Tag: students

Grades Are Earned, Not Given


A mother confronted me once about the grade on her son’s writing work in my class. “But he spent so much time and effort on this paper!” The young man was also studying in a vocational education environment. His course of study at the time of the parental conversation was welding.

I listened to the mom. When she finished her passionate defense of her son’s work, I mentioned his welding class. “How would it be,” I began, “If, while testing the weld, a trailer was attached to the truck’s ball joint, the weld broke, and the trailer fell to the ground?”

As the mother contemplated the scenario, I asked another question, “Would the welding instructor think your son’s weld merited an ‘A’ because he had spent so much time and effort on the project?”

A Turning Point in My Life


Students from the past write to me from time to time, rehearsing a fond event they remember most. Here is one example of a student memory that should cause a smile, and perhaps create a lesson. In the student’s own words:

One of my favorite memories from your high school sophomore class begins with you assigning us to interpret the worldview of a song of our choosing. As a joke (because I took nothing seriously and fancied myself so incredibly funny), I picked Disney’s “When You Wish Upon a Star,” thinking I’d gamed the system by choosing something apolitical and comically benign. When I received your grading of my interpretation, I was surprised to see that you took me seriously. You’d told me I’d made a good choice and wrote some critiques about how I could have said a little more here and there about the song’s message.

It was then that a light bulb went on. I realized you believed “When You Wish Upon a Star” communicated a serious message. I realized your belief was correct. I realized something I’d thought communicated nothing, had in fact, preached a very meaningful message. I realized there was no such thing as benign media; everything is preaching something. It was a serious turning point in my life. To this day, I can’t say the words, “authorial intent” without thinking of you.

Giving Students a Chance


I scored 126th out of 126 students.  When I was a junior in high school, our class took a test for a possible college-level English curriculum in our senior year. Having been told the results, I sat sobbing on my bedroom floor. For some reason, grammatical prowess in my mother tongue eluded me. Syntax seemed like “sin tax” to me.

And grammar was the first of three levels in the senior curriculum. I had to pass out of one level to get to the next two: essay writing, then free writing. I had been behind the door when grammar was taught in middle school. Somewhere, somehow, I missed lessons on prepositional phrases, split infinitives, and hanging gerunds. I tried and tried to pass through to the next level. No amount of tutelage helped. I languished in the wasteland of grammatical incoherence.

But the thing was, I could write. I knew instinctively what sounded right. I heard the words even if I didn’t understand how they fit together. And Roy Honeywell knew it.

What I Have Seen at Public University


Max (not his real name) was worried. “I just don’t know if I’m a good enough writer. I don’t have any confidence that what I have to say makes sense.” It was a private conversation between a student and a professor. I pointed at the projection screen. “Whose paper did I just show to the class?” A few moments earlier, with his permission, I had shown his written work as an example to everyone. My voice conveyed serious generosity. I did not give him the opportunity to respond. I clapped him on the shoulder and announced, “You got chops, man! Hear me when I say, ‘You’re a good writer!’” A sheepish smile spread across his face. Max just needed encouragement. No matter what a student writes about, my job is to come alongside to inspire.

One undergraduate wrote about race cars, another about near-death experiences. Someone else regaled the benefits of “man’s best friend,” still a different student reported being a victim of a DUI. A critique of Barbie dolls was the premise that questioned artificial beauty standards imposed on young women. Defending and uplifting the art world was accomplished by a masterful dialogue paper where promotions and objections were all considered. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” was well presented. Getting children outside to play, removing the constant use of “screens” by primary ages, warned against electronic stimulation on a child’s brain. BDSM used as a therapeutic tool was the resource promoted by a person who seemed to speak out of personal experience. Social stigmas related to masculinity, specifically, how men could dress in dresses, was a paper that spoke to the subject carefully while giving examples from his own personal life. Should “one nation under God” be in the Pledge of Allegiance? Should church leaders be celebrated? Interests span a wide range in a public university freshman class.

The subjects are as varied as my students. One young man, a Chinese American, recounted the diligence of his parents to work 14-hour days so that he might have a better life growing up in America. One young woman, a Mexican American, berated her parents, loathing her life, for the expectations placed on her by a couple who worked long hours so that she could go to college. Another woman struggled with the negative, repressive teaching she received from her church about sex and her slide into sexual freedom that caused her great pain. One more teenager spoke out about the imposition employers laid on young workers, requiring additional hours of labor for substandard pay. A young man gave acclaim to his father who had taught him the wonder of caring for wildlife. Another man questioned the overriding, negative impact that virtual reality could have on perceptions of the real world. And a young woman, obviously hurt by flippant words, reprimanded her own generation’s use of “texting” as a communication tool.

Students and parents in Washington State welcome medical tyranny, don’t want to quit wearing masks.


I admit, I was just flabbergasted when I read the comments of various Washington State students and parents, regarding the possible end to state-mandated wearing of face coverings in schools.  Since the fall of 2020, when some schools went back to in-person instruction, the State has mandated that all students, staff, and teachers wear face coverings while in school buildings.  The Teachers Unions have been particularly adamant about mask mandates, in spite of the SCIENCE indicating that they are not at any higher risk, and the fact that teachers were among the first groups eligible to be vaccinated in early 2021.  They still quake in their boots and swear that their own students are putting everyone at risk if they do not wear masks in school.

But some of these comments just indicate that the State mandates and statistics have had their desired effect.  The press and Health Nazis have instilled abject fear in a significant slice of the population, of a virus with a 99.9% recovery rate.  Here’s what some have to say about the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s call for the end of mandated mask-wearing in public schools.

Jim and Greg discuss 88-year-old Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley announcing he will run for an eighth term next year and how he is probably the best GOP option to hold the seat. They also highlight the fact that dozens of California school kids are desperately trying to leave Afghanistan and the Biden administration and the media pretend it’s not even happening. And they hammer Biden for promoting the despicable lie that border patrol officers on horseback were whipping Haitian migrants.

Encouraging and Caring for Public University Students


There was a line of students to see me after my “Reading, Writing & Inquiry” class had ended. I had been commending the class’s written assignments and half a dozen college students wanted further comment on their work. The group had been given an assignment to discuss their favorite book, writing, or activity. One young man had contributed a tremendous piece on race car design. Showering encouragement on his work, I suggested that his input demonstrated a care for human life. Some students wrote about overcoming trauma. Others wrote about their deepest care for others.

One young woman wanted a bit more of my time. She asked to see me after class. We found a table outside the classroom.

Sitting across from me, she gushed, “I just have so many ideas for the next assignment, I just don’t know which one to pick! Would you help me?!”

Never Forget


For those of us who despair that our young people have been indoctrinated to hate America, there is hope.

In this article in The Federalist, we learn that students all over the country on college campuses are planting our flag to commemorate the tragedy of 9/11. In spite of efforts by the Left to downplay this holiday, and blaming America for its occurrence, students at more than 200 schools are letting the world know the importance of this calamity, and that it is worth commemorating. Those students know that Islamic terrorism is still a threat, and that we need to remember those who lost their lives to its horrors on 9/11.

I’m grateful that these students have chosen to never forget.

Hubwonk Host Joe Selvaggi talks with constitutional scholar and CATO Institute Research Fellow Thomas Berry about the recently heard U.S. Supreme Court case, Mahanoy Public School District v. B.L., and its implications for free speech, school control, and the integration of social media into the rubric of first amendment protections.


Join Jim and Greg as they discuss the staggering number of students who fell through the cracks because schools were closed and the impact that could have. They also roll their eyes as Elizabeth Warren and a couple of allies in the House propose a wealth tax, and they discuss why New York Democrats suddenly seem so eager to boot Gov. Cuomo.


Scott Atlas joined Ben Domenech to discuss the data surrounding schools reopening and the dangers of not following the science. Atlas is a fellow in scientific philosophy and public policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a member of Hoover’s Working Group on Health Care Policy, and the former head of neuroradiology at Stanford Medical School.

Atlas laid out multiple points of scientific evidence indicating the necessity of reopening schools. This included the documented facts that children are young people are at low risk of developing COVID-19 themselves and they’re at low risk of spreading it to others. Furthermore, he said, school closures are extremely harmful to children’s health in different ways, especially in that distance learning has proven to be a failure.

COVID-19 Symposium: An (Im)movable Feast


I won’t pretend that I have a singularly unique quarantine story, or even one anywhere near the hardest. Life could be much, much worse and I am supremely grateful, above all else, that I got a choice in how this happened. When my university decided to move online, a few days after Yale and Columbia began demanding that their exchange students return and we had the first two confirmed coronavirus cases on our campus, my parents began making plans for me to come home before it became impossible. I said no. There were still exams I had to sit in May, I said, and there was no way I was going to be able to study with everyone home, or take my last three weeks of classes over Zoom with our unstable internet connection. One of my classes had yet to go online, and I didn’t want to leave and miss a tutorial. Flight prices were going to skyrocket. And these were all true enough, especially the excuse about exams, but I stayed mostly to keep my family safe. 

This was the first winter and spring in all I could remember that my dad hadn’t caught pneumonia, hadn’t ended up with an inhaler or at the ER, struggling to breathe. So I, who had almost definitely been exposed to the virus on campus, and if not there in our university’s city at large, was going to make a long train trip and go through two airports, one that had been host to thousands of Americans on the continent from heavily infected countries escaping while they still had time, to come home? To potentially kill or do irreparable harm someone I loved? Hell. No. 

Youth Climate Strike


Young people around the world were asked to leave school Friday as part of a Global Climate Strike. Some kids will see this as simply an excuse to miss school but others fully embrace the cause. So, what is the cause?

Obviously, there is the standard “Save the Planet” rhetoric we have heard forever. Looking at the site for the group Youth Climate Strike, I see there are some other issues I might not have guessed. Here are a few samples:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and guest host Gregory Knapp discuss the Mexican government deploying 10,000 troops to the border to crack down on illegal immigration to the U.S. They cover the real concentration camps that the Chinese have constructed. And they discuss Bernie Sanders’ plan to wipe out all student loans.

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Has anyone heard about what happened to all the students whose parents paid bribes and test-takers to get them into elite colleges?  Why doesn’t someone follow up on all the kids involved, and do a story about what happened to them all, once they were admitted to colleges under false pretenses?  If their test scores […]

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Max Eden joins Seth Barron to discuss student discipline and suspension policies, and how discipline “reform” has led to chaos in many classrooms.

In January 2014, in an attempt to reduce out-of-school suspensions, an Obama administration directive forced thousands of American schools to change their discipline policies. Proponents of the new discipline rules say that teachers and school administrators have been racially discriminatory in meting out punishments, creating a massive disparity in suspension rates between white and black students. Their claims, however, ignore the significant discrepancies in student behavior.

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Do you know what all the women above have in common?  They are all teachers, at K-12 level, who have been arrested for having sexual relationships with their students.  All of those students were under 18 years of age.  A teacher has power over her students, so can order them to do things that they […]

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Recorded on July 24, 2017
With schools in session across the country, Hoover senior fellow Paul Peterson details this year’s survey of American education by Education Next. Among the more notable results: teachers are wary of their colleagues’ performance; parents are increasingly dissatisfied with charter schools.

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Students’ talking out of turn or walking around the room without permission can seem insignificant. What harm is there if a student calls out a good answer or someone wanders over to sharpen his pencil during your lesson?* But if you have made clear in your stated expectations for behavior that students are not to […]

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  There are two common student behaviors that seem benign, but are obstacles to a smooth-running day. In Techniques Five and Six of “Maintaining Your Stated Expectations,” I’ll explore these behaviors and demonstrate why allowing them causes disruption. You’ll learn one or two preventative measures, too.  Preview Open

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