The Random Yak

Yak of the Week: The Future of Academia

Filed under: Education Yaks,Yak Rants,Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 4:06 pm on April 1, 2010

Apparently, the Dean of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles has somehow convinced himself (and others) that the best way to help his students find jobs in a lousy economy already glutted with would-be lawyers is…

retroactively raising everyone’s GPA by .333, and prospectively implementing an easier grading curve.

Had the story not broken yesterday, I would have taken it for an April Fool.  Even so, it staggers the imagination and stuns the mind (mine at least) almost beyond the capacity for rational thought.

So, just when I thought society might have risen above it, I’m re-instituting the Yak of the Week Award.  This week’s victim recipient:  Loyola Law School.

Above the Law reports that the Dean justifies this brilliant maneuver by pointing out that (a) other law schools have already resorted to grade inflation to help their graduates get jobs, (b) employers pay very close attention to law school grades when hiring new employees for legal positions, and (c) over the last few years, Loyola Law’s students have “improved significantly” – though apparently without the increasing GPAs to prove it.

In other words:

1.  We know you’re doing better, even though the evidence doesn’t prove it.

2.  If we raise your grades, you’ll we’ll everyone will look better to the guys you’re trying to convince that your law degree is still worth more than the recycling value of the paper it’s printed on.

and

3.  Everyone else is doing it.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but where I come from #3 is the kind of excuse that holds about as much water as the average industrial sieve.  In The Random Parents’ Household, when I was growing up, it was the kind of excuse that not only didn’t accomplish your objective, it also got you two-to-five (days) hard labor in the flower garden and an extended lecture on “What You Should NOT Do If Your Friends Jump Off A Bridge.”  (See: The Riot Act, Articles 9-13).

Had I responded to questions about my own grades with something akin to (the aptly named) Reason #2, I would have been grounded and/or beaten to a pulp for lying, depending on the forum in which I chose to make my ill-conceived announcement.

And as for Reason #1…facts and words both defy me to explain the utter idiocy of that proposition.  But I’ll try anyway.  The whole reason for “grades” is to let a student, their professor(s), and the world at large know how the student’s work compares with some objective scale.  At least in theory, when work improves, grades also improve – particularly when the same faculty member(s) are applying the grading scale from year to year.  (We’re ignoring the occasional rogue and/or grumpy professor, as well as the literally undeserved low grade.) This isn’t a case of “same students, same grades” or even “same students, plus improvement, same grades” – in which case I could understand some adjustment.  This is a case of hundreds of students, spread across a continuum which does not change – and which, for the record, is pegged to licensing requirements. I’ve taught law school.  I’ve even been an Associate Dean.

In other words: I know how it works.  A low C (71-72%) represents “minimum passing” on the Bar exam.  Therefore, a law school grading curve should be set so that students whose work would barely pass the Bar exam (“as if by fire”) get….a C.  From there, we scale upward.  And, regrettably but necessarily, downward.   It’s not rocket science…and it’s also not subject to artificial inflation “because we think you’re a really really cool bunch of neat-o guys who should really really be awesome lawyers and we like your socks.”

No.

If your curve is right, you have no reason to change it.  Even if your curve is wrong, you have no reason to change it retroactively. Worst of all, I suspect Loyola’s curve isn’t wrong.  I suspect, if you compared the 70-72%+ students, most of them pass the Bar exam, and the ones below that number, don’t.  If that wasn’t the case, the students would have self-selected for other law schools.  That’s the way it works – if your graduates don’t pass the licensing exam, people don’t go there.

Another clue: the need for Thing 2 and Thing 3…which point quite strongly to the Cat in the Hat in the corner.  It seems to me that if this was really a grading curve problem Loyola would have issued a very different statement.  Something on the order of “oh noes, the LOLcats got into the grading system and brainwashed all the professors!!!!!11!!!”  Well, that or “we’ve discovered our grading system doesn’t appropriately track the Bar examiners’ standards and are making necessary adjustments to ensure that our students have an accurate picture of how they will perform on the Bar.”  Not “oh noes, our grads are out of work.”

And so, we proudly bestow the Yak of the Week Award for A+* Education to Loyola Law School.

For:

  • Instituting not one but two grades above a 4.0 (Yes, Virginia, there is something above an A+.  We call it A+*);
  • Teaching a whole generation of lawyer-candidates that it’s not what you do, it’s what everyone thinks you did that counts;
  • Raising the Bar (candidates) by any means necessary; and
  • Proving, once and for all, that Anything Really Is Okay If Everyone Else Is Doing It.

Congratulations, Yak of the Week.

As a parting thought: someone might want to point out to the Dean that when they said the “grads” were a problem, the solution wasn’t “I’d like to buy another vowel.”

Debating the “Digitally Distracted”

Filed under: Education Yaks,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 12:22 pm on March 10, 2010

This morning, a colleague sent me a link to a Washington Post article about professors banning laptop computers in class (which led to this awesome video of a professor pouring liquid nitrogen on a laptop and shattering it on the floor as a warning to students not to violate his “no laptop rule” – which is safe for work unless you happen to be working on a laptop in this guy’s class) along with a note indicating that he (my colleague) was still debating the merits of the practice.

I’ve pondered the same question from time to time.

In my mind, at least, the debate boils down to whether ’tis nobler in the mind to permit one’s students to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (as brought upon themselves by their poor decisions with regard to misuse of classroom laptops) or to become the martinet instructor of old, brandishing the cane (if not the liquid nitrogen) in an attempt to enforce the educational equivalent of vegetable eating.

In other words:  do I let these purported adults make their own decisions, and suffer the consequences of bad ones, or enforce a no-laptop rule that might or might not result in better attention and educational success?

When I taught at the law school level, the answer seemed relatively clear.  If a twenty-five year old can’t make appropriate decisions about whether or not to use a laptop, (s)he probably doesn’t need a law license either.  One warning the first day of class that I expect people to pay attention and will hold them responsible for the course material seemed more than sufficient.  After that, stand or fall on your own, and if you fail the bar exam at least you’re qualified to pursue a career in laptop solitaire.  (Let me know how that works out for you.)

At the undergraduate level, however, the debate has more merit, or at least greater complexity.  Many undergraduate students are struggling with new-found freedoms and learning to make choices their parents either didn’t adequately teach or abdicated teaching altogether.  Even for those with good groundings and foundation, the temptations of an unsupervised existence often result in a certain amount of testing whether the parental units actually spoke with wisdom or just the old sound and fury, signifying nothing.  If nothing else, many of them face unlimited access to the laptop computer (and the host of time-wasting temptations it offers) for the first time, and are still learning how to use it well.

I am not responsible for their success – or failure – per se.  But do I have some ethical responsibility to help them make good decisions, at least in the classroom?  To the extent I let them know that laptops are for note-taking purposes only, and that if they’d rather be surfing they should grab a board and head for the coast, probably.  Should I have to monitor their use like an usher in a Puritan church, staff in hand and ready to administer a solid whack to the pate of the guilty?  Absolutely not.

It would be easy to let this commentary derail completely, to devolve into a rant lambasting the loss of personal responsibility and parental influence over the young, or a tirade about the lack of interest most college students seem to have in actually obtaining an education – in essence, the same kind of insignificant sound and fury that characterizes my typical response to futility in all its modern forms.  I won’t do that.

What I will do is offer a question, for those who read and those who comment to consider.

Is it better to ban the laptop and blackberry altogether, thereby ensuring that whatever woolgathering folly my undergraduate students engage in (and they will woolgather, as students have done since the beginning of time) is strictly of the non-electronic, non-digital variety, or to simply leave them with the same speech I give the (chronologically and theoretically) more mature graduate students and let them learn a harsh lesson if they refuse to make appropriate choices regarding the use of technology?

I wish I had an answer.  Even a smart remark would do.  But the reality is, I’m still debating this one myself.  Feel free to join the discussion if you wish.

In the interim…anyone know where I can get a supply of liquid nitrogen, in case I do reach a decision?

Thursday Frivol(ous) Advice: If it Ain’t a Lollipop…Don’t Lick it.

Filed under: Education Yaks,Frivol,Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 1:37 pm on December 10, 2009

We’ll file this one under “things I really shouldn’t have to tell you (again).”  But in light of the unusually cold weather and recent news…let’s go there anyway.

A reading from The Yak’s Big Book of Life Lessons to Remember, Vol. III:

Rule 47:  Unless an item is clearly labeled as safe for human consumption, you should not lick it.”

Rule 48:  Lightpoles, fence posts, water pumps and all other metal-or-metallic objects are not safe for human consumption, and should not be licked under any circumstances, particularly in weather below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.”

“48(a): disobeying Rule 48 may lead to one or more of the following: embarrassment, public humiliation, injury to or loss of tongue, tardiness (due to having your tongue stuck to a fence post for an extended period of time), cramping (see previous cause), pain, unpleasant nicknames, deafness (from the laughter of those familiar with Rules 47-49), wishing for deafness and/or a variety of other equally unpleasant consequences.”

“48(b): Although emergency personnel will probably help free you from the results of disobeying Rules 47 and/or 48, they will also probably laugh at you and get your story published in the newspaper. Or on the Internet.  Or both.

Rule 49:  It is permissible to laugh at any person who does not obey Rule 47 and/or Rule 48, provided you call the emergency response personnel prior to commencement of the festivities.  (It’s Christmas.  Paramedics need entertainment too.)

For reference purposes, you may call Rules 47-49 the “It’s only funny until someone gets his tongue stuck to the fencepost, and then it’s only funny to the rest of us” rule.

Today’s helpful reading is brought to you by:

1. The-inevitable-kid-who-doesn’t-know-when-not-to-take-a-winter-dare.  For those who don’t want to click through, this is 2009′s (first) boy-versus-metal-fence-post grudge match.  For those who still don’t know how this one comes out…the fence post won.  Rescue workers freed him when a woman passing by in her car noticed the child stuck to the fence post and called 9-1-1.

2.  The (now terminated) British grocery store employee caught on videotape licking raw chickens (which, regrettably, may have been subsequently sold to unsuspecting consumers).  Given the high risk of salmonella associated with consumption of raw poultry, I’m guessing this particular individual was a few feathers short of a cluck himself, but still…raw chicken is not a “food product safe for human consumption” so File It Under “NO LICK” and let’s move on.

3.  A Tennessee farmer’s cows, who recently managed to lick a window screen and a gutter off the farmer’s house (and crack the window pane) before the owner managed to discover and stop the delinquent bovines’ behavior.  Although there’s no indication the cows ended up stuck to the window pane (which, admittedly, would have improved the story) the incident does reveal that most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover “Acts of Cow.”  Consider yourselves warned.


One Good Thing: The Start of School

Filed under: Education Yaks — Random Yak @ 6:08 pm on September 3, 2009

School starts Tuesday.  (Yeah, yeah, I know most of your kids went kicking and screaming off to reeducation camp school two weeks ago, for a battery of  useless pointless highly analytical placement tests that will tell them what classes they should be starting next week…I don’t want to hear it.)

This is big news on Our Side of the Mountain, because it means Yak the Younger officially starts to high school.  (Ignore the fact that “back in the day” jr. high started in seventh, and high school started in tenth – that’s so last millennium.) Yep.  Ninth grader on our hands.  Unless you count his course work.  Then he seems to be in eleventh.  Or twelfth, depending on the textbook.  An unintended (but pleasant and not totally unexpected) side benefit of homeschool: the Younger Yak has advanced more quickly than we planned, and we’ve had to increase the curriculum to compensate.

On the positive side, this means we get to handle interesting subjects like Symbolic Logic and U.S. History  – though unfortunately without the helpful “what can I do for the Obama-nation” handouts currently being offered to public school kids.  Somehow, we’ll struggle through.

But starting school on our own terms means having the freedom to teach … freedom.  And the necessary link between personal freedom and personal responsibility.  Despite all you might hear to the contrary, they’re still conjoined twins.

So, as soon as we finish celebrating Oxymoron Day (statistically, 45% of you get that, and the rest have to work on Labor Day) it’s back to school for the Yaks.  Not that you care, but I consider it One Good Thing.

Submitted for Your Approval

Filed under: Education Yaks — Random Yak @ 2:55 pm on November 21, 2008

I accompanied The Random Maniyak to an educational institution on Wednesday in order to observe (and benefit from) a lecture he gave on the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – specifically the famous “I have a dream,” speech and the Letter From Birmingham Jail.  Both represent highly effective arguments for Dr. King’s positions, but also eloquent examples of the manner in which speakers can use various external sources (in Dr. King’s case, the Bible and various patriotic songs or hymns) to support and amplify their arguments. 

Now, one would think college-aged students (theoretically) paying for an education, and specifically a course on political theory and philosophy, would consider this an opportunity.  One might even think such students, being in possession of a copy of (a) Letter from Birmingham Jail, (b) computers with access to the Internet, and (c) functional cerebral cortexes, would come to class prepared.  Having read the speech.  Or the letter.  Or at least having tried. (more…)

Rounding Seventh, Headed for Home

Filed under: Education Yaks — Random Yak @ 12:15 am on June 3, 2008

Just a brief update (from the weeds) regarding the decision to homeschool Yak the Younger.  We have now almost completed his seventh grade year (two weeks to go…two subjects to finish) and these are the updates you weren’t looking for (But it’s my soap box, and this is what I’m discussing tonight. You want more on Barack O’bomination, go elsewhere.) 

After a year away from the public school environment, each and every person who knows YtY well has commented (without solicitation, thank you) on how much happier and more relaxed he seems now that he studies at home. 

My plan to socialize him by flushing his head in the toilet and stealing his lunch money fell on hard times early in the semester, partially because I leave for work before he and The Random Spouse get up, and partially because I kept forgetting to give him lunch money.  I’ll work harder on that in the coming year.

On the academic front, he’s completed not-quite-one-year of college level introductory Chinese (Mandarin) with a grade of A.  He’s capable of speaking the language, as long as you’re either asking his name or inquiring about whether he or his parents have a son. (He doesn’t.  We do.  Fancy that.) 

Unfortunately, we must report a complete failure to teach him lists of random words and useless phrases like “My sister has a small, pink dog.”

As it happens, YtY finished the year with A’s in all of his classes, except for math, where he’s heading for an A-.  Assuming the remaining weeks of World History go as the past has gone, we can expect an A there too.

My plan to arrange for him to receive at least one thoroughly undeserved ‘C’ due to a gratuitous Christian worldview was foiled by the fact that The Random Spouse and I happen to share that worldview and couldn’t actually find the flaw in his argument.  Clearly we will have to bring in some credentialed teachers to show us the error of our ways.  While they’re at it, they can criticize us for teaching him facts.  As we all know, facts have no place in History.

During the past year, Yak the Younger has shown a marked increase in interest with regard to “adult” topics like government, voting, the news and the way media spins events.  He also wishes to take up Scuba diving and has requested permission to cook dinner on his own. 

The Random Yak and The Random Spouse are fined three credits for breach of the Teen Morality Code.  Everyone knows teenagers don’t want to cook, do nothing but play video games and can’t tell the difference between a law and a lemur (and statistically, 98% of them have never even heard of a lemur, but will try to drive one if you give them the keys.)

We’re fairly pleased with the first year’s efforts.  A few things we’ll try to  improve in the fall, but on the whole the grand experiment has proven a great success – and has also proven that parents can succeed where the public alledgeducation system gets an EPIC FAIL.

Respondeat Yak (The Younger)

Filed under: Education Yaks,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 3:09 pm on May 29, 2008

In the course of my daily surfing, I came across this post at Sagerat Scribbles, written in response to a mother seeking encouragement and support for familes whose convictions about homeschooling have begun to waver in the face of growing children and the increasing complexity (read: burden) of home educating on a daily basis.

I could spend hours writing a clever response, filled with encouragement and listing all the reasons why a return to public alledgeducation isn’t the right move, citing everything from the Biblical obligation to run the race to completion to the parental obligation to provide the best possible education for our children.  But, in truth, that’s not the best answer I can arrange.  In light of this, I hereby turn the soap box over to Yak the Younger. What follows is his unedited response to the prompt Sagerats delivered (spelling and grammar left intact for emphasis):

    In my opinion, kids who have been homeschooled through elementary school should not be put back into public school after elemantary for several reasons. The first is that, quite simply, in my experience public shool has become less about me learning about english, math, science etc. and more about learning how to put up with other kids.  I think that kids should be homeschooled as far as they can be because it will leave them much more prepared for college and for doing well in life.  I know that many people argue that kids should not be homeschooled because they will not be able to put up with people in the “real world”, however, if you are homeshcooled all the way up, when you get into normal school again you are essintialy dealing with adults, where as my problem in public school was the snobby little sixth grader who though it was amusing to make fun of my friends and I all year, not the teachers. 
 
    Moving on to why I like being homeschooled, there is a lot to be said.  As a start, I enjoy learning. Instead of busywork and generic, almost cookie cutter classes that just feel like reading the textbook, I have personalized interesting classes.  We can focus more on how I like to learn, making classes an involved experience, not just a lecture.  As a more specific example, chinese is easy now. Before, I was simply learning random words, but now, my classes are focused and I can speak chinese, not just say random words.  Learning how to say “bright” “tall” and “small” in a day can hardly be compared to learning how to say “Hello, what it your name” in a day.  As another point, I get all my questions answered.  If a teacher has 5 minutes for questions (sometimes only 3) and you were in a fog for half of the lesseon, you are going to get a b- on your homework, however, when I am confused about math now, my teacher can practically go over the entier lesson again. Also, extra-curricular activities and movies are fun. (read: The bumble slowly makes its way across the….. vs. how the black plague wiped out half of europe).  As a final point, I go back to how I opened this statement: With none of the distractions of public school, I learn a week faster than I could ever before, somthing I think ALL kids should have the right to.
 
                                                                                                      -  YTY

Did Anyone Get the License Number of that Train?

Filed under: Education Yaks,Yak Rants — Random Yak @ 5:01 pm on April 24, 2008

I’ve always been fond of saying there are three kinds of people: those who can do math, and those who can’t.

A new study published by Ohio State University suggests that statement may not be completely true.  According to researchers, the method may bear significant responsibility for the mathematical madness so prevalent among students – and adults – as well as the attitude that attends it.

The Ohio State study shows that students taught math using methods designed to teach abstract concepts and mathematical formulas - ”old school” methods that teach concepts rather than attempting to entertain – performed better and learned more thoroughly than those taught using more “modern” methods designed to make math “more relevant.”

In other words: teachers who substitute trains, cups and balls for “real” math may be short-circuiting the learning process and shortchanging their students. (more…)

A Week Without

Filed under: Education Yaks,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 11:22 am on July 25, 2007

Yak the Younger’s new English Curriculumadvocates significant reduction in use of the verb “to be” – correctly identifying overuse of this particular verb as one of the hallmarks of weak writing.

I happen to like this facet of the curriculum. My ninth-grade English teacher waged a personal war on the offending verb, banning it from all compositions and imposing a 1/3 grade reduction for each time The-Verb-We-Must-Not-Name appeared in an assigned writing project.With the exception of one deliberate (andadmittedly defiant) useage, I managed to completely avoid use of “to be” in writing assignments for an entire year. A year in which my writing improved remarkably, in large part due to the additional effort required to avoid use of words appearing on the “banned terms list” the teacher handed out on the first day of class.

Despite the intervening years I still remember that banned word list and (believe it or not) still hear that teacher’s voice every time I use The-Verb-We-Must-Not-Name in print. Obviously, her exercise in creativity worked – perhaps better than intended.

It occurs to me, however, thatmy recent blogging efforts may not do justice to lessons previously learned. (That, and my recent adventures in the weeds leave me sorely in need ofacademic entertainment.) Therefore, I hereby impose a one-week blogging ban on The-Verb-We-Must-Not-Name. “To be”or not “to be” -no longer a question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous exercises, or to take arms against a sea of weeds, and by self-entertainment defeat them?

Time will tell.

The Rules of The Game:

1. One week of blogging.

2.Minimum of two substantive entries per day.

3. The verb “to be” banned in all forms,obvious (I am, it will be, he was) and not-so-obvious (it’s, you’re). If I can’t say it without “is”- then I can’t say it.

Feel free to play along if you like. Otherwise, stay tuned. Things could get interesting from here.

Trackposted to Stuck On Stupid, Perri Nelson’s Website, The Bullwinkle Blog, third world county, DeMediacratic Nation, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.


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Will “Educators” Ever Learn?

Filed under: Education Yaks,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 11:17 am on December 18, 2006

Another glimpse into the weird world of the people we are paying to educate our children. A 13-year-old boy in Plainfield, Illinois, turned into the vice-principal a pellet gun that he found in the boy’s bathroom. (No one doubts the truth the explanation. The true owner of the gun was identified as another student.) The response of these “educators”? “Thank you. You are now expelled for possession of a weapon on school grounds.” When asked for a comment, school officials said, “purposeful possession of weapons is a serious offense.” So is purposefully moronic behavior by school law enforcement officials.

The Dawkins Delusion

Filed under: Barking and Flapping,Education Yaks,Faith Yak,Just Yaks,News Yaks — Maniyak @ 5:10 am on November 14, 2006

The world’s official First Atheist now living, Oxford professor Richard Dawkins, was on C-SPAN a few days ago touting the irrefutable arguments against God and creation in his most recent book, The God Delusion,already on sale on deep discount at Amazon.com. I haven’t read this book yet, but I have read The Blind Watchmaker and other Dawkins articles, and I heard his frontline argument on C-SPAN repeated repeatedly so as to make sure that we morons who watch C-SPAN understood. Dawkins concedes that evolution (the theory that all organic complexity arose from “simple” life forms) is improbable and very difficult to explain or to accept intellectually, but he contends (unctuously) that evolution must be accepted nevertheless because the premise of the creationists is that a highly complex form of life, God, preceded all life forms on earth, and to believe that this highly complex life form was the first life form, is plainly irrational.

Dawkins does not seem to notice that his argument assumes the truth of evolution in order to refute the God of creation, even though his core contention is not that he can prove evolution but that evolution is less unlikely than creation by God. God as a complex life form cannot be first in the universe because simple life forms are first in the universe, as evolution contends and as Dawkins naively assumes.

I might give Dawkins some slack for making a rhetorical argument rather thanan actual intelligentassertion about reality but for the mannerhe employed in an earlier writing todemonstrate a “proof” for the probability that the randomness of evolution could compile the information needed for a DNA chain. What he did was to program a computer to generate random characters and to try them in his model DNA template until the template was completed accurately. Voila! Random generation, like evolution, relatively quickly appeared in proper working order. Dawkins nowhere acknowledges that this illustrative experiment presupposes intelligent design, the very concept he is attempting to refute, because he programmed into the computer the “correct” sequences for the DNA model to retain, information that no evolutionary life form could possibly know or possess. True evolutionary randomness requires that all of the necessary DNA genetic components randomly appear simultaneously in a “simple” life form, to the exclusion of all interfering components, and then have the capacity to replicate itself, a probability that is literally impossible to have happened even once ina 20-billion year old universe, much less repeatedly as evolutionary theory requires.

Dawkins has deluded himself, and he is purveying to the world the world his delusions about God in what should be titled The Dawkins Delusion.

Sissification Rules, the World Giggles at US

Filed under: Barking and Flapping,Education Yaks,Just Yaks,News Yaks,PoliYaks,Yak Rants — Maniyak @ 8:34 am on October 19, 2006

Even China has reported on the girlification of public education in America, as newly re-demonstrated by the ban on playing tag, touch football and all other running-and-chasingrecess games at the Willett Elementary School in Attleboro Massachusetts. Sissies, that’s what they want from the public schools. Boys who will grow into men who are,at last — the great achievement of Americaneducation — weaker in mind and body and less assertive than the constantly re-empowered girls they are training to be women who willtake over (what remains of ) the world.

Children may fall and get hurt! Yeah, so what? Life hurts, sometimes, or you aren’t living right. Better learn that now, and learn that getting hurt is to be expected, it makes you stronger, and unless you are actually injured it does not even have to stop you for long, not even stop you from playing a game, like tag — much less stop you from doing whatever difficult and painful duties you will have to face and face down if as an adult you are living right.

Was anything good ever accomplished without effort, risk and pain? From childbirth on — you’d think women would all get this message — every great good is achieved only through substantial effort and pain. Even playing games well means getting hurt,playing hurt, playing evenwith minor injuries, and liking it.

This unisexification of the next generation is not only wrong but downright weird. Since the establishment of the the Playboy magazine and sex-as-entertainment philosophy beginning in the early 1950′s to today, men have been persuading women to become like men, sexually opportunistic, pleasure without thought of consequences, and increasingly violent and insensitive to others, and the indoctrinationof women has worked, to the great surprise and satisfaction of predatory men. But now men are succumbing to metrosexualization, the girlification of boys into the weak, unassertive, easily bullied and dominated sissies that women say they do not like but insist on trying to change men into. Puhleeze!

When the world abandons natural law standards, the results are unpredictable, except that the results will be dramatically and ever-increasingly wrong, wrong, wrong. For all sexes.

Romans 1 says this is what would happen when men and women abandon their natural bio-social-spiritual roles and relationships and try to reinvent their worlds to conform to their distorted acquired tastes,”thinking themselves to be wise they became fools,” “deceiving others and deceiving themselves.”

Boys will not be boys, not while these risk-avoidance cowardice-inspiring “educators” wield their pointy fingers against all bursts of energy and exuberance in soon-to-be-obese-from-lack-of-exercise children with their sissification indoctrination.

To think, Massachusetts was the home of the Minutemen, the first defenders of liberty in the American Revolution, Lexington and Concord, the “shot heard ’round the world,” John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Quincy Adams, and the woman who educated and inspired them all,Abigail Adams.

TheseMassachusetts lessons in timiditygive a new meaning to the once-proud standard, “Don’t Tread On Me!

Yak U, Where

Filed under: Education Yaks,Faith Yak,Just Yaks,News Yaks,PoliYaks,Yaks of the Week — Maniyak @ 9:54 am on September 29, 2006

America’s best and brightest students, entering the most prestigious — and most liberal — universities in the nation (collectively “Yak U”) know more than the graduating seniors from the same schools about American history, government and politics.

In other words Yak U Parents (“suckers,” “marks” and “co-dependents”), the most expensive education money can buy buys you nothing, and less than nothing.

According to a study conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the University of Connecticut conducted at 50 American universities, students know more about history, government and politics after attending traditional universities but they know less after attending liberal universities.

At the University of California at Berkeley, entering freshmen scored an average 60.4 while graduating seniors scored 54.8, ranking UC Berkeley a near-worst 49th of the 50 universities studied. The Ivy League and elitist schools showed their true colors: Cornell ranked 48th, Brown 47th, Duke 46th, Yale 44th, Georgetown 43rd (so much for hoping that a Catholic university might teach some reality), the University of Virginia 42nd.

(more…)

Frivol News: A Nutty Kerfluffle

Filed under: Education Yaks,Frivol,News Yaks — Random Yak @ 7:24 am on June 21, 2006

Good news out of Massachusetts: the state is apparently in such good shape that its lawmakers can afford to argue over the status of a sandwich.

In fairness, it’s not just a sandwich. It’s the Fluffernutter, a calorie-laden concoction made with two slices of bread layered with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, along with the occasional banana. A childhood favorite for many raised in the northeastern United States, the humble sandwich (which generally uses marshmallow fluff manufactured in Massachusetts) has apparently made its way onto the school lunch menu of at least one local school – a fact that some Massachusetts legislators are apparently finding hard to swallow.

In a move reminiscent of nanny-state legislators everywhere, Senator Jarrett Barrios has introduced legislation which would ban schools from serving the Fluffernutter (or similar items) "more than once a week as the main meal of the day."

Now, I have to admit that I started reading the story (titled "Fluffernutter Sandwich Angers Mass. Senator") fully prepared to engage in a full-scale fisking of the situation, the nanny state mentality and the general state of Massachusetts politics (I know, fish in a barrel, but cut me some slack. I didn’t get much sleep). I’m not ordinarily one to support government at any level trying to tell me what my child can and cannot eat, and many of the recent attempts to create absolute bans on junk food in the public schools have sent me nearly into orbit. But this time, I have to confess that I don’t necessarily disagree with the Senator’s plan – at least as described in the article.

Children attending school outside the home must consume at least one meal a day in the educational environment. This is a fact of non-home-schooling. Many children (my own included) eschew school cafeteria lunches in favor of "better," larger and frequently less expensive alternatives brought from home. (Note: we won’t debate the relative nutritional value of brown bag lunch vs. school lunch – I haven’t got an extra 10,000 words to burn at the moment). But for those who cannot afford the time, money or effort to pack a sack (and those who want the occasional hot lunch), the school cafeteria provides the only reasonable alternative. For some families on state assistance, subsidised school lunches represent the only option, period.

That said, the lunches offered at school should be at least passably nutritious and (if possible) represent a reasonable attempt to feed the children something worth eating. One might even suggest (straight face optional) that school lunches should offer a hot alternative to the sack for children and parents who prefer hot lunch to cold. After all, the school cafeteria could make up some of the cost of subsidised lunches by offering lunches all students found worth eating.

That said: peanut butter and marshmallow fluff? Are you kidding?

Don’t get me wrong. I am, and always have been, a great fan of the peanut butter sandwich. Not the fluffernutter specifically (honey works much better than marshmallow fluff, particularly on sourdough) but you could almost always do worse than a peanut butter sandwich.

My problem lies with the fact that the underlying implication of the fluffernutter story flies in the face of the purpose of school cafeteria lunch as I understand it, and the inconsistency creates a sticky situation I’m finding difficult to reconcile.

Do I care whether the school offers fluffernutters in the cafeteria? Nope. At least, not so long as parents remain free to send their children with a home-packed alternative.

Do I think the school cafeteria menu is an inappropriate subject for legislation? Nope. At least, not so long as the nanny-state legislatures don’t try to impose "school lunch for all."

Do I think banning the fluffernutter (and junk food) altogether would represent an idiotic use of time and resources which would be better spent trying to improve the "education" part of public education? Duh. You can’t have read this blog much if that comes as a surprise.

And yet I find myself on the same side as Senator Barrios because of the words "more than once a week" – which suggest that Massachusetts schools have been using the fluffernutter as a substitute for "real" lunch offerings more than one might recommend. Kids eating school lunch deserve more than just fluffernutters. Nothing wrong with the fluffernutter, so far as it goes. Munch away, if it’s your thing. In the process, however, it might be nice to remember that school lunch represents the only opportunity some children may have to eat a decent hot meal – and offering them nothing but fluffernutters (or even just overoffering fluffernutters) isn’t an acceptable use of my tax dollars. Or yours, or anyone else’s.

If we’re talking about Fluffernutter Fridays, I have no issue. But if we’re talking about schools bunting to the fluffernutter multiple times a week, I’ve got to agree there’s a problem state legislators may want to address. After all, school lunch programs (unlike the contents of bag lunches) fall squarely within their bailiwick.

But none of the above even scratches the surface of the larger problem: the fact that two Massachusetts legislators have now become sandwiched in a debate over marshmallow fluff which has generated at least two pieces of legislation – Barrios’ offering and a competing measure from Representative Kathi-Anne "Fluff-Nutter" Reinstein seeking to name the Fluffernutter the official sandwich of Massachusetts (good luck with that, Kathi-Anne) – neither of which addresses the educational quality of the Massachusetts public schools.

A nutty kerfluffle, indeed.

Linked to the Summer Solstice midweek OTP at Stuck on Stupid and the permanent floating ping festival at The Conservative Cat.

Congress shall make no law…

Filed under: Education Yaks — Random Yak @ 6:30 am on June 7, 2006

Yesterday Yak the Younger was admonished on the playground for singing a naughty song.

It happened at recess, shortly before dismissal. He was playing (by himself) and decided to start singing a song. It was a song he’d heard before, but which nobody sang on the playground before. A song he knew all the words to (though I didn’t know he knew it).

A highly offensive and dangerous song.

And a Yard Duty heard him singing it. After listening to a few bars, she immediately approached and asked him to stop singing. Her reasoning: the song could be very offensive to some people, and therefore violated both school policy and good taste.

It was a song about Jesus.

The song, titled "Every Move I Make," features the following phrases:

"Every move I make I make in You/You make me move, Jesus/Every step I take I take in You."

and

"Waves of mercy/Waves of grace/Everywhere I look/I see Your face."

Highly offensive stuff, for sure. Especially when compared to that old schoolyard ditty about Miss Mary and her Steamboat.

Uncertain how to respond to the Yard Duty’s comments and afraid of an office referral for continuing misconduct, Yak the Younger immediately stopped singing. He came home confused and more than a little disturbed.

When I returned from work he immediately told me the story and asked whether singing about Jesus was really against school policy. In his words: "I thought I had freedom of religion. I thought that was in the Bill of Rights somewhere – like the First Amendment or something."

Ten year-old 1, Yard Duty 0.

Now, school-sponsored religious speech creates all kinds of hairy issues, particularly where the ACLU is concerned. But curtailing a spontaneous student expressionsof faith, on the playground, in song, opens an entirely different can of worms…and it’s about to get very, very wormy down at the district office.

On the one hand, I considered not making trouble. After all, it’s the end of the year. We have only four more school days to go, and YtY is attending a different school in the fall, where the principal seems more dedicated to book learning than barking and flapping her way into feel-good (dis)education.

But on the other hand, Yak the Younger came home believing that taking Jesus to school with him was a sin. That making a joyful noise unto the LORD wasn’t appropriate schoolyard behavior. That loving God in public was inappropriate, insensitive and subject to discipline.

In essence, that he’s perfectly free to have his misguided beliefs about Jesus and God – as long as he keeps them to himself and off the schoolyard.

Would the Yard Duty have pulled the head scarf off one of the Muslim girls who regularly wear them to school? Would she strip a Jewish child of her Star of David, on the grounds that someone might see it and take offense? I very much doubt it.

Just as I doubt that her statements truly reflect school policy. The school sent home a statement of policy earlier in the year. I read it, and somehow missed the part about "destruction of all vestiges of religion" and "stifling a child’s right to believe as he pleases, and to express himself in a positive way on the playground." The school has no express policy on student evangelism that I was able to see, let alone private expressions of faith. He wasn’t speaking to anyone, just singing happily to himself. No one complained, and only the Yard Duty paid any attention.

Or so she thought.

But she’s got my attention now, and end-of-term or no end-of-term, something has to be done.

My son will not be asked to leave Jesus at the schoolyard gate. Bad enough that he walks the intellectual wasteland of the California Public School System. He will not walk it alone.

Update: Linked to the Wednesday OTP at Third World County

Linked from Adam’s Blog (thanks for spreading the story, Adam, and you’re right. A Yak’s gotta do what a Yak’s gotta do.)


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