Category Archives: Public Education

UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Holt: Where is your apology to Mary Willingham?

Earlier today, he special report prepared by independent investigator Kenneth Wainstein on UNC-CH “no-show” classes for athletes was released.  The report is damning, and in response to questions about its content from reporters, UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt moved quickly to say that heads would roll, and she apologized to the student athletes for “prejudging their capabilities”.

But not a word about Mary Willingham.

As regular readers will know from my three previous posts this year on this subject, Mary Willingham was an academic advisor to the UNC-CH athletic department, and she was the first to call attention to the fact that many of the school’s athletes were essentially illiterate, either at the point they dropped out, or at graduation in those rare instances in which they actually gained a diploma.  For her efforts, the University effectively sacked her.

In the first (HERE) of my three earlier posts, I merely noted Willingham’s assertions as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In the second, HERE, I wrote at some length about the problem and presented an example of an essay written by one UNC-CH athlete to satisfy an assignment in a African-American Studies class.  In the third, HERE, I wrote about the extensive efforts on the part of UNC-CH Chancellor Folt and the University to discredit Willingham and her claims, aided and abetted by CNN, among others in the mainstream media.  In light of the revelations contained in the Wainstein report, this paragraph from an article written by CNN reporter Sara Ganim in mid-April of this year seems astonishing:

Without actually naming her, UNC released a summary report that implied she incorrectly deduced that 60% of the sample were reading below a high school level, and that 8% were reading below a fourth-grade level.  “Outside experts found no evidence to support public claims about widespread low literacy levels,” UNC said in a statement.

Although early accounts focused on Julius Nyang’oro, the former professor and chairman of the African Studies department at UNC-CH, the Wainstein report now puts Debby Crowder in the line-up.  Crowder was second in command to Nyang’oro within the Department.  Conveniently, both Nyang’oro and Crowder are retired.

The full article at the Charlotte Observer is HERE, and it is well worth reading.  To read the full Wainstein report (in PDF form), click HERE.

And another thing.  The article from the Charlotte Observer mentions one Alphonse Mutima, and identifies him as a Swahili professor.  I ask you, dear reader, WHAT THE HELL does UNC need with a SWAHILI PROFESSOR?  Jeez, Louise!

Hobgood Strikes Again, but Roy Cooper Steps Up

The News-&-Observer put up a piece yesterday detailing the ruling of Judge Robert Hobgood on the school voucher case:

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled on Thursday that a 2013 law to use public money for tuition at private and religious schools violates the North Carolina constitution.

Then later in the article, this response from NC Attorney General Roy Cooper:

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat who has raised concerns about parts of the Republican legislative agenda, quickly announced plans for his office to appeal, according to Noelle Talley, his spokeswoman.

“Our attorneys believe that this is a constitutional issue that must be decided by the appellate courts,” Talley said in a statement shortly after the ruling.

The full article is HERE.

Some Useful Information for College Frosh

For those who have one or more college freshpersons (frosh) in the family, Rose-Helen Graham has written an interesting piece about how a student can best organize their course work to facilitate their collegiate goals.  As one would expect, it helps to have a goal worked out before the college course work commences, or soon thereafter.  Here’s an excerpt, in which she describes her use of online sources that provide detailed information, not only about the courses, but about the competence of the various professors and their grade distribution patterns:

… Each provides feedback from previous students on individual professors and the classes they teach.  Each delivers the content in a slightly different manner, and some sites include additional tools designed to promote student “success.”  My go-to source for student-written evaluations is Rate My Professors; however, I do use UNC Blinkness and Koofers as comparative sources if I feel that I need further reviews.

Rate My Professors:  The [RTM] site is easy to navigate.  To get started one only needs to select the state and school of interest.  From there it becomes as simple as searching by the professor’s last name or department to access comments and ratings left by other users.  [The site] uses a numerical rating system (1-5, one being the lowest and 5 being the highest) to rate professors on overall quality, helpfulness, clarity, easiness, and even “hotness.”  These ratings are accompanied by reviewers’ comments about specific courses.  I enjoy this site because the content is displayed in an extremely user-friendly layout.  Because Rate My Professors is one of the more well-known professor review sites, has multiple ratings on most professors, making it easy to compare student experiences and discern serious reviews from those which are pointless.

UNC Blinkness:  This site is less easy to read.  It can be useful in the few instances when Rate My Professors does not provide enough (or good enough) reviews on a professor.  Other useful features provided by Blinkness include average class size and the “overall grading history” of each course.  The overall grading history is displayed by a grade distribution chart, which purports to give the percentage of each letter grade given by that professor.  Going a step further, Blinkness also provides students with a list entitled “Most A’s Classes at UNC.”  This list details the course name, percentage of As given in the past for that course, and the average class size.  The list currently contains 195 courses, with the percentage of As being at least 95 percent.

Koofers (UNC):  The reviews on Koofers are also a helpful supplement to those provided on Rate My Professor.  In addition to general comments on courses and professors, it provides details on grade distribution, the difficulty and number of exams, quizzes, projects, and homework assigned, as well as any textbooks used and whether or not the professor chooses to curve final grades.

The fourth site I use is MyEdu:  MyEdu is a wonderful tool when it comes to planning class schedules.  I can create a calendar that allows me to see if the classes I want fit into my schedule and make changes if they don’t.  It also provides the average GPA grade that previous students received from the course.  After a student creates a schedule on MyEdu, the website automatically generates an estimated average overall semester GPA based on the data collected from previous years.

Ms. Graham’s article contains other interesting material on how to balance college course work to gain the most from the time spent getting a college education.  The full article is HERE.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt — The Dartmouth Connection

I have written several posts (HERE, HERE, and HERE) calling attention to the corrupt practices within the UNC system as regards the educational sham of college athletes, and particularly on the revelations by Mary Willingham, the academic advisor to the UNC Athletic Program.  Now, the scandal has drawn the attention of PowerLine co-blogger Paul Mirengoff, a Dartmouth College alumni, because of the fact that Willingham’s chief antagonist in all this is Carol Folt, the current UNC-CH Chancellor and former Provost at Dartmouth.  Mirengoff points to a telling quote from a UNC history professor that seems to summarize the situation nicely:

The aggressiveness and the tenor of the attacks on Willingham. . .betray an anxiety -– a kind of panic — that goes far beyond a disagreement over [literacy] numbers [for UNC athletes].  The all-out assault reflects a fundamentally cynical strategy to discredit and defame someone who has embarrassing facts to reveal.

For the entire post at PowerLine, click HERE.

Mary Willingham Goes Under the UNC Athletics Bus

WRAL is reporting today (with no byline) that Mary Willingham, the academic advisor for the UNC football team players, will leave UNC-CH after her teaching assignments are wrapped up for the semester.  The report, HERE, also said that:

Willingham was the subject of national media attention after she questioned the literacy level of athletes who were admitted to the school.  She said that most of the 183 basketball and football players she reviewed from 2004 to 2012 read at an eighth-grade level or below.

In a separate article by Sara Ganim on CNN about ten days ago, these excerpts:

The University of North Carolina says that three independent experts in the field of adult literacy have finished a university-commissioned review of whistleblower Mary Willingham’s research and found flaws in her claims that some athletes were reading at elementary-school levels.

Willingham’s research, described to CNN in January, was based on a sampling of about 180 student-athletes who Willingham personally worked with over an eight-year period.

Each had taken a 25-question reading vocabulary test on the Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA) — an aptitude test used by many universities to gauge the learning level of incoming students.

Without actually naming her, UNC released a summary report that implied she incorrectly deduced that 60% of the sample were reading below a high school level, and that 8% were reading below a fourth-grade level.  “Outside experts found no evidence to support public claims about widespread low literacy levels,” UNC said in a statement.

Well, I dunno, there was this …


The CNN article, HERE, goes on to say that:

Willingham and her research were disavowed by the university almost immediately …


On Friday, Willingham said she was “disappointed” by the report …  “The fact that they engaged in this exercise without ever seeking input from me or my research partner, and without the raw scores, or an examination of the full battery of tests … speaks volumes about the true motivations behind today’s press release,” she wrote in a statement.  “UNC personnel with the knowledge and expertise to verify my claims continue to remain and/or are being forced to remain silent.”

And on another matter involving student athletes in the UNC system:

Since the CNN report aired, UNC has asked for a new investigation into the yearslong “paper class” scandal, in which student-athletes allegedly were taking classes in which the only requirement was completing a single paper.

Attorney Kenneth Wainstein, who had worked at the U.S. Justice Department for 19 years, is reviewing whether it was widely known among staff in athletics that student-athletes were sent to no-show classes where little or no work was required.

CNN first reported this week that California Rep. Tony Cardenas is also demanding the NCAA answer questions on why UNC was never sanctioned for having paper classes.

Willingham told CNN that the paper classes were widely known and talked about in athletics, where she worked for seven years.  She also said the paper classes were used to keep eligible some of the student-athletes who were reading at low levels.

Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do We Stand?

The SCOTUS is currently considering the merits of last fall’s arguments before the court in Fisher versus University of Texas, a new case centered on the reverse discrimination that results from collegiate affirmative action policies.  Journalist Gail Heriot has written an informative article on the case and on the nation’s experience with the long-term effects of such policies.  According to Heriot, there is:

… mounting empirical evidence that race preferences are doing more harm than good — even for their supposed beneficiaries.  If this evidence is correct, we now have fewer African-American physicians, scientists, and engineers than we would have had using race-neutral admissions policies.  We have fewer college professors and lawyers, too. Put more bluntly, affirmative action has backfired.

Her article goes on to explore the reasons behind the reality of affirmative action failure, including the problem of “mis-match”.  Her entire National Affairs article, HERE, is lengthy but well worth reading.  And for more, consider THIS article (in PDF format) that Thomas Sowell wrote thirty-eight years ago, in which he came to essentially the same conclusion about the merits of affirmative action.

A Brief Recap of the regularly scheduled Morehead City CCTPP Meeting of April 1, 2014: Part 2 of 3 (Blake Beadle)

The Morehead City faction of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots held their regular weekly meeting Tuesday evening.  The agenda was packed, and the meeting room was near full with a couple of dozen members in attendance, all of whom were attentive to each of the scheduled speakers.  Since there was considerable interlocution with all three candidates for office during the meeting, this recapitulation will be broken into three posts, one each to address the policies and performance of each candidate.  

Second up was Blake Beadle, one of the three Republican candidates for the Carteret County Board of Education seat given up by Vice Chairwoman Cathy Neagle.  (We have heard already from fellow Republican candidate Randy Steele, and we are scheduled to have the third Republican candidate, Janiece Wall, return to our meeting next week on April 8th.)  Mr. Beadle grew up in Hubert, just west of Swansboro, and attended school there.  He graduated from high school in Maryland, then furthered his education at Cape Fear Community College and UNC-Wilmington.  He graduated from UNC-W after meeting his future wife, Millie Grady, who is a native of Carteret County.  He later worked in Washington, DC, for a time before moving back to Carteret County.

Mr. Beadle began his prepared remarks by noting that North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation in teacher pay, from which I infer that he believes some redress is in order.  He went on to talk about some of his special interests as regards the county’s BOE fiscal policies, including his interest in leasing rather than purchasing of some durable equipment, and the development of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to enable cost savings in the portion of the system budget that is not allocated to teacher remuneration.

He supports the eventual elimination of teacher tenure, but thinks that greater financial incentives should be offered to teachers in order to compensate them for giving it up.  He supports vouchers, charter schools, and home schooling as alternatives to the status quo.  He describes himself as being conflicted on the issue of Common Core, as he thinks the adoption of national standards will help students, now and in the future, by enabling them to better cope with the increased mobility that our population is experiencing.  He notes, however, that there are drawbacks to Common Core, and in his view the undesirable curriculum controls and dictates for the Math and Language Arts subjects are foremost among them.

Mr. Beadle also promised that, if elected, some portion of his compensation for serving on the Board would be devoted to establishing three High School level scholarships in the County for the promotion of learning in the vocational, educational, and culinary fields.  For further information, readers are encouraged to visit Mr. Beadle’s “Blake For Education” website, HERE.

A Brief Recap of the regularly scheduled Morehead City CCTPP Meeting of April 1, 2014: Part 1 of 3 (Al Novenic)

The Morehead City faction of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots held their regular meeting last night.  The agenda was packed, and the meeting room was near full with a couple of dozen members in attendance, all of whom were attentive to each of the scheduled speakers.  Since there was considerable interlocution with all three candidates for office during the meeting, this recapitulation will be broken into three posts, one each to address the policies and performance of each candidate.  

First up was Al Novenic, the third candidate and the second challenger for North Carolina’s 3rd District Congressional seat currently held by Representative Walter Jones.  Mr. Novenic, also known by the nickname “Big Al” (website with several position papers and videos is HERE), is a retired Marine First Sergeant who currently has a real estate operation in the Jacksonville area.  His wife Tina came with him, and assisted his presentation by disseminating a few hand-outs to the members.

Mr. Novenic is a strong speaker with a notably forthright presence, and he did not hesitate to answer all of the questions put to him during the meeting.  Indeed, he and his wife stayed to the end of the meeting in order to discuss his views with interested members.

He characterized himself as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and as to the nation’s economy, he favors a flatter tax structure (with a maximum rate of maybe 15%) that would shift business-friendly tax policies away from large corporations and toward small business.  He believes that the federal budget could be significantly reduced if the tax code were to be scrutinized for unjustifiable loopholes, and if our welfare entitlement system was reformed to reduce or eliminate many of the more abused elements.

As a realtor, he strongly favors proactive measures to shore up the housing market, saying that the housing sector is “the number one job creator in the country.”  In addition, when asked what congressional committee assignments he would pursue if elected, he named the Armed Services Committee, the Marine Fisheries Committee, and the Agriculture Committee.

As noted in the preceding paragraph, Novenic has numerous policy position papers, essays, and videos on his website that further detail his views, and I would urge interested viewers to check out the site.  The link is in the second paragraph, above, and HERE.

Professor Willingham and College Football Player Unions

A couple of months ago I put up a short post, HERE, about UNC academic advisor Mary Willingham’s efforts to expose the sham of athlete academic performance in the UNC system, particularly UNC-CH.  Now, Professor Willingham’s allegations are back in the news after having been authenticated by the recent statements in HBO and ESPN interviews of former UNC-CH football players Deunta Williams, Michael McAdoo, and Bryon Bishop.  Just to illustrate how abysmally poor the academic abilities of some UNC athletes are, the graphic below (which I have reformatted to better fit this post) is an essay written by one of them to satisfy an assignment in a UNC-CH African-American Studies class:


Lest you think this is an excerpt, it is not.  That’s it.  That’s the entire essay.  Now make sure you are sitting down when I reveal to you that the paper was graded, according to ESPN, as an A-minus paper.

So, what connection is there between this and the recent proposals to allow college athletic teams to unionize?  Well, first, the foregoing part of this post graphically illustrates that many college athletes are not students in any serious sense, but rather employees of the school’s athletics department.  The unionization movement, therefore, simply reflects reality.  And, in my view, anything that will expose and highlight this reality can only hasten the process of bursting the higher-education bubble (meaning the “business model” of our university system, the one that makes college so inordinately expensive) in American academe, and that’s a good thing.

Although details are lacking at this point, I think it can be assumed that taxpayers would balk at funding the salaries of unionized college athletes, so the requisite revenue would presumably come from game ticket sales.  That would make even more visible the obvious truth that college athletic programs are a business separate and apart from the delivery of a college education.  Once athletes become paid in a manner commensurate with their value to the athletics program money machine, I don’t think the association could long endure.

For more, check out THIS article on,  THIS article at the New-&-Observer, THIS article at Yahoo Sports, and THIS article at The Daily Caller.

Jury Rules UNC-W Violated Free Speech Rights of their own Professor Mike Adams

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is reporting a good outcome in their suit against UNC-W on behalf of Professor Mike Adams.  The following is the text of the article in it’s entirety:

In Greenville, North Carolina, a jury in federal court found that the University of North Carolina-Wilmington violated criminology professor Mike Adams’ free speech rights when it denied his application for promotion to full professor.  The ACLJ represents Dr. Adams, along with Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Travis Barham.

Dr. Adams is a conservative Christian who also regularly contributes to, where he often critiques the widespread leftist abuses within colleges and universities.

His speech caused a furious response within his university, with the Chancellor even attempting to alter the standards for promotion to allow the faculty to consider professors’ protected speech in promotion decisions.

When Dr. Adams submitted his application for full professor, university officials rejected it through the use of a completely-fabricated promotion standard, passed along false and misleading information about his academic record, explicitly considered the content of his protected speech in promotion documents, and – incredibly – allowed a professor who’d filed a false criminal complaint against Dr. Adams to cast a vote against his application.

The verdict represents a significant victory for the First Amendment and for academic freedom, sending a message nationwide that colleges and universities will be held accountable if they attempt to impose ideological, religious, or political litmus tests on professors or students.

The jury’s verdict was for liability only, and the judge will decide Dr. Adams’ relief within weeks.

In the meantime, we are grateful that justice was done and will press on to defend liberty in colleges and universities nationwide.

Hat tip to Ken Lang for this pointer, as he posted the link on the CCTPP Facebook page earlier.

Conservative Economic Policies Enable Teacher Pay Hikes

Good news, it seems, for North Carolina teachers.  From Dan Way’s article at Carolina Journal Online, which contains essentially the same information as on Page 7 of the current Carolina Journal hardcopy issue:

Early career teachers will get pay raises starting in the fiscal year beginning July 1, and teachers with up to seven years of service will collect double-digit percentage increases, Governor Pat McCrory announced Monday.  The package is expected to cost less than $200 million and will not require a tax increase.

In a show of unity with election-year overtones, the governor, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate leader Phil Berger, all Republicans, said GOP economic policies that helped to spur increased revenue, and prudent fiscal management, made possible the raise in base pay from $30,800 to $35,000 for more than 42,000 teachers.

“At $35,000, North Carolina will at least be competitive nationally, and a leader in the Southeast for pay, and ahead of Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina in base pay,” McCrory said.


The new pay hike will come in two phases — $2,200 the first year and $2,000 the second — a 14 percent hike, for teachers with up to five years’ experience.  Teachers with between six and nine years, who qualify for higher pay than less-experienced teachers under the current salary structure, will reach the $35,000 base with raises ranging from $550 to $3,780, or 2 percent to 12 percent.

McCrory also announced “substantial raises” effective January 1st targeting more than 3,000 nurses, highway patrol officers and others “whose base pay was too low for too long,” and uncompetitive with private sector pay.

McCrory said the state will roll back its cutoff of 10 percent supplemental pay for teachers who attain master’s degrees.  That will allow teachers who took any classes as of last July 1 to collect the extra pay upon completion of their master’s degrees.

Berger said bills will be introduced in the short session on the pay raise and master’s supplements.

For the full article, click HERE.

Representative Pat McElraft ventures into the Lion’s Den

In a courageous move, Representative Pat McElraft spoke yesterday before a crowd of teachers at the combined Bogue Sound Elementary School and Croatan High School off Highway-24 near Broad Creek.  Here is an excerpt from the Carteret County News-Times article by Cheryl Burke, in which Representative McElraft gives a little background on the legislation at issue:

Ms. McElraft said when Gov. McCrory and legislators took office, they inherited a $3.5 billion state budget deficit.  Plus, the state is facing an astronomical cost for Medicaid, which has hurt the economy even more.  She said half of the state’s population is now on Medicaid.

“The first order of business was getting the state back in sound fiscal shape,” she said, adding that lowering corporate taxes and taxes on small businesses has encouraged new businesses to move to the state.

“We had to deal with that before we could start paying our bills,” she said.  “We need to get you all up to the national average (for pay), but we need a revenue stream to do that.”

Representative McElraft indicated a willingness to work in favor of a broader policy for raises and bonuses than the “top 25%” scheme mandated by the 2013 legislation, but to her great credit, especially considering the opposing sentiments of her audience, she reiterated her support for the eventual elimination of teacher tenure.  This is important, as in my view, the elimination of teacher tenure is the linchpin of education reform here in North Carolina.

The fill CNT article can be seen HERE.

After ObamaCare, What Then – Part 1

As everyone knows who has ever eaten at an “all you can eat” buffet, once someone has paid the bill (or premium), they feel that they are “entitled” to get their money’s worth, and maybe more.  By the same token, people will also come to feel that they are “entitled” to health insurance, and rightly so, if, 1) they have paid a premium for their health insurance, either in cash or via taxation, or 2) they qualify for taxpayer-funded health care as a social welfare benefit.

And, once someone begins to feel “entitled” to health care at no cost (beyond a small co-pay), they are likely to ask for any and all services and/or treatments that they believe will confer a health benefit, with no regard to any cost/benefit analysis.  This systemic incentive to over-consume creates what economists call a “moral hazard”, and I believe it is one of the largest factors in the long-term escalation of health care costs in the United States.

So, if we may permit ourselves to contemplate the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (in 2017, with Republicans in control of the Congress and the White House), what should the conservative substitute look like?

For decades, my view has been that there are a few reform elements that are crucial, and the most crucial of all is the elimination of the third party payer, at least in terms of the role they now play.  Only when our health care system is changed to force each of us to evaluate health care services with respect to cost/benefit ratios (in much the same way that we evaluate other things that we purchase) will competition come into play, eventually forcing down costs.  Health Savings Accounts were a good start, but the concept would need to be expanded greatly, and employer-provided health insurance plans would need to be eliminated by rescinded their corporate tax deductibility.  The point of these steps would be enable everyone to have ownership over the funds used to pay for his health care, thereby incentivizing the conservation of those funds.  Health Insurance should be relegated to the role it played a half-century or so ago, that of protecting against catastrophic health care expenses.

Recently I came across another scheme that has some appeal.  Russell Korobkin is a Law Professor at UCLA, where he writes and teaches in the fields of Negotiation, Behavioral Law and Economics, Contracts, and Health Care Law.  He advocates for what he calls Relative Value Health Insurance (RVHI), and he recently had THIS article published in the Michigan Law Review explaining his plan in detail.  A shorter treatment was also posted earlier this week at the Volokh Conspiracy.  An excerpt:

The basic idea of RVHI is that insurance policies should be available that would cover medical care that satisfies a higher or lower cost-effectiveness standard, thus enabling customers to determine, through their purchasing decisions, just how much of their resources they wish to devote to health insurance as opposed to other goods and services.

One example I use to illustrate how RVHI would work is the new drug Procysbi, which treats juvenile kidney disease more conveniently and with fewer serious side effects than the current treatment but, according an article in the New York Times, retails for $250,000 per year — far more than the $8,000 per year cost of the current treatment.

It is impossible to say in any objective way whether the benefits of Procysbi are “worth” the addition cost.  It depends on the value each individual places on the marginal benefits of the drug.  RVHI would enable customers to determine (before becoming ill) whether they wish to purchase what I call a “deep” insurance policy, which would cover treatments that offer even relatively little marginal health benefit compared to its cost, or a “shallow” insurance policy, which would only cover treatment options that offer substantial expected benefits relative to their cost.   A deep policy would cover Procysbi, and other medical treatments with a similar cost-effectiveness profile.  A shallow policy would cover the established treatment, but not Procysbi.  Deeper policies would cost more, of course, than shallower policies.  The market would determine the precise difference in price.

How would customers decide what depth of policy they would prefer?  After all, before the customer or a dependent contracted kidney diseases, they would have little reason to even know what treatments are available for different conditions.

My proposal is for the government to provide ratings of different available treatments for different medical conditions on a 1-10 scale based on their relative cost-effectiveness.   The most cost-effective treatments would earn a score of “1,” and treatments that provide very marginal benefits at a high cost would earn a score of “10.”  The benefit scores would be based on QALY (quality adjusted life year) ratings; the cost scores would be based on retail charged for the drugs, devices, or services in question.  Notice that these ratings would in no way prescribe what level of coverage could be bought or sold; it would only provide a relative measure of what medical treatments are more or less cost effective.  Insurance companies then could sell policies that cover treatments rated “3 or better,” “5 or better,” “9 or better,” etc.

For the full article at the Volokh Conspiracy blog, click HERE.

I Liked Ike

I liked Ike, but being a pre-teen at the time, I never got to vote for him.  My parents did, however, despite being registered Democrats.  It was hard not to like the man who had commanded all the allied forces in the European theater in World War II, directing the largest assemblage of armed forces that the world had ever seen toward their eventual victory.

Nowadays, the image of Eisenhower is being burnished by, somewhat incongruently, the Democrats and the liberal mainstream media.  Their purpose in doing so is to favorably liken President Obama to President Eisenhower, in that both seemed reluctant to engage in foreign wars, and especially reluctant to expend American blood and treasure in the Middle East.  To a substantial degree, however, these are views seen through rose-colored glasses.  As young as I was, I still remember the many heated discussions between my Dad, his brother, and other family members over Ike’s authorization of the CIA engineered overthrow of Iranian leader Mossadegh in favor of the Shah (1953), his failure to support the British against the Egyptians in the 1956 Suez Canal crisis (which strengthened the hand of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, a Soviet acolyte), and his blatant lie to the American people (in a national television address, no less, presaging Bill Clinton by decades) denying the overflights of the Soviet Union by American U2 spy planes after the Russki’s shot down Francis Gary Powers in 1960.

At the online National Review this week, military historian Victor Davis Hanson has up a piece that presents far more detail about the “Eisenhower era” and how it is being reframed.  He writes:

The Eisenhower administration formulated the domino theory, and Ike was quite logically the first U.S. president to insert American advisers into Southeast Asia, a move followed by a formal SEATO defense treaty to protect most of Southeast Asia from Communist aggression — one of the most interventionist commitments of the entire Cold War, which ended with over 58,000 Americans dead in Vietnam and helicopters fleeing from the rooftop of the U.S. embassy in Saigon.

Eisenhower’s “New Look” foreign policy of placing greater reliance on threats to use nuclear weapons, unleashing the CIA, and crafting new entangling alliances may have fulfilled its short-term aims of curbing the politically unpopular and costly use of conventional American troops overseas.  Its long-term ramifications, however, became all too clear in the 1960s and 1970s.  Mostly, Ike turned to reliance on nuke-rattling because of campaign promises to curb spending and balance the budget by cutting conventional defense forces — which earned him the furor of Generals Omar Bradley, Douglas MacArthur, and Matthew Ridgway.

The whole article is instructional and well worth reading, HERE.

McCrory Backpedaling on the Abolition of Teacher Tenure?

Yesterday afternoon, in an article apparently drawn from a WUNC Public Radio piece, the online WRAL posted an article, HERE, quoting the Governor as saying that “his staff will consider making changes to a new law that offers raises to top teachers who give up tenure rights.”  Wait, what?  Has some of the Obama magic rubbed off on our Governor, so that he now can also change the law at will?  Or does he just mean that his staff will recommend revisions to the next session of the General Assembly?

The latter, apparently, as the article goes on to say this:

McCrory says his staff will review the impact of the law between now and the short session in May.

“I share some of the concerns expressed based on the implementation of the rule.  The intent of the rule is very good — the implementation process needs to be more clarified,” he said.

Well, okay then.  Although it seems a bit early to be declaring the law to be in need of revision when it is yet to be implemented.

Teacher Tenure as a Property-Right?

Many teachers (and a number of county school boards) across North Carolina are upset about the education legislation passed by the 2013 NC General Assembly, particularly the elimination of teacher tenure in favor of merit contracts coupled with bonuses.  In fact, according to an article in the February issue of Carolina Journal, the NC Association of Educators and a small group of teachers have filed a lawsuit in Wake County contending that tenure (or “career status”) is a vested contractual personal property right, and it therefore cannot be terminated without providing just compensation, much as the State would be obligated to provide just compensation when taking real property for a highway overpass.

The court has not yet spoken, of course, but the John Locke Foundation’s (JLF) legal advice is to the effect that the claim … MORE.

It Takes A Village

This post is about just one of the situations that can arise when the full weight and resources of a over-reactive school district are unjustly Hillary_ItTakesAVillagebrought to bear to marginalize a student, particularly a young child.  This portion of the last paragraph seems to summarize it best:

My wife and I have degrees in neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology.  We have the means and the leverage to go to experts and to the courts.  But even with all that leverage, we still barely saved our son from a system that couldn’t grasp the disability it was dealing with.  How many families and children get ground up by that system?  If our experience is any guide, parents should be vigilant, and if something doesn’t seem right, always stand up for your child.

The entire article, HERE, is fairly long, but well written and illuminating.

Some UNC-CH Athletes Can’t Read, Sun Rises In The East

Mary Willingham, a learning specialist who has worked extensively in the UNC-CH athletics department, has ignited a conflageration with her recent reports on the illiteracy rate among the universities football and basketball players. From the article, HERE, in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Expecting all athletes to handle the high caliber of academic work required at Chapel Hill is about as realistic as expecting her to suit up for a Division I football game, says Ms. Willingham, an instructor in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences.  “It would be like dropping me off on the football field, giving me a jersey, and telling me to just figure it out.”

Public School Controversies in Carteret County: First, Teacher Tenure

In case you missed it, the Carteret News-Times is reporting this week on two hot-button education issues.  The first involves changes in North Carolina law related to tenure for teachers in the state system.  From the full article, HERE, this excerpt:

County school officials and teachers are struggling with a new state law that offers a payment if teachers give up their tenure status.

The law requires school systems to offer 25 percent of teachers four-year employment contracts and pay raises in exchange for the teachers giving up their tenure.

It’s part of a new law designed to phase out teacher tenure by 2018. The N.C. Association of Educators, the state’s teacher lobbying group, filed a complaint against the state Dec. 17, claiming the law violates the federal and state constitutions by eliminating basic due process rights of teachers.

School board members across the state are expressing outrage about the new law, including Carteret County Board of Education Chairman Al Hill.

Quote Of The Day

From Mike Rowe, the guy who starred on the Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs“:

“If we are lending money that ostensibly we don’t have to kids who have no hope of making it back in order to train them for jobs that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around the bend a little bit.”

A friend of mine spent an average of $40K per year for the seven years it took for his kid to get an MD from Duke Medical School.  Since he footed the bill, the kid had no real debt upon graduation, but many take a similar path on borrowed money.

Teachers File Lawsuit Against School Voucher Law

From WTVD, the ABC television station in Raleigh:

Advocacy groups representing parents and public education are suing North Carolina officials after the General Assembly passed a law this year allowing taxpayer money to help pay private school tuition.

The North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina Justice Center filed their lawsuit Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court, saying the new law violates the state constitution’s requirement that public money go exclusively to free, public schools.

“Now we have no problem with private schools, no problem with home schools … we have a vibrant system of home schools in North Carolina, it’s terrific, but we don’t ask taxpayers to fund it,” said Burton Craig, the union’s attorney.

The state’s top two lawmakers said in response that more than a dozen other states have similar, successful programs.

The law will allow low-income students to take $4,200 a year in taxpayer money to pay for private school tuition beginning in 2014. Lawmakers say they want to expand the program beyond the $10 million budgeted in the first year.

Rocky Mountain High — The New Twist

If you’re not from Colorado, Washington, California, or Oregon, odds are you’re not familiar with dabbing.  That’s because it’s most popular in the states with the loosest marijuana laws.  Producing dabs — the technical term is “butane hash oil” — is a fairly complex process.  The short version is that you extract resins from marijuana with liquid butane, then evaporate the butane to leave behind a highly concentrated form of THC.

Much more, HERE.

More News On The Exalted UNC/Duke Faculty

By way of the InsideHigherEd blog, the Raleigh N-&-O reports that Julius Nyang’oro, the former chair and former professor of African studies at UNC-CH, was indicted Monday on a felony charge of accepting $12,000 for a course he did not teach.  The phantom course was conceived as a way of improving the grade point average of UNC athletes, particularly football players.  An Orange County grand jury indicted Nyang’oro on a felony charge of obtaining property by false pretenses.  Although not identified, a second person is also under investigation and could be indicted next month, said Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall.  Other probes have identified Nyang’oro’s longtime department manager, Deborah Crowder, as being involved in the bogus classes.  Ms. Crowder retired in 2009.