The last version of the Advanced Placement History exam, which allows high schoolers to test out of college courses–as well as the material required to prepare for it–bought into the leftist revisionist history movement, portraying American history mainly in terms of how oppressive it was. (See this and this.)
Conservative parents and academics pushed back. And now they have won a rare victory, with the College Board revising the exam to eliminate bias and to include more of the good things about America. Some critics are pleased with the revision, while others don’t think it goes far enough. But still. . . . [Read more...]
Timothy Richard Hunt is a biologist who won the Nobel Prize. A faculty member at University College London, a fellow of the Royal Society, and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, he was knighted for his accomplishments. But he said this in a speech:
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they’re in the lab: You fall in love with them; they fall in love with you; and when you criticize them they cry.”
A lame attempt at humor. Offensive to women. Politically incorrect. So he got fired from all of his positions! Even though he has a Nobel Prize! (I wonder if they can take that away from him.)
Lesson: No one is safe making those kinds of remarks. You can’t joke about this kind of thing. Your intentions won’t count. Your career will be in jeopardy. For all of our alleged lack of inhibitions, we do have social taboos and you will be punished if you break them. Even if you have a Nobel Prize. [Read more...]
A pioneer in the rediscovery of classical education died last week. Marva Collins was an inner-city school teacher who rebelled against the failures of the educational establishment by teaching her students Shakespeare, Socrates, and other challenging–but inspiring–subjects. The obituary excerpted after the jump is illuminating but it calls her method “back-to-basics,” as if Shakespeare and classical philosophers were merely “basic.” Rather, her method, which employed great books and dialectical pedagogy, was genuinely classical, as is evident in her book The Marva Collins Way. She is important in showing that classical education is not “elitist,” as it is often described, but that it can be especially liberating for the poor or otherwise disadvantaged.
Some years ago when I was at Concordia Wisconsin, we had a Martin Luther King Day program. The speaker was one of her students. He couldn’t have been more than 13, but he gave an oration, in his high piping voice, that was as eloquent, learned, and inspiring as anything I had heard from a student at any age.
The Common Core requires that at least half of what elementary and middle school students read be non-fiction. By 12th grade, that goes up to 70%. And the non-fiction being read is not that of the great minds of our heritage but online posts, government documents, and United Nations proclamations.
The New York Times has an article on what the Common Core is doing to English classes. Notice how educators are taking the opportunity to politically indoctrinate their pupils. Notice how the approach forces what classic literature that is still read into a contemporary grid. Notice how the whole enterprise is not raising standards, as the Core claims to do, but is rather dumbing down the curriculum. [Read more...]