This week The Learning Curve podcast marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day with guest host Dr. Jay Greene of the Heritage Foundation and Laurence Rees, a former head of BBC TV History Programmes; founder, writer, and producer of the award-winning WW2History.com; and author of The Holocaust: A New History. Mr. Rees sheds light on the historical context of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, including the rise of the cultural and political conditions that led to the Holocaust. Rees discusses how the Nazis promulgated their anti-Semitic ideology and laws, and underscores the criminal realities of the Auschwitz concentration and death camp, as well as the Holocaust’s six million Jewish victims. Rees also talks about the fragility of both human life and political and cultural institutions. Mr. Rees closes the interview with a reading from his book on the Holocaust.

Guest:

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer Iowa becoming the latest state to pass sweeping school choice legislation which gives parents more options on where and how to educate their kids and creates more competition for our schools. They also groan as New York City Mayor Eric Adams complains about the burden placed on his city to deal with the flood of people who entered the nation illegally. The buses from red state governors are a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers of migrants being shuttled all over the nation by the federal government. They also react to Rep. Adam Schiff’s TikTok video complaining about his ouster from the House Intelligence Committee, which he immediately turned into a fundraising pitch just in time for his new campaign for the U.S. Senate.  And Jim reacts to the speculation that Aaron Rodgers could be headed to the New York Jets.

This week on The Learning Curve, Cara and Gerard talk with Kevin Chavous, president of Stride K12, Inc. and a former member of the Council of the District of Columbia, on the growing movement toward school choice in education. Chavous discusses the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue and Carson v. Makin, as well as the expansion of private school choice programs, education savings accounts, vouchers, and education tax credits. Amid the successes, however, he also addresses some of the self-inflicted wounds that have harmed the charter public school movement in recent years, and what lessons educators should draw from the challenges schools faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, in the wake of recent nationwide declines in NAEP scores in both reading and math, he offers key suggestions for governors, state legislators, education reformers, and school choice advocates alike on a constructive future for K-12 education reform.

Stories of the Week: The state’s education community paused this week to pay tribute to former Massachusetts State Senate President Tom Birmingham, who passed away Saturday at the age of 73. Birmingham was instrumental in passage of the landmark 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act. In recent years, as Cara notes, Birmingham was a distinguished senior fellow in education at Pioneer Institute, working tirelessly to defend high academic standards, U.S. history and civics, school choice options, and accountability. Gerard discussed the U.S. Supreme Court case involving a 24-year-old deaf Michigan man, Miguel Perez, who says he was denied a qualified sign language interpreter for years, and later sought relief under both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Court will decide whether federal law required him to exhaust administrative proceedings before seeking relief in federal court.

The Smoke

 

There was a prayer rally Thursday at the site of a scheduled Satanic meeting for young children in a K-2 primary school on the southeastern corner of Virginia. A schedule of meetings was arranged under a “tenant” lease used to allow for meetings outside of the familiar teacher-sponsored club arrangements that most people have experienced. No teachers were sponsoring Satan in this instance.

On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Andrew and Beth welcome teacher and author, Daniel Buck. Daniel talks about his new book, What is Wrong with Our Schools, and shares his own experiences as a student in the progressive echo chamber of education schools and as a teacher. Daniel describes his journey away from progressive education and towards knowledge-based traditional education, especially classical literature. We discuss the importance of student behavior in the classroom and the deleterious impact of restorative justice programs. Daniel also interprets and criticizes progressive buzzwords such as “critical thinking” and “child-centered learning.”

Daniel Buck is a middle-school English teacher, having taught at both public and private schools He is also senior visiting fellow at the Fordham Institute, and his writing has been featured in many publications including The Wall Street Journal and National Review.

Another ‘Atta-boy’ for DeSantis

 

Florida’s governor is at it again, and in a good way.  The link is to an article at NRO by Stanley Kurtz who follows and battles against “wokeness” efforts in schools.  In the article, he details Gov. DeSantis’s rather gutsy move to oppose a pilot advanced placement course in “African-American Studies”.  It’s a rather long piece, but well worth reading the entire thing.  Here’s an excerpt to get the flavor of what’s going on:

On January 12, however, the administration of Florida governor Ron DeSantis wrote a letter to the College Board informing it that Florida was rejecting its request for state approval of APAAS. The letter, from the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation, goes on to state that, “as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” At the same time, the letter notes that “in the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion.” In short, DeSantis has decided that APAAS does in fact violate Florida’s Stop WOKE Act by attempting to persuade students of at least some tenets of CRT.

This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson are joined by David Garrow, who was Professor of Law & History and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is the Pulitzer-winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Garrow shares his insights into the historical and religious context around key events and speeches in the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He examines the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as King’s famous speeches, including the “I Have a Dream” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Garrow discusses Dr. King’s legacy for students and educators, with reference to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and other writings that evoke the theme of human dignity through history, poetry, scripture, and America’s Founding ideals.

Stories of the Week: A new Boston monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King has stirred controversy. Concerned about students’ ability to cheat with the use of advanced artificial intelligence, some higher education and K-12 officials want to ban it outright. Gerard reflects on a young Dr. King’s emphasis on the need for thinking intensively and critically, for the goals of living a good life and workplace success.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome new developments in two key Senate races. First, they are intrigued by popular GOP West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice seriously considering a challenge to Sen. Joe Manchin in 2024. They also discuss Indiana Rep. Jim Banks announcing he will seek the open U.S. Senate seat in Indiana, which is already held by Republicans. They also fume as multiple school districts in Northern Virginia fail to tell National Merit Finalists of their awards out of fear of making those who didn’t receive the honor feel badly. But they do cheer Gov. Glenn Youngkin for blasting the administrators in three separate districts for their decisions. Finally, they shudder as the supposed elites gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to decide what sacrifices we’re supposed to make in order to advance their global agenda.

 

What kind of person is our education system designed to create? Best-selling author and award-winning essayist William Deresiewicz discusses the failures of our higher education system, how it mis-conditions our elite, and fails to value the humanities, as well as his latest collection of essays, “The End of Solitude.”

Sign up for our event with Bill via Zoom in 1 week! https://jmp.princeton.edu/events/college-kids-are-not-ok-and-what-do-about-it-conversation-william-deresiewicz-end-solitude

On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Andrew and Beth welcome classical education innovator Jeremy Tate who talks about his experiences teaching in inner city New York City and what led him to found the Classic Learning Test, a standardized test for classical education that aims to compete with the SAT and ACT. We discuss the differences between classical education and progressive/modern education and Jeremy shares his views on the history of progressive education and of standardized testing in the United States. We also discuss the recent news of Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis’s led takeover of the New College of Florida.

Jeremy Tate is the founder and CEO of the Classic Learning Test (CLT). Jeremy is also the host of the Anchored Podcast that features discussions at the intersection of education and culture. Prior to founding CLT, Jeremy served as Director of College Counseling at Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, Maryland. He received his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Religious Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary.

Join Jim and Greg as they serve up a bad martini and a couple of crazy ones. First, they sigh as the mainstream press does damage control for the Democrats. Axios contends that Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg is just the victim of unfortunate circumstances and Republicans are the real problem for pouncing on his problems. Meanwhile, CNN chalks up the Biden classified document problem to the unease of Trump coming to the White House. They also get a kick out of Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson, who once worried that America’s military presence on Guam might cause the island to tip over, openly suggesting that the classified documents were planted in Biden’s office and garage. Finally, Jim fires back at the Club for Growth for launching an attack as against possible Indiana GOP Senate hopeful Mitch Daniels that greatly distorts his record as Indiana governor and president of Purdue University.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Richard Vedder, Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Economics at Ohio University. He shares analysis on the macro impact of COVID on the U.S. labor market, and the long-term economic prospects of American college students. He reviews insights from his recent book, Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America, on the true cost of higher education to American society amid the student debt crisis, administrative bloat, controversial admissions policies, and intercollegiate athletics scandals. They discuss the need for greater transparency about students’ earnings potential, the key ingredients of higher education reform, and what he refers to as the “three Is”: information, incentives, and innovation.

Stories of the Week: In Arkansas, Governor-elect Sarah Sanders has hired Jacob Oliva, a senior chancellor in Florida’s education department, to lead reform efforts, and focus on school choice and early literacy. Congress recently passed a $1.7 trillion federal omnibus package that provides $70 million in additional funds for statistics, research, and evaluation within the U.S. Education Department.

Why Are Public Schools So Determined to Teach Sex?

 

Because many staff members, over 600 in the Chicago area, view public schools as a giant singles bar where they can speed date and find that fourth grader in just the right sassy outfit. And you don’t want a minor who doesn’t know what to do in the sack, now do you?

Chicago is the only report I’ve seen, but I’m sure it’s not the worst.

Member Post

 

Here are a bunch of Portuguese words which technically exist – by which I mean they are in the dictionary if hardly anywhere else. audazeficazfugazloquazmendazmordazperspicazpertinazsagaztenazverazvoraz But not graz. That’s just not a Portuguese word. Nor is spaz. Nor – and this absence grieves me – bodaz. I double-checked. Preview Open

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Professor Roosevelt Montás, Director of the Freedom and Citizenship Program at Columbia University, and author of the book, Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation. Professor Montás shares his background as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who attended Columbia, and what inspired his appreciation for the Great Books tradition. He explains the deep connection between philosophy, liberal learning, and a good life, why this tradition matters for advancing liberal education, and its implications for K-12 students in a world that is increasingly centered on technical skills, and that has become overly politicized. They delve into lessons from works like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, about how literature and art can ennoble our young people and elevate our democratic ideals. Professor Montás concludes with a reading from his book.

Stories of the Week: Chronic absenteeism, or missing more than 10 percent of the school year, has likely increased dramatically since the pandemic, and can lead to increases in school-related stress, social isolation, and decreased motivation, all of which contribute to behavior problems. Veterans Affairs officials will now receive greater authority to adjust funding for housing, work-study programs and other education benefits for students relying on the GI Bill, after the COVID-era shift to online-only classes prompted stipend reductions and emergency legislation.

With the Supreme Court poised to potentially outlaw race-conscious admissions, Affirmative Action may soon be on the chopping block.

What will be the legacy of this half-century-old policy? Jason Riley, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist at the Wall Street Journal, discusses affirmative action’s impact both on the black community and the broader American education system.

More year-end awards today!  Jim and Greg embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2022 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, they offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for the year. Their selections range from the campaign trail to the halls of Congress to the biggest land war in Europe in more than 75 years.

Join Jim and Greg as they serve up three crazy martinis today! First, they dig into the curious case of the GOP congressman-elect who calls himself George Santos, after the New York Times discovered that multiple parts of his personal story appear to be fabricated. And all Santos can offer in reply is the pathetic claim that it’s all a political attack. They also shudder as the Taliban bans women from attending university in Afghanistan and all the U.S. can say in response is that this might damage the Taliban’s standing in the international community.  Finally, they react to Stanford University’s “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative,” which wants to end our use of words like American, ladies, guys, and many more words and phrases constantly used without any ill intent.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Mary Connaughton talk with Prof. Michael Slater, Emeritus Professor of Victorian Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London, and the world’s foremost expert on Charles Dickens and his works. They discuss some of the main elements of Dickens’ brilliant, prolific, and complicated life, as the 19th century’s most influential, best-selling writer of memorable works, from Oliver Twist to Great Expectations. Professor Slater describes Dickens’ early childhood, having been separated from his family, who were incarcerated in debtors’ prison, and how this heart-wrenching experience inspired his writing as an instrument of social reform. Prof. Slater concludes with a reading from A Christmas Carol, a tale of ghostly salvation which was enormously influential in shaping our popular conceptions of this holiday, and in drawing attention to the need for greater charity.

Stories of the Week: In Kentucky, the state Supreme Court struck down a law that established a tax credit, the Education Opportunity Account Act, that would have helped families cover private school tuition. They’re the backbone of modern classrooms, helping to record school attendance, discipline, assignments, administering exams for hundreds of millions of students – but how much do we know about Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

Join Jim and Greg as they discuss only good things today! First, Jim describes his wide-ranging interview with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin about his plans for the coming year, what issues matter most, and whether he’s thinking about running for president. They also welcome the Supreme Court issuing a temporary stay that keeps the “Remain in Mexico” policy in place until a formal decision is in place. Finally, they dive into why “Die Hard” is obviously a Christmas movie and share other thoughts about what makes it such a great film.