• Reply to: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages   3 hours 13 min ago

    Suffice it to say, taking such a deep dive into right-wing propagandist muck is not my personal choice for a relaxing weekend activity.

    Is that whining? Sounds like whining. Sorry. :)

  • Reply to: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages   3 hours 17 min ago

    J. Peder Zane takes his reserved spot as this week's loser:

    The researchers noted that their small sample size and other restrictions meant their study was probably indicative rather than definitive. Supporters of traditional public schools seized on these caveats. The N&O’s Editorial Board argued, “What the study makes clear is there’s no way to know whether the students who received [the vouchers] … are getting a better education than they would at their local public school.”

    Actually, we do have a very reliable measure besides the test scores: the low-income parents who jumped through hoops to secure the vouchers. If the private schools were not an upgrade, we would expect these engaged families to exercise their option to re-enroll their kids in traditional public schools. That is not happening.

    This is a slight variation of the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy, because there are numerous reasons a parent would remove their child from a (often much larger) public school, and academics is usually not one of the main contributing factors. Bullying, behavioral or developmental challenges, and yes, the desire to condition (indoctrinate) their own child in religious teachings (as opposed to secular) top the lists of said reasons.

    For those parents, a drop in academic quality would have to be substantial for them to even consider it as a factor in relocating their child.

    A related line of attack points to a League of Women Voters study suggesting that perhaps three quarters of private schools in North Carolina use a Christian-based curriculum which dismisses the theory of evolution. I am troubled by that. But it’s also true that only 19 percent of Americans in a 2017 Gallup poll believe humans developed apart from God. So traditional schools are not doing a great job on that front either.

    In addition, most Americans lead happy productive lives in our high-tech society without ever invoking Darwin. There is zero evidence that graduates of fundamentalist schools are ill-equipped to do college work or secure jobs.

    A better statistic is that 57% of Americans believe in some form of evolution, whether God played a part in that or not. That's (frighteningly) low enough as it is without cherry-picking an extreme poll choice.

    But what Zane fails to grasp, because he apparently does not understand the subject as much as he thinks he does: Evolution is only the tail end of Darwin's analysis. The key, which he tried desperately to convey, lies in Adaptation. The ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions and circumstances, some of which are eventually encoded in our DNA.

    In my experience, the *few* business leaders who received a fundamentalist religious education and became moderately successful have some major flaws, and rigidity is a big one. They are much less likely to view subordinates as a "work in progress," somebody who will be more effective and efficient five years in the future as opposed to right now. So instead of investing time in developing their staff, they fish around looking for people who meet their moral expectations. Good church-going people, nevermind if they're blithering idiots or not.

    One more fallacy from this particular blithering idiot:

    Perhaps parents are concerned that it is harder to inculcate character in classrooms where, a new study shows, teachers feel less safe because of a breakdown in discipline. Perhaps they take pause at the fact that 34 percent of public school teachers took ten or more sick days last year – compared with 12.8 percent of teachers at charter schools.

    Perhaps the most misleading statistic Zane has ever abused, and that's saying a lot. Public school teachers and their unions/associations labored for decades to get paid sick days included in their benefits packages, and (for many) if they don't take them they lose them. That is a structural factor, not a sign of a lack of care and consideration.

    Charter schools, on the other hand, are notorious for not only failing to provide such a benefit, but punishing teachers for their absences. Charter school teachers are all "at will" employees, with no statutory recourse for being dismissed, whether 'for cause" or not. Of course they don't take as many days off as those who are authorized to, because the ones that do end up getting fired. Or otherwise mistreated to the point they quit.

    File this one under just one more column J. Peder Zane failed to research properly, and/or just decided to pull a Trump and make shit up.

  • Reply to: Saturday News: Red Strawfish   1 day 5 hours ago

    Civitas has been doing this since before Republicans took over the General Assembly but, true to their form, they continued to (mostly) attack bills filed by Democrats, even though those bills had zero chance of even getting a floor vote, much less being passed.

    Resurrecting this bill, which was buried in the Rules Committee over a year ago, was nothing more than manufactured drama. Which is why there's a picture of Kabuki Theatre over on the side.

  • Reply to: Friday News: Welcome to the 1950's   1 day 7 hours ago

    Well, they must be desperate to drive out the base in November by proposing three Constitutional amendments - there's Voter ID for the GOP's racists, screwing up judges to drive the evangelicals to the polls, and the hunting and fishing amendment to get the gun nuts out from under their rocks to votes.

  • Reply to: North Carolinians For A Fair Economy Host 2nd Congressional District Empty Chair Town Hall   2 days 21 hours ago

    Waiting for George to give a damn about anyone besides his rich pals.