Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Making College A Place For Everyone, Including Troublemakers

I'm sure this change made by the Common Application will improve our colleges and universities (NOT!):

Dear ,  [apparently "Jenny" can't do a mail merge to include my name, she just left it blank]

Earlier this summer, I spoke to Common App member colleges about the critical role higher education institutions play in improving racial equity in the college admission process. The turbulent times we’re experiencing now demand thoughtful, yet radical change. It has never been more important for Common App to do its part to join the fight for such change.

That’s why today, we announced the removal of the school discipline question from the common portion of the application, as well as the School Report, beginning with the 2021-2022 application season. You can learn more details around our decision below.

The removal of this question will potentially help thousands more students complete and submit their applications each year and present their full range of skills, talents, and lived experiences.

As always, we value your support. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Best,
Image removed by sender.
Jenny Rickard
President & CEO
Common App

Shouldn't they put the information in and let the member colleges determine if they want to use the information or not?  Or is that idea doubleplusungood?

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tonight's Presidential Debate

I don't think I heard a truthful word come out of Joe Biden's mouth all night, but he sure got under the president's skin.  The President came across as flustered and angry the whole night, he has to do better in the next debate. It was not a good look, a good night, for the president.

Monday, September 28, 2020

This Person Should Become a Vegetarian, As He/She Is Clearly Consuming Too Much Unicorn.

I genuinely don't understand how anyone in education can be this stupid:

This moment is calling for us to transform the role of teachers into facilitators, advisors, and mentors who enable young people to navigate a rich menu of learning experiences, make sense of their learning, and build safe and loving home bases where youth can explore and contribute to the world and support one another. We must rethink what young people need to know and be able to do, ensuring they develop the robust set of knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives. As we embark on this reinvention, we must build these new systems and opportunities in ways that ensure students of color and others marginalized by our current system receive what they need to thrive and excel.

I'm not a facilitator or an advisor.  I'm a teacher.  I teach

And if the word "rich" is used in education circles, it's often el toro doo-doo.

I can't even go on fisking this.  It's completely vacuous edu-babble.  And it ends, of course, with the "marginalized" "students of color" canard--as if skin color dictates how your brain works and how you learn.

*sigh*

'Rona in the Schools

USA Today reports:

Many teachers and families feared a spike in COVID-19 cases when Florida made the controversial push to reopen schools in August with in-person instruction.

A USA TODAY analysis shows the state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. Among the counties seeing surges in overall cases, it’s college-age adults – not schoolchildren – driving the trend, the analysis found.

The early results in Florida show the success of rigorous mask wearing, social distancing, isolating contacts and quick contact tracing when necessary, health experts said.

“Many of the schools that have been able to successfully open have also been implementing control measures that are an important part of managing spread in these schools,” said Dr. Nathaniel Beers, who serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on School Health.

While you have to give the left-leaning paper some credit for even publishing this story, I question the 3rd paragraph.  Do we know that "rigorous mask wearing, social distancing, isolating contacts and quick contact tracing" are what's preventing spike in cases?  Where is the study showing this, where's the control group?  Isn't that sentence/paragraph a post hoc fallacy?

Still, we can have all the evidence in the world, and I don't see Gruesome Newsom, the governor of the DPRK, backing off on his 'rona restrictions any time soon.  I think he enjoys the power, or at the very least flatters himself that he's "doing something" about he 'rona.

Drop-F

Having started school in mid-August, we've already completed over 30 days, over a third, of the first semester.

Today I received an email from a student asking me to allow the student to drop my class with no penalty.  I declined.

We allow students to change/drop classes within the first 20 days of the semester.  After those first 20 days, students must stay in a class for the rest of the semester or else a "drop F" will show on their transcript.  The need for such a policy is simple and clear--if we let students drop classes after the first 20 days of a semester, students will drop classes like flies if their grades drop rather than putting in the effort they need to in order to pass.  We consider those first 20 days time enough for students and teachers to determine if students are in the correct course and to make necessary adjustments.  Yes, 20 days is an arbitrary deadline, but it's a published deadline that's known in advance.  As I suggested in this post, you play the game by the rules of the game as written before the start of the game.

Yes, I know that going to school on a computer is difficult.  Yes, I know that some people experience more stress than others in this teaching and learning environment.  Yes, I know our rules aren't written in stone.  Still, in today's case the reason boils down to "I'm not getting a good grade in class and it's stressing me out".  To me, that's not a sufficient reason to grant an exception to our school policy.  Low grades stress most students out!

There's no personal animus here, only consistency.  You might counter that "consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds", but I'd reply by noting that the actual quote is that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".  Now any debate shifts to whether my reasoning above is foolish or not.

You can probably guess my opinion on that topic :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Changing The Rules Because You're Losing The Game

 Gotta love this screenshot from Instapundit:

click to enlarge

Democrats only want to pack the Court, eliminate the Electoral College, get rid of the filibuster, and reduce from 60 to 50 the number of senators needed to confirm judges--when they're losing.  Imagine what their views on a "living Constitution" must be like!  Oh, wait, we don't have to imagine, they tell us every day.

The Founders were wise men who understood human nature--they understood that win-at-any-cost people will always be among us, and they designed our Constitution to keep those base instincts at arm's length.  Leftists, however, will do anything to undermine our constitutional safeguards--because so often, their ideas can't win on the merits.

Let's take just the Electoral College, a brilliant way to ensure that an elected president has wide appeal.  Twice in the last 20 years the winner of the electoral college was not the winner of the popular vote, and 4 times in the last 30 years the winner of the electoral college did not receive a majority of the popular vote (because of Ross Perot's 3rd party candidacy, President Clinton earned less than 50% of the popular vote in each of his electoral victories).  

As in football, the rules of electoral politics are understood before the "game" begins.  Want to eliminate the electoral college because a couple times you lost by a count that isn't even part of the rules?  It would be like scoring 3 field goals (9 pts) vs the other team's 2 touchdowns (12 pts), and complaining that since you scored more times that you should have won the game.  It's a silly, childish, undignified response, but that is what Democrats and their fellow leftists are--silly, childish, undignified, and often dangerous.

Even Democrats were aghast when President Roosevelt threatened to "pack" the Supreme Court, a view that doesn't even get a sideways glance from leftists today.  Roosevelt was against labor unions for government employees, which are now the vast majority of unionized employees in this country.  The 1996 Democratic Party platform for President Clinton's reelection bragged about putting 100,000 new police officers on the streets and explained why illegal immigration was so bad for the United States.  The Democrats have moved so far to the left.

They'll say and do whatever they need to in order to win.  They'll even threaten the country with "Vote for Biden or we'll burn the cities down".

Democrats cannot be trusted with power.  It's bad when they win, it's almost as bad when they lose.

The Genuine Way To Be Anti-Racist/Sexist

 Amen.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, 40 U.S.C. 101 et seq., and in order to promote economy and efficiency in Federal contracting, to promote unity in the Federal workforce, and to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. From the battlefield of Gettysburg to the bus boycott in Montgomery and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, heroic Americans have valiantly risked their lives to ensure that their children would grow up in a Nation living out its creed, expressed in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” It was this belief in the inherent equality of every individual that inspired the Founding generation to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish a new Nation, unique among the countries of the world. President Abraham Lincoln understood that this belief is “the electric cord” that “links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving” people, no matter their race or country of origin. It is the belief that inspired the heroic black soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment to defend that same Union at great cost in the Civil War. And it is what inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to dream that his children would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Thanks to the courage and sacrifice of our forebears, America has made significant progress toward realization of our national creed, particularly in the 57 years since Dr. King shared his dream with the country.

Today, however, many people are pushing a different vision of America that is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual. This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans.

This destructive ideology is grounded in misrepresentations of our country’s history and its role in the world. Although presented as new and revolutionary, they resurrect the discredited notions of the nineteenth century’s apologists for slavery who, like President Lincoln’s rival Stephen A. Douglas, maintained that our government “was made on the white basis” “by white men, for the benefit of white men.” Our Founding documents rejected these racialized views of America, which were soundly defeated on the blood-stained battlefields of the Civil War. Yet they are now being repackaged and sold as cutting-edge insights. They are designed to divide us and to prevent us from uniting as one people in pursuit of one common destiny for our great country.

Unfortunately, this malign ideology is now migrating from the fringes of American society and threatens to infect core institutions of our country. Instructors and materials teaching that men and members of certain races, as well as our most venerable institutions, are inherently sexist and racist are appearing in workplace diversity trainings across the country, even in components of the Federal Government and among Federal contractors. For example, the Department of the Treasury recently held a seminar that promoted arguments that “virtually all White people, regardless of how ‘woke’ they are, contribute to racism,” and that instructed small group leaders to encourage employees to avoid “narratives” that Americans should “be more color-blind” or “let people’s skills and personalities be what differentiates them.”

Training materials from Argonne National Laboratories, a Federal entity, stated that racism “is interwoven into every fabric of America” and described statements like “color blindness” and the “meritocracy” as “actions of bias.”

Materials from Sandia National Laboratories, also a Federal entity, for non-minority males stated that an emphasis on “rationality over emotionality” was a characteristic of “white male[s],” and asked those present to “acknowledge” their “privilege” to each other.

A Smithsonian Institution museum graphic recently claimed that concepts like “[o]bjective, rational linear thinking,” “[h]ard work” being “the key to success,” the “nuclear family,” and belief in a single god are not values that unite Americans of all races but are instead “aspects and assumptions of whiteness.” The museum also stated that “[f]acing your whiteness is hard and can result in feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion, defensiveness, or fear.”

All of this is contrary to the fundamental premises underpinning our Republic: that all individuals are created equal and should be allowed an equal opportunity under the law to pursue happiness and prosper based on individual merit.

Executive departments and agencies (agencies), our Uniformed Services, Federal contractors, and Federal grant recipients should, of course, continue to foster environments devoid of hostility grounded in race, sex, and other federally protected characteristics. Training employees to create an inclusive workplace is appropriate and beneficial. The Federal Government is, and must always be, committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals before the law.

But training like that discussed above perpetuates racial stereotypes and division and can use subtle coercive pressure to ensure conformity of viewpoint. Such ideas may be fashionable in the academy, but they have no place in programs and activities supported by Federal taxpayer dollars. Research also suggests that blame-focused diversity training reinforces biases and decreases opportunities for minorities.

Our Federal civil service system is based on merit principles. These principles, codified at 5 U.S.C. 2301, call for all employees to “receive fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of personnel management without regard to” race or sex “and with proper regard for their . . . constitutional rights.” Instructing Federal employees that treating individuals on the basis of individual merit is racist or sexist directly undermines our Merit System Principles and impairs the efficiency of the Federal service. Similarly, our Uniformed Services should not teach our heroic men and women in uniform the lie that the country for which they are willing to die is fundamentally racist. Such teachings could directly threaten the cohesion and effectiveness of our Uniformed Services.

Such activities also promote division and inefficiency when carried out by Federal contractors. The Federal Government has long prohibited Federal contractors from engaging in race or sex discrimination and required contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that such discrimination does not occur. The participation of contractors’ employees in training that promotes race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating similarly undermines efficiency in Federal contracting. Such requirements promote divisiveness in the workplace and distract from the pursuit of excellence and collaborative achievements in public administration.

Therefore, it shall be the policy of the United States not to promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal workforce or in the Uniformed Services, and not to allow grant funds to be used for these purposes. In addition, Federal contractors will not be permitted to inculcate such views in their employees.

Sec. 2. Definitions. For the purposes of this order, the phrase:

(a) “Divisive concepts” means the concepts that (1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (2) the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist; (3) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (4) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (5) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (6) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (7) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (8) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (9) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. The term “divisive concepts” also includes any other form of race or sex stereotyping or any other form of race or sex scapegoating.

(b) “Race or sex stereotyping” means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his or her race or sex.

(c) “Race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex. It similarly encompasses any claim that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of his or her race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others.

(d) “Senior political appointee” means an individual appointed by the President, or a non-career member of the Senior Executive Service (or agency-equivalent system).

Sec. 3. Requirements for the United States Uniformed Services. The United States Uniformed Services, including the United States Armed Forces, shall not teach, instruct, or train any member of the United States Uniformed Services, whether serving on active duty, serving on reserve duty, attending a military service academy, or attending courses conducted by a military department pursuant to a Reserve Officer Corps Training program, to believe any of the divisive concepts set forth in section 2(a) of this order. No member of the United States Uniformed Services shall face any penalty or discrimination on account of his or her refusal to support, believe, endorse, embrace, confess, act upon, or otherwise assent to these concepts.

Sec. 4. Requirements for Government Contractors. (a) Except in contracts exempted in the manner provided by section 204 of Executive Order 11246 of September 24, 1965 (Equal Employment Opportunity), as amended, all Government contracting agencies shall include in every Government contract hereafter entered into the following provisions:

“During the performance of this contract, the contractor agrees as follows:

1. The contractor shall not use any workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating, including the concepts that (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (d) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (e) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. The term “race or sex stereotyping” means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his or her race or sex, and the term “race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.

2. The contractor will send to each labor union or representative of workers with which he has a collective bargaining agreement or other contract or understanding, a notice, to be provided by the agency contracting officer, advising the labor union or workers’ representative of the contractor’s commitments under the Executive Order of September 22, 2020, entitled Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, and shall post copies of the notice in conspicuous places available to employees and applicants for employment.

3. In the event of the contractor’s noncompliance with the requirements of paragraphs (1), (2), and (4), or with any rules, regulations, or orders that may be promulgated in accordance with the Executive Order of September 22, 2020, this contract may be canceled, terminated, or suspended in whole or in part and the contractor may be declared ineligible for further Government contracts in accordance with procedures authorized in Executive Order 11246, and such other sanctions may be imposed and remedies invoked as provided by any rules, regulations, or orders the Secretary of Labor has issued or adopted pursuant to Executive Order 11246, including subpart D of that order.

4. The contractor will include the provisions of paragraphs (1) through (4) in every subcontract or purchase order unless exempted by rules, regulations, or orders of the Secretary of Labor, so that such provisions will be binding upon each subcontractor or vendor. The contractor will take such action with respect to any subcontract or purchase order as may be directed by the Secretary of Labor as a means of enforcing such provisions including sanctions for noncompliance: Provided, however, that in the event the contractor becomes involved in, or is threatened with, litigation with a subcontractor or vendor as a result of such direction, the contractor may request the United States to enter into such litigation to protect the interests of the United States.”

(b) The Department of Labor is directed, through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), to establish a hotline and investigate complaints received under both this order as well as Executive Order 11246 alleging that a Federal contractor is utilizing such training programs in violation of the contractor’s obligations under those orders. The Department shall take appropriate enforcement action and provide remedial relief, as appropriate.

(c) Within 30 days of the date of this order, the Director of OFCCP shall publish in the Federal Register a request for information seeking information from Federal contractors, Federal subcontractors, and employees of Federal contractors and subcontractors regarding the training, workshops, or similar programming provided to employees. The request for information should request copies of any training, workshop, or similar programing having to do with diversity and inclusion as well as information about the duration, frequency, and expense of such activities.

Sec. 5. Requirements for Federal Grants. The heads of all agencies shall review their respective grant programs and identify programs for which the agency may, as a condition of receiving such a grant, require the recipient to certify that it will not use Federal funds to promote the concepts that (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (d) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (e) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. Within 60 days of the date of this order, the heads of agencies shall each submit a report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that lists all grant programs so identified.

Sec. 6. Requirements for Agencies. (a) The fair and equal treatment of individuals is an inviolable principle that must be maintained in the Federal workplace. Agencies should continue all training that will foster a workplace that is respectful of all employees. Accordingly:

(i) The head of each agency shall use his or her authority under 5 U.S.C. 301, 302, and 4103 to ensure that the agency, agency employees while on duty status, and any contractors hired by the agency to provide training, workshops, forums, or similar programming (for purposes of this section, “training”) to agency employees do not teach, advocate, act upon, or promote in any training to agency employees any of the divisive concepts listed in section 2(a) of this order. Agencies may consult with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 4116, in carrying out this provision; and
(ii) Agency diversity and inclusion efforts shall, first and foremost, encourage agency employees not to judge each other by their color, race, ethnicity, sex, or any other characteristic protected by Federal law.

(b) The Director of OPM shall propose regulations providing that agency officials with supervisory authority over a supervisor or an employee with responsibility for promoting diversity and inclusion, if such supervisor or employee either authorizes or approves training that promotes the divisive concepts set forth in section 2(a) of this order, shall take appropriate steps to pursue a performance-based adverse action proceeding against such supervisor or employee under chapter 43 or 75 of title 5, United States Code.

(c) Each agency head shall:

(i) issue an order incorporating the requirements of this order into agency operations, including by making compliance with this order a provision in all agency contracts for diversity training;

(ii) request that the agency inspector general thoroughly review and assess by the end of the calendar year, and not less than annually thereafter, agency compliance with the requirements of this order in the form of a report submitted to OMB; and

(iii) assign at least one senior political appointee responsibility for ensuring compliance with the requirements of this order.

Sec. 7. OMB and OPM Review of Agency Training. (a) Consistent with OPM’s authority under 5 U.S.C. 4115-4118, all training programs for agency employees relating to diversity or inclusion shall, before being used, be reviewed by OPM for compliance with the requirements of section 6 of this order.

(b) If a contractor provides a training for agency employees relating to diversity or inclusion that teaches, advocates, or promotes the divisive concepts set forth in section 2(a) of this order, and such action is in violation of the applicable contract, the agency that contracted for such training shall evaluate whether to pursue debarment of that contractor, consistent with applicable law and regulations, and in consultation with the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee.

(c) Within 90 days of the date of this order, each agency shall report to OMB all spending in Fiscal Year 2020 on Federal employee training programs relating to diversity or inclusion, whether conducted internally or by contractors. Such report shall, in addition to providing aggregate totals, delineate awards to each individual contractor.

(d) The Directors of OMB and OPM may jointly issue guidance and directives pertaining to agency obligations under, and ensuring compliance with, this order.

Sec. 8. Title VII Guidance. The Attorney General should continue to assess the extent to which workplace training that teaches the divisive concepts set forth in section 2(a) of this order may contribute to a hostile work environment and give rise to potential liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq. If appropriate, the Attorney General and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shall issue publicly available guidance to assist employers in better promoting diversity and inclusive workplaces consistent with Title VII.

Sec. 9. Effective Date. This order is effective immediately, except that the requirements of section 4 of this order shall apply to contracts entered into 60 days after the date of this order.

Sec. 10. General Provisions. (a) This order does not prevent agencies, the United States Uniformed Services, or contractors from promoting racial, cultural, or ethnic diversity or inclusiveness, provided such efforts are consistent with the requirements of this order.

(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to prohibit discussing, as part of a larger course of academic instruction, the divisive concepts listed in section 2(a) of this order in an objective manner and without endorsement.

(c) If any provision of this order, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this order and the application of its provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

(d) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(e) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(f) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 22, 2020.

 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

No. Just No.

I teach in a suburban Sacramento district.  Until recently I never would have dreamed that the dangerous leftie stupidity that is so prevalent here in the Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia would infiltrate my district, but it has.  Today I got the following email, a screenshot of most of which is here:


Critical race theory is Marxism.  I spent the first several years of my adult life training to kill communists if necessary, and I see no reason to alter such beliefs.  I'm not interested in your BS marxism.

My favorite one, though, is the one that is blatantly political and partisan:  Exploring the Critique of Liberalism Through Critical Race Theory.  Apparently conservatism as a political philosophy is wrong, because reasons, but before stating that explicitly we'll explain why conservatism's critique of liberalism is all wrong.

THIS is what your kid's teachers are being told is right.

If you want to talk about microaggressions, just receiving this email was at least a microaggression.  Who signed me up for this trash, my district?  You can bet I'll find out.

And if I attend this training, I'll have some fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

It's the Little Things

I've written before about how I play a YouTube music video before "the bell" in each Zoom class as I'm checking off attendance and letting students into "class".  Each day I play something different.  

Today, before starting the video, I let a few kids into the class.  Instantly I received a chat message from one of the students:  What, no music today?  And a few moments later:  Oh, there it is!

I always smile at the little things that are important to my students, the things they notice, the things they remember long after they're gone.  Being a teacher is fun sometimes.

(Today's video was this one.  Who doesn't like Andrea Bocelli??)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fury

My student teacher was grading our Financial Math tests and noticed that about half of our students got the same incorrect answer for one question.  The question came directly from our instruction:  What are the three types of taxes that most Americans pay?  The answer is income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes.  About half of our students said "regressive, proportional, and regressive".  My first thought was that many remembered something from economics class about types of taxes, but go to the Google and type in "3 types of taxes" and look at the first result that's shown.

I had one of my Financial Math classes today, and even though it was just via Zoom, I laid into them.  How they can't even cheat well.  How they're taking one of the most important and practical classes they could take in high school, and they don't even care enough to learn something of value.  How, if they'd just used their notes, which I allow, they'd probably have gotten the correct answer.  How, if they don't learn this material, they'll be as clueless as adults when they're on their own as they are today as teenagers.  And on, and on, and on.

I probably railed for 5 minutes.

Not one student said I was mistaken regarding my accusation about using Google, and one student sent me a private Zoom chat telling me that her mother was listening to me and laughing her head off--mom agreed with me!

There were a few times in my rant that I mentioned "the half of you that went to Google and cheated", and let the other half know that I wasn't ranting against them and that they should be laughing at their classmates for doing something so stupid. 

I use a "canned" curriculum, and each lesson (4 lessons to a test, only 4!!!) comes with what amounts to a guided note sheet.  If they just followed along with my presentation and took some notes, they'd ace the quizzes and tests.  But half didn't even care to do that, and they thought they'd get away with it.  That infuriates me to no end.  I was born on a Sunday, but not last Sunday.

I'll see my other Financial Math class tomorrow, and my goal is to deliver my screed to them with the same fervor I summoned today.

This "distance teaching" makes cheating easier, but I'm still going to slam them when I catch them.

Update, 9/23/20:  Screed delivered again.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Stupid Should Hurt

Do stupid things, win stupid prizes.

Example 1:

The Department of Justice has officially identified New York City, Portland and Seattle as cities where violence and destruction of property is being allowed or enabled by local officials. 

"The U.S. Department of Justice today identified the following three jurisdictions that have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities: New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. The Department of Justice is continuing to work to identify jurisdictions that meet the criteria set out in the President’s Memorandum and will periodically update the list of selected jurisdictions as required therein," DOJ released in a statement Monday morning. "The list was published on DOJ’s website today in response to President Trump’s memorandum of September 2, 2020, entitled 'Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities'"...

“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Attorney General William Barr said about the situation.  “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”

And then there's this

Early this month, Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber went through the woke “anti-racist” rite of confession: he published a letter confessing the ongoing racism at his university under his leadership. Such confessions serve to prop up the ridiculous claim that any racial disparities are ipso facto proof of “institutional racism.” Claims like Eisgruber’s are less a confession of actual fact and more a rhetorical weapon to push Marxist critical race theory...

Yet the Department of Education (DOE) decided to call Princeton’s bluff. According to a letter obtained by The Washington Examiner, the DOE launched an investigation into the Ivy League university. Princeton, like other schools that receive federal funding, pledges to abide by certain federal laws in order to receive federal funding...

“Based on its admitted racism, the U.S. Department of Education is concerned Princeton’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances in its Program Participation Agreements from at least 2013 to the present may have been false,” the letter explains. “Finally, the Department is further concerned Princeton’s many nondiscrimination and equal opportunity claims to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education certificates may have been false, misleading, and actionable substantial misrepresentations in violation of” U.S. law.

Therefore, the DOE is opening an investigation into Princeton and may end up removing funds from the university — and demanding Princeton pay back taxpayer funds it should not have received. “Based on the facts, the Secretary of Education may consider measures against Princeton for false Program Participation Agreement nondiscrimination assurances, including an action to recover funds"...

Eisgruber did not intend to confess to violating federal discrimination law. He meant to signal his virtue and convince people that America is institutionally racist in order to further his own political and ideological goals. That makes the Department of Education’s response brilliant — perhaps even hilarious.

I'm glad that we have a federal government that doesn't tolerate leftie "el toro feces" anymore.

Be stupid with your own money, not with federal money.

Update, 9/24/20:  Backtrack!

The Department of Education is investigating whether Princeton violated the Civil Rights Act after the school's president, Christopher Eisgruber, said that racism remains "embedded" in the university. In response to the department's inquiry, Princeton claimed that the school does not actively discriminate against minority students and faculty, but also that systemic racism still exists on campus...

On Sept. 2, Eisgruber told students and staff that "racist assumptions from the past … remain embedded in structures of the university itself." Following his statement, the Education Department requested information regarding Princeton's acceptance and hiring processes to determine whether the university discriminates against minorities. If found in violation of civil rights law, the school would become ineligible for the millions of dollars in federal funding it receives...

Princeton senior Rebekah Adams told the Washington Free Beacon she thinks the response letter was released to appease vocal student activists.

"Princeton released the statement to both claim that [it] uphold[s] diversity [and] that it is embedded in racism," Adams said. "[It's] an attempt to keep appeasing the vocal students who, for instance, wanted Woodrow Wilson's name removed."

Another Princeton senior, Tyler Eddy, said that the statement exemplified the way liberal institutions use phrases like "systemic racism" to delegitimize political opponents.

Those two students see so clearly what too many adults refuse to.

 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Blogging Break

Been staring at computer screens too much lately, going to take a blogging break for a couple days.  Nothing bad happening, just "resting my eyes"!

West Point Given High Rankings

The Princeton Review:



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Math Geek Stuff

I've mentioned several times that one of my school's calculus teachers and I are taking a specialized calculus class at a nearby community college.  This class generated a spirited texting debate between the two of us.

I was watching yesterday's class on limits, and the instructor was doing some example problems about what happens to functions as x approaches plus or minus infinity.  There were times when he'd say that the limit was "infinity", with which I disagree.  If a function's end behavior is such that the function goes off to plus or minus infinity, then the limit does not exist.  I base my position on the definition of a limit, which includes an epsilon/delta proof.

My friend and colleague agreed with our professor, saying that stating a "limit" is infinity describes the end behavior of the function.  While I agree, it's not technically a limit; if a function grows without bound then it's not limited.

I broke out my Swokowski textbook from my calc class in 1982, which supported my position (although not explicitly), and he broke out a later Swokowski and then a Larson and a Stewart textbook, all 3 of which stated explicitly that a limit could be infinity.  I'm convinced Swokowski was right the first time and later sold out!

As a math major I was trained formally.  A limit requires a real (and finite) value L, as well as an epsilon/delta proof.  I understand that saying "the limit is infinity" is a convenient shorthand, and for those of us who know what we're doing, it's useful but not formal.  For beginning calculus students, we should teach the rules before we teach how to break them--sort of like we do in grammar.

Not to be outdone, I went to my Advanced Calculus book, from the semester course wherein we proved every single thing we took for granted back in elementary calculus.  There was nothing about "infinite limits" in that text.

We kinda sorta agreed that it may not be formal but it was practical.  Two of my closing texts:

Utility vs. formality.  I can oscillate like a sinusoidal between those two poles.

and

Formally, the limit does not exist, because the function approaches infinity...But as I said, I'll survive saying the limit is infinity.
What do you say, math geek readers?  Does a limit equal infinity, or not?

(And yes, math teachers really do have such discussions.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Some Views Are "More Equal" Than Others

They were told not to.  They did it anyway.  

Two high school football players in Ohio have learned the hard way that showing support for police officers and firefighters won’t be treated the same as showing support for Black Lives Matter.

Two players on the Little Miami High School football team have been suspended for carrying Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags (which represent fallen police officers and firefighters, respectively) onto the field before their game on September 11, 2020.

The players insist their statements were not political in nature.

“I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago,” Brady Williams, a senior, told Local 12. Brady carried the Thin Blue Line flag onto the field. His father is a police officer, and Brady said he wanted to honor all the cops who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11.

Another player, Jarad Bentley, whose father is a firefighter, carried the Thin Red Line flag. “If it had been [my dad] killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”

Is suspension an appropriate penalty?  Should they have been told no in the first place?

You make the call, IBM. (Remember that?)

Update, 9/21/20A local organization has given the 2 students scholarships:

On Friday, a local non-profit group called “Holiday for Heroes” said it is awarding Williams and Bentley a scholarship for their statement, WJAC-TV reported.

“Brady and Jarad are true PATRIOTS, they did something last Friday that showed they are far beyond their years,” the group said. “These men stood up for a cause they believe in. As they took the field with flags in hand it reminded us how we felt 19 years ago, heartbroken yet strong and united.”

The group has not disclosed how much the scholarships will be worth.


Definitions: Read the Fine Print

In early-to-mid August I voluntary underwent 6 hours of online training modules put out by my district, believing (as did everyone I spoke to today) that I would receive 1 day of pay for that 6 hours.  Having been a teacher in California for 20+ years now, and having a master's degree, I make fairly reasonable money each year; with a work year of 185 days, and a contractual working day of 6 hours, I figured I'd make 1/185 of that annual pay for undergoing that training.

Uh, no.

Turns out that the communications we got about that training said we'd be paid at our "hourly rate".  Like everyone I talked to about this today, I interpreted that to mean "our" hourly rates--thus, at 6 hours of "our" hourly rate, we'd get one day's pay.  Again, no.

When we're paid our "daily rate", then we receive 1/185 of our salary.  But our "hourly rate" is not 1/6 of our daily rate.  No, "hourly rate" for additional training is defined as one (small) number for those with fewer than 10 years of teaching experience and one (still small but not as small) number for those with more teaching experience.

My "hourly rate" is about $47/hr, which is significantly less than 1/6 of 1/185th of my annual pay.  So instead of what I considered would be a sizable chunk of change, I grossed about $280.  After withholdings I came home with a whopping $178.

I'm going camping this weekend.  That $178 won't even cover my driving expenses there and back.

Totally not worth it.  I won't make that mistake again--it's either "daily rate" or Darren doesn't do it.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Some Kids Are Smart, Some Aren't

One of the worst things we do in K-12 education is tell students they have to go to college.  Not everyone can or should.

Before I was born, California created its Master Plan for Education.  It outlined our 3 levels of post-secondary education:  community colleges, the CSU System, and the UC System.  The UC's were supposed to educate the top eighth or so of high school graduates, the CSU's the top third, and the community colleges were for everyone.  Even then it was recognized that only the top third of high school graduates should go directly to a university, and I see no reason why that percentage should have changed.

Yet, we tell kids that college is the way, the truth, and the light.  Everyone should go to college.  We subtly, and not so subtly, tell students that if they don't go to college, that pretty much the first adult decision they make is the wrong one.

We load more and more courses that are required for graduation, and we make school almost entirely academic.  Remember when schools had shop classes, typing, home ec, drafting, shorthand, etc?  We have none of those at my current school.  Not one.  Sure, we have robotics, and while it's extremely cool, it's not the same as wood or metal or auto or electronics shop.  Sure, we have a medical "career and technical education" program, but that's not the same as home ec.  This shouldn't be an either/or situation, we should have "all of the above".  But we don't.  We get more and more academic, and wonder why kids are turned off from school.

And then there's this:

All that Fredrik deBoer wants us to do is concede that not everyone can be above average. That’s just the nature of statistics, its iron and immutable logic. In many realms, we accept this without hesitation: height or weight; the time it takes to jog a mile; my persistent inability to carry a tune.

Apply this to education, however, and things get touchier. Some students, to put it bluntly, simply aren’t smart enough. This may sound cold-hearted. But, deBoer contends, the truly callous approach is to ignore this reality.

That’s just what Americans do by fetishizing academic ability as a true measure of just deserts. In policy clich├ęs accepted by left and right, education is the foundation of meritocracy — the foundational belief of what deBoer terms the “Cult of Smart.” Its near-monopoly on education policy emphasizes the need for one-size-fits-all standards and disruptive quick-fixes: tech gimmicks; Facebook’s partnership with Newark schools; No Child Left Behind, Common Core, and standardized testing; the priority of abstract subjects like algebra; an emphasis on teacher quality as the primary obstacle holding back student performance.

More perniciously, it leads those who aren’t academically talented to regard themselves as failures from an early age.

The contrarian deBoer is a left-critic of liberalism and the myth of meritocracy. Paths toward economic and social failure in the contemporary United States, he laments, are myriad; those that lead to success increasingly few. He sees this as meritocracy’s essence. Just as many of us will never grow to be six feet tall, many will also never succeed even in a perfectly meritocratic society. “Our system can promote equality or it can sort people into a hierarchy of ability,” he writes. “It can’t do both.”

The author tells us more about deBoer, a person I would find despicable, but that doesn't mean that everything he thinks is wrong.  I agree with his ideas above but disagree with his so-called solutions (for reasons that the author points out).  This seems more reasonable:

As it turns out, demolishing the Cult of Smart isn’t just a left-wing project. Though conservative critics of 21st-century meritocracy and mainstream education policy don’t agree with all of deBoer’s proposals, they’re sympathetic to some. His call to de-emphasize the importance of a four-year college degree and promote vocational and trade schools finds echoes in the policy forum American Compass. Indeed, Charles Murray arrived at the same conclusion over a decade ago, making the case for vocational training in a 2008 essay for the American Enterprise Institute. His argument, too, was grounded in the uneven distribution of academic ability — and the need to value the kind of intelligence a skilled manual laborer requires as morally equal to that required by a white-collar worker with a B.A.

If you're equating academic prowess--or pretty much any other prowess, really--with morality, then you're a fool. 

When my son was in elementary school I took him to Mexico.  We saw what in this country would be considered fairly severe poverty.  He hadn't seen that before and, seeking understanding, he asked me, in the blunt terms of a child, "Does that mean we're better than them?"  I replied that no, we're not better, we just have more than they do.  We have more benefits and blessings than they do, and we are to be thankful for that, but all good and decent people have moral worth.  And I believe that to my core.  To me it's the most American of beliefs.

My son can be forgiven for considering, as a 9-year-old, that prosperity might have some relation to morality.  Adults should not think that way, and they shouldn't think that way about academic ability, athletic ability, race, wealth, or job title, either.

Public schools should educate everyone, but they shouldn't educate everyone the same way.  I'm all for letting students choose a path--academic, vocational, artistic, or otherwise--and having different academic requirements in those paths.

But that's just me.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

When "Hate Whitey" Training Comes To My School...

 ...I'm going to ask if all black lives matter or only the score or so unarmed ones shot by police each year in a country of with approximately 43 million black Americans.  I'm going to ask if burning down black neighborhoods and businesses is the road to "justice".  I'm going to ask if ridding poor minority neighborhoods of police is going to help the people living in those neighborhoods.  I'm going to ask if acting like savages is the going to bring any sympathy to their cause:

Late Saturday night, news broke that an unidentified gunman ambushed and shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies while they sat in their patrol vehicle. The deputies were taken to a nearby hospital and their condition is unknown. Late Saturday night they were reportedly “fighting for their lives,” having been shot in the head.

Overnight, things took an even darker turn.

Black Lives Matter protesters made it clear that to them the deputies’ lives do not matter, nor do the lives of anyone in the hospital where the deputies are being cared for. They aligned with the cowardly gunman, celebrating the shooting.

The BLM protesters gathered at the hospital and chanted “We hope they die!”

They also blocked entrances to the hospital emergency room, according to the LA County Sheriffs’ social media.

One of the deputies shot is a woman.  Add the two deputies' ages together and you still haven't reached mine.  There's no evidence that these deputies in particular, or law enforcement in general, target blacks.  Why were these two shot?

Don't try to understand it.  Don't try to get into the head of the shooter and divine some rationale.  As I've long believed, you don't try to understand crazy, you just excise it.

Like a rabid dog.

Update, 9/14/20:  I don't agree with Candace Owens that they're to blame--the person who pulled the trigger is to blame--but I agree that they're all complicit:

Why else does this happen? Because when pea-brained athletes put the name of an alleged RAPIST on their helmets and jerseys, criminals begin believing they are acting as heroes. 

BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE COMPLICIT MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS, ATHLETES, AND ENTERTAINERS ARE TO BLAME.

The Media Are Such Obvious Liars


 

Yesterday's Army Football Game

After teams started canceling football games this season, Army Athletics put together a brand new schedule so that the team could play.  Granted, many of Army's new opponents aren't known as perennial football powerhouses, and the new schedule has 8 (eight!) home games, so this season isn't really considered a test of the prowess of the program, but at least the team is playing.

Last week army beat Middle Tennessee 42-0.  Yesterday Army beat Lousiana-Monroe 37-7.  Next week should be more of a challenge as BYU, which beat Navy 55-3, travels to West Point.

There were plenty of fun plays yesterday, but 2 really stand out--and coincidentally, they're shown consecutively in this video. In the first (1:14 in the video), Army is 1st-and-15 on its own 48 in the closing seconds of the half and throws a pass.  The catch is spectacular!

The second fun play (1:38 in the video) is at 9:03 left in the 3rd with Army up 17-7.  It's 4th-and-10 with Army on its own 35 yard line, and Army is lined up to punt.  Just watch to see what happens!



Friday, September 11, 2020

Taking Notes By Hand

Back in the olden days, when kids actually came to school, kids who would miss a class would ask me if they could take pictures of my lecture notes.  I would always tell them no, but they could copy them by hand.  The signal has to go through your brain on its way from your eyes to your fingers, and you remember stuff more.  I can carry on a conversation and type at the same time, and the typing bypasses the brain and just happens, but you can't do that when you're writing.  Maybe it's the motor skills necessary to write, maybe it just takes more time to write and the time factor is the difference, but you get the most bang for your buck by taking notes by hand:

Whether or not you’re picky, know that tools for the hands are tools for the brain. Handwritten notes are a powerful tool for encrypting embodied cognition and in turn supporting the brain’s capacity for retrieval of information. And secondly, when you take notes by hand, your hands create a robust external memory storage: your notebook.

Taking notes by hand is a win-win, and belongs in every student’s cognitive tool kit. Learning how to take notes by hand effectively, and how to ingrain note-taking as a key learning and study tool, can begin as early as grades 3 or 4, but it’s never too late to begin.

We live in a digital age where daily functioning involves digital communication. Automaticity in keyboarding is an important skill too, and the tools and applications for digital communication will continue to evolve and have their place. But keyboarding does not provide the tactile feedback to the brain that contact between pencil or pen and paper does — the key to creating the neurocircuitry in the hand-brain complex.

I knew I was right, I just didn't have the neuroscience to back me up--until now.  Go read the whole thing.

How Smoky Is It Here In The Capital of the Democratic People's Republik?

On my drive home today, in some areas it was like driving through fog.  Nowhere did I have visibility of more than a mile, and usually much less.

I thought I'd take a picture of the haze.  When I activated the camera on my phone I got the message, "Your pictures will look better if you clean your camera lens."  That's how hazy and blurry things are in the greater Sacramento area.

And our idiot governor says this is about global warming. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Rule Britannia

Each class period, as I check students into Zoom class one-by-one while taking roll, I have a video/song playing on my computer.  I share my screen and audio so that, as they come into class, they're greeted with a daily song.  Sometimes they like the music and sometimes they don't, but I'm old enough that they might not even know some of the songs I play!  Each day I choose a new song.

I thought it would be fun to try something a little different today, so I played this video of Rule Britannia:


I admit the verse lyrics are kind of forced (OK, more than kind of), but who doesn't love that chorus?!

Students are on "mute" when they come into class, but some have their cameras on; I could see one girl being quite animated while the video played.  She even had her mother step into the room to see what was going on.

Turns out mom is British, my student has known this song since she was young, and she and mom were singing along!

That was a fun way to start 1st period today :)  Tomorrow, classes will start with TLC's Waterfalls.

Update, 9/10/20:  I didn't remember that that TLC video had a couple racy scenes in it, scenes I could imagine would cause a Karen to call the principal and complain.  Starting with 2nd period I played a different video of the same song, a karaoke version with just the lyrics on the screen!

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

I Got Something Cool Out Of My Calculus Class

I've long understood the concept of composite functions, but never really had a good practical application of the idea that didn't involve mere multiplication of numbers.  This past weekend, however, I completed my first test in calculus class, and there was a problem on it to state the surface area of a cube as a function of the cube's volume.

The problem was written just that way, but since we'd covered composite functions for one of our lessons, I recognized immediately that that was a great problem that could be solved using composite functions.  Since I covered composite functions in my pre-calculus class, and my students are taking a test later this week that includes a problem about composite functions, I thought the problem from my calculus class would be a great one for my pre-calc test.

I couldn't just say to use composite functions to state the surface area of a cube as a function of its volume.  No, I had to break it up into bite-sized chunks and lead my students towards the solution.  (I consider this to be part of what's called "good teaching".)  My calc instructor can assume that his students have all learned about composite functions before and can rush through the review and assessment; since my students are probably learning the material for the first time, I need to be a bit more "guided" both in my instruction and in the assessment.  I wrote the test today and included a simple f(g(x)) and g(f(x)) composition on it, but thought I'd use the surface area/volume problem as a bonus problem.

I broke the problem up into 3 parts:  surface area as a function of side length, side length as a function of volume, and then the composite function that provides surface area as a function of volume.  The next two parts guided the students to check their work, to see if their formula for SA(V) actually gave the correct answer in the case of a cube with very simple dimensions.

Nifty applications like this is one of the reasons I'm taking the calculus course.

Monday, September 07, 2020

He's One of the Governors Who Acts Like An Absolute Monarch

 Seen on Sunrise Blvd. in Fair Oaks, CA:



'Rona Shutdowns Are Political, Not Scientific


Notice the death toll from the Asian and Hong Kong flus of the 1950s and 60s.  You probably haven't even heard these described as "pandemics", even though they killed a lot more people than today's 'rona has back when there were a lot fewer people on the planet:

 There were no shutdowns back then, and yet humanity survived just fine.

Failed State, Indeed


Seriously, in much of the state the power gets shut off when the wind blows or when it's hot.  First World dreams with Third World governance and infrastructure.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

What Is The Appropriate Adjective To Describe This Instructor?

I was at a friend's house a couple nights ago, and his son, a former student of mine, told me about his calculus instructor at college--incidentally, the same college at which I'm taking my calculus course.

If I am to believe this student, and I have no reason not to, the instructor said the he's not going to learn how to use Zoom or how to post videos online.  Therefore, he said, the students are just going to have to read the text and learn the material on their own.

Friday, September 04, 2020

I Got Livid Today

In this post from a few weeks ago I talked about the 3-hour "hate whitey" training we had in our so-called professional development just before school started.  What I didn't tell you then is that the training started with a video of our superintendent--and I don't believe I'm exaggerating or being hyperbolic here--essentially calling all of us racists.

Today, the Friday before a 3-day weekend, he sent out another video--thanking all of us for the hard work we're doing.  What, did we all stop being racists?  If yes, then great, we don't need more of the "hate whitey" stuff that's supposed to be coming our way.  If no, why thank a bunch of racists for being racist?  

And how can anyone continue to pay the local union after the president of said union said pretty much the same thing the superintendent said?

Screw these people.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

First Calculus Quiz

When I received my score on my first calculus quiz, I was shocked.  The material wasn't calculus, it was pre-calculus--in fact, it was exactly the material I'd spent the previous 2 weeks teaching my own pre-calculus students!  How could I have scored only an 8 out of 10?  I know I sort of rushed through it, but I checked my work a couple times, I couldn't imagine making a mistake.  I was a bit disappointed at what was obviously my carelessness.

A friend is taking the course with me, and a day or so after we got our scores I asked to see his answers.  Oddly enough, they matched mine exactly.  That honestly made me feel better, because for whatever reason I lost the points, at least I did the math correctly.

It was possible I lost points for not following the instructions to the letter.  The instructions were to circle or highlight the answer; fellow West Pointers won't be surprised to learn that I double-underlined my answer (but not in red).  Using a highlighter pen didn't even occur to me, I interpreted highlight to mean "draw attention to", thus the underlining.  I would have accepted a loss of points for not circling or using a highlighter on my answer.

But I emailed the instructor anyway, asking if he could please let me know where he saw that I lost points.  I got a reply today that he missed my complete answer on one of the problems, and he changed my score to a 10.  Of course I thanked him for taking a second look.

Lesson learned:  when the instructions say to circle the answer, then circle the entire answer

For you mathies:  my mistake was simple:  the solution to [f(a+h)-f(a)]/h was a polynomial with 6 or so terms, and because I ran out of room on the "line" on which I was writing, I wrote 3 or 4 terms on one line with 3 or so terms immediately underneath.  He saw the underline and didn't notice that the 2nd line of terms was a continuation of the 1st line.  Easy to do.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

My Feet, They're Cold

Hell must be freezing over, because famed California politician Willie Brown and I agree:

The biggest threat to a Democratic election sweep in November isn’t the Republican in the White House, but the demonstrators who are tearing up cities in the name of racial justice.

The title of his article is "Burning and looting in the name of justice will hand election to Trump", to which I can only say "from his hand to God's ears."  Brown and I are in good company in our support for non-violent protest.

The press has been saying for months that the riots are President Trump's fault.  Now they're starting to change their story, with a few Dems claiming that the riots must stop--internal polling is clearly telling them what anyone with a brain already knew, that riots don't sell in America.  And as Mini-AOC says:  

If the riots are really Trump's fault do you think Democrats would've spent the last three months calling them peaceful protests?

Retirement

I got a little frustrated last night with conditions here in the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia).  So much so, in fact, that I hopped onto the State Teachers Retirement System retirement calendar tool and had it calculate how much I'd get in retirement pay if I retired at the end of this year.

$2700/month.

If I went one more year, till 2022, it would be $3100/month.  

These compare to the numbers I ran a couple years ago, retiring in 2028, with an income of $5000/month.

Part of me wonders if it wouldn't be worth it.  I've been researching overseas living, and I've read several articles that state that a couple could live nicely in Portugal on only $2000/month.  I'm not a couple, and I'd have a little more than that.

Yes, I think about it.