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.

Dumbing Down our College Pupils

This from College Fix:

George Washington University recently changed its requirements for history majors, removing previously key courses for the stated purpose of giving students more flexibility.

The department eliminated requirements in US, North American and European history….

More flexibility.  Now, in GWU’s infinite wisdom, it’s possible for a pupil there to get a degree with a history (small ‘h,’ now) major without so much as a survey course—a 100-level Freshman course—in US history, Western history, or any idea at all about how we got where we are today: a nation that allows children to study unvarnished history at all.  This statement from Katrin Schultriss, GWU’s Department of History Chair, comes without any sense in her of the irony of her remark:

Students of Color Conference

This one at the University of California encountered the reality of identity politics.  It collapsed into, as one of the conference-goers called it in her op-ed for the UCLA Daily Bruin, an oppression Olympics.

From the first link:

In one of the larger workshops, one of the students raised a question about why the only issues being discussed were those involving anti-blackness, prompting an African-American student to respond that black students are the most oppressed, to which a Muslim student made a comment about her people being bombed in the Middle East[.]

And

Teaching Opportunity Successfully Avoided

Because safe spaces are more important than education spaces.

A Virginia school district has “temporarily” banned the classics, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, after a parent complained that her high school-aged son was traumatized by racial slurs used in the books.

Would a trigger warning have helped this snowflake masquerading as a Mom to do her job as a parent?  Probably not:

Racism and Sexism in a Teachers Union

San Francisco’s public schools have been offered a classroom lesson plan that calls President-elect Donald Trump a racist, sexist man who became president “by pandering to a huge racist and sexist base.”

The union that represents city teachers posted the plan on its website and distributed it via an email newsletter to its more than 6,000 members. The school district has more than 57,000 students.

This is what the United Educators of San Francisco has done.

Union President Lita Blanc said that even House Speaker Paul Ryan had called Trump’s campaign racist and sexist.

A Measure of Justice

Recall Rolling Stone‘s article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely that accused a fraternity at the University of Virginia and the university at large of fostering a climate of rape.  The article went on explicitly to accuse the fraternity’s members of participating in the gang rape of a particular woman—a woman whose rape never occurred—and it smeared (now ex-; she’s still employed by UVA, but in a different and lesser capacity) Dean of Students Nicole Eramo as being indifferent to the purported victim’s plight.

Education and Unions

What do teachers unions have against quality schools?

Georgians will be voting on a State Constitution amendment that would create a statewide school district into which failing public schools from any individual school district could be transferred.  This statewide district would have the authority to make any changes to a failing school it deemed necessary—including ridding the school of its union representatives and including further converting the failing school to a charter school or closing it altogether.

Some Lives Are More Equal Than Others

Cornell University is looking for a Dean of Diversity.  OK, they’re looking for a Dean of Students, but an important part of his DOC is his ability to promote diversity.  But the new Dean mustn’t promote diverse diversity, only the diversity of school-favored groups of students.

…one top candidate, Vijay Pendakur…held a “diversity townhall” with students to persuade them to support his candidacy.

Then he let the cat out of the bag.