Disgraced New York City teacher Alan Rosenfeld has been banished from the classroom for more than a decade, yet still receives an annual salary of $100,049 along with a bulky package of benefits, including health insurance, a generous pension, and vacation and sick pay. Deemed a danger to students, the 66-year-old teacher was accused in 2001 of making vulgar comments and inappropriately gawking at eighth-grade female students in a Queens public school.
Some time ago I received a letter from England that was written by an intelligent, accomplished and motivated adult who had a “reading problem.” He had been taught to read by the look-say method and exhibited the usual symptoms of dyslexia, and he wanted to know how to cure his disability.
First there was “Pop” in Sweden, then “Storm” in Canada. Now out of Britain comes Sasha, a boy, we hear, who is being raised by his parents in a “sex-neutral” fashion. And this isn’t just your modernistic grandmother’s neutrality, where she didn’t want to push toy guns and trucks on her son. Sasha’s parents, Beck Laxton and “partner,” as he’s described, Kieran Cooper, are going the full feminist monty.
For decades, I’ve been telling my readers that the federal government ought not to be in the education business and that constitutionalist members of Congress are duty bound to close down the Department of Education. The Cabinet-level department was created during the Carter administration as payback for the National Education Association’s help in getting him elected.
Just before Christmas the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced a small improvement to its 2,100 free online courses: The free online service will now grant, for a modest affordable fee, credentials for those online students who gain mastery of the subject. Instead of calling it MIT 2.0, they named it MITx, and it is likely to challenge and change the higher education paradigm and the cartel that runs it.
Larry Sand's article "No Wonder Johnny (Still) Can't Read" — written for The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, based in Raleigh, N.C. — blames schools of education for the decline in America's education. Education professors drum into students that they should not "drill and kill" or be the "sage on the stage" but instead be the "guide on the side" who "facilitates student discovery." This kind of harebrained thinking, coupled with multicultural nonsense, explains today's education. During his teacher education, Sand says, "teachers-to-be were forced to learn about this ethnic group, that impoverished group, this sexually anomalous group, that under-represented group, etc. — all under the rubric of 'Culturally Responsive Education.'"
In a recent article on whether one should be optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future, I quoted the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts who wrote in Commentary magazine:
This may be the golden age of presumptuous ignorance. The most recent demonstrations of that are the Occupy Wall Street mobs. It is doubtful how many of these semi-literate sloganizers could tell the difference between a stock and a bond.
A liberal Swedish politician has sent a shot over the bow of that country’s home school community. Writing in a Swedish newspaper, with a follow-up posting on her blog, Lotta Edholm of Sweden’s Liberal Party called for changes to the country’s laws that would allow government social workers to more easily take children away from home school families.
One of the ways of trying to reduce the vast disparities in economic success, which are common in countries around the world, is by making higher education more widely available, even for people without the money to pay for it. This can be both a generous investment and a wise investment for a society to make. But, depending on how it is done, it can also be a foolish and even dangerous investment, as many societies around the world have learned the hard way.