Tuesday, August 30, 2022


 Educators are repeatedly urged to prepare kid's for the world of work. Of course they should emerge from school ready for that. But let's keep the preparation real.  School kids need to prepare for 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 badly educated people mistakenly concluded that “Chainsaw” was selfish and 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. Moreover, it would vastly increase 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 that he was an obedient servant of the shareholders. More importantly, they'll learn that the world of work entails struggle. And, as Adolf Hitler once trenchantly observed: "He who fails to struggle, does not deserve to live."

Yes indeed. school kids must be taught to respect and admire the executives that “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!” What could be more inspiring than that?

Realistic preparation for the real world of work must begin early. For example, educators must eliminate the socialistic, even communistic, practice of encouraging grade school kids to share. Kindergarten and first grade teachers, for instance, must stop urging kids to share resources and, instead, encourage competition for them. For instance, coloring assignments should be graded and crayonless kids flunked. As "Chainsaw observed, "If you want a friend, get a dog."

Teachers also must put an end to this “inclusion” rot. Kids in inclusive classrooms often 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!

No, it's way past time to get realistic. For instance, business leaders often order “involuntary separations from payroll” in order to enhance profits, boost stock prices and increase corporate efficiency. Of course, this is best done by targeting employees who have worked there the longest, since they make the most money. Right sizing long-serving individuals greatly 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 all the layoffs in the real world of work. 

And here is a really important caveat. The kids need to be gotten ready early. How? Here's one of numerous possibilities: Wait until students are almost ready to graduate and then impose “involuntary severance” on a random selection of them. Instead of graduation, the selected kids will end up out in cold, without a school. This simulated work experience, similar to canning employees in their 50's, will better prepare all high school students, both those selected and the survivors, for the real world of work. 

Really well-run businesses also wet their beaks in employee pension funds. Unfortunately, mal-educated employees object. (Provided they even know it's going on.) Can educators do anything to facilitate greater employee cooperation? Sure. Encourage the kids to start school-based savings accounts. But make sure administrators have access to them. Then encourage these same administrators to pocket some of the kid's money. Then instruct them to spend it on luxury goods for themselves and cooperative school board members. Maybe they should even spruce up the school plant and refurbish administrate offices. After the kids experience this sort of thing a couple of times we won’t have all this whining and kvetching every time pension funds are "freed up" to enhanceenhance executive privileges, create executive bonuses, pay extra dividends to stock holders, and so forth. Simply put, well-educated employees will expect it.

Let's remember too, that business execs also find it advantageous to ship American jobs abroad. It greatly enhances corporate profitability. But, here again, American workers whine incessantly about it. In fact, their whingeing has got some Congressmen, and women, pretending they care. What can be done to make workers more cooperative? Here's ne possibility "decruit" a big bunch of American teachers in a massive "workforce imbalance correction." Then import cheap, hungry, compliant replacement teachers from one or another "emerging" nation. You know, the kind Trump labels "shitholes." (India, with its large English speaking population, comes immediately to mind.) This would not only generate a ton of money, the kids who miss their favorite teachers and struggle to adapt to the foreign workers won't be as resentful when their own jobs are shipped overseas. They'll understand that in the real world of work it's just a fact of life.

In fairness, public schooling already meets some real world of work needs. After a few years in elementary school, for instance, kids learn they have to go along to get along. That’s solid preparation. Twelve years of public schooling also teaches kids to live with mindless rules, red tape and managerial double talk. This too is invaluable. So is something as simple as learning the value of sucking up. In general, though, school preparation for the real world of work cries out for improvement. Maybe you have some ideas! If so, 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