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.

The West's War on Critical Thinking.  What does it say about a civilization that generally requires young people to spend thirteen or more years in public school systems engineered to produce mediocre minds?  It should set off alarm bells!  When governments are in the business of dumbing down citizens, they are investing in future generations who will be obedient slaves.  Or, if an animal farm metaphor makes it easier for a millennial "influencer" to understand, Western governments prefer easily managed cattle that they can move from pen to pen before sending them to the slaughterhouse (think:  Ukraine).  What they do not want is an independent-minded cow knocking over a fence and freeing the herd from certain death.  Schools, like penitentiaries, are institutions for corralling large numbers of humans together, so that a mixture of indoctrination and punishment can be efficiently administered until most learn to "behave."  When Western education mimics Western incarceration, Western citizens should start to wonder just who the real prisoners are.

Employers want 'career readiness skills,' not just good grades: report.  Skills, not grade point average, are playing a larger role in the hiring process, according to a report from a human resources technology company.  The "State of Early Global Hiring 2024" report from HireVue found employers are more interested in "career readiness skills," than college grades.  "In the U.S. less than 40% of employers reported that they are screening candidates by GPA this year," a news release from the research group stated.  The report also includes data from the United Kingdom and Australia.  "Skills continue to become the currency of hiring," the report states. "The changing nature of jobs, talent shortages, and company growth are placing increased emphasis on skills-based hiring to deliver the talent that organizations need now and for the future."

Students are entering college unable to write.  K-12 public education has failed to prepare incoming college students how to write at the public level.  In a desperate attempt to catch high school graduates up to speed, many universities are providing remedial writing classes to college students.  About 68% of those starting at two-year public institutions and 40% of students enrolled in public four-year universities took at least one remedial writing class between 2003 to 2009, according to an original report from the Department of Education.  Average math and reading test scores dropped significantly from 2019 to 2021, according to a 2022 study by two Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA).  It seems likely that the 2016 figures would be much worse if they were resampled in 2023, after the COVID-19 pandemic.

California elementary teacher with blood-alcohol level at twice the legal level has charges dropped as it's "not illegal to teach drunk".  Bro, this lady got arrested for teaching second grade while drunk, but when all was said and done there was nothing to actually charge her with so the law let her off the hook.  Yes, it's completely legal to drink and teach in California!  [Tweet]  Ms. Munson's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, which means she must've been drinking the hard stuff, probably in her coffee.  And for those of you wondering, Ms. Munson is no longer listed as a staff member on the school's webpage, so we'll assume she's been let go.

The Editor says...
If she is teaching while drunk, that's still considered public intoxication, is it not?

Will the United States Become a Third World Nation?  What generally defines "Third World" includes pervasive poverty, dilapidated infrastructure, lack of sanitation, inadequate modern healthcare, rampant crime, ineffective education, and violent political instability often reflecting ethnic rivalries, not democratic elections.  Law reflects the whim of the powerful; not following written precepts.  Third world governments also have a penchant for crushing national debt and wild spending.  Invariably, a very rich minority governs masses living in squalor. [...] Less visible is the decay of public education manifested in declining test scores, rampant school violence, and replacing traditional education with radical racial ideology prizing self-esteem over merit-based academics.  Meanwhile, innumerable students at elite colleges, disproportionately majoring in academically "soft" fields, not engineering or science, demand "Death to America" while exhibiting profound ignorance of world affairs.  Tellingly, in intellectually challenging fields, American must increasingly import its brain power from abroad.

The Destructive Generation — Proving America's Weakest Link.  America's once great universities — such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT — are now into their fourth year of abolishing much of their prior standards.  The youth who sought to wreck them from the outside in the 1960s now succeed in finishing the job as elders on the inside.  These bankrupt campuses now adjudicate admissions and hiring by race, tribe and gender and then wonder why their students are entitled, ignorant, and arrogant yet unable to meet the very standards that the universities once insisted were critical to ensuring their preeminence.

America the disgusting.  The concept of America was and is beautiful. [...] We no longer get educated because the DEI and feminist cabals are serving up rancid race-conscious courses that teach nothing but resentment and bad manners.  Students, from kindergarten on are taking these courses and they exit college with no livable skills, but plenty of hate for the wealthy, the white, and the traditional.  We have at least two generations of uneducated brats with no social skills and no practical skills.  But they are skilled in making demands and crying for safe spaces.  Some are in the highest places in our government.  It's as ugly as it gets. [...] In America today, there is a shortage of good manners, politeness, consideration, and a work ethic.  Two generations were taught they need not work, apply themselves in school, or restrain their tempers.  And the schools not only went along with the parents' shortcomings, but took them a step further and encouraged such miscreant behavior, taking it to the extreme of actually promoting sex changes.  That is ugly to the bone.

Why are conservatives so committed to a dead system?  America, I've got some bad news for you.  You might want to sit down.  Your public education system is dead.  It's not dying; it kicked the bucket... some time ago (judging by the stench).  You are sending your children into a maggot-infested corpse every day, and it's making them sick.  The right-wing media correctly reports that public school teachers have become blue-haired, gender-confused communists who are trying to indoctrinate children into Marxism; and then Republican legislators want to arm these same teachers, who are self-proclaimed gender confused communists. [...] Pulling out of the public school system and letting the system collapse is the only practical solution.  Don't let your kids go back to school in the fall.  It's not going to help them get into college.  If they are black, they have already been accepted to Yale.

'Equity' Grading Is the Latest Educational Fad Destined To Fail.  Modern public-education history is littered with novel education theories that have failed so spectacularly that the terms are now used as pejoratives.  For instance, when I was in elementary school in the 1960s, the "New Math" focused on teaching abstractions rather than fundamentals.  You can find reams of research documenting its failure decades later, but the evidence was recognized almost immediately.  That then-new approach "ignored completely the fact that mathematics is a cumulative development and that it is practically impossible to learn the newer creations if one does not know the older ones," according to Morris Kline's 1973 "Common Core," a set of educational standards embraced by California and 39 other states in 2010.  On hindsight, it also deserves a failing grade.

The Importance of History.  Decades ago, in school, I was taught that the main cause of the American Revolution was taxation without representation.  Left out were the thorough examinations of the Intolerable Acts among which were the Quebec Act (which went beyond tendering a reasonable religious freedom, but allowed the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec to collect tithes) — along with expanding Quebec's territorial claims, and the Currency Act (which caused an immediate depression).  A thorough examination of the royal insults show that the Patriots were patient beyond measure before taking up arms.  In school, we were lead to believe the Revolution was a gentlemanly war, when, in fact, the British were rather vicious and ruthless.  But one cannot teach the children any of that, as it leads to embarrassing questions like:  Is the Federal Government any better today?  So few know the real history of the Revolution.

Editors of Columbia Law Review Demand Cancellation of Exams, Citing Trauma Caused by Police Presence on Campus.  The student editors of the Columbia Law Review issued a statement on Wednesday urging Columbia Law School to cancel exams in the wake of the police operation that cleared the university's unauthorized encampment, saying the "violence" had left them "irrevocably shaken" and "unable to focus."  The statement, which represents the majority opinion of the editorial board and was endorsed by five other law journals, including the Columbia Human Rights Law Review [and] A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual, accused the police of "brutalizing" students — though no major injuries have been reported — and claimed that canceling exams was a "proportionate response" to the "distress our peers have been feeling."

The Editor says...
Any lawyer who graduates from such a law school is likely to be an over-rated, under-educated, ill-prepared, easily-offended snowflake;  In other words, mostly useless as a lawyer.

'A race to the bottom': California Dem seeks to ban 'excessive homework'.  Democrats are all about feelings, and what feels better than having little to no homework?  The state of California is racked with plenty of problems, but too much homework is apparently right at the top of the list for California State Assemblymember Pilar Schiavo.  "Homework is exhausting.  It's overwhelming," her sixth-grade daughter Sofia Johnson told Fox 40.  "It's depressing that my whole day- from when I wake up to when I go to bed- is nearly all taken up with schoolwork."

Was it all that Baby Proofing?  Watching the idiocy on college campuses this week and seeing all the explanations for protests in favor of murderous Hamas, two tweets seem particularly on point.  There's the great David Burge (Iowahawk) who calls these outbursts "Hamas slumber parties," and says "This is like staging a pro-Nazi lunch counter sit-in and getting mad that people won't treat you like you're a modern-day Rosa Parks."  He attributes protests for the Intifada and slogans reading "from the River to the Sea" by numbskulls who have admittedly no idea what they are protesting as the result of baby-proofing houses, "There is," he says, "no better educational experience for a child than finding out what happens when you stick a butter knife into an electrical outlet."  I think he's right.  Helicopter parents who shield kids from the consequences of their actions have raised a generation of reckless, entitled, ill-educated brats.

The Left in a Nutshell.  One of the most embarrassing things about modern America is how grossly ignorant our "educated" class is.  They haven't a clue about anything.  They are, for the most part, a brainwashed group of pseudo-intellectual communists who know as much about history and world affairs as they do about how nuclear fusion works.  [Advertisement]  Probably less, come to think about it.  They are just ignorant about nuclear fusion; most of what they "know" about world history is 2nd-grade-level Howard Zinn fantasies taught to them by people who speak nonsense about "our truths."  [Tweet] [...] It's dispiriting to see such passion matched with such ignorance.  People with 16 years' education under their belts who have as much knowledge of history as the sans-culottes in the French Revolution.  They are a mob.  When I see "Queers for Palestine," I shake my head, totally unsurprised at the level of idiocy.  These are people whose knowledge about the world is so deeply distorted that they see Islamists as their allies.

[Astroturf] At Pro-Hamas Rally Has No Idea Why She Is There Or What They Are Protesting About.  A pro-Hamas protester has no clue why she is protesting and then asks a friend why they are protesting who also has no clue.  Reporter: "Why are you protesting?"  Protester: "Demanding that NYU stops!  I honestly don't know what NYU is doing... Do you know what NYU is doing?"  Protester 2: "I wish I was more educated!"  [Video clip]

America's fight to save handwriting from extinction.  Several US states are trying to prevent handwriting from going extinct as classrooms increasingly swap pen and paper for tablets and computers.  The US government removed the skill from the core curriculum in 2010 due to claims it was time-consuming and would not be useful in the age of technology, which meant schools could instead focus on typing classes.  Handwriting is considered a fine motor skill that stimulates and challenges the brain.  Still, with schools turning to technology instead, some teachers are complaining students can barely hold a pencil but can swipe and double-click on their devices.

Democrats Are Going to Get Someone Killed and They're Perfectly Fine With It.  Imagine being a parent struggling to help your kid get an Ivy League education because you think it will serve them well in life, only to see them repeating whatever some jackass from the theater department tells them to say?  How quickly would you pull that kid out of school and save the money?  You can educate away ignorance, not stupid, and anyone involved in these actions are stupid.  Well, the leadership isn't stupid, they're evil.  The drones are stupid.  They've been brainwashed to sympathize with terrorists and terrorist enablers.  They've been trained, like service dogs or circus seals, to obey in the hope of a bone, fish or some group acceptance, to do whatever they're told; to repeat whatever they hear.  Like an MSNBC viewer, they are not allowed to question or seek information from unapproved sources.

Teacher Wins Lawsuit After Being Fired for Not Giving Unearned Grades, Now Running for School Board.  After winning a significant legal battle against her former employer for wrongful termination, a former elementary school teacher in Henry County, Georgia, is setting her sights on a new goal: a seat on the school board.  Sheri Mimbs was fired from Cotton Indian Elementary School in 2017 for refusing to give passing grades even if students had not earned them.  Her six-year battle against the school resulted in her winning a six-figure settlement from her former employer.  Mimbs is now seeking to affect change by securing a school board seat.

Students walked out of Mt. Nebo Middle School in Utah to protest the school for allowing 'furries' to terrorize other students.  Students at a Utah middle school staged a walkout to protest their peers who identified as 'furries' — people who dress up in costumes of animals — scratching and biting classmates.  The hours-long protest took place outside Mt.  Nebo Middle School in Payson, Utah, on Wednesday.  It was triggered by a petition demanding a stricter dress code, with some middle schoolers reported the offending students were physically attacking other people.  A 'furry' is anyone with a strong interest in anthropomorphic animals.  Enthusiasts often don full-body animal costumes and gather at 'furry' conventions.

In Praise of F's.  On January 5, 2024, Western Oregon University (WOU) announced a bold change to its grading regime: "The letter grades of D- and F" have been axed in favor of a mark of "No Credit (NC)" for undergraduates.  WOU's provost, Jose Coll, clarified that this new system will not lower the university's academic standards but, rather, "increase retention and graduation rates."  The university will no longer "mask" students' "demonstrated abilities" with a slew of poor marks, following the likes of Brown University and Hampshire College, which have already exchanged letter grades for alternative measures in some instances.  By removing troublesome grades, WOU's administrators might conceivably be making a commendable decision to lower students' anxiety.  After all, if failing grades prevent students from changing majors, cause them to drop out, or lower their chances of finding a job post-graduation, would it not be reasonable to refrain from handing them out?

Is Learning Standard "White" English Oppressive for Black Students?  Among the many destructive ideas loose in American education is that black students should not be expected to master standard English because doing so is demeaning and demoralizing for them.  Standard English is part of the power structure of "whiteness" that must be overthrown before we can have an equitable society.  Professors at esteemed universities are making that argument and it appears to be catching on.  Faculty who want to prove their "anti-racist" dedication are changing their teaching and grading to avoid penalizing black students who, after all, already face terrible obstacles in a society that supposedly looks down on them.  The most prominent advocate of this position is University of Michigan professor April Baker-Bell.  In her view, "traditional approaches to language education do not account for the emotional harm or consequences these approaches have on Black students' sense of self and identity."  Before we go any further, do all black students suffer emotional harm if their English is corrected?

Doctoring So Easy, Even a Caveman Can Do It.  A movement is afoot to exclude top students and enroll scholastically inferior ones in American medical schools.  "Scholastically inferior" persons are those who do worse on standardized tests.  Their performance is so bad that, without rigging the system, they would be unqualified to enter medical training.  Some schools have dropped the standardized Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) requirement altogether despite its proving itself an effective and unbiased predictor of success in medical school.  Dropping MCAT (and GPA) requirements masks inferior scholarship and, by extension, a lack of qualification.

Schools in 2024: Low Skills, Leftist Ideals.  On the ideological front, a 1953 book by James B. Conant, entitled Education and Liberty; The Role of the Schools in a Modern Democracy, emphasized that schools should focus on strong intellectual skills.  Although he was a strong advocate of public schools, which brought together students from all social classes, in this book, he expressed a belief that "it may well be that the ideological struggle with Communism in the next fifty years will be won on the playing fields of the public high schools of the United States."  Thus, we see that two great concerns of the 1950s — that basic reading and math skills be retained and continuously improved, and that the USA through its schools would continue to reject communism — were great goals to be advanced.  Yet the exact opposite has happened: reading and writing skills have sharply declined, and the schools are hotbeds of leftist and communist thinking.  American social and political mores have been diluted or are being overturned in alarming ways since the 1960s, and this has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in the verbal and math skill sets of the students.  In short, "dumbing down" of students and leftism appear to be hand-in-glove processes.

Public schools are intentionally dumbing down their education.  Of all the ailments afflicting our public schools, few are worse than the dumbing down of students.  This casts a pall on the country's future, and this ominous cloud is cast by design.  That's why you can look at pretty much any state in the country, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress results are similar — and too often dismal.  The NAEP is a national test, taken by 4th, 8th, and 11th graders in all 50 states.  For those keen to improve our public schools, the general drift is unmistakable and not a little worrisome:  About half the nation's children are not at "grade level" in language and math.  It's even worse in states subjugated by so-called teachers unions.  A few examples will suffice:  Nothing but goose eggs in reading at 32 Illinois schools, according to a 2022 report from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Seattle closes gifted and talented schools because they had too many white and Asian students.  Seattle has shuttered its gifted and talented programs because the school board determined they had too many white and Asian students.  The district began phasing out its Highly Capable Cohort schools and classrooms for advanced students in the 2021-22 school year because they found it had too many racial inequities.  School bosses said black and Hispanic students were underrepresented at the schools.  According to Seattle Public School data, of the highly capable students in the 2022-23 school year, 52 percent were white, 16 percent were Asian and 3.4 percent were black.

The collapse of the California mathematics framework.  The Stanford Education professor who inspired the elimination of 8th grade Algebra I in San Francisco public schools (now repealed) and who was the impetus for the equity-based California Mathematics Framework (CMF) has been accused of numerous instances of "reckless disregard for accuracy" in her research supporting these initiatives. [...] The Framework was made out of popsicle sticks and has now collapsed.  Don't bet on any consequences for the members of the California State Board of Education who rushed to vote in favor of this woke initiative, resulting in its approval.  Add equity-based math to the collection of narratives we were supposed to accept without question or risk getting canceled, doxed, fired, and maybe even spied on by the FBI, only to be debunked after the damage is done.

Rich NYC teens are getting fake ADHD diagnoses to win extra time on the SATs leading to huge surge in points.  Teens in the tri-state area are getting fake ADHD diagnoses in order to win extra time on the SATs and ACTs.  High school juniors enrolled at expensive prep schools have been taken to doctors and phycologists by their parents in order to obtain documentation that says their child has ADHD, depression or anxiety.  Ivy League colleges have decided to reintroduce entrance exams, which were previously made optional during the Covid pandemic.

It's time to stop accommodating the crazies in America.  Schools across America have abandoned teaching traditional subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and civics.  They are, instead, indoctrination centers for progressive ideas about sex, race, patriotism, and economics.

Note to Black Lives Matter:  Literacy Made Civilization.  [Scroll down]  Decades ago, I found it shocking that anyone would openly disparage the staggering achievements of the Western literary mind, male or female, let alone that this assessment would become de rigueur in academia.  It was as if someone were attempting to wrench the great passion of my life right out of my arms.  Further, and more important, it had become obvious that the barbarians were dismantling the high points of achievement in civilization generally.  Now I am left numb with disbelief that any high school English teacher in the anglosphere could in all seriousness propose that reading and writing are activities "bad" by association with something our culture condemns.  This attack is directed no longer toward the "high points of civilization," but rather toward the building blocks of civilizational development — and maintenance.

Why Are Americans Becoming More Stupid?  [Scroll down]  After all, young people are deserting college in droves, with enrolments down by 15% over the past decade; in the lower grades, it's common to hear talk of "zombie schools", the product of more than 20% of pupils being "chronically absent".  And yet, the emergence of these still-small shoots have terrified the educratic establishment.  Some claim the shift in emphasis towards classics and civics, now occurring in places such as Florida's New College, is "sinister development" by nefarious Right-wingers.  Similarly, the teachers' unions have resisted a number of moves to create charter schools — which increase choice in the public system — because they are part of a "war on schools".  In some cases, the defence of failure is breathtaking.  Blue states such as Illinois have worked to all but eliminate charters, even as the Land of Lincoln boasts 53 schools where not one student can do grade-level math and 30 where none can do so in English.  These schools are overwhelmingly in Chicago, where a significant increase in spending per student since 2019 seems to have made no impact.

The Long, Horrifying Collapse of Discipline in NYC Public Schools.  This writer taught social studies for 21 years in NYC public high schools, and substituted occasionally for two years before that full-time tenure.  My first five and a half years were taught in a "hellhole high school."  Some of the behaviors that are included under my "hellhole" rubric are as follows:  students taking 10 [to] 20 minutes to pass between classes, toilet seats set on fire using fluid from lighters; students slashed with razors while changing classes, with the razors then thrown out the windows; weapons being brought into school even after metal detectors and electronic wanding of students was implemented; and oral sex in stairwells.  One student asked me if I wanted to see the Glock in his bookbag.  I asked one student to stop chasing Tameka around the room and take his seat so I could begin the lesson.  He was so incensed by this request that he began scraping the veneer off the top of his desk with his fingernails.  Security was called eventually, and he was removed from the class.  A 10th-grade girl, who I later was told was regularly taking drugs with her friends, went over to the window, lifted it up, and jumped out.  We were on the first floor, but it still was an eight- to ten-foot drop.  One day she introduced me to a grinning guy who, she said, was the father of a baby she had aborted two years previously.

Toronto Schools Don't Want Children Harmed by the Solar Eclipse.  School's out on April 8 for many kids in the U.S. and Canada.  On that date, a full solar eclipse will be visible from Texas to Ontario.  This has prompted some Canadian schools to take action.  "There are risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse," announced Toronto-area school boards.  These schools are moving their May 17 kid-free professional development day to April 8 "to ensure that students will not be outdoors during the total solar eclipse."  This seems like a missed opportunity.  "I am baffled, dismayed, and hugely disappointed by this decision," says one Toronto-area school administrator, who spoke on condition of anonymity.  "It is misguided to keep children inside when they could be seeing this event.  However, risk-aversion and groupthink are leading the process."

The Editor says...
Many learning experiences come with risks, especially if they involve scientific observations.  The primary goal of the public schools should not be the avoidance of risks.

Dartmouth Becomes First Ivy League University to Reinstate Standardized-Testing Requirement.  Dartmouth College will restore its SAT requirement for admissions beginning with the Class of 2029, making it the first Ivy League university to reinstate the testing requirement after doing away with it after Covid.  In an email to the university community, Dartmouth president Sian Beilock wrote that the decision to reimplement the standardized test was made in response to a faculty study which found that "standardized test scores are an important predictor of a student's success in Dartmouth's curriculum" regardless of a "student's background or family income."  Professors involved in the review included Elizabeth Cascio, Bruce Sacerdote, and Douglas Staiger of the economics department and Michele Tine of the sociology department, Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lee Coffin told the Dartmouth.

Public Education's Alarming New 4th 'R': Reversal of Learning.  The alarming plunge in academic performance during the pandemic was met with a significant drop in grading and graduation standards to ease the pressure on students struggling with remote learning.  The hope was that hundreds of billions of dollars of emergency federal aid would enable schools to reverse the learning loss and restore the standards.  Four years later, the money is almost gone and students haven't made up that lost academic ground, equaling more that a year of learning for disadvantaged kids.  Driven by fears of a spike in dropout rates, especially among blacks and Latinos, many states and school districts are apparently leaving in place the lower standards that allow students to get good grades and graduate even though they have learned much less, particularly in math.

Expel these freaks so the rest of the kids can resume learning — if any learning is to be had.
Oklahoma lawmaker wants animal control to take furries from public schools: 'Send them to the pound'.  State Rep. Justin Humphrey introduced a bill on Tuesday that would ban furries from public schools across the state — and allow animal control to round up those who defy the proposed law.  "Students who purport to be an imaginary animal or animal species, or who engage in anthropomorphic behavior commonly referred to as furries at school shall not be allowed to participate in school curriculum or activities," House Bill 3084 states.  The legislation would require parents or guardians to pick up their child from school.  Otherwise, "animal control services shall be contacted to remove the student," the bill states.

Higher Education:  DEI and Cargo Cultism.  "Cargo cult" is the term used to explain how primitives imitate technological symbols in the belief that doing so will allow them to reap the benefits not otherwise available to them. [...] The notion that everyone should get a college education and the related ideology of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are just as foolish.  The underlying idea is that if you give everyone a college diploma, they will reap the benefits of what used to take high-level natural talents and hard work.  Their adoption has diminished the value of higher education, substantially raised its cost, saddled thousands of students with large college loans they will not be likely to repay because the course of study they chose will never result in the high salaries they imagined the receipt of a diploma would yield.  Until these ludicrous notions took hold, the average IQ to perform at college level was 115 to 130.  At the present time, the mean IQ of college students is the same as the general population — 102.

Harvard's president Claudine Gay faces 40 new allegations of plagiarism.  Embattled Harvard president Claudine Gay has been hit with fresh allegations of plagiarism, with claims that she lifted 'entire paragraphs' in her academic writing — but the Ivy League says it's still backing her.  The new allegations were first published in a shocking report from the Washington Free Beacon and span seven publications authored by Gay over 30 years, ranging from missing quotation marks around a few phrases or sentences to entire paragraphs lifted verbatim.  Gay is now accused of plagiarizing about half of the 11 journal articles on her resume.  The academic initially submitted two corrections to papers from 2001 and 2017 after she was accused of plagiarism, adding 'quotation marks and citations,' a Harvard spokesman said.  However, after additional claims of plagiarism, the Ivy League then said on Wednesday that Gay would also update three spots in her Ph.D. dissertation to add attributions.

Chicago moves to end magnet schools to advance 'equity'.  Chicago Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson's Board of Education wants to put an end to the city's excelling selective-enrollment schools under the guise of advancing "equity" for students, a Wednesday editorial in the Chicago Tribune revealed.  Johnson appears to have backpedaled from his campaign's previous guarantee that it would not get rid of the city's 11 selective-enrollment high schools, the media outlet noted.  Chicago Public Schools' selective-enrollment and magnet schools are some of the top-ranked high schools in the nation.  Currently, 76% of Chicago high school students do not attend the high schools in their neighborhoods.  On Thursday, the mayor's Board of Education approved a resolution that would eliminate students' opportunity to test into a high-achieving school in the CPS system.  Instead, the board's "Transformational Strategic Plan" would require students to attend high schools within their neighborhoods, effectively dismantling the top-performing schools.

The inconvenient truth about public education.  Apparently, after decades of unfettered recognition as a barometer of academic proficiency, standardized testing is no longer regarded as an accurate measurement of student achievement by the state's education elite.  Hopkins [Minnesota] Superintendent Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed stated during a learning and achievement update in 2022 that "one single test score does not accurately or completely represent what students know or are able to do."  While there is some truth to the notion that one test score does not represent what a student knows, the preponderance of MCA and ACT data over the past decade points to a concerning decline in academic proficiency among Minnesota students.  Now is the time to acknowledge there is a problem requiring a solution.  Instead, as standardized test scores deteriorate, Education Minnesota and school boards blame the tests.  Then the union uses member dues and tax dollars to demonize parent-backed and academic-focused candidates for school board elections.

DEI Is Welfare For People Like Claudine Gay Who Couldn't Get A Job Without Identity Politics.  The board of Harvard unanimously voted to retain the university's president Claudine Gay despite her public refusal to say that calls for genocide of Jewish students would contradict Harvard's code of conduct — and subsequent allegations of past plagiarism.  "Our extensive deliberations affirm our confidence that President Gay is the right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing," the Harvard Corporation announced in a statement on Tuesday.  Gay kept her position despite both credible allegations of plagiarism and an abysmal performance alongside other university presidents before the House Education and the Workforce Committee.  On Capitol Hill last week, Gay along with the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania refused to testify that calls for Jewish genocide violate student codes of conduct — despite their schools' histories of punishing students for conservative speech.

Cheer on Academia Burning Itself Down.  Let's examine Harvard, the alleged pinnacle of academic achievement and scholarship.  It has a multi-billion dollar endowment, which a real Republican Party would tax, but its true power is its reputation. [...] Harvard is not Harvard anymore.  The majority of grades given at Harvard are A's.  At one time, "A" stood for "outstanding."  Now, it stands for "average."  The admissions process is no longer merit-based.  It is diversity-based, as SCOTUS recently noted when it slapped the college for its racism.  Asian and white students need stratospheric grades and more to get in; those whose grandparents hailed from the right continent do not.  Diversity is an explicit rejection of merit, though you are not supposed to say it.  Well, everyone is seeing it and saying it.  Harvard's current president is a shining example of diversity in action.  She was not hired because she was talented.  She is demonstrably untalented.  She was hired because she is diverse, meaning she checked boxes that should be meaningless but, in academia, mean everything.

Solving the Education-Destroying Deception of Grade Inflation.  "Grade inflation" (grading leniency) is the increase of higher grades given to students without corresponding improvement in student achievement, e.g., a student in 2023 might receive an "A" for work that would have entitled them to a "C" in 1983.  Jonathan Turley reports that 79% of the grades awarded at Harvard in 2020-21 were in the "A's" range.  The rate at Yale is almost identical with 78.9% in the "A's" range.  The rates are higher in certain departments.  Some 82.1% of the students in African-American Studies at Yale received an "A" grade and 92.6% of the students in Gender Studies at Yale received an "A" grade, meaning that only 7% of the Yale students in Gender Studies did not receive an A!  The problem is not confined to "elite" schools but is a serious problem throughout U.S. universities and high schools.  Further, "The problem is not confined to U.S. institutions but has gone global, from "Ireland to India."  More important, grade inflation is not, so to speak, a victimless crime.  The increases in grade inflation parallels the decreases in student performance in reading, writing and math.

America's Destructive Education System.  In 1983, the Reagan administration published a report titled "A Nation at Risk:  The Imperative of Education Reform."  The report warned that the decay of American schools was threatening the country's very survival.  But the powerful amalgamation of teachers' unions, state bureaucracies, and the Democrat establishment defeated the initiative.  Committed to preserving the status quo, this special interest group became the guardian of American education, maintaining complete control of the education curriculum and using its position to subvert innovation in education.  No surprise, this group enjoys the systematic support of the Democratic Party and the Biden administration.  Ironically, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s subverted the education system by offering equal opportunities in education and employment.  As usual, the left confused equality of opportunity with equality of results.  Integrated schools were supposed to provide quality education for all children regardless of color.  In reality, there were large gaps between the education, behavior, and performance of white and black children.  However, the schools took the easy route.  Instead of recognizing these differences, enforcing discipline, and providing black children with additional help and assistance, the schools geared their curricula and educational standards to the lowest common denominator.  In doing so, they indeed produced equality — equality in illiteracy.

A Plague of College Student Dishonesty.  This is not a good time for American higher education, but as bad as this may seem, matters are even worse.  The students themselves are part of the problem when they seek admission to top schools with tactics that are at best questionable and at worst dishonest.  Dishonesty is rampant.  Students will even misrepresent their race or ethnicity.  This is hardly a surprise in today's academic world that prizes diversity, and admissions officers willingly lower standards to achieve it.  According to one study, some 34% of white students admitted lying about their ethnic identify for purposes of admission or financial aid, with "Native American" being the most popular subterfuge and 13% falsely claiming to be Latino.  Ten percent of these whites checked the African-American ancestry box.  The deceit generally worked:  77% of those lying were admitted.  Deceit is further encouraged by "college admission counselors" to help youngsters whose families can afford to guide Junior into a school beyond his true academic abilities.

The legitimization of Ebonics, slang, and mumbling:
Denver public schools bring back the Tower of Babel, but call it 'language justice'.  What is "language justice" you might ask?  Well I'd never heard of the term until today, but since the English language is "oppressive" and "rooted in racism," the left has led a focused effort that has now been enacted into policy, and the idea is to permit foreign students to forgo learning English, and instead allowing them to retain their native languages in the classroom.  An excerpt from the "equity document" released by the school board defined "language justice" as this:  ["]The notion of respecting every individual's fundamental language rights — to be able to communicate, understand, and be understood in the language in which they prefer and feel most articulate and powerful.["]  As the report also notes, of the roughly 90,000 students, around 35,000 are "multilingual learners" with a non-English language home; in those non-English homes, there are "200" other languages spoken.  We tried telling them, all that "diversity is our strength" talk was really just a utopic pipe dream or a wishful sentiment, but nowhere is that more obvious than with language — when people can't understand each other nobody can communicate effectively — but again, they'd know this if they knew their history and literature.

New York Gives Up on High-School Education.  Last Monday, the New York Times reported that an advisory group for New York's Education Department, under pressure to fix slumping graduation rates at its public schools, would propose not improving the education of the students but making the Regents Examinations, which the state has required since 1876 for a high-school diploma, optional.  Other options such as "capstone projects," presentations, or "performance-based assessments" would also enable graduation.  The recommendation — which has a fair chance of becoming policy — is an insult to the intelligence of citizens, a betrayal of New York parents and students, and a depressing if implicit concession by the state that it is losing hope of educating a new generation of public-school children to the standards of their predecessors.  It is framed in the Times as New York falling in line with the rest of the country, where high-school exit exams once prevailed but are now limited to New York, Massachusetts, and Florida.

The educational system needs reform.  [W]hat is being taught in school is not preparing students for entry into the workforce, and it is not surprising that over 50% of college graduates say they'll never be able to repay their student loans, and are choosing to move back in with their parents for financial security.  I could make a copious list of all the "subjects," much of which is just undisguised cultural Marxism, which of course has nothing to do with the real world at large, and naturally doesn't produce a person ready to participate in a Judeo-Christian society — subjects such as budgeting, financial literacy, percentages, applied basic math, civics, etc. should replace "Queer Theory" and Taylor Swift courses.  Most K-12 schools still teach in a mass educational style of 25 to 30 students per classroom.  Teachers are failing to efficiently teach a class with such a wide variety of student learning speeds because of the mandatory promotion by age regardless of ability.

New Jersey to Drop Basic Skills Test For Teachers.  Like many states around the country these days, New Jersey is facing a shortage of public school teachers.  They simply aren't receiving enough qualified applicants to fill all of the vacancies they currently have.  But if the state's largest teachers union has its way, that situation will be changing.  Rather than finding and attracting more qualified teachers, they'll just lower the standards for who can be a teacher.  The New Jersey Education Association is pushing a bill that will eliminate a basic skills test for new teachers covering reading, writing, and math.  They claim that the test presents "an unnecessary barrier" to hiring new teachers.

Oregon just dropped all graduation standards, failing all of its students in the name of 'equity'.  In public education's latest blunder, the Oregon Department of Education has just decided that basic reading, writing and math skills are not required for students to graduate with a high school diploma.  Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 744 in the Oregon Legislative Assembly's 2021 session, the state's "Assessment of Essential Skills" requirement for high school graduation was sensible: "read and comprehend a variety of text, write clearly and accurately," and "apply mathematics in a variety of settings."  Students were required to demonstrate these skills by "earning at or above a cut score on the Oregon Statewide Summative Assessment test."  Citing the effects of COVID-19 school closures, however, SB 744 required the state to review "requirements for high school diploma options."  To address learning-loss throughout the pandemic, the bill led to the suspension of Oregon's essential skills proficiency requirement through the 2023-24 school year.  Last month, Oregon's State Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt an additional extension of this suspension through the 2027-28 school year.

Chicago's Solution to Its Failing School System:  Stop Grading Schools on Performance.  In 1987, U.S. Education Secretary Bill Bennett famously traveled to Chicago, where he ruffled feathers by telling a closed-room group that the Windy City's school system was "the worst in the nation."  Local parents and educators bristled at the charge, which resulted in an awkward New York Times story.  But decades of data would subsequently prove that Mr. Bennett was basically correct:  Chicago's schools were a total mess.  The city's own accountability report card would later demonstrate that huge majorities of students in the city's worst schools — 75 percent in elementary and 95 percent in high school — failed to meet the state standards.  Things hardly improved during the pandemic, even though the Chicago Public School (CPS) system was spending roughly $28,000 per student (partly thanks to federal bailout cash).  "Just 30% of Black students meet or exceed reading standards in the third grade, and the number falls to 14% for 11th graders, according to data from the Illinois State Board of Education," The Chicago Tribune pointed out last year.  Chicago schools clearly aren't getting the job done, but political leaders in the city have discovered a solution to the problem:  stop grading schools.

'I Was Fired for Setting Academic Standards'.  Sure, you could study hard to get a degree.  But at Spelman, where I taught, you could also get a top administrator to change your grades.  When I accepted a tenure-track position in the economics department of Spelman College in the spring of 2021, handing out bogus grades was the last thing on my mind.  Spelman, after all, has a great reputation.  Based in Atlanta, it's a women-only historically black college, one of the oldest in the country; for the past 15 years, it's been rated the number one HBCU by U.S. News & World Report.

Blue state suspends basic skills graduation requirement again, citing harm to students of color.  High schoolers in Oregon won't need to demonstrate basic competency in reading, writing or math in order to graduate for at least five more years because, according to education officials, such requirements are unnecessary and disproportionately harm students of color.  "At some point ... our diploma is going to end up looking a lot more like a participation prize than an actual certificate that shows that someone actually is prepared to go pursue their best future," former Oregon gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan told Fox News.  The essential skills requirement has been on pause since the coronavirus pandemic, and last week the Oregon State Board of Education voted unanimously to continue suspending the graduation requirement through the 2027-2028 school year.

A solution so simple.  Anybody who has gone to a supermarket or any venue where customer service is required, will notice the lack of available help.  Hence people have to wait in interminable lines, or use computerized automated checkouts — which I find difficult to use, and I know web coding.  Automated checkouts are inherently user-unfriendly.  According to industry experts, "A whopping 92% of hiring small businesses can't find the labor they need[.]"  Many reasons are given.  Kids are too lazy or unskilled.  Nobody wants to work when government handouts pay more.  Etc.  Well, there is another reason, so obvious that it is staring everyone right in the face, and the cure would not only solve the immediate problem, but also flush out a lot of detritus from our society.  Adopt early graduation (or equivalency) policies in every state. [...] If you are enrolled in a high school program, why can't you be allowed to take the GED and quit whenever you want?

The Editor says...
If you're Mensa material, you should be able to study for the GED and pass it by the time you're 14.  Whether you are prepared by that time to interact with older co-workers (or join the Army) is another matter.  When I was 14, there was a considerable stigma associated with the GED, or with dropping out of school, but that is no longer the case.

ACT test scores for U.S. students drop to a new 30-year low.  High school students' scores on the ACT college admissions test have dropped to their lowest in more than three decades, showing a lack of student preparedness for college-level coursework, according to the nonprofit organization that administers the test.  Scores have been falling for six consecutive years, but the trend accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Students in the class of 2023 whose scores were reported Wednesday were in their first year of high school when the virus reached the U.S.  "The hard truth is that we are not doing enough to ensure that graduates are truly ready for postsecondary success in college and career," said Janet Godwin, chief executive officer for the nonprofit ACT.  The average ACT composite score for U.S. students was 19.5 out of 36.  Last year, the average score was 19.8.

Just Pass Everyone.  If failure is essential to success, then what are the prospects for our current crop of students who have never experienced failure of any kind?  No school student is held back a year, summer-school repeats are rare, and "A" is becoming the most typical university grade.  What happens when these students move out of education, where success is the norm, to a world in which failure is ubiquitous?  Never having had to deal with setbacks, never having failed at anything, will they have the capacity to cope?  Down here in Australia, where I live and teach, we will soon find out.  Over the past 20 years, government policy has encouraged the number of students studying in Australian universities to explode.  The highest-ranked institutions have swept up the best-prepared applicants, forcing the less prestigious universities to lower their entry standards.  Not surprisingly, many of these poorly prepared students are finding themselves unable to complete their courses.  Dropout rates have climbed to record levels.

In that case, what should we now call the informal dining tables permanently installed at a city park?
UNLV law school apologizes for using word 'picnic,' changes it to 'Lunch by the Lake'.  A scheduled "picnic" sponsored by the University of Nevada Las Vegas law school's Environmental Law Society has been renamed "Lunch by the Lake" due to "diversity and inclusion" concerns. According to a memo obtained by Libs of TikTok, the law group informed members that the word "picnic" has "historical and offensive connotations," and apologized for "any harm or discomfort" caused by its use.  The group's view mirrors that of the University of Michigan's IT department from several years ago: "Picnic" was included in a "Words Matter Task Force's" list of offensive words and phrases along with "brown bag," "blacklist" and "long time, no see" among others.  At the time, Reuters did a fact check on the alleged offensiveness of "picnic"; its verdict:  It "does not originate from racist lynchings" but instead comes from the 300-plus-year-old French word "pique-nique," meaning a potluck-like social gathering.

Education and the 2024 election.  People are beginning to understand that education is the most critical domestic policy issue facing our country.  This is why education policy decisions both past and promised could shape the 2024 presidential election.  Much like the promises to end Common Core in the 2016 presidential election, this year's Republican candidates are promising to end indoctrination in government schools.  I think we will see all 2024 presidential candidates promise to "fix" education, but some of us wonder if government schools are redeemable. [...] Common Core destroys a child's foundational education with K-3 standards that are developmentally inappropriate; it frustrates students and parents with unproven fuzzy math and shifts reading from classic literature to informational text (dry, boring technical documents and liberal propaganda). When you add the recent sexualization of children causing them to doubt their biological sex, (often without parental knowledge or consent), the anti-American ideology that is teaching children to hate themselves, others and their country, and the false history that stems from the notion that our country is systemically racist, the reality of American education becomes very clear.  Government schools have become untenable.

Stop Sanitizing Education: 'If It's Not Offensive to Anyone, It's Probably Not Important Either'.  The American education system used to be the envy of the world, and we need to return to the tried and true ways of traditional classical education, according to the founder of a standardized test for classical education that's an alternative to the College Board's SAT.  "The mainstream education system is at fault in a generation that thinks America is the big, bad bully and that isn't grateful for the country.  A country cannot be sustained on this," Jeremy Tate, founder of the Classic Learning Test, told Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts on his "Kevin Roberts Show" podcast.  Tate, a former teacher, said he created the Classic Learning Test because of his concerns about the College Board, which he called "left-wing."  The test is for grades 3-12 and can be an alternative to the SAT and ACT for select colleges that value classical education models.  The College Board has "become deeply compromised" over the past 10 years, according to Tate.

Kindergartners In diapers:  A growing trend.  Apparently, there are an increasing number of kids, with no physical or cognitive disabilities whatsoever, who are entering kindergarten without being potty-trained.  This is hard to fathom.  In the past, the vast majority of children were fully potty trained around three years old, give or take a couple of months.  However, today kindergarten teachers often report to We Are Teachers that 15-20% of their classroom is not potty-trained, and that even a few first-graders are still in Pull-Ups.  (Again, this does not include kids with medical issues, or physical or cognitive disabilities.)  Sadly, there is a growing trend of children reaching the age of five without being potty trained.

The Editor says...
That's because the parents are too preoccupied with their cell phones to attend to their children.  It's also parents these days don't use the rod of correction to drive the foolishness out of their kids at an early age.

Teacher Gives Horrific Testimony on America's Schools.  Just weeks into this year's school season, teachers are raising alarm about how underdeveloped America's children are in schools[.]  One such teacher provided a horrific testimony on exactly how behind her students are.  "These kids can't read, they can't decode, they have no vocabulary, no background knowledge.  I've never seen anything like it," said a teacher who goes by finallyanedd on TikTok.  "For context ... my 5th graders with significant language-based learning disabilities could write better than non-disabled 7th graders can now."  "They can't write a sentence, they don't know what state they live in, they don't know what region of the country they're in, they have no background knowledge, most of them don't know who the president is."

The war on merit in public schools continues and it's blatantly racist.  Last month, we learned that the public schools in Portland, Oregon were instituting a new set of "equitable grading practices."  Under these new guidelines, no student would ever receive a grade of zero or incomplete for anything.  Homework would not be graded at all and no student would receive a failing grade for failing to complete their work or even cheating.  Even behavioral issues or truancy would not be taken into account or result in a failing grade.  And this isn't the only progressive school district studying such policies.  Why would any school board do this if they know that they will be passing students upward through the system when they haven't mastered the skills required to take on even more advanced studies?  In Portland, they claim to be addressing "inequalities in access to curriculum and instruction."

The 'Participation Medal' Generation.  In 1950, Harvard students had an average GPA of 2.55.  As of 2022, their average is 3.8 — not far shy of the maximum GPA of 4.0.  It's truly impressive how much better at teaching Harvard has become.  I guess that's why it's said to be the best university in the world!  Except that's not what's going on.  No one can seriously believe the dramatic rise in average GPA reflects a real increase in the quality of teaching.  While the early rise might partly reflect admissions becoming more meritocratic, the main factor here is simply grade inflation — students being awarded higher grades for the same calibre of work.  Of course, Harvard is far from alone in having witnessed rampant grade inflation over the last half century.  The economist Stuart Rojstaczer has compiled a wealth of data on average GPA at U.S. colleges, and finds that it's a pretty-much universal phenomenon.

Caltech joins lesser colleges in lowering admissions requirements.  The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the elite science and engineering university, is altering its admissions requirements in an effort to make access to the ultra-competitive institution more "equitable."  Therefore, it is no longer requiring applicants to have already taken calculus, physics and chemistry in high school.  According to the Los Angeles Times, prior to this decision, Ashley Pallie — Caltech's executive director of undergraduate admissions — began to question whether the requirements were unfair to students from less advantaged backgrounds.  Ergo, Caltech dropped its calculus, chemistry, and physics requirements, as long as applicants could supposedly prove their academic chops otherwise, such as through taking an online course.  Call me a skeptic, but this seems "problematic," as the wokesters are wont to say, especially for an engineering school.

Why Young Americans Are Not Taught About Evil.  Most of our schools teach almost nothing of importance, and nothing is more important than the study of good and evil.  In the United States today, nearly all schools, from elementary through graduate, concentrate on teaching about racism, sexism, preferred pronouns, homophobia, transphobia, LGBTQIA+, climate change, diversity, equity, inclusiveness and white guilt.  In other words, most of our educational institutions, including the most prestigious, do not educate.  Here are a few proofs.  It is almost certain that the great majority of American high school and college students (with the obvious exceptions of Christian students) could not name the Four Gospels (presuming they even know what they are); five of the Ten Commandments (presuming they know what those are); or the names of two Shakespeare plays.  Most American students know little about the American Revolution, let alone about the French or Russian Revolutions.  The same holds true for the Constitution and every other American founding document.  It is doubtful that, other than Washington and Jefferson having owned slaves, American students know anything about these men or could name two other Founders.  When it comes to evil, the ignorance is enormous, often almost total.

Math for Dummies.  It is an inconvenient truth that various ethnic groups do not, on average, perform equally well on objective measures of intellectual accomplishment.  Mathematics is particularly problematic, in that results are hard to fudge — basically, answers are either right or wrong.  Liberals have responded to this conundrum by dumbing down one discipline after another.  Their theory is that if they lower standards far enough, they will arrive at a point where racial and ethnic differences disappear.  I doubt that this strategy can ever actually work, but the result in mathematics is especially embarrassing, as the inevitable decline in performance is hard to hide.  But that didn't deter left-wingers in California, who enacted legislation to turn mathematics into a social justice subject (like everything else).

Decades of Public School Reading Failure.  If you're thinking of fixing the schools, forget it.  Thousands of parents have fought this fight before you, each spending hundreds or thousands of hours of personal time trying to fix the system.  All have failed.  The proof is in the numbers.  Despite enormous increases in public school funding and millions of man-hours spent by parents fighting the system, the reading performance of U.S. school children never improves.

LeBron James Founded A School Based On Equity.  It Is An Unmitigated Disaster.  There was a time, way back in another era, when the goal of the education system was to educate students.  Back in those days, this goal was pursued through a merit-based approach.  Kids were graded and ranked based on their performance.  High performing students were advanced, low performing students were held back.  Well behaved students were rewarded, poorly behaved students were punished.  This was the general idea.  But this strategy has fallen out of favor in recent years.  It was too mean, we were told and racist, too, somehow.  Piece by piece, the system of merit-based education in public schools was dismantled, until finally there was nothing left.  And into that gap came "equity" to replace it.  What does "equity" mean, exactly?  That's a question you'll never get a real answer to.  But in this case, we know what "equity" means from a practical perspective.  It means spending more money for worse schools.  It also means creating new schools, from the ground-up — because the only way to guarantee that you're not perpetuating White Supremacy is to start from scratch.  One of these new, non-racist schools was founded five years ago in Akron, Ohio, with help from NBA All-Star LeBron James.

Incompetent teachers get rich, kids suffer.  Public schools (I prefer the term "government schools") in Democrat-run cities have become a racket, plundering taxpayers' funds and failing to deliver even a minimally acceptable education.  The fact that Americans spend more on their government schools than any other country, and yet our students place near the bottom of standardized achievement tests is all the proof that one needs.  We are being cheated on a massive scale, and the future of the nation is in peril when large numbers of children, mostly but not exclusively minorities, are being condemned to law pay and social status because they are so innumerate and illiterate.

Lowering the national IQ.  In recent years, reading, math, science, and other scores have been plummeting in America.  Schools are not teaching students to read, to do math, to understand the scientific method, or to think critically.  Because some races poll lower than the average in accomplishment, and some poll higher than the average, teachers and school boards around the country are dumbing down teaching and testing so that no one fails.  This allows the failures to feel good about themselves and angers the overachievers because they are being dumbed down, too.  They recognize they are being done no favors with a slack-off curriculum.  It is beyond infuriating that our once-proud public school system cannot now graduate competent people.  Many can't even read.  But they certainly graduate students who feel good about themselves, which is all that matters to the leftist educationistas.

Can America Survive as a Self-Governing People?  A series of tests by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), better known as the Nation's Report Card, show that fifty years of student academic progress have been wiped out.  Unless this is reversed, America as a free nation faces a grim future.  Test scores released this week for a sample of 8,700 13-year-olds showed that math scores had the largest drop ever since 1990, with reading scores about the same as those in the initial test in 1971.  In a survey on the exam, fewer students said they read for pleasure, an activity that correlates with stronger academic performance.  Absenteeism has doubled since 2020, and mental health issues were noted.  NAEP test results in 2022 for 9-year-olds also showed steep declines with a first-time drop in math since the initial 1973 test and the lowest reading scores since 1990.  NAEP results for eighth-graders released in May reported that only 13 percent were proficient in U.S. history, the fruit of a decline that began in 2014.  Civics scores saw the first ever drop, with only 22 percent of students proficient.

Biden's Education Department Tells Nation's Schools to Go Back to Race-Based Discipline.  The school year is over, but a new race-based missive from Washington will loom over teachers and students all summer.  Just before Memorial Day, federal education officials issued a "Dear Colleague" letter telling the nation's educators that the Biden administration is resurrecting a policy of investigating and coercing schools to adopt more lenient discipline policies.  This policy originated under President Barack Obama's administration but was rescinded in 2018 by a commission led by then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.  The Federal Commission on School Safety found that parents and local educators are better at deciding when a student's disruptive actions warrant suspension or expulsion than are quotas handed down from Washington.

Our Illiterate College Students.  How bad is America's education system?  Worse than you can possibly imagine. [...] It is depressing to contemplate the intellectual level of most of today's young people.  On the other hand, there is a bright spot:  fewer of them than before are going to college.  The decline in college enrollment continues, post-covid shutdowns.  Let's hope that trend continues, as it can only improve the intellectual capacities of our youth.

At High School Debates, Debate Is No Longer Allowed.  My four years on a high school debate team in Broward County, Florida, taught me to challenge ideas, question assumptions, and think outside the box.  It also helped me overcome a terrible childhood stutter.  And I wasn't half-bad:  I placed ninth my first time at the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) nationals, sixth at the Harvard national, and was runner-up at the Emory national.  After college, between 2017 and 2019, I coached a debate team at an underprivileged high school in Miami.  There, I witnessed the pillars of high school debate start to crumble.  Since then, the decline has continued, from a competition that rewards evidence and reasoning to one that punishes students for what they say and how they say it.

Moral and ethical confusion reign.  [A]ccording to a nationwide student survey recently conducted by Inside Higher Ed, college students are claiming that difficult course materials and exams, required attendance — and deadlines — are all acting as impediments to their college success.  Moreover, when asked what professors could do to "help them be more successful," a majority of young scholars responded that flexible deadlines would be helpful, while a large minority said flexible attendance and participation policies would be helpful, as well.  Students also wished professors would experiment with new teaching styles and discuss available wellness resources in class.  Yes, kids, you'd all be much better off with no time constraints, easy exams, and if-you-please attendance.  You'd be much readier for the real world, right?  Oh, you don't want to compete in the world-at-large?  You'd prefer a universal basic income (UBI) and cradle-to-grave care?  In that case, you aren't humans, you're cattle.

San Francisco may reverse math policy designed to improve equity after research showed it didn't work.  Back in 2014 the city adopted a new and supposedly more equitable approach to math.  The problem was that minority students were lagging white (and Asian) students in math.  Prior to 2014 students were sent on one of two tracks.  And advanced math track had students taking Algebra I in 8th grade while a slower track had other students waiting until the freshman year of high school to take that class.  It was a slight difference but it meant that some kids were getting to Calculus in their senior year, giving them a leg up when applying to college.  That was deemed inequitable.

Get Government Out of Education.  Our public education system is failing in its two most important functions:  giving children the basic academic skills they need in life, and fostering the common values that allow our country to continue as a civilized republic.  Students are underachieving at unprecedented levels.  Teachers are prohibited from teaching basic moral values, or covertly teaching values that are anathema to most Americans.  In Chicago, a recent study revealed that not a single student can read at their respective grade level in 30 district schools; in math no student is proficient in 53 schools.  In 23 Baltimore elementary schools, not one student was found to be proficient in math.  The problem is nationwide and the answer isn't money.  Some of the most expensive school districts in the nation, such as Chicago, and Baltimore, are some of the worst.  In addition to its academic failures, the public educational system has proved itself increasingly unable to promote the basic characteristics of good citizenship, and likely to undermine them.

The Impending Thermidor Reaction in Jacobin America.  Thousands of diversity, equity, and inclusion czars bloated administrations, broke university budgets, and terrified faculty and employees with their panopticon surveillance.  And yet did any of them result in a single better student reader, or at least one more accomplished university math major?  Have K-12 scores soared with DEI monitors on hand? [...] Merit is the great enemy of wokeness.  One day SAT tests were blind mechanisms to allow the less privileged to compete on the basis of talent rather than parentage.  The next day such tests were deemed counterrevolutionary, racist enemies of the people.  Universities boast of rejecting 60-70 percent of those who scored perfect on SATs, as if their excellence was proof of their "privilege."

Eighth-Graders Have Never Scored so Low in American History and Civics.  Education Department data released on Wednesday showed that test scores in U.S. history and civics for eighth graders fell to the lowest levels on record last year.  This is following data released last October that showed the lowest math test scores in history and a drop in reading skills that wiped out three decades of progress.  Way to go Randi Weingarten.  Last week, Weingarten testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and showed no remorse for keeping schools closed despite mountains of evidence proving that, with a few common sense precautions, the kids were safe.  Indeed, Florida reopened schools in August 2020 and despite some glitches, Gov. Ron DeSantis was proved right.  Schools were safe.  Weingarten made the hysterical prediction that "millions" would die after DeSantis reopened the schools.  Not only did Weingarten show no remorse, but she also tried to rewrite the entire history of her union's response to the pandemic by claiming it was always her union's first priority to reopen schools.

San Francisco's Algebra War.  Research shows that early access to algebra has resulted in more students taking advanced math coursework later in high school and increased academic achievement.  For example, taking algebra in sixth grade is a key reason why students from China and Singapore routinely outperform U.S. students in math and science.  Yet, the math policy of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), implemented in 2014, has taken students backward by delaying Algebra I until ninth grade.  The policy also requires all students, regardless of ability, to take the same course sequence until junior year, a process called "detracking."  Then, in eleventh grade, students can take a compressed Algebra II and Precalculus course.  The stated goal of this approach was to make access to advanced math courses equitable.

The Wages Of Woke Are Death.  Going woke means more than, as the saying says, going broke.  It also means the ultimate loss of life.  The grip of wokeness on our society will eventually kill Americans.  Let's begin with health care.  Medical school students, whose learning should be focused on the healing arts, are being taught social justice ideology.  Apparently, white supremacy, oppression, and structural racism must be addressed by America's doctors-to-be, as well as the sin of being white.  Diversity, equity, and inclusion studies are being required at some schools, which of course crowds out time used in the past to acquire the knowledge and develop the skills needed to be a good doctor.  Politics have no place in medical schools, but there they are.

How America's Obsession with DEI Is Sabotaging Our Medical Schools.  For better or worse, I have had a front-row seat to the meltdown of twenty-first-century medicine.  Many colleagues and I are alarmed at how the DEI agenda — which promotes people and policies based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation rather than merit — is undermining healthcare for all patients regardless of their status.  Five years ago I was associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, and prior to that, codirector of its highly regarded kidney division.  Around that time, Penn's vice dean for education started to advocate that we train medical students to be activists for "social justice."  The university also implemented a new "pipeline program," allowing ten students a year from HBCUs (historically black colleges or universities) to attend its med school after maintaining a 3.6 GPA but no other academic requirement, including not taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).

Medical Schools Look for Activists, Not Healers.  What qualities should medical schools look for in future doctors?  Probably academic excellence, experience in the medical sector, loyalty to medical ethics, and good interpersonal skills.  These are all characteristics that future doctors should have, but they're not what medical schools now emphasize.  Medical schools are looking for social justice zealots to advance the diversity, equity, and inclusion dogma. [...] Harvard asks applicants to share "an important aspect of [their] personal background or identity," and the school expressly suggests that applicants focus on "significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, identification with a minority culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity."  Although a rags-to-riches story is heartwarming, and a tale of two (or more) genders is trendy, whether a medical doctor aced anatomy and physiology ought to be more important.

If Only Our Tormentors Spoke Flyover.  Children across America get rounded up and sent to indoctrination camps called "public schools" that last thirteen or more years.  Those who show suitable promise to one day be obedient, faceless cogs in the ruling-class machine are encouraged to attend a four-year finishing school, during which time they receive a final round of intense "politically correct" brainwashing administered through a Pavlovian rewards system mixing celebrated groupthink with sexual experimentation, binge drinking, pharmaceutical dependence, and targeted rage.  Those who learn to repeat the right words and question nothing their government-corporate overlords tell them will find a stepladder of success leading to a life of bland mediocrity.

Can We Do Anything About America's Decline?  If SAT and ACT entrance tests are being abolished, then they could be rebooted as exit tests required for a bachelor's degree analogous to a bar exam.  With such minimum standards, we might ascertain what, if anything, students had learned upon graduation.  College graduates should be able to choose between an academic master's degree or the school of education credential to teach K-12.  Most would flee the latter option.

America's Decline Is Not Biden's Fault.  Not long ago, this writer was riding a subway train in New York City to keep a medical appointment. [...] I looked up and studied the advertising that lines subway cars above the windows.  I saw a series of posters posted by the City University of New York (CUNY) that told readers that "prestige is available to all."  The signs announced that 75% of students were debt-free.  Many schools and programs offered free Metrocards (cards used to pay subway and bus fares in NYC) and free textbooks.  The incentives for seeking so-called higher education were money and prestige.  Nothing about knowledge.  Nothing about love of learning.  Nothing about making a contribution to society.  Nothing about meeting challenges.  Nothing about personal growth.  Nothing about building a future for oneself and one's family.  The signs were the height of cynicism and degraded values.  The above signs of perversity and challenges to the moral order did not begin this year or last year.

A note from inside Gulag California.  Most California voters don't know how to think because most were never taught.  California public schools stamp out individuality and individual thought from day one.  They teach boys to be girls and girls to be boys.  They teach hard and fast segregation by race ("diversity"), equal outcomes for everyone despite the fact that that is an impossible goal given individual abilities ("equity"), and exclusion unless you fall in lockstep with the approved mantra ("inclusion").  Unless your child precisely follows the state-sponsored curricula and toes the line every step of the way, he will be shut down and shut up.  Creativity and free thinking are strictly not allowed.  Your child certainly won't learn to read or write or do arithmetic (it's racist, remember).  In fact, the California Department of Education celebrates that California students lost less ground than their peers in some other states.  How can any adult think losing less than someone else is something to celebrate? [...] Children from California public schools are by and large the people who keep California deep blue.  They show up at the polls and vote for candidates without knowing one single thing about them or giving one instant's thought to what that person will mean for them or their future.

Florida Middle School Teacher Arrested After Organizing Fight Club In Her Classroom Between Children.  A woman identified as a teacher at Griffin Middle School in Tallahassee is facing charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor for what court documents obtained by WCTV call an alleged role in organized fights in her classroom.  The documents note a School Resource Deputy was alerted on March 24 that students were being allowed to fight in 23-year-old Angel Footman' classroom.  School administrators were also shown videos purported to show several of the alleged fights taking place between March 22 and March 23.  According to the documents, several sixth-grade girls told detectives that they participated in planned fights during school hours, and they allege they were invited back for additional fights.  [Video clip]

Elon's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Battery Math.  In 2007, I interviewed Vaclav Smil by email.  I asked the Canadian polymath and prolific author a simple question: why are so many people so easily duped when it comes to discussions about energy and power?  He replied: "There has never been such a depth of scientific illiteracy and basic innumeracy as we see today.  Without any physical, chemical, and biological fundamentals, and with equally poor understanding of basic economic forces, it is no wonder that people will believe anything."

Why are IQs dropping?  One interesting clue is the fact that of the 4 domains of intelligence measured only 3 of the four have gone down, while the 4th — spacial reasoning — continued to rise.  Almost sounds like playing video games a lot dumbs down the verbal and logic abilities while increasing spatial reasoning.  That is my favorite explanation.  Schools, too, have stopped emphasizing logic and reading and gone deep into ideological propaganda.  The simplest conversation with a newly graduated student reveals their utter inability to reason coherently on almost any matter or use the English language as a sophisticated communication tool.  Hence the inability to define simple terms such as sex, or answer the question "what is a woman."  We know that exposure to sophisticated concepts and reading matter a lot, particularly at the early stages of brain development.  With the reduced emphasis on reading and logic skills and the enhanced ability to consume endless amounts of simple content — usually in very small bites — it wouldn't be surprising to see the ability of younger people to exercise more sophisticated abilities.

Ivy League University Dumps the Dean's List, and the Reason Is a Real Head-Scratcher.  If you're attending the University of Pennsylvania and [working] to score a 3.7 GPA, don't do it for the glory of school recognition.  The March 28th issue of the UPenn Almanac announces a dumping of the Dean's List. [...] Reportedly, there's a "shared belief that a Dean's List designation does not reflect the breadth and evolution of students' academic achievements over the course of their education at Penn."  That's an interesting explanation, since the point of the List has never been to "reflect the breath and evolution of students' academic achievements" across their college careers.  Its purpose, of course, is to acknowledge those who have worked hard during the semester at hand.

College Bound?  Beware of Indoctrinate U.  About the only possible good benefit of the Covid pandemic was the gradual wakeup call to parents that most of the academic institutions, teachers' unions and school boards did not have the best interests of their children at heart and were more concerned with political influence at the cost of their responsibility to provide basic educational tenets.  The most desired degrees were once sought from Ivy League universities but it's hard to recognize them given the ridiculous courses some of them now offer.  Most of them seem to be trendy rather than educational.

Final Grades.  [Scroll down]  Internet-induced ADHD eroded students' ability to follow a thought.  Students could barely read printed documents.  Their illiteracy was not caused by an inability to decode letters or words.  Rather, illiteracy was caused by the excruciating anxiety students experienced after reading more than a page.  The internet had trained their minds.  After reading just a paragraph, they craved a payoff, and they felt the need to turn their attention to something else.  They would never know the soul-deepening that could come from reading an entire novel, whether one agreed with the author's worldview or not.  Books that Prof. K. and her baby boomer age-peers had read, easily, in high school, university students could no longer decipher.  Students panted after the money shot, the quick take, the soundbite, the one-sentence answer.

Incompetence rewarded, throughout the U.S. government.  Perhaps the most pressing problem this nation faces is the incompetence of the Department of Education.  Despite the illusionary claim that the United States has the best educational system in the world it ranks 38th in math scores and 24th in science scores in the world.  In an age of technology this is a terrible statistic which threatens to make the United States a third world nation in the long run. [...] There is a more fundamental flaw in our educational system and it is promoting students based on age and not achievement and teaching to class sizes greater than 25.  Large class sizes means that slow, medium, and fast learners are pooled together.  Teaching to the average student means that slow learners learn very little and fast learners get bored out of their skulls.

New York state permanently lowers math and reading standards.  I guess this is one way to deal with public schools utterly failing to educate: just lower the standards for what counts as proficient.  New York state has decided to permanently lower the math and reading proficiency standards due to the dramatic fall in test scores since the COVID lockdowns destroyed children's educations.  A committee has reported that student performance has been permanently damaged and that lower competence has become "the new normal."

Pennsylvania district considers bringing 'feelings' into math curriculum.  Littlestown Area School District proposed an elementary math curriculum that could integrate social-emotional learning into its curriculum.  "This board needs to decide if they want to make social and emotional learning a part of our math curriculum.  I do not believe it belongs in the math classes," said board member Jeanne Ewen at a board meeting on February 13.  "Some of the questions inside the math workbook ask, 'Are you understanding how other people feel?'  What does this have to do with teaching math?" [...] "This is just re-packaged critical race theory is what this is," Board member Nicki Kenney said.

Are You Guilty of Child Abuse?  If you support a school system that won't teach children to read, do math, learn the simplest events in history, or understand the most ordinary facts about the world we live in, you're guilty of child abuse. [...] To flee from your guilt, you might try to deny the undeniable and believe the unbelievable — for example, that the Education Establishment cares about improving education.  That's funny because it doesn't care even a little.  For the people in that group, education is the enemy.  Evidently, they want dumbing down and mediocrity.  They have figured out that educated people are harder to control.  Why take a chance?  Surely, for them, less is more.  Is that difficult to accept?  Certainly no more difficult than news such as this:  in 23 high schools in West Baltimore in 2019, no graduating senior could pass the basic proficiency test in math or English.  That's crazy.

How is this an improvement?
Ivy League University Ditches Standardized Testing, Will Judge an Applicant's 'Background' and 'Voice'.  If you've lost sleep over whether you'll get into Columbia University due to your test scores, rest easy — those no longer matter.  Online Wednesday, the school made a major announcement:  It's permanently dropping standardized testing requirements for undergraduates.

'Sensitivity readers' are the latest form of affirmative action.  "Sensitivity readers" critique manuscripts searching for "insensitive, offensive, or archaic portrayals of minorities.  These readers are active members of that marginalized group."  No mention of whether they can be white and identify as a marginalized group member.  Also, no word on whether they need a comprehensive understanding of history or the types of books "they love to read."  Once a "sensitivity reader" has sifted through classics (we'll get to what classics are and why they're under scrutiny in a moment) they highlight their subjective opinions of what they deem to be " offensive content, misrepresentation, stereotypes, bias, lack of understanding, etc (etc. could mean anything) and create a report for an author and/or publisher outlining the problems that they find in a piece of work and offer solutions in how to fix [the problems]."  Then, plagiarists are given the green light to destroy classics.  What makes a book a classic?  Many children don't know.  New York public schools by and large don't even distribute physical books, they give the students printouts of inserts, so what they're reading is out of context and only a sliver of the story.  This says nothing about the books from which these printouts originate.

Delaware lowers passing score on bar exam in push for racial diversity: 'Not supposed to be a barrier'.  The Delaware Supreme Court lowered the passing score on the state's bar exam amid other changes reportedly intended to increase racial diversity among the state's lawyers.  The 200-question multiple-choice exam will be offered twice instead of once a year beginning in 2024 — and its passing score will be lowered from 145 to 143, according to local outlet WHYY.  The number of essays on the exam will be decreased from eight to four, and the number of essay topics will be reduced from 14 to 10.

Why 65 Percent of Fourth Graders Can't Really Read.  Many parents saw America's public education system crumble under the weight of the pandemic.  Stringent policies — including school closures that went on far too long, and ineffective Zoom school for kindergarteners — had devastating effects that we are only just beginning to understand.  But, as with so many problems during the pandemic, COVID didn't necessarily cause these structural breakdowns as much as it exposed just how broken the system was to begin with.  How broken?  Consider the shocking fact that 65 percent of American fourth-grade kids can barely read.

Don't Eliminate Standardized Testing for Teacher Candidates.  North Carolina is facing a teacher shortage.  The state is struggling to produce enough teachers for its K-12 schools and is currently relying heavily on substitute teachers to fill the gaps.  This in turn puts pressure on the state's colleges and universities to boost enrollment in education programs with the hope that graduates will stay and teach in North Carolina.  How can the state go about resolving this issue?  Some think that adjusting the teacher-licensure process is the solution.

School Boards Accelerate Race to the Bottom.  School board administrators in their mindless pursuit of "equity" have decided to eliminate honors English classes in a prestigious academic district where parents would be delighted to enroll their children: Santa Monica High School.  The sentiment behind the initiative was best summed up by Sarah Rodriguez, an English teacher at the high school.  She, and others involved in the 1½ year pursuit of the initiative, wanted to be "fair" to all students, and not make anyone feel left out or marginalized.  "This is not about labeling students or labeling classes," Rodriguez says.  "What we're doing is, we're saying this is a new paradigm." [...] It's a beautiful sentiment, but lacking in reality of what's going to happen to the bright and gifted students' opportunities for advanced education.  She failed to mention how the initiative would "meet" their needs in a dumbed-down curriculum.  Parents have made it clear to administrators that they view the "equity initiative" as another example of administrators being shortsighted, if not blinded, by the end results of their bad decisions.  "A race to the bottom," is now a popular term used by parents to describe this and other diversity programs contributing to the eroding academic standards in public schools.

The Perversion of Self Respect.  [K]ids today just don't get it.  They didn't learn how to earn their own money.  Kids never learned about money, credit, and responsibility because they were taught they were special and could get anything they wanted without real effort.  College recruiters state that many of their prospects don't have any long-term plans but are just looking forward to the college 'experience.'  Millennials and Gen-Zers frequently believe they could enter executive positions right out of school.  They have no understanding of how business works.  An incredible 43% of Millennials and 78% of the youngest, i.e., GenZers, plan to leave their jobs within the next two years.  Why?  Because they did not receive the recognition, they felt they deserved and/or craved.  Our youth need constant validation.  Such is learned behavior that parents, teachers, and society teach that self-esteem is not earned; it's a given.  When you devalue work, go to non-graded schools, or avoid tests that will validate your success or burst your bubble if you fail, I believe that someone is not ready to become a functioning adult.

American Students — Dumber and More Woke.  The anecdotal evidence from textbook reading levels, shortened college syllabi, scrapbook-like research assignments, proliferating college remedial classes, grade inflation, and the popularity of "gut" college majors such as Gender Studies, is indisputable.  We have also invested hundreds of millions in our schools yet test results such as the SAT are flat over the past half century.  Add the countless stories of illiteracy among high school "graduates" despite falling class size and expensive reforms.  Judged by the standards of evolution, Americans may be going backwards.  The best evidence of this decline are data from the highly respected General Social Survey on mean IQ by decade among graduate students, undergraduates, and high school students (a tip of the hat to Charles Murray on Twitter).  This is a complicated subject given how America's demography has altered, and measuring IQ via surveys might be iffy, but the numbers, even if a bit unsure, are alarming.

DEI Has Already Killed Public Education.  During the last few years, most conservatives have become at least dimly aware that leftist ideology, in the guise of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), has infected public education.  It's unlikely, however, that many Americans realize just how far the disease has advanced.  It has long since spread beyond a few courses embedded into the social studies curricula of secondary schools and elite colleges.  Public school students as young as 9 and 10 years of age effortlessly recite leftist shibboleths even as they descend into functional illiteracy in reading, writing, math, and science.  If this sounds like "right-wing extremism," consider this:  Last fall, hundreds of Philadelphia-area fourth- and fifth-grade students participated in an essay contest, sponsored by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, in which they were asked to outline proposals for a hypothetical new amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Their amendment proposals included abolishing the Electoral College, providing everyone with free health care, limiting gun possession to individuals who need them for military and hunting uses, guaranteeing a living wage to everyone, and imposing term limits on U.S. Supreme Court justices.  Sound familiar?

Elite Fairfax magnet school omitted honors designation from transcripts: Report.  Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, reportedly failed to include honors class designations on its transcripts, according to a parent activist organization.  The transcripts of over 2,000 students at the elite northern Virginia high school do not designate which classes were considered honors courses, according to the parent activist group Parents Defending Education.  Such classes are given an additional grade point weight of +0.5.

School System Failing And Is No Longer There to Educate, Says Teacher.  America's education system has failed, according to a teacher and charter school enthusiast.  And now parents search for new schools, surveys show.  "The goal of the education system today is no longer to educate.  It's to do everything but that," Dan Fisher told the Epoch Times.  Fisher teaches 10th grade at a high school whose name he declined to publicize.  Before that, he taught as a professor.  The classrooms he is in today let him see a system in collapse.  Tenth-graders can't read, most students don't want to participate, and teachers care more about woke indoctrination than addressing these issues, Fisher said.

The War on Competence.  Decades ago, the Left played the class-war game.  These days it's a war on competence and achievement, hiding beyond claims of racial and sexual equity.  In Virginia, we are to believe that on their own, high school administrators in seventeen schools decided not to inform those of their students who had scored high enough on their scholastic aptitude tests to be named National Merit semi-finalists.  Of course, it was not coincidental.  Two factors are involved: The spurious claim that schools can achieve the impossible — equal outcomes for all — a claim which must not be challenged by contrary facts; and prejudice against high-achieving students — most likely, given historical records, majority Asian and white.  Hugh Hewitt thinks this was a clear violation of the students' civil rights for which Faitfax County may end up paying heavy legal damages.  A Massachusetts congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley (who represents, inter alia, most of Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts), plainly revealed what is the basis for the war on intellectual achievement:  "IQ is a measure of whiteness."  It isn't, of course.  It's a combination of genetics (dare we say this?), home environment, including familial respect for achievement, personal interests and motivation, and to a certain extent, the caliber of the education received.

Progress Toward Terminal Dumbness.  When a young man of my acquaintance confessed to me, some time ago, that he didn't like to think, it shocked me to the core.  Was this dreadful handicap the result of having slid too far down the slope of dumbing down, by way of progressive education in the public schools?  Was it a bad case of chronic mental laziness?  Whatever the cause, the condition of his mind was tantamount to having had a lobotomy.  A "side effect" in either case is being docile and compliant. [...] The ability to think clearly was once an aim of public schooling.  The virtual abandonment of that goal via "progressive" education cannot be considered a form of "progress" assessed as improvement of intellect and character in each student.  But "Progressives" seem not to care for education that nourishes the mind.  They prefer education that brings about a public that is compliant with their agenda, even if this damages the students' ability to think and act according to their natural gifts and potentials.

Of course: Three high schools in Loudoun County also failed to notify students of their Merit Awards.  This scandal just keeps growing in Virginia and the administrators just keep saying it was all just a mistake.  It started last month when it was revealed that one of the top high schools in the country, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia had failed to notify students who were granted National Merit Award based on their PSAT scores.  Only the top 3% of students in the country get these awards and by not notifying students it's likely there weren't able to include this award on their college applications.

Elite University Department Bans Use Of Word 'Field,' Claiming It's Too Racist.  The University of Southern California (USC) Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work will no longer use the world "field" in its curriculum or its practices as part of its anti-racist framework, according to an email reportedly sent Monday.  The school reportedly stripped the word from use due to alleged ties to "anti-Black" and "anti-immigrant" rhetoric, according to the email sent by the Practicum Education Department to the campus community, faculty, staff and students.  The school informed that the word "practicum" would be used instead to "ensure [its] use of inclusive language and practice."  "This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that could be considered anti-Black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language," the email reportedly reads.  "Language can be powerful, and phrases such as 'going into the field' or 'field work' may have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign."

USC's School of Social Work bans the word "field".  The University of Southern California's School of Social Work recently put out a letter declaring it would no longer use the word "field" when referring to one's area of expertise, etc.  It will henceforth use the word "practicum" instead.  And we are all a little dumber.  And our language less clear.

The Editor says...
Pop quiz:  A permanent magnet is surrounded by a magnetic _______.  One hundred yards is the length of a football ________.  After a football team scores a touchdown, they have the opportunity to kick a ________ goal.  You may have to send a big generator off for repairs if excessive ________ current results hot spots in the ________ winding.  My doctor had to study the ________ of medicine for many years.  When I look through a telescope, I have a narrow ________ of view.  If you got at least three answers correct, you're a racist!

Diversity Through Obscurity: Applicants Told to Delete Names of Schools on their Resumes.  Colleges and universities have been implementing controversial new diversity reforms, including dropping standardized test scores, that eliminate objective criteria in academic admissions or advancement.  Now, HR&A Advisors, the TriBeCa-based real estate consultancy, has drawn attention to its LinkedIn posting asking applicants to to remove "all undergraduate and graduate school name references" from their résumés.  In order to achieve diversity goals, the company wants applicants to only list the degree and not where it came from.  It is equity through obscurity.  It is as irrational to eliminate any consideration of an academic institution as it is to rely exclusively on the academic institution.  The company insists that it is adopting this new policy as part of "ongoing work to build a hiring system that is free from bias and based on candidate merit and performance."  However, the identification of these institutions does reflect "merit and performance."  There can be vast differences in the academic rigor of academic institutions.  To only go by the degrees is manifestly illogical.

Rebellion Against the People.  It was not so long ago that competition was the breeding ground for excellence, now any mention of competition is hissed at with emotional tantrums by those who could not compete on any level and it's drawn the whole nation into an acceptance of failure.  One need look no further than the two institutions of importance, the schools and the military to see the end result.  The majority of our students cannot pass rudimentary tests in the critical studies, but they can emote.  Our military is so confused about its mission that it ranks success as acceptance of perversion rather than marksmanship.  The question thus arises, what is left to support?  What is there now that an American can devote oneself to that is not now decidedly un-American?

School hides National Merit awards for students to promote "equity".  Located in Fairfax County, Virginia, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology has long been ranked as one of the premiere high schools in the nation.  It's a "magnet" charter school that focuses on the sciences and STEM curricula.  But for several years now you wouldn't have guessed that based on the school's record of students receiving National Merit awards.  That's because none of the students reportedly received those honors.  Except that's not true at all.  The top students in the school did indeed receive National Merit awards, but two administrators at TJ have been withholding notifications of the awards from students.  They reportedly did this as part of their "equitable grading policy."  And the parents of students who were not credited with those achievements are seeing red.

The sciences are going to die.  Physics — all hard science — is about discovering the underlying reality.  If you grew up around scientists you quickly came to see that the weirdest human beings with bizarre quirks and even unpleasant personalities could thrive if they were exceptional scientists.  That world is for the most part gone.  In some ways to the good — good scientists got away with petty jealousies and even nastiness — but mostly to the bad.  Being a great scientist is simply not valued as much in the academic world.  As science became a corporate activity (and by this I mean more based upon collaborative teams, not specifically a business group) relying on grants, institutional support, and peer review it became less about excellence and knowledge and more about being a member of the club.  Now the club includes the DEI crowd, who rule over everything in our culture.

Orwellian Language and Democrat Doublethink.  Lake Superior State University has a year-end tradition of issuing its banished words and phrases list.  It usually misses some obvious candidates, like "democracy is on the ballot," and its perverse variations.  That sentiment encapsulates George Orwell's description of ugly and inaccurate political language to exert mind control.  Even more linguistic gobbledygook is emanating from Stanford University.  They spent 18 months to conjure a list of harmful words to ban from their websites and computer code. [...] Orwell noted that political language is fraught with deception and manipulation, and community activist Saul Alinsky wrote in his handbook Rules for Radicals that, "[H]e who controls the language controls the masses."

American, grandfather, brave and master: Words Stanford University includes in its index of 'harmful language' because they are 'ableist, sexist or racist'.  Stanford University has published an index of 'harmful language' that it wants to eliminate because the terms are 'ableist, ageist or racist' — including the word American — as it calls for US citizen to be used instead.  The University revealed the plan in May, and wants to remove the words from its IT systems and websites, with grandfather, brave and master are also on the list.  The Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative will also aim to educate people about the impact that 'racist, violent and biased' words have.

Bad Words: California Colleges Push Students To Purge 'Harmful' Phrases Like 'Brown Bag Lunch'.  If you've ever used the phrases "brown bag lunch" or "long time, no see," congratulations: You're a racist, according to Stanford University.  That's the judgment of the university's IT Department, which is rolling out its "Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative," an effort to purge "potentially harmful terms" from the university's websites.  The guide cautions that the phrase "blind study" is "ableist" and that saying "balls to the wall" inappropriately "attributes personality traits to anatomy."  Stanford isn't alone in its linguistic purge.  Down the coast, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo warns incoming students against saying "father and mother" or "boyfriend and girlfriend," according to a set of instruction slides for student orientation leaders obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.  Suggested alternatives to mother and father include "supporter," while the university prefers "partner, beloved or lover" to boyfriend and girlfriend.  Universities and other elite institutions have increasingly embraced "woke" language in a bid to appear progressive.

Welcome to Stanford Kindergarten.  Perhaps you've seen the story on the Wall Street Journal editorial page today (or in some other outlet where it is booming this morning) about Stanford University's "Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative," which reads like a parody of our idiotic woke university culture today.  But no — Stanford employed a task force that worked for months to advocate that no one on campus use the word "American" because "This term often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the Americas..."

Are We Living in a 'Post-Truth' Society?  The online Cambridge dictionary defines "post-truth" to mean "relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts." Given this definition, I personally believe much of the United States has transitioned to a "post-truth" society, and many of us will become casualties of this new paradigm before harsh reality steers our nation back to an "objective truth"-based decision-making. [...] What caused our society to reach this tipping point?  I believe that objective truth is dying from a thousand little cuts and these cuts are a purposeful strategy to destroy our society and groom a population so it can be manipulated through feelings.  I will mention a few below (I am sure the reader can come up with dozens more):
  •   Participation Trophies (avoid the trauma of losing and starve the intuition of how to win)
  •   Eliminate Traditional Roles (break down the nuclear family by eliminating mothers and fathers, the distinction between men and women)
  •   Changing Definitions of Words (causing words to have no objective meaning, crippling our ability to communicate with each other rationally)
  •   Toxic Masculinity (discourage boys from becoming men who know how to manage the risks needed to provide for and protect a family)
  •   Teach children how to avoid trauma with trigger warnings and safe spaces (teaches children to avoid facts and data that would promote rational thought leading to objective truth and an informed intuition)
  •   Censor Speech (so that "my truth" will not be confronted by "the truth")
All these assaults on the truth are carefully planned and promoted by those who want to tear down our country to replace it with a new paradigm.

Teacher refuses to teach grammar, claiming it is part of white supremacy.  A teacher in California who identifies as "cringey" is going viral after claiming she does not teach grammar usage and writing skills in an attempt to defeat white supremacy.  Marta Shaffer teaches English at Oroville High School and uses linguistics to fight "white supremacy in my classes" and be "inclusive of all kinds of ways we use the language," she said.  The expectation that students should use syntax and proper grammar is based in a deep-rooted white supremacy culture, she argues, according to a report.  "I try to undermine that [stuff] in my classroom as much as I can," she said.  "We study linguistics and the rules that we actually use to communicate instead of the made-up rules that white supremacy created for when we write papers and stuff, which is what scholars call the 'language of power.'"

The Editor says...
Ignoring the teacher's clumsy and pedestrian syntax, it is an error to rail against "made-up rules."  All rules are "made up," usually by experts, and most language usage rules were originated centuries ago.

If You Have Not Been Taught to Think for Yourself, Then Disinformation is Scary.  There needs to be an open venue for all information.  Unfortunately, when we begin to apply labels or categorization to information, there's an opportunity for information to be manipulated — even weaponized.  Saul Alinsky spent decades pondering the best techniques to weaponize information and speech.  Alinsky's intentions in the endeavor to change society by changing how language and information was used were not good.  He devoted his completed rulebook book to Lucifer.  Be careful about anyone saying we need to label or categorize information in order to control or remove speech from the discussion.  You were not born with a requirement to believe everything you are told; rather, you were born with a God-given brain that allows you to process the information you receive and make independent decisions.

From a Time When Communism Was Taught Right.  When I was a senior in high school, I was required to take and pass a government class as a condition to graduate.  My teacher was a retired Illinois state trooper.  Naturally, my teacher had certain opinions about the criminal justice system and the courts.  My teacher was not a big fan of the Miranda decision.  His issue was not against informing a suspect about his rights; it was more about how the landmark decision was used to invalidate many good arrests on picayune issues.  He complained that career criminals, especially murderers, would have their charges dropped by weak judges for matters not related to the arrest.  With this particular teacher, things were black and white, either right or wrong.  There was no middle ground.  I think that because of his law enforcement background, he was also very anti-communist.  He spent minimal time on the U.S. and Illinois Constitution, but we painstakingly labored over the Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and The Gulag Archipelago.  We spent several weeks reading and discussing summaries he passed out in class.  The final exam was even more intense. [...] Fast-forward to today.  First, I doubt that any teacher would have the courage or even be allowed to teach that material.  Instead, educators today like to highlight the merits of communism in Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and especially China.

Are You Freer than You Were Two Years Ago?  Children in the 1950s recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, took part in schoolyard flag-raising, learned the evil of communism, respected their parents, were not exposed to inappropriate material in school or at home, attended church with their (two) parents, worked chores and odd jobs, and idolized their nation's Founders.  In sum, they grew up in an atmosphere of order and respect, and they were happier and healthier for it.  Freedom means the condition of acting and thinking on one's own, without restriction or regimentation, but if the polls are any indication, a large percentage of Americans now have little idea of what freedom entails.  Otherwise, they would not elect governors and representatives intent on expanding the size and power of government.

The Voting Morons.  [Scroll down] How did it get this way?  In truth, the term "morons" isn't strictly accurate.  Many — even most — of these people are of average intelligence, and should be able to figure their way out of a rat maze with little problem.  The difficulty arises due to the fact that they have been relentlessly dumbed down for the better part of a century by an utterly corrupt educational system backed by bureaucrats and pols acting in full approval of the process.  This started with the progressive reformer John Dewey, probably the most influential educator on record.  Starting at the turn of the 20th century, Dewey set about to remake the entire educational system, at that point largely consisting of small, decentralized schools staffed by graduates of normal colleges.  It's possible to access the curricula for those 19th-century prairie schools.  Younger children were introduced to Greek and Latin, in the later grades joined by a modern language, were introduced to geometry and algebra early, with calculus for the older children.  Literature was taught by accessing the highest canonical works.  In other words, grade-school children were easily mastering topics that most college postgraduate students today would find impossible.  With Dewey, all this went by the board.  Along with such trends as experiential learning and hands-on education, Dewey believed that the needs of society were paramount.  According to his educational theories, students were destined for utilitarian service in an industrial society.  They didn't need all that fustian stuff — Socrates, Cicero, Shakespeare...  Instead, they would learn exactly what they needed to know to be a low-class industrial worker, and no more.

American Bar Association Scraps LSAT and standardized admissions tests after woke law schools claimed they hurt diversity.  The American Bar Association voted to drop the LSAT and other standardized tests as requirements for law school admissions.  An ABA panel made its decision on Friday after noon after a committee recommended the testing requirements be scrapped because they hurt diversity in admissions.  The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, estimates a prospective students reasoning and reading comprehension, and it serves as a predictor on how they will fair in classes.

Grades of attractive women fell after classes moved online.  Work by Swedish researchers suggests that the grades of attractive female students are boosted by a "beauty premium" which they lost when classes moved online during lockdown, while the grades of attractive male students were unaffected.  In a research paper titled 'Student beauty and grades under in-person and remote teaching', Adrian Mehic of Lund University examined "the role of student facial attractiveness on academic outcomes under various forms of instruction" by having a "jury" of 74 people rate the looks of 307 engineering students from 1 (extremely unattractive) to 10 (extremely attractive).  Mehic found that there did indeed appear to be a so-called "beauty premium" for attractive students, with both males and females receiving higher grades "in courses with significant teacher-student interaction" — at least, when education was in-person.

St. Paul teacher on student behavior: 'I've never seen it so bad'.  Bruce Ringaman has been a teacher in the St. Paul school district for 25 years.  He told Alpha News he has never seen student behavior this bad.  [Video clip]  "Any kid who would have threatened the teacher would have been out that day, no questions asked," he said, reflecting on the past.  After walking off the job weeks ago at Washington Technology Magnet School, Ringaman described a toxic environment, absent of any real consequences for kids who cause trouble.  He's been an eighth-grade math teacher at the school for the last five years.

High School Test Scores Are Plummeting, and It's Not Just Because of the Pandemic.  The numbers are as shocking as they are undeniable: American high school students are more ignorant and ill-equipped than they have been in decades or more; in fact, it's likely that their abilities are at their lowest level ever.  The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that "average scores on the ACT [American College Testing] college admissions test dropped to their lowest in 30 years, revealing more evidence of the pandemic's alarming impact on American education."  But it's not just the pandemic.  This is the result of the wokeification of the American public school system.  Far too many teachers are spending their time filling their students' heads with trans and Critical Race Theory nonsense instead of giving them an education.  It's dereliction of duty on a grand scale.

At a Chicago city college, you can get an associate's degree in cannabis studies.  Illinois is one of 19 states, along with DC, that have legalized marijuana (with more to come).  Ostensibly, legalization recognized that so many Americans use recreational marijuana that it's normalized and, therefore, ridiculous to continue to criminalize it.  In reality, legalized marijuana is about money, big, big money.  Olive-Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago is now offering an "associate degree in cannabis studies" that openly acknowledges that fact while ignoring the problems with legalized pot.  When Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014, the profits for the state were instant.  By 2019, just five years into legalization, there were more than $6 billion in total sales and the state had received more than $1 billion in revenue.  How could other states ignore it?  When California legalized marijuana, it expected that the 25% tax would soon fill its coffers and it was right.  By spring 2022, the state had raked in $4 billion, which means that legalized marijuana sales were in excess of $12 billion.  Other states have done the same, including Illinois.

NYU chemistry professor fired when students complain the course is too hard.  A New York University professor has been fired after students circulated a petition blaming the academic for their poor test scores.  Recognized as one of NYU's coolest teachers, Maitland Jones, Jr., 84, was accused by 82 of his 350 students of intentionally making organic chemistry coursework too hard and the university severed his contract in response.  "We are very concerned about our scores, and find that they are not an accurate reflection of the time and effort put into this class," the petition said, as reported by the New York Times.  "We urge you to realize that a class with such a high percentage of withdrawals and low grades has failed to make students' learning and well-being a priority and reflects poorly on the chemistry department as well as the institution as a whole."

Fairfax schools implemented 'equity grading' to fight 'bias'.  Officials with Virginia's Fairfax County Public Schools have taken steps to implement so-called "equitable grading" at Langley High School and other schools across the district in a bid to fight "institutional bias," according to internal FCPS communications.  The district's emails, obtained by local parents through a Freedom of Information Act request and exclusively shared with the Washington Examiner, detail efforts by high school principals across the district, especially officials at Langley High School in recent months, to adopt "equitable grading" practices, including by using federal coronavirus relief funds to purchase a book for a teacher summer reading club titled Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms.  The district and Langley administrators also denied the efforts were ongoing when a parent inquired.

Unpacking the deadly discipline problem in public schools.  To put it bluntly, many school systems are afraid of being sued, and many teachers are afraid of losing their job.  As stated before, parents will vehemently fight discipline action against their child and are very quick to threaten lawsuits.  Teachers are afraid of being called a racist, being accused of sexual harassment, being charged with assault, or just receiving a letter in their file because some action was deemed inappropriate.  Imagine the safety issues when a fight breaks out in a public school.  Since some male students are much bigger and stronger than some teachers, it would clearly take physical force and multiple teachers to break up a fight.  What happens if one of the students is injured as teachers are trying to stop the fight?  Well, you probably already know the answer to that.  This issue is compounded if two female students are involved in a fight.  Some may think a fight between female students is easier to handle, but trust me:  this is not the case.

The Science of Illiteracy.  The problem is that the left in our country forced phonics into oblivion starting in 1931.  So what was going on for those 90 years from 1931 to now?  A titanic and quite stupid con, that's what.  Basically, the professors of education at Harvard and such places identified and codified the things that work — and then (this is my summary) they made sure that none of those things are allowed in the schools.  Only methods known not to work are praised in our classrooms.  The simplest, most appropriate name for this approach is the Science of Illiteracy.  Sometimes the impression is given that these professors drifted around from one method to another.  That's actually not true.  They have only one method — but it has many names (such as sight-words and Whole Word) — and they are content to hide inside the confusion they create.  Reading consists of learning two things:  letters and sounds.  If you're not focusing on letters and sounds, you don't have phonetic instruction of a phonetic language.

Poster children for the Greenie movement try to air up tires with propane.  The goofs trying to use flammable gas to inflate their tires are not an anomaly, they're simply one more symptom in the very cancer of stupidity and ignorance which is risking the very survival of America as we remember it.

How US Universities Are Watering Down Standards In The Name Of 'Diversity'.  Higher education institutions have implemented diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to vet students and faculty rather than evaluating them on their merits.  Universities have included different DEI initiatives including axing standardized test requirements, mandating DEI statements in applications and curriculum requirements.  The initiatives aim to raise diversity and social justice awareness, considering mainly the promotion of understanding and consciousness of DEI. [...] Several universities require some sort of DEI statement outlining applicants' competencies of diversity; applicants to the University of Tennessee are required to submit a diversity statement, which they are judged on, telling how they will help contribute to diversity and inclusion at the school.

A Leaking Ship of Fools.  Our schools certainly haven't made being grown up, accepting responsibility, and working hard a part of their sub-curriculum.  We have failed to clearly understand the difference between educating our children and indoctrinating them.  The average high school graduate may not be able to read (in my state only 60% can), but they seem to know how oppressed they are.  They're angry, but don't really know why.  They don't know how their government works, or how the country was started, or what we've accomplished.  They're sure there's no such thing as truth.  But they hate rich people, white people, the police, and the military.  I haven't been in the public schools for 15 years, but even back then, nothing shocked my students more than to discover that I was conservative.  Teachers were never conservative.  We need to shake loose our mental cobwebs and relearn the difference between actual teaching and proselytizing or no one in this country will be able to think.  Case in point — we no longer have a clear idea of the difference between winning and losing.  We give out trophies for everything.

The Best Way to Make Sure Children Fail.  [Scroll down] This philosophy of not letting a child fail aligns with what is called a "standards-based" grading system.  In this system, there is no accountability for missed assignments or poor tests grades.  Students are simply able to turn in the assignments when they get around to it and redo tests for a better grade.  This practice destroys any hope of teaching responsibility and accountability in the classroom.  This "new" grading system is nothing more than a sleight-of-hand by repackaging failure avoidance to justify the delusional dream of a world where no one is accountable and everyone is a winner.  When the realization of failure eventually hits this generation like a ton of bricks, who will be there to pick up the pieces?

Nearly 1 In 4 Democratic Voters Believe Men Can Get Pregnant: Poll.  Nearly one in four Democratic voters believe men can get pregnant, according to a new poll.  The online survey, conducted by WPA Intelligence from August 22-25, found 22% of Democrats agreed with the statement, "Some men can get pregnant."  The percentage rose when only including women, and a whopping 36% of white, college-educated female Democrats concurred.  "Overall, few Americans think men can get pregnant," said WPAi Managing Director Conor Maguire.  "But with 36% of a core Democratic constituency (college-educated white Democratic women) and one out of five Democrat voters believing this, one can see why Democratic leaders coddle the radical gender theory movement."

Getting '(Un)Hooked on Phonics' Didn't Work for Oakland.  Phonics has been an important part of teaching kids how to read for generations.  Even with the increased emphasis on "sight words" and other factors like context cues, young children discover the sounds that letters make and use what they've learned to "sound out" words.  "Plenty of evidence shows that children who receive systematic phonics instruction learn to read better and more rapidly than kids who don't," writes Emily Sohn at Science News.  Phonics is a key component of a balanced approach to teaching kids how to read.  But not too long ago, the reliably left-leaning Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) decided that phonics wasn't the way to go.  Like all things tried-and-true, the hip, modern educators at the OUSD decided to throw out what worked and replaced it with something more multicultural.

A NYC school diploma isn't worth the paper it's written on.  [Scroll down]  Today, there's no better term than "Potemkin schools" to describe how educrats run public education in New York City.  Recently, teachers at William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens complained that administrators forced them to pass failing students.  Last year, a long-stalled investigation revealed that Maspeth High School in Queens repeatedly faked passing grades.  In 2020, at Brooklyn's Cobble Hill High School where more than 70% of the students were failing, the principal was secretly recorded instructing teachers to just pass kids.  This happens not just at isolated failing schools; data on middle schools show widespread grade fraud in New York City public schools, and the worst often occur in predominantly black communities.  One such school is the Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem, where in 8th grade, 95% of students failed Math proficiency according to New York State standardized testing, but the school passed 93.9% of them in that subject.  The founder and former head of the Eagle Academy network, David Banks, is now Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.

A Nation of Fools.  The average 12-year-old student at a yeshiva has more wisdom than almost any student at Harvard or most other universities.  This is probably true for many 12-year-olds in traditional Christian schools as well.  College students do have more knowledge than almost any 12-year-old in religious school.  But they have much less wisdom.  I know this because I was a yeshiva student from the age of 5 until 19.  To appreciate how much wisdom I was taught is to appreciate the root of our society's present crisis:  Secular life doesn't teach wisdom (nor, it should be noted, do many schools that call themselves "Christian" or "Jewish").  Generations of Americans have not been taught wisdom; instead, they have been told that it is sufficient to rely on their feelings to understand life and to determine right from wrong.

The Purposeful Degradation of America's Schools.  In the wake of school shutdowns, distance learning, and widely publicized school board battles, two trends have become increasingly difficult to conceal.  The first is the failure of many of America's primary and secondary schools to educate children competently — a failure marked by distressingly low levels of student proficiency and widening achievement gaps in core subjects like math and reading.  The second is the growing prominence of radical ideology in the nation's K-12 classrooms.  Equally disturbing is evidence that these trends are largely correlated and that an iron triangle of self-interested actors is contributing to their acceleration in school districts across the country — even those esteemed for high achievement.

False Values Proliferate in Higher Ed.  Riding the New York City subway this afternoon, this deplorable saw a sign advertising the new City University of New York (CUNY) ASAP program. [...] These are giveaway programs to incentivize more students to go to college and stay in college and to participate in the leeching mindset that has attacked our culture. [...] Before even looking at the list of some of the benefits being offered, it should be asked if financial dependency is consistent with the goal of intellectual and professional independency that inherently has a claim on college graduates?  Thus, one of the benefits listed by CUNY is "a dedicated advisor to guide your progress from entry to graduation."  To what extent will a student who has had this so-called "dedicated advisor" be able to function competently once they graduate as a teacher, nurse, computer adept, radiology technician, etc.?

Baltimore Changes Grades of 12,000 Failing Students to Graduate Them.  A new report has shown that the city of Baltimore, Md. changed the grades of 12,000 failing students in order to graduate them despite the students not meeting the requirements to move forward.  The Maryland Inspector General for Education Richard Henry found that a "culture of fear and a veil of secrecy" prevented Baltimore school officials from "speaking freely about misconduct" in his report released on June 8. Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) had previously denied any "widespread, systemic abuse or improper activity" when the grade inflation was exposed by local news.  However, Henry's report found that mass grade changes occurred by BCPS between 2016-2020. This is only for high school, as BCPS' data of grade 2-8 students is kept hidden.

To Fight Marxist Education, We Need a New Kind of School.  To say the teaching profession has suffered a radical transformation the last four decades is an understatement.  Gone are the days of teachers dressed in business attire being addressed with a "sir" or "ma'am" from mostly respectful students.  Gone are the days when the teacher was always right, and parents routinely took their side.  Gone are the days when education was valued as a privilege to be earned.  Gone are the days when it was once unthinkable to pass failing students from grade to grade.  Gone are the days when prayer in school was considered not only acceptable, but also crucial for ensuring that steady moral and spiritual advancement beyond the attainment of raw knowledge fortified each student's academic journey.  Now most schools have become big daycare centers where teachers have traded sports coats, ties, and dresses for the comfort of gym clothes, and curricula have traded rudimentary knowledge for "woke" pablum.  Meaningless enrollments produce meaningless degrees conferred as meaningless "achievements."

Skirt Requirement for Schoolgirls Violates Constitution, Appeals Court Rules.  A North Carolina charter school with a female principal and vice principal is violating the Constitution because it requires girls to wear skirts, a federal appeals court has declared.  The full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that mandated the removal of war memorial crosses in five states, said Tuesday that the Charter Day School's skirt requirement for girls is rooted in unconstitutional gender stereotypes.  It is the first time a federal appeals court has said charter schools may be sued for civil rights claims, and will almost assuredly be followed by lawsuits involving sports, bathroom access, and transgender rights.  "The skirts requirement blatantly perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes as part of the public education provided to North Carolina's young residents," the majority opinion said.

The Editor says...
If you don't like the dress code, go to school somewhere else.

The Knowledge Killers.  [Scroll down]  How did it become likely that ordinary children would never learn even the simplest stuff?  What's the Spring equinox?  What is water made of?  How is that possible that shysters could kill not just the simple stuff, but the fascinating stuff as well?  All of it gone — the fun of geography, the drama of history, the achievements of ancient architecture and engineering, the lurid surprises contained in the word biology, the intellectual explosions that occurred in the Renaissance, the tsunami of creativity that has enriched human civilization, and the onslaught of technology that has improved almost everyone's life.  Our students are taught not to be aware of how lucky they are.  The Knowledge Killers take the killer attitude that children don't need to learn anything from the past.  Nobody knows any of it anymore, so why bother?  That's what the Education Establishment is good at.  Smugly stripping away everything that used to constitute an education.  Gone.

Flag Day fades from public schools amid culture wars.  Maybe, with all the focus on exposing students to hot-button cultural issues, there's just no room in the modern American classroom for lessons on Flag Day, the annual celebration of the history of the Stars and Stripes.  A study says more than 30% of children don't know the American flag has 50 stars representing the nation's 50 states.  The survey, released by the homework learning platform Brainly ahead of the holiday Tuesday, also finds that 53.2% of middle and high school students do not discuss Flag Day in their schools.  Still, more than 35% want to learn about it.

Barren sloganeering for graduation day.  My advice to graduates would be to fit comfortably and profitably into this marvelous temporal gift of life we've been given.  However, on Graduation Day the tedious amongst us blow up cartoon balloons that say "Go out there and change the world."  These seven words are a literary Rube Goldberg contraption of Kamala Harris proportions; phrases that sound contemplative but in fact are empty of purpose and meaning.  And it just seems like the worst thing to say to a child of 18.  People who think unproductive thoughts want to change the world.  Intellectually insecure Presidents want to change the world.  Journalists of slender and myopic vision want to change the world.  Would-be SCOTUS assassins want to change the world.  Everybody wants to change the world.

Chicago public school announces automatic higher grades for black students — even if they skip school and fail to turn in assignments.  Oak Park-River Forest High School in Chicago apparently believes that black students are dumber than white students and must be given special grading privileges.  Part of the school's new "equitable" grading system includes giving students with dark skin — meaning non-whites — automatic higher grades because they cannot perform to the same academic standards as light-skinned students.  A similar thing occurred in San Diego several years back.  Entitled "Transformative Education Professional Development & Grading," the plan was presented at a May 26 meeting presented by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Laurie Fiorenza.  "[The plan] calls for what OPRF leaders describe as 'competency-based grading, eliminating zeros from the grade book ... encouraging and rewarding growth over time,'" reports explained.  "Teachers are being instructed how to measure student 'growth' while keeping the school leaders' political ideology in mind."

An Illinois high school embraces racism that would make old Jim Crow proud.  One of the most cherished beliefs of the old-time racists, the ones who supported slavery or, when slavery ended, instituted and enforced the Jim Crow laws, was that the darker the skin, the more stupid the person.  They were even able to provide "evidence" to support this theory by depriving minorities of access to education so that the racists could later use their lack of education as evidence of their "stupidity."  That was then.  Now, Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF), in Oak Park, Illinois, has announced that the darker you are, the less the school will expect of you academically.  Jim Crow would be proud.

Chicago High School to Implement Race-Based Grading System.  A high school in a Chicago is implementing a race-based grading system "to adjust classroom grading scales to account for skin color or ethnicity of its students."  The move is necessary, advocates say, because "traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities," a slide used in a presentation said.  Students, depending on their race, will not be held accountable for missing class, misbehaving in school, or for failing to turn in assignments.

Chicago High School to Implement Race-Based Grading System to 'Equalize Test Scores Among Racial Groups'.  The standardized testing company ACT earlier this month released a report documenting how endless grade inflation in American high schools could soon lead to every student being handed a 4.0.  "Comparing ACT test takers' race/ethnicity, we found that inflation appears to be greater for Black students than for students who are Hispanic, White, or from other racial/ethnic groups," ACT reported.  "HSGPA is a highly unstandardized measure of achievement because it incorporates not only content mastery or performance on an assessment but also many other factors including effort, participation, and educators' personal impressions," ACT said.

OPRF to implement race-based grading system in 2022-23 school year.  Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students.  School board members discussed the plan called "Transformative Education Professional Development & Grading" at a meeting on May 26, presented by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Laurie Fiorenza.  In an effort to equalize test scores among racial groups, OPRF will order its teachers to exclude from their grading assessments variables it says disproportionally hurt the grades of black students.  They can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments, according to the plan.

The word no one mentions when discussing school shootings.  [Scroll down]  No one asks the central question; why are kids shooting up schools?  Schools are the target.  Schools are the objective.  Schools are the focal point.  What are schools doing that makes them so hated?  You can go to any website and see the open and growing craziness within the teaching profession.  There are too many cotton-candy haired narcissists who only preach a cause to their captive audience.  They might preach about homosexuality.  They might preach about Critical Race Theory.  But it's all about their personal cause.  These spokesmen for the Cause are creepy because the Cause trumps all other knowledge.  Look for reading scores on the bottom shelf, just below basic math.  Narcissists' teaching budding narcissists' is not a healthy diet for the soul of our country.  Even the books students read are self-centered, crafted so that the reader "can relate" to the subject.  So they learn not to relate to others.

We Aren't Raising Adults.  We Are Breeding Very Excellent Sheep.  I taught English at Yale University for ten years.  I had some vivid, idiosyncratic students — people who went on to write novels, devote themselves to their church, or just wander the world for a few years.  But mostly I taught what one of them herself called "excellent sheep."  These students were excellent, technically speaking.  They were smart, focused, and ferociously hard-working.  But they were also sheep: stunted in their sense of purpose, waiting meekly for direction, frequently anxious and lost.  I was so struck by this — that our "best and brightest" students are so often as helpless as children — that I wrote a book about it.  It came out in 2014, not long before my former colleague Nicholas Christakis was surrounded and browbeaten by a crowd of undergraduates for failing to make them feel coddled and safe — an early indication of the rise of what we now call wokeness.

D.C. Public Schools Spent $31,843 Per Pupil; But D.C. 8th Graders Had Lowest Math and Reading Scores in Nation.  The public schools in Washington.  D.C., spent a total of $31,843 per pupil in fiscal year 2020, according to a newly released report from the National Center for Education Statistics.  Meanwhile, the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered in 2019 showed that only 23 percent of the eight graders in D.C. public schools were proficient or better in reading and only 23 percent were proficient or better in mathematics.  The average reading test score for D.C. eighth graders was lower than the average for eighth graders in any of the 50 states.  The average math score for D.C. eighth graders tied with the averages for eighth graders in Alaska and New Mexico for lowest in the nation.

Rhode Island parents enraged at school board for removing honors classes in 'equity obsession'.  Barrington, Rhode Island, public schools are among the best in the state.  Many parents move to the district, and tolerate the higher taxes, because of the academic rigor that sets their children up for attending Ivy League schools or receiving academic merit scholarships.  However, all of that academic appeal is being chipped away after the district brought in a so-called "equity and inclusion" agenda.  De-leveling, or a system of universal learning, was first implemented in Barrington on the most vulnerable students — the students with learning disabilities and Individualized Education Programs (IEP).  In February 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school removed some conceptual classes.  On the whole, parents of children in those classes were reluctant to speak out because they ran the risk of "outing" their child as having a disability or needing special accommodation.  A mom whose daughter has an IEP and attended the removed conceptual classes said that de-leveling has caused her daughter's grades to decline.

English Teachers' Org. Suggests an End to Reading and Writing.  The National Council of Teachers of English published a statement explaining they believe it is time to "decenter" reading and writing, the Daily Wire reported.  Now, instead of studying literature and learning to write essays, English classes will focus on "digital media and popular culture."  "Students should examine how digital media and popular culture are completely intermingled with language, literature and writing," the statement read.  "The time has come to decenter book reading and essay writing as the pinnacles of English language arts education."  The statement also asserted that this is a necessary position to "address inequalities" regarding digital technology.

The Editor says...
Apparently the classrooms will be dumbed down to the level of the most poorly-epuipped and least intelligent students, in the interest of fairness and equal outcomes.

Rhode Island High School Cancels Honors Classes Because Only Whites Qualified To Take Them.  In the highest-performing school district in Rhode Island, parents are in a tizzy over eliminating honors classes, arguing that it hurts students who are exceptional as well as those struggling to master the material.  Embedded in the controversy is a deeper complaint that school officials have not done a good job explaining their rationale for combining three levels of instruction into one in core subjects and, as of Friday, eliminating the honors designation in English and social studies.  [Video clip]

Florida Becomes the Largest State to Mandate a Financial Literacy Course for Graduation.  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants his state's high school students to be prepared to succeed in the world no matter what career path they choose to follow.  And one requirement for success in a capitalist society like America is the ability to understand money.  To that end, Florida will now mandate that all students be required to take a financial literacy course "to learn the basics of money management, understanding debt, understanding how to balance a checkbook, understanding the fundamentals of investing," DeSantis said at a press conference on Wednesday [3/23/2022].

Largest university system in US eliminates standardized testing requirement.  The largest four-year university system in the United States has removed SAT and ACT scores from its application requirements, marking a significant shift in the national discussion to eliminate standardized testing from admissions decisions.  Removing the requirement will "level the playing field" for all students, acting Chancellor Steve Relyea argued after the California State University's Board of Trustees unanimously voted Wednesday to scrap standardized testing.  The move will diversify the school system's student body by removing obstacles that often hinder some prospective students from applying, the board said.

New Poll on the Supreme Court Confirms Americans Are Absolute Dummies.  With a Senate hearing underway to consider confirming a new justice, that national treasure C-SPAN has commissioned another one of its timely polls on the Supreme Court. [...] Here's a sampling of the results from 1,011 Likely Voters, many of whom shouldn't be allowed to:
  •   44 percent of the voters don't know that the three branches of government are co-equal.
  •   Of the 44 percent who believe the branches are not equal, half (51 percent) think the Executive has the most power, a quarter (26 percent) believe the Legislative has the most clout, and an ignorant 23 percent think it's the Judiciary.
  •   Nearly half (46 percent) say the Supreme Court is a partisan institution.
  •   61 percent claim they are closely following Joe Biden's Court nominee.
  •   However, 72 percent of those same voters are lying.  They have no idea who the nominee is up for the confirmation.
  •   Also, fully 85 percent are unaware that the nominee is a black female judge.  Which means Joe Biden might not reap quite as much political credit as he figured when he simply ruled out all other kinds, colors, and genders of Americans in his secretive selection process.
  •   58 percent of the voters think this Senate confirmation process is not an "effective and fair tool" for approving Court nominees or they have no idea about it.

Parents slam woke Colorado school district's decision to AX valedictorians after bosses declared 'learning is not a competition'.  A Colorado school district has infuriated parents after announcing plans to ax valedictorian prizes in what they have branded the latest 'equity'-obsessed focus on mediocrity over excellence.  'The practices of class rank and valedictorian status are outdated and inconsistent with what we know and believe of our students,' Cherry Creek School District staffers said in a statement to families last Monday declaring the change.  'We believe all students can learn at high levels, and learning is not a competition,' the letter, first reported by KDVR, asserted.  According to the letter, instead of the highest-ranking student delivering a farewell address at graduation — a stalwart tradition at US and Western schools and universities — schools will acknowledge academic achievements 'through various other ways.'

Why Can Children No Longer Hold Their Pencils Correctly?  In recent years, a number of parents and grandparents have discovered an alarming trend:  children no longer know how to write in cursive.  Such a discovery led to a considerable backlash against programs such as Common Core, which many viewed as the culprit squeezing out cursive instruction.  Thanks to increased attention on the subject, many states have implemented laws mandating that cursive be taught in school.  But what happens when children begin to learn cursive and can't hold their pencil properly?  Amazingly, this is the growing reality in a number of countries.

High School Student Thinks MLK Freed The Slaves.  A newly circulated video from a high school walkout has Twitter users shaking their heads in disappointment.  [Video clip]

Bill Gates funnels $1 million to push 'math is racist' narrative.  With a $1 million check from the Gates Foundation, leading universities and local governments are building an effort to bring "anti-racism" efforts to mathematics.  A Pathway to Equitable Instruction exists to address "barriers to math equity" by offering "guidance and resources for educators to use now as they plan their curriculum, while also offering opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice."

Bill Gates Writes a Giant Check to Choke the Capitalism and Racism of Objective Math.  Is two plus two five?  It could be... unless you're racist.  That idea is being bandied about, amid a social justice analysis of mathematics.  Oddly, such a campaign is being supported by none other than Bill Gates.

One Teacher's Ridiculous Response to Test Answer Shows the Woeful State of Our Education System.  Oh, this is embarrassing.  Not for me or us; for some random school teacher who marked a young student's answer to a test question "wrong."  Moreover, the teacher's explanation of why the answer was "wrong" was even more ridiculous.  The good news is the teacher's ineptitude went viral — six years after it happened.  Worse?  Forgive me for generalizing, but the state of public education in 2022 is demonstrably worse than in 2016 — but we'll get there in a minute. [...] To be sure, there are untold numbers of wonderful, dedicated teachers across America who commit themselves to do their part to provide the best education for our kids they can.  That said, the above idiotic teacher is a quintessential example of just a fraction of the utter failure of the American education system as a whole.  He or she should be fired immediately.  Not for his or her ridiculously wrong response to the pizza question; for being inept [...].  That cannot happen, of course.

Marty's pizza
Everything that's wrong with American education summed up in one image.  A photograph came across my screen today that perfectly encapsulates what's wrong with modern, traditional education.  (I use the word "traditional" as a contrast to Montessori or Waldorf schools.)  In it, we see that a child gave a correct answer to an ambiguous question, only to be told his answer was wrong because the teacher was unable to see beyond the confines of her answer book.  Things like this turn students into the kind of mindless drones who think as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does.

77% Of Students At One Baltimore High School Read At Elementary, Kindergarten Level.  More than three quarters of students at one Baltimore high school are reading at an elementary level, with many reading at a kindergarten level.  Fox Baltimore reported that a teacher at Patterson High School, one of the largest high schools in the city, came forward with information showing 77% of students at the schools were found to have an elementary school reading level.  Patterson has a 61% graduation rate and a $12 million budget.  The teacher has not been identified to protect them from retaliation.  "iReady assessments are given in Baltimore City Schools to help determine at which grade level a student is performing in math and reading.  The scores are not made public.  If the media requests them, the district will redact most of the results.  But Project Baltimore obtained the results for all of the students tested at Patterson High School," the outlet reported.

California State University Prepares To Permanently Drop SAT, ACT From Admissions Process.  California State University, the largest-four year university system in the country, is poised to eliminate SAT and ACT standardized tests from its undergraduate admissions process, following a trend in higher education over concerns that the exams are unfair to minority and low-income students.  The Board of Trustees for the 23-campus CSU system will vote in March on recommendations to end the testing requirements, which were presented at a meeting Wednesday and met with widespread enthusiasm.

SAT taken by prospective college students across the US will go all-digital [beginning in] 2024.  Students sitting their SAT exam will be able to do so online from 2024, with the new test also set to be shortened by an hour to make for a less stressful experience.  Test-takers will be allowed to use their own laptops or tablets but they'll still have to sit for the test at a monitored testing site or in school, not at home.  The digital SAT won't require a pencil, will provide students with a simple calculator, and will see results published within days, axing the current weeks-long wait.

Outraged mom claims school kids are being encouraged to identify as cats and dogs.  A Michigan school district is denying that litter boxes were provided to students who identify as 'furries' after a woman made the claim in a school board meeting last month.  Video of the woman, Lisa Hansen, has since gone viral, racking up hundreds of thousands of views on conservative social media pages and even being shared by a state Republican Party official.  'So yesterday, I heard that a least one of our schools has — in one of the unisex bathrooms — a litter box for the kids that identify as cats, and I am really disturbed by that.  And I will do some more investigation on that,' she told the the Midland Public Schools Board of Education during a meeting on December 20.

Teacher Fired For Not Identifying Student As A Cat:  Refused To Meow Back At Her.  A woman who was working as a substitute teacher posted a video to social media alleging she was fired by school officials for not "identifying with" a student who "identifies as a cat" after she refused to meow back at the child in class.  [Video clip]

Mediocrity in power.  Nowadays, our ignorant leaders don't understand the importance of studying the sciences, which has led to the systematic destruction of education on all levels.  In colleges, the ability to play football is valued far above mathematics.  Children in secondary schools often don't study physics, chemistry, biology, and other basic subjects.  These have been replaced by an ephemeral discipline called "science," which, like a salad, comprises little bits and pieces of everything.  When high school graduates go to colleges and universities, many of them take what is called "liberal arts."  Today's highly politicized version of these disciplines don't develop strong analytical and critical thinking, nor entice creativity, and thus don't prepare students for a productive life.  The vast majority of liberal arts graduates cannot find jobs in their fields, so they work as baristas or in other semi-skilled trades or live off their parents and occupy themselves with nonsenses like fighting climate change or protesting all kinds of things, no matter what, as long as they are "against."  Due to the collapse of education, young Americans en masse have become mediocre — which is exactly what the ruling elite wants.  It's easier to govern such people.

Failure factory:  Majority of freshmen at Baltimore high school read at an elementary school level.  This story is already more than 2 weeks old since I missed it when it was published prior to Christmas, but I think it still deserves attention.  Last year you may recall there was a local news story about a high school in Baltimore where a student with a 0.13 GPA turned out to be roughly in the middle of his class.  In other words, nearly half the students in his grade had a GPA that was lower than 0.13.  How was that possible?  The local reporter followed up that initial story with a whole series of reports which suggested the answer to that question was organized fraud by teachers and administrators.  In fact, the school was enrolling so-called "ghost students" in classes that they never attended, apparently as a way to claim more resources from the state.  The reporter kept digging and kept making more shocking discoveries.  For instance, it wasn't just the one bad high school where students were outright failing.  After gaining access to documents that showed the GPA of every high school student in Baltimore, he found that 41% of them had a GPA below 1.0.

Dumbing Down Minority Students.  For years now, the educational establishment and the Democrat Party have colluded to damage pride of accomplishment within the black community.  Now that the Democrat Party is essentially a Marxist outlet, the drive for weakening American children's education is on full display.  In fact, "dumbing down education [is the] key to dismantling America."  It is the communists' dream to destroy the American dream.  As the debate over Critical Race Theory has emerged, Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., explains "the insidious nature of this radical new ideology now being taught to American schoolchildren and the myriad ways in which public school students are being groomed to carry out the agendas of the Left."  It is also ultimately the pathway to pit white people against black people. [...] And in perfect lockstep, the latest example can be found in the Arlington County School Board in Virginia, which has introduced a proposal that would eradicate the traditional grading system.  The justification for this change is that "certain basic standards — like having late penalties — could potentially harm poor and minority children who they claim may not have access to resources necessary to complete assignments on time."  Or "students should not be graded on homework assignments because the fear of making mistakes will have a negative impact on their learning process."

Virginia School District Targets Inequity by Shooting at Grades and Deadlines.  Arlington Public Schools (APS) seems sick of differences in the world, so it's decided to attain supreme sameness.  Since pupils will meet objective standards to varying degrees, standards should be shrugged off.  Unless I misunderstand, if we pretend everyone's alike, then they magically are.  The district's proposed a four-point fundamental overhaul in the name of that greatest of goods, equity. [...] The enforcement of academic rules once amply defined school, but that was before enlightenment took hold.

The Democrats' Education Lunacies Will Bring Back Trump.  [Scroll down]  First, Democrats across the country have instituted radical policy changes, mainly in an effort to address socioeconomic and racial disparities.  These included eliminating standardized testing to the University of California system, doing away with gifted programs (and rejecting the concept of gifted children in general), replacing courses like calculus with data science or statistics to make advancement easier, and pushing a series of near-parodical ideas with the aid of hundreds of millions of dollars from groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that include things like denouncing emphasis on "getting the right answer" or "independent practice over teamwork" as white supremacy.  When criticism ensued, pundits first denied as myth all rumors of radical change, then denounced complaining parents as belligerent racists unfit to decide what should be taught to their children, all while reaffirming the justice of leaving such matters to the education "experts" who'd spent the last decade-plus doing things like legislating grades out of existence.

The new Dark Ages.  If ignorance is bliss, the Western world should be ecstatic.  Even as colleges churn out degrees and collect fees, and technology makes information instantly accessible, the basic level of literacy, as measured by such things as reading books and acquainting oneself with the past, is in a precipitous decline.  Rather than building a vital world with our technological culture, we are repeating the memes of feudal times, driven by illiteracy, bias and a rejection of the West's past.  Over half of American adults have a reading level below the equivalent of sixth-grade level (11- to 12-year-olds), and book reading outside of school or work among the young in particular has declined markedly.  A survey conducted in 2014 found slightly over half of American children saying they liked to read books 'for fun', down from 60 percent in 2010.  This is not just an American trend.  A landmark study by University College London tracked 11,000 children born in 2000 up to age 14 and found that only one in 10 ever did any reading in their spare time as teenagers.

Leftists are using our children as pawns for all their policies.  One of the most obvious things leftists have done is to destroy the school systems' ability to teach anything meaningful, replacing real knowledge with "correct think" drivel that denies everything from history to mathematics to science in favor of inclusion, diversity, LGBTQ "training," and such.  Leftists believe that, if this continues, they'll have a malleable and manageable bunch of kids who grow up to become shills for their point of view.

The Logic of California's Leftists Will Keep Us All Children Forever.  Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento City, and San Diego Unified school districts have found a novel way to improve academic results — they're getting rid of D and F grades.  One imagines this will improve results immediately.  On paper.  Reporting from San Francisco, KRON 4 News, writing in semi-literate English, informs us, "If a student fails a test or doesn't complete their homework, they'll be able to retake the test and get more time to turn in assignments."  The assistant principal at Fremont High School in Oakland, speaking in semi-literate English, told KRON, "Right now, we have a system where we give a million points for a million pieces of paper that students turn in, without much attention to what they're actually learning."  I don't think anyone will dispute that schools are not paying much attention to what kids are learning.  But banning Ds and Fs won't help students as much as it will help teachers and principals in these districts look less awful by comparison, or else make comparisons with schools that retain a full grading system impossible.  The real goal is to rescue teachers' unions and professional administrators from what they're doing to the kids.

Oakland Unified among Calif. school districts phasing out D, F grades for high school students.  Some of California's largest school districts are trying an unconventional tactic to help students re-engage in school after distance learning and boost their chances of acceptance into the state's public colleges: by dropping D and F grades.  Los Angeles Unified, Oakland Unified, Sacramento City Unified, San Diego Unified and other districts are phasing out grades below a C for high school students.  If a student fails a test or doesn't complete their homework, they'll be able to retake the test and get more time to turn in assignments.  The idea is to encourage students to learn the course material and not be derailed by a low grade that could potentially disqualify them from admission to the University of California and California State University.

The Editor says...
What is so important about guaranteeing university admission for academic deadbeats?  What will happen to them at the university?  What will happen to us if a D-level sluggard ends up as an architect or a nurse?

California's proposed woke math curriculum alarms mathematicians, scientists.  Hundreds of highly distinguished science and math professors have signed an open letter expressing "urgent concern" over California's efforts to reform mathematics education in the name of social justice.  The letter, signed by 597 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals, said the California Department of Education's (CDE) proposed new mathematics framework will aim to reduce achievement gaps by limiting the availability of advanced mathematical courses to middle schoolers and beginning high schoolers, making it more challenging for students to succeed in STEM at college.

University of California system permanently abandons standardized testing for admissions.  Too many of the "wrong" people are gaining admission to the University of California's nine campuses.  The racial bean counters are therefore altering the process by which applicants are judged.  The nation's premier public university system is not going to base its admissions process on standardized testing of any sort.  "Test-free admissions" is to be the rule. [...] Admission will now rely on grades, student essays, and teacher recommendations.  All of these factors seem much more vulnerable to bad actors and manipulation.  The end of testing is brought to you by progressives who are convinced that standardized tests help maintain white supremacy.

California's new educational guidelines say math is racist.  California is set to adopt new math teaching principles that are based in critical race theory.  These changes, which include deemphasizing calculus and pulling programs for academically gifted students, will "apply social justice principles to math lessons."  These guidelines do not instruct educators to teach critical race theory, but rather use critical race theory as a guide for the formation of teaching principles.  Critical race theory is not being taught to students, but taught to teachers, who are then meant to use it to formulate their own practices.

The 'New' Fad Corrupting Our Schoolchildren Is Not So New.  As they learn more about social and emotional learning (SEL) with its data-mining, parents are in an uproar.  They're demanding an opt-out and deletion of all stored data.  Some believe that if we can stop the leftward lurch of America, we can "turn our schools around" and use SEL as it was "initially intended."  But was the initial purpose of SEL really to teach appropriate social behavior and support "mental wellness" and "management of emotions," or is there a sinister underside?  The term "social and emotional learning" was coined in 1994 at a meeting hosted by the Fetzer Institute, founded by New Age guru John Fetzer. [...] John Dewey, dean of American progressive education, believed that the classroom should be used for social and political change at the expense of academic learning.  A fan of Soviet education, Dewey introduced similar techniques in American education to train students for the workforce instead of providing a broad academic foundation.  SEL was key in Marc Tucker's German-based plan to centralize education and change it from academic to workforce training for a nationally managed economy.

What's Really Driving America's Abysmal Inner-City Education Results?  [Scroll down]  So, this young woman comes into my office and tells me she is pre-Med.  That generally requires a first year of Biology, Chemistry, and perhaps Calculus if one can carry that load.  I told her what courses would be required, then made a later appointment for the setting of her schedule.  In the intervening time, the results from her placement tests came in.  Having not yet taken the ACT exam, she did take it as part of her admissions process and received a score of 4.  Signing your name and randomly guessing all the answers can get you a score of 4.  On the Nelson-Denny Reading Test she scored out at an elementary school level.  Her math test showed she needed remedial work in basic arithmetic.  She had a similar result in her writing placement test. [...] According to the Cleveland Public Schools, she was earmarked for success.  It was all a lie.  How could this happen?  The scenario that built itself up as I pondered her situation is that she was a willing and cooperative student in high school.  She did her work as best she could and caused no trouble for teachers or staff.  And she was rewarded for that.  But the rewards she was given, it is obvious, were rewards of self-esteem and not of accomplishment.  She was given every reason in the world to think that she would one day be a doctor.  And her high school teachers cheered her on.  "You go, girl."  But once she left the safe confines of her inner-city Cleveland high school with its low expectations, reality squashed her like a frog.

Parents vs. Educational Wokeness.  Years ago, a young friend began working for the U.S. Department of Education.  On his first day, as he tried to go in the main entrance, he discovered a handwritten sign, "The door be broke."  That long-ago note, sadly, describes education in America today — our public schools are decidedly broken.  No wonder school choice has become such a hot-button issue.  No wonder more than one-third of the nation's students have left the public schools for private education.  No wonder the number of children being homeschooled has increased so dramatically — up from around 3% before COVID to now around 11%.  No wonder Charter Schools (publicly funded schools that operate like private schools) are popular; Statista 2021 reports that there are nearly 7,500 Charter Schools in the U.S.  Despite federal programs like "No Child Left Behind" and spending more on education than any other country in the world (an average of $16,268 per student in 2018), the United States lags behind many of the other advanced industrial nations in terms of achievement.

De Blasio announcing the end of gifted children programs has been a boon for Catholic schools.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio may have inadvertently started a religious revival in the Big Apple after announcing the elimination of the Gifted & Talented (G&T) program for the city's schools.  The Diocese of Brooklyn, which serves 1.2 million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens, cited that their Catholic elementary schools' enrollment grew by 2.4 percent for the current school year, according to a report by the New York Post.  The increased interest in religious education comes after more than a decade of decline in enrollment for parochial schools in New York.

NYC will phase out Gifted and Talented program.  New York City officials are phasing out the controversial "Gifted and Talented" program for elementary school students, a massive change aimed at addressing racial disparities in the biggest school system in the country.  The entry exam identifying students as "gifted" will be eliminated, officials said Friday.  Under the old status quo, about 2,500 incoming kindergarteners per year passed the optional exam, going on to spend their elementary school years in separate classrooms and schools.  That test was temporarily scrapped last year amid the pandemic.  The last group of students in the program will still take G&T classes in their current form over the next five years.

Why I Am Suing UCLA.  Recently, I was suspended from my job for refusing to treat my black students as lesser than their non-black peers.  Let me back up:  I teach at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, and I've been doing this for 40 years.  I've taught 15 different courses, in finance, accounting and law.  CNBC has had me on; I've been quoted in The Wall Street Journal.  My saga — which nearly led to my firing — began on the morning of June 2, 2020, when a non-black student in my class on tax principles and law emailed me to ask that I grade his black classmates with greater "leniency" than others in the class.  "We are writing to express our tremendous concern about the impact that this final exam and project will have on the mental and physical health of our Black classmates," the student wrote.  (There was no project in this class, and it was unclear to me who the "we" in this case was.  I suspected the student simply used a form letter he found online and neglected to change the subject.) [...] The student then requested that the final be a "no harm" exam — meaning it should be counted only if it boosted one's grade.  "This is not a joint effort to get finals canceled for non-Black students, but rather an ask that you exercise compassion and leniency with Black students in our major."  (As I noted in my legal complaint, the student clarified, in a subsequent conversation with a university investigator, that he "intended that the requested adjustments apply to Black students and not the class generally.")

Professor suspended for refusing to give Black students easier final exams sues UCLA.  A UCLA professor who was briefly suspended after declining a request that Black students get easier final exams after George Floyd's death sued the school Wednesday, accusing it of defamation and loss of financial opportunities.  Gordon Klein, a lecturer at UCLA's Anderson School of Management who has taught there for decades, filed the lawsuit in state court against the school's dean, Antonio Bernardo, the University of California Board of Regents, and a host of unnamed "co-conspirators."  "I did this because the school has continued to retaliate against me, and other scholars are facing retaliation, and I thought it was important for someone to step up and say, 'enough,'" Mr. Klein told The Washington Times.  "I have the legal skills and training to do so, so I'm stepping up."

The Clutter is the Message.  By weird accident, or more probably a century-long plot, our Education Establishment embraced every method guaranteed to kick facts to the curb.  There are so many examples:  Our professors of education agree that students should never have to memorize anything.  What most of us call facts, these professors call factoids so they can more easily be dismissed as trivial.  If students are made to memorize anything, it's the wrong things, as in the cases of sight-words and cumbersome math gimmicks — e.g., the lattice method.  Direct instruction from teachers to students of any information is scorned.  Children are told to find or create their own new knowledge.  Teachers should not get in the way of this process — i.e., shut up.  Children should learn everything as a group so knowledge is blurred and nobody feels in possession of anything in particular.  The big dogma nowadays is that students are encouraged to embark on complex projects which may or may not teach any essential information.

Virginia high school teacher says making kids behave in class is 'white supremacy'.  A Virginia high school teacher is under fire for calling efforts to make kids behave in class "the definition of white supremacy."  Josh Thompson, an English teacher at Blacksburg High School, posted a since-deleted TikTok video attacking the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program used in Montgomery County schools, Fox News said.  The teacher called the techniques that help reduce disruptive student behavior "white supremacy with a hug."

Professor who uncovered academic incompetence has been forced to resign from Portland State University.  The new dark age of silencing:  Peter Boghossian, one of three professors who revealed the incompetence and bad scholarship that now permeates academic culture by writing and getting published a fake paper in 2017 that claimed the penis was merely a "social construct," has finally been forced to resign from his position at Portland State University in Oregon because of the never-ending harassment and slanders that he has been subjected to by both faculty and staff there. [...] However, he is not running away, but instead leaving to form a new organization to specifically fight the close-minded and oppressive culture that now dominates most universities like Portland State.

Education in California is a tragic mess.  Those of us who grew up in California before it was taken over by the left were fortunate in that we actually got a good education.  We were taught all sorts of things not taught today; subjects like geography, for example.  Young people today hardly know in which hemisphere the United States exists.  This was true even back when Jay Leno was asking simple questions to people on the street many years ago.  Anyone who has seen any of the man-on-the-street videos of Jesse Watters, Mark Dice and Ami Horowitz knows how shockingly ignorant young people are today, even, perhaps especially, on college campuses.  And they are never embarrassed by their lack of knowledge about the basics of American history.  They laugh at what they deem silly questions.  They have no idea who the colonists fought [in] the Revolutionary war or from whom we won our independence.  They have no idea in what century the Civil War took place.  They know little or nothing about WWII and the Holocaust.  Americans have become dumber and dumber and it's all been part of a plan.  The dumber they are, the more compliant they are, the easier to manipulate.  Promise them free stuff and they will vote for you.

Never Place Your Trust In That Which Has Deceived Us Even Once.  Many schools were back in session last month.  Most of the remainder started the day after Labor Day.  But the one with a really good teachers' union — New York City — didn't start until today.  A lot of schools around the country are still closed to on-site learning due to cooties.  Although there are those wags who claim that ALL schools are closed to on-site learning, and have been for years.  So if you wish your children to learn actual facts about history, be exposed to real literature, learn how to do mathematical calculations and {{shudder}} think for themselves you will pretty much have to teach them yourself.

Schooling in America:  We Need More 'Stuff'.  The tools we all need to learn about any subject include attention, memory, perception, imagination, and logic.  That's why the Three Rs (reading, writing, and arithmetic) were so important to our grandparents.  They still are today because reading is key to the acquisition of content, writing is key to the communication of content, and logic is key to the analysis and organization of content.  Nobody understood all this better than President Abraham Lincoln, who was not only a great communicator, but also an avid student of geometry — another subject many college students (as well as members of Congress) know nothing about.  Sadly, many Americans seem to have lost the ability to distinguish between subject-matter content and the tools we use to understand that content.  One possible reason for that is the development of the so-called "behavioral sciences."

Leftists have destroyed yet another great institution.  I've written before about the fact that the leftists at the San Francisco Unified School District were able to use COVID to achieve a long-desired dream:  they killed the special academic status of Lowell High School, which had been, for decades, one of the top schools in America.  The problem was that Black and Hispanic students were having problems qualifying for admission to Lowell.  Rather than raising them up, the leftists dragged Lowell down.

Dumbing Down K-12 Education.  Here's the sad truth.  Twenty-five countries outperform U.S. K-12 students.  Those leading the way are China, Hong Kong, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Canada.  China's students not only place first overall, but they dominate each individual subject as well.  U.S. students straggle in at 33rd in math, 23rd in science, and 17th in reading.  Of course, you wouldn't learn this listening to the rhetoric coming out our political and educational leaders.  Instead, they tout data that ranks U.S. students against other American students, states boast about their performance relative to other states, and school districts flaunt 2 percent gains in graduation rates.  The reality is even worse than the weak performance on average.  The majority of U.S. public school students do not achieve grade level proficiency.

Public Schools — Stop Experimenting on People's Children.  A few years back, public schools in my hometown of Littleton, Colorado began using laptop computers in the classroom.  With great fanfare, every student was given his or her own computer.  Classroom instruction quickly moved away from traditional teaching materials to primarily computer-based learning.  This trend occurred throughout the country.  We were told this would usher in a grand new world where student's educational achievements would take off through the stratosphere.  In a normal world, a major undertaking like this would only have been done after extensive research, testing, and actual results. [...] Years after this transformation, what has been the actual educational impact on student learning?  We will never know since they have never tested to see its effect.  Can you imagine any for-profit business doing the same?  Or medicine?  Or technology?  Or agriculture?  Of course not.

Report on Baltimore high school reveals ghost students were attending ghost classes.  After two years, Baltimore City Schools has finally released a summary of its investigation into Augusta Fells Savage high school.  What they found confirmed much of what local news channel Fox45 has been reporting all year: [...] The report also found that, in an effort to help students recover credits they needed, students were being allowed to complete "work packets" which are not supposed to count for credit recovery classes.  Also, the classes themselves were listed as being taught by authorized teachers but were in fact being "taught" by people without credentials.  This investigation took Baltimore City Schools two years to complete.  Frankly, I don't see why it would take this long.  I wonder if the city would have done anything if Fox45 hadn't discovered that a student who had a 0.13 GPA in his senior year was near the top half of his class at Augusta Fells.  That story broke in March of this year, 18 months after the investigation began.

American Education Is Rotten from Top to Bottom.  In reading the "overview" of Dr. Jill Biden's 2006 doctoral dissertation from the University of Delaware, I am reminded just how rotten, from top to bottom, are America's schools of graduate education.  That a doctor of anything could write a sentence like the one that follows speaks to the historic worthlessness of most graduate programs in education:  ["]Three quarters of the class will be Caucasian; one quarter of the class will be African American; one seat will hold a Latino; and the remaining seats will be filled with students of Asian descent or non-resident aliens.["]  An advisory committee had to approve this mumbo-jumbo.  Apparently, none of the committee members noticed that when you add three fourths to one fourth, you've pretty much exhausted all the "fourths" available — all the seats as well.  Although the temptation is to write Dr. Jill's dissertation off to the power of political pull, her dissertation, from my experience, represents something of a norm in the illiteracy, innumeracy, and race obsession of grad-level education.

Proof that modern academic leftism is insanely stupid.  I quickly realized as I shepherded my children through public school and college that leftists in education are incredibly uninformed to the point of abject stupidity.  My kids became used to the fact that I would become almost incoherent with rage when I read through illiterate and factually inaccurate lessons or assignments from their teachers.  However, I have never come across anyone as spectacularly uninformed as Dr. Linda ManyGuns who works at Mount Royal University, in Alberta, Canada.  Dr. ManyGuns has declared war on oppressive capital letters.  What you must appreciate before getting into Dr. ManyGuns' truly astonishing dive into stupidity is that she really is a faculty member at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, a public university with a $99 million (Canadian) endowment and over 14,000 students. [...] ManyGuns has a BA, a Master's, a J.D., and a Ph.D.  She is the living embodiment of the fruits of our modern educational system.  She also conflates capitalism (which she despises) and capitalization (which apparently also needs to go).

As US Schools Prioritize Diversity Over Merit, China Is Becoming the World's STEM Leader.  The United States has been dominant in the mathematical sciences since the mass exodus of European scientists in the 1930s.  Because mathematics is the basis of science — as well as virtually all major technological advances, including scientific computing, climate modelling, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and robotics — US leadership in math has supplied our country with an enormous strategic advantage.  But for various reasons, three of which we set out below, the United States is now at risk of losing that dominant position.  First, and most obvious, is the deplorable state of our K-12 math education system.  Far too few American public-school children are prepared for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  This leaves us increasingly dependent on a constant inflow of foreign talent, especially from mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, and India.  In a 2015 survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Graduate Record Examinations Board, about 55 percent of all participating graduate students in mathematics, computer sciences, and engineering at US schools were found to be foreign nationals.  In 2017, the National Foundation for American Policy estimated that international students accounted for 81 percent of full-time graduate students in electrical engineering at U.S. universities; and 79 percent of full-time graduate students in computer science.  That report also concluded that many programs in these fields couldn't even be maintained without international students.

Who Benefits from Cancelling Achievement Standards?  Oregon has passed a bill that suspends the requirement that students must be able to read, write, and do math to graduate from high school.  Mathematics should be replaced, we are told, by "social justice" mathematics, in which there are no correct answers, and students must not be asked to show the calculations that led to their conclusions.  Standard American English should no longer be the standard, and students should not be judged on the quality of their writing.  And recruitment of future scientists and science teachers and researchers should no longer be based on achievement, merit, and potential, but on "diversity, equity, and inclusion." [...] American political and educational authorities are devoting themselves to undermining achievement in science, math, and reading.  Advanced programs in science and math are being closed down.  Specialized high schools in New York City may no longer admit applicants based on academic merit.  Classic literature is outlawed.  Standardized tests are rejected.  And new "subjects," such as critical race theory, are being imported into schools to replace science, math, and reading.

Congratulations: You Nearly Made It!  [It started] with The Great Self-esteem Movement of the 70's-80s, in which teachers and parents began to pour unconditional praise on children and to shelter them from adverse consequences and criticism.  Accordingly, all of the children were above average.  Indeed between the late 60s and 2004, the proportion of first year university students claiming an A average in high school rose from 18% to 48%, despite the fact that SAT scores had actually fallen.

Parents have the right to be vocal.  First, it needs to be firmly stated that the public schools' main purpose is to teach basic subjects as thoroughly as possible to prepare students for their futures.  Traditionally, this has meant giving them the knowledge and skills to serve them well for either a vocation or higher education's demands as well as to enhance citizenship.  This type of education takes time and demands sufficient priority.  Students should graduate with basic English and math skills, and knowledge of science and both national and world histories.  No one should need remedial reading classes in college if K-12 schools accomplish their purpose.  Adding issue-centered courses should not diminish time spent on core subjects.  Some schools, though, are already promoting sexual or gender issues — issues that are controversial based on parental and religious beliefs.  Likewise, many race-oriented issues are especially controversial.  Those influenced by Critical Race Theory focus heavily on Black and White populations even though the United States may be the most racially diverse of all nations.

No Standard, No Problem.  Equity is equality of outcome among racial and ethnic groups.  Recently, the pursuit of equity in education, criminal justice, and in the professions has resulted in an impressive string of victories.  In education, equity warriors have been frustrated by a stubborn pattern in SAT and ACT scores.  For decades Asians have scored higher than whites, who have scored higher than Hispanics, who have scored higher than blacks.  These differences seem impervious to any K-12 education policy tinkering regardless of the policy's ideological origin.  Busing, charters, vouchers, increased spending, and universal testing have all failed to close these uncomfortable gaps.  Finally, in 2020, COVID provided the equity commissars a solution to their SAT/ACT "problem."  Many college bureaucrats who hope to increase the percentage of non-Asian minorities have discarded the SAT/ACT requirements for admission.  At first, it was temporary, but then for many, it became permanent.

Oregon removes reading, writing, math requirements for high school graduation.  The Governor of Oregon has signed a bill into law that removes all requirements for high school students to demonstrate their proficiency in reading, writing, and math.  We'll get to the supposed "reasoning" behind this legislation in a moment, but it's first worth mentioning the timing.  As the Oregonian found out, this law has actually been in place for a while now.  Governor Kate Brown signed the bill back on July 14th, but nobody knew about it until this past week.  The reason for that is that the Governor didn't hold a signing ceremony, there was no press release about it and the bill wasn't entered into the legislative database until July 29th.  At that point, journalists finally noticed it began writing about it.

Gov. Kate Brown signed a law to allow Oregon students to graduate without proving they can write or do math.  She doesn't want to talk about it..  For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma will be no guarantee that the student who earned it can read, write or do math at a high school level.  Gov. Kate Brown had demurred earlier this summer regarding whether she supported the plan passed by the Legislature to drop the requirement that students demonstrate they have achieved those essential skills.  But on July 14, the governor signed Senate Bill 744 into law.  Through a spokesperson, the governor declined again Friday to comment on the law and why she supported suspending the proficiency requirements.  Brown's decision was not public until recently, because her office did not hold a signing ceremony or issue a press release and the fact that the governor signed the bill was not entered into the legislative database until July 29, a departure from the normal practice of updating the public database the same day a bill is signed.

Not So Sure What Oregon's Governor Did to Equalize Education for Nonwhites Is a Good thing.  In Oregon, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown decided that nonwhite high schoolers don't need to be proficient in math, writing, or reading to graduate.  Yeah, that's some system they have out there.  She did this in the name of equity.  I'm not so sure where the equitable element is in removing some education requirements for some students and not others to graduate, but that's liberal America.  There are no standards.  Well, there are double standards, but that's only when they get caught up in their own shoddy narratives.  Given that CRT is the main course for liberals nowadays, Ms. Brown is just doing her part to destroy our supposedly racist education system because... reading, writing, and math are bastions of white supremacy?

Calling Out Black Juvenile Delinquency from a Place of Loving Concern.  The most hostile work environments I ever experienced were public schools in Washington, D.C. and in Cleveland.  I interned in DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) and crisscrossed CMSD (Cleveland Municipal School District) as a substitute teacher.  On several occasions, a teenager got in my face and "bucked" at me as if he were going to punch me.  Many more kids, some as young as seven or eight, cussed me out.  I knew better than to take these almost daily attacks personally.  Still, no one should have to endure such a hostile work environment.  I find Black juvenile delinquency alarming.  As a six-foot-two Black man from Anacostia in Southeast D.C., I don't speak from fear.  I'm calling out Black juvenile delinquency from a place of loving concern.

Some medical schools now teaching that biological sex is a social construct.  Last month Katie Herzog published a piece in which doctors warned that woke ideology was taking over the field of medicine.  "Wokeness feels like an existential threat," one doctor told Herzog.  Today, Herzog has a follow-up piece from the perspective of a medical student.  The student's real identity isn't shared in the piece because she fears repercussions.  Instead Herzog refers to her as simply as Lauren.  The piece opens with Lauren recalling a professor who apologized profusely during a lecture for using the phrase "pregnant women."

At least 41% of Baltimore high school students earn below-D GPA.  Forty-one percent of Baltimore public high school students made below a D grade point average during the first three quarters of the 2020-2021 school year, according to an analysis of the district's data.  Baltimore City Schools assembled a chart showing the GPA for every high school grade in the city.  The data was reported by Project Baltimore, an investigative reporting series FOX affiliate WBFF operates.  "Consistent with the experience of many school districts across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruptions to student learning," Baltimore City Schools said in a statement.  "As early as the summer of 2020, City Schools identified large numbers of students with decreases in their grade point averages and classroom performance when compared to past performances."

California College Nixes Test Scores for Admissions, Prefers a 'Strong Message About Equity'.  Between academic meritocracy and ensuring an equal outcome for all, which is better?  In the view of Pitzer College, evidently, it's not the former.  As reported by Campus Reform, the California institution's making a powerful statement where equity is concerned.  Hence, it'll no longer use such inequitable things as tests to determine who gets in.  The school calls the approach "test-blind."

Eliminating accelerated math classes in high school is just the first step on the road to an education disaster.  It is really a struggle to imagine what the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has in mind by discussing the elimination of accelerated math classes in schools until 11th grade in the name of equity.  The story broke in April 2021 and shortly thereafter, the VDOE leadership was backpedaling due to parent backlash. [...] Eliminating accelerated math courses for middle and high school students is simply a bad idea with serious consequences.  For starters, Virginia will have far fewer students accepted into engineering programs of study at U.S. colleges.  Thereafter, Virginia's engineering universities will be faced with watering down admission requirements for its own state students.  Ultimately, Virginia students who are accepted into in-state and out-of-state engineering programs will not be able to compete with students from other states.

College Symposium Razes the Anti-Black Racism of 'Good' Grammar.  Do you speak the grammatically-correct language of white supremacy, or are you better than that?  At Maryland's Towson University recently, a virtual conference ripped the racism of "rightful" words.  June 17th's Antiracist Pedagogy Symposium sought to shed light on selecting syllables.  Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education April Baker-Bell — of Michigan State University — insisted teachers' enforcement of standard English rules is an assault on "black language."  Furthermore, per Campus Reform, she indicated black Americans bear a burden of racist violence.

Vancouver School Board Is Eliminating Honors Programs To Achieve 'Equity'.  The Vancouver School Board in British Columbia, Canada, is eliminating honors courses as part of a push to foster inclusivity and equity in the classroom.  The board had previously eliminated the high school honors English program, and math and science will now get the ax as well.  "By phasing out these courses, all students will have access to an inclusive model of education, and all students will be able to participate in the curriculum fulsomely," said the school board in a statement, according to the CBC.  This is a spectacularly frank declaration:  Education officials don't like that some higher-achieving students are sorted into environments where they are more likely to succeed than their less-gifted peers, and would prefer to keep everyone officially at the same level to the greatest extent possible.  The plan closely mirrors California's recent efforts to discourage students who are proficient at math from taking calculus any earlier than their classmates; Canadian educators seem no less excited than their U.S. counterparts about naively pursuing equality of outcome at all costs.

'It's A Good Life... Until They Kill You'.  Over the first five years of this century, I taught an upper division course in writing and critical thinking at a major west coast university.  Oh, the things I got away with!  Not once did I ask my students their preferred pronouns.  My lectures were full of that dreaded heteronormative storytelling — the quintessential expression of white male phobic rage — and I coerced my students to consider outmoded ideas, e.g., empirical evidence.  Privilege no doubt dripped from my podium as I spoke of white supremacist notions, like avoiding perfect solution fallacies, and warned them of the perils of ad hominem attack. [...] So, here's a modest proposal (and it ain't satire):  we stop playing by their rules and debating in their tongue.  "Wokeness" is a hollow a philosophy and a linguistic crime.  Ditto "cancel culture."  A movement based on rendering its opposition "nonpersons" is a hideous cult, not a culture.  Parents, forbid your children from going along to get along.  Remind them that boys are "he" and girls are "she" and that together they are "they."  Remind them "they" represent an actual culture, i.e., Western Civilization, and that if said civilization is to have a future, it must be protected and defended.

The Rot of the Prestigious Colleges.  [Scroll down]  With 504 plans, which schools develop for students with learning disabilities, students can get extra test time or other accommodations.  "According to a Wall Street Journal survey, the number of students with so-called 504 plans more than tripled between 2000 and 2016," LaPorte writes.  The "craze for accommodations in high school is absolutely driven by students and their parents who are 'positioning themselves for extra time on the SAT or ACT,'" Kathy Pelzer, a former school counselor in southern California, tells LaPorte.  Those with actual learning differences deserve these accommodations, but at the rate people abuse the system, La Porte questions whether accommodations are fair.  As learning disabilities have become a bonus rather than a burden, ritzy schools have a manufactured crisis.  LaPorte compares Palisades Charter High School, a well-off and majority-white school, with El Monte High School, which is almost entirely Latino or Hispanic with 95 percent of students on free or reduced-price lunch.  Yet Palisades has 8.5 percent of its students on a 504 plan, compared to only 0.1 percent of students at El Monte.

There is no bottom to the ignorance of supposedly educated Americans.  While our schools churn out young people who cannot read, write, or reason, they are extremely well versed in pop culture (they know the lyrics to Megan Thee Stallion songs), and the most recent generations of school graduates will bore you to tears talking about gender, racism, class victimization, America's wrongdoing over the centuries, etc.  In other words, the focus of American education has changed a great deal.  It's no longer about reading, writing, math, patriotism, and liberty.  Now, it's about race, oppression, gender fluidity, anti-Americanism, and fealty to a trustworthy big government with Democrats and progressives in charge.  Joe Biden's and Kamala Harris's remarkably empty heads seem perfectly representative of the new American model.

Six Ways The Black Community Is Hurt By Democrat Policies.  [#5] Lowered Educational Standards:  It's difficult to get ahead in life without a solid education, and Democrats seem to be doing everything possible to ensure that doesn't happen for folks in black communities.  You described the damage from the Democrats' approach to school choice, and there's also the issue of easing educational standards.  Baltimore offers a perfect example to consider.  Baltimore's population is 64% black, and the city has been run by Democrats for decades.  The last non-Democrat mayor of Baltimore, Maryland was Theodore McKeldin, who left office in 1967; that's 54 years ago.  Baltimore is a mess, Democrats own that mess, and the worst aspect of the mess may be what's happening with their schools.  According to WBFF-TV in Baltimore, "Data shows some students who could soon graduate, are performing at an elementary school level, academically," and "some students are performing 10 grade levels below their age."  It's horrible what has happened to these kids.

New Jersey school district removes names of all holidays from school calendar.  After an outcry at a raucous public meeting over a previous decision to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day, the board of education at a New Jersey school district decided to strip all holiday names off of the school calendar.  So holidays like Thanksgiving will not be on the calendar and will simply be called "day off".  Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were also stripped off the calendar by the move.  "If we don't have anything on the calendar, we don't have to have anyone be hurt feelings or anything like that," board member Dorene Roche said.  The board members made the move in an effort to not offend anyone who feels slighted by days that reference a person, holiday, or ethnic group.

The Editor says...
If you refer to a calendar and adhere to a schedule, you're acting white!

Will Eliminating Standard Tests Really Reduce Racial Disparities In Education?  The Supreme Court will decide early next month whether to take a new case on the use of race in college admissions.  For decades, the court has fractured on the issue and left an unintelligible morass.  A challenge brought by Asian students at Harvard could bring clarity, including a possible rejection of the use of race as an admissions criterion.  However, the massive California university system has just taken an action that could make such challenges more difficult in the future.  University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that the ten schools in the system will no longer base admissions on standardized tests — joining a "test-blind" admissions movement nationally.  Without standardized testing, it would be difficult to prove the weight given to race in admissions.  Advocates for greater diversity in admissions have long opposed the use of standardized tests as disfavoring minority applicants.

Baltimore to Stop 'Failing' Students, Will Advance to Next Grade Regardless of Scores.  Baltimore moved this week to change its grading process for students inside the city's district; saying they will no longer "fail" classes but will be deemed "not completed or no credit" as they advance to the next grade.  "The Baltimore City School Board announced Tuesday during their meeting that the school system will not hold back students who are struggling and failing classes in the fall due to the Coronavirus pandemic," reports Fox Baltimore.

Baltimore City Schools:  A Failing Grade Won't Stop Students From Moving Up.  This week, the Baltimore City Public Schools, attempting to avoid holding students back who have poor grades, announced a new grading policy that would enable students who failed one class to still proceed to the next grade.  The school district said it was taking the new approach because of effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  Chief Academic Officer Joan Dabrowski said the new approach is meant to "avoid the punitive approach of failing students," according to CNN.  "This is not about a failure, but it is about unfinished learning and giving multiple opportunities, multiple onramps for young people to complete that ... learning," Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises added.  A high school student who normally would receive an "F" for a course will now receive a "No Credit" designation.  For students in second through eighth grades, "Unsatisfactory" or "Fail" will now be marked "Not Completed."  Dabrowski explained, "In all of these instances, we want to emphasize the word 'yet.'  Not completed yet, no credit yet."

Critical Race Theory or Crazy Radical Tantrums?  [Scroll down]  Also in May, California decided to eliminate the SAT and ACT, traditional tests used as an admission requirement for students to gain entry into the University of California.  The ban, good through at least 2025, was clearly instituted because black and Hispanic students did not benefit from the objective tests.  But lawyer Paul Mirengoff maintains that because the agreement clearly mistreats whites and Asians (including low-income ones) who have scored, or will score well, they are victims of unlawful discrimination.  This is obvious grounds for a lawsuit, though none has been filed so far.  To combat the woke onslaught, the citizenry cannot stand idly by.  Action is necessary, but we need information and guidance first, and there are groups filling those needs.  Protect Our Kids has done an excellent job of getting the word out as has the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR).

Whither Meritocracy?  University of California Scraps the SAT.  "Don't lie to yourself about how much effort you're putting in," says Amisha, a student from New Jersey who scored a 1540 on her SAT, adding:  "If you're putting in minimal effort and telling yourself that it'll be enough — chances are it very well won't be."  "Visualize yourself attending your dream college whenever you feel demoralized," advises Rushil, an Abu Dhabi student who scored a 1570 on the SAT out of a possible 1600 after prepping for nearly 75 hours.  These two students put in hours upon hours of hard work and diligent study to be successful on the SAT.  Yet, if they hoped to demonstrate their college potential next year to, say, the University of California, Berkeley, they'd be out of luck.  That's because a California court just eliminated one of the ways in which students can show merit:  through the SAT and the ACT.

Math Is racist and 2 + 2 = 4 is just a 'trope'.  Laurie Rubel, a professor of math education at New York's Brooklyn College, does not appear to be fond of the discipline she teaches.  In fact, she apparently believes math is inherently racist.  She recently tweeted, "the idea that math (or data) is culturally neutral or in any way objective is a MYTH."  In a separate tweet, she noted that math "reeks of white supremacist patriarchy" after stating, albeit incoherently, "along with the 'of course math is neutral because 2 + 2 = 4 trope' are the related (and creepy) 'math is pure' and 'protect math.'"  Appearing drunk on her own peerless wokeness, she added, "I'd rather think on nurturing people & protecting the planet (with math in service of them goals)."

Penn State University will drop 'male-centric' terms like 'freshman' and 'senior,' as well as the words 'he and her'.  Pennsylvania State University has been mocked after axing the words 'freshman,' 'junior' and 'senior[,]' as well as the phrase 'him or her[,]' over fears they're sexist.  Last month, the University's Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs passed the 'Removal of Gendered & Binary Terms from Course and Program Descriptions' resolution with a majority vote.  They said the axed terms were examples of 'male-centric' terminology that needed to be updated with more inclusive words.  Among the concerns raised by the committee were that 'freshmen' were too male-specific, with 'junior' and 'senior' axed for being 'parallel to western male father-son naming conventions.'  The phrase 'upperclassmen' was condemned for being 'both sexist and classist,' while the new rules also lashed Penn's existing documentation for many appearances by he/she pronouns.'

Penn State Faculty Move to Erase the Terms 'Junior' and 'Senior', Calling Them 'Male-Centric'.  Last month, the faculty senate at Pennsylvania State University passed a resolution urging the school to erase certain words from its lexicon, due to the supposedly problematic legacy of the "typically male-centered world" out of which the terms grew.  The resolution aims at gendered pronouns such as "he/him/his" and "she/her/hers," but it also demonizes the four iconic terms for a person's years in college (and, often, high school): "freshman," "sophomore," "junior," and "senior."

Illinois Lawmaker Wants to Stop Hair Discrimination in Schools: 'These Policies Are Outdated'.  An Illinois lawmaker this week introduced a proposal that he said is aimed at stopping discrimination in schools based on a student's hair — citing his own experience growing up.  State Sen. Mike Simmons, a Democrat from the northside of Chicago, introduced his legislation on Monday [5/10/2021].  If passed, it would bar schools from having rules against "hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture," specifically referring to "hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists."

In the Name of Equity, California Will Discourage Students Who Are Gifted at Math.  California's Department of Education is working on a new framework for K-12 mathematics that discourages gifted students from enrolling in accelerated classes that study advanced concepts like calculus.  The draft of the framework is hundreds of pages long and covers a wide range of topics.  But its overriding concern is inequity.  The department is worried that too many students are sorted into different math tracks based on their natural abilities, which leads some to take calculus by their senior year of high school while others don't make it past basic algebra.  The department's solution is to prohibit any sorting until high school, keeping gifted kids in the same classrooms as their less mathematically inclined peers until at least grade nine.

The Decline of American Universities.  Not long ago, Americans used to idolize their universities.  Indeed, in science, math, engineering, medicine, and business, many of these meritocratic departments and schools remain among the top-ranked in the world. [...] But today's universities and colleges bear little if any resemblance to postwar higher education.  Even during the tumultuous 1960s, when campuses were plagued by radical protests and periodic violence, there was still institutionalized free speech.  An empirical college curriculum mostly survived the chaos of the '60s.  But it is gone now.  Instead, imagine a place where the certification of educational excellence, the Bachelor of Arts degree, is no guarantee that a graduate can speak, write, or communicate coherently or think inductively.

NY colleges increase cannabis courses amid weed legalization.  Higher education is taking on a new meaning in New York after the state legalized the recreational use of marijuana.  Colleges and universities are adding new courses about cannabis to the syllabus to prepare students for jobs in the budding industry.  And they're not just offering tokin' lessons on the history of weed, either.  Online Excelsior College is marketing new master's degree courses in marijuana leading to a graduate certificate in "Cannabis Control," as well as expanding undergraduate classes.  "We're in the space to educate people about the cannabis industry.  Cannabis will be a multi-billion industry in New York by 2025," Scott Dolan, the dean of Excelsior College's graduate program, told The [New York] Post.  Marijuana is expected to be sold in local stores and pot shops sometime next year.

A Great New Idea for Reducing Police Shootings.  [Scroll down]  The Left has absolutely no real problems it can find in today's America, so it fabricates new ones that do not exist:  Systemic racism.  White privilege.  A new falsified history called "The 1619 Project," to be taught to children instead of such toxicities as cursive writing and Dr. Seuss.  They fabricate "systemic racism."  They start canceling conservative professors, as though students' minds will be broadened in an echo chamber where they do not get challenged with a single antithesis in the five or six years they vegetate for their undergraduate degrees.  The Left changes school curricula to replace reading, writing, and arithmetic with critical race theory and gender-fluidity studies.  Faced with a single academic sanctuary from the madness — the final redoubt for normalcy in "STEM" courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — they now advance woke math, where precise accuracy no longer will exist.  Thus, 8+6 = 14 ... but that is only "your truth."  By contrast, "my truth" is that 8+6 = 3.  If you insist otherwise, you are manifesting White privilege.  And, of course, racism.

Virginia To Eliminate All Accelerated Maths Classes Prior To 11th Grade.  Because 'Equity'.  Apparently, and as in all things woke, the goal is to stoop to the lowest bar possible and then force everyone under it.  Equity apparently means methodically ensuring through systemic governmental and institutional power that everyone but the elite and ruling class is equally uneducated, ill-informed, and devoid of an ounce of curiosity or capacity for independent thought.

The Real Hate Crime Against Asians — Eliminating Accelerated Learning Classes.  Earlier this week, what The Washington Post charmingly called an "anti-hate" bill passed Congress [Bill to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans passes Senate with bipartisan support, by Paul Kane, April 22, 2021]. The lone vote against it was Josh Hawley, who continues to impress.  Of course, as the infantile framing suggests, this wasn't really about fighting crime.  The nationwide crime wave sparked by BLM (with mostly black victims but also quite a few Asian-Americans) continues to be simply irrelevant in national politics.  Instead, all this bill does is create more make-work jobs for policing thought and speech.

Dumbing down schools in the name of 'equity'.  The intellectually gifted among us are a precious resource needing careful cultivation, for they create new knowledge that grows our economy and keeps our national defense strong.  This is so obvious that it ought not even need stating.  Educating down to the level of the lowest common denominator will ultimately impoverish and militarily defeat us, a national catastrophe.

Virginia moving to eliminate all accelerated math courses before 11th grade as part of equity-focused plan.  The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is moving to eliminate all accelerated math options prior to 11th grade, effectively keeping higher-achieving students from advancing as they usually would in the school system.  Loudoun County school board member Ian Serotkin posted about the change via Facebook on Tuesday.  According to Serotkin, he learned of the change the night prior during a briefing from staff on the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative (VMPI).  "[A]s currently planned, this initiative will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade," he said.  "That is not an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this.  All 6th graders will take Foundational Concepts 6.  All 7th graders will take Foundational Concepts 7.  All 10th graders will take Essential Concepts 10.  Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses."

The 10 Radical New Rules That Are Changing America.  [#9] Ignorance is preferable to knowledge.  Neither statue-toppling, nor name-changing, nor the 1619 Project require any evidence or historical knowledge.  Heroes of the past were simple constructs.  Undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees reflect credentials, not knowledge.  The brand, not what created it, is all that matters.

Woke Colleges.  Did you take the SATs to try to get into college?  Your kids may not have to.  More than 1,300 schools have become "test optional," meaning students need not submit SAT scores.  Some, like the entire University of California system, now won't even look at scores.  There are seemingly legitimate reasons to oppose the tests.  Richer kids often get tutoring that gives them an advantage.

The Editor says...
That's not a "seemingly legitimate" reason to oppose standardized testing.  Tutoring helps, but paying attention in school, which anybody can do, and studying on one's own initiative (ditto), are enough to achieve a good SAT score.  Or you can do what I did in 1976, which was to guess carefully.

Oxford University May Scrap Sheet Music for Being Complicit in 'White Supremacy'.  The University of Oxford is considering proposals that would remove sheet music from its curriculum over woke claims that teaching the Western form of musical notation has roots in "colonialism" and "complicity in white supremacy".  In response to widespread Black Lives Matter protesters and riots last year in the United Kingdom, music educators at Oxford University have joined the wider iconoclastic movement which has been sweeping through British academia.

Oxford University wants to cancel musical notation.  One of the things about living in a totalitarian society is that, once something has been identified as problematic, everyone ends up competing to attack in the most aggressive way.  Fail to do so, and you may find yourself being the next person identified as problematic.  Perhaps that explains why the University of Oxford, founded in 1096, is contemplating ending sheet music because it's part of white supremacy.  To be honest, it's a little bit hard to make sense of the story because it's so screamingly stupid.  Apparently, music professors are claiming that all Western classical music has "complicity in white supremacy."  This seems to include such composers as Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and Handel, all of whom were living in continental Europe in the 17th through 19th centuries and none of whom had anything whatsoever to do with Blacks, Africa, or the slave trade.

One person complains, and stuff like this happens:
University of Oxford considers scrapping sheet music for being 'too colonial'.  The University of Oxford is considering scrapping sheet music for being 'too colonial' after staff raised concerns about the 'complicity in white supremacy' in music curriculums.  Professors are set to reform their music courses to move away from the classic repertoire, which includes the likes of Beethoven and Mozart, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.  University staff have argued that the current curriculum focuses on 'white European music from the slave period', according to The Telegraph.

Truth And Lies In A Digital Media Era.  We live in a time when the bulk of our fellow citizens have been indoctrinated rather than educated.  Rather than learning facts — including relatively objective history — they are encouraged to think of themselves in terms of relationships to one another.  What is important to them is what is trending in digital social media and who the influencers of the moment are.  Status comes from horizontal acclaim.  Digital social networks have replaced real social networks.  This leads to a society adrift, with people desperate to have someone to guide them.  Mainstream news organizations and digital social media platform providers seek to fill this need.

Covid And The Costs Of The Technocratic State.  [Scroll down]  What is also hidden are the costs associated with millions of children missing an academic year of school.  It is unlikely that schools will administer extensive standardized testing to assess the damage of a missed school year; if it is, the teachers' unions and school boards will bury the results.  Our leadership class has done something that has never been done before and the effects cannot be undone.  Particularly damaged in this debacle are children on the margins, those in single-parent households, and those with less access to resources such as laptops and high-speed internet.  In a school district where I live, the school board has decided to decrease online instruction so that those who have fallen behind will not fall further behind.  Instead of stepping up and filling the holes the lockdown and hybrid school models created, the teachers and administrators decided it was equitable to slow all students down in a perverse "flatten the curve" effort.

The American Police State Is Now Forming.  SAT exams originally established to foster equality and non-discrimination in college admissions are now being abandoned as — imagine — discriminatory, giving advantage to Asians and whites over Latinos and people of color.  Even a few short years ago, Howard Gardner's idea of multiple intelligences was being used to challenge the idea of the mind's executive function, measured by I.Q. tests, as invalid.  Because learning is supposedly based on "multiple intelligences," emphasis in classrooms was increasingly on group work, simple tasks like pasting pictures on colored paper to make booklets, or learning via computer "at one's own pace" with the teacher present in the classroom to promote student engagement.  Teachers are increasingly referred to as facilitators rather than as teachers.  Even without the so-called Equality Act, this writer knows an elementary school teacher whose school issued the rule that teachers could no longer say, "Girls line up here, and boys line up here."  A girls' line and a boys' line were no longer allowed.

If we took the future of the nation seriously, we would end public schools tomorrow.  A friend who volunteers at a Sunday school in Harlem for low-income children called me the other day, greatly upset:  She had been working with a pair of students who failed to learn the assigned reading, which was a short psalm or a prayer.  She thought perhaps the fourth graders, a boy and a girl, weren't applying themselves.  The truth was much worse:  The two children turned out to be illiterate.  Their public school teachers had passed them, grade by grade, into the fourth, and no one had ever taught them how to sound out words.  Their teachers graded spelling tests and assignments — they knew they were passing kids who couldn't read.  The two fourth graders didn't understand words like "will" or "firm."  They couldn't read them, and they didn't know what they meant.  Yet these children were intelligent.  They were eager — touchingly, pathetically eager.  And by the end of the hour with my friend they had made tangible progress.  But what is one hour, compared with 35 hours every week in public school?

Baltimore HS student fails all but 3 classes over 4 years, ranks near top half of class.  A Baltimore high school student failed all but three classes over four years and almost graduated near the top half of his class with a 0.13 GPA, according to a local report.  Tiffany France, the mother of the failing student, thought her son would be receiving his diploma from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in June.  However, she was surprised to discover that he is being sent back to the ninth grade to start over.  "He's stressed, and I am, too.  I told him I'm probably going to start crying," France told FOX 45 Baltimore.

A Baltimore public school has abandoned educating its students.  A Fox News station in Baltimore, Maryland, investigated a small, new(ish) public high school, in a politically correct "green" building, called the August Fells Savage institution of Visual Arts.  With only 419 students, it ought to be turning out well-educated young citizens, ready to take their place in the world.  However, as WBFF Fox 5 News discovered, this is a school that, despite a $5.3 million annual budget, passes students through like widgets in a factory, without bothering to educate them.  Sadly, the parents seem helpless to make a difference.  The WBFF report takes as its starting point the tragedy of a 17-year-old boy who was put back to the 9th grade because he had a 0.13 GPA.  Year after year, the school kept promoting him despite endless absences and failures, only to decide at the last minute that they couldn't even pretend to graduate him:  ["]In four years at Augusta Fells Savage Institute in west Baltimore, [Tiffany] France's 17-year-old son passed just three courses.  And despite failing courses like Algebra I, Spanish I and English II.  He was promoted to Algebra II, Spanish II, English III.  His transcripts show he's ranked near the top half of his class of 120 students with a 0.13 GPA.  And with just 2.5 credits, he's just been moved back to ninth grade.["]  Did you catch that bit about the young man's class ranking?  Despite his dismal GPA, 58 students — almost half of the senior class — had lower GPAs than he did.

The Editor says...
The news media seems to be trying to make the young sluggard appear to be the victim of a terrible school.  His mother is, too.  Yes, the school promoted him (and half of his classmates) again and again without justification.  But the young loafer has only himself to blame for his poor academic performance.  Unfortunately, if he had applied himself and ended up as valedictorian, his buddies would have accused him of acting white.

Oregon Promotes 'Dismantling Racism' in Math Instruction.  One might well ask, how can math — which more than any other subject deals in the realm of pure logic — possibly be racist?  The "toolkit" provided as a resource for the first course session is happy to answer this question.  "We see white supremacy culture show up in the mathematics classroom even as we carry out our professional responsibilities" explains the guide.  Educators must therefore take on the responsibility for "visibilizing the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture with respect to math."  These "toxic characteristics" include basic academic principles such as:
    The focus is on getting the "right" answer.
    Teachers are teachers and students are learners.
    Independent practice is valued over teamwork or collaboration.
    Students are required to "show their work."
    Grading practices are focused on lack of knowledge.
    "Real-world math" is valued over math in the real world.
    Students are tracked (into courses/pathways and within the classroom).
    Participation structures reinforce dominant ways of being.
The toolkit goes on to state that "The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so.  Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict."

Now's Our Chance To Create Public School Alternatives.  Throughout parts of the United States, children have not been in school for a year.  Instead, they are expected to daily attend zoom classes.  What that means in practical terms is that many kids sit somewhere at home, log in to class, turn off the camera, and go back to bed or play games on their phone throughout the "school" day. [...] Many parents other than long-time conservatives are starting to realize the system is rotten to its core.  They see teachers demanding to be in the front of the line to get vaccines, yet still refusing to enter the classroom for "safety."

Math: The Latest Battleground in the War Against Truth.  Across America, math teaching practices that were considered essential are suddenly being condemned as racist, requiring students to display the steps in solving a problem is now deemed white supremacist; teachers' corrections, and even the concept of a correct answer, are considered suspect or undesirable; polite interaction, raising hands before commenting or asking questions, and maintaining order in the classroom are viewed as reinforcing paternalism and condemned as "power hoarding."  This idiocy has swept, among others, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the fruit of the worst practices of monopolistic capitalism but now quick to align itself with left-liberal, pseudo-egalitarian causes.  The foundation is providing more than $140 million to 'A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,' an organization of 25 educational institutions that contend that math is synonymous with white supremacy and upholds "capitalist, imperialistic and racist" views.  Pathway offers a five-part toolkit and videoconferences to make educators "reflect on their own biases" and commit to advance math "equity" by understanding that students of color use math differently than do white students.

[The] Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [is] Behind [the] 'Anti-Racist' Math Push.  A radical new push to purge math curricula of allegedly racist practices like showing your work and finding the correct answer is bankrolled by one of the nation's most prominent nonprofits:  the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The Gates Foundation is the only donor mentioned on the homepage of A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, a group of 25 education organizations whose curriculum states that asking students to show their work and find the right answer is an inherently racist practice.  Over the past decade, the Gates Foundation has given upward of $140 million to some of the groups behind Pathway, whose antiracist resources are the basis for a new teacher training course offered by the Oregon Department of Education.  The Education Trust, a California-based group that promoted the September release of Pathway's antiracist "toolkit," has received $86 million from the Gates Foundation, including a $3.6 million grant awarded in June.

Oregon and Bill Gates Lead the Radical Left's Assault on Math.  Parents will be grieving the little Einsteins who will never be if atrocious ideas, such as that mathematics "uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views," continue to be embraced by educators and school administrators in America.  According to Nation and State, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is at the forefront of funding new initiatives designed to root out racism in the sciences.  The curriculum from the group A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction states that "asking students to show their work and find the right answer is an inherently racist practice."  The Gates Foundation is listed as the organization's sole donor.  Not surprisingly, Oregon is following California's lead by pushing far-left ideologies and implementing radical curricula, aimed at both teachers and children.  On February 5, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) sent its math educators an invitation to participate in the California-based online Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course. [...] This "virtual micro-course for professionals looking for a deeper dive into equity work" will teach educators the "key tools for engagement to develop strategies to improve equitable outcomes for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students."  Under the pretense of advancing equity and inclusivity, the course is tailored exclusively to children of specific ethnicities.  It is steeped in academic jargon intended to confuse parents and educators so they may not question the enormity of the changes to standard math curriculum.

Why Math Is Racist.  This is actually a claim that is being made often these days:  the sciences in general, and math in particular, are racist. [...] Liberals believe that scientific and mathematical talent are distributed unequally among the races, with Asians being well-endowed in those areas, and blacks below average.  Therefore, it is appropriate to discriminate against Asians and to lower standards for blacks — e.g., by pretending that it is unimportant to get the right answer to a math problem.  Are they right?  I doubt it.

Woke teachers want Shakespeare cut from curriculum: 'This is about White supremacy'.  The crown teachers once put on William Shakespeare now lies uneasy upon his head as the English playwright comes under assault from teachers who fault his unwoke attitudes regarding race, sexuality, gender and class.  For the new breed of teachers, Shakespeare is seen less as an icon of literature and more as a tool of imperial oppression, an author who should be dissected in class or banished from the curriculum entirely.  "This is about white supremacy and colonization," declared the teachers who founded #DisruptTexts, a group that wants staples of Western literature removed or subjected to withering criticism.

The Sabotage of Public Education.  For example, Operation Follow-Through was the biggest, most systematic testing in American education, continuing for ten years, 1967 to 1977. This research showed absolutely that common sense, often called Direct Instruction, works best.  Quite simply, that's where a teacher teaches, and students learn.  Honest educators would say, okay, that's what works best.  Let's use it.  Our educators said no such thing, which is shocking. [...] The overall pattern is clear.  The methods that might commonly be called Progressive or Modern are failures.  It's as if these educators wanted to perfect methods sure not to work.  Don't underestimate their subversive tendencies.  They had already put sight-words in public schools to defeat phonics; in 1962, these people had introduced New Math as a way to keep children from learning arithmetic (both conclusions based on this writer's research). So we can sense they thought they were on a roll, and all they had to do was promote anything but Direct Instruction.

Why I Am Joining The Jan. 6 DC March For Trump.  [Scroll down]  Hoping for the best, I enrolled my children in public elementary school that year.  Over the course of five years, I watched a son be bullied so badly by other students and his own teacher that I tried homeschooling just to see him smile again.  I watched my other son be left behind in math to the point that he couldn't add single-digit numbers properly.  I watched a daughter bring home papers about global warming and bad white people who hurt Native Americans.  I joined the parent-teacher association only to find that fixing these issues wouldn't happen there because there were no issues more important than selling wrapping paper to buy a new gymnasium and computers to make sure we had the same equipment other schools did.  I saw no future for myself or my children there, so I quit the system.

Defenders of Civilization?  The American university, once the global model of higher education, is in veritable shambles in ways that translate the value of its steep tuition reduced to laptop zooming.  There is no First Amendment on campus.  The culture of the Salem Witch Trials applies: save yourself by going woke while going on the offensive to accuse others of witchcraft.  Administration has become a memo-writing contest, as both endangered and aspiring white males issue edicts condemning items in the news to illustrate their superior woke bona fides.  Most pay as much attention to them as did the vandals to purple toga magistrates reading edicts to the wind in Rome circa fifth-century A.D.  We hope only that the firebreaks thrown up around the social sciences and humanities can prevent their infectious nihilism from crossing into the sciences and professional schools.  What is most striking is the self-righteousness of the university faculty, administration, and students, despite their collective culpability for the current chaos.

Hey, Northwestern students, choose your own grade point average!.  As faculty members at Northwestern, and as officers in the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors, we worry that a surprise grade change policy announced earlier this fall shamelessly eviscerates Northwestern's educational mission.  In doing so, we believe, it bolsters the claim by the retired lecturer, Joseph Epstein, that the university lacks standards.  This fall, Northwestern University Provost Kathleen Hagerty announced that students now can choose "Credit" instead of a letter grade — after those letter grades have been awarded and seen by the students — for up to one third of their courses in the current school year.  This is true even for courses currently not eligible for "Pass/No Pass" options.

Reject Woke Civics.  A national movement to mandate standards for the teaching of Civics and History is gaining momentum.  No conservative should support it.  For any conservative who has been paying attention to the education wars, no further explanation should be required.  For those who haven't been, [a recent] column by Stanley Kurtz is essential reading.  The rest of us should read it to learn that things are even worse than we think.

Texas cancels A-F accountability grades for schools, keeps STAAR for students.  Texas students will still take STAAR tests this school year, but their campuses and districts won't be graded by the state.  The Texas Education Agency announced the decision Thursday afternoon [12/10/2020], saying that testing data is necessary to show the impact of the pandemic on student learning.  The pandemic "has disrupted school operations in fundamental ways that have often been outside the control of our school leaders, making it far more difficult to use these ratings as a tool to support student academic growth," education commissioner Mike Morath said in a statement.

Most of us would fail the U.S. citizenship test, survey finds.  Think you know your U.S. history and government?  Then why does the flag have 13 stripes?  What are the three branches of government?  Who did the United States fight in World War II?  A new poll shows that only a little over a third of Americans would pass a basic multiple choice U.S. citizenship test, modeled after the one taken by immigrants in the process of naturalization.  The survey, released Oct. 3 by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation with the research firm Lincoln Park Strategies, sampled 1,000 American adults.  It showed that only 36 percent actually passed the test.

The Deplatforming of the American Mind.  Contra the contemporary teaching of U.S. history classrooms, slavery wasn't unique to the American experience.  By the time of the very first colonies on North American soil, centuries before the Founders lived, slavery had been around a long, long time.  America's Founders sowed the seeds of slavery's end.  A Christian, William Wilberforce, was England's leading abolitionist in the 18th century.  Do we teach this now?  I went through 12 years of public school and never once heard Wilberforce's name.

Discipline Suffers as San Diego Schools Adopt 'Anti-Racism' Grading System.  The San Diego Unified School District has approved a change to their grading system that coincides with broader ideas of restorative justice and "anti-racism." They will do this by no longer letting late assignments and bad behavior in the classroom affect grades.  Students also won't be penalized for not showing up to class at all.  Only "mastery" of a subject, whatever that means, will count for grading purposes.  Students will also receive a separate grade for "citizenship."  This change was made, according to the San Diego Union Tribune, because of data showing that there are disparities between the number of white and minority students who receive "D" and "F" grades.

Black Education Matters.  Most Americans would probably be shocked and angry if they knew all the dirty tricks used to sabotage charter schools that are successfully educating low-income minority children.  This is not "systemic racism."  It is plain old selfishness on the part of traditional public school officials and teachers unions protecting their own vested interests.  Most of us might see charter schools that succeed where traditional public schools have failed as welcome news, especially in minority communities where there is so much bad news.  But, when there are a million public school students on waiting lists to get into charter schools nationwide, that amounts to many billions of dollars a year that traditional public schools would lose, if all those students could actually transfer.  That would represent a lot of jobs lost in traditional public schools.  It would also represent a lot of union dues lost, because most charter school teachers do not belong to a union.  The success of many charter schools is definitely unwelcome news to both traditional public school officials and teachers unions.

A recent study has determined that a majority of college undergrads are complete morons.  Not only do majorities of undergrads believe America is racist, that rioting and looting is justified, and that people who never owned slaves need to give money to people who never were slaves because of slavery, they also think we should defund the police.  Because of course we should. [...] Believe the STEM majors provide a safe harbor from the collectivist groupthink?  It would be a comforting thought, but no.  A majority of mathematics and engineering majors believe rioting and looting is justified due to the targeting of blacks by police despite there being direct and enduring evidence to the contrary.

Submitting to Unrule.  With discussions of racial injustice dominating headlines, some of America's most successful elementary and secondary schools are caving to progressive pressure and renouncing what sets them apart:  high behavioral standards.  As America's largest and arguably most successful charter school system, KIPP serves more than 100,000 students at 242 schools.  In July, however, it renounced its revered slogan: "work hard, be nice."  The justification?  It fosters "inequitable discipline practices" and places too much value on being "compliant and submissive."  Uncommon Schools followed this lead in August, posting an open letter detailing its intention to loosen behavioral norms.  KIPP led a once-bipartisan movement to reshape American education.  Uncommon perfected the craft and published bestselling books detailing its behavioral and academic methods — few teachers remain unaware of Doug Lemov's Teach Like a Champion. KIPP and Uncommon are among America's most influential schools; their apparent turn against themselves signals a loss not just for their students but also for the thousands of schools inspired by their example.

San Diego schools ditch 'punitive' traditional grades due to racial disparities.  Secondary schools in the San Diego Unified School District have jettisoned traditional grades of A, B, C, etc. due to significant racial disparities.  According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, black, Hispanic and Native students are much more likely to "be given" (note: not "earned") poor or failing grades than their white and Asian peers.  A main issue is teachers incorporating "non-academic" factors into a student's grade, such as completion of homework and classroom behavior.  Another is not providing students with chances to rectify mistakes on assessments.  "Experts" say doing this disadvantages students who have tough home lives, and doesn't allow them to adequately rectify an early poor academic situation.

Donald Trump Will Ride a Coyote to Victory.  Our nation is run, top to bottom, by ignorant, smug elitists like these.  They have jumped through the right hoops, made the right connections, and signaled the right set of virtues.  Millions of people have been rewarded with high salaries, cultural and political power for engaging in these rituals.  They've earned journalism degrees without reading any history, education degrees without logic classes, multicultural diplomas having mastered no foreign languages.  They know almost ... nothing, in fact.  Their status as "intellectuals" is an honorary degree they earned by showing up and bleating in unison, "Four legs GOOD, two legs B-A-A-A-A-A-D."  And they hold the rest of us in contempt.  They're not just ruthless, they're shameless.

Academic Teachers and Political Activists.  Public concern about higher education is clearly widespread.  The causes are many: ugly treatment of visiting speakers, a stifling political uniformity resulting in ideological extremism and hatred, and fringe radical ideas seeping out of the campuses into the wider world.  Less publicly visible are numerous recent studies that tell us how little most recent graduates have benefited from higher education.  They record astonishing deficiencies in reasoning, writing, reading, basic knowledge, and civics.  But with all this, the public is still uncertain.  Most see the symptoms but don't quite know what to make of them, and so continue to send their children to college.  Because they don't have a firm grasp of the extent or nature of the rot, they pay up and hope for the best.

The San Francisco School Board is using Covid to destroy a good school.  The San Francisco Unified School District is using the Wuhan virus as an excuse to finish destroying what was once one of the best public high schools in the country.  Those who object have gotten a snootful of Critical Race Theory (CRT) for daring to believe in academic excellence.  Lowell High School in San Francisco, founded in 1856, is the oldest still-existing public high school west of the Mississippi. [...] Unlike other public schools, attendance at Lowell wasn't determined by neighborhood proximity.  Instead, students needed to be the top graduates of their junior high schools to enter.  In the 1960s, Lowell had a disproportionate number of Jewish students.  By the 1970s, Lowell was a majority Asian school.  The San Francisco School Board has long despised Lowell's elitism, as well as the fact that only a small number of black students have qualified for admission.  Over the years, the Board has made every effort to destroy Lowell's unique status as one of America's top public schools.

Why Johnny Still Can't Read.  Public schools from coast to coast are failing to teach young students the most basic skill they need to succeed in school and life: reading.  This failure is widespread, tragic, and mostly unnecessary.  We know how to teach reading, but many school administrators refuse to use the proven methods.  The extent of this self-inflicted catastrophe, which has ruined countless lives, was driven home to me again when the new school year began several weeks ago.  Some 20 years ago I founded the Roger Bacon Academy (RBA), which manages a family of four charter schools in southeastern North Carolina.  This year, for the first time in RBA's history, the schools enrolled large numbers of students who transferred from the traditional county public schools.  Of the 168 first- and second-grade transfer students, 75 (approx. 45 percent) could not pass the basic readiness assessment to begin kindergarten-level reading instruction.

Children who write by hand learn and remember more than those that use computers.  Approximately 45 US states do not require schools to teach students handwriting, but a new study suggests the skill is vital to a child's development.  Following an examination of brain activity, researchers found using a pen and paper helps children learn more and remember better than if they record information on a computer.  The data showed an increase of activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain, which is involved with processing, attention and language.

Revolution 2020.  In 1950, Americans at all levels of government spent 2% of GDP on K-12 education and 0.37% on higher education.  In our time we spend 4.4% on K-12 and 1.9% on higher education, of a GDP that is about ten times as large.  By any measure, the increases have been huge.  These were supposed to uplift Americans intellectually and (maybe) morally.  But they have dumbed down the nation to the point of mass illiteracy at the bottom and, at the top, created herds of ignorant, haughty, debt-ridden college graduates, fit only to enforce government edicts against Americans they despise.  But the money also built up and entitled a class of monied, entitled, self-indulgent educrats — mostly administrators.  U.S. college towns nowadays are islands of luxury, ease, and hate.  They act as the ruling class's gatekeepers.

Merit on the Ropes.  Last year, students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, one of the nation's most prestigious public schools, marked a map hanging in a hallway with their families' far-flung places of origin: from Seoul to Beijing to Hyderabad.  Twenty years ago, 70 percent of TJ students were white; today, 79 percent are minority, most from Asian immigrant families.  TJ is a testament to American meritocracy's melting pot — but last week, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced a plan to reduce the number of Asian students at this selective high school. [...] The Left has redefined educational "equity" to mean not just lifting the bottom up but also tearing the top down.  Two weeks ago, in a town hall with TJ students, Virginia Education secretary Atif Qarni compared students who study with private tutors to athletes who take illegal "performance enhancement drugs."

Self-censorship in the US.  [Scroll down]  The survey also found that younger Americans under 30 were more concerned than older Americans that their political opinions could harm their careers.  That young people especially are afraid to speak their minds — the survey suggests this is because they "have spent more time in America's universities" — is particularly worrying for the future robustness of American democracy.  It is, however, not surprising.  American campuses have steered a "leftist" course for decades.  The tilt has had familiar consequences:  the proliferation on campus of "safe spaces", trigger warnings, de-platforming of conservative voices and a "cancel culture" aimed at professors and students who do not conform to an on-campus political orthodoxy that has become increasingly totalitarian.

A Collection of Liars.  [Scroll down]  The dizzy proliferation of "studies" programs is an important sign of this decay.  Women's studies, LGBTQ+ studies, African-American studies, Chicano studies, peace studies, textual studies: the metastasis of these and other such pseudo-subjects in the academy betokens not the extension but the breakdown of academic disciplines.  It is worth stressing that such programs, though advertised as "cross-disciplinary," in reality are anti-disciplinary; they require not the mastery of multiple disciplines but the abandonment of disciplinary rigor for the sake of fostering a prescribed ideology.  The paradigm of all such efforts is "cultural studies," an alarmingly popular intellectual solvent that is characterized not by its subject — which can be anything at all — but by its attitude.  The two mandatory ingredients for cultural studies are 1) political animus and 2) hostility to factual truth.  "Content" is entirely discretionary.

Let's Talk About the 'Systemic Racism' of Public Schooling.  Something called systemic racism has been ubiquitous in the news recently.  Now, I don't really know what "systemic racism" means, but if you want to talk about the biggest driver of harm to people with dark skin, one need look no further than the K-12 public school system.  The schools kids in poor, urban, and largely minority neighborhoods are forced to attend are a national disgrace.  It is not uncommon to find schools where more than 90 percent of all students are not proficient in any subject.  There can only be two explanations.  Either these kids are simply too dumb to learn much of anything or they are getting screwed by the education system.  And since the first explanation is preposterous, the evidence is overwhelming that it is the second.

The Editor says...
Mrs. Editor was a public school teacher briefly, many years ago.  The notion that the "kids are simply too dumb" is not entirely out of the question, but in most cases, the kids aren't getting an education because they won't sit still, listen to instruction, refrain from cheating, put their cell phones away, and stop interacting with their classmates as if they're all in an alcohol-free singles bar.  In other words, they act like godless, fatherless hoodlums who have never had any discipline.  For example, the kids routinely confer with one another via text messages for clues about the correct answers to written tests.  (For multiple-choice tests, each student should have the same questions as the other students, but in a different random order.  How hard could that be?)  There is an easy solution to cheating via text messages, but it's not legal in this country:  Jam all the cell phone signals in the room.  It is entirely feasible.  (Use your favorite non-Google search engine and look for The Wave Bubble.)

Judge bars University of California from all use of SAT, ACT scores in admissions.  The University of California, which has already stopped requiring applicants to take the SAT or ACT, must go further and prohibit campuses from allowing prospective students to submit their scores, a judge ruled Tuesday [9/1/2020] in a victory for students with disabilities.  The UC regents voted in May to drop the Scholastic Aptitude Test and American College Testing exam as admissions requirements, in response to complaints by low-income, minority and disabled students that the standardized tests were unfair to applicants who could not afford preparation classes and tutors, or whose first language was not English.  The students sued in December.  But the regents allowed individual campuses to let students submit their SAT and ACT scores voluntarily in applications for 2021 and 2022, after which the university would no longer accept scores.

A Simple Lesson in Home Learning.  Full Disclosure:  I possess three degrees in Education, including a Ph.D. But it doesn't take degrees in education, or any field for that matter, to know the difference between right and wrong.  Now that I am homeschooling two elementary-school-aged family members (who are not my children) as their schools and surrounding districts have chosen to be locked down for no health-related reason, I have had a chance to see inside their Central-Ohio elementary school dynamic and watch their teachers in action, within an online environment.  With just one week, I have witnessed the full-blown absence of formal instruction and the dumbing down of academic content.  While I fully understand that things may be different if class were in full session, I also know that many vigilant parents are witnessing their children's teachers and their levels of instruction, in particular within an online environment, for the very first time.  With this point aside, what I have witnessed is appalling, embarrassing, and it demonstrates a total lack of rigor that education at any level should possess.  Teaching within an online environment is not an excuse for a lack of organization or rigorous direction.

The Breathtaking Ignorance and Gullibility of America's Elites.  There is little doubt that a major contributing factor to the ever-growing ignorance of much of the native-born citizenry can be traced back to Marxist leaning education establishment that has been increasingly focused, for the past 45 years, on indoctrination not education.  In the 1960's and 70's the United States had the best educated young people on the planet ranking at or near the top in math, reading and science.  However, by 2015 out of 70 developed countries throughout the world, American 15-year-olds ranked 38th in math, 24th in reading and 24th in science.  Concurrent with the precipitous drop in these core subjects, curricula previously used for over a century in secondary and higher education, designed to foster appreciation of the Judeo-Christian basis of the nation's founding as well as the development of reason and independent thinking by the students, was deliberately abandoned.  Most notably at the nation's colleges and universities.  In its place was an emphasis on revisionist American history and so-called self-esteem and its corollary, victimhood.  All with an eye toward an eventual fundamental transformation of the United States.

A New Consciousness Is Replacing Education.  [Scroll down]  Even if students are home with "distance learning," do not assume that they are applying themselves in a determined, steadfast way.  For vast numbers of students, schools and "education" are just serving as an expensive babysitting institution.  Then, too, using their cell phones since childhood has inculcated a sense of power and knowing something at a very young age, although in fact vast numbers of students are barely literate.  They can get the cartoon characters to leap or die at will on their puerile screens.  Instead of playing outside and becoming socialized, and instead of doing homework and hitting the books, they are becoming — to coin a term — virtualized.  Their reality is a split screen — people and things on one side lie outside the child and adolescent world, and mostly cannot be controlled.  Then the cell phone and videogame reality over which they have almost total control is on the other side of the reality dichotomy.  This amazing split between personal and physical reality and the reality of the virtual world is incipient schizophrenia.

A New Consciousness Is Replacing Education.  The public does not know that for many schools K-12, when the schools are open under normal circumstances, what is called "learning" is minimal.  At least half of the students are in a non-educational or anti-educational mode.  This reality is never mentioned when talking about opening or not opening schools.  Adding in masks, plastic dividers, and rules for social distancing in NYC and other madhouse urban schools will, independent of fears about COVID, result in a doubling down on the insanity.  All day long, teachers are struggling to have "order."  The cursing, mouthing off, restlessness, inattention, screaming, constant talking, lack of homework, assaults, robberies and attempted robberies, throwing of paper and objects, lack of basic supplies, etc. are more typical of the time in class in many schools than the fantasy of "classroom learning."  Yet I never see this reality mentioned.

Barbers Hill ISD's dress code policy against dreadlocks is discriminatory, federal judge rules.  Barbers Hill ISD's dress code policy that forbids long dreadlocks has been ruled discriminatory by a federal judge, a month after the district's board of trustees voted to keep the policy.  The district, which is located about an hour east of Houston in Mont Belvieu, made national headlines earlier this year when two students, cousins Kaden Bradford and De'Andre Arnold, spoke out against its dreadlock policy after both were faced with in-school suspension unless they cut their locks.  Arnold was also banned from walking in his graduation ceremony and Bradford was prohibited from participating in school activities.

Stanford Art Professor:  Coloring Books Have A Sinister Effect:  Inducing Submission.  In a piece originally titled "There's A Sinister Reason Coloring Books Are So Popular In Quarantine," a professor who teaches the history of art, ideas, and technology at Stanford University and also writes for The Guardian and Vogue posits a unique take:  "What if the recent popularity of coloring books comes not from the creativity they purportedly inspire, but from the submission they induce?"  In the piece, later retitled "The Dark, Forgotten History of Coloring Books," Emanuele Lugli asserts, "This, after all, has been their mission from the start.  It may be lost to the fans of coloring books that their success peaked in the 19th century, when such publications taught children how to behave.  And obedience seems to be what many of us crave in these pandemic days."

If All Men are Created Equal, Why Do We Need Grades?  The book [The Recovery of the West] was published in 1941.  A teacher in a typical English school at that time would be very familiar with individual differences in ability because grading practices were unforgiving.  After every exam, pupils' "marks" would typically be posted outside the classroom so that everyone could see just how good he or she was in relation to everybody else.  The results of national high-stakes A-Level (college-entrance) examinations were posted publicly outside the University of London Senate house.  No effort was made to hide the performance of individual students from public view.  Indeed, making individual results public was regarded as a useful incentive to effort.  Grades were treated in much the same way in U.S. colleges in the 1960s:  Results after each exam were posted with students' names.  But this practice began to run into difficulties because it made students, or at least those lower down in the grade list, unhappy.  The first step to meet this objection was to anonymize the grades by using students' Social Security numbers.  A student could still see how she was doing in relation to others, but not vice versa.  But of course, that was not satisfactory, partly because Social Security numbers, even without the name of the student, could pose a "security risk."  I'm not sure just what kind of risk, but the prospect of any risk at all, combined with the by-now almost universal aversion to ranking, was enough to stop any kind of public posting at all.

Johnny & Susie are Illiterate and Can't Do Maff.  American education, once a shining beacon, has now devolved into mass indoctrination and a mill of idiots.  Gone is any focus on math, science, history (reality as it is, not as some wish it to be), or grammar studies. [...] Cutting the sports budget in this school district triggered a massive outcry from parents.  Asking them to make sure Johnny or Susie brought a [...] pencil to class was like asking them to donate a kidney.  It was never, ever their child's fault that their homework went undone.  No, somehow the teacher was to blame.  Children who came from a housing project in the same town were known to be raised by a grandmother or foster parent.  These children were almost always given a free pass.  They were on some kind of IEP.  They got additional time for tests, homework, and could do whatever they wanted in class.  Rather than work with them to instill a love of learning, they were taught to be victims who apparently could not excel in school.

Gingrich: We're Seeing the 'Dumbing Down of America for Three Generations'.  Friday [8/7/2020] on Fox News Channel's "The Ingraham Angle," former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich discussed the push made by the progressive left in America to undermine the traditional education system.  Host Laura Ingraham mentioned an effort to eliminate grammar and history because of racism concerns.  Gingrich called that a product of the "dumbing down" of the country through three generations of indoctrination and groupthink in America's education system.

To Save America, Defund the Schools.  I've just been informed by a friend that school's closed this year, but you can send your kid to daycare — in the closed school.  For money.  There are online classes, of course — but why?  They're terrible for children, and we know now that the disease itself isn't the issue.  Matt Walsh reports that kids are three times more likely to die of the flu than COVID-19.  So we know that schools aren't being closed for their safety.  We heard that childcare costs hundreds a month, per kid, which we know parents can't pay, since many of them are too poor.  We heard that teachers are essential and then were told, by the teachers, that they're inessential.  L.A. County told us they'd take the children back — if we could stop all "police brutality" and adopt universal health care and mail-in voting.  The solution to this whole fraud is simple.  Truth is, our teachers are overpaid and incompetent.  Why send your kid back to school when, according to The Root, 75% of all black boys in California, where state spending on students is enormous, can't read or write proficiently?  Why put your kids in a classroom where there are 30 students to one teacher?  Or where you're a white God-fearing conservative, and the teacher hates America?  Or where teachers can't discipline children because doing so is "racist"?  Or where you don't have the time to meet and assess all the teachers?  Or where grades are curved to pass dunces?

This is one way to keep public school kids from knowing the "new normal" isn't normal at all:
Chicago-Area Leaders Call for Illinois to Abolish History Classes.  Leaders in education, politics and other areas gathered in suburban Evanston Sunday to ask that the Illinois State Board of Education change the history curriculum at schools statewide, and temporarily halt instruction until an alternative is decided upon.  At a news conference, State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford said current history teachings lead to a racist society and overlook the contributions of women and minorities.  Before the event Sunday [8/2/2020], Rep. Ford's office distributed a news release "Rep. Ford Today in Evanston to Call for the Abolishment of History Classes in Illinois Schools," in which Ford asked the ISBOE and school districts to immediately remove history curriculum and books that "unfairly communicate" history "until a suitable alternative is developed."

Reversing the trend of liberal indoctrination.  Liberal indoctrination has been going on for decades, and when you factor this in with the failures of the education system as a whole, it is little wonder why we are witnessing a hatred of America today.  The results are clear.  According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, only 23 percent of graduating seniors are proficient in Government and Civics, and 11 percent are proficient in American History.  This is the "largest ongoing assessment of what U.S. students know and can do."  These numbers have remained stagnant for quite some time, and they are a national embarrassment, but it's something I have witnessed first-hand each and every semester.

Universities Brand 'Drama Therapy' And 'Journalism' as STEM Majors to Circumvent Immigration Policy.  Several American universities are expanding the scope of their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an attempt to circumvent U.S. immigration law, which allows international students who major in STEM subjects to stay in the country two years longer than counterparts who major in the humanities.  New York University, for example, now includes journalism, classics, and drama therapy under its STEM umbrella.  NYU is one of a number of universities exploiting a U.S. immigration policy that requires most international students to leave the country a year after finishing their studies — but permits those who studied STEM disciplines to work for an additional two years.  The policy is part of the Department of Homeland Security's Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which aims to shore up the United States' supply of engineers and tech workers.

In my Consititutional Law class, we didn't read the Constitution.  Law school is a notorious scam.  In the course of three years, young victims pay for courses in property law but don't learn how to buy a house.  They take courses in contract law but are never taught how to write one.  They take courses in litigation procedures but in a courtroom they literally don't know when to stand up and when to sit down.  In fact, it's common for students to graduate without having seen the inside of a courtroom.  Never entrust a recent law school graduate with any legal matters.  If we trained doctors the way we train lawyers, surgeons would graduate medical school without knowing how to wash their hands or which end of a scalpel is for holding and which end is for cutting.

Basketball Coaches Accuse SAT Of Racism So They Can Recruit Dumb Jocks.  A proposal recently released by The National Association of Basketball Coaches requests the NCAA remove an eligibility requirement to submit SAT or ACT scores.  In the proposal, put forth by the Committee on Racial Reconciliation, the NABC decries the two tests as wicked forces of institutional racism that should be "jettisoned for that reason alone."  The committee was formed last month, and the proposal shows it.  Their argument runs like this: the SAT was created in 1926 by the eugenicist Carl Brigham.  Brigham intended the test to demonstrate the racial superiority of white blood.  His project, of course, failed.  Brigham himself admitted that the test did not measure innate ability but "a composite including schooling, family background, and familiarity with English."  Unsurprisingly, Brigham's conclusion is rather convenient for his position.  It does not admit that black students contain the capacity to succeed, nor does it admit that white students are not innately superior, only accidentally.  In other words, Brigham lamented that his test was not racist enough.

Brooklyn College's 'anti-racist agenda' to address profs who give too many low grades.  Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson recently announced that the school had "raised funds" to address professors who have given a large quantity of D's and F's, and/or have high "racial disparities in outcomes."  In a message titled "Enacting an Anti-Racist Agenda at Brooklyn College," Anderson wrote the "uprisings against racial violence around the world" means that her school "must address how racism has shaped [the college's] history and how it continues to infect [its] present."

University agrees that black students should be graded differently.  Students at the University of Washington are demanding that black students should not face difficult exams and time constraints because they are too "busy fighting for [their] rights to sit down and study".

Watch:  College Kids Try to Explain What the 4th of July Is About, Fail Miserably.  We don't expect college to educate kids on America's history, in fact, we assume the opposite will happen.  Turns out that high school isn't much better either.  A recent man on the street interview by Campus Reform saw many college-aged kids asked about what they think of America, its history, and what the 4th of July means.  Nearly all of them showed an astounding level of ignorance, and not even just ignorance, but disinformation.  Most didn't know the 4th of July celebrates the day we declared independence, and all but one couldn't even come close to guessing the year.  Guesses as to which war helped us gain our independence ranged from the Civil War to World War 2.  What they didn't know isn't even as shocking as what they thought they knew.  [Video clip]

Hey, Black Lives Matter:  Do You Really Want China to Run the World?  China is a ruthless meritocracy.  Ten million high-school students take the gaokao (college entrance exam) each year, with math questions a lot tougher than our Graduate Record Examination.  The average Chinese family spends the equivalent of a year's income on tutoring.  A third of Chinese undergraduates major in engineering, and China graduates six times as many STEM BAs as the U.S. each year — more than the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Europe combined.  A lot of their teachers hold doctorates from top U.S. universities, where we trained up a world-class faculty for Chinese universities (which now rank among the world's best in STEM according to all the Western ratings).  Meanwhile, the University of California is "phasing out" standardized exam (SAT and ACT) scores as a criterion for admission, in order to build a Potemkin village of equality.  China is building up its universities and we are destroying ours.  Who do you think will run the world a couple of decades from now?

UCLA professor suspended after refusing leniency for black students.  A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, says he was suspended from his job after refusing a student's request to effectively cancel final exams for black students amid protests over the death of George Floyd.  "I have been placed on involuntary leave for three weeks, and it looks like it may end up being more than that," Gordon Klein, who teaches accounting at the school, told The [New York] Post.  Klein — whom students slammed as "racist" and "dismissive" — was also placed under police protection at his Malibu home after receiving threats from critics furious over the email exchange, the Free Beacon reported.

The war on standards, college math edition.  I'm pretty sure I've told the story on Power Line of how, years ago, a major university dumbed down its graduate program in public policy, but I don't think I've told it recently.  The university in question had always required students in the program to take and pass a course in econometrics.  The course was taught by a good friend of mine (a liberal).  The program used racial preferences to boost the number of African-American students, which was fine with my friend.  However, many of the students admitted thanks to the preferences struggled with his econometrics course which, inherently, was math intensive.  The university asked him to make the course easier.  My friend was willing to make it a little easier.  A little easier didn't work.  Some beneficiaries of the preferences still couldn't pass the course and thus couldn't meet the graduation requirements.  Finally, the university dropped econometrics as a requirement.  My friend resigned and went back to the full time teaching of undergrads who wanted to take his courses.

Elon Musk Says Take the Red Pill.  [Scroll down]  What's all this got to do with public schools?  Everything.  They are the perfect embodiment of a tyrannical P.C. culture, which populism and conservatism should oppose.  Go ahead: take the red pill, and grapple with the shocking truths of K-12 malfeasance.  The professors and bureaucrats who mismanage our public schools claim they care about education, your kids, and our country.  A steady diet of blue pills makes that sound reasonable.  It took years for me to be red-pilled.  Finally, I couldn't escape the conviction that deep down in their Progressive hearts, our professors of education are actively hostile to kids, this country, and education as traditionally defined.  When you take the red pill, you see with clarity that millions of American children don't learn to read for a horrifyingly specific reason.  No, it's not bad eyesight or a genuine disability.  It's because American public schools insist on using a method known not to work.  Whole Word (AKA sight-words) devastates genuine literacy and thus educational progress.  Math is more of the same perverse intent.  Your kids may struggle with basic arithmetic and become calculator-dependent at an early age.  Why?  Because Reform Math and Common Core Math befuddle children and deflate whatever native abilities they have.

Big City Schools:  Where America's Most Vulnerable Kids Languish.  In 2010-2011, public schools in the nation's capital spent $29,345 per pupil — nearly $600,000 per each classroom of 20 students — yet the District's 8th graders finished dead last in a nationwide proficiency test in math and reading.  According to a 2015 report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 96 percent of 8th graders in Detroit's public schools tested not proficient in math, and 93 percent tested not proficient in reading.  According to a 2017 investigation by Project Baltimore, 13 of the city's 39 public high schools had zero students who tested proficient in math.  Zero!  Of the 3,841 students in the remaining 26 high schools, only 14 tested at or above proficiency in math, less than one-third of one percent.  For a half-century running, Democrat-run urban schools have robbed minority children of a realistic chance for a decent education.

Is COVID-19 Our New Sputnik Moment?  American universities are troubled institutions.  More serious than the attention-getting P.C. madness, however, has been the subversion of intellectual standards — armies of "diversity and inclusion" bureaucrats tasked with admitting unqualified students academically dependent on easy-to-pass fluff courses in gender studies and the like.  Add grade inflation and, if that fails, endless tutoring to push troubled students to meaningless degrees.  If that, too, fails, eliminate admissions tests to end "white privilege." [...] The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call, a message that pushing our universities to pursue racial/sex equality at the expense of intellectual rigor guarantees national disaster.  Time to acknowledge that forcing chemistry professors to waste untold hours "diversifying" their now dumbed down syllabus imposes opportunity costs that hardly burden our Chinese rivals.

In Honor of the Class of 2020, Some Scalding Coffee.  [Scroll down]  This year I graduated at the age of forty-nine in my own way.  After twenty years of teaching college students, I finally left my last academic job and moved on from academia.  I watched twenty classes of students move through the system while these current graduates incubated.  My departure was as unceremonious as their non-ceremonies are going to be.  So here's some truth that needs to be told:  Your teachers didn't know what they were talking about most of the time.  I know you may have liked many of them, but that's a kind of Stockholm Syndrome you get from the deliberate mental work the institutions do on you.  You're in school and they are the ones to whom you are captive.  That's why they may have seemed so kind; they needed you to give them high teaching evaluations so they could be promoted.

Bubble-Wrapped Americans:  How the U.S. Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety.  Education from kindergarten up to the universities is increasingly about teaching doctrines and ideology, rather than critical thinking and problem solving skills.  All of this is a dangerous admixture that combines the full weight of the academic, cultural and business elites in this country.  And its consequences are far reaching.  Bubble-Wrapped Americans:  How the U.S. Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional SafetyFor those unaware, a "trigger warning" is a person's advisory that disturbing content is going to be posted.  However, in an example of concept creep, the meaning of "disturbing" has become expanded to mean, well, just about anything that might offend a leftist.  It is also sometimes known as a "content warning," "TW" or "CW."  A similar concept is that of a "safe space."  What used to be a term used for a place where people in actual danger of physical harm could express themselves, a "safe space" now means a place where there is no room for disagreement or questions because language is literally violence.

Ten Lies Teachers Tell You.  The first lie is "Everything Is Hunky-Dory."  Isn't that comforting and reassuring?  Parents with kids who can hardly read a word are naturally worried and nervous.  Teachers, in many different ways, are trained to say everything is perfect, your child is on track to be a lifelong reader, don't worry. [...] "Your Child Isn't Ready" is what school officials tell parents if a child is less than literate.  This tricks the parents into backing off and waiting a few years.  A simple lie buys time, maybe several years during which the child might learn nothing at all.  "Your Child Is Disabled" means there is some problem in the kid's brain, not in the school's approach.  Again, this lie buys time, provides an endless alibi for malpractice, and takes everyone's mind off the real instructional problems in our elementary schools.  For example, a diagnosis of dyslexia is the all-purpose explanation for bad readers.

Many Colleges Should Close Permanently.  [Scroll down]  It's true that colleges were in tough financial times even before COVID, largely due to oversupply of their product, high prices and a demographics-induced shrinking of their customer base.  The internet — the most powerful invention since fire — undercuts their business model just as it undercuts every other business model that relies on monopolizing information.  Why pay $40,000/year to go to a third rate school in a fourth rate town to hear a fifth rate lecture from a sixth rate ponytailed professor who gets summers off and a month for Christmas while lambasting the suburban parents who are footing the bill, when on the internet you can watch and re-watch for free at your convenience a brilliant talk from a fantastic speaker who's at the top of his game?  From the standpoint of the student, the only answer to that question is, because the second option doesn't get him a certificate called "college degree" which he needs for the cubicle job downtown.

What Will They Learn?  Today, coherent, cohesive, and rigorous general education programs are rare.  Many colleges and universities are watering down their requirements, allowing students to bypass college-level writing, mathematics, and economics courses and to graduate with a mediocre knowledge base and skillset.  The "joke" or "easy-A" courses, such as "Science in Film," "American History through Baseball," or "History of Rock n' Roll in America," may be fun and easy, and there is certainly a place for the odd niche course as a free elective or advanced topics course in a major.  But as students often discover after they leave campus, they graduated without developing the intellectual abilities that would position them to excel in a competitive job market, because their institution did not require them to take challenging courses that discipline and furnish the mind.  It is hardly any wonder that two-thirds of college graduates express disappointment with some aspect of their college experience today.

San Francisco wants to give students A grades because of coronavirus.  San Francisco school officials are pushing to assign all students "A" grades this year to help ease their coronavirus-related traumas.  "We're in a pandemic, people," said board member Alison Collins during a Wednesday Zoom meeting.  "People are dying.  This is not the time for us to be acting normally."  The board argued that students are deserving of some academic consideration after having their school year upended by the contagion.  Susan Solomon, a teachers union representative, said city educators endorsed the idea.

Lenin's Train Goes Chugging through American Education.  The idiocy of K-12 education is now so pronounced, there's a flood of videos where mystified students are asked, "What's 7x9?" or "What three countries are in North America?"  The Education Establishment, like the media, can't possibly claim they don't know what's going on.  They can't possibly claim they didn't preside over our educational decline.  There is nothing wrong with the brains of our young people.  What's wrong is that nobody bothers to teach them very much.

Restore Authority to Education.  One need not be a tweedy classicist yearning for the bygone days when secondary school students all studied Latin to recognize this missing component in education.  You don't have to look at the books and lessons.  You can see it on the faces of the teachers, in the cowed words of the administrators.  They're scared of their students.  I don't mean that they think their students will hurt them physically.  Rather, they are afraid to assert any real authority, to stand in the places of adults and representatives of a good and lasting order and pass any serious judgment on the habits and choices of their students.  But this fear has real consequences in classroom discipline, too.  As one of my graduate students, a high school teacher at a public charter school, put it, "If my students realized the full extent of my legal powerlessness in the classroom, and if they were so inclined, they could ensure that we never learned anything for the rest of the year."  But many students do realize that their teachers' power over them is an illusion.

Not All Philly Students Have Computers or High-Speed Internet So School District Cancels Remote Learning.  The Philadelphia School District canceled all remote learning for students while they are off from school because not all kids have access to a computer and high-speed internet.  So all online learning will be canceled.  The superintendent said, "If that's not available to all children, we cannot make it available to some."

The Editor says...
This is an extension of the usual public school policy of slowing down classes to the speed of the dumbest students, rather than keeping up the pace and providing a good education to the other 90 percent.

Students are taught self-esteem and sexual promiscuity more effectively than science and civics.  Why would we expect decades of teaching sexual promiscuity in our schools to result in sexual restraint in our students?  Why are we surprised at the selfishness of our culture when we have immersed several generations of our children in a curriculum that teaches self-esteem more effectively than it does science and civics?  How can we possibly think that teaching values clarification rather than moral absolutes will result in virtuous people?  Where is there any evidence in all of human history that the subordination of a child's right to be born to an adult's right to choose ever resulted in the protection of any individual's unalienable right to life?  And why would any culture ever think that after decades of diminishing the value of marital fidelity that the same culture would then be able to mount a vigorous defense for the meaning of marriage and morality, or anything else for that matter?  This list could go on and on.

Why don't we teach American history anymore?  We have become an exceptional country because of great leaders like Washington, Lincoln and Reagan.  There are others too — like Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy.  Yet, many of our schools gloss over these important leaders, if they even mention them at all.  My kids learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks during February when they were in school. [...] Schools in America should provide an objective view of American history.  If they do, students may be surprised to learn that our leaders were much greater than they thought and that Republicans paved the way for equal rights.

My High School's Drift from Excellence Reflects the Progressives' Corruption of Public Education.  The public high school in Brooklyn, New York that I attended in the late 1940s had a student population of 10% black and 90% white from families of Italian, Irish, German, Jewish, Polish, British and other ethnic origin.  Attendance and graduation exceeded 90% [information from my yearbook and other records.] The principal of Bushwick High School opened assemblies with the reading of a Psalm. [...] In 2004 Bushwick High School's student population was 1% white, 26% black, and 72% Hispanic.  Attendance was 56% and the graduation rate 23%. There were no new admissions and the school was about to shut down.  Reasons cited for terminating the school: problems with safety, overcrowding, and poor academic achievement.  A former student complained:  "I went to Bushwick back in '98 and it was bad, some of the teachers didn't care just like the students and there was no discipline."

Yale Kills Popular Art History Course over Study of White, Male Artists.  Yale University announced this week that it is killing off a popular art history course after students claimed that they were "uneasy" over the course's focus on white male artists.  According to a report from Yale Daily News, Yale University announced this week that the popular course, "Introduction to Art History:  Renaissance to the Present," will no longer be offered.

American Education Can Be Saved, but Not by the Left.  Modern classrooms using social justice concepts tend to emphasize cooperative learning rather than individual students trying to memorize and figure out how to do this or that piece of work.  Cooperative learning teaches to small groups of students who engage in "discovery" of the truths of the subjects through projects.  If one or two of the students in, say, a group of five do all the work, all the group members will receive an A, not only the one or two that did the work and demonstrated ability.  This is the communist ideal reflected in education.  Often, projects are dumbed down so that in high schools students are pasting pictures on colored construction paper and calling that a group research project.  Teachers are not teaching a body of knowledge, but are called "facilitators" who are catalysts or assistants as the students try to navigate learning at their own pace and in cooperation with their fellow students.  Student dependency on the teacher has become diluted.

The War against Children.  American public schools, by all the usual metrics, have steadily declined for a century. [...] Our Education Establishment is brilliant at concocting attractive jargon and clever marketing slogans, even for the most destructive practices.  Who could oppose such melodious proposals as whole language, student-centered learning, higher-order thinking skills, experiential education, cooperative learning, project-based learning, constructivist instruction, Bloom's taxonomy, Common Core, reform math, whole language, discovery teaching, digital literacy, social-emotional learning, and so many more?  The big question for all of these pretty phrases is elemental:  does any of them work as promised?  Or is each another attack wrapped as a gift?

DC school promises to protect students from knowledge.  Although slavery has been a part of history since the dawn of man, Progressives have convinced themselves that it existed only in America and only as to blacks.  Combining this historic blindness with excessive deference to student sensibilities reached peak wokeness in a Washington, D.C. elementary school. [...] A real education would teach students that slavery has been an integral part of human existence since the dawn of time.  Indeed, it's so integral that it is still present today throughout the Middle East and Africa.  What makes Western civilization different is that the Enlightenment combined Judeo-Christian beliefs with ancient Greek reasoning to conclude that slavery is a moral wrong, a concept that culminated in America with a bloody Civil War.

50 Numbers From 2019 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe.  [#29] One survey has discovered that 15-year-old students in China are almost four full grade levels ahead of 15-year-old students in the United States in mathematics.  [#30] A different survey discovered that one-third of all American teenagers haven't read a single book in the past year.

California School Children Won't Be Suspended for Disobeying Teachers.  A new California law that takes effect in 2020 will make it illegal to suspend a student in grades 1-5 for disobeying teachers or administrators.  Starting next year, the rule will be applied to students in grades 6-8 and will include charter schools.  There's a very good reason for this change, according to supporters.  It's because of racism, you see.  More little black kids are punished for disobeying teachers than little white kids.  Naturally, there's only one possible explanation, to the exclusion of all others.  Whitey has it in for black children. [...] So we should be telling a 9-year-old kid (going on 21) to take a minute and think about what he's doing.  This will give the teacher an opportunity to "calm the classroom," which you can't do because no one will get suspended for giving the teacher the finger.  Presumably, after thinking about it, a light bulb will go off over the kid's head and he will immediately become docile and apologize for his "willful defiance."

America's real disease is toxic ignorance.  Many factors have combined over the last 50 years to remove the moral scaffolding into which we fit incoming information and prioritize it.  Judeo-Christian values have been demonized and replaced with relativism.  Relativism implies that nothing is all good or all bad, all wrong or all right.  There are no justified priorities.  Live and let live.  Once this took hold, toxic education stepped into the breach and indoctrinated students with substitutes for what used to be "right" and "wrong."  The only truth is your own personal well-being.  So teachers set about redefining history and interpreting ideas with which the left disagrees as harm to one's person.  This makes it a small step to say "speech is violence."

Are Low Test Scores a Problem?  [Scroll down]  Our Education Establishment has a well known knack for picking bad instructional methods.  We can forgive a few mistakes.  But if all they ever pick is bad methods, maybe that's what they prefer.  Charlotte Iserbyt summed up her conclusions in the famous title:  "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America."  The key word is deliberate.  The technique was simple.  Get rid of all the traditional stuff that works; replace it with dysfunctional concoctions that do not work.  Flatlining is guaranteed.

As Colleges Move To Do Away With The SAT In The Name Of Diversity, Detroit High School Valedictorian Struggles With Low-Level Math.  The valedictorian of a Detroit high school is reportedly struggling with basic math in college.  The development comes as colleges have increasingly rejected objective admissions criteria in the name of "equity," with University of California poised to no longer require the SAT because of the racial impact it has on admissions.  "Marqell McClendon has struggled in the low-level math class she's taking during her first semester at Michigan State University," the news outlet Chalkbeat reported Nov. 15.  McClendon, the valedictorian of her graduating class at Detroit's Cody High School, was used to getting all A's, but found herself asking strangers to help her with her college coursework, it said.

Fraud in Higher Education.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, only 37% of white high school graduates tested as college-ready, but colleges admitted 70% of them.  Roughly 17% of black high school graduates tested as college-ready, but colleges admitted 58% of them.  A 2018 Hechinger Report found, "More than four in 10 college students end up in developmental math and English classes at an annual cost of approximately $7 billion, and many of them have a worse chance of eventually graduating than if they went straight into college-level classes."  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "when considering all first-time undergraduates, studies have found anywhere from 28 percent to 40 percent of students enroll in at least one remedial course.  When looking at only community college students, several studies have found remediation rates surpassing 50 percent."  Only 25% of students who took the ACT in 2012 met the test's readiness benchmarks in all four subjects (English, reading, math and science).

Why Your Sons Refuse to Read.  [Scroll down]  I cite Kansas as an example here only because the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) does a good job of testing its students and making test results available.  Last year, in the best performing public high school in Kansas, 45 percent of the school's tenth graders tested not proficient in the English Language Arts.  In the worst performing school, an incredible 97 percent of the tenth graders tested not proficient.  In the average suburban high school, inevitably considered "excellent" by town boosters, 60 to 80 percent of the students failed to reach the low bar of proficiency in language arts.

How America's Students Need to Get 'Woke'.  Today's university students want to "wake" the nation to problems that they and their professors have identified as threatening our very existence.  And they issue these periodic alarms in hyperbolic terms:  we have just 10, 20 — fill in the blanks — years to end fossil fuel use or else die from global warming.  They warn us that there is a veritable war waged on American women who have been limited to a mere 800,000 abortions on average per year.  Sexism must explain why only 56 percent of college students are women. [...] To address these supposedly existential concerns and agendas, the university has radically reinvented itself over the last 30 years.  The relative and absolute number of tenured and tenure-track professors on campus has nosedived.  In their places, the legions of non-instructional employees and part-time lecturers have soared.  The former are mostly highly paid race, class, and gender diversity and inclusion provosts, deans, and czars.  The latter are low-paid and largely exploited temporary teachers.

Snowflakes: An Educational Problem.  In January 2018 the Oxford English Dictionary added to its normal definition of what has traditionally been a flake of snow, a feathery ice crystal.  Now the OED snowflake is an overly sensitive or easily offended person or persons who believe they are entitled to special treatment on account of their supposedly unique characteristics.  Life for them comes, or should come, with trigger warnings and safe spaces.  Trigger warnings are needed to alert people that a text or image may be disturbing or upsetting.  These were proposed at Cambridge University concerning Shakespeare, because of the sexual violence in some of his plays.  Those safe places must be established so students can get together without being exposed to ideas and language that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Leftists show their class, allowing kids to 'boo' Melania Trump who was there to help them.  In a non-partisan speech to middle school and high school students seeking to protect them from drug use, first lady Melania Trump was booed by the kids, signaling just how bad the leftist school system is in instituting manners.  According to the all-but-drooling New York Times, which blamed the bad behavior on President Trump's past remarks.

UC leaders support dropping use of SAT, ACT.  UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ, along with the UC system's chief academic officer, Provost Michael Brown, said Friday [11/22/2019] that research has convinced them that performance on the tests is so strongly influenced by family income, parents' education and race, that using them for college admissions decision is unfair.

The Editor says...
How is a standardized test unfair?  If you give the correct answers, you make a good grade.  It's as fair as it can be.  Admitting someone to the university who has a history of poor grades, up to and including the SAT or ACT, is definitely unfair.

Reality Fades to Zero.  Starting a hundred years, our Progressive educators became increasingly fond of discarding knowledge, facts, geography, history, science, grammar, and traditional content in general.  If a teacher does mention facts, students are not encouraged to actually know them.  Memorization is nearly a taboo.  Serious testing is demonized.  Everything must go, one way or another.  Schools and teachers are urged to accommodate pedagogical innovations intended to justify turning away from the academic side of life. [...] Isn't this a dereliction of duty?  Isn't it like coddling soldiers in basic training so they go to the front lines not knowing how to clean a rifle?

Young People [are] Ignorant of History.  During the Cold War, leftists made a moral equivalency between communist totalitarianism and democracy.  W. E. B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian (1953) said, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature."  Walter Duranty called Stalin "the greatest living statesman ... a quiet, unobtrusive man."  George Bernard Shaw expressed admiration for Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin.  Economist John Kenneth Galbraith visited Mao's China and praised Mao Zedong and the Chinese economic system.  Gunther Stein of the Christian Science Monitor also admired Mao and declared ecstatically that "the men and women pioneers of Yenan are truly new humans in spirit, thought and action."  Michel Oksenberg, President Jimmy Carter's China expert, complained that "America (is) doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values," and urged us to "borrow ideas and solutions" from China.  Leftists exempted communist leaders from the harsh criticism directed toward Adolf Hitler, even though communist crimes against humanity made Hitler's slaughter of 11 million noncombatants appear almost amateurish.

I quit Maspeth HS because I didn't want to be complicit in corruption: teacher.  A teacher quit working for the city Department of Education "because to stay would require my being complicit" in corruption.  In a scathing letter to investigators and shared with The Post, the teacher describes a horrendous experience at Maspeth High School in Queens.  "I made the difficult decision to resign rather than endure another year of intimidation and harassment, or be forced to pass students who did not earn it."  The teacher describes calling a parent about her daughter's excessive absences.  "The student's mother was very upset that her daughter was telling her that it didn't matter if she went to school or did her work because all students got 65s, no matter what."  The teacher didn't tell the mom, but admits, "Sadly, it was the truth."

University of Virginia Cancels 21-Gun Salute to Appease Snowflake Students.  The University of Virginia canceled the 21-gun salute portion of its annual Veterans Day ceremony — citing gun violence.  James Ryan, the university's president, posted a statement on Facebook explaining that there were concerns about firing weapons on school property in light of recent school shootings. [...] As you might imagine — the outrage among veterans and military supporters has been severe.

Victor Davis Hanson:  Universities Breed 'Woke and Broke' Graduates.  Conservative writer Victor Davis Hanson is concerned about the quality of college graduates being produced by American universities and colleges in the modern era, who he describes as "woke and broke." [...] Hanson points out that Americans that have graduated from college since the year 2000 have both lower rates of patriotism and home ownership.  Recent college graduates are often ill-informed on American history.  Hanson believes that colleges and universities are to blame for this recent wave of low-skilled and anti-American graduates.

Suffer the Children.  Too many of our children are laboring under intense pressure.  Their family structure is badly damaged; they are shouldering obligations that should not be theirs at such young ages.  Their outlook on life is often dismal.  And the ones sitting in my classrooms are the strong ones.  What of the others who are completely lost?  Our society has abandoned those moral anchors whereby men are taught the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy.  It is sickening when society no longer tells girls that having a baby before they are physically, financially, and emotionally ready is not cool.  It is infuriating when schools actually financially assist students precisely because they have a baby.  It is not to be admired.  It is not a game.  There is no sacredness.  There is no prudence.  If the sports world spent a scintilla of time on this issue instead of displaying its abject ignorance of the world, perhaps sports stars could be true role models.

Millennial Reality TV Star:  Teaching Students About World War II Is Bad For Their Mental Health.  After candidates on Great Britain's "The Apprentice" revealed they did not know which years World War II began and ended, prompting criticism of them on social media, a British reality TV star told "Good Morning Britain" that schools should not spend much time on the subject of World War II because it would be bad for children's mental health.

And these are supposed to be the smart kids.
Harvard Students Upset that Newspaper Contacted ICE for a Story About... ICE.  Once upon a time in America, college was where young people went to gain knowledge, be exposed to new ideas, and learn a critical thinking skill or two.  The latest outrage at Harvard University shows that the university experience wants none of that now. [...] It takes a particularly tortured brand of logic to be upset at the idea of asking for a comment from all parties being written about in a newspaper article.  The reason given for the poor dears' angst is a perfect snapshot of just how emotional and anti-intellectual much of the youth of America has become: [...]

'Completely ludicrous': Oxford bans clapping for being an 'anxiety trigger' and suggests 'jazz hands' instead.  England's historic University of Oxford has instituted a ban on clapping during "Student Council meetings and other official SU events,"citing the potential anxiety-triggering nature of the loud sound of applause.  An official statement from the Student Council at Oxford announced the intention to request that students opt for the British Sign Language "silent jazz hands" instead of loud clapping as it may not be an "inclusive" behavior.

Mathematics [are] a tool of racial oppression, Seattle public schools committee says.  Something called the "K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework," created by a Seattle Public Schools "Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee," is intended to instruct students that math is intimately connected to racial oppression.  Students will be taught "how technology and/or science have been and continues [sic] to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color."  The framework, the final draft of which is scheduled to be completed by September 2020, will also attempt to "explain how math dictates economic oppression."  That's correct:  math.

Math is racist according to Seattle Public Schools.  The Seattle Public Schools Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee (ESAC) has determined that math is subjective and racist.  In a draft for its Math Ethnic Studies framework, the ESAC writes that Western mathematics is "used to disenfranchise people and communities of color."  Using the ESAC's framework, Seattle's public school students will be able to "construct & decode mathematical knowledge, truth, and beauty" so that they can contribute to their communities.  Students will also analyze the ways in which "ancient mathematical knowledge has been appropriated by Western culture," and "identify how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color."

College majors and jobs in America:The good, the bad, and the ugly.  [Scroll down]  The problem with academic selection these days is this:  Leftist radicals now running humanities and related "studies" departments have systematically replaced the study of Western literature, philosophy and history with ideological indoctrination consigning our rich literary, historical and cultural traditions to the trash barrel.  Marxist academic committees systematically replaced western tradition and culture with "alternative" tracts, texts and historically selective readings.  All focus on various flavors of anti-American, anti-Western and Marxist thought.  Ruthless replacing history, literature and the arts with Marxist-flavored ideology deprives today's students of historical, social and artistic context.  As a result, students who choose to major in these "disciplines" have wasted their money on an academic dead end.  Their diplomas mean nothing to most employers.  In fact, most employers know a likely HR problem already lives within these graduates' heads.  Consequently, earning a BA in these areas today will likely get you a job at McDonalds and not much more.

Gender Studies Professor Calls Twerking With Lizzo 'An Act Of Political Defiance'.  Professor Sami Schalk, who teaches women and gender studies at the university told Vox that her twerking with the popular singer is the embodiment of what it means to derive pleasure from defying societal standards of beauty, otherwise known as "pleasure activism" according to Schalk.

We Teach Nothing, We Know Nothing — and That Could Cost the United States Everything.  A couple of years ago, a retired teacher who stays in close touch with history teachers across Texas told me something disturbing.  Like most states, Texas has standardized testing.  Unlike most states, Texas requires public school students to study Texas history in the 4th and 7th grades.  Texas history is red in tooth and claw and full of big personalities and big ideas.  Standardized testing is forcing teachers to drop about half of the second semester of Texas history to focus on U.S. history — not to deepen students' understanding of American history, but to teach to the standardized tests.  This, according to my friend, shortchanges students from learning about key parts of Texas history.  Teaching to the test is shallow.  Add in that history teaching is being watered down overall across our public education system, and we have a problem.  That problem was exposed, unintentionally, by an Obama administration official.

Dysfunctional Education.  [Scroll down]  But as the bell-curve of intellectual achievement continues to shift leftward, the bell curve of school grades continues to shift rightward.  Increasingly, the default grade in America is "A."  Among all classes and races, some seventy percent of U.S students report having cheated on exams or papers.  No one should be surprised at the American people's increasing incompetence and inability to follow directions — never mind arguments.  This past week, the noise from Washington drowned out three items of news that remind us of how corrupt and dumbed down American education has become, how far into society the rot has spread and how much it would take to remedy it.

Praying to plants
Union Theological Seminary Holds 'Confession to Plants' in Chapel Ceremony.  New York's non-denominational Union Theological Seminary (UTS) held a ceremony Tuesday [9/17/2019] where members of the community placed plants in the center of the chapel and confessed their sins to them.  "Today in chapel, we confessed to plants," UTS tweeted, together with a picture of the ritual.  "Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor."

NYC is allowing students to skip class to attend a "global climate strike".  Climate change is one of the major altars that the Left likes to worship at and they want to get children involved in that worship as well. [...] Would the Bill de Blasio and NYC school districts agree to let their students strike in support of gun rights?  I have a very strong reason to believe that they probably wouldn't.  But this allowable strike most likely won't be limited to school districts in New York.  Districts in Los Angeles and Massachusetts are working similar plans.  If I had a child in any school district that willing allows students to skip out of class to attend a climate strike, I would be absolutely livid.  The education has been infected with socialist ideas for a long time but there is still some value in getting an education.  Kids should be in school and not advocating for leftist talking points.

The Real Threat is Red Supremacists.  Consider that Americans split 50-50 on most of the main issues in this country: gun control, abortion, capital punishment, conscientious objection, voting age, drinking age, et al. [...] Education is the opposite story.  When it comes to reading, writing and arithmetic, 99% of American parents want children to have these skills.  Naturally they get them, right?  Wrong, and that's how you know that some serious subversion is going on.  Red supremacists seem to be everywhere in education.  Examining K-12 is remarkably revealing, like taking an x-ray of the whole country.  The gains that all parents want are routinely withheld from American children.  Reading is down.  Math is down.  Factual knowledge (AKA cultural literacy) is down.  Order and coherence in the classroom are down.  Satisfaction among teachers is down.  Satisfaction among parents is down.  The kids cry themselves to sleep.  Who voted for any of these things?  Nobody.  They were somehow imposed from on high.

Education Is Driven By False Premises and Practices.  [Scroll down]  Further, we also now find much greater emphasis on standardized tests than before the 1990's.  Standardized tests automatically limit the amount of knowledge or personal application that is required.  Tests are automatically selective.  One cannot test everything.  So if one teaches to the test rather than first and foremost teaches a curriculum, then one is automatically attenuating the curriculum.  New York State has many standardized subject tests called Regents Exams.  These tests were originally created to make sure that a minimal knowledge of the subjects was achieved throughout the State.  Now the tests are used to raise course grades because the grades in the standardized tests are included as 20% of each student's course grade.  First the standardized tests were dumbed down to raise the scores.  And then, as the scores rose, the State mandated inclusion of the test grade in the course grade.

USC declines Constitution course, keeps 'Tailgating 101'.  The University of South Carolina doesn't offer a course centered on founding U.S. documents, such as the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers because it says that would be too financially stringent.  Meanwhile, the university invites students to take a class on the art of tailgating.

Portland State U Punishes Professor For Proving Gender Studies Is A Joke.  Portland State University is punishing Peter Boghossian for demonstrating that grievance studies are nonsense.  Dr. Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State, joined two other academics to hoax the purveyors of gender studies and kindred fields committed to turning personal gripes into taxpayer-funded "studies."  Boghossian and his colleagues submitted articles including an analysis of "canine rape culture" and an extract from "Mein Kampf" translated into the language of feminist theory.  These were accepted by what counts as "major" journals in these pseudo-disciplines.  In 2018, Boghossian and his colleagues made public these hoaxes, which elegantly and hilariously made the point that these fields' "scholarship" cannot be distinguished from applesauce and horsefeathers.

Bill De Blasio:  Merit Is Racist, So We Won't Allow It In NYC Public Schools.  Merit is now considered racist, as New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio's new education advisory committee suggests.  A panel de Blasio appointed recently recommended ending selective merit-based programs in city public schools, even when no evidence supports the accusation of racial discrimination simply because people of some racial backgrounds fail to achieve as much as others do.  As Christine Rosen writes in Commentary, "The advisory panel describes merit-based testing and other screening procedures used in New York City's public schools as 'exclusionary admissions practices,' not because they found any evidence of racial bias in the screening procedures but simply because the outcome of screening does not perfectly reflect the demographic make-up of the city."

Decades of Intensifying Left-Wing Influence on High School Students.  [Scroll down]  One textbook was bought for the department:  The Americans published by McDougal Littel.  Including maps and glossary, this history book is 1,123 pages. [...] The powerful biblical, Judeo-Christian influence on the founding of the country is completely ignored.  It is an example of historical bias at its worst.  The word "Christianity" in the index has only three references.  The references apply to Spanish settlement in the West and Southwest.  The very fact that they do not present the English colonial experience as defining the political, ideological, and linguistic foundation of this country is itself a basis for real concern.  Fourteen pages are indexed referring to Cesar Chávez and Mexican-Americans, yet checks and balances gets only one page, and division of powers gets one reference.  Federalism is not noted in the index.  "Native Americans" has 96 page referrals in the index, whereas inventions (you know, little stuff like the cyclotron, the airplane, the transistor, polio vaccine, etc.) has six page references.

What Will They Learn at College?  If you're thinking that your youngster will get a truly liberal arts education, you are sadly mistaken.  It turns out that less than half of the schools studied require courses in traditional literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history and economics.  At some colleges, students can fulfill their humanities requirement with a course titled "Global X: Zombies!"  A U.S. cultural pluralism requirement can be fulfilled with "The Economics of 'Star Trek.'"  And an arts and Literature requirement can be fulfilled with either the "History of Comics" or "Game Design for Non-Majors."

The demise of public education.  Public education has become an institutionalized form of child abuse.  Rather than being a tool used to prepare children to become productive adults, public education is being used to indoctrinate them to believe what powerful interest groups wish them to believe.  This process is designed to transform America into a place unfit for human habitation, in which rights are suppressed, powers of government are unlimited, and traditional faith-based values are rejected.  What children in public schools are being told to accept as facts and truth is often nothing more than opinions of those who reject reason and do what they might to prevent students from developing the intellectual skills required for critical thinking so they might embrace their own enslavement and the subversion and degradation of their society.

Worse Than Ever:  Government Schools After 35 Years.  [Scroll down]  Poor preparation, however, was only the tip of the iceberg.  Students did not bring books to class, relentlessly complained about homework, and expected high grades regardless of proficiency.  And when I asked questions, I uncovered some alarming facts:
  •   Latin was a dumping ground for students who already had failed another language; "picking up a few phrases" was the goal.
  •   Many teachers expected little but awarded high grades.
  •   Students were subjected to parental pressure to obtain good grades regardless of performance.
  •   A department head had been demoted for teaching at a pre-college level and refusing to lower his standards.
  •   Senior teachers were dropping out in disgust; younger teachers had no choice but to accept the situation.
  •   Under parental pressure, the principal was establishing a process to prevent students from having to take more than one test on the same day.  College prep?

Education Failing Young Americans Yet Again.  It is a dismal picture.  In his 1993 book Inside American Education:  The Decline, the Deception, the Dogmas, Thomas Sowell lamented that "when nearly one-third of American 17-year-olds do not know that Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, when nearly half do not know who Josef Stalin was, and when about 30 percent could not locate Britain on a map of Europe, then it is clear that American educational deficiencies extend far beyond mathematics."  Yet a quarter of a century later, the 17-year-olds in my classrooms do not even know what the Emancipation Proclamation is, let alone who authored it!  In 1998, Heather Mac Donald noted that report cards and objective tests were traded in for "overheated rhetoric about fighting institutional racism and [the redistribution of] power."  In his 2010 book Spoilt Rotten:  The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality, Theodore Dalrymple aimed his pen at Great Britain, where "educational theory, subsequently provided with a patina of science by committed researchers, is full of absurdities that would be delightfully laughable had they not been taken seriously and used as the basis of educational policy to impoverish millions of lives."

The Co-Conspirators in the American Left's Takeover of the Democratic Party.  In 2013 American 15 year-olds ranked 32nd among industrialized countries in math, 20th in reading and 24th in science.  In 1989 this same age group ranked in the top 5-10 nations in the world in these same categories.  Further, by 2015, nearly 7 out of 10 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 would vote for an avowed socialist.  The education establishment, dominated by an unconstrained America Left, has assured that the citizenry is fast becoming among the least well-educated and most self-loathing populations in the world.

Oregon approves 'mental health days' for students.  Oregon students will be allowed to take "mental health days" off from school, just as they would sick days, under a new bill signed by the governor.  The bill would allow excused school absences for mental or behavioral health and is a victory for youth activists — who also unsuccessfully fought for gun control and lowering the voting age.  The students behind the measure say it's meant to change the stigma around mental health in a state that has some of the United States' highest suicide rates.

The American Left Is Racist, Not President Trump.  Does anyone really think affirmative action — an explicitly racist practice — does "people of color" any favors when such preferences lower academic standards to admit them into universities even when they lack the academic skills to compete with their classmates?  Ah, but create undemanding "ethnic studies" majors and turn them all into left-wing activists!  That they can do.  The biggest crime committed by the racist Democrats is the destruction of America's public schools, where the leftist teachers unions have stifled innovation and accountability.  The worst impact of the union grip on public education has been felt in low-income "communities of color."

The Electoral College Is Vital.  The American classroom has almost completely jettisoned the teaching of any U.S. history that didn't begin in the Progressive movement's Year Zero of the Kennedy assassination in 1963 (ask any credentialed college student 'Who was Patrick Henry?' or 'What's Guadalcanal?' and you'll see what I mean.)  As such they were never taught the mindset behind the framing of our Constitution and how separation and diffusion of power, not just of the central government but also of what has been called "the tyranny of the majority" was essential to creating a system that not only worked for the thirteen original states but was, to use a business term, "scalable."

America's Detour from Sanity.  Change is inevitable.  But the alert of every generation demand to know what any proposed change is from and to what.  Being specific and clear is a basic element of communication, without which confusion, misunderstanding and, yes, deceit abound.  Training the mind to perceive and to conceive clearly was, during my youth, a function of subjects like grammar and geometry — essential preparation for everyone, not just students preparing for professional or technical careers.  Hard, disciplined thinking in youth forms essential neural connections not obtained any other way.  The mushy language and fuzzy logic that prevail today would be considered evidence of poor education or sign of a weak mind by those who came of age before the dumbing-down of the last century.

Black Education Decline.  New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the city's specialized high schools have a diversity problem.  He's joined by New York City Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, educators, students and community leaders who want to fix the diversity problem.  I bet you can easily guess what they will do to "improve" the racial mix of students (aka diversity).  If you guessed they would propose eliminating the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test as the sole criterion for admissions, go to the head of the class.  The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is an examination that is administered to New York City's eighth- and ninth-grade students.  By state law, it is used to determine admission to all but one of the city's nine specialized high schools.  It's taken as axiomatic that the relatively few blacks admitted to these high-powered schools is somehow tied to racial discrimination.

Professor accused of 'hostile learning environment' for assigning male authors.  A 22-year old female University of Utah student reported her business professor to campus administrators for, among other things, assigning too many historical texts written by influential male economists of the past.  "I understand the importance of studying the work of those before us and the importance of context," wrote the student in a complaint to the university's bias reporting system, where she labeled the professor's transgressions "derogatory," "degrading," and "intimidating," thereby causing a "hostile learning environment."

How Bill Gates Destroyed the SAT.  After nearly a century of trying to measure intelligence, instead of class, the SAT will collude in a college admission system where class overwhelms merit to a degree unseen since 18th century Harvard.  The latest assault on standardized testing assumes that the individual student should be defined by the income, education and family averages of his zip code, more than by his actual skills and learning in a complete reversal of the entire purpose of the SAT and the meritocratic work of the College Board.  Ironically, the College Board fell victim to the success of a college dropout from a wealthy family.

Democrats:  The 'Post-Truth' Party.  Only academic campuses dominated by Democrats and corrupted by post-truth thinking would censor speakers and opinions rooted in a conservative or biblical worldview.  Truth-telling professors as well as truth-telling campus guests are paying the price for contradicting the dominant post-truth worldview present at virtually every college and university in the U.S.  This "college apocalypse," as Steven Hayward has called it, has turned educational institutions into little more than day care centers.

Blacks are immune from reproof and correction, which is the whole point of being in school.
I was let go as substitute teacher because I corrected my students' grammar.  Last Halloween, I dressed up like a teacher — not exactly an alter ego; I have a certificate — went to the local high school, and substituted in Family & Consumer Science.  There was a small ruction in third period; the principal and I discussed it amicably, and I barely gave it second thought.  However, a couple weeks later, I received a letter informing me he was removing me from the sub list! [...] What students apparently objected to was me handing back their papers, hectoring them about language errors.  I told them unapologetically, "This is your native language, people!  Second grade mistakes — not distinguishing between 'your' and 'you're,' misspelling ex(c)ercise, leaving off caps and periods — from freshmen and sophomores are unacceptable ... "

People Be Getting Dumber.  Stupid is the new smart.  Observe the habits of travelers.  In subway cars, on airplanes, and on buses, passengers once passed the time by reading newspapers, magazines, and books.  Now they check social media, play video games, and text.  SMH. [...] Schools around the country replace libraries with media centers featuring screens instead of books.  The principal of Manhattan's Life Sciences Secondary School destroyed the books in her school.  "They made an announcement that they were getting rid of the books because they were antiquated and outdated, and we should be using new technology," a teacher told the New York Post in 2017.  "I hid some of my books to prevent them being taken."

What are the Children Learning?  In a 2011 article titled "High School Flight from Reading and Writing" author Will Fitzhugh points out "if public high schools were preparing their graduates adequately, they should be able to read and write in college."  Contemplate that last sentence!  Remedial writing and math courses are now integral in two and four-year schools of higher education.  Fitzhugh points out that "...the Harvard Graduate School of Education, for example, doesn't seem to be paying attention to student reading and writing."  In fact... no one seems to be interested in the academic work of students, whether in history, physics, literature, foreign languages, chemistry or the reading of nonfiction books and the writing of real term papers.  Instead, they are interested in issues of race, gender, community, leadership, ethnicity, poverty, disability, management, psychosocial difficulties, social justice, and the like."

The College Board's New 'Adversity Score' Is A Joke.  Students are assessed on 15 not-fully-disclosed factors, things such as the level of crime and poverty in one's high school and neighborhood, "the educational level of the parents," and "family stability."  The other widely used standardized test, the ACT (American College Testing), is now working overtime to come up with its own measurement.  "An adversity score of 50 is average," notes the Journal.  "Anything above it designates hardship, below it privilege."  [Indeed], a mere two points difference on this new scale takes one from a hardship case to a person of privilege.

The Editor says...
If you don't know who your father is, your mother is in the county jail, you're being raised by your grandmother but she's constantly drunk, you've been wounded at least three times in drive-by shootings, your TV reception depends on rabbit ears and there's no sound from the left stereo speaker, your internet access is dial-up, you're color-blind, autistic, dyslexic, easily triggered, and you have peanut allergies, they'll just give you a diploma!

College Board abandoning SAT 'adversity score' after criticism.  The company that administers the SAT college admissions test is replacing the so-called adversity score with a tool that will no longer reduce an applicant's background to a single number, an idea that the College Board's chief executive now says was a mistake.  Amid growing scrutiny of the role wealth plays in college admissions, the College Board introduced its Environmental Context Dashboard about two years ago to provide context for a student's performance on the test and help schools identify those who have done more with less.  The version used by about 50 institutions in a pilot program involved a formula that combined school and neighborhood factors like advanced course offerings and the crime rate to produce a single number.

The College Board:  Dumbing Down America.  If kids from wealthy families are not automatically privileged, why are their parents cheating to get their kids admitted?  And if colleges are genuinely concerned that more affluent kids have an undeserved advantage on the SAT test, why not just scrap it?  If you have sacrificed and worked to get your kids the best education possible and taught them the value of working hard to achieve in school, why should they be discriminated against in favor of parents who did not?

College board president behind SAT 'adversity score' was also the mastermind of the controversial K-12 'Common Core' curriculum changes that has children just learning for a test.  The man behind the new plan to assign adversity scores to every student who takes the SAT is the same person who championed the controversial Common Core K-12 curriculum standards that remain a point of contention among parents, teachers and political leaders in many states.  David Coleman, president of The College Board, which administers the SAT, was the 'architect of Common Core' — which several states dropped after its adoption due to pressure from local communities and educators, according to Fox News.  Proponents of Common Core say the method was meant to establish a baseline of curriculum standards for K-12 education, with a focus on math and English language arts literacy.

SATs will now contain secret 'adversity scores': Students will be rated on deprivation and crime in effort to level playing field.  Every student taking the SAT will now be given an 'adversity score' to level the playing field between people with different social and economic backgrounds, but critics say children of affluent parents could be penalized by the new system.  The scoring system was established by the national College Board, the nonprofit which administers the test, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The new system will use 15 different factors to weigh a student's adversity score, based on things such as the crime and poverty rates in the neighborhood where the teens grew up.

The Editor says...
The SAT is not a contest to see who is the most downtrodden victim of society.  It is supposed to be a measure of scholastic aptitude.  Those who are given hundreds of extra points to compensate for all their woes, and then end up in a rigorous university, are set up to fail.

Higher Education in America.  For the high cost of college, what do students learn?  A seminal study, "Academically Adrift," by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, after surveying 2,300 students at various colleges, argues that very little improvement in critical reasoning skills occurs in college.  Adult literacy is falling among college graduates.  Large proportions of college graduates do not know simple facts, such as the half-century in which the Civil War occurred.  There are some exceptions to this academic incompetency, most notably in technical areas such as engineering, nursing, architecture and accounting, where colleges teach vocationally useful material.  Vedder says that student ineptitude is not surprising since they spend little time in classrooms and studying.  It's even less surprising when one considers student high school preparation.  According to 2010 and 2013 NAEP test scores, only 37% of 12th-graders were proficient in reading, 25% in math, 12% in history, 20% in geography and 24% in civics.

Texas Classrooms Expose Young Children to Harm With Addictive Digital Screens.  The TEA is pushing addictive video programs into grades pre-K through 8.  Classroom technology not only leads to worse academic performance for kids, it can also clinically hurt them.  Two hundred peer-reviewed studies have connected screen time to increased ADHD, increased aggression, anxiety, screen addiction, depression, and even psychosis.  Children under 10 are especially susceptible to screen addiction.  A two-year study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed students who used several types of digital media several times daily were twice as likely to have ADHD as classmates who were less frequent users.

Texas Students To Be More Dumbed Down.  The 2019 Texas legislature is rushing headlong into expanding technology in K-12, forcing children into more "personalized learning," a euphemism for replacing teachers with digital screens.  Ignoring volumes of proof that digital learning has lowered academic achievement and created mental and psychological problems, states spend $5 billion each year of taxpayers' money on technology.  Removing children from the "dangerous influences" of parents and day teachers is a goal of UNESCO, the educational arm of the U.N. founded in 1946.  Through computers, children are being brain mapped and their mindsets changed to accept a socialistic One World Order.  Extensive data mining of personal student information is being via digital learning, a violation of a student's Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.

Protester Jumps on Stage at LSU to Disrupt Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens' TPUSA Speech.  One of the tragedies caused by the decline of education over the last century has been the demise of rhetoric, the art and science of constructing an argument.  Learning the logical structure of fallacies and sophisms is an important tool for recognizing them in one's own thinking and that of others, including politicians, and thus studying rhetoric is an important part of fostering an educated citizenry.  The situation has gotten so bad that when the author proposed to teach a seminar on fallacies at the Yale Law School a few years ago, the deputy dean would not allow him to teach that subject, the only time in his 38 years of teaching at that venerable institution that the administration had outright forbade him from teaching a subject.  Imagine, someone wanting to teach aspiring lawyers how to recognize an invalid argument and to explain to a judge or other decision-maker what makes it invalid!  Who could think of doing such a thing in a law school.  Today about half of my law students do not know how to construct an argument.  They merely assert things, as if saying them makes them so.

We Have A Crisis Of Civics.  Start Teaching The Constitution In Elementary School.  According to the most recent Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey conducted last September, Americans have a pretty appalling grasp of their nation's governing structure.  Only 32% of those surveyed were able to name all three branches of the federal government (which actually represented a 6% increase from the previous year).  But an even higher portion of those surveyed, 33%, could not even name a single branch of the federal government.  And according to the 2017 iteration of the same survey, 37% of those surveyed could not name a single right secured by the First Amendment!

Common Core has given us snowflakes instead of students.  Chances are if you say the two words "Common Core" to a parent they will likely evoke strong opinions, and generally not favorable ones.  The academic standards that focused on math and English and which many states adopted have been an epic fail and have left several states with a change of heart.  But while it's been a disaster academically, from an agenda-driven perspective Common Core has been a huge win for the politically correct propaganda being peddled.

Academic Fraud Occurs at Every Level of Education.  About 40 percent of college freshmen must take at least one remedial course.  To deal with ill-prepared students, professors dumb down their courses so that students can get passing grades.  Colleges also set up majors with little or no academic content so as to accommodate students with limited academic abilities.  Such majors often include the term "studies": ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies or American studies.  The major selected by the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education.  When students' SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.

New Research Finds Trigger Warnings Have 'Little Effect'.  Is anyone surprised by this?  Should anyone who claims to need trigger warnings be in college in the first place?

Research finds trigger warnings have 'little effect' on emotional response — even for victims.  Are trigger warnings in the classroom helping students better deal with troubling topics in the curriculum?  No.  Are they making students even more sensitive and unable to deal with everyday life?  Also no.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Progressive University.  How is it, considering the economic nonsense she spouts, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could graduate cum laude from Boston University, with a degree in international relations and economics?

Trump's Most Daunting Task:  Educating on Socialism.  Because of a sclerotic leftwing education system, our youth have been indoctrinated in a simple-minded version of socialism for decades without knowing it.  Meanwhile, the right has been extraordinarily lazy in confronting this, acting in a basically uneducated manner themselves.  It's almost criminal.  Ask your average college student who is history's greatest mass murderer and almost none of them would name Mao.  They have no idea what the Great Leap Forward was when some thirty million Chinese were starved to death by the Chairman in the name of socialism or why that might have happened.  One could go on with the history of megadeath from Stalin to Hitler to Pol Pot (who?) — all socialists — and get plenty of blank stares.

My students know they're in charge, and there's nothing I can do.  In my school, law and order have gone the way of the slide rule. [...] In my 20 years working for the Board of Ed, I've never seen such a disregard for the rules — and human decency — as I'm seeing now.  Smoke weed on campus?  Grab your fellow student's breast?  Tell your teacher to f*** off?  You just earned yourself an in-house suspension — also known as a hang-out-with-your-phone-in-an-empty-classroom day.  When I started out, an altercation with another student could get you an out-of-school suspension ordered up by the principal.  Nowadays, giving a kid a bloody nose doesn't even buy you so much as an in-house one.  And the kids are so street-smart, they know exactly how to commit the maximum amount of crime and get the least amount of time.

The New Nihilism.  For about a half century, universities have eroded inductive and empirical education.  Instead, deduction and advocacy took its place — and to such a degree that to question man-made global warming, the dogma of racial separatism and chauvinism, radical abortion, or gay marriage became taboo and proof of near criminality.  But advocacy for generations of youth also came at a price of not learning history, languages, science, math, and literature, the age-old menu of broad liberal arts education.  And the result is reified by the emergence of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose arrogance and ignorance are emblematic of the worth of a costly Boston University degree.

Students may opt out of mandatory harassment training if it makes them uncomfortable.  At Northwestern University, students are able to opt out of a required training on sexual misconduct merely if they claim to be uncomfortable with the content.  The school allows students to opt out of the mandatory training due to fears that "the content of the training could be potentially upsetting for students with personal experience with sexual harassment or violence," the school's newspaper The Daily Northwestern reported earlier this month.  But the school is refusing to discuss the possibility that this opt-out feature might be abused by students who simply do not want to take the course.

Prof Suspended for Allegedly Requiring Respectful Behavior in Classroom.  Some students think they own the school and are entitled to behave however they please.  Why is this professor being disciplined for expecting better?

K-12: Faking It.  The Education Establishment tried again and again to replace genuine math instruction with fake instruction.  The first counterfeit was New Math in 1962.  The main gimmick was to teach advanced material to young children.  Americans, almost across the board, realized immediately that this thing was a scam.  Experts moved on to Reform Math circa 1985.  The most famous version is called Everyday Math.  Again, Reform Math, with all of its sophistries and mysteries, was not math; it was anti-math.  But it looked like a math class because there are numbers on the blackboard, children have a textbook, and they had problems to do at home.  This trickery is now evolved into Common Core Math.  Again, the schools sent home things that are called problems.  Many are egregious.

High School Teacher Suspended For Showing Fox News Documentary About Due Process In College.  A high school teacher in the wealthy suburban New York town of Bedford has been suspended for showing his students a Fox News documentary as part of a lesson plan to prepare them for college.  Mike Poplardo is an economics teacher at Fox Lane High School in Bedford.  In May of 2018, he spent two days on a "mini-unit" designed to prepare students for college.  During this lesson, he showed students the Fox News documentary titled "Fox News Reporting:  The Truth about Sex and College."

College students increasingly taking emotional support animals to campus.  The last few years have seen a growing number of college students requesting, and being approved, to keep a personal cat or dog with them on campus, in the name of an emotional support animal.  While traditional service dogs for people with certain disabilities have been around for many years and are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act, emotional support animals have become more of a recent phenomenon as a new way of treating mental illness.

Duke official steps down after telling students to speak English.  The director of graduate studies for a Duke University School of Medicine department stepped down Saturday after screenshots of an email reported to be from her circulated on social media, suggesting students refrain from speaking Chinese to "improve their English."  "I encourage you to commit to using English 100 percent of the time" on campus or in professional settings, the email states.  Medical school dean Mary E. Klotman apologized to her students for the email, sent out by Megan Neely, director of the Master of Biostatics Program.

Another milestone in California's decline — The LA teacher strike.  Teachers in Los Angeles public schools went on strike last week, holding 500,000 kids and their parents hostage as they demand more money for the lousy job their system does at providing an education.  The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) boasts of graduating about 80 percent of students.  But only 60 percent of those who graduated actually completed the necessary coursework, reflecting an unfortunate practice of passing students who don't actually make the grade.

The Left vs. Logic.  A statement cannot refute itself and be true, be logical.  The postmodern mantra, "There is no absolute truth!" — usually said with great didactic gusto, is such a statement.  "There is no absolute truth," is an absolute statement and therefore argues against itself.  How can one stay sane if one actually believes such tripe?  One can't.  College professors love to play this dishonest shell game with their students.  Slip ideas around fast enough, which is easy once ideas are distanced from their source, and you can convince anyone of anything.  Do we wonder why our young people drink themselves through high school and college?  Why the drug overdose problem is what it is?  They are being driven to madness.

American University Tells Faculty to Disregard 'Quality' of Writing When Grading.  A seminar at American University in February will instruct faculty members to disregard a student's "quality" of writing when grading their papers.  According to a report from The College Fix, an upcoming seminar at American University will ask professors to disregard a student's "quality" of writing when grading their assignments.  The seminar, which will be conducted by University of Washington-Tacoma Professor Asao Inoue, will include a variety of lectures that will encourage professors to disregard the quality of writing from students.

Portland State Univ. professor to face discipline for exposing shoddy scholarship.  A scholar whose carefully crafted fiction helped expose the rot within some sectors of the modern academy is now under fire from his home, Portland State University, although prominent academics throughout the West have risen to his defense.  Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University in Oregon, led a trio of scholars last year who submitted to leading publications what they called intentionally broken papers on gender, race and sexuality.  Several of the absurd pieces were published.

Academic Absurdity of the Week:  Writing is Racist.  Like our coveted Green Weenie Award, we could cover academic absurdities on an hourly basis these days.  To paraphrase Will Rogers, there's no trouble exposing the rot of our universities when so many faculty are working full time for you.  So we limit ourselves to the most extraordinary or novel expressions of academic rot. [...] [N]othing will marginalize a struggling student more than telling them they are exempt from academic canons of excellence and achievement.  But this is the Orwellian world of higher education today, where the real racists parade under the banner of anti-racism.

Louisiana school that went viral for sending students to elite colleges accused of falsifying transcripts: report.  A southern Louisiana school became an internet sensation after multiple videos showing its underprivileged black students receiving acceptance letters to elite colleges went viral over the past two years.  The school is back in the spotlight after a report from The New York Times that says the school's founders fabricated applications and falsified transcripts, in addition to fostering "a culture of fear with physical and emotional abuse."  Tracey and Michael Landry, the husband-and-wife founders of T.M. Landry College Preparatory School, a private K-12 school in Breaux Bridge, are accused of mining "the worst stereotypes of black America" to play up the students' tales of hardship and academic accomplishments in order to appeal to Ivy League school's hunger for diversity, according to the report.

Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges.  Here's the Reality.  T.M. Landry College Prep, a small private school in Louisiana, boasted about its record of sending black students from working class families to top universities.  But there's more to the story.  In reality, the school falsified transcripts, made up student accomplishments and mined the worst stereotypes of black America to manufacture up-from-hardship tales that it sold to Ivy League schools hungry for diversity.  The Landrys also fostered a culture of fear with physical and emotional abuse, students and teachers said.

Columbia University Seminar to Promote 'Inclusive Grading'.  The Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), housed in a gracious office on the ground floor of the Columbia library, is launching a new class to educate professors on how to be "inclusive" to all students — except, of course, conservatives.  The "Inclusive Teaching Seminar" will be held in Spring 2018 and will host five meetings.  While "inclusive" is vague, the CTL website explains that each session will be dedicated to a specific topic, such as "inclusive grading" or "preventing microaggressions."  PhD students — future professors — are specifically invited to apply, but Columbia officials did not respond to inquiries on if the seminar will be mandatory for anyone, or if attendance could count towards tenure applications for junior faculty.

University lecturers told DON'T USE CAPS as it frightens students.  University lecturers have been told not to use words in capital letters when setting assignments because it might frighten students into failure.  Staff at Leeds Trinity's school of journalism have also been told to "write in a helpful, warm tone, avoiding officious language and negative instructions".  Some blasted the move as "more academic mollycoddling" of the snowflake generation.  An "enhancing student understanding, engagement and achievement" memo lists dos and don'ts — with "do" and "don't" among words frowned upon.

Walk Away.  You've heard the rumors, or you have seen the results yourself.  Kids can't read, not fluently.  Incoherent Common Core homework makes them cry.  Students don't know the simplest things about geography, history, science, or anything else.  Jay Leno, Jesse Watters, Mark Dice, and now Jimmy Kimmel have shown this over and over.  The incompetent, ideological extremists perpetuating this educational malpractice should be rejected or at least rebuked.  What's a simple way to do that?  You don't need to send them a card.  Just walk away...if not physically, at least emotionally.

Fake bombs are not bombs.  Fake news is fake news.  The young know nothing about the truth of American history or the Constitution.  Everything they have been taught is wrong.  With the exception of those educated at Hillsdale College and a few other places, they know nothing about the founding of this nation, the Constitution, or the Revolutionary War that won our independence.  They know nothing of the facts of the Civil War, Lincoln, or the truth of the racism that characterized the Democratic Party then and still does.  It is the left that defines all of us by skin color and on one scale of victimhood or another.

Why So Little for the Mind?  Many critics say our public schools are a train wreck. [...] Camille Paglia, popular professor and author, declares:  "What has happened is these young people now getting to college have no sense of history — of any kind!  No sense of history.  No world geography.  No sense of the violence and the barbarities of history.  So, they think that the whole world has always been like this, a kind of nice, comfortable world where you can go to the store and get orange juice and milk, and you can turn on the water and the hot water comes out. ... They know nothing!"  Professor Patrick Deneen at Notre Dame says, "My students are know-nothings. ... Their brains are largely empty. ... 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."

Why Teaching Military History Matters.  Unfortunately, the study of military history — a real dissection of warfare and battles from ancient Plataea to modern-day Fallujah — has been lost in our education system.  But the story of us doesn't exist apart from warfare and its origins. [...] Whenever someone vilifies rather than tries to understand those on the opposite political spectrum, whenever a college facility is invaded by chanting students, speakers are denied a voice regardless of the repugnant visions they may espouse, congressional hearings and Supreme Court votes are grandstanded and disrupted, ignorant mobs replace discourse, private citizens harassed, threatened, and assaulted, or when congressmen are shot merely for their party affiliation, we are seeing this hole in the curricula being filled by the worst — and most tragically ignorant — angels of our nature.

Racial Disparities in School Discipline.  Faced with threats from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, schools have instituted new disciplinary policies.  For example, after the public school district in Oklahoma City was investigated by the OCR, there was a 42.5 percent decrease in the number of suspensions.  According to an article in The Oklahoman, one teacher said, "Students are yelling, cursing, hitting and screaming at teachers and nothing is being done but teachers are being told to teach and ignore the behaviors."  According to Chalkbeat, new high school teachers left one school because they didn't feel safe.  There have been cases in which students have assaulted teachers and returned to school the next day.  Many of the complaints about black student behavior are coming from black teachers.

The Latest, Greatest Academic Hoax.  Is it the hoax to end all hoaxes?  Is it the reductio ad absurdum of grievance studies?  Does it simply show that today's left leaning academic journals will publish any piece of garbage if it echoes editors' and reviewers' prejudices?  Then again, it might really show that thought leaders in Humanities are really imbeciles who cannot think their way out of a proverbial paper bag.  It might mean that in a certain precinct of the academy, meritocracy is definitively dead. [...] The paper argues that physics departments should replace astronomy with feminist astrology.  And you were wondering why today's students cannot think.

Teacher Fired for Ignoring Insane School Policy Against Zeroes.  When students do not hand in an assignment, they get a zero pretty much everywhere in the world — but not at West Gate K-8 school in Port St.  Lucie, Florida, apparently.  In mid-September, an 8th grade social studies teacher was fired from the school for refusing to follow a bizarre policy requiring her to give students who handed nothing in a 50 percent score.  Then, the school lied about it.  The teacher feels a calling to be involved in teaching.  And she genuinely loves her students.  But apparently, not being willing to let them escape accountability for failure to do their work can be a firing offense at West Gate school in South Florida.  Indeed, official lies notwithstanding, school policy required her and all other teachers to give students a 50 for doing absolutely nothing!

Watered-down history textbook
Third-Grade Civics Textbook Butchers American History.  Wondering whether elementary school students are truly indoctrinated in the left wing agenda?  Well, wonder no more.  They are; and it's worse — far worse — than you can possibly imagine. [...] There is no list of American Presidents.  There is no mention of the two-party system, nor the fact that there exists a group called "The Republican Party".  And there is no mention of a Republican President other than Abraham Lincoln, who merits but a picture and a single sentence.  In fact, you would not know from reading this book that there ever was a Republican President.  A total of four paragraphs are spent describing World War II.  There is no mention of President Harry S. Truman or of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan to mercifully end World War II.  There is, of course, no mention of Ronald Reagan.

No more mean girls!  Michigan high school ends 'outdated tradition of crowning homecoming queens to prevent bullying'.  A Michigan high school has decided to stop crowning homecoming queens amid bullying issues.  Chelsea High School decided to stop the 'outdated' tradition because of its competitive and stereotypical nature, according to a Student Council letter.  The homecoming queen process often left girls feeling pitted against each other, bullied or with hurt feelings.

Faking Your Way to Racial Equality.  The National Center for Fair and Open Testing argues that teachers illicitly boosting student test scores is endemic.  Such deception is particularly alluring at schools with large populations of underperforming minority students, where the dismal numbers can bring school closings or mass firings.  Such cheating has been documented in Atlanta; Baltimore; and Washington, D.C. as well as in schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and elsewhere.  They are, according to the center, just "the tip of the iceberg.  Cheating may simply entail erasing the wrong answers and replacing them with the correct ones.  Less blatant tactics include strongly hinting at the correct answer during the test under the guise of "helping" the puzzled test-taker, using similar test questions in classroom lessons, or just teaching the test and little else.  One teacher has even written a guide for potential cheaters that includes tips to minimize getting caught — for instance, allowing unauthorized extra time by putting a "do not enter" sign on the classroom door.

Study:  STEM diversity efforts have 'unintended consequences'.  An Indiana University study finds that efforts to raise awareness of the lack of women in STEM are actually making women feel more out of place.  Indiana University Professor Psychology Evava Pietri conducted the study, titled "Addressing Unintended Consequences of Gender Diversity Interventions on Women's Sense of Belonging in STEM."

The Editor says...
STEM classes are all the rage in public schools.  More recently, there has been a push to emphasize STEAM, which is STEM plus Art.  The net result is that everything in the world is being taught in public schools except history, civics, social studies, geography, ethics, spelling, grammar, and common courtesy.  The results are already evident.  Self-centered brats are everywhere, unable to make change for a $20 bill without a calculator, or write a coherent paragraph, or justify their political beliefs.  Somehow they have enough money for cigarettes, tattoos, nose jewelry, and at least one cell phone — from which they are as inseperable as they are from the tattoos.  This means that the United States is more vulnerable than ever to foreign propaganda and ultimately invasion, because the poorly-educated masses are too dumb to organize any resistance or participate in a militia, and unaware of any need to defend this country from a hostile takeover.  The time spent studying 31 varieties of non-standard pronouns is time taken away from the study of America's founding principles and why they're worth defending.  Many of them can't find China on a map.  Or San Francisco.  STEM-centered government schools teach children the skills they need to be compliant data-entry drones in a computerized bureaucaracy.

California Legislators Prohibit Schools From Starting Before 8:30 am.  Lawmakers in the Golden State on Friday [8/31/2018] voted to prohibit middle and high schools from starting before 8:30 a.m., one of the final bills the legislature was able to pass during its last day in session, Fox News reported.  The bill, SB 328, was extremely controversial.  Proponents of the bill say teenagers are facing sleep deprivation when their natural sleep cycle keeps them up late but school forces them to get up early, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 80 percent of California's middle and high schools start before 8:30 a.m., something proponents believe needs to change.

California school district's 'permissive' dress code welcoming tube tops, ripped jeans and pajamas sparks debate.  One California school district is being both championed and condemned for its new "anti-dress code" instated for the 2018-2019 school year, allowing students to sport looks that include tube tops, ripped jeans and pajamas on campus to their heart's content.  In recent weeks, the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) rolled out a revised dress code policy on a yearlong trial period, which the San Francisco Chronicle describes as "among the most permissive in the Bay Area."

A Perfect Storm Threatens America's Survival.  Increasingly parents, particularly conservatives, need to be concerned about sending their offspring to expensive universities and having them return as poorly educated dedicated leftists, struggling to find a job, loaded with debt, and unable to think clearly about the world or their place in it.  Free speech is often not just discouraged, but essentially banned.  High school students are taught little or no history or patriotism.  Street interviews reveal young people so uneducated that they can't identify the vice president, state who won the Civil War, explain what the Fourth of July celebrates, find any country on a map, or qualify for military service.  There can be no greater danger to our civilization than a poorly educated public, but increasingly, it seems that's what we've got.

Identity Politics Are Rapidly Destroying The Value Of College Degrees.  [Scroll down]  A fifth of undergrads now say it's acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes 'offensive and hurtful statements.'"  The same survey indicates that about four in every ten students believes the First Amendment does not allow "hate speech."  Meanwhile, even at elite colleges like the liberal arts school Pomona, nearly 90 percent of students say their campus climate chills speech because they fear saying things others might find offensive.  Those illiberal trends are bad enough on their own, but the format of college also makes little sense.  Its incentives are poorly aligned with what is valued in the workplace.  Students are incentivized to be obedient and compliant, not to set themselves apart from the pack.  Many college students end up slinging impressive sounding extracurriculars together that any hiring manager can easily see through.

Our Universities are Teaching "Social Justice" but Not the Important Things.  Our educational system is failing abysmally if it does not teach that history to each new generation.  Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez is not so much an embarrassment for her views of "Democratic Socialism" as she is an example of the failure of American higher education for her ignorance.  Ignorance is not stupidity, but a lack of information.  She just doesn't know what she is talking about.  This is not a small matter.  If subsequent generations do not learn the appalling depths to which humanity can sink, then what prevents it from happening again.  I have been re-reading Herman Wouk's The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance, and in the current atmosphere, it is uncomfortable reading.  What appalling ignorance allows people to call a President of the United States — Hitler?  To call him a Nazi, calling the political Right Nazis and every other epithet they can think of — because their candidate lost the election.  They should have learned through years of education that such epithets were unacceptable anywhere, at any time, for any reason.

K-12: Parallels with Venezuela.  In 1931, the American Education Establishment proclaimed the salvation of reading.  We would bury phonics, which never worked, and we would instead make children memorize every English word by sight.  This was a disastrous boondoggle that we are still living with.  We have 50 million functional illiterates.  As a result, the country is groggy on its feet.  This seems to be the goal of our Progressive educrats.  In 1962, the same arrogant, self-congratulatory pattern continued.  Finally, at last, our professors had figured out how mathematics should be taught.  This breakthrough was called New Math.  There was a year-long buildup for this weirdly inane failure.  Few schools stuck with it for even two years.  New Math the Sequel, circa 1985, was called Reform Math.  New Math 3 is called Common Core Math.  These things were not designed by mathematicians.  They were all designed by far-left professors in the Education Establishment.

Let's demand the media — and the education establishment — stop concealing America's very real racial problem.  Given the reality of minority underachievement, black and Hispanic leaders had a choice: they could have focused relentlessly on self-help, in the tradition of Booker T. Washington, so that minority students became academically competitive, or they could play the race card and demand lowered standards.  Almost all have chosen the second course.  Minority advocates focus exclusively on the defense and extension of racial preferences; calls to crack the books are virtually nonexistent.  The press is complicit in this swerve from personal responsibility by keeping the skills gap as far as possible off stage.  And universities themselves would rather let stand the implication that they are somehow denying "access" to underrepresented minorities than reveal the extent of preferences, as demonstrated by Harvard's fierce opposition to releasing anonymized admissions data in the ongoing discrimination lawsuit against it.

The Origins of Our Second Civil War.  Universities grew not just increasingly left-wing but far more intolerant than they were during the radicalism of the Sixties — but again in an infantile way.  Speakers were shouted down to prove social-justice fides.  "Studies" courses squeezed out philosophy and Latin.  History became a melodramatic game of finding sinners and saints, rather than shared tragedy.  Standards fell to accommodate poorly prepared incoming students, on the logic that old norms were arbitrary and discriminatory constructs anyway.  The curriculum now was recalibrated as therapeutic; it no longer aimed to challenge students by demanding wide reading, composition skills, and mastery of the inductive method.  The net result was the worst of all possible worlds:  An entire generation of students left college with record debt, mostly ignorant of the skills necessary to read, write, and argue effectively, lacking a general body of shared knowledge — and angry.

Is There a Cure for the Modern University?  So much has gone wrong with the modern university that one scarcely knows where to begin.  Innumerable books have been written on the subject, from Hilda Neatby's 1953 So Little for the Mind to Michael Rectenwald's 2018 Springtime for Snowflakes.  Articles abound in the thousands.  As a former laborer in the educational vineyards, I have attempted a modest contribution to the literature, consisting of three books and dozens of essays and articles, to no particular avail.  The academic outlook continues to degenerate, following an agenda that seems to be unstoppable, as if programmed by some ideological Doomsday Machine.  The reasons for the precipitous decline in academic rigor, standards, and outcomes are many and have been thoroughly canvassed.

Wise Giants and Arrogant Dwarves.  [Scroll down]  Likewise, the educational system is failing because it has been corrupted by dubious pseudo-scientific theories about learning, and by curricula aimed at shaping children to create some vision of the "new man," as the Soviets called the improved human of the future.  In contrast, for two millennia children had been educated by teaching them foundational skills and knowledge through the discipline of memorization and repetition. [...] Anyone with common sense and experience of human nature could predict the outcome of rejecting traditional schooling — ignorance, a grandiose sense of self, and an intolerance for effort.  Encouraging callow youths' inflated self-regard and subjective feelings, rather than developing their minds and characters with discipline and challenges, only creates incompetent solipsists, "snowflakes" demanding "safe spaces" that shield them from "microagressions."

Even a former drug dealer can't handle teaching in Philly's schools.  Quamiir Trice served time for selling crack while he himself was a high school student in Philly, yet managed to do a one-eighty:  He ended up graduating from college and became a teacher in city schools.  His story is an academic's dream — a black male returns to his neighborhood to teach.  But Trice's first year at Bethune Elementary was like that which way too many educators — of all colors — face.  "It was chaos," he said.  "I was just treading water; things just didn't feel good.  There were so many students, and so much going on, that it was impossible for me to reach them."  He said that he "felt lost about everything from lesson plans to teaching reading."

Progressive Child Abuse in the Schools.  Schools are also becoming less and less likely to offer any traditional courses in American history, hence the widespread ignorance of many U.S. citizens today regarding personal liberty and our sacred U.S. Constitution.  The left has replaced the noble and traditional educational process of challenging the minds of students with a dumbed down curriculum, which has an end goal of completely stifling student brain activity.  There also seems to be a "hate America at any cost" theme being embedded into the halls of every public school today.

If Johnny Can't Read, Who's to Blame?  When a federal court dismissed on June 29 the class-action lawsuit claiming the State of Michigan had deprived Detroit public schoolchildren of "their right to literacy," the left was all set to react in faux shock.  The court's key finding hardly came as news to most of us, but the headlines in the New York Times sounded as if someone had denied climate change:  "Access to Literacy' Is Not a Constitutional Right, Judge in Detroit Rules."  These days, when everything progressives want government to provide free is defined as a "right," i.e., healthcare, housing, a guaranteed income, American citizenship for illegal aliens, etc., etc., it stands to reason that literacy may as well be thrown in there, too.  It's only obvious, provided you've never read the Bill of Rights.  Hence this lawsuit, brought by public-interest lawyers (who know better) on behalf of several students of low-performing Detroit schools, claiming that "access to literacy" is a fundamental right under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.

Diversity and Inclusion Harm.  [Heather] Mac Donald says that identity politics has already taken over the humanities and social sciences on American campuses.  Waiting in the wings for a similar takeover are the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math.  In the eyes of the diversity and inclusiveness czars, the STEM fields don't have a pleasing mixture of blacks, Hispanics and women.  The effort to get this "pleasing mix" is doing great damage to how science is taught and evaluated, threatening innovation and American competitiveness.  Universities and other institutions have started watering down standards and requirements in order to attract more minorities and women.  Some of the arguments for doing so border on insanity.

How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences.  Identity politics has engulfed the humanities and social sciences on American campuses; now it is taking over the hard sciences.  The STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, and math — are under attack for being insufficiently "diverse."  The pressure to increase the representation of females, blacks, and Hispanics comes from the federal government, university administrators, and scientific societies themselves.  That pressure is changing how science is taught and how scientific qualifications are evaluated.  The results will be disastrous for scientific innovation and for American competitiveness.

Past Versus Present American.  Behavior that is accepted from today's young people was not accepted yesteryear.  For those of us who are 65 or older, assaults on teachers were not routine as they are in some cities.  For example, in Baltimore, an average of four teachers and staff members were assaulted each school day in 2010, and more than 300 school staff members filed workers' compensation claims in a year because of injuries received through assaults or altercations on the job.  In Philadelphia, 690 teachers were assaulted in 2010, and in a five-year period, 4,000 were.  In that city's schools, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, "on an average day 25 students, teachers, or other staff members were beaten, robbed, sexually assaulted, or victims of other violent crimes.  That doesn't even include thousands more who are extorted, threatened, or bullied in a school year."

Philly Teacher Accused of Taking Bribes from Students in Exchange for Good Grades.  A Philadelphia teacher is no longer in the classroom after she allegedly took bribes from students in exchange for better grades.  NBC10 first received a tip that Amanda Richardson, a humanities teacher at the LINC High School on W. Erie Ave., was accused of accepting bribes from her students and giving them good grades in return.  A spokesperson for the Philadelphia School District confirmed with NBC10 they were investigating the allegations.

History of the Conspiracy against Reading.  The power of our Education Establishment to maintain its destructive nonsense is frightening.  These shifty people have put the leaders of the country in straitjackets, apparently.  Even President Trump and Betsy DeVos cannot speak the obvious: children should learn to read in the first grade.  Anything else is unacceptable.  If you hear about children bringing home lists of sight-words to memorize, start screaming.  That's where illiteracy begins:  sight-words.  If literacy is the goal, children should memorize the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they represent.  To save the country, we first have to save the public schools.  To do that, we have to save reading.

Florida Paper Torches Broward Officials For Allowing Nikolas Cruz To 'Slide' Thanks to Obama-Era Disciplinary Program.  Well, the Sun-Sentinel did not hold back in their piece about the Broward County school officials and their PROMISE program that shuns disciplinary actions for students that possibly commit felonious acts.  The program was enacted under the Obama era.  In 2011, the Obama White House wanted to keep more kids in schools, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie endorsed it and in 2013, PROMISE went into effect.  Paul Sperry wrote in RealClearInvestigations about how the program has created a climate of chaos in school districts, where discipline has become non-existent to the point where students know they can't be expelled, leading to assaults on teachers: [...]

Everyone makes school's cheer squad after parent complains.  A New Jersey mom went to her daughter's school and complained about her not making the cheerleading squad — so now everyone gets to make the team.  "All my hard work has been thrown out the window," seethed cheerleader Stephanie Krueger about the ruling during a Board of Education meeting last week in East Hanover.

K-12: Let the Peasants Eat Popcorn.  This country's K-12 system has created 50 million functional illiterates, give or take.  Where are all the people with consciences, social consciousness, or even just the smallest sense of fair play?  Reading is easy to teach.  Why do we allow people to remain illiterate?

Educational Fraud Continues.  Nationally, our high school graduation rate is over 80 percent.  That means high school diplomas, which attest that these students can read and compute at a 12th-grade level, are conferred when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math.  For blacks, the news is worse.  Roughly 75 percent of black students received high school diplomas attesting that they could read and compute at the 12th-grade level.  However, 83 percent could not read at that level, and 93 percent could not do math at that level.  It's grossly dishonest for the education establishment and politicians to boast about unprecedented graduation rates when the high school diplomas, for the most part, do not represent academic achievement.  At best, they certify attendance.

British Schools Give Up On Teaching Kids To Tell Time.  When students in Britain take their exams, they don't know how much time they have left, because they can't tell time.  So, instead of teaching them how, they're just switching to digital clocks.

How Millennial Socialists Endanger America.  Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2004, are the largest age cohort in American history, and according to a recent poll, most of them (44%) prefer socialism to capitalism (42%).  An earlier 2015 poll found an even larger number of Millennials (53%) with a "favorable opinion" of socialism.  Inference:  America is in trouble.  Maybe Donald Trump can stem the tide for another four or even eight years, but support for socialism will continue to mount as long as Millennials remain ignorant of what socialism really is.  The greatest danger to this country comes from the fact that so many Millennials don't understand politics and economics.

Tucker Asks 'Is College Worth It?': 'More Students Are Failing, Yet Almost Nobody Fails'.  College has become "crushingly expensive," but is it worth it?  Tucker Carlson posed the question Wednesday night [4/25/2018], asking whether American families are getting what they pay for out of the nation's institutions of higher learning.  He pointed to research based on tracking 2,000 college students over several years.  It found that 45 percent of students "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" over the first two years of college and 40 percent "didn't learn anything at all over all four years."  [Video clip]

K-12: Illiterate New World.  [Scroll down]  Hardly 20 years after the introduction of this brave new illiteracy, the situation was already so bad that Rudolf Flesch felt compelled to write a book explaining what had happened to the country (Why Johnny Can't Read, 1955).  Many millions of Americans felt compelled to read the book.  Almost everyone knew that something had gone horribly wrong.  It continues to go wrong today.

Deep-Freezing the Truth at Penn.  By any common understanding of a "diversity mandate," the Penn law review most certainly has one.  In the summer of 2003, it created a new pathway for membership to solve the perennial lack of racial diversity among its editors.  According to a contemporaneous Chronicle of Higher Education article, until then, students were selected based either on their grades or on a writing competition that assessed analytic and editing skills.  Now, however, a third criterion would be added — a "personal statement," in which an applicant might address the "challenges" he has faced, the "familial, cultural, or personal experiences that have contributed" to his worldview, and the "unique contribution" he would make to the review.  The editorial guidelines explain that the personal statement allows the law review to find editors who bring "diverse perspectives" to legal scholarship.  Anyone familiar with "holistic admissions" will recognize this language, even had the architects of the personal-statement requirement not already explained that its goal was to increase racial diversity.  Somehow, "challenges" and "cultural experiences" always pertain exclusively to underrepresented minorities.

Obama directive easing school discipline for minority students [is] fueling classroom chaos.  The Trump administration is being accused of racism for targeting an Obama-era directive compelling schools to ease up on discipline for minority students — even though the policy has made life more difficult for kids, including minorities, stuck in increasingly unruly classrooms.

Don't Go To College.  "Higher education" is terrible.  Please note the quotation marks, you doofy liberals who will no doubt fill the comments with high-pitched typing about how "Conservatives hate knowing stuff."  What passes for "education" today is nothing of the sort, and what calls itself "academia" is really just a venal trade guild packed with mediocrities desperately trying to keep fooling people into forking over $60,000 a year — usually obtained via ruinous borrowing that ties a financial anchor around the defrauded grads' necks for the rest of their lives.  Today, academia's product is largely garbage — gender studies, twisted history, and pointless sociology spin-offs like communications and political science.

K-12: The War on Boys and Men.  [Scroll down]  But the paradigm of stupid instruction remains Whole Word.  That's where the student has to memorize the English language one word at a time.  The famous Dr. Samuel Orton, a neurologist, did a study in 1926-28 and declared that this method doesn't work... and, in addition, it will damage every child it touches.  He was exactly correct, and the Education Establishment knows it.  What do we see in the schools of America?  Millions of semi-literate children with messed up minds.  StatisticBrain claims that 32 million Americans "can't read."  Tens of millions more read marginally.  This is a vast national tragedy.  Ask yourself, why is this tolerated?  Perhaps because it makes the population easier to control.

9/11 and Parkland:  When Systems Fail.  Everyone paying attention knows now that the Parkland massacre by a severely troubled and dangerous young man was the result of a failure of a host of government institutions.  The FBI received several specific warnings and ignored them.  The Broward County sheriff's department also ignored countless notifications, as did the local police.  Much of the inefficiency was probably due to sheer incompetence, people not doing the jobs they were meant to do.  But much was the result of a truly ridiculous program invented by the Obama administration, the Promise policy.

Parkland school shooting is your government at rest.  It's becoming obvious as the investigation continues that rather than a random killing spree, the death toll is collateral damage resulting from Democrat efforts to introduce protected categories into the criminal justice system by ending the school to prison pipeline.  Instead of the NRA with blood on its hands, we find Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie and Sheriff Israel directly responsible for the death of 17 innocents.  Real Clear Investigations reports in 2013 — the year before the shooter entered high school — the Sheriff of Noddingham voluntarily signed a "collaborative agreement on school discipline."  This preemptive amnesty listed a series of misdemeanors that would no longer result in arrest.  The freebie offenses included vandalism, disorderly conduct, fighting, trespassing, criminal mischief, harassment, threats, alcohol infractions and possession of drug paraphernalia — all violations common to future valedictorians.

"School Discipline Gaps," an Ongoing Mystery.  [Scroll down]  Why on Earth would the most serious offenses — fighting or possessing weapons or drugs — be excluded from the study?  I suppose because the rates of suspension or expulsion of "students of color" are at least as high, or more likely higher, for these obviously suspendible offenses.  In other words, the study was rigged to avoid coming to the obvious conclusion.  As I said, school discipline quotas represent an increasingly important issue.  Why?  Because they are making school ineffective and even dangerous for a great many normal students.

Fraud and Failure in D.C. Public Schools.  Education reformers used to celebrate D.C.'s dramatic decline in school suspensions.  Then a Washington Post investigation revealed that it was fake; administrators had merely taken suspensions off the books.  The same reformers used to celebrate D.C.'s sharp increase in high-school graduations.  Then an NPR investigation revealed that it, too, was fake; almost half of students who missed more than half the year graduated.  For people who talk ceaselessly about "accountability," experts have been curiously silent in the face of these revelations.  Worse yet, the top-down mandates they implemented in D.C., intended to hold principals and teachers "accountable" for improving "outcomes," have long since caught on across the country.

Purdue Online Writing Lab bans use of the word 'man'.  Purdue Online Writing Lab, a citation website provided by Purdue University available for free to the general public, recently updated its writing guidelines to instruct the avoidance of "stereotypes and biased language."  "Writing in a non-sexist, non-biased way is both ethically sound and effective," the Purdue OWL site authors claim.  "Non-sexist writing is necessary for most audiences; if you write in a sexist manner and alienate much of your audience from your discussion, your writing will be much less effective."  Cautioning writers to "[avoid] using language that is stereotypical or biased in any way," Purdue OWL describes that the general use of "man" as well as its use in professional titles is no longer considered a formal or professional writing style.

Students in Louisiana thought this math symbol looked like a gun.  Police were called.  A discussion among students at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., about a mathematical symbol led to a police investigation and a search of one of the student's homes, according to the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office.  On the afternoon of Feb. 20, detectives investigated a report of terroristic threats at the school, where they learned that a student had been completing a math problem that required drawing the square-root sign.

Juvenile Viciousness Is Here to Stay.  Anomie has legal and customary protection — "rights" — inside and outside schools.  When procedures involve personal conduct, supervisors must worry first about a board fight or litigation.  Relations between parents and schools have frayed.  When principals and superintendents talk about "moral education," they almost certainly are thinking in a limited range, perhaps about "service education" or "community support."  When educators try to set out character goals, they are likely to recommend "building self-discipline and empathy" or "teaching interpersonal relations."  Virtue means, "fighting racism" or "respecting differences."  Administrative officers insist that multiculturalism is "our" greatest strength, policing operations and curricula to make sure there are no deviations.  This kind of empty talk has gone on for a generation.

Spare Us the 'Conversation'.  The rise of school shootings is due not to the absence of laws but to the absence of a civilized culture that taught students to follow them.  Few lobbies have contributed more to that crisis than the liberal elite's cherished one, the teachers' unions.  They overflow with self-interested hacks whose pensions fattened as schools disintegrated.  Before these educrats laid waste to them, public schools didn't need" gun-free zones" and little armies to protect them.  Teachers took the shaping of minds and souls seriously.  But all that discipline and rigor vanished under the ridicule of a ruling class that now treats the debased condition of schools so solemnly.

Race and IQ: A High School Science Fair Project Ignites a Storm.  [Scroll down]  In a saner time, Equality Dogma would be considered a vile heresy.  The truth here isn't hard to grasp:  There are differences within groups, but there are also differences among groups. [...] The McClatchy student's scientific methods might very well have been shoddy, but this wasn't what got his project scuttled.  Rather, The Sacramento Bee article quoted individuals who said the it was "shocking" and its creator "closed-minded"; it spoke of how people felt "upset" and "unsafe and uneasy."  What's notable is that no one quoted said the project's conclusion was wrong or untrue.

Online Sociology Course Founders Over Whether Australia is a Country.  I'm not all that concerned with students working toward a major in poetry, media studies or some of the more ridiculous courses some colleges offer.  It's sociology that worries me.  Sociology helped generate a whole range of fake new academic subjects while corrupting existing ones into a toxic stew of racism and meaningless jargon.  All too often, all you need is some statistics software (or its online equivalent), a politically correct premise and absolute ignorance.  Add the internet and you get a perfect storm of sociology stupidity.

Report: Students allowed to graduate with extreme absences.  The investigation found that administrators at Ballou High School pressured teachers to pass students despite their grade or the number of unexcused absences.

Our School Systems are Killing Us.  There are few in this country who doubt we are in a crisis when it comes to public education.  Our public schools are instilling in our young a lack of responsibility.  Worse, they are training them to believe they can do almost anything — or not do it — without facing consequences.  Is it any wonder when those same students get to college, they have little to no concept of what is expected of them as students or adults?  Not that our higher education system helps much along the way.  Somewhere, the buck has to stop and, in this case, it stops with each of us as taxpayers.  Districts like Baltimore County have put into place rules where "students will be graded only on what they learn, not how they behave or if they do their homework." [...] After all, behavior, or misbehavior, has no consequences.  But it goes beyond that.  A major portion of most grades has always come from how a student does on homework.

Education Professor Praises Laziness.  Applying critical theory, leftists tear down everything that is noble and worthy of respect.  Economic accomplishment is denounced as "greed" or "privilege."  War heroes are psychopaths or suckers.  Great historical figures including the Founding Fathers are bigots.  The awesome heritage of Western Civilization is trashed in favor of dysfunctional Third World savagery.  After the old virtues that heritage rests on have been swept aside, they will be replaced by new, progressive virtues — like laziness.

K-12: Killing Democracy.  The majority of children in the United States learn to read with sight-words. [...] As a practical matter, the victims of sight-words are given a severely limited vocabulary.  You might think of it as a worker's or slave's vocabulary.  Instead of the 100,000 or 200,000 words that most educated people speak and read without much effort, you have people who are painfully confined to a reading vocabulary of only 500 or 1,000 sight-words.  These people are called functional illiterates, and they are not a tiny minority.  This is 50 million people.  Illiteracy and sight-words go together like love and marriage.

The Death of Academic Rigor.  Clearly, the dire situation we are in can only deteriorate as the concept of excellence bites the dust and students are deliberately coaxed into pre-planned intellectual darkness. [...] I suspect that the decline wrought by a deficient home life, substandard public school teachers, and the lamentable denizens of the university thought-collective — expressions of a rapidly plummeting culture — has gone too far to be reversed and must be allowed to complete its journey into rubble and scree.

America's epidemic of substandard teachers.  [Scroll down]  Recently, New York, after being tied up in court for years, dropped its teacher literacy test amid claims of racism.  A 2011 investigation by WSB-TV found that more than 700 Georgia teachers had repeatedly failed at least one portion of the certification test they were required to pass before receiving a teaching certificate.  Nearly 60 teachers had failed the test more than 10 times, and one teacher had failed the test 18 times.  There were 297 teachers on the Atlanta school system's payroll who had failed the state certification test five times or more.  With but a few exceptions, schools of education represent the academic slums of colleges.  They tend to be home to students who have the lowest academic test scores — for example, SAT scores — when they enter college.

Yale 'decolonizes' English dept. after complaints studying white authors 'actively harms' students.  A year and a half after a petition circulated calling for Yale to "decolonize the English department," the first students are enrolled in a new course created by the department to increase the breadth of the curriculum and combat claims of departmental racism.  What's more, new requirements are in place to ensure a more "diversified" slate of courses.  Previous requirements for the major included two courses in "Major English Poets," including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton and Eliot, among others.  But that two-course series petitioners had deemed actively harmful due to its focus on white male poets.  The series is no longer a graduation requirement for Yale's English majors.

Medical school seeks to hire a 'visual microaggressions' monitor.  The University of Rochester Medical Center is looking to hire a "Diversity and Inclusion Director" whose job will be to implement diversity and inclusion education curricula and community programs.  According to the official job listing, the individual's primary role will be to "strategically plan, develop, implement and evaluate diversity and inclusion education curricula and community programs for the URMC enterprise."  Some of the tasks associated with the job will include overseeing the "development of institutional-wide implicit bias training curriculum," developing "cultural competency educational resources for constituencies including healthcare providers, researchers, and staff," and even creating "an annual diversity and inclusion series and oversees its implementation."  Additionally, the job also requires the individual to attend meetings related to aspects of the "physical environment that impact diverse population such as accessibility, gender-neutral space, visual microaggressions, non-English-speaking visitors and patients."

The Editor says...
Would you put your life in the hands of an easily-offended thin-skinned ninny who is afraid of having his feelings hurt?  How do people so fragile make it into medical school — or out?

Are Schools Purposely Dumbing Down Our Kids?  A student with a 50 percent GPA can now get the same diploma as your A student.  Doesn't that seem crazy?  It used to be that a 70% GPA was passing, and a student could receive a high school diploma with that particular average.  However, the standard has now been lowered further to 50%.  At least this is the case in some public schools.

Why I Quit Teaching.  [Scroll down]  But the primary incentive for flight had to do with the caliber of students I was required to instruct.  The quality of what we called the student "clientele" had deteriorated so dramatically over the years that the classroom struck me as a barn full of ruminants and the curriculum as a stack of winter ensilage.  I knew I could not teach James Joyce's Ulysses or Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain since they were plainly beyond the capacity of our catechumens — mind you, all old enough to vote and be drafted.  The level of interest in and attention to the subjects was about as flat as a fallen arch.  The ability to write a coherent English sentence was practically nonexistent; ordinary grammar was a traumatic ordeal.  In fact, many native English-speakers could not produce a lucid verbal analysis of a text, let alone carry on an intelligible conversation, and some were even unable to properly pronounce common English words.

Time to Tear Down These Schools.  [Scroll down]  The latest lawsuit, filed this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, describes a system that would be intolerable if the people who suffered from it the most had any real clout — and knew that there was an alternative way of doing things.  Two influential law firms have sued the state on behalf of current and former students and teachers at poor-performing schools in Los Angeles, Stockton, and Inglewood.  The lawsuit accuses the government of failing to assure basic literacy levels in California public schools, thus undermining the state constitution's education guarantees.  It offers yet another window into the way many public schools are run.  It details classes where around half the students don't have basic reading skills, examples of fifth graders taught using kindergarten materials, and teachers who "are forced to rely on audio and video content to provide students access to other subjects."  The state has previously identified an urgent need to deal with literacy issues, but has never implemented the plan, per the suit.

K-12: Does Anyone Care That Kids Cry?  There's an education war going on.  It's directed at the parents, keeping them off balance and powerless.  It's directed at the children, keeping them academically enfeebled.  Do they have to be rendered innumerate and illiterate on the streets near your house?  Two thirds of fourth-graders and eighth-graders are below proficient in math.  We know that the country has more than 40 million functional illiterates.  Isn't that enough?  It's happening all around you, every day.  It will go on happening until Americans make a lot more noise.  Common Core's central gimmick is to make children struggle with complex problems before they are ready.  Force them to run before they can crawl — that's the ticket.  Some smart kids will survive.  The not so smart kids will not learn arithmetic.  They will learn to hate it.

California Sued by Students & Parents for Failing to Teach Literacy.  A group of parents and students has filed what it hopes will be a landmark lawsuit against the State of California for its public schools failing to teach literacy.  Public Counsel and the prestigious Law Firm of Morrison & Foerster sued the State of California, the State Board of Education, the State Department of Education, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson for their collective failure to provide every child in the state access to literacy as required under the California Constitution.

Black Self-Sabotage.  In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore's 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state's mathematics exam.  In six other high schools, only one percent tested proficient in math.  In raw numbers, 3,804 Baltimore students took the state's math test, and 14 tested proficient.  Citywide, only 15 percent of Baltimore students passed the state's English test.  Last spring, graduation exercises were held at one Baltimore high school, 90 percent of whose students received the lowest possible math score.  Just one student came even close to being proficient.  Parents and family members applauded the conferring of diplomas.  Some of the students won achievement awards and college scholarships. [...] Baltimore's black students receive diplomas that attest that they can function at a 12th-grade level when in fact they may not be able to do so at a seventh- or eighth-grade level.  These students and their families have little reason to suspect that their diplomas are fraudulent.  Thus, if they cannot land a good job, cannot pass a civil service exam, get poor grades in college and flunk out of college, they will attribute their plight to racism.

Unaccountable Public Schools.  In 2015, the Los Angeles school board decided to roll back graduation requirements, allowing students to pass A-G courses (classes that are required for college entrance) with a "D" instead of a "C."  If that wasn't enough, in Los Angeles and elsewhere, students who are destined not to graduate high school get to take "credit-recovery" classes.  Some are effective, but many are devoid of meaningful content.  Students often complete them in a few hours or over a weekend.  Due to the courses, the graduation rate in L.A. zoomed from a projected 54 percent to 77 percent in 2016 within a few months.  Referring to the higher graduation rates, L.A. School Superintendent Michelle King had the chutzpah to proclaim that she is proud "of the heroic efforts by our teachers, counselors, parents, administrators and classified staff who rally around our students every day."  King's comments aside, is it any wonder that three quarters of California community college students and over 40 percent of California State university system students need remediation?  In San Francisco, only 19 percent of black students passed the state test in reading, yet the school board and union colluded to give teachers in the lowest performing school district in the state a 16 percent across the board pay increase.

Brown University Will Allow Students to 'Self-Identify' as a Person of Color.  Brown University has announced a change to their application process that will allow applicants to "self-identify" as a person of color.  According to The College Fix, the policy is the result of complaints made by Asian-American and international students that they aren't yet categorized as members of historically underrepresented groups.  Historically, Brown has restricted minority status to "American Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Hispanic or Latinx and Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander" students.

Let the Colleges Die.  The number of students enrolled in American colleges and universities has dropped every year for the past five years.  In 2016, the majority of private and public American colleges failed to meet their enrollment and tuition targets.  This is possibly the best news I've heard all year.  And not because I'm against learning or education — it's because American colleges no longer teach people how to think; they command people what to think, with the constant looming Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of anyone foolish enough to express a dissident thought.  American colleges are no longer institutions of higher learning.  It would be more apt to refer to them as state-sanctioned seminaries for the secular religion of Cultural Marxism.  Instead of strolling out of college with nimbler minds, students now stumble out into the real world with their brains scrubbed clean of the ability to hatch a single independent thought.

The Shame of America's Public High Schools.  I wrote [elsew]here about the sad decline of the Edina, Minnesota public schools into hard-core leftism.  Edina's school district was once among the nation's most respected, but its administrators have been content to see the district slide down to second or third tier status, because their sole priority is "racial equity," which is code for a long list of left-wing hobby horses.  What happens when a public school district falls into the hands of race-obsessed leftists?  For one thing, students think it's cool to disrespect America's veterans.  Last Friday, Veterans' Day, Edina High School held a ceremony to honor Edina's vets.  The high school kids assembled, and most of them behaved properly.  But many did not.  Some giggled and talked loudly, among themselves or on their cell phones, through the ceremony.  Worse, a group of students made a deliberate show of disrespecting veterans — even during the playing of "Taps" — by lounging prominently on the floor in front of the crowd rather than standing.  This was an anti-American political statement, as some of them later confirmed on Facebook and other social media.

K-12: The Math You Need Is Not the Math You Get.  Common Core wants you to "to reason abstractly and quantitatively."  What could that mean?  Public schools do not teach fundamental skills, so students, after years in the classroom, can't do life's simple problems.  Instead, they can "use appropriate tools strategically."  Does anybody know what that would be?  Oh, maybe they mean a calculator.  That's pretty much the way all the kids end up:  calculator-dependent. [...] It's a total bait-and-switch, just like sight-word reading.  School officials promise to teach you superior methods that turn out to be vastly inferior.  Then you realize you've wasted years; at the end of it, you can't do simple arithmetic (just as you can't read).  Focus on the tsunami of waste for a few minutes, and you'll start to scorn our professors of education.

Do You Know What Would Fix The Economy?  Forcing People To Major In STEM.  [Scroll down]  So many want the old "Basket Weaving" degree.  But, at least with a basket weaving degree, someone has actual work skills.  You could make awesome baskets, start a business, and sell them, later selling off the company to a big company for a nice profit.  What does one do with a degree in Gender Studies?  Companies want nothing to do with someone who is a threat to cause problems in the workplace nor the lawsuits.

Mathematics Is Not 'White'.  Recently, the NYC Board of Regents decided to loosen the certification process for new teachers, since not enough of their P.C. diversity quota were passing these qualifying tests.  Are we to believe that adults choosing the noble profession of teaching who cannot read, write, speak, or calculate to an established rigorous level (a level any parent expects) should be granted exemptions owing to some diversity goal?  Can't jump over the bar?  Let's lower it, then!  Problem solved.

Liberal Professor says Dumbing Down of America Began in Public Education.  Liberal, feminist (in the classic sense), college professor Camille Paglia is at it again, triggering America's leftwing crybabies with her blunt honesty and her perceptive commentary about the ills in modern America. [...] Paglia argues that the vase majority of today's college students have no sense of history, no sense of geography, and no understanding of how things work or why they are the way they are.  "What has happened is these young people now getting to college have no sense of history — of any kind!  No sense of history.  No world geography.  No sense of the violence and the barbarities of history.  So, they think that the whole world has always been like this, a kind of nice, comfortable world where you can go to the store and get orange juice and milk, and you can turn on the water and the hot water comes out.  They have no sense whatever of the destruction, of the great civilizations that rose and fell, and so on — and how arrogant people get when they're in a comfortable civilization. [...]"

Young, Dumb and Broke:  Millennials and the Curse of Not Thinking.  If there was ever an anthem for youth culture these days, it would have to be Khalid's "Young Dumb & Broke."  I don't mean that as an unjust attack as much as a pointed observation of reality.  I'm far from the first to express concern over the lack of critical thinking so prevalent among Millennials and Gen-Z.  The moral and intellectual cesspools of the modern American university system have decimated not just their capability to think, but their desire.  Movements and crusades that build there are predicated entirely upon vapid sloganeering, hashtags, and chants, leaving behind any appeal to rational or logical evidence.

The Crusade Against Knowledge.  [Scroll down]  This was the attack on memorization itself.  This attack, implicit in Dewey pre-1900, called for the steady demonization of knowing anything, of actually having knowledge inside your head.  We might think of it as an officially-promoted cultural amnesia.  Memorization was always called "rote memorization" or "rote learning," and educators made clear that this activity was bad, to be blunt about it.  Good students didn't do this thing; and good teachers would be ashamed if they asked anyone to commit this crime.  A new branch of anti-cognitive science or anti-epistomology seemed to arise.  It's all settled:  you can't know anything; you shouldn't know anything.  So a fog of ignorance wafted over the country.  You can go on major reference sites today, and find this sophistry in all its well-refined glory.

Character Assassins.  If you haven't paid attention to K-12 for a few decades, the first thing you notice is that education officials relentlessly and openly undermine academics.  No direct instruction.  No memorization of facts.  No systematic mastery of any subject.  No concern for grammar[,] spelling, etc.  It's surprising if students know where Alaska is on a map or who won the Civil War. [...] If they are slouches — shallow, ignorant, and narcissistic — that seems to be what our social engineers want.  These days, our schools are engaged in an anti-gentleman crusade.  Don't try too hard.  Don't worry if the dog ate your homework.  It's normal to cut corners and leave work unfinished.  Lateness is okay.  Incomplete is as good as complete.  Wrong answers are acceptable if you explain your tactics.  Cheating is okay because everyone does it.

Banning 'To Kill a Mockingbird' teaches students the wrong lesson - to fear mere words.  A Mississippi school district in Biloxi has just pulled Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" from its middle school curriculum because "it makes people uncomfortable."  This is hardly the first case of increasing sensitivity at schools.  For instance, last year a district in Virginia removed classroom copies of "Mockingbird" as well as Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" when a parent complained.  Indeed, both "Huck Finn" and "Mockingbird" are among the most frequently challenged books in school curricula over the last decade or so.  This is largely because both books use racial slurs.

Brickbat:  To Ban a Mockingbird.  Officials in the Biloxi, Mississippi, school system stopped eighth-grade students from reading To Kill a Mockingbird after they'd already begun reading it for a literature class.  Superintendent Arthur McMillan is refusing to answer questions from the media about why the book was pulled from the curriculum.  School board vice president Kenny Holloway says there were complaints about the language in the book, presumably the use of the n-word.

On the Corruption of the Military Academies.  The craziness so common at other American college campuses is now demonstrated to have infected even our military service academies.  We should not be surprised, but we are right to be outraged.

Widespread academic corruption lets UNC sports off the hook.  [Scroll down]  I take no position here on whether the NCAA should have penalized the University's sports programs.  But the key factual findings that form the basis for the NCAA's ruling appear to be true and the rationale for its decision is coherent.  The sham courses were, indeed, available to all students.  In fact, the majority of students who took them were non-athletes.  Thus, it was reasonable to conclude that the University did not provide its athletes with an unfair benefit.  It's possible that the sham courses existed for the purpose of helping athletes maintain their eligibility, and that other students simply took advantage of a benefit created and/or maintained for jocks.  However, the NCAA apparently found no evidence that this was the case.  Nor should we assume that the courses were created or maintained for the benefit of athletes.  More likely, they were created and maintained to benefit a much larger class of students — those who struggled in real courses.

Berkeley Students Protest Exam, Demand 'Take Home Essay' Because White Privilege And Stuff.  A video has surfaced on YouTube showing students at the University of California, Berkeley protesting an exam, and demanding a "take-home essay with significant time to prepare."  The reason?  "Our well-beings are being put on the line because of our emotional, mental, and physical stress that [Berkeley] is compounding with what is already going on in our every day lives," according to one of the students in the video.

Take Back Your Brains.  Today, with ample evidence that young students are no longer taught critical thinking in school, and a tsunami of fake news, we have more reason than ever to take back our brains and critically analyze what we are told is happening and why.  This week's news underscores this point.

Holes in Our Heads.  We can show them the climate change data and the numerous times that data has been falsified, and what do we get?  A stare as blank as a petit-mal seizure.  We can whip out the statistics on the starvation factor in North Korea and the same thing happens — no contact made.  I've been amazed listening to the protestors in St.  Louis.  They appear to have no ability to question the presuppositions they had before the trial, nor do they have even a glimmer of the absurdity of their preference for justice-by-mob.  Here are streets filled with black people demanding the right to lynch their fellow man, yet I see no flicker of irony on any of the faces.  The same was true of the protestors in Berkeley.  No grasp at all of the silliness of demanding the right to express their ideas by denying another person's right to express his.  No inkling of the contradictory nature of their stance — i.e. that committing violence is free speech, but that free speech, when it is actually speech, is not.  Not free, not allowed, not appreciated.  These are supposedly intelligent, expensively educated people.  How can a normal brain function like that?

Parents Get Angry After Actress Teaches Students About The Constitution.  Angry parents expressed outrage after actress Janine Turner's "conservative" presentation on the Constitution to fifth and sixth graders at Eubanks Middle School in Southlake, Texas.  Turner, the founder of "Constituting America," spoke to the middle schoolers on Sept. 12 about patriotism and the meaning of America's founding document.  She gave a lecture to promote "civic engagement and understanding of constitutional rights," the mission of her nonpartisan organization.

K-16: Land of Lies.  Many college kids can hardly write a proper English sentence, never mind a proper essay.  Meanwhile, the essay-writing industry is huge, churning out tens of thousands of illegal documents. [...] Meanwhile, there is massive fraud top to bottom.  The kids cheat (i.e., plagiarize) by buying essays.  There seem to be hundreds of these businesses, some of them claiming to have hundreds of professional writers.  Meanwhile, the college (or the individual teachers) could easily determine when students are handing in material above their abilities.  The colleges don't try very hard.  If commonsense safeguards were enforced, the pool of applicants ready for college might shrink tremendously.

The Editor says...
Show me the dictionary in which "commonsense" is a single word.

Poll:  Nearly 4 In 10 Americans Can't Name Any First Amendment Rights.  A recent poll conducted by the University of Pennsylvania finds that residents of the United States are poorly informed about basic constitutional provisions.  The newly released survey suggests Americans cannot name a single right protected by the First Amendment.  According to Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center released Tuesday, 37 percent could not name any of the five rights protected by First Amendment, and just about half (48 percent) could name freedom of speech.

Ignorance of the First Amendment
Burn It All Down:  Just 26% Of Americans Can Name The Three Branches Of Government.  I don't know that there's anything to add to what Jay Cost said:  "We have squandered the greatest civic legacy in the history of the world."  There are various gruesome numbers in this Annenberg survey of Americans' constitutional literacy but none top the data [in this chart], touching on a subject that's typically covered on day one of second grade.

The scariest stat you'll see all day.  When you consider the fact that a third of American adults cannot name a single branch of their federal government, you cease to wonder why things are so bad and begin to wonder why they are not already worse.  In a poll conducted for the Annenberg Public Policy Center ahead of this weekend's celebration of the 229th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution, only 26 percent of respondents could identify the executive, legislative and judicial branches, while 40 percent could name only one or two.

The Left Has Corrupted and Weaponized Academic Research.  Liberals try to compensate for the weakness of their ideas by craftily manipulating the narrative of the debate.  They are supported by liberal academicians who manipulate their research methodologies to predispose results that are amenable to their liberal sensitivities.  We should be wary because the lack of intellectual diversity undermines the quality of scholarly work, and dulls the vibrancy of thought in the public forum.  Cunningly crafted studies under the guise of objective research are reviewed, then cited, by peers prudently protecting their own careers.  Eventually, a bunch of concocted poppycock masquerading as authentic research pollutes the public square, where pandering politicians and liberal media patsies loiter.  They are eager to peddle leftist orthodoxy in a marketplace of counterfeit ideas.

Chelsea Manning Named Visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics.  The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has named convicted felon and transgender activist Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow at its Institute of Politics for the 2017-18 academic year.  Harvard's announcement of its incoming class of visiting fellows at the Institute of Politics celebrates Manning's inclusion as the program's "first transgender fellow."  The Kennedy School describes Manning in its press release as "a Washington, D.C. based network security expert and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst."

When 5 × 3 ≠ 15.  5 × 3 = 15 even in Common Core math, right?  Yes, but only if you reach the answer by the most cumbersome means possible. [...] If they are deliberately trying to produce a generation of morons who can't even do simple math, educrats are more competent than anyone thought.

University of Georgia Professor Allows Students to Choose [Their] Own Grades to Avoid Undue Stress.  A professor at the University of Georgia is implementing a so-called "stress reduction policy" that allows his students to choose their own grades and opt out of group assignments "in order to avoid" any "emotional reactions to stressful situations."  Business professor Rick Watson is asking his "MIST4610 Data Management" students to email him if they "feel unduly stressed by a grade."  According to his policy, he is offering students the opportunity to email him the grade they feel they deserve — "and it will be so changed," no questions asked.

Prof lets students choose [their] own grades for 'stress reduction'.  A University of Georgia professor has adopted a "stress reduction policy" that will allow students to select their own grades if they "feel unduly stressed" by the ones they earned.  Similarly, students who feel stressed by "group dynamics" are allowed to walk away from their groups without explanation, and will only be graded on "non-group work."  The professor acknowledges that "this policy might hinder the development of group skills and mastery of the class material," but says this is each student's own responsibility.

UGA nixes prof's plan to let students decide grades to lessen stress.  A well respected University of Georgia business school professor, concerned over the stress on his students, posted online course policies that would have allowed them to change their grades, abandon group work that taxed them and take open book tests "designed to assess low level mastery of the course material."  While Terry College of Business students may have applauded Richard Watson's policies as posted this week, UGA did not.  The policies have been stricken from Watson's online syllabus and will not be allowed, according to the university.

SAT scores drop, even as number of students getting A's rises.  More students in the U.S. are coming home with A's on their report cards, while overall SAT scores are dropping, according to a Harvard study.  The Harvard Graduate School of Education found that nearly half (47%) of all high school students in 2016 had an A average on their report cards, compared to 38.9% in 1998.  Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600 point scale.  Additionally, the study found that only 56% of those students end up completing a four-year degree within six years of entering college.

The Editor says...
Very simply, this means there are students being given good grades that they do not deserve — probably because they play football or basketball — but when the rubber hits the road at the university, these students are shown to have been poorly educated.

Community Colleges May Drop Racist Algebra.  Turning college into the new high school will make its degrees just as worthless.  Maximize enrollment, particularly of unready students, and you'll need promotion to move them through the system.  And then you can argue that any class they can't pass is unfair.

Charter School Rejects Common Core and Ranks #1.  Teaching phonics is crucial to teaching reading when dealing with a phonetic writing system such as the one used in the English language.  Memorizing so-called "sight words," by contrast, is mental poison, or Thalidomide for the brain as my friend and colleague Dr. Sam Blumenfeld used to say.  As if more evidence was needed of this, the recent Florida Standards Assessments results from Collier County, Florida, make it perfectly clear.  One school, known as the Mason Classical Academy, shines bright in the district.  It scored number one in English Language Arts (ELA) in the county, with 90 percent of its third graders scoring proficient.  By contrast, just 58 percent of third graders in the county were proficient, even using Common Core's dumbed-down metrics.

14 Facts That Prove That America's Absolutely Pathetic System Of Public Education Deserves An 'F' Grade.  One thing that almost everyone can agree upon is that our system of public education is broken.  We spend far more money on public education than anyone else in the world, and yet the results are depressing to say the least.  Considering how much we are putting into education, we should be producing the best students on the entire planet, but it just isn't happening.  Personally, I attended public schools from kindergarten all the way up through law school, and the quality of education that I received was extremely poor.  Even on the collegiate level, most of the courses were so "dumbed down" that even the family dog could have passed them.

Valedictorians' days numbered?  Schools rethink class ranking.  At many American high schools, the graduation-day tradition of crowning a valedictorian is becoming a thing of the past.

What I Saw at Evergreen State College.  The student antics at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington have recently garnered some national media attention — but not nearly enough. [...] Evergreen is an anti-traditional college that prides itself on its anti-capitalism, socialism, radical environmentalism, postmodernism, and Marxism, with a special emphasis upon indigenous values that convert the old American melting pot ideal into a subversive form of racist multi-tribalism under the guise of progressive multiculturalism.  Evergreen professors do not grade students, but they do give them lengthy teacher evaluations.  The students are also required to write their own evaluations of themselves.  While everyone pretty much passes under such lax standards, one does have the freedom to put in as much work as he or she wishes.  Most coast through the college.  Tests are rare.

One-third of American 8th graders think Canada is a dictatorship, report reveals.  This finding was one of many revealed by the NCES in its 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress report when it was released late last month.  Alternately called The Nation's Report Card, the publication presents the results of standardized tests given to more than 29,000 eighth-grade students across the U.S. last year.  The students who participated in the assessment were given multiple-choice and open-ended questions pertaining to the subjects of U.S. history, geography and civics.

The Editor says...
Mrs. Editor, who was once a high school teacher, points out:  It was a multiple-choice test.  The kids were just guessing, as usual.  Kids these days don't even know where Canada is.

"Modern Educayshun" An Awesome 6 Minute Movie.  Written and Directed by Neel Kolhatkar.  [Video clip]

"Your knowledge gets in the way of their power.  And they won't put up with that."
K-12: Knowledge Containment Protocols.  Schools have always been devoted to passing knowledge forward to the next generation.  Not now.  The Education Establishment treats knowledge as if it were a toxic spill that must be kept away from students. [...] More recently, the Education Establishment has appropriated Google to create another absurd sophistry.  All information is on Google, so you don't need to bother knowing anything.  A hundred years ago, everything was in encyclopedias.  Nobody thought to say students don't need to know anything in them.  Now they say that. [...] They are not going to take a chance that an American kid learns anything.  A new tactic is to talk about memorization as if it were an illness or malfunction.

Minority students feel 'marginalized' by historic building's 'imposing, masculine' paneling.  Some minority students at the University of Michigan have apparently felt intimidated by the interior wood paneling found throughout the historic Michigan Union building.  Anna Wibbelman, former president of Building a Better Michigan, an organization that voices student concerns about university development, stated at a student government meeting in late March that "minority students felt marginalized by quiet, imposing masculine paneling" found throughout the 100-year-old building, the meeting's minutes state.

In Arizona, teachers can now be hired with absolutely no training in how to teach.  The Arizona law is part of a disturbing trend nationwide to allow teachers without certification or even any teacher preparation to be hired and put immediately to work in the classroom in large part to help close persistent teacher shortages.  It plays into a misconception that anyone can teach if they know a particular subject and that it is not really necessary to first learn about curriculum, classroom management and instruction.

Good Jobs Are Out There — It's the Schools that Are Failing.  It's the public schools that are failing, more than the job market.  Last summer set an all-time record of 5.9 million unfilled jobs.  Manufacturing job openings were at the highest level in years, with 300,000 new jobs becoming available each month.  A Wall Street Journal interview with the CEO of United Technologies, Greg Hayes — who famously caved to Trump and kept the Indiana Carrier plant in the U.S. — has some surprising information about jobs and American workers.  His company has jobs for machinists, with only a high-school degree required, that pay $100K a year.  The jobs are going begging.  Applicants cannot read or do math.

This is how godless, humanist incompetents deal with their problems:
Berkeley elite propose 'bubbles,' 'laughter yoga' to quell campus violence.  A cadre of city leaders in Berkeley exchanged ideas for quelling violence by left-wing activists, which includes "quiet conversations," "empathy tents," "bubbles" and "laughter yoga."  Violent protests that have rocked the University of California, Berkeley in recent months have the city's elite searching for solutions.  Documents obtained this week through a Public Request Act highlights some of the unorthodox suggestions for dealing with "antifa" activists who target conservative speakers.

Florida Student Loses Credit for Using Word 'Man' in History Essay.  A student at the University of Florida lost points on an essay assignment for his decision to use the word "man," instead of the word "humankind."  Student Martin Poirier received a B-minus on an essay assignment, despite his professor's claim that the paper was "thoughtful."  The reason?  He dared to use the word "man," instead of "humankind."  "Thoughtful paper, although the writing-mechanics errors are killing you," Professor Jack Davis wrote at the bottom of the paper.

Library fines too stressful for Harvard students?  This week, Harvard University announced that its libraries will be doing away with their traditional 50 cent-per-day late fee on overdue books.  Some might assume Harvard is terminating the fees because the school simply no longer needs the money.  After all, the "private" university does receive billions in tax breaks every year.  No, finances had nothing to do with this policy change, which was first noticed by the vigilant folks over at The Harvard Crimson.  The sole reason that this (once?) prestigious university is waiving the charge for overdue books is because this practice is just too stressful for students.

Potemkin Universities.  College campuses still appear superficially to be quiet, well-landscaped refuges from the bustle of real life.  But increasingly, their spires, quads, and ivy-covered walls are facades. [...] Test scores have plummeted.  Too many college students were never taught the basic referents of liberal education.  Most supposedly aware, hip, and politically engaged students can't identify the Battle of Gettysburg or the Parthenon, or explain the idea of compounded interest.  Many students simply cannot do the work that was routinely assigned in the past.

Therapeutic Universities and Soft Despotism.  The phenomenon of rich, privileged "snowflake" college students demanding "safe spaces" from "microagressions" rightly provokes derision and scorn from normal people.  Those who live among the slings and arrows of the real world, where actions have consequences and one's delicate self-esteem is a matter of indifference, can only shake their heads at such childish tantrums.  But the roots of this degradation of the university's traditional mission to cultivate critical reasoning rather than narcissism run deep in our therapeutic culture, and threaten the virtues and qualities of mind necessary for self-rule and political freedom.  Start with the "self-esteem" fad that colonized the schools more than 25 years ago. [...]

Manhattan school trashes all its textbooks.  In a scene out of "Fahrenheit 451," administrators at Life Sciences Secondary School have ordered all textbooks rounded up and removed — calling them "antiquated," sources say.  Principal Kim Swanson and Assistant Principal Derek Premo, who launched the ban, "really frown upon the use of books," an insider told The [New York] Post.  "They just took books that teachers have been using and not replaced anything."

Go to Bad Schools, Go to Prison:  The Teacher Union's Dirty Little Secret.  Though derided by the teachers' unions as an urban myth, experts in education and corrections have observed a correlation between reading proficiency in the third grade and incarceration.  They do not yet use this data to project the number of additional prison beds that will be needed, but some in the field think they should.  California and New York reportedly once used fourth-grade reading scores but abandoned the practice.  They should rethink that decision.

K-12: Fog and Fuzziness.  K-12 should be a boot camp.  Students become knowledgeable, resourceful, independent, able to navigate successfully through life.  Instead, our public schools prepare children to be incompetent or, even worse, frightened snowflakes.  Typically, students learn little.  They are kept in a bubble of low expectations. [...] Instead of precision, students learn that vagueness and wrong answers are acceptable.  Instead of interesting challenges, students become accustomed to gimme questions and permissive grading.  Instead of trying harder, students learn to cut corners.  It's almost as if the Education Establishment wants to create mediocre students and incapable adults.

A Plan to Reform Our Failing Universities.  Affirmative action and equity hiring on the one hand, and the axioms and requisites of "social justice" on the other, have led inevitably to the curricular rot and dumbing down (or Dembing down) of the Humanities, and to the slow pollution of the STEM disciplines across the entire academic landscape.  The situation will only deteriorate if a greater number of unqualified applicants are accepted in order to compensate for reduced revenue.  This is why the new education bill would have to include an enforceable provision for establishing rigorous standards of admission.  Nothing else will save the university from itself.

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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This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2023 by Andrew K. Dart. This page is a discussion of such things as
conservatism, education issues, lowered standards, dumbed-down, academic achievemnet, individual rights, 
educational progress, individual rights, public education, billions on education, little to show for it, 
academic performance, decline, political correctness, politically correct, a record of failure, 
spending per pupil, incompetent teachers, zero tolerance, suppression of free speech, individual rights, 
libertarian, parental rights, individual liberty, Kwanzaa, school to work, vocational training, trade school, 
drones, worker bees, indoctrination centers, founding fathers, culture war, the teachers union, 
educational progress, public education, religion in school, secular education, no mention of God or the Bible, 
billions on education with little to show for it, academic performance, decline, social engineering, 
downward spiral, watered-down academics, indoctrination of young children, humanist training, mass exodus, 
taking God out of the classroom, leftist politics in the classroom, mediocre, dismal, sex education, 
poor performance, functionally illiterate, test scores, spelling, grammar, history, basic concepts, 
Constitution, 8th grade level, Declaration of Independence, back to basics, costly, remedial education, 
remedial training, unacceptable levels, environmentalism, the evils of styrofoam, save the earth, 
learn from the dolphins, hug the trees, kids are taught to succeed only as teams, conservative, liberals, 
free speech, responsibility, individual rights, libertarianism, conservatism, freedom, immoral, curriculum, 
individual liberty.

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Updated June 20, 2024.

©2024 by Andrew K. Dart