Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Liberal Mind: Willful Ignorance...

is not unheard of, and it's why trying to have a discussion with a liberal is a waste of time.
Willful ignorance is the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality. At its heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias. source

Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to (consciously or unconsciously) seek out information that conforms to their pre-existing view points, and subsequently ignore information that goes against them, both positive and negative. source
I'll admit that everyone, conservative and liberal, engages in some type of confirmation bias.   It provides us with the opportunity to say to ourselves, "Yep, I knew I was right all along."

But willful ignorance is entirely different.  Many times over the past 69 years, I've had my mind changed about issues by studying both sides of the arguments.  For instance, there was a time that I believed, even as a cradle Catholic, that abortion was no more than the elimination of a clump of cells.  While this thinking was during my "fallen away years" (sort of a rite of passage for many Catholics), when I returned to the Church and studied the issue from all view points, a profound change came about in my thinking.  My conscience was now properly formed.

This is not to say that conservatives don't also fall prey to willful ignorance, but by observing liberals in their natural habitat, it is safe to say that the majority of them are indeed willfully ignorant. 

  Over the past few days, I've read several articles about the chaos in the St. Paul, MN schools over new policies directed at disruptive students.

From: EAG News.org: 

UPDATE: More school districts report chaos after ‘white privilege’ theory influences discipline rules
SAN FRANCISCO – Last week we were stunned to learn that chaos has been the norm in the St. Paul, Minnesota school district, due to a student disciplinary policy that replaces suspensions with time-outs, counseling and other less punitive measures.

We also learned that the controversial policy was influenced by the Pacific Educational Group (PEG), a radical San Francisco-based consulting firm that claims black students lag behind academically, and tend to have more disciplinary problems, because American K-12 education is designed to benefit white students – aka “white privilege.”

Now it’s becoming obvious that several other large school districts around the nation are in the same situation as St. Paul.

They’ve all instituted radical disciplinary policies to reduce the number of black student suspensions, they’ve all experienced serious behavioral problems as a result, and they’re all included on a recent list of PEG client school districts.  more

Note:  After much negative feedback, PEG removed their client list from the website.  However, EAG in this article, After critique, ‘white privilege’ training company hides school district client list from public, has the list.  You'll notice that the majority of schools signed on with PEG are in Minnesota, California, and Wisconsin.

On to the fun part:

One of the Facebook groups I like to check ever so often is the Mac (Macalester)  Groveland Neighborhood Group in St. Paul, MN.  Mac Groveland/Highland Park is the neighborhood I grew up in and it is a hotbed of liberal fantasy.  They pride themselves on their quest for diversity and their very liberal social policies.

Back on May 27th, one of the group members posted a link to this article from Minneapolis City Pages, which is even more damning than the EAG article:

Distrust and Disorder: A Racial Equity Policy Summons Chaos in the St. Paul Schools
A student walks down a Harding High hallway wearing headphones, chanting along to violent rap lyrics. Teacher Erik Brandt taps him on the shoulder. Turn it down, he gestures. 

The kid stares at Brandt with chilling intensity. He points at the older man, fingers bent in the shape of a gun, and shoots. Then moves on.

Within Harding's corridors is a turbulent clutter of students who push and cuss and bully their way from one end of the building to another. Brandt, a finalist for Minnesota's Teacher of the Year and a 20-year veteran of the English department, doubles as a hall monitor. It is his job to somehow tame them.

When the bell rings, the majority trickle into classrooms. But 50 or so roamers remain. They come to school for breakfast and lunch and to wander the halls with their friends. He commands them to get to class, but his authority is empty.

Brandt, a bespectacled Shakespeare devotee who leads Harding's International Baccalaureate program, doesn't know the majority of kids in this school of 2,000 on St. Paul's East Side. Calling the principal on dozens of kids each day is impractical. Written requests for disciplinary action are a toothless paper trail of unenforceable consequence.

Harding isn't much different than most big city schools. It squats in St. Paul's most economically depressed zip code, where 83 percent of kids receive free or reduced-price lunch. This is a multi-ethnic, multi-national place, the majority the sons and daughters of Asian immigrants.

By the inverted logic of poverty, some of the lowest-achieving students ironically have the best attendance. Even on snow days, they can still count on free breakfast, heat, and wi-fi.

Every year kids reach the 12th grade with elementary-level reading skills. Still, the teachers here, who share centuries of experience, say they love their students and they love their jobs. That makes it harder to admit that over the last few years, Harding has suffered a breakdown of safety and order.
When the bell sounds the start of class, students remain in the halls. Those who tire of lectures simply stand up and leave. They hammer into rooms where they don't belong, inflicting mischief and malice on their peers. Teachers call it "classroom invasion."

Instructors who break up fights get beaten in the process, thrown into bookcases while trying to bar their doors.

Says Brandt: "There is a sizable chunk of students that — for a variety of very complex reasons — don't know how to behave in a decent, sociable way with other people in a school setting." more, if you can stand it.  It's ugly.
The article goes on to demonize the School Superintendent Valeria Silva:
[...]The changes came at the behest of Superintendent Valeria Silva. When she took up the torch of St. Paul's schools in 2009, she inherited an urban district like so many others — one with a dire achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts.

She charged teachers with the job of fixing this gap, lest they be complicit in the cycle of poverty among black and brown communities.

Silva's solution, called Strong Schools, Strong Communities, was touted as "the most revolutionary changes in achievement, alignment, and sustainability seen within SPPS in the last 40 years." At least according to the district's website.
The comments on the City Pages are almost universally negative toward this whole PEG "white privilege" thingy. 

Now, let's take a look at the comments on the Mac Groveland Facebook page to see willful ignorance in it's native habitat:

Thanks for sharing this--I have a child in SPPS, though not in any of the schools profiled. I learned a few things reading this, but I still don't know what the hell is going on after reading it. I don't know about about my child continuing in SPPS after 5th grade to be honest, but I'll be damned if I have to leave St. Paul to find a better educational experience for him. I wonder what others think.

Clearly the solution is another "vote yes" for the children campaign. $20K per student per year isn't enough..

You are so right about all the fantastic things that SPPS students accomplish. My daughter graduated from Central and had a great experience - in fact I believe the education she received was better than she would have gotten pretty much anywhere else. High achieving students seem to really thrive in SPPS schools and it would be a shame if these current behavior issues deter good students from SPPS. Instead I would like to see more parents pushing for change- the district needs to actually give support to the students that need it so that they want to be in school, some will stop acting out because they are lost in their classes, and then maybe they can be successful as well.  

Oh my gosh. I've been subbing at Central for a while, And I have seen great education happening all over the school, from IB classes to art and woodshop and special ed. Yes, the number of kids in the halls has increased dramatically recently, but they move on when reminded to go to class. I've known the principal since she was at Harding way back when. The teachers at Central are very pleased with how she runs the school.

Why weren't the parents of some of the disruptive kids interviewed? I'd like to know what they think about the situation.  

This goes on for 37 more comments.  Not once did any Mac Groveland person say one thing about the PEG diversity training, "white privilege", or name the majority of the kids responsible for the chaos.  Not once.  

These diversity lovers living in Macalester/Groveland/Highland Park area of St. Paul, three of  the least diverse places on the universe where a bunch of black kids roaming around would elicit a call to the St. Paul police, are metaphorically wringing their hands and saying, "Oh, my goodness, whatever is going on?"  

And that, my friends, is why trying to have a discussion with a liberal is a waste of time. 

“Five percent of the people think;
ten percent of the people think they think;
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
― Thomas A. Edison


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