When Teachers Were Proud to Be Teachers


Do you remember the phrase, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”? I was thinking about this cynical comment, attributed to H.L. Mencken, and wondered if the teachers who chose to be teachers in the 20th century were aware of his statement and if their decision to become teachers was affected by it.

Nowadays, I wonder if teachers appreciate being in the profession. Was there a time when they were genuinely proud to be teachers? Did the requirements of the profession drive them away? Did the types of students they had to try to manage make teaching too difficult? In my exploration, I found that teachers joined the profession for a wide assortment of reasons, and they also left for just as many. I also thought about recent posts I’ve written about the teachers’ unions that were making outrageous demands for their members, and that the teachers didn’t necessarily agree with what they were demanding, but didn’t know what to do about it. What I know at this point, however, is that teachers were highly regarded at one time, and their reputation as a profession has taken a beating. So I wanted to know why at least some of them signed up, and why others decided to leave.

I remember the time when parents would almost always support a teacher over the complaints of their children, especially if it was obvious that the children were probably misrepresenting what the teacher had done or said. The parents insisted that the teacher had the last word and that the children should straighten up. Although it’s unclear whether a parent should have always sided with a teacher, their reaction to a child’s protest demonstrated that the teacher was held in fairly high esteem.

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Anita Worden, renewable energy business entrepreneur, about her work to improve representation of women in crucial economic sectors like technology, a place where they can innovate and have real impact.  Anita was born in England of Indian parents, grew up in Algeria, moved to the U.S. as a teenager, and attended MIT. While still a student, she co-founded her first company, Solectria Corporation, in 1989, and then went on to found Solectria Renewables in 2005, both of which were acquired.  Now retired, Anita is working to promote tech as a viable, lucrative and satisfying career choice for women and girls, just as she’s educating Americans about her passions, climate change and shifting the narrative around immigrants in the U.S.


This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-host Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Mariam Memarsadeghi, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Mariam shares remembrances from her early years spent in the Shah’s Iran, and emigration to the U.S. shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in 1979. They discuss the massive cultural and civic differences between the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its government controlled by religious leaders, and modern liberal democracies like the U.S., with constitutionally limited government, and how this difference is manifested in the treatment of women and political dissidents. Mariam describes Tavaana, an organization she co-founded that is dedicated to a free and open Iran, and how it is using the internet and other means to advance democracy, civic education, and women’s rights in Iran. They also discuss her involvement with “We the People”: The Citizen and the Constitution, a nationwide civics contest for American high school students that is run by the Center for Civic Education. She descibes her experiences as a Presidential Leadership Scholar, and one of 43 individuals chosen as a portrait subject for President George W. Bush’s April 2021 book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.

Stories of the Week: From Texas, California and Colorado to Tennessee and Georgia, school districts are using some federal stimulus funding to award “thank you” bonuses to teachers to prevent resignations and boost morale after COVID-19. In New Jersey, one of nine states that have mandated in-person learning, some parents are raising concerns about the poor condition of the schools their children are being forced to return to.

Quote of the Day: Waging War on our Schools


“If the state-operated schools are now waging war on the nation’s moral, historical, philosophical, and religious foundations, then they would seem to have forfeited their legitimacy as the proper vehicle to carry out the mission with which the American People have charged them.”  — Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr

At first glance, we might not be willing to blame the state school administrators and unions for hijacking our schools so drastically and at so many levels. But, in fact, they have armed themselves with Leftist rhetoric, distortions of history, substituted an American philosophy with a racist ideology and regularly denigrated and undermined religion in multiple ways.

We tend to focus on the latest hot topic of school abuse: at the moment, Critical Race Theory is at the forefront. For many years this topic was taught without the parents or general public even knowing what children were being taught. Then some parents learned what was happening, most recently in Loudoun County in Virginia, and began protesting the brainwashing of their children with this propaganda. At first, the Left tried to explain what they were “actually” teaching; their explanations only inflamed parents. Then they denied they were teaching what parents insisted they were teaching. Now, they are trying to make believe that there’s nothing untoward going on; they are silent as protests continue. But their silence only validates their anti-American intentions.

Jim & Greg have nothing but crazy martinis to serve today. They shudder as 41 percent of high school students in Baltimore have a 1.0 GPA or worse. They also recoil as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admits the government is telling Facebook which posts to flag as “misinformation”. And they discuss new revelations about how horrible Kamala Harris is as a boss and how her former lefty staffers don’t want her to be president.

The Continued Betrayal of David French


It’s always sad to see someone you once respected be clown themselves, alas Mr. French seems to want to take it to the next level. In a recent op-ed for the NYT, he joined with three other authors to decry the efforts by various States to slow down Critical Race Theory (CRT). You can read it (shouldn’t be a paywall even) here. (EDITED to correct link)

It’s not clear what parts of this Mr. French actually wrote, but since he signed his name to it, one has to assume that he agrees with it in toto.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Morgan Hunter, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in California, and co-author with Dr. Victor Davis Hanson and Dr. Williamson Evers, of the white paper, Is It Time for a “490 B.C. Project”?: High Schoolers Need to Know Our Classical Heritage. Dr. Hunter shares the main arguments from her report, on why studying antiquity is vital to the education of young people in the early 21st century. She explores how Greco-Roman history and culture have influenced great statesmen, artists, and writers through the ages, from Shakespeare to the American Founders and Winston Churchill. They then discuss the importance of the enduring wisdom of the ancients in the writings of African-American leaders such as Frederick Douglass and MLK, as noted recently by Cornel West. They delve into lessons students can draw from Cicero, other key figures of the Roman Republic, and from the Athenian democracy, about self-government in the 21st century.

Stories of the Week: Writing in EducationNext, Chad Aldeman and recent Learning Curve guest Marguerite Roza suggest targeted approaches to spending stimulus funds for education, such as tutoring and summer programs, rather than hiring more staff. In Forbes, EdChoice’s Mike McShane shares the impressive list of states that have enacted or expanded school choice programs that will give tens of thousands more families access to better educational options.

Jim & Greg cheer on the Cubans taking to the streets to demand their freedom, despite the very real threat of punishment from the government. They also shake their heads at a new Wall Street Journal report showing the massive amount of debt Master’s degree students are piling up and then not getting the lucrative jobs they dreamed about. And they get a kick out of Vice President Kamala Harris being reluctant to support voter ID requirements because she believes Americans in rural areas don’t have access to photocopiers.!

How Long Will We Tolerate Teachers’ Unions Abusing Their Power?


Over the past two years, in particular, we have learned a great deal about teachers and their unions, and the picture is a grim and tragic one. Teachers only care about exerting power and controlling the education environment, and the students be damned. School superintendents, administrators can only meekly go along with the unions’ demands, and politicians aren’t willing to sacrifice the political and financial power that the unions wield over them. Everyone has something to gain.

Except our children.

Where are we now, and how did we get to this point?

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From twitter user, James Lindsay, getting one billion moms@ConceptualJamesWhat’s going on in Loudoun County, VA, schools is so far beyond scandalous that it’s almost unbelievable. So many people need to be removed from their professions and never let near state power or children again. Preview Open

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Playing Political Football with Holocaust Education


Watching this battle transpire is both enlightening and pathetic. One of the most tragic occurrences in modern history has become the focus of groups who have decided their particular agenda for teaching in Florida about the Holocaust is the only one that counts. After researching the subject, I am sickened by the tug-of-war that is taking place and wonder how the Florida Department of Education will resolve this fight.

To be fair, I must begin with my strong bias that this topic should be covered in the schools. The evils that were perpetrated as part of Holocaust history is the source of the statement that many support, “Never Again.” The Holocaust stands as a reminder of the horrors that can be perpetrated when long-standing hatred and evil power join forces, and is a lesson that we seem to have to learn, over and over again.

And yet, there can clearly be too much of a good thing, in my opinion, and too many political agendas to satisfy in regard to the Holocaust. That Florida has decided to include the Holocaust in its school curriculum is admirable, but the way they are going about it reflects a poorly planned strategy and process for selecting the content.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Susan Patrick, the President and CEO of Aurora Institute and co-founder of CompetencyWorks. Susan shares observations about the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for American K-12 education, and the prospects for expanding digital learning. They discuss the overall quality of the remote and blended learning America’s K-12 school districts offered during the pandemic, and which states excelled. Susan shares thoughts on how digital models can help address pre-pandemic achievement gaps and learning loss due to COVID-19, especially among poor, minority, and rural students. They also review claims by skeptics of digital schooling about its efficacy for early childhood, urban, or special needs students, and best practices drawn from the pandemic for better serving these groups. Susan provides insights around digital schooling and some policy levers that national, state, and local leaders should explore to improve K-12 education.

Stories of the Week: In Michigan, families have filed suit against the state Department of Education and Ann Arbor Public Schools claiming they received inadequate special education services during the pandemic. New survey results from New America and Rutgers University find that, a year after pandemic-related school closures, 15 percent of lower-income students in a nationally representative sample still lack fast and reliable internet access at home.

Jim and Greg welcome the funny but pointed denunciation of Critical Race Theory from Lousisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy. They also wonder why the U.S. left Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan without even telling our Afghan allies. And they roll their eyes as the Lincoln Project adds longtime Dem strategist Joe Trippi, essentially admitting it’s now nothing more than another left-wing group.

Greg is back. Join him and birthday boy Jim Geraghty as they hammer the National Education Association for wanting every student vaccinated before agreeing to face-to-face instruction. They also slam Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for vetoing legislation that would require Voter ID and signature matching there. And they are grateful for the inspiring Independence Day message from former President Thomas Whitmore.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with David Hackett Fischer, University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History Emeritus at Brandeis University, and the author of numerous books, including Paul Revere’s Ride and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington’s Crossing. As America prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, they review key figures who helped secure independence from Great Britain, including Paul Revere, immortalized in Longfellow’s classic poem, and Founding Father George Washington, known among his contemporaries as the “indispensable man” of the revolutionary cause. Fischer sets the scene for the famous midnight ride, describing what students should know about colonial Boston, and why the British Empire posed such an existential threat to the colonists’ understanding of their rights and liberties as Englishmen. The conversation turns to the lessons teachers and young people today should learn about George Washington’s character, weaknesses, and military leadership during the colonists’ improbable victory against the most powerful empire in the world at that time. He also offers a preview of his forthcoming book, African Founders.

Stories of the Week: In New Jersey, the state’s Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision allowing expansion of seven Newark charter schools approved by the education commissioner, clearing the path for charters to serve thousands more students. In Massachusetts, the education commissioner is under fire from the state’s congressional delegation for proposing to temporarily freeze $400 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding earmarked for Boston Public Schools, due to concerns related to the Boston School Committee, which has experienced a string of resignations in the past year.

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Now that the supremes have ruled that college athletes have the right to be paid what they are worth and to be compensated for the use of their images, what do you think the chances are that former college athletes will prevail in seeking back wages and compensation? Preview Open

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Naomi Schaefer Riley, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of several books, including Be the Parent, Please. They discuss findings from her book on how excessive technology use negatively impacts children’s intellectual, social, and moral development – which was even more of a challenge with the wide usage of remote learning during COVID-19. The conversation turns to Riley’s extensive commentary on the relationship between religion and education in American society, and lessons K-12 education policymakers should learn from higher education’s handling of faith on campus. She delves into why religion and church-state issues remain such a stark fault line across American K-12 education. They also talk about the development of anti-intellectual efforts on college campuses, and in the larger society, to use speech codes, political correctness, wokeness, and now cancel culture to shut down the free exchange of ideas, and why such campaigns to undermine the fundamentals of democracy persist.

Stories of the Week: EducationWeek reports that over 1.3 million American students did not return to school this year due to the pandemic-related closures. School districts are scrambling to lure them back, but will it work? Juneteenth, which honors the 1865 ending of slavery in this country, has officially become a U.S. federal holiday.

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My latest assignment is to read and comment on Martín Guzmán’s 1929 novel The Shadow of the Strongman. I will keep things short and to the point. OK, short. Here are some things I won’t mention. By the way, I got a B+ on my previous paper, and that sounds pretty good for an aggie […]

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jo Napolitano, journalist, former Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, and author of the new book, The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America, about the enterprising spirit of immigrants and refugees across the nation and at the U.S.-Mexico border. She’s seen children fight to go to good schools so they can fulfil their dreams, learning with donated tablets in tents in Mexico during the pandemic, and she’s seen the outcomes: ambitious young adults who used education and the relative safety of the United States to thrive. They discuss her conviction, drawn from her own immigrant experience and her observations, that educating immigrant children, including those who are undocumented, is not only the moral thing to do but an investment in our collective economic well-being. With better jobs, they can contribute more, and they can improve lives for all Americans.