Category Archives: Education

Why Schools Are Not Producing Scholars

John Tierney relates the story of an elementary school teacher in West Virginia who led her students in a campaign to prevent school officials from shutting down a garbage recycling program. The program was so uneconomical it made no sense to keep it going. But the teacher was determined to preserve her students’ status as eco-nuts.

As Tierney asks,

If we want our children to be scientifically literate and get good jobs in the future, why are we spending precious hours in school teaching them to be garbage collectors?

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High Esteem — But No Clue

A new study suggests that the self-esteem movement may have gone too far in building self-confidence in kids.

Decades of relentless, uncritical boosterism by parents and school systems may be producing a generation of kids with expectations that are out of sync with the challenges of the real world.

In other words, self-esteem is not merely taught, it is developed through a pedagogy of discipline and challenge, reinforced by positive reward.

Just imagine how these out-of-touch, feel-good young adults will skew elections once they are old enough to vote. Oh, wait, . . . .

The Tyranny of the Left

Ralph Peters places the modern Left, with it’s desire to silence opposition, in its proper historical context. Every totalitarian regime in recent history has been an enemy of free speech.

The extreme left loves to pretend it stands for freedom. It never has and never will. From the Reign of Terror in Paris onward, its core agenda has been the tyranny of egomaniacal intellectuals. The hard left hates an open debate – especially these days, when it’s out of new ideas.

The left pretends that campuses should enjoy freedom of speech, yet activist students shout down, harass and even attack speakers whose views they dislike. That’s brownshirt behavior, folks – as surely as show trials are Stalinist.

Math and Gender

A new study was trumpeted by the media last week, indicating that girls do no worse on standardized math scores than boys. Clearly, the commentary added, the disparities of the past were due to social preconditioning, not genetic differences, and our war against this evil stereotype is finally paying off.

Heather MacDonald took a closer look at the study, and discovered that, once again, the media reported only part of the story, the part that seemed to match their agenda. There was another angle they conveniently ignored: “while boys’ and girls’ average scores are similar, boys outnumber girls among students in both the highest and the lowest score ranges.”

Boys are found more often than girls at the outer reaches of the bell curve of abstract reasoning ability. If you’re hoping to land a job in Harvard’s math department, you’d better not show up with average math scores; in fact, you’d better present scores at the absolute top of the range. And as studies have shown for decades, there are many more boys than girls in that empyrean realm. Unless science and math faculties start practicing the most grotesque and counterproductive gender discrimination, a skew in the sex of their professors will be inevitable, given the distribution of top-level cognitive skills. Likewise, boys will be and are overrepresented among math dunces—though the feminists never complain about the male math failure rate.

Men and women are inherently different, in ways that we are still struggling to understand. To deny this basic fact of human nature is not only intellectually dishonest, it suppresses the diversity that academics insist is so vital among the human community.

Moderation in Academia?

Sick of the leftist, politically-correct nonsense that infests so much of higher education these days? Just wait a few years — the current crop of Marxist baby-boomer professors is gradually being replaced by younger, more moderate colleagues.

Baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who many of the nearly 50 academics interviewed by The New York Times believe are different from their predecessors — less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate.

If great historical epochs help shape a generation’s political and cultural outlook (think the Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam, Watergate, etc.), then ponder the effect of the Reagan revolution and the fall of Communism on the generation that came of age during that time — and are now rising up through the ranks of academia.

The Latest Trojan Horse from Higher Ed

Who could possibly be opposed to “sustainability”? A lot of Americans, that’s who — if they really understood what is being sneaked in under that label.

John Leo spells out the details of what is included in the push for “sustainability” by higher institutions of learning. It’s not merely a commitment to using fewer trees.

Peter Wood, executive director of the National Association of Scholars (NAS) says, “It turns out that virtually the entire agenda of the progressive left can be fit inside the word ‘sustainability.” Adam Kissel of the educational watchdog group the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote: “Documents written or promoted by residential life officials demonstrate that sustainability is a highly politicized comprehensive agenda including positions of such topics as affirmative action, gay marriage, abortions, corporations and worldwide distribution of wealth.” In addition, the movement apparently features codewords within the master codeword “sustainability.” “Secure livelihoods” and “strong economies” seem to mean redistribution of existing wealth, not economic development to create new wealth.

In other words, it’s just another effort to indoctrinate students in the dogma of the left.

Britain Creates a “Why Bother?” Economy

That’s according to a recent report from a British think tank. A complex welfare system coupled with a moribund education system has created a subclass of citizens who have no motivation or even capability to work. As Van Helsing comments,

Basically, liberalism has reduced humans to farm animals. Just like chickens are raised by farmers for their eggs, welfare dependents are raised by the State for their votes.

What is the future of a democracy that operates on that principle?