Monday, March 31, 2003
It goes without saying that Moynihan himself deserved far better, as the report that quickly came to bear his name didn't contain a racially suspect punctuation mark, much less a single sentence lacking in goodwill.In contrast, back here on the home front Miss Median struck again, this time with a reference to "overrepresentation" and "underrepresentation" in the military, citing this article. As any labor economist worth her salt will tell you, aggregate statistics will not tell you a damned thing about discrimination. And it absolutely ignores the simple fact that we have a volunteer military, so that what MM is criticizing is really the career choices that Latinos and blacks make. But citing aggregate numbers is all the diversity pushers have to offer, and when the numbers go against the story, as they did in Moynihan's work, they prefer to villify the researcher than confront the data.
He was prescient, but he was pilloried. Or, more accurately, in order to forewarn what was sadly in store for our country, he did what good scholars and public servants are supposed to do: He bravely faced hard facts.
(Just two numbers: About two-thirds of all African-American boys and girls are now born out of wedlock. About one-third of all American children now come into this life out of marriage.)
But it was also our nation that deserved far better than the politically correct ambush, followed by the timorous silence, which succeeded the report.
Saturday, March 29, 2003
Friday, March 28, 2003
"The United States is home to 2,294 four-year colleges and universities. If we were to use a strict quota system for college presidents based on the percentage of Asian-Pacific Americans in the population (3.8 per cent in 1997), 87 of those institutions should be headed by Asian-Pacific Americans. If we were to base our quota system on the representation of Asian-Pacific Americans on college faculties and professional staffs (4 per cent), then there should be 92 presidents from among our ranks. In fact, there are 13. That is about one-half of 1 per cent.Yeah, what's wrong with that picture is that you're spending more time counting up racial groups than you're spending telling students what will happen to their tuition or dealing with the fact that 32% of students in a survey think your university has a somewhat or very unfavorable image? (see table 31)
In 1997 the California State University system�s 22 campuses had 276,054 undergraduates, of whom 53,895, or 19.5 per cent, were Asian-Pacific Americans. Based on that representation, you might expect to see four Asian-Pacific American presidents in the system. You�d be wrong. If you were to simply to use the percentage of Asian-Pacific Americans in the overall population of California-11.8 per cent-you might expect to see two or three Asian-Pacific American presidents. Wrong again. There is one.
While nearly one in five students in California State University system is an Asian-Pacific American, only one in 22 presidents is. Something is wrong with that picture.
A long war with more casualties than we expect will probably increase identification of Iraq and General Franks. Perhaps we should take comfort in the ignorance.
But this sort of thing has gone on for years. Women's studies classes hold a vigil in front of Planned Parenthood; there were several classes where students were given credit for supporting strikers of two staff unions on this campus.
There's a very simple solution of course: Someone should create a Teach In for the Liberation of Iraq, and make the same request.
Thursday, March 27, 2003
March madness! I suppose PETA would find more fault with those who would try to defend our nation's economic independence by killing a few caribou in Alaska than they would with those of Saddam's regime who have acid-dipped, shredded, and shot to death hundreds of thousands of innocent humans.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
A. MnSCU/SCSU shall develop and implement a mandatory diversity training program that shall be given to all faculty and administrators at SCSU. To the extent possible, the program will be developed in consultation with the Faculty Association (the faculty union --kb). A possible option is the TOCAD [sic] program.
B. The said diversity training program shall have a component on anti-Semitism.
Again, the requirement is for general diversity training with an anti-Semitism component, not for anti-Semitism training. Does anyone know what TOCAD is?
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Several faculty, including the only named plaintiff still on the faculty, reiterated that it was not their idea to have mandatory diversity training. The administration insisted on it. And many people -- including many who would argue we need LOTS of diversity training -- insisted that mandatory training doesn't work. Some worry of creating a worse climate on campus (i.e., those of us who don't like to be told how to think will be pissed off.) Others view it as ineffective, that nobody's mind is changed by mandatory training. Yet we're doing it. Any discussion of not doing it was overruled by the fact that it is in the consent decree, so that it must be done.
I'm not buying that. The legal responsibility to perform the action does not lie with the faculty but with the administration. If they wanted it, they should do it. They should propose how to implement this. But they have not. They have been silent ever since the settlement. And now we're bailing them out over fear of being in violation of a consent decree over which we had nearly no control and over fear that the administration might put a bad mandatory diversity training in place.
Let's not mince words: There's no right way to do the wrong thing. This is perceived by the administration, and in particular its leadership, as something it wanted, over the objection of the faculty and the plaintiffs, and now we are giving it to them. President Saigo will portray mandatory training of the faculty as a feather in his cap -- he will list it in his accomplishments as he seeks a new contract from MnSCU or a new presidency elsewhere. He will not buy the flour. He will not proof the dough. He will not bake the bread. But he will most certainly want to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
I for one will vote with my feet. I will not attend, and will gladly sacrifice a day's pay to make my point. If enough of us do it, maybe we can make a dent in the budget deficit as well as deny the administration its cap feathers.
I have loads to do and will still post lightly this week. Meanwhile, InstaPundit has this story from University of Iowa on how an ROTC center on that campus was vandalized. The reaction of the university was to not have ROTC cadets wear their uniforms on campus. Reynolds responds:
I think they should wear their uniforms every day. It's funny to me that a University that would never respond to racist speech by asking minority students to "try not to be so noticeable" would respond to this kind of behavior in such a meek fashion.Yup.
Sunday, March 23, 2003
UPDATE (3/25): According to this and this report, the find wasn't a chemical weapons facility after all. But OpinionJournal's Best of the Web points to this CBS story that captured Iraqi soldiers are carrying Cipro. Chances are the Cipro isn't being used for strep throat. --kb
Friday, March 21, 2003
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
I just watched Tony Blair make ANOTHER passionate speech to his parliament on CNN. Regardless where you sit on the issue of war with Iraq, Tony Blair is a class act. He seems to argue from deep-seated principles and beliefs, regardless of the political fallout. I always admire people with principles and passion.
I want him for our next president. Tony Blair for president!!!!!! At least you know where you stand with him---even if you don�t agree.
Thursday, March 13, 2003
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
A local paper quotes La Habra Police Captain John Rees as saying, "for this to be vandalism, there had to be an ill-will intent." Huh? Not a hate crime, because the motive was politically correct? Oh well, I'm sure that either Dan Rather or Peter Jennings will be able to clear up my confusion in about an hour.
Monday, March 10, 2003
thy chosen pilgrim flock
with manna in the wilderness,
with water from the rock.
Maelstrom of death in falling heap,
billows of smoke and flame;
your sheep in fear yet faith did leap
into thine arms - they came.
Be known to us in breaking bread,
and do not then depart;
Savior, abide with us, and spread
thy table in our heart.
Give us, we pray, thy love divine,
and dry our tears once more.
Make known thy blood through sips of wine,
as we prepare for war.
[Words adapted from those of James Montgomery (1771-1854); Music: St. Agnes; Hymnal of the Episcopal Church, 1982, Hymn #343.]
Please spend ten minutes in prayerful reflection here, on the 18-month anniversary this century's most horrific manifestation of evil in the world. It's well worth the time it takes to load.
Sunday, March 09, 2003
In stepped FIRE to defend what should be obvious to all but perhaps the most zealous militants of Code Pink: that Speech courses at publicly supported colleges should embrace our Constitutionally protected freedom of speech. With King's flashlight currently out of the country, the SCSU-scholars are unable at this time to determine if Rosalyn Kahn is related to late Senator Wellstone's eulogist, Rick Kahn.
Friday, March 07, 2003
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
establish a Jewish Studies and Resources Center and hire a coordinator/Professor of Jewish studies with .5 teaching responsibilities and shall fund the activities of the center and salary and benefits for the position for five years at $100,000 to $125,000 per year.The Faculty Senate voted yesterday
to create a search committee for the Jewish Cultural Center [sic] Director of five faculty members, three to be selected by the JFA [Jewish Faculty Association] and two to be selected by the faculty as a whole.Three of five to be selected by a subset of the faculty identified as members of a particular group which is not a body of the union or the Faculty Senate. It's certainly understandable that JFA members and other Jewish members of the SCSU community would be interested in this, but that does not excuse stacking the committee. The settlement states that "[T]he purpose of the center is to provide coordination of activities relating to Jewish heritage and history for faculty, staff, students, and community." So why not have Jewish students or staff or community members on the committee? And there's nothing to indicate to which department this faculty member will be attached, how that department will be involved in the hiring process, or how the courses for this professor to teach will be placed into the curriculum.
So much for that union�s seeking individual accountability. At least on this campus we have local Faculty Association leaders who are working hard to develop objective measures that can be used to assess its members� competence when decisions of non-renewal, tenure, and promotion are reviewed!
What�s that, you say? They want to assess each member�s level of �tolerance,� not �competence.� Oh well, as Emily Litella used to say, �Never mind.�
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Here in Washington, for example, the local union urged members "to get involved with organizations working toward stopping the Bush administration's march toward war with Iraq."Yes.
The unions might be correct in their estimation of the president and his policies. As a teacher, however, I would never sign such a resolution. And if America does go to war, I would urge the unions to avoid any official statements -- negative or positive -- about it.
Why? The answer lies in the special role of teachers in a democracy. Quite simply, our job is to help people learn how to think. And we'll never succeed if we tell them what to think -- about America, Iraq or anything else.
"I�d use basically the same materials. The articles in the sourcebook are somewhat biased, however, and they�d be dropped and replaced with other readings. About 1/4 of the course would be devoted to critiquing the assumptions of economics,� he said, adding that lectures with weekly sections for discussion would replace the section-based teaching of Ec 10.We learn later on that SHARE had been recently revived as a student group in part by Jessica Marglin, the professor's daughter. In the Harvard Independent (link requires free registration), Quang Tran writes of how bored he is in the class and his belief that the class should be retitled "Principles of Martin Feldstein". At the end of the article he describes how much he enjoyed a guest lecturer who discussed basic human rights and economics. No mention, of course, that the guest lecturer would have been invited by Prof. Feldstein.
The course is not intended to demolish Ec 10,� said Marglin. �It�s an alternative for those who want to work harder and who want a more balanced perspective of views than Ec 10 offers.�
Of course, the president of Harvard is no mere babe in the woods in economics but Lawrence Summers, a former professor of economics and Treasury Secretary under President Clinton. Asked about the courses, Summers said,
�I certainly don�t agree with quite a number of Marty Feldstein�s policy views. It�s important to recognize that economics does bring a certain individual perspective to understanding social phenomena. ... I think it�s probably the case that Professor Feldstein�s views are closer to the center than certainly Professor Marglin�s and probably Professor [Dani] Rodrik�s [of the Kennedy School, who has been involved in this debate as well].�Feldstein's course is fairly standard. He uses new CEA chief-designate Greg Mankiw's principles book as well as the readings which Tran complains about. We know as well that Mankiw spoke dismissively of the very supply-side propositions that Feldstein supported during his years with Reagan. Some right-wingers at the National Review don't even like Mankiw's appointment. Yet his book is a foundation of Feldstein's course (and, in the name of full disclosure, my principles course too). I've looked at the materials Feldstein has put online (the syllabus and course materials can be found here) and it's no different than thousands of economics courses taught in the US. He's been so prolific the last twenty years, is it any wonder he can put together a readings book of his own material? Don't we all wish we could?
Monday, March 03, 2003
People who have already been out in the real world, practicing for years whatever their particular specialty might be, have some basis for determining which things are relevant enough to go into a curriculum to teach those who follow. The idea that students can determine relevance in advance is one of the many counterproductive notions to come out of the 1960s.I'll stop there only to avoid copying over the entire article. Read it.
The fetish of "relevance" has been particularly destructive in the education of minority students at all levels. If the students do not see immediately how what they are studying applies to their lives in the ghetto, then it is supposed to be irrelevant.
How are these students ever going to get out of the poverty of the ghetto unless they learn to function in ways that are more economically productive? Even if they spend all their lives in the ghetto, if they are to spend them in such roles as doctors or engineers, then they are going to have to study things that are not peculiar ("relevant") to the ghetto.
Worst of all, those teachers who teach minority students things like math and science, whose relevance the students do not see, may encounter resistance and resentment, while those teachers who pander to minority students by turning their courses into rap sessions and ethnic navel-gazing exercises capture their interest and allegiance.
The four reports now go to an "independent review committee" which has already established some funny rules.
We operate cooperatively with no chair or contact person ... We rotate facilitators and note-takers and make decisions with a �consensus minus one� policy. In other words, if 0 or 1 people disagree with the proposed action, we have consensus and if 2 or more disagree, we do not have consensus. Consensus is not achieved if the single dissenting voice is the only member of her/his protected class in attendance at the meeting.I could be mistaken, but I think this means white heterosexual males get half a veto while "protected class" members get a whole one. This does not inspire confidence in what the committee will put forward by month's end as its "consensus".
The students decided early on in the organizing of this walk-out that although faculty and staff would be encouraged to participate, that this would be a student organized, student-led event. We have decided to participate in the national walk-out because we feel that it is the best way in which we can make a statement against this unjust war.No problem there -- they decided to hitch their wagon to the national protest by a bunch of hard lefties who started planning these protests a couple of weeks after 9/11.
Some may think that with the title "bombs not books" that it seems counterproductive to walk-out of classes.I think they meant "books not bombs". As most professors will tell you, students mistake Microsoft's spellchecker for proofreading. And as OpinionJournal points out today, "what do these youngsters plan to do to demonstrate the importance of books? Cut class."
First of all, we have just chosen to use the national organizer's theme for convenience sake."We were cruising the internet one night, and this looked really cool."
Secondly, we would assert that although classroom participation is important and vital to gaining perspectives about our world, including the war, we also see the valuable opportunity to have education outside of the classroom."Classrooms are boring, particularly when we could have a pajama party and sing songs."
This event will have several educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff.That would be the sleep-in? The open microphone? (When I played in a rock band, this was called "amateur night".) Or would this be the educational videos? At least NYSPC is clear on this. "No really, long speeches are never a good idea." So are boring documentaries.
We, the students, do not want this walk-out to seem as if it is a student vs. faculty/staff event. Instead, we strongly encourage and invite faculty, staff, students and community members to attend and participate in any way they see fit. In fact, we think this type of event is a powerful way to make a difference.But you identified yourself as "we", which implies a "they". So you've already "made a difference".
In closing, we feel that missing one day of classes is a very small price to pay in order to protest the possible murder of thousands of innocent li [sic]Well then, you shouldn't mind me charging the price. Indeed, I could give you a sheet saying '"I went to the protest instead of attending class because I support Saddam's taking of thousands of innocent li," suitable for framing. I'll PhotoShop something for you, even. In your world, you could call it a badge of honor.
Damn. Just checked the schedule, and I have a Dean's Council meeting. I think it would be important for me to have an educational opportunity outside the administrative rigors of a chair's life. Where are my pajamas?