Patterico's Pontifications


The Point of Public Education

Filed under: Education,Political Correctness — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What is the point of public education? Is it to learn basic skills like the old-fashioned “3 R’s” — reading, writing, arithmetic — or is it to learn how to get along with people, to be tolerant of different backgrounds and cultures, and open to other beliefs?

That seems to be the issue in a New Hampshire case involving Amanda, a 10-year-old girl who is being home-schooled by her mother and is described as “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising and intellectually at or superior to grade level.”

However, Amanda’s divorced father and a local judge think she needs a public education — and the judge seems to think Amanda is being brainwashed by religion:

“In a court order issued in the case, the local court reasoned that the girl’s “vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view.”

Got that? It sounds like the more articulate and vigorous Amanda is in expressing her opinions, the more the judge believes she needs public education. However, the father’s attorney says the case is about Amanda getting along with other people and not about her religion:

“Kurowski’s attorney, Elizabeth Donovan, said the ruling was based on the girl’s isolated learning environment, not on her mother’s religion. She said the girl’s home schooling consists of “sitting in the corner of her mother’s bedroom,” where she receives her lessons on a computer screen.

Kurowski “is concerned because of the isolation that is borne of that and the lack of exposure to the broader culture at large,” Donovan said. “People of different heritage, people of different culture, tolerance, group problem-solving, making friends, losing friends — all of the things that come with a public school education.”

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has agreed to hear Amanda’s case but it’s hard to view it as an anomaly given a recent story about the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities College of Education and Human Development. Through its “Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group,” the College plans to enforce what F.I.R.E. calls a “political litmus test for future teachers” and students based on their predispositions, beliefs, and “cultural competence.” The educators at U-Minn believe “both academic preparation and particular dispositions or professional commitments are needed for effective teaching.”

That sounds a lot like what the New Hampshire judge thinks Amanda should be learning in school.



In the Foxhole With Hasan

Filed under: Political Correctness,Terrorism — DRJ @ 10:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via the Instapundit:

“WALTER REED OFFICIALS ASKED, Was Hasan Psychotic? NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling has owned this story from the beginning. And this is damning:

“Put it this way,” says one official familiar with the conversations that took place. “Everybody felt that if you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, you would not want Nidal Hasan in your foxhole.”

Not that they did anything to prevent someone else from finding themself in that position.”

This story is more unbelievable every day, but was it the result of a PC military or something more specific — like a PC medical-psychiatric profession?



A Woman’s Nation

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Political Correctness — DRJ @ 5:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

California recently hosted an extravagant Women’s Conference that is all about women changing the world:

“Under the direction of First Lady Maria Shriver, last week’s conference was a two-day extravaganza, a Technicolor version of the event of old. Much of the focus was “The Shriver Report,” a collaboration between Shriver and a Washington think-tank, which declared two weeks ago that we have become “a woman’s nation.”

But the heart of the conference occurred at lunch on Day 2, when Shriver, her voice breaking, for the first time publicly reflected on her mother’s recent death. Her words brought thousands to tears in a silent arena.

It was hard to imagine the same personal scene at a conference of men. But that was part of the point, for the theme of the conference might well have been: We still want to change the world. We just want to do it on our terms.
In her report, Shriver declared the battle of the sexes to be over, replaced by negotiation. Translation: In all the difficult decisions of daily life, the things that get us from here to there, much still needs to be worked out.”

Apart from the fact I wouldn’t waste my time attending a conference where the highlight is crying, this sounds like an excuse to whine about how hard women have it and that men don’t do enough to help them … with a dash of we’re so helpless or fragile thrown in.

Is this the era of independent women or isn’t it? Independent women can handle things without whining or crying and, if a women’s conference that celebrates women is such a good idea, then let men have a men’s conference where they are allowed to celebrate being … men.

There’s another double-standard highlighted here: At a conference where the theme is supporting women, why aren’t more California women supporting politicians like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina? The article suggests it’s because the pressure is off:

“There are now enough women in high-ranking positions that it is harder to invoke the passions that led to firsts, like election nationwide of several women senators in 1992 or Hillary Clinton’s close second in last year’s presidential contest.”

I think there’s a simpler answer that explains why some women are more equal than others. I’ll let Victor Davis Hanson explain it in a slightly different context (H/T Eric Blair):

“What if you took everything Yale Law School Hillary has said abroad the last week [in Pakistan] and put it into the mouth of Idaho BA Sarah Palin?

The press would have gone ballistic about her ignorance of the Middle East, her sermonizing, her scapegoating, her factual errors, etc. (What is it about Palin that drives the elite, especially elite women, crazy? Great looks? That Middle-America accent? The 5 kids and he-man husband? The lack of a powerful father or spouse who could jump-start her “feminist” career with money, contacts, and influence? That Idaho BA? The wink? The charisma and, indeed, sensuality so lacking in her angry critics?)”

Of course, what does Victor Davis Hanson know? He’s just a man.



What Kids Want

Filed under: Political Correctness — DRJ @ 8:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to some Swedish sixth graders and the European Advertising Standards Alliance, Toys ‘R Us doesn’t have a clue what kids want:

“A class at Gustavslund school in south central Sweden spent more than two years studying gender roles before setting sights on the 2008 Toys “R” Us Christmas catalog. When they did, they were more than prepared to recognize the sexist crud inside. “Small girls in princess stuff … and here are boys dressed as super heroes,” 13-year-old Hannes Psajd told a local newspaper while flipping through the catalog. “It’s obvious that you get affected by this.”
The class filed a complaint with Swedish regulatory agency Reklamombudsmannen, which is a member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance, arguing that the catalog modeled restrictive sex stereotypes. The agency reviewed the complaint and found that, indeed, boys are shown “playing in action filled environments,” while girls “are shown sitting or standing in passive poses,” the agency said in a statement. As a whole, “the catalogue portrays children’s games and choice of toys in a narrow-minded way, and this exclusion of boys and girls from different types of toys is, in itself, degrading to both genders,” the organization said.

Ultimately, the agency issued an official rebuke this week of Toys “R” Us, arguing that it “discriminates based on gender and counteracts positive social behaviour, lifestyles, and attitudes.”

Clearly these sixth graders deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.



Sensitivity Training

Filed under: Obama,Political Correctness — DRJ @ 3:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Oh, those sensitive Democrats. First Barack Obama joked with Jay Leno about his “Special Olympics” bowling skills and now the health insurance bill refers to facilities for the “mentally retarded.”

Medicine has viewed “retarded” as a negative label since at least 2001. Thus, the American Association on Mental Retardation is now the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the American Psychological Association hosts a similarly renamed section. But I doubt we’ll see this particular faux pas on Saturday Night Live or PC TV.



If We’re Nice to Them, Maybe They’ll Kill Us Last (A Continuing Series)

Filed under: Political Correctness — Jack Dunphy @ 12:28 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Canadian journalists Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant were recent guests on Milt Rosenberg’s program on Chicago’s WGN radio. They discussed their respective encounters with the kangaroo courts that are Canada’s “human rights tribunals.” Their alleged crimes: offending Muslims by means of published materials. Steyn did so in a series of articles published in Maclean’s magazine, the Canadian newsweekly (as Steyn puts it, like Time or Newsweek, only better). As for Levant, he had the temerity to publish those Danish cartoons that had so many Muslim knickers all in a bunch back in 2005. Mr. Rosenberg’s show is always interesting, and this one was exceptionally so. It’s available for a free podcast here.

In the video below, Ezra Levant is shown under interrogation by some bureaucrat intent on determining whether his state of mind is such that he is deserving of censure by the Canadian government for “hate speech.” Rather than bowing and scraping and begging for forgiveness, Levant lets the woman know what he thinks of her inquiry. All I can say is, Bravo.

–Jack Dunphy


If We’re Nice to Them, Maybe They’ll Kill Us Last – A Continuing Series

Filed under: Political Correctness — Jack Dunphy @ 1:12 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Over at Pajamas Media, Roger Kimball reports on the latest example of the British cowering in the face of Muslim extremism. To summarize, Dutch politician Geert Wilders had been invited to appear before the House of Lords to screen his short film, Fitna, which examines some of the less peaceful history of the “religion of peace.” Wilders arrived at Heathrow Airport but was promptly whisked back on a plane for Holland. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith explained the expulsion, saying that Wilders’s presence in Britain “would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the U.K.”

Quite right. We mustn’t upset the Muslims. In the same post, Kimball reports on the arrest of Muzzammil Hassan, of Orchard Park, New York. Hassan is the founder of Bridges TV, a cable network whose aim is to present Muslims in a positive light. The charge against him? He’s accused of beheading his wife.

–Jack Dunphy


L.A. Times Reports on UCLA Student Who Is Both Illegal and an Affirmative Action Beneficiary

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Immigration,Political Correctness — Patterico @ 7:26 am

The L.A. Times has a front-page story titled For an illegal immigrant, getting into UCLA was the easy part. It’s a perfect storm: P.C. attitudes on illegal immigration, combined with affirmative action.

She’s an illegal immigrant, so she isn’t eligible for most forms of state and federal financial aid. The University of California system, by policy, does not require applicants to disclose their citizenship status: Officials say their goal is to find the best students, not to enforce immigration law.

I wonder if they ask students to disclose whether they are California residents, to determine whether they are eligible for in-state tuition.

But the political correctness doesn’t end with her illegal immigrant status. She’s also, of course, a beneficiary (or perhaps a victim) of the lowered admission standards prompted by our old friend affirmative action:

The 18-year-old De La Cruz graduated barely in the top 20% of her San Pedro High class and is competing against students with much higher GPAs and test scores.

. . . .

UCLA officials acknowledge that some freshmen are admitted for reasons other than their grades and test scores, that some students come from dramatically different backgrounds than many of their peers but show academic promise.

. . . .

She never thought she’d get into UCLA, especially after San Diego State rejected her in February.

The average UCLA freshman boasted a 4.22 GPA in 10th and 11th grades, according to the most recent data posted by the school, and De La Cruz had a 3.365 at San Pedro High when she applied. She got a 21 out of a possible 36 on the ACT college admissions exam, ranking her in the 48th percentile in California. She scored 380 out of a possible 800 on an SAT subject test, putting her in the third percentile nationwide.

But on March 8, De La Cruz opened an e-mail from UCLA, and a congratulatory banner popped up. She screamed and asked a friend to look.

The article is mostly an article about how difficult her life is. She got a B- average for her first quarter, including a C+ in a Life Science class that other students describe to her as an “easy A.” I wish her good luck, but from the article, it sounds like she might not make it.

I bet the reporter could have reached an expert or two to opine on how this girl’s life may be ruined by her being put in a situation where she is having trouble competing academically. I bet the reporter could have found someone with a qualified daughter with high grades and test scores who didn’t get in to UCLA — who is a citizen.

But then, reporters usually go trolling for experts only when they have something they want to say themselves, but need to say it through another person. And somehow I doubt this reporter is trying to make a point about accepting unqualified students who aren’t even citizens.

Let’s hope this isn’t yet another life ruined by politically correct attitudes.


Judge Arrested for DUI Uses Racial Insults on Police Officer

Filed under: Crime,Judiciary,Morons,Political Correctness,Race — Jack Dunphy @ 4:26 pm

[Guest Post by Jack Dunphy]

A Connecticut Superior Court Judge arrested for drunk driving in Gastonbury, Conn., last October was caught on videotape using insulting language – including the notorious “N-word” – on a black state police sergeant who was assisting in the booking process. The judge was arrested after sideswiping a parked police car. Tests showed her blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit more than two hours after the arrest. The Hartford Courant began the story this way:

Repeatedly using vulgar and racial insults, Superior Court Judge E. Curtissa Cofield argued with a police officer — addressing him as “Negro trooper” at one point — who was trying to process her on a charge of drunken driving in Glastonbury last October, a police video released Monday shows. Cofield also is heard twice on the video using the racial term “n—–.”

Shocking, you say. Surely this story should have been picked up by the national media, with the result being that the offending judge resigns in disgrace after the tape is shown endlessly on the various cable news shows.

Well, no. You see, Judge Cofield is herself black and apparently held to a different standard. Though Connecticut’s Judicial Review Council has scheduled a Feb. 9 hearing to address charges of misconduct, the story has attracted little attention outside the state.

And why is that?

–Jack Dunphy


If We’re Nice to Them, Maybe They’ll Kill Us Last

Filed under: Crime,Political Correctness — Jack Dunphy @ 5:53 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

In a post from January 14, I wrote about LAPD officers being ordered not to wear their helmets and face shields while facing pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the Federal Building in West Los Angeles. The wearing of helmets, the officers were told, might inflame the protesters. Sadly but predictably, an officer was injured when he was struck in the head with a protest sign. On January 20, the controversy at last attracted the attention of someone at the Los Angeles Times, which published this story. Now, finally, a member of the Los Angeles city council is demanding answers from the LAPD commanders who gave the boneheaded order.

Councilman Dennis Zine, himself a retired LAPD officer, introduced a motion in the council that would require the LAPD to produce a report on how officers are prepared and equipped for crowd-control operations. The motion cites the LAPD’s Emergency Operations Guide, which explicitly states that officers should not be deployed on such operations without helmets.

All well and good for Councilman Zine to act, but things in the LAPD may be even worse than he realizes. I’ve come to learn that at a similar protest at the Israeli consulate earlier this month, an officer was assaulted by a pro-Palestinian demonstrator, who was then promptly detained. But instead of being hauled off to the station for booking as he should have been, he was released on the orders of senior command officers. This was done in the name of “de-escalating” the situation.

If this attitude of cowardly appeasement is allowed to prevail here in Los Angeles, surely it won’t be long before we see disgraceful spectacles such as the one shown in this video, shot during a pro-Palestinian march in London. To back down from mob violence is like feeding a crocodile in the hope it will eat you last. America, behold your future.

–Jack Dunphy

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