Tuesday, July 6, 2021


Welcome to the Summer of 2021

Notes: I am reading An Inconvenient Minority by Kenny Xu. It is an astonishing book. 

The summer heats up as teachers return to the classroom. Teacher unions (NEA and AFT) champion American Marxism (class warfare), which denigrates merit and learning (achievement) and classifies students as oppressors or oppressed, which is farcical. Also, the head of the AFT union for teachers stated today (7-29-21) that schools might not open unless kids and teachers are required to wear masks, according to the latest CDC guidelines. More threats. Really?  7-30-21  TUSD starts in-person classes on August 5th. 7-23-21

Some content was moved to Summer Part 2. 8-1-21


Mark R. LevinAmerican Marxism, 2021, explains, "Children in classrooms throughout America are being indoctrinated with Critical Race Theory (CRT), white children are taught that they were born privileged and advantaged, and students study lessons prepared by the disgraceful New York Times 1619 Project; Black Lives Matter an openly Marxist and often violent organization that actively seeks the elimination of capitalism and the American governing system, is celebrated." We have high government officials visiting other nations, trashing America. 7-28-21

   Meritocracy is missing in our culture. If you are Asian, your hard work and character no longer count. Liberal elites have redefined diversity by excluding Asians, which directly attacks meritocracy and Asian excellence. A culture of excellence cannot prosper without meritocracy. Furthermore, Critical Race Theory diminishes individualism and merit, that is, "a combination of talent and hard work that makes for genuine, well-earned success," points out James Lindsay in the Forward of An Inconvenient Minority by Kenny Xu. 7-26-21

Kenny Xu (An Inconvenient Minority, 2021) explains Critical Race Theory (CRT) led by liberal elites, "If you are white, you are privileged. But if you are a minority or a person of color, you are oppressed." It's classic Marxist class warfare (the oppressed versus the oppressor). Asians excel, but they don't count even though they are a minority. Thus, "Asian Americans are squeezed out of positions for which they are well qualified, and the totality of our culture excellence suffers. ...What does diversity really mean if Asian Americans are not included?" CRT is biased and racist with a "hate America" theme. In contrast, people should be portrayed by hard work or achievements and the content of their character, not by the color of their skin or race or sorted as oppressors and oppressed. Xu insists, "Race should not define you in an America that truly lives up to its ideals." 7-26-21

  There are lots of studies and polls out there, but most are not directly applicable to the classroom or are poorly done. They usually start as "Study finds," or "Study shows," or "Polls show," etc., so bewareJust because something worked in one classroom doesn't mean it can scale up and be effective in other classrooms. Some teachers tend to jump to the latest trend, but fads come and go. 

Screens are not the educational cure or magic bullet most had believed. Tech does little to improve learning and can overstimulate kids, which has led to a 50% jump in ADHD. Put away the screens. I can teach Algebra-1 without screens or gadgets such as graphing calculators. Instead, give me a blackboard. 

Critical Race Theory (CRT) claims that America as the land of opportunity and freedom is a myth, and those who believe it are brain dead. CRT, BLM, Antifa, teacher unions, Abolitionist Teaching Network, the 1619 Project, or similar extremist organizations want to scare you. Often, some riot and are violent. Abolitionist Teaching pushes to disrupt "whiteness" in schools. They are Marxist organizations. Radicals should not be teaching our kids.  

What about this remote stuff? Many kids hate it. They prefer an intelligent human standing in front of the class, not screens. The billions spent on tech in schools have not been cost-effective. Who gained from this fad? Not students!

3rd Grade (December 1997 CA Standards, Edited 2019, Curriculum Released May 2000) Memorize the multiplication table and use standard algorithms for multiplication and long division to solve problems. In short, teach real arithmetic, not Common Core reform math or equity math. The standards indicate the content California students should know and be able to do at each grade level. 
According to the pre-Common Core math standards document, "Students require a strong foundation in basic skills. Technology does not replace the need for all students to learn and master basic mathemat­ics skills."  

Comment from the Independent Institute: "A real champion of equity and justice would want all California’s children to learn actual math—as in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus—not an endless river of new pedagogical fads that effectively distort and displace actual math." The Framework "distracts from actual mathematics by having teachers insert environmental and social justice into the math curriculum."
  The new California math Framework is under attack, and rightly so. It makes no sense to think that all children have the same abilities and should take the same math without a different curriculum for the brightest students or a curriculum for students grade levels behind. Tossing high achieving students with low achieving students in the same math class has been the liberal formula for mediocrity and failure and the opposite of excellence. Children widely vary in musical abilities and also mathematical abilities because of inherited DNAOne size does not fit all. 

As a math teacher, I find some kids grasp abstract ideas better and faster than others. Math is abstract and uses symbols to convey concepts and ideas. The ability to do math well widely varies. It is not only true for math but also for music, etc. Some kids have higher abilities in certain areas. Some kids excel in math or in music, way beyond others, such as Himari Yoshimuraa 9-year-old violinist from Japan who has the soul of PaganiniShe is a singular confluence of DNA, expert teaching, a love of music, tireless practicing, and supportive parents. (See the bottom of this page.)

Richard Bernstein writes that the basic premise of the [California math] Framework is the same as the larger woke movement, namely that the white male power structure systematically keeps women and non-whites down. "Math operates as whiteness" is the way this has been put by some specialists in math education [i.e., Jo Boaler]. "One must acknowledge that mathematics is part of a societal system that is inherently racist," reads a typical blog post among math educators proposing what they call "anti-racist math." It assumes that math is racist, to begin with, which is silly! It is also called equity math

Comment: Basically, the Framework states that kids take the same math until 11th grade, regardless of achievement or demonstrated ability. It pushes Algebra-1 to high school, so there would be no acceleration in K-10. Everyone gets the same dumbed-down math (one size fits all) is a radical idea.

Bernstein writes that the push to create "equity" and more "social justice" in public schools in America's largest state [California] rests on this basic premise: "We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents," declares the current draft of the California Math Framework, which also states that it rejects "the cult of genius."

Really? The premise makes no sense in the real world. (Who wrote this rubbish? Bernstein thinks the main writer was Jo Boaler.)

"Jo Boaler is the math Framework's most influential advocate and reportedly its main author," writes Bernstein. Boaler says that math is racist and an example of whiteness. She is wrong and should be fired from Stanford University. Moreover, the California math Framework should be replaced along with its advocates because it de-mathematizes math. Where's the math? Indeed!

Comment: I recommend returning to the 1997 California math content standards before Common Core reform math replaced them for no good reason. The 1997 document, however, should be upgraded to match the 1st-grade Singapore standards, such as memorizing math facts and using the standard algorithms. 

Early Math

In Asian nations, home tutoring and intensive early training flourish. Many Asian parents prepare their children for 1st grade starting at age 3, especially in arithmetic. They believe that early math will give their children an advantage. Unlike Asian parents, most American parents don't push their preschool children. Perhaps, they should. Math ability or talent and achievement should be appreciated, but, often, in American schools, it is not. 7-12-21

Kenny Xu argues that hard work and high performance — not skin color — should be rewarded in his book An Inconvenient Minority. Anti-Asian bias is un-American.  Asian Americans don't fit the critical race theory (CRT) mold of racial victimization of minoritiespoints out Kenny Xu. Thus, CRT is bogus.

 ✓         We need to get radical Marxists out of education. That's hard to do as they control the teacher unions, schools of education that train teachers, state boards of education, some local school boards, and many state and DC politicians. Many teachers don't see themselves as Marxists or radicals but as caring people. Teachers say they are not driven by unions, yet, they pay dues, go on strikes, and walk out of their classrooms. Not all, of course. Frankly, I hate union tactics, so do many teachers. 7-18-21 

Gap closing discriminates against many Asians and whites who study harder, try harder, and want to excel, including students of color. It is an "unworkable educational goal," says Sandra Stotsky (The Roots of Low Achievement, 2019), who writes, "Closing academic gaps between politically defined demographic groups, not a stronger curriculum for all, has become the chief mission of public education and is enforced by Congress, the Department of Education, education schools, and state departments of education." It takes many forms, such as teaching less content by lowering those at the top and inflating grades (self-esteem). These harmful ideas have been around for decades. Equity does not mean equal outcomes, but the far-left reformers have redefined it as equal outcomes, an "unworkable educational goal." 7-13-21

"Repetitive practice lies at the heart of mastery of almost every discipline, and mathematics is no exception," writes Barry Garelick in the Frederick Hess blog at Education Next. 7-5-21

Garelick is absolutely right! You can't learn arithmetic or algebra well without memorizing and practicing the fundamentals, so they stick in long-term memory. Factual and procedural knowledge in long-term memory is critical in problem-solving. There is no shortcut. The fundamentals must be mastered. Unfortunately, memorization and practice-practice-practice have fallen out of favor in our progressive schools. 7-13-21 

W. Stephen Wilson, a mathematician, points out the five building blocks for higher mathematics for elementary school are:

1. Numbers 
2. Place value system
3. Whole number operations (i.e., the Standard Algorithms)
4. Fractions and decimals
5. Problem solving

Calculating skills must be sharp and automatic for problem-solving. 
Equity Is Redefined As Equal Outcomes! (Unacceptable Premise)
Teaching less content for equity is a recipe for mediocrity.

  Teachers who claim they "teach for understanding" and believe in substantial "group work" or "minimal guidance" and discovery lessons are on the wrong pathway. They are not teaching basic arithmetic and standard algorithms, including long-division by the end of 3rd grade. Starting in the 1st grade, children should memorize math facts that support the traditional algorithms but aren't. One administrator told me that she never heard of 1st graders memorizing the addition facts, etc. Really? No wonder the state is below the national average in math. 

Everyone talks about equity, not the teaching of arithmetic in the classroom. The teachers' response has been, "We know best how to teach kids math." No, they don't. If they had known best, then most 8th graders would be proficient in math instead of just 30% (NAEP 2019). What's wrong with math education is the teaching, both the curriculum and instructional methods. Students are not going to have an adult level of understanding. First graders will have a 1st-grade level of understanding of arithmetic. Kids are novices. 

 ✓  The NEA, the most influential teachers union, which once voted to boycott Walmart, resolves that critical race theory is "reasonable and appropriate" and must be taught in all school districts. What bunk! (The unpopular resolution disappeared from the NEA website, but not the NEA funding.) Sadly, education has become a controversial mixture of equity, diversity, inclusion, identity, and culturally relevant lessons, even in arithmetic. Much to my chagrin, education is often race-based. Teaching kids to read, write, and do arithmetic now seems secondary in importance. Equity is equal outcomes, an unacceptable premise. But, it is not new! Thomas Sowell pointed out in the early 90s that to obtain similar results for all students, the academic content would have to be dumbed down (leveled) "by lowering those at the top," which is a "crazy idea" taught in schools of education.

Unfortunately, teachers are urged to teach less content and inflate grades, so everyone passes. Teaching less content or inflating grades is not equity. It's irresponsible and a "Fallacy of Fairness," observes Thomas Sowell.

NovaLee, aged 9, of Minnesota, berates her school board that went back on its word of "no political posters" by displaying BLM posters in her elementary school: "I am so mad. ...We all understand the meaning. ...It is a political message about getting rid of police officers, rioting, burning buildings down while king Governor Walz just sits on his throne and watches." She continues, "His dream [MLK] has come true. I have Asian, Mexican, white, Chinese, and black friends."  

  Critical race theory is "garbage," observes Dr. Ben Carson. “It’s an attempt to use race as a mechanism for redefining our society. ...It wants our people to believe that your race is the most critical determinant of who you are and what happens to you in our society. In other words, it’s a bunch of garbage." In my opinion, schooling is more about race than academics, more about indoctrination than education. Today, equity means "equal outcomes," an impossibility unless the content is downgraded or dumbed down to the lowest level and grade inflation continues so all students pass. If this is equity, it should be tossed out with the garbage.

Parents are mad as hell at CRT, BLM, masks mandates, etc.

In contrast, some teachers disagree with the NEA and think academics (reading, writing, and arithmetic) are the top priorities in elementary schools. They do not subscribe to critical race theory or black lives matter movements, which are often divisive. They do not teach children to hate America. America has been and still is the land of opportunity. 

"There are no data, past or present on what content teachers do actually teach daily in schools, districts, and states," claims Larry Cuban on his blog. The "recent brouhaha over critical race theory" is mostly "hot air." Really? How can Cuban know that critical race theory is not being taught in classrooms? He is guessing, which is typical in education. 

It irks me that activist teachers advocate hate-America lessons, disparage the American flag, the founding fathers, and the Declaration of Independence, and promote CRT and BLM. Why are these Marxist radicals allowed in the classroom or on the streets?

Teacher unions do not have the right to dictate what schools teach or don't teach. Unions should not control schooling. Also, the government does not have the right to go door to door asking about vaccinations. School boards do not have the right to require schoolchildren to wear masks or proof of vaccination for in-person teaching. Closing schools, I think, was a bad decision. My K-5 public school was not closed for the Polio epidemic, even though parents and teachers were scared to death. Teachers still came to school. 

Some states like Arizona have banned CRT in schools in the belief that people should be judged by the content of their character (MLK), not race or skin color. Why are we not teaching this in schools? Some teachers say they will teach CRT even if they are told not to, so parents need to be vigilant

  Radical ideologies should not be taught in public schools or used to indoctrinate children. 

  Teacher Quality: Gains in Learning (Academic Achievement), Not Degrees or Experience

"The quality of a teacher is best judged by performance in the classroom as reflected in the gains in learning by students," not qualifications, degrees, experience, class size, and so on, according to Eric Hanushek (Waiting for Superman). We don't need more mediocre teachers or teachers who acquire master's degrees just to jump up on the pay scale. (Note: A master's degree in education does not improve teaching in the classroom.) We need knowledgeable teachers who are content-driven and can facilitate gains in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Good teachers who know content are hard to come by, as schools of education keep churning out mediocre teachers. In my opinion, the problem is in the schools of education and what they teach.  

There are few academic requirements for most elementary school and middle school teachers. They are not required to take college-level courses in precalculus/calculus, chemistry, physics, history, literature, philosophy, economics, etc. Instead, future teachers major in education, which is not an academic discipline like history or chemistry. In my opinion, prospective teachers should major in a regular academic field first. Unfortunately, education schools rarely attract the best college students according to SAT scores

In my opinion, wannabe teachers should take education courses after they have achieved a worthy bachelor's degree (in person) at a university or college, not in education. In my opinion, this simple change will not happen.


According to equity advocates, if students are required to get the correct answer and show their work, that's whiteness (i.e., racism). It's bunk! What an offensive, radical idea, but that's the way advocates of equity projects think, such as the one at Education Trust where the goal is to "dismantle [alleged] racism in math instruction." Really? What nonsense! The radical advocates of equity math do not know math or how kids learn arithmetic. Their assumptions of whiteness are false, misleading, and ridiculous. Note: An Equity Trust project--a workbook for middle school that eliminates racism in math--was financed by Gates. Are you kidding? It is controversial and ludicrous. (Gee, I always thought 2 + 3 = 5. How can math facts and standard procedures be racist when they are not?) 6-24-21

  Perpetuating Mediocrity 
Standards, testing, technology, teacher education, and professional development (PD) have not significantly boosted math achievement over the years, observes Beverly Jobrack (Tyranny of the Textbook), but perpetuate mediocrity. She is mostly correct and also points out that "learning is work." Many schools are removing acceleration or honors classes for equity, which is a terrible idea. No child gets ahead.

  Fallacy of Fairness
As the late Zig Engelmann would retort, "It's the teaching!" Unfortunately, teachers are urged to teach less content and inflate grades, so everyone passes. Teaching less content or inflating grades is not equity. It's irresponsible and a "Fallacy of Fairness," observes Thomas Sowell.

Asian Americans don't fit the critical race theory (CRT) mold of racial victimization of minoritiespoints out Kenny Xu

  • "Asian Americans prove that critical race theory is not true, cannot be true," author Kenny Xu told Fox News. 
  • "Asian Americans never needed politics to succeed in this country. They just want to be treated based on merit.
  • "If America is still a systemically racist country for minorities, how come they have allowed Asian Americans to overtake Whites in education level and socioeconomic status? Asians get higher test scores."
  • "Asian Americans prove that, even in the face of whatever racial narratives that you're in, you still can succeed, that this country is the land of opportunity." 
  • Indeed, meritocracy is not racist, as CRT claims. There is no room in CRT for Asians, says Xu. They don't fit the CRT mold that minority students are victimized via CRT's alleged systematic racism.  VP Harris, the media, intelligentsia, and others say it is true. Therefore it must be true. No! Wrong! Thomas Sowell writes, "Fairness as equal treatment does not produce fairness as equal outcomes." The idea of equal outcomes is bogus. 7-14-21 

Asian American students have been successful in America because they study harder, try harder, and want to excel.  

Why are some teachers telling minority students that they are oppressed victims of systemic racism when it is not true? Why are they telling white students that they are oppressors, racists, and privileged and should be ashamed? It is not true. Parents are raising hell over CRT! 7-14-21

If we boost the diversity of teachers, as many liberals suggest, we also increase the number of mediocre teachers. We don't need more unexceptional teachers. We need K-12 teachers with a regular bachelor's degree in a traditional discipline such as literature, history, science, or mathematics--not in education. Education should not be a student's major or minor. Education courses are an add-on to a bachelor's degree. The bachelor's degree comes first. 

Teachers who claim they "teach for understanding" and believe in substantial "group work" or "minimal guidance" and discovery lessons are on the wrong pathway. They are not teaching basic arithmetic and standard algorithms, including long-division by the end of 3rd grade. Starting in the 1st grade, children should memorize math facts that support the traditional algorithms but aren't. One administrator told me that she never heard of 1st graders memorizing the addition facts, etc. Really? No wonder the state is below the national average in math. 

Inflation is the new tax inflicted on us by bad government policies. It steals jobs! Government, says Thomas Sowell, cannot create wealth, so how can they create jobs? "By taking wealth from others whether by taxation, selling bonds, or imposing mandates. ...Transferring wealth is not creating wealth." It prints money. So, who is going to pay the massive debt that government imposes on us? Make a wild guess! Sowell explains, "There is no free lunch. Higher labor costs mean fewer jobs." Thus, raising the minimum wage means fewer jobs as employers cut back. The new inflation means that everything costs much more, hurting the poor, seniors on fixed incomes, and small businesses the most. Sowell observes, "In the United States, the group hardest hit by minimum wage laws are black male teenagers.For example, I see many prices rising 12%, even up to 88%, at Walmart, where I shop for groceries. Struggling families, the poor, and fixed-income seniors can't afford it. The government says the hikes are just temporary. Sure, and the moon is made of cheese. 7-15-21 

As a math teacher, I find some kids grasp abstraction better and faster than others. Math is abstract! The ability to do math well widely varies. It is not only true for math but also for music. Some kids have higher abilities in certain areas. Some kids excel in math or in music, way beyond others, such as Himari Yoshimuraa 9-year-old violinist from Japan who has the soul of PaganiniI don't know how she does it, but she brings Paganini back to life. She doesn't know how good she is. It's a singular confluence of DNA, expert teaching, a love of music, tireless practicing, and supportive parents.

The conductor stands in awe, watching 9-year-old Himari play Paganini.


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