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Monday, February 6, 2023

Chiefly Illiterate in San Francisco Schools

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A trainer carrying a protecting masks speaks to college students throughout a lesson at an elementary college in San Francisco, Oct. 5, 2020.



Photo:

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News

The San Francisco college district is a sluggish learner, apparently. In February voters ousted three school-board members in landslide elections. One grievance was that the board was extra serious about progressive gestures, corresponding to scrubbing

Abraham Lincoln’s

title off college buildings, than in reopening school rooms amid the pandemic.

Now the San Francisco Chronicle stories that the varsity district is planning to section out the phrase “chief” in its job titles, “given that Native American members of our community have expressed concerns.” Currently the district has executives with the customary roles of chief monetary officer, chief of workers, and so forth.

Here’s what is especially amusing on this try at progressive sensitivity: While the English language has plenty of phrases that may be traced to the native peoples of the Americas, together with “chipmunk,” “barbecue” and “hurricane,” they don’t embrace “chief.” That phrase comes from Old French, and initially Latin, and the Oxford English Dictionary has citations again to 1297.

“Farewell great Chiefe,” says a personality in Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra.” That’s dated to the early 1600s. Somehow we doubt he was fascinated with the Sioux. A biblical translation from

William Tyndale

in 1526 speaks of “the power of Belzebub, the chefe of the devyls.” The earliest examples are arduous to parse except you’re fluent in Beowulfese, however right here’s one we grasp from 1483, a decade earlier than Columbus sailed to the west: “She was made abbesse and chyef of al the monasterye.”

Don’t San Francisco colleges have English lecturers who can clarify this? And even when “chief” did have Native origins, so what? The English language is a melting pot, to make use of one other disfavored time period. Or perhaps actual progressives ought to forswear French-derived phrases solely. Decolonizing the language would positive stick it to William the Conqueror, the Norman who subjugated England in 1066.

The San Francisco college district was at pains to emphasise that the title adjustments “are in no way diminishing the indispensable contributions of our district central service leaders.” But a alternative time period, the Chronicle stories, “has not been determined.” Sounds like they want one other recall election.

Wonder Land: Despite repeated cries of threats to “our democracy,” a political repair for November received’t restore the harm progressives have completed to the U.S. Images: Getty Images/MG21/The Met Museum/Vogue Composite: Mark Kelly

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Appeared within the May 27, 2022, print version.

Source: www.wsj.com

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