lounge

It's an open secret at my school that if you want to kill off the staff, just leave poisoned food in the staff lounge.  We're a bunch of chowhounds in there, we eat everything.

Today I saw something new, a small basket of candy:
The wrapper is about 2" long, and the candy is like a fruit rollup.  As I said, in our staff lounge we eat everything, so I tried one.  Not horrible.

Then I turned the wrapper over:
That's right, boys and girls, MADE IN IRAN.

I now see the results of the deal President Obama made with them.  We get candy, they get nukes.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Army Softball

I wish our politicians wanted to win our wars as much as this cadet wanted to score a run in softball.

It's All About The Students, Right?

The SF/California way, ideology over practicality:
Under pressure from the teachers’ union, the San Francisco School Board voted to suspend Teach for America’s contract for the coming school year, writes Tracy Dell’Angela on Education Post.

Who will teach instead?
The 15 San Francisco classrooms that would have been staffed by TFA corps members — yep, only 15 — are now going to be filled by either long-term subs or untrained college grads with emergency certification”....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I Foresee "Issues"

This isn't quite how I would respond to the "let them use whichever bathroom they want" issue if I were a school administrator:
High schoolers in North Carolina may soon be allowed to carry pepper spray with them, a policy that one board member considers useful for students in light of President Obama’s recent order concerning transgender bathrooms.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education ruled in favor of the use of pepper spray on school campuses, beginning in the fall of 2016. However, the board will review this ruling on May 23.

“Depending on how the courts rule on the bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on the female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in,” board member Chuck Hughes told the Salisbury Post, in reference to the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice following the state’s signing of HB2.

Logarithms, or, It Was A Good Day

A month or so ago, many of my pre-calculus students didn't do so well on a test on logarithms.  At all.  Do you watch Game of Thrones?  Did you see the Red Wedding episode?  Yeah, it was kinda like that.

They're too wedded to their calculators--which didn't help much on the "no calculator allowed" portion of the test.  A couple of weeks ago I put them through my 5-day "logarithm boot camp".  I taught them how to use a logarithm table, and then we get going.  By the 5th day they were smoothly solving problems that, before, they might have been able to solve with a calculator.  I wouldn't say they were solving such problems with ease, as the problems most certainly were not easy, but they were solving them confidently and correctly--and that's plenty good.

Final exams are coming up next week and we're deep into review.  I don't have any logarithm problems on the final exam but don't want to leave the topic out of our course review, so today we played Logarithm Jeopardy.  I had downloaded a PowerPoint of a Jeopardy template, made up categories and questions, and the game was on.

I wish you could have seen them.  I had kids all over the class, working individually or in groups, answering the questions and solving the problems.  Sometimes they'd make mistakes, and that's OK--because as soon as I'd start to explain the answer they'd see their mistake, cut me off, and tell me what their mistake was.  Most of them were getting the answers correct, though.

Confident and correct.  And excited to be answering those questions.  My students were excited to be answering questions about logarithms.

It was a good day.

In Danger of Failing

We're required to notify parents of any senior who may not pass our classes and, hence, is "in danger of failing".  Of my 90 or so seniors, 5 are in danger of failing.

The devil, though, is in the details.  In my statistics classes the final exam counts for 20% of a student's overall grade.  Thus, any student going into the final exam with a grade under 75% has a mathematical possibility of failing.  If I remember correctly, though, 4 of those 5 have grades between 70 and 75%, which means they would have to score less than 20% on the final exam in order to fail the course.

But I still had to send out those emails today, to the dismay of the parent who emailed me back almost immediately.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Individuals my differ on specific points--I disagreed with a couple of Mark Levin's points in The Liberty Amendments, for example--but in general, this is a good starting point for a nation based on conservative principles:
It’s becoming pretty clear that, like their Democrat forefathers, today’s Democrats are convinced that America is entirely too free and that they must take their blue states and secede. We normals no longer meet their high moral standards, what with our insistence on believing in God, having a voice in our governance, and our primitive desire not to have men lurking in women’s restrooms. Plus guns.

Fine. Let them go. Good riddance. We’ll be able to pray and have our voices heard by government even as we continue to embrace anti-#Science concepts like chromosomes determining your sex. Plus guns.

You liberals should take your blue state coastal enclaves and become the United States of Sweden. Just remember that you will have made your Ikea futon and you’ll have to sleep in it.

Here are 11 principles to embrace as we move forward after the blue states leave us.
Of course, #1 is the most important of all; without it, the others are meaningless:
1. We must re-ratify the Constitution, only this time we need to actually mean it. Our Constitution needs to say what it says and not what some Ivy League judge angling for Georgetown cocktail party invitations wishes it says. We will become a beacon of freedom when the blue states’ Supreme Court finds the whole Bill of Rights unconstitutional.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Selling Books To Students

It appears the rules in New York are the same as in California--you can't compel students to buy class materials, even at a loss:
An award-winning Brooklyn English teacher’s decision to provide each of his students with a copy of the Mary Shelley classic “Frankenstein” has thrust him into a real-life horror story.

Todd Friedman, a 29-year public-school veteran who teaches at Midwood High School, was put on administrative duty — and faces possible termination — after the city Department of Education slapped him with disciplinary charges.

His crime: He personally ordered 102 paperback copies of the novel from a publisher last September for his Advanced Placement students.

Friedman, 61, paid for the books out of his own pocket — about $220 with shipping — then sold them to students for $2 apiece to recoup most of the expenses.
What if this is true?
He noted that students spent $6 for “Hamlet” at the school bookstore, triple what he asked to recoup his layout for “Frankenstein.”

“Nobody had an issue with that,” Friedman said. “This has been going on for decades.”
I don't think the guy should be fired, but I'm forced to wonder exactly why students should be paying for books at all at a public school.  If this book is part of the curriculum, why doesn't the school have it?  And if it's not part of the curriculum, why is he teaching it?

There are a lot of questions here, and any sunlight that shines on the problem will be good.

I Couldn't Say It Any Better Myself

From Joanne:
It’s locker rooms. I just can’t see requiring girls to undress and shower with a biological male. I took four years of P.E. in high school (by Illinois state law): I remember how embarrassed girls were to get naked in front of other girls. Don’t non-transgender students have privacy rights? Justice Ruth Ginsberg thinks they do.

While I don’t fear transgender students will molest classmates, I do worry that creepy “cis” guys will see an opportunity to invade locker rooms.

In college dorms, transgender students would have a right “to access housing consistent with their gender identity.” So, your daughter could share a room with a biological male who identifies as female, while your son could be undressing in front of a biological female who identifies as male.

I think many middle-of-the-road voters will share those qualms, question whether shared locker rooms and dorm rooms are a civil right and resent being called bigots.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Today's University Race Problems Were Not Only Predictable But Predicted

The amazing 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today:
As that essay was going to press, Heterodox Academy member Amy Wax sent us the text of an astonishing letter written in 1969, at the dawn of racial preferences, from Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal. Judge Fleming had written a personal letter to Louis Pollack, the dean of Yale Law School. Fleming was concerned about the plan Dean Pollack had recently announced under which Yale would essentially implement a racial quota – 10% of each entering class would be composed of black students. To achieve this goal, Yale had just admitted 43 black students, only five of whom had qualified under their normal standards. (The exchange of letters was later made public with the consent of both parties; you can read the full text of both letters here.)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Coins and Star Trek, together in one place:
OTTAWA, ONTARIO, STAR DATE: MAY 12, 2016 - The Royal Canadian Mint, under license by CBS Consumer Products, is set to uncover a new world of collectibles celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series.  The unforgettable characters and imagery of the revolutionary TV show, which has captivated legions of fans in Canada and around the world since 1966, have been captured on a stunning variety of coins devoted to the original series.  
The entire press release is here, and the coins are here.  Should that latter link ever go away, here's a screenshot:
click to enlarge
I'm sure these will be for sale at Vul-con, which I am attending :)

Update:  The US Postal Service is releasing some Star Trek stamps this year but their web site doesn't state when they'll be released or even allow for a pre-order.  They are also releasing a Jaime Escalante stamp!  Both the Star Trek set and the Escalante stamp can be seen here.  Having just ordered my Star Trek coins from the RCM, I'll need these Star Trek stamps, too, as well as an Escalante.

White Privilege

I've long enjoyed Alfonzo Rachel's videos, and this one is no exception: