Tagged: Education

In the New York Times, Verlyn Klinkenborg Gets It Wrong

Verlyn Klinkenborg has written an op ed called The Decline and Fall of the English Major in which he starts with his students' inability to write and winds up discerning a "literal-mindedness in the recent shift away from the humanities". The apparent goal of the article is to defend the value of the humanities. However, the editorial has two weaknesses that undermine that goal. The first weakness arises in the attempt to define that value. The author reduces what the humanities offer to mere writing– to clear composition. "They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They...

Lesson Plan And Syllabus For Second Semester Seniors, Princeton High School

Week 12. Period One: Advanced Placement English. Discussion continues on Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Students will consider the moral ramifications of Adolf Eichmann's defense that he participated in genocide on orders from higher authority. The instructor is expected to question students on the distinction between lawful action and moral action, with emphasis on agency and personal responsibility. The lesson should lead into issues raised by the following reading assignments, Joseph Heller's Catch-22, and Franz Kafka's The Trial. Period Two: American History. The study of the life of George Washington continues. Having concluded examination...

Point of order

Concerning the higher education bubble and employability, John Leo writes: Employers, because they realize that many college graduates aren’t really educated, now routinely quiz job seekers on what they majored in and what courses they took, a practice virtually unknown a generation ago. Good luck if you majored in gender studies, communications, art history, pop culture, or (really) the history of dancing in Montana in the 1850s. He implies that those who major in the five disciplines he mentions, or in kindred areas, will need luck since their training and capabilities will not be adequate to pass muster. In short,...

If Tomorrow I Tell The Press That, Like, A Fat Kid Will Get Humiliated, Or A Nerd Will Be Slapped, Nobody Panics, Because It's All "Part Of The Plan." But When I Say That One Little Bully Will Get His Ankle Broken, Well Then Everyone Loses Their Minds!

The video below is disturbing. It shows a poor child suffering a broken ankle and a probable concussion. Right-thinking people, and those who care deeply about children in general, should turn away in horror. Of course I can't stop watching the video, because I'm not right-thinking, because I don't care about children in general, and most importantly because the little shit had it coming. According to the Facebook page where this video originated (it's since been removed because it graphically depicts violence against children), the fat kid, a sophomore at a high school in Sydney Australia, had been bullied by...

Inappropriate Touching Leads To Molestation Claim

We previously covered the story of Evelyn Towry, a 54 pound eight year old girl who refused to take off her cow hoodie and was denied cake.  Now Ms. Towry and her parents are suing the Lake Pend Oreille Idaho School District and the Bonner County Sheriff's Department. Not for the denial of cake, but because Evelyn was hauled to jail in handcuffs and charged with criminal battery. Evelyn was a third-grader at Kootenai Elementary School last year when she was handcuffed and arrested. School staffers say she spit on and inappropriately touched two instructors. Evelyn and her parents say...

Should Arizona Schools Teach "English As A First Language"?

It's may too late for some, such as State Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Horne: Horne began fighting in 2007 against the Tucson Unified School District's program, which he said defied Martin Luther King's call to judge a person by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Horne claimed the ethnic studies program encourages "ethnic chauvanism," promotes Latinos to rise up and create a new territory out of the southwestern region of the United States and tries to intimidate conservative teachers in the school system. To combat this menace, Horne is supporting a bill passed by...

Not Illegal. Not Immoral. Just Hypocritical.

The mission statement published by the Duke University Board of Trustees proclaims the school's object as follows: the mission of Duke University is to provide a superior liberal education to undergraduate students, attending not only to their intellectual growth but also to their development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation as leaders in their communities; to prepare future members of the learned professions for lives of skilled and ethical service by providing excellent graduate and professional education; to advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship; to promote an intellectual...

"The Nearest One Could Come To Doing So Would Be To Swallow The Whole Passage Up In The Single Word: Crimethink."

Contra what I last wrote on these pages, it appears that George Orwell's ghost is restless.  These days, he haunts Menifee California: A parent complaint that a dictionary in her son’s classroom at Oak Meadows Elementary contained the term and definition for “oral sex” prompted school officials in the Menifee Union School District to pull all copies of the book from its fourth and fifth grade classrooms last week. Lest defenders of morality question the inclusion of some scurrilous sex book in the fourth grade curriculum, it should be noted that the dictionary in question is Noah Webster's. [W]hen the...

The Ezra Denney Chair of Useless Knowledge

City College in San Francisco is struggling, as are many schools in this challenging economic climate. There is the possibility that 800 classes (ranging from staples like Biology or Photography to more esoteric fare like Advanced King Fu and, my new favorite class, Psychology of Shyness and Self-Esteem) will be cancelled. How does one start to address this issue? Well, if you pay $6,000 they will save the class and name it after you. Imagine the possibilities here. Instant Academic credibility, for only $6,000. How impressive would having a class named after you be? And, even better you get to...

Predators Stalk Our Children

What sort of monsters would abduct an 8 year old girl with Asperger's Syndrome, chaining her and leading her away from her friends and family?  You can tell where this is going. Yes, the police.  And her teachers. The mother of an 8-year-old autistic girl who was arrested after a scuffle with her teachers said it was horrifying to watch her daughter be led away in handcuffs from her northern Idaho elementary school. Police in Bonner County, Idaho, charged the girl, Evelyn Towry, with battery after the arrest Friday at Kootenai Elementary School. Even though prosecutors dismissed the case Tuesday,...

Big News In The War On Ibuprofen

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in an appeal by the Safford Arizona Unified School District, on the question of whether school officials were justified, under the Fourth Amendment, in strip-searching thirteen year old Savana Redding.  The goal of the search was to determine whether Ms. Redding had smuggled contraband ibuprofen into the school, in violation of a "zero tolerance" drug policy.  An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier held that a civil suit filed by Ms. Redding could proceed. Many moons ago, in reviewing this case, I stated the following: This being the Ninth...

How About A Little Something, You Know, For The Effort?

Texas A & M professors are protesting a plan to award merit bonuses for teaching based on, gasp, student evaluations.  Because it's not as though their students are in a position to know who's a good teacher and who's not: Martha Loudder, an accounting professor and a former speaker of the faculty senate at College Station, questioned the fairness of basing the awards “solely on student evaluation.” Ms. Loudder, who has received the university’s most prestigious teaching award, said she feared that “some very good teachers will be left out.” Since the pilot program limits bonuses to the top fifteen...

English Education: A System The World Must Imulate

The high quality of British state schooling is demonstrated by the fact that since 2001, out of an estimated population of 374,000 teachers in England, only 10 have been dismissed for incompetence in the classroom. Most of England's 150 education authorities have not referred a single teacher to the General Teaching Council for alleged incompetence since the disciplinary body was set up in 2001. "We have had a variable pattern of referrals from employers for cases of alleged serious professional incompetence with multiple referrals from some local authorities and none from others," said Keith Bartley, chief executive of the GTC....