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Education & Parenting

Government Creates Harmful Monopolies, The Free-Market Busts Them

According to socialist economic mythology, free-markets create harmful monopolies so “trust-busting” government agencies need to regulate them. The truth is the reverse according to New York’s Taxi Cartel Is Collapsing. Now They Want a Bailout. | Foundation for Economic Education:

Think of sectors like education, mail, courts, money, or municipal taxis, and you find a reality that is the opposite of the caricature: public policy creates monopolies while markets bust them.

[…]

In New York, we are seeing a collapse as inexorable as the fall of the Soviet Union itself. The app economy introduced competition in a surreptitious way. It invited people to sign up to drive people here and there and get paid for it. No more standing in lines on corners or being forced to split fares. You can stay in the coffee shop until you are notified that your car is there.

In less than one year, we’ve seen the astonishing effects. Not only has the price of taxi medallions fallen dramatically from a peak of $1 million, it’s not even clear that there is a market remaining at all for these permits. There hasn’t been a single medallion sale in four months. They are on the verge of becoming scrap metal or collector’s items destined for eBay.

What economists, politicians, lobbyists, writers, and agitators failed to accomplished for many decades, a clever innovation has achieved in just a few years of pushing. No one on the planet could have predicted this collapse just five years ago. Now it is a living fact.

McCarthy on The Self-Directed Child

“Self direction is a key outcome of a Montessori education. How do we, as adults, facilitate it?” asks the Maria Montessori blog? Jesse McCarthy gives the answer.

From The Self-directed Child — Maria Montessori:

When I began teaching years ago, I had the view that I can change any child; overtime, however, through working with and alongside hundreds of unique students, I came to see that such a view is more accurately stated as any child can change himself. A subtle shift in phrasing, yet a fundamental distinction in pedagogy. This self-directed approach to education does not mean the teacher, the “guide,” is unnecessary. To the contrary, a thoughtful guide creates the content-rich, and often highly structured environment in which a child can thrive, but only through her own will. As Rachel’s story exemplifies – and as Maria Montessori spent her life both observing in children and demonstrating for adults – growth is impossible to achieve for another human being: “One must act for him or herself.”

Marva Collins: The World Loses an American Education Giant

From Marva Collins, Educator Who Aimed High for Poor, Black Students, Dies at 78 – The New York Times:

Marva Collins, a former substitute teacher whose success at educating poor black students in a private school she founded made her a candidate for secretary of education and the subject of a television movie, died on Wednesday in a hospice near her home in South Carolina. She was 78. […] After working as a substitute teacher for 14 years in Chicago public schools, Ms. Collins cashed in her $5,000 in pension savings and opened Westside Preparatory School in 1975. The school originally operated in the basement of a local college and then, to be free of red tape (the same reason she said she had refused federal funds), in the second floor of her home.

She began with four students, including her daughter, charging $80 a month in tuition. Enrollment at the school, on Chicago’s South Side, grew to more than 200, in classes from prekindergarten through eighth grade. It remained in operation for more than 30 years.

Ms. Collins set high academic standards, emphasized discipline and promoted a nurturing environment. She taught phonics, the Socratic method and the classics and, she insisted, never expected her students to fail.

“Kids don’t fail,” she once said. “Teachers fail, school systems fail. The people who teach children that they are failures — they are the problem.”

At Westside Prep, she said in 2004 when she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, “there are no dropouts, no substitute teachers, and when teachers are absent, the students teach themselves.”

“We’re an anomaly in a world of negatives,” she added. “Our children are self-motivated, self-generating, self-propelled.”

An article about the school in 1977 in The Chicago Sun-Times attracted national attention, an interview on “60 Minutes” and the interest of filmmakers, who went on to produce “The Marva Collins Story,” a 1981 television movie on CBS with Cicely Tyson playing Ms. Collins and Morgan Freeman as her husband. […] As her stature as an educator grew, she began to train other teachers from around the country and published several books, including “ ‘Ordinary’ Children, Extraordinary Teachers” and “Marva Collins’ Way,” written with Civia Tamarkin. Speaking engagements followed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMjotCrGAOY

In 1980, President-elect Ronald Reagan was said to be leaning toward choosing Ms. Collins for secretary of education, but she said she would reject the job if it were offered. By that time she had already turned down offers to run the public school systems in Chicago and Los Angeles. […]

She insisted that she never craved awards or publicity. All she wanted, she told The Island Packet, the local newspaper, in 2007, was “to be able to say I got an A-plus on the assignment God gave me.”

You can read some comments from past students at jetmag.com.

University of Oklahoma Tolerates Violence But Not Unpopular Speech

Apparently the University of Oklahoma rewards violence against women with a suspension and unpopular speech with an expulsion.

From Oklahoma: Tough On Racism, Weak On Assault, Burglury | The Daily Caller:

University of Oklahoma president David Boren’s immediate expulsion of students involved with a recently-leaked racist video stands in sharp contrast to the lighter treatment the school has given to football players found responsible for violent crimes.

Just two days after a video leaked of Oklahoma students, mostly freshmen, singing a racist song on a bus, Boren took decisive action by summarily expelling two students he claims played a leading roll in the chant. The students, he said, had created a “hostile learning environment” for other students and had to be kicked out immediately, with no opportunity to reform. Boren has suggested that more expulsions could be on the way.

“There is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma,” Boren said.

From Oklahoma Stands Tall Against Racism, Weak Against Violence | FOX Sports:

Less than a month ago they allowed Joe Mixon, a talented running back videotaped punching a female student in an off-campus bar, back onto the football team after a year long suspension just from the football team. Yep, Mixon punched a female student and was never even kicked off campus. The punch was so violent that his female victim, a Sooner student, suffered a fractured jaw, a broken cheek bone, a broken nose and a fractured orbital bone near her left eye. Oh, and Mixon also began the incident, according to the complaint, by directing a gay slur at the woman’s male companion at the bar.

What did President David Boren say in that case?

“The judicial outcome and the video speak for themselves,” Oklahoma President David L. Boren said. “The University is an educational institution, which always sets high standards that we hope will be upheld by our students. We hope that our students will all learn from those standards, but at the same time, we believe in second chances so that our students can learn and grow from life’s experiences.” Boren said Mixon will be given a chance to “earn his way back on the team.” Oh, so the star running back gets a second chance for breaking four bones on a female student’s face on video, but the guys in a frat don’t get a second chance for saying something racist on a video?

Apparently, punching and breaking a women’s face while making a gay slur is better then saying ‘N’ word on campus at the University of Oklahoma.

The proper response should have been to not expel the racists but to educate the ignorant students on why racism is evil — and not to coddle violent thugs because they are “talented” football players who bring money and glory to the school.

Mystery Science: Making Science a Child’s Favorite Subject

Mystery Science provides open-and-go lessons that inspire kids to love science — by making it easy for elementary school teachers to deliver an incredible science lesson without a science background.

Rather than following a textbook approach to science vocabulary, Mystery Science employs hands-on activities to engage students with the wonders of science and expose them to the joy of scientific inquiry at an early age.

 

 

The site, created by former Facebook product manager for News Feed Keith Schacht and former LePort Schools science director Doug Peltz, makes it easy for teachers to deliver an incredible science lesson without a science background. With funding from a seed round led by 500 Startups, Mystery Science aspires to bring the unique approach Peltz created to every classroom. Lessons are aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and designed to supplement existing curriculum.

“Elementary teachers are in an impossible situation, they’re expected to teach and be experts on every subject. Unfortunately the system too easily forces science to be an afterthought, given that few elementary teachers have a background in science and school funding is so tightly tied to test results in reading and math. Teachers understandably fall back on a textbook approach, which results in students being exposed to science vocabulary but never the mysteries behind the science. So we’re creating a new approach with less prep for teachers and more learning for students,” said Peltz, who taught science in the classroom for seven years before teaming up with Schacht to create the site.

Students in the United States rank 20th out of 34 countries in science, a situation that has not improved in the last five years despite a renewed focused on science and math education (PISA, 2012). “In spite of the national focus on STEM education, there is little focus on elementary science education. But these are the formative years when it’s most important,” said Schacht.

Mystery Science supports teachers in exposing students to the joy of scientific inquiry at an early age,” Schacht continued, “We want to create that perfect ‘a-ha’ moment for students while helping elementary teachers who often struggle to teach science on top of every other subject.” Online modules include everything educators need, from visuals and videos, to step-by-step activity instructions and click-to-order materials.

While participating in a limited pilot with elementary teachers across the country, Katy Hyatt from Walnut Elementary in Iowa saw a marked difference in her class: “After starting Mystery Science, we had parent-teacher conferences and a parent remarked that whatever I’m doing with science right now, it’s really engaging. This mom’s son was coming home each night and telling her what he learned that day, taking her outside to look at the moon and find the constellations.”

The Mystery Science website is now live at mysteryscience.com. There, teachers can watch a video to learn more, explore a sample lesson, and sign up to participate for the upcoming school year.

How Long Do Animals Live?

The below infographic is an ISOTYPE chart. The International System Of TYpographic Picture Education was an early infographical method, created by Austrian curator Otto Neurath in the 1930s “as a symbolic way of representing quantitative information via easily interpretable icons.”

How Long Do Animals Live?

CROSS: A college degree is not a mystical guarantee to a job

Comments Professor R. Garmong:

I don’t know whether this is real or not, but it represents a major flaw in discussions of higher education in America. People treat higher education as an end in itself, an intrinsic value, without regard to what values that education serves.

People throw around numbers about unemployed college graduates, often without looking at what their degrees were in. On the flip side, people advocate something called “higher education” or even “universal higher education,” without asking what will be studied and whether there’s economic need for it.

The common assumption is that a college degree should be a mystical guarantee of a job, like a grant of tenure from the universe. But that’s not how the world works.

[…]

I think fewer than half the people currently enrolled in higher education in America ought to be. I blame the GI Bill. What seemed like a good idea — make university education available to everyone — quickly made university education into a requirement for everyone.

I would add that the ideal of universal higher education enabled the failure of secondary education in America, by putting off the consequences. If the colleges and universities exist to provide a buffer, high schools can get away with graduating uneducated students.

DOLLAR: New Hampshire Supreme Court Upholds State’s School Choice Program

Concord, N.H.—Today the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court for Strafford County and saved the state’s tax-credit scholarship program. The program provides low-income families with education scholarships, which parents may use to send their children to a private school, a tuition-charging public school in a neighboring school district or to pay for homeschooling expenses. The plaintiffs were several state taxpayers who were philosophically opposed to the program. The court held that the plaintiffs lacked the necessary personal injury to challenge the program.

The scholarship money is raised by private scholarship organizations, who may offer local businesses a partial tax credit (85 percent) in exchange for their donations. Since a trial court found aspects of the program unconstitutional in June 2013, parents who wanted to use scholarships at private religious schools have been prevented from participating in the program. Now eligible families will be able to send their children to whatever school they choose.

“This is a great day for parental liberty in New Hampshire,” said Institute for Justice (IJ) Senior Attorney Dick Komer, who represented two families seeking scholarships and the Network for Educational Opportunity (NEO), the state’s only operational scholarship-granting organization. “We are delighted that the Supreme Court recognized that the trial court erred in allowing this case to proceed in the absence of any personal harm suffered by the plaintiffs from the alleged unconstitutionally of the program.”

Tim Keller, Komer’s co-counsel and managing attorney of IJ’s Arizona office, added: “This was a hard-fought battle and we are gratified that the parents have finally prevailed. The plaintiffs’ case and the Superior Court’s decision were based on a relic of anti-Catholic bigotry enshrined in the New Hampshire Constitution in 1877, which they extended beyond its intended scope. This is a victory for all who would live free in New Hampshire!”

The lawsuit was brought by eight taxpayers and a business, who claimed the program violated a provision of the constitution that prohibits the state from appropriating or applying state funds raised by taxation for “the use of the schools or institutions of any sect or denomination.”

IJ Attorney Erica Smith contrasted the lack of personal harm to the plaintiffs with the harm they caused last summer to the participating families, who because of the trial court’s ruling, were unable to use the scholarships: “Without showing, let alone asserting, any actual harm to themselves, these plaintiffs denied priceless educational opportunities to many New Hampshire families, solely because they do not approve of the schools these families had freely chosen. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has ended this infringement of the rights of the participating families.”

Kate Baker, executive director of NEO, said, “We at NEO are thrilled by the decision of the Supreme Court. We are eager to get to work awarding scholarships to low-income families without having to discriminate based on what sort of private school the parents want their children to attend.”

Shoplifting the Creator’s Spirit

“Mark Zuckerberg is a techie wiz who got lucky one day” — they say while using for free a remarkable achievement created by Zuckerberg (and his talented team).

This is the same parasitical mentality the pirates music and movies, that loots corporations to support third-world dungeons, that agitates for a “living wage,” that compels those who make money to pay for their “free” education, that credits God (but not the doctors) for a successful operation, that announces to the world: “You didn’t build that.”

What surprises me is the good people who remain silent in the face of such spiritual shoplifting. The formula is simple: If you want Creators in your midst, then defend them — give them the credits and rewards they have earned. — Voltaire Press

DOLLAR: Students Defeat Teacher Unions in California

Writes Campbell Brown in A historic victory for America’s kids  – NY Daily News on the Vergara v. California decision:

The case began with courageous students, because they had to endure the nightmare: grossly incompetent teachers, mainly in poor and minority schools, protected by state laws. And when the court ruling thundered down Tuesday, the impact was profoundly clear: Students, you win.

[…] Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu said the evidence of the deleterious effect of ineffective teachers on students is so compelling that it “shocks the conscience” — a line that instantly gave voice to countless parents.The court found that the nine student plaintiffs and their team had proven both of their points. One, that California’s laws directly cause students to be unreasonably exposed to grossly ineffective teachers. And two, that poor and minority students, in particular, are saddled with those teachers. The ruling was so complete that the judge declared every state law in question unconstitutional:

California teachers are permitted to earn lifetime employment after a mere 18 months in class, well before they could truly earn that status or even be properly evaluated for it. The upshot, said the judge, is that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily and for no legally cognizable reasons (let alone a compelling one) disadvantaged.”

-The dismissal process for grossly ineffective teachers in California is so complex and costly that it does not work; many districts do not even bother trying. That leaves thousands of underperforming teachers knowingly remaining in front of students. The judge blasted the system as so problematic that it turned dismissal into an illusion.

-California’s “last-in, first-out” law gives top priority in a time of layoffs to ineffective teachers if they have seniority while better teachers with fewer years are sent packing. The judge called that a lose-lose situation, supported by logic that was “unfathomable.”

[…]

It should never have come to this: Students taking on the powerful governments and teachers unions, all to challenge laws that inexplicably and directly lead to a worse public education.

California Students 1, Teacher Unions 0

Writes Campbell Brown in A historic victory for America’s kids  – NY Daily News on the Vergara v. California decision:

The case began with courageous students, because they had to endure the nightmare: grossly incompetent teachers, mainly in poor and minority schools, protected by state laws. And when the court ruling thundered down Tuesday, the impact was profoundly clear: Students, you win.

[…] Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu said the evidence of the deleterious effect of ineffective teachers on students is so compelling that it “shocks the conscience” — a line that instantly gave voice to countless parents.The court found that the nine student plaintiffs and their team had proven both of their points. One, that California’s laws directly cause students to be unreasonably exposed to grossly ineffective teachers. And two, that poor and minority students, in particular, are saddled with those teachers. The ruling was so complete that the judge declared every state law in question unconstitutional:

California teachers are permitted to earn lifetime employment after a mere 18 months in class, well before they could truly earn that status or even be properly evaluated for it. The upshot, said the judge, is that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily and for no legally cognizable reasons (let alone a compelling one) disadvantaged.”

-The dismissal process for grossly ineffective teachers in California is so complex and costly that it does not work; many districts do not even bother trying. That leaves thousands of underperforming teachers knowingly remaining in front of students. The judge blasted the system as so problematic that it turned dismissal into an illusion.

-California’s “last-in, first-out” law gives top priority in a time of layoffs to ineffective teachers if they have seniority while better teachers with fewer years are sent packing. The judge called that a lose-lose situation, supported by logic that was “unfathomable.”

[…]

It should never have come to this: Students taking on the powerful governments and teachers unions, all to challenge laws that inexplicably and directly lead to a worse public education.

The 97% Consensus on a Dangerous Global Warming Catastophe is Really 1%

From Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer: The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%’ – WSJ:

Last week Secretary of State John Kerry warned graduating students at Boston College of the “crippling consequences” of climate change. “Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists,” he added, “tell us this is urgent.”

Where did Mr. Kerry get the 97% figure? Perhaps from his boss, President Obama, who tweeted on May 16 that “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” Or maybe from NASA, which posted (in more measured language) on its website, “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.”

Yet the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.

One frequently cited source for the consensus is a 2004 opinion essay published in Science magazine by Naomi Oreskes, a science historian now at Harvard. She claimed to have examined abstracts of 928 articles published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and found that 75% supported the view that human activities are responsible for most of the observed warming over the previous 50 years while none directly dissented.

Ms. Oreskes’s definition of consensus covered “man-made” but left out “dangerous”—and scores of articles by prominent scientists such as Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Sherwood Idso and Patrick Michaels, who question the consensus, were excluded. The methodology is also flawed. A study published earlier this year in Nature noted that abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren’t substantiated in the papers.

[…]

In 2013, John Cook, an Australia-based blogger, and some of his friends reviewed abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Cook reported [7]that 97% of those who stated a position explicitly or implicitly suggest that human activity is responsible for some warming. His findings were published in Environmental Research Letters.

Mr. Cook’s work was quickly debunked. In Science and Education in August 2013, for example, David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found “only 41 papers—0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent—had been found to endorse” the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils- Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.

[…]

There is no basis for the claim that 97% of scientists believe that man-made climate change is a dangerous problem.

The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%’

Write Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer in WSJ.com:

[T]he assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.

[…] Another widely cited source for the consensus view is a 2009 article in “Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union” by Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, a student at the University of Illinois, and her master’s thesis adviser Peter Doran.

It reported the results of a two-question online survey of selected scientists. Mr. Doran and Ms. Zimmerman claimed “97 percent of climate scientists agree” that global temperatures have risen and that humans are a significant contributing factor.

The survey’s questions don’t reveal much of interest. Most scientists who are skeptical of catastrophic global warming nevertheless would answer “yes” to both questions. The survey was silent on whether the human impact is large enough to constitute a problem. Nor did it include solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists or astronomers, who are the scientists most likely to be aware of natural causes of climate change.

[…] In 2013, John Cook, an Australia-based blogger, and some of his friends reviewed abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Cook reported that 97% of those who stated a position explicitly or implicitly suggest that human activity is responsible for some warming. His findings were published in Environmental Research Letters.

Mr. Cook’s work was quickly debunked. In Science and Education in August 2013, for example, David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found “only 41 papers—0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent—had been found to endorse” the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils-Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.

[…] Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.

Read the rest of The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%’

Protest the “education” in today’s schools, but not education in and of itself

From Raising Children with Exalted Ambition and Depth of Soul:

I am appalled by the state of American education. I am appalled not primarily by the crowded classrooms, decrepit buildings, unmotivated, unionized teachers, severed arts programs, drugs, violence, or many-children-left-behind, but by that which should be the central, fundamental, defining element of any school – the education. Even those schools with richly appointed, sprawling campuses, dedicated faculty with PhD’s, and reputations for academic excellence backed by test scores to prove them still suffer from the same basic pedagogical problem. Education, the actual “learning” that goes on within the walls of our schools, has come to consist primarily, almost exclusively, of mindlessmemorization.

From the causes of WWI, to Newton’s laws of motion, to types of literary devices, to the formulas for area, etc., etc. etc., we are asked to memorize, and regurgitate, and study, and memorize, and regurgitate…and forget. Today’s schools are failing utterly to provide children with a real, functional, life-enhancing, lasting education. That is why I sympathize with the widely popular rallying cry well captured in this viral video, of people who “love education” but “hate school,” and the message, “We will not let exam results decide our fate.” They recognize that their education is bankrupt, and they refuse to define themselves by the schools’ standards of success.

But sadly, this rallying cry and most of those like it are not a rejection of education in its current, empty, memorization-driven state – they reject education as such. The idea that school must “change with the times,” that education is fundamentally for “getting a job” or “satisfying society’s needs,” that our “different genes” mean we must be educated by “different means,” that Google, Twitter, and Facebook are as legitimate means of personal development and self expression as any schooling, betray a basic hostility to the very concept of education. This should not be surprising, given that those sounding the call are victims of the very educational system they decry. How could they know any better?

What a real education actually looks like, what basic purpose it serves, what it does to enhance the life of an individual, why it is essential to life as a mature and thriving adult – these are enormously complex issues. But for my own peace of mind, I want at least to offer some food for thought, and a rallying cry of my own: Protest the “education” in today’s schools, but not education in and of itself.

What does a real education provide?

Discover Miss Van Damme’s answer at her excellent blog Pygmalion of the Soul.

DOLLAR: Documentary Sheds Light on Common Core

By having central government bureaucrats dictate how, what and why students learn, the innovation, entrepreneurship, and diversity of a “grass roots” education (i.e., Montessori, i.e., Home Schooling) — where education is tailored to the needs of the student as directed by the parent — will be eliminated. This is the key political argument against the so-called “common core” initiative.

In “Building the Machine” viewers receive a “big picture” overview of the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on their children’s education. “Building the Machine” compiles interviews from leading educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee. Find out more about the Common Core: http://www.hslda.org/CommonCore

Video: The Common Core Documentary

By having central government bureaucrats dictate how and what students learn — by treating them as mere cogs in a wheel — the innovation, entrepreneurship, and diversity of a “grass roots” education (i.e., Montessori, i.e., Home Schooling) where education is tailored to the needs of the student as directed by the parent will be eliminated. This is the key political argument against the so-called “common core” initiative.

In “Building the Machine” viewers receive a “big picture” overview of the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on their children’s education. “Building the Machine” compiles interviews from leading educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee. Find out more about the Common Core: http://www.hslda.org/CommonCore