Category Archives: Education

Ten Reasons People Still Need Cursive


1. Cursive Helps People Integrate Knowledge

As Dr. William Klemm argues in Psychology Today, “Cursive writing helps train the brain to integrate visual, and tactile information, and fine motor dexterity. School systems, driven by ill-informed ideologues and federal mandate, are becoming obsessed with testing knowledge at the expense of training kids to develop better capacity for acquiring knowledge.”

2. Writing Long-form Teaches Us How to Write

There is a direct relationship between quality of handwriting and the quality of written text. The significant cognitive demands of writing combined with the added cognitive load of physically writing means it is important for a student to be able to handwrite effortlessly.

3. Our Hands Should Be Multilingual

During early childhood, writing letters improves letter recognition, and we use the hand and brain differently when writing than when typing. In fact, it is important to teach it all: typing, manuscript, and cursive: or, being “multilingual by hand” as Dr. Virginia Berninger states.

4. We Learn Better When We Write It Down

Two psychologists ran studies in which they realized students learn better taking handwritten notes as opposed to typing on a computer—even with Internet distractions disabled.

5. Handwriting Leads to Cognitive Development, Self-Esteem, and Academic Success

Failure to create fluency in written script has negative effects on both academic success and self-esteem. Even though typing seems ubiquitous, handwriting is still “the most immediate form of graphic communication.” In addition, no other task taught in school requires as much synchronization as handwriting.

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Gov. Scott Walker: I refuse to take the media’s bait


Americans believe our nation is facing some substantial challenges. Government spending is out of control. Terrorists seek to destroy our way of life. Our economic recovery has been slow. Our borders aren’t secure. The federal government has usurped powers that rightly belong to our states.

I hear from people who lost their jobs and are back in the workforce but who still have not quite made it back to where they were before the recession — and they wonder when, or if, they’ll ever get there.

Across party lines and state lines, Americans want America to be secure and prosperous again. And they’re looking for leaders who can focus on that goal and who will get results.

One thing we’ve learned in Wisconsin through all our challenges and successes over the past four years, is when we keep our focus on what matters to the people, we earn their respect, if not always their agreement. And, in a purple state that hasn’t gone to a Republican presidential candidate in 30 years, our approach has translated into three wins in four years.

There has been much discussion about a media double standard where Republicans are covered differently than Democrats, asked to weigh in on issues the Democrats don’t face. As a result, when we refuse to take the media’s bait, we suffer.

I felt it this week when I was asked to weigh in on what other people said and did and what others’ beliefs are. If you are looking for answers to those questions, ask those people.

I will always choose to focus on what matters to the American people, not what matters to the media.

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Filed under Americana, Economics, Education, Employment, Government, Immigration, MSM

The progressive ideas behind the lack of free speech on campus


These days, when students talk about threats to their safety and demand access to “safe spaces,” they’re often talking about the threat of unwelcome speech and demanding protection from the emotional disturbances sparked by unsettling ideas. It’s not just rape that some women on campus fear: It’s discussions of rape. At Brown University, a scheduled debate between two feminists about rape culture was criticized for, as the Brown Daily Herald put it, undermining “the University’s mission to create a safe and supportive environment for survivors.” In a school-wide e-mail, Brown President Christina Paxon emphasized her belief in the existence of rape culture and invited students to an alternative lecture, to be given at the same time as the debate. And the Daily Herald reported that students who feared being “attacked by the viewpoints” offered at the debate could instead “find a safe space” among “sexual assault peer educators, women peer counselors and staff” during the same time slot. Presumably they all shared the same viewpoints and could be trusted not to “attack” anyone with their ideas.

How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?

You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.

This reliance on subjectivity, in the interest of equality, is a recipe for arbitrary, discriminatory enforcement practices, with far-reaching effects on individual liberty. The tendency to take subjective allegations of victimization at face value — instrumental in contemporary censorship campaigns — also leads to the presumption of guilt and disregard for due process in the progressive approach to alleged sexual assaults on campus.

This is a dangerously misguided approach to justice. “Feeling realities” belong in a therapist’s office. Incorporated into laws and regulations, they lead to the soft authoritarianism that now governs many American campuses. Instead of advancing equality, it’s teaching future generations of leaders the “virtues” of autocracy.

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Filed under "Political Correctness", *Trigger Warning!*, College Bubble, Culture, Education, Stupidity, Useful Idiots

Union dues deductions on chopping block in Oklahoma


Scott Walker did it. So did Sam Brownback. Now Oklahoma is considering getting state government out of the business of collecting union dues. Even in the nation’s reddest state (not one county voted for Obama in either of his presidential elections), the reform is drawing intense fire from the union political machine.

Oklahoma became a right-to-work state in 2001, protecting the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in a union. Yet like many right-to-work states, Oklahoma has continued to provide special perks and powers to public-sector unions. One of these is collecting union dues.

In January, State Rep. Tom Newell (R-Seminole) introduced legislation to get the state out of union dues collection. The two-page bill addresses only state-level unions, including teachers but not local police and fire employees. It has no effect on the freedom of employees to join or not join unions. It just requires the unions to collect their own dues.

Union executives are nonplussed, and not just about the possibility of losing an administrative benefit. Government dues collection is an official seal of approval, putting union dues on the same level as taxes, insurance premiums, and retirement contributions. This is also part of the reason legislators are calling the practice into question.

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The Campus Cult of Victimhood


The University of Michigan’s chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom invited me to give a speech. A banner warning the “thought police” of my imminent arrival was torn down, presumably by the irony-impaired thought police.

The university has been in the news recently for such shenanigans and worse. For instance, student Omar Mahmood, a columnist for both the Michigan Daily and the conservative Michigan Review, was fired from the Daily for writing a parody piece for the Review about the oppression of the “left-handyd.” In the piece, Mahmood’s narrator takes a comment from a “white cis-gendered hetero upper-class man” as microaggression. “Behind his words I sensed a patronizing sneer, as if he expected me to be a spokespersyn for my whole race. He offered his hand to help me up, and I thought to myself how this might be a manifestation of the patriarchy patronizing me.”

The humor-deficient editors of the Michigan Daily were not amused. They claimed the column had created a “hostile environment” because one of the editors felt “threatened” by Mahmood’s mockery of microaggressions. He was ultimately fired. Later, Mahmood’s dorm doorway was pelted with eggs and festooned with profanity-laced notes and, oddly, a picture of Satan.

The administration’s efforts to find the perpetrators appear lackadaisical compared with O. J. Simpson’s pursuit of the real killers. Of course, if Mahmood, a Muslim, had been attacked for something related to his religious faith, you can bet the administration would go to DEFCON 1.

That’s because the University of Michigan wants to be an intolerance-free zone — so long as it’s intolerance of things the administration finds intolerable.

To that end, the school rolled out its Inclusive Language Campaign. It contains a list of taboo phrases that no one should use, lest they give offense. The campaign is intended to be “educational, not regulatory,” though some students report that they’ve been asked to sign a pledge vowing to avoid using such phrases as “ghetto,” “that’s so gay,” “that’s retarded,” and “tranny.”

Instead, we are teaching young people that being offended is an ideological priority. Indeed, the coin of the campus realm today is victimhood, grievance, and offense. An entirely well-intentioned — and syntactically accurate — use of the wrong word is an invitation to being called a racist, homophobe, sexist, etc. (while actual disagreement is tantamount to heresy). The burden of proof then falls on the accused, a burden that often can’t be met absent re-education. And for the offended “victim,” a stupid comment or even a harmless newspaper column becomes a source of trauma. Yes, words can hurt. But teaching these delicate flowers to make too big a deal out of them will likely do more lasting damage.

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Filed under "Political Correctness", *Trigger Warning!*, Culture, Education, Homofascism, Stupidity, Useful Idiots

Why The Left Fear Scott Walker


There is not, and has not been for a long time, a question of the existence of overwhelming liberal bias at institutions of higher education. The inquiries into the phenomenon focus on why that structural bias exists and persists. Whatever the reasons, it’s easy to understand why the liberal establishment wants to protect the biased architecture of American education.

And protect it they do. A college degree has become a kind of certification for entry into many of the higher reaches of the American economy. The government benefits from this financially by running the student-loan scheme, which drives up tuition costs and thus benefits not only big government but its liberal allies in academic administration.

And it’s a self-perpetuating cycle, which is why Democrats are so keen to guard it jealously. The system as it’s currently set up means educational attainment correlates, in general, to higher income. But that education gets increasingly expensive, which puts it in easier reach of those with higher income, who tend to have more education, etc. As the Economist notes, “the best predictor of an American child’s success in school has long been the parents’ educational level”–though money, which is also now related to educational level, “is an increasingly important factor.”

The Democrats’ approach thus perpetuates inequality, which they blame on “the rich” in order to win national office, which they use to perpetuate this system of inequality–another cycle.

Scott Walker calls this whole scheme into question. It’s not that his experience teaches that you don’t need a college degree to get a good job; it’s that you shouldn’t need to need a college degree to have professional and/or political success. Kids shouldn’t be discouraged from going to college and getting their degree as long as the current system persists, in which it usually makes sense for them to get that degree (if they can).

The point is that the system itself shouldn’t persist, at least in its current form. Walker, then, is living proof that the system can and should be reformed, and the world won’t end. Walker is representative of the potential of those outside the liberal economic elite and those who are severely underserved by the government’s college racket and union-friendly approach to education. That’s why Walker’s personal story matters, and why it’s such a threat to the left.

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Filed under College Bubble, Economics, Education, GOP, Liberals, MSM, Politics, Wisconsin

Obama’s not the only one with a pen…

Republicans Think They’ve Finally Figured Out How to Kill Unions

This week, newly elected Illinois governor Bruce Rauner signed an executive order that will prevent public-sector unions in the state from collecting mandatory dues from employees who choose to decline union membership. Those fees, often called “fair share” dues, are unions’ guarantee that the people who benefit from union contracts will kick in their fair share for the cost of organizing and running the union, regardless of whether or not they choose to participate in it.

Fair share dues have been a feature of union organizing since their beginning; the movement against those dues seems to date back over 100 years. But it wasn’t until the 1940s, when a racist oil lobbyist named Vance Muse pushed for right-to-work bills, which allow people to opt-out of paying union dues and membership, even if a workplace is unionized and every employee benefits from a union-negotiated contract. It was an attempt to stop unions from pushing for integration and for the economic power of the working class (especially African Americans); the practice began to catch on. Now, 25 states have some form of right-to-work legislation on the books.

Before becoming governor, Rauner was one of the heads of GTCR, a private equity firm that specialized in finding smaller companies in local markets, merging them with similar companies, and giving them a star CEOa process which often involved layoffs of workers. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that, to hear Rauner tell it, the fair share fee is the only thing keeping the state’s unemployment rate above 6 percent.

“Forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers,” Rauner said. “An employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree. That is a clear violation of First Amendment rightsand something that, as governor, I am duty bound to correct.”

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Jindal’s Message to Republicans: ‘Don’t Become Just Cheaper Democrats’


Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal said Republicans in Congress should follow through on their campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and not become “cheaper Democrats.”

He also called on Muslim leaders to condemn radical Islamic terrorism.

“Individual Muslim leaders have a responsibility to denounce, not just the acts of violence, but these individuals, to say they’re not going to enjoy a reward in the afterlife but rather they’re going to go straight to hell for these awful barbaric acts they continue to commit, killing schoolchildren, killing teenagers for watching soccer, burning a man alive, killing cartoonists because they don’t like their products,” Jindal said during an American Principles Project event on Common Core.

Jindal also said leaders of the Western world have a responsibility to insist on assimilation and integration for those who want to live in America.

“It’s somehow racist to tell people if you want to come to America, we insist that you come to be Americans — and to me, it’s nonsensical that we allow people to come into our society and use the freedoms we give everybody to undermine those very freedoms,” he said.

“I’m against this whole hyphenated idea, you know, we’re not Indian-Americans, we’re not African-Americans, we’re not Italian-Americans or Irish-Americans, we’re Americans. My mom, my dad, they love their heritage, they’re proud, they love India but my parents would tell me when we were growing up, they’d say, ‘If we wanted you to raise you an Indians, we would have stayed in India. We came here to raise you as Americans,’” he added.

Jindal called Common Core a violation of the 10th Amendment since it allows the federal government to make curriculum decisions. He criticized the No Child Left Behind Act, labeling the law a mistake.

“If we want to keep the Republic that we have, our government can only be as good as our citizens. And the reality is that means we need an educated population equipped with critical-thinking skills, equipped with the ability to select and hire and fire our own leaders,” he said.

“In our entire history as a country, we’ve never allowed the federal government to make these decisions for us. Now is not the time to start. Common Core is not worth breaking this precedent of trusting the American people, trusting moms and dads over these elite bureaucrats living right here in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

The possible presidential candidate said he has heard some Republicans argue that it would be too difficult and too disruptive to roll back Obamacare.

“My message to the Republican Party, the Republican leaders, the Republican elected officials is, first, do what you promised us you were going to do when you asked us to vote for you. Second, don’t become just cheaper Democrats. We don’t need Democrat Light,” Jindal said.

“What’s the point of having a Republican Party if it’s only going to become a second liberal party in Washington, D.C.? Our candidates said they were going to repeal and replace Obamacare – that means all of it, that means you get rid of all the tax increases, you get rid of all regulations, all the spending, all of it,” he added.

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Scott Walker Didn’t Finish College. And?

The man already has the job without the degree…

The Washington Post has a long article up about Scott Walker’s formative years. It has some fine reporting, but the overall tone and headline are curious: “As Scott Walker mulls White House bid, questions linger over college exit.”

Questions linger? Over what, exactly? It’s not a secret and it never has been that Walker didn’t finish college (well, it hasn’t been a secret in spite of the fact the obtuse scolds at Daily Kos are a bit confused). He left Marquette in his fourth year. Since then, Walker has had quite a political career as Milwaukee County Executive, in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and now Governor. After all that time in public life, the majority of voters of Wisconsin haven’t had an issue with the man’s general intelligence level and it seems obvious enough that he’s a capable man. So why is the Post implying that his lack of a college degree is some sort of liability?

Insisting on academic credentials as a way of evaluating leadership abilities — let alone suggesting that being a few credits shy of an undergraduate degree is disqualifying — is so worthless that it boggles the mind that Democrats would even float this as a talking point. In fact, based on the 2014 mid-term results, Democrats’ inability to woo white voters without college degrees is starting to really hurt them at the ballot box.

For decades now, America’s higher education system has ill-served Americans. If you can weld, you can land a job making six-figures tomorrow. If you recently acquired a B.A. in Sociology, well, can you tell me how you do that thing where you make the foam on top a latte look like a heart? There’s a reason why the lack of a college degree is practically celebrated in Silicon Valley. Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are all college dropouts. Peter Thiel says a college “diploma is a dunce hat in disguise” and wants to blow the higher-ed system up entirely. Sixty-three of the people on the Forbes 400 don’t have college degrees.

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Florida father furious at school lesson: ‘Muhammad is the messenger of God’


Ron Wagner, a Florida father, said his son’s world history book has gone too far with a lesson that teaches Muhammad is the messenger of God.

One part of the book, for instance, reads: “There is no god, but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God,” he said, quoting from his son’s Lyman High School history book, WFTV reported.

“Students were instructed to recite this prayer as the first Pillar of Islam, off of the board at the teacher’s instruction,” Mr. Wagner said. “For it to be mandatory and part of the curriculum and in the textbooks, didn’t seem right.”

The chapter in the history book is called the “Rise of Islam,” and includes text of the faith’s prayers and scriptures, right from the Koran, WFTV reported.

Mr. Wagner also complained that the first 100 pages of the of the religious-based chapters that deal with Judaism and Christianity are missing — and the school district explains that omission by saying the defect, which impacted 68 books, is due to a manufacturer mistake, WFTV reported.

The school also said that the “Pillars of Islam are benchmarks in the state curriculum” and must be taught, WFTV reported.

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Filed under Christianity, Common Core, Education, Islam, Judaism, Religion