“perceptions of more racial microaggressions were associated with lower self-esteem, lower feelings of competence for daily life, more depressive symptoms and more stress”

from The College Fix

Intersectionality centers on the belief that the lived experience of members of marginalized groups is a better guide to society than previous societal norms established by the bourgeoisie, Sommers said. She cited an article that said the theory was “in crisis” because it was too broad: Every person in the world has a different lived experience and a different perspective.

The darker side of this is that those pushing intersectionality believe they have a right to silence opposing views, she said, just as the Bolsheviks and Marxists in Russia did.

The dark side of promoting self-esteem

There’s a funny side to intersectionality, according to Christina Hoff Sommers.

When the American Enterprise Institute scholar and “Factual Feminist” went to a feminist conference in the early years of the theory, the attendees split up by race, ethnicity, religion and other categories during a breakout session.

Eventually the attendees all began to bicker and quarrel over oppression. Some Jewish women wanted to be proud of being Jewish, while others were trying to “break free” of it.

Sommers eventually bonded with a group of lesbians who were just smoking cigarettes, because it was the only way they were able to connect.

She shared this lighthearted story at the Cato Institute Tuesday night in the midst of a stinging rebuke of intersectionality, which originated in the 1980s and came straight out of Marxism and the self-esteem movement.

Flemming Rose, the Danish journalist and Cato scholar who put a target on his back in 2005 by publishing cartoon depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, also spoke on the panel discussion about the Marxist origins of hate-speech legislation.

The Soviet Union’s Marxist tactics of censorship have morphed into measures that criminalize “hate speech” in every western country except the United States, said Rose, adding that Josef Stalin advocated for the international basis for these laws.

Sommers implored think tanks and campus speakers to “keep sanity alive” by getting involved in more grassroots education efforts and giving more lectures on college campuses warning about the dangers of intersectionality.

The connection between Bolshevism and intersectionality

Sommers said that the term intersectionality was coined by law professor Kimberle Crenshaw, who currently teaches at both UCLA and Columbia, and the original focus was on black women.

Though Crenshaw specifically focused on the intersection of racism and sexism, intersectionality has expanded to other marginalized categories, according to Sommers, who cited a gender-studies textbook currently in use that shows a roadmap of all the different marginalized intersectional groups.

Faculty who push the theory of intersectionality are teaching students that America is a “matrix of oppression,” Sommers told the attendees. The latest trend is for those self-identified marginalized groups to come together to fight all injustices at once, she said, citing student activists at Evergreen State College as an example.

Intersectionality centers on the belief that the lived experience of members of marginalized groups is a better guide to society than previous societal norms established by the bourgeoisie, Sommers said. She cited an article that said the theory was “in crisis” because it was too broad: Every person in the world has a different lived experience and a different perspective.

The darker side of this is that those pushing intersectionality believe they have a right to silence opposing views, she said, just as the Bolsheviks and Marxists in Russia did.

‘Campus fanaticism will go unchallenged’

Soviet justification for censorship was centered around the classic communist talking point of the bourgeoisie, according to Rose, the Danish journalist. The people were told that the majority of the press was owned by the wealthy classes and they were trying to “poison people’s minds.”

The U.S. is unique in not adopting measures seen all over Europe and Canada that criminalize supposedly hateful speech, Rose said. The attempt to shut down “fake news” is not a recent phenomenon, he added, saying that justification was the primary force behind the Soviet criminal codes that forbade criticism of the Communist Party.

Rose also observed that while colleges want everyone to have different skin colors, sexual orientations, religion and gender identity, they are strangely averse to different ideas. This confuses him because different experiences naturally foster different ideas.

Sommers said she was glad that those pushing the theory of intersectionality don’t have the power to put people in jail like the Bolsheviks did, because they would probably put her in prison for not agreeing with them.

She cited the microaggression-reporting mobile application MicroReport created by Christy Byrd, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

Byrd’s research of the app’s users found that “perceptions of more racial microaggressions were associated with lower self-esteem, lower feelings of competence for daily life, more depressive symptoms and more stress,” she said.

Sommers said she wants to find out if intersectionality is being taught in high schools, because this line of thinking has made “serious inroads in our education system.”

“As long as intersectionality is unchallenged,” Sommers said, “campus fanaticism will go unchallenged.”

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Nowadays what people call learning is forced on you . . . And everyone is forced to learn the same thing, [on] the same day, at the same speed . . . in class . . . and everyone is different –Isaac Asimov, 1988

This was pretty great.  I liked what he said about mass education.  Instead of having mass education with a curriculum, once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries, be given answers and reference materials, regardless of how silly it seems to everyone else . . . . Nowadays what people call learning is forced on you.  And everyone is forced to learn the same thing, at the same day, at the same speed . . . in class.  And everyone is different . . . for some it goes too fast, for some too slow, for some in the wrong direction.  But give them a chance in addition to school . . . I don’t say we abolish school . . . but in addition to school to follow up their own bent from the start.

What about machines dehumanize learning?

As a matter of fact, it’s just the reverse.  It’s through this machine that we will be able to have for the first time a one-to-one relationship between information source and information consumer. 

What do you mean? 

In the old days, you used to have tutors for children.  The person who could afford it would hire a pedagogue and he would teach the children.   And if he knew his job, he could adapt his teaching to the tastes and the abilities to the students.  But how many people could afford to hire a pedagogue?  Most children went uneducated.  Then we reached the point where it was absolutely necessary to educate everybody.  The only way we could do it was to have one teacher for a great many number of students and in order to organize the situation properly, we gave them a curriculum to teach them.  So how many teachers are good at this?  Like everything else, the number of teachers is far greater than the number of good teachers.  So we either have a one-to-one relationship for the very few, or a one-to-many relationship for the very many.  Now, there’s a one-to-one relationship for the very many.  Everyone can have a teacher in the form of access to the gathered knowledge of the human species. 

. . . through the libraries that are connected to the computer in my . . . 

That’s right. 

 

Greatest impact on the overall success of an essay? It’s structure.

Fixing problems with STRUCTURE will fix 80% or more of your essay writing problems.

deLaplante goes on to say that . . .

The primary goal of an essay assignment isn’t to write beautiful sentences or even beautiful paragraphs.  The goal is to communicate a main idea, a thesis and to use the essay format to organize the ideas in the most effective way to successfully communicate that main idea.

An essay’s success or failure is primarly a function of the organization and flow of ideas at the highest level of organization.  At the level of the essay taken as a whole, not at the level of individual sentences or individual paragraphs.  The priority of structure in essay writing is familiar with anyone who’s graded papers.  When a student hands in a draft of a paper that is poorly written, it almost always has a mix of spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and organizational problems.  If I wanted to I could start by identifying every grammar and stylistic problem.  And I could write a long document with editorial tips on grammar and style issues alone.  But I don’t do any of that.  What I do is make a few comments about the overall organization of the paper and invite the student in to talk about them.  Often, I don’t even bother commenting on the spelling, grammar, and style issues.  Why?  Because that’s not the priority.  That’s not the part that’s most important to the success of the paper.  Even if all the spelling and vocabular and grammar and sentence structure problems are fixed.  If the organizational problems aren’t fixed, I’ll never give this paper a top grade.  No instructor would.  So we as instructors and editors and graders focus on the most important feedback first which is structural.  Once that’s fixed it would make sense to look closer at style and usage issues on a second and third draft.  But even on second and third drafts, most of the constructive feedback your teachers give you will still be feedback about structure: because a) it can take several tries to fix structural problems, and b) it’s only at the structural level where you can move a paper from being merely good to excellent. 

So the takeaway is that not all the skill sets that are important for good writing are equally important.  In essay writing in particular, there is a huge asymmetry.  Strucutral and organizational factors are far more important in determining whether an essay is successful or not than spelling and vocabulary and grammar.  It follows, then that a program of isntruction that aims to improve people’s essay writing should focus on principles of structure and organization t the essay level. 

This principle is largely UNFAMILIAR to students entering college.  Most important principle for successful essay writing is unfamiliar to most students entering college.  This isn’t to say that there aren’t good writers entering college, because there certainly are, but I’m convinced that these students become good writers in spite of their formal training in essay writing rather than because of it.  They’ve picked up their skills through extensive reading and assimilation and modelling rather than through formal instruction.  But that’s something you only see in a fraction of students.  

2 Months of Mandated Tests Destroys Love of Learning?

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.

Dysfunctional: Talented Kids Not Enrolled in Public Schools

Spell “dysfunctional.”

Definition: “A 6-year-old child who is not in a public school.”

–Gary North

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.

h/t Lew Rockwell

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 National Spelling Bee, 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.

Keep reading . . . 

“Every politically controlled educational system will inculcate the doctrine of state supremacy sooner or later. . . “

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.

Related: According to Glenn Reynolds’ How It Happened and How to Survive It, who has said this on many occasions that “sending your kids to public school verges on parental malpractice, these days.”

via Mark J. Perry

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.