Back To School

Ah… and when the kiddies go back to school (in the ahem  physical sense), can the teachers be restrained?  It would appear not:

A married teacher had sex with a 15-year-old boy in a field and sent him topless pictures of herself on Snapchat which were then circulated around the school, a court heard today.
Kandice Barber, 35, also allegedly told the boy she might be pregnant with his baby after sleeping with him following a sports awards evening at a secondary school in Buckinghamshire.

And it’s not just Britishland;  Oz is getting into the spirit of the thing as well:

A TEACHER allegedly romped with a 14-year-old student five times in a car after sending saucy Snapchat pics saying she was ‘waiting for him’.
Monica Young, 23, who is engaged, is alleged to have bombarded the boy with messages on Snapchat begging him to send explicit pictures to her.
The western Sydney teacher was charged with 10 offences including multiple counts of aggravated sexual intercourse of a child aged between 14-16 after being arrested on July 10.

That’s not to say that we Murkins are behind the trend, so to speak, especially in Alabama:

A teacher has been arrested and charged with allegedly having sexual relations with a student, according to the Eufaula Police Department.

And for an extra splash of badness:  she’s a Special Ed teacher.

Makes you wonder why the teachers’ unions are resisting calls to open schools, doesn’t it?

Pushing Back

Here’s a happy ending:

A Los Angeles English teacher was forced to flee her home after receiving numerous death threats for wearing an ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirt during one of her virtual class sessions.
The teacher at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, California wore the shirt in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and included instruction about racial injustice in her teaching, which the school allowed.
But a parent upset with her class allegedly shared a photo of the teacher on social media along with her e-mail address and invitations to harass her.
The photo was later shared by Elijah Schaffer, the podcast host of YouTube’s ‘Slightly Offens*ve’, on his Twitter account, which led the teacher to receive hundreds of emails and threats.

Meanwhile, oh boo-hoo-hoo:

‘I can’t afford to go to a hotel and I can’t go home. My daughter’s a ninth-grader starting at this school. We can’t stay in our home,’ the teacher said to CBS Los Angeles.

Not so much fun when the Alinsky Rules are used against you, huh?

The last word comes from one of the good guys:

Scott Blodgett is one of the parents upset with the teacher’s curriculum that covers the civil unrest unfolding across the country.
‘I just want my daughter to go to English class and learn about English,’ Blodgett said.

Yup.  Stick it to them, good and hard.  And this happened in Califuckingfornia.

Unnecessary Deadlines

I have never understood why people give themselves deadlines on activities which require no deadlines:  “I have to get my hair cut this week” or “I need to do the laundry today” and “I must finish my book before Saturday” and so on.  Other than an attempt to impose some kind of self-discipline over chronic procrastination, all this does is add a layer of stress into one’s life — all the more so because it’s both needless and self-imposed.  An ex-boss of mine put it in perspective, speaking purely of business matters and not of obvious crisis situations:  “There is no decision can’t be improved by waiting till the next day.”

Over at Insty’s place, Mark Tapscott posted a long letter from a friend who is grappling with the fact that his kids — and the kids of many of his upper-middle-class neighbors — will not be attending public school anytime soon, thanks to the teachers unions’ unnecessary obsession with the health risks of their members being exposed to the germ-laden petri dish that is the average school.  (It’s definitely worth going over there and reading it.)  Leaving aside the obvious retort that other workers (in supermarkets etc.) seem to have had few problems in this regard, I want to focus instead on one aspect of this hapless parent’s dilemma.  Here’s the part that got me thinking:

“And, for the families who either cannot leave a job or are not interested in what has been proposed by the public school systems, they are either spending tens of thousands of dollars per year on private education or are now for the first time acquainting themselves with homeschooling options. I will also add that in many cases, private schools are full and homeschooling curriculum options are sold out leaving families with no idea what they will do in a few weeks.”

Somebody needs to sit this harried man down and explain one of the most beneficial aspects of homeschooling:  there are no deadlines.  The “few weeks” he’s talking about is an artificial construct:  schools say that the new semester must begin on September 7, therefore that’s when education should begin.  Of course, that’s utter nonsense if you’re not chained to the public (or any) school system:  your kid can take up classes on September 7, or October 15 (or tomorrow, for that matter) — because given the glacial speed of public education, the kid will catch up with, and overtake, his former classmates in a matter of weeks.  (Remember that the entire middle- and high school mathematics curriculum — all five years of classroom instruction — can be learned by an average student in just over six months, when delivered at their own pace at home.)

I remember the mother of my son fretting about his slowness in getting toilet-trained, and telling her:  “I promise you that by the time he’s fifteen he’ll be using the toilet just like everybody else.”  And from an educational perspective, whether a kid starts learning in August or September is irrelevant to their future progress.

Everyone seems to want to set deadlines on education:  must complete high school by age 18, then go straight to college and finish the undergrad degree in four years, or else “they’ll be left behind” — as though that matters, when of course it doesn’t.

Unsaid in all this, of course, is that if education is truly unshackled from the education establishment, there’s nothing to stop a kid from finishing their undergrad degree by age 18, either, if the kid is smart enough and motivated enough — because just as homeschooled kids of high-school age typically finish twelfth grade earlier than their classroom-educated contemporaries, the appearance of online university-level classes (delivered either by streaming or by DVD) means that the homeschooled college student could finish their degree in two years and not the more common four.

The only thing that holds parents back from homeschooling is their own sense of inferiority — that somehow, even college-trained adults can’t teach their kids mathematics (the discipline which frightens parents the most).  Let me assure you all right now:  with the proper course materials, anyone can teach their kids anything.

And best of all, there’s no need to feel pressure to do it by any specified date — hell, you can even learn the stuff with your kids as you go along, and how bad can that be?

Shorter Degree

Via Insty I saw the redoubtable Joanne Jacobs’s take on this topic.  Back when I decided to go back to college, I was astonished to learn that a simple B.A. degree would take me four years to attain.  Four years?  Everywhere else in the world only requires three.

Then I studied the curriculum, and started to understand why the late Joseph Sobran lamented that in a single generation, our society had “progressed” from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching remedial English at university — a.k.a. the “core curriculum” which required a full year to be wasted on shit like “how to write a sentence” (English 101), “how the U.S. and state governments work” (Pol Sci 001/002), “Math For Dummies” (Math 001), and so on.  Even a “trimmed” course load for this mandatory study looks dubious, as Jacobs notes:

[Greg] Poliakoff would require all students to take “expository writing, literature, a college-level mathematics course, a natural science course, an economics course, a survey in U.S. history or government, and three semesters of a foreign language.”

What a total waste of time, in my case at any rate.  Fortunately, there are ways to “test out” of various courses — for some reason, the fact that I had published three novels somehow persuaded the English Department that I wouldn’t need English 101, for instance — so I was able to reduce some of the bullshit course load, but still not enough to shorten the four years into three that way.

Next, I ran into the stupid restriction that only allows students to take on four courses per semester which, when I studied the course content, made it plain that I would be prevented from tackling five and even six, even though it was easily doable.  My pleas to the Arts Faculty to do so were rejected Because Rules — clearly, the rules are there to protect the Grease Pit Set and Snowflakes from actual hard work, whereas I could see at a glance that the content for all but the 4-level History courses was not only light but superficial.  (Without exception, my requests for a supplemental reading list for a course were met with a “you’re not from this planet” look from the various professors — one admitted to me that she had never received such a request from a student before.  At Wits University in Johannesburg back in the 1970s, every liberal arts course had a supplemental reading list which, while not officially required, was necessary if you wanted to actually pass the course.)

So I attacked the degree with ferocity, taking all the summer / winter vacation classes I could.  (Strange, isn’t it, that professors can teach a course in three weeks that takes a full semester otherwise?)

Anyway, with all that my B.A. still took me three and a half years*, simply because the course schedules often didn’t jell with my degree plan — the one course I needed for a French sub-major (Business French) wasn’t taught in any “summer-mester”, and clashed with a History class during the regular semester, so I ended up taking instead a useless class of English short stories (during which the professor admitted to me privately that I could have taught, let alone studied) and passing up on a French sub-major.

The cynic in me thinks that the overly-long undergraduate degree is driven simply by financial greed — one less year equals a loss of $30,000 in revenue per student — but I will concede that without the bullshit core curriculum, the failure / dropout rate would probably be much higher than it already is.  (And that, of course, is the fault of the high school education kids get these days, but don’t get me started.)

It’s a racket, pure and simple.


*summa cum laude (for my non-U.S. Readers, that means a 90%+ final grade for every course)

Welcome Back To The Working Classes

I’m happy to announce that New Wife, having passed all the stupid bureaucratic bullshit  federal requirements that enable her to work, has recently starting doing so at one of the local (and very new) private schools here in Plano.  She’s not teaching, however — “twenty years of that is enough” — and instead is doing the admin stuff as the school starts to open.

After running a boarding house at her alma mater  high school for eight years before I dragged her kicking and screaming across the Atlantic to marry me, she’s well qualified.  (Think:  no-nonsense attitude, kinda like mine.)

Details to follow, but please join me in wishing her well.

Alternative

This was never sent, but it damn well should have been.

Oxford Rebukes Black Activists

The letter (below) is a response from Oxford University to black students attending as Rhodes Scholars who demand the university removes the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes.  Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on precisely the same topic.  The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was “Oxford will not rewrite history”.

Lord Patten commented: “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice.”

Dear Scrotty Students,

Cecil Rhodes’s generous bequest has contributed greatly to the comfort and well being of many generations of Oxford students — a good many of them, dare we say it, better, brighter and more deserving than you.

This does not necessarily mean we approve of everything Rhodes did in his lifetime — but then we don’t have to.  Cecil Rhodes died over a century ago.  Autres temps, autres moeurs.  If you don’t understand what this means — and it would not remotely surprise us if that were the case — then we really think you should ask yourself the question:  “Why am I at Oxford?”

Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university.  Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century.  We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond.  Our alumni include William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman, Julie Cocks.  We’re a big deal.  And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are.  Oxford is their alma mater — their dear mother — and they respect and revere her accordingly.

And what were your ancestors doing in that period?  Living in mud huts, mainly.  Sure, we’ll concede you the short-lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe.  But let’s be brutally honest here.  The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch.

You’ll probably say that’s “racist”.  But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.”  Perhaps the rules are different at other universities.  In fact, we know things are different at other universities.  We’ve watched with horror at what has been happening across the pond from the University of Missouri to the University of Virginia and even to revered institutions like Harvard and Yale:  the “safe spaces”;  the black lives matter;  the creeping cultural relativism;  the stifling political correctness;  what Allan Bloom rightly called “the closing of the American mind”.  At Oxford however, we will always prefer facts and free, open debate to petty grievance-mongering, identity politics and empty sloganeering.  The day we cease to do so is the day we lose the right to call ourselves the world’s greatest university.

Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to squander your time at Oxford on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns.  (Though it does make us wonder how stringent the vetting procedure is these days for Rhodes scholarships and even more so, for Mandela Rhodes scholarships).  We are well used to seeing undergraduates — or, in your case, postgraduates — making idiots of themselves.  Just don’t expect us to indulge your idiocy, let alone genuflect before it.  You may be black — “BME” as the grisly modern terminology has it — but we are colour blind.  We have been educating gifted undergraduates from our former colonies, our Empire, our Commonwealth and beyond for many generations.  We do not discriminate over sex, race, colour or creed.  We do, however, discriminate according to intellect.

That means, inter alia, that when our undergrads or postgrads come up with fatuous ideas, we don’t pat them on the back, give them a red rosette and say:  “Ooh, you’re black and you come from South Africa.  What a clever chap you are!”  No.  We prefer to see the quality of those ideas tested in the crucible of public debate.  That’s another key part of the Oxford intellectual tradition, you see:  you can argue any damn thing you like but you need to be able to justify it with facts and logic — otherwise your idea is worthless.

This ludicrous notion you have that a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed from Oriel College because it’s symbolic of “institutional racism” and “white slavery”.  Well even if it is — which we dispute — so bloody what?  Any undergraduate so feeble-minded that they can’t pass a bronze statue without having their “safe space” violated really does not deserve to be here.  And besides, if we were to remove Rhodes’s statue on the premise that his life wasn’t blemish-free, where would we stop?  As one of our alumni Dan Hannan has pointed out, Oriel’s other benefactors include two kings so awful — Edward II and Charles I — that their subjects had them killed.  The college opposite — Christ Church — was built by a murderous, thieving bully who bumped off two of his wives.  Thomas Jefferson kept slaves:  does that invalidate the US Constitution?  Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India:  was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?

Actually, we’ll go further than that.  Your Rhodes Must Fall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic and dangerous.  We agree with Oxford historian RW Johnson that what you are trying to do here is no different from what ISIS and the Al-Qaeda have been doing to artefacts in places like Mali and Syria.  You are murdering history.

And who are you, anyway, to be lecturing Oxford University on how it should order its affairs? Your “rhodesmustfall” campaign, we understand, originates in South Africa and was initiated by a black activist who told one of his lecturers “whites have to be killed”.  One of you — Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh — is the privileged son of a rich politician and a member of a party whose slogan is “Kill the Boer; Kill the Farmer”;  another of you, Ntokozo Qwabe, who is only in Oxford as a beneficiary of a Rhodes scholarship, has boasted about the need for “socially conscious black students” to “dominate white universities, and do so ruthlessly and decisively!”

Great.  That’s just what Oxford University needs.  Some cultural enrichment from the land of Winnie Mandela, burning tyre necklaces, an AIDS epidemic almost entirely the result of government indifference and ignorance, one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates, institutionalised corruption, tribal politics, anti-white racism and a collapsing economy.  Please name which of the above items you think will enhance the lives of the 22,000 students studying here at Oxford.

And then please explain what it is that makes your attention grabbing campaign to remove a listed statue from an Oxford college more urgent, more deserving than the desire of probably at least 20,000 of those 22,000 students to enjoy their time here unencumbered by the irritation of spoilt, ungrateful little tossers on scholarships they clearly don’t merit using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of our beloved university.

Understand us and understand this clearly:  you have everything to learn from us;  we have nothing to learn from you.

Yours,

Oriel College, Oxford

Like I said:  it should have been sent.  But because Oxford is now staffed by a bunch of timorous cowards and/or people who actually believe that these ingrates have a point, I can pretty much guarantee that it wasn’t even written by a current member of the faculty.  If it was, I can absolutely guarantee that the heroic scribe would now be looking for employment elsewhere, and not finding any.

Sic semper infirmissima cum turba iratus est.  I think the faculty will understand this — and they’d better, because their antagonists understand it only too well.