The “T” is No Longer Silent

How appropriate that Defense Secretary Ash Carter should announce that “transgendered” are now welcome in the U.S. military as Americans head into our Independence Day weekend. “The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible to remain…the finest fighting force the world has ever known.” If only Gen. Washington had availed himself of a few recruits from Greenwich Village taverns in Feb., 1776, he might not have lost New York, suffered through Valley Forge and spent the next five years fighting a brutal war with the Brits.

At least we can be comforted that Mr. Secretary is confident any “practical issues” can be resolved and that his tranny working group has been free to proceed “with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness.” Likewise, the RAND Corporation, commissioned by the DoD to rubber-stamp Mr. Carter’s foregone conclusion, authoritatively reported in May that “allowing transgender personnel to serve openly and receive gender transition-related treatment” during military service is “unlikely to harm unit cohesion.”

Gotta love that “unlikely.” It’s really just a smidgen of a fraction of a chance. Nothing to worry about. It’s not like we’re talking life and death here.

Yes, the fix was in from the beginning. A quick perusal of RAND’s Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly reveals that Obama, Carter, et al. were just looking for some pseudo-intellectual air cover for their dirty guerrilla war on the military. There’s not even an attempt at impartiality. The report begins not by addressing the needs of the military nor its ability to fight Obama’s ever new and always continuous wars, but instead with this question: What are the Health Care Needs of the Transgender Population? As if that weren’t enough, here are a few more doozies:

Taxonomy
Transgender is an umbrella term referring to individuals who identify with a gender different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Leaving aside the wanton noun and pronoun abuse, the Ivy-Leaguers at Rand are really so educated they think sex is assigned at birth? Primary sex characteristics are nothing more than labels affixed to our postpartum hospital diapers?

It’s Not a Mental Disorder!
Under the recently established criteria in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), transgender status alone does not constitute a medical condition. Whew, I thought they were mental! Oh, wait. There’s more…only transgender individuals who experience significant related distress are considered to have a medical condition called gender dysphoria (GD). Some combination of psychosocial, pharmacologic or surgical care may be medically necessary for these individuals. So, I’m confused. Are those folks mental?

Physical Standards, Part I
Physical fitness standards should specify physical requirements (rather than physical conditions). I’m not educated enough to know what that means.

Physical Standards, Part II
We recommend that DoD expand and enhance its guidance and directives to clarify retention standards for review during and after medical transition. For example, evidence from Canada and Australia (ed. note, my go-to nations for military advice) suggests that transgender personnel may need to be held medically exempt from physical fitness testing and requirements. However, after completing medical transition, the service member could be required to meet the standards of the acquired gender. Or maybe no standards at all?

Readiness, Part I
When assessing the readiness impact of a policy change, we found that less than 0.0015 percent of the total available labor-years would be affected, based on estimated gender transition–related health care utilization rates. Because nothing conveys the ability to locate, close with and kill your enemy like “affected labor-years based on estimated gender transition-related blah, blah, blah.”

Readiness, Part II
The degree of austerity will differ across deployment environments…recent advancements can minimize the invasiveness of treatments and allow for telemedicine or other forms of remote medical care. Given this, DoD may wish to adjust some of its processes and deployment restrictions in the context of medical and technological advancements. Yeah, Nighstalker, this is Bonecrusher. In addition to the medevac, we’re going to need the head-shrinker to get on the mike and talk to Frank – er, Francine – again.

Surgery
The surgical skills for some gender transition surgeries also overlap with skills required for the repair of genital injuries sustained in combat, which have increased dramatically among troops deployed to Afghanistan. Well, at least there’s one positive outcome of Obama’s wars. Providing high-quality surgery to treat combat wounds that require penile reconstruction requires extensive knowledge and practice in reconstructive techniques.” Which will come in oh-so-handy when surgeons help F2Ms undergo their adadictome procedures.

It’s not a Mental Disorder! – Revisited
Patients denied appropriate health care may turn to other solutions, such as injecting construction-grade silicone into their bodies to alter their shape. There are also potential costs related to mental health care services for individuals who do not receive such care. Multiple observational studies have suggested significant and sometimes dramatic reductions in suicidality, suicide attempts, and suicides among transgender patients after receiving transition-related treatment. So, we should go ahead and welcome recruits that are likely suicidal and then provide them treatment so they won’t be suicidal. Leaving the tranny lunacy aside, why would the military ever consider someone who is likely suicidal?

Readiness, Part III
The most extensive research on the potential effects of openly serving transgender personnel on readiness and cohesion has been conducted in Canada. This research involved an extensive review of internal defense reports and memos, an analysis of existing literature, and interviews with military commanders. It found no evidence of any effect on operational effectiveness or readiness. In fact, the researchers heard from commanders that the increased diversity improved readiness by giving units the tools to address a wider variety of situations and challenges. They also found no evidence of any effect on unit or overall cohesion. Yes! Trannies improve readiness. You read it right here. The state-of-the-art in modern warfare. When you’re preparing to battle with Obama’s enemies you should follow the lead of the Canucks and channel your inner other sex. I think the Jihadi are surrendering already!

Oh, I could go on. But then I’d have to start seeing one of those military shrinks. If you have the stomach for more, read the report for yourself.

But the fun really hasn’t begun. In an essay almost three years ago to the day, Whither the Transgendered?, I predicted the Ts in LGBT would eventually revolt at being left out of the military Pride-fest and stomp their stilettos ’til they got their way. Well, now that the trans have come of age, it’s time for a new prediction. The celebration over the inclusion of the transgendered has conveniently left out the “genderfluid.” Swear, I’m not making this up. For many years now the LGBTQ%#@$*&!!! movement has been increasing its list of “genders”—remember Facebook’s 58?—and now it insists there are folks whose identity just doesn’t fit any label. From the experts over at Nonbinary.org:

Genderfluid individuals have different gender identities at different times [or] could be multiple genders at once, and then switch to none at all, or move between single gender identities. For some genderfluid people, these changes happen as often as several times a day, and for others, monthly, or less often. Some genderfluid people regularly move between only a few specific genders, perhaps as few as two, whereas other genderfluid people never know what they’ll feel like next.

And in case that’s too restrictive…

Some people with fluid genders call themselves by a word such as genderqueer, bigender, multigender, polygender, or other words. This can be because the people haven’t seen the word “genderfluid,” or it can be because they don’t think it describes them well. It’s important to understand that each person has the right to decide what to call their gender identity, and that they’re the only one who can do that.”

You think we might have a problem now with physical standards, uniforms, bathrooms and medical care—not to mention, genuine unit cohesion and military readiness. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Google Cedes Ad Policy Enforcement to Abortion Lobby

Google capitulated to the highly profitable abortion industry this week and agreed to demands that the search engine ban “deceptive” ads posted by crisis pregnancy centers seeking to educate women about choices other than ending the lives of their unborn children. Praising Google’s decision Ilyse Hogue, president of the pro-abortion lobby NARAL, gushed “Google’s leadership in removing the majority of these ads is a victory for truth in advertising and for the women who have been targeted by a deliberate misinformation campaign by crisis pregnancy centers. We will continue to work with Google to ensure that their commitment results in women being directed to the resources and services they are seeking when they search online, ending this manipulation of women making vital health decisions.”

Google, of course, has every right to establish and enforce rules for advertising on its search engine. It’s not unfair of the company to insist on “relevance, clarity and accuracy.”

So, just how deceptive are the offending ads?  Judge for yourself. Here is a list of the most egregious violations of Google’s “strict guidelines” as identified by the aggrieved NARAL:

abortion 1 abortion 2

These ads are clearly not for abortion clinics, which is the search term Googled in the examples. The copy within each ad, however, does suggest that you will not be taken to an abortion clinic’s website if you click. And one could argue that the ads do lead to sites that discuss abortion clinics, but let’s concede for the sake of argument that the ads themselves are deceptive in that they do not advertise abortion clinics. So, then, case closed, right? Not quite.

If you Google the term “knee surgery” in northern Virginia you’ll be presented with this #1 paid result…
knee surgery

And when you click the ad you’ll be taken to a website that offers “a family of non-surgical adult stem cell and blood platelet treatments for common injuries and degenerative joint conditions…” (emphasis mine). Clearly, not a company offering knee surgery. Well, you might say, that’s just more proof that Google needs to do a better job policing its own policy. Perhaps that might fly if there were only a few violations here and there. But what if the search engine routinely allows deceptive ads? And what if many of those ads are for abortion clinics and are triggered to launch when someone Googles “abortion alternatives” or “crisis pregnancy center” and other related terms?

The following examples suggest a very selective enforcement of Google’s allegedly rigorous policy…

abortion alternatives

crisis pregnancy centerAnd there’s more deception. When you Google “abortion health risks” (again in northern Virginia) here are some results you might be provided:

  • A paid ad in the #1 position for “Gentle Abortion” from American Women’s Services. As you navigate the site you’ll finally encounter the term “risk” when you click on the “Gynecological Services” tab and learn that the Morning-After Pill “taken up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse…has been proven to reduce the risk of pregnancy up to 89% of the time” (emphasis mine).
  • A paid ad for Washington Surgi-Clinic, whose website’s only mention of risk is “warm, courteous professionals counsel each patient extensively on the benefits, risks, and alternatives of the procedure.”
  • A Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic paid ad leading to a website that doesn’t provide a single instance of the term “risk” in any context.
  • And finally a paid spot for the Falls Church Health Care website whose only reference to “risk” in any context is “Who is at greater risk for abnormal pap results?”

It’s no shock that Google has outsourced its ad policy enforcement to the culture of death. While company execs do hedge their political bets a bit, they overwhelming support the party of unrestricted abortion and in 2008, Google’s PAC, employees, and employees’ immediate families made Google the fifth-largest source of funds to Barack Obama’s election campaign. Recently, Google’s Exec Chairman Eric Schmidt has been cozying up to Governor Andrew “pro-lifers have no place in the state of New York” Cuomo.

Perhaps in light of the above evidence Ms. Hogue will reconsider her rush to judgment and “continue to work with Google to ensure that their commitment results in women being directed to the resources and services they are seeking when they search online, ending this manipulation of women making vital health decisions.” Or maybe Google will live up to its promise this week: “If we find violations, we’ll take the appropriate actions—including account disablings and blacklists—as quickly as possible.” But not likely.

Bullying: The Crisis That Isn’t

I don’t much like bullies. As a scrawny kid living in a rougher NYC neighborhood through my late teens I had my fair share of run-ins with bigger badder boys and occasionally found myself on the receiving end of a quicker set of knuckles. As an adult, I grow increasingly intolerant of those who would use their bigness of size, smarts, personality or paycheck to intimidate others. But I’m having a hard time getting worked up about the alleged bullying epidemic of the last few years. In fact, I’m certain it’s bunk. Sure, there are still school bullies beating up and shaking down weaker kids and corporate alpha dogs dry-humping their more submissive colleagues, but so what else is new? Do we really need a national discussion? Has bullying become such a scourge that we need StopBullying.gov, the Workplace Bullying Institute, the Healthy Workplace Bill and so many other interventions?

No, this is a fabrication used to justify yet another power-grab by the politically correct and big government. Call it a crisis, say it’s for our children, then call in the Feds.  The extent of Federal anti-bullying efforts is astounding. While every department is expected to participate in prevention, the Departments of Education (Ed), Health & Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ) appear to be the leaders in defining the problem and developing the solutions. And aren’t they prolific?! A search for “bullying” on Justice’s website produces 2,010 DOJ documents. And on HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website alone there are 2,670 CDC documents. And, finally, on Education’s site a whopping 7,540 Ed documents.

Here is just a tiny sampling of the scores of reports, initiatives, conferences, hearings…

  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention – Bullying in Schools: An Overview
  • U.S. Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Division – It Gets Better video “addressing bullying and harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, and those who do not conform to gender stereotypes about male or female behavior or appearance.”
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Media Guidelines for Bullying Prevention
  • U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions – Field Hearing – Bullying-Free Schools: How Local, State and Federal Efforts Can Help
  • Dept. of Education – Office for Civil Rights – 10-page “Dear Colleague” letter
  • White House – Initiative on Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Muslims – Summit on Combating Bullying

But wait, there’s more:  StopBullying.gov is a Federal task force and website that “provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.” StopBullying.gov “coordinates closely with the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Steering Committee, an interagency effort led by the Department of Education that works to coordinate policy, research, and communications on bullying topics. The Federal Partners include representatives from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, the Interior, and Justice, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

So, how bad has the “crisis” become? Given the amount of time, effort and tax-payer money expended just at the Federal level, you’d expect that bullying is increasingly prevalent and perhaps a legit epidemic. The CDC, our national health guardian that “works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S.” says that bullying is “a major public health problem.” Okay, I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. According to the CDC (drumroll, please)…

…11% of adolescents have reported being a victim of bullying.

Hmmm. Sounds about the same percentage as when I was a kid many moons ago.

And, by the way, it took a Federal initiative led by a gaggle of MDs, DrPHs, PhDs and other acronyms to produce these earth-shattering findings:

“…bullying experiences include not only physical aggression, but also verbal aggression, including verbal harassment, spreading rumors, or social rejection and isolation. Moreover, research suggests that boys are more likely to engage in physical aggression, while verbal aggression, often called relational aggression, is more common among girls.”

Yep, pretty much what I experienced when I was a kid.

But the anti-bullying hysteria really isn’t about defining an age-old problem or even coming up with a yet untested solution. It’s about power. It’s about controlling liberty, in particular freedom of speech—in fact, it’s a great example of Orwell’s “newspeak.” It’s a demand for freedom while further suppressing it.

In fact, it’s a lot like…bullying.

THE REAL AGENDA

The anti-bullying crowd’s real agenda becomes quite apparent on StopBullying.gov:  “Schools and communities that respect diversity can help protect children against bullying behavior.” Ah, diversity. The rallying cry of the enlightened and the means by which they intend to control everyone else. Don’t accept their definition of diversity and you’re, de facto, a bully. Diversity, of course, begins not with tolerance, but with “tolerance”—that is, the complete acceptance of the diversity agenda. And, of course, that agenda includes the celebration of everything LGBT. Sure, the anti-bullying crowd throws a couple rainbow-hued bones to racial minorities, kids with “physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities” and kids with “special health needs, such as epilepsy or food allergies,” but gender-bending is their raison d’être. After all, you can’t subvert Judeo-Christian culture by scolding Johnny for sneaking a peanut butter sandwich into the school cafeteria.

And boy do they provide resources. First, are the tools to determine if bullying is actually the norm—not just the 11% reported. One such example encouraged by StopBullying.gov is The National School Climate Survey, which asks the following:

  • In the current school year, were you taught about lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people, history, or events in any of your classes?
  • In your school health classes, was discussion about sexual orientation ever included, such as in discussions of dating, sexuality/sex education, or family relationships?
  • Do any of your textbooks contain information about LGBT people, history, or events?
  • Are there books or other resources in your school library that contain information about LGBT people, history, or events?
  • Are you able to use school computers to access websites about LGBT people, history, or events?
  • Does your school have a Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) or another type of club that addresses LGBT student issues?
  • What activities has your GSA done during this school year? (suggested answers include “organized a school-wide event to raise awareness about LGBT issues and “raising money for an LGBT charity or cause.”)

And then this curious question:

In your school health classes, does your school follow an “abstinence-only” curriculum when teaching sexuality/sex education? For example, were you taught that you are expected to wait until marriage to engage in sexual activity, or that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful effects on you?

So, now you’re a bully if you teach abstinence?

Moving on, StopBullying.gov transitions from surveys to recommendations including The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NCSSLE recommends:

…expanding students’ knowledge of diversity by exposing them to role models through literature, lessons, and classroom guests. Make sure students have the opportunity to choose books that portray diverse families as well as men and women outside of gender stereotypes. Integrate examples of people from various backgrounds into classroom discussions and stories.

Make sure the analogies you use when teaching don’t rely on hetero-normative or gender-normative images or view – points. A hetero-normative viewpoint is one that expresses heterosexuality as a given instead of being one of many possibilities. Such a viewpoint can translate into the development of all kinds of images that reinforce the view. The assumption (reinforced by imagery and practice) that a boy will grow up and marry a woman is based on such a viewpoint.”

StopBullying.gov also recommends the aforementioned GLSEN, whose What Makes a Family lesson plan for K-2 advises that “there are many family structures.”  Further, GLSEN proscribes certain gym class activities. “Free-for-all dodge ball and any other play that is aggressive” are no-nos.  And this warning:

Dividing physical education classes or recess activities by gender for instruction, game play or open activities is illegal according to Title IX. Moreover this practice is based on gender stereotypes that assume that interest in and aptitude for sport and activity participation and performance are linked to gender. By dividing students by gender, these stereotypes are reinforced rather than challenged. For students who are gender non-conforming, dividing students in this manner places them in a position that calls attention to their gender expression or gender identity in ways with which they may not be comfortable.

Instead, “physical education classes and recess times should include games and activities that are inclusive and physically and emotionally safe for everyone.” Yes, you read that right:  gym class must be emotionally safe. Determining what that looks like could keep a Federal task force busy spending our money for years.

Not surprisingly, all of this wonderful concern for our LGBT youth ignores a couple actual and very dire threats identified by the CDC. School-age children accounted for 25% of new HIV infections in 2010 and of those 72% were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. Yet, abstinence is for bullies.

By now you’re probably thinking I’m exaggerating. Is the anti-bullying emphasis on homosexuality really that profound? Well, I urge you to explore for yourself. Today, I entered a variety of terms in StopBullying.gov’s search box and here are the results I was presented:

LGBT: 17,600
Gay: 4,440
Lesbian: 2,320
Transgender: 1,600
Bisexual: 1,320

I’ll pause here, to emphasize the dramatic difference in numbers for the following…

Race: 63 (results included 5K charity road races)
Religion: 43
Racial discrimination: 36
Ethnicity: 9
Jewish/Jew: 8
Smaller:  7
Black: 4
African American: 2
Hispanic: 2
Weaker: 2
Handicap: 3
Racial prejudice: 1
Religious discrimination: 1
Christian: 1 (but not bullying of Christians, rather how “to address and eliminate anti-gay bullying and harassment by adherents of Christianity.”)
Racial bigotry: 0
Religious bigotry: 0
Catholic: 0

So, what has all this time, attention and taxpayer money done to curb bullying? Apparently, it’s made it worse! Summarizing their findings presented in A Multilevel Examination of Peer Victimization and Bullying Preventions in Schools, Seokjin Jeong (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Texas) and Byung Hyun Lee (School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University) state, “Bullying prevention had a negative effect on peer victimization. Contrary to our hypothesis, students attending schools with bullying prevention programs were more likely to have experienced peer victimization, compared to those attending schools without bullying prevention programs.”

WHY WE NEED BULLIES

For those who are still concerned about just good old-fashioned bullying, take heart. In a fallen world, we actually need bullies to help prepare us for worse. A black eye or a bruised ego are small prices to pay for the lessons the offending brutes teach us. I’m a peacenik and diplomat at heart, but I’m also a realist. There are some truly nasty folks out there and it’s good conditioning for kids to learn to deal with aggression in situations where the risk of harm is less substantial. Kids need to get used to standing up for themselves, both physically and intellectually.

One of the surveys in the CDC’s Bully Compendium actually assigns bullying points to respondents who answer in the affirmative to the statement:  I fought back when someone hit me first. This is not just nonsense, but malpractice!  It insists that kids who are targeted by bullies should always act the victim and go running to authority for protection, judgment and consequence. The best medicine for a bully, is for someone to stand up to him. Conveniently, this approach also serves as the best medicine for the bullied. Who would David be without Goliath? Popeye without Bluto? Ralphie without Skut Farkus? And would Spanky, Alfafa, Buckwheat and the rest of the Little Rascals be half the boys they were without Butch and his cronies?

Should you still crave some sort of cosmic justice, perhaps you can find consolation in knowing that most bullies end up learning important lessons themselves and eventually straightening themselves out. And the ones that don’t typically self-destruct. A good friend of mine who was bullied by his dad, bullied by his classmates and did his fair share of bullying other kids in his day summed it up best, “You win some, you lose some. But you’re always better off for it in the end.”

Public Schools are Racist

First of all, let’s call them what they are: government schools. Yes, the public funds them through our hard-earned tax dollars, but the government controls them—local, state and, increasingly, the Federal government. Attend all the PTA meetings you want, but don’t count on having any real influence on curriculum, standards, teachers or much else.

Secondly, let’s stipulate the following, so that we can get to the juicy stuff quicker:

  • That the public in some form has a responsibility to fund schooling for those unable to pay for it.
  • That there are some very good government schools.
  • That many successful Americans are the products of government schools.

Whoa! Hold the phone! Stop the presses! I was prepared to ask that we also stipulate that government schools generally don’t do as good a job by our kids, especially black kids, as private schools, but I just happened upon a brand-spanking-new book by a couple of “education” scholars from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that claims otherwise. In The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, Professors Christopher and Sarah Lubienski contend that when controlling for demographic factors, government schools are actually outperforming private schools. Soooo, we’ll have to revisit some well-established—and re-established—facts before we move on to my central thesis that the public school system is inherently racist. Sorry, please bear with me.

I have no intention of reviewing here The Public School Advantage or even ever reading it, but I suppose it would be unfair to write it off merely because its authors are part of the education establishment and conveniently use subjective factors to “prove” a theory that refutes forty or so years of data and analysis that show government schools en masse are significantly less effective than private schools.

This isn’t the first time this type of study has been attempted, nor is it the first time such a study has been found wanting. A 2006 U. S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) study compared the performance in reading and math of 4th and 8th graders attending private and government schools and concluded that after statistical adjustments were made for “student characteristics,” 4th grade government school students bested their private counterparts by 4.5 points in math and equaled them in reading. And after the same adjustments were made for 8th graders, private schools still held a 7-point advantage in reading, but government schools achieved parity in math.

But Paul Peterson and Elena Llaudet from Harvard University countered in their report On the Public-Private School Achievement Debate that the NCES measures of student characteristics were flawed by “inconsistent classification across the public and private sectors and by the inclusion of factors open to school influence.” Using the same data as NCES, but substituting better measures of student characteristics, they estimated three alternative models that identified a private school advantage in nearly all comparisons. It’s only a matter of time before someone a lot smarter than I takes a close look at the “new” research in The Public School Advantage and finds deep flaws in the selected demographic factors, but for a couple of reasons we don’t even have to wait that long to set aside this study.

First, in a 2009 study, Comparing Public, Private and Market Schools: The International Evidence, Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson set out to answer the question, “Would large-scale, free-market reforms improve educational outcomes?” Coulson looked at decades of international research, homing in on sixty-five independent studies comparing different school systems in 20 nations—from the U.S. to Colombia and the “urban slums of Hyderabad to the rural fishing villages of Ghana”—and found that “in more than 150 statistical comparisons covering eight different educational outcomes, the private sector outperforms the public sector in the overwhelming majority of cases.” So, at the very least, those inclined to believe in The Public School Advantage have some more homework to do.

The second reason we can move on is that in an interview about their book in Atlantic Magazine, the Profs Lubienski were asked, “Most of the schools in your study are religious schools. What about private schools that serve purely academic purposes? Are they also underperforming?” Answered Sarah, “Actually, that was not a category in any of the data that we worked with. There’s this category of ‘other private’ that doesn’t fit into Lutheran, Catholic, conservative Christian, etc., but that’s really a catch all-category. A very small sample. So we weren’t able to study that.” That’s darn convenient. Just leave out the best-performing schools entirely! Sure, these schools represent only 20% of private school students, but that’s the second largest private block after Catholic schools, which, by the way, are declining in numbers while non-sectarian are the most rapidly proliferating.

Equally revealing is Professor Christopher’s guess at why private schools are not as good as government schools:

It appears that there is a danger in the autonomy that private schools have. The teachers aren’t required to be certified, there is less professional development happening, they’re not held accountable to the same kinds of state curriculum standards and tests. And so when we look at scores on those things it just makes sense that the schools who are hiring teachers who are certified and have been educated in a way that helps them understand all the current educational reforms and the research on learning—that those teachers would be more effective.

So, there you have it. Because they are not being held to government’s lower standards and because they don’t necessarily subscribe to the latest fads in educational reform, private schools are lagging. Enough said.

It really would be sufficient to stop here and say that government schools are racist because poorer people don’t have much of a choice and blacks are disproportionately poor. Therefore, blacks are stuck with inferior schools. But there’s plenty more evidence.

  • In the 2009-10 school year, the nationwide government school graduation rate for whites was 83% while only 66% for blacks.
  • The lowest state graduation rates for white students are close to the highest rates for black students.
  • Some of the states with the best overall graduation rates have some of the worst graduation rates for black students.
  • Wisconsin has the worst graduation rate for black students at 40% even though it had the third best overall graduation rate.
  • Minnesota, which has the second worst black graduation rate at 43%, has one of the highest overall graduation rates.
  • Sixteen of the 50 largest school districts failed to graduate more than half of their black students.
  • New York City graduates 80% of its white students but only 42% of its black students.
  • Only four public school districts nationwide are able to graduate 75% or more of their black students.
  • The fifteen cities with the worst black graduation rates also have some of the highest percentages of black residents (including Memphis, Mobile, Cleveland and Milwaukee).

You can find more disheartening stats in the NCES National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 and of 2002 and The Manhattan Institute’s High School Graduation Rates in the United States.

Let’s summarize so far:

  1. If you’re a government school student, you’re a lot less likely to graduate than a private school student.
  2. If you’re a black government school student, you’re a lot less likely to graduate than a white student.
  3. If you’re a black government school student living in a predominantly black city or county—the system is completely stacked against you.

As if that weren’t bad enough, take a look at the government school crime stats:

  • During the 2010-11 school year, there were 25 homicides in elementary and secondary schools.
  • During the 2009–10 school year, 85% of schools recorded one or more incidents of violence, theft or other crimes, amounting to an estimated 1.9 million crimes. This figure translates to a rate of approximately 40 crimes per 1,000 students.
  • In 2009–10, about 74% of schools recorded one or more violent incidents of crime.
  • Between 1993 and 2011, 5% of students reported carrying a weapon to school on at least one day during the past 30 days.
  • In 2009, approximately 22% of students  reported that gangs were present at their school.
  • During the 2009–10 school year, 43% of schools reported the presence of one or more security staff at their school at least once a week during the school year.

I can’t find any break down by race for the recent stats above, but the worst scenarios are reported in urban schools in the most crime-ridden cities, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that blacks are over-represented among the crime victims. Also, in a study titled School-Associated Violent Deaths in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that black children comprised 40% of the victims of homicide in government schools from 1994-1999—over 5 times the rate for white children.

Meanwhile, spending on education at all levels of government continues to grow and grow and grow. And politicians and educators everywhere are hollering for even more spending.

total government spending on education

But the spending hasn’t helped.  Here’s just one example provided by Cato’s Andrew Coulson during testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce…

black - white reading score gap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Says Coulson, “we have little to show for the $2 trillion in federal education spending of the past half century. In the face of concerted and unflagging efforts by Congress and the states, public schooling has suffered a massive productivity collapse—it now costs three times as much to provide essentially the same education as we provided in 1970.”

But that hasn’t stopped our current president from launching yet another program. By Executive Order President Obama brought to life The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in July, 2012.

A few of the initiative’s more amusing goals:

  • Increase general understanding of the causes of the educational challenges faced by African American students.
  • Implement successful and innovative education reform strategies.
  • Reduce the dropout rate of African American students…in part by promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.
  • Identify evidence-based best practices that can provide African American students a rigorous and well-rounded education.

In launching this new initiative, the President did, however, get one thing right: “African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools and challenging college-preparatory classes.” Yep. And the white education establishment and its boosters have known it for years and have vociferously defended the status quo—while demanding more tax-payer money.

Where is the outrage? Where are the professional race-baiters? Florida Congressman Alan Grayson is lauded by the left for proclaiming that the Tea Party is no better than the KKK because many of its members supported the brief and ineffectual government shut-down, but they have no anger for a system that ensures that 44% of black government school kids won’t graduate? Why aren’t the Revs Al and Jesse shouting “RACISM!” and leading marches on the Department of Education? For once, they’d actually be right. Why do black communities accept horribly sub-standard education and dangerous schools, while rich bankers, lawyers and doctors send their privileged progeny to lily-white public schools at no cost? I’ll say it again, where is the outrage?

Alternatives have been and are being tested.  Charter schools, magnet schools and limited voucher programs are all worthy efforts, but don’t go far enough.  The time for tinkering is over if we expect significant improvement.  So, what to do?

Total government expenditure per public school student this year is $12,098. Average private school tuition is $8,549. Math so simple that a second-grader could—whoops, scratch that—a tenth-grader with a calculator, a tutor and an innovative education reform strategy could handle it: split the difference, cut a check for $10,323.50 per student to every public school family, and let those families CHOOSE where they will send their offspring. That’s right, I’m saying let’s scrap the current system entirely and just let parents decide what’s best for their children. What do we have to lose?

The first few years will, of course, be incredibly frustrating and inefficient. For many families, the benefit will seem illusory—only a minority will be truly satisfied as demand for good schools quickly overwhelms supply. Families will flock to private schools and better-performing government schools. It will be first-come, first served. Unfair, but better. Tax-payer-funded tuition will go up initially because we’ll still have to pay for the bloated government education apparatus and most of the under-performing schools. And we would keep those lousy schools open as long as necessary during the transition, which is where many students would be enrolled anyway. And let’s be honest, would that temporary heartburn be worse than the never-ending crap-factory we have presently?

In a year or two, we could means-test and cut richer folks from the gravy-train. Simultaneously, the government schools could be gradually sold off to entrepreneurs with an expertise and passion for education. In time, we could finally dismantle the Department of Education freeing its thousands of bureaucrats to get jobs with the DMV. The states would also be free to downsize or eliminate their education departments.

All of which would finally put an end to our peculiar institution that has kept far too many of our black countrymen from realizing the American dream.

9 Reasons to be Cheerful

The good old US of A is going to Hades in a fanny-pack. So, what else is new? Government bloats, G-men snoop, and so it goes. The culprits reign from both sides of the two-party grand neoclassical aisle and the likelihood of realignment died on the corner of Sane and Not-so with carbon monoxide-weary Don’t Tread on Me flag-wavers trying to ignite a 21st Century “Tea-Party.” And the hope of a competitive third party in the near future, alas, retired with the good Dr. Paul. As much as I’d like to blame our woes on just about everyone currently in political office, history suggests we were doomed not long after Benjamin Franklin declared (and warned): “A republic if you can keep it.” But rather than bemoan our continuing predicament, I thought it might be time—and healthful—to focus on the positive for a change. In that spirit here are 9 reasons to be cheerful…hercules

1. The pro-life movement in the U.S. is on fire. Largely because of a brave, fierce, uncompromising young warrior…

…and graceful 22-year-old woman. Lila Rose, at 15, founded Live Action, a nonprofit that has deftly employed investigative journalism in ways that make the folks at 60-Minutes and Dateline look like amateurs. Lila and Live Action have done more than any other organization in recent history to expose the sins of the abortion industry (principally Lila Rose - Live Action FounderPlanned Parenthood)—including and beyond the obvious killing of 1 million+ human beings in the U.S. every year. Lila and her colleagues have uncovered the willingness of abortion clinics to cover up sexual abuse and trafficking, to promote race-based and sex-selective abortions and to commit infanticide—all in the name of “choice.” The battle, of course, is far from over, but with science, Lila and God on the same side, there will be less peace for the wicked, more pro-life converts and, most importantly, more than a few new beautiful babies born.

2. 64% of voters think the U.S. is “heading in the wrong direction“—at least according to the pollsters at Rasmussen. What exactly the “wrong direction” means I can’t ascertain, and, yes, this would seem to be bad news, but I’ve heard that admitting you have a problem is an important positive first step.

3. 50% Americans see U.S. Involvement in Middle East as bad for the U.S. OK, so there’d be much less threat of terrorism if this number were upwards of 90% among voting Americans, but we have to start somewhere.

4. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk has been relieved of his duties allegedly for admitting that he opposes same-sex “marriage.” While this is ostensibly a depressing story for those predisposed to sanity, three cheers for Sergeant Monk for standing up to the PC thought police who have now infiltrated the ranks of our senior military brass. Note: where are the Marines?

5. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. As a conservative firebrand in my teens during the final days of the Cold War, I reflexively cheered secrecy in the name of “national security,” but as I’ve come to distrust the Federal government on almost everything, FOIA is, indeed, welcome, if frequently stymied.

6. Pat Buchanan. My libertarian, left-wing and neo-con friends will, no doubt, pop a meniscus in a fit of extreme knee-jerkedness, but c’mon, you have to like the guy—regardless of your politics. Pugnacious yet gentlemanly, erudite yet colloquial, pessimistic yet undiscouraged, hard-boiled yet cheerful. Unapologetically American and always fun to read and watch! A good example for those of us inclined to wear our opinions on our sleeves.Ron & Rand

7. Sen. Rand Paul probably listens to his dad at least a little bit.

8. Duck Dynasty. OK, I’ve never actually watched the show, but if only half what is being reported about the main characters is true—their strong Christian faith, public opposition to abortion, promotion of adoption and praying on camera—then let’s hope the Ducks continue to rule the ratings.

9. Pope Francis and his message of God’s infinite mercy. Much has been reported on the Pope’s comments regarding homosexuals on his flight home from World Youth Day in Brazil: “If they Pope Francisaccept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?” Rainbow warriors around the globe and their fellow-travelers in the Fourth Estate have gone gaga over this one, but maybe lost in all the misguided enthusiasm from non-Catholics and journalistic-spin-o-matic hullabaloo is Il Papa’s clear and encouraging message: We are ALL sinners, but God wants to forgive us and WILL forgive us. If only we will seek Him.

OK, I know you’re wondering, why “9” reasons to be cheerful? Doesn’t the title even make you a bit uncomfortable? Lists require 10, dang-it! Well, a curbludgeon can only be so cheerful. Besides, shouldn’t you come up with at least one reason of your own to be cheerful?

Zimmerman: Outrage Trumps Honesty

The Washington Post website is currently running an opinion piece by Maryland State Delegate Jolene Ivey titled Trayvon Martin’s death: Could something similar happen to my son, too? Ivey proffers a tale of woe that has become a common refrain among black pundits from the gentlemanly Clarence Page to the noisy charlatan Al Sharpton. She’s worried that one of her five sons might be targeted by police or the neighborhood watch and suffer a “shooting that would end my baby’s life.” But do the facts justify such anxiety?Neighborhood-Watch

Rep. Ivey represents Prince George’s County, which as of 2011 (the last year crime statistics are available) holds the second highest murder rate of any county in Maryland—three times greater than the next most homicidal county. And Maryland is historically the second most murderous state in the U.S. Not surprisingly, there were also 15 police-involved shootings in Prince George’s in 2011, resulting in eight deaths—a relatively high number compared to surrounding counties. Should those shootings give Ms. Ivey genuine reason to fear for her sons’ safety? Well, yes, in that they are at least somewhat proportional to the staggering rate of violent crime in her community that statistically threatens her boys every day. But are the police and neighborhood watchmen wantonly targeting young unarmed black men and shooting them in PG County? Nope. I can find no evidence that there was ever a neighborhood watch shooting anywhere in Maryland and in all but two of the 2011 police shootings in PG the suspect had a firearm and confronted officers. In the two cases in which the suspects were not carrying guns, one suspect wielded an ax and was shot to death while advancing on a daycare facility and the other was a car thief shot in the hand as he made a threatening move after leading police on a long and high-speed car chase.

Photos of some of the PG suspects are easy to find on the web, but others are more elusive, so it’s difficult to identify the race of all the people shot by police. A quick web search reveals that at least three were black men. But even if all of them were black, it doesn’t change the fact that in each incident police actions were justified. But don’t take my word for it. Every police-involved shooting in 2011 in Prince George’s County was reviewed by State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, a black woman and a Democrat. Additionally, Alsobrooks’ office has emphasized that it consults with police constantly on these cases and develops “best practices and training scenarios.” Since 2011, the number of officer-involved shootings in PG County has gone down, giving Ms. Ivey even less reason to worry about the police.

Ivey laments that she’s had to give her sons “specific instructions about how to behave, should you have an encounter with the police…extra deference, slow movements, keeping your hands out of your pockets…” But is this only good advice for black men? Wouldn’t it behoove all of us to act this way should we be approached by a police officer? As a white male highway commuter with a lead foot, I’ve had my fair share of discussions with police officers and let me tell you, even with my pale white skin, suit and tie, I still have my hands in plain sight on the steering wheel when Johnny Law approaches the driver-side window and every other word out of my mouth is “yessir.”

MD Uniform Crime ReportNow, something Ms. Ivey should worry about is the danger her boys face just walking down the street—especially from other black males. Blacks make up about 30% of the Maryland population, but according to the Maryland Department of State Police 2011 Uniform Crime Report blacks were an astounding 80.9% of all homicide victims and at least 64.8% of homicide offenders (the real number of offenders is probably much higher, but in cases where the offender is not caught race cannot be confirmed).

At least 49% of male black homicide victims were killed by black men in 2011. But the race of 47.6% of the offenders is unknown, so once again the real number is no doubt substantially greater. The confirmed number for white men killing black men is 2.1%. And there is no data for Hispanic offenders, so depending on your racial prejudice you can either include them in the white statistics or not.

Another recent statistic: 22% of murders in Prince George’s were committed by an acquaintance. So, perhaps Ms. Ivey should warn her boys not to try to make too many new friends in their county. In fact, if Ivey were as concerned about the real threat to herBloody PG County boys as she is about the imaginary one, she’d move them out of PG County.

Ms. Ivey’s reaction as a mother is understandable. I’m sure she and her husband have experienced their share of prejudice and worse from white people, and she naturally worries for her five boys. And bless her and Mr. Ivey for having so many children in an era where the birth rate in the U.S. has sunk to a depressing 1.89 per mother and even less per married mother. But, inconveniently for Ms. Ivey the politician and pundit, the stats don’t show a great white and/or police threat to young black men in Maryland. What they do show, in addition to the high rate of black-on-black crime, is that a large portion of white murders are committed by black men—about 25% on average for the five years from 2007-2011 (with about 25% “unknowns”) according to Maryland’s Uniform Crime Report. In other words, black men are about 21 times more likely to kill a white person in Maryland then vice versa. Nationwide data reveal similar trends throughout the country.1

So, while Rep. Ivey frets and the folks at MoveOn.org and the NAACP demand that the Department of Justice launch a civil rights suit against Zimmerman and investigations into Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the real numbers don’t expose any significant danger for blacks from police, neighborhood watches or white people.

But enough of statistics. Let’s take a look at the man called “racist.” Much has been written about Zimmerman’s background, except for his actual ethnicity. We’ve heard him described, of course, as half white and half “Hispanic.” But is Hispanic a race? Some say maybe, some say no and some say you’re a bigot for saying “Hispanic” instead of “Latino.” CNN continues to use the accusatory label “white Hispanic” to reinforce the left-wing narrative that Trayvon Martin was the victim of racism pure and simple. And Rep. Ivey ignores Zimmerman’s race altogether.

The facts, however, once again prove that there is more to the story than what has been reported. First, Zimmerman is only partly “cracker.” Second, most people in the U.S. with roots in Latin America have complex ethnicity. And it would appear thatBeFunky_zimmerman mug_Frame3.jpg Zimmerman is not an aberration. A report by Reuters back on April 25, 2012, claimed that Zimmerman is partly black through an “Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather.” If true, this would be a relevant and very compelling fact. But no other major media organization ran with the story or even explored its veracity—not even to refute it. Even Reuters never seems to mention it again. But in September, 2012, Gladys Zimmerman, George’s mother, was interviewed in Spanish on Univision and stated that “In my family we proudly come from the Afro-Peruvian race. My sons know their uncles, they know their aunts, they know their roots and my roots are not white, my roots are Afro-Peruvian.”

Again, nothing but silence from the media and pundits who seem content to ignore George’s blackness and any other non-white ethnicity his DNA might include (according to the last national census there are 60 distinct indigenous peoples in Peru). And, by the way, from her official photo, Rep. Ivey looks awfully light—even whitish. In fact, she’s kind of George Zimmerman’s shade. Nonetheless, she’s apparently black enough to conclude that Zimmerman is white enough that his acquittal is proof that her sons are in dire threat from others who are white enough. Would we even be having this national discussion if George were just a few shades darker?

Once upon a time, white European colonizers of the Americas applied pejorative terms like Quadroon, Octoroon and Quintroon to identify the blackness of people of mixed-race because a person’s rights were based on the degree of European blood that one had. Later, slavers would use the “one drop rule” in order to qualify people with any black blood for bondage. In an odd modern reversal, it would appear that Zimmerman’s blackness is not black enough to disqualify him as a white racist.

In their quest to turn Trayvon Martin’s killing and George Zimmerman’s acquittal into an indictment of rampant and lethal white racism that doesn’t actually exist, Rep. Ivey, the major media and race-baiters have completely ignored not only the evidence presented to the Zimmerman jurors, but the evidence that’s all around them. They’ve also monopolized discussion trumping the honest introspection our nation so desperately needs as we strive to bridge the continuing racial divide.

1. FBI Uniform Crime Reports, National Incident-Based Reporting System, FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports, State Court Processing Statistics and the National Crime Victimization Survey.