Larry Sand

About Larry Sand

CLASS SIZE LIES Imagine if a Major League All-Star Game roster was increased to 70 players from the current 35, you would certainly see a diminution in quality. The same is true in education.

The number of children in the classroom has no effect on educational achievement.

The perennial, “We have a teacher shortage!” canard has a younger and equally bogus sibling known as, “Children do better in a small class setting!” In fact, lower class size is very often on the list of demands when teachers go out on strike. Most recently educators in Columbus, OH, Mahomet, IL, and Seattle, WA struck, and smaller classes were part of the negotiating package in each district.

BANNED BOOKS BUNKUM And, of course, the National Education Association – chief kiddie porn-purveyor in the country – embraces Banned Books Week. A perfect example of the union’s perverse leanings was recently reported by Christopher Rufo. He writes that the NEA and its local affiliate in Hilliard, Ohio, have been providing staff in the city’s school district with QR code-enabled badges, which point to the “NEA LGBTQ+ Caucus” website and resources from various gender activist organizations.

What the anti-book banning fetish in our schools is really about.

Mercifully, Banned Books Week, celebrated Sept. 18-24 this year, is over, and we can take a deep breath for the next 51 or so weeks till it once again rears its ugly, hysterical, manipulative, leftwing head.

Whatever righteousness this week may have once held, it has been taken over by progressive sex obsessives and groomers who are trying to legitimize the field once known quaintly as “obscenity.”

NOWHERE MANN In fact, Mann’s vision, nearly 200 years old now, has been fully exposed. Due to the extended Covid-related lockdowns, parents are fleeing the government education plantation in unprecedented numbers for private schools, microschools, homeschools, etc.

It’s beyond time to get the government out of education.

In a recent New York Times piece, “School Is for Everyone,” Anya Kamenetz lavished praise on 19th Century education reformer Horace Mann, who saw public schools as a “crucible of democracy.” His goal was to have the state take over schools and increase taxes to pay for it all.

Mann and his acolytes insisted that shifting the reins of educational power from private to public hands would “yield better teaching methods and materials, greater efficiency, superior service to the poor, and a stronger, more cohesive nation.” He even ventured to predict that if public schooling were widely adopted and given enough time to work, “nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete,” and “the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOWHERE MANN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOWHERE MANN In fact, Mann’s vision, nearly 200 years old now, has been fully exposed. Due to the extended Covid-related lockdowns, parents are fleeing the government education plantation in unprecedented numbers for private schools, microschools, homeschools, etc.

It’s beyond time to get the government out of education.

In a recent New York Times piece, “School Is for Everyone,” Anya Kamenetz lavished praise on 19th Century education reformer Horace Mann, who saw public schools as a “crucible of democracy.” His goal was to have the state take over schools and increase taxes to pay for it all.

Mann and his acolytes insisted that shifting the reins of educational power from private to public hands would “yield better teaching methods and materials, greater efficiency, superior service to the poor, and a stronger, more cohesive nation.” He even ventured to predict that if public schooling were widely adopted and given enough time to work, “nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete,” and “the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE EDUCATION REVOLUTION RAGES ON The Golden State recently passed a “Menstrual Equity Act,” which stipulates that at least one boys’ bathroom in every middle and high school have tampon dispensers.

It’s back-to-school time, and the culture chasm is wider than ever.

In January, a Gallup poll found that Americans’ belief in grade-school teachers’ honesty and ethics had dropped to 64%, an all-time low. Then in July, another Gallup poll showed that just 28 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools – the second-lowest this figure has been since Gallup began asking this question in 1973. At the same time, a just published PDK International survey reveals that only 50% of all adults have confidence that teachers can teach civics, and just 38% believe that they can handle “gender/sexuality issues.”

DO AMERICAN STUDENTS’ LIVES MATTER? The United Teachers of Los Angeles loathsome boss Cecily Myart-Cruz has gone so far as to deny learning loss exists, stating “Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup.”

The teacher union mandated school lockdowns could have lifetime ramifications for many kids.

The results of the first post-lockdown National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were released on June 1, and they showed anything but progress. Most subgroups took a big hit, but Blacks and Hispanics suffered the greatest damage.

The Alinskyite model is perhaps best typified by Cecily Myart-Cruz, the socialist leader of the United Teachers of Los Angeles. In 2021, when was asked about how her union’s insistence on keeping L.A.’s schools locked down for over a year may have impacted the city’s k-12 students, she insisted, “There is no such thing as learning loss. Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup.”

A book written in 1958 explains our current cultural upheaval.

My father was a liberal Democrat. He worshipped FDR and didn’t care much for the GOP. His parents were staunch Republicans, and the political discussions I remember from the 1950s were always entertaining – if not a bit confusing – to this eight-year-old. Importantly, while my dad was a liberal, he was a virulent anti-Communist, who saw them as evil as the Nazis he went to war to eradicate.

 

PEDOPHILES ARE PROLIFERATING IN OUR SCHOOLS Perhaps the poster boy for perversity is Mark Berndt. This Los Angeles Unified School District teacher was arrested in 2012 for feeding semen-laced cookies to his second graders. Perhaps not as well-known is that his obscene antics began in 1983, when he was accused of (and admitted to) dropping his pants during a class trip, which he blamed on the fact that he wore “baggy shorts.” 

Ten percent of our nation’s students are victims of sexual abuse by educators.

In the social hierarchy of prison inmates, mob bosses, bank robbers, and cop killers tend to get respect. But “short eyes,” those convicts who have committed crimes against children, especially sexual abuse, are hated, harassed, and abused. In schools, however, this group of detestable perverts rates a “meh.”

The numbers are stunning. A report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education in 2004 revealed that nearly 9.6% of students are victims of sexual abuse by school personnel, and these are just the reported cases.

 

ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY FLOW INTO THE BOTTOMLESS EDUCATION PIT All in all, with various perks included, a teacher makes on average $68.85 an hour, whereas a private sector worker makes about $36 per hour. (While it’s true that the average teacher has more education than the average private sector worker, much of the added study is in our schools of education, which the late Walter Williams, a standout professor of economics at George Mason University, referred to as “the academic slums of most any college.” Also, a 2011 paper in the journal Education Policy Analysis Archives backs up Williams’ assertion, finding that education majors are subject to considerably “lower grading standards” than other college students.)

How much will increased spending really help student achievement?

Spurred by the Covid panic, schools have been the recipient of ungodly sums of money. And it’s not as if the beast was starving before. To put things into perspective, the U.S. spends about $800 billion on national defense, more than China, Russia, India, the U.K., France, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Japan combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. America now spends even more on k-12 education, with an outlay of about $900 billion dollars a year, which includes an additional $122 billion from the Covid-related American Rescue Plan. While we have a military that is second to none, our education spending does not lead to a similar result. Our annual education outlay is second highest in the world, trailing only Norway. But in achievement, we are in the middle of the pack. For example, the 2018 rankings by the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, has the U.S. 36th out of the 79 countries that participated in the math test, which is given to 15-year-olds.

EDUCATION EXODUS  As I wrote recently, teacher shortage hysteria has been with us since 1920. Additionally, “multiple studies of teacher turnover have not found evidence of unusually large attrition,” according to a new report by the Rand Corp. Yes, polling teachers about what they plan to do as opposed to what they actually do nets very different results. The Rand report also explains, “In short, we believe it is districts’ increase in number of staff that they seek to employ rather than an exodus from teaching that is straining the teacher labor market. More than three-quarters of surveyed district leaders indicated that they have expanded their substitute and/or regular teaching staff above prepandemic levels as of spring 2022.”

Parents are abandoning schools in large numbers, but teachers are not.

School reopening time is almost upon us, and large numbers of parents have opted out of government-run schools. Over the past two school years, k-12 enrollment has declined by nearly 3%, or about 1.3 million students nationwide, according to a recent study by the American Enterprise Institute. Children who had gone to schools that were shuttered during the Covid panic have been much less likely to return to a traditional public school (TPS).

Randi Weingarten is an arsonist who pretends to be a firefighter.

The rotting public school culture could lead to changes at the ballot box.

It just doesn’t stop. In Portland, OR, the kindergarten curriculum includes an anatomy lesson featuring “graphic drawings of children’s genitalia.” The words “Boy” and “Girl” are eschewed in favor of “person with a penis” and “person with a vulva,” because, according to the curriculum, girls can have penises and boys can have vulvas. In a West Chester, PA middle school, boys were encouraged to wear dresses at the school’s Gay Pride Month celebrations. And in a New York City middle school, students are encouraged to keep a list of all the “microaggressions” they witnessed – both at schools and at home.

DO TEACHERS REALLY NEED A UNION? After wading through all the leftwing blather, I can’t help but wonder why any conservative, libertarian, right-leaning, centrist or apolitical teacher would continue to belong to a teachers union. In California, when a teacher joins a local union, she typically forks over about $1,200 yearly. If the union is an NEA affiliate, $768 will go to the California Teachers Association and $204 will be sent off to NEA command central in D.C. The remaining $200 or so stays at the local level. Much of the money that goes to CTA/NEA is spent on leftwing politics, and every penny of the unions’ income is tax-free.

Educators don’t get much for their $1,200 yearly dues.

In the aughts, after blindly being a dues-paying National Education Association member for years, I opened my eyes, and discovered that I’d been wasting my money. The teachers unions were primarily about politics, all of which went in a leftward direction. One in-your-face example at the time was at the Democratic Convention in 2008, where NEA president Reg Weaver spoke. His opening words were, “I am here today on behalf of 3.2 million NEA members to tell you why we support Barack Obama for President of the United States.” It sounded as if all 3.2 million members of the NEA were backing Obama. Then in his last sentence, he left no doubt. “That, my friends, is why the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association are organized, energized and mobilized to help elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States of America.”

OUR ED SCHOOL SLUMS The subtext to this story is that to be an effective teacher, one must jump through the proper state-orchestrated credentialing hoops. And of course, to get that credential, a prospective teacher must take classes at a school of education. But I maintain that being a camp counselor or watching Blackboard Jungle will endow you with greater teaching skills than the average ed school, which typically is nothing more than a politically correct fad factory that gloms onto the latest good-sounding tripe and forces it down the throats of its students.

Many American schools of education are not worthy of existing.

On June 29, the California Department of Education, in cooperation with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the State Board of Education, announced the first-ever release of statewide teacher assignment data. The report revealed that as of the 2020-21 school year, “83.1 percent of teacher assignments are clear, meaning the class or course is taught by a teacher who has a credential and is fully authorized to teach the course.” The remainder of the classroom positions are filled by teachers who have not completed their training, have an emergency permit, hold a credential, but are teaching outside their credentialed area, etc. There could be even fewer “clear” teachers in 2021-22, due to the ramifications of Covid. Interestingly, the report informs us that if an instructor holds only an emergency teaching permit, is teaching outside their credentialed area without state authorization – known as a mis-assignment – or possesses no credential, permit or authorization to teach in California. the assignment is considered “ineffective.”

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A STATE MAKES Steve: Sounds like the teachers unions aren’t really for the kids, huh? Me: Ya think! At the union’s behest, firing bad teachers is just about impossible. In fact, ten years ago, a case was brought against CTA, claiming that on average, just 2.2 of the state’s 300,000 teachers (0.0008 percent) were dismissed for unprofessional conduct or unsatisfactory performance in any given year. Compare that to 8 percent of employees in the private sector dismissed annually for cause.

California and Arizona offer startlingly opposite educational scenarios.

My nephew Steve recently informed me that he and his wife Andrea – lifelong New Yorkers –want to move west. Highest on their list of priorities for a future home is fulfilling the educational needs of their kids, 5-year-old Danny and 4-year-old Molly. Having lived in the Golden State for almost 40 years, they sought my advice. The conversation went something like this:

SUPREME COURT DECISION ADVANCES EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM While the union bosses and like-minded souls despise any public money going to a parent who wants to send their child to a private school, they all praise Pell Grants. These federal dollars go to needy college students, and can be used to attend private colleges, including religious schools like Notre Dame and Brigham Young. I have never received a response to the question I constantly pose: “Giving parents choices on the k-12 level – vouchers, ESA’s, etc., especially if used at a religious school – is your worst nightmare. Why is the private option perfectly okay for college students, but not for elementary and high schoolers?”

SCOTUS declares that if a state subsidizes private education, it cannot disqualify religious schools.

Last week, the Supreme Court delivered three decisions that have the left in a snit of epic proportions. On Friday, the Court decided there is no Constitutional right to an abortion, and threw Roe v. Wade into the trashcan. The prior day, the justices made clear that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. And on Tuesday, in Carson v. Makin, the Supremes asserted that if a state subsidizes private education, it cannot disqualify religious schools.

THE FEDS: FULLY ON BOARD THE TRANS TRAIN Not surprisingly, many districts’ grooming begins in kindergarten and even pre-K. In Virginia, kindergarteners experienced a talk by “transgender rights advocate” – a man dressed as a woman who goes by “Sarah” – who read them a book about a transgender teen. Kindergartners in Massachusetts are told by their teacher, “We don’t say a penis belongs to a man. It belongs to a human.” And in North Carolina’s Wake County, a preschool lesson used flash cards featuring LGBTQ themes to teach kids colors, including one card depicting a pregnant man.

The Biden administration doubles down on the transgender fad.

Back in March, the Biden administration celebrated the “International Transgender Day of Visibility” by extolling the virtues of the kindly sounding “gender-affirming care.” But this innocuous sounding term can be extraordinarily hazardous to the health of young people – puberty blockers, hormone therapy and “gender affirming” therapies – all irreversible – are part of the program.

THE ENDURING TEACHER SHORTAGE MYTH In 1998, Hoover Institution senior fellow and economist Eric Hanushek released the results of an impressive review of class-size studies. Examining 277 separate studies on the effect of teacher-pupil ratios and class-size averages on student achievement, he found that 15% of the studies found an improvement in achievement, while 72% found no effect at all and 13% found that reducing class size had a negative effect on achievement. While Hanushek admits that in some cases, children might benefit from a small-class environment, there is no way “to describe a priori situations where reduced class size will be beneficial.”

Dire warnings about teachers leaving the profession have been with us for over a century.

Many teachers have left the profession and gone into other work of various kinds because they could make more money. Frequently the best teachers are the ones who have left the profession because they have been able to command exceptional salaries elsewhere.” (H/T Tom Gantert.)

The above quote is taken from the front page of the April 16, 1920 edition of the Charlevoix County Herald, a newspaper in Michigan. And the story has replicated itself repeatedly on a nationwide basis for the last 102 years.

UVALDE: THE WAY FORWARD Education Week is reporting that there have been 27 school shootings this year. This gasp-worthy news has been picked up by NPR and other news outlets around the country. But as Reason’s Robby Soave notes, “The problem here is that three very differently defined terms are being used somewhat incautiously and interchangeably: school shooting, mass shooting, and mass school shooting. Uvalde was a mass school shooting; the 26 previous tragedies at schools this year were not.” For example, a 16-year-old student was shot and injured outside of a school after a basketball game.

In light of the recent school shooting in Texas, how do we best protect children?

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, TX, the media were filled with opinions and accusations about what was behind the tragic deaths of 19 school children and two teachers: lack of religion, fatherlessness, a mental health crisis, video games, the culture in general, the cops screwed up, etc.

SCHOOL CHOICE AND SEGREGATION: FACT AND FICTION The ever-quotable Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, insists, “Make no mistake: This use of privatization, coupled with disinvestment are only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.”

A new study shows that public schools are highly segregated, while polls reveal that educational freedom is more popular than ever.

According to a study released in mid-May by The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, “one in six students attend a school where over 90% of their peers were of the same race in the 2018-19 school year.” The publication of the report was timed to mark the 68th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision which ruled that state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools were unconstitutional.

While this may be news to some, the results are hardly surprising. For varied reasons, people tend to live in areas populated by those similar in race and class. And to complete the picture, we have a ridiculous zip-code mandated education system, which, courtesy of the Big Government-Big Teacher Union duopoly, forces children to go to the public school that is closest to their home – no matter how awful it might be – throughout most of the country.

THE UNRAVELING OF EDUCATION IN AMERICA Detroit is a particularly egregious case. While 72% of the city’s students are graduating from high school this year, only 8% of them are academically ready for college.

The bad news from the education industrial complex just keeps on coming.

It’s no secret that education in America has been in bad shape for some time, and now, low student proficiency has been exacerbated by the hysterical response to the Covid outbreak. Most recently, the results of a Harvard University study, which investigated the role of remote and hybrid instruction in widening gaps in achievement by race and school poverty, have been released.

RANDI, GET A GRIP! Then you jumped the proverbial shark. Referring to the Florida law on a podcast, you blurted out, “This is propaganda. This is misinformation. This is the way in which wars start.”    Oy vey!! Calm down, will ya?! The law simply disallows inappropriate sex talk in schools. Sheesh.

An open letter to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

My Dearest Randi,

What is going on! It has been a year since my last missive, and I have not heard a peep from you. This is not the first time you have snubbed me, however. When I tried to say hi to you outside the Supreme Court after the Janus oral arguments in 2018, you refused to even look at me, and then turned to a newsman and launched into a kooky rant, insisting that unions “actually make communities safer and…the right-wing is threatened by that.”

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