Sunday, April 29, 2007

Democratic School Choice versus Autocratic "Social Justice" Professors

Matt Sanchez has another good post, this one about liberal classmates and professors blaming Hispanic failures in the public schools on--surprise--America's racism, imperialism, and capitalism:

"Not in my Latino Studies course, where everything is someone else’s fault: biased schooling, racial profiling, polarization of the economy, the weakness of labor, the list goes on and we constantly have to regurgitate this gripe before touching on something that barely appears anywhere—the ability of the individual to control his or her own life."
Of course, the real solution to this failure would be to give poorer parents a choice to opt out of the Godless, dumbed-down, moral relativist public schools by offering them vouchers to send their kids to parochial or private schools.

Two great articles. Don't miss these:

Sol Stern, education scholar at the Manhattan Institute has a book about the miracles Catholic schools are doing with students the liberal education establishment cannot handle. Nevertheless, "social justice" professors don't want your kids going here. They might actually be successful and prosperous, have an absolute sense of right and wrong, and gain an appreciation for capitalism, freedom, America, and Western Civilization.

Another new pamphlet also by Sol Stern, appearing in Front Page Magazine, about the new recycled fad in education and the biggest threat to our freedom and prosperity: Public school education not for learning facts and our American and Western heritage but rather for learning "social justice." "Social Justice" professors are indoctrinating young teachers, who in turn feel public schools with their captive audience are perfect grounds for bringing forth a new socialist utopia, in which all the crimes of Western Civilization will be rectified by destroying it and replacing it with a socialist utopia filled with diversity of unassimilated peoples from around the world.

Of course, this brave new world cannot come about if parents are allowed to decide what is best for their own children. They might (horrors) send their kids to Catholic schools, which will undo everything "social justice" professors have worked so hard for. For a typical "social justice" professor, the writings of one of the brightest and most celebrated young "Social Justice" professors, Dan Butin, graduate of UVA and professor of Cambridge College, e.g. "Service-Learning," are instructive. Here is Dan Butin's website.
Oh Wonder!
How much diversity and justice is there here!
How beautious social justice professors are!
Oh Brave New World
That has such people in it!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Nikki Giovanni's Violent "Poetry"

Thanks to the commenter in the "Bad Poetry" post below who sent me the terrific link to "The Professor of Hate" article by Steve Sailor on Nikki Giovanni that appears in Front Page Magazine.

From that article, here is one of Nikki Giovanni's more famous "poems." Considering how she tutored Cho Seung-hui, I wonder how much her "poetry" influenced the killer. It is a real gem:

The True Import Of Present Dialogue, Black vs. Negro (For Peppe, Who Will Ultimately Judge Our Efforts) by Nikki Giovanni
Can you kill
Can you kill
Can a ni**er kill
Can a ni**er kill a honkie
Can a ni**er kill the Man
Can you kill ni**er
Ni**er can you
Do you know how to draw blood
Can you poison
Can you stab-a-Jew
Can you kill huh?
Can you kill
Can you run a protestant down with your
‘68 El Dorado
(that’s all they’re good for anyway)
Can you kill
Can you piss on a blond head
Can you cut it off
Can you kill
A ni**er can die
We ain’t got to prove we can die
We got to prove we can kill
They sent us to kill
Japan and Africa
We policed europe
Can you kill
Can you kill a white man
Can you kill the ni**er
in you
Can you make your ni**er mind
Can you kill your ni**er mind
And free your black hands to
Can you kill
Can a ni**er kill
Can you shoot straight and
Fire for good measure
Can you splatter their brains in the street
Can you kill them
Can you lure them to bed to kill them
We kill in Viet Nam
for them
We kill for UN & NATO & SEATO & US
And everywhere for all alphabet but
Can we learn to kill WHITE for BLACK
Learn to kill ni**ers
Learn to be Black men

"Huh?" definitely is the most notable line, one that aptly sums up the literary merit of the "poem." I'm still scratching my head wondering how this woman could be so praised (and also how this is poetry). Cho Seung-hui sure proved he could kill. Way to go, Nikki! If liberals can complain nonstop that guns cause killers to kill, can we not also question whether campus celebrities tutoring unstable students can also influence them to go off the deep end?

Gotta love her anti-semitic propaganda. But of course, most on-campus liberals do seem to be anti-semites these days with their anti-Israeli posing and fascination with radical Islam. I question how Virginia Tech can award a woman who has written this type of hate trash "University Distinguished Professor" status, considering that she only has a B.A. and that much of the critical praise for her came from her lesbian lover Virginia Fowler (fashion note: the loose ties are getting really old), who pushed Virginia Tech to hire her.

Then after one of the worst massacres in modern history (the worst being in a country with strict gun control, South Korea. A deranged policement shot and killed 58 people and no one could stop him because no one had guns), Virginia Tech asks a noted anti-semite and advocate of massacres to pen a poem commerating the dead? Amazing. I analyzed the mediocre result in my post below.

Judging from my friends who graduated from Tech and the comments in the post below, many people are not pleased with Giovanni's political "poem."

Yet when I wrote Carolyn Rude, head of Tech's English Department, complaining about the poem by the "University Distinguished Professor" (despite only having a B.A.) Nikki Giovanni, I was told in a polite email response that I was virtually the only one not to like the poem. Here is her response:

I am responding to you as an alumnus. I am sorry that you do not like Nikki Giovanni's poem. By a margin of about 250:1 according to responses that have come to the English Department, most people are grateful for its words of courage and hope.

Not everyone can like every poem, and I respect that. I hope you are finding other ways to come to terms with this tragedy. In the department, we are mourning deeply. A number of the students killed were in our classes. The tributes to them by faculty and classmates are heartbreaking. That's another side of the department for you to ponder in this time of deep sorrow.

Carolyn Rude
Professor and Chair
Department of English (0112)
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg VA 24061
If the margin of people claiming to like Nikki Giovanni's poem is 250:1, then the professors in Blacksburg are really living a sheltered life. We need to let ourselves be heard. Please email Dr. Rude at

One point in her response cannot go unanswered. Exactly where are the words of "courage and hope" in Nikki Giovanni's "poem?" One line from the "poem" states: "We are brave enough to bend to cry." That is hardly brave.

In fact the true heroism and bravery in the massacre was shown by the heroic and noble Liviu Lebrescu, the Holocaust survivor that Nikki wanted stabbed in her above "poem" solely for being a Jew. Again, this woman is "University Distinguished Professor?"

Here is another "poem" written shortly after the massacre. It is just as good (so to speak) as Nikki Giovanni's "poem" and it is by none other than the Termagant Rosie O'Donnell. (termagant n 1. a violent, turbulent, or brawling woman. 2. (cap.) a mythical deity, understood in the Middle Ages to be worshiped by the Mohammedans, represented in some morality plays, etc., as a violent overbearing personage.)

Actually, I would consider Rosie's poem to be far superior to Nikki's because while both poems are incredibly narcissistic, Nikki's shows no talent, structure, or originality, whereas Rosie's is deliriously bad in the sense that Plan Nine From Outer Space becomes a very good movie because of its sheer awfulness.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Latina Latinae Gratia

As you are wrapping up the semester or planning summer vacations and what things you would like to study in the future, how about making the following resolution: I will learn Latin, the language of our Western heritage and the official language of the Catholic Church, the safeguard of that heritage.

If you are an undergraduate before you leave for summer break, march yourself to the registrar's office (or to their webpage) and sign up for a Latin 101 class for fall semester.

If you are a grad student no matter what field, also sign up for a Latin class. Some universities such as Catholic University have Intro to Latin for Graduate Students.

If you are no longer a student, you can always take Latin in a community college such as Northern Virginia Community College.

Though most foreign languages one can easily learn on one's own, you really should have a good teacher to help you with Latin, at least initially.

Spring Semester 2006 and Fall Semester 2006 at Christendom's grad school Notre Dame Graduate School in Alexandria, I took Intro to Ecclesiastical Latin and Intermediate Ecclesiastical Latin grad classes. They were extraordinarily enlightening classes, and they opened up a whole new world to the beauty and dignity of the Latin mass and music, as well as the wisdom and brilliance of Classical Civilization.

My professor was the excellent Catherine Caridi, who has a law degree in Canon Law from Catholic University and who is a very orthodox Catholic. For those of you in the Washington area, she also teaches at NOVA.

Two textbook recommendations: For a Catholic approach with Catholic examples in the exercises, the textbook A Primer to Eccesiastical Latin by John F. Collins and published by Catholic University is the best choice. That is the text we used in my classes. It is well organized and has many exercises. By the time you finish the book (which should take a year of study), you will know all the Latin grammar and will be ready for intermediate and advanced classes.

For a classical approach, Wheelock's Latin is the choice that everyone uses for Latin 101 and 102.

Both books together would be very useful.

So quit procrastinating: Let's throw off the collective amnesia and continue learning the language of our Western Civilization. If we don't know Latin, we don't know the language of our heritage. Make it your resolution to learn Latin..

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bad Poetry

Saint Kansas has called the following poem by Nikki Giovanni, Virginia Tech "University Distinguished Professor" (despite only having a B.A.), as having great potential "in case any of you have ingested something poisonous and need to induce vomiting." What an apt description, especially when she bizarrely starts comparing Virginia Tech student and faculty members' lives lost to those affected by the crimes of Western Civilization, including a baby elephant:

(my analysis of the "poem" in brackets)

We are Virginia Tech

We are sad today
We will be sad for quite a while
We are not moving on
We are embracing our mourning

We are Virginia Tech
[count the number of narcissistic "we's"]

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly [how is that strong?]
We are brave enough to bend to cry [how is that brave?]
And we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again [what?]

We are Virginia Tech

We do not understand this tragedy
[a massacre, not a tragedy]
We know we did nothing to deserve it

But neither does a child in Africa
Dying of AIDS
[what does this and the rest of this "poem" have to do with the massacre?]

Neither do the Invisible Children [why is Invisible Children capitalized? Where do these Invisible Children live?]
Walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army [where, other than in Giovanni's imagination, is a rogue army capturing Invisible Children?]

Neither does the baby elephant watching his community
Be devastated for ivory [with this weird analogy, Giovanni has announced she believes baby elephants, like man, are capable of reason and logic.]
Neither does the Mexican child looking
[Why break the line here?]
For fresh water [Okay. "For fresh water" is Profound and needs its own line]

Neither does the Iraqi teenager dodging bombs [tell that to Muslims and Al Qaeda]

Neither does the Appalachian infant killed
By a boulder
[When has this ever occurred?]
Dislodged [She appears to give Dislodged its own line because it is Profound]
Because the land was destabilized [With all the national forests in the Appalachians, how can man "destabilize an entire mountain causing a boulder to strike an infant?].

No one deserves a tragedy [Yes, a boulder careening down a mountain aiming for a poor Appalachian child is a tragedy; a student gunning down 32 others is a massacre. Liberals don't understand the difference.]

We are Virginia Tech
The Hokie Nation embraces
Our own
And reaches out
With open heart and mind
[as opposed to closed heart and mind?]
To those who offer their hearts and hands

We are strong
And brave
And innocent
[what she is really saying here: As opposed to evil George Bush, considering the litany of abuses above he has committed such as allowing a boulder to kill an infant and making Invisible Children dodge bombs]
And unafraid

We are better than we think [narcissism alert]
And not yet quite what we want to be
We are alive to imagination

And open to possibility [as opposed to closed to possibility?]
We will continue
To invent the future
[more narcissism. We have 32 dead victims and it is all about us]

Through our blood and tears [the victims' blood or our blood?]
Through all this sadness
We are the Hokies

We will prevail
We will prevail
We will prevail
[Is this a Black Power convention of the 1970s?]

We are
Virginia Tech

Nikki Giovanni, delivered at the Convocation, April 17, 2007

Beside the self-centered number of "we's" that are immediately apparent reminding one of Father Paul Scalia's (son of Antonin Scalia) article about narcissism among liberal Catholics, the prose/poem demonstrates the way liberals deal with tragedy. They do not look outward at Truth, God, tradition, or absolute values to answer the question about why such a heinous act could occur; they narcissistically turn to themselves and immediately condemn Western Civilization.

Nikki, how do you think the parents of the victims feel about you comparing the deaths of their sons and daughters and the proportion of the atrocity to a "baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory?"

This poem is so awful in terms of structure (there is no logic to how she forms lines or stanzas except for the Spirit moving her), description, and meaning, it is difficult to judge where to start. First off, this act was an atrocity; it was not a "tragedy" as Giovanni asserts. Second, it is not "brave" to "bend to cry." It is a typical liberal narcissistic statement; true bravery and heroism is how Liviu Lebrescu acted: sacrificing his life for his students. Our "crying" is not brave.

I graduated from the Virginia Tech English department, and I do know that Nikki Giovanni is an open lesbian, whose lover Virginia Fowler (who does have a PhD.) wrote many flattering papers about Nikki Giovanni. She pushed Tech to hire Giovanni, which they did, despite Giovanni only having a B.A. Giovanni is paid several times more than the average PhD. She is considered the superstar of the campus. One of her first acts at Virginia Tech was to immediately diss the PhD professors in the English Department.

I mention the above because Matt Sanchez, Columbia undergraduate and marine corporal in the Reserves, has discussed the narcissism that is immediately apparent in Giovanni's poem as being endemic to gays who flaunt their sexuality. In an interview with Randy Thomas of Exodus, he compares their narcissism to the traditional ideals of the Marines and Christian Western Civilization:

There are no "Latino Marines, or Black Marines or Chinese Marines, there are just Marines. In that way, they're not different from Christians who have a non-segregation "We are all God's children" approach to their fellow Christians.

Conservatives feel there are intrinsic values, universal truths and that
humans--who are inherently flawed--can move toward those values. There's a fundamental divide between the two. Conservatives believe the truths are external and we as humans, people, souls can move closer and farther to these truths and that proximity, if you will, is what defines us. The liberal/gay fundamentalist side says that the individual is "that truth" and that he/she needs to just accept who one is. In other words, they as individuals are the sum of all things. They are the society, nation and religion of one … that one being the individual. They are subordinate to no one.
The prose message by the English department is far more profound and less narcissistic than Nikki Giovanni's "poem":
In the English Department at Virginia Tech, we deeply mourn our students and colleagues who have lost their lives, and we grieve with the families and friends who have experienced such devastating loss. We extend our arms in love to these people and to our students who survive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Reminiscing about Virginia Tech

All of the coverage of the atrocities at Virginia Tech reminded me of my time there. I majored in English. I started out in biology, didn't particularly care for science, took a Shakespeare class, and then decided to major in English, not pleasing my parents especially, but they soon accepted it. I simply wanted a good education in the humanities, which in retrospect you cannot get at any public school anymore, but I didn't know that at the time. To get a solid education, you really need to attend a conservative Catholic college, such as Christendom or Franciscan. But the experience at Tech was fun.

Virginia Tech is an absolutely stunning campus with the old Hokie stone buildings and the huge open Drill Field that has tons of students playing frisbee, soccer, flying kites, etc. in the beautiful spring and summer weather. In the winter, Blacksburg becomes Bleaksburg, with the brutal nonstop wind and harsh weather. A thought on every student's mind on a cold winter morning in bed is the dread of having to cross the drill field with the frigid wind.
My final year at Tech I had a Milton class where a fellow student had taught English in Korea. I thought that would be a great way to see the world and travel in Asia (I had already had extensive experience in Europe) and I ended up with a job with the EPIK program. I ended up staying in Korea for five years in Daegu. While there I received a second degree in Asian Studies from classes I took in University of Maryland Asian Division.

Since then I have generally only listed my Asian Studies major on my resume and I only mentioned it in my profile of this blog: (1) I felt a little embarrassed in retrospect that I had majored in English; I felt like I had wasted my parents' money and (2) I had a pathetic GPA there (Did I mention how fun Blacksburg is?).

When I actually had to pay for my classes as I did in Korea with University of Maryland and was working at the same time, I worked much harder. Also the real world experience--living and working in Asia, as well as the military and spouses who were my classmates--made for a much more enriching and productive experience academically. I took a combination of classes at Camp Walker in Daegu and Distance Education classes from various professors based around Asia. In short, I had a 3.8 and felt much more proud of my accomplishment at University of Maryland. After leaving Korea for in 2002, I lived in Bangkok, Thailand and received a great education both on Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia.

The coverage of Virginia Tech has made me, though, look back at what a wonderful, peaceful, and idyllic place Blacksburg is. It is located 2200 feet above sea level on a plateau between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. The Eastern continental divide goes right through Blacksburg, with the northern part of the town draining in the Roanoke River basin and the southern part into the New River Basin that flows into the Ohio. I remember hiking in the gorgeous mountains, roaming around the quaint downtown area, meeting friends and professors, playing tennis, etc. Blacksburg and Virginia Tech are places you never want to leave. For the last three years I lived in an old house just behind the Newman House on Wall Street, the one way street connecting the campus to the 7-11. My day usually consisted a simple routine of going to class, daily mass at the Drill Field War Memorial Chapel at 4:30, eating dinner with friends, studying, meeting friends in the evenings and weekend. I would spend my summers in Blacksburg with the beautiful mountain climate and the many outdoor activities.

I don't recall having classes in Norris Hall, but I did have several French classes in the Hall adjoining Norris. I cannot imagine at all what it must have felt like for the victims to be peacefully studying French, German, engineering, and then have a gunman enter and begin shooting your professor and fellow classmates. It is too cruel a thought to think of the suffering. It is devastating looking at the list of promising lives that were cut short by the killer.

My thoughts on the English program at Tech: If you chose your professors wisely, it was actually a good program. I had conservative Catholic friends majoring in English, so I could always rely on a good recommendation or a knowing "stay away from so-and-so radical feminist/postmodernist."

My specialty really was Medieval and Renaissance Literature. I took Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Medieval Literature, and Renaissance Literature. I had a particularly wonderful older professor in his 70's (the kind of English professor you no longer have in English departments) who taught Southern Literature and Modern American Literature (first half of the twentieth century). His name was Dr. Edward Tucker. He died a couple of years ago and is the kind of professor far too many departments are losing: Someone who genuinely believes in the value of the literature and of Western Civilization. He was a Christian who went to church every week and was an inspiration in class.

Unfortunately, during the 90's, Virginia Tech began trying to model its English department on Duke University and hired many "multicultural" and feminazis. Nikki Giovanni was a new hire and proceeded to immediately diss the department. I remember my friends and I discussing how she could be so bold only having a B.A. and basically being known mainly for her early 70's militant black-power pieces. Lucinda Roy, who has been all over the news, was also another new hire, but I never took any classes from her.

Other favorite professors at the English department were Esther Richey, who taught a great Milton class. I believe she is now a professor at University of South Carolina. Linda Anderson was an excellent Renaissance specialist and I took a Shakespeare class from her and a Renaissance Literature class. My favorite professor (and my friends' favorite) was Tony Colianne, who was head of the department at the time and who taught humanities and Renaissance literature. I took an excellent class on Medieval and Renaissance Courtly literature and one on medieval humanities. I took several French classes but the French professor who was gunned down was not there when I was attending Tech.

Another terrific professor (and very conservative) was the Texan Joanne Harvill. She was also a staunchly conservative Catholic whom I would see in mass. My friends and I particularly liked her. I recall asking her what she thought of a visiting Duke professor and scholar of Milton that the Tech department was wooing. She said, "That is the last thing this department needs: Yet another feminist!" She was a good influence on me.

Unfortunately, since the late 90's the English department is far more multicultural and feminist. It has moved out of crowded Williams Hall on the Drill Field (the building on the left in the picture) to another location since I graduated.

My best influence was a retired Hungarian professor that my friends and I first met at daily mass on the Drill Field: The world famous Harvard botanist Dr. Leslie Garay and foremost authority on orchids in the world. (I just noticed he even has a Wikipedia article about him in Spanish.) He was formative influence, a very conservative Catholic. I would go over often to his place either by myself or with friends and discuss religion, politics, whatever. He really helped me get my life on track. I think everyone needs conservative role models.

Leslie after searching for places to retire from Harvard chose Blacksburg. But that is the kind of place Blacksburg is: peaceful, bucolic, and a fun place where students and faculty can interact in a small-town environment in a beautiful setting.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Into Great Silence

I saw a most amazing movie this morning in downtown Washington: Into Great Silence. It is a stunning and incredible film, and if you live in a major metro area, you cannot miss this film. It has received terrific reviews by critics, and I would rank it as one of the best and most powerful movies ever made. It knocked me out emotionally and spiritually.

The power in this magnificent movie is all the more amazing in that there is virtually no dialogue in the entire almost three hours. I initially thought it would be an interesting, off-beat movie, but it was far, far better than I imagined it would be. It simply is one of the most powerful movies spiritually ever made.

Into Great Silence is never boring and trite; you initially get a calm, tranquil feeling and an awe at the ordinary that builds as the movie (one year in the life of the monks) into an insight of just what is God and what is Truth.

The movie takes place in a French Carthusian monastery high in the Alps, and it details the everyday ordinary activities of the monks and two novices in the monastery. The insight one gets is that the everyday spiritual activies are actually extraordinary in the spiritual realm, and that the monks, while outside of society, are truly the heart and soul of Western Civilization.

There is a meditative, almost Oriental aspect to the film that I used to feel while living and studying in Asia while in the mountains or traditional gardens, such as those in Japan. Many Westerners search out this feeling mistakingly embracing Oriental religions, when in fact this simplicity, traquility, and truth is at the heart and soul of our Western, Catholic traditions. You do not have to leave Europe and the West to seek it. Of course, many Westerners are in ignorance of the greatness of Western civilization because liberals have so often replaced our simple, dignified, and beautiful traditions in the liturgy and music with crass, vulgar, and lame modern aspects. Liberalism destroys.

To sum up: Go see this movie! It is a great film.

Not to degrade this post with liberal culture which seeks to destroy the best of Western society, but I could not help comparing Into Great Silence to some of the other films that were also playing at this cineplex in downtown Washington that caters to independent and foreign films . If Into Great Silence represents the best of tradition and the soul of Western society, compare it to the trailer and description of a movie--playing at the same cineplex--that represents the "best" of liberal and gay culture. The difference between traditionalists and preservers of our heritage and shallow liberals, destroyers of the same heritage who replace it with shallow pop nothingness, is stunning.

Can liberals now understand why so many people are against postmodern aspects that destroy our heritage, such as gay "marriage," that replace our wonderful heritage with demeaning pop culture and a false multiculturalism?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why Liberals Dislike No Child Left Behind

The landmark No Child Left Behind Act, which liberals in the education establishment through the MSM have tried to discredit, is actually an excellent law. Don't let the liberal media influence you without researching the law yourself. No Child Left Behind is based on four key principles:

1. Accountability for results
2. More choice for disadvantaged children
3. Greater flexibility for federal funds
4. Teaching methods that work

Notice the dreaded words for liberals: accountability and choice. NCLB requires states to test in two subjects in grades 3 through 8, and the test data given to the federal government must be broken down into five categories:

1. Race.
2. L.E.P. (Limited English Proficiency)
3. Poverty level
4. Disabilities
5. Ethnicity

The report cards given by the schools to the government have to demonstrate how well the students are doing on meeting the standards, but most importantly (and this is why NCLB is such a good law and the real reason so many in the educational establishment abhor the law) on how these disaggregate groups are making in closing the achievement gap.

By the year 2014, 100% of students are to be proficient in language arts and math, including the subgroups. Schools must set targets and meet AYP or Adequate Yearly Progress, for all groups and subgroups of students. The techniques to measure AYP are not unreasonable. Up to 1% of students can be exempted (or more as long as the no more than 1% of all students in a school district are exempted) for strong disabilities. If schools do not meet AYP, then schools are subject to the following consequences incrementally:

1. Tutoring assistance
2. Restructuring
3. Corrective action

Can anyone guess why the education establishment, including wealthy school districts receptive to "progressive" techniques in teaching and methods "social justice" professors promote, would find NCLB to be hostile to their interests?

For far too long, wealthy school districts, like the county I live in--Fairfax County--have hidden behind averages when reporting test scores from their district. Fairfax County is a great example of the problems NCLB needed to address. Here you have a suburban Washington D.C. county that has a population of about one million people and is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. Naturally, with all the wealth from property taxes and money wealthy parents have to afford tutors allowed for very high average test scores.

Of course, there are pockets of poverty and low income students, mostly African-American and Hispanic in certain parts of the County, especially around the Route 1 corridor of Alexandria near Mount Vernon. These students were being failed by the "progressive" methods being used in Fairfax County and were considered expendible because their numbers did not affect the average test scores. Not any more with No Child Left Behind.

Wealthy parents can afford phonics books, grammar computer programs, and tutors for their children who cannot learn from the "progressive" techniques. Less wealthy parents cannot. With AYP measuring not only the school as a whole, but rather all groups within the school, wealthy school districts like Fairfax County can no longer claim to be successful if they are not meeting the needs of all the children, rich and poor alike.

Wealthier, more "progressive" districts are often hostile to No Child Left Behind because the law will expose the inadequacies of their constructivist, "child-centered" learning techniques that have never been scientifically proven in studies to be effective, especially on minority children. It is commendable that proponents of No Child Left Behind, such as the Education Trust, are not backing down amid calls of increasing the numbers of students exempted from AYP, such as ESL students or students with "learning disabilities."

As many educators throughout the nation such as Marva Collins have shown (terrific book recommendation: Marva Collins' Way), who are often ignored by the MSM, traditional, academic-centered education benefits students from lower socioeconomic levels (and all students in general) far more than "progressive" education does. Many students labeled "learning disabled" are simply students who cannot learn with these "progressive" teaching methods and have no other recourse. With the AYP provisions, schools most likely will have to change ineffective construtivist techniques in order to meet AYP. This accountability threatens the interests of the liberal education establishment.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Liberal Narcissism

Father Paul Scalia of the Diocese of Arlington has a devastating critique of liberal narcissism in the Adoramus Bulletin. He demonstrates how the liberal tendency to throw out the past--in this case the beautiful and traditional Latin music, Gregorian chant, and Catholic hymns--and replace them with more "relevant" expressions has dumbed down the liturgy. In its place, insipid, boring, lame music that liberals love has led to a narcissitic tendency to worship ourselves instead of God:

The Cult of Conceit: Why Are We Singing to Each Other?

A conversation demands that we include the other in the discussion. If someone speaks to you about himself, about you, about himself and you, but never really with you, you would call that person conceited. So have we become in our conversation with God: He humbles Himself to dwell among us under the form of bread and wine, while we ignore Him and sing about ourselves and to ourselves.

Of course, many traditional hymns also address the other believers rather than God. But a close look at such hymns (for example, "Now thank we all our God", "Praise, my soul, the King of heaven", or "Ye watchers and ye holy ones") reveals a crucial difference: the traditional hymns address others only to invite them to worship God, while most contemporary songs invite us to glorify ourselves.

The narcissistic tendencies of liberalism can be seen not only damaging religion but also education, with the same effect of turning our perspective from our heritage, tradition, and common culture crudely straight back onto ourselves. Diane Ravitch, in her wonderful book The Language Police, describes in the chapter "Literature: Forgetting the Tradition" how meaningful classics have been replaced by mediocre teen literature and god-awful multicultural pap that bores instead of stimulates:

There are so many superb novels, short stories, poems, plays, and essays to choose from that it is impossible for any student to read them all. But this fact makes it all the more important that teachers amke the effort to identify the writers and works that will broaden their students' horizons beyond their own immediate circumstances and reveal to them a world of meanings far beyond their own experiences. Great literature is "relevant" not because it echoes the students' race, gender, or social circumstances, but because it speaks directly to the reader across time and across cultures. A child who is suffering because of the death in the family is likely to gain more comfort from reading a poem by John Donne or Ben Jonson or Gerard Manley Hopkins that from reading banal teen fiction about a death in the family.

"Banal" is a great description for the multicultural and feminist trash taught in schools and the lame folk music sung in parishes led by liberal priests. Not surprisingly, as Father Scalia describes, it has led to a generation that is cruder, less educated, and more narcissistic, and recent studies have confirmed this. It has also led to balkanization instead of unity under the common languages of Latin (in the Catholic Church) and English (in America).

Fortunately, conservatism and a return to tradition seems to ascendant in the Church today. Young Catholics are turning back towards the beauty and dignity of Latin and the timeless Latin hymns. Is it any wonder? Compare the following Latin hymn (in translation):

Ave Verum Corpus
Hail, True Body, born of the Virgin Mary,
Who has truly suffered, was sacrificed on the Cross for mortals.
Whose side was pierced, whence flowed Water and Blood:
Be for us a foretaste (of heaven) during our final examining.
O Jesus sweet, O Jesus pure, O Jesus, Son of Mary,
Have mercy upon me. Amen.

To a narcissitic "hymn" popular with liberals:


We are called, we are chosen. We are Christ for one another. We are promise to tomorrow, while we are for him today. We are sign, we are wonder, we are sower, we are seed. We are harvest, we are hunger. We are question, we are creed.

Liberals: "Me, me, me, we, we, we." Thank God I live in the conservative Diocese of Arlington. But I have heard this self-centered liberal song in more liberal dioceses, such as the Diocese of Richmond and the Archdiocese of Mobile.

Is it no wonder that Generation Y is more narcissitic than other generations? They have had hymns like the above in church. They have had multicultural literature celebrating their ethnicity and race instead of their common national traits. They have been told that literature is more relevant if it relates directly to them, and they have given teen literature instead of classics. They get Judy Blume instead of Charles Dickens. They have had self-esteem classes nonstop since kindergarten.

Father Scalia says:

The myth of Narcissus provides a good lesson for modern liturgy. The handsome young man, so enchanted with his own looks, sat gazing at his reflection in the water. He could not bring himself to leave his image and so grew rooted to the spot, admiring himself. Too many current songs encourage us to do the same. We talk to ourselves and sing love songs to ourselves. Just as Narcissus's self-adulation rendered himself incapable of a relationship and therefore of love, so also these hymns of conceit cripple our ability to speak with God. If God sees that we are so smitten with our own presence, He may judge us unfit to enter His.

The solution, of course, is to get back to a time-tested tradition and heritage both in the Church and in society. In the Church, we need to return to Latin and traditional hymns (already many parishes are doing this especially in conservative dioceses). Latin is a great unifier in liturgy, especially with the diverse immigration. In schools, we need to return to our e pluribus unum values that have made our country prosperous and free and eschew divisive, banal multiculturalism. Let's return to classics, tradition, and renewed emphasis on our heritage both in schools and in the Church.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Easter Triduum

Hope everyone has a blessed Easter. Perhaps we should focus more on what really matters in life: eternity.

Attende Domine

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.
Ad te Rex summe, omnium redemptor, oculos nostros sublevamus flentes: exaudi, Christe, supplicantum preces.

Dextera Patris, lapis angularis, via salutis, ianua caelestis, ablue nostri maculas delicti.

Draw near, O Lord, our God,
graciously hear us, guilty of sinning before you.

O King exalted, Savior of all nations,
See how our grieving lifts our eyes to heaven;
Hear us, Redeemer, as we beg forgiveness.

Might of the Father, Keystone of God's temple,
Way of salvation, Gate to heaven's glory.
Sin has enslaved us; free us from all bondage.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Bilingual Education: Bad Idea

There is a corollary that never fails in education: If "social justice" professors want something to be done in American schools, then it is bad for American values and prosperity.

It is no different with bilingual education. Matt Sanchez has a great post up right now detailing his observations and negative experiences with bilingual education.

The term "bilingual education" is referred to by the education establishment as making Hispanic students learn certain subjects in their native language, instead of placing them in ESL classes or mainstream classrooms. It is not learning a foreign language in schools. The former is a cruel and horrendous experiment promoted by "social justice" professors that has never been shown in any scientifically-based studies to increase student achievement. The latter makes sense. Everyone should know foreign languages.

For the low down on bilingual education, it is best to start with the website of Linda Chavez, an expert and activist against bilingual education. If you have had a bad experience with bilingual education, e.g. arrogant, liberal educationists telling you that your child should be in bilingual education because he or she has a Latin surname, she would like to document your experience.

Linda Chavez states:

Bilingual programs are also wasted on children who do need help learning English. Studies often confirm what common sense would tell you: the less time you spend speaking a new language, the more slowly you'll learn it. Last year, bilingual and ESL programs in New York City were compared. Results: 92 percent of Korean, 87 percent of Russian, and 83 percent of Chinese children who started intensive ESL classes in kindergarten had made it into mainstream classes in three years or less. Of the Hispanic students in bilingual classes, only half made it to mainstream classes within three years. "How can anyone learn English in school when they speak Spanish 4 1/2 hours a day?" asks Gail Fiber, an elementary school teacher in Southern California. "In more than seven years' experience with bilingual education, I've never seen it done successfully."
"Social Justice" professors are very clever and authoritarian at the same time. They push for bilingual education that will force Hispanic children to be segregated from Americans of other races and ethnic groups in the hopes that they will not be assimilated, as every other ethnic group has been in America's history. At the same time, they fight Hispanics every step of the way by insisting that they should not have the right to be able to choose where their children can go to school. They hope that America will change from its e pluribus unum values, from a multiracial society to a multicultural society. The latter has never worked and there are no examples in history of successful multicultural societies lasting. America is and has been a multiracial society, not a multicultural one.

In any case, Hispanics should not be used as experimental subjects to bring about a bogus socialist utopia for "social justice" professors. Capitalism, freedom, integration have been proven to work; socialism never.

The vast majority of Hispanics, like everyone else, want their children to go to school and learn English.
Excellent article from Education Next on the disaster of the bilingual education experiment in California: "The Near End of Bilingual Education."

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What is No Child Left Behind?

Surprisingly, there is a lot of ignorance--even by those, such as bloggers, who keep up with most domestic and foreign policy issues--about education policy, a subject that is so important to our nation.

No Child Left Behind will be considered one of President George Bush's most important legacies. In fact, I would consider the three most important legacies of his presidency thus far to be (1) The robust response towards terrorism with the War on Terror that moved the front from our country abroad; (2) Two solidly conservative Catholic Supreme Court justices; and (3) the landmark education reform, No Child Left Behind.

This day and age there is no excuse to rely on information from the MSM without researching it yourself.

To research the No Child Left Behind act, I would suggest printing out and studying the following in order:

"Facts and Terms Every Parent Should Know About NCLB;" "Four Pillars of NCLB;" and "Executive Summary" from the Department of Education.

"The ABCs of 'AYP': Raising Achievement for All Students."

"Do We Repair the Monument? Debating the Future of No Child Left Behind."

Finally, as a reference purchase Dr. Frederick Hess' No Child Left Behind Primer. I usually check books out of the library, but this one is definitely worth having as a reference.

So is No Child Left Behind a good law?

Well, take a look at how much liberals and socialists (including most Social Foundations of Education professors) "love" No Child Left Behind:

The math conference is backed by another "social justice" teachers' group, the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE). I attended an NYCoRE public meeting last October. About 80 public-school teachers gathered on the NYU campus to discuss approaches to social-justice teaching.
The meeting was chaired by Edwin Mayorga, a fourth-grade teacher at PS 87 on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and NYU education professor Bree Pickower. Mayorga urged his fellow teachers to "be political inside the classroom, just as we are outside the classroom. The issues we are up against as we teach for social justice are the mandates of [Mayor] Bloomberg, Klein and No Child Left Behind." (from "Math and Marxism: NYC's Wack-Job Teachers" by Sol Stern in the New York Post, March 20, 2007).

If that is not an endorsement of No Child Left Behind for those who care about American values and success, I don't know what is.

In short, No Child Left Behind is a good law with some flaws, but one that should definitely be renewed. Very few Americans actually know what is contained in No Child Left Behind, and relying on the MSM for accurate information these days is unwise. I'll have more commentary on No Child Left Behind in the future, so study up in the meantime!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Today's Catholic Education

Such Catholic rigor was part missionary zeal—to spread “the word”—and part defense against the encroachments of an increasingly secular world. And secular, for Catholics, meant a certain slackness in moral and academic discipline. In the United States, the so-called “wall of separation” between church and state, between order and freedom, eventually forced Catholics to build their own school system, the only country in the world where they have one (see sidebar). The battles to safeguard order, and academic excellence, were fought early and often. At the turn of the 20th century, for example, Catholic school leaders refused to follow their public school counterparts into a vocational and utilitarian tracking system. “Catholic youth should not be the ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water,’ but should be prepared for the professions or mercantile pursuits,” went one early protestation by the Association of Catholic Colleges.

It goes on to explain why Catholic schools have been so successful. To answer the last question in the article: There are many great things happening now in Catholic education, which the MSM doesn't cover too much.

For example, a great new order of holy, conservative, orthodox nuns with a teaching apostolate is the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It has been a real success story and definitely worth giving a donation to.