A Note on Polling

In particular, single-question polls embedded in newspaper articles of the sort opinary.com does.  One example is embedded in a Deutsche Welle article on the key players in the Venezuelan people’s struggle with their government.

The poll question asks Do you think Juan Guaido was right to declare himself president?

Unfortunately, there are only two answers offered:

  • No, he has no legitimacy. This is a coup.
  • Yes, Maduro is a dictator. Guaido will save Venezuela.

The Teachers Union Strike in LA

The subhead on Monday’s Wall Street Journal article on the United Teachers Los Angeles union strike against the Los Angeles Unified School District says it all.

Nearly one in five LA public school students attends charters unaffected by the strike; union wants a cap on them

Herein lies one more proof of the disingenuousness of the UTLA. While the UTLA is striking, demanding a cap on the number of charter schools (and money, money, money), all the while holding Los Angeles’ public school students hostage to their demand, the charters are open and actually educating their students.

Race-Based Admissions at UNC

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is under fire and in the courts over its fundamentally racist admissions policy.  Plaintiffs are arguing that UNC violates Supreme Court rulings by giving too much weight to applicants’ race. The problem, though, is that any weight to race is too much, is fundamentally racist.  The Supreme Court’s rulings don’t go far enough to bar this behavior.  As things stand, though, the plaintiffs have a case IMNSHO.

Union Greed Realized

Recall that the United Teachers Los Angeles union threatened to strike this week if they didn’t get their way.  Now they’ve gone ahead and done it, putting the education (such as it is in this district’s public—NTLA-manned—schools) of 500,000 children at risk.  For instance, at the Third Street Elementary School

[a] notice plastered on the school gate said that students will be gathered in the auditorium and the outdoor lunch pavilion area, instead of classrooms, during the strike, and overseen by administrators and teacher assistants.

No education allowed here, per the NTLA.

Religious Bigotry?

North Dakota wants to let its high schools teach a Bible studies class, and the ACLU (among others) has gotten its institutional panties in a twist over it. State Congressman Aaron McWilliams (R) has a bill moving through the State’s legislature that would achieve that.  He said

The intention of this bill is to provide an option to schools to teach a class on the bible from a historical perspective.  My position is that no religious text should be excluded from being taught as it relates to the historical or philosophical influences in our history or on our society today.

Union Greed

Teachers union style.  The Los Angeles Unified School District is so close to out of money that, under California law, the LA county is obligated to take the district into functional receivership under its own control if money gets much shorter.

It’s about to, and they’re about to.  The United Teachers Los Angeles union has said it will strike the school district, demanding more money—twice as much as it’s been offered—if it can’t get more money for its teachers and get rival, and educationally superior, charter schools capped on the State resources they receive.

Racism and Naming Schools

Jason Willick had an op-ed in Friday’s Wall Street Journal that recounted a failed effort to rename a Palo Alto, CA, middle school in honor of an American WWII war hero. That hero was PFC and Silver Star recipient Fred Minoru Yamamoto of the US Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team; he was killed in action in 1944 in the Vosges, in eastern France, by German artillery.

PC Police-ism

In re the matter of Professor Richard Ned Lebow, of King’s College London, and Professor Simona Sharoni, of Merrimack College and a member of the International Studies Association, the ISA’s Executive Committee has spoken.

I demur from the ISA’s politically correct (if ever there were an oxymoron, here is one) position, in particular their Item 7.

7) … Although you explained that your comment was intended as a joking reference to an old, cultural trope, your email was not apologetic and PRR (and eventually ExComm) found that it was marginalizing and trivializing Prof. Sharoni’s reaction to your comment and that it was an attempt to intimidate her….

A Necessary Start

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is on the verge of issuing actual rules (not “guidance” letters) directing the way in which colleges and universities must handle accusations of sexual assault.  These rules will include

  • the right of every survivor to be taken seriously and the right of every person accused to know that guilt is not predetermined
  • both the alleged victim and the accused would be able to inspect and review all evidence
  • All Title IX hearings would include cross-examination, which could occur in-person or by live stream, with campus adjudicators allowed to observe the demeanor of witnesses as they assess credibility

Race and College Admission

During final arguments in the civil suit against Harvard over its use of race in its admission decisions, Harvard’s lawyers insisted that

plaintiffs had to prove admissions officers were motivated by racial animus….

This is a disingenuous argument, though. Racial animus isn’t necessary to get a disparate impact ruling.  With disparate impact established in the courts, for the time being, it’s clear that racial animus doesn’t have to be proved in Harvard’s bias case, either.

The Harvard lawyers weren’t through, though.

Harvard’s lawyers said race is only used as a preference among the most competitive applicants, in the same way exceptional musical talent can make a difference in admissions.