Category Archive 'Egalitarianism'
29 Jul 2017

Not Created Equal

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Marines at Khe Sanh.

Captain Katie Petronio, in the July 2012 Marine Corps Gazette, went on the record opposing the opening of the Infantry Officers Course (IOC) to women. Her comments seem particularly applicable in the aftermath of the president’s announcement of a ban on transgenders serving in the military.

I would ask everyone to step back and ask themselves, does this integration solely benefit the individual or the Marine Corps as a whole, as every leader’s focus should be on the needs of the institution and the Nation, not the individual?

Which leads one to really wonder, what is the benefit of this potential change? The Marine Corps is not in a shortage of willing and capable young male second lieutenants who would gladly take on the role of infantry officers. In fact we have men fighting to be assigned to the coveted position of 0302. In 2011, 30 percent of graduating TBS lieutenants listed infantry in their top three requested MOSs. Of those 30 percent, only 47 percent were given the MOS. On the other hand, perhaps this integration is an effort to remove the glass ceiling that some observers feel exists for women when it comes to promotions to general officer ranks. Opening combat arms MOSs, particularly the infantry, such observers argue, allows women to gain the necessary exposure of leading Marines in combat, which will then arguably increase the chances for female Marines serving in strategic leadership assignments. As stated above, I have full faith that female Marines can successfully serve in just about every MOS aside from the infantry. Even if a female can meet the short-term physical, mental, and moral leadership requirements of an infantry officer, by the time that she is eligible to serve in a strategic leadership position, at the 20-year mark or beyond, there is a miniscule probability that she’ll be physically capable of serving at all. Again, it becomes a question of longevity. …

[W]hat are the Marine Corps standards, particularly physical fitness standards, based on—performance and capability or equality? We abide by numerous discriminators, such as height and weight standards. As multiple Marine Corps Gazette articles have highlighted, Marines who can run first-class physical fitness tests and who have superior MOS proficiency are separated from the Service if they do not meet the Marine Corps’ height and weight standards. Further, tall Marines are restricted from flying specific platforms, and color blind Marines are faced with similar restrictions. We recognize differences in mental capabilities of Marines when we administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and use the results to eliminate/open specific fields. These standards are designed to ensure safety, quality, and the opportunity to be placed in a field in which one can sustain and succeed.

Which once again leads me, as a ground combat-experienced female Marine Corps officer, to ask, what are we trying to accomplish by attempting to fully integrate women into the infantry? For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force. In the end, for DACOWITS and any other individual or organization looking to increase opportunities for female Marines, I applaud your efforts and say thank you. However, for the long-term health of our female Marines, the Marine Corps, and U.S. national security, steer clear of the Marine infantry community when calling for more opportunities for females. Let’s embrace our differences to further hone in on the Corps’ success instead of dismantling who we are to achieve a political agenda. Regardless of the outcome, we will be “Semper Fidelis” and remain focused on our mission to protect and defend the United States of America.

21 Jul 2017

First California Community College, Then Yale

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NPR interviews the head of California’s community college system, who is arguing in favor of eliminating Algebra as a course requirement. The reason? Algebra is too hard for minorities.

Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads.

It is also the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. So if you’re not a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), why even study algebra?

That’s the argument Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, made today in an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel.

At American community colleges, 60 percent of those enrolled are required to take at least one math course. Most — nearly 80 percent — never complete that requirement.

Oakley is among a growing number of educators who view intermediate algebra as an obstacle to students obtaining their credentials — particularly in fields that require no higher level math skills.

Their thinking has led to initiatives like Community College Pathways, which strays away from abstract algebra to engage students in real-world math applications. …

What are you proposing?

What we’re proposing is to take an honest look at what our requirements are and why we even have them. So, for example, we have a number of courses of study and majors that do not require algebra. We want to take a look at other math pathways, look at the research that’s been done across the country and consider math pathways that are actually relevant to the coursework that the student is pursuing.

You are facing pressure to increase graduation rates — only 48 percent graduate from California community colleges with an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution within six years. As we’ve said, passing college algebra is a major barrier to graduation. But is this the easy way out? Just strike the algebra requirement to increase graduation rates instead of teaching math more effectively?

I hear that a lot and unfortunately nothing could be farther from the truth. Somewhere along the lines, since the 1950s, we decided that the only measure of a student’s ability to reason or to do some sort of quantitative measure is algebra. What we’re saying is we want as rigorous a course as possible to determine a student’s ability to succeed, but it should be relevant to their course of study. There are other math courses that we could introduce that tell us a lot more about our students.

Do you buy the argument that there are just some forms of reasoning — whether it’s graphing functions or solving quadratic equations that involve a mental discipline — that may never be actually used literally on the job, but may improve the way young people think?

There’s an argument to be made that much of what we ask students to learn prepares them to be just better human beings, allows them to have reasoning skills. But again, the question becomes: What data do we have that suggests algebra is that course? Are there other ways that we can introduce reasoning skills that more directly relate to what a student’s experience in life is and really helps them in their program of study or career of choice?

A lot of students in California community colleges are hoping to prepare for a four-year college. What are you hearing from the four-year institutions? Are they at ease with you dropping the requirement? Or would they then make the students take the same algebra course they’re not taking at community college?

This question is being raised at all levels of higher education — the university level as well as the community college level. There’s a great body of research that’s informing this discussion, much of it coming from some of our top universities, like the Dana Center at the University of Texas, or the Carnegie Foundation. So there’s a lot of research behind this and I think more and more of our public and private university partners are delving into this question of what is the right level of math depending on which major a student is pursuing.

And there are people writing about concepts of numeracy that may be different from what people have been teaching all this time. Do you have in mind a curriculum that would be more useful than intermediate algebra
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We are piloting different math pathways within our community colleges. We’re working with our university partners at CSU and the UC, trying to ensure that we can align these courses to best prepare our students to succeed in majors. And if you think about it, you think about the use of statistics not only for a social science major but for every U.S. citizen. This is a skill that we should have all of our students have with them because this affects them in their daily life. …

Rates of failure in algebra are higher for minority groups than they are for white students. Why do you think that is? Do you think a different curriculum would have less disparate results by ethnic or racial group?

First of all, we’ve seen in the data from many of the pilots across the country that are using alternative math pathways — that are just as rigorous as an algebra course — we’ve seen much greater success for students because many of these students can relate to these different kinds of math depending on which program of study they’re in. They can see how it works in their daily life and how it’s going to work in their career.

The second thing I’d say is yes, this is a civil rights issue, but this is also something that plagues all Americans — particularly low-income Americans. If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy — which is unforgiving of those students who don’t have a credential — the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It’s what has kept them from achieving a credential.

RTWT

From the perspective of the Left, colleges are there to supply credentials which are tickets to comfortable, well-paying positions in Society. Results must be equal, so if some groups are having trouble earning those credentials, it is necessary to grease the skids. The goal is not education; the goal is credentials.

28 Jun 2016

Government Interventions For Equality

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21 Jun 2016

Travel and Social Privilege

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We learned yesterday that parks are for white people. Today, Katherine DM Clover explains that travel is a privilege and that talking about travel is classist.

When the topic of travel comes up amongst friends or acquaintances, I either try to change the subject, or I try to convince everyone (myself included) that I don’t travel more because I’m just a homebody, OK?

I’m just more focused on trying to make this place the sanctuary of my dreams, rather than going other places.

Friends, if I have ever tried to sell you on that idea, hear me now: That is a lie.

I don’t travel much because I’m poor.

I’m more only “more focused on my home” in the sense that, well, my money has to be focused toward paying my rent so I don’t get evicted. My money also ends up getting focused toward buying groceries because I like eating food, and also, as a mammal, need it to survive.

Being able to travel great distances, just for the sheer joy of it, is actually an enormous privilege, one that has been out of most people’s reach, historically.

Air travel has made it somewhat more accessible, but the modern travel obsession still requires advanced technology, leisure time, and — critically — the expendable income to pay for it.

And while technology has certainly made it easier to get from place to place, in some ways things, haven’t changed much.

While the middle and upper classes may celebrate the many advantages of a life filled with travel (“It’s educational! It makes you a more well rounded person!”), on the other end of the spectrum, there are still plenty of low-income people who rarely have the chance to leave their neighborhood, let alone their city.

And what does that look like for the global poor? I don’t have the stats on this, but I have a hard time imagining people who live on $2 a day taking vacations.

Aside from money, being able to travel safely and easily is still often dependent on privilege. For people with disabilities, any form of travel can pose myriad potential problems. For folks who aren’t white or are visibly LGBTQIA, travel can mean opening oneself up to harassment and even the very real risk of violence.

I’m not saying travel can’t be lovely and educational; it certainly can be. I’m also not claiming there aren’t less expensive ways to get from place to place; there undoubtedly are.

What I am saying, though, is that travel is complicated and it is often dependent on a certain amount of privilege.

I don’t get out much — and it’s not because I’m boring or don’t have a sense of adventure or don’t care about learning about the larger world: It’s because I’m broke.

And when you hold travel up on some kind of pedestal, you sound classist as hell, and I wish you would stop that.

Whole thing.

In the final analysis, isn’t being currently alive and not a member of “the great majority” the biggest “privilege” of all? And, yet, we can rely upon perfect equality being achieved eventually for all of us.

10 Feb 2016

Why Republicans Were Suggesting Women Should Register For the Draft

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HandtoHandCombat

Casey Klahn, at American Digest, explains to all the confused out there why female Selective Service Registration is being talked about in Congress.

The idea of selective service registration for women… is simply to score a big political expose, or gotchya, against the Obamatics, who have declared that every combat job in the military is now open to women. Including shitting on your shovel, hand to hand combat (called “hand to gland combat” in the infantry), and pissing while walking.

Many – I want to say most – men cannot handle the rigors of combat arms jobs, and it is reflected in the wash out rates just in the infantry. The two things the flurry of studies before this stroke-of-a-pen change have proven about women in combat arms are: if the president says women shall graduate Ranger school, then farking wimmin shall farking graduate farking Ranger school, and the standards shall be de facto lowered.

Perhaps they’ll make the combat a bit more feminine to make up for the shortfall.

Meanwhile, at the same time, the military will now account for global warming in all activities. I’m serious about that: they must write it into every op order at every level of command. See? Just when you thought Obama was through fukking with the army, he has more up his sleeve. I cannot wait to see what’s next.

14 Dec 2015

Equality

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10 Nov 2015

Modern Educayshun

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29 Sep 2015

People: The Two Women Graduated Ranger School (With Plenty of Help)

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1st Lts. Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest

People Magazine (not exactly a rabid conservative source) reports that the two female candidates successfully passing US Army Ranger School for the first time last April had more than a little special help.

[T]he women got special treatment and played by different rules,” sources say.

Ranger School consists of three phases: Benning, which lasts 21 days and includes water survival, land navigation, a 12-mile march, patrols, and an obstacle course; Mountain Phase, which lasts 20 days, and includes assaults, ambushes, mountaineering and patrols; and Swamp Phase, which lasts 17 days and covers waterborne operations.

But whereas men consistently were held to the strict standards outlined in the Ranger School’s Standing Operating Procedures handbook sources say, the women were allowed lighter duties and exceptions to policy.

Multiple sources told PEOPLE:

• Women were first sent to a special two-week training in January to get them ready for the school, which didn’t start until April 20. Once there they were allowed to repeat the program until they passed – while men were held to a strict pass/fail standard.

• Afterward they spent months in a special platoon at Fort Benning getting, among other things, nutritional counseling and full-time training with a Ranger.

• While in the special platoon they were taken out to the land navigation course – a very tough part of the course that is timed – on a regular basis. The men had to see it for the first time when they went to the school.

• Once in the school they were allowed to repeat key parts – like patrols – while special consideration was not given to the men.

• A two-star general made personal appearances to cheer them along during one of the most challenging parts of the school, multiple sources tell PEOPLE.

The end result? Two women – First Lts. Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver – graduated August 21 (along with 381 men) and are wearing the prestigious Ranger Tab. Griest was surprised they made it.

“I thought we were going to be dropped after we failed Darby [part of Benning] the second time,” Griest said at a press conference before graduation. “We were offered a Day One Recycle.”

At their graduation, Maj Gen. Scott Miller, who oversees Ranger School, denied the Army eased its standards or was pressured to ensure at least one woman graduated.

“Standards remain the same,” Miller said, according to The Army Times. “The five-mile run is still five miles. The 12-mile march is still 12 miles.

“There was no pressure from anyone above me to change standards,” said Miller, who declined to speak to PEOPLE.

Instructors say otherwise.

“We were under huge pressure to comply,” one Ranger instructor says. “It was very much politicized.”

The women didn’t want or ask for special treatment, says one who attempted the program.

“All of us wanted the same standards for males and females,” Billi Blaschke, who badly injured her ankle only six days into a required pre-assessment program, tells PEOPLE. “We wanted to do it on our own.”

On September 2, the Army announced that Ranger School is now open both to men and women.

Read the whole thing.

29 Sep 2015

Equal Opportunity

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23 Sep 2015

Enough Whining

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whine

Victor Davis Hanson, like many of the rest of us, is tired of all the whining.

The cult of the whining victim is now ubiquitous. Two high-school football players in Texas, angry that their team is losing and galvanized by their whining coach, decide to take out a referee and smash him with two cowardly hits. The reason? They claim the flattened ref got what he deserved — because of course he was a racist. The Marine Corps has discovered, as Nature might have advised it, that male ground troops on average perform more muscularly and effectively in rough combat-simulated training than do women. They apparently prove stronger, more combative, blood-thirsty, and aggressive, and fight with greater stamina. One reaction is not to accept the data, but, of course, by whining how the data has been improperly — and no doubt — socially constructed in sexist fashion, or is irrelevant altogether, maybe the standards can be lowered a bit.

In the logic of whining, Michael Brown did not commit a felony or two in the last minutes of his life, from strong-armed robbery to assaulting a police officer, but was instead begging for his life with “hands up” and shouting “don’t shoot.” There is less cause and effect anymore, only someone who must be excused from responsibility and culpability by his own claims on victimhood.

The 21st century has become a cowardly era in which we point to collective race, class, or gender rather than own up to our record of behavior and performance when our exalted expectations are not met. …

The culprits are not just our obsessions with race, class, and gender, or the careerist aspirations of elites. We also live in the most affluent and leisured era in the history of Western civilization. But given human nature, our bounty has not given us pause for appreciation, but rather increased our appetites in geometric fashion. The more we have, the more we think we deserve — or else. In an affluent society, society can afford now to have no losers. There is enough stuff and praise to be shared by all. In T-ball everyone is a winner; so is today’s student who feels A’s are his birthright. The poor man in the inner city has more computing power in his palm with an Apple smartphone than did the billionaire twenty years ago in his study — but, of course, not as versatile a phone perhaps as that of today’s billionaire, and thus he can legitimately whine that life is not fair due to the machinations of someone else.

The bane of our age is not poverty but parity, or rather the perceived absence of a state-mandated equality of result. It no long matters how much one has, much less in comparison to those abroad or to Americans of our past. The rub is whether someone has something more or better than your own — and why and how that can still be possible in the American horn of plenty. Given those requisites, whininess is the lubricant of our national machinery.

On the other end of the social scale is the whining of the established elite, who bitch that the public has forgotten that they must be exempt to cross-examination and therefore must remind us of that by perpetual whining.

Read the whole thing.

14 Jul 2015

Secretary of Defense Announces That Transgendered Will Be Allowed to Serve Openly

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Trannies

The Obama Administration strikes one more important blow for the cause of universal equality:

Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms.

The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.

Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.

Has anyone ever heard of a transgendered individual serving honorably in the military?

26 Jun 2015

You Could Tell This Was Coming

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StatueofLibertyWeepingAngel

Breaking News via SCOTUSBLOG: There is a right to “marriage equality”. Opinion: J. Kennedy.

Scalia’s dissent, footnote 22: “If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

04 Jun 2015

And They Let NYT Readers Vote…

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Hat tip to Vanderleun.

04 May 2015

Sanctimony is a Choice, Too

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John Steele Gordon, in Commentary, fisks good-and-proper Nicholas Kristof’s canting, holier-than-thou “Inequality is a Choice” NYT editorial.

Is there really something terrible about the rich getting much richer, as long as the less rich are not getting any poorer, and indeed are seeing their standards of living rising over the long term, thanks to such things as Walmart, Amazon, iPhones, GPS, etc.?) …

[Kristof, in the end,] comes up with a list of possible ways to correct what might very well not need correcting, but would definitely put more money into the hands of the political class that Kristof represents (to be used, of course, strictly for the good of the poor and the downtrodden). Among these are: More government vigilance regarding monopolies and competition, strong trade unions, public-sector jobs at the minimum wage for such things as elderly care (has he checked with the unions for their opinion on this?), restrain pay at the highest levels (i.e. maximum-wage legislation), and a personal income tax that tops out at 65 percent.

Is there a single idea in there that post dates FDR, who died 70 years ago in a completely different economic universe? Indeed, most of them antedate the 20th century. Steeply progressive income taxes are straight out of the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848.

So here’s my list of ideas to lower the income inequality between rich and poor. They would actually help everyone except the political class:

Break up government monopolies, such as Medicare, the Veterans Administration, and, most important public school systems. Introducing competition into these areas of the economy is vital to improving them, because competition, and competition alone, produces hard work and innovation. Monopolies—private and governmental—are always fat, dumb, lazy, and devoted to maintaining the monopoly. The shortest route to prosperity for the poor and downtrodden is a good education and the inculcation of good work habits. They don’t get that today and liberals don’t give a damn. (One of the first things President Obama tried to do as president was end the school voucher program in Washington, D.C., as a thank you to the teachers unions, while sending his two daughters to a very expensive, and very good, private school: welcome to modern-day liberalism).

Introduce a flat tax, so that the private jet owners of the world can’t finagle special deals with their congressional pals.

Abolish the corporate income tax. I wrote about the extraordinary benefits of doing this in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago. At least 90 percent of the tax fiddles and crony-capitalism government favors are hidden in the corporate income tax. Get rid of it and 60,000 lobbyists in Washington would need to go out and get wealth-creating jobs. Do you think private jet owners own their private jets personally? Of course not, their corporations own them and get a slew of deductions thereby.

Modern-day liberalism is about talking about helping the poor and downtrodden, while espousing policies that will only help the narrow and ever-more privileged elite of which liberals are the most vocal supporters.

Read the whole thing.

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