Education

Representative government in America began this week — 399 years ago

If you were at Jamestown—the tiny English settlement on the banks of the James River in Virginia—399 years ago this week, you probably would have been aware that something unusual was happening. Over in the rough-hewn, thatch-roofed church building, 22 duly elected settlers, six councilors, and their newly arrived governor, all white males, were braving the intense summer heat to attend the first meeting of the “general Assemblie.” A new English charter a year earlier had authorized formation of this first representative assembly in the dozen-year-old colony, and the new governor, Sir George Yeardley, had seen to the charter’s implementation. It was the beginning of representative democracy in America, the forerunner of our Congress, state legislatures, and other representative bodies. Planted in Virginia a year before the Mayflower arrived from England, representative government would take root firmly, blossom in 13 largely self-governing colonies, and after independence grow into the great tree of American liberty, inspiring similar plantings in much of the world. It hardly seemed like a monumental event at the time. The burgesses met for less than a week, dealt with practical concerns like setting a tobacco price floor, relations with the Indians, and some criminal cases, and then departed one man down. Mr. Shelley of Smyths Hundred grew ill and passed way from the heat. Governor Yeardley and others also fell sick but survived. Representative government is frustrating today, but at least the survival rate has improved. Next year will mark the 400th anniversary of this hugely important, if rudimentary and tragedy-laced, beginning. It will present an opportunity to reflect on how far representative democracy has come and how far it still has to go. In addition to ceremonial events, the 2019 “American Evolution” Commemoration will feature highly substantive dialogues on the challenges confronting representative democracies today.

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Educators reject censorship, encourage student exploration of ‘problematic’ literature of the past

From Confederate memorials to “problematic” literature in schools, communities across the country are wrestling with how to acknowledge the past and its imperfections without offending the sensibilities of modern schoolchildren and their teachers, with most solutions employing one of the three R’s: remove, rename, revise. But some educators are encouraging another way. They are engaging with children in an exploration of values and culture to better understand the mores of the past and the present. “Why is Ma so scared of Native Americans? Where does prejudice come from in pioneers? What prejudices do we still have today?” Melissa Scholes Young, an associate professor in the writing studies program at American University, offers as questions to explore the cultural landscape and significance of the “Little House on the Prairie” series of children’s books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Association for Library Service to Children last month voted unanimously to remove Wilder’s name from its children’s book award because the “Little House” series “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values.” The association said specifically that her writing displays “anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments,” and it renamed the award as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. Wilder, who won the group’s first award in 1954, is still read widely, but her complex legacy is “not universally embraced,” the association said. Wilder was born in 1867 and died in 1957 at age 90. Ms. Scholes Young said she often pairs classic literature with work from more modern authors as a way to compare and contrast how cultural issues are reflected in the stories. Not every parent has the wisdom and training professors possess, she said, but that shouldn’t stop parents from pursuing this angle. “It’s perfectly fine as a parent to say, ‘Sometimes I don’t know. … Let’s look for it together,’” she said. “It’s not hard to pair a historical text with almost anything happening in our world today.” The tack is supported by Deborah Gilboa, a Pittsburgh-based family physician who, using the pseudonym “Dr. G,” has written a number of books about teaching children social and cultural standards such as respect and responsibility. Dr. Gilboa said it’s wrong to censor authors for “accurately reflecting their time and history” even when their prose clashes with the ideals of the modern enlightened age. A far better response, she said, is to talk directly to children about the issues in question with the proper values and context. “Our own pivot is to say, ‘Oh, that author held a really warm place in my heart. … I associate them with positive memories.’ Now, I have to go back and make sure they don’t shape my ideas toward something I don’t think is ethical,” said Dr. Gilboa, a blogger and author of “Get the Behavior You Want … Without Being the Parent You Hate.” Of course, Laura Ingalls Wilder is only the latest target for cultural or historical scrubbing for modern audiences. Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” sporadically comes under fire and scrutiny for its liberal use of a racial slur, even though Twain portrays the escaped adult slave Jim as the story’s most noble and sensible figure. Meanwhile, Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, now is considered a peddler of racist imagery in some circles. Early in his career, Geisel worked as an illustrator of corporate ad campaigns, drawing caricatures of blacks and Asians that have been deemed offensive and stereotypical by those who uphold today’s standards. Across the country, officials are moving with deliberate speed to remove Confederate memorials from public places and rename schools bearing the monikers of famed Confederates…

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University of Wyoming’s ‘cowboy’ slogan rustles up some controversy

“The world needs more cowboys,” the University of Wyoming says in a new marketing slogan. But apparently not everyone agrees. The slogan has drawn backlash from critics, including faculty members and Native American groups, who call the catchphrase sexist, racist and counterproductive to university recruitment — because it excludes women and people of color, Reuters reported. “Honestly, I thought it was a joke at first,” associate professor Ellen Currano told the Chronicle of Higher Education. “I thought it was a joke. And then I looked it up on the university web page and saw that no, this was, in fact, serious.” The university’s mascot is a “cowboy” riding a bucking horse with hat in hand. But Darrell Hutchinson, a cultural specialist, told Reuters that people who do not fit the stereotypical image of a cowboy – “a white man with a wide-brimmed hat riding the range on horseback” – are not made to feel welcome. “If you’re not a white person, and especially if you’re an Indian, it would make you feel out of place — it wouldn’t make you feel too good about yourself,” said Hutchinson, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming. But university officials in Laramie defended the tagline, which they said was created by a Colorado-based marketing firm. “In a vacuum, the term ‘cowboy’ appears gender- and perhaps race-specific, but in the context of the branding campaign it is connected to images and words that show our cowboys are diverse, of every sex and background,” university spokesman Chad Baldwin said, according to Reuters. He said the university wants to “throw away” the stereotype of cowboys, updating what it means and looks like to be one. “A cowboy is not what you are, but who you are,” Baldwin said. The campaign cost $500,000 and is part of a more than $1.4 million investment to advertise the university, located around 50 miles northwest of Cheyenne. Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, said ranchers are worried the dispute may cast “aspersions on a time-honored way of life and work,” according to Reuters. “We are proud of the true image of the real cowboy or cowgirl, often of very diverse race or ethnicity, riding the range on a well-groomed horse while sporting a cowboy hat, chaps, spurs and a rope,” he said in a statement. Wyoming, the so-called Cowboy State, hosts the university’s sports teams, also called the Cowboys; a cowboy mascot named Pistol Pete also appears at games.

The whole controversy is beyond silly..  This is what happens when bed-wetting, whining, liberals are out looking to find some reason to feel victimized.  It’s political correctness gone crazy.  Clearly these idiots who are whining about this haven’t been to Cheyenne Frontier Days; one of the biggest rodeo events in the country.  There are people of all ages, genders, and yes…ethnicities.  Good on the folks at the Univ of Wyoming for sticking to their guns, and blowing these idiots off..  Unreal..

Nearly 220 Texas School Districts Allow School Staff to be Armed

Nearly 220 Texas school districts allow school staff to be armed for defense of themselves and their students. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that the exact number of school districts allowing armed staff sits at 217. At the beginning of February there were just over 170 Texas districts allowing armed staff, but that number grew as district after district responded to Parkland and other school shootings by changing policies to allow staff to defend their students. The 217 school districts that allow armed staff represent 21 percent of Texas’s 1,023 independent school districts. That is 21 percent or just over one in five. Texas implemented their armed staff policy in the months after the heinous December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School attack. In that attack a man entered the school with stolen guns and spent over nine minutes shooting innocents without any armed response. The policy adopted by Texas “allows school districts to arm school employees and created an additional category of a certified peace officer known as a ‘school marshal’ who can conceal carry a handgun.” It is intended to ensure a Sandy Hook-style attacker will not find a school full of defenseless innocents if he dares to attack.

And that’s smart.  Again, we see Texas on the cutting edge of common sense.  Kudos to these over 200 school district in the great state of Texas for taking this proactive, common sense action.  We need to put a nationwide end to the failed so-called “gun free zones” enacted by anti-gun, liberal Democrats..which are basically advertisements to thugs and criminals that they can go into such schools and nobody will shoot back at them.  It’s time we put a stop to that failed, ridiculous insanity…and allow school districts and teachers to conceal carry, if they want to, so that they can protect their charges from lunatics who would should shoot up schoolrooms to get their 15 mins of fame on tv.  Gun-free zones are a failed idea.

Hobart and William Smith College Course Claims ‘Objectivity’ Is a ‘White Myth’

A course at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, New York, argues that the concept of “objectivity” is a myth created by white people. The course, which was first reported on by Toni Airaksinen of Campus Reform, is entitled “White Mythologies: Objectivity, Meritocracy, and Other Social Constructions,” and taught by Kendralin Freeman and Jason Rodriguez of Hobart and William Smith College. The course’s description dives into the teaching pair’s perspective on various “white mythologies,” a phrase popularized by postmodern thinker Jacques Derrida that refers to the set of beliefs and cultural truths of white Westerners. ” This course explores the history and ongoing manifestations of “white mythologies” — long-standing, often implicit views about the place of White, male, Euro-American subjects as the norm against which the peoples of the world are to be understood and judged. Students will explore how systematic logics that position “the West” and “whiteness” as the ideal manifest through such social constructions as objectivity, meritocracy, and race, and as justifications for colonial interventions, slavery, and the subordination of women.” Freeman and Rodriguez and drawing on Derrida’s belief that the West’s cultural belief in “objective” truth and reason is a thinly-veiled scheme to oppress various minority groups. Hobart and Smith College is hardly the first college to push the notion that truth and objectivity are rooted in bigotry. In 2017, students at Claremont McKenna College argued that “objective truth” is a social construct devised by “white supremacists” to “attempt to silence oppressed peoples.”

Wow..  You really can’t make this stuff up, folks.  And here I thought you went to college to actually to become smarter.  Sounds like kids in these courses are about to lose IQ points by the dozens.  I suppose 2+2=4 is also a “white myth” according to these idiot professors.  Unreal..

No-whites-allowed ‘Day of Absence’ lives on despite last year’s uproar at Evergreen State College

Students at the embattled Evergreen State College, which made national headlines last year after it hosted an event that asked white people not to come on campus for a “Day of Absence,” have organized a new iteration of the controversial event despite administrators’ efforts to shift gears. Students at the Olympia, Washington-based public school have organized a three-day “Day of Absence” observance that includes a mix of events on and off campus. Some gatherings are advertised as open to all skin colors and others ask that only POC, or People of Color, attend. A poster hung at the school obtained by The College Fix declares that the no-whites-allowed self-segregation events will be held off campus. It asks people to RSVP at a website that spells out “No Nazis Allowed” in its URL. The events launch today and run through Friday, according to organizers, who are not interested in media coverage of their event, according to a Facebook screenshot obtained by The College Fix. A spokesman for Evergreen State College did not respond to a phone call and email from The College Fix on Tuesday seeking comment. The theme of this year’s observance is “Deinstitutionalize/Decolonize.” “The mission of this event is to bring POC together in order to create a reclamation of space and move forward into the future. In reaction to institution’s consistent disregard for our safety, we are operating independently of the college. This is a day for us, by us,” the RSVP page states. “In addition to POC centered events there will be antiracist workshops for white folks and people who do not identify as POC. Please bring a dish or your own packed lunch and dishes! Potluck-style. No one who’s intentions are to cause harm are allowed.” The college’s annual “Day of Absence/Day of Presence” program has been observed for years, during which minority students would voluntarily stay off campus for a day and meet for specialized workshops. But for the first time last spring, the “Day of Absence” event reversed the usual pattern by asking whites to stay off campus for a day while racial minorities stayed on. Following objections by a white biology professor, Bret Weinstein, students confronted him and campus police told Weinstein they couldn’t protect him on campus. After that, his class met at a nearby park. The situation prompted national headlines and criticism. Earlier this year, officials announced they would revamp the controversial “Day of Absence” observance, instead offering an “equity symposium.” For his part, Weinstein has weighed in on this year’s Day of Absence: “This is fascinating on many levels. The college canceled Day of Absence, so the students are going to do it.” Last week, The Olympian reported that Evergreen State “will look to cut more than 10 percent from its operating budget for 2018-19 and raise student fees because of declining enrollment.”

Isn’t that ironic?  Or is it just karma for the school administration that is allowing this brazenly/inherently racist, politically correct waste of tuition to take place?  This is how political correctness is destroying our country.

Students, professors take fight to universities to protect free speech

Legal fights are breaking out across the nation over university policies that curtail the free speech of students and academic freedom of professors. The advocacy group Speech First last week filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan challenging the constitutionality of the school’s Bias Response Teams and content-based restrictions on speech. Nicole Neily, president of Speech First, said the University of Michigan’s attitude toward free speech is representative of the higher education landscape. “Bias Response Teams are fundamentally un-American and have no place on college campuses,” Ms. Neily said Tuesday in a statement. “We have an epidemic on our hands in the higher education system — universities are establishing rules and protocols that create a dangerous environment in which free speech protections under the First Amendment no longer exist.” A spokesperson for the University of Michigan declined to comment. The lawsuit says the university’s Bias Response Team has investigated more than 150 “expressions of bias” since April 2017. “In connection with these investigations, the BRT has acted aggressively to censor what it considers ‘expression of bias,’” the lawsuit says. “For example, the BRT has taken down signs, removed flyers, confronted faculty members, erased speech on whiteboards, and interrogated students accused of expressions of bias (whom the University calls ‘offenders’).” The lawsuit argues that the determination of bias is “completely subjective,” citing the university’s declaration that the “most important indication of bias is your own feelings” and that bias-related incidents “do not always result in unfair treatment that violates nondiscrimination laws.” “Under this regime, the most sensitive student on campus effectively dictates the terms under which others may speak,” the lawsuit contends. There are also signs that the state of free expression at the University of Michigan is trending in the wrong direction. The university announced last month that it would amend its Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities to prohibit “bias-related misconduct.” Speech First believes this will have a “profound chilling effect on protected expression” because of the “utter lack of clear notice about the line between permissible and prohibited conduct.” Speech First is a member organization that represents students at colleges across the nation. Plaintiffs in Tuesday’s lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, are students who attend the University of Michigan. A sophomore quoted in the lawsuit said free speech is permitted on campus “only if your ideals align with those the University imposed on us.” “In other words, people have their right to freedom of speech and expression,” the student said, “but only until their beliefs no longer align with the so-called ‘correct’ beliefs, then people are not allowed to freely express those opinions.” Another student acknowledged hiding “my political views and opinions from nearly everyone I have encountered here at the university” out of fear of reprisal. A third student recounted being called a racist for supporting President Trump. “I was talking to a friend in the hallway today, [who] also supported Donald Trump, and someone was listening into our conversation,” the student said. “After about 30 seconds of my friend and I having a private discussion, we were both called racists, which is simply not true.” The Ann Arbor institution is not the only university facing a lawsuit over its policies toward speech.

Indeed..  And, that’s good.  Colleges and universities in America used to be where there was lively debate and exchanges of ideas.  Now, the pc police and speech Nazis have taken over and if you don’t publicly espouse the “proper” (liberal, politically correct) opinion, they’ll come after you.  And, it’s just getting worse.  We support Speech First and other groups taking the fight to these fascist educational administrations.