Monday, July 8, 2019

Principal Who Tried to Stay ‘Politically Neutral’ About Holocaust Is Removed
NYT
“I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee,” said the principal of a high school in Boca Raton, Fla.
     A high school principal in Florida has been removed from his position over his refusal to state that the Holocaust was a factual historical event, saying that he had to stay “politically neutral” about the World War II-era genocide of six million Jews.
     “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” the principal, William Latson of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, Fla., wrote in an email exchange with an unidentified parent in April 2018. He said that the school offered an assembly and courses on the Holocaust, but that they were optional and could not be “forced upon” all students.
. . .
     The comments set off an intense backlash in South Florida, which has a significant Jewish population and has among the highest concentrations of Holocaust survivors in the world. Thousands signed an online petition calling for Mr. Latson’s resignation, and on Monday, the Palm Beach County school district announced that he would be stripped of his position as principal and reassigned to another job in the district.
     The debate comes as memory of the Holocaust is fading and anti-Semitism is on the rise. Florida is among the states working to combat that; under state law, all school districts must offer Holocaust education. In 2018, the gunman who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., about a 20-minute drive from Spanish River Community High School, opened fire during one of these lessons, a class called History of the Holocaust.
. . .
     In its statement, the school district said that Mr. Latson had made “a grave error in judgment” when he had refused to state the Holocaust as fact in the email. Officials counseled him in a series of meetings, and he also spent several days at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to increase his awareness, the district said.
     Mr. Latson, who did not respond to a request for comment on Monday, also apologized in a statement to The Palm Beach Post. “I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust,” he said.
     But by Monday, school officials had decided that Mr. Latson had become a “major distraction.” “It is, therefore, in the best interest of students and the larger school community to reassign Mr. Latson to a District position,” the district said.
. . .
     A study released in 2018 found that even among adults, many Americans lacked basic knowledge of the Holocaust, a problem that was especially pronounced among people ages 18 to 34.
     For example, 31 percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believed that two million or fewer Jews had been killed in the Holocaust; in fact, the number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, could not say what the death camp Auschwitz was. And 52 percent of Americans wrongly thought Hitler had come to power through force....

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary