Category Archives: Education (higher ed)

Why Would Any Self-Respecting White Male Attend College Today?

by A.L. Schuhart

Why should a White male attend any American public college today? If I were a young man, being White and male, it would not be in my interest to go to college, at least in America.

The most important reason is that it is not necessary to get a college education, as so many people claim, to be successful in America. The statistics that say so reflect the bias of academia, not reality. A college education is necessary for only some careers, not all of them, and not even most of them. My electrician makes more money than I do, for instance. He does not have a college degree, and he is not still paying off his student loans as I am. In fact, a college education for many young people is a modern form of indentured servitude, not opportunity. For a White male who values hard work, merit, self-reliance, and mastering a skill, college is a complete waste of time and money.

Next, consider the culture of American public education today. It is an overwhelmingly biased environment that does not accurately reflect the diversity of thought, belief, and world views that exists in American society. Thus, it represents an incomplete version of American culture and society, one that is overwhelmingly “progressive,” and anti-west, anti-democratic, anti-Christian, and anti-conservative. Of course, not all White males fit these categories, but the ones I am talking about do. Continue reading

Schools Gone Wild — Henrico Edition

by James A. Bacon

This story gives a whole new meaning — a literal meaning — to the phrase, “hair on fire.” According to WWBT/Gray News, a teenager at John Rolfe Middle School in Henrico County seta fellow student’s hair afire with a lighter. The boy is at VCU Medical Center suffering from second- and third-degree burns.

Here’s the TV station’s account of what happened:

His mother said she was told the school was on lockdown due to COVID-19 contact tracing, so her son’s math class was having lunch inside the classroom.

She says her son went to throw away his tray when another student approached him from behind with a lighter.

“That’s when the girl kind of flicked the lighter and lit his hair on fire,” the mother said.

Continue reading

UVa on Third-Vaccination Mandate: Trust Us

by James A. Bacon

So, the University of Virginia bumped up its deadline for students, faculty and staff to get a COVID-19 booster shot to today, one day before Glenn Youngkin, a foe of vaccination mandates, takes office. In an interview with CBS19 News, UVa spokesman Brian Coy says Youngkin’s ascension to office was not a factor in the university’s decision making. “This is what we think is necessary to keep our community safe,” he said.

What factors did go in to the university’s decision making? That’s less clear.

“This variant does pose a unique challenge, but having everybody boosted and having everybody wearing masks we believe gives us the best opportunity to have a good semester and make this year strong,” Coy said.

Coy added that UVA will be monitoring case counts, quarantine space and hospital capacity to make any decisions, and said if UVA opts to enforce other mitigation strategies, those will be announced to the community by the end of this week. (My bold)

Ah. I see. UVa will be monitoring case counts, quarantine space and hospital capacity. By implication, UVa will not be monitoring actual hospitalizations or deaths, otherwise Coy would have mentioned them. Continue reading

Imprisoned by the Past

Libby Prison on Cary Street, Richmond, circa 1865. Photo credit: Flickr

by James A. Bacon

As a parting gift to Virginia, outgoing Attorney General Mark Herring has overturned 58 opinions issued by attorneys general between 1904 and 1967 that supported racially discriminatory laws from poll taxes to the prohibition of interracial marriage.

“While these discriminatory and racist laws are no longer on the books in Virginia, the opinions still are, which is why I am proud to overrule them,” Herring said in a press release today. “We are not the Virginia we used to be, and in order to truly be the Virginia that we want to be in the future we need to remove any last vestiges of these racist laws.”

Herring’s action will have no practical effect — the laws supported by these opinions have all been overturned. But many African-American politicians and activists found solace in the gesture.

“Just like Virginia wiped racist, outdated laws off its books in recent years, so too should it wipe away racist, outdated legal opinions that supported and helped to implement those laws,” said Cynthia Hudson, a former chief deputy attorney general and chair of the Commission to Examine Racial Equity in Virginia’s law.

I have mixed emotions. I can see the symbolic value of getting these heinous rulings off the books. (See a compilation here.) We should slam the door on Virginia’s racist past. However, I find the fixation on the past a distraction from current-day injustices that have origins unrelated to historic racism. Continually dredging up ancient wrongs feeds African Americans’ sense of alienation, victimhood and grievance, and it perpetuates the false narrative of systemic modern-day racism. Continue reading

Excising the “Equity” from Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

by James A. Bacon

The biggest challenge Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will face during his four-year term, scheduled to begin four days from now, will be to undo the “progressive” policy prescriptions of the Northam administration inspired by Critical Race Theory. The trickiest of these is Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, or DEI, which is a benign name for a set of pernicious ideas.

DEI has become orthodoxy in K-12 education, higher education, and state government today, and its proponents will defend it tenaciously. Youngkin can be certain that any efforts to reverse the orthodoxy will inspire vocal allegations of racism. It is critical that he frame the issue so as to seize the moral high ground and maintain strong public support.

With this post, I share some thoughts about the rhetoric he needs to adopt.

The first step is to be clear about what is so objectionable about “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.” It’s not the words “diversity” or “inclusion.” The United States is a nation of immigrants. Virginia is a demographically diverse state. It is appropriate to celebrate our ethnic diversity, and it is axiomatic that our schools, colleges, and government should be open and welcoming to Virginians from all walks of life. Continue reading

Government Attacks on Parental Choice in Virtual K-12 Public Education in Virginia – Chapter 1: Teacher shortages

School teacher, pre-COVID. What was that? 20 years ago?

by James C. Sherlock

A great deal of the increase in demand for full-time virtual K-12 (FTVK12) education is driven by rising teacher shortages in the brick-and-mortar schools.

I am not talking about COVID quarantine or other illnesses, but rather endemic shortages. Jobs that cannot be filled. And may never be.

We have well-founded fears that we will never have the number of young people going into teaching that we have seen in the past because of the two-track attacks on the reputation and attractiveness of the profession over the past few years.

  • The job actions of teachers unions that are featured on the nightly news continue to trash the reputation of the profession;
  • Ed-school-trained Torquemadas sit on the state Board of Education and some local School Boards and occupy too many of the division superintendent and principal’s offices. They are relentless in their attacks on the consciences of teachers with traditional values. It is driving teachers away in droves.

Those wounds will leave ugly scars that will not go away.

Add to that the unpredictability and chaos that characterize many public schools in the time of COVID.

Did I mention that we don’t pay them enough?

Good luck filling those brick-and-mortar public school teaching jobs. Continue reading

Is Virginia’s Higher-Ed System “Inequitable”?

Source: “Higher Education School Finance Inequity and Inadequacy in Virginia”

by James A. Bacon

State appropriations per student to Virginia’s four-year colleges and universities vary widely, ranging from $14,121 in FY 2019 for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise to $4,460 at George Mason University, according to a recent report, “Higher Education School Finance Inequity and Inadequacy in Virginia.”

Not only is state funding per full-time student lower than in most other states, argues the report, published by left-leaning Education Reform Now (ERN), state support does not appear to be linked to need, access, affordability, or success.

ERN’s social-justice critique of Virginia’s higher-ed system contends that state funding short-changes lower-income and minority students. Some points it makes are valid. Some are tendentious. Continue reading

“Equity and Identity” Now at the Core of a Virginia Tech Education

Members of the Pamunkey (or possibly the closely related Mattaponi) tribe perform a tribal dance during a First Thanksgiving ceremony.

by James A. Bacon

A Blacksburg correspondent has forwarded to me a copy of the “Indigenous Peoples’ Day Resolution,” in which the Office for Inclusion and Diversity at Virginia Tech calls for replacing Columbus Day as a state holiday with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The resolution honors the Monacan-Tutelo people as the “historical stewards and traditional custodians of the land” now occupied by Tech and refers to racial integrity laws that discriminated against Virginia’s indigenous people until the early 1960s. It also recites the many ways in which Tech has sought to make amends: establishing an American Indian Studies Program;  hosting “tribal summits”; fostering the survival of traditional Indian dance and song; and  declaring Oct. 8 as the university-recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

You can make of this what you will. Speaking personally, if Virginia Tech wants to help descendants of indigenous peoples preserve their cultural identity, I’m OK with that — as long as Tech doesn’t try to cancel my cultural identity, which is exactly what the Office for Inclusion and Diversity proposes to do by asking to end Columbus Day.

But that’s not what disturbed me the most. The fight over culture-war symbols is out in the open. It’s the things we don’t see that are really dangerous, such as a 2017 revision (alluded to in the resolution) to Virginia Tech’s “Pathways General Education Curriculum.” The core concepts of a Virginia Tech education, I learned, now include “critical analysis of equity and identity in the United States.” Continue reading

No Clear and Compelling Justification

by Donald Smith

Governor Northam’s November speech to the VMI cadet corps has been widely panned for many reasons. Here I offer a new reason: The speech violated a cardinal principle of American leadership: you must be able to articulate compelling reasons for your decisions and actions.

When Northam spoke to the assembled Corps of Cadets, his previous treatment of VMI hung over his head like a dark cloud. Among the many animosities he had inspired was the banishment of Stonewall Jackson’s statue from Main Post, followed by an assault on the general’s legacy at VMI. Statues are symbols — of people, events or traditions we want to honor. They reflect upon the people who create and honor them — and also on those who tear them down.

With his speech, Northam had a chance to confidently and compellingly explain why Jackson’s statue had to go and why his legacy should be erased from the military academy. Continue reading

Fact Checking Northam’s VMI Speech

In his recent speech to the Virginia Military Institute, Governor Ralph Northam had a lot to say about traditions and practices at the military academy when he attended in the 1970s. He recalled numerous details that supported his narrative about the “appalling” racism that justified his launch of an investigation that wound up confirming his allegation. Thank goodness for the fact- checkers at The Cadet, the Virginia Military Institute’s unsanctioned, independent student newspaper. It turns out that some of what Northam remembers just ain’t so.

The following has been excerpted from the most recent edition of The Cadet. — JAB

Gov. Northam from the Speech: “Shining my shoes and my brass. Straining. Rolling my hay up every day, and my dyke’s. Memorizing the Rat Bible. Pumping out push ups while 3rd classmen looked on with pleasure. Most of all—doing everything I could to avoid being singled out.”

Gov. Northam Statement: “That day was incredibly special for me, as the first VMI graduate to serve as Governor in more than 100 years.”

Fact Check: TRUE Continue reading

UVa’s Thought Police Have Taken Control

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia is becoming a modern-day reeducation camp where the views of faculty and staff must conform to the dictates of Leftist ideology regarding social justice issues. Not only must employees adopt the Woke rhetoric of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), they must engage in activist behavior. Between the indoctrination and compulsory participation, UVa’s requirements are reminiscent of a 60s-era Maoist-style reeducation camp. Although in fairness, it must be said that UVa does not administer beatings.

In recent months, Bacon’s Rebellion has documented the use of the following at the University of Virginia:

  • Diversity statements. Job applicants must fill out “diversity statements” detailing how their academic research, committee assignments and/or community service have contributed to DEI. Their responses are evaluated by those who hire them.
  • Employee evaluations. Once hired, faculty members are subjected to “peer reviews,” in which 20% of their evaluation scores are based on their “contribution” to DEI. Faculty members must demonstrate their commitment to DEI not just by saying the right things but by actively participating in DEI activities.
  • Employee training. Under the “Inclusive Excellence” framework, faculty and staff are required to undergo “training” sessions that can include Maoist-style indoctrination of DEI dogma and (for Whites) acknowledgement of their racism.

Continue reading

Diversity Statements Snuff Out Academic Freedom

by Allan Stam

Why should you care about faculty review policies at the University of Virginia and other public Virginia universities? You should care because they affect which faculty are likely to stay at a university and which faculty are likely to move on. In other words, they affect who will teach your children and grandchildren. 

You should want universities to keep professors who conduct state-of-the-art research and excel at teaching their scholarly discipline. But that’s not what you’re going to get with the new guidelines issued by the UVa College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. (See the previous post.)

Pay raises and the annual reviews that affect them are powerful administrative tools that universities use to incentivize faculty efforts. Given that there are only so many hours in a day, faculty allocate their time towards areas that their employers reward and away from those that they do not. Continue reading

Enforcing the New Diversity Dogma

by James A. Bacon

This month University of Virginia departments embark upon a four- to five-month “peer review” of faculty members. The stakes are high. Scores from the review will affect merit raises and prospects for promotion.

New this year: twenty percent of the scores will be awarded on the basis of the faculty member’s contributions to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI).

In theory, the “guidance” issued by the dean’s office of the College of Arts & Sciences allows individual departments some latitude in how they conduct their peer reviews. But the language, though bland and formulaic, is clear: professors who fail to enlist in social-justice activism will have a less-than-promising future at UVa.

Evaluations of each faculty member’s “performance” will be shared with other faculty members. There is no uniform standard for weighting the scores, but if departmental reports don’t specify otherwise, the “default” mode is 40% teaching, 40% research, and 20% DEI. Continue reading

Virginia Tech Student Punished for Booing at a Soccer Game

The “Shirtless Boys” at a Virginia Tech women’s soccer game. Sean Lohr wears the green bandana. Photo credit: The Roanoke Star.

Republished by arrangement with The Roanoke Star.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says that Virginia Tech is out of bounds. On penalty of suspension and a ban on attending athletic events, the university punished student Sean Lohr after an athletic administrator took offense to his booing during a soccer game.

The Foundation is now calling on Virginia Tech to stop violating its legal obligations and clear Lohr’s disciplinary record.

“The Virginia Tech administration was completely out of line,” said Lohr. “It is out of line for everyone’s voices to be suppressed because one person was offended by something.” Continue reading

Emil Faber Weeps

by Walter Smith

The statue of Emil Faber, founder of Faber College (of Animal House fame), bears a quote, “Knowledge is good.” The reigning philosophy at the University of Virginia, by contrast, seems to be, “Only some knowledge is good.”

By way of introduction, let us note that the University of Virginia Alumni Association this fall conducted a survey that gauged the opinions of UVa alumni on a wide range of topics relating to the university. Of the approximately 25,000 alumni solicited, 1,319 responded. Among other highlights, the survey revealed that respect for university founder Thomas Jefferson and the Honor System has waned among younger alumni. The association published the findings in Virginia magazine.

Now consider a previous survey. In March 2018, in response to a request from a working group of UVa’s deans, the Board of Visitors approved the expenditure of $80,000 to conduct the 2017-18 University Climate Survey. “Climate Survey,” for your edification, has no connection to global warming. It is an academic term of art for measuring how schools are doing in their core missions. Many universities conduct similar surveys and publish them on their websites. Here is the University of Richmond’s. Here is Wake Forest’s. Here is UVa’s 2015 survey conducted shortly after the infamous Rolling Stone rape story.

You will not find a copy of the 2018 survey. The UVa administration has suppressed it. I tried to obtain the summary document through the Freedom of Information Act. UVa denied my request. I filed suit in Henrico County General District Court. I lost the initial round, but the fight is not over. Continue reading