Progressive Education

The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed last Sunday in which it extolled Los Angeles voters for elected a majority to the Los Angeles Unified School District school board that openly favored charter schools and the independence of those charters.  The WSJ also described the hysteria with which the teachers unions and the ousted school board vilified these folks who so favored actually educating the city’s children over being a jobs factory for disinterested teachers and piggy bank for union coffers.

Safe Spaces and Clarity of Thought

As The Wall Street Journal pointed out in an interview with Northwestern University’s President Morton Schapiro, the University of Chicago’s President Robert Zimmer has a view of the nature of safe spaces and the relationship between them and collegiate education.

incoming freshmen [should expect] to expect discomfort—not safe spaces—on his campus.

Schapiro, instead, wants to coddle his pupils as though they’re still two years old.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro takes a gentler approach.

He believes that because learning is frequently uncomfortable, students need safe spaces—which for him means places where people who share an identity can retreat, relax, and recoup.

Medicaid Cuts?

Some conservative Republican Senators are looking to cut Federal transfers to the States earmarked for those States’ Medicaid programs.  Others are concerned.

[T]he [conservative Senate Republicans’] Medicaid plan could affect many more people and shift significant costs onto hospitals and states.

This is Why

…we can’t have nice schools.

Students at the University of New Hampshire [boycotted] final exams after a student uploaded a picture of another white student in what appears to be a bedtime facial mask, implying it’s “blackface.”

The university caved in to the students’ demands, and postponed the exams.

The right answer would have been to hold the finals as scheduled, let the pupils who skipped them—for whatever reason—receive failing grades on the exams, with attendant consequences for their course grade for the semester and for their graduation.

Another Reason

…to stop sending Federal funds to any institution in the California University system.

The University of California hid a stash of $175 million in secret funds while its leaders requested more money from the state, an audit released on Tuesday said.

The University of California system is run by Janet Napolitano, the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  And the same Napolitano who decided returning American veterans could be terrorist material: her history of dishonesty is a long one.

Internet of Things

…and default passwords.  Default passwords are foolish in any device, but here’s a particularly failing example.  A laundromat in Colorado had a security camera connected to the Internet (as is typical of security cameras), and it began hosting a particularly malicious bit of malware.

Bill Knapp, owner of Security Solutions LLC, whose firm installed the laundromat’s surveillance system, which included the security camera:

One of the hardest parts of this business is that everyone loses their passwords[.]

Appalling

Students at an Iowa high school have apologized to a neighboring school for wearing red, white and blue to a recent basketball game.

The Valley High School students’ USA-themed attire was seen as offensive because some of the rival school’s players were from refugee families.

Because we shouldn’t celebrate the nation that gives these refugees succor.

No.  The administration members of West Des Moines’ Valley High are behaving in a despicably offensive manner, and they should apologize to our great nation at large, and then they should be terminated for cause.  Calling national colors racist is itself stinkingly racist.

Is the Department of Education Living on Borrowed Time?

Probably not but Congressman Thomas Massie (R, KY) has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to eliminate it.  It’s unlikely to pass, more’s the pity, but we can hope.  Massie’s bill is short and sweet, too, consisting of this in its entirety:

The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

I’d add a second sentence, though: “All employees and associates of the Department of Education shall be returned to the private sector and not reassigned elsewhere in the Federal government.”  I’d also add a third sentence: “All rules and letters promulgated by the Department of Education shall be null and void.”  The third one may be unnecessary from a strictly legal standpoint, but I think it’s necessary for absolute clarity.

Senator Collins Misunderstands

Senator Susan Collins (R, ME), in explaining her decision to vote against Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as Secretary of Education, said

She has, no doubt, done valuable work.  Her concentration on charter schools and vouchers, however, raises the question about whether or not she fully appreciates that the secretary of education’s primary focus must be on helping states and communities, parents, teachers, school board administrators, school board members, and administrators strengthen our public schools.

Federal Education Fail

Reason enough to gut, if not dismantle altogether, the Department of Education is this bit of waste [emphasis in the original].  I disagree, though, that there was no effect.  Those $7 billion clearly had an effect of Arne Duncan’s cronies and those of his staffers in the upper reaches of the DoE.

Despite its gargantuan price tag, [School Improvement Grant program] SIG generated no academic gains for the students it was meant to help. Failing schools that received multi-year grants from the program to “turn around” ended up with results no better than similar schools that received zero dollars from the program. To be clear: billions spent had no effect.