Sep 24, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

I taught law for years part time as an adjunct. I did not know the identity of who produced the exam I was grading until after the grades were submitted. I just checked the Georgetown Law website and that school, like most I believe, also uses blind grading.

So to exercise bias in grading, this professor would have to enter into a racist conspiracy with the administration. No evidence of that.

The sad part about this is it creates a dynamic in which law professors generally regardless of ethnicity will be frightened to have black students in their class. Not because of the black students, but because of the risk of being fired by the mob for telling the truth.

They will also be incentiviazed to never reach out to help minority students because it is too dangerous to say that they need the help.

In the long run, who loses?

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"They will also be incentiviazed to never reach out to help minority students because it is too dangerous to say that they need the help."

Exactly this. It's so frustrating that some people seem to believe that the way to solve problems is by ignoring them or making it taboo to talk honestly about them.

Maybe there IS a shadowy racist conspiracy at Georgetown! Maybe Sellers is a member of the KKK! So find out. Carry out an investigation, and find out why those students in her class are performing poorly. If it's Sellers, fire her. If not, HELP THEM!!! This knee jerk approach to racial justice helps absolutely nobody except the virtue signallers. Certainly not black people.

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Nov 10, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

As already stated, there is a huge difference between a cause for concern and an investigation and reason for dismissal.

This will lead to people creating selective meanings, without considering distinctions between reporting consequences vs doxing and mob policing.

I dream of society eventually prioritizing having shared definitions and a specific understanding of words. But that dream is unpatriotic and un-American.

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So, I’m pretty sympathetic to Dr Sellers and agree w you and Steve. But to be clear, the video clip came at the end of a Zoom meeting where she and the other professor had watched a student or group of students give a presentation they found to be “jumbled.” She then immediately said “ya know I hate to say this, I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks.” So clearly the student she just watched give a jumbled speech was Black, and her immediate thought was “damn, another Black student who is sucking at this!” Anyway I don’t think that’s conclusive (or even convincing) evidence of racism but it certainly indicates this wasn’t a moment of blind grading, and she did factor in the students race into how she felt about their performance (even if she was disappointed by the correlation, which I believe she was) https://youtu.be/P1maYJv8Khc

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"the video clip came at the end of a Zoom meeting where she and the other professor had watched a student or group of students give a presentation they found to be 'jumbled.'"

Oh yeah, this certainly wasn't blind grading. That was my suggestion to investigate whether her grading was biased against black students. But I don't see anything wrong with her saying the student's presentation was "jumbled" if it was, in fact, jumbled.

I go into this a little more in the article, but it seems most likely to me that the school's "equitable" admissions policy is to blame for the disparity. You can't fix eductaion disparities at the university level. There's too much catching up to do at that point. So allowing students to a course with lower entry requirements will inevitably lead to those students struggling more in class.

And while the school gets to point to its 13% black admission rate, the students suffer becuase they can't handle the workload. Worse, this perpetuates the idea that black students aren't capable of achieving the same standards.

Of course, given the "racial reckoning" that was happening at the time she made her comments, and especially given the clumsy phrasing, there was always going to be trouble. But I don't think the solution to these problems is to be afraid to speak about them out loud. And now, none of the other professors will dare speak up if they notice the same thing.

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"𝘐 𝘨𝘰 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘭𝘦, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘭'𝘴 "𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦" 𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘭𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯'𝘵 𝘧𝘪𝘹 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦'𝘴 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵. 𝘚𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘴."

Set up to fail like putting someone who isn't ready in the ring with a champion boxer. The solution was years earlier in preparing them to be ready.

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(Note I didn’t watch that whole YouTube video, just the original zoom clip. Some guy started going on a diatribe, I do not endorse!)

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I had not seen the video, Marie. Yes, it was a bit painful to watch. The reality is that in a large law school like where I taught, where minorities are even more minority than in the population at large, the vast majority of underperforming students will be some version of "white," or at least non-Black. Georgetown is comparable to where I taught. So, for her to focus on the subset of underperforming students who are Black is indeed problematic.

But is this a "firing" offense? Absent evidence of bias in grading, I think the harm caused by her firing is much greater than the good done.

Thank you for adding this nuance to the conversation.

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💯 agree. Not a fireable offense in my mind without other evidence of poor behavior. Grounds for a conversation and investigation, yes! But not immediate termination

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"𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢 𝘥𝘺𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘤 𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘭𝘢𝘸 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘧𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘴 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘴. 𝘕𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘬 𝘰𝘧 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘣 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘵𝘩."

I've seen "She's trouble, exclude her" happen. When an accusation can cost you your job, that can be expected with some justification (sadly).

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“After all, where’s the fun in being opinionated if everybody shares your opinion?”

Well I’m just average, common too

I’m just like him and the same as you

I’m everybody’s brother and son

I’m no different than anyone

Ain’t no use in talkin’ to me,

It’s just the same as talkin’ to you.

—Bob Dylan, I Shall Be Free No. 10

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This is a timely commentary for me. As you know I am a harsh critic of the extremes of tribal partisanship. I recently read something and perceived strong political bias where I didn't think it belonged. While the No True Scotsman Fallacy is a fallacy, it is also fair to consider fringe radicals of a tribe to truthfully not be representative of their tribe's norms.

I thought about it for several days and realized that while I may have been detecting bias on his part, I was also influenced by my own bias. When we view the world thru our looking glass it is often also a two-way mirror and some of what we see is a reflection of ourselves. I need to work on that as much as anyone, even though I "know" that my views are the gold standard for truth ;0)

I think that Eve was responding to her own reflection with some of her assumptions. Sadly, people tend to measure equal opportunity by looking for equal results. Ms. Sellers perceived a result and wondered about the cause. The answer was to kill the messenger. Her question could have led to a solution if the cause was determined.

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Sep 24, 2022·edited Sep 24, 2022Author

"I think that Eve was responding to her own reflection with some of her assumptions."

Yeah, Eve is a trip. As I said, she's been commenting on pretty much everything I write for the past few months. Invariably with some weird, disingenuous nonsense that starts by taking for granted that I'm a racist, misogynist, transphobe, etc and building from there. I haven't posted her here because the conversations are just so ridiculous. But it's a problem I see quite often on social justice issues.

The belief that if you question the orthodoxy relating to a particlar group then you hate that group and want to destroy them (even if you're a *member* of that group), is so prevalant at the moment. And as you say, it makes actually figuring out solutions pretty much impossible.

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This professor is one of many in a long line of failures. These educational failures are real, but parents, students, teachers and professors are NOT responsible.

The responsibility lies solely with Ivy League Universities and Industry leaders who dictate curriculum and student learning standards for public schools – and – teaching programs for the nation’s colleges and universities.

In 2001, George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act and decimated the public education system. Public schools had no choice; instead of educating students, they were forced to teach them.

School districts stopped budgeting Master Teachers (highly skilled and experienced teachers who mentored other teachers). The results were predictable. When teachers lack classroom management skills, students take over. When teachers lack teaching skills, learning declines. When teachers teach, students leave school without an education.

Under NCLB, teachers were held accountable for student performance. Politicians love sticks and carrots and teachers were demoted, or fired for low performing students, and financially rewarded teachers for students who met the standards.

Soon enough, good teachers most common complaint was inheriting a bad teacher’s students. To bring these students to grade level, these teachers must teach two grades in one year. Instead of losing their jobs, teachers began negotiating for students, behind the scenes.

The result was a pipeline that channeled some students from one bad teacher to another, and channeled other students from one good teacher to another. It got so bad teachers began negotiating for parents as well. Good students with two working parents would get shifted to the bad teacher’s track, in favor of a difficult student with a stay-at-home parent who volunteered in the classroom, chaperoned on field trips, and raised money for classroom supplies. School districts needed to retain good teachers who kept overall district performance scores up. To keep these teachers, they began transferring good teachers into their high-income school sites and new, inexperienced and bad teachers into their low-income schools.

In 2001, my kids were in Junior High and the impact was immediate. In the morning my husband began tutoring our kids in math. After school, we tutored them in other subjects. At the end of 10th grade, my children passed their high school exit exams and started junior college (their idea, not mine). One of them is an Ivy League graduate – that’s how good elementary school teachers were in low-income schools before NCLB.

NCLB’s greatest failure was the loss of Master Teachers who had kept the teaching staff on the same level so that every student got a good teacher and struggling students got the best teachers. Today, students spend 14 years in school (pre-K – 12) and graduate high school with the equivalent of what was an eighth-grade education before NCLB.

Most university professors are not even good teachers, let alone Master Teachers. Professors are experts in their discipline, not education. That is the reason, I suspect the professor in question has little, if any, education in education itself.

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She was an adjunct professor. Meaning she was probably living in a trailer park and using food stamps, while being grossly abused by an university as rich as Georgetown. I am exaggerating, of course, but not really: https://www.salon.com/2014/09/21/professors_on_food_stamps_the_shocking_true_story_of_academia_in_2014/

The privileged students at Georgetown are either unaware, or manipulated. I have no idea if this professor's comments were prompted by racism, but I can tell you for sure that the punishment she received didn't make her more "open-minded" or "anti-racist", if that was the intention. More bitter maybe? More outraged? Even more biased? But who cares, since she's probably going to die soon in poverty (https://www.npr.org/2013/09/22/224946206/adjunct-professor-dies-destitute-then-sparks-debate#:~:text=Press-,The%20Sad%20Death%20Of%20An%20Adjunct%20Professor%20Sparks%20A%20Labor,treatment%20of%20part%2Dtime%20faculty), while Georgetown got to coddle its students and perform some stunning social justice at the same time?

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Whether or not it was factually true or statistically defensible it was imprudent as hell for her to make the observation that her black students are the worst performers.

Especially however since most of that presumption would likely have gone away with blind grading.

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