Thursday, August 21, 2014

Common Core to Eliminate “White Privilege”?

By Professor Doom

     I’ve looked quite a bit at Common Core, and frankly I’ve been puzzled at the curriculum, which seems to ignore common sense, science, and basic respect for humanity.

     A reason for this aberration has been advanced by someone in a position to influence Common Core: as penance for his white privilege. Here’s a part of the very disturbing key quote:

“The reason why I helped write the standards and the reason why I am here today is that as a white male in society, I’ve been given a lot of privilege that I didn’t earn…”

      I thought Common Core was about educating children, but this one man says otherwise. It’s not a one man show, and the shamelessness at which this guy says this gives me every reason to believe he said as much when he was talking to other Common Core bureaucrats. I bet these bureaucrats nodded their heads vigorously, and agreed with this point of view.

      This isn’t about education. It’s about a social agenda.

     I’m serious, watch the video and see with your own eyes. Also see with your own eyes as the crowd responds with disgust. It’s proper disgust, mind you, little different than when someone first starts smoking, and gags. Only with exposure does the body become accustomed to smoking, and only with exposure to this sort of ideology does the mind actually buy into “white privilege” without revulsion.

     I’ve certainly been lectured by “my betters” about how unfair things have been at times. I know, things have certainly been unfair in the past, there’s plenty of unfairness now, and I’ve been pretty blessed, no doubt about it.

     “Communism is very fair. It makes us all equally poor.”—attributed to a North Korean General
--there’s a certain ideology that, goshdarn it, just never seems to work out the way the believers think it will, no matter how utopian the social agenda.

     But is it really all about my being white, and male? Should we damn a generation of children, making them all illiterate and innumerate, just to eliminate the “white privilege” that is supposedly responsible for some children learning to read?

Around 40 years ago:
Dentist’s office: “We’re open Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 3 pm.”
My Mom: “Those are school hours, how am I supposed to take my son to see you?”
Dentist’s office: “Oh, parents just take their kids out of school.”
My Mom: “I’m not doing that. He can get through life without teeth, but he’ll never make it without an education.”
--My teeth are fine, by the way, Mom just got a different dentist for me. No, I didn’t earn having parents like this, but I am grateful, shouldn’t that count?

     I’m blessed, but that blessing didn’t come from being male, or being white. I had parents that cared about education, and didn’t allow anything to get in the way of that.

     Admin: “Your old boss, Mrs. XYZ, is leaving. Please welcome Mrs. XXX, your new boss.”

     I’m not really sure being male has been much of an advantage to me. I’m in a field, advanced mathematics, that, at my level, let’s face it, is very predominantly male. I don’t have the stats handy and it always depends on how you look at it…but any way you look at it, my students are nearly all male, my co-workers are nearly all male. On the other hand, for the majority of my career, my boss, the one who can fire me at whim, has been female. Even when my boss moves on, she is replaced by…another female, as though the position is reserved for that gender alone once a female has that position.

     It’s so weird to hear statistics about how “males occupy more than 50% of CEO positions and that shows gender bias” but I never, never, hear anything in the other direction. Ever.

--congratulations to her, it’s a major achievement. Hmm, why doesn’t the article mention there were three other winners this year, or even mention their names? Eh, life’s not fair, it’s not like Fields Medal recipients have ever been mentioned in mainstream media in prior years.

     I’m not complaining, however, at least about the gender of my bosses (I’ll happily complain about competence and integrity, or lack thereof), because, hey, life isn’t fair. Most alcoholics are male, too, after all, as are most people with serious genetic ailments, and most mass murderers. Life isn’t fair, like I said. That male privilege thing is overrated, in my opinion, even in “ideal” circumstances. In less than ideal?

     Admin: “The last open position had 250 qualified applicants. 5 were female. We offered the position to every female, they all turned it down, as they received better offers elsewhere. One of them had 11 different offers. We need to consider offering a hiring bonus to female candidates, because our position is still unfilled.”

     Because females are so rare in my field, admin trips over itself to hire them. Males simply need not apply if there are any females interested. Luckily, males still get hired, since there are so few females available. And, yes, many schools, so that there are more future applicants, have special programs to attract females into the field, with bonus offers. Males get nothing for being male.

      Admin: “We’re also opening up a new tenure track position with higher pay. There’s a specific minority candidate, already employed, that we’re hoping to lure away from [another university].”
     Faculty: “Has he indicated that he wants to come here?”
     Admin: “No, but he’s been here before. We want him back. We want minority representation here.”
--the thought that candidate was lured away by higher pay in the first place leads to a hysterical scenario: could he manage a pay raise by changing institutions every year? Can’t the two institutions work out a way to use the minority’s face and skin color on two sets of faculty rosters?

   Minorities, at least certain minorities (let’s just say “not Asian”), are also very under-represented in my field. A white male has basically no chance in a system that shows a disturbing favoritism towards, well, anything but a white male. Ok, “no chance” is an exaggeration, it’s more like “reduced chance” but I’ve certainly seen with my own eyes that, whatever “white privilege” that exists, certainly doesn’t exist in my field, and hasn’t for quite some time.

Admin, around 1986: “If a rejected candidate is female or minority, please fill out this special form explaining why the candidate is unsuitable for the position…”
--I can’t complain, I was warned very early on in my career that “my kind” was not particularly welcome in academia.

     And now, this noxious point of view that actually increases all the unfairness already in the world, is actually going to have an influence in Common Core? There are already mountains of evidence showing males are at a disadvantage in schools. It is completely irrational to make this bad situation worse.

     I’ve shown in the past how Common Core seems designed to create a generation of children that will approach basic mathematical thought, the very beginnings of rational thinking, with fear and confusion.

     This man believes that minority kids aren’t as smart as white kids so the standards have to be lowered in order for them to be able to read,” she said.
---some people get it, at least. There’s quintessential hypocrisy to this ideology that any clear thinker can see.

      Being incapable of thinking rationally seems core to the ideology that infests a certain segment of the population.

      So, yes, disgust and revulsion are absolutely the proper responses to Common Core, at least for parents that care about their children, and want them to succeed despite the unfairness of life, without adding to that unfairness.

     Common Core, as a means to advance an already failed social agenda, must be abandoned.

(and, feel free to search my blog for other Common Core commentary)



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  2. The sad reality is that different ethnic groups have differing abilities. Those who harp on about "white privilege" don't want to hear this, preferring to ascribe differing educational outcomes to systemic biases in the educational system, which reflect systemic racism. And to be fair and neutral, there is a smidgen of truth in what they say -- but only a smidgen. The overwhelming reason for differences in outcomes has to do with differing abilities, and if we aggregate by ethnicity, then we can see ethnic differences. This the educrat crowd does not want to acknowledge. And so they talk sanctimoniously about making sure "everyone can perform to high standards" -- but what they mean in reality is lowering the bar so much that everyone can "succeed." What dubious worth that "success" has can be seen all around us -- students getting A grades yet who know nothing and can do nothing.

    On the one hand there are African-Americans and Latinos with average IQs of 84 and 89 respectively. On the other, whites, Asians, and Jews with average IQs of 100, 105, and 114. Of course there will be differences in outcome.

  3. One of my relatives is a high school math teacher.

    Principal: "We must increase retention and ensure no one fails."

    Relative: "How can we do that without lowering standards?"

    Principal: "We must not lower standards, but no one must fail. Give them make-up assignments or whatever."

    If someone told me "We hired you not based on your qualifications or by merit, but by the color of your skin," I would be teed off at being reduced to being a statistical victory for some bureaucrats. I'd also be angry about the others rejected because of the color of their skin. Oh, and I'd be mad at the blatant racism.

  4. I find the "white privilege" argument laughable.

    I'm white. I was born in Europe and English is not my mother tongue. We came to Canada when people like us were openly looked down upon because of where we came from. I was far from socially privileged.

    We believed in equal opportunity for those who were qualified and went about things accordingly, but it wasn't easy. I was often taunted and bullied when I was younger because I spoke English with a distinct accent, though I've long since lost it. Such incidents, however, made me more determined to see if I could succeed in order to prove that I was just as good, if not better, than my tormentors.

    I finished high school near the top of my class not due to privilege because I didn't have any. I did it by hard work and determination, something I learned from parents, both of whom had their journeyman's papers in their respective trades. I also did it by intellectual talent and putting it to good use.

    Those are hardly signs of "white privilege".

    1. Here in Canada, a country where it seems that political correctness is a a national obsession, hiring discrimination is rampant. One can tell that certain people need not apply by the way the ads are worded, though one cannot, by law, openly say it.

      I personally know of someone who got a tenure-track position because of a preference for women and "visible minorities".

      So much for every qualified applicant being equally treated.

    2. That's a good point. I've never seen a "female and minority" candidate, but I reckon admin would totally flip out to make sure to hire such a one if she appeared.

    3. The university was establishing a centre in her area of research and I don't recall if it or the government granting agency had the requirement for women and visible minorities. It wasn't as if she needed it as she was sufficiently qualified by her grades and academic work alone. However, since she was from another country, she had both of the desired characteristics.

      Stuff like that makes me glad I'm an independent researcher with my own money. Self-funding gets around all that red tape--no grants to apply for, no special conditions to fulfill, and no bureaucratic horsing around.