Friday, August 11, 2006


The enrollment of black students at three of the most prestigious colleges of the City University of New York has dropped significantly in the six years since the university imposed tougher admissions policies. One of the sharp declines has come at the City College of New York, CUNY's flagship campus, in Harlem, which was at the center of bitter open admissions battles in the late 1960's. Black students, who accounted for 40 percent of City College's undergraduates as recently as 1999, now make up about 30 percent of the student body there, figures provided by the university show.

At Hunter, a competitive liberal arts campus on the East Side of Manhattan, the share of black students fell to 15 percent last year from 20 percent in 1999. And at Baruch, a campus that specializes in business, the proportion of black students slipped to 14 percent from 24 percent. Over all, the number of black undergraduates at CUNY, including those in associate's degree programs, grew to 57,791 last year from 52,937 in 1999, the figures show.

University officials attributed the declines to several factors, from their admissions policies to greater competition for top minority students from other colleges to students' own preferences about where they want to study. But Robert Bruce Slater, the managing editor of The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, which noted the trend at CUNY in its Weekly Bulletin last week, said, "The tougher admissions policy seems to have had a major impact."

CUNY is not the only public university experiencing such changes. In California, which voted to end affirmative action at its public universities a decade ago, U.C.L.A. and Berkeley have both seen steep declines in the number of black students, even as the numbers at other campuses fell less and have recovered more over time. CUNY put its tougher admissions policies in place in 2000 and 2001.

Critics like former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said CUNY had low standards and was accepting far too many students who were not prepared for college work. Opponents of the change pointed to a tradition of open admissions and predicted that there would be a sharp decline in total enrollment and in the enrollment of minority students. The tightened standards required that students who wanted to enter CUNY's baccalaureate programs attain certain scores on the SAT exam, the New York State Regents tests or CUNY's own entrance exams. "At one point, they basically had an open admissions policy and all these kids got in," Mr. Slater said. "Then they changed their policy, and this is what happened." Mr. Slater said that CUNY, which has 17 undergraduate campuses, has been an important institution for black students, and that nearly 3 percent of all American black college students are at the university.

CUNY officials acknowledged the dip in the number of black students at three of their top schools, but argued that they had more black undergraduates last year than in 1999. "Not only are we recruiting more black students onto our campuses, but we are graduating more, too," said Selma Botman, CUNY's top academic officer. In 2004-05, an official said, 7,496 black students graduated from CUNY's bachelor's and associate's degree programs, up from 7,151 five years earlier. CUNY also has a black male initiative that it adopted last year, when it recognized how few black men were enrolled compared with the number of black women.

The declines in black enrollment appeared unrelated to the pipeline of students from New York City's high schools. The number of black students graduating from public high schools in New York City grew to 11,754 in 2005 from 10,594 in 1999, according to the city's education department.

When CUNY's trustees approved the stricter admissions policies, the state Board of Regents questioned how much they would change the university's racial balance. Saul B. Cohen, a Regent and former president of Queens College, said yesterday that the declines for some of the individual campuses were "a bit surprising" and warranted another look. But others said the decline in black enrollment at Hunter, Baruch and City College should not cause the university to shy away from strengthening its standards. Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute who served on Mr. Giuliani's task force that evaluated CUNY, said yesterday that she believed CUNY was "absolutely on the right track."

More here

Mom and Dad, where are you?

The headline on the Sunday, Aug. 6 Washington Post style section was so visually "loud" that no other words were immediately visible to my eyes. It screamed, "Chill Out, Mom," followed by "Parents Fret About Children's Entertainment. Maybe That's Part of the Problem." Say what?

As I travel the country speaking to civic, religious and education organizations about how to protect today's youth in a culture gone crazy, it's obvious that the problem isn't parental worry -- it's parental ignorance and inaction. Of course, headlines are supposed to grab your attention (and the writer of this one deserves a Pulitzer). But the impression is so powerful that the reader actually may believe the lie that parental concerns or involvement harm our children.

Here's the reality: Moms and dads, you have good reason to fret. And as I show in my book, Home Invasion, hands-on parenting in your children's lives is more important today than ever. To be fair to Post journalist Ann Hornaday, her article contained excellent recommendations. She pointed out, for instance, that media literacy programs are important components of keeping our kids safe in our technological world of wonders. As an advisory board member for Web Wise Kids, a non-profit organization that has worked with schools, law enforcement and civic groups, and trained hundreds of thousands of students across the nation how to stay safe from online predators, I know that such programs have saved lives.

According to Robert Rabon (whose organization, National Center for Youth Issues, has taught counselors and administrators from some 30,000 schools how to identify dangers and build character in students): "School counselors and teachers can be a primary entry point for addressing the social and emotional issues of our kids. Most public schools have a counselor, but the vast majority have very few tools to do their jobs. One of our goals is to get resources and training into their hands." There must be a joint effort by the educational community, religious leaders and, yes, parents, if we're going to keep our youth safe -- not just from predators, but from the pornography-immersed marketing efforts that have our kids in the cross-hairs.

Today's kids are the most marketed-to generation of children in history. They spend an estimated $150 billion a year of their own money. Combine this with the often-seen modern parental desire to be their kids' "friend" (which results in indulging little Johnny's every whim and a failure to set rules and standards), and you can see why marketers compete like never before for the attention of these sophomoric spenders.

So fierce is the competition for their cash that modern marketing techniques have become, in many cases, insidiously evil. Selling to tweens isn't about finding out what they want, it's all about figuring out how to manipulate their minds. Of course, sex sells and always has been a staple of marketing campaigns. But today's most highly sexualized campaigns are targeted at children -- selling empty promises of sexual power and every kind of sexual perversion, accompanied by a crude incivility that flows throughout the entertainment programming, not just in easily identifiable ads.

MTV (with its "pooh cam," which enables one to watch others go to the bathroom, and its tawdry Spring Break specials, etc.) and others have become experts at feeding on the raging hormones, edginess and roller-coaster emotions of our youth, producing highly titillating material that ignites their adrenaline and leaves them begging for more. Instead of helping our sons and daughters positively approach and channel their sexuality and their developing understanding of decency and civility, the entertainment world pours gasoline on youthful passions and confusion. Plainly put, our kids are being used.

Educators, religious youth leaders and parents must become familiar with this brave new world and rise up to stop the abuse. And parental action is most critical to successfully freeing our kids from those who would entrap them. After all, it's not at school that pornographic Web sites are viewed, that dangerous MySpace or chat-room conversations take place, or that hours are spent watching the crud of MTV or playing violent video games. It's in their homes -- often in the privacy of their own bedrooms -- that kids consume the brainwashing rot.

More here

Abject failure of "modern" primary schooling in Australia

Fewer than half of all Year 7 students could identify verbs or adjectives and only 7 per cent could spell "definitely" in a literacy test sat by all NSW students entering high school this year. The results of the English Language and Literacy Assessment, run in March, show that a majority of students have difficulty with spelling, punctuation and grammar. Only 27 per cent of students knew where to put the apostrophe in "children's excitement" and 35 per cent were able to put the apostrophe in "can't".

When asked about the phrase "made Nick's eyes water", only 40 per cent of students identified the word water as a verb and just 44 per cent knew the words "calm", "still" and "unexpected" were adjectives. When given misspelt words to correct, one in four students was able to spell "accommodation", 37 per cent could spell "scaly", 47 per cent could spell "razor" and 53 per cent could spell "paid". But almost one in five students was unable to correct the sentence, "Then Ron and me had lunch", while only 35 per cent corrected "could of" to "could have".

Senior lecturer in the school of languages and linguistics at Melbourne University Jean Mulder said the specific teaching of grammar had been dropped from school curriculums around the nation and the poor literacy results showed that this approach was not working. Dr Mulder designed the English language course in Victoria for Year 11 and 12 students, which teaches grammar as part of a study of literature and language. Dr Mulder said most students who were familiar with grammar had learnt it from studying a second language, where grammar was specifically taught. "It's time to rethink the way grammar and language is taught, but not just simply repeating the traditional grammar approach of being taught by rote," she said. "It needs to be taught in context, by looking at the way words are used, not just their function, and in doing that to be able to name things, like this word is a verb, this word is a noun."

The ELLA program was introduced in 1997 as part of the NSW Government's literacy strategy and is compulsory for all Year 7 students, with a voluntary follow-up test in Year 8 that is normally taken by about 97per cent of students. Students are assessed on their writing, reading and knowledge of language, and are required to write two passages, answer questions after reading a piece, and identify grammatical components, correct spelling and punctuation mistakes. The NSW Education Department said this year's results were "exceptionally good", with the overall results for reading, writing and language combined the best since the test was introduced. In the language assessment, the results were comparable with previous years. The tests are marked within a range of 45 to 120, and the average score this year was 88.8, the same as last year's average and equivalent to the high point of 88.9 in 2004. [Which shows how dumbed-down the testing is]



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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