Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Due Process, Even on College Campuses

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is soon to release specifics on a major policy change.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is soon to release specifics on a major policy change to restore due process to the handling of sexual misconduct charges of within the world of education. This change is necessary to end college and university administrators from trampling due process by automatically assuming guilt when allegations of sexual assault are made.

Imagine you’re accused of sexual misconduct and your accuser has made serious statements about you publicly that will certainly ruin your reputation and, in most cases, your ability to move up in the world, both personally and professionally. If the alleged act(s) occur in the workplace, community, or a church, these charges are filed in court and treated as criminal in nature, but the burden of proof is on the accuser. Should you be found guilty, then jail time, a criminal record featuring a felony (depending on the offense), and possible restitution are in your future.

However, if this is your story and your accuser is a student, as of 2011, your chances of having your side of the story heard are greatly diminished. In other words, if you’re accused in a campus or student-related sexual assault, the protections of the Constitution currently are not afforded fully to you.

Obviously, sexual misconduct — whether rape, assault, or unwanted advances — is wrong and should be punished. If every situation fell into the clearly defined category of either consensual or nonconsensual, this would not be a problem. But that isn’t the case. The unfortunate reality of the modern feminist backlash is that a mob now wants to destroy the “patriarchy” and “toxic masculinity,” no matter what the truth may be.

This approach to “justice” began in 2011 during Barack Obama’s administration via a “Dear Colleague” letter. The 19-page “guidance” was a directive to supplement the Office of Civil Rights’ Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance from 2001. This informal-yet-binding supplement greatly expanded the role and reach of an educational institution when a student was involved in an alleged act of sexual misconduct.

On page four, the directive notes that even if a student complains of an alleged act that “initially occurred off school grounds, outside a school’s education program or activity,” the school “may have an obligation to respond.” So an educational institution is to take jurisdiction in dealing with an alleged crime even if that act occurred off its property, outside a school-sanctioned event or activity, and should be beyond its scope of control. If the alleged victim is an elementary student or a minor, it’s understandable that a reporting of an alleged assault would occur. Yet, without a designation, the letter establishes that an adult student falls into this broadly written policy to assume some liability and jurisdiction in dealing with potentially criminal behavior, even when off-campus.

Keep reading the seven-year-old Obama administration letter that gave excessive and inappropriate powers to schools and you’ll find, on page 12, the reason these quasi-courts present a real problem on college campuses, where alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity are found easily. Verbatim, the federal directive reads, “OCR strongly discourages schools from allowing the parties personally to question or cross-examine each other during the hearing. Allowing an alleged perpetrator to question an alleged victim directly may be traumatic or intimidating, thereby possibly escalating or perpetuating a hostile environment.”

Because it may be traumatic, the accused, regardless of extenuating circumstances, may not be afforded the opportunity to present his version of events and challenge the alleged victim’s account. Assuredly, this is because all who are accused are guilty, right?

One of the most memorable, and still vivid, examples of how the right of due process is important dates to 2006, when the Duke lacrosse team hired a student from North Carolina Central College to strip for them at a party. Most folks could conclude this was already a bad idea. This case would now easily fall under the jurisdiction of the Obama way of handling sexual misconduct through colleges.

Three men were identified and alleged to have raped the female student who had agreed to be part of their evening. Nothing about this is good, so let’s not pretend that anyone walks away from this original scene as virtuous. After the case was tried in the court of public opinion based on race and class warfare, the evidence in court remained insufficient — yet reputations were forever damaged. All accused were not found guilty and the prosecutor was disbarred and served jail time for his mishandling of the case. Still, thank goodness for due process.

More recently, Rolling Stone magazine ran a 9,000-word exposé about the supposed “rape culture” at the University of Virginia with an extensive account of one female, “Jackie,” who allegedly had been forced into performing sex acts on five fraternity brothers. To avoid trauma or retaliation, the reporter “decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack nor any of the men who she claimed participated in the attack.” Rolling Stone, after protests and the production by the accused fraternity of information that refuted the claims, had to issue a retraction noting discrepancies in the “victim’s” story. And, yes, an apology was issued “to anyone who was affected by the story.” Awww, so kind.

Every one of the accused had to obtain a lawyer and live in fear and public scrutiny, but, “Gee, sorry. Oops.”

Whenever Secretary DeVos does provide the changes to policy that are currently under review, it will be a defeat to the Left’s approach of political correctness while restoring due process on campus. While it remains that a very real toxicity lies in mixing substances that inhibit the conscience and control of adults in situations that can escalate quickly and have serious consequences, Rule of Law through due process must always hold true.


It's Time to Hold America's 'Educators' to Account

Arnold Ahlert

Last week, in an effort to blame a president for his administration's failings before a disaster occurred, a Washington Post editorial stated that Donald Trump is "complicit" with a hurricane. Such a statement should set off alarm bells, but not for its pathetically inane level of political bias. That the Post would not only consider such an editorial for publication but actually publish it is a testament to the pitiful state of American education. And it's time for Trump to demand a Republican-controlled Congress hold nationally televised congressional hearings to deal with what has become an existential threat to our republic.

According to, the definition of complicit is "choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others." Thus, the Post's editorial board is asserting that the president of the United States and a storm are partners in crime. It is impossible to believe the board isn't fully aware that such an assertion is a complete non-sequitur. Nor can we be expected to believe they seriously think that if Trump only fell into line with the progressive worldview and kept America in the economy-crushing Paris Accord, that Hurricane Florence would either not exist, or would have turned to sea instead of making landfall.

We suppose it's worth something that at least the editors knew the word "collusion" was spent.

How contemptuous of the American public's acumen are the Post's editors? Last February, the same paper revealed that many nations who signed the Paris Accord are failing to meet its goals. Moreover, the U.S. is currently the world leader in cutting CO2 emissions. Thus, one can conclude the most reasonable motive for publishing such unadulterated garbage is the editorial board's smug conclusion that a mis-educated public will buy it.

Their contempt is hardly unique. "Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits," writes former Select Committee on Intelligence member Angelo Codevilla. "These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the 'in' language — serves as a badge of identity."

And what kind of education do ordinary Americans get? "For our K-12 school system, an honorary membership in the Third World," writes columnist F.H. Buckley.

This divide produces immense polarization between a ruling class that believes it is entitled to rule — irrespective of elections — and an American public they believe is "retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained," as Codevilla puts it.

Codevilla wrote that piece in 2010. Last week, video of a post-election meeting of Google leadership and employees revealed the utter contempt these self-appointed Masters of the Universe have for anyone who runs afoul of the progressive social canon. Moreover, company co-founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai refer to project "Jigsaw," which was an effort to use their search engine — the one with a 90.88% worldwide market share — to redirect "extremists" to content tailored to change their opinions.

Extremists according to whom?

Google's arrogance is matched by Twitter. The social media service that both exploits and epitomizes America's increasing infatuation with semi-literate communication has determined the highly accurate term "illegal alien" — used in federal law and at the Supreme Court — violates its "Hateful Content" policy.

Unfortunately, both companies are plowing fertile soil, courtesy of a unionized educational cartel that is a de facto arm of the Democrat Party. This contemptible decades-long alliance has turned America's classrooms into dumbed-down, progressive indoctrination factories.

It's time for a national accounting. For example, it would be highly illuminating to put officials at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on national TV and ask why they are teaching students a gender-bending, anti-white worldview, courtesy of a "Diversity Toolkit" that contains a confidentiality clause that keeps inquiring parents at bay. Or maybe a Vernon, New Jersey, middle school teacher could explain why she skipped commemorating Sept. 11 to teach a fictionalized account of a Muslim boy bullied because his name was Osama. Maybe officials in numerous cities and states who boast of increasing graduation rates could explain why a whopping 40-60% of high school "graduates" need remediation classes in English or math — or both — before entering college. Or why only 36% percent of eighth-graders are proficient in reading, and only 34% are proficient in math.

How is failing to teach more than six in 10 children basic skills — year after year — even remotely acceptable?

Because it aligns with the American Left's long-term strategy, which is now bearing fruit: When one turns out a sufficient number of semi-literate, semi-numerate, and ultimately government-dependent students — the majority of whom are contemptuous of a nation they know next to nothing about in terms of civics, history or the Constitution — an increasing infatuation with socialism, and countless other permutations of a "by any means necessary" agenda, including the effort to unseat a duly elected president, become eminently reasonable.

The deleterious effect on the nation has never been clearer. The orchestrated ignorance is profound, enduring — and multi-generational.

Thus in Hollywood, a community that once turned out thoughtful, well-constructed, clever, literate and oftentimes pro-American entertainment now floods the nation with a degenerative sludge-fest of anti-intellectual detritus, often accompanied by moronic moralizing.

Our universities have become de facto kindergartens, where social justice warriors make the now seamless transition from their helicopter parents (educated by the same system) and "everyone gets a trophy" lifestyles to campuses replete with safe spaces, trigger warnings, and utter contempt for the First and Second Amendments, all enabled by cowardly or complicit administrators.

Corporations have abandoned sensible business practices for leftist-oriented virtue-signaling policies that alienate customers. Moreover they embrace monocultural hiring and firing practices that amount to nothing more than political blacklisting.

And as for what Codevilla called our uniform ruling class, a public-be-damned lack of statesmanship, and a boundless level of self-interest are its two most "uniform" characteristics.

Nonetheless, nationally televised congressional hearings are the best vehicle for staging the battle to save the nation. It is one of the few venues where the filter of an equally corrupt mainstream media is least likely to be imposed — and where the rogue's galley of scam artists, activists, and propagandists purporting to be educators can and must be taken to task in no uncertain terms.

The public must be made to understand that every serious problem with which this nation is afflicted has education as its common denominator, and that "sunlight" — as in the white-hot lights of national TV exposure — is the best disinfectant.


Students with record-low High School leaving scores will soon be teaching Australian kids: Secret report reveals bottom-of-the-class pupils are being encouraged to be TEACHERS

Students with the lowest scores at high school are being encouraged to take up jobs as teachers.

Some students with zero scores in university admission tests are being offered places in teaching degrees, according to a secret report.

The figures show that in NSW and the ACT there were 28 offers made to students who scored between zero and 19 in the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, the criteria for undergraduate university programs in all states except Queensland.

The figures were revealed by retired professor John Mack, who released the figures to the ABC despite the University of Sydney requesting the secret report be destroyed.

Professor Mack said it was not in the interest of the universities to reveal the information. 'What it shows is that overall the general quality of applicants has gone down,' he said.

'In some cases it was worrying that offers were being made to some students that I would have thought would have had exceptional difficulty coping with first-year university.'

The University of Sydney said it was 'very disappointed' with the release of the report.

'We are currently considering whether the release of this report now constitutes a breach of our policies and processes and will take appropriate action if it does,' the university said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.

'At the time the report was written, we communicated with the researchers involved, UAC and the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee to ensure research produced by our academics meets both UAC’s protocols for data use and ethics requirements, as well as our own policy requirements, before being made public.'

University of Sydney lecturer Rachel Wilson - who co-wrote the report with Professor Mack - said there were 'disturbing indicators' showing declining performance at high schools.

'There are very clear trends, I would say disturbingly steep trends, in the admission of lower-attaining students to initial teacher education,' she said. 'And if the system doesn't rise up and address this issue we are going to be in a downward spiral from here on in.'


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Texas Board Of Education Sends A Clear Message To Hillary Clinton

The State Board of Education in Texas met Friday to discuss some major changes to it’s school curriculum and well,  one curriculum got a little more attention than the others.

The State Board of Education in Texas voted on Friday to eliminate several historical figures, including Hillary Clinton  from the state’s social studies curriculum.

The decision made by the 15-member body reportedly came as part of an overall effort to “streamline” the state’s social studies curriculum.

Board member Barbara Cargill,  told The Dallas Morning News that “the recommendation to eliminate Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton was made by [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills] work groups.”

As reported by The Hill, Texas high school students have been required to learn about Clinton after the former first lady made history in 2016 by becoming the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major political party.

Texas third-grade students have also been required to learn about Helen Keller, who went on to become the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and later led a life of activism.

Members of the volunteer work group that made such recommendations to the board said the state requires children to learn about too many historical figures.

So, the volunteer work group was tasked with creating a rubric for grading historical figures to deem who was “essential” to learn about and who wasn’t. The group would ponder things like whether the historical figure triggered a watershed change or if he or she were from an underrepresented group.

Clinton reportedly scored a five on the 20-point grading rubric.

The  vote cast Friday was a preliminary one,  however the board, whose members are elected to represent specific geographical areas, is scheduled to cast a final vote on the decision this coming November.


The College Campus's Cult of Fragility

The beginning of another academic year brings the certainty of campus episodes illustrating what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, distinguished professor and venerated politician, called “the leakage of reality from American life.” Colleges and universities are increasingly susceptible to intellectual fads and political hysteria, partly because the institutions employ so many people whose talents, such as they are, are extraneous to the institutions’ core mission: scholarship.

Writing last April in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Lyell Asher, professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, noted that “the kudzu-like growth of the administrative bureaucracy in higher education” is partly a response to two principles now widely accepted on campuses: Anything that can be construed as bigotry and hatred should be so construed, and anything construed as such should be considered evidence of an epidemic. Often, Asher noted, a majority of the academic bureaucrats directly involved with students, from dorms to “bias response teams” to freshman “orientation” (which often means political indoctrination), have graduate degrees not in academic disciplines but from education schools with “two mutually reinforcing characteristics”: ideological orthodoxy and low academic standards for degrees in vaporous subjects like “educational leadership” or “higher-education management.”

The problem is not anti-intellectualism but the “un-intellectualism” of a growing cohort of persons who, lacking talents for or training in scholarship, find vocations in micromanaging student behavior in order to combat imagined threats to “social justice.” Can anyone on a campus say anything sensible about how the adjective modifies the noun? Never mind. As Asher said, groupthink and political intimidation inevitably result from this ever-thickening layer of people with status anxieties because they are parasitic off institutions with scholarly purposes.

The Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald says that between the 1997-1998 academic year and the Great Recession year of 2008-2009, while the University of California student population grew 33 percent and tenure-track faculty grew 25 percent, senior administrators grew 125 percent. “The ratio of senior managers to professors climbed from 1 to 2.1 to near-parity of 1 to 1.1.”

In her just-published book “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture,” Mac Donald writes that many students have become what tort law practitioners call “eggshell plaintiffs,” people who make a cult of fragility — being “triggered” (i.e., traumatized) by this or that idea of speech. Asher correctly noted that the language of triggering “converts students into objects for the sake of rendering their reactions ‘objective,’ and by extension valid: A student’s triggered response is no more to be questioned than an apple’s falling downward or a spark’s flying upward.” So the number of things not to be questioned on campuses multiplies.

Students encouraged to feel fragile will learn to recoil from “microaggressions” so micro that few can discern them. A University of California guide to microaggressions gave these examples of insensitive speech: “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” and “Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough.” Fragile students are encouraged in “narcissistic victimhood” by administrators whose vocation is to tend to the injured. These administrators are, Mac Donald argues, “determined to preserve in many of their students the thin skin and solipsism of adolescence.”

Nowadays, radical intellectuals who are eager to be “transgressive” have difficulty finding remaining social rules and boundaries to transgress: When all icons have been smashed, the iconoclast’s lot is not a happy one. Similarly, academic administrators whose mission is the elimination of racism have difficulty finding any in colleges and universities whose student admissions and faculty hiring practices are shaped by the relentless pursuit of diversity.

Explicit racism having been substantially reduced in American society, a multi-billion-dollar industry for consultants (and corporate diversity officers, academic deans, etc.: UCLA’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion earns more than $400,000) has developed around testing to detect “implicit bias.” It is assumed to be ubiquitous until proven otherwise, so detecting it is steady work: Undetectable without arcane tests and expensive experts, you never know when it has been expunged, and government supervision of everything must be minute and unending.

And always there is a trickle of peculiar language. The associate vice chancellor and dean of students at the University of California, Berkeley — where the Division of Equity and Inclusion has a staff of 150 — urges students to “listen with integrity.” If you do not understand the peculiar patois spoken by the academy’s administrators, try listening with more integrity.


Australian University graduates increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education

University graduates are increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education, with graduates in law, IT and engineering less likely to use their qualifications.

As detailed in the Herald Sun, a Grattan Institute report found graduates in the fields of science and commerce particularly are failing to gain work that makes use of their degrees.

Andrew Norton, Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute, told Ross and John there are a number of reasons why this has started occurring.

“We increase the number of university students, then we had two downturns, global financial crisis, the end of the mining boom, and that meant the number of jobs declined for a while,” Andrew said.

“People have to be aware of the risks of certain courses, commerce and science, that are easy to get into, some of those people should probably just do something else instead.

“A lot of people do a degree, they don’t get a job that matches that degree but it does give them substantial insurance to having no job at all, so it’s not a complete waste of time.”

“Just a fantastic description of a university degree,” Ross said. “Quote, ‘Not a complete waste of time’.”


Monday, September 17, 2018

Education is not preparing students for a fast-changing world

Attention: Your acronym of the day is VUCA.

VUCA stands for “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous,” a handy shortcut used by the military to describe these uncertain times, and a framework to shape its leadership programs.

But VUCA is an important signal for more than military educators. Change is coming at us with bewildering speed, driven by globalization, demographics, the corrosive effect of increasing inequality, and the seductive quicksilver of technologies ranging from artificial intelligence and blockchain to nanotechnology and quantum computing. We all must be preparing for the challenges of a VUCA world.

Sadly, as the world of work spins faster and faster, the world of education has actually slowed down. We have dreamed the American dream of upward mobility through education, but the numbers tell a different story. We placed an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries on the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment, which measures math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds around the world. Of the 20 million currently enrolled American college students, only an estimated 57 percent are likely to graduate. In fact, six-year graduation rates are the current national standard for higher education, not four. Even for those who graduate, more than 40 percent will be underemployed, filling jobs not commensurate with a college education. With over 6 million jobs currently unfilled in American companies, and record-setting levels of student debt, something is woefully out of whack.

Proficiency-based learning emphasizes “21st-century skills” at the expense of content and knowledge. It doesn’t work.

These are global trends but perhaps most acute in the United States, where we have championed college education for all at the same time that we have not paid enough attention to the link between learning and earning. The false choice between vocational training and the lofty devotion to the life of the mind is particularly damaging to first-generation college students with no parental safety net or networks of their own. Career services remain the Siberia of most college campuses, visited rarely and woefully under-resourced.

Looking back again at our military analogy, there is much to be learned from the last 25 years of research on advances in military leadership development, especially the emphasis on professional development, continual improvement, applied knowledge, and the strategic shift from seeking one star leader — the perfect general — to building constellation leadership.

We need to do the same in education: inspire our students to be continuous, lifelong, and self-directed learners with the ability to build collaborative knowledge networks and assemble teams that augment their own skills and styles. The days are over when any front-loaded university education could provide sufficient fuel for a long career. These are times that call for new models of leadership and learning.

The VUCA future is evident in the shape of new coalitions between educational institutions, government, and the private sector, and the explosion of new pathways to knowledge and certification. Starbucks sends its baristas to study online at Arizona State University. Disney announces that the Magic Kingdom will now support its hourly employees with advanced educational options. Pluralsight and Khan Academy create networks of online experts offering just-in-time learning. AT&T partners with Udacity for computer science “nanomasters.” Degreed identifies skills gaps and matches mid-career professionals with the rich and growing array of learning opportunities available through certificate programs, MOOCs, articles, and podcasts.

Today’s students need to prepare themselves for job descriptions yet unwritten. In the VUCA environment, there is no robot-proof major. Instead, students need to steer a course between “Will” and “Watson,” between the humanities and social sciences (as represented by William Shakespeare) and computational thinking and STEM fields (as represented by IBM Watson). This is not merely our wishful cheerleading for literature and history. The skills they foster — critical thinking, clear communications, empathy, and self-awareness — are what employers consistently promote as essential characteristics for job candidates.

But the ultimate skill is the ability to learn how to learn. The goal of continuous, lifelong learning is implicit in everything that happens in education. We need to make it explicit and intentional and respected as the most important preparation for an uncertain world. That readiness for a lifetime of learning is the “mission accomplished” of education.

This approach raises a howl from those who rail against the “corporatization” of the university, a concern that we will tilt too far away from research and intellectual pursuits. Those battle lines are tired and anachronistic. Universities today are engines of economic opportunity, of knowledge entrepreneurship, and the irreplaceable wellspring of research and scholarship. Their institutional pride should also rest on their proven ability to assure bright futures for students from all backgrounds.

It’s time to look with fresh eyes at aligning American education with those values and a new appreciation for the VUCA imperatives. The future of work is the future of education.


Bonanza Ending for Higher Education?

The party might be winding down for the outlandishly expensive boondoggle that higher education has become. This swindle is falling prey to the tight labor market:

Job recruiting site Glassdoor recently reported that companies like Google, Apple, IBM, Bank of America no longer require that applicants have a college degree.

Neither do companies like Costco, Whole Foods, Publix, Chipotle, Home Depot, Starbucks.

Students have been digging themselves ever deeper into debt to finance increasingly useless degrees. The rest of the country is going into debt with them:

Further fueling this college bubble has been an upward spiral of federal grants, aid, subsidized loans and tax credits. College Board data show that federal college aid shot up 93% between 2001 to last year, after adjusting for inflation. …

Over those same years, public college tuitions climbed 72%.

A few parasites are getting very rich at everyone else’s expense.

College administrator jobs have climbed much faster than student enrollment.

Tinseltown is probably the only place on earth where you could find people more absurdly overpaid than educrats.

Prominent Democrats call for free college for everyone at public expense. Meanwhile, college has become ever more a means of staving off adulthood at the cost of wasted years that could have been spent starting families and generating wealth rather than extending adolescence.

Some jobs truly require a college education; most do not. A large part of what is taught in college serves no constructive purpose. Much of it is pernicious.

College isn’t always a scam. Within traditional parameters, it is a critical component of society. It will return to those parameters when only people who have a sensible reason to be there go to college.

That happy day will come sooner if intelligence tests are allowed for job applicants. This would require overturning the Supreme Court’s Griggs v. Duke Power Co. ruling, which determined that intelligence tests are racist because they discriminate against racial groups that are less intelligent. Holding a college degree, which costs many thousands of dollars and wastes precious years of time, is used as a proxy for the inexpensive tests due to political correctness.


Private education spending in Australia soars ahead of other countries

Because Australian families send 40% of their teenagers to private schools

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released on Tuesday night its annual education at a glance report, a major compendium of statistics measuring the state of education across the world.

The report found Australia is among the highest contributors to education spending in the world, at about 6% of gross domestic product.

But it found the proportion of public money spent on primary, high school and vocational education decreased significantly between 2005 and 2015.

By 2015 the share of private sources of non-tertiary education made up 19% of overall spending, the most of any advanced economy and double the OECD average of 8%.

At the same time, the government’s share of total expenditure on non-tertiary education declined from 73% to 66%. The report also found that in Australia, expenditure on non-tertiary education as a share of GDP decreased by 10% over the five year period between 2010 and 2015.

In Australia, private schools are funded through a mixture of parent fees, donations and per-student contributions from states and the Commonwealth.

Correna Haythorpe, the head of the Australian Education Union, said the report showed the “cost burden” of education funding was being shifted away from the government.

“This OECD report shows public expenditure on education in Australia is already well below the OECD average of 11% of public expenditure, and falling rapidly,” she said.

“The report shows that government policies have led to a significant shift over time in how education is funded. That shifts the cost burden from the government to the community.”

According to the report, global eduction funding has suffered as a result of the global financial crisis.

While public funding to education globally started to increase in 2010, it did so at a slower pace than GDP. Across OECD countries, total average expenditure on education at all levels decreased by 4.1% as a percentage of GDP.

“The effects of the global economic crisis that began in 2008 are currently reflected in the adjustments of public budgets and, therefore, in the expenditure on educational institutions across all levels of education,” the report stated.

In the university sector, private funding before public transfers – money given to the private sector through tuition or student subsidies, for example – accounts for 37% of all expenditure. Only the UK has a higher proportion of private university funding.

After public transfers, private expenditure accounts for 62% of the expenditure on tertiary education compared to the OECD average of 31%.

The AEU said it was concerned about findings on teacher workload.

The report found that in 2017 the net teaching time for Australian primary teachers per year was 865 hours, compared to the OECD average of 778 hours. Upper secondary teachers taught 797 hours, it found, compared to the OECD average of 655.

“Australian teachers are teaching larger classes and working significantly more hours than the OECD average, which is a clear indication of resource shortages,” Haythorpe said.

“When schools can provide extra staff, they can address larger classes and provide extra support for students who need it.”

The report also found gender differences in the labour market remained “significant” in Australia.

In the last decade, tertiary attainment of 25-34 year-olds in Australia had “increased significantly”, reaching 52% in 2017.

That increase has been especially pronounced among women. Between 2007 and 2017, the share of 25-34 year-old women with tertiary education increased from 46% to 59%, above the OECD average of 50%. In 2016, half of the new entrants to doctoral programs were women.

In the same period the share of tertiary attainment among young men increased from 35% to 45%.


Sunday, September 16, 2018


Australian sex expert Bettina Arndt met by protesters at La Trobe University event as she explodes the campus rape myth

Bettina Arndt has confronted protesting socialist students as she starts her controversial university tour about campus rape.

The sex therapist and columnist gave her first of a series of lectures on why she believes there is not a “rape crisis” at Australian universities at La Trobe University today, but not everyone wanted to listen.

All through Ms Arndt’s lecture, protesters aligned with the Victorian Socialists banged on the doors of the Eastern Lecture Theatre and chanted “Bettina Arndt, go to hell. Go take Milo (Yianipoulos) there as well.”

But before she spoke, the sex therapist approached the students at their uni square stand and tried to talk to them. The socialist students just kept chanting.

“Why don’t they come and listen to me speak? And engage in a conversation around this issue,” she said, “What are they afraid of?”

The lecture comes a week after La Trobe University reversed their ban on the student Liberal Club inviting Ms Arndt to speak on campus.

Ms Arndt’s lectures use cases of US rape allegations, and data from both the NSW bureau of Crime Statistics and the Australian Human Rights Commission, to make the case that there is not a growing prevalence of rape and sexual assault against female university students.

The sex therapist has said she wants to tackle the unfair treatment of male students who are falsely accused of sex crimes on campus. But her critics accuse her of victim blaming.

Ms Arndt said she spoke to the socialist speakers, despite their aggressiveness, because she wanted to invite them to the lecture.  “I went over there to ask them to come and listen and ask me questions,” she said, “they proceeded to scream in my ear from a foot away.”

Ms Arndt faced sceptical audience members inside too.

But she and her audience of supporters and critics battled on while the protesters banged on the doors and chanting “F*ck off, f*ck off, Bettina,” to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You, and “When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? We fight back.”

Socialist student leader Elliot Downes said before the protest they did not want to shut Ms Arndt down. “I think she represents a real far-right kind of sexism … which drags society back to the 1950s,” they said. “We’re not here to shut her down. We’re here to show there are opposition to those views.”

But the socialist student added they had no interest in taking on Ms Arndt in debate. “I think our protest is the dialogue I want with her. I think she has enough capacity to share her ideas,” they said.

The university had originally let Ms Arndt speak if the Liberal Club paid for costs. But both Ms Arndt and Liberal Club president James Plozzo told The Australian yesterday that the university will now pay for security.


Feminist Brownshirts doing their best to silence those they disagree with

This is a short video of what happened at Bettina's talk above.  Disturbing in its mass intolerance and aggression, not to mention its sheer ignorance.  It's very reminiscent of Hitler's Brownshirts

Police called to Sydney University after protesters riot against talk by Bettina Arndt

Riot police were called to a university as protesters pushed and shoved students attending a talk by a sex therapist.

Almost 40 students were blocking the corridors of Sydney University as they protested the talk of sex therapist Bettina Arndt.

Ms Arndt said the protesters were 'roughing up' people who were trying to enter her lecture and described it as 'appalling behaviour' as police arrived about 6pm to ease the situation.

She apologised to the attendees for having to call the police to handle the situation over the rights of the students to free speech and debating of various topics.

The self-described social commentator was offering a lecture on the topic of, 'Is there a rape crisis on campuses’ at the city campus on Tuesday.

Footage uploaded to social media shows several students shouting and chanting against Ms Arndt's attendance and lecture at the university.

According to the uni's student paper, Honi Soit, Ms Arndt was saying that women should be held more accountable for sexual assault crimes.

She also said that universities should not be interfering with any allegations which are put forward, stating the 'risks of being raped on campus are very low.'

In addition, the student paper writes that Ms Arndt claimed universities are '100 times safer' for women than 'Indigenous communities and rough neighbourhoods.'

She also warned against NSW changing sexual consent laws following the rape trial involving Luke Lazarus, Daily Telegraph reported. The former private schoolboy had been accused of raping an 18-year-old virgin in a Kings Cross alley behind his father's Soho nightclub about 4am on May 12, 2013.

Mr Lazarus, now 26, admitted he and Saxon Mullins had anal sex in the alley, and that the woman was down on all fours. The pair had gone outside Soho into Hourigan Lane within three minutes of meeting on the dance floor.

He was initially found guilty of rape in 2015, but after 11 months in prison, he was granted a retrial and subsequently acquitted.

Ms Arndt said it was 'not surprising' the case fuelled so much outrage and is used as a means to change the state's sexual consent laws. 'It doesn't mean we should go down this road of tilting the rules to really disadvantage men who are falsely accused.'

She continued to advise the young men to not take the risk and always seek the 'enthusiastic yes' when looking to perform any sexual activity.


Australian students set for shift to ‘radical’ 21st century curriculum

Australian students are set to be taught fashionable but contentious 21st-century skills, ranging from critical and creative thinking through to “mindfulness”, “gratitude” and “resilience”, with moves under way for a radical redesign of the national curriculum.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has started a review of the curriculum that is understood to draw heavily on the recent Gonski review, an OECD future of education project and the work of a US-based “futurist” who has been contracted to help “modernise” the mathematics curriculum.

The push has attracted criticism from ACARA’s recently retired chairman, Steven Schwartz.

“The 21st-century skills movement is the latest in a long line of educational fads,” Professor Schwartz said. “In each case, early enthusiasm gave way to disillusion. The problem is always the same: children cannot learn to be critical thinkers until they have actually learned something to think about.”

ACARA chief executive Robert Randall alluded to the review during a University of NSW lecture last month. He revealed the next iteration of the curriculum would be out within two years.

It is understood work is centred on two objectives: bringing 21st-century skills — referred to as general capabilities in the curriculum but also known as “soft skills” and “generic competencies” — to the fore of what is taught in classrooms; and incorporating equally contentious learning progressions that have been linked to a proposal to replace student achievement, including A-E grades, with “gain” as a measure of a student’s success.

Both were endorsed by businessman David Gonski in his ­recent review into educational ­excellence

Former ACARA director of curriculum Fiona Mueller, who resigned late last year after two years in the role, exposed the ­review in a recent online opinion article. She lamented the “fixation on 21st-century competencies” and “lack of broadminded, transparent and objective leadership on the part of local decision makers”.

Approached by The Weekend Australian, Dr Mueller said she was concerned that work under way amounted to a redesign of the curriculum by stealth. “You might call (it) a rather stealthy shift in approach, and the implications for students, teachers and other stakeholders are absolutely enormous,” she said. “What they are talking about is actually another radical shift in teaching and learning.”

Despite ACARA’s frequent ­assurances that any changes to the two-year-old curriculum would be “refinements”, it recently commissioned the US-based Centre for Curriculum Redesign, headed by self-­described education thought leader and futurist Charles Fadel, to work on a new maths curriculum.

It was referred to on ACARA’s website in July under the obscure heading “Australian Curriculum: Mathematics recognised as global leader”.

More detail was available on the CCR’s own website. A July 24 media release reveals the project would lead to the ­creation of a “world-class ­mathematics ­curriculum” that paid ­explicit attention to “21st century competencies” that addressed the “learning needs of students for life and work in the 21st century”.

Mr Randall was quoted as saying that the project would be used to “inform any future refinement to the Australian curriculum in mathematics and to help guide improvement to ACARA’s overall curriculum design and development process”.

Hailed by many as a panacea to declining educational results — both locally and when compared with international counterparts — the general capabilities received a big tick in the Gonski report, which described them as “critical to equipping ­students with the skills necessary to successfully live and work in a changing world and are increasingly sought after by employers”.

Positioned in the national curriculum with eight core learning areas, such as English, maths, science and history, there are seven general capabilities: literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural understanding and ethical understanding.

The degree to which teachers embed them in their subject teaching is not known.

Australian Catholic University research fellow Kevin Donnelly, a former secondary school principal who conducted the government’s 2014 review of the curriculum, said the push to elevate the role of skills and capabilities in education was a worldwide trend, driven by “globalist groupthink” about “changing times” and preparing students “for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated”.

It is also a major theme of the OECD’s Education 2030 position paper, The Future of Education and Skills, in which ACARA was heavily involved. The report, ­released this year, features a long list of “constructs” of competencies currently under review that could find their way into the curriculum, such as adaptability, compassion, equity, global mindset, gratitude, hope, integrity, motivation, justice, mindfulness, resilience, respect, purposefulness and trust.

“Such competencies represent a content-free approach to the curriculum that is guaranteed to further lower standards and ensure that Australian students continue to underperform and leave schools morally and culturally bereft,” Dr Donnelly said.

Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jennifer Buckingham also questioned the push, describing it as “well-intentioned but misguided”. “Of course it is important for young people to be able to collaborate, communicate and think critically and creatively, but there is absolutely nothing new about that,” Dr Buckingham said.

“What is new is the idea that these things can be taught by schools as a set of generic skills or capabilities disconnected from disciplinary knowledge. Good evidence suggest that this is a fool’s errand.”

A spokesman for ACARA confirmed that the organisation was engaged in work designed to inform the next generation of the national curriculum, but any ­action would require the endorsement of all education ministers.

The spokesman said that the recommendation in the Gonski report relating to the development of learning progressions built on ACARA’s recent work in producing literacy and numeracy learning progressions, which “help teachers locate the literacy and numeracy development of their students and identify what development should follow”.

The spokesman said the CCR contract, to design a new maths curriculum, was worth $215,000.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Attempt to Diminish Heroism of Alamo Defenders Is a Shameful War on History

The next generation of Texans may not care to “remember the Alamo” after a recent decision by the Texas State Board of Education.

The Battle of the Alamo, which occurred during the Texas Revolution of the 1830s, is one of the most famed military actions in Texas and American history.

Just a few hundred Alamo defenders, who hailed from numerous countries and all walks of life, held off a Mexican army, led by Gen. Santa Anna, of nearly 2,000 for hours before being overrun.

The brave actions of a few, patriotic men against incredible odds has been compared to the Battle of Thermopylae, in which a handful of Greek soldiers fought against a massive Persian army. In fact, a plaque saying as much sits on the wall of the fort today, which is located in the middle of downtown San Antonio.

But in June, an advisory group of educators concluded that calling the Alamo’s defenders “heroic” was a “value-charged word,” so the State Board of Education decided to remove this from the state’s seventh-grade curriculum.

The board recommended specifically removing classroom reference to a famous letter from Alamo commander William B. Travis, which galvanized Texans and Americans to the cause of Texas independence from Mexico.

On Twitter, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blasted the move as out-of-control “political correctness.”

Among the illustrious group of slain warriors were David Crockett—a frontier folk hero who had served in the Tennessee Legislature—and James Bowie, another famed frontiersman who popularized the “Bowie knife.”

Their deaths were a rallying cry for Texans and galvanized supporters of Texas independence. Shortly thereafter, Texans defeated that same Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto, effectively securing their independence.

Texas joined the United States a decade later, and the story of the Alamo became an American one. The story has risen to prominence over the years as an example of extreme courage in the face of overwhelming odds—a trait we should hope many future generations of Americans would emulate.

It’s no wonder the move to strip the heroics and patriotism of this famed battle was met with anger and a deluge of animosity, as it should be, especially in light of other attempts to banish old heroes in Texas.

After intense scrutiny, the Texas State Board of Education indicated after a hearing on Tuesday that it might back off removing Travis’ letter from the curriculum.

One of the committee members, Stephen Cure, said it was not the committee’s intent to diminish the heroism of those who fought at the Alamo, according to LMT Online.

Cure said that under a revised standard, Texas schools would recognize “the heroism of diverse defenders who gave their lives.”

The board will announce its final decision about the curriculum in November.

However, regardless of how the Alamo issue plays out, the board’s action should be a wake-up call to the people of Texas that there need to be more options for their families and children than the one-size-fits-all public school system currently available to parents.

Despite its reputation as a deep-red state, Texas has lagged badly in creating private school choice options for parents. This is not just a Texas problem; this is a problem for many red states, which should theoretically have school choice-friendly legislatures and governors. But many have dropped the ball in making it a priority issue.

For the sake of future generations, this needs to change.

Not only do school choice programs allow parents to put their children in higher performing schools, but they allow them to move them into schools that reflect their beliefs.

Education is not merely about test scores and gearing up to get into top colleges. It’s also about civics and teaching young Americans to be citizens.

If Texas public schools don’t care to teach young Texans to remember the Alamo, then perhaps parents need the option to send their children to schools that will.

In a climate in which we are witnessing a concerted war on our history, where great men and high ideas are being stripped from public places—from Hollywood, media, and certainly academia—it is essential that young Americans have access to an education that will continue to instill patriotism.

Without this, we risk losing the values that make us the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Lawsuit over Louisiana school's hair policy is dismissed

Parents of two New Orleans-area school girls have dismissed their lawsuit against a Catholic school over its policy forbidding hair extensions.

In a notice of dismissal filed in federal court Monday, lawyers for the girls noted that Christ the King Parish School had ended the policy, a decision the school announced two weeks ago after a state judge blocked its enforcement.

The school and the Archdiocese of New Orleans drew widespread online outrage after video spread of sixth-grader Faith Fennidy tearfully leaving school after being told her hair style violated the policy.

Her mother and the mother of another student filed a state court lawsuit, which was moved later to federal court.

The archdiocese declined comment and lawyers for the families did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. Both sides have been quiet about the case in recent weeks and neither has said whether either of the girls returned to Christ the King or enrolled elsewhere.

Faith's brother posted a Facebook video that showed the girl, her braids pulled back and hanging just below the neckline, dejectedly leaving school with family members in late August. It included an explanation that there were practical reasons for Faith's use of hair extensions.

The video won her quick recognition and support from, among others, social activist Shaun King on Twitter and rapper T.I. on Instagram. The P&G brand flew her to New York to attend the Black Girls Rock award show on BET.

Meanwhile, the superintendent of schools for the archdiocese said she would work with school officials to "create a uniform policy that is sensitive to all races, religions, and cultures."


Australia: Race-conscious schoolkid refuses to stand for national anthem

She has obviously absorbed the Leftist political attitudes of her academic parents.  Seeing us all just as Australians is beyond her. Why?  Because seeing us all just as Australians is exactly the opposite of what Leftists do. As part of their program of destroying our "unjust" society, they do their best to divide people against one-another.

It's undoubted that there are many ways in which Aborigines are not "equal" to other Australians but what do you do about that? The kid probably hasn't heard that all Australian governments, Left and Right, State and Federal, have done just about everything conceivable to help them but nothing works.  Only the missionaries did any good for them but the Leftist hate of rival religions precludes any repetition of that.

This event is of no broad importance but it took my attention because I too in my High School years made a similar refusal. No anthem was sung at Cairns State high in 1961. Kids were told to salute the flag. I refused. I was very religious at the time and considered that my only loyalty was to the Kingdom of Heaven.  I was not penalized in any way but got to have a good chat with Principal Crosswell.  The kid below was also eventually allowed to go her own way. We are lucky in Australia that we do have such freedoms even for kids, even if the freedoms are used in pursuit of dubious causes

Teachers at a Brisbane primary school have disciplined a nine-year-old girl for refusing to stand for the national anthem during assembly. Primary school student Harper Nielsen was given a lunch time detention on Friday for peacefully protesting against the song she said is "wrong".

"When it says 'we are young' it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years," she said. "When it was originally written, Advance Australia Fair meant advance the white people of Australia."

Harper told ABC Brisbane she felt annoyed the school was punishing her for expressing her beliefs. "I felt like they were trying to take my power away and that made me feel a bit upset because everything that I fight for is for equality and for equal power for everyone," Harper said.

The Year 4 student said the decision to take a stand was made "mostly" by herself but the subject had been discussed with her parents.

Her father Mark Nielsen, who is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, said he completely supported his daughter and her views.

"She's shown incredible bravery in wanting to stick to what she believes in and make a stance for something she believes right and I couldn't be more proud of her for wanting to do this," he said.

Associate Professor Nielsen said despite meeting with the school to discuss the issues, they claimed the school rules would not allow his daughter to continue to protest. "They have said that she has to stand or she has to leave the assembly area," he said.

Associate Professor Nielsen said forcing his daughter to go against her stance "doesn't fit" what she was trying to achieve.

"One of the things she was really hoping to do with this is to raise awareness and get people thinking about institutionalised racism and how that looks and how that might feel to people who these kinds of things affect," he said.

In response to criticism of his daughter's actions, Associate Professor Nielsen said it was important to give everyone the opportunity to stand up for things they believed in. "This is not just someone wanting to do whatever the heck they want — this is just a very specific isolated incident for which there are sound, thoughtful reasons behind that, that have to do with human rights," he said. "This is not someone just saying they don't want to go to math class."

Harper's mother, Yvette Miller, is an Associate Professor in Public Health at Queensland University of Technology.

Brisbane Aboriginal community elder Sam Watson said Harper's parents should be congratulated.

"They've obviously raised a very bright and vivacious young woman and this one is going to grow up and do big things in her life," Mr Watson said.

Talkback callers on ABC Radio Brisbane had mixed opinions, with some calling it "flat-out disrespect", while others said freedom of expression should be encouraged in children.

However, in a video posted on Facebook, Senator Pauline Hanson rejected the nine-year-old's views, saying "here we have a kid being brainwashed".

"I tell you what — I'd give her a kick up the backside," Senator Hanson said. "We're talking about a child who has no idea about history — what we should do and what we need to do to pull everyone together, regardless of their cultural background — we are all Australians. "This is divisive and I don't know what the other kids around her are thinking, but where is it coming from?

"This kid is headed down the wrong path, and I blame the parents for it for encouraging this — no, take her out of the school."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Queensland's Department of Education said it had met with the student and family involved to discuss the issue.  "The school has been respectful of the student's wishes and has provided other alternatives to singing the national anthem," the spokesperson said.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

NYU attempts to solve doctor problem Obamacare helped create

More big government policies should not be the answer to problems created by big government. Yet that is exactly what New York University is trying to do. The New York University (NYU) School of Medicine announced last week that it would offer a full tuition scholarship to all students in the medical school regardless of merit or need. While the goal of the program is to produce more doctors; instead, this program will only raise costs for everyone while failing to address the underlying problems within our health care system.

The United States desperately needs more doctors.

An April 2018 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts a shortage of between 14,800 and 49,300 primary care physicians by 2030. At the same time, the AAMC predicts a shortage of between 33,800 and 72,700 specialty doctors.

This shortage is caused in large part by the Affordable Care Act, which increased demand for physicians while burying them in paperwork and regulations.

A series of studies reported on through Investor Business Daily found, 54 percent of doctors claim they are “suffering burnout,” 83 percent of doctors were thinking about quitting, and 40 percent said they would retire or seek other work because of Obamacare.

Clearly, the U.S. needs more doctors, but free tuition is not a good plan to make that happen.

NYU Med students pay an average $55,018 in tuition each year. The free tuition plan is expected to cost the school $600 million to fund. While the school hopes the generosity of donors will cover the cost, more than likely, other NYU students will be hit with the bill.

A January 2017 George Mason University Mercatus Center study found that increases in loan and grant programs within universities create artificial demand, largely resulting in greater tuition increases and produce little benefit to enrollment numbers. Similarly, in February of 2018, the Heartland Institute merged 25 studies on tuition costs and student aid to find that subsidizing college tuition raises prices for all students as universities raise tuition across the board. Flooding labor markets with these degrees in turn makes them less useful.

The NYU program will be costly and ineffective in producing more doctors.

Even worse, the free tuition for future students and student loan repayment for current students comes with no strings attached. So, a student does not even have to practice medicine in order to receive the benefits.

This is important considering a Mayo Clinic study cited in the aforementioned Investors Business Daily notes, “nearly one in five doctors plan to switch to part-time clinical hours, 27 percent plan to leave their current practice, and 9 percent plan to get an administrative job or switch careers entirely.” This has significantly exacerbated the doctor shortage.

It was the big government policies of the Obama administration that caused the doctor shortage we are dealing with today. If schools like NYU want to do their part, they should help encourage the rollback of Obamacare rather than attempting to put a band-aid on the problem. The free tuition myth will increase costs for other students while failing to help Americans still struggling with the impact of Obamacare.


Amid secrecy, Acadia University professor at centre of free speech debate fired for controversial comments

The secrecy tells its own story

Rick Mehta came under fire for saying multiculturalism is a scam, denying the gender wage gap, and dismissing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

A Nova Scotia professor who stoked a national debate about free speech on campus after making controversial comments on social media and in the classroom has been fired.

Acadia University confirmed Friday that Rick Mehta has been dismissed, several months after the Wolfville, N.S., school launched a formal investigation into complaints against the psychology professor.

University spokesman Scott Roberts said he is unable to comment or “provide any elaboration” on the dismissal as it is a confidential personnel matter.

He also was unable to provide details of the findings of the investigation overseen by Dalhousie University professor emeritus Wayne MacKay, noting that it’s a “privileged document.”

The Acadia University Faculty Association said in a statement Friday it was informed of the firing on Aug. 31, and has since filed for arbitration.

“The termination of a tenured professor is very serious, and (the faculty association) has filed for arbitration while its senior grievance officer and legal counsel examine the administration’s disciplinary procedures and evidence,” the statement said.

Mehta could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday. However, he retweeted a blog article that discussed his firing.

Last month, he said in an email that the only way he could have a copy of the investigation report by MacKay was by signing an agreement, which he called a “gag order.”

Mehta was outspoken both on campus and online about a range of contentious issues including decolonization, immigration and gender politics, garnering both supporters and opposition.

He came under fire for saying multiculturalism is a scam, denying the wage gap between men and women, and dismissing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a vehicle for “endless apologies and compensation.”

On Twitter, he retweeted a post that said it is “statistically impossible for all Native children to have had a negative experience with residential schools.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children were taken from their families – often by force – to attend government schools. The commission heard testimony from roughly 7,000 survivors, including graphic details of rampant sexual and physical abuse at the schools, and found at least 6,000 Indigenous children died from malnutrition, disease and widespread abuse.

While his defenders called his voice an antidote to political correctness run amok, his critics said his polarizing comments attacked marginalized people and perpetuated harmful stereotypes.

In a Feb. 26 letter, Mehta’s designated department head, Rob Raeside, detailed some of the complaints against him, indicating that the level of anxiety in the class was high and some students had stopped attending.

Raeside said students have accused Mehta of spending excessive class time on non-class related matters, using non-academic sources for lecture content, testing on content not dealt with in class or in assigned readings and making provocative comments in class.

The acrimonious debate has spurred a Halifax-based activist to launch a petition demanding his removal from the small-town Nova Scotia university, while a counter-petition called for him to stay in the classroom as a beacon of freedom of expression.

In March, the Canadian Association of University Teachers appointed a committee to review how Acadia handled grievances against Mehta to determine whether his academic freedom had been breached or threatened.

“Professor Mehta’s case raises important questions about the scope of academic freedom in teaching and the exercise of extramural speech by professors,” David Robinson, executive director of the association, said in a statement at the time.

“These issues are of broad significance to all academics in Canada.”


Strange histories of conservatism

The growing tendency of late for liberals and conservatives to regard each other as not just opponents, but enemies, has been one of the most alarming in an alarming era. At the root of this fear and loathing is mutual incomprehension: Liberals simply don’t understand conservatives, and vice versa. In years past, the historical profession has done little to improve matters. Liberal historians typically treated conservatives and their ideas with disdain, when they deigned to notice them at all.

The end-of-century victories of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich, however, forced historians to realize that conservatism could no longer be dismissed as a mere road bump on the inexorable progression toward a liberal future. The result, over the past two decades, has been a veritable tsunami of historical literature on conservatism. Virtually all of these works have been written by liberals. Nonetheless, historians of this new generation consider themselves to be unbiased and even sympathetic observers of conservatism. Many believe their collective efforts have produced a profound historical understanding of conservatism as an intellectual and cultural phenomenon, and thus contributed in some measure to bringing politically opposed citizens together.

Color me skeptical. I was a graduate student at the beginning of this new wave of conservative studies and I couldn’t help but notice that it coincided with the historical profession’s purge of any scholars who could be described as Republicans or conservatives. Some of the new works on conservatism have been excellent, others awful. But nearly all reveal the pitfalls for liberals writing about a movement with which they have no personal experience. If you’re a historian who has not a single conservative colleague—and perhaps not even one conservative friend—chances are you’ll approach conservatism as anthropologists once approached tribes they considered remote, exotic, and quite possibly dangerous.

The result is that two decades’ worth of scholarship hasn’t contributed as much as one might have hoped to our understanding of conservatism, especially in the age of Trump. This is particularly true of the works that have been most popular with the broader public. That’s a shame, because historians could provide deeper answers than they have so far to the questions many citizens now wrestle with: How did our political system become so divided and dysfunctional? To what extent is the conservative movement responsible for Trump’s rise? What have been the movement’s greatest successes as well as failures, and what relevance do they have to our understanding of ourselves as a nation and a people?

Those answers aren’t just relevant to our understanding of the past. A more robust, even-tempered account of conservatism is key to understanding what role the political and cultural phenomenon will play in our country’s future—whether liberals want to believe it or not.


A common flaw of the new political histories is to take the extreme right as representative of conservatism (or the Republican Party) as a whole. Lisa McGirr’s 2001 Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right was one of the earliest and best of these histories, but many of its readers came away convinced that the rabidly anti-communist John Birch Society dominated the Republican Party in the early 1960s, when it was a marginal element at best.

There’s little in McGirr’s scrupulously nonjudgmental account of the Birchers that alludes to their wild, conspiratorial fantasies, like the notion that the United Nations was training an army of barefoot African cannibals in Georgia to take over the United States, or that a “1313” committee of University of Chicago eggheads was plotting to deprive Americans of their rights to vote and hold property. Bircher-type thinking has had a resurgence on the present-day political right and points toward the enduring appeal of conspiratorial thinking in American life, so the organization merits study. But scholars should keep in mind that National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., as part of his larger “fusionist” project that eventually led to Reagan’s election, branded the Birchers as “kooks” and was able (for a while) to keep them out of the conservative mainstream.

The success of Buckley and his “movement” conservatives at transforming the GOP into an ideological vessel has led scholars to overlook the internal party warfare between moderates and conservatives that raged throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and continues in a diminished form today. Some scholars also downplay the real differences that separate traditionalists, libertarians, paleo-conservatives and neo-conservatives, among any other number of ideological splinter groups. Like many liberal voters, they assume that the Tuesday Group faction in the House of Representatives is just like the Freedom Caucus, or that Speaker Paul Ryan’s beliefs are more or less interchangeable with those of President Donald Trump or Ohio Governor John Kasich.

In fact, one of the more influential studies of conservatism, Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind, insists that such seemingly disparate figures as Edmund Burke, Joseph de Maistre, Milton Friedman and Sarah Palin are all more or less the same, sharing the overarching goal of preserving the ruling order’s power and privilege against liberationist movements from below. In his view, the ideals conservatives tout (greater freedom, robust public morality, economic growth and deference to the Constitution) are nothing but fig-leaf cover for oppression, and anyone outside the elite who thinks otherwise is a victim of false consciousness. Robin—who, full disclosure, helped make my Ph.D. years miserable by leading a grad student unionization effort at my university—advances his argument with considerable force and erudition. But his reductionist thesis is the mirror image of the sloppy right-wing canard that liberalism is no different from socialism, or even communism.

Some scholars bring their present-day political concerns to bear on the past, particularly in relation to the Republican Party’s approach to racial matters, assuming that it’s inherently a party of racial oppression . In this view, African-American demands for racial equality have always entailed a program of economic redistribution—and because such programs are anathema to both moderate and conservative Republicans, then by definition Republicans cannot support civil rights. Of course, this presentist position is at odds with the historical reality, which is that civil rights activists of the 1960s viewed the considerable majority of congressional Republicans as allies, and acknowledged that the movement’s great advances could not have been achieved without their help.

Heather Cox Richardson’s To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party actually posits that the current GOP upholds the racist and elitist principles of the pre-Civil War slaveholding class. Richardson’s account is a mélange of liberal errors regarding conservative history. Like Robin, she dismisses Reagan’s populism as a screen for rapacious business interests. She contends that racism was the essence of Buckley’s New Right, and further that the Birch Society spread his ideas to ordinary voters. Buckley’s endorsement of Southern segregation was a moral blot on the conservative movement, and he later acknowledged it as his gravest error. But it’s anti-historical to assume that Buckley was little more than a Klansman with a large vocabulary, or to dismiss the monumental divisions on the right as minor quarrels within a united white supremacist alliance.

Some of the most highly praised scholars of conservatism in recent years have openly acknowledged their political opposition to the movement. Rick Perlstein, whom New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently pronounced “our leading historian of modern conservatism,” wrote a column a few years ago declaring “There Are No More Honest Conservatives, So Stop Looking for One.” Perlstein made a big splash in 2001 with Before the Storm, a well-researched account of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign that even conservatives praised for its empathy and insight. But Perlstein’s subsequent works, Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge, portray conservatives like Richard Nixon and Reagan as cartoon villains, all but ignoring the progressive parts of Nixon’s record and the pragmatic dimension of Reagan’s.

Perlstein’s treatment of conservatism is positively Solomonic, however, in comparison with Duke University professor Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains, a 2017 National Book Award finalist that focuses on Nobel Prize-winning libertarian economist James Buchanan. In MacLean’s telling, Buchanan’s “public-choice” school of economics provided the intellectual blueprint used by billionaire Charles Koch to advance a “diabolical” and “wicked” plan to suppress democracy by handcuffing government—a crime to which the entire Republican Party is now, apparently, a willing accessory. As numerous critics from across the political spectrum have pointed out, MacLean’s conspiracy theory owes more to her strained interpretations than actual evidence, and her account is replete with errors and distortions.


It’s true that the era when historians ignored conservatism or dismissed it as a curio is over; many universities now offer entire courses on its history. But a closer look at their syllabi typically reveals a paucity of writings by actual conservatives and a glut of hostile interpretations by writers such as Robin, Cox Richardson, Perlstein and MacLean. One teacher of such a course, Seth Cotlar of Willamette University, who was recently the subject of an admiring piece in Vox, apparently believes that the two major conservative intellectuals of the 1990s were Gingrich and Dinesh D’Souza—an error that no one who was personally involved with the conservative movement would ever make.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

In Due Process Lawsuit, Appeals Court Sides with Michigan Student Expelled for Sexual Misconduct

A male student who was kicked off campus has alleged that the University of Michigan did not give him the opportunity to properly defend himself against sexual misconduct charges.

Last week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the lawsuit filed by ex-student "John Doe" against the university has merit. In a decision written by Judge Amul Thapar—a judge with a reputation for defending due process norms in cases involving Title IX, the federal statute that sets rules for campus sexual misconduct cases—the court held that Doe's lawsuit should survive a motion to dismiss.

"If a public university has to choose between competing narratives to resolve a case, the university must give the accused student or his agent an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser and adverse witnesses in the presence of a neutral fact-finder," wrote Thapar. "Because the University of Michigan failed to comply with this rule, we reverse [the lower court's decision]."

Thapar's strong defense of the right of the accused to cross-examine the accuser is a timely development. As reported in Reason and The New York Times, the Education Department is currently workshopping a new approach to Title IX that would correct some of the due process deficiencies found in previous guidance issued under the Obama administration. An official with knowledge of Education Secretary Betsy Devos' plans told Reason that the new Title IX guidance would require cross-examination or "an effective substitute."

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Samantha Harris praised the Sixth Circuit's decision.

"This is the latest—and most strongly worded—decision to date holding that when credibility is at issue, cross-examination is essential to due process in a campus sexual misconduct proceeding," Harris told Reason.

Michigan's handling of Doe's dispute with "Jane Roe" shows precisely why the existing sexual misconduct adjudication procedures are often unfair to the accused. Doe, a junior, and Roe, a freshman, met during a party at Doe's fraternity, where they drank a lot of alcohol and then had sex. According to Roe, she told Doe she didn't want to have sex just before collapsing onto his bed. She was immobilized and unconscious while he initiated intercourse with her. Doe remembered the night differently: He said he asked her if she wanted to have sex, and she replied "Yeah." Two days later, she filed a Title IX complaint against him.

The university's Title IX investigator interviewed 23 "witnesses," though none were witnesses to the actual encounter. Male witnesses backed up Doe's account, insisting that Roe did not seem drunk to them, while female witnesses said the opposite. The investigator determined that the evidence in Roe's favor and the evidence in Doe's favor was equally compelling, and there was simply no way to break the tie. Thus the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard could not be met, and it was recommended that Doe be cleared.

Roe appealed this outcome, and the university reversed the decision "without considering new evidence or interviewing any students," according to Thapar. Since expulsion was a possible penalty, Doe decided to withdraw from the university, just 13.5 credits short of graduating.

Doe's lawsuit accused the university of violating his due process rights and discriminating against him on the basis of sex, a violation of Title IX. The due process claim concerns Michigan's refusal to grant him any sort of hearing where he could have challenged the accounts of Roe and her adverse witnesses. The discrimination claim stems from the fact that the university's appeals board held that the female witnesses' testimony outweighed the male witnesses' testimony.

On both counts, the lawsuit should proceed to trial, according to the court.

Thapar's decision holds that cross-examination is required when at least one party's credibility is at stake. "Without the back-and-forth of adversarial questioning, the accused cannot probe the witness's story to test her memory, intelligence, or potential ulterior motives," he wrote.

KC Johnson, a Brooklyn College professor who often writes about campus due process issues, noted on Twitter that it is "reasonable for universities not to want an accused student to personally cross-examine his accuser," and no court has mandated that direct cross-examination is necessary. Instead, Thapar's decision proposed a serviceable alternative: permitting a representative of the accused student to perform cross-examination.

"To the extent the court here is saying that cross-examination is essential, but personal cross-examination is troubling, this is the strongest language we've seen from a court to date in support of the right to some kind of representation, at least in certain proceedings," Harris told Reason.

Currently, very few universities allow a student's legal representative to take an active role in Title IX proceedings. According to Harris, it would be wise for the Education Department to "encourage, though probably not require, schools to allow the active participation of an advisor." (Harris also wrote about the decision here.) We will have to wait until the new guidance is formally unveiled to see what it says about representation and cross-examination.


Scotland:  Opposition to testing 5 year olds

Politicians from every opposition party at Holyrood have formally backed a call for the testing of five-year-olds in schools to be scrapped.

A motion calling for an SNP U-turn over the assessments, which were introduced last year but criticised for allegedly upsetting children and wasting school time, was lodged by Labour yesterday and backed by 20 MSPs within hours.

Supporters included Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, Liz Smith, education spokeswoman for the Tories and Tavish Scott, education spokesman for the Lib Dems.

The motion is seen as a first step in a parliamentary push to force the Scottish government to abandon the tests, which ministers maintain are essential.

The Times understands that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are planning to use their opposition time in parliament to organise a debate on the policy, which will mean a vote in which the SNP is highly likely to lose. While it would not be binding on the government, to ignore the will of parliament, as well as teaching unions and parent groups, would be politically difficult thanks to her plans for a new independence vote.

After the Brexit referendum in which a significant majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU, Ms Sturgeon’s call for a second ballot on Scottish independence was formally backed at Holyrood.

After a UK government pledge to block the vote until after the Brexit process had concluded, the first minister condemned the “democratically indefensible” attempt to stand in the way.

Progress must be made because it was the “will of parliament”, she had said. So, to ignore a Holyrood vote over P1 testing may be politically fraught.

Ms Sturgeon launched a fresh defence of the policy yesterday. The computer-based tests are designed to adapt, depending on how difficult a child is finding them, and are not supposed to be seen as “high stakes” by children, parents or teachers. Initial plans to publish school-by-school results were abandoned after a backlash.

The first minister said: “The assessments are there for good reason. They produce lots of valuable information. Let’s take a step back from the politics of this. This is part of an approach to raise standards in our schools and close the attainment gap. Getting access to information about how young people are doing, to inform the judgment teachers make, is important. These assessments take less than an hour out of an entire school year.”

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said Ms Sturgeon was “deeply deluded” over the value of the tests.

He said: “It is an insult to teachers to make out testing takes up so little of their time and absolutely outrageous to suggest it gives them any information that they won’t have ascertained themselves over the nine or ten months they’ve been teaching them.

“The first minister is adamant her policy is worthwhile. But teachers across the country have made clear the information these tests produce does not provide them with any unique or useful information. The first minister’s misleading and obstinate approach is standing in the way of teachers being able to make the most of precious classroom time. This must end now.”


Duped by diversity: Colleges corrupt their curriculum to satisfy modern progressive sensibilities

Another new college year, another opportunity to teach students that “America was never that great,” to quote Gov. Cuomo. From the moment that college students set foot on campus, they will be inundated with the message that the United States in particular and Western civilization in general are the world’s primary sources of oppression and injustice.

That idea is rapidly infusing the world outside academia, as Cuomo’s recent comment suggests.

Here is what to expect over the next nine months.

The anti-meritocratic assault on science will accelerate. The lack of proportional representation of females, blacks and Hispanics in computer science, engineering, and other math-based fields will be attributed to a racist and sexist commitment to the “male-socialized traits” of “objectivity and rationality,” as a recent article in The Physics Teacher put it.

Teaching will be slowed down, and standards loosened (a process officially known as “culturally responsive pedagogy”), in an effort to “diversify” the STEM classroom. A professor at the University of Akron announced in May 2018 that he was boosting females’ grades in his Systems Integration class as part of a “national movement to encourage female students to go into information sciences.” He withdrew the policy after criticism from conservative media, but such efforts will continue in other forms.

The big tech companies will mimic this commitment to “diversity,” ordering recruiters and managers to prefer females and so-called applicants “of color” over white and Asian males. Medical schools will admit, hire and promote in part on the basis of race, rather than solely on academic qualifications.

The metastasizing campus diversity bureaucracy, costing taxpayers and parents millions of dollars a year, will drum into students that they are either victims or oppressors. Lavishly paid diversity deanlets and vice chancellors of equity and inclusion will propound a patently delusional idea: that to be a female or minority college student today is to be the target of life-threatening racism and sexism. (Never mind that these allegedly racist colleges employ large racial preferences to order to admit as many as “underrepresented minorities” as possible.)

Bias response teams, discrimination reporting hotlines, coursework on white privilege, workshops on toxic masculinity, faculty training in implicit bias — all will pour forth from university coffers in wild abandon. Universities will be held harmless for the resulting increases in tuition, which will be treated as a naturally occurring phenomenon, solvable only by more federal aid.

Self-engrossed students will jockey for position on the ruthlessly competitive totem pole of victimhood. While today the “trans” student reigns supreme, his/her/their/zhe position is not secure.

Let some creative students come up with a new category of oppression that is preventing them from studying for exams or attending class, and their college president will penitently promise to make amends by hiring more diversity bureaucrats and setting up academic programs in this newly discovered form of bias.

Students who have been primed to see oppression where none exists will carry that chip on the shoulder into the “real world.” It will prevent them from seizing the many opportunities available to them and will further engulf society in the culture of complaint.

The foundational belief in victimology will be leveraged to further suppress speech that challenges campus orthodoxies, all in the name of preventing existential harm to members of favored victim groups. The “real world” will follow suit and punish anyone who violates diversity taboos, as we saw this summer with the torpedoing of a qualified judicial nominee who had mocked racial identity politics as a college student and the firing of a Hollywood executive who had referred to black male-female dynamics as part of a script discussion.

If the Republicans hold the House in the mid-term elections, college administrators will probably deploy an army of petting dogs and cartloads of stress-reducing chocolates to protect student Resisters from trauma.

As for actual learning, our intellectual patrimony will be further eroded. Culturally illiterate students who could not name a single artist or philosopher from Periclean Athens, the Renaissance, or the Enlightenment will announce that Western civilization is racist and patriarchal. Being forced to study the West’s monumental accomplishments of imagination and reason, whether by Plato, Aeschylus, Mozart or Hume, jeopardizes their very survival, they will whine.

And their professors will kowtow to such ignorance and create more alternative courses based on an author’s gonads, melanin and sexual preference.

At Reed College, students calling themselves Reedies Against Racism occupied class sessions of the college’s signature humanities course during the 2016-17 academic year, surrounding the lecturers with denunciatory signs. Humanities 110, which had been taught since 1943, was a headlong plunge into the explosion of artistic creativity in the ancient Mediterranean world, starting with the Epic of Gilgamesh and ending with the Bible and Apuleius.

Too white, male and Eurocentric, whined the Reedies — even though early Mediterranean societies were neither exclusively white nor European. Naturally, the faculty caved, with the chair of Humanities 110 even praising the protesters for their fortitude in getting up at “9 in the morning, three days a week,” to occupy the class.

The new “decentered” course bumps an as-yet-unspecified number of texts to make room for two new modules on Mexico City in the 15th through 20th centuries and Harlem from 1919 to 1952.

While these substituted periods contain works worthy of studying, they fail to expose students to the building blocks of Western literature and philosophy; they were chosen simply to meet an identity-based political agenda.

Reedies Against Racism, of course, were not placated. The new Humanities 110 should focus on cities outside Europe, “as reparations for Humanities 110’s history of erasing the histories of people of color, especially black people,” they complained in a post.

A class called Major English Poets has been the gateway into Yale’s English major for decades, exposing students systematically to the most influential poets of English literature: Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, John Donne, Milton and Wordsworth.

Such foundational significance is irrelevant, according to the nearly 160 students who circulated a petition in 2016 against the class. “A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity,” the petition declared. “The Major English Poets sequences creates a culture that is especially hostile to students of color.”

In response, Yale’s English faculty remained resolutely mum about why these poets are so central and why students are privileged to immerse themselves in their works. Instead, they meekly removed the requirement that English majors take the course and created an alternative sequence that has “inclusion as its goal,” Yale’s director of undergraduate studies told the Yale Daily News. No period will “simply and exclusively focus on the writing representations of aristocratic white men,” another English professor explained — even if the greatest writers in any given period happen to be, irrelevantly, “aristocratic white men.”

Education in the monuments of the human imagination must now take the back seat to identity politics.

At the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, students removed a large print of Shakespeare from the English department and replaced it with a photograph of Audre Lord, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” In response, the department chair blandly invited “everyone to join us in the task of critical thinking about the changing nature of authorship, the history of language, and the political life of symbols.”

Here’s what he should have said instead when students first complained about the unsafe space created by the Bard’s picture: “Please provide your analysis of ‘Hamlet,’ ‘King Lear,’ ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Twelfth Night.’ Until you read Shakespeare, there is no negotiating over him.”

To see the local effects of academic diversity ideology, look no further than Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s war on school standards. Their plans to scrap objective entrance tests to the city’s selective high schools and middle schools parrot the specious rhetoric of “privilege” and “bias” that college victimologists have perfected. In fact, there is no better guard against bias and inequality than color-blind, high standards and the expectation that all students will work hard to meet them.

De Blasio and Carranza’s grotesquely wasteful $23 million anti-bias training for the city’s teachers is also a direct import from the university. Education schools marinate already left-leaning students in social justice theory to produce the most “progressive” profession on earth. Yet we are to believe that these immaculately “anti-racist” teachers are discriminating against students of color in their grading and disciplinary practices and are in need of another taxpayer-funded boondoggle in order to overcome their racism.

The solution to corrosive identity politics lies in a return to universities’ core mission: joyfully passing on the precious inheritance of Western civilization, which happens to have been disproportionately shaped by white males.

If a work by an allegedly “marginalized” author is unknown and great, by all means include it in the canon, not because of social justice but in order to discover new sources of pleasure and enlightenment.

But to pretend that Western civilization is not worth studying and respecting because it does not happen to reflect the gender and racial diversity of American cities, or the uber-liberal values of students who attend universities today, is pure bunk.

Until universities return to their core mission, the diversity delusion will continue poisoning and dividing the country.