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Bad teaching is a common explanation given for the disastrously inadequate public education received by America’s most vulnerable populations. This is a myth. Aside from a few lemons who were notable for their rarity, the majority of teachers I worked with for nine years in New York City’s public school system were dedicated, talented professionals.Before joining the system I was mystified by the schools’ abysmal results.I too assumed there must be something wrong with the teaching. This could not have been farther from the truth.

Teaching French and Italian in NYC high schools I finally figured out why this was, although it took some time, because the real reason was so antithetical to the prevailing mindset. I worked at three very different high schools over the years, spanning a fairly representative sample. That was a while ago now, but the system has not improved since, as the fundamental problem has not been acknowledged, let alone addressed. It would not be hard, or expensive, to fix.

https://quillette.com/2019/02/10/public-educations-dirty-secret/

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Methodist Madness

February 14, 2019 — Leave a comment

Duke University, which prides itself on being an elite and cosmopolitan institution of higher learning, has suddenly reminded the world—and probably many of its own astonished students—that it has a religious affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

Duke’s president, Vincent E. Price, joined the presidents of 92 other schools also claiming Methodist ties in voting unanimously on January 4 to endorse a statement that calls on the church to jettison a 1984 provision in its Book of Discipline (its rules for church governance) that bars “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from its ministry and forbids its clergy to perform same-sex weddings. It was a statement timed to precede—and influence—a special session of the UMC’s General Conference devoted exclusively to the church’s teachings on sex, scheduled for February 23–26 in St. Louis. The statement, from the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church, urges the UMC to honor “the past and current practices of inclusion by amending their policies and practices to affirm full inclusion in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church of all persons regardless of their race, ethnicity, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression or sexual orientation.”

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/02/methodist-madness

For many decades, critics of economic development argued that rising incomes and greater material abundance did not lead to higher levels of happiness. In 1974, Richard Easterlin from the University of Southern California noted that people in richer countries were not happier than people in poor countries. Subsequent research found that the so-called Easterlin Paradox did not exist. Instead, happiness seems to increase with affluence. Today, a different kind of criticism is gaining round. Happiness may be increasing, the critics of economic development concede, but life in a modern capitalist society is more and more devoid of meaning. What are we to make of this criticism?

https://humanprogress.org/article.php?p=1223

Contrary to demographic scare stories disseminated by the far-right, black people don’t really hold that strong a hand in terms of numbers. While Western European nations like Germany and France don’t keep racial statistics, in the U.K. where I live – and which is arguably the most diverse country in all of Europe – ethnic minorities constitute just 13 percent of the population, with my group (blacks and mixed-black) making up under five percent. Moreover, an important factor that’s usually overlooked in discussions on race in Britain is how significantly European Union (E.U.) immigration has ‘whitened’ the country. Whites currently constitute 87 percent of the U.K. population, but this proportion will likely rise in the near future once a majority of the 3.8 million overwhelmingly-white European Union citizens living in the U.K. acquire British citizenship following Britain’s departure from the E.U. Most of these E.U. citizens are from Eastern European countries like Poland, my mother’s birthland, where people generally have a stronger sense of white identity and have more provincial views on race than the indigenous white-British population.

https://quillette.com/2018/09/01/identity-politics-is-doing-more-harm-than-good-to-minorities/