Monday, September 30, 2019

Who Could Have Seen This Coming?

Anyone who knows even the slightest thing about economics.  Not only did we know it was coming, we said this would be the result of the so-called #FightFor15.  Good job, economic illiterates.  I'm sure these newly-unemployed restaurant workers are on your side.

Last December, the final phase of increasing the minimum wage in New York City to $15 per hour went into effect. (Well, at least the last stage for now.) It was considered a huge victory for the Fight for 15 crowd and, presumably, a big win for workers, particularly in the foodservice industry. So how has that been working out since then? As the New York Post reported this weekend, the law of unintended consequences has come roaring into play. They feature the story of one taco and tequila joint on the upper west side that’s been doing a thriving business for a quarter of a century. But now it’s all coming to an end, and they’re far from the only restaurant feeling these effects.
Unintended, but entirely predictable consequences.

San Francisco is known as a haven for good food, but restaurants in the city are increasingly finding it hard to stay open...

"The way people order food, you know online, put a lot of price pressures on us," Mitra explained, "So they took our margins away, so we are giving up 25-30 percent of our prices to the delivery companies."

On top of that, he said, the high cost of living, along with employee benefit requirements by the City, has led to increased business costs.
I'm sure those aren't the only cities.

Not Tired Of All The Winning Yet

Doesn't affect me, but it does affect a lot of my fellow Californians who make a lot more money than I do (and vote the wrong way, too):
On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by four states against the IRS, thwarting four blue states’ challenge against a new $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local taxes, also known as SALT...

They alleged that the new limit on the SALT deduction, part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, was “an unconstitutional assault on states’ sovereign choices.”

In the dismissal, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan said the plaintiff states ultimately failed to show that the SALT cap was unconstitutionally coercive or that it imposed on their own sovereign rights...

“The bottom line is this policy is unprecedented, unlawful, punitive and politically motivated — and it must be stopped,” he (NY governor Andrew Cuomo) said. “We disagree with the court’s decision and are evaluating all options including appeal.”
I'm sure the rest of the country is happier not subsidizing spendthrift coastal blue states' profligacy.

How To Apologize

The politically-correct way to apologize is to issue a "non-apology apology", to apologize "if I hurt/offended anyone" rather than "to those I hurt/offended".  It's clearly not sincere, nor is it intended to be so.

This family knows how to issue a genuine apology:
The sixth-grade girl at a private school in Northern Virginia who accused three classmates last week of forcibly cutting her hair now says the allegations were false, according to a statements from the girl’s family and the principal at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield.

School officials met with the girl and her family Monday morning before releasing the statement.

The 12-year-old, who is African American, had said three white boys at the school held her down in a school playground a week ago during recess, covered her mouth, called her insulting names and used scissors to cut her hair.

The grandparents of the girl, who are her legal guardians, released an apology Monday.

“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” the grandparents wrote in a statement sent to The Washington Post by the school. “To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school.

“To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust.

“We understand there will be consequences and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them,” the statement continued. “We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.”
Good parenting by example.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

University Graduation Rates

When Democrats go after colleges and universities with low graduation rates, or propose that schools have "skin in the game" regarding graduation rates, for some reason they always go after private schools.  Public universities, coincidentally (I'm sure) with staffs who donate overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates, are completely ignored.  While I've stated many times that the government should get out of the student loan business (let banks, whose business it is to determine risk and lend money, lend the money), and that I don't believe universities should have "skin in the game" regarding graduation rates, you have to wonder why even Democrats wouldn't want to discuss schools like this:
In fact, one state is responsible for all four-year public colleges with graduation rates under 1 percent for Pell Grant recipients. The next lowest graduation rate is nearly 4 percentage points higher...

For the 2016-2017 year, the most recent data available, Georgia had five public colleges with Pell graduation rates under 1 percent, ranging from Bainbridge State College (0.0 percent and $6.48 million in received aid) to Atlanta Metropolitan State College (0.6 percent and $8.63 million).
Then there's the good news:
The top five public colleges with the best graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients are big names in higher ed: University of Virginia (90.9 percent), College of William and Mary (89.2), UC-Berkeley (89.1), University of North Carolina (87 percent) and University of Michigan (86.9).

UC-Berkeley received far and away the most Pell money that year among those five: $36.78 million. It was also the only one in those five whose enrollment was more than a quarter Pell recipients.
California universities sound even better:
 “Among the 25 four-year public institutions whose students were awarded the highest total amounts in Pell Grants, the Universities of California at Irvine, Davis, and Riverside had the highest graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients,” the Chronicle reports. “The University of Southern California, Howard University, and Syracuse University had the highest graduation rates for Pell recipients among the top 25 four-year private nonprofit institutions.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

An Idea So Crazy It Just Might Work

I'm quite convinced that our school's parents would be the ones that would prevent its implementation:
A school said its total ban on pupils using mobile phones has improved exam results and behaviour.

The ban, which has been running for a year, has “made a massive difference” said Ann Webb, headteacher at Ysgol John Bright, in Llandudno .

The strict rule applies at any time during the school day, even during breaks or at lunchtime. Staff are also asked not to use mobile phones in front of pupils.

Mrs Webb said pupils are now more sociable and concentrate better in lessons.

And she claimed that the ban, which was introduced in 2018, helped pupils get better GCSE and A level results this summer...

“To be fair once we’ve got this rule established it is just not an issue during the school day at all. You will not see a student with a mobile phone.

“I genuinely think the pupils have welcomed the break from social media and, because the situation is clear cut, everybody complies. It’s a black and white rule that’s applied consistently.”

Chair of governors Carla Forfar said: “It’s probably no accident that we’ve had some cracking results this summer, both at A level and GCSE.
Update, 9/29/19: California has a law:
California public and charter schools can now ban students from using smartphones in class and at school, except under certain circumstances.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 272 in early July.

The new law asks all school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to come up with smartphone policies to limit or prohibit student use at school...

The bill’s author, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D- Torrance), said, “There is growing evidence that unrestricted use of smartphones by students in schools interferes with the educational mission of the school, lowers pupil performance, particularly among low-achieving pupils, promotes cyberbullying, and contributes to teenage anxiety, depression, and suicide. .”
Again, I'm convinced that the parents at my school would march with pitchforks if we tried to implement such a rule.  Our district switches from traditional to integrated math and buys the worst possible textbooks, no problem.  Take away someone's ability to text their kid during school, though....

It's Sad When SJW Idiocy Seeps Into The Hard Sciences

I expect social "science" instructors to believe in loony social justice theories, but those of us in the hard sciences--where knowledge and logic are supposed to reign--should be safe from such idiocy:
Teaching the Pythagorean Theorem or pi in geometry class perpetuates white privilege by giving the “perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”

That’s what Rochelle Gutierrez argues in her new anthology for math teachers, “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods.”
Rochelle Gutierrez is a Professor of Latina/Latino Studies.

One Hit Wonders

An interesting list of one-hit wonders, and I knew them all!

What Will The Penalties Be?

Instead of insisting that disciplinary policies are racist, perhaps we should realize what hundreds of generations of our forebears knew:  that without insisting on rules, humans devolve into chaos.  You don't get better behaved children with less discipline.

This is just a sad story:
A California middle school student has been declared brain dead from injuries sustained during a fight at school last week, authorities said.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday 13-year-old Diego, whose last name has not been released, was pronounced clinically dead despite "rigorous medical intervention and treatment efforts"...

The video, which was shared on social media, reportedly showed two teenagers punch Diego. As he fell to the ground, his head hit a concrete pillar. Fox 11 reported that that the first teen who hit Diego punched him again before fleeing the scene.

The two students involved in the attack, who have not been publicly identified because they are minors, were arrested on the day of the fight and remained in custody at a juvenile facility, according to the sheriff's department.

Additional counselors will be at Landmark Middle School to help students and staff "cope with the grief that will spread throughout the community," the station reported, citing a spokeswoman with The Moreno Valley Unified School District.
After they deal with the grief, perhaps they'll clamp down on fighting.  Home suspensions, anyone?  Let the parents deal with such idiocy as fighting.

The New New New Math!

If only they'd thought of this back in 1957, when the Sputnik scare galvanized mathematicians to create the first "new math":
Math teachers: What if you could use the colorful stories of comic books to teach multiplication, prime numbers, and linear equations? Would you?

What's that you say? You don't think there are any comics-based materials for math? You say you're jealous of your language arts and social studies colleagues when they use smash-hit graphic novels like Smile, Dog Man, and Maus? You envy your science colleagues when they reach for books like The Manga Guide to Physics and The Cartoon History of the Universe?

Most math teachers don't think that engaging, visually appealing books like these are an option for them.

"Are things like that really out there?" said Brandi Green, who teaches math at Sharon-Mutual High School in rural Mutual, Okla. "Because I'd love to use them."

In the past 15 years, comic books and their longer cousins, graphic novels, have hit the big time in language arts and social studies classes and, to a lesser degree, in science. But they're just now tiptoeing into math classrooms.
No, we're not dumbing education down, not at all.

Soon, No One Will Remember Greta What's-her-name, Either

Do you remember Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the child who addressed the UN about climate issues in 1992? Watch the video:
I just dug up this clip from 1992...

Severn Cullis-Suzuki's speech to the UN in 1992 on climate change sounds an awful lot like Greta Thunberg's in 2019.

I cut the two together to show just how similar the language is....
Thunberg does not present well.  At least Cullis-Suzuki doesn't sound stark raving mad.

Update, 10/8/19:  To use a term that's popular amongst the lefties today, I'm enjoying the intersectionality of this:
Supporting Greta Thunberg is evidence of 'white supremacy', activists claim

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Vice Principals Must Be Different Nowadays

Back when I was in high school, students didn't want to go to the office.  They avoided the principal and his henchmen/women, the vice principals, like the plague.  The office was somewhere you didn't want to be.

Today in different classes I was being so unfair to a couple students that they got up, packed their belongings, and told me they were going to go talk to the vice principals. 

In effect, two of my students sent themselves to the office.  That's a new one for me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Living In The 3rd World

It's 2019, and in the Democratic Peoples Republik of Kalifornia, electricity gets shut off when the wind blows:
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for much of Northern California, including part of Sacramento County, as high winds are set to increase fire danger Monday through Wednesday...

The weather service’s previously issued fire weather watch was upgraded shortly after Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Saturday that it may pre-emptively shut off power in the region.

As many as 67,000 PG&E customers in Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Yuba counties could be affected by a power shutoff.
That's right. There was a horrific fire last year, and in order to prevent a repeat, Pacific Gas and Electric just shuts off electricity to people in a First World country for up to days at a time. Where else is this done? Is Northern California the only place with high winds and electric transmission lines?

Remember this the next time someone tells you that the rest of the country should follow California's lead.

Update, 9/25/1950,000 people had their electricity shut off today.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Free Speech

I'm sure we're all at least a little guilty of letting misdeeds pass if they're done by "our" side, but point and holler and yell when they're done by the other side.  Additionally, what seems perfectly reasonable to us in one instance is entirely unacceptable when the shoe is on the other foot.

So lefties, this one is for you.  Now do you understand how offensive we on the right find burning the flag?  Or is that just why you do it?  (And how do you justify releasing all that carbon into the atmosphere when you do so?)

The Mall

I met a friend for lunch at "the mall" yesterday, and after lunch we wandered down its length so I could use my bank's ATM.  There were tables staffed with Sanders people at both ends of the mall.  I assume this vehicle belonged to one of them:
It's a strange person who likes a politician so much that they're willing to plaster their car with this many bumper stickers.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Causing Anxiety In Children

It's a form of child abuse to cause terror in children, but with our "active shooter drills" in schools and the "earth is dying" crap from the global warmers, that's exactly what's happening:
Children today should be enjoying their youth. They arguably live in the greatest time ever, with unparalleled access to information, connectivity around the globe, advances in health care and tremendous opportunity. But instead of embracing optimism, the adults in their lives are filling them with fear.

In the last few weeks, from town halls on climate change to “climate justice” marches, I have seen scores of children – some teens, some squarely of elementary school-age – proclaim their anxiety about the world ending...

While it is great for children to learn to be responsible global citizens and take care of our planet, there’s a positive and responsible way to communicate that.

I recall in my own childhood celebrating Earth Day, where we raised money to help plant more trees (something that actually helps the environment, by the way) and learned about recycling, all without having the living daylights scared out of us.

Adults can deliver the message of taking care of the planet and have an impact doing so with positive language and outcomes instead of nihilistic ones.
In a sane society, children wouldn't be political pawns.

UpdateA similar view:
The leadership of the climate cult is made up of adults who privately know better and children manipulated by people they’re supposed to be able to trust. They’re a doomsday cult that continually moves the goalposts.

Anti-Religious Bias, or Insanity?

"First, do no harm."  Throw that out in the Demokratic Peoples' Republik of Kalifornia:
Stating that California’s interest in fighting discrimination against LGBTQ residents outweighs the right to impose religious standards on healthcare, an appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit against the Catholic hospital chain Dignity Health for barring a hysterectomy for a transgender patient.

The lawsuit was brought by Evan Minton, whose hysterectomy was abruptly canceled by Dignity’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center of Carmichael, Calif., in 2016 when hospital officials learned he was transgender. The hospital took the action to comply with the church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which prohibit sterilization procedures except in very narrow circumstances.
I guess we can change the Hippocratic Oath from "first, do no harm" to "if it feels good, do it".

This author sees the next logical step as forbidding medical providers from discriminating against those with "transablism":
There is a terrible mental illness known as “body identity integrity disorder” (BIID), in which afflicted able-bodied persons obsess that their true selves are disabled. These tormented people believe themselves to be imposters for having normally functioning bodies and yearn desperately to be made disabled with the condition that they believe their “true selves” to possess. This desire can express as an obsession to have an arm amputated or to be blinded. Some even yearn to have their spinal cords severed so they can be paralyzed and use a wheelchair. So, I ask again, what is the essential difference between a biological male existentially identifying as a female demanding body-modifying surgery and an ambulatory person who perceives her true self to be an amputee also wanting an operation to attain the desired physical state?

Not surprisingly, BIID sufferers don’t see any and are demanding their right to receive body-altering surgeries. There is even a “BIID community,” complete with websites and advocacy memes. Indeed, understanding the raw political power of lexicon, many now call themselves “transable,” an obvious means of equating their own subjective obsessions as the metaphorical caboose coupled behind the racing transgender cultural train. As with transgenderism, policy advocates now assert that BIID is not a mental illness but the consequence of an organic brain condition.
There are lots of anti-social behaviors that are the consequences of "an organic brain condition", but as yet we haven't normalized them (sociopathy being one)--how long will it be before Cali-unicornia does, in fact normalize them? 

This state is Dystopia.

So-called White Privilege Isn't Even A Thing

The total number of students in the audience for the first “White Consciousness Conversation,” held Sept. 10, was nine — but two were students there not as participants but as journalists mainly to observe. One was from The College Fix and another from the Niner Times campus newspaper...

With that, it appears the relatively new “White Consciousness Conversations” at UNC Charlotte, which boasts a student population of nearly 30,000, drew .02 percent of its student population.  link
Why do the rest of us tolerate their silliness?  I for one am willing to let people entertain their silly ideas as long as they don't try to enforce those ideas on me (which, of course, the left always does).  Holding the idea isn't the problem, the fascist desire to enforce those ideas on the rest of us is.

I'm reminded of an old quote about people and their beliefs:

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the same sense and to the extent that we respect the theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."
--Henry L. Mencken

A Pareto Diagram

In statistics, and its manufacturing cousin Statistical Process Control, a Pareto Diagram is a chart that graphs problems or errors in a process, by frequency of occurrence.  The bars on the graph are ordered by frequency, meaning the most common problem is shown first, followed by the next most serious problem, all the way down to the smallest problem.  The purpose of such a chart is to show you where you get the biggest bang for your "fix a problem" buck--in other words, you always attack the biggest problem first.

If your global warming hysteria doesn't address China, you're not serious about the climate so-called problem that you claim to care about:
Since 1965, no country has put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the United States. The 264 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide the U.S. has emitted to the atmosphere represented 22.5% of global emissions during that time, and was well ahead of the cumulative 216 billion metric tons from the European Union (EU). In second place among countries was the 188 billion metric tons emitted by China...

China's emissions passed those of the U.S. in 2005, and by 2012 had surpassed the combined contribution of both the U.S. and the EU. Should recent trends continue, China will be responsible for the most atmospheric carbon dioxide in less than 20 years.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Lefties Are Going To Get Whiplash, Changing Their Positions So Fast

Poop and needles all over the streets and sidewalks.  This is San Francisco.
Case in point, San Francisco is a dumpster of feces and used drug needles. Literally, hundreds of thousands of used needles a month get thrown onto the streets and they are overwhelming those tasked with picking them up. California’s ordinances on the homeless are only making matters worse, as the police can not move people off public sidewalks, leading to shanty towns popping up in business and residential areas. There’s even a law which says shop-lifting under $900 of merchandise is only a misdeamenor, which means thieves are able to walk into stores and take whatever they want up to that point with little chance of arrest or pursuit.

It’s just a mess. You know what else it is? Bad for the environment. Used needles, trash cities, and human feces are things you’d think the left would join with Republicans on in agreeing they are bad and have to go. But nah, they are complaining that the EPA is going to cite the violations and start fining cities for not doing their jobs.

Naturally, because Trump must be opposed, this has drawn gnashing of teeth from the left, who’ve suddenly decided they don’t like the EPA anymore after treating it as a sacrosanct, quazi-religious organization throughout the Obama years.
Smart people have said the Left isn't going to like living under the rules they've made--and they don't.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Candace Owens at Hearing on Confronting White Supremacy

This is why conservatives love Candace Owens.  She doesn't cower before liberals, she calls them out on their BS.

Watch the whole thing, it's only 5 minutes long.

In Honor of Today's Climate So-called Strike

From Sarah Hoyt over at Instapundit:
Her link to Victory Girls Blog is hilarious.

This author would like to give some homework to the kids who ditched today:
While it is tempting to think of today’s climate ‘strike’ by schoolchildren around the world as a case of truants finding an ethical excuse to skip lessons, I think many are acting for genuine reasons: they are traumatized. They are the reflection of the hyperbolic coverage of climate change by Al Gore, Hollywood and even, latterly, David Attenborough – films where footage of fires, hurricanes and calving glaciers is stitched together to give the impression of impending doom. How many of these kids know that hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are a natural part of the tropical climate and were going on many millennia before significant man-made carbon emissions? I rather wonder...

Any principal who values his or her students’ education will not turn a blind eye to today’s absences, still less join the kids for a march, as some are reported to be doing.

They will keep them behind after school and set them two papers to research and write. The first should answer the question: ‘Does scientific evidence support the notion that “the Earth is dying”?’...

Paper number two should be on the question: ‘What would it mean for the global economy if governments really did eliminate all carbon emissions by 2025?’ Given that this is the central demand of many of the climate strikers, this is a rather pertinent question.
If you want a preview, his answers are "no" and "disaster".

And then we learn that those bird-killing wind turbines aren't so eco-friendly after all:
While most of a turbine can be recycled or find a second life on another wind farm, researchers estimate the U.S. will have more than 720,000 tons of blade material to dispose of over the next 20 years, a figure that doesn’t include newer, taller, higher-capacity versions...

Van Vleet said 90 percent of a turbine’s parts can be recycled or sold. But the blades, made of a tough but pliable mix of resin and fiberglass—similar to what spaceship parts are made from—are a different story.

“The blades are kind of a dud because they have no value,” he said.

Decommissioned blades are also notoriously difficult and expensive to transport. They can be anywhere from 100 to 300 feet long, and need to be cut up onsite before getting trucked away on specialized equipment—which costs money—to the landfill.

Once there, Van Vleet said, the size of the blades can put landfills in a tough spot.

 “If you’re small utility or municipality and all of a sudden hundreds of blades start coming to your landfill, you don’t want to use up your capacity for your local municipal trash for wind turbine blades,” he said, adding that permits for more landfill space adds another layer of expenses.
Here's the kicker:   “We lose money on every blade we haul.”

It's no wonder so many kids these days have so much anxiety and are suicidal.  They've been fed this diet of hysteria and fear their entire lives--by people who should know better.

The adults who actually believe this stuff, or pretend to believe it despite their actions?  They're Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Update, 9/22/19Here is how you know they're not really serious:
Climate change skeptics have branded protesters who marched through Manhattan on Sunday as hypocrites for leaving litter strewn across the city.

New Yorkers uploaded images to social media sites showing piles of trash - included ditched paper and cardboard signs - left behind after thousands took part in the People's Climate March.

'Their love for the Earth is so real, they couldn't even use a trash can,' one critic, known as @chelsea_elisa on Twitter, wrote beneath an image of an overflowing trash can.

'Somehow this doesn't seem too green 2me,' David Kreutzer, a research fellow at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, wrote alongside another photo of litter on the ground.
It wasn't just Manhattan, either.

And this must all have been discarded by the 7 Republicans remaining in the Sacramento area:
See the trash these volunteers pulled out of American River Parkway this year

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Climate "Strike"

So some schools and districts are loudly announcing that they will allow students to miss classes tomorrow because an odd teenager from Sweden says we have some climate-related emergency.  Where are the adults?

(By the way, would those same schools trumpet such excused absences for students to attend the March For Life?)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

50 Years of Failed Ecological Predictions

Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today.

None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true.

What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science.

More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science.

While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.
Click here to read about the hyperbolic predictions that haven't come to pass.   My favorites are the ones from the 80s and 90s, predicting catastrophes that are already supposed to have happened by now but of course haven't.  1988 and 89 were good years for ecological hysteria.

Update,  9/22/2019:  Here's some video from ABC News from 2009, predicting disaster in 2015.  Don't they know you're supposed to predict 100 years in the future so no one alive can prove you wrong?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

So Much For Local Control of Schools

From the major Sacramento newspaper:
Don’t hit the snooze button yet, kids.

A proposal to roll back school start times still needs Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature to become law.

The California Legislature approved – while working into the early hours of Saturday morning – a measure that would prohibit high schools and middle schools from starting before 8:30 and 8:00 a.m., respectively.
Is this really something that should be dictated across the entire state

Every time this issue of start time comes up, I always ask the same questions.  Do they have these problems in Korea, in China, in Finland, in India, in Russia, in Mexico--that kids aren't awake for school?  How is it that farm kids and some athletes (swimming comes to mind as an "early" sport) are able to get up?  If this is so, why do my students, year after year after year, say they would rather come to school earlier and get out earlier if they just can't get up?  How do soldiers, who in many cases are just shortly out of high school, able to get up so early?

And what about after-school athletics?  They're not going to start later, so now athletes will miss more instruction.

Honestly, this start time business seems made up to me.  It's a discipline issue.  Put your damn phones away and get to bed at a reasonable hour.  There, that solves 99% of the problem.  The other 1%, those that really do have some sort of sleeping issue?  We shouldn't compel everyone else in the state to accommodate that 1%.

Update:  For the record, I wouldn't mind working 8:30-3:30 at all.  I just don't think this is a state-level issue, or an issue that needs any correction other than parents' enforcement of just the slightest discipline.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Do They Read Their Own Paperwork?

You've got to love silliness like this:
An upcoming science and technology symposium slated to take place at Williams College promises a unique feature: it will showcase “new” voices in the field, and those voices will only come from scholars of color.

“New Voices in Science and Technology Studies: A C3 Symposium,” set for early November at the private Massachusetts-based liberal arts university, invited scholars to submit papers if they represent a “historically underrepresented group.”

The call for papers specifies that means either “African Americans, Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.”

Part of the application process asked applicants to write a couple sentences proving themselves as a member of a “historically underrepresented group.”
Sounds typically leftie, correct?
Yet the application also provides an equal employment opportunity statement that people from all backgrounds are welcome.
"Equal opportunity"?  Clearly that phrase does not mean what it obviously means.

Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.  At least on this one topic, lefties are consistent.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Strange Realization

It hit me today.  Some disparate facts in my head came together to create one data point (more than just an anecdote) supporting the "kids aren't doing as well academically today as they did in the past" argument.

Each year our school's counseling office puts out a sign congratulating the students who have been named as National Merit Semifinalists and those who are Commended.  This year our school, which has had a reputation for academic excellence going back decades, has one National Merit Semifinalist.

I went to high school at an average school about 10 miles from where I work.  I've long stated that we weren't really expected to go to college; if we went to college, it would be at the nearby community college.  Those who were great would go to Sac State, and those up in the stratosphere might go to UC Davis.  It wasn't in a rich area at all--still isn't--and while we didn't think of such things at the time, it was certainly "racially diverse".  That it was the highest scoring school in the district on standardized tests wasn't saying much, considering the academic caliber of the other schools in that district.  (Note:  it's no longer the highest scoring school in its district.)  It was a good school, we loved going there.

In my class we had 3 (I'm not exactly sure if there was a 4th or not) National Merit Semifinalists.  And recall, this was from the early 80s tests, before the "recentering" of the tests in 1995 that effectively raised SAT scores because students weren't doing as well as they used to.

So, an at-best-midling school from the early 80s turned out 3 National Merit Semifinalists, and a nationally-ranked upper middle class school from the late 20-teens, with more than 100 more seniors and an easier test, only puts out one?

Yes, I wonder about this.  And I've been doing this long enough now that I, too, see changes leading down very bad paths in education.  And it starts with parents and, in some cases, with their attorneys.  You know there's something wrong when teachers send their kids to private schools in higher percentages than in the public at large.  Our public schools have severe problems, and no one with any muscle is addressing them.  In Sacramento, our state government actually makes things worse.  I hope I can make it another 9 years.

Social Anxiety

I sometimes feel uncomfortable in public.  I'm lousy at small talk, and even with people I know I don't always know how to continue a conversation.  I really dislike crowds.  Oddly, being a teacher in front of a class of teenagers doesn't daunt me at all.

I just read an article by a man who, at 35, was diagnosed with social anxiety and ADHD and was also determined to be on the autism spectrum.  I have no reason to think I have ADHD or measurable autism, but still.... Some of the questions the diagnosing physician asked sort of struck home with me, so I found a couple of online organizations and took their social anxiety quizzes.

One gave me a numerical score:  19/90.  The other just said I have low levels of social anxiety.

So, no social anxiety disorder.  I'm just awkward, I guess.

Why School Buses Are Yellow

Smithsonian Magazine tells us that it's not mandatory, but is by design:
In a 1939 issue of American Childhood, the lyrics to the song, “The Wheels on the Bus,” made their first public appearance. Songwriter Verna Hills composed verses that celebrated the routine of traveling on a bus, closing each with the phrase, “over the city streets.” Likely unbeknownst to her, at that same time 80 years ago, school transportation officials from each and every state gathered in New York to decide what that bus, with its wheels going “’round and ’round” and its horn going “beep beep beep,” would look like.

The brainchild of education expert Frank Cyr, the meeting at Columbia University carried the goal of establishing national construction standards for the American school bus. Two years earlier, Cyr had conducted a ten-state study where he found that children were riding to school in trucks and buses of all different colors, and even horse-drawn wagons, in the case of one Kansas school district he visited. Standardization would solve two problems and simultaneously revolutionize school buses themselves: one, being uniformly one color would make bus travel safer; two, costs to districts would be lower as construction specifications would make it possible for manufacturers to mass-produce buses...

During those seven days of deliberation in the Grace Dodge Room at Columbia Teachers College, Cyr said he hung strips of different paint colors from the wall, in “50 shades ranging from lemon yellow to deep orange-red.” The conference attendees, which included representatives of the bus manufacturing industry, selected a small group to make the final color selection, and the orangish-yellow color they chose has been the industry standard ever since. Initially christened National School Bus Chrome (a reference to the lead-chromate yellow in the original paint), the United States General Services Administration (GSA) now calls the color National School Bus Glossy Yellow, or Color 13432 in the Federal Standard 595a color collection that GSA uses for government procurement. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that regulates bus safety, states on its website that federal law does not require school buses to be yellow, as “State and local governments establish policy for student transportation, including how buses should be identified.” Instead, NHTSA encourages states to adopt its voluntary guidelines on operational safety, like Guideline 17, which “recommends that school buses be painted ‘National School Bus Glossy Yellow.’”
Who knew?!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

This Shows You What They Really Are

The (certainly unconstitutional) so-called Red Flag Laws that are popping up around the country--why would the gun-grabbers not want to take firearms away from criminal gangs rather than from otherwise law abiding citizens?
House Democrats this week advanced a new measure to encourage states to pass “red flag” laws, known as extreme risk protection orders, that authorize removing guns and ammunition from dangerous individuals.
California will soon allow teachers, neighbors, and co-workers to identify "dangerous individuals", who will then have their 2nd Amendment right removed without due process.  But let's continue.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee amended the measure during a Wednesday mark-up to authorize the federal government to issue extreme risk protection orders in some instances, but they rejected an amendment that would have red-flagged anyone who law enforcement lists as a gang member.

“The majority of violent crime, including gun violence, in the United States is linked to gangs,” Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican who sponsored the amendment, said Wednesday. “My amendment is quite simple. It would allow the issuance of a red flag order against anyone whose name appears in a gang database if there was probable cause to include that individual in the database.”

Democrats objected with reasons that sounded very familiar to Republicans...

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California offered to support the amendment if Buck agreed to include those listed “individuals affiliated with white nationalism.”

Buck agreed, but he said the language should include “any type of supremacy.”

“Let’s add Cosa Nostra to this,” Buck added.

The amendment ultimately failed 11-21, but not before the top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called out Democrats for their hypocrisy.  link
Democrats?  Hypocrites?  Say it isn't so.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


California is very close to eliminating the "gig economy":
AB5 puts into law a California Supreme Court decision making it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors. The bill would make those companies classify their workers as employees instead.

Last month, Uber and other app-based businesses that rely on gig workers said they would spend $90 million on a ballot initiative that would exempt them from AB5, if it becomes law.

While the bill's impact on gig economy companies has drawn most of the attention, it would affect a wide array of industries.
Here are some of the issues with this bill:
But on Tuesday, California's State Senate passed a bill that threatens to destroy all that. Assembly Bill 5 (A.B.5) would require companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and more to treat contractors like employees. This would involve offering benefits like sick and vacation days, health insurance, and other "protections" under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Civil Rights Act. Minimum wage, overtime pay, and unemployment insurance would also be involved.

All this can add 30 percent to labor costs, hitting gig employers hard. Yet all this also undermines the basic idea of the gig economy, by trying to pigeonhole flexible gig workers into the traditional employee mold — with set hours, company equipment, and a company workspace...

In the health care sector, doctors, dentists, psychologists, and podiatrists are exempt from A.B. 5, but many other medical professionals — like behavioral therapists and optometrists — are not. Hospitals rely on independent contractors to fill gaps when employees are on leave. These contractors, like gig economy workers, value their independence and autonomy.

Newspapers and other media outlets also use independent contractors to deliver papers to homes and businesses. New language was added to the bill exempting freelance writers and photojournalists from the rules, but only if they send in 35 or fewer submissions to a single publication in a single year. Requiring papers to hire delivery workers as employees could add 30 percent to labor costs, further weakening the viability of local newspapers.

Many of California's 70,000 truck drivers own their own rigs in order to work independently...

Ironically, the bill may also hit franchisers who operate as small business owners. California has 76,000 franchise businesses, and an expert warned that A.B. 5 "would essentially convert these business owners into employees overnight." Anyone who owns a McDonald's or other franchise would become an employee of McDonald's, and so would all their workers. This would require enormous restructuring across various sectors of the economy.

Language translators, youth sports coaches, and some nonprofits have sought exemptions or registered objections to A.B. 5. Said's article also noted that independent musicians, who hire engineers, dancers, background vocalists, and other contract workers, may have to formally employ them under the bill when it becomes law.

Liberals have hailed the bill as an opportunity to give many workers "basic labor rights for the first time," but people do not join Uber or Lyft as contract drivers in pursuit of a 9-5 day job. Organized labor and government-mandated benefits are Kryptonite to the gig economy — and many more contractors.
Another view:
Janitors cleaning downtown office buildings, truckers loading goods at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, construction workers building new homes, manicurists, medical technicians, nightclub strippers and even software coders would be among scores of occupations offered protection against long-documented workplace abuses...

Some 400,000 Californians are estimated to work either part-time or full-time for fast-growing platform-based technology companies, offering an array of services such as rides, food deliveries, household repairs and dog-walking.

App-based companies argue they offer a different employment model — innovative and flexible — and should thus be exempted from AB 5. They say that as contractors, their workers can set their own schedules and work for multiple companies. AB 5 could cost the firms millions of dollars, hindering future profitability...

State officials estimate California loses some $7 billion a year in payroll taxes due to misclassification. Nor do companies pay Social Security or Medicare taxes for contractors.
It's not "misclassification" just because you disagree with it, LA Times.

What does economics tell us is going to happen, both to gig economy jobs and to prices?  Does anyone else think this is driven in large part as a payoff by Democrats to unions?

Update, 9/16/19:  I'm not the only one who thinks it's for unions:
California’s new law aims to force the likes of Uber, Lyft and Postmates to classify workers as employees, not independent contractors. But the main force pushing for the law is organized labor, because these arrangements make unionizing difficult.

Sure, advocates claim the idea is to make companies offer benefits like health insurance and end exemptions from minimum-wage and overtime laws. Yet everyone working as an independent contractor knows the deal before they sign up. They take it because they see other benefits, from the ability to work for many different “bosses” to the power to control their own work schedules.

And the California law already has lots of happy workers worried....

Going the Other Direction

Last night I posted about running into a high school classmate of mine whose son I now teach.  That prompted me to call someone I haven't talked to in several months, my old high school counselor.

He and my former high school principal were both former math teachers, and started teaching in 1957.  My class graduated in 1983--and he can still tell stories about my things that happened with my class.  His memory is exceptional for someone who describes his age as "a few years older than three to the fourth power".

Tonight I learned that he was born in Canada to American parents--and that his first language was German!  As he was going to school during WW2, he learned English pretty quickly.

He's such a good and humble person.  He's mobbed like a rock star when he shows up at our class reunions--and let there be no doubt that he's been invited to every one of them.

If I have only a fraction of the impact on my students that he had on his in 60+ years of working with teenagers, I'll be able to consider myself a success.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Next Generation

We got off work early today.  I came home and got a 2 hour nap before going back to school for--you guessed it--Back To School Night.  I spent the evening reassuring parents that their kids are in good hands.

I didn't pay close attention to one of the parents of a 6th period student, as I had already started chatting with a couple others.  When there was a pause he said, "Darren."  I looked, knew I knew that face, and after about a second it hit me--we went to high school together.  And we have a mutual friend.

We went to high school about 10 miles from where I teach, and there are more than a few high schools between the two schools, so I'm just going to say "It's a small world." 

We took a selfie and sent it to our mutual friend, who lives in Denver.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today Is World Suicide Prevention Day

When I learned that September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day my first thoughts went to a handwritten sign I once saw in London, secured to a light post on the Westminster Bridge:
It read, "If you are looking for a sign, this is it.  You matter.  You are enough."  We would all do well to remember the wisdom expressed there.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Ship Stuck In (Melting?) Ice

This has happened enough times that either a) God has a sense of humor, or b), He's trying to tell you lefties to get a freakin' clue:
Arctic tours ship MS MALMO with 16 passengers on board got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between Norway and North Pole. The ship is on Arctic tour with Climate Change documentary film team, and tourists, concerned with Climate Change and melting Arctic ice. All 16 Climate Change warriors were evacuated by helicopter in challenging conditions, all are safe. 7 crew remains on board, waiting for Coast Guard ship assistance.
a)  God has a sense of humor
b)  He's trying to tell you lefties to get a freakin' clue
c)  all of the above
You know which answer I'm going with!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Growth, or Proficiency?

Why not "and" instead of "or"?  Let all those standardized test statistics be put to some good use and determine if individual students are achieving growth while at the same time showing not sugar-coating the fact that some children are not where they should be academically?  Chavous creates a false dichotomy:
Every student is different and supporting their individual growth is the gateway to achieving proficiency. For example, if a 6th grader is reading on a 3rd or 4th grade level, he or she won’t do well on a 6th grade reading test and we shouldn’t have that expectation of them. It’s nearly impossible to make up that kind of growth in one year. Failing to evaluate students according to where they are, and instead measuring proficiency based on chronological age is unfair to them. Further it pushes teachers to rush students who are behind and disincentives them from helping students achieve mastery of important concepts.
In a classroom, I'm not even sure how practical this suggestion is--which is another reason I support standardized testing, with all its psychometricians and data crunchers.

Who is the author?
Kevin P. Chavous, a former District of Columbia City Council member, is an attorney, author, education reform activist and President of Academics, Policy and Schools for K12 Inc.
Shocking, I know.  Say it with me, "the soft bigotry of low expectations."