sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

July 16, 2011

The Ruins of California Education

Filed under: education — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:20 pm

Take us out of our misery: hand the state over to Mexico.  At City Journal California (via Instapundit) Heather McDonald writes about PC narcissism destroying UC San Diego:

UC San Diego is adding diversity fat even as it snuffs out substantive academic programs. In March, the Academic Senate decided that the school would no longer offer a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering; it also eliminated a master’s program in comparative literature and courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature. At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation. The cultivation of “a student’s understanding of her or his identity,” as the diversity requirement proposal put it, would focus on “African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other groups” through the “framework” of “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, language, ability/disability, class or age.” Training computer scientists to compete with the growing technical prowess of China and India, apparently, can wait. More pressing is guaranteeing that students graduate from UCSD having fully explored their “identity.” Why study Cervantes, Voltaire, or Goethe when you can contemplate yourself? “Diversity,” it turns out, is simply a code word for narcissism.

UC San Diego just lost a trio of prestigious cancer researchers to Rice University. Rice had offered them 40 percent pay raises over their total compensation packages, which at UCSD ranged from $187,000 to $330,000 a year. They take with them many times that amount in government grants.

Don’t you worry, though.  We will not be turning out cancer researchers and electrical engineers because students entering the University are utterly unprepared for it.  Though California public schools are the worst in the union, they are perfecting the art of narcissism.  They now will be required to waste instruction time on “LGBT history”:

Public schools in California will be required to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans starting Jan. 1 after Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a controversial bill to add the topic to the social sciences curriculum.

Oh, so it’s social sciences not history.  What a relief!  Because I know French history or Chinese history, but what’s LGBT history?  The “T” part of the acronym doesn’t have much history to speak of.  And yes, there were tons and tons of outstanding individuals, like Tchaikovsky, for instance (not an American, but the first name that popped up into my head), who were homosexual.  Is it necessary for a student to know his sexual orientation to understand his music?  The man was tormented, and his sexuality was one of the reasons.  But given the limitations of the public school classroom and the maturity of California minors, I don’t think intimate details merit a mention.  In fact, students are better served when taught the fundamentals of counterpoint theory.  Or Russian history.  I suspect many prominent historical figures who happened to be attracted to individuals of the same sex wouldn’t want American students going through their laundry.  Out of respect to Tchaikovsky’s genius (and the genius of others like him) lets not discuss the sexuality of famous people with surly kids.

Tchaikovsky. Portrait by Kuznetsov, 1983.

“What the bill calls for is for the contributions of LGBT people to be included,” [Sen. Mark] Leno [D-San Francisco] said, adding, “We wrote it broadly for a reason. We would be subject to more criticism than we’ve already been getting if we were more dictatorial.” [Sounds sketchy, — ed.]

It sounds like Leno is alleging that important homosexuals were exuded from history books solely because of their sexual orientation, so I’d like to know who exactly he has in his mind.  If the problem here is that sexual orientation was omitted from textbooks, then hooray to the textbooks.

Leno said the mandates apply broadly, though, telling reporters it would affect kindergarten through high school curriculum, “and, of course, in an age-appropriate way.”

Uh, kindergarten!  In my hometown we already have mandatory “anti-bullying” classes for elementary school kids.  There is no evidence that early sex ed makes for safer schools.  If anything, it might accomplish the opposite.  The extent of anti-gay bullying problem is another issue.  In our school district reported instances of bullying on the bases of alleged sexual orientation were few; most of the altercations were of the boys against girls kind.  So it appears that the problem at hand is not bullying, but parents, not state, teaching kids about sex.

But wait, I think we found a gay man not mentioned in texbooks:

Proponents have cited slain San Francisco SupervisorHarvey Milk as a person with historical significance, along with events such as the Stonewall Riots in New York City that helped launch the LGBT rights movement as examples of topics that could be taught.

Stonewall riots should be mentioned — in a broader context of social changes that took place in American society in the 1960s and 70s.  In fact, if the sexual revolution was good for anything, it absolved gay people from the necessity of leading double lives.  Harvey Milk, though?

“History should be honest,” Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement.

OK, lets be honest.  Harvey Milk was a small time politico and a buddy of mass murderer Jim Jones.  Milk is canonized because he himself happened to be murdered, not because of any great achievement of his.  Perhaps Jerry Brown doesn’t object to Milk being too chummy with Jim Jones; after all, the twice CA Governor made the same choice of friendship:

CA Governor Brown

That's Jim Jones with Jerry "History Should Be Honest" Brown.

When Brown’s hands should be plenty busy reducing spending, he still finds time to wage his little culture wars.  But our sorry fiscal situation stands in the way of his social agenda:

Textbooks now must include information on the role of LGBT Americans, as well as Americans with disabilities, though California’s budget crisis has delayed the purchasing of new books until at least 2015. [Emphasis mine, — ed.]

Turns out, if California can’t take care of its finances, the state loses its influence.  A living cautionary tale, we are.
Surprisingly, sfgate readers are not digging the proposed curriculum.  About 3/4 of the people responding to the unscientific reader poll say that the LGBT studies in public schools are “Bad, more political meddling with curriculum”.  Reader comments are telling:
Chinese Student: “I know Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics”California Student: “I know Harvey Milk”Chinese Student: “That’s great, now can I get some fries and extra mustard with that order?”
Or:
While this is a very positive step forward, I have to wonder, when are we going to stop putting labels on people and recognize the person and the merit of their contribution. What a person achieves is not based on their gender, religious belief or sexual identify but on them as a human being and their character.
Or:
There is gonna be blowback from this in the future, and it is gonna be some ugly blowback. There are a lot of people who really really really don’t want nor need their kids to learn this narrow and limitedly relevant subject above other things they think are far more important and practical for children to learn. This is just a political gift to the LGBT voting block, a gift of the minds of other people’s children.This will play into every half-baked “gay indoctrination” conspiracy theory that every came out of the woodwork. Good job CA. Way to live up to the worst and most paranoid illusions about your state.

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7 Comments »

  1. And the graduates of this “new education” will be qualified to do what exactly? All this country needs is more non-productive people. Sigh!

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire — July 18, 2011 @ 8:27 am

  2. welcome to Sodom…sigh………………..p.s. I’m backkkkkk! :

    Comment by Angel — July 18, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

  3. […] Edge of the Sandbox – The Ruins of California Education […]

    Pingback by Last night’s links 7/18/2011 « Fleece Me — July 18, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  4. Johnny can’t read. Cant’ write. Doesn’t know history. Doesn’t know math. But hey, he’s tolerant and appreciated diversity.

    God, how much longer will Californians have to suffer through this? And it’s not much better in the other 49 states.

    Comment by Infidel de Manahatta — July 18, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    • Can’t write. Not cant’ write. Appreciates diversity. Not appreciated diversity. I blame my keyboard. Yeah, it’s his fault. Sorry, I have no information on my keyboards sexual identity.

      Comment by Infidel de Manahatta — July 18, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

      • Ha-ha! My keyboard is curved, which makes it non-straight, which makes it gay… or lesbian.

        Comment by edge of the sandbox — July 18, 2011 @ 8:35 pm


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