How Not To Teach Kids Math

I read a news article by a tenured university professor who asserted that the perception that whites are more math proficient than minorities perpetuates “white privilege” and discriminates against minorities. The professor alleged that whites have an “unearned privilege” because math skills such as algebra and geometry are generally associated with whites. She attributed the “so-called achievement gap” between minorities and white students as a product of implicit or explicit racism due to white privilege. The professor said, in effect, that just because someone is good at math doesn’t mean they are really that smart.

She also said that “all knowledge is ‘relational,’ asserting that ‘Things cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively.’” What she meant is that there are no mathematical truths as we know them because students perceive things through their own cultural and political lenses which may be quite different than standard (“white”) perceptions. (more…)

Bending the Knee

This is not about Game of Thrones, but rather our national anthem. In 2016 when 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick bent his knee during the national anthem it was a protest of a black man against racial injustice in America. It spread from there. Within a month similar protests were seen not only in the NFL but in college sports as well.

That was last season. This football season it became a national issue since Donald Trump waded in with “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”. That played well in Alabama. (more…)

Statues, Money, and Dead Politicians

When I was a child I became enamored of coins. I had inherited from my father a few large U.S. one cent copper coins dated from the early 1800s. In those days money was made from copper, silver, and gold. These early coins were beautiful objects. The interesting thing and what is pertinent here is that they were decorated with images of “Liberty”, a female head of various styles, or later, a seated Ms. Liberty. Somewhere on the coin was the word “liberty”. The point being that from 1796 to 1909, there were no presidents on our coins. In 1909 the new copper penny bore the image of Abraham Lincoln which is still with us today. We are now following the examples set by Roman emperors and other despots and rulers who wanted their subjects to know who was in charge. (more…)

Is Trump Irrelevant?

Those who had lauded the expansion of executive powers when Barack Obama was president perhaps now see the dangers of an imperial presidency with Donald Trump as president. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, because we all know what Lord Acton said about the corrupting influence of power. (more…)

Fake Legislation For Fake News

A California state senator, Hannah-Beth Jackson, a prominent Progressive, has proposed yet another bill in the California Senate, SB 203, to protect our children from fake news. Jackson, a prolific legislator, introduced the bill because she was “concerned about the recent proliferation of fake news during the Presidential election …” She said,

This legislation is about ensuring we have an informed citizenry. The role of the media and technology is only growing. The skills we teach kids today about critical thinking, the role of media in their lives and how best to interact with social media, fake news and technology will help keep them safe and serve them into adulthood.

Fortunately, her bill, along with a more draconian bill (AB 1104) making it a crime to publish “false or deceptive statements on the Internet about a political candidate or ballot measure”, have been sidelined because of objections from pesky advocates of free speech (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation). Political speech is speech and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to speak freely no matter how wrong we may be. Politicians are fair game and the courts have given us much leeway to criticize them.

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The Mind of Donald Trump

One can see President Trump as a decisive leader who takes bold action to move the country forward. Or, one can see him as a leader blissfully ignorant of the consequences of his actions.

I choose the latter interpretation.

I am reading about the consequences of his edict to ban entry to people from the seven prohibited countries. This is just one edict among many that are bold and reckless. These actions reveal a pattern to his decision-making.

There are six elements to President Trump’s thought process: (more…)