URLs du Jour

2021-07-11

  • There's No "I" in "Education". Except For That One Near the End. Michael Ramirez has our Eye Candy du Jour:

    [Way to go, kid]

    If you missed Reading The Whole Thing before, let me quote another bit from Greg Lukianoff et al's 13 important points in the campus & K-12 ‘critical race theory’ debate:

    4. K-12 curricula are not suddenly political. They have always been political.

    The modern view of education as a pipeline designed to carry children from preschool to graduate school tends to obscure the fact that K-12 education had a very different evolution from the university system.

    Compulsory public education was a project advanced by politicians and enacted by legislatures for a political purpose, which, broadly speaking, could be described as “domestic tranquility.” In 1794, decades before Massachusetts enacted its compulsory education law, Gov. Samuel Adams praised education’s value as a crime prevention tool; in 1830, Pennsylvania Gov. George Wolf advanced education as necessary to achieve “security and stability.”

    Lukianoff accepts this, more or less, as a fact of life. And it is, sure enough. But it's misleading to call what happens in K-12 "education".

    People who are chary of indoctrination should think seriously about creating a wall of separation between school and state. Similar to that between church and state, and for pretty much the same reason: the molding of minds is way too important to allow the iron fist of government to be involved.


  • And How Much is Due to People Trying to Keep Their Phony-Baloney Jobs? Ronald Bailey asks a provocative question at Reason: How Much Scientific Research Is Actually Fraudulent?. We've mentioned before that a lot of "studies" breathlessly report results that turn out to be irreproducible. But… could it be worse than that?

    The possibility that fraud may well be responsible for a significant proportion of the false positives reported in the scientific literature is suggested by a couple of new Dutch studies. Both studies are preprints that report the results of surveys of thousands of scientists in the Netherlands aiming to probe the prevalence of questionable research practices and scientific misconduct.

    Summarizing their results, an article in Science notes, "More than half of Dutch scientists regularly engage in questionable research practices, such as hiding flaws in their research design or selectively citing literature. And one in 12 [8 percent] admitted to committing a more serious form of research misconduct within the past 3 years: the fabrication or falsification of research results." Daniele Fanelli, a research ethicist at the London School of Economics, tells Science that 51 percent of researchers admitting to questionable research practices "could still be an underestimate."

    Something to show to your neighbors who have those irritating "SCIENCE IS REAL" signs on their lawn.


  • Also Because It's Hot Garbage. Kyle Smith demands: We Must Fight CRT as Un-American.

    People who coin terms don’t get to control what those terms come to mean over time, and eventually much-discussed topics tend to get simplified to shorthand. Whatever abstruse Marx-inflected meaning “critical race theory” may have had in academia before the last couple of years is now irrelevant. Today it boils down to the theory that whites are presumptively racist and/or privileged, while blacks are presumptively victims of racism. It has blended with the 1619 Project — which posits that racism/slavery/white supremacy should displace the ideals of the Founding as the very center of virtually every aspect of the American story — to create a toxic obsession with race that threatens to define education at all levels.

    Writes the linguist John McWhorter on Substack: “To insist that ‘CRT’ must properly refer only to the contents of obscure law review articles from decades ago is a debate team stunt, not serious engagement with a dynamic and distressing reality.” The CRT we are talking about is “the idea of oppression and white perfidy treated as the main meal of an entire school’s curriculum,” he adds. “Young children should not be taught if white to be guilty and if black to feel a) oppressed and b) wary of white kids around them,” nor should kids be taught that the American story is mainly “one of oppression and racism. Not because it’s unpleasant and because sinister characters want to ‘hide’ it, but because it’s dumb.”

    McWhorter’s points would have been self-evident even ten years ago, but now CRT is deeply entrenched in the media, academia, corporations, and the activist wing of the Democratic Party. If left unopposed it will capture the big prize of K–12 education in the next few years.

    So to summarize: scientists are frauds, educators are indoctrinators, Biden is the President, and we are in a whole lotta trouble.