Violence at Berkeley re Milo Yiannopoulos & liberal fascism

Click for ABC video.

Click for ABC video.

What we are seeing in the U.S. regarding the protest and riot at the University of California at Berkeley (H/T newswatchcanada.ca) is an example of liberal fascism, a projection of the very criticism the Left screams at conservatives.

For example, Wikipedia describes fascism as the belief that “liberal democracy is obsolete” and that there must be a “complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state …”  In the current U.S. context then, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to suggest the Berkeley protests are an example of fascism — albeit in reverse — the preference for a totalitarian state governed only by the Democratic Party.

Scary stuff! But, yes, in reality progressives and liberals in the U.S. want to do whatever is necessary to take down the Trump government. And, no as I said above, I don’t think saying that is an exaggeration.

Think about it. Ever since Donald Trump won the Presidency on November 8th, 2016, the pro Hillary Clinton Democrats — including elected Democrats in the U.S. Congress and Senate — have screamed and yelled that, because Trump did not win the popular vote, the Republicans should not do what they promised to do.

Which begs the question: What if the election result had been reversed? What if Clinton won the Electoral College and not the popular vote? She would be President and there would like be few if any protests.

Well, Clinton did not win the Electoral College and Donald J.Trump is President!

Which brings me to the Berkeley fiasco. What set the students and administration off? It seems that the students got upset because Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak. The problem? Is he a racist? Is he a homophobe? No, worse. He is a gay conservative who doesn’t like liberal political correctness. He also likes President Trump.

So much for free speech!

Yes, I can identify with what is going on in the U.S. I am a conservative Canadian who has been blogging for eleven years now and had to listen to the anti-Stephen Harper screaming and whining from the opposition parties in Ottawa, as well as the liberal media, for the entire ten years the Conservatives were in power.

And, like most conservatives in the West today, I am fed up with liberals and progressives constantly calling us evil simply because we don’t think like they do. I am also fed up with them constantly exalting their righteousness and demanding absolute conformity to their vision of the social good.

To put it bluntly, the crux of the matter is that protesting everything conservative is nothing more than liberal fascism.

All Gr. 8s graduate in ON whereas in NYC barred from ceremony

From NYC Parents Blog

In Ontario, every Grade 8 student passes into high school whether they are ready or not. It’s called social promotion or part of the McGuinty government ‘s so-called success strategy. As my archive indicates, I have written about this topic many times before.  However, this 2007 Toronto Star article tells it like it is, that it’s the teachers responsibility — not the student’s — to make sure all Grade 8s pass.

In New York City in 2012, it appears that the exact opposite is the case. A total of 7000 students were expecting to graduate from Grade 8, yet because they had not yet been advised of the results of their end-of-year state exams by the time of the graduation ceremony, they not only couldn’t graduate but were barred from the ceremony. 

Then, low and behold, the results came out after the graduation that most of the 7000 passed after all! Of course that would have been after many of those students had already started summer school.

So, what does a New York City DOE (Department of Education) spokesman say? We are extremely sorry for delay? Naw. She simply says something to the effect that since most of the students who were mistakenly marked as failing passed only barely, they could still benefit from additional remedial work.

Either way education bureaucrats are failing students. In fact, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that by treating 13-year-olds like this, on either side of the border, its child abuse.

In Ontario, its abuse because the bureaucrats and politicians are failing kids by implementing carte blanche social promotion policies that do not require some form of assurance that Grade 8 students have attained the basic skills they will need in high school.

In New York City, bureaucrats and politicians are failing kids for the opposite reason. They assume kids have failed even before they get their standardized test results and punish them further by not even allowing them to watch their peers graduate.  

Two extremes. Unbelievable!

[…]

Endnote: I did not blame teachers in either of these two cases because they do not make policy. They implement it. In Ontario’s case, they follow policy or they are fired. As the Star’s article title states: Failure is not an option.  In NYC, they simply administer the exams. It would have been the DOE who marked the tests and school officials who barred students from graduation ceremonies.

NY teacher indirectly exposes how “inclusiveness” turning back clock

The New York Times has a blog post by a practising New York State teacher by the name of Laura Klein. In my opinion, her’s is a plea from the heart. Yet, it was what she wrote in her introduction that popped out at me immediately. She says:

“Like most schools in New York City, we have been moving rapidly toward inclusion — moving children from more restrictive settings (smaller classes, less movement) to less restrictive ones.”

So, how exactly is it “inclusive” to move a child from a smaller, quieter class to a large regular classroom given the child would have originally been placed in the smaller class on the basis of an individual assessment?

Well, it obviously isn’t “inclusive” unless what you are trying to do is more about the politics of diversity as opposed to meeting individual needs. In fact, in reality, making such a unilateral move towards “inclusiveness” could actually be extremely disruptive to a special education student, leaving them feeling “excluded” from the larger group.

Remember, just because education officials and politicians say such a move is inclusive doesn’t make it so. Which reminds me of some well-meaning officials in the Niagara Region of Ontario who closed three major hospitals and then had the nerve to say they did so “to improve health care” even though, in an emergency, the nearest hospital was 40 minutes to an hour away. Yea, right.

In any event, like in New Brunswick and Ontario, inclusiveness in New York State is code for what is expected to happen to every student. Come what may, they will be placed in a regular classroom for their own good.

In other words, like a Procrustean bed, the diagnosed needs of an exceptional student will be forced to fit an arbitrary standard. When you come to think about it, how strange that a single regular classroom option is considered the least restrictive environment for nearly every single student.

Yes, some students will thrive in a regular classroom on a fulltime basis. But, just as many will not. In fact, some will suffer greatly with noise and distractions.

Anyway, it is obvious that the more things change the more they stay the same. In the 1970s and early 1980s, parents on both sides of the border fought tooth and nail for legislation that would accommodate every student with special needs. 

In Ontario, the result was Bill 82 and in the U.S. Public Law 94-142.  Both were called progressive. Finally, children got the help they needed.

So, why are they trying to turn back the clock? Well, if it is to save money, they should skip the ideological platitudes and simply tell us the truth. If, on the other hand, it is about “equity” and creating mini-melting pots in the name of tolerance, the result will simply be conformity.  

One thing is for sure, when it comes to meeting the “individual” needs of children requiring special education today, the current vision of inclusiveness may be politically correct but it certainly isn’t progressive!

Endnote: As the Denver Foundations link shows, the notion of equity and “inclusiveness” is a commendable goal for any organization. As a concept, it makes sense. However, operationalizing such an ideology in an education setting becomes difficult, if not impossible, because we are talking about human beings, not a concept.

Think back to Open Concept schools of the 1970s. They were built on the basis of an ideology as well, based on a central library. Then, as now, throwing kids together in the hopes they could succeed together was a really bad idea for children with concentration problems, learning disabilities and/or behavioural needs.

Yet, here we are again only trying to imagine a single classroom model. How many severely disabled children and youth, such as those with autism and intellectual disabilities, will be adversely affected before this wave passes? Because it will pass but it will take a decade before the damage is obvious!

Quebec students & Obama partisans prove some teachers indoctrinate rather than educate

Click image for frontpagemag.com

There is now plenty of proof that far too many teachers in both the United States and Canada are not “educating” their students about alternative political viewpoints.

Rather, they are indoctrinating them with a “my way or the highway” one-sided progressive ideology that, over the long term, could actually threaten our right to free speech and political affiliation.   

For example, check out this column by Mark Tapson from FrontPageMag.com and its link to a nine minute video of an unidentified female teacher and her students in a North Carolina high school classroom. (H/T bluecanada.ca)

As a former teacher and teacher educator, I find the video very difficult to listen to, not only because it is hard to follow given the noise in the background but because it is embarrassing. Clearly, the teacher is an Obama supporter which is her personal right. But, it is not her right to be an Obama apologist in her classroom.

Specifically, besides demonstrating an almost complete lack of classroom control, the video demonstrates the difference between indoctrinating and educating, especially when the teacher yells “stop” several times when a student argues they should be able to talk about Obama as they do Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, because “Obama is not God.”

Personally, I have no opinions or concerns about Obama one way or the other, although I have written about him several times on this blog in the past, most of it complementary (e.g,. here is my archive). Rather, my concern is with the type of political indoctrination we were witnessing.

Unfortunately, however, that type of “teaching” is not new. In fact, as I have written before, I was witness to such a phenomenon myself in Ontario between 1995 and 1999 when I was employed by a Mike Harris “Progressive Conservative” Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). The teachers’ unions hate for Premier Harris and his government was over the top and eventually infected everyone in the profession.  

In fact, to this day, the effect of the indoctrination of students attending high school during the Harris years is still felt.  Now in their late 20s and early 30s, many are parents themselves and I read their “Harris ruined Ontario” comments on any blog or mainstream media column about the Harris years. When, in fact, the Harris government kept all their promises and completely turned the Ontario economy around.

Whatever! As the latest Quebec student protests demonstrate, the demonization of politicians we don’t agree with continues. Specifically, Chris Selley writes in today’s National Post, the student protestors in Quebec are now referring to “Liberal” Premier Jean Charest as a fascist. 

A fascist? Talk about magical thinking and hyperbole! Is the Quebec government using death squads to round up protestors, never to be seen again? Of course not. All Charest is doing is raising post-secondary tuition fees to be closer to what they are in the rest of Canada.  There is also the issue that progressive politicians ignore what doesn’t fit their agenda.

Anyway, whatever the examples of indoctrination by teachers or bias by progressive politicians, whether during the late 1990s in Ontario or in North Carolina and Quebec today, the results speak for themselves — free speech is at risk!

As such, I would remind all those with a one-sided political viewpoint, that as far back as Athenian democracy itself, Socrates taught his students the importance of the dialetic — a method of “dialogue between two or more people holding “different” points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter by dialogue and with reasoned arguments.”

A truth we should all remember!

President Obama gets it right allowing flexibility re standardized testing

Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama won in the war on students and teachers — a war that used standardized test results to hit everyone over the head.  As Fox News reported

“Obama said Thursday that the states would be granted the flexibility in exchange for implementing ‘high standards.’ ‘The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right ones. Standards and accountability, those are the right goals,’ Obama said. But he said educators shouldn’t have to ‘teach to the test,’ and said the new benchmarks will incorporate other factors for measuring school and teacher achievement.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I agree with the importance of standardized tests for accountability and setting general benchmarks for student achievement. However,  I don’t agree those types of narrowly focused scores should be used by parents to pick a school, or as justification to close schools or in some cases as justification to fire teachers. Check out this Google page for a few examples of the war of words and actions going on in the U.S. regarding this issue.

Remember, while it may not be politically correct to say so, not all children are the same intellectually. So, holding a teacher responsible for a student who cannot or will not learn, is not only unfair but unrealistic. In other words, it is worthy to have a goal that no child be left behind. But, certain special needs may indeed mean a child is left behind. However, instead of penalizing a school or a teacher when that happens, the school system or state needs to have accommodations in place to help the teachers help that child be all he or she can be.

Look, I used to run a private reading clinic that involved a lot more than the pre and post tests that were administered to the children and youth. Yes, those tests are important. But so too is observing how well a child can scan words, how well they can phonetically pronounce sounds and words, how well they can read silently and what strategies they use to remember what the story or text was about.

For instance, when you are reading this sentence silently, you are “hearing” the words in your head.  That’s called “sub-vocalizing.” Therefore, if someone can only read by moving their lips, they are not completely processing “the meaning” of what they are reading. The result is, of course, they will not have time to remember what they read and subsequently do badly on standardized tests. However, if a variety of evaluation methods are used with all children, a better picture will emerge of how well they are performing in real life, as opposed to a temporary set-up testing situation.

Anyway, my point is that I agree with Obama on this one. Yes, by all means, maintain annual or regular standardized tests. But, also include a variety of evaluation methods — methods that don’t penalize either the student, the teacher, a school or even an entire school district and state.

H/T Jack’s Newswatch # 8. Here also is my “standardized testing” archive on what I have written on this topic before.

Environmentalists targeting Northern Gateway would destroy Canada’s economy

 

Why are U.S. and other Western environmental groups targeting Canada’s Alberta oil sands, and the Northern Gateway Enbridge pipeline project, claiming the oil sands are a major global emitter of CO2, when that simply is not true? They do it because they can.  They do it because it is a sure way to grow their donations.  They do it because Canada is a free country. And, lastly, they do it because Canada is a Western democracy. 

Yet, compare. In 2008, China’s CO2 emissions were at 23.33%, India’s at 5.78%, Canada’s at 1.80% and Iran’s at 1.79%. Note that Iran, who is a huge oil producing nation, was just a single point below Canada?  So, why do the environmentalists not go after Iran with as much vigor as they do Canada? Because Iran is a dictatorship and wouldn’t allow it, that’s why! I mean, in Canada, you can’t even call an environmentalist a radical without it being considered politically incorrect.

Photo Credit Enbridge. Click Photo for Website.

So why the tunnel vision and hypocrisy? Does it matter, even to “Green” politicians like Canadian MP, Elizabeth May, that:

No, it doesn’t seem to matter at all because the environmentalists are closed to any discussion that global warming, assuming our planet actually is going through a warming cycle, may not be because of any human activity. I am, at least, willing to say I don’t know.    

In any event, pay attention Canada to such tunnel vision and hypocrisy by reading this expose in today’s Financial Post by Claudia Cattaneo. It is, as my blogging colleague says at Blue Like You, up to us to protect our jobs and our economy.

Obama rejects Keystone & NDP’s Megan Leslie applauds

Syncrude Reclamation South Bison Hills

The news coming out of the U.S. yesterday and today is primarily about the fact that President Barack Obama has rejected the Keystone Pipeline deal, although an alternative route might be possible at a later date. For more on that topic, check out the SunNews Network’s Ezra Levant. (H/T BLY).

However, it is the news about the NDP’s position on Obama’s decision that concerns me the most. For example, when I was listening to the NDP Environment Critic, Megan Leslie, yesterday, on various Canadian TV networks, I couldn’t believe my ears. Surely, no Canadian Member of Parliament would actually be applauding the decision not to approve something that could improve Canada’s prosperity and economic well being.

Yet, there she was, claiming a victory for the NDP. In fact, on CTV’s Power Play, she is reported to have actually applauded Obama’s negative decision, going on to say:

“‘President Obama listened to Americans, that’s what you do in a democracy…But here in Canada we don’t see that by this government, it’s just about fast tracking, selling our raw material to the quickest bidder.'”

It’s just about fast tracking or selling our raw material to the quickest bidder? Not listening to Canadians? Am I missing something? Did the Conservative Party not just win a majority government — from Canadian voters in a democratic election?

Naivety? Hypocrisy? Or simply magical thinking? Are most of us surprised? Of course not. Remember, Megan Leslie, representing the NDP Official Opposition, is the same parliamentarian who recently went to Washington to lobby against the approval of Keystone — the same NDP that consists of members who would be delighted to see the Alberta oil sands completely shut down.

So, why do so many NDP pick on the Alberta oil industry, which is, in the final analysis, the main source of wealth for the Canadian equalization program? And, what about oil exploration in other provinces, like Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland? Do those sources of oil production not harm the environment or the fish and other underwater sea life?   Would Megan Leslie’s Halifax constituents, or the Nova Scotia NDP Dexter government, not be concerned if she campaigned on shutting down the Nova Scotia oil industry?

Such hypocrisy and tunnel vision — in my view, the exact opposite of progressive thinking — by both Obama and the NDP’s Megan Leslie.

Endnote: To those who are anti-Alberta oil sands,  here is a link to the Syncrude reclamation photos (see also example above), which proves that sustainability is not only possible, but realistic.

Is Equal Employment Commission contributing to U.S. downfall?

This morning, I read an interesting Washington Times article at Jack’s Newswatch about how a recommendation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was suggesting that when an employer expects a high school diploma, he or she may be discriminating against someone with learning disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

My first reaction was that political correctness was going to be the downfall of the U.S. economy. So, I left a comment about the history of high school diploma labelling and how all this was ignoring the reality that we are not all created equal, no matter how much progressives want that to be so. It is also a negative reaction against the values of merit and competition.

My second reaction, however, was to visit the EEOC’s website where I came across a page on the lawsuits and activities completed by EEOC during the last year or so.Unbelievable! I knew the U.S. was litigious. But, scan the list of law suits and settlements and it comes to millions upon millions of dollars against employers, the very businesses that are supposed to keep the U.S. economy afloat. And, those settlements have been going on for the entire 35 years since Democratic President Lyndon Johnson signed the agency into law.

What can anyone say about this? I mean, on the surface, it is about fairness. But, surely, there is a better way because all that this type of political correctness does is make sure America is not competitive within the global economy, particularly against China and other Asian countries where individuals either measure up or they don’t get or keep jobs.

As I mentioned in my comment at JNW, what is next? Right now we can’t say anything about our age, marital status or sexual preferences. Is it not too far off that we also won’t be able to disclose our education level, because that might discriminate against someone who couldn’t or wouldn’t reach the same level? Or, will it become unfair to tell about our work experiences because that too would discriminate against those who didn’t have to look for those same opportunities?

In other words, if the EEOC is about fairness for those with disabilities, how is it actually fair?  Like the Occupy movement, which may have started out with worthy goals, has this agency become nothing more than ensuring entitlements to individuals who may not deserve them — which makes everyone who has a disability look bad. Whereas, I believe the opposite. If given a chance, with or without accommodations, most with disabilities can indeed compete in the mainstream!

Update Wednesday, January 4, 2012 — Revised final paragraph slightly.

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