SL 841

I’m grounded today for medical stuff. I’m trying distract myself from making poop jokes by concerning myself with other frivolous matters. So, I might squeeze out a Royal Family Post later this afternoon.

More links on the terrible impact of school closures on children, college students, and families. Public schools saw a drop of 1.5 million students; Pre-K experiences 22 percent decline. They have no idea what to do with kids who missed all that school – flunk them or push them ahead? A staggering drop in college enrollment.

Elite public schools in New York City have lifted generations of poor, immigrant families out of poverty. Now, they’re under attacked by the woke police.

Steve is feeling very proud of himself for his cut-off jean shorts. He’s finally trendy.

I really, really don’t want to talk about Critical Race Theory or the 1619 Project. I think it’s a loser topic — one with raving mobs and moving goal posts. Landmines everywhere. Career-defining landmines everywhere. But I will say that I agree with Matt Yglesias, who wrote: “By the same token, it is true that Nikole Hannah-Jones’ lead essay for the project contained a factually dubious assertion about slavery as a motivator for the American Revolution.” Honestly, I stopped reading her essay and the magazine once she made that point. She had zero evidence for that rather huge and mistaken statement. And it wasn’t just a minor point, as Yglesias implies; this falsehood defined her whole project.

This is my old neighborhood in Manhattan.

Watching: The Bad Batch will be the next TV show to watch with the kid, after we finish Loki and Doom Patrol.

Shopping: Bamboo shades for the office windows. Black sandals – Frye and Birks. New running shoes. A good t-shirt, inspired by Doom Patrol.

Eatings and Drinking: At last Saturday’s graduation party for Ian, we came back to our house after a restaurant dinner for coffee, cakes, and a signature cocktail. We had a ready-made cocktail in a mason jar, along with the usual bottles of wine. Steve made Old Fashioned, because that’s his dad’s favorite drink. It was too sweet. Next time, we’re going to try something else.

Picture: New office windows.

15 thoughts on “SL 841

  1. “..I think it’s a loser topic — one with raving mobs and moving goal posts. Landmines everywhere. Career-defining landmines everywhere. But I will say that I agree with Matt Yglesias, who wrote: “By the same token, it is true that Nikole Hannah-Jones’ lead essay for the project contained a factually dubious assertion about slavery as a motivator for the American Revolution.”..”
    Loser topic yah you betcha. The outlines of the Reep campaigns for 22 and 24 come into pretty clear view – CRT and defund police and education should praise the nation not slam it. And by the way China and Biden is too old for the job. It’s going to be tough for Dems to figure out how to thread the needle, with their divisions on issues.

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  2. “But I will say that I agree with Matt Yglesias, who wrote: “By the same token, it is true that Nikole Hannah-Jones’ lead essay for the project contained a factually dubious assertion about slavery as a motivator for the American Revolution.” Honestly, I stopped reading her essay and the magazine once she made that point. She had zero evidence for that rather huge and mistaken statement. ”

    Could you explain what you mean? Why is it wrong?

    Are you referring to this passage?
    “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere. In London, there were growing calls to abolish the slave trade. This would have upended the economy of the colonies, in both the North and the South. The wealth and prominence that allowed Jefferson, at just 33, and the other founding fathers to believe they could successfully break off from one of the mightiest empires in the world came from the dizzying profits generated by chattel slavery. In other words, we may never have revolted against Britain if some of the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue.”

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    1. Wow. There is again. Yes, this is entirely fiction. Beginning to end. I’m not discussing this. Tons of historians already took this apart. Google.

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      1. Don’t forget that I have a PhD in African American lit…. No, not history, but my approach to lit is/was New Historicist. It’s not entirely fiction from beginning to end. It’s an interpretation of the source materials, and there is much there that is worthy of discussion. She acknowledges she could have worded some stuff differently, but overall, the idea that slavery was inherent not just to the Constitution but also to the Revolution is one of those moments where you think about something you’ve always believed in a different way, kind of the way Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark asked us to think about reading American literature by white men differently. To recognize the role of slavery in the Revolution is not to dismiss the desire for freedom among the colonists. It’s not to piss on the Declaration of Independence. It’s about recognizing the complex convergence of the political, the economic, and the cultural. John Adams was anti-slavery, but he was also a citizen of New England, which had its own reliance on the transatlantic slave economy. Alexander Hamilton was anti-slavery, but he was also politically accountable to the wealthy New York patroons, including his father-in-law, who used enslaved workers on their manors.

        I found the essays of the 1619 Project to be aggravatingly vague. Jones and others often seemed to overgeneralize and make overarching claims, but that’s the nature of writing for a general audience. I also saw this as a beginning of a conversation, not as an end point that should be dismissed immediately. But that’s the way I read most writing about history.

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    2. I respect that as a political scientist with your expertise t that you have a strong and informed opinion on the topic. I myself don’t read Simon Baron Cohen (and would never recite his work) because the brain science he pushes is fundamentally flawed.

      But, I make at least the same defense of the 1619 project that others do of Baron Cohen — that he brings ideas and autism into the public consciousness and discussion.

      My formal understanding of American History is mostly from school in the 70’s and 80’s and only as an adult have I realized how little I knew about the role enslavement played in the development of the United States. I was entirely naive.

      I first realized how little I knew about the interwoven role of slavery in American history when my elder kiddo became deeply interested in the presidency when she was 10 or so and in skimming one of her books (“Secret Lives of First Ladies”), realized how many of the presidents enslaved people. I was shocked — it was certainly never something I had discussed about American history in school. I jokingly said that in Ohio, all you learn about slavery is the underground railroad. (Just looked it up again, and I’m still shocked, 10 of the first 12). That lead to me questioning the states rights argument for the civil war which lead to me to the Mississippi secession document which produced straight out horror. And, even my attempt to examine the lighthearted statement made here about how Texas had the right to split into multiple states potential and the realization that it was rooted in enslavement, as well.

      America needs to reckon with this past and we haven’t and it is going to continue to be hard for a long time.

      I’m not going to argue with you about your categorical statement that the passage is fiction (well I wouldn’t anyway, because it’s your blog and you have a right not to discuss it) but, because I’m also not qualified to do so (as few people would be qualified to argue with me about Baron Cohen’s science.

      Baron Cohen is probably not the right parallel, since he supposed to actually be a neuroscientist — the right parallel would be critiquing the science on autism reported by a journalist.

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  3. In a western state like Washington, which didn’t become a state until after the abolition of slavery, in the 2000s state history looks different. My children learned more about enslavement & the civil war & native populations and the civil rights movement.

    But, there are still lacunae. For example, schools are only now grappling with the treatment of Asian Americans in the state, including the Bellingham riot in which Indian Americans were driven out of the city, the Japanese-American exclusion order (the first order was for residents on Bainbridge Island), the virulent anti-Japanese rhetoric of a Seattle developer who built much of the suburbs (and whose family is still prominent), and the redlining and sundown laws in Seattle. One of my daughter’s high school teachers was a child when his family became the first family to desegregate a Seattle neighborhood. His father was a surgeon who to came to work at our Children’s hospital and had to buy the property through shadow buyers. My house deed contains a restrictive covenant (excluding Blacks, Asians — except if they are a servant,) that has been blacked out (it was never enforced because the supreme court had invalidated the rule).

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  4. Laura wrote, ” Pre-K experiences 22 percent decline.”

    Yeah, because what was the point? 3/4 of the point of pre-k is the in-person experience.

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  5. About the “staggering drop in college enrollment,” hmm.

    Well, the link from Axios led to this: https://nscresearchcenter.org/current-term-enrollment-estimates/

    First, the drop in private for-profit long predates Covid, so that’s not a factor in that sector. It should actually be taken out of the overall numbers just for discussion.

    As for Spring 2021, the largest drop is in 2-year public community colleges. That makes a lot of sense–the students would have been finalizing their plans during the pandemic in 2020. At that point, it was a real gamble to commit time and money to online classes for something like, oh, automotive repair. The class of 2020 had experienced the glory of online classes.

    I’m not convinced this is an infinite catastrophe. Likewise, I don’t think a drop in births during and immediately after the pandemic is an emergency. It was entirely rational to put off pregnancy and expensive education during the pandemic.

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    1. I agree that we might come out of the trends with recovery. But, watching them is important. And there might be long term affects for a specific group of people.

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      1. bj said, “But, watching them is important. And there might be long term affects for a specific group of people.”

        Right.

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      2. My hairdresser recently pointed out with pride that her family was a “trade school family” from the start. Her children and her nieces & nephews are attending a mix of trade school and college. It doesn’t seem to me that she sees the college track to be better. If anything, she is bitter about the cost of college, and very proud of the young adults in her family being able to afford their own apartments, cars, etc.–being independent adults, on their own dime.

        In my estimation, she and her siblings could have attended college, but their parents preferred trade schools. That viewpoint must be respected. She stated, “why the heck don’t high school guidance counselors tell kids about trade schools?” (Note that her large town is full of people who are successful in the trades.)

        Certainly, for many high school students, opting for training for a career directly after high school is a better financial decision than opting to do a BA first. The BA is something like the Grand Tour of the 19th century. It signifies the family’s social status, in that the family can pay for it and that the family values a “well-rounded education.”

        However, when a BA is financed with debt, its value is diminished. When a family’s children are not financially able to get married, because potential spouses don’t want to take on a significant debt burden, it is counterproductive. https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-would-consider-partners-student-loan-debt-before-dating-2020-

        I do see a growing gap between different choices in education, which doesn’t necessarily advantage people who finance BAs in non-technical fields with loans. The hairdresser may be able to get married and start a family in her early 20s, while someone holding a BA in sociology may never be financially secure.

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    2. Cranberry said:

      “At that point, it was a real gamble to commit time and money to online classes for something like, oh, automotive repair.”

      Yep. A lot of community college vocational programs are very hands-on.

      I have somewhat dark suspicions of how much value was provided by online lab science courses during the pandemic, even at 4-year colleges.

      “Likewise, I don’t think a drop in births during and immediately after the pandemic is an emergency. It was entirely rational to put off pregnancy and expensive education during the pandemic.”

      Couples were going to be in for a really terrible experience during much of 2020-2021 if they had a baby, both because of COVID risks and tight clinic and hospital regulations. For example, in at least some places, dad couldn’t be present at the ultrasound.

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      1. But, interestingly, we’re finding a big uptick in the pregnancy rate (midwives booked out) and in Fertility clinic bookings, here in NZ.
        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-baby-boom-fertility-clinics-report-busiest-year-on-record/PZMGWR2F5BVMG4A67MLZEIAKOA/

        It seems as though, once people are through the pandemic, and have job security and lifestyles back to (relatively) normal (though no overseas holidays) – they’re deciding that now is the time to start or extend the family.

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      2. Ann said, “But, interestingly, we’re finding a big uptick in the pregnancy rate (midwives booked out) and in Fertility clinic bookings, here in NZ.”

        Interesting.

        It won’t interfere with travel, given that people can’t travel overseas, and it’s something you can do at home?

        I actually thought that it wouldn’t be bad at all to have a (little) baby at home during the pandemic, assuming enough space at home. But for most of 2020, parents of toddlers and preschoolers (especially urban parents) had to have been losing their minds. I spent much of last summer homeschooling our youngest on reading and math because there was NOTHING to do for her. Her reading is zipping along this summer, but we haven’t done a fraction of the math we did last year, because there are so many alternate activities.

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  6. Amy’s link to the STAR testing in Texas seems relevant here (in the previous thread?). The simple reading of the graph in the article shows a significant drop in math proficiency in the pandemic year, reversing gains made in the last decade. I don’t know the ins and outs of the testing in Texas, and am picky about my testing, but I hope that learning that didn’t happen will be acknowledged and, not hand waved away by phrases like “there’s always learning”. Entirely true. But if fewer kids know how to add that needs to be addressed, even if they know how to make a kite or bake potatoes.

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