Welcome Change

If this happens as a result of the Chinkvirus lockdown, at  least ONE good thing will have come out of it:

A new poll was released by RealClear Opinion Research the other day, indicating that the complaints we’ve been hearing about online schooling may not be as prevalent as we thought. When asked if they were “more or less likely to enroll your son or daughter in a homeschool, neighborhood homeschool co-op, or virtual school once the lockdowns are over,” 41 percent of parents said they were more likely. Only 31 percent were less likely to do so. That is an amazing increase in positivity, especially considering that only three percent of the population was homeschooled before the lockdown.
But there are some more surprising numbers from that poll. Homeschooling, it seems, is not something that more whites want to do to flex their privilege muscle. Only 36 percent of white parents said they were more likely to homeschool. For Hispanic parents that number was 38 percent, while Black and Asian parents were at 50 and 54 percent respectively.
Another jaw-dropping fact is that this trend is not partisan. Forty-six percent of Democrats said they are more likely to homeschool, while 42 percent of Republicans said the same.


The survey doesn’t make a lot of sense based on what we’re hearing in the media about how hard online education is, how children aren’t learning anything, and how parents are maxed out.
A few theories come to mind.
One is that parents have tried homeschooling. Some – not all, but some – see that even in such an uncertain time of cobbled together education, they can do it. If it can be done at a time like this, imagine how effective they could be with more preparation and a curriculum designed for true homeschooling, not one adapted from institutional schooling at the eleventh hour.
But there’s another possibility. Could parents have realized just how much time their children waste in traditional school? Another poll, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, asked parents how much time their children spend on average each day on their school work. The most common answer was a mere three hours (see chart). This is less than half of the 6.28 hours the average student in Minnesota spends in each day of public schooling. It’s easy to see how parents could start to scratch their heads and imagine how much more their child could learn if not bound by the constraints which come from waiting for the whole class to move along.

The instruction topic which strikes fear into the hearts of prospective homeschoolers is mathematics, and it shouldn’t.

Here’s a stone-cold fact:  do you know how long it takes for a child of moderate intelligence to learn high-school math, up to college-level algebra?  One year.

One year’s instruction, properly taught to a child who is prepared to learn it, or is motivated to learn it.

And if all other learning is delayed while the math is being taught, that year falls to four months.

Here are the caveats.

Learning occurs under two (and only two) sets of circumstances:  love, and fear.  (Love of the topic, and fear of the consequences of not learning it.)  Absent those circumstances, no learning will take place and you’d have about the same success in teaching your dog calculus.

So if you’re not sure of your own ability in math, hire a tutor for Junior and Girl-child.

The only other thing you need to teach your kids before they leave home is literacy:  how to read, and how to write.  They are the easiest things in the world to teach, as long as you yourself are even slightly literate.  (If not, see “tutor” above.)  Literacy is not only the sine qua non  of a successful life, but illiteracy spells absolute doom in a civilized society.

The secret of all children is simple:  they have an innate desire to learn about the world about them.  They are, quite simply, sponges and the learning not only occurs naturally, it accelerates as they get older.  The only reasons it won’t accelerate are distraction (videogames etc.), and boredom (e.g. a high-school classroom).

That said, there is one small problem that we as a society are unwilling to admit:  some children — and adults, actually — are incapable of learning.  Quite simply, their learning takes place up to a point, and then stops completely, usually at about sixth-grade level.  And here’s the inescapable fact related to this problem:  these people are not suited for college — they are not even suited for a proper high school, for that matter — and their futures depend on fostering other skills.  (TV Chef Jamie Oliver is an example:  he’s severely dyslexic, even today, so he made a career in a field in which reading was not critical.  His example is but one of hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions.)

The only other prerequisite for education is quite simple:  discipline.  It’s the discipline of knowing that some things must be learned (e.g. simple multiplication- or division tables, or the alphabet), and that there are consequences for not learning them.  The joy of homeschooling, by the way, is being in charge of deciding what  those things are, for each child (because each will be different), and what the consequences of failure are.

And I would suggest that such discipline is created far more easily at home — as it has been for literally centuries — than at a public education facility.  Furthermore (and this is the difficult bit), the discipline has to start with the teacher (i.e. the parents).

We all know that children require structure in their lives — it’s such a truism I’m not even going to bother to defend it — so any homeschooling requires planning, and a great deal of it.  Educators need to establish clear goals for their children, but that doesn’t mean timetables.  If you plan on your kids being able to read and understand Silas Marner , Lord Of The Flies  or Catch-22  by age sixteen, for example, know up front that they may accomplish that before that time, or after.  It doesn’t matter.  (Educational goals are like a budget:  they’re an advisory plan, not a rigid timetable.)

All the evidence is there:  as a group, homeschooled kids are better prepared for college, have lower dropout rates and achieve higher grades than their state-educated peers.  It’s not even close.

If, however, you’re too lazy or too fearful or too busy or feel too inadequate to do this for your children, by all means send them back to public school, where their futures will be decided by government-decided regulation and curricula, and shaped by indifferent civil servants who owe their tenure more to union influence than their own abilities.

As Professor Glenn Reynolds has put it (and I paraphrase):  sending your children to public schools could quite justifiably be termed child abuse.

The caveats:  not all teachers are uncaring drones, not all public schools are more akin to prisons than education establishments, not all student populations are feral jungles, and not all government regulations and curricula are absolute shit.
As any bookie will tell you, however, that’s not the way to bet.

Out Of Their Hands

One of the few things about the Chinkvirus pandemic that has given me amusement is the panicked reaction from the Education Establishment against homeschoooling — you know, the dread fact that children’s education has slipped from their grasp and back to (where it really belongs) the parents.

Of course, the screaming and wailing is all utter bollocks, as City Journal‘s Max Eden explains:

It would be useful to know how homeschooled students perform academically compared with their public school counterparts. A 2017 literature review, focusing only on peer-reviewed articles, found that the majority of studies showed positive academic, social and emotional, and long-term life outcomes. Bartholet dismisses much of this literature, noting that it tends to focus on a not necessarily representative sample of homeschoolers who “emerge from isolation to do things like take standardized tests.”

Eden takes this apart for the nonsense it is:

James Dwyer, co-organizer of the event, has declared that “the reason parent-child relationships exist is that the state confers legal parenthood. . . . It’s the state that’s empowering parents to do anything with children. To take them home, to have custody, to make any kind of decision about that.”
Such sentiments would horrify most parents, and Bartholet’s proposed ban on homeschooling would never win at the ballot box, as she knows. She laments how the Constitution “with its negative rights structure is an anomaly, outdated and inadequate by the standards of the rest of the world.” But she expresses hope that litigation campaigns may lay the groundwork for an eventual national ban. It wouldn’t be the first time that coordinated progressive litigation has yielded profound, counter-majoritarian policy change. With elites like Bartholet and her colleagues pushing their vision of family subordination to the state, homeschool parents have good reason to be on guard.

Yeah, that damn antiquated Constitution and its “negative rights structure”.  For those of you either ignorant of or impatient with academic-speak, what this foul woman means is that she would prefer a constitution which lets the State tell the citizens what they may do, as opposed to our Constitution which says that government  may only do this and that, and the rest is up to We The People.

Her preference is always the default position with statists, tyrants and dictators.

Were it not for that “negative rights structure”, I’d suggest that Bartolet be punished or at least censured for wanting the State to take parents’ rights away;  but there’s that annoying little First Amendment thing which affirms her inalienable right to utter anything she wants — even dangerous bullshit like this.

And I have the right to call it “dangerous bullshit”, protected by that same outdated principle.  And the right to tell her to fuck off and die.

Every Day A New Thing

Because I read voraciously, and always have, I’ve followed an unspoken mantra that I should learn something new every single day of my life.  And by “new”, I don’t mean any old shit like the price of pizza at the new Italian restaurant up the road;  no, by golly, I mean something at least of historical, literary or cultural interest.

Longtime Readers will know that I am an unabashed Europhile when it comes to history;  my degree is in Modern European History (not “Western” history, by the way — my knowledge of U.S. history is at best a tad more than “adequate”), and seldom a day goes past when I don’t set out to learn something new about the period of 1750 – 1950 in Europe.

I think I need to broaden my horizons, however, because only yesterday I was brought up short when reading this article by Jorge Montoyo, where the very first paragraph provided this nugget:

During the Tang dynasty, a golden age for poets, Empress Wu Chao [Zhao]  forced every male dignitary who had an audience with her to wash his mouth with rose water and practice cunnilingus on her.  Diplomats and courtiers had to do their best so that their requests were met, and even then it was not a guarantee, since Chinese politics have always been cunning and inscrutable, with oscillations between the sun and the shadow of yin and yang.

My first thought, incidentally, was how loud the feministicals’ screams would be had this been a Chinese Emperor  who forced women seeking an audience to first give him a blowjob.  (My suspicion is that the modern-day Carrie Nations of Patriarchal Sexuality would have 1984’d this historical snippet out of the history books forever.)

My second thought was that Wu Zhao was quite a girl — she made Russia’s fearsome Catherine The Great look like a Victorian governess by comparison —  and if she had even half the power she seems to have wielded, her demand for pre-consultation cunnilingus doesn’t seem so far fetched.  Of course, she reigned for many years, which in itself is a little problematic, because early in her reign she probably looked something like this:

whereas in the later years of her reign, she looked like this:

In the first case, mandatory cunnilingus might have been no burden, nay even pleasurable.  But I have a suspicion that the cunnilingual prerequisite was probably instituted towards the end of her life… and I don’t think I need go any further with that  visual.

Still, I think it’s an examplary historical precedent for us to at least consider today, if for no other reason that even among historians who detest Wu Zhao, there is absolute consensus that her reign was, all things considered, hugely successful.  To quote but a couple of historians:

“To the horror of traditional Chinese historians, all members of the shih class, the continued success of the T’ang was in large measure due to an ex-concubine who finally usurped the throne itself…  Though she was ruthless towards her enemies, the period of her ascendency was a good one for China.  Government was sound, no rebellions occurred, abuses in the army and administration were stamped out and Korea was annexed, an achievement no previous Chinese had ever managed.”
Yong Yap Cotterell and Arthur Cotterell.

Here’s the thing:  if you knew, or were guaranteed, that including cunnilingus would result in as successful a reign (or term as head of government) as Wu’s, do you think any politician (male or female) would turn that down?

Of course, there’s no chance that any of today’s crop of European feministical politicos would ever institute such an exotic (erotic?) practice, because unlike Wu, they all seem devoid of a sense of humor.  And take a look at a sample of said feministical prime ministers and presidents:

You have to admit, though… oh, wait:

Forget I said anything.

More, Please

Finally, Florida Man does something right:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Friday he is officially putting an end to the Common Core Standards in his state and replacing them with standards that “embrace common sense.”

Of all the (many) failures of government and the education establishment, Common Core ranks up there, probably in the top three.

Message to other governors:   keeping this appalling system in place means that you are willing to consign your states’ children to a future of permanent ignorance, and leave them both under-educated and unprepared to be productive members of society.

As an aside, Texas never adopted this stupid and malignant set of standards — thankee, former Gov. Rick Perry.

About That Knife Maker

You all may recall one of the Christmas presents I got two weeks back:

Well, thanks to Alert Reader Mark D, we learn the truth about “knifemaker” Ed Mehler (my emphasis):

Ed Mehler is a knife seller for Knives Ranch and that he had previously been told to stop representing himself as the maker of Knives Ranch knives he was selling (at least those with the Knives Ranch logo stamp on them).

Note that this dates back to 2014, which means this asshole is still in business.

Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) — in my case, emptor morsus est (the buyer was bitten).

Oh well… at least I have the best-looking boxcutter in Texas.

Would Flogging Be Appropriate?

Try this bullshit:

An Iowa middle school principal has apologized for being “overly strict” after he confiscated pizzas that were delivered to a class for an end-of-the-year party over fears that it could make students from other classes feel left out.

The principal apologized for his actions in a note to parents later that day, writing that he overreacted in an attempt to be fair to all students.
“That applies to everything from the chances they have to learn in the classroom to rewards and recognitions by our teachers and staff.”

I know what I would have learned from this particular classroom:  authority figures suck.

And by the way, if you read the whole thing (after first moving guns and/or throwable objects out of reach), you’ll see that the self-righteous prick’s “apology” was no such thing.  And:

The situation was made right Friday after Mr. Hoffman said he threw another pizza party for the class and several local businesses also volunteered to donate pizzas for the school’s nearly 750 students.

…thus negating all the incentive for performance — if everyone gets a prize, why bother trying harder?  (No doubt that’s  the lesson they’re trying to teach the kids.)

As His Excellency The Instapundit says so often:  putting kids into the public school system is no less than child abuse.