Category Archives: Education

Chart of the day: How much do Americans earn?


From the U.S. Census Bureau, a look at how much Americans earn, and how much those earnings differ by age, gender, and education for those who year 12 months a year:

blog-earnings

Israeli shapes a U.S. law enabling campus purges


How would Americans like it if, say, North Korea dictated a law barring criticism of that country on U.S. campuses.

We imagine lots of folks would get righteously upset.

But an Israeli propagandist and former Deputy Prime Minister has done just that.

From the Intercept:

After Donald Trump’s election emboldened white supremacists and inspired a wave of anti-Semitic hate incidents across the country, the Senate on Thursday took action by passing a bill aimed at limiting the free-speech rights of college students who express support for Palestinians.

By unanimous consent, the Senate quietly passed the so-called Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, only two days after it was introduced by Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Tim Scott, R-S.C.

A draft of the bill obtained by The Intercept encourages the Department of Education to use the State Department’s broad, widely criticized definition of anti-Semitism when investigating schools. That definition, from a 2010 memo, includes as examples of anti-Semitism “delegitimizing” Israel, “demonizing” Israel, “applying double standards” to Israel, and “focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations.”

Critics have pointed out that those are political — not racist — positions, shared by a significant number of Jews, and qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

According to the draft, the bill does not adopt the definition as a formal legal standard, it only directs the State Department to “take into consideration” the definition when investigating schools for anti-Semitic discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Now why do we say that the law is the creation of an Israeli propagandist?

That’s because those key words — demonizing, delegitimizing, demonizing — are the formula created by Israeli political propagandist, Natan Sharansky, a former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs and a good friend of Sheldon Adelson, the zealous Ziocon and Las Vegas casino magnate, and newspaper publisher who poured $25 million into a Trump-supporting PAC and sits on Trump’s inauguration committee.

Sharanksy,’s formulation is a brilliant semantic coup, employing words of such vagueness that they can be applied to virtually any critic of Israeli policies.

We know that, because they have been applied to us, repeatedly, first when reporting on the actions of a campaign launched against the Berkeley Daily Planet, a paper that came under fire from a motley crew of militant Ziocons angry because the paper published letters critical of Israeli government policies toward its Palestinian population.

Hillary Clinton lead the way

Attesting to the brilliance of Sharansky’s word-spinning is the fact that it was adopted as the adoption of that very definition of antisemitism by the State Department under Hillary Clinton.

Surely it’s legitimate to criticize the actions of a government which clearly applies double standards by seizing land and homes of non-Jewish citizens while not taking the same actions toward the property of its Jewish citizens.

Similarly, one could question’s Israel’s legitimacy, given that the state was created as the result of an accord between by the British and French governments without the consent of those who lived their, the majority of them not Jewish.

As for demonizing, what word could be more vague?

Trump-inspired hate floods the nation’s classrooms


Not only are incidents of overt racism and hatred on the rise in the nation’s schools, fear is leading teachers not to talk about it.

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

In the first days after the 2016 presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project administered an online survey to K–12 educators from across the country. Over 10,000 teachers, counselors, administrators and others who work in schools have responded. The survey data indicate that the results of the election are having a profoundly negative impact on schools and students. Ninety percent of educators report that school climate has been negatively affected, and most of them believe it will have a long-lasting impact. A full 80 percent describe heightened anxiety and concern on the part of students worried about the impact of the election on themselves and their families.

Also on the upswing: verbal harassment, the use of slurs and derogatory language, and disturbing incidents involving swastikas, Nazi salutes and Confederate flags.

Teaching Tolerance conducted a previous survey in March, when we asked teachers how the primary campaign season was affecting our nation’s students. The 2,000 educators who responded reported that the primary season was producing anxiety among vulnerable students and emboldening others to new expressions of politicized bullying. Teachers overwhelming named the source of both the anxiety and the behavior as Donald Trump, then a leading contender for the Republican nomination.

Since Trump was elected, media have been awash in reports of hate incidents around the nation, including at schools. Some detractors have characterized the reports as isolated, exaggerated or even as hoaxes. This survey, which was distributed by several organizations (see About the Survey for a complete list), via email and social media, offers the richest source of information about the immediate impact of the election on our country. The findings show that teachers, principals and district leaders will have an oversized job this year as they work to heal the rifts within school communities.

The survey asked respondents a mix of easily quantifiable questions and also offered them a chance to describe what was happening in open-ended questions. There are over 25,000 responses, in the form of comments and stories, to the open-ended questions. It will take time to fully analyze and report on those comments. This report provides a high-level summary of the findings.

Here are the highlights:

  • Nine out of 10 educators who responded have seen a negative impact on students’ mood and behavior following the election; most of them worry about the continuing impact for the remainder of the school year.
  • Eight in 10 report heightened anxiety on the part of marginalized students, including immigrants, Muslims, African Americans and LGBT students.
  • Four in 10 have heard derogatory language directed at students of color, Muslims, immigrants and people based on gender or sexual orientation.
  • Half said that students were targeting each other based on which candidate they’d supported.
  • Although two-thirds report that administrators have been “responsive,” four out of 10 don’t think their schools have action plans to respond to incidents of hate and bias.
  • Over 2,500 educators described specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric. These incidents include graffiti (including swastikas), assaults on students and teachers, property damage, fights and threats of violence.
  • Because of the heightened emotion, half are hesitant to discuss the election in class. Some principals have told teachers to refrain from discussing or addressing the election in any way.

Read the rest.

Trump offered education post to wingnut zealot


first we get a white supremacist appointed as Trump’s top national security transition chief, and now we learn that a Christian supremacist was offered the nation’s top education job.

From the Associated Press:

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. says President elect-Donald Trump offered him the job of education secretary, but that he turned it down for personal reasons.

Falwell tells The Associated Press that Trump offered him the job last week during a meeting in New York. He says Trump wanted a four- to six-year commitment, but that he couldn’t leave Liberty for more than two years.

Falwell says he couldn’t afford to work at a Cabinet-level job for longer than that and didn’t want to move his family, especially his 16-year-old daughter.

Trump announced Wednesday he had selected charter school advocate Betsy DeVos for the job. Falwell says he thinks DeVos is an “excellent choice.”

If you had any remaining doubts that Trump is handing the inmates the keep to the asylum, look no further than his offer of this post to Falwell.

And what might Falwell have mandated for the nation’s schools

A clue might lie in Liberty University’s curriculum, where all students are required to take one of David DeWitt’s classes.

And what do they learn?

From a course description by the professor himself:

There is no doubt that the evolutionary paradigm is dominant at virtually every college/university in the United States. Sadly, this is also true for a large number of “Christian” colleges as well. Christians who are serious about the Bible should consider a college’s position on origins before deciding to attend. Many well-meaning parents end up paying tens of thousands of dollars to have their son’s or daughter’s worldview undermined through evolutionary teaching.

At Liberty University, all graduates are required to complete a one semester course that examines the creation/evolution controversy from a young Earth creationist (i.e. Genesis means what it says, in line with what the Lord Jesus Christ believed and taught as well) perspective. Although the course is considered an apologetics course and not a science course, most of the content is scientific in nature and taught by science faculty.

Currently, we use two textbooks both from Answers in Genesis. The first book is Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati. The second book is The Revised Answers Book. We also make use of other resources from AiG including many of the excellent articles posted on the AiG Web site.

But at least they’d get field trips

From a 2009 article in the Washington Post:

Every winter, David DeWitt takes his biology class to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, but for a purpose far different from that of other professors.

DeWitt brings his Advanced Creation Studies class (CRST 390, Origins) up from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., hoping to strengthen his students’ belief in a biblical view of natural history, even in the lion’s den of evolution.

His yearly visit to the Smithsonian is part of a wider movement by creationists to confront Darwinism in some of its most redoubtable secular strongholds. As scientists celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, his doubters are taking themselves on Genesis-based tours of natural history museums, aquariums, geologic sites and even dinosaur parks.

“There’s nothing balanced here. It’s completely, 100 percent evolution-based,” said DeWitt, a professor of biology. “We come every year, because I don’t hold anything back from the students.”

Creationists, who take their view of natural history straight from the book of Genesis, believe that scientific data can be interpreted to support their idea that God made the first human, Adam, in an essentially modern form 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.

Trump’s America and a 1946 educational film


Folks living in United States in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century might find a bit of irony in this short educational film shown in American schools starting in 1946, the year of esnl’s birth.

Produced in the immediate aftermath of the bloodiest war in history, the Encyclopedia Britannica educational film was created at the start of the most prosperous era in U.S. history, when labor unions boomed, the economy flourished, and the public could learn about their world through a diverse media landscape peopled with intelligent, young, and moderately well-paid journalists.

The film was created with the assistant of one of the nation’s greatest political scientists, Harold D. Lasswell of Yale University, who contributions to his field included a noteworthy study of propaganda and its uses by totalitarian regimes.

Much has changed since the film’s release, as we’re certain you’ll agree, yet its conclusions offer a chilling insight into political, economic, and media environment that has given us President-elect Donald J. Trump:

Despotism [1946, Encyclopedia Britannica Films]

H.T to Boing Boing.

Aytozinapa massacre suspects were tortured


The abduction and disappearance of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa after police opened fire on them on the night of 26 September 2014 [previously] remains one of Mexico’s deepest mysteries.

International investigators have discredited the official government version, and just what happened to the students, all from some of Mexico’s poorest areas, has been the subject of ongoing speculation, most of it focusing on involvement of local, state, and federal law enforcement.

And now comes word that the official reports were based on information derived from torture.

From teleSUR English:

A leaked internal report has revealed that the much-maligned “official version of events” about the forced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college put forward by the Mexican government was based on intelligence gathered through torture and the official previously in charge of the investigation committed a series of serious irregularities, which together completely undermine the government’s story.

Proceso magazine reviewed a 177-page report, a product of an internal investigation by the Office of the Mexican Attorney-General, detailing the alleged irregular actions of Tomas Zeron de Lucio, the former director of criminal investigations responsible for overseeing the Ayotzinapa case.

Zeron was also one of the most vocal defenders of the government’s official version of events.

Distrust in Zeron and his investigation grew to be so great that the relatives of the missing students cut off talks with the Mexican government after he resigned for allegedly tampering with evidence.

Though there have been two changes at the top of the office of the Attorney General, the government has yet to repudiate its official version of events, which asserts that local police apprehended the students and handed them over to the gang known as Guerreros Unidos, who authorities claim killed the students and burned their bodies in a garbage dump in the town of Cocula.

A call for immigrant sanctuary on Cal campuses


With the Trumpster promising immediate mass deportations on taking the presidential oath, one California elected official is calling for a declaration of sanctuary for the state’s college and university campuses.

From the East Bay Times:

California’s public colleges and universities should be declared “sanctuary campuses” and protect law-abiding students from the threat of deportation, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote in a letter to leaders of Cal State, UC and the community college system.

“We must take urgent stock of current policies and vulnerabilities pertaining to the personal data held and processed by the University of California, to shield students from federal agencies under a Trump administration,” he wrote.

Newsom, who is running for governor, met with students Thursday at a UC regents meeting in San Francisco to discuss their concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to deport millions of people who entered the country illegally.

Calls for sanctuary campuses are mounting across the state. Cal State Chancellor Timothy White announced at a CSU board meeting this week that unless forced to by law, Cal State “will not enter into agreements with state or local law enforcement agencies, Homeland Security or any other federal department for the enforcement of federal immigration law.”