The three or four years you spend working towards a degree, is likely to be a tough. You will have your work cut out juggling coursework, a social life, and maintaining links with family and friends back home. Then there are the other things you need to do regularly, such as eat and sleep. No doubt you are wondering at this point in time whether you can even fit a hobby in, since there doesn’t appear to be much free space in your schedule!

No matter how little free time you have, it is worth making time for hobbies. Even if you are pushed to the limit studying for an online masters in computer science at New Jersey Institute of Technology, you should still make time for a hobby. Hobbies help us relax, improve our skills, and can even be helpful to our degree or career. Read on for some useful tips on which hobbies you should choose if you want to boost your degree studies, and career.

Build a Blog

If you have your eye on a career in tech, running a successful blog will give you serious bonus points. It’s incredibly easy to build a blog, with content management systems such as WordPress available to everyone and simple to use. And if you are working towards an online computer science masters, you can showcase your code writing skills and create an online project portfolio for potential clients.

Learn a Foreign Language

Becoming fluent in a second language is a valuable skill to have. We are living in an increasingly global world, with job opportunities available in a multitude of different countries. Just because you live in one country, it doesn’t mean you can’t take a job on the other side of the world when you graduate. Boost your employability in this regard by learning a second language. That way your resume will be more attractive to global corporations.

Develop Websites

Building websites is a fun hobby, but as well as being an interesting sideline, it can also give your career a helping hand. Employers love tech savvy applicants, so showing you can build a website and market yourself online puts you head and shoulders above someone who lacks these skills. It’s also good practice if you are studying a computer science or tech-related degree.

Excel in Sports

Playing sports is an excellent way of letting off steam and maintaining your health and fitness. Team sports in particular are useful, especially if you want your resume to stand out in a pile of hundreds. Employers like people who are team players. Colleges also like students who are happy to represent them in team sports. It’s a win-win situation.

Work Your Social Media Channels

Never underestimate the power of social media. People with thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, or Instagram followers are serious influencers. Employers want people like you running their social media accounts, so you will be in demand.

Don’t keep quiet about your hobbies when you fill in a job application. It shows you are a well-rounded person, which employers like.


Amid talk of vouchers and charter schools, the Trump administration should consider significant tax breaks for homeschoolers.

The reasons for homeschooling vary. Some parents want to emphasize a religious education for their children. Others want to avoid the left-leaning indoctrination of public schools. Still others face inadequate or unsafe schools.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, more than two million students in K-12 are schooled at home. One study found that more than 30 percent of these students are Black, Hispanic or Asian. Moreover, the students and their parents save taxpayers more than $20 billion a year based on an estimated cost of more than $11,000 a year per child for a public school education.

But homeschoolers receive no significant tax breaks for teaching their children.

Homeschools in most states cannot be run as a business or even as a non-profit as parents cannot charge their children for their education. Moreover, homeschoolers cannot deduct donations to their own school. Also, the IRS usually does not allow homeschooling to be considered a hobby, which could reap some limited tax benefits.

Here are some possibilities to make homeschooling more affordable:

–Allow tax breaks for tuition and books purchased from homeschooling businesses.

–Provide deductions for individuals who are the primary teacher.

–Give tax incentives for tutoring in specific subjects, such as math, science and technology.

–Provide a mechanism to receive a reduction in local property taxes, which often are paid to local schools, for individuals who homeschool.

“Open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children,” Donald Trump says. “Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition-the American way.”

That competition should include incentives and benefits for homeschoolers and their children to allow them to choose an option other than charters and vouchers.

Christopher Harper is a recovering journalist who worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times and teaches media law.

Leonard Hofstadter: Got any advice?
Beverly Hofstadter: Yes. Buck up.
Leonard Hofstadter: Excuse me – you’re a world-renowned expert in parenting and child development, and all you’ve got is “buck up”?
Beverly Hofstadter: Sorry. Buck up, Sissy Pants.

The Big Bang Theory The Skank Reflex Analysis 2011

A few days ago we had a sponsored post called Technology Jobs with High Salaries, which talked about certain hi tech jobs that will get you a big paycheck.

All of those jobs have one thing in common, the ability to handle stress and deal with real world problems in real time.

This is apparently not a skill that $41,096 annually will buy you at Edgewood College

The operations of Edgewood College were brought to a swift halt by a sticky note making fun of students traumatized by the election of Donald Trump.

The sticky note — which read, “Suck it up p–—s!” followed by a winking smiley face — coincided with a campaign to encourage students to express their feelings about the election by posting the 3-by-3-inch adhesive placards on a table in a common area.The operations of Edgewood College were brought to a swift halt by a sticky note making fun of students traumatized by the election of Donald Trump. The sticky note — which read, “Suck it up p–—s!” followed by a winking smiley face — coincided with a campaign to encourage students to express their feelings about the election by posting the 3-by-3-inch adhesive placards on a table in a common area.

That paragraph is bad enough but the reaction of the college administration was worse:

According to the letter, the Post-it caused “[a] great deal of fear, sadness, and anger among students, faculty, and staff,” was “a targeted act of intimidation and cowardice,”According to the letter, the Post-it caused “[a] great deal of fear, sadness, and anger among students, faculty, and staff,” was “a targeted act of intimidation and cowardice,”

Maybe it’s just me but if you’re part of  the faculty and staff of a college and you are intimidated by a post it not with a winking smiley face you have no business being in any position of authority or responsibility.

And if you think that letter was bad their final reaction clinched it:

According to Chambers, “the group determined that the message constituted a Hate Crime, based on guidelines from the Jeanne Clery Act and state law.”

He adds the group acted according to college policy and reported the incident to the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department, which is currently investigating it as a “Hate Crime,” and that it is also being investigated through the college’s Student Conduct Process.According to Chambers, “the group determined that the message constituted a Hate Crime, based on guidelines from the Jeanne Clery Act and state law.”  He adds the group acted according to college policy and reported the incident to the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department, which is currently investigating it as a “Hate Crime,” and that it is also being investigated through the college’s Student Conduct Process.

Seriously, you called the cops over a post it note? Seriously?!?

Now the problem reaction to all of this is of course uncontrollable laughter

Unless of course you are

  • A parent who is paying $40K plus annually for a school to teach them to be unprepared to deal with a post it note
  • A student at a job interview who has to convince a hiring manager that your Edgewood education qualifies you for a position.
  • A member of the alumni who has wondered what they’ve been spending the check you’ve sent them on
  • A Madison taxpayer who realizes their police are investigating post-it notes instead of dealing with actual crime.

No hiring manager in his or her right mind would even consider hiring a person who has spent four years in an environment where people are trained to call the police over a post it note.

My suggestion for parents of Edgewood college students.  If you want your son or daughter to learn how to function in the real world get them out of Edgewood and have them take a job at McDonalds.

Sooner or later lawyers will figure out that colleges like this which fail to prepare students for life are class action suits waiting to happen, then the facades will start falling rapidly.

Closing thought.   The unwillingness of the university to comment other than to acknowledge the letter as real tells me that these folks know that what they are doing is idiocy but as long as they work and dwell inside the bubble they are too afraid to say so.  How pathetic is that?

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I’ve been teaching high school for twenty years and I’ve never seen students so tuned in to a national election before.

I teach in a high-poverty, inner city school with a very large ethnic population. We have a large number of black kids, Hispanic kids, Muslim kids, and then white kids that comprise our student population. Their greatest fear is that they will be “sent back” to wherever Donald Trump thinks they are from.  I’ve tried to ease their fears but they are hearing otherwise from the adults in their lives and they are scared.

The Atlantic is running an article now about how teachers are using the election in their classrooms. One teacher, for example,

…turned to Harry Potter, specifically a line in which Dumbledore, the young wizard’s mentor, reminds the boy that “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” That lesson choice assumes that most of her students were feeling upset about the election results. … Many of the children are Latino and came from families worried about deportation.

Our school is rather small – about 650 kids, and we have always been like a family. Our students have always been the most accepting, most inclusive, most tolerant kids I’ve ever seen. Even in the face of this divisive election, they have not turned on each other as some schools are reporting. We are blessed, in that respect.

But I do wonder about what they are hearing outside of school.

The head of the National Association of School Psychologists, Kathy Cowan, says:

“Schools perform a stabilizing function,” Cowan said. “They have to deal with everything the country throws at them.” Children are also barometers of adult anxieties and behavior, according to Jeanice Kerr Swift, the superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan. “Regardless of who folks voted for, the election has not been a positive and uplifting experience,” Swift said. But “we focus on learning and not on things that will be upsetting to [children].”

It’s true that schools are stabilizers for the myriad events going on in these kids’ lives and it can sometimes be a tricky business to strike the right balance between sticking to the curriculum and calming their fears. This of course varies with the age group. Above all it is important that as teachers we don’t project our own agenda or bias on our students.

That being said, this is a great opportunity for those teachers in history or civics classes to teach lessons on checks and balances, on the electoral college, on the very basics and foundations of our governmental processes which are all things many adults seem to have forgotten.

And the best lesson that can be taught is to accept defeat with graciousness, use it to regroup and refocus, and to channel your frustration in productive ways.  Whereas Kathy Cowan said that “the election has not been a positive and uplifting experience,” I think we have the potential to make it so.

We don’t have to succumb to the name calling, the violence, the threats, the pettiness that we have seen from so many.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

As a general rule there are not a lot of reasons for conservatives in Massachusetts to smile come election time but WCVB polls on Question 2, the expansion of charter schools in the state is an exception:

On charter schools, 49 percent of likely voters support the question and 39 percent oppose, with 12 percent unsure. With leaners, the support goes up to 52 percent and opposition to 41 percent.

These polling stats come despite the opposition of such liberal icons as Senator Elizabeth Warren coming out against Question 2. And the NAACP maintaining its opposition to such schools.

In fact there has been a divide on the question amongst liberals  with the Boston Globe editorializing against fiscal objections to charter schools and some Cambridge city officials  spitting from their fellows on question 2.

US News has noticed this split between the liberal grass-roots and their leadership on this issue

But why do many civil rights groups oppose charters? The more deeply one looks, the more puzzling the question. Unlike rank-and-file teachers, the African-Americans we surveyed support charters by a nearly two to one margin. Forty-eight percent of African Americans say they favor the formation of charters, while only 29 percent stand in opposition, with the remainder taking the neutral position. In fact the opinions of African-Americans resemble those of the American public as a whole – 51 percent support, 28 percent oppose, 21 percent neutral. A March Boston Globe poll found much the same level of support for charters in the Bay State as we found nationally, both among the public as a whole and among all demographic groups.

Not only does the black community support charters, but African-American students enjoy over-representation in charter schools. According to the U. S. Department of Education 27 percent of all charter students are black, even though black students constitute only 16 percent of the overall public school population. Hispanic students at charters (30 percent) are slightly over-represented, as their share of the school-age population is 25 percent. But white students constitute just a quarter of the enrollees at charters, even though they are half of all students attending public school. Mysteriously, the NAACP calls this segregation

This divide has not slowed down the teachers unions and their allies.  In my home town of Fitchburg a local office opened up in the parkhill plaza area with a big sign Fitchburg Educational Association over it.  This has been a source of the lawn signs against question two that have popped up all over town.  In my travels I’ve yet to notice any such comparable effort locally on the other side.

Of course it could be the reason for the inactivity of the pro-question 2 side might be a decision to allow the results from the Sizer School, the local charter serving grades 7-12 speak for itself

the Massachusetts Department of Education released the accountability results for schools across the state. Sizer School, a 7-12 public charter in Fitchburg, has reached Level 1 status – an exciting accomplishment. In the aggregate and by subgroup, Sizer students met state targets for achievement. Sizer also saw strong improvement in subgroup performance in English Language Arts, and in moving students from warning/failing into proficient, and from proficient to advanced. This benchmark is due to the achievement and dedication of Sizer staff, students, and families. It represents diligence and is the result of hard work to ensure students understand and are able to demonstrate mastery of content and concepts in a testing environment.

According to the Massachusetts State 2016 glossary of accountability terms level one means?

Massachusetts’ Framework for District Accountability and Assistance classifies schools and districts on a fivelevel scale, classifying those meeting their gap narrowing goals in Level 1 and the lowest performing in Level 5. Approximately eighty percent of schools are classified into Level 1 or 2 based on the cumulative PPI for the “all students” and high needs groups. For a school to be classified into Level 1, the cumulative PPI for both the “all students” group and high needs students must be 75 or higher.

It defines “high needs students” as:

The high needs group is an unduplicated count of all students in a school or district belonging to at least one of the following individual subgroups: students with disabilities, English language learners (ELL) and former ELL students, or economically disadvantaged students. For a school to be considered to be making progress toward narrowing proficiency gaps, the cumulative PPI for both the all students group and high needs students must be 75 or higher.

Sizer school scored 76 on all students and an even higher 78 for “high needs” students.

Meanwhile according to state stats Fitchburg in General (Level 3 62/60) and the schools servicing comparable grade levels   Fitchburg high  (Level 3 60/51)   Longsjo Middle school (Level 2 74/68)  and Memorial Middle School (Level 3 61/53) did not do so well.

On the minus side Sizer overall performance relative to other schools in same school type was 40 meaning that 60 percent of comparable schools scored better.  That might have been a good talking point for the folks at the Fitchburg Educational Association trying to move voters in Fitchburg voters if it wasn’t for the fact that Longsjo Middle school relative overall performance score was a 23, Memorial Middle school  a 22 and Fitchburg high a lowly 10 barely making double digits.

As election day grows nearer those opposed to charter school expansion in Massachusetts find themselves in the same position as Senator Richard Russell of Georgia who during the debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1957 had a memorable exchange over the need for a such a law with Senator Pat McNamara of Michigan on the senate floor.  Russell arguing for the status quo, noted McNamara’s stated racial issues in Michigan could be handled without outside interference and asked “Then, why does not the senator let us [in the south] do the same?”  McNamara, in a loud voice answered the argument for maintaining things as they were by saying:  “Because you’ve had ninety years and haven’t done it.”

That’s the dilemma of those hoping to reverse those polling numbers.  If the local schools had produced results that parents wanted for their children the whole question of charter schools would be moot.  But as long as the stats from the state and more importantly the results that are visible to the voters every time their children come home from school remain what they’ve been for years, lawn signs not withstanding the argument for the status quo will remain a difficult sell.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT  — The state of public education in America is frightening.  I say this as someone on the front lines of education and as one who has been teaching in an urban area high school for twenty years.

I love my job, but trust me when I tell you that if Bel Kaufman had not already written Up the Down Staircase, I would totally write that book.  In fact, I have a file folder labeled Up the Down Staircase in which I collect things I would put in that book if I wrote it.  It amuses me on those days when nothing goes right.

The United States military is famous for its use of acronyms but the military has nothing on public education. A recent email from administration urged us to attend our PLC meeting to help construct our SLTs which should reflect improvement on the SPS and SIQ and should perhaps reflect PBIS factors or EOC, ACT, PSAT factors. The PGP and SLT should be entered into HCIS, ASAP.

To that end, when shows like Vice Principals come around, I find great enjoyment in them.  Vice Principals was recently reviewed in The Atlantic, but I think the author is taking the show entirely too seriously. The show was generally panned by critics but I thoroughly enjoyed it and could “identify” almost every character in it. My co-workers and I whooped with glee when we saw the ex-hippie English teacher who most certainly was the female form of a male English teacher on our faculty. Sometimes we just have to laugh at ourselves.

The episode about “restorative justice” where kids aren’t suspended because it now reflects poorly on the SPS (school performance score) was spot on. Teachers are discouraged from writing referrals and in Vice Principals, students are sent to The Circle Room where they eat popcorn, sit on beanbag chairs, and talk out their conflicts.  This is so close to the truth you’d be shocked.

The truth is, more and more, teaching has become teaching the test; in public schools across the nation kids aren’t taught to think anymore but instead are taught how to find the right answer.  The luxury of mental exploration is lost. The love of discovery is no more. All of this teaching to the test puts more and more pressure on teachers and leads to more and more teacher burnout.

I’m not sure what the answer is for American public education. I do think we have to get away from this testing mentality. The suits are so focused on accountability and all of the accountability is falling onto the wrong shoulders. Going to school should foster a love of learning in kids rather than dread of the test.

Something has got to change.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

There’s a voting block that has received nearly zero attention this election year from the Presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton doesn’t have to say much because her progressive perspectives are natural and assumed. Donald Trump has mentioned it one time in a single sentence in 16 months. Gary Johnson has oddly avoided it altogether. Homeschooling families, who often vote specifically based upon a candidate’s position on the issue, have been left in the dark with innuendo and assumptions as the only ways for them to formulate an opinion. Even the Home School Legal Defense Association, which almost always endorses someone in elections at every level, is going into the final month unsure of where anybody stands. They haven’t endorsed.

It’s an issue that doesn’t directly affect many Americans because such a small percentage in this country take advantage of this crucial educational option. What people need to realize is that it’s a core issue that indirectly affects all Americans, conservatives in particular. It’s one of the last bastions of defense for those of us who believe that the government should watch our backs and essentially leave us alone otherwise. When the government tells us how we’re allowed to educate our children, the dominoes start falling.

This year marks the first in nearly twenty that my family isn’t homeschooling one of our children. Our youngest is ready to make the transition to a Christian middle school just as her siblings did before her. It’s important to know this because it means I no longer have skin in the game. Unless God grants us another child (we’re not young, but we’re younger than Abraham and Sarah), our homeschooling days are behind us. I no longer have a personal reason to fight for school choice, homeschooling rights, or any other K-12 initiatives. However, I’m a conservative who sees the big picture. Parental rights are right up there with religious liberties and gun ownership as core issues that act as a foundation for everything else.

Is Donald Trump for homeschooling rights? Probably, though his lack of attention has made many homeschoolers wonder if he is even aware of the issue. Is Gary Johnson? Possibly, though his progressive brand of libertarianism as it pertains to religious liberties should make us wonder where he really stands on education. Is Hillary Clinton? Certainly not, though as with everyone else she hasn’t discussed the issue. This is an issue for which every candidate must make their perspectives clear. Nothing implicit; we need an explicit stance that definitively declares where each candidate stands. Why? Because anyone -Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent – who will fail at protecting our Constitutional rights will first fail to protect homeschooling. It’s a harbinger issue. If they let this fall, they can’t be trusted with bigger problems.

It’s a small issue near the bottom of most conservatives’ checklist, but with such things it’s important to remember the words of Luke 16:10. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I’ve been watching the new HBO series Vice Principals.  As a twenty-year educator, I see a lot of people I “know” in the show; it’s a dark comedy about life in a large high school, but unlike other series that have been set in high schools, this one isn’t about the kids. It’s about the two Vice Principals who both wanted the newly available principal slot but instead ended up with an outsider. As much as the two guys hate each other, they band together to get rid of the new principal. This isn’t a review or analysis of the show however, (Variety hates it, for the record), but a point about our education system in general.

In the show, one of the new principal’s suggestions is to convert the In School Suspension room into a touchy-feely comfort zone with carpet squares, bean bag chairs, and a popcorn machine.  When a student gets in trouble, rather than getting suspended, everyone involved sits down in a circle and talks out their feelings.

I laughed when I saw this, but apparently it is real.

The New York Times has a story about Leadership and Public Service High School in Manhattan’s Financial District which is practicing this same method of discipline and says it has turned their school around.

After national studies of school discipline showed that suspensions were strongly biased by race, the federal government encouraged districts to rethink suspension as a method of changing behavior and instead suggested something called “restorative justice”:

The federal guidelines suggested that educators consider, among other alternatives, an approach called restorative justice, which differs radically from zero tolerance. Restorative justice is built on values like community, empathy and responsibility; in its specifics, it asks students and teachers to strengthen connections and heal rifts by sitting on chairs in circles and allowing each participant to speak about how a given incident affected him or her.

This isn’t to say that kids at Leadership HS are never suspended – the NYT article points out that one was suspended for shooting a gun at a urinal and another for throwing a fire extinguisher during a fight that broke a teacher’s toe. But for most infractions (like throwing a desk across the room), the “restorative justice” method is attempted.

It’s working at their school: suspensions have been cut in half.

Will it work for every troubled school?  I can’t say. I can say this, though.  Teaching is about building relationships with kids; they can’t learn from someone they don’t like.  That doesn’t mean that as a teacher you have to be their friend, but they do have to know that you care about them. I think as silly as sitting in circles on beanbag chairs (as in Vice Principals) sounds, in real-world practice, as at Leadership, talking things out might actually have merit. At the very least it is teaching kids how to work out conflict in the real world.

Is that too Kumbaya for some of us?  Probably.  When Leadership first enacted this practice they had a high turnover of faculty who just couldn’t buy into it.  But, at the very least, its principles are sound – teaching is as much about relationships with your kids as it is about covering the syllabus.

Keeping kids in school is almost always better than kicking them out on the street.  There are some that you won’t be able to save, but many of the ones we’ve given up on could have been saved.  And to me, that’s why I’m still teaching.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

After a pleasant reception at the end of day 2 for attendees on Day three in Denver the Franklin Center event began in earnest with the speakers.

It started with a presentation from the Colorado League of Charter Schools which documented the improvements in Denver since the rise of Charter Schools.

The fact that if a Charter school doesn’t perform it closes makes a huge difference in terms of performance, the people involved know their jobs and business are on the line.

The Next speakers were State Rep Angela Williams & Dr John Evans who talked about the political struggle to get these things into law Rep Williams (who is running for state senate) noted the need to keep people at the table and Dr. Evans talks of the various struggles.

The compromises involved in getting bills passed is considerable. The way I see it the problem is less the local pols who either having children or friends with children in the system have an intrinsic interest in success but the national groups have an intrinsic interest in seeing it fail.

The independence institute came up next with three speakers Pam Benigno

Ross Izard

and Erick Valencia who I didn’t managed to get an interview with

The Blaine Amendment designed as an Anti-Catholic measure which failed on the national level but was pushed as a requirement for statehood by congress has been used as a club against the progress of charter schools. On the bright side it likely means that Islamic schools pushing sharia are not going to be funded either which is something that didn’t come up in any of the panels but which hit me right off. It also struck me that if, as the various presentations suggested that losing regulation was such a benefit for charter schools why not repeal these rules altogether for all schools?

There were many other presentations including the makers of Frack Nation

Education writers at Amplify Choice
Education writers at Amplify Choice
(who advised us to tell a story with clear heroes an villains) A talk on home schooling (which was due to a suggestion by one of the attendees, A strong talk on the constant legal battles on the state level (Since the federal win on Zelman vs Harris was 5-4 I expect to see the left go federal again) A presentation on what was done in Douglas County (where accountability is king and every single innovation involved long protracted legal fights) and some panels consisting of some of the writers who attended (those interviews will later) but from my conversation with the writers who attended the most popular speaker, bar none was Professor Ben Scafidi

His presentation was on statistics and the raw numbers and was DEVASTATING. It displayed that the schools systems were adding administration at a rate MUCH greater than the increase in students and teachers. His presentation was very tweetable

Even more devastating was the fact that even in states and districts like Louisiana and DC where the student population fell, the number of administrators still soared. It’s basically a jobs programs for bureaucrats.

At the end of the evening was dinner presentation by Ed Choice formerly the Freeman (as in Milton Freeman) foundation which talked about how this fight for school choice will makes all the difference for those who are trapped in bad schools and poor education.

Bottom line I learned that there is a lot going on in the fight for school choice that I had no idea about. I’m pleased to say that I came away much better informed.

A postscript. Just a few days later back home I would see a Wisconsin State legislator on CNN defending rioting and looting while talking about people who have no hope to get out of poverty. the presenters at Amplify Choice are fighting hard to give that hope through educational opportunities that are not defined by class or race lines.

I wonder how many of those office holders decrying such situations spend their time on the federal state and local levels fighting against groups like Ed choice and people like our presenters to maintain the status quo?

Back from Denver and over the next 30 days the bills will be coming in. While the Franklin Center covered most of the Trip there were incidentals that add up. So if you like what we do here and would like to help it continue please consider hitting DaTipJar below

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Day two in denver began, after daily mass, and the interview I posted with Fr. Scott yesterday with a trip to the zoo.


Alas the shuttle from the hotel doesn’t make it to the zoo but does make it to the city park where we can walk to the zoo from.

The park is beautiful but the problem is there are a ton of geese

Which makes for a fun game of dodge the geese droppings, but if you finish the game you eventually get to the zoo and meet with some delightful volunteers like this one

and of course interesting animals like the Komodo Dragon

After a hot walk back to our starting point we headed back to the hotel where Valery headed up to the room while I set up in the lobby to begin interviewing the people coming for Amplify School choice hosted by the Franklin Center and I spoke to and finally met Josh Kalb who invited me

and then we began interviews with my fellow attendees Steve Frank now with California political review: and facebook is here

He’s been doing this before there was a net to do it with

And Tom Balek whose site is Rockin’ on the right side

and yes he has a band to go with it.

After the reception I spoke with some old friends like Galts Girl Michelle Ray:

And new friends like Shelby Blakely whose blog is PolitiCulture Upstream

When I meet an intelligent young lady like Shelby I regret DaSons weren’t here along with DaWife.

And finally Sonja Harris who blogs all over Texas including at Texas GOP votes, Conservaties in action where she’s known as Red Sonja, and fights for the cause of life.

I have three cameras with me here but one look at her camera makes me jealous.

Several of them also sat for audio podcast interviews that you’ll have to listen to future podcasts to hear

I also ran into many old friends from Rob Eno to Bridget Fey and former Magnificent Seven writer AP Dillon and also Kira Davis who to my shock & hers has family in Fitchburg and would occasionally visit.

It was a great pleasure to see them and meet others and I really enjoyed having the chance to finally introduce DaWife to some of my net friends.

All were anxious to see what the Franklin Center had in store for us the next day, they would not be disappointed.

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Papa bear: [repeated line] That is what you should not do.  So let that be a lesson to you

Stan and Jan Berenstain The Bike Lesson 1964

Katia Checkwiz is a student at Boston University (annual tuition w/ R&B $65,110) and the good news for her is she has chosen Mechanical engineering as a major.

This means that if she applies herself she will learn an actual useful marketable skill that has the prospect of producing a job as oppose to a person who choose a  woman’s studies, LGBT studies, left handed transgendered ukulele player studies major etc etc etc.

The bad news is she managed to create a glaring “don’t hire me” resume for potential companies to see.

1st She decided not only to steal political signs from people’s yards but film and brag about it.

Earth to Katia, the world doesn’t consist only of people who agree with you. By advertising that you were happily willing to step on others free speech rights you have not only alienated potential employers but potential customers to those employers.

2nd:   She made the following declaration concerning others justifying her actions as reported by the daily caller:

Checkwicz also complained that she is “tired of people like me being served injustice daily” and that she said she wanted to annoy “white supremacists” who “love sitting comfortably in their privilege.”

Forgetting the insanity of claiming to being “served injustice” as she get an education that costs more than the median income of most if not all of the worlds nations, she has very publicly illustrated that she is not capable of dealing with others in a work environment that she might disagree with.

That makes her an unwarranted risk for any smart employer.

Now she is young and young and stupid is the default for most college students so there is always the chance potential employer will give her a pass on these errors, additionally as she is studying an actually useful major she can always go into business for herself thus bypassing worried employers.

But as the internet is forever it’s very likely that the most useful thing that Katia will accomplish will be an example to her fellow students on how not to act if you want to avoid the risk of messing up your future.


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A determined little group met at the Massachusetts State House this week with a simple message to legislators: move the portrait of 19th-century Know-Nothing governor Henry Gardner away from its place of honor outside legislative chambers to someplace more appropriate. The basement, maybe.

Former ambassador and Boston mayor Ray Flynn led a roster of speakers at the Pioneer Institute event promoting educational choice for Massachusetts students, including students from economically disadvantaged families. “Move this Portrait: The Know-Nothing’s Governor and Barriers to School Choice” was about more than moving a Know-Nothing’s portrait. It was about repealing the anti-aid measure, also known as the Blaine Amendment, that was added to the state constitution by anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant legislators in the 19th century.

Flynn reminded his listeners of something that Abraham Lincoln said in 1855, when the Know-Nothing party’s brief ascendancy was leaving its legacy. “When the Know-Nothings get control, the Declaration of Independence will read ‘all men are created equal – except Negroes, foreigners, and Catholics.” Flynn urged a repudiation of the Know-Nothing’s legacy, represented by Governor Gardner’s portrait. He knows this calls for united action by determined Massachusetts residents. “If you can’t effectively articulate a point of view, injustice prevails. Determined people can change just about anything.”

Gerard Robinson of the American Enterprise Institute asked a good question, a bit tongue-in-cheek, but thought-provoking. “When did it become unpopular with liberals to give poor people money?” Of course if disadvantaged families are paying taxes, it’s their own money. Their sacrifices to send their kids to non-public schools amount to double taxation.

One step at a time, urged the event’s six speakers. Vouchers, education tax credits, education savings accounts: all are measures that would assist poor families, and each one would be a step in the right direction.

Jason Bedrick, one of the event’s speakers, pointed out that the anti-aid amendment was passed in the days when public schools were effectively non-denominational Protestant. It was designed to prevent public money from going to support of Catholic schools, which at the time were depended upon by many immigrant families. Times have changed, but the anti-aid amendment has not. It’s time to change that, said Bedrick, and he pointed out the “tolerance and respect” he enjoyed as a Jewish man who attended Catholic schools. “School choice fosters cooperation and respects minorities, and fosters students more likely to extend political tolerance to people with whom they disagree.”

Take that, Governor Gardner.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at When she's not writing, she's hiking in New Hampshire.
Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire.

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On June 21st after hearing about the College Republicans were suspended at the UC Irvine I decided to send When the news that the College Republicans were suspended at the UC Irvine I wrote an email to the two advisers who the College Republicans met with just before the decision was announced.  I include said email in full:

Hello Ms. Esparza, Ms. Umali
I am preparing a story on the suspension of the UCI college republicans at your university following this piece at and I have several questions I wish to ask concerning assertions in the piece.
The Breitbart piece states that the college republicans received notification of their suspension hours after a meeting with both of you.
1.  Is this correct?
1a:  Was the decision to suspend the College Republicans taken before or after that meeting?
1b:  If before why were not the college republican informed at said meeting of their suspension, if after what action took place at the meeting that prompted this suspension
The Breitbart piece states the group was suspended for the:  “group’s alleged failure to provide a certificate of insurance for the private security hired for the event to protect Milo.”
2.  Is this correct, if not what was the rationale for the suspension?
2a:  If it IS correct, have any other student group been suspended for failure to provide a certificate of insurance?  If so can you list any suspended over the last five years for this?
2b:  Is the necessity to provide a certificate of insurance for private security an explicit rule, if so where is this rule listed, and have any groups who have failed to provide such a certificate of insurance avoided suspension?
During Mr. Yiannopoulos appearances nationwide the danger that has required additional security has generally come from on campus students and organizations threatening to disrupt events. reported on such protests at UC Irvine
3.  Did any such organization make such attempts and were they warned concerning security concerns?
3a:  We’re such organizations sanctioned for disrupting said events or creating an “unsafe environment” if not why not?
Many campus’ have rules concerning creating a “hostile environment” for students and employees
4.  Does UC Irvine have any such regulations
4a.  If so, given the necessity for increased security for Mr. Yiannopoulos have any of the student protesters been sanctioned for creating an “hostile environment” for those trying to attend Mr. Yiannopoulos speech in general or members of the college republicans for sponsoring the event.  If not why not?
The suspension of a Student group is a significant event and presumably rare event
5.  Can you provide a list of student groups that have been suspended over the last 5 years for any reasons and said reasons for those suspensions.
I hope to have my piece up by the end of the week so an answer by Thursday evening would be most welcome.  If you wish to include a statement concerning these events independent of these question I would be happy to include it in the piece.
Thank you for your time
Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi
Featuring DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven
Have Fedora Will Travel

I didn’t receive an answer but the question has become moot as per this Breitbart report:

College Republicans at UCI

Dear Ms. Rowlands and the Authorized Signers of the College Republicans at UCI,

I am contacting you on behalf of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. As a follow-up to my letter sent yesterday, I want to share with you that the revocation of your privileges to access space on campus through UCI Student Center & Event Services has been withdrawn pending the final outcome of your appeal. At this time, your ability to access space on campus has been restored.

As mentioned in the June 22 letter, the vice chancellor invites you to submit your appeal by July 1. We look forward to hearing from you.


Edgar Dormitorio

Chief of Staff
Student Affairs

The college republicans have no intention of entering any “appeal” process which would give their initial suspension a semblance of legitimacy that it doesn’t deserve

The CRs, however, quickly declined to enter any sort of appeals process, saying it could be construed an admission of guilt, which they firmly deny.

“We will under no circumstances be submitting an appeal for the decision by UCI as that would be an admittance to a wrongdoing we did not commit,” the CRs wrote in a statement. “We will not be silenced and we will not be stopped.”

The most interesting, and encouraging part of the story was the reaction of other groups both inside and outside the university:

Extraordinarily, even left-wingers on campus came out in support of their rivals’ right to free speech. In a rare display of bipartisan unity at the campus grassroots, the group for Bernie Sanders supporters at UCI issued a statement condemning the administration for “repeated mistreatment of political organizations that take part in open discourse on campus” and calling for the restoration of the College Republicans’ right to access college facilities.

It’s a great thing to see that some of the left are seeing this for what it is.

I predict that we will quietly see this entire “appeal” business dropped in the hope that all of this goes away.

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Dr Ray Stantz: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve *worked* in the private sector. They expect results.

Ghostbusters 1984

Governor William J. Le Petomane:   We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!  [pointing] I didn’t get a “harrumph” out of that guy!

Hedley Lamarr: Give the Governor harrumph!

Politician: Harrumph!

Governor William J. Le Petomane: You watch your ass.

Blazing Saddles 1974

In Yesterday’s piece Cause and Effect 1/2:   The Broken Clock at the NY Times …  I pointed to the comments section of the piece noting that the arguments against including conservatives in faculty would be familiar to any segregationist of the first half of the 20th century.  (Thus the Richard Russell quote above).  I also suggested that the NYT piece that I was quoting was not so much a warning about effect of the creation of a liberal echo chamber at universities by banning conservative thought but was an effect in itself brought about by a different cause.

What is that cause that has had the effect of the NYT suggesting that the university no longer become a bastion of segregation based on political opinion?  The ongoing education apocalypse  that has the potential to sweep away thousands of well paying jobs that are filled almost exclusively by liberals who would otherwise be almost unemployable.

I think the best way to illustrate this my point is to cite an expert on cause and effect and segregated employment the late Negro Leagues player Buck O’Neil.

O’Neill became nationally known because of Ken Burns Epic saga “Baseball” and one of the things he understood was that the effort to keep blacks out of the major leagues was not so much a question of superiority but a question of economics:

I could understand Cobb. Ty Cobb had what the black ballplayer had. The black ballplayer had to get out of the cotton field. He had to get out of the celery fields, and this was a vehicle to get him out. This was the same thing with Cobb. Cobb had to get out of Georgia. He had to fight his way out and this was why he had this great competitive spirit. And so what he’s saying against blacks was the same thing that I think every poor white man had against blacks. Because we were competition to him. We weren’t competition to the affluent, to the educated. No. But the other man… we were competition to him.

It must be remembered that it’s wasn’t like today where being the 25th man on a major league roster meant you were making six figures or being the 10th pitcher on a staff can make you a millionaire.  Until the 80’s most players worked in the off season and even you were a big star like Cobb and didn’t invest your money wisely as Cobb did (he bought plenty of stock in Coca Cola) you might be back in the coal mines or fields before you can say “waver wire.”  Those baseball roster spots were valuable and meant everything for a person who might otherwise face a life of manual labor.  O’Neil again:

For Jackie to play in the major leagues, that meant that one white boy wasn’t going to play. We had played against these fellas and they knew that we could play. And they knew if we were allowed to play, a lot of them wouldn’t play. See?

16 teams, 25 roster spots that’s 400 jobs, if 20% of those jobs went to black players that meant 80 white players would be back working real jobs, and that not even counting all those roster spots in the minor league that while not well paying were better than being a common laborer.

By an odd coincidence within three years of the Boston Red Sox becoming the last team to integrate (1959) the major leagues expanded twice after being static since 1900.  Suddenly there were 100 new major league roster spots to be filled and several hundred new minor league jobs available.

And that brings us back to the education apocalypse.

This has not been a good time for higher education you have students in safe and wealthy environments whining, outrageous claims about sexual assault that by comparison make Chicago & Detroit seem safe.  Activists making asses of themselves before the cameras, colleges claiming that it’s legit to hate white people protests all forming a backlash that is already causing layoffs 

And that’s even before we get to unsustainable student debt being built to obtain useless majors whose only possible application is in higher education itself.

Put simply, there are already a myriad of good reasons why even the liberal 50% of parents might look at the university system and decide it is bad investment for their kids.  If the conservative 50% of the potential customer pool of those institutions  decide to give higher ed a miss or restrict their choices to the few colleges where conservatives are not considered pariahs by their very existence the gravy train will end.

And if that means tolerating a few more conservatives professors and speakers on campus to keep the money coming until the current crop retires, well it’s better than risking the lot.


I submit and suggest that If we didn’t see the backlash against places like Mizzou which puts in danger the jobs of a profession which employs liberals at a 90%+ rate, we don’t see this type of piece in the New York Times.

This liberal soul searching is all about protecting  professors from gender studies to sociology who from a private sector that expects results and preserving their phony baloney jobs.

Harrumph! Harrumph!


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“I AM trying to delay it, 10 years if I’m not lucky, two hundred years if I am.”

Senator Richard Russell (D-GA) quoted by Robert A. Caro, on being told his fight against integration was a merely a “delaying action”

It doesn’t happen often but every now and again the NYT will actually say the truth aloud:

WE progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives. Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

Of course he follows that with: “That’s a little harsh”, but if he thinks so he should ask my 22 year old son who has pretty much decided that there is no point in trying to talk politics or educate folks he knows on facebook here in the blue state of Massachusetts because all it brings is a avalanche of grief.

and the attempt to push conservatives in the closet, well…

It’s also liberal poppycock that there aren’t smart conservatives or evangelicals. Richard Posner is a more-or-less conservative who is the most cited legal scholar of all time. With her experience and intellect, Condoleezza Rice would enhance any political science department. Francis Collins is an evangelical Christian and famed geneticist who has led the Human Genome Project and the National Institutes of Health. And if you’re saying that conservatives may be tolerable, but evangelical Christians aren’t — well, are you really saying you would have discriminated against the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Incidentally make sure you read the comments section of his piece, if you ever heard or read about the assumptions that were made about the black community from the 30’s to the 70’s concerning baseball, restrooms, social clubs et/all it will sound really familiar.

Oh one more thing. Looking at the title of this post and the quote by segregationist Senator Richard Russell, you might make the assumption that “Cause and Effect” refers to the idea, referenced in this piece, that the exclusion/segregation of conservatives in the education industry (cause) makes education an echo chamber and thus less valuable (effect).

You would be wrong.

I submit and suggest that this piece, being propagated in the queen of liberal mouth organs the New York Times IS the effect and that effect comes from a particular economic cause…

…and tomorrow I’ll explain what it is (also that’s when the link to that piece will work).


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Three years ago Gallup talked about median income both household and per-capita worldwide:

The median annual household income worldwide is $9,733, and the median per-capita household income is $2,920, according to new Gallup metrics. Vast differences between more economically developed countries and those with developing or transitional economies illustrate how dramatically spending power varies worldwide. Median per-capita incomes in the top 10 wealthiest populations are more than 50 times those in the 10 poorest populations, all of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

It included this chart on median household and per capita incomes of the richest countries

income stats

Now remember these figures represent what individuals and families earn in the course of an entire year.

Now lets consider those numbers compared to US college students.

Stacy McCain loves to quote tuition at elite colleges, on Thursday he talked about

Scripps College is an elite private women’s school in California with an enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students who pay annual tuition of $49,152.

Now in fairness this is an elite college with as Stacy says less than 1000 students, lets consider a public college like UMass Amherst home of a certain oppressed female named Cora that has now gotten international attention.

According to the UMASS site the estimated cost for next year for a student including room and board is, #26,445 for a Massachusetts resident, $36,331 (including illegal aliens) for a New England Resident (RI,CT,VT,NH or ME) and $43,268 for a person who lives outside of New England

Or Missouri University which has gotten some attention lately by students who consider themselves oppressed. If you are a resident of Missouri you are paying $25,514 in tuition and fees while if you are an out-of-state resident your cost to be oppressed is $40,126 and this price doesn’t include a course fee that varies from $30 to $90 PER HOUR.

Now look at this chart again and consider: If you are a student a UMASS or MIZZOU student paying the lowest possible tuition/fees you are rich enough to purchase or have purchased for you something more expensive than the median per capita income of the richest nations in the world.

Meanwhile if you are going to Scripps college you or your parents are buying something for you that cost more than the median household income of all but three nations in the world.

So that leads to an obvious question for these special snowflakes that Stacy McCain asked this week:

Exactly how much “oppression” can any girl suffer at an elite college like Scripps? Isn’t the very fact that she is enrolled at such a ritzy school testimony to her privileged status?

One of the reasons why I absolutely love RS. McCain is he cuts to the chase so well, but I submit and suggest that question is not restricted to students at Scripps, it is also properly asked of students attending MIZZOU or UMASS who are crying oppression.

How can you credibly claim to be oppressed when you can afford a product that costs more than the median household income of iberia, Burundi, Mali, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Benin, Toga and Zambia COMBINED?

I think that’s an excellent question, don’t you?


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The latest in a series of post looking at Amoris Laetitia as it’s actually written as opposed to how it’s spun.

Did you know that marriage has obligations in terms of parenthood? This pope does

68. “Blessed Paul VI, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, further developed the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family. In a particular way, with the Encyclical Humanae Vitae he brought out the intrinsic bond between conjugal love and the generation of life: ‘Married love requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time must be rightly understood… The exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties towards God, themselves, their families and human society’ (No. 10). In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Paul VI highlighted the relationship between the family and the Church”.

I can see Amanda Marcotte pulling out her hair now.

And did you know that ministering to those in “imperfect relationships” is about leading them to matrimony?

78. “The light of Christ enlightens every person (cf. Jn 1:9; Gaudium et Spes, 22). Seeing things with the eyes of Christ inspires the Church’s pastoral care for the faithful who are living together, or are only married civilly, or are divorced and remarried. Following this divine pedagogy, the Church turns with love to those who participate in her life in an imperfect manner: she seeks the grace of conversion for them; she encourages them to do good, to take loving care of each other and to serve the community in which they live and work… When a couple in an irregular union attains a noteworthy stability through a public bond – and is characterized by deep affection, responsibility towards the children and the ability to overcome trials – this can be seen as an opportunity, where possible, to lead them to celebrate the sacrament of Matrimony”.

And if not possible to get matrimony to seek conversion, and remember seeking conversion implies something is wrong.

Oddly enough the media that has been so anxious to cheer Amoris Laetitia seems to have skipped this part on abortion. (emphasis mine)

83. Here I feel it urgent to state that, if the family is the sanctuary of life, the place where life is conceived and cared for, it is a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place where life is rejected and destroyed. So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the “property” of another human being. The family protects human life in all its stages, including its last. Consequently, “those who work in healthcare facilities are reminded of the moral duty of conscientious objection. Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia”, but likewise “firmly rejects the death penalty”.

This was not just stated, but URGENTLY stated and note the property reference drawing the parallel to slavery.

And here is one paragraph that should be shouted from the rafters. emphasis mine again

84. The Synod Fathers also wished to emphasize that “one of the fundamental challenges facing families today is undoubtedly that of raising children, made all the more difficult and complex by today’s cultural reality and the powerful influence of the media”. “The Church assumes a valuable role in supporting families, starting with Christian initiation, through welcoming communities”. At the same time I feel it important to reiterate that the overall education of children is a “most serious duty” and at the same time a “primary right” of parents. This is not just a task or a burden, but an essential and inalienable right that parents are called to defend and of which no one may claim to deprive them. The State offers educational programmes in a subsidiary way, supporting the parents in their indeclinable role; parents themselves enjoy the right to choose freely the kind of education – accessible and of good quality – which they wish to give their children in accordance with their convictions. Schools do not replace parents, but complement them. This is a basic principle: “all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization”. Still, “a rift has opened up between the family and society, between family and the school; the educational pact today has been broken and thus the educational alliance between society and the family is in crisis”

If I was the school choice movement I would emblazon those excepts of this paragraph at the head of every single document and press release put out.

You would think that this coming from an official document authored by the MSM’s favorite Pope would be news, but nothing the Vatican does that oppose the left’s memes is considered news.

Apparently, college rape epidemic not withstanding to Democrats When it comes to the War on Women Chalk is much more dangerous that a Drunken Frat guy at a party.

What else can we conclude from this story:

Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich today told a female college student concerned about “sexual violence, harassment and rape” that she should not “go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.”

The first-year student asked Kasich at a town hall in Watertown, New York, what he would “do in office as president to help me feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment, and rape?”

Kasich, the governor of Ohio, spoke about empowering victims by ensuring access to confidential reporting and rape kits. “You ought to absolutely know that if something happens to you along the lines of sexual harassment or whatever,” he said.

His suggestion to avoid drunken college parties has produced this from Democrats

Democrats pounced on Kasich’s response. “Republican presidential candidates like John Kasich and Donald Trump are insulting women everyday [sic] on the campaign trail by blaming victims of sexual and domestic violence,” a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, Christina Freundlich, said in a statement.

Meanwhile Chalk is still banned at DePaul and our friends on the left are down with it.

So to sum up:

For our friends on the left, writing “trump 2016” in chalk on the sidewalk creates such an unsafe environment that it must be stopped at all costs (thus making Milo’s Yiannopoulos Emory chalking a story) , BUT a presidential candidate advising a young women concerned about her safety on campus that avoiding drunken parties is a good idea is an act so outrageous that it’s worth frienzied media coveraged by ABC, the Guardian,Slate, Politico, CNN and a bunch of leftiest bloggers.

After all how can we even think about worrying about drunken parties when there are still people with chalk walking free on any campus?

If you want to know why some of us thought the culture war was worth fighting, this is it.

Closing Thought If Animal House took place in 2016 instead of 1962 right now Otter and company would be checking the facebook profiles of all the leftists outraged over Kasich to find out if any of them have daughters at or near Faber college for their party email blast…

…and Dean Wormer would plotting to confiscate their chalk.


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This week Ohio State joined the long list of Universities whose special snowflakes, apparently having learned all of the lessons that they paid thousands to get at their University, take over areas of the school and submit lists of demands to their college president.

However, unlike other universities, Ohio State remembered who actually has the authority on campus:

Eventually, Ohio State senior vice president for administration Jay Kasey appeared to inform the radicals that the time had come to decamp from the taxpayer-funded building.

Protesters asked what Kasey would happen if they chose to stay.

“Our police officers will physically pick you up and take you to a paddy wagon, and take you to be arrested,” he explained.
“If you are here at five o’clock, our current philosophy is we are going to take you out — escort you out of the building and arrest you. You will be discharged from school also.”

Kasey then confirmed to a demonstrator’s query that “discharged” means expelled.

Amazingly once the students discovered there were actually going to be held responsible for their actions as if they were adults, their attitude changed completely.

Now if the students had been smart they would have gone out and do what the left always done, give a call to Protesters are US:

Crowds on Demand, he says, serves several clients a week, sometimes a day — most in L.A., San Francisco, and New York but an increasing number in smaller cities like Nashville, Charlotte, and Minneapolis…$10,000 for a weeklong political demonstration; $25,000 to $50,000 for a prolonged campaign of protests. According to Adam, protests have become the company’s growth sector, and just as with advertising, repeat impressions are key. “When the targets of our actions see that we’re going to be back, day after day, they get really scared,” he says. “We’re in it for the long haul, and the problem’s not going to go away on its own.”

After since Crowdsource employees are not actually students threats of expulsion won’t be effective and as they are paid to protest presumably the risk of arrest and the costs would be covered in their hiring price.

And they’d still get plenty of media


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Help Help I’m being repressed

Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975

Back in the land of England the concerted effort to remove Cecil Rhodes from the college that he benefited and the scholarship that helped finance the many students calling for his metaphorical head has hit a snag.


The governing body of Oriel College, which owns the statue, has ruled out its removal after being warned that £1.5m worth of donations have already been cancelled, and that it faces dire financial consequences if it bows to the Rhodes Must Fall student campaign.

A leaked copy of a report prepared for the governors and seen by this newspaper discloses that wealthy alumni angered by the “shame and embarrassment” brought on the 690-year-old college by its own actions have now written it out of their wills.

It appears that while the students, particular those of color who demanded the statue of Mr. Rhodes removed from the college saw no contradiction in accepting the scholarship money that brought them to the place to attack it, the wealthy donors who provide said funds to make such scholarship disagree, thus…

Oriel College confirmed in a statement to the Telegraph: “Following careful consideration, the College’s governing body has decided that the statue should remain in place.”

They can give millions of reasons for this decision, in fact maybe even 100’s of millions.

At a meeting on Wednesday the governing body was told that because of its ambiguous position on the removal of the statue, “at least one major donation of £500,000” that was expected this year has been cancelled.
In addition, a “potential £750,000 donor” has stopped responding to messages from the college, and several alumni have written to Oriel to say “they are disinheriting the college from their wills”.

One of those who has already cancelled their legacy was going to leave a “seven figure sum” and the college is aware that “another major donor is furious with the College… whose legacy could be in excess of £100m”.

Suddenly the college which was awash with money finds it self with a potential £200,000 deficit and that’s just THIS year.

One of the leaders of the movement to remove Mr. Rhodes indignantly responded on facebook:

Ntokozo Qwabe, leader of the RMF movement wrote on his Facebook page: “The decision by Oriel College to unilaterally reverse its public commitments on Rhodes, without any consultation, basically reminds us that black lives are cheap at Oxford.”

He says this without any sense of irony because

Ntokozo Qwabe, the leader of Oxford’s Rhodes Must Fall campaign, is himself the beneficiary of Cecil Rhodes’s bequest. The South African student was funded by a Rhodes scholarship during his undergraduate law degree at Keble College.

Because nothing says “I’m being repressed” like receiving a scholarship to one of the leading institutions of higher education in the entire world, yet alas the oppression of Mr. Qwabe has been shared by many over the years:

Rhodes was a student at Oxford and a member of Oriel College in the 1870s. He left money to the college on his death in 1902.

A scholarship programme in his name has so far been awarded to more than 8,000 overseas students.

The horror!  Think of it, 8000 students plucked from an idyllic third world existence away and thrust into the harsh reality of the patriarchal existence of a 1st world system of higher education among the evil elites!

Personally I think that the college not wanting to be the source of such repression to people like Mr. Qwabe should consider rethinking these scholarships and/or tightening the qualifications and conditions of same to save such people the embarrassment of abandoning a third world existence free from the oppression of white colonial influence that a world class education at Oxford might impose.

I would have thought a person of principle who believed that this institution was evil and oppressive would have shaken the dust of it off their feet, refusing to accept any such scholarship from a place so odious,  however perhaps Mr. Qwabe and the students who support him can, with hard work, be someday as successful as the donors who he is currently attacking and thus replace the funds being threatened allowing said college to remove said statue, or even perhaps he and his pals can set up his own scholarship fund to a different less tainted education.

Until then he will have to deal with the harsh reality of putting up with receiving an education that most people in not only today’s world but in all of human history could only imagine getting as opposed to enjoying the freedom of his homeland, one of the rape & murder capitals of the world without the oppression that life at an English college provides.

Life is a cruel thing isn’t it?


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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

When I saw this story:

Portland Community College has designated April “Whiteness History Month” (WHM), an “educational project” exploring how the “construct of whiteness” creates racial inequality.

And this description of what Portland Community College is doing with it

“‘Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences, and Change’ is a multidisciplinary, district-wide, educational project examining race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness, its origins, and heritage,” PCC states on its website. “Scheduled for the month of April 2016, the project seeks to inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems that stem from racism.”

The WHM site makes clear that the project is not a “celebratory endeavor” like heritage months, but is rather “an effort to change our campus climate” by “[challenging] the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness.” (“Challenging the master narrative,” PCC explains, “is a strategy within higher education that promotes multicultural education and equity.”)

My first thought was instantly “Class action suit waiting to happen”

There are specific laws concerning Racial Discrimination and also very likely rules at the college concerning “hostile work / educational environments”. Our friends on the left have been pushing these rules for decades.

What happens if white students, white workers and white administrators decide to launch discrimination suits based on those laws?

I think the results of such suits might be very interesting, don’t you?

On an unrelated note it’s gratifying that the students at this school are so advanced on math, english and all the important disciplines that can get you a job that they have time for this kind of thing

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – He’s not even been inaugurated yet and John Bel Edwards appears to be giving the shaft to his supporters and waffling on his promise to get rid of state superintendent of education, John White.

Many Republican voters eschewed David Vitter in the most recent gubernatorial election because, well, they just couldn’t stomach him any longer, regardless of party assignation. In rejecting Vitter, a large number of Republicans crossed party lines to vote for John Bel Edwards based primarily on his promise to get rid of White who is a huge supporter of Common Core.

In making early appointments, Edwards has named three members to the state BESE board (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) who all appear to be supporters of White and thereby dashing all hope of having enough votes to get rid of White.

The Crazy Crawfish notes:

I think a lot of people are going to pissed when they find out they voted against Common Core and thought they elected a candidate that was against it, only to find it was rebranded and actually made worse, as the review committee has reportedly done by the various folks who have resigned from it in protest.

Do you think they are going to blame their BESE candidate (that they probably don’t remember now) or the Governor who ran against Common Core and John White?

Education Reformers have been crowing for well over a month that John Bel cut a deal and John White is safe.  I don’t hear one peep of complaint out of them either.  Meanwhile many of the folks that brought John Bel to the Governor’s Ball are left out in the cold and we are not happy with what we have seen so far.

But, if you vote for a Democrat, you should not be surprised when he expands food stamps, expands Medicaid, and crawfishes on promises.

He’s an Obama man, for crying out loud!

I wasn’t a fan of Bobby Jindal in more recent years, but I have a feeling Edwards is going to do a lot to rehabilitate the Jindal legacy.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

mathishardby baldilocks

It was difficult to believe at first; that there were functioning adults who didn’t understand the difference between raw numbers and rate.

However, since I found out that children aren’t taught anymore to do things like write in cursive and since I found out that there are young Americans who cannot identify the United States on a map, I’ve pretty much figured out that K-12 schools are, for a significant part, just glorified day-care–and from what we’re seen in the last few weeks, that day-care can last well into higher education.

So you pay the government to educate your kid and it doesn’t. Then you pay thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to some college/university, and all your offspring learn how to do is to refine their whining skills.

But you come here to Da Tech Guy blog and I’ll give you and your kid something useful.

Here’s your mini-tutorial on how to calculate the rate of a group and how to compare two separate rates.

  • Say you have a population of 1100: 1000 Chinese and 100 Russians.
  • 200 of the Chinese are murderers and 50 of the Russians are murderers.
  • Therefor, in our sample, there are more murderers who are Chinese than there are murderers who are Russians in raw numbers.
  • However, the rate of Russian murderers is higher than that of Chinese murderers. How is that calculated?
  • Chinese: 200 divided by 1000 = 0.20=20%
  • Russians: 50 divided by 100 = 0.50=50%
That means that there is a higher rate of murders among the Russian part of this fictional population than there is among the Chinese part.

Lots of people don’t get this, even a few who were educated before my time. However, some of us were paying baldilocksattention during eighth grade math.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Nothing is sillier than the political season in the South; well, the political season ventures into the absurd almost anywhere, but in the South, it seems, it gets particularly ridiculous.

In the local round of elections on October 24, we had several spots in contention on the BESE Board (the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) which functions along with local school boards and the state to make those all-important decisions with regard to curriculum, testing, etc. Frankly, with Common Core and the feds now running education, it all seems redundant, but that’s another story.

Making the local rounds this week is this video about billionaires “buying” the BESE elections:

The 2011 elections for the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education saw a massive influx of contributions from people who had not shown any prior interest in Louisiana nor our public education system. The impetus for the outside interest was to secure the pro-Common Core, pro-charter school, pro-high stakes testing regime that secured its foothold after the flooding of New Orleans in 2005. This the story about how elites are working to undo democratic institutions and local communities in order to enable them to monetize public education. This 28 minute and 30 second video, which will air on Louisiana commercial broadcast stations during the month of October (2015) lays out the shock tactics that were used in 2011 to seize control of Louisiana public education policy, the links between the BESE election and the 2012 Jindal ‘reforms’, and the role that John White has played in this process.

It’s worth a watch even if you aren’t from Louisiana because this is quite likely happening in some form all over the country as the Bill Gates/Common Core/PARCC advocates work to take over education systems in every state.

Our State Superintendent of Education is John White, a Teach for America protégé from Washington DC.  He was named by Gov. Bobby Jindal and approved by the BESE board.  At issue in this video is how the BESE election of 2011 was stacked with billionaire out-of-state dollars in favor of Jindal-approved “reform” candidates.  The end result was a BESE board Jindal favored and one that approved John White, and one that approved Common Core.

The video then goes on to explain how Supt. White is lowering the bar with test scores in order to make it appear as if Louisiana has made great gains.

Again, it’s worth a watch and is quite informative for anyone who still thinks Bobby Jindal walks on water.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

The MSM is going to be crying “income inequality” for the next 12 months to attack the GOP. Fortunately for the party Glenn Reynolds has helpfully given you an answer:

What is to be done? Well, in the name of ending inequality, I have a few modest proposals.

  1.  We should eliminate the tax deductibility of contributions to schools having endowments in excess of $1 billion. At some point, as our president has said, you’ve made enough money. That won’t end all major donations to the Ivy League, but it will doubtless encourage donors to look at less wealthy and more deserving schools, such as Northern Kentucky University, recently deemed “more inspirational than Harvard” in the London Times Higher Education magazine.

2.  We should require that all schools with endowments over $1 billion spend at least 10% of their endowment annually on student financial aid. That will make it easier for less wealthy students to attend elite institutions.
3.  We should require that university admissions be based strictly on objective criteria such as grades and SAT/ACT scores, with random drawings used to cull the herd further if necessary. That will eliminate the Ivy League’s documented discrimination against Asians.

Hey if the rich are to pay “their fair share” this should be for you.  After all who is richer than the ivy league?

You would think that the GOP would be all in going after institutions that are pretty much exist to attack machines on conservatives and Christians but I have a feeling to the GOP establishment that’s a feature not a bug.

Update: You ever get the feeling the elites don’t really mean the things they say?

Old Friend Zombie is back blogging and doing what he does best and liberal hate most, showing the as they are:

A major national conference for teachers and school administrators starting on Saturday, October 10, in Baltimore will focus exclusively on race and racism, featuring workshops on “interrupting whiteness” in American schools, the “dominance of White supremacy” in society, “White privilege” enjoyed by Caucasian students, “white domination of thought,” and how to “decenter whiteness.”

Because if there is one thing our school administrators to do is take the focus away from reading, writing, math and science and instead focus on race.

Much of Critical Race Theory revolves around the concept of “whiteness,” which is not simply a skin color or racial identification but rather a state of moral turpitude: To have “whiteness” means that you personally share blame for all of society’s ills. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think prejudiced thoughts or treat anyone badly; it doesn’t matter whether or not your ancestors owned slaves or instead were abolitionists fighting to free slaves; it doesn’t matter whether or not your ancestors immigrated to the United Sates in the 20th century long after slavery was outlawed; it doesn’t matter whether you’re left-wing or right-wing or apolitical; what matters is that all of American society is inherently racist and favors white people, so that if you “look white,” you benefit from a racist system, and you are therefore part of that system, and therefore racist, and therefore (to peel away the euphemisms) evil. All “Caucasian” or pale-skinned people are genetically cursed with “whiteness,” which they cannot escape or disown, but people of other skin colors and ethnicities can also possess whiteness if they conform to “white norms” and refuse to embrace anti-whiteness activism.

The average person might see this entire worldview as shockingly racist, but Critical Race Theory has that angle covered too: Racism, according to the theory, is prejudice+power; and since (according to the theory) black people have no power in society, by definition they can’t be racist

He helpfully provides a list of school districts that participated in this nonsense, I submit and suggest if your district in one of the you consider sending your kids elsewhere

Ignorance might be bliss but for me I’d rather have the facts and said facts are even better when presented by Zombie.

I wish I had him here.

Rory: You just summoned aliens back to Earth. Actual aliens, deadly aliens, aliens of death, and now you’re taking your clothes off. Amy, he’s taking his clothes off.
11th Doctor: Turn your back if it embarrasses you.
Rory: Are you stealing clothes now? Those clothes belong to people, you know. (to Amy) Are you not going to turn your back?
Amy: [staring] No.

Doctor Who The Eleventh Hour 2010

My father never got beyond the sixth grade but he and that greatest generation of his would have seen this coming a mile away


A Toronto college is rolling back its use of gender-neutral bathrooms after two women at the school were victims of voyeurism by a man using a cell phone.


The College was shocked SHOCKED, I’m sure they figured that if men wanted to film women in a state of undress they would simply go a party rather than resorting to cell phones and selfie sticks in a co-ed shower.

In response, the University has concluded that pushing everybody into shared bathrooms might have been a bad idea. While the Hall will continue to have some gender-neutral bathrooms for those who want them, several others are being set aside to be exclusively male or exclusively female.

I’m sure that someone will condemn this change as a victory for the misogynistic homophobic, transphobic patriarchy. Perhaps Stacy McCain can check Feminist Tumbler for us?

You would think that with all the debt that the highly educated administrators in change at Toronto University took on to get said education they might have spent a dollar or two of it to buy themselves a clue.

Closing thought: My Dad generation didn’t have to beat the Nazi to become the greatest generation, it’s easy to acquire that title when the generations who follow are so stupid.

By A.P. Dillon

The first Republican debate was more entertaining than it had a right to be.

While a historic number of people watched it, they were likely doing so to see what came out of Trump’s mouth next. Those folks were probably not disappointed.

I was watching for how the candidates reacted to a few key issues. One of them is education — specifically Common Core.  I was not disappointed.

The question on Common Core was fired right at Jeb Bush, who dodged it without the words “Common Core” ever crossing his lips. It was artful, but to those of us engaged in the fight against the Core, it was predictable and highly disingenuous.

First, it should be noted that Arne Duncan has attacked parents and insulted millions with his ‘white suburban mom‘ rhetoric. Jeb Bush and John Kasich prefer to utilize Unicorns to smear parents with.

Second, Jeb Bush’s promotion of Common Core runs in contradiction to his claim he is a proponent of school choice. Common Core is the opposite of choice, sir.

The question on Common Core was then redirected to Sen. Marco Rubio. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t toss it to Kasich.  After all, Kasich is in this race to take Common Core heat off Jeb and hand him Ohio.

What Rubio said in his response effectively stapled Bush’s position on Common Core to Bush’s own forehead:

Well, first off, I too believe in curriculum reform. It is critically important in the 21st Century. We do need curriculum reform. And it should happen at the state and local level. That is where educational policy belongs, because if a parent is unhappy with what their child is being taught in school, they can go to that local school board or their state legislature, or their governor and get it changed.

Here’s the problem with Common Core. The Department of Education, like every federal agency, will never be satisfied. They will not stop with it being a suggestion. They will turn it into a mandate.

In fact, what they will begin to say to local communities is, you will not get federal money unless do you things the way we want you to do it. And they will use Common Core or any other requirements that exists nationally to force it down the throats of our people in our states.

This response isn’t just applicable to Common Core or the Department of Education. There are examples of this mandate machine we call the Federal government in every sector of our lives now.

The lengths to which the federal government has gone to ensure control over the states to date is Orwellian. And this control seeking behavior is increasing.

Rubio didn’t stop with Jeb Bush on education either, he took a clean shot at Hillary Clinton and “free” college this week. From a press release from his campaign site:

“Hillary Clinton’s higher education plan is Obamacare for college. Clinton’s plan doubles down on the outdated system that’s created skyrocketing tuitions and degrees that don’t lead to jobs. Rather than modernize our system by embracing new innovations, Clinton will raise taxes and pour more money into a broken system. 

Good to see Rubio taking aim at Clinton on this topic. This is yet another example of where another federal mandate could be created funded by our own tax dollars.

Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton now have another thing in Common beyond donors — Rubio has called them both out on education. Clinton, like Bush, also is a supporter of Common Core.

AP DillonA.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review,, and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

While everyone is busy commenting on Boston’s now aborted bid to host the olympics a group of activists from SIM (the student immigration movement) are quietly trying to push a different agenda:

For the first time in years, our in-state tuition bill has a shot at being reported favorably out of committee. Thanks to the more than 150 people like you who came out to our hearing on July 15, the Joint Committee on Higher Education got a loud and clear message: The state of Massachusetts wants education equity now.

Ah “Education Equality” a phrase our activist friends define as such: If you are a person in Framingham in violation of federal law, you should be given preference in tuition over a person who was born in Nashua who is not in violation of federal law.

As for his suggestion that Massachusetts wants his version of “education equality” Now, let me point out some inconvenient facts:

The Massachusetts State Senate has 40 seats, Democrats hold 34 of them that’s 85% of the total. Democrats have controlled the Senate for 56 years and have held a supermajority for decades.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has 160 seats, Democrats hold 125 of them 78% of the total. Democrats have controlled the house for 60 years and have held a supermajority for decades.

From from 2007 until Governor Baker was sworn this January Democrat Deval Patrick was in the governor’s seat.

I don’t know what that tells anybody else but do you know what it tells me?

It’s tells me that if there is one thing that Massachusetts DOESN’T want, it’s the Student Immigration Movement’s version of “education equality” because if it did the Democrats with their veto proof majorities would have passed it long ago.  The fact they haven’t been able to do it speaks volumes.


Here is the complete text of the email they’re blasting:

July 27, 2015


For the first time in years, our in-state tuition bill has a shot at being reported favorably out of committee. Thanks to the more than 150 people like you who came out to our hearing on July 15, the Joint Committee on Higher Education got a loud and clear message: The state of Massachusetts wants education equity now.

But before our state legislators go into recess in August, we need your help with a couple of more things.

Thing 1

Take two minutes to tell Governor Charlie Baker that he should sign our Education Equity legislation if it gets to his desk. Undocumented students are meeting with him this week, but he needs to hear from as many people as possible.

Use this calling tool to make the call and let us know how it went!


Thing 2

Tell your state representative and senator that this legislation is important to you.

You can use our calling tool to call the governor, your representative and senator and let us know how it went!

:Thank you for your help. Every call and voice is important.


Until we win,

Carlos Rojas Álvarez, Campaign Coordinator

Two more things:

1.  The SIM people are urging their supporters to call the governors office and state reps to try to push this bill forward. I’d suggest if you are an opponent of illegal immigration you make this call instead and let them know what actual citizen voters think.

2.  Until we win means that they are going to keep coming and keep coming.  You can’t beat these guys once, you have to beat them every single moment of every single day.

Act accordingly.


I was looking at this Ashe Snow piece at Instapundit today concerning the Drunken Sex and consent:

Have you ever had sex after consuming alcohol (any amount)? If so, then you’re a rapist – or rape victim, depending on your sex…The poster claims that while Jake and Josie were both drunk, only Josie was unable to consent, making Jake an automatic rapist. “A woman who is intoxicated cannot give her legal consent for sex, so proceeding under these circumstances is a crime,” the poster read.

Now while I, like Stacy McCain I would recommend both against drunken sex at college, it hit me that in Coastal Carolina University effort to pander to the new liberalism of feminists crusaders they have actually stepped into a gay quagmire. To wit:

1.  If the sexual act involves two women, neither can consent therefore both must have been raped, but since there was not a man involved apparent there was no rapist, therefore there could not be a rape.  So both women can be considered both rape victims and not rape victims at the same time.

2.  If this sex act involved two men Since by the base poster the Man is automatically the rapist if he has sex with someone drunk both men can be thought of simultaneously as both rapists and victims.  

But obviously the entire business of ignoring same-sex relationships is discrimination by fiat so they’ve gone one step further in their next campaign.

CCU has since “changed” its stance on whether women can consent while drunk. Now no one can consent after drinking alcohol, only stone-cold sober people can have sex. Everything else is rape. That’s according to the school’s new poster, currently being distributed on campus.

Now in one respect this is much fairer as it doesn’t discriminate concerning either the sex of the people involved or the number of people involved so everyone is equal.

However because of this lack of distinction everybody we have reached peak Schrödinger’s Rape since everyone can be thought of as both rapist and victim at the same time.

You know the more crazy this becomes the more the Catholic Church teachings concerning sex prove to be not only the right this per the commandments of God, but the smart thing


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There is no doubt that the K-12 educational system in this country has issues. The statistics get thrown around on the news from time to time when there isn’t anything else to talk about. Things have been so bad for so long that when the subject comes up most people roll their eyes and say, yeah we need to fix that.

Well, let’s not look at it from the graduation rate, let’s not even think about reading level upon graduation which are two of the favorite stats that get thrown out.

Here is something I learned today that should scare anyone into action who has kids that are about to enter, or are currently in school.

On a national level 5-6 percent of kids in KINDERGARTEN repeat the grade. In some localities, for instance in the worst of inner cities that retention rate is 10 percent or more. It doesn’t stop there.

Think about this for a second. Kids coming out of that level must be able to identify colors, letters, numbers and the like. They should be able to read simple words (I, am, me, see, etc). They should be able to tell stories to adults about their day, answer questions, and be ready counting their coins (pennies, quarters, etc). Remember, that these kids are 6-years old at the end of the grade level.

In fact age 6 is one of the most likely times for kids to be held back!

We need to kick start kids in life, not hold them back. If children have issues with kindergarten I think parents hold a great deal of this responsibility.

Think it is just impossible?

I have a 5 year old that does all of these things, and more. Now, I take daily efforts to nudge my children on all things academic. That same 5 year old can also add and subtract so he’s all set for entering the k-12 system next year. I’m not concerned for him. I’m concerned for us as a society.

When there are this number of kids who start out life behind we should all be worried.

Well, enter another article I found. One that says kids are worse off if they are held back away from their friends or same age kids. It’s bad for them socially according to the department of education and maybe we shouldn’t hold them back, for the benefit of the individual.

Ok, I get it, it’s embarrassing for these kids.

Well, not everyone gets a trophy every time.

Sometimes if you aren’t ready to move on, you just aren’t. Let’s think about solving this problem. Not just passing kids who can’t make the grade. That doesn’t solve anything, it just makes it worse and it appears to be starting at kindergarten.

I believe that it isn’t just our k-12 system that is letting us down. I think we have a large number of parents that are not stepping up to the plate. It is time for us to put emphasis back on education in the home. It isn’t enough to just drop kids off at school and say ok I’m done with my part. Oh no no no. We must be involved in ensuring our kids are learning. We must help them with their homework.

Being a parent is hard work. I know that some people believe it takes a village to raise a child and that may have some validity. I can’t be his teacher on all subjects. I can’t be his coach on every team. However, that doesn’t not excuse me from being a parent.

We have to find ways to influence other parents to take responsibility. We also need to clean up our k-12 system when it fails.

My point here is that our kids are not learning. We all want to blame the system, but as with most things in life there is no “one size fits all answer.” The actual root cause of the problem may not be any one thing. It will take a functional k-12 system. It also takes kids being in a functional home, with parent(s) who are actively involved in their education until they are old enough to take responsibility for themselves.

K-5 is a very important part of education. It is the basis. It is when parents must be the most involved. I think parents have a hard job. But we must step up to the plate and do what we must to ensure our children get the start in life they deserve. Don’t blame anyone for what is wrong, let’s all fix it. Let’s get together and ensure that we work with them at home and also ensure that they have a great place to go learn.


Timothy Imholt PhD

Tim is a weekly contributor to this blog as well as an engineer during the day. He also has written a number of books including the best selling Forest of Assassins and the newly released The Last World War.

Yesterday was VE Day an unofficial holiday when we remember those who risked their lives for the good of society fighting in Europe in WW 2.

Oddly that day made me think of National Teachers day which was May 5th.

To most this might seem odd.  National Teachers day would be a day to remember the best teachers we ever had like Mrs. Teresa Mahoney who I had for both 4th & 7th Grades way back in 1972 & 1976.  She introduced me to poetry from Arthur Guiterman’s Pershing at the Front which made me smile to Countee Cullen’s Incident which made me think.

However given the situation teachers find themselves in today the VE day comparison might be apt.  Exhibit A  the 2nd largest city in New England Worcester MA:

School safety liaison Rob Pezzella says schools and police have already implemented a measure officials announced last week by stationing officers at the district’s high schools. Additional measures could include metal detectors.

 The new security measures came in the wake of a series of weapons-related arrests at or near some of the high schools over the past few weeks.

What incidents?  Incidents like this.

Worcester Police arrested a 16-year-old student at Burncoat High School after they say a loaded handgun and ammunition was found in a container in his locker.

And this

Police on Wednesday arrested five Worcester Vocational Technical High School students after a witness reported seeing them with guns in a school parking lot.

At Worcester North High a vice principal was assaulted trying to break up a fight and some teachers are near the breaking point

What my colleagues and I experienced this week went well beyond any “disturbance” or “challenge” we’ve dealt with in the past. It did not happen without signs pointing to the inevitable eruption in our hallways. Control has been eroding for some time, and the reasons are many. North may be a brand new facility, but it brings with it all the baggage an urban high school carries: a high poverty rate, understaffing, children with intense mental health issues and a reluctance to hold students and families accountable for unacceptable behavior.

A full time officer is now on duty .  Counselor at Large Mike Gaffney put it this way

“Instead of a learning environment, the emphasis has been to keep children (often young adults), with no interest in an education, in the schools to show an increase in graduation rates. Instead of a safe environment, the emphasis has been to reduce detention, suspension, and expulsion actions for the purpose of showing an artificial reduction in disciplinary issues. Meanwhile, these disruptors with no interest in an education bully, attack, and assault teachers and other students. Our children should not be forsaken for a statistic.”

In fairness to Worcester this is neither a new nor a local problem only as the national results of search for “Teacher Assaulted” in Google or Yahoo will quickly demonstrate.  Nor is the focus on stats vs. teaching confined to Worcester as those who were willing to stray from the media narrative of the Trayvon Martin case could tell you:

Both of Trayvon’s suspensions during his junior year at Krop High involved crimes that could have led to his prosecution as a juvenile offender. However, Chief Charles Hurley of the Miami-Dade School Police Department (MDSPD) in 2010 had implemented a policy that reduced the number of criminal reports, manipulating statistics to create the appearance of a reduction in crime within the school system. Less than two weeks before Martin’s death, the school system commended Chief Hurley for “decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011.” What was actually happening was that crimes were not being reported as crimes, but instead treated as disciplinary infractions.

Stats vs actual learning is at the heart of the Common Core debate as well, but that conversation is a week’s worth of pieces in itself.

As for Worcester, I’d like to say that these crisis has resulted in a renewed focus by the bureaucracy  not just on the protection of teachers and students but on the purpose of schools teaching mathematics,  science, history,  English & poetry, alas it seems the focus in Worcester remains on perception and gestures:

On Friday, Worcester photographer Troy B. Thompson visited the high school and invited all students to participate in his “No Evil Project,” which seeks to break down the stigmas of labels.

Along the same lines as Thompson’s community-wide project, which is currently being featured at the Denholm Building, students wrote out three labels they feel they represent and pledge an act of kindness.

I can’t imagine Mrs. Mahoney doing this.  Her generation was the generation of the Great Depression & the Second World War.  They knew what hardship, suffering and loss were and understood that there was a cost to everything worthwhile.   Rocking back on your chair (these were the days before one piece desks & chairs) would cost you a nickel for the Catholic Missionaries and those were the days when a rap across the knuckles with a ruler was not going to generate a call to DSS.

National Teachers day was once a simple day when we remembered our favorite teachers like Mrs. Mahoney who helped make us who they are, but will the day soon come when we think of National Teachers day as a remembrance to spare a thought for the modern teacher who faces an environment fraught with dangers & priorities for the good of society.

Just like VE day.  Except we’re not winning.


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Illinois BlagoBy John Ruberry

Yes, there is a corruption tax in Illinois. It’s not an official levy, however–in other words, bribes to public officials aren’t taxed. It they were perhaps there would not be a $7 billion backlog of unpaid bills in the Prairie State.

What does the corruption tax cost per person?

The Northwest Times of Indiana has the answer:

Now new research by an Indiana University professor has found residents of the most corrupt states literally pay a steep price for crimes committed by their elected officials due to artificially inflated state spending that’s typically tied to public corruption.

John Mikesell, IU professor of public and environmental affairs, and Cheol Liu, assistant professor of public policy at City University of Hong Kong, determined that the 10 most corrupt U.S. states — which includes Illinois, but not Indiana — would have spent 5.2 percent less between 1997-2008 if they had only an average amount of corruption.

That translates to a corruption tax of $1,308 per person in those states.

That my friends is a lot of money.

Let me explain it differently. Let’s say you are living in a condominium where the landscaping firm, the laundry machine vendors, and the snow removal service company are paying kickbacks to the condo board members. Across the street is another condo that is run honestly. All things being equal, the monthly assessment for the second condo building will be less.

Blogger at Dixon, IL
Blogger at Dixon, IL

Although no one has been charged with a crime, a couple of new corruption stories broke in Illinois last week. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, went on paid-leave after it was revealed that a no-bid $20.5 million principal training contract with her former employer is the subject of a federal probe. West of the city, the College of DuPage, a community college, is under federal investigation over alleged misspending and a $763,000 severance package given to the president of the school.

But there is some good news. Longtime Dixon, Illinois comptroller, Rita Crundwell, embezzled an astounding $54 million from the town of 15,000 that is best known as Ronald Reagan’s hometown. Her crimes are now the centerpiece of two Illinois college courses.

Perhaps Illinois is finally ready to learn from its mistakes.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.


Update:  DTG:  If you like your journalism from inside the swarm the MSM swarm there are plenty of places you can get it from.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Like all other schools across the state and across the nation, Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School in Shreveport is gearing up for rigorous state testing this month.  The new tests that students will now have to take are Common Core based and extremely tough and schools across the parish have been drilling, doing remediation, holding motivational pep rallies, and offering after school tutoring.  One principal is even calling on prayer, a move which now has him in trouble with the ACLU.

Mr. Albert Hardison is the principal of Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School; he is a quiet, kind man who always has a smile and gentle nod of his head in greeting.  He has been the principal at Walnut Hill for thirty-five years; his former students are now sending their own kids to Walnut Hill because they think so highly of him and his leadership.

Mr. Hardison attracted the attention of the ACLU when he sent home his March 2015 newsletter to parents advising them about upcoming testing schedules; the school newsletter always has a Principal’s Message to parents.  I’m going to share his message to parents in its entirety here because I want you to have the context; he wrote:

Principal’s Message – ‘Truly We Are Blessed’

“Our school may be old of age, but it is cleaned, well-maintained, and free of debris and graffiti.  Our faculty may not be monetarily rich, but they care, share, and give to our students a wealth of knowledge that will help them become our country’s doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, nurses, and yes, even presidents.  Our students come from all economic levels, communities, races, and origins, but at our school they unite and become one indivisible student body under the Walnut Hill banner of excellence, fairness, and equality for all.

“The sun may not sine outside, but inside our laughter, smiles, encouragement, praise, and love for our children dazzle the day.  Although cloudy days are sometimes evident, the light of optimism, the rays of hope and the joy of teaching and helping our students brighten these cloudy days.

“Our parents may not visit our school each day, but their support, compliments, quick response to our cry for help and love for their children and school is unwavering.

Principal Albert Hardison (Shreveport Times file photo)

“Although all children may not blossom at the same time, our faculty continues to fertilize their minds, water their thoughts, nourish their spirit, pull back the blinds so that the light can stream in, and soon, they bud, grow, and prosper.

“On mornings when the sun is beaming or hidden, our student prayer group ‘Hornets for Hope’, pray and give thanks to the Son of God for carrying our school over the thorns of negativity and the thistles of discord and setting it gently on the petals of harmony and the lily of tranquility.  Our ‘Hornets for Hope’ thank God for giving us a school that believes in God, family, and education.

“We thank God for helping us to realize that if we removed Christ, family, and teachers from the lives of our children there is no way that adding more police officers, legislating more laws, building more jails, requiring more testing, mandating more parental involvement, earning more money, or purchasing more things could ever replace the blessings of God, the love of our family, and the knowledge imparted by our teachers.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what type of house we lived in, what color our skin was, how much money we had or what brand of clothes we wore, but what will matter is that we steadfastly walked in the ways of Christ, that we honored and loved our parents, family, and fellow man and that we lived by our school motto:  ‘Work for the Best – Accept only the Best – Be the very, very Best.’

“And that in itself is truly a Blessing!

“Albert Hardison, Principal.”

Personally, I think it’s a lovely analogy and a beautiful message.  The ACLU did not agree.

On March 30, 2015, the ACLU of Louisiana sent a letter to the superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools informing him that Mr. Hardison “has engaged in a pattern of religious proselytization by sending messages to parents invoking prayer, and through a lengthy ‘Principal’s Message’ on the school’s website.”  Further:

This letter is to inform you that these messages violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and comparable provisions of the Louisiana Constitution, and they must stop immediately.

They also found offense with this blurb found within the newsletter:

Phillippians 4:13. . .I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.


Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana has demanded that all religious references be removed from Walnut Hill’s website and from all other Caddo Parish schools.  She also demands that all Caddo Parish staff be educated about “the Constitutional protections of students and staff from religious indoctrination; and Instruct the Principal of Walnut Hill that neither he nor his staff may include religious references of any kind in school communications.”

In response, Caddo Parish did indeed remove all offending references from the Walnut Hill website.  Via The Shreveport Times:

The school district issued a statement Tuesday saying it would investigate the matter internally and make certain there isn’t a Constitutional violation.

“In this instance, questionable materials subsequently have been removed from district web pages while the investigation continues,” the statement said. “If there is a violation, we will make certain we act swiftly to ensure we do not have any further violations.”

The Walnut Hill community responded, too.  Friday morning a prayer rally was held at Grawood Baptist Church and despite drizzling weather and cloudy skies, it was attended by hundreds of parents, students, former students, and other community members.

A Facebook page, Support Albert Hardison, now has over 8,000 Likes and the comments in support are powerful:

“I support Mr. Hardison 100%. All 3 of my kids go there & he is what a principal should be! He is an outstanding leader & role model for our young children! Walnut Hill is a great school & all that started with him, and the compassion that he has for our kids. He is a man that stands firm in his beliefs & we as Christians should stand firm in ours as well & support him!”

And another:

I don’t even practice any sort of religion and he has done nothing wrong. Ever since I was in 1st grade to 8th grade at that school Mr.Hardison was a huge inspiration to me. He kept me going and motivated me to do the best I could. I was going through times with severe bullying and people putting me down every day. He gave me the hope and strength to move on and set my goals for myself. Every morning I would go to his office and visit him and tell him about my day and how things were going. Every staff member at walnut hill is beyond amazing! They help out so much with the kids and care so much about them. If this adult’s child actually went to that school then they’d be satisfied with how much they help out. I’m more than 100% on his side!

There are streams of similar comments on the page.

Shreveport attorney Royal Alexander weighed in with an Op-Ed in The Shreveport Times, and went on to tie the local issue in with the current brouhaha in Indiana:

Here in Shreveport, Caddo Parish schools is investigating allegations that the principal of Walnut Hill Elementary supposedly violated the First Amendment by invoking God and Jesus and calling for prayer in school publications. However, Principal Albert Hardison has an excellent reputation and I applaud him for erring on the side of religious freedom. I strongly maintain that these types of issues are not nearly as clear as the ACLU has asserted.

The current state of the law regarding prayer in public schools is that, generally, a school official may not initiate and/or sponsor a prayer because, the argument goes, doing so tends to endorse one religion over another in violation of the Establishment Clause. However, a very important distinction has been drawn for student-initiated prayer practices such that public school facilities may be used as long as the use of the facility is truly neutral and equally available to religious and non-religious groups alike.

Another distinction has been drawn that makes allowable the study of the Bible in public schools as long as the study occurs in a purely academic manner. There are still other distinctions as well.

Parents at the school support Mr. Hardison;  I am told that Mr. Hardison “is a godly man” that doesn’t force his religion on anybody.  He puts God first in his own life, then family, and then education.  If a child asks him to pray for them, he does it (and they do), but he doesn’t force it on anyone.

Parents are upset because whomever made the complaint doesn’t have a child in the school; they don’t want any ‘watchdog’ group or outside interference in a system that clearly works.  Walnut Hill is a high-achieving school, earning a “B” letter-grade from the State Department of Education; the school has over 60% of its population on free/reduced lunch and draws from all demographics.  Mr. Hardison is clearly doing something right at Walnut Hill.

For now, the Caddo Parish School Board is investigating the ACLU complaint.  Mr. Hardison, by necessity, has issued no statement nor has he attended any of the prayer rallies or gatherings.  But he certainly can feel the love and support flooding his way.

Isn’t there someone else the ACLU can go pick on rather than a good man trying to keep kids on the right track?


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.


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By A.P. Dillon

In New York, the energy from the movement by parents to opt their children out of standardized testing and push back against one-size-fits-all reforms like Common Core is fueling the same fights in the rest of the states.

What is going on in New York and elsewhere is not just a fight about high-stakes tests or Common Core. These two things are only a part of a bigger question: What is the purpose of education?

Our children are answering that question.

Ryan Lotocki of Frontier High School has some answers to that question and shares some of them in the video, “This is Genius“.

Lotocki also asks a question to which Common Core is not the solution:

“What’s the point to learn?
For the thrill.
And Common Core won’t solve anything, so take a chill pill”. 

While Lotocki is in high school in New York, a fourth grade girl named Sydney Smoot (from Jeb Bush’s Faux Education Utopia of Florida) gave a speech to a school board. This young lady’s speech about why the current FSA testing must stop was passionate, direct and the audience erupted in cheers at the end.

Also in Florida, an 8th grader tearfully spoke out about high-stakes testing (the FCAT)  in the state and Common Core. Her testimony was positively heartbreaking. Parents shouted out from the audience, “this is ridiculous!” and “you can’t do this to our children!

The video of that 8th grader closes with a few written statements, one of which reads, “And children, the future generation of our nation, are unable to live up to their full learning potential, based on a snapshot test day.

Are you listening, Ed Reformers? Corporations? Education ‘Non-profits’?

AP DillonA.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review,, Watchdog

One of the interesting things about our race divided culture is how selective we are about stories of racism.  Over the weekend (well technically early AM on monday morning) I saw three stories on race & education that outraged me:

1.  Item:  Oklahoma Frat in Racist Chant:

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma has demonstrated a questionable taste in music

The chant is they are singing is: “There will never be a nigger at SAE.”.  I suspect it will not be released as a rap single any time soon. I first saw this on twitchy but as of this writing (3 AM on monday) ABC news, and Huffington Post are on it and it’s not a tough bet to conclude that by the time this post goes up Tuesday afternoon it will be all over the news nationally. Now let’s be quite clear, these young idiots have a first amendment right to sing racist songs if they want to, after all the 1st amendment protects offensive speech but rights come with responsibilities so while that same first amendment protects their right to act this way it doesn’t protect them from the consequences of said actions from both the national fraternity:

and the college itself

These young fools are about to learn a valuable lesson about cause and effect.  Lets hope it sticks.

2.  Item:  No Whites Allowed this is a progressive event!

Apparently for one school in Chicago “Black History Month” is for black students only:

An Illinois high school principal is defending his decision to exclude white students from a “Black Lives Matter” event held at his school.

On February 27th, Oak Park and River Forest High School principal, Nathaniel Rouse, hosted a “Black Lives Matter” event exclusively for black students. The assembly was intended to culminate Black History Month with a discussion on race relations. Approximately 350 black individuals attended the event. When white students attempted to attend the assembly, however, they were denied entry.

Yeah that’s going to do wonders for race relations at the school. As you might suspect parents at this Chicago area school were not pleased

The white parents reported that their students were turned away when they tried to attend the Black Lives Matter event. The parents said they were offended that in a school and community that prides itself on diversity and inclusion that students who wanted to attend would be excluded.

But school Principal Nathaniel Rouse, who organized the event and is black, said that wasn’t the intent.

“First and foremost, this is not meant to give a connotation that we were trying to be exclusive,” Rouse said.

Right because nothing says “inclusion” like excluding students based on race. Perhaps principal Rouse can hold a “Separate but equal” assembly for the white students.

Now unlike the first story this one involves actions taken by a mature adult in authority who is named, yet a google news search for “Nathaniel Rouse” shows that outside of Chicago only the daily caller and Biz Pak review found this story newsworthy.

3.  Item: Clarence Thomas,  the KKK, who can tell the difference?

Clarence Thomas has been a member of the United States Supreme Court for twenty-four years.  Before the election of Barack Obama to the White House he was the highest ranking black man in the United States government and unless a person of color replaces President Obama or he leaves the court before the president leaves office on Jan 20th 2017 he will regain that distinction.

So how does the Barron’s 7th Edition guide for AP history describe him?  Like so:

The latest version of a top-selling study guide for the Advanced Placement European History exam explains the French Revolution with a chart which identifies Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a fascist and pairs him with the Ku Klux Klan.

Far be it for me to label either Barrons, the maker of this guide or the authors: Seth A. Roberts (a DC area high school teacher) and James M. Eder racists, but one might think that identifying a black man who was born in the segregated south under Jim Crow, who was the only black student in his high school, who rose to become a member of the highest judicial court in the land with the KKK might be crossing a line.

Of course it’s always possible that the authors and the company figured given how far left politically higher education leans these days such a comparison might help a student get accepted.

Now you might think that a leading publisher equating a black supreme court justice with the KKK might be a story the media would be interested in, but other than the Daily Caller story liked in the title not one other result show up on Google News about this.


Each of these stories are about racism, the actions of the people involved in all of them are offensive & outrageous to me, but their news coverage given to these stories is inversely related to the degree of outrage the subjects of these stories deserve.  Think about it:

The first story concerns college students in a frat.  By definition you are dealing kids in their teen & early twenty who are by definition the least experienced, the least educated and the least restrained of young adults.  While they are, in my opinion old enough to know better and completely responsible for their actions I expect less from them they I would older responsible adults.

Furthermore consider the actions of the responsible adults.  Once this information became public both the national fraternity and the college administration acted decisively.  The adults in the room, either motivated by outrage or the free market or both wasted no time in nipping this in the bud.

It’s a story worth reporting and I have no grudge with the media reporting it.

Now consider the 2nd story.  Unlike the first one involving students the person involved an educator, a responsible adult, and not only a responsible adult but an adult in charge of an entire school.

Furthermore an assembly involves other faculty at the school, this suggests that other teachers in the school were at least aware of the rules of said assembly.  The various stories do mention this fact.  We don’t know if the other teachers had any objections or bothered to voice said possible objections.

I might snark about”Separate but equal” but these people are supposed to be educators.  If “Separate but Equal” came to mind to an old blogger can you explain how it doesn’t occur to people who teach for a living?

Yet this story, a story of separate but equal in on of the largest cities in the nation is not getting any press or outrage even though it involves responsible adults as opposed to dumb college frat boys.

Now consider the final story.

There are two authors to this book one of them is high school educator I don’t know anything of the other, however Barron’s is a leading publisher of such items as a leading publisher likely has an editorial staff that would go over titles of this nature.

Furthermore we are not talking about a single assembly at a single school, you are talking a commercial product that is being sold to students all over the country by one of the leading producers of such products whose author and editorial staff saw nothing wrong with grouping Justice Thomas with a group of murderous racists.

That a professional organization would not only do this, but would propagate such an opinion to a national audience is disgusting and in a world with an unbiased press such actions would produce a lot of press and an abject apology.

However not only does the media have no interest in this story, I strongly suspect if the media saw it they would be fist pumping with glee.

So lets summarize:

Professional Organization telling students nationwide that Clarence Thomas is just like the KKK not newsworthy or a big deal.

High School principal excluding students from an assembly based on race.  Pretty much a local story and both justifiable & no big deal because it was white students being excluded.

College kids singing racist song on a bus.  The most important story of our time and a sign that the United States is the most evil country in the world.


By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – As the national opt-out movement gains momentum, school districts are getting nervous about kids not showing up for the intensive PARCC tests.

NOLA reported this week that in Alexandria, Louisiana, kids are being offered incentives to take the test such as being excused from the school dress code for the rest of the year.  Morris Hills New Jersey school district planned, then abandoned, an incentive plan that would reward students with bonus points and a chance to win American Express gift cards for participating in the test.  A Newton, New Jersey high school offered students the chance to skip some final exams just for taking the PARCC test. Twitchy has examples of incentives of all kinds for kids to take the test – from iPad minis to recess.

Incentivizing and rewarding kids to do well on tests has been around as long as tests have been around, but this time it’s taking on a different meaning.  In Louisiana, at least, there are very real penalties for not taking the test.  For every child that doesn’t take the test, the school receives a zero in the formula that calculates the school performance score.  When the annual school letter grades come out, a school could be labeled with a low letter grade just because a number parents opted their kids out of the test, even though otherwise it may be an excellent school.

In Calcasieu Parish nearly 800 students are opting out; that’s an usually high number – a survey of opt-outs throughout the state are in double digits by parish.  But 800 students is about 6% of the student body in Calcasieu Parish and will definitely affect school scores and teacher evaluations.

While the issue of assigning a zero for these kids has been brought to the state BESE Board, they have deferred action on the matter:

State schools Superintendent John White said the opt-outs would clearly have an impact on Moss Bluff schools. But he defended his recommendation to wait on setting any policy changes for score and teacher scores, saying, “We don’t govern two schools — we govern 1,400.” Moreover, he said any decision to opt-out was “hypothetical” until testing day.

And so, the issue of opt-out looms like a threat over the heads of districts and schools where a large number of parents don’t want to subject their kids to extensive, grueling testing over Common Core standards that have been poorly implemented from Day One.  (At the very least, CCSS should have been phased in from elementary grades over a number of years – dumping CCSS math on a high-school sophomore and then subjecting them to PARCC is ridiculous).

As to the issue of incentives, I say it’s nothing new.  Does it cross the line to bribery?  Maybe.  But to hold the threat of heavy penalty over a school for parental opt-out decision (something a school really has no control over), is just wrong.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  over the next several weeks, kids across the nation are going to be subjected to long, grueling, standardized tests to prove that they are learning and that teachers are doing their job.

In Louisiana, this is the schedule I indicated about a month ago:

PARCC Phase 1: (Grades 3-8) March 16-20  (English and Math)

iLeap/Leap: (Grades 3-8) April 14-15 (Science and Social Studies)

PARCC Phase 2: (Grades 3-8) May 4-8 (English and Math)

EOC for ELA and Math (Grades 6-12) begins in April and covers English, Science, Math, Social Studies.  Most of these are two day tests.  In some cases, three days.

Then, if you’re going to take the ACT, there are dates for that too, depending on which series you take:  EXPLORE for Grades 8 and 9, PLAN for Grade 10, and ACT for grade 11.  In most school districts, these tests are mandatory.

This schedule changes daily. In my particular school, they’ve also adding a WorkKeys test for grade 11 and the CLEP test, and students in AP classes will be taking various AP tests.

It’s a seriously insane amount of testing.

The Opt-out movement is growing across the nation; this could be in part due to growing frustration with Common Core but also frustration with the growing number of tests kids have to take.  It is accountability run amok.

The New York Times took a look at the opt-out movement primarily as related to the New Jersey area, but parents are frustrated across the country.

In Louisiana the whole issue is a hot mess:

A new wrinkle for this year is that no one outside of Louisiana State Superintendent John White and his close circle know what test kids will be taking.  White has claimed at different times our children will be taking a PARCC or PARCC-like test.  (PARCC is one of two major testing Consortiums tapped and funded by US DOE to develop Common Core tests for the States.)  However Governor Bobby Jindal and his DOA intervened in a contract dispute and declared the way it was approved invalid and have asserted they will not pay for PARCC with State funds.  This has led to several lawsuits brought by education Reform proponents and parents groups as well as the Governor’s office and BESE.

Part of the objection to these tests is that Common Core was implemented across the board.  Kids in Algebra I, for example, are going to be tested on Common Core style questions when that’s not the way they were taught.  Even the EOC (End of Course test) which Louisiana uses has been redesigned to reflect PARCC – type questions and Common Core skills.  So, given this, it’s easy for me to see why a parent might not want to subject a child to this.

I’ve been an educator for 18 years and I love teaching kids, but when I look at our testing schedule and I look at how many classroom hours are given over to testing, test prep, and holding time while other student groups test, it’s clear that something is out of sync.

At any rate, it’s-a-comin’, so as parents you must decide if your child is going to be subjected to that or if you’re going to opt-out.

Spring testing season is here.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal issued an executive order this week in which he urges the head governing board over education to allow parents to opt-out of PARCC state testing for their children this spring.  And that’s as far as it went.


Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday urged Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to allow alternatives to the Common Core-aligned test that public schools are planning to use this spring. Jindal, who opposes the national Common Core academic standards, has no legal authority of the school board, so he used an executive order to issue a strong suggestion for testing alternatives, rather than a requirement for other assessment options.

“His executive order is worth only the paper it is written on,” said Chas Roemer, president of the school board and a Common Core supporter.

You will recall, Governor Jindal was once a full supporter of Common Core, helped push the standards through, and in touting the standards, he said “Adopting the Common Core State Standards, which will raise expectations for every child.”   (In that same speech he also praised the new Value Added Teacher Assessment Program which has been one cluster after another, bringing teacher morale to new lows statewide.)

I’m not faulting Jindal for his reversal on Common Core.  We all make mistakes and correcting those mistakes is a fully rational thing to try to do.  But this one has been costly for Louisiana, both financially and by all measurements of stress and morale on our children and teachers.

This spring, children in Louisiana, as in other states, will undergo days and days of testing; in preparation for that, they will also spend weeks with practice tests, test prep, and intensive boot camp remediation for some.  Testing dates in Louisiana look something like this:

PARCC Phase 1: (Grades 3-8) March 16-20  (English and Math)

iLeap/Leap: (Grades 3-8) April 14-15 (Science and Social Studies)

PARCC Phase 2: (Grades 3-8) May 4-8 (English and Math)

EOC for ELA and Math (Grades 6-12) begins in April and covers English, Science, Math, Social Studies.  Most of these are two day tests.  In some cases, three days.

Then, if you’re going to take the ACT, there are dates for that too, depending on which series you take:  EXPLORE for Grades 8 and 9, PLAN for Grade 10, and ACT for grade 11.  In most school districts, these tests are mandatory.

It varies by grade, and which test which grade must take, but let’s just agree that it is a lot of testing.  The calendar for Louisiana testing can be found here.

Who in the world could fault a parent for opting out of some of this?

I talked to a friend the other day who teaches at a middle school in Shreveport; she was reprimanded by her principal for teaching the prescribed curriculum and not focusing enough on test prep and practice test questions in her classroom.  His concern was that low student scores on the standardized tests will reflect poorly on the school and also on him.

What in the world has education come to?

Are we teaching kids to take tests or to think critically?  Can it be one in the same?  Are we killing the love of learning for our kids?  Putting too much stress and pressure on them?

Check the test schedules in your own state, and check the opt out policies.  It might be worthwhile.



Side note:  I blogged in this space some time ago about a local animal cruelty case in Shreveport where a dog, Braveheart, was found starved nearly to death in a storage locker at the peak of summer heat in Louisiana.  That case went to trial last week.  If you’re interested, here’s a wrap-up of that trial and verdict.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Just the headline at Politico is enough to make me giddy:

The Plot to overhaul No Child Left Behind:  The Republican plan could dramatically roll back the federal role in education.

Oh, I’m no fan of NCLB, to be sure, but Common Core is even worse.  What I like about this headline is the “roll back the federal role in education” part.  Both NCLB and Common Core have the federal government way too far into state matters of education.

But, it seems to me that if Republicans can give states a more viable option to Common Core, those states that want to opt out of it would then have a choice.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air considers the likelihood of a bill getting through Congress:

The first question which jumps to mind is whether or not the GOP can even pass such reforms and, if so, would Barack Obama go along with it. The new Senate GOP majority will only need a handful of Democrats to bring it to a vote and the system has become so poisonous on the local level in many states that it shouldn’t be much of an issue. But will Obama sign it?

Probably not, but I’m an optimist so let’s say he does.  Then states might have an option to Common Core; well, wait.  For that reason alone, Obama probably won’t sign an education bill.  I’m also a realist.

Maybe the answer is to rewrite Common Core; the biggest problem with Common Core has been its implementation.  It should have had a rollout over several years, beginning in the lower grades and then following those students up to high school.  As a veteran teacher of eighteen years, I’ve watched my students struggle with the new PARCC alignment questions and shut down in frustration.  The stories about the math curriculum in particular have been tragic.

Another problem with Common Core has been PARCC itself; Pearson and Bill Gates:  what could go wrong?

But, my biggest problem with Common Core has been the assumption that every child begins on the same page and can meet the same academic benchmarks across the board, and if they don’t, the teacher is the failure, not the child.  There is certainly some merit to the tenet that certain basics should be met across the country at a certain level; that’s common sense.  But to assume that say, an inner city tenth grader who reads on a 3rd grade level, lives in a dilapidated home with no computer access, one parent who has to work the night shift just to keep the electricity on, and the child’s basic diet is Ramen noodles from the Circle K – to assume that child begins on the same level as the student with two college educated parents in a fine two-story home in the best part of town, who attends a magnet school with little discipline issues, who has a laptop and an iPad for school work, who has proper meals at proper times, well, that’s just naïve.

You have to be able to read before you can write a twelve page analytical research paper.

Can that inner city child achieve?  Of course he can. Look at Ben Carson.  But Common Core assumes they are all level right now.

The bottom line is that states, and local districts, need options, not a one-size-fits all program.  If the Republicans can come up with a plan that offers that, and get it passed, if they can come up with options from which districts can choose while still keeping high standards and accountability, then go for it.  I’m all in.


 Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.