2023 Ethics Warm-Up, 1/2/23: Buckle Up!

Well, I’m beginning the new year sick, and it hasn’t even done anything really sickening yet…

1. What does a Harvard grad’s high GPA mean? Nothing! A column in the Harvard Crimson revealed that the average GPA at Harvard is now 3.8 out of 4.0. Data analyst Aden Barton points out that this is up from 3.3 in 1991. “Are we supposed to believe that college students are just that much smarter now than decades ago?,” he asks? No. We should believe that college and higher education have become that much of a scam. Harvard had to abolish the “Dean’s List” because not making it proved you were an idiot: 92% of students were receiving the honor.

2. To be fair, Harvard is still serving as a role model...High schools are working hard to make sure that all of its students are also rated as outstanding. Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools paid almost half a million dollars to Oakland, California’s Performance Fact whose “Equity Imperative” is that all students’ academic performance result in “equal outcomes without exception.” Here’s the PowerPoint presentation for a Fall retreat.

3. If only anybody paid attention to boxing… World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman announced that the WBC is developing a system in which transgender fighters will compete against opponents who share the same biological sex. “In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted regardless of gender change. There should be no grey area around this, and we want to go into it with transparency and the correct decisions. Woman to man or man to woman transgender change will never be allowed to fight a different gender by birth,” Sulaiman said. “We are creating a set of rules and structures so that transgender boxing can take place, as they fully deserve to if they want to box. We do not yet know the numbers that there are out there, but we’re opening a universal registration in 2023, so that we can understand the boxers that are out there – and we’ll start from there.”

I’m not exactly sure what the system would be: he sounds a little confused, but who can blame him? At least he’s taken the first step toward sanity, ruling out the myth that a male boxer can become a female boxer by saying it’s so.

4. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Front page sub-headline in today’s Times: “To rise through the Trump-era G.O.P., a young congresswoman gave up her friends, her mentors and her ideals.”

5. I’m sure she has thought through the illegal immigration problem objectively and free from any biases or conflicts…Democratic Representative-elect Delia Ramirez was born after her pregnant mother illegally crossed the Rio Grande to come to the U.S. from Guatemala, and she is married to an illegal immigrant who is now a “Dreamer.”

6. This is irresponsible and incompetent, Mr. Chief Justice. Chief Justice Roberts’ report on the Judiciary and the Supreme Court’s 2022 omits an mention of the unethical leak of the Dobbs opinion. It can’t be an oversight. Roberts pledged that the leak would be investigated. Was it? Was the leaker identified? What measures is the Court taking to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Althouse snarks, “We have an institution investigating itself over its own secrecy, and it’s being secretive about its investigation and its secrecy.”

Well, ignoring major events and episodes on the theory that the public won’t notice seems to work for the mainstream media, so maybe the Supreme Court is trying the tactic…

7. For example: The New York Times published “Best of Late Night 2022: A Rebuilding Year,” purporting to cover the developments in late night talk TV. One of the most stunning and telling developments in the year just past was that Fox News’s “Gutfeld!” finished 2022 surpassing the ratings of all the networks’ competition, and it is the only show of its kind that finds humor in progressive as well as conservative excesses.

The Times didn’t mention “Gutfeld!” anywhere in the article.

8. A court really had to explain this? A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said there was no evidence that teacher, Eric Dodge had caused any actual disruption by wearing a MAGA hat to teacher-only trainings at his Vancouver, Washington. The school’s principal had threatened to punish him if did not remove it. Dodge says the apparently Trump-Deranged principal, Caroline Garrett, called him a racist and a homophobe for wearing the cap, and told him he would need a union representative if he wore the hat to school again. “That some may not like the political message being conveyed is par for the course and cannot itself be a basis for finding disruption of a kind that outweighs the speaker’s First Amendment rights,” wrote Circuit Judge Danielle Forrest.

Garrett was eventually fired for reasons other than her being a biased, censorious asshole.

6 thoughts on “2023 Ethics Warm-Up, 1/2/23: Buckle Up!

  1. #2
    I reviewed the PPT that cost $1/2 million and found it to be a boilerplate presentation with general data points related to FPS.
    None of this offers any recommendations in how to achieve desired outcomes without directing resources away from higher performing kids. To me this is academic gibberish packaged to make it appear enlightening.
    The cause and effect slide is a joke because it fails to acknowledge that not all students and their parents even care about working to achieve an education. In fact, any failure by a student is a failure by faculty. This notion perpetuates the idea that a teacher pours information into a child’s skull and the kid becomes intelligent. Mastery of a skill requires significant practice which requires significant discipline to remain focused of obtaining mastery. There is absolutely no mention of this.
    Children learn what they want to learn or are forced repeat through practice. The latter works but can backfire because kids will commit energy to avoid what they are forced to do. Messages from peers and adults that school is not as important as other things will undermine a child’s desire to learn. Nothing in the PPT even mentions this.

    • I went to Performance Fact website and found that much of what they offer can be found in virtually any management program. Everything there seems to be nothing more than repackaged Management by Objective and basic goal setting.

      What I found disturbing was that in one case they advised weekly monitoring and adjustment in classroom practices – with no mention of how this will occur without any evaluation of student achievement during the evaluation period – but then recommended end of year evaluation and adjustment for “big picture” issues. The big picture are the means or resources deployed to achieve an outcome. This means that should the educational gaps not close sufficiently then a reallocation of resources will be required to those not making the grade. Education is not an assembly line in which every student comes to class meeting the same QC standards of other raw materials used in production. Moreover, not all teachers are masters of their craft, and some have quietly quit on the job and use the same lesson plans and examples they used for many years. Master teachers are the exception and not the rule from my experience in education. The best analogy I can come up with regarding the profession of teaching is that of a forger of iron. Not all metals – like students – have the same characteristics. Some are malleable and some are brittle. Some will harden to take an edge and others will not. The Master forger knows how to get the maximum strength out of the metal with which he is working, the Journeyman will do an acceptable job most of the time but will never win an award or devise a new process, while the apprentice will have to discard a lot of raw material in the process of learning the craft.

      It should be noted that obtaining a desired behavioral outcome (learning) in one week is not always possible and constantly changing teaching modalities can confuse other students. Students learn at different rates and rely on different senses to gain a basic understanding of concepts. Good teachers tend to incorporate into the lesson plan a variety of techniques to address learning styles and to engage the less enthusiastic student.

      What I found most interesting was that given the hype about being “data driven” none of the “testimonials” offered any evidentiary data to support positive increases in student outcomes. Having worked in post-secondary education I have seen this type of testimonial from educators. Such testimonials are worthless and are no more valid than saying my cereal tastes better than your cereal. In fairness to those offering testimonials, I would bet much of what Performance Fact is offering is new to them and those who write the testimonials do want to be excellent teachers. Unfortunately, many teachers are the first to be seduced by appeals to authority.

  2. Can’t believe you missed this story:

    Life has come full circle for MLB legend Pete Rose. After receiving a lifetime ban from the MLB in 1989 for gambling on the Reds while he was managing the team, Rose placed Ohio’s first legal sports bet on the Reds winning the 2023 World Series on Sunday.

    Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed legal sports betting into law in December 2021, and at the stroke of midnight on Sunday, the state’s legal gambling floodgates opened. Rose was at the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati to commemorate the occasion and, once again, stake his place in sports betting history.



  3. A crusty Army nurse was perturbed by the insolence and apparent incompetence of a surgeon. In one confrontation the surgeon, stood tall, declaring that the nurse could not question him because he was a graduate of Harvard Medical School. The nurse took a swig of the bourbon she was holding, puffed on her unfiltered cigarette, and declared, “There are three things in life that are highly overrated, they all begin with H. Home Cooking, Home Screwing, and Harvard Medicine.” Another swig of bourbon, another puff on the Camel, and applause broke out!

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