Monday, December 31, 2007

College Debt

Here's an interesting thought about student loans:

Yet, even if all colleges could afford to eliminate loans, several admissions and financial aid directors say they would be reluctant to change a long-held tradition of holding students and their families responsible for part of college costs if they can afford to contribute.

"Philosophically, one of the dangers is we've made debt a four-letter word," said Lee Coffin, the dean of admissions at Tufts, which this fall eliminated loans for students from families making less than $40,000 a year and will not extend the offer to higher-income families. "I wonder what it will do to a generation that will go to college without any personal sacrifice. You start taking loans away, and you start saying, 'Here's a free ride.' "

I wonder how Mr. Coffin feels about socialized health care.

University Refuses To Fund Christian Group

Here we go again.

To me the essential questions are:
1. Can a university group/club reasonably set membership requirements? If not, what's to stop the Carnivore Club for taking over the student chapter of PETA?
2. Should universities take fees from all students to fund these clubs?
3. How should universities decide which organizations to fund, and which not to?
4. Is withholding funds to this Christian organization because of its religious views a 1st Amendment issue?

Because of all these questions, I agree with this comment posted at the above link:

Its time to stop taking funds coercively from students to fund all these groups. Let the Gay-Lesbian-Transgendered Law Students, the Palestian Law Students, the PETA students and the Christian groups equally find funds among their supporters. Survival of the fittest.

The Very Definition of an Instalanche

This is what happened when Instapundit linked to one of my posts.

I'm hoping my daily hits will go back up to "normal" once Christmas vacation is over.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Teenage Brain

This is one reason why I think teenagers shouldn't be allowed to have an abortion without parental consent. It's the same reason that we don't allow most of them to drive, or to vote, or to drink.

The teenage brain, Laurence Steinberg says, is like a car with a good accelerator but a weak brake. With powerful impulses under poor control, the likely result is a crash.

This is not to disparage teenagers--far from it. I enjoy working with them, and so many of them are good people. But they're not biologically/developmentally/mentally ready to make some of the decisions we expect adults to make.

"It doesn't mean adolescents can't make a rational decision or appreciate the difference between right and wrong," he said. "It does mean, particularly when confronted with stressful or emotional decisions, they are more likely to act impulsively, on instinct, without fully understanding or analyzing the consequences of their actions."

I can't imagine that's a surprise to anyone.

The inexplicable behavior and poor judgments teens are known for almost always happen when teens are feeling high emotion or intense peer pressure, conditions that overwhelm the still-maturing circuitry in the front part of brain, Giedd said.

Again, not a surprise.

There's much good information in the linked article. I recommend it to all high school teachers and parents!


This guy is part Rain Man, part Jack from Will and Grace--but his math skills are pretty darn good.

FIRE Them All!

Everyone involved in creating Orwellian speech codes, FIRE them! Everyone involved in wrongfully persecuting college students for exercising their 1st Amendment freedoms, FIRE them! Everyone who creates ideological litmus tests for participation in school programs, FIRE them! Everyone using public money and/or student fees to violate the 1st Amendment, FIRE them!

As I've said before, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is what the ACLU would be if the ACLU weren't so unabashedly liberal. FIRE has compiled a 2007 Year in Review, detailing many of their accomplishments in the name of freedom over the past year--go take a read.

Then consider doing what I'm going to do--write them a check. It's tax deductible--consult your tax professional for details.

Liberal Fascism

I lift the following from Instapundit:

HEIL, WOODROW! That's the title of David Oshinsky's surprisingly positive review of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism in Sunday's New York Times. Excerpt:

Coming of age in the 1960s, I heard the word “fascist” all the time. College presidents were fascists, Vietnam War supporters were fascists, policemen who tangled with protesters were fascists, on and on. To some, the word smacked of Hitler and genocide. To others, it meant the oppression of the masses by the privileged few. But one point was crystal clear: the word belonged to those on the political left. It was their verbal weapon, and they used it every chance they got. . . .

Leftists still drop the “f word” to taint their opponents, be they global warming skeptics or members of the Moral Majority. The sad result, Goldberg says, is that Americans have come to equate fascism with right-wing political movements in the United States when, in fact, the reverse is true. To his mind, it is liberalism, not conservatism, that embraces what he claims is the fascist ideal of perfecting society through a powerful state run by omniscient leaders. And it is liberals, not conservatives, who see government coercion as the key to getting things done.

“Liberal Fascism” is less an exposé of left-wing hypocrisy than a chance to exact political revenge. Yet the title of his book aside, what distinguishes Goldberg from the Sean Hannitys and Michael Savages is a witty intelligence that deals in ideas as well as insults — no mean feat in the nasty world of the culture wars.

Read the whole thing. Our podcast interview with Jonah is here.

The boldface is mine.

Update, 12/30/07: Here's more on the book. Apparently some lefties don't like this book and want to try to Googlebomb it. This first two comments pretty much sum up my views:
  • Doesn't the fact that Kos is trying this tactic prove the thesis of liberal fascism?
  • "How dare he call us fascists. Let's crush his dissent!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

Gay Pride T-shirts At School?

The girl wore a t-shirt a teacher didn't like, the school threatens suspension, the ACLU threatens suit. (Yes, the teacher's a ninny, for lack of a better term, but that isn't germane to this discussion.)

What happens when religious students wear "homosexuality is a sin" shirts to school? Hint: the ACLU doesn't take up their case.

What's the difference in these two cases? Either they're both protected by the 1st Amendment, or neither is. I need someone to try to parse this so that one is OK at school and the other isn't, because I just don't see it.

Update, 12/31/07: I'd like to keep this a "dress code" post, not a "homosexuality" post.

Update, 1/1/08: Here's a dress code post I wrote over a year ago.

Online High School

I see a future in this. Yes, there are some bugs to be worked out, but we'll see a lot more of this in years to come.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Stupidest Academic Research Ever

I agree with Rightwingprof on this one.

That’s right. Israeli soldiers are baaaaaad because they don’t rape women.

A Little Out Of The Ordinary

This struck home with me:

Some people can smell sounds, see smells or hear colors, according to researchers Juan Lupiáñez Castillo and Alicia Callejas Sevilla of the University of Granada in Spain...

"There are people for whom time units evoke colors," Callejas wrote in his research. "It is also common for a synaesthete to see colors when listening to words, sounds in general or music notes (people who can see music, for instance). There are also cases, although fewer, where people can see colors in flavors, others perceive flavors or experience touch sensations when listening to different sounds, some link flavors to touch sensations, etc."

As late as my teenage years I used to see music. Actually, it's a little more obscure than that. I would "sense" colors, sometimes in 3-D, in music. I might not see the color blue, but a song would be "blue" while another might be "orange". Sometimes a song would evoke more than one color--again, I wouldn't see the color or pattern with my eyes, rather I sensed them somehow.

It's somehow comforting to know that others could use their senses in non-standard ways.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Importance of Education

This has to be the best education-related video of 2007. Remember when John "Horseface" Kerry defamed our servicemen and women by saying if you don't get a good education, you get stuck in Iraq? Well, here's one data point that says that if you don't get a good education--including geography and public speaking, among other topics--you can make a fool of yourself in front of the entire world.

And points go to Mario Lopez for not losing it, such as.

Teaching Myths To Students

Our school librarian instituted a most interesting feature--on one shelf is a collection of books, each of which has been recommended by a teacher. Our pictures are included on a big bookmark that says "Mr. So-and-so recommends...." I'm one of the teachers who's recommended a book, and mine is Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Yes, this book is written by a socialist. However, I can't help but agree with this review posted at the above link:

As a conservative white male who views revisionist history quite skeptically, I did not expect much from this book. As a student of American history, I understood what a woeful job our textbooks and (unfortunately) our teachers do in teaching the actual history of this country, but I never expected both the depth and the level of scholarship Mr. Loewen presents in this book. It is well researched, well written and much needed.

Students at my school encounter myths and share them with me. One of them is that somehow, at some nebulous point in the past, the Republican and Democrat parties "switched" ideologies. Yes, Republicans were the party of freedom and abolition of slavery, but they "became" the party of racists and now Democrats have taken on the mantle of equality.

And this is crap. Even James Loewen, the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, goes into depth regarding the racist history of the Democrat Party and its adherents--and trust me, Loewen is no friend of the Republicans. Apparently, though, it makes some teachers feel good to feed this crap to students. I guess it's all part of that "higher order thinking skills" about which we hear so much.

I read the same slur in an article at, and fortunately the slur was countered.

In his new book, "The Conscience of a Liberal," New York Times columnist Paul Krugman makes a strong case for his belief that the political success of the Republican Party and the conservative movement over the past 40 years has resulted largely from their co-optation of Southern racists that were the base of the Democratic Party until its embrace of civil rights in the 1960s...

However, if a single mention of states' rights 27 years ago is sufficient to damn the Republican Party for racism ever afterwards, what about the 200-year record of prominent Democrats who didn't bother with code words? They were openly and explicitly for slavery before the Civil War, supported lynching and "Jim Crow" laws after the war, and regularly defended segregation and white supremacy throughout most of the 20th century.

Examples are given, and like those in Loewen's book, they're not pretty.

People are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. The Republicans drummed David Duke out of the party while the Democrats still cling to Robert Byrd (of KKK fame). I don't expect my fellow teachers to be unbiased--Lord knows I'm not--but I do expect them to be honest. And some of them are not.

Update, 1/8/08: I've been reading up on the Little Rock situation in the Eisenhower Archives. Read the communications from the Arkansas Senators and Congressmen to President Eisenhower, and the President's thoughtful responses to them. Read the telegram to the President from "the parents of nine Negro children enrolled at Little Rock Central High School".

Then remember what political parties these players belonged to.

Diversity Training--Coming Soon To A School District Near You

A month ago I commented on Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell's flirtation with diversity training and schools. If such training is forced upon California's teachers, I wonder how the School Insurance Authority will enjoy paying out for these lawsuits:

Diversity training often imparts bad legal advice to managers and employers that can come back to haunt them in court...

Major employers have paid out millions of dollars in discrimination claims because of diversity-training programs.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

One Of The Perks Of Being A Teacher... getting to meet so many wonderful people.

A couple weeks ago I ran into the mother of a former student at a Christmas concert at a local church. We chatted for awhile and she invited my son and me to their house for Christmas dinner.

Single dad+homecooked meal=HECK YES!

And what a meal it was. And what company--siblings and parents and children, oh my!

And just as good as the food and company? They were all good conservatives. So I broke the ice by saying that I was thinking about voting for Hillary Clinton--the laughter after that was genuine and hearty.

They made my son and me feel so comfortable in their home. What an honor it is to be welcomed by such generous hosts.

Santa Claus In Nebraska, Oklahoma

I love stories like this.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Spc. Heather Davey put a $587 plane ticket on her credit card so she could go home for the holidays, figuring she would worry later about how to pay for it.

The 34-year-old mother of two has one less worry now. She and 40 other members of the Nebraska Army National Guard's 110th Medical Battalion training at Fort Lewis, Wash., found out Thursday that Nebraska business leaders would pay the soldiers' fares home...

Banker Roy Dinsdale of Palmer and 20 of his friends and associates put up the $24,000 needed to get the soldiers home. An additional $16,000 that was raised will be kept in reserve.

Generous capitalists brought these soldiers home, businessmen who truly support the troops.

Capitalists brought these soldiers home for Christmas, too.

Nearly 2,200 members of the 45th Infantry Brigade arrived in Oklahoma Sunday morning to spend the holidays with the family and friends that helped get them here.

Twenty-three buses full of troops began to arrive about 9 a.m. at three locations around the state...

The arrival came nearly a week after Maj. General Harry M. Wyatt announced that donations made by the American Legion of Oklahoma, private businesses and individual Oklahomans had made it possible for the troops to spend a 10-day leave at home with their families for the holidays...

Altebaumer said some troops opted for traveling by plane or by rental car, but all 2,600 of the brigade’s troops chose to leave Fort Bliss, Texas, where they have been training since late October.

On Jan. 2, the troops will go back to Fort Bliss. Later that month, they will deploy to Iraq. The troops are expected to return sometime in September, Altebaumer said.

Here's to hoping that all of these fine soldiers from Oklahoma and Nebraska will be home again next Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve, Northern California-style

From Yahoo Weather:


Feels Like: 55°
Barometer: 30.35 in and falling
Humidity: 54%
Visibility: 10 mi
Dewpoint: 39°
Wind: NNW 17 mph
The sky is bright blue, not a cloud to be seen. All the lawns are green, and while most of the trees have lost their leaves, the ones outside my library window are fully covered and green.

Santa won't have any problems navigating in this section of the country tonight.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Send The Troops A Christmas Message

Do so here.

Solar and Nuclear Energy

The cost of solar cells, and the ratio of that cost to the electricity provided, have been the primary reasons why solar energy has not really "taken off". I'm always hopeful when that appears to change.

And here's the story of a few new US nuclear plants.

If both of these stories pan out, what will the global warming fanatics scream about next? Oh, of course, we'll still need more big government and communalism--because that's all they really want anyway.

Fighting At School

Instapundit has a link about a school fight and has this to say:

I'M KIND OF EMBARRASSED to see this happen in Tennessee: "According to the Williamson County School System, self defense is no defense when it comes to getting suspended for fighting. " In that case, I think she should sue the school system and principal for failing to protect her.

Amen, brother! It's the laziest kind of CYA policy that expects students to walk away after taking a hit. I've discussed this with my vice principals several times and they refuse to budge--take a swing, get suspended, even if you're defending yourself. Heck, adults can legally and legitimately exercise self-defense, but we expect children to show even more restraint than adults after taking a hit.

The principal at my own son's school expects--and I kid you not--that students will curl up on the ground into a fetal position and hope that someone else goes running for help. No way will I support that. Stupidity of the highest form.

Perhaps a lawsuit or two and administrators will wake up to this rabid injustice.

Update: Welcome fellow Instapundit readers! Please feel free to poke around the rest of my blog.

Update #2: Welcome fellow readers of Joanne Jacobs!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seven Lords a-Leaping

Mrs. Bluebird tagged me with a "7 random things about me" meme. Since I was once tagged with a "6 Weird Things About Me" topic, I'll take the shortcut by linking to that post and adding one more here:

7. After years of living in denial, I'm starting to be able to admit that I like some old disco songs. Donna Summer was good, and a few Bee Gees songs were ok. ABBA rocks!

The Manger Scene

As long as I can remember, my grandparents always had an illuminated manger scene on their porch during the Christmas holidays. When I bought their house, the manger scene was included. Over time, though, the paint had faded and it looked old and dreary; displaying it like that didn't seem right.

So a few weeks ago I took it to school and our art teacher allowed some students to paint it up. For the relatively small expense of paint I got what appears to be a new manger scene. Here's a picture of it during daylight:

click to enlarge

When it's illuminated, the imperfections in the painting technique are clearly visible.

When lit and viewed from the sidewalk or street, though, it looks beautiful. Just like I remember it.

While I believe in the tenets of Christianity I'm not very devout. I display the scene as much to honor my grandparents as I do to honor the birth of Christ. Put another way, I believe enough to display the manger scene, but not enough to go purchase one if I didn't already have one.

Taking The Term Prinici-PAL To An Extreme

"He's very touchy, huggy-feely with the children, as far as hugging them in the morning, saying hello, greeting them," said parent Stacy Williams. "My initial thought, which a lot of parents thought, was that he was just being overly friendly."

I don't really have a problem with his hugging kids in the morning. I just don't. If that's all there was, it would be nothing. But that's not all there was.

A Lakeland, Florida elementary school principal faces child porn charges after police said they found pictures of a young student’s face superimposed onto nude images in his office...

According to investigators, Stelmack took photographs of children in normal school settings — one of whom was identified as a 10-year-old student who attended Scott Lake Elementary last year — and digitally superimposed their heads onto nude images.

"The photographs that Stelmack manipulated into child pornography are graphic and repulsive," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "To think that a school principal, someone who is entrusted with the safety and well-being of hundreds of school children, would do something like this is incomprehensible."

Words cannot express my revulsion.

There's Got To Be A Better Way

I have students remove their hats/hoods in class. That seems more likely to ensure they're not wearing headphones than banning hooded sweatshirts in school.

Students Suspended For "Parody" Calling Teacher A Pedophile

Although I'm mortified by the conduct of the students in this case, I'm not convinced that they should be suspended from school for conduct that didn't occur at school. However, given that their target is a teacher and any such accusation seriously and genuinely causes professional harm to the teacher, I'd say that a civil suit for slander and libel is in order.

The Economy's Been Pretty Good To John Edwards....

John Edwards had this to say, quoted at

"Families across the country are working harder than ever, but in the last seven years, the typical family decreased at the same time the costs of health care, energy, and housing are skyrocketing," Edwards said in a statement released by his campaign. "The truth is our economy is slowing under the weight of stagnant wages, a major housing crisis and a spike in energy costs. And now, leading economists are saying there substantial risk we could enter a recession." Edwards' plan doesn't include recommendations for how Congress should pay for the economic rescue package.

Interesting. Here's what I find elsewhere on

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The economy sprinted ahead at its fastest pace in four years during the summer, although it is expected to limp through the final three months of this year as the housing and credit debacles weigh on individuals and businesses alike.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product grew at a 4.9 percent pace in the July-to-September quarter, unchanged from an estimate made a month ago...

The economy's growth in October through December is expected to have slowed to a pace of just 1.5 percent or less.

(All boldface above is mine--Darren)

In other words, even if it does grow at an annualized rate of 1.5% in the last quarter, the American economy will still have grown over 3% this year, which is perfectly healthy.

Economic populism doesn't impress me, and John Edwards is a snake oil salesman of the worst kind. I trust the market to resolve housing and credit issues much more than I trust Washington in general, and Edwards in particular, to do so. How people can even consider this man as a realistic candidate for President is far beyond me.

"Teacher Creativity Is Over-rated"

True that.

Yes, some teachers are Superteachers, but most--probably about 68%--are within one standard deviation from the mean. The Superteachers may be able to fashion lessons, MacGuyver-like, from nothing, but the merely competent need assistance or a guide--something like a well-ordered textbook.

Joanne (see blogroll) has an interesting post today about teacher creativity and teaching to a script. Good reading, especially the comments.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Think The Myth Is True Anyway

Here's an article busting 7 common medical myths. There was one related to education:

We use only 10 percent of our brains

This myth arose as early as 1907 but imaging shows no area of the brain is silent or completely inactive.

I don't know--I'll bet every teacher could identify at least one student who only uses 10% of his/her brain! I'll bet every teacher could probably identify at least one administrator who fits that bill, too :-)

"Wide Stance" Excuse Won't Help This Teacher

Is he more stupid, or more sick?

BARTOW, Fla. — Police say a Bartow High School student hoping to improve her math grades through extra credit instead got a lewd request from her teacher.

Isaac Nathan Tillis was arrested after repeatedly telling student she could earn an "A" if she gave him oral sex. He lured the girl into a teacher's lounge bathroom on Wednesday, but once inside police and the girl sprung a trap.

The 16-year-old was wearing a hidden listening device, which recorded Tillis' proposition after he dropped his pants, police say. The 29-year-old teacher had also scribbled his request on a hall pass, an arrest report states.

Officers arrested Tillis and charged him with soliciting a lewd sex act from a minor.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Alumni Day

Tomorrow is Alumni Day at our school. Recent graduates will return to campus to give seminars about life after high school. Most, of course, will be talking about the specific colleges they attend.

Yesterday I saw a former student, currently a freshman at USF on a full-ride Army ROTC scholarship. I saw 5 former students today--4 who graduated last June, and one who's currently a junior at the Air Force Academy. Your tax dollars are being spent wisely, as the Air Force cadet knew enough to bring me pizza :-)

It's so good to see them all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another Superteacher

Last month I introduced you to Mrs. Barton, my 3rd grade Superteacher. This month I have another for you.

I don't have all the stories about Mr. Popp (pronounced Pope) that I did about Mrs. Barton. I have nothing but the fondest of memories about Mr. Popp, who was a former math teacher by the time he ended up being my high school counselor, but obviously I didn't spend as much time with a counselor as I did with an elementary teacher. Suffice it to say, though, that Mr. Popp was a great counselor--always there for us, about anything--and it was a treat many years later when he was working at an alternative high school and I applied for a position there. I opted not to take the job, but what an honor it would have been to work along side him.

Shortly after I first started teaching, I met Mr. Popp and my former high school principal for breakfast one morning. Both were former math teachers, and offered me teaching suggestions that I still follow as gospel today. Did they have an impact on me? You bet--and through me, on the couple thousand students who've come into my classroom in the 10-1/2 years I've been teaching.

After all these years we still exchange Christmas cards. The family letter was enclosed, and here's what Mrs. Popp said about Mr. Popp in it:

He "continues to tutor math to high school students two days a week. This is his 51st year of teaching in the Grant School District!"

I don't need to add anything to that.

Mr. Popp, I raise my mug of hot chocolate to you and offer a loud Salud!

Oh, and thank you.

Carnival of Education

This week's Carnival is back home at the Education Wonks, and includes my post about the bill in Wisconsin that would require schools to teach about the organized labor movement.

Reagan Comes To The Rescue Again

Gotta love a story like this:

A teenager whose appendix ruptured at sea, hundreds of miles from help, got safely to shore Tuesday after an unusual rescue in which the Navy airlifted her from a cruise ship for emergency surgery. Laura Montero, 14, fell ill aboard the Dawn Princess cruise ship off the coast of Baja California.

The Bahamian-registered ship sent out a distress call Friday that was answered by the USS Ronald Reagan, which was on training maneuvers about 500 miles away.

The nuclear carrier was the closest ship with a hospital facility, according to a news release from the Navy. It steamed overnight toward the cruise ship, which was about 250 miles northwest of Cabo San Lucas when the call went out.

A helicopter took off from the Reagan around 5 a.m. Saturday to close the final 175-mile gap between the ships. The crew arrived after a 45-minute flight and lowered a medic onto the cruise ship deck in a basket because there wasn't space to land, said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Leland, the pilot.

Montero, who was on an antibiotic drip, was loaded into a litter basket, lifted into the helicopter and flown back to the Reagan for an appendectomy.

As someone on a maillist said about this topic: wait until her insurance company gets that bill!

Good job to the Navy on that mission.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Which Is Worse--Criminal Trespass, or Criminal Stupid?

Here's why I ask:

MARIETTA, Ga. — A coach in Georgia is facing charges after police said he drove middle school students on a Christmas vandalism spree that left some plastic reindeer in X-rated sexual positions, reports.

I'm So Tired Of Hearing About Knives At School

Can we please, please, apply a little common-freakin'-sense to situations like this?

A 10-year old Ocala girl brought her lunch to school and a small kitchen knife to cut it. She now faces a felony charge after being arrested.

The crazies will cry, "But Darren, what if she hurts someone with that knife? We could have prevented it!" To which I reply, "If she wants to hurt people, she could stab them with a pencil."

I long for the day when "zero tolerance" applies to idiotic rules and the spineless administrators who create idiotic rules, and not to knives in lunchboxes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

This Is How I Learned To Teach

I spent my first year teaching on an emergency credential--a B.S. degree in Math and a pulse. I spent my next two years on an intern credential while I taught during the day and went to ed school (an alternative credential program) at nights and on weekends.

Very little of what we learned in ed school was applicable to the real world of teaching, especially for secondary teachers. This post by Joanne (see blogroll) hits the nail on the head.

That's Why They Call It A Hy-POT-enuse

TAMPA - A Middleton High School math teacher told police Tuesday that he smoked a joint on his way to school to cope with the students in his classroom, a police spokeswoman said. link

Any other (better) pot jokes would be welcome in the comments.

Jay Mathews' Top 10 Concerns About Education

Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews identifies his Top 10 Concerns About Education in an interview with

What do you see as the top ten concerns in education? What are the biggest concerns in the Washington Circle?

My concerns or Washington's? I will go with mine:

1. Low standards and expectations in low-income schools.
2. Very inadequate teacher training in our education schools.
3. Failure to challenge average students in nearly all high schools with AP and IB courses.
4. Corrupt and change-adverse bureaucracies in big city districts.
5. A tendency to judge schools by how many low income kids they have, the more there are the worse the school in the public mind.
6. A widespread feeling on the part of teachers, because of their inherent humanity, that it is wrong to put a child in a challenging situation where they may fail, when that risk of failure is just what they need to learn and grow.
7. The widespread belief among middle class parents that their child must get into a well known college or they won't be as successful in life.
8. A failure to realize that inner city and rural schools need to give students more time to learn, and should have longer school days and school years.
9. A failure to realize that the best schools--like the KIPP charter schools in the inner cities---are small and run by well-recruited and trained principals who have the power to hire all their teachers, and quickly fire the ones that do not work out.
10. The resistance to the expansion of charter schools in most school district offices.

Much more is discussed in the article.

What Part of the 1st Amendment Do These Chuckleheads Not Understand?

From, via NewsAlert (see blogroll at left):

The Illinois Press Association asked a Sangamon County judge on Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the Illinois High School Association that claims it has exclusive rights to sell photographs taken at state high school athletic events...

The Bloomington-based IHSA has had a licensing agreement with Visual Image Photography since 2001. Its lawsuit claims newspapers around the state refused to stop selling photographs from state events to third parties, which is a violation of IHSA policy.

Take a picture, go to jail?

First They Came For The Snack Foods...

Food nannies want to ban cupcakes from school parties.

"Bring a cupcake, go to jail." Will this stupidity never cease?

High School Militia Classes

Now this is interesting.

The vision that I have is high schools offering a voluntary Militia class, along the same lines as Drivers’ Education.

You know you want to go read it!

"They Told Me That If George W. Bush Were Reelected..."

Instapundit has a slew of posts starting with the title line, each ending with some apocalyptic scenario and a link to a story. A reader asked him for a list of such posts, and he provided one via Google.

Go take a look. Especially you lefties.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Am Legend

I just got home from seeing the movie with a friend. Sadly, I enjoyed the Mongolian Barbecue afterwards much more than I did the movie.

Yes, I Know Blogging's Been Light This Weekend

I discovered that entire episodes (and series (serieses?)) are available for viewing online, and I've discovered NBC's Heroes. Enough said.

Democracy vs. The Planet

From Local Transport Today, a British "fortnightly" publication about--you guessed it!--local transportation:

Hillman, senior fellow emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute, says carbon rationing is the only way to ensure that the world avoids the worst effects of climate change. And he says that the problems caused by burning fossil fuels are so serious that governments might have to implement rationing against the will of the people.

"When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it," he says. "This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not."

And some wonder why I call these people fascists.

Tolerance, Princeton-style?

Conservatives get death threats. From the Daily Princetonian:

"It doesn't change our positions," Staley-Joyce said. "What it does is give us a wake up call — it shows that these ideas are very important."

Update: Here is some more information and commentary. And in a new post on the topic, Instapundit has these two statements to make:

And as a commenter notes, this would get more attention if it had involved a noose on a doorknob even though in this case, according to the reports, we have an actual physical assault and beating.

Some of Fausta's commenters think this is a hoax. That's always possible with "hate crime" reports, of course (see the Redstate item linked at the top of this post), but this one did involve a concussion, which probably wasn't fake. At any rate, media skepticism about possible hoaxes -- as another commenter notes -- seems absent whenever there's a noose involved.

Update #2, 12/18/07: It was a hoax; the kid who received the concussion now admits he faked the assault and sent the threatening emails. As Instapundit said, "To me, the concussion made a hoax seem unlikely, but that just proves that some people will go to great lengths, I guess."

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Most Interesting Picture

click to enlarge

A former student of mine, an Air Force Academy cadet, forwarded this picture to me.

A most interesting and impressive picture. If anyone has any further details than what's written on the picture itself, please add them in the comments.

There's something gnawing at me, though, and the math teacher in me just can't let it go. I'm not going to get out a magnifying glass and count, but it just doesn't look to me like there are 18,000 men in that picture. The "pedestal" doesn't appear to include 100 men, and it doesn't look like the pedestal is 1/180th of the entire "statue".

Still, though, most interesting--a great tribute to liberty.

Yes, the picture appears to be copyrighted, but I'm assuming that the copyright has run out. If it hasn't and the copyright owner would prefer I remove the picture, I trust that person will let me know and I'll of course comply.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Global Warming Caused By Hellfire and Brimstone?

Read here to learn what the Pope has recently said about global warming. I think he just doesn't like competition from the Church of Global Warming.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CSU System and Diversity

Perhaps someone can connect the dots for me.

California State University should provide more guidance on hiring professors for its 23 campuses and include more women and minorities on employee search committees, the state auditor's office said in a report released Tuesday...

Not surprisingly, said the report, the five campuses use different methods when considering the gender and ethnic background in hiring professors. And the selection of search committees is different from campus to campus. Some campuses pay attention to the gender and ethnic makeup of search committees; some forbid the practice.


CSU's 46,000 employees are 53 percent women, and one-third are ethnic minorities, according to officials.

Of 165 recent professor hirings examined by the audit, 44 percent are women, three points above the average national availability of female doctorate recipients. Twenty-six percent were minority hires. The national availability of such candidates was 12 percent, according to the audit.

I agree there's a problem, but it's not the problem the state auditor and the assemblywomen (quoted in this article) are trying to "solve". The problem is that they're trying to fix a problem that isn't a problem.

Dirge Continues For Global Warming Adherents

If you believe facts are important, someone's got some 'splainin' to do.

The researchers compared predictions of 22 widely used climate "models" — elaborate schematics that try to forecast how the global weather system will behave — with actual readings gathered by surface stations, weather balloons and orbiting satellites over the past three decades.

The study, published online this week in the International Journal of Climatology, found that while most of the models predicted that the middle and upper parts of the troposphere —1 to 6 miles above the Earth's surface — would have warmed drastically over the past 30 years, actual observations showed only a little warming, especially over tropical regions.

"Can the models accurately explain the climate from the recent past? It seems that the answer is no," said lead study author David H. Douglass, a physicist specializing in climate at the University of Rochester.

You don't say.

Carnival of Education

This week's is over at The Colossus of Rhodey, and includes my post asking what the CTA is doing for California teachers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Defense Department Unwilling To Enforce Solomon Amendment Against UC Santa Cruz

Personally, I'd throw the book at the granola-eating communists.

The Young America's Foundation has sued the Department of Defense for failing to enforce the Solomon Amendment -- the law that requires schools receiving federal funding to give access to military representatives for recruiting purposes, and to treat military recruiters in the same way they treat all other employment recruiters. The lawsuit arises from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). According to the plaintiff's complaint, UCSC for three years has allowed near riots by professors and students to drive military recruiters from its job fairs, while non-military recruiters have enjoyed an unimpeded opportunity to meet with students interested in employment.

The Defense Department has moved to dismiss YAF's complaint.

Cowards, idiots, or bigger irons in the fire?

Merit Pay

A few days ago I linked to this suggestion about merit pay. Tonight I link to this one. The author doesn't pull many punches, either.

Merit pay, or any system thereof, is not an end onto itself. It must be a means to the type of ends that will improve our schools and systems. We do this not because teachers get so little after giving so much (awww...) but because the principle behind this particular reform take us to all kinds of places public education needs to go in order to survive.

Teach Students The Right Way To Research Topics

I remember, as a senior in high school, how our beloved English teacher, Mr. Ardary (RIP), struggled to teach us that Time and Newsweek are not "scholarly" sources. We resisted, because as teenagers we didn't understand what "scholarly" really meant. We eventually learned, though.

Imagine what today's teachers--at least, those who still assign thoughtful essays--must contend with.

Yahoo! Answers—a site where anyone can post a question in plain English, including queries that can't be answered by a traditional search engine—now draws 120 million users worldwide, according to Yahoo!'s internal stats...

The blockbuster success of Yahoo! Answers is all the more surprising once you spend a few days using the site. While Answers is a valuable window into how people look for information online, it looks like a complete disaster as a traditional reference tool. It encourages bad research habits, rewards people who post things that aren't true, and frequently labels factual errors as correct information. It's every middle-school teacher's worst nightmare about the Web.

Throw in Wikipedia, and one wonders if today's students will ever even encounter a "scholarly source". But wait--it gets worse.

For educators fretting that the Internet is creating a generation of "intellectual sluggards," the problem isn't just that Yahoo!'s site helps ninth-graders cheat on their homework. It's that a lot of the time, it doesn't help them cheat all that well.

Footnotes, endnotes, sources cited--something has to serve as an honest broker here.

Selling Out To A Union Buys Nothing For A Republican

What's Huckabee thinking, sucking up to the NEA? They're not going to support him over Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or any other Democrat, so why get down on his knees and smooch their collective butts? Huck, they've never supported a Republican for President since they started supporting candidates. Do you really think you're going to be the one to break that mold?

You're handing them ammunition to use against your fellow Republicans. You're playing into their hands.

You know what we call that? "Useful idiot".

Stop being so useful to them.

Insanity Of A Green Party Voter

As a Green Party voter, I've never wasted my vote on Pelosi, and I believe she needs to be challenged daily on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, holding the Bush administration accountable for subverting the Constitution and being more responsive to the needs of her progressive constituents.

But Pelosi reigns as an imperial ruler who will never be faced with a serious challenge from the progressive wing of the local Democratic Party. Forget about a GOP challenger in San Francisco. It is not healthy for American democracy to allow the House Speaker to coast through every election like she does, and I hope to live to see the day when she is made to face the voters in a serious and competitive race.

Until that day arrives, I'm throwing my support behind Cindy Sheehan, the pro-peace activist mom who lost her son in Iraq, who opened her campaign office yesterday in a long-shot bid to unseat Pelosi. (boldface mine--Darren)

Pelosi's not enough of a nutjob for this guy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

No Sagging In Atlanta Schools

I get tired of seeing my students' underwear. It's nasty.

Don't want to see mine? Don't show me yours.

In Atlanta, you couldn't show me yours even if you wanted to see mine. Saggin' is now against district policy.

They Had To Use Fruit Flies, Didn't They?

I'm sorry, but that joke's too easy. Forgive me for even making it, gentle as I tried to be.

Now read this amazing article.

While several studies find homosexuality in humans and other animals is biological rather than learned, a question remains over whether it's a hard-wired phenomenon or one that can be altered.

A new study finds that both drugs and genetic manipulation can turn the homosexual behavior of fruit flies on and off within a matter of hours...

In fact, homosexuality in the fruit flies seems to be regulated by how they interpret the scent of another. (emphasis mine--Darren)

Imagine what would happen if scientists were eventually to show the same results with humans. At that point, homosexuality would become purely a choice.

The social ramifications are astounding. Sort of reminds me of a post I wrote almost a year ago.

Teaching The History of the Labor Movement In America

The three Rs would be joined by mandatory instruction on collective bargaining and the history of unions in America under a proposal introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature.

I'd be ok with that if required reading included Free Choice For Workers by George Leef. Let's give a balanced history, as opposed to a biased history. Let's talk about the Right To Work movement, which strives to free workers from forced unionism.

Hat tip to NewsAlert.

Harvard Offers More Financial Aid

This is interesting news:

Harvard — whose $34.9-billion endowment is the largest of any university — already offered one of the most generous aid programs for low-income students of any private college, asking nothing from parents earning under $60,000.

But its announcement Monday, the latest of several recently by elite colleges concerning financial aid, reflects a shift toward making top schools more affordable to middle- and even upper-middle-class families. Harvard admits its full list price of $45,620, while comparable to other elite private universities, is a burden to all but the most wealthy.

The school will now pump more than $20 million in new aid to a group that extends beyond the 90th percentile nationally in income. Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust called the commitment "a response to the enormous stress that a particular group of families feel about the cost of higher education."

Good for them.

SFSU and Free Speech

The student holding up the sign in front of Sean Penn's podium is being rude. That's not a mature way to exercise free speech. Don't block people's view of a speaker. "Down in front!"

The fascist who tries to block his sign merely because he doesn't agree with its sentiment--that's even more wrong. I'm surprised he was removed by security, this taking place in San Francisco and all.

Clean, Safe, Nuclear Power

Why aren't the global warming types salivating over this mature technology as a solution? Because they don't really want to solve the problem. Global warming is merely a means to an end to them, that end being more political power for themselves.

It's always nice, though, when a former anti-nuke protester comes to his/her senses. And as "nyah nyah nyah NYAH nyah" as I'm being here, this woman comes across as very reasonable.

Canada Doesn't Have A 1st Amendment

This is not an anti-Canada post; as many times as I've traveled up to Canada, I genuinely like the place and the people (at least those I've encountered in British Columbia).

Having said that, though, everything up there isn't all milk and honey. For those Americans who like to shoot their mouths off about their own country, and tell us how great it would be to be more like (or seeking asylum in) Canada, let me remind you that Canada doesn't have the 1st Amendment freedoms we take for granted, and that some abuse, here in the United States.

In fact, our own State Department includes Canada in its report on human rights activities in foreign countries.

Update: Unfortunately, the 1st Amendment here in the United States hasn't survived almost 220 years entirely untarnished.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Is There A Lesson Here Regarding Racism?

Susan Estrich, in a column about Hillary Clinton and the issue of sexism, said this:

The more you complain, the more people resent your complaining. The more you cry sexism, the more you strengthen its force.

Yes, her point is the exact opposite of mine, but I actually believe the above statement--especially as it relates to racism.

The Leaning Tower of Academic Ideology

And the tower leans left.

Are university faculties biased toward the left? And is this diminishing universities' role in American public life? Conservatives have been saying so since William F. Buckley Jr. wrote "God and Man at Yale" -- in 1951. But lately criticism is coming from others -- making universities face some hard questions...

I spent four years in the 1990s working at the centrist Brookings Institution and for the Clinton administration and felt right at home ideologically. Yet during much of my two decades in academia, I've been on the "far right" as one who thinks that welfare reform helped the poor, that the United States was right to fight and win the Cold War, and that environmental regulations should be balanced against property rights.

All these views -- commonplace in American society and among the political class -- are practically verboten in much of academia. At many of the colleges I've taught at or consulted for, a perusal of the speakers list and the required readings in the campus bookstore convinced me that a student could probably go through four years without ever encountering a right-of-center view portrayed in a positive light...

Ultimately, universities will have to clean their own houses. Professors need to re-embrace a culture of reasoned inquiry and debate. And since debate requires disagreement (emphasis mine--Darren), higher education needs to encourage intellectual diversity in its hiring and promotion decisions with something like the fervor it shows for ethnic and racial diversity. It's the only way universities will earn back society's respect and reclaim their role at the center of public life.
Notice that the linked article is from the left-leaning Washington Post, not the more right-leaning Washington Times.

Another Reason To Love Capitalism

Monopoly, one of the best board games ever created, was used to help escaped POWs during WWII.

This is an amazing story. Go read it all. Go!

Need a teaser?

During World War II, the British secret service hatched a master plan to smuggle escape gear to captured Allied soldiers inside Germany. Their secret weapon? Monopoly boxes...

Along with the standard thimble, car, and Scotty dog, the POW version included additional "playing" pieces, such as a metal file, a magnetic compass, and of course, a regional silk escape map, complete with marked safe-houses along the way -- all neatly concealed in the game's box.

Even better, some of the Monopoly money was real. Actual German, Italian, and French currency was placed underneath the play money for escapees to use for bribes.

That's just genius.

That's Some Expensive Sex

If this high school coach had sex with his student player only the one time that's recorded, he'd have been better off financially going to a prostitute.

In a statement, Antrim told police he gave her the cell phone and iPod as gifts. He admitted sending suggestive text messages and said he had been having “issues” lately. He admitted having sex with the teen the previous weekend.

Nathan Paul Antrim is in police custody and faces up 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine if convicted.

Hope she was worth it, idiot.

He'll probably get a worse punishment than the women teachers who have sex with their students.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Merit Pay and Student Evaluations

Sure, there are flaws in this system--there are flaws in any system. But this idea is certainly novel.

I propose instead that institutions should empower graduating seniors to reward teaching excellence. Colleges should do this by giving each graduating senior $1,000 to distribute among their faculty. Colleges should have graduates use a computer program to distribute their allocations anonymously.

Be sure to read the comments, too, as they've probably already addressed many of the pros and cons of this topic.

CTEN Opens Its Online Discussion Boards

The California Teachers Empowerment Network has gone where the CTA fears to tread--it has created a discussion board where CTEN members (and even non-members) can conduct online discussions about school-, education-, or labor-related events.

Registration is free, so go take a look.

Let the discussions begin!

Hard vs. Soft People

This article has so many good points in it that it's hard to pick just a paragraph or so to give you enough of a taste to make you want to go read the whole thing--which you should, because it's a great article.

In contrast, the people of the Third World - and especially the Muslim fanatics who have designs on the West - are hard as stone. We fret over the fact that Saddam Hussein endured some taunts during his execution, while next door in Saudi Arabia they may still chop off the hand of a thief. We cater to the religious wants of incarcerated terrorists, providing everything from the Koran and prayer rugs to desired foods, and the soft set still laments the terrible privation these poor victims must endure. In contrast, the terrorists' Muslim brethren often disallow the practice of other religions in the Abode of Islam. We let illegal aliens run roughshod over our nation, sometimes bestowing government benefits upon them, then still feel guilty about not exalting them sufficiently. In the Third World, however, foreigners are often treated like second-class citizens. Under the Mexican Constitution, one foreign-born will never enjoy the full rights of citizenship. In many Muslim societies, a certain kind of second-class status is reserved for "infidels"; it's called dhimmitude...

There is an immutable truth of human nature: When soft people clash with hard people, the soft are vanquished. That is, unless they become hard...

The Muslim world is one extreme, we are the other, the humanitarians who have no truth. Why can't we control seven-year-olds, prosecute a war efficiently or strike fear into the hearts of criminals? It's all for the same reason. We're soft-headed pseudo-humanitarians to whom the kind of action or punishment necessary to deter evil behavior seems medieval. This is why we had a national conniption when teenage vandal Michael Faye was to receive a typical Singaporean punishment, caning, for his misdeeds. We should bear in mind that you can walk Singapore's streets safely in the dark of night. The same cannot be said of ours.

Oh, this is just the price of freedom, some say? They are wrong. This is the price of abused freedom.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Socialized Medicine

According to this article, Hillary Clinton's health care proposal uses many of the bad ideas Republicans have suggested.

Like Romney's and Schwarzenegger's proposals, HillaryCare 2.0 also pretends to be based on competition, choice, private insurance, and universal coverage.

What's wrong with such principles? Nothing, in and of themselves. But as we have seen time and again, these principles cannot be engineered by a government bureaucracy.

Case in point: In the 1990s, Tennessee dramatically expanded its Medicaid program, allowing individuals making as much as $100,000 a year to sign up. The results nearly busted the state's budget, despite strong economic growth at the time.

Government-run health care around the world has produced similar failures. In Britain, waiting times for treatment grow longer, while patients suffer from serious conditions, so much so that some Brits have taken to pulling their own teeth.

In Canada, health-care rationing has sent citizens fleeing south of the border for needed cures. Yet even as Canada exports its medical problems into America, some deluded American politicians want to bring Canada's price controls into the United States through a "forced sale" drug reimportation law. Ironically, these price controls are responsible for many of Canada's health-care problems to begin with.

Massachusetts and California will soon face similar problems. And so will Hillary's proposal, if it ever becomes law.

The reason is simple. Any program that codifies health care as a public good -- granting all residents a legal entitlement to consume as much as they want, whenever they want, all at low prices -- is soon overburdened by the inevitable cost overruns, shortages, and shoddy service that result when everyone gets a "free lunch."

The tragedy of the commons.

Fly To Bali, Save The Earth

So who was excluded from presenting at the UN's little global warming shindig in Bali? Why, the deniers, of course!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Indoctrinate U and the Blogging Big-Time

Any guesses which conservative teacher's blog was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal Online's "Best of the Web" section today? If you guessed Darren's, you win!

In addition to linking to my site--specifically, my post about Evan Coyne Maloney's film Indoctrinate U--they fill us in on why his site was taken down in the first place. Apparently, the logo was too similar to the logo for Indiana University, and they threatened. Before deciding how to respond, Maloney took down the site and eventually decided to put it back up, sans logo. However, the university still wants beaucoup dinero. I'd love to see how that turns out.

Update, 12/11/07: All's well that ends well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Need Another Reason To Fear The College Application Process?

Here's one for you!

As campus administrators worry about how to prevent violence like last spring's Virginia Tech shootings, students applying to college increasingly face queries about their past behavior: Were they ever severely disciplined in high school? Have they been convicted of a crime?

Although such questions were added to a widely used college application form months before the massacre at Virginia Tech, admissions officers say that the murders made them more vigilant about students' personal troubles. They say that they won't reject otherwise strong applicants because of one schoolyard fight or a beer arrest, but they may be wary of troubling patterns.

Critics contend that the form allows colleges to invade private matters better left to the law and high school counselors. And the extra attention is raising anxiety among high school seniors.

Absent a good argument that I haven't heard yet, I'm inclined to agree with the critics.

Returning Vets And College Experiences

Thousands of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are trying to get back to normal by starting or continuing their college educations. They aren’t returning to campuses that are hotbeds of anti-war ferment.

Far from it. Instead, in-your-face episodes are occasional but powerful reminders to service members on campus that they’re a little bit, well, different.

One reporter's story.

Indoctrinating The Kiddies

This author thinks public school teachers indoctrinate their students with leftist dogma--and proposes an experiment to prove or disprove his hypothesis.

Some teachers have written in, challenging my assertions about what currently gets taught in the government youth propaganda camps ("public schools").

"I'm surprised to learn I've been teaching all this propaganda promoting the merits of collectivism or whatever else Suprynowicz accuses me of," reads a typical missive. "I've reviewed my curriculum and I can't find that stuff in there anywhere. I teach ..." whereupon the writer typically inserts "English," "history," "algebra," or whatever.

It's hard to tell whether the open face of guileless innocence assumed by these scriveners is real or feigned. So I won't try. Instead, let's propose a small experiment which any curious party could undertake to test my premise.

He then conducts this experiment--by guessing the results!--and informs us that the results confirm his beliefs! Now, I'm not saying he's wrong, but his style certainly lends itself to being shredded, mercilessly, by the opposition.

I do like his explanation for why teachers indoctrinate, though:

The very purpose of indoctrination of the young is to foreclose such debate.

The man's got a point there. Let's not forget--the "science" of global warming is "settled"--said so that there can be no debate.

Online Charter School Operating Illegally?

I'm a big supporter of charter schools, and I think there's a future in online educational opportunities. But if this school is operating illegally, then either the school or the law has to change.

Girls Split $100,000 Scholarship

A third girl got $100,000 on her own. Wow.

In a first for the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology for U.S. high school students, girls walked away with top honors in both the individual and team categories.

The individual grand prize of a $100,000 scholarship went to Isha Jain, a senior at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pa., for research into bone growth. Results of the nine-year-old competition were announced on Dec. 3. As winners of the team grand prize, Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff, seniors at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, N.Y., will split a $100,000 scholarship awarded for their research on tuberculosis. (For a slide show of the 20 finalists, see "America's Smartest Students.")


Carnival of Education

This week's Carnival can be found at So You Want To Teach? Not only does it include my post about Tea Club, it listed that post in the Top 5 for the week!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What Does CTA Do For Its Teachers?

Not much, if I'm reading the November 2007 issue of its mouthpiece rag, California Educator, correctly.

The cover story is about Professional Learning Communities. I can take them or leave them, but I don't get overheated on them either way (until they're forced on me). The letters section, though, had two interesting tidbits.

One letter chastised the magazine for comparing apples to oranges in an article. "While I recognize this (a legitimate comparison) does not support the argument you are trying to make in your article, it is irresponsible to skew the information so blatantly...I believe the article does a disservice to your teacher population...."

The next letter was even better. The boldface is in the original: "I am so very disappointed in my CTA. How could you possibly align yourself with someone so far on the left as Michael Moore? ... We teach our children to get the facts from both sides of an issue before determining a conclusion on any issue. Did you check out the facts in his film? ... I'm embarrassed that my teachers union would fall for such propaganda."

Now, I give kudos to California Educator for printing those two "contrarian" letters. I genuinely do. But when CTA members call them on bad stats and being too far left, that's saying something. Maybe CTA isn't doing such a good job of representing all its teachers.

Or maybe it's not doing a good job at all. On page 32 I see a chart listing "CTA-sponsored and co-sponsored legislation for 2007". There are 7 bills listed:

1 mandating universal health care
5 relating to community college or CSU issues
1 relating to mandatory kindergarten

How many of those bills relate to K-12 teachers, the vast majority of the people paying extorted dues to CTA? None! In fact, only one--mandatory kindergarten--relates to K-12 education at all! And let's not forget: a union should focus on the pay, benefits, and working conditions of its members. Do you see that occurring above? Only for the community college professors.

So what exactly is CTA doing for California teachers? I'm hard pressed to find an answer--besides bilking them of their hard-earned money, that is.

Indoctrinate U Web Site Back Up Again

In what I can only assume is a victory for free speech and yet another loss for fascist lefties, the Indoctrinate U web site is back up. Why is that news? Because of this, which I reported to you a couple weeks ago:

Due to a threatened lawsuit from a major taxpayer-funded university, the Indoctrinate U homepage has been taken down temporarily. On The Fence Films LLC is deciding how best to proceed, and we will not be commenting on anything until after our final response has been executed.

Don’t worry, though, this will not derail the film.

But wait, now there's an update:

The site is now back online, and an announcement will be issued soon.

I eagerly await this announcement. I want to know which publicly-funded university I can excoriate here on Right On The Left Coast.

The Scientific Meth-od

A high school chemistry teacher found himself in hot water over the weekend when he was charged with making methamphetamine in his school lab, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

Jeff Scheidemantel, 32, who taught at Shafter High School, came under suspicion when he went online to buy red phosphorus, an important ingredient for making the drug, from a supplier outside the U.S.

According to FoxNews, police found weapons and meth recipes in his lab, and the man's on paid administrative leave while school officials "investigate". Amazing.

I wonder how vigorously the CTA will defend him....

I Thought The Complaints Must Have Come From Muslims Or Those Being Overly Sensitive *For* Muslims

Instead, the complaints came from Hispanics.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Two days after naming its mascot "PorkChop," the Philadelphia Phillies' new Triple-A affiliate abruptly dropped the moniker after receiving complaints from Hispanics that it was offensive.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, whose mascot is a large, furry pig, had selected PorkChop from more than 7,300 fan submissions. The team, which begins play in 2008, announced Monday that the mascot will be named "Ferrous" instead.

General Manager Kurt Landes said he heard from several Hispanics who said PorkChop was derogatory.

"We were really unaware of any negative connotations with the word 'pork chop,"' he said.

I'm with you, Kurt. "Pork Chop" is a derogatory word for Hispanics? Who knew?

I'm glad "Dinger" isn't derogatory towards any groups.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pyramid Scheme For Diversity

John Leo has it nailed.

Yale's college council has come up with a bright idea: it endorsed a call for each of the twelve residential colleges on campus to have two diversity coordinators. The relentless expansion of what Claremont McKenna professor Frederick Lynch calls "the diversity machine" is not exactly breaking news. Diversity is a restless quasi-religion whose missionaries are ever on the move. Yale already has an impressively vast diversity bureaucracy headed by Nydia Gonzalez, the new chief diversity officer. She is working on a long-term plan, "Diversity Yale 2010 and Beyond." Each school has its own system of diversity apparatchiks. There's even a Yale library diversity council with 10 to 16 members and a three-year diversity program. Now Yale's Coalition for Campus Unity (CCU) is encouraging the residential colleges to create "some kind of diversity-awareness position or board." A board of, say, ten members in each college would add 120 new officials - another diversity gusher. Last February, Yale continued its long-term program to segment the student body into ever smaller ethnic and sexual groups. It hired a new assistant dean for Native American affairs. Can anyone say that a provost for the transgendered is somehow out of the question?

I have a suggestion for how Yale could improve its diversity, but I doubt they'd view it favorably. Hint: it has something to do with conservatives :-)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Spanking Is Different From Whooping

Just so you know.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Tennessee mother claims she recorded a conversation in which a teacher admits to spanking her son, reports.

“He had told me that she whooped him with the ruler because he wouldn’t do his work,” Meriam Thomas said of her son, who claims he was hit in the head, back and stomach at Riverview Elementary School in Memphis.

“They never knew I was recording. I had my phone in my pocket and had it on record.”

Spanking is a violation of Memphis School System policy.

Thomas confronted the teacher and principal. During the recording, she is heard saying: “I’m here to find out what’s going on with my child. She whooped my child.”

A voice responds: “I didn’t whoop your child. I spanked him.”

Lola For A New Generation

If you don't remember the song Lola by the Kinks, perhaps you're one of the younger readers of this blog. However, for more--how shall I put it?--seasoned readers, we remember the song as a hilarious hit. It's hard to believe it was first released in 1970, as it was still going strong when I was in high school.

Keeping that background in mind, I encourage you to watch James Blunt's You're Beautiful video, a song that lives up to its title:

Then watch this PG-13 parody video:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Definitive Explanation for BDS

Gallup polls provide the explanation.

A roundup of Gallup health polls over the past four years finds that Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to report having excellent mental health.

The survey found that 58 percent of Republicans polled reported having excellent mental health. Only 38 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Independents reported the same.

New Friend Of This Blog

OK, so he's a Navy supporter, but go check out this blog.

The Carden Chronicles

The rantings, ravings, and opinons of Politics, Judicial Rulings, World Events, and things I generally care about. Written by a Right-Wing Constitutionalist from the great State of Arizona (but now living in Kansas)

What Do Nakedness, Pizza, Kindergarten, and Cops Have In Common?

This story.

A 20-year-old Penn State student was charged with criminal trespass and underage drinking when she was found stark naked in the apartment of three gentlemen in the 200 block of East Nittany Avenue, State College police said in a complaint they filed against her.

The guys came home at about 3:30 in the morning Oct. 21 "to find an unknown, naked female eating pizza in their kitchen," police said.

Ironically, her last name is Munch...

A PBT administered by police turned up a .24 blood alcohol content, which, to the layperson out there, is blotto, the kind of drunkenness that could land you naked in some stranger's kitchen eating their pizza.

The young lady, according to the Penn State Web site is an aspiring kindergarten teacher, had no idea where her clothes or shoes were, police said.

Nutjob Teacher Arrested

This story is weird on many levels.

It appears to me that the commenter is attempting to do one of two things. Option 1: the commenter is a right wing whack job that isn’t violent, but likes to engage in outlandish rhetoric. Option 2: the commenter is a liberal who is trying to discredit conservatives by acting like option 1.

As you can see from the story, the commenter is actually a union teacher from Oak Creek, but it gets more interesting than that. The commenter was also once the president of his local teachers’ union. This leads me to believe that Option 2 is the truth. This commenter is just a liberal union teacher who was trying to make conservatives look bad by pretending to be one and acting like an imbecile.

What did this stalwart of the community do that resulted in his being arrested?

An Oak Creek High School teacher who allegedly praised the actions of the Columbine School shooters and threatened local teachers on a Web site blog was arrested Thursday. The 46-year-old Cudahy man was arrested with the assistance of Oak Creek and Cudahy police departments after West Bend police were notified of a threatening post on Nov. 16.

The first comment on this blog post was pretty good.

Reading your perspective, I guess it would be hard to impute any kind of “criminal intent” on the part of the actor, but I do get a certain sense of satisfaction in seeing such a troll “outed”. I feel sorry for good teachers who might be smeared by this.

Hear hear.

Update, 12/5/07: The teacher is not being charged with any crimes. The 1st Amendment protects idiots, too, as well as the good guys. Sadly, this comment rings true:

The first time you ignore one of these off the wall threats, and the guy starts shooting. All of a sudden the authorities weren't doing there job. Sounds like it's cover your a-- time. And I don't blame them in this day and age.

Thus the arrest is explained well.