Saturday, May 26, 2018

It's Enough To Make You Weep For The Future

Over at Joanne's blog I linked to my own post about appropriate attire at graduation.  Some of the comments there (many obviously by teenagers) show such a profound lack of knowledge that one wonders if they've learned anything in high school.

They're certainly learning from lefties.  So far I've been accused of hating black people, as well as of being a Nazi white supremacist who supports slavery.  Why?  Because in the post above I support a school's policy about what graduates can wear during their graduation ceremony.  Lefties do love their name-calling.

Lawrence v. Texas was mentioned more than once.  "Read Lawrence v. Texas. It says that people can do what they want even if you don’t approve."  That's, uh, a unique interpretation of what Lawrence says, but it's certainly not an interpretation to which I'd subscribe.

Tinker was mentioned more than once.  "Free speech means we get to express ourselves in any medium we want, including clothing. It doesn’t just protect the spoken word. Read Tinker!"  Tinker was about the suppression and expression of ideas, not about what clothing you can wear to school.

The First Amendment makes an appearance, too.  "The first amendment means we get to decide how we’ll present ourselves to the world, NOT YOU!!!!"  That's so precious.

Want a two-fer?  Here's the Bill of Rights and Tinker!  "What makes you think the bill of rights doesn’t apply at graduation? Her taxes are paying for the graduation ceremony? Her taxes paid for the school to begin with? That makes it a public school and therefore she’s free to be herself under the first amendment–read Tinker, it ended school-enforced slavery."

It's honestly painful to see such ignorance. 

Schools don't have to have graduation ceremonies.  If the stupidity shown above gets too far out of hand, I'd dump graduation ceremonies altogether.  People can have their own celebrations and wear whatever they want.  Problem solved.

Cow Burps

There's no mention of what the cost difference would be if this new feed were introduced, but here's the science taking place at nearby UC Davis:

Early indications of a UC Davis study show feeding dairy cows seaweed may reduce methane emissions caused by their belching, the university announced Thursday.

UC Davis animal science professor Ermias Kebreab and animal biology PhD candidate Breanna Roque separated 12 Holstein cows into three groups, two of which received different doses of seaweed in their feed and one of which got no seaweed at all.

"The numbers we’re seeing are amazing — well beyond the target that farmers will need to reach," Kebreab said in a media release. "This is a very surprising and promising development."

The two test groups eat seaweed sweetened with molasses for two weeks at a time before returning to a normal diet for a week. Each cow eats a snack from an open-air device that simultaneously measures their breath's methane content. Their milk is also tested for yield, flavor and nutritional content throughout the experiment.
Why worry about this? Burps=methane=global warming.  It's California, you knew global warming had to be in there somewhere.

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

NEA Thinks High Court Will Rule For Mark Janus

Friday, May 25, 2018

Nature and School

The school at which I teach backs up against a levee, followed by a greenbelt, followed by a river. We have plenty of wildlife in the immediate vicinity of our school.

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of a hawk that was watching some nearby ground squirrels. This week our head custodian mailed out a few pictures he'd taken recently, including this one of a hawk "guarding" the back fence. Our custodian said that the raptor allowed him to get within about 5 feet in order to take this picture:
While I don't have the bird's consent to post this picture, I did receive the permission of the photographer!

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

USC Joins Yale

Thursday, May 24, 2018

I Side With the School In This Case--Up To A Point

I'm an army veteran.  My son was in JROTC in high school, and is now in the army.  My mother is a veteran.  3 of my 4 grandparents served in uniform in World War II.

You get the idea.  I'm a supporter of the military.

But just because someone is in, or is about to be in, or has been in, the military, that doesn't mean they get to throw out all other norms and do whatever they want:
A Nebraska high school is speaking out and defending its actions after receiving major backlash on social media for denying a graduating senior’s request to wear her U.S. Army sash during the graduation ceremony

Megan Pohlmeier was planning on participating in her high school’s graduation ceremony in May. To celebrate the occasion, the teen said she wanted to wear her Army sash, which was given to her by her recruiter at the Grand Island office in Nebraska four days before graduation, she told Fox News.

Pohlmeier said she called the school to see if she could wear the black and yellow sash during the ceremony.

"It was something I worked really hard to earn. They told me ‘no’ and did not really give me a reason," she told the Omaha World-Herald.
When she gets in the army, perhaps she'll learn the concept of a "uniform".  There is a "uniform" for graduation, and at this school it doesn't include an army sash.

Anyway, the girl decided to see what she could get away with.  And neither she nor the principal come out looking very good at this point:
Despite being told no, Pohlmeier decided to wear her sash tucked under her graduation gown so she could take pictures with it after the ceremony.

However, Principal Szlanda saw the sash peeking out under the black gown and pulled her out of line, she said.

“He pulled me out of line and said, ‘I talked to you and your father and you are not to be wearing that. If I see you wearing that again, you will not receive your diploma,’” she told the World-Herald.

Since the graduation, which Pohlmeier did participate in sans sash, her story has gone viral on Facebook with many calling the school's actions “unacceptable” and “disrespectful.”

Now, Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz is defending his school’s graduation accessories policy, saying “if we don’t award it, you don’t wear it.”
The superintendent at least comes across as an adult here.

So, what does "peeking out" from under the gown mean?  Was this inadvertent, or was she trying to create an issue?  Was the principal just being a you-know-what?  Hard to know.  Even in the military, at least in my day, if what you're wearing under your uniform cannot be seen when the uniform is properly worn, then it is OK.

As I said, neither the student nor the principal covered him/herself in glory here.

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

Useless Jobs?

Professors Are To Blame For Low On-time College Graduation Rates

Who says so?  Soon(but not soon enough!)-to-be-former governor Jerry Brown, who says that because professors teach their "pet projects", that "there are thousands and thousands of courses, and then the basic courses aren't available...."  That's why students can't graduate in 4 years.

Crazy ole' Uncle Jerry.

Couldn't a much bigger reason be the administrative bloat that's occurred in the past, say, 20 years, which sucks up money for more of those "basic courses"?

Couldn't a much bigger reason be the tremendous number of students who we let into our 4-year universities but who actually need remedial math or English help?

Think about it.  If you got rid of students (mentioned above) who are least likely to graduate, and you freed up some of that administrative and program money to actually do some good around the school, wouldn't there be a greater opportunity for students to graduate in 4 years?

But it's all the professors' fault.  Sheesh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

This Is Why Actors, Especially Pretty Ones, Should Just Keep Their Mouths Shut About Politics

As math teacher Jaime Escalante said to the school principal in the movie Stand And Deliver in reference to his students, "It's not that they're stupid, they just don't know anything."

In the case of most actors, they're just stupid.  Like in the case of Chris Evans:

Today's Post Over At Joanne's

Who Controls The Speech?

Teacher Politics

Interesting numbers:
NPR commissioned Ipsos to conduct a nationally representative survey of more than 500 teachers across the country to determine their views on workplace issues.

There is plenty of good stuff if you want to take a deep dive, but I found the responses to this question about political party identification most interesting:
That’s a pretty big swing, but which is cause and which effect? Are unionized teachers more likely to become Democrats, or are Democratic teachers more likely to join a union? Or both?
Do teachers unions act like their D/R split is 42/34, or more like 99/1?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Here's One Time I Hope the NEA Is Correct

Does the NEA think the Supreme Court will rule for Mark Janus?  Evidence points to a yes, and I hope they're right:
The nation’s largest teachers union plans to reduce its budget by $50 million in anticipation of an unfavorable verdict in Janus v. AFSCME, a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in February that challenges the right of government unions to charge non-members for representing them.

When delegates to the National Education Association meet in Minneapolis in July, union leaders will introduce a two-year budget that cuts expenditures by $50 million, an estimated 13 percent reduction from this year.

NEA’s budget committee forecasts a two-year loss of 307,000 members if, as expected later in the spring, the Supreme Court eliminates agency fees — mandatory costs to workers who don’t become union members but are covered by union agreements. Those near-term losses will almost entirely occur in the 22 states where fees are still charged, erasing post-recession membership gains in places like California, New Jersey, and New York.

The "Education Governor"

Will schools magically turn every student into an Einstein when California's new governor is sworn in next year?  Here's what the major Sacramento newspaper has to say:
The money aligns in the same way for both: labor is spending for Tony Thurmond for schools, and Gavin Newsom for governor. Billionaires bent mainly on support for charter schools are spending heavily on Marshall Tuck and recently came to the rescue of Antonio Villaraigosa, who had been lagging in most of the polls. Those are the only two Democrats to have a significant showing in the polls, and this being California – and the Republican candidates being especially unqualified for the job – probably Newsom or Villaraigosa will take the reins from Jerry Brown.

When (or if) you’re paying attention to campaign ads, it’s worth keeping in mind that the big-money battle over schools has now infiltrated the campaign for governor. You can debate the bullet train, homelessness, zoning laws and redevelopment all you like. But vast amounts of money seeking to direct your vote come from groups that seek ascendancy in just one aspect of state governance. They want to win the great school debate, for four or probably eight years, and do it through the governor, who has far more authority over school policy than the state superintendent, whose job is mainly administrative...
The article ends by supporting the prettyboy.

Read more here:

Today's Posts Over at Joanne's

I'm filling in for Joanne Jacobs for a week and a half or so, so here are today's two posts over at her site:

Chuck and Nancy Have a Plan

Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi offer the Democratic vision of education--to be paid for with unicorn farts, of course.

School Shootings–A Positive Trend?

Are there more school shootings now than in the 80s/90s, or not?  What do the data tell us?

At Least They're Not Lying About It Anymore

Google drops their "don't be evil" motto:
“Don’t be evil.”

The three words that have been part of Google’s motto for the last 17 years also encapsulate how much of Silicon Valley sees itself—doing what is right and just, but a bit edgier than previous stodgy titans of capitalism.

However, the ubiquitous search engine has now removed “Don’t be evil” from its official code of conduct. According to a Gizmodo reporter who used the Wayback machine to check time stamps, at some point between late April and early May, references to the slogan in the document were removed except for one brief mention.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Faux Outrage

I'm guest blogging over at Joanne's for awhile since she's roughing it in Barcelona and just published the following over there:
Is this really insensitive?

Or will some people look for any excuse to act aggrieved?
The principal of Cherry Hill High School East has apologized for “insensitive” language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.

The tickets urged students to “party like it’s 1776” during the event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

But that prompted complaints from students who noted “not all communities can celebrate what life was like in 1776,” Principal Dennis Perry said in a letter to the community Friday.

“I am writing to apologize for the hurt feelings this reference caused for members of our school family,” wrote Perry.

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” he added.
Remember, the Founders were questioning slavery back in 1776.  One of the complaints against the King in the Declaration of Independence was that he encouraged the slave trade–a comment that was removed as part of a compromise to get all 13 colonies to sign.  (I know we don’t much believe in compromise in today’s political climate, but back then, and until rather recently, it was “a thing”.)

The issue of slavery was also addressed in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution when it was drafted in 1787; again, a compromise said that the federal government wouldn’t do anything about slavery (what else could they do but abolish it?) until 1808.  After 1808, there were many laws limiting slavery–and even a war fought in the 1860s, the primary cause being slavery.

To argue that anyone, everyone, at any time prior to the 1950s/60s was racist and not to be admired?   Such a belief demonstrates a profound lack of historical knowledge, and does a disservice to all Americans who fought slavery, racism, and government-enforced segregation.
Personally, I think the complainers are just anti-American idiots.  But that's just one man's opinion.

An Irresponsible Statement

Last week, Obama Administration Education Secretary Arne Duncan tweeted:
This is brilliant, and tragically necessary. What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?
Odd that he didn't propose this after Sandy Hook.  I wonder what's changed....

Never let a (so-called) crisis go to waste, eh?

How Unhinged Is The Left Becoming?

So unhinged that they'll support Hamas rather than admit that President Trump did something right (in fact, he carried out the policy of the American government as has been stated since President Clinton's first term.  School personnel are certainly not immune to Trump Derangement Syndrome, and fortunately, some parents are calling them out on it:
This moment of silence caused a lot of noise.

Students at the elite Beacon School were asked to pause from their studies last week to pay tribute to the victims of violence in Gaza, where some 60 Palestinians were killed the day before by Israeli soldiers.

The school-wide announcement Tuesday stunned some students and has outraged parents who question why the school is entering into the divisive Palestinian-Israeli conflict with what they see as an anti-Jewish bent.

“I am extremely upset because I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives,” said one father, who is Jewish.
The meme last week was that the left hates President Trump so much that they supported Hamas and MS-13 over him.  Reason has left them completely at this point.

The End Is Nigh

Today in our mailboxes at school was the harbinger of the end--the "teacher checkout envelope".  On the outside of the envelope is a checklist of things to do and list of things we (might) need to put in the envelope, e.g. final exams for students who don't take them but will do so over the summer.

When we get that, we know the end of the school year is coming.  I think there are 11 working days remaining in the year!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tyranny Is Just One Generation Away When We "Unlearn" Liberty

This is a worrying trend:
When presented with a false choice between free speech and inclusivity, they choose the latter.
Six years ago, my good friend Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, coined the perfect phrase to describe the state of free speech in American education: “unlearning liberty.” Our educational system is at cross-purposes with the Bill of Rights, teaching students to believe that unalienable rights such as free speech and due process are a problem, especially when they conflict with the demands of social justice or political expediency.

It’s not that students are taught to despise free speech — after all, students love their own right to speak. It’s that students believe free speech should be subordinate to other, higher values. With depressing regularity now, surveys of college students reveal a pattern: There’s immense support for free speech in the abstract, but that support erodes significantly when the questions get specific...

It turns out that 58 percent of students said colleges should “forbid” speakers “who have a history of engaging in hate speech,” with hate speech defined as “anything one particular person believes is harmful, racist, or bigoted.” Oh, and almost 40 percent believed it was sometimes acceptable to shout down or disrupt a speaker.
Remember, young college students--never claim a power you wouldn't want your enemy to have.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

40 Years Have Passed...

...since this graduation speaker refused to be cowed at Berkeley-lite:
Saturday will be graduation day at UC Davis Law School (as well as many other law schools). Congratulations to all the graduates!

I don't know who the Davis graduation speaker will be this year, but forty years ago, it was Justice Stanley Mosk of the California Supreme Court. This raised a hullaballoo. Although students had voted Mosk one of their preferred speakers back in the autumn, he was Public Enemy No. 1 to some students. Calling themselves the "Third World Coalition," a group of them demanded him to withdraw.
He was almost as liberal as they came, but he committed an unforgivable crime:
But Mosk had the audacity to take his commitment to equality seriously. He had been fighting for decades for equal treatment, and he was not able to turn around on a dime and approve the preferential treatment based on race practiced by colleges and universities in the name of "affirmative action." When the case of Bakke v. University of California Regents reached the California Supreme Court he wrote an extremely eloquent opinion for the majority condemning the UC-Davis Medical School's race-preferential admissions policy as unconstitutional.
So the lefties had to picket and try for a heckler's veto:
At the Davis Commencement, about 50 to 75 picketers—mostly students, but also some from outside groups--greeted those who entered the building. When Mosk was introduced at the ceremony, about 34 of the 139 graduates, along with about 150 guests, walked out. But Mosk was undaunted. "Judges," he told the crowd, "cannot be intimidated," and "Lawsuits are won and lost in the courtrooms, not in the streets."
Not always true, but you have to admire his principles.

And 40 years later, we're still dealing with race-based admissions to universities:
Weirdly, it is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, a mild-mannered Nixon appointee, who ended up being beloved by the Left. Powell's fence-sitting opinion in Bakke effectively overturned Mosk's opinion and opened the door to ever-greater preferential treatment based on race.

Could Conservatives Get A Fair Shake From This Professor?

Students know which way I lean politically, but I've never had one accuse me of calling them names or of penalizing their grades because of their political bent:
A professor at California State University-East Bay displays signs on her office window declaring that “Republicans are heartless a**holes” and “F**k the A**hole in Chief.”

The signs were spotted at the office of Assistant Professor Monique Manopoulos by members of the CSU East Bay Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, which posted an image of the signs to Twitter Thursday afternoon.
Classy.  Just like the pseudonymous troll who periodically posts on this blog.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Faster Internet, Day 1

After about 20 years or so with the same company and with the same email address, I finally had to make a change.  My ISP couldn't provide the bandwidth I now desire, but the devil (Comcast) could.

It was installed yesterday, and so far I'm pleased.  I went from about 1 Mbps download speed with DSL (seems like dial-up nowadays) to up to 60 Mbps download.  Internet speed tests put my download speed at about 25 Mbps--nowhere near 60, but still well over 20x my previous speed, and for about the same price as I had been paying for DSL.

Getting a new email address after 20 years--big change!  Good thing I've had my Yahoo address for about as long, and most businesses communicate with me using that address.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's Good For The Goose, Part 8 Million

Instapundit always says that the left isn't going to like living by the rules they've installed, and here's an entertaining example from Rutgers:
Students at Rutgers Law School are condemning two campus organizations for making an “intimidating” suggestion that President Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

The students voiced their objection to a statement filed by the Rutgers Student Bar Association (SBA) Safety and Wellness Committee and the Federalist Society in early May, supporting “the movement for...Trump to win the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts towards securing peace on the Korean peninsula"...

The provocative joint declaration, however, was not received well by multiple student organizations, which penned a joint response letter blasting the two groups and labeling their statement as “harmful” and “dangerous.”

“On May 2, 2018, the Federalist Society and the SBA Safety and Wellness Committee issued a joint statement supporting Donald Trump’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize,” the students wrote. “Many students on our campus felt that we needed to raise our voices in opposition to such a harmful statement.”

“Although we support freedom of expression, we do not condone unilateral, damaging statements masquerading as representative of our entire student body,” they continued. “Furthermore, this particular statement is made at the expense of students who experience the structural inequality of the Trump administration.”

The students went on to outline several key reasons as to why they oppose giving the prize to Trump, including an assertion that the law school “is made up of a diverse student body, many of whom have been threatened or harmed by Trump’s statements and policies.”
Oh, boo-fricken-hoo. If you're harmed by statements, grow some tougher skin. I'm curious what policies have hurt them.
In a separate statement, SBA President John DeLuca stressed that SBA members do not have the constitutional power to make political statements on behalf of the entire organization without bringing the matter to a vote, something he said he brought up with Social Equity Committee Chair Omar Rana after his committee issued the unapproved statement.

Upon determining that Rana had no intention of revising the document, and concluding that “my internal methods of resolution were exhausted,” DeLuca sought to make his point by demonstrating why it is important to follow the protocols outlined in the SBA Constitution.
The hypocrisy would astound if it weren't so commonplace on the left.