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Monday, February 13, 2017

Recommended Reading

See Academia’s “New Civics” vs. Traditional American Civics: Political ideology replaces civics education by Jack Kerwick at Front Page Magazine. Excerpt below the fold.
... The NAS [National Association of Scholars] recently released a report on the latest wave of anti-intellectualism to sweep the world of “higher education.” In “Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics,” the NAS explains what it refers to as “the New Civics.” The latter “redefines civics as progressive political activism.”

While the New Civics styles itself “as an up-to-date version of volunteerism and good works,” the reality is that it stems from “the radical program of the 1960’s New Left [.]” Its “soft rhetoric” is designed to conceal its architects’ ultimate goals. First, they want to “repurpose higher education.” Secondly, adherents of the New Left want nothing more than to make students into joint enterprisers in “‘fundamentally transforming’ America.”...
While some some are rejoicing in the return of conservatism with the election of Donald Trump as the POTUS, the next generations of parents and voters are being conditioned to make sure that anything even remotely resembling conservatism never comes to the political fore again.


  1. "This dream of fundamental transformation that the left wants for students to make into a reality is fairly comprehensive. For starters, it involves “de-carbonizing the economy [.]” Yet it also involves “massively redistributing wealth, intensifying identity group grievance, curtailing the free market, expanding government bureaucracy"

    Now think about this: "massively redistributing wealth" by following the precepts of this article, in particular the above quote; what "wealth" will there be to redistribute?

    1. And THEREIN lies the problem many people just don't see. Great call, JB!

    2. "Massive"? Just how do you quantify something like that. The article says nothing.
      I'd say that in a world where a dozen people control as much wealth as 50% of the population we would do well to ask what that dozen produce.
      Piketty is undoubtedly correct that a progressive taxation is necessary to restore a balance.

      What wealth will there be? Are you being dense on purpose?

      This is nothing more than the old meme that we are being bled to give the wealth to the blacks and the illegals when in fact the problem is elsewhere but many people are so skull drilled by the likes of Steve Bannon that they just don't see.

      If they did, they couldn't handle the foundation of their world view cracking.

    3. "What wealth will there be? Are you being dense on purpose?"

      Instead of merely spewing ad hominen blather, just answer the question. Redistribution of wealth sure worked well in Venezuela, didn't it!

    4. The case of Venezuela was instructive but much of what happened was not the result of income redistribution.

      1. the country is very highly dependent on the price of oil. We know what happened there.

      2. They instituted price controls which is a mistake.

      3. Much of the "redistribution" went to graft. Some got to the poor but not enough in the form of health care or schools or other institutions that could promote growth.

      4. Redistribution has generally functioned well in America. Why do you wish to rip out the New Deal?

    5. Would you say that, for example , the "PROJECTS" in Detroit or Chicago and elsewhere,and the results thereof are grand examples of the "Redistribution" of whence you speak?

    6. I would say the investment in Detroit has focused on taking money out of the community.
      Let's take schools for instance. Betsy DeVos, sister of war profiteer Eric Prince and just as slimy, has been a leading force establishing for profit charters in Detroit.
      The schools can be started by anyone and have miserable achievement records but they enrich human scum like DeVos while they siphon of money from public schools which are registering superior test scores.

      That's the type of income redistribution that s--tburgers like DeVos implement. Just something that has been piled on to job loss, lack of jobs, the war on drugs, lousy public transit. Not much is invested constructively but some "projects" like the war on drugs make private for profit prisons a bundle.
      Kapital is having a ball and you suckers continue to believe what the likes of Breitfart drill into your skulls. Intensely sad.

  2. N. Emma Bagge said

    Venezuela, here we come!

    Hoop Dee Doo!

    Woo Hoo!

    Twenty-Three Skidoo!


  3. I'd love to think DeVos will have nonbiased educators (do they exist on either side?) review textbooks. I remember sub'ing for a history class and reading a sentence in a chapter on the WPA, CCC, etc., that said something like "All of the people lived in this camp (though they were segregated) and used the same general store the government had provided.."
    I thought "This chapter isn't about race relations! Why that segregation inclusion?? I'm paraphrasing but the way it actually was SO didn't fit in the sentence or the chapter.

    Our history is now open for interpretation.
    As is the Constitution.
    We need to stop the rewriting, the weakening, or what IS America?

    1. Well, what IS America?

      Certainly doesn't seem to be a country that has had to deal with issues of race, often successfully.

      Why wouldn't history be open for interpretation?
      What standing do you have to pretend your interpretation is "correct"(politically correct)?

    2. Oh, the reference to segregation may have been included to demonstrate that minorities were ignored by the New Deal?

      Don't know. Can you provide better context?

    3. Z,
      I've noticed that the most-recent recommended reading lists are permeated by selection after selection about either race relations or LGBTQ matters. A lot of kids are tiring of these themes and getting turned off to reading by being forced by the schools to read this kind of material as the primary diet.

      I wonder if something similar is happening to enjoying the study of history by the forcing into so many lessons the matter of race -- and the promotion of collective guilt.

    4. Minority children are turned off to reading Alice Walker and are begging for the Brontes?

      They get turned off by James Baldwin or Countee Cullen?

      What you seem to be saying is that if literature, art or history does not express a history of American exceptionalism it can't be taught regardless of how much truth has to be hidden.

    5. I certainly agree that many current textbooks have swung quite aways left in their perspective.....but this shouldn't be surprising, given that texts only a couple of decades ago were ...to reluctantly use the phrase rather "whitewashed" pertaining to several aspects of our evolving social culture.

      I'm not even sure what power DOE has over textbook selection; it would appear to be little based on what I've read.

      Were I SecEd....I'd love to see a minimum national curriculum standard [leaving plenty of room at the district level] of basic economics, basic civics [guiding documents of law] and First Aid/CPR.

      I fear DeVos will fall far short of that mark.....but I'm hopeful at least for a federal homeschool tax credit.

    6. Duck,
      The students of whom I was speaking are ones whom I personally know and include American whites, Chinese-Americans, Korean-Americans, and biracial students (one white parent and one black parent).

      I also know a few black families who are turned off by the constant diet of neglecting classic works in favor of an overdose of black writers for their children.

      It seems to me that balance in reading materials is important. Do you disagree?

    7. CI,
      Can a federal Department of Education stay within boundaries and not override the local and state levels?

    8. CI,
      BTW, I agree with you about curricula being "whitewashed" in decades past. Has the pendulum swung too far the other way now?

      Again, it seems to me that what is needed is balance.

    9. I'm not even sure what power DOE has over textbook selection; it would appear to be little based on what I've read.
      Not as much influence as the Texas State Board of Education (leftist). The board insisted that the history text emphasize that slavery was a "side issue" to the Civil War. Still fighting that war.
      In fact, it's unimaginable to me that a liberal view of American history can be taught in many states.

      The DOE doesn't have much power in other words.
      What has much more power is the false narrative that there is a progressive indoctrination taking place.

    10. I certainly agree that there should be balance in reading material. No argument at all.

      However there are problems teaching literature today.
      Primarily the primacy of social and visual media. Also many conservatives would put an English degree in the same category as Art History (i.e. useless).

      I know my nieces are frequent readers and what really got them to dig in to books was the Harry Potter series. Grand niece is absolutely voracious. She won the raffle at her school book fair and was thrilled to pick a free book ( Trumpet of the Swan ).
      They read (as a professor once told me, "a political act") and have let their independent reading contribute to their world view.

      The issue in schools has always been how to get kids to read. How to nurture their interests. To this day I remember a lousy English teacher who really lost me when we read William Carlos Williams' Red Wheelbarrow and he said that Williams "had a nerve calling that a poem".
      I generated a love of minimalism.
      But he screwed up Addison and Steele as well. I developed an interest for works I liked that he either openly disliked or taught disinterestedly.

      There must be room for Homer and James Baldwin.

    11. Would you have invested much in Williams' work if not for his disdain? Sometimes the best thing an authority can do for you is give you something to kick against. ;)
      With that in mind, maybe conservatives should welcome any attempts at progressive indoctrination, since if it were really happening, it would likely have the opposite effect.

    12. Duck,
      See the "Look Inside!" portion of Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It -- especially pages 9ff.


      The issue in schools has always been how to get kids to read.

      We have found that a bookworm club has done much to promote independent reading. Participating students -- the majority of those enrolled in the classes I teach -- choose books to read. Almost anything goes! Upon completing a book, the student submits a 3x5 card rating the book 0-10, then gets a star on the chart and a piece of candy from the basket. The goal = to read 2 books a month.

      A master list is kept in Google Docs.

      The teacher and the parents participate, too.

      But here is the key to the club's success: once a student has read the book, the student tells the class about the book. I reserve the first 5-10 minutes of each class period for these reports. Ungraded reports, of course. The point is to read, not to be graded.

      At the end of the school term, those students who have read at least 2 books a month receive an Amazon Gift Card. The student in each class who has read the most books (Last year, one student read nearly 100 books, October through April!), receives a bonus: a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

      This bookworm club is an excellent way to make use of class-registration funds, IMO.

    13. Duck,
      Is your grand niece in a private school?

    14. She is now in public school in Texas (2nd grade).
      She was initially in a private school in the area but it was just not up to the quality of her school in Virginia.

    15. Jez, you make a good point. I certainly did push back against a couple of English teachers.

      Myself, I think this "indoctrination" idea is over played though.

    16. I was a true Montessori in Virginia and she absolutely thrived in preschool. Worth every cent.

      She was very unhappy in the Texas school which claimed to be Montessori but really didn't cut it. When she found out there was no music program she told the teacher, "and you call this Montessori".
      She transferred to public schools when eldest niece couldn't find a quality private school nearby.


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