The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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spanish-river
Don't know much about history
A friend of mine recently commented that if the current trend to reduce the study of history in schools to easily digestible politically correct soundbites that are being successfully pushed by social justice warriors continues, we will soon be limited to discussing how horrible slavery was, the Stonewall Inn riots and the so-called holocaust. Indeed,... Read More
Angela Saini, Barry Mehler, and the Academic Left
Angela Saini, who describes herself as a “freelance science journalist,” has written a propaganda piece on race for the Guardian (“Why race science is on the rise again”), a precis of a now-released book of the same title. You know what you are up against right from the beginning, with the phrase “so-called ‘races,’” with... Read More
Teachers loom large in most children’s lives, and are long remembered. Class reunions often talk of the most charismatic teacher, the one whose words and helpfulness made a difference. Who could doubt that they can have an influence on children’s learning and future achievements? Doug Detterman is one such doubter: Education and Intelligence: Pity the... Read More
fredchinatrain
It is Time to Stop Celebrating Inadequacy
China has an upcoming maglev train that will run at 373 miles an hour. By comparison, the United States increasingly looks like a country from an earlier age. Pop Quiz: Was this train engineered (a) by heartwarming, puzzled, oppressed, suffering, agonized minorities who ought to be making pizzas, or (b) by the brightest people China... Read More
I am in favour of schools in principle, with some reservations about what schooling can achieve. Schools cannot compensate for individual differences. From time to time, children have to be excluded from school because their behaviour makes it very difficult to teach other children. Under the current rules, a pattern of disruption has to be... Read More
This week the House of Representatives will vote on a package of bills making the temporary tax cuts contained in last year’s tax reform bill permanent and making additional tax law changes. The bills will likely pass in the House, but will almost certainly be filibustered in the Senate if the Senate leadership tries to... Read More
Ben Shapiro speaking at Politicon in Pasadena, California. CC BY-SA 3.0.
Perhaps the most successful myth that has been foisted off on a gullible American citizenry is that the education of our children, from kindergarten through high school, is the responsibility of the government. And implicit in that assumption is that the natural rights and duties of the family over the education of its offspring must... Read More
The February mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida prompted many parents to consider homeschooling. This is hardly surprising, as the misnamed federal “Gun-Free Schools” law leaves schoolchildren defenseless against mass shooters. Removing one’s children from government schools seems a rational response to school shootings.School shootings are not the only form of violence... Read More
caranzaimage
I'm having a fire sale on education stories this week. Also a parallel fire sale on quotes from my 2009 book We Are Doomed, because the education chapter of that book was the most fun to write and it's pertinent to this week's stories. Here's a sort of keynote quote from that chapter: Education story... Read More
Facing the World Adults Are Wrecking
During the first week of May 1963, more than 800 African-American students walked out of their classrooms and into the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, to call for an end to segregation. Despite frequent arrests and having dogs and high-pressure firehoses turned on them, they kept marching. Their determination and ceaseless bravery -- later called the... Read More
If you want a classic formulation from our new Gilded Age, here it is, as described recently in the Guardian: “A head-on assault on teachers for their long summer vacations would ‘sound tone-deaf when there are dozens of videos and social media posts going viral from teachers about their second jobs [and] having to rely... Read More
Class Conflict in Red State America
Teachers in red-state America are hard at work teaching us all a lesson. The American mythos has always rested on a belief that this country was born out of a kind of immaculate conception, that the New World came into being and has forever after been preserved as a land without the class hierarchies and... Read More
At almost 74, of all the people in my life, it may be the teachers I remember most vividly. Mrs. Kelly, my first grade teacher (who began it all); my fourth grade teacher Miss Thomas (who, when I approached her that initial day in class and said “Hey, you,” assured me in the kindest possible... Read More
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Today’s America is a world of solutions and it is almost un-American to even hint that our most pressing problems are intractable and must be endured as one might suffer terrible weather. Even tribulations that have perplexed societies for millennia will be solved if we just do the research, roll up our sleeves and spend... Read More
Shutting down the Department of Education and returning control of the education dollar to the American people is the key to improving education. The best way to put the people in charge of education is by shutting down all unconstitutional bureaucracies, repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, and ending the Federal Reserve’s money monopoly.Since Congress is unlikely... Read More
The loathsome truth about psychology textbooks
I have a secret hope that one day one of my readers will write a psychology textbook, and that intelligence will be mentioned in an up-to-date and accurate manner. Years ago, when reading a new UK textbook that took an apologetic and partial view of racial differences in intelligence I planned to look at the... Read More
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If one compiled a list of massive cultural engineering projects, America’s effort to close race-related academic achievement gaps would be the most ambitious. For over a half century we have spent tens of billions, devised scores of remediation schemes, and pursued legal solutions galore, all to no avail. Even conservatives normally hostile to social engineering... Read More
Some of the most fun I’ve had as a writer was compiling the education chapter (Chapter Six) of We Are Doomed. For the connoisseur of human folly, education is a banquet. I wrote: Sane books about education do occasionally get published, though. Two years ago almost to the day, I reviewed one such here at... Read More
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If a prize were awarded for the worst policy idea, one that would waste billions in some futile quest for the impossible, the indisputable winner would be uplifting the academic bottom by fixing their “bad schools.” It is a seductive idea that never seems to die despite repeated failures; it even seduces free-market conservatives infatuated... Read More
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Extreme Times Call for Extreme Measures
In looking for a piece I seemed to remember in which John, a prolific internet presence, advocates abolishing public education, I came across his overall diagnosis of schooling in America, well worth reading and a marvel of concision and accuracy. On its strength I hereby nominate him as SecEd, as one says in the as-yet... Read More
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When I'm driving, my car radio is invariably tuned to KOIT, the leading "easy listening" station in the San Francisco Bay area. My tastes are humdrum and unsophisticated, so the songs merely provide some pleasant background music, occasionally punctuated by commercial ads, mostly annoying but occasionally amusing. One of the better ones began running only... Read More
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Something is Wrong Somewhere
Some time ago I read a column on the schooling of blacks written by Walter Williams, the black economist at George Mason University, who grew up in the black housing projects of Philadelphia in the Thirties. I have read Williams for years. He is an absolutely reliable witness. He reports that all the kids could... Read More
The following anecdote I hope will demonstrate some disturbing pathologies in our culture at present. What kind of effect might different colored paper have on Hispanic students in terms of their schoolwork? This was the worthy academic query posed by my former colleague in the world of education, a world the Derb described as the... Read More
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Yale, Mizzou & Your Child's School
The specter, on the nation’s campuses, of frightened, middle-aged white educators, mostly men, resigning in fear of a mob rising in rage against hurtful words and gestures—all constitutionally protected speech—is an organic extension of the American educational project, down to your child’s school. If your kids are in the country’s educational gulag—primary, secondary or tertiary—however... Read More
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Pain is inescapably part of life and a pre-requisite to accomplishment (“no pain, no gain”). But, that said, fortunes await those who can promise all the benefits sans any pain—think miracle weight loss pills. Most of these schemes just waste money but when it concerns helping the African American underclass, the consequences of eliminating discomfort... Read More
One wearies, or I weary anyway, of the endless news stories reporting that children can barely read or not at all, can’t add, and don’t know anything. This in the United States? The exceptional nation, shining city on a hill, guiding light of mankind? On and on it goes: the national toleration of the stupid,... Read More
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Looking back on my time as a teacher, I note with irony that there is a special breed of stupidity which only manifests in those who purport to transmit knowledge to others. Rest assured, it is they who are now in charge. There is no reasoning with them, there is no Socratic dialogue to discover... Read More
Come morning, I receive emails from friends documenting the curious social transformation coming over the US. These missives usually accompany links to some new tragicomic antics. E.g., Harvard, once a university, lets students invent odd pronouns to promote gender equity. “He” and “she” represent oppression and lack of inclusion. Recently a friend, a Harvard PhD,... Read More
John Whitehead in the article below points out that American public schools are like prisons. The wardens of the schools focus on punishment and ruining the lives of children, not on education. Parents who can afford it put their children in private schools, and those who can’t homeschool their children if they have the capability... Read More
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For over a half century government has spent billions to eliminate the race-related academic achievement gap and all to no avail. Paralleling this educational failure has been a similar frustration to reverse the pathologies plaguing the black underclass, e.g., crime, welfare dependency, drug addiction, chaotic family life, gang violence and chronic unemployment, among others. Yes,... Read More
Among the items awaiting Congress when it returns from its August break is reconciling competing House and Senate bills reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. These bills passed early this spring. Each bill is being marketed as a huge step toward restoring state and local control over education. However, an examination of both bills shows that... Read More
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As a placidly retired teacher, I know well the outrageous left-wing bias of school curriculums insofar as their content is concerned. Hopefully I demonstrated that to some degree in my last missive. But it’s not just content about which one must be wary; it’s also the process by which the content (or lack thereof) is... Read More
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As I retire from teaching, exchanging my piece of chalk for a journalist’s pen, I can’t help but dole out a parting shot to the textbook publishers. I have tolerated them, I have tried to turn a blind eye to their machinations, their half-truths, their lies by omission, their lies of commission. The time has... Read More
Going global is modern ... and sexy. Multicultural Festival, Gyeonggi-do, 2011 (Wasabcon)
Until recently, East Asia shunned globalism. Economically advanced and yet ethnically homogeneous, the region seemed to show that modernity can co-exist with the traditional structures of family, kinship, ethny, and nation. We can be more than just individuals in a global marketplace. Yet East Asia is now catching up to the West. South Korea has... Read More
This week, events around the country will highlight the importance of parental control of education as part of National School Choice Week. This year’s events should attract more attention than prior years because of the growing rebellion against centralized education sparked by the federal Common Core curriculum.The movement against Common Core has the potential to... Read More
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Just as toddlers ask “Where do babies come from,” adults often ask, “Where do expensive, doomed-to-fail government policies come from?” In both instances the answer is simple: they start out little, barely noticed “embryonic cells” and, if all goes well, grow and grow and grow. In the case of public policies, this expansion is often... Read More
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Every society has people of limited ability who need employment and historically many of these folk worked the land. It was a simple and effective solution: you don’t have to be especially smart, even industrious, to herd cows, pick fruit or otherwise help put food on somebody’s table. Nor did society have to spend millions... Read More
National School Choice week takes place from January 26 to February 1, and during this week education freedom activists around the country will be participating in events highlighting the need for parental control of education. I wholeheartedly endorse National School Choice Week, as parental control of education is a prerequisite for a free and prosperous... Read More
Opinions from the Cretaceous
Last week I fulminated about the calamitous effects of the feminization of the schools, of turning the school into an emotional infantile crèche aimed at the fundamentally female goals of psychological conditioning, conformity, and totalitarian niceness. A lot of mail arrived, pro and con. Since schooling is of importance to the US, perhaps it is... Read More
We Don't Need No Steenking Books
The night closes in. Read the surveys of what children know, what students in universities know. Approximately nothing. We have become wanton morons. As the intellectual shadows fall again, as literacy declines and minds grow dim in the new twilight, who will copy the parchments this time? No longer are we a schooled people. Brash... Read More
In Which Fred Endeavors To Get Himself Lynched
I spoke recently to a gentleman, now getting on in years, who spent a career in the slum schools of a big American city. He was bright, tough, and realistic, one of the very few gringos hereabout who speaks good Spanish. Though white, he had also grown up in a housing project and so knew... Read More
Black history month may be over, but a poster prominently displayed in a McDonald's near my neighborhood tells us we should be observing it every day of the year. One way of doing so might be to recall that blacks used to make up most of the workers at the fast-food palace. Today, most are... Read More
Today, May 15th, is voting day in my school district, when we approve tax and budget increases for the coming school year. My local school board is looking to raise taxes nearly 8 per cent, citing inflation, slightly increased enrolments, and some new unfunded mandates from the state. So I get to think about education;... Read More
PastClassics
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?