Monday, March 29, 2021

Blog Break

It's spring break, so in addition to taking a break from school I'm going to take a break from blogging.  We'll see if I can last--see you at the end of the week!

Sunday, March 28, 2021


On March 16th I received notification that the US IRS and the California FTB had both accepted my electronic tax returns.  On March 23rd my California tax refund was deposited into my checking account, and on the next day my federal tax refund was deposited.

Computers can definitely speed things up a bit!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

I Guess Getting Everyone To Hate Each Other Is Some Form of Unity

California's high school ethnic studies curriculum is about to be approved:

California’s Board of Education is expected Thursday to pass the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for high schools, after nearly four years of heated debate, division and rewrites.

The curriculum was created with the intention of covering four areas: Black/African American studies, Chicano/a studies, Native American studies and Asian American studies. It is a guidance document for districts to adopt lesson plans.

But discussions in developing the final draft included debate over whether additional lessons on other ethnic groups would detract from the study of those core groups...

State education officials put additional lesson plans on those groups into what they called a “bridge,” previously labeled an “appendix,” that included Arab American, Jewish American, Armenian American and Sikh American studies.

In the past 18 months, the Board of Education has received tens of thousands of public comments regarding the model curriculum. More than 38,000 of them were related to the sections of the curriculum centered on Jewish Americans and/or anti-Semitism, nearly 26,000 regarded Arab Americans and close to 10,000 focused on Armenian Americans, according to a summary chart attached to Thursday’s meeting agenda...

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, in a guest commentary for CalMatters earlier this month, endorsed the model curriculum final draft and wrote that it “will give educators the tools they need to illuminate the struggles and contributions of historically oppressed communities.”

Others continue to strongly disagree, saying elements of the curriculum will stoke hatred or even prompt harm for students.

The AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit organization with a goal of combating anti-Semitism in colleges and universities, said in a statement this week that “a Critical Ethnic Studies-based ESMC can’t help but incite division, hatred and harm to many students, especially Jewish students.”

I look forward to the hand-holding and kumbayyahs.  Or the hosannas.  Heck, I don't even know what the right term is.

A Person Too Stupid To Be A Headmaster

I'm sure there are countries where this wouldn't be looked at sideways, but how can anyone involved in education in the US this century not see it as problematic?

The White headmaster of a Catholic school on Long Island has resigned following reports that he had a Black student kneel in apology last month, calling it "the African way" to apologize...

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Paul said she noticed her son seemed sad after school one day late last month. When she asked him what happened, he told her he'd been sent to the headmaster's office for working on an assignment in his Literature class during designated reading time.
Paul said her son's teacher took the assignment, tore it up, and brought her son to the headmaster's office. Once there, Paul said, the headmaster told her son to kneel before the teacher in apology...
The headmaster, who is not being named by CNN, did not respond to requests for comment.
Not being named?  Must be a Democrat. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

When The Government Works For Business

We had no school today.  But dozens of staff, and over 100 students, were at school today for the SAT.

How does this happen?  

1)  The school collected the money for the College Board.

2)  The school ordered the test materials (on the clock, and hence on the taxpayer dime).

3)  School staff organized and administered today's test.  Even though today was not an at-school day, it was one of our work days and hence, we essentially worked for the College Board today--on the taxpayer dime.

4)  All the testing materials will have to be boxed up and shipped back to the College Board by school staff during the work day--on the taxpayer dime.

Pretty good gig for the College Board, no?

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Stranger Than You Can Even Imagine

After 2 days back at work this week, I've now taught each of my 5 classes in person for the first time in over a year.  Without going into details about my districts exceedingly-flawed hybrid model, suffice it to say that I taught each class twice--once in the morning for in-person students and once in the afternoon for online students.  My in-person classes ranged anywhere from 5-10 students each.

I'd like to focus on one of my classes in particular, which I didn't teach until today.  This is a higher math class of almost exclusively college-bound students.

I'd previously notified my students that, with the hybrid model, our class time was significantly less than it had been under all-online classes, 50 minutes vs 90 minutes.  Therefore, it was incumbent upon them to watch my instructional videos before class and take whatever notes they thought were necessary, because with only 50 minutes of class we'd need to get right into practice problems.

Not one of them had watched the video for today's class.

I wasn't going to reteach the material in the video, so I would incorporate as much "instruction" as I could while we worked out problems.  Not long after I started in, I stopped. 

They were just staring at me.

"Are any of you going to write any of this down?"  A few reached for pencils and notebooks.  I continued my instruction.  As I'm wont to do when teaching, I frequently stop and ask questions to check for student understanding.  And so I did.  I asked a student a question.

The student just stared at me.

I looked at the student for a moment and then said, "You realize I can see you, right?  You're not hiding behind a screen with your camera turned off."  I said it with a hint of humor, but the dark truth is there--these kids have no idea how to be students.  They have completely forgotten.

Yes, I know that 374 days had passed since the last time they were in school.  But these college-bound students had been in school for several years before those 374 days.  None of these students is a freshman.

They have forgotten how to be students.

This partly explains their low grades.  They don't engage--they turn off their cameras (I cannot require them to turn them on), they don't ask questions, they don't really take notes.  They listen to my videos--at least, they did when I played them during class--and they listen to me talk and explain.  They don't do anything, they sit and listen and let the words flow over and around them.  They learn only what they hear and remember, which cognitive science will tell you won't be much.  They are completely passive, there is nothing active at all about their learning.

I'm not the only one seeing this.  

I was speaking to one of our vice principals this afternoon.  This administrator said that several teachers had already talked to him/her about this very same phenomenon.  In fact, this administer said that he/she saw a student yesterday and talked to that student; when he/she said hello to the student today, the student just stared.  

That's what they do.  They stare.  Children of the Corn, or something.

Several of us teachers were discussing this at lunch today.  I remarked how, in years past, when I polled my students about a later start time for school, they were almost uniformly against it.  If school started later, they'd opt to take what we call "zero period", an extra early class that only a few teachers teach.  Their reasoning was always that they want to get out of school as early as possible so that they could "do stuff" the rest of the day.  Now, however, students are opting out of in-person school, which starts at 8:05 and gets out around 11 am, so that they can take online class, which doesn't start until well after noon.  Now they'd rather sleep in.  Why the change?  In the past, students wanted to leave early so they could "do stuff", now there's no "stuff" to do--that was our conclusion.

One teacher said that he thinks the students are depressed.  That's why they want to sleep all day, and when you're depressed, you can't even really explain why you want to sleep all day.  Looking at those students today, whom I won't see again in-person until next week, I think that teacher is on to something.

They stare.  They sit, and they stare.  It's the strangest and scariest thing I've seen on a large scale in all my years of teaching.

Yes, we've all heard about the emotional and psychological toll that staying home has had on students.  We've read about the increase in therapy, suicides, etc.  Until today, though, that was all abstract to me.  Today I saw the damage up close and personal.

I have no idea if they'll get back to "normal" any time soon or not.  If they don't, though, we have a much bigger problem on our hands than so-called learning loss.  This could be nightmarish. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Remember, Only White People Can Be Racist

Given how Asians are treated by those in charge of education, this doesn't surprise me at all:

The entire senior staff of the San Francisco schools has denounced a black school board member's tweets that claimed Asian Americans use 'white supremacist thinking' to get ahead. 

In her tweets, she also referred to Asian Americans as 'house n***ers'. 

On Sunday, 19 top administrators at the district's central office condemned the 2016 tweets from the board's Vice President Alison Collins, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

The city's top elected officials including its mayor, nearly all city supervisors and the area's state legislators all called for Collins to resign - but she hasn't.

Shocking, I know. 

If that isn't racist, it's "racist adjacent".

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Worse Than Fair Weather Fans

There's no way to excerpt this, I'll post it in its entirety:

By K. Lee

I had a conversation with my brother in Oregon, last night. Besides the usual family matters, he brought up a call he received from a ‘friend.’ The friend wanted to check on my brother and the family amidst rising violence toward Asian Americans. While my brother appreciated the gesture, he told his friend that it wasn’t necessary. The friend said he had been concerned about all the anti-Asian violence ever since Trump and the “China” virus rhetoric.

The friend knows my brother is a staunch conservative, so my brother got irritated. He asked the dude, what’s Trump got to do with the Georgia shootings and where was his phone call last year? The friend said he didn’t get what my brother was getting at. My brother replied that there were over 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian violence last year, yet you didn’t check on us. The friend said he didn’t know. My brother said, of course not—because no one besides us Asians cared. But now that you see a perp is a white male from the South, you start to care. You have to make this about YOU making a political statement rather than really caring about us, the Asian Americans.

My brother is correct. How can we trust and believe your sentiments when you didn’t care last year when we pleaded for assistance? The district attorneys in the Bay area and NYC acted blind to our plight. The national mainstream media didn’t lend us their ear nor their voice because the narrative didn’t fit.

But, now, you care.

You use our victimhood, turning it into your political gains—whether to infringe on the 2A or keep portraying Trump as that boogeyman. You sided with the rich NBA players over the freedom fighters of Hong Kong. You sided with Disney and NIKE over the lives and the dignity of the Uighurs in western China. You praised Antifa while they harassed and doxxed a gay Asian journalist. You sided with the rioters and looters that stole, robbed, and burned down our shops and businesses all last summer.

Yesterday, we found out the killer in the Georgia shooting rampage is a disturbed young man who is an Asian fetishist. Not exactly the perp that my brother’s friend wished for. I find it twisted and sick that there are a lot of white folks who get a ‘hard on’ for minorities’ victimhood. It’s as reprehensible as someone who has an Asian sexual fetish. Which is confusing—because one moment we are categorized with the ‘Whites’ when we are applying for colleges and universities and we don’t get the same affirmative action benefits of other POC when applying for a job— yet we are marginalized victims again, to serve your political purpose.

So we are just pawns.

My brother told his ‘friend,’ or his ‘ally,’ to snap out of trying to be the white savior. It was clear to my brother that the phone call was about the dude’s self righteousness and it was more self-serving than a true concern for the welfare and well-being of our family or any other Asians. My apologies, if my brother and I and some of our fellow Asians respond with indignation.

You’ve written us off. You’ve ignored us. And you didn’t care for so long. But, now, you tell us you care? Don’t play us for fools. We see you for the hypocritical players that you are.

Remember, Asians are "white adjacent" when it comes to education--and "white adjacent" is not a term invented by people with my political beliefs. 

Update: Read about anti-Asian "hate crimes".

Update #2:  Let's not forget this:

Masks Are Not Magic

When some students return to my school part-time tomorrow, we'll have some pretty stupid rules to follow.  One of those rules is that even when walking outside, alone, we'll all have to wear masks.  It's a stupid rule, not backed by any science at all, but "when you take the king's shilling, you do the king's bidding."  It's not just my district enforcing such stupidity:

I’ve tested negative for COVID 17 times. Ditto my whole floor, residence hall, and every student on campus — we’re required to test twice per week, after all. It’s safe to say that if someone got COVID, it’s been caught and that person is quarantining.

However, Mt. Holyoke College’s Community Compact says that “masks or cloth face coverings are required when in the presence of others and when outside of your personal room — including outdoors.”

It doesn’t matter what the conditions are. I can be walking outside–without a single soul in sight–and I still have to wear a mask. I can be sitting alone in one of the massive common rooms my school offers, and yet, I still need to wear a mask.

I can peek my head outside of my dorm, and I would need to cover my mouth and nose. If I get caught exposing my entire bare face, I could have that infraction put on my record — or even worse — kicked off campus.

As I've read elsewhere:  

It’s time to stop the insanity of the Branch Covidians. If they want to hold onto their masks as a talisman, no one is stopping them. Me? I already have a religion, thanks.

Absent revolution, I don't know how to stop them. They run every level of government where I live and work.  They are as immune to data as the Catholic Church was to Galileo.

Friday, March 19, 2021

I Appreciate His Integrity

As veterans of the Civil Rights Movement die off, we lose their perspective on such truths:

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned a just and equitable America, in which citizens treated each other as persons rather than as carriers of an indelible racial imprint.  

Today, the progressive left has bet against King's vision: we are not persons, we are our racial identities, and anyone who rejects that view is guilty of racism. 

King himself would be called out and targeted for "anti-bias" reeducation if he were alive today.

The Civil Rights Movement of which I was proudly a part has been betrayed by a twisted progressive ideology that hyper-racializes our country. 

Read the whole thing.

What Prompted These Silly Requirements In The First Place?

I'm shocked.  Shocked, I tell you:

Schools can safely seat students three feet apart in classrooms, rather than six feet, says new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday. Children must still wear masks, however.

Don’t get too excited, though. The six-foot-distancing rule for sporting events, assemblies, lunch, or chorus remains in place.

Greta Massetti, who leads the CDC’s community interventions task force says that while there is evidence of mental health and other benefits from in-person schooling, “we don’t really have the evidence that 6 feet is required in order to maintain low spread.”

In addition to the new 3-foot spacing, the CDC no longer recommends barriers between desks. “We don’t have a lot of evidence of their effectiveness,” said Massetti...

A recent study from Massachusetts found no significant difference between infection rates of students and staff members between schools using the 3-foot standard and those using the 6-foot standard. Well, aren’t we glad it only took about a year to figure that out.

I wonder if there's any evidence regarding the effectiveness of all those one-way arrows in the hallways around my campus, or of our requirement to wear masks even when walking alone outside on campus.

Ready Or Not, Here They Come

When I left school today, I was pretty much set up for having students Monday morning.  We'll see how that turns out!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Changing of the Guard

My first principal and my current principal were both exceptional bosses.  The three I worked for in between them were, uh, not so good.  At all.  By a wide margin.

My principal announced today that he's taking a job at the district, effective pretty much immediately.  He's going to split his time between the two jobs for awhile but our vice principals will take over more and more of the daily operations of the school.  

Woke "hate whitey" beliefs have started infiltrating my district, starting at the top, as I've written before.  I worry about getting a principal who's a disciple.

Do Mask Mandates Save Lives?

"Without data, all you have is an opinion."

Although some studies have concluded that masks help stop the spread of COVID-19, usually they have failed to replicate real-world situations.  A common approach is to evaluate the effectiveness of mask material at stopping the expulsion or intake of the aerosols presumed to be the airborne carriers of the virus.  Useful information, perhaps, but at this stage, what we need to know is whether the widespread use of masks is measurably reducing the risk of death from the disease.  To continue requiring the use of masks makes sense only if there is compelling data that death rates are lower for people who wear masks than it is for people who do not.

We have no way of measuring whether or how much and how appropriately individuals wear masks, but state mandates that people wear them are predicated on the notion that more people will do so if they are threatened with a fine or punishment.  Thus, it makes sense to demand that states with mask mandates have lower COVID-19 death rates than states that don't.  If states with mask mandates are not experiencing lower rates than states without them, the citizenry should insist that the burdensome policy of requiring masks be abandoned.

Logic or speculation alone cannot provide a reliable answer to the question of mask effectiveness.  Neither can the judgments and proclamations of politicians or even public health experts.  What we need is data.

The article then goes on to provide that data.  Click on the link to read the conclusion.

Who Wins The Oppression Olympics Here?

Is this overt racism?  Can it be, under current (biased) definitions, if there are no white people involved?

By the time the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma began distributing vaccines to tribal citizens, LeEtta Osborne-Sampson had already witnessed nearly two dozen members of her extended family die of COVID-19. She was relieved vaccine doses had finally arrived to protect those who remained.

But when she showed up at the Indian Health Service clinic in Wewoka, the capital of the Seminole Nation, staffers refused to give her a shot. They told her that she wasn’t eligible because her tribal ID card identifies her as a Freedman, a Seminole citizen who is a descendant of enslaved Black people. When she demanded answers, staffers called over a tribal police officer.

“It’s a terrible day to find out that your own people will let you die,” said Osborne-Sampson, who sits on the Seminole Nation’s tribal council.

While tribal leaders and the Indian Health Service have been hailed for successfully rolling out COVID vaccines across the country, Osborne-Sampson is one of six Freedmen who told BuzzFeed News that the Seminole Nation has denied them vaccines, health services, and COVID financial relief based on the ancestry listed on their tribal ID cards. Freedmen make up roughly one-eighth of the Seminole Nation’s nearly 20,000 citizens and are counted in the tribal census — which the federal government used to allocate over $16 million in CARES Act funds to the tribe.

The distinction between a “Native American” and a “Freedman” relies on what Freedmen call a racist and outdated ideology of “citizenship by blood.” All Seminole Freedmen receive tribal ID cards that read “Freedman citizen, 0/0 Indian blood” on the front and “Voting benefits only” on the back. Other tribal citizens receive cards that list their blood quantum (their fraction of “Indian blood”) with no restrictions. Documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that the Seminole tribe has used these ID cards to deny Freedmen access to COVID health and financial services.

Indigenous communities across the country have been hit hard by the pandemic, with Native Americans and Alaska Natives dying at more than twice the rate of white people in the US — higher than any other racial or ethnic group. But for Freedmen, decades of exclusion from their local tribal health services have left them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 — the same kind of disparities experienced in Black communities across the US.

In early March, shortly after BuzzFeed News began reporting this story, the Wewoka clinic changed its policy to offer vaccines to anyone over 18, regardless of tribal status. But the IHS allocates vaccines to the clinic based on the number of active patients — and since Freedmen are not eligible for any healthcare through the Seminole Nation, they were not included in the tallies determining how many vaccines the clinic receives, the agency confirmed to BuzzFeed News.

In response to questions about why Freedman citizens of the Seminole Nation were denied vaccines at the Wewoka clinic, the IHS said it was "coordinating closely with tribes and the state of Oklahoma to ensure that vaccines reach Indian Country as quickly and equitably as possible." Asked about Freedmen being excluded from services other than the vaccine, the IHS said it is “not involved in determining tribal enrollment of individual citizens."

The Seminole Nation did not respond to multiple requests for comment from BuzzFeed News.

Osborne-Sampson and other Freedmen leaders have been fighting for full rights from and recognition by their tribal governments for decades. Now, they say, the stakes are even higher.

Part of what I get from the above is that as far as Native Americans go, here we are in the 21st century and we're still using the one drop rule.  George Wallace would be so proud.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

What A Difference A Year Makes

Friday, March 13th, 2020, was the last day classes with students were held at my school.  Monday, March 16th--one year ago today--was the first school day without them.  Here's what we were looking at a year ago:

Health officials take for granted that COVID-19 will continue to infect millions of people around the world over the coming weeks and months. However, as the outbreak in Italy shows, the rate at which a population becomes infected makes all the difference in whether there are enough hospital beds (and doctors, and resources) to treat the sick. 

In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus' spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time is known as "flattening the curve." It explains why so many countries are implementing "social distancing" guidelines — including a "shelter in place" order that affects 6.7 million people in Northern California, even though COVID-19 outbreaks there might not yet seem severe.

Here's what you need to know about the curve, and why we want to flatten it...

As there is currently no vaccine or specific medication to treat COVID-19, and because testing is so limited in the U.S., the only way to flatten the curve is through collective action. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all Americans wash their hands frequently, self-isolate when they're sick or suspect they might be, and start "social distancing" (essentially, avoiding other people whenever possible) right away. 

To comply, many states have temporarily closed public schools, and many businesses have advised employees to work from home if possible. On March 15, the CDC advised that all events of 50 people or more should be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks. On Monday (March 16), six counties in the Bay Area — encompassing some 6.7 million people — gave "shelter in place" orders, meaning that people should not leave their house except to get essentials like food or medicine...

So, does flattening the curve work?

It did in 1918, when a strain of influenza known as the Spanish flu caused a global pandemic.

Here we are a year later, and today we were notified that next week, some students will return to campus for part-time instruction.  That is the so-called hybrid model, where I have to teach each of my five classes twice--once in the morning for in-person students, and once in the afternoon for distance students.  Hybrid combines the worst of in-school learning and distance learning into one, easy-to-despise plan!  To be honest, I'd rather continue in distance learning than switch to this hybrid, but as a colleague pointed out today, perhaps this hybrid is good--because it gets us closer to real school, and if we don't do it, we might not even have real school starting in August.  So there's that.

A year ago, I was fully behind the effort to "flatten the curve".  I would not have believed then, and can scarcely believe now, that a year later we're still closing schools and businesses, forcing people to wear masks, and pretending that all this is making us safer.  Is it kabuki theater, or a cargo cult?  We've gone from spreading out infections so that hospitals can handle the load to living in terror until every last 'rona virus is eradicated from the planet.

Talk about bizarro world.

Monday, March 15, 2021



Update, 3/17/21:  "Follow the science":

What “follow the science” has amounted to, ultimately, is a shifting of agency for decision-making onto scientific and bureaucratic bodies like the CDC and the WHO, while obscuring the fact that the decisions to be made remain fundamentally political. Whether schools or restaurants should be forced to close is not simply a question of epidemiology, but of politics, economics, and ethics. In the best case, scientific bodies can inform or suggest policy by supplying data and knowledge that politicians don’t typically possess, but government is in no way beholden to these suggestions. Even when government simply delegates decisions to scientists, the power to make the decisions still resides with elected leaders. The WHO may offer bad policy advice — say, against wearing masks or against imposing travel restrictions as a novel virus begins to spread around the world — but politicians still remain responsible for how they respond to this guidance.

The “science” that politicians have claimed to follow rarely resembles the centuries-old process of making informed guesses, testing hypotheses, assembling data, and asking new questions in an effort to teeter toward the truth. It is rather a void at the center of technocratic politics into which leaders cast their responsibility.

Still Alive After The Second Dose

I've heard stories about people feeling on death's doorstep after their second 'rona shot; my student teacher came in one day last week and looked so bad that I asked him if he had the 'rona rather than the shot!

I got my second shot yesterday, and last night took some NyQuil before bed.  I was all ready for DayQuil this morning but didn't need it, I feel fine.  My arm is a bit more sore than it was after the first shot, but that's nothing to whine about.

It's more likely that I'll die in a traffic accident on my way camping than to die from the 'rona, but I'm ready to go camping--and spring break is coming up fast!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Vul-Con Is Cancelled For The Second Year In A Row

Five years ago I went to the "Star Trek Capital of Canada", the town of Vulcan, Alberta, for their Star Trek Convention known as Vul-Con.  What fun it was, especially given that it was Star Trek's 50th anniversary!  I had hoped to go again last summer, but Vul-Con was cancelled due to the 'rona.  I had hopes of going this summer, but alas, that is not to be:

Council also decided Dec. 14 to cancel the 2021 Vul-Con convention.

Administration suggested that because, with the off-season closure of the tourism centre, the Town won’t have anybody to organize the summer event, said Fath.

Council has also discussed the “significant impact” of Vul-Con on the Town’s budget, Fath noted.

“It was about a $35,000 investment,” he said.

Coun. Lorna Armstrong said hosting Vul-Con is something council could look at in the future...

After deciding to open the Trek Station seasonally and cancel the 2021 Vul-Con event, council then decided to dissolve and wind up the Vulcan Tourism Committee. Council also directed administration to send letters of appreciation to committee members.

This is truly a disappointment, and I'm sure it's a serious blow to the businesses in this tiny prairie town.

I look forward to planning my trip to Vul-Con 2022.

6' of Distance Is Unnecessary In Schools

So are masks, really, but whatever:

Dr. Anthony Fauci backed a new study that recommends reducing coronavirus-related physical distancing guidelines for in-person learning from six-feet to three in the classroom. 

The Biden medical adviser was asked about a new Massachusetts study that found "no significant difference in coronavirus spreading" between 6 feet of physical distancing versus a reduced 3 feet in a Sunday appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Does this study suggest to you that three feet is good enough?" CNN host Jake Tapper asked.

"It does indeed," Fauci said, explaining that the "CDC is very well aware that data are accumulating making it look more like 3 feet are okay under certain circumstances."

The 6 feet standard has become one of the largest hurdles schools face as they look toward reopening in accordance with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) health and safety guidelines.

Fox News confirmed last week that the CDC would "soon" ease its physical distancing guidelines for in-person learning after reportedly misinterpreting data on safe distancing in the classroom.

Some teachers at my school will have to move to different locations (theater, performing arts center, library, etc) because their classrooms aren't big enough to allow for 6' of distancing for the students who've said they're going to return to in-person school--which we've heard will happen as early as next week.  Switch to a 3' rule and things will go much more smoothly, and our administrators can spend their time doing things more important than carrying tape measures around.

2nd Dose

In order to "get my steps in" I walked 3 miles to get my 2nd vaccine dose today.  It was nice out, and I was a little warm when I got there.  They hit me with the thermometer and for a moment I was concerned they wouldn't let me in!  When I explained that I'd walked there in the sunshine, they measured again and let me in.

My arm didn't get sore until the day after the first dose, the soreness was almost immediate with this one.  I've read that the 2nd dose often doesn't go as smoothly as the first, so I'm prepared to take some DayQuil to get me through work tomorrow.

And yes, I know that I won't be completely 'rona-safe for two weeks, but as a friend pointed out to me, my chances of dying from the 'rona have now gone from next to zero down to zero!

My sister told me today that it looks like her trip to Iceland is on, as they're accepting tourists who have been vaccinated!  I also read that Greece is opening up to tourism this summer, but I haven't read yet that Americans will be allowed (you know, that whole Schengen issue).  Perhaps Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete are calling my name.  What'cha gonna do, Canada?

Update:  I guess I have my answer about Canada--rather, the part of Canada I'm concerned about.

Why Do People Continue To Believe These Scare Stories?

“[M]ost of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years,” the fake New York Times told the world 25 years ago, all the way back in 1995.

Fact check: It’s 2021 and America’s East Coast beaches are doing just fine!

Here’s the relevant portion from the original Times’ article:

A continuing rise in average global sea level, which is likely to amount to more than a foot and a half by the year 2100. This, say the scientists, would inundate parts of many heavily populated river deltas and the cities on them, making them uninhabitable, and would destroy many beaches around the world. At the most likely rate of rise, some experts say, most of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years. They are already disappearing at an average of 2 to 3 feet a year.

The date of the article is September 18, 1995. The headline reads, “Scientists Say Earth’s Warming Could Set Off Wide Disruptions.”

So here we are 25 full years later, a whole quarter of a century later, and the first prediction from these unnamed “experts” has not even come close to occurring, so why should we believe the dire predictions about the year 2100?

We shouldn’t.

Here’s something else that didn’t happen…


This is why the priests of the Church of Global Warming now make prophesies for the end of the century, when no one from today will be alive to point things like this out. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Looks Like Some Students Will Be Coming Back To School Part-Time

Combining the worse of regular school and distance teaching, my district's "hybrid model" is set to be implemented on Monday, March 23rd, if this headline from the major Sacramento newspaper is to be believed:

Sacramento will move into COVID-19 red tier on Wednesday, state officials say

Some students will return to school part-time after we've been in the "red tier" for 5 days--which would be Wednesday-Sunday.  Thus, Monday, March 23rd, looks like the day.

My prediction:  no one will die.

Thursday, March 11, 2021


Teachers in my district can still work from home.  I've gone into school just about every work day this school year--I like that dividing line between my home life and my work life.  There are maybe 10 of us who have gone in to work just about every day.

We anticipate that soon our district will return to in-person classes in a stupid, ridiculous, only-a-bureaucracy-could-come-up-with-an-idea-so-bad part-time hybrid model.  In anticipation, all of our classified employees, as well as our administrators, have returned to school full time.

One of our vice principals had the great idea to have a lunchtime barbecue for the classified staff, one of whom asked about the teachers who have been at work every day--so then we were invited, and asked perhaps to bring a side dish.

Another bachelor and I didn't bring anything.  So just before lunch we headed up to the 99 Cent Store and bought several liters of soft drinks, some cookies, and cups.  We did not show up to the barbecue empty-handed!  And those cheeseburgers were mmm-mmm-good.

There were plenty of cookies and plenty of soft drinks left over, so we took them to "our" staff lounge (there are 3 on our spread-out campus) and put them in the frig.  We can't eat in the staff lounge anymore--it's a potential superspreader area!--so we gather in my classroom and eat.  After lunch today most of the cookies were gone, but we have soft drinks to last us the next several days.

I enjoy the camaraderie of our side of the campus.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Meeting Questions

I just got out of a meeting in which we were given more information about our upcoming partial-reopening of school using a hybrid model.  There were some, uh, interesting questions asked at the meeting.  I'm going to exaggerate some of those questions, but not by much:

What if there's radioactive fallout from a nuclear weapon, would I have to keep my classroom doors closed or could I keep them open for 'rona ventilation?

What if a student is peeing and some splashes up on their mask, do we have spares we can give them?  Would they have to wear the pee-mask back to the classroom?

I have my desks spaced 6' apart.  If a kid leans over, thus reducing the distance to another student to less than 6', can we all go home until the entire county is revaccinated?

If a student refuses to keep their mask over their mouth and nose, can I beat them to a bloody pulp?

The meeting took about an hour and a half.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Student Speech Off-Campus

I have long been a believer in the concept that what students say and do, away from school and not at school activities, is not a legitimate concern for school officials.  Sure, students may say things that might become issues at school, but I'm not convinced that that's sufficient reason to violate a student's First Amendment rights.  (My school administration and I have disagreed on this.)  I have no doubt you could create a scenario wherein I might have to backtrack on this view, but for the vast majority of cases, schools should focus on what students do at school (and at school activities).

How about this case?

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments later this term in a case that pits free speech advocates against public school officials who seek to punish students for certain off-campus social media posts. Last week, the Biden Justice Department entered the fray with an amicus brief that opposes the free speech side.

The case is Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. In 2017, a high school freshman and junior varsity cheerleading team member took to the social media site Snapchat in order to complain about her failure to make the varsity cheerleading squad. The student—known by the initials B.L. in court filings because she is a minor—posted a picture of herself and one of her friends with their middle fingers raised accompanied by the text "fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything." She was suspended from the team as a result of that post.

B.L. and her parents, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, are now battling the school in court. They argue that the First Amendment flatly prevents school officials from punishing students for such entirely off-campus speech. "In a weekend comment in an evanescent Snapchat message," B.L.'s legal team argued in a court filing, "B.L. swore in expressing her disappointment at not making the varsity team to her friends. The notion that a school can discipline a student for that kind of spontaneous, non-threatening, non-harassing expression is contrary to our First Amendment tradition, and finds no support in [the Supreme Court's] student speech cases."

The 3rd Circuit ruled in BL's favor.  Enter the current administration:

According to the Biden Justice Department, while some off-campus speech deserves constitutional protection, the 3rd Circuit went too far, unfairly hamstringing school officials, who, the government maintained, require significant leeway when it comes to regulating and punishing student speech. "When the student's off-campus speech targets an extracurricular athletic program in which the student participates," the brief argued, "such speech might properly be regarded as school speech that is potentially subject to discipline by school officials if, for instance, it intentionally targets a feature that is essential to or inherent in the athletic program itself."

It doesn't surprise me that my views are at odds with those of the current administration.

That her parents opted to sue instead of having her write an apology letter to whomever for her public foul behavior and language tells me all I need to know about that family.  I wouldn't want a little whiner like her on my team.  However, she wasn't in her school uniform, she wasn't at a school function, she wasn't at school.  She was whining that she didn't (do well enough to) make the varsity team.  I don't see legitimate grounds for the school to penalize her.  

I also wonder if she'll get past cheer tryouts next year--might not be good enough to make the team.

Update, 3/14/21:  What is it about cheerleaders and their moms?  You'd think cheerleading is the most important thing on the planet:

A Pennsylvania woman is facing misdeameanor charges after allegedly sending "deep fake" naked photos and videos of her teenage daughter's cheerleader rivals in an effort to get them kicked off the team or convince them to kill themselves.

Lockdowns Were A Disaster

You might recall that a year ago, I supported "two weeks to flatten the curve".  I never in my darkest fears dreamed we'd still be having government diktats thrown at us a year later.  And while I have written several times (with data, not just invective) that masks haven't done any good, here's some information about lockdowns:

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, recently said that COVID-19 lockdowns are the "biggest public health mistake we've ever made...The harm to people is catastrophic."

Several U.S. states have started to ease their COVID-19 restrictions over the past few weeks.

Bhattacharya, who made the comments during an interview with the Daily Clout, co-authored the Great Barrington Declaration, a petition that calls for the end of COVID-19 lockdowns, claiming that they are "producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health."

As of Monday, the Great Barrington Declaration has received signatures from over 13,000 medical and public health scientists, more than 41,000 medical practitioners and at least 754,399 "concerned citizens."

During the interview last month, Bhattacharya said that the declaration comes from "two basic facts."

"One is that people who are older have a much higher risk from dying from COVID than people who are younger...and that's a really important fact because we know who his most vulnerable, it's people that are older. So the first plank of the Great Barrington Declaration: let's protect the vulnerable," Bhattacharya said. "The other idea is that the lockdowns themselves impose great harm on people. Lockdowns are not a natural normal way to live."

You think?

He continued, "it's also not very equal. People who are poor face much more hardship from the lockdowns than people who are rich."

Who could've imagined? 

I give Newsweek credit for publishing this article, which goes against their belief structure, but the comments on that article show that the only people reading Newsweek are lefties.

Let's not forget some actual data about lockdowns.

Update, 3/12/21Agreed.

TWO WEEKS WAS FINE, TWO MONTHS WAS CRAZY, A YEAR WAS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY: One Year Later, Vindication for Lockdown Skeptics. “The overwhelming majority of Americans last March acted in good faith to do what we were told was in the best interest of our country. That faith has been abused and squandered.”

What Could Explain This?

How much of this drop is caused by clean-burning natural gas, brought to us by fracking?

Yesterday, The United Nations released its Emissions Gap Report 2020, an annual assessment of contributions to greenhouse gas and carbon emissions. The report has some notable information amid an array of complicated projections that may or may not come true. It claims, for instance, that “despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise.” 

But for the United States, the real value in this report is as an advisory that it need not join the Paris Climate Accord. This report is evidence that, instead, the U.S. should just keep doing what it is doing to cut its own emissions. The U.S. is the most successful major country at mitigating its own pollution, and the U.N. shows this. 

According to the report, “the United States of America emits 13 per cent of global GHG emissions.” Comparatively, “China emits more than one-quarter of global GHG emissions.” The U.S. still contributes the most greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world, but, over the last decade, the country’s GHG emissions have been in decline (0.4 per cent per year).“ Greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the U.S. are dropping precipitously while those of China, India and Russia continue to rise. With the world’s most successful economy (over $21 trillion in 2019), it is not a surprise that the U.S. pollutes more per person, but the U.S. is making great strides in changing this. 

More electric cars will require more electricity.  Wind and solar are not reliable enough.  Anyone who wants to reduce so-called greenhouse gases and claims not to want to damage our standard of living, but who is against nuclear power, is not serious and should be ignored.

Developmental Model vs Attrition Model

I arrived at West Point on July 1st, 1983.  That same day, as I recall, my entire class of 1400+ new cadets was assembled in Eisenhower Hall and given "the talk":  "Look to your left, and look to your right.  One of the three of you won't be here 4 years from now."  In 1987 a dozen or so over 1000 of us graduated, meaning that over 400 had left in the interim.  It wasn't quite a third, but it was significant.

That's the Attrition Model--start with a large number of potential graduates, and weed out the ones who, for whatever reason, can't or won't make it.  That was the model West Point used for almost 200 years.

Some time after I left there was a paradigm shift.  I called it "Harvard Syndrome"--everyone who gets in is top notch and should graduate.  It's officially the Developmental Model--your admissions process gave you good people, develop and train them so that they graduate.  The catch is the assumption that everyone you let in is "good people", that they can or should graduate from the premiere military academy.

Back in the mid-80's, we knew the penalty for violating the Honor Code:  expulsion.  Yes, the Superintendent could exercise discretion and keep cadets that had been found guilty by an Honor Board, but that didn't happen often.  Expulsion was known as the "single sanction", and we didn't want to get anywhere near an Honor Board.

When I was a sophomore, one of my plebe year roommates was brought up on Honor charges.  In my heart I didn't think he was guilty--you have to have an intent to deceive to have lied, not just given an incorrect answer.  I testified at his Honor Board.  I was thankful when he was found not to have violated the Honor Code.

I spent the first semester of my junior year as an exchange cadet at the Air Force Academy.  When I returned to West Point in January, one of my classmates in my company was missing.  He had been found to have violated the Honor Code and he was gone.

I offer those two stories to show that the Honor System back then was serious, but not capricious.  We all knew the requirements of the Honor Code, we received training in different aspects of the Code, and we were expected to live up to its ideals.  To this day I strive to live up to those ideals.

The change from the Attrition Model to the Developmental Model included the Honor System, and West Point is worse off because of it:

Late last year, 73 cadets were accused of collaborating on a virtual calculus exam. More than 50 of the accused cadets admitted they cheated – but almost all of them will get a second chance. West Point enrolled them in a special program designed to rehabilitate students who violate the honor code.

Shortly after the scandal became public last year, four cadets resigned from the academy. Another eight could face tougher discipline.

West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams addressed the scandal at a March 2 congressional hearing. He defended the academy’s decision to allow most of the cadets to stay...

(Former head of the International Center for Academic Integrity David) Rettinger said rehabilitation seems in line with West Point’s mission – to instill the values of duty, honor and country.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean weeding people out who are imperfect, because we’re all imperfect,” Rettinger said. “That means taking the best cadets we can and turning them into the best officers they can be, which means teaching them. And if there’s no opportunity for redemption, what are we really teaching?”

But Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who chairs the Military Personnel Subcommittee, said cadets accepted into elite military academies should be held to a higher standard.

“I want to see accountability that frankly, I am very disappointed does not exist in the academies right now,” Speier said.

“When you have etched in the marble at West Point, ‘A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do,’ that should be crystal clear,” Speier said.

It's a pretty rare day when Jackie Speier and I agree on something, but in this case we do.

Monday, March 08, 2021

They Won't Give Up What "White" Physics Has Given Them, Though

These people are cuckoo birds:

Why physics?

Even more than other sciences, physics is a white male dominated field and, thus, a mirror of colonial patterns and social inequality. Despite this fact, physics is considered as hard” and objective science, disconnected from social life and geopolitical history. This narrative both constitutes and reproduces inequality, which is reflected by the underrepresentation of women, racialized people, and Indigenous peoples in physics.

Why light?

Light is ubiquitous in every language, society and culture. Light is the key element of common life defining familiar aspects like color and warmth. In physics, light is both regarded as primary carrier of information on nature (e.g. in astronomy) and exploited as primary probe for the fundamental properties of nature (e.g. in spectroscopy). Everybody knows light and every culture has knowledge about light. However, only the physical knowledge is regarded as scientific. We are interested in investigating how colonial scientific knowledge authority was and is still reproduced in the context of light.  

How to decolonize?

Decolonizing Light follows complementary approaches: We are engaging Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies for knowledge creation, we are studying colonial anchor points in the history of physics in the context of light, we are studying the views of scientists on colonialism, we’re investigating the discourse on contemporary largescale light experiments, we are training Indigenous and racialized students to do research in synchrotrons, and we are encouraging and training Indigenous and racialized students to follow research questions which are not defined by us but by themselves. 

I'm serious when I ask, how do people think this way?  And why would anyone take them seriously?

Stay-At-Home Orders

Do stay-at-home orders help reduce 'rona mortality?  A study published in Nature provides some data:


A recent mathematical model has suggested that staying at home did not play a dominant role in reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second wave of cases in Europe, in regions that were considered as COVID-19 controlled, may raise some concerns. Our objective was to assess the association between staying at home (%) and the reduction/increase in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in several regions in the world. In this ecological study, data from, and were combined. Countries with > 100 deaths and with a Healthcare Access and Quality Index of ≥ 67 were included. Data were preprocessed and analyzed using the difference between number of deaths/million between 2 regions and the difference between the percentage of staying at home. The analysis was performed using linear regression with special attention to residual analysis. After preprocessing the data, 87 regions around the world were included, yielding 3741 pairwise comparisons for linear regression analysis. Only 63 (1.6%) comparisons were significant. With our results, we were not able to explain if COVID-19 mortality is reduced by staying at home in ~ 98% of the comparisons after epidemiological weeks 9 to 34.

This is science, not science!

Do the Swiss Support Masks?

Switzerland requires 'rona masks:

In Switzerland it’s compulsory to wear a mask in many different places. The following general rule applies: wear a mask if you’re not at home and can’t distance from other people at all times. The mask should always cover your nose and mouth.

Swiss voters support ban on face coverings:

Switzerland has narrowly voted in favour of banning face coverings in public, including the burka or niqab worn by Muslim women.

Official results showed the measure had passed by 51.2% to 48.8% in Sunday's referendum.

One of my attacks on masks is that I'm not a Muslim woman.  Go figure.

The Normies Strike Back

Throwing their own BS back at them, and being humorous about it.  Dang, lefties gonna hate that!

This is how we've come to a point where most labels in mainstream culture are created by the politically-correct Left, whether it be "income equality," "social justice," "inclusion," "cultural appropriation," or "anti-racism."

But with their destruction of meaning, the Left's ideology that language (and reality) can be molded in whatever form you fancy is starting to backfire on them.

It turns out, when you say nothing is true, even your own statement becomes false.

And so, after years of waiting, the Right has begun to parody the Left by playing their own stupid game. This led to the creation of two terms this week that began trending: "Superstraight" and "Blue Anon."

The term "Superstraight" developed out of the increasing insistence that men must date trans women – which is a way of saying that biological men must date biological men who identify as a women – or else they are transphobic (I'm dead serious).

As a man, I am apparently hateful if I don't want to date, marry, and be intimate with another biological male. The argument is that men should want to date both biological women and biological-men-identifying-as-women because the two are one and the same!

In response, a bunch of people started identifying as "superstraight," or a person who is only attracted to those biologically born and still identifying as the opposite sex from their own biological sex, period. They even invented their own "LGBT" flag and colors...

The great thing is that you can add "super" to anything.

  • Don't like the hierarchies of Marxist oppression in intersectionality? Try super-intersectionality, where you respect everyone at the smallest identity group: the individual!
  • Are people telling you to be antiracist? Then say you identify as super-antiracist, where you believe all ethnic groups are equally capable of racism, and it's all bad!

The other term that broke through the cultural barrier was "Blue Anon," playing on the Left's habit of classifying anything they think is a conspiracy under the banner of "QAnon"...

These terms are obviously ridiculous, but that's the point. The absurdity of these worldviews has to be pointed out to keep us from taking this clown world seriously.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Racist Roots of Reform Math?

A week ago I received permission from the author to post the following here:

Two weeks ago, I posted a long comment on Jo Boaler's Youtube videos, but it was censored. At least the Youtuber censors viewed it! 
 But my reposts of milder versions did come out. You can find them in the comment section by sorting the newest ones up.
My full verson (censored ) is here:

Jo Boaler attended progressive schools and studied psychology and education in Britain. Many of her remarks suggest that she probably could barely solve a challenging algebra 2 question, but she likes to call herself a "mathematician." For example, Jo Boaler said she had never memorized her times tables; “It has never held me back, even though I work with maths every day.” That is possible only because she works with pretend math ( reform math ) every day.
She told a one-sided story in the opening of this talk. Her controversial Railside paper claims that a notoriously deficient textbook has resulted in a sharp improvement in students' math performance. This textbook is one of the ten inferior textbooks protested by 220 leading mathematicians and scientists in an open letter in the Washington Post in 1999 ( search AN OPEN LETTER TO UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, RICHARD RILEY ).
She accused two mathematicians of academic bullying. Let me share some info about the two mathematicians who question her Railside study: R.James Milgram was one of the four Stanford mathematicians who wrote the highly-regarded, internationally competitive 1997-2010 California math standards, which had guided the significant improvements in math performance by California students -- especially the disadvantaged students -- in this pre-Common Core era. As the only academic mathematician on the Common Core validation committee, he refused to sign off the very deficient and mediocre Common Core math standards in 2009. Wayne Bishop was mentor/teacher of Jaime Escalante, a legendary math teacher immortalized by a 1988 film, Stand and Deliver, and a 2016 Forever stamp. Escalante publicly honored Wayne Bishop in the premiere showing of Stand and Deliver.
"The current revolution in mathematics curriculum, akin to the Whole Language experiment, that emphasizes group discussion, essays, calculators and guessing and de-emphasizes basic skills and direct instruction." This definition of Whole Math/Fuzzy Math/Reform Math from the 1990s captures the essence of today’s reform math promoted by Jo Boaler. Jo Boaler's radical math revolution ideas include: 1). Ban times table tests. 2). Encourage finger counting, visual work, and storytelling -- Teachers should celebrate and encourage finger counting and use among learners of any age, including college students. 3). Arithmetic skills are outdated— Computational fluency is the one thing computers do and we don't need humans for. 4). Celebrate mistakes and no need to correct them 5). Timed tests impair the brain’s working memory and cause math anxiety, especially among girls. Math teachers need to stop frequent, timed testing, deemphasize speed, and replace grades with diagnostic feedback, group project, or self-assessment; 6). There should be more use of visual representations, manipulatives, and group work to solve open-ended, “rich” problems. Students are rewarded for asking good questions, rephrasing problems, explaining ideas, being logical, justifying methods, or bringing a different perspective to a problem. 7). Teachers and school leaders should consider eradicating homework to promote equity. 8). By moving algebra 1 into 9th grade, middle-school students will have time to do math with each other, discussing their learning, examining each other’s work, and building a deeper understanding of concepts. 9). Detracking, group work, and mixed-ability teaching-- Secondary schools should not separate their students into tracks until the end of 10th grade. Detracking and group work make more equitable classrooms. 10). Displacing Algebra 2 with Data Science. Calculus is a horrible and inequitable filter.
The reform math pandemic has plagued America and many other countries for decades. Stanford University's prestigious fame has facilitated Jo Boaler to spread her extremely misleading and harmful reform math ideas. In fact, her courses have had dismal enrollment at Stanford. Math reformists accuse real math as racist and elitist, defying the inconvenient truth that reform math is firmly rooted in racial and gender prejudices advanced by the pioneer progressive educators back in the 1920s. Math reformists craft pretend math, feel-good math to "help" disadvantaged kids based on their belief that women and minority students can't handle real math. Under adults' such glorious slogans as "equity and social justice in math education," vast kids, especially disadvantaged kids, are permanently deprived of their STEM career opportunities. For more information, please search "Jo Boaler's Reform Math Fallacy."
Every child is precious, and real math could be surprisingly easy if schools teach real math in the traditional approach starting early grades. But reform math dumbs down vast children day in and day out. This is a dark age of K-12 math education for America and many other countries. If you recognize the abysmally harmful reform math, please speak up.