Why the Colonies’ Most Galvanizing Patriot Never Became a Founding Father

James Otis, Jr. used his words to whip anti-British sentiment into a frenzy—so why isn’t he better remembered now?

Portrait of James Otis (1725-1783)

As John Adams told it, the American Revolution didn’t start in Philadelphia, or at Lexington and Concord. Instead, the second president traced the nation’s birth to February 24, 1761, when James Otis, Jr., rose in Boston’s Massachusetts Town House to defend American liberty.

That day, as five red-robed judges—and a rapt, 25-year-old Adams—listened, Otis delivered a five-hour oration against the Writs of Assistance, sweeping warrants that allowed British customs officials to search any place, anytime, for evidence of smuggling.

“It appears to me the worst instrument of arbitrary power,” argued Otis, “the most destructive of English liberty…that was ever found in an English law-book.” Until this case, the 36-year-old lawyer had been Massachusetts’ advocate general. But he resigned rather than defend the writs, then agreed to provide pro bono representation to the merchants fighting against them. Inside the courtroom, Otis denounced the British king, parliament, and nation as oppressors of the American colonies—electrifying spectators. Continue reading

75% of black California boys don’t meet state reading standards

Across ethnicities and economic status, girls outperform boys on English in standardized tests

Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters.

More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups. Continue reading

How Common Core’s ‘One Easy Trick‘ Philosophy Fails Children

There is a scene in one of Heinlein’s books [Starship Troopers] in which the teacher asks the student if he’d be happy just getting the medal for a race he didn’t win. The student is rightly outraged and thinks it makes a mockery of the proceedings.

It wasn’t until last week when I found myself caught in a Facebook thread on Common Core started by my friend and colleague Larry Correia that I realized this scene must be utterly baffling to the left.

You see, my husband posted some examples of Common Core math problems.

He’s a mathematician and it exasperates him when people praise Common Core for “teaching children to think.” Continue reading

High School Principal Suspends 500 Students

A high school principal in Pennsylvania has suspended nearly half of the student population after an alarming number of unexcused absences.

About 500 students at Harrisburg High School have received suspension notices as the school’s principal has begun cracking down on the issue of unexcused absences among students.

According to PennLive, at least 100 of the students issued suspension notices have served one-day suspensions following Principal Lisa Love’s effort to crackdown on the problem. Continue reading

Old Collectivist “education” programs merely renamed & expanded

Update on “Education”

Once the public/parents catch on to the goals of government school programs, e.g. School to Work, Goals 2000, Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, Common Core…the tactic is simply to change the name, give glowing recommendations and expand the collectivist/Marxist dumb down goals to short circuit children’s minds. Why? Ignorant, indoctrinated students grow into compliant, uninformed citizens, easily manipulated. Continue reading

How Did We Get Here?

How did we get here at this existential crossroads? Ask the communist agitators, school indoctrinators, Hollywood, and community organizers whom parents entrust their children to every day

How did our society get where we are today? Where did this profound hatred, disrespect for authority, for the rule of law, disdain for their own country, utter laziness, entitlement, anarchy, and anti-Americanism come from, especially in the younger generations who shape the future of our country?

There is no simplistic answer. The default answer is always horrible parenting or lack thereof. Parents spend less and less time with their progeny as the government takes over their education at a very early age, or are in need of behavioral reeducation themselves. Older fathers with pony tails and mothers going through menopause are raising terror children who have never been spanked or made to behave like normal, rational human beings. They scream in restaurants and public places at hours when they should be in bed while the parents try to talk to them in a calm voice to the exasperation of everyone around them, trying to enjoy themselves while celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, interrupted by howling brats. Continue reading

Teachers Instructed to Use Math to Indoctrinate Kids in Social Justice

There are some subjects one thinks would be immune from the input of social justice warriors. While social studies are ripe for their meddling—as are literature and even science these days—a subject like math should be resistant to their tampering. Well, one would think that.

Unfortunately, a report at Campus Reform shows that such an assumption would be wrong.

Teaching Social Justice through Secondary Mathematics” is a six-week online course designed by Teach for America and offered through EdX, which provides free online classes from top universities such as Harvard University, MIT, and Columbia University. Continue reading

Thirteen Reasons Why: America’s High Schools Are Creating (Another) Lost Generation

Netflix’s recent announcement that it would be producing a second season of Thirteen Reasons Why has raised new questions about the disastrous state of the US public school system and its effects on the economy.

“Hey, it’s Hannah Baker,” says the show’s protagonist, played by a stunning Katherine Langford in the opening episode. “Get settled in. Because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended.”

The Thirteen Reasons’ portrait of how a stifling, bureaucratic system progressively cuts this teenage girl to pieces, eventually driving her to death, provides a dramatized, insightful reflection on (another) emerging lost generation. Continue reading

No Students Are Proficient in Math And English At Six Baltimore City Schools

Six schools in Baltimore have exactly zero students who are proficient in math and English.

WBFF reports Project Baltimore led an investigation and discovered five Baltimore City high schools, along with one middle school, do not have any students who scored high enough to be deemed “proficient” in math and English on state testing.

The schools that did not have a single proficient student are Booker T. Washington Middle School, Frederick Douglass High School, Achievement Academy at Harbor City, New Era Academy, Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High, and New Hope Academy. Continue reading

When Schools Meet Trauma With Understanding, Not Discipline

If you know anything about New Orleans public schools, you probably know this: Hurricane Katrina wiped them out and almost all the schools became privately run charters.


Young children play outside in the fog at Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. ~ Clarence Williams/WWNO

Many of those schools subscribed to the no excuses discipline model — the idea that if you crack down on slight misbehavior, you can prevent bigger issues from erupting.

That was also true of Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. It had strict rules about everything. Students had to sit up straight at their desks, eyes tracking the speaker. They had to walk the halls in silence and even wear the right kind of socks. Students who broke these rules, or acted out in other ways, were punished.

The thing is, students across New Orleans face high rates of exposure to trauma, but school discipline policies have rarely accounted for that.
Continue reading

‘So what do you do, darlin’?’

A plane passenger asked a teacher a kind of rude question about her job.

She responded eloquently!

It’s annoying when people mistakenly think your job is really simple.

Most people’s lines of work are more intricate and multilayered than those who don’t do that work would guess. So most of us can think of a time someone reductively assumed that our jobs are very simple (whether it’s writer, janitor, stay-at-home parent, or any job really). Continue reading

Teaching the teachers

Great teaching has long been seen as an innate skill. But reformers are showing that the best teachers are made, not born

To The 11- and 12-year-olds in his maths class, Jimmy Cavanagh seems like a born teacher. He is warm but firm. His voice is strong. Correct answers make him smile. And yet it is not his pep that explains why his pupils at North Star Academy in Newark, New Jersey, can expect to go to university, despite 80% of their families needing help to pay for school meals.

Mr Cavanagh is the product of a new way of training teachers. Rather than spending their time musing on the meaning of education, he and his peers have been drilled in the craft of the classroom. Continue reading

Funding Public Education in Chicago

Over the years, as most who read my stuff will testify, I have followed what goes on in the vaunted, so-called “halls of education” in this country, particularly when those halls are located in public school buildings. Some pretty far-out things have happened in this country in the name of public education, but what I am about to comment on here may be the most expensive.

I came across a blog spot yesterday that had an article on it datelined May 25, 2017. The headline asked this question: “Why Does the Chicago Public School System have $9 Billion Dept With Only 381,000 Students?” When I first read it I couldn’t believe I hadn’t misread it. I thought it should have been $9 million, so I went back and reread it. It was $9 billion. Simply amazing! The article started off: “Chicago public schools will look to borrow $900 million in the coming weeks adding to the district’s $9 billion dept–but it remains unclear if anyone will actually give them all the money. The loans are $500 million more than Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office announced last week when a financial rescue plan was outlined….District officials told board members Wednesday that the district would likely ‘just run out of money’ if it didn’t take out these loans.Continue reading

How an American Indian Became Rich and Famous…

Sometimes not fighting the system, but rather, keeping a low profile and having a good cover story works out better for some…

The following story was told to me many years ago by my downstairs neighbor John Moon. I was a young child then. Johnny’s principles of survival and success have always stayed with me and formed a vital part of my own personality. I would like to share them with you. Hopefully you can use these ideas to prosper.

As a little kid, around the time of World War Two, I lived with my grandma in an apartment building inhabited by many entertainers. There was the family headed by a gypsy violinist, a famous magician, and a whole bunch of radio script writers. Everyone in our building what we then called ‘show business personalities.’ There were Vaudeville act families who used to do one night stands on stages throughout the English speaking world, radio announcers, and some strip tease “artists.” Continue reading

Worden: The Public School Rip-off

Once again, Metropolis Café returns to its roots – the ‘Village of the Damned’ so to speak. Shortly after The Federal Observer went on-line in July of 2001, we began receiving columns from the author of the following post – Carl Worden. Although what follows was originally posted in March of 2010 – the message remains – the Public Fool System is STILL a Rip-Off. ~ J.B.

Carl F. Worden

If a manufacturer produces sub-standard or unsafe products, as in the current Toyota debacle, you can take your sub-standard or unsafe product back for repair or a complete refund, but when a public school district produces sub-standard students, there is seemingly no recourse. You cannot send your kid back to school, even if s/he cannot read comprehensively or perform basic math. Further, there is no means to recoup the property taxes the parents paid to support the public school system their failing child attended. Continue reading

Schrock-Taylor: Just Stop Teaching Reading

Once again, Metropolis Café returns to its roots – the ‘Village of the Damned’ so to speak. Shortly after The Federal Observer went on-line in July of 2001, we began posting columns from a very accomplished, learned and opinionated (rightfully) teacher – Linda Shrock-Taylor. Linda is now retired, but her words and her ‘lessons’ have not retired. We are thankful to still have a selection of her archives and will continue to post them on this site. After all – her words are the KEY to the future. ~ J.B.

Hear ye, hear ye! The 2009 award for the most Stupid Educational Fad goes to all schools where spelling is no longer being taught; with special “Fickle Finger of Failure” prizes to administrators, school boards, state school boards, departments of education, and all others who believe that teachers should officially stop teaching spelling as if trashing of the last vestige of actual academic instruction in America should be celebrated.

I suggest that in the last 50 years, American public schools have not taught enough spelling to even make a ‘stoppage’ worthy of media coverage. Instead of making announcements, these criminals should sign confessions down at their local police departments. Frankly, schools have long been attempting to hide their educational crimes of omission, and of teacher inefficiency, by forcing students to memorize lists of spelling words for Friday tests. Continue reading