Monday, May 30, 2016



Harvard hearts gibberish

But Leftists love a black whiner.  As far as one can make out, the speaker is complaining about black oppression in the past and saying he has risen above that.  The idea that he personally has been oppressed is ludicrous.  Oppressed people don't usually graduate from Harvard.  He has in fact almost certainly been most privileged by Harvard's affirmative action policies.  Harvard's admission policies are heavily and consciously racist -- with Jews and blacks privileged and Asian enrolments kept down

Graduation speeches can be a torrid affair.  But not for those lucky enough to listen to Donovan Livingston, whose delivery of his awe-inspiring poem at Harvard University is going colossally viral online.

Nearly eight million people have now watched the powerful address since a video of his oration was posted to Facebook on Thursday.

Many have even hailed it as the greatest graduation speech ever.

The likes of Justin Timberlake and Hillary Clinton have even shared his heartfelt rendition of his own artistry.

Those lucky enough to hear the speech live, including Harvard professors, greeted Donovan's poem with a standing ovation.

He is now a social sciences research assistant at the university, and began his speech quoting educational reformer Horace Mann:

The speech/poem:

Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.'
At the time of his remarks I couldn't read — couldn't write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge's infinite power.
Yet somehow, we've never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.
 
Unfortunately, I've seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
'Diversity. Inclusion'
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But I've always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won't allow me to sit still.
So my body, like the mind
Cannot be contained.

SOURCE 





Freedom From Religion Foundation Opposes Proposed Bible Class, Recommends 'The God Delusion'

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is opposing a proposed Bible class in an Arkansas school district.

The class is the idea of Bentonville School Board member Brent Leas, who has recommended adding an elective academic bible study class to the 2017-18 curriculum.

"This is just an opportunity for us to just have the Bible as an open elective course for those students who would be interested in knowing more about the Bible and its historical and literary context," Leas recently told 5News in Arkansas. Leas argues that the class would be permissible under Arkansas Act 1440, which was passed in 2013 and allows public school courses on the Bible provided that they are academic and offered as an elective.

On May 9 Freedom From Religion co-president Anne Lauie Gaylor sent a letter to the members of the Bentonville School Board. It reads in part:

We write to inform you that bible classes in Bentonville schools - even those proposed under state law - are legally problematic under federal constitution and at odds with the basic notion that public schools do not play religious favorites. It is also at odds with Article II, Section 24 of the Arkansas Constitution, which guarantees that "not preference shall be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination, or mode of worship above any other..."

Finally, the Christian bias implicit in this proposal is apparent. If the board believes that District students would benefit from a deeper understanding of holy books that millions of Americans find meaning in, then there is no reason not to also create classes studying the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tipitaka, or, perhaps, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.
The Bentonville School Board is expected to discuss the proposal for the new course at their next meeting in June.

SOURCE 






Australian university places still mainly filled by better-off students despite uncapping

This is a good example of shallow Leftist thinking leading to a result the opposite of what was intended.  A measure designed to help the poor has helped the rich.  Dumbing down university admission standards to help the poor sounds right for about 5 minutes -- until you look at the source of the problem. 

And the source is clearly the bad schools that the poor are forced to attend.  And you can't fix the schools by making university education dumber.  It is clear what is needed:  Restoration of discipline in the schools so that teachers are free to teach, no matter how poor the catchment area of the school may be.  As it is at the moment, a few disruptive students can hold back a whole class.

And student fees are another deterrent to the poor -- but not to the rich.  So a wealthy family can now get a university degree for their kid even though the kid might not be the brightest



AUSTRALIA’S universities ­remain the playground of the "rich and thick", who are gaining entry to degrees with low scores thanks to reforms ­designed to help the poor.

That has prompted one university head to warn that you don’t "change the make-up of the flock by leaving the farm gate open".

Thanks to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s decision to uncap university places, unis can enrol as many ­students as they wish, with the federal government funding the places and students running up $67 billion in uni loans.

It is estimated that one in four of these debts will never be repaid to taxpayers.

The number of students gaining university places with a tertiary entry mark under 50 is on track to hit 10,000 students this year.

But the target of 20 per cent of students from low-income backgrounds by 2020 is proving tougher to deliver.

The proportion of low-income students attending university had remained ­stable, at around 16 per cent, for nearly two decades.  Uncapping places has lifted it by only about 1 per cent.

University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Stephen Bebbington has previously warned the reforms had not done much to lift participation of disadvantaged kids. "As my father the farmer would have said, ‘You don’t change the make-up of the flock by leaving the farm gate open’," he said.

The Group of Eight (Go8) universities, Australia’s eight leading research universities, have previously warned that the reforms need a rethink. "Although the proportion of students from a low SES background has increased over the past five years, 80 per cent of growth still occurred in students from medium and high SES backgrounds."

There are also claims that wealthy public and private schools "inflate" entry scores with intensive tutoring that leaves those students struggling at third-level.

Curtin University researchers found that schools with higher socio-economic status inflate their students’ university entry scores and hence ­access to university.

Meanwhile, Grattan Institute director Andrew Norton said there was evidence that students from disadvantaged backgrounds who had defied the odds to make it to university performed better than their lower Year 12 scores predict.  "They are resilient and have the work ethic to succeed even if their ATARs are lower."

Some critics are calling for a new debate around whether a university education should be regarded as a prerequisite for all, citing the example of successful Australians, including Paul Keating and philanthropist and businessman Frank Lowy, who did not attend uni.

SOURCE


Sunday, May 29, 2016



The True Story of a Conservative Refugee

By Robert Oscar Lopez

Trigger Warning: This is a 100% true story.  No names have been changed to protect anyone.  You may be disturbed.  But I will not lie to you.

On April 23, 2016, I declared my independence.  The towers of the university where I work reflected the orange glare of L.A.'s sunset.  It was Saturday, but I'd driven all the way to campus to do something, I realized, I should have done eight years ago.  The office was empty, as one would expect.  The security cameras probably captured becoming footage of my lone figure walking down the seventh floor hallway and throwing open the door to my private office.

Then I climbed over the desk and let my arms dangle in the space between the desk and the wall.  Each of the connections was there.  I unplugged the power, the network cable, the printer cables, the Ethernet, and everything that allowed the world at large to stay connected to the computer in my office.  When all the connections were pulled, I lifted the computer up and hid it in a safe place.

The emails and social media of several prior weeks had gradually convinced me.  The urban legends about employers spying on employees were not paranoid fantasy.  It had become clear to me that someone had been going through the documents on my computer and hacked into my personal email accounts through the desktop at work.  Someone must have physically entered my office, having obtained the key from staff, or gotten into the hard drive through the network cables.  For years the coincidences had been too numerous and bizarre.  For a while, though, I didn't have proof.

In dozens of articles I had joked about the tribulations of a conservative professor in left-wing academia, but there was nothing funny about my life anymore.  Someone within the university was leaking personal details from my personal email (not the university email) to people off campus.  The door to my office still, after six years, bore the deep grooves left when someone dug a sharp blade through the wood to deface my Army stickers.  The vandalism had been hidden for a number of years behind posters, but in the time since, some of my posters had been ripped or disfigured as well.  People had slipped menacing Bible verses about repenting and preparing for the apocalypse under my door.  Then there were the barrages of obscene phone calls, emails calling me "vendido" and asshole, and the vandals who tore my American flag.

By now I had gone through several rounds of "investigations" because of frivolous student complaints, including charges that I "had erections while teaching," called Helen of Troy "promiscuous," and said that liberals were "nutjobs."  The epic Title IX tribunal over my conference at the Reagan Presidential Library is still now, to this day, open and undecided after 600 days.  The case was based on a gay student claiming he had a nervous breakdown because of anti-gay "targeting" at the Reagan Library and a woman who claimed I did not nominate her for an award because she alleged that the five female speakers at the Reagan Library were "anti-female."

By 2014 I could no longer trust any of my students.  I was teaching like a robot: come in, hook up the laptop, give one of my canned lectures, tell the jokes at all the right junctures, try not to screw up, and get out before students can get into any unsupervised conversations.  I had an inkling which of my colleagues were planting students in my class to annoy me – at first I thought I was crazy to suspect it – but when it was clear that most of the people lodging weird complaints had the same few professors as mentors, I knew that there were no real coincidences anymore.  You don't try to guess who the snipers are; just assume they are all out to get you, and never get close.

I stopped providing comments on papers.  I stopped accepting papers as hard copies and received them only through the online portal, so there would be a digital record.  No more arguments.  If students want to write a paper claiming that James Baldwin was braver than Malcolm X because Baldwin moved to Paris and had gay lovers, fine.  Want to write a paper about how Anne Bradstreet was really a feminist who hated Christianity?  Sure, why not?  Go for it.  No more bonding with students coming into my office saying, "I am a Christian who admires your work, and I want to say, it's so great to have you as a teacher."  Some of those heart-to-heart visitors were real, but others were fake, and the fake ones have made it impossible for me to help the real ones.

Keep the office door barely ajar if nobody's coming for office hours.  Open it wide if someone's in there.  Don't be personal, make it brief, thank them, and then close the door as they leave.

What am I hoping for, a corroborating witness?  My colleagues are just as likely to make up stories about me as my students.  In the last two weeks, I obtained proof that other professors (the lefties, of course) were spreading rumors that I was a CIA operative engaged in "government-backed agitation," I threatened to jump off a tower and kill myself, I stole a computer, and I was "racially profiling" students in the blind-copy section of an email.  (How you "racially profile" people in a blind-copy section containing white, black, Asian, and Latino recipients is really a curious mystery.  But there you have it.)

Every single colleague who was nice to me turned out to be luring me into traps of one kind or another.  I arrived in 2008 and thought they would be okay with me hanging one McCain-Palin sign, just a tiny little one, on a bulletin board inside my office.  But the cost of that one little sign was dear indeed.

I drove them insane.  They tried to make me crazy, but somehow just by coming to work each day and not converting to their cause or crumpling up in a ball of tears, I incited a powerful instinct in them: the instinct to hunt down the enemy.

What leads grown adults with Ph.D.s to stand before an office door and drag a sharp blade – was it an awl or a screwdriver? – over someone else's Army stickers while he is on military leave?  In eight years I lunched with colleagues a total of five or six times and never had conversations with the rest.  The people in that department had never listened to my speeches, read my work, or spoken to me at length.  They knew absolutely nothing about me.  How can you not know someone and yet be completely okay with telling all the Latino students that he's a CIA agent who has been sent by the government to do mean things he learned at the School of the Americas?

They wouldn't let me speak at meetings.  Every time I posted anything on the listserv, no matter how short or long, how opinionated or neutral, somebody would complain, and I'd have to worry about payback during peer review.  They wouldn't promote my work in the department newsletter, made a point to sabotage any students who chose me as a mentor, and kept me off all the important committees.

It was not long before I decided to strike a devil's bargain with my peers – you do your thing and leave me alone.  I will find money and research projects that have nothing to do with campus and won't taint liberal colleagues with the dreaded fear of complicity with the Koch Brothers (just kidding – I've never done anything with the Koch Brothers, regardless of what they say about me).  But they couldn't even let me do my thing and be left alone.

It was when I tried to go my own way that the most Lopez-obsessed parties on campus started ginning up the worst of the student complaints.  It was as if they could be happy only if they knew that I was being tortured by bureaucratic sadists somewhere in the state university's catacombs.

The administration turned against me as the weight of outside pressure and constant pestering from the faculty proved too much.  The provost who was favorable to me left, and a new pharaoh came who did not know Joseph.  Within days of his being sworn in, my enemies were gleefully preparing new complaints that would have to cross his desk.  A call came from my dean, someone I had scrupulously avoided dealing with, in September 2015.  She said she was forcing me to be on the college personnel committee with four people I had ample reason to fear.  I tried to get off the committee, but the dean insisted that this was routine procedure and I had no right to refuse service on it.  As if by clockwork, within six months there were he-said-she-said accusations against me, and I was stuck in endless conferrals again.

By the time a Chicano activist leaked an email revealing that one of my colleagues in English was still obsessed with convincing others I was part of the CIA, my sense of humor had dried up.  Student organizations with hundreds of members were included on the distribution list.  The emissary to Chicano Studies who'd brought the alleged information about my spy status was not a Chicano studies major, but a grad student in English who'd gotten a high-profile award.  I had never met him once, but he felt at ease inciting untold numbers of irascible militants that I was a deceitful enemy who could not be trusted in any way.  I didn't want police to escort me at my job.  But that was how it ended up.

As the olive in my martini, a professor sent me links to homosexual pornography secretly embedded in a heated email chain.  I am so lucky not to have clicked on the hyperlink.  At least some of my better instincts are still sharp.

I stood on my desk on that Saturday night and realized: I don't have to live like this.

Not long afterward, I closed out the year with a lecture on Thoreau and Whitman and told my students, "This is my last time teaching here.  I leave you with three lessons as young writers, which you should never forget.

"First, you will never become famous for the work you wanted everyone to read; it will be something you never expected and often something you didn't want to be famous for.

"Second, when your writing gets attention, own it.  Someone out there feels as you do, and you can't get scared, for their sake.

"Third, when you leave the university, there is no reward for nuance.  People draw lines and stick to them.  Almost any viewpoint you have is polarizing.  You have to survive.  So when there are two sides fighting with each other and you're caught in the middle, get out of the middle.  Pick the side that's protecting you, and stay away from the side that's attacking you – they can't be trusted."

With that, I left campus.  Some students wanted to speak to me as I walked out, but I raced past them and down the steps leading to a side courtyard.  I unfurled my tie and slowly unbuttoned my shirt so I could walk in my undershirt, blending in with the young Mexicans of Los Angeles.  After a few moments I looked at my feet and realized I was running.  I was literally fleeing, like a refugee.  And Lot's wife popped into my mind.

Don't look back.

The left is toxic.  Freedom is sweet.  Between tenure and happiness...farewell, liberal academia.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif, Soundcloud, and Twitter.

Trigger Warning: This is a 100% true story.  No names have been changed to protect anyone.  You may be disturbed.  But I will not lie to you.

On April 23, 2016, I declared my independence.  The towers of the university where I work reflected the orange glare of L.A.'s sunset.  It was Saturday, but I'd driven all the way to campus to do something, I realized, I should have done eight years ago.  The office was empty, as one would expect.  The security cameras probably captured becoming footage of my lone figure walking down the seventh floor hallway and throwing open the door to my private office.

Then I climbed over the desk and let my arms dangle in the space between the desk and the wall.  Each of the connections was there.  I unplugged the power, the network cable, the printer cables, the Ethernet, and everything that allowed the world at large to stay connected to the computer in my office.  When all the connections were pulled, I lifted the computer up and hid it in a safe place.

The emails and social media of several prior weeks had gradually convinced me.  The urban legends about employers spying on employees were not paranoid fantasy.  It had become clear to me that someone had been going through the documents on my computer and hacked into my personal email accounts through the desktop at work.  Someone must have physically entered my office, having obtained the key from staff, or gotten into the hard drive through the network cables.  For years the coincidences had been too numerous and bizarre.  For a while, though, I didn't have proof.

In dozens of articles I had joked about the tribulations of a conservative professor in left-wing academia, but there was nothing funny about my life anymore.  Someone within the university was leaking personal details from my personal email (not the university email) to people off campus.  The door to my office still, after six years, bore the deep grooves left when someone dug a sharp blade through the wood to deface my Army stickers.  The vandalism had been hidden for a number of years behind posters, but in the time since, some of my posters had been ripped or disfigured as well.  People had slipped menacing Bible verses about repenting and preparing for the apocalypse under my door.  Then there were the barrages of obscene phone calls, emails calling me "vendido" and asshole, and the vandals who tore my American flag.

By now I had gone through several rounds of "investigations" because of frivolous student complaints, including charges that I "had erections while teaching," called Helen of Troy "promiscuous," and said that liberals were "nutjobs."  The epic Title IX tribunal over my conference at the Reagan Presidential Library is still now, to this day, open and undecided after 600 days.  The case was based on a gay student claiming he had a nervous breakdown because of anti-gay "targeting" at the Reagan Library and a woman who claimed I did not nominate her for an award because she alleged that the five female speakers at the Reagan Library were "anti-female."

By 2014 I could no longer trust any of my students.  I was teaching like a robot: come in, hook up the laptop, give one of my canned lectures, tell the jokes at all the right junctures, try not to screw up, and get out before students can get into any unsupervised conversations.  I had an inkling which of my colleagues were planting students in my class to annoy me – at first I thought I was crazy to suspect it – but when it was clear that most of the people lodging weird complaints had the same few professors as mentors, I knew that there were no real coincidences anymore.  You don't try to guess who the snipers are; just assume they are all out to get you, and never get close.

I stopped providing comments on papers.  I stopped accepting papers as hard copies and received them only through the online portal, so there would be a digital record.  No more arguments.  If students want to write a paper claiming that James Baldwin was braver than Malcolm X because Baldwin moved to Paris and had gay lovers, fine.  Want to write a paper about how Anne Bradstreet was really a feminist who hated Christianity?  Sure, why not?  Go for it.  No more bonding with students coming into my office saying, "I am a Christian who admires your work, and I want to say, it's so great to have you as a teacher."  Some of those heart-to-heart visitors were real, but others were fake, and the fake ones have made it impossible for me to help the real ones.

Keep the office door barely ajar if nobody's coming for office hours.  Open it wide if someone's in there.  Don't be personal, make it brief, thank them, and then close the door as they leave.

What am I hoping for, a corroborating witness?  My colleagues are just as likely to make up stories about me as my students.  In the last two weeks, I obtained proof that other professors (the lefties, of course) were spreading rumors that I was a CIA operative engaged in "government-backed agitation," I threatened to jump off a tower and kill myself, I stole a computer, and I was "racially profiling" students in the blind-copy section of an email.  (How you "racially profile" people in a blind-copy section containing white, black, Asian, and Latino recipients is really a curious mystery.  But there you have it.)

Every single colleague who was nice to me turned out to be luring me into traps of one kind or another.  I arrived in 2008 and thought they would be okay with me hanging one McCain-Palin sign, just a tiny little one, on a bulletin board inside my office.  But the cost of that one little sign was dear indeed.

I drove them insane.  They tried to make me crazy, but somehow just by coming to work each day and not converting to their cause or crumpling up in a ball of tears, I incited a powerful instinct in them: the instinct to hunt down the enemy.

What leads grown adults with Ph.D.s to stand before an office door and drag a sharp blade – was it an awl or a screwdriver? – over someone else's Army stickers while he is on military leave?  In eight years I lunched with colleagues a total of five or six times and never had conversations with the rest.  The people in that department had never listened to my speeches, read my work, or spoken to me at length.  They knew absolutely nothing about me.  How can you not know someone and yet be completely okay with telling all the Latino students that he's a CIA agent who has been sent by the government to do mean things he learned at the School of the Americas?

They wouldn't let me speak at meetings.  Every time I posted anything on the listserv, no matter how short or long, how opinionated or neutral, somebody would complain, and I'd have to worry about payback during peer review.  They wouldn't promote my work in the department newsletter, made a point to sabotage any students who chose me as a mentor, and kept me off all the important committees.

It was not long before I decided to strike a devil's bargain with my peers – you do your thing and leave me alone.  I will find money and research projects that have nothing to do with campus and won't taint liberal colleagues with the dreaded fear of complicity with the Koch Brothers (just kidding – I've never done anything with the Koch Brothers, regardless of what they say about me).  But they couldn't even let me do my thing and be left alone.

It was when I tried to go my own way that the most Lopez-obsessed parties on campus started ginning up the worst of the student complaints.  It was as if they could be happy only if they knew that I was being tortured by bureaucratic sadists somewhere in the state university's catacombs.

The administration turned against me as the weight of outside pressure and constant pestering from the faculty proved too much.  The provost who was favorable to me left, and a new pharaoh came who did not know Joseph.  Within days of his being sworn in, my enemies were gleefully preparing new complaints that would have to cross his desk.  A call came from my dean, someone I had scrupulously avoided dealing with, in September 2015.  She said she was forcing me to be on the college personnel committee with four people I had ample reason to fear.  I tried to get off the committee, but the dean insisted that this was routine procedure and I had no right to refuse service on it.  As if by clockwork, within six months there were he-said-she-said accusations against me, and I was stuck in endless conferrals again.

By the time a Chicano activist leaked an email revealing that one of my colleagues in English was still obsessed with convincing others I was part of the CIA, my sense of humor had dried up.  Student organizations with hundreds of members were included on the distribution list.  The emissary to Chicano Studies who'd brought the alleged information about my spy status was not a Chicano studies major, but a grad student in English who'd gotten a high-profile award.  I had never met him once, but he felt at ease inciting untold numbers of irascible militants that I was a deceitful enemy who could not be trusted in any way.  I didn't want police to escort me at my job.  But that was how it ended up.

As the olive in my martini, a professor sent me links to homosexual pornography secretly embedded in a heated email chain.  I am so lucky not to have clicked on the hyperlink.  At least some of my better instincts are still sharp.

I stood on my desk on that Saturday night and realized: I don't have to live like this.

Not long afterward, I closed out the year with a lecture on Thoreau and Whitman and told my students, "This is my last time teaching here.  I leave you with three lessons as young writers, which you should never forget.

"First, you will never become famous for the work you wanted everyone to read; it will be something you never expected and often something you didn't want to be famous for.

"Second, when your writing gets attention, own it.  Someone out there feels as you do, and you can't get scared, for their sake.

"Third, when you leave the university, there is no reward for nuance.  People draw lines and stick to them.  Almost any viewpoint you have is polarizing.  You have to survive.  So when there are two sides fighting with each other and you're caught in the middle, get out of the middle.  Pick the side that's protecting you, and stay away from the side that's attacking you – they can't be trusted."

With that, I left campus.  Some students wanted to speak to me as I walked out, but I raced past them and down the steps leading to a side courtyard.  I unfurled my tie and slowly unbuttoned my shirt so I could walk in my undershirt, blending in with the young Mexicans of Los Angeles.  After a few moments I looked at my feet and realized I was running.  I was literally fleeing, like a refugee.  And Lot's wife popped into my mind.

Don't look back.

The left is toxic.  Freedom is sweet.  Between tenure and happiness...farewell, liberal academia.

SOURCE 






Ohio Students Ignore Order to Drop Lord's Prayer from Graduation

Ohio news channel WTOV is reporting that students at a recent graduation refused an order to drop the Lord’s Prayer from their commencement ceremony.

Singing the Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father, has been a 70-year tradition at East Liverpool High School in East Liverpool, Ohio. This year the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, which advocates for separation of church and state, told East Liverpool administrators they needed to stop their choir from singing the Lord's Prayer at graduation.

The school removed the song from last Sunday's program. School board president Larry Walton told WTOV that it was a matter of economics. "We said 'okay, we just won't do it anymore.' It was a decision made because we don't have a lot of money and we'd rather hire teachers than pay lawyers."

However, on the day of the commencement, students lead their own prayer. Valedictorian Jonathan Montgomery took the stage and led the entire class of graduates in reciting the Lord's Prayer.

"I know a lot of my student body was uncomfortable with it, just because it is tradition to have prayer at our school," Cami Post, class of 2016 vice president, told WTOV.

Walton said he is looking into having a non-denominational baccalaureate service next year.

SOURCE 






Ben Shapiro Fights Back Against College Campus Free Speech Crackdowns

The censorship of free speech on a college campus has caused a legal fight to brew in California

A lawsuit filed Thursday against numerous staff at California State University-Los Angeles claims that the university discriminated against free speech by trying to silence Ben Shapiro, 32, a prominent conservative voice who has spoken on college campuses around the country. 

“Free speech on college campuses, particularly publicly-sponsored campuses, it’s not merely a necessity, it’s a right,” Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, said at a press conference Thursday in Los Angeles. “That right is being quashed all across the country by administrators who are significantly more intent on indoctrinating students and eliminating dissent than giving students the opportunity to hear different ideas and reach their own conclusions about those ideas. It’s time for that to stop.”

Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative, Christian legal organization, filed a lawsuit in a California district court on behalf of Young America’s Foundation (YAF), Shapiro, California State University-Los Angeles Young Americans for Freedom, and Mark Kahanding, a student at  the university.

“Public universities today don’t allow the full range of viewpoints to be expressed on campus,” Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Signal. “There are dozens and dozens of events and speakers and seminars that are put on on campuses from a liberal viewpoint. When the rare time comes up that students try to bring in a conservative speaker or a different viewpoint, those viewpoints are typically suppressed.”

“Students should be able to participate in the marketplace of ideas on campus without fear that the administration is going to suppress their ideas simply because they disagree with their viewpoint,” Langhofer told The Daily Signal. 

On February 25, Young America’s Foundation hosted an event called “When Diversity Becomes a Problem,” featuring a talk with Shapiro. According to Alliance Defending Freedom, the university wanted to charge YAF over $600 to provide security due to the “controversial” nature of the topic.

A few days prior to the event, University President William A. Covino emailed Young America’s Foundation members, informing them that the event was canceled, wishing to schedule a “more inclusive event” with Shapiro. When YAF and Shapiro refused to reschedule, Covino changed his mind.

“They don’t put those kind of roadblocks up for liberal viewpoints,” Langhofer said. “What parents need to be concerned about, what students need to be concerned about across this country is the unwillingness of administration to allow opposing viewpoints.”

Demonstrators and protesters tried to block the event at California State University-Los Angeles from happening, even linking arms to block entrances so that students could not get into the presentation and pulling a fire alarm midway through Shapiro’s speech, The Daily Signal previously reported.

“The university police officers did not take any action to stop the [protesters] from blocking access to the Free Speech Event or to otherwise assist interested individuals in gaining access to the event,” the lawsuit says.

Shapiro, who had to be escorted out by police after the event because of safety concerns, told The Daily Signal that he’s “never experienced anything quite like” what happened.

“The main problem at CSU-LA is that the administrators were not only not helpful, they were actively working to prevent the event from taking place and then taking their power to basically quash any attempt to clear a pathway. This is a unique situation,” Shapiro said. He added: “The administration was responsible for this getting bad. They should have allocated more police officers. Cal State- LA was a disaster from start to finish.”

Named in the lawsuit are Covino and Nancy Wada-McKee, vice president for student life, among other professors and faculty alleged to have helped encouraged and helped in the protest.

California State University-Los Angeles did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

The lawsuit says:

The students voiced their desire to leave the theater but the university police advised that the students’ lives would be in danger if they left the theater and that they could not guarantee the students’ safety.

The safety of the students and other attendees would not have been threatened if the university police officers had moved the [protesters] away from the front and rear entrances to the theater, but Defendants Covino and Wada-McKee had ordered them not to do so.

The university police then escorted Shapiro through a secret exit while all of the attendees were forced to remain in the theater.

Shapiro cited the “failure of the administration to protect the safety of students who wish to exercise First Amendment rights,” as a concern for college students and parents regarding situations like what happened at California State University- Los Angeles.

Shapiro says that he has also encountered protesters at other college campuses he has spoken at. “When I spoke at the University of North Carolina there was a walkout in the middle,” he said. When he spoke at Penn State, “it was pretty crazy.”

At many other colleges he has spoken at, everything has gone “totally fine.”

“It’s hit and miss. Some of them are great. Some of them, the protesters show up in mass,” Shapiro says.

“The thing that I think was the most concerning about this situation is the level of involvement that the faculty had in organizing this protest and actually taking part in the protest and blocking the doors so that students weren’t able to go in and hear Ben’s speech and hear a viewpoint that they don’t typically hear on a campus,” Alliance Defending Freedom’s Langhofer said.

Three months after the event, some students organized a “healing” space to recover from Shapiro’s speech, according to Young Americans for Freedom Program Officer Amy Lutz. “First, most, if not all of these students, didn’t even attend the lecture,” Lutz wrote.

Shapiro said Thursday at the press conference announcing the lawsuit:

I pay taxes in this state. I help sponsor the tuition of the students who attend this university. I help pay the salaries of the administrators and the professors, and yet when conservative students on this campus merely wanted to hold an event on this campus at which I would speak basic, conservative ideas, the administrators first attempted to charge conservative students extra money. When that failed, they tried to shut me down.

Shapiro added: “Free speech needs a safe space.”

SOURCE 


Friday, May 27, 2016



Free nursery places at age three 'do not boost a child's education': Findings raise questions over £2bn state spending on subsidising childcare

"Headstart" doesn't work in Britain either

Children who were given free nursery school places at the age of three gained no educational benefit, a major study said yesterday.

It found that by the age of seven there were no differences in school achievement between pupils who had previously taken up the free places and those who hadn’t.

The findings throw a major new question mark over state spending on subsidised childcare, which began on a large scale in Tony Blair’s first term and Prime Minister and which, by 2012, was running at more than £2 billion a year.

This autumn David Cameron will throw another £1 billion a year into pre-school childcare subsidies.

Under the Government’s plans, the number of hours paid for by taxpayers that three and four-year-old children will be able to spend in nurseries or with childminders will double from 15 to 30.

But Dr Jo Blanden, one of the research team from Essex and Surrey universities which prepared the report, said: ‘On the face of it, our results cast doubt over the value for money of universal early education.’

She added: ‘More than 70 per cent of the children taking up free places would probably have gone to nursery anyway, and children’s test scores do not seem to be any higher in the longer term as a result of the policy.

‘In fact the main benefit of the policy seems to have been to make childcare cheaper for families with three-year-olds.’

The report, by a team led by Dr Birgitta Rabe, said that the Blair government campaign meant that between 1999 and 2007 the proportion of three-year-olds in England who had taken up a free childcare place went up from 37 per cent to 88 per cent.

However, most of the children would have been sent to nurseries anyway, so the effect was to give parents a discount on their childcare bills.

Children who took up free places who would otherwise not have gone into childcare were six per cent better in reading scores at the age of five, the study said.

But it added: ‘Although there is modest evidence that the policy had a greater impact on poorer children and those learning English as a second language, there is no evidence that the policy helped disadvantaged children to catch up in the longer term.

‘Indeed, there is no evidence of any educational benefits of the policy at the age of seven and 11.’

The study, published in the Economic Journal of the Royal Economic Society, said that by 2014 more than 600,000 childcare places were being subsidised at an average cost of £3.77 an hour in the private sector and £3.97 an hour in the public sector.

Other independent analysts have questioned the value of childcare subsidies. In 2014 the Institute for Fiscal Studies that the free nursery place programme had largely failed in its second objective of encouraging mothers to go back to work. Only 12,000 mothers had done so as a result of free childcare places, the IFS said, and most of them were working part-time for less than 30 hours a week.

Dr Blanden said: ‘In September, children in some areas will begin to receive 30 hours of free care if their parents are in work. As before, this will save parents money. But unless high quality settings expand capacity, it may not lead to the best educational outcomes for children.’

SOURCE 






Government is Turning College into High School

It would take a miracle for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination at this point, let alone the presidency.  One of his main ideas though, the idea that college should be free for Americans, is not going away anytime soon.

Just like healthcare, constant government regulation and intervention is making college more and more expensive every year.  Students are taking out huge government-backed loans to pay for their education, and the costs keep going up as more easy money enters the system.  Eventually the student loan bubble will burst, and this will be the excuse the government needs to step in and “fix” things.

You don’t have to look too far to find articles and studies on why the Bernie free college plan will be an economic and financial disaster.  But the huge taxpayer liability isn’t necessarily the worst part.  The worst part is that making college free will totally decimate the quality of higher education and it will keep the poor, poor and the rich, rich.

Let’s imagine Bernie gets his wish.  To start, most Americans will be eligible for government to pay for their college education.  To paraphrase a famous P.J. O’Rourke quote about health care:  If you think college is expensive now, just wait until it’s free!  Now that government is footing the bill, why wouldn’t college’s, and the various industries that go with them (books, school supplies, housing) up their costs even more?  Sure, the college’s that would be eligible for the free money will be “public” or “non-profit,” but since when has that been an impediment to making tremendous profits?  (The NFL and the Clinton Foundation are both “non-profit” organizations!)

Once this gets out of hand, the government will have two choices:  Either completely leave the field of funding and regulating higher education (Ha!) or completely socializing it.  I think we all know what path legislators will take.

Socializing higher education, in order to keep costs down and to make it “fair” for everyone, would have to look something like our current public school system.  First, you’d only be allowed to go to your local neighborhood college for free.  The costs of you choosing your college and the government paying for housing and travel will just get too high.  Not to mention, what happens if everyone wants to go to the same colleges?  There’s only so much room at each school, so to make it “fair” you’d be forced to go to your local government college.

So if you grow up poor and in a bad neighborhood, the option of working your way up and out is gone.  Previously, you could work your way through college, get some grants and/or loans, then you’d have a shot at a better life.  Now, unless you can afford housing in a better college district, you’re stuck.  And just like now, the poorer the neighborhood you live in, the worse the education you’re going to get.  Good luck getting a high paying job with your “Detroit Public College” degree.

How far does this “right” to free college go?

What if I’m a bad student and I’m constantly failing my classes?  What if I want to come back in 10 years when I’m finally serious about my education? Is there an age limit on my “right” to a free education?  Can the government deny me my “right” to free college then?

How about graduate school?  Who pays for that?  Is it fair that only the wealthy will get to become doctors, lawyers, dentists, and other high paying professions?  And if grad school is a “right” too, shouldn’t anyone get to go regardless of their aptitude or previous grades?

What if I want to major in two subjects?  Is that allowed for free?  Or will double majors just be for the wealthy?  Again, free college is a “right” so why shouldn’t I be allowed to go to school indefinitely, constantly changing or adding majors?

These are all questions that will not be decided by you and me on an individual and voluntary basis, but they will be decided by bureaucrats and legislators.  And you’re stuck following their decisions and paying for their decisions whether you like them or not.

If you’re a free college supporter, I’m sure you’re going to argue that many countries already have free college education, so why not America?

The reason many other countries can afford free college is two fold:  First they have much lower rates of people actually going to college, which leads to the second fold:  many occupations in European countries simply don’t require a college degree like in the U.S.  Apprenticeship and on the job training is still an important part of many industries in Europe, just like it used to be in America when someone with a high school degree could have a quality standard of living, and have an opportunity to move up in life if they choose.

The fact is, the results of offering free college to all Americans regardless of grades, aptitude, or ability to actually apply such an education will result in another failed socialized industry that will stagnate and just cost more over time.  Most Americans will get stuck in a local, government college that will eventually offer little more than what high school did.  Thus is the nature of a government monopoly.  We get a worse product at a much higher cost to everyone.

The only people who will be able to escape this system will be the wealthy, of course.  Just like all socialist policies, this will make it that much harder for someone on the bottom to move up in life, and it will protect the people currently at the top.

SOURCE 






Schools Eliminate Valedictorians — Not Inclusive

How long can the bureaucrats in education extend the idea that competition and conflict should be banished in the educational system? Somehow, the school board in Wake County North Carolina thinks reducing competition will lead to a better education for students. While the board has to vote twice on the policy change, it unanimously approved a proposal this week that would do away with the distinction of a high school graduate with the highest GPA being named valedictorian. Competition was getting unhealthy, the chair of the school board explained, and students were setting a goal of getting the highest GPA instead of taking classes that might help them in the future. Thus, the board reasoned, it was better to bolster the Latin honor system and do away with the first and second place honors.

“Competition is a reality of life, whether these hippies like it or not,” writes Katherine Timpf at National Review. “The kid with the top GPA is still going to have the top GPA, no matter what you call (or don’t call) him or her for having it. Class ranking is a competition, and the kid at the top is the winner. Can we cut the crap? Sure, maybe that kid was motivated to win by the force of competition and not by holding hands with fellow classmates and singing ‘Kumbaya.’ But you know what? That’s the way the real world works, and it’s time for more people to start living there.” After all, the safe spaces go away after college and an education that hasn’t prepared students for competition and conflict has not educated them at all.

SOURCE 


Thursday, May 26, 2016



Ret. Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin wins the battle as the left wins the war on the American mind

Lt. General Jerry Boykin retired from the U.S. Army with the distinction of having led all Special Forces units in the Army.  Boykin had survived the jungles of Vietnam, Columbia and Panama, along with untold number of missions around the globe.  Yet, in his retirement, he was temporarily relieved of his teaching duties as the Wheat Visiting Professorship in Leadership at Hampden-Sydney College, a small private men’s school in southwestern Virginia due to the complaints of a few gay activists over comments made about men using women’s restrooms.

Just about two weeks earlier and a few miles up the road, Virginia Tech, a public school, ran into trouble, when they attempted to disinvite Jason Riley, a black conservative from giving their semi-annual BB&T Distinguished Lecture.

The Wall Street Journal columnist, Riley, contended that the invitation withdrawal was due to faculty concerns about his book, “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.”

After exposure and a good dose of social media bashing, both institutions backed down. While these two instances of conservative thought being censored by the politically correct mobs were spiked, both Boykin and Riley were aided by having an extremely high profile and the ability to fight back.

However, the obvious question is how many low-profile conservative voices are silenced across academia either through overt actions or simply out of a desire by professors to not risk their jobs and livelihoods?

This past year, a “Men in Literature” course that had been taught at Springfield College in Massachusetts by Dr. Dennis Gouws was cancelled as creating a hostile environment for women. No student was compelled to take the popular course, and the college offers an English course entitled “Women and Literature” as well as various ethnic focused courses.

The “Men in Literature” course had been offered since 2005, and in 2010 achieved status of being part of the regular curriculum.

Peter Wood, the President of the National Association of Scholars, points out that Gouws, “never set out to be a gadfly against progressive dogma or a stalwart opponent of the ideological regime. He was, to the contrary, picked for the part by the regime itself. He had made his own adjustments to the contemporary preoccupation with ‘gender’ by devising an experimental course in 2005 titled ‘Men in Literature.’”

Yet, the heretofore, relatively unknown professor now finds this course of study under fire.  Note, this isn’t a degree being offered on “Men in Literature,” but merely a single course among dozens that students choose to take to matriculate. Yet, the presence of a single offering at a single college that doesn’t fit precisely into the radical left’s narrative is so discomfiting that it must be squashed.

There can be no dissent. There can be no alternative opinions offered. The left can bear no challenge to their orthodoxy.

And the freedom of thought and expression gets nullified in the process. This isn’t by accident.  The same ideological ilk that fought for gender and ethnic studies classes and subsequently gender and ethnic studies degrees in the past, know the power of controlling the information flow into the ripe young brains free to be fully on their own for the first time as they enter college. And they are determined to shield them from anything resembling cognitive debate.

The University has become the ultimate safe space to do anything except learn diverse world views. Instead it is designed to tear down the world view propagated through the family, church and pre-common core elementary and secondary educations, by flooding normally rebellious eighteen year old minds with counter-culture thought absent any reinforcement of the constructs that underlay their upbringing.

Lt. General Jerry Boykin and Jason Riley had national platforms to fight back and win their battles to be heard on campus, but for Professor Gouws and many others like him, there are no Fox News appearances to bolster public outrage. Instead they are left to toil under college administrations that at best tolerate and worse seek to end their work far from the spotlight.

What can be done?

Currently, the GOP controls the Governorship, State Senate and State House in thirty of the fifty states (note Nebraska is included in this even though it is unicameral).

Republican Governors working with the state legislatures in these states should make tearing down this academic wall of tyranny within their state university and college structures a top priority.  The wailing from liberal academia will be heard on National Public Radio from coast to coast, and that is a good thing.  By forcing the left to defend its academic strongholds, they will have to retrench from their wholesale onslaught on reason and planned indoctrination of the next generation.

College is not supposed to be a safe space. It is supposed to be a place where ideas challenge the mind, so the next generation can grow into and be worthy of our national heritage of free thought. Speech should not be feared, but embraced as the inevitable clash of intellects through which students learn how to discern by having their assumptions challenged.

It is time for Republican state officeholders to stand up for free thought in the university systems, before the liberal academia stamps it out, along with the flickering flame of free speech, forever.

SOURCE 






Feds Order Colleges to Stop Checking Criminal/School Discipline History Because it Discriminates Against Minorities

The Obama administration has ordered the nation's colleges and universities to stop asking applicants about criminal and school disciplinary history because it discriminates against minorities.

Institutions are also being asked to offer those with criminal records special support services such as counseling, mentoring and legal aid once enrolled. The government's official term for these perspective students is "justice-involved individuals" and the new directive aims to remove barriers to higher education for the overwhelmingly minority population that's had encounters with the law or disciplinary issues through high school.

Instructions are outlined in a cumbersome document (Beyond the Box) issued by the U.S Department of Education (ED) this month. It says that "data show plainly that people of color are more likely to come in contact with the justice system due, in part, to punitive school disciplinary policies that disproportionately impact certain student groups and racial profiling." Because education can be a powerful pathway to transition out of prison and into the workforce, it's critical to ensure that admissions practices don't disproportionately disadvantage justice involved individuals, the directive states. Colleges and universities should also refrain from inquiring about a student's school disciplinary history-including past academic dishonesty-because that too discriminates against minorities. Civil rights data compiled by ED show "black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students and often for the same types of infractions."

Therefore colleges and universities should consider designing admissions policies that don't include disciplinary history so they don't have the "unjustified effect of discriminating against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion and disability," the new ED guidelines state. Three out of four colleges and universities collect high school disciplinary information and 89% of those institutions use the information to make admissions decisions, according to the order.

That needs to change, according to the administration. A few years ago it warned public elementary and high schools to administer student discipline without discriminating on the bases of race, color or national origin because too many minority students-especially blacks-were getting suspended. The feds assert they issued the directive after reports of "racial disparities" in "exclusionary discipline policies" that created a "school to prison pipeline."

Colleges and universities are to take it a step further by offering students with criminal histories special support services. This is to include targeted academic and career guidance as well as counseling, legal aid services, mentoring and coaching. "Institutions should recruit and train peer mentors with previous justice involvement to work with justice-involved students to ensure a smooth transition to post-secondary education and provide support and resources throughout their time at the college or university," the new directive states. "These peer mentors could begin their work by acting as navigators who help acclimate justice-involved students to the educational institutions." Perhaps colleges and universities should also start sending recruiters to jails across the country.

This is part of a broader effort by the administration to even the playing field for convicts. Earlier this month Judicial Watch reported that the president issued an order prohibiting federal agencies from asking job applicants about criminal history. The measure will ensure that hiring managers are making selection decisions based solely on qualifications, according to a White House announcement. "Early inquiries into an applicant's criminal history may discourage motivated, well-qualified individuals who have served their time from applying for a federal job," the announcement says, adding that "early inquiries could also lead to the disqualification of otherwise eligible candidates."

Years ago the administration tried slamming the private sector with a ban on job applicant background checks by claiming that they discriminate against all minority candidates, not just ex-cons. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation's workplace discrimination laws, wasted taxpayer dollars suing companies for checking criminal histories asserting that it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The apparent intent was to discourage other businesses from checking criminal histories out of fear of getting sued by the government, but it didn't quite work out that way.

A federal judge eventually blasted the EEOC's claims, calling them laughable, distorted, cherry-picked, worthless and an egregious example of scientific dishonesty. Of interesting note is that the EEOC conducts criminal background checks as a condition of employment.

SOURCE 





Federal authorities flunk in every category but promises

The U.S. Department of Education opened its doors 36 years ago. Proponents of its creation promised improved efficiency and higher student achievement. Instead, federal spending has soared and student achievement has barely budged.

Clearly, Washington doesn't know best, and it's time for federal authorities to butt out of America's schools and put parents and their locally elected boards back in charge.

The longest running nationally representative assessment of American student achievement is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the results of which are known as the Nation's Report Card.

Long-term trend results in both math and reading are reported on a scale of zero to 500. Students who score 300 or above can solve moderately complex math problems and understand relatively complicated reading materials.

Among 17-year-olds, typically high school seniors, the long-term performance in NAEP math has increased only slightly over decades, from 52 percent of students scoring 300 or above in 1978 to 60 percent faring as well in 2012, the latest year for which results are available.

The long-term reading performance of 17-year-olds has remained flat, with just 39 percent of students scoring 300 or above in both 1971 and 2012.

Over the same period, federal appropriations for elementary and high school education increased more than 140 percent, from $33.2 billion in 1971 to $80 billion in 2012. Student enrollment, meanwhile, increased only 9 percent, from 45.6 million in 1971 to 49.8 million in 2012.

Back in 1866, when the idea of a national education department was first being debated in Congress, Rep. Samuel J. Randall, D-Pa., predicted that it would amount to "a bureau at an extravagant rate of pay, and an undue number of clerks collecting statistics ... (that) does not propose to teach a single child ... its A, B, C's."

History proves Randall was right.

We were promised that illiteracy would be eliminated by 1984. We were promised that high school graduation rates would reach 90 percent by the year 2000 and that American students would be global leaders in math and science. And we were promised that by 2014 all students would be proficient in reading and math. None of this has happened.

Rather than learning from these broken promises, Congress continues to tinker with ineffective and costly federal education programs.

It's time to end the U.S. Department of Education and put the real experts - parents - back in charge of their children's education.

Parents, regardless of their incomes or addresses, are choosing their children's public, charter, private and online schools in a significant and growing majority of states. More than 1.7 million students are now home-schooled, with that figure increasing 62 percent in the past decade.

Research shows that when parents have more choices in education, both students and schools benefit, and do so at a fraction of the cost of top-heavy federal programs. The resulting competition for students and their associated funding puts powerful pressure on schools to improve.

Little wonder that some seven out of 10 likely voters believe competition improves public schools and support greater parental choice, particularly education savings accounts, or ESAs.

First enacted in Arizona in 2011, and four more states since then, such savings accounts put parents in charge of their children's education funding, allowing them to customize the services that best meet their children's needs.

Any leftover funds remain in students' ESAs for future expenses, including college tuition. Regular ESA expenditure audits by state education agencies provide unparalleled levels of public transparency and accountability.

Instead of funneling money through the D.C. bureaucracy, we should be funding American students directly through ESAs.

Until we put the real experts - parents and their locally elected representatives - back in charge of education, we can expect more overpromising and under-delivering from the U.S. Department of Education.

SOURCE 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016



Female Student Said, 'I'm Fine and I Wasn't Raped.' University Investigated, Expelled Boyfriend Anyway

Wrongfully suspended male athlete is suing the university and the Education Department

Colorado State University-Pueblo suspended a male athlete for years after he was found responsible for sexually assaulting a female trainer. But the trainer never accused him of wrongdoing, and said repeatedly that their relationship was consensual. She even stated, unambiguously, "I'm fine and I wasn't raped."

That's according to the athlete's lawsuit against CSUP, which persuasively argues that the university not only deprived him of fundamental due process rights, but also denied sexual agency to an adult woman. Taken at face value, this case appears to represent one of the most paternalistic, puritanically anti-sex witch hunts ever reported on a college campus.

But that's not the only reason this case is interesting. The student-athlete, Grant Neal, has named the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights as a co-defendant. OCR's Title IX guidance to universities "encourages male gender bias and violation of due process right during sexual misconduct investigations," according to a statement from Neal's legal team.

Earlier this month, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the law firm of Kaiser, LeGrand & Dillon offered to represent a student who is willing to sue OCR. While Neal has retained different legal representation, it appears that his lawyer—Andrew Miltenberg—is prepared to make similar arguments against Title IX overreach. (More on that in a bit.)

Neal's expulsion (it's silly to call it a "suspension"; multi-year suspensions are expulsions) stemmed from his allegedly improper sexual relationship with a female student and athletic trainer, Jane Doe. In the fall of 2015, Neal was a sophomore at CSUP: he and Doe became good friends and eventually developed romantic feelings for each other. Sexual relationships between athletes and trainers are frowned upon, however, so they first attempted to remain friends.

On October 23, they went to the movies together. Afterward, they kissed and engaged in consensual sexual behavior. They did so the following evening as well. These were not drunken hookups: these were mutually-agreed upon encounters, according to the details in the lawsuit.

At one point, Neal expressed concerns about giving Doe a hickey—a kiss mark on her neck—because the other trainers might notice it. Doe encouraged him to do so anyway, and promised to wear a hoodie the next day. These and other anecdotes demonstrate Doe's full complicity in the sexual activity that took place, though her statements are even more definitive.

The hickey was indeed noticed by another trainer, described as the "Complainant" in the lawsuit. When confronted, Doe confessed to the Complainant that she and Dean had engaged in sex. According to the lawsuit, the Complainant "presumed" this sex was nonconsensual, and reported it to the director of the athletic training program.

Later, when Doe found out, she gave Neal the bad news, and texted him the following messages:

"One of the other Athletic Training students screwed me over!...She went behind my back and told my AT advisor stuff that wasn’t true!!! I’m trying so hard to fix it all."

Neal and Doe met in person to discuss the situation. Without Doe's knowledge, Neal recorded their conversation. This audio recording further establishes that their sex was consensual. While in Neal's presence, Doe fielded a phone call from a coordinator of the athletic training program and stated "I'm fine and I wasn't raped." She then called her mother and told her the same thing.

Both Doe and her mother pressed the administrators of the athletic training program—a husband and wife team—to drop the matter, but it was too late: they had already informed the Title IX office.

To be clear, CSUP apparently believes that Title IX requires the university to investigate a student for sexual misconduct, even when his alleged victim resolutely insists that he is innocent and does not want the issue investigated. Administrators essentially treated Doe like an object that belonged to them—one that no one else was allowed to touch.

Neal and Doe, it should be noted, had consensual sex again—probably because they genuinely liked and were interested in each other, despite the university's herculean efforts to keep them from touching each other.

Doe told another administrator, "Our stories are the same and he’s a good guy. He’s not a rapist, he’s not a criminal, it’s not even worth any of this hoopla!"

To belabor the point a bit, here are messages she sent to Neal, even after the university instituted a reciprocal no-contact order during the investigation:

"I miss you & care about you so much Grant [Neal]! Everything will work out…I promise"

“I hope you know I still care about you so much! I’m trying so hard to fix this… you don’t deserve any of this. I just wanna talk to you again… I’m sooooo SORRY!” I hope that you are okay. I’m so worried. I’m so sorry! I’m so upset they did this."

The details of the adjudication process will be familiar to anyone who has read my other reports on sexual misconduct "disputes" ("dispute" being an increasingly odd word to use, given that I've now covered two consecutive cases where the "victims" agreed with the accused that their sex was consensual). He was denied full knowledge of the charges against him, presumed to be guilty from the outset, and could not cross-examine witnesses. He was suspended on an interim basis before the hearing could even take place.

The adjudicator—Defendant Roosevelt Wilson, who is named in the lawsuit—even refused to interview witnesses who would have corroborated Neal's account. "Defendant Wilson professed that he was in charge of the investigation and would be the only person to declare someone a witness in this matter," according to the lawsuit.

The predetermined outcome for Neal was a guilty verdict: he was suspended for the remainder of Doe's time at the university.

This is as gross a miscarriage of justice as they come, and Neal has filed suit. His lawyer, Miltenberg, blames not just CSUP, but the federal government's illiberal guidance to universities to police sexual assault without any respect for due process:

"From the outset, Grant Neal was presumed guilty of sexual misconduct based on nothing more than hearsay and his own male gender,” said Miltenberg. "In violation of the University’s own self-imposed policies and my client’s fundamental rights to due process, the University required Grant to prove his innocence, rather than requiring the University to prove his guilt.  This case illustrates the impact the Administration’s ‘Dear Colleague’ letter has had in creating a deeply-flawed process for sexual misconduct investigations -- as well as an inherent male gender bias — at colleges and universities throughout the country."

The lawsuit was filed today. I will be eagerly anticipating the federal government's response. What happened at CSUP was nothing short of a scandal: a cabal of vicious, sex-negative administrators ruined a young man's life and told a young woman she has no sexual agency. This is the world according to Title IX.

SOURCE 







College education is worth a premium, but how much?

HIGH SCHOOL seniors barely need to be told about the upside of attending small private colleges. The grassy expanses, the intimate setting, and the atmosphere of endless possibility sell themselves. What students do need, especially if they come from low-income families, is a warning in big, bold type: “DO NOT BORROW $60,000 TO ATTEND THIS SCHOOL.”

High school guidance counselors aren’t delivering that message, and neither are colleges. Somebody needs to. Unfortunately, a federal government that’s heavily promoted access to college through convenient loans has done far less to help students confront the risks of over-borrowing.

In Sunday’s Globe Magazine, Neil Swidey reported from the nether circles of college-debt hell. Paying for a four-year degree is tough even for middle-class kids at state schools. But the picture is especially bleak for poorer students who enrolled — for reasons that seemed logical at the time — in nonelite private colleges with iffy graduation rates. One student Swidey interviewed started at Pine Manor before switching to UMass Boston and then Bridgewater State. She now has $65,000 in debt. Another student owes $84,000, after enrolling at Emmanuel, running into financial trouble, withdrawing, and then attending a succession of other schools.

US public policy treats a four-year degree as an unalloyed good, but the question of how students pay for it isn’t just an incidental detail. While those who attend rich schools like Amherst, Harvard, or MIT can finish with minimal debt, private Massachusetts colleges where a quarter or more of students come from low-income families charge them a net price of nearly $23,000 a year — and graduate fewer than half of their students within six years.

Perhaps not surprisingly, colleges discourage students from thinking about education in purely economic terms. Bucolic campuses and other intangibles are worth paying a premium, the argument goes. But how big a premium?

Swidey pressed administrators on how much debt students should be willing to take on. While one college official offered a plausible standard — borrow no more than you can expect to earn your first year out of college — most of the answers were exceedingly lame. “It’s different with every family.” “We don’t want to treat students with a broad brush here.”

The language of family diversity and consumer choice masks an unpleasant reality: In many cases, schools are counting on students to take on far more debt than is wise.

The Globe Magazine story should be required reading for college presidents and members of Congress, who’ve swatted down efforts to hold schools more accountable for students’ financial plight. While the Obama administration’s crackdown on for-profit schools with poor graduation rates has created a backlash primarily among Republicans, there was stiff bipartisan resistance to plans by the US Department of Education to rate colleges on such factors as whether their students graduate. Too bad — Congress should care whether schools are making good use of all the money Washington has been shoveling in their direction.

Loans aren’t grants. And big loans to students at institutions with poor graduation rates have one thing in common with subprime mortgages: The transaction may work out for the occasional borrower, but the daunting odds need to be disclosed up front. The fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could play a larger role. Created in the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis, the bureau has already been pushing for gentler, more personalized repayment plans for student loans.

But the greater good lies in helping students understand how much debt they can safely assume to begin with. At a moment in their lives when they’re thinking expansively about the future, and receiving multiple copies of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” 18-year-olds can easily underestimate the burden they face — and suffer the consequences for decades into the future.

SOURCE 





Expanding the Schooling Monopoly One Toddler at a Time

Universal preschool is (again) making headlines as a cure for what ails us. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is the latest in a long line of politicians claiming universal, government-run preschool will improve high school graduation rates, as well as college and job preparation.

A few years back House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was insisting that we have a childcare “crisis,” which, of course, only government can fix. President Obama has repeatedly insisted universal preschool critical for long-term economic prosperity. And, Hillary Clinton has vowed to advance Obama’s “Preschool for All” by doubling Head Start Funding, which is currently $8.6 billion.

The ineffectiveness of government-run preschool is well documented. Moreover, the programs hailed by preschool proponents have serious flaws. (See also here and here.)

A closer look at Mayor de Blasio’s “Pre-K for All” plan, however, reveals the true agenda behind the push for universal preschool.

He touts it as a promise to disadvantaged children that “regardless of their family’s means or the zip code they call home, will have access to a life-changing early education.”

The number of children enrolled NYC Pre-K for All has more than tripled since 2013, from 20,000 children to more than 65,000 children as of this school year—which isn’t surprising since there’s no family income requirement to receive the subsidy.

Last year, UC Berkeley professor Bruce Fuller found that just 30 percent of the preschool classrooms were in the Big Apple’s poorest school districts. What’s more, about half the children enrolled in the taxpayer subsidized program had previously attended non-subsidized private preschools. Other data showed that Mayor de Blasio’s universal preschool program added less than 200 children from the bottom 20 percent of household income zip codes.

Essentially what plans like de Blasio’s do is simply expand the taxpayer-subsidized monopoly public schooling system to include four- and eventually three-year-olds regardless of their family income. What a boon that would be to New York school districts, which currently spend over $20,000 per-student on average.

Using the plight of disadvantaged families to expand government schooling is nothing new.

Nearly 200 years ago members of the Boston School Committee wanted to phase out private schools in favor of government schools, insisting that poor parents could not afford private school tuition. Yet the committee’s own survey results revealed that, on the contrary, 96 percent of the city’s children already attended school.

Thomas Paine appears to have predicted that compulsory schooling proponents would justify subsidies for public schools by appealing to the plight of poor children. In 1791 in the section of his seminal work The Rights of Man entitled the “Ways and Means of improving the Conditions of Europe, etc.,” Paine suggests that instead of subsidizing a schooling system, public funds should instead be provided to poor parents directly in the form of a voucher so they could send their children to schools of their choice. “Education, to be useful to the poor, should be on the spot; and the best method, I believe, to accomplish this, is to enable the parents to pay the expense themselves.”

Of course, the real agenda for people such as the Boston School Committee and their modern-day counterparts isn’t so much about helping the poor. It’s about expanding the public schooling system.

The percentage of 3- and 4-year olds nationwide attending private preschool programs has dropped from 57 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2014. Still, that percentage represents more than 1.8 million children. Subsidizing them as part of the public school system, even at just half of average per-student funding ($6,000), would add about $12 billion more to school districts’ annual budgets.

In a radio interview at the start of the school year, Mayor de Blasio laid bare what he considers the future of preschool in America:

The mayor imagined that in the future, pre-kindergarten would be not just universally available but compulsory.

“I think that is the way of the future,” he said. “I think there’s a great sense here that something very special is happening where we can take a whole school system of kids—every background, every neighborhood—and get them all on a strong start at the same time.”

In other words, what de Blasio considers “special” is forcing millions of individual children into a system where they’ll all be treated the same, and where the average high school senior graduates without having achieved proficiency in math or reading.

Personally, I prefer the Paine plan to de Blasio’s.

SOURCE 






You Aren’t Entitled to a College Education

When I graduated from college, reality hit. I was now considered a “real adult.” In a matter of months I’d be moving out of my parents’ basement and some 700 miles away to start graduate school.

I was also struck by something I knew was coming, but hadn’t quite appreciated.  That “something” was my student loans.

There they were in black and white, those things I’d been taking out for some 48 months to pay for a Bachelor’s degree from a small liberal arts university. I owed tens of thousands of dollars and the bill was coming due. (For the record, I could have deferred payment as I was going to graduate school, but chose not to in order to avoid paying more interest.) I remember feeling overwhelmed. I’d never owed that much money in my life!

Certainly, I am not the only one who has faced student loans. It’s estimated that my follow graduates and I owe more than $1 trillion for their educational expenses. About 70 percent of graduates in 2014 had student debt averaging about $33,000.

It’s not uncommon to hear people complain about their loans—the interest rates, the cost of college overall, etc. I sympathize entirely. When I advise students, I’m very careful to help them map out their schedules. I tell them, “we don’t want you on the eight year plan.” Indeed, I want the best for my students. That means getting them out of school, finished with their degree, and working as soon as possible. (Despite what people say, it’s doable in four years if you’re careful—five if you have a few hiccups.)

But there are many people who view their loans differently than I did. While I looked at my loans as a means to an end—I could not have afforded to go to university without them—many see them as an affront to their sensibilities. Indeed, many individuals feel as though they are being taken advantage of because of their loans.

Others go further, suggesting that they and others are entitled to a college education. The fact they have loans at all fills them with disgust. Some suggest there is a moral imperative when it comes to education. Others, including democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders claim that higher education is a human right. The fact that many people struggle to pay for an education, or come out owing thousands of dollars, is a violation of their rights.

Sorry to disappoint Mr. Sanders—people do not have a right to a college education.

Let’s talk about “rights.”  We can define rights in one of two ways—positive or negative.

The “right” to a college education would be considered a “positive right.” A positive right means that someone else is required to provide a person with a particular good or service if he or she cannot acquire it on their own.

This is in contrast with “negative rights.” Negative rights require nothing from anyone else, only that they leave you alone. Examples of negative rights would be things like freedom of speech, religion, and assembly.

I have written on this blog about the tension between positive and negative rights. Specifically, it’s impossible for negative rights and positive rights to exist simultaneously. If people have positive rights, they can force others to provide something against their will, regardless of their own personal choices, beliefs, or goals. You cannot have negative rights if you have positive rights.

It seems to me that the seemingly endless push for “free” college, the forgiveness of student loans, and the consistent complaining about loans is indicative of two things. First, it shows that economics is painfully needed. (There is no such thing as free—ever—EVER—EVER!) Second, it illustrates a gross sense of entitlement.

Take, for example, this article, published a year ago in the New York Times. In it, the author discusses his reasons for defaulting on his student loans, after using them to obtain both an undergraduate and master’s degree.

"I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could...[default] on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society. I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans"

How incredibly self-absorbed. What this author argues, in essence, is that he could not bring himself to actually face reality that his “vocation” would not allow him to meet his obligations. He had, by his own admission, viable alternatives, ones that would allow him to pay off his debts, but he decided that his pride was more important than honoring his commitments. He decided to allow other people to pay for his poor life choices.

This scenario is repeated over and over again. People make the choice to go to college. Once in school, they make choices about their classes, their work ethic, and their grades. They bear the consequences of these actions—both good and bad. If you work hard, get good grades, and major in math, you’ve set yourself up much better than someone who went to keg parties, got straight “Cs” and majored in gender studies. Maybe it’s your “passion,” but other people aren’t obligated to help your pursue it.

As I mentioned, I went to a small liberal arts university. I wouldn’t change this decision. At the end of the day, that environment shaped me into the person I am today. It introduced me to the economic way of thinking and prepared me for graduate school. But it was a choice. I could have made others. I could have worked before going to school to save up money. I could have gone to one of several large state schools in and around the city. This would have cut my costs dramatically. I could have taken more classes instead of working over the summer and throughout the year. But I didn’t. Hundreds of thousands of other Americans have done the same. They’ve invested in their education with someone else’s money, and now they’re paying it back.

And they should pay it back. An education is a privilege, not a right.

SOURCE 



Tuesday, May 24, 2016



The racket of colleges that accept poorly qualified students

It sounds noble but just leaves the students with loads of debt and either no qualifications at all or qualifications of little use.  Tertiary education is NOT for everyone.  Admissions standards have a point

IT’S ONE OF THE MOST enduring selling points for the value of higher education: The best route out of poverty is through the college quad. Spend four years in college, and all that book learning, mind opening, and network expanding will help even the lowest-income student jump up several rungs on the economic ladder. Nowhere is that message preached as often or with as much evident authority as in Massachusetts, the nation’s historic capital of private, nonprofit higher education, where the concentration of colleges in some areas is surpassed only by the number of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.

But just how true is this truism about college lifting low-income students out of their circumstances, Horatio Alger style? In fact, like the actual story of author Horatio Alger, who was born into a well-established family and graduated from Harvard, there’s more myth than truth. That’s been especially so in recent years, as nonselective private colleges from around the region have increasingly filled their freshman classes with low-income students — often the first generation in their families to go to college — from Boston and other urban areas. Quite a few of these small schools are former junior colleges and women’s colleges with rich histories of opening doors to students traditionally shut out from higher education, an admirable pursuit that officials refer to as “access.” Many of the colleges are also in tough financial straits, struggling with rising costs, stunted endowments, and declining enrollments.

So whether they are actively recruiting these low-income students for reasons of open-the-door altruism or keep-the-lights-on capitalism — or, more likely, some combination of the two — there has been a huge, largely hidden byproduct of this dramatic increase in access: These students are often being loaded up with staggering debt that is completely out of whack with the earnings boost they’ll likely get from a degree at a nonselective or less selective college. Already, average student loan debt is higher in Boston than any other metro area in the country, 44 percent above the national average, according to Credit Karma. But  more troubling, many of these low-income students — and, at some colleges, most of them — are not graduating. That means these non-completers are leaving campus saddled with lots of debt but none of the salary gains that traditionally come with a bachelor’s degree.

Dean College sits on a pretty, leafy campus in Franklin. A former two-year college, it began offering a selection of bachelor’s degrees only about a decade ago. It now accepts about 70 percent of the students who apply, the same rate as Fitchburg State University. Last year, Dean sent a financial aid award letter to an accepted student whose family, the federal government had determined, was so poor that the “expected family contribution” (EFC) to that student’s education was zero. The college awarded the student a Dean Presidential Grant of $17,000 and another nearly $13,000 in institutional, federal, and state grants, meaning that almost $30,000 of the bill was covered and never had to be paid back. Sounds great, right? Yes, until you look at the larger numbers on the award letter. The total cost of attendance — tuition, room, board, and fees — was $53,120. That meant the gap that this “zero-EFC” student had to cover through loans and other means in order to attend was more than $23,000. Per year. Over four years — and with only modest rises for inflation factored in — that total gap could be expected to climb to around $100,000, not counting future interest payments. That’s a ton of debt, particularly for a degree from a college whose median annual salary for alumni 10 years after enrolling is just $32,700.

To Dean’s credit, about half of its students who pursue a bachelor’s degree manage to graduate. Contrast that with Becker College in Worcester. On its website, Becker talks about being able to trace its roots back to two signers of the Declaration of Independence. It does not, however, mention what US Department of Education data from 2012-2013 show: namely, that just 16 percent of Becker’s students managed to graduate in four years, a number that inches up only to 24 percent when the time frame is extended to six years, the federal standard for completing a bachelor’s degree. In other words, 3 out every 4 students who enrolled as freshmen at Becker failed to graduate. Nor does the website mention that, after all grants and discounts are applied, a typical zero-EFC low-income student is required to come up with more than $25,000 every single year to cover the costs of attending Becker.

This seems to be the operating calculus at many small, private, nonselective or less selective colleges across the region, which routinely accept more than 60 percent of applicants. Consider the average annual “net” prices — after discounts and grants have been deducted — that these colleges are charging students coming from families whose total adjusted gross annual income is $30,000 or less. At a surprising number of colleges, this annual net price represents nearly all of that family’s total income for the year.

So the net price for one year at Wheelock College would consume 80 percent of a family’s $30,000 total income. Same at Becker. The figure is 81 percent at Endicott College, 82 percent at Emmanuel College and Mount Ida College, and 92 percent at Lesley University. At Fisher, a former junior college in Boston, it’s 94 percent, a cost that’s basically the same as the $28,200 median annual salary that Fisher alumni are making 10 years after enrolling.

For small, non-elite colleges to crack the top 10 in a U.S. News ranking would normally be cause for celebration. The problem is, this particular U.S. News ranking was titled: “10 Colleges That Leave Graduates With the Most Student Loan Debt.” Mount Ida in Newton ranked No. 7. Anna Maria College, a similarly small school in the Central Massachusetts town of Paxton, clocked in at No. 3. Average debt at Anna Maria is 76 percent above the roughly $28,000 national average. About half the students at both schools are low-income.

Keep in mind that those debt figures, like the college-loan-crisis statistics that Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren regularly toss around before crowds of aggrieved millennials, are for students who graduate. At Mount Ida, for instance, federal data show that only 1 out of every 3 low-income students manages to graduate. In the universal campaign to propel more disadvantaged students into college, few education officials seem willing to broach this sad, painful reality: If you come from a family of very limited resources and you’re not going to be able to finish college, you’d be better off never going at all.

To be clear, there’s no evidence to suggest that these small private colleges are engaging in the kind of corrupt practices that made so many for-profit colleges notorious. The worst of those for-profit diploma mills used returning veterans and single mothers as mules to convey federal dollars into their coffers, with little institutional investment in the students’ well-being. In contrast, at every one of these nonprofit private colleges, you can find some impressive student success stories as well as dedicated faculty, staff, and administrators who continue to believe deeply in the mission of higher education to make disadvantaged students’ futures better than their pasts.

But are those good intentions now largely misplaced? Is there a better way for struggling colleges to remain afloat than by sinking poor students further into debt? If not, that means college, long accepted as society’s Great Equalizer, will actually be widening the country’s yawning economic divide rather than helping close it.

It’s probably not surprising that many college officials avoid these types of uncomfortable, existential questions. Still, a few have come to see the urgency of grappling with them.

Noting the poor completion rates for low-income students around the country, Lesley University president Joe Moore says, “If we’re getting them here to generate our numbers and having them be the transmitters of federal financial aid, that’s just not right.” At Mount Ida, after nearly 50 percent of the freshman class that entered in 2012 had dropped out by the following fall, the administration began confronting the need for radical change. “If you’re seeing half the students disappear after the first year, you’ve got to ask yourself what business you’re in,” provost Ron Akie concedes. “Because it isn’t education.”

Jennifer Roberts, a consultant and former senior financial aid official at several local colleges, is even more pointed. Having grown up in a Southie triple-decker as the youngest of six children to a single mother, she can’t help but see herself in the low-income students who are now mortgaging their futures for college. “I think students are being duped by being told this is the American Dream,” she says. “The American Dream cannot be to live in debt for the rest of your life.”

SOURCE 






UK: The university that’s gone Health and Safety mad: Campus that banned students from throwing mortarboards at graduation also forbade sugar, rugby and SOMBREROS

A university campus that recently asked students to mime mortarboard throwing in graduation photos because throwing hats could cause injuries also banned sugar, rugby, coffee and sombreros.

The University of East Anglia is building a reputation as one of the maddest around.

And its student union recently came bottom of Spiked's free speech ranking after its support for an academic boycott of Israel.

In recent years Bags of Tate and Lyle sugar were removed from the school shop and Starbucks was boycotted due to the two companies' tax affairs.

Six Nations Rugby matches were banned from the bar because its sponsor RBS funded fossil fuel extraction, and Nestle products were avoided because students felt its baby milk powder could reduce breastfeeding in developing countries.

Sombreros were forbidden from the freshers' fair due to fears of cultural appropriation, and the 'hierarchical' post of student union president was replaced by five equal officers.

The union even targeted Ukip arguing its presence on campus would make students feel unsafe, reports The Times.

Hamish Pearson, who studied Accounting and Finance at UEA and graduated in 2015, criticised the 'left-wing' student union.

He told MailOnline: 'Most of these changes are illogical and silly - the sombrero rule was particularly bizarre.

'The University is ruled by the minority. The majority of people don't vote in student union elections so it allows people who do not represent them to hold high-ranking positions and bring in random changes.

'Some of these changes have been really unpopular and many just make no sense.'

Students have been told they can mime throwing their mortarboards for a picture and a computer whiz will Photoshop the flying cap in - all for the pricey sum of £8.

In an email sent to all third and fourth year law students set to graduate on July 21, those behind the photos have requested that no caps are thrown skywards to prevent the pointed sides from hurting anyone as they fall back down to earth.

An attachment in the original email - from the company Penguin Photograph - gave instructions for how the 'fun' picture should go.

It requested that students: '...mime the throwing of their hats in the air and we will then Photoshop them in above the group before printing'.

The paragraph continued: 'As well as being safer, this will have the added advantage that even more of the students' faces will be seen in this photograph.'

The ruling has since been mocked by those set to graduate, forcing organisers to defend the controversial move.

Speaking to student newspaper The Tab, Norwich's Law Society President Louisa Baldwin said: 'If I've paid £45 to hire a bit of cloth and card for the day I should be able to chuck my hat in the air.

'It's nothing worse than the weekly ritual of dodging VKs as they're lobbed across the LCR dance floor.'

Mr Pearson added: 'I threw my hat when I graduated and the photographer specifically asked us to throw our hats, look up, and then cover our heads so it was safe.

'People who deem throwing unacceptable should just leave the photo rather than ban it.'

A University spokesperson said: 'UEA has not introduced a policy banning the throwing of mortarboards - we have simply asked our photography supplier not to encourage it during formal group sessions.

'We have taken this step because in each of the last two years graduating students have suffered facial injuries. Last year a student needed treatment in A&E.

'If students want to throw their mortarboards on graduation day that's their choice, they are free to do so, but we don't think doing it in the organised group photo is advisable.; 

SOURCE 






Teenagers to be asked: Is your teacher racist? Pupils will also be quizzed over whether they like unfamiliar food

Pupils will be quizzed on whether they think their teachers are racist under new global education assessments.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development aims to analyse pupils’ attitudes towards ‘cultural diversity’ for the first time.

Fifteen-year-olds will be asked about their understanding of global issues such as migration alongside separate tests in reading, maths and science.

Pupils will also fill in additional questionnaires to measure their ‘openness towards people from other cultures’ and the attitudes of staff at their schools.

The ‘global competence’ assessments are proposed for the 2018 round of PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment), which is run by the OECD.

Children from about 80 countries including England are expected to participate.

The OECD insists the move is necessary because schools need to prepare young people for a world ‘where they will live and work with people from different backgrounds and cultures’.

Pupils completing the PISA questionnaires will be asked about topics such as immigration and whether they enjoy unfamiliar food.

Under the plans, they will be asked whether their teachers ‘talk in a respectful way’ and are ‘open to personal contact’ with people from ‘all cultural or ethnic groups’.

Other potential questions focus on whether staff ‘have lower academic expectations’ for students from some ethnic groups and ‘apply the same criteria’ to grading and disciplining children ‘irrespective of their cultural origin or ethnic group’.

Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills at the OECD, said it was vital to measure pupils’ perceptions of their teachers’ attitudes to different cultures and ethnicities. He told the Times Educational Supplement: ‘We are looking at what students perceive to be teachers’ attitudes.

‘We believe that perception will shape and will frame the way in which students learn about global competencies.

‘For example, if you have a teacher who says: “The textbook says I have to teach you about the diversity of cultures, but I think it’s complete nonsense” – in an environment like this a student is not going to engage themselves. But imagine a teacher who confronts them with the difficulties refugees face in England in getting integrated, and then I think you would probably get a very different stance from pupils.’

I would be very cautious about young people making judgements about their teachers’ attitudes.’
Malcolm Trobe, Association of School and College Leaders
Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, yesterday attacked the proposals as ‘political correctness’ and ‘a step in the wrong direction’.

He said: ‘What we’re seeing here is a distraction from what the OECD should be focusing on. They should be focusing on literacy, numeracy and science because you can’t really evaluate the social therapy side of education.’

Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that a questionnaire was a ‘crude and potentially unreliable’ way to explore the influence of teachers’ attitudes on students.

Mr Trobe added: ‘It is important that we draw on students’ attitudes on these global issues. But I would be very cautious about young people making judgements about their teachers’ attitudes.’

But responding to criticism yesterday, Mr Schleicher said: ‘I don’t think the capacity of people to collaborate, compete and connect effectively with people from different cultural contexts has much to do with political correctness. It is what employers expect their workers to be ready for.

SOURCE