Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not the Business You Are In

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Lena Dunham: Trying to Get American Airlines Employees Fired Over Private Conversation on Transgenderism

From the Federalist:
This week, famous millennial journaler Lena Dunham was strolling through an airport eavesdropping on a couple of flight attendants. There she was, just a right-thinking individual with fluency in approved language and a desire for a kind and compassionate society, when she heard a conversation that violated her sense of an ideal society.

Then, as any individual principally interested in kindness and empathy would do, she reported the flight attendants’ conversation to their bosses at American Airlines.

Then, filled once more with the compassion and humility that are her hallmarks, Dunham broadcast this conversation, and her reporting of it, to her millions of social media followers. American Airlines is reportedly looking into it.

Because how, pray tell, could the world be a good place if middle-class flight attendants are allowed to talk to their friends at work in any way that gives this rich, famous public emoter a sad? What have we become, as a country, if millionaire, private-school progeny of Brooklyn art-scene families can’t have their exact conception of acceptable conversation reflected back to them during every minute of a flight delay?

Here’s What Lena Dunham Had a Fit About This Time

Hearing this conversation, Dunham wrote, was the “worst part” of her night.

This is the conversation Dunham alleges she heard. They were “talking about how trans kids are a trend they’d never accept a trans child and transness is gross.”
The author, Mary Katharine Ham, goes on to observe that:
This is the sinister side of the liberal “hamburger problem” Josh Barro wrote about. His thesis is Democrats could win a lot more elections if they stop insufferably hectoring everyone about everything— for instance, insisting eating a hamburger is an inherently political act because of the public health consequences and the carbon footprint and the blah, blah, blah. He’s probably right about that, but many liberals go far beyond hectoring.

Dunham isn’t content to publicly lecture about trans issues. She wants to punish people who disagree with her, going after their jobs without so much as a conversation with them, and she expects to be thanked and honored for her good works.
This, of course, is the sort of bigotry that thrives in academia. Marquette University, in an online module on “harassment” had a little scenario where two female employees where talking to each other, and expressed their opposition to gay marriage. An employee who overheard it was offended, and it was was made clear that the women were guilty of harassment, simply by expressing an opinion that somebody overheard and disapproved of.

It’s a cliché, but worth repeating, that the people who talk all the time about “tolerance” are the biggest bigots.

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There Will Be Something

Monday, August 07, 2017

Steve Jobs Favored School Choice

From the Foundation for Economic Education:
Steve Jobs said in a 1995 interview, “The unions are the worst thing that ever happened in education.”

Jobs spoke with Computerworld’s Daniel Morrow in a 1995 interview, which covered a wide range of topics, but frequently delved into Jobs’s views on the American education system. As he said, “I’d like the people teaching my kids to be good enough that they could get a job at the company I work for making $100,000 a year.”

But Jobs blamed teachers unions for getting in the way of good teachers getting better pay. “It’s not a meritocracy,” said Jobs. “It turns into a bureaucracy, which is exactly what’s happened. And teachers can’t teach, and administrators run the place, and nobody can be fired. It’s terrible.”

He noted that one solution is school choice: “I’ve been a very strong believer that what we need to do in education is go to the full voucher system.” Jobs explained that education in America had been taken over by a government monopoly, which was providing a poor quality education for children.

He referenced the government-created phone monopoly, broken up in 1982: “I remember seeing a bumper sticker with the Bell logo on it and it said, ‘We don’t care, we don’t have to.’ That’s certainly what the public school system is. They don’t have to care.”

Jobs said that the main complaint against school choice is that schools would cater only to rich kids, and the poor kids would be “left to wallow together.”

However, he said, “that’s like saying, well, all the car manufacturers are going to make BMWs and Mercedes and nobody’s going to make a $10,000 car. Well, I think the most hotly competitive market right now is the $10,000 car.”
Of course, this ignores the fact that some voucher proposals require that voucher schools accept the voucher for the full price of tuition, and the vast majority of kids would get an education at that price level. And the value of the voucher would be set to buy an education easily as good (and likely much better) than the current public school system
In other words, Jobs said, all students would benefit from more school choice, as the monopoly in education was broken up.

“The market competition model seems to indicate that where there is a need, there is a lot of providers willing to tailor their products to fit that need, and a lot of competition which keeps forcing them to get better and better.”
Of course, being a billionaire tech genius does not make one an all purpose expert on everything. But it does mean one knows a lot about dynamic, radically innovative and creative markets, and how they serve consumers. That is to say, markets very unlike the current educational market.

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Politically Correct Math Education Comes to Springfield

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Bullied Evergreen State Student Speaks Out

Exposing the American Association of University Professors: Politicized Guild

From Campus Reform, an article that deals with our legal battle with Marquette, but also with similar cases nationwide.

A key point: the AAUP is less than forthcoming when the academic freedom of conservative professors is attacked. Some key passages:
“In the aftermath of [Trump’s] election, it has become evident that his election poses a grave threat to the principles that lie at the very heart of the AAUP: academic freedom, shared governance, and economic security for those engaged in teaching and research in higher education,” AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum declared at his organization’s 2017 annual meeting.
So the simple election of a president you don’t like is a threat to academia freedom? Thanks, AAUP, for making your political biases clear.

The article goes on to mention cases where the AAUP defended extreme and inflammatory statements from leftist professors, and notes the lack of support for conservative academics. And further:
The same goes for more politically-neutral professors who simply challenge campus orthodoxy, like the Christakis’s and, even more recently, Evergreen State College Professor Bret Weinstein, who was forced to hold classes off-campus after campus police were unable to protect him from a mob of students who had angrily confronted him for questioning the legitimacy of an event in which white people were requested to leave campus for a day.

The AAUP did not release a single statement in support of Weinstein’s “academic freedom,” even after the student protesters held the school’s president hostage in his own office to demand, among other things, that Weinstein be summarily suspended without pay.

“My thoughts regarding the AAUP are much like my thoughts about the ACLU,” said George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. “It avoids battles where it doesn’t like one of the combatants, principle be damned.”

David Randall, director of communication for the National Association of Scholars (NAS), expressed similar sentiments, acknowledging that while the AAUP did play an instrumental role in [conservative Mike] Adams’ lawsuit, “it is easy to find cases in which conservatives on campus have suffered significant infringements of their academic freedom in which the AAUP has been mute.”
The author (Anthony Gockowski) devotes considerable attention to our case. While the AAUP objected to our suspension in December, 2014, it had no problem with Marquette’s attempt to fire us, and with the punishment imposed by a faculty panel.

An AAUP official informed us that we had received “due process” from the faculty panel.
“Their position was that I had received ‘due process’ from the Faculty Hearing Committee, and that was all I deserved,” McAdams told Campus Reform. “They seem to view ‘academic freedom’ as a collective right the faculty have, not a right that each faculty member has. Thus, views unpopular with the faculty generally will get little support from the AAUP.”

. . . McAdams noted that due process—especially on a “contemporary campus”—offers “scant protection to views unpopular among the faculty,” pointing out that “in addition to ideological bias, there is the fact that campus bureaucrats can load committees with people who are keen on currying favor with the administration.”
Worse, however, was the fact that there were several gross violations of due process on Marquette’s part. As we told AAUP official Greg Scholtz:
  1. I was suspended in violation of Marquette's own rules. You have already taken notice of this.
  2. The Faculty Hearing Committee was supposed to issue a report within 90 days of the end of the hearings, but failed to meet that deadline by almost a month, finally delivering a report on January 19, when the deadline was December 23.
  3. One member of the Faculty Hearing Committee had signed a statement attacking me for my blog posts, but declined to recuse herself.
  4. Marquette refused to provide my legal team with evidence, possibly relevant to the case, that my legal team requested.
  5. President Lovell, while claiming to follow the recommendation of the Faculty Hearing Committee, in fact added a proviso that I had to apologize for the blog post, and provide a loyalty oath pledging allegiance to vaguely defined “Marquette Guiding values” and “Marquette’s Mission.”
  6. Marquette could point to no rule that I had violated, but the Faculty Hearing Committee engaged in what [my attorney] called a “multi-part balancing test” to come to the conclusion that I should be disciplined (but not fired). Restrictions on academic freedom (like all restrictions on speech) should be based on “bright line” prohibitions, and not vaguely defined and subjective “balancing tests.”
Scholtz blandly replied that he “never encountered a dismissal process that all parties agreed was entirely free of irregularities.”

Free Speech to Criticize Professors

But going beyond merely defending the right of leftist professors to say extreme and inflammatory things, the AAUP has condemned those media outlets that publicize those extreme and inflammatory things. For the organization, “academic freedom” means a lack of free speech when that speech criticizes leftist professors.

As David Randall suggested, the AAUP has to be viewed as a “politicized guild, and not as disinterested partisans of academic freedom.”

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