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  • backyardconservative 1:58 PM on 05/17/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education, ,   

    Is a 7th grader a threat to the president? 

    At what point does this become ridiculous and scary intrusive? I know the Secret Service has to check out just about every threat but really?

    Maybe the mom was the real concern.

    What do we think about this. Obviously anything the kid said wasn’t admissible in court, as I understand it, since she wasn’t present and he’s a minor.

     
    • just a conservative girl 3:47 PM on 05/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      I blame the school. They shouldn’t have allowed him to be questioned without a parent there. Plain and simple. The secret service has a job to do. Is a 13 year old really threat? Probably not, but it still has to be looked into.

    • backyardconservative 8:04 PM on 05/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      It’s sad that these days many schools have no respect for parents–nor do they look out for kids.

      But yes, the Secret Service has a job to do.

  • backyardconservative 3:25 PM on 04/26/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education, , ,   

    A matter of degree 

    Women surpassed men over a decade ago in getting bachelor’s degrees. Now it’s post-graduate.

    On the face of it, fine.

    But the story touts the wonderful opportunity for men to be Mr. Mom. This is a feminist leftie take on the stats.

    If you’re going to take that tack, given men’s underemployment in the mancession, shouldn’t this be a cause for concern? I mean, men might want choice too.

    The other issue is just what kind of learning is going on in some of our schools anyway? (See previous post for just one example. Here’s another. Here’s another and another.)

    We’re paying a lot, or our kids are. Some call it a higher education bubble.

    With this economy, what kind of jobs do we especially need for the future, to be able to compete in the world economy?

    Women still trail men in professional subcategories such as business, science and engineering.

    It’s a matter of degree.

     
  • just a conservative girl 10:41 AM on 04/10/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: district of columbia, education, ,   

    DC Loses By Getting School Vouchers? 

    Politico has an article of which they assess the winners and losers of Friday night’s last-minute deal to avoid the federal shutdown.  Winners include Speaker Boehner and Planned Parenthood.  The losers include Nancy Pelosi and The District. 

     They point to the lack of federal funds being used for abortion and the voucher program as the reason why DC has lost.  The most obvious thing one can say about the abortion issue is this is just further proof that federal money isn’t used for the funding of abortion is an outright lie.  But when it is convenient the left will trot out this mantra yet again. Now the district is very left leaning so it is likely that the majority of the residents are pro-choice.  This being a classified as a loss for The District is understandable from that point of view. 

    What I don’t understand is why the voucher program is considered a loss.  The expert that congress hired to look at the program without a political agenda has concluded that the program was successful.  It is brought down the shamefully high number of high school drop-outs in DC.  The voucher program is less expensive than the DC public school system and generates a higher rate of graduations and a higher level of college acceptance.  How is that a loser?  We are spending less money to get better results.  In no way does this program take money away from the public school system.  The program actually gives twice as money to the public/charter schools than it does to the vouchers.  If a parent wants their child to continue in the current public school they are in they have the right to do it.  But for the parents who realize that their child is in a school that is failing them or in a dangerous neighborhood they have the choice to put them in a better school.  An education is the key to lifting the poor out of poverty. 

    Here is a commenter on the Politico article:


    Why do the right hate education so much?

    OK, my first question to this person would be did you go to the DC public schools?  My second would be why do you keep insisting that voucher program isn’t designed to help the poor?  The only people who can rationally believe that this program is a loser is someone who is so blinded by the liberal left orthodoxy of how unions are the answer to improving our educational system.  Even when the facts bear out that this program is a winner. 

    Not only will these children get a chance at a better education and are more likely to graduate and go onto college.  They will help lift themselves and their families out of poverty that will reduce their dependency on the government dole.  Yes, that sounds like a loser to me. 

     
  • backyardconservative 1:21 PM on 03/03/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education, , ,   

    Nudity, Child Rape, Suicide Shown to 9yr olds at Suburban Chicago Winnetka Grade School. ‘Appropriately’, no one Fired 

    However, we can assure the public that the staff members involved in this incident were treated fairly and appropriately. No employees were or will be fired as a result of this incident.

    Do you know who’s teaching your child? And what they’re “teaching”? Who decides when a child is old enough for nudity, rape and suicide – parents or teachers?

    Maybe it’s all the rumblings about union salaries, pensions and power in the news, but there is a broader question raised by a recent incident at Greeley School in Winnetka. That’s where a couple of substitute teachers showed parts of an HBO movie called The Middle Passage to fourth graders a few weeks ago. Some parents were upset that their 9-year-olds were viewing a movie that included nudity, child rape and suicide aboard a slave ship.
    Of course parents who questioned this were accused of being vile bigots… 

    The issue came to light after Patrick Livney and three other parents of Greeley School fourth graders complained about the film.

    Livney said it’s had scarring effects on his daughter and other students at Greeley.

    “Now we’ve got a situation where there’s demonstrable damage done to 9-year-olds’ brains. We have fourth graders talking about depressing classrooms, depression. Boys going around talking about ‘rape dogs.’ Are you kidding me?” Livney said. “After five great years at Greeley, (my daughter) doesn’t want to go to school.”

    He said some boys now don’t want to go into the water “because this movie shows sharks devouring slaves who were purposely thrown overboard.”[snip]

    From a harshly sarcastic email by Jen McQuet, a Winnetka parent, published in TribLocal:

    About 20 million Africans were taken from homes and families and sold into slavery to work plantations in North and South America. More than half died. But the real tragedy, really and seriously, is that a privileged little girl from Winnetka had to see some scary pictures of it. That’s serious, long-lasting damage.

    …For wanting to protect their children from vile imagery. (You know, something a bit like this but much, much worse.) More at leftie Huffpo, which overwhelmingly voted it was OK to show this to grade school kids.Who is politicizing education? For the children. Who is treating children as pawns for their agenda? Is this a “safe learning environment”? Causing some children to cry until midnight and have recurring nightmares and fears? 

    What next, Winnetka, a Laurie Dann reenactment? For educational purposes, of course.

    The rest of the post here.
     
  • pjMom 11:12 AM on 02/24/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education,   

    Let’s hope he wasn’t a history teacher… 

    Borrowing JaCG’s line, here’s another, pardon the pun, teachable union moment from the Providence Journal:

    “This is beyond insane,” Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith said Tuesday night. “Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7 , 1941.” That was the day the Japanese government bombed Pearl Harbor.

    I guess the paper had to insert that tidbit of explanation for those readers who had been educated in the Providence school system.

    H/t: Legal Insurrection.

     
  • backyardconservative 11:59 AM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education, , teachers unions, ,   

    Listening to WTMJ Milwaukee–The Walker Revolution:) 

    Live here. Radio Free Wisconsin vs. the people’s republic of Madison.

    Teachers ditch classes and encourage their students to skip school. Holding kids and working parents hostage. Classic union irresponsibility which has driven states and localities into bankruptcy. Public servants are our masters, but Wisconsin’s new Republican governor Scott Walker is pointing out some home truths and, with a newly elected Republican majority in both legislatures, reflecting the will of we the people:

    The protesters are taking issue with Walker’s budget repair plan, which he presented last week. The governor said besides removing workers’ collective bargaining rights, except when negotiating salary, state employees need to pay more for health care benefits and their pensions. Local firefighters, such as local police and members of the Wisconsin State Patrol, are exempt in the bill.

    The governor said that the moves are necessary to better contend with the state’s fiscal problems and he can’t negotiate with the unions since the state has nothing to offer. The bill’s supporters said public workers must make sacrifices to help balance the state’s budget. The state has a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

    It’s the only thing to do. What future will these kids have if they have to pay for people who retire early with cushy salaries and benefits. Wisconsin is trying to fend off the death spiral that Illinois is embracing.
    More here.
     
    • just a conservative girl 1:13 PM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      I am watching about this on the news now. It really gets my goat that the teachers brought the kids with them. They are striking illegally. Good lesson to the teach the kids. They interviewed these kids and they don’t even know why they are there. As a parent, I would be furious to find out that my child was asked to attend this, and I would be at the school board in record time.

    • backyardconservative 1:18 PM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      Yes. It’s really, really wrong. But of course, they think they are entitled. They think they own these kids.

    • zillaoftheresistance 5:00 PM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      I see that protesters are being bussed in. These are the same goons who call TEA people “astroturf”. And I agree with JaC, if it were my kids made to go to that protest, I’d be raising hell.

    • backyardconservative 7:19 PM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      I saw on a tweet some are being bused in from other parts of the country too.

      But, most hilarious–the Senate Dems ran away to Illinois to thwart a quorum–and the Illinois Tea Party chased em back!!

      http://backyardconservative.blogspot.com/2011/02/illinois-tea-party-tracking-widems.html

    • backyardconservative 8:43 PM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      Oh good! :)

    • vegas art guy 10:28 PM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      Those teachers ought to be ashamed of themselves. But I guess it’s not really for the children after all.

    • iainswife 11:12 PM on 02/17/2011 Permalink | Reply

      My link above on Big Unions is basically a round-up of the WI stuff but Instapundit just now linked to an article saying obama’s Organizing for America is supporting these union-riot-thugfests. What a douche.

  • backyardconservative 10:46 AM on 01/18/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education,   

    others caution against using the study to blame students for not applying themselves 

    Is our children learning?

    Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn’t determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin.

    No problem, just get a job with the NY Times.

    But let’s see, could it be because this “critical thinking” approach to education was used in elementary schools for years to dumb down and disparage actually learning basic math, science and reading skills? Could that be it? Could it be outcome-based education?

    At some point students actually need to learn skills, not community organizing. How about actually thinking and questioning. That used to be the essence of a liberal arts education.

    More. Ann Althouse on Howard Gardner. Count me a skeptic as well. Howard Gardner was big as “best practices” in our suburban elementary schools when my kids were inmates 15 years ago or so. While I think his approach had some value in highlighting how individuals learn differently, the main result was to let teachers and districts off the hook on testing, while renaming gym as kinetic wellness and justifying such impediments to learning as “math journals”. A liberal arts approach to math that worked for no one.

    HT Memeorandum

    UPDATE: Our PJ Mom’s take here.

     
    • pjMom 1:49 PM on 01/18/2011 Permalink | Reply

      I just posted about this. Kids can and do learn if teachers actually TEACH. Unfortunately, at the college level you find indoctrination over real thinking.

      Will reply in more depth at naptime–it’s a sunny day and not frigid. We have a date with the swing set ; )

      • pjMom 9:14 PM on 01/18/2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the link. Will have to come back in a bit. My naptime blogging plans were derailed by a recalcitrant toddler who needs to get in bed asap.

    • pjMom 11:25 PM on 01/18/2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m amused no one took any guesses as to why graduates are incapable of sorting fact from opinion or being swayed by emotional pleas or political spin. If that’s the diet they’re fed from Ayers-esque professors, what do you expect?

      As for Gardner, I’m with you. The past 30 years of educational “advancement”–ethnomath, the elimination of phonics, no grammar because it’s inherently racist to judge how kids speak or write, etc etc etc have left our kids educationally impoverished.

      But then education majors were among those identified in the article as showing the “least gains in learning.” Comforting, no?

    • backyardconservative 12:04 AM on 01/19/2011 Permalink | Reply

      I still remember a story in the NY Times. The violinist Isaac Stern gave a concert for the kids of the NY Public Schools. And I think it was the supt at the time who said if he were certified he could become a teacher there.

      It could have been a joke but I don’t think so.

      Public schools can be such a joke.

      • Quite Rightly 8:24 AM on 01/19/2011 Permalink | Reply

        It may have been a joke, but one based on fact.

        It is true that NY State wouldn’t let Isaac Stern teach music without a certification. No amount of real-world experience or talent in any field is considered qualification to teach in this state. Einstein couldn’t get a job teaching math or physics no matter how much he wanted to help children learn.

    • backyardconservative 9:39 AM on 01/19/2011 Permalink | Reply

      And that says it all, doesn’t it.

  • Jill 9:17 AM on 12/04/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education   

    Ken Robinson education video: Changing the paradigms 

    It’s got 1.7 million views, so there’s just a chance that you’ve seen it. But in case you haven’t:

     
    • Michael G. 10:19 AM on 12/04/2010 Permalink | Reply

      I have seen it, but it’s such a great clip isn’t it?

    • Deeka 11:03 AM on 12/04/2010 Permalink | Reply

      This was excellent. As someone who gets people in an industrial environment and has to educate them there, it is pretty clear our current system is a failure. The thing that interested me the most is that we treat children as something with a “manufactured on” date. If we move children forward by mileposts vs. age (for example, a concept is mastered, so on to the next) and allow them to collaborate – I assure you people learn better when collaborating – we begin to shift that paradigm.

    • backyardconservative 1:02 PM on 12/04/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. Hadn’t seen it.

      By the way, great to have new contributors. Welcome! And I also like the new photo header, Jill. That pot looks like it means business:) And cozy at the same time:)

    • Yukio Ngaby 10:34 AM on 12/06/2010 Permalink | Reply

      So the answer is to have students work in groups and tell them there is no set answer… Where have I seen this tried before?

      This video ends too early. I want to hear what Robinson’s nuts and bolts solution is to what he’s complaining about.

      • fuzislippers 7:20 PM on 12/06/2010 Permalink | Reply

        This is pretty much what I was thinking, too. I’m really really not a fan of touchy-feely find-your-own-way “education,” and that’s what this almost sounds like.

    • Jill 11:29 AM on 12/06/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, me too. I suspect I wouldn’t agree with a lot of Robinson’s beliefs (I think he’s a global warming believer) but I think he’s absolutely on target when he criticizes the factory-like nature of our school system and the drugging of so many kids to get them through the school day. (And I love that animation.)

      From what I see of my kids’ college classmates, most kids graduate from high school without anything resembling intellectual curiosity. Some of them can barely read.

      I have a friend who teaches at a small private college. His job is made complicated, if not impossible, by the glaring fact that most of his students aren’t there to learn. And these are kids majoring in his subject. Obviously the problem started way before his students entered his classroom.

      Someone said that teaching a child should be more about lighting a fire than it is about filling a bucket. But our public schools often fail to do either. Robinson is saying that the fire is burning in the small child. Shades of Rousseau but I agree — just look at any two year-old. They are learning machines. Robinson blames the schools for extinguishing the flame, but I think a lot of factors go into that, including the family and the youth culture, which attracts so strongly but is, like school, big on conformity and short on the risk-taking that is often essential to learning.

      Which leads me to one of my favorite books, Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers. Dr. Neufeld’s chapter on “Unteachable Students” is excellent.
      http://www.amazon.com/Hold-Your-Kids-Parents-Matter/dp/037550821X#reader_037550821X

      • Yukio Ngaby 6:07 PM on 12/06/2010 Permalink | Reply

        I guess the problem that I have, is that I’ve seen too many kids come out of the private, touchy-feely-we-produce-artists-and-creative-thinking-people schools. They’re very popular in Oregon, and these schools make speeches very similar to Robinson. The results are unimpressive to the say the least. A lot of the times these students are absolutely lost when left on their own because they are so used to group work– which often means that they shirk the work off to people who are good at the subject. It’s pretty pathetic.

        Also Robinson is dead wrong when he says that there’s no real reason to lower standards. There are all sorts of reasons to lower standards– from affirmative action, to gaming the system for the appearance of better results, to put forth the appearance of success to parents and taxpayers.

        Also ignored by Robinson is the success of education in other countries– countries that don’t emphasize group work and do not teach that there is no correct answer to problems.

        • fuzislippers 7:32 PM on 12/06/2010 Permalink | Reply

          omg, Yukio, I just wrote a comment using “touchy-feely,” too. How funny. I swear I didn’t read this first :)

          We spend too much time in this society pretending that children will never grow up. We protect them from “losing” in sports and games (everyone’s a winner! or “no scoring”), we protect them from dissenting or unpleasant worldviews/attitudes (granted, the “ugly” views they are protected from tend to be American history and anything relating to patriotism and/or the Judeo-Christian faiths), and now we want to protect them from thinking (the end result of saying that there are no right or wrong answers is that people will just shrug and say wtf? And tune out. Any teacher knows this and must deal with walking that line between telling students what to think and helping them learn to think for themselves). This approach to education is absolutely not acceptable to me (I rant about it sporadically at my blog . . . though I guess not so much of late, with the fact that the country is about to be destroyed rather overshadowing K-12 education for me).

          As to the reasons for lowering the standards, I’m sure you aren’t suggesting these are GOOD reasons (not being snarky, I know you don’t). I do agree with Robinson that lowered standards are what is killing American K-12 education. That needs to stop. We can help people better prepare for a rigorous education (not not not ooooh, pretty colors make me smile art class), but we cannot continue to offer everyone a substandard education to meet the needs of a few. I like the way Robinson seems to be trying to bridge the chasm between a traditional education and the progressive, America-hating mess we have now. Maybe something that can be tried somewhere. Like California or Massachusetts.

          • Yukio Ngaby 4:20 AM on 12/07/2010 Permalink | Reply

            Like I said before, I want to see actual proposals, not a laundry list of what’s wrong with current education (I’m not accusing you of making one) nor arguments so general that they’re almost meaningless.

            When most people put out the actual details of their proposals, you can see the flaws and (at times) idiocy of what they think will actually work. As bad as the education system is in this country in certain places, I see the causes coming largely from mis-spent funds (including graft), politically correct curriculums, lowering standards for various political reasons, parental disinterest (as Jill pointed out– see also the very interesting Shaker Heights study), the hard Left (such as Bill Ayers and wife) hijacking education for idiotic agendas and having a strong voice in national education, and an generally unrealistic expectation of what public education can actually do– it doesn’t shape people into who they are by itself. And this is only a partial list of causes. These problems (among others) need to be acknowledged and addressed, not merely written off.

            I don’t see the problem as one of old-fashioned paradigms. People may not like the assembly-line mentality, but what is the real alternative? And give specifics– not things we shouldn’t do, or generalized talk of thinking outside the box, etc.

            • fuzislippers 6:24 PM on 12/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

              You want to see actual proposals from me? Or are you offering one (or more)?

    • Jill 7:45 AM on 12/09/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Well here’s a principal with an idea: convert the school library to a coffee shop!
      Quote:
      A veteran educator who visited the school a few weeks ago said most of the books were already gone by then. “There were a few down one side. They assured me they’re getting rid of those as soon as they could. The plan is to turn the whole space into a coffee shop run by students.”
      End quote.

      Perhaps the thinking is that they’ll all end up working for Starbucks anyway, so they might as well get a jump on learning to make those complicated drinks?

      http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2010/11/lamar_highs_library_ousts_book.php

      Read Christopher Orlet’s excellent piece:
      http://spectator.org/archives/2010/12/09/book-ends

  • fuzislippers 6:25 AM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education, ,   

    White Guilt and Gynoguilt: How the Left’s Culture of Victimhood Undermines Equality 

    As we all know, the Left and particularly its kudzu-like strangling of all aspects of academia is very fond of its “isms.” Feminism, racism, whateverism–all purportedly designed to “call out” the oppressive white male and to tear down sexist walls, crash through glass ceilings, and break out of the cycle of oppression.

    So imagine my surprise when, as a graduate student, I learned that I should not be teaching a particular female author in a Modern Literature class. She’s an excellent, if under-read and under-appreciated, modern writer, but the chair of my department explained to me that her work should be taught in “women’s literature” classes. It turns out that faux feminists were happy to perpetuate the idea that the term “modern writer” actually means “white male modern writer” and that because of this, a woman cannot be a “modern writer” at all. She’s a writer of “women’s literature.”

    “Women’s literature” classes are chock-full of readings by people whose only qualification as a “writer” is a vagina. The “literature” is often … well, let’s just say, not good. This isn’t always the case, but often enough that you have to wonder why it’s being taught at all (other than to fill in the entire semester’s reading list by dredging up every female writer who ever put pen to paper). This gyno-centric reading list and my being told not to teach a truly outstanding female author in a “traditional” lit class initially unnerved and confused me. But the real reason is actually quite clear, if rather sinister: if we started selecting excellent female writers and started teaching them as if they were “real” literature, we’d end the hate-fueled gravy train.

    Who or what would the leftist intellectual elite write their endless, repetitive, belly-button-gazing critical essays about? What would happen to their careers if they had no one to demonize and no one to treat as a perpetual victim?

    Read the rest.

     
    • pjMom 10:42 AM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Gynoguilt–perfect! Excellent post, Fuzzy.

      I would love to compare English dep’t grad school notes some day. I loved the program when I started, but by the time it ended, I realized I should have been a student before race/class/gender became the only discussion with merit. So much for asthetics. I thought I’d die the last semester… I just pulled out those books unpacking and were I not a bibliophile, I’d chuck every last one. They’re going to goodwill to rot on the shelf instead.

      (And I admit to being very intrigued as to who the mystery female modernist in question was!)

    • pjMom 10:43 AM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

      I can’t help myself. Willa Cather? Katherine Anne Porter? lol

      • fuzislippers 4:44 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

        I had a hard time, too, in grad school with all the isms and having to jump through the ism hoops was truly painful most of the time. We should definitely compare notes sometime.

        And LOL, it was Dawn Powell. I didn’t include her name in the post because she’s kind of obscure (and was a commie, didn’t want to get derailed on that one! But am safe here with my fellow English lit geeks :)).

        • pjMom 8:46 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

          I haven’t read her. But now I will add her to my list since you sing her praises so. I’m in a reading rut: I only have time for too much news, parenting books for sanity’s sake, and the occasional Dean Koontz to keep me happy. I had a hard time unpacking my books (finally) without reading this week. Though I did breeze through “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” during naptime. pjHusband didn’t understand why I couldn’t just … unpack the books. But I’m a virgo English geek: an American shelf, a British shelf, a European/historical linguistics/theory shelf, and a favorites shelf. And the pile to donate ; )

          • fuzislippers 8:49 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

            And all alphabetized, I bet? Mine are :)

            As for reading, two of my favorite novels are Thomas’ White Hotel and Hulme’s The Bone People. If you’ve not read them, they’ll get you out of that reading rut in a flash. :D

            • pjMom 9:23 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

              LOL. Birds of a feather. They aren’t alpha now, though they might be in a few months.

              I’m trying chronological instead ; )

              And thanks for the book recommendations! One of my all-time favorites is A River Runs Through It. Short, profoundly beautiful, magical prose.

    • Yukio Ngaby 12:22 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great analysis, Fuzzy– and yeah, I clicked on the link and read the whole thing.

      It amuses and depresses me to no end how the Left has managed to split our society apart according to race and gander just when we were in the process of making real and quite rapid improvements in race and gender replationships.

      So, who was the author? And why keep her name a secret?

      • pjMom 3:16 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yukio, English departments have been “split” for a generation or two and churning out little lefties who only see the world in terms of who has been victimized and for how long, always by the hand of the great white evil. I was lucky to have one or two old-timers in grad school. They were both emeritus faculty.

        • Yukio Ngaby 4:43 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

          Yeah, my specialty is English and Literature and I know my way around universities’ English Departments.

          Nearly every post-structuralist theory for literary analysis is based along Marxist doctrine and Marxist theory. Deconstructionism, New Historicism, Postcolonial Theory, Queer Theory, and Feminism (the liteary theory of feminist analysis– not the Feminist Movement itself) are all based around Marxism. I mean, Marxism is taught as literary theory. An essay by Leon Trotsky is included in “The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.” In between reading Foucault, Derrida and Tillie Olsen, students are assigned Homi Bhabha’s long essays that wave the Socialist flag. And there’s no coounterpoint any of it– and that’s a very real problem.

          The split I was referring to was in society at large and not merely English Departments. If the US took up after the English Departments (instead of basically ignoring them) this country would’ve collapsed back in the 80s, or maybe earlier.

          • pjMom 8:40 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

            ROTFL re the last. Yukio, I didn’t mean to imply you weren’t an English geek (though I didn’t know, and am in awe of your English geekiness–I wouldn’t have remembered that my Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism included Trotsky).
            But my point (that I didn’t make well) is that so go the English departments, and so goes the nation. Eventually. The product of churning out English majors who are forced to see the world through the race/class/gender lens only creates a society in which a large number of the literate folks are … well, jackasses who only view life through a race/class/gender rose-colored glasses. Not all of us end up that way, but the vast majority do. So I get your point of the fracture in society at large. But I’d still argue that the societal split is a result of generations of Marxism-worship taught at the university level, in English departments and otherwise.

            (Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish” was the first read in my last semester’s syllabus. I dreamt of quitting school with every page.)

            • Yukio Ngaby 9:23 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

              I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come off as defensive. I didn’t take any sort of implication from your comment.

              I’ve gotta disagree with your “so go the English departments, and so goes the nation” idea. Certainly, it’s correct that English Departments are intent on producing “English majors who are forced [encouraged I’d say] to see the world through the race/class/gender lens,” but I don’t see it as a terribly successful crusade. Yes, it works on some students, but most of these people were pretty much that way to begin with and ended up being part of the choir that’s being preached to.

              I think it’s more of an issue that what students might be looking for are not being addressed. Instead, you get the one-sided, indoctrination spiel and are left with the idea that there isn’t much else to the class– which there isn’t right now. Students aren’t left being myopic, literate “jackasses,” but rather are just bewildered and cynical.

              Back in the ’60s English Departments decided that print was dead and no one cared about criticism anymore. Soon after literary criticism simply became a vehicle to push Socialist theory and doctrine– as it had been in France and elsewhere. Derrida sped it along when (for reasons I still cannot fathom) when English Depts. decided to enshrine the work of an absolute failure of a Philosophy professor. Decontruction gave a vehicle to “prove” the meaninglessness of language, which then allowed language and literary works to be “controlled” and manipulated into being mere props for political agendas– which is, incidentally, what Derrida claimed was happening prior to Deconstruction…

              But print isn’t dead, people do read and think on their own, and the world has spun on despite the the English Depts’ best efforts. I think the only thing they have managed to do is isolate themselves from the world, and create a self-affirming, elitist world for themselves. And when reality intrudes (as it did dramatically for Gates, for instance) they have no real idea about how to act in the real world. I don’t see this as being a major problem far outside of academia.

              I’m sorry to hear you’re reading Foucault… but, we all had to go through it. He’s next to meaningless when taken out of a Marxist context…

              • pjMom 9:31 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                Hmm. I guess I had the luxury of being an older student. And as such, I was able to see how quickly some professors were able to make mincemeat of convictions that weren’t tested and held with strength. So I have seen the end-state of a few years of Marxist-peddling-professors: and the vast majority end up bitter, disillusioned liberals, and yes, jack-assy as far as race/class/gender go: that’s why they all voted for Obama. He was THE ONE who would redeem them.

                Fortunately, my Foucault days are long over. ; )

                I agree

                • Yukio Ngaby 9:42 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                  Well, if convictions aren’t held with strength, then they’re not convictions.

                  Bitter disillusionment is the inevitable finale of that nonsense. I mean, so much is based in existentialism. LOL. What did they expect?

                  These people love to talk up suffering and angst, but they don’t like feeling it.

              • fuzislippers 9:38 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                Well, I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand the argument that univ. Eng. depts hold sway in society. They do, inasmuch as they trained (brainwashed?) an entire generation (or two) of k-12 teachers who go forth and spread the Marxist myth as gospel. Granted, k-12 teachers don’t really need to take that many credits in the study of English to qualify to teach in most districts (those that don’t require a masters), but they have had a huge impact in that inching, progressive way of theirs. ;) Have to get to the children, right? And how better to do that than to train their teachers to be sexist, racist schlubs who self-righteously and without any self-reflection go forth and parrot what they “learn” in college/grad school (or as you note without any challenge to the Marx-inspired “theories” that predominate in English departments). There’s a connection, but it’s obviously not the only one. The same creeping, sneaking strategy has worked equally well in our judicial system and government bodies.

                • Yukio Ngaby 9:56 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                  I don’t know… I guess I have more faith in human nature then you do, Fuzzy (I don’t mean that as an insult or anything). I don’t see creeping Leftists converting people. I see people being busy and uninformed– and when people do educate themselves they generally make the sound choice– allowing Leftists to say what they want unchallenged.

                  I believe this is how Black Studies Depts., or African-American Studies Depts., or whatever these departments call themselves, came to be. I mean they’re teaching nonsense that’s easily shown to be absolutely false (Black Socrates, Black Egyptians, Black Cleopatra, Greeks took their culture from Egypt, etc.), yet people stay away, stay uninformed and don’t want to get involved. It’s just one of “their” things.

                  Yeah, the Left is put a lot of effort into controlling education– and that needs to be addressed and challenged– but I don’t see a wholesale conversion going on…

                  I think both politics and a person’s development happen well outside of academia and formal education. Thank God…

                  • fuzislippers 2:52 AM on 07/09/2010 Permalink | Reply

                    Your faith in people is one of my favorite things about you. It’s too easy for me to become discouraged, so your hope and faith are refreshing. And give me hope.

      • fuzislippers 4:46 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Yukio. That means a lot.

        It was Dawn Powell. I didn’t mention her by name for two reasons: one, I didn’t want to have to defend her work, though I can and will (heh), and I didn’t want to get bogged down in her politics. Neither was the focus of the post and both are potential “comment hijackers” — that said, hijack away :)

        • Yukio Ngaby 4:55 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

          I’ve haven’t read any Dawn Powell. I assume that she’s American?

          I kinda gave up on American Lit. after “Howl”– chronologically. I’ll read popular American stuff (genre stuff), but I don’t read American “literature” voluntarily anymore. That said, I’ve had to read Gass, and Morrison, and Dellilo, etc. Gotta keep up…

          • fuzislippers 5:14 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

            Yes, she’s an American, and she’s a relatively obscure writer, to be sure, but her novels, particularly her early ones, are great examples of modern American lit. Morrison’s writing is exquisite–she should definitely be rescued from the bowels of “women’s literature” and “African-American literature” and taught as the outstanding postmodern writer she is. Alas, that is unlikely to happen.

            • Yukio Ngaby 5:28 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

              To be fair, Morrison is taught in American Lit. classes (at least in Oregon and California), however she is always prefaced with the fact that she’s both a woman and Black– how anyone wouldn’t to be able to figure that out while reading “Beloved,” “The Bluest Eye,” etc. is beyond me.

              Personally, I have a hard time stomaching Morrison. She did tell off Oprah once, so that gets her some points with me…

              What I think is interesting is how Morrison replaced Alice Walker (a far more interesting writer in my opinion) in the New York publishers’ “Black Woman Author” spot after Black male critics were offended by “The Color Purple.” I mean Walker still wrote after her booting, but her books aren’t so easy to find anymore.

              • fuzislippers 5:41 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                Good point, she’s also taught up here (Mass/New England) as a postmodern in many cases, but I guess my point is that while she is taught in mainstream courses, try getting a professor to allow any analysis of her writing that is not based solely in race and/or gender. So even when “mainstreamed,” she’s still treated as “other.” This happens in modern lit, too (more my area). Try reading Stein as a Jamesian or studying her contributions to modern form and style without focusing on her gender and sexuality. Hmph. That’s not to say that one’s gender and race don’t inform one’s experience and therefore one’s writing, it does (as does class), but pretending that all there is to a woman or minority is his or her gender or race (or class) is disingenuous and oppressive.

                • Yukio Ngaby 7:51 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                  “I guess my point is that while she is taught in mainstream courses, try getting a professor to allow any analysis of her writing that is not based solely in race and/or gender.”

                  That brings up kind of an interesting point. When the writer herself (Morrison let’s say) wraps her work in gender and race identity, how do can you discuss it outside of race and gender? I mean if you take away Black identity from “Beloved” let’s say, what do you have left to discuss aside from generic side issues? Everything in it is predicated by Morrison’s idea of “Blackness.”

                  The issue of marginalizing writers according to their race or gender, as your post talks about, needs to be addressed, but when the writers do it to themselves by qualities consciously ingrained into their own work to separate themselves…

                  • fuzislippers 8:11 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                    Interesting stuff, as always, Yukio. I think that there’s a difference between a work of fiction that addresses issues of historically-accurate fact (like Morrison’s Beloved does slavery) and an all-out effort to marginalize women writers in the name of equality.

                    Many excellent critics somehow manage to talk about Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls without exclusive focus on his white maleness. The politics and historical moment are important, but even in a novel that is arguably political, this doesn’t overshadow the novel itself.

                    I don’t think I’m doing a good job explaining what I mean, but it is possible to have an intellectual discussion of a novel like Beloved without oohing and ahhing over the fact that a black woman wrote it. White writers write about race, too, including white, male writers, but we don’t shunt them out of the canon for it (Faulkner comes to mind immediately), nor do we teach his novels as if their sole merit is the depiction of race in the South.

                    • Yukio Ngaby 8:51 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                      “I think that there’s a difference between a work of fiction that addresses issues of historically-accurate fact (like Morrison’s Beloved does slavery) and an all-out effort to marginalize women writers in the name of equality.”

                      Now you know that I’m not saying that we should separate lit. solely according to race and gender…

                      My point is how would you teach Morrison’s work outside of discussions of race and gender? If indeed the class and teacher “ohhs” and “ahhs” because a black woman wrote it (and I know it happens), that seems to be an issue with the individual teacher and class and possibly the academic groupthink that spawned it– and not necessarily an issue of category and canon.

                      Remember Morrison is not writing history with “Beloved.” Even when dealing with a historical reality (as all fiction must do to some degree) Morrison is presenting (both by necessity and choice) a contrived view of this history. In the case of the slave history, if Morrison presented an accurate depiction of it, she’d be likely tossed out like Alice Walker and we’d have a new “Black Female Writer” in New York’s canon.

                      • fuzislippers 8:54 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink

                        No, no, no, Yukio. I didn’t mean YOU are separating them out based on race and gender, I was referring to the subject of my post. I know you are not at all in that narrow-minded, marginalizing group of leftie loons.

                        I think it can be argued that all novels are reflecting a contrived view of history (including For Whom the Bell Tolls), and that’s okay. But your implication that Morrison’s work is taught as “history” is certainly valid.

              • fuzislippers 5:46 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                By the way, I also like Alice Walker–there’s some real meat to her writing that is very fulfilling. Morrison, to my mind, has a wonderful way with the language, and in some ways her prose reminds me of Updike’s (heh, try making that argument to a liberal loon) in its imagery and smoothness. Not many writers prompt me to read sentences aloud simply to savor the prose, but Morrison is one.

                • Yukio Ngaby 8:21 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                  Morrison is technically very proficient, and she’s a highly skilled writer. There’s no question of that. My wife likes Morrison a great deal.

                  As far as pure prose goes, I tend to like Raymond Chandler and his sense of rhythm. The last paragraph of “The Big Sleep” is gorgeous. Or Ray Bradbury, especially “Fahrenheit 451”

                  For me, though, the meat of the writing (as you put it) and the way in which it is tackled is extremely important for literature. I don’t like reading editorials in the form of fiction. I think that great writing examines rather than informs and allows the reader to be informed by way of observation, rather than to be “gifted” with the author’s preaching. There are always exceptions, of course. But not too many American exceptions for me.

                  I always get amused at the cliche of “write what you know.” How boring is that? Write about what you don’t know and then see where the story leads. When authors do that, you can get some really thought-provoking work. And yes, I’m talking about fiction only, and no, I am not talking the writer’s authority or researching the subject…

                  • fuzislippers 8:41 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                    Chandler and Bradbury are great, and so is Vonnegut for those read-aloud moments.

                    How interesting that you think American literature is preachy; I see what you mean, but that’s one of the reasons that I’m drawn to modern American writers, who seem to explore and reveal rather than pontificate and “teach.” More recently, Tim O’Brien does this, I think, with a stark, meaty, often elegant prose.

                    • Yukio Ngaby 9:37 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

                      Tim O’brien?

                      Hmm. I’ll have to re-read him. When I think of O’brien I think more of elaborate and, frankly, loaded metaphor then stark prose. But it’s been a while since I read him. I do remember Obrien’s prose being excellent though.

                      Lawrence Durrell is another one for great pure prose. The meat of his work isn’t too bad either.

    • backyardconservative 4:43 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

      And sadly, this kind of thinking often extends down to high school, killing any real appreciation of literature.

      • fuzislippers 4:49 PM on 07/08/2010 Permalink | Reply

        It really does kill young people’s appreciation of literature to have to analyze and read it through the lens of gender and race . . . and being forced to read utter crap just because a woman (or minority) wrote it. That just breaks my heart. There are fantastic women and minority authors who deserve to be read as literature not curiosities.

  • Sherry 4:41 PM on 05/14/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , education,   

    The concept of Courageous Restraint has merit.  We should give out medals to Congress if it opts not to spend or even just proposes the idea. That alone would be courage indeed.  The Economic theory these days that governs policy creation and government spending operates through the “Think system.”  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/05/galbraith_the_danger_posed_by.html

    I read it.  I read it again.  I read it a third time and the closest I could come to understanding was this is where the economic realities of my life and those of the theories that win Pulitzers are 180 degrees polar opposite.  I can’t see how it works ergo, I must be an idiot.

    Galbraith represents this sort of thinking.  One particular strain of Keyesian economics as it were, rules the day. 

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/KeynesianEconomics.html 

    Aparently debt plays a neutral part in monetary policy or aggregate demand for public/private money.  The theory goes like this: “inflation, unemployment, real GNP, and real national saving should not be affected by whether the government finances its spending with high taxes and low deficits or with low taxes and high deficits. Because people are rational, he argues, they will correctly perceive that low taxes and high deficits today must mean higher future taxes for them and their heirs. They will cut consumption and increase their saving by one dollar for each dollar increase in future tax liabilities.” 

    Starting with the first principle, People are rational, please tell me another bedtime story.  Also, there’s the idea that one must and that cutting consumption so as to pay for more taxes is a good thing as versus spending it on anything else other than the state.

    “Because the government needs to run a deficit, it’s the only way to inject financial resources into the economy. If you’re not running a deficit, it’s draining the pockets of the private sector.” 

    If money is a zero sum game, then the money is either draining the private or public sector; ergo either the government or the governed shall have money to invest. 

    If money is not a zero sum or fixed amount, how is it that not running a deficit by the federal government drains the pockets of the private sector?  To my way  of thinking, i.e. logic,  if you run a deficit, to pay the government so it can service it’s debt while providing the services you demand it provide, you must tax more, draining the pockets of the private sector to maintain or sustain a deficit. 

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64B53W20100512

    Further, if the government runs a deficit in perpetuity that only grows, the money to pay those bills comes from somewhere and that is the tax payers –through fees, through state taxes to make up the difference in unfunded mandates, through federal taxes, through the “closing of loopholes” through value added taxes, sin taxes and tolls, interest on federal loans, limitations on profit, additional audits, and limitations on services.  Taxes will “drain the pockets of the private sector” to pay for the public sector.  It’s the only way the public sector exists, if the private sector pays.  

    The creature that is Government unchecked, unrestrained, unmeasured and unending will devour everything it can. The hypothetical typical American family will be able to sustain itself at its current state only as long as nothing happens to increase debt or limit income.  Taxes do both at the same time.   If the government will not give up one red cent, then the tax payer must give up the red cents for it.

    But I’m a mere Haus Frau so obviously I can’t understand.

    Finally, and this is my 2 untaxed cents worth of thought here, how could the effect of the deficit being zero be true in perpetuity?  If people are rational as the orriginal premise of this arguement declares, wouldn’t they think spending one’s self in to further and further debt will eventually yeild diminishing returns by the state and for the self?  

    If we spend more than our nation can bear in taxes, no matter how many times you shuffle the deck or redistribute the wealth, there will be people hurt by the government’s need for more money, who are on the line where the government deems too much, not enough and the only solutions are for those people unlucky enough to be targed will be to cut services and things they want or perhaps need, thereby increasing unemployment or lowering demand for goods and services, hurting other businesses. 

    The consequence will be  an economic spiral of more demand for government services by those hurt by the cutbacks in business to make up the difference and less revenue, resulting in less generated tax revenue that had been heretofore budgeted to pay for those services.

    Greater demand will spur further raise taxes to meet existing debt demands and services, ultimately meaning, still more people will have to surrender their little comforts for the good of the state. And our state will become less good. 

    We will become a thin nation by default or because of default; our wallets will weigh considerably less anyway; that people are only angry and showing up at tea parties to voice concerns about the spiraling deficit and the wretched relenteless and seemingly perpetual excesses of Congress despite being labeled racists, homophobes, bigots, rednecks, ignorant yokels and the like, that might be the true definition of Courageous restraint.   After all, according to the smartest theorists running the country, we’re rational.

    Wonder if we could get medals for our trouble. 

     
  • Jill 10:59 AM on 05/06/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education, ,   

    Now, if the kids had wanted to burn the flag . . . 

    . . . that might have been an entirely different story.

    Flag burning, that cherished right of the Left, is what you might expect in a story that pairs “incendiary” with “flag.” But in this case, no matches are needed. The flag image itself is viewed as a sort of desecration.

    Michelle Malkin calls it “Reason number 10,999,976 to home school.”

    Gateway Pundit:

    Four students in the San Francisco area were sent home from school yesterday for wearing American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo. The administration said the T-shirts were “incendiary.”

    Perhaps the patriotic clothing would have triggered violence among the high schoolers. But this kind of preemptive strike against self-expression is diametrically opposed to core American values. (Or are we all Canadians now?)  It’s especially disturbing when you look at the clothing that was banned by the kids’ keepers.

    We’ve entered a pretty strange world when the image of an American flag is considered “incendiary” — in America.

    Oh, wait a minute — this happened in the San Francisco area. Never mind.

    New title: Four patriotic high school boys discovered in Bay area; baffled administrators resign in disgrace.

    Edited to add this damning self-indictment from one of the boys:

    Student Anthony Caravalho was also sent home for not turning his shirt inside out. “They said we had to wear our t-shirts inside out and then we could go back to class and we said no,” said Caravalho. “It would be disrespectful to the flag by hiding it.”

    Cross-posted in the Green Room.

     
    • rubyslipperblog 11:17 AM on 05/06/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Having worked in a public school, I have to say this is just mind boggling. After Columbine our principal had trouble with kids wearing trench coats and could do nothing about it. Schools, unfortunately react to really bad press and lawsuits now. This qualifies as bad press, keep turning up the volume until the school has to trip over themselves to defend themselves.

      • fuzislippers 12:15 PM on 05/06/2010 Permalink | Reply

        PC gone wild. We really need to speak up and put a stop to this sort of thing. There was a guy here in MA who had an American flag up in his gym, and he actually got sued. What is wrong with people?

  • Jill 5:51 PM on 04/20/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , education   

    Kids do the darnedest things 

    Like allow their little classmates to take pictures of their privates (well, not anymore) and show them around to their other little classmates for money.

    (Once upon a time kids were innocent. We know because we have it on video.)

     
  • backyardconservative 4:51 PM on 04/01/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education, sexual abuse,   

    Beating up on the pope 

    This kind of thing seems to happen around Easter with great regularity. It’s not a God is Dead cover story on Time or Newsweek this time, the left has taken up a different cudgel. While every institution needs to clean their own house, and the church should be above reproach, what about this broader societal scandal? Some food for thought: The Scandal Driving the Church Sex Scandal

     
    • Mike 8:51 PM on 04/01/2010 Permalink | Reply

      From the article: “Why has the Vatican been placed in the unenviable position of having to defend itself with the “Look, others have the same problems” argument?”

      Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that, unlike secular institutions, the church claims to represent an absolute and infallible moral authority. Just something to think about.

      • backyardconservative 10:03 AM on 04/02/2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, of course. It is scandalous. We had this in the U.S. and now in Europe. Unfortunately some priests have human failings and criminality that should be rooted out. I just think we should take this as an opportunity to expose this abhorrent behavior overall.

        And the NY Times in particular betrays a double standard once again. I’d like to see them put ACORN’s complicity in sexual abuse on the front page.

    • psychonauticalmindbloom 1:51 AM on 04/03/2010 Permalink | Reply

      I understand that the church is not the only place this sort of thing happens, but the church is always preaching about how righteous it is & how everyone should share the same beliefs. Its painfully obvious that these men within the church made a mistake, but if you ask me this mistake was provoked by the sexually suppressed lifestyles they chose.. The church should stop trying to claim moral superiority over anyone when their members are proving day in and day out that its barely humanly possible to go through life without sex. Its just so funny when you think about the hypocracy of these church members/ conservative politicians, these are people who are completely against homosexuality, yet the highest members of their ranks are engaging in it. You know what that says to me, it says live your life the way you want & you won’t end up perverted & evil like these men.

      • rubyslipperblog 4:30 PM on 04/03/2010 Permalink | Reply

        Is the real message of the Church one of moral superiority or is it a path to redemption for all who suffer from human failings? It stuns me how often people use the failings of mortal men as a reason to excuse themselves for their own imperfections and subsequent failure to address them..

    • backyardconservative 8:57 AM on 04/03/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Live your life the way you want–now there’s a surefire force for good. Really? And to hell with everyone else. How admirable.

    • psychonauticalmindbloom 10:37 PM on 04/03/2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not using the failings of men for anything… I just think its quite a coincidence that this perverted activity seems to happen alot within the religious community, especially the catholics. As for the last comment by backyard conservative… lol I do more for my world and many of the creatures in it than any destructive christian I know.. Yes maybe the hell with everyone else because most human beings are scum.. You all complain that people like me demean the church for things its followers do, well first of all what you worship has been retranslated and rewritten to fit your current lifestyles.. It is far from identicle to the original texts. Not too mention you have to trust too many people along the way… The only reason I posted a comment here is because I noticed the comment about ACORN.. The fact is many independent investigators have looked at the tape made by the so called pimp & determined that it was heavily edited… & in one case the ACORN officials actually called the police about him, but that never gets into your FOXfed heads… You all wish so badly that you could delegitimize todays left. I understand the religious right is going extinct and all, but at least go down with some honor.. I mean really though… you say its wrong to make the connection, but what does it say about your following when the leaders of it, the people who fight for your views in congress, and the church officials themselves are engaging in the lifestyle choices they tell you not to…. These days its nothing but a tool used to keep the masses obedient…

  • pjMom 4:56 PM on 03/25/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education   

    Reason #10,005 to homeschool 

    To avoid having your child procure an abortion with the help of “the school nurse” without your knowledge (let alone consent).

    Brings new meaning to “it takes a village,” doesn’t it?

     
    • fuzislippers 7:28 PM on 03/25/2010 Permalink | Reply

      This is an absolute outrage. It’s bad enough that parents aren’t notified in many states, but for a public school to be in the abortion business is beyond despicable. That’s essentially using tax payer dollars to procure secret abortions during school hours. How is that legal?

      • pjMom 7:33 PM on 03/25/2010 Permalink | Reply

        Agreed on the outrage. As for legality, I have no idea–I would venture a guess that it would hinge on that signed consent form even though there’s no mention of abortions, drug treatment, etc.

        That the girl was told not to tell her parents (and that she could then receive a “free” abortion”) is beyond the pale.

    • nicedeb 12:03 AM on 03/26/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to ObamAmerica.

  • pjMom 2:23 PM on 03/19/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education,   

    You’re fed up with lunch? I’m fed up with the government. (Reason to Homeschool #10,003) 

    I came across this blog yesterday via yahoo and couldn’t put my finger on what bothered me so much.  A teacher has taken it upon herself to eat the daily offering from her school cafeteria.  She then writes about the meal’s palatability, (un)healthiness, and posts a handy pic as well. 

    As someone who hated school lunches growing up–who doesn’t?–and someone who taught, I admit to the initial intrigue.  But I soon grew weary of the diatribe.  Why? 

    Her solution to the problem?  More money, of course.  “We demand change.”  Let’s all hear the chorus: But it’s for the children.

    We need make the long-term investment in children. We need to fund education. We need the best teachers. We need to feed students the best food we can find so that they can reach their potential as leaders. We are the USA after all! We act like we are the best, but look at how we fund education and school lunches. Do we really value children?

    Hey anonymous teacher, schools are well-funded.  And how can schools afford the best teachers if the worst among you can’t be fired because of union contracts?  As for food, it’s no secret that school meat doesn’t meet fast food standards.  

    What do you expect? It’s a government-run program

    What does she fail to point out?  It’s a government-run program

    Why is it not successful?  It’s a government-run program. 

    Why are the meals so unhealthy?   It’s a government-run program

    Why do the workers not care?   It’s a government-run program.

    So in a nutshell, like every other government-run-don’t-measure-us-by-our-failures-but-by-our-good-intentions-program, the education system beast needs more money to make lunch palatable, sustainable, organic, and “better” for the “poor kids” who “only have this one meal a day.”

    Cross-posted at politicaljunkieMom.

     
    • Kdaunt 4:22 PM on 03/19/2010 Permalink | Reply

      I just have to add my 2 cent’s worth. I taught for five years in the early 80’s. Kindergarten and 1st grade. Typical lunch room conversation always touched on salaries and how important teachers are, etc. etc. (you know, for the children). My wife at the time was a branch manager for a savings and loan. We often compared notes, and I became convinced that my college courses did not prepare me as well as her management training would have. Teachers are, basically, front line managers. And when my wife and I compared our salaries, pro-rated by month, because I worked two fewer months than she, we made about the same. I once said, in the lunch room, that I’d take a pay cut if they made my classes smaller (I had from 28 to 36 children in my first grade class during that year). I was kicked out of the break room.

  • backyardconservative 8:01 AM on 03/08/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , education,   

    Obama Student Loan Takeover/Bailout 

    A secretive process. Last minute limited debate if any. Giving us worse service at higher cost. With no choice. Is there a pattern here?

    WSJ with the latest planned abuse of Reconciliation by Democrats. Attention parents with college-bound students. Attention taxpayers.

    Democrats are hijacking democracy.

     
  • backyardconservative 9:35 AM on 03/04/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education,   

    PC Misfires at LA School 

    For years political correctness has allowed for no self-criticism of liberal icons and causes, while demonizing conservatives at the drop of a hat. For years liberal teachers have had no compunction indoctrinating children rather than teaching in a real spirit of inquiry. So it comes as no surprise that Black History Month in Los Angeles schools is yet another opportunity for proselytizing for just another lifestyle choice. The surprise is that the superintendent is actually going to make a  judgment on the role models chosen by some grade school teachers.

    That’s laudable. Finally PC is incorrect.

    Does this herald a new day for back to basics in education and teaching the golden rule?  The sad but amusing part of the story is that those who make the charge slip back into predictable PC-speak. You see, the teachers are white males. The charge is raaaacism.

     
    • rubyslipperblog 12:57 PM on 03/04/2010 Permalink | Reply

      OJ Simpson? Oh my nerves. The rationalizations in that article for some of the role models selected make me cringe.

      • backyardconservative 1:31 PM on 03/04/2010 Permalink | Reply

        It’s really sad. I am sure there are many worthy role models, many local ones, whom they could choose to highlight. But the celebrity often gets the nod.

        • rubyslipperblog 2:34 PM on 03/04/2010 Permalink | Reply

          I am glad the teachers had the courage to stand up and say these are not role models. Naturally that must qualify them for automatic membership in the tea bagging racist club.

    • fuzislippers 2:44 PM on 03/04/2010 Permalink | Reply

      We (conservatives) have been complicit in allowing this to get to the point that has. We don’t like to make a fuss, and we value people’s free speech, etc. The left has played that for all it’s worth, and the PC culture has run rampant on our own rights and liberties as a result. If we don’t start taking these kinds of stands and often, we cannot hope for anything to change.

      What amazes me about this particular story is that there are a host of amazing black Americans who’ve done admirable, heroic things and who are more than worthy of being role models for our nation’s children. That this school selects RuPaul and OJ Simpson is a slap in the face of people who warrant study during Black History Month. I can’t understand why black people don’t stand up and object. What about the truly great people in our nation’s history? Why not select these people to be the focus? What do our kids learn about black people if they are taught that these are the best of the best, the most worthy or study and being “role models”? Outrageous.

  • Jill 8:13 AM on 02/23/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education,   

    Another fun California public school story 

    From the LA Weekly via Mark Hemingway:

    In the past decade, LAUSD officials spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district’s 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance — and only four were fired, during legal struggles that wore on, on average, for five years each. Two of the three others were paid large settlements, and one was reinstated. The average cost of each battle is $500,000.

    During our investigation, in which we obtained hundreds of documents using the California Public Records Act, we also discovered that 32 underperforming teachers were initially recommended for firing, but then secretly paid $50,000 by the district, on average, to leave without a fight. Moreover, 66 unnamed teachers are being continually recycled through a costly mentoring and retraining program but failing to improve, and another 400 anonymous teachers have been ordered to attend the retraining.

    Read the rest at Beltway Confidential.

    Related post here.

     
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