Thursday, March 23, 2006


The plight of black men in the United States is far more dire than is portrayed by common employment and education statistics, a flurry of new scholarly studies warn, and it has worsened in recent years even as an economic boom and welfare overhaul brought gains to black women and many other groups. "The choice is education or incarceration," declared the Rev. Jim Holley, who runs a program for almost 200 high school dropouts in Detroit, where estimates suggest barely half of the students who start high school graduate within four years. "We really need to . address these problems or else they're only going to get worse."

The studies, by experts at Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and other institutions, show that the huge pool of poorly educated black men is becoming ever more disconnected from mainstream society, and to a far greater degree than comparable white or Hispanic men. Among the recent findings:

The share of young black men without jobs has climbed nearly unstopped. In 2000, 65 percent of black male high school dropouts in their 20s were jobless. By 2004 the share had grown to 72 percent, compared with 34 percent of white dropouts and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts.

Incarceration rates have reached historic highs. In 1995, 16 percent of black men in their 20s who did not attend college were in jail or prison; by 2004, 21 percent were incarcerated. By their mid-30s, six in 10 black men who were dropouts have been in prison.

In the inner cities, more than half of black men do not finish high school. Similar trends are apparent across Michigan. In 2000 there were about 100,000 black men in their 20s in the state, and almost half of them didn't have jobs, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Almost a quarter of black males in their 20s had not finished high school, and for them, two of every three were not employed.


Dumb teachers in Australia too

Some of Queensland's future teachers are being drawn from among the bottom third of school leavers seeking tertiary places. Universities are training teaching students who scored as low as OP19 in their final year of school on the 25-point OP scale. Teaching cut-offs for many courses have dropped two OP places in only 12 months.

Several universities have begun support programs for first-year students to bolster their literacy, numeracy, comprehension and assignment-writing skills. They are also beginning to investigate how students with lower entry scores in previous years have performed. But although the minimum scores are low, many students enter teaching courses with OPs as high as one to five.

Education Minister Rod Welford said most Queensland teachers were trained at Brisbane universities where scores were generally ahead of those at regional universities. "Obviously it would be preferable if those entering the teaching profession had the highest scores, but not everyone with top results necessarily becomes a good teacher," he said. Mr Welford said teaching standards in Queensland were being improved through new accountability requirements, which meant that teachers had to update their skills to be re-registered every five years by the College of Teachers.

Richard Smith, Central Queensland University's executive dean of arts, humanities and education, said he had "absolutely no concerns" about the entry score. "There is no correlation between the OP score students enter with and their performance at university," Professor Smith said. "Ours are outcomes-based degrees and we ensure our students are workplace ready."

Under Queensland's OP scoring system for Year 12 students, OP1 - obtained by just 2.37 per cent of students - is the highest grade and OP25 is the lowest. More than 70 per cent of students score OP16 or better. A survey by The Courier-Mail has found that an OP19 was the cut-off for the Bachelor of Education degree for early childhood, primary and middle schooling teachers at the University of Southern Queensland's Wide Bay campus. It was also the cut-off score for early childhood teaching at USQ Toowoomba.

Universities accepting candidates with OP17s include the University of Queensland for middle school teaching (a dual degree with Behavioural Studies), Central Queensland University for early childhood, primary and Japanese teaching, and the University of the Sunshine Coast for science and arts teaching. James Cook University accepts trainee primary, secondary and early childhood teachers with OP16s.

Universities with higher cut-offs include Griffith University (OPs 10 and 11 and OP7 for the combined Science/Education degree), the Australian Catholic University (OP11) and QUT (OPs 11 to 13), which has the largest number of trainee teachers in the state. Many teachers also enter the profession with a post-graduate degree.

QUT vice-chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake pledged that QUT would not allow entry scores to drop any lower. But he said if a student passed a four-year teaching degree, this overtook their Year 12 result. Queensland Teachers' Union president Steve Ryan said he was worried the focus was on filling universities with trainee teachers, rather than turning out good teachers.


Destroying Mathematics education

"Outcomes Based Education" is a system to avoid grading of students. You either attain the "outcome" or you do not. All kids are equal, is the basic (boringly Leftist) idea

Maths students will no longer be penalised for arriving at the correct answer using incorrect calculations under Western Australia's controversial outcomes-based education system. In a fundamental change to the way mathematics is assessed, the new OBE maths curriculum will reward students regardless of the process they use.

Co-founder of lobby group PLATO, Greg Williams, said the move would produce high-school graduates who would not need to have a fundamental understanding of mathematical concepts. Mr Williams said that under the present system, students were awarded marks for the calculations they made, as well as the final answer. But under the OBE system, a student who gave the correct answer but made the wrong calculations to arrive at it would be given exactly the same mark. This would not equip students for a career and life in the real world, Mr Williams said. "If you're an engineer and your calculations are sloppy, the bridge that you are building falls down," Mr Williams said.
PLATO's (People Lobbying Against Teaching Outcomes) concerns follow revelations that the Curriculum Council of Western Australia has turned away from the importance of spelling and grammar. The 2007 sample exams for English, media and aviation provide teachers with their first glimpse of what will be assessed under the new education system. All three samples state students should not be penalised for "poor spelling, punctuation, grammar or handwriting". Students are also permitted to draw answers or write them in dot form.

"If you're not going to learn how to write English with correct grammar, spelling and continuous prose, where the hell are you going to learn it?" Mr Williams said.

Mathematical Association of Western Australia president Noemi Reynolds said she did not believe the new system would result in a major change to student assessment. "But we have quite a mixture of opinions on OBE," she said. Ms Reynolds said many maths teachers had expressed concern after witnessing the confusion surrounding the implementation of a new English syllabus. "We understand and have sympathy for our fellow English teachers but maths teachers will not stand for a lack of support in the implementation (of the changes)," she said.

State Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich said she would not speculate on how maths calculations would be marked until she had seen a sample exam. "I'm going to wait until I see a copy of an example paper until I comment," Ms Ravlich said. She said claims by PLATO that students would not be prepared for life after school was scaremongering. "Students will need to be able to demonstrate good grammar, spelling and punctuation. If they don't, it will result in students achieving lower marks in the examination," she said. "This is a pretty tough (English) examination. I think it really is quite rigorous."

But federal Education Minister Julie Bishop said that while she was not attacking the concept of outcomes-based education, she did not approve of how the system was being implemented in WA. "The current debate centres around how it is working in practice and whether the (Curriculum Council) promotes sufficient guidelines to teachers," Ms Bishop said. "What I am hearing from teachers is that they need clarity on the knowledge and skills that students are to develop (under OBE)." She said spelling, grammar and punctuation had to be one of the highest priorities in the teaching and assessment of English.



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. My home page is here


No comments: