Now You Know

No, by the grace of God, you will NOT plead ignorance. You will NOT testify that you never knew any better because no one ever taught you anything better. You will not plead that you were never told.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A Wolf in Wool . . .

Or a wolf bearing a sheepskin. Either way it is expressed, it still sums up Joseph Woolcock. See my previous posts here and here.

I'm perfectly willing to let that wolf in wool bear its sheepskin. After this post on the matter, I assure you I won't bore you readers with the topic again. It is said that a word to the wise is sufficient, yet I know some ostensibly wise individuals who can be somewhat stubborn and recalcitrant, especially if they may mistakenly feel that their entire profession is being wrongfully attacked. For example, there are some doctors and nurses who won't come forward when they know another doctor is guilty of malpractice. There are some lawyers who won't come forward when they know a fellow attorney is guilty of mishandling a case. Etc., etc. To them I can only say that pointing out the misdeeds of one individual in their own or related professional fields is hardly a condemnation of the entire profession. Nor is it necessary to circle the wagons in a show of solidarity to protect the presumed "injured party" of their profession.

One of the very many reasons that I rarely enable comments on this blog is to avoid the petty in-fighting that occurs among some blogs. Another reason is that my blog is a small and inconsequential one that has almost no readership and is hardly a public forum. Surely it is no threat to the mighty and I can't imagine it being perceived as one. Yet another reason is that I don't have time to respond point-by-point to every nit-picker who may disagree with my point of view, especially when many only briefly scan blog posts (I too am guilty of rapidly scanning the blog posts of others) and then they may go off half-woolcocked:

"A) The guy at Now You Know makes the same mistake that I claim most students do when reading Dye and Ziegler. Dye and Ziegler are elitetheorists. They do, in fact, believe the Founding era was not a popular movement but one in which a small number of powerful men led the country. However, this is not a normative statement. It is an empirical one. My impression is that Dye believes this was a good thing--can you imagine the riff-raff that led Shaye's rebellion writing a Constitution? Whether the Professor is a Marxist, I don't know, but I like Dye and Ziegler's book so much because it explicitly tells you the theoretical point of view from which they are coming. Most other texts do not.

B) The rate my professor thing is a joke. I just looked up my own rating and found I was a 3.2 as well. But only ONE student rated me! Statistically it makes the thing completely irrelevant. Looking at my colleagues a distinct pattern appeard [sic]--the harder the professor the worse the rating. Hmmm, I wonder why that is...."

The "guy at Now You Know" is Frank Villon. Just as the "guy" at The Jawa Report is pseudonymously Dr. Rusty Shackleford. The "guy at Now You Know" didn't make any mistakes about Dye and Ziegler. In fact, the "guy at Now You Know" scarcely mentions Dye and Ziegler except in passing because they are mentioned in one of Joseph Woolcock's questions that is asked in an extremely slanted fashion. In fact, the question is worded in such a way that the student is left with no alternative but to toe the Dye and Ziegler line without possibility of rebuttal or dissent. Dye and Ziegler may be virtual gods in their subject area, the writers of the gospel in that field. I say more power to those that are interested in their writing. However, I might mention that they too may be fallible and an alleged education that merely has students parrot any presumed authorities is hardly an education.

Once again, the leading portion of the question is this:

"Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded [the]majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America’s elite interest."

By the very nature of its wording the question excludes the possibility of showing anything other than its self-contained assertion that "its formulation excluded [the]majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America’s elite interest."

It is no "mistake" to say that this is Dye and Ziegler's opinion, however worthy those gentleman may be and whatever there supposedly unimpeachable credentials may be. It is also no "mistake" to point out that the question leaves no room for any other interpretation.

As Gordon at Cranky Neocon judiciously notes, "I don't know for sure, Rusty, but I do suspect that Dye's position may be used to put forth Prof. Woolcock's anti-American views. Just a thought."

Dr. Rusty Shackleford also commented, "Whether the Professor is a Marxist, I don't know. . ." I do know. That's why I told you. In case I didn't previously make it clear, Joseph Woolcock has Marxist views. However, don't take my word it. You can peruse his lecture series on Google. As commenter Dan at Gordon's blog notes, "First, Gordo - all I had to do was look at the guy's [Joseph Woolcock's] different lecture series which I touched on in my post on him to conclude he is a nit wit." Yup. That's about the size of it. Well put, Dan!

Regarding the "Rate My Professor" site: "B) The rate my professor thing is a joke. I just looked up my own rating and found I was a 3.2 as well. But only ONE student rated me!" I'm sorry that only one of Dr. Rusty Shacklefords students rated him because that indeed is not statistically significant. However, the single rater of Dr. Rusty Shackleford gave him a 3.2 rating with 5.0 being the highest, whereas 49 students gave Joseph Woolcock a rating of 2.3. That's hardly the same rating or the same circumstances. Also the "Rate My Professor" site clearly addresses the questions raised about statistical validity and about how "easy" or "hard" a professor is. See their FAQ's.

Regarding the "easiness factor" they say: "How do the scores work? I don't think Easiness is a good thing - why is it part of the rating? All categories are based on a 5 point rating system, with 5 being the best. The Overall Quality rating is the average of a teacher's Helpfulness and Clarity ratings, and is what determines the type of "smiley face" that the teacher receives. A teacher's Easiness rating is NOT used when computing the Overall Quality rating, since an Easiness of 5 may actually mean the teacher is TOO easy. Please look here for more information on the rating categories."

Regarding statistical validity they say: "Are the ratings statistically valid? Not really. They are a listing of opinions and should be judged as such. However, we often receive emails stating that the ratings are uncannily accurate, especially for schools with over 1000 ratings. And, check out this article about a school administrator who checked the correlation of our ratings with the U. of Waterloo student reviews."

Last but not least, I'll close with some of the comments from the "Rate My Professor" site written by students:

"Does not respect anyone else's opinions but his own and at times can be downright **** and anti semetic [sic]. Mostly spends class time preaching in order to hear himself talk or praising his TAs for repeating everything he says. Barely touches upon basic political science curriculum."

"Absolutely the worst teacher I ever had. I transferred onto USF and nailed a 3.8 GPA, graduating****laude--and yet I got a 'D' on all of my papers because he did not agree with my point of view and what I had to say. By the end of the class, only 8 people remained. Unapproachable, dismissive, rude."

" Should be US Hegemony 2."

To be fair, Joseph Woolcock also has his supporters:

"Fine mind. Tough but determined to help us succeed when we transfer. Demanding, but the universities will be demanding. Spends hours seeing students. Really cares. Sounds like lazy folks do not like his classes. Too bad."

"his class requires a lot of reading and is writing-intensive. however, he's entertaining & introduces you to political views outside your bubble. he'll really make you think! take him, he's the best!!!"

And people wonder why our jury system is such that often one cannot get 12 jurors to all agree that shit smells bad.

The Joseph Woolcock saga has come to an end on this blog. Although it is highly unlikely that anyone's previous opinion has been changed one way or another, you've at least been given a starting point and some of the tools to do your own research and arrive at your own conclusions.

But I won't count on the latter part of my immediately preceding statement. Fess up, y'all just scan stuff, right? That's ok. I too do it at times.

May this topic now R.I.P.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.