Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Common Core Rapidly Losing Support

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

This is article 257 of 257 in the topic Education

By Alan Caruba

As their children either start or return to school, parents are naturally concerned about the quality of education they receive from kindergarten through twelfth grade. In the past, before the teachers unions gained virtual control of the schools and before the federal government decided it had to impose “national standards”, it was the job of local boards of education to ensure students learned the basics—the three R’s—and, if history is any indicator, they did.
There should be no federal intervention in our school systems, but programs such as 2001’s “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s “Race to the Top” have conditioned people to accept its role. The most recent example is Common Core, but it is the creation of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The support it has received from the White House, the Department of Education, and voices on Capitol Hill has left many with the impression it is a federal program. That doesn’t make it any less awful.
If you want to learn the facts about it, read a brief analysis by Joy Pullman, “Common Core: A Bad Choice for America”, which you can download for free from The Heartland Institute’s website or purchase copies in quantity. Pullman, a research fellow, is the managing editor of Heartland’s “School Reform News”,published ten times per year. For the record,  I am a Heartland advisor.
As Pullman notes in her analysis, “In 2010, every state but Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia adopted Common Core education standards, a set of requirements in each grade in math and English language arts.” As school begins this year, four states, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, and South Carolina have already dropped the program. Watch other states such as Louisiana and Wisconsin do the same.
Here’s why. As Pullman notes in a recent article, for the first time the annual Pi Kappa Delta/Gallup poll revealed that “a majority of Americans—81%–has heard of Common Core. And 60% oppose it.”  As more Americans learn more about Common Core, they too will oppose it, but the most intriguing finding of the poll was that, among teachers, there was a drop of support from 76% last year to 46% this year! The poll demonstrated that “Majorities wanted local school boards to have far more control over what schools teach than state or federal governments.”
Pullman said, “Everyone is for ‘standards’ in the abstract. Everyone is not for ‘standards’ that, like Common Core, coerce teachers and schools, and impose bad education theories on the countries.”
“Nationalizing education, like nationalizing anything,” says Pullman “requires compromise to get enacted. And compromise inevitably sacrifices quality. Quality has to grow from the ground up, through cooperation and competition, or it will never exist.”
What teachers and parents subject to Common Core requirements have learned rather quickly is that the program has a number of serious flaws. It not only slows the process of learning multiplication, it dampens the development of the creative thinking process, and offers a skewed, leftist selection of reading materials about U.S. history.
Pullman says, “The most important thing to understand about education standards is that research has demonstrated they have no effect on student achievement. That’s right: no effect at all.

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What is the Difference Between the DNC and the CPUSA?

by Alan Caruba on Monday, August 25th, 2014

This is article 143 of 143 in the topic Democratic Party
By Alan Caruba
On the home page of the Communist Party USA it says “A better and peaceful world is possible—a world where people and nature come before profits. That’s socialism. That’s our vision. We are the Communist Party USA.”
No, it’s not Socialism which is a watered down version of Communism. Real Communism is the kind that was practiced in the former Soviet Union. It can be found in Cuba and North Korea where the state controls all power and property,and the people have none.

Modified versions exist in China, Russia, Venezuela, and other nations where some aspects of Capitalism are maintained for the sake of their economies. In the West Socialism was incorporated by both the U.S. and Great Britain, and other nations via various social welfare programs.

Capitalism is about profits, innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment. It is about the freedom to acquire wealth. It emphasizes work, not welfare. It is the reason America has a dynamic economic system—when it is permitted to prosper, free from federal interference.
In America, conservatives have always been acutely aware of Communism, but the 47% who still approve of Barack Obama and those who are members of the Democratic Party are the dupes of those whose quest for tyrannical power permits them to tell the most appalling lies, particularly about Republicans.
The Democratic Party is so politically corrupt and devoid of moral standards that it is currently engaged in seeking to harm potential Republican presidential candidates with an utterly bogus indictment of Texas Governor Perry and the slanders leveled against New Jersey Governor Christie. It is a tactic of those who fear a loss at the ballot box.
It is the Democratic Party and its elected officials that have advanced the global warming hoax, now called climate change and the CPUSA website refers to the “Accumulation of greenhouse gases (as) a ‘planetary emergency’” This is what both the President and the Secretary of State are saying, but there has been no warming on a planet that is now 17 years into a cooling cycle.
As for those “greenhouse” gases, nitrogen and oxygen are the most abundant in the atmosphere, followed by nothing more dangerous than water vapor! Carbon dioxide is a very minor gas at 0.04%. And most importantly, the Earth is not a greenhouse. When the Sun’s radiation is reduced due to its own natural cycles, it gets colder.
Tied to the climate change message is an agenda that includes Obama’s “war on coal” and his refusal to permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from our neighbor Canada, among other measures to restrict access and use of America’s vast energy reserves. This is an attack on the nation’s economy in the name of “nature” or the “environment.”
The CPUSA wants “No new sanctions on Iran” and the administration’s negotiations with Iran to slow or end its nuclear weapons program have dropped some sanctions to get them to the table, but no one believes that Iran will stop because they are openly avowed enemies of America and Israel.
If you wanted to harm America, you would undermine its southern border so that thousands of illegal aliens could join the estimated eleven million already here.

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Pennsylvania school districts keeping substitute teacher hours under 30 because of Obamacare

by John Lott on Monday, August 25th, 2014

This is one of the rules that was supposed to go into effect this last January.  As we get closer to January 1st, more and more people are going to be forced back to less than 30 hours of work a week. As one teacher points out in this news story on WTAJ (CBS TV in Altoona, PA), what happens when the primary teacher is sick for a week?  The students can’t even have the same substitute for the same week.

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Four new nutty examples of political correctness and the school year is just getting started

by John Lott on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

This is article 256 of 257 in the topic Education
Student punished and thrown out of class for saying “bless you” to a fellow classmate who sneezed.
– Boy Arrested and suspended for a week for writing a fictional story about shooting a dinosaur in school project.
– Cookies served for 40-years in Elyria, Ohio banned from public schools by federal government because “It has too many calories.”

– Now something from a college:  University of Mary Washington’s student newspaper has been called “The Bullet” since 1922, but political correctness has caused them to change the name to “The Blue & Gray.”

“The editorial board felt that the paper’s name, which alludes to ammunition for an artillery weapon, propagated violence and did not honor our school’s history in a sensitive manner,” the release said. “The board intends to remain faithful to the history our university stands upon, and we continue to honor this history both in a respectful and meaningful way.”

Bullet “alludes to ammunition for artillery weapon”?  Seriously?  Well, there is no violence associated with the Civil War, right? For those University of Mary Washington alumni or others who are disappointed with the decision (it won’t be official until sometime this coming week), you can let the school president know your feelings by clicking on the link here.

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Will increasing the share of women in STEM majors reduce the percent of STEM grads who get STEM jobs

by John Lott on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

This is article 255 of 257 in the topic Education
There has been a big push to recruit women into STEM (science, technology and math) majors in prestigious programs.  One reason is that women often go into fields such as teaching or social work is that it is relatively easier for them to leave and re-enter the work force.  However, you can’t do that for technological heavy fields.  If women have children, those who leave for a couple of years to take care their children will have a hard time staying in those jobs.  Since women are more likely than men to take care of their children, that effect alone would work to reduce the share of women who remain in that profession.  From USA Today:

Amid a U.S. push to get more students interested in science, technology and math, often called STEM, the Census Bureau reported Thursday that 74% of those with a bachelor’s degree in these subjects don’t work in STEM jobs.

The likelihood of landing a STEM job varies by major, ranging from half of those who focused on engineering, computers, math and statistics to only 26% of those who concentrated on physical science, 10% who majored in psychology and 7% who studied social science, according to data from the Census’ 2012 American Community Survey. . . .

Women are better represented among mathematicians and statisticians (45%), life scientists (47%) and social scientists (47%), according to the Census. They’re even more common among computer professionals, accounting for 24%.

Many engineering-focused colleges have dramatically boosted their enrollment of women by admitting them at higher rates. For example, 15% of women but 7% of men are admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and 20% of women but 9% of men are admitted to the California Institute of Technology, according to the website collegedata.com. . . .

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Dartmouth Student Is Stalked for 4 Years, Wants Right to Carry Gun

by John Lott on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

This is article 550 of 558 in the topic Gun Rights
Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at  Wednesday, August 6, 12.27 PM

Here is the first part of the story that was the lead up at Fox News:

A 20-year-old Dartmouth student says she may have to give up her Ivy League dream and drop out of school because the prestigious college won’t allow her to carry a gun — to protect herself against a predator.

Taylor Woolrich, a junior, says Dartmouth administrators told her they won’t let her carry a gun on campus, even though she lives in fear of a man who has been stalking her since she was a high school student in San Diego. 

“It’s absolutely unfair,” Woolrich said about her attempts to have the school make an exception to its weapons ban. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with.”
Woolrich was 16 years old and working in a San Diego café when she says a man came in to buy coffee and then kept returning throughout the day, staring at her for long periods of time and trying to flirt with her. The man, 67-year-old Richard Bennett, kept this up for days, she says, even sitting outside the store for an entire day and then following her home, demanding that she talk to him and saying he was “trying to protect her.” 

She filed a restraining order, but it did little to keep Bennett away. Woolrich says he constantly harassed her during her first two years at Dartmouth, stalking her on social media and sending messages in which he “promised” to fly across the country to see her at college. 

“I thought they were empty threats, but when I came home from school last summer, he was at my front door within eight hours of my plane landing,” she said. “That’s when I realized how serious it was.” 

Woolrich and her family called the police, and Bennett was arrested. A search of his car uncovered a slip noose, a knife, gloves and other items. 

Bennett is currently in jail in San Diego County, accused of violating the restraining order and felony stalking, as well as other charges. His next court date is Aug. 20. If convicted, his maximum sentence would be four years. 

Woolrich says she inquired about obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon in California and learned that the minimum age to get one is 21, though exceptions can be made under special circumstances. She says the Sheriff’s Licensing Division told her she could qualify, and she learned the same exception can be granted in New Hampshire, where Dartmouth is located. 

But Dartmouth administrators told her she was “absolutely not” allowed to carry a weapon on campus. She says she tried to plead her case and was told to speak with several campus officials, all of whom provided little to no help. 

“There’s no option. There’s no one to go to. They don’t want to hear my case,” she said.
Many colleges across the country have banned guns on campus to prevent mass shootings and accidental shootings by irresponsible or inebriated students.

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Happy Days Are Here Again

by Dr. Robert Owens on Friday, July 18th, 2014

So long sad times
Go long bad times
We are rid of you at last

Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Can you believe it the Bush recession has been over for five years, unemployment is down, the stock market is up, and everything is coming up roses.  There is a flat screen on every wall, a smart phone in every hand, and flying cars just can’t be that far away.  The Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have either been won or soon will be or as the winning slogan said, “GM is alive and Osama is dead.”  The Arab Spring has toppled tyrants and the glory of the administration’s foreign policy savants have ricocheted from the faculty lounge to the UN.  Doesn’t it just feel like another American Century?

The Fed keeps pumping and the Big Board keeps jumping.  The NSA watches us all without a warrant, and the man who tells us about it is a traitor. Congress has to sue the President in an attempt to get him to enforce laws unless of course he wants to change a law unilaterally.  The Court strikes down unconstitutional move after unconstitutional move by the adjunct instructor in the Oval Office.  The IRS is used to suppress the votes of Conservatives, its leaders either lying to Congress or pleading the Fifth while the Attorney General refuses to appoint a special prosecutor just as he refused in Fast and Furious and Benghazi.  Of course if you want to require a photo id to vote you’re a racist attempting to suppress the vote while you need a photo ID to get into the DNC. There’s nothing to see here move so along.

Common Core is poised to take our educational system to higher heights.   After more than 100 years of Progressive Education and generations of Federal intrusions into local school boards America now successfully spends more per capita on education than any other country.  The self-esteem of our students ranks as the highest in the world even as our grades slide.  In other words our students are doing poorly, but they think they are doing well.  It reminds me of a foreman in a factory who was in one of my management classes.  He shared an incident in his shop.  A young man was hired as a material handler who wore his pants down around his knees.  He constantly had to use one hand to hold up his pants while using the free hand to handle material.  When the foreman asked him, “Don’t you think you could get more done if you used both hands?”  The young man answered, “No I’m doing all right.”  The job may not get done but at least he feels good about what he’s doing.  Is this is the American Way in the New Normal?

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How Intelligent are Americans?

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, July 10th, 2014

This is article 254 of 257 in the topic Education

By Alan Caruba

The segments when Jay Leno would take to the street to ask Americans questions about things that one would expect them to know and those when Jesse Watters of the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News does the same thing invariably suggest that those interviewed are appallingly stupid. But how representative are they of the population?

The voters who reelected President Obama despite a first term that included all his policies that put the nation at jeopardy apparently made no connection between those facts and his competence. Voters who stayed home demonstrated indifference.

On July 3, following the latest U.S. Department of Labor June unemployment report, the Job Creators Network responded by noting that “We have more than 3.5 million young adults between 20-24 who don’t have a job, don’t attend school, and don’t have any degree better than a high school diploma—and astonishingly low literacy rates.” The official rate of unemployment was cited at 6.1%, but the Network calculated the real unemployment rate for June at 12.1%. Suffice to say that government data is so politically skewed that it is useless.

In contrast to the view that Americans don’t understand what is actually occurring Rasmussen Reports on July 3rd released the results of its latest poll. “Optimism in the future job market in America is down this month, as fewer Americans believe the unemployment rate will go down over the next year.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 23% of American Adults think, a year from today, unemployment will be lower than it is today. That’s the lowest level of optimism since December 2011. Thirty-two percent (32%) think unemployment will be higher in a year, a new high for the 2014. Just as many (35%) think it will stay about the same. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.” The reality has not escaped just under a quarter of the likely voters polled and two-thirds have a dim view of the year ahead.

A new Reason-Rupe study and survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 finds 66 percent of millennials believe government is inefficient and wasteful – a substantial increase since 2009, when just 42 percent of millennials said government was inefficient and wasteful.

This suggests that there is a difference between the kind of intelligence measured in IQ tests and the kind Americans apply to the world around them and to their own lives. I was the director of publications for the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the 1970s and it was evident to me that having a PhD degree was no guarantee of the latter kind of intelligence, often called common sense.

We have seen this in the way so many “experts” with degrees continue to assert that the Earth is warming (now called climate change) when it has been in a cooling cycle of some seventeen years. Recent polls indicate the public no longer assigns any credit to global warming/climate change.

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What Has Happened to Protests in America?

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

This is article 190 of 191 in the topic Marches/Protests/Riots

Murrietta, CA protest against dumping of illegal aliens by feds

The U.S. began with protests that evolved into a full scale rebellion we call the Revolution. Throughout our history, there have been many protests and those against slavery evolved into the Civil War. War—whether for or against it—has been a prime generator of protests.

On the evenings of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Megyn Kelly of Fox News interviewed Bill Ayers, the leader of the Weather Underground, a group he cofounded in 1969 as a self-described communist revolutionary group. These days he calls himself “a Communist with a small ‘c’”

During the early 1970s the group engaged in bombings to protest the war in Vietnam. During the interview, Ayers insisted that he and others only bombed property and did not kill anyone, although at one point a group he described as breakaway was planning to kill officers, their wives and girlfriends attending a dance at a military base, but instead they were killed when their bombs went off in a New York townhouse. Neither Ayers nor his wife, Bernadine Dohrn ever served time for their bombings. Both entered academia. Ayers taught at the University of Illinois for many years.

As Jerome R. Corsi reported in his 2008 book, “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality”, he noted that when Alice Palmer, an Illinois state senator decided to run for Congress, “she went out of her way to name Obama as her handpicked successor.” Palmer was a dedicated Communist and admirer of the then-Soviet Union. In 1995, “To get Obama’s state senate race off to a good start, Palmer arranged a function for a few influential liberals in the district, at the Hyde Park home of Weather Underground activists, Ayers and Dohrn.”

Corsi wrote, “Palmer would never have introduced Obama to the Hyde Park political community at the Ayers-Dohrn home unless she saw an affinity between Ayers and Dohrn’s radical leftist history, her own history of far-leftists politics, and the politics of Barack Obama.” Ayers and Obama would serve together on the board of the Woods Fund for three years, beginning in 1999, the year Obama joined it.

Megyn Kelly did not explore the Obama-Ayers relationship. When he campaigned in 2008, it was brushed off as their just being “neighbors” in Hyde Park and it was pointed out that Obama was about eight years old when Ayers was bombing in the name of his leftist revolution. Between then and when he met Ayers in 1995 Obama had grown up in a family of far-leftists and had been mentored in Hawaii by Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA.

It did not surprise me to hear Bill Ayers say on Wednesday evening that he was not proud to be an American and did not consider it an exceptional nation. In both cases, he was reflecting the result of a recent Pew Research poll that indicated that self-described liberals expressed these views.

I recall the bombings of the 1970s. There were lots of them, along with massive marches in Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War. I recall the Civil Rights movement that used marches and other non-violent means to achieve their goals. Earlier the suffrage movement and secured the vote for women.

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States Push Back Against Common Core in Their Schools

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, June 26th, 2014

This is article 253 of 257 in the topic Education

It’s vacation time for the nation’s school kids and, while they play, states are beginning to push back against the latest effort of the federal government to exert total control over the nation’s schools; Common Core, whose curriculum standards and content rapidly revealed it to be a nightmare.

As I frequently note, the word “education” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution because the Founding Fathers knew full well that education was the job of localities and states to ensure quality and the opportunity that it provides everyone willing to learn the basics and beyond. From its earliest days, Americans would create a town, build a church, and follow up with a school. Until liberals complained about it, school days began with a prayer.

Liberals know that whoever controls schools controls the future. Dictatorships of all descriptions in particular place heavy emphasis on raising new generations with the kind of indoctrination that only the early years in school can impart. It should come as no surprise that the last failed liberal President, Jimmy Carter, ushered in the creation of the U.S. Department of Education

Still largely unknown to the general public is the control of the Department by teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, and their support of the Democratic Party. This accounts for much of the well documented decline of education in America. The union’s chief concern is higher pay and benefits for teachers, not the welfare of the children in their care. Their focus is on politics, not teaching.

In March, the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom issued a new study on “Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 years” which revealed that “the average state has seen a three percent decline in academic performance despite a more than doubling in inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending.” Sometimes the spending increases are astonishing as in the case of New York State in which spending rose by 115%. California and Florida are not far behind with an increase of 80%.

Common Core has rapidly become a political hot potato as parents have let their state governors and legislators know how bad it is. Writing in the Heartland Institute’s May edition of its newsletter, School Reform News, Joy Pullmann, its managing editor, reported that Indiana Gov. Mike Pense was the first to sign a bill in March rejecting Common Core national standards, “but the parents and curriculum experts whose criticism led to the change also criticized the first draft of replacement standards for looking very similar to the Common Core mandates it is meant to replace.”

In a Heartland booklet, “The Common Core: A Bad Choice for America”, Pullmann notes that “States may not change Common Core standards, must adopt all of them at once, and may only add up to an additional 15 percent of requirements. The standards themselves have no clear governance, meaning there is no procedure for states to follow to make changes they feel are necessary. It is highly unlikely individual states would control or greatly influence any such process.”

At the very heart of the debate concerning Common Core is the notion that every single school in America should teach the exact same thing in the exact same way.

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