Tuesday, August 30, 2022


 Educators are repeatedly urged to prepare kid's for the world of work. Of course kids should emerge from school with a real appreciation of, and preparation for, the world of work. But let's keep it real.  They need to learn of the actuality, not some sappy fantasy. 

For instance, when CEO “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap fired 11,200 Scott Paper employees, sold the company to its chief rival and walked away with 101 million dollars, a ton of naive people mistakenly concluded that “Chainsaw” was despicable. They thought he trashed moral considerations that were far more important than enriching Scott stockholders or himself. One dismissed thirty-six year Scott veteran even whined on national television that Dunlap, “... took my life and put it into his pocket ...”. 

What self-pitying nonsense! Proper preparation for the real world of work would eliminate this kind of whining and vastly increase student appreciation for Dunlap style leadership. The kids would be brought to realize that "Chainsaw" was simply exercising decisive "corporate leadership." That he was a foe of corporate waste, and an obedient servant of the shareholders. Even more importantly, they'll learn that work life is struggle. And he who fails to struggle, does not deserve to live.

That means school kids must be taught to respect and admire the executives “Chainsaw” typifies. And educators absolutely must create school programs and policies that thoroughly inculcate Mr. Dunlap’s guiding principle: “The meek shall not inherit the earth; and, for sure, they won’t get the mineral rights!”  

Realistic preparation must begin early. For example, educators should eliminate the socialistic practice of encouraging grade school kids to share. Kindergarten and first grade teachers, for instance, must stop urging kids to share crayons and instead set up competition for them. Follow-up graded coloring assignments should then be made. Crayonless kids should flunk. As "Chainsaw observed, "If you want a friend, get a dog."

Educators also must put an end to this “inclusion” stuff. Kids in inclusive classrooms sometimes start helping and caring for less fortunate classmates. We all know what can happen when that camel gets its nose under the tent. Communism, next up!

Business leaders often order “involuntary separations from payroll” in order to enhance profits, boost stock prices and increase efficiency. This is best done by targeting employees who have worked there the longest since they make the most money. Right sizing long-serving individuals really benefits share holders. But are public schools adequately preparing kids for this reality? No, they're certainly not. Otherwise there wouldn't be so much kvetching about world of work layoffs. 

The kids need to be gotten ready. How could that be done? Here's one possibility: Wait until students get to12th grade. Then, right before they are ready to graduate, impose “involuntary severance” on a random selection of them. Instead of a well-earned graduation, they end up out of school. This simulated real world work experience will better prepare all high school students, both those selected and those who survive, for the real world of work. 

The most well-run businesses also periodically wet their beaks in employee pension funds. But a lot of employees object. Can schools do anything to facilitate greater acceptance? Sure. Encourage the kids to start school-based savings accounts that administrators also have access to. Then have these same administrators randomly confiscate some the kid's money and spend it on luxury goods for themselves and cooperative school board members. Do this recurrently and we won’t have all this whining and complaining every time pension funds are freed up to increase corporate profitability, executive bonuses and stockholder value. Employees will expect it.

Business execs also find it increasingly profitable to ship American jobs abroad. It greatly enhances profitability. But here again, American workers whine incessantly. In fact, their whining has got some Congress men and women pretending they care. What can be done to make workers more compliant? Here's a possibility: Have school leaders "decruit" a bunch of American teachers in a massive "workforce imbalance correction." Then import new, cheap, hungry, replacement teachers from an emerging nation. (India, with it's large English speaking population, comes immediately to mind.) This would not only save a ton of money, kids who witness it will expect to lose their jobs to foreign competition when their own jobs are shipped overseas.  

In fairness, public schooling does meet some of world of work needs already. After a few years in elementary school, for instance, kids learn they have to go along to get along. That’s solid preparation for the real world of work. Twelve years of public schooling also teaches kids to live with mindless rules, red tape and managerial double talk. This too must continue, as it is invaluable. In general, though, school preparation for the real world of work requires much improvement.  There are lots of possible ways to do that. Maybe you have some ideas! We're all ears.

To examine these and similar issues further, see http://www.newfoundations.com/Clabaugh/CuttingEdge/MsAmerica.html

-- GKC

Saturday, August 27, 2022


A extensive sampling of school district mission statements reveals that just about every American public school claims they nourish critical thinking. That's sheer humbug. The prime directive actually operative in every public school district is: Never challenge the cherished beliefs, or commitments, of significant elements of the local community. With more than 90% of our public schools controlled by locally elected boards, how could it be otherwise? What elected school board member is going to want students taught to think critically about anything a significant number of voters regard as sacrosanct? No board appointed school superintendent wants that either. The same applies to teachers who are capable of critical thought to begin with. 

Consider this example: Critical thinking necessarily includes close examination of religious truth claims. Yet that's clearly off-limits in any public school. Imagine, for instance, a teacher asking students to critically examine whether or not the existence of evil - particularly the physical suffering of innocents - can be reconciled with a deity believed to be omnipotentomniscient and omnibenevolent.. 

They might specifically be asked to consider, for instance, why an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God permits cancer to originate and metastasize in the brains of innocent children? Encouraging students to consider this "argument from evil" doubtless encourages critical thought. But any teacher, board member, or school superintendent, who encourages such an examination had better have alternative career options at the ready.

Here's one more example: Imagine asking high schoolers to critically examine use of the term, "fallen hero." They might be asked, for instance, were those military men and women killed in the second Iraq war really "fallen heroes?" Let's imagine a hypothetical lesson concerning this question. Say the students learn from examining news clips from that era that President George W. Bush, Vice President Cheney and numerous other high ranking government officials assured Americans, indeed the whole world via the United Nations, that Saddam Hussein's Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and also harbored al-Qaida terrorists. Then the students learn from subsequent clips that both claims were proven to be patently false. The students are then asked: "Were those killed in combat to eliminate these non-existent threats really "fallen heroes?" Why or why not?" 

Such a lesson requires serious critical thinking. But imagine the white hot reaction of arm-chair "patriots." Especially the ones who never put themselves at risk. They would be incensed! And, if they got wind of it, such a lesson would doubtless gain "fair and balanced" treatment on Fox News. That's when all the American flag lapel pin wearing Washington politicians would emerge from their congressional clown car, pretend outrage, and demand corrective action. Would teaching such a lesson work out well for the teacher involved? Do you doubt it involves critical thinking?

So you see, no locally elected board of education is going to countenance teaching students to think critically about ANY values or perspectives that are uncritically cherished by significant elements of the local community. No superintendent who values their job will either. So forget those thousands upon thousands of school district mission statements claiming that they foster critical thinking. No, they don't; and no they won't! At least not about anything that really matters. And that, my friend, is that.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

AFFIRMING DIVERSITY: more "woke" nonsense


Affirming Diversity, Sonia Nieto's 1992 celebration of multicultural education, has become an educational classic — of sorts. Yet her prescription for public education is based on an obviously false assumption. Namely, that cultural values are mutually inclusive and support tolerance. They're not and they don't.

What, specifically, is Professor Nieto prescribing for our schools? She calls it "Affirming Diversity." What does that imply? The professor says it, "... implies that cultural, linguistic, and other differences can and should be accepted, respected, and used as a basis for learning and teaching."

Really? But the values of cultures can be, often are, completely at odds. Plus they're commonly at odds with the very tolerance Nieto's prescription requires. Consider, for example, the dogmatism of the Quehabi Islamic sect that controls Saudi Arabia. Their brand of religion divides the world into good guy true believers — those who subscribe to their highly conservative version of the Sunni school of Islam — and the bad guys of every stripe who don't. In their view, all other religious beliefs must be, at minimum, suppressed. Preferably, they should be annihilated. After all, they're horribly wrong!

Think this an exaggeration? Well, even some Saudi's don't think so. In fact in 2004 a Saudi royal study group, no less, found that the kingdom's religious studies curriculum "encourages violence toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the 'other.' Embarrassed when their religion's intolerant dogmatism was called out, Saudi education authorities promised to eliminate these features of their curriculum. But when the Washington Post analyzed Saudi school books they found them to be as hate filled and intolerant as ever.

How is this pertinent to Professor Nieto's recommendation that we affirm diversity? Let's imagine her trying to teach in Saudi Arabian higher education. As a woman she would only be allowed to teach in a gender segregated setting. And all senior administration, even of female schools, is restricted to men. She would also discover that Saudi public higher education is only open to Saudi citizens and residents. Plus each and every student must be a Muslim. (I imagine the same criteria applies to professors.) 

Now let's imagine that Professor Nieto somehow gets a Saudi public university teaching job, accepts the gender segregation and determines she will, true to her own philosophy, accept and respect the Wahabi cult's beliefs. Then, of course, she would have to comply with their characteristic utter intolerance as THE basis for all learning and teaching. After all, that's how that culture does things. 

Now, let's say she get's the Saudi teaching job but doesn't take the second step of accepting and respecting Quehabi intolerance. Instead she bravely advocates accepting and respecting ALL cultural points of view. When Saudi authorities discover she's doing that, what do you think her fate would be? Here's a clue: in 2005 a Saudi teacher merely suggested that Jews and the New Testament could be viewed positively, and he was fired, sentenced to 750 lashes and given a prison term. (He was eventually pardoned, but only following international protests.) 

Are other cultures similarly intolerant? Of course they are. Might some cultures totally reject Nieto's prescription that they accept and respect all cultural points of view? Do pigs have good table manners? For instance, some cultures are profoundly misogynistic. They countenance, often foster, things like female infanticide, genital mutilation, selling one's daughters into prostitution, wife beating, honor killings, excluding widows from wills, banning girls from school, counting a woman's court testimony as having half the value of a man's, and so forth. These and similarly profoundly intolerant behaviors, such as stoning homosexuals to death or hating whomever is on your tribe's shit list at the moment, all are rooted in culture. Yet Professor Nieto urges we not only accept and respect all cultural differences, but use them conjointly as the basis for all teaching and learning. Really?

Imagine the possible conflicts created by such a policy in a school setting. "Yes class, Conner just spit on Maureen and threatened to kill her! Conner is a Protestant, and Maureen is a Roman Catholic. And they're both from Northern Ireland. Religious hatred between these groups has characterized their respective cultures for hundreds of years. So, we must respect and affirm Conner's culture, while also respecting and honoring Maureen's." Just how in the world is that sort of thing supposed to happen? 

"Affirming diversity" is the pedagogical equivalent of following Alice down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. And, intellectually, it's pure pablum. So when "woke" professors praise, even struggle vainly to adopt, this egregious nonsense, it evidences the idiocy that ensues when political correctness replaces rigorous logic and factual evidence.

For more on the limits of multiculturalism see: www.newfoundations.com/Clabaugh/CuttingEdge/Multiculturalism.html