In an interview with People magazine, Michelle Obama gets serious about “the impact of stereotypes” in the “wake” of the Brown and Garner incidents:
“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said in the Dec. 10 interview appearing in the new issue of PEOPLE.
“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.”
Word to the wise: The next time someone asks you to help them with an item on a shelf, they’re obviously racist. Michelle probably wanted to reply, “Can’t you see I’m the first lady?!” but instead checked her privilege. I’m sure she rewarded herself for that at Bergdorf’s later.
The president also chimed in:
Last week, [Robby Soave] wrote [at Reason's "Hit & Run" blog] about how “students are so coddled by the feelings-protection regime at university campuses that they now believe disheartening national news developments—such as the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases—entitle them to final exam extensions.”
Columbia Law School delayed final exams for students who felt unable to take them in the wake these developments. Students at Harvard and Georgetown began demanding their universities follow suit.
One might think that Oberlin College, known for it’s ultra-crunchy reputation, would be all about this. At least one professor at Oberlin, however, is having none of it…
What follows is absolutely epic.
Here is the Facebook exchange between a student (who is, sadly, a product of the self esteem and participation era) speaking out for minority groups to which she doesn’t belong and the professor’s response. (click to enlarge):
Look for this guy to be out of a job within the year. Dissent from the progressive orthodoxy is not tolerated.
Millennials are “increasingly more pro-life and supportive of restrictions on abortion” than their Boomer and Gen-X parents.
“There’s a window into the womb with ultrasound. Just having the look into the womb you can see, even in the first trimester, the early development of the child — you can see the humanity of the child,” Rose said. “Now that we have that imagery and it’s more prevalent, people are having that personal encounter with the child, so it’s easier to recognize their human rights.”
…”Years ago, it was the case that advocates for abortion would talk about the ‘thing’ growing in a woman’s womb as a lifeless blob of tissue,” Monahan explained. “And I think our advances in sonography and ultrasounds, and even our understanding of fetal development has dispelled those myths.”
She continued: “We know that, from the moment of conception, a baby has all of its DNA that it needs for the rest of its life. It has everything inherent that it will need for later on. Really, the only difference [between the preborn and adults] is in size and development.”
When most millennials were in the womb, ultrasound technology was still relatively new to pregnancy. Mothers of Gen-X/millennial crossovers most likely only had an ultrasound if there were suspected complications with the pregnancy. Today, however, those crossovers and their fellow millennials will have an ultrasound as early as 8 weeks to confirm pregnancy, including fetal heartbeat. One-dimensional sonograms will continue throughout the pregnancy. Parents will also have the option to have a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound done so that they may see their smiling baby in the womb.
Abortion is at an all-time low in the United States. And while abortion advocates are quick to note that the majority of women who are required to view sonograms before their abortions will choose to proceed with the abortion, the reality is that the majority of abortions in America are being performed before an 8 week ultrasound can be done. The women who abort after the ultrasound are in the minority that is growing smaller by the year.
Think the Elf on the Shelf is a cute little holiday tradition to keep your young one on their toes? Think again.
Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology recently published a paper concluding that Santa’s little spy “sets up children for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures.”
When children enter the play world of The Elf on the Shelf, they accept a series of practices and rules associated with the larger story. This, of course, is not unique to The Elf on the Shelf. Many children’s games, including board games and video games, require children to participate while following a prescribed set of rules. The difference, however, is that in other games, the child role-plays a character, or the child imagines herself within a play-world of the game, but the role play does not enter the child’s real world as part of the game. As well, in most games, the time of play is delineated (while the game goes on), and the play to which the rules apply typically does not overlap with the child’s real world.
“You’re teaching (kids) a bigger lesson, which is that it’s OK for other people to spy on you and you’re not entitled to privacy,” she tells the Toronto Star.She calls the elf “an external form of non-familial surveillance,” and says it’s potentially conditioning children to accept the state acting that way, too.
“If you grow up thinking it’s cool for the elves to watch me and report back to Santa, well, then it’s cool for the NSA to watch me and report back to the government,” according to Pinto.
According to the report, some parent bloggers agree with Pinto’s conclusions. However, others think she’s gone overboard with a fun holiday tradition. Pinto also fails to criticize the Elf’s Jewish counterpart “Mensch on a Bench” for exhibiting the same surveillance state tendencies since the Mensch spends his nights watching the menorah, not the kiddies.
Is this another case of academia gone too far, or is there something to this notion of Big Brother Elf?
The Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial may have been in progress since September, but this week it has taken some bizarre twists and turns that more resemble a soap opera than a courtroom trial.
This week alone, we’ve learned of teachers who continued changing answers on standardized tests because no one explicitly told them that their actions were wrong, along with teachers who threatened and insulted students when it came to the test cheating.
On Monday, one teacher testified that she and other teachers erased answers on the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) in order to elevate scores for their school:
Former Dunbar Elementary School second-grade teacher Rose Neal testified that she saw second-grade teacher Diane Buckner-Webb and first-grade teachers Pamela Cleveland and Shani Robinson cheat on Georgia’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in the spring of 2009. Neal said she too cheated.
Buckner-Webb, Cleveland and Robinson all face charges of racketeering and making false statements. A statewide analysis found an abnormally high number of wrong-to-right erasures on standardized tests taken by their students in 2009.
No one in the room — including former Dunbar testing coordinator Lera Middlebrooks — suggested cheating was wrong or that they should stop, Neal said in response to a prosecutor’s question.
“I wish they had, but no,” she said.
On Wednesday, another school system employee testified that certain teachers insulted their students’ intelligence while those same students went on to perform too well the CRCT:
Certain fourth-grade teachers at Dobbs Elementary School told their students things like “You all just dumb. You can’t learn anything,” former Dobbs teaching coach Lori Revere-Paulk testified in the Atlanta test-cheating trial Wednesday.
But many of those students went on to ace state tests, even though results from other tests suggested they would fall short, Revere-Paulk said.
On Thursday, students testified that teachers threatened them when they witnessed or reported cheating:
“If I lose my job, I’m ’a beat your ass,” former Dobbs Elementary School teacher Derrick Broadwater told one fifth-grader after the boy reported possible cheating to a school employee, according to the student’s account, which Broadwater disputes.
Then Broadwater came closer to the child and shared another message.
“He was going to kill me,” the student testified.
The boy, now a broad-shouldered 17-year-old in his Atlanta high school’s ROTC program, said he was too scared to report the threats until recently.
Two other former Dobbs students testified that [teacher Angela] Williamson told them and other students the answers on fourth-grade state tests.
But the girls didn’t tell anyone about the cheating at the time. Williamson told them not to, they said.
“If you tell anyone, it’ll be the last person you tell, I promise you that,” Williamson told the class, one of the girls testified.
The cheating scandal came to light when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution questioned unusually high scores on the CRCT between 2002 and 2009 at certain Atlanta schools. Indictments went all the way to the top, including to former superintendent Beverly Hall, who will not testify because she is gravely ill with cancer.
Stay tuned as we bring you more unusual details from the trial as they unfold.
One of the running gags in Canadian playwright Jason Sherman’s controversial 1995 work Reading Hebron sees its overwhelmingly liberal Jewish characters regularly sighing, “Ah… Chomsky…” with the kind of ecstatic reverence you’d expect from Catholic saints in the midst of a mystical trance.
The play is still semi-regularly revived, and I doubt any dramaturge has felt it necessary to single out that line as anachronistic.
Unpopular opinion alert: Chomsky’s not all bad.
And asking why it takes 90 minutes longer to get from Boston to New York than it did in 1970 is more than reasonable.
(Although I suspect his solution might not be…)
However, one of Chomsky’s recent speeches has just been uploaded to YouTube, and one of my fellow Canadian bloggers, Richard Klagsbrun, is tearing into it with relish, as you’ll see on the next page. (Language warning.)
So this happened — where else but on the campus of one of our institutions of higher fascism:
The president of prestigious Smith College is red-faced and apologetic Tuesday for telling students on the Northampton, Mass., campus that “all lives matter.”
Kathleen McCartney wrote the phrase in the subject line of an e-mail to students at the school, whose alumni include feminists Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, former First Lady Nancy Reagan and celebrity chef Julia Child. McCartney was attempting to show support for students protesting racially charged grand jury decisions in which police in Missouri and New York were not charged in the deaths of unarmed black men…
“We are united in our insistence that all lives matter,” read the e-mail,in which she made clear she was strongly behind the protests, writing that the grand jury decisions had “led to a shared fury… We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest.”
But you just know there’s a “but” coming…
But she soon received backlash from students for her phrasing. They were offended that she did not stick with the slogan “black lives matter.” The Daily Hampshire Gazette, which first covered the story, quoted one Smith sophomore, Cecelia Lim, as saying, “it felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives.”
In response to student backlash, McCartney apologized in another campus-wide email Friday, saying she had made a mistake “despite my best intentions… I regret that I was unaware the phrase/hashtag “all lives matter” has been used by some to draw attention away from the focus on institutional violence against Black people,” she wrote.
American universities today: re-education camps for administrators.
Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have filed two separate bills for the upcoming legislative session which would do away with Common Core educational standards and replace them with a system developed within the state. One bill would have new standards in place by the 2016-17 school year, while the other would implement new standards sooner.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, and Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell filed legislation Monday that would establish a Tennessee Standards Commission that would later recommend changes to the State Board of Education. It would also “cancel” Tennessee’s memorandum of understanding regarding Common Core standards in English language arts and math.
New standards to replace Common Core, which has phased into Tennessee classrooms for the past four years, would be ready by the 2016-17 school year.
Meanwhile, Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens, has introduced a separate House bill that would require the state board of education to adopt new Tennessee-developed standards before July 1, 2016. It would halt future Common Core expansion beyond this school year, establish teams of educators to review and recommend new standards and create what would become known as “Volunteer State Standards.”
This legislative groundswell puts Republican lawmakers at odds with Tennessee’s Governor Bill Haslam, himself a member of the GOP who has overseen the state’s implementation of Common Core. Haslam, who some call a potential 2016 candidate for the White House, recently did an about face and called for a public “vetting” of Common Core, via a website where citizens can voice concerns.
Haslam said he was not surprised that the legislature is considering rolling back Common Core.
“I’ve said all along: We’re here to do a full review of the standards,” Haslam said. “I don’t know how to say that any other way. The good news is people are engaging — 15,500 people have already commented on the standards. That’s great news.”
He said he’s willing to be a part of any discussion that maintains high standards and takes a “realistic view” of the current standards.
“I’ve always said it’s not about what we call the standards. Let’s talk about what the standards are. My commitment is to make certain we have the very best standards we can,” Haslam said.
Multiple bills last year failed to gain traction, but growing opposition to Common Core leaves GOP lawmakers hopeful they can defeat it this legislative sesson.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach kvells some wise advice in the Jerusalem Post:
On Wednesday night, my son Mendy held a demonstration inside an event held by the Students for Justice in Palestine at New York University. They were screening a documentary by Israeli filmmaker (or should I say anti-Israeli filmmaker) Lia Tarachansky, called On the Side of the Road.
…My son sought to show the other side of the story. While there were indeed hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, there were even more Jewish refugees driven from Arab lands and Iran beginning at the same time. The number of these refugees amounted to 850,000 Jews. My son and his fellow students held 6-foot signs displaying this number. These refugees fled their countries due to the fierce anti-Semitic atmosphere that had begun to envelop them. In the 1940s, and especially after 1948, pogroms were set against the Jews of the Middle East, with hundreds killed. In Iraq in 1941, 180 Jews were murdered, with 900 Jewish homes, schools, businesses and synagogues destroyed.
In Tripoli, 1945, 140 Jews were massacred and another 4,000 were left without homes. In 1947, 75 Jews were murdered across Syria, and another 80 were killed in the anti-Jewish Cairo bombings of 1948. That year 82 Jews were murdered in Aden, in what has come to be known as the “Yemeni Holocaust.”
These killings were not carried out by armies, but by enraged civilian populations who stormed the Jewish areas of their cities.
My son put this information onto signs and set them before SJP’s audience for all to absorb.
…There was another side to this story. The NYU students deserved to see it.
Get ready to laugh. Apparently the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) kids didn’t think Mendy’s demonstration was permitted. That’s right, professional protesters didn’t think Zionists had the right to protest. Then again, perhaps it had less to do with “right” and more to do with being shocked that college kids would dare to go against the campus trend.
When the SJP organizers saw him and the other students protesting the event, they were shocked. “Is this allowed?” asked the director.
It was, and Mendy had the papers to prove it. She was at a loss for words, and just stared at the display. In the decade that the SJP has been operating, they had never seen something like this inside the walls of their very own event.
…The fight for Israel at leading Western universities is the singles greatest PR war on campus.
It’s a war that is winnable if Jewish and pro-Israel students learn that the time has come to fight back.
However, recent research shows that the broad contours of the environment described at UVA—where women report widespread sexual assault with no consequences for perpetrators—is not unique on America’s college campuses. As one expert told RS contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely, “the depressing reality is that UVA’s situation is likely the norm.”
Except for the fact that we now know the “UVA situation” was a lie. And if you’re worth your weight as a scientist or statistician, your “norm” can’t be based on a lie. Therefore, neither can your “depressing reality” no matter how “broad contours” you stroke into the picture you are painting. (“Pretty little contours,” Bob Ross instructs.) And when it comes to the 1 in 5 undergraduate women are sexually abused stat, you’re talking some of the broadest strokes imaginable in both execution and interpretation. (“Pretty little lies,” Bob Ross chimes in.)
Mother Jones uses the art of the infographic to cite disturbing statistics regarding campus rape. For instance, 57% of sexually abused undergraduate women are “under the influence of alcohol and drugs.” No comment is made comparing that stat with the next one that reads “4% of college women are given drugs without their knowledge.” In other words, 53% of undergraduate women who are sexually assaulted have had that assault occur after knowingly imbibing in drugs and alcohol. Out of those women, 85% “have previously seen or spoken with their assailant.”
Reporting on the most idiotic study involving babies to date, Mother Jones covers a Yale (that’s right, the Ivy League university) study performed by cognitive scientist Paul Bloom that is focused on answering the question: “ Can the youngest of our species distinguish good from evil practically from birth—or does morality need to be taught?”
Bloom’s thesis, in all its eugenic creepiness:
“I think all babies are created equal in that all normal babies—all babies without brain damage—possess some basic foundational understanding of morality and some foundational moral impulses,” says Bloom on the Inquiring Minds podcast. “They’re equal in the same way that all babies come with a visual system, and the ability to move around, and a propensity to learn language.”
To this end, Bloom showed babies a series of morality puppet plays, one-act jobs where cats either steal or return balls to dogs and babies choose which kitty they like better. They invariably choose the nice kitty. No comment on whether or not these babies prefer the color grey (the evil cat is orange) or the actor handling the grey kitty puppet for any particular reason — because those variables don’t matter in science. Even more stupefying to the scientists, “babies show a preference for characters who reward good and punish evil.” Isn’t it amazing that babies would respond well to rewards? I bet no parent alive ever guessed that one!
The latest cultural meme to make it big in feminist circles is Feminist Hacker Barbie:
Last week, the internet was disappointed to discover that, countary to the title, Mattel’s illustrated book Barbie: I Can be a Computer Engineer sends pretty much the opposite message. Instead, Barbie says things like: “I’m only creating the design ideas. I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a game.” She infects her sister’s computer with a virus and can’t even restart it on her own.
Enter Feminist Hacker Barbie. Real-life computer programmer Kathleen Tuite launched a website where you can hack the original book, creating re-captioned and much improved images. Check out some more of the user-submitted images here.
As if computer guys didn’t already have a hard enough time with chicks, now Barbie has to one-up their game. Is that how pathetic contemporary feminists have become, that in their absurd need to “do it all” they wind up emasculating the most de-sexualized men among us? As if The Big Bang Theory hasn’t already done a good enough job, there’s the incessant whining about the lack of female employees in the tech sector (because you should obviously hire based on boobs, not binary) and, of course, #GamerGate. If a guy so much as goes near a keyboard he’s obviously a misogynist. If he’s actually good at operating, let alone building, a computer, he’s an obvious threat to the female sex. And if Barbie dares to suggest teamwork with male participants, well, she’s obviously just a tool to empower the patriarchy.
The home-schooling boom is getting a new push due to opposition to Common Core, the controversial national education standard that some parents claim is using their children’s public school lessons to push a political agenda, according to critics of the Washington-backed curriculum.
North Carolina, already a home-schooling hotbed, saw a 14 percent rise last year in the number of students being educated at home, according to a report from Heartlander Magazine. Similar increases have been seen in Virginia, California and New York, according to education activists.
“If you look at national, and even state polls, you can see that the more familiar people become with Common Core, the more they dislike it,” Bob Lubke, a senior policy analyst for the North Carolina-based Civitas Institute, told FoxNews.com. “They feel like they are losing control of what their kids are learning.”
The exact number, as calculated using Common Core standard math, is: 7 oranges divided by feelings times Oprah, carry the ferret.
Enjoy the option to home school while you can, people. You can safely bet that the Nanny State Über Alles progressives will be coming for your children soon, which is one of about a thousand reasons they need to be stopped.
Nicholas Kristof devoted precious New York Times space to the pleadings of one Christian Pakistani family to save their wife and mother from a death sentence:
Note: Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman, was sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam in 2010. The year before, while picking fruit with Muslim women, she took a sip of water from the local well. She was immediately accused of making the water impure by the other workers, who told her that they could no longer use the well. According to her husband, Ashiq Masih, and others, men and women started beating her and accusing her of making derogatory remarks against the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a charge she denies. Asia is currently in prison waiting to be hanged after losing an appeal on Oct. 16. She has told her story in a memoir, Blasphemy: A Memoir: Sentenced to Death over a Cup of Water, written with French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet.
Below is an open letter by Ashiq addressed to the world community. (Madam Mayor refers to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has offered her support to Asia.)
Her husband writes, in part:
I live in hiding with my five children as near as possible to Asia. She needs us very much to help keep her alive, to bring her medicine and good food when she is sick.
After my wife had spent four long years in prison in terrible conditions, we were hoping that the High Court of Lahore would free my wife. She did not commit blasphemy, never. Since the court confirmed the death sentence on the 16th of October, we do not understand why our country, our beloved Pakistan, is so against us. Our family has always lived here in peace, and we never had any disturbance. We are Christians but we respect Islam. Our neighbors are Muslims and we have always lived well with them in our little village. But for some years now the situation in Pakistan has changed because of just a few people, and we are afraid. Today many of our Muslim friends cannot understand why the Pakistani justice system is making our family suffer so much.
We are now trying our best to present the final case to the Supreme Court before the 4th of December. But we are convinced that Asia will only be saved from being hanged if the venerable President Mammon Hussain grants her a pardon. No one should be killed for drinking a glass of water.
IJReview picked up on one of the funniest SNL sketches in recent (a.k.a. post-original cast) history. It was a Schoolhouse Rock! parody that aired last night, mocking Obama’s latest immigration-related executive order and complete disregard for the constitutional process:
It starts out with the familiar boy climbing the steps of Capitol Hill and asking what kind of bill is on the Hill with him. The bill responds with a jingle that he is an “immigration bill” and that he hopes he can be passed into law someday.
Cue the President shoving the bill down the stairs before inviting his buddy, the cigarette smoking “executive order,” into the picture.
The boy exclaims in bewilderment that what the President is doing is unconstitutional, but the executive order just laughs at the boy’s belief that he still thinks that is how government works.
The sketch may be tongue-in-cheek payback on the part of NBC after being snubbed by the president, whose administration just so happened not to request air time from the Big 4 to announce his executive order plans in prime time. Dubbed “The Commander-in-Chief of MSNBC,” Obama has employed his “heckler’s veto” multiple times in the past, and Saturday Night Live sketches were far from immune. Last night’s humor is obviously a sampling of what can happen when Tina Fey no longer manages the Obama campaign from its 30 Rock location.
Despite the president’s latest appearance on Univision and Telemundo, the majority of Latino voters disagree with his executive order and rate amnesty low on their list of priorities:
By a margin of 56 percent to 40 percent, Hispanic voters oppose allowing illegal immigrants to obtain federal benefits, including Obamacare benefits, “while they are going through the legalization process and before the 90% goal is reached.”
When asked to choose which of four issues — the economy, immigration reform, education, or health care — is most important to them, registered Hispanic voters said immigration reform was their lowest priority. Just 31 percent ranked the issue first or second, compared with 62 percent for the economy, 57 percent for health care, and 45 percent for education. Non-registered voters, on the other hand, ranked immigration reform as their highest priority.
Apparently SNL did a better job of marketing to a new target demographic than the Big-O.
Watch the video on the next page.
In what seems to be an escalation of his previous public comments, tenured Kent State University professor Julio Pino is using his personal Facebook page not only to post anti-Semitic epithets and threats, but also to declare his solidarity with the terrorist group ISIS.
In August, we saw the incendiary, anti-Semitic Facebook posts by Pino, the Cuban-born associate history professor who converted to Islam in 2000. Dr. Pino’s posts supported Hamas, made vile, racist comments about Jews and Israelis, and even seemed to support ISIS. Pino, who has a long history of anti-Semitic behavior, also vowed that he wouldn’t work with fellow staff members who supported Israel:“Collaborate with no one who collaborates with Israel, and let her or him know why. I have started with the head of our ‘Religious Studies’ program, who sends student-dupes to Israel every year.” Pino remains employed by the taxpayer-supported university and it seems he has been emboldened by the cover Kent State is providing for him.
In a post this week, he declared, “We will wage jihad from al-Quds to Canada!” Pino posted this comment along with a video from Russia Today (the state-funded news outlet) showing allegedly “uncut” footage of the “bloody caliphate” in Iraq.
In another post with a link to a YouTube video warning of a possible Islamic State attack in New York City, Pino calls a Canadian jihadist his brother: “Canadian Brother from ISIS ‘We love being attacked! We seek martyrdom!’”
On Friday, Pino posted a link to a BBC article warning that the Islamic State is setting its sights on Saudi Arabia, where the Muslim holy site of Mecca is located. “No Sleep Till Mecca!” Pino vowed.
Back in October, Pino scoffed at reports that ISIS is a great military threat. “From the bourgeois media: ‘ISIS is the greatest military threat the U.S. has faced since 1945.’ You mean that whole Cold War, nuclear arms race, Korea, Viet Nam thing was for kids?” he asked.
Last week Pino applauded the Ayatollah Khamenei, calling him his “favorite tweeter.”
Here’s the tweet that got Pino so excited:
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 8, 2014
Freedom of speech: Awesome. Using said freedom to tweet racist, profane taunts? Not so awesome. Being unemployed now because people figured out that you’re a public school English teacher, and having to look for new work in the Obama economy.
A Texas teacher who posted a profanity-filled tweet over the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. — telling those who disagreed with her to “kill themselves” — is being fired, school officials said Monday.
Vinita Hegwood, an English teacher at Duncanville High School, was suspended without pay Monday pending her discharge after posting a “reprehensible” message on her personal Twitter account, according to the Duncanville Independent School District.
On Friday, Hegwood tweeted the following: “Who the f–k made you dumb duck a– crackers think I give a squat f–k about your opinions about my opinions RE” #Ferguson? Kill yourselves.”
In her Twitter account, which has been taken down, Hegwood described herself.
“Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Teacher. Delta. Football fan. Still defining and fine tuning the awesomeness that is me,” it read.
Geez. What a load.
Duncanville ISD had no choice here. Sure, they could have kept her on, but what parent in their right mind would leave their kid in her class after this? Is it the racism, the stupidity or the inability to express herself without resorting to profanity that’s supposed to attract parents to have their kids in her classes?
For the kids, their former English teacher provides a value life lesson. Freedom of speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say in all but a handful of circumstances (terroristic threats, etc). Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you never have to face consequences for what you say — especially if you’re a public employee and you’re placed in a position where you’re expected to be a role model.
In a prima facie violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Minneapolis School Board has decided to begin segregating their students into two different categories – white, and everyone else. If teachers and administrators want to suspend a white student, there will be no questions asked. But if they dare attempt to suspend a “student of color,” the act will be reviewed by the school district superintendent and “her leadership team.” BringMeTheNews reports:
The move comes after Minneapolis’ suspension policies have been under increased scrutiny from civil rights officials inside the U.S Department of Education and also follows a moratorium on suspensions of pre-kindergartners, kindergarteners and first graders that Johnson says has reduced suspensions by 50 percent.
She predicts reviews of suspended students of color could reduce them by a further 50 percent by 2016, telling the Tribune: “It’s about reducing disproportionality of student suspensions.
“Changing the trajectory for our students of color is a moral and ethical imperative, and our actions must be drastically different to achieve our goal of closing the achievement gap by 2020.”
Along with proving blatantly racist and likely unconstitutional, this practice stands as ridiculous policy. Why would your goal as an administration be to reduce the number of suspensions? Shouldn’t the focus be on reducing incidents of unacceptable student behavior? If you’re just going to arbitrarily ban suspensions or bottleneck the disciplinary process, how are you addressing students’ actual needs?
The assumption seems to be that suspensions are being handled out arbitrarily to punish children for being minorities. But that should be something you can prove. Where’s the example of a student having been suspended for being black? Where’s the example of a student being suspended without violating school policy on multiple occasions? Is there one? Or are administrators simply looking at the numbers and assuming that a disproportionate number of minority suspensions means the suspensions are motivated by race?
This idea, that racially disproportionate anything signals institutional racism, has been taken as gospel by the political left and informs policies which explicitly discriminate against white people. But how is explicit discrimination as policy better than implicit discrimination by an individual? Why should a white student be subject to a different disciplinary process than their minority peers? And how can such policy be characterized as anything other than racial segregation?
Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut succinctly detailed the crisis situation faced by women across the Islamic world. In doing so, she leveled her gaze at Western progressives, particularly feminists, who have a penchant for sweeping Islam’s crimes against women under the rug of “multiculturalism,” to the continued detriment of their sisterhood abroad:
Statements that come up with “multicultural” excuses to provide cover for the practices of fundamentalist Islam, however, never have, and never will, help to liberate women who suffer under Islamic misogyny, gender apartheid and jihad.
To make a positive change in Muslim countries, we need to be able to speak openly and tell the (too-often criminalized) truth about what Islamic teachings and traditions actually contain. Yet in Muslim countries, it is impossible speak openly about what is in these Islamic teachings and traditions, without putting one’s life at risk.
There is a situation even more frightening. It now seems to be difficult to speak openly about fundamentalist Islam even in Western countries, in part thanks to the dangerous enchantment of Western progressives and feminists who romanticize Islamism.
Women in the Muslim world desperately need the voice of Western progressives and feminists. But when it comes to finding excuses to neutralize critical questions about Islamic violence, Western progressives seem endlessly creative.
Feminists in the Islamic world have a laundry list of Western progressive feminism’s “Excuses for Abuses” which include:
Criticizing Islam is racist and reveals “intolerance,” “bigotry” and “Islamophobia.”
“Injustices against women take place all around the world, not just against Muslims or in Muslim countries.”
“What you are seeing is not the real Islam; Islam has been hijacked.”
“It is not about Islam. Crimes were committed and are being committed in all places throughout history.”
Bulut’s responses to the last two “Excuses” are particularly interesting:
“Not all Muslims are the same. There are good and bad Muslims, just as there are good and bad people in all religions.”
First of all, thank you very much for this genius discovery. But how can it help reduce the Islamic violence around the world?
Of course it is true that there are many good Muslims, whose values do not follow Islamic teachings verbatim, but also include humanitarian values. They do not wage war on other religions or try to bring them under submission to Islam. In the eyes of jihadis or Islamists, however, who live by the harshest interpretation of most doctrinaire Islamic teachings, such a quality makes them “bad Muslims.”
“All religions are essentially the same.”
Well, not quite. Biblical values are far more benign than Islamic ones, and generally descriptive rather than proscriptive. Furthermore, the most violent of them were long ago abandoned.
No religion, for instance, other than Islam, has ever commanded that those who insult or leave it should be put to death. (See Surahs 6:93, 33:57, 33:61)
Bulut’s conclusion acts as a clarion call to Western feminists: You can defend Islam, or you can defend women, but you cannot defend both.
As Putin quietly rolls his tanks, weapons and soldiers into Ukraine, Russia Today opines on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For Russian state media, the fall was the most pointless and indeed, detrimental moment of the 20th century, of course. If you can manage to get through the editorial’s monolithic rambling you learn that the fall of the Berlin Wall only allowed in the evils of NATO, McDonalds, blue jeans, the failing Euro, and pretty much every other thing that has made news in eastern Europe for the past 25 years.
This is your typical bloviated Russo-speak, the kind that makes most readers turn away from Ayn Rand in 30 pages or less thinking, “Get to the point, already!” But, there is no point. Like the Russian winter, their disinformation monologues are tedious, cold, dark and never ending. They simply continue their avalanche down from central command, collecting anything and everything in their wake until us proles at the bottom get knocked over by the sheer weight of it all and dragged along for the deathly ride.
Nevertheless, it is important for us in the West to keep an eye on what Putin’s media-bots are saying as well as doing, especially when their reflections on 25 years of freedom end with:
It seems to me the curtain is being drawn closed again, only this time by the NATO nations and not Khrushchev. It’s as if our roles are reversed somehow. Vladimir Putin acting like JFK, and western leaders bent on some convoluted socialism.
It should be no secret that Putin has forever been hellbent on controlling the narrative. Russia Today‘s editorial line only proves that glasnost and framing are Soviet art forms that Americans, with the possible exceptions of Olivia Pope and Cyrus Beene, still can’t seem to comprehend let alone believe. Disinformation is nothing more than controlling the narrative and twisting it to your advantage. Hence, Putin is JFK, NATO is the new evil dictator, and America is the land of the oppressive socialist regime. “Two legs good, four legs better,” indeed.
Note: This class did not make it into the sales pitch video.
Apparently technology has created a “new morality” and it’s up to University of Pennsylvania creative writing students to shame the hell out of it next spring:
Next semester at the University of Pennsylvania, students will walk into a classroom, pull out their laptops, their smartphones, their tablets, and sit there, for three hours, doing what they no doubt do pretty often: Waste time on the internet.
The Ivy League school’s newest creative writing class is trying to remove the stigma from an activity that millions of people do on a daily basis, in an attempt to explore how our minds might work when we’re totally aimlessly clicking through reddit or Facebook or Buzzfeed or watching porn or doing whatever the hell people do in their free time.
“I’m very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the internet, about dividing our attention so many times,” Kenneth Goldsmith, a world-renowned poet and the course’s professor, told me. “I think it’s complete bullshit that the internet is making us dumber. I think the internet is making us smarter. There’s this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age.”
Parents, before sending your children to college please watch PCU. It’s a cute little flick from the mid-90′s in which a group of misfits essentially throw a massive party to overcome PC culture. It also contains a lot of great commentary on the waste of time that college has become, especially for liberal arts majors. For instance, one guy spends the entire movie stuck in front of a television doing research for his senior thesis. The “Caine-Hackman Theory” argues that, at any time during the day or night, you can find a movie with either Michael Caine or Gene Hackman running on the tube. I’m convinced he now has more academic validity than 21st century Ivy Leaguers. That’s right, this ain’t state school material. G-chat, Facebook, and Reddit are now the stuff of the future “dreamers of dreams”.
So, his students will explore what, exactly, wasting time even means. Is it a waste of time to tap out some forum posts or internet comments? Is it a waste of time to gchat with your friends? Is it a waste of time to click through YouTube videos? Can we consciously or even unconsciously channel the things we do on the internet to make a work of art or the next great American novel or an autobiography?
His students will be tasked with trying. For much of the class, they’ll be wasting time online, sure, but at some point, they’re going to have to take the raw material of all that time wasting—browser histories, text messages, screenshots, who knows what else—and turn it into a “compelling and emotional work of literature.”
You’ve been warned. The next time you’re browsing for a good read and pick up something by an author with an Ivy League education, you may just wind up reading snippets of a Reddit feed. Suddenly Lena Dunham having drugged out sex with a college Republican and putting pebbles in her year 1 year-old sister’s vagina is high art, indeed.
The rebellion begins.
A new survey reveals that companies like Facebook are on the cutting edge of the abortion argument when it comes to offering employees the freeze-your-eggs perk. For a new generation of career women, abortion rights (a.k.a. “reproductive justice”) are becoming increasingly tied to “economic justice”. Reporting on the survey, Maya Dusenbery, Executive Director of Feministing writes:
Far from seeing abortion access as something that shouldn’t be included in the broader agendas–let alone a poison pill that would sink their support for the legislation–voters agreed that reproductive rights are pretty key part of ensuring gender equality. As the chart above shows, strong majorities in both states agreed that a woman’s ability to control whether or when she has children is important to her financial stability and equality.
When the question is about the impact of access to abortion specifically, the figure drops slightly to about half. But that simply suggests that we need to more clearly show that abortion is a very common way that people control their reproductive lives–by fighting the stigma that paints folks who have abortions as “the other” when in fact we’re not–and continuing to highlight just how precarious access to the procedure has become, particularly for those with the least financial stability.
Results of the survey illustrate that the highest supporters of government funded abortion are African Americans, Latinos, and those with household incomes less than $50,000/year. The racial statistics shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the majority of abortions are performed among the Black and Latino communities:
According to 2010 census data, African Americans make up 12.6% of the U.S. population but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that black women accounted for 35.4% of all abortions in 2009. The Guttmacher Institute (AGI) puts the percentage of black abortions at 30% of the U.S. total.Their most recent numbers are from 2008. Similarly, AGI tells us that Hispanic women accounted for 25% of all U.S. abortions in 2008, though Hispanics make up just 16.3% of the U.S. population.The CDC lists the percentage of Hispanic abortions at 20.6%. Compare those numbers to non-Hispanic whites, who make up 63.7% of America’s population, but account for only 36% of all U.S. abortions (37.7%according to the CDC).
Serious content warning. Serious enough that the original video was pulled from YouTube.
There’s a great episode of Modern Family in which Cam and Mitchell have to explain to their four year old daughter Lily that she can’t use the f-word. Every time Lily drops the f-bomb, Cam starts compulsively laughing, making it very hard to convince the child that using the f-word is inappropriate. Horrified, Mitchell rebukes Cam throughout the episode until Lily drops a big, fat f-bomb while standing in front of a church full of people, dressed as a flower girl in a wedding party. At that point everyone laughs. Point being: Adults get a perverse kick out of watching innocent little kids use bad words.
It’s probably why Will Ferrell made a series of videos for Funny or Die featuring his creative partner Adam McKay’s toddler daughter repeating loads of foul, inappropriate language in adult-like scenarios. Commenting on his child’s foul-mouthed role, McKay remarked:
“Fortunately she is in this great stage now where she repeats anything you say to her and then forgets it right away, which is key,” says McKay, who has two daughters by his wife of 11 years, actress Shira Piven (Jeremy’s sister).
Adds McKay, “She has not said the B-word since we shot the thing.”
Rumor had it that the videos ceased production once the toddler was old enough to realize what she was saying and repeat it.
Adults find kids cursing to be funny. The younger the kid, the better. So, when FCKH8 decided to have a load of little girls dress up as princesses and drop the f-bomb all over the Internet, they basically decided to give adults everywhere (except those with some sense of moral fiber) a laugh.
And mock feminism at the same time.
I laugh at the War on Women mythology quite frequently. The idea that beauty is somehow associated with helplessness, that abortion translates to career equality, and the whole 77 cents-to-a-dollar thing all really tickle my funny bone. But I do take feminism seriously. And I wonder, if the folks at FCKH8 really took feminism seriously, would they have chosen to market it by employing one of the gags that makes adults laugh the most?
Apparently, FCKH8′s real goal is to say American Feminism, with it’s slavish attachment to the War on Women is a complete joke best understood by those with the intellect of a 5 year old. Which is a shame, both for FCKH8 and American feminism, because, for the women facing real issues of inequality and gender-based persecution, feminism is no laughing matter.
Truth Revolt‘s Ben Shapiro (a.k.a. the guy who took over the Breitbart mantle) has jumped on Christina Hoff Sommers‘ Factual Feminist bandwagon with his own info short Women are Winning the War on Women. Knocking down the pay gap, birth control, and sexual assault myths with statistical evidence, Shapiro declares, “It’s a great time to be a woman, which means we don’t need Hillary Clinton and her magical X-chromosomes to save the day.”
In the short Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, touts the fact that his wife balances both motherhood and medical school, destroying the stereotype that religious men don’t (or can’t) support gender equality.
Using midterm hype to get ahead of 2016 Presidential electioneering, Shapiro applies his legal mind and quick wit to what is becoming a genre of informational videos geared towards the next generation of American feminists.
Check it out and pass it on.
Chicks on the Right, women working to take back feminism from the pro-choice crowd, discovered yet another way for parents and students to flush the cost of three college credits down the drain. Last spring, it was Rutgers University’s “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé.” This coming spring, it’s UT Austin’s “Beyonce Feminism, Rihanna Womanism.”
By comparison, this class has a very eye-catching title. Whether or not you are a Beyoncé Bey or part of the Rihanna Navy, it will cause you to do a double take while scrolling through electives. The one downside, students may not realize the type of academic inquiry or material that will be covered in the course.
Students in this class will learn that there is far more than catchy melodies to Beyoncé’s and Rihanna’s music. They will not be simply listening to Beyoncé and Rihanna for fun or even comparing the roles of Beyoncé and Rihanna in popular culture, rather, students will be studying how the lyrics, music videos, and actions of these women express various aspects of black feminism such as violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression. The instructor hopes for students to understand the role black feminism plays in popular culture as well as everyday life.
For any student interested in women’s and gender studies or how popular culture reflects social studies, this is a class that will make them fall crazy in love.
Yellen said recent decades have been marked by “significant income
and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority.” This hurts social and economic mobility, she added.
Yellen added there are four “building blocks” to increase opportunity for those with smaller incomes and fewer assets.
“Two of those are so significant that you might call them ‘cornerstones’ of opportunity,
and you will not be surprised to hear that both are largely related to education,” she said. “The first of these cornerstones I would describe more fully as ‘resources available to children in
their most formative years.’ The second is higher education that students and their
families can afford.”
Yellen sounds more like a Bill de Blasio aide here than one of the more powerful unelected people in America. It’s the typical progressive tripe about spending on education at an early age and “FREEEEEEE COLLEGE!” OK, she didn’t actually say free college, but as we saw with the Occupy morons, that’s how it is most often interpreted by the participation trophy types.
One of the more demonstrably false notions repeated by progressives is that we don’t spend enough on education. If you woke Barack Obama up from a deep slumber he’d mutter, “Education spending…” before being fully conscious. It is their go-to for almost everything. As those of us who paid attention in school way back when even less money was being spent on it know, we the taxpayers spend plenty on education. It is just wasted by the thoroughly awful people at the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and their minions. Big Government and Big Labor have done nothing to education in America other than find new ways to make sure an ever-decreasing amount of each taxpayer dollar gets to students.
Then they want more to do less.
Need a laugh? Check out Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin’s sit down on Russia Today’s Keiser Report. Make sure there’s no food in your mouth before I tell you the episode’s title.
It’s called “Meeting of Megaminds”.
The pair make an excellent duo of on-air Putin spambots. Russell Brand, better known as the former Mr. Katy Perry, is attempting to carve out a niche for himself as a comedian-cum-conspiracy theorist who makes Carrot Top look appealing. Alec Baldwin has devolved from Hollywood megastar to angry old man in a way that makes you wish a combo of Nicolas Cage and Clint Eastwood would magically appear every time he opens his tired old mouth. He promised to immigrate if George W. Bush were elected in 2004, but I guess pre-production for 30 Rock got in the way (thanks, Tina Fey). Fitting right in with the acting crowd, Russia Today host Max Keiser plays the typical role of upper crust yuppie-turned-commie (wouldn’t Alger Hiss be proud). He was an NYU theater student before working in stand up comedy, radio, and as a broker on Wall Street before making it rich with his creation, the Hollywood Stock Exchange. Until 2012 he was a regular on Iran Press TV. Now, when he isn’t on Russia Today, he busies himself making documentaries for Al-Jazeera and writing for the Huffington Post.
Think he might just have a bit of a bias? Then you’re the biased one, obviously. Capitalist pig.
You have to slug through most of the stereotypical socialist hyperbole to get to any actual meat in the discussion. Still, the inflated theoretical dialogue (calling it “intellectual” would be an insult to those with actual, functioning brain cells) provides a great learning experience for young folk looking to understand what Soviet propaganda sounded like before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s nice to know this kind of pompous hot air still floats around in our atmosphere. Perhaps Al Gore should start tagging it as the real cause of global warming.
Millennial actress Raven Symone has dared to de-hyphenate her identity in the face of the goddess O:
“I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American,” Raven said.
“Oh, girl, don’t set up Twitter on fire,” Oprah said. “You’re going to get a lot of flak for saying you’re not African-American.”
“What I really mean by that is I’m an American. That’s what I really mean,” Raven replied. “I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with caucasian. I connect with Asian. I connect with black. I connect with Indian. I connect with each culture,” Raven said.
“You are a melting pot in one body,” Oprah said.
“Isn’t that what America is supposed to be?” Raven declared.
The former child star, best known for her role on The Cosby Show caused television’s Goddess-in-Chief to nearly jump out of her chair. Perhaps generational difference is playing a key role in the Symone’s patriotic identification. According to a recent NPR story titled Why You Should Start Taking Millennials Seriously:
“Forty-three percent of millennials are nonwhite,” says Eileen Patten, a research analyst at the Pew Research Center (and a millennial herself). “When we look at older generations — boomers and silents — less than 3 in 10 were nonwhite.”
Because millennials look different en masse than generations past, the future is going to look different too. They’ve already led the country to massive shifts in opinion on social issues over the past decade.
As Symone illustrated, not every social issue is about sex or pot. Her willingness to step outside the box confronts the political correctness of Oprah’s Baby Boomers exactly the way it should: With a peaceful, confident, fresh perspective.
Perhaps Millennials should be given a second look after all.
St. Ignatius High School, a private Jesuit school for young men in Cleveland, withdrew from the National School Lunch Program this year in order to go “above and beyond” the federal standards.
Chris Rini writes in the St. Ignatius school newspaper:
In a typical school cafeteria, the norm is to meet all governmental requirements and restrictions while still providing some decent food. However, Campus Dining, led by [John] Pietravoia, has decided to go above and beyond that standard. In fact, this year, for the first time, Saint Ignatius has gone off of the federally funded National School Lunch Program, which means that campus dining is able to serve what they wish in our cafeteria without having to purchase frozen and processed products. In other words, campus dining is spending more time and money to give students better-tasting, higher quality, and healthier eats.
The $14,300 per year private school, which serves around 1500 students (some of whom attend through the Cleveland school voucher program), is known for high academic standards — 99% of the school’s students attend a 4-year college after graduation. Students at the school in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City neighborhood complained last year about federally mandated price increases on school lunches. “This mandate, contrary to what one might expect as gas prices are rising, is the only reason for the price hike midway through the year,” the school paper reported last year. Pietravoia said it was the first time in his seventeen years at the school that there has been a mandatory price increase.
Pietravoia said that leaving the federal school lunch program will give students — the customers — more choices. “I believe the customer has a right to make a choice,” he said.
Now students can look forward to a menu that includes a Chipotle-style burrito bar featuring healthy burritos made with all natural, local ingredients. The burrito bar will serve subs once a week and students can enjoy a caffeine-free, vitamin-enriched Monster with their burritos or subs. The cafeteria will also serve pizza on traditional white crust and a “Riche burger,” made from antibiotic- and hormone-free hamburger produced locally. Pesticide-free salad ingredients will also come from local farms and the school’s “famous” clam chowder will be served every Friday.
“We’re keeping our standards very high for local sustainability; pesticide-, hormone-, antibiotic-free products, healthy choices, and good food,” said Pietravoia.
Schools participating in the National School Lunch program are subsidized by the federal government for lunches provided to students at participating schools. They receive $2.93 and $2.53 for free and reduced lunches respectively and $0.28 for each lunch sold at full price. First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled new standards for school meals last year as part of her Let’s Move! campaign. The mandates were signed into law by President Obama and include reducing the calorie counts in school lunches as well as trans fats, saturated fats, and sodium, while increasing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in the meals. Schools that have menus in compliance with the updated program meal requirements receive an additional six cents of federal cash reimbursement for each meal served.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is urging employers to consider the results of tests given to students during their junior year of high school when making hiring decisions. The Michigan Work Ready Community Initiative encourages employers to use the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and ACT “WorkKeys” tests to evalutate potential employees for career suitability.
“The Michigan Work Ready Communities Initiative is another step in improving the quality of the workforce in Michigan,” said Snyder in a presentation with Michigan employers and business leaders.
The program’s supporters say that thousands of high-tech jobs are going unfilled in Michigan. Snyder thinks employers can use the test data to identify which employees are best suited for advancement and said the program can solve the “talent disconnect” that has developed in the state. “This is the No. 1 item we need to work on,” the Republican governor said.
“This program is the right move for our state,” Snyder said. “It provides a universal system of assessing workers’ skills and abilities for employers, as well as promoting workers’ development and improvement.”
ACT, the college admission testing company that developed WorkKeys, describes them this way:
ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs.
Students who successfully complete the ACT WorkKeys assessments in Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information can earn ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT NCRC), a portable credential that employers can use to assess potential employees.
ACT played a leading role in the development of the Common Core State Standards, which emphasize “college and career readiness.” Now, they will report the data they collect on every Michigan public school junior to potential employers in order to fill a pipeline for “high-tech” workers.
Questions remain about whether schools will modify their curriculum to reflect the business community’s need for “high-tech” jobs. Some parents are concerned that schools will be transformed into state-sponsored job training programs, since very specific skills will still be needed to solve the problem of unfilled high-tech jobs.
Other parents are concerned about students who don’t test well or that a poor score on a single, high-stakes test could disqualify an individual from future employment. There are also complaints about data collection and privacy related to the mandatory tests.
A New Jersey family was stunned to receive a notice from local school officials ordering them to follow the Common Core standards after they withdrew their son from public school.
After withdrawing their son from Westfield Public Schools, a homeschool family was surprised when the assistant superintendent sent them a copy of the school’s homeschool policy and asked them to call him.
Their surprise turned to shock when they saw that the policy required them to submit a letter of intent and an outline of their curriculum which (per the policy) must follow New Jersey Common Core content standards, and then wait for the superintendent to approve their curriculum and give them permission to homeschool.
HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff wrote the assistant superintendent on behalf of the family, pointing out that the policy conflicted with current New Jersey Department of Education home education policy. Local boards of education are not authorized to review or approve the curriculum or education programs of children educated at home in New Jersey or to monitor the educational outcomes. In fact, unless a parent is withdrawing a child from public school, New Jersey parents are not even required to notify state or local officials of their decision to homeschool.
In this case, however, the parents withdrew their child from school, which triggered a response from the school district. The assistant superintendent demanded a letter of intent to homeschool from the parents, an outline of the curriculum they planned to use, and ordered them to comply with the Common Core standards. After being contacted by HSLDA the superintendent backed off on demands that the family follow the district policy. Instead, the superintendent told them their curriculum merely “should be guided by the New Jersey Common Core State Standards.” HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff wrote back and explained that “homeschool families have no obligation to follow or be guided by common core standards.”
While nothing in New Jersey law requires parents to have their curriculum approved by school officials, compliance with Common Core is a murky area of the law.
New Jersey Law N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25 requires that “every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between six and 16 to ensure that such child regularly attends the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.” [emphasis added]
The legislature gives no specific definition of “equivalent instruction.” But there is nothing specifically in the law that would exempt homeschooling parents from having to provide an education the state considers to be”equivalent” to the Common Core standards.
New Jersey is not the only state that requires equivalent instruction. Connecticut, Indiana, Nevada, and New York homeschooling laws all have language that requires some form of equivalent instruction or equivalent education that states could use to require parents to align their curriculum with Common Core standards. In some states, homeschools must register as private schools and may also be subject to Common Core mandates.
Other states, like Ohio, provide protections from Common Core and other mandates because authorities are specifically prohibited from interfering with the curriculum decisions of parents. Nevertheless, as tests like the SAT and Advanced Placement exams are aligned to the Common Core, even homeschools may not be able to avoid teaching to the new standards as they become more and more embedded in the nation’s educational system.
When good habits are bad, or something.
A 13-year-old California boy was reportedly placed in detention for sharing a school-prepared lunch with another student.
Kyle Bradford, a student at Weaverville Elementary School in Weaverville, Calif., was disciplined after sharing his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria, KRCR-TV reported.
“It seemed like he couldn’t get a normal lunch so I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn’t really that hungry and it was just going to go in the garbage if I didn’t eat it,” Bradford told the website.
The Trinity Alps Unified School District, however, has rules that prohibit students from sharing food — claiming that students can have allergies their classmates may not be aware of, according to the website.
When in doubt, overreact — that is the way of school administrators. I am sure we can partially blame the lawyers for that. However, I also think this has to do with the liberal fantasy of being able to have rules that make every little bad go away in childhood.
I will now leave you with the immortal words of Susan Powter:
A few weeks ago I wrote about Julio Pino, a tenured Kent State professor who openly supports Hamas on his Facebook page and calls for the destruction of Israel. The convert to Islam also wrote, “MESSAGE MY WAY FROM ZION: While we were educating the world your parents and their ancestors were giving BLOW JOBS to apes!! THAT’S A FACT jack!!” and vowed that he would not work with his fellow professors who support Israel saying, “Collaborate with no one who collaborates with Israel, and let her or him know why. I have started with the head of our ‘Religious Studies’ program, who sends student-dupes to Israel every year.”
Kent State did not respond to my request for a comment about the Facebook posts and Adam Hirsh, Assistant Director of Hillel at Kent State declined to comment on the posts, instead referring me to a statement the group made earlier in the month about Dr. Pino’s “repeated hate rhetoric.”
Basically, the incendiary Facebook posts were met with a yawn. Just more bigoted rantings from Kent State’s resident anti-Semitic scholar.
But, oh, the outrage at Kent State this week when Urban Outfitters tried to sell a vintage Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be blood-spattered! Many students were upset, saying it reminded them of the May 4, 1970 shootings of four students by members of the National Guard. In fact, the Plain Dealer reported that Kent State students were “collectively disgusted” by the shirt.
“I was just appalled,” said Marvin Logan, president of Undergraduate Student Government. “As a member who represents the entire student population, I felt for our community. May 4 is a sensitive topic. It’s a part of our legacy and should not be taken lightly.”
“How could somebody be so insensitive?” asked Jerry Lewis, a professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State who witnessed the Kent State shootings. “Even if you don’t know the parents like I do or you don’t know the wounded students, 13 people were shot protesting, legally protesting. (That) should be enough to make you outraged by the sweatshirt.”
Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents Kent, even felt the need to weigh in on the controversial sweatshirts. ”It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” Ryan said in a press release. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,” said Ryan (or was it Santayana?)
Likewise, the university was outraged at the insensitivity of Urban Outfitters. ”We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit,” the university said in a statement Monday. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield said he has been contacted by media from around the world about the shirts. Urban Outfitters also called to let him know the company was posting an apology on Twitter. “Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused,” the company posted on Twitter. “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.”
Mindy Farmer, who was leading freshman students through the May 4 Visitor Center as part of their First Year Experience class this week said, ”There was nothing but outrage,” about the sweatshirts. “May 4 was a sad event and we are seeing nothing but support (for the university). They have a sense of history and for that we are grateful.”
Farmer told the Plain Dealer that the Urban Outfitter sweatshirt incident is a teachable moment for students.
“We are the right place to combat ignorance,” she said.
I thought that the recent passage in California of the “yes means yes” bill was extremely problematic — especially for males, who are basically at the mercy of women when it comes to initiating a sexual encounter. The temptation to engage in false accusations for purposes of revenge or pique will be great, and given the temper of the times, rather than an incident becoming a “he said, she said” issue, it is likely to be a “whatever she said goes as the truth” matter.
That California law defines consent as “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” And it covers each step of the sexual encounter — from kissing to petting, to intercourse. Madness.
But Ohio State has gone California one better. If you’re a Buckeye male, it’s not enough that you get “consent” for every sexual act. You have to agree with your partner on why you are having sex.
Have they gone bat guano crazy?
Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute writing at the Liberty Unyielding blog:
Ohio State applies an impractical “agreement” requirement to not just sex, but also to a much broader category of “touching” that is sexual (or perhaps romantic?) in nature. First, it states that “sexual assault is any form of non-consensual sexual activity. Sexual assault includes all unwanted sexual acts from intimidation to touching to various forms of penetration and rape.” Then, it states that “Consent is a knowing and voluntary verbal or non-verbal agreement between both parties to participate in each and every sexual act. . .Conduct will be considered “non-consensual” if no clear consent . . . is given. . . .Effective consent can be given by words or actions so long as the words or actions create a mutual understanding between both parties regarding the conditions of the sexual activity–ask, ‘do both of us understand and agree regarding the who, what, where, when, why, and how this sexual activity will take place?’”
College students, barely out of their teenage years with little sexual experience, are now expected to glean “consent” by the actions and supposed intent of their partner. If you kiss a girl without permission, that is considered a sexual assault — even if the girl liked it.
Bader takes us through the practical consequences of the policy:
This “agreement” requirement is impractical, because unlike sex (where there is generally an implicit agreement among the participants before it can even happen, since sex is difficult to do without active cooperation), no one agrees in advance – verbally or non-verbally – to have someone touch them in a particular place while making out. No one ever says, “may I touch your breast” before doing it while making out. They may (and usually do) welcome (and enjoy) it after it occurs, but they don’t specifically “agree” to it in advance (indeed, they may have expected the touch to occur in a different place, even if they found it pleasant). The very process of making out is a gradual escalation of intimacy step by step, without constant discussion or an endless series of agreements. That may be impossible under Ohio State’s policy, not just because it requires “agreement” (rather than mere “acquiescence”) but also because it expresses hostility to the concept of “consent to one form of sexual activity” being a signal of receptiveness to other, slightly more intimate “forms of sexual activity.” But that’s exactly what happens in making out: when you acquiesce in one form of touching or other “sexual activity” long enough, that signals a likely willingness to engage in slightly more intimate forms of touching — although you are free to rebut that presumption of willingness at any time simply by saying “no” or physically conveying your unwillingness. Such fluid interaction is threatened by Ohio State’s definition, which states that that “Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other . . . sexual activity,” that there must be “agreement between both parties to participate in each and every sexual act,” that only “clear consent” counts, and that “Consent can never be assumed, even in the context of a relationship.”
With so much going on prior to intercourse, can a woman having a sexual encounter under these circumstances ever use the excuse that she and her partner got “carried away” and had unprotected sex leading to an unwanted pregnancy and an abortion? If you’re going to slow down the process of becoming intimate, what excuse do you have for not using a rubber? Or some other form of contraception?
That’s a side issue, to be sure. But Bader’s practical guide to sex at Ohio State (and other schools that will likely adopt similar policies) is a clear warning to males; know your partner well before even initiating a kiss. Is she mentally stable? Does she have relationship issues? If you’re only interested in a casual encounter, is she OK with that? A woman who discovers that her sexual partner from the night before was not interested in a long term relationship and only wanted to “hook up” for the night, is that grounds for charging him with sexual assault?
This may be the zenith of political correctness on college campuses. To take perhaps the most joyous, fulfilling act a human being can perform and turn it into a laborious, awkward, artificial, and dangerous encounter is the height of stupidity.
You have to wonder if the people who developed this policy ever had sex themselves.