Tag Archives: education

Schools Don’t Understand Technology or Teenagers

Just got back from a mandatory school meeting with my youngest daughter, who now that we’ve moved, is going to a new school and that schools provides Google Chromebooks to the students.  All parents have to sit through a one-hour class on school expectations and responsibilities for the Chromebook.

Geez, these people have no clue.

I mean they honestly treat high school students like they’re 6.  These kids have grown up on computers. They were raised on the Internet.  They know what they’re doing a lot more than you do.  But they’re still treating them, and their parents, like complete idiots.

They seem to think this is 1995.  They even said, I shit you not, “if you want to allow your children to get on your own personal computer and log into the school servers, we don’t mind.”  Your own personal computer?  Which kids don’t have their own?  Which kids don’t have a dozen Internet-accessible devices of their own?  My kids have had their own personal computers since they were 4.  I haven’t paid any attention to what they were doing online since they were 13.  I trained them well and I trust them and they haven’t let me down yet.  If your kids don’t know how to behave online by the time they’re in high school, you’ve failed as a parent.

And the amount of monitoring they are doing is just absurd.  They have two different monitoring agencies sending e-mails to the school administration if anyone ever searches for or looks at anything they don’t like.  They were telling the story of the school valedictorian last year, who went to the MIT site to read Macbeth, getting flagged because Macbeth has words like “rape” and “violence”.  Seriously?  Then again, I’m somewhat surprised that these hyper-liberal schools allow students to read anything “inappropriate” in the first place.  It might trigger someone!

So my daughter immediately turned to me and said “I guess I’m not using that at home!”  Nope, she’s not.  Not with Big Brother looking over her shoulder.  It will come home, get plugged in and she’ll use her own computer or her own laptop or her own tablet or her own smartphone where everything she sees isn’t closely monitored and scrutinized.  I’m sure every other student in the place will be doing the same.

And seriously, does the school think they’re going to catch anyone being stupid?  They even said they rarely ever caught anyone doing anything wrong.  Of course not! Because if any of the students are going to do something “wrong”, they’re going to pull out their smartphone and do it.  Or their tablet and do it. The school has free wifi.  They are not going to do it on a device that they know is being sifted through with a fine tooth comb.  This isn’t going to stop anyone from acting inappropriately, they’re just going to do it where they know they can get away with it!

Oh, and the best part?  The school is proud that this year, for the first time, students will have access to e-mail.  E-mail!  Of course, it’s a heavily restricted system that you cannot send to or receive e-mail from anyone outside of the school and every single message anyone sends will be read by a school administrator.  Guess everyone is just going to have to use their own gmail accounts, huh?

I’m all in favor of schools being tech savvy, but they’re just not.  They’re at least a decade behind the times, utterly paranoid, and they think everyone is as stupid as they are.  Half of those Chromebooks are going to be hacked the minute the kids get them because the kids know more than the adults.  I spent the whole presentation rolling my eyes and I bet virtually every parent in the room was doing the same.

Shifting the Goal Posts on Education

Education is a  subject near and dear to my heart, I think it is essential to a successful society to have its members well educated and knowledgeable of reality.  However, liberals want more, especially when it comes to the poor.  A self-professed liberal recently started ranting that we needed to achieve “equality” in education by funding poor schools exactly the same as rich schools so that poor students would have “equal opportunity” to get learn and get out of poverty.

Sure, in theory that sounds great, but the problem is not that they have no opportunity to learn, it’s that they have no interest in learning. These kids exist within a ghetto culture that actively discourages learning, becoming a productive citizen and being self-sufficient.  There is nothing the schools can do with students who are disruptive and haven’t the slightest interest in learning anything because they figure Uncle Sam is going to send them a check every month.  No, according to the liberal, these schools need more money!

Right up until we pointed out that in California, schools aren’t funded by property taxes, all of that money is sent to Sacramento and it funds every public school, regardless of where it is, exactly the same.  Poor schools get exactly the same amount of money as schools in well-off neighborhoods.  There is no disparity in funding, but in poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the high school graduation rate is still only 62.7%.  Nearly 40% of students drop out of school.  The difference has to be somewhere else. Now for a rational person, you might think that would stop them in their tracks, but not for liberals.  Oh no.  Then he started saying that these poor schools needed *MORE* money!  More money for counselors.  More money for bi-lingual teachers. More money for security.  Just more money in general.  Why?  Because liberals only think in terms of throwing money at problems.  If it isn’t working, send more cash!  So now instead of demanding equality, he wanted superiority.  Superior funding for poor schools!  Screw equality, just throw money at the problem!

But the schools aren’t the problem.  They are just an easy target to blame for the problem that liberals don’t want to address, that being the ridiculous culture that has grown up in the inner city, where education is disregarded, where responsibility is ignored, where kids are encouraged to join gangs and use drugs and commit crimes because prison is the expectation, not the exception.  It’s normal for girls to have children out of wedlock long before they reach adulthood  and often end up with multiple children with multiple men, sitting on the government dole because none of those men ever hang around, nor are they expected to.  You have uneducated parents half-heartedly raising uneducated children, all of them with their hands out to the government for a paycheck and liberals are ignoring that and blaming the schools for not magically making these kids want to learn.  Of course they don’t want to learn, everything in their lives outside of that school is telling them not to bother!  That’s the problem!

So I went ahead and pointed all of this out, again, to our intrepid liberal, pointed out the hypocrisy of wanting more funding in an “equal” system, and he’s changed his tune once again.  Now the problem is “too complex” to be discussed in a forum, that people just “don’t understand” what he’s trying to get at so he won’t bother trying.  But he’s right, oh yes, he’s right, he just can’t explain why he’s right.  He just knows that there’s nothing wrong with the ghetto culture because being against anyone’s culture is a mortal sin in liberal-speak.  He doesn’t dare even consider that possibility.  It’s easier to just point fingers at easy targets than consider the actual truth, that these people live in a failed culture  and that serious issue needs to be addressed.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Edumacation!

Yeah, okay, it’s Texas and we know Texas isn’t that hot, but with the sorry state of education in the state, you’d think they’d be looking for all of the help they could get.  But of course, you’d be wrong.  Instead, in the latest textbook debacle the state has been involved in, where their books claimed that African slaves were, in fact, “workers”, education officials rejected a plan to have their textbooks checked over by university academics.

You wouldn’t want actual educated people evaluating your educational program or anything, would you?

Instead, they’re going to continue to do what they’ve done all along, rely on people who haven’t got a clue about much of anything, mostly a collection of parents, teachers and other members of the general public.  You know, the idiots who got it all wrong in the first place.

In 2014, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund found serious and numerous errors in Texas’ history books up for review. “A number of textbook passages essentially reflect the ideological beliefs of politicians on the state board rather than sound scholarship and factual history,” said Kathy Miller, the president of the Fund.  The extreme overemphasis of religion on early American politics has also been criticized, something that simply is not defensible in reality.  Miller continued, “With all the controversies that have made textbook adoptions in Texas look like a clown show, it’s mind-boggling and downright embarrassing that the board voted this down.”

But as we all know, this kind of ridiculous anti-education nonsense is rampant in Texas and many other places in the south. With creationists regularly serving on school boards, with schools trying to shape history to fit their own religious narrative, it’s a wonder anyone in the state of Texas can actually read, much less learn how things actually happened in the history of this country.  History isn’t a matter of opinion, things that happened actually happened no matter how bad it might make modern day Texans.  We can’t pretend that whitewashing reality makes it all go away.

And this is why I continue to push for national standards in education.  This is not uncommon unfortunately.  So long as we have biased parents and teachers and preachers making the rules, we will continue to have these problems.  The only people qualified to decide what should be taught are academics who actually have a grounding in the subject matter.  The schools exist to teach, not to indoctrinate and not to censor reality.  Until we’re willing, as a nation, to actually care what we put into the heads of our students, our educational system will continue to fail and it will be all our fault. It’s no wonder why the south is the worst at edumacation, we’ve allowed them to be that way.

#BlackRacistsMatter

Oh look, the left are racist again and nobody is paying any attention!  At Dartmouth College, you got #BlackLivesMatter protesters who invaded the college library and started screaming racial epithets at white students and not only does nothing happen to them, the school pulls all coverage of it off of the website of the Dartmouth Review.  It used to be located here, but you’ll notice it sure isn’t there anymore.  Sure, we’re all surprised.

Of course, if this had been white students screaming racial epithets at black students, you would have had the riot police out in force and the whole school demanding mass expulsions for everyone involved.  Instead, at least as of this writing, the school has done nothing and frankly, I’m not holding my breath that anything will happen at all.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJAuVQlLxD0′]

But this is symptomatic of the modern liberal educational system.  Some people, those favored by the left, get to get away with murder and those the left isn’t wild about are held  accountable for their actions, even actions they haven’t even committed. You have feminists pulling fire alarms to stop men’s groups from peacefully meeting and apparently suffering no negative repercussions.  How much do you want to bet that if a men’s group protested a feminist meeting and did the same thing, they’d be in handcuffs?

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO_X4DkwA_Q’]

The fact remains that there is a distinct double standard here.  Liberal social justice causes get away with murder and anyone else gets shouted down as being essentially sub-human  But these people are committing crimes, it is against the law to do what they did, to go around using what amounts to racial terrorism to attack other people.  These people need to be in jail, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, expelled permanently from their school and made an example of so everyone knows what kind of behavior is absolutely not acceptable.

Any bets they’ll all get away with it scot free?  Yeah, I think so too.  Clearly they need another, more accurate hashtag: #BlackRacistsMatter.

Liberals Hate Police

I was having a recent discussion about the case of a school field officer in South Carolina who was called by a teacher to handle a disruptive student, and was fired for brutality.  And you know something?  The whole student body came out in support of the officer, none of them are calling for his termination, but hey, the media rules these days and the left rules the media.

But anyhow, people were talking about whether he should have been fired and I was one of the few people who were arguing no.  Of course, the majority of people on the other side were either dyed-in-the-wool liberals or crazy libertarians who think that there is no such thing as legitimate authority and the police are all a bunch of thugs, so I guess I can’t be surprised.

So I started asking what Officer Fields should have done in that situation and the liberals were all hemming and hawing because they really didn’t have an answer.  They didn’t want him to throw the student across the room, but clearly, some kind of resolution was necessary and they just couldn’t come up with a solution.  “Clear the room!”  Okay, fine.  Now the room is clear, now what?  I’m going to assume that after the teacher told the student to leave the room and she refused and the officer told the student to leave the room, that no amount of telling the student to get out of the desk is going to work, no matter who does it.  She’s going to continue to sit in the desk and refuse to follow orders and continue to disrupt not only that class, but every other class for the day.  She wins.  That’s not acceptable.  Others said “call her parents!”  Great.  But most of these behavioral problems  begin at home, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that the parent(s) don’t care how the girl acts or would respond.  I might say this is a good first step, if they had all day.  However, what if the parents either ignore the call or show up and refuse to help?  What then?  Eventually, every single liberal had to concede that physical force was necessary to resolve the situation.  Every single one, without exception.  So if what he did was necessary, what the hell is with all of the complaining?

Well, let me tell you, the only reason this guy lost his job is because of all of the bad press in the media.  That’s it.  It was to avoid losing face in the court of public opinion.  But even if he was guilty of excessive force, his boss was not the one to fire him. He could suspend him pending an investigation, of course, but in virtually all police forces, termination decisions are made by civilian oversight committees.  They are made with input from the police unions.  These decisions are not made by someone emotionally reacting to potential fallout from an event.  The officer has already retained legal counsel and they are going after the police department for wrongful termination.

Now yes, this entire situation was regrettable, but the blame for the situation wasn’t on the cop.  It wasn’t on the teacher.  It wasn’t on the school.  It was on the student.  If she had not misbehaved in the first place, nothing would have happened.  If she had left the classroom when the teacher told her to, nothing would have happened.  If she would have obeyed the command of the officer, nothing would have happened.  All of this is because we had a student who has never been taught to respect authority and do as they are told by those who have legal authority over them.  That’s the problem, but it’s a problem that idiot liberals and libertarians don’t seem to comprehend.

Don’t Have to Learn in Home School

This is really, really sad.  The Texas Supreme Court actually has to hear a case in which the religious home schoolers are arguing that they don’t actually have to teach their kids anything in their “home school” because the rapture is coming and everyone is going to die anyhow.  And Texas has to actually consider whether learning anything is actually a requirement.

And of course, the religious whiners come out in droves, complaining that this is yet another case of religious discrimination, that parents ought to be able to teach their kids anything they want, or not teach them anything they want, and society should have absolutely no say in the matter.

Except that society has to pay the welfare costs for these uneducated dimwits who have never learned how to get a job, deal with the real world, and make their own way.  Society ultimately pays the costs for these numbskulls who never figure out how to handle reality because the only book they ever opened is the Bible.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all home schoolers are religious idiots, I know plenty who do very well and whose children outperform public school children.  That’s not really that hard because comparing home schools or private schools to public schools is like comparing apples to hand grenades.  Public schools have to take all comers, the mentally disabled, the entirely disinterested, the socially maladjusted, etc.  Private schools can take only the best and brightest, and since their parents have to cough up a bunch of cash, you can be sure that the parents are interested in their child’s education, unlike so many people whose kids just get dumped at public school because it’s cheaper than a babysitter.  So please, don’t assume that I’m critical of all home schoolers, just the ones who seem to think that not actually having to do anything or produce a decent product at the end is fine and dandy because Jeebus is coming back any day now.

These same people are the ones who fight requirements that their children should take state tests to prove they are learning what they are supposed to be learning.  I think I’ve pointed this out, but the only reason that home schooled kids actually perform well on these tests is because the testing is voluntary.  Only the best and brightest, the ones headed to college, are going to take these tests, the ones without two brain cells to rub together never bother and so the results are skewed much higher for homeschoolers, whereas public school students have to take the test regardless and this gives a more accurate result. If you’re actually interested in your “average” student, you have to treat all of them the same and that means requiring everyone to be tested, all the time, and those who consistently fail, they need to be denied the right to homeschool.  It is not, unlike some people seem to think, a constitutional right to home school.  It’s just tradition.  I think in a lot of cases, it’s a bad tradition, that a lot of these kids really belong in a traditional school setting, where they actually learn things, not just the Bible verses their fanatical parents feel like drilling into their heads.

But tell that to the religious crazies and they’ll act like the world is falling down around their ears, which of course, is what they really believe.  Are lunatics like that who we want educating the next generation?  I know my answer to that.

 

 

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #2.12

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Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead!

As we celebrate national gay marriage, we pause long enough to talk about a crazy evangelist who wants to send Bibles to starving Iraqi refugees, a teacher who disciplined a second grader for being an atheist, ridiculous southerners standing up for the Confederate Flag and the potential fallout from Greece’s #grexit.  Then we look at the Supreme Court decision and the idiots who pretend they’re not affected.
So what are you waiting for?  Go listen!

Why I’m Opposed to School Vouchers

school vouchersI see a lot of people, typically libertarians and religious kooks, who are pushing for a school voucher system.  For the libertarians, it’s part of their overriding irrational hatred of all things government and for the religious, it’s usually part of their desire to syphon off money and students from the secularly-controlled public school system.  In both cases, I find their arguments entirely irrational.

From the libertarian side, the argument goes something like this:  People deserve to put their children in the best schools, but because part of their taxes are already going to fund public schools, they ought to get that money back so they can pay for private schools if they so desire.  For the religious, the motive is clear, they want more money and more suckers to indoctrinate.  However, neither really understand the issues associated with modern education and frankly, neither really care either.

It’s important not just to provide a good education to some people, but to all people and that’s not what voucher advocates promote.  They don’t care about the poor or the disinterested, they’re happy to throw them under a bus, they only care about their own kids.  But it’s important for future society to have a well-educated and rational population, that’s why we have universal education, not because people are self-centered and only give a damn about their own kids.  That’s why the public education system was set up in the first place, so that not only the wealthy could educate their children, but so all children everywhere would get at least a basic education.

I’ll be the first one to admit that the public education system has a lot of problems that need to be addressed, but carving it up and defunding it (which some libertarians want to do entirely) is not the answer.  All they care about are the students and parents who are actively involved in education.  There are plenty of parents and students who just don’t care and those are a serious challenge, but just throwing them out into the cold or letting them languish in the educational ghettos simply isn’t the answer.  Those students who do not get an education today become the financial anchors around our necks tomorrow.

According to libertarians, there will be a fight for all students at all levels and that the free market will magically provide. This is nonsense.  At higher levels, certainly you will get a fair bit of competition.  Parents will get the amount they pay out of their property taxes that currently go for public schools and they can go to any private school they like with those funds.  Schools will almost certainly just raise their rates to take these extra funds into account.  A school that charged, say, $10,000 a year will look at parents who now have an extra $5000 a year to spend and just make the school cost $15,000 a year. They will continue to be just as selective, allowing only those students who are not troublemakers, who do not do poorly in the classroom and who get good grades in, thus making them look more attractive to parents who are looking for a “good educational environment”, albeit one that has carefully managed their statistics.  But what of poor parents?  They will take their much lower voucher amount to private schools and, being unable to add anything to it, will have fewer choices.  These low-end schools will now have not only less money to work with but a higher percentage of problem children to deal with.  You will find a higher incidence of drug abuse, teen mothers, criminal behavior, gang violence and the entirely disinterested and very little money to make the system work.  In essence, it’s an educational death sentence for the low end students because schools will almost certainly simply close their doors rather than deal with more headaches and less money and as I said, the people who carry the biggest cost to society will suddenly be in even worse straits than they are currently and not only will society spend more on education than ever before, we’ll still be liable for the same level of social dysfunction, if not more, than we already have.  This doesn’t fix education, it just plays the typical libertarian game of “we got ours, fuck you.”

This doesn’t even address the obvious problem with private schools having the freedom to teach all manner of irrational religious nonsense and local superstition because parents are neither sophisticated nor educated themselves to understand the real world around them.  It goes exactly the wrong way for school standardization that I’ve argued so strenuously for in the past.  We need more standards, not less.  We need a common central curriculum nationwide, not a bunch of crazy cults going willy-nilly around whatever bizarre religious books they follow.  As a secular educational system, we can do away with that nonsense.  As a collective of private schools with no controls, it’s back to the educational dark ages.  That is certainly going the wrong way.

American education and schools have a lot of problems to be sure and they are a political hot potato that nobody wants to address because liberals want control over how people think and the religious want control over what people believe and are taught.  Neither side want what’s best for American children, which is teaching them how to think and how to rationally evaluate the real world.  The idea of a rationally educated public terrifies both sides to no end.  This is a Gordian Knot that will take an interested populace a lot time to finally cut apart, but school vouchers, at least as currently suggested, will not solve the problem, it will only make it worse.

8 Educational Myths

myth-v-truthI run across all kinds of lists, I’ve examined a lot of them in the past and here is another, 8 claimed educational myths, the answers to which also seem to be myths.  I find it funny that people can look at supposed myths and then get it so entirely wrong on their own. It just shows that there are agendas everywhere and people who want things to be true are likely to simply declare it true without showing their work.

Almost immediately, I find that these supposed “myths” were just made up, some out of whole cloth.  These were never part of any kind of validated study, most of them are just presented as “just so” stories, strawmen to be torn down by the writer. I’d think that in order for these to be “myths”, they’d have to be something claimed to be true and accepted as fact by at least a vocal group of individuals somewhere.  But hey, I’m just being rational, it’s a character flaw of mine.

Therefore, here’s my take on the 8 Myths of Education.  I’ve copied much of the text from the original site here to make it easier on readers, but feel free to visit the original site, it’s linked above.

Myth #1: Teachers Are the Most Important Influence on a Child’s Education

Of course teachers are extremely important. Good teachers make a significant difference in achievement. But research indicates that less than 30 percent of a student’s academic success is attributable to schools and teachers. The most significant variable is socioeconomic status, followed by the neighborhood, the psychological quality of the home environment, and the support of physical health provided. There are others, but the bottom line is that teachers have far less power to improve student achievement than do varied outside factors.

Sorry, the most significant variable in a student’s education are their parent(s).  Parents who push their children to succeed in the classroom are going to be much more of a factor than socioeconomic status.  According to a study by the National Education Association (NEA), regardless of family income and background, involved parents will make students attend school more regularly, pass their classes with higher grades, have better social skills with improved behavior and be more likely to go on to college.  Teachers can make parental involvement more likely by keeping in close contact with parents and informing them, not only of the performance of their children, but the importance of keeping the performance up.  I think parental involvement needs to be a requirement for participation in social programs.  If you’re going to get a government check, it is your job to ensure your child is getting a good education.  Why should we just hand you money if you’re going to fail at your most important job?

Myth #2: Homework Boosts Achievement

There is no evidence that this is true. In Finland, students have higher achievement with little or no homework and shorter school hours. The more important factor is what students experience during the school day. Project-based learning, as one example, places the emphasis on what is done during the day. If students choose to do more after hours, that’s their choice. There also may sometimes be other good reasons to assign homework, but there should be no illusion that homework will help increase student achievement.

Notice how there are no links to any of these claims?  That’s okay, I can do my own legwork.  It’s true that Finland has an extremely successful educational system but that’s because the government is doing all of the heavy lifting.  It pays for absolutely everything including travel, food, etc.  Finland is also a very small country with a population just over 5 million, that’s less than the population of New York City alone.  Further, you have a much different cultural expectation there than you do here.  I’m not saying that one system is better than the other, I just don’t think the Finnish system is going to work in the United States.  In Finland, all teachers must have a Master’s degree to teach.  Here, we have problems getting teachers of any kind into many schools, especially inner city schools where some teachers end up because they can find no posting anywhere better.  Yes, it would be great if the American cultural norm was toward education and responsibility and all of that, that’s exactly what conservatism would hope for.  It just isn’t and it isn’t going to change magically.  Wishful thinking isn’t impressive, sorry.  If you like the Finnish system, hope a plane for Finland.

Myth #3: Class Size Does Not Matter

In an average high school, one teacher is responsible for 100-150 students on any given day. Students inevitably get lost in the shuffle. Research evidence strongly indicates that a decrease in the number of students has a qualitative pedagogical impact. When reductions occur in elementary classrooms, evidence has shown that the extra individualized attention and instruction appear to make it more likely for these students to graduate at higher rates from high school. Affluent families more frequently opt for districts or for private schools with smaller classes. It should come as no surprise that larger class sizes may disproportionally impact the children of the poor. Therefore, reducing class sizes will in fact result in more learning.

Seriously, who has ever said that class size doesn’t matter?  Anyone?  It isn’t like there’s a link to a study here that claims it and I was unable to find specific data corroborating his “100-150 student” claim.  I suspect like just about everything else here, it’s made up.  Where class size becomes an issue is where teachers are so overwhelmed that they cannot give individual attention to students needing help. However, in a lecture class, even given the high end of the claim and 7 classes per day, that’s only a hair over 21 students in each class.  21 students is not excessive.

Myth #4: A Successful Program Works Everywhere

There is significant evidence against the idea that a program successful in one school or district should be imported elsewhere and expected to work well. Context is the key variable. Programs must be related to the makeup of the school district and/or the specific school. Approaches to education that are marketed for nationwide use may be excellent yet totally inappropriate for some districts. A program has to fit the specific needs of the schools and classrooms in the district, and a careful needs assessment coupled with a thorough examination should determine whether to adopt a program, not the success of the program elsewhere.

It depends on the program and, as expected, the writer provides no examples or links.  Personally, I think it’s much more damaging to treat people in different districts differently and pretending that this group over here is inherently better or worse than that group over there.  Treating people like they are people, having the same basic expectations of everyone and holding them all to similar standards can only help make everyone equal.  To do otherwise just lowers the standards of problem schools and students, further giving them reasons not to care if they succeed at all.

Myth #5: Zero-Tolerance Policies Are Making Schools Safer

This strikes me as one of the most colossally wrong-headed and destructive of the myths. Berliner and Glass describe numerous examples of this policy being implemented destructively, including one in which two students were suspended because one shared her inhaler with a friend who was having an asthma attack. Most importantly, there is no evidence that zero tolerance policies decrease school violence. To the contrary, the authors note that “suspensions and expulsions have far-reaching implications for a student’s academics and can set them up for failure in their personal lives.” Zero tolerance policies have resulted in school officials routing record numbers of students through the juvenile justice system, students who are then more likely to also end up in an adult prison later on. And, not surprisingly, all of the unintended effects associated with zero-tolerance policies in schools are multiplied for non-whites.

The authors also give examples of some schools that are learning from this research. As one example, after the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, teachers, parents, and administrators are focused on crisis preparedness and the politics of the gun debate, not on stricter policing of students.

There are good zero tolerance policies and idiotic ones.  This writer focuses only on the idiotic ones.  It is unfortunate that most of the stupid policies spring from liberal minds.  There’s a good look at political correctness run amuck here.  There are plenty of really good policies though that can be applied rationally and intelligently.  It doesn’t tend to be the policies that are a problem, it’s the application.  I see no problem with having a prohibition against students having firearms on campus. I cannot imagine a single case where a student ought to need a gun for anything.  It’s where idiot administrators start considering kids making gun shapes with their fingers or drawing things with guns as a violation of the policy that the stupidity starts.  I also see no reason why students should have illegal drugs on campus either.  It’s moronic to widen that definition to prescription medications with a doctor’s note.  These are where the problems begin, when teachers and administrators turn off their rational though processes.

Myth #6: Money Doesn’t Matter

It’s a popular argument that, while we’re spending more money than ever, test scores remain stagnant. This is a destructive myth widely shared by those who oppose better funding of our schools. Yet the research is clear.When school districts with sufficient resources are compared with those without, achievement outcomes are definitively higher in the wealthier districts. The authors note that it makes a significant difference in terms of student achievement when higher salaries are used to attract more experienced and better-educated teachers. Schools that serve the poor are more likely to retain well-paid teachers, despite the challenging circumstances they deal with each day. Since class size does matter, as we’ve seen, adequate funding makes it possible to hire more teachers and reduce class sizes. All of these assertions are strongly supported by research. Additionally, the authors cite Linda Darling-Hammond‘s report on new research from Finland, Singapore, and other countries that provides “striking evidence that spending more, and targeting that spending at students who come to school with the fewest resources, can have a dramatic positive impact on a nation’s overall educational outcomes.”

Of course, it is also possible that the school districts spending more money are located in communities in which socioeconomic factors and neighborhood quality play an important role.

While yes, I will agree that school districts in more affluent areas do have more money to spend because the property taxes from which school funding comes are higher, that doesn’t mean that education is impossible in any but the most wealthy districts.  We see stories all the time of people coming out of the worst ghetto schools and doing very well because they have a passion for learning and the support of their family.  I get really sick of people pretending that the school makes the difference. There are plenty of people whose parents pay tens of thousands of dollars for an education in the finest, most expensive schools, only to have their kids fail out because they spent all of their time getting drunk and not doing the work.  I’d assume that a parent who pays $168k for an MBA at the Columbia Business School, the most expensive college program currently in America, and their child flunks because they were lazy, would have plenty of reason to be pissed.  It isn’t the money, it isn’t the school, it’s the student and their dedication to learning that matters.

Myth #7: College Admissions Are Based on Academic Achievement and Test Scores

Berliner and Glass’ findings are disturbing. Many colleges and universities practice admissions by category. One example is athletics. The most significant variable at 30 of the most selective universities was discovered to be legacy (whether a family member previously attended the university). Wealthy parents who contribute development funds further increase the likelihood of admission. This doesn’t mean that universities don’t pay attention to student achievement in their admissions process. It does mean that there is preferential treatment in admissions that relegates academic accomplishments to a lower priority.

Yes, there is preferential treatment in college admissions.  However, it is a relatively small issue and there are many, many universities, particularly local universities, that don’t practice any sort of preferential treatment.  Overall, it is academic success that determines your likelihood of getting into a college.  You might not get into Harvard or Yale without connections, but there, as of the last figures I saw, 4,168 colleges in the United States.  Find one to go to.  Stop whining.

Myth #8: Merit Pay for Teachers Improves Student Performance

The full argument is that merit pay is a good way to increase teacher performance, because teachers should be evaluated on the basis of student performance, and rewarding or punishing schools for student performance will improve our nation’s schools. However, evidence suggests that competition between teachers is counterproductive and interferes with collaboration. Measuring teacher effectiveness is very difficult, and no simple measures effectively do this. There is no evidence that merit pay correlates with improved student achievement, but there is strong evidence that basing teacher salaries on student performance is counterproductive and ethically wrong — it frequently punishes teachers and schools for socioeconomic factors over which they have no control.

Nobody is arguing for cutthroat competition because this isn’t a battle between teachers and only the top dog gets the bone, it’s an argument that teachers that get high grades in their own individual classroom ought to get additional compensation for getting high marks.  It isn’t like only one teacher in every school can get recognized, every single one can get a bonus if they meet the standards.  In fact, it likely works better if all of the teachers collaborate together, sharing information and techniques for success.  This guy is completely and totally misinformed.  It isn’t about salaries, it’s about bonus potential.  How he can argue that it’s ethically wrong to reward teachers for superior work is beyond me.  Is he assuming that teachers who do not perform are going to get somehow penalized?  Or that not getting a bonus is somehow a punishment?  That’s utterly bizarre in either case.  No one deserves special compensation for excellence unless they are actually excellent.  This sounds like a strange liberal delusion to me.

Nobody, most certainly not I, has said that the American educational system doesn’t have problems that need to be addressed. However, people don’t have to make up myths about it, the problems are well known and the biggest issue, at least from where I’m sitting, is political.  You have two political systems (although they’re looking increasingly identical these days) who are fighting over indoctrinating kids to become mindless zombie voters when they grow up.  You have people who treat the schools like brainwashing camps rather than places to educate our next generation intelligently, rationally and proactively.  Nobody in the government wants smart kids.  Smart kids see through political bullshit.  The school boards and the teacher unions and the state legislatures are trying hard to produce kids that do what they say and think what they want them to think.  So many of the problems listed here, even the ones that are legitimate, are so far down the line of credible issues, we’re not even in spitting distance of being able to address them.  There’s no need to make up myths and pretend to have answers.  Most people never bother to address the biggest problems in the room because often, they, themselves, are part of that problem.

Enough of This “States’ Rights” Crap

states-rightsYou know, I get sick and tired of watching the idiot libertarians carry around their placards declaring “states’ rights” because we can all see right through it.  The only reason they care about the states at all is because nobody on the national scale takes their politics seriously.  They can’t get their candidates even close to the White House, except maybe on a Boy Scout tour, so maybe they’ll just shoot smaller, say at the state level, and make their stand there.  Of course, as has been pointed out many times before, there isn’t much of a move by the libertarians to work for big city mayors or state governors, so I really don’t get the point.

Then again, they only jump on the “states’ rights” bandwagon when it’s convenient for them to do so, as a recent example showed.  There was a fundamentalist Christian libertarian declaring that states had the right to define marriage as between one man and one woman and it was a violation of “states’ rights” to tell them otherwise. This was, of course, a reaction to the upcoming Supreme Court case which could, and hopefully will, decide gay marriage nationwide once and for all.  So I brought up the possibility that maybe some states might outlaw private ownership of firearms.  Don’t the states have the right to make those decisions?  Oh hell no!  Argumentum ad Constitution!  Of course, this ignores the fact that the real argument being heard before the Court is that not allowing gay marriage is a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, among others.  It is a Constitutional issue and the states don’t get to arbitrarily ignore the Constitution, that thing they ratified and vowed to support and defend forever.  But, according to some libertarians, at least the religiously insane ones, states only have to follow the parts of the Constitution that they like and can ignore the rest.

They want to live in a little Libertarian nation where they make all the rules and get to shake their pathetic little fists at the evil federal government.  It doesn’t matter what they have to twist or contort to get their way, this is what they want and how they want to go about it.  All of the discussion I’ve had about libertarian ideology shows the inherent dishonesty and irrationality of their position, whether you’re talking about those imaginary “natural rights” or the demand for “Constitutional respect”, they’ve got nothing to back up their claims but lots and lots and lots of empty words.

In fact, just today, another one of them started demanding “states’ rights” for education, particularly on that stupid Oklahoma “we don’t want to teach kids anything that isn’t patriotic” history curriculum crap.  More libertarians showed up screaming “states’ rights”.  Well no.  I probably wouldn’t care so much if those uneducated idiots stayed in Oklahoma, but they don’t.  They move.  They go to other states.  They get involved in politics in other states.  They vote in national elections.  That makes it my business and there’s no way in hell that I want all of the states playing with different agendas and producing different grades of idiot.  It affects us all, therefore it is all of our business.  So long as your kids affect the future of my kids, fuck you and your “states’ rights”.

Child Rearing Without Religion Better Option

Child IndoctrinationI think this is something we’ve all suspected for a long time, but now there is research to back it up.  Like most children of my generation, I was raised religious, I was sent to Sunday School, I was religiously indoctrinated in my home, by parents who thought it was the best option, and in fact I went to all religious private schools which further pushed an unending stream of religion on me.  I was lucky to escape but I’m sure a lot of people I knew in my youth probably never did.

Now, however, there are multiple studies that show that kids raised non-religious are simply better.  According to a Duke University study in 2010, non-religious children are “less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian, and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.”

According to Phil Zuckerman, “Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology.”  Bengston is in charge of the Longitudinal Study of Generations, the largest ongoing examination of American families and religion.  Bengston says that “many non-religious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents in our study. The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”

We’ve long-since known that atheists are vastly underrepresented in prison populations, they simply do not appear to commit crimes at the same rate as most religious people do.  There are only a very few religious groups that have a lower percentage in prison than in their normal demographics.  I also talked on the podcast a while back about a study that showed that non-religious children were more likely to differentiate between fantasy and reality than religious children.

We also know that there is a strong inverse correlation between religiosity and intelligence/education.  The smarter someone is, the more educated they are, the less likely they are to be religious.  This has been confirmed in dozens of studies performed over the past century.

So I guess what I’m saying is that if you want your kids to be smart, well-adjusted and decent human beings, for goodness sake, keep them away from religion.  And for those who do not want those things for their children, you assholes have no business being parents.

The Realities of Minimum Wage

minwageterrorIt’s really sad that I have to explain to people how things used to work, back when minimum wage actually did what it was supposed to do. Lots of people who just want to turn the minimum wage into a living wage are far too young to have been around when the things I’m going to talk about were true, that’s the problem, they just don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and it shows.

See, there was a time in American history where kids were expected to get jobs when they turned 16.  They were expected to both do their school work and hold a part-time job to make money. I know that’s hard to believe but it’s true.  They got jobs at McDonalds and the like, jobs that paid minimum wage and they learned their way around the business world, just like they learned their way around the educational world in school.  It was a learning experience.  They didn’t make a lot of money  because they didn’t have a lot of expenses, they lived with their parents, they got virtually everything taken care of, this was just extra pocket money.  They learned a work ethic, they learned how to be on time, how to get things done, how to earn money instead of just being given money, how to be a valuable employee so that by the time they got out of high school, by the time they were an adult, they knew how to hold a job and they had enough experience and enough skill to move up the employment ladder.  This is how it used to work and it worked very, very well.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t without problems for the employers.  Underage workers needed work permits, their schools had to agree that the teenager was doing well enough in school to be able to handle a job and kids could only work so many hours a week, they couldn’t work before a certain time and they couldn’t work after a certain time and it was somewhat tedious for managers to make schedules for kids who didn’t have open availability. One of the claims made  by liberals today is that it could never have worked that way because teenagers couldn’t work during school hours and therefore, this was a complete fantasy.  That ignores the fact that people in college still worked these jobs and college flexibility is a lot better.  People who went to school at night could work during the day, people who went to school during the day could work at night.  It all worked out, maybe not as smoothly as companies might have wished but it still worked.

The change started when many state and local governments started applying much tougher regulations to student employment.  As society got more liberalized, more parents didn’t want their kids working and there were more adults who were willing to work for minimum wage, mostly because they had never learned the lessons they needed to learn when they were teenagers.  Therefore, the companies that had previously hired teenagers now hired adults.  It was easier for them, they didn’t have to deal with laws regarding hiring minors, they didn’t have to deal with work permits, they didn’t have to deal with limited schedules, they had people who could work as much as the companies wanted them to work without having to jump through hoops or pay attention to regulations.

It all sounds great until you realize that these new workers, the people who don’t have the skills to move up the ladder, the people who don’t know how to hold a job, also come with a lot of baggage.  No longer are the workers just trying to make some pocket money, they’re trying to live on these low wages and raise a family on these low wages.  This problem is only going to get worse because more and more people are refusing to take a serious job until they are not only out of high school, but out of college.  Many college graduates have never held a job in their lives, they have never learned the lessons that the work world requires you to learn.  They think that holding that degree in their hand ought to give them a high-paying job without going through any of the intermediary stages.  It doesn’t.  However, since they didn’t learn what they were supposed to learn when they were supposed to learn it, since now they have serious expenses hanging over their heads, not only living expenses and maybe a family, but tons of school loans, and they just don’t qualify to have a high-paying job because they haven’t paid their dues at a lower level, they get screwed and rightfully so.  Work and school are two totally separate worlds. Getting an education does not allow you to jump past all of the introductory work experience, it allows you to go farther up the employment ladder than you might have done otherwise.  It doesn’t cut the low end, it expands the high end.  It’s really unfortunate that so many students think that time spent in school ought to apply to time that they should have spent at work.  It doesn’t and it never will.

Today’s students, and a lot of liberals, need to realize a simple lesson.  You are, almost without exception,  going to spend at least some time at a minimum wage job, learning the basics of the working world.  There is no real way around that.  You have a choice, either do it early, when you have the time to learn without the expenses, or do it later when you are going to get yourself into trouble.  It’s an unfortunate reality that most will simply party their way through college and get a degree, expecting it to be a magical document.  It’s not.  It might open doors but it won’t allow you to fly.

I know that this will largely go over the head of people who expect to be given things on a silver platter, but this is why the minimum wage exists and why it was never intended to be used to support a family or anyone with major expenses.  Reality.   You’re just  doing it wrong.

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #59

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It’s an all-news show this time around, Satan is fooling people with graham crackers, fundamentalists want to run for office to keep kids from crying and Tennessee atheists can distribute books in public schools, but should they? Plus, the Internet kills religions dead, more British people believe in ghosts than gods and Pat Robertson thinks God is a hater.  All that and more in this episode of the Bitchspot Report Podcast!

Science in America?

There have been a lot of commercials on TV lately, aired by ExxonMobil, calling for bettering our students in science and math.  I absolutely support that, I think it’s embarrassing that American students rank in such low positions, we ought to be #1, not #25.

But you know something?  There are reasons why we are so low and those reasons aren’t really what you might think.

Liberals:  One of the biggest problems we have in this country in education is the fact that so much time is spent on civil engineering and social work.  Since the late 60s/early 70s, we’ve seen a move across the nation toward irresponsibility.  Parents don’t raise their kids properly, they leave it to the schools to teach them the most basic social skills and then they don’t take any time to engage their child and make sure they’re learning what they need to learn.  Raising children is apparently seen as an inconvenience, the parents have far too much to do on their own, it’s far easier to plop their kids in front of a TV or a computer and let them educate themselves.  This is a massive problem.

Religion:  Even ignoring nonsense like creationism in the classroom, American theists have pushed to eliminate anything in the science classroom which violates their sensitivities.  I’d focus on the Christians, but now it’s also the Muslims who are crying about their myths being criticized.  It’s actually quite easy, when comparing the top countries like France and Norway to countries around the United States, like Italy, where all of the most secular nations lie.  The religious reject reality where reality comes into conflict with their faith.  This is a massive problem.

Politics:  Like it or not, it doesn’t do the political parties any good to produce thinking adults.  If they can produce robots who do as they are told, the political parties can stay in power longer and achieve more than they could otherwise.  Thus, both parties have systematically degraded the public school system over the last 40 years, pushing their own agendas into the schools to the detriment of producing well-educated, literate, logical, critical thinking citizens after graduation.  Kids that can think can ask questions and asking questions, especially embarrassing questions about the political environment makes politicians nervous.  This is a massive problem.

We have to find a way to reverse these trends.  Education ought to be a national imperative, it ought to be the highest calling to which our nation can achieve.  We must fight against all of these social and political groups which seek to produce pliable, stupid, gullible citizens that do what they’re told, that think what they’re told and who believe what they’re told because they lack the tools and the motivation to stand up and ask questions.

It’s our future and the future of our children at stake.

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #51

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Wow, there’s some really bad audio this week, which is too bad because we have a lot of important stuff to talk about.  Bear with us as the Devil messes with Mike’s recording setup as we complain about Vicky Hartzler and he claims that abortions stop a man’s fundamental right to be a father, we cheer over the Texas Board of Education returning to sanity and demanding actual science in science textbooks, we argue for equality in a Canadian debacle over religious law students and yet another Catholic Diocese files for bankruptcy to get out of paying it’s just dues to more than 350 sex abuse victims.  Oh, and we address a complaint from last week’s show that we shouldn’t ever argue for violence, even against those who are being violent to others.  We try anyhow, just listen to the show, you’ll see what I mean.

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #49

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It’s a non suicidal week mostly, we talk about goblin craziness in Zimbabwe, Ken Ham declaring victory before the debate, exactly as we predicted, a televangelist telling a caller to kill themselves and a satire piece that we take somewhat seriously because it’s not that far from the truth.  We also address listener Iamanatheist’s questions about higher education and teacher salaries. Come on, you know you want to listen!

Keep Your Hands To Yourself

Do Not TouchYes, it’s another example of the stupidity of liberals.  Personally, I think the whole “no touching” thing in schools is absurd at higher grades, the idea that nobody ought to ever come into any sort of physical contact with anyone else, for fear that someone might declare it sexual harassment, is idiotic.

However, this is even worse.  Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada has declared that any touching of any kind, be it playing tag or holding hands, will be dealt with harshly and children found guilty would be sent to the office and even suspended.  The class level of this heinous crime? Kindergarten!  According to the school, touching has caused injuries that have “impacted the safety of all of the children outside.”  Principal Barb Dayco defended the policy saying, “The hand-holding it can be positive and it can be negative. We wanted to teach them how to make contact in a positive way. Not to grab someone’s hand and drag them along, but to hold their hand in a positive way.”

Yeah, but under your policy, they cannot hold hands in a positive way.  They can’t touch at all!  Did this never occur to you?  Here’s something else that clearly hasn’t occurred to these liberal fucks, the fact that for children that age, touching, holding hands and physical play is part of their natural socialization and is something they *NEED* to advance!  It’s how children learn to play and get along!  It’s a natural part of human development!  Here these idiots are telling kids not to be kids and not to engage in the behaviors that make them better people when they grow up! Are they insane?

People wonder why I get upset at the liberal mindset.  I wonder what they’re thinking and it becomes painfully obvious that they’re not.  There’s nothing going on in that big liberal head of theirs.  It’s a bloody vacuum where common sense and any vague semblance of education is supposed to be.  These people aren’t interested in what’s best for the kids, what helps them to grow up to be solid citizens and responsible adults, they just care about pushing their political agenda.

Come on, at least pretend that any of you people actually know anything about the kids you’re supposed to be educating because from this story, it’s clear that nobody has a clue.

Sometimes a Sandwich is Just a Sandwich

PB&JSandwichMaybe it’s just the time of year but I keep running across these really ludicrous liberal stories that make me want to punch someone because they are so absurdly stupid.  Honestly, who in their right mind thinks this way?

In an absurd attempt to combat perceived discrimination, a Portland, Oregon school has taken complete leave of it’s senses and claimed that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are now considered a sign of racism!

Verenice Gutierrez, principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School, “picks up on the subtle language of racism” on a daily basis.  “Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.  What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.  What is racist about a child’s lunch, one might ask? Peanut butter and jelly, of course! You racists probably even use black currant jelly sometimes. On white bread.”

That school started this past school year with intensive teacher sensitivity training to help educators learn to identify their “white privilege”.  No, sorry, that’s just a liberal code word for “we want to be racist against whites”. Ms. Gutierrez said, in a memo to educators, “Our focus school and our Superintendent’s mandate that we improve education for students of color, particularly Black and Brown boys, will provide us with many opportunities to use the protocols of Courageous Conversations in data teams, team meetings, staff meetings, and conversations amongst one another.”  Well I hate to tell you, but if you really are noticing educational problems among “Black and Brown boys”, it’s not because some kid is eating a PB&J on the playground, it’s somthing cultural, especially if you’re only seeing the problem among the boys and not the girls.  That’s not public school education, that’s a fucked up culture that these people embrace.  You’re not going to fix it by teaching these screwed up kids that the culture that their parents embrace is a good thing, any more than you’re likely to improve the self-esteem of Muslim girls that are covered head to toe in a burka that their religion is a positive thing.  This is one of the things most ridiculously wrong with the liberal mindset, the “multiculural” nonsense, where everything is equal, even if it demonstrably isn’t.  There’s no reason to pretend that the utterly failed black and Hispanic sub-cultures are just as valuable as every other, just so you don’t make people feel bad.  Worse  yet, the idea that you ought to drag demonstrably successful sub-cultures down to the level of the failed ones and teach people who belong to these sub-cultures that they ought to feel bad about it, just so the people at lower levels feel a little better is absurdly backwards.  We need to bring “Black and Brown boys” up to the level of whites. We do not need to punish whites because “Black and Brown” sub-cultures have been such an utter social failure. Reality is reality, truth is truth, people need to stop worrying about hurting people’s feelings and start working to fix the actual problems.

But liberals don’t do that, do they.  They just preach “sensitivity”.  Yeah, I’ll shove my foot “sensitively” up your stupid fucking ass.  It’s no wonder liberals come off as such morons.  They earn it.

What’s Wrong With American Education?

ConstitutionSome people involved in education are just not clear on the concept.  On Constitution Day (September 17), Modesto Junior College student Robert Van Tuinen had a dream, he acquired pamphlet-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution and stood on campus handing them out to interested passers-by.  This sounds like a good idea, after all, our nations is based upon the Constitution and everyone ought to know what it says and what rights it grants to the citizens of the United States.  However, it didn’t work out that way.  Within minutes, a campus cop came by to tell him he wasn’t allowed to exercise his Constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech by handing out copies of that selfsame Constitution and he’d have to stop.  He was taken to school administrator Christine Serrano, who told him that, at least according to Modesto Junior College, free speech has “a time, place, and manner” and he’s only allowed to pass out literature within a recognized “free speech zone” on campus, in this case, an 8×2 strip of concrete outside the student center.  However, the “free speech zone” was booked and he was told he’d have to come back later, perhaps even in October, to celebrate Constitution Day.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=EosaP99J3Z8′]

Clearly, these school administrators are not clear on what the Constitution says.  It doesn’t restrict free speech to a specifically organized zone, in fact, the whole country is a big free speech zone.  People can speak out when and where they want to in any public space they wish without being restricted or harassed by authority figures.  The only restrictions permitted are narrow, carefully defined and provided to stop public incitement of violence.  They must also provide multiple avenues for free speech to be expressed, regardless of what that speech is.  Modesto Junior College didn’t do this, which is hardly surprising, nor are they alone.  Schools all over are trying to control free speech and losing in the courts.  Here’s a video of 11 schools that have recently lost lawsuits over their restriction of Constitutionally-guaranteed speech.  I have a feeling Modesto is about to become #12.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=8FU6ePK9KCk’]

This kind of thing is widespread across the nation, a product of gross liberalism that has infested our schools, where nobody is allowed to say anything that might offend anyone else.  We have students having their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights revoked so that people, who have no right whatsoever not to be offended, don’t get their precious little feelings hurt.

There is absolutely no conceivable defense for this.  I’m hoping that some administrators lose their jobs over this, but I rather doubt it.  The asinine teacher’s unions won’t allow it.

Fuck the goddamn liberals.

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #22

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In an especially lengthy show, Cephus and Mike take on religious failure, weird views on magic, the immigration debate and American education.  Run, don’t walk, to the not-so-little episode we call “Time for sum Edumacatin’

The “Stupid People Are Stupid” Argument

I get sick and tired of people saying “leave the religious alone, they’re stupid, you can’t stop them from being stupid.”  Well, okay, I can’t hold a gun to their head and make them stop being idiots, the fact is that most of them are just ignorant and uninformed, they don’t know any better and have never been trained to think critically about anything, especially religion.

This is an argument that I see used by accomodationists all the time.  How dare we pick on the clueless theists?  They’re too stupid to know any better!  Leave them alone to revel in their ignorance!  How dare you try to educate them!  Seriously, this is an argument?  Don’t try to help people be better?

Sorry, I refuse to play that game.  While I understand that the chances of actually making one of these religious numb-nuts more rational is somewhere between slim and none, that’s not going to stop me from trying.  Who knows, maybe if you kick them in the head enough times, you might jostle a couple of brain cells into sparking.  Even if that’s not the case, maybe it’ll get some of the onlookers to start thinking critically about the theist’s position.  If all else fails, even if the theist is a completely lost cause and the audience is just as dim-witted, then fucking with a moron for a little bit has some entertainment value.  Getting a chuckle out of a clueless dim-bulb brings a smile to an otherwise dreary day, I heartily endorse it.

Further, even if nobody else does, I actually care what is true and what is not and even if they refuse to acknowledge it, I am absolutely going to push fact and objective reality in any debate, even if it comes to naught in the end.  The idea that we shouldn’t seek to educate the uneducated or inform the ignorant is absurd.  Should we not bother putting our kids in school because they don’t already know what we seek to teach them and they’d be much happier not having to sit in a classroom for 8 hours a day?  What good is information if we’re afraid to pass it on?

Stupidity is a disease, education is the cure.  Stupidity isn’t something to be valued, it isn’t something to be admired, it’s something to be hated and those who embrace it should be ashamed to remain that way.  Stupid people are only stupid because no one has made it their mission to teach them what they don’t know.

It ought to be the job of every single intelligent, rational person on the planet to seek to teach someone that is stupid and irrational how to better deal with reality.  Maybe then, we wouldn’t have so many stupid people around.