Saturday, August 13, 2005


The state should change its accreditation standards for public schools so that all students do not have to be grade-level proficient in math and reading by 2014, Senate Vice President John Vratil and Attorney General Phill Kline said Tuesday. Vratil and Kline told the 10-member State Board of Education, which sets academic standards, that the mandate for 100 percent proficiency in math and reading by 2014 was unrealistic and could be costly to the state. They said the courts could force the state to increase funding to public schools so they can meet the standard. "There's probably not enough money in the state of Kansas to attain 100 percent proficiency," said Vratil, R-Leawood.

The State Board of Education adopted the proficiency mandate as part of its accreditation requirements following the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind law in 2001. Schools are required to make progress each year toward the goal of 100 percent proficiency in reading and math or face sanctions. Vratil insisted he was not trying to "dumb down" education. Rather, he said, he wants the board to be realistic and set goals and standards the state can hope to achieve, including closing the achievement gap between whites and minorities and rich and poor students. "If we're unrealistic, all we do is breed disrespect for the standard," he said. "We're setting ourselves up for failure."

Board Chairman Steve Abrams, of Arkansas City, said it was unclear if the board would act but that members have expressed concerns about the federal mandates. "I've said before that No Child Left Behind is a problem, a disaster waiting to happen," he said.

However, Board member Bill Wagnon, of Topeka, said the state shouldn't weaken the requirements. He said he could provide Vratil and Kline with the names of the state's 450,000 students and they could "identify which ones you want me to leave behind."

Kline expressed concern about what the courts might do if the standards aren't changed. He said that if the proficiency requirement remains intact, courts could end up ruling that the Legislature must spend as much money as is required for schools to reach the goal. Kline said that could mean other needs in education aren't met, and the courts could end up deciding how much the state spends on education and where the money is spent. "The issue is who maintains the authority to set policy and set priorities," he said.



And, judging by places with high per capita spending on public education, this grab will only destroy Califonia education even further if it succeeds

California's largest teachers union and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced Tuesday that they have sued Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to seek $3 billion more for public schools. The California Teachers Association and O'Connell, a Democrat elected statewide to his nonpartisan post, say the Republican governor broke his word and violated state law by failing to give K-14 schools (K-12 schools and community colleges) more in his 2005-06 budget. Some California parents also joined as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "We've exhausted all of our other remedies, and the judicial option is our last remaining option to adequately fund public education," O'Connell said.

Schwarzenegger's budget aides said Tuesday they are confident the lawsuit will not hold up in court and that the governor's budget was approved legally by the state Legislature and sufficiently funds schools. The lawsuit comes after a months-long battle between Schwarzenegger and education advocates over a deal they struck in January 2004. Facing a massive budget shortfall, the new governor persuaded a powerful and vocal education coalition to accept a $2 billion cut to K-12 schools and the suspension of Proposition 98's minimum funding guarantees. In exchange, it was announced, the cut and any resulting lost money from the suspension would be restored in future years when the state's fiscal picture brightened. "Just one year later, however, the governor changed his mind about the funding agreement," states the lawsuit filed late Monday in Sacramento Superior Court.

Schwarzenegger in January announced his second budget would not repay the $2 billion, despite growing revenues, because he said the state needed the money for other priorities such as transportation. The governor's top finance officials at first acknowledged that he was breaking his word to school officials, saying that the state's fiscal situation simply would not allow him to keep it. Schwarzenegger later changed his defense of the matter slightly, however, saying only that he had promised eventually to repay the $2 billion and that he did not think he had broken a commitment. He defends his 2005-06 budget as one that boosts per-pupil spending over last year. His budget also used billions in new revenues to repay a loan to local governments early, fully fund the state's Proposition 42 transportation funding and avoid any significant new borrowing.

But schools advocates say some of that additional revenue should have gone to classrooms under the governor's deal and under state law. They said they are owed more - about $3 billion for the last and current fiscal year - based on a state statute that was passed after the budget deal was made with the governor. The statute, signed as part of the 2004-05 budget, says that schools should receive just $2 billion below the amount that Proposition 98 guaranteed them if it hadn't been suspended. But because revenues were better than expected, the lawsuit argues that schools should have been guaranteed $1.8 billion more for the 2004-05 fiscal year and $1.1 billion this year. Proposition 98 establishes a minimum, or floor, for school spending that is decided by revenue pictures and one of three formulas each year, depending on economic conditions. The Legislature and the governor can agree to suspend Proposition 98.

Dean Vogel, CTA's secretary treasurer, said the organization sought to persuade Schwarzenegger to include the $3 billion in the budget he signed. But when that didn't happen, the group decided to sue.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger's Department of Finance, said budget officials "don't believe that the suit will stand up in court." He pointed to an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office last fall that called Schwarzenegger's approach sensible. And he said that Democrats - who control the Legislature - and Republicans voted to send a budget to the governor that contained about the same levels of education spending that he recommended in January. "We believe that the courts will recognize that two branches of state government came to the same conclusion, that this was legal and appropriate," he said.

O'Connell countered that he believes the law is clear. "There's a formula, and the formula needs to be adhered to," he said. "This isn't just the governor's word and the education coalition's word. This is about the law."



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"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Friday, August 12, 2005


The article below argues that international comparisons of educational achievement are invalid because American students may be less motivated in doing their tests than overseas students are in a similar situation. That is undoubtedly a fair point. But since motivation is arguably even more important in life than is "book learning", it seems cold comfort. One hopes that the lack of motivation extends only to the obviously uninvolving stuff American kids are taught at school. Of greatest concern, of course, are the large disparities WITHIN America. When a California High School graduate may well be unable to read properly, international comparisons are the last thing that matters

The fact that 8-year-olds and 17-year-olds have different attitudes toward low-pressure exams isn't going to come as a surprise to anyone who has raised a teenager—or has been one. The NAEP is used to judge school systems and overall student performance, but the test doesn't matter at all to individual kids. In 2002 nearly half of the 17-year-olds tapped to take the national NAEP exam didn't bother to show up. Students who did show up left more essay questions than multiple-choice questions blank, an indication that they weren't going to be bothered to venture an answer if it required effort.

The "who cares?" phenomenon probably plagues older students' performance on international exams, too. Granted, kids in Japan and the United Kingdom don't pay a personal price for how they do on global tests, either. But cultural pressures can be very different in other countries. Korean schools have staged rallies to rev their children up before they take international assessments. And Germany created a national "PISA Day" to mark the date when 15-year-olds take the exam that will rank them against students in other countries. The U.S. Department of Education, meanwhile, has a hard time convincing principals to administer voluntary international tests at all.

The dubiousness of these test results becomes clear when you compare them to the results of tests that actually do matter for teenagers: high-school exit exams and college boards. Nineteen states now require their students to pass assessments before they can don a cap and gown; seven others are testing students but not yet withholding diplomas. When states begin imposing penalties for failure, it makes a difference—sometimes a big one. Look at Texas: In 2004, results counted toward graduation for the first time, and pass rates on both the math and English portions of the test leapt almost 20 points. According to Julie Jary, who oversees student assessment for the state, no substantive alterations were made to the test. What changed was students' motivation: When their diplomas were hanging in the balance, they managed to give more correct answers.

More here


Obviously budget-driven rather than education-driven

Several foreign-born students at Brighton High are confident that they handily passed a state exam measuring their grasp of the English language. But instead of rejoicing, they've written letters to the state Education Department, demanding to know why the test wasn't more challenging. A couple of their comments:

"How can you give us this easy test? Do you think I'm stupid or something?"

"Please change this test. Make it fair and honest to help us."

State officials rolled out the New York state English as a Second Language Achievement Test in 2003 to assess reading, writing, speaking and listening skills for an increasing number of foreign students in prekindergarten through 12th grade. Once students reach proficiency on the test, they no longer are eligible for translation dictionaries and extra time on exams. Even more importantly, they are moved into mainstream classrooms and no longer work regularly with teachers trained to help them learn in an unfamiliar language. So, if the proficiency test is too easy, many students could lose their special instructional help too soon.

The concern is acute at the high school level, where students must pass the rigorous English Regents exam to graduate. Some argue that students who are relatively new to the United States are put at a disadvantage as they try to score as well on the Regents exam as their peers born and educated in this country. "There shouldn't be that much of a gap," said Annalisa Allegro, coordinator of the Bilingual/ESL Technical Assistance Center in Spencerport, which helps area districts educate students learning English. She has fielded concerns about the test from more than half of Monroe County's 18 districts. "The current test is very weak," Allegro said. "It's insulting, it's demeaning and it's not what we expect of our New York state students."

More here


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"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Thursday, August 11, 2005

The irony of charter school innovation

Post lifted from Katie Newmark

Feeling pressure from charter schools, one Arizona school district is starting a new "traditional school"

The Cartwright Elementary School District was once considered one of the fastest-growing areas in west Phoenix.

But the district seems to have peaked at about 20,000. The challenge now, administrators say, is to retain that enrollment number despite competition from charter, parochial or other public schools outfitted with special magnet or traditional programs....

"Traditional-school models is part of our strategy of different ways to attract more families," Garcia [the president of the district's governing board] said. "We have over 1,200 students that are in the charter schools; many of those students are former Cartwright students. I believe that we are offering so much more now than before that we can attract some of those students we lost."

This example is good anecdotal evidence that charter schools are inspiring improvements in the regular public schools, as charter advocates promise, but it's sad and ironic that the great innovation sparked by the charter schools is a "traditional school [that] ... will focus on the basic instructions of reading, writing, and math". Ironic that traditionalism is now innovative; sad that regular public schools needed the pressure of school choice to realize that teaching the basics is a good approach to education.

Link via


At least it might give some relief from seeing America as the source of all evil

Illinois public schools are now required to teach about genocides around the world, under a bill signed Friday by Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The measure expands the previous requirement that elementary and high school students learn about the Holocaust to include lessons on genocides in Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan and Ukraine. School districts have the entire academic year to meet the requirement, State Board of Education spokeswoman Becky Watts said. "As we teach our kids the important lessons of history, we have to be sure that they understand that racial, national, ethnic and religious hatred can lead to horrible tragedies," Blagojevich said in a statement.

Glenn "Max" McGee, superintendent of schools in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette and a former state schools superintendent, said learning about genocide and other tragedies should be part of the curriculum. "I think it is important for boys and girls to learn about these tragic events so that maybe they can make contributions that will truly change the course of history in the future," he said. But McGee worried that the requirement could become an unfunded mandate from the state. "I hope and trust that the State Board of Education will provide resources and some training in teaching these and it won't fall in the district's lap to develop units," McGee said.

The law says the State Board of Education may give instructional materials to districts to help them develop classes. Local school districts will set specifics on the classes for each grade level. Richard Hirschhaut, project and executive director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, praised the law. "The new law affirms the continuing relevance of applying the universal lessons of the Holocaust to the tragedies of genocide in our world today," he said in a statement.


One consequence of now meaningless High School diplomas: "These days, even perfect grades may not be good enough to get students into the best colleges and they certainly aren't enough to win scholarships. Ivy League schools reject hundreds of valedictorians every year in search of students who have not only good grades but packed resumes to boot. The eight-page application to the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University now asks as many questions about activities and community service as it does about grades and test scores. 'Everyone is a 4.0 (grade-point average) or above,' says Mark Jacobs, the college's dean. 'It stops being a meaningful way to judge.'"


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"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

NEA focuses too much on political activism unrelated to education

(To put it mildly)

When one considers the local teachers union, one should remember that in many cases it is part of a statewide organization which is, in turn, part of the national organization. One such organization that should be fairly well known to most readers is the National Education Association, better known as the NEA. The NEA's Web site ( tells us: "The National Education Association (NEA) is the nation's largest professional employee organization and is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 2.7 million members work at every level of education, from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state, as well as in more than 14,000 local communities across the United States."

In all likelihood, your child's teachers pay dues to belong to this particular union. These dues come out of the teachers' paychecks, which are comprised of moneys that come from the taxpayers' checkbooks (you and me). So, what are we getting for "our" money that finds its way into the NEA's coffers? Just how does the NEA plan to "advance the cause of public education"? A good place to look for the answers is at the aforementioned Web site. Having just wrapped up its annual meeting, the NEA adopted several rather eye-opening resolutions that might surprise the average citizen.

Did you know that the NEA has joined leftists, anti-capitalists and various union groups in designating Wal-Mart as the latest whipping-boy? That's right. Regardless of the fact that Wal-Mart is consistently involved with the local community through its fundraising programs and donations - many education related, such as their "Teacher of the Year" award - the NEA now has them locked in the crosshairs. In a press release titled, Wal-Mart: Always High Costs. Always, the NEA reports, "The NEA Executive Committee has endorsed a national effort called 'Wake-Up Wal-Mart' that educates the public about the impact of Wal-Mart on its employees, their communities and our schools. As back to school approaches, there's a campaign to encourage shoppers to buy school supplies from other stores in their communities."

Can you believe this? How will your child's education improve with the act of boycotting Wal-Mart? Says the NEA: "Think you just got a bargain on those rolled back prices? Think again. You may have just helped break unions and dismantle public schools."

Meanwhile, kids get promoted from one grade to the next unable to read! Who do you think is more responsible for the state of public education today - Wal-Mart or the teachers? I'll bet you are as surprised as I was to learn that by shopping at Wal-Mart you were "dismantling" the government schools. Shame on you!

Among the other measures passed at the annual meeting under "new business items" (NBI's) was a measure "Committing NEA to develop a strategy to counter new attacks on curricula and practices that support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students and staff in public schools." If anybody knows how this "advances the cause of public education," please let me know.

What about NBI 61? This calls for President Bush and Congress to "support our troops by creating an exit strategy to end the U.S. military occupation of Iraq and bring our troops home." (Sounds to me like the same chanting one might hear at a local rally of balding/graying anti-war peaceniks.)

And finally, think how much smarter our children will be when the NEA is finished with NBI 32, calling for a study on "the feasibility of initiating a boycott of Gallo wine."

And you thought the government schools were failing simply because we weren't coughing up enough in higher taxes. Now you know that it's not as simple as that.



More parents are moving their boys into private schools earlier, leaving boys heavily outnumbered by girls in public and parish primary school classrooms. The increase in boys being enrolled in private schools is happening in kindergarten and years 3 and 5. Non-government primary school enrolments have increased steadily in the past decade, with more boys than girls, Australian Bureau of Statistics data show. St Mary's Primary School in North Sydney loses large numbers of boys in year 3 and particularly year 5 to Catholic private schools St Ignatius College, Riverview and St Aloysius College, Milsons Point.

St Mary's year 5 class has 19 girls and nine boys while the year 6 class has six boys to 13 girls. Principal Rosemary De Bono said boys who leave their primary class early miss out on leadership opportunities, such as being a peer support leader or school captain. Those who remain can benefit from their small numbers. "The boys that stay have a greater opportunity to take up leadership roles than if they go to a new school with a large population," she said.

The pressure from relatives or a long-standing tradition for males in a family to attend a particular school can force parents to pull their boys out even though they are happy where they are. "A number of parents say they don't want their child to go but there is uncertainty if their boy will get a place in year 7," Ms De Bono said. She said the boys did not seem to feel marginalised. "Working with girls as well as boys builds their development of relationships."

Brother Kelvin Canavan, from the Sydney Catholic Education Office, said the issue typically affected schools in the lower North Shore and eastern suburbs. He said congregational schools in these areas had offered boys primary education for many years. "The downside for the parish schools is their year 5 and 6 classes are predominantly girls," he said.

NSW Primary Principals Association president Roger Pryor said teachers should be able to adjust their teaching styles to cater for an imbalance of sexes in their classrooms. He said boys were unlikely to miss out on traditionally male team sports such as soccer and cricket because the Primary Schools Sports Association had many mixed teams playing in state-wide competitions.

Trinity Grammar School, in Sydney's inner west, set up an additional junior school for years 3 to 6 five years ago to cater for the growing demand from parents of boys for independent education in primary years. The school's spokesman, John Edwards, said children had a far better chance of securing a place in year 7 if they began in year 3. Entering the school earlier gave boys more time to settle into the school's culture, he said.

In 2004, 9.7 per cent of kindergarten to year 6 students went to independent schools, up from 6.2 per cent in 1993. Catholic school enrolments remained stable and government school numbers dropped over the same period.

Bill Daniels, executive director of the Independent Schools Council of Australia, said parents whose children were on a long waiting list for a secondary place would opt to enrol them in a primary grade if this guaranteed entry. He said schools were responding to this demand by expanding their junior levels. "Some independent schools that previously offered only secondary level schooling have established classes down to year 5 in response to this trend," he said. "Schools are also growing outwards, offering additional classes at each year level." Mr Daniels said more than half of independent schools combined primary and secondary levels, and some were introducing early learning childhood centres. Parents used to paying for child care were comfortable spending large sums on primary schools.

St Ignatius has phased in middle schooling for students in years 5 to 8 over the past six years. Students are gradually introduced to the structures of high schools, such as multiple teachers for different subjects. Father Robert Davoren, St Ignatius's director of middle schooling, said schools such as his could better cater for the needs of 10- to 15-year-olds. "It relates to them growing up . . . becoming more mature earlier," he said.



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"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


With minimal discipline among the kids, it's hardly surprising

Rebecca Green spent much of seventh grade wondering "why they didn't get someone who was educated" to teach her classes. For two months, a substitute taught her English class. She says students were often told to sit down when they asked questions. In all, five substitutes rotated in and out of the class because the regular teacher was "out most of the time." Sometimes, she says, the "substitutes didn't even show up."

For students of Indianapolis Public Schools, Green's experience is all too common. The district's heavy reliance on substitutes means students often are taught by less-qualified, ill-prepared educators. Learning decreases. Discipline problems increase. And the risk rises that many of IPS' hardest-to-reach students will eventually drop out. On any given day last school year, at least 14 percent of IPS' 39,000 students attended classes without a regular teacher. Substitutes filled 275 classrooms on an average day. At least 5,500 students a day -- based on the lower end of IPS' student-to-teacher ratio -- were without regular teachers.

An average of 8.5 percent of IPS teachers were absent from class each day last school year, according to a Star Editorial Board analysis of school district data. That's higher than the average teacher absentee rates for school systems in Seattle, St. Paul, Omaha and Minneapolis -- all of which have slightly larger student populations. Private sector firms experience a 2.4 percent average absentee rate.

IPS' average of 11 days absent per teacher is higher than all the districts surveyed except for Minneapolis. The absenteeism is especially astounding considering the built-in time off that comes with teaching. IPS also relies heavily on substitutes to fill open positions. With the start of a new school year only 11 days away, IPS still has 29 teaching positions vacant, nearly all in hard-to-fill areas of math, science and special education, according to Jane Hart-Ajabu, the district's interim human resources chief. She thinks most of those spots will be filled. But a rash of abrupt departures often occurs in September. Sixty-six teachers resigned or retired in the opening weeks of last school year.

IPS' pool of substitute teachers has grown by a third, to 1,100, in the past five years. The job requirements are low -- just 60 college credits and the ability to pass a criminal background check. Few substitutes meet the standard of "highly qualified teachers" called for in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Longtime IPS substitute Stephanie Patterson says subs often aren't told if they're simply filling in for a regular teacher or are joining a revolving door of replacements. If lesson plans haven't been laid out, Patterson says, "you go in and do the best you can."

For some students, having a substitute may be seen as a chance to relax and watch movies. But many understand they're missing out on the opportunity to learn. "They're quite concerned and rightly so," says Patterson, because "they like the accountability and the discipline."

As Education Trust Director of Policy Research Kevin Carey, a former adviser to the late Gov. Frank O'Bannon, points out, teachers have to know and understand their students to improve their academic performance. Absenteeism short-circuits academic success. A study by state education officials in Massachusetts showed a correlation between teacher absenteeism and low test scores. UCLA Professor James Bruno found the same thing three years ago. Two decades earlier, a team led by Cornell education researcher Ronald Ehrenberg linked high teacher absenteeism to high levels of skipping school by students -- a harbinger of a student becoming a dropout.

The consensus among education scholars and reformers is that for the poorest and lowest-performing students, a high-quality teacher can make the difference between graduating and dropping out.

Absenteeism and teacher shortages are by no means limited to IPS. Students in high-poverty urban districts, according to the Education Trust, are 77 percent more likely than those in more affluent school systems to end up with teachers leading courses in subjects for which they were neither trained nor certified.

Why are teachers absent so often? As with any employees, illness, jury duty and family leave account for some days. As does training, which in IPS often takes place during the school day. Generous leave policies also are a factor. IPS teachers receive between 11 and 13 sick and personal leave days each school year. Unlike in many private businesses, IPS teachers are allowed to accumulate unused sick days year after year. School principals also can grant teachers an unlimited number of days for personal development.

Poor working conditions in the district's antiquated buildings -- and the lack of air conditioning -- mean teachers are more apt to take sick days or quit altogether. Peggy Hattiex-Penn, president of the Indianapolis local of the Indiana State Teachers Association, complains that, "You're swatting flies. You're swatting bees. You know, these aren't the best conditions."

IPS and other urban districts also must battle a mind-set that they're merely gateways into teaching. A rookie, according to the Education Trust's Carey, can "make their mistakes on IPS students, they learn from their mistakes and take those lessons" to suburban schools.

What can be done to keep teachers in class? Offering higher salaries for hard-to-find math and science teachers could help alleviate shortages. But it's a move teachers unions have fought vigorously. New IPS Superintendent Eugene White has committed to move training sessions from school days to keep more full-time teachers in class. Capital improvements, paid for with last year's $200 million bond issue, should help IPS improve teacher morale.

Yet, more must be done, including better tracking of how much time is spent on professional development and ending the ability to roll over sick days. Incentive pay for teachers willing to accept the challenge of instructing at-risk students also is critical.

Most IPS students have the ability to learn. But they won't if full-time teachers aren't in classrooms more often. Reducing the high teacher absentee rate is one more essential step in closing the wide achievement gap and lowering the dropout rate.

More here


But they have not got a hope. If they were to win, it would provide a legal basis for re-segregating Southern schools

Blowing conch shells and chanting Hawaiian prayers, some 15,000 people marched through downtown Honolulu Saturday to protest a federal court ruling striking down Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admissions policy as unlawful. "We are outraged," said Lilikala Kameeleihiwa, a professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii. "This is a great setback for our people. Here we are on our own homeland and we can't educate our children." The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 2-1 on Tuesday that the private school's policy of admitting only native Hawaiians amounted to "unlawful race discrimination" even though the school receives no federal funding.

The decision shocked school officials and devastated the Native Hawaiian community. The school has defended the exclusive policy as a remedy to socio-economic and educational disadvantages Hawaiians' have suffered since the 1893 U.S.-backed overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Protests against the ruling were planned throughout the islands Saturday. "Our hearts have bled in these past four days," Michael Chun, headmaster at the school's main Kapalama campus on Oahu, told the massive crowd blanketing the courtyard surrounding Iolani Palace - the former residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom's last two monarchs. "We must stand together to focus and right this wrong," Chun said. "March tall, march proud, march strong."

The Kamehameha Schools were established under the 1883 will of a Hawaiian princess. About 5,100 Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian students from kindergarten through 12th grade attend the three campuses, which are partly funded by a trust now worth $6.2 billion. Admission is highly prized in Hawaii because of the quality of education and the relatively low cost. Non-Hawaiians may be admitted if there are openings after Hawaiians who meet the criteria have been offered admission.

The lawsuit was brought by an unidentified non-Hawaiian student who was turned down in 2003. The appeals court wrote that the school's admission policies are illegal because they operate "as an absolute bar to admission of those of the non-preferred race." Kamehameha Schools has said it will appeal. An injunction asking the court to order the school to accept the teenager for the fall term is pending.

At the Honololu rally, Gov. Linda Lingle, introducing herself as a "haole" and "a non-Hawaiian," said the court's decision was "not just." "The Hawaiian people have been tested many, many times," Lingle said. "This is just one more test that you will show you will overcome." Amber Marquez, 17, a senior at the school's Kapalama campus, said Kamehameha has given her a future. "We are just trying to preserve what little we have left because everything is being taken away," she said. "We just deserve this; we feel blessed."



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"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Monday, August 08, 2005


Independent schools - including Victoria's seven Islamic colleges - will be required to teach a curriculum consistent with Australian democratic values under State Government reforms. The Government, which is to establish a new regulatory authority, has warned it will crack down on non-government schools where there is inappropriate teaching or antisocial behaviour. Acting Education Minister Jacinta Allan told The Sunday Age: "All schools in Victoria must conform with all Victorian and Australian laws relating to equal opportunity and racial vilification. "Any school breaking the law will be prosecuted in the same way as any other institution or individual," she said. Ms Allan said it was a fundamental tenet of society that there be equality between the sexes in schools at all levels and equal access to facilities and opportunities. Supervising standards in non-government schools would be handed over to a new regulatory body called the Victorian Qualifications Authority with improved powers to investigate breaches and monitor standards. It will replace the Registered Schools Board.

Ms Allan, who is Minister for Education Services, also warned that the Government funded only non-profit schools and that all public funding must be used to support operational costs for delivering education to students. Any attempt to divert the money into other ventures would invoke legal penalties. The Sunday Age revealed last week that Werribee Islamic College was using funds to build a college in Jakarta and an orphanage school in Banda Aceh as part of an international expansion program. The report also contained claims by former staff that a visiting imam to the college had vilified Jews and that management had discriminated against female teachers and female students.

Omar Hallak, a Palestinian-born principal who along with other relatives is believed to control the college through a community trust, accused The Sunday Age of mounting a "demonising" attack on Muslims and rejected claims by former staff that a visiting imam had vilified Jews as "horribly incorrect". The statement confirmed that the college, which has more than 600 students, was establishing a college in Jakarta, but claimed money for the school and orphanage in Aceh had come from donations.

In a statement, the college said it practised equal opportunity between male and female teachers but confirmed that male and female staff were separated to "prevent sexual harassment" and for religious reasons. Non-Muslim women teachers were also required to wear Islamic clothing. "Like any other schools in Victoria we do have our own dress code. In our case, this involves that female staff must wear a hijab (headscarf) and abaya (long dress jacket) once they enter the premises."

Ms Allan said it was the state's responsibility to monitor activities and standards in non-government schools, but said there was need for information to be better shared between the Federal Government and the states and between the relevant "monitoring bodies". She said the State Government was reviewing the whole issue of standards as part of reforms to the Education Act with a view to tightening them. "In the meantime, the current regulatory requirements for non-government schools make it clear that schools are to demonstrate that they are teaching a curriculum which reflects the approved Victorian curriculum and to prepare students for contemporary society," Ms Allan said.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has warned that young Muslims were prey to visiting imams and religious scholars. Council president Ameer Ali said extremists posed a problem for vulnerable and impressionable youth.


1989 is rightly regarded as the year of death for the Left, but the cause of death was neither the fall of the Berlin Wall nor the decline of the Soviet Empire that that symbolized. The fatal last straw was a little-publicized event halfway across the globe.

A clique of Critical Legal Studies professors at Harvard Law proposed that the professoriate and the custodial staff switch positions every six months. And? Well, nothing -- the proposal went nowhere. Absent its own Berlin Wall, Harvard could not stop the flight of professors to other schools; absent control of all media, it could not prevent the news from getting out and its reputation from suffering. The "scholarly eminence per person at Harvard," observed Dean Robert Clark, "is seriously below that at several competing law schools."

Credit where it's due: Here were Marxists who understood the implications of ideology as it related, not to the masses of the Third World, but to their own lives. The division of labor had always been assailed by Leftists as the very root of "class" and all inequality. Why, then, not abolish it within their own domain?

And yet, they would not translate this egalitarian theory into practice. What colorless "radical feminist" was really going to leave her lectern for a cart and allow the black cleaning woman to decide what should constitute "Women and the Law 101"? Would not and could not: What elderly Old Leftist was actually going to do heavy lifting? And exactly how is a Spanish-speaking nineteen-year-old janitor going to teach "The History of the Common Law"? Here, as everywhere else, the beloruchki did not leave the ranks of the ruling class for those of the working class -- even temporarily.

The Left's only alternative to absurdity was hypocrisy -- about as damning a circumstance as reality could impose. But this one struck at its heart in a way even the atrocity of Communist practice or the obscenity of Western apologetics couldn't. Now the question was raised: If the theorists of absolute equality could not practice what they preach even within their own world of theory, who would ever practice it anywhere?

More Here


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"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Sunday, August 07, 2005


Read the following advertisement and feel sorry for the kids of the parents concerned. They think that all Texas public schools need is more money. Surely somebody has told them that the school districts where the biggest money is spent (like Washington D.C.) are the ones with the WORST results?

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Truth Has Nothing to Do With It

Is Theory going out of fashion in American universities?

A half-century ago theorists in departments of literature debated such topics as the relation of scientific truth to the sort of truth made available by great literature. Now that topic is no longer raised, not because answers have been found but because the reigning consensus holds that "truth" is an empty concept, that there is no such thing as "literature," let alone "great literature," and that the meaning of any piece of writing--or "text"--is unstable at best.

Of course today's academic theorists do not limit themselves to deconstructing, say, Jane Austen. They practice a broader sort of "theory" or, better, Theory. (One needs a capital letter to do justice to the ambition of the project.) Under the rubric of "cultural studies," theorists claim to possess the key to understanding all sorts of human activity, from crime to colonialism. The Frenchmen who started it all, figures like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Louis Althusser, are now in disfavor in their native country and, worse, out of fashion. But they still have a grip on American humanistic scholarship.

But for how much longer? A sign that things may be changing is "Theory's Empire," edited by Daphne Patai and Will Corral. Its 47 contributors patiently dissect all aspects of Theory, from its putative grounding in the ideas of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) to the practical effects--say, in India--of the postcolonial ("poco") branch of Theory, which does so much to denigrate logic and reason.

Valentine Cunningham, Raymond Tallis and other contributors show how much theorists distort Saussure's insights. Contrary to what the theorists claim, the arbitrary aspects of language as a system (langue) in no way imply that individual speech acts (parole) must be likewise arbitrary and thus incapable of communicating truths. "The confusion between the system and its use," notes Mr. Tallis--e.g., between the arbitrary rules of syntax and the particular meaning of a sentence--is "especially unforgivable in writers who claim to be familiar with Saussure, as it was one of the latter's great achievements to distinguish these things."

Theory has tried to deconstruct science in a similarly misleading way. The philosopher Thomas Nagel observes that theorists invoke quantum theory and relativity "to show that today even science has had to abandon the idea of an objective, mind-independent reality." But, he curtly remarks, "neither theory has this significance." Another philosopher, Susan Haack, draws attention to Theory's use of what she calls "the Passes-for Fallacy": What "passes for truth" is equated with "what is truth." Such an elision, she notes, allows theorists to make a bogus claim: They observe (rightly) that some things once thought to be true are now considered false; then they discard (wrongly) the very concept of truth.

If challenged, theorists often vilify their opponents as right-wingers or worse. Kwame Anthony Appiah observes that when Susan Gubar, a leading academic feminist, raised questions about the state of feminist theory she "found herself condemned, astonishingly, as a troglodyte, perhaps even a racist." Ironically, Theory may harm the very politics it purports to defend. Noam Chomsky finds it "remarkable" that leftist intellectuals, with their attacks on rationality, "should seek to deprive oppressed people not only of the joys of understanding and insight, but also of tools of Enlightenment." Meera Nanda laments that when postcolonialists repudiate the "objectivity" and "universalism" of science, they give "aid and comfort to Hindu chauvinists who display many symptoms of fascism."

For most people outside the academy what is most striking--and most puzzling--about Theory is the prose in which it is couched. To take an example offered by contributor D.G. Myers: Homi Bhaba, a major theorist, refers to "the desperate effort to 'normalize' formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality." (Whatever that may mean.) The theorist Luce Irigaray asks more clearly, though not more cogently: "Is E=MCý a sexed equation? Perhaps it is. Let us make the hypothesis that it is insofar as it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us. What seems to me to indicate the possibly sexed nature of the equation is not directly its use by nuclear weapons, rather it is having privileged what goes the fastest."

It all makes one wonder how anyone could ever have taken such pronouncements seriously. "Theory's Empire," by its very existence, suggests that even professors need not feel obliged to do so any longer. And where will their newfound wisdom end? Mr. Appiah reports that "more and more literary critics" have actually decided to "devote themselves to . . . literature."



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"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here