Penn Professor Faces Calls For His Removal After Questioning An Anti-Racism Statement [UPDATED]

download-10We have been discussing efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views of the basis or demands of recent protests including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard.  It is part of a wave of intolerance sweeping over our colleges and our newsrooms.  Now, an effort has been launched to fire University of Pennsylvania Professor Carlin Romano and to kick him off a prestigious literary group because Romano questioned the language of a proposed statement on racism in the publishing industry and even spotted an embarrassing typo.
Update: After posting the original blog, Professor Romano sent me a kind note. He then in true form (given his original email on the proposal) noted a long list of typos in my column. (Many on this blog routinely point out such typos, which are something of an embarrassing signature for me. I usually get up around 5 am to write blogs before caffeine fully takes hold). I thought it was hilarious and asked if I could mention his edits. He gracefully agreed and then pointed out two more typos. I still do not think that he should be fired.
Professor Romano is an attorney who teaches at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication. He became the latest target in academia when he questioned the language of a proposed anti-racism statement. Romano has publicly declared support for the movement and has written in the past of the need to diversify the publishing industry.  However, he wrote to object to statements that he felt failed to acknowledge the past efforts by people like him and to paint the entire industry as racist.There was a time when such criticism would have been welcomed on boards and faculties.  This is not “those times.”  NPR described Romano’s comments as “racist” without giving examples to support such a career-ending allegation.  The line that is being most cited in other coverage is Romano stating that the statement failed to acknowledge how white editors fought to be more inclusive and “[m]any of the writers cited in the letter‘s own list would never have been published if not for ecumenical, good-willed white editors and publishers who fought for the publication of black writers.”  He also noted the difficulty in past efforts to diversify because “[w]e professors especially know that accomplished black undergraduates rarely want to go into book publishing because it pays so badly.”  He even objected that the statement misspelled the name of Ahmaud Arbery, the black man shot and killed by armed white residents in Georgia.None of that sat well with those who drafted or supported the proposal.

That led to another Change.org petition demanding that Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication “prohibit Carlin Romano from teaching at Penn this fall or ever again.” An even broader effort seeks to remove him from the prestigious National Book Critics Circle, which declared that it is “facilitating a special membership meeting” to vote on the removal of Carlin Romano from its board after dozens of board members called for his removal.

Once again, we come to these disputes from the perspective of a free speech blog.  I am less concerned with the merits than I am with the right of figures like Romano to voice dissenting views. I am not familiar with Professor Romano or his views. Yet, it does not matter if Romano opposed the Black Lives Matter movement or its demands. It is a matter of the right to express divergent views. In this case, Romano did not challenge the need for a statement for greater diversity. He objected to the failure to acknowledge past efforts and the painting of the entire industry as racist.

Any such questioning of such proposals is now treated as de facto racist — followed by the now inevitable Change.org petitions.  We discussed recently however that Change.org did not allow such petitions by conservative students objecting to a Cambridge professor stating (and then repeating) that “White Lives Don’t Matter.”  That petition (which did not even seek the professor’s termination) was declared “bullying” and removed from the site. However, petitions targeting Romano for objecting to the language of a proposal as unfair is viewed as entirely acceptable by Change.org.  Ironically, I support both academics in their right to such free speech as well as those posting these petitions. It is the clearly biased position of Change.org that is disconcerting from a free speech perspective.

Romano has expressed disbelief in being targeted by such petitions. He is a  former NBCC president and its current vice president of grants and, in the email, prefaced his criticism by noting that he has “probably written more articles and reviews about Philadelphia’s black literature and traditions in my 25 years at the [Philadelphia] Inquirer than anyone living, black or white.” In addition, he told The Daily Pennsylvanian: “I am pro-Black Lives Matter. I am in favor of greater diversity in the book publishing business. I am not racist, not by a long shot.”

That appears entirely immaterial. Board members resigned rather than serve with an academic who objected to the language of a Black Lives Matter proposal.  I have no objection to people criticizing his rhetoric or his position but, rather than seek clarification of his remarks or address his concerns, the demand is for removal.

The response is similar to the effort to remove University of Chicago Professor Harald Uhlig as senior editor of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy and a similar effort to remove Harvard Professor Steven Pinker from the Linguistic Society of America.

It is also similar to the successful effort to push writer Andrew Sullivan out of New York Magazine and Vox.  Sullivan noted:

And maybe it’s worth pointing out that “conservative” in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.

It did not matter. Sullivan reported that colleagues said that they felt unsafe working in the same building with him because he questioned aspects of current protests or demands.

My principal concern is not that Romano will be fired at Penn. I am hopeful that the faculty will stand by a colleague regardless of their disagreement with his position. Rather, my principal concern is that this campaign has already succeeded in adding to the already glacial chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom. It is likely that this board will remove Romano if recent examples are any indicator. Few professors want to risk the possibility that they will be next to be called a racist or subjected to a Change.org petition. Indeed, in his letter, Romano references an unnamed board member who was too afraid to voice objections to the proposal’s language.

The level of fear and intimidation on faculties today is alarming. It is part of a concerted effort to deter anyone who would express dissenting views particularly of BLM as an organization or demands made in these protests.  I have heard from many professors around the country who say that they simply cannot risk being targeted and labeled a racist.  So they remain silent.  That is the point of these campaigns. When someone like Romano speaks out, they are quickly isolated, targeted, and condemned. The message is clear. There is a new orthodoxy on campuses that cannot be questioned, even by those who have expressed support for Black Lives Matter generally.

This anti-free speech environment is being fostered by the silence of professors and reporters who have adopted a purely pedestrian view as colleagues are abused or fired.  The silence will not ultimately protect those who remain.  It is a campaign that will devour its own in the loss of academic freedoms and free speech.  Free speech dies in silence and the current silence is deafening.

 

154 thoughts on “Penn Professor Faces Calls For His Removal After Questioning An Anti-Racism Statement [UPDATED]”

  1. If these are public universities or receive government monies (ex: Pell Grants, funding for disabled students, etc) the university staff would be a “government entity” and legally restrained by the First Amendment. In other words it could be a “criminal” offense perpetrated by the college’s management under Title 18 US Code 245 and similar statutes, enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Federal Criminal Code’s “color of law” statutes also includes prosecuting some private organizations. The professor harmed could also seek the Judicial Branch route as a plaintiff, in federal court, filing a constitutional lawsuit against the “government entity”. Rumor has it that the ACLU and Institute for Justice provide free legal counsel in these types of constitutional cases. Long term, we need to start teaching American Civics and bring back Debate Clubs in high school, colleges and law schools.

  2. I would add this much. That the white male lawyers who control BIGLAW are the most craven money grubbing chickens of all on this issue.

    They had better get their heads screwed on right about this fast. Because they will be targets too.

    You old farts who plan on just retiring if you get in trouble had better understand this. You are part of this and if you abandon the younger lawyers to the dogs and try to run away with your money, it will not work. You made your bones and made your money and if you throw younger lawyers overboard you will not be forgiven by them and they are the ones who will be tasked with many leadership roles in this emerging social conflict which is very serious.

    This fight is going to be blood in and blood out. Biglaw paper pushers may not know what that means; as a criminal defense lawyer if you never heard the expression, what it means. But in short, it means, there is no retiring from this conflict. So you have a role to pay too, and remember, you will not be forgiven by your own kind if you crap out early. .

    1. Understand this lawyers. EVERY SINGLE LIKE YOU MAKE ON FACEBOOK OR ANY OTHER MEDIA PLATFORM CAN GET YOU IN TROUBLE

      the Twitter Mob which executes harassment of prominent people on that platform is scouring records for proof of your “discrimination” and “unethical speech”

      THEY ARE COMING

      do not just chicken out and scrub the internet. you can’t run. they have records already. there are archives. they are coming. get ready now as i told you and how.
      you do have time to prepare for this fight in the ways I identified above.

      the greatest case you ever have may end up being your own

      this is not a sad fight. this is an exciting one. we were born for this.

      there is glory in this fight, glory, fame, money to be won, and most of all– HONOR

  3. None of this would matter or could be perpetuated if our judiciary weren’t rotten to the core. The first lawsuit would put an end to the craziness. But now, with judges deciding cases along party lines, the Constitution has become something with which to line your birdcage, if you have one.

  4. I checked out this petition at change.org. Only 214 people have signed it, out of appx 193mm adults (over 21 yo) in the USA. Isnt this article a bit over the top?

  5. It seems to be human nature, ‘payback’. This is clearly illustrated with the left’s ‘Don’t be the first to stop clapping’ routine and the right’s labeling of the left’s underlying philosophies as at fault. The pendulum swings in each direction equally. Hopefully it is about to head back toward the center. However, it didn’t make it to the left extreme on its own. The pendulum is moving left after having been so far right for so long. Slavery sanctioned by church and government, segregation sanctioned by church and government, and still today local governments intentionally placing those who are seen as not voting right, at a disadvantage. The evil of the right wing White supremacists has still to subside. In the mean time the left or desire for equal opportunity responds. The goal for the left is the middle. The goal for the right is still right of the middle. But, seen in the context of history, the US is advancing to a better place.

    1. “The evil of the right wing White supremacists has still to subside.”

      Hmmmm. Strange mutterings. A majority of whites voted a man of color to the Presidency of the United States last decade. In case you missed that.

        1. Today’s problem is the willfully unemployed postmodernist-communists who worship their own desires to stay willfully unemployed. Or, to collect a salary supported by productive taxpayers, while insulting said taxpayers.

    2. I totally agree, the Catholic church owned slaves all throughout the Caribbean, currently 100’s millions worship POPE god; No words? The American Democratic Southern Baptists;Crown Monarchy bloodlines, took the words from bible to prove white supremacy… Democratic Poll Tax, Jim Crow Laws,and KKK after Civil War; Go figure? Yes, the Evil needs to subside. The current plantation owners of the Democrat ran (highest black crimes and black poverty) cities need to divest from their inbred Bigotry. I’m from the North and I went to primary schools in diverse Conservative/ Libertarian areas, it wasn’t till We moved to the South did I see and hear the true Democratic treatment of Our darker colored brothers and sisters. Disgusting.

      1. I totally agree, the Catholic church owned slaves all throughout the Caribbean, currently 100’s millions worship POPE god;

        Two falsehoods right out of the gate. Concise.

      2. Talking to fools like “‘average” is a waste of breath. They only respect force and they are craving to receive it

        This guy “average” is perhaps like the BLM mob organized by a local muslim in St Louis who attacked Catholics at the statute of Saint Louis who were guilty of praying
        I guess they made a point we all should understand. The mob, that is.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpHshYdpi-Q

        I am not with Catholics like the ones clutching beads, getting whupped and running away. They shamed the memory of Saint Louis who was a warrior not just a saint .

        If there are any Catholics left like Saint Louis who mount a horse and wield their swords in battle, that’s my crew

        if there are none left, we ride anyways

    3. Issac,
      “Slavery sanctioned by church and government, segregation sanctioned by church and government”

      Don’t paint with a broad brush. Methodists were long against such things.

  6. Dr. Turley – It’s hard to take your equivocation. You either believe in Freedom of Speech or you don’t. Statements like: “Romano has publicly declared support for the movement” or he was a “former NBCC president and its current vice president of grants” or “My principal concern is not that Romano will be fired at Penn” actually suggest that in your heart, free speech is only okay for those who agree with the Orthodoxy at college campuses. Unfortunately, it’s time to stand strong or cower in the corner with the others.

  7. “Any such questioning of such proposals is now treated as de facto racist — followed by the now inevitable Change.org petitions. We discussed recently however that Change.org did not allow such petitions by conservative students objecting to a Cambridge professor stating (and then repeating) that “White Lives Don’t Matter.” That petition (which did not even seek the professor’s termination) was declared “bullying” and removed from the site. However, petitions targeting Romano for objecting to the language of a proposal as unfair is viewed as entirely acceptable by Change.org. Ironically, I support both academics in their right to such free speech as well as those posting these petitions. It is the clearly biased position of Change.org that is disconcerting from a free speech perspective.”
    *******************************
    Ah the academic taliban at work. We’d better stop these guys before they start throwing us off of buildings — or at least some of you off buildings without a fight. it’s amazing to me that these panty waist tyrants in the Big Tech think they are immune from a violent response for ruining peoples lives and livelihoods.

  8. When your ideological belief system turns out to be wrong and/or outright stupid and delusional, what else do you think is going to happen??? Look, the people who develop rigid intellectual belief systems in the first place have a certain personality. They think of themselves as “the anointed” and that they are on the side of the angels. (Thomas Sowell)

    Sooo what happens when there is dis-confirmation of the belief system and they don’t get the results they expected? Do you really think they are going to say, “Oh, I guess I was wrong. Let me change my beliefs accordingly.” Heck no. That is not the type of personality they have. They CAN’T be wrong. They believe themselves too smart and good to be wrong. So, they are going to blame other people for the failure of their plans to work. That is what happens in every socialist paradise or ideological tyranny. Hitler blamed the German people for Germany’s failures.. Stalin blamed capitalists and dissidents. That is why large numbers of people get slaughtered in these type regimes. Because it can’t be that the narrative system is wrong.

    The Democrat/Socialist/Left/SJW axis has their enemies too that they blame for the failure of their various ideological failures. My goodness, but they are reaching back to Columbus, and 1619, and the Confederacy, and the rebel flag and statues, and white people everywhere to account for the fact that over half the blacks in the country are stupid, violent feral sociopaths. Because the Great Society didn’t work, and it made things worse. Along with the importation of millions of cheap laborers and the offshoring of our factories and production.

    That is why you see this bullying. These people would not be against re-education camps for us Deplorables, and then concentration camps in theory.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Squeeky:

      They’re Brown Shirts and ought to be dealt with accordingly. Too bad the Dims are in bed with them and the Repubs are feckless country clubbers. No matter ’cause when the push comes to shove I think a lot of ex-military, and ex-leos are itching for the chance to put the pajama boys and gals to sleep. Oath Keepers is getting record memberships in rural areas, biker clubs are booming and gun/ammo sales are through the roof. When and if Antifa/BLM comes for Exurb American they won’t find the spineless beta males so prevalent in big business, big government and academia. Those cakeaters have too much to lose to really get physical. Ever wonder why there are no violent left-wing incidents in small working class towns? The cops aren’t wussies and the men aren’t crossdressers. Most folks just stay to themselves there but when you come for them they don’t run away, they run towards. Bring on the fight. It’s well overdue and if it means an education of sorts for the American Taliban, let’s make it a masters level course. The American Revolution never really ends.

      1. Plus, there is always REALITY. Most White people, either conservative or liberal, have little or no respect for the majority of blacks. Most blacks are nothing but savage loser clowns. That is a sad thing and it doesn’t have to be that way, but that is the way it is. They commit crimes and steal like crazy and they are stupid and violent. That is why we all live in white communities whenever possible. The Liberals may get all preachy about BLM or civil rights, but they are not going to live around a bunch of blacks or send their kids to predominantly or even significantly black schools. The same goes for intelligent Blacks. They move to white communities too. Even Maxine Waters.

        What that means is that most white people do not have to put up with these pack of losers all day long. Sooo, they can live in LaLa Land and pretend and virtue-signal etc.. But if blacks start attacking their homes and their communities, then the veneer will come off. Just like those two lawyers in St. Louis. I think most of White America is getting sick of blacks, and sick of hearing about their problems. But it is just like The Emperor’s New Clothes. Everybody already knew he was naked. They weren’t saying it, but they knew and were just playing along. Until one person said what was obvious to them all.

        That is where I think America is at.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

  9. Good points about free speech, but the left has no interest in fairness or in a just society, so we are talking to ourselves.

    In the meantime, I will wallow in schadenfreude as another SJW is eaten by his own.

    In time, the thinking Pinkos (I know, an oxymoron) will start contemplating how they reached this sorry situation.

      1. bunky:

        Yeah bunky but it won’t end there. Romano is low hanging fruit incapable of a principled response or defense. Apparently he buys the “everybody racist”{ rhetoric with his feeble words. Once the too weak supporters are gone the revolution comes for its opponents. Take no solace that a rampaging lion eats its own pride rivals first. It’s always hungry and you are always its prey just hoping to be eaten last. That is history unless you take on the threat.

        1. Mespo,
          It’s like Solzhenitsyn describing the Communists who found themselves in Stalin’s gulags.

            1. More people should read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich if they aren’t ready for the dense tome of The Gulag Archipelago.

                1. Mespo,
                  Glad you are able to compare. I really enjoyed the novel. I have not yet tackled the Gulag Archipelago.

                  1. A Z said they should have resisted the Soviets by ambushing them killing them when and where it was possible.

                    I can’t find the quote. Something about tire irons and stairwells. I found that a wise notion.

  10. What should we expect? Students have spent their entire lives under zero tolerance policies, lame anti-bullying programs, a cultural fear of being kidnapped by a stranger, and a stupid over-emphasis on standardized tests that don’t really help students wrestle with ideas or to think on their own.

    1. That’s right: and who created, pushed for, and even sued to defend that insanity? Yes, their parents. I think 3/4 of our planet must have been asleep during the raising of millennials. That was its own form of indoctrination (and neglect!).

      These professors are cowards. Heaven forbid their self-created bubbles of delusion and grandeur pop and they have to do something else for a living. I’m grateful for the ardent coverage here on this site, but we should be past the point where it comes as a surprise and be discussing solutions. It isn’t going to fix itself.

    2. and a stupid over-emphasis on standardized tests that don’t really help students wrestle with ideas or to think on their own.

      You cannot have a functioning educational system without standardized tests. They bother teachers because they improve transparency. As for the labor market, we’d be better off with more screening tests, less sorting via tertiary schooling.

      1. I agree with the importance of standardized tests.

        That districts have actually made a move (more of a twitch really) toward acting on test results – by holding someone accountable (the teacher and the school) is a nod in the right direction, but it’s not enough. We’re still too chicken to follow through on the consequences. Incompetent tenured teachers are still way too difficult to remove. Instead they get juggled around programs like “Skills for Living” or the neediest segment of the student population like basic skills – and they turn already weak programs into hundreds of hours of wasted time.

        Not that it’s just teachers. They’re not the cornerstone of education they’re made out to be. I think the onus of test results weighs more heavily on the Student and Parents.

        1. em,
          I mostly agree that the onus of the test results should weigh most heavily on students and parents. Education should be mutual, like a handshake, both parties reaching out to one another.

          “That districts have actually made a move (more of a twitch really) toward acting on test results – by holding someone accountable (the teacher and the school) is a nod in the right direction, but it’s not enough.”

          I disagree with this element. If education is not mutual, it would not be fair to hold the schools and teachers accountable. How could it be done fairly? Each year, teachers get different groups of kids to teach, some classes have a high percentage of kids who are eager to learn, and then the next year might have a bunch of slackers. What if a teacher in the grade below is terrible but the next grade’s teacher is fabulous but still cannot increase scores ‘sufficiently’?

          I also have concerns about what does ‘holding someone accountable’ mean? NCLB punished schools for not continually increasing their scores. This led to some schools dumbing their curriculum down so it looked like they made larger gains. Other schools got punished because 100% proficiency is unlikely simply due to the differences in people’s capabilities. And, you cannot continually improve your scores, at least in how it was being communicated to districts, as I recall.

          I’m not sure of the best answer. My sense is, though, that most districts and most people want to do what is best by their kids. Let districts and communities figure out what’s best with less interference from the Feds, who do not have the best handle on district’s situations. Advice and analysis would help people sort out their own problems. Let districts look around at what others are doing that is successful and work off those models.

      2. TIA,
        Hence my focus on the over-emphasis on these tests. Schools have an incentive to teach toward these tests rather than have the tests act like a dipstick to monitor general progress. These tests do not really show how educated a person is. They track closely, but it isn’t the same thing.

        “You cannot have a functioning educational system without standardized tests.”

        Why can you not? The tests, such as the SAT, didn’t even exist prior to 1920, to my knowledge.

        1. Hence my focus on the over-emphasis on these tests. Schools have an incentive to teach toward these tests rather than have the tests act like a dipstick to monitor general progress

          Of course they teach toward the tests. Put the material on the tests you want the young to learn. The schools or the state government may use the tests to monitor and identify bad schools and bad districts, but that should not be the primary purpose of the tests. The purpose of the tests should be to build a book of certificates to tolerably tell the student, his parents, and potential employers how he has performed over the years. No more diplomas, no more graduation ceremonies.

          These tests do not really show how educated a person is. They track closely, but it isn’t the same thing.

          That’s a nonsensical statement taken as a whole. As for the first component, if you want a bureaucratic agency employing thousands of people to produce some sort of ineffable quality, you’re going to be disappointed.

          Why can you not? The tests, such as the SAT, didn’t even exist prior to 1920, to my knowledge.

          1. A lot of schools stank on ice.

          2. Schoolteachers, like everyone else, weren’t as fatuous in 1920 as they are today.

          3. In regard to the single-digit minority headed to higher education, they commonly were subjected to entrance examinations. A dear friend of mine took a battery of them as he was completing high school in 1938. Every once in a while I come across on the internet an entrance examination from a common-and-garden college, drawn up in the early 20th century. Pretty embarrassing those. (NB Harvard’s entrance examinations required Latin as late as 1916 and Greek as late as 1897).

          4. We know perfectly well the implications of not relying on standardized tests. We’re living. it. You just refuse to acknowledge it.

          1. TIA,
            Prairie Rose: “These tests do not really show how educated a person is. They track closely, but it isn’t the same thing.”

            TIA: “That’s a nonsensical statement taken as a whole.”
            What does it mean to be educated? How does a timed scantron demonstrate someone’s intelligence? There are people who are extremely bright, but also very methodical, who score poorly on such tests because they do not finish them. Thankfully, other factors were considered and they still earned advanced degrees and are successful in their field.

            “As for the first component, if you want a bureaucratic agency employing thousands of people to produce some sort of ineffable quality, you’re going to be disappointed.”

            Bureaucracy. Nuff said. Perhaps the schools are too big to have a good handle on their inner workings. The bureaucracy has become the end rather than the ‘product’.

            Prairie Rose: “Why can you not? The tests, such as the SAT, didn’t even exist prior to 1920, to my knowledge.”

            TIA: “1. A lot of schools stank on ice.:

            Sure. I never said to get rid of all standardized tests entirely. They can be used to make adjustments and improvements, but the wrong metrics are examined it seems.

            “2. Schoolteachers, like everyone else, weren’t as fatuous in 1920 as they are today.”

            What do you recommend to turn this around?

            “3. In regard to the single-digit minority headed to higher education, they commonly were subjected to entrance examinations.”

            Fine by me.

            “A dear friend of mine took a battery of them as he was completing high school in 1938. Every once in a while I come across on the internet an entrance examination from a common-and-garden college, drawn up in the early 20th century. Pretty embarrassing those. (NB Harvard’s entrance examinations required Latin as late as 1916 and Greek as late as 1897).”

            Yes, it is embarrassing how ignorant we are with how much educational materials is readily available. My mom took Latin and found it useful. It was not available for me to take.

            “4. We know perfectly well the implications of not relying on standardized tests. We’re living. it. You just refuse to acknowledge it.”

            What do you mean by ‘not relying on standardized tests’? Sure appears that’s all we’re doing as a country. Perhaps they are being used badly.

            1. What do you mean by ‘not relying on standardized tests’? Sure appears that’s all we’re doing as a country. Perhaps they are being used badly.

              Again, if you were relying on standardized tests, the admissions offices in higher education would have nothing to do (which is fine by me). Social promotion would not be an issue because it wouldn’t matter what grade you were in, but which state examinations you’d passed. It also wouldn’t matter that a school official gave you a piece of sheepskin.

              What do you recommend to turn this around?

              Who can fix a culture?

              1. Close the teacher’s colleges. Open new ones which have a menu of entrance requirements for each certificate program they offer tailored to the certificate in question (but all of which require written examinations testing one’s knowledge of English grammar, arithmetic, and algebra). Have each certificate program consist of a standard set of methods courses, an internship and a stipended apprenticeship. The standard duration would be two years. Enhancements to a general elementary certificate could be had by taking examinations in history / geography / civics and examinations in biology / chemistry / physics / geology. Teacher’s colleges would offer courses of study separate from the regular certificate program which would prepare aspirants for the examinations (which aspirant secondary teachers in social studies and the sciences would also have to pass). Enhancements for art teachers, music teachers, and gym teachers could be had by a second year of apprenticeship, so you’d have one year in an elementary setting and one in a secondary setting. Enhancements for high school teachers could be had by piling up 42 credits in another academic or technical subject.

              2. Train in-school administrators in a two year program, half consisting of tests-and-measurements psychology and half in public administration. You’d recruit from the ranks of working teachers.

              3. Recruit the superintendants office staff from the ranks of people skilled in business and general public administration. They’re job is administrative support, not pedagogy.

              4. Replace schools run by local government with voucher-funded schools run by philanthropies.

              1. TIA,
                One, two, and three look pretty reasonable. I especially like the written examination element for teachers.

                “4. Replace schools run by local government with voucher-funded schools run by philanthropies.”

                Why should local government not run schools? People within a community (should) have a vested interest in the education of the children within the community. This does not work in every community, obviously, but there are communities where that works very well. Most of the other communities surrounding us do very well with the governance of the schools and education within their districts.

                I have concerns about outside “philanthropies” controlling the education. Rather than control the education, perhaps they could offer their services of strategic planning and analysis so that the locals could discern ways to improve.

                1. I’ve enjoyed reading through this thread.

                  Three thoughts.

                  1) On improving teachers – my education courses were worthless. They really were. I’m not just being salty. I remember all of my courses perfectly well, but I can’t think of a single thing I learned from all the time and money I spent. The practicum and student teaching were incredibly valuable, but they didn’t last long enough. Young teachers need to spend as much time learning with good teachers as possible. The mentoring program after I became a teacher was an absolute joke. I was required to pay a tenured teacher 500 bucks, and I can only recall one time when she poked her head around the door at the end of the day and asked if everything was alright. That was it. There were too many things I had learn on the job through trial and error that I should have been able to learn from a decent program, and that’s not fair to the students.

                  As far as competence, I’d rank things like: classroom management, best practices in certain subjects and how to assess fairly, efficiently, and accurately way higher than skills and knowledge, but that really depends on the grade, I suppose. In elementary at least, the curriculum tends to be very well set up. As long as you’re not using lousy practices and aren’t a total bore, you don’t need to be particularly talented to teach it.

                  2) I’m willing to bet most teacher’s test results hinge on their basic skills population. In my district when I was teaching general ed and not inclusion, that group represented 25-35% of my results every year. Students in that group tend to be incredibly difficult to help reach proficiency.

                  3) Community oversight and direction is one thing, but it sucks when you know what your doing and your bosses don’t, and they insist everything be done their way. A good teacher has a better sense for certain things like curriculum choice, the design of district assessments, scheduling, pacing guides, etc… I’d rather send my kids to a school run by educators – and I mean real educators, not leftist hacks – than one run by people who never taught a day in their life.

                  1. em – over time I found I used all of my education courses, however the ones I used the most were my curriculum course and educational psychology course. I did spend a year substituting before I got a job and I learned from every teacher whose classroom I was in, both good and bad and then incorporated those things in my teaching later. I stole the things that seemed effective and got rid of things that seemed ineffective.

                    1. Paul C Schulte, that’s a good point and I had not considered it, but a year of subbing beforehand definitely would have helped.

                    2. IIRC, you were in teachers’ college ca. 1962. The median age of the working population is 42. Those who are teachers would have been in school ca. 1998, after a mess of junk was added to teacher-training programs. Thomas Sowell, Michelle Ker, and KC Johnson have written about this.

                    3. Paul,
                      I definitely agree regarding the education psych course! It was excellent at my alma mater, too.

                  2. Very well said, em! I learned (on my own) in one of my Ed classes that rote learning works very well in some circumstances, which was the exact opposite of the prof’s goal. Rote learning was sneered upon, in general. It has its place.

                    “In elementary at least, the curriculum tends to be very well set up.” You must be in a good district. I am not happy with what I’ve seen in mine.

                    “A good teacher has a better sense for certain things like curriculum choice, the design of district assessments, scheduling, pacing guides, etc… I’d rather send my kids to a school run by educators”

                    Yes.

                2. Why should local government not run schools?

                  You’re on the payroll, aren’t you?

                  Schools are a fee-for-service activity which appears naturally on the open market. It is not a public good. It’s not 1840, anymore, so demand constraints do not make primary or secondary educational services a natural monopoly except in certain remote areas or for niche client populations. Providing schooling through public agency is gratuitous. Distributional questions can be addressed through vouchers.

                  1. TIA,
                    “You’re on the payroll, aren’t you?”

                    No. I do not currently teach for pay.

                    “It is not a public good.”

                    I disagree–it is a public good to have most of your population well-educated. It is a public good for a community to look toward uplifting future generations. It is another element of practicing self-governance, which our country purportedly takes seriously.

                    1. I disagree–it is a public good to have most of your population well-educated. It is a public good for a community to look toward uplifting future generations. It is another element of practicing self-governance, which our country purportedly takes seriously.

                      Prairie Rose,
                      All of that is true in theory, a vision if you will for public education. Unfortunately it’s a vision that is used only to sell bond measures to a gullible base that for some reason cannot simply say no to a failing industry.

                      It might not be popular to say, but this industry is about taking a highly variable raw material and producing a specific output. Because of the variation on the input side, it will never produce a reliable output. At least in a one size fits all process. It’s a process begging for skilled practitioners to have the flexibility to customize it according to the input and eventually produce the desired output. This is not a process that will ever be effectively, centrally managed. Since the raw material is unique to specific communities, control of this process needs to be local and in coordination with the source of the raw material…the parents.

                    2. Well said, Olly! Are you from Iowa? 😉 Local control is (or was, I have sadly moved) a big deal.

                    3. I attended 3 years of high school, in two different districts, in Iowa. I graduated high school in Minneapolis. This was back in the 70’s, long before any of the current nonsense was in place.

                    4. I disagree–it is a public good t

                      No, it is not a public good. Public goods by definition do not appear on the open market. A state highway is a public good. Schools are not.

                    5. TIA,
                      “No, it is not a public good. Public goods by definition do not appear on the open market.”

                      We may just have to agree to disagree.

                      People need to practice looking out for one another as a community, and public education is an excellent way to do that. If you don’t like the governance, get involved and either vote or get on the school board. I think it is easier to effect change as a local community through your participation in government than it would be to change a charity or a philanthropist. Tick off the philanthropist and there goes the funding…

                    6. John Adams, according to some sources:

                      “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it,” wrote Adams. “There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

                      “[T]he tax which will be paid for this purpose [education] is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”

                3. I have concerns about outside “philanthropies” controlling the education. Rather than control the education, perhaps they could offer their services of strategic planning and analysis so that the locals could discern ways to improve.

                  With some exceptions, private educational institutions are incorporated as philanthropies. No clue why this ‘concerns’ you.

                  1. TIA,
                    I was not thinking of private schools being organized as philanthropies. It struck me as an outside element moving in to manage the school. I support local control of education because I have experienced it working very well. I dislike the Federal government exerting outsized control at the local level. A local philanthropy would not bother too much. If a local philanthropist would like to help and bless my district right now, I would probably not argue about it one bit.

            2. What does it mean to be educated? How does a timed scantron demonstrate someone’s intelligence? There are people who are extremely bright, but also very methodical, who score poorly on such tests because they do not finish them. Thankfully, other factors were considered and they still earned advanced degrees and are successful in their field.

              You have about 85,000 youngsters in each age cohort in an average state. No, you cannot provide for every odd niche type. You cannot educate them as if you were sending young Clive Staples Lewis to be tutored by the Old Knock. Get over it.

        2. Why can you not? The tests, such as the SAT, didn’t even exist prior to 1920, to my knowledge.

          Because standards provide a vision for where the education is to be directed and testing measures the progress towards that vision. Seneca the Younger said: If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable. We used a different take on that when conducting strategic planning and visioning: if you don’t know what port your sailing, any course will do.

          All processes, and this includes the education process, require measures to determine the quality of the education. Without it, then advancement in the education process is as capricious as the lottery.

          1. Olly,
            It seems to be the tests are driving the vision rather than the other way around. The vision in my district, sadly, is that they are producing worker bees and making sure our scores look good. They do NOT know to which port they sail.

            Any course won’t do, though, when it comes to education. There are some things everyone needs to more or less be able to do and to know to be a decently-functioning American. There are things you need to know about history, principles of governance you should understand and desire to uphold, you should have some understanding of the sciences and nature, you should have a reasonable level of reading, writing, and arithmetic, you should have an appreciation of the best literature, music and the arts, you should be able to use your hands and build things. How those are taught will undergird your ability to think logically and symbolically, organize your thinking, and support your ability to weigh arguments. Why is that important? Because the government is we the people and we need to understand a lot of stuff or be able to try to figure out and understand a lot of stuff so we can advise our representatives. We need to be able to see through political shenanigans.

            “All processes, and this includes the education process, require measures to determine the quality of the education. Without it, then advancement in the education process is as capricious as the lottery.”

            I agree with this to some extent; I do not wish to eliminate all measures by any means. However, the standardized tests and how they are currently used do not fit that metric. Filling in bubbles on a scantron does not an educated person make. Standardized tests cannot measure a person’t ability to ask questions or even particularly their ability to synthesize information or apply it.

            Slightly off topic, but it relates to applied knowledge. 😉
            https://youtu.be/zavkzfqoEow

            1. It seems to be the tests are driving the vision rather than the other way around.

              No, the tests are a manifestation of the vision.

                1. What is the vision?

                  What are the results? In the Navy, when a ship has a collision at sea or runs aground, the Captain is typically relieved of command. If a fire happens onboard, depending on the after action assessment, the ship will conduct a safety standdown. When an aircraft goes down, similar assessments are done and a safety standdown is done. When a destroyer squadron, battle group or air wing have multiple incidents, squadron, battle group and air wing commanders are likely to be relieved of duty and the entire fleet is ordered to standdown. The core vision doesn’t change. Performance is measured against that vision and depending the results, appropriate action is taken.

                  If our public education system conducted themselves in a similar manner and given their performance results, they’d be ordered into a nationwide standdown. Heads would roll from the top down. Front line educators would be evaluated and nothing would open until they met certain criteria. But that’s not what is done. Instead, budgets are increased, funding is increased, the bureaucracy is expanded, salaries go up, benefits are increased, students are blamed, families are blamed, society is blamed, taxes go up and results continue to decline…wash, rinse, repeat.

                  You tell me. From those results, what do believe the vision is?

                  1. Olly,
                    There is a lack of clarity in the vision and it seems insufficient responsibility by a majority of stakeholders.

                    The military may not be a great comparison, though. To enter, there is a selection process with minimum IQ standards. Typically, people choose to join (rather than by threat of truancy). There are options for advancement in rank (though freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, I suppose, is supposed to approximate that). If necessary, there’s dishonorable discharge.

                    1. There is a lack of clarity in the vision and it seems insufficient responsibility by a majority of stakeholders.

                      Oh, I believe there’s perfect clarity in the vision, if you analyze the results. During WWII, when Japanese kamikaze pilots hit their first target, no one thought this was strategic. When the first airliner flew into the south tower of the WTC, no one thought this was strategic. When one school or school district has declining testing results, no one thinks this is strategic. When it happens in multiple schools, in multiple districts throughout the country, why isn’t it possible that this is strategic?

                      The military may not be a great comparison, though.

                      I apologize that I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t recommending the military for the purpose of education best practices. I was recommending the military for the purpose of management best practices.

                    2. Olly,
                      “When it happens in multiple schools, in multiple districts throughout the country, why isn’t it possible that this is strategic?”

                      A depressing thought that is very likely too true. I see it in the district I’m in.

                      Rather than strategic failure (which would be malicious), could serial lack of integrity do the same thing?

                    3. Rather than strategic failure (which would be malicious), could serial lack of integrity do the same thing?

                      Hmm. Let’s pretend for argument sake, that the original plan was to design an education model that would meet the needs of our 20th century, industrial revolutionized culture. Let’s pretend the innovators all had the best of intentions. What else happened over the last 150 years? Think gold rush, education style. And the gold was to be mined from the public. And as we know, that gold doesn’t run out, especially when their investing in their children. Have you seen the pensions retired teachers and administrators make? I do taxes for a living and my 20 year vet pension is on average a 3rd of what I’m seeing come across my desk. Actually not much different than other publicly-funded pensions.

                      I don’t believe necessarily that frontline teachers have any malicious intent…for the most part. Like every other profession however, they aren’t going into it without the knowledge of the comp plan. I might even be inclined to believe local administrators have the best of intentions. But the further removed you go, very much like our federal government, you are going to find the bureaucrats that are less concerned with results than they are growing their budgets and appeasing the lobbyists that keep them in power.

                      Call it malfeasance, malicious, Peter principle, incompetence, or lack of integrity. It may all apply. But at the root, you have to point the finger at where the gold comes from…the American citizen. In a country designed for the power of We the People, we are the failure of this great experiment.

                    4. Olly,
                      “But the further removed you go, very much like our federal government, you are going to find the bureaucrats that are less concerned with results than they are growing their budgets and appeasing the lobbyists that keep them in power.”

                      Then the problem is higher up, which makes sense. People pay attention to the local level, in some ways, far more than the nitty-gritty at the higher levels–which is why the Founders wanted small government.

                      The lobbyists at the local level are neighbors, parents–community members who have a direct interest in the goings-on at their local schools. People care about results, more so, at least in a good district, because it affects the housing market and wider community ‘health’ and pride. People take pride in their schools, in general. We get saturated in the news about the horror stories.

                      Even in my area, people are starting to pay more attention. I hope they completely break out of their complacency.

            2. Filling in bubbles on a scantron does not an educated person make.

              You keep offering counterpoints to assertions that were never made. And if multiple choice tests bother you, change it to a short answer format.

              Standardized tests cannot measure a person’t ability to ask questions

              Prairie Rose belongs to the Bobby Van Lost Horizon school of pedagogy

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hfs62HWRjyA

              or even particularly their ability to synthesize information or apply it.

              The Educational Testing Service has in the past and I believe still does generate essay questions on their Achievement and Advanced Placement Tests. I doubt they do a worse job than the average high school teacher.

              1. Socrates thought asking questions was rather important by the teacher and the student.

                More essay questions in general sounds fine to me.

                1. Speaking of questions and essays –

                  I’m reminded of an adjunct professor I had who designed standardized test questions for a living. I don’t remember what the course was, but his tests were so hard. Mostly multiple choice, but the way he wrote them, there were always at least two answers that were right, but one was more correct than the other. Those tests… you could tell whenever someone reached the essay portion because they’d let out a sigh of relief.

                  1. em – I think that teachers who write test where there are more than one possible right answer should be whipped out of the classroom. I would take the test with my students and if I got a question wrong, I deleted from the test. If I couldn’t answer it, they shouldn’t have to.

                  2. Em,
                    Sounds like his essay questions were written far better than the multiple choice…well, or at least they were significantly ‘less bad’.

            3. It seems to be the tests are driving the vision rather than the other way around…They do NOT know to which port they sail.

              Prairie Rose,
              As DSS eluded to, you can identify the vision by deconstructing the tests. My guess is the rank and file teacher thinks they know what port their sailing to. I completed my requirements for an Education degree after retiring from the Navy and I realized I would never enter that profession. At least at the K-12 level in public education.

              There are things you need to know about…

              Absolutely! My son is homeschooling now in a Classical Christian education model. 🙂

              Filling in bubbles on a scantron does not an educated person make.

              This reminds me of how I did the testing back in the 70’s. I asked my teacher if the results would be reflected on my report card or affect my advancement to the next grade. I was told no. Big mistake. The most difficult part of randomly filling out those Scrantons was making sure I didn’t finish too early. 😉

              1. Olly,
                “you can identify the vision by deconstructing the tests.”

                I agree. I’m not sure I like the vision I see. You cannot just deconstuct the tests; you have to look at the total content, the emphasis on them, the drivers, the main players, how they are managed within a school.

                “My guess is the rank and file teacher thinks they know what port their sailing to.”

                Depends on the district. Some places there is a distinct lack of clarity.

                “There are things you need to know about…

                Absolutely! My son is homeschooling now in a Classical Christian education model. 🙂”

                I, too, homeschool in a more Classical Liberal/Trivium model, though two of my older kids have gone to secondary public school. If you are going the whole way through, you are awesome and impressive.

                “Filling in bubbles on a scantron does not an educated person make.

                This reminds me of how I did the testing back in the 70’s. I asked my teacher if the results would be reflected on my report card or affect my advancement to the next grade. I was told no. Big mistake. The most difficult part of randomly filling out those Scrantons was making sure I didn’t finish too early. 😉”

                Yes!

          2. Olly,
            I love your references to Seneca the Younger and Bastiat, etc. But I doubt they are to be found on standardized tests, and maybe not even in the classroom. Their ideas should be read and discussed and understood and weighed by people, yet it is unlikely they’d ever be found in a packet to be completed so kids can get a good score on the standardized test.

            1. I love your references to Seneca the Younger and Bastiat, etc. But I doubt they are to be found on standardized tests, and maybe not even in the classroom.

              Why would they be? Social theory and philosophy are subjects for tertiary schooling. Only an odd minority of secondary school students could ever handle them. You need to divide your secondary school population in thirds, assigning one third to basic education and life skills, one third to voTech, and one third to academics (with a voTech option). You test each segment on students’ selected subjects. That might mean history or English literature; it’s not going to mean the classics or 19th century social theory.

              1. TIA,
                I agree that a small portion of students need to be in basic education and life skills. However, even the voTech kids need some elements of social theory and philosophy–they vote, too, and, they may even aim for local public office. I know several ‘voTech’ adults who are quite the philosophers. VoTech doesn’t equal less intelligent. My farmer grandfather graduated high school but was a better thinker than some professors.

                Herodotus and Seneca would be more interesting reading in many ways than a dry old textbook, anyway.

                1. voTech kids need some elements of social theory and philosophy–they vote, too, and, they may even aim for local public office

                  Start with American history, geography, and civics.

                  1. TIA,
                    Those aren’t measured on a standardized test so why waste time on something not covered on the almighty test?

                    1. It’s not the test series, it’s the state. NJ, for instance, only holds schools accountable for language arts & literacy and mathematics. Not sure why we had a science test – if that counted or not. In our school that was the only “extra” test taken, and only the fourth graders took it.

                      I only just read this, but apparently the newer state testing in NJ (the PARCC) was so controversial and so many parents refused to let their children take it that the State’s looking to transition to a new one.

                      Which I find odd because I thought it was easier than the ASK. I also find it odd that it was so much more expensive when all of it except for science was taken on the computer – but that’s also one of the issues I had with it. Children aren’t as critical about poking a choice on a screen with a mouse as they are shading in a circle in a booklet. They’re less likely to work things out on paper or show their work when they don’t have to. They also suck at typing. They write much faster and with greater facility by hand. Which creates a problem – what are we measuring in this essay? The child’s writing skills, or the child’s typing skills?

                    2. Also, those tests are really expensive. I think the PARCC cost something like twenty-five dollars each student. So if the state’s not interested in students’ knowledge of History, there’s not much incentive to purchase that test.

                    3. TIA,
                      “Than your state needs a better test series. Quit playing dumb.”

                      I am not playing dumb. Being a bit facetiously snarky, though. Sorry. It wasn’t helpful to the conversation.

                      This is generally the problem. It material isn’t on the required tests, especially in a struggling district, information gets sidelined.

                      The tests are narrow, in general, and they do not reflect the breadth of education that should be happening in public schools.

                      Districts will quietly start trying to game the system. They get tempted to de-emphasize a subject, since its content isn’t ‘important’ according to the test and really emphasize this other content because it is on the test. By focusing on the ‘important’ elements our scores will still look good, even if students’ education wasn’t as robust as it once was.

                    4. Prairie Rose writes, “Districts will quietly start trying to game the system. They get tempted to de-emphasize a subject, since its content isn’t ‘important’ according to the test and really emphasize this other content because it is on the test. By focusing on the ‘important’ elements our scores will still look good, even if students’ education wasn’t as robust as it once was.”

                      This is exactly where we are – been here for decades. And it ticks me off. I know for a fact that other teachers weren’t teaching science. They used the bulk of that period for test prep or a spill-over for math. Their lesson plans might show the unit out of the science workbook, but not how little time they devoted to it, and then they’d use that POS workbook as teacher directed learning with kids taking turns reading out loud – so worst practices on top of everything else. And our principal and vice principal knew it. They didn’t care – anything to boost test scores. Science and Social Studies (“History”) actually shared a time slot in our district. So two days of this…three days of that kind of thing – or half the marking period on one, half on the other.

                      Science takes a lot more work to teach well, but it’s one of the most multidisciplinary subjects. Math, writing, reading, organization, and that’s in addition to the benefits of learning to apply the scientific method to understanding the natural world. I tend to think that one of the reasons so many people don’t actually know what science is, because they’re never really taught how to do it.

            2. I love your references to Seneca the Younger and Bastiat, etc.

              That didn’t come from any formal education I was a part of in my primary or secondary education. That came from what you alluded to before and it was a skill I didn’t develop until I began my education process in the military: Critical-thinking.

              1. Olly,
                “That came from what you alluded to before and it was a skill I didn’t develop until I began my education process in the military: Critical-thinking.”

                What, then, should change about primary and secondary education so that critical thinking can be learned/practiced prior to adulthood?

                1. I would recommend the trivium/quadrivum classical model. A classical education model prepared our founding fathers for university at the age of 14. Then progressives decided to fix what wasn’t broken. So there’s that.

                    1. Now how to get it adopted as a model for education?

                      Like everything else, it requires a citizenry to see the value in it and demand it. This nation was founded by people that valued self-reliance, rugged-individualism, independence. They were skeptical of giving power to anyone over their private affairs. So this gets back to vision and results, and explains why progressives fought to take control over the system of education in this country. Control the education and you control the population. You can see the results of that progressive vision.

                      We are now a body politic highly dependent on the state. Individualism and independence are perceived as radical vestiges of white privilege that need to be stamped out in favor of the collective good. This is why Yuri Bezmenov’s warning in 1984 of the great brainwashing was so prescient. We’ve lost for good, generations of Americans and it will take some kind of radical intervention to take over the education process for another generation. We’re primed for it now, but are we ready?

                    2. Olly,
                      “We’re primed for it now”

                      I like your optimism, and, I did see a magazine article that asserted that homeschoolers were essentially saving Classical wisdom.

                      I’m not sure that I see that ‘we’re primed’. Perhaps (likely) I’m in an area afflicted by the doldrums, but I mostly see a lot of complacency, a lot of people who haven’t ever thought about what a quality education ought to include at minimum. Maybe you see something else? (I hope so.)

        3. Prairie Rose, I agree with your dipstick simile.

          There’s a big difference between using the content standards and knowledge of a state assessment’s content to direct instruction, and teaching to the test. All too often when I happened to be passing one of my colleagues’ classrooms, I’d see a room full of kids seated quietly at their desks working through a packet – a packet chock full of questions similar to what was going to be on the state test. By the end of the year, we’re talking hundreds of hours of packets – learning how to answer a question that looks like this, or a question that looks like that.

          Certainly the students picked up some skills along the way, but this type of “instruction” is notorious for impairing problem solving because the kids were unable to utilize their skills in unfamiliar situations. But it did what it was intended to do. They did better on the state assessments. At a cost, though. Writing in particular suffered because too many teachers suck at it. They relied on teaching formulas. Every year our school paid consultants to come in and show teachers and classrooms how to essentially game the system. “Always compare at least one thing to food. Always use one compound sentence. Always use one complex sentence. Even if you don’t understand the question, you can get two points by doing this, you can get another point by doing that, etc”

          Which leads me to the actual scorers. Scoring an open-ended math problem is fairly straightforward, but short or expanded open-ended written responses is different, and enough of the people scoring those kinds of skills are so poorly equipped, that I don’t trust them to deliver accurate results.

          1. But it did what it was intended to do. They did better on the state assessments.

            There is this bit about statistical significance.

            Which leads me to the actual scorers. Scoring an open-ended math problem is fairly straightforward, but short or expanded open-ended written responses is different, and enough of the people scoring those kinds of skills are so poorly equipped, that I don’t trust them to deliver accurate results.

            You’d like to unload AP tests I take it? How about examinations used at British and French universities?

            1. I forget what it’s called – it’s been years – but one of the things they just started doing in Jersey that I thought was a good idea was the inclusion of a beginning of the year state assessment a few months into the school year. The additional testing cost students an extra week of instruction, but what it provided was a way to measure an individual students’ personal growth or a lack of, in addition to charting where they were academically.

              Also added some nuance to a teacher’s evaluation. Because if a student began the school year farther below grade level than normal, you could still measure the effectiveness of instruction even if the student tested below current grade level at the end of the school year.

              1. Em,
                Great addition! That would help clarify a lot of the tricky details of student progress and teacher strengths.

              2. the inclusion of a beginning of the year state assessment a few months into the school year.

                We did this in the Navy, usually in the 1st week of a new school, to assess the student’s knowledge of the prerequisites for the course. Especially if the prerequisites were taught at a different command. I recall my first “C” school was in the repair and maintenance of one of the older Sonar systems. The Basic Electricity & Electronics course all the students took at a different command prior to this course taught solid state theory. The sonar system was so old, the majority of the system was vacuum tube theory. 1 week after the entire class was struggling, our lead instructor gave us a tube theory test and we all failed. The entire course schedule was interrupted for 2 weeks.

                Baseline testing is a valuable tool, but only if the teacher has the flexibility in the curriculum to modify the course schedule. Otherwise, it’s testing for the sake of testing and that of course is a waste of time and resources.

      3. among HR geeks, it’s considered a flat out violation of title VII to use IQ tests because blacks score poorly on the average.

        I could argue that it isn’t a violation of title vii, not intentional, but by definition it will have a disparate impact, so if the pool is large enough they just dont use it, because, “disparate impact”

        US military isn’t listening, however. they are the biggest employer that still uses it. of course, they aren’t subject to title vii.

        of course in other nations, they are not so troubled. Korea uses IQ testing prolifically.

  11. Reminds me of the purges of the Communist Russian Revolution and the Great Chinese Cultural Revolution. Only a short time until people are being dragged through the streets by angry, self righteous, virtue signaling mobs of snowflakes.

  12. The whole thing is despicable. And that includes the urgency with which every single organization and corporation feels the need to pledge fealty to the Marxist BLM. Is there a possibility that Romano was also taking exception to their proposed pledge from a legal point of view? That is, if every single entity out there admits it’s guilty of racism, then isn’t it logical that they’ve opened themselves up to being sued for such racism by supposed or real victims? Where does all this end after everyone has been purged out of their positions or cowed into silence?

  13. Colleges are supposed to teach “critical thinking” skills. Sadly, too many of them now take that term to mean “critical of Republicans.” Perhaps an extended Covid lockdown, in which students can’t get together to indoctrinate each other, will give them a chance to form their own opinions, rather than wait for a radical professor or an entitled mob to tell them what their opinions are.

    1. Paxton, nice idea except many of those students appear to be out in the streets getting indoctrinated by (or perhaps leading) Antifa. I could be completely wrong, as I don’t feel like risking life and limb to see who exactly is rioting out in the streets or encouraging the rioting while claiming “peaceful protestor” status.

    2. Colleges are supposed to teach “critical thinking” skills.

      That’s the fanciful excuse for the liberal arts, as if our students were studying grammar, logic, and rhetoric with Thomists. As far as the parents and the students are concerned, the whole point is labor market signaling and vocational training, and that’s fine. As far as the faculty et al are concerned, the whole point is to provide an agreeable income and agreeable working conditions for them.

    3. Paxton,
      “Perhaps an extended Covid lockdown, in which students can’t get together to indoctrinate each other, will give them a chance to form their own opinions, rather than wait for a radical professor or an entitled mob to tell them what their opinions are.”

      Can’t escape it now with wifi and algorithms getting recommendations into the phones in our back pockets.

  14. You read the NPR article, and it occurs to you that the woman resigning in a huff isn’t notable for any political or social viewpoint, but for emotional problems. Serious organizations don’t put damaged goods in leadership positions and put them out on the curb when they find them. (See, for example, Natacha, who should not be in charge of a Chia pet). The question arises is why, in our word-merchant sector, are so many damaged individuals in positions of influence.

    1. To answer your question, it’s because competence isn’t necessarily the reason people are hired and promoted.

    2. It’s people hiring others who are like themselves. There’s research that shows that psychopaths do well in leadership positions.

      ” Some do not have enough social or communication skill or education to interact successfully with others, relying instead on threats, coercion, intimidation, and violence to dominate others and to get what they want.”

      Those are the ones who can’t cut it in business, looks like they go into academia and govt instead. Doesn’t help that civility and morality is dead in blue areas of the US. That encourages the psychopaths and normalizes their behavior.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/04/25/the-disturbing-link-between-psychopathy-and-leadership/#e2f940d4104a

      1. I have not read it, but I wonder how it takes into account people being promoted out of a department, mainly to get them out of the department.

        1. Prairie Rose – I have read “The Peter Principle” and it does take into account being promoted out. 😉

            1. Prairie Rose – The Peter Principle is a fun read and you will recognize people you work with. 😉

    3. Because the big money always wants greedy yes men in positions of leadership. Every bureaucracy must be lead by nonentities. One sees this again and again. In universities especially but also in any sort of bureaucracy private or public.

      Universities are experts at emasculating boys, twisting girls, and warping every good instinct into a bad one.

      Right now there is no fiddling with this broken system. Perhaps we owe BLM some thanks for exposing how incompetent and unjust the system has become, as the police stand by under evil orders from the political bosses, and let them rampage against the lawful and orderly element of society.

      They are like an opportunistic infection that finishes off a weak patient with a fatally compromised immune system. Right now, that’s what it looks like

      But have hope because while the juridical forms may expire, if our people live we can start again. So perhaps, we should go ahead, and let it burn?
      I only ask the question.

    1. Actually, this is a blue-on-blue fight. He’s not even offering a conventional liberal opinion a la Bari Weiss. He’s an SJW sectary like the rest of them, just more meticulous about what he says and how he says it. (Which is what you’d expect of a lawyer, as opposed to a pretend lawyer like Natacha).

  15. What do we know:

    1. Change.org is a fraudulent organization.

    2. There is in the word-merchant sector a large mass of sectaries who cannot handle any sort of political discussion

    3. Institutional ‘leadership’ does flat nothing to shut these people down

    4. Which leads to the question of why we have these institutions and allow them the gatekeeper functions they perform.

    5. Which leads to consideration of plans for replacing them. There may come a time when the faculty’s La Dolce Vita is a thing of the past.

    1. Many likes for your correct use of “sectaries;” assuming you had the mid-17th Century use of the word in mind.

  16. The reason bullies succeed, is because people lack courage. If everyone stood up to the bullies rather than cowering in fear, this would stop. How sad that we are no longer the home of the brave.

    1. I agree, but often the people who are in a position to speak up face the very real possibility of losing their livelihood and having their reputations seriously harmed.

    2. Ruth

      America goes the way of the Boers of the RSA betrayed by political elites and cast aside in favor of money

      What bullies need is to be drowned in rivers of their own blood and strangled with their own guts

      or a more poetic phrasing from the Book:

      Psalm 58:10: “The righteous will rejoice when they see they are avenged; they will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked.”

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