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Are America’s Law Graduates Really Getting Dumber?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Bloomberg Businessweek has an interesting article about why so many law graduates are failing the bar exam this year (via Newsalert):

The most recent bar exam test results are in, and they are ugly. In several states, people who took the bar in July were more likely to fail than those who took it last year, and scores on one portion of the test dropped to their lowest point in 10 years.

Are America’s law graduates really getting dumber? The people who put together the bar exam seem to think so.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners, a nonprofit that prepares one of the state-specific multiple-choice sections in which scores dropped dramatically, sent a curt message to law school deans in October. “The results are correct,” wrote Erica Moeser, the group’s president, in an Oct. 23 memo. “The group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013,”…

As fewer people apply to law school, many programs have accepted less-qualified applicants in order to keep class sizes the same and to sustain their bottom line, says Derek Muller, a law professor at Pepperdine University. “This drop, while bigger than expected, is just a sign for what’s going to come for law schools as the incoming classes continue to decline in quality.”

Letting people in who are not qualified seems unfair to the students who invest so much time and then fail the exam. And what about the quality of the lawyers coming out? Is it compromised in terms of practice?

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen, image illustration via shutterstock /  

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Ohio May Allow Elimination of Music and Phys Ed Teachers, School Nurses, Librarians, and Social Workers

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Calling it a “horrifying spectacle,” education reformer Diane Ravtich wrote about an upcoming vote by Ohio’s State Board of Education:

On November 11, the Ohio State Board of Education will vote on a motion to eliminate crucial positions at elementary schools. The Board will vote on whether to eliminate “specialist” positions, that include elementary schools arts teachers, elementary school music teachers, elementary school physical education teachers, school nurses, school library media specialists, school counselors, and school social workers. Will they call it “reform”?

Education blogger Peter Greene said the Ohio Board was “gunning” for specialists:

The appeal for districts is obvious. Let’s have one music teacher for 10,000 students. Let’s have no music teacher at all. Great…Do we really need to argue that the poorest, most vulnerable students are the ones who most need these sorts of services and enrichment? Is there somebody in Ohio prepared, seriously, to argue that nurses and music and art and phys ed are unnecessary luxuries, and kids should just pack up their grit and do without?

Is this true? Does the State Board of Education in Ohio really want to deprive poor children of music and art education and social services?

Actually, no.

Currently, the Ohio Administrative Code requires that for every thousand elementary students, schools must have in place five of the following eight specialists: art, music, counselor, school nurse, librarian/media specialist, visiting teacher, social worker, or phys ed – called the “5 of 8″ rule. The state board is simply considering allowing boards to have local control over staffing decisions rather than enforcing an arbitrary number of specialists, regardless of the individual district’s needs.

Tom Gunlock, the board’s vice chairman, told the Plain Dealer that the proposed change (the vote won’t likely take place until December) isn’t intended to eliminate those positions, but to let districts make their own choices.

“I’m sure they’ll do what’s right for their kids,” Gunlock said. ”For years, people have been telling me about all these unfunded mandates and that we’re telling them what to do. They keep telling me they know more about what their kids need that we do, and I agree with them.”

This is actually a good thing. Instead of treating children like numbers and treating all school districts the same, it returns control to local districts so they can decide which (and how many) teachers and specialists they need. As we’ve seen with Common Core, one size does not fit all and local control is better than top-down national (or even state) authority. If you don’t like something your local school board does, you can walk down the street and complain to someone who lives in your community. They’re your neighbors and their kids likely attend the public schools in your district. If they make decisions you don’t like, you can vote them out in the next election and get a new school board.

Nevertheless, near panic has set in in Ohio as word has gone out that very soon, art and music will cease to exist in the state — along with the union jobs that must be protected at all costs (whether they’re needed or not):

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The Progressive Income Tax: Which Side Is ‘Greedy’?

Saturday, November 8th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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10 Signs Common Core Has Gone from Fringe Issue to Mainstream

Monday, November 3rd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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When people like Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin first began to sound the alarm on Common Core a few years ago, many people viewed it as a right-wing cause, one of those issues that split cleanly along party and ideological lines and would remain in the conservative camp. The promoters of the Common Core, including the Republican Governors Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and others, surely never saw the tsunami of opposition that was headed their way and now threatens to take down the standards that were adopted by forty-four of the fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Here are 10 Signs Common Core Has Gone From Fringe Issue to Mainstream:

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8 Reasons Why Jews & Christians Should Re-Think Celebrating Halloween

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Halloween was always a point of contention in our house growing up. Naturally theatrical, I loved dressing up and relished in making my own costumes. And what kid turns down free candy? Sure, Jewish kids have Purim for these things and more, but when you’re in a mainly gentile neck of the woods, it’s a struggle not to be allowed to join in the party. As I grew into adulthood and took a deeper look at Halloween, however, I began to understand my parents’ objections quite clearly. There are definite reasons why Jews and Christians who base their faith in the Bible should re-think introducing and encouraging their child’s participation in this, the most pagan of American holidays.

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10 Ways Homeschooling Makes Great Families

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by Karina Fabian

Most of us parents are well into the school-year routine of getting up early to take kids to the bus or school and coming home to do chores before having to watch over the homework situation – and maybe having to do some intervention about something a kid or teacher said or did. Now, imagine spending the day in your pajamas discussing ancient Greece with your kids before sending them to do 20 minutes of math on the computer before getting ready to meet friends at the park — and all as part of their education. Homeschooling is a growing trend in the United States, and in addition to giving their kids a good education without the stress of an institutionalized setting, parents say one of the best advantages is that it makes for closer families. Here are ten reasons why homeschooling brings families closer.

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These 150 Paula Bolyard Articles & Blog Posts Will Inspire You

Saturday, October 18th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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So far in this ongoing series compiling and organizing the best work from PJ Lifestyle’s contributors I’ve focused on critics and analysts of popular culture from all over the place. To the north in Canada, the punk rock capitalist canadian: “136 Kathy Shaidle Articles That Expand Your Appreciation of Life and Culture.” To the South, guaranteed smiles from a gifted Georgia writer: “116 Articles Exploring American Culture by Chris Queen.” And to the East Coast, in the wilderness of New Jersey, taking back feminism: “194 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing Susan L.M. Goldberg’s Compelling Culture Commentaries

Also check out these shorter collections from two newer contributors, focusing on war and comic books: “Don’t Miss These 20 James Jay Carafano Articles Exploring War’s Impact on Pop Culture” and “15 Great Lists Debating Comic Books and Pop Culture by Pierre Comtois.”

Today I highlight two more PJ Lifestyle writers who lead the way in other important fronts in the culture wars. What more appropriate way to promote the section’s family themes than to showcase the diverse perspectives from a mom and a dad? Paula Bolyard and Walter Hudson have both been inspirations to edit, learn from, and befriend over the past few years. They’ve both helped to shape my thinking for the day when I become a parent. Take a look at some of their articles and you’ll see why I’m so optimistic about the impact they can both have on the culture…

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Paula is tremendously persuasive and compelling in her journalism exploring the world of home schooling. Her critiques of public school education and teachers unions have also shaped my perspective. When I have children someday they’ll be homeschooled. That’s Paula. She’ll change your mind too.

But Paula illuminates on a whole swath of issues. Our collaborations began when PJ was looking for an Ohio contributor in 2012. Paula provided very insightful, accessible coverage then and has returned to covering her home states’s news political controversies, and culture. Post-election I was eager to see Paula explore other topics. She’s had many successful articles on everything from parenting advice to religious commentaries to life reflections to goofy nostalgia pieces. Her pro-life articles are some of the best I’ve ever read — models of how to articulate values and win over fence-sitters.

After you check out a few of Paula’s articles please get in touch with us and let us know what kinds of ideas you’d like to see her explore in the future. Please leave your comments or hit us up on Twitter: @Pbolyard and @DaveSwindle

And now also check out today: “125 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing the Wit & Wisdom of Walter Hudson.”

 

Education

  1. When Teachers Act Like Thugs ‘for the Children!’
  2. A Parent Guide to Teachers’ Unions
  3. Has a Century of Progressive Education Turned Us into Obedient Sheep?
  4. Should Parents Take Over Failing Schools?
  5. When Radical Teachers Occupy the Department of Education
  6. Can the Left and Right Find Common Ground on Common Core and High-Stakes Testing?
  7. Arming Teachers in Schools
  8. What is the Cultural Profile for the Class of 2017?
  9. Shelter-in-Place: This Generation’s Duck-and-Cover
  10. Weeping, Confession, and Hugs Replace Reading, Writing, and Math at School
  11. 10 Terrible Common Core Homework Assignments
  12. Should Colleges Have Parent-Teacher Conferences?
  13. Are We Getting Carried Away With Common Core Curriculum Phobia?
  14. 10 Things Your Kids May Never Read Because Common Core Neglects Cursive
  15. How Parents Are Winning the Common Core Debate
  16. Common Core: As Untested as the U.S. Speed Skating Suits
  17. How Can Parents Fight Back Against Federal Bleacher Bullies?
  18. Ohio Lawmakers Hold Common Core Repeal Hearings
  19. Terrorist-Supporting Kent State Professor’s Incendiary, Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts
  20. More Outrage at Kent State About a Sweatshirt Than a Terrorist Sympathizing Professor

Homeschooling

  1. Think You Could Never Homeschool?
  2. Ohio Gives Homeschoolers Equal Access to Sports and Other Activities
  3. Will Your Kids Grow Up to Be Weird if You Homeschool Them?
  4. What If All the Homeschoolers Suddenly Enrolled in Public School?
  5. 7 Objections to Homeschooling Teens
  6. How Common Core is Coming to Homeschoolers
  7. Are Elite Colleges and Universities Discriminating Against Homeschoolers?
  8. 4 Secrets from the Hidden World of Homeschoolers
  9. Does Homeschooling Reduce Opportunities for Women in the Workplace?
  10. An Open Letter to Grandparents of Homeschooled Kids
  11. Ohio Lawmakers Want Social Workers to Have Veto Power Over Decision to Homeschool
  12. UPDATE: Controversial Ohio Homeschool Bill Withdrawn After Grassroots Tsunami Opposes
  13. German Homeschooling Family Can Stay in U.S.
  14. Do Homeschoolers ‘Rob’ Public Schools of Tax Dollars?
  15. Strong Religious Beliefs Can Shape How Women View Homeschooling
  16. 5 Pro Tips for Homeschoolers
  17. The Top 10 Reasons to Join a Homeschool Co-op
  18. The Top 10 Reasons to Avoid a Homeschool Co-Op
  19. Homeschooling Family Ordered to Follow Common Core Curriculum

Family and Parenting

  1. 4 Benefits of Marrying Young
  2. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Your College Kid Home for Christmas)
  3. Raising Boys Who Grow Up to Be Men Who Go to Combat With Women
  4. 5 Busybodies Who Want to Parent Your Kids
  5. Stay-at-Home Moms: Will Your Kids Judge You for Choosing Them Over a Career?
  6. Small-Town Values and Two-Parent Families
  7. 7 Quick Tips for Parents of New College Students
  8. The 5 Best American Historical Fiction Books to Read Aloud to Your Kids
  9. What We Taught Our Boys About Girls Like Miley Cyrus
  10. Was Bad Parenting to Blame for the Sandy Hook Massacre?
  11. Is Your Child a Stealth Dyslexic?
  12. I Agree With Camille Paglia on This Kind of Family Planning for Teens
  13. Implementing Andrew McCarthy’s Proposed Compromise on the Marriage Question
  14. How Do You Survive When Your World Shatters?
  15. How Did We Survive Childhood Before the ’90s Safety Nannies Came Along?

Guns

  1. How I Evolved on Guns During the #BostonPoliceScanner Manhunt
  2. Evolving on Guns: Considering the Morality of Gun Ownership Now That I Refuse to Be a Victim
  3. Evolving on Guns: My First Foray into Gun Culture

Ohio

  1. How to Commit Voter Fraud in Ohio
  2. It’s the Gas Prices, Stupid
  3. Will We See a Florida Recount Rematch in Ohio?
  4. Does Obama Have the Stronger Ground Game in Ohio?
  5. Ohio: Somali Voters, ACORN Tactics, and Voter Fraud Allegations
  6. Ohio Post-Mortem: Glitz, Gimmicks, Sleight-of-Hand, and Witnessing Fraud
  7. Is Ohio Governor John Kasich the Chris Christie of the Midwest?
  8. Cleveland House of Horrors: Should Somebody Have Done Something?
  9. Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Sentenced to 1000 Years, Blames Victims
  10. Cleveland House of Horrors Demolished
  11. Ohio’s Ashland University Slashes Tuition by $10,000
  12. Ohio Paper Can’t Find a Single Person to Argue Against Legalizing Pot… Really??
  13. The Top 10 Things to Do in Cleveland
  14. Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes ‘Win Tax’ for Cleveland Sports Teams
  15. Federal Judge Orders Ohio to Restore Early Voting on 3 Days Before Election Day
  16. Conflicted About LeBron’s Return to Cleveland
  17. Ohio Teachers Threaten to Strike Over Being Forced into Obamacare Exchanges
  18. Cleveland School Dumps FLOTUS Lunches for Chipotle-Style Burritos and Clam Chowder
  19. Cleveland VA Still Mired in Huge Backlogs

Nostalgia

  1. Hundreds of Drive-In Theaters May Close Permanently at End of Season
  2. The 1970s Culture Clash in 2 Songs
  3. 10 Modern Technologies We Lived Without in Primitive, Pre-Millennial America
  4. 5 Memories That Will Make You Nostalgic for the 1970s
  5. The 10 Most Terrifying Public Service Announcements from the 1970s
  6. The 10 Most Essential Women’s Shoes in the 1970s
  7. Whatever Happened to Our Top 10 Favorite Tiger Beat Cover Boys From the 1970s?
  8. 10 Comic Book Ads That Destroyed Your Faith in Humanity Before You Hit Puberty

Life Advice and Reflections

  1. Baseball: The Last Refuge from What Divides Us
  2. On September 11, Another Pilot Died in His Seat
  3. 9/11 as the Chilling Details Unfolded Online
  4. Things We Take for Granted
  5. Get Off the Phone!
  6. 5 Reasons To Remain Optimistic That We Haven’t Lost America Yet
  7. 5 Things to Grab When You Hear the Tornado Sirens
  8. The Sacrifice of One
  9. 10 Surprisingly Unconventional Uses for Your Crock-Pot

Religion

  1. Christian Churches Occupied, Shia Mosques Destroyed, Nuns and Orphans Kidnapped in Iraq
  2. Marco Rubio and the Progressive Atheist Orthodoxy
  3. Dear Sister Wives Star Kody Brown: Love Should Be Exclusive, not Divided
  4. The (g)odless Inaugural Prayer
  5. Is a Spiritual Revolution the Missing Link in Our Quest for a Political Revolution?
  6. New Great Awakening: Should Pastors and Churches Be Involved in Politics?
  7. New Great Awakening: America Is Not a Christian Nation
  8. New Great Awakening: Does God Promise to Heal Our Land If We Pray?
  9. New Great Awakening: When Politicians Speak for God
  10. The Atheist Who Silenced the Astronaut
  11. What Would Dietrich Bonhoeffer Say to Anthony Weiner?
  12. Fal$e Teacher$ — Christian Rapper Shames Prosperity Preachers
  13. Is Your Church Too Old — Or Too Young?
  14. Why Liberals Hate Tim Tebow
  15. Should Christian Parents Send their Children to Public Schools?
  16. Will the Tolerance Agenda Destroy Christian Higher Education?
  17. A Model of Interfaith Dialogue: A Southern Baptist at Brigham Young University
  18. How about Celebrating Reformation Day instead of Halloween?
  19. At Least We Don’t Have Marauding Hippos in the Streets of America
  20. Right This Very Minute Someone Is Being Tortured
  21. Peace with God Amid Christmas Chaos
  22. Thanks to Our Atheist, Agnostic, and Liberal Friends for Their Help in the Liberty Wars
  23. Does God Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?
  24. The Resurgence of God in Academia
  25. Will Christianity Survive the Sexual Revolution?
  26. Is Heaven Is for Real… Real?
  27. British PM David Cameron Emphasizes the Importance of Christianity in Society
  28. Where Was Jesus on Saturday Between His Death and Resurrection?
  29. Have You Done Enough for God This Easter?
  30. A Moment of Prayer on the Campaign Trail
  31. Sarah Palin: ‘Waterboarding Is How We Baptize Terrorists’
  32. 10 Quotes on Faith and Freedom from Eric Metaxas’ Hillsdale Commencement Address
  33. The Left’s Anti-Christian Bigotry Strategy 2.0
  34. Jesuit Priest Abducted in Afghanistan

Pro-Life

  1. Extreme Makeover: Planned Parenthood Edition
  2. 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers
  3. Can This Powerful Song Change the Hearts of Abortion Supporters?
  4. Blood on Humanitarian Icon Mandela’s Hands
  5. The 3 Deadliest Words in the World: ‘It’s a Girl’
  6. What Happens to America’s Aborted Babies?
  7. Is It True That 50 Years Ago Christians Didn’t Care About Abortion?
  8. Obama’s America: Abortion Deserts Across the Country
  9. Ohio Cracks Down on Unsafe Abortion Clinics

TV

  1. 5 Covert Conservative Lessons in Downton Abbey
  2. Best Moments from the Season Premier of Duck Dynasty
  3. Who Are You to Judge Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson?
  4. The Touching Asperger’s Storyline on Parenthood
  5. Why We Will Miss Downton Abbey

Humor

  1. 10 Ladies’ Room Rules That Will Keep Other Women from Hating You
  2. The 10 Dumbest Fireworks Fails
  3. The 10 Most Amazing Pet Home Birth Videos
  4. 11 Curious Spurious Correlations

Activism and Ideology

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The Battle Against Israel’s Orthodox Patriarchy

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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I didn’t fully appreciate how spiritually free I am as an American woman until I set foot on an El Al plane.

“Do you speak Hebrew?” the fretting woman in front of me asked.

“No, not really.”

“It’s okay, I speak English,” she hurriedly replied, obviously looking for a friendly face. “These Orthodox,” she motioned to the people sitting next to her, “they don’t like sitting next to women.”

“Well, that’s their problem.” My response was pointed, matter-of-fact, American.

She smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head. “You’re right!” Her expression grew cloudy. “But what if I take off my sweater? They won’t like that I expose my shoulders with my tank top.”

Again, I simply replied, “That’s their problem.”

She smiled, empowered. Removing her sweater, she took her seat and stood her ground.

And at that moment I thanked God I was raised in pluralistic America, and realized, oddly enough, that the Holy Land was giving me my first chance to practice the biblical feminism I’ve preached.

Israel is a Western nation in that women have equal rights by law. Israel is also a confluence of religious and ethnic cultural attitudes, not all of which are friendly to women. Two days into our trip to Jerusalem, a family member who also happens to be a retired journalist explained the latest story to hit the nightly news. A man accused of spousal abuse was released to return home. Later that evening, police found his wife had been shot dead. The husband confessed to the murder. Apparently, domestic violence and death is a relatively small but significant problem in Israel. When I asked my former journalist why, he pointed to the influence of Middle Eastern (both Arabic and radical Islamic) patriarchal culture as the primary source.

Yet, even religious Jews in Israel (and around the world), despite their insular nature, are far from immune to sexual abuse. Sex scandals among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) show up frequently on the evening news. In this case it’s not the Arab/Muslim influence, but perverted behaviors that arise from rabbinic abuse of biblical teachings. How do you expect a man to relate to a woman sexually when he’s not even allowed to look her in the eye?

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10 Ways Not to Land Your Dream Job

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Sure, you know how to write an assertive cover letter and you have a wardrobe of freshly pressed black and navy blue suits. But, just because you’re doing everything the manual tells you doesn’t mean you aren’t going to make a mistake in your job search. From my other life working in human resources, I give you the ten best mistakes applicants have made in pursuit of a job.

10. Want to include the fact that you taught an adult education course on photography on your resume? Don’t dub yourself “Adult Photography Instructor.”

Language matters. In the age of social media and Google, applicants should understand that lying on their resume isn’t an option. Just be sure you aren’t getting so creative with your wording that you make yourself sound more qualified for porn than a professional environment.

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The Top 10 Reasons to Avoid a Homeschool Co-Op

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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I recently wrote about the top 10 reasons to join a homeschool co-op, where I discussed many of the positive aspects of joining with other families in a collaborative effort to educate your children. But like most good things, there can be drawbacks and parents need to consider both sides of the equation before signing up for a co-op.

Here Are the Top 10 Reasons to Avoid a Homeschool Co-Op:

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15 Tricks and Tips for Getting the Most Out of College

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

15. Everything you know about the social stratosphere is wrong…

College is nothing like high school. You understand this in theory, but have never experienced the kind of social freedom you will in college. There are no cliques. There is no lunch table. Welcome to the world of being an adult. For the first couple of weeks you’ll attend pre-arranged mixers, usually orientation events or annoying team-building activities your RA spent all summer training to lead. These awkward moments are helpful for one reason: Discovering who has a car. As a freshman, be aware that the parties you crash at frat houses aren’t for making friends, they’re for getting drunk and hooking up. You’ve been warned.

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College Men ‘Going on Strike’?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Amy Alkon:

You’ve come a long way, baby — and then gone all the way back and then some.

Ashe Schow writes in the Wash Ex about the fallout from the campus sexual assault hysteria:

Thanks to an increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses – mostly due to an overblown statistic claiming 20 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted – young college men are starting to rethink how they talk to women.

At first glance that might seem like a good thing – men learning to be more respectful of women and not be so rapey – but that’s not what this is.

This is about men actually avoiding contact with women because they’re afraid a simple kiss or date could lead to a sexual assault accusation.

Bloomberg reporters John Lauerman and Jennifer Surane interviewed multiple men from colleges like Harvard and Stanford who expressed concern over what was once known as a “hook-up culture” but is now labeled by feminists as “rape culture.” The change in terminology ensures that all responsibility is placed on men, just because of their gender.

Take Malik Gill of Harvard University, who said he wouldn’t even give a female classmate a beer.

“I don’t want to look like a predator,” Gill told Bloomberg. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”….

As I’ve written before, women used to demand to be treated as equals; now they demand to be treated like eggshells.

Count me out.

Yeah, me too. We will keep hearing the question from women, “where have all the good men gone?” as they live in their cocoons, never understanding that the guys went on strike a while back and many have left for good. Are college women to blame for this? Yes, because as Martin Luther King says: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. If college women do not understand the injustices they are witnessing against men in our colleges today and strive to help, then they are part of the problem. They reap what they sow.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Image via shutterstock / auremar

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The Top 10 Reasons to Join a Homeschool Co-op

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Now that we’re quickly approaching the end of summer, many homeschooling families are making decisions about how they plan to educate their children over the coming months. In the early years of the homeschooling movement there were few options for parents. While many families belonged to support groups and there were plenty of books and magazines that offered information and support, most families handled the actual homeschooling duties completely on their own.

These days, there are countless options for families that desire to reach outside of their individual homes for educational options. There are online classes, community classes and activities, early college options, and a wide range of athletic and extracurricular activities. Perhaps the most significant change in the homeschooling movement has been the development of homeschool co-ops. Ranging from informal playgroups to formal classes that resemble private schools, co-ops offer a variety of opportunities for families wishing to expand learning opportunities for their children.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Join a Homeschool Co-op:

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The 10 Most Important Life Lessons I Learned from Mork from Ork

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

As a Gen-X/millennial crossover, I was fortunate enough to first meet Robin Williams as Mork from Ork on the sitcom Mork and Mindy. A comedic powerhouse, Mork’s colorful wardrobe and loud laugh were the first things I imitated as a child. As I grew up, I would look back and realize the many character lessons I learned at home were reinforced by a supremely acted alien outsider with a predilection for sitting on his head. In virtually every role he played, Robin Williams taught his audience a life lesson. As a young kid there was no one more fun to hang around with and learn from on TV than Mork from Ork.

10. Old people rule.

Mork marvels at the way the elderly are ignored and maligned on earth. On Ork, old folks are revered as the wise, experienced ones to learn from. “The Elder” is called on to remind Mork of his Orkishness. His was an early lesson in the importance of respect and reverence for the elders in your life and how very important all people are, no matter and, perhaps, especially because of their age.

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11 Star-Spangled Super Women

Friday, July 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

11. Wonder Woman

Her fresh, All-American face premiered on comic book stands during World War II, making her the greatest enemy of the Axis powers. Daughters of original readers would go on to be inspired by Lynda Carter’s televisual portrayal of the superheroine in the 1970s. The Wonder Woman arsenal includes a dual-function tiara with bracelets to match and the awesome Lasso of Truth.  Before there was Lara Croft or a chick named Buffy, Wonder Woman proved that strength could be sexy and gave Captain America a run for his patriotism with her flag-bearing style.

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13 Jewish Women Who Changed the World

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

13. Bess Myerson

Recognizing a woman who appears to have parlayed her Miss America recognition into a minor-league acting gig may not seem logical, until you realize that Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, paved an uphill path for diversity in the pageant circuit. She was told by one Miss America exec that she ought to change her name to something “more gentile” and refused. Pageant sponsors refused to hire her as a spokeswoman and certain sites with racial restrictions refused to have her visit as Miss America. This was of no consequence to Miss Myerson, who was the first Miss America to win an academic scholarship. The racism she confronted was motivation for a lifetime’s work with organizations like the ADL, NAACP, and Urban League. She would go on to co-found The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and make boundless contributions to the city’s art community. Along with becoming a television personality, Myerson received several presidential appointments in the 1960s and ’70s and would receive two honorary doctorates.

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4 Reforms That Would Make Our Schools More Boy-Friendly

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Prager University

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VIDEO: Have America’s Boys Been Left Behind?

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 - by The Factual Feminist

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thumbnail illustration via shutterstock / michaeljung

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5 Pro Tips for Homeschoolers

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Homeschooling can be the greatest, most rewarding experience of your life. It can also be the most stressful. Here are some pro tips that can help you to keep things in perspective:

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1. The World Is Your School

While it’s tempting to think that “seat time” is synonymous with education, traditional academic work is not the only way that children learn. A lot of what our kids learned about science—especially in the early years—they learned in backyard puddles, in the garden, and on hikes in the woods. They learned about agriculture at a corn maze that taught the kids about local farming with a clever scavenger hunt. One son even learned the locations of all the states when the results of the 2000 election were coming in and he faithfully colored the red and blue states as the returns were announced on TV. All of us learned about exotic cultures half a world away when missionary families that were home on furlough visited our home. Every trip to the grocery store, the veterinarian, and the pediatrician can be a learning experience if you approach life with curiosity and a sense of adventure and teach your children to do likewise.

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How Boring Does Your Life Have to Be to Go to War With Hop On Pop?

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

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Come see the violence inherent in Seussianism:

Dr. Seuss is safe at the Toronto Public Library — at least for the time being.

But one of his books was targeted for banning. A letter of complaint filed in March with the facility petitioned for the removal of all copies of the 1963 book penned by Dr. Seuss, “Hop on Pop,” United Press International reported. Why?

It promotes violence, the letter of complaint read.

Hop on Pop also encourages innocent youth to bite tigers’ tails, suffocate fish in trees, and to crush mice with houses.

******

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 5: The Drug of Disinformation

Monday, May 5th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The Introduction to Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge: Starting Down the Yellow Brick Road…

Part 1: The Mask of Marxism

Part 2: Getting to the Heart of Social Justice

Part 3: Who Needs a Brain?

Part 4: Are Conservatives Cowards?

“The August 1991 coup in Moscow collapsed three days after it had started, providing the ultimate, ironic proof that nothing, not even a coup, could succeed any more in a society whose vital arteries had been calcified by 70 years of disinformation and dismal feudalism. The main loser was the Communist Party.”

– Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa

Both the Democrat and Republican parties have been disinformed by Marxism. The Liberal wing of the Democrat Party has been duped into putting their faith in Marxism’s many forms (socialism, economic determinism, progressivism), while the Republican Party has legitimized Marxism as a form of party politics instead of a murderous, atheistic religion that empowers despots. The Conservative movement, by and large, is slow to recognize Marxism’s true nature, because we are a nation that has been drugged by Disinformation. Pacepa continues:

At the end of the 2001 summit meeting held in Slovenia, President George W. Bush said: “I looked the man [Putin] in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.” Unfortunately, even President Bush was deceived by disinformation. Putin consolidated Russia into an intelligence dictatorship, not a democracy. During the Cold War, the KGB was a state within a state. Under Putin, the KGB, rechristened the FSB, is the state. Three years after Putin enthroned himself in the Kremlin, some 6,000 former officers of the KGB—that organization responsible for having slaughtered at least 20 million people in the Soviet Union alone—were running Russia’s federal and local governments.

…Is it too far-fetched to suggest that this new Russia calls up the hypothetical image of a postwar Germany being run by former Gestapo officers, who reinstate Hitler’s “Deutschland Über Alles” as national anthem, call the demise of Nazi Germany a “national tragedy on an enormous scale,” and invade a neighboring country, perhaps Poland, the way Hitler set off World War II?

That is the secret power of disinformation.

Pacepa share these thoughts with me mere weeks before the Ukranian revolution and secession of the Crimea to Putin’s Russia. Disinformation is wielding its power on the American homefront as well. In his critique of Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, David Brooks embraces Piketty’s idea of a tax on the wealthy’s investment capital in order to create intellectual equality among the classes:

Think of how much more affordable fine art would be. Think of how much more equal the upper class would be.

His musings aren’t that far off from those of Russian intellectuals, who are “making do” with their government’s clampdown on free media and the right to protest. In exchange for their rights, these Russians whose intellectual arteries have been “calcified by disinformation” are being doted upon by their increasingly despotic government:

All sorts of entertainment is being lavished on Russia’s hipsters. Their favorite public parks have splashy, beautifully designed restaurants and clubs, comfortable biking areas and luxurious places to chill. Sanctions or not, Fedoseyev’s friends can still dine out at restaurants full of expats, take shopping trips to Milan, or buy their electronic gadgets online. Fashion Week this weekend was another party blooming with charming models and celebrities; the usual hipsters clubs, Solianka, Simachev, Oldich Dress and Drink or Strelka, felt as cuddly and crowded as ever.

To paraphrase Brooks, it would seem that the fine art is quite affordable in Russia these days. Like junkies seeking a quick fix, Russian intellectuals pursue disinformation at the expense of their freedom. Is Brooks suggesting we do the same, or have we already succumbed to the addiction? In either case, what we need to know now is: What is the antidote to disinformation?

wizardhologram

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The #1 Strategy for Happiness

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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“You need to have a good mood. Good family, good children, good work, and then you’ll be happy,” he added. “You need to be a sociable person. I love and respect all people. After what happened to me, I don’t only value my own life  more, but I deeply value the lives of all human beings. It’s very important to have good company and good friends. I view everything with optimism, it’s very  important.”

The observation seems simple enough, until you realize that they are the words of a Holocaust survivor. Over at Times of Israel, Margareta Ackerman details:

As a grandchild of a survivor, I’ve always had a  special interest in Holocaust studies. I have read many memoirs and attended  numerous classes on the subject. But, from the very first class in a small  Israeli school in the suburbs of Afula, to the courses I attended in a large  North American university — I had always felt that something I had learned from  my Grandfather was missing from these lectures.

For years, I had trouble pinning down that missing  piece. It frightens me that my grandfather’s gift may have been lost all  together: No one would have known that there once lived a man named Srulik  Ackerman, who challenged our understanding of human nature, and with that, could  bring hope in even the darkest of times.

…after just a few minutes with my Grandpa you  would see the mystery that had perplexed me for so many years. The first thing  that would strike you would be his wide, welcoming smile. Grandpa smiled and  laughed more than anyone I knew. He took every opportunity to tell jokes and  bring joy to others. Without a doubt, Grandpa was the happiest person that I had  ever met.

How was that possible? I spent two years writing his  memoir, hoping to discover his secret. But, even after the book was complete, I  still had no idea what gave him such unparalleled resilience.

So, I decided to ask him directly. “How do stay happy  on a daily basis?” I asked during one of our conversations.

Do yourself and your kids a favor: Get to know a Holocaust survivor so you, too, and your children can understand how a human being can survive and thrive in the face of death. There aren’t many survivors left, but there are countless resources through which you can interact with their thoughts and experiences. Tomorrow, the United States Holocaust Museum is sponsoring a Google+ Hangout with Holocaust survivors specifically geared towards school-aged children. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know the real “secret” to happiness.

And don’t forget to thank them for sharing it.

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Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 3: Who Needs a Brain?

Monday, April 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hiding the ugly face of Marxism has become a real science.

– Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa

We get it: Intellectuals who fall to the Left of the political spectrum dig Marx. Cultural critics like Ben Shapiro and Ben Stein have already made the excellent argument that academia is ideologically corrupted by said intellectuals, arguments that can be backed up by practically every conservative college graduate in the country. Now the focus has turned to public education, specifically the battle over Common Core Curriculum Standards (CCCS). You know what I’m talking about: Those crazy grammar assignments or math problems-cum-memes that pepper your Facebook and Twitter feed, usually accompanied by sarcastic comments like “Common Core is making me stupider.”

From a governmental point of view, Obama’s CCCS look like Bush’s No Child Left Behind on steroids: high-impact grant funding legislation that increases federal influence at the local level. Public school districts must report boatloads of data showing quantifiable achievements if they are to be rewarded with government funds. Many Americans doubt that a quality education can be quantified, but as Stalin was fond of saying: “Bureaucracy is the price we pay for impartiality.”

Which brings to mind Pacepa’s remark:

After the Kremlin expelled Romania’s King and declared the country a Popular Republic, the new government nationalized the school system, and decided to create its own type of intellectual — the “new man”.

Romania had its intellectuals before the Revolution. Most fled to Western Europe with death sentences hanging over their heads, still more wound up in gulags, and yet others elected to support the communist regime. A new generation of intellectuals would grow up behind the Iron Curtain, cultivating a subculture all their own filled with bootleg records and western media. They’d take menial bureaucratic jobs that would give them enough time to think and write – secretly of course – and maintain the culture their government denied them. Today’s Russian intellectuals have inherited the complacency of their parents’ generation, willing to “make do” as the government clamps down on free speech. It would seem, as Pacepa puts it, that their “vital arteries [have] been calcified by 70 years of disinformation and dismal feudalism.”

The harsh reality is that most citizens of the former Soviet Union do not know how to defend freedom because they’ve been educated to live without it. As the Wizard so kindly explained, the Scarecrow didn’t need a brain; he needed his intelligence to be quantified through a degree conferred by an authoritative source. This doesn’t mean that public education is a sham; on the contrary, this should illustrate how powerful an education can be in the hands of the educators as well as the minds of the educated.

We’ve discussed Marxist influences in our contemporary culture, but do we have the courage to confront Marxism in our daily discourse? Stay tuned for the next installment of Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge.

cowardlylion

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Strong Religious Beliefs Can Shape How Women View Homeschooling

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Marcia Clemmitt, a social policy researcher and former high school teacher, recently published an extensive report on homeschooling at CQ Researcher. In “Homeschooling: Do Parents Give Their Children a Good Education?“ Clemmitt discusses the research of Jennifer Lois, a sociology professor at the University of Western Washington, in Bellingham, and author of the 2012 book Home Is Where the School Is, who described some of the differences between those who homeschool for religious reasons and those who do it for more “pragmatic” reasons, such as safety or educational benefits.

Jennifer Lois said that although homeschooling parents generally acknowledge that “there’s potential for a lot of conflict and emotional button-pushing” between home-schooling parents and their children, she notes that “conservative Christian and other home-schooling mothers generally describe such problems quite differently.”

Lois said that “non-evangelical” mothers are more likely to remark that “we’re not meant to be together all the time; we’re not well matched for that.” In her study of homeschoolers, Lois discovered that these mothers were more likely to spend only a few years homeschooling their children and they were also more likely to complain about the children’s fathers not contributing enough to the homeschooling effort.

Clemmitt explained that women who homeschool for religious reasons are more likely to stick it out for the long haul. “By contrast, most evangelical Christian women whom Lois studied made very long-term home-schooling commitments, often lasting from preschool through high school,” Clemmitt said.

Women who view homeschooling as an integral part of their faith also view the inevitable family conflicts differently than their non-religious counterparts. “Evangelical mothers tended to describe conflicts less as problems and more as opportunities ‘to figure out ways to make their relationships with their children grow,”’ Lois says. Evangelical moms viewed the conflicts as opportunities for relationship building.

No word on how the dads view these issues (at least not in this study).

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