Brandeis University true to itself 1

Brandeis University was being true to its despicable self after all when it treated Ayaan Hirsi Ali disgracefully.

It was where Herbert Marcuse, one of the most prominent apologists for the violently destructive New Left, indoctrinated students and wrote his staggeringly idiotic books.

This is from PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff:

BRANDEIS’S “REPRESSIVE TOLERANCE”

Like me, Michael Leeden finds that “if there’s anything really new about Brandeis’ disinvitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it’s that they invited her at all”.  While many seem surprised that Brandeis, founded by Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, would align itself with Islamists and their apologists, Ledeen finds no underlying inconsistency.

Brandeis was the home of professor Herbert Marcuse, the iconic leftist philosopher of the 1960s. Marcuse dedicated his book Repressive Tolerance to his Brandeis students. He summarized its thesis this way:

The … realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period – a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression. . . .

The restoration of freedom of thought may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions. …

Marcuse gave the student rebels and the terrorists of the West European New Left “a justification for their aggression. He told them that they were quite as subjugated as those who lived in the totalitarian states on the other side of the Berlin Wall – by being forced to endure the tolerable and rewarding and comfortable, to suffer food and clothing and lodging beyond bare necessity, to have many varieties of luxury foisted on them, and to be conned into the illusion that they were free”.  (Quotation from Hitler’s Children by Jillian Becker.)

Paul Mirengoff concludes:

Herbert Marcuse would be proud of his old University.

Yes. Brandeis has been disgraceful for at least fifty years. But its treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali adds cold-blooded viciousness to its record.

Brandeis University shames itself 3

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim in Somalia. She was forced to suffer the sexual mutilation that Islam inflicts on women. Her family tried to force her into marriage with a relation. To avoid it, she fled to the Netherlands in 1992. In a very short time  she learnt to speak fluent Dutch and became a  member of parliament. In 2004 she made a film, in partnership with Theo van Gogh, about the enslavement and savage treatment of women in Islam. A Muslim, deeply offended that anyone should tell the truth about his cruel and violent religion, killed Theo van Gogh on the street, and left a note on his body threatening her with murder too.

Mark Steyn wrote:

She lived under armed guard and was forced to abandon the Netherlands because quite a lot of people want to kill her. And not in the desultory behead-the-enemies-of-Islam you-will-die-infidel pro forma death-threats-R-us way that many of us have perforce gotten used to in recent years: her great friend and professional collaborator was murdered in the streets of Amsterdam by a man who shot him eight times, attempted to decapitate him, and then drove into his chest two knives, pinning to what was left of him a five-page note pledging to do the same to her.

She now lives in the United States. She speaks fluent, excellent English. She has established an organization that works to help oppressed women immigrants in the West – including of course Muslim women.  (The very real and cruel oppression suffered by Muslim women even in Western countries is not recognized or in the least objected to by American feminists. They have a vast accumulation of petty grouses to attend to.)

In her book Infidel she writes:

I left the world of faith, of genital cutting and forced marriage for the world of reason and emancipation. After making this voyage I know that one of these two worlds is simply better than the other. Not for its gaudy gadgetry, but for its fundamental values. 

She came to America because it is the land of liberty that protects free speech.

If ever a person deserved to be honored, she does. And Brandeis University prepared to honor her. She was invited to address a commencement ceremony and receive an honorary degree.

But a mob of Muslim men and their submissive women, inside and outside the university, objected. So the university administrators withdrew their invitation, refused to honor her after all.

Brandeis president, Fred Lawrence, joined with some 85 professors, including the Women’s Studies academic staff (no surprise there), and issued this statement by way of explanation:

Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement. She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.

Commencement is about celebrating and honoring our extraordinary students and their accomplishments, and we are committed to providing an atmosphere that allows our community’s focus to be squarely on our students. In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history, Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.

Brandeis University was founded in 1948, named after one of its founders, Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis, in order that Jews excluded by quota limits from other schools could get a university education. It is not a “faith school”, however, and admits students of all denominations and none. It no doubt prides itself on its tolerance.

But it  does not seem good at judging who should and should not be honored.  It made a fine judgment when it saw that Ayaan Hirsi Ali had earned honor, before it changed its mind.

It honored one Tony Kushner in 2006, for or despite his much published hatred of Israel, his belief that it has no right to exist, his insistence that it is a menace to the world, and his false accusations that it is guilty of racist persecution on a massive scale.

In 2000 it honored the despicable Bishop Desmond Tutu, a notorious anti-Semite who insists that Israel is a viciously “apartheid” country.

Brandeis University had planned to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali at its commencement ceremony this year, but after a smear campaign led by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Islamic supremacist groups, on Tuesday the university issued a statement announcing the predictable result: the honorary degree would not be given.

Now we quote, from Front Page, a column by Robert Spencer.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Brandeis assured the world, “is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world.” However, as compelling as Brandeis may have considered that work, ultimately it didn’t matter: “That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.”

Who brought these statements – which had been openly made and are  unmissable by anyone exploring Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s biography –  to the attention of the Brandeis ivory tower?  Why, none other than the energetic Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, that iniquitous, terrorist-supporting organization – along with the Muslim students and the Women’s Studies professors and the rest of the local mob who passionately support the side of Ayaan’s, America’s, and freedom’s enemies.

The Brandeis statement did not mention CAIR, and probably university administrators are unaware of its Hamas ties or its record of opposing any and all counter-terror efforts. Nor did the statement specify exactly what in Hirsi Ali’s past statements was “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values”. CAIR, however, did so in its press release (also issued Tuesday; Brandeis snapped into line quickly) which quoted Hirsi Ali from a 2007 interview saying: “I think that we are at war with Islam.”

Ironically, CAIR spokesmen have said the same thing: “The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself,” said then-CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed in July 2007. The only difference is that Hirsi Ali and CAIR are on opposite sides of this war. Is it unacceptable at Brandeis, a contradiction of its core values, to oppose the global jihad? Apparently so.

In the same interview, Hirsi Ali also called for the closing of Islamic schools in the United States. While that is indeed a severe and questionable recommendation …

We don’t think so. We think Islam is an evil ideology, like Nazism, and any measure taken to expunge it is good. It  should be strongly and persistently opposed. Robert Spencer goes on to say as much:

… it should be remembered that Ayaan Hirsi Ali attended Islamic schools in her native Somalia. She no doubt also has seen the reports from all over the world showing hatred and violence being taught in all too many Islamic schools. In that same interview she said:

Asking whether radical preachers ought to be allowed to operate is not hostile to the idea of civil liberties; it’s an attempt to save civil liberties. A nation like this one is based on civil liberties, and we shouldn’t allow any serious threat to them. So Muslim schools in the West, some of which are institutions of fascism that teach innocent kids that Jews are pigs and monkeys — I would say in order to preserve civil liberties, don’t allow such schools.

Is calling for the schools that teach hatred and contempt of an entire group of people against the core values of Brandeis University? Apparently it is.

All [CAIR] wants is to shut down any and every individual who opposes jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, in any venue. Generously funded and well-staffed, it pounces on anyone and everyone who dares raise a critical word against jihad terror, and mounts a smear campaign intending to get the Islamocritical speaker canceled and discredited.

In acceding to these smear campaigns, event organizers and – in this case, Brandeis University administrators – apparently make no attempt, even a simple Google search, to discover the intentions of the people behind the campaign. They appear indifferent to CAIR’s unsavory connections or its advice to Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. The organization’s own claims that it is merely a civil rights organization are accepted uncritically and without examination. … CAIR routinely blindsides officials and places on the defensive by its attacks, and so simply to avoid controversy they usually gave the “civil rights group” what it wants: the cancellation, demonization and marginalization of every speaker who is remotely critical of Islam. …

Someone really ought to teach the Brandeis administrators how to use the Internet.

Anyone and everyone who dares to oppose jihad and Islamic supremacism will become a target for a CAIR smear campaign. The real agenda of Islamic supremacist groups in the United States is clearly not to distinguish legitimate resistance to jihad from bigotry and hatred, but to stigmatize all resistance to jihad as bigotry and hatred, and clear away all obstacles to the advance of that jihad.

And they have made great headway, stigmatizing resistance to jihad in the eyes of large segments of the general public, and even of government and law enforcement officials, as “bigotry.” Yet while it has become generally accepted that standing up to jihad terror is “bigotry,” no one has ever clearly explained why. A highly tendentious and politically manipulative perspective has been foisted upon the American people as accepted wisdom, in which opponents of jihad terror are cast as bigots and efforts increased to rule their perspective altogether out of the realm of acceptable public discourse.

The one certain result of this will be more jihad terror in the U.S. – some of it emanating from hate-preaching Islamic schools that Ayaan Hirsi Ali so heinously suggested should be closed.

Finally, here is Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s dignified response to Brandeis University’s decision:

Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.

When Brandeis approached me with the offer of an honorary degree, I accepted partly because of the institution’s distinguished history; it was founded in 1948, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, as a co-educational, nonsectarian university at a time when many American universities still imposed rigid admission quotas on Jewish students. I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin. For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings”,  and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating. Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.

What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements”,  which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation – lines from interviews taken out of context – designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.

What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.

Not content with a public disavowal, Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues”.  Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck — and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater.

I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and my work on behalf of oppressed woman and girls everywhere.

This incident will add more honor and glory to the reputation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Brandeis University will bear the shame of it always.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Here’s the email address of Fred Lawrence, president of Brandeis. Tell him what you think.

 lawrence@brandeis.edu

It’s a Red, Red world 5

Why did the West fail to claim an ideological or moral victory at the apparent end of the Cold War?

Did the West really even win the Cold War? 

Diana West asks these questions. She goes on:

If we go back in time and listen, we hear no consensus click over signs that an unalloyed US-led triumph over communist ideology had taken place; nor do we find a sense of national thanksgiving for the forces of good – or, at least, for the forces of better – in their triumph over the forces of a non-abstract evil as manifested in Gulag or KGB or famine or purge history. “Mustn’t gloat” was about as joyous as the White House of Bush No. 41 ever got.

The inability to proclaim victory loud and clear derives from the Christian injunction to be humble.

Almost everything that handicaps our civilization comes from its Christian legacy; and everything that drives it forward to discover and innovate, to attain greater prosperity, longer life – whatever  general conditions are needed for such happiness as we may individually be capable of – is the legacy of the Enlightenment, the awakening from the long dark nightmare of “God’s” reign, the rise of reason. It only  happened to the West. Reason and its children Science, Freedom, and the United States of America, made the West great; not, as those  lovers of the darkness, the god-worshipers, like to intone, the “Judeo-Christian” tradition.

All religions are the ideological enemies of the West. But yes, the Red ones,  Communism and its conjoined twin Environmentalism, are the most dangerous at present. They suffuse and weaken our culture and our civilization.

They are the New Christianities.

Diana West is right to diagnose Communism as the transforming blight.

Was the official non-reaction due to that “crisis of confidence” we always hear about — specifically, that “politically correct” failure to believe in the worth of the West? I used to think exactly that and no more. The self-loathing West, failing to see anything of value in itself, was simply unable to take satisfaction, let alone pride, in the demise of its mass-murdering nemesis. “After all,” the PC catechism goes, “Who’s to say the Western system is ‘better’ than any other?”

But there is far more to it. At a certain point, it becomes clear that what we are looking at isn’t a West that fails to appreciate itself anymore, but rather a West that isn’t itself anymore.

Decades of subversion by communist infiltrators and American traitors, collaborators and “useful idiots” have helped make sure of that. So, even if the military enemy went away after the dissolution of the USSR on Christmas Day 1991, our ideological enemy never even had to break step.

Cold Warriors might have prevailed abroad, but America lost the ideological Cold War at home. 

This helps explain why our college campuses are outposts of Marx, our centralizing government is increasingly invasive and dictatorial, and our culture is one of metastasizing decadence …

President Obama’s recent speech in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union, reveals the chasm between what we have become and what we are supposed to be. Wearing his “Leader of the Free World” hat, Obama made the case against Russia’s annexation of Crimea by conjuring a Manichaean split between free societies and dictatorships. But does it fit? 

According to the president, there are free societies where “each of us has the right to live as we choose,” and there are dictatorships where the rule is “ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs.” Americans confronting government-mandated health insurance would do well to wonder exactly which society they live in.

Obama continued: “In many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas.” That contest, he explained, swerving wildly away from historical fact, was won “not by tanks or missiles, but because our ideals stirred the hearts” of Eastern Bloc anti-communists.

Omitted was the fact that these revolts were mainly crushed without US aid. Omitted also was the decisive role that President Reagan’s “tanks and missiles” – and missile defense – played in the military contest.

In this post-World War II era, Obama declared, “America joined with Europe to reject the darker forces of the past and build a new architecture of peace.”

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in sum, is an attack on that “architecture,” and, as such, is bad.

On closer examination, however, that same US-EU “architecture” doesn’t support the free-society paradigm so much as what the president calls the “more traditional view of power” – the one that sees “ordinary men and women (as) too small-minded to govern their own affairs.”

This latter view aptly describes the “soft” tyranny of the EU nanny state, whose early lights, after all, were Belgian Socialists and Nazi sympathizers with visions of a unified pan-European welfare state. In Brussels, their political progeny – unelected bureaucrats – increasingly dictate political and social norms across a “United States of Europe”.

In the US, the medical totalitarianism of Obamacare – not to mention Obama’s serial usurpations of power (not enforcing legislation he doesn’t like, making up and enforcing legislation he does like) – makes it all too clear that this president has a dictatorial temperament.

This is unsurprising when you consider that his political baby, his engine of transformative change – state-mandated health care – happens also to have been an early program of the Bolsheviks, and had as one of its earliest US boosters a noted Stalinist named Henry Sigerist. This seems like as good a moment as any to remind readers that the UN and the IMF, those leading institutions of globalist infrastructure, were fostered into post-World War II existence by a pair of notorious American Soviet agents – Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White.

Truly, it’s a Red, Red world.

Dumb: a synonym for Democrat 5

As we often do, we’ve pinched the cartoon we like best from PowerLine’s  This Week in Pictures.

Posted under cartoons, education, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

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What do you know? 8

The students in this video from CNS News are all apparently over 18 so they have the vote. One of them says she is taking a course in politics. None of them knows who the first president of the United States was. Two of them cannot divide 100 by 50 – or do not know (like the president) that there are 50 states in the Union. They’re all being put through the expensive travesty called a university education.

(Hat-tip Robert Kantor)

Posted under Commentary, education, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 27, 2014

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Marriage, black power and disappointment 13

The institution of marriage throughout the civilized (ie Western) world is on a steep decline from which there is probably no recovery.

“The custom of one man and one woman remaining faithful to each other all through their lives is called monotony.” So goes the schoolboy howler. And we suspect the boy was on to something.

Google “marriage in decline” and you’ll find a multitude of theories as to why fewer people are getting married these days than say fifty years ago. (None of them includes that kid’s sharp diagnosis.)

But is the decline a good or a bad thing for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Here is an article by Professor Walter Williams, who thinks the destruction of the black family has sad consequences. He blames the welfare state, not only for that but for the spoiling of black culture generally.

Criticism of the welfare state is music to our ears, so we quote him at length.

He writes:

People in the media and academia are mostly leftists hellbent on growing government and controlling our lives. Black people, their politicians and civil rights organizations have become unwitting accomplices. The leftist pretense of concern for the well-being of black people confers upon them an aura of moral superiority and, as such, gives more credibility to their calls for increasing government control over our lives.

Ordinary black people have been sold on the importance of electing blacks to high public office. After centuries of black people having been barred from high elected office, no decent American can have anything against their wider participation in our political system. For several decades, blacks have held significant political power, in the form of being mayors and dominant forces on city councils in major cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, Memphis, Tenn., Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Oakland, Calif., Newark, N.J., and Cincinnati. In these cities, blacks have held administrative offices such as school superintendent, school principal and chief of police. Plus, there’s the precedent-setting fact of there being 44 black members of Congress and a black president.

What has this political power meant for the significant socio-economic problems faced by a large segment of the black community? Clearly, it has done little or nothing for academic achievement; the number of black students scoring proficient is far below the national average. It is a disgrace — and ought to be a source of shame — to know that the average white seventh- or eighth-grader can run circles around the average black 12th-grader in most academic subjects. The political and education establishment tells us that the solution lies in higher budgets, but the fact of business is that some of the worst public school districts have the highest spending per student. Washington, D.C., for example, spends more than $29,000 per student and scores at nearly the bottom in academic achievement.

Each year, roughly 7,000 — and as high as 9,000 — blacks are murdered.

Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Contrast this with the fact that black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and wars since 1980 (about 8,200) total about 18,500. Young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities. Black political power and massive city budgets have done absolutely nothing to ameliorate this problem of black insecurity.

Most of the problems faced by the black community have their roots in a black culture that differs significantly from the black culture of yesteryear. Today only 35 percent of black children are raised in two-parent households, but as far back as 1880, in Philadelphia, 75 percent of black children were raised in two-parent households — and it was as high as 85 percent in other places. Even during slavery, in which marriage was forbidden, most black children were raised with two biological parents.

The black family managed to survive several centuries of slavery and generations of the harshest racism and Jim Crow, to ultimately become destroyed by the welfare state. The black family has fallen victim to the vision fostered by some intellectuals that, in the words of a sociology professor in the 1960s, “it has yet to be shown that the absence of a father was directly responsible for any of the supposed deficiencies of broken homes.” The real issue to these intellectuals “is not the lack of male presence but the lack of male income.” That suggests that fathers can be replaced by a welfare check. The weakened black family gives rise to problems such has high crime, predation and other forms of anti-social behavior.

The cultural problems that affect many black people are challenging and not pleasant to talk about, but incorrectly attributing those problems to racism and racial discrimination, a need for more political power, and a need for greater public spending condemns millions of blacks to the degradation and despair of the welfare state.

Indoctrinating the Green religion and its threat of hell on earth 11

There was a time, between the mid 1960s and the collapse of the Evil Empire around 1990, when little children were raised by “progressive” parents to fear that a terrible nuclear war was about to destroy all life on earth, starting at any moment, and all because the Western world was armed with nuclear weapons. The instilling of terror in the poor tots could not start early enough in the passionate opinion of hippie and New Left moms and dads. Ghoulish lullabies were sung to babies about carrion crows sitting on their cradles.

By winning the Cold War, the wicked West – led by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – put an end to that scam. Though maybe not to the effects of the dread deeply implanted in two or three generations of children.

What is it with the Left that it wants to instill anxiety and fear in their kids? Do they want their nights riven with shrieks as junior wakes hysterical from a nightmare? Seems so.

They’re at it again. This time the bed-time story – and the day time lesson – is that the earth is about to heat red hot, boiling oceans are about to rise and flood the continents, all the cuddly white polar bears will drown (because they cannot swim and have to to dwell on ice floes which will melt under them), the tops of the mountains will lose their pretty caps of snow, fish will mutate into Jesus Christ or Charles Darwin, and all because the wicked West won’t stop using aerosol cans, herding flatulent cows, driving motorcars, and breathing out.

This is from Front Page, by Mary Grabar:

Under [Arne Duncan's] watch the Department of Education has become a propaganda arm used to influence the next generation to accept the idea of catastrophic man-made climate change as per the UN, the Environmental Protection Agency, and such groups as the National Wildlife Federation. 

In a multi-pronged approach, the Department is teaming up with various non-profit and government organizations and curriculum companies to promote “fun” contests and activities for students, while promoting the next phase of Common Core “State Standards” — in science.

For example, the Department’s latest Green Strides newsletter (February 28) announced three contests for K-12 students who display their agreement with the government’s position on climate change.

In that newsletter, the Department of Education announced that another federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and its National Environmental Education Foundation, have “launched an exciting video challenge for middle school students called Climate Change in Focus”.  In this contest, middle school students are asked to make a video that “expresses why they care about climate change and what they are doing to reduce emissions or to prepare for its impacts”.  To win loyalty to the EPA, it is announced that winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website. The effort sounds like the kids’ cereal box promotions of yore: the top three entries will receive “cool prizes like a solar charging backpack”,  winning class projects will receive special recognition for their school, and the first 100 entrants will receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine.

Another contest, National Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment, invites students “between the ages of 13-21 to report on an environmental issue in their community in an article, photo or photo essay, or short video”. Entries should “reflect firsthand investigation of topics related to the environment and sustainability in the students’ own communities, draw connections between local and global perspectives, and propose solutions”.

Students are also encouraged to make nominations for “Champions of the Earth”, a “UN-sponsored award for environment, Green Economy, and sustainability”. …

Students already get exposed to climate change and sustainability in textbooks which are bought with taxpayer funds, as well as in videos and online materials produced by taxpayer-supported Public Broadcasting. Many students, of course, have had to sit through Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. …

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) — the next phase of Common Core — will make the situation worse, however. Students will be even less capable of distinguishing science from propaganda. These standards, like those for math and English Language Arts, were produced by Achieve, a nonprofit education group started by corporate leaders and some governors.

Started by lefties is our guess. Sensible decision to be “non-profit”. Who would buy their product?

As in the standards for English Language Arts and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education”. They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context”. 

In plain words, indoctrination – teaching what to think,  instead of education – teaching how to think.

And they can even manage to do this with the teaching of Mathematics. Wow!

It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object. The standards bypass essential math skills in favor of “process”, they asserted last fall at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog. [They said that] Common Core standards, in all disciplines, are written with a lot of fluff to conceal their emptiness. …

Lerner and Gross condemn the “slighting of mathematics”,  which does “increasing mischief as grade level rises, especially in the physical sciences”. Physics is “effectively absent” at the high school level. … [They] attack the “practices” strategy, as an extension of the “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s, which had “no notable effect on the (mediocre) performance of American students in national and international science assessments”. 

With some sarcasm, they write, “It is charming to say ‘students learn science effectively when they actively engage in the practices of science’.” However, … beginners don’t and can’t “practice” [science]  as do experts. The practices of experts exploit prior experience and extensive build-up in long-term memory of scaffolding: facts, procedures, technical know-how, solutions to standard problems in the field, vocabularies — of knowledge in short.

Not only do the Next Generation Science Standards shirk the necessary foundations in math and science knowledge, but they explicitly call for including ideological lessons, such as “Human impacts on Earth systems”.

For grades K-2, students are to understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students will learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.” …

The objective, of course, is not teaching legitimate science, but indoctrination.

Amazingly, ten states have already voluntarily adopted the Standards.

Such efforts, coordinated by the Department of Education, threaten the future of science itself.

When will this lunacy pass? We venture to state our secret conviction, hoping the all-powerful EPA Gestapo is not listening:

The planet we live on is not under any existential threat. And if it were, there’s not a thing anyone could do about it. 

So sleep well, children. Happy dreams.

Destroying the library 8

The great library of Alexandria was ravaged by Christians in 391 CE, and completely destroyed by Muslims in 642 CE.

Now contemporary barbarians are following those precedents and giving the same vigorous treatment to the great public library of New York.

Books, you see, are things that preserve privilege. They make the people who read them feel superior to those who don’t. Reading is a selfish, snobbish, individual occupation. It snubs the community. It is anti-social, and – even worse – anti-socialist.

The news of this historic act of cultural sabotage is reported by Daniel Greenfield at Front Page:

The New York Public Library is drastically purging its book collections, eliminating a great number of older books in circulation and making books that remain in its collection much less accessible.

With the famous 42nd street library, it means the outright vandalism of one of the most famous libraries in the country whose books will be banished to New Jersey. At local branches, it means fewer books, more computers and more gimmicks.

It’s striking then to look at the front page of the New York Public Library [brochure], to note its absence of books and the proliferation of pop culture and politically correct events. The Beatles get extensive coverage. There are a dozen black history events including racism in the criminal justice system.

Then you’ve got AIDS activism complete with a gay kiss and a Muslim librarian.

Finally movie rentals and shopping for diamonds.

Books? The New York Public Library doesn’t seem to do those much anymore. But if you want a computer, a diamond or political correctness, you’ve come to the right place.

This is what the New York Public Library is becoming …

“Although they are often thought of as cultural institutions,” argued a 2013 report by the Center for an Urban Future, a left-leaning New York think tank, “the reality is that the public libraries are a key component of the city’s human capital system.” In this view, New York’s public libraries — and the branches in particular — exist to provide underprivileged groups with vital services, such as computer-literacy classes, job-search assistance, and “safe havens” for at-risk youths.

A homeless shelter, an immigrant literacy center and a place for teenagers to hang out. No books wanted.

$300 million [will be spent] on a restructuring of the 42nd Street building which includes a huge expansion of public space, the removal of stacks (and the 3 million books in them), and the creation of a circulating library in the building.

NYPL will lose its standing as a premier research institution (second only to the Library of Congress in the US) – a destination for international as well as American scholars – and become a busy social center where focused research is no longer the primary goal.

One of the claims made about the CLP is that it will “democratize” the NYPL, but that seems to be a misunderstanding of what that word means. The NYPL is already among the most democratic institutions of its kind. Anyone can use it; no credentials are needed to gain entry.

Meanwhile you can walk into any branch and borrow a laptop because apparently that is what the library is supposed to do now.

Gormless “Progressives” taking another great leap forward.

If proof were needed that the Left is against civilization, this report provides it.

The strict sameness of diversity 18

On the political left, fair is foul and foul is fair.

The left likes to use words to mean their opposites. Communist dictatorships like to call themselves “democratic” republics. It’s a cynical tease, because it shows that they know democracy is better than dictatorship.

A cynical lefty euphemism much in use in America is “diversity”. It should mean “variety”, but what it has come to mean in practice is its opposite  - “orthodoxy”: a strict doctrinal uniformity of opinion.

The doctrine has achieved enormous success in the universities, which are no longer open to new ideas, no longer allow free debate, no longer question fixed assumptions. That’s what they once existed for. Now they are temples of political correctness, safes for the secure locking up of leftist doctrine.They want a sterile mix of ethnicities and of as many genders as semantic ingenuity can invent, but not a fertile mix of ideas. They recognize only one set of ideas as correct. To question it is heresy.

Steps towards enforcing this kind of “diversity” in the news media have been proposed by the Obama administration. Charles Krauthammer deplores the move in this video clip:

Here the doctrine of diversity is examined by Victor Davis Hanson:

Diversity has become corporatized on American campuses, with scores of bureaucrats and administrators accentuating different pedigrees and ancestries. That’s odd, because diversity does not mean any more “variety” or “points of difference,” at least as it used to be defined.

Instead, diversity has become … synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance, especially of political thought.

When campuses sloganeer “celebrate diversity,” that does not mean encouraging all sorts of political views. …

Do colleges routinely invite graduation speakers who are skeptical of man-made global warming, and have reservations about present abortion laws, gay marriage or illegal immigration – if only for the sake of ensuring diverse views?

Nor does diversity mean consistently ensuring that institutions should reflect “what America looks like.” …

Do we really want all institutions to weigh diversity rather than merit so that coveted spots reflect the race and gender percentages of American society? …

Gender disparity is absolutely stunning on American campuses. Women now earn about 61 percent of all associate degrees and 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. With such disproportionate gender representation, do we need outreach offices on campus to weigh maleness in admissions? Should college presidents investigate whether the campus has become an insidiously hostile place for men? …

If ethnic, rather than class, pedigrees provide an edge, how do we ascertain them in today’s melting-pot culture? Does the one-quarter Latino student, the recent arrival from Jamaica or the fourth-generation Japanese-American deserve special consideration as “diverse”? And if so, over whom? The Punjabi-American? The Arab-American? The gay rich kid? The coal miner’s daughter? Or the generic American who chooses not to broadcast his profile?

Does Diversity Inc. rely on genetic testing, family documents, general appearance, accented names, trilled pronunciation or just personal assurance to pass judgment on who should be advantaged in any measurement of diversity?

In such an illiberal, tribally obsessed and ideologically based value system, it is not hard to see why and how careerists such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and activist Ward Churchill were able to fabricate helpful Native American ancestries.

Diversity came into vogue after affirmative action became unworkable in the 1980s. Given the multiplicity of ethnicities, huge influxes of new immigrants and a growing rate of intermarriage, it became almost impossible to adjudicate historical grievances and dole out legal remedies. So just creating “diversity” – without much worry over how to define it – avoided the contradictions.

But diversity is not only incoherent; it is also ironic. On a campus short of resources, the industry of diversity and related “studies” classes that focus on gender or racial differences and grievances crowd out exactly the sort of disciplines that provide the skills – mastery of languages, literature, science, engineering, business and math – that best prep non-traditional graduates for a shot at well-compensated careers.

And here Jonah Goldberg writes on the same subject:

Cancel the philosophy courses, people. Oh, and we’re going to be shuttering the political science, religion and pre-law departments too. We’ll keep some of the English and history folks on for a while longer, but they should probably keep their resumes handy.

Because, you see, they are of no use anymore. We have the answers to the big questions, so why keep pretending there’s anything left to discuss?

At least that’s where Erin Ching, a student at Swarthmore College, seems to be coming down. Her school invited a famous [or infamous - ed] left-wing Princeton professor, Cornel West, and a famous right-wing Princeton professor, Robert George, to have a debate. The two men are friends, and by all accounts they had an utterly civil exchange of ideas. But that only made the whole thing even more outrageous.

“What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion,” Ching told the Daily Gazette, the school’s newspaper. “I don’t think we should be tolerating [George's] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society.”

Swarthmore must be so proud.

Over at Harvard, another young lady has similar views. Harvard Crimson editorial writer Sandra Y.L. Korn recently called for getting rid of academic freedom in favor of something called “academic justice”. 

“If our university community opposes racism, sexism and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?” Korn asks.

Helpfully, she answers her own question: “When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.”

One could easily dismiss these students as part of that long and glorious American tradition of smart young people saying stupid things. As Oscar Wilde remarked, “In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.”

But we all know that this nonsense didn’t spring ex nihilo from their imaginations … These ideas are taught.

Indeed, we are now up to our knees in this Orwellian bilge. Diversity means conformity. …

To want “diversity” – the writer sums up – means to listen only to “people who agree with me”  and that means people who are left wing.

[For] the sages of Swarthmore and Harvard …  if the conversation heads in a direction where [they] smell “oppression” – as defined solely by the left – then it must not be “put up with”. 

Diversity demands that diversity of opinion not be tolerated anymore.

More education fraud: teachers cheating 2

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here’s Walter Williams on education fraudfrom Front Page:

Philadelphia’s public school system has joined several other big-city school systems, such as those in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., in widespread teacher-led cheating on standardized academic achievement tests.

So far, the city has fired three school principals, and The Wall Street Journal reports, “Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation’s largest cheating scandals.”

Investigators found that teachers got together after tests to erase the students’ incorrect answers and replace them with correct answers.

In some cases, they went as far as to give or show students answers during the test. …

While there’s widespread teacher test cheating to conceal education failure, most notably among black children, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, published by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and sometimes referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, measures student performance in the fourth and eighth grades. In 2013, 46 percent of Philadelphia eighth-graders scored below basic, and 35 percent scored basic. Below basic is a score meaning that a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level.

Basic indicates only partial mastery. It’s a similar story in reading, with 42 percent below basic and 41 percent basic. With this kind of performance, no one should be surprised that of the state of Pennsylvania’s 27 most poorly performing schools on the SAT, 25 are in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s four-year high-school graduation rate in 2012 was 64 percent, well below the national rate of 78 percent. Even if a student graduates from high school, what does it mean?

What a high-school diploma means for white students is nothing to write home about, as suggested by the fact that every year, nearly 60 percent of first-year college students must take remedial courses in English or mathematics.

What a high-school diploma means for black students is nothing less than a disaster … When a student is given a high-school diploma, that attests that he can read, write and compute at a 12th-grade level, and when he can’t do so at the eighth-grade level, that diploma is fraudulent. What makes it so tragic is that neither the student nor his parents are aware that he has a fraudulent diploma. When a black person is not admitted to college, flunks out of college, can’t pass a civil service test or doesn’t get job promotions, he is likelier to blame racial discrimination than his poor education.

Politicians, civil rights organizations and the education establishment will do nothing about the fraud. In fact, they give their full allegiance to the perpetrators.

Posted under Commentary, education, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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