Wednesday, June 30, 2021

I Don't Want To Teach While Wearing A Mask Anymore

Let's get this lawsuit rolling:

California does not want to stop controlling a person’s life. It’s like they do not want the COVID-19 outbreak to end.

The public schools will reopen for the 2021-2022 academic year with outdated guidelines. Those guidelines include masks, mandated quarantines, asymptomatic testing.

You know, the same guidelines schools that opened in the 2020-2021 academic year and proceeded without many incidents. (I might have some personal experience with that.)

But I digress.

A lot of California parents are ticked that the government is still dragging down their children. Northern California group Let Them Breathe wants to sue the government to stop them from implementing the guidelines.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


The trailer has been updated with a new awning and new propane tanks.  A lawn mower has been engaged, as has a house sitter.  The itinerary is planned.

I like to leave in the evening.  That way, I have all day to think, "ooh, I should pack that!" before actually taking off.  Also, I can drive for a few hours, pull into a rest area, get a few hours of shuteye, and then get back on the road early in the morning for the first real day of driving.

I won't be updating this blog daily but I'll do what I can, to include pictures when I get someplace interesting.

I should be home in a month.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Building Itself Is Racist?

These people are idiots:

The National Archives' task force on racism claimed in a little-noticed report to the U.S.’s top librarian that the Archives' own Rotunda – which houses the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights – is an example of "structural racism" and that the Founding Fathers and other White, historically impactful Americans are portrayed too positively.

Third Anniversary

Happy Mark Janus Day!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Customer Service (A Rant)

My first job after getting out of the army was as a "sales coordinator"; I processed orders, tracked them through our production process, and was the "inside sales" contact for my customers.  "If there's a problem, yo, I'll solve it" was pretty much the motto of my position.  If for some reason we were going to miss a shipping date for an order, I needed to know in advance so I could work with our customer.  Would this delay be acceptable?  If not, is there another order we could push out a little so that this one could be on time?  Was this a "do or die" order, and we just needed to work overtime in order to meet our commitment?

The customer may not always be right, but they're always the customer--and they are the ones who pay the bills.  We needed to make reasonable, and sometimes a little bit unreasonable, efforts to keep them satisfied, to honor our commitments.  I learned some very valuable lessons in this job.

First, communication is key.  If I notified customers in advance of a problem (e.g., we couldn't get the raw materials to make their parts on time), they were much easier to work with than if I had waited until the shipment date to notify them that we'd be late.  It would have been even worse if I didn't notify them at all, if their parts just hadn't shown up on time.

Second, if we were having problems meeting a shipping date, the customer didn't want to hear excuses, explanations, or justifications; they only wanted to hear what I was doing to work with them about fixing the problem.

I've always considered these two points to be what customer service is all about.  They're how I judge my interactions with companies.  And in the last two days I've been let down twice.

Almost 2 weeks ago I took my trailer to a shop--I need a new awning and want to replace my propane tanks.  I was told to bring my trailer in "first thing Friday (yesterday) morning" and they'd get the job done that day.  This is important because, this coming Tuesday, I'm leaving on a lengthy road trip.

I took my trailer to the shop near close-of-business on Thursday so they'd have it first thing Friday.  I wasn't expected.  An employee had to go check to see if the new awning they'd ordered for me had even come in, even though it was supposed to have been delivered no later than Wednesday.  Eventually they found the awning, but this didn't give me a warm fuzzy.  I left my trailer with them and was told I'd get a call tomorrow (Friday) when it was ready for pickup.

Knowing they close at 3:30, and not having received a call, I called them at 3:00 Friday.  They'd replaced the awning, but didn't understand what "propane tanks, lines, regulator" meant on the work order.  And since the person who wrote up the work order wasn't in yesterday, they just didn't do anything.  So my job wasn't done on time, I wasn't contacted in advance, I found out my trailer wasn't ready at about the time I should have been picking it up.  Oh, and they don't work weekends.

This is bad customer service.  After I explained what was needed, they promised I could pick it up before lunchtime on Monday.  You can bet I'll be calling at 9:30 or so Monday morning to make sure they're on the ball.

Next story.  I wear a special contact lens that reshapes my eye as I sleep.  I take it out in the morning and have 20/20 vision the next day.  Well, my current lens is about a year old and now I have 20/25 vision--time for a new lens.  Again, it was over a week ago when I got the ball rolling and had an eye appointment.  My doctor assured me that they'd get my new lens in this past week.

No call, no nothing, so I called the office this morning.  No, the lens hadn't come in, sorry.  Maybe it'll come in Monday.  Where's the follow-up?  Did anyone even call to see if that lens had shipped?  Do they just place an order and then consider the job done, they've done their part?  Where is the customer service?

I'm leaving on a trip on Tuesday.  If I don't have this new lens, my eye will be 20/25 for the next month.  As for the trailer, even if they get it to me Monday noon, I won't have the weekend to inspect and test their work.  I have to trust they did it well, and trust is in short supply at the moment.

That inside sales job taught me high standards for customer service, and these two experiences most certainly have not met my standards.

Update, 6/28/21:  I called the trailer repair shop this morning to make sure it would be done by noon.  When I called on Friday I asked them to ensure the new propane tanks were filled, since I wouldn't have the weekend to it myself.  I was assured this morning that I could pick it up at noon with everything complete.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Defund The Police

Good job, Democrats:

The number of homicides in six major cities across the country has increased compared to last year, disproportionately affecting black people, according to crime data.

Black people have represented a massive share of murder victims in six major cities through the first six months of 2021 compared to last year, which itself saw a large crime surge, according to data analyzed by The Daily Caller News Foundation...

Democratic leaders of most of the cities examined voted to greatly reduce police funding amid widespread Black Lives Matter protests last year. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck in May 2020, thousands of protests and riots took place across the country.

University of Missouri criminologist Richard Rosenfeld blamed the uptick in violence seen nationwide on the lack of trust between police and citizens, according to The New York Times.

 Read the whole thing.

Who Doesn't Harvard Screw?

Harvard specifically screws Asian applicants by requiring much more of them than any other group, and it screwed all of its students generally by charging its usual tuition but delivering less of a product:

A (Harvard graduate) federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by three Harvard graduate students in 2020 over the University’s refusal to partially refund tuition as classes moved online early in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The class action lawsuit alleged that Harvard acted unlawfully in shifting to virtual coursework without providing partial tuition and fee refunds for students’ lost on-campus experiences due to the Covid-19 crisis.

In Monday’s ruling, District Judge Indira Talwani ’82 granted the University’s motion to dismiss the suit, which argued that the plaintiffs failed to prove Harvard breached an express and implied contract with students...

In a memorandum filed in October, Harvard’s attorneys argued that the University “never made a promise, contractual or otherwise” to hold in-person instruction under all conditions.

Talwani wrote in Monday’s decision that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate Harvard students were contractually entitled to in-person instruction and on-campus access during “normal times,” and that even if they had, “Spring 2020 was not a normal time"...

Talwani noted Harvard also allowed students at the plaintiffs’ schools to decide between continuing classes remotely last spring or taking a leave of absence and receiving a partial tuition refund. Harvard additionally offered pro-rated refunds for room and board to students who had to vacate their campus housing.

Talwani also denied a partial reimbursement for Barkhordar’s fall 2020 semester tuition after he alleged the University gave him a “coercive choice” to either enroll online or take time off.

She concluded that in choosing to enroll last fall while aware instruction would be online, Barkhordar accepted the conditions of a virtual fall semester and could have “no reasonable expectation otherwise.”

While the students had no idea at the start of the 2019-20 school year that their school year would be cut short, they certainly knew what they (or their parents, or the taxpayers) were getting before the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.  If they were compelled to pay for student fees, though, for things they couldn't access like printing, sports, the gym, the student union, etc, well, Harvard got away with screwing them on that topic.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Pretty Darned Evil

Such clarity from an 8th grade girl:

Jolene Grover, the 8th Grade student who went viral this month after calling out the Loudoun County School board for its dangerous transgender policies and CRT indoctrination, was back again at the heated June 22 school board meeting. Once again, she scorched panel members...

Grover rejected the leftist school board’s promotion of gender ideology. “Calling girls bigots because they don't want to use a toilet in a stall next to a boy or get undressed next to a boy is cruel and wrong,” she said. 

“It is embarrassing enough for a girl to change a pad knowing all the other girls hear the crinkle of the packaging, but telling her that she must be okay doing it in the presence of boys because their preferred pronouns are “she/her.” She charged them directly, “How evil can you be?”

She concluded “Girls bathrooms do not exist to validate identities.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Despite My Misgivings About the Individual In Question, The Supreme Court Ruled Correctly

I've written previously about the bratty, foul-mouthed cheerleader who took to Snapchat to show that her maturity and vocabulary were as developed as her ability to make the varsity cheerleading squad--that is, not highly developed.  Read the first link to get caught up.

However, even though I don't have anything kind to say about the girl herself, she was right in that the school had no legitimate authority to penalize her for her Snapchat post--and the Supreme Court has thusly ruled 8-1:

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a former high school cheerleader who argued that she could not be punished by her public school for posting a profanity-laced caption on Snapchat when she was off school grounds.

The case involving a Pennsylvania teenager was closely watched to see how the court would handle the free speech rights of some 50 million public school children and the concerns of schools over off-campus and online speech that could amount to a disruption of the school's mission or rise to the level of bullying or threats.

The 8-1 majority opinion was penned by Justice Stephen Breyer.

"It might be tempting to dismiss (the student's) words as unworthy of the robust First Amendment protections discussed herein. But sometimes it is necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary," Breyer wrote. 
I have a long history on this blog of saying that, in most circumstances, schools have no business trying to regulate the conduct or speech of students off-campus and away from school functions.  The "creating a disruption at school" argument needs to be applied very narrowly, not loosely:

Student speech advocates will likely claim the ruling as a victory, although it was very narrow. The court ruled that while schools do maintain some interest in regulating students' off-campus speech, the factors in the case of the cheerleader, Brandi Levy, weighed against the school's actions. 

"[T]he school argues that it was trying to prevent disruption, if not within the classroom, then within the bounds of a school-sponsored extracurricular activity," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in an opinion that was joined by all of his colleagues but Justice Clarence Thomas, who dissented. 

"But we can find no evidence in the record of the sort of ‘substantial disruption’ of a school activity or a threatened harm to the rights of others that might justify the school’s action," Breyer continued...

"The school’s regulatory interests remain significant in some off-campus circumstances," it continued. "These include serious or severe bullying or harassment targeting particular individuals; threats aimed at teachers or other students; the failure to follow rules concerning lessons, the writing of papers, the use of computers, or participation in other online school activities; and breaches of school security devices, including material maintained within school computers."

But nevertheless, the school could not discipline Levy, the court said, because her speech in this instance was not disruptive. 

Chalk up another point for the First Amendment and for restraining petty school administrators.

I wonder if young Brandi ever made the varsity cheerleading team....

Update, 6/27/21A reasonable view:

While all the justices but Thomas joined Breyer’s opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote a concurring opinion that Justice Neil Gorsuch joined.

Alito’s opinion repeatedly inveighed against granting schools permission to impose a “heckler’s veto,” by invoking the hurt feelings of other students to justify punishing speech on or off campus.

“Speech cannot be suppressed just because it expresses thoughts or sentiments that others find upsetting,” Alito wrote.

Monday, June 21, 2021

They Really Do Want To Punish Successful Students

This time it's not California and its math framework, it's Vancouver, BC:

The Vancouver School Board in British Columbia, Canada, is eliminating honors courses as part of a push to foster inclusivity and equity in the classroom.

The board had previously eliminated the high school honors English program, and math and science will now get the ax as well.

"By phasing out these courses, all students will have access to an inclusive model of education, and all students will be able to participate in the curriculum fulsomely," said the school board in a statement, according to the CBC.

This is a spectacularly frank declaration: Education officials don't like that some higher-achieving students are sorted into environments where they are more likely to succeed than their less-gifted peers, and would prefer to keep everyone officially at the same level to the greatest extent possible. The plan closely mirrors California's recent efforts to discourage students who are proficient at math from taking calculus any earlier than their classmates; Canadian educators seem no less excited than their U.S. counterparts about naively pursuing equality of outcome at all costs.

Excellence is the target here.

College Athletes

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA and in favor of student athlete compensation:

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) violated the rights of student athletes by restraining their compensation. Specifically, the NCAA violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by unduly restraining colleges from compensating student athletes.

The NCAA rules “depress compensation for at least some student-athletes below what a competitive market would yield,” thus violating their rights under the Sherman Antitrust Act, the syllabus for NCAA v. Alston (2021) explained...

The Supreme Court’s decision is indeed historic, but Kavanaugh is correct: It does not go nearly far enough. If the NCAA has violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, then it should not just have to allow colleges to offer more education-related benefits to student athletes — it should have to allow colleges to pay their money-making sports stars.

I envision that, if taken to its logical end, I as a taxpayer will be funding not only the "education" but also the remuneration of college athletes.   That would be a bizarre outcome.

So-called Anti-Racist Education

It's neither anti-racist nor education.  Rather, it's racist indoctrination:

There’s a tragic bait-and-switch at work. Americans who care passionately about equality and justice have been dragooned into advancing an incoherent, illiberal agenda. Aspiring anti-racists are mounting a misguided assault on the very mores and habits of mind that undergird liberty, equality, and healthy communities.

Reasonable readers may regard such assertions with skepticism. How can “anti-racist” education be anything but healthy? After all, it’s self-evident that we want students to reject racism. The simple answer is that the doctrine of “anti-racism” doesn’t offer what’s promised on the tin.

The label “anti-racism” is wildly deceiving — a crude bit of rhetorical flim-flammery, akin to when Jim Crow Southerners rechristened the American Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression.” No, a more fitting sobriquet for the movement that marches under the banner of “anti-racist education” is “anti-educational authoritarianism.” This is a strong statement, but one we believe we can support...

It’s easy to appreciate anti-racist education’s eager reception. Calls to reject racism, promote equality, and expand opportunity transcend ideological divides and resonate with Americans of all stripes. If there’s anything that should help bind together a fractured nation, it’s extending justice and providing opportunity to all of America’s youth. After all, what focused the nation’s concern in the first place  was the fact that most Americans believe the police killing of George Floyd or the murder of Ahmaud Arbery to be part of a long line of tragedies with too many antecedents.

We should address America’s troubled legacy on race and the inequities of state violence. And schools and colleges obviously have a crucial role to play in helping students make sense of these thorny issues. Yet, for all this, much of what passes for anti-racist education is a poisonous exercise in caricature and rank bigotry, with troubling consequences for prosaic educational activities like teacher training, grading, and research.

Take, for instance, the anti-racist materials that schools are using to train their K-12 teachers. The materials used by the Denver Public Schools teach educators that “the belief that there is such a thing as being objective,” distinguishing between “good/bad” and “right/wrong,” and valuing an “emphasis on being polite” are all distinctive characteristics of white culture. The same is true of the “individualist” mindset that “if something is going to get done right, I have to do it.” In Loudoun County, Virginia, one of the nation’s wealthiest counties, the Dismantling Racism Workbook used to train teachers this summer highlighted “15 Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture,” including a weird admixture of positive and negative stereotypes, including “perfectionism,” “progress is bigger, more,” “right to comfort,” and “defensiveness.”

Anti-racists also want to end traditional grading practices, which they deem “profoundly discriminatory.” Cornelius Minor, a leading “Grading Equity Advocate,” is an author and speaker who has worked with Columbia Teachers College and the International Literacy Association. He seeks to dismantle “pernicious” grading practices, such as teachers reserving A’s for students who demonstrate understanding of the subject matter. This, he explains, is because one “cannot separate grading practices” from “the history of classism, sexism, racism, and ableism in the United States.” To Minor, a teacher’s inability to perceive a student’s knowledge is evidence of the teacher’s racism, not the student’s ignorance. While Minor is fuzzy regarding the remedies, he is sure that teachers must abandon problematic ideologies such as expecting that students “should know” things.

When it comes to facilitating tough discussions about race, a favored practice among anti-racist educators is, ironically, to sort students and staff by race. These “affinity groups” typically involve one group for black participants, a second for “non-black people of color,” and a third for white participants. Such racially determined groupings are regularly utilized at universities, by Teach For America, and even in high schools. Without a hint of irony, Teach For America makes this exercise in apartheid part of its “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” training for new teachers. Absent is any acknowledgment by these self-avowed anti-racists that they’re resurrecting practices that would’ve been applauded in the Jim Crow south.

As for higher education, by now it’s all too plain that colleges and universities are willing to let ideological zealots squelch free inquiry...

Of course, read the whole thing.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Critical Race Theory

I've heard critical race theory described as a religion, complete with original (white) sin but without grace:

Critical race theory proponents, who have infiltrated nearly every aspect of our culture, would say that no one could blame Baucham if he’d ended up jobless, homeless, or in prison. The movement—which sorts all humans according to their immutable characteristics and ranks them in hierarchies of oppression or victimhood—would claim that Baucham was born a victim simply by virtue of his skin color.

Instead, he became a standout Division I football player and went on to earn a pile of degrees that space does not permit me to list. He’s written scores of books, pastored a church, and is currently dean of the School of Divinity at African Christian University in Zambia. His new book, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe  (Salem/Regnery), is not only a repudiation of Marxist critical justice theory, but also a warning to the church about the growing divide between two Christian camps: one that relies wholly on scripture as a source of truth, and a second that relies on a dangerous, unbiblical ideology—one that Baucham calls a cult (more on that in a moment).

Baucham defines and explains critical justice theory—a broader term that encompasses more than just race—by prodigiously citing the writings of its proponents, using an earthquake as a metaphor for the “seismic shifts in the evangelical landscape,” a fault line, if you will. From the very first chapter of this excellent book—a must-read for anyone who wants to understand critical justice theory—Baucham insists that ethnic tensions are not the problem, nor are political divisions. Rather, the problem is social justice versus biblical justice, the former being “incompatible with biblical Christianity"...

“My heart is broken as I watch movements and ideologies against which I have fought and warned for decades become entrenched at the highest and most respected levels of evangelicalism,” he adds. “I want this book to be a clarion call. I want to unmask the ideology of Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality in hopes that those who have imbibed can have the blinders removed from their eyes, and those who have bowed in the face of it can stand up, take courage, and ‘contend for the faith that was once for all delivered fo the saints’ (Jude 3).”

Christians must “identify, resist, and repudiate” these dangerous ideas. “We cannot be held hostage through emotional blackmail and name-calling.” Instead, the church should heed Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human traditions, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ"...

Baucham calls CSJ (critical social justice) a “new religion” with “many of the hallmarks of a cult.” Several years ago he coined the term “ethnic gnosticism,” which he defines as “the idea that people have special knowledge based solely on their ethnicity,” which results in a “single black perspective,” the notion that white people cannot “see” without black voices, and the belief that “narrative” trumps truth.

The Bible, insists Baucham, flies in the face of ethnic gnosticism: “The very idea of dividing people by ethnicity, then declaring some of them wicked oppressors and others the oppressed, is inconsistent with the biblical doctrine of universal guilt” described in Romans 3: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Sin “is not the state of white men; it is the state of all men,” Baucham says. Ultimately, the current CSJ movement is a “covert attack on the sufficiency of Scripture"...

“I oppose BLM and have refused to even say the phrase. Moreover, I think the movement (and by extension the phrase) is a Trojan horse that poses a clear threat to the witness of the Church… The movement has a name that Christians find attractive because we love God and our neighbor and have a desire to see justice done. And for some, that has come to mean embracing the false narrative of ‘state-sponsored terror against black and brown bodies' "...

“One of the biggest problems with antiracism is the fact that it is law-based. It condemns based on melanin, and although it constantly uses the words, it holds out no hope of salvation, restoration, or reconciliation. Because antiracism is law-based, its ultimate end is changing and establishing laws, then enforcing those laws authoritatively.”

Antiracism “is powerless against racism,” he insists. “It is Christ and Christ alone, ‘who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14),” he says. “This doesn’t mean that black and white Christians won’t offend or sin against each other. It also doesn’t mean that the sin of racism will not raise its ugly head in the broader culture, or even in the Church. What it does mean is that we have an answer"...

“The most powerful weapon in our arsenal is not calling for reparations: it is forgiveness. Antiracism knows nothing of forgiveness because it knows nothing of the Gospel. Instead, antiracism offers endless penance, judgment, and fear.” Baucham urges Christians to “love your brothers and sisters enough to contend with them and for them.”

The article is so good that I just keep excerpting and excerpting.  Read the whole thing

Update, 6/19/21:  Here's an 18-minute history and summary of critical race theory.  Arm yourself with this knowledge.

University of Arizona and West Point, Two Very Different School Responses to Unvaccinated Students

Actually, the schools' responses are similar, but the end result isn't.  First, Arizona:

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey shot down a forced vaccination policy for students at Arizona State University, leaving the school with egg on its face. forcing students to vaccinate 

The latest version of the University COVID policy was published on June 14 and said in part:

Once vaccinated, students should upload proof of vaccination to their ASU Health Portal. ASU will accept all COVID-19 vaccines that are approved by the World Health Organization or a national regulatory agency. Students who are unable to be vaccinated for any reason or who do not agree to share their vaccination status will be required to participate in ongoing COVID-19 health management protocols.

Unvaccinated students or those who do not share their status will be required to:

√ Submit a daily health check.

√ Participate in up to twice weekly COVID-19 testing.

√ Wear face covers in all indoor and outdoor spaces on ASU campuses.

Fully vaccinated students who consent to share their status will not be required to:

√ Submit a daily health check.

√ Participate in COVID-19 testing.

√ Wear face coverings indoors or outdoors, unless otherwise directed.

Any student may continue to wear face covers if they wish, and everyone is encouraged to wear face covers in crowded areas and venues.

It took only one day for Gov. Ducey to say, not so fast, buckaroo.

Ducey notified constituents on Twitter that the university would not be allowed to force all students to take the coronavirus vaccination. In one tweet, Ducey said that vaccines are a “choice — not a requirement.” He then followed that up, citing the executive order on the vaccine that he had just issued.

“Under the Executive Order, students cannot be mandated to take the COVID-19 vaccine or submit COVID-19 vaccination documents. Students also cannot be mandated to be tested or wear masks in order to participate in learning,” Ducey tweeted.

Now let's go to the other side of the country, where my Alma Mater is teaching cadets how to harass those who don't toe the vaccine party line:

The push for coronavirus vaccinations at the U.S. Military Academy began once the first shots became available back in January – but even as the inoculation rate rises and deaths and new cases both fall, the families of unvaccinated cadets say they are facing increasing pressure, coercion, and even threats to get the jab.

West Point does not have a vaccine mandate, nor does the military as a whole.

Still, there are only about three dozen unvaccinated cadets at West Point, which accommodates more than 4,500 students.

The unvaccinated few, many of whom say they have gained natural immunity from catching the virus earlier, face stricter quarantines and other restrictions now than at the height of the pandemic, according to multiple sources. The new limits include a seven-day quarantine for unvaccinated cadets in the break before summer training. That requirement took a full week away from their time off.

I don't understand this anti-vaxxing business, but if there's no requirement for the vaccine (e.g., in my day we were required to get flu shots each year), these cadets should not be harassed for choosing not to get a vaccine.  This is just poor leadership, and it reminds me of what happened in the days after mandatory chapel was ruled unconstitutional in 1972.  Cadets who didn't "voluntarily" go to chapel were sometimes harassed with room inspections and such, which would always result in demerits and/or punishment tours.  These actions, obviously designed to get around the court ruling, were also soon ruled impermissible, and Sunday mornings became "personal time" for those not on duty.

Using military authority to enforce a personal opinion was poor leadership then and it's poor leadership now.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Have We Reached "Peak Woke" Yet?

There are some who say that we have:

For the past year, liberals unleashed on the nation an avalanche of ideological nonsense, coupled with brutal pressure to conform. Those who bucked the party line found themselves canceled and unpersoned and had their opinions subjected to mockery and claims of delusion and “anti-science” prejudices.

Until now. Because the tide is turning. And sometimes the break from the party line comes from surprising places. 

Late-night comics are usually reliable parroters of the message of the day. So it says something that last week, Bill Maher launched an impassioned critique of “woke” culture, while this week, Jon Stewart went on Stephen Colbert’s show to say in no uncertain terms that it looks like the Wuhan coronavirus came from . . . the Wuhan lab.

Using a term from Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, Maher accused liberals of “progressophobia” — “a brain disorder that strikes liberals and makes them incapable of recognizing progress"...

It isn’t just late-night comics who are pushing back. It’s also local politicians and ordinary people. After a year of bullying, they’ve had enough.

The Marxist "critical race theory" is being challenged, too, and you can tell punches are being landed by who's screaming about it:

The opposition to Critical Race Theory, and most particularly its abusive implementation through race shaming and stoking racial tension, has been growing for a year or more.

CRT as a term burst onto the media landscape when ugly and abusive training session materials and accounts were leaked from campuses, government agencies, and corporations last year. The opposition is organic, but until the last few months has been disorganized. Relative to the CRT and BLM movements, embraced by corporate America to the tune of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, the opposition consists largely of parents who just aren’t going to take it anymore, and state legislators who jumped on a resistance train that already was moving down the tracks.

The best evidence that the resistance to CRT is gaining and posing a threat to Democrats is that the mainstream media is trying to marginalize and demonize the movement the way it attacked the Tea Party: Just a bunch of astroturfed racists. It wasn’t true then, and it’s not true now, but it’s the standard playbook.

As a sign of how well my school district is run, we're just getting started with so-called "ethnic studies" classes and CRT.  Day late and a dollar short--still showing up, though, and I blanch at how many dollars we're blowing on this divisive, racist policy.

When Even the BBC Doubts...

The only surprise here is that the BBC reports this:

Most people who start a new company job know the drill. In addition to meetings and an office tour, orientation day typically includes sitting through a session or clicking through a set of virtual slides – with a quiz to follow – on diversity and sensitivity training. 

Ubiquitous in large workplaces across the globe, these company-wide sessions are staples at Fortune 500 companies and smaller organisations alike. “They're everywhere,” says Pamela Newkirk, the New York-based author of the book Diversity, Inc: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business. “Every major company… every major institution whether it’s academia or fashion – that seems to be the go-to strategy for dealing with the lack of diversity.” 

This training is so widespread that it’s developed into a lucrative industry. Yet research indicates that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training does very little to affect change within a workplace

“On average, the typical all-hands-on-deck, ‘everybody has to have diversity training’ – that typical format in big companies doesn't have any positive effects on any historically underrepresented groups like black men or women, Hispanic men or women, Asian-American men or women or white women,” says Harvard University sociology professor and diversity researcher Frank Dobbin. 

Yet despite its inadequacy, diversity and sensitivity training remains pervasive in workplaces. Often, it endures as a way to maintain optics, legal protection and the veneer of progressive action. But leading experts advocate for ditching these ineffective sessions, arguing instead for other initiatives that they believe can actually incite real change in a company...

“Part of why it's so popular, is it's a relatively low-cost initiative,” adds Calvin Lai, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St Louis, US. “You kind of get what you pay for: low cost, low pay off.” 

Additionally, when employees feel like they’re being controlled, says Dobbin, organisational studies show they tend to react negatively. So, when diversity training is designated as mandatory – which Dobbin’s research found was the case at 80% of corporations in the US – employees can perceive these sessions as much less palatable than if they were voluntary...

Training may also endure in an effort to legally protect companies. Research shows that in American civil rights cases against employers, judges often look more favourably at companies that have diversity training programmes and anti-discrimination manuals. “Because the courts are more sympathetic to just the existence of a diversity apparatus and they don’t really pay attention to the efficacy of that apparatus and whether or not it actually fosters change, companies do it as a way of protecting themselves,” says Newkirk. 

Theater.  There's so much we do anymore just to do it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Making Moral Judgements

How we make judgements, and what are the bases of our morality, are the subjects of Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind:  Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion.  I couldn't help but be reminded of the lessons in that book as I read this article:

Researchers studying how we make moral judgements found that people more concerned about catching COVID-19 were more disapproving of the wrong-doings of others, whatever they were doing wrong.

The researchers say their findings are evidence that our morality is shaped by various emotions and intuitions, of which concerns about health and safety are prominent. This means that our judgements of wrongdoing are not completely rational.

The study, published today in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, did not focus on behaviors relating to the pandemic itself—such as —but considered a wide range of moral transgressions.

Between March and May 2020, over 900 study participants in the U.S. were presented with a series of scenarios and asked to rate them on a scale from 'not at all wrong' to 'extremely wrong'. This enabled the researchers to measure participants' responses across five key moral principles: harm, fairness, in-group loyalty, deference to authority, and purity.

Example scenarios include one of loyalty: 'You see a man leaving his to go work for their main competitor'; and one of fairness: 'You see a tenant bribing a landlord to be the first to get their apartment repainted.'

People who were more worried about catching COVID-19 judged the behaviors in these scenarios to be more wrong than those who were less worried.

"There is no rational reason to be more judgemental of others because you are worrying about getting sick during the pandemic," said Professor Simone Schnall in the University of Cambridge's Department of Psychology, senior author of the report.

She added: "These influences on judgements happen outside of our . If we feel that our wellbeing is threatened by the coronavirus, we are also likely to feel more threatened by other people's wrong-doing—it's an emotional link."

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Magna Carta Day

Have you ever wondered why British currency is the "pound"?

For about 500 years, starting in AD 790 under Anglo-Saxon King Offa, the silver penny was the only coin minted in England.  These were small, thin, hammered coins, and 240 of them weighed one pound.  Thus, a "pound" is 240 pence, and later the pound was subdivided into 20 shillings of 12 pence each (still 240 pence).  In 1971, Britain switched to a decimal coinage of 100 pence to the pound.  If you've heard the expression "pound sterling", it comes from the 92.5% "sterling silver" of the pennies.

A couple weeks ago at a coin show I purchased a silver penny from King John.  It's about the size of a US dime and is in XF40 (extra fine, with a numerical grade of 40) condition.  Here's an example of such a penny in a somewhat higher condition:


King John wasn't the most popular of English kings.  He was the king during the Robin Hood time frame, and was compelled by his barons to agree to the Magna Carta.

Magna Carta is often taught as a precursor to the US Constitution, as it limited the rights of the English king.  However, as Wikipedia states:

First drafted by Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton to make peace between the unpopular king and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War

It was largely forgotten by Queen Elizabeth's time.

At the end of the 16th century, there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. They argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, and that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus. Although this historical account was badly flawed, jurists such as Sir Edward Coke used Magna Carta extensively in the early 17th century, arguing against the divine right of kings propounded by the Stuart monarchs. Both James I and his son Charles I attempted to suppress the discussion of Magna Carta, until the issue was curtailed by the English Civil War of the 1640s and the execution of Charles. The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until well into the 19th century. It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the United States Constitution, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States.[c] Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

So while Magna Carta would have limited the king's prerogatives, had it been complied with, it limited them only with respect to the barons; it had nothing to do with individual rights.  Those rights, as we understand them today, are actually the result of the English Enlightenment.  The myth of the Magna Carta as some sort of foundation of the rights of man is just that, a myth.

It is still, however, very interesting as history.  King John affixed his seal to Magna Carta in Runnymede Meadow, a few miles from Windsor Castle, on this date in AD 1215.

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Poor Kid

I grew up working class.

My parents were very young when I was born, 19 and 21, so they weren't yet in their prime earning years even when I graduated from high school.  I'm not saying I went without food or clothes or anything like that while growing up, but there were no luxuries.  Eating out didn't happen, but Hamburger Helper did.  To make sure there were plenty of presents under the tree at Christmas my dad would work a ton of overtime.  Vacations were very few and far between, and they were on the tightest of budgets.

Put simply, there wasn't spare money floating around the house.

I took my trailer up to Reno this weekend, and now I need a new awning.  And my propane tanks are old school, there are some places that can't even fill them!  So I took the trailer to a shop today to get measurements for the awning, and they've squeezed me into their work schedule at the end of next week since I'm leaving for about a month early the following week.  I know how much the awning will cost but didn't even get a quote on the tanks--I want them replaced, so they'll get replaced.

Tonight I started thinking about it.  What's this going to cost me?  A thousand dollars?  Do I really need to spend that?

I have the money.  What's the point of having money if it doesn't make your life better somehow?  It's not something to be hoarded, it's something to be shepherded so it's available when you want or need it.  Upgrading my trailer will make my summer road trip more enjoyable (awning) and less worrisome (propane), so I'm going to do it.  I recognize how good I have things financially, and I am thankful for the blessing of not having to worry about such a one-time expense.

I think part of me, though, will always be that poor working class kid who has a hard time parting with a dollar.

Is This Racism, Or Not?

I ask because I'm often told by rabid lefties that only white people can be racist, as racism requires some sort of "power imbalance" and no one but whites has any power in this country.

So again I ask, were these texts racist?

Two members of the Boston School Committee, the governing board of the Boston Public Schools, have resigned due to the revelation they had shared racially charged text messages...

At a meeting last fall, the former allegedly had messaged the latter “I hate WR” (West Roxbury), to which Rivera responded she was “sick of westie whites.”

Oliver-Davila replied “Me too I really feel Like saying that!!!!”

ABC News notes the texts were sent during deliberations over whether the city should drop an entrance exam requirement for certain schools.

“Best school committee meeting ever. I’m trying not to cry,” Oliver-Davila wrote. “Wait until the white racists start yelling at us,” Rivera texted back. “Whatever. They’re delusional,” responded Oliver-Davila.

Perhaps there's a difference between "racist" and "racially charged"?

Sunday, June 13, 2021

A Different World

Some friends and I took our trailers up to Reno for the weekend.  What a difference a 2-hour drive makes.

No masks.  Very little fear.  People were going about living their lives.  

Yes, most of the employees at the casino/RV park where we stayed wore masks, but no one talked about them.  No one asked others to wear them.  No signs mandated wearing them.  The vast majority of the guests didn't wear them.

And bodies were not stacked like cord wood.  Shocking, I know.

Two hours west, though, here in Capital City:

With one of the lowest COVID-19 case rates in the country, a 70+ percent adult vaccination rate, and widespread reopening set for June 15, the pandemic is finally on the wane in California. But Governor Gavin Newsom is still refusing to give up his “emergency powers.”

“California is set to end most coronavirus restrictions on June 15, but Gov. Gavin Newsom is not lifting the state of emergency,” local media outlet KCRA3 reports. “Newsom is keeping emergency powers given to him by a court in his back pocket ‘in case things go south.’”

"We're still in a state of emergency,” the governor said. “This disease has not been extinguished. It's not vanished, it's not taking the summer months off"...

But Newsom is setting a timeline on his “emergency” powers that could let him hold onto them for years or even the rest of his time in office. Insisting that the state of emergency can only lapse when the coronavirus is “extinguished” or “vanished” gives the governor license to cling on to his expanded powers essentially forever. 

It’s unlikely we’ll have zero coronavirus cases in the near future, but a few dozen infections in a population where almost all vulnerable people have been vaccinated does not an emergency make...

Critics are right, and we should all hope that Newsom’s tyrannical power grab isn’t allowed to stand. But the takeaway here is broader than any governor, state, or even the coronavirus. Time and time again, we see that “emergencies,” both real and manufactured, are used as cover for would-be tyrants in government who want to break the crucial restraints on their power that keep us free. 

‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded – and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed emergency powers to see to it that the emergency will persist,” Nobel-prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek famously wrote.  

So, don’t just look at what Newsom is doing in California right now with horror. Remember it next time an emergency comes around and your politicians promise that if you consent to their power grabs it will just be “temporary.”

Update, 6/16/21:  California is "fully re-opened" as of yesterday, except it's not:

Here are some of the exceptions, as reported by an NBC affiliate in California.

“As of June 15, California no longer requires physical distancing and allows full capacity for businesses. The state’s long-standing county tier system that determines restrictions has also been lifted, and the indoor mask mandate is no more,” KCRA 3 reported.

But here is some of the fine print:

  • Businesses can still require people — vaccinated or not vaccinated — to wear masks inside.
  • Fully vaccinated people still need to wear masks on public transit, including airplanes, buses, taxis and ride-shares.
  • Fully vaccinated people still need to wear masks indoors in K-12 schools, child care and other youth settings, health care settings including long-term care facilities, state and local correctional facilities and detention centers, and homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers.
  • Unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors at places like restaurants, movie theaters and grocery stores.
  • California says it will require vaccine verification or negative coronavirus test results for indoor events with more than 5,000 people and the same restrictions for “mega events” of more than 10,000 people.
  • Children 12 and younger who are not eligible for the coronavirus vaccine are like other unvaccinated people and must wear a mask indoors and in most public places.
  • Counties in California can set their own rules and some may be stricter than state rules.

KCRA also reported that Newsom is keeping emergency powers given to him by a court “in case things go south,” according to political analyst Steve Swatt.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Day 1

Tuesday we had 7th Period at my house.  My most recent batch of limoncello had recently been filtered and bottled, and guests brought enough food to feed a small third world country.  We at a lot of food and drank a lot of 126 proof limoncello.  I drank enough that people were surprised to see me at work, on time, yesterday :-)

I didn't have a headache, but my body felt like pudding.  I accomplished everything I had to, then came home and napped for 5 hours.  I stayed up till almost 2 am watching the first season and a half of Master of None on Netflix.

Today I have to fuel up, go shopping, and connect the trailer for tomorrow's camping trip departure.

It's Day 1 of summer vacation.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Lying About Race In Pursuit of Political Goals

About recent attacks on Asians:

If you have been following the news about such anti-Asian attacks in the United States over the past few months, you may have noticed that certain narratives have become prominent. The first—promoted by CNN, the Guardian, NPR, BBC, USA Today, the Cut, and NBC News, to name just a few representative examples—is that the attacks are related to COVID-19. And it is true that there has been a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic. In some cases, the attackers have even made explicit mention of the “Chinese virus,” or accused the victim of bringing the disease to the United States. In most cases, however, it is difficult to prove that any given attack is related to the pandemic.

A second theme has been the idea that Donald Trump is to blame for anti-Asian hate. Examples here include “‘No question’ Trump’s racist rhetoric fuelled anti-Asian hate, says White House” (the Independent), “Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ Tweet Helped Fuel Anti-Asian Hate On Twitter, Study Finds” (Forbes), and “U.S. outrage over Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric took a new turn this week after shootings at spas near Atlanta” (ABC News).

It certainly wasn’t helpful for the then-US president to describe COVID-19 as “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu,” especially when there are so many people who cannot seem to understand the distinction between the Chinese government and Asian Americans. There also seems to be a link between his expressions of bigotry and the appearance of copycat anti-Asian memes online. However, it was not until the beginning of 2021—nearly a year after the pandemic began, and a time when Trump was already out of office—when the surge in senseless attacks on Asian Americans began to be widely reported. The timing here is not consistent with the idea that Trump played a major role.

A third media narrative has been that anti-Asian violence is caused by white supremacy. At CNN, the headline was “White supremacy and hate are haunting Asian Americans.” At the State Press in Arizona, “Anti-Asian racism is a product of white supremacist norms that must be eliminated.” At the Conversation, “White supremacy is the root of all race-related violence in the US.”

Paradoxically, the backdrop to these articles is that in many cases—including every one of the examples I mentioned earlier in this essay—the suspects were found to be black. Explaining why black attacks on Asian victims is really the fault of white supremacy may seem difficult, but a surprisingly large number of writers and scholars have shown themselves eager to take up the challenge...

Instead, I’d like to point out the recent emergence of yet another narrative: Not only is white supremacy the root cause of all anti-Asian attacks, we are told, but the very mention of black assailants serves to bolster an illusory or harmful trope. Examples here include “Stop Blaming Black People for Anti-Asian Hate” (Newsweek), “Old tropes of Black-Asian conflict rear up after NY assault” (Chicago Tribune), and “Why the trope of Black-Asian conflict in the face of anti-Asian violence dismisses solidarity” (Brookings Institution).

On #StopAsianHate, a piece titled “The ‘Black-Asian Conflict’ Is a Problematic Trope—and It’s Time to End It” informs us that any anger directed at black assailants is a mask for “White establishment anxiety.” At Mic, Melissa Pandika argues that we should refrain from posting photos of suspects in anti-Asian hate crimes—but only if those suspects are black"...

My intention here is not to perpetuate stereotypes about black people. Crime is perpetrated by individuals, not whole races. Moreover, to the extent that black people are overrepresented as assailants in this (or any other) kind of crime, it’s useful to note that crime often is linked to poverty and disadvantage, which disproportionately afflict American black communities. But that said, it is intellectually dishonest to ignore or deny the identity of real crime suspects in the service of protecting a certain kind of ideological narrative.

"There are two kinds of racism, Mr. Escalante.  Singling out a group because they're members of a minority, and not singling out a group because they're members of a minority."  link  I guess there's a third kind--just lying about or ignoring issues of race because doing so fits your politics.

Critical Race Theory at West Point

I hope this ends well:

Republican Rep. Mike Waltz is demanding that U.S. Military Academy West Point stop teaching cadets critical race theory, calling the teachings "divisive," "destructive," and "unacceptable" for the future leaders of the U.S. military.

In a letter to West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, obtained by Fox News Wednesday, Waltz, R-Fla., questioned whether the institution intends to continue its teachings, while warning that the nation is "on incredibly perilous ground if any future leaders of our military are taught the the civilian institutions and structures with ultimate authority over them… are systemically oppressive and that they therefore have a duty to oppose them."

As Good A Reason As Any To Leave The Teachers Union

I’m no fan of the BDS movement, and even less a fan of institutional support for that movement.  But if it gets people to leave that crappy union, I guess I’ve found its silver lining:

A teacher at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has resigned from the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union as a result of the union taking up a motion supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The motion, which was passed during UTLA’s North Area (northeast Los Angeles) and Harbor Area (which includes Carson and San Pedro) meetings on May 20, expressed “our solidarity with the Palestinian people and call for Israel to end bombardment of Gaza and stop displacement at Sheikh Jarrah” and endorsed “the international campaign for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against apartheid in Israel.” UTLA said in a statement that the motion would be taken up for a vote by the UTLA House of Representatives in September and that motions passed in Area meetings don’t reflect the opinion of UTLA leadership.

Lindsey Kohn, a sixth-grade math and science teacher at James Madison Middle School in North Hollywood, wrote in her letter of resignation that “I feel unsafe as a Jew in this UTLA” with the motion being brought to a vote. “As an educated person, I cannot understand how the union can stand by a terrorist organization and a country that bombs Israel, hurts their children and wants to kill every Jew. The Palestinians use children and civilians as human shields and then blame Israel for their death. This political battle has NOTHING to do with the education of my students.”

Additionally, Kohn chided UTLA for supporting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, accusing the union of putting “many lives in danger by taking away our school safety officers. This organization is racist, anti-semitic [sic] and clearly extremely ignorant.”

Monday, June 07, 2021

CRT=The New Civil Rights Movement?

Uh, no.  It's not.  Not even close:

The first thing to understand about this movement is that it rejects the basic values of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King called for the equal rights of minorities, and he dreamed of a day when black people would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

In contrast to MLK, as I argue in the article, social justice activists don’t want to end discrimination. They don’t want people judged only on the basis of merit and character. They don’t want to replace racial strife with racial harmony. They don’t seek reform, progress, or justice; they seek subversion, disruption, and collective, identity-based retribution. . . . Social justice activists want individuals purged for questioning BLM, purged for defending law enforcement, purged for saying “all lives matter,” purged for supporting peaceful protests over riots. They call for abolishing the police. They defend rioting and looting (or commit it themselves). They block, harass, and shut down speakers. They reflexively slander their adversaries as racists, fascists, Nazis, misogynists, or white supremacists.

And they despise America.

And then there's this:

One can understand why Critical Race Theory’s proponents would seek to link it to the civil rights movement, which properly enjoys a hallowed status in American history—and which yielded some of the most revered and intensely studied Supreme Court judgments on law-school curricula. But this line of argument, however rhetorically attractive, is logically incorrect: Critical Race Theory (often abbreviated as CRT) explicitly undermines the intellectual and moral foundations of color-blind American liberalism.

The civil rights movement was based on a hopeful and optimistic vision of modern Americans turning the country’s ideals into reality. CRT, on the other hand, presents a dystopian vision in which ubiquitous bigotry and oppression defines America’s national soul. Far from being heir to the civil rights legacy, Critical Race Theory is in many ways its opposite.

It's a hateful philosophy put forward by hateful people.  It has nothing in common with the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

77 Years Ago Today


The End Is Nigh

Two more days with students, and then a teacher work day.  Taking the trailer out next weekend.

Good times.  These are the good times.

Friday, June 04, 2021

What Could These Idiots Possibly Have Been Thinking?

Was it long-term or just temporary insanity?

An Ohio high school coach and six assistant coaches were fired Thursday over an incident in which they allegedly tried to force a football player to eat a pepperoni pizza despite his religious dietary restrictions forbidding pork. 

The Canton City School District Board of Education made the decision during a special meeting following an investigation, FOX 8 of Cleveland reported. 

The family of a 17-year-old Canton McKinley High School boy, who is part of the Hebrew Israelite faith, claimed the student was threatened with extra drills for his teammates and being kicked off the team for not eating the pizza.  link

Before they were fired the coaches should have been given extra drills.  I cannot for the life of me imagine what they were thinking, or how none of the 7 realized that you just don't mess with a student's religion.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

In Less Than 4 Weeks We'll Know

Remember the Supreme Court case of the bratty cheerleader who mouthed off online, about school but not at school, and was penalized by her school for doing so?  I blogged about it here.

A ruling from the Court is expected June 30th.  I'll be on my major road trip then, but hopefully I'll have internet access enough somewhere to post about it.


California's 1997 math standards were clear, achievable, and internationally benchmarked.  The Common Core math standards that replaced them were none of the above.  They are as indecipherable as Enigma intercepts and require the codebreakers of Bletchley Park to interpret them.

Here is more on standards:

Standards have failed to raise achievement because they haven't been implemented. And why have standards not been implemented? First, we're asking teachers to become experts in reading and interpreting standards, going out and identifying curriculum materials to align with those standards, and then implementing those materials in the classroom. And almost on its face, this isn't a way that you could get standards to be implemented in any kind of consistent way. You've got 3 million teachers doing this laborious work of trying to interpret the standards, which are oftentimes quite confusing.

Teachers oftentimes get little or no guidance on curriculum materials from either the state or from their district. There's very little expectation that they even use those materials. The goal of the standards movement is really to get consistent implementation. But obviously, that's not going to happen when you've got millions of teachers with relatively little support and relatively little guidance going out and making these decisions independently. It's not a path to consistent implementation of anything.

My district hasn't selected good math curricula since I've been at my current school starting in 2003.  They had good texts when I got there, and they've gone downhill with each successive adoption.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Gonna Be A Moderately Late Night

Attention, attention:

Season 5 of Kim's Convenience made it to Netflix today.

That is all.

A Cheerful Greeting

I met one of my students today.

She's a senior and she was going through Senior Checkout today.  She saw me and asked me to sign off on her checkout form as having passed the class.

I signed her off, and we both went our separate ways.  She was one of the students who stayed online all year long, even after we'd returned to part-time in-person classes.  I have no idea who that girl was.  And it's kind of a shame.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Freedom Fest Events

I'm a planner.

When I travel, I like to know what there is to do when I get to a destination--I don't just show up and "go with the flow".  I don't plan things down to the minute, but I do make schedules that show what things I might do on which days. 

With that in mind, I downloaded the 21 page schedule of events for July's Freedom Fest.  I went through the hundreds of lectures, debates, films, etc., and decided which ones I'd like to see.  Some of the ones I'm planning on include:

  • My most successful technique to change the minds of students about socialism, Keynesianism, and the $15 minimum wage
  • Ayn Rand and the pursuit of happiness
  • The lasting influence of Thomas Sowell
  • Ten years later:  where is school choice today?
  • Black guns matter:  how the 2nd Amendment brings parity and justice in America
  • Soho Forum Debate:  The purpose of business is to maximize long-term profits
  • Socialism sucks:  two economists drink their way through the unfree world
  • Healing a divided nation:  are reparations the only way forward?
  • Clash of civilizations: Islam and the West
  • Mastering the language of liberty:  refining your message
  • Censorship in the age of the big tech oligarchy--what can we do?

Those are just some of the talks I'll attend.  Some of the speakers I'll hear are Kristi Noem, Corey DeAngelis, John Mackey (whom I've written about before on this blog), Larry Elder, Scott Walker, Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, Grover Nordquist, Robby Soave, James O'Keefe, John McWhorter, and Mark Perry.

I'm looking forward to a good time there!