Saturday, October 08, 2005

It had to happen: University Dumps Admissions Requirements

Post lifted from Mike Pechar

The University of Washington is scrapping the customary and traditional method of screening and evaluating students for admission. Gone are the minimum grade-point averages from high school as are minimum achievement scores on the SAT.

From The Seattle Times:
Instead, university staffers plan to read and review every one of the 16,000 annual freshmen applications to come up with a "holistic" assessment of each candidate. Besides academic performance, they will consider factors such as whether a student has overcome personal or social adversity, their leadership skills and their extracurricular interests.
Critics believe that the "holistic" assessment is being used to skirt the restrictions of Initiative 200 passed by voters in 1998. I-200 makes it illegal to use race as an admissions factor. The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that racial fomulas could not be used for admissions, however, race could be considered if it was mixed in with other stuff. Consequently, the University of Washington has turned its admissions requirements into a stew where race could easily be the determining factor.

So, students, do not worry if you only have a 1.5 GPA and scored 650 on the SAT. Sure, it used to that an applicant had to have something like a grade-point average of 3.5 and a SAT score of 1420, but that's all changed. Forget the GPA and test scores, you now may be "holistically" qualified.

By obfuscating the admissions process, it appears that the University of Washington is ideologically devoted to giving race-based preferences despite what the voters and the Supreme Court have mandated.

In summary, the only objective criteria that must be met to be admitted to the University of Washington are respiration and a heartbeat. Everything else is subjective.


Schools are not about teaching and learning. They are really about maintaining a dizzying holding pattern, circling like a plane, waiting for the tarmac to be ready for a safe landing. That will not happen as long as there is little but chaos on the academic runway. These are the halls and classrooms where there is no official sanction to enforce fair standards of discipline. More than ever, feral kids prowl with cockiness and richly deserved contempt for the hamstrung "authorities." Under Klein "Children First" initiatives, anything goes. There is no provision for separating monsters from their mayhem. This failure of willpower negates all good intentions and instruction.

Let's cut to the chase. No student shedding your child's blood is likely to be proportionally punished. Attacks on life and limb are no big deal. That is not Klein's party line, which proclaims zero tolerance, but is his standard operating procedure. He has a real commitment to favorable publicity, but his restrictions on effective discipline are an incitement to anarchy. By "playing it safe" and not making the hard decisions of which he is a loquacious apostle, he is leaving your children in the line of fire as his hundreds of backscratchers take care not to get burned. His offer to grease principals with bonuses to stick out temporary duty in a war zone is another slimy gimmick. Principals get payoffs; teachers get challenges.

If a student jabs a knife to your child's neck, but doesn't break the skin, and the blade was less than four inches, you must make your own police report if you are not forgiving, because the school's action will be minimal. The penalty is likely to be the same as for throwing furniture, menacing, death threats, extortion, vandalism: next to nothing. There has been much publicity about teachers' having the power, under "Save Legislation" to remove major agitators from their classes. Surely part of a teacher's duties is management of errant kids. But even when they are a fatal hindrance to all teaching, they cannot be bounced . The paperwork is time-consuming and onerous, and administrators use the referrals more as scorecards to keep track of teachers who are making them work than to reign in the difficult students.

The knife-brandishing student will not be "suspended". He will be remanded for a few days to a cozy room within the school. This "Alternate Learning Site" is a holding pen where students are asked to sit all day and do work assigned them by their teachers. If they don't do it there is no way to force them. The number of days in the ALS allowed per year is restricted, so the authorities are forced to divvy out sentences very sparingly. Because of the DOE's budget, which exceeds that of most member countries of the United Nations, there may not be funding to keep them operating more than twice a week . Klein's rationale for the flimflam known as ALS is that we must not interrupt a student's education in order to punish him. Sounds laudable. The real reason is that he wants suspensions to go the way of rotary phones. The gullibility of the public is a pheromone to Klein. When the tabloids show that suspensions are down 95% and have become as rare as asteroids plummeting into supermarkets, they will praise Klein for his overall effectiveness and the chancellor will parlay that into a vindication of all he stands for. The bad news is that your innocent child may still be caught in the crossfire. Just pray that he doesn't make eye contact with the wrong child.

Regardless of the crime, even if your child were pushed down a flight of stairs, there will be no indelible record of it on the offender's "permanent record." He might be discreetly transferred to another school ( often a better one, to which he may have unsuccessfully applied before trouble found him), or to an "alternate school" for a brief and refreshing stay. This would be his worst-case scenario even if he took a sword with more than a four-inch blade to the throat of a teacher about whose grading he disagreed. If the assailant is in a special education class, and impulsive antisocial acts have been identified as part of his disability, then his actions are no impediment to his continuing state of innocence. Guilt or innocence: six of one, half a dozen of the other, so far as Klein is concerned. The Chancellor has issued a Discipline Code which lists specific types of offences, assigns each a number according to severity, and prescribes a range of elective or mandatory consequences accordingly. This sounds fair and rational, but there are loop holes big enough for Australia to pass through. There is so much ambiguity in diagnosis and elasticity in treatment, that whether the punishment will fit the crime is a crap shoot. Extenuating circumstances are often concocted and mitigating facts contrived to bargain a high crime down to a peccadillo, especially if the offending child belongs to a parent activist or fund raiser. Suspension numbers will be more fudged than a gallon of Ben and Jerry's chocolate.

Klein has showcased, under strobe-lit media cameras, his new "second chance" or "alternate schools". One of my students was sent there on temporary duty, having done something really brutal to a classmate. When he returned a few days later he was a hero to himself, more chipper than ever, having done some self-esteem exercises and needlepoint or something rather like it.

The Regional Operations Centers must approve disciplinary action taken, even if it is in pantomime, against serious lawbreakers. Even in emergency, they do not pick up telephone receivers. All transactions, vital and picayune are through electronic mail only. Principals get an average of forty pages of such drivel and drool at a time almost daily. The people in charge at these Centers, the spawn and yoke of Klein, are not educators and there is no dialogue possible with them. They are crucially placed in the lineup, but they haven't a clue how to hold a bat. They're proud of that, will never solicit or tolerate advice, and woe unto the educator or would buck them.



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.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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