Category Archives: Education

To Sir Sidney With Love: Lessons For The Educational Idiocracy

Britain, Celebrity, Education, Film, Human Accomplishment, Kids, Relationships

British, and so subtle,  To Sir, With Love (1967) was my favorite role played by Sidney Poitier, RIP. And what an object lesson it is for America’s disgraceful unionized teachers in the age of COVID.

Mr. Mark Thackeray, “an out-of-work engineer who turns to teaching in London’s tough East End,” loved his students, yet he disciplined them; taught them self-respect, a love of learning, a work ethic and a proportional sense of fun, not the degenerate sense of abandon that now infuses our progressive schools.

“Sir’s” lesson: Never give up on The Kids, but knock ’em into shape.

Teacher was to be addressed as “Sir” because the use of honorifics and proper names, not invented pronouns, is important in an ordered society. It denotes not only a healthy hierarchy and a respect for a figure of authority, but for each other. Thus Pegg is not “Babs” (we have to wonder what such a traditional educator would say of naming  a child North, or Londyn, a black name).

After transforming one class into responsible, self-respecting adults ready to face life; Thackeray is offered an engineering job—something better than working with London’s tough, truant East End kids. But following their poignant farewell to him; he is overwhelmed with love for the kids and a sense of his real vocation. He shreds the promotion, realizing the next intake needs him just as much as the first. He has found his calling.

Once there were teachers.

Lulu at her best:

Western Man Forgives Unspeakable Violence Against Himself And Those He’s Obligated To Protect

Christianity, Crime, Education, Family, Kids, Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim, Race, Racism, The Zeitgeist

Kids like Ethan Williams are sent into the world wide-eyed and filled with only wonderment. (Read “Sacrificing Kids To PC Pietism,” 2011 and “Progressive Crazies Are Getting The Kids Killed.”) Nary a warning are they issued as to the reality of crime in America—and beyond. Parents are instrumental in these tragic events, having never given their kids “The Talk,” as John Derbyshire called it.

As a neighborhood to bunk down in, during a visit to New York City, Ethan Williams chose Bushwick (pictured). Bushwick is known as dangerously and diversely hip. Was this reckless decision not made against the background of a lifelong, familial devotion to such displays of hipness, “openness” and an obsession with The Other?

His father, Jason R. Williams, says the kid was all about curing “poverty and violence” and doing “mission work in Rwanda” (as opposed to in white, impoverish Appalachia).

Likely race-related, the murder of this typical innocent do-gooder, Ethan Williams, was masked as a ‘stray bullet.’ Writes his father, who—it has to be said—seems to have helped cement this delusional, progressive-Christian ideation in his kid’s mind:

Police believe our son’s killer mistook him and his friends for rival gang members. They were instead just a group of Midwestern boys on their first trip to see “the greatest city in the world.” If he had been given the chance, without question Ethan would have embraced his would-be killer, asked his name and hung out on those same steps with him swapping stories deep into the night.

From “Sacrificing Kids To PC Pietism (2011)“:

Here is how an alien from deep space would puzzle over the creatures who, by dint of a miracle, still dominate the Western world:

This prototypical Western man is flabby in body and mind. He is fearful and easily cowed. He erupts in tears at a drop of a hat. He is gripped by the culture of apology, and flagellates over sins he has not committed. His eternal state of expiation is driven not by goodness, but by insufferable self-righteousness.

This archetypal Western man forgives unspeakable violence against himself and those he is obligated to protect. He would not hurt a fly, much less repel a foe. An astute alien (from deep space) would notice that, in this regard, there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the “conservative” and “liberal” earthling. Both insist on catering to and enabling organized entities—in politics and in other crime— that despise them for their abilities and frailties, and instinctively seek to harm them.

These hostile identity groups segregate themselves voluntarily from the western weakling …
Flash- feral mobs flood places of commerce across the once-great country of America. What does the overwhelmed creature under observation do? “Conservative” or liberal, he refuses to finger his assailants. Instead, his experts implicate abstractions (“risk-taking”), and his media mouthpieces (Daily Beast or and Fox News) point to technology such as social media. Yet another, least logical, bogus causal agent invoked: the racism of the Democratic Party.

Not only does this generic Joe refuse to identify his proud, empowered attackers, but he rejects the possibility that they act out of ingrained animus for his kind. The swarms that descended to take what is his—to hurt him and even kill him—he jocularly terms mischief-makers, teens, twitter-operators, technology savvy youth. Yes, this brow-beaten, emasculated, excuse-for-a-man uses diminutives to describe the contempt-filled stalkers who menace him and who would squash him like the bug he is.

If not for YouTube footage of the racially uniform formations terrorizing businesses in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, in the upmarket area of Streeterville, in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., in Las Vegas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, in Philadelphia, on and on—our studious alien from outer space would be none the wiser about the hue of hatred on Planet Earth. As the man from outer space has surmised, his strange subjects are certainly impervious to facts.

 

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FRED REED: The Possible Virtues Of A Salutary Distance

Affirmative Action, Conflict, Crime, Education, English, FRED REED, Intelligence, Law, libertarianism, Multiculturalism, Race

By Fred Reed

Most of the profound anger and apparent actual insanity afflicting the United States stem from racial antagonism: The Floyd riots, the tearing down of statues, affirmative action, the renaming of buildings, hostility to everything Confederate, racial attacks on whites by blacks, critical race theory, the fury over trials. Racial policy isn’t working and isn’t going to. America had better find another approach before, one day, the guns come out.

Sez I, a massive step toward racial reconciliation could be achieved simply by deregulating the schools. The races have very, very disparate cultures and want different things. In the integrated schools, either blacks must be forced to learn things of interest only to whites, or whites must be prevented from learning these things. It is hard to see why black students or their parents would have any interest in Jane Austin, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, or Beowulf. Nor is it clear why whites, of either generation, would care more than passingly about Africa. Why, unworkably, force each to do something both alien and of no interest to it?

Many object that the study of mathematics constitutes racism, or is a means of oppressing blacks. Why force math on blacks or, more importantly, prevent white kids from learning them? Similarly, English grammar is now said to be racist. Why should black young of a background having no interest in such things have to be burdened with it?

These difficulties could within an administrative district be remedied by allowing different groups to establish such schools as they chose, for such students as they chose, teaching such material as they chose. Charges of discrimination could be avoided by requiring by law that all students be subsidized at the same per-pupil rate. Further, allow schools to select such students as they choose. If some schools wanted only white students, or black, or racially mixed, so be it. As long as they were given equal resource’s, it would be their business. If some parents preferred schools of mixed race, it would be their business.  Evangelical schools? Fine. Jewish? Equally so. Chinese? Equally.

The right of schools to choose teachers without governmental bureaucracy—most importantly, certification—would be crucial. Certified teachers are often of low quality and always carriers of industrial-strength political correctness. The teachers unions are just that—unions, interested chiefly in the good of the membership, not the students. I would not be allowed to teach either writing or journalism whereas a half-literate political hire would be.

This would also allow parents of very bright kids to use such tests as they chose to find the extraordinarily smart and then to teach them at their level.  Those opposed to testing could avail themselves of schools not engaging in testing. Forcing kids of IQ 140 or better to agonize in classes at the level of “Mommy Beaver had two sticks and Daddy Beaver had two, how many did that have in all” is child abuse. A child in that range in the second grade is reading at the ninth-grade level and school is nothing but an obstacle. Why do this?

In aggregate these measures—we could call them “freedom”—might go far to reduce hostility.

Smaller and seemingly less important matters count in racial relations. Blacks often deprecate other blacks for “acting white.” This is not unreasonable. People naturally want to be around others who share their culture, manners, and ideas of consideration and propriety. I don’t want my children, or people around me, “acting black.” I don’t know what “acting white” means and I don’t care. I don’t want my children wearing their pants below their knees and saying “muggafugga” every second word. These practices do no actual harm, but are extremely disagreeable to most whites. While I do not want to dictate the culture of blacks—it isn’t my business—neither do I want them transgressing mine. Would not separation be the comfortable solution?

Housing is another matter in which less government would be of use. Here again, policy is disastrous. The races obviously do not want to live together. When blacks move into white neighborhoods, the whites leave. When whites move back into the city, “gentrifying,” blacks are enraged. Upon reaching university, blacks often demand dormitories only for blacks, courses only for blacks, student centers only for blacks, and graduations only for blacks. If whites had the same privileges, friction would diminish. By (again) providing these things on a rigid and transparent basis of equal money per student, discrimination could be avoided.

Since the races usually want to live apart, why not simply let them? Those who wanted to live in mixed neighborhoods could, but if a black neighborhood wanted to avoid gentrification, it could vote to do so.

The voluntary separation of races would greatly reduce the very high rates of crime against whites by blacks, and the fear and intensifying hostility caused by this crime. I don’t know how to end crime, but reducing the fear of blacks would go far to encourage racial reconciliation.

Blacks say that white police discriminate against them.  Whether this is true would make no difference if blacks policed black neighborhoods and whites, white. Cities typically burn because white policemen have beaten or shot a black. The blindingly obvious solution is, in racially homogeneous regions, to have the local race do the policing. Friction might in some degree continue between police and policed, but at least it would not be racial.

Further, though it will at first sound strange, I suggest that black and white neighborhoods be permitted to decide what laws to enforce, at least in those matters affecting only the neighborhood. If blacks chose to ignore use of marijuana, drinking in public, selling crack, or driving without a license, why should they not? Do they not know their neighborhood, its needs and problems, better that I? Why are these things my business either way? The result would be vastly fewer arrests of blacks by whites and fewer blacks in prison, both of these contributing greatly to hostility between the races.

I am not recommending the abandonment of black neighborhoods to crime, but rather letting those affected decide. For example, blacks often hate stop-and-frisk policing. Why not let those affected make the decision? This would reduce the impression of the police as an occupying army, often white.

Nor am I suggesting the subjection of blacks to a punitive regime. I believe that all citizens should have access to good medical care, that providing schools with textbooks of their choice is a proper function of government, as is maintenance of streets, water supply, and electric supply. If a black university wants microscopes or a computer, it should get them. And universities should be free to hire any staff they choose, depending only on the willingness of the staff to be hired. The various forms of welfare should be continued as there is no choice other than causing great hardship–even hunger.

Since the races are in America, and none is going to leave, finding a workable approach to amity would seem a good idea. What we have hasn’t worked, is not working, shows no sign that it ever will, and indeed things are getting worse. A little distance might go a long way. If there is ever an explosion of the very real, very deep anger in the country that the media are hiding from themselves, it might make Floyd’s uprising seem trivial. In the Floyd riots, the guns didn’t come out.

 

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Math Ability: Is It The Kids Or The Method Of Teaching Them?

America, Conservatism, Education, Human Accomplishment, Intelligence, Kids, Race, Science

To continue the math-related conversation begun in “U.S. Kids Can’t Read, Write Or Do Math, But Are No. 1 In Critical Race Theory,” here are more warnings from The Economist:

The writer says that, “Conservatives typically campaign for classical math: a focus on algorithms (a set of rules to be followed), memorizing (of times tables and algorithmic processes) and teacher-led instruction. Pupils in these classrooms focus on the basics, exploring concepts after obtaining traditional skills …”

“…Progressives,” he argues, “typically favor a conceptual approach to math based on problem-solving and gaining number-sense, with less emphasis on algorithms and memorizing.”

Irrespective, the achievement situation on the ground is as follows:

In 2018, American 15-year-olds ranked 25th in the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. American adults ranked fourth-from-last in numeracy when compared with other rich countries. As many as 30% of American adults are comfortable only with simple maths: basic arithmetic, counting, sorting and similar tasks. American employers are desperate for science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills: nuclear engineers, software developers and machinists are in short supply. And while pupils’ maths scores are bad enough now, they could be getting worse. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a national exam, 13-year-old pupils’ scores dropped five points in 2020 compared with their peers’ in 2012. The status quo does not add up. But teachers and academics cannot agree on where to go next.

This is not purely about “the conceptual approach to math,” versus an emphasis on “algorithms and memorizing,” as the writer frames it.

However important, more than the methods of teaching math, American failures are about the kind of kids America has and the philosophy undergirding their education—a highly variegated population educated under the philosophy of egalitarianism. Not everyone can learn math, yet this is the premise of American education.

Yes, “highly ranked mathematical nations” such as Singapore, China and Japan have the  best math in the world and are NOT teaching by progressive methodology.

But the East Asian nations are relatively homogeneous and have kids with the good potential (IQ). Although important, the statistically significant variance is to be found, I would wager, in the kind of population, more than in the method of teaching, however important.

I hate to say it, but as far as raw human capital goes, America is fast becoming a bit of a shithole.

MORE: “America’s maths wars:How teaching multiplication tables became another victim of the political divide.”

RELATED READING:
The Wussification Of The West: Will We Ban Shakespeare For Othello And Shylock?
U.S. Kids Can’t Read, Write Or Do Math, But Are No. 1 In Critical Race Theory

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