A Lesson About Discrimination

A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece about a teacher and a principal who taught a 1968 lesson about racial tolerance, using the equally arbritrary blue eyes-brown eyes discriminant as the teaching prop.

A Letter to the Editor response decried both the lesson and the pride in it that was conveyed in that article.

…one of the most disturbing and emotional things I had ever experienced. Teachers whom I once looked up to were subjecting me to irrational and arbitrary treatment based on my eye color. … My father … called my school’s leadership and received a complete apology.

Somebody Else

Blue Mountain School District Superintendent David Helsel, who had originally intended to arm his students with river rocks so they could throw them at intruders and thereby resist a mass shooting, has altered the plan.  He’s decided to add armed—that is, with firearms—security to his district’s protection technique.  Helsel claimed that the publicity driven by social media and the resultant NLMSM’s attention drove him to the change.

This unfortunate circumstance has increased our concern regarding the possibility that something may happen because of the media attention.

An Example

This is part of what’s wrong with today’s American higher education.  The numbers appear in a Wall Street Journal article about the possibility of ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson becoming chancellor of the University of Texas system.

The system has an enrollment of more than 230,000 students, an $18 billion annual budget, and more than 100,000 employees.

That’s ridiculous.  There’s no reason for having an employee for every two students.  How much better would the students’ education be were some of those $18 billion redirected toward books and lab equipment and classroom facilities and away from excess payroll?  How much more opportunity would there be were some of those $18 billion redirected toward lower tuition and housing fees and away from excess payroll?

The 529 Plan Expansion

Recall that the tax reform enacted last December expanded the usability of 529 Plans to include expenses for K-12 education.  Now some are worried that this will harm State tax collections.  It’s a bogus beef on a number of fronts.

In December, as part of a broad tax overhaul, Congress expanded the accounts to cover up to $10,000 a year in expenses for kindergarten through 12th grade.

State budget officials are now concerned that a large number of parents will use 529 accounts to pay private-school tuition, giving them a new write-off for their state taxes.

A Presidential Library

Ex-President Barack Obama (D) plans to build a Presidential library in Chicago, and he’s looking at a non-standard concept for his library.  The folks on the Left don’t like it, as exemplified by the Chicago Tribune‘s Ron Grossman.

It seems the proposed library has a test kitchen in it, in which FLOTUS’ views of proper nutrition can be explored.  There’s also supposedly room for a yoga center; although, that’s not defined in the architectural plans.  The horror.  How unpresidential.  How unlibraryish.  Grossman bleated

President Obama, is that how you want to be remembered? As the healthy-eating and meditation-advocating president?

There’s More To It

As part of the (actually quite minor) snafu wherein the House and Senate passed trivially different versions of the tax reform bill, the Senate’s Parliamentarian ruled that 529 Savings Plans—modified by the tax bill to be usable for K-12 as well as secondary education expenses—cannot be used, on a straight majority vote, for K-12 homeschooling, even though formally schooled K-12 children and their parents can use the Plans.  Two icons of Progressive Democracy, Senators Bernie Sanders (I, VT) and Ron Wyden (D, OR), had objected and raised the matter to the Parliamentarian.

Job Cut Worries

The Left has them in the Department of Education.  It seems that the DoEd is sharply cutting back staff in its Office for Civil Rights.

[C]ritics say the move will blunt the office’s response to issues like sexual assault on college campuses and racial discrimination in public schools.

And

Some civil rights advocates are…saying the buyouts [to encourage departure] are determined by department chiefs who they say are targeting the civil rights office.

I certainly hope so.

Law enforcement and crime, including sexual assault, are matters for the police and the DoJ.  DoJ also has its own civil rights section. DoEd has—or should have—nothing to say on these matters.

Safe Spaces and Timidity

Antonia Okofor is an advocate for empowering women, and she argues that the 2nd Amendment is a valuable tool in the empowerment.

She was scheduled to speak at two Liberal (note: not Liberal Arts—they’ve long ago lost that breadth) colleges, Hampshire College and Mount Holyoke.

Hampshire College canceled Okofor’s engagement on short notice—two hours’ notice—claiming that her speech was “too controversial.”  Then the place thought better of its excuse and claimed the trivial technicality of a student application not being complete as the premise for canceling.  This is nonsense: if that had been the reason, school management would have said so in the first place.  On the other hand, the lack of dotted i’s and crossed t’s would have been just as indefensible as an excuse.  This is fear, instead, fear of a better argument.

Higher Education Improvement

The Wall Street Journal has a summary of the House’s The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, to be proposed this week.  It’s aimed at

filling that gap [in college graduates’ skills, with 6 million jobs left begging] by both deregulating parts of the sector and laying the conditions for shorter, faster pathways to the workforce. The act focuses on ensuring students don’t just enroll in school, but actually graduate with skills that the labor market is seeking.

Highlights include these:

Cornell Professors

apparently support racism and racist stereotyping.

Recall that George Ciccariello-Maher, Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University, routinely says it’s whiteness, white victimization, all things white that are at fault for mass shootings and violence generally. For instance, this in an interview with Democracy Now!

Whiteness is never seen as a cause, in and of itself, of these kinds of massacres despite the fact that whiteness is a structure of privilege and it’s a structure of power, and a structure that, when it feels threatened, you know, lashes out.

What makes white men so prone to this kind of behavior?