A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Monday, July 31, 2023

A Cover Letter to a Classical Academy


Recently I have been researching classical academies and, God willing, may even help start one someday. Here is a cover letter to one such institution that will help you see where my mind has been lately regarding American education at the K12 level:

Greetings! I am Dr. James B. Carter, and this note is to express interest in working with you in a virtual capacity. I am a lifelong educator currently living in Boone, North Carolina. I started tutoring in 1996 and started teaching in 1999. I have earned teaching certifications across several states in middle school English Language Arts, high school English, K12 ELL, K12 Gifted, and in K12 Reading. Along with my K12 experiences, I have taught college courses in both English departments and Education programs. These courses range from literacy methods courses to courses on popular culture. I am a parent to two teenage boys, one who requires special attention due to autism and severe depression. I have seen what American public schools have done to distort learning, to distort parental agency, and to distort what it means to be compassionate, empathetic, and mentally, socially, and emotionally healthy.

 I believe wholeheartedly that both religious and secular Classical Education constitute the remedy to such revision, which is rooted, essentially, in anti-American, anti-logic pretenses. To preserve the best of American culture while working to improve what needs improving, Americans must educate their children to see the best of what their country has accomplished while recognizing there remains areas of improvement (elements of the “promissory note” that have yet to be fully realized); we must return to a knowledge-based system of education since primary knowledge is foundational to everything else; we must help our children reclaim a real “critical” stance: The ability to hold multiple competing thoughts and perspectives at once and to be capable of sifting through the ones that are inherently flawed. I am excited to help in all those capacities. Passionate, really. Indeed, at one time, I was constructing a board for a Barney Charter School in North Carolina, but family matters put that on hold. Facilitating the development of deep-thinking, critical thinking, considerate, giving young people is a monumental task, but such an essential one. To move education from a vapid “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink” enterprise, one must work to create intrepid and informed sojourners who are confident in joining the ranks of pragmatic change agents who have worked with the confidence that they are extending the efforts of those who acknowledged the greatness of human potential and realization that came before them, and, therefore, are less likely to cower in the face of  ignorant – sometimes willfully ignorant – radicalism, even if it comes from the State. A difficult task, to be sure, but “that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?”  

I am a first-generation college student who rose from a working poor family to earn a PhD from a Public Ivy, the University of Virginia. I graduated from public schools and universities. That does not mean I have no Classical education: I was that kid who read encyclopedias for fun, who studied the Renaissance masters even before there were turtles named after them, who made a decision at age twelve that he would work toward being a Renaissance Man and would one day attend President Jefferson’s university. I studied literature, art, and music in high school and as an undergraduate, and one reason I went into teaching is because I love helping others appreciate the humanities as a means of centering greatness (not Whiteness, not Blackness) in their own lives to glean wisdom from the accomplishments and mistakes of impressive, amazing, yet still inherently flawed people.

I consider myself to be a pro-Humanism, open-minded Christian Conservative/Classical Liberal. I believe in Neoclassical ideas and want to see them infused with multiculturalism. I know that “neoclassical” and “multiculturism” are considered passé – bigoted, even – by many on the Left (As someone who worked in K12- and Higher Education/Teacher Education, I know the pain of dealing with a majority that thinks that way). Indeed, my evolution from progressive to Classical Liberal has seeds in noting the impropriety and logic breakdowns of my professors while a doctoral student,  of my peers when I was an NEA member, and of my administrative education “leaders” (K12 principals and college deans) who bought into bad ideas, often more for the sake of their own careers than their students.  

I would love to be part of a team that understands our current educational exigency and is working actively to be a remedy to our contemporary pedagogical crises and a stalwart presence once we have remedied.



James B. Carter, PhD.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

What is the GBG Metric of DEI Utility? A Definition and a Sample

This formula for determining the utility of a college or university's DEI faculty and staff was developed by my Twitter friend DeAngelo "Dee" Snutz in late January or early February of 2023. I am sure it is overly simplistic in many ways, but perhaps it is a necessary start to evaluating (and articulating) clearly-defined goals of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity work on campuses? 

An Application of the GBG Metric of DEI Utility

The GBG presupposes:

       A.   That the goal of DEI is to increase the numbers of students of color on campus.

       B.    That the goal of DEI might be to increase the number of students on campus who are students of color, first-generation students, students from working class backgrounds, and any and all combinations or iterations thereof.

Example: “Presupposition A” Applied to Smahller-Mahn College:

SMC employs 5 people who are listed as working in the DEI domain. Their combined salary is $200,000 per year (X). The overall cost of attending Smahller-Mahn College is $25,000 per year (Y). These numbers yield a score of 8 (Z), given that 8 students of color could attend SMC if the $200,000 were applied differently.

Currently, SMC has an exact enrollment of 5 students of color (A). So, the ratio of students of color who could attend SMC (Z) compared to the current number actually enrolled (A) is 8:5.

Ideally, the Z should exhibit at least a 1:1 ratio, but better Z scores would represent 1:1+N metric wherein it is clear that there are more people of color enrolled at Smahller-Mahn than the combined salaries of DEI personnel could support.

To that end, to maximize utility of DEI monies for the sake of increasing enrollment of students of color such that the ratio of students of color who could be enrolled matches the number of students of color who are enrolled (a 1:1 ratio), Smahller-Mahn College should reallocate at least $75,000 to funds that would directly enroll more students of color. For the greater good of Smahller-Mahn, current DEI salary expenditures should be reallocated toward student scholarships or other entities that would directly affect minority student enrollment. If diversity, equity, and inclusion are truly important on campus, making these adjustments would make Smahller-Mahn a greater campus than as it exists currently.

Update: The name of the metric was changed to the GBG Metric as a goodwill gesture on March 27, 2023. Image updated June 30, 2023. 

Diversity Pledge/Statement of Pledges and Supports

 Last year or so, I began working on what, for me, would constitute an honest diversity pledge. I worked on it under the pretense that my employer would soon ask for such documents. As you know, many universities and colleges ask applicants to share a diversity statement or to take a diversity pledge.  I share mine with you below. Feel free to tell me what you think about it via a post at my current twitter account, @CarterAcademyNC. What does it lack? Is it a radical document based on today's preferences within the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI, or "DIE," as some call it)? What elements of current academic parlance and conscientiousness does it not cover?

I support the notion that people deserve to be named as they want to be named and identified how they want to be identified regarding gender and pronouns. I do not support the idea that one must believe that the named identity or named gender of any person is who or what they really are, though I pledge to be respectful of calling people by their chosen names and using their chosen pronouns to the best of my ability. I do not support the corrupt, Marxist radical front known as Black Lives Matter. I do believe that all Black lives are important, including the lives of Black Republicans, Libertarians, Classical Liberals, and Conservatives, and the millions of Black lives that have been lost through abortion.  I do support and pledge to continue to support the pro-country, pro-family, and pro-accountability Black-led movement Take Charge. I do not support Black sovereignty, or the sovereignty of any people based solely on race. I support and pledge to continue to support national sovereignty, sovereignty of a nation to be a nation, to protect its citizens, to maintain borders, and to act in the interests of its own citizenry while offering help to those who may not yet be its citizens. I do not support the erroneous, divisive 1619 Project or its tenets as teachings of fact and am especially skeptical of the claim that America’s founding principle is slavery. I support the pro-Founders, pro-American 1776 Unites and the Black-led Woodson Center that helped create it. I acknowledge the efforts of Thomas Jefferson to pinpoint the stain of America’s reliance on slavery as a sin foisted upon the colonies by its European controllers, as Jefferson maintained in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence. I support and pledge to continue to support notions of history that are expansive, interpretive, as accurate as possible, and centered around the recognition of the sacrifices people of all kinds have made to move America ever closer to what Barack Obama has called its Promissory Note. I recognize that land existed in the eyes of God as His before it was ever conceived of as property and that the human notions of stewardship, ownership, and inheritance of land have shifted throughout millennia. I pledge to continue to acknowledge that land pre-dated man, and that land will post-date humanity as well.  I do not believe that the opposite of racism is anti-racism, or that, as Black academic Ibram X. Kendi says, the only way to deal with past discrimination is with more discrimination. Rather, I believe and pledge to continue to believe – and to act in the belief in -- what accomplished Black scholar Carol Swain says: “The opposite of racism is not anti-racism. The opposite of racism is pluralism.” I believe this pluralism must extend to embracing viewpoint diversity as one of many necessary diversities championed through actual diversity, inclusion, and equity work. Inclusion must not be gained through exclusion, and equity work must be rooted, from its onset, in the notion that all people are equal in the eyes of God and were bestowed from God with inalienable rights, rights that have been and still may be systematically kept from them by flawed humans, but not by God. I do not believe that white scholars should champion themselves as anti-racist; rather, it seems to me that should be an honor bestowed upon them from people of color based on their actions rather than from white scholars’ privileged position of and authority to describe themselves as anti-racist. I believe and pledge to continue to believe that the primary goal of diversity, equity, and inclusion work should be opening spaces to those who have not had access to them based on socioeconomic factors and such initiatives should work to create opportunities for the disenfranchised and people of color from all belief systems and political points of view.  I believe that education must be rooted in the classical sense of critical consciousness – the ability to consider multiple viewpoints and think them through – rather than rooted in ideologies of indoctrination and dogma. I pledge to teach according to this belief.  I maintain that the responsibility of those who educate is to help young people learn how to think and to think for themselves, with an emphasis on exploring the multitudinous reasons – not single-factor reasons -- systems have developed the way they have throughout the full run of human development. Further, I do not believe that any rational person should take advice about diversity, inclusion, and equity from any organization or entity so unaware of itself such that it feels compelled to take a lead in that work while concurrently being comprised of a membership that gathers periodically to celebrate ritualistic rites of passage while its members are adorned in hoods and robes.