Preview: Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher
Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher
Education, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.
College and Career Readiness
If "equality" means everyone is equally dumb and unprepared, to heck with that kind of equality:While ersatz “credit recovery” and grade inflation devalue the high school diploma by boosting graduation rates even as NAEP, PISA, PARCC, SAT, and sundry other measures show that no true gains are being made in student achievement, forces are at work to do essentially the same thing to the college diploma. Observe the new move by CalState to do away with “remediation” upon entry to its institutions and instead to confer degree credit for what used to be the kinds of high-school-level content and skills that one had to master before gaining access to “credit-bearing” college courses. The new term for these bridge classes for entering college students is “corequisite” and California isn’t the only place that’s using them. One study at CUNY—dealing with community colleges, not four-year institutions—says greater success was achieved when ill-prepared students were placed in “regular” college classes but given “extra support” than when they were shunted into “remediation.” Perhaps so. Perhaps placement tests aren’t the best way to determine who is actually prepared to succeed in “college level” work. But that’s not the same as saying—as CalState seems to be saying—that anyone emerging from high school, regardless of what they did or didn’t learn there, deserves entry into “regular” college classes. That essentially erases the boundary between high school and college, and not in the good way being undertaken by sundry “early college” and “Advanced Placement” courses, the purpose of which is to bring college-level work into high schools. Now we’re seeing high-school-level work being brought into college, there to count for credit toward bachelor’s degrees.But, equality!I despise the term "college and career readiness", as if the two parts are synonymous. One need not have completed Algebra 2, or a lab science, or a visual/performing art to be career ready, depending on the career. Take a look at any list of what constitutes "college and career readiness", and you'll see it slants heavily to the college side. Not everyone can or should go to college, and we (college graduates who work in education) do students a terrible disservice by, in effect, telling them that if they don't go to college, they're failures straight out of the gate.Maybe, just maybe, many of the students in the article above shouldn't even be in universities in the first place (community colleges are the places for such students). And Common Core standards, with their myriad misguided emphases, will only exacerbate the problem:Vince Bertram, president and CEO of an organization called Project Lead the Way, argues that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos must focus less on controversial issues such as school choice and Common Core, and more on the goal of education — which he identifies as straight workforce-development. “DeVos’ most important task,” Bertram writes, “will be to cast a vision for what education can be for our next generation to meet the demands of a global economy.” He uses a litany of progressive-education buzzwords — “critical thinkers, collaborators, and problem solvers” — to describe the types of human products our schools must turn out for industry. If there is any other purpose to education, Mr. Bertram doesn’t acknowledge it.But is developing a workforce for corporations what schools should be about? Such a constricted view of the purpose of education is in fact a central tenet of the utilitarian Common Core (to which standards Bertram’s organization aligns the curricula it creates), but it ignores the deeper purpose that underlies traditional, classical education. That purpose is to offer students the best in human thought so that they may assume their place as knowledgeable citizens, able to cultivate their own gifts and participate wisely in governing their society. It is to educate childr[...]
Results Are In
I scored 96% on my last test, after having failed (yes, literally got an F on) the homework set over the material covered on the test. Even when I took the test I thought it was much easier than it could have been, which is why I was cautiously
optimistic about getting a good grade.
I hope the roughest seas are behind me. I didn't like experiencing a complete and total lack of clue.
Fridays are now switching from "cool currency" day to "cool coin" day.
Coins aren't as easy to make "pretty" as paper money is--there just isn't as much room! And today in the US, we have to have Liberty, In God We Trust, and United States of America on each coin. Also, the denominations of all of our coins are spelled out in words--the coin says "quarter dollar", not "25 cents". By the time you get through all that essay writing, there isn't much room left! Some of our 50 State Quarters (and the 6 territory quarters) looked nice, but the side with Washington was just crowded with verbiage! I do
like our newest cent, though, with the shield on the reverse. On the other hand, can you even tell me what's on the back of a dime? And if you look, still
I ask if you can tell me what's on the back of a dime!
Countries with monarchs--and even the Commonwealth, many of whose members still put the British monarch on their coins--essentially limit themselves to one side of a coin, since the monarch takes up the other side. Still, there are many beautiful and interesting coins in the world, and you'd be surprised at what's displayed on them.
So with that introduction, here's our first "cool coin":
8 shillings from The Gambia, in western Africa. The US quarter is used for size comparisons.
I Got A Funny Email Today
I sent out a mass email today to the parents of about 100 of my students. I told them that the most recent test scores had been entered (go check your kid's grades online!) and also mentioned that I'm legally required to notify them if I think their kids might fail, and suggested that if their student currently has under a 75% in class then it might
be cause for concern (the final exam, which takes place in 2 months, is 20% of a student's overall grade).
One parent replied to me three times--each time suggesting, using slightly different terminology, that I'm, uh, a part of male anatomy. The fourth email was apologetic and included what I call a "hummada-hummada", which is the act of trying to explain why you did something you're not supposed to do. This parent tried to suggest that he/she thought he/she was responding to a different
email, to someone with a name close to mine--despite the fact that the email I had sent was at the bottom of the three (three!) replies. Far more likely is that the parent actually intended to call me such a name, but rather than forwarding my email--with genitalia commentary--to a friend (perhaps one with a similar name), hit "reply" instead.
This event has made for a great
laugh. I don't mind if someone thinks ill of me--I don't like everyone I have to deal with, either. It's perfectly natural and OK. What I found hilarious was the attempt
to walk the insult back and the attempt
at explaining what occurred. Clearly this parent is mortified at having sent the emails (three of them!) to me instead of to a friend, and now is trying to cover his/her tracks.
And I just laugh. It's a great story--better in person, though, because I have to clean it up a bit here and not put in any possibly-identifying remarks (hence, the non-gender-specific pronouns). But this story was the Belle of the Lunch Table Ball today, that's for sure!
They Must Really Think We're This Stupid
Here in California the sheeple will believe anything. We teachers say we want our students to "think critically" but then we feed them crap like this and expect them to accept it unquestioningly.One in five people in California do not have access to food every day. To help lower this rate we are asking people in the community to do what they can to help. The (school program name redacted--Darren) is holding a food drive starting March 23rd ending April 5th. Please bring non-perishable foods into your classroom, such as canned foods and grains. If you would like to donate perishable foods, such as fruits and vegetables, please bring them on the night of open house when we will be collecting food and monetary donations.That was the first announcement in our school bulletin today.Now, there's nothing wrong with having a food drive. Charity is a wonderful thing, and dare I say it, is the Christian way to solve local problems. But what's up with that first line? Does anyone really believe it?I would like to know the source of that statistic. Yes, California has among the highest rates of poverty in the entire country. However, our spending on health and human services is second only to our spending on K-12 education (click on Summary Charts here). Our schools will feed poor kids not one but two meals a day, and we give parents EBT cards to buy food. If there's any child that doesn't "have access to food every day", it's because of that child's parents' actions and not because of any lack of empathy in society. You can't fix stupid.In fact, genuine hunger is so rare now that activists had to create a new term, "food insecurity", in order to have something to rail against. Isn't it funny how we can simultaneously have an obesity epidemic as well as one in five Californians' not having access to food every day?I just don't believe the statistic. I want some evidence.But, because I'm open-minded and all, let's say the statistic is true. Let's grant that one in five people in California do not have access to food every day. Isn't that the most stinging indictment there is against the one-party-rule state that California has become? What does it say about the socialist "6th largest economy in the world" if 20% of its people are going hungry? What does it say about a state in which there is at most a single Republican serving in statewide office, and everyone else is a Democrat, socialist, or communist?And why, if one in five people in California do not have access to food every day, does this state want to throw open the door to even more illegal aliens--who, I hope we can all agree, are probably the least likely people as a group to be able to support themselves? Wouldn't welcoming more illegal immigrants just make the hunger problem in California worse?This is the problem with today's Democrats. Their views aren't even consistent. They throw a bunch of crap on the wall, see what sticks, and hope we don't notice it's crap. They're buffoons, and they're running this state into the ground--patting themselves on the back for their "progressive" views while doing so.And they're brainwashing the kids to think that the pain caused by the broken arm they get from patting themselves on the back is a wonderful thing.Update: Here's a link I used previously, showing that health and human services gets more money in California than K-12 education does. [...]
It's A Good Start
I'm glad to see Harvard picking up the ball
and running with it:
Eleven Harvard professors and one fellow have signed a statement affirming a commitment to engaging with—and opposing efforts to “silence”—those with opposing views.
The statement, entitled “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression” is co-authored by African and African-American Studies Professor Cornel West and Robert P. George, a Princeton professor. It was published on the program’s website on March 14, and over 600 professors, students, and college affiliates have signed the statement as of Sunday...
“It is all-too-common these days for people to try to immunize from criticism opinions that happen to be dominant in their particular communities,” the statement reads. “Sometimes this is done by questioning the motives and thus stigmatizing those who dissent from prevailing opinions; or by disrupting their presentations; or by demanding that they be excluded from campus or, if they have already been invited, disinvited"...
“This is an issue of broad national significance,” (former Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey) Flier said. “It really is pretty focused on the core issue of what should be the approach of the universities in particular to freedom of speech even on issues that would be seen as controversial or a source of major disagreement.”
I hope this message travels all the way to Berkeley, home of the campus free speech movement a generation or two ago but now home to fascist attempts to stifle the free speech of those with whom the liberal students object.
California, the New--and Improved!--Lake Wobegon
How good is your neighborhood school? Who the heck knows
After three years without a school accountability system, California Superintendent Tom Torlakson lauded the California School Dashboard as “a high-tech report card for our schools.”
The new color-coded system “paints a far rosier picture than in the past,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“Nearly 80% of schools serving grades three through eight are ranked as medium- to high-performing in the new ratings,” even though the majority of students failed to reach English and math standards in last year’s state testing, according to the Times‘ analysis. “More than 50 of those schools whose average math scores fell below proficiency receive the dashboard’s highest rating for math.”
Why? The dashboard combines achievement with growth.
I teach in a well-to-do area; our students are mostly going to do fine even if we teachers coast. I like the old system, which can let you know if your school is coasting or not:
For years, the Academic Performance Index gave each school a number, based on test scores, and two decile ratings: Parents could see how the school compared statewide and to schools with similar demographics. It was possible to track improvement.
For years we were in the top couple of deciles--among the highest performing schools in the state. However, when compared to schools with similar demographics, we didn't look so good. It was an eye-opener.
Now, who can tell?
struck home with me:
And note that the rank and file GOP – of numerous races and religions – were gathered in Saint Paul, Minnesota in early September of 2008 to nominate former war hero John McCain to be their presidential nominee, a man left permanently crippled after being tortured while a captive of real life national socialists in North Vietnam.
60 million people voted for John McCain. Another three million voted for Trump. If you believe they’re all Nazis and Klansmen, it might be time to open the airlock and leave the bubble for a while to see what lies outside the bio-dome. The first step is the hardest, but you might be surprised at what’s out there once you take it.
No Test Grade Yet From Last Thursday's Test
Still standing by, anxious as heck.
If nothing else, I'm sure I did better than the flunking grade I received on the homework assignment that was associated with the test. Need a high test grade to balance out that low grade.
We shall see....
How Does Someone Work In An Environment Like That?
My students may not all be going to Stanford, but most of them put forth some effort, even if only a little bit. I'd feel helpless and hopeless if I had to teach more than one or two of these
What I got was "I tried" - like that matters when you are unable to correct your erroneous attempts. So I drew the tree diagram. And he quit doing any work for the rest of the period.
I could not get him to see that 1) he needed to write it down 2) he needed to learn it and 3) there is no participation credit in his grade.
Teachers need to prepare high-quality lessons outside of class. But inside class, students need to be working harder than the teacher does.
Liberal Logic: Fix One Government-Caused Problem By Creating Another One
Why are housing costs in California "skyrocketing
Amid California's housing crisis, several state lawmakers want to give cities the ability to dramatically expand rent control, including imposing the kind of strict limits that once existed in Santa Monica and West Hollywood but have been barred since the 1990s.
Those who don't know economics are doomed to repeat the mistakes of other liberals. Don't forget this post
What About Chocolate Milk?
What's scary is that this person
expects to be taken seriously:
When you think of milk, what first comes to your mind? If you’re a millennial, you probably think of strong bones, Got Milk? commercials, or maybe eating your favorite cereal while watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.
What about racism? White nationalism? If you’re having trouble finding the connection between these institutions and milk, you’re not alone. You, along with the rest of the nation, have been so accustomed to hearing the benefits of milk that you probably didn’t even realize the subtle racism hidden in our health facts.
It may not surprise you that the United States was founded on racism. That every institution we uphold has racist roots that are sometimes difficult to catch and even harder to fight against. This phenomenon affects our voter ID laws, state testing and, yes, even our federal dietary guidelines. But how can our health guidelines, a system meant to be built upon scientific fact alone, have racist messages? Where there is a deep-rooted tradition to suppress an entire race’s existence, there’s a way.
The federal endorsement of milk in American diets contributes to the problem by uncritically pushing people to drink milk, despite the potential detriment it has on non-white people’s health.
Yes, it's scary that this person expects to be taken seriously. What's worse is that I'm helping fund her so-called education.
I Absolutely Do Not Like Hearing This
Reports of sexual assaults increased at two of the three military academies last year and an anonymous survey suggests sexual misconduct rose across the board at the schools, The Associated Press has learned.
The new data underscore the challenge in stemming bad behavior by young people at the military college campuses, despite a slew of programs designed to prevent assaults, help victims and encourage them to come forward. The difficulties in some ways mirror those the larger military is struggling with amid revelations about Marines and other service members sharing nude photos on websites.
Assault reports rose at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, while dropping at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. The Air Force decline was sharp, going to 32 last year from 49 in 2015, contributing to an overall decrease in the overall number of reported assaults at the academies. The total reported cases fell to 86 from 91 in 2015, according to details obtained by The Associated Press. link
This isn't good for anyone
. And it's just plain foul.
I don't have much bad to say about my principal. Here's an email he sent to the staff today (Wednesday), which he gave me permission to post here but not until "it" is all over on Friday. Note the professional tone, the lack of nagging, and the clear expectations:
Some of you may be hearing that UCLA mens basketball team will be practicing on our site Thursday and Friday in preparation for their NCAA tournament games. This is true, as I was visited by their CHP escort today to make sure they have smooth practices here this week. With that being said, I want to be clear that no student should be leaving your class for the purpose of trying to see the team or view practice. Their practice is a private closed practice and no students or staff will be permitted to view it. Thank you in advance for your help keeping the students where they belong on Thursday and Friday.
Pretty cool. Almost makes me wish I cared a whit about basketball :-)
Unless I buy some more currency, this will probably be the last of my "cool currency" posts--and since my last post dealt with our friends to the south, this one will deal with our friends to the north.
Notes from Canada are not made of paper, but of a polymer--they don't rip, they'll survive in the washing machine, and they're hard to counterfeit since part of them is transparent. Like the currency of so many other countries, each Canadian denomination has a different primary color:
click to enlarge
The $5 bill is blue, the $10 bill is purple, the $20 bill is green, for example. Note the transparent strip as well as the maple leaf.
Now I have to start some "cool coin" posts!
Took My Test Today
That homework set that I submitted incomplete because I just couldn't move forward on it? I took a bigger hit on it that I expected to. A much bigger hit. Today I took the test over that material. I'm cautiously optimistic, predicting a B or higher.
Changing the Constitution, One Man's Story
I remember when this amendment was finally passed but didn't know the back story
The story begins in 1982. A 19-year-old sophomore named Gregory Watson was taking a government class at UT Austin. For the class, he had to write a paper about a governmental process. So he went to the library and started poring over books about the U.S. Constitution — one of his favorite topics...
Gregory was intrigued. He decided to write his paper about the amendment and argue that it was still alive and could be ratified. He got to work, being very meticulous about citations and fonts and everything. He turned it in to the teaching assistant for his class -- and got it back with a C...
He appealed the grade to the professor, Sharon Waite.
“I kind of glanced at it, but I didn't see anything that was particularly outstanding about it and I thought the C was probably fine,” she recalls.
Most people would have just taken the grade and left it at that. Gregory is not most people.
“So I thought right then and there, ‘I'm going to get that thing ratified.’”
And he did. Go read the story to find out what effort it took!
And with the benefit of hindsight, Sharon says, Gregory clearly doesn’t deserve that C she gave him.
“Goodness, he certainly proved he knew how to work the Constitution and what it meant and how to be politically active,” she says. “So, yes, I think he deserves an A after that effort -- A+!”
And that’s exactly what happened.
This month, Sharon signed a form to officially change the grade. At the Pop-Up Magazine show at the Paramount Theatre in Austin on March 4, we brought Gregory up on stage to surprise him with the grade change.
Isn't there a similar story about the man who founded FedEx? The answer is "maybe
Wanna Know How Stressful My Day Was Today?
I'm going to tell you what a stressful day I had.
I didn't sleep much last night. It was after midnight and I was still staring up at the ceiling. None of the usual tricks worked, although I admit I didn't think to take a Nyquil. Not sleeping certainly didn't help my stress level today.
I was so stressed today that the most relaxing part of my day was lying back in the dentist's chair while the tech cleaned my teeth
I'm going to try to go to sleep now.
You Can't Take The Left's Drama Seriously
Cut/pasted directly from Instapundit
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:
● Snoop Dogg Shoots Clown That Looks Like Donald Trump In New Video.
—Red State.com today.
● Snoop Lion Explains Anti-Violence Song ‘No Guns Allowed:’
In many ways, Snoop Lion is the antithesis to Snoop Dogg. The Reincarnated rapper’s new song “No Guns Allowed” featuring his daughter Cori B and Drake counters his 1992 debut on Dr. Dre’s “Deep Cover” where he boasts, “I got the gauge, a uzi and the motherf—king 22.”—Rolling Stone, March 25, 2013.
The release from his forthcoming reggae album offers a message of non violence.
And thus we plunge further into what Michelle Malkin dubbed “The Return of Assassination Fascination” in mid-November, the return of the presidential assassination-obsessed pop culture that existed from the end of 2000 to the end of 2008, after all the left’s promise of a new civility, which lasted, oh, about a week and a half in January of 2011.
They don't mean what they say. It's all agitprop and theater for them, nothing more.
Not My Idea of an Ideal Weekend
My sister took me to brunch yesterday--win!
Several of us from work met for dinner last night and one of the teachers picked up the tab--win!
So that's the good. Here's the not-so-good.
We met for dinner last night because we all had to work at the school dance. No
body, and I mean no
body, likes working at school dances. The sweat, the smell, the noise, the desperation, the hootchie-mama dresses the girls all wear now--no
body likes working at school dances.
And then there's the switch-over to daylight savings time. Always an unpleasant experience.
And in a few hours I have to go back
to school to meet with our visiting accreditation team.
And when I get home from that I have to study for a test in my master's class.
I would actually look forward to Monday, but tomorrow I have to give up my prep period to meet with the accreditation team again!
If Only This Would Really Happen
We can only dream:We give up. You win. From now on, we’ll treat the animating ideal on which the United States was founded—out of many, one—as dead and buried. Federalism, true federalism, which you have vilified for the past century, is officially over, at least in spirit. You want to organize the nation around your cherished principle of states’ rights—the idea that pretty much everything except the U.S. military and paper currency and the national anthem should be decided at the local level? Fine. We won’t formally secede, in the Civil War sense of the word. We’ll still be a part of the United States, at least on paper. But we’ll turn our back on the federal government in every way we can, just like you’ve been urging everyone to do for years, and devote our hard-earned resources to building up our own cities and states. We’ll turn Blue America into a world-class incubator for progressive programs and policies, a laboratory for a guaranteed income and a high-speed public rail system and free public universities. We’ll focus on getting our own house in order, while yours falls into disrepair and ruin.In short, we’ll take our arrogant, cosmopolitan, liberal-elite football—wait, make that soccer ball—and go home.Really? They’ll believe in the Constitution and not try to make the federal govt responsible for everything? Count me in!!!Here's a classic excerpt, showing the derision for anyone that doesn't think like the author:Take Mississippi (please!), famous for being 49th or 50th in just about everything that matters. When it comes to sucking at the federal teat, the Magnolia State is the undisputed champ. More than 40 percent of Mississippi’s state revenue comes from federal funding; one-third of its GDP comes from federal spending; for every dollar it pays out in federal taxes, it takes in $4.70 in federal aid; one in five residents are on food stamps—all national highs. You people—your phrase, not mine—liked to bash Obama for turning America into what you derisively referred to as “Food Stamp Nation.” In reality, it’s more like Food Stamp Red America—something your Trump-loving congressmen will discover if and when they fulfill their vow to gut the program.Proof positive that the author doesn't understand economics. Believe it or not, people respond to economic incentives--even bad ones. If "red states" completely eliminated welfare, for example--which, let's be honest, wouldn't happen, but let's assume the author's premise--welfare recipients would just move to a blue state, where the people would no doubt be happy to support them. There's a reason that California has a full third of the nation's welfare recipients but 1/8 or so of the nation's population.There's more like that in the article. Conservatives should go read the whole thing and cherish the schadenfreude you experience just by knowing how much your very existence annoys the snot out of this author. I know I'm cherishing. [...]
It was only while looking through my currency that I noticed the relationship between these two notes from Mexico. Inflation had gotten out of hand in Mexico, so they lopped three zeroes off the peso notes and called them new pesos:
click to enlarge
Beautiful Sonoran Desert scene.
No Fields Medal, But...
The Fields Medal is to math people what the Nobel Prize is to other scientists. It can be a big deal. And no, I'm not going to get one.
But this morning I felt like a math guy. I was studying for my cumulative final exam, which I have to take in 5 weeks or so, when I came across the proof that there are an infinite number of prime numbers. It's a fairly simple proof to understand, but then it led me to a realization--aren't all
consecutive whole numbers relatively prime?
Logically, it would make sense that they are. But then I thought I could prove
it. A couple minutes later and I was done! Assuming I didn't make an error in my proof, I proved my assertion. QED.
Now, I'm not going to assert that I'm the first human ever to figure this out. For all I know, this "theorem" is so well known that it has a name! But I don't recall that I've ever in my life heard this--yet I came up with it on my own, and then proved it.
Given the rough time I've had in my current master's course, it feels good to have accomplished something