Category Archives: Education

Postliterate America, by Linh Dinh

Both the quantity and quality of what people read has dramatically diminished. From Line Dinh at unz.com:

I was just interviewed by two Temple journalism students, Amelia Burns and Erin Moran, and though they appeared very bright and enterprising, with Erin already landing a job that pays all her bills, I feel for these young ladies, for this is a horrible time to make and sell words, of any kind, and the situation will only get worse. We’re well into postliteracy.

With widespread screen addiction, hardly anyone buys books or newspapers anymore. My local newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer (Inky), no longer has a book review section. Its retired editor, Frank Wilson, was never replaced. Frank had three of my books reviewed, Night, Again, Fake House and Blood and Soap, but the last was in 2004.

Frank lives near me, so I see him around. A lifelong Philadelphian, he takes pride in knowing the city well. Speaking of Steve Lopez, an Inky reporter who made his name with a novel about North Philly, Badlands, Frank sneered that Lopez didn’t actually try heroin, so he didn’t really know what he was talking about. Frank did.

If you mess with Frank, the bearded, snarling Irishman will maul you with his cane. Frank’s not just ancient, but old school.

After moving to Philly in 1982, I’d read Clark DeLeon’s daily column in the Inky. Covering the city with knowledge, heart and humor, DeLeon helped me to feel grounded, and challenged me to explore my new home. After 23 years at the “same sloppy-topped gun-metal gray desk,” DeLeon was fired, however, a casualty of postliteracy.

Clark, “For 16 years I wrote six columns a week for the paper’s metro section. In later years I was cut back to five columns a week. In the final year, I was down to 1 column a week in the feature section.”

No longer a professional journalist, Clark earns his keep by working as a costumed tour guideoutside Independence Hall. Done with work, he’d often down a few at Dirty Frank’s. A tall, square-jawed and rugby playing dude, Clark would sit there in his black tricorne hat, brown waistcoat and white shirt with billowing sleeves, like a hulking Paul Revere, here to announce the worst of possible news. The death of the word, and thus thinking, is coming!

To continue reading: Postliterate America

Advertisements

Meanwhile, 10 Miles From the White House, by Ann Coulter

The US’s immigration problem is still out there, unaddressed. From Ann Coulter at anncoulter.com:

Now that Trump has solved Northeast Asia’s problems, maybe he can get to a problem in our country — in fact, within 10 miles of the White House. For some reason, The Washington Post recently ran an article on something important — the MS-13 gang presence at a public school on the outskirts of our nation’s capital, William Wirt Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The media’s usual approach to the diversity being inflicted on us is: Don’t report this! It’s better if no one knows. Maybe the left has decided it’s too late to do anything about the transformation of our country into a Third World hellhole, and Trump couldn’t stop it even if he wanted to.

The Post reported that, like many schools up and down the East Coast, MS-13 has turned Wirt into a battleground. There have been near-daily gang fights, rampant drug dealing, one reported rape, gang signs on the walls, one shooting — more in nearby schools — and teachers afraid to be alone with their students. At least two students are required to have security officers assigned to them, walking them from class to class and watching them during lunch hour, on account of MS-13 threatening to kill them.

How many different categories of immigrants require special law enforcement officers devoted to them? Thanks to mass Muslim immigration, the FBI has terrorist watch lists in ALL 50 STATES. That’s why whenever there’s a terrorist attack, the FBI says, Oh yeah, we were watching that guy. And now we have police bodyguards for kids at schools wherever “unaccompanied minors” have been dumped by our government.

In addition to the free school lunches, transportation, housing and health care to pay for all this wonderful diversity, immigrants are also massively ratcheting up law enforcement costs.

It would be enraging enough if bad things were happening to our country and the immigrants were paying for it. But we’re paying for it. Wait — you are offering to bring gang warfare, drug cartels and terrorism? We’ll go top dollar for that! Put your wallet away! Your money’s no good here!

To continue reading: Meanwhile, 10 Miles From the White House

Diversity and Inclusion Harm, by Walter Williams

How would you like to be operated on by a doctor who went to a medical school where he or she was taught that: “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing”? Maybe shop around for a different doctor? From Walter Williams at lewrockwell.com:

In conversations with most college officials, many CEOs, many politicians and race hustlers, it’s not long before the magical words “diversity” and “inclusiveness” drop from their lips. Racial minorities are the intended targets of this sociological largesse, but women are included, as well. This obsession with diversity and inclusion is in the process of leading the nation to decline in a number of areas. We’re told how it’s doing so in science, in an article by Heather Mac Donald, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, titled “How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences” (http://tinyurl.com/y9g8k9ne).

Mac Donald says that identity politics has already taken over the humanities and social sciences on American campuses. Waiting in the wings for a similar takeover are the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. In the eyes of the diversity and inclusiveness czars, the STEM fields don’t have a pleasing mixture of blacks, Hispanics and women. The effort to get this “pleasing mix” is doing great damage to how science is taught and evaluated, threatening innovation and American competitiveness.

Universities and other institutions have started watering down standards and requirements in order to attract more minorities and women. Some of the arguments for doing so border on insanity. A math education professor at the University of Illinois wrote that “mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” She says that the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites. A professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education published an article in a peer-reviewed journal positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege,” adding that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.”

To continue reading: Diversity and Inclusion Harm

Declining and Falling, by Robert Gore

Are we destined for the same fate as that other empire?

At the end of World War II, the US enjoyed geopolitical supremacy unmatched since the Roman empire. Friends and foes had been devastated by the war: millions dead, thousands of towns and cities destroyed, commercial and industrial infrastructure decimated. The only conflict on US soil was Pearl Harbor. Total war casualties were comparatively light. The US had the atomic bomb. American industry was intact, could quickly be retooled for production of civilian goods, and would face limited competition in global markets.

Power corrupts in direct relation to the degree of power; absolute power corrupts absolutely. That leaves only one direction for the occupant of a summit: down. That would be the proper starting point for some future Edward Gibbon, writing a magnum opus on the decline and fall of the American Empire.

The New Deal was a motley menagerie of ineffectual statist nostrums, cover for a naked power grab. The government took control of the economy, credit, the financial system, agriculture, industry, and a much larger share of the gross domestic product. Notwithstanding its unprecedented call on American incomes, it ran record deficits. Opposition was demonized, cowed, or persecuted. The judiciary was reconstituted as a rubber stamp and the Constitution stretched beyond recognition. The New Deal paved the way for further expansion of government control during World War II.

At war’s end, America’s rulers had no intention of relinquishing that control. Conveniently, the Soviet Union, wartime ally but postwar foe, developed its own atomic bomb in 1949. Now the US government had the excuse it needed—the Cold War—to justify global interventionism as “leader of the free world,” and the military and intelligence programs and budgets needed to sustain that role. Leaving office, Eisenhower issued his famous warning about the “military-industrial complex,” but by then it was too late. The establishment would maintain its empire by fair means or foul.

To its “free world” allies the US made an offer they couldn’t refuse. The US would provide their defense and pay the lion’s share of the costs. Trade access would be granted to the US market, often without reciprocal access to the foreign market. In return, the ally gave up its sovereignty, its ability to conduct an independent military or foreign policy. The dollar was the reserve currency, and trade in oil, the world’s most important commodity, was to be conducted in dollars. Countries which ran trade surpluses with the US were expected to recycle their excess dollars back into US government debt.

The velvet-glove treatment for its friends doesn’t hide the iron fist. The US has ways of dealing with regimes it doesn’t like, and enemies of the regimes it does. US military and intelligence traffic in regime change, revolutions, direct wars, proxy wars, repression, subversion, sabotage, subterfuge, and espionage against “hostile” regimes, while propping up dictatorships, euphemized as “authoritarian regimes,” that toe the US line. The US provides its allies with arms; intervenes in their wars; trains militaries, intelligence agencies, and secret police; doles out “development assistance,” financing, and bribes; rigs elections; propagandizes on their behalf, and goes to bat for them in international forums.

Corruption’s silver lining is that it carries the seeds of its own destruction. Unfortunately, demise always takes too long.

Money backed only by a promise―always broken―not to manufacture too much of it is corrupt by definition. In 1971, Richard Nixon removed the reserve from the reserve currency, “temporarily” suspending the dollar’s convertibility into gold (it has never been reinstated). The empire was free to flood the world with its flimsy fiat currency and fiat debt. Its vendors and creditors at home and abroad could accept the paper or pound sand.

Or they could start tightening their terms. It was a long time coming, but interest rates probably reached a generational low on July 6, 2016. Only the machinations of its captive central bank had kept rates trending downward for as long as they did. In a world carrying a record debt load, plus an unsustainable pile of pension and medical care promises, with virtually every income stream pledged and asset mortgaged, creditors call the tune on the availability and price of credit. The US empire will find its debt increasingly costly, central banks likely the main buyer.

That the world’s “best” military hasn’t won a war since World War II is an important clue about what wars have become. They’re another welfare state scam. Defense and intelligence contractors, their lobbyists, pro-intervention think tanks, corrupt foreign governments, and their lobbyists are gravy train gluttons plumping for never-ending war. Winning would be tragic.

Welfare corrupts the recipients and the government doling it out. Evidence of corruption is ubiquitous. Washington area incomes are the highest in the nation. Cities and infrastructure crumble. The $20 plus trillion national debt climbs relentlessly higher. Educational and medical systems are failing. Opioid abuse, obesity, and suicide skyrocket. Much of the Middle East and Northern Africa lie in smoldering ruins from US-sponsored wars. Millions have been wounded or killed. Many of the US soldiers who survived those wars are broken and bitter. As legendary political analyst Ringo Starr once observed, everything government gets its corrupt hands on turns to crap.

When an empire is bent on turning the whole world into crap, there’s bound to be pushback. Russia and China have long chafed under US unipolarity. They have, for the most part, sidestepped the US’s inane interventionism and quest for global dominance. In part to counter US hegemony, they are reaching agreements with myriad nations in trade, finance, infrastructure, economic development, and military security. Not surprisingly, much of the world is more receptive to that approach than bluster, bribes, bullets, and bombs.

US vassals Europe, South Korea, and Japan are questioning their vassalage. Why should a currency its issuer can create at will continue as the reserve currency? Are Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran actual military threats? If not, why go along with US sanctions and trade restrictions? Why not seek access to those markets, and to Russian and Chinese-led development efforts? Why should Europe bear the brunt of terrorist and refugee blowback from the US’s Middle East and Northern Africa fiascos? Why not question the arrangements that have been in place for decades, especially when America has a president who is questioning them from the American perspective? Do we vassals have the fortitude to fend for ourselves and thus reclaim our sovereignty?

Donald Trump deserves credit for asking questions from the American perspective. What has the US got from its interventionism other than stalemates, carnage, and trillions of dollars down the drain? If such adventures in imperialism make no sense, does empire itself make sense? Perhaps there are gains to be had by reaching out to our adversaries.

As for our friends, Trump upset apple carts at the G-7 imbroglio when he argued the one-sided trade access the US has granted as a requisite cost of empire no longer makes sense. It’s partially responsible for the trade deficit, the hollowing of American manufacturing, and a loss of jobs. The countries enjoying the benefits of the US military shield are wealthy and can afford conventional defenses, even if, as likely, they remain under the US nuclear umbrella.

The swamp’s most noxious denizens lurk in the empire’s military-industrial-intelligence backwater, swimming in their own excrement. Russiagate reveals the depths of their toxic and terminal corruption. The question is whether or not they’ll finish pulling the rest of the country into the sewage. Can America reject the filth and change course? The answer determines if America ever lives up to its founding promise, or if the present day is merely a middle chapter in The Decline and Fall of the American Empire.

You Should Be Laughing At Them!

Amazon Paperback

Kindle Ebook

Is Mayor de Blasio an Anti-Asian Bigot? by Patrick Buchanan

Asians get the short stick of affirmative action programs. It’s right out in the open and everyone knows it. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Though New York City has one of the most segregated schools systems in the country,” writes Elizabeth Harris of The New York Times, until now, Mayor Bill de Blasio “was all but silent on the issue.”

He was “reluctant even to use the word ‘segregation.’”

Now the notion that the liberal mayor belongs in the same basket as Southern governors in the ’50s and ’60s like Orval Faubus of Arkansas and Ross Barnett of Mississippi seems a bit of a stretch.

For what Harris means by “segregation” is that in the city’s eight most prestigious schools, like Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx School of Science, where admission is by written test, the makeup of the student body does not remotely resemble the racial diversity of the city.

“Black and Hispanic students make up nearly 70 percent of the city’s public school students,” writes Harris, “but they received just 10 percent of offers for seats at specialized schools this fall.”

“About 27 percent of the offers went to white students who make up 15 percent of the student system; 52 percent went to Asian students, who up make 16 percent.”

Harris later adjusted her numbers. Asians are 62 percent of students. At Stuyvesant, only 10 of 900 students being admitted this fall are black.

At Stuyvesant, The Wall Street Journal writes, “2.8 percent of students are Latino and 0.69 percent are black. But 72.9 percent are Asian-American.”

Harris decries this as “extreme school segregation.”

De Blasio now demands change: “We must be sure that the very best high schools are open to … every kind of New Yorker.” The student bodies at the elite public schools “need to look like New York City.”

Translation: We must have more Hispanic and black students, and if that means throwing out the entrance exam to cut the numbers of Asians and whites, throw out the exam.

Soo Kim, president of the Stuyvesant alumni association, is having none of it: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re saying these schools are too Asian, so there must be something wrong. … Am I the only one who looks at that and says, ‘I don’t understand how that’s even legal.’”

Councilman Peter Koo took it straight to the mayor:

“The test is the most unbiased way to get into a school. … It doesn’t require a resume. It doesn’t even require connections. The mayor’s son just graduated from Brooklyn Tech and got into Yale. Now he wants to stop this and build a barrier to Asian-Americans — especially our children.”

“I’m not sure if the mayor is a racist,” says Kenneth Chiu, chairman of the New York City Asian-American Democratic Club, “but this policy is certainly discriminatory.”

To continue reading: Is Mayor de Blasio an Anti-Asian Bigot?

 

Administrators over kids: Seven ways Illinois’ education bureaucracy siphons money from classrooms, by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

Bankruptcy doesn’t just happen, there are usually reasons for it. Read this and you’ll have a better idea why Illinois teeters on the abyss. From Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner at wirepoints.com:

Listen to education officials’ demands for more money and it’s easy to believe Illinois grossly underspends on K-12 education. A $7.2 billion funding lawsuit to double state contributions to classroom spending, a $40,000 minimum wage demand for teachers, and lawmakers’ rejection of limits to school district borrowing might bolster that impression.

But the truth is Illinois already spends a lot on education – more than any other state in the Midwest. It’s just that much of the money is going to all the wrong places.

At $14,180 per student, Illinois spends far more than its neighbors on education – 44 percent more on a per student basis than Kentucky and Indiana, 22 percent more than Michigan and 21 percent more than the national average.

The problem arises when all those dollars are doled out. Billions of dollars are being siphoned away from the poorest districts by the state’s burgeoning education bureaucracy.

Just look at the facts:

  • Illinois’ non-teaching staff has ballooned by 50 percentin the past two decades, while student enrollment has grown just 11 percent.
  • Illinois has more school districts than the nation’s four most efficient, big-population states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia) have, combined. That means thousands of excess administrative and non-teaching staff in Illinois.
  • Pension costs have grown so quickly they’ve devoured nearly 50 percent of the state’s contribution to downstate education in recent years. In 2017 alone, the state spent $11 billion on education for downstate districts – $5 billion of that went to pay for downstate teacher pension costs.

Illinois is spending billions on district offices, administrators and multi-million dollar pensions instead of providing more classroom funding. That isn’t fair to poor districts like Taylorville CUSD 3, which only spends $7,400 per student and is one the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Illinois’ high per-student spend shows why the state doesn’t need to hit up Illinoisans for more education money. Instead, the state just needs to redirect the money it already has to the places and students that need it most.

The education establishment knows there isn’t enough money to both preserve their system and fund Illinois’ neediest districts. But officials don’t want to give up the system they benefit from.

So, they mislead Illinoisans into thinking more money is the only solution. The $7.2 billion lawsuit is the most egregious example of that – it’s all about the self-preservation of Illinois’ education bureaucracy.

To continue reading: Administrators over kids: Seven ways Illinois’ education bureaucracy siphons money from classrooms

The Diversity Staff at the University of Michigan Is Nearly 100 Full-Time Employees, by Jon Militimore

The bureaucrats have taken over higher education. From Jon Militimore at intellectualtakeout.org:

There are various reasons for surging education costs, but the primary one is the expansion of university administration in recent decades.

Year after year, media note and sometimes bemoan the ballooning cost of higher education.

College Tuitiion Increase Chart

There is no doubt that the human costs of this rise are severe: Some 44 million Americans currently carry nearly $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, and the delinquency rate is 11 percent.

There are various reasons for surging costs, but the primary one is the remarkable expansion of university administration in recent decades. As Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado, wrote in the New York Times a few years ago:

“According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.”

Universities are large and require administrators to function, of course. The problem is there seems to be no end to the expansion. This point was recently illustrated by Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Perry, who also is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, used the University of Michigan as an example to highlight the rise of “diversicrats” (diversity bureaucrats) on today’s campuses. The numbers are astonishing.

1. The University of Michigan currently employs a diversity staff of nearly 100 (93) full-time diversity administrators, officers, directors, vice-provosts, deans, consultants, specialists, investigators, managers, executive assistants, administrative assistants, analysts, and coordinators.

2. More than one-quarter (26) of these “diversicrats” earn annual salaries of more than $100,000, and the total payroll for this small army is $8.4 million. When you add to cash salaries an estimated 32.45% for UM’s very generous fringe benefit package for the average employee in this group (retirement, health care, dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, paid leave, paid vacation, social security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, etc.) the total employee compensation for this group tops $11 million per year. And of course that doesn’t count the cost of office space, telephones, computers and printers, printing, postage, programs, training, or travel expenses.

To continue reading: The Diversity Staff at the University of Michigan Is Nearly 100 Full-Time Employees