frightfulfrightfulOctober 31, 2014, posted by Mary Grabar: Irony Alert, Grit, True Grit, Academic Politboro Punishing Bill Maher: At the risk of suffering the same opprobrium as British English professor Thomas Docherty for being too "ironic," and "sighing and using negative body language," Dissident Prof (former English professor, who like other English professors specializes in "irony") will direct readers' attention to the new educational concept ("best practice"?) of "Grit."  It seems that the 2013 Department of Education report "Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century" is having an impact.

Read more: Contraries: Scary News about Education, Halloween 2014

College Board-approved TruancyCollege Board-approved TruancyPosted October 3, 2014, by Mary Grabar: What happens when a school board decides not to implement the new AP U.S. History standards wholesale and insist that such courses not present a distorted anti-American version of history?  Common Core is creeping into college, taking over the rightful role of professors, as I report at the Selous Foundation, in my article, "Common Core: K-16 Education."  It's also creeping in via the AP exams that give students college credit.  The College Board, which directs the AP coursework and exams, under the direction of its president David Coleman, "architect" of Common Core, is now using its muscle to usurp local boards of education.  The most recent example comes from the Denver area, in Jefferson County. 

Several days ago, the teachers union, objecting to the school board’s decision to review the standards, manipulated high school students into staging a multi-day walkout.  While most newspapers simply reported that students objected to "censorship" or a biased "conservative" version of American history, Michelle Malkin reported the real story of teachers using the controversy to recruit students to protest for their own aims, keeping the leftist history standards and doing away with teacher evaluations.

Read more: Common Core Architect David Coleman's Imperial College Board

at the 2014 People's Climate Marchat the 2014 People's Climate MarchPosted September 26, 2014, by Mary Grabar: The Dissident Prof was wondering why high school students would be staging walk-outs and protests over history standards, but suspected there had to be some teachers involved.  Today's high school and college students are so immersed in stories about the glory days of protests that they will walk out of class and hold up a sign at any opportunity.  The Denver Post announced, "Hundreds of Jeffco students walk out in largest school board protest" and then the Huffington Post reported, "Nearly 1,000 Colorado Students Protest a Conservative Call to Change Their History Curriculum."  Huff Post reporter Matt Ferner demonstrated he knows his stuff by pening with:

Read more: Contraries:One, Two, Three, Four!  What Are We Protesting For?  

coming to your collegecoming to your collegePosted September 19, 2014, by Mary Grabar: College professors, for the most part, have been unconcerned about Common Core and other ways the federal government is beginning to interfere with their ability to determine academic standards and teach their subject matter.  But this summer sessions were held across the country to train faculty in adjusting their teaching to the Common Core State Standards.  So, we don't have "college and career ready" standards, but "Common Core ready college standards"!   Read about it in my article, "Common Core is coming to your college (yes, college)," at the Pope Center today. This is one of the ways the federal government is exercising its control over education from pre-pre K to college.

 

Read more: Contraries: Common Core Coming to College

Nassau Hall PrincetonNassau Hall PrincetonPosted September 12, 2014, by Mary Grabar: If you live in a college town you know that (here in Clinton, New York), school is back in session.  That brings worry about the required reading and class discussions, especially after a summer of rioting in the previously little-known St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown. College students are chalking up campuses with "hands up." Unfortunately, a number of curriculum companies are sending out biased materials that exploit the tragedy, fanning the flames, and adding little to students' knowledge about history or civics.  Slate Magazine had an article headlined, "The Birth of the #Ferguson Syllabus," with links to syllabi and teaching materials.  Students in the school of social work at Michigan had rap sessions about how "police militarization" led to the escalation of protests to looting. Teaching for Change's lesson, sent out by Rethinking Schools, refers back to Malcolm X with a video.

 

Read more: Contraries: Back to School, Bucket Challenges, and Recommended Reading

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Quantitative Easing Illustrated

by William Matheson, posted June 11, 2012

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The iconic question from Ronald Reagan aided his rise in the polls and eventual ascension to the White House a few months later.

During the Carter Presidency, the country experienced both slow economic growth and inflation, known as stagflation. Gas prices skyrocketed due to contracted supply and unemployment grew as well. At the end of the administration, the misery index, inflation plus unemployment, was a staggering 19.72.

Today, despite promises to the contrary by President Obama, unemployment is above 8 percent and the price of gas has nearly doubled.

In total, the misery index has been as high as 12.7 under Obama, and no amount of jobs “saved or created” can change that.

Accompanying the rise in the prices of energy like gasoline and coal is an increase in food prices. After all, farming and transportation require energy. In 2009, during several stimulus debates, Republican lawmakers, including Steve Cabot (R-Ohio) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz), warned against the Keynesian policies, in part because of inflation concerns. Three years later, one massive stimulus package, the nation’s first credit downgrade, several rounds of money printing, and five trillion dollars added to the national deficit, the concerns have been justified.

The Consumer Price Index has risen from 214.5 in 2009 to 226.2 in 2011, the last year available for data. The increase, though only 5.4 percent, is hardly telling of the true story. As previously mentioned, the average price of a gallon of gas has nearly doubled, from $1.85 per gallon in 2009 to over $3.50 gallon in June 2012. Considering that gasoline is the lifeblood of the economy, this meteoric rise cannot be stressed enough.

no longer a cheap mealFood prices are also on the rise. In January of 2009, the month President Obama was inaugurated, the average price of a pound of ground beef was $2.36. In April of 2012, the price had risen to $2.998, essentially $3.00, a change of roughly 27 percent. Bacon, another American favorite, rose from $3.73 per pound to $4.53 per pound in that same time frame, representing a 22 percent increase.

Corn is also more expensive. In 2008/2009, the average price of corn was $4.06 per bushel. So far, for 2011/2012, the average price is about $6.10 per bushel, which represents an increase of a staggering 50.2 percent. Of all changes, this one is perhaps the most worrisome next to gasoline. In our economy, corn is almost omnipresent. Gasoline is about 10 to 15 percent ethanol, and most American beef is corn fed. Rises in corn prices lead to higher fuel and beef prices, and also higher prices in things such as cereals.

ethanolThe economics of inflation are so simple that it can be learned in economics 101 classes. As a student, I would know. Increasing the money supply (printing money) leads to higher inflation and less bang for each buck. Incentivizing ethanol production leads to less corn for food, and higher prices for that food. For products like corn fed beef, the rise in input prices leads to a rise in final prices, and in regards to oil, cutting off the supply by banning off shore drilling or rejecting the Keystone Pipeline leads to lower supply, thus higher prices.

People may think this outlook is simplistic, but numbers don’t lie. Prices are rising, just as Republicans predicted, and the reasons are evident. The big government, top down, central planning model is failing the country. People are out of work, burning through their savings. This situation is only made worse by rising prices, giving each family less purchasing power. Needless to say, the “quantitative easing,” the current administration’s euphemism for printing money, is bad for the country.

Fortunately, the solutions are simple. Stop printing money, let free markets work, and stop spending into eternity. Unfortunately, only one party seems to recognize this and has the courage to confront it.

William MathesonWilliam Matheson is a college student at Emory University. He is studying business and hopes find success in both business and military service in his future.

 

 

 

 

Georgia Perimeter College Nursing Prof
Emory University student William Matheson offers this A+ essay that clarifies the difference between rights and commodities, a lesson that Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke seems to have slept through.

Nonetheless, she was invited to address undergraduates at Georgetown on April 16--no press allowed.  The talk was called "A Conversation with Sandra Fluke on Contraception Access."

 

By William Matheson, posted April 18, 2012: What is a right? To me, a right is something each person possesses upon birth. It carries no cost and is not determined by law, customs, or cultures. It is universal and cost free.

This definition of a right is based on “Natural Law, which can be traced back to the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. The first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, our founding document, clearly demonstrates that the Founding Fathers embraced this philosophy.

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that     among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

 

From the passage, the message is evident. People, upon birth, regardless of race, religion, or location, possess certain rights. The government does not give these rights; therefore the government cannot revoke these rights. Look no further than the language of the United States Bill of Rights, particularly the first two amendments.

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

 

Founding FathersIt is clear, after examining the language, that the government does not bestow the rights to the people. Instead, it simply states that Congress cannot make laws “abridging” or “prohibiting” such things. After all, no document, even the U.S. Constitution, can bestow these rights, because all possess them at birth. Therefore, as opposed to providing the people with rights, the federal government, under the United States Constitution, acts as a protector of the rights.

In current political discourse, the question of rights has been resurrected. Whether it is the current administration claiming birth control and health care as rights, or Occupy Wall Street protestors claiming college education as a right, the issue has been forced back into the public forum. For the most part, liberal activists have come out claiming these as absolute and necessary rights of every person. However, the arguments, most of which are attempts at appealing to emotion, fail to address the key aspect of said “rights”. Health care, birth control, and college education are all commodities, and no person has a right to a commodity.

Rights and commodities stand in stark contrast. As defined earlier, a right is something all people possess at birth that is above law and carries no cost, while a commodity, or good, must be produced, gathered, or harvested by man. This difference is paramount. For example, my right to free speech costs you nothing, as do my rights to bear arms and religious belief.

Sandra FlukeTo the contrary, the so-called “right” to health care does come with a price. Birth control did not appear out of nowhere and spread across the market. Instead, it was created through countless hours of research, testing, and human labor. The same can be said for health care. Surgeons do not grow on trees. In order to receive birth control, health care, or college education, a price must be paid for the resources used and the services provided. If these are rights, then it logically follows that they must be provided to individuals free of charge. After all, my other rights do not come with a price tag. They are mine at birth, so how can a price be put on them? Surely imposing a burden on one to exercise his rights is a form of denying said rights.

Beware those who would take from others to give to themselves. Even if sanctioned by the government, the action still constitutes theft, a violation of people’s rights. To claim a commodity as a right is to claim another man’s labor as one’s own. If you believe you have a right to someone else’s property, then you do not believe in the other’s property rights. Claiming what is mine as something that should be yours is to say that what I have produced does not truly belong to me. If I do not have a right to the fruits of my labor, do I have property rights? Am I free? The answer to both questions is no. For this reason, no person has any right to such things as health care, birth control, education, food, shelter, and the like. All of these are commodities, and no man, regardless of race, wealth, or location, has a right to them.

William MathesonWilliam Matheson is a college student at Emory University. He is studying business and hopes find success in both business and military service in his future.

 "So very many conservatives were weaned on the delusion that we had only to nominate a sure-enough conservative to ensure a national landslide, that they cannot now look defeat in the face as indicating what in fact it is: that the majority of the American people do not, at the present time, desire a hard Conservative as President of the United States.

that outlook which values the collective above the individual necessarily disparages Friendship; it is a relation between men at their highest level of individuality.

It withdraws men from collective ‘togetherness’ as surely as solitude itself could do; and more dangerously, for it withdraws them by twos and threes.  Some forms of democratic sentiment are naturally hostile to it because it is selective and an affair of the few.  To say ‘These are my friends’ implies ‘Those are not.’”  from The Four Loves

Compare this to first safe schools czar under Barack Obama, Kevin Jennings, founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), who stated the definition of “safe schools” as being those where no student is subject to “social rejection, uncivil behavior, verbal threats, and hate language.”

Read my report on the Third International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, where Jennings made this statement in his keynote address. 

Jennings quietly left his post in May of 2011 to head up Be the Change, a phrase I heard repeated like a mantra, by glassy-eyed conference participants.

“Our village school teachers should be placed on a level that has never been achieved, and can never be achieved, in bourgeois society.

Dissident Diary

Almost Least Credible HistorianA Ho Chi Zinn Week by Mary Grabar, posted July 27, 2012: The historians have spoken!  And they have deemed The Jefferson Lies by David Barton and endorsed by Glenn Beck as the least credible history book in print.  That was the finding in a poll on the History News Network.  Among those criticizing Barton's book were two professors from Grove City College.

Coming in close (very close) behind, though, was Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.  (But HNN's headline named only Barton.)  Zinn earned the ire of 641 historians as opposed to the 650 who condemned Barton's book.

CPB: More Than a Yellow BirdStarve the Beast! (yes, Big Bird) by Mary Grabar, posted July 20, 2012. Although it might seem hopeless with a Democrat-controlled Senate, funds should be eliminated for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and for Americorps, the national service program.  That's what Republicans in the House want to do in the budget, with alarm raised by the Associated Press (ever so subtly) about it pleasing the Tea Party (and by implication only a few extremists).  But while the media may want to present PBS and Americorps as sacrosanct American institutions, the truth is that both are  taxpayer-funded programs for indoctrinating the youth of the country.

Educate America? (On Roosevelt's Fireside Chats?)By Mary Grabar, Posted July 13, 2012: Dissident Prof was in Rochester, New York, last week visiting family and chomping down on those yummy white hots and Abbott’s frozen custard, so she was unaware that the National Education Association was holding its convention during the Fourth of July in Washington.

It figures.

The AP story began by describing it like a re-election rally, with “thousands packing a convention center, Barack Obama T-shirts, videos celebrating the health care law, and a wall-size banner with encouraging messages to the incumbent president.”

Apply for an "Organizing Fellowship"Dissident Prof allies helped spread the word about the bribery scandal at a Georgia State University Teach-In.  Minding the Campus posted "Teach Them What to Think, and Maybe Bribe Them Too."  Over at National Association of Scholars Ashley Thorne notes in her post that NAS President Peter Wood wrote about the inappropriateness of professors giving students credit for participating in Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign; the NAS post was then picked up by Education News.  Reminiscent of the 2008 campaign, the 2012 Obama-Biden "organizing" fellowship application asks applicants if they are students and whether their schools offer credit for such "fellowships."  Dissident Prof received notice for this volunteer opportunity from First Lady Michelle Obama.

"Civic Engagement" classThe big news last week--because it was made big news by the media and exploitative politicians--was the Trayvon Martin case.  Students streamed out of classes, where if the professoriate were doing their duty they might learn about due process, to protestSeminole State College officials unilaterally decided to expel George Zimmerman, who claims he shot Trayvon in self defense. Administrators cave to mobs stirred up by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  The Black Panthers put a bounty on Zimmerman's head, and face no repercussions.  

Yet, the academics use this as an opportunity to advance their favorite cause: left-wing activism.

 

Mary Beth Gasman, blogging at the Chronicle of Higher Education, gasses on about the role of Historically Black Colleges (HBCU's):

Dissident Cat's RelativeDissident Prof has incorporated!  Dissident Prof is now registered as a non-profit corporation in the state of Georgia as Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc.  Just got the checking account and EIN number.  Now for the IRS paperwork. Dissident Prof believes she has 27 months to file the paperwork, so contributions might be tax-deductible now.  She is a bit behind in dispatches because of all the paperwork, but promises not to take 27 months!

Speaking of contributions, she is extremely grateful for a start-up grant, and contributions from dissident supporter-citizens.  Most recent ones include

Don Vodopich

Eric Ribitsch

Ernie Gaida

Anonymous (but he's a great dancer!)

It's been an exciting month with Dissident Prof testifying before the Georgia Non-Civil House Judiciary Committee on a bill that would deny illegal aliens the right to attend public colleges.  Why did she feel like Whittaker Chambers?  Maybe it was because an advocate of illegal behavior, one of the attendees of the Teach-In, accused HER of lying by shouting it out in the committee room.

Dissident Colloquim

In the Academy StillBy Scott Herring, posted April 25, 2012 The National Association of Scholars recently released one of the most thorough autopsies of political bias in a university system I have ever seen, and happily, the university system is my own.  A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California does not merely establish the bias, but quantifies it and shows that it is actively destructive, producing an ever more inferior UC, year after year.

A Crisis of Competence is packed with data, but what struck me most were the stories undergrads told, including this report from a lonely student at UC Santa Barbara.  That used to be my favorite UC, I thought, remembering a golden weekend I spent there at an academic conference.  Then I noticed that I was actually remembering the beach.

Conservatives Need Not ApplyBy Mary Grabar, Posted June 25, 2012, originally posted at National Association of Scholars, www.nas.org. A colleague on the job market tells me about a posting for a lecturer in World History at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, that, along with the usual transcripts and letters of recommendation, requires “a separate statement describing a history of working with or demonstrated commitment to addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and/or other issues of historic marginalization.”  To make it even more clear that conservatives need not apply, the college’s web page advertises the fact that it is located in a “friendly, progressive community.”

Our ColloquiumOn Contemporary Academic Discourse by Ewa Thompson, Rice University

In 1990 the American philosopher Alasdair Macintyre published Three  Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy, Tradition.[i] The last chapter of this book is titled “Reconceiving the university and the lecture,”  and it ends with a proposition: in academic discourse we should “introduce” ourselves before we start speaking.

Are you a dissident?  Do you teach someplace either out in the open (with tenure, lucky you!) or in the shadows as an adjunct?  If not, are you in school?  Do you help pay for a school?  If Dissident Prof determines that you have something valuable to say about re-education, she will award you an honorary degree and ask you to contribute a blog post or essay as a visiting prof.  She asks her tenured colleagues to take a stand for the little guy.  She may grant undocumented profs with young mouths to feed anonymity.  News tips are also welcome.  Please send all inquiries here.