To My Kind Promoter

The kind, wonderful and amazing person who is promoting my blog at RationalWiki: I like you. You are beautiful and have a great taste in blogs.

Why Are (Some) People Stupid?

An idiot journalist at WashPo constructs a completely bizarre argument as to why the striking Illinois teachers are evil:

Wilfrid Laurer’s David Johnson studied the same Ontario strikes and also found that they hurt student achievement. Like Baker, he found only small effects for students for whom the strike occurred in third grade, but large effects if the student was in sixth grade. In the latter case, the percentage of students getting a passing score on math standardized tests fell by 0.21 percentage points per day, and the percentage getting a non-failing score across all tests fell by 0.10 points per day.

If this brainless maniac tried paying attention before blabbering stupidly, he would have managed to notice that the teachers are striking precisely because these standardized tests are completely useless. All this freakazoid manages to prove in his article is that the teachers are absolutely right. The success on these standardized tests is evidence of nothing save how many hours students spent memorizing specific answers to specific questions.

By the end of his article, this stupid parrot does seem to realize that he is making the teachers’ case for them:

One last thing — one could protest that all these results rely on standardized testing, which may or may not correlate to real learning. That’s fair enough, but there’s a bounty of evidence, from Harvard’s Raj Chetty (pdf) and Stanford’s Eric Hanushek, among others, suggesting that standardized test scores correlate with higher education achievement, lifetime earnings and more.

This bounty of evidence he has taken out of his ass and is now waving around proudly is worth as much as any other thing that comes out of anybody’s rectum. As a university professor who has spent the last 11 years teaching students at 4 different universities in North America and who has discussed this issue extensively with other educators, I can assure everybody that there is nothing worse than having a bunch of these standardized-test takers in one’s classroom. They have zero knowledge and no capacity to analyze facts, draw conclusions, and relay their findings either orally or in writing. Actually, it seems like the author of this article was very good at taking standardized tests given how intellectually impotent he is today.

The Soviet Union loved standardized testing and always employed the same teaching evaluation practices that Chicago teachers are striking against today. Does that tell you anything?

Blogger Comments

OK, people, I’m now officially giving up on trying to leave comments at Blogger blogs. Blogger has introduced this bizarre system of comment verification where you have to guess a weird combination of letters and then reproduce it. Here are some examples:

 

or

 

or

 

It takes forever to decipher these weird inscriptions and, more often than not, I need more than 2 tries to get them right. Sometimes, you just want to support a blogger by leaving a comment that you like the post or agree with what the blogger says. But such a short comment isn’t really worth the trouble of straining your eye-sight and damaging your brain to analyze this strange collection of letters.

So if you blog at Blogger and are wondering where your commenters have gone, please know: we still like you but we are prevented from participating by this obnoxious system.

Solidarity

There is a relentless assault on educators underway in this country. No other profession is as vilified as ours is on a daily basis. Yes, people hate lawyers, too. But how many articles, discussions and blog posts have you seen this week aimed at demonstrating how  evil, stupid and unprofessional lawyers are?

Educators can do nothing right in the public’s eyes. What’s worse, educators themselves absorb this message and happily make it their own. The week before last, everybody dumped on a Harvard professor because we all know a lot better than he does how he should teach his classes. Then there was another scandal surrounding a professor who breastfed a child in class. This week there is a hullabaloo about the hiring practices of the English Department at Colorado State. And every time when this non-issue du jour is turned into a major drama, we, the educators, join the pack that hounds our colleagues.

What we don’t want to realize is that our turn will come next. Today in class, at the committee meeting, in the office each of us might do, say or write something that the next irresponsible journalist or blogger will use to promote the idea that all educators are freaks, jerks, and hateful creatures. This is a message that sells very well nowadays. Crowds of ignoramuses want to excuse their grievous lack of intelligence by fostering the idea that they never learned anything because teachers are stupid.

I suggest that we stop participating in this vicious endeavor. Let’s stop lending our voices to the attempts to destroy education in this country. The teachers of Illinois are on strike right now, protesting the ridiculous decision by the Obama administration to force teachers to stop teaching and start training students to pass some meaningless standardized tests. Do you enjoy my posts about students who think that Latin America is a country and who ask in shocked voices, “Hitler is dead? When did that happen?” Prepare to see a lot more posts like those if Illinois teachers lose their struggle. Obama continues Bush’s policies aimed at destroying education in this country. This is the real issue we need to discuss.

Let’s stand in solidarity with teachers in Illinois, adjuncts, instructors, lecturers, graduate students, post-docs, tenured and tenure-track faculty, Visiting professors at colleges, Quebec CEGEPS, state universities, Ivy League schools, big research institutions, small teaching colleges. When the next round of manufactured outrage against a colleague comes on, let’s refuse to participate. Let’s give our fellow educator the benefit of the doubt.

Instead, let’s turn our attention towards issues that are really crippling our attempts to educate. The bad working conditions of school teachers, the idiotic standardized tests, the swollen administrative budgets, the exploitation of contingent faculty, the lack of tenure-track positions, the overblown athletic budgets, huge classes where nobody can get individual attention, poor school districts where teachers have to buy chalk and paper with their own money – this is what is destroying our education. These issues, and not a teacher who brought her kid to class once or a professor who punished students for cheating, are our real enemies.