Author Archives: James A. Bacon

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

Bacon Meme of the Week

Keffiyehs, Yarmulkes and “Belonging” at UVA

by James A. Bacon

It’s “Palestinian Liberation Week” at the University of Virginia this week, and the Students for Justice in Palestine have organized loads of activities for antizionists, culminating with a “Die-In for Gaza” Friday.

“Wear your keffiyeh,” urges UVA’s Students for Justice in Palestine on its Instagram page. Keffiyehs are traditional Arab scarfs, which students wear to signal their solidarity with Palestinians seeking to combat “settler colonialism” in Israel.

Meanwhile, Jewish students have stopped wearing yarmulkes, Stars of David or other ornamentation that would identify them as Jews.

What does that dichotomy say about the sense of “belonging” — the holy grail of the Ryan administration — experienced by Arabs and Jews respectively at UVA? Continue reading

Public School Enrollments Still Declining

Virginia K-12 public school enrollment will decline by nearly 31,000 students, or about 2.9 percent, over the next four years, according to the demographic research group at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.

The fall-off is expected to be sharpest among high school students, which augurs negatively for future enrollment at Virginia’s universities and community colleges.

The Center based its estimates on the number of births in school districts, projecting forward five years to Kindergarten, and then adjusting for later grades by estimated percentages of students advancing to the next grade, school transfers, migration, dropouts, and deaths. Major uncertainties center around the impact of virtual learning and whether the exodus to private schools and home schools during the COVID epidemic will recede. — JAB

Jeanine’s Memes

From the Bull Elephant

Bacon Meme of the Week

What the School-Discipline Meltdown Looked like in Newport News

by James A. Bacon

A special grand jury investigating a six-year-old’s shooting of a teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News has released its report, and the findings are almost as horrifying as the shooting itself.

The grand jury indicted Richneck’s assistant principal Ebony Parker on eight counts of child abuse. It is the first time, suggests The Washington Post, that an administrator has been charged in connection with a school shooting.

While Parker’s inaction was surely inexcusable, the breakdown in safety runs far deeper than the negligence of a single school official. The behavior of Parker and other individuals reflects institutional dysfunction, which in turn reflects deep-rooted attitudes in the educational profession and society at large.

These dysfunctions and attitudes, I suggest, are endemic throughout most of Virginia’s public education system. They are reflected in widespread reports of violence against teachers all around Virginia, especially in school districts where “progressive” ideology is dominant. Abigail Zwerner, victim of the six-year-old’s attack, may be the only Virginia school teacher to have been shot in recent years, but hers is no isolated instance of violence. Continue reading

UVA Report Finds No Pay Inequity for Black, Hispanic Profs

Adjusted salary differentials for tenure/tenure track faculty.

by James A. Bacon

The Racial Equity Task Force, a 2020 document that transformed governance at the University of Virginia, listed 12 top priorities for addressing the legacy of historical racism. One was to address “serious challenges to racial equity in staff hiring, wages, retention, promotion, and procurement” by auditing where policies and procedures might be “reinforcing entrenched inequities.”

The report cited no actual evidence of disparities in pay, and the authors did not assert that they existed. In a report that lambasted UVA as “an inaccessible, rich, ‘white’ institution,” pay inequities were just assumed to occur and needed to be documented.

Well, last year the Ryan administration hired the DCI Consulting Group to evaluate “pay equity” for UVA faculty based on gender and race. The results, based on 2022 compensation, were made available to UVA January 5 and, sure enough, pay inequities were found…. for non-tenured Asian-American faculty.

Remarkably, adjusted for their level in the academic hierarchy, seniority and other variables affecting compensation, Black professors who are tenured or on the tenure track were f0und to earn 3% more than their peers, Hispanic professors 3.4% more, and Whites 1.6% less — although DCI did not deem the differences to be “statistically significant.” Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From the Bull Elephant.

Bacon Meme of the Week

Jewish Parents Decry Double Standards at UVA

by James A. Bacon

A half year after Hamas terrorists assaulted Israel, hostility at the University of Virginia toward Israel and Jews is unrelenting, according to parents of Jewish students there. In collaboration with other parents, Julie Pearl complained in a letter Tuesday to Rector Robert Hardie that a “blatant double standard against Jewish students persists at UVA.”

Pearl’s letter was prompted in part by the administration’s response to a recent incident in which a truck with digital billboards rolled through the University displaying messages critical of Hardie. One screen said, “Rector Robert Hardie won’t confront antisemitism” while another said Hardie is “unfit to lead U.Va.” The administration’s reaction was to criticize the slogans and investigate who was behind the stunt, Pearl said.

“How does the billboard incident directed at you merit outrage, an immediate statement of condemnation, and investigative action … while the ongoing harassment and intimidation faced by Jewish students receive no such response?” she asked. Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

Anarchy Visits Another School

Albemarle High School. Photo credit: Daily Progress

by James A. Bacon

Teachers don’t feel safe in Albemarle High School, reports The Daily Progress. Within one recent week, a student punched a teacher in the face so hard he (or she) required medical treatment, while another student issued threats against teachers and classmates via social media and email. The newspaper reports other incidents such as a student slapping a language teacher in the face, a student throwing a chair at a teacher, and a student throwing an uncapped water bottle across the room.

“Students are roaming halls unchecked,” a teacher told The Daily Progress in an email. “Students are regularly cursing teachers out with NO repercussions. Consequences are inconsistently applied, if applied at all.”

“I want to assure you that we take the safety and security of our students and staff seriously, and such incidents will not be tolerated in our school,” Principal Darah Bonham communicated to parents.

Perhaps Bonham is serious about “not tolerating” violence. But how did the situation deteriorate to the present condition? Continue reading

Bacon Meme of the Week

UVA As a “Maze of Predatory Systems”

by James A. Bacon

If you visit the latest exhibit at the University of Virginia’s Ruffin Gallery, “EscapeRoom,” it takes no more than five or ten seconds for the artists’ message to sink in — the amount of time it takes to read the signage at the entrance:

The University of Virginia (UVA) is a site of reckoning. The legacies of slavery and white supremacy reverberate throughout its built environment. EscapeRoom confronts the frameworks of injustice that contemporary audiences inhabit and inherit in relation to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. … EscapeRoom charts critical routes through a maze of predatory systems.

Inside, the exhibits contributed by multiple artists elaborate upon the white-supremacy theme. Five 3D-printed pieces of porcelain, for instance, are described as giving “materiality, scale and dimension to the many ‘tools’ that mediate state violence visited upon Black victims: horses, batons, guns, tear gas, and more.”

A mobile made of steel sheet metal “examines violence visited upon Black people at the hands of the American state. It attends to the paradoxes of Black life and death in this anti-Black world.”

To set foot in the EscapeRoom is to enter a world of victimhood that would have been entirely justified a century or two ago but seems tragically out of date 60 years after the passage of Civil Rights legislation, the enactment of the Great Society’s war on poverty, and the dramatic transformation of attitudes toward race in America — not to mention the implementation of Racial Equity Task Force recommendations at UVA itself that made the exhibit possible in the first place. Continue reading