Lowered Standards and Dumbed-Down Schools

As the cost of public education steadily increases, the end product is less and less impressive.  For example, Could You Have Passed the Eighth Grade in 1895? ... or 1924?

Kids in elementary schools are being taught to count on their fingers, rather than memorize addition and multiplication tables.  (If my 4th grade teacher had caught me counting on my fingers, I would have been scolded mercilessly.)  Today there are calculators in every classroom, so why should kids bother doing long division by hand?  That's so 20th century!

Ironically, the classroom with no chalkboard, and a computer at every desk, is a dumbed-down environment for learning.

Today's public school kids probably have never heard of Eli Whitney, the Wright Brothers, Plymouth Rock, Patrick Henry, Ben Franklin, Sherlock Holmes, geography, spelling, or good citizenship, but they probably hear a lot about Gloria Steinem, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Kwanzaa, Spotted Owls, the evils of Styrofoam, and how to do the Macarena.



K-12: No Joy In Reading.  That's the Plan.  [Scroll down]  Examples include:  1) Professor Ken Goodman's "three cueing system" teaches children to rely on semantics or context.  Second, use syntax.  (Last if at all, use phonetics.)  These rules turn the English language into an elusive puzzle you need to solve word by word and sentence by sentence, every time you read.  Goodman is world-famous for this guff.  2) Professor Frank Smith mandated that children must, when not recognizing a word, guess and then skip.  Once a child has acquired the tendency to use these techniques, that child will never be a good reader.  Guessing is a hard habit to break.  Conversely, real readers rarely guess or skip.  (Frank Smith is world-famous for guff about guessing.)  3) Public schools have for many years told children to look for Picture Clues, as if pictures will always be there and always mean one thing.  Furthermore, in the very act of looking at a picture, the child stops looking at the text.  This disruptive habit kills off good reading.  4) Prior Knowledge is constantly emphasized, as if children could use what they already know to decode text they have not seen before.  At best, this turns reading into a puzzle, a detective story.

New Climate Change Science Degree at LSC to Tackle Global Problem.  A new Bachelor of Science degree in Climate Change Science at Lyndon State College, to be launched this fall, will give students skills to confront the pervasive problems caused by global climate issues.  As the impacts of global warming grow and intensify, LSC is addressing a crucial need for trained professionals to find solutions to climate change challenges.

The Editor says...
If you believe "the impacts of global warming" are growing and intensifying, please tell me what those impacts are, since there hasn't been any global warming for the last 20 years.  And how do you suppose you'll make a living solving a problem that does not exist?  Sounds like a government job.

No Thug Left Behind.  "Racial equity" has become the all-purpose justification for dubious educational policies.  Equity proponents view "disparate impact" — when the same policies yield different outcomes among demographic groups — as conclusive proof of discrimination.  On the education front, "equity" does not seek equal treatment for all students.  Instead, it demands statistical equivalence in discipline referrals and suspensions for students of every racial group, regardless of those students' actual conduct.

The Education Every Student Really Needs.  Sixty percent of college graduates don't know any of the steps necessary to ratify a constitutional amendment.  Fifty percent don't know how long the terms of representatives and senators are.  Forty percent didn't know that Congress has the power to declare war.  Such dismal trends continue after graduation:  Forty-three percent of Americans don't know that the First Amendment gives them the right to freedom of speech, and a full third can't identify a single right it gives them.  Our nation is experiencing a crisis in civic education.  A 2016 American Council of Trustees and Alumni report showed that, even though nearly all twelfth-grade students took a course in civics, less than a quarter of them passed a basic examination at "proficient" or above.

New York About to Eliminate Test Meant to See if Teachers Can Read Because RAAAACISM!  There would have been a day when a story saying that teachers were about to be excused from requirements that they be able to read just to avoid charges of racism would have been an entry in an issue of the National Lampoon or even on TheOnion.com.  But today, in this day of truly insane liberalism, the idea that liberals don't care if teachers can read just to avoid charges of racism in hiring is... well, sadly, it's not even a little surprising.  New York's Board of Regents is expected to adopt the new recommendation of an education standards task force espousing that the state dump a teacher candidate literacy exam known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test, according to ABC News.  Sadly, that is where we are in the extreme, left-wing state of New York where state education officials are actually contemplating eliminating a reading test to determine if applicants applying for teaching positions can read at sufficient levels.  So, why would a state board of education want to hire teachers too ill-educated to be a teacher?  Why would a state want to put teachers in the classroom who can't read?  Simple, it's all to satisfy the left's fanatical, self-destructive obsession of seeing racism in every single aspect of life.

New 'Safe Space' Guidelines at University of Arizona Treat Students Like Preschoolers.  The University of Arizona is encouraging college students to cry "ouch!" when they hear something offensive, make artwork about race relations, have story time, play four corners, and take a "time out" if they feel uncomfortable.  A new guide for faculty on "Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom" offers tips for "inclusiveness" and how to establish a "safe space" in the classroom.  The guidelines are voluntary for faculty and were first reported by the College Fix.

Homeschooling: Restoring Parents' Right to Raise Their Children as God Intended.  Years ago, I spoke to a class of black students at a Baltimore middle school.  I asked each student to state their name.  Stunningly, I had to ask several students to repeat their name numerous times before I understood what they were saying.  They mumbled.  I thought, why would their teacher allow such lazy speech?  It is the bigotry of low expectations.

Today's Riot-Prone Mobs Are A Product Of America's Cult-Like Education System.  The last 50 years have produced a huge wave of kids who are functionally uneducated, even if they're at the top in their class at elite schools.  So many are unable to think independently, lack context, and try mightily to adapt to various PC lines.  All of the above must be like living in a fog, or floating in the cold depths of outer space with nothing to hold on to.  It's bound to weaken relationships, and create the loneliness epidemic we are seeing in today's society.  They have learned through their environmental studies, non-stop identity politics, and a steady diet of hostility towards Christianity that if they want to be accepted, they must bow to the politically correct formula.  After so much indoctrination and propaganda, a human being becomes highly malleable and vulnerable to a cult mindset.  Indeed, cults operate by disrupting recruits' capacity to think independently and clearly.

New York Public Schools Prefer Illiterate Teachers.  As bad as New York public schools are presently, they are about to get a lot worse.  The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that, "New York education officials are poised to scrap a test designed to measure the reading and writing skills of people trying to become teachers..."  Now why would the New York Education Department do such a thing?  Care to take a guess?  If you guessed racism, you win the prize.  Actually there is no prize other than the satisfaction that you have an understanding of the liberal mind — where if all is not right with their world, the fault must be due to racism.  They claim that scrapping the "Academic Literacy Skills Test" is necessary "because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing it." [...] By some miracle, the tests appeared to doing what they were designed to — separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.  But the problem is that the chaff is overwhelmingly black and Hispanic.

Eighty percent of Oklahoma City children aged six to 12 don't know how to read a clock because they rely on smartphones and iPads.  Four out of five Oklahoma City students can't read a clock according to a new study.  Many toddlers these days are barely out of nappies before they are playing with touch-screen toys and fiddling with iPads.  But it appears they are now paying the price — because when they arrive at school they have no idea how to read a clock.  A study found that only one in ten children aged between six and 12 in Oklahoma City own a watch, Eerie News reports.

The Editor says...
If a 12-year-old can't tell time on an analog clock face, there's something dreadfully inadequate about his or her elementary education.

College Removes Weight Scale From Campus Gym After Students Call it 'Triggering'.  Canada's Carleton University removed the weight scale from its campus gym after several students complained about being "triggered" by it.  A sign has been put up in place of the scale, explaining that the decision to remove it is "in keeping with current fitness and social trends."  The school's manager of health and wellness programs, Bruce Marshall, told the school newspaper that focusing only on weight had a negative impact when it came to fitness and athletics.

Death by Education.  [Scroll down]  Of course, improving education could be as simple as observing when it was better, yesteryear, and resurrecting that day’s standards.  Note here one report that a college degree today is merely the equivalent of a 1947 high-school diploma; there are also studies indicating that 1950s students had larger vocabularies than more recent generations.

The Left's Romance with Violence.  Modern liberal culture has built an educational system politicizing every study of nature and human value, a system of intellectual slavery that is good only for the master.  The system binds generations of students to an ideological post; and their ability to reason effectively extends no further than the length of their chains, for their instruction is the only truth they need to know.  It is the same for every cultish belief, whether religious or secular, and followers of the liberal faith exhibit their knowledge of that "truth" by memorizing and repeating the catechism in the protected spaces of university campuses and social media ghettos where no one may question his received wisdom.

Anti-logic: the education plague.  In all times and places, logic is never taught to the masses.  There is no intention to do so.  Now, in our "egalitarian society," education carries with it great PR pretension, a fakery that outflanks any other period in history.  Therefore, graduating students wrongly believe they know how to think.

MSU to Ban Whiteboards from Dorm Doors to Reduce Bullying.  Michigan State University plans to ban whiteboards from its dorm-room doors starting next semester to stop students from using them as ways to bully other students, according to an article in the Detroit News.  Kat Cooper, the director of university residential services communications, told the News that there have recently been "several incidents" of whiteboard-aided bullying occurring on campus each month.

How to Short-Circuit a Child's Thinking.  Radical education reformers have made a point of removing context from children's education, and to squash their natural curiosity, undermining their capacity to think.  They have done this in five ways:  1) by withholding the basic tools and codes of learning, such as suppressing phonics for reading, as well as clarity in standard arithmetic; 2) by withholding the content knowledge necessary to connect dots in understanding history and civics; 3) by withholding and demeaning literature that reveals universal human experiences and shared understanding, such as the classics and Shakespeare; 4) by de-stabilizing a child's sense of self and identity.  This is a natural byproduct of de-sexing every child, which happens through mandates to teach kids about transgenderism; and 5) by promoting relational aggression against any child or parent who might resist this totalitarian program.  Radical education reform encourages schools and communities to single out those who disagree with this coercive program as misfits, bigots, or religious nuts.  All of the above would subvert anybody's ability to think clearly.  It leaves children unmoored from reality and in a constant state of anxiety about being socially rejected by peers or teachers for thinking thoughts deemed wrong.

One reason we need school choice you never hear about:  Bullying.  [Scroll down]  It was less than two months into the school year when things started going downhill.  My youngest began complaining daily about being sick.  Over the course of several months, we discovered my son had been horribly attacked, not just once, but multiple times at school.  Once this occurred in the bathroom, but usually it was at recess or outside the classroom.  One boy held my son down and choked him while his friends pinned my son's arms to the ground.  Police reports were filed, meetings with school officials were held, and parents were contacted.  As the year progressed, so did the attacks.  The police told us the boy was too young to discipline and his parents had refused to allow school officers into their home to discuss the attacks.  Education officials told us the boy was losing his recess privileges but he was never suspended.

If the public schools are this close to anarchy, they might as well be closed, and let the private schools teach those who actually want to learn.
School Superintendent Bans Forks In Cafeteria To Keep Students From Stabbing Each Other.  Sto-Rox High School in the gritty Pittsburgh suburb of McKees Rocks is the site of the new fork-free policy, according to local NBC affiliate WPXI.  The superintendent, Frank Dalmas, implemented the policy and other draconian measures last week to keep students in line.  There have been fights involving injuries.  (It's not clear if these fights are fork-related.)  There has been drug use in bathrooms.  In addition to forks, table knives have also been banned from the cafeteria in response to student behavior.  Spoons appear to remain legal — for now.  Also, students at Sto-Rox High can no longer obtain hall passes for bathroom breaks during classes.

America's kids got more stupid in reading, math and science while Team Obama was in charge.  American school kids became more stupid under the Obama administration, according to rankings released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  They recently released the results of a worldwide exam administered every three years to 15-year-olds in 72 countries.  The exam monitors reading, math and science knowledge.  Based on their findings, the United States saw an 11-point drop in math scores and nearly flat levels for reading and science.

No Thug Left Behind.  We have a segment of kids who consider themselves untouchable," said one veteran teacher as the 2015-16 school year began.  At the city's high schools, teachers stood by helplessly as rowdy packs of kids — who came to school for free breakfast, lunch, and WiFi — rampaged through the hallways.  "Classroom invasions" by students settling private quarrels or taking revenge for drug deals gone bad became routine.  "Students who tire of lectures simply stand up and leave," reported City Pages.  "They hammer into rooms where they don't belong, inflicting mischief and malice on their peers."  The first few months of the school year witnessed riots or brawls at Como Park, Central, Humboldt, and Harding High Schools — including six fights in three days at Como Park.  Police had to use chemical irritants to disperse battling students.  "We are seeing more violence and more serious violence," warned Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman.  "Fights at schools that might have been between two individuals are growing into fights between several individuals or even melees involving up to 50 people."

What Ever Happened to Common Sense?  Since academia is ground zero for political correctness and the progressive left, there is also an assault on rational standards in higher education.  Steve Hayward has been chronicling the ongoing absurdity for us.  In a recent posting, we learn that three women videotaped themselves watching the 17th season of ABC'S The Bachelor, then talked about it afterward, and turned it into a Ph.D.!  Even worse, the Ph.D. was awarded by the University of Utah.  The rot in academia has spread from elite private universities in progressive regions all the way to public universities in conservative states.

Instead of Coddling, Universities Should Let Students Grow Up.  One wonders just how far spineless college administrators will go when it comes to caving in to the demands of campus snowflakes. [...] Snowflakes feel as though they must be protected against words, events, and deeds that do not fully conform to their extremely limited, narrow-minded beliefs built on sheer delusion.  This might explain their behavior in the wake of Donald Trump's trouncing of Hillary Clinton.  Generosity demands that we forgive these precious snowflakes and hope that they grow up.  The real problem is with people assumed to be grown-ups — college professors and administrators who tolerate and give aid and comfort to our aberrant youth.

Presidential protestors don't understand America.  Another unique feature of his inauguration was the large number of protestors present.  Most were Millennials, and while some focused on single subjects (e.g., immigration, global warming, ObamaCare), others were still protesting the general election results.  Among the latter group, a common protest sign was "Trump is not my president."  But that statement says more about our education system than it does about those who held the signs.  It affirms the failure of American education in four areas:  American history, government, Constitution, and truth.  First, the sign was intended to express their outrage over the fact that Hillary won the popular vote by 2.9 million votes (out of 128.8 million cast) but lost the presidency — an outcome they believed was unprecedented in the history of American elections.  Only it wasn't.  The identical thing has happened in several other presidential elections.  Shame on schools for not teaching basic American history and why such outcomes occur.

Safe Spaces For Fascists.  UC Davis has a great many safe spaces.  The University of California institution has safe spaces for illegal aliens (the Undocumented Student Center) and for asexuals (the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center) which hosted a "Tampon Tea Party."  It has segregated safe space housing in Campbell Hall for black students and the Women's Resources and Research Center will provide safe spaces and "Mind Spa Services" for anyone offended by Christian views on abortion.  But all the safe spaces were about making life unsafe for everyone who wasn't a left-wing fascist.  A visit to UC Davis is a descent into an Orwellian dystopia obsessed with controlling everything with "resource centers" providing ready resources for censorship.

If You Are Too Triggered by Lessons About the Crucifixion, You Cannot Be a Religious Scholar.  Students in a Bible course at the University of Glasgow are being given trigger warnings before being shown images of the crucifixion — and permission to skip those lessons altogether if they are worried they'll feel too uncomfortable.  Predictably, much of the conversation surrounding this has been focused on the cultural implications of the policy, and how it contributes to creating a generation of weak little snowflakes.  Of course, that discussion is relevant. [...] But the problems with this policy go far beyond the abstract cultural implications.  It's also objectively, indisputably wrong on a logical level — because receiving credits for a class signifies that you have learned enough about the subject matter to earn those credits, and no student in an introductory Bible course could meet that qualification without having learned about the crucifixion.  The crucifixion may be a traumatic Biblical event, but it is also arguably the most monumental one.

16 Most Ridiculously PC Moments on College Campuses in 2016.  [#1] A college had to provide counseling and a "safe space" because some students were so upset that a couple of their classmates were drinking tequila and wearing sombreros at the same time.  Some students at Bowdoin College threw a tequila-themed birthday party where some attendees reportedly wore sombreros.  It was explicitly not a "fiesta" or "Mexican" themed party — but apparently, people drinking tequila and wearing sombreros at the same time is in itself an offense so egregious that it warrants administrative action.

George Washington University Drops U.S. History Requirement — for History Majors!.  A university literally named after George Washington and located in the nation's capital just dropped its requirement for American history, for history majors.  In order to graduate with a history degree from George Washington University (GW) in Washington, D.C., you do not have to study American history.  To make matters worse, the department said they made this stunning decision in order to kowtow to current trends and make history more popular.  This change comes among other updates to the curriculum:  history majors will no longer be required to take foreign language classes, can do an electronic capstone project instead of the traditional thesis, and will not have to study European, North American, or U.S. history.

Why the Education Establishment Hates Cursive.  You rarely see thoughtful praise of cursive.  Even people who are sentimentally inclined to support cursive can't think of many reasons to do so.  I propose a higher truth:  the Education Establishment is always a reliable guide to what is good.  If our socialist professors rail against X, you know that X is educational gold.  Here are eight reasons why cursive is valuable and we should fight to keep it in the classroom: [...]

New tests show US education lags foreign competitors.  Last week and this morning the results of two major international exams came out: the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Program in International Student Assessment.  Together, they offer a mixed bag of overall mediocre news for the United States.  On TIMSS — an exam that tends to use "traditional" questions such as directly multiplying two numbers — American students saw fourth grade math scores dip a bit between 2011 and 2015, eighth grade math scores rise a statistically significant amount, and fourth and eighth grade science scores rise slightly.  We also placed pretty high compared to other countries, though we finished behind Kazakhstan on all tests.

VMI, Famed Military Academy, Giving Cadets Coloring Books for Stress.  A prestigious military school is providing coloring books for cadets to deal with stress.  The Virginia Military Institute, the first state-sponsored military college in the country founded in 1839, offers a "stress busters" program to provide students with yoga classes to "unwind and relax."

Four-Star General Responds to Coloring Book-Gate.  Retired four-star general and superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute J. H. Binford Peay III released a memorandum to cadets, parents, and faculty following the Washington Free Beacon's bombshell report that the famed military academy was offering coloring books to cadets to deal with stress before finals.  The 700-word memorandum discussed the institute's "Behavioral Health Programs," which include "intricate designs" that can be used to color.  The memo was a response to "recent social media," two days after the Free Beacon reported on the school having coloring book stations for cadets to "unwind and relax" before finals, which left the VMI community in turmoil.

VMI Community in Turmoil Over Coloring Book Bombshell.  Cadets, parents, and alumni of the Virginia Military Institute are speaking out after the Washington Free Beacon's exclusive report that the prestigious military academy is offering students coloring books to deal with stress.  Many were outraged at the Free Beacon's report, while others were equally bothered that the school would have coloring books for cadets in the first place.

K-12: Occupied Territory.  The U.S. government published the dark truth about K-12 schools in the famous "A Nation at Risk" report of 1983.  Here is that truth:  if a foreign country created the schools we have now, we would conclude that they were "an act of war" against our children.  A Nation at Risk told us that the simplest way to understand the mediocrity and malaise so common in K-12.  We shouldn't assume there is anything natural about this decline or anything mysterious.  It's a man-made attack by a vicious enemy who infiltrated our schools and made them dysfunctional.  But what country would that be? [...] We all know there's only one country with a tradition of aggressive meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.

Study: 80 percent of students can't differentiate between real and fake news.  Fake news stories aren't limited to elections, but it appears that most students don't have the skills to detect fake stories.  A Stanford University study found most students in junior high through college can't tell the difference between fake news stories and the real thing, according to Fortune.  Stanford's History Education Group tested for "civic online reasoning" — the ability to assess the credibility of information served up by smartphones, tablets, and computers.  From January 2015 through June 2016 the group collected and studied responses from 7,804 students from 12 states.  The schools ranged from "under-resourced" inner-city schools in Los Angeles to "well-resourced" suburban schools in Minneapolis.

Trump's Chance to Fix American Higher Education.  The level of disconnection of the academy from the rest of America is most recently evidenced by the fact that the Ivory Tower — for all its huffy pretenses of superior knowledge and insight — was utterly blindsided by this presidential election's result (along with the equally deluded media), even though the writing was on the wall for all who could read it.  Unmoored, confused and adrift, students and faculty alike are now struggling to come to terms with reality, wondering where they collectively went so very wrong.  They're resorting to calling in the therapy dogs and emotional support counselors to talk them off the ledge and back into the classrooms, where, clearly, some wholesale changes are desperately needed if higher education is going to remain a viable, relevant enterprise.

Safe Spaces.  [Scroll down]  Or, in yet other words, Frank Furedi's brutal new book, What's Happened to the University?, is exactly right about college education these days.  Bad as you think the situation is, Furedi shows that our schools are actually even worse.  Free speech is being hounded to death, while seminary training and religious indoctrination now hold a huge amount of academic real estate, masquerading as ethnic and special-interest studies.  Students are coddled and taught to take that coddling as their deserved right, both in the Club Med settings of the dorm rooms the schools have built for them and in the disturbance-free content of their courses.

The Education System Isn't Designed for Smart Kids.  [Scroll down]  You see, because the system arbitrarily separates students by age, students of varying academic abilities get put on the same track.  The low performers remain consistently behind, in a constant struggle to play catch-up.  And they're the ones who get the majority of the attention of today's schools and education reformers.  But the high performers are also suffering in this system, too.  They're forced to sit in a classroom for seven hours a day going over simple material and concepts at a snail's pace.  Eventually, intellectual atrophy sets in.  That's what happened to me.  I was bored for almost the entirety of my elementary and middle-school career because I already knew, or quickly understood, most of what was being rehashed over and over again.

Fetishizing Victimhood:  How Colleges Promote Psychological Frailty.  Administrators at the University of Florida recently notified students that a 24-hour counseling hotline is available to anyone who feels offended by Halloween costumes.  Other colleges, in an attempt to pre-empt the psychological threat of offensive costumes, have created and distributed Halloween costume guidelines to help students make appropriate choices if they decide to dress up. [...] Of course, this issue is not about Halloween.  More and more colleges are creating "bias response teams" that students can contact if they feel they have been victimized by microaggressions.  There is an increasing demand for safe spaces and trigger warnings to protect students not from physical danger, but from ideas, course material, and viewpoints they may find offensive.  Conservative speakers are being banned from campus because students claim to find them threatening.  Professors are being investigated for not being sufficiently politically correct in class, failing to predict what material might trigger students, or refusing to use gender neutral pronouns that are not even part of the English language.

The Protests and Collegiate Wailing.  Never before having heard a discouraging word, whining, distraught college students seek counseling, safe spaces, and postponement of exams.  To quote the great Iowahawk:  "Trump is what happens when you spent the last 7 Thanksgiving dinners lecturing your angry uncle from your Vox index cards."  For those on the campuses fetishizing victimhood and psychological frailty, congratulations on producing the most laughable generation in history.

Keywords:  crybaby, wimp, thumbsucker, tantrum.
'Safe spaces' balloon on college campuses following Donald Trump win.  Colleges and universities across America responded to the shocking general election victory of President-elect Donald Trump in the only way they know how:  by creating "safe spaces" for distressed students.  The multicultural center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis encouraged students to stop by for a "space to process or reflect" on the election results.

Denial: Salty students storm out of class to protest Trump victory.  At the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus, roughly 100 students walked out of class to protest Trump's victory on Wednesday [11/9/2016].  Gathering in the quad, the students formed a safe space and talked about how "devastated" they were that the Republican nominee upset Hillary Clinton.  There was talk of destruction when one student spoke to the crowd saying, "It literally all has to go.  It has to burn, it has to crash, it has to die."  One black student went up in front of the crowd and admitted he hadn't been to a single class that day because he "could not be in really white spaces."

Universities bring in therapy dogs and Play-Doh to soothe Hillary supporters.  Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani didn't have much sympathy for young people upset over the election of Republican Donald Trump.  'The reality is they're a bunch of spoiled crybabies,' Giuliani, who may become Trump's attorney general, said this morning on 'Fox & Friends.'  Giuliani was responding to reports coming from campuses that colleges are holding 'cry-ins,' bringing in therapy dogs and allowing students to play with Play-Doh or color with crayons.

Schools Offer Counseling, Professors Postpone Exams After Trump Win.  A number of U.S. universities are giving students ample room to grieve in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory Wednesday [11/9/2016].  Barnard, a women's liberal arts college based in New York City, has given professors the opportunity to cancel classes and is offering students counseling after the "heightened emotions" caused by the election.

Yale Professor Allows Students To Skip Exam Due To 'Shock Over the Election Results'.  Apparently, the surprising victory by Donald Trump last night has caused people to react in certain ways.  One of them decided that students shouldn't be forced to take an exam as many of them would be in mourning over the results.  With the election still not called yet — but definitely heading Trump's way — a Yale professor sent out the following email, obtained by Jon Victor, the managing editor of Yale Daily News.

The Editor says...
This is further evidence that the schools exist for the purpose of indoctrination, not education.  Is the university experience designed to prepare young students for the challenges of a career in the real world, or does the university exist to homogenize the opinions of future voters?

Dumb American Youth.  Do you wonder why Sen. Bernie Sanders and his ideas are so popular among American college students?  The answer is that they, like so many other young people who think they know it all, are really uninformed and ignorant.  You say, "Williams, how dare you say that?!  We've mortgaged our home to send our children to college."  Let's start with the 2006 geographic literacy survey of youngsters between 18 and 24 years of age by National Geographic and Roper Public Affairs.  Less than half could identify New York and Ohio on a U.S. map.  Sixty percent could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map of the Middle East, and three-quarters could not find Iran or Israel.

University of Florida Will Provide Counseling to Students Offended by Halloween Costumes.  The University of Florida administration is preparing for upcoming Halloween festivities by reminding students that the school's "Bias Education and Response Team" is prepared to handle complaints about offensive costumes.  Additionally, the school will provide 24/7 counseling services to anyone who is offended by a particular costume.  An administration newsletter published on October 10 warns students "to think about your choices of costumes and themes ..." because "[s]ome Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions.  Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people."

Common Core Update:  Feelings are More Important than Accuracy in Math Answers.  "Any emotion, feeling, statement, or catchphrase is an acceptable answer to most of the problems in the new mathematics standards," a Common Core representative informed interested media outlets.  "As long as students are being sincere, genuine, authentic, and true to themselves at the time they are answering the question, that's all we can ask as educators."  "Who are we to tell anyone that their own mathematical truth is wrong?" the Common Core representative added.  The Babylon Bee reports that these same touch-feely standards will be added into the Common Core standards set for history, biology, and chemistry. English literature teachers apparently are already able to take the students' feelings into account when it comes to filling out report cards.

From Greek tragedy to American therapy.  America's impoverished ancestors at 15 years of age may have rounded Cape Horn on a schooner or ridden bareback over the Rockies.  Not today's therapeutic college youth.  They have been so victimized by racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and other -isms and -phobias that colleges often provide them "safe spaces," outlaw "microaggressions" and demand "trigger warnings" to avoid the un-nice.

'Favors' to Blacks.  Back in the 1960s, as large numbers of black students were entering a certain Ivy League university for the first time, someone asked a chemistry professor — off the record — what his response to them was.  He said, "I give them all A's and B's.  To hell with them."  Since many of those students were admitted with lower academic qualifications than other students, he knew that honest grades in a tough subject like chemistry could lead to lots of failing grades, and that in turn would lead to lots of time-wasting hassles — not just from the students, but also from the administration.  He was not about to waste time that he wanted to invest in his professional work in chemistry and the advancement of his own career.  He also knew that his "favor" to black students in grading was going to do them more harm than good in the long run, because they wouldn't know what they were supposed to know.

This account of being a substitute teacher will make you fear for our future.  If you want to understand how frenetic, shallow, boring and incoherent American public education is, look no further than "Substitute," a new account by the novelist Nicholson Baker of his 28 days filling in for teachers at elementary, middle and high schools in Maine.  It's not entirely clear what possessed Baker to undertake this project.  He begins without much explanation by describing the $34, four-evening class required to be officially certified as a substitute teacher.  Baker learns the logistics of the local schools, what time he might be called in the morning, the dress codes, etc.  But aside from a criminal background check, it seems that not much is required to become a substitute teacher.  Which may not be surprising to anyone who has ever had one.

K-12: Parent X Takes On Principal Zero.  [Scroll down]  Truth is, the dumbing down starts in kindergarten.  Kids don't learn to read promptly.  They don't learn basic information.  By the time they reach ninth grade, they're dumb enough to think this principal's high school is a reasonable place, not the illegitimate fraud it actually is.  What does this principal do all day?  Put another way, what is his real job?  I think the best word is enforcer.  His job is to lay down the law to irritating parents who are slow to get the message.  If they or their kids still have any dreams, they should give them up.  Accept average.

Valedictorians [are] so scary that [one] school may stop honoring them.  A public school district near Louisville, Kentucky has come down with a bad case of what I call "Participation Trophy Syndrome" — or PTS.  The Greater Clark County School Board in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is considering a plan to eliminate the valedictorian system because it creates "unhealthy competition," according to Supt.  Andrew Melin. [...] Symptoms of Participation Trophy Syndrome may vary depending on the seriousness of the outbreak.  However, most of the infected typically receive a trophy or a gold star.  Parents should also be wary of underage athletic programs.  Teams that refuse to keep statistics or scores are more than likely infected.

How do these ultra-fragile people expect to survive college — or a career?
Herky the Hawk's grimace too 'aggressive' for fragile students, Iowa professor says.  A University of Iowa professor is asking the athletics department to make the university's mascot, Herky the Hawk, display friendlier facial expressions, arguing that his angry grimace is traumatizing students.  "I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages," Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics, wrote Tuesday [8/23/2016] in an email to athletic department officials, obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

UNM warns staff that terms like 'crazy,' 'psycho' can 'stigmatize' colleagues.  All faculty and staff at the University of New Mexico must complete a sensitivity training course by the end of this year.  Participants are asked to endorse the concept of gender-neutral restrooms, and to "affirm that individuals may use whichever bathroom that aligns with their gender identity."  The course also teaches participants to avoid terms such as "crazy," "psycho," "schizo," and "bipolar" because they might "stigmatize" colleagues who are dealing with psychiatric issues.

Middle Schoolers Quizzed on Words 'Popo, Bling Bling, True Dat'.  Some middle school students in Georgia got a lesson in slang from the streets this week and some parents are not pleased.  WSAV-TV is reporting a class at Godley Station School got quizzed on words like "punked," "popo," "true dat" and "bling bling."  A parent posted the quiz online and now many are questioning what arrived on the desks of some Savannah-Chatham students this week.

College ditches Cinco de Mayo celebration because of 1 student complaint.  A student at Framingham State University in Massachusetts filed a report to the Bias Incident Response Team this spring, claiming the campus had overtly disrespected Latino and Mexican Culture.  What was so offensive?  For starters, the cafeteria decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and even put up decorations.  Just a few weeks earlier, the Student Union Activities Board had thrown a similarly themed birthday party for the school mascot, Sam the Ram.

'Green Lives Matter' college course title has some critics seeing red.  [Scroll down] 'Green Lives Matter' isn't the only eccentrically named course offered at the school[:]  university administrators encourage faculty to develop creative titles for mandatory freshmen seminars, according to [social sciences dean Scott] Furlong.  Freshmen can also choose to enroll in "Food Politics," "The Science and History of Monsters" and "From Disney's Pocahontas to the NFL: Stereotypes and the Realities of the First Nations People."

Liabilities of Liberalism.  The capitalist-turned-leftist phenomenon is readily seen on today's college campuses.  Undergraduates, despite attending some of the most prestigious universities in the world, tear up like petulant children at the slightest of slights.  Where else but in bountiful America could students at one of the country's most expensive colleges complain about racist cafeteria food?

Fancypants College In Cleveland Offers Safe Space For Students Traumatized By Republican Convention.  Case Western Reserve University is providing a "safe space" for students who are upset about this week's Republican National Convention.  The fancypants private school in Cleveland — where tuition, fees and room and board cost $60,304 per year — is located just over 4 miles from Quicken Loans Arena, where the GOP convention is occurring.

Is it becoming too hard to fail?  Schools are shifting toward no-zero grading policies.  School districts in the Washington area and across the country are adopting grading practices that make it more difficult for students to flunk classes, that give students opportunities to retake exams or turn in late work, and that discourage or prohibit teachers from giving out zeroes.  The policies have stirred debates about the purpose of issuing academic grades and whether they should be used to punish, motivate or purely represent what students have learned in class.  Some regard it as the latest in a line of ideas intended to keep students progressing through school and heading toward graduation, akin in some ways to practices like social promotion.

Law prof: microaggressions can be evidence of discrimination.  An article in an academic law journal claims that microaggressions have such pernicious effects that they can even rise to the level of illegal harassment.  Boston University School of Law professor Ronald Wheeler lists several examples, such as asking a married man if his wife was with him, asking a gay man which bars he frequents, or asking "how may I help you, sir?"

Can we have a do-over with the mainstream media?  People are beginning to notice that the media is not addressing the real world, but their own political leanings, and truth and clarity and honesty are not to be found.  Everybody's got an agenda, and truth just isn't in it. [...] This is at the same time that the ways media reaches us are fracturing and changing before our eyes.  Do you read the same blogs or refer to the same sources as you did last year?  And how much faith do you have that what you read is actually true?  Do you know how to surf through the media rejecting the false and saving the real, and is the real real?  Certainly our schools are not teaching our young what information is and what it is not, and how to manage the information we receive.  They are not taught how to distinguish propaganda from truth, nor falsehood from reality.  And it shows in the chaos emerging from the campuses.

Michigan college drops math, considers diversity course instead.  Students at Wayne State University no longer have to take a single math course to graduate, and may soon be required to take a diversity course, instead.  "This decision was made largely because the current (math) requirement is at a level already required by most high school mathematics curriculum," the school explained in an announcement to students obtained by The Detroit Free Press.

Report: lots of absent kids, but fewer school suspensions.  New government numbers offer a mixed snapshot of progress for the nation's schoolchildren — with worrisome figures on how many students miss school, stubborn disparities on discipline, but encouraging strides in cutting the overall number of suspensions.

I'm not giving students 'trigger warnings'.  The day I'm forced to offer "trigger warnings" before teaching is the day I stop teaching.  To insist that I, or any other teacher, warn students that the material in a class might upset them defeats the purpose of education.  Colleges and universities must remain institutions that inflame curiosity and, by their very existence, disturb those who enter their gates.  But if trigger warnings become a perfunctory, sanctioned and unopposed knee-jerk reaction — however well-meaning — to precisely the kind of discomfort, dissatisfaction, disruption and disturbance of the peace that is the mission of authentic education, then I'll call it quits.  If that day arrives, I'll be done with classrooms and will hold lessons in my house, or in the woods or on the city streets.  Education is not designed to reassure; its job is not to soothe but to disturb — otherwise intellect and emotion both remain inert and unmoved.  If you protect the unexplored intellectual and psychological landscapes within yourself, you end up with a wilderness.

School bars honors insignia at graduation to protect underachievers' feelings.  A Texas high school forbids overachieving students from wearing National Honor Society stoles at graduation because officials fear it might alienate other kids.  The principal at Plano Senior High School in Plano confirmed on Tuesday [5/31/2016] for a local ABC affiliate that NHS insignia is prohibited at its June 9 ceremony.  The prestigious distinction is allowed at other schools in the area.  Students who qualify to wear the special stole have a GPA of 3.6 or higher and were heavily involved with community service projects.

N.C. school board votes to stop naming valedictorians due to 'unhealthy' competition.  A North Carolina school board has voted to stop naming high school valedictorians and salutatorians in an effort to reduce "unhealthy" competition among students.  The Wake County school board unanimously gave initial approval Tuesday [5/31/2016] to a policy that would prohibit principals from naming the two top-ranking students in a graduating class after 2018, The News & Observer reported.  "We have heard from many, many schools that the competition has become very unhealthy," school board Chairman Tom Benton told the paper in an interview.  "Students were not collaborating with each other the way that we would like them to.  Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans."

The Great Critical Thinking Dodge.  On an open house day at a private school in the area I once heard a teacher describe the course she taught as "Math With Numbers".  Huh?  It would have been a couple of minutes of real fun getting her to explain how you could do math without numbers but I didn't have the energy for it.  Progressives, especially Progressive educators (which most are) are blatherskites.  They specialize in terms like "ability status" (unwarranted pride in getting a good mark) or confusing labels like "Sociolinguistics" (hint:  another term for the same thing is "communicative competence".)  They bang on and on about a fourth grader's "portfolio" and write a 75,000-word thesis for their doctorate on the spacing of monkey bars.  There's nothing, I've often reflected, that you're going to learn from the way these people think in any language you're going to understand and so, I don't chat them up.

N.C. school board votes to stop naming valedictorians due to 'unhealthy' competition.  A North Carolina school board has voted to stop naming high school valedictorians and salutatorians in an effort to reduce "unhealthy" competition among students.  The Wake County school board unanimously gave initial approval Tuesday to a policy that would prohibit principals from naming the two top-ranking students in a graduating class after 2018, The News & Observer reported.  "We have heard from many, many schools that the competition has become very unhealthy," school board Chairman Tom Benton told the paper in an interview.  "Students were not collaborating with each other the way that we would like them to.  Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans."

Feds Order Colleges to Stop Checking Criminal/School Discipline History Because it Discriminates Against Minorities.  The Obama administration has ordered the nation's colleges and universities to stop asking applicants about criminal and school disciplinary history because it discriminates against minorities.  Institutions are also being asked to offer those with criminal records special support services such as counseling, mentoring and legal aid once enrolled.  The government's official term for these perspective students is "justice-involved individuals" and the new directive aims to remove barriers to higher education for the overwhelmingly minority population that's had encounters with the law or disciplinary issues through high school.

The Week in Pictures:  False ID Edition.  Since we're now in the age of "self-identifying," college students will no longer need to get false IDs to buy beer.  I say every bar in America must serve anyone who self-identifies as 21 years old.  And why stop there?  Abolish driver's licenses:  anyone who self-identifies as a driver should be allowed on the road.  It will solve the controversy over whether to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens.  For that matter, why have citizenship qualifications at all?  If you self-identify as an American, you're in.

Feds push colleges to downplay applicants' criminal backgrounds.  The U.S. Department of Education is encouraging colleges to reconsider how they ask applicants about their criminal histories, suggesting questions about prior convictions or arrests may not be necessary or can be delayed.  In a letter sent to college and university leaders Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. cited a similar movement among businesses and the federal government to defer questions about criminal history in the hiring practice, noting that doing so can provide a second chance for those with a previous arrest record.  "The college admissions process shouldn't serve as a roadblock to opportunity, but should serve as a gateway to unlocking untapped potential of students," Mr. King said.

Liberal indoctrination is working:
College Students Can't Explain The Difference Between Man And Woman.  A new video shows Seattle University students struggling to say how men and women are different, if they're even different at all.  The Family Policy Institute of Washington released a video this week where it interviewed students at Seattle University about gender identity and transgender bathrooms.  The students soon struggle to explain how gender is actually fluid ... kinda.  "I don't think there is really any one way to distinguish between a man and a woman, and I don't think it's necessary," one student says.

The only word this French teacher knows is 'bonjour'.  A Texas high school teacher who teaches French could have to bid adieu to his job — because he doesn't know how to speak the language.  Albert Moyer has been teaching French classes at the Houston Independent School District's Energy Institute High School for about five months, but the only word he knows how to speak is "bonjour," students told local TV station KHOU.  "I thought it was a joke, I couldn't believe this was happening," said Sharonda White, whose son Nathanial is in one of Moyer's classes.  Nathanial said his teacher, who only took one year of French in high school, can't even answer any of the students' questions.

High school French teacher reportedly doesn't speak French.  Albert Moyer, a French teacher at Houston Independent School District's Energy Institute High School, is under fire for not actually speaking the language he teaches.  Moyer told KHOU his experience includes just a year of high school French.  Moyer was hired after the school's longtime French instructor, Jean Cius, was removed in December following a dispute.  Cius said he now just monitors the halls at another Houston school.  "I feel so bad for the taxpayers because they're paying me for not doing anything at all," Cius said.

Why the Left Loathes Western Civilization.  This month, Stanford University students voted on a campus resolution that would have their college require a course on Western civilization, as it did until the 1980s.  Stanford students rejected the proposal 1,992 to 347.  A columnist at the Stanford Daily explained why:  Teaching Western civilization means "upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations."  The vote — and the column — encapsulated the left's view:  In Europe, Latin America and America, it loathes Western civilization.  Wherever there is conflict between the West — identified as white, capitalist or of European roots — and the non-West, the left portrays the West as the villain.

A Liberal Magazine Just Spilled the Beans about K-12 Education.  This upscale progressive magazine ran a super-long, super-detailed article titled "The Math Revolution."  It basically wanted to proclaim the happy news that extraordinary things are taking place in American education.  The Atlantic fell all over itself with enthusiasm. [...] Then the writer gave it away:  "The students are being produced by a new pedagogical ecosystem — almost entirely extracurricular — that has developed online and in the country's rich coastal cities and tech meccas."  Ooh.  Please savor the words "almost entirely extracurricular."  In other words, these superior, successful math students are not in essence attending American public schools.  They are going outside of American public schools, to something separate, uncontaminated, and therefore superior.  And why would that be necessary?  Because American public schools, for many decades, have been a killing field for mathematical achievement.

University investigates April Fools' newspaper because it hurt a grad student's feelings.  The University of Wisconsin-Superior's Debbie Cheslock filed a "formal grievance" against her school paper, the Promethean, after it ran an April Fools' edition that included "demeaning language," the Duluth News Tribune reports.  Now the school is investigating the paper for "unethical and unprofessional journalism" that shows "disrespectful and offensive language," according to a since-scrubbed Facebook post by the administration.

UCLA Chalk Writings: 'Transgenderism Is A Mental Disorder' And 'ISIS Is Islamic'.  The University of California, Los Angeles has been graced with chalk writings speaking out against transgenderism, ISIS, and college education.  Images posted to the UCLA Transfer Students Facebook page show chalk writings of the words "ISIS Is Islamic," "Transgenderism is a mental disorder", and "Higher Education Is A Privilege Not a Right."  Near Murphy Hall, home UCLA's Registrar, a chalk writing denouncing law professor Jerry Kang, who also serves the vice chancellor of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, appeared.  On another sidewalk, the chalk writing said, "Stop the jihad on campus."

University Bans The Use Of Chalk Because Someone Wrote 'Trump' On The Ground.  The special little snowflakes on college campuses are at it again.  This time, they've got their sights set on the latest threat to civilization:  chalk.  DePaul University officials are banning the practice of "chalking" after the school's College Republicans organized a chalking campaign on campus, during which offensive phrases such as "Make DePaul great again," "Blue Lives Matter," and "Trump Train 2016" were written on the campus' sidewalks.  Oh, the horror.  One student even claimed the messages made them feel "attacked".  "It's sad that even at a school as diverse and accepting as DePaul, I still feel attacked," the student wrote on DePaul's Facebook page.

Loophole for teachers?  Bill would let students skip state testing with doctor's note.  An education bill awaiting Georgia Gov.  Nathan Deal's signature is raising concerns it could be used as a legal loophole to help educators cheat the system.  Senate Bill 355 allows students to opt out of taking mandatory state tests if they are diagnosed with a life-threatening or serious health condition or if they have a doctor's note.  Some argue it would be easy to score a doctor's note and warn — in a state rocked just three years ago by a cheating scandal — it could be used as a way for educators to nudge certain students to skip on test day, to keep classroom scores up.

Dictatorship Of The Dimwits.  Below, an extraordinary short video making the rounds.  A 5'9" white guy goes onto the University of Washington campus and asks students to explain why he isn't a 6'5" Chinese female child in first grade.  They can't do it.  They are so afraid of being judgmental, and offending against the sacred dogma of Self-Definition that they are unable to deny anything he claims about himself.  [Video clip]

College students struggle to tell a white man he isn't a Chinese woman.  If a man identifies as a woman, then can a white person identify as Chinese?  Or a short person as tall?  That's what Joseph Backholm, director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, went to the University of Washington to find out.  After Washington state enacted a law forcing business owners to extend bathroom use to those who identify as the opposite gender,Mr. Backholm asked several students at the Seattle campus whether he can similarly identify as a different race, age or height.  "There's been a lot of talk about identity lately, but how far does it go, and is it possible to be wrong?" Mr. Backholm says in the four-minute video.

Attacking Our Nation's Founders.  During Sen.  Bernie Sanders' campaign visit to Liberty University, he told the students that our nation was created on racist principles.  Students at a Christian-based university, such as Liberty, do not often hear the founders-as-racists argument.  But it is featured at many other universities, as well as primary and secondary schools. [...] Ignorance of our history, coupled with an inability to think critically, has provided considerable ammunition for those who want to divide us in pursuit of their agenda.  Their agenda is to undermine the legitimacy of our Constitution in order to gain greater control over our lives.  Their main targets are the nation's youths.  The teaching establishment, at our public schools and colleges, is being used to undermine American values.

Stanford Students Fight Campus Groupthink.  [Scroll down]  Eighth graders in 1912 were likely better equipped with foundational knowledge and tools of learning than college students today, as this exam from Bullitt County, Kentucky suggests.  Gutting knowledge of Western civilization doubtless has had a major destabilizing effect on society.  It polarizes those who possess this knowledge versus a growing class of intellectual have-nots, who have been cultivated by education reforms that have chipped away so mercilessly on accessible knowledge and free inquiry.  A shroud of ignorance has been falling on students for generations now, at least since John Dewey advocated for an educational system that would for all practical purposes turn citizens into drones who would serve a central elite.

Students Can't Remember A Past They Never Learned.  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," George Santayana tells us.  The philosopher's statement poses a unique problem for many top U.S.  colleges, where students and faculty have pressed for some time to ensure that they never learn about their past in the first place.  The latest example is Stanford University, where an attempt is underway to suppress the recognition of Western civilization.  Students at Stanford want to reinstate the subject as a core curriculum course.  Some students are fighting it.

The Editor says...
The surest (but certainly not the easiest) way to take complete control of your child's education and curriculum is to undertake home schooling.  That's really the only way to guarantee your child will be taught history and civics, not to mention sensible math, critical independent thinking, and solid reading skills — without the political indoctrination that public schools insert into every subject.  I speak from experience:  The long-term results are excellent.

Killing Knowledge in K-12.  John Dewey and his socialist brotherhood, a hundred years ago, decided they would use the public schools to transform the entire society.  They first had to seize control of what is taught in K-12 classrooms.  Dewey and his successors settled on two major strategies for controlling what educators call "content."  First, they discarded as much of the traditional curriculum as possible — i.e., knowledge was thrown out the window by the boxload.  Secondly, they invented many techniques for scrambling classroom instruction so that knowledge was no longer taught efficiently.  So we have here, across a wide front, a well organized war against knowledge and the transmission of knowledge.  Dumbed down schools were created intentionally in order to create dumbed down students.  That, my research suggests, is the horrible reality.[...] Where does all this go?  The American people are increasingly like a big blob of jelly.  They can't think critically because they don't know much.  If leaders lie to them, who is going to realize this?  If the media tell them only half of what's going on, how could they know the difference?

California Auditor Slams Universities for Favoring Non-Residents by Lowering Standards.  The Golden State has been shirking its responsibility to educate young Californians by increasingly relying on non-residents' higher tuition to keep the university budgets flush.  All the major newspapers had front page stories on Wednesday [3/30/2016] about the State Auditor's report finding admission standards were lowered for non-residents which kept out better qualified Californians.  Auditor Elaine Howle said the University of California system "failed to put the needs of residents first."  The shrinking percentage of resident students at taxpayer-supported state universities is not news.  Parents of rejected students have been complaining for years with little response from Sacramento.

American Students Don't Need Basic Algebra Because It's Too Hard, Liberal Arts Professor Declares.  An emeritus political science professor at taxpayer-funded Queens College in New York City has a new book hot off the presses arguing that requiring American students to pass a course in basic algebra as a graduation requirement is a cruel deterrent that causes millions of students to drop out of high school.

How can I possibly grade these students?  [Scroll down]  When I ask students how often they have read a newspaper, one student proudly stated that he does not read the New York Times because it is owned by "rich people."  Clearly, the left has a devoted follower.  In addition, many of these college students have never learned capitalization rules, so "White House" is not capitalized, nor is "American," "Christian," or "English." [...] Specious logic and convoluted sentences describe the vast number of submissions that I must wade through each week.  But no one will truly acknowledge the elephant in the room:  that these students are totally unprepared for college.

Why Are We Dumbing Down the SAT?  [Scroll down] Mikhail Zinshteyn, writing about the new test for the Atlantic, put the matter less obliquely.  "Obscure vocabulary, colloquially known as 'SAT words,' has been cut from the new test."  The assumption that many SAT words were genuinely obscure cries out to be challenged.  There is a difference between words that are obscure because they are seldom used in general-interest writing and words that appear obscure to those who haven't read much.  The winning words of the Scripps National Spelling Bee — e.g, nunatuk, scherenschnitte, stichomythia, cymotrichous, and serrefine — belong in the former category.  The sort of words that appear on Vocabulary.com's list of the "300 Most Difficult SAT Words" — e.g., accost, flagrant, instigate, ostracism, and penchant — belong very squarely in the latter.

Our Poorly Educated Electorate.  Nearly half of college graduates do not know the correct term lengths of Congress.  One-third of college graduates, and more than half of the general population, cannot identify the Bill of Rights as a group of constitutional amendments.  The results are grave, but they are not surprising considering the poor curricular quality in high-school and college education.  The Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress has shown that virtually all eighth graders, and 75 percent of high-school seniors, are not proficient in civics.  The DOE has since dispensed with the high-school exam, but ACTA's recent surveys of college graduates show that eight years of education, from middle school to a bachelor's degree, matter little when it comes to proficient civic knowledge.  Of the more than 1,100 college and university curricula that ACTA studies annually, only 18 percent require a course in U.S. history or government.

A Crisis in Civic Education.  At present, a majority of the four-year college graduates answering a multiple-choice survey were unable to identify the method for amending the Constitution or the process for presidential impeachment.  Nearly half failed to identify the correct term lengths for the houses of Congress.  Ten percent thought that Judith Sheindlin — "Judge Judy" — is on the Supreme Court.  A Crisis in Civic Education offers recommendations to colleges, alumni, foundations, and lawmakers to turn from civic illiteracy to vibrant, empowered participation in the nation's civic process.

Michigan Schools To Let Students Choose Gender, Name And Bathroom.  Michigan's State Board of Education has drafted a guidance that would push the state's schools to allow all students, regardless of parental or doctoral input, to choose their gender, name, pronouns, and bathrooms.  Spearheaded by board president John C. Austin and signed by state superintendent Brian Whiston, the guidance informs Michigan public schools that only the students themselves — i.e. not their parents or doctors — can determine what their individual gender identities are.  "The responsibility for determining a student's gender identity rests with the student.  Outside confirmation from medical or mental health professionals, or documentation of legal changes, is not needed," the guidance states.

D.C. looks to communist Cuba for lessons to improve literacy.  The D.C. Public Schools System is looking to Cuba for lessons to improve literacy in the nation's capital.  D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson have toured several schools in Havana during a five-day visit to the communist-run island nation, which boasts a 99.8 percent literacy rate.  "Given Cuba's emphasis on a strong education, I know there's a lot we can learn from each other," Ms. Bowser said Tuesday [2/23/2016] from Havana in a conference call with reporters.  "There's a focus on teaching here and making sure all citizens have access to high-quality teaching."

The Editor says...
Instead of concentrating on literacy per se, they should find out what happens to Cuban school kids who don't do their school work, sleep in class, attack the teachers, cheat on tests with their cell phones, sell drugs on campus, and let their pants droop down to their knees.  When order and discipline is restored to American classrooms, literacy will approach 100 percent here, too.

Weimar America.  No one can figure out how and why America's youth have borrowed a collective $1 trillion for college tuition, and yet received so little education and skills in the bargain.  Today's campuses have become as foreign to American traditions of tolerance and free expression as what followed the Weimar Republic.  To appreciate cry-bully censorship, visit a campus "free-speech" area.  To witness segregation, walk into a college "safe space."  To hear unapologetic anti-Semitism, attend a university lecture.  To learn of the absence of due process, read of a campus hearing on alleged sexual assault.  To see a brown shirt in action, watch faculty call for muscle at a campus demonstration.  To relearn the mentality of a Chamberlain or Daladier, listen to the contextualizations of a college president.  And to talk to an uneducated person, approach a recent college graduate.

How a Generation Lost Its Common Culture.  My students are know-nothings.  They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent.  But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation.  They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture. [...] Our students' ignorance is not a failing of the educational system — it is its crowning achievement.  Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings.

Dumb, Dumber and Democrat.  The Democrats purposely created a narrative of nasty and divisive class envy, destroyed our educational system particularly through Common Core, and wildly helped millions of people become addicted to a life of entitlement.  These do-gooders demonically created a dependent constituency who will obediently be there when it is time to pull the voting lever, whether legal or not.  The two pillars sustaining today's Democratic Party are the elites and the losers.  Remember the so-called and once important "middle class"?  Although occasionally still referenced in stump speeches, these hard-working blue-collar factory laborers, veterans, police and fire-fighters have been relegated to the back of the Democrats' busload of newly-found victims.  "Black Lives Matter," men in dresses and harboring dangerous illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities are the new protected class and assured Democrat voters.

Shallow Pre-College Reading Assignments Pave the Way for Social Justice Agenda.  More than 350 colleges assigned a book to their freshmen last summer.  That is, each college picked one book as a common reading.  That book was sent on a large mission.  Its first job was to create community among the students by giving them something beyond social networking as a shared experience.  The book is also meant to introduce pre-freshmen to college-level reading.  Behind this lurks a third hope:  engaging the half-hearted so they don't drop out.  The books college pick, however, often betray these purposes.

Universities Assign Simplistic, Childish Books as Common Reading for Incoming Freshmen.  Reading a book is like going to a dinner party.  You agree not just to spend time with your host, the author, but with all the other invited guests — your fellow readers.  If the party goes well, you meet people you like, and you definitely have something to talk about.  Colleges and universities have caught onto this idea. From Princeton University to tiny Hesston College in Kansas ("Start here, go everywhere"), some 350 institutions of higher learning this year assigned a single book that all the freshmen were asked to read.  As the colleges see it, these common reading programs "build community."  Between the hors d'oeuvres and the demitasse, the students will discover their mutual admiration of... Homer, Proust, Hemingway?  No, not quite.  The host books of these community-building parties definitely aren't classics.

Study: College Kids Spend A Fifth Of Class On Phones Instead Of Learning.  According to a new study, college students are spending one-fifth of their time in class on their cell phones or digital devices when they should be learning.  The study was done by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Researchers say the main culprit is texting.  Almost nine out of 10 students reported that texting was their main diversion during class.  About three-quarters say they emailed or checked the time on their phones.

Education Emergency: Our Children (and US) at Risk.  In my view, the number one criteria for determining whether the educational system has been a success or not is: do these graduates have the ability and inclination to do Critical Thinking?  Google founder Vint Cerf says that there is no more important skill to teach than Critical Thinking.  He calls it the one tool we have to defend ourselves from the onslaught of misinformation we are saturated with today.  He argues that Critical Thinking would enable citizens to be more thoughtful about what information they accept, then process, and then use.  That skill is a major benefit in literally every aspect of life.  My experience is that while the education system gives lip-service to Critical Thinking, when the rubber-meets-the-road, it's not really happening.  An easy test is to ask any college or high school student today what they think about global warming.  Do they provide a thoughtful, thorough analysis — or simply regurgitate propaganda?

Obama's Hug-A-Thug Policies Backfire In NYC, St. Paul Schools.  New York public schools are dealing with escalating classroom chaos after adopting minority-friendly discipline policies that the Education Department pushed to close so-called "racial disparities" in suspensions and expulsions.  Educrats have been threatening school districts with lawsuits and funding cuts wherever if finds disparities.  High-school kids are getting "warning cards" for offenses that normally would result in a criminal summons and suspension, such as drug possession and disorderly conduct.  Liberal New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says crime is down in the schools, but it's not.  It's just that schools are ignoring it.  The only thing that's down is suspensions.

Many NYC students [are] so tech-oriented they can't even sign their own names.  Many Big Apple students, including the children of several state lawmakers, can't even sign their own names, it was revealed at an educational budget hearing in Albany today [1/27/2016].  "Not only is it sad, but it's a security issue," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-SI/Brooklyn).  She told Board of Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia that students have become so tech-oriented that they never learn how to sign their John Hancock, which renders them unable to properly ink contracts, checks and credit cards.

Colleges Are Dropping Entrance Exam Requirements.  An increasing number of colleges and universities across the nation are dropping the requirement for entrance exams.  Bob Schaeffer, public education director at the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, also called FairTest, says abandoning entrance exams leads to a higher-achieving and more diverse pool of applicants.  He says entrance exam scores do not accurately predict future student achievement.  "More than 30 colleges and universities dropped ACT and SAT admissions testing requirements this year, a [record annual] pace," Schaeffer said.

Report: Mass Grade Inflation Found in NYC Public Schools.  Grade inflation is rampant in New York City's (NYC) public schools, reports a new study by StudentsFirstNY.  Even though most NYC public school students are failing state tests, they are receiving passing grades for coursework at their schools, according to the authors of "The Hidden Truth: Massive Grade Inflation Conceals Underperformance in NYC Schools."  In schools where fewer than 10 percent of students pass state tests, 85 percent of students were passing their school's coursework, the study found.  This is not only happening in failing schools; it's true for many of NYC's public schools, according to the report.

Racial bean-counting is making schools unsafe.  President Obama's acting secretary of education, John King, hijacked Martin Luther King Jr. Day to accuse public schools of racism because black students are punished more often and more harshly than others.  The Obama administration has been threatening school districts with lawsuits and federal-funding cuts wherever it finds "racial disparities" in who gets suspended or expelled.  But racism isn't to blame.  Black students misbehave more often.  Tragically, school administrators are so fearful of saying it that they're being intimidated into ceding control of classrooms to violent, disruptive students.  That's the story in New York City, where serious crimes in schools are soaring.

My year of terror and abuse teaching at a NYC high school.  There's nothing dry or academic here.  It's tragedy and farce, an economic and societal indictment of a system that seems broken beyond repair.  The book is certain to be controversial.  There's something dilettante-ish, if not cynical, about a well-off, middle-aged white man stepping ever so briefly into this maelstrom of poverty, abuse, homelessness and violence and emerging with a book deal.  What [Ed] Boland has to share, however, makes his motives irrelevant.  Names and identifying details have been changed, but the school Boland calls Union Street is, according to clues and public records, the Henry Street School of International Studies on the Lower East Side.

Bad NYC high school kids can now 'get away with anything'.  A student at the Adlai Stevenson HS complex in The Bronx was caught in October with seven baggies of marijuana — a violation that in prior years would have resulted in a criminal summons and a suspension.  Instead, a school safety officer handed the student a "warning card."  It asked politely:  "Please bring this card home to your parent(s)/guardian so that you can discuss the matter with them."  The pot was turned over to the NYPD, but the student's name was listed as "John Doe."  This is the brave new world of school discipline in New York City, where unruly kids rule:  "They know they can get away with anything," as several teachers put it.

U California System Encouraging Students to Formally Report 'Unwanted Jokes'.  The University of California system is encouraging its students to report everything from "unwanted jokes" to "teasing" using its online "intolerance report form."  If you hover your mouse over a subsection of the form labeled "hostile climate," it states that "examples include unwanted jokes or teasing, derogatory or disparaging comments, posters, cartoons, drawings, or pictures of a biased nature."

DOJ grants $63 million for social justice school discipline promoted by Bill Ayers.  According to an October 1st statement from Attorney General Eric Holder, "This funding is being awarded as part of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative — a large-scale, multi-agency research effort to build practical, and scientifically-sound, knowledge about effective ways to increase school safety nationwide."  However, according to a review of past and current restorative justice initiatives in schools, the funding appears to be just another effort to expand whole-child social justice reforms touted by far-left progressive educators like William Ayers.  Believing that the American education system is inherently racist and oppressive and students of color only act out because they are victims of that system, Ayers began writing about restorative justice alternatives to school discipline many years ago.

These are high school graduates!  What does this say about the high schools?
Yale Students Sign Petition To Repeal The 1st Amendment.  In shocking hidden camera video, multiple Yale University students signed a petition to scrap the First Amendment.  In under 60 minutes filming on the Yale campus, political satirist Ami Horowitz collected over 50 signatures from Yalies who wanted to repeal a significant part of the Constitution.

Sadness, shame and blame at Yale over First Amendment repeal video.  Members of the Yale University community on Thursday [12/17/2015] responded with a mix of embarrassment, sadness and literal disbelief to a viral video showing students there freely signing a petition that calls for the repeal of the First Amendment.  "It numbs the mind that dozens of Yale students could sign a petition to revoke the First Amendment," freshman Grant Richardson wrote FoxNews.com in an email.  "Besides the fact that the First Amendment lists the most fundamentally important rights we hold as Americans, it is rather embarrassing to think Yalies could not see the irony that they were petitioning away — their right to petition."

Goodbye To All That: Common Core Forces Fiction From US Classrooms, Lowers Test Scores.  The adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in more than 40 states around the country since 2010 has wrought two major changes:  (1) a notable decrease in the use of fiction and literature in America's reading and English classes and (2) lower reading and math scores on the U.S. Department of Education-mandated National Assessment of Educational Progress.

This is Not a Day Care! It's a University!  This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt "victimized" by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13.  It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love!  In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.  I'm not making this up.  Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic!  Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims!  Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them "feel bad" about themselves, is a "hater," a "bigot," an "oppressor," and a "victimizer."  I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen.  That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience!  An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad!  It is supposed to make you feel guilty!

New Report: 30% of Nashville School Children Not Native English Speakers.  Over the past year, Conservative Review has published numerous reports illustrating how the current protracted wave of immigration is unlike anything this country has ever experienced since our founding.  Today, I'd like to draw attention to the following article from the Tennessean demonstrating just how fundamentally transformed the city of Nashville has become in recent years and what it portends for the rest of the country.

The Chickens of Communism Have Come Home to Roost.  Academia has been blotting out the past and revising history for a while but with increased vengeance since Jimmy Carter founded the U.S. Department of Education on October 17, 1979.  Our children's education has depreciated considerably as evidenced by test scores and the quality of mis-educated youth in our country who can barely read or write a complete and coherent paragraph.  But their fingers fly on Twitter in hashtags and 140 characters, staring constantly like robotic drones into illuminated smart devices.

Author on Common Core: 'A Comprehensive Dumbing Down of American Education at Every Level'.  "The Common Core is supposed to be improving state standards in education, but its bigger effect has been a comprehensive dumbing down of American education at every level, from kindergarten through graduate school," Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, said in an interview with CNSNews.com.  Wood is a co-author of Drilling Through the Core: Why Common Core is Bad for American Education, published in September by Pioneer Press.  The book includes Wood's history of the Common Core controversy and critical essays by more than a dozen mathematicians and English scholars.

3rd-Graders Who Studied Chief Keef Also Shown 'Nightmare on Elm St.,' More.  What do Freddy Krueger, Chucky the Killer Doll and Chief Keef have in common?  Each was part of a substitute teacher's educational offerings to South Side elementary school kids, some as young as third grade, the students say.  More questions arose on Tuesday about what was happening in music class at Fiske Elementary School after young students said they were watching horror movies, as well as doing lessons on rappers like Chief Keef.

The Editor says...
Imagine the outrage you'd see in the national news media if a homeschooling family was using this tripe as their curriculum.

A Crisis Our Universities Deserve.  Between the 19th century and the 1950s, the American university was gradually transformed from an institution intended to transmit knowledge into an institution designed to serve technocracy.  The religious premises fell away, the classical curriculums were displaced by specialized majors, the humanities ceded pride of place to technical disciplines, and the professor's role became more and more about research rather than instruction.  Over this period the university system became increasingly rich and powerful, a center of scientific progress and economic development.  But it slowly lost the traditional sense of community, mission, and moral purpose.

Islam, Christianity Are Fundamentally the Same, Prof Writes.  Yale theology professor Miroslav Volf argues that all religions are basically the same — equally prone to fanatical violence and to peaceful love of neighbor — and thus should be treated in exactly the same way.  In the wake of the extraordinarily brutal jihadist attacks perpetrated on innocent civilians in Paris Friday, Volf suggests in an article in the Washington Post that we look at religion as a single reality rather than making distinctions between different religions.

The Editor says...
It's hard to imagine that a man can make a living as a theology professor who believes all religions are the same.

Why some LAUSD teachers are balking at a new approach to discipline problems.  It's another day of disruption on this campus in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has been nationally hailed by the White House and others for its leadership in promoting more progressive school-discipline policies.  The nation's second-largest school system was the first in California to ban suspensions for defiance and announced plans to roll out an alternative known as restorative justice, which seeks to resolve conflicts through talking circles and other methods to build trust.

LA Unified teachers: Suspension ban creating unruly classes.  Teachers in the nation's second largest school district say a new policy aimed at reducing suspensions is also having another effect:  More unruly students in their classrooms.

The Editor says...
Wow.  Who could have predicted that outcome?  Everybody!

Ignoring the Obvious.  Critics of charter schools have often pointed to those schools' ability to expel uncooperative and disruptive students, far more readily than regular public schools can, as a reason for some charter schools' far better educational outcomes, as shown on many tests.  The message of these critics is that it is "unfair" to compare regular public schools' results with those of charter schools serving the same neighborhoods — and often in the same buildings.  This criticism ignores the fact that schools do not exist to provide jobs for teachers or "fairness" to institutions, but to provide education for students.

The 7 Keys To Trapping As Many Americans As Possible In Poverty.  You want to make as many Americans poor as possible?  Then start by... [#5] Screwing Up The Education System: [...] First, it's important to keep pouring money into the public school system.  That gives middle class Americans the false impression that something is being done to improve education; yet it never actually seems to improve education in our public schools.  Additionally, kids who are homeschooled or go to private schools consistently outperform kids who go to public schools, which makes it very important to fight to keep as many children as possible stuck in failing public schools.  A kid who can't read is likely to stay poor.

America's Real Education Woes.  Despite ever-growing educational spending and endless experimentation to discover magic bullets, the recent news from the education front is depressing.  For example, scores on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (the NAEP) showed a lack of progress in reading and math proficiency — only a third of the nation's eighth-graders were "proficient" (or above) in math while the figure was only slightly higher for fourth-graders.  Even worst news comes from Washington DC and New York City.  Both have made expensive efforts to uplift students and close the race-related academic achievement gap.  In DC eighty-two percent of white students met the proficiency standard in English; the corresponding figure for Hispanics was 8%, for blacks it was 4%.  Meanwhile, in New York City the school Chancellor tried to spin truly dreadful outcomes into a "success."  She hailed the substantial uptick in blacks and Hispanics taking the Advanced Placement (AP) tests but her celebration failed to mention that 95% of the Hispanic students and 97% of the African Americans students could not pass a single AP test (and this despite Hispanic students being able to take an AP test in the Spanish language and culture).

Take the Cities Back from Democrats.  The National Assessment of Educational Progress, a survey administered by the U.S. Department of Education, has just released its 2015 report on school performance.  The school districts of most big cities are awful, but two stand out as utter, pathetic failures:  Cleveland and Detroit.  In Cleveland, 90 percent of students are unable to read "proficiently"; 91 percent are non-proficient at math.  Detroit, remarkably, is even worse:  93 percent of kids fail at reading and 96 percent fail at math.

Can You Say Delusional? School District Gives Cs For Doing Nothing.  High school is the place where students can learn grit — the ability to stick with something even when it requires hard work and then doesn't end in complete success.  But now, in Cotati-Rohnert Park school district, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, students no longer have the stress of doing school work.  The grading system for the district has been completely revamped, and students who get a 20% or better are guaranteed a C.

The Ivory Tower Continues to Crumble.  This semester I am teaching developmental reading at a local community college.  This means that most of the students are reading at sixth-grade reading level.  Their writing skills are, at best, very basic.

100 Facts About The Moral Collapse Of America That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
[#80] Average SAT scores have been falling for years, and the level of education that our kids are receiving in most of our public schools is a total joke.
[#81] At this point, 15-year-olds that attend U.S. public schools do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

Americans Are Devoid of Critical Thinking Skills.  If we are to ever bring America back to the point where she is great again, the majority of the citizens are going to have to acquire and hone critical thinking skills.  Why is it imperative for the citizenry to be able to think critically?  Because the mainstream media has abandoned its responsibility of reporting facts in exchange for distracting, distorting, propagandizing and protecting.  The public education system also ran [sic] by liberals, has dumbed down the quality of education in exchange for explicit (non-age appropriate) sex education and revised negative American history.  For these reasons, individuals must master the ability to think critically in order to navigate through the lies and distortions coming from the mainstream media so that we can elect people based on his or her record of accomplishments, stance on important issues, and the substance of his or her rhetoric.

Admitting Dropouts Were Miscounted, Chicago Lowers Graduation Rates.  Chicago Public Schools has lowered its official high school graduation rate following revelations that thousands of dropouts were being misclassified as transfers.  The official rate for 2014 was actually 66.3 percent, not 69.4 percent, officials said late Thursday [10/1/2015].  CPS also revised down the graduation rates for each year dating back to 2011.

California issuing free diplomas to high school students who flunked out.  Plenty of state school systems are struggling with ways to not only keep up with national mandates and restrictions, but to boost their graduation rates so they can maintain their funding and reduce criticism from the public.  California seems to have come up a rather unique, back door approach to the problem.  You could always take tens of thousands of former high school students who flunked out and simply give them a diploma anyway.

California Will Give Free High School Diplomas To Kids Who Flunked Out.  The California High School Exit Exam (CASHEE) was created in 2004, and is intended to make sure that students have a rudimentary grasp of English and mathematics before being awarded a high school diploma, and to counter the phenomenon of students receiving passing grades while learning almost nothing.  The test is hardly complex.  The math test, for instance, only covers 8th grade-level material and can be passed if students answer 55 percent of questions correctly.

Harvard Now Lets Students Choose Whichever Pronoun They Want.  Harvard University has become the latest and certainly the most notable American university to hop on the bandwagon of letting students choose personalized pronouns for themselves.  As reported by The Harvard Crimson, the online registration tool for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) now includes a page where students can input not only their chosen gender but also the specific pronoun they wish to go by.  Besides traditional pronoun sets like "she, her, hers," students can also choose options like "they, them, theirs" (referring to a single person) and "ze, hir, hirs."

The Editor says...
This is what's known as letting the inmates run the asylum.  Students are no longer taught the difference between right and wrong, or between standard and non-standard.  They are now allowed to embrace any trendy new fad that comes along, as long as it's more extraordinary than last year's fad.  These students may someday discover the truth, and the result will be mass confusion and disillusionment.

SAT Scores Hit Four-Decade Low.  Graduating high school students' SAT college admission scores fell again this year — to the lowest level in four decades.  Rapidly growing expenditure on education seems to be producing poor test results.  A record 1.7 million graduating seniors took the SAT test last year.  With a highest possible score this year of 800 on each SAT section, according to the College Board, students scored a worst since 1999 math score of 511, worst since 1972 reading score of 495, and worst writing score since the section was added in 2005.

SAT map
How well do the students in your state perform on the SAT?  Typically, when fewer members of a graduating class take the SAT, the average score tends to be higher.  In all four of the lowest-scoring states, 91 to 100 percent of the graduating classes took the SAT.  In the 12 highest-scoring states, 10 percent of the graduating class or less took the SAT.


Why Home Schooling?  Many public schools not only are dangerous but produce poor educational results.  According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress for 2013, sometimes called the Nation's Report Card, only 33 percent of white 12th-graders tested proficient in math, and 47 percent tested proficient in reading.  For black 12th-graders, it was a true tragedy, with only 7 percent testing proficient in math and 16 percent in reading.  These grossly disappointing educational results exist despite massive increases in public education spending.

Nine Signs of the Impending American Collapse.  There can be no doubt that the university has been in free fall since the radical takeover of its mission in the festering 1960s, though its decline can be traced back to the "progressive," child-centered pedagogy of John Dewey in the early 20th century.  Standards have been lowered to admit those who are unfit for the rigors of post-secondary education; the curriculum has been both diluted and politicized; the campus has become a hotbed of revolutionary sentiment and activism; debate, argument and the free exchange of ideas are no longer part of its intellectual currency as a left consensus has shut down the expression of contrary views; feminist orthodoxy has exerted a castrating effect on university teaching and policy; trigger warnings prioritize feelings over knowledge, infantilizing a student body that must be spared the slightest twitch of emotional discomfort; and draconian language laws meant to combat expressions of "micro-aggression," no matter how vanilla, have prohibited statements like "America is the land of opportunity" or "I believe the most qualified person should get the job."  In short, the utopian ideal of "social justice" has snookered the pursuit of truth and the formation of inquiring minds.

A University in the San Francisco Area Actually Told Students To Call 911 if They Were Offended.  The coddling of special snowflakes in our nation's universities continues, but this time, it's more ridiculous than ever before.  Santa Clara University has literally told their students to call 911 if they were offended — yes, really.

Why I'm Glad I'm Gone from Academe.  [Scroll down]  Students increasingly wanted to be credentialed; learning was incidental.  If one assigned more than two books, for example, the wailing was incessant.  Institutions of higher education became more and more bureaucratized, and did all they could to pound square pegs into round holes.  Schedules became more onerous, and one increasingly found oneself teaching what would formerly have been remedial classes.  Toward the end of my career, I was told to teach subject matter to college undergraduates that I'd learned in high school.  Nevertheless, issues like changes in scheduling, course content, students, etc., were minor irritants.   Unhappily, worse things also occurred.  One was the rise of political correctness.

Teachers overwhelmingly oppose Obama's race-based school discipline policies.  A recent poll conducted by Education Next is revealing some interesting public attitudes about federal directives that force schools to treat black and Hispanic students differently than whites.  In recent years, the Obama administration has forced large metropolitan school districts like the Los Angeles Unified School District to rework suspension and student discipline policies to counter the trend of black and Hispanic students serving more suspensions than whites.  Several districts that complied with Obama's demands and removed "willful defiance" as grounds for suspension have received repeated complaints from parents, teachers and students that unruly students now remain in school, and are causing chaos in the classroom.

The Coddling of the American Mind.  Something strange is happening at America's colleges and universities.  A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. [...] Some recent campus actions border on the surreal.  In April, at Brandeis University, the Asian American student association sought to raise awareness of microaggressions against Asians through an installation on the steps of an academic hall.  The installation gave examples of microaggressions such as "Aren't you supposed to be good at math?" and "I'm colorblind! I don't see race."  But a backlash arose among other Asian American students, who felt that the display itself was a microaggression.  The association removed the installation, and its president wrote an e-mail to the entire student body apologizing to anyone who was "triggered or hurt by the content of the microaggressions."

Here's the proof a NYC high school diploma is worthless.  State officials uncovered astonishing evidence that city high school diplomas are worthless — a Manhattan classroom of 11th-graders reading "The Three Little Pigs," The [New York] Post has learned.  The report from the state Education Department says the classic children's fairy tale was just one of several ridiculously easy reading assignments uncovered at Landmark High School this year.  "'The Three Little Pigs' story was read round-robin style in a grade 11 classroom, which demonstrated limited student access in this class to grade-level text," according to the department's Office of Accountability.

Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional).  Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.  At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers.  So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.  Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.

Disastrous Consequences of Lib Indoctrination from the 60s to Obama.  Churchill said, "If you're not a socialist when you're 20, you have no heart.  If you're not a conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain."  Churchill's point is youths are idealistic.  Liberals (Leftists) have been allowed to exploit the idealistic nature of our youths from kindergarten through college, making everything about fairness and not offending.  High school grads who cannot read their diplomas are well-schooled in guilt and anger over "White Privilege" and "Social Justice."

Let's Admit Obama Is a Marxist Transforming Us Into a Totalitarian Hellhole.  We have, unfortunately, a populace who are not educated in history or politics and we could end up like the Greeks who fell for the attractive promises of socialism.  On July 4th, O'Reilly's Watter's World segment showed perfectly normal Americans on Long Island who are without a clue.  Long Island has one of the finest school systems in the country.  The July 4th segment selects people at random, just anyone walking along, the average American.  An older woman was asked who we declared independence from and she said, "I'm not a history buff."  Another said, "Europe?," then narrowed it down to "France?".

Fiddling Away the Future.  Let's list major problems affecting black Americans.  Topping the list is the breakdown in the black family, where only a third of black children are raised in two-parent households.  Actually, the term "breakdown" is incorrect.  Families do not form in the first place.  Nationally, there is a black illegitimacy rate of 72 percent.  In some urban areas, the percentage is much greater.  Blacks constitute more than 50 percent of murder victims, where roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered each year.  Ninety-five percent of the time, the perpetrator is another black.  If a black youngster does graduate from high school, it is highly likely that he can read, write and compute no better than a white seventh- or eighth-grader.  These are the major problems that face black Americans.

The Penumbra School of Law.  I was watching in horror a series of Mark Dice videos of interviews in which passersby signed petitions to repeal the First Amendment to shut down criticism of Obama because it was all clearly racist[,] petitioned to repeal the Bill of Rights; revealed they didn't know when and why we celebrate the Fourth of July; signed up to ban the American flag and replace it with a New World Order one.  I wanted to believe the people responding were outliers — just ignorant San Diego beachgoers.  Unfortunately there are too many indications they are not, and that this disregard for the Constitution and its protections, this lack of knowledge of our history and how it shaped the Constitution, and why it is important to us, are rife in both the states and the federal government.

City 'fixes' grades for failing high school students.  How do you fix a failing high school?  Change the grades.  Under pressure to boost student achievement, the state-designated "out of time" Automotive HS in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has resorted to rigging Regents exam scores.  The failing scores of five students who took the Regents in January were switched to passing scores of 65 or higher on their transcripts, the city Department of Education has confirmed.

Shakespeare and the decline of America.  There are moments when I want to weep for America.  They often come, now that I think of it, when I read the Washington Post.  Last week, that newspaper ran an article by a long-serving English teacher in Sacramento called Dana Dusbiber, who dislikes Shakespeare so much that she has decided to ignore the curriculum and stop teaching his works: [...]

Mom blasts school: Educate my son!  Annette Renaud, PTA president at the Secondary School for Journalism in Park Slope, is furious that her son got grades of 85 to 95 on his class work but failed Regents exams in the same subjects.  "He wasn't educated," she said.  "He can't compete with students at Millennium, Brooklyn Tech or Stuyvesant.  It's a joke."  She says conditions are bad at the school, with one teacher allegedly selling jewelry instead of holding lessons and another frying doughnuts and leaving to do his laundry.  Just 17 percent of last year's graduates at the 267-student school were deemed college-ready.

'NYC is lost. Totally.'.  The following letter (sent via iPhone) is from Marilyn T., a teacher.  She has worked in the greater New York City area for many years and wants everyone to know how debased and crazy our classrooms have become.  She sums it up this way:  "NYC is lost.  Totally."  Every American should be keenly concerned about understanding and saving New York City, because your own city is probably using the same bad methods and heading toward the same level of failure.

Florida teacher who jammed students' cellphones in classroom suspended 5 days without pay.  A Florida science teacher has been suspended for running a signal jammer to prevent his students from using their cellphones in class.

The Editor says...
Yes, jamming cell phones is illegal in this country, but it is legal in many other places around the world.  But wait — isn't it a science teacher's job to teach science?  What better lesson in applied physics could there be?  These kids in Florida now know that their cellphone service is not infallible.  Their phones can be disabled at any time, either by a prankster or by the government.  Besides, how would the kids know if their cell phones weren't working if they were paying attention in class?  This teacher deserves a medal, not a suspension.

The Education Establishment vs. Black Education.  According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the Nation's Report Card, nationally, most black 12th-graders' test scores are either basic or below basic in reading, writing, math and science.  "Below basic" is the score received when a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level.  "Basic" indicates only partial mastery.  Put another way, the average black 12th-grader has the academic achievement level of the average white seventh- or eighth-grader.  In some cities, there's even a larger achievement gap.  Black students and their parents believe that their high-school diplomas are equivalent to those received by whites.  Therefore, differences in employment or college admittance outcomes are likely to be seen as racial discrimination.  The fact of business is that if seventh- or eighth-graders of any race compete with 12th-graders of any race on civil service exams or the SAT, one should not be surprised by the outcome.

The War against Black Children.  There is a statistic out there that almost half the adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate.  They can't fill out job applications.  They can't read the instructions on a pill bottle.  So when we talk about a war against black children, let's not think first about guns.  Think about the weapon that is doing the most damage.  That would be our public schools.  You cannot have functionality illiterate children at the high school level unless the school system systematically evades teaching those children to read at the elementary school level.  That's exactly what is happening in cities across America.

Atlanta: Why is the media missing the biggest education story of the year?  Maybe reporters don't care enough about the victims in the Atlanta story — African-American students from disadvantaged backgrounds. [...] Or maybe they don't know how to handle the fact that the guilty parties were also African-American.  The educators' goal was not to directly line their pockets but to boost students' test scores — and then line their pockets.  They got their payoff through bonuses tied to student performance.  In the era of high-stakes testing, which holds schools accountable for the performance of students, if students do well academically, then educators do well financially.  According to a state investigation, 178 educators in at least 44 schools tried to ensure that students did really well on tests — by cheating.

Teacher assails practice of giving passing grades to failing students.  Caleb Stewart Rossiter, a college professor and policy analyst, decided to try teaching math in the D.C. schools.  He was given a pre-calculus class with 38 seniors at H.D. Woodson High School.  When he discovered that half of them could not handle even second-grade problems, he sought out the teachers who had awarded the passing grades of D in Algebra II, a course that they needed to take his high-level class.

Disparate Impact — Too Many Black Students Suspended Leads Oakland Schools to Stop Punishment Completely.  When a corrections system focuses entirely on equality of outcome; and when the administrators of the policy are wilfully blind (in that they never addresses the source behavior); and when the non-compliant variables within the system refuse to modify behavior — the only administrative option left is to remove the consequence.  FYI the racial composition of Oakland's public school system is about 32 percent black, a little under 40 percent Hispanic, about 15 percent Asian and about 12 percent white, according to Oaklandreads.org.

Oakland Schools: Students who act up, mouth off won't be suspended.  The Oakland Unified School District has approved a controversial move to eliminate kicking students out of school for swearing at teachers and ignoring instructions.  The school board voted unanimously on Wednesday [5/13/2015] to no longer allow teachers and administrators to suspend students out of class for non-violent offenses.  The new policy is expected to be in full effect next July.

AG Vows to Advance Obama's Push to End 'Zero Tolerance' School Discipline Policies.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch vowed on Tuesday [5/12/2015] to continue the Obama administration's push for public schools to abandon their "zero tolerance" discipline policy, because critics claim it is aimed disproportionately at minority students and other "at risk" youth, including migrants and LGBT students.

The Chains They Revere.  Why are so many of the young "misguided youth" in Baltimore so badly educated that they can barely speak English? [...] Believe it or not, in 2011, the public education system in Baltimore spent $15,483 per pupil... which was only second to NYC, which spent an incredible $19,770 to basically produce the same wretched results.  Of course, spending $15,483 per pupil is a total waste of money when most of those receiving it drop out of school because they place no value on it[,] just as the shattered "families" they come from see no value in it either, except to use it as an excuse for their failure to make anything out of it.  So there you have it, a complete Democrat run city (for decades) spending a huge amount of money on a public educational system that is totally controlled at every level by a key Democrat base group (the Teachers Union) which has instituted every single "educational reform" advocated by the academic left for the last 40 years[,] and all it has produced is yet another generation of semi-literate and illiterate, violent, utterly un-employable, lumpen-proletariat street thugs who only know how to make incoherent complaints for the cameras about a society they live in, but in which they have no idea how to succeed.

I Need a Trigger Warning on Trigger Warnings.  I have to admit, the first time I heard about trigger warnings, I thought they were a joke.  In short, trigger warnings assume that students are so infantile that they cannot handle classroom discussion or themes in great literature that push them beyond their comfort zone.

No learning can take place in the absence of decorum and civility.
Texas A&M Galveston Professor Hits 'Breaking Point,' Fails Entire Class.  A Texas A&M Galveston professor says he hit a "breaking point" as he failed an entire class of students in his management course that he said required "security guards" for him to feel safe teaching.  In a scathing email sent to students in his Strategic Management class, Texas A&M Galveston professor Irwin Horwitz called his class a disgrace to the school and said "it became apparent they couldn't do some of the most simple and basic things they should have been able to do," KPRC-TV reports.  Horwitz said a semester of backstabbing, lying, cheating and disrespect has caused him to fail everyone in the class and that he will no longer be teaching the course.

K-12 Education is a Crooked House.  [Scroll down]  I knew I had to construct a "germ theory" to explain the decline of American public education.  Years later, I became comfortable with the conclusion that the germs making us sick are busybody social engineers with bad blueprints.  That would be John Dewey and his gang.  Five years ago I was communicating with a very rich and successful man who said, "I agree with a lot of what you say, Bruce.  But I can't accept the conspiracy angle."  I was surprised.  He was engineer-smart.  How could he not see the conspiracy?  It's the size of Texas.  If you rule out intention, you have to argue that our Education Establishment has been clumsy for a century.  Nobody is that clumsy.  It's more logical to assume the education elite were making exactly the decisions they thought would lead them to the goal they wanted.

English Majors sans Shakespeare.  A new study shows that few top colleges require students to read the Bard.

Democrats Misspell 'Democrattic' — Video Highlighting Education.  The latest video from the House Democratic Caucus aims to spell out why it's important for Americans to become engaged with politics — but has some problems spelling "Democratic Caucus."

Flunking civics means apathy reigns.  Each week, Jesse Watters of Fox News interviews mostly young people about politics, government, current events and history.  He claims their displays of ignorance are not edited.  The worst part is that the interviewees don't seem to care that they know little about their government and country.

Judge sentences 9 of 10 ex-educators in Atlanta test-cheating case to jail.  All but one of 10 former Atlanta public school educators convicted in a widespread conspiracy to inflate student scores on standardized tests were sentenced to jail time on Tuesday [4/14/2015], as the judge called the cheating scandal 'the sickest thing that's ever happened in this town.'

Is the Modern American University a Failed State?  A bachelor's degree is no longer proof that any graduate can read critically or write effectively.  National college entrance test scores have generally declined the last few years, and grading standards have as well.  Too often, universities emulate greenhouses where fragile adults are coddled as if they were hothouse orchids.  Hypersensitive students are warned about "micro-aggressions" that in the real world would be imperceptible.  Apprehensive professors are sometimes supposed to offer "trigger warnings" that assume students are delicate Victorians who cannot handle landmark authors such as Joseph Conrad or Mark Twain.  "Safe spaces" are designated areas where traumatized students can be shielded from supposedly hurtful or unwelcome language that should not exist in a just and fair world.

Common Core Indoctrination of the Nation's Young.  Common Core is a curriculum to be very wary of based on the people who are putting it together, one of whom is Linda-Darling Hammond who was endorsed by domestic terrorist Bill Ayers for Secretary of Education and served as an advisor to the Obama campaign.  What exactly is Common Core?  Essentially it is a standardized, all-out assault on learning:  it is designed to further lower schools standards and is supported by the teachers' unions which have a self-serving interest in avoiding as much accountability as possible; the lower the standards, the less push back against the teachers, too many of whom are failing the young trapped in the government schools.

America's Decay Is Speeding Up.  Compared to nearly all of American history, the average American school teaches much less about important subjects such as American history, English grammar, literature, music and art.  Instead, schools are teaching much more about "social justice," environmentalism and sex.  Any of us who receive emails from large numbers of Americans can attest to the deteriorating education — including among those who attended college — in written English.  In sophisticated commentary on websites as well as in email, one encounters the most basic errors:  "it's" instead of "its;" "their" instead of "there;" "then" instead of "than," etc.

Our public school systems often fail to teach kids basic skills..  [Reason #2] Whatever happened to shop classes?  We have schools that now concentrate more on ethnic studies and tolerance training than teaching kids how to use a lathe or a graphic design tool.  Charter schools can help remedy this.  Universities are even more negligent.  Kids graduate from four-year colleges with little vocation training and with debt averaging more than $25,000 — although this number now commonly exceeds $100,000 at some universities.  A liberal arts education is valuable, but it should come paired with some practical skills.

Learning from Atlanta's shame.  Children learn what to do — and what not to do — by watching adults.  Nowhere is that truer than in the classroom, with teachers serving as role models for students.  In Atlanta on Wednesday [4/1/2015], however, the city's schoolchildren learned an important lesson by watching what a jury said about some of the school district's former educators.  It said they had cheated.  Eleven former Atlanta Public Schools educators were convicted of racketeering for their roles in one of the most brazen and pervasive school cheating scandals ever uncovered.  They could face years in prison.  Another 21 Atlanta educators already had reached plea deals with prosecutors, admitting their roles in the wrongdoing.  Prosecutors said the district's superintendent, Beverly Hall, set performance targets and threatened principals and teachers if students' test scores didn't reach set goals.  So teachers inflated students' test scores to make it seem that the school district was excelling.  It wasn't.

Permission slip
Parents Must Sign Permission Slip Before Kids Can Eat Oreos.  There are 18-wheelers with brake problems, hungry bears just stumbling out of hibernation, and lawnmowers that suddenly shift into reverse.  And then there's the unparalleled danger of Double Stuf Oreos.  Thank goodness this teacher requires parents to sign off on cookie consumption — if they dare.


How liberal discipline policies are making schools less safe.  New York public-school students caught stealing, doing drugs or even attacking someone can avoid suspension under new "progressive" discipline rules adopted this month.  Most likely, they will be sent to a talking circle instead, where they can discuss their feelings.  Convinced traditional discipline is racist because blacks are suspended at higher rates than whites, New York City's Department of Education has in all but the most serious and dangerous offenses replaced out-of-school suspensions with a touchy-feely alternative punishment called "restorative justice," which isn't really punishment at all.  It's therapy.

New Test Raises Fresh Concerns About U.S. Education Quality.  In the race to the future, education is key.  Everyone knows that.  And yet, if that's so, America may be in big trouble. U.S. millennials — the demographic now aged roughly 16 to 34 years old — scored poorly on an international test of literacy, math and technological problem-solving ability.  So poorly, in fact, that Anita Sands, a researcher for the Educational Testing Service and co-author of a new report on the test, called the U.S. performance "abysmal."

Education: Playing Games with Recess.  Education in America will make you crazy.  There is hardly a part of it that is not corrupted by ideology and contaminated by sophistical thinking.  What could be simpler to understand than recess?  When you're talking about little children, you're talking about puppies.  They need to run around until they fall down laughing on the grass.  Exertion to the point of exhaustion — that may be the most important thing they do each day.  Well, if you know anything about our Education Establishment, you know they schemed to get rid of recess.

Teacher keeps job despite 'unsatisfactory' rating 6 years in a row.  Six strikes and she's not out.  The city Department of Education has failed to fire a teacher rated "unsatisfactory" for six consecutive years.  Ann Legra, 44, a first-grade teacher at PS 173 in Washington Heights, racked up "six years of failing her students," the city argued in a 16-day termination hearing.  Hearing officer Eugene Ginsberg upheld charges of Legra's "inability to supervise students," excessive lateness and absence and poor lesson planning in the 2012-2013 school year.

State Takes Over Arkansas School District That Had To Make Teachers Wear Underwear.  The narrow 5-4 vote on Wednesday [1/28/2015] by the state school board effectively wrests control of the district from the local school board (but keeps Superintendent Dexter Suggs on the job on an interim basis).  The state school board intervened because the Little Rock school district is home to six schools which are deemed to be under academic distress.  Three are high schools.  Two are middle schools.  One is an elementary school.

Tragic School Stories.  The grossly poor education that so many blacks receive exacerbates racial problems. During last year's disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri, some people complained that of the city's 53 police officers, only four were black.  Such an observation typically leads to suggestions of racial discrimination but never leads to a question about the ability of black high-school graduates to pass a civil service exam.  It's natural for a black man with a high-school diploma to see himself as equal to a white man with a high-school diploma.  In his eyes, differences in employer treatment are ascribed to racial discrimination.  It dawns on few that the average black high-school graduate has the level of academic achievement of a white seventh- or eighth-grader or lower.

Common Core Follies: California report cards to include grades for 'grit', 'gratitude', 'sensitivity to others'.  The entire state of California pubic education system is to begin grading students on matters a teacher cannot possibly know or evaluate objectively.  In a sign of descent into full indoctrination camp mode, the Common Cores standards adopted by the state are calling on teachers to grade students on their "grit, gratitude, and sensitivity to others."

Parents outraged over 'Po Pimp' assignment.  Rapper Twista's song, made nearly 20 years ago, is causing a stir in a local school system.  Scott Tolleson went to the Newton County School Board this week after his fourth-grade son posed an unusual question.  "What is po pimp?  Try to explain to a fourth-grader what po pimp is," said Tolleson.

The Editor says...
I'm happy to report that I've never heard of anyone named Twista, and I have no idea what po pimp is, except that the word pimp is wildly inappropriate for school work.

Lawmakers in Michigan and Texas join push for every graduating high school senior to pass a written civics test.  Lawmakers in Michigan and Texas want their states to join Arizona and require high school seniors to pass a written civics test before they can graduate.  The questions would be drawn from the same test legal immigrants must take before they can become U.S. citizens.  Some of the material is comparatively easy for anyone who's seen Saturday Night Live — 'What is the name of the President of the United States?' — while others could be tricky for 18-year-olds who get their news from Facebook.

Whatever Happened to Phonics?  One of the most important books in America's intellectual history, Why Johnny Can't Read, by Rudolf Flesch, was published 60 years ago in 1955.  This book sold 8 million copies, was the talk of the country, and explained why children need phonics to become successful readers. [...] So we arrive at a sad, unexpected irony.  This master communicator believed that he had settled the reading matter forever.  Phonics was essential.  Whole Word (also known by such names as Look-say, sight-words, Dolch words, Whole Language, etc.) was an obvious fraud and as well dangerous to children.  Flesch assumed that any dunce would understand this.  He was wrong.

School District's New Grading Policy: No Scores Lower Than 60 Percent.  A Tennessee school district has voted to set the minimum failing grade in its high schools at 60 percent, making it easier for students to pass.  Board members on the Monroe County Board of Education approved the new grading policy, which is meant to help students who are putting in effort, but struggling to raise their grades.

The Editor asks...
Why not set the minimum grade at 80 percent?  Why have grades at all, if the goal is to eliminate failure?

In LA, policy shift yields decline in school suspensions.  In the last three years, Marcquees Banks has been taken out of class twice and sent to another school for getting into fights.  The third time he got into a scuffle, something different happened:  A counselor at Augustus Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles pulled Banks and the other teen aside and told them they needed to talk.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Purposely Uses Bad Grammar.  Democratic Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser used grossly incorrect grammar in a recent tweet to her constituents.  [Illustration]  Note to the students of the Washington, D.C. public school system:  The way your mayor wrote that sentence was not grammatically correct.  When you write sentences, hopefully your teachers tell you to write them correctly so you can be among the 59 percent of D.C. students who graduate high school in four years, according to 2012 statistics, and you won't have to become a union card-carrying public school teacher who supports Muriel Bowser and her stilted faux-populist appeals.

NJ School Principal Demoted After Posting "Dicember" Sign.  I suspect Santa will be bringing former New Jersey principal Antoinette Young a dictionary for Christmas this year.

Sign with misspellings leads to demotion of New Jersey school principal.  A large sign outside a New Jersey elementary school that misspelled "December" appears to have cost the principal her $108,000 a year job.  The Bergen Record says the sign outside School 20 in Paterson also notified people of the date for "progress reepor" and contained a backward numeral 1.  City school board member Corey Teague circulated a photo of the error-filled signage and complained why nobody noticed for more than a week.  December was spelled "Dicember."

School sign
Best Public School Signage Evah.  By all means, libs, let's make sure that the poorest kids and their parents have no choice when it comes to their education.  Let's lock them into failing public schools where there's literally no accountability for teachers or administrators.  Because teachers' unions are for the children, right?

Descriptive versus Prescriptive: Another Left-Wing Scam.  Teaching is typically prescriptive, and that's how it should be.  Schools should teach the right ways to do things.  (This approach has got to be far more efficient than what many public schools are now doing:  teach no ways at all, or teach all the ways as if none is preferable.)  Bottom line, what newspapers call Standard English should be taught first.  That seems to be what our left-wing professors are eager to stop.

No Shame for Obama.  With every move, Obama chips away at the very foundation of America.  As one who knows too intimately what a dictatorship looks like, Cuban dissident Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo has written that "[t]hat's what totalitarianism is all about:  the State as an imitation of God."  In effect, this bullying and total disregard for the law mirrors what Obama is doing concerning discipline in the schools.  Society is now expected to accept out-of-control behavior by black students and simply do nothing about it.

Obama's Classroom Amnesty Just As Illegal.  The Education Department seeks to abolish higher suspension rates and campus arrests for black students vs. whites, arguing the "racial disparity" reflects teacher bias.  Of course, the discipline gap reflects the larger percentages of black students who commit violence or break school rules.  This sad reality was confirmed in a 2014 study by criminologist John Paul Wright, finding the "racial gap in suspensions was completely accounted for" by prior black behavior problems.  Banning racial "disproportionality" in suspension rates effectively forces school principals, under threat of losing federal subsidies, to adopt racial quotas in direct violation of court rulings.  Minneapolis Public Schools District is adopting de facto racial quotas in discipline to help resolve a federal discrimination probe.

Obama's Educrats Issue 'Racial Equity' Edict To Schools.  Just as school boards across the country scramble to meet new federal limits for punishing black students, Obama's educrats now want them to hit racial quotas for academic performance, too.  Last month, slipping almost everybody's notice, the Education Department's office for civil rights issued a guidance letter to 14,000 local school districts that expands "racial equity" beyond school discipline into virtually every aspect of public education.

Report: Students read way below level that prepares them for college, careers.  Research indicates that students who spend at least 30 minutes a day reading independently, at an appropriate "challenge" level (where they can understand at least 85 percent of what they read), experience the most growth in reading, according to the report.  And yet just over a quarter of students in Renaissance's study read that often, and nearly half read for less than 15 minutes a day.  Students' reading amount peaks in sixth grade, when they read about 436,000 words per year in books, and then falls to the low 300,000s by the end of high school.

School replaces 'hall of heroes' murals honoring Mother Teresa, others with Oprah, J.K. Rowling.  For years, boys and girls at South Arbor Charter Academy have been inspired by Heroes Hall — a corridor featuring murals that honored the Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts, Mother Teresa, Betsy Ross and Albert Einstein.  But many parents are furious after the principal had the murals replaced with paintings honoring President Obama, J.K. Rowling and Oprah.  "This is no longer a hall of heroes," parent Craig Bergman told me.  "Now we have a hall of celebrities."

Giving Up On Black America.  Just as the Chinese have flooded our markets with cheap, flimsy products, progressive education has flooded our nation with cheap, uninformed minds.  I believe that leftist black Americans are an embodiment of the worst outcomes of this type of education.  Intellectually crippled by progressive education's inferior pedagogy, most of the black Americans that I know have learned to use anti-white multiculturalism as the de facto replacement for the cultural self-respect that they feel continues to be denied them on account of slavery and Jim Crow.  They have learned to "level the playing field" by denigrating and rejecting European history and culture, attitudes which are tolerated and even reinforced in both public and private K-12 schools.  Since they reject the cultural roots and heritage of Western Civilization, they never actually learn that rich history.  This is what puts them at a disadvantage in society — not the color of their skin.

Minneapolis Schools Now Racially Segregate Discipline.  In a prima facie violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Minneapolis School Board has decided to begin segregating their students into two different categories — white, and everyone else.  If teachers and administrators want to suspend a white student, there will be no questions asked.  But if they dare attempt to suspend a "student of color," the act will be reviewed by the school district superintendent and "her leadership team."

Minneapolis School District Announces "Raced Based Discipline" — Whites Will Be Suspended, Blacks and Minorities Will Be "Reviewed".  We have tracked this intent for 5 years as it evolved from theory, to hidden practice, to policy discussion, then presidential executive order, and now into full blown implementation.  Both Miami-Dade and Maryland Schools did it secretly.  At least the Minneapolis School District is being open about their intentions, all former districts have done it without telling the public.  Minneapolis will now institute a policy of disciplinary suspension for white students, but blacks and other minorities will not be suspended and allowed intolerant behavior to correct the disparate impact.

The Editor says...
Would you (or do you) send your child to a school where the blacks face no consequences for their actions, just because they're black?

Educational Fraud.  It would be unreasonable to expect a student with the reading, writing and computing abilities of an eighth-grader to do well in college.  If such a student were admitted, his retention would require that the college create dumbed-downed or phantom courses.  The University of North Carolina made this accommodation; many athletes were enrolled in phantom courses in the department of African and African-American studies.  The discovery and resulting scandal are simply the tip of the iceberg and a symptom of a much larger problem.

Minneapolis School District Now Needs 'Permission' to Suspend Any Black, Hispanic Student.  The Minneapolis public school system announced a major new district-wide policy for disciplining students:  any suspension of a non-white student requires the district superintendent's approval.  The MPS has been stung by reports that students of color are 10 times more likely to receive a suspension than white students.  The Minneapolis school system has an enrollment of over 32,000 students.  Seventy percent are non-white.

I Did Not Come to College to Read.  [Scroll down]  The last time that I asked if students were attending school because of a love for learning, I was greeted with undisguised guffaws.  In an effort to maintain class size, one school is pushing students to "earn bucks just by enrolling in weekend classes."  Thus, a student can "earn $50 per credit for Friday classes that start after 3:30 p.m. and for Saturday classes that start before noon."  For "Saturday classes that start after noon, one can earn $100 per credit."  These bucks can then be used at the university bookstore and the campus food outlets, including Starbucks.

The Editor says...
The author of the article immediately above is Eileen F. Toplansky, who has been a medical librarian, an Emergency Medical Technician and a Hebrew School teacher.  She is currently an adjunct college instructor of English composition and literature.

Time To Abandon The Scholar-Athlete Charade.  Last year's column "Dishonest Educators" (1/9/2013) reported on the largest school cheating scandal in U.S. history.  In more than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated, teachers changed student answers on academic achievement tests.  Cheating orders came directly from school administrators.  The cheating was brazen.  One teacher told a colleague, "I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they're dumb as hell."  Atlanta's not alone.  Teacher cheating has been discovered in other cities, such as Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington.

Academic fraud or not, UNC students likely will keep degrees.  What happens to the 3,100 students who enrolled in fake classes and now have a degree stamped with the seal of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill — an institution consistently ranked among the nation's top public schools?  Likely nothing.

Massive academic fraud uncovered at UNC.  A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, encompassing about 1,500 athletes who got easy A's and B's over a span of nearly two decades, according to an investigation released Wednesday [10/22/2014].

UNC report finds 18 years of academic fraud to keep athletes playing.  For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday [10/22/2014].  "These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible," Kenneth Wainstein wrote in his report.  He conducted an eight-month investigation into the scandal, which has plagued the university for nearly five years.

Probe: Athletes took fake classes at University of North Carolina.  More than 3,000 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received credit for fake classes over an 18-year period as part of a program that allowed many of them to remain eligible to play sports, according to a report released on Wednesday [10/22/2014].

School censors 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' because of 'racial connotations'.  Kindergartners in Victoria, Australia will be learning a revised version of the classic nursery rhyme, "Baa Baa Black Sheep." The lyrics, the Herald Sun reports, are being changed "because of concerns over the racial connotations of 'black,' and to reflect a multicultural community."  Teachers in Melbourne are also considering changing the line "one for the little boy who lives down the lane" because "it could be deemed sexist."

Study: Colleges failing to teach students basic information.  While politicians bicker over how and whether college students should consent to sex, the problem remains that those same students aren't learning much in their colleges and universities.  A new study released Wednesday [10/15/2014] from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni titled "What Will They Learn?" found that just 18 percent of colleges and universities require a single course in American history or government.  Only 13 percent require intermediate-level foreign language courses and just 3 percent require an economics course for graduation.

School District Phasing Out Swings On Playgrounds Due To Liability Issue.  Richland schools are phasing out swings on the playground citing that they have caused most injuries of any play equipment.  "As schools get modernized or renovated or as we're doing work on the playground equipment, we'll take out the swings.  It's just really a safety issue, swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground," Richland School District's Steve Aagard told KEPR.  The district also cited that pressure from insurance companies over the liability is part of the issue.  Some of the swings have already been removed from some campuses and the rest will be phased out.

The Editor says...
The schools are removing traditional playground equipment, and at the same time they can't figure out why the kids are getting fatter.

America's "Elites" Are No Longer Elite And Our "Intellectuals" Aren't Intellectual.  This is what people who get upset about "anti-intellectualism" and "anti-elitism" seem to miss.  Today, most of our "intellectuals" don't have impressive intellects and our "elites" haven't proven that they're "elite" compared to the average person.  The ranks of college professorships are overrun with far Left-wing, America-hating radicals.  The Ivy Leaguers from schools like Harvard or Yale don't seem to be any better educated than some of the brainier students at run-of-the-mill universities.

Consequences From Disparate Impact Rules In School — High School Senior Rapes Teacher On Campus.  A Florida high school senior confessed to raping a teacher on campus and fleeing the scene of the crime in her stolen car.  Homestead Police arrested 18-year-old Victor Marshall Nash after the Friday [9/19/2014] attack.  He made his first court appearance Monday, where a judge set the South Dade Senior High School student's bond at $62,500.  Police said Nash attacked two hours after the final bell Friday [9/26/2014].

Teachers, T-shirts, and Tattoos.  Modern teachers do not always resemble "the good ol' days" of the clean, pressed, and buttoned up professional.  Today "educators" show up for school in shorts, flip flops, un-tucked t-shirts, ripped jeans, yoga pants and "skimpy wear."  Just when children need to learn the lessons of respect, discipline, and decorum for self and others, teacher "role models" are transmitting values of self-centeredness, disrespect, and slovenliness.  If this was not bad enough, the display by tattooed teachers is troublesome.  In an outward expression of inner turmoil, inked educators are a billboard for bad choices.

Phila. principal and 3 teachers ordered to stand trial in cheating probe.  After a parade of witnesses testified they saw adults manipulating state exams at one Philadelphia elementary school, a judge on Tuesday [9/2/2014] ordered four educators to stand trial on multiple cheating charges.  Evelyn Cortez, the principal of Cayuga Elementary School, and teachers Jennifer Hughes, Lorraine Vicente and Ary Sloane were all charged by state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane with forgery, conspiracy, tampering with public records, and other crimes.

Steubenville rape convict back on football team: Has culture changed?  When Steubenville High School's Big Red football team kicks off its season Thursday night [8/28/2014] in Ohio, wide receiver Ma'lik Richmond is expected to take to the field.  One of two football players convicted of raping a teenage girl in a case that made headlines around the globe, Mr. Richmond served a year in a juvenile detention facility and must register as a sex offender.  As he and his teammates suit up, questions loom:  What's the right balance between punishment and having the chance to get back on track in life?

The Editor says...
Here's the message being sent by the school administration's action:  You can get away with anything as long as you have athletic talent.

Common Core Endgame: Social Justice.  In one example from a Common Core test, children are given a sentence in which the word "apprentice" is used.  Some children may already know that an apprentice is someone who works for another to learn a trade.  However, in the Common Core text excerpt, the word "apprentice" means a jockey with less than one year experience.  The question asks for the meaning of "apprentice" based on the text.  This method of questioning focuses the child to rely solely on the text.  If a student puts choice "A", an "apprentice" is "someone who works for another to learn a trade", the answer would be wrong in this example.

What are your kids learning in school?  Probably we should all be past being shocked at what goes on in the public schools, but I confess that an email I got today from Devin Foley of Better Ed shocked me.  It quoted descriptions, written by Twin Cities area high school teachers, of how their schools teach literature classes.  This one comes from Edina High School, which was once known as an excellent institution:  [Politically correct claptrap omitted for brevity.]  This is mis-education, worse than not attending school at all.  Any child of normal intelligence would gain more from staying up late at night and reading books with a flashlight under the covers than from being subjected to such cant.

Just Moseying Around in BHO Land.  In the spring of 2012, new guidelines were issued that required students to "upload their photo when they register for the exam."  They will also have to "identify their high school, their birth date, and their gender.  And the photo IDs will be attached to the test results."  [This is a way] to get around this ID issue yet again — just eliminate SATs.  And the mother tongue, aka English, will take a hard hit.  Years of sub-quality bilingual education and incoherent English language teaching skills will now be topped off with a student body with "limited English language proficiency."  Mix in the continuing lowering of standards in education, and this is a perfect template of a people comfortable with despotism.

America's worker shortage: One million and counting.  America has a deficit of workers.  Willing workers.  Capable workers.  Skilled, or at least semi-skilled workers, who can do a job and do it well.  There are at least one million jobs that go begging day after day if only employers could find workers to fill them. [...] Why is it so hard to fill these jobs?  One reason is the curse of the so-called "skills mismatch."  American workers with high school or even college degrees just aren't technically qualified to do the jobs that are open.  This is a stunning indictment of our school system at all levels considering that all in parents and taxpayers often invest as much as $200,000 or more in a child's education.  We're not turning our kids into competent workers.

The Myth About Traditional Math Education.  Most discussions about mathematics and how best to teach it in the K-12 arena break down to the inevitable bromides about how math was traditionally taught and that such methods were ineffective.  The conventional wisdom on the "traditional method" of teaching math is often heard as an opening statement at school board meetings during which parents are protesting the adoption of a questionable math program:  "The traditional method of teaching math has failed thousands of students."

Is Thinking Obsolete?  In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.

Temple University scraps SAT requirement for new students.  Philadelphia's Temple University said on Tuesday [7/29/2014] it will no longer require prospective students to submit a standardized test score when they apply, joining a small but growing group of schools that believe there are other ways to gauge talent.

At Least 30,000 More Migrants Get U.S. Classroom Seats.  American kids and teenagers will be sharing their already-crowded classrooms with tens of thousands of ill-educated Central American migrants this fall, because President Obama is distributing perhaps 100,000 Central American migrants across the country.  The Central American student "have very, very limited amounts of education [and] in some cases, they cannot count to 10," said Caroline Woodason, assistant director for student support at the public schools in Dalton, Ga.  "They can't turn on a computer.  They've never even seen a computer," she told the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The Editor says...
Inviting illegal immigration is bad enough, but if the kids who don't speak English and can't count to 10 are mixed in with the rest of the students, it will slow down everybody in the room.  This means hundreds of public schools will now need Spanish-speaking Special Ed classes, paid for by the local taxpayer.

Amnesty: The Death of America.  Illegal immigration brings an inevitable cultural transformation.  There is no requirement that the illegal immigrant assimilate or even prove that they want to be American.  The children among them are thrown into the public school systems.  These new immigrants are blank slates.  They do not know the rich history of America and they will never be taught it.  They will not understand that our founders were under the control of Great Britain and fought tyrannical King George for freedom.  They will not question what our current government does because they don't know American traditions and history.  An over-reaching government can get away with whatever it wants.  Bring in more people who are not American, and there are fewer and fewer of us questioning anything.  Very soon, government "by the people, for the people" is gone.

Schools for Sabotage.  Typically, there is an optimal sequence in learning something, no matter if it's tennis, driving a car, typing, speaking French, or American history.  Disrupt that ideal sequence, teach things in a confusing way, and you will have poor results.  Consider reading.  The ideal sequence is that the child memorizes the alphabet, learns the sounds represented by each letter, and then learns to blend those sounds.  At that point, the child is reading.  This extraordinary skill was once routinely mastered in the first grade.  That was before saboteurs got to work.  The essence of their technique was to hide the alphabet and the sounds.  The child was kept busy doing the worst possible thing:  memorizing words as diagrams.  This is a slow task, and hopeless.

Truth Telling and the Abuse of Language.  If you were a member of an elitist group trying to get complete control of a logical and stiff-necked people, what would you have to accomplish first?  The citizens of that country would have to stop thinking, and since you can't just pass a law against thought, their basic ability to think would have to be destroyed — gradually before they noticed.  The process is simple:
Lower standards for both teacher and student.
Fill both teachers and texts with propaganda.
Give awards to everyone.
Fill entertainment with the same messages.
Encourage pot-smoking — make it more and more available and acceptable.
But the most effective tool is one Orwell could see coming in 1948 — the erasure of our language.

Students Shun Constitution, Declaration; Left Happy.  A university student newspaper has editorialized against a required class teaching America's founding documents.  That should make the left happy.  It wants to erase those records from our minds.

The K-12 Conspiracy.  John Dewey is often blamed (by me and many others) for being the cause of the long, relentless decline in American public education.  In fairness, he is only the famous face of a bigger story.  In the early years of the 20th century, as the Victorian era moved toward the wasteland of World War I, anxiety and ferment rippled across America and Europe. [...] The far left and the far right somehow wanted the same things in public education:  Old money wanted to maintain the status quo by keeping the poor in their place.  Ignorance was the tool of choice.  The Progressives (aka Socialists) said they wanted to transform the society.  What was their method?  Working through education, they would socially engineer children to be simpler and more cooperative.  Remarkably, they ended up keeping the poor in their place.  Ignorance was the tool of choice.

Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace.  I remember once when — we were sitting shiva for my paternal grandmother, I think — I mentioned to my grandfather how smart I thought my youngest cousin, David, was.  He replied, "All my grandchildren are smart, but the longer they go to school the dumber they get."  I thought of this when Drudge reported "42% of Millennials say they're socialists, 16% know what a socialist is."  I guess the other 26% think it means they twitter.

Watch Americans Struggle to Answer Even One Question On the U.S. Citizenship Test.  What hopeful Americans are asked on a U.S. citizenship test are pretty run-of-the-mill questions that most of us learned the answers to in school:  How many Supreme Court justices are there?  Who was president during World War I?  Who is the current vice president?  Seems easy enough, right?  But when native-born Americans were asked those questions and others, they had a lot of trouble.

The education establishment's success.  Americans fall easy prey to charlatans of all stripes because of the education establishment's success in dumbing down the nation.  Nowhere has this dumbing down been more successful than it has in creating a historical amnesia. [...] The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests students in grades four, eight and 12 on several broad subject areas every few years.  Just 20 percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth-graders and 12 percent of 12th-graders were at grade-level proficiency in American history in the 2010 exams.  Because students don't learn American history, they learn little about our founding principles and they fail to learn why America is an exceptional nation.

Chicago Teachers Union-Run School Bombs at the Prom.  In the "you can't make this up" file, Paul Robeson High School in Chicago just had its prom and its theme was "This Is Are Story."  Sadly, this isn't a joke or a bit of intentional irony on the part of the students.  Turns out that Paul Robeson High School is a symptom of a school district that is failing its students. [...] The taxpayers pay these teachers $76,000 a year and the school's administration can't even distinguish between "are" and "our" on printed cards they hand out on prom night?

More than a million children abandon school meals after Michelle's healthy eating initiative.  First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiatives have been so unpopular among young people that more than a million students have stopped buying school lunches.  The Agriculture Department set new standards for what types of foods schools can serve students that have been phased in over the last three school years in response to Obama's push for healthier school lunches, and even more changes are coming in 2014.  Already, data from the department shows that a total of 1.1 million children abandoned the National School Lunch program between the 2011 and 2013 school years after Obama went to war over what's on their trays.

The Age of Academic Ruin.  How perilous the minefield of public education has become since the days of McGuffey's Reader.  Although information has increased exponentially, humanity is all the more stupid in things that truly count, while the conceptions of truth and value have fallen by the wayside — leaving the entire enterprise of education in doubt.

Different standards for different students.  Under a dramatic new approach to rating public schools, Illinois students of different backgrounds no longer will be held to the same standards — with Latinos and blacks, low-income children and other groups having lower targets than whites for passing state exams, the [Chicago] Tribune has found.  In reading, for example, 85 percent of white third- through eighth-grade students statewide will be expected to pass state tests by 2019, compared with about 73 percent for Latinos and 70 percent for black students, an analysis of state and federal records shows.

Nike Shoe Bribe to Keep Federal and State Money Flowing to 95% Black Detroit Public School System.  A school system's health is only a reflection of the community, and the type of individual students that the households found within the school systems boundaries produce.  The students ability (and test scores, graduation rate, drop-out rate, etc.) but a reflection of the cognitive ability they inherited from their parents.  That back in 2009 the 95 percent Black DPS system produced the lowest math scores in the 40-year history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test should be, as Time magazine intimated, cause for an investigation of "criminal neglect"; on the contrary, were we a sane nation, this would be justification for the elimination of virtually every entitlement or federal program that believes in eliminating the racial gap in education.

Violence persists at troubled Bartram High.  Trouble persists at Bartram High.  A brawl erupted in the school cafeteria this week, with teenagers punching and stomping on one another and on school police.  Students set off firecrackers inside the building.  And the student who last month knocked a staffer unconscious was back in the halls of the Southwest Philadelphia school.  "It's normal for Bartram," said one teacher, insisting on anonymity.  "It's our new normal."

Staffer knocked unconscious at Bartram High.  A staffer assigned to quell violence at a Philadelphia high school was knocked unconscious in what one union official called the worst assault since a Germantown High School teacher's neck was broken in 2007 by a student.  Alphonso Stevens, known as a conflict-resolution specialist, suffered a fractured skull, concussion, and other injuries.

Climate at Bartram High raises concerns about safety, education.  When Alphonso Stevenson was knocked unconscious by a student at Bartram High recently, staffers were shocked by the assault on the tall, genial man whose job was to keep the school calm.  But many were not surprised.  The school, by many accounts, can be a frightening place, where fights and drug use are common and large groups of students often roam the hallways.  "I had a better chance in Vietnam," said longtime social studies teacher Stephen Pfeiffer, an Army veteran.  "Here, you lock your door and pray no one comes in."

Teen, 16, punched by student so badly his nose broke off of his skull as other student cheered in locker room.  David Egan says he doesn't even know the student who punched him, and that he was confronted over rumors that he stole the other student's sneakers.  'When he first hit me I actually said out loud, "Wow, you actually sucker-punched me?" because it was just crazy that he actually did that,' Egan told WGCL.  He also told the channel that when he fell, others in the locker room jumped, cheered and laughed at him.

UNC football player's shocking term paper is released by whistleblower who alleges widespread academic fraud.  An awful 146-word term paper littered with grammatical errors that is barely even readable has become a potent visual symbol of the University of North Carolina's fake classes scandal.  The one-paragraph essay on civil rights icon Rosa Parks earned an A- and was exposed by former UNC professor Mary Willingham, who spent 10 years teaching UNC's athletes before she turned whistleblower on alleged classroom corruption.  The shocking essay came to light during an ESPN documentary timed to coincide with the March Madness basketball competition.  It contains allegations that UNC athletes in danger of failing were encouraged to sign up for fake tutor groups designed to let students pass.

College Students Fail to Name a Single U.S. Senator.  Last week, MRCTV's Dan Joseph went to American University to give the student body a little general knowledge quiz.  When asked if they could name a single U.S. senator, the students blanked.  Also, very few knew that each state has two senators.  The guesses were all over the map, with some crediting each state with twelve, thirteen, and five senators.

The Most Obvious Conspiracy in the History of the World.  In 1955, Rudolf Flesch published his famous bestseller Why Johnny Can't Read.  Flesch studied everything published on phonics for the previous 40 years and concluded:  "In every single research study ever made, phonics was shown to be superior to the word method; conversely, there is not a single research study that shows the word method superior to phonics."  (There were 11 studies from 1913 to 1948.  You can be assured that the professors were trying desperately to prove that phonics wasn't necessary.  They couldn't.  Typically, they just lied.  The conspiracy demanded it.)

UK School Bans Teachers from Using Red Ink: It's 'Too Negative'.  Red ink is mean according to a school in England, so teachers have now been prohibited from using the color to grade students' papers.  Teachers at Mounts Bay Academy near Penzance, Cornwall, England, have been told to throw away their red markers and pencils because kids have their feelings hurt too badly when they see red correction marks on their school papers, The UK Cornishman reports.  Headteacher Sara Davey told the paper that from now on teachers will only be allowed to grade papers in green ink, with pupils being requested to reply to teacher comments in purple ink.

The Editor says...
A green F is the same as a red F.

Despite outrageous school spending, students actually dumber than in 1972.  The amount of money that the American taxpayers have been forced to spend on public schools has more than doubled in the last few years — even though such spending has had no demonstrable impact on students' intelligence levels, a bombshell new study found.  On average, student academic performance actually declined slightly over the last 40 years — an astonishing fact, given the huge amount of money spent on public education and the general boost that technological improvements have provided to virtually every other sector of U.S. life.

Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years.  Long-term trends in academic performance and spending are valuable tools for evaluating past education policies and informing current ones. [...] State-level academic performance data are either nonexistent prior to 1990 or, as in the case of the SAT, are unrepresentative of statewide student populations.  Using a time-series regression approach described in a separate publication, this paper adjusts state SAT score averages for factors such as participation rate and student demographics, which are known to affect outcomes, then validates the results against recent state-level National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores.  This produces continuous, state-representative estimated SAT score trends reaching back to 1972.

How 'My Brother's Keeper' Stands to Destroy Already Bad Schools.  Yes, Junior may disrupt the class, terrify his teacher, and otherwise prevent classmates from learning, but everything possible should be done to keep him marching toward graduation.  Diploma in hand, he will — supposedly — join the workforce, eschew criminality, and pay his taxes.  A diploma is now a magic piece of paper.  To this end, the Obama administration (particularly the DOJ) is doing everything possible to lighten the punishment of young men of color.  Obama himself has called for ending the "zero tolerance" policy common in many schools since blacks disproportionately are guilty of infractions.  Similarly, the Justice Department now regularly sues school districts over racial inequalities in suspensions, expulsions, and other disciplinary measures.  It just assumes that all groups commit offenses in equal proportions, so disparities merely reflect racial discrimination.  The attorney general has also called for de-criminalizing low-level nonviolent active drug dealings.

Thousands of preschool kids getting suspended.  Data to be released Friday by the Education Department's civil rights arm finds that black children represent about 18 percent of children enrolled in preschool programs in schools, but almost half of the students suspended more than once.

The Editor says...
Maybe the little bastards (in the literal sense) are getting suspended for misbehavior because they live in godless, fatherless households, usually with an assortment of half-siblings and a mother who uses the television as a babysitter and only has additional kids because it increases her welfare payments.  Prove me wrong.

Gov't Spending $4.8M to Tell Students to 'Get Fruved'.  If a college student dressed up as a giant bunch of grapes jumped out of the shadows and told you to "get fruved," what could you possibly say?  The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is getting more than $4.8 million taxpayer dollars to develop a healthy-eating campaign that has students — dressed up as fruits and vegetables — cavorting in the hallways of higher education.

Feds spend millions dressing creepy students up as fruits, vegetables.  The federal government gave nearly $5 million to the University of Tennessee in support of its creepy healthy-eating campaign, which dresses students up as fruits and vegetables and films them terrorizing the residence halls. [...] Most of the campaign is designed and run by students.  The grant for the project was made through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Changing the SAT for 'Social Justice'Question:  What test was created to eliminate the advantages that wealthy families used to influence and advance their children's educational cause?  Answer:  The Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT):  a test created to end the discrimination and aristocracy in college admissions.  It leveled the playing field by relying on an empirical test score that was valid, aligned with college success, and incapable of determining color, race, or socio-economic condition.  Problem:  According to Zachary Goldfarb in the Washington Post, the College Board is overhauling the SAT to "level the playing field" for high school students from a wider range of families.

University students are being misinformed.
In Defense of the Elastic Clause of the Constitution.  Citing the Elastic Clause could indeed justify a wide range of administration actions, except for one problem — it doesn't exist.  But you couldn't tell that to the student at Emory University who came to my speech last week on Obama's abuses of power.  He persisted in defending the actions through the Elastic Clause, as if the be-all, end-all provision was common knowledge.  From the sound of it, the Elastic Clause must be common knowledge in faculty lounges.  The Elastic Clause, he persisted, gives the president the power to address a wide range of issues through executive prerogative.  It allowed the government, he said, to adapt to new circumstances unlike the age when the Founders wrote the Constitution.

A Nation of Weenies Starts with No Play at Recess.  Just about every adult in America remembers recess but a growing number of children do not. [...] Studies show kids who play hard and take risks turn out less dependent as adults.  Play matters throughout our entire lifetime.  Think about your bruises and maybe fractured or broken bones.  Aren't some of them fond memories?  Mine are.  Play as children helps establish and comprehend hierarchy, a natural part of development and lifelong existence.  The king or queen of the hill is not necessarily a bully.

Trend-starting Texas drops algebra II mandate.  Supporters say fewer curriculum mandates give students more time to focus on vocational training for high-paying jobs that don't necessarily require a college degree.

The Obama Administration's Mandated Racism.  The Departments of Education and Justice have teamed up to make the lives of students in tough neighborhoods even tougher.  Framed as a measure to combat discrimination against black and Hispanic children, the guidelines issued by the Obama administration about school discipline will actually encourage racial discrimination, undermine the learning environments of classrooms, and contribute to an unjust race-consciousness in meting out discipline.  Claiming that African-American and Hispanic students are more harshly disciplined than whites for the same infractions, the Obama administration now advises that any disciplinary rule that results in a "disparate impact" on those groups will be challenged by the government.

More racial bias from Holder, and a message to white Americans.  So now the US Department of Justice under Eric Holder will use its power to enforce "civil rights protections" in school disciplinary actions.  In fact, the DoJ and DoEd are putting schools on notice that they are prepared to use their authority to investigate the claims of racial disparity in the punishment of students.  And of course the American Civil Liberties union (ACLU) is thrilled with this policy. [...] I taught high school for one year in Deerfield Beach, Fla and in the end, it was such an enjoyable experience breaking up fights daily, that I decided to return to the combat zone of Afghanistan.

The Ritzy Student Bash At The School With No Books.  Their school provides them no textbooks, no supplies or art classes.  But here are the underprivileged pupils of Far Rockaway's PS 106 — dressed to the nines in tuxes and gowns for an elaborate, wedding-themed bash they must pay to attend at the insistence of their do-nothing principal.

No Space, No Books, No Clue At NYC's Worst Elementary School.  Students at PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, have gotten no math or reading and writing books for the rigorous Common Core curriculum, whistleblowers say.  The 234 kids get no gym or art classes.  Instead, they watch movies every day.  "The kids have seen more movies than Siskel and Ebert," a source said.

The failure factory at PS 106.  Bill de Blasio and Carmen Farina:  Meet the test of your education policy.  It's called PS 106 in Far Rockaway.  And as The [New York] Post's Susan Edelman laid out in horrific detail Sunday, it's one of this city's failure factories.  So the question is:  What do the mayor and his new schools chancellor intend to do about it?

New bill would lower NM grad standards.  A little more than 70 percent of New Mexico students get their diploma in four years according to the latest data available.  The state ranks 48th in the country as a result.  Now a new proposal by Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, could bump those numbers by making it easier for New Mexico students to graduate as early as this school year.  HB 66, prefiled Thursday [1/9/2014], establishes two kinds of high school diplomas, the current diploma of excellence and a new "general diploma".

Signature Count Begins For Calif. Law That Lets Boys Play on Girls' Sports Team, Use Girls' Bathroom.  The California Secretary of State's press office confirmed on Wednesday [1/8/2014] that Secretary Debra Bowen has given all 58 counties in the state until Feb. 24 to count and verify every signature in a petition campaign to let voters decide whether a law that gives students the right to use facilities and take part in sports and other activities based on their "gender identity" and not their biological sex stands.  Assembly Bill 1266, the School Success and Opportunity Act, was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in August 2013.

Undisciplining Kids Through 'Restorative Justice'.  Under new federal guidelines for reforming "discriminatory" school discipline, the disruptive will learn quickly that their teachers must now tolerate even more disruptive behavior.  This is about the only learning that will be going on, especially in inner-city schools, once this insane policy is fully implemented.  This week the Education Department warned the nation's school administrators it's not a good idea to remove unruly kids from the classroom.  What about the violent ones?  Suspend them only as a "last resort."  Think twice about even sending them to the principal, and whatever you do, don't call the cops.

Putting the Chill on Discipline.  Holder's guidelines aim at halting "targeting minorities," but, practically, will accomplish defining deviancy downward yet again in urban minority-dominated schools — that's mostly black and Hispanic kids from broken families and single-parent households.  The A.G.'s guidelines are another tacit admission that there are enormous dysfunctions in poorer minority communities that liberal prescriptions can't arrest and change.  In place of reality-based solutions and constructive engagement, Holder — on behalf of the president — desires to excuse liberal urban failures by rationalizing and dismissing near- or outright criminal behavior on the part of minority students.

Holder: School discipline racially biased, too harsh.  Attorney General Eric Holder called upon the nation's school districts Wednesday to rethink "zero tolerance" disciplinary policies that he said disproportionately punish minorities and push too many students into the justice system.  "Alarming numbers of young people are suspended, expelled or even arrested for relatively minor transgressions like school uniform violations, schoolyard fights or showing 'disrespect' by laughing in class," Holder said during a speech in Baltimore.

3 Reasons Why the Radical Anti-Discipline Policies at DOJ Will Outlast the Obama Era.  Today the Drudge Report covers the Justice Department's racialist attack on school discipline policies.  The DOJ policy is based on the idea that school discipline policies are racially discriminatory because black students comprise a greater percentage of students disciplined than their percentage in the general population.  Call it exceeding the bad-behavior quota. [...] We've come to expect this sort of policy from Eric Holder of protecting the lawless and misbehaving.  The New Black Panther voter intimidation case dismissal was mere prologue.

GOP AWOL As Obama Crushes Federalism.  Last week, after the attorney general and education secretary jointly announced an alarming new witch hunt against local school officials over allegedly racist disciplinary policies, we watched with keen interest Republican reaction.  Disappointingly, barely a whimper was registered from the opposition party. [...] By demanding schools suspend suspensions of school thugs, the administration's race-mongers are threatening the safety and security of classrooms across the nation.  They're also threatening learning for white and minority students alike.  You'd think this new policy, which ties compliance to education funding, would warrant endless debate on the airwaves.

Zero-tolerance stupidity at school.  It's already well-established that education majors have the lowest test scores of any college major, but nonetheless tend to graduate with high grades.  That certainly suggests a lack of critical faculties.  But the constant stream of stories of zero-tolerance stupidity suggests that there's something more lacking here than just academic smarts:  There seems to be a severe deficit of the very sort of critical thinking that the education industry purports to be instilling in kids.

Only 3 Students Scored College-Ready in Camden, NJ.  The new school superintendent in Camden, N.J., says it was a "kick-in-the-stomach moment" when he learned that only three district high school students who took the SAT in the 2011-12 school year scored as college-ready.

Bizarro Lake Woebegon.  Welcome to Camden, New Jersey, where the new superintendent of schools recently announced that only three students in the public school system who took the SAT tests in the 2011-12 academic year scored high enough to qualify as college-ready, according to AP.

Lack of science literacy helps global warmists spread their gospel.  If the IPCC believers sound a bit like excitement-starved teenagers, that might be explained by the fact that literacy studies tend to focus on "what is learned by the time a student graduates from high school," when learning contains fewer chemistry and physics courses than it does raging hormones and dominance fights.  College graduates aren't much better.  Universities seem to indoctrinate more than educate, which probably helps whip up educated ignorance into the brand of fear marketed by IPCC scientists.

The Common Core Assaults World War II.  [Scroll down]  There is no reading in this chapter ostensibly devoted to World War II that tells why America entered the war.  There is no document on Pearl Harbor or the Rape of Nanking or the atrocities committed against the Jews or the bombing of Britain.  The book contains no speech of Winston Churchill or F.D.R. even though the reading of high-caliber "informational texts" is the new priority set by the Common Core, and great rhetoric has always been the province of an English class.  There is not a single account of a battle or of American losses or of the liberation of Europe.

Common Core Instructs Students to Learn About Gettysburg Address Without Mentioning the Civil War.  Is it possible to teach students the meaning behind President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address without mentioning the Civil War?  According to the government's new Common Core education standards, the Gettysburg Address must be taught without mentioning the Civil War and explaining why President Lincoln was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Colleges Substitute Western Greats With Gender Studies.  Parents pay a fortune to send their kids to big-name colleges, and they expect strong scholarship in return.  More and more, what they're getting ranges from drivel to leftist indoctrination.

The Progressive Myth of Creativity.  The pattern for the last century is that our Education Establishment is always looking for ways to justify dismissal of the traditional curriculum.  One day they'll assert straight out that academics are a waste of time.  The next day they'll argue slyly that we need to devote more time to nonacademic goals, such as creativity, critical thinking, or dressing for success.  The key to understanding all this confusion is to note that "progressive" educators are socialist educators.  They want children to end up more or less equal (a result which they call social justice).  So they pretend to care about creativity.  But what they really care about is making sure that little time is left for children to learn who George Washington was.

American education: mediocre is the new excellent.  I have educated my three children without the help of any government schools.  While there may be islands of excellence out there, and most certainly are dedicated teachers still to be found, the system is stacked with functionaries who, believing they are being helpful, are teaching our children to be mediocre mush heads.

Mom Furious After Son Makes Honor Roll With C's and D's.  When examining her son's report card, [Beth] Tillack read hand written comments from his teacher — including "good job," a smiley face and a note saying her son had made the honor roll.  The only problem was, her son received a "C" and "D" among the grades.  "I immediately assumed it's a mistake," said Tillack.

Florida Principal Agrees With Mom Angry Over Son's Honor Roll Status.  A Florida principal agreed today with a mother who was angry that her son made the honor roll despite having a C and a D on his report card.  Principal Kim Anderson of Pasco Middle School in Dade City, Fla., was siding with Beth Tillack who was upset that her seventh grade son Douglas was on the honor roll and his report card came with a teacher's comment, "good job" and a smiley face.  The principal said that 45 percent to 50 percent of the school's students are on the honor roll.

Education's Intellectual Machinery Is Broken.  College teachers casually mention these days that they have incoming students who don't know what 6 x 7 is.  How could such a thing happen?  It all makes sense if you study Reform Math for even a few minutes.  This curriculum — actually, Reform Math consists of a dozen parallel curricula such as Chicago Math, Connected Math, Everyday Math, TERC, etc. — explicitly discourages mastery of basic arithmetic.  Reform Math tells teachers to "spiral" from topic to topic, guaranteeing confusion.  Furthermore, Reform Math continues an egregious practice first seen in New Math:  children must study elementary and advanced topics at the same time.

Sages on Stages Desperately Needed.  It was the first premise of all schools throughout history:  students would be educated by people who were themselves already educated.  A biology teacher had to be an expert in biology; a history teacher must know history to teach history.  Who would question the wisdom of these statements?  This country's Education Establishment now preaches a contrary view.  Students must not be told that 2+3=5; this is not "authentic learning."  Essentially, teachers should stop teaching.  The theory, generally called Constructivism or Discovery, requires that students (typically working in groups) construct knowledge for themselves.

Stuck in a bad school?  You can't move to a better one.
DOJ Tries to Stop Parents from Defending Louisiana School Voucher Program.  The Justice Department is attempting to block parents from defending the Louisiana school voucher program in court, according to a brief filed Tuesday [10/22/2013].  Four families filed last month to intervene in the DOJ's lawsuit against the Louisiana Scholarship Program, which grants vouchers to students so they can flee failing schools rated C, D, or F.

Boyhood Is Not a Mental Illness.  The purpose of psychologist Enrico Gnaulati's 2013 book is to argue how ordinary childhood behavior is often misdiagnosed as ADD, ADHD, depression and autism — frequently with life-long, disturbing consequences. [...] He cites numerous studies showing that typical boy behavior — wrestling, rough games of tag, good guy/bad guy imaginative play that involves "shooting" — are condemned by preschool and elementary school teachers, the vast majority of whom are women, without the behavior being redirected appropriately to release boys' "natural aggression."  Boys who play in the way noted above are not on a path to mass murder, contrary to what zero tolerance school policies suggest.  For the vast majority of them, they are simply on the path to manhood.

Schools Shutting Out Some Top Students from AP Courses.  The Los Angeles Times reported last week that some high schools have made advanced placement (AP) courses open to all students regardless of ability.  If an AP class is oversubscribed, the schools use a random lottery to determine who gets in, meaning some of the best students can be shut out.  This is a really bad idea. [...] These classes should be reserved for students who have demonstrated their potential to do high-level work.  And if there is a limit on how large the classes can be, priority should be given to the students who are most likely to benefit.

Common Core Reaches a New Low.  The first worksheet is the tale of Peter and Patty.  It's a terrible piece of literature (I'm using the word 'literature' very loosely).  It's about a father who abandons his children in the woods but wishes them well; some woman in the woods takes them in, feeds them fruits and vegetables (she must have been listening to Michelle Obama); and they all live happily ever after.  Seriously?  I don't think I'm overstating it when I say it's bizarre!

School bans most balls during recess: Smart move or going too far?  Is it an extreme case of helicopter parenting or a smart move to keep kids safe?  That's what parents are asking after hearing about a Long Island middle school's decision to ban most balls during recess and also require supervision of tag, even cartwheels, due to safety concerns.  No longer allowed at the Weber Middle School in Port Washington, New York:  footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls and any other hardballs that could injure a child.  Also off limits:  rough games of tag and cartwheels unless an adult supervisor is on hand.

Common Core's Convoluted Math Problem for Friday.  I like to post Common Core math problems from our local schools on Long Island because people need to know what happens when children are forced to go by curricula NOT based on research. [...] One would think they are deliberately trying to confuse the children.

SAT scores show less than five percent of Paterson high school students ready for college and careers.  Just 26 of the 598 high school students in Paterson Public Schools who took the SAT tests this year had scores that reached the college and career readiness benchmark, according to statistics released by city education officials.  That rate of 4.3 percent of pretty much matches last year's performance when 4.4 percent, or 26 of 591 students, reached the college-career ready mark, the data shows.  In 2011, 21 of 513 were college-career ready, or 4 percent.

Lessons in Liberal Projection: Conservatism Is 'Mean'?  Foolishly, liberalism attempts to make life fair, insuring equal outcomes via government controls.  However, life is not fair.  Humans make choices which produce various results.  One can never truly experience the thrill of victory without the agony of defeat.  Rightly, California parents are outraged over a ruling by liberals to punish/fine youth football teams that score too many points.  The message:  a team can be good, but not too good.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on Political Ignorance.  Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently gave a speech lamenting widespread political ignorance in the United States. [...] About one-third can name the three branches of government.  Fewer than one-fifth of high school seniors can explain how citizen participation benefits democracy.  "Less than one-third of eighth-graders can identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence, and it's right there in the name," she said.

Common Core Standards Flunk Logic 101.  Even if logic is relevant to mathematics, how exactly is it relevant?  And why is it important that our schools make sure K-12 mathematics students have a firm grasp of the concepts of logic?

Some things go without saying, except in Arkansas.
Little Rock school district will now make teachers wear underwear.  The school district in Little Rock, Ark. has announced plans for a dress code that will require teachers to wear underwear.  Every single day.  Female teachers will have to wear bras, too.  An Aug. 29 letter from the Little Rock School District's Office of the Superintendent to all employees explains that the dress code will officially go into effect in the fall of 2014.  "Foundational garments shall be worn and not visible with respect to color, style, and/or fabric," the letter reads.  "No see-through or sheer clothing shall be allowed, and no skin shall be visible between pants/trousers, skirts, and shirts/blouses at any time."

Peekskill transcript scandal: 8 didn't graduate; counselors told to turn over 'deleted' info.  Eight Peekskill High School students didn't graduate in June and must return to school this month because they were given credit for a class that doesn't exist.  Other students had to attend summer school to graduate, said interim schools Superintendent Larry Licopoli, but he didn't have a number.  And The Journal News has obtained records that show then-Superintendent James Willis ordered four guidance counselors suspected of handing out credits for phony courses to turn over information "inappropriately deleted" from an online system containing student data.

Progressives and Blacks.  Progressives treat blacks as victims in need of kid glove treatment and special favors, such as racial quotas and preferences.  This approach has been tried in education for decades and has revealed itself a failure.  I say it's time we explore other approaches.

What is Literacy in the 21st Century?  The National Council of Teachers of English recently announced:  "Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups.  As society and technology change, so does literacy."  These people give good sophistry.  Presto, literacy can now be defined any way they want.  When these Teachers of English get through, it's a safe bet they won't spend as much time teaching English.

The Confused and Misguided Youth.  Dr. Thomas Sowell, Economics professor, economist, writer, and sage, encapsulated brilliantly what ails our youth.  "The problem isn't that Johnny can't read.  The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think.  The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling."  And the culprits are the American public education, an ever growing lack of religious education, and the indifferent parenting that does not question what children learn or do not learn in school.

Busybody Politics.  Education is a field with endless reforms, creating endless problems, requiring endless solutions.  One of the invincible fallacies among educators is that all sorts of children can be educated in the same classroom.  Not just children of different races, but children of different abilities, languages, and values. [...] The result is that many very bright children are bored to the point of becoming behavior problems, when the school work is slowed to a pace within the range of students who are slower learners.

Depend on the phone for everything, and when the phone fails, depend on the government.  Brilliant!
Professor says kids no longer need to learn spelling and grammar because of smartphones.  Several skills that every kid once learned in school are going the way of the dodo in a hurry.  Diagramming sentences is practically an extinct art, for example.  Cursive handwriting and memorized multiplication tables look to be swiftly headed that way.  Apparently, the next thing that kids will no longer need to learn is spelling and grammar.

Were children smarter a century ago?  A general examination to test eighth grade students in Kentucky's Bullitt County school system in 1912 has stumped some adults and ignited a debate over the intelligence of children today.  The arithmetic, geography, civil government, physiology, grammar and history questions range from 'What is a personal pronoun?' to 'Who first discovered [the] Lawrence River?' and 'Define Cerebrum'.

Immigration and America's Broken Civics Education System.  Countless studies confirm that young Americans have become distressingly ignorant about their national past.  The latest Department of Education national history assessment (2010) shows that only 12 percent of American high school seniors have a firm grasp of U.S. history.  More than half (55 percent) scored below the "Basic" achievement level.

Lying as a Way of Life.  The Washington Post says that "fewer than half of D.C. children are proficient in reading, according to standardized tests, and more than a third of all city residents are functionally illiterate, according to a 2007 report."  This despite the availability of "public education" which by rights should have made illiteracy a thing of the past.  But public education's achievements — or lack thereof — can be gauged by the Post's further reporting that in certain DC schools districts lagging children are no longer invited to remedial summer classes because they "are too far behind."  They can't even be included in remediation for fear they will prove an anchor round the necks of any students who might actually have a chance to escape the government-funded shipwreck.

The Editor says...
That's an important bit of information:  There are some kids who are too far behind to qualify for "no child left behind."

CPS test scores plunge as reality intrudes.  Chicago Public Schools officials revealed Tuesday [7/16/2013] that only 52.5 percent of the district's elementary students met or exceeded state academic standards in the last school year.  That's a nearly 22-percentage-point plunge from a year earlier.  Students didn't suddenly get less intelligent.  They were not doing as well in the past as everyone was led to believe.  The state had dumbed down the tests and lowered cut scores to avoid sanctions from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Drunk College Kids Know Almost Nothing About Independence Day.  These kids don't know why we celebrate the 4th of July, who America gained independence from or what year it happened.  They even had trouble coming up with how many stars and stripes are on the American flag.  If these kids represent the future of America, we have a lot more to worry about than the IRS or the NSA.

Is Obama a Victim of Self-Esteem Education?  This is self-esteem taken to a ridiculous extreme — but in real life.  But wait:  Isn't that exactly what the liberal educational approach teaches in our schools and even in our universities and law schools?  It doesn't matter if you get the wrong answer as long as you believe in yourself.  It doesn't matter if you can actually achieve anything, as long as you try.  Liberal educational techniques teach students that everyone is a winner, everyone's opinion is equally valid, and there should be no competition or grading on the basis of merit.

The Glue Holding America Together.  Few Americans seem to worry that our present leaders have lied to or misled Congress and the American people without consequences.  Most young people cannot distinguish the First Amendment from the Fourth Amendment — and do not worry about the fact that they cannot.  Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln are mere names of grammar schools, otherwise unidentifiable to most.

Black Education Tragedy.  Some of that evidence unfolded when [George] Zimmerman's defense attorney asked 19-year-old [Rachel] Jeantel to read a letter that she allegedly had written to Trayvon Martin's mother.  She responded that she doesn't read cursive, and that's in addition to her poor grammar, syntax and communication skills.  Jeantel is a senior at Miami Norland Senior High School.  How in the world did she manage to become a 12th-grader without being able to read cursive writing?  That's a skill one would expect from a fourth-grader.  Jeantel is by no means an exception at her school.

She's 19 years old and can't read anything but her name.
Busted: Teen witness in George Zimmerman trial can't read her own letter.  A teenage girl who was called to testify in the prosecution of George Zimmerman for second-degree murder was caught in a curious predicament Thursday [6/27/2013] after it became evident she couldn't read from the very letter she claimed to have written to the mother of her friend Trayvon Martin. [...] Mr. Zimmerman's defense attorney, Don West, finally asked, "Are you able to read that at all?"  Ms. Jeantel, 19, said in a whisper with her head down:  "Some but not all.  I don't read cursive."  The courtroom quieted in shock, ABC said. Ms. Jeantel couldn't read anything on the letter she claimed to write — except for her name, ABC reported.

Black English and a Bad Saint Bernard.  When Rachel Jeantel and the millions of young blacks like her get through our pathetic excuse for a public education system without being able to effectively communicate with a majority of Americans, it's not only blacks who suffer, though they have the worst of it.  A near-permanent sub-class is a moral stain and economic and political burden for any nation.

Rachel Jeantel & the politics of soft bigotry.  As defense attorney Don West grilled Rachel Jeantel during week one of the Zimmerman trial, liberal commentators fell all over themselves making excuses for Jeantel's shocking behavior in court.  Her overall contempt for the processes and nuances of the court judicial system where explained away as illiteracy, that she did not have the education necessary to know how to behave in this "white man's world" of judiciary.

George Zimmerman Witness Can't Read Letter She 'Wrote' About Shooting.  [Scroll down]  In a painfully embarrassing moment, Jeantel was forced to admit that she did not write a letter that was sent to Martin's mother describing what she allegedly heard on a phone call with Martin moments before he was shot.  It came when West asked her to read the letter aloud in court.  "Are you able to read that at all?" West asked.  Jeantel, head bowed, eyes averted whispered into the court microphone, "Some but not all.  I don't read cursive."  It sent a hush through the packed courtroom.  She was unable to read any of the letter save for her name, date and the words "thank you."

The Editor says...
The educational system has failed this young lady.  There are lots of people just like her who eventually sign up for G.E.D. classes.

Study: U.S. Teacher Training 'Dismal'.  A report released on Tuesday [6/18/2013] by the National Council on Teacher Quality finds that U.S. teacher training is "an industry of mediocrity" that produces teachers without a clue.  "The results were dismal," said Kate Walsh, president of the bipartisan research group.  Walsh told Reuters that new teachers "don't know how to teach reading, don't know how to master a classroom, don't know how to use data."

The Editor says...
Sounds to me like a feedback loop.

Big Government Can't Fix Immorality.  [Scroll down]  In other words, we can't have a government that encourages sexual immorality, be it through taxpayer-funded abortions, promiscuous sexual education, or the promotion of homosexuality, and then wants to pay for the consequences of such immorality with billions in taxpayer-funded welfare.  We can't have a government that seeks to cure poverty or violence with a godless secular education system. [...] In other words, we don't need a government that thinks that it can, through mere secular means, cure all that ails our culture.

Text of Obama speech: We will connect 99 percent of schools to Internet.  President Obama visited Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina on Thursday to promote a new five-year initiative aimed at ensuring that 99 percent of public schools in the country have access to the Internet.

Obama wants to transform U.S. schools through faster Internet.  President Barack Obama directed his government on Thursday to begin a process to give 99 percent of American students high-speed internet connections within five years.

The Editor says...
Yep, that's a great idea, if you want your kids to do menial data-entry work all their lives.  Oh, and don't worry about the kids going to smut-peddling web sites while they're supposed to be studying.  There have been internet-connected computers in public libraries for years, and nobody ever visits porn sites on those computers!  Right?

Bringing civics classes back to schools.  In 1786, Jefferson wrote to a friend about one of the anchors of our freedom of speech:  "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."  But President Barack Obama, since taking office, has continually limited the First Amendment, the most singular and powerful right that distinctly identifies Americans from residents in all other countries on Earth.  Political speech is our quintessential weapon against imperious presidents towering over the Constitution's separation of powers.

The Soul Abstracted from Life.  Modern civilization willingly consigns almost all of its children to the living hell of forced retardation.  Everyone knows the educational establishment is beset with problems, corruptions, and the downward ratchet of lowest common denominator standards.  And yet parents continue to send their children to government schools, hoping, perhaps even half-believing, that this will not significantly harm the children's adult lives.  They are dead wrong.

State Grown Kids Always Fail.  According to a 2009 study, American students rank 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading among other nations.  More disturbing, however, is the widening gulf between higher and lower achieving American students.  A 2011 Stanford University study shows the achievement gap between lower and upper income students is 40% greater than it was 25 years ago.

School for scandal.  The seven were nicknamed "the chosen" and, according to Georgia state investigator Richard Hyde, the less than magnificent seven sat in a locked room without windows, erasing wrong answers and inserting correct ones.  It's one thing for a child to cheat on a test; it's quite another for teachers to do it.  Compounding the cheating scandal is that the children in this elementary school are mostly poor and African-American.  How are they helped to develop a moral sense, not to mention an academic foundation that will lift them out of poverty, if they get the message that cheating is better than achieving?

The Atlanta Cheating Scandal.  The news that an Atlanta schools chief spearheaded a vast criminal conspiracy among administrators and teachers to cheat on standardized tests to artificially boost the scores of their pupils is as depressing as it is unsurprising.  And it reinforces my belief that merit pay systems for teachers that are rigidly tied to student test scores are a terrible idea, even if school districts are using very sophisticated value-added analysis.

"Traditional Grading" vs "Esteem Grading" in Atlanta.  For several years the Atlanta cheating scandal has been percolating first in the local press then in the state press and finally nationally. [...] The people involved were democrats, members of the teachers union and people of color.  It's not a narrative that the mainstream media can allow.

Chicago Teachers Union President Recommends Lying to Parents!  Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis made an eyebrow-raising recommendation at an education conference that took place earlier this week, doling out "tips" that she said really work.  One of the suggestions?  Lie to parents.  [Video clip]

Former Newark schools chief indicted in Georgia cheating scandal.  The former superintendent of the Newark, N.J., public school district and nearly three dozen administrators, teachers, principals and other educators from Atlanta were indicted today in one of the nation's largest cheating scandals.

Dodgeball Removed From Windham, NH Schools.  The classic gym class game has been a rite of passage for years, but dodgeball may have met its match in the form of the Windham School board, which at a recent meeting voted 4-1 to end dodgeball and other so-called "human target" activities, games with names like bombardment and slaughter.  "It's almost turning into a nanny state," said school board member Dennis Senibaldi, the one school board member who voted against the ban.

The Editor says...
Nobody, as far as I know, has ever been paralyzed for life playing dodge ball.  But that happens on a weekly basis in high school football, and football is allowed.  Not only allowed, it's encouraged.

The Abolition of Sex.  The Massachusetts public school system has taken the tired mantra "You can be whatever you want to be" to new heights of absurdity.  It is now possible for any student to declare what his sex is regardless of whether it is the biological opposite of what she was born as.  The new transgender manifesto, which includes punishments and counseling for students who object to the idea of changing one's sex by fiat, can be found here.  The basic premise is that a student has the right to decide what sex he or she is, and the school is required to support the child's self-proclaimed identity in every respect.

Please Do Not Adjust Your Child.  [T]he "real world" is precisely what public school is designed to prevent children from experiencing.  Prefabricated areas of study, artificially imposed regimentation of one's time and mental space, and almost complete deprivation of privacy and the ability to pursue specific, idiosyncratic areas of curiosity exclusively for a while — these daily oppressions of public school existence do not prepare children for any real world you would want them to inherit.  Rather, they are preparation for practical enslavement in a progressive authoritarian conception of society as a vast assembly line of interchangeable "worker units" — which, by the way, is precisely what compulsory government education was created to produce, as some of its early promoters had the decency to admit.

Know Thy Enemy I: the Education System.  Dumbing down the curriculum erodes the need for students to learn critical thinking skills.  Less challenging course work was introduced to preserve students' self-esteem (teaching to the lowest common denominator — for those of you lucky enough to even know what a denominator is) in the misguided belief that somehow self-esteem could stand in for actual achievement.  Political correctness was applied to textbooks which were then "purged" of anything that could conceivably be considered offensive.  In addition to being used as an excuse to exclude that of which we disapprove, political correctness was used to accommodate the inclusion of that of which we do approve as well, such as Johnny Has Two Mommies.  By the time you've cleaned everything up like that, there's not much for kids to do other than just sit there and absorb.

Steyn declares America 'doomed' in wake of Pop Tart gun suspension.  [Mark] Steyn, author of "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon," compared this generation of children, who may have felt threatened by the so-called Pop Tart gun, to the American generation that stormed the beaches of Normandy.  "You're doomed, America," Steyn said.  "You're done for.  No society can survive this level of stupidity.  The school counselor is available to meet with any students who are traumatized by hearing reports of some guy four grades below them who nibbles a Pop Tart into a gun-like shape. [...]"

Let's Help Academia Destroy Itself.  For the vast majority of traditional, liberal arts students, college is a four-year blur of cheap alcohol and tawdry hooks-ups, with their few sober moments characterized by interaction with pony-tailed TAs spouting off about "patriarchal paradigms" and trying to pick up on cute sophomores.  Worse, this bacchanalia will saddle the participants with a couple hundred thousand in student debt that they get to carry off into real life, where they will discover that the only thing their degrees in Comparative Norwegian Feminist Literature qualify them for is exciting careers in the world of artisanal coffee retailing.

Know Thy Enemy III: Celebrity Culture.  The education system has contributed on two fronts.  First, it really is cranking out stupider people.  After years of dumbed down curricula we have produced a generation or two of citizens who learned very few critical thinking skills but did learn how to absorb spoon-fed platitudes, bromides, politically correct factoids, half-truths and lies.  As such, they are great vessels for "received information."  In other words, they are the perfect low information citizen.  LoFos are citizens who tend not to recognize logic fallacies — which they wouldn't be able to rebut even if they did — but respond well to emotional appeals, sound-bites and bumper stickers.



"The problem isn't that Johnny can't read.  The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think.  The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling."
— Thomas Sowell     


Chicago Teachers Union demands end of standardized testing.  The Chicago Teachers Union urged school administrators nationwide to discontinue the use of standardized tests, deriding them as corporate tools.  The CTU recently released a report arguing that standardized tests are a faulty measure of student achievement.  They also advance a pro-corporate agenda, the report said.

Swallow Your Pride, Save Your Child.  The modern public school's purpose, as described by its leading theorists, advocates, and power-brokers for more than a century, is to destroy ethical individualism, to undermine the natural human impulses toward knowledge and self-reliance, and to create a society of intellectually stunted, humble, conformist workers and voters for the progressive authoritarian state.  To blind oneself to this reality, and to the obvious success of this project in undoing modern morality and liberty, is unwittingly to facilitate the gradual smothering of the human spirit.

California no longer requiring eighth graders to take Algebra.  California will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but that may leave students unprepared for college.  Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren't ready for it.  Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth-graders in the state.

What Our Society Has Become.  The United States Constitution, and its concepts of limited government, State sovereignty, liberty, and a political system governed by the people is being tossed aside as nothing more than an archaic obstacle to progress.  Federalized, our schools have become indoctrination centers that spit out compliant citizens hailing that central government is the new god of the new age.  Television programs, all the way down to the cute little yellow feathered Street for toddlers, reinforces the mental programming of the youngsters, and the news media and entertainment industry reinforce the teachings not only for the children, but to ensure the proper re-education of the older folks that might still remember what America was like when it was still truly free.

The Truth Behind Our Entitlement Culture.  Entitlements are two-thirds of the federal budget.  Entitlement spending has grown 100-fold over the past 50 years.  Half of all American households now rely on government handouts. [...] It's in our schools and in our speech.  There are no winners or losers anymore.  Everyone gets a gold star.  Everyone gets an award.  There are no individuals, no standouts.  We wouldn't want to offend anyone.  Everything has to be inclusive, especially in our politically correct speech.  That takes all the power out of the concept of individual responsibility and exceptionalism.

Numbers are hard, for teachers.  America's downfall doesn't begin with the "low-information voter."  It starts with the no-knowledge student.  For decades, collectivist agitators in our schools have chipped away at academic excellence in the name of fairness, diversity and social justice.  "Progressive" reformers denounced Western civilization requirements, the Founding Fathers and the Great Books as racist.  They attacked traditional grammar classes as irrelevant in modern life.  They deemed ability grouping of students (tracking) bad for self-esteem.  They replaced time-tested rote techniques and standard algorithms with fuzzy math, inventive spelling and multicultural claptrap.

The Special Olympics — every day, at every school.
Schools must provide sports for disabled, US says.  Students with disabilities must be given a fair shot to play on a traditional sports team or have their own leagues, the Education Department says.

White House: Schools must open sports to disabled.  The Obama administration for the first time is telling school districts across the USA that they must give disabled students equal access to extracurricular sports, a move that advocates say has been years in the making.  In a letter to schools due out Friday [1/25/2013], Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter of the Department of Education says schools should provide "reasonable modifications" to allow disabled students to participate — for instance, providing a deaf track athlete with a flashing light that goes off simultaneously with the starter pistol that others hear.

We are raising a generation of deluded narcissists.  A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.  Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.

And Will a Jesse James or Billy the Kid Elementary School Follow?  California public schools for some time in many surveys of national testing have ranked 48th or 49th in the nation in math and science, and, inter alia, are part of the various impediments to robust economic growth in California.  No matter — California school boards have better things to worry about.

20 Ways America Has Begun to Reap What It Has Sown.  [#7]  Our first priority when it comes to schools is catering to the teachers' unions, not educating our kids; then we're surprised at the poor quality of public education in our country. [...] [#16] We worry more about children's self-esteem than their performance; then we're surprised when college kids aren't ready for the working world.

Tearing Down Public Education.  The people I am talking about are men and women who know that generations of compulsory public schooling have laid waste to reason, morality, and responsible citizenship.  They desire radical change — and yet something about the enormity of the situation has paralyzed them.

An Anatomy of a Most Peculiar Institution.  A student's life on campus is a zero-sum game.  For each elective like "The modern comic book," or "Chicana feminisms" or "Queering the text," students have no time (or desire to) take more difficult and instructive classes on the British Enlightenment or A History of World War I or Classical English Grammar. [...] The result is perhaps a fourth of the liberal arts courses — many would judge more like 50% — would never have been allowed in the curriculum just 40 years ago.  They tend to foster the two most regrettable traits in a young mind — ignorance of the uninformed combined with the arrogance of the zealot.  All too often students in these courses become revved up over a particular writ — solar power, gay marriage, the war on women, multiculturalism — without the skills to present their views logically and persuasively in response to criticism.

Readingate: The 100-Year Coverup of Educational Malpractice.  The simple truth is that we are living through the greatest coverup of educational malpractice by professional educators this nation has ever known.  And we will not be able to correct the situation until enough Americans know about it to make a difference.  The fact is that our literacy problem is the result of a deliberate attempt to dumb down the American people.  It was hatched in 1898 — 114 years ago — by John Dewey, a 39-year-old socialist educator, who persuaded his fellow socialists that the only way to change America from an individualistic society to a collectivist one was to dumb-down the American people.

The 100-Year Cover Up of Educational Malpractice (Part 2).  The object of socialism had been from the very beginning to remake man from the competitive being of capitalist society to a cooperative being in a collectivist state.  Education was considered the best way to achieve this transformation.  Indeed, President Obama's idea of transforming America is in line with the Progressive aim to create a socialist America.

Inventor warns 'Google generation [...] losing creativity and skills'.  One of Britain's leading inventors has warned that a 'Google generation' who rely on the internet for everything are in danger of becoming 'brain-dead'.  Trevor Baylis, who invented the wind-up radio, said children are losing creativity and practical skills because they spend too much time in front of screens.  The 75-year-old said he fears that the next generation of inventors is being lost, with young people often unable to make anything with their hands.

Ending Progressive Public Education.  To begin with what everyone knows:  (1) Modern public school education throughout the West discourages high achievement.  The teachers themselves are generally among the bottom feeders from the previous generation of the same public system.  (2) Public schools actively teach relativistic, anti-individualist morals.  This is the Dewey model of education, and it has been faithfully expanded and pursued by educational decision makers and their gofers (the teachers) for the better part of a century.  (3) The standards of academic achievement are dropping at an accelerating rate with each passing decade.  High school graduates today are deficient in general knowledge, literacy, and basic reasoning skills.  They lack common sense, as well as a sense of common heritage based on shared experiences of something beyond the latest popular song.

Education's Great Divide: My Time in the Trenches.  [Scroll down]  I then made it my business, when finding an older teacher, to ask if education had been "dumbed down."  To a person, I found that this question unleashed volatile diatribes on how dull children had become since the responders had begun as idealistic young men and women in the field.  Algebra teachers informed me that every year they were forced to eliminate problem sets that previous years had mastered.  English teachers who once taught Shakespeare and Dante were now reduced to leading seniors through Orwell's Animal Farm or postmodern novels featuring teens in existential moral dilemmas.  Moreover, the analysis of themes in book reports had been deconstructed into not what the author was attempting to portray, but what personal emotions were elicited in the reader.

U Cal.'s New Logo: A Sign of the Times.  It was at San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) that riots, bombings, and other aggressive and violent acts by Black Panthers and their allies led to the establishment in 1969 of the country's first Black Studies program, a phenomenon of which civil-rights leader Bayard Rustin quite properly asked:  "Is Black Studies an educational program or a forum for ideological indoctrination?"  (Correct answer: B.)  It was at San Fernando Valley State College (now the California State University at Northridge) that similar gravitas-free hijinks created what is now the world's largest Chicano Studies department, devoted then as now to the cultivation among students of an overwhelming sense of alienation from, hostility to, victimization by, and inability to make any kind of headway whatsoever in mainstream American society.

Fighting the Good Conservative Fight.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out that under-educated individuals, who lack both job qualifications, and critical thinking skills, are virtually certain to end up on one government program or another.  And those are the kids who don't graduate.  In New York City, 75 percent of those who do graduate still need remedial math and English courses before they can do college work.

Six N.J. educators breached security on standardized tests, report says.  Six educators whose schools have been implicated in a statewide cheating probe committed security breaches on standardized tests in 2010, including providing students with answers or failing to properly safeguard test materials, according to the state Department of Education.

Feds say teachers hired stand-in to take their certification tests.  For 15 years, teachers in three Southern states paid Clarence Mumford Sr. — himself a longtime educator — to send someone else to take the tests in their place, authorities said.  Each time, Mumford received a fee of between $1,500 and $3,000 to send one of his test ringers with fake identification to the Praxis exam.  In return, his customers got a passing grade and began their careers as cheaters, according to federal prosecutors in Memphis.

Changing Demographics? More Like Enduring Ignorance.  On election night, for the umpteenth time, I went to the local food mart, and gave the high school kid working the register a five dollar bill for something that cost $2.32.  She punched it into the computer, after which I gave her the thirty-two cents.  By now, most of you know where this is going:  the dazed look, alternating between the change and me, as if I'd handed her the Dead Sea Scrolls and demanded a translation on the spot.  Of course if I'd used that analogy to make light of the moment, it wouldn't have mattered:  these kids aren't just mathematically illiterate, they wouldn't know what the Dead Sea Scrolls are either — unless it was the name of a new app for their I-phones.

Substitute teacher bullied by students who heckle and flick her face.  A shocking video capturing a high school teacher mercilessly bullied by her own students has been revealed showing her flicked in the face while the rest of the class roars with laughter.  Standing before the applauding laughter of her students, the substitute teacher in Baltimore, Maryland appears half the size of two girls who approach her while throwing items and flicking her face.

State strips 23 schools of API rankings for cheating.  Teachers helped students correct mistakes on standardized tests, prepared them with actual test questions or left instructional posters displayed in the classroom during testing, according to school district reports.

Spellcheck generation 'failing to write simple words'.  Children are struggling to write "simple and everyday words" because of an increasing reliance on spellcheckers, according to research. [...] The Oxford University Press found that children in primary and secondary schools were increasingly encouraged to look up complex words using dictionaries and electronic spellcheckers.

It's official in Florida: Blacks can't be held to same standards.  The deep internal contradictions of liberal race dogma have reached their logical, horrifying conclusion at the hands of the Florida State Board of Education.

Florida expects far less of black students.
Florida Passes Plan For Racially-Based Academic Goals.  The Florida State Board of Education passed a plan that sets goals for students in math and reading based upon their race.  On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level.  For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent.  It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post.

NAACP Sees 'Soft Bigotry Of Low Expectations' in FL Race-Based Education Goals.  The Florida State Board of Education recently announced that its K-12 academic achievement goals for math and reading will vary depending on a student's race.

Racially-Based Academic Goals Essentially Racist.  There's no reason to expect less of any demographic taking the exam.  If our children, our students, are expected to sit the exam, the expectation is that they should not only have the capacity but confidence that they can perform just as well as any other group.  They should know that we as educators and parents share this same confidence.

The Quiet Californians.  [Scroll down]  The rich who designed and hence ruined the K-12 public schools avoid them; the middle class seeks to staff and run them; the poor both suffer in them and do their own smaller part to make things worse.  (Cannot we also blame the gang-banger who sneers at the teacher while he uses his cell phone in class, or the 15-year-old girl who needs prenatal counseling, or the graffiti artist who destroys the bathroom?)

Obama's America: Student Reading SAT Scores Hit Record Lows.  2012's high school seniors have the worst SAT reading score since 1972; they scored 486 on reading, out of a possible 800.  In writing, students also dropped dramatically, down to 488.  That's a nine-point drop since 2006.  The tendency from leftists is to challenge the efficacy of the SAT in measuring performance — but it's a standardized test with great care taken for consistency.

Academic Dishonesty.  In today's college climate, we shouldn't be surprised by the outcomes.  A survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut gave 81 percent of the seniors a D or an F in their knowledge of American history.  Many students could not identify Valley Forge, words from the Gettysburg Address or even the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution.  The National Center for Education Statistics reported that only 31 percent of college graduates can read and understand a complex book.

Where Does That Thirty Percent Come From?  [Scroll down]  How can one in three Americans still want this chameleon-in-chief to rule their lives?  We have precisely that many fellow citizens who won't think — who can't think — under any circumstances about the realities facing our society and our nation:  about one in three.

Disciplining Students Is Racist?  Among all the bizarre ideas that emanate from the callow and sciolistic mind of the modern American liberal, the statistical disparity argument is one of the most fallacious.  It has permeated and destroyed so many aspects of society.  It is now being offered by Obama's education secretary, Arne Duncan, in the area of disciplining school students.

Barred from discipline: Bibb County teachers unable to control students under current rules.  After 18-year-old Jaqavius Holloway threatened to shoot one of his teachers at Northeast High School in February, he was charged with making terroristic threats and disrupting public school.  As one of his bail conditions, the judge told him, "I don't care if the school calls and invites you onto campus, you are not to go back," prosecutor Elizabeth Bobbitt recalled.  But in May, Holloway showed back up at Northeast, saying he was allowed to return.  No one in the office checked his story, and he had apparently never been expelled.  So he went back to class.  Within a week, he had shoved a pregnant teacher and thrown her cell phone at her, resulting in a battery charge, according to a July indictment.

Atlanta Teacher Helped Students Cheat Because They Were "Dumb".  Shayla Smith, a former fifth-grade teacher at Dobbs Elementary School, was responsible for overseeing students while they were taking state-sponsored tests, and all tests monitored by Smith were reportedly blotched with questionable erasure marks, amounting to a "practically impossible frequency of changes from wrong to right [answers]," according to the Atlanta paper.  Around that time Schajuan Jones, who taught fourth-grade from across the hall, overheard Smith discussing the test with another teacher.

Back to school brainwashing.  We used to know the subjects assigned to the various grades, but common core subjects with common values were abandoned long ago, replaced by progressive theories and the dumbing down of actual information.  The emphasis was on methodology and social-activist doctrine, even in the lower grades.  We continue to suffer for it.

Obama Demands Race-Based School Discipline.  President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order hiring race-sensitive bureaucrats to hold meetings and mandate racial discipline quotas.  The order charges his new racial justice team, in part, with "promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools."  In plain English, that means that if different races have different incidences of disciplinary action, those of a favored race who act worse will be punished less, or those of a disfavored race who act better will be punished more, or both.

Educational Lunacy.  If I were a Klansman, wanting to sabotage black education, I couldn't find better allies than education establishment liberals and officials in the Obama administration, especially Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who in March 2010 announced that his department was "going to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement."  For Duncan, the civil rights issue was that black elementary and high school students are disciplined at a higher rate than whites.  His evidence for discrimination is that blacks are three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.

Successful School Curriculum Under Attack.  As a longtime school choice advocate, I am always in favor of giving parents the tools they need to ensure their children receive a high quality education, which is necessary to compete in today's global marketplace.  And as a visiting professor of law at Liberty University and former associate professor at Xavier University, I know how a rigorous education is critical for students to be prepared to get the most value out of their time at college.  Therefore, I am disturbed by a recent development in states such as Idaho, where members of the school board are questioning the worth of this program despite its value to students.

Undisciplined.  Black elementary and high school students are disciplined at a higher rate than whites are.  To [Arne] Duncan, that disparity can mean only one thing: schools are discriminating.  And so the Departments of Education and Justice have launched a campaign against disproportionate minority discipline rates, which show up in virtually every school district with significant numbers of black and Hispanic students.  The possibility that students' behavior, not educators' racism, drives those rates lies outside the Obama administration's conceptual universe.

They're just now thinking of this?
Some states tie reading tests to grade promotion.  Fourth grade is when young people stop learning to read and start reading to learn, says Marcus Winters, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.  Even so, because less attention is placed on developing reading skills past the third grade, Winters said, students who have not mastered the skill by then struggle to keep up and fall further behind each year.  To address that issue, Ohio and North Carolina passed legislation in the past month requiring third-graders to pass a reading test before advancing to fourth grade.

How American Public Education Has Become a Criminal Enterprise (Part 2).  Back in 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education produced its long-awaited and by now totally ignored report entitled "A Nation at Risk." [...] This harsh indictment was handed down 29 years ago, and the schools have only gotten worse.  Dumbing down an entire nation is certainly a crime of such magnitude that it is barely understandable.  What kind of Americans would have dreamed up such a plan and callously implemented it, knowing full well that it would undermine the nation's economic and cultural health as well as inflict untold mental suffering on millions of Americans who are now adults trying to cope with the handicaps their schools gave them?

Why Johnny Can't Add Without a Calculator.  When Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church, Va., recently renovated its classrooms, Vern Williams, who might be the best math teacher in the country, had to fight to keep his blackboard.  The school was putting in new "interactive whiteboards" in every room, part of a broader effort to increase the use of technology in education.  That might sound like a welcome change.  But this effort, part of a nationwide trend, is undermining American education, particularly in mathematics and the sciences.

Will American Liberals Ever Wake Up?  People who attended public school in the 1960s and early 1970s experienced an educational system far different from that of today.  In the '60s and early '70s, teachers still had authority to actually teach and discipline students.  If a student turned in failing work, teachers didn't hesitate to assign an F or even hold a student back a grade.  Educators believed that education was more important than making students feel good about themselves.  It wasn't uncommon for a teacher and/or school administrator to use corporal punishment on disruptive students when necessary.  Today's teachers have no authority.  They aren't allowed to use corporal punishment, or to do anything that will injure student self-image or self-esteem.  Many public schools have become a training center for a quite liberal social agenda.  As a result, confidence in public schools has fallen to a new low of 29 percent.

California budget proposal would end a science requirement.  A little-noticed proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to eliminate the second year of science as a high school graduation requirement is sparking concern among educators who fear it could deepen the academic divide among students and further erode the state's scientific and technological leadership.  The recommendation in Brown's revised May budget is aimed at freeing the state from reimbursing local school districts for the $250-million annual cost of the second-year science course.  The state has not made any payouts to school districts since the requirement was ruled a mandate in 2005, so California owes public school systems $2.5 billion in unpaid claims.

Schools telling elementary students that new middle school math is too hard for them.  Bright elementary school students across the Triangle will be blocked from taking middle-school math courses this fall because school officials say the material is too hard for them.  As part of a national movement to standardize math instruction, North Carolina is putting into effect a new curriculum for the 2012-13 school year that's supposed to be more rigorous.  The result is that most Triangle school districts, including Wake County, will no longer allow high-level elementary school students to take middle-school math.

Education Decline, One Step at a Time.  The occasion was that the New York State Board of Regents (the body which oversees public school curricula) had scheduled discussion on "Alternative Pathways To Graduation."  "Alternative to what?" one might in innocence ask — "learning something?"  But let's not get ahead of ourselves. [...] I read the whole thing, and in three words, there aren't any.  "Smart" ideas, that is.

FCAT writing benchmarks changed.  The Florida Board of Education on Tuesday [5/15/2012] decided to significantly reduce the FCAT writing proficiency benchmark — from 4.0 to 3.0 on a 6-point scale — in an effort to hold school districts harmless in the wake of plummeting scores.

If you play football, nothing else matters.
Report finds academic fraud evidence in UNC department.  An internal investigation into UNC-Chapel Hill's Department of African and Afro-American Studies has found evidence of academic fraud involving more than 50 classes that range from no-show professors to unauthorized grade changes for students.  One of the no-show classes is the Swahili course taken by former football player Michael McAdoo that prompted NCAA findings of impermissible tutoring, and drew more controversy when the final paper he submitted was found to have been heavily plagiarized.

Why College Football Should Be Banned:  In more than 20 years I've spent studying the issue, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that college football has anything do with what is presumably the primary purpose of higher education:  academics.  That's because college football has no academic purpose.  Which is why it needs to be banned.  A radical solution, yes.  But necessary in today's times.

A tale from the "wild, wild west" of academia.  An internal investigation at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has uncovered academic fraud involving the department of African and Afro-American Studies.  The fraud extends to more than 50 different classes.  It ranges from no-show professors to unauthorized grade changes for students.  According to the findings of the investigation, the department of African and Afro-American Studies offered 616 classes from the Summer of 2007 through the Summer of 2009. [...] In any event, the investigation found that in 9 of the 616 courses, there was no evidence that the faculty member listed as instructor of record, or any other faculty member, supervised the course or graded the work.

Leftism Comes First As Black Studies Critic Is Fired.  A news source for college professors fires a noted writer for racism after she exposes "left-wing victimization claptrap" masquerading as scholarship.  So much for free academic inquiry.

Why Colleges Don't Teach the Federalist Papers.  It would be difficult to overstate the significance of The Federalist for understanding the principles of American government and the challenges that liberal democracies confront early in the second decade of the 21st century.  Yet despite the lip service they pay to liberal education, our leading universities can't be bothered to require students to study The Federalist — or, worse, they oppose such requirements on moral, political or pedagogical grounds.  Small wonder it took so long for progressives to realize that arguments about the constitutionality of ObamaCare are indeed serious.

Many Illinois high school students get special testing accommodations for ACT.  An unusually large number of Illinois public high school students — at least 1 out of 10 juniors — received extra time or other help to boost their scores on the ACT, including high achievers at some of the state's elite schools.  At powerhouse New Trier Township High School on the North Shore, the highest number in the state, 170 juniors — or 1 in 6 test takers — got special testing accommodations last year.

America's New Religion: Nihilism.  If you want to know why American popular culture has become so strange and raunchy, it's because we have a new popular religion that now also permeates public education:  Nihilism, or Nothingism.  Its holy scripture is Rolling Stone magazine, where writers use the "F" word and other similar repulsive expressions routinely in its pages.

University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets.  The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science, cutting the graduate and research programs entirely, and moving the tattered remnants into other departments.  Let's get this straight:  in the midst of a technology revolution, with a shortage of engineers and computer scientists, UF decides to cut computer science completely?

Plans to make Ds a passing grade deserve an F.  Ds will be acceptable, even if a D average in a college-prep class makes you ineligible for admission to four-year state colleges.  Could you send a worse message to kids than to tell them Ds are just fine?  Yeah, I understand the goal is to keep kids from flunking or dropping out, but telling students you don't really expect much of them could end up being just as corrosive.

Stop Panicking About Bullies.  [Scroll down]  The Department of Education in New York City — once known as the town too tough for Al Capone — is seeking to ban such words as "dinosaurs," "Halloween" and "dancing" from citywide tests on the grounds that they could "evoke unpleasant emotions in the students," it was reported this week.  (Leave aside for the moment that perhaps the whole point of tests is to "evoke unpleasant emotions.")

Children no longer need facts because they can look them up on smartphone, claim teachers.  Children should no longer be expected to learn facts in the classroom because they can rely on smartphones as a "substantial" knowledge bank, it was claimed today [4/4/2012].  Teachers said lessons should put a greater emphasis on broad skills such as independent research, interpreting evidence and critical thinking rather than learning dates, facts and figures by rote.

New York education officials back off plan to ban words like 'dinosaur' and 'birthday' from standardized tests.  New York education officials chose to reverse their controversial decision to be extremely politically correct and keep words like 'dinosaur' and 'birthday' off of standardized tests.  The New York Department of education withdrew its suggested ban of 50 words from the state's standardized tests after receiving a backlash from angry parents.  Other words that were on the list were 'birthdays' (because Jehovah's Witnesses don't observe them), class-indentifying terms like wealth and poverty, and 'Halloween' (as it may imply paganism).  'Television' and 'dancing' were also on the list.

"Civil Education": The New Fad To Train Your Child To Work In A Soup Kitchen?  A monster called the "Partnering Initiative on Education," which says it represents more than 106,000 schools and universities, controlling more than 64 million students, is ready to announce a model program that will involve students in a range of social service activities like food drives, environmental projects and working with the elderly.  Proponents say the initiative is especially important at a time "when the notion of restoring a sense of community is so much a part of the national debate and when the educational spotlight has increasingly been on a push for higher test scores, better tests and more rigorous standards."

Cup stacking is a silly excuse for a sport.  Stacking is about as ridiculous as the Olympic sport of curling, but offers far less cardiovascular benefit.  It's also surprisingly expensive. ... The thing that drives me wild is that, according to Speed Stacks' official website, 10,511 schools have incorporated cup stacking into their gym curriculum.  You read that correctly — gym curriculum!  Childhood obesity rates are rising, but we have millions of children standing around in gym classes across America building pyramids with plastic cups.  Meanwhile, playgrounds lie abandoned, balls wait unbounced in dark storage rooms and outdoor tracks silently bake under the sun.

Why is Public Education Failing?  It's a fact.  Most of today's school children can barely read or write.  They can't perform math problems without a calculator.  They barely know who the Founding Fathers were and know even less of their achievements.  Most can't tell you the name of the President of the United States.

Cheating our children: Suspicious school test scores across the nation.  Suspicious test scores in roughly 200 school districts resemble those that entangled Atlanta in the biggest cheating scandal in American history, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.  The newspaper analyzed test results for 69,000 public schools and found high concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast.  The findings represent an unprecedented examination of the integrity of school testing.

D.C. Cheating Scandal: A Conspiracy of Silence.  It took nine years for rumors of cheating on test scores by school personnel in Atlanta to percolate and trigger a devastating nine-month investigation by their governor.  Will it take nine or more years for D.C. schoolchildren to get the same kind of justice?

The Big Hoax.  [Scroll down]  Secretary [of Education Arne] Duncan and Attorney General Holder want to play the race card in an election year, at the expense of the education of black students.  Make no mistake about it, the black students who go to school to get an education are the main victims of the classroom disrupters whom Duncan and Holder are trying to protect.

Australian kids think yogurt grows on trees.  Most Australian fifth graders believe that cotton comes from animals and yogurt grows on trees, a new study shows.

The Editor says...
Don't laugh at the Australian kids, unless American schools show better results in similar (unannounced) tests.  As I understand it, school kids in the U.S. do well only because the questions on the standardized tests are well known, and the kids are taught the answers to those specific questions.

They Turn Left While in College.  Do economics degree holders grasp the criminality of the Federal Reserve and what is has done to the value our nation's currency?  Are college grads aware that the current occupant of the White House touts implied powers and issues imperialistic edicts to govern?  Can students trained in the sciences overcome the drivel they receive about global warming and the overblown concern about the environment, and understand the need to take advantage of what God put in the earth instead of making the earth a new kind of god?  The answer is No to all to the above.

The Energy of Poverty.  [Scroll down]  Closer to our times, the best scholars, such as Jacques Barzun, complain about the corrosive effects of artificial leveling — that is, social promotions and affirmative actions, unrelated to merit or competition.  Dr. Barzun may be too polite.  The academic poverty of American teachers and students has gone from bad to abysmal since Barzun first wrote about the pitfalls of lowering school standards.  The most obvious artifact of merit in the American public school system is athletics — where competition and achievement are the only measures of effectiveness.  Unfortunately, sports thrive in a school culture where athletic standards are higher than academic standards for a diploma or a degree.  Low expectations are the cruelest form of poverty.

Looking back at Civics.  Many years ago, back when the earth's crust had barely cooled and politics was known as the infernal pit it is, there was a course taught in schools.  It was called Civics.  It was defined as the social science of municipal affairs.  It was a class where you learned what your government did and how its job was done.  Now the government doesn't want you to know how things are done.

Texting language weaves its way into school assignments.  In the Corpus Christi Independent School District, texting lingo has invaded some classroom assignments such as written essays, typed opinions about up-and-coming technology and answers on worksheets asking potential job interview questions.

High school students are woefully uninformed.  One intrepid student reporter who wanted to know how much basic knowledge his classmates had experienced a comically tragic response.  Most of his classmates didn't even know who the vice president of the country was.  One student guessed Osama bin Laden, while another proudly stated that it was former president Bill Clinton.

Why "No Child Left Behind" Hasn't Worked:  Of course, none of these federal programs does anything to raise the test scores of minority children because they are stuck with all of these progressive programs that refuse to teach children to read with intensive, systematic phonics.  And that's why dropout rates keep climbing, and the SAT reading scores have dropped to their lowest point in decades.

Deciphering the Super Bowl: XLVI is Greek to kids.  They may know what X means, or V and I, but Roman numerals beyond the basics have largely gone the way of cursive and penmanship as a subject taught in the nation's schools.

Schools of education protect ignorance in the classroom.  Education professors drum into students that they should not "drill and kill" or be the "sage on the stage" but instead be the "guide on the side" who "facilitates student discovery."  This kind of harebrained thinking, coupled with multicultural nonsense, explains today's education.

No Diploma Necessary.  In the latest bit of politically-correct economically-ignorant insanity to come from Washington, D.C., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — an organization which should (but won't) be at the top of any Republican president's list to eliminate — has opined that employers may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they require that potential employees have a high school diploma.

Columbia Teaches How to "Occupy" at $5001.09.  Recently, Columbia University in New York proposed offering a class in Occupy Wall Street. ... Given that the Occupy Wall Street class is a three credit hour class, it costs an undergrad $5001.09 to learn how to camp out in a park and beat a drum while articulating a far left manifesto.  I shouldn't forget to mention that the student ought to consider what a future employer might think when they see that class on a transcript.

The Vanishing Western Tradition.  For students in the Academy today, the Western Civilization history course, virtually a standard curriculum offering 30 years ago, has disappeared.  This survey course covering classical antiquity to the present was the glue, the all-embracing narrative, that gave coherence to everything else the university taught.  At the very least, students came away from this course with a partial recognition of their civilization and its monumental achievements.  Now Western civilization survey courses have been eliminated from the general education requirements, replaced in large part by courses and programs that either undermine traditions in the West or "Balkanize" the curriculum.

The Socialist Agenda Behind "Whole Language".  We have known for quite some time that there is a socialist political agenda behind the movement to do away with systematic phonics and replace it with Whole Language and other similar sight-reading programs.  A sight method, like Whole Language, teaches children to read English as if it were Chinese, that is, composed of word-pictures like Chinese characters, rather than letters that stand for sounds.  Children are taught a "sight vocabulary," a list of words they are supposed to memorize by their shape or association with a picture.  They do not learn the letter sounds or how to decipher words by analyzing their phonetic structure and breaking multisyllabic words into their syllables, which is the proper way to teach a child to read.

CRB = Committee for Relief in Belgium
When Americans Save Lives Overseas, it Doesn't Make the Textbooks.  Never heard of the CRB?  Not surprising.  It's not mentioned in any of the eight college U.S. history texts I consulted. ... Maybe the authors felt they had to devote all their allotted space to describing the American contribution to the war itself.  Not exactly.  The historians are more interested in repression at home than in the campaign overseas.

Freaks Who Forbid Footballs.  A public school in Toronto has put a ban on most balls their kiddos toss around during recess because school administrators have deemed such projectiles dangerous. ... In this day of Puss 'n Boots squish, do we really need more softies who don't have enough sense to avoid getting hit in the mouth by a slider?  Getting rocked up in the face by a fastball could be the best thing that ever happened to your stupid kid.  Pain is God's way of telling your lackluster boy to quit texting and watch the game.

Focus on standardized tests may be pushing some teachers to cheat.  In the worst alleged cases, teachers are accused of changing incorrect responses or filling in missing ones after students returned answer booklets.  Many accused teachers have denied doing anything wrong.  But documents and interviews suggest that an increasing focus on test scores has created an atmosphere of such intimidation that the idea teachers would cheat has become plausible.

Growing use of simplified test inflates some California schools' scores.  Threatened for the last decade with bad publicity and sanctions following poor test results, school districts have been known to grab at loopholes in state testing policy and rip them wide open.  Critics say that's happening again with a new test for special education students called the California Modified Assessment.

The Decline of American History in Public Schools.  If the youngest generations of Americans lack a basic understanding of the past, what kind of nation will we be in ten, twenty or even a hundred years from now?  What kind of leaders will we produce?

The Statist Dictionary:  _______ Studies.  Indicates a university course where little actual scholarship is required (Women's Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, Environmental Studies), which prepares students for careers as Walmart greeters, burger-flippers, and government employees.  If your child is majoring in a field that ends in Studies, you may expect to have your basement occupied until the first property tax bill arrives after your death.

Cheating Scandals in the Public Schools.  One of the purposes of No Child Left Behind, the education reform program promoted by President George W. Bush and Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, was to set high standards for American public schools so that American students would excel in their studies. ... If the schools could not show academic improvement, they would lose federal funds.  So the schools did what they considered to be the only way to meet the federal standards:  cheat.

No More Washington Tricks.  In Atlanta, the teachers cheat on exams so the students don't have to.  It doesn't raise the knowledge level of our children, but it gets the school system past the next exam — even as the system continues its death spiral.  We will know the spiral has reached its terminal station when there is full unionized teacher employment and complete student illiteracy.

Education Is Worse Than We Thought.  U.S. News & World Report (7/7/2011) came out with a story titled "Educators Implicated in Atlanta Cheating Scandal," saying that "for 10 years, hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals changed answers on state tests in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history, according to a scathing 413-page investigative report released Tuesday by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal."  The report says that more than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated cheated on the 2009 standardized National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Lying and Cheating in the Home of the Brave.  A Georgia investigation alleges systematic cheating occurred at 44 public schools over a 10-year period.  But it's not the kids who were caught.  No, the state says at least 178 teachers and principals did the deeds. ... Lying and cheating almost always come down to betrayal and are most often driven by selfishness.  America has become a nation obsessed with immediate gratification.  Public schools have embraced secularism with a vengeance; therefore, Moses and his 10 Commandments have been banished.

Culture of cheating breeding in schools across U.S..  Those sneaky students in the back of the classroom aren't the only cheaters.  Teachers and school leaders are getting in on the scams by boosting test scores not through better instruction, but by erasing wrong answers, replacing them with the right ones and hoodwinking parents in the process.

America's biggest teacher and principal cheating scandal unfolds in Atlanta.  At least 178 teachers and principals in Atlanta Public Schools cheated to raise student scores on high-stakes standardized tests, according to a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Organized Cheating.  The ongoing bankruptcy known as unionized public school education has reached a new milestone.  In Atlanta, 178 teachers and principals spread throughout 56 schools were investigated, and cheating on tests — by the educators themselves — was confirmed in 44 of them.  So far, 82 of the people entrusted with the education of children have confessed to erasing wrong answers on standardized test and inserting right ones.

Did Obama Administration Pressure Teachers Into Cheating?  [Scroll down]  Who loses in this kind of a deal?  The poor kids in the classroom whose coerced teachers and administrators find they've been threatened into making bad choices.  Three Atlanta school teachers accused of cheating, but denying the charges against them told a local Fox affiliate that "they were told to produce high test scores no matter what it took or they could wind up working at Wal-Mart."  Presumably state investigators have told them they have "lost their immunity."

Investigation into APS cheating finds unethical behavior across every level.  Across Atlanta Public Schools, staff worked feverishly in secret to transform testing failures into successes.  Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students' answer sheets.  Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.

Why the Shock Over Atlanta Teacher Cheating?  [Scroll down]  It's highly likely that Atlanta's recent high school graduates had already faced the shock, which now grips the whole city.  Just imagine a young person, who was recently hired or accepted to college on the strength of one of those faked diplomas, receiving the rude awakening of a firing or college flunk-out all because he couldn't actually read or write.

Investigators in Atlanta cheating scandal discuss culture of corruption.  It has been a long 10 months for Mike Bowers and Bob Wilson, the special investigators who oversaw the scathing report on Atlanta Public Schools.  The two conducted 2,100 interviews and examined 800,000 documents as part of their investigation of the 48,000-student district, finding a "heartbreaking" culture of corruption.

DC Schools 'Cheating' Scandal Heats Up.  The story involves possible cheating on tests by "erasure corrections," bonuses handed out to those teachers and principals overseeing the testing, and [Michelle] Rhee's feigned innocence about the matter. ... If Rhee's "double-digit growth" numbers sound too good to be true they probably are.  A March 2011 report in USA Today investigated an abnormal amount of erasures occurring on standardized tests in 103 public schools for the 3 years Rhee was at the helm.

The Dumbing-Down of America.  On history tests given to 31,000 pupils by the National Assessment of Education Progress, the "Nation's Report Card," most fourth-graders could not identify a picture of Abraham Lincoln or a reason why he was important.  Most eighth-graders could not identify an advantage American forces had in the Revolutionary War.  Twelfth-graders did not know why America entered World War II or that China was North Korea's ally in the Korean War.  Only 20 percent of fourth-graders attained even a "proficient" score in the test.

The 'Achievement Gap' Fraud.  Our educational system is self-destructing because of a fraud known as the "achievement gap."  One result of that fraud is that public school bureaucrats are taking away opportunities from good students in a misguided effort to help underperforming students.

What Would the Founders Teach?  There has been ample tongue-clucking about abysmal student scores on the civics and history portions of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), but the real scandal has gone unnoticed.  It is certainly a shame that two-thirds of fourth-graders and nearly three-quarters of eighth-graders don't know the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, and that over half of America's high-school seniors score below the basic level on history.

Accusation that Voter ID Is Racist Demeans Blacks.  The left, which dominates our culture and educational institutions, has too often lowered standards for black Americans.  Even worse, it has declared that if you are black, "they isn't" is not only not to be corrected, but many in academia have declared it an acceptable form of English, i.e., Ebonics, or Black English.

How Low Can Higher Ed Go?  As [Clayton] Cramer notes, many now enter college in pursuit of the "welfare" benefits conferred merely by being there.  Unsurprisingly, many don't find the employment they expect upon graduation.  True, many colleges encourage this entitlement mentality through mandatory grade inflation, mandatory bell-curve grading, and other subterfuges; the views of administrators rather than of teachers often dominate because they, "educators" rather than teachers, have the authority.  Their numbers seem to be increasing.

Kentucky school districts begin to move away from tradition of naming valedictorians.  Instead, districts such as the one in Bullitt County have plans to de-emphasize what could be seen as unhealthy competition and recognize all high achievers.

Government Schools: Antiques Preserved in Political Amber.  Politicians defer to the teachers' unions; it's national news when one doesn't.  The unions protect the teachers from both competition and hard work and all dig in their heels to prevent change to the system; it therefore plugs on unaltered.  Anyone paying attention knows that though many changes are discussed, only one change actually occurs:  increased spending.  The mass production of brainwashed incompetence chugs on unimpeded.

The 'Education' Mantra:  Too many of the people coming out of even our most prestigious academic institutions graduate with neither the skills to be economically productive nor the intellectual development to make them discerning citizens and voters.  Students can graduate from some of the most prestigious institutions in the country, without ever learning anything about science, mathematics, economics or anything else that would make them either a productive contributor to the economy or an informed voter who can see through political rhetoric.  On the contrary, people with such "education" are often more susceptible to demagoguery than the population at large.

UVA Afraid to Prosecute Lying Law Student.  A 25-year old University of Virginia law student Johnathan Perkins wrote a detailed account of police harassment and racial profiling in an April 22 Letter to the Editor of Virginia Law Weekly.  Naturally, the prestigious university began an investigation that culminated in Perkin's May 2 admission that he made the whole thing up in order "to bring attention to police misconduct." ... Despite the false allegations no charges will be filed against Perkins.

The Editor says...
Imagine what would have happened if a white guy had done the same thing.

Professors Gone Wild.  Professors, once a cultural pillar of the most successful nation the world has seen, no longer do the hard work of teaching.  Instead sex, Marxism, and blatant anti-Americanism have become the norm for faculties that view higher education as the main front of a war on American success.

Slippery Standards.  Two seemingly unrelated stories in the news last week reveal the bankruptcy of the progressive mindset.  In Dayton, Ohio, under pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, the city's Police Department is changing its passing grades — again — on tests for police recruits.  Last Wednesday, in a report to Congress, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan revealed that up to 82 percent of public schools could be labeled "failing" because they don't meet the requirements established by the No Child Left Behind law (NCLB).  Duncan claimed the law needed to be "fixed."  In both cases, the "fix" is lowering standards.

Text lingo appearing in schoolwork.  i luv Romeo & Juliet cuz u get to c how in luv the 2 caractrz r :p

The Editor says...
There is more to the article than that, of course, but the policy of this web site is to use a maximum of one sentence from articles published by the Associated Press.

Fix Education Now!  Let's give back to our teachers the authority to establish and maintain discipline in the classroom.

Death by Ignorance.  Two major federal government agencies admit that:
  •   Our children are not receiving a quality education;
  •   Our military is at risk of failing to provide for our defense.
  •   Government threatens our national security through its inability to provide services paid for by our taxes.
Some folks persist with the myth that government will fix itself, but the Supreme Court defines another reality.

Violence in American Schools.  [Scroll down]  Think about the ideas children learn in today's public schools.  They are usually taught, at least implicitly, that there is no right or wrong.  There is no good or bad.  They learn that hatred — even when deserved, as in the case of violent criminals — is always a sin.  That the superior students must be held back for the sake of the feelings of the inferior — as demonstrated by such public school policies as test norming.  Or that selfless charity, rather than self-interested achievement and love of life, represents the essence of morality — as evidenced by community service requirements.

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.  Charlotte Iserbyt has put her great exposé of the dumbing-down agenda of American education on the Internet, so that anyone can now read it and download it free of charge.  The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America is a big book and so very important that anyone interested in the future of this country must read it.  I wrote a Foreword for the book that basically explains what Charlotte achieved by her incredible research based on documents she took out of the files of the Department of Education in Washington, where she worked as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) during the first Reagan administration.  She is the consummate whistleblower, with an overwhelming sense of responsibility as a public servant and a parent.

Why Do Schools Fire Losing Coaches But Not Bad Teachers?  Have you ever heard of a bad history or English teacher who was taken out of the classroom and sent to coach football or basketball?  I doubt it.  At least not because he was doing a bad job of classroom teaching.  Are football and basketball more important than history and English?  If it isn't importance, then what is the difference between coaching football or basketball and teaching history or English?  The critical difference is that everyone knows the teams are losing.  They expect something to be done about it.

The College Diploma Fraud.  President Obama has spoken of adding 5 million graduates to the workforce by 2020, and credential-mania is now all the rage.  This shift is a disaster in the making; imparting knowledge is commendable, but just handing out diplomas is harmful deception.  A cynic might aver that the shift from knowledge to graduation rates is a tacit admission that the gap-closing quest is futile.

'Reform Math'.  Few things could more useless than a system of math instruction concocted by developmental psychologists, and serious questions must be raised about the real effects (and intent) of EM ["Everyday Mathematics"].  Human beings have been performing simple math since hunter-gatherers realized they had digits and things that needed to be counted.  Only a starry-eyed progressive fool would attempt improvement upon methods of simple addition and subtraction, which were used by Franklin, Edison, and Einstein.

Editing God out of history distorts truth.  Ask any grade school kid who the Pilgrims were giving thanks to on the first Thanksgiving and I'll lay you three-to-one odds that the answer you get is, "the Indians."  Public education is so obsessed with separation and so uncomfortable with discussions of religion that it has sanitized the unbreakable link between faith and America's founding.  Now children are taught that the Pilgrims set the first Thanksgiving dinner for the Native Americans who helped keep them alive during their first harsh year in the New World.

School Textbook Calls Founders 'Old Dead White Men'.  Concern over a new hip-hop curriculum that refers to the founding fathers as "old dead white men" has delayed the program's rollout for at-risk students, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer said.

Decrees of Separation.  A law school audience fell into fits of laughter when a Senate candidate asked, "Where in the Constitution is separation of Church and State?"  In fact, the phrase is nowhere in the document.  ... Those scoffing law scholars might want to look at the Constitution's unadorned text instead of the judicial activist law review articles that take up so much of their day.

Principal writes memo full of typos — parents & teachers give him an 'F'.  A rambling letter from the principal of a Brooklyn middle school was so poorly written and full of grammatical errors that parents and teachers say he deserves a dunce cap.

De-Unionize Public Schools now.  [Scroll down]  Both kids were high school drop-outs — but both had stayed in school until they reached the tenth grade before doing so.  How deficient were these boys?  Totally, unambiguously, shockingly deficient.  Where was I forced to begin their re-education?  With the alphabet.  That's right.  Neither of these kids knew their ABCs, despite sitting in classrooms until they were fifteen years old.  Nor did either of them have the slightest clue about money.  They couldn't distinguish the difference between a one dollar bill or a ten dollar bill.  "How do you know you're not getting ripped off when you go shopping?" I asked one.  "I bring my girlfriend with me," he replied.

Destroying Schools to Achieve Racial Justice.  [Scroll down]  This policy clearly panders to blacks, the sole demographic group not yet disenchanted with the president.  Arne Duncan even announced it on the 45th anniversary of the famous Birmingham, AL "Blood Sunday" civil rights march.  But, rhetoric aside, the measure will undermine education for many education-hungry blacks in racially mixed schools by subverting school discipline.  To be impolite, given a choice of helping blacks versus draping a destructive policy in feel-good historical rhetoric, Obama elects the anti-education option.  This sin is inexcusable — a sign of moral depravity, not just inept policy-making.

In England:
The personhood of the Gingerbread People?  Sometimes people do things so stupid, they have to admit the sophistry of their ways and put things back the way it was before the unfortunate meddling occurred.  Council bureaucrats have stripped gingerbread men of their gender and renamed them gingerbread 'persons' on menus for 400 primary schools.

The Urban Plantation.  For two generations now, public school systems have been bottom-fishing.  Most grade and high school teachers come from the dregs of any class of baccalaureates.  And many of these underachievers are credentialed with "education" degrees, an admission that such teachers have little or no substantive knowledge.  And many of those weak teachers are now principals or administrators.  In short, K through 12 has become an affirmative action program for unionized nitwits.  Such swamps are not easily drained, and the muck is now generational.

Sorry, But We Deserve Our Schools.  Public schools aren't the failures they're castigated for being; they are misunderstood successes.  True, they don't teach very much English, math, or history but that's a secondary job.  Young kids are regularly suspended for drawing pictures of guns, wearing T-shirts with guns on them, possessing empty ammo casings, or anything else suggestive of an armed citizenry.  That's primary, and the public schools are good at it.  The students maybe can't multiply or read, but they all know guns are bad, just as they know how to do sex and sell green theory to their parents.  They are turning out well-trained future voters favoring the current leftish pieties who will obediently support Progressive government and who will not ask too many questions.

Do American History Teachers Value Feelings over Knowledge?  Nearly half of American history teachers believe it is less important that their students understand the common history, ideas, rights, and responsibilities that tie the country together as Americans than that they learn to celebrate the unique identities and experiences of its different ethnic, religious, and immigrant groups.  Advocates of radical "social-justice" multiculturalism in many university schools of education — the places where most K-12 teachers are trained — continue to oppose assimilation with a common culture while instead seeking to radically transform an "oppressive" America.

The test has been canceled.  Across the country, there is growing evidence that final exams — once considered so important that universities named a week after them — are being abandoned or diminished, replaced by take-home tests, papers, projects, or group presentations.

When More Math Is Less.  I expect at least three quarters of the remedial mathematics students that I will teach this fall to flunk.  This remedial class at a New York City community college exists because of the abysmal mathematics education in the United States and the liberal philosophy that each person deserves multiple chances to succeed regardless of the financial cost.  Now in college, these students in remedial classes have another chance to learn what they should have learned in grades K-12.  Many of the students have taken this college class once or twice already.

Some Who Can't Teach Still Do.  Public school teachers are unhappy with the growing campaign to grade their performance.  They shouldn't be.  It's almost impossible to fire a union teacher, even those who are profoundly incompetent.

Back to the Classroom.  How bad are public schools?  Much worse than most people realize.  So bad that they blight the futures of the young people in them.  So bad that if we don't turn back the clock to real education, we will most certainly lose our republic.

Evil Educators.  The extent to which schools manufacture "a graduate" can be mind-boggling.  A recent NY Post story told of a student, Tatiana Reina, who "graduated" from a New York City high school after six years despite never showing up her final year, who flunked every course except Spanish.  But five days prior to the graduation ceremony, she appeared, took exams in health and chemistry, and Googled in her answers, but she still flunked.  Nevertheless, thanks to administrative pressures, she and another half-dozen students were given "Ds," and this brought the diploma.  In her words, "I got my diploma."  Supposedly, such chicanery is commonplace in New York's schools, where administrators are intensely pressured to massage their graduation rates.

Bad Students, Not Bad Schools  is an Emperor's new clothes book — it openly speaks the unspeakable:  America's education woes are caused by intellectually mediocre, unmotivated students, not "bad schools," rotten teachers, faculty curriculum, lack of sufficient funding and similar alleged culprits.  Alter the student population and push students harder, even if this means lowering their self-esteem and America's schools will thrive.  If mischief-makers refuse to learn, let them drop out!

The fruits of dumbed-down schools:
The Age of the Yoyo.  The incompetents rule.  Mistake is piled on mistake.  Errors multiply as if they were living organisms.  We face a long, bleak prospect filled with ineptitude, idiocy, and failure, with no relief in sight, and I haven't even mentioned Obama yet.  While there may be a light at the end of this tunnel, somebody forgot to put in the bulb.

Magical Education and the Slide into Third-Worldism.  When combined with lax standards regarding "graduate" plus a hiring policy that legally makes degree ownership prima facie proof of competency, third-world chaos is inevitable.  Detroit, thanks to its freshly minted, home-grown "graduates," will instantly become known as the city where nothing works despite its "educated" workforce.  Compounding this dangerous fantasy is that handing out bogus diplomas is now a cottage industry.  Just dumb down courses and tests, give credit for mere attendance, permit failed students to "make up" a year of sloth with a can't-fail, two-hour test (called "credit recovery"), and water down graduation requirements to permit "A"s in phys-ed to wipe out failures in tough academic courses.

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?  [Scroll down]  Of course, the "arguments" against slavery and discrimination would continue until laws and customs changed.  But this could happen only in a society that values argument.  Today, the progressives running education are doing all they can to see to it that students do not engage in such arguments.  They promote "alternative literacies" that dispense with complex prose in favor of snippets accompanied by sound and picture.  Great literary and historical figures are reduced to cartoon characters — and often literally in graphic books.  Instead of argumentative papers teachers assign blogs, journals, Power Point presentations, poster boards, group projects, community service projects, skits, and rap songs.  They especially promote such illiteracy to the "underprivileged."

Have Government Schools Become a Criminal Enterprise?  There is no doubt that American educators are engaged in a criminal conspiracy to dumb-down the American people.  Charlotte Iserbyt, in her definitive book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, has documented the process so thoroughly that there can be no doubt about the intentions of our educators and the fact that the conspiracy is being financed by the richest liberal foundations and the federal government.

Cheering Immaturity.  A graduating senior at Hunter College High School in New York gave a speech that brought a standing ovation from his teachers and got his picture in the New York Times.  I hope it doesn't go to his head, because what he said was so illogical that it was an indictment of the mush that is being taught at even our elite educational institutions.

The Kids Can't Read.  Forty percent of Atlanta eight-grade students tested Below Basic proficiency in reading on the 2009 edition of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal exam of academic achievement.  Essentially two out of every five Atlanta students heading into high school are functionally illiterate — unable to comprehend a work as simple as Anne of Greene Gables or even complete mathematical word problems such as "Marty has 6 red pencils, 4 green pencils, and 5 blue pencils."

Keeping Up with the University of Stupid.  [Scroll down]  The old subjects are deemed guilty of "Eurocentrism."  They encourage linear thinking.  They are remnants of the old patriarchy that values logic and skills.  Capitalists think those abilities are worth much more than the circular, emotive (illogical) thinking used in gender studies.  Philosophy, math, science, literature, and foreign languages do not encourage students to become social activists and community organizers.  They encourage students to study the structure of language, learn the philosophical and literary heritage of the West, weigh evidence, solve problems, innovate, express ideas logically, and seek truth.

D.C. Council set to tighten school-truancy standards.  The pending legislation, introduced by council member Tommy Wells, would replace rules made just last year by the Board of Education, which allow students to accrue as many as 25 unexcused absences before child welfare and judicial authorities intervene.  Mr. Wells' legislation cuts the number of days to 10.

The Editor says...
When I was in the public schools, I think that number was two or three at the most — not ten, and certainly not 25.  But you know, if the fools would prefer to flip burgers, join the Army, or go straight to prison instead of graduating from high school, why not let them make that decision for themselves?

Betraying Our Children.  If it were up to me, the people in charge of "educating" schoolchildren in the state of New York would have their ticket punched and be on their way [to hell], for one simple reason:  they have completely betrayed generations of kids for nothing more than naked self-interest.  Harsh?  Consider that New York just raised its standard for passing sixth grade reading and math tests to the following:  on the reading test, 20 correct answers out of 39 questions gets one a passing grade; on the sixth grade math test, 20 out of 49 does the trick.  In other words, getting a grade of 51% on the reading test and 41% on the math test gets you promoted to the seventh grade.

NY passes students who get wrong answers on tests.  When does 2 + 2 = 5?  When you're taking the state math test.  Despite promises that the exams — which determine whether students advance to the next grade — would not be dumbed down this year, students got "partial credit" for wrong answers after failing to correctly add, subtract, multiply and divide.  Some got credit for no answer at all.

No teacher left behind.  In Normandy Crossing Elementary School near Houston, Texas a bonus of $2,850 was dangled before the poor starving teachers as an incentive to do the job they are already generously paid to do.  The standardized tests were administered as required.  ["]But when the results came back, some seemed too good to be true.  Indeed, after an investigation by the Galena Park Independent School District, the principal, assistant principal and three teachers resigned May 24 in a scandal over test tampering.["]  It seems that rather than actually resort to the antiquated notion of teaching their students, a number of progressive educators are finding it much more effective to provide exam answers from stolen tests or simply change the answer sheets.

An Ode to Citizen Journalists.  Why are newspapers published? ... During my thirty years in journalism, I've interviewed dozens of candidates who were hoping to be hired as a reporter or editor.  I asked each one:  Why are newspapers published?  In thirty years, no recent graduate of a journalism school has known the answer.

Win a soccer game by more than five points and you lose, Ottawa league says.  In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, an Ottawa children's soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default.

New Design HS students earn gym credits by selling snacks.  Exercise-starved students from a lower Manhattan school are getting gym credits for working concessions at the Rooftop Films festival, the [New York] Daily News has learned.  "Selling drinks and popcorn at a movie is not physical education.  It's just not right," said Palmer Taylor, a gym teacher at New Design High School.

Welcome to Diversity University.  [The authors] would like to wish the class of 2010 and all the college students graduating around the nation over the next few weeks, good luck.  Good luck being unemployed. ... Now, about that job you think you'll be getting on Monday morning:  where does one get hired with a Bachelor of Arts in Organic Transgendered Native American Space Pottery?

Defining Dumbness Down.  As with its successful conquest of mainline Protestantism, the left has taken over the educational establishment via the long march through the institutions.  Admitted Pentagon bomber and alleged Obama ghostwriter Bill Ayers is well regarded by many in academe, as is radical leftist Professor Angela Davis, among many others.  These are not marginalized, fringe characters.  They represent the academic mainstream.  They run the joint.  The barbarians are not merely inside the gates; they control them….

California Dumbs Down Tests.  When it comes to education trends, as California goes, so goes the nation.  Which is all the more reason to be concerned about the latest effort in California to dumb down standards.  The University of California's Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS) has launched another salvo in its long-running war against the SAT, the test used by many colleges and universities to assess academic achievement among high school seniors.  This is only the latest in a series of moves by BOARS against the SAT, but this one may be a stalking horse to eliminate standardized tests in general, especially if they conflict with the goal of promoting racial and ethnic diversity.

Black Americans and Liberty.  [There is a] grossly fraudulent education delivered by the government schools that serve most black communities.  The average black high school senior has a sixth- or seventh-grade achievement level and most of those who manage to graduate have what's no less than a fraudulent diploma, one that certifies a 12th-grade level of achievement when in fact the youngster might not have half that.  If the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan wanted to sabotage black academic excellence, he could not find a more effective means to do so than the government school system in most cities.

Leaving Liberalism.  [Scroll down]  "I believe what feels good to me," proclaimed Mr. Twenty-Something.  A tiny bat darted from my physiology student's ear as he added, "The full moon's powerful gravity makes people behave weirdly."  I explained that our moon's gravity is unaffected by how much we see lit by the sun.  Briefly dazed, the student retreated to the protection of an air of superiority.  "That's your science."

Why I Am Enlarging My Carbon Footprint:  As a psychotherapist, I try my best to calm down my anxious clients.  But in this case, I inadvertently triggered a panic attack.  My twenty-something client Emma, a survivor of the Berkeley public schools, had a coughing fit during our session.  I helpfully got up to get her some water.  When I handed her a cup, she looked at it, incredulous.  Her voice quivering, she asked, "Is this Styrofoam?"  I said yes.  She stared at the cup, mesmerized by this forbidden fruit.  When she finally found her words, she said, "I've never seen Styrofoam before.  We learned in school that it kills baby birds."

More about environmentalism in schools.

Liberal bias has tainted schools.  "They don't want another voice in the room," Mr. Horowitz said.  "The teacher unions and the Democratic Party have a monopoly on the public school systems. ... Teachers get paid for showing up.  No one in the world gets paid for showing up."  And, he continued, "the kids fail and there's no incentive to teach."  The nation's capital is a microcosm of that comment.  The Washington Teachers Union has consistently rejected attempts to hold teachers accountable for undereducated students for two decades.  All the while, D.C. students in traditional schools have been stuck on the lower rungs of the regional and national academic ladders.

Even abusive public employees can't get fired.  Some of the most stunning articles I've read in a long while were in the Los Angeles Times' 2009 investigative series, "Failure gets a pass," which documents the near impossibility of firing unionized public school teachers in the massive Los Angeles Unified School District — even those teachers credibly accused of sexually molesting or harassing their students.

The soft bigotry of low expectations, blackboard jungle edition.  The Obama administration's Department of Education has announced that it will crack down on "civil-rights infractions" in public schools, including alleged disparities in the disciplining of white and black students.  The notion behind this initiative is that black students are disproportionately subjected to discipline they don't deserve.  That doesn't seem to be the case in the Philadelphia public school system, however.  There, as Abigail Thernstrom and Tim Fay report, it appears that African American students frequently harass and attack Asian students without consequence.

Artificial stupidity.  People are all born ignorant but they are not born stupid.  Much of the stupidity we see today is induced by our educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities.  In a high-tech age that has seen the creation of artificial intelligence by computers, we are also seeing the creation of artificial stupidity by people who call themselves educators.

2,000 grades raised at Chicago Public Schools' Hyde Park Academy.  Last school year at struggling Hyde Park Academy High, more than 2,000 grades were boosted at least one notch — including more than 870 F's that were changed to passing marks, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows.

'Fire Them All' At Central Falls High.  [Scroll down]  Now, if you want to talk about "immoral, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful and disrespectful," then let's talk about the very public schools themselves, which have been overrun with a hotbed of teach-by-rote, look-say, "self-esteem" training and a tidal wave of other brain rot geared much more toward indoctrination and the obliteration of the conceptual faculty than it is to any kind of "education" — but don't ever expect a labor union to support the idea that rewards should be based on performance.

Self-Esteem, Self-Destruction.  Memo to that Massachusetts school where children in physical education classes jump rope without using ropes:  Get some ropes. ... Those Massachusetts children are jumping rope without ropes because of a self-esteem obsession.  The assumption is that thinking highly of oneself is a prerequisite for high achievement.  That is why some children's soccer teams stopped counting goals (think of the damaged psyches of children who rarely scored) and shower trophies on everyone.  No child at that Massachusetts school suffers damaged self-esteem by tripping on the jump rope.

Group Work = Group Think.  Collaboration, or working in groups, is a favorite pedagogical strategy of hung-over graduate teaching assistants, soviet indoctrinators, educators with advanced degrees, and social studies teachers too dumb to do anything else. ... Teachers seem to love "group work."  It gives them a sense of power over children and allows them to catch up on Facebook or their nails.  I have college students coming to class expecting to spend class time sitting in little groups to discuss their "feelings."  Today, students don't expect to learn — especially from a teacher or professor.

Does DPS leader's writing send wrong message?  The president of the Detroit school board, Otis Mathis, is waging a legal battle to steer the academic future of 90,000 children, in the nation's lowest-achieving big city district.  He also acknowledges he has difficulty composing a coherent English sentence.

Obama Bets the Farm on American Stupidity.  Decades of entrusting the federal government with our children's education has led, inevitably, to the dumbing down of an entire nation.  Our public school system has failed to provide the most basic and elementary skills, while at the same time functioning as a ministry of propaganda for left wing causes.  The hijacking of our schools has been going on for decades; we are now experiencing the repercussions.  Only in a thoroughly dumbed down America would Barack Obama's astonishing ignorance of American history have gone unnoticed.

The Liberal Plot against American Education.  [Scroll down]  A dot-connecting "eureka" moment occurred when I read a November 29, 2009 New York Times editorial titled "Over-Punishment in Schools."  In an instant, I now possessed a valuable clue — an Exhibit A — to offer the jury to demonstrate how liberals are intentionally destroying American education so as to "help" minorities.

Change We Can Believe In.  [Scroll down slowly]  The combination of a therapeutic curriculum, with an increasingly illiterate student, has resulted in a national disaster.  Hint:  when students arrive ill-prepared from dysfunctional families as was common in the last few decades, they need more math, grammar, and basics, not more self-esteem and "I am somebody" pep courses.

Berkeley High May Drop "White" Science Labs.  On international science tests, American students perpetually lag behind their peers in other developed countries.  A logical response might be to beef up science programs in government schools, but logic is hard to come by in skin-deep-only-diversity-obsessed bureaucracies.

Out-of-Control Multiculturalism at Berkeley High School.  Berkeley High School (BHS) might drop its science labs from its curriculum.  The reason?  Too many white kids — or not enough non-white kids, depending on your perspective — were taking these classes.

The Fallacy of "Fairness": Part II.  In Berkeley, as in many other communities across the country, black and Latino students are not performing as well as Asian and white students. ... According to the principal, "Our community at Berkeley High School has failed the African-Americans."  Therefore "We need to bring everybody up — that's what this plan is about."  Surely no one, not even in Berkeley, seriously believes that you will "bring everybody up" by eliminating science teachers.

Suspicious test scores widespread in Georgia.  One in five Georgia public schools faces accusations of tampering with student answers on last spring's state standardized tests, officials said Wednesday, throwing the state's main academic measure into turmoil.  The Atlanta district is home to 58 of the 191 schools statewide that are likely to undergo investigations into potential cheating.

400 teachers may face firing over test scores.  More than 400 teachers in the Houston school district have performed so poorly that their students have lost ground, according to HISD, and those educators' jobs could be on the line if they don't improve.  HISD Superintendent Terry Grier is asking the school board to give final approval today to a policy that would allow the district to fire teachers whose students don't make enough progress on standardized tests.

The Myth that Liberals Care About Education:  Actually, educating our kids comes last to the Left — behind indoctrinating students and supporting their political allies in the teachers' unions.  This is why the Left has supported laughable nonsense like teaching Ebonics and bilingual education programs.  It's also why the Left opposes vouchers and even merit pay for good teachers — because the teachers' unions don't want the sad sacks in their ranks to look bad by comparison.  Liberals love to talk about education, but education in what?  Global warming?  Gay marriage?  Self-esteem exercises — or reading, writing, arithmetic, science, and history?

Bankrupt mentality a cancer in Detroit.  Detroit is not bankrupt — not officially, anyway.  But it may as well be. The former mayor, forced to resign in disgrace, is back in court to defend his spending practices.  A member of his inner circle cops to a bribery charge, auguring more to come.  The city is borrowing money to pay its bills.  Public schools students deliver the worst performance in the 40-year history of a national standardized test, even as teachers angrily denounce proposals to inject accountability into their next contract.

Religious illiteracy alarms educators.  Half of American high-school seniors surveyed recently thought Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple.  A McGill University professor's reference to the patience of Job drew blank stares from students in his religion course.  An art history teacher in France found children were mystified by the "strange bird" (a dove representing the Holy Ghost) common in Renaissance paintings.  Until recently, such confusion was little more than fodder for faculty-room jokes, evidence of the increasing secularism of Western societies.

Degrees in Dishonesty.  College education is a costly proposition with tuition, room and board at some colleges topping $50,000 a year.  Is it worth it?  Increasing evidence suggests that it's not.  Since the 1960s, academic achievement scores have plummeted, but student college grade point averages (GPA) have skyrocketed.

Metro Teachers Learn Gang Communication.  With a growing gang problem in some Metro [Nashville] Schools, the district is trying be proactive by teaching teachers how gang members communicate, breaking down everything from signs, the colors and clothes, code words used in class and the rappers students idolize.

The Editor says...
Why stoop to the level of the gangs?  Is anyone ever expelled anymore?

Do American Schoolkids Need 9/11 Education?  In Shira Engelhart's 4th grade class in Virginia, students asked why the pilots on the plane didn't just say "no" to the hijackers on 9/11.  In his journal, an elementary school student offered a possible explanation that the attacks were perpetrated by German soldiers during the period when there were frequent wars between the U.S. and Germany.  When Ms. Engelhart asked her class what happened on 9/11, eight out of 24 of her students knew that something bad occurred but were not sure what, while the rest of her class did not know the day is significant.  Some students responded that it was their sibling's or parent's birthday.  Elyse Ross, a teacher in New York City, said her school did nothing to commemorate or educate the students about the day.

75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can't Name the First President of the U.S..  Only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today [9/16/2009].  The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in observance of Constitution Day on Thursday.

The Truth of Thanksgiving.  I asked my students if they knew the original intent of the day we now call Thanksgiving.  To my consternation, these were a few of those responses:  "Isn't it to celebrate the final time we showed unity with the Indians before we massacred them?"  "I think some important document might've been signed that day, right?"  "Does it symbolize how the Native Americans taught white people how to cook?"  These are some of your nation's college students... participants in American high academia.  Our country may be in serious trouble.

In Loco Parentis.  Decades of entrusting the federal government with our children's education has led, inevitably, to the dumbing down of an entire nation.  Our public school system has failed to provide the most basic and elementary skills, while at the same time functioning as a ministry of propaganda for left wing causes.  Nobody can seriously argue that our kids are getting smarter.  Teachers unions have done yeoman's work tirelessly crusading against accountability.  Standardized tests, we are told, are inherently biased against disadvantaged students.  Social promotions are essential to safeguard self-esteem.

Fun with Numbers.  In his important 1988 book, Cultural Literacy, E.D. Hirsch warned that "children in the U.S. are being deprived of the basic knowledge that would enable them to function in contemporary society."  Two decades later, we see the tragic results of our near-total failure to heed Hirsch's alarm.  The basic information that most high school and college graduates don't know continues to astound those of us of all ages who managed to receive a pretty decent, often non-public education.

Niagara Falls puts 18 at 'head of class' rather than just one.  When Niagara Falls High School seniors graduate today, they may hear some encouraging words from the valedictorian of their class.  Then again, maybe they won't.  That's because no one really knows who ranked No. 1 in the class of 2009.  Niagara Falls High School is the first in Niagara County to get rid of class rankings and valedictorians, a decision officials say was designed out of fairness.

The Editor says...
Apparently fairness, not excellence, is what really counts.  Are the Olympics unfair because only one gold medal is given in each event?  Does it matter who finishes first in the Boston Marathon?  These 18 students have some tough lessons to learn:  Lessons that aren't being taught in public schools.

High School Physics: Grade F.  Physics is the fundamental natural science. ... Yet the vast majority of high school graduates never take a course in physics and know almost nothing about the role of the scientific revolution in creating the modern world.  While this alone constitutes criminal negligence by educators, there is an even worse crime of which they are guilty:  the students who do take physics are indoctrinated with a fundamentally false view of science.

A fairly complete history of the SAT:
The SAT and Its Enemies.  The SAT was originally an acronym for Scholastic Aptitude Test.  When critics objected to the word "aptitude," for reasons we'll consider in a moment, SAT came to stand for Scholastic Assessment Test.  Marketers soon realized that test and assessment have pretty much the same meaning, making "SAT" a kind of solecism, one of those repetitive redundancies that repeats itself — bad form for a test measuring verbal ability.  So they gave up trying to make an acronym altogether.  "Assessment" was dropped, and so was "test," and "scholastic" too.  Today the SAT is officially just the SAT; the letters don't stand for anything, as if the test-makers were too timid to declare what they're up to.

Fraud in Academia:  Academic fraud is rife at many of the nation's most prestigious and costliest universities.  At Brown University, two-thirds of all letter grades given are A's.  At Harvard, 50 percent of all grades were either A or A- (up from 22 percent in 1966); 91 percent of seniors graduated with honors.  The Boston Globe called Harvard's grading practices "the laughing stock of the Ivy League."  Eighty percent of the grades given at the University of Illinois are A's and B's.  Fifty percent of students at Columbia University are on the Dean's list.

Torture in America's Schools.  At a public school in West Virginia, a 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and autism "was 'uncooperative,' so teachers restrained her in a chair with multiple leather straps that resembled a 'miniature electric chair.'"  The girl was later diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder.  "At least one of the three teachers responsible" is still at the school.  At a Texas public school, a 230-pound "special education teacher" placed a 129-pound boy of 14 "into a prone restraint and lay on top of him because he would not stay seated."  The student died.  The case was ruled a homicide but no charges were filed.  The teacher "currently teaches in Virginia and is licensed to instruct children with disabilities."

Return of the useful idiot.  Capitalism over socialism would seem to be about as settled as opinion gets, ranking somewhere up there with the earth being round, penicillin being better than bleeding, and that Shakespeare fellow being rather talented.  Primary culprits in the survey were those under the age of 30, who gave the nod to capitalism over socialism by only a 37 percent to 33 percent margin, with a clueless remaining 30 percent "unsure."  Several decades of politically correct leftist indoctrination in our high schools and colleges has apparently taken its toll.

Our Fading Heritage: Civics Quiz.  Are you more knowledgeable than the average citizen?  The average score for all 2,508 Americans taking [this] test was 49%; college educators scored 55%.  Can you do better?  Questions were drawn from past ISI surveys, as well as other nationally recognized exams.

Do Away With Public Schools.  We could say … that children are the future.  And a mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Because we can't leave any child behind.  The problem with all these bromides is that they leave out the simple fact that one of the surest ways to leave a kid "behind" is to hand him over to the government.

The Return of the Fuzzies?  In the 1990s, the Math Wars pitted two philosophies against each other.  One side argued for content-based standards — that elementary school students must memorize multiplication tables by third grade.  The other side argued for students to discover math, unfettered by "drill and kill" exercises.  When the new 1994 California Learning Assessment Test trained test graders to award a higher score to a child with a wrong answer (but good essay) than to a student who successfully solved a math problem, but without a cute explanation, the battle was on.

Do we really need all this math?  Unlike literature, history, politics and music, math has little relevance to everyday life.  That courses such as "Quantitative Reasoning" improve critical thinking is an unsubstantiated myth.  All the mathematics one needs in real life can be learned in early years without much fuss.  Most adults have no contact with math at work; nor do they curl up with an algebra book for relaxation.

The Entitled:  [Scroll down]  They may never thrill at a formula elegantly devised, a mission truly accomplished, a sentence well written, a simple procedure done with care every time, an experiment perfected, a form that perfectly follows function. ... But why should they be any different from what they are?  Raised in an age when self-esteem is all, they're told how great they are from K to 12 and may graduate without the faintest idea of what greatness is, or demands.

The Culture of Entitlement.  Our lives are filled with measures of achievement.  From cleaning our rooms as children and taking a driver's test as teenagers to annual job reviews through the course of a career, there are benchmarks of achievement that follow us through the entirety of our lives.  As we grow, these benchmarks become more numerous and the stakes become higher.  Curiously, these benchmarks are being consistently eroded in primary and secondary education, a stage of life when they should be most emphasized.  Standard benchmarks in educational achievement are increasingly falling by the wayside and the results are troubling.

The Cure for Poverty.  A generation or two of American school children have grown up without a clue about how wealth is created.  If they ever think about the people who organize and create businesses, the people who actually create wealth and carry out the innovations that cause the rest of us to prosper, they think in terms of responsibility for bad things like pollution, discrimination, and other crimes.

Overhauling D.C. School Overcome by Violence.  D.C. Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has dispatched a team of administrators and extra security to an Anacostia middle school where three teachers have been assaulted, a 14-year-old was charged with carrying a shotgun and students have run the hallways discharging fire extinguishers. ... "Kids sitting on desks, coming into classrooms and knocking over books, cussing, running through the halls," said Timothy Favors, who has visited Hart on multiple occasions because his son, a sixth-grader, is getting poor grades after doing well at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.  "This isn't a school I would recommend for anyone.  You could have a perfectly normal child, and he would get flipped here like a pancake."

Give Me That Old-Time Religion.  [Scroll down]  Suddenly, local lenders were toiling (if they survived) in the easier liar-loan world fostered by Congress, Fannie and Freddie and guys with great tans in Los Angeles.  The old public-school system, once a tight ship in countless towns, knew that game.  The schools learned to shove another class of semi-educated bodies into the street every June and call them "graduates" the same way lenders called zero-down-payment borrowers "homeowners."

Health and safety reaches 'ridiculous' new heights.  A survey of nearly 600 teachers revealed the most restrictive rules being imposed in an attempt to avoid injuries and lawsuits. ... Generations of youngsters who made things out of empty egg boxes will be dismayed to learn that some schools have banned them for fear of salmonella poisoning.  And many teachers reported bans on footballs, snowball fights, conker games and running in the playground.

Murdoch canes US teachers.  Rupert Murdoch has issued a combative challenge to the Obama Administration:  take on the American teaching unions to rescue America's failing education system.  Speaking at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Murdoch said that the greatest challenge to ensure US competitiveness in world markets is investment in human capital — and the American public school system had failed its students.

Ignorance reigns supreme.  With limited thinking abilities and knowledge of our heritage, we Americans set ourselves up as easy prey for charlatans, hustlers and quacks.  If we don't know the constitutional limits placed on Congress and the White House, politicians can do just about anything they wish to control our lives, from deciding what kind of light bulbs we can use to whether the government can take over our health care system or bailout failing businesses.  We just think Congress can do anything upon which they can get a majority vote.

Postponing reality.  Some of us were raised to believe that reality is inescapable.  But that just shows how far behind the times we are.  Today, reality is optional.  At the very least, it can be postponed.  Kids in school are not learning?  Not a problem.  Just promote them on to the next grade anyway.  Call it "compassion," so as not to hurt their "self-esteem."  Can't meet college admissions standards after they graduate from high school?  Denounce those standards as just arbitrary barriers to favor the privileged, and demand that exceptions be made.

District gives students exam answers, half still flunk.  The school district of Rochester, N.Y., gave teachers and students exact copies of the questions and answers that would appear on a mandatory test, only to have officials deny wrongdoing and watch half the students fail anyway.

Cheating?  No Homework?  No Problem In Plano ISD.  What's the best way to educate our children?  Should it be that if they cheat, they always get a second chance?  What about late school work?  Should students be allowed to turn it in at any time, no matter how late?  One North Texas school district is considering some drastic changes like these.

Karl Marx is Not the Father of Capitalism.  Sen. Barack Obama won for a simple reason:  historical amnesia.  I once asked a room full of college students who the father of capitalism was.  Crickets began chirping as blank stares shot my way.  "Oh, come on," I prompted.  "Does anyone want to take a guess?"  Finally, one bold student blurted out, "Isn't it Karl Marx?" ... Sadly, this is a true story.

How to Fire an Incompetent Teacher:  Joe Klein is chancellor of New York City's public school system, a monopoly so heavily regulated that sometimes it's unable to fire even dangerous teachers.  The series of steps a principal must take to dismiss an instructor is Byzantine.  "It's almost impossible," Klein complains. … The regulations are so onerous that principals rarely even try to fire a teacher.

You Can't Be Half-Socialist.  Our shoddy educational curriculum that has left most younger Americans so deficient in the study of history that vast numbers of them think George Washington was a Civil War general, or a lumberman who chopped down cherry trees.  They have no real understanding of the economic system that allowed us to become the wealthiest and most powerful nation since the Roman Empire ruled most of the known world 2000 years ago.

Don't Know Much About History.  "Whenever the people are well-informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789, "they can be trusted with their own government."  No doubt the Founding Fathers' faith in self-government would be challenged today with the reality of how little Americans know about their heritage. ... Shockingly, in some cases students knew less at the end of their college years than when they first set foot on campus.

No Teacher Left Behind.  There are some truly shocking statistics about teacher training in this week's report from the Education Schools Project.  According to "Educating School Teachers," three-quarters of the country's 1,206 university-level schools of education don't have the capacity to produce excellent teachers.  More than half of teachers are educated in programs with the lowest admission standards (often accepting 100% of applicants) and with "the least accomplished professors."  When school principals were asked to rate the skills and preparedness of new teachers, only 40% on average thought education schools were doing even a moderately good job.

Three strikes and you're in!  Every year, hundreds of would-be classroom teachers fail the MTEL, the Massachusetts Test for Education Licensure.  According to Charles Glenn at the Boston University School of Education, independent evaluations of teacher tests like the MTEL put the skills required at the eighth- to 10th-grade level.  Unfortunately, this is still too high for about 40 percent of the test takers each year.  So last week, the Democrats of the Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously for a waiver program covering wannabe teachers who fail the test at least three times.

Testing, Testing.  These exams represent the first nationwide attempts to determine what the students know about American history and culture.  And this year's report is as sobering as last year's was.  "The overall average score for the approximately 7,000 seniors who took the American civic literacy exam was 54.2 percent, an F," the report says.  And at some leading schools, seniors scored worse than freshmen.  "Students apparently 'unlearned' what they once knew," the report says, a chilling example of "negative learning."

American Education Fails Because It Isn't EducationThe Deliberate Dumbing Down of America … was written by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, a former official at the Department of Education in the Reagan Administration.  While there in 1981 - 1982, Charlotte found the "mother lode" hidden away at the Department.  In short, she found all of the education establishment's plans for restructuring America's classrooms.  Not only did she find the plans for what they intended to do, she discovered how they were going to do it and most importantly why.  Since uncovering this monstrous plan, Charlotte Iserbyt has dedicated her life to getting that information into the hands of parents, politicians and the news media.

High Self-Esteem, Low Test Scores.  There are new studies and new polls that strongly suggest that we are breeding increasingly stupid kids here in America. … They have no idea why December 7, 1941, was a day of infamy.  They also don't know what "infamy" means.  What makes the situation even more pathetic is that these kids, for the most part, have a terrifically high opinion of themselves.

Don't know much about math.  Today's elementary education majors actually score below the math SAT average of the typical college-bound high-school senior — a serious problem if teaching math well first requires mathematical aptitude.  This comes from a startling June report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, which found that the average would-be elementary-ed major scored a 483 on the math portion of the SAT as compared with 515 for the average college-bound student.

Cash Cow Stampede:  Colleges of Education Not Up to Snuff.  The short story is that our colleges of education are giving Ph.D.s to researchers who aren't qualified to hold a Ph.D.  These people, in turn, are providing the research on which public school policy decisions and teacher training is based.  [Arthur] Levine surveyed deans, faculty, education school alumni, K-12 school principals, and reviewed 1,300 doctoral dissertations and finds the research seriously lacking.

Dumbing Down America's Colleges:  Wake Forest University, Bates, Bowdoin, and a few other small schools have recently decided to make the SAT optional for students applying for admission.  Their argument for getting rid of these tests is that it will fling open the doors to "diversity" among the student body.  Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch made the ludicrous claim that jettisoning the SAT would help the school, "move closer to the goals of greater educational quality and opportunity."

Goodbye SAT?  "By making the SAT and ACT optional, we hope to broaden the applicant pool and increase access at Wake Forest for groups of students who are currently underrepresented at selective universities," said Martha Allman, director of admissions, in the WFU's new release.  She argued that downplaying the role of standardized tests would demonstrate how the university values "individual academic achievement" and "talent and character."  The change is also supposed to help "diversify" college's application base.

The Editor says...
Allow me to cut through the candy coating.  What's really happening here is that Wake Forest University is lowering its standards (to zero) in order to admit students who are not qualified for higher education, as another facet of "affirmative action."  The harsh reality is that some students do well in school (and on the SAT) and others do not.  Some will go on to be doctors and rocket scientists and others will someday push mops and brooms in America's gas stations and burger joints.  The worst thing the university can do is to homogenize the student body and presume that all incoming students are equally capable, when they are not.

What's Up, Doc?  The prestige of honorary degrees falls to record lows.  Maya Angelou, who regularly refers to herself as "Dr. Angelou," has honorary doctorates only, and no undergraduate degree to go with them.  As an African American and a woman, she may well have more honorary doctorates than anyone in the history of this strange ritual.

The War on Common Sense:  With Darwin as king of the classroom and conscience but a mute passerby, the Left hurls endless invectives at the United States, denouncing both its greatness and that of its Founders, and almost nobody says a word.  Some want to say something but they are too embarrassed, while others do not even know they are allowed to speak.

Good teachers are key to student achievement, but bad ones are hard to fire.  A Cleveland teacher would be the first to tell you that not much learning went on in his high school classroom last spring.  Students typically chatted with each other or joined an ongoing card game in the back of the room while he tried to get them to do their work.  Kids who weren't even supposed to be in the class walked in, sat down and were dealt a hand.  On a particularly bad day in March, one of the teens grabbed the teacher's briefcase — containing his medication and checkbook — and raced out the door and down the hall.

Memphis High School:  Reading, Writing and Bumping & Grinding.  The purveyors of porn have got to be chuffed after watching Memphis school kids hump (en masse) both the floor and each other during Mitchell High School's "talent show" this month.  Yep, it doesn't look as if sellers of smut are going to be taking an additional night job to pay bills anytime soon because they have formally tapped the teenage market.  At least in Memphis they have.  Good job, Memphis.

Dumb down class, asks principal memo.  The principal of an East Harlem high school last month stunned his staffers by suggesting they dumb down their classes. … One teacher who received the memo said she and her colleagues were "outraged," especially because the school is one of 200 where teachers will receive $3,000 bonuses if their schools improve.  "It's like bribery," she said.  "It's not the achievement.  It's just the grades."

NSU professor loses job in dispute over grades.  At the end of this semester, Steven Aird will lose his job as an associate professor of biology at Norfolk State University for giving out too many F's.  He is not going quietly.  Aird says his termination is part of a dumbing-down of academic standards at NSU — a move by administrators to intimidate faculty members into passing undeserving students and rewarding inferior work.

Palm Beach County School sued over 'shamefully low' graduation rate.  Calling Palm Beach County's high school graduation rate "shamefully low," the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday [3/18/2008] sued local educators to churn out more diplomas.  In a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of parents and students, the ACLU accused the Palm Beach County School Board and Superintendent Art Johnson of failing to provide students with a high-quality education guaranteed under the state constitution.

The Editor says...
Yes, but... (1) If not everyone gets a diploma, that means the standards are high already, and (2) if anyone gets a diploma, that means the diplomas are attainable by students who are willing to apply themselves.  Students who flunk out of school have only themselves to blame.  I almost flunked out of high school (it can now be revealed), but it was because I never cracked open a book.

Teens losing touch with historical references.  Twenty-five years after the federal report A Nation at Risk challenged U.S. public schools to raise the quality of education, the study finds high schoolers still lack important historical and cultural underpinnings of "a complete education." … Among 1,200 students surveyed, 43% knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900 [and] 52% could identify the theme of 1984.

Report:  Philadelphia schools unsafe, unjust.  Philadelphia public schools are unsafe places where students who commit violent crimes are rarely punished and rehabilitated and with a disciplinary system that is "dysfunctional and unjust," according to a report by the district's safe-schools advocate.  In a blistering 72-page document obtained by The Inquirer, Jack Stollsteimer describes a district where students who assault teachers or come to school with guns are not removed from classrooms, a violation of federal and state law.

Hillary Clinton:  When Bill Clinton returned to the Arkansas governor's mansion in 1983, he appointed his wife to lead the education-reform movement, the centerpiece of his agenda.  After holding hearings in all 75 counties, Mrs. Clinton was instrumental in raising the state sales tax by 1 percentage point, significantly increasing spending on primary and secondary education and establishing teacher-competency exams, which, it turned out, could be passed with eighth-grade language and math skills.  A decade-and-a-half after her reforms were enacted, 87 percent failed the state's 11th-grade exit exam in math….

Oregon Senate:  Former prostitutes should be able to teach.  Women who have been convicted on misdemeanor prostitution charges could be eligible for an Oregon teaching license, under legislation that passed the state Senate Friday [5/11/2007], 20-to-7.

More than half of minority teacher applicants fail test.  More than half of black and Hispanic applicants for teaching jobs in Massachusetts have failed a crucial state licensing test.  Since the start of the test nearly a decade ago, 52 percent of Hispanics and 54 percent of blacks failed the writing portion of the test compared to a 23 percent failure rate among white applicants.

Public Schools, Public Menace.  Public schools can cripple your child's ability to read.  Public schools can wreck your child's ability to do math, with "fuzzy" math curriculums.  Public schools violate your God-given parental rights to choose who teaches your child and what he is taught.

Would a name change help algebra students?  Would Algebra 2 be as difficult if it were called something else?  State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, recently told a gathering of Kent County school board members that he believes more students would pass the upper-level math course if it were called something less scary.

The Dumbing Down of America:  Trillions of dollars were thrown at the problem.  And if one judged by the asserted toughening up of courses and rising grades of seniors, it appeared we had made marvelous progress. … However, it is all a giant fraud, exposed as such by the performances of high school seniors on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams known as the "nation's report card."

Hand over the cell.  Principals in at least three suburban schools have searched students' cellphone text messages when they suspected the students of cheating, drug abuse or other school violations.  Officials in the Douglas and Jefferson school districts say policies that allow them to search lockers, backpacks and cars parked on school grounds also authorize searches of cellphones when there is a "reasonable suspicion" of wrongdoing.

The Editor says...
The most practical solution to the problem of cheating via cell phones would be to blanket the school buildings with wideband RF noise to jam all cellular calls.  Or build the schools with screened walls and ceilings to prevent signals from entering or leaving.  Jamming is not permitted by the FCC; however, it is routinely done in other countries (e.g., Israel), where the overall benefit to society is more important than some individual's hurt feelings.  And in my opinion it should be done in this country, at least in middle schools, high schools, libraries, jails and prisons.  Jamming should also be permitted on private property such as restaurants, movie theaters, churches and museums.  But I predict it never will be, because the FCC will argue that police and fire departments need to be able to communicate everywhere, all the time.  That's just a red herring.  The government's greatest concern is control, not public safety.

Millersport school locked down briefly this morning after a mercury spill.  Officials locked down the Millersport Junior-Senior High School this morning after a mercury spill, which appears to be the result of a broken thermometer.

The Editor says...
One broken thermometer and they lock down the school?  Incredible!  When I was in school, the science lab kept several pounds of mercury on hand for the old "homemade barometer" demonstration.  When I was a little kid, a broken thermometer was an opportunity to roll a little blob of mercury around in the palm of my hand — until I dropped it and it disappered into the carpet.  If mercury is as dangerous as the over-reactive government nannies would now have us believe, how did any of us survive the 1960's?

States Help Schools Hide Minority Scores.  States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress.  With the federal government's permission, schools aren't counting the test scores of nearly two million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found.

Remedial U:  One might question whether a significant portion of college students should even bother signing up for post-secondary classes at all.  "Over one-third of first- and second-year college students have taken remedial courses," according to the College Board's Trends in College Pricing. … Of those who take such classes, two-thirds seek instruction in math while more than a quarter take remedial reading courses.  A tenth of those requiring remediation need guidance with study skills, which makes you really wonder why they are in college in the first place.

Teaching America:  Too many of our high-school students do not graduate high school, and of those who do, too many do not know the basic facts of their own country's history.  This year's National Assessment of Education Progress (our "Nation's Report Card") revealed that over 50-percent of our nation's high-school students — our population reaching voting age — are functionally illiterate in their knowledge of U.S. History.

No grades, no homework, no tests:  Students set the rules at this New York City school.  At this school, students don't get grades, don't have homework, don't take tests, and don't even have to go to class — unless they want to.  "You can do basically anything at any time, and it's just a lot more fun because sometimes when you need a break at regular schools you can't get it," said Sophia Bennett Holmes, 12, an aspiring singer-actress-fashion designer.

State faults teachers of English learners.  Hundreds of students in Arizona are trying to learn English from teachers who don't know the language, state officials say.  The kids are taught by teachers who don't know English grammar and can't pronounce English words correctly.  Last year, for example, a Mesa teacher stood in front of a class of language learners and announced, "Sometimes, you are not gonna know some."  A teacher in Phoenix's Creighton Elementary District asked her kids, "If you have problems, to who are you going to ask?"

Get A Public School Clue.  "Once as revered as Mom and apple pie, the public school brand has crashed and burned spectacularly since the 1970s, when the general public and most parents believed their children's schools were better than when they attended them," [Nora] Carr observes.  "Long-term studies by Public Agenda show that the percentage of the public expressing a 'great deal' or 'quite a lot' of confidence in America's public schools has declined from 54 percent in 1977 to just 37 percent in 2005."

Education and Citizenship:  The report finds that the typical undergraduate's familiarity with the history and institutions of the American regime improves negligibly during his or her college years, and it's not due to a lack of room for improvement.  What's more, the price tag attached to any given degree turns out to be relatively irrelevant when it comes to these subjects.  Students attending expensive schools do not generally score higher on the survey.

Lindsay Lohan offers words of condolence to Altman's family:  'Be adequite'.  Had she been on one of her legendary party benders?  Or was this Exhibit A for the indictment of America's education system? … Patt Morrison, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times, [called] the letter "alarmingly incoherent" and questioning what it was Lohan had learnt at the Long Island schools that gave her straight As.

Low scores + delays = spin.  Let's do the math.  North Carolina education leaders had planned — for a third time — to delay release of end-of-grade math test results for 3rd and 8th grade students.  They pushed the release to next Thursday — two days after Tuesday's election.  But, withering under the avalanche of skepticism over the reasons for delay, officials changed course.

Can You Say 'Good Morning Boys and Girls'?  Only If You're a Bigot.  If the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has its way, teachers won't be able to acknowledge that there are boys and girls in their classrooms.  Or that boys are any different from girls.

Physics By Induction:  The Genius of Learning Science The Proper Way.  It seems that science is not taught in the public middle schools today — it has been replaced by … hands on "experiments" which are really pointless diversions.  At the high school level, most students are exposed to some science, and most are required to take a physics class.  But these physics classes generally suffer from a serious [methodological] problem.

More Embarrassing Education News.  For many years North Carolina's Department of Public Instruction has set the cut score — the percentage of questions a student must get right to receive a proficient designation on end-of-grade tests — so low that on some tests students could meet the standard simply by guessing.

Scientifically Wrong, But Politically Correct:  Affirmative action for women and minorities is similarly pervasive in science textbooks, to absurd effect.  Al Roker, the affable black NBC weatherman, is hailed as a great scientist in one book in the Discovery Works series.  It is common to find Marie Curie given a picture and half a page of text, but her husband, Pierre, who shared a Nobel Prize with her, relegated to the role of supportive spouse.  In the same series, Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, is shown next to black scientist Lewis Latimer, who improved the light bulb by adding a carbon filament.  Edison's picture is smaller.

How To Teach Your Child:  What It Means To Learn.  Pick up any grade school science textbook and you will see the same problem.  Page one usually displays in vivid color a diagram of the structure of an atom.  The chapter tells the students that an atom is a tiny unit of matter, that it has a nucleus made up of protons and neutrons, that the nucleus is surrounded by electrons, and so on.  The question that such books make no attempt to answer is:  Why should a child believe this drawing any more than he believes the Saturday morning cartoons?

Vote or Else.  Shocked to learn that only 37 percent of students vote, an English professor required her students to vote. ... George Leef of the John Locke Foundation disapproves:  "The job of an English professor is to teach English.  That's it.  Adding non-academic requirements to a course is objectionable, no matter how important the professor may believe them to be."

Colleges accused of failing civics test.  Seniors at UC Berkeley, the nation's premier public university, got an F in their basic knowledge of American history, government and politics in a new national survey, while students at Stanford University didn't do much better, getting a D.

Dumbing down democracy.  As part of a program to strengthen the understanding of America's history and political institutions — what it calls "civic literacy" — [the Intercollegiate Studies Institute] commissioned a survey of more than 14,000 randomly selected freshmen and seniors at 50 four-year colleges and universities nationwide.  The students were given 60 multiple-choice questions, testing their knowledge of US history, government, foreign affairs, and economics.  The results were atrocious.

'A' Is for Awful.  Self-evaluations by Michigan schools are meaningless.  Self-esteem has run amok.  The Detroit News reports:  "One Detroit elementary, for example, gave itself a perfect score for its facilities despite being closed in October because it started sinking into the ground."

Our gold-star world:  While parents and politicians have been pounding the table demanding greater academic performance in the "Three R's," social scientists, psychologists and education bureaucrats have slowly, but ingeniously reframed the battle onto more favorable turf.  Rather than compete head-to-head in a battle we cannot win, these dedicated teachers and administrators have elevated the importance of the one area where no country can compete with us:  Self-esteem.

When Teachers Flunk, They Sue.  By requiring minority teacher applicants to pass a basic competency test, the Board of Education of New York City may have discriminated against them, a federal court of appeals has ruled.  The test measures their mastery of basic college material, including science, math, history, and the arts, as well as written communication skills in an essay.  To pass, applicants must answer about 66 percent of the questions correctly and score at least 60 percent on the essay.  The applicants demonstrated their scores on the examination were consistently lower than white applicants, the court stated.  "Between 1993 and 1999, the average pass rate for white test takers ranged from 91% to 94%, while the average pass rate for African American candidates ranged from 51% to 62%, and the average pass rates for Latino candidates ranged from 47% to 55%," the court stated.  All of the minority applicants "tended" to do the worst on the essay section of the test, according to the court.

Lecturer calls for spelling amnesty on students' top 20 errors.  Faced with a flood of basic spelling mistakes, you might expect a university lecturer to demand his students pay more attention to the dictionary.  But one don is so fed up with having to correct his undergraduates' errors that he is calling for something rather more unorthodox — a spelling amnesty.

History Without History, Spelling Without Spelling:  Tiffany Charles got a B in history last year at her Montgomery County high school, but she is not sure what year World War II ended.  She cannot name a single general or battle, or the man who was president during the most dramatic hours of the 20th century.  Yet the 16-year-old does remember in some detail that many Japanese American families on the West Coast were sent to internment camps.  "We talked a lot about those concentration camps," she said.

Dumbed Down and Out in High School:  Some San Jose area teachers are dumping the D as a passing grade.  They say students who are doing the minimum to get by will just have to work a little harder.  California's public universities won't accept anything below C- on an academic transcript.

The English in Us:  In 1910, when Robert Frost taught at a high school in rural New Hampshire, he expected his students to memorize poems by William Wordsworth, Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Rudyard Kipling.  Today it is hard to imagine a high school teacher assigning a similar program. … Nowadays few high school and also not many college students have read Wordsworth, Browning, Tennyson, or Kipling.

Public Schools are Not Accountable to Parents.  The past several decades have witnessed the systematic "dumbing down" of public education:  the curriculum got diluted with non-academic subjects and frivolous activities; proven methods for teaching reading, writing, math, science and reasoning got replaced with unproven, inferior methods; and objectivity got sacrificed to "political correctness" propaganda, such as socialism, environmentalism, multiculturalism and moral relativism.

Tempers run high at school board meeting.  Attorneys for the Mountain Empire Unified School District have determined that a former teacher accused of molesting a 9-year-old girl in his class cannot be blocked from serving on the school board.

Math Instruction Doesn't Add Up.  California's standards call for students to learn algebra in eighth grade.  Yet the graduation exam was postponed because so many students were flunking the math portion of the test, which required only a 55 percent [score].  Only the hardest questions required high school math skills.

Civics survey:  engaged, but not informed.  Nearly one in four Oregon high school students surveyed identified Gov. Ted Kulongoski as a U.S. senator, and only one in four correctly identified Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden as the state's actual U.S. senators.

Felon kept job after principal got notice.  In May 2003, a probation officer told a Jackson Public Schools principal that a woman who works with children in an elementary classroom had just been convicted of dealing cocaine.  But William Patterson, then principal at Wilson Elementary School, didn't share the information with his superiors at the central office.

College stupidity:  Parents are paying an average tuition of $21,000, and at some colleges over $40,000, to have their children exposed to anti-Americanism and academic nonsense.  According to a 2000 American Council of Trustees and Alumni study, "Losing America's Memory:  Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century," not one of the top 50 colleges and universities today requires American history of its graduates.

Pacifists versus peace.  One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality.  They have learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications and test those implications against hard facts.  "Peace" movements are among those who take advantage of this widespread inability to see beyond rhetoric to realities.

Academics KO Grammar Again.  [Nan] Miller taught writing at Meredith College in Raleigh for two and a half decades. … "From my conversations with senior faculty at both North Carolina State and UNC, I learned the following," she reports.  "The new English 101 is a continuation of the 'disastrous' public school trend to have students work in groups."  "The new English 101 continues the public school trend to go easy on grammar gaffes, so enrollees in upper level classes have 'startling' problems with correctness."  She means linguistically, not politically.

Q:  Where is the United Kingdom?  A:  You're standing in it.  One in five British children cannot find the United Kingdom on a map of the world, research has found.  The study ... also showed one in 10 children were not able to name a single continent and more than 20,000 children in London did not know they lived in England's capital city.

British schools told it's no longer necessary to teach right from wrong.  Schools would no longer be required to teach children the difference between right and wrong under plans to revise the core aims of the National Curriculum.  Instead, under a new wording that reflects a world of relative rather than absolute values, teachers would be asked to encourage pupils to develop "secure values and beliefs".

Leaving "School" Out of High School:  Most students will do what is expected of them, but so often more is expected on the athletic fields, in after-school clubs and jobs, in volunteer organizations, and in social circles than in the classroom.  School must be more of a priority in high school if students are to succeed in college and beyond.

The Race to the Bottom:  Keeping an Eye on State Standards.  While No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires all students to be "proficient" in math and reading by 2014, the precedent-setting 2002 federal law also allows each state to determine its own level of proficiency.  It's an odd discordance at best.  It has led to the bizarre situation in which some states achieve handsome proficiency results by grading their students against low standards, while other states suffer poor proficiency ratings only because they have high standards.

Ex-dean says Harvard run like day care.  Harvard University leaders are running the school like "a day care center for college students," trying to dazzle undergraduates with concerts and a new pub, rather than teaching them to be responsible citizens, a former Harvard dean writes in a newly released book.

The Confusion on Campus.  It is hard not to get the feeling that there is something amiss at American schools. … Parents preparing to shell out a small fortune for their children's education will want to read [Harry] Lewis's book as they ask themselves:  What exactly are we paying for?

The Arrogance of the Not-My-Fault Generation.  Having worked in the field of education for most of my professional life, I find it incredibly frightening that teachers with perfectly honorable intentions can end up losing their jobs and schools lose money over incidents such as this.

Study Paints a Bleak Picture of Chicago Public School Grads' College Success.  Of every 100 freshmen entering a Chicago public high school, only about six will earn a bachelor's degree by the time they're in their mid-20s, according to a first-of-its-kind study released Thursday [4/20/2006] by the Consortium on Chicago School Research.  The prospects are even worse for African-American and Latino male freshmen, who only have about a three percent chance of obtaining a bachelor's degree by the time they're 25.

Birth leave sought for girls.  Kayla Lewis, a senior at East High School, asked school-board members last month to establish maternity leave for students who are new mothers.  Pregnant students in a Denver high school are asking for at least four weeks of maternity leave so they can heal, bond with their newborns and not be penalized with unexcused absences.

The Editor says...
These ignorant girls are determined to give birth to illegitimate bastard offspring so they can get on the welfare state gravy train and blame society for their poverty.  Fifteen years later (maybe sooner) the cycle repeats.  The school is merely accomodating and enabling these girls, rewarding their negligence, ignorance and poor judgement.  Instead, the school officials should be ostracizing, humiliating and shaming them all for the betterment of society.

Dropout nation?  Time magazine's latest cover story, "Dropout Nation," illustrates a serious educational crisis — not in the nation's high schools, which are bad enough, but among the nation's writers and editors.  One critical lesson our schools have failed to teach aspiring journalists is that when something sounds too bad to be true, it probably isn't.

How Low Can We Go?  SAT scores dropped significantly this year.  Blame the schools, not the test. … Colleges and parents are wondering:  Is there something wrong with the new test?  Or are our children not being taught what they should know?

A new civil right:  I never knew — until "The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University" told me — that it was a civil right to get a high-school diploma now matter how little you know, and consequently to have a high-school diploma that certifies precisely nothing about your abilities and which therefore has roughly no value in the job market.

Giving out bad Marx:  Love, hate, war, jealousy, greed, charity, faith, hope, despair:  these are the universals of human experience, and great and ancient literature speaks to us about these themes from across the years.  Sadly, a small-mindedness has infected Australia's education system, producing an obsession with politics and power relationships that has infected the nation's classrooms like a mould.

Boca Raton high school eases penalties for students' swearing.  Students say they hear a lot of profanity on television, and a high school easing its penalties for swearing now says television is where they should look for model language.

Higher education in decline, Part II.  A professor said that while he was trying to help a student with a problem, he asked her, "What is 20,000 minus 600?"  He went on to say, "She literally could not answer without the calculator."  He rhetorically questioned, "Should a person receive a college degree that cannot answer that in their head?" … Such students are academic cripples and don't belong in college in the first place.

College Course Analyzes 'Sex and the City'.  The class has it all: oodles of talk about sex, man-hating theories (the most distinguished tradition of feminist scholarship), and academic standards so low that an anencephalic gorilla or a football player (presuming any difference between the two) can easily pass.

Who says there are no stupid questions?  People who actually have college degrees have asked me some equally brilliant questions, like the following:  "Why do you consider homosexuality to be abnormal simply because most people don't do it?  Or how about this one:  "Why do you talk about us trans-sexuals as if we are somehow different from other people?"  Perhaps my favorite is the following:  "What makes you think that all illegal aliens have broken the law."

What happened to history?  We rarely mention our forebears.  These were the millions of less fortunate Americans who built the country, handed down to us our institutions, and died keeping them safe.  Such amnesia about them was not always so.  Public acknowledgment of prior generations characterized the best orations of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, who looked for guidance from, and gave thanks to, their ancestors.  We rarely do.

George Washington, say who?  Tests, surveys and studies further confirm America's increasing ignorance.  A test of high school seniors, for example, found that only one in ten was proficient in American history.  A survey of fourth graders found that seven of ten thought the original thirteen colonies included Illinois, Texas and California.  Six of ten couldn't say why the Pilgrims came to America.  Only seven percent of fourth graders could name "an important event" that took place in Philadelphia in 1776.  When seniors at the nation's top 55 universities were asked to name America's victorious general at the Battle of Yorktown, only 34 percent named George Washington.

Study Shows Most College Students Lack Skills.  Nearing a diploma, most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food.  Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers.

What's More Important — Performance in Sports or in Academics?  Students who do good academic work in high school and who are also good athletes get much more recognition for their sports achievements than they do for their academic work, even though they may have put forward the same high level of effort for both.

Canceled spelling bee reinstated.  A school superintendent in Rhode Island reversed a decision by administrators who canceled the district's annual spelling bee because they thought the event's awarding of just one winner violated the federal No Child Left Behind Act's aim that all children should succeed.

Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity, and Now Equal Outcome. For nearly half a century, we have gone through integration, suitability, equality, equity, adequacy, and now we are looking at equal outcome.  And, it doesn't seem to matter that the only way to accomplish equal outcome is by focusing all of the attention on the worst students and by lowering the standards needed to pass.  In addition, it means abandoning those students who are above the lowered standards.  The end goal is not to produce smart students but to produce equal students.  It is the only possible way to produce equality in learning — it's simply called "dumbing down."  It doesn't seem to matter that equality cannot be given or bought — it must be earned, and that's this the one thing that hasn't been tried.

Striving for mediocrity:  The war against excellence.  When my oldest son went through one of my towns "excellent" public middle schools, I was dismayed at the school's dismal lack of focus on academics.  The classes seemed more geared at social conditioning than at teaching anything challenging and interesting.  In a science class, my son learned no science at all in the first two weeks.  They spent lots of time discussing rules, getting along, self-esteem, and related watered-down gruel.

TV and Test Scores Don't Mix.  A new study finds that children who have TV sets in their bedrooms score lower on school tests than those who don't, according to the New York Times. … The issue may have more to do with parental control.  Parents may not be aware if their children are up all night watching television, or if they are watching inappropriate programming.

Gym lite:  Gym classes used to encourage physical fitness through calisthenics and dodge ball games, but now there's a new trend in physical education:  cup stacking.  Kids don't run or jump in this game, and no one suffers the humiliation of being last picked for the team.

Open education to innovation.  Quoting the Russian immigrant father of one of the five students selected to represent the U.S. in the International Physics Olympiad:  "I don't like saying this but math and physics are not the strong side of American schools."  He says that from what he has observed in his daughter's educational experience here, what U.S. students learn in twelfth-grade math classes, Russian students study in eighth and ninth grades.

Believe it or not.  Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., enforces an academic policy that defies belief.  "Success Equals Effort" (SEE) is a policy where 60 percent of a freshman's grade is based on effort and the rest on academic performance.  [For example...] Imagine that a freshman gets an A for effort in his algebra class but has virtually no grasp of the material, earning him an F grade.  Under the college's SEE policy, the student would be assigned a C for the course.

How Title IX is holding us back in Athens:  Should the gold medals be divided equally among the participating countries?  Of course not, nor should money be allocated equally to everyone who shows up.  Yet that is what Title IX regulations impose on our schools and colleges.

Public School Gets a Lesson In Work Ethic.  Day in, day out, students in American public schools … either witness failure go uncorrected or see it portrayed as success.  Finally, one problem too large to be ignored has prompted the very kind of action that will await many inadequately prepared students once they enter the adult workforce, particularly if they choose to embark upon a career in private enterprise where they will be forced to learn quickly that more is required from them than just showing up for work; results are demanded.

2 lazy 2 teach.  Have you checked your child's summer reading list?  Beware:  Some lame-brained school officials have decided to ditch the sonnets of Shakespeare for the tripe of Tupac.

Should We Have Government Schools?  While billions more dollars are poured into this system, children keep getting dumber and school campuses are becoming ever more dangerous places to be.  Can this really be accidental, or is there a more sinister plan for the "state's children"?

Panel Finds Environmental Education Lacking in Science.  A report issued April 2 [1997] by a panel of scientists, economists, and educators concludes that many environmental education materials used in the nation's schools do not give students enough science and economics to enable them to understand the complex environmental challenges of the next century.

National Teacher Certification Labeled a "Hoax".  Despite the exalted rank implied by the term "National Board Certified," the content knowledge required of K-12 teachers who want to earn such a title through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is only that of an advanced high school class, according to a recent commentary published in the Teacher College Record.

"Science" and the Fictitious World Of Educators:  There is much more science used in repairing an automatic washer than there is in the study of astronomy.  Astronomers would more accurately be called hobbyists than scientists.  Most astronomers are not capable of building or making a telescope, or grinding their own lenses and mirrors.  Most astronomers do not know how to do anything except observe and describe heavenly bodies, and then arrive at false conclusions about the nature of our planetary systems — conclusions which they must alter every few years as new information is gathered.

To Study vs To Memorize:  The current educational system is built on the false assumption that memorizing a subject is the same thing as studying a subject.  Yet, in reality studying and memorizing are two very different processes.  To study something is to explore all of the possibilities of that thing.  To study a thing is to take it apart, look at the different aspects of it, weigh one aspect against another and draw some conclusions about the nature of that thing.

I Are a Student.  No wonder so many whining citizens loathe profit.  Profit points out in stark clarity their own shortcomings as they slink through life dependent upon the State and its immoral depredations on their betters.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think."
Adolf Hitler    


Effective State Standards for U.S. History: A 2003 Report Card.  In the post-9/11 world, it's more important than ever for young Americans to learn the history of their nation, the principles on which it was founded, the workings of its government, the origins of our freedoms, and how we've responded to past threats from abroad.  Yet assessment after assessment and study after study shows that history is the core subject about which young Americans know least.

Needham High School Halts Publication of Honor Roll.  Needham High School has abandoned its long-standing practice of publishing the names of students who make the honor roll in the local newspaper.  Principal Paul Richards said a key reason for stopping the practice is its contribution to students' stress level in "This high expectations-high-achievement culture."

[The article above hints at the real reason, but never quite lays it out:  The honor roll is no longer published because it might hurt the feelings of the other students.  Keep reading...]

Schools banish class honor rolls:  Nashville officials fear underachievers could be offended.

In England...
A show of hands 'can harm shy children'.  Asking pupils to put their hands up when they think they know the answer to a question in class could make quiet children fall behind, according to government advice.  Researchers have identified a group of youngsters aged between seven and 11 who struggle to keep up with classmates despite doing well in previous years.

Anti-intellectualism:  Why Nerds are Unpopular.  I know a lot of people who were nerds in school, and they all tell the same story:  there is a strong correlation between being smart and being a nerd, and an even stronger inverse correlation between being a nerd and being popular.  Being smart seems to make you unpopular.

Cut on the Bias. Want to stop educators from dumbing down books and tests?  Laugh at them.

Textbook publishers do back flips to avoid offense.  Several years ago, a bias and sensitivity review panel working on contract for the federal government ruled that, when testing the reading comprehension of fourth graders, any mention of owls ought to be verboten.  The reason — that owls are taboo to the Navajo and might upset someone of that ancestry — may have seemed farfetched, had the panel not made an even stranger decision to eliminate a story about a dolphin.  That story was judged to be "regionally biased" and potentially confusing to kids who didn't live near an ocean.

"Buffy" class has a stake in education.  The lights dim, and on the classroom screen comes yet another installment of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the story of a hot blond babe who, for seven critically acclaimed seasons, Kung-Fu fought a relentless onslaught of demons plaguing Sunnydale, Calif.

The Historians vs. American History:  It is now obvious that American children know very little about the history of their own nation.  This past year the U.S. Department of Education released its History Report Card and the results were predictably awful: 57 percent of high school seniors flunked even a basic knowledge of American history, and only 10 percent tested at grade level.

Study says "Language police" are harming children.  Activist groups acting as "language police" are exerting increasing control over American schools, resulting in bored, cynical and "dumbed down" children, according to a three-year study of education policy.

Book review:  The Language Police —  How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn.  Before Anton Chekhov and Mark Twain can be used in school readers and exams, they must be vetted by a bias and sensitivity committee.  The New York State Education Department omitted mentioning Jews in an Isaac Bashevis Singer story about prewar Poland, or blacks in Annie Dillard's memoir of growing up in a racially mixed town.  California rejected a reading book because The Little Engine That Could was male.  Diane Ravitch maintains that America's students are compelled to read insipid texts that have been censored and bowdlerized, issued by publishers who willingly cut controversial material from their books — a case of the bland leading the bland.

A Nation Still at Risk:  This month marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of one federal report that did not end up on a shelf gathering dust, but instead inspired significantly increased spending on public education, although this ultimately produced little progress in student achievement.  The report included two of the most famous statements ever made about the nation's public schools, that we were facing "a rising tide of mediocrity," and "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."

What's Wrong With Education Today:  Make-believe equality at the high school level fools nobody, least of all the kids.  White kids at Menlo-Atherton refer to the non-honors courses as "ghetto courses," while a black kid who enrolled in honors courses had his friends demand to know why he was taking "that white-boy course."

Making the Grade:  Michigan's public schools are upset at the prospect of being graded in the same way teachers grade students.

First Amendment survey finds knowledge lacking.  More than two-thirds of college students and administrators who participated in a national survey were unable to remember that freedom of religion and the press are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Errors and Censorship:  U.S. textbooks tell distorted story.  For years, the textbooks used by most American children have been riddled with errors.  Recent publicity has once again brought to light the issue of factually incorrect yet politically-correct textbooks.

Textbooks are Politically Correct — And Inaccurate.  The need to please or not offend every possible constituency has resulted in books that are inaccurate, trivial and boring.

California Offers Textbook Case of Political Correctness:  A textbook review process in California has changed or eliminated references to everything from the Founding Fathers to hot dogs, leaving many to charge the state with distorting history in the name of political correctness.

Why U.S. students flunk geography:  We didn't have TV or the Internet.  All we had were newspapers, magazines, school atlases, maps from gas stations.  Today's American students have television, the Internet, videos, travel books, magazines, atlases, CDROMs, and yet they seem to have a kind of cognitive block against learning geographic facts.

Modern Education Kills.  It makes us unfit to live.

Why Christians don't belong in government schools - Part 1:  "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."  The rantings of a right-wing fanatic?  No, it's the conclusion of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, convened 21 years ago by U.S. Education Secretary Terrence Bell.

Study Reveals Five Decades of "Dumbing Down" in American Education:  A new poll finds that American college seniors today are just slightly more knowledgeable than high-school graduates of half a century ago.

American education: Running hard, and last:  As the debate over how to fix America's schools continues with politicians beholden in one way or another to teachers' unions suggesting that it is the advocates of vouchers, tax credits and home schooling who are the true enemies of education, some recent statistics from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are worthy of note.

Teacher on leave after distributing letter:  He says in a letter to other teachers that most of the poorly behaved students at the school are African-American.  "Class is something they do between the passing periods, lunch or nutrition break, when they chase each other in the hallways, into classrooms, yelling at the top of their lungs"

Cognitive Child Abuse in Our Math Classrooms:  The central cause of our children's incompetence in math is not the schools' lack of "accountability," but their embrace of the whole-math approach, which undermines the student's conceptual capacity.

Study decries lack of teacher qualifications in public schools:  An estimated one in four public middle- and high-school classes is taught by a teacher not trained in the subject - and the problem is much worse in schools that serve poor and minority students.

Educated idiots:  John Taylor Gatto says in the September Harper's that our factory school system is doing exactly what it was designed to do when American educators copied it, in toto, from the Prussian model 150 years ago.  It is producing a populace of uncritical, barely-educated worker bees, suited mostly to punching buttons, consuming the latest new gadgets and mindlessly watching TV.

High Schools Flunk Science:  The vast majority of high school graduates never take a course in physics and know almost nothing about the role of the scientific revolution in creating the modern world.  While this alone constitutes criminal negligence by educators, there is an even worse crime of which they are guilty:  the students who do take physics are indoctrinated with a fundamentally false view of science.

Hey-Ho, Hey-Ho Government Schools Have Got To Go!  Before 1852 compulsory education did not exist in America, yet in 1812 Pierre Dupont published "Education in the United States", in which he stated that fewer than four out of every thousand Americans could not read and do numbers well.  Today, compulsory attendance in government schools is the Rule (quite literally), while the failure of that system to educate children has been documented time and again.

"Teaching to the test":  Unfortunately, most of the people who call themselves educators have not been doing much educating over the past few decades, as shown by American students repeatedly coming in at or near the bottom on international tests.

"Teaching to the test", Part II:  Educational philosophies that have been put to the test in other countries — Russia in the 1920s and China in the 1960s, for example — and which have failed miserably there, as they are now failing here, continue in vogue because there are no consequences for failure here.  Not so long as teachers have iron-clad tenure and get paid by seniority rather than results.

"Teaching to the test", Part III:  In the case of the dominant educational fads of our times, many have been tried out before in other countries.  Their failures there should have warned us that they were likely to fail here as well.

Dumbing Us Down : The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling:  This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years!  Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine.

Educational censorship: bland leading the bland:  "Sensitivity" censorship is a huge industry in the world of education.  Textbook publishers and testmakers hire people to draw up sensitivity guidelines.  In school systems there are more people who apply guidelines, and still more who review and argue about the censorship process.  Reviewers debated whether to censor a reference to Mount Rushmore, since Lakota Indians believe the monument intrudes on their sacred ground.  "Adopt-a-highway" litter control programs are controversial, too.  They may offend adopted children.

The "Fix" That's Destroying Education In America:  Without a strong basic education, today's children are mere pawns in the hands of those who have a far different world in mind than the one in which the first generations of Americans set the nation on its path to high achievement.

The hidden war on academic achievement:  The purpose of the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act seemed clear enough to the sponsors — Congress merely sought to bar public schools from releasing students' academic records to third parties without parental consent.  At least, that's what the congressmen thought their bill was for.  But that was before the trial lawyers got involved.

The Death of Math in America:  The shuttle leaves the earth because an extraordinary amount of mathematics and physics permitted its engineers and other technicians to create this marvel of modern science.  More math was required for its scientific payload.  Today, in America, we have to import foreigners who possess these skills because our national educational system has been under attack for over forty years, resulting in generations of Americans who cannot perform the most basic skills.

For public education — America is history:  Unfortunately, young Americans are oblivious to their heritage.  Ignorance of our past has been carefully cultivated by the educational establishment.  The result is a cut-flower generation, severed from its roots.  The recently released survey of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (known as the nation's report card) shows nearly 60 percent of high-school seniors lack even a basic knowledge of U.S. history.

Masters of Their Own Souls:  an interview with John Taylor Gatto.

The "Gifted and Talented" Fraud:  "Gifted and talented" programs are simply more intensive indoctrination courses, not real academics.

California to Punish Excellence:  University of California Regents recently voted to change their admissions criteria.

Illiterate America:  Alan Caruba is frightened by how dumb graduates are today.  Judging by the numbers, people are plenty dumb.  "About 40 percent of college grads take no courses in English or American literature and nearly 31 percent have never taken a math course.  More than 56 percent can't calculate the change from $3 after buying a bowl of soup for 60 cents and a sandwich for $1.95.  Many cannot read and understand a simple set of directions."  The article referenced "Beer and Circus", a book by English professor Murray Sperber of Indiana University.  The book contends that "college kids are being fed a junk diet of alcohol, spectator sports and partying."

After 15 Years, Nation Is Still at Risk:  The indicators of educational inadequacy are manifold.  While more high school students today are enrolled in challenging academic courses, overall student achievement is essentially unchanged from 1983 levels.  Although college attendance is up, college remediation rates have soared, and 30 percent of incoming college freshmen require remedial courses in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Standardized Tests Reveal Grading Gap.

Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Undergraduate Admissions Across the Nation:  Racial and ethnic preferences play a far more important role in admissions than has been previously acknowledged.  Blacks have far greater probabilities of admission than do similarly qualified whites at a large variety of schools, Hispanics have substantially greater probabilities of admission than do whites, and Asians have similar probabilities of admissions.  All of these conclusions take into account both test scores and grades.

Compulsory Government Education, By What Standard?  Unlike public school teachers, I don't blame the parents for the failure of the schools.  I blame the teachers who taught the parents.  The government schools are a complete and utter failure.  They should be closed.

Public Schools:  Turning Children and Parents into Peons.  Public education is the most expensive "gift" that most Americans will ever receive.  Government school systems are increasingly coercive and abusive toward both parents and students.  While politicians speak grandly of the supposed benefits of public education, government courts have ensured that parents and children have no legal rights to a decent education.

An Unbiased Eye for Education:  Equality of opportunity is what black America demands, not the false achievement of mandated equality of outcome.

National Testing:  Blueprint for Disaster:  There is an ominous parallel between federal control of the welfare system and the Clinton administration's attempt to nationalize American education through national testing.  The national dialogue on rigorous, challenging standards has just begun.  National testing, however, may effectively close the door on this dialogue:  National testing is a back-door attempt to impose national standards.  What sorts of standards might result?  It is unlikely that they would be based on rigorous and challenging content, as are the award-winning standards in Virginia.  Far more likely, nationally imposed standards would be dumbed down versions of political correctness.

Why dumb Americans are the bestAmerican education might be deemed a remarkable success... if you're a politician.  Walter Williams says, "[Politicians] prefer ignorant, uninformed and emotional clients and constituents."

Now I Know My ABC's:  Sixty-three percent of black fourth-graders are illiterate.  Someone besides Bill O'Reilly ought to be pounding the table over this remarkable and frightening statistic.

Dumb and dumber:  An invitation to a dialogue on America's intellectual capacity.  Back in the 1950s, the popular television show The $64,000 Question once showed a contestant six paintings and asked not only the artist and subject but also the name of the teacher with whom the artist studied.  As Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse puts it, "In the '50s game shows, you had to know the exact answer.  Today we get multiple choice on a show whose title isn't even punctuated correctly."  Any doubt which direction we are moving?


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