For centuries ivory tower academics controlled education. They decided what was taught, how it was taught, when it was taught, and to whom it was taught. As public education evolved, politicians became their allies, and in some cases their masters. Liberal politicians hand out money “for the kids”, and in return the academics advance their left wing objectives. Consider some recent changes: reducing teaching civics and history, cutting reading the classics, and turning classrooms into laboratories for “innovative methods”. How many different ways have academics experimented with to teach basic mathematics in the past 75 years or so? Can kids figure out 2×2 any better today than they could back then? Politicians are obsessed with being “fair”, so schools eliminate grades, homework, and give everyone an award for showing up. Standardized tests are “dumbed down”. Then parents wonder why colleges need remedial high school courses, employers wonder why young employees lack good communication and math skills, and many wonder why young people can’t handle real life (which is not fair). Academics and politicians have third partner: textbook publishers. Every time academics decide that the teaching methodology of a subject like mathematics has to change, those companies reap a windfall. Likewise when politicians decide that a subject like history needs to be presented with a different slant, e.g., don’t love your country, hate it, because what happened 200 years ago is YOUR fault. Technology companies have latched on to the “spend-spend-spend” profiteering of textbook publishers. The kids must have absolutely the latest technology. Does anyone care what it’s being used for (or isn’t)? Do local school administrators even know what the latest technology is or are they buying into to sales pitches? Since the Feds began their takeover of public education in the 1970’s the US has spent over one trillion dollars on education but it’s nowhere near number one in achievement internationally.
There are signs that the winds are shifting. President Trump selected a businessperson for Secretary of Education. In the state of New Hampshire, the Republican governor selected a businessperson for Education Commissioner. Business people know that money is neither free nor unlimited. They understand “return on investment”. They know, as academics should, that one size does not fit all, so they’re more supportive of alternatives to public schools like charter schools, magnet school, private schools, and home schooling. Common Core is a win for liberal politicians who seek to indoctrinate children with “common values” but a loss for states, parents, taxpayers, and the kids.
But… sometimes the winds shift the other way too. New York state was praised for requiring a literacy test for teaching candidates. After all, literacy is the foundation of learning. Well, the liberals are considering abolishing the test because minorities have more difficulty in passing it. One candidate complained about the test being given on a computer. What does that person expect to see in a modern classroom? Once again we see the best interests of the students being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
Black Americans often say that young black men must be warned about how do deal with police and other authorities, i.e., very carefully. Evidently disabled people and their caretakers need the same type of warning as we see more violence against the disabled by authorities who are supposed to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.
A few months ago a disabled teenage girl suffering from brain cancer was beaten until bloody by TSA agents. She became confused when an alarm went off so they immediately threw her to the floor and arrested her. TSA agents have also been accused of hassling a 9-year old boy who has a pacemaker after undergoing multiple surgeries for heart defects. Unfortunately TSA agents are Federal employees so they enjoy substantial protection against being fired for using excessive force.
Recently an unarmed deaf man was shot and killed by a state police officer who pursued him for a traffic violation. The victim didn’t respond to the officer’s commands because he couldn’t hear them, but the officer must have thought that sign language posed a lethal threat. There have been no protests, no demonstrations, and little media coverage because this situation doesn’t fit the mold that the liberal media wants to publicize: the officer was black and the victim was white. If the races were reversed so would be the media coverage. There would also be protests and maybe even a remark from the President. This sure looks like a use of excessive force (or is it a hate crime?). If the victim was unarmed but the officer felt threatened, a Taser would have subdued him. Will the officer be charged or will filing charges against a black officer be called racism?
We hear how police officers around the country are being trained to be sensitive to Islam so they don’t “offend” anyone. Instead of indoctrinating officers in the latest manifestation of political correctness they should be teaching them the difference between sign language and Kung Fu fighting. An unarmed young father didn’t deserve to die for a traffic ticket.
Any police officer who can’t recognize a deaf person doesn’t belong in uniform. File charges or admit that disabled lives don’t matter in the USA.
Update: From New Hampshire comes a news story that proves that it was not necessary for a cop to shoot an unarmed deaf man. A distraught man who wanted to commit “suicide by cop” approached officers with razor blades. The officers had the unquestionable authority to shoot an armed assailant, but instead they Tased him. No officers were harmed and hopefully the suicidal man will get mental health treatment. So, why did a black cop shoot an unarmed deaf man? Maybe he hates disabled people. Maybe he was exacting revenge for the shooting of black motorists by white cops. Maybe he was just having a bad day. Regardless, he murdered an unarmed man over a traffic stop. In the interest of justice for a family that lost their father charges should be filed, and the shooting investigated as a hate crime.
Christmas Update: Officers in California destroyed a family’s Christmas joy by killing an unarmed 73-year old grandfather who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They were primed to shoot by a false report that he was armed. Of course there were no body cameras, no dash camera, just the word of the cops against a dead grandfather. Sue the city and the person who lied (that person didn’t recognize their own neighbor so how could they recognize a gun in the dark?).
The term “de facto” simply means that it’s a fact, it exists. Fifty years ago the South was accused of maintaining de facto school segregation in violation of civil rights laws. Today Federal agencies are increasingly creating de facto “laws” to bypass Congress or the Constitution. Here are a two examples.
As it established the Common Core standards, the Education Department insisted that it’s not a Federally mandated curriculum, something that’s prohibited by law. The standard tests, however, must align with the standards, so the curriculum will eventually have to align with the tests. The result is a de facto Federal curriculum that will permit only minor tweaking at the state level.
The Department of Justice has labeled certain businesses as “high risk” and is pressuring banks to “choke” their credit. Banks are complying and even cancelling accounts. Businesses like adult entertainment, payday loans, and firearms dealers may not be popular with everyone, but they are legal businesses that employ people and pay taxes. Unless charges are filed and a conviction obtained these businesses are being denied the due process guaranteed by the Constitution. They are guilty by decree of the department head and must be driven out of business. It’s de facto denial of rights without congressional action or court rulings.
There is only one solution. Congress must assert it’s function as lawmaker and rein in overzealous department heads.
The Federal government isn’t the only one stepping on the Constitution. Private organizations, including colleges, are increasingly using political correctness as a de facto law to silence free speech. This isn’t about preventing hate speech or lies, it’s about blocking any views that don’t fit with the ever expanding liberal view of tolerance. The truth, as long as it’s presented civilly, should not be suppressed under the guise of PC.
If people can’t honestly discuss both sides of an issue they are no longer a free people.
If you think that’s a line from a cop show read it again. Chilling, isn’t it? Yet that’s exactly what opponents of free speech are saying. The right of free speech isn’t unlimited. You can’t yell fire in a theater if there isn’t one and you can’t threaten someone without expecting a visit from the police. You can’t expect your employer to smile if you badmouth the company or reveal trade secrets. Beyond that you have the right to your opinion. You also have the right to pepper your remarks with expletives but you won’t impress anyone.
Free speech is under attack by the unofficial law (or is it a religion?) of political correctness, or “PC”. Any opinion that isn’t PC is promptly censored. PC obscures communication and delays problem resolution. It’s phony and everyone knows it. You have to watch every word you say and apologize profusely with every slip. It avoids holding people responsible for their actions. It not only assumes that everyone is the same, but that their motives are the same. How can you solve a problem that you can’t even accurately describe without offending someone?
A rational alternative is “civility”. If you have an opinion, state it but keep it clean. Civility improves communication and helps problem resolution. Civility doesn’t mean that people can’t disagree, even heatedly. It means that they state the issue clearly, stick to the issue, hold people responsible for their actions, and don’t indulge in false accusations, ethnic or racial slurs, threats, bullying, or random curses.