Archives for category: Stupid

Texas passed a law requiring schools to post signs saying “In God We Trust” in schools.

A prankster in Florida is raising money to donate these signs to Texas schools/-but in Arabic.

Will these signs be allowed?

As he rode his bike Sunday, longtime political prankster Chaz Stevens ruminated on a law that was irking him: A Texas statute requiring schools to post donated signs with the United States motto, “In God We Trust.”

Texas legislators, Stevens thought, were trolling people who don’t believe in a Judeo-Christian God.
Now, Stevens wants to troll them back.

The South Florida activist had raised more than $14,000 as of Thursday evening to distribute “In God We Trust” signs to public schools across Texas. The catch? The phrase is in Arabic.

“My focus,” Stevens said, “was how do I game the state of Texas with the rules?”

The Arabic text is meant to invoke Islam and some Christians’ discomfort with that faith, Stevens said. He’s hoping for even one school to hang up the poster — in his view, making a point about applying the controversial statute evenly to people of any religion or no religion.

But Stevens, a self-described “staunch atheist,” is also prepared to try to turn a loss into a win. If a school rejects his poster, he said, he plans to file a lawsuit and use the court case to challenge the statute itself.

Stevens’ stunt, previously reported in the Dallas Morning News, joins a history of challenges to the national motto that courts have consistently rejected. It also adds fuel to a political firestorm that in recent years has turned schools in Republican-led states into culture-war battlegrounds. Fights are erupting over book banning, how race and gender are taught, and religious practice on school grounds as politicians clash over what it means to be an American and who gets to decide.

Texas state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R), who sponsored the sign law, said Stevens’s Arabic posters do not meet the statute’s requirements and would not have to be posted in schools. He pointed to quotation marks around the phrase “In God We Trust” to suggest that a school only has to hang a donated sign with those words in English.

“That’s all they’re required to do,” Hughes said. “But they are free to post other signs in as many languages as they want to.”


The law, which took effect last year, mandates that public schools display “in a conspicuous place in each building of the school” a sign with the national motto if the poster was donated or purchased with private donations. The sign also must include the U.S. flag and the Texas flag, and it “may not depict” any other words or images. The law does not explicitly state that the national motto must be in English.

Given the Christian zealots who now control the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. Hughes might prevail.

Better Bowers is an on-line comedian with a very funny Twitter account. In this short video, she hands out awards for the Stupidest Members of Congress.

Thanks to Ed Johnson for the link.

Writing in The Nation, David Kirp reviewed a book about the college rating system devised by US News and finds it to be as ridiculous as we have long believed. The book is BREAKING RANKS: HOW THE RANKINGS INDUSTRY RULES HIGHER EDUCATION AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT by Colin Diver, former president of Reed College.

Which are the “best” colleges and universities, according to the rankers? The most selective. The richest. The ones that have their pick of the most gifted students. The ones with the money to have fabulous student centers, libraries, gyms, etc.

This is nuts.

Kirp writes:


A few years back, the “Varsity Blues” scandal made front-page news. Rich parents, desperate to ensure that their offspring were accepted by an elite university, paid huge sums of money to an entrepreneur who promised “side door” admissions. Over the course of nearly a decade, athletic records were faked, bribes were paid to university staffers, and hired experts took the SAT instead of the students. To the public, the perp-walk treatment received by these parents and those who abetted them was a justified comeuppance for those who cheated the system.

But did the prosecution of these cheaters really solve the problem? Hardly. The titillating story about entitled parents, far from being an isolated scandal, was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg: It illustrated how the college admissions system in the United States is systemically broken. With places in top-rung schools almost as rare as the Hope Diamond, affluent parents scramble for every advantage. But universities made this system what it is today: They are these parents’ eager enablers, competing fiercely for the prestige and money that comes with success in the rankings game.

In Breaking Ranks, Colin Diver, a former president of Reed College, details how the rankings industry—most notoriously, U.S. News & World Report—powers this unvirtuous cycle. If you are buying a car or a refrigerator, a Consumer Reports–style rankings system works just fine. But, as Diver points out, there is no right answer when it comes to choosing a college—for all the fancy formulas the rankings companies trot out, they offer faux science. When the powerhouses, like U.S. News and its ilk, weigh competing values—selectivity versus affordability, reputation versus higher-than-predicted graduation rates—they are making an ideological judgment about what really matters in a college education. (The Washington Monthly’s formula emphasizes a college’s contribution to the public good, focusing on social mobility, research, and promoting public service. It’s a fine, if imperfectly executed, idea, but there is scant evidence that the magazine has much of an impact on students’ choices.) Thus, it’s apparent from the results that what counts most in these calculations is the wealth of the institution and, indirectly, the wealth of its students. Were it otherwise, would all of the top 20 universities be wealthy private schools?

The rankings game is a high-stakes affair. Where an institution stands in the U.S. News pecking order affects the number and credentials of its applicants, whose decisions are heavily influenced by a school’s prestige; the generosity of its donors, who like to give to the winners; the bragging rights of its trustees; and its appeal to the professoriate. It’s a perpetual cycle: A college that admits more well-credentialed students, has a growing endowment, and boasts a more highly regarded faculty receives a higher ranking, which in turn generates greater selectivity, bigger donations, happier trustees, and more-pedigreed professors. Because rankings are a zero-sum game, an institution that doesn’t do as well slips in the charts, and all hell breaks loose on the campus.

Kirp can imagine a fairer ratings system: one that credits colleges and universities for improving the life chances of their students:

A fairer rankings system would highlight universities like Georgia State and CUNY, whose mission is to help students from poor families enter the middle class, rather than fixating on institutions like Yale and Princeton, which burnish the prone-to-success credentials of their students. It would give a shout-out to colleges where the teaching is first-rate, the students are engaged in learning, and the alumni describe themselves as living a fulfilling life. But such an approach is unlikely to gain traction in this hyper-competitive society, where the meritocratic myth prevails and prestige is all that matters.

Kathryn Joyce is an investigative reporter for Salon. In this article, she shows how the Republican leaders of Arizona have decided to end the teacher shortage by reducing standards for teachers. They have decided that teaching is not a profession. Anyone, they think, can do it.

She writes:

Last week, just days after the Arizona legislature passed the most expansive school voucher law anywhere in the nation, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law another education measure decreeing that public school teachers are no longer required to have a college degree of any kind before being hired. Instead of requiring a masters degree — which has long been the norm in the profession — Arizona teachers will only have to be enrolled in college in order to begin teaching the state’s public school students.

The law, SB 1159, was pushed by conservatives on the grounds that Arizona has faced a severe teacher shortage for the last six years, which, by this winter, left 26% of teacher vacancies unfilled and nearly 2,000 classrooms without an official teacher of record. That shortage has led supporters of the bill, including business interests such as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, to claim that loosening teacher credential requirements will help fill those staffing gaps. Opponents of the bill, however, point to the fact that Arizona has the lowest teacher salaries in the country, even while boasting a budget surplus of more than $5 billion.

“Arizona’s teacher shortage is beyond crisis levels,” tweeted Democratic state Rep. Kelli Butler this March. “Instead of offering real solutions (like increasing pay & reducing class sizes) the House Education Committee passed a bill to reduce the requirements to teach.”

“With Arizona trying to get education monies to parents directly to pay for schooling — including homeschooling — you see more evidence that the state doesn’t care who teaches its kids,” said David Berliner, an education psychologist at Arizona State University and former president of the American Educational Research Association. “Charters and private schools for years have not needed certified folks running schools or teaching kids — as long as the voucher for the kids shows up.” Combined with its new law creating a universal voucher system, Berliner added, “Arizona may now be the most radical state in terms of education policy.”

Please open the link and read the article in full.

Arizona doesn’t care about its children.

The Idaho legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill to drop requirements for new teachers, leaving it to districts to write their own standards.

In Idaho, anyone can teach so long as they have a BA degree, pass a criminal background check, and don’t have an infectious disease.

In short, teaching in Idaho is no longer a profession. The charter industry considers this a victory.

Peter Greene tells the story caught on tape when Larry Arnn, president of rightwing Christian Hillsdale College, tells Tennessee Governor Bill Lee that teachers are the dumbest, trained by the dumbest, and you don’t need to know anything to be a teacher.

Governor Lee listens abjectly. He invited Hillsdale to open 100 charter schools across Tennessee. Hillsdale agreed to open 50.

Greene writes about Arnn’s tirade, which was taped:

“The teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country.”


“They are taught that they are going to go and do something to those kids…. Do they ever talk about anything except what they are going to do to these kids?”


“In colleges, what you hire now is administrators…. Now, because they are appointing all these diversity officers, what are their degrees in? Education. It’s easy. You don’t have to know anything.”


“The philosophic understanding at the heart of modern education is enslavement…. They’re messing with people’s children, and they feel entitled to do anything to them.”


“You will see how education destroys generations of people. It’s devastating. It’s like the plague.”

“Here’s a key thing that we’re going to try to do. We are going to try to demonstrate that you don’t have to be an expert to educate a child because basically anybody can do it.”

Someone should have told Arnn that America was built by people who attended public schools, not by graduates of Hillsdale.

Governor Lee didn’t have the guts to stand up for the teachers of Tennessee. Probably he thinks the people who voted for him are the dumbest of the dumb.

Anne Thomas-Abbott, a teacher in Knoxville, did respond to Larry Arnn, whose contempt for teachers is abhorrent and ignorant.

Greene adds:

If you are shaking your head at Tennessee, I suggest you look around your own state first, because these public education-hating faux Christian right wingers are all over the country, and when he’s selling his product in public, Arnn is rarely as blunt as he was before the Tennessee crowd. Make sure everyone gets to hear what he really thinks.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Trump Republican from Colorado, apparently never took a class in civics, government or history and is an embarrassment to the Congress in which she serves. She won her primary on Tuesday. Boebert is a high school dropout who earned her GED in 2020, according to Wikipedia. She is a born-again Christian and a strident advocate of guns; she and her husband own a restaurant—Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado,where staff are encouraged to carry guns. From the following report, which appeared in the Washington Post, it is certain that she is ignorant about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)…says she is “tired” of the U.S. separation of church and state, a long-standing concept stemming from a “stinking letter” penned by one of the Founding Fathers.

Speaking at a religious service Sunday in Colorado, she told worshipers: “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it.”

She added: “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.” Her comments were first reported by the Denver Post.

The Constitution’s First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” has been widely interpreted to mean the separation of church and state — although the phrase is not explicitly used.


Gwen Calais-Haase, a political scientist at Harvard University, told The Washington Post that Boebert’s interpretation of the Constitution was “false, misleading and dangerous.” Calais-Haase said she was “extremely worried about the environment of misinformation that extremist politicians take advantage of for their own gains.”

Steven K. Green, a professor of law and affiliated professor of history and religious studies at Willamette University, agreed, saying, “Rep. Boebert is wrong on both matters.”


“While the phrase separation of church and state does not appear verbatim in the Constitution, neither do many accepted constitutional principles such as separation of powers, judicial review, executive privilege, or the right to marry and parental rights, no doubt rights that Rep. Boebert cherishes,” wrote Green, the author of “Separating Church and State: A History.”

Arizona Republican candidates are running as die-hard supporters of Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. They laugh at the 1/6 Conmisssion and ignore the many Republicans who testified that Trump knew he lost the election but decided to destroy democracy rather than admit he lost.

Is stupidity contagious? Or is it gullibility?

Tens of millions of people have watched the first two Congressional hearings probing the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last year, but several of Arizona’s Republican candidates for governor were not among those viewers.

The GOP candidates largely dismissed the hearings as political theater and wouldn’t answer a question from The Arizona Republic about former President Donald Trump’s role in the riot.

Meanwhile, their Democratic opponents seized on the chance to call out their conservative competitors as complicit in the false claims of election fraud that fueled the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“The hearing is a stark reminder of the lengths at which they will go to attack America.”

“I watched the Jan. 6 hearing because right here in Arizona we face dangerous threats from candidates like Kari Lake who continue to spread conspiracy theories and lies to try to undermine our democracy,” Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for governor Katie Hobbs said.

Lake: ‘I think it’s a waste of time’

Lake, a leading Republican candidate and former Fox 10 news anchor, did not respond to questions for this article. During her campaign, Lake has championed the unproven claims the election was corrupt, and that insurrectionists were held without charges or were welcomed into the Capitol by police.

Lake said in an interview on the conservative channel Newsmax that she would not watch the Jan. 6 hearings, which she dismissed as an effort by Democrats, mainstream Republicans and the media to discredit Trump.

“So this is their effort to try to make Donald Trump and his followers go away forever and it’s not going to work,” Lake said in that interview Friday. “This is theater. They’ve obviously been spinning and splicing and taking different video clips, removing the pertinent parts that would put the truth out there and trying to tell a story that spreads their lies. So I’m not going to be watching it. I think it’s a waste of time.”

The state board of education in Massachusetts, dominated by “reformers” is itching to take control of the Boston public school district. State takeovers have consistently failed. Failure never deters “reformers.”

Dear families, students, educators and community partners,

[Español aqui. Todos están invitados a unirnos para el foro comunitario y la protesta en DESE]  

The Receivership issue is heating up again. Yesterday, Commissioner Riley recommended that the Board vote to declare BPS an “underperforming district.” See the BTU bulletin here for more information. You are invited to join us for two events:

1) We are holding an EMERGENCY Town Hall this Sunday, June 26 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm to discuss what Commissioner Riley’s new proposal to declare BPS “underperforming” is and what would happen to BPS if the Board votes to do so. This will be a public town hall, and we encourage you to invite fellow families and students. Sign up now.

2) This Tuesday, June 28th, we will gather at 8 am outside the DESE headquarters (75 Pleasant St. in Malden) to rally against state takeover and for a BTU contract now. At 8:30am we’ll enter the meeting to watch public testimonies when the board meeting begins at 9am. RSVP at bit.ly/Rally628. There’s garage parking right next to Malden, easy Orange Line access, or if you’d like to take the bus with us from the BTU, email Daphne (dsoto@btu.org) to reserve your seat.

In solidarity,

Ari + the BTU

Sent via ActionNetwork.org. To update your email address, change your name or address, or to stop receiving emails from Boston Teachers Union, please click here.

We now know why the police did not enter the classroom where the murders occurred. We now know that a large contingent of officers waited for nearly an hour before entering the classroom and shooting the killer.

The commander made a mistake. He thought the classroom was empty. He thought the shooter was alone in an empty classroom.

The police waited outside the classroom even as little children called 911 and begged for help.

CBS says:

The decision by the on-site commander to delay breaching the classroom of a Texas elementary school during the mass shooting this week was the “wrong decision,” authorities said Friday. Nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway outside of the classrooms during the attack on Robb Elementary School for more than 45 minutes before agents used a master key to open a door and confront the gunman, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said at a news conference.

The on-site commander — identified by the Associated Press as the school district’s police chief — believed 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was barricaded in a classroom in Uvalde during Tuesday’s attack and that the children were not at risk, McCraw said.

“He was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize” to get into the classroom, McCraw said.

“Of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision,” he said.

Friday’s briefing came after authorities spent three days providing often conflicting and incomplete information about the 90 minutes that elapsed between the time the gunman entered the school and when U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the classroom door and killed him. The gunman killed 19 students and two teachersduring the attack.

McCraw said there was a barrage of gunfire shortly after the gunman entered the classroom where they killed him but that shots were “sporadic” for much of the 48 minutes while officers waited outside the hallway. He said investigators do not know if or how many children died during those 48 minutes.

Throughout the attack, teachers and children repeatedly called 911 asking for help, including a girl who pleaded: “Please send the police now,” McCraw said.

The reason the police did not charge in to the room to save anyone who was still alive was a combination of bad judgment and stupidity.