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Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Jan 25, 2024 11:24 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included Trump's popularity, the social skills of a smart seven-year-old, yield protection in college admissions, and changing MCPS high school start times.

The most active thread yesterday was one titled, "I hate Trump, but I get why a huge part of middle America loves him" and posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. The original poster says that she is a "typical educated and wealthy DC-area striver" but she believes that most of America has been "truly screwed over by progressive policies" and, therefore, believes that Democrats no longer care about the large group that has suffered from under-education, under-employment, drug abuse, being forced to compete with undocumented immigrants, and "penalized by the color of their skin". I am not going to bother to read a single post in this thread. Rather, I'll just address the original poster's points which appear to be a triumph of right-wing messaging over fact. One of the biggest successes of the right-wing has been to destroy liberal-support institutions and then complain that those institutions don't function and/or blame the results of that destruction on liberals. Under-education is largely a result of decades of attacks on public education by conservatives. Similarly, under-employment is the result of the relentless pursuit of profits by corporations, not liberal policies. To the contrary, one of the best antidotes to under-employment — unionization — is a Democratic priority hated by conservatives. The opioid epidemic about which the original poster complains was largely instigated by the pharmaceutical industry. Do you know what might have helped control or prevent that? Government regulations which Republicans hate. The idea that White people are not able to go to college because of the color of their skin is ludicrous. The high costs of college are an exponentially higher barrier and many of the poorer White applicants would have had their own advantages in any case. Yet, Republicans oppose efforts to make paying for college easier. The original poster mentions fighting in wars, but these wars were started and supported by Republicans. It was Joe Biden who withdrew our forces from Afghanistan. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats do not have full time propaganda networks such as Fox News broadcasting their talking points. As a result, Democratic achievements don't get the same notice. What does the original poster think about the United Auto Workers deal that was achieved after a historic strike with the support of Joe Biden? During the strike, Trump met with non-unionized workers. Not only did that agreement raise the salaries of UAW members, but non-unionized companies — even Tesla — have had to increase wages to stay competitive.  The problems facing the White folks with whom the original poster is concerned are largely the fault of anti-government zealots and a corporate America that puts profits over people. It is no surprise that both of those groups are happy to blame Democrats and migrants for problems resulting from right-wing policies. It is disappointing, however, when those such as the original poster who should know better buy into the conservative blame-shifting.

The next two most active threads yesterday were ones that I've already discussed and will skip today. Those were the threads about Dr. McKnight and MCPS and the thread by the poster who is having a difficult time while visiting Bangladesh. The most active thread after those was posted in the "Elementary School-Aged Kids" forum. Titled, "Intellectually Pretentious DD", the original poster says that her seven-year-old daughter is bright and "loves to be the smartest person in the room". The original poster provided several examples of how her daughter likes to assert her intelligence and says that she is worried that her daughter is missing social skills. What struck me about this thread was the number of posters who seemed almost irrationally bothered by this child that they don't even know. Poster after poster insisted that the behavior described is not cute and described how they have been irritated by similar children. One even called the child "weird". I got a big laugh on the first page when a poster wrote, "Yes she is missing social skills and is self unaware" and then sock puppeted a response quoting her own post and saying, "Yep. Not good". A seven-year-old child impressed with her own intelligence probably has some hope of developing social skills in the future, but what is there to be said about a full-grown adult who sock puppets posts about such a child? Several posters advise the original poster to be direct with her child and explain why the behavior is problematic. A few others argue that this behavior is normal in children of that age and that she will grow out of it. Not unexpectedly, several posters were intent on putting blame on the original poster and were very defensive about their own children. A few helpful posts did emerge however, proposing specific actions the original poster could take to help her daughter modify her behavior. In general though, it seems the most common type of response was for posters to explain how their children didn't behave in this manner. Or, as one poster put it, "This has been quite the thread of people bragging about what non-braggarts their kids are." At least one poster stated a preference for raising a child that bragged — assuming the bragging was backed up by performance — than raising a kid with self-esteem issues. The bottom line for me is that I came away from this thread with considerably more concern about the adults than the child.

Third for today was a thread titled, "Is yield protect real? Which colleges like to YP?" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. "Yield protection" is the idea that colleges reject some applicants that are likely to be accepted by a more prestigious school. The colleges are alleged to be concerned about having a high number of accepted students turn down admission and go elsewhere. So, they reject those who they think are too strong for their school. I've written before, multiple times I believe, that there is either a poster or posters absolutely obsessed with yield protection and likely to blame almost any admissions decision on yield protection. I don't think the original poster of this thread is that poster, but like that poster, the original poster misunderstands some admissions concepts and, therefore, wrongly suspects yield protection as a factor. In the original poster's case, he discusses early decision and early decision 2 admissions decisions and suggests that they can be explained by yield protection. However, because ED and ED2 admissions, as these types of decisions are normally called, require a commitment to attend if the student is accepted, yield protection is not a concern. Yield should be close to 100 percent. Moreover, students can only submit one application for ED so they don't even have another option with which to compare an ED acceptance. Beyond the ED admissions for which yield protection is clearly not a factor, several posters in this thread doubt that yield protection really exists at all. As some point out, most of the schools involved in yield protection discussions are fairly selective and there are any number of reasons that an applicant could be turned down. Given that admissions at top schools are essentially lotteries, being turned down by one school and accepted by a higher ranked school doesn't mean the lower-ranked school was yield protecting. It might simply mean that the student was luckier in the lottery for the higher-ranked school. Personally, despite attending four different colleges or universities myself and having two children in college, I would not even have heard of the term "yield protection" had it not been for this forum. I am very doubtful that anyone other than the few obsessives in this forum cares about the statistic. More likely, as one poster put it, "The only schools that ‘yield protect’ are those that rejected your kid." Alternatively, as another sarcastically wrote, "They rejected Timmy but ackshually it’s because he was too good for that school."

The final thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. Titled, "Petition: Later MCPS school start times", the original poster simply asks if someone will post a link to the petition. The issue here is that Montgomery County Public Schools high school students start class very early. One poster said as early as 7:30, but I believe it is actually 7:45. Either way, this requires getting to a bus stop much earlier than that and, therefore, waking up even earlier. In many cases, high schoolers are being forced to wake as early as 5 or 5:30 in the morning. Many parents are concerned that this is not healthy, arguing that high school students need more sleep. Moreover, they contend, high schoolers' body clocks are geared toward staying up later. The result is many students suffering from sleep deprivation. The justification for the early start times is the need for the buses to deliver high school students and then be used to pick up elementary school students. There are not enough buses or drivers to pick up all grades at once. For the same reason, elementary school students don't start until 9:30 which many parents consider too late because they need to be heading for work before that. As a result, very few parents seem to be happy about school start times. But, nobody has a good solution either. As posters point out, this topic has been debated before and there are no easy answers. Moreover, with the school system embroiled in a battle with the superintendent, there is probably little appetite to take on an issue of this magnatude. Posters who want start times to change don't appear to have any ideas for solutions that have not been previously considered and ruled out. The result is a thread full of complaints but very short on solutions. Moreover, the solutions that are proposed have generally already been ruled out. So, there is constant repetition of a poster saying, "Let's to this" and another saying, "see the report that researched that idea and found that it wouldn't work". Even the petition that posters repeatedly urge others to sign has the same shortcoming. It does a great job of explaining the need for a later start time, but makes no effort to address the obstacles to implementing the demand. There are also a number of posters who have no sympathy whatsover for students who need to wake up early. These posters tend to blame parents for not parenting satisfactorily and have no patience for health-related arguments. As one poster writes, "Every year some kook posts about teenagers needing more sleep."

Anonymous says:
Jan 25, 2024 03:47 PM
Hi Jeff! Just to let you know, I think your link to the thread about changing MCPS high school start times is broken. At least, it didn't work for me. I was able to find the thread by just going to the MCSP board.
Jeff Steele says:
Jan 25, 2024 03:58 PM
This is a repeated problem with the blogging software. Sometimes it modifies links dynamically and then they don't work. Depending on factors that I haven't completely figured out, the same link will work or not work without anything being modified. The problem drives me nuts and I haven't spent a lot of time trying to figure out what causes it and how to make it stop.
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