Friday, November 19, 2004


"The U.S. government's Office for Civil Rights has launched a formal investigation into the harassment and intimidation of Jewish students at the University of California at Irvine, following a complaint submitted by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)'s Center for Law and Justice.

The Office for Civil Rights, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, has officially notified the ZOA, in a letter dated October 28, 2004, that it "will proceed with an investigation of this complaint."

Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin by recipients of federal funding, and since UC-Irvine receives such funding, it is obligated to provide students with an educational environment free from harassment, intimidation and discrimination

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: "It is appalling that the UC-Irvine administration has failed to take meaningful steps to protect the civil rights of its Jewish students. The UC-Irvine administration certainly safeguards the civil rights of other minorities on campus; why aren't Jews, as a minority group, afforded the same protection? We look forward to a timely investigation by the U.S. government's Office for Civil Rights, so that action will be taken against those who are fostering a climate of hostility to Jews, Israel, and Zionism on campus."

The original complaint, sent by the director of the ZOA's Center for Law and Justice, Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., pointed out that "for the past three years, the environment for Jewish students at UC-Irvine has been hostile, and at times, threatening." Among the many incidents cited:

* In February 2004, a Jewish student with an Israeli flag pin on his lapel was followed into the office of the Dean of Students by a group of Muslim students, who cursed at and threatened to kill him. The student filed a police report and reported the episode to the administration, but no action was taken.

* In January 2004, a rock was thrown at - and barely missed - a student with an identifiably Jewish t-shirt who was walking by the Muslim Student Union's table.

* Rallies by radical campus groups such as the Muslim Student Union, and articles in the Muslim student newspaper Alkalima, frequently equate Israel with the Nazis.

* In April 2003, a swastika was carved onto a table at the Jewish students' Holocaust Memorial ceremony.

* In May 2004, the Society of Arab Students sponsored an "anti-hate rally" to which it invited all student groups except the Jewish ones. Despite this discrimination, the Vice Chancellor of the university was one of the speakers at the event.

* Also in May 2004, Muslim students announced their intention to attend graduation ceremonies wearing green sashes bearing the "Shahada," the Islamic declaration of faith which is used by Hamas and other terrorist organizations to glorify suicide bombers. The administration disregarded Jewish students' concerns and permitted the wearing of the sashes.


Actions must speak louder than words

The article below refers to Australia but could as well be about most places in the Anglosphere. Brendan Nelson is the reformist education minister in Australia's conservative Federal government -- and LOTE is a program for teaching foreign languages to grade-school children

Sure, let's have this national inquiry into the ways children are taught to read - or, sadly, not read - in primary school. But Education Minister Brendan Nelson should have gone much further on Monday for the sake of our children. Why didn't he broaden this new inquiry into literacy by asking how it is that clearly insane fads in education - such as the "whole-language recognition" technique of teaching to read - were allowed to spread throughout our schools, crippling the education of thousands of children? Why not ask how the equally nutty "new maths" got through the school gate? And "new music"? And compulsory LOTE instruction in languages of little interest, relevance or use to millions of children? Why not also ask how children came to study trash books and films for literature? Or fact-free apocalyptic environmentalism? Why not an inquiry into the virulent spread of soft-discipline teaching and don't-correct instruction, and the decline of "hard" subjects such as real history, real geography and the rules of grammar?

But this inquiry is a start, I guess, and will tackle perhaps the most destructive and persistent education fad of them all. For 30 years or more, "whole language" recognition has spread through our schools, replacing phonics as the technique for teaching children to read. Instead of teaching children what sounds each letter makes, and how those sounds combine to form words, this new teaching "immersed" children in language, asking them to guess from looking at the whole word instead. With clues from the pictures, and the words that came before. You can see why this appealed to parents who'd grown up in the '60s. There would be fewer rules, less disciplined instruction, and a lot more close-enough guessing. Strange, how so many new fashions seem to be excuses for laziness. The trouble is, of course, that this seems a pretty lousy way to teach English, and so it has proved.

Nelson says surveys now show almost a third of Australian students lack basic reading skills by the time they reach Year 9. How much this is caused by poor teaching techniques, and how much, say, from too-busy parents no longer staying home to teach the children their alphabet, I do not know. But this year, 26 of our top literacy researchers sent an open letter to Nelson warning that the "whole language" teaching had no scientific credibility. As America's National Reading Panel, set up by President Bill Clinton, reported in 2000, there was no doubt the old way of teaching children - C-makes-a-cuh-sound phonics - was still the best.

I KNEW that. You knew that. And yet 77 per cent of Victorian primary school teachers still use the "whole language" method instead, according to an Australian Council of Educational Research survey. The trouble may be much as a former education mandarin gloomily admitted when I asked why formal grammar was now rarely taught - "We'd first have to teach it to the teachers." Or as Nelson said on Monday: "Some of the research we've done has found that our trainee teachers themselves are having trouble to (sic) read." Just as Nelson has trouble to (sic) speak.

Naturally Labor is again grabbing for a union-friendly excuse - that children really need more teachers with more money. But no. What they need is better teaching, using better methods. The old ways are not working, as auditor-general Wayne Cameron reported after discovering that despite spending $662 million over seven years on teacher-intensive Early Years and Reading Recovery programs in Victorian primary schools, our literacy results barely shifted. The "new" theories must now be rooted out. The big question is: How did they ever get to grow in our schools and what must be thrown out with them?"

(The above article was lifted from Andrew Bolt)


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

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