Saturday, April 30, 2005

Striking the UN and the EU In 2 Consecutive Paragraphs

I know I've been hitting the politics a bit much lately, but with a couple of education articles posted within the last 24 hours (and the fact that it's my blog!) I'll link to this National Review Online article, which sums up why we Americans shouldn't worry too much about why the rest of the world isn't too happy with us right now. A snippet:


The United Nations has sadly become a creepy organization. Its General Assembly is full of cutthroat regimes. The Human Rights Commission has had members like Vietnam and Sudan, regimes that at recess must fight over bragging rights to which of the two killed more of their own people. The U.N. has a singular propensity to find flawed men to be secretary-general — a Kurt Waldheim, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, or Kofi Annan. Blue-helmeted peace-keepers, we learn, are as likely to commit as prevent crimes; and the only thing constant about such troops is that they will never go first into harm's way in Serbia, Kosovo, the Congo, or Dafur to stop genocide. Even worse, the U.N. has proved to be a terrible bully, an unforgivable sin for a self-proclaimed protector of the weak and innocent — loud false charges against Israel for its presence in the West Bank, not a peep about China in Tibet; tough talk about Palestinian rights, far less about offending Arabs over Darfur. So U.N. anti-Americanism is a glowing radiation badge, proof of exposure to toxicity.

The EU is well past being merely silly, as its vast complex of bureaucrats tries to control what 400 million speak, eat, and think. Its biggest concerns are three: figuring out how its nations are to keep paying billions of euros to retirees, unemployed, and assorted other entitlement recipients; how to continue to ankle-bite the United States without antagonizing it to the degree that these utopians might have to pay for their own security; and how not to depopulate itself out of existence. Europeans sold Saddam terrible arms for oil well after the first Gulf War. Democratic Israel or Taiwan means nothing to them; indeed, democracy is increasingly becoming the barometer by which to judge European hostility. Cuba, China, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah — not all that bad; the United States, Taiwan, and Israel, not all that good. Personally, I'd rather live in a country that goes into an anguished national debate over pulling the plug on a lone woman than one that blissfully vacations on the beach oblivious to 15,000 elderly cooked to well done back in Paris.


If you liked those paragraphs, go read the whole thing. The last paragraph is a crescendo worthy of the 1812 Overture.


The Education Intelligence Agency website has this story on the National Education Association and its current lawsuit against the federal government over provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. I'll quote it here in full.

EIA Exclusive: Does NEA Believe

Its Own NCLB Legal Argument?

The National Education Association filed suit against the U.S. Department of Education last week, claiming the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is an unfunded federal mandate. Nine NEA state affiliates and one local affiliate joined the suit, along with nine school districts in three states.

On May 7, 2003, the NEA Office of General Counsel sent a "confidential-attorney/client privileged" memo to a large group of state affiliate officers and employees. The memo concerned the NCLB provision regarding the notification of parents whose teachers did not meet the law's definition of "highly qualified."

"There are two conceptual possibilities for a challenge based on federal law," the 2003 memo reads. "One is that the parental notice requirement violates a right guaranteed by the First Amendment, denies equal protection, or runs afoul of some other provision in the United States Constitution. We find no such violation. "The other basis for a possible federal law challenge is that there is no constitutional provision that gives Congress the authority to impose this type of requirement on states – and that might be an avenue worth exploring if that was what Congress has done. In point of fact, however, neither the parental notice requirement – nor, indeed, any of the other requirements in NCLB – are 'imposed' on the states in a legal sense. NCLB has been enacted on the basis of Congress' Spending Power, and states can avoid this and other statutory requirements simply by declining to accept federal Title I funds. If the states decide to accept such funds, however, then they must also accept the conditions that Congress has attached to them. To be sure, a legal argument can be made that this choice is not really 'voluntary' – states have no option but to comply inasmuch as they cannot adequately fund public education without the federal contribution – but the courts uniformly have rejected such an argument in the education context, as well as in connection with other federal aid programs."

NEA President Reg Weaver told the media, “The principle of the law is simple; if you regulate, you have to pay." But the memo and all those court cases illustrate the obvious fact that federal funds are a two-way obligation. If you want the federal bucks, you have to play by the federal rules.

More on Vouchers

I can't say it any better than Dr. Gelernter did, quoted over on Joanne's blog.

Friday, April 29, 2005

From Her Majesty's Column

Here are just a few snippets from Her Royal Hind-ass Barbara Kerr, President of the California Teachers Association, in her President's Column in the April 2005 California Educator Magazine.

Referring to a special election that Governor Schwarzenegger might call to get some of his reform proposals enacted over the objections of a do-nothing Democrat-controlled Legislature, Her Majesty states:

In the city of San Francisco, they are talking about shutting down community health clinics that serve low-income families and children for one day a week just to pay for this election. If you ask me, that's a high price to pay for an election that nobody wants with an agenda that nobody supports.

For starters, perhaps health clinics aren't a high priority in San Francisco. If they were, the city wouldn't shut them down in order to pay for an election--they'd find another way to pay for it.

And approximate 30% of the teachers you supposedly represent, Your Majesty, are Republicans. I'd bet a goodly number of them want and support the governor's agenda.

Here's more:

His pension reform initiative suffered a setback when the attorney general's office pointed out that it would do away with the survivor benefits for the families of police and firefighters who are killed or injured in the line of duty.

The Attorney General is a Democrat who is considering running for governor himself next year. Even the left-leaning Sacramento Bee admitted, not even grudgingly, that there's nothing in the initiative that would do away with survivor benefits and most believe that the attorney general was probably acting out of self-interest.

Finally, these are issues--like affordable prescription drugs--that are important to California families, unlike the governor's phony reform agenda.

I wish that the union I'm compelled to support financially would actually tackle issues that are important to me, and not take on the mantle of Defender of the Downtrodden. Why is a union of teachers spending money to get state-funded prescription drugs for everyone? We're not really a union, we're a social services organization funded by fiat and governed through tyranny.

I am not impressed, Your Majesty. Not impressed at all.

CTA and Race

On p. 32 of the April 2005 issue of California Educator magazine is an article whose title jumps out as the height of all falsehoods: Fear of being misunderstood keeps race issues off the table.

Huh? We never talk about race in education? We never talk about the achievement gap between whites/asians and blacks/hispanics? We never talk about minority students and diversity? NCLB doesn't require us to disaggregate scores into several categories? The state testing we just completed didn't have a huge block for students to fill in about their primary race/ethnicity and then any others that may apply?

No, apparently we never talk about race in education. But since CTA is going to talk about race now, let's listen in.

The current attempt to promote the notion of a 'colorblind society' is part of that denial, she asserts. Recent research by social scientists has shown that racial bias is part of the fabric of society.

Well isn't that wonderful. Dr. King, where are you when we need you? Apparently, these people don't want to "promote the notion" that your children be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Thurgood Marshall wrote in his brief for the NAACP in Sipuel v. Oklahoma State Board of Regents, 332 U.S. 631 (1948): "There is no understandable factual basis for classification by race...." Hmmm. Here's more from Marshall, courtesy of
  • racial criteria are irrational, irrelevant, odious to our way of life and specifically proscribed under the Fourteenth Amendment (McLaurin v. Oklahoma, 1950)
  • you cannot use race as a basis of classification (Oral argument, Briggs v. Elliott, 1952)
  • you cannot use race as a basis of classification.... the Fourteenth Amendment compels the states to be color blind in exercising their power and authority.... race is an irrational basis for governmental action under our Constitution (Brown v. Board of Education)
And here are some interesting sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, again thanks to Discriminations:

SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

SEC. 202. All persons shall be entitled to be free, at any establishment or place, from discrimination or segregation of any kind on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin, if such discrimination or segregation is or purports to be required by any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, rule, or order of a State or any agency or political subdivision thereof.

SEC. 401.(b) "Desegregation" means the assignment of students to public schools and within such schools without regard to their race, color, religion, or national origin, but "desegregation" shall not mean the assignment of students to public schools in order to overcome racial imbalance.

SEC. 601. No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

SEC. 703. (a) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer--

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

So now back to the CTA article. A colorblind society denies the "pernicious effects of unaddressed racial bias and discrimination"? How foolish were those Civil Rights Era pioneers and their misguided quest for a colorblind society! But wait, unfortunately there's more.

"We will talk about everything else, but we don't talk about race--even though it's the elephant in the room," said Paterson, a former professor at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. She offered participants the use of the workshop as a safe place to discuss the subject without being called racist. Well, if you think enough people are not talking about race, then perhaps, Professor Paterson, you should wonder why people would need the protection of not being called a racist before they feel safe enough to talk about race. Just an idea.

Here's my favorite.

Most people, said Paterson, do not realize they have an "unconscious" bias about people of color. "Most people are not stone-cold racists, although there certainly are some in our society. Most people don't think that black people are genetically inferior and white people are devils. Most people are not racist consciously, but they are unconsciously, which adds up to institutional racism. This is the challenge that faces us, and it makes a lot of teachers feel very uncomfortable."

There are so many things wrong with this quotation, I almost don't know where to begin. It sounds to me like everyone has a bias about people of color but most just don't realize they do. Wonderful. Everyone's guilty. Great. And apparently only whites are racists, unless the people of color also have a bias about people of color.

You know what makes this teacher uncomfortable? Having his union dues spent on tripe like this.

Since we apparently don't talk enough about race, I thought I'd spend a little more time in this post talking about race. I conducted a "study", one probably just as scientific and valid as any ever quoted in California Educator magazine. I decided to study the pictures in the magazine and classify the teachers (and only the teachers, not the union hacks or those people shown in advertisements) by race and sex. I specifically ignored the pictures of crowds of teachers protesting because it would be quite difficult to make out individual features on so many of the people in a crowd. Here are the results of my study:


Men 2*/5/2/1

Women 12/0/4/2

*Two additional white males were shown and identified members of a CTA task force and the NEA Board, but I don't know if they're still teaching or not.

I then focused my efforts on the centerfold, a Day of the Teacher poster (suitable for framing!). This poster showed 5 of the people included in the chart above, and not one of them is a white male. In fact, only one of them is white!

For an organization that screams about proportional representation in everything from hiring practices to college admissions to college degrees to Members of Congress to high school graduation rates, they sure don't seem to be practicing any proportional representation in the subjects of their photographs.

I know. Maybe they have an "unconscious bias" against People of Whiteness. Or maybe it's not so unconscious.

Update, 4/30/05 8:46 am: Gotta love the Discriminations website, which is why it's listed in my links. Here's a post showing how the Democrats are flip-flopping on their views now that they're in the minority. I wonder if they ever really believed in the strict, clear interpretation of the Civil Rights Act as quoted above.

New Post A-comin'

First off, let me say how disappointed I am that nobody commented on the Miss America post. What do you people come here for, thoughts about education or something?

Fine. And you know what time of the month it is--time to find California Educator magazine, the rag of the California Teachers Association, in the mailbox. As with all issues of the CTA magazine I expect to be disgusted, and this issue doesn't disappoint! Receipt of California Educator is always good for a new post.

I hope to have my new post up later tonight. I'm taking my son to a coin show in Reno tomorrow (that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it) so I'll have to do without an internet connection for about 30 hrs. Anyway, wait till you hear what the CTA chuckleheads are saying this time!

Oh, and I haven't yet seen any reference to the $180/year dues increase in this issue, either. Chuckleheads.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Thought For The Day

Why does the same political party that supports "choice" when it comes to killing a child not support choice when it comes to educating the children who survived the first choice?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More State Testing Today

The students I was assigned to proctor are all freshmen. Today's testing at our school is only for sophomores and juniors, and then only if they have history/social studies classes. Ergo and therefore, I don't have any kids during the testing period today.

I thought this would be an excellent time in which to get some one-on-one time with a couple of seniors who are having a little difficulty with logarithms. Trying to be a good teacher, and all that.

Little did I realize what a shrewd move this was. Turns out that my evil arch-nemesis, VP-Lady*, came by my room yesterday to let me know I'd be needed to corral any freshman who might be wandering the campus this morning and assist in keeping them occupied in our school theater. When I mentioned that I'd already arranged to help students, she crossed me off the list and went to find some other unsuspecting teacher.

Sometimes trying to be a good teacher does have its rewards!

* In all honesty, I have nothing but praise and respect for this particular Vice Principal. I just thought the terminology used above sounded more fun.


On Sunday I was thirty-nine. On Monday I turned thirty-ten. Odd, I didn't feel any different, starting my 5th decade of life and all.

My dad brought three cakes into the staff lounge before school. Students had notes for me on the whiteboard--they couldn't miss the balloons my dad had brought. After school my sister picked me up and we went downtown for browsing, eating, a little drinking, and a lot of talking. I got home around 10:30.

It was a good day.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Happy Anzac Day... my (silent) multitudes of Australian and New Zealander readers!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Please Just Let It Die Gracefully

Here we have a "tradition" that has far outlived its relevance and usefulness to society. Please let it die gracefully rather than demeaning and defiling it this way:

By JOHN CURRAN, Associated Press Writer

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - How about Miss Arkansas in a cat fight with Miss Texas? Or Miss Alaska plotting with Miss Tennessee to get Miss Maine voted off the runway? Or a swimsuit contest featuring bikini-clad women walking the runway while covered in leeches? For Miss America, such scenarios would've been unthinkable once — when all it took to win was a fetching smile, a modicum of talent and a tight swimsuit. But Miss America's in for an extreme makeover.

AP Photo

Dropped by two networks as a ratings loser, the pageant is desperately in need of a lifeline of its own, apparently ready to shuck its squeaky-clean demeanor in favor of the snarky negativity that fuels reality TV.


Whether the pageant is ready to resort to "Fear Factor"-inspired gross-outs, "Survivor"-style conniving or week-to-week eliminations a la "American Idol" remains to be seen. If the fates of rival Miss USA are any indication, though, future contestants may need strong stomachs more than singing ability.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Politics Certainly Does Make Strange Bedfellows

In this article at Joanne Jacobs' site, the ghost of Robert Kennedy teams up with the New York Times in support of the No Child Left Behind Act, a law I fully support and wrote about here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Finally, Some Good News

I appreciate so much how many of you readers have, through comments or personal emails, asked how I'm doing with regard to the personal crises with which I've been dealing. Thank you for your concern; it means a lot.

I have 4 pretty big issues I've been dealing with. Today in 3rd period, my principal and vice principal came to my classroom and asked me to step outside. There they told me that they had it in writing--I'll be back at that school next year, my position secure. That was a relief. Big Issue #4 is now gone.

Later in the day I got an email from my dad. Some family things have happened; Big Issue #3 is now gone.

I've still got to deal with #'s 1 and 2, but right now I'll take any victory I can get. And these were nice victories.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Is The Instructor a Racist?

Some like the links, some like essays. I've already written a couple commentaries today, so here's one for the link-likers.

Be prepared to be stunned.

France Backs Unilateral Chinese Aggression Against Taiwan

From the English language service of the Deutsche Welle:

During a state visit to China, French Premier Raffarin threw support behind a law allowing China to attack Taiwan and continued to push for a lift of the EU arms embargo.

So let me get this straight. The French didn't support action against Iraq, a murderous regime that supported Palestinian suicide bombers, terrorized its own people, launched two wars of aggression against neighboring states, sought weapons of mass destruction, violated its cease fire agreement from Gulf War I, and ignored several UN resolutions, but they do support unilateral Chinese aggression against a de facto sovereign democratic country that attacks and harms no one.

But wait, there's more--and it's not Ginsu knives.

At the same time, he vowed that his government would continue to push for the lifting of what he called the "anachronistic" and "discriminatory" arms embargo against China. The embargo contradicts the current "strategic partnership" between the EU and China, he added.

Anything for a customer, I guess. The French government has absolutely no moral compass at all.

I'm So Tired of the Vagina Monologues

I have to agree with Kimberly's post--I don't want to hear about it!

Women, you are so much more than your vaginas. And truthfully, if you're not, then what is your worth as a person, anyway? If all you are is a vagina, and we all know what a vagina is for, what's wrong with treating you like a sex object?

Back in my naive younger days, I actually thought that the women's rights or women's equality movement existed to advance women's opportunities and correct inequities. Now I see that its purposes aren't so noble--to convince women they're victims, promote a left-wing ideology, and hate men.

But on to the subject of Kimberly's post. Should girls at school really be wearing "I heart my vagina" t-shirts or pins? If so, what would truly be wrong with boys wearing "I heart your vagina, too" t-shirts? The girls are not being "empowered", they're objectifying themselves--something they'll then complain about. And the boys rightly see that they're being taunted by such shirts, and respond accordingly. For those of you who disagree that the boys are being taunted, would you think that liberal students would feel taunted and inspired to respond if a number of students wore any of the shirts listed on this page? Of course you would.

I'm not convinced that the vagina pins and shirts are appropriate for wear in public, much less at school. Notice I said appropriate, not legal. And given sexual harassment laws, which often criminalize the slightest language, word, or contact, isn't a pin glorifying your vagina crossing the line? I think that schools could reasonably assume that shirts/pins which discuss sex organs would be disruptive--but more than that, they contribute to incivility as mentioned above. Is it too much to ask that we try to create a reasonably civil atmosphere at our public schools?

Of course, we can expand the topic. Last week held the Day of Silence:

Students from more than 4,000 schools signed up for the 10th-annual National Day of Silence, organizers said. The event encourages students to take a vow of silence and to hand out cards explaining how their silence highlights the bias that often silences lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, students.

This has inspired a counter-protest of sorts, the Day of Truth:

Irked by the success of the nationwide Day of Silence, which seeks to combat anti-gay bias in schools, conservative activists are launching a counter-event this week called the Day of Truth aimed at mobilizing students who believe homosexuality is sinful.

Participating students are being offered T-shirts with the slogan "The Truth Cannot be Silenced" and cards to pass out to classmates Thursday -- the day following the Day of Silence -- declaring their unwillingness to condone "detrimental personal and social behavior."

Much like the Education Wonks, I wonder: Was there ever an era when American students viewed their high school years as a time to acquire academic skills in order to prepare themselves for college or work?

I'm not convinced our schools should be full of walking billboards for every possible viewpoint. Obviously there can be reasonable limits on the attire worn at schools. Could we all agree on no alcohol/cigarette/drug advertising, nothing which advocates violence against any person or group, and nothing that constitutes sexual harassment? I hope so. Then we'll have to negotiate over the limits of "nothing that denigrates others"--there are lots of funny shirts out there that someone could take offense to, politically or socially. Let's get some concrete rules.

But unless you want to hear me bragging about my penis, don't tell me about your vagina. Modesty and decency dictate (pardon the pun) that we keep some discussions behind closed doors.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

New Format's A Flop?

One of my loyal readers (and good students!) told me at Open House tonight that my blog was much more interesting when I was doing it in essay format as opposed to the summaries with links I've been doing recently. I actually enjoyed writing the essays but just haven't felt up to it lately.

Comments/suggestions? Agree/disagree?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Answer these 20 questions and have your speech habits analyzed.

For reference, here are my results:
General American English: 65%
Dixie: 15%
Upper Midwestern: 15%
Yankee: 5%
Midwestern: 0%

Obviously such an analysis is extremely limited, if only because of the few questions. Still, it's fun to find out.

An Interesting Lead-In to Earth Day

I wrote a 5-part "series" about environmentalism from 2/21-3/1 of this year (search the archives). Earth Day is this coming Friday, and just in a nick of time comes this post on on "eco-imperialism" at Classical Values. Go take a read. My favorite environmentalist, Patrick Moore, is quoted favorably.

Get Naked Day?

When I wrote a column in my school paper advocating a sex room on campus so students wouldn't have to fondle each other in the halls and on the quad, I called it A Modest Proposal so that everyone would know it was intended as social satire. While some objected, others agreed with me that the behavior was out of control and that the article I wrote (and which apparently earned international notoriety thanks to CNN) didn't expose students to anything worse than they were exposed to in the halls of our campus.

But this guy is going a bit too far with his comments, even for me. (And thanks for the link, Kimberly!)

Amazing Chicken Story

Go read about the chicken that survived 18 months *after* being beheaded! Scientists theorize that it had just enough of a brain stem left to continue functioning, and the owner fed food and drink directly into its gullet with an eyedropper.

Monday, April 18, 2005

When Your 14-yr-old Asks About Chlamydia

This is my 100th post (yay! and thank you readers!) and I'll spend it with a chilling tale of possible teenage sex.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Academic Freedom and Tolerance

I'm not a big fan of the term "academic freedom", at least in K-12 education. We have very specific things we're supposed to cover, and I question whether we should have hundreds of thousands of teachers each deciding individually what material they will cover.

In colleges and universities, academic freedom is a bit more important. From the Instructivist we get this quote:

Universities discover and invoke academic freedom and tolerance when controversies like the Ward Churchill affair arise. But, as this article shows, academic freedom and tolerance are invoked and applied selectively.

They link to this story, which is chilling in its implications:

Update #1, 4/19/05, 9:59 am: Mike Adams is fairly well known in conservative education circles. Erin O'Connor at Critical Mass has a short piece about him here, and links to other recent articles about the good professor.

Update #2, 4/20/05, 5:15pm: And then there's this.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Sleeping With The Students

It seems that not a week goes by anymore before we hear about yet another teacher having sex with students. It happened here in the Capital City recently, and had the added bonus that the teacher's toddler son was in the carseat in the back of the car while the event was occurring! The one thing I find interesting about this recent spate of stories is that the teachers are overwhelmingly women and the students boys; given the "dirty old man" meme I'm sure many of us expect the male teachers to be pouncing on the girls.

Why does it seem so much less a big deal when the pedophile is a woman? Is it because we assume the boys can consent whereas girls must be coerced? Is it because we secretly cheer the boys for scoring with a woman? Is it that we don't have near as much trouble seeing teenage boys as sexual beings as we do teenage girls? Boys will be boys, and all that?

Where's all the talk of "equality" on this issue? I wonder what NOW's stand is?

Don't get me wrong. I certainly don't want to hear stories of male teachers doing the girls. What I decry here is the difference in the way we treat man/girl and woman/boy sex. Women need counseling, men should be shot. That kind of stuff.

Ready for this one? There's a school in New York that has two concurrent sex scandals. Both are of the woman/boy variety. Read all about it in this article from the EducationWonks.

Update, 4/16/05, 9:28 pm: Which gets you angrier, the story above, or this one? Why is that?

Update #2, 4/16/05, 2:19 pm: Apparently, pedophile isn't the correct word to use in these instances. These recent cases involve ephebophiles, not pedophiles. Except for Mary Kay Letourneau. She's a pedophile.

Schools of Education

I was all prepared to write something snarky, full of examples/vignettes/anectdotes, and someone writes something serious on the topic:

I'll have to take my pot-shots at ed schools another time.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Anti-Military Bigotry at Columbia University

When an elite school acts in this fashion, what are people supposed to think?


Via Oxblog I learn about this resolution from the Idaho House of Representatives. Read the whole thing, especially the last "Whereas", especially if you're a teenager. :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Where Arnold Made His Mistake(s), and Hurt Us All

The mistake Governor Schwarzenegger made with his recent proposals was to attack "teachers and nurses" instead of "teachers and nurses unions." Honestly, who would really think that the best way to improve student learning is to grant teacher tenure after 10 years instead of 2 or 3? And his pension system reform wouldn't have affected anyone hired before 2007, yet at the first signs of resistence he withdrew that proposal. The tenure proposal had already been withdrawn.

Had he been smarter, he'd have been more clear that the UNIONS were the special interests, not the members. Despite the rhetoric from CTA, the unions and the members are not synonymous. The clearest example illustrating that point I found here:

Here is an analogy. Your lawyer may represent you, but you are not your lawyer and your lawyer is not you. Your lawyer’s law firm is not made up of its clients; it is made up of lawyers. A labor union is not an aggregate of its members. A labor union “represents” its members. This is a very important distinction, and one I will delve into further in future posts.

There are reasonable things the governor could do to lessen the special interest holds of unions while simultaneously freeing their members from union tyranny. For starters, he could initiate a drive to make California a Right-To-Work state, wherein employees are not required to be union members. Pit the members against the unions, governor, and sit back and watch the feathers fly! Unchain our hands, let us breathe free!

The Republican party has already created a web site that allows teachers to sign an online petition opposing the "teacher tax", the $180/year increase in dues that CTA wants. Now that the pension and tenure proposals are off the table and CTA no longer has to fight them, there's no need for this increase, right? Knowing CTA, I'm sure they'll find some reason they absolutely need my money. Barbara Kerr hasn't gone to enough "Building Rep Dinners" or some such fluff.

In today's column, George Will discusses an idea by one Patrick Byrne:

His idea -- call it The 65 Percent Solution -- is politically delicious because it unites parents, taxpayers and teachers while, he hopes, sowing dissension in the ranks of the teachers unions, which he considers the principal institutional impediment to improving primary and secondary education.

The idea, which will face its first referendum in Arizona, is to require that 65 percent of every school district's education operational budget be spent on classroom instruction. On, that is, teachers and pupils, not bureaucracy.

Will goes on to state that only 4 states spend more than 65% in the classroom, and 15 states spend less than 60%. According to, California ranks 21st with only 61.7% of its education budget being spent in the classroom. With its bloated bureaucracy, my district must certainly spend less than that.

In my 8 years of teaching, I've seen only a couple (that's 2) teachers I thought should be let go for ineffectiveness. Plenty subscribe to educational fads with which I didn't agree and thereby commit some form of educational malpractice, but they should be directed and retrained and allowed to continue filling their classrooms with a passion for learning. Honestly, I just haven't seen that dead wood that I hear so much about. This isn't the column for getting into the philosophical discussion about why our students aren't doing as well as they should, or for how to fix that. It is the column for discussion of how to remove one of the major roadblocks to improvement--the unions.

Arnold is right--there are entrenched special interests out there, impediments to improvement. Knocking the unions down a few pegs would be absolutely the right thing to do. However, he's screwed up at every turn:

1. He came after the members, not the unions.
2. He gave the unions something to galvanize around.
3. He gave the unions a reason to increase dues.
4. He caved in almost immediately, leaving the unions with potentially millions more in dues money and power.
5. He weakened his own ability to fight them in the future.
6. In the end, the people who lost the most were the 1/3 of union members who disagree with their state union.

I'd hoped for better.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I Support the Death of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judges

Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court Friday overturned an inmate's conviction for writing a crude, rambling letter endorsing President Bush's death at the hands of terrorists — two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the letter was protected under the First Amendment, calling it "Lincoln's crude and offensive method of stating a political opposition to the president." The court noted "such political hyperbole does not constitute a 'threat."'

Full story here.

As long as calling for the death of federal officials is now fair game here in California and the other states of the 9th Circuit, I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly wish death on the three judges who unanimously decided this case.

Note that I'm not threatening them myself, nor am I advocating that others kill them. I just support their deaths. Apparently it's my First Amendment right to do so. I'm just stating my political opposition to their decision.

While I'm at it, is there anyone else I should wish death on? How about my senator, Barbara Boxer? Don't agree with her too much. Nancy Pelosi? Ed Asner/Mike Farrell/Janeane Garafolo/MMoore? How about that appeaser Jimmy Carter? Hilary Clinton? Reg Weaver/Barbara Kerr? Don't agree with these folks--just stating my political opposition to them. Anyone else?

Is there anyone you want to wish death on? Feel free to start a list in the comments section.

You social studies/civics/government teachers out there--how can you possibly be expected to teach respect for the rule of law when something like this happens? Can we now yell "fire" in a crowded theater if we have a political opposition to the play? At least now the Democratic Underground and Daily Kos people can sleep soundly, knowing they no longer have to fear the jackbooted thugs from the federal government beating down doors because of what they post on those web sites--oh wait, they've never had to worry about it anyway, although in reality they should have.

Part of the reason governments exist is to create, promote, and protect a civil society. A decision like this destroys civil society. Can it possibly stand?

I pledge to renounce my wishes of death for the people listed above if this ruling ever gets overturned.

Update, 4/9/05, 11:59 am: If a student writes in a journal, or online, of violent fantasies involving harming fellow students or teachers, even if that student has no intent to carry them out, that student is expelled from school--and rightly so. Threaten the President of the United States, though, and it's free speech.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Deaf "Culture" and Gay Kids

I've heard of this before--deaf people have a "culture" that is unique, one they want protected. Some will protect it to the degree that they won't allow their children to have cochlear implants so the children can hear.

What constitutes a "culture"?

I recommend this very short article from the Independent Gay Forum. The article works from the supposition that if it's ok for deaf people to have their culture, would it be ok for parents to somehow, through the miracles of modern technology, "de-gay" their children in the womb so as to perpetuate heterosexual "culture"? "Designer babies" have already been addressed on the covers of leading news magazines; would it be acceptable to have "heterosexual" as one of the attributes? Would it be acceptable to have "deaf" as one of the attributes?

The comments (16 as of when I type this) display some very astute observations and raise some very interesting questions. Hey conservatives! Get past the name of the web site and go expand your horizons.

Fighting the CTA Dues Increase

When I first found out about the soon-to-be-enacted $180/year dues increase, I decided that Coach Brown, Polski3, the EducationWonks, and I aren't big or well-known enough to fight this battle on our own. I contacted the Sacramento Union, the Sacramento News and Review, blogger and conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt, and local conservative talk-radio host Eric Hogue and asked their help in getting the word out about this travesty.

None of them so much as responded to me. Great.

At least there's a web site now, and hopefully the few of us who are concerned about this dues increase can at least start to let fellow teachers know that all is not lost yet. Go and sign up!

Some teachers will have difficulty getting past the fact that the website is paid for by the California Republican Party. Hey libs! The governor is right on this one, and if you refuse Republican help because you can't bring yourself to accept that Republicans are right just this once, then you're biting off your nose to spite your face.

Just so you know: if this goes through, and if I remain a teacher, I'll be paying over $1000/year in union dues. That figure boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The European Constitution (and a snicker)

According to the BBC,

The French government has destroyed 162,000 copies of the EU constitution because the phrase "incoherent text" was printed on a page by mistake.

My guess is that the phrase could have been legitimately printed on all 232 pages. The US Constitution takes only a couple pages including amendments--and that's if you use a large font.

Harassing Recruiters at a College Campus

In this post, the Instapundit shares a story of some idiots at UC Santa Cruz who were insufferably pleased with themselves for being disruptive enough to cause military recruiters--at a job fair, no less--to leave campus.

I agree with Glenn--it is unpatriotic to disrupt military recruiting during wartime. I agree with his implication that the university would have acted differently had the protestors been anti-left (anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage) instead of anti-right.

When California splits into 2 states, it shouldn't be north and south. There should be Coastal or West California and Upper or East California.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bilingual/Multicultural Education, Part VI--The Final Class Begins

From 6/2/03:

The State of California requires 12 units in 4 specific courses to get a CLAD--cross-cultural language and academic development--certificate. Sacramento State "requires" 15 units; I dropped the one course not required by the state and today started the final course--Multicultural Education.

If the first two reading assignments are any barometer of the tone of this class, I'm in for a long month. The first was an article about unearned white and male privilege in society--no facts in the article, just unsubstantiated statements that pass for empowerment.

The second is from a book called Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. Reading the first chapter, I got the impression I was reading the Communist Manifesto, what with all its class warfare references. Shortly into the chapter came the references--Hegel, Marx, Engels, and Mao!!! And keep in mind, these are the reading assignments given on the FIRST DAY OF

I'm hopeful that such assignments are not going to be the norm. However, I'm mindful of a quote whose originator eludes me: "Hope is all you have left when you're tired of being afraid."

Actually, that class ended up being exceptional. The instructor tolerated, accepted, validated, challenged, and encouraged views and opinions different from her own. Especially given the title of the course, I fully expected a "hate whitey" course. Instead, it was the antithesis of such a course. I was so glad to be done with that program, but at least this particular course ended it on a good note.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bilingual Education, Part V--Not Politically Correct

From 1/9/03:

The head of the Bilingual/Multicultural Education
Department at Sacramento State wants to meet with me
because of a situation that happened in a class back
in November. Below I've attached the email I just
sent him.

To summarize, I had had enough of the anti-white and
anti-white-male discussion in class and made the
comment, "There's no group of white people sitting
around a table somewhere saying, 'What can we do to
keep darkie down now?'" Yes, I chose an unpopular
word, but did so to demonstrate how vile what our
class discussion was suggesting truly is.

How naive. I thought divergent views were "tolerated"
in our universities.
Mr.C :

I am not really inclined to meet with you to discuss
an incident that happened approximately 2 months ago,
an incident that has caused me no undue amount of
stress. Part of my reason for feeling persecuted is
your not-very-subtle threat in your previous email to
me, to wit:

By way of introduction I am the Chair of the Department
(Bilingual/Multicultural Education) that funds your CLAD preparation.

Additionally, your statement that my feelings of
persecution are "premature" do not give me reason to
think I will be treated at all fairly.

Here is my recollection of the events on the evening
in question.

In a course titled Bilingualism In The Classroom we
were discussing the "culture of power", the ways
mainstream *white* people keep minorities in their
place. (Incidentally, I don't see the relationship
between the title of the course and the subject being
discussed.) Since I don't subscribe to this
particular social theory, and being naive enough to
think that we could have an adult conversation with
contrary views, I said, "There's no group of white
people sitting around a table somewhere saying, 'What
can we do to keep darkie down now?'"

An African-American woman in the class took offense to
my use of the word "darkie", which when taken in
context was obviously not meant as an attack by me on
any person or group of persons. This student and I
began debating, and during this debate she verbally
attacked me while I did not respond in kind.
Professor B said nothing about this
personal attack. After no more than a minute or so of
heated, but not out-of-control discussion, Professor B
intervened and brought the discussion
to a halt with little effort. She then made comments
to me that commented on my inability to teach
(something about which she has no knowledge) and also
suggested that I was/am closed-minded. She then
suggested that due to the nature of the debate, we
take our usual 5-minute break at that time to cool off
and reflect on the discussion.

In my mind, Professon B handled the
situation--poorly, but handled it. A discussion got
uncomfortable and, in her opinion, out of hand,and she
ended it. Why she felt it necessary to come to you
with this situation, and why you feel it necessary to
revisit this situation 2 months later, escapes me.

Professor B and I seem to have divergent
views in most areas. However, until that evening I
never sensed any personality conflict between us. I
do now. I suspect that is her rationale for coming to
you in the first place.

But back to my comments and their place in class. I
would hope that even unpopular views can be
"tolerated" in class. Notice that my comment which
started this controversy seems reasonable when taken
in context, and even the use of the word "darkie" can
be understood. The statement was bold, designed to
show my opinions on the subject being discussed, and
worthy of response and comment--but not of the type I
got from the student in the class, Professor B, or you.

I do not know what else I could add to this account by
meeting in person. If you feel differently, please
contact me again and perhaps we could in fact meet on
Monday the 13th.

{signed: me}

Mr. C wrote:
Mr.M , I have made the intention of my request
for a meeting with you
clear in previous e-mail communications. You are
welcome to prepare in which
ever manner you feel appropriate. Moreover, your
feelings of "persecution"
are unwarranted and premature given we are yet to
I'd like to propose Monday, January 13th at 5pm for
our meeting. My office
is in Eureka Hall 435B. I've invited to
attend as well.
Let me know if this works for you.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Bilingual Education, Part IV--Horrible Is Great

From 10/17/02:

The text we use in my bilingual ed class is abysmal.
It's so full of whole language, NCTM-favored math, and
fuzzy beliefs that it's not even fun to comment on it
in class anymore. In fact, part of last night's
reading (on culture) said "Multicultural education is
education for social justice. It connects knowledge
and understanding with social action." I must have
missed social activism in the California math

Now having vented, I turn my attention to the subject
line. We've been taught that children learn best when
taught in a bilingual program based on a 90/10
model--90% home language and 10% second language
starting in kindergarten, progressing to 10% home
language and 90% second language in 6th grade. This
model, we are assured, has been proven effective in
Canada (French/English) and is without a doubt the
best way to teach students in two languages. "The
research" proves it.

Interestingly enough, a student in our class got his
BA in Education at a Canadian university within the
last couple years. In Canada he was taught that such
a model, long tried in Quebec, is an abject failure.
Children in those programs languish in a lack of
understanding of basic information. Those schools
consistently underperform the rest of Canada.
Pointing this out, however, made no difference. Our
text said 90/10 is the best way to teach students, and
that is that.

Last night we watched a video showing students at
Westwood Elementary School in Napa, California. It's
a mostly Hispanic school in California's wine country
and all students there participate in a 90/10 program.
The principal in the video even spoke about how their
program was modeled after successful 90/10 schools in
Canada, and she, teachers, students, and parents all
wallowed in the wonderful things going on at that
school. I told my instructor that I'd do some extra
work and look up their SAT-9 and API scores.

2002's SAT-9 results for California were posted on the
internet shortly after 10am PDT today. The school has
since been renamed Napa Valley Language Academy, but
the results were unmistakeable:

1999-2000: no score
2000-2001: 1/1
For those of you not from California, the Academic
Performance Index allows the state to rank-order
schools based on performance. For ease, schools are
put into deciles 1-10, with 1 being the lowest.

The first 1 means that the school ranks in the bottom
10% of all schools in the state in performance.

To account for demographics, the state then compares
each school to 99 schools with similar demographics.
Those 100 schools are then placed into deciles. The
purpose of this is to take such things as SES into

The second 1 means that the school ranks in the bottom
10% of schools with similar demographics.

There is no API yet given for 2001-2002, but the SAT-9
results are posted. This language program has been
going on long enough that all students K-6 have been
involved in it. The state's 5 categories for student
performance are Advanced, Proficient, Basic, Below
Basic, and Far Below Basic. The results for
English/Language Arts are:

2nd grade: 69% either below basic or far below basic
3rd grade: 70% "
4th grade: 58% "
5th grade: 57% "
6th grade: 69% "
Tack on an average of an additional 22 percentage
points if you want to add in the Basic category. In
other words, over 80% of their students are not
proficient at grade level ELA standards.

The results for math ranged from 48% in the bottom two
categories in 2nd grade to 78% in the 5th grade. What
bothers me, in addition to the poor student
performance, is the fact that this school was held up
to us as a model of how bilingual education should be

God Bless Ron Unz.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

US Secretary of Education on NCLB

As the US Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings should be a cheerleader for the No Child Left Behind Act. But in this Washington Post article, she did more than just cheer--she hit the ball out of the park.

But some bright lines must be drawn. Annual assessments are nonnegotiable, because what gets measured gets done. This is the heart of accountability. The data must also be reported by student group -- African Americans, Hispanics, those with special needs, etc. -- so that those who need the most help aren't hidden behind state or district-wide averages. Some states have asked for waivers from the law. Some have sought to exempt whole grades or student groups from annual assessments. Others have sought to keep some students' test scores under wraps. That is simply unacceptable. It undermines the very purpose of the law. Perhaps not coincidentally, some of these same states have the largest achievement gaps in the nation, with minority students lagging dozens of points -- whole years, really -- behind their white peers.

Please go read the whole thing.

Lunchbox Voyeur?

This editorial in the Waterbury, Connecticut Republican-American newspaper strikes a chord with me. Since I cannot find a direct link to it I'll reproduce it in full here.

Lunchbox voyeurism

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Copyright © 2005 Republican-American

A generation ago, schools in the United States and other developed countries mostly confined themselves to the 3Rs, and they managed to graduate many millions of solid citizens capable of contributing to society.

But thanks to liberal political activism rooted in the counter-culture of the 1960s, schools have diversified into social-service centers, much to the detriment of the education they are supposed to provide. The thinking continues to be that since schools hold so many children at once, they are best suited for dispensing psychological counseling, distributing birth control and offering an array of other services. And if children learn anything useful along the way, so much the better. Concurrent with this evolution, of course, were changes in curriculums to make government schools left-wing indoctrination centers.

Consequently, schools incrementally but relentlessly have seized many duties that once were the exclusive domain of parents. Among them is child nutrition.

A few decades ago, while teachers were preaching the benefits of the food pyramid, schools were phasing out balanced meals in favor of child-friendly menus. Beef in gravy gave way to tacos, baked chicken to chicken nuggets.

But with the recent hysteria over childhood obesity -- more a figment of the feckless Body Mass Index than a full-blown epidemic -- the pendulum has swung back toward nutrition in a big way. And characteristically, government schools are going to extremes.

In Australia, preschool teachers enforce no-junk-food policies by inspecting lunches that parents prepare for their children and confiscating lollipops, chocolates, potato chips, most processed foods, fruit juice and any other foods they deem unhealthy. When an inspection turns up contraband cuisine, teachers call the parents to warn them about the deadly dangers of junk food. Parents naturally fall into line because they believe, all evidence to the contrary, that schools know best when it comes to raising children.

Australian teachers say lunchbox inspections are the only way to keep children from eating junk food. But what about all those hours children spend on nights and weekends and during summers under the supervision of their parents?

Well, Canada for one is addressing that with laws that let authorities charge parents with child abuse (assault with a deadly Twinkie?) if they don't provide their kids with meals that meet government nutritional guidelines.

Unless parents object, no-junk-food policies and nutritional child-abuse laws are destined to make their way into this country, probably via bureaucratic or judicial fiat.

When will this madness end? When adults realize parenthood is not a spectator sport, their children are their responsibility, and the more government schools diversify, the less they do well enough to earn a passing grade.

Maybe we should just compel parents to eat the lunches they pack for their children. /sarcasm off/

To find the above editorial online, go here and search for editorials from April 3rd.

Teaching At A Military School/Academy

I read this fantastic essay, penned by a woman professor at the Virginia Military Institute. I recommend it to you. Here's a sample:

Ours is the honor of teaching young men and women who have vowed, like generations before them, to uphold and defend those liberties all Americans hold so dear but too often take for granted. Many of them may be asked to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that the Queer Theorist can continue to speculate over wine and cheese; so that the Post-Colonialist may never have to wear a uniform, unless it be of his own choosing; so that the Multiculturalist may continue to enjoy a cappuccino in Padua, some Bordeaux in Paris, or a mate in Patagonia; and to ensure that no one ever deny the Feminist her First Amendment right to label them “fascists".

Prior to that paragraph, she'd already introduced the reader to Queer Theorist, Post-Colonialist, Multiculturalist, and Feminist. This essay ties in well with my bilingual education essays, as part of a greater "what wrong with academia" thread.

This Song Speaks To Me

It often brings tears to my eyes, especially now.

Bilingual Education, Part III--Progressive Education

From 10/2/02:

The reading for tonight's class was about methods of teaching English learners (EL's). The chapter had the following subdivisions: Passive Learning; Active, Inquire-Based Learning; Cooperative Learning; Accelerated Learning; Critical Pedagogy; and Weaving It All Together. The author took everything bad from progressive education and put it in this chapter, and every once in awhile would say, "And this works for English Learners, too." I was frustrated while reading it and made several points in class.

Here are a few brilliant excerpts, with commentary:

"Essential to this approach is the view of the learner as responsible for discovering, constructing, and creating something new, and the view of the teacher as a resource and facilitator."

"Research examining language-minority student performance in bilingual, ESL, and grade-level classes taught through collaborative discovery learning using meaningful, cognitively complex, interdisciplinary content has found that active learning accelerates language-minority students' academic growth, leading to eventual high academic performance comparable to or exceeding that of native English speakers." In the army I learned that the more adjectives you needed when naming a type of training (high quality, realistic, dynamic training) the more likely it
is that you're blowing smoke. Oh, and part of this cognitively complex, interdisciplinary technique was making posters.

"The more linguistically and culturally diverse the children, the more closely teachers must relate academic content to a child's own environment and experience." Why? What does linguistic or cultural diversity have to do with this?

"The more diverse the children, the more integrated the curriculum should be. That is, multiple content areas...." Why?

"The more diverse the children, the greater the need for active rather than passive endeavors, particularly informal social activities such as group projects...."

How's your stomach? Here's more:

"Students participating in a two-way bilingual program derive even greater benefits from the use of cooperative learning." They may get conversational/social language from each other, but probably not the academic language they need to succeed in school. If they did, there'd be no such thing as "playground English".

"The perspective, still dominant in many U.S. classrooms, that we need to teach basic skills before students can move into more cognitively complex work is no longer supported by most current research." When some challenged me on the "current research" comment, I replied that the author is wrong and welcomed them to show me such research. In the meantime, I'd show them California's content standards!

And here's my favorite. "How, then, can teachers prepare cognitively complex lessons that are multidimensional? We do it through celebrating life in all its complexity...." I'm blowing up the party balloons as we speak.

I brought in an email from a friend of mine who learned Czech at the Defense Language Institute, telling me how he was taught in one of the country's (world's?) most capable language schools. Not a lick of group learning to be had, it was all direct instruction. Fluent enough to monitor and translate military radio broadcasts (imagine the jargon!) in 18 months.

I discussed how calculators don't allow in-depth understanding; on the contrary, they allow only superficial understanding. Knowing multiplication tables to automaticity breeds understanding of division, reduction of fractions, estimation, etc. Knowing how trig functions are developed breeds understanding, whereas pushing the "sin" or "cos" button on a calculator does not.

I suggested that we just hand the car keys over to students at 16 since they've been around cars all their lives anyway and have plenty of prior knowledge to activate. They can teach each other cooperatively! I played up Jerry Rice's records in the NFL--and noted that his teammates say Jerry is the hardest worker on the team at practice. Don't teach music; give the kid a trombone and let him discover and release his creativity.

A few seemed to get the picture. You could see them mulling over the inconsistencies.

You know what the others were saying and thinking--all emotion, no logic.

We have a long way to go in our teacher preparation programs.

An Alternate View of the Republican "Schism"

I like Mark Steyn. Listening to him speak on Hugh Hewitt's radio talk show is a treat. I like reading his columns in the Chicago Sun-Times, too, which are often handily linked at

A couple weeks ago I had a rather lengthy post on what I viewed would be a Republican schism, one between the libertarian wing and the "we've got the power" wing. Steyn has a different view, one I hope is correct:

The Republicans did the right thing here, and they won't be punished for it by the electors. As with abortion, this will be an issue where the public moves slowly but steadily toward the conservative position: Terri Schiavo's court-ordered death will not be without meaning. As to "crack-ups," that's only a neurotic way of saying that these days most of the intellectual debate is within the right. If, like the Democrats, all you've got are lockstep litmus tests on race and abortion and all the rest, what's to crack up over? You just lose elections every two years, but carry on insisting, as Ted Kennedy does, that you're still the majority party. Ted's quite a large majority just by himself these days, but it's still not enough.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Washington State's NEA Affiliate Is Disgusting

Just go here and read, and remember this story the next time one of the state teachers unions tells you "it's all about the children.",2933,152230,00.html

Update, 4/4/05 6:51 pm: This story just gets worse. I just got the NEA's monthly rag, and in it they commit a lie of omission about this issue. On page 19 of the April 2005 issue, NEA mentions the WEA's program of reimbursing teachers when they buy items like coats or school supplies for students. Then they give the "bad news"--"Many of the receipts members submit to the fund for reimbursement are from--sigh--Wal-Mart."

They mention that Wal-Mart has "exploitative labor practices" but do not mention that the WEA will no longer reimburse teachers who submit Wal-Mart receipts. Isn't that a major part of this story?

Now I'm compelled to ask, which is worse? The fact that the WEA extorts money from teachers and then uses it to buy coats and school supplies for students, or the fact that fewer students will be served by this extortion because teachers will no longer be reimbursed for inexpensive items from Wal-Mart?

Bilingual Education, Part II--The Teacher/Students

From 9/6/02:

On the first night of our Wednesday class the
instructor handed out the course syllabus. Hands shot
up immediately (keep in mind that we're all full-time
teachers in this class). One woman said, "I don't
test very well. Is there some other way I can show
you I know the material?" Another woman said, "You
know, tests don't really tell you anything. Maybe we
could have a roundtable discussion or something to
show you we know the material."

Doctors make the worst patients and teachers make the
worst students.

During part of the general discussion one woman said,
"I put my students in small groups because they learn
much more from each other than they'll ever learn from
me." Then why is she the teacher? My district pays
me a moderate amount of money on the expectation that
I know more math than any 13-yr-old in the room and
that I'LL teach them, and I assume her district has a
similar thought pattern. It was the first night of
class and I wasn't in the mood to make enemies so
early so I bit my tongue; don't worry, as I'll be
making enemies in there soon enough.

These are teachers. We have *so* far to go in
standards-based reform, and so much progressive ed
school malpractice to stamp out.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Bilingual Education, Part I

Here's the first message I sent the list:


I'm starting my 2nd year in my new school district,
and one condition of employment was getting my CLAD
credential/certification. (For those of you outside
of California, it has something to do with the ability
to teach English language learners.) To be honest, I
don't even know what the acronym stands for and
although I could look it up, I don't care to.

When the district, working through Sacramento State,
offered me 15 units of graduate courses in
bilingual/multicultural courses, TUITION AND BOOKS
PAID, I accepted. I figured I may as well move over
on the salary scale at district expense if I have to
take all these classes. I have two classes this
semester, two next semester, and at least one next

Wednesday night's class is Introduction to Bilingual
Education. Thursday night's class is Bilingualism in
the Classroom.

I'll keep you posted.


Turns out CLAD stands for Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development. And the state only requires 12 units to get the certificate; Sac State required 15 for its program. I ended up dropping the unnecessary course in the 2nd semester.

Intro To Bilingual Education

As one of the conditions of employment in the district that is now laying me off, I had to get what's known in California as a CLAD certificate. CLAD is Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development.

You can probably tell where I'm headed with this, and it's nowhere good.

One way to get the certificate is to take 12 semester-units of courses (the state specifies which courses). Another way is to take a test, which apparently no one passes. Two and a half years ago, Sac State got a grant to put teachers through the CLAD program, and since I needed the certificate and could use the 12 units to move over on the salary scale, I enrolled.

I'd never been to a real civilian university before. I got my BS in math from West Point and my teaching credential through an alternative credentialing program. I'd read and heard about the liberal climate in universities, and Sac State's education college has a reputation all its own. Figuring that I could hold my breath for a year if I needed to, I jumped only partially knowing what to expect.

I am a member of a maillist of educators from across the US (and from a couple foreign countries). Since this maillist consists of what many call "traditional" educators, those who decry the whole language and fuzzy math and multiculturalism that are so injurious to a truly liberal education, I thought I'd keep them informed with periodic updates about what went on in the classes. I didn't do a very good job, writing only 6 posts over the course of 10 months. I'll reprint those posts here so you can see the hell I went through in that program.

Through these posts you'll see much of what is wrong with teacher education programs in general.