Minnesota school brings sanity back to the classroom by banning smart phones

The smart phone: Bad for kids
The smart phone: Proven very bad for kids

Making schools productive again: A Minnesota middle school has found that banning smart phones from all students during the school day has improved behavior both in and out of the classroom while improving the learning and social environment.

“I believe (the ban) is game-changing and will have lasting impacts on our students for years to come,” Maple Grove Middle School Principal Patrick Smith told WCCO. “There was no cross-the-table conversations, there was no interaction in the hallways,” he said. “And let’s be real, with these devices, our students – especially our teenagers – there’s a lot of drama that comes from social media, and a lot of conflict that comes from it.”

Last year, school officials banned student cell phone use for the entire school day, from 8:10 a.m. to 2:40 p.m., following a variety of issues at the school tied to the devices. “We have a culture and climate concern. We see issues that kids are getting on their phones through interactions of bullying, of setting up fights, just the gambit of a lot of the negative things kids are going back and forth on social media,” Smith said on the Chad Hartman Show, adding that the distraction from learning was also a major concern.

After a year school officials and parents are enthused by the results. Not only has the social atmosphere improved at the school, parents are reporting improvements in learning in their kids.

None of this is a surprise. » Read more

Real pushback: Corporate America eliminating college degree requirements for new hires

Increasingly viewed at useless educational institutes
Increasingly viewed at useless educational institutes

According to a new survey of 800 American companies, about half say they have now dropped their requirement that new employees have a college degree, with some businesses replacing this requirement with actual apprenticeship programs.

For example, Accenture launched an apprenticeship program in 2016 through which it has since hired 1,200 people, CNBC reported. Some 80 percent of those people joined the company without a four-year-degree.

Earlier this year, the company expanded the program with the goal of filling 20 percent of its US entry-level roles. ‘A person’s educational credentials are not the only indicators of success, so we advanced our approach to hiring to focus on skills, experiences and potential,’ CEO of Accenture North America, Jimmy Etheredge, told the outlet.

According to the report, 45% of all businesses surveyed intend to eliminate college degree requirements next year, while 55% say they have already done so. Major companies like Walmart, IBM, Facebook, Intel, and Microsoft have been public about their shift away from college degree requirments, while others like Google and Apple have done so more quietly.

According to this survey [pdf] from the Burning Glass Institute, which analyzed trends across 51 million job postings, this trend appeared to begin before the Wuhan panic, was accelerated significantly by it, but has continued subsequent. This short quote from that report however says it all:
» Read more

Pushback: Parents in droves reject the queer agenda and bad education of the public schools in Iowa

At the start of this year the Iowa legislature passed a law that made state funds available to parents who wished to use it to pay tuition at a private school, rather than have their kids attend public schools.

The legislature also budgeted $107 million for the program in its first year, assuming about 14,000 students would apply.

Hah! The state received 25,000 applications, almost twice what was expected. It appears parents don’t want their children learning about queers or watching transvestites performing sex acts in the classroom. More importantly, based on the failed and bankrupt reaction of the public schools to COVID, parents also realized that these public schools are failing to provide even a basic education, and want to pick alternatives.

Nor is this phenomenon unique to Iowa.

Many states responded by increasing their school choice options. At least 20 states have enacted new or expanded school choice policies since 2021.

Arizona saw a similar explosion of applications last year when the state massively expanded its school voucher program to every K-12 student. Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill allowing every student to get a taxpayer-funded Empowerment Scholarship Account of about $6,500 per child. In just the first two weeks after Arizona began accepting applications, the state saw about 6,800 new students apply for the school vouchers.

The public schools are bankrupt and dying. The sooner we put them out of their misery and get all kids out of them, the sooner the quality of education in the United States will go up, while ending the left’s use of the schools to indoctrinate little children. It isn’t hard to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Too bad the public schools decided in the past few decades to abandon that fundamental responsibility.

Sidebar note: I continue to be under the weather, so I will post more of these short pieces rather than the longer essay I had planned to write today. No energy for the harder work, even though this is a terrible time to have to reduce my output, during my fund-raising campaign.

The insidious presence of porn in K-12 public schools

The Harrisonburg school board
The Harrisonburg school board and its superintendent, just one of many
school boards nationwide that have been promoting the queer agenda to little
kids, against the wishes of parents.

In the past three years it has become routine to see stories almost weekly of school board meetings where parents arrive en masse complaining loudly about the pornography they have discovered openly available in school libraries. Similarly, there are numerous other stories of public school teachers and programs eagerly promoting the queer agenda in the classroom, sometimes doing so secretly when faced with parental opposition.

The situation however is far more insidious than suggested by these stories alone. It seems that this issue has been building for a long time, unnoticed by parents and kept quiet by school officials and teachers as they introduced these materials widely in school curriculums and libraries.

For example, why is it that these pornography books, clearly written to appeal to young minds, have appeared so widely in so many schools throughout the nation? The books haven’t just appeared in states controlled by Democrats, but many places, from Florida to Arizona to Georgia to Michigan to Pennsylvania to Maine to Rhode Island to Wisconsin to Virginia. It seems absurdly impossible that so many different and widely spaced school systems would so completely and all at once accept such graphic sexual materials, written for children under twelve.

And yet, these books have been purchased by schools everywhere, in every state in the union. Such widespread eagerness suggests a strong organized effort within the education community to promote the teaching of sex to little kids. This is confirmed by a review of the queer agenda books recommended to teachers and schools by Scholastic, which is one of the main sources for school librarians. From its own webpage, celebrating the queer agenda:
» Read more

Why is this rare? School board members react in horror when hearing the porn they allow in schools

Maybe no longer in Brainerd
Maybe the parents of Brainerd have finally decided their children
are theirs, not the government’s

In what seems to be the exception rather than the rule, when parents began reading the pornography that the Brainerd Public school district allowed in its school libraries, the school board members didn’t try to shut them up, but instead were horrified.

When Kevin Boyles, the board chair, attempted to move on from the public comment without addressing the concerns, [D.J.] Dondelinger told him to “hold on a second.” He told Boyles that he would like to make a motion to discuss the book at the next board meeting. “Something needs to be done,” Dondelinger said. “I’m shocked. We need to dig in and find out what the hell’s going on.”

He then proceeded to ask if “this stuff is accessible to fifth graders” and was told by the room of concerned citizens that yes, it was.

Boyles said that they would address the topic at the board’s retreat that took place on June 16, saying that he didn’t think a board meeting was the appropriate venue for a discussion about it initially. “I think it’s fair to say that several of us have questions,” he said.

Dondelinger pushed back, asking for a second to his motion to add the books to the agenda for the next school board meeting, to the applause of the audience.

I have embedded video of this board meeting, cued to when the parents begin reading. If you want to skip listening to badly written porn, Dondelinger’s demand for action begins at the 31 minute point of the video.
» Read more

NASA names winners in annual student rocket competition

NASA yesterday named the winners in its annual student rocket launch competition, which took place at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama on April 15, 2023.

The live stream of the competition is available here, cued to when the rockets begin launching.

The number of awards is a bit too many, making it seem that NASA wanted to make sure every team got some form of participation award. Nonetheless, these students demonstrated that they will soon be building real rockets, as part of the new and emerging rocket industry.

As parents and students continue to flee public education the consequences are both good and dire

“But Brawndo’s got what plants crave. It’s got electrolytes!”

Two recent stories have clearly illustrated that the abandonment of the public school system, from kindergarten to college, is continuing unabated. It appears that the Wuhan lockdowns and mask and jab mandates helped to open the eyes of many parents and students as to the ineffectual and often harmful teaching going on in these institutions.

We begin with the precipitous drop in children attending K through 12 public schools.

Public school enrollment declined by 1.4 million students between fall 2019 and fall 2020, dipping to 49.4 million, a loss of nearly 3 percent, and remains at the lowest point in more than a decade. The decline could be closer to 2 million, according to a survey by Education Next showing that traditional public school enrollment as a percentage of all school enrollment declined sharply between 2020 and 2022.

Enrollment in traditional public schools fell from 81 percent to 76.5 percent of total enrollment during that period, while enrollment in public charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling grew by a combined 4.5 percent.

Those numbers suggest that nearly 2 million students left traditional public schools for other educational options between 2020 and 2022. The findings are based on the May 2022 survey of a national representative panel of more than 3,600 American adults commissioned by Education Next.

The abandonment in the last three years by so many parents of the public school system can be attributed to three things. » Read more

Student model rocket doubles altitude record

On April 16, 2023 students from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University launched a model rocket that more than doubled the altitude record for liquid-fueled model rockets.

The rocket reached an altitude of 47,732 feet, setting multiple records, including the highest undergraduate and collegiate amateur liquid rocket launch in the United States. It more than doubled the previous record of 22,000 feet.

Named Deneb after one of the brightest stars in the northern hemisphere, the rocket had a total burn time of 26.1 seconds, reaching a velocity of 1,150 mph (Mach 1.5).

I have embedded the live stream below, set to begin just before launch.
» Read more

NASA announces winners in its annual school manned rover design competition

NASA today announced the winning teams in its annual competition for high schools and colleges to come up with the best new designs for manned rovers capable of operating on other worlds.

The annual engineering competition – one of NASA’s longest standing challenges – held its concluding event Friday, April 21 to Saturday, April 22, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

More than 500 students from around the world participated during HERC’s 29th anniversary competition. Student teams represented 16 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, as well as the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, India, Mexico, Peru, and Singapore. Teams were awarded points based on navigating a half-mile obstacle course, conducting mission-specific task challenges, and completing multiple safety and design reviews with NASA engineers.

The first place winners were teams from Escambia High School from Florida and the University of Alabama. NASA also listed winners in a whole range of other categories (“crash and burn”, “pit crew”, “social media”), many of which appear designed simply to make sure everyone got a participation award.

The shift away from government schools, at all levels, accelerates

Parents are rejecting this in droves
Parents are rejecting this mantra in droves

It has been clear for decades that the public schools in most major urban areas — all of which have been run by Democrats — have been failing badly at their primary task of educating children. Two recent stories underlined this failure.

First, in Baltimore a study found that not one student in twenty-three of the city’s schools was proficient in math.

Through an analysis of 150 Baltimore City Schools, 23 of them, including 10 high schools, eight elementary schools, three high schools and two middle schools, no students met math grade-level expectations, according to a report by Project Baltimore. Approximately 2,000 students took the state administered math exams that tested proficiency levels.

…An additional 20 schools in the district had no more than two students proficient in math, Project Baltimore reported. Another three schools in the district, which are for incarcerated students and students with disabilities, had no students that met grade-level expectations.

Essentially, just under one third of all of Baltimore’s public schools failed to teach any of their students math. Period. For any school system to accept this level of failure is beyond disgusting. Everyone who works for Baltimore’s schools should be canned, now.

Then, just days later, another story revealed that fifty-five of Chicago’s public schools were also totally incompetent at teaching math or reading, and should find other work.
» Read more

Pushback: Maine parent wins lawsuit against school board for attempting to ban him

McBreairty speaking in front of Hermon Town Council
McBreairty speaking in front of the Hermon town council about the
lawsuit against him. Click for video from which this image was captured.

Bring a gun to a knife fight: Shawn McBreairty, a Maine parent who had repeatedly challenged two different local school districts, including his own, for their efforts to teach the queer agenda to little children, yesterday won a $40K settlement from one of those school boards, Regional School Unit #22, after a court judge had ruled that the board’s actions to ban and censor McBreaity clearly violated his first amendment rights.

This is an update of an earlier August 1, 2022 blacklist column. Because McBreairty had tried to read aloud at a board meeting the pornography contained in several books that the school board had approved for its school children, he was silenced, then banned from attending school board meetings, both in person and virtually, for the next eight months.

When the judge ruled entirely in McBreairty’s favor, issuing a temporary injunction against the school board’s actions, the board clearly recognized its case would not hold up in court, and it chose to settle, paying $40K for McBreairty’s legal fees. As the judge noted in her decision:
» Read more

The growing revolt against the bigoted left across the entire education community

A little child shall lead them, by James Johnson
“A little child shall lead them,” painting by James L. Johnson.

For the past year and a half in my daily column “Today’s blacklisted American” I have been documenting the oppressive actions of the intolerant left by noting the numerous times its members have aggressively blacklisted, censored, silenced, and destroyed anyone who stands in their way.

Take some time to glance through that full list. Some of the stories are truly horrifying. such as the time a 9-year-old was denied a kidney transplant because his donor, who also happened to be the child’s father, had not gotten his COVID jab.

Almost all are examples of the routine intolerance of the left. No one is allowed to think differently from them, act differently from them, speak differently from them, and even feel differently from them. If you dare to step out of line, their answer is to smash their boot into your face, as hard as they can. Once, that smashing was metaphoric. Today it has become literal.

Much of this oppression has been centered in the education community. The racist and Marxist ideology of critical race theory had it origins in the black study departments forcibly established in the 1960s in universities after violent protests. From there, these communist bigots spread outward into departments teaching the soft sciences of education, literature, psychology, and social science. They then moved downward into the high schools, and in the past decade into the elementary schools. Only recently they added to their program the queer agenda, aiming at perverting young children in the most vile ways possible.
» Read more

Blacklisted Americans fight back

And clowns should not be running the schools
And the clowns must be fired, now!

Today’s blacklist column will be a surprisingly optimistic one (though I fully admit that I might be fooling myself), based on two stories that appeared in the press yesterday.

First, there was this story out of Virginia, where a new Christian private school with an initial capacity for 500 students received in less than a week more than 2,500 applications from parents.

Loudoun County has been the subject of so much controversy, that Pastor Gary knew there would be a demand locally. What he didn’t expect is to hear from parents in at least 27 states eager for their children to attend.

Cornerstone has been inundated with inquiries, and not just from parents. Teachers want out of public schools too. “By the end of the week, we had over 2,500 students pre-registered. I got over 450 emails from teachers wanting employment.” [emphasis mine]

The school, Cornerstone Christian Academy, is in Loudoun County, where the local government school board has been aggressively promoting the queer and Marxist agendas while enforcing irrational mask policies on little kids.

The enthusiastic response from both parents and teachers strongly indicates that the public has finally become conscious of the leftist and queer policies of too many local school boards, and will no longer tolerate it. It also suggests that there is not only sufficient demand for the establishment of many more private schools, both religious and secular, there will be plenty of qualified teachers available to run them.

Nor is this private religious school the only one that has opened in Loudoun County. One year ago a Christian high school, dubbed Evergreen Christian School, opened in Leesburg. Though small, with only 50 students initially, it expects to grow quickly.

This movement to private schools will likely accelerate nationwide, not just because of the intransigence of leftist-dominated government school boards and the growing demand from parents for sane alternatives. It appears that state legislatures are beginning to take action to encourage it. In Arizona for example, the governor signed into law last week a bill that expands school choice to all parents, with full subsidies from the state. According to this article,
» Read more

Science! Psychology researchers discover that kids make friends with those who sit next to them in school

Your tax dollars at work! Psychology researchers at Florida Atlantic University have found to their shock that the friendships school children form are strongly influenced by their seat assignments in class.

Results of the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, revealed that friendships reflect classroom seat assignments. Students sitting next to or nearby one another were more likely to be friends with one another than students seated elsewhere in the classroom. Moreover, longitudinal analyses showed that classroom seating proximity was associated with the formation of new friendships. After seat assignments changed, students were more likely to become friends with newly near-seated classmates than with those who remained or became seated farther away.

You can read the actual paper here. The research itself was apparently funded by a grant from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), apparently an agency within NIH, that stellar agency that pushed masks, lockdowns, and social distancing during the past two years based on zero data and contrary to research results going back decades.

It seems to me that this result would be obvious to any first grade teacher who is focused on teaching kids. It is also obvious to anyone who ever went to school and made friends there. To spend money on such research is utterly idiotic. Worse, it diverts funds from research that is considerably more important.

But no matter. What is really important is to get funding, no matter how trivial or useless the research. And our corrupt and bankrupt federal bureaucracy is most willing to oblige.

Pushback: Huge increase in homeschooling in VA

Home-schooling: a example of liberty in action
Home-schooling: a example of liberty in action

Because of oppressive and racist policies that include mask mandates, remote schooling, and the teaching of the bigoted and Marxist program dubbed Critical Race Theory, Virginia has seen a huge increase in home schooling in the past two years.

Homeschooling in Virginia has increased by nearly 40% since 2019, which has been partly fueled by the implementation of critical race theory in classrooms and the coronavirus. “The children don’t belong to the state. I think parents really want to impart their own values to their children – their values and beliefs and their own worldview. And that is a major reason parents are home schooling,” Yvonne Bunn, director of government affairs for the Home Educators Association of Virginia, told the Virginia Mercury earlier this month.

There are currently about 62,000 homeschoolers in Virginia, according to Virginia Department of Education data. There were 44,226 homeschoolers in the state during the 2019/2020 school year, marking a more than 39% increase. The numbers this year are slightly down from the 2020/2021 school year, when 65,571 students were homeschooled.

» Read more

Pushback: Children in England are refusing to wear masks or get tests

A little child shall lead them, by James Johnson
Painting by James L. Johnson.

And little child shall lead them: According to one teacher’s union official in Great Britain, children are refusing in “huge numbers” to wear masks or get twice-weekly tests for COVID, despite government mandates requiring both.

In its latest guidance issued on Jan. 2, the UK Department for Education (DfE) recommended that secondary school pupils in England should wear face coverings inside classrooms to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Before that, masks were already recommended in outdoor communal areas and corridors. Secondary school students are also advised to take a lateral flow test twice a week.

But according to the NASUWT teachers’ union, there has been strong resistance from pupils to the new policy. Damien McNulty, a national executive member of the union, told the BBC on Thursday: “Sadly, we have had reports in the last 24 hours of at least six secondary schools in the northwest of England where children, in huge numbers, are refusing to take lateral flow tests or to wear masks.”

“We’ve got one school in Lancashire where only 67 children out of 1,300 are prepared to have a lateral flow test and wear masks,” he said.

» Read more

An example of good public school education

First rocket launch of the day

Those who are regular readers of this webpage know that I generally have a low opinion of the American public school system, based on ample evidence. It generally fails to educate while working to abuse and indoctrinate young children in ways that are so ugly and inappropriate that often the administrators and teachers involved could actually be charged with child abuse.

Today I am instead going to provide an example of a public school doing right by its students. On Saturday I was invited to watch as an afterschool engineering group, run by John Morris, the Engineering & Mathematics teacher at Casa Grande Union High School in Arizona, went out to launch model rockets that they had built themselves.

The launch to the right was the first of the day. The rest of the post below is image oriented, to give you a feel of what it involved in teaching young high school students how to make and launch small rockets. That activity, while involving relatively simple engineering, provides them the right grounding for learning how to work hard, make sure they do the work right, and learning that failure is really only a step towards success.
» Read more

Enrollment decline continues in urban public schools

Some good news: In reporting today that the Chicago public school system this year lost 10,000 students, the Associated Press story also said this:

The enrollment decline, which has been happening each year for the past decade, comes as other big city districts including New York and Los Angeles have seen enrollment declines this year as well. … The enrollment drop this academic year is due to students moving elsewhere, going to private schools or homeschooling, according to recent district data.

The story also noted that this declines appears to be occurring among all ethnic groups, since the school demographics remained unchanged.

Finally, being the Associated Press and thus married to supporting governments run by Democrats, the story had to allow the final word to the city’s Democratic Party mayor as well as the unions that have routinely backed her:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the drop a “minor miracle,” saying she was surprised enrollment didn’t decline even more considering the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had to quickly transition to remote learning. We know that didn’t work for a lot of families. There’s been a lot of challenges and struggles that have been revealed throughout the course of this pandemic that hit our most vulnerable residents the hardest, many of whom” have children attending CPS, Lightfoot said.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Teachers Union blamed underfunded schools, particularly in largely Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, as a major driver.

That parents might have finally gotten disgusted with the government’s utter failure to teach reading, writing, or arithmetic does not occur to these political geniuses. Nor does it occur to them that their passion for forcing masks and racial indoctrination on little children might have also contributed to the decline in enrollment.

No, for leftists their failures are always explained by either a lack of funding or circumstances beyond their control. Give us more money and all will be well! We promise!

It appears however that an increasing number of parents are no longer buying these arguments. Thank goodness.

Today’s blacklisted American: Teacher suspended and transferred for opposing racial segregation and bigotry

segregation returns to schools!
Providence’s policy of segregating teachers by race.

The modern dark age: Ramona Bessinger, a middle school teacher who had taught at her school in Providence, Rhode Island, for 22 years, was suspended without pay, then transferred to another school, because she had publicly criticized her school district’s effort to segregate teachers by race while changing its history curriculum to label white America as the source of all race hatred and black oppression.

When Bessinger showed up for work today [October 18], she was told to spend the day in the staff room. It was very cold in the room, and a local woman hearing of Bessinger’s plight, delivered a blanket for her: Late this afternoon Bessinger received word from her union rep on the outcome of the disciplinary hearing. Bessinger would receive a 5-day unpaid suspension, and Bessinger also would be transferred to another school.

The school claimed she was being punished because, during a school lockdown caused by a fight between a teacher and student, she allowed some students to leave her class anyway when the lunch bell sounded.

Bessinger denied the charges, noting that she had faced increasing hatred by administrators, teachers, and students because of her public criticism of the school’s new teaching syllabus, which encouraged hatred between the races and falsely painted America as a land of white supremacy. As she had written in July:
» Read more

Today’s blacklisted American: Private school threatened with shut down by Colorado

Rick, stating the truth in Casablanca
Still asleep, and tragically, too many refuse to wake up.

They’re coming for you next: A private Christian school in Loveland, Colorado, is planning to sue the local health department because it demanded their students wear masks or else the school would be shut down.

Parents at Resurrection Christian School in Loveland, Colorado, were told on Sept. 15 that all persons entering school buildings the next day must wear a mask, by order of the Larimer County Health Department, or their school would be closed. The order allowed for medical exemptions but made no distinction in regards to vaccination status or acquired immunity.

The same evening, school Superintendent Jerry Eshleman vowed in a video message to parents and staff to fight the health department’s edict in court. He urged parents to comply with the public health order for the time being, so that the students wouldn’t have their school year disrupted by a forced school closure while the case was being fought.

Based on the article, it appears that many parents are trying to get medical exemptions for their children, with some succeeding.

Regardless, forcing kids to put on masks is the height of stupidity. » Read more

As thousands of teachers endorse critical race theory, home schooling surges

What apparently Critical Race Theory sees as education for elementary school kids.
What apparently Critical Race Theory sees as education for
elementary school kids.

In the past few months state legislatures across the country have passed resolutions that ban schools from teaching the Marxist and bigoted program dubbed Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Not surprisingly, the leftists who dominate our school systems have fought back. The very leftist Zinn Education Project immediately created a petition calling for teachers to defy such laws and to continue to teach CRT, which teaches children to hate whites and to give minorities privileged status.

In the two months this petition has been on line almost 6,000 teachers have signed it, with many adding comments of defiance. This one is typical:
» Read more

Bezos donates $200 million to Air & Space Museum

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin and about to fly on the first commercial suborbital flight of his New Shepard spacecraft, today announced the donation of $200 million to the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The Smithsonian said $70 million of the money would support museum renovations. The other $130 million would go toward building a new education center at the museum called the Bezos Learning Center to inspire students to promote innovation and explore careers in science, math and engineering.

While this is a very gracious and generous act, in the long run it might actually have been better for Bezos to have used this money to get his rocket company off the ground. Success in that manner would be far more effective in inspiring students. Once Blue Origin is actually launching humans into orbit to explore the heavens such a donation might have made better sense. Those student would not only be inspired by the achievement, Bezos would then be providing them a way to join in.

Still, the gift will do much to help maintain the nation’s capabilities in space. Good for Bezos.

Enrollment in public schools plunges

Good news! Federal government data for the 2020-2021 school year shows a steep drop in enrollment in public schools, with the biggest declines in the youngest grades.

While overall the drop was only 3%, the drop was stunning from parents enrolling their children for the first time.

Even more stark is the drop in enrollment among younger students. Preschool enrollment fell by 22%, and preschool and kindergarten enrollment combined dropped 13%.

The drop is even more significant in that it is really the first such decline in decades.

It appears that almost one in four parents have decided that public schools are not a good place for their little ones. Foolish mask mandates, absurd social distancing rules, and leftist propaganda promoting bigotry and sexual perversity are not what they want for their kids.

In a sane world, we would quickly see a reduction in the budgets for these public schools. Sadly this is not likely. Too many local politicians are under the thumb of the teacher unions, and serve them, not their constituents.

In the end however these budgets must be cut, if not entirely zeroed out. As long as the money keeps flowing to these corrupt institutions, they will have power and will use it for bad ends.

Let me add one more point: Considering the horrible state of the public schools, their mistreatment of children in connection with COVID, their failure to teach anything well in the past few decades, their new endorsement of racial bigotry and hatred, and their increasing partnership with radical sexual perversity, I must ask: Why on Earth are 78% of parents still sending their kids there?

Today’s blacklisted Americans: Lincoln and Washington, by Chicago’s Democratic mayor

Lincoln banned as evil by Chicago politicians
Chicago Democrats to ban Lincoln.

Blacklists are back and the Democrats got ’em: Lori Lightfoot, the Democratic Party mayor of Chicago, has begun the formal process for removing forty historical monuments in Chicago, including statues of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Ulysses S. Grant.

Her reasons for throwing these fundamental Americans into the scrap heap of history? Well, she created a committee to review 500 monuments in Chicago and ended up deciding that 40 should go. It has said this:

Reasons for making the list include promoting narratives of white supremacy; presenting an inaccurate or demeaning portrayal of Native Americans; celebrating people with connections to slavery, genocide or racist acts; or “presenting selective, over-simplified, one-sided views of history.”

…Besides five statutes of Lincoln, others on the list include the General John Logan Monument in Grant Park; the General Philip Henry Sheridan Monument at Belmont and Lake Shore Drive; a statue of Benjamin Franklin in Lincoln Park; the Haymarket Riot Monument/ Police Memorial at 1300 W. Jackson Blvd; the Italo Balbo Monument in Burnham Park; and the Jean Baptiste Beaubien plaque at the Chicago Cultural Center. [emphasis mine]

» Read more

Why drastic education cuts in Alaska tell us everything about the coming dark age

Faced with a gigantic $1.6 billion budget deficit, last month Alaska’s Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, used his line item power to veto about $444 million from the state’s total budget of $8.3 billion. Among those cuts included an unprecedented almost 41% cut in the state’s university system.

Understanding the background for these cuts is not something easy to pin down in today’s partisan press. I first came across the story today in this Nature article, clearly written to lament the cuts and the harm they will do to education and science. This quote will give you the flavor:

Researchers are waitivng anxiously to see how university administrators will apply the cuts, which could fundamentally reshape science in the state — including UA’s world-class Arctic and climate research programmes. The first hint came on 30 July, when the university’s governing board voted to consolidate the system’s three main branches — in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.

“It’s awful,” says Milligan-Myhre. “I had to turn away a student planning on starting in the fall because I just don’t know what the department or his degree would look like in a year or two.” She’s also encouraging her current students to graduate as soon as possible.

The problem with the article is that it gave literally no background into the cuts, and Dunleavy’s reasoning for doing them, a example of today’s typically bad journalism. We might justly oppose these education cuts, but before we as sane citizens can do that we must at least understand why they are being made. Nature failed to give us that information, and instead spent its time propagandizing for the blind spending of money for education.

I started doing searches on the internet to find out some background information. (More on that experience later.) Most of the articles were very superficial, though this article at least outlined the difficult budget situation faced by Dunleavy.

After a lot of searches on two different search engines requiring me to dig down several pages on both, I finally found this article at U.S. News & World Report that outlined in a very non-partisan way the issues.
» Read more

School fires teacher for praising western civilization

They’re coming for you next: A California private school, covering elementary through high school grades and catering to Hollywood celebrities, fired one of its teachers in May for praising western civilization.

On the 5th of May, the American Freedom Alliance convened a conference on leftist radicalism. Before David Horowitz stepped up to the podium to discuss the threat of leftist extremism, Dr. Karen Siegemund, the president of the AFA, welcomed the attendees by speaking to our common values. “Each of us here believes in the unparalleled force for good that is Western Civilization, that is our heritage, whether we were born here or not,” she said.

After Dr. Siegemund and Horowitz’s remarks, a panel discussed radicalism in the school system.

The day after this event, Dr. Siegemund was informed by Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, the school where she had taught mathematics for four years and where she had studied as a child, that her contract would not be renewed because she had praised western civilization.

The conference, which had addressed leftist radicalism in educational institutions, had struck home.

“On Monday, I was informed that my teaching contract won’t be renewed because of my ‘widely publicized views,’” Dr. Siegemund said. “You know, I’d always known I was vulnerable – of course. We on the right all know how vulnerable we are. But when it happens – when you actually become a victim, a casualty of this Long March, of the Left’s silencing tactics, it’s truly breathtaking.” [emphasis mine]

The key here is that the modern cultural left is not interested in other points of view. Either you agree with them, or you are evil and must be squashed. Or as Orwell said, speaking of the socialist/communist attitude toward power in 1984:

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Orwell’s book was supposed to a warning to the future. Instead, for the left it has become an instruction manual. As spoken by those in power in Orwell’s book,

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten…The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.

The demonizing of western civilization and American history is all part of a comparable effort to make that knowledge inaccessible to future generations. And it appears that too many modern Americans are too cowardly to fight that effort.

Study shows Common Core hurt kids’ test scores

Common Core's damage

Our incompetent federal government: Researchers have found that since the adoption of Common Core during the Obama administration the test scores of children have dropped, not risen as promised.

Moreover, the decline appears directly related to Common Core itself.

Researchers the Obama administration funded to assist Common Core’s rollout recently found, to their surprise, that under Common Core U.S. student achievement has sunk. “Contrary to our expectation, we found that [Common Core] had significant negative effects on 4th graders’ reading achievement during the 7 years after the adoption of the new standards, and had a significant negative effect on 8th graders’ math achievement 7 years after adoption based on analyses of NAEP composite scores,” the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction and Learning (C-SAIL) preliminary study said. “The size of these negative effects, however, was generally small.”

The study found not only lower student achievement since Common Core, but also performed data analysis suggesting students would have done better if Common Core had never existed. The achievement declines also grew worse over time, study coauthor Mengli Song told Chalkbeat, an education news website: “That’s a little troubling.”

The study looked at math and reading test scores for both 4th and 8th grade students, and found that, almost as soon as Common Core was adopted scores began dropping. In many cases the drop reversed an improving trend that had been on-going for decades. The graph on the right illustrates this starkly for 8th grade math scores. There are other graphs at the link that show the same thing.

Common Core was another power grab by the federal government. It was opposed by many local parents and teachers, partly because they saw its defects, and partly because they strongly believed that education is better left to local communities, the teacher in the classroom, and the parents of that teacher’s students.

Sadly, however, we live in a time that insists that all decisions must come from Washington, no matter how trivial, and despite the reality that Washington’s track record for the past half century is truly abysmal, in almost everything it has attempted to accomplish.

Children benefit more when parents read to them from printed books

A new study has found that parent-child interactions are more enhanced when parents read to them using printed books rather than ebooks.

The results were starkly clear, with verbal interactions between parent and child decreasing when using either form of e-book. The study revealed e-books and enhanced e-books altered both the activity of the parent and the child’s response to the experience. Parents using enhanced e-books, for example, asked fewer prompting questions to a child while reading, and what conversation there was tended to more frequently be about the device and the technology, instead of the story and characters.

“Parents strengthen their children’s ability to acquire knowledge by relating new content to their children’s lived experiences,” says lead author in the study Tiffany Munzer. “Research tells us that parent-led conversations are especially important for toddlers because they learn and retain new information better from in-person interactions than from digital media.”

The study is not an outright condemnation of ebooks. It is instead a first guidepost for reworking the electronic medium to make it function better, in all cases.

Former Obama Education Secretary calls for school boycott over guns

I actually agree with him! The former Secretary of Education from the Obama administration, Arne Duncan, is calling for parents to pull their kids from public schools until the “gun laws are changed to make them safe.”

Personally, if I had children I would have never allowed them to attend any of today’s public schools, not because of gun safety but because they do a worse than horrible job of teaching kids anything.

Moreover, educating your kids either in a private school or at home gives you a much better chance of protecting them. At home you can be armed. Private schools have more flexibility, and will more likely include armed teachers if that’s what the parents want.

Public schools, and the unions that run them, not so much. I really do hope Duncan’s boycott catches on. It will give us a chance to shut down the failing public schools and replace them with competing organizations that actually get the job done.

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