Sunday, June 26, 2016

On the Dangers of Diversity

From Tao:

Lets consider how the concept of identity politics has made it almost impossible to make any sort of progress on controlling crime, limiting illegal immigration or eliminating violence. If we said things such as "People should comply with the police," we end up with a litany from various groups on why such a thing would not happen. If we say "People should obey the laws," we have countless politicians and plaintiffs telling us they will not. The Progressive desire to serve all parts based on a subjective order of "fairness" has resulted in a system that is falling apart because the key structural elements are being ignored and in some cases, such as certain Constitutional rights, in danger of being removed completely.

Consider a Ferris wheel. While the cars that carry passengers may be shiny and colorful, the integrity of the structure of the device is what makes it possible for all to ride. If we sad only the people in the green cars get cotton candy, the others are not well served. If we try to make some cars go faster for the sake of benefiting one group, the other groups are stranded. If we remove central parts of the device, the entire machine crashes to the ground. Our nation and its Constitutional structure are the Ferris wheel. Various groups have a chance to ride the wheel, but they have to do so at the same pace as everyone else. To select winners and losers, which is what Progressives seek to do, damages the very mechanisms that make the device or nation function.

When we are distracted by the colors and noise that fill our society, we forget the core values that override every other manmade "right". When we allow ourselves to be distracted by fringe issues that serve only a few, we ignore those key elements that provide us with strength. Government exists to provide security first. That means protecting and maintaining our sovereignty. Open borders and loose standards on immigration does not do that. It is a European experiment that has failed and it will fail here as well. At one point in history this nation was truly a melting pot. While we kept family heritage, all Americans shared the same language and goals. Now we're a fruit salad where the bananas and strawberries gang up against the grapes and apples. Everyone wants to be at the front of the line and everyone wants to impose their culture as an overlay on our own.

We have become blinded by too many colors and the idea that different and new are always better. To quote my Mom "we've thrown out the baby with the bath water" on some sort of wrongheaded quest for newest chattering toy instead of seeking value in what we hold in our hands.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Thought Police

I came across this meme and it made me think about how guarded we have all become on how we speak about issues and events. While I do think we should be considerate and respectful of others, it seems that progressives would prefer that we not express any ideas contrary to theirs. The penalty now can be as mild as a write up or as serious as firing and civil penalties. How did we reach this point where a diversity of ideas was more scandalous than promiscuity, dishonesty or murder? Every few years I reread "1984" and I'm always struck by how easily the population accepts whatever they are told to believe. Bombarded by screencast images, the population rarely deviates from the narrow patterns assigned by the powers that be. And even the higher castes are not immune to censure if they fail to give public voice to the same song. "We are at war with Eurasia, we have always been at war with Eurasia." How long will be before academia and media have conspired to scrub all diversity of ideas from our midst? If you look at the art from totalitarian regimes there are all the same-realistic, nationalistic, bland and vapid admiration to a cult of personality. Is this what Americans really want?

Friday, June 03, 2016

The End of the Year

So yet another year has ended. It's been a very difficult year for me. I had to deal with some of the most arrogant and belligerent students in my career. While there are some I will miss and that I wish the best in life, I was so beaten down by the negative experiences that I didn't follow through with some of my own traditions. I didn't give my seniors graduation cards, small gift cards and contacts for me. A part of me regrets this, but in a way it allows me to release this year and all it's bad experiences.

I'm getting closer to retirement. I can see it around the corner, but it's not close enough to really plan anything other than work and more work. I find myself ridding my classroom and files of 15 years of lesson plans and promotions. My room is cleaner than it's ever been at checkout. It is as if I won't be coming plans, maybe premonition. I don't know.

I find myself somewhat dreading the next year. Whispers have it that there is yet again "something new" in special ed and all signs point to a situation where they get rid of the AVLS classes and put seriously disabled kids in regular classes for the case of agenda over education. We're also under new mandates to monitor G/T students in our classes. With reports for G/T, ESL, 504 and SpEd students you have to feel for the poor average kids who are getting shortchanged because nobody wants to admit that sometimes placing students with like abilities together helps them achieve.

I also find myself surprisingly relieved that I'm not fielding both AP Art History and AP Studio classes next year. At first I was mad at what I saw as an end run committed by the new teacher who wants to be able to select which students she gets to teach. And I was angry at the prospect of having three Art 1 classes, at the expense of 30 painting students who won't get in a painting class next Fall because of the fear of not having Art 1 open to all. The truth of the matter is our school is grossly understaffed and we need another teacher. We've been told there's no money-a legacy from the prior Superintendent who I'm almost sure was on the take-we had enough to hire three more assistant superintendents at Admin for $150K a pop. Priorities.