Next step for college studentsNext step for college studentsMore money for mostly worthless college educations.  Always more ways to get unprepared, unmotivated college students, especially at community colleges, to avail themselves of the resources so that they will stay in college (and keep the federal aid coming in).  A study suggests requiring not only that students take remedial classes but that they avail themselves of the other remedial resources being offered, like those for test-preparation, study skills, and "student success" habits.  Next thing you know, the feds will be providing escort service from bedroom to campus, with assistance in packing book bags.

 

One community college here in Georgia where Dissident Prof taught did have behavioral classes for students, telling them that they should not simply saunter out the door in the middle of a lecture or interrupt the professor.  A colleague tells me of a large poster in his Missouri college that encourages students to pull up their pants with a photo of Barack Obama as inspiration.  You don't see the President showing his drawers, do you? is the message.

Yet, President Obama during his State of the Union address lectured colleges on accountability, suggesting tying aid to graduation and job placement rates. Jonathan Zimmerman took Obama to task for not including "learning."  Zimmerman cites a study that showed that over a third of students by their fourth year had not improved their reasoning and writing skills.  Dissident Prof is getting kind of tired of doing this but she will once again refer the clueless to her article about composition teachers.  President Obama, go here.

It seems that the Department of Education is also sabotaging real learning under the guise of "civics."  The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, funded by the Department of Education, recently unveiled a 115-page report called "A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future."  It is the fruit of numerous "roundtables" attended by tax-exempt nonprofits and taxpayer- supported public college administrators.  They acted collectively and outlined plans for "doing democracy" (really).  They recommended mandating that students participate in government directed service learning.  They called for a civics curriculum that would transform American students into "global citizens" through "collective action."  As Peter Wood points out, there is no mention of a different perspective of civics, i.e, one that mentions American citizenship.  He writes in the Chronicle:

 

"A Crucible Moment reflects a view from inside the academy. Of the eleven members of the Task Force, nine are current or former academics, and all of them, as nearly as I can tell, represent left of center views. It is small wonder that their report is dead silent on the many aspects of civic participation and democratic engagement that concern the roughly 175 million Americans who consider themselves as conservative or moderate."

 

It's clear that the authors, like most educators, think in terms of "world societies" (to use a term from A Crucible Moment), where national borders are thus viewed as evidence of imperialism.  Efforts to maintain the rule of law by keeping law-breakers (called "undocumented students") from attending public colleges here in Georgia, however, are vilified by educators.

But "doing democracy" as "world citizens" might well improve college completion rates.  After all, it's much easier to get a good grade in soup-spooning and "intercultural understanding" than Calculus or even freshman composition. 

Rick Santorum had it right when he said, "It's no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college.  The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America."

Still, over at the Chronicle of Higher Education "Tenured Radical" frets that "neoliberalism" is creeping into education, as she analyzes Obama's speech. 

On those same pages, Fine Arts professor Laurie Fendrich defends Obama.  The poor guy got a finger-wagging from Governor Jan Brewer!  Professor Fendrich knows what that really means.  She digs deeply in her analysis:

 

"Now consider the words the governor used to describe the encounter to the media afterwards. She said (you can watch it for yourself—it’s toward the very end of the video), 'I felt a little bit threatened, if you will, in the attitude that he had, because I was there to welcome him.'

"After watching it three times, I still kept thinking, Did I hear her right? Did she really say that? Is she really oblivious to the implications of that word 'threaten,' throughout some very ugly chapters in American history, to describe an encounter between a black man and a white woman? Or what, was she worried it might be a holdup? Or that he’d snatch her pocketbook? Or that he’d physically corner her? Somehow do one or all of these things in the middle of a sunny Arizona day, all while surrounded by photographers?"

 

Oh, the audacity!Oh, the audacity!That kind of analysis does take some brain power!  Good thing we have all these Ph.D.'s deconstructing such scenes of racism.  Bet you didn't know that Governor Brewer was afraid that President Obama was going to snatch her pocketbook, because that's the way that all left-wing white female professors think white female Republicans think. 

Breaking News!....Liberal Argues for Intellectual Diversity!!!

A social psychologist, a Democrat and a liberal, in a break from his peers, believes that conservatives should be allowed to live...in academia.  Actually, Jonathan Haidt, deemed a "political defector" by the Chronicle of Higher Education, presents a modest proposal of bringing the profession from 0% conservative to 10% conservative, even suggesting a kind of affirmative action--just so the profession doesn't fall into groupthink.  (Perhaps this psychologist could help Professor Fendrich.) 

But it might too late to stave off groupthink, or even mass hysteria.  Haidt's talk at the annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, in which he portrayed social psychologists as "a tribal moral community" "bound together by liberal values," was deemed "incendiary" by the journal.  Though Haidt remains a Democrat, Dissident Prof cheers him on.  Would that all liberals maintained the openness that at one time defined liberalism.  She cautions Professor Haidt, though.  The academic Politiboro does not take kindly to dissenters.  He should watch his back, especially if he travels to Mexico.

In the meantime, Education News reports with the headline, "Scholars speak out in favor of 'electronic Jihad against the enemy."  Dissident Prof did a double take and read further:

 

"In light of the increasing support of 'the electronic Jihad' and the divergence of views regarding this subject, Islamic scholars have underlined their support for this new phenomenon, arguing that 'any attempt to spite the enemy and endorse religion is legitimate'. They consider that Muslim youth involved in this phenomenon are in fact leading a jihad."

 

Huh?  Scholars?

More head-scratching regarding "scholarship" as she read on:

 

"Abdullah Al Aalwit, a Muslim law researcher, pointed to the fact that electronic jihad means 'destroying the enemy’s electronic devices or surreptitiously taking valuable information from these devices.' He confirmed that “the electronic jihad, like any other type of ihad, is legitimate in determined instances and might be harmful if used at the wrong time and in the wrong circumstances.”

 

The original source is Al Aribiya News.

Dissident Prof worries about how this is reported--as "scholarship" on an education site.  Does Education News not understand the difference between "scholarship" and "terrorism"?  What do other readers of the site (educators, Dissident Prof presumes) think?  Do they just go back to reading Chomsky and Zinn?

Matt Damon with future Young Communists?Matt Damon with future Young Communists?Speaking of Howard Zinn, his protege and family friend mega-millionaire, mega movie star Matt Damon (who also made Zinn mega bucks by promoting his propaganda in film) allowed the proletariat on Chicago's South Side to be graced by his presence.  WBEZ reported on a project Englewood High School students are involved in that is a spinoff from Zinn's "seminal" book, A People's History of the United States.  In preparation for their performance highlighting "anonymous voices in American history," [coincidentally with the same names as famous communist radicals] students "sat in a circle sharing their poetry, perspectives and personal takes on U.S. history." 

There seems to be some pedagogical justification for this project called "Englewood Speaks" (like "The People Speak" produced by Damon and starring Zinn himself, get it?).  Movie Star/Educator Matt Damon explained:

 

“'Real people who have said real things or people who are doing their own experiences like Englewood Speaks and have a place where teachers can go and get these things and use them as teaching tools to help students connect to history.'"

 

Howard Zinn keeps popping up like a vampire.  Last Saturday, Dissident Prof met a student who had been assigned the same book in a history course at an Atlanta university.

 

His influence lives onHis influence lives onWhat with movie stars, journalists, and professors just about having young people singing the Internationale in their little circles, it's a wonder that any young people are still able to think.  So Dissident Prof is heartened when posts from College Conservative come into her mailbox.  This week she directs readers' attention to the clarification on the notion of “social justice” from Emory theology graduate student David Giffin.

She thanks a donor, a fellow dissident prof, who would like to remain anonymous.

She also reports that the Dissident Cat, Sparky, is feeling better.  The Dissident Prof can tell because the early morning ambushes from behind the drapes have resumed. In fact, the Dissident Prof household has acquired the atmosphere of the jungle, with the Prof also stalking the Dissident Cat to administer antibiotics into his mouth.  The administrations of these antibiotics have become ugly showdowns between Prof and Cat.  Not to worry, though, Dissident Prof has learned how to stanch the bleeding. 

Finally, Dissident Prof is looking forward to attending C-PAC next week and may be sending dispatches from Washington.  If you will be there, she'd like to meet you.  She will be the one plastered with Band-Aids.

 

 



 



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