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“So what?”

27 Apr

How do you like them apples?

I am puzzled as to why racism is thought to be a terrible thing, rather than entirely natural and often reasonable, and why people allow themselves to be brow-beaten about it. Maybe we should stop. Domestic tranquility would follow in torrents.

As nearly as I can tell, a racist is one who approves of rigorous education, good English, civilized manners, minimal criminality, and responsible parenthood, among other things. I am, then, a racist. I see no reason to grovel about it.

I decided long ago that if, while I was doing a radio interview, a caller-in told me, “You a racist!” I would hesitate as if puzzled, and say “…So what?” This would add immeasurably to the planetary supply of stunned silence. The expectation is that anyone so charged will fall on his knees and beg for mercy. It would be a lesser offense to be caught sexually molesting autistic three-year-old girls while attending a Nazi torch-rally.

Herewith another and yet worse confession:: I do not see, or care, why it is thought my duty to like, or dislike, groups because of their race, creed, color, sex, sexual aberration, or national origin. Nor do I think it their duty to like me. I especially do not understand why the federal government should decide with whom I ought to associate.

But back to “So what?” Among its charms is that there is no answer to it, other than huffing and puffing and indignant expostulation. All of these amuse me. Used frequently, “So what?”would shut up people who badly need to shut up, or else force them to think. Not likely, as most apparently cannot.

Let us, improbably, glance at reality. A characteristic of human groups is that they do not like each other. The greater the difference between the groups, the greater the dislike; the closer the contact between them, the more open the friction. Note that before the advent of mass immigration, Americans of whatever politics had no dislike of Hispanics.

Thus separation increases the likelihood of amity. Is this not obvious? The instinctive rancor between disparate groups accounts for most of the world’s problems. Moslems and Christians dislike each other, Tamils and Sinhalese, Cambodians and Vietnamese, blacks and whites, Americans and Frenchmen, men and women, homosexuals and the normal and, as Tom Lehrer famously sang, “…everybody hates the Jews.”

Except that in America Jews are so assimilated that most of us don’t remember to hate them. They aren’t different enough. I’ll have to make myself a note.

Humans like to be among their own kind. This can mean many things. It can be political. In Washington, white liberals cheerlead for diversity while spending their time exclusively with white liberals and execrating Southerners, Jesus Creepers, genocidal conservatives (understood to mean all conservatives), Catholics, racists, owners of guns, rednecks, and so on. No dissenting voices are heard because, like conservatives, liberals choose to be among their own. Similarly, if in any of Washington’s dives you know that one person in a table of six has an IQ in excess 130, it is a good bet that all do. It isn’t snobbery. Smart people enjoy the company of smart people. Their own kind. So what?

If left alone, people will naturally and peacefully form such associations as seem to them desirable. If left alone. So what?

The Chinese cluster together in China Towns because they want to be among their own. So what? Jews have yeshivas because they want to preserve their culture. So what? On campus, black students want separate fraternities and dormitories. So what? When men can find a pretext for being among other men, they do. So what?

In all of this, I am a bit of an outlier, having lived among many cultures and generally liked them. Some can do this. Yet as a white American of European extraction, I too want to preserve my culture. This involves (or did) respect for law, studiousness, the production of children within marriage, self-reliance, honesty, sexual restraint, and so on. Another part of my cultural package is the literature of Milne, Milton, Twain, Galsworthy, Gibbon, and others at length. I want my children to read them

However, I do not want to impose my values and culture on others. American blacks for example are truly African Americans, and quite reasonably may have as little interest in European history as I do in African. Rationally this would argue for separate schools where each could study what and as it chose. For reasons impenetrable to me, to suggest this is thought worse than genocide.

A reason for letting people associate as they choose is that, while groups naturally do not like each other, they overlap in curious ways. Left to themselves, people sort these matters out like water reaching its level. When I lived in Washington I used to spend afternoons over a Bass and several of its friends at the Cafe Asia, on Wilson Boulevard just across Key Bridge into Virginia. The Asia was then staffed by Asian girls—Malays, Chinese, Vietnamese, and a lovely Japanese woman who managed it. The clientele ran to young white professionals.

Their unanimous opinion held of these women by white men was highly favorable. Why? Well, these young ladies—they were ladies–were sleek, pretty, classy, never toilet-mouthed, and smart. Smart: One was doing graduate work in computer security, another was a wide-area network engineer, a third had been unable to find work after a master’s in biochem, and so was in dental school.

Here we have an example of people, being left alone, deciding for themselves who to hang out with. The young white professionals had decided, probably not consciously, that the Asian women had enough in common with us, and enough not in common but appealing, that we really enjoyed them.

Where is the fly in this ointment? I suppose we were racists, as we were assuredly discriminating racially: We thought Malays pretty. The horror. No doubt we were sinners all.

Today of course we are federally admonished not to choose our own friends and neighbors as if our lives were our own business. No. Instead we must follow the social directives of the Potomac Soviet, whether anyone wants to or not. Few do. In Washington, on the Hill, upper Connecticut, the inner suburbs, the outer suburbs, everywhere, clubs and restaurants are either almost perfectly white or perfectly black. Whites happily patronize Latin American restaurants intended for the general trade, yet in mini-barrios many venues tacitly are for browns only. So what? It is how people want it. If freedom of association is racism, I am for it.

So what?

 

Should Your Kids Know How to Bug Out…from School?

27 Apr

There are many alarming trends throughout the American public school system, and one of the most unsettling relates to “terror drills.”

Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars wrote last week about “lockdown drills” run by the DHS:

The Department of Homeland Security is expanding its operations by running unannounced school lockdown drills, another sign of the federal agency’s encroachment into more areas of Americans’ lives.

“On Thursday, March 6, a team comprised of ten officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the NJ Department of Education’s Safety and Security Task Forces visited Glen Ridge High School to conduct an unannounced school lock-down drill,” reports Georgette Gilmore

While authorities justify school lockdown drills as necessary exercises to prepare for potential school shootings, the likelihood of one happening is miniscule. Critics have pointed to the fact that the drills achieve little else than traumatizing school children.

Some have also argued that teaching kids to “shelter in place” rather than evacuate the scene of a shooting is bad advice because it is likely to lead to more casualties. The process of having children submit to armed masked men during school lockdown drills is also contradictory in that it teaches them to behave exactly the same way towards an actual gunman.(source)

But a quick drill with guns pointed at children is not even the worst of the drills being performed. Another type of drill began occurring in 2012. These are called “evacuation drills” or “relocation drills” and the kids are put on a bus and taken to a location that is not disclosed to parents. Michael Snyder wrote:

All over the United States, school children are being taken out of their classrooms, put on buses and sent to “alternate locations” during terror drills…In the years since 9/11 and the Columbine school shootings, there has been a concerted effort to make school emergency drills much more “realistic” and much more intense. Unfortunately, the fact that many of these drills are deeply traumatizing many children does not seem to bother too many people. Do we really need to have “active shooter” drills where men point guns at our kids and fire blanks at them? Do we really need to have “relocation drills” where kids are rapidly herded on to buses and told that they must surrender their cell phones because they will not be allowed to call anyone? (source)

During these drills kids are not allowed to phone their parents and parents are not even allowed to know where their children are in many cases. In some incidences during which the school forewarns parents about the drill, the parents are told that they cannot pick up their children “for any reason” during the drill. Many schools now boast of having supplies to keep children at the school for 48 hours in the event of an “emergency” during which time the children will not be released to their parents.

And it gets even worse. In the name of predictive programming, do you recall a “drill” during which the police took over a school and practiced fighting “angry parents”? I’ve been plenty annoyed at different schools my daughter has attended, but in no way have I been compelled to attack the school, requiring SWAT teams to defend it against me and my band of likewise irate moms.

In fact, there’s only one scenario I can imagine in which parents would storm the school to take back their children. Mac Slavo of SHTFplan wrote about it:

Let’s consider the circumstances that would have to occur for not one, but two or more parents to lay armed siege to a school.

There’s only one real scenario that comes to mind, and you’d more than likely have to be a prepper or conspiracy theorist to even contemplate the possibility.

The schools which our kids attend have “shelter-in-place” emergency procedures that would be enacted in the event of an emergency such as a nuclear, chemical or biological attack. During these emergencies schools are to be locked down with no unofficial access into the buildings until the all-clear has been given. It’s unclear based on district procedures just what the shelter-in-place order means and what steps parents would need to take to get their kids out of school – or whether they could even take their kids out of school based on the emergency.

But basically, it boils down to this: If there is a widespread emergency, and a school locks down and refuses parental access to children, then and only then could we envision a scenario where parents might take it upon themselves to evacuate their children by force.

The ‘event’ in question would likely need to be mass scale, or perceived as mass scale, in order for a parent to be so adamant about getting their child out of the school that they would take to armed violence to get them out.

Is this what police are training for?

Someone, somewhere obviously thinks there is a legitimate reason for this type of training simulation. (source)

So when you put all of this together, it’s easy to see the future. The picture this is painting is that one day, a unilateral decision could be made to put our children on a bus, take them to an undisclosed location, and keep them. (Dave Hodges wrote a chilling article about the role of FEMA in these scenarios – you can read it HERE.)

Should you teach your child to escape?

Maybe it’s time to teach your child how to bug out from school.

By no means am I suggesting that this is a legitimate course of action for every child. Some kids are too young or too prone to panic and poor judgement to safely bug out. Some environments are too dangerous for a young person to take off on his or her own. Parents have to consider the skills and mindset of their kids before making plans like this. It can definitely be risky, and you have to compare it to the alternative of having your child herded along.

I have a huge amount of faith in my child. So much so that we have performed some of our own drills. She attends a part-day advanced science program at a school 13 miles from our home. She’s a lot more “aware” of events going on in the world than most of her peers because we discuss things like government encroachment and tyranny on a regular basis. She knows that she is not to get on a bus without my prior knowledge and consent.

If, out of the blue, the teachers just tell students to get on a bus, and there is no compelling reason for them to be doing so, it might be time for your child to use his or her own judgement on whether boarding that conveyance is actually a good idea.

If you feel that a school bug-out plan is a good idea for your child, here are a few things to consider:

  • If there are younger siblings at the school, your older children will need to plan how to connect with them, and whether or not to abort the bug-out if they can’t connect with the younger ones.
  • You need to set up a primary and secondary rally point where you’ll meet your kids. This should be within a couple of miles of the school, and it should be a place where your children can stay hidden from the main road. The plan should always be to go to the primary rally point, but if for some reason that is unsafe or unaccessible, there should be a secondary rally point that is reached by a different route.
  • Figure out the route your child will take to get to the rally point. Practice getting there from the school. If possible, for reasons of safety and stealth, develop a route that does not use the main road to take them there. Hike or walk this route with your child until they are completely comfortable with it.
  • There are some situations in which evacuation is actually necessary. For example, some places are prone to forest fires and you wouldn’t want your child out on foot in such a scenario. If the school building were to collapse, it’s obvious the children would be relocated to a safe shelter. This is the point at which your child’s judgement comes into play. It is vital to discuss different scenarios in which evacuation is necessary.

It is also important that your child have the proper gear to take off on foot, as well as the ability to use all of it. It’s important to practice things like filtering water in order for a young person to feel confident doing so.

  • A hiking pack (My daughter keeps this Signpost Outdoor Packable Handy Backpack Foldable Lightweight Travel Bag Daypack – Green in the bottom of her school bag)
  • Comfortable weather-appropriate footwear (winter boots, sneakers, etc.)
  • Water filtration bottle (we use THIS ONE from Berkey)
  • At least one full water bottle, but preferably two
  • Snacks like granola bars or energy bars (Clif Bars are made with good ingredients and are very filling)
  • Weather appropriate clothing (snow gear, light hoodie, gloves, hat for sun or warmth)
  • Fire-starting flint
  • Space blanket
  • First aid kit (band-aids are a must forpotential blisters)
  • Extra socks

Most of the other gear that you’d prefer your child to have is going to be deemed “dangerous” by the school. Things like multi-tools, matches or lighters, or self-defense items are frowned upon and can result in anything from suspension by a “zero-tolerance” school system that seems unable to differentiate between a tool and a threat, to felony charges by the overzealous “justice system.” These are things you must take into consideration when choosing items for the emergency kit, and you have to weigh the pros against the cons.

Will this work for you?

This is not a plan that will work for every family. Only you can judge whether or not your child or teen can keep a cool enough head to execute a similar plan and use their own judgement in a surprise situation. Only you can assess the immediate environment and decide if it is safer for your student to set out on their own or to go with the staff from the school.

Do any of you have a simliar plan for your kids? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

NOTE: This is not a debate about whether children should be educated at home or via the public school system. This is about a specific situation that affects many families in America who have made the decision to send their children to school based on their own personal circumstances or the availability of special programs.

Reprinted with permission from The OrganicPrepper.

 

Statistical Frauds

20 Apr

 

The “war on women” political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.

It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn — and that this is because of discrimination.

It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.

Constantly repeating the “77 percent” statistic does not make them the same. It simply takes advantage of many people’s ignorance — something that Barack Obama has been very good at doing on many other issues.

What if you compare women and men who are the same on all the relevant characteristics?

First of all, you can seldom do that, because the statistics you would need are not always available for the whole range of occupations and the whole range of differences between women’s patterns and men’s patterns in the labor market.

Even where relevant statistics are available, careful judgment is required to pick samples of women and men who are truly comparable.

For example, some women are mothers and some men are fathers. But does the fact that they are both parents make them comparable in the labor market? Actually the biggest disparity in incomes is between fathers and mothers. Nor is there anything mysterious about this, when you stop and think about it.

How surprising is it that women with children do not earn as much as women who do not have children? If you don’t think children take up a mother’s time, you just haven’t raised any children.

How surprising is it that men with children earn more than men without children, just the opposite of the situation with women? Is it surprising that a man who has more mouths to feed is more likely to work longer hours? Or take on harder or more dangerous jobs, in order to earn more money?

More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men.

There is no point pretending that there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don’t affect income.

During my research on male-female differences for my book “Economic Facts and Fallacies,” I was amazed to learn that young male doctors earned much higher incomes than young female doctors. But it wasn’t so amazing after I discovered that young male doctors worked over 500 hours more per year than young female doctors.

Even when women and men work at jobs that have the same title — whether doctors, lawyers, economists or whatever — people do not get paid for what their job title is, but for what they actually do.

Women lawyers who are pregnant, or who have young children, may have good reasons to prefer a 9 to 5 job in a government agency to working 60 hours a week in a high-powered law firm. But there is no point comparing male lawyers as a group with female lawyers as a group, if you don’t look any deeper than job titles.

Unless, of course, you are not looking for the truth, but for political talking points to excite the gullible.

Even when you compare women and men with the “same” education, as measured by college or university degrees, the women usually specialize in a very different mix of subjects, with very different income-earning potential.

Although comparing women and men who are in fact comparable is not easy to do, when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. In some categories, women earn more than men with the same range of characteristics.

If the 77 percent statistic was for real, employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to, every time they hired a man to do a job that a woman could do just as well. Would employers be such fools with their own money? If you think employers don’t care about paying 30 percent more than they have to, just go ask your boss for a 30 percent raise!

 

Equality in Discipline

20 Apr

 

George Leef, director of research for the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, authored a Forbes op-ed article titled “Obama Administration Takes Groupthink To Absurd Lengths.” The subtitle is “School Discipline Rates Must Be ‘Proportionate.’” (http://tinyurl.com/mxnlg9h). Let’s examine some of the absurdity of the Obama administration’s take on student discipline.

Last January, the departments of Justice and Education published a “guidance” letter describing how schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. Its underlying threat is that if federal bureaucrats learn of racial disproportionality in the punishments meted out for misbehavior, they will descend upon a school’s administrators. If schools cannot justify differentials in rates of punishment by race or ethnic group, they will face the loss of federal funds and be forced to undertake costly diversity training.

The nation’s educators can avoid sanctions by adopting a racial quota system for student discipline. So as Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, predicts, “school officials will either start disciplining students who shouldn’t be, or, more likely, will not discipline some students who ought to be.” I can imagine school administrators reasoning this way: “Blacks are 20 percent of our student body, and 20 percent of suspensions this year have been of black students. In order to discipline another black student while maintaining our suspension quota, we will have to suspend some white students, whether they’re guilty or not.” Some administrators might see some injustice in that approach and simply ignore the misbehavior of black students.

Leef cites Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, who wrote in City Journal (http://tinyurl.com/9k648fj) that “the Departments of Education and Justice have launched a campaign against disproportionate minority discipline rates, which show up in virtually every school district with significant numbers of black and Hispanic students.

The possibility that students’ behavior, not educators’ racism, drives those rates lies outside the Obama administration’s conceptual universe.” She quoted Aaron Benner, a black teacher in a St. Paul, Minn., school who abhors the idea that school officials should go easy on black students who act up because (as a “facilitator” said) that’s what black culture is. “They’re trying to pull one over on us. Black folks are drinking the Kool-Aid; this ‘let-them-clown’ philosophy could have been devised by the KKK.” Benner is right. I can’t think of a more racist argument than one that holds that disruptive, rude behavior and foul language are a part of black culture.

If Barack Obama’s Department of Justice thinks that disproportionality in school punishments is probative of racial discrimination, what about our criminal justice system, in which a disproportionate number of blacks are imprisoned, on parole or probation, and executed? According to the NAACP’s criminal justice fact sheet, blacks now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million people who are incarcerated. Blacks are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. The NAACP goes on to report that if blacks and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rate as whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50 percent (http://tinyurl.com/7g2b32h).

So what to do? For example, blacks are 13 percent of the population but over 50 percent of homicide victims and about 46 percent of convicted murderers. Seeing as the Obama administration is concerned about punishment disproportionality, should black convicts be released so that only 13 percent of incarcerated murderers are black? Or should the Department of Justice order the conviction of whites, whether they’re guilty or not, so that the number of people convicted of murder by race is equal to their number in the general population? You say, “Williams, that not only is a stupid suggestion but violates all concepts of justice!” You’re absolutely right, but isn’t it just as stupid and unjust for the Obama administration to seek punishment equality in schools?

 

Good Citizen

20 Apr

A friend of mine emailed me an article titled “Home Schoolers make good citizens”.The first thing that ran through my mind was, “If home schoolers make good citizens, those parents are doing it wrong.”

Is being a good citizen even something we should strive to achieve? Should we teach our kids to be one? Or should we be and teach our children to be “good people”?

What is a good citizen?

One of the definitions of “citizen” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is: “ a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it”.

You can be a good citizen and not follow the non-aggression principle. In fact, a good citizen supports his government in aggressing against his own neighbor, and teaches his children this is good.

You can be a good citizen, and support the immoral wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, and actually, we are told you are a bad citizen if you don’t support every war or invasion the government decides it wants.

A good citizen will submit to a cop beating him and not show even the least bit of resistance. A good citizen knows that it is his duty to take the beating and, if he really doesn’t think he earned this form of protection, the good citizen can plead his case against the beating before a court, if he survives the beating.

A good citizen turns a blind eye to another good citizen getting beaten by a cop, knowing that the good citizen must have done something to earn this act of protection. To be a good citizen one must give every penny the government says he owes in taxation, and he must be happy about it, and about where the money is spent. The good citizen doesn’t “cheat” the government on his tax returns, knowing the government needs that money in order to pay for cops to beat him and his neighbor, and to fight the wars it wants.

A good citizen votes in every election he can, and accepts the choices the government gives him to vote for and on. A good citizen pledges allegiance to his government and doesn’t question anything it does, period.

No thanks.

A good person, on the other hand, knows it is wrong to initiate violence against his neighbor, whether his neighbor lives next door to him or in another country, and whether he does it himself or has his government do it for him.

A good person not only is against wars of aggression, but he speaks out against them, and teaches his children to live in peace.

A good person knows he has the right to defend himself, and that a badge and a costume does not give anyone the right to violate him, or his neighbor.

A good person does not happily pay the extortion money the government demands from him, and uses every loophole and opportunity he can to keep his property for himself.

A good person does not pledge himself to a government, but pledges to live in peace with his fellow man, and follows the golden rule.

To you Christians, the Bible says you are not even citizens of this world (Philippians 3:19), so why do you think it honorable to be good earthly citizens?

My wife and I homeschool our 8 children (this year they are using the Ron Paul curriculum), and I will not teach them to be good citizens; rather, I will continue to teach them to be good people.

We have to decide for ourselves if we would rather be a good citizen, or a good person. I don’t want to be a good citizen, in fact, I want to be a bad citizen.

Let us be good people. That should be our goal. That is what we should strive to be.

Joshua Bennett is a Father of 8 homeschooled children, Anarcho-Capitalist, Owner of Bighorn Enterprises trucking company, author and editor of Patriot’s Lament blog and host of the Patriot’s Lament radio program in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Toddlers Know the Truth… Until They’re Talked out of It

6 Apr

toddlersI’m hardly the first person to recognize that basic truths are more easily grasped by the young and the uneducated. For example, here’s a passage from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to Peter Carr in 1787:

State a moral case to a plowman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.

What we generally call “education” and “socialization” are mostly efforts to separate the young from what they know innately. They do know things innately and by simple self-reference. Those things should never be pulled away from them. We are to add to them and clarify them, not take them away.

What Toddlers Know

Toddlers may be ignorant of many things, but they understand basic elements of life quite clearly. And we can see that understanding in the three things we hear every toddler say, over and over:

It’s mine.

You said.

It’s not fair.

I doubt there’s a semi-intelligent adult in the English-speaking world who hasn’t heard those words dozens of times. So, let’s look at the understanding they contain:

“It’s mine.”

This displays a basic understanding of property. Most things – certainly most things a toddler may be concerned with – are either one person’s or another’s. Food, for example: If one child eats a bowl of cereal, that cereal cannot be eaten by anyone else. It is either one person’s or another’s. The same goes for a bed: two people cannot sleep in the same spot at the same time.

Our physical nature requires private property; that’s a very simple and obvious truth, and one that young children grasp. The fact that so many adolescents and adults have been talked out of this truth (confused out of it) shows us the terrible power of authority combined with confusion.

“You said.”

Think about what is implied by this statement: The child expects integrity, even demands it. The same thought, set in adult terms, would be this:

If you say something, you must also act upon it, or else you negate your own words and thus judge yourself to be bad.

Not only is that opinion very clear and healthy, but it is the basis of all contracts and agreements. It is also the basis of morality, and was precisely that in the eyes of Jesus of Nazareth:

By your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.

Talking a child out of this understanding would be a horrific act. I know that people have done this ignorantly – which is certainly less bad for them than doing it purposely – but it doesn’t minimize the damage done to the child… and to the adult he or she will become.

“It’s not fair.”

This is an extension of the child’s understanding of integrity, but it also, at least in older toddlers, encompasses an understanding of equity.

The child judges whether something is fair or not, depending on how it matches the other person’s words. But they also judge based upon exchanges: If we’re doing something together, we should both contribute to the venture. If I put in several items, you should also.

“Fairness,” however, is not simply equality; it is also equity. We all know the concept of equity, though we seldom use the word very well.

If you let me duplicate a report on your copy machine, I should help you in some way, perhaps to help paint your porch. This exchange is not equal – we’re not going to count sheets of paper, ounces of paint and minutes of work – but we will expect the other to do something as a recompense. That’s equity, though notequality. And children come quickly to understand that as well.

Respecting Children

Children may be ignorant, but they are not entirely ignorant. They understand basic concepts early, even if they aren’t yet able to explain them. And those understandings should never be taken from them.

Children should be treated with respect. What they do know should be left alone to grow. What they lack should be added to them… gently.

Yes, children need correction too, but that should be undertaken for the improvement of the child, not the convenience of the adult. Children are adults in a preliminary form. They deserve our respect; we should never talk them out of truths.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Public School Maven Predicts Public School-Free Cities in Ten Years

23 Mar


Gary North – March 18, 2014

Diane Ravitch says that America’s urban public schools are about to go belly-up, killed by the Right (charter schools) and the Left (the Common Core curriculum).

I dearly hope she is correct.

Ravitch is the #1 maven of public education. She loves the system. She believes that badges and guns are crucial for education, as well as for democracy. She assures us that we cannot have education without badges and guns. She says: “Public education is one of the foundational institutions for a democracy.” She is this generation’s #1 defender of the messianic character of American public education. You can read about her here.

She earned a Ph.D. from the academic institution which, more than any other, gave us progressive education: Columbia University.

George H. W. Bush appointed her to a high office. So did Bill Clinton. So did George W. Bush.

Now she says the whole system is at risk. We read on the liberal Salon site:

Once a George H.W. Bush education official and an advocate for greater testing-based accountability, Diane Ravitch has in recent years become the nation’s highest-profile opponent of Michelle Rhee’s style of charter-based education reform (one also espoused by Barack Obama).In a wide-ranging conversation last week, Ravitch spoke with Salon about new data touted by charter school supporters, progressive divisions over Common Core, and Chris Christie’s ed agenda. “There are cities where there’s not going to be public education 10 years from now,” Ravitch warned.

Ravitch is the consummate public education weather vane. She gets on board one fad after another, only to be left in the dust when it fails. They all fail.

“No Child Left Behind” is clearly a failure. Ravitch supported it. Now she opposes it.

These well-paid bureaucrats become cheerleaders for one reform after another. But their team — tax-funded education — has not had a winning season since 1940.

Dr. Ravitch was Assistant Secretary of Education when the Department’s report was published, 120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait. She wrote the introduction. Most Americans are unaware of these facts:

In 1940, more than half of the U.S. population had completed no more than an eighth grade education. Only 6 percent of males and 4 percent of females had completed 4 years of college (table 4). The median years of school attained by the adult population, 25 years old and over, had registered only a scant rise from 8.1 to 8.6 years over a 30-year period from 1910 to 1940 (p. 7).

Look-say reading techniques of the 1940’s have produced millions of functional illiterates. Dick and Jane can’t read. One estimate is that 20% of Americans cannot read.

No major national educational reform has worked since the post-Sputnik reforms, which were supposed to create a nation of scientists and engineers. Today, over half of all Ph.D students in engineering are foreign students. American taxpayers are educating the world’s best graduate students in science and engineering.

The new math was a bust in the late 1960’s.

One after another, reforms are heralded as the solution to declining student test scores. None of them ever produces the promised successes.

The SAT scores started falling in 1963, and they have not reversed. Other tests showed similar declines.

Ravitch continues:

There are many states that are cutting the budget for public schools at the same time that they’re paying a lot out for testing… Texas, for example, a couple of years ago… cut $5.3 billion out of the public schools, and at the same time gave Pearson a contract for almost $500 million… They said that there would be 15 end-of-course exams in order to graduate high school and caused a parent rebellion: There were so many angry moms, they organized a group called TAMSA — Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment — better known as Moms Against Drunk Testing…

Look at what schools are buying.

Los Angeles just made a deal a few months ago to spend $1 billion to equip every student and staff member with an iPad. The money was taken from a 25-year bond for school construction, to buy disposable equipment. The iPads will be obsolete in three or four years… Meanwhile, the schools have unmet repair dates…

It’s great for Apple. Meanwhile, school buildings rot.

Buying iPads for students is just another fad. New school construction is an old fad. It has been discarded. Fads come and go. This is constant: Test scores decline.

What about Common Core?

The fact is, we have no evidence that the Common Core standards are what we say they are until we’ve tried them. They haven’t been tried anywhere, they’ve been tested — and we know that where they’re tested, they cause massive failure. So I would say we need to have more time before we can reach any judgment that they have some miracle cure embedded in them.

When she says “massive failure,” what does she have in mind? This:

In New York State when they gave the Common Core testing last spring, 3 percent of the English [language] learners passed it. 97 percent failed it…

I say this. Let’s call Common Core what it really is: “Most Children Left Behind . . . Asians Excepted.”

Common Core will fail. The politicians who promoted it will find themselves in another line of work if they don’t abandon the experiment. Moms Against Drunk Testing will vote them out of office.

Teachers are being blamed for the failures. Well, what else would they expect? The system has been in decline since 1940. But Ravitch refuses to blame them.

The teachers across America are being crushed… Experienced teachers, veteran teachers, excellent teachers, are feeling that it’s not a profession anymore — it’s just become a testing technician. It’s not the job they signed on for.I was in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago — they’re having a massive brain drain of teachers. Florida just released the results of their teacher evaluations, and almost half of their Teachers of the Year were called “ineffective teachers.” I mean, there comes a point where, who would want to be a teacher in this country?

If the teachers are not to blame, then who is? She did not say.

I have two suggestions: (1) the system of tax funding; (2) the system of compulsory attendance.

In other words, blame the system as a whole, not just one component. Stop calling for reforms. The reforms do not work.

I have a slogan: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It is broke, fix it. If it can’t be fixed, stop funding it.”

She hates charter schools. She does not mention the #1 fact of charter schools: They are funded by taxes. So, she targets this practice: they kick out rotten students.

Charter schools [are] allowed to throw out the kids they don’t want. They’re allowed to throw out the kids with low scores. They’re allowed to exclude the kids who have severe disabilities. They’re allowed to not accept the kids that don’t speak English. And then you’re going to compare them to… the schools that take all those kids? I mean, really — this is ridiculous.

In short, charter schools raise the lowest common denominator. This is elitist, she says.

…This is trending toward a dual school system: One school system for the privileged kids, or the kids who don’t have big problems… the charters, that are allowed to choose their students and exclude those they don’t want. And the other one, that’s required to take everyone.

What is the solution? You already know her answer: more tax money. Subsidize failure.

To insist that every school offer children a full education that includes not only the basics of reading and writing and mathematics, but science and the arts, and for language and history and civics. Make sure that every school in this country is appropriately funded. That is, that it has the resources that it needs for the children it enrolls. That’s just basic. We don’t do that now.

I see. There has never been enough funding.

When you subsidize failure, but you promise success, there cannot be enough money.

There are schools that are being starved of funding, and more and more of the funding is being directed to vendors. And there are cities where there’s not going to be public education 10 years from now. That’s not good. Public education is one of the foundational institutions for a democracy. And yet there will be cities without public education. Their schools will be run by private management. And the private managers will be free to choose their students and exclude ones they don’t want.

Then the charter high schools will adopt the Khan Academy, which is free. They could then decide to have classes with 80 students, one low-paid 25-year-old with a B.A., and one high school graduate to help her keep order. They will be profitable. Khan is self-teaching, which is the way to do an online curriculum. It is what the Ron Paul Curriculum uses.

Teachers are leaving the profession in large numbers… Back in the 1980s, the modal year of teaching was 15. It’s down to one to two years… The research is very clear that first-year teachers are not the strongest teachers…

But they’re cheap! And with Khan Academy, they will be good enough.

She ends with this:

Why destroy public education so that a handful of people can boast they have a charter school in addition to their yacht?

This is the rhetoric of political envy.

This is the rhetoric of a defender of a failed system.

Common Core is dead in the water. But it is going to take a decade to kill it. It will tear up the public schools. It will undermine support for the public schools. It will divide the bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, “There are cities where there’s not going to be public education 10 years from now.”

Then there will be private education for parents who want it for their children.

We are seeing the death throes of the messianic character of American education.

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