Solving the Problem of Woke Math

There’s an excellent review of woke math over at Legal Insurrection. Go read it; it does a better job of summarizing the danger to our society.

However, I have a suggestion about how to shutdown woke math education in the schools. Simply calculate the pay of any teacher or education bureaucrat using or promoting woke math on the basis of 2 + 2 = 3.

Free Speech at UVA

My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up about a federal lawsuit relating to free speech at the University of Virginia. A medical student’s questions about microagressions got him banned from campus.

Skepticism and disagreement are impermissible on the 21st-century university campus. Bhattacharya’s questions made him a Thought Criminal, and soon UVA faculty ordered him to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

The former student Kieran Ravi Bhattacharya has sued the university, and a federal judge has rejected the school’s motion to dismiss.

The school’s founder Thomas Jefferson was unavailable for comment.

A $15 Dollar an Hour Minimum Wage is Racist

All the arguments that have been presented for increasing the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour rely on claims that a lesser wage does not provided enough money to a worker. Such claims are based in the use of arithmetic to compute the worker’s financial status and implicitly endorse the proposition that there is such a thing as a “right answer.” However, it now received educational theory that the very idea of a “right answer” is a racist concept. Thus, in order to advance minorities and suppress white supremacy, it is vital that we not only defeat the Fight for Fifteen but also must also repeal the existing minimum wage laws that have been used as tools of oppression for decades.

How the Grinch Stole a Birthday

Theodor Geisel’s birthday to be precise. Geisel’s pen name was Dr. Seuss.

It seems that Dr. Seuss’ caricatures of “people of color” are too raaaaacist for an outfit called Learning for Justice, and they’re demanding that schools avoid reading Dr. Seuss because his books allegedly have “racial undertones.” BTW, Learning for Justice is the education arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Since before the turn of the century, 2 March has been Read Across America Day in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The reading recognition day was founded by the National Education Association, but schools in some of the usual-suspect jurisdictions are removing any connection between Dr. Suess and Read Across America Day this year.

Neither the red fish nor the blue fish was available for comment.

It All Depends On What You Mean By “Equality”

The House has passed a legislative nightmare called the “Equality Act.” If it passes the Senate and becomes law, it would amend federal statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and it explicitly will destroy religious freedom protections related to sexual and gender identity. The bill explicitly states: “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.”

Stephen Kruiser has suggested that the Equality Act is proof that the Democrats are clinically insane. OTOH, The Party may need the words “equal” and “equality” to have different meanings. Sometimes  two plus two equals four. But not always.

Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.

Don’t Know Much About Algebra

For those of you who don’t know the Sam Cooke song Wonderful World (the first line of that song is “Don’t know much about history …”), this is a line from the second stanza. I think it makes a good headline for a post about teachers who don’t understand math.

Fox reports that the Oregon Department of Educations is seeking to undo white supremacy in mathematics education. The minicourse being offered to teachers

includes a list of ways “white supremacy culture” allegedly “infiltrates math classrooms.” Those include “the focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer,” students being “required to ‘show their work,'” and other alleged manifestations.

“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the document for the “Equitable Math” toolkit reads. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

I wonder how many of the education bureaucrats who are promoting the course would object to the calculations on their paychecks being done on the basis of 2 + 2 = 3.

On Honorifics

Looking around my generation of cousins in our family, there are quite a few of us with educational and/or career accomplishments that entitle us to various honorifics. Several have doctorates in various disciplines: PhD, MD, DDS, EdD, and DPhil (that’s Oxford’s equivalent to PhD). All of them use the honorific “Dr” professionally from time to time, but only the physician and dentist use it socially.

Similarly, neither of the retired colonels among us use “Col” socially.

Although many of us are still working, the youngest is old enough to be drawing Social Security. We’re comfortable with who we are and our accomplishments, so simply being Mr or Mrs is enough.

UPDATE—For the record: In terms of university degrees, I’m the least educated person in my generation of the family.

I Never Had a Student Loan

I graduated with my Bachelor of Engineering degree from Vanderbilt in 1970 after paying tuition in full each semester. Fairness dictates that if student loans are to be forgiven, then those of us who paid up front should receive tuition rebates with interest. At the current legal interest rate in Tennessee (Vanderbilt is in Nashville) I would be due a bit more that $90,000.

I’d be willing to take the rebate in the form of a tax credit that I could spread over several years.

Chris White Supremacy

Chris White is a college professor who has written a post for Slate making the absurd claim that referring to well known composers by their last names is a form of white supremacy.

Musicians, academics, and teachers have a lot of work ahead to confront the racist and sexist history of classical music. Fullnaming composers, especially those who have been elevated to mononymic status by this complicated history, will challenge us to at the very least afford the same respect to all of the individuals whose music we talk and write about.

Uh, no. If I say that I’m listening to a piece by Mozart and don’t use a first name, it’s a reasonable assumption that I’m referring to Wolfgang Amadeus and not his father Leopold who was also an accomplished composer. If I refer simply to Bach, I probably mean Johann Sebastian and not Carl Philip Emmanuel, Johann Christian, or any of the senior Bach’s other musically talented children. This has nothing to do with race; it’s about stature and importance as musicians.

Similarly, if I refer to President Johnson, it’s a safe bet I don’t mean Andrew Johnson unless the context deals with his administration or Reconstruction.

BTW, Joplin and Ellington were unavailable for comment.

If You Give Up the Right to Remain Silent …

… everything you say may be used against you.

One might presume that Christopher L. Eisgruber, the President of Princeton University, would be aware of the Fifth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. After all, he has a law degree from the University of Chicago. It must be that wokeness overcame his legal training when he sent a letter admitting that Princeton engaged in “systemic racism” that injures “people of color.”

The U. S. Department of Education has responded with an investigation of Princeton, including whether the school defrauded the government when it made claims that it did not engage in racial discrimination in order to receive federal grant money.

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Don’t Know Much About History

A headline from The Guardian: Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust

That is a stark example of the magnitude of educational malpractice that has been inflicted on a generation of Americans. Of course, when I was growing up in the ’50s, the Holocaust would have been impossible to conceal. There were too many living witnesses. (My father had a part of the liberation of Dachau, and I knew survivors with prisoner number tattoos on their wrists.)

National Socialism killed 6 million Jews and on the order of 12 million more of other ethnicities. International Socialism (aka Communism) killed nearly 100 million during the 20th century. We already know the human cost of socialism. There is no need to rerun that experiment, but an uninformed generation may be tempted to try.

Free Speech v. Cancel Culture

I just read Willam Jacobson’s essay over at Real Clear Politics about his experience with cancel culture at Cornel University. Prof. Jacobson was condemned by colleagues at the Cornell Law School after he committed acts of wrongthink by publishing blog posts criticizing Black Lives Matter. Prof. Jacobson writes:

I offered to publicly debate a student representative and a faculty member of their choice, but that offer was rejected. They don’t want to criticize me. They want to silence criticism of BLM.

While I refuse to be silenced, others are not be able to risk such career pressure.

Although I am the target, students and free expression are the real victims. I have received many emails from students telling me that I have a lot of “quiet” support among students, but that they are afraid to speak up for fear of the professional or social consequences. Cancel culture has created this atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Read the whole thing.

Sigh. I’m so old that I remember when liberals were in favor of due process and free speech.

Video Credit: Murrow, Edward R., See It Now, CBS, 9 March, 1954.

Follow the Money

The LA teachers’ union has announced that they don’t want to go back to work teaching kids who are physically present in classrooms until certain demands have been met. Among those demands are mandatory mask wearing in the classroom, a moratorium on charter schools, and defunding the police. They claim their demands are driven by a concern for safety.

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States underscores the deep equity and justice challenges arising from our profoundly racist, intensely unequal society. Unlike other countries that recognize protecting lives is the key to protecting livelihoods, the United States has chosen to prioritize profits over people. The Trump administration’s attempt to force people to return to work on a large scale depends on restarting physical schools so parents have childcare.

In Los Angeles, this means increasing risk especially in Black and Brown working communities, where people are more likely to have “essential” jobs, insufficient health care, higher levels of preexisting health conditions, and to live in crowded housing. Meanwhile, the rewards of economic recovery accrue largely to white and well-off communities that have largely been shielded from the worst of the pandemic’s effects.

The profits vs. people cant in those paragraphs seems to be more about power than safety.

However, the real clue to what’s going on may be the teachers’ signing on to the campaign to defund the police. At first glance, it seems odd, setting one public employee union against another—until you consider the broader situation in California. The State of California is broke. The CALPERS retirement system isn’t properly funded. Unemployment checks are being delayed for lack of funds. State revenue is down because unemployed people don’t pay income taxes and make fewer purchases to generate sale tax revenue. And the state is now entering into a second shutdown, so the state’s revenues will continue to collapse.

It won’t be long before California and its counties and cities will no longer be able to pay all their employees. They will have to choose who to let go from among their host of teachers, bureaucrats, firefighters, and cops. Gentle Reader, given the current crime wave, who do you think the Inner Party will choose to keep to the bitter end? If the teachers’ union wants to preserve as many jobs as possible, it’s going to have to find ways to suck money out of other portions of the education budget. Reduction of physical plant expenses is the low hanging fruit in such an exercise.

It isn’t about safety.

It’s about paychecks.

Quote of the Day

The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it.

—Emmanuel Goldstein

Don’t Know Much About History

The 1619 Project is a leftist attempt to rewrite History to sell the false narrative that the United States was founded to protect the institution of slavery. While it has been promoted by outlets such as the New York Times, it has generally be repudiated by professional historians, including intellectually honest leftists. However, it has gained  a following among the ill-informed.BTW, George Washington’s will provided for the emancipation of his slaves. He was the only slave owner among the Founding Father to do so.