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Are Student Ratings Important?
by Silence Dogood

I can’t say that I recommend the RATE MY PROFESSORS website. A lot of the time, I think it is just an outlet for frustrated students to vent their frustration. Truthfully, until last Wednesday, I had never looked at the website. But I was curious and just for fun decided to take a look to see what I might find. I looked first at St. Cloud State University.

Not really understanding what a 3.4 might mean, for comparison I looked at Minnesota State University—Mankato rankings, the university most similar to SCSU in the Minnesota State System.

Based on these overall rankings, which are not scientifically valid, SCSU comes out ahead of only Metropolitan State University in the overall quality rating!

For each and every measure, SCSU trails MSU—Mankato. Most significantly, in the safety ranking 3.0 vs. 3.8. But for the reputation measure, I was a bit miffed at SCSU’s reputation ranking of 3.1 vs. MSU—Mankato’s 3.4.

Next, I decided to look at the rest of the universities in the Minnesota State System.

However, what is clearly unsettling is that SCSU trails ALL of the universities in the Minnesota State System in the ranking for reputation:

These rankings may be anecdotal and have some validity issues. However, students use them. And they use them a lot!

For many years, administrators have said that SCSU hasn’t done a good job ‘telling its story.’ And in the past that may have been true. However, many of these same administrators and their replacements have been saying this for so long that it is hard to believe that they haven’t been held accountable for not doing a better job of telling SCSU’s story. Unless of course you believe that just saying that ‘they’ haven’t done a good job telling the story is explanation enough. It almost seems this explanation is good enough for the titanic enrollment drop since FY10. With no end in sight for the enrollment drop, it might be reasonable to ask is anyone ever held accountable at SCSU?

Ditch Common Core
By Rambling Rose

“Follow the money” is frequently sage advice if politicians are involved. That certainly is true for the Gates Foundation that since 2009 has spent more than $400 million itself and influenced $4 trillion in U.S. taxpayer funds towards the goal of a national curriculum and tests. This occurred under the previous Obama administration although a federal curriculum is prohibited by law, specifically by the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the General Education Provisions Act of 1970 and creation of the Department of Education in 1979.

In 2002, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed with bipartisan support as a way to close the gap in academic achievement in schools. All 50 states adopted or revised their standards to annually assess students in grades 3-8 and again in high school. Schools were to achieve 100 percent passing rates on the state tests.

The results were disastrous. Over half the nation’s schools were designated “failing,” and the rest were close behind. Forty states were granted conditional waivers from the NCLB standards if they concentrated efforts on the schools with the greatest needs AND used the test results to evaluate all teachers.

At that point, President Obama and Secretary Duncan initiated the Race to the Top program with a promise of $250 million to each participating state, plus a waiver from NCLB. While the federal government did not require states to accept Common Core, the Obama administration coerced and bribed.

Enter Common Core (Common Core States Standards—CCSS). While the rhetoric lauds the implementation of a system of standards for students to achieve, the reality was greatly different. The work of writing the standards was not done by educators as some would like to claim. It was the work of the National Governors Association, the Council for State School Officers (professional organizations; not elected representatives) and the nonprofit Achieve Inc. The group (25 persons who worked behind closed doors) was principally comprised of academics and assessment experts—six test makers from the College Board, five test publishers for ACT and four with Achieve. No teachers were included in the work groups. All work was funded with more than $200 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

At the outset, the two national teacher unions were the leading proponents of the efforts. They anticipated greater funding. However, when they realized that their students were failing in even greater numbers than with NCLB and that their own evaluations were tied to the students’ results, they withdrew their support.

Yet one would have expected the teachers to remain advocates of the program since a paramount principle of Common Core is to teach to the lowest common denominator, leading to the assumption that all students would achieve the standards. Enthusiastic students could not advance beyond where the lowest achieving students were; they lost interest. Struggling students were overwhelmed, stressed, ill and missed school. Students were required to use multiple steps to achieve answers in math and to explain the process; the right answer was NOT important. In language arts, assessments did not include sentence or paragraph development, nor spelling and punctuation. The regurgitation of the leftist ideology was required and rewarded. Individual opinion was penalized.

Since all was driven by the standardized tests, textbooks, teacher training and evaluations were also aligned with the tests. That meant that private, charter and home-school programs also had to follow the standards. Parents, school districts and states lost control of the curriculum to the federal government.

In December, 2015, Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This did not replace Common Core; it just moved it to the states. It is alive and well in the state departments of education, especially in the states with a Democrat governor who appointed a like-minded commissioner of education. Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Utah decided not to use the CCSS tests. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia never adopted the Standards.

Betsy DeVos, the current Secretary of Education in President Trump’s cabinet has challenged parents and other stakeholders to answer some questions in order to reshape the educational system so that it works for the learners. “It’s past time to ask some of the questions that often get labeled as ‘non-negotiable’ or just don’t get asked at all,” she said. “Why do we group students by age? Why do schools close for the summer? Why must the school day start with the rise of the sun? Why are schools assigned by your address? Why do students have to go to a school building in the first place? Why is choice only available to those who can buy their way out? Or buy their way in? Why can’t a student learn at his or her own pace? Why isn’t technology more widely embraced in schools? Why do we limit what a student can learn based upon the faculty and facilities available? Why? We must answer these questions. We must acknowledge what is and what is not working for students.”

Peter Greene, contributor in the Huffington Post (what? where? surprise!—personal comment) wrote some scathing truths about Common Core on January 14, 2018:

When the Common Core wave passed, it had swept away the notion that actual teachers and administrators are experts in education. Teaching, it turns out, is somehow too hard for mere teachers. Instead, the standards-based school district now assumes that nobody in the school system actually knows what should be taught, and that the most they can be trusted with is to “unpack” the standards and create a checklist-certified list of education activities that will meet the standards’ demands. That’s the best-case scenario. In the worst-case scenario, the district doesn’t believe that trained education professionals can be trusted with even that much, and should just be handed materials that dictate the teacher’s every move, throwing aside their professional judgment and replacing it with the judgment of some bureaucrat or textbook publisher.

Worst of all for the long run, this approach has infected schools of education who prepare their few remaining future teachers to accept this, to envision for themselves a diminished role as content delivery specialists or instructional facilitators or classroom coaches.

Common Core was pitched against a definite enemy? the teachers who insisted in teaching things in their own classroom just because they thought those things were worth teaching, the teacher who insisted on using her own professional judgment, the teacher who wanted to function as an autonomous individual. Ironically, even though the Common Core did not conquer the nation’s school districts as it had hoped, it did manage to deliver a serious defeat to its chosen enemy. We now understand in (too many) districts that we must adhere to the Standards, which have descended manna-like from some mysterious, magical higher power. They are not to be argued with or contradicted, nor will there be any discussion of the educational wisdom (or lack thereof) behind them. They are to be treated as our compass, our grail, our North Star. Teachers should sit down, shut up, and start aligning.

And that defeat of professional educators, that clampdown on teacher autonomy? that’s the one victory that Common Core State (sic) Standards can claim. There is hope, if…

Schools need to abandon Common Core and return to proven methods of teaching. That is what Mason Classical Academy in Naples, Florida did. They went back to teaching phonics and abandoned whole word memorization demanded in Kindergarten by Common Core. (Phonics is introduced later in CCSS and confuses learners since they already learned only whole word recognition.) The test scores revealed that the third-graders were 90% proficient in language arts while the rest of the schools in the county were only 58% proficient. The third-graders were in the top 2% in the state, and the fifth-graders were in the top 1% in Florida.

Social media has examples of students’ math problems earning no credit, even though the answers were correct, because the students had not included all the CCSS mandated steps and explanations. In the video “Common Core: 3 * 4 = 11 is okay,” Amanda August explains that the process is more important than the answer.

All stakeholders should view it and learn from a CCSS advocate what is really expected and demanded by this curriculum that is not a curriculum.

One of the goals for CCSS is to prepare students to be competitive in a global society. Let’s look at the 2015 test results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Looks like students in the USA are not as competitive as some politicians and even teachers would have us believe.

Yes, Minnesota has received approval from the US Department of Education for its implementation of ESSA, that is, Common Core 2.0. This statement from the MN Department of Education website is troublesome:

“Please note it is important that all [emphasis added] students be taught and satisfactorily complete all [emphasis added] academic standards.”

Does that mean that MN continues to embrace the CCSS ideology and standards? No, that is not a rhetorical question; it needs to be answered and addressed by stakeholders…all of us.

Follow the money. Politicians frequently approve more expenditures for education with hopes for better learning. But do they or parents really understand what is taught and tested in our MN schools? Are Minnesota test scores still high or are they following the national trends?

Local teachers have shared information that the textbooks now include the scripts that they are to use to teach so that all students in all classrooms in the country will be on the same page on the same day. Is that local control or is that the Gates/Obama/Duncan federal curriculum alive and strong in central MN?

Does St. Cloud State University Have A CFO?
by Silence Dogood

If you wanted to inquire about the financial health of St. Cloud State University, you might expect to go to the website for the Office of Finance and Administration and mine the site for current information. On February 18, 2018, I performed this search.

The Vision Statement clearly states: “The Office of Finance and Administration at St. Cloud State University will be a recognized leader in providing services to the university community.” I’ll come back to this Vision Statement later.

Click on the link “Contact Us/Feedback” and you are taken to the webpage:

If you search SCSU’s website for McGee, you get the following:

So if you wanted to try to contact the Vice President for Finance and Administration, you’re out of luck. But this is really not new news. Tammy L. H. McGee WAS the Vice President for Finance and Administration until she quit/retired as of November 13, 2017. Apparently, the website simply has not been updated in almost five months to reflect her departure.

If you click on the link for “Financial Reports” you are taken to the webpage:

If you wanted to see an annual report from FY 2002 to FY 2014, just click on the link and voila! Unfortunately, this is FY2018, which you might not expect to find, but the annual reports for FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017 are missing. While it is true that you can find SCSU’s annual reports on the Minnesota State website, they should be available here. If nothing else, simply put in a link to the Minnesota State website.

If you click on the link for “Budget Advisory Group” you are taken to the webpage:

There is no information listed for FY18. The last information in the FY17 folder is for the April 27, 2017 meeting. The Budget Advisory Group was a committee with the Vice President for Finance and Administration and a faculty member from the Faculty Budget Committee serving as co-Chairs. It seems that the university is no longer willing to share financial data, especially because much of the data shows SCSU’s precarious financial situation.

If you explore the link for campus presentations you find:

This is April of 2018, it’s hard to believe that no new media has become available for two years and any new documents have become available for almost three years! If you were aspiring to being “open and transparent” organization, this would hardly be the path that any organization would take.

After looking at their website, if you were to rate the fulfillment of the Office of Finance and Administration Vision Statement to be: “a recognized leader in providing services to the university community,” you would probably have to give the university an F.

It is interesting to note that since my email is being read by the administration (and this article was originally written back in February but not published until now), they have since removed Tammy McGee from being listed as the Vice President for Finance and Administration and now list the position as “vacant.” It’s nice to see that things change, albeit slowly. Unfortunately, the underlying issues and the lack of openness have created a level of distrust on campus that is almost palpable.

Is There Difference in Strategic Planning at MSU—Mankato and SCSU?
by Silence Dogood

On March 28th, the academic deans at St. Cloud State announced to their department chairs that they had until April 20th to finish a complete program review process that would be used to make budget reductions for FY’19, which begins on July 1st. Since SCSU has had declining enrollments since FY’10 and multimillion dollar deficits year after year, it is hard to understand the urgency of this process. That may sound crazy but at President Vaidya’s open forum on February 28th, he spent more time talking about SCSU’s successful athletic teams and initiatives than the budget situation. It’s hard to believe but true, as evidenced by listening to the presentation!

This past Friday, April 6th—two weeks before the department reviews were even to be completed—key academic deans met with the provost to review their own draft decisions about programs that should be “built,” “maintained,” or “phased out.” This was done without consideration to the rushed review process, which had not even been completed, which makes the program review process appear meaningless.

Having these reviews due the Friday before the last week of classes will certainly not allow for any appeal of the decisions that are made because the review by the administration will not be complete until the students and faculty have departed campus for the summer. True leaders are willing to explain and justify their decisions. Interim SCSU President Ashish Vaidya will be departing campus on June 30th to assume the presidency at Northern Kentucky. It’s hard to believe that he will ever have to explain or justify to the faculty, staff and students the decisions he has made.

Compare this with the process MSU—Mankato is using to perform the same task.

Not only did MSU—Mankato start earlier (last August, not in the last month of the semester), their process is actually open and transparent. This fact is glaringly obvious simply by looking at MSU—Mankato’s Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment website.

No similar information about the process being used for evaluation is available for SCSU. And what information that is available seems to be only available on private (closed) servers. So much for being open and transparent.

Many universities in the Minnesota State system have recently seen significant enrollment declines and concomitant declines in revenue. However, the enrollment declines at SCSU began earlier (FY’11) and have been significantly larger than any of the other Minnesota State universities. At first, the administrative response at SCSU was that we were “right sizing.” This was then followed by its due to “demographics.” Followed by “everyone is declining.” Followed by there are “not enough resources from the state.”

A historian might look back at this and simply see a series of excuses that try to say “it’s not my fault.” However, if you dig deeper, it is very clear that SCSU has been embarrassingly slow to respond to the decline and has been completely reactive rather than proactive.

It is important to recognize that neither President Potter, President Vaidya, or Provost Malhotra were willing to establish an enrollment target for the university. Thus, “right sizing” the university was just a fantasy or delusion. Secondly, they never established priorities of academic programs or student services. This has resulted in every unit merely fighting to live no matter what the cost is to neighboring programs. Without such guidance, it appears more like gladiator combat or dog fighting, with the ‘best’ gladiator (or dog) surviving to live to fight another day.

While there are certainly many issues that have led SCSU to the place it finds itself in, one of the more significant is that the senior administration at SCSU is almost entirely made up of ‘interim’ appointments. Although some of these individuals may be quality people, the pressure of being an interim, that perhaps wants to be appointed permanently, almost certainly means that significant decisions are put off for the permanent person to make.

At SCSU, the President is an interim, the Provost is an interim, two academic deans are interims, one associate dean is an interim, the Associate Provost for Research and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies is an interim, the Dean of the University College is an interim, the Director of the Center for Excellence and Teaching and Learning is an interim, and the Associate Vice President for International Studies is an interim. Such a large number of interims at a university is a clear sign that there is something wrong. The following figure shows the organizational structure from the website for the Academic Affairs Office.

Perhaps even worse than having a large number of interims is that since June of 2012 there have been five Chief Financial Officers (Steve Ludwig, Len Sippel, Doug Vinzant, Rick Duffet, and Tammy McGee). Tammy McGee resigned in November of 2017. It may be hard to believe for an organization with an annual budget over $200,000,000 but an interim has yet to be named! Also, last spring the Chief Information Officer was ‘promoted’ (some said President Trump’s favorite phase on his reality TV show) to a position in the Minnesota State central office. Since that time, Information Technology Services, which has a staff of forty-six, does not have an interim CIO although it appears that the Deputy Chief Information Officer is carrying out those duties.

It’s hard to believe that whatever results come out of the current program analysis that they are going to solve the enrollment decline and resulting budget issues any time soon. So, expect the enrollment decline to continue at SCSU and retrenchment and closings of programs to follow. There are simply too many balls up in the air and the crash is inevitable.

A chill ran through me when I read this article. What’s frightening is that this program is built on the theory that disparities in discipline are based in racism. This isn’t just wrong. It’s dangerous. It’s political correctness gone too far.

Paul Sperry’s investigation lies at the heart of this potential crisis. Sperry’s investigation into the PROMISE Program revealed that “Nikolas Cruz was able to escape the attention of law enforcement, pass a background check and purchase the weapon he used to slaughter three staff members and 14 fellow students because of Obama administration efforts to make school discipline more lenient. Documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations and interviews show that his school district in Florida’s Broward County was in the vanguard of a strategy, adopted by more than 50 other major school districts nationwide, allowing thousands of troubled, often violent, students to commit crimes without legal consequence.”

Whether the Minnesota program is called the PROMISE Program or not, the guiding principles are virtually identical. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights “announced 43 districts have suspension and expulsion disparities that violate the state Human Rights Act ‘because they deny students of color and students with disabilities educational access and negatively impact academic achievement.'”

What’s required is a discipline system that outlines each district’s behavioral expectations. Penalizing schools for disciplining students of color based on quotas is dangerous. Disciplining schools based on legitimate racism is one thing. Disciplining schools based on liberal fantasies like implicit bias and white privilege is dangerous. Either a student isn’t behaving or he/she is. The color of their skin, their ethnic background or their country of origin is utterly irrelevant.

This statement is frightening:

“Studies have proven that higher rates of school suspensions and expulsions among students of color and students with disabilities can have lasting negative impacts in their lives and education. That is why the (department) takes seriously any allegation or evidence that indicate disciplinary measures are falling disproportionately upon children of color and students with disabilities in our schools. It is our responsibility to fully review such allegations, and work with local school officials to ensure equal treatment under the law for all kids.”

According to this article, the federal directive was “issued jointly in 2014 by the US departments of Education and Justice” and “warned public school districts receiving federal funding and that they could face investigation and funding cuts if they fail to reduce statistical ‘disparities’ in discipline by race.”

This isn’t proof of racism. Again, school districts have the right to expect proper behavior. Period. If students of color are getting disciplined more often, perhaps the remedy is to insist that students of color improve their behavior. In the system described by Commissioner Lindsey, what criteria is his department using in determining who gets investigated?

For more information on this subject, check out Heather MacDonald’s article.

After watching the interview (see video below) and reading this article, it’s obvious that Prof. Larry Jacobs isn’t an objective observer in the Minnesota governor’s race in 2018.

Speaking about the GOP race, Jacobs said “It’s quite possible that Jeff Johnson, who has been in the race and winning a lot of these delegates, could win that endorsement headed into the primary as the party’s endorsed candidate against Tim Pawlenty. Everything is up in the air.”

First, I don’t have a dog in this fight beyond wanting the strongest candidate possible. I’m tired of candidates that can’t raise money and don’t excite the base. At this point, I’ll support the strongest candidate but only if they can raise money and get elected. Right now, I don’t see Jeff Johnson being able to raise the money it’ll take to be competitive. We’ve seen this episode before. (See 2014 vs. Gov. Dayton.)

Let’s admit something else right now. Both candidates are establishment candidates. They aren’t Trumpists, which is fine. They’re both excellent on policy. They’ve both proven that they aren’t inept like Gov. Dayton. When it comes to major projects like MNLARS, MNsure and the elder care crisis, Gov. Dayton has been terrible.

What’s telling from Prof. Jacobs’ interview with WCCO’s Esme Murphy is that Prof. Jacobs’ statement that “Tim Pawlenty has got all sorts of great things going for him — name recognition and a gold-plated Rolodex to raise money from and he’s a fabulous communicator to the point that both Republican and DFL leaders say that he’s probably the best candidate but he’s also the guy that came out against Donald Trump.”

Let’s be clear about this. When your potential opponents from across the aisle say that you’re likely the best candidate, that’s going to open fundraising doors, both in Minnesota and with the RGA. If Pawlenty’s the GOP candidate, the RGA will dump lots of money into the race. If Jeff Johnson is the GOP candidate, that isn’t likely.

Those are definite starting structural advantages in Gov. Pawlenty’s favor. They aren’t impossible to overcome but it’s daunting nonetheless. Things might be “up in the air” but I’d rather start in Pawlenty’s position.

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Contained in Brenda Cassellius’ counterpoint is a bigotry that’s frightening. Contained in Cassellius’ counterpoint is a startling set of admissions:

American Indian students are 10 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than are their white peers.
African-American students are eight times more likely to be suspended or expelled than are their white peers.

By themselves, these statistics are meaningless. From Cassellius standpoint, though, they’re proof of racism. Then Cassellius makes this statement:

Contrary to Kersten’s claims, no one wants to take away a principal’s ability to suspend or expel a student for violent offenses or criminal activity, which we all agree will never be acceptable.

That isn’t accurate. The Promise Program was implemented by the Obama administration. According to Paul Sperry’s reporting, its stated goal was to “slow the ‘school-to-prison pipeline.'” The end result: “[Nikolas Cruz] had a clean record, so alarm bells didn’t go off when they looked him up in the system,” veteran FBI agent Michael Biasello told RCI. ‘He probably wouldn’t have been able to buy the murder weapon if the school had referred him to law enforcement.'”

It’s obvious that the goal of the PROMISE Program was to not report bad behavior. Then there’s this:

Broward school Superintendent Robert W. Runcie, a Chicagoan and Harvard graduate with close ties to President Obama and his Education Department, signed an agreement with the county sheriff and other local jurisdictions to trade cops for counseling. Students charged with various misdemeanors, including assault, would now be disciplined through participation in “healing circles,” obstacle courses and other “self-esteem building” exercises.

Thanks to the PROMISE Program, Nikolas Cruz had an unblemished record, which allowed him to get the gun that killed 14 students and 3 teachers. Cassellius said that “violent offenses or criminal activity … will never be acceptable.” It’s not only acceptable. It’s policy. It isn’t just policy. It’s that ignoring the PROMISE Program’s policies will get federal funding cut and get the school investigated by the US Department of Justice.

Minnesota needs an educated, skilled population to ensure shared social and economic success. An education system that works for all students must be our highest priority, and the truth is that currently, school discipline practices are hindering too many of our children’s chances at academic and social success.

This is BS. In the 1940s through the 1970s, we were told that disciplining students was stifling these students’ abilities. The leader of that movement was Dr. Benjamin Spock:

When Dr. Spock’s book Baby and Child Care was published in 1946, its simple core message was revolutionary: “Don’t be afraid to trust your own common sense.” Between that and his insistence that parents should show love and affection to their children rather than constant strict discipline, Dr. Spock challenged the conventional wisdom of early 20th-century childrearing like no one else.

Actually, Dr. Spock didn’t challenge conventional wisdom as much as he disagreed with the principles of the Bible. It’s worth noting that once he became a parent, Dr. Spock started rejecting the principles he espoused as an author and child-rearing expert.

Finally, it’s worth rejecting Commissioner Cassellius’ insinuations that teachers are racist. She leveled the same accusation against Kathy Kersten. It isn’t that she thinks this. It’s that progressives utilize that tactic to stifle dissenting opinions.

When I read this article, it confirmed that our schools have failed us. Here’s what happened:

New Prague High School senior Andy Dalsin held a poster during the protest which said “Gun Don’t Kill People. People Kill People.” Principal Lonnie Seifert was having none of it, however. Seifert even threatened Dalsin with being hauled away by the police if he didn’t comply.

That’s just the start of it. Things quickly devolved:

Seifert claims he was just going by district policy, according to KSTP-5. In a statement, the district said “such items [as Dalsin’s] must be submitted to and reviewed by school administration at least 24 hours in advance.”

That’s an unenforceable policy because the First Amendment protects such speech. In fact, when the Supreme Court gutted McCain-Feingold, part of the reason for SCOTUS striking it down was because the bill told people when they could and couldn’t run advertising against candidates. This isn’t exactly on point but it’s close.

First, who gave Principal Seifert the constitutional authority to accept or reject communications of any sort? Next, why is expressing a contrarian opinion on another of our civil rights unacceptable? Didn’t the Founding Fathers put the First Amendment into the Bill of Rights to protect contrarian communications? I’ve said this before but I’ll repeat it again — there’s no need to protect non-controversial speech because everyone agrees with it. Finally, the First Amendment implicitly states that nobody in government has the authority to accept or reject student communications.

Further, Dailywire.com added to the story saying:

The video was first posted to Facebook by Kenny MacDonald, a student at New Prague High School in New Prague, Minnesota. The short video does not show what took place before or after the principal singled-out the student. In the post, MacDonald provided the following account of what took place:

Kids at our school today walked out, in honor of the 17 students killed in Florida. Students held signs that said, “Arm our teachers” they had two signs. A student walked out without saying a word peacefully put up his sign which said “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” he was escorted off the property by our principal and threatened to be put into a police car. This violates the first amendment and makes me sick that they can do whatever they want. Please make this go viral

It went viral alright:

Within a few hours, the video had already been viewed nearly 300,000 times, shared over 17,000 times, and received thousands of comments from people who expressed anger and disgust over the suppression of free speech and political indoctrination at public schools.

Then there’s this:

It’s appalling to read that “New Prague Area Schools fully respects and recognizes that students have free speech rights. Those rights, however, are to be balanced against the District’s responsibility to maintain a school environment focused on education.”

New Prague Area Schools obviously doesn’t respect students’ free speech rights because it threatened a student if he didn’t remove his sign. Further, a student’s First Amendment rights aren’t “balanced against the District’s responsibility to maintain a school environment focused on education.” A student’s First Amendment rights are to be balanced against the constitutional tests established by the Supreme Court. In literally hundreds of cases, the Supreme Court (and other appellate courts) have ruled against restrictions placed on people by city governments and school districts.

Finally, it’s frightening that a high school principal has such a flimsy understanding of the First Amendment. The School Board should order him to take an online class on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights from Hillsdale College. Principal Seifert’s understanding of the Constitution is embarrassing.

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Recently, SCSU Sociology Professor Tracey Ore came unhinged on campus. When she realized that her diatribe was being taped, she insisted that the cameraman stop taping and to delete the outburst. Mark Wasson of the SCSU Chronicle reports that “Students, upset over a display put up by the St. Cloud State University’s (SCSU) College Republicans gathered in front of the display case while members of the SCSU College Republicans defended the display. While students were discussing this issue, Professor Tracy Ore, who teaches Sociology at SCSU, confronted UTVS News Director and University Chronicle Managing Editor, Kyle Fahrmann, who was acting as a UTVS cameraman, about recording during the ordeal and demanded he not only stop recording but also delete any footage he had taken.”

Then things got weird:

The student Ore was speaking to was the then VP of the College Republicans (VP). He asked that his name not be used in this article. The VP said that Ore, himself and former President of the College Republicans, Mathias Eike had been talking earlier.

He said the conversation became very heated, and that Eike left and that Ore and himself stepped off to talk about things after Eike departed. The VP also said “I could easily tell [Ore] was emotionally charged about it all. And she was really mad and telling me, even when I was being calm with her, ‘to get educated’ on the issue.”

Talk about disrespectful. Prof. Ore lost it. Then she started making unreasonable demands:

He said Ore was “a little riled up” from the way Eike was speaking to her and was talking to the VP with a raised tone in a “mean lecturing voice” and also talking down to him. It was during that conversation that Fahrmann decided to start filming.

When contacted via email Ore was open to comment on the incident but stated she did not know why the University Chronicle would be interested in a “private matter.

I can’t wait to hear Prof. Ore explain how a heated exchange caught on film in Atwood Center is a “private matter.” There’s no expectation of privacy in a hallway in that building. Prof. Ore knows that. It’s just her attempt to hide an embarrassing episode.

If this is how Prof. Ore treats students, perhaps it’s time for her to find a new profession. Clearly, she doesn’t have the right temperament to teach. She’d be better as a political activist/agitator.

The first reaction I had after reading this article is that our schools have failed us. The article is about the St. Cloud State College Republicans putting together a ‘wall’ that some snowflakes got upset about:

According to the article, some “students became so upset by the free speech wall they accused the College Republicans of ‘hate speech’ and ‘inciting violence’ during a heated February campus meeting over it. But even after a parade of his peers took to the mic and accused Eike and other GOP students of hatred, the international student stood his ground.”

At the anti-conservative tribunal, things quickly devolved:

“The student union held a meeting on the topic that can best be described as a trial. Students were shouting, standing, making thinly veiled threats, and making outrageous claims of what our organization is responsible for,” Eike told the foundation in a Feb. 3 report.

“Members of the student body can be heard stating that they wish to chop my head off, and they issue indirect threats such as that they hear people conspiring to commit acts of violence against me. I have previously been struck in the face in a school building, surrounded by upwards of 60 people, just for wearing a MAGA hat. Members of my organization have had acts of vandalism happen to campaign material they have hung up in their dorm,” Eike continued.

That’s disturbing. The anti-CRs complain about hate speech but the CRs have put up with acts of vandalism, angry mobs attempting to bully them and death threats. This video shows how intellectually feeble students are:

Saying that “hate speech shouldn’t be covered by the First Amendment” is frightening. Of course, it should be covered by the First Amendment. Popular speech doesn’t need protection. Provocative speech needs protecting. Further, saying that “hate speech promotes violence” is BS. The person speaking provocative things isn’t responsible for how the listener reacts. The listener is responsible for how he/she reacts. If the listener gets upset, that’s their responsibility. The listener has the option of not getting upset. Living life in a perpetual state of being offended is an option but what kind of life is that?

Our school system has fostered a thinking that every controversial statement is a micro-aggression that requires a hostile response. This is the thinking behind the Antifa movement. The people getting offended in the video are children intellectually. They aren’t adults. Their arguments are flimsy. Meanwhile, the CRs that are getting criticized for their ‘Wall’ are taking it all in and not reacting violently. They’re proving that hostile speech doesn’t incite violence. They’re proving that people have a choice in how they react.

I won’t argue that progressives are infantile intellectually. I’ll simply state that they aren’t as intellectually mature as the CRs in this instance.

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