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27 February 2019



Toes 10am link to front porch republic is the perfect compliment to your remarks. The point is to turn out malleable, non-judgmental putty to be shaped as their betters see fit. No need for any history before one's own birth. Liberals' educational goals have been met perfectly and modern education can be seen as a complete success. National dumbth is the goal, a feature, not a problem. L

Don Bessee

Hey my bonus gets easier if we just lower the bar, hell why even have a bar.



Bill Tozer

This does not dovetail nicely or fit into Dr. Rebane’s post, save this one money quote:

This episode is yet more evidence that modern progressive activism is regrettably at “odds with previously cherished progressive values. For many on the left, free speech and due process are not principles to defend, but obstacles to overcome.”
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. is a law professor at Harvard University and faculty dean of Winthrop House, one of the college's 12 residential houses. He was the first black man to serve in such a position, and also directs Harvard's Criminal Justice Institute and Trial Advocacy Workshop. In 2008, he advised the campaign of then-Sen. Barack Obama on criminal justice issues. He represented Michael Brown's family in their suit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and his work has led to the release of over 6,000 wrongfully incarcerated people.

You might expect Sullivan to be in good standing with the progressive activist community at Harvard. You would be wrong.



DB 551pm

You do realize that the 90% A, 80% B, etc etc is not based on anything physically real? It's just a mapping guide for teachers and students for what the grade on a test means.

Regarding "achievement gaps"... a dirty little secret is that quality curriculum with quality instruction in math will tend to maximize the achievement gap between groups that in general excel (like certain Asian groups, Jews and white mostly males) and groups that don't in general excel. But everyone will do better as a whole.

What instruction tailored to keeping the achievment gaps down will do is hobble the kids who would be winning in a fair race, whether their groups are favored or not. Ability and work ethic aren't always residing in the kids you might think are primed for relative greatness.

Like with the first three years in Mathland in Grass Valley schools in the middle '90's... with half the kids in the bottom quartile, there's plenty of compression to keep the boys in check. The girls did much better... or did they?


re: BillT@10:03PM

The thing that makes those articles have less impact on our local Fight Club is that the local bolshies don't (I think) buy into the belief systems of their younger brethren. The result is that they never try to justify Blue Mob craziness which is no fun on their part.

I'd say that our sleek and well-fed Leftists who participate here really don't have much to do with the urban mainstream of their party. I suppose that living in whiteopia and bathing in that sweet sweet nonprofit money might give you a different view of the world.

The only unifying matter appears to be Trumphate, which is a sort of religion with a foundation myth built on the Devil rather than God.

School? Dunno if it'll matter how you teach the bottom 80% of the population. Time will tell as one civilization surpasses another. Heck, for all I know representative democracy doesn't have long-term legs. It might be enough to make sure that there is plenty of soma available.

Robert Cross

I just love reading what you education experts have to say..you all just know so much more than everyone else.. it's simply astounding.


Well Babs Post your creds and diplomas.
Have you even made it out of high school yet?

George Rebane

From the Left's perspective, our govt educational system is well managed by professional educators, has been firing on all cylinders, and need not be examined, let alone critiqued, by those not in the priesthood. As now an ex-officio member of the priesthood, I don't share that perspective. The public education system needs all the help it can get, especially from those not members of the current public education industry.


Here's some education news... not a single Nevada County school made California's distinguished school list. None. Zilch. Nada.


No exemplary districts, either

Bill Tozer

Short article on school suspensions, a topic covered before. Loosely fits topic, but does affect achiement gap. (Read last sentence if not interested in link)

Asians have the lowest school suspension rates of all, lower than whites. That contradicts claims that whites are receiving preferential treatment in school discipline based on their race, and that schools are practicing “white supremacy.” For example, Asians were suspended at about one-fourth of the white rate, while whites in turn were suspended at one-fourth the black rate, in California. (See “2017 Brown Center Report on American Education,” at pg. 25).

Amundson called for reducing suspensions of “students of color.” But that could harm innocent African-Americans by reducing their ability to learn and be safe. After all, much violence is black-on-black, and when a black student constantly disrupts class, that harms black classmates’ ability to learn. After suspensions were curbed in New York City, the Manhattan Institute’s Max Eden found that “schools where more than 90% of students were minorities experienced the worst” effects on school climate and safety. Indeed, the harm from curbing suspensions had “a disparate impact by race and socioeconomic status.” Eden noted in the New York Post that another “study by a University of Georgia professor found that efforts to decrease the racial-suspension gap actually increase the racial achievement gap.” Joshua Kinsler found that “in public schools with discipline problems, it hurts those innocent African American children academically to keep disruptive students in the classroom,” and “cutting out-of-school suspensions in those schools widens the black-white academic achievement gap.”



George Rebane

BillT 625pm - whouda thought? Most certainly no progressives could have predicted this.

Bill Tozer

Today’s children are educated using concepts that trace back to Rousseau, not to the Enlightenment. The well-intended innovators promised every child would learn and be enjoy doing so. The reality has been catastrophic.


There's always the thrill of watching disasters from afar:



....although I never ever see believable solutions. Maybe the right answer is to simply bag and tag the bad kids and write them off. No doubt part of traditional 'solutions' is to mix miscreants in with the virtuous and hope that the latter can somehow train the former.

Dunno, although if I were presented with the problem I'd simply vote with my feet.

I do have a good idea for a reality TV show though. We'll take all the education 'experts' who write papers for sweet sweet nonprofit money and all the education activists who are first to the microphone and put them in charge of a shitty urban classroom for a year. Be amazed as their theories fail. Marvel as they are assaulted. Cry with them as they find themselves in a bad situation.



lol. I see that one of the leaders of the experiment that is the St. Paul school system took the typical path out:


I wonder sometimes if that isn't the end game for our country. An economy made up of surveillance capitalism and nonprofits.


In case anyone is interested in the future of our nation (or at least part of it):

Making the Grade:
The Path to Real Integration and Equity for NYC Public School Students


although I can't say that the new word 'Latinx' scans very well. What is the plural of 'Latinx' anyhow?

Bill Tozer

@ 9:44 am
Q: Xanex.


I would guess Latinices, but I'm not sure.

Todd Swallows

Gregory 2/28@11:03

"Here's some education news... not a single Nevada County school made California's distinguished school list. None. Zilch. Nada."

Proof is in the pudding. The likes of Senum and Todd Juvinall, never went any farther than NU and their ignorance-based legacies still haunt the streets of Nevada County. There ought to be a law.

Todd Swallows

Todd Juvinall

Trump and Obama at the same poll numbers at this point in their first term.


Swallows anything @ 326pm

The schools were better here until Common Core version 0.1, whole language and whole math, were rolled out by McAteer's County Education Orifice in the EARLY 90'S, LONG after the real Todd and fake Senum attended.


Toes 834am

Rousseau, and John Dewey, "an American philosopher, psychologist, democratic socialist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform... A well-known public intellectual, he was also a major voice of progressive education and liberalism."

Dewey died in 1952 at age 92. Only the good die young.

Child-centered approaches. Let the little dears explore the world of information without a teacher to interfere with context or directions to do boring stuff. Like spelling exams or arithmetic practice.

Bill Tozer

Looking past K-12 (lowering of standards) and teaching schools (lowering of standards), what happens down the road? Since CA has eliminated remedial non credit classes in English and Math, what happens when one goes for a State certification for a CPA, Nurse, professional licenses. Engineering degrees? Architects?
Gotta fill the seats to keep colleges afloat, yet gotta keep the graduation rates up and have pupils prepared to pass exams for licenses or enter professions....to keep the seats filled and the doors open.
This link deals with (private?) law schools, but hits both side of the equation of lower standards and meeting the bar, pun intended.


George Rebane

BillT 148am – And here I thought that I was the only one reading Medium.com (a friend gave me a subscription so I could better keep up with the Millennial mindset).

When I ran into this piece I planned to update this post to illustrate what IMHO is a ridiculous argument – ethicality(!) and reinforcing class divisions - for lowering educational standards for the professions. Unfortunately, the author uses lawyering for the basis of his arguments, and totally ignores the impact on consumers when those less-than-competent deliver life-critical services. We have discussed this situation frequently in the context of growing systemic unemployment in these pre-Singularity years.

Perhaps because law is mostly a BS profession, it may not be very impactive on the new client when he gets bad advice or incompetent promotion of his cause from a good-hearted yet less than proficient lawyer. The same can be said for the other ‘soft professions’ in the psychological and social arts, in teaching/academe, in political science and government studies, in history and language, … – all of these fields are already populated with a heavy complement of bottom drawer practitioners.

But things change dramatically when such low-bar entrants are allowed into fields like healthcare and the large pantheon of intellect-demanding STEM-based professions. (The bridge will collapse, the drug goes undiscovered, the prescription is wrong, the software doesn’t work, …) There the politically promoted students can and will cause great harm to the society that implements ‘socially just’ laws and regulations to force the hiring of dummies. Our progressive overlords are forever trying to flatten nature’s bell curves into boxcar (uniform) distributions. And where they have succeeded – e.g. in government bureaucracies – pain and suffering for the rest of us is the inevitable result.

(Aw, what the hell; I posted it as an update anyway. Thanks Mr Tozer.)

Bill Tozer

Another piece of the puzzle.

“It all fell apart this year, though, when legislators had the gall to couple the promised pay raises with education choice and other reforms in an education omnibus. The central sticking point: Senate Bill 451 tried to authorize a handful of public charter schools (the number would have been capped at seven schools — for the entire state), as well as $3,300 in Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for a very limited number of special-needs students.”.....

“We’re thinking about moving to Virginia,” Sydney told me. “It’s only 15 minutes away, and they have great STEM charter schools. I would drive a whole hour to get my kids to a good STEM school.” While Henderson’s two children are already in high school, she wishes charters had been an option when they were younger. “There are wonderful charter schools in Maryland. If I’d known there aren’t any educational options here in West Virginia, I probably would not have moved into this state 15 years ago. I feel like West Virginia doesn’t have much to offer as far as options in education.”

“I have promised to keep confidential all the folks who have spoken to me,” Rucker says. “Teachers, administrators, county board members, superintendents. They support reform but can’t speak to it publicly.”

“If West Virginia continues to allow teachers’ unions to run roughshod over the will of the people, resisting all meaningful education reforms, the state will continue to bleed residents, students, and taxpayers. In short, it will continue to fail.”


Bill Tozer

Coming to a place near you.


Bill Tozer

Opps. Try this. Hit wrong key.



No time to comment at the moment, but ...

George Rebane

Gregory 932am - Looking forward to your analysis of that article. It seems to confirm that women lag in the hard STEM field PhDs, which IMHO in itself doesn't mean much. And while our philosophy pre-doc author acknowledges that "A key requirement for a PhD is to make an 'original contribution to knowledge'", he doesn't acknowledge what kinds knowledge contributions are made or acknowledged by PhDs in 'Social and Behavioral Sciences', 'Arts and Humanities', 'Business', and 'Public Administration and Services', especially those of the female kind.


George... if you recall, I've been objecting to the use of "STEM" in K-12 education for years. Doing a little bit of digging, it appears that "STEM" emerged as a Social Justice Warrior term in the 'oughts (about 2006) for researchers looking into higher education bias and why Silicon Valley was mostly filled with guys.

That the terms used to define "science" and "technology" were tailored to rejecting for purposes of "STEM" biological technology and science is very interesting.

"Technology" and "Engineering" really don't have a place in elementary and secondary schools except in what we used to call "shop" classes. Metal shop. Electric shop. Great stuff, and they should come back. Bending metal, soldering metal, making a sand casting and then having the teacher (molten metal in the hands of a 13 year old... perish the thought) pour the aluminum into the mold. Priceless experiences for a kid in junior high. Electric shop, too. Great stuff.

Sure, let's have a "word processing shop" and "spreadsheet" shop. And a shop in scripting language (Python would be a great choice) leading into a shop in programming (again, Python). Together, a great year long course in the 8th or 9th grade. Or spread around.

However, that doesn't bring anyone to a point where they'd be candidates for tackling science, math or engineering (an applied science) in college. That takes MATH and it takes SCIENCE. Not playtime making robots.

AP Computer Science... good stuff. After a kid has at least an Algebra I (preferably Algebra II) class under their belt. As the Prerequisites state:"The assumed prerequisites for entering the AP Computer Science A course include
knowledge of basic English and algebra. A student in the AP Computer Science A
course should be comfortable with functions and the concepts found in the uses of
function notation, such as f(x) = x + 2 and f(x) = g(h(x)). It is important that students
and their advisers understand that any significant computer science course builds
upon a foundation of mathematical reasoning that should be acquired before
attempting such a course"

And if you add in A as in Arts for STEAM, it's a mockery of its original intent, both as a term of SJW art and for folks like you and Russ thinking it's useful as an exhortation for kids to take math and science seriously. It isn't. It's a loaded term that is a loser for folks wishing for competent K-12 instruction in math and science.

Bill Tozer

Nothing provacitive, just paying more for less. Messing with the grading system by law.

“State Democrat lawmakers are considering a bill that will make a permanent grade scale change for all state public schools. The Tar Heel State has been using a 15-point grade system, rather the traditional 10-point scale, to determine A to F school grades since 2015.
However, the 15-grade scale is set to revert to a 10-point scale at the end of the 2019 school year if no legal action is taken. That’s why Democrat lawmakers in the State Assembly are pushing for a bill to make the 15-point grade scale permanent.

They [unions-eachers] say they are doing this for our children. But how can our children get any education when their teachers are out protesting? If the strike is really about better education outcomes, why do teachers’ unions oppose all the good ideas that may improve the quality of education, such as more stringent academic standards, longer school days, pay for performance, accountability, and competition?

Many Americans, including myself, want to see excellent teachers get as much pay as they can command. But teachers’ unions’ rejection of any meaningful education reform is perpetuating the sad outcomes of U.S. public education and condemning the most vulnerable children to life-long poverty.



The grading system isn't set by the percentile cutoff for A, B, C, etc. It's set by the difficulty of the grading, the tests and the assignments.

What about a scale where 20% and above was an A, between 10 and 20% is a B, above 4% is a C and less than that is a D or F? There was one A, a couple of B's and the most common score on that test was Zero. A real test in a real college without grade inflation.

My high school physics teacher, after every test, would tell us what he thought the grade cutoffs were... a test with 120 points, maybe above a 63 would be an A, below a B, maybe an outlier way below would get some counseling to work harder. On a final one semester, he took the score of smartass who got the high score, near perfect, and set the cutoff for an A at half that score. That was about half the class. Yes, it was unscientific, but it looked right to him, and it was his choice to make.

It's all in the mapping, Toes. I've talked to teachers who were also convinced that the grade had something to do with how much right you got on a test. A music teacher tried to tell me once that grades in music had to be all A's... because even 5% of the notes being wrong is unlistenable.

They and you are missing the point. If the performance is worth an A, if an A is 85% or greater, they'll get between 85 and 100. The teacher will know about where to put it if they aren't out to punish a student.

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