Friday, November 29, 2019

Learning to Love Big Sister

By Daniel Greenfield 3 Comments Wednesday, November 27, 2019 @ Sultan Knish Blog

Angela Peoples first became famous when she was photographed at a post-inauguration anti-Trump rally holding a sloppily hand-lettered sign reading, ”Don’t forget: White Women Voted for Trump.”

Peoples’ expression is surly. She’s sucking on a lollipop while her white baseball cap seems to say something about “killing people”. Her giant hoop earrings dangle listlessly. Behind her stand a trio of white women in pink genital hats, all smiles and selfies, with the Capitol Hill building behind them.

The racist sign tapped into a meme shaming white women as gender traitors. Peoples, a veteran lefty activist, parlayed that internet fame into a New York Times op-ed arguing that white women couldn’t be trusted. “White women are not unified in opposition to Trumpism and can’t be counted on to fight it. Instead, it’s the identity, experience and leadership of black women that we must look to,” she urged.

Her message was, "we need you to get out of the way and follow our lead." And "would-be candidates" were told to "step aside and make space for more black women."

That was two years ago.

Now Black Womxn For, an ad hoc coalition run by Peoples, has endorsed a white woman.

Or, as NBC News declares, "Warren wins 2020 backing of influential group of black women". How influential is the Womxn “collective” of Netroots activists in the black community? Not very. A more accurate headline would be, “Warren wins 2020 backing of hastily thrown together lefty group.”

But Warren responded to the endorsement by declaring enthusiastically that, "Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people are the backbone of our democracy."

Who knew our country really was run by the 1%? Or the 0.00001%.

Despite Warren’s assertion, none of the Womxn leaders seem to be especially “trans” or “gender non-conforming”. Some are lesbians. That’s about as far as the “Womxn” thing seems willing to take it.

What the “Womxn” lack in “trans” and “nonbinary” people, they make up for in bigots.

Senator Elizabeth Warren not only welcomed the support of Peoples, who had spent years bashing white women, but also Charlene Carruthers, an anti-Israel activist, formerly of Color of Change, who sits on the board of the Women's March, which has its own notorious anti-Semitism problem.

Carruthers has tweeted approvingly about Louis Farrakhan, accused Israel of “apartheid”, and endorsed BDS. She led an anti-Israel delegation to Israel and accused the Jewish State of a “massacre” in Gaza.

Carruthers appears to have tweeted a selection of Farrakhan quotes, including, "Integrating the Bedroom not the Boardroom." This is a familiar Farrakhan quote which opposes interracial marriage as a "hypocritical trick" by white people while urging a separatist black country.

This separatist black nation probably won’t be run by Elizabeth Warren. Or will it?

Warren's new endorsee also claimed that, "Minister Farrakhan is speaking the truth about HIV/AIDS." It's not clear exactly what exactly she's referring to, but the Nation of Islam hate group leader has claimed that AIDS is a government bioweapon aimed at black people. People associated with the Nation of Islam have also claimed that Jewish doctors were injecting the virus into black babies.

This is Senator Warren’s idea of “the backbone of our democracy”.

Other members of the "steering committee" of Black Womxn For include Rukia Lumbumba, the sister of Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who boasted that he would make Jackson, Mississippi into the "most radical city on the planet", Carmen Berkeley, the Managing Director for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Nicole Carty of Occupy Wall Street, and a number of other veterans of lefty activist groups.



Also known as the octopus in the swamp.

And Anoa Changa, who ran into controversy over her appearances on Russia's Sputnik. When Elizabeth Warren accuses President Trump of being in bed with the Russians, she can look at her own endorsees.

But what’s really behind this endorsement?

Peoples has gone from bashing white women to fighting for one while using the language of black nationalism. As director of Black Womxn For, Peoples and her group claimed that "a Warren victory ensures an environment in which Black community leaders can better and more easily usher in those long-overdue societal transformations that move us closer to the Liberation that we know is possible."

By that they mean, "Black Liberation". And by "Black Liberation", they mean appointing "Black women, especially trans and immigrant women, Black men, Indigenous people, people of color and disabled people" to government positions. Some of whom will presumably be affiliated with BWF.

“Liberation” will be brought to you by political sinecures and the spoils system. "She is a woman who is willing to learn, open to new ideas, and ready to be held accountable by us," the endorsement reads.

In two years, Peoples has gone from demanding that white women follow black women to rejecting a black woman, Senator Kamala Harris, and endorsing a white woman, Warren, while pretending that the power relationship is with her, rather than with Warren. Even Peoples’ racism and black nationalism proved to be transactional. Or rather, what they had always been, a façade for the usual lefty politics.

Black Womxn For is described as a project of ‘The South’ which is run by Peoples. What’s ‘The South’? It’s apparently a brand. There are few references to it online. There’s a YouTube channel with 8 subscribers whose video about Peoples (which has 1,038 views) begins with the assertion that the “most beautiful people in the world” are “black people”. Unless they’re Cherokee academics offering you a job.

In the interview, Peoples, who is modestly wearing a t-shirt with her own picture on it, castigates “white women’s racism”, claims that an “overwhelming majority of white women voted for Donald Trump”, and then defines that overwhelming majority as being 53%. There are no comments.

Peoples is also listed as the “founder” and “lead strategist” of MsPeoples. It has no internet presence.

How desperate is Warren for black support that she and her allies were trumpeting this nonsense?

Meanwhile the likely reason why Peoples threw her support behind Warren is a detail hidden in her bio. Peoples was a policy analyst for Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and had been working there nearly since its creation, back when the failed agency was Warren’s “baby”.

Peoples has thrown her support behind Warren, whose agency she worked at, in exchange for government jobs provided through input by Black Womxn For through Warren’s transition team.

Truly, the age of “Liberation” is upon us.

Who else backs this mighty endorsement of Warren? According to the endorsement, it was based on "hundreds of survey responses from self-identified progressive Black women and GNC/NB folks."

Hundreds.

If they’re self-identified black women, was Rachel Dolezal allowed to participate?

Senator Warren is desperate for black voters. They’re Biden’s base. If the Democrat base were entirely white, Warren would already have the nomination locked up. To stop Biden, she needs to make a serious dent among his black supporters, but is so unable to connect with them that her campaign is touting an endorsement from her home base of Netroots activists as if it were an achievement.

And she’s willing to ignore as much bigotry as it takes to win the support of her new base of bigots.


Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Quote of the Day

“The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have someone write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was.” - Czech writer Milan Kundera wrote in his book, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Cartoon of the Day





Here All The Certified Organic Foods With Carcinogens You Need To Avoid This Thanksgiving

By Hank Campbell | November 27th 2019 @ Science 2.0

Let's say your Generation Z child is concerned about chemicals in your Thanksgiving meal and you want to avoid that awkward moment when they don't look up from their phones while saying "OK Boomer" as you try to explain to them that all food has chemicals.

Maybe they just don't want scientific chemicals. Maybe they want the organic kind that are healthier, according to, well, organic industry trade groups and journalists at the Mother Jones company.

So you trudge off to Whole Foods or a store you read about on a Facebook page and buy the stuff on your menu, all certified expensive. I hate to alarm you but it all has chemicals that are known carcinogens. That's right, they cause cancer.

I don't want to make you ill, so I will note for you what scaremongers in activist groups and the trial lawyers supporting them for profit (Center for Science in the Public Interest, et al.) don't reveal. While these carcinogens are in your organic or regular-priced meal, except for alcohol, they only cause cancer in rats. And rats are not little people. Anyone who tries to claim otherwise is looking for coverage from Sheila Kaplan at the New York Times or someone else who only gets their science from lawyers at CSPI.(1)

Here is a sample menu and the toxic chemicals they contain. Again, you can relax. When it comes to France's IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) group or the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, rats are people and they only care about the presence of a chemical but chemists, toxicologists, and biologists know better. Those epidemiologists are not trying to do science, they are out to create a statistical correlation using a hazard. They don't consider risk, so they will use 5 orders of magnitude for dose. That's right, they consider one beer as the same as 10,000 beers all consumed at the same time. That's why you can't use their claims as anything more than exploratory, a lesson more journalists and California's Prop 65 panel should learn.

Here are the cancer-causing chemicals in even your organic Thanksgiving meal.

STARTERS

Organic Baby Greens - Nitrates and 3-O-(2’’-O-methylmalonnyl-β-D glucopyranoside)-4’-O-β-D-glucopyranoside
Roasted Golden and Red Beets - Caffeic acid
Crumbled Goat Cheese -Estrogen (endocrine disrupting chemical)
Grape Tomatoes - Solanine neurotoxin
Candied Walnuts - Aflatoxins
Dijon Dressing - Allyl isothiocyanate
Celery - Caffeic acid
Broccoli - Allyl isothiocyanate
Rolls with butter - Acetaldehyde, benzene, ethyl carbonate.

ENTREES

Potatoes - Dolanine, arsenic, chaconine, caffeic acid and ethyl alcohol, that last one is also a human carcinogen.
Turkey - Heterocyclic amines, rodent carcinogens and mutagens.  Even that $400 "Heritage" turkey from Williams-Sonoma.



Stuffing - Some of the ones mentioned above plus acrylamide, dihydrazines and more.
Tomato Risotto - Lycopene
Grilled Asparagus - Saponins
Grilled Pepper Crusted Filet of Beef - N-nitroso compounds
Bordelaise Sauce - Ethanol
Cranberry sauce - furan derivatives, which are mutagens (see the Great Cranberry Scare of 1959 for more)


DESSERT

Chocolate Cake - Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Vanilla Crème Anglaise - Benzene
Fresh Raspberries - Quercetin
Coffee - Freshly Brewed Acrylamide plus hydrogen peroxide, a mutagen and rodent carcinogen
Decaffeinated Coffee - Furan
Herbal and Caffeinated Teas - Variety of Benzo[A]pyran
Pumpkin pie - Benzo(a)pyrene, coumarin, methyl eugenol and safrole

NOTE:

(1) I am not kidding. In 2016 I was running ACSH and when Dr. Alex Berezow criticized her for using CSPI on a science issue instead of a scientist, in retaliation she tried to claim I was a ... felon. Now, I did have a speeding ticket one time, but that is not a felony, even in California. Still, attacking the science media community was enough to land her a job at the New York Times. Next up, a "visiting fellow" appointment to the New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. It is where all journalists who undermine science get the call.



GROs - Genetically Rescued Organisms - Will Save Plant Species At Risk

By Hank Campbell | June 20th 2019 @ Science 2.0
            
In today's Wall Street Journal my article Science Saves an Old Chestnut discusses the potential benefit of President Trump's executive order requiring USDA, FDA, and EPA to modernize when it comes to biotechnology approval. They have to consider actual risk instead of treating every product like a new invention. They don't make flowers go through tens of millions of dollars and 20 years of regulatory stonewalling, why do it for anything else?

First to benefit could be the American chestnut tree, which has a blight tolerant version ready to go, but how can an academic nonprofit afford to get it approved when they intend to give it away for free?

In the last hundred years approximately four billion chestnut trees were lost due to blight, caused when the Cryphonectria parasitic fungus arrived with chestnut trees imported from Asia. The dominant species is now a rarity because old breeding techniques failed, as did chemicals. It is a repeat of what happened with the Rainbow papaya in Hawaii with the ringspot virus.


A ghost forest of decimated chestnut trees. Thanks, nature. Image: Library of Congress.

Genetic engineering can essentially give these at-risk plants a vaccine, but activists have to stop calling a boost to nature Frankenfood because it gets donations from organic industry trade groups. The GMO battle has already been won, they just don't accept it.

Bring on the GROs - Genetically Rescued Organisms

As part of a 28 year effort by the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project there is a non-patented, blight-resistant American chestnut tree.(2) They use a gene from bread wheat that produces an enzyme which keeps the fungus from forming cankers. The enzyme is not just in all grain crops, it's in bananas, strawberries, and many other foods billions of people have eaten without issue.

Read: Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Will Help Restore The Decimated, Iconic Tree

What could be more natural than letting nature resist nature? It is 99.999 percent identical to wild American chestnuts, except four billion of these won't die.

Rather than being Genetically Modified Organisms these are examples of GROs, horizontal gene transfer that can save species. Horizontal gene transfer between species happens in nature all of the time, sometimes to disastrous effect. Ancient hybrid attempts have led to induced mutations and terrible outcomes plenty of times but we only track the successes. All the sweet potato varieties we eat today were genetically modified by the same bacterium 8,000 years ago.

Why not harness that?


Why would regulations make it impossible to get approved without a corporation that wants a patent paying a fortune for lawyers? There have been no unintended effects on the GRO trees and not even on other organisms, like beneficial fungi that coexist with them.

Will 'we don't hate science, we hate corporations' rationalizations by environmentalist allow this without a fundraising campaign to promote fear and doubt? Unlikely, if Golden Rice - which is engineered to produce beta carotene -  is an example.


The naturally fortified rice, which could prevent 500,000 cases of blindness per year, had no corporate interest so $2 billion in environmental groups were able to use the lack of company involvement to claim it was just mad scientists who don't know what they are doing, and the lack of corporate lawyers to keep efforts to provide solutions to the public from getting approved.

Thanks to government getting out of the way of science, the American chestnut has a new fighting chance.
 


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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

No Plan B for Planet A

Replacing fossil fuels with “renewable” energy would devastate the only planet we’ve got

Paul Driessen

Environmentalists and Green New Deal proponents like to say we must take care of the Earth, because “There is no Planet B.” Above all, they insist, we must eliminate fossil fuels, which they say are causing climate change worse than the all-natural ice ages, Medieval Warm Period or anything else in history.

Their Plan A is simple: No fossil fuels. Keep them in the ground. More than a few Democrat presidential aspirants have said they would begin implementing that diktat their very first day in the White House.

Their Plan B is more complex: Replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, biofuel and battery power – their supposedly renewable, sustainable alternatives to oil, gas and coal. Apparently by waving a magic wand.

We don’t have a Planet B. And they don’t really have a Plan B. They just assume and expect that this monumental transformation will simply happen. Wind, solar, battery and biofuel technologies represent the natural evolution toward previously unimaginable energy sources – and they will become more efficient over time. Trust us, they say.

Ask them for details, and their responses range from evasive to delusional, disingenuous – and outrage that you would dare ask. The truth is, they don’t have a clue. They’ve never really thought about it. It’s never occurred to them that these technologies require raw materials that have to be dug out of the ground, which means mining, which they vigorously oppose (except by dictators in faraway countries).

They’re lawyers, lawmakers, enforcers. But most have never been in a mine, oilfield or factory, probably not even on a farm. They think dinner comes from a grocery store, electricity from a wall socket, and they can just pass laws requiring that the new energy materialize as needed. And it will happen Presto!

It’s similar to the way they handle climate change. Their models, reports and headlines bear little or no resemblance to the real world outside our windows – on temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea levels, crops or polar bears. But the crisis is real, the science is settled, and anyone who disagrees is a denier.

So for the moment, Let’s not challenge their climate or fossil fuel ideologies. Let’s just ask: How exactly are you going to make this happen? How will you ensure that your Plan A won’t destroy our economy, jobs and living standards? And your Plan B won’t devastate the only planet we’ve got? I’ll say it again:
(1) Abundant, reliable, affordable, mostly fossil fuel energy is the lifeblood of our modern, prosperous, functioning, safe, healthy, fully employed America. Upend that, and you upend people’s lives, destroy their jobs, send their living standards on a downward spiral. 
(2) Wind and sunshine may be renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly. But the lands, habitats, wildlife, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, transmission lines, raw materials, mines and laborers required or impacted to harness this intermittent, weather-dependent energy to benefit humanity absolutely are not
(3) The supposed cure they say we must adopt is far worse than the climate disease they claim we have.
Using wind power to replace the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours that Americans consumed in 2018, coal and gas-fired backup power plants, natural gas for home heating, coal and gas for factories, and gasoline for vehicles – while generating enough extra electricity every windy day to charge batteries for just seven straight windless days – would require some 14 million 1.8-MW wind turbines.

Those turbines would sprawl across three-fourths of the Lower 48 US states – and require 15 billion tons of steel, concrete and other raw materials. They would wipe out eagles, hawks, bats and other species.

Go offshore instead, and we’d need a couple million truly monstrous 10-MW turbines, standing in water 20-100 feet deep or on huge platforms in deeper water, up and down our Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Not as many of the beasts, but each one a lot bigger – requiring vastly more materials per turbine.

A Category 4 hurricane going up the Atlantic seaboard would wipe out a lot of them – leaving much of the country without power for months or years, until wrecks got removed and new turbines installed.

Using solar to generate just the 3.9 billion MWh would require completely blanketing an area the size of New Jersey with sunbeam-tracking Nellis Air Force Base panels – if the Sun were shining at high-noon summertime Arizona intensity 24/7/365. (That doesn’t include the extra power demands listed for wind.)

Solar uses toxic chemicals during manufacturing and in the panels: lead, cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide and many others. They could leach out into soils and waters during thunderstorms, hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and when panels are dismantled and hauled off to landfills or recycling centers. Recycling panels and wind turbines presents major challenges.

Using batteries to back up sufficient power to supply U.S. electricity needs for just seven straight windless days would require more than 1 billion half-ton Tesla-style batteries. That means still more raw materials, hazardous chemicals and toxic metals.

Bringing electricity from those facilities, and connecting a nationwide GND grid, would require thousands of miles of new transmission lines – onshore and underwater – and even more raw materials.

Providing those materials would result in the biggest expansion in mining the United States and world have ever seen: removing hundreds of billions of tons of overburden, and processing tens of billions of tons of ore – mostly using fossil fuels. Where we get those materials is also a major problem.

If we continue to ban mining under modern laws and regulations here in America, those materials will continue to be extracted in places like Inner Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, largely under Chinese control – under labor, wage, health, safety, environmental and reclamation standards that no Western nation tolerates today. There’ll be serious pollution, toxics, habitat losses and dead wildlife.

Even worse, just to mine cobalt for today’s cell phone, computer, Tesla and other battery requirements, over 40,000 Congolese children and their parents work at slave wages, risk cave-ins, and get covered constantly in toxic and radioactive mud , dust, water and air. Many die. The mine sites in Congo and Mongolia have become vast toxic wastelands. The ore processing facilities are just as horrific.

Meeting GND demands would multiply these horrors many times over. Will Green New Dealers require that all these metals and minerals be responsibly and sustainably sourced, at fair wages, with no child labor – as they do for T-shirts and coffee? Will they now permit exploration and mining in the USA?

Meeting basic ecological and human rights standards would send GND energy prices soaring. It would multiply cell phone, laptop, Tesla and GND costs five times over. But how long can Green New Dealers remain clueless and indifferent about these abuses?

Up to now, this has all been out of sight, out of mind, in someone else’s backyard, in some squalid far-off country, with other people and their kids doing the dirty, dangerous work of providing essential raw materials. That lets AOC, Senator Warren, Al Gore, Michael Mann, Greenpeace and other “climate crisis-renewable energy” profiteers preen about climate justice, sustainability and saving Planet Earth.

They refuse to discuss the bogus hockey stick temperature graph; the ways Mann & Co. manipulated and hid data, and deleted incriminating emails; their inability to separate human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused climate changes throughout history; or the absurd notion that the 0.01% of Earth’s atmosphere that is carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use over the past 50 years is somehow responsible for every extreme weather event today. But they won’t be able to ignore this fraud forever.

Meanwhile, we sure are going to be discussing the massive resource demands, ecological harm and human rights abuses that the climate alarm industry would impose in the name of protecting the Earth and stabilizing its perpetually unstable climate. We won’t let them dodge those issues in 2020.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, climate, environmental and human rights issues.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Quote of the Day

“I am the center. I am the mainstream now of the Democratic Party” Michael Moore

What Kids In Portland Public Schools Learn About Thanksgiving: ‘War Crimes’ And Racism

Eighth-graders in the Antifa epicenter have the notion drummed into them that Thanksgiving really is a celebration of the genocide of the Indians by greedy capitalist Europeans.

By November 25, 2019 @ The Federalist

Pity the poor child in Portland, Oregon, schools. While many still think of Thanksgiving as a time to come together with family and friends to celebrate our multicultural heritage over a festive meal, eighth-graders in the Antifa epicenter have the notion drummed into them that Thanksgiving really is a celebration of the genocide of the Indians by greedy capitalist Europeans.

The district’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month in November is intended to, in the words of the National Congress of American Indians, “celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people,” as well as to “educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges."

One would expect a positive curriculum that delves into the diversity of the more than 570 federally recognized tribes, especially those in Oregon. As a second-grader in Rochester, New York, I remember eagerly learning about the Seneca Indians, a people who had lived in the very same place where I walked to school, with numerous families living in one “long house.” My instruction gave me an appreciation for the region’s history and for a people who lived there long before I did.

Today, in Portland, all eighth-graders are assigned Marxist Howard Zinn’s “A Young People’s History of the United States,” the simplified version of his phenomenally influential “A People’s History of the United States.”

Rebecca Stefoff adapted Zinn’s book from the original version, with sentences, in my opinion, at the third-grade level. It makes a cartoonish presentation of myriad people groups from the Bahamas and South America to New Mexico and New England. They are falsely oversimplified as universally peace-loving, Mother Earth-respecting, generous, and welcoming. All Indian tribes are lumped together as a mass of childlike people oppressed by the greedy capitalist explorers and settlers.

Sterotyping Everybody Involved

The stereotyping begins with the presentation of the “Arawak” Indians that Columbus encounters in the Bahamas. The same material is in the young people’s version, along with Zinn’s plagiarism and misleading selective quotations, which I document in my book, “Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America.” It uses material plagiarized from a short paperback screed written for high school students by Zinn’s radical anti-Vietnam War comrade and novelist Hans Koning.

Through Stefoff, Zinn describes the Arawaks as being “like the Indians on the American mainland”; all “believed in hospitality and sharing.” But Columbus was “hungry for money,” so “as soon as he arrived in the islands, he seized some Arawaks by force so that he could get information from them,” namely, the answer to “Where is the gold?” As a result, the Europeans enslaved, tortured, and executed the Arawaks to extinction.

Columbus’s landing was “the start of the history of the Europeans in the Americas. It was a history of conquest, slavery, and death.” As he does in the original version, Zinn speaks directly to the young reader, informing him of his position as a historian who will present the hidden ugly side of American history, telling “the story of the discovery of America from the point of view of the Arawaks” and of the Constitution “from the point of view of the slaves,” and on. Columbus is not the heroic explorer earlier historian Samuel Eliot Morison presented him as, but a genocidaire.

Deleting Columbus’s Pro-Native Statements

In the young people’s version, the same things are left out in Zinn’s transposition of Koning’s text that make up the first five pages, including critical passages from Columbus’s diary that indicate he warned his men to “take nothing from the people without giving something in exchange” and (in a set of ellipses for two pages of deleted material) his view of the Indians as “a people who can be made free and converted to our Holy Faith more by love than by force.”

Eighth-graders read, “The tragedy of Columbus and the Arawaks happened over and over again. Spanish conquerors Herman Cortés and Francisco Pizarro destroyed the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of South America. When English settlers reached Virginia and Massachusetts, they did the same thing to the Indians they met.”

The Aztecs and Incas serve to implicate the English settlers as part of the capitalist European imperialist pattern. What is left out is the fact that Cortés was welcomed as a liberator by the tribes, especially the Tlaxcalans, who had been persecuted by the Aztecs for more than 100 years. Cortés could not have defeated the Aztecs without the help of the 50,000 Indians who joined him.

The Pequot War is attributed to the colonists “wanting the land” of southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. While admitting “massacres took place on both sides,” Zinn and Stefoff write, “The English used a form of warfare that Cortés had used in Mexico. To fill the enemy with terror, they attacked civilians, people who were not warriors. They set fire to wigwams, and as the Indians ran out to escape the flames, the English cut them to bits with their swords.”

Of course, the use of fire as “a form of warfare” was practiced by Indians long before Europeans came. It was used by the Tuscaroras and their allies against colonists in 1711, and in other attacks. The name Pequot, from pekawatawog, means “the destroyers,” a trait they displayed in the Pequot War. As I also point out, American Indians served in both World Wars, with deserved pride in their fighting abilities.

Indigenous Peoples Can Do No Wrong

In the “Young People’s History,” the Indians are described as superior human beings in every respect, down to treating their children better than did the Europeans because they shunned corporal punishment and imbued children “with independence and courage.”

The Iroquois, “the most powerful of the northeastern tribes,” shared land and food, and “the work of farming and hunting. . . . Women were important and respected . . . , and the sexes shared power. Children were taught to be independent. Not only the Iroquois but other Indian tribes behaved in similar ways.” Overall, the Indians “lived in greater equality than people in Europe did.”

Actually, Iroquois was the name of a confederacy of five tribes: Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca. The confederacy was established between 1450 and 1500 to “unite and pacify the infighting Iroquois and to gain strength in numbers in order to resist the opposition of Huron- and Algonquian-speaking neighbors.”

To add to the year-long immersion in Zinn are lessons from the Zinn Education Project, recommended for students as young as fifth-graders, on Columbus and the Cherokee Removal. ZEP even offers lessons for first- and second-graders, for example, on red-lining in Portland.

Never Talk about Any Native-Settler Cooperation

The school district provides other resources on its Native American Heritage Month website, including no-no’s in teaching about Thanksgiving. In a provided video, a Native American teacher instructs educators to never ever tell students that Pilgrims and Native Americans “helped each other.”

Making headdresses and headbands, or dressing up, is “cultural appropriation.” Creating Native American names and spirit animals is not “culturally sensitive.” Even coloring bows and arrows is forbidden, as is singing “Ten Little Indian Boys.” One of the resources she recommends is the notorious Southern Poverty Law Center’s curriculum, “Teaching Tolerance.”

Another recommended resource is a video produced by Teen Vogue featuring six girls somberly seated behind a table laden with a traditional Thanksgiving feast. They discuss “the real history of Thanksgiving” as a celebration of deaths of entire villages and “war crimes” as dramatic music plays. They describe what they are “thankful” for—their “culture” and being born “indigenous.” As the music comes to a doomsday crescendo, the six angrily overturn the table and declare, “Happy Thanksgiving, America.”

So when grandma asks the 13-year-old grandchild what she has been learning in school during “Native Heritage Month” she will likely hear a lecture about Columbus’s genocide, the Pilgrims’ “war crimes,” and the “cultural appropriation” of the squash casserole. Let us hope this teen will not overturn the Thanksgiving table.

Mary Grabar, the author of "Debunking Howard Zinn," earned her PhD from the University of Georgia and taught college English for 20 years. She is now a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization in Clinton, New York. Her writing can be found at DissidentProf.com and at marygrabar.com.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Quote of the Day

"You guys [Republicans] get so caught up in process. Process doesn't matter... We're here to advance an agenda. We don't care what the rules say. We don't care what the Constitution says... That stuff's immaterial." Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution

Warren, Sanders, and Biden Preach Diversity, They Don’t Live It

Daniel Greenfield 3 Comments Sunday, November 24, 2019@ Sultan Knish Blog

Senator Bernie Sanders lives in a $476,000 colonial in Burlington VT. The house in New North End is one of three homes that he and his wife own. Burlington VT is 85% white and less than 5% black. Unlike the Old North End, which is diverse, the New North End has an older and more conservative population. The average household income is $80,000, and a number of the elected officials have been Republicans.

Despite Bernie’s socialist image, he chose to live in a white conservative suburban neighborhood where lefties are only slowly beginning to make inroads as younger couples start to move into the area.

Bernie's vacation place in North Hero, Vermont, by Lake Champlain, is over 97% white and only 0.25% black. His 1890 rowhouse in Washington D.C.’s Stanton Park is in a somewhat more diverse area.

Why invest in a home so close to Capitol Hill? Because Bernie expects to be in the Senate for life.

Senator Elizabeth Warren lives in a $3.5 million Victorian home a few blocks from Harvard Square built in 1890. Cambridge is 82% white and Asian, and 10% black. Half the population has an MA or a PhD.

Neighborhood Nine or Radcliffe, where Warren lives, is even whiter than Cambridge in general.

Her home is a four-hour drive away from Bernie’s. And it’s a long way from the foreclosed Oklahoma homes that she was buying and flipping to make a profit.

Once Warren arrived in Washington D.C., she also quickly bought into the real estate market, expecting to stay around for a while. Her $800,000 condo in Penn Quarter puts her close to the National Mall and has an 8% African-American population in a city that is otherwise some 47% black.

And then there’s Joe Biden. Or, as he likes to call himself, “Middle Class Joe”.

One of Middle-Class Joe’s earliest homes was a 1723 estate sprawling over three acres formerly owned by a member of the Du Pont family. His current four acre spread in Greenville is in an area that is 85% white and less than 5% black. That’s the home he owns. In reality, Biden lives in McLean, in a $6 million miniature version of the White House with crystal chandeliers, a home theater, and parking for 20 cars.

The McLean area of Virginia is 71% white and less than 2% black.

Finally, Biden has a $3 million six-bedroom vacation home in Rehoboth Beach with a view of the Atlantic Ocean, 3 indoor fireplaces, and a dog shower. Rehoboth Beach boasts 7 black residents. That’s not a percentage. It’s 7 black people. (But that’s still more black people than are supporting Buttigieg.)

For all their ideological battles, there’s a cozy New England inbreeding to the top three Democrats in the race. All three candidates live within driving distance of each other. Even if some of the drives might be longer. They’re all savvy real estate investors, even if they inveigh against capitalism and the free market, whose net worth was boosted by buying, selling, and even flipping houses at the right time.

The Democrats are an urban and coastal political party, but their ruling class is less fond of big cities. While their political machines may control major cities, their actual elites live in smaller upper-class bicoastal communities with vacation homes that take them even further away from those they rule.

While a quarter of Democrat primary voters are black, Sanders, Warren, and Biden live in areas that are far less diverse than the party they are competing to represent. And in a primary season that has seen a debate about busing, it’s very clear that diversity is a policy they advocate, not a reality that they live.

“I am really concerned about the growing segregation — once again — the resegregation of communities all over this country," Bernie Sanders claimed. And suggested that, "Busing is one tool."

"I’m already on record on busing and using busing as a way to help communities that are diversifying,” Warren has said more ambiguously.

But does Bernie living in places that are less than 5% or 0.25% black make him a segregationist?

That’s what the Democrat front-runners who live in New England enclaves with few black people, insist.

Warren’s journey took her from Oklahoma City to Houston, fairly diverse cities, to White Meadow Lake, New Jersey. While she taught at Rutgers Law School in Newark, a majority black city, she lived in an 89% white and less than 2% black community. Even as she grew politically radicalized, migrating from the GOP to the Democrats and then their farthest leftiest fringe, Warren ran away from diversity.

Bernie Sanders grew up in Brooklyn, a borough that is 1/3rd white and 1/3rd black, which he traded in for Vermont. His old Midwood neighborhood still has a Jewish population, but the Orthodox Jews and Russian immigrants who live there tend to be conservative and are unlikely to vote for the socialist.

If Bernie was concerned about segregation, why didn’t he return to Brooklyn, instead of Vermont?

Warren and Bernie’s journey was not toward diversity, but away from it. Their idea of a good life involved finding New England enclaves far from the more diverse places they had come from.

There’s no way to know if these choices were racially deliberate or coincidental. But that’s not a benefit of the doubt that either of them are willing to extend, either in rhetoric or in policy, to ordinary people.

Sanders and Warren are quick to accuse other people of racism, but their own life choices suggest that what they really wanted out of life was to live out a 19th century American lifestyle in New England.

With as little diversity as they could manage.

That’s their choice and it’s also their hypocrisy.

The Democrat leadership isn’t just out of touch with the country, but with their own voters. Sanders, Biden, and Warren represent the hypocrisy of a party divided between middle class suburbanites and urban voters. The leadership, Warren, Sanders, and Biden live in comfortable wealthy enclaves far from the misery that the political machines they head inflict on the inner cities they occasionally visit.

These uncomfortable questions are evaded with heavy doses of class warfare and identity politics.

Warren and Sanders, who are millionaires, rant about the super-rich while buying six figure homes, they denounce white supremacy while living in areas that are whiter than anything in Jim Crow territory.

And Joe Biden somehow commands the black vote while living in a place that is less than 2% black and vacationing in a place with a grand total of 7 black people. That’s the Democrat’s idea of diversity.

There’s something deeply wrong with the race-baiting of the Democrats and of their hypocrisy about it.

Democrat policies are destructive, but their hypocrisy is also corrosive. In an election where candidates pretend to be authentic by becoming more radical, their hypocrisy reveals their contempt for voters.

Their commitment to diversity is made on someone else’s behalf and at someone else’s expense.

Biden, Sanders, and Warren preach diversity. But if you want to see what they really believe, go look at where they live.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Education Week, Part V: The Home Schooling Phenomenon

November 22, 2019 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

So far, our acknowledgement of National Education week has addressed the following topics.
  • Part I looked at the deteriorating performance of government schools.
  • Part II reviewed the evidence for school choice.
  • Part III explained how government subsidies make higher education more costly.
  • Part IV addressed the controversy over teacher compensation.
Today, let’s look at home schooling, which is what occurs when parents take responsibility for directing the education of their children. For general background on this issue, I recommend this article on “100 Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids” and this article on “7 Persistent Myths about Homeschoolers Debunked.”

And for those interested, here’s a map showing if and how home schooling is regulated across the United States.



I want to focus on whether home schooling produces good results.

J.D. Tuccille looks at the data in an article for Reason.
Based on such evidence, homeschooling is enjoying a boom, as growing numbers of families with diverse backgrounds, philosophies, and approaches abandon government-controlled schools in favor of taking responsibility for their own children’s education. …”From 1999 to 2012, the percentage of students who were homeschooled doubled, from an estimated 1.7 percent to 3.4 percent,” reports the National Center for Education Statistics. …In 2014, SAT “test scores of college-bound homeschool students were higher than the national average of all college-bound seniors that same year,” according to NHERI. “Mean ACT Composite scores for homeschooled students were consistently higher than those for public school students” from 2001 through 2014, according (PDF) to that testing organization, although private school students scored higher still.
As reported by USA Today, home-schooled students are better educated.
…children who are home-schooled often face classic stereotypes of being strange or different than children educated in traditional schools when they enter college. …While the most common reason for homeschooling remains to be religious or moral beliefs, the number of secular homeschooling groups in the United States is growing, as is the overall number of home-schooled children. …According to a 2007 survey, more than 1.5 million children in the United States are home-schooled, which represents about 2.9% of school-aged children. …home-schooled students generally score slightly above the national average on both the SAT and the ACT and often enter college with more college credits. Studies have also shown that on average home-schooled students have higher grade point averages in their freshman years and have higher graduation rates than their peers. …studies have begun chipping away at the conception of home-schooling as socially stunting students – research shows that on average home-schooled students routinely participate in eight social activities outside of the home, and typically consume considerably less television than do traditionally-educated students. They are also…less susceptible to peer pressure.
The good news isn’t limited to the United States.

Home-schooled kids also outperform their peers in the U.K., as reported by the Guardian.
Children taught at home significantly outperform their contemporaries who go to school, the first comparative study has found. It discovered that home-educated children of working-class parents achieved considerably higher marks in tests than the children of professional, middle-class parents and that gender differences in exam results disappear among home-taught children. …The number of home-educated children in Britain has grown from practically none 20 years ago to about 150,000 today – around 1 per cent of the school age population. By the end of the decade, the figure is expected to have tripled. …Paula Rothermel, a lecturer in learning in early childhood at the University of Durham, who spent three years conducting the survey…said: ‘This study is the first evidence we have proving that home education is a huge benefit to large numbers of children….” She found that 65 per cent of home-educated children scored more than 75 per cent in a general mathematics and literacy test, compared to a national figure of only 5.1 per cent. The average national score for school-educated pupils in the same test was 45 per cent, while that of the home-educated children was 81 per cent. …Rothermel found that the children of working-class, poorly-educated parents significantly outperformed their middle-class contemporaries. While the five- to six-year old children of professional parents scored only 55.2 per cent in the test, children far lower down the social scale scored 71 per cent.
By the way, this isn’t a new issue. Here are some passages from a column that Professor Don Boudreaux wrote more than 20 years ago.
Americans are increasingly aware that government education specialists in charge of K-12 government schools are lousy educators. …these alleged specialists are so bad that non-specialist parents outperform them at the task of education. The average home-schooled child scores in the 85th percentile on standardized achievement tests a full 35 points higher than the score registered by the average public-school student. …it isn’t the case that K-12 education bureaucrats have no specialized skills. Indeed, they are exquisitely specialized. The problem is that their specialty isn’t education; it’s political lobbying.
Given all these positive results, no wonder ever-greater numbers of parents are opting for homeschooling.



Needless to say, the education monopoly doesn’t like this form of competition.

Home schoolers constantly need to defend their rights in the United States.
At over two million young people, the number of US homeschoolers is comparable to the number of US students enrolled in public charter schools, and it is now considered a worthwhile education option for many families. …In many ways, this freedom, flexibility, and family-centered learning are terrifying to the state. Despite the fact that homeschooling has been legally recognized in all 50 states since 1993, attempts to limit homeschooling freedoms are ongoing. …efforts to tighten homeschooling regulations have been spotlighted in New Hampshire and Iowa, and homeschoolers in the United Kingdom are now dealing with mounting pressure… An underlying theme in these calls for regulating homeschoolers is that parents can’t be trusted… Considering the fact that…homeschooling students continue to outrank their schooled peers in academic performance – we should wonder who really knows best how to educate kids.
Unsurprisingly, California’s politicians are hostile to home schooling.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there’s effective opposition from home-schooling families.
They came by the hundreds, one newspaper said—“perhaps thousands.” Some traveled hours, others waited hours, all for the opportunity to protest one of the most outrageous homeschooling bills ever introduced: California’s AB 2756. …the bill tried to mandate fire inspections of all homeschooling families (which, not surprisingly, firefighters rejected). Then the proposal was amendedthis time to force homeschooling families to give out private information… Hours later, families got the news they’d been waiting for“no member of the committee was willing to make a motion for a vote.” The bill was dead.
Some nations have a very punitive approach that makes California seem like a libertarian paradise.
Germany, for instance, has a horrid policy of prohibiting home schooling and persecuting families.
In August 2013, more than 30 police officers and social workers stormed the home of the Wunderlich family. The authorities brutally removed the children from their parents and their home, leaving the family traumatized. The children were ultimately returned to their parents but their legal status remained unclear as Germany is one of the few European countries that penalizes families who want to homeschool. After courts in Germany ruled in favour of the government, the European Court of Human Rights agreed to take up the case in August 2016. Now, the Court has ruled against the German family, disregarding their right to private family life. …“This judgement is a huge setback but we will not give up the fight to protect the fundamental right of parents to homeschool their children in Germany and across Europe,” said Mike Donnelly, international homeschooling expert and Director of Global Outreach for the Home School Legal Defense Association which has long supported the family in their legal struggles.
One other point worth sharing is that home schooling is not merely an option for white evangelicals.
Tracy Jan of the Washington Post writes about the benefits of home schooling from a left-of-center, minority perspective.
…we recently began researching educational alternatives for the future — including the idea of home schooling. …As he entered kindergarten as a 5-year-old in August, I wondered what he would learn about the flag, about our country’s history, about the Founding Fathers. I doubted that the public schools, even in progressive D.C., would keep it real. …In addition to worrying about the Eurocentric bias in most schools’ history curriculums, I do not want our son to fall victim to teacher biases. …Home schooling, we thought, could be the answer to many of these concerns. …The concept of schooling as parents see fit — freed from the constraints of bureaucracy and school board politics — appealed to me. So did the tight bonds that I saw develop when parents become not only provider and disciplinarian, but also teacher. …in many ways, the District makes it easy: Parents simply need to submit a one-page form to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. They also are required to keep a portfolio of instruction… The number of home-schooled students in the city has doubled to roughly 400 since the office began tracking the data in 2008. D.C. does not break the numbers down by race, but, nationally, black home schooling has been on the rise. The number of African American children who are home-schooled grew by roughly 10 percent, to more than 200,000, between 2012 and 2016… DeLise Bernard, a former policy staffer for a previous D.C. mayor, and her husband, Rahsaan, executive director of THEARC, a nonprofit in Southeast Washington that provides educational, cultural and social service programs…decided to home-school their three children because, as Rahsaan puts it, “we refuse to allow the prevailing culture to determine ours.” They wanted to exert maximum influence over their children’s character development, grounded in their Christian faith, teaching them to deeply love their fellow human beings. …Armah, an audio engineer, musician and poet…decided to home-school his twin boys… “I’m not afraid of my children being exposed to everyone else and hearing opposing ideas,” Armah says. “I’m not afraid of my children being okay in public schools. But my goal is for them to be more than okay.”
Wow, lots of encouraging and inspiring information.

And it’s worth noting that many other minority families are choosing to home school their kids (which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the wretched overall performance of government schools).



Let’s close by circling back to the issue of whether home schooling produces good results.

Based on these two charts from Homeschool World, the answer is yes.

The first chart looks at how home-schooled kids perform in college.



And the second chart looks at how they score standardized tests.



P.S. To add a bit of levity, here’s a very funny video about a home-schooled family.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Abolish the National Security Council

By Daniel Greenfield 6 Comments Tuesday, November 19, 2019 @ Sultan Knish Blog

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the latest star of the Democrat effort to undo the 2016 election, is still at work on the National Security Council. While Trump supporters on the NSC like Rich Higgins and Ezra Cohen-Watnick were forced out, Vindman won't be. NSC staffers who criticized Obama holdovers or sought to expose their misbehavior are gone, but Vindman is still there while undermining Trump.

And that’s the SNAFU of things on the NSC.

The National Security Council has been ground zero in the campaign against President Trump from the beginning. General Flynn’s appointment as National Security Advisor had touched the third rail because the NSC had been used to coordinate anti-Trump operations in the Susan Rice era.

The NSC doesn’t answer to Congress. Its members are meant to advise the president. (Except when they’re actually working for a previous president.) They command the implements of foreign policy, traditionally the weakest element in domestic politics, but not when they start treating their domestic political opponents as agents of a foreign state. And the size of the NSC has gotten out of control.

Under Obama, the NSC staff hit 400 people. That’s up from a dozen during its Cold War origins.

And it’s the staff that’s the problem.

The NSC was born in the Truman era, not as a byzantine government bureaucracy full of endless departments and hundreds of staffers, but as a means for key foreign policy and national defense figures to coordinate, develop options and then present them to the President of the United States.

People like Vindman or Fiona Hill were never supposed to be there.

In the 1947 National Security Act, the Council was to consist of the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary, the heads of the branches of the military, and various strategic services and agencies, who would meet at sessions presided over by the President.

There was also to be a staff "headed by a civilian executive secretary".

What started out as a formal kitchen cabinet turned into a monster. And that didn’t exactly take decades. The NSC staff was at 50 people under George H.W. Bush. It hit 400 under Obama.

That’s an eightfold increase from Bush I and a threefold increase from his predecessor, Bush II.

The NSC’s permanent members were there to advise the president. The staff were there to support the work of the permanent members. And then the staff became the permanent members while the presidential appointees ended up being forced out or even worse for running afoul of them.

President Trump’s move to prune back the NSC is worth doing. But reorganizations of the NSC have been carried out before. Bureaucracy is the urban weed of Washington D.C. And even when it’s occasionally pruned, it always grows back. The only solution is to pull it up by the roots.

The National Security Council needs to go.

The NSC was meant to be a forum in which the heads of existing agencies would coordinate foreign policy and national security options. Instead, the NSC’s staff tends to set the foreign policy. What was once a support structure turned into a think tank and a policy shop. And then its very own deep state.

The very worst example of this was Ben Rhodes, an aspiring novelist who evolved from a speechwriter to deputy national security adviser for communications, and, in that capacity ran our foreign policy. War and diplomacy weren’t run by the cabinet members accountable to Congress, but by political operatives.

The NSC had become a state within a state, a rogue organization reporting directly to Barack Obama.

This wasn’t Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex or the deep state, it was something worse. It allowed a gaggle of political operatives to take control of national defense and intelligence, and retool them to spy on political opponents, to manufacture cases against them, and then to act as moles within future administrations with the aim of subverting them and perpetuating their old political agendas.

The NSC violates constitutional checks and balances. It undermines the rule of law. Its current function is an absurd perversion of the simple and straightforward purposes that it was meant to serve.

A coordinating body for national security and foreign policy may be a good idea. But the NSC isn’t it.

What would we do without the NSC? Agencies and departments would actually formulate policies internally and cabinet members would offer them to the president instead of the NSC acting as a rogue policy shop with the National Security Advisor competing with the cabinet members he is meant to be coordinating with. That would cut out some of the infighting and increase congressional accountability.

But that’s a 1980s argument. The 2019 argument is that the NSC is a threat to America.

Old NSC scandals involved its people overriding and sidelining the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, and determining and implementing policy on their own. Those scandals of departmental infighting seem almost nostalgic now that NSC personnel are working to actively oust a sitting president.

The NSC staff isn’t just undermining cabinet heads, it has become a rogue political organization.

It needs to go.

That’s not something that might be achievable right now, but it should become a Republican goal. The Flynn case and the latest impeachment bid are warnings that the NSC has become a toxic organization.

Traditionally, Republicans have been proponents of the NSC. Eisenhower and Nixon had expanded the NSC, while Kennedy and Carter had contracted it. But that pattern began to shift with the Clinton era, and fundamentally altered under Obama. The current NSC is a creature of the Clinton and Obama eras.

But the Obama administration only completed the corruption of an organization that had lost its way.

Abolishing the NSC will, in some ways, be a policy victory for the Left. But the Left has shown that it can do far more damage with the NSC, than without it, and that makes it too dangerous to exist

The NSC was meant to counter problems like the military-industrial complex or the deep state by organizing their functions and putting them more directly under the control of the White House. That plan worked so well under Obama, that White House political operatives used the NSC to take control of intelligence, the military, and law enforcement, and weaponized them against Republicans.

The central principle of politics is that proximity is power. The NSC was only meant to coordinate. Its staff were only meant to support. But the very act of creating an organization that would advise the president also made the position irresistible to men like Kissinger and Brzezinski who used it as a means of accumulating vast amounts of unchecked power. And after the National Security Advisor’s power had been rolled back, it was the anonymous staffers who picked it up and ended up in the driver’s seat.

Then it was just a simple matter of blowing up the staff and padding their ranks with political operatives.

Suddenly, the NSC was no longer overthrowing foreign governments, but our own government. And previously unknown NSC staffers in a byzantine organizational chart had become key figures in the war.

And, these days, it’s not a war on foreign enemies, it’s a war against President Trump and his voters.

A civil war.

The current crisis shows that we can’t have both the NSC as well as free and open elections.

A free country can’t afford the hybrid Democrat think-tank and pretorian guard that the NSC has become. It’s time to dismantle it, declassify and release all NSC activities involving the domestic political opposition, and go back to the way foreign policy and national security were run for over 200 years.

Either that or abolish elections and put the NSC in charge of running the country.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Education Week, Part IV: The Real Story about Teacher Pay

November 21, 2019 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

The worst policy research I’ve ever seen, over nearly four decades in the field, is the OECD’s grotesquely dishonest data on poverty (it even motivated a special page to acknowledge “poverty hucksters”).

But this video from Andrew Biggs suggests that the Economic Policy Institute could give the OECD some real competition.



This video exposing the EPI’s laughable methodology is a perfect introduction to the issue of teacher compensation, which is Part IV of our series to acknowledge National Education Week.

For a closer look at the issue, here are some excerpts from a column published by City Journal that Biggs co-authored with Jason Richwine.
Most commentary on teacher pay begins and ends with the observation that public school teachers earn lower salaries than the average college graduate. This is true, but in what other context do we assume that every occupation requiring a college degree should get paid the same? Engineers make about 25 percent more than accountants, but “underpaid” accountants are not demonstrating in the streets. …About half of teachers major in education, among the least-rigorous fields at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Incoming education majors have lower SAT or GRE scores than candidates in other fields, but—thanks to grade inflation—they enjoy the highest GPAs. …At the lowest skill levels—a GS-6 on the federal scale—teachers earn salaries about 26 percent higher than similar white-collar workers. At GS-11, the highest skill level, teaching pays 17 percent less than other white-collar jobs. This explains how shortages can exist for specialized positions teaching STEM, languages, or students with disabilities, while elementary education postings may receive dozens of applications per job opening. …Teachers enjoy widespread public favor, and their desire for higher pay is understandable. But no nationwide crisis of teacher compensation exists. Most teachers receive market-level salaries and generous retirement benefits.
They also addressed the topic in a piece for the Wall Street Journal.
…the annual reports on public-school teacher pay produced by the Economic Policy Institute…claims the nation’s public-school teachers were underpaid by a record 21.4% in 2018… To measure the teacher pay gap, EPI researchers compare teacher salaries with the salaries of people who have the same number of years of education and the same demographic characteristics. This model assumes that education is interchangeable—that a bachelor’s degree in education has the same market value as a bachelor’s in engineering, and a master’s in education is worth the same as a master’s in business administration. …If you accept the Economic Policy Institute’s findings, ludicrous conclusions follow. …We could complain that aerospace engineers are overpaid by 38%, and we could demand justice for telemarketers who are shortchanged by 26%. …If public-school teachers were truly underpaid, we might expect teachers to reap much higher salaries when they switch to nonteaching jobs. They don’t. We also might expect to see public-school teachers paid less than those in private schools. In fact, public-school teacher salaries are roughly 16% higher than in nonreligious private schools.
Let’s take a look at what’s happening in some major cities.

The L.A. Times reports on how record levels of spending are enriching teacher compensation rather than boosting student outcomes.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest budget plan projects $101.8 billion in total spending — which includes both local and statewide operations — for K-12 schools. That’s a $4.6-billion boost from last summer’s enacted budget and an astounding $35-billion increase from what lawmakers approved in 2014. …But at the same time, a few important things have complicated the flow of dollars to the classroom. …School districts are being squeezed…by the rising costs of employee healthcare and pensions. …“When you look at the dollars that reach the actual schools, the increase in overall funding is being outstripped by the increase in mandated costs,” Gordon said. …And while measurements differ, there’s a consensus that California trails almost every other state in per-pupil funding.
Likewise, a column in the N.Y. Post reveals that record levels of spending in New York are driven by teacher compensation, yet kids are under-performing.
The city shelled out a whopping $25,199 per pupil during fiscal 2017, compared to just $12,201 nationwide, according to data from the US Census Bureau. The record amount tops a list of per-pupil spending by the country’s 100 biggest school systems, and exceeds second-place Boston’s $22,292 by 13 percent. But recent state test results indicate that Big Apple taxpayers aren’t getting much of a bang for their bucks, with less than half of the kids in public schools exhibiting a fundamental grasp of English and math skills. …An Empire Center analysis of the latest Census numbers also showed that New York’s educational expenditures are primarily driven by teacher salaries and benefits that are 117 percent above the national average on a per-student basis. “Indeed, New York’s spending in this category alone exceeded the total per-pupil spending of all but six other states,” Empire Center founder E.J. McMahon wrote in a blog post.
The obvious conclusion is that taxpayers are over-compensating teachers, especially when looking at student performance.



But what’s far more important is to look at the deeply flawed system for determining teacher compensation.

Yes, there’s excessive pay and benefits in the contracts concocted by union bosses and politicians, but the bigger problem is that there’s no mechanism to reward good teachers and penalize bad teachers.

Indeed, many of the contracts are specifically designed to ensure that bad teachers can’t be dismissed.

Let’s look at some passages from a Wall Street Journal column by Cami Anderson, a former school administrator in both Newark and New York.
…disheartening lessons I learned regarding teacher’s contracts and labor laws during the five years I served as superintendent of New York City’s Alternative High Schools and Programs…my team and I were charged with improving the lives and academic outcomes of some of our city’s most at-risk young people. About 30,000 students ages 16 to 21, most from low-income families of color… Not long into my term, however, the ugly reality of the dysfunctional systems working against our students hit me. …many teachers and staff reinforced our students’ deepest self-doubts. …Annual performance evaluations are supposed to ensure ongoing quality among tenured teachers, but all too often the system fails. In New York 99% of teachers receive “effective” ratings while fewer than 40% of high-schoolers graduate college-ready. …Even worse, teachers engaging in egregious conduct, like showing up late 40 times in a single year, physically assaulting a child, or falsifying records (actual examples), incurred no consequences… As a huge believer in unions, due process and collective bargaining, I agonized seeing union staff zealously defend a tenure system that essentially traded students’ futures for jobs at all costs. …Meanwhile, our district employed nearly a dozen “principals” and “vice principals”… Lawyers had negotiated settlements to place them “off the radar” rather than attempt to navigate the byzantine tenure-revocation process. …People were quick to tell me there was nothing I could do about it because of labor laws and practices—and that asking questions made you a target.
And here’s some very sobering information from a column in City Journal.
…mayors, governors, and presidents should retain broad powers to remove incompetent, unsavory, or negligent government workers. In this context, the very notion of public-employee unions is contradictory, as Franklin Roosevelt recognized… Consider teachers’ unions. Citing a study by Stanford University researcher Eric Hanushek, Howard notes that bad teachers have a much greater negative effect on student performance than good teachers have a positive effect. Based on student-performance data, Hanushek’s study concluded that dismissing the worst 8 percent of American public school teachers would put American students on par with those of Finland, which has the highest-scoring students in the world. Yet it’s nearly impossible to fire tenured teachers.
American kids do not get good scores compared to kids in other nations, so the notion that we could close the gap by getting rid of the worst teachers is very encouraging.

But that’s effectively impossible because unions are more concerned with protecting the worst teachers than they are with producing the best outcomes.

Since we started with a video from Andrew Biggs, let’s close with his infographic.

The bottom line is that the government’s school monopoly is doing a bad job in large part because it’s being run for the benefit of teachers unions.

With school choice, by contrast, it would be possible to reward the best teachers. Indeed, there would be competitive pressure for that outcome under a decentralized, competition-based system.