Patterico's Pontifications

8/13/2019

Back to School

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 7:44 am



[Headlines from DRJ]

It’S back to school time in Texas. El Paso schools face extra challenges after the recent shooting:

On Monday, nearly 60,000 public school students in El Paso, Texas, will start the school year amid an air of mourning, fear and resilience.

The first day of school in El Paso’s largest district comes more than a week aftera mass shooting at a local Walmart left 22 people dead. According to a police affidavit, the suspect charged in the attack later said he had intentionally targeted “Mexicans.”

“It’s not at all, in any way, a typical start of school,” says Juan Cabrera, the superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD). “This is not going to be easy. This is going to be difficult and we are really taking this very seriously.”

According to Cabrera, the school district has been contacting families affected by the shooting in order to connect them to support services. No EPISD students were killed, but Cabrera says El Paso is a close-knit community and some students have family members who were directly involved, or know people who were at the Walmart during the attack.

There are ways to help teachers in our schools including Donors Choose and Help A Teacher (also on Facebook). And, as always, drive carefully.

— DRJ

6/28/2019

Gibson v Oberlin Punitive Damages Reduced, as Expected

Filed under: Court Decisions,Education,Law — DRJ @ 2:34 pm



[Headlines from DRJ]

Hot Air: Judge Reduces Oberlin Damages To $25 Million

But there is a twist:

The president of a school facing a $25 million judgment for aiding student efforts to label Gibson’s Bakery a racist institution is insinuating on a conference call with alumni that Gibson’s is a racist institution. So no lessons learned at Oberlin I guess.

Details at the link.

Last week the Oberlin President reportedly repeated a “false claim” it was “held liable for the speech of its students.”

– DRJ

6/17/2019

One View on the Ivy League

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:18 pm



[Link from DRJ]

Foundation for Economic Education: Ivy League Schools Today Put Politics First and Achievement Last

With college application season in full swing, many applicants are hopeful that getting into the nation’s highest-ranked universities means acquiring skills and knowledge meant for the best and the brightest. They would be wrong. As affirmative action court cases and skyrocketing tuition rates reveal, today’s Ivy League institutions have strayed from their sacred mission, putting their own personal biases ahead of the advancement of their students.

As a Valedictorian with a perfect SAT score, I was accepted to several Ivy League schools. After careful consideration, I turned them down in favor of my state school, which saved me over two-hundred grand. Today, as a medical student and researcher, I have no regrets.

— DRJ

6/14/2019

Irony: Oberlin College, This Week

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:49 pm



[Headlines from DRJ]

Earlier this week in punitive damages hearing:

The defense then argued that notwithstanding the Form 990, the college had cash flow and liquidity issues that would make a large punitive award difficult for the college. The defense compared the relatively poor financial condition of Oberlin College to other colleges and universities in Ohio. The defense argued that students would be harmed by a large verdict because the college might have to cut back on grants given to students.

Public statement after punitive damages verdict:

By now many of you will have heard about the latest development in the Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit, a jury’s declaration of punitive damages against Oberlin. Let me be absolutely clear: This is not the final outcome. This is, in fact, just one step along the way of what may turn out to be a lengthy and complex legal process. I want to assure you that none of this will sway us from our core values. It will not distract, deter, or materially harm our educational mission, for today’s students or for generations to come.

— DRJ

5/17/2019

USA Today: Georgetown to expel student after he sues over its handling of college admissions probe

Filed under: Crime,Education — DRJ @ 7:00 pm



[Headline from DRJ]

Georgetown to expel student after he sues over its handling of college admissions probe:

A Georgetown University undergraduate student whose dad has already pleaded guilty to paying $400,000 to the ringleader of a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme is now suing the school to try to stop disciplinary action from the university.

He is a junior and says he “had no knowledge” of his father’s payment.

Read more @ USA Today.

–DRJ

HEADLINE: DSST Stapleton changing name …

Filed under: Education,Race — DRJ @ 8:21 am



[Headline from DRJ]

DSST Stapleton changing name … because of former Denver mayor’s KKK ties:

Students at DSST Stapleton, located at 2000 Valentia St., participated in a process to consider renaming their school, which is in a neighborhood named for Benjamin Stapleton, a Denver mayor in the 1920s who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

According to Wikipedia, Stapleton, Denver is a planned neighborhood at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

–DRJ

9/14/2015

Better That Ten Innocent Suffer Than One Guilty Go Free

Filed under: Accepted Wisdom,Education,General — JVW @ 3:34 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Rep. Jared Polis, Democrat from Boulder County in Colorado, has stirred controversy with comments he made at a House Subcommittee on Higher Education meeting. While in full-blown pander to the campus rape hysteria crowd, Polis let loose with the following regarding students who have been accused of sexual assault:

If there are 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We’re not talking about depriving them of life or liberty, we’re talking about them being transferred to another university, for crying out loud.

Polis uses “people” in his revised Blackstone’s Ratio, but one doesn’t have to be a mind reader to understand that he really means “men.” He dismisses the idea that lives could be ruined by suggesting that it would be practical and easy for students to transfer, overlooking the fact that most universities aren’t keen on taking in students with a record of expulsion on their history. Fortunately, he seems to be way ahead of even left-wing sentiment here. The reliably progressive editorial board at the Boulder Daily Camera, his hometown newspaper, has dubbed the nascent Polis Ratio as “a spectacularly bad idea.”

I have worried for some time now that the most ridiculous ideas from the left are initially dismissed, but have a tendency to stick around and gather momentum among the academic, media, and advocacy classes until they suddenly become the latest manifestation of Social Justice. Would anyone want to bet against this idea being adopted in the Democrat Party’s 2024 election platform?

– JVW

1/27/2015

Jonathan Chait on Political Correctness, Then and Now

Filed under: Education,General,Political Correctness — JVW @ 11:51 am



[guest post by JVW]

In the continuing effort to acknowledge those moments when our ideological opponents have a moment of sanity and allow themselves to see things from our perspective, let me bring to your attention Jonathan Chait’s interesting exploration in New York Magazine of the politically correct mania currently sweeping not just our country but by and large all of Western thought.

Chait begins the article by rehashing the familiar story of Omar Mahmood, the University of Michigan student who was kicked off of the daily campus newspaper after writing a satirical column mocking political correctness and microaggressions for a conservative campus publication. Chait, a Michigan alumnus, ties that story in to a 1992 incident at that very campus in which radical feminists influenced by law professor Catharine MacKinnon attempted to shut down an exhibition by a feminist videographer which aimed to explore the lives of workers in the sex industry. The arguments of the radical feminists 22 years ago will sound familiar to those of us up to date with the current movement to censor ideas that exist outside the narrow canon of tolerance: that being exposed to this material poses “a threat to the safety” of those students which justifies their claiming the mantle of victimhood and the corresponding right to act as censor. As Chait notes in comparing the 1992 and 2014 incidents at UM, “In both cases, the threat was deemed not the angry mobs out to crush opposing ideas, but the ideas themselves. The theory animating both attacks turns out to be a durable one, with deep roots in the political left.”

It’s a long piece and Chait weaves in several different pieces of evidence, from protests against campus speakers to the Obama-Clinton primary battle of 2008 to Charlie Hebdo. He traces the journey of politically correct totalitarianism from the rarefied and dopey mores of academia to the hive-like communities that have developed on social media. Those who are judged to be insufficiently deferential to the oppression suffered by the victim group du jour are routinely hassled, bullied, and threatened on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms popular with a young audience that is susceptible to mindless conformity in the name of social popularity.

But Chait also makes a very keen observation regarding another reason for why we are now hearing of so many instances of the left enforcing PC orthodoxy. As Chait writes, “Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity.” At the same time success breeds imitators, so every interest group that manages to browbeat its critics into submission is an enticement for another interest group to attempt the same. This leads to an unacceptable situation that Chait neatly summarizes:

Political correctness is a term whose meaning has been gradually diluted since it became a flashpoint 25 years ago. People use the phrase to describe politeness (perhaps to excess), or evasion of hard truths, or (as a term of abuse by conservatives) liberalism in general. The confusion has made it more attractive to liberals, who share the goal of combating race and gender bias.

But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves.

Of course, Chait being Chait, he later has to let loose with a paragraph of nonsense designed to remind everyone that hey, he’s a good lefty too, not one of those awful reactionary rightwingers:

Political correctness appeals to liberals because it claims to represent a more authentic and strident opposition to their shared enemy of race and gender bias. And of course liberals are correct not only to oppose racism and sexism but to grasp (in a way conservatives generally do not) that these biases cast a nefarious and continuing shadow over nearly every facet of American life. Since race and gender biases are embedded in our social and familial habits, our economic patterns, and even our subconscious minds, they need to be fought with some level of consciousness. The mere absence of overt discrimination will not do.

Get that? “The mere absence of overt discrimination will not do.” Why shouldn’t we read that to mean that Chait is suggesting that it’s not enough if I am cordial to Al Sharpton and treat him in a way that is honest and fair; unless I eventually come to see things his way I cannot truly be considered to be a “good person.” What else could Chait possibly mean with his blandishments about a nefarious and continuing shadow and biases embedded in our subconscious minds other than the tired claim that unless you vote Democrat you are a racist.

That aside, this is by and large an honest and worthy exploration of a rather illiberal phenomenon that has been cultivated, protected, and advanced for far too long. One can only hope that more thinkers on the left – especially members of those cherished victimized groups – will join him in opposing the mindlessness of enforcing cultural orthodoxy. Again, it’s a long read, but the full article is worth the while. Read the comments too, if only to get your daily allotment of self-regarding leftists who make the “our opinions are the only moral ones, so it is perfectly fine for us to censor your amoral deviations from proper thought” argument that we have all come to know.

– JVW

1/5/2015

Oh, But This is Rich!

Filed under: Education,General,Health Care,Public Policy — JVW @ 2:45 pm



[guest post by JVW]

A bunch of PhDs who apparently don’t understand the concept of irony:

Health Care Fixes Backed by Harvard’s Experts Now Roil Its Faculty (New York Times).

– JVW

5/21/2014

Campus Sexual Assault/Rape: Epidemic or Hysteria?

Filed under: Education,Political Correctness — JVW @ 11:33 am



[guest post by JVW]

Picture this scenario: You are a software salesperson for a medium-sized firm. You spend your day contacting potential customers, both via cold calls and for follow-ups to previous conversations. It’s hard work and your success rate is fairly low (the salesman’s lament is that you hear “no” ten, twenty, even thirty times for every “yes”), but you make enough sales to be considered a moderate success.

One day you are at work and you are asked into a closed meeting. There you are confronted by the VP of human resources, the associate director of manufacturing, one of the senior programmers, and a marketing assistant. They announce to you that they are the company’s disciplinary panel and that you are under investigation because a customer with whom you wrote a contract back in November 2012 now claims that you offered them a kickback and that you wrote the contract in a way that runs afoul of the law.

“Wait a minute,” you say to them, “if you are alleging that I broke laws then I want a lawyer present.”

“This is not a legal proceeding;” the VP for HR replies, “this is an informal hearing in which we are only establishing whether or not you are subject to internal sanctions.”

You are read the allegations against you as reported by the customer, but you are denied a copy of the written accusations and your accuser is allowed to – even encouraged to – leave the room during your “testimony.” You are required to address these allegations immediately on the spot without any time to prepare a defense. No one on the disciplinary panel has a legal background and no one has experience in software sales or writing contracts. There is no hard evidence of your alleged wrong doing in terms of saved email or phone messages. Still, based upon your demeanor and your testimony and the importance of the customer, the panel judges that you are very likely to have committed the acts of which you are accused, so your employment is summarily terminated and you are escorted out of the building.

——–

Does that sound far-fetched? This is apparently roughly analogous to the situation faced by an unnamed male Swarthmore College student who was subject to campus disciplinary proceedings based upon a rape that was alleged to have occurred 19 months earlier. This case has been covered by Powerline, with some original reporting coming from a conservative Swarthmore publication earlier in April with a follow-up a couple of months later. The ending is similar to the scenario I posited below: the student is never charged with a rape, yet Swarthmore deems that he is worthy of expulsion based upon what certainly appears to be a superficial investigation carried out by a panel with no particular expertise in this area.

This is the end result of a campaign waged by campus feminist activists. Unhappy that the vaunted sexual liberation of American youth oftentimes has deleterious consequences, they have determined that there exists today a “rape culture” on campus that is almost exclusively the fault of young male students and the overall patriarchal campus culture. They draw upon the figure from a study of two universities to conclude that one in five college women is subjected to unwanted sexual contact at some point during her undergraduate years. The study in this case defined “sexual contact” as “forced touching of a sexual nature (forced kissing, touching of private parts, grabbing, fondling, rubbing up against you in a sexual way, even if it is over your clothes).” Unsurprisingly, the most aggressive voices among highly politicized feminists have changed that statistic into one in five women being raped in college.

So it comes as no surprise that the Obama Administration — which depends heavily on young single women delivering votes for him, his agenda, and his preferred candidates — would make addressing campus sexual assaults a priority item. The Department of Education, invoking Title IX, is threatening federal intervention against any institution they judge to be unsuitably aggressive in investigating and punishing reported sexual assaults. More ominously, the administration is coercing universities into creating the same sort of kangaroo courts, devoid of due process and staffed by administrators with zero legal training, similar to the one that expelled the Swarthmore student.

Certainly there is no shortage of loutish college boys who seek to use alcohol and peer pressure to entice naive college girls into pushing past the boundaries of their modesty, just as there is no shortage of mindless floozies who believe that drunken sexual promiscuity is a sign of maturity and advances the cause of feminism. Contrary to the clichés that abound among college administrators, our colleges and universities are not populated solely with mature and sophisticated adults, but also with plenty of overgrown adolescents who are no more capable of handling adult freedoms at age 19 than they were at age 15. Any attempt to change a campus culture (and, let’s face it, a youth culture) which fosters regrettable and sometimes even criminal sexual hookups needs to focus on a variety of factors including the easy availability of alcohol and drugs, the loosening of sexual mores in our society, and the lack of rules and supervision prevalent in today’s college environment. Designating young women as perpetual victims always teetering on the verge of being force-fed liquor and raped by uncontrollable college brutes will only further polarize debate, sometimes along rather unpredictable lines. Since she is far more eloquent than I, let me allow Christina Hoff Sommers to have the final word on what she terms the “rape culture hysteria”:

Molestation and rape are horrific crimes that warrant serious attention and vigorous response. Panics breed chaos and mob justice. They claim innocent victims, undermine social trust, and teach us to doubt the evidence of our own experience.

E.M. Forster said it best in A Passage to India, referring to a panic among “good citizens” following a highly dubious accusation of rape: “Pity, wrath, and heroism filled them, but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated.”

– JVW

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2814 secs.