Tech in the Classroom

In a Wall Street Journal article centered on the classroom distractions provided by the smart watches students bring into their classrooms, Julie Jargon asked,

Which tech option makes more sense for students, smartwatches or phones?

I say neither of the above. Technology that jams the radio signals these devices depend on so that only 911 calls can get in or out is the option that’s needed. The kids need to stop being pupils and need, instead, to be students, and their parents need to step back and let them.

The Dumbing Down of America

Ain’t gonna study, study reading no more, ain’t gonna think, think of writing no more
Ain’t gonna fight, fight the math no more, we’re giving them up, we’re gonna let them go

With apologies to Willie Dixon, that’s Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s (D) position on the education of Oregon’s—America’s—children.

Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Democrat, signed a bill last month with little fanfare that drops the requirement that high school students prove proficiency in reading, writing or math, before graduation, a report said.

Woking Kindergartens

Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church, VA, put a woke video on its Web site in which kindergartners were used to push an anti-police agenda. The video, it turns out, was part of a summer curriculum that also included critical race “theory,” Black Lives Matter stuff, and news articles critical of white parents.

After a hue and cry, the video (but only the video, apparently) was taken down from the Web site.

A spokesperson for the Fairfax County Public Schools, just outside Washington, DC, said the video had been posted by mistake and was removed as soon as officials became aware.

Reading Between the Lines

In an article centered on the relationship between law school student debt and law school graduates’ working income (short answer: law students, in the vast main, borrow far more than their subsequent incomes support), there appeared this statement by a University of Miami law school graduate on why she chose UM and huge debt over a “lesser” law school that offered her a significant scholarship:

You go to any courthouse in Miami and the judge went to UM, the judge is a teacher at UM, there’s some sort of connection to UM[.]

Student Debt Problems

Students who borrowed (lots of) money to get degrees from “elite” schools—or from any school, come to that—now feel financially hobbled for life.

Recent film program graduates of Columbia University who took out federal student loans had a median debt of $181,000.
Yet two years after earning their master’s degrees, half of the borrowers were making less than $30,000 a year.

The universities share a measure of responsibility for these student debt problems. These schools should—and the reluctant should be required to—publish the mean and median salaries for each of the first five years of employment for each of the majors the schools offer. The schools also should be the ones making the loans to their students or underwriting private lenders’ loans to their students.

All Politics is Local

That’s what an erstwhile Democrat and Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill said some 40 years ago. He’s right: every elected politician is beholden to his constituents and to no one else (at least legitimately so), and those constituents are the citizens in his district.

A Question

was asked.

What do you think is the most effective way for companies to support diversity initiatives?

…and answered, by yours truly.

Stop carrying out diversity initiatives. Those are just unserious virtue-signaling nonsense.

Instead, businesses (among other entities) support and/or carry out their own training programs, and they should support K-12 charter, voucher, private school education, so as to build over time a population of qualified adults that is reflective of the population at large.

From that diverse population of qualified individuals, then select and hire based on merit rather than on virtue signals.

College Entrance Discrimination

A letter writer in Monday’s Wall Street Journal Letters section wants the Supreme Court to rule in favor of racial discrimination, at least as practiced by Harvard, in the Students for Fair Admissions v Harvard case.

If the plaintiffs…win, you can bet that elite college- and graduate-admissions offices around the country will establish workarounds to assure that opportunities remain for admittance of significant numbers of underrepresented minorities.

Therefore, he asserts,

The justices would be wise to take a pass on the Harvard case, or to affirm the lower courts’ decisions.

Arithmetic and Social Justice

California education officials—at least that’s how Williamson Evers, Senior Fellow, Director of the Center on Educational Excellence, refers to them; you and I might have different, colorfully metaphoric terms—want to base arithmetic training in K-12 on whether the classes have sufficient social justice in them, rather than on whether 2+2 equals 4 (Polish proverbs are not allowed, either). California’s Instructional Quality Commission is looking at requiring arithmetic to be taught in accordance with A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.

A Free Speech Oral Argument

(Pun not necessarily intended.)

The Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of a 14-year-old girl who tried out for, and didn’t make, a varsity cheerleading team and subsequently vented her frustrations in a Snapchat rife with “colorful metaphors.”

The girl’s school punished her with a year-long suspension from cheerleading, she demurred from the punishment, lower courts agreed with her, and the school continued its protest to the Supremes.

Attorney Lisa Blatt, representing the girl’s school, had this, among others, at oral argument, as paraphrased by Just the News: