29 April, 2004
Incredible illogic: The leader of Australia's major Leftist party, Mark Latham, has championned the idiotic idea that if you read books to kids, that will somehow help the kids to learn how to read! Latham's words: "if we read three storybooks a night to our infant children, by the age of five they'll be able to read". He doesn't explain how or offer any evidence, of course. But it suits the teachers' unions who seem to have "Anything but phonics" as an article of faith -- regardless of all the evidence to the contrary. Brian Micklethwait would be aghast.
28 April, 2004
Dave Huber records how his local education "experts" in Wilmington, Delaware just cannot face the fact that NOTHING they have done in the last 25 years of trying has altered low black educational achievement. They will still say anything rather than acknowledge evidence that the problem lies with the blacks themselves.
27 April, 2004
The economics of teacher quality: "As a result of unionization, pay differentials between high-aptitude and low-aptitude teachers have disappeared over the past 50 years. According to a new study, one unfortunate consequence of this pay compression has been to push high-aptitude teachers out of the teaching profession."
More school failure: "Teenagers from poor households in England are being offered cash payments of up to 30 pounds a week to stay on at school or college as part of a new national drive to 'smash' the UK's high post-16 drop-out rate, the government announced yesterday. But it defended the high costs of the scheme to the taxpayer, in the face of evidence that nearly threequarters of the ultimate beneficiaries would be likely to stay in full-time education anyway."
School vouchers do work: "Caroline Minter Hoxby has just published a paper in the Swedish Economic Policy Review claiming that the performance of Milwaukee's public schools (measured in terms of test scores per dollar of spending) improved quite dramatically during the heat of the battle over vouchers (in the late 90's), and that the gains of that time do not seem to have fallen back... She attributes the gains to the voucher program"
M.E.Ch.A.: "Deliberately teaching young Hispanics that they are entitled to everything American without having to work for it or assimilate into our country's culture is counter productive to everything America stands for and should not be tolerated in our public school system. It is an insult to all legal immigrants who work hard to become Americans and love this land, to watch their adopted homeland tolerate the very tyranny they came here to escape."
27 April, 2004
THE PC MYTH THAT WON'T LIE DOWN AND DIE
The "Diversity" advantage is bunk:: "Thomas Sowell tells of an all black high school that, from 1870 to 1955, repeatedly equaled or exceeded national norms on standardized tests. During the entire 85-year history of Washington's M Street/Dunbar High School, most of its 12,000 graduates went on to higher education, an unusual achievement for any school-white or black... Segregated schools also produced such notables as Mary McLeod Bethune, Thurgood Marshal, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The belief that racial diversity is a key to academic success has no empirical basis. If this myth were true, then it would be difficult to explain racial success in more mono-racial societies such as Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands. One study in San Diego found that Vietnamese and Asian immigrant children had a median grade point average 0.9 points higher than Mexican immigrants, and 0.8 points higher than students overall in San Diego. Membership in a racial minority does not cause sub-standard academic achievement....
We have forgotten that student achievement actually involves hard-working students and talented teachers. Students who work hard and are challenged have the best chance of success.... Hard work will cure a lot of the problems that are commonly attributed to a lack of funding or lack of diversity. Racial diversity, and the presence of white kids specifically, do not result in minority students achieving more- intense studying every day does...."
24 April, 2004
Dumb teachers: I was alerted to this report by Dick McDonald. About 50% of Philadelphia middle-school teachers "don't know the subjects they're teaching well enough to pass a new federally-mandated test". There have been plenty of previous reports of incompetent teachers too. American education is another example of the destruction wreaked wherever Leftists get control of anything. Before the Communists took over in 1917, Russia was the world's fourth largest industrial economy. Today they are more like a Middle-Eastern economy -- with their main exports being the oil and gas that nature put underground for them. At least they can feed themselves these days.
Schoolteacher Dave Huber has seen forced desegregation of schools close up and points out how it has not remotely done what it was supposed to do: Improve black educational achievement. He documents the desperate twists and turns of the Left now that their failure is plain for all to see.
23 April, 2004
"DIVERSITY" NOT WORKING
Intractible discipline problems with black students
Nearly a decade ago, the Kent School District was praised by parents, students and civil rights groups for its bold plan to stem racial discrimination and train staff. Today, the very same district faces possible lawsuits over claims by 12 black students who say they were manhandled and handcuffed by school security officers. The stark contrast is emblematic of how schools nationwide have struggled to implement diversity programs, experts say.....
Benjamin Baez, associate professor of educational policy studies at Georgia State University, said educators often are expected to improve test scores and "uneducate people about racism and make them better workers" while funds are cut for the very programs that would help achieve those goals.
"Now when we talk about diversity training we're talking as much about closing the achievement gap as we are about discipline procedures," Grohe said.
In claims filed last month by the NAACP, 12 black students, ranging in age from 11 to 17, say they were the victims of excessive force by school security officers. One student, 13-year-old Sierra Douglass-Swanson, says she was grabbed by the hair and thrown to the ground, a security officer's knees pressing into her back as her arms were wrenched behind her and handcuffs closed around her wrists. Douglass-Swanson acknowledges flailing her arms and kicking her legs in an attempt to get free from the guard. She was charged with assault, placed in juvenile detention overnight and expelled.....
Today, all employees must undergo diversity and cultural sensitivity training, district spokeswoman Becky Hanks said.
During the 1989-90 school year, minorities in the school district made up nearly 15 percent of the student population. Today they are about 35 percent. And while blacks account for more than 10 percent of the district's 26,400 students, they represent about 59 percent of students disciplined since September 2003, according to district security reports.
"The numbers show there is a disparity. It's really clear that it's based on race, and the race is black," said Joyce Harris, director of the Equity Center for Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory in Portland, Ore.
18 April, 2004
ANOTHER SMALL VICTORY FOR FREE SPEECH
Campus "diversity" policy suffers another setback: "In far too many instances, what passes as college life and education today is no less than shameful. Under the name of diversity and political correctness, billions of taxpayer dollars and donor contributions are used to promote what might be charitably called enlightened racism, uniformity of thought and political proselytizing. The student code of Shippensburg Univ., in Pennsylvania, said that students had a 'right to express a personal belief system' but only if such expression did not 'demean,' 'annoy' or 'alarm' others. Thus, if a student expressed a distaste for race or sex preferences in admissions, he might be disciplined for a code violation. Fortunately, Shippensburg's code no longer exists due to a successful First Amendment lawsuit brought by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education."
The Collegiate Network tallies gross behavior at the nation's colleges. For the grossest behavior, it confers its "Polly Award." University of Mississippi won second place last year. Why? After finding racist graffiti at the university, a university police official threatened that the students responsible would be prosecuted for "criminal charges, possibly a felony, or it could be a federal offense." The punishment was reduced to community-service hours and therapeutic "reflection papers" when it was discovered that the culprits were not white students but three black freshman students.....
Cornell University's Gannett Health Center, "as a commitment to affirming women's sexuality," had decided to sell vibrators to students. The health center backed away, as is often the case, when their agenda started receiving negative publicity through Accuracy in Academia. They were sensitive to the impact it might have on parental decisions to send their children to Cornell, not to mention the impact it might have on donors.
16 April, 2004
Bunker Mulligan agreed with the article about Defense Dept. schools that I linked to yesterday. He grew up in those schools, sent his son to one and became himself an instructor at the Air Force Academy. He has posted on his experiences here and here
15 April, 2004
"Defense Department schools offer valuable lessons, particularly in educating low-income, minority students. Their successful strategies deserve wider application... Each year, for instance, about 35% of the student population turns over. Half the students qualify for free and reduced lunches. And only 20% of the students' parents have more than a high school education. In spite of these challenges, the black and Hispanic students in Defense Department schools lead the nation in minority test scores. The successes aren't limited to minority students, either. On federal writing tests, eighth-graders rank second nationally. Studies by researchers at Vanderbilt University reveal that such success comes by holding students to high expectations. All students - not just top achievers - are required to take demanding courses. Other reasons for success include focused teacher training. About 25 years ago, Defense curriculum experts selected an effective writing program and stuck with it. Each teacher receives elaborate training in teaching that program".
Sowell: The idea of providing black students with "role models" is counterproductive because it insinuates the notion that you can be inspired only by people who look like you. How in the world did the Nisei generation of Japanese American children ever learn, when their fathers were mostly farmers and these children seldom, if ever, saw a Japanese American teacher, much less Japanese American engineers, scientists or other professionals in fields in which these children went on to excel?
Education and class stratification: "True, under market education, the wealthy would spend more money on their children's education. News flash: that's already the case. Today, however, both the poor and the rich are taxed to subsidize grossly inefficient, bureaucrat-heavy, and less-than-optimal schools, and today mostly the rich are able to pay double for private schools. (The rich are also better able to put pressure on their government schools to perform.) So the poor are forced to pay for schools that serve them poorly."
Daniel Pipes looked at the latest list of books published by the University of California Press. Every conceivable Leftist cause was covered but out of the 140 titles, not one was conservative. The UC is the new USSR.
Affirmative action advocates assume all ethnic groups can produce equal outcomes given equal opportunities, but they can't prove it. Thomas Sowell wades through the empirical evidence. "The reality...is very different. In fact, for a host of reasons, some of which we know and some of which we do not know, some of which spring from malign oppression and many of which do not, ethnic and racial groups behave differently, perform differently, learn differently, and exhibit greatly different talents and temperaments. That is not crude stereotyping; it is plain fact. Justice will not be done if this fact is denied or goes unrecognized. "
14 April, 2004
Suzanne Fields summarizes a few of the deceptions in America's current school textbooks:
"Politically correct simplicity describes "Native Americans" as living in harmony with both nature and human nature, with no recognition that Indians, like the rest of us, are subject to human frailty and prejudice. Francis Parkman, the historian who describes the pleasure Iroquois took in torturing the Hurons, is anathema, and gone with the Mohicans.
The lens for understanding the unique American vision focuses on the African-American freedom struggles that "helped open the door for all minorities and women." In one text on the Enlightenment, Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th century feminist, is featured more prominently than Voltaire, a dominating figure for the ages.
Textbook publishers plead that they are at the mercy of state and local adoption procedures, but this is a dodge. They rely on "standards committees" and focus groups to package their ideas. These groups, made up of men and women raised in an image-centered culture, dismiss "content-heavy, information-loaded, and fact-based" materials as too difficult for the kids to absorb. Instead they cater to short attention spans and purvey visuals that turn history into "edutainment."
In varying degrees, world history texts make it impossible for students to discriminate between the brutality of antidemocratic countries like China and Cuba and the democracies, or to understand the conflicts faced by nations determined to preserve freedom.
"World peace" has become a chimera and there is little recognition of the contempt in which the truly democratic nations are held by the educated elites, so called. By failing to understand what's worth defending, we can't understand the peril around us. Woe is we."
6 April, 2004
TUFTS: UNIVERSITY OR BRAINWASHING FACILITY?
No critical thinking allowed
You don't have to be at Tufts for too long before you notice one thing: there is not a whole lot of diversity here. Diversity of thought, that is. Sure, Tufts can boast of an ethnically diverse faculty and student body. If you look more than skin-deep, however, you'll notice that this place resembles more closely a political party or an exclusive social club than a hotbed of free and independent inquiry and thought.... if we look at the faculty, only two are registered Republicans, or less than 2 percent of those surveyed in the spring 2002, and only one faculty member gave to a Republican campaign between 1998 and 2001 out of over one hundred contributions. Now, one may say that Massachusetts is naturally heavily Democratic, that the faculty may be non-partisan, and that in any case the university hires the best people possible without any partisan or ideological discrimination. Massachusetts voted 32.5 percent for Bush in 2000 vs. 47.87 percent nationally. That's hardly 2 percent.
If you are ever in doubt, however, about the ideological inclinations of the faculty and the non-partisan atmosphere at Tufts, just take a look at the professors' doors in East Hall, the home of the English and History departments. There are signs, cartoons, and decals for every liberal cause imaginable, sending a clear message to both students and potential faculty applicants about who is "in" and who isn't. Try to find something similar on the conservative side.
Even when the political process is not mentioned directly, the discussions reflect the concerns of the well-heeled, liberal Northeastern intellectual elites: environment, racial, gender, and sexual orientation "justice," animal rights, secularism, Third World humanitarianism, multilateralism, multiculturalism, anti-militarism, and an opposition to guns, smoking, and business. Until recently the Tufts Chaplaincy used to feature a disclaimer on its website associating itself with "liberal religion." The disclaimer is no longer there, but the attitude persists.
Yet, learning from only one perspective in an environment where challenging the underlying assumptions to any extent makes you an outcast in class and hurts your grades is not learning but indoctrination. The result is herd mentality where ideas go largely unchallenged and one comes out with the same cookie cutter mentality as everyone else.
KANGAROO COURTS UNDER CHALLENGE
Good to see the kangaroo courts run by universities come under proper judicial scrutiny. See here. I know nothing of the rights and wrongs of the particular cases but they seem likely to make at least Australian universities less arrogant, less prone to coverups and more open and scrupulous in the way they treat students -- long overdue. They have been a law unto themselves for too long. Note that in the first case mentioned the accusations of injustice have been upheld in the lower courts but instead of pulling their horns in, the university is going to the highest court in the land to try to escape the consequences of its conduct -- disgraceful. No student should have to go through that. And what a waste of taxpayer's money!
I have no idea whether there was any political element in the cases mentioned but there have been so many instances given on this blog of universities abusing their power over students that any moves towards holding universities accountable for what they do must be welcomed.
And here's another story of a university ignoring judicial findings.
5 April, 2004
Britain's own terrorists "Eight young Muslims, all British-born citizens of Pakistani descent, have been detained and half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, a basic ingredient of home-made bombs, was discovered in the west London suburb of Hanwell. .. Something like the horror inflicted on holidaymakers in Bali may have been narrowly averted; ...instead of teaching a bland, rights-focused multiculturalism ... our educators should think hard about their failure to inculcate our values, be they religious or secular or a combination of the two, in the minds of Britain's very own generation of terrorists"