Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Racial Lens Blocks Vision

By Professor Doom


    Angry student: “Why do I have to learn algebra? I’m only going to be teaching eight year olds!”

    Me: “Because the parents of eight year olds want their teachers to know more than an eight year old.”

--I used to get Education majors quite often in my math courses, before they became cloistered into special “Math for Education Majors” courses. I heard complaints similar to the above many, many times.


      As I sit recovering from yet another crushing surgery (13 new surgical scars since last September, if anyone's counting), a reader sent me an article from 2005. So, it’s dated, but highlights how looking at everything through a racist perspective makes it impossible to see the truth. The author of the articles certainly notes the problems I've identified time and again…but perpetually misses the issue:

Racial Equity Requires Teaching Elementary School Teachers More Mathematics ----Patricia Clark Kenschaft

      I can’t believe I’m actually saying an article with “Racial Equity” in the title actually has many good observations in it…but it does. Offsetting my shame is how the author doesn’t realize the value of what she sees. Let’s get started.

      So the author asks black people with degrees in mathematics what can be done to fix the “under-representation” (citation needed by the article, none given) of blacks in mathematics, and one answer comes back strongly:

“Teach mathematics better to all American children. The way it is now, if children don’t learn mathematics at home, they don’t learn it at all, so any ethnic group that is underrepresented in mathematics will remain so until children are taught mathematics better in elementary school.”

     The author is a math teacher herself, and understands the above to mean that children aren’t being taught mathematics well in elementary school. Being in math, and not in Education, she addresses the problem in the obvious way: going to the elementary schools and seeing with her own eyes. She spoke to actual elementary school teachers:

I have found them eager and quick to learn—and appallingly ignorant of the most basic mathematics.

      Appallingly ignorant. Gosh, that’s a clear observation. Why couldn’t the author ask how it was so that the teachers were appallingly ignorant of what they were supposedly teaching children? The teachers had real college degrees, after all, in Education.    

     One study of nine hundred Texas school districts revealed that the large disparities in achievement between black and white students were almost entirely accounted for by socioeconomic status and differences in the measurable qualifications of their teachers.

      Yes, the qualifications of those teachers. Namely, teachers with Education degrees are suspect (there can be some good ones, though), while teachers with degrees in actual subject matter are far less so (there are some bad ones, of course). It’s a shame the author didn’t narrow down the qualifications along obvious lines, and instead chose to be blinded by racial concerns.

       Now, teachers aren’t hired racially (bear with me), so where is the racial inequality coming from? The author smashes her toe into it, and limps on without being curious why she was limping:

It has been my observation that the reason that scores are higher in white districts is that some parents teach their children mathematics at home, and these children teach many of the others. It has appeared to me that the teachers are no better prepared in the high-scoring districts.

      So, the “white districts” have the same fake Educationist teachers as elsewhere, but the parents who knew what was going on, at least before Common Core, could go around the teachers and just teach the material to their own kids, and the kids who weren’t lucky enough to have such parents could learn from friends who did. Common Core, by utterly warping how mathematics is taught, will destroy this option for parents (by design?).

       But the issue here isn’t the racial inequality, it’s that there was a way around the terrible Education teachers. She demonstrates just how little these teachers know by quizzing them:

…I asked the question again. “What is the area of a rectangle that is x by y?”

The teachers were very friendly people, and they know how frustrating it can be when no student answers a question. “x plus y?” said two in the front simultaneously. “What?!!!” I said, horrified. Then all fifty of them shouted together, “x plus y.”

--I have a similar anecdote. Even if I didn’t, the above rings very true for me, as I had some friends, one a valedictorian high school graduate, call me to ask their “math expert” friend about the area of a rectangular piece of real estate they were looking at…they weren’t sure how to do it, but knew the length and width, figuring (rightly) it would be helpful information.

      Time and again she sees with her own eyes why the students aren’t learning math: the teachers don’t know any math. And time and again she ties it to racism.

Educationist: “We’re offering a new math course, taking out the math they don’t need, like squares and rectangles.”

--I’m serious, the course was proposed and offered.

      It’s the ignorance, honest. So ask the dang question already: how are these people who are ignorant becoming qualified to become teachers?

     The author does the right thing again, however, and verifies herself that the kids can learn, by doing the teaching herself.

Its principal invited me to consider that school “my school”. He and the teachers really wanted to help the students. Its students had a median achievement in mathematics of about the 25th percentile on the “Iowas”, one of the lowest levels in Newark. I am now convinced that its rank was due to the fact that the principal did not pressure the teachers to cheat in any way on standardized tests. When I told him this years later, his eyes widened. He was president of the principals’ union. “What? You are saying…” I nodded. Since then I have read numerous reports of systemic cheating on standardized tests and other forms of deception by school administrators,….

--while not the focus of this article, I remind the gentle reader that the fraud going on in standardized testing in public schools is massive, and not restricted to Newark. There’s a reason why the bureaucrats want those standardized tests: they’re very easy to cheat on.

     Since she knows what she’s doing, she’s successful as a teacher. She teaches the kids subtraction…it only takes a few minutes, but they’d never been exposed to the concept at such a young age before, because the usual teacher was a bit shaky on the subject.

…half the children passed the subtraction part of the November standardized test—without any reinforcement from her. [The usual teacher] had never had a child pass it before. The crucial role of mathematical knowledge on the part of the teacher was becoming obvious to me…

      Obvious, yes, but then the author gets distracted yet again:

The children were all African American. The school is in one of the worst neighborhoods of our country’s poorest city. There were no greens growing within a block of the school…

      Yes, certainly, poverty and quality of life are issues but…it’s about the teachers, like the author just observed before looking through the racial lens, who must get college degrees to teach, and get those degrees not in an academic subject but instead in Education.

Admin: “Congratulations to the Education Department, for once again having the highest retention rates and highest GPAs on campus, as well as the greatest growth over all our departments.”

--I saw similar kudos and awards from admin many times when I was at a state university. Admin never thinks twice how their awards system really isn’t helping education. The growth, incidentally, was because every student flunking out in every other major was being herded into the “easy A” Education programs. I don’t want our students to fail but…should our teachers really be the weakest academics we can get?

       It isn’t simply that the teachers we’re putting in the schools are too weak to teach subtraction, even addition is a confusing topic for them:

“In 1999 U.S. cars achieved an average of 28.11 mpg, but light trucks were rated a mere 20.3 mpg. Their mileage was 23.8 mpg altogether. What proportion of American vehicles were light trucks in 1999?”

Answer by the teacher of your children: “‘Altogether’ means add, so the mileage altogether must be 48.41 miles per gallon.”

 I tried to explain but to no avail…

     Seriously, by tying the problem to racism, a huge issue is being overlooked: the children can’t possibly learn from these people. Skin color is irrelevant.

     Rather than focus on how Education departments, in the name of growth, have lowered standards and reduced requirements so that someone completely ignorant of math can teach children math, the author keeps going back to racism with a bit of virtue-signalling:

My own interest in elementary school mathematics education grew out of my equity concerns. Ever since my great-great-grandfather came north from a slave-holding family to fight on the Northern side of the Civil War, my family has been active in race relations…

        I grant that slavery indirectly forced black parents to rely on our flawed education system to learn what the white parents learned but…how about we stop talking about the Civil War and start identifying real problems with our critically flawed Education departments and, vastly more importantly, fixing them?

      I propose stopping with the failed Education degree idea. Start hiring teachers with actual subject knowledge, instead of, at best, the focus on ideology which an Education degree offers. Instead of this simple approach, the author, blinded by the lens of racism, proposes other actions instead:

1.    Structural Change: The mathematical communities need to collaborate with anyone else who will join the effort to lobby strenuously for the need for radically improved teacher knowledge. The major argument is that while once only a few people (white men?)…

     I’ll just stop at the suggestion of white men being the issue. Yes, we need radically improved teacher knowledge. We can do so easily in my one step solution.

2.    Individual Actions: Those who teach in institutions that certify elementary school teachers can work to make sure adequate specific courses are provided for them…

Um…those “adequate specific courses” are already provided in the math departments. Education departments got rid of them, replacing with ideology and “math for education majors” courses. Again, my one stop solution would not require individual action, just common sense.

3.    Remedial Work: Until the current cohort of elementary school teachers retire, the mathematical competence of today’s children will require that their teachers receive continual remedial programs.

Oh, no, not more remediation. That’s a disaster, too. I do concede that many of our current teachers are simply untrained (but absolutely degreed!), but having seen the immense failure of remediation in college, I just do not think we need to double down on failure.

Do the suggestions even stop here? No, the list…

is far from an exhaustive list of either people or activities; it merely indicates examples of good beginnings.

       Yes, we could do all that, and after a decade a more we’ll get nowhere. Alternatively, start hiring subject degree’d people to teach subjects, and watch as, which will be a surprise to Educationists, the kids actually learn the subject, instead of our current system where the teachers are only trained in Education, and thus so incompetent that generally the best a school can hope for is to commit fraud on the standardized tests.

     Anyone looking at today’s system can see how easy the solution is, just as this article, from over a decade ago, could have easily seen the problem and solution.

     Or could if it didn’t keep trying to tie racism into everything.



Saturday, February 23, 2019

21 Reasons Why Higher Ed Is BS

By Professor Doom

     The Chronicle of Higher Education is a mainstream website for higher ed. They generally don’t cover serious criticism of their bread-and-butter, but recently they covered a mostly empty rant by a tenured professor. Since he’s tenured, he can get away with using his real name instead of a pseudonym (most faculty, tenured or not, generally do so):

     While I’m certainly a critic of higher ed and appreciate criticisms in general, this isn’t a very good rant. That said, let me cover some highlights of his many complaints, and then list a few monstrously huge issues he somehow overlooked.

BS is the university’s loss of capacity to grapple with life’s Big Questions, because of our crisis of faith in truth, reality, reason, evidence, argument, civility, and our common humanity.

     I’m certainly willing to concede this has happened to some extent, but I’m disappointed the professor is too afraid to point out why and how it happened. We don’t get to deal with the big questions, perhaps, because we’ve been disempowered by an edu-fascistic takeover of higher ed, the merger of administrative and ideological interests which have de-professionalized scholars to the point that all most of us can do is cower before the might of the true rulers of our universities.

      I’m not sure how this hasn’t occurred to him, and I suspect he was just afraid to point the finger at the Emperors here.

BS is the expectation that a good education can be provided by institutions modeled organizationally on factories, state bureaucracies, and shopping malls — that is, by enormous universities processing hordes of students as if they were livestock, numbers waiting in line, and shopping consumers.

      Again, the edu-fascistic interests who control our schools view the students of livestock, as I identified in an interview with a Poo-Bah. Why won’t you mention from whence the BS comes, professor?

BS is the shifting of the "burden" of teaching undergraduate courses from traditional tenure-track faculty to miscellaneous, often-underpaid adjunct faculty and graduate students.

     But, every dollar not spent on education is a dollar which can go into an administrator’s pocket. It really is curious he doesn’t consider where these changes are coming from.

BS is third-tier universities offering mediocre graduate programs to train second-rate Ph.D. students for jobs that do not exist, whose real function is to provide faculty with graduate RAs and to justify the title of "university."

      These programs exist because they create growth for the school. That they do great harm to human beings by wasting years of their lives for worthless degrees is irrelevant. And, again, it doesn’t take much to realize from where these “initiatives” for these programs originate.

       In short, much of his complaints deal with the administrative side of what’s happened to higher ed. Does he know about the ideological takeover?

BS is the grossly lopsided political ideology of the faculty of many disciplines, especially in the humanities and social sciences, creating a homogeneity of worldview to which those faculties are themselves oblivious, despite claiming to champion difference, diversity, and tolerance.

     The above is his only complaint against the ideological homogeneity of our campuses. While I give him credit for identifying the hypocrisy here, I do wish he’d had the courage to specifically identify which side has taken over (hint: it’s not the Right).

      I do wish he’d spent more time on this problem, because it’s a major factor in what’s happened on campus. Instead of studying actual academic subjects, concepts which have guided humanity for over a thousand years, the takeover has encouraged academics to be removed, and replaced by, well, BS subjects of no educational value (hi Gender Studies, although it’s not alone on campus).

BS is hypercommercialized college athletics and administrations sucking the teats of big money, often in the process exploiting and discarding rather than educating student athletes, and recurrently corrupting recruitment programs, tutoring services, and grading systems.

     The professor only lightly touches on the corrupted sportsball on our campuses, so allow me to fill in some details of the above. Sportsball athletes are supposed to also be students. Yes, some of them are legitimate students, but a great many really are just athletes. Since a top team needs those athletes to be competitive, “recruitment” tactics to get them can be pretty slimy. To make them look like students, these athletes often get their own special “tutors,” who do their academic work for them so they have more time to practice sportsball, and, ultimately, their grades are simply rubber stamps. UNC was caught doing this, but as UNC readily admits (after having no choice in the matter), they’re not the only school engaging in such practices, just, perhaps, the only one who allowed the fake athlete/academic system to leak into the general student population (or should I say “student herd” instead?).

BS is the ascendant "culture of offense" that shuts down the open exchange of ideas and mutual accountability to reason and argument. It is university leaders’ confused and fearful capitulation to that secular neo-fundamentalist speech-policing.

BS is the invisible self-censorship that results among some students and faculty, and the subtle corrective training aimed at those who occasionally do not self-censor.

      To be fair, I guess I should include the above as part of his criticisms of the ideological takeover of many of our campuses, although I do find it to be far too subtle. Which side is forbidding the open exchange of ideas, professor?  Which side are the “leaders” capitulating to? Which side supports censorship?

      Speaking of “subtle,” I’m not sure that “corrective training” he refers to is subtle. These “white hate” seminars can turn into days of indoctrination, and the threats of being forcibly subjected to such are seldom delivered subtly.

      Sadly, the comments don’t add much to the professor’s rant, with only one person pointing out how none of it is supported by any provided evidence. I grant that much of what he has to say is self-evident, but I still think his clear fear of pointing the finger at who/what is responsible for the great quantities of BS in higher ed is fairly revealing.

        Much as Voltaire said, to learn who rules, determine who you are not allowed to criticize. The gentle reader should carefully consider who the professor fails to criticize here, to answer the all-important “why” campuses are drowning in BS right now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Losing Your Job To Student Debt

By Professor Doom

     Government stupidity clearly knows no bounds. We have tens of millions of people now with student loan debt, a debt which is often too large to pay back thanks to government interference, and cannot be cleared via bankruptcy. But the government wants “its” money, and gets to create the laws. We’re already seeing students loans now go beyond death (again, stupid…), but that’s just not enough:

     In times past, there were debtor’s prisons, but we abandoned those because we realized that a debtor has even less chance of paying back his loans when in prison, and having The State take care of the debtor only added insult to injury.

      Today we have too-large loans so students can get an education, or in this case a job license, which leads to a job which doesn’t pay enough to cover the interest on the loan.

     And the government response to this idiocy is to take away the license so the victim will be even less likely to get a job which can help pay off the loan. As I so often say when looking at our student loan system, I can’t make this stuff up.

As many as 100 health care workers have lost their license to practice in Florida because they can’t repay their student loans…

      I know, a hundred people is a piffling number, but it was only a few years ago that less than a hundred senior citizens were having their social security checks claimed to pay off student loans…and today it’s tens of thousands. It isn’t that hard to see these problems coming from years away, and with well over 45,000,000 people with student loan debt today, we can expect this issue to get much, much, worse in the coming years.

The move to suspend health care licenses comes after federal student loan companies spent years lobbying states to adopt laws to punish those who default on student loans by taking away their professional licenses.

But an ABC Action News review found Florida is the only state enforcing those laws.

    The gentle reader should note carefully: the laws allowing this are already on the books, it’s only Florida enforcing the laws. As more and more states become strapped for cash thanks to our failing government pension system, you can expect other states to “suddenly” start enforcing these laws as well.

…12 other states (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas) still have the power to take away health care licenses for unpaid student loans,…

     None of this stuff needs to be a surprise to anyone, honest. If you have a student loan, and a job license, note carefully those other states and see if you can move out of them. Of course, nothing can prevent more states from enacting these laws.

…state’s Board of Health estimates it suspended between 90 and 120 health care licenses – including professional certifications for registered nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, pharmacists and opticians

     These are real jobs, by the way, we’re not talking putting baristas out of work here.

And four states – Montana, Oklahoma, New Jersey and North Dakota – have already repealed laws allowing health care license suspensions for unpaid student loans.

     One of the real benefits of our system of government is each state can operate independently (subject to basic rights), and so people worried about this problem could just move to another state. Granted, our citizens keep voting to give themselves less and less independence…imagine how devastating it would be if there were a Federal law allowing licenses to be seized for student debts?  There’d be no escape at all.

      It’d be almost as devastating as if there were a Federal system of student loans, guaranteeing any school massive amounts of loot no matter what state the school was in. Oh, wait…

“It’s trying to take too much away,” Picone said. “This person may end up on Medicaid, receive food stamps. All this is more money that we will have to pay.”

     Yeah, no kidding. The fact that health care workers are being targeted for removal of those oh-so-expensive licenses sure doesn’t help either, as it inevitably will drive up health care costs.

And under Florida law, once the state suspends a license for student loan default, the only way to get it back is to pay a fine equal to 10 percent of the balance, plus state investigation costs.

     Yes, yes it can get more stupid. They take away the victim’s source of money, and if the victim wants it back, he has to pay a lump sum of…money.

The U.S. Department of Education estimates more than 10 percent of student loan borrowers are in default.

     Yeah, “more than 10 percent” is one way to put it, though a more realistic estimate is past 30 percent. There is a wide range of “programs” to hide the defaults, either by having the victim go back to school (say, for 1 class a semester for the next decade), or devastating “income based repayment” plans which inevitably put the victim even deeper in debt, even as, technically, there is no default. There’s a reason why Millenials expect to die in debt, after all.

The federal government estimates Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student debt – a figure now larger than outstanding U.S. credit card and vehicle debt combined.

    I’m quoting a fairly recent article, but once again the numbers are off. A more realistic estimate of total student debt is $1.5 trillion, not that it much matters at either level, as we know much of this won’t be repaid, any more than the national debt ever will be. The best these victims can hope for is to pay interest for the rest of their lives even as their debts rise and rise, much as this is the best the taxpayer can hope for.

     Granted, the Federal government can just keep printing money, so I guess it’ll never default in the most literal sense. It’s a shame there’s no law to take away their printing presses, but not a surprise since the government would have to pass such a law. It’s a double shame that victims of the student debt scam can find themselves not only deep in debt, but unable to get a decent job to pay off that debt.

     Of course, we could just end the student loan scam so that future generations won’t be destroyed…

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Look At The Most Predatory Student Loan Lender

By Professor Doom

     Most people are entirely unaware of how serious the student loan problem is, so allow me to put it in context. Smoking tobacco is universally agreed to be a very bad thing to do. We have almost 38 million smokers in this country, and over 80% of smokers regret taking up the habit.

      We have about fifty million people in this country with student loan debt, and round a third of them regret going to college and getting those loans.

     While student loans aren’t quite as much a public concern as smoking, it’s clearly a big issue. While we’re warned literally on every box of cigarettes about smoking, and certainly told often enough about it, we get very few warnings about student loans, and certainly no warnings appear on student loan checks.

     Of course, those cigarette warnings only appear due to government force. Why are there no commensurate warnings about student loans? A recent article answers this question, while looking at an extremely predatory student loan lender:

--I guess the title gives it away.

      Part of what makes the student loans so deadly is their inescapability, the latter provided through government force. You can’t get out of them through bankruptcy, and even so-called “loan forgiveness” programs generally have no forgiveness for 99.5% of applicants.

    New research from Adam Looney and Vivien Lee of the Brookings Institution illustrates just how out-of-control the parental loan program has grown. In 2014, the average parent borrower held $38,812 in Parent PLUS debt at the conclusion of her child’s education—an increase of more than $17,000 from just three years prior.

     Wow, a 78% increase in 3 years. If that keeps up, the average borrower would have well over a billion dollars in debt in less than 60 years. I’ll leave it to the gentle reader to check my math there, but bottom line it’s very clear this can’t keep going forever, there’s just no way our economic system will tolerate loaning out a billion dollars each to thousands of people like that. I hope.

   Because the federal government effectively imposes no caps on Parent PLUS lending, the program gives colleges broad latitude to raise tuition…

     This is exactly the problem we have: no matter what tuition is, the loan will be made to cover it. While I’m confident this problem will be fixed before a four-year degree costs a billion dollars, what’s this “great government program” doing to people today?

Despite slower rates of repayment, parental loans actually make money for the government. Taxpayers net 13 cents for every dollar disbursed, and parent loans are the only category of federal student loans to turn a profit. This profitability is because parents pay higher interest rates (currently 7.6 percent) and are ineligible for several loan forgiveness programs that student borrowers can access.

     In case the reader missed it, it’s the government that’s the predatory lender here, and it’s clear the government is making money off this. I trust now it’s clear why there are no government-enforced warnings on student loans.

This profitability is because parents pay higher interest rates (currently 7.6 percent) and are ineligible for several loan forgiveness programs that student borrowers can access.

     I dispute the success of the programs alleged above, but there are a great number of ways students can delay/defer repayments of loans, the most common being simply going back to school, as well as “income based repayment plans.” Both end up trapping students in mountains of unpayable debt, of course.

     Here’s the real problem with these loans:

In 2015, 18 percent of families receiving a Parent PLUS loan had an expected family contribution of zero. In other words, the federal government determines that hundreds of thousands of parents can contribute nothing to their children’s college education, and then turns around and gives those same families tens of thousands of dollars in high-interest loans.

     To summarize: the government knows the parents can’t afford to pay, but loans them the money anyway. How is this not a recipe for financial disaster?

      I really should mention: I have no problem with private banks making private loans to students. I think it unwise, but as long as there’s no government system forcing the parents to pay it back, I suspect many of these loans would not be made…tuition would not be allowed to skyrocket…and the loans wouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

      Of course, having the government involved changes everything:

If parents fall into default, the government has the power to garnish their wages and seize their tax refunds, charging collection fees of up to 20 percent along the way. And other questionable practices abound; a New America study found that financial aid award letters sometimes do not even make it clear to families that Parent PLUS loans are loans.

If any entity but the federal government were making loans on these terms, it would be labeled a predatory lender and incur the full wrath of regulators at every level of government.

--emphasis added.

      It isn’t simply that our government is a predatory lender, it’s also that there’s no way to stop it. While a business engaging in these practices would be shut down, that’s just not an option for our government (Trump’s activities aside, though his “shut down” isn’t nearly good enough for anyone with Libertarian leanings).

            As always, I submit that we need to end these government loan programs, as this would do more for our citizens, and for our system of higher education, than anything else. The article knows such a helpful idea will take as much Herculean effort to implement as building a border wall:

But eliminating Parent PLUS loans with no replacement is a nonstarter in a divided Congress. It probably wouldn’t go far even under a united Republican government, given that the GOP’s 2017 proposal to overhaul the federal role in higher education did not eliminate Parent PLUS loans and still could not attract any Democratic supporters. Ending the predatory parent loan program will require compromises.

     Indeed, stopping the student loan scam is a political nonstarter…but if things continue, the average loan per parent in this system will be over a billion dollars. Stopping the student loan scam may be impossible politically, but eventually it will stop in reality.

     Please let it be soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Daughters Coming Home From College With Mustaches Is A Thing Now

By Professor Doom

     The gender dysphoria madness affecting our culture is a bit of a puzzle to me. Yes, I knew about people who wanted a sex change, thirty or more years ago…but they were rare things, and I couldn’t claim to have even been in the same room as, much less met, such a person until just a few years ago.

      Added to this mix is there seems to be a great number of people who think, maybe, they might be the opposite gender, and just aren’t sure. I hardly know what to make of it. Is it truly a result of school indoctrination, or are there some chemical additives nowadays that affect some people more than others?

      The current wave of gender dysphoric children do little to answer my question—children are more vulnerable to indoctrination than adults, but also have been exposed to any alleged chemicals for a greater proportion of their lives (particularly the early years, which strike me as more capable of affecting one’s sexuality).

      A recent article leans me back towards indoctrination, if it is to believed:

      The College Fix, where I’ve taken the above, is a credible site, I’ve backtracked a number of their articles’ claims and found they’re more accurate than many sites (and far better than mainstream media, an admittedly low bar).

     ‘She went from hating white males to now wanting to become one’

     The above is my first concern here. It’s hardly a secret that white males, males in general even, are second-class citizens on many campuses. If we were talking about indoctrination, one might expect, then, that this article should be covering sons coming home with breasts.

     At least, if males and females were equally vulnerable to indoctrination, and males and females were equally represented on campus. The latter is definitely not true, but the former? My own eyeballs, however, have seen more females with gender dysphoria or at least thinking they might have it, than males. For the sake of argument, then, I’m willing to concede females are easier to talk into thinking they’re the wrong gender than males (although perhaps someone might tell such females that such a vulnerability means they are, in fact, female…).

     In fact, a recent column in The Wall Street Journal reports that “health plans at 86 colleges—including those of nearly every Ivy League school—cover not only cross-sex hormones but surgery as well.”

      Arg. It seems every week I have to fight with my (very expensive) insurance for basic treatments and medications which have been long been established as effective for my endless cancer treatments.

      Meanwhile, our college students are getting sex-change surgery approved? This is nuts, especially when suicide rates for post-op transsexuals are higher than for pre-op.

      Insurance companies aren’t stupid, they would only cover this if university admin told them to do so, and were willing to pay extra for this clearly very questionable procedure for many people. What is wrong with these leaders?

     I’m told there’s nothing wrong with people wanting to change their gender…although if this were the case this should be considered elective treatment, and not covered by insurance. But I digress.

     The piece featured the phenomenon of “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” described as overwhelmingly afflicting girls who then receive the full support of the medical community.

     Rapid onset? Then we are talking about indoctrination. Just as indoctrination can, over a relatively brief period of time, convince a person 4 lights are in fact 5 lights, so too I can believe even one’s own perceived proper gender can be changed as well.

     The article has a few anecdotes, but one thing struck me:

Among the issues it covers, 4thWaveNow chronicles the same trend The Wall Street Journal recently reported on as well: “When Your Daughter Defies Biology.”

      4thwavenow is a website/community for parents who are seeing their college children suddenly “converted” to being transgender. Much like the “autism occurring right after vaccination” stories were just isolated anecdotes until the parents started to form communities, identifying just how often parents were seeing with their own eyes their kids turning autistic immediately after vaccination, so too are we seeing citizens, and not mainstream organizations, identifying this trend.

     4thwavenow gives a report of what someone is seeing at her college:

By one month into my freshman year, the number of trans people I knew personally or by association was growing steadily. The school is small enough that even if you don’t know someone by name, you’ve probably seen them around. There were many boys wearing eyeliner but those were boys. There were girls wearing eyeliner that were also boys. Boys with small beards that were actually girls. And everything in between. One of my roommates started dating a “cis-passing” trans boy. Someone I met at the beginning of the year whose name was Tim would now like me to relearn that name as Rebecca…

     Trangenderism should be affecting only a small percentage (sub 1%) of the population, so if the above is bumping into so many transgenders at her school, then, indeed, we have a problem. Her school, incidentally is a small, liberal arts college, one where the bathrooms are identified not so much by gender as by “with urinals” or “without urinals.”

      I favor small schools, but I have to admit those small liberal arts schools really are developing a reputation for extreme Leftist lunacy (as opposed to the more normal Leftist lunacy we’re seeing at the larger schools).

    The above paper, from Brown University, suggests that this wave of transgenderism might well be a form of mass hysteria. Trouble is, this hysteria is being encouraged through irreversible surgery and often irreversible hormone treatments.


      The paper has been memory-holed to a considerable extent, which is a shame. The sane response to such a paper would be to stop treating victims of this hysteria with irreversible treatments. Our campuses are so insane now, of course, that we are actually providing such unhealthful treatments with student health insurance.

      Students are paying the premiums on that coverage with the student loan scam. Bottom line, student loans aren’t just hurting education; shutting down the student loan scam would actually improve the health of our students as well.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Why Gen Z Is Leaving College

By Professor Doom

     College enrollments have been falling the last few years, as I’ve said a few times. The loss of students is coming from the kids right out of high school, who leave wondering what to do next.

       In times past, college was always the plan for the new high school graduate. I don’t blame them for making this (often poor) choice, as the indoctrination starts very early:

      The Flat Stanley Project basically has 2nd graders make a paper puppet, which they then send to a college student. The student then takes the puppet around campus, maybe takes a few pictures, and writes back to the small child about how great college is.

     The college student in this case is typically a freshman community college student, taking a puppet around campus for a grade in his “Freshman Orientation” class (orientation used to be an afternoon’s effort, but now our campuses are so large that a 14 week course is called for). Those six year olds would be better served if they heard from someone a few years out from college, trying to pay back his student loan debt while working a minimum wage job.

       The point is, the indoctrination into college starts very early, and is relentless. But the high school graduates are no longer listening, no more than sane people listen to CNN.

       I’ve been talking about the falling enrollments for years, but this “news” is finally trickling into our more common media:

--it’s interesting they use the word “skipping” here. There was a time, not that long ago, when college was just something a minority of our population did. Most folks didn’t “skip” college any more than they “skipped” taking a trip to China.

     Generation Z, people born 1990 or later, are ignoring the 12 years of indoctrination they received in public school, and at long last heading to trade school instead.

      Repeatedly the article cites money as the key factor in breaking the indoctrination:

“I think those [trade] jobs go unfilled because skilled labor is looked down upon, even though those skilled labor people make more money than I do,” she explained. “I don’t know if people don’t want to work as physically hard as they used to, or if they see their families who’ve worked hard physically, or if those families are saying, ‘Don’t do what I did.’

--emphasis added.

     Higher education is so expensive that now taking out a loan is primary way people can “afford” it. Trouble is, the only rational reason for taking out a loan is to get something which will help pay off the loan. Higher education used to be about education…but now it must be about money.

       But why is Gen Z realizing this, and not the kids heading onto campus, say, a decade ago?

       Well, money of course. Gen Z doesn’t have the money to go to college without taking out a loan. They can’t get it from their parents, who are still paying off their own student loans. A decade or so ago, kids got their grandparents to help with the loans, but Gen Z is in a position to see how that plan works out:

     A few decades ago, it was quite the rarity to see a senior citizen impoverished due to student loans, but now it’s quite common:

"Today, over 700,000 people relying on Social Security are still paying their student loans," said Thompson. "Over 160,000 Social Security beneficiaries have their monthly checks garnished to pay off federal student loans

     So, Gen Z sees not one, but two generations being destroyed by student loans for an education, an education which clearly won’t help to pay off the student loans. They’re starting to walk away.

     I feel the need to point out higher education has failed on two levels here. On the first level, it failed by lack of integrity. The sheer greed of our “leaders” in higher ed let them raise, and raise, and raise, tuition, sucking up all that loan money.

       I assure the gentle reader, it takes no more resources to train someone in English literature or mathematics today (just takes books and study) than it did 50 years ago…but tuition has skyrocketed. I grant some degrees are more expensive, for example electrical engineering takes a fairly expensive lab and materials to train a student, although the cost is the same for an EE degree as it is for literature or mathematics. If you want to learn how to hate white males (i.e., get a Gender Studies degree), the cost is still the same…but now you’re not even learning anything academic, and hurting your chances of even getting a job pouring coffee.

       Higher ed could have shown a tiny bit of imagination here and started to splice up tuition costs so that less intensive, less jobs-worthy, degrees didn’t cost the same as degrees far more precious in the workplace, but our leaders have no such imagination.

       The other level where higher ed has failed? In training time. It takes 4 years to train a mathematician, or a historian, or an electrical engineer, because we have 4 year degrees. Now, our leaders in higher ed did realize that jobs training was becoming more important to kids coming out of high school, and responded by creating jobs-related degrees.

      Trouble is, those degrees also take 4 years. So we have 4 year hotel management degrees, even though you can learn everything you need to know about that, and many other jobs, in six months at best.

      Gen Z sees they can spend $100,000 and 4 (more realistically, 6) years getting an electrical engineering degree, and maybe make $60,000 a year after an unlikely graduation, or take a yearlong course on becoming an electrician, for 1/10th of the price, and make $80,000 a year.

      Seriously, higher ed didn’t just drop the ball here, it took a knife, slashed the ball, and tossed it into a sewer. I doubt that years from now, when people see our abandoned campuses and note the endless blocks of dilapidated palaces which formerly housed legions of administrators, it will be understood what happened by most, but I am trying to explain now, today.

“If you’re a doctor, people admire you and you have the glory,” he told me. “If you’re a construction worker, you may get paid the same as a doctor, but you don’t look as good.”

      Our economy is so warped on so many levels now. Our medical care system is so demented that a doctor, after a dozen years of training to use the most sophisticated tools the modern world has, scarcely has a better job than a construction worker who needed a year at most to learn how to use his tools, many of which are little different than what they were a few thousand years ago.

      Now, I grant that, in a generation or three, the guy holding a shovel won’t be making as much as the doctor, but prior to generation Z, we had so many kids indoctrinated into college, missing their chance to learn a useful trade, that we’re now in this situation. Gen Z is wise to take advantage of our currently demented system, and I’m optimistic it’ll work out for them.

     Maybe they’ll even make enough to help pay off their grandparents’ and parents’ student loans.