Sunday, February 05, 2023

Is There *Any* Evidence It Does *Any* Good In *Any* Setting?

Other than making money for race-baiting hucksters, so-called implicit bias (or unconscious bias) training does no good at all:

While these cases have spurred calls for greater law enforcement investment in , new research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that the day-long implicit -oriented programs now common in most U.S. police departments are unlikely to reduce racial inequity in policing.

"Our findings suggest that diversity training as it is currently practiced is unlikely to change police behavior," said study lead author Calvin Lai, assistant professor of psychological and in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

"Officers who took the training were more knowledgeable about bias and more motivated to address bias at work," Lai said." However, these effects were fleeting and appear to have little influence on actual policing behaviors just one month after the training session."

Click here for the posts I've written I've written on this topic (and associated links, of course).

Saturday, February 04, 2023

One Political Party Openly Supports Anti-semitism

American Jews know this, but they're more loyal to their political allies than to their spiritual ones:

    But while it is possible to frame House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s making good on his pledge to oust Omar from her seat on Foreign Relations, as well as to evict Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) from the House Intelligence Committee, as simply a matter of revenge for the Democrats’ moves against GOP members in the last Congress, it is actually a deeply significant moment in the history of both American Jewry and the struggle against antisemitism.

    By punishing Omar for her blatant antisemitism, the GOP majority is making an important statement about what is and is not acceptable political discourse in Congress. But by rallying around Omar, as the Democrats have done, her party is sending an even louder message: that one of America’s two major parties now considers its allegiance to intersectional ideology and racial identity politics to outweigh any concerns many of them might still have about normalizing antisemitism on Capitol Hill.
That’s not at all surprising from a party that pledges quadrennial fealty to Al Sharpton.

Pretty much.

Tipping

Used to be that people who made tips (e.g., waiters, waitresses, and bartenders) earned a sub-minimum wage that would in theory be made up for with tips, but not anymore.  The guy makes $15/hr making coffee, and he thinks people should tip???

The 38-year-old earns about $400 a month in tips, which provides a helpful supplement to his $15 hourly wage as a barista at Philadelphia café located inside a restaurant. Most of those tips come from consumers who order coffee drinks or interact with the café for other things, such as carryout orders. The gratuity helps cover his monthly rent and eases some of his burdens while he attends graduate school and juggles his job.

Schenker says it’s hard to sympathize with consumers who are able to afford pricey coffee drinks but complain about tipping. And he often feels demoralized when people don’t leave behind anything extra — especially if they’re regulars.

“Tipping is about making sure the people who are performing that service for you are getting paid what they’re owed,” said Schenker, who’s been working in the service industry for roughly 18 years.

Tipping is out of control.

Friday, February 03, 2023

Teach Civics, Not Activism

When they can't give you good government, they give you "woke" government.  When they can't give you good education, they give you "woke" education.  Teaching students to be "activists" is so much easier than teaching them civics, as if it's even difficult to prey on the emotions of teenagers:

Politically engaged but ignorant is not a great combo.

In a new RAND survey, they write, more K-12 teachers said civics education is about promoting environmental activism than “knowledge of social, political, and civic institutions.” Hess and Martin call that "nuts." Eager to engage students, "too many teachers think of civics instruction as a chance to promote a particular policy agenda," they write...

"It’s hard to imagine what could be more self-destructive to the democratic project than encouraging students who can't name the three branches of government to vigorously, vociferously demand that they get their way," they write.

Clearly Our Hands Our Not Tied Enough

This will make schools better (not!):

Suspensions for defying school rules may become a thing of the past in California public and charter schools.

Legislation introduced Wednesday by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would ban such suspensions while aiming to understand what is causing the children to act out and treating it. 

Oakland and San Francisco schools, well known for the world-class educations and the safe and orderly environments they provide, already prohibit such suspensions. 

You don't improve discipline by not enforcing standards of discipline.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Student Loan "Relief"

A headline from the major Sacramento newspaper:

Millions of Californians applied for Biden student loan relief. What is the holdup?

What's the holdup?  It was illegal, and it was stopped.  Duh.

Some lefties just refuse to accept that they can't have everything they want just because they want it.  In that way they're like young children.

We Need More Of This, But From The People Who Made The Mistaken Decisions

Our response to the 'rona was a disaster:

As a medical student and researcher, I staunchly supported the efforts of the public health authorities when it came to COVID-19. I believed that the authorities responded to the largest public health crisis of our lives with compassion, diligence, and scientific expertise. I was with them when they called for lockdowns, vaccines, and boosters.

I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives.

I can see now that the scientific community from the CDC to the WHO to the FDA and their representatives, repeatedly overstated the evidence and misled the public about its own views and policies, including on natural vs. artificial immunity, school closures and disease transmission, aerosol spread, mask mandates, and vaccine effectiveness and safety, especially among the young. All of these were scientific mistakes at the time, not in hindsight. Amazingly, some of these obfuscations continue to the present day.

But perhaps more important than any individual error was how inherently flawed the overall approach of the scientific community was, and continues to be. It was flawed in a way that undermined its efficacy and resulted in thousands if not millions of preventable deaths.

What we did not properly appreciate is that preferences determine how scientific expertise is used, and that our preferences might be—indeed, our preferences were—very different from many of the people that we serve. We created policy based on our preferences, then justified it using data. And then we portrayed those opposing our efforts as misguided, ignorant, selfish, and evil.

We made science a team sport, and in so doing, we made it no longer science. It became us versus them, and "they" responded the only way anyone might expect them to: by resisting.

Been a long time since I agreed with something I read in Newsweek, but this?  This I can agree with.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Advanced Placement African-American Studies

They can say that they didn’t bow to political pressure, that the course as written didn’t conform to "longstanding A.P. principles".  But if that’s true, how did it get written, published, and distributed in the first place?  And does anyone truly believe that if DeSantis hadn’t made an issue of the content, that the College Board would have made the changes they’ve now made, and in such a short time?  Yeah, me either.

After scathing criticism of the Advanced Placement curricula for African American Studies by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the College Board has significantly altered the curriculum by stripping many of the issues to which DeSantis objected...

In January, DeSantis announced he would ban the AP Black Studies course on the grounds that it violated state law that regulates how race-related issues are taught in public schools. Essentially, any ideological approach to teaching race-related issues was forbidden.  link

Education, yes.  Indoctrination, no.

The Month I Spent Feeding The Hungry and Poor In Monaco

The ChatGPT AI was supposed to have some factuality upgrades made Monday, but somehow I'm not yet convinced.  

Prompt:  Write a 500-word college admissions essay about the month I spent helping feed the poor in Monaco.

(Note:  Monaco's per capita GDP is in the $180,000 range. That of the US is about $70,000.)

Here's the essay:

The month I spent volunteering in Monaco to feed the less fortunate was a life-changing experience that taught me about the importance of compassion, selflessness, and the power of community.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a stable household with everything I needed, but I always felt a sense of guilt knowing that there were people in my community who were struggling just to put food on the table. When I heard about an organization in Monaco that was working to provide meals for the homeless and those in need, I knew I had to get involved.

The first day I arrived, I was struck by the stark contrast between the luxurious buildings and glittering yachts in Monaco, and the poverty and hardship faced by so many people. I quickly learned that despite its reputation as a wealthy country, there were still many people who were struggling to make ends meet. I was humbled by the dedication and hard work of the volunteers and staff, who were working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of those who needed it most.

Each day, I would arrive at the community center early in the morning to help prepare food and set up the dining area. The smell of fresh bread and warm soup filled the room, and I could feel the excitement and anticipation in the air as people started to arrive. Despite the language barrier, I was able to connect with many of the people we were serving through smiles, nods, and gestures, and I was struck by the strength and resilience of those who had overcome so much adversity.

As I spent more time working at the community center, I realized that the impact we were making was not just about the food we were providing, but about the sense of community and belonging that we were fostering. Many of the people we served were lonely and isolated, and it was heartwarming to see them come together to share a meal, laughter, and conversation. I was also moved by the kindness and generosity of those who came to volunteer, some of whom had traveled from other parts of the world just to be a part of this effort.

The experience of serving others also helped me to develop a deeper appreciation for the things that I often took for granted. I realized that something as simple as a warm meal could bring so much joy and comfort to someone in need, and that the smallest act of kindness could make a world of difference. I also learned about the importance of teamwork and the power of community, as we worked together to achieve a common goal of helping others.

The month I spent volunteering in Monaco was not only a time of service and selflessness, but it was also a time of personal growth and reflection. I left the experience with a greater understanding of the world around me and a newfound appreciation for the power of compassion and community. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such a special and meaningful project, and I hope to continue serving others in the future.

In conclusion, the month I spent feeding the less fortunate in Monaco was a transformative experience that taught me the importance of selflessness, compassion, and the power of community. It was a reminder that we are all connected, and that small acts of kindness can make a huge impact in the lives of those around us.

Our AI overlords may someday penalize me for my mockery, but that day is not today.

Update:  How good can an AI get if it's programmed to censor views?

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

From Jaime To Rochelle

I've written several recent posts about the decline of math education.  It's usually not mathematics professors who want to dumb down math, it's math education professors who want to.

Remember Jaime Escalante, about whom the movie Stand and Deliver was made?  How far have we sunk?

I’m so old I can remember Jesse Jackson challenging black kids in the 1970s by asking, “What could you accomplish if you spent as much time and worked as hard at math as you do at basketball”? No black “leader” will dare say such a thing today. Instead, they will be told they are victims of white supremacy, because math itself is white supremacy.

To be sure, Escalante is a rare teacher. He was absolutely riveting in person. And while that kind of genius can’t be easily acquired, it can be studied and emulated as an example of human excellence and effective pedagogy. I suspect the number of education schools that teach a case study about Escalante (or Marva Collins, who I also met once) is precisely zero.

Instead of Escalante’s challenge, students at the University of Illinois they will get this....

Can California's Government Do *Anything* Right?

California's government can't boil water without burning it:

California’s cannabis industry has faced huge economic hurdles in its first four years of legal sales. The state’s complicated cannabis regulations and high taxes add costs to legal operators, while widespread illegal farms and retailers undercuts legitimate companies. Limited access to banking means these companies pay exorbitant fees for simple banking services and have almost no access to loans. Federal law blocks pot companies from deducting most business taxes from their federal taxes, making pot businesses pay an effective federal tax rate as high as 80%

These factors have come together to make California a painful place to run a legal pot business. The majority of small legacy cannabis farms are on their way out of business and even the country’s biggest cannabis companies are leaving the state.

Perhaps This Would Be Easier For The AI

Nope:

rewrite the lyrics to Don't Stop Believing using Shakespearean English

"Cease Not Thy Belief"

Verse 1: Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world She took the midnight train, going anywhere Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit He took the midnight train, going anywhere

Chorus: Singeth with me, just a small town girl And a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit They didst find a love, on a midnight ride And they doth not cease, their belief inside

Verse 2: A singer in a smoky room, the smell of wine and cheap perfume For a smile they can share the night, it goes on Strangers, waiting, up and down the boulevard Their shadows searching, in the night

Chorus: Singeth with me, just a small town girl And a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit They didst find a love, on a midnight ride And they doth not cease, their belief inside

Bridge: Stranded in the night, with a lonely heart They didst find a love, that dost never depart And they singeth with all their might, for a brighter tomorrow And they doth not cease, their belief in a brighter tomorrow

Chorus: Singeth with me, just a small town girl And a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit They didst find a love, on a midnight ride And they doth not cease, their belief inside.

You know what the most fun is? Trying to think up a prompt!

Monday, January 30, 2023

The Proper Role of Government

A friend sent me a tweet today.  That tweet generated a lot of commentary on Twitter, and two of those comments sum up for me why I'm a conservative.  The first:

You can't comply your way out of tyranny.

Don't give in to a government that wants you to give in, especially if their reasoning is that "it's for the greater good", "it's for the children", or some other such silliness.  Don't give up your rights.  Government, and the people who go into government, are about controlling you and everyone around you; forget that, and you'll spend a lot of time clawing back what you gave up so easily.

The other comment I read:

Either you limit government, or government will limit you.

See my last full paragraph above.

So what should a government do?  What is the proper role of government?  Some smart guys told us back in 1776:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Government doesn't exist to be our nanny or our oppressor; rather, it exists to secure our God-given rights against those who would take them from us.  That is the proper role of government.

Let's Give ChatGPT Another Chance

This time I gave it this prompt:  write a 200-word blog post on why learning styles and multiple intellegences are bunk.  The result:

The Concept of Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences: Debunked

In recent years, the idea of learning styles and multiple intelligences has gained popularity as a way to explain individual differences in learning. The premise is that everyone has a unique way of processing information and that learning can be optimized by understanding and catering to these differences.

However, despite its popularity, there is little scientific evidence to support the notion of learning styles or multiple intelligences. Numerous studies have shown that there is no significant correlation between learning styles and academic achievement, and that efforts to match instruction to learning styles do not result in improved performance.

Additionally, the concept of multiple intelligences is based on a flawed understanding of intelligence. The idea of intelligence as a set of distinct abilities, such as linguistic or musical intelligence, is not supported by modern theories of cognitive development and is not supported by empirical research.

In reality, the process of learning is much more complex and cannot be reduced to a single factor such as learning style or type of intelligence. Learning is influenced by a multitude of factors, including motivation, prior knowledge, attention, and feedback, and the most effective instructional methods are those that take these factors into account.

In conclusion, the idea of learning styles and multiple intelligences is not supported by scientific evidence and can be misleading for teachers and students alike. Rather than focusing on learning styles, it is more effective to use evidence-based teaching strategies that cater to individual needs and provide opportunities for all students to learn and grow.

While this is all true, this sounds like a speech someone would give at a school board meeting.  The mechanics of the language are excellent, but there's no "punch" to the writing.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Such *Sick* People

I get that many people support abortion and are not happy with the Dobbs decision, but how can anyone truly support this?

The Minnesota state senate passed an abortion rights bill that guarantees a right to an abortion up to the time of birth.

The bill, known as the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act, passed by a vote of 34-33 and now goes to Gov. Bill Walz’s desk. He has indicated he will sign it.

“Minnesotans don’t support elective third-trimester abortion. They just don’t. But that’s what this extreme bill entrenches in our state law: the right to abort any baby for any reason at any time up to birth,” said Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “Under this bill, even babies who are old enough to live outside the womb and to feel excruciating pain have no protection from lethal violence. The extremism of H.F. 1 puts Minnesota in the same category as just a handful of countries around the world, including North Korea and China.”

H.F. 1, authored by Sen. Jennifer McEwen, would create a “fundamental right” to abortion and would allow abortions for any reason, even late in pregnancy. Since a fetus can feel pain as young as 20 weeks into gestation and no later than 28-30 weeks, some states have mandated anesthesia for babies to be aborted.

Minnesota has no such law.

I don't throw around words like satanic very often, but this is bill is satanic.  I can't come up with a stronger word.  Lefties do this solely out of spite, that's what kind of people they are.

IMNSHO, The ChatGPT AI Has A Ways To Go

The prompt I gave it was:  write a 500-word blog post about math education in the style of rightontheleftcoast.blogspot.com

Here's what it gave me:

Math Education: A Look at the Challenges and Opportunities

Math education is a topic that elicits strong reactions from many people. Some see it as the foundation of a well-rounded education, while others view it as a dry, uninteresting subject with limited real-world application. Regardless of one's personal feelings about math, there is no denying that it plays a crucial role in our lives, from basic financial literacy to advanced scientific and technological pursuits.

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the state of math education in the United States. According to recent reports, American students are falling behind their international peers in math proficiency, with only 40% of 8th graders performing at or above proficient levels. This is a concerning trend, as the ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts is essential for success in many fields and careers.

One of the biggest challenges facing math education is the lack of qualified teachers. Many schools, particularly those in low-income areas, struggle to attract and retain highly qualified math teachers. This results in students being taught by teachers who may not have the necessary subject matter expertise to effectively convey mathematical concepts.

Another challenge is the teaching approach. Traditional math instruction tends to focus on memorization and rote learning, with little emphasis on problem-solving or real-world applications. This can make math seem uninteresting and disconnected from daily life, causing students to lose motivation and interest in the subject.

Fortunately, there are also many opportunities to improve math education. One of the most promising is the integration of technology. By using interactive software and online resources, teachers can present math concepts in a more engaging and visual way, making it easier for students to understand and apply them. Additionally, technology can provide students with personalized feedback and support, helping them to progress at their own pace and build confidence in their abilities.

Another opportunity is the use of hands-on, project-based learning. By giving students the chance to apply math concepts to real-world problems, they can see the relevance and importance of math in their daily lives. This can also help to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are valuable not only in math, but in all aspects of life.

Finally, it is important to address the underlying attitudes and beliefs about math that may be holding students back. For many students, especially those from underrepresented groups, negative stereotypes about their ability to succeed in math can be a significant barrier. Teachers can help to challenge these beliefs by fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment, and by highlighting the achievements of diverse mathematicians and scientists.

In conclusion, while there are many challenges facing math education, there are also many opportunities to improve it. By addressing the shortage of qualified teachers, using technology and project-based learning, and challenging negative beliefs about math, we can help all students to develop a strong foundation in mathematics and to see the relevance and importance of the subject in their lives. With a concerted effort from educators, parents, and policy makers, we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in math and to pursue their goals and dreams.

It doesn't at all sound like something I'd write.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Prom Dresses

Seems to me a simpler method would be to make the standards exceedingly clear beforehand, and refuse entry to those who do not comply:

An Alabama high school has been deemed “creepy and sexist” after commanding girls to send “front and back” pics of themselves in prom dresses — or be banned from the dance. Their bizarre measure was subsequently walked back following a fierce backlash from students and parents.  link

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Extending The Line (Or, It All Comes Around)

Early on in my tenure at my current school, I had a student in Algebra 2 one year and in pre-calculus the next.  He earned A's in both classes, graduated in 2007, and went off to college to study math in Southern California.

His senior year in college was the first year I taught statistics at our school.  Back then, Christmas vacation was not the end of the semester, and I had some tests and projects to grade over the break, and my former student offered to help me grade them.

In hypothesis testing in statistics, if your P-value is less than some value alpha (usually 5%), you reject your null hypothesis, which is written as H-sub-zero.  My former student told me that his college professor in elementary statistics used this mnemonic device for that lesson:  If P is low, reject the Ho.  I've taught it that way ever since.

Four years ago I had a freshman in an algebra class, and had him again as a senior last year in statistics.  As a gift at the end of the year he gave me a t-shirt that says "If P is low, reject the Ho."  I found on my lesson calendar the lesson during which I would first introduce that rhyme, and I made a note in my lesson plan to wear the t-shirt on that date.  That date was today.

That former student who taught me the rhyme?  He's now a math teacher about a half an hour away.  I haven't (yet) heard from the one who gave me the t-shirt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Dress Code Isn't Racist. It's A Good Business Practice.

Good for Amazon and Whole Foods:

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Whole Foods by three former employees who alleged the Amazon-owned grocery chain unlawfully fired them for wearing Black Lives Matter masks.

Massachusetts District Judge Allison Burroughs, an Obama appointee, granted summary judgment in favor of Whole Foods on Monday, finding there was no evidence Whole Foods used its dress code policy as a pretext to discriminate against the three fired employees...

Whole Foods faced walkouts and protests in 2020 for forbidding workers to wear masks with Black Lives Matter written on them in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

The three employees represented in the lawsuit sued after they were fired for violating the dress code policy.

The judge has to let us know that she doesn't think Whole Foods' decision was a good one, just that it wasn't illegal:

"The record, at most, reflects a series of arguably ill-advised business decisions by Whole Foods in light of Plaintiffs’ dress code violations and the message they sought to display, but it is not one from which a jury could conclude that Whole Foods’ legitimate reasons for firing them were ‘shams’ concocted to punish them for protesting its strict enforcement of the dress code," Burroughs wrote.

She further ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to show how a similarly situated employee who had violated the dress code policy was treated differently than the employees fired for wearing BLM masks. 

"The evidence demonstrates only that Whole Foods did not strenuously enforce the dress code policy until mid-2020, and that when it increased enforcement, it did so uniformly," the judge found.

She Probably Believes This. But She's Wrong.

I truly don't understand how people can think this way:

It’s understandable that most parents would want to know if their child was undergoing such a significant transition. The question, though, isn’t what it’s reasonable for parents to want, but what it’s reasonable to enforce through laws and regulations. And it is wholly unreasonable to demand that a teenager’s experimentation with identity and belief, so long as that experimentation is not physically dangerous, be disclosed to parents. 

So teachers are to be trusted with this kind of information, but not parents? Why should teachers have this kind of power? Who has a more vested interest in doing what’s in the best interest of a child, a teacher or a parent? 

A post at Joanne's site was in a similar vein, including this point:

School officials had put her child "on a path the school wasn’t qualified to oversee," rather than let the family decide what was best, Bradshaw said.

Jill, the author at the first link above, is a leftist nutjob. Her own words demonstrate that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

What Is It About...

What is it about lefties and their obsession with bathrooms?  Don't they have anything more important to think about than trying to convince us that people should use whichever restroom they want?  They've made such a big deal over this that the Supreme Court will probably eventually decide the issue:

The Supreme Court will likely consider whether schools can require students who identify as transgender to use the restroom of their birth sex rather than their gender identity, according to The New York Times.

A Dec. 30 ruling out of the 11th Circuit in Georgia found that a girl who identified as a transgender boy was not entitled to use the boys’ restroom in school, contradicting a 2017 decision from the Seventh Circuit in Chicago which had drawn the opposite conclusion; this is referred to as a circuit split and can often lead to the Supreme Court stepping in to make a final decision on the matter. Justices avoided addressing the bathroom issue in the 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, decision, a case about discrimination against gay and transgender people, but the circuit split and the increased prevalence of children with transgender identities has pushed the bathroom debate to the forefront, according to the NYT.

Why are lefties so interested in forcing this on a public that clearly doesn't want it?  Why this fascination with restrooms?  What is wrong with these people?