“We are in real time observing the idea of free speech becoming associated with Nazism,” Michael Malice.
I don’t feel particularly virtuous, nor do I want to be outraged, morally or otherwise, and it certainly does seem that public education is such an easy target, which it is, but when someone pens a complaint at the schools or the system, it had better be a good one and offer some real solutions to redress that complaint. Well, Samuel Postell gets half credit for that score. His essay does an excellent job of drawing a condemning light on the amount of time devoted to mandatory tests, the taking of them, and the preparation of them. By no means unique, he still brings to bear a serioius problem: mandated tests as substitutes for valuable information. Writing for Scott Horton’s The Libertarian Institute, Postell nails it:
In the marketplace, companies that don’t satisfy customer needs don’t survive. Unfortunately, this principle does not apply to the school system. As the workforce is becoming more efficient, the classroom is becoming less efficient. A 2016 survey by the Center for Education Policy shows that 81 percent of teachers believe that their students spend too much time taking tests. The same study shows that throughout the school year, students spend 10 days taking district-mandated tests and nine days taking state-mandated tests on average. In addition to the nineteen days spent taking standardized tests, 36 percent of teachers report spending at least a month on test prep for state-mandated exams. Given the short duration of the school year, this leaves teachers little time to tailor the school experience to the wants and needs of the individual students. What is lost is what is most important: cultivating a love of learning.
Whoa! 19 days of taking tests.
30 days of preparing for tests. That’s 2 months, folks, dedicated to mandated tests.
Postell wonders if this structure of 2 months’ worth of time devoted to mandated tests isn’t one of those things that’s leeching on the kids’ souls and effectively putting kids in a kind of emotional and psychological holding tank that only serves to extend adolescence.”However, I can’t help but wonder if teachers like myself are contributing to the rearing of Peter Pans.”
One definitive effect of this mandated testing is that it for sure destroys a love of learning . . .
What is lost is what is most important: cultivating a love of learning.
That is plausibly true. But it’s not just a love of learning that is jeopardized: it’s love of life. There are lots of other things outside of the classroom that is available to kids that can be equally destructive. Certainly, mandated tests can have a disastrous effect on one’s dreams if one puts his dreams and ambitions in the tax-funded school system.
Before I offer a solution, here is one more criticism:
The headlines speak for themselves. Student-teacher sex scandals, student-student sex, immodesty, foul language, drugs, alcohol, radical homosexual agendas, teachers taking students for abortions, “sexting” leading to suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, brutal beatings, and school shootings. These are just some of the headlines that have become the norm. And that does not include things like cheating, disrespect for authority, impropriety towards the opposite sex, and other moral behaviors children learn regularly and repeatedly in school.
Van Til said it better than I ever could: “Non-Christian education puts the child in a vacuum…. The result is that child dies. Christian education alone really nurtures personality because it alone gives the child air and food…. Modern educational philosophy gruesomely insults our God and our Christ. How, then, do you expect to build anything positively Christian or theistic upon a foundation which is the negation of Christianity and theism?…. No teaching of any sort is possible except in Christian schools.”
Moreover, the system itself is funded by virtual theft. Homeowners are forced under threat of the loss of their property to pay for the education of other people’s children. How is that appropriate? The government tells everyone that they have to send their children to school, then tells homeowners that they are going to be the ones to foot the bill whether they like it or not. Not only is this a form of welfare, it is also a form of theft.
So, what are your options? Maybe there’s only one: opt out. Why not try homeschooling? Why not preserve a child’s dreams for happiness and success? If they want to go to college, they still can. In fact, there are lots of ways to get to college while you’re completing your high-school curriculum. Spend the time to watch this:
Then read this.
Postel then adds that school destroys individual dignity. No truer words were ever spoken. So why put your child in a tax-funded school? To be sure it’s not just the students who suffer. From the State and its ADA tax-funding system to the school board to the superintendent to the school’s administration, teachers and students like endure a loss of dignity. For teachers with decades’ long careers, it may be even worse.
Students are not treated with the dignity of individuals. The result: the consumers––the students––are the ones who suffer the consequences. They’re unhappy as the school day lacks either true substantive challenge or the one-on-one attention students need to flourish. Some students are bored with school while others are frustrated. To the child, this either manifests into a looming feeling that time is being wasted, or in a feeling of helplessness and loneliness. Due to arbitrary districting laws as well as regulations making the establishment of independent schools difficult, school choice is severely limited and parents are forced to settle for mediocrity.
Regrettably, Postel’s call to action will fall on deaf ears.
We must recognize that the end of school is education, not vice versa. It is time that we begin to put the needs of our kids at the forefront of education. We can begin by thinking of innovative solutions to our education problem that are not one-size-fits-all. We can then understand the urgency of educational reform and turn the several solutions to education into a national conversation. We must loosen state regulations that prohibit educational solutions from playing out. If we do so, we will empower teachers and free them to teach so that they can excite students into exploring the goodness, the truth, and the beauty that is to be found in the world and within themselves.
His first mistake is the use of his pronoun “we.” By “we,” he’s including the state. He’s fine with a cooperative partnership with the state. He is not advocating homeschooling. On the contrary, he wants to revise the national conversation on education. And that is his second mistake. The nation, state, and counties are too big. National norms or standards do not have to be in place to have a cohesive national identity. We don’t all have to read Jane Eyre to be part of the national discussion. Think local. Act local. Funding should also be local. Don’t take the state’s money. Take Satan’s money, and you do Satan’s bidding.
Definition: “A 6-year-old child who is not in a public school.”
By the way, I post this article not to poke fun at public school teachers, for I’s was one. Public school teachers work awfully hard, grading, teaching, managing almost two hundred students each day. It is as impossible as it sounds. Still, these heroic men and women show up to lay the groundwork in language, ethics, history, math, and science. And if some schools still have it, art, music, and drama. It’s just that the environment seems so bad to me it seems to coerce folks to surrender their convictions and replace it with their obedience. Kind of cruel.
Hooray for Edith Fuller.
OXON HILL, Md. — Waiting on the stage with contestants twice her age, 6-year-old Edith Fuller is so small her feet don’t touch the ground. But wait until you see her foundation of knowledge — as seen in video from the, where they ask her to spell “nyctinasty.”
“Nyctinasty. Will you please give me the definition?” she asked.
“Nyctinasty is the movement of a flat plant part as the opening and closing of some flowers that is associated with daily changes of temperature or light intensity,” a Spelling Bee official said.
“Nyctinasty. Will you please give me the language of origin?” Fuller requsted.
“It’s made up of Greek elements that were probably first combined in German,” the official responded.
Then Fuller goes for the correct spelling.
“Nyctinasty. N-Y-C-T-I-N-A-S-T-Y, nyctinasty,” she said.
Quotation of the Day
. . . is from Isabel Paterson’s book The God of the Machine (1943):
Every politically controlled educational system will inculcate the doctrine of state supremacy sooner or later. . . . Once that doctrine has been accepted, it becomes an almost superhuman task to break the stranglehold of the political power over the life of the citizen. It has had his body, property and mind in its clutches from infancy. An octopus would sooner release its prey. A tax-supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state.
MP: See my related 1995 article The Educational Octopus where I conclude that:
There is no surer way to guarantee that our children continue to receive an inferior education than to continue educating 90 percent of our children in the public school system. Education is far too important a responsibility to leave in the hands of a government bureaucracy whose monopoly status allows it to be insensitive and unaccountable to parents and students.
What is the Doctrine of State Supremacy? Glad you asked. It’s the doctrine that says that federal law is the law of the land, and whatsoever that law says, the states shall abide by it. However, states have the right of nullification, which conflicts directly with the supremacy clause of Article IV, Clause ii of the Constitution.
Regarding Nullification, Dr. Thomas Woods provides a concise outline . . .
What is it?
State nullification is the idea that the states can and must refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws.
What’s the Argument for It?
Here’s an extremely basic summary:
1) The states preceded the Union. The Declaration of Independence speaks of “free and independent states” that “have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.” The British acknowledged the independence not of a single blob, but of individual states, which they proceeded to list one by one. Article II of the Articles of Confederation says the states “retain their sovereignty, freedom, and independence”; they must have enjoyed that sovereignty in the past in order for them to “retain” it in 1781 when the Articles were officially adopted. The ratification of the Constitution was accomplished not by a single, national vote, but by the individual ratifications of the various states, each assembled in convention.
2) In the American system no government is sovereign. The peoples of the states are the sovereigns. It is they who apportion powers between themselves, their state governments, and the federal government. In doing so they are not impairing their sovereignty in any way. To the contrary, they are exercising it.
3) Since the peoples of the states are the sovereigns, then when the federal government exercises a power of dubious constitutionality on a matter of great importance, it is they themselves who are the proper disputants, as they review whether their agent was intended to hold such a power. No other arrangement makes sense. No one asks his agent whether the agent has or should have such-and-such power. In other words, the very nature of sovereignty, and of the American system itself, is such that the sovereigns must retain the power to restrain the agent they themselves created. James Madison explains this clearly in the famous Virginia Report of 1800.
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.
…. is from George Will’s column this week “Higher education is awash with hysteria. That might have helped elect Trump.“:
Many undergraduates, their fawn-like eyes wide with astonishment, are wondering: Why didn’t the dean of students prevent the election from disrupting the serenity to which my school has taught me that I am entitled? Campuses create “safe spaces” where students can shelter from discombobulating thoughts and receive spiritual balm for the trauma of microaggressions. Yet the presidential election came without trigger warnings?
The morning after the election, normal people rose — some elated, some despondent — and went off to actual work. But at Yale University, that incubator of late-adolescent infants, a professor responded to “heartfelt notes” from students “in shock” by making that day’s exam optional.
Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election. The compound of childishness and condescension radiating from campuses is a reminder to normal Americans of the decay of protected classes — in this case, tenured faculty and cosseted students.
Institutions of supposedly higher education are awash with hysteria, authoritarianism, obscurantism, philistinism and charlatanry. Which must have something to do with the tone and substance of the presidential election, which took the nation’s temperature.
And if the remarks from George Will don’t illustrate for you the problems on college campuses, then check this Mark Dice video out:
An NYU professor crusading against political correctness and student coddling was booted from the classroom last week after his colleagues complained about his “incivility,” The Post has learned.
Liberal [Studies Professor] Michael Rectenwald, 57, said he was forced Wednesday to go on paid leave for the rest of the semester.
“They are actually pushing me out the door for having a different perspective,” the academic told The Post.
Rectenwald launched an undercover Twitter account called Deplorable NYU Prof on Sept. 12 to argue against campus trends like “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings” and other aspects of academia’s growing PC culture.
He chose to be anonymous, he explained in one of his first tweets, because he was afraid “the PC Gestapo would ruin me” if he put his name behind his conservative ideas on the famously liberal campus.
“I remember once on my Facebook I posted a story about a kid who changed his pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ because I thought it was funny,” he told The Post. “Then I got viciously attacked by 400 people. This whole milieu is nauseating. I grew tired of it, so I made the account.”
On Oct. 11, Rectenwald used his internet alter ego to criticize “safe spaces” — the recent campus trend of “protecting” students from uncomfortable speech — as “at once a hall of mirrors and a rubber room.”
Two weeks ago he posted on his “anti-PC” feed a photo of a flyer put out by NYU resident advisers telling students how to avoid wearing potentially offensive Halloween costumes.
“The scariest thing about Halloween today is . . . the liberal totalitarian costume surveillance,” he wrote.
“It’s an alarming curtailment of free expression to the point where you can’t even pretend to be something without authorities coming down on you in the universities,” Rectenwald told The Post.
But the Twitter feed soon sparked a “witch hunt” by the growing army of “social justice warriors,” he said. And so, when he was approached on Twitter by a reporter with the Washington Square News, NYU’s student newspaper, the untenured assistant professor agreed to an interview.
“I thought there was nothing objectionable about what I had said,” he told The Post.
“My contention is that the trigger warning, safe spaces and bias hot-line reporting is not politically correct. It is insane,” he told the student paper in an interview published Monday.
But Rectenwald says he began getting “dirty looks” in his department and on Wednesday figured out why: A 12-person committee calling itself the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group, including two deans, published a letter to the editor in the same paper.
“As long as he airs his views with so little appeal to evidence and civility, we must find him guilty of illogic and incivility in a community that predicates its work in great part on rational thought and the civil exchange of ideas,” they wrote.
“We seek to create a dynamic community that values full participation. Such efforts are not the ‘destruction of academic integrity’ Professor Rectenwald suggests, but rather what make possible our program’s approach to global studies,” they argued.
Rectenwald likened the attack to “a Salem witch trial. They took my views personally. I never even mentioned them and I never even said NYU liberal studies program. I was talking about academia at large.”
The same day that letter was published, Rectenwald was summoned to a meeting with his department dean and an HR representative, he says.
“They claimed they were worried about me and a couple people had expressed concern about my mental health,” Rectenwald told The Post.
The leave has “absolutely zero to do with his Twitter account or his opinions on issues of the day,” said NYU spokesman Matt Nagel, refusing to elaborate on the reason.
But Rectenwald is disheartened.
“I’m afraid my academic career is over,” he said. “Academic freedom: It’s great, as long as you don’t use it.”
This is a more expansive version of the interview seen here.
In the interview he makes reference to conservative educator, Fred M. Hechinger of the New York Times, to John Goodlad’s book in 1984, A Place Called Schools, to Charles Silberman’s 1971 book, Crisis in the Classroom. Says there was never a time when students graduated from school as good writers, good readers . . . that never happened. One of his books is How Children Learn: Classics in Child Development, John Holt, 1995. His dates are 1923 to 1985. He also alludes to Willard E. Goslin, Superintendent of Pasadena School District regarding his statement in 1947 that the schools are failing us. Went back to basics when sputnik went up. Says that in the early 60s students still did’t know any math. National Defense Education Act was passed in the early 1960s mandating school math study group. Wikipedia explains that NDEA
was among many science initiatives implemented by PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 to increase the technological sophistication and power of the United States alongside, for instance, DARPA and NASA.
National Science Foundation got into the act. But why would the government launch such an initiative? Wikipedia explains that it was due to a shortage mathematicians in the U.S. in 1957, a fine year:
The year 1957 also coincided with an acute shortage of mathematicians in the United States. The electronic computer created a demand for mathematicians as programmers and it also shortened the lead time between the development of a new mathematical theory and its practical application, thereby making their work more valuable. The United States could no longer rely on European refugees for all of its mathematicians, though they remained an important source, so it had to drastically increase the domestic supply. At the time, “mathematics” was interpreted as pure mathematics rather than applied mathematics. The problem in the 1950s and 1960s was that industry, including defense, was absorbing the mathematicians who should have been at high schools and universities training the next generation. At the university level, even more recently, there have been years when it was difficult to hire applied mathematicians and computer scientists because of the rate that industry was absorbing them.
But competing with the Soviet Union? Was America that desperate back then? It was a pivot back to the Soviet Union. American government wanted a socialist government.
The NDEA was influenced by the Soviet launch of the satellite Sputnik on October 4, 1957. U.S. citizens feared that education in the USSR was superior to that in the United States, and Congress reacted by adding the act to bring U.S. schools up to speed.
And how much did these science initiatives cost, or does it matter?
The act authorized funding for four years, increasing funding per year: for example, funding increased on eight program titles from $183 million in 1959 to $222 million in 1960. In total, over a billion dollars was directed towards improving American science curricula.
But it admitted defeat, or at least Wikipedia explains it defeat in terms of communist witch hunts.
However, in the aftermath of McCarthyism, a mandate was inserted in the act that all beneficiaries must complete an affidavit disclaiming belief in the overthrow of the U.S. government. This requisite loyalty statement stirred concern and protest from the American Association of University Professors and over 153 institutions.
What’s interesting is that in that year, a full 12 years after World War II, American government required a loyalty oath. Okay, so they wanted promises. But it really is anti-independence.
The NDEA includes Title X, Section 1001 (f), a mandate that all beneficiaries of the act complete an affidavit disclaiming belief in the overthrow of the U.S. government. Some in higher education opposed the disclaimer affidavit, as it came to be called, because they said it attempted to control beliefs and as such violated academic freedom. Initially, a small number of institutions (Barnard, Yale, and Princeton) refused to accept funding under the student loan program established by the act because of the affidavit requirement. By 1962, when the disclaimer affidavit was repealed, the number of schools protesting the clause was 153.
After four years of seemingly ineffective protest, the disclaimer requirement was repealed in the Fall of 1962 by President John F. Kennedy who was spurred by an incident extraneous to universities’ protests. In particular, following the public disclosure of the case of a National Science Foundation Fellowship recipient who had run into trouble with the House Un-American Activities Committee, and had been convicted of contempt of Congress. Kennedy interpreted this case proved the affidavit clause to be ineffective, and, in spite of—rather than because of—protest prior to 1961, the disclaimer requirement was excised.
He also mentions the Juila Weber 1946 book, Country School Diary.