Category Archives: Education

Map of the day: Ted Cruz explained?


From the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning at Texas A&M University:

BLOG Texas

Headline of the day II: UC Follies show continues


From ProPublica, the University of California administration never fails to not disappoint:

University of California Regent Violated Ethics Rules, Review Finds

A secret 2015 report found that a doctor on the UC board of regents tried to negotiate a deal between his eye clinics and UCLA, and engaged in discussions in which he had a financial interest. He denied wrongdoing but resigned as chair of the regents’ health committee.

UC Davis chancellor investigated, sent on leave


University of California, Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi [previously], formerly known as the boss of the Pepper-Spraying Cop and the beneficiary of large chunks of cash from corporations publishing textbooks used by her students and operating a for-profit university, is out, at least for now.

The move comes two weeks after the University of California Students Association formally called for her ouster.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Suddenly, however, Katehi was gone — abruptly placed on administrative leave late Wednesday by UC President Janet Napolitano.

Napolitano ordered an outside investigation into “serious questions” over Katehi’s involvement in jobs for family members, possible misuse of student funds and “material misstatements” about her role in the hiring of social media firms to bury negative publicity about a campus police pepper-spraying of peaceful student protesters in 2011. If proven, Napolitano said, the actions may violate university policies on conflicts-of-interest, ethical conduct and use of student fees.

Katehi’s attorney has called the allegations “entirely unjustified,” while the chancellor told faculty members on Wednesday morning that she was “100% committed” to staying at Davis.

On Thursday, the campus was abuzz with a central, perplexing question: How could such a brilliant woman stumble so badly with a string of such questionable decisions?

The latest issues raised follow weeks of controversy over Katehi’s decision to take two paid board positions — one with a textbook publisher, the other with a for-profit firm, DeVry Education Group, which is being investigated by state and local authorities for allegedly deceiving students over job and income prospects.

In addition to her personal profiteering Katehi came to the university with a express agenda: Pull research away from the big questions of general science and refocus on work that could lead to profitable patents.

From Ars gratia artis to Ars gratia emolimentum.

There’s a certain hypocrisy in Napolitano’s action, given that the university system actively hypes its celebrity academics who reap millions from startup companies they found based on work they did on the public payroll.

Children drive neighborhood income segregation


Gentrification, it’s called, and the driving factor seems to be whether or not families have children.

The presence of school age children makes school selection a decisive factor in housing choices, according to new research reported by the American Sociological Association:

Neighborhoods are becoming less diverse and more segregated by income — but only among families with children, a new study has found.

Study author Ann Owens, an assistant professor of sociology at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, examined census data from 100 major U.S. metropolitan areas, from Los Angeles to Boston. She found that, among families with children, neighborhood income segregation is driven by increased income inequality in combination with a previously overlooked factor: school district options.

For families with high income, school districts are a top consideration when deciding where they will live, Owens said. And for those in large cities, they have multiple school districts where they could choose to buy homes.

Income segregation between neighborhoods rose 20 percent from 1990 to 2010, and income segregation between neighborhoods was nearly twice as high among households that have children compared to those without.

For childless families, schools are not a priority for selecting a home, which, Owens said, likely explains the reason that they did not see a rise in the income gap or in neighborhood segregation.

“Income inequality has an effect only half as large among childless folks,” said Owens, whose study will be published online on April 27 and in the June print edition of the American Sociological Review [$36 to read the article — esnl]. “This implies that parents who have children see extra money as a chance to buy a home in a good neighborhood so that their kids may attend a good school.”

She said the increased neighborhood income segregation that her study uncovered is a troubling sign for low-income families. Studies have shown that integrated learning environments are beneficial for children of disadvantaged households, and do no harm to children whose families have higher incomes.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Texas: Try it, if you’re really tired with sanity. . .


From the state that brought you Ted Cruz, the latest theocratic madness.

From Rebecca Watson of Skepchick:

TX State Board of Ed Nominee: Obama Was a Gay Prostitute

From the transcript:

These days, individual Texas school districts don’t have to buy the books the State Board recommends. But many of them don’t really know all their options, so the State Board is still incredibly influential. I mean, obviously, they should be — that’s what Boards of Education should do: exert a strong influence over the quality of the state’s education.

Unfortunately, Texas has continued to be batshit insane. And things are about to get even crazier, thanks to one woman running for an open position on the board: Mary Lou Bruner. She nearly had enough votes in the primary to just win the seat outright, but because she only got 48 and not 50% of the votes, she’ll have to go through the motions of running a campaign. That’s good news, because in the meanwhile the rest of us can point out how fucking terrifying she is in the hopes that Texas wakes up and votes in literally anyone else but her.

First, there’s the evolution question. Obviously, Bruner thinks it’s all a myth. She believes that baby dinosaurs rode on Noah’s ark but after the flood there wasn’t enough vegetation to keep them alive and they couldn’t reproduce enough so they died, and the fossils support this because all dinosaur fossils have been found with the dinosaurs showing great distress, as though they’re trying to keep their heads above water.

You may be thinking, but aren’t all fossilized animals dead, indicating they all went through great distress at some point? Or, if you believe in fossils, why don’t you believe in the fact that the fossil record shows no record of a global flood but does show that dinosaurs lived 60 to 200 million years ago? But you would be a fool to think those things, because Bruner has transcended logic.

She also thinks that Barack Obama was a gay prostitute who sold his body for drug money in his 20s. I’m not joking. She actually believes that. Oh, for the days of birth certificate deniers.

Is this a woman you want anywhere near your children? Much less supervising their education?

Cruzin’ for slaves, Mexican and Canadian

And about Ted Cruz, there’s his super PAC head, who’s clearly as Looney Tunes as Dinosaur Lady.

Consider the latest lunacy reported by Bruce Wilson at Talk to Action:

Does Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz yearn to rule and reign over America like a God-anointed king from Old Testament scripture ? Short of Cruz himself shouting it from the rooftops, who can say for sure ? Still, nothing says “dominionism” quite as forcefully as “biblical” slavery.

Back in 2011, an open letter to Dr. Laura Schlessinger (concerning her radio show statement that, per Leviticus 18:22, homosexuality was an “abomination”) began, “Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law,” then popped the question,

“Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.  Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?”

For David Barton, Cruz’ super-pac head (and the top evangelical power broker behind Cruz by one media account), this is no joke. It’s a serious question for which Barton’s website offers a serious, bible-based answer – an American may enslave both Mexicans and Canadians, but only if they’re pagans.

Headline of the day: Sexual predation at Cal


From a must-read report in the Guardian:

‘I was expendable’: how UC Berkeley failed a woman being sexually harassed

Tyann Sorrell details to the Guardian how the school denies basic protections to victims and forces them to pursue litigation if they want a safe workplace

Puerto Rico, red meat to predatory banksters


The power of predators to draft American financial laws should be apparent to anyone by now, but it’s still shocking to see how viciously those laws impact the lives of men, women, and children who are both citizens and colonial subjects.

Puerto Rico is the classic example, a territory whose natives are by birthright U.S. citizens, yet are simultaneously exempt from laws created to protect citizens who happen to be born in states rather than territories.

Leave it to John Oliver and his gifted staff of researchers to get to bottom of things, with a little musical help from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the hottest ticket on Broadway.

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Puerto Rico

Program notes:

Puerto Rico is suffering a massive debt crisis. Lin-Manuel Miranda joins John Oliver to call for relief.