Saturday, April 01, 2006


Note that the sex gap starts in kindergarten! Boys are alienated from the outset by values uncongenial to them

This spring, when Maine high schools release their lists of the 10 seniors with the highest academic rankings, girls are likely to outnumber boys by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1. Boys score lower on standardized reading and writing tests, men earn only 38 percent of the bachelor's degrees from Maine's public universities and boys are twice as likely as girls to receive special education services. Various measures of academic performance show that in Maine, as elsewhere in America, boys are trailing girls, and no one seems to know why. "It's absolutely a concern," Jeanne Crocker, principal at South Portland High School, told the Maine Sunday Telegram. "It's a tough problem, and I don't think there are answers yet. Is it that school, as we know it, is not working as well for guys as it is for girls? If so, what are we going to do with it?"

The economic impact of the gender gap could be particularly severe in Maine because of its loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs that have long been a source of support for men who lack a college degree. The trend knows no geographic or social boundaries. It is found in poorer northern Maine and the richer south, affecting educated families as well as those in which neither parent is college-educated. The poor performance of male students is a turnabout from decades ago. In 1972, men made up 55 percent of the nearly 24,000 students enrolled in the University of Maine System. This fall, 38 percent of the more than 34,000 students were men.

Whereas girls used to lag in educational achievement, today the reverse is true. "Everything has flip-flopped," said Maryjane Stafford, a math teacher at Winslow Middle School. "Now these little boys are endangered." The problem appears to begin early on. A study of 52 state-funded pre-kindergarten systems in 40 states found that in Maine, boys are 4 1/2 times more likely to be expelled than girls. "The gender gap starts very early," said Professor Walter Gilliam of Yale University, who conducted the study.

A task force formed by Maine's Department of Education to study boys' poor academic performances is expected to issue a report in the coming weeks. Students say the achievement gap is obvious. When asked why boys don't measure up academically, boys themselves cite laziness, disinterest and the fear of being branded a nerd. "I think girls work harder than boys. Maybe not doing your work is a sign of being cool," said Jack Niveson, a 14-year-old student at Winslow Middle School. At Bonny Eagle High School, Liz Waters said girls are more competitive within the class rank. "In English, it's girls that dominate. I'm in (Advanced Placement) English and there's only five boys in a class of 14."

Various theories have been offered, ranging from differences in boys' and girls' brains to a failure of schools to address the needs of boys. Some point to gender stereotypes that depict tough guys as heroes and smart kids as wimps. Or to the preponderance of female teachers in elementary and middle schools that leaves boys with a lack of male role models.

There is also an economic theory offered by those who find a better job market for 18-year-old boys than girls, which encourages more girls to go to college. A strong construction industry enables many boys to earn decent money at age 18, which may explain why some boys see higher education as unnecessary. But U.S. Census figures show that over the course of the average man's working life, a bachelor's degree is worth more than $1 million more than a high school diploma. "Want that new car?" said Lynne Miller, an education professor at the University of Southern Maine, mimicking a concerned parent. "You're not going to make it, you know, if you don't go to college."


Make A-level harder for all, says U.K. exams chief

A rare move in a world of ever sagging standards. Perhaps standards have sagged too far even for Britains's Leftist education bureaucrats

A-levels [K 12 final exams] will be made harder for every pupil under a new blueprint devised by the Government's exams watchdog. Ken Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, will make it clear in a speech today that all candidates face tougher questions under his recommended option for improving A-levels. He will also signal the introduction of a new A* grade at A-level for the brightest candidates.

Ministers had planned to introduce either an optional harder paper for high-flyers or an optional set of questions to be answered by them at the end of the main exam. Universities have complained that they cannot select the best candidates because so many pupils get A-grade passes. More than 20 per cent of scripts are awarded an A-grade pass.

Research for the QCA shows that both teachers and pupils now have greater faith in A-levels and GCSEs, although there are concerns that coursework allows pupils to cheat.



The Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has ordered a primary school to take in a seven-year-old boy accused of violent behaviour, against the wishes of its headteacher and governors. Her intervention angered the school which claims it flies in the face of her view that there should be "zero tolerance" of bad behaviour.

Some parents at the school, Cummersdale in Carlisle, Cumbria, have warned they will keep their children at home if the boy starts at the school after the Easter break on 19 April.

The boy was excluded from Great Orton primary school last year following claims that he assaulted the headteacher three times, a teaching assistant twice and injured several pupils - although his exclusion was rescinded on appeal. His mother now wants him to go to Cummersdale.

Sarah Mason, the acting head, said her school was full and was not geared up to cope with a disruptive pupil. "We have no male staff as a role model and we have an awful lot of special needs kids anyway," she said. It is understood that the boy has already been turned down by several other schools in the area.



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


Friday, March 31, 2006

States Have More Schools Falling Behind

Even the "fudged" results look bad

More than a quarter of U.S. schools are failing under terms of President Bush's No Child Left Behind law, according to preliminary state-by-state statistics reported to the U.S. Department of Education. At least 24,470 U.S. public schools, or 27 percent of the national total, did not meet the federal requirement for "adequate yearly progress" in 2004-2005. The percentage of failing schools rose by one point from the previous school year. Under the 2002 law, schools that do not make sufficient academic progress face penalties including the eventual replacement of their administrators and teachers.

The results raise doubts about whether the law is working and its results are fairly calculated, said Michael Petrilli, vice president for policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a Washington-based research group. "Most people thought that at this point in the law, we'd be seeing these numbers go way, way up" as standards toughen, said Petrilli, a former Education Department official who helped implement the law in 2002.

Bush achieved rare bipartisan support to get the No Child Left Behind law passed as part of his first-term agenda. Since then, the law has become a subject of dispute, with Democrats accusing Republicans of providing insufficient money for it. At the same time, there is evidence that states may be manipulating the numbers, Petrilli said. He cited Oklahoma, where the percentage of failing schools dropped to 3 percent from 25 percent a year earlier.

Under the law's "adequate yearly progress" measurements, states are required to show improvement in student test scores in reading and math. If they do not do so for two consecutive years, individual schools must let students transfer to another school. After a third year, schools must pay for tutoring for students from low-income families. Some states have complained that the federal government has not provided enough funding to cover costs such as tutoring.

The 2004-2005 rankings are just "one thing out of many things" that need to be considered when judging schools, said Chad Colby, a spokesman for the Education Department. A set of federal tests, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, gives policymakers another indication of scholastic achievement, Colby said. The true test of the No Child Left Behind law will come in 2013-2014, when schools are required to bring all students to proficiency in math and reading, he said.

The Bush administration has expressed satisfaction with the rate of improvement under No Child Left Behind. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, in testimony last month before the Senate's education committee, cited statistics such as 9-year-olds making more progress in reading over the past five years than in the previous 28 years combined.

The law, however, allows states to adjust both their tests and the formulas by which they calculate "adequate yearly progress," leaving parents and policymakers unable to make definite conclusions about such numbers, analysts including Petrilli said. [You can guess in what direction they "adjust" their standards] "These stats are meaningless in the absence of a common test and common standards," said Diane Ravitch, a New York University professor who was an assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush.

Among individual states, Florida placed last with 72 percent of its schools failing to show enough improvement, while Oklahoma led, according to the Education Department statistics provided to Bloomberg News. Rhode Island ranked second behind Oklahoma with 5 percent failing, with Iowa at 6 percent, Montana at 7 percent and New Hampshire, Tennessee and Wisconsin at 8 percent. At the other end, Hawaii ranked second-worst with 66 percent of its schools failing to improve. Washington, D.C., came in third-worst with 60 percent, followed by Nevada at 56 percent and New Mexico at 53 percent. Different states were required to submit the statistics to the Education Department by March 8. Federal officials plan to verify them and incorporate them into an annual report to Congress later this year, Colby said.



The struggles of two local school districts exemplify the choices educators are making to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a national study released Tuesday says. The efforts by Grant Joint Union High and Tahoe Truckee Unified school districts to improve student achievement are outlined in a report by the Center on Education Policy, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group based in Washington, D.C. Looking at the federal act's influence on school districts nationwide, the study found that students' scores are rising but that the gains come at great expense.

Instructional time is being diverted from subjects such as social studies, science and art to give low-performing students more exposure to English and math, subjects at the core of NCLB, the report states. Districts are spending money that often isn't reimbursed, as well as valuable time and other resources. Teachers' creativity in the classroom is dampened, [How awful! Teacher creativity OF COURSE matters more than whether kids learn how to read or not] and staff morale sometimes suffers. "The impact of the No Child Left Behind Act continued to broaden and deepen during 2005," Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, said in a Washington, D.C., news conference. "Teaching and learning are changing as a result of (the law)."

Some of those changes are embraced, others implemented only out of necessity. As one Tahoe Truckee Unified teacher told report authors about NCLB: "It's been the best bad thing." The report - the center's fourth in a series about the implementation of No Child Left Behind - is based on surveys of 299 school districts spread over all 50 states. Thirty-eight geographically diverse school districts were studied in depth, including Grant and Tahoe Truckee. The two districts were featured as examples of how urban and rural school systems are affected by the law. A Grant spokeswoman said district officials were unavailable for comment Tuesday, and Tahoe Truckee officials could not be reached for comment.

The study concludes that NCLB has had a dramatic effect on what goes on in the classroom. Education has become more "prescriptive," meaning teachers and administrators use data to identify students' weaknesses [More horror!] and implement rigid curricula.

Subjects such as science, social studies [Leftist propaganda] and art are being pushed aside in 71 percent of districts surveyed. In the Grant district, low-performing students are taking as many as three periods of English and/or math. This year, students had the option of taking a one-semester class of both social studies and science. English language learners are enrolled in so-called "block classes" for a double dose of English.

The report states that this method is seen as a necessary evil by some educators. Jack O'Connell, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a statement Tuesday that reading and math are "gateway skills." "If a student does not have these basic skills, it is imperative that schools focus on helping our kids acquire them," he said.

Still, others remain worried about the long-term effects. "When you take away elective classes, I think it's a tragedy," said John Ennis, president of the Grant teachers union. "I want a well-rounded citizen." [Even if he is illiterate]

The study also found that an increasing number of students are testing proficient in English and math on state tests. The report cites increased learning as a factor but also points out that many states have taken advantage of flexibility by U.S. Department of Education in determining what is considered proficient. [Oh Oh!]

The study's third conclusion cites a leveling off of the number of school districts identified as in need of improvement. This finding runs counter to earlier predictions that the number would keep rising over time. In addition, few students eligible for district-funded tutoring - an option provided by the law - use it, and few students transfer to other schools under the school choice option. [Because they are not GIVEN the option]

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. My home page is here


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Parents demand, 'Let our children go'

L.A., Compton districts accused of not allowing transfers mandated by U.S.

How long should parents allow their children to remain trapped in a failed school? Five years? Two years? One year? To ask the question is to know the answer. Loving, caring parents would drive out to the school, rescue their child and drive home without a glance back. Appropriately, when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, it made clear that every child in America has the right to attend an effective school - now. And, based on that law, two organizations that favor school choice filed administrative complaints Thursday against the Los Angeles Unified and Compton Unified school districts. The complaints demand that the districts provide and publicize transfer options to better-performing schools.

One of the groups, Alliance for School Choice, also asked U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to cut off federal funds to the districts until they comply with NCLB. In both districts, the patterns of evasion of the NCLB's school-transfer provisions for families trapped in failed schools have been blatant, clearly intentional and the numbers of children allowed to transfer tiny.

In Los Angeles and Compton, test scores are in the dumps, many campuses are plagued by violence, and roughly half the students are dropping out before finishing high school. No one voluntarily enrolls a child in these districts - the kids are there because the schools in these districts are prisons for families who don't have the money for anything else. The families in these districts are overwhelmingly poor and minority, and the huge, uncaring bureaucracies running the districts are exploiting these impoverished minority families who have no place else to go.

While both districts are heavily racially segregated, Compton, which is nearly 100 percent minorities, especially has educational apartheid. In 1963, it was Alabama Gov. George Wallace who stood in the schoolhouse door to block racial integration. Today, it is educrats and teachers union bosses in places like Los Angeles Unified and Compton who block the escape of disadvantaged minorities to a better life.

In both districts, the numbers of children trapped in failing schools so overwhelmingly outnumbers the available openings in high-performing district public schools that simply allowing transfers within the districts can never solve the problem. What will be necessary is some combination of allowing transfers to high-performing public schools outside the districts; allowing existing public schools within the districts to convert to charter schools; and giving students in dysfunctional public schools scholarships to attend private schools.

These options have been shown to produce higher test scores at the same or even lower per-student spending rates, and the prod of competition has been demonstrated to dramatically improve the existing traditional public schools. Of those three options, allowing public schools to convert to charter status will probably work most quickly and help the greatest numbers of students. Charter schools are public schools of choice that are run directly by their local communities and that bypass the stifling bureaucracy of traditional public schools by putting the money directly into the classroom. California's existing charter schools now enroll about 3 percent of our public school students and have been the one shining light in a state notorious for its terrible public schools.

The option of private school scholarships now has precedent in federal law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which has long given children with disabilities who cannot be adequately served in public schools a scholarship to a private special-education school. The Hurricane Katrina education relief bill, passed in December 2005, also offers displaced families scholarships to private schools.

Whichever of the options are implemented, the time to act is now. When Congress passed No Child Left Behind and said that all children have a right to an education, it made clear that it meant today, not the someday of the educrats' daydreams. We do not have a moment to spare in rescuing those children who so desperately need our help.


Where did All The Students Activists Go?

A good post from Varifrank

C.W. Nevis took his daughter to a protest this weekend and wonders "Where did all the student activists go"?

I've been on college campuses over the past couple of years taking a variety of classes. One of those classes was a German Language class. The instructor was a very nice lady, an older German woman who lived through the war as a child. She was a very good instructor and frankly she was such a good instructor of German that she invigorated my love of the english language, which is a hell of thing for a German Langage instructor to do. She was a genuine nice lady.

She was also quite a free spirit and tended towards a leftist ideology, which is really not unusual on campus. Most of the time she kept politics out of the classroom, but we usually got a small 5 minute lecture during the week on some subject that bothered her.

The students were predictably young, but they also held a secret that they revealed to me and the rest of the class one week after a lecture from the liebe professorin. One week she began a pre-class lecture on the evils of "Depleted Uranium". I listened quietly, being the good observer that I am, as I was more interested in the class reaction than playing verbal tennis with someone who was not going to be turned by my arguments in any account. The class sat quietly and listened, but didnt react to the accusations of horrible crimes against humanity, they just got ready for class and organized themselves for the task at hand, only half listening to the instructor. When she finished her 5 minute lecture, she left the room to pick up some paperwork for that class session.

Then they did it. As soon as the door closed, almost every student stood up and unzipped jackets or pulled off their sweatshirts and vests to reveal something absolutely stunning. 80% of the class was wearing grey t-shirts with one word on the front


"Well why didnt you say something"? I said with a laugh to one of the kids, nay, soldiers who were also attending the class with me and about 5 stunned party animals. "Dude we've got work to do. You spend all your time getting angry at nitwits and you miss the whole point of being in school in the first place". The discipline that the service had given to my classmate showed in his professionalism He wasnt angry, he had a job to do, he was there to learn. My classmate had just returned from 2 years overseas duty in Korea and was about to be sent to Germany, and possibly "parts beyond".

After a round of high-fives, they all tucked in their shirts and went back to their previous slacker camoflage, when the instructor came back and started the class all the while seemingly unaware that nearly all of her class were actually reserve or active members of the US Military. So, C.W. -Where did all the student activists go? Apparently they joined the Army.


In case readers here have not seen it, this might be a good time to mention the book, Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds. It follows the principal, teachers and students at Downtown College Prep, a San Jose charter high school that turns underachievers -- most come from low-income Mexican immigrant families -- into serious students. The charter school’s educational philosophy is: Work your butt off. Students aren’t told they’re wonderful. Teachers tell them they’re capable of improving, which turns out to be true. On California’s Academic Performance Index, which came out last week, Downtown College Prep is a 7 out of 10 compared to all schools, a perfect 10 compared to similar schools. All graduates go on to college; 90 percent remain on track to earn a four-year degree.

While the book discusses the charter school movement as a whole, Our School isn’t written for wonks. Many readers say it’s a page-turner. So far, it has received excellent reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Sacramento Bee, Washington Post, New York Post, Rocky Mountain News, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Publishers Weekly and others.

The book is in some, but not all, book stores and is available through Amazon. After 19 years as a San Jose Mercury News editorial writer and Knight Ridder columnist, Joanne quit in 2001 to write Our School and to start her education blog,

With all the despair about educating "left behind" kids, people need to hear about a school that's making a difference.


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


Wednesday, March 29, 2006


The BBC calls Malalai Joya the most famous woman in Afghanistan. On Thursday the 27-year-old women's rights activist, a member of the Afghan Parliament, mounted a stage at Yale and turned her fire on the university's decision to admit a former Taliban official as a special student. "All should raise their voice against such criminals," she told a crowd of 200. "It is an unforgivable insult to the Afghan people that he is here. He should face a court of law rather than be at one of your finest universities." The Yale Daily News reported that the large attendance at her speech showed that the former Taliban official "continues to be widely controversial." Last night the Yale College Council, the undergraduate student government, began debating a resolution urging the university's administration not to admit Mr. Hashemi as a regular sophomore in the fall.

Ms. Joya has standing to speak for Afghan women. She ran an underground school for women during the Taliban's rule and today receives frequent death threats after giving speeches in Parliament against "fanatical warlords." She is strongly critical of U.S. support for her country's new government, which she claims is increasingly influenced by warlords, as evidenced by the now-abandoned attempt to try an Afghan named Abdul Rahman for the capital crime of converting to Christianity. "Why has $12 billion in foreign aid not made it to my suffering people?" she asked me during an interview. "Fraud and waste have largely diverted your aid to others."

But it was her criticism of Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, the 27-year-old Taliban ambassador-at-large turned Yale student, that stuck in the minds of some audience members at a reception afterwards. "Before I was like, who cares if the guy was Taliban or not?" Yigit Dula, a sophomore from Turkey, told the Yale Daily News. "But it means a lot more to [Afghans] to have someone like Hashemi educated at Yale." Aisha Amir, a physician who fled war-torn Afghanistan, told me she sympathized with the difficult choices people had to make to survive under the Taliban, but added that "there are so many more deserving Afghan students who belong in Hashemi's place."

I met one of those students at the reception. Makai Rohbar, an Afghan student whose family legally immigrated to New Haven in 2002, served as Ms. Joya's translator for the evening. After Ms. Joya's speech, I asked Ms. Rohbar what she was studying. She told me she was taking classes in chemistry and biophysics in the hope of someday becoming a physician. I then inquired how long she had been at Yale. She blushed. "I don't go here," she said. "I attend classes at Gateway Community College," also in New Haven. She had never imagined that she could be accepted into Yale or ever find a way to pay for it.

Intrigued, I later called her up to get her full story. She left a refugee camp in Pakistan with her mother, Maroofa, and her four younger siblings in 2002. Like Mr. Hashemi she has only a high school equivalency degree, because schooling in the refugee camp was limited. Her mother can't work and knows only basic English, so she and her sister Rona are the only means of support for the family beyond food stamps and $600 a month in housing assistance from the state. I asked her what her life was like. "It's hard, but certainly better than Pakistan," she told me. "I am very grateful, but I must work 50 hours a week and also go to class. Sometimes, I am so tired I can't attend." She earns $8 an hour as a clerk in a local retail store.

I asked what she thought about Mr. Hashemi attending Yale with the help of a Wyoming foundation and a discount from Yale of 35% to 40% on tuition. "It's like a nightmare that you can't believe when you wake up," she told me. "This is a good country, but I think some people in New Haven are so complacent they don't know what officials like Hashemi did to my people." Asked what part of the Thursday evening event most impressed her, she said it was the film "Afghanistan Unveiled," which was shown just before Ms. Joya spoke. A documentary that aired on PBS in 2004, it is the work of young female Afghan video journalists working with a French director. While acknowledging progress in the capital of Kabul, it depicts the enduring lack of women's rights in many rural provinces. The heart of the film is a searing journey to Bamiyan, a place that made headlines in March 2001, when the Taliban blew up giant 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha there. That month Mr. Hashemi visited me and my colleagues at The Wall Street Journal to launch an impassioned defense of the destruction of the monuments, which had been declared a world heritage site by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

At the time, no one knew what else the Taliban were doing in Bamiyan beyond blowing up Buddhas. Nearby, the Afghan video journalists found the remnants of the Hazara tribe. One survivor told them the Taliban had "tried to exterminate" the entire tribe, starting with the men. Zainyab, a Hazara woman so thin and wrinkled that her age was indeterminate, was found by video journalist Marie Ayub living in a cave "like an animal." She told the filmmakers that "from hundreds of women here, not one has a husband. From 100 children, maybe just one still has two parents. They bulldozed houses with women and children inside; they cut off women's breasts." But despite the devastation, she hasn't given up hope. "Bring us looms," she tells the filmmakers. "Then we can be paid to weave rugs."

A small effort to help build a modern economy in Afghanistan was launched by Paula Nirschel in 2002, when she founded the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. Her goal is to match qualified women with at least a GPA of 3.5 or more with U.S. colleges, where they can pursue a degree. The initiative grants all its women full four-year scholarships. They come to college prepared; none need remedial classes. (That's something that can't be said of all U.S. students. Last year, only 52% of entering freshmen in the California State University system passed the English placement test.)

As The Wall Street Journal reported in an editorial Friday, Ms. Nirschel sent a letter to Yale in 2002, asking if it wanted to award a spot in its next entering class to an Afghan woman. Yale declined, as did many other schools. Today, the program enrolls 20 students at 10 universities.

After four weeks of growing controversy, Yale refuses to answer any questions about Mr. Hashemi's case, citing privacy concerns. It continues to defend his admission with a single 144-word statement that raises more questions than it answers.

But a rising tide of alumni and student concern has already compelled Yale's president, Richard Levin, to take some action. Last week, he agreed to a request for a meeting from Natalie Healy, the mother of a Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan last year after the Taliban blew up his helicopter. She was driving down from her home in New Hampshire and wanted to tell President Levin that Mr. Hashemi's student status is an insult to U.S. soldiers currently fighting the Taliban.

Ms. Healy was tied up in traffic and arrived 15 minutes after Mr. Levin had to leave the office for the day. A Yale public affairs officer heard Ms. Healy's complaint. But a Yale official tells me that Mr. Levin has wrested control of the decision as to whether or not his school's prize diversity catch will be admitted as a sophomore next fall away from the admissions office. He will now make the final call.

While he ponders that choice, he could also dust off Ms. Nirschel's 2002 letter and perhaps reconsider her suggestion that another truly worthy Afghan student be admitted. Ms. Rohbar, the aspiring physician, may be someone he could invite over for a chat. After all, she lives only four miles from his office. On days when she doesn't have homework, she is free after around 6 p.m., when her shift as a clerk ends.



Night classes being phased out so more money can be given to education of the dummies. That more money generally does NOTHING towards educating dummies is not mentioned. Bottom-line: Less education all-round. Those who CAN benefit don't get taught; Those who are unlikely to benefit, do get taught. So neither group learns. Equality!

The cost of evening classes is to double for more than two million people to help to fund job training for low-skilled workers, the Government admitted yesterday. Night classes in everything from flower arranging to foreign languages are expected to close. Leaders of further education colleges estimate that one million places will be lost overall. Ministers believe that night courses should not be the preserve of the middle classes keen on self-improvement. They consider that taxpayers' money would be better spent improving the skills of adults and young people who have left school with few or no qualifications.

However, fees for everyone else will rise sharply over the next four years. State subsidies will be cut from 73 per cent to 50 per cent of the cost of courses by 2010. Individuals or their employers will have to pay the other half. "Colleges are already talking about shutting down in the evenings because of the reduction in adult learning and the focus on younger people," Julian Gravatt, the Association of Colleges' director of funding and development, said. "It will be the end of night school."

People taking "leisure and pleasure" courses that do not lead to qualifications face even bigger increases. Annual funding for "personal and community development learning" will be frozen at 210 million pounds for the next two years. "There will increasingly be an expectation that individuals should pay for this kind of provision where they can afford to do so," a government White Paper said yesterday, setting out a "new economic mission" for colleges.

Ministers promised to abolish course fees from 2007-08 for people aged 19 to 25 who did not have "Level 3" qualifications, equivalent to two A levels. About 45,000 young people will qualify for free tuition. Colleges would be expected to stop many leisure courses to provide increasingly specialised skills tuition. The Association of Colleges said that up to one third of its 3.4 million adult places could be lost as a result of the changes. Up to 70 of England's 380 colleges could close. Some 4.2 million are enrolled at further education colleges, including 850,000 under-18s, 400,000 on welfare benefits and 750,000 on basic literacy and numeracy courses. About 2.3 million adults pay towards the cost of lessons in anything from flower arranging to computer-aided design or the new work-related foundation degrees.

Mr Gravatt said that current government spending projections predicted a loss of 500,000 places by 2008. A further 500,000 could disappear by 2010. "One third of adult places could go. There will be growth in provision for 16 to 19-year-olds and the under-25s. Sixth-form students tend to study for more hours, so we will have fewer people studying for longer," he said. The White Paper said that the State would continue to provide free education for everyone under 19, and would now extend it to people under 25 without the Level 3 qualifications. "But for older adults the arguments are different. The State cannot and should not pay for all education and training for adults."

State funding would cover half the fees wherever people were studying courses "valued by employers". Funding for recreational courses would "depend on local choice about how to use the allocated resources". Ministers said that reform of FE colleges was essential to end "scandalously low" staying-on rates among young people and improve adult job skills if Britain was to compete against the rising economic power of China and India. Britain lagged well behind France and Germany for the proportion of young adults with the Level 3 qualifications considered necessary for productive employment. It was also 24th out of 29 developed nations for the proportion of 16-year-olds in education or training. Ministers have set a target for raising participation rates for 16 to 19-year-olds from 75 per cent to 90 per cent by 2015.

The White Paper threatened tough action to "eliminate failure" by withdrawing funding from weak colleges. One in seven colleges offered "barely satisfactory" standards and would be served formal notices to improve within twelve months. The Learning and Skills Council would end funding for colleges that failed to improve. It would hold competitions to find alternative providers, including private companies, that were capable of taking over their courses.



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


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Opportunity Cost of Obsolete Beliefs in Academia

(An opportunity cost is the cost of a missed opportunity)

After, a right-wing alumni website, named UCLA Education Professor Peter McLaren "the worst of the worst" last month he responded by calling the website "a reactionary form of McCarthyism." Although is a ranting, mean-spirited site, it is nonetheless absurd to call this "McCarthyism." McCarthy was frightening because he was using the threat of government power to intimidate. Although originally offered students cash for recording professors' lectures, (the offer was rescinded in the face of threatened legal action from UCLA), this is not government intimidation.

One of the great democratic reforms of the 60s were the Open Meetings Acts that made public officials more accountable to the public., despite the ranting, is yet another positive move forward towards greater transparency and accountability in society. Public universities (and all universities that receive public funding) should be accountable to the public and serve the public good. It seems odd that Leftist enthusiasts for democracy should be hostile to the notion that public servants should be accountable to the people. And government-funded professors are public servants; their activities ought to be scrutinized accordingly.

Because of our obligation to scrutinize the work of public servants, it is therefore unfortunate that only conservative voices are criticizing academia. Although I am a great believer in academic freedom and as culturally liberal as almost anyone in academia, the more distance I gain from academic life the more I am struck by the extent to which all too often academic opinion is obsolete. Listen to McLaren, for instance, describe one of his education courses (in 2003):

"We begin by examining the intrinsically exploitative nature of capitalist society, using some introductory texts and essays by Bertell Ollman, and then tackle the difficult task of reading of Capital, Volume 1, and the labor theory of value. We look at this issue from the perspective from a number of Marxist orientations and I try to present the case that capitalism can't be reformed and still remain capitalism."

I am at first saddened, and then disgusted, at the extent to which McLaren is wasting his students' time. The 20th century was a violent and tragic century because in its early years both the left and the right deserted classical liberalism. We can be optimistic about a 21st century to the extent market democracies spread around the world. Although there are still serious challenges in launching successful market economies in many nations, we need to work together to help those nations succeed in growing market economies. McLaren is not helping this cause.

Oxfam is encouraging global trade to alleviate global poverty. Mohammad Yunus, of Bangladesh, launched a microfinance movement that has made successful entrepreneurs out of millions of women in the developing world. Hernando De Soto, of Peru, has launched a global program to give property rights to squatters around the world and to eliminate the over-regulation that prevents them from becoming successful entrepreneurs. De Soto's work has been described by Bill Clinton as "The most promising anti-poverty initiative in the world." These are heroic movements that deserve our attention and support. And yet when I talked to a recent college graduate last year who had majored in "Globalization," she had not heard of any of these initiatives. It was as if a computer science graduate had not heard of the personal computer: How could this be?

In too many cases professors in the humanities and social sciences (outside economics) are unreconstructed Leftists. Bertell Ollman, whose Marxists texts are used by McLaren, published the following in September 1991:

"Paradoxically enough, the objective conditions for socialism in the USSR are now largely present, but because of the unhappy experience with a regime that called itself `socialist' the subjective conditions are absent . . . on the other hand . . . the Soviet Union might be saved by a socialist revolution in the West as our capitalist economy goes into a tailspin."

Note that September 1991 is two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and indeed, is in the midst of the collapse of the Soviet Union. This absurdity was published by the American Political Science Association (APSA), the leading organization of academic political scientists. It is odd enough that the APSA considered Ollman's opinions worthy of academic publication at the time; it is odder still that he was given a lifetime achievement award by the APSA in 2001. It is as if the Association for Computing Machinery were to give a lifetime achievement award to a sliderule manufacturer in 2001. And when I read that McLaren is using Ollman's texts in education courses I really have to wonder about his judgment. Wouldn't it be more useful for people in education courses to learn how to help students learn?

It would be one thing if these people were fringe figures. But not only is Ollman an APSA-award winner, McLaren is a global academic superstar for his work in "critical pedagogy," with institutes being named after him in Mexico and Argentina.

As it turns out, I am an expert in a sort of "critical pedagogy" of my own creation. And I would be willing to bet that if 100 registered Democrats in the tech field examined both my work and McLaren's work, upwards of 80% (and quite possibly 100%) would agree that my work would be more helpful to inner city students than is his, much as the work of Yunus and De Soto is more valuable for global development than is thought of Ollman. And yet McLaren is training the next generation of urban educators in America, and I am not.

We need to speak truth to power. And the truth that we need to speak is that the academics who control the publishing of textbooks and curricula, teacher licensure and the education of most journalists, are in many cases out of touch with reality. They continue to live in 1968, a world in which people used sliderules and typewriters and J.K. Gailbraith could claim "the entrepreneur no longer exists in the mature industrial enterprise."

We now live in a dynamic world of tech entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and microentrepreneurship, in which we recognize that decentralized systems beat command and control systems, and in which the entire corpus of Marxist thought is as outdated as a sliderule. People like me are not allowed to create the personal computers of 21st century education because people like Peter McLaren control teacher education and certification on behalf of a belief system that is as obsolete as are the machine tools of mid-20th century sliderule manufacturers. The opportunity cost of allowing the tenured radicals to continue to control academic life may be compared to the opportunity cost of allowing the sliderule manufacturers to have controlled the "calculation" business from 1968 onwards. Think about that critically.


In Search Of Darkness: Found Lots Of It

I don't wholly agree with Fred's points below. I think you can find good and bad to say of all levels of the class system. But he does highlight how little education does for most people these days

The other day I found myself trapped next to the lobotomy box in the house of a friend. The show was one of those dismal productions based on sexual innuendo, the sort that I would have found titillating when I was eleven. The format was not complex. Neither, I suspect, was the audience. Several shapeless young couples sat together. The host asked them seriatim such questions as, "Other than your wife, who did you last take a shower with?" or "What part of your anatomy does your husband most like to kiss?" The studio audience invariably moaned, "Oooooooooooooooooh!" like third-graders who have heard a bad word. The couples themselves giggled with delicious embarrassment, also in the manner of dimwitted children.

I happily imagined sending them to some barely heard-of tribe in the Amazon Basin for use in human sacrifice. Almost human. Something involving army ants would have done nicely. The sexual reference didn't offend me. I have misspent more hours in third-world skin bars than those people had aggregate brain cells, which means at least three skin bars. I've seen raunchy sex shows to the point of boredom, and am not real shockable. Pornography doesn't upset me. If I had to choose whether my kids watched Dory Does Dallas, or Oprah, I might go with Dory.

No, it was the infantilism, the snickering, low-IQ tastelessness of a class of people who have no class. These, with their childish prurience and slum-dweller's aversion to civilized existence, now dominate American culture. Anyone who points out that they are crass finds himself attacked as elitist-which, since elitism simply means the view that the better is preferable to the worse, all people should be.

We are not supposed to use phrases like "the lower orders," which is the best of reasons for using them. Yet the lower orders exist. Their members are not necessarily poor, and the poor are not necessarily members. Nor is the level of schooling a reliable indicator of loutdom. Nor is intelligence or race a particularly good marker. One may be a moral moron without being unable to tie one's shoes. Rather the lower orders consist of people who think fart jokes uproarious.

How did we get here? Probably Henry Ford bears responsibility. He paid workers on his assembly lines a good wage. This was as culturally deplorable as it was economically admirable. Before, the unwashed had lacked the money to impose their tastes, or lack of them, on the society. The moneyed classes of the time may have been reprehensible or contemptible in various ways, but they minded their manners-if only because it set them apart from the lower orders, perhaps, yet it worked. The middle class likewise eschewed bathroom humor except in such venues as locker rooms, probably for the same reasons. Still, they knew what "distasteful" meant.

But as the peasantry and proletariat gained economic power, inevitably they also asserted dominance over the arts, or entertainment as the arts came to be under their sway, as well as schooling and the nature of acceptable discourse. If millions of people who can afford SUVs want scatological humor, television will accommodate them. Since all watch the same television, no class of people will escape the sex-and-sewage format. This happened. Today the cultivated can no longer insulate themselves from the rabble.

The fear of social inferiority always concerns the peasantariat: "You ain't no gooder'n me." Until the sudden florescence of pay packets occurred, the lower orders had either accepted that they were the lower orders, however resentfully, or tried to rise. They might learn to speak good English, read widely, and cultivate good manners. Or they might not. If they did, it was likely to work, since in America those who behave and speak like gentlefolk (another inadmissible word) will usually be accepted as such. In either case, they did not impose their barbarousness on others.

Ah, but with their new-found and enormous purchasing power, they discovered that they could do more than compel the production of skateboards, trashy television, and awful music. They could make boorish childishness and ignorance into actual virtues. And did. Thus wretched grammar is now a sign of "authenticity," whatever that might mean, rather than of defective studies. Thus the solemnity with which rap "music" is taken. Briefly the sound of the black ghetto, it is now around the world the heraldic emblem of the angry unwashed. Thus the degradation of the schools: It is easier to declare oneself educated than to actually become so, and the half-literate now had the power to have themselves so declared.

With the debasement of society came a simultaneous, though not necessarily related, extension of childhood and adolescence. In the remote prehistorical past, which for most today means anything before 1900, the young assumed responsibility early. It wasn't a moral question, but a practical one. If the plowing didn't get done, the family didn't eat. By the age of eighteen, a boy was likely to carry a man's burdens.

Today, no. Now a combination of the enstupidation of the schools, the inflation of grades, and the threat of class-action suits by the parents of failing students means that an adolescent can graduate without assuming any burden whatsoever. Indeed escaping schooling is easier than finding it. Countless colleges will accept almost anyone and graduate almost anyone. Chores do not exist. Sex and drugs are everywhere available. Few things have obvious consequences.

The result is a cocoon of childhood that stretches on almost as long as one wants it to. I encounter adults in their mid-twenties who cannot be relied upon to show up at an appointed time, who do not read, who judge a professor by whether he makes the material "fun," who have no idea where they want to go in life. It is not grownup behavior.

I wonder whether a democracy can ever prosper without declining fast into tasteless decadence. Half of the population is of intelligence below the average, this being the nature of a symmetric distribution. Another goodly number aren't much better. Once they discover that together they can both sanctify and very nearly require bad behavior and low tastes, will they not do so? With control of the media goes control of the culture. Such is the power of the market.

Thus staged television shows in which fat couples shriek obscenities at each other over discovered infidelities, adipose couplings of no significance yet so absorbing to an audience both puerile and uncouth-but, I suppose, authentic.



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


Monday, March 27, 2006


On Oct. 28, 2005, a rape allegedly occurred at William & Mary after a wild sorority party at Delta Delta Delta. Deepening controversy surrounds the alleged rape. On Oct. 30, a male student, who was publicly named as the accused by the university administration, was arraigned on rape charges. On Jan. 4, 2006, all charges were dropped. The accused is currently seeking to expunge his police record. He has filed a civil suit seeking $5.55 million in damages from his accuser. His accuser has filed a Grounds of Defense with the court.

In the intervening months, a judicial hearing at William & Mary led to the male student's expulsion. The expulsion is part of a deepening campus schism over W&M's judicial system and how criminal accusations should be handled by the administration. The stakes are high. If a black mark of "rapist" remains in a student's permanent files, his academic future and career options could be devastated.

The two incidents at Harvard and W&M dramatize the power PC still exerts wherever it has managed to embed itself into the policies and mechanisms along which academia functions. Summers was rendered ineffectual because, for decades, an intimidated academia handed gender feminists an almost blank check on policymaking. Summers' sin was to violated the feminists' speech code both in letter and spirit. His ousting drives home the point that no one is beyond their reach. It was in anticipation of an impending no-confidence vote from such "colleagues" that Summers resigned.

The situation at W&M is more typical of how PC functions on campus: quietly, bureaucratically and against the "little guy." The case is also significant because includes a blueprint of how to break the back of PC power. Namely, uproot the laws and policies through which it bites. A student newspaper at W&M, The Remnant, is demanding such an uprooting. Meanwhile, W&M defend its judicial system and recommends only minor reform. The "fixes" suggested by The Remnant are hardly minor. They include:

-- Accused students should be allowed the full use of an attorney. Currently, attorneys cannot participate in a hearing, for example, by questioning testimony or presenting the case.

--A higher standard of proof should be required, especially in criminal cases involving expulsion. Currently, a "clear and convincing" standard of evidence is used. This requires more than the "preponderance of evidence" [51 percent] used in civil courts but less than "beyond a reasonable doubt" [99 percent] employed by criminal ones.

-- Students who cannot testify because of pending criminal charges should be temporarily suspended and their hearings reasonably delayed. (The accused's attorney strongly advised him not to go on record with W&M before the criminal charges were resolved. Thus he was expelled without being heard.)

The Remnant is currently organizing an "initiative for change." On March 20, it will host a forum to which representatives from the Dean's office will be invited. The forum discussion will be heated. Remnant editor Will Coggin has a penchant for quoting the W&M's Student Handbook which guarantees students rights. It states that they "shall enjoy all rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to every citizen of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia."

In short, the handbook guarantees the civil liberties of students. In criminal matters, these include the right to representation by an attorney, the presumption of innocence and high standards of evidence. Coggin has concluded that the guarantee "is a lie." I hope W&M makes Coggin eat his words by rehearing the case against the accused student and by instituting the individual rights it guarantees. If they do, I think Coggin will smile as he swallows.

More here


Stuart Hurlbert sends a timely and powerful reminder that the misrepresentations, distortions, and alarmist predictions from critics of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative are simply deja vu all over again.

Stuart is a biologist at San Diego State University with some experience in these matters.

My own initiation into these battles came eleven years ago when I was able to obtain some normally difficult to obtain information on admission and graduation rates at my own university. In an article in the student newspaper, I pointed out that as a result of racial preferences, the 6-year graduation rate for all African-American students had dropped to 10%. This was the unhappy consequence of 2/3 of the African-American freshman class being admitted in the mid 1980s without the minimum credentials normally required for entrance to the university. The article was sympathetic to the dilemma of the students, but not so sympathetic to the white administrators whose nearsighted and predictably damaging policies were responsible for the harm.

On appearance of the article, my department chair and another faculty member sent a letter to all faculty members in my department asking them to sign a letter censuring me for my "racial insensitivity". Par for the course in some segments of academia, as most of you will understand. But the effort badly boomeranged. Numerous colleagues told them they were way off base, and the letter was withdrawn. Eventually I received many positive responses from both within my department andÿ around campus for having addressed a serious, controversial matter in an honest and sensitive way. The PC forces have been, at least in my department, quiet ever since. Higher administrators have become aware that roughly half the faculty oppose racial preferences, and no longer talk about ways to circumvent Prop. 209 in open meetings.

When I asked Stuart's permission to quote the above, I told him I'd be happy to keep both his name and university anonymous. He replied:

John, Go for it! You need keep neither my name or university anonymous. I fly well above the radar here - in part so my special equipment can pinpoint those radar transmitting sites!

If every university had at least one professor willing to expose the corruption of racial preference with Stuart's verve, and had his ability to dodge the predictable politically correct flak, the future of racial preference would be even shorter than it is now.



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


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Why did Yale slam the door on Afghan women?

This sounds like an attempt to shame the unshamable to me but you never know. Maybe there are some sincere people in the Yale administration

A statement from Yale University, defending its decision to admit former Taliban spokesman Ramatullah Hashemi, explained that he had "escaped the wreckage of Afghanistan." To anyone who is aware of the Taliban's barbaric treatment of the Afghan people, such words are offensive--as if Mr. Hashemi were not himself part of the wrecking crew. It is even more disturbing to learn that, while Mr. Hashemi sailed through Yale's admissions process, the school turned down the opportunity to enroll women who really did escape the wreckage of Afghanistan.

In 2002, Yale received a letter from Paula Nirschel, the founder of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. The purpose of the organization, begun in that year, was to match young women in post-Taliban Afghanistan to U.S. colleges, where they could pursue a degree. Ms. Nirschel asked Yale if it wanted to award a spot in its next entering class to an Afghan woman. Yale declined.

Yale was not alone. Of the more than 2,000 schools contacted by Mrs. Nirschel, only three signed up right away: Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, Notre Dame College in New Hampshire and the University of Montana, Missoula. Four years later, the program enrolls 20 students at 10 universities.

Mrs. Nirschel, it should be noted, had an "in" at Roger Williams. Her husband, Roy, is the president. Mr. Nirschel recalls that after 9/11 his wife mourned not only for the American victims but for the people of Afghanistan, whose brutal regime had helped to sponsor al Qaeda. Mr. Nirschel admits that his first reaction, upon hearing his wife's concern, was to say that they should just give to a charity. But Mrs. Nirschel asked whether he, as university president, could give a scholarship to an Afghan woman instead. He was doubtful at first about the practicality of the idea but eventually agreed. "My wife can be very persuasive," he told us.

Mrs. Nirschel, who has been a homemaker for most of the past three decades, set up the program to find suitable college-ready candidates and pay their travel expenses to the U.S. But the colleges themselves were asked to cover tuition, room and board. Mrs. Nirschel did not want the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women to be treated as a chance to "escape." The program requires that its students return to Afghanistan each summer to work for an organization involved in rebuilding the country. And they must go home at the end of their four years in the U.S.

Aren't the students tempted to remain in this land of plenty? Nadima Sahar, who will graduate from Roger Williams in May with a political science degree, says: "Staying here has never crossed my mind. . . . We are responsible for making sure our country succeeds, so that future generations don't face problems we did." Mrs. Nirschel expects a "trickle-down effect." The returning students will "influence their family, their community and the country at large." Clearly there is more going on here than the usual search for campus "diversity."

These women require no remedial classes, by the way. They come prepared, many having huddled in basements secretly imbibing what information they could from male relatives or having lived in Pakistani refugee camps to gain access to schools. Not one of them has a GPA below 3.5.

Arezo Kohistani, now attending Roger Williams, tells us that she had planned to major in journalism. But she changed her focus when several reporters were assassinated in Afghanistan during her first semester. Stories like this remind us that her country has a long road ahead. The graduates of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women will surely help to speed it along the way.



A Summit County, Ohio, jury found Charles Plinton not guilty of selling drugs to a confidential informant in 2004. A few weeks later, a University of Akron disciplinary board found him “responsible” for “selling drugs to a confidential informant.”

The difference between those two words, guilty and responsible, may not sound meaningful to the average person. But it's a distinction that begins to explain the secretive world of college justice in which campus committees may re-try the facts of serious crimes after criminal courts have already decided them.

Critics see the hearings as unaccountable Star Chambers marshaled to advance political and ideological agendas. “Campus tribunals are the ultimate ‘kangaroo court,’ an affront to the rational thinking that is supposed to underlie the academic enterprise,” said Boston-area attorney Harvey A. Silverglate. He co-authored “The Shadow University” with Alan Charles Kors and helped found the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Disciplinary hearings are not trials; they are more akin to union grievance procedures and other types of administrative law hearings that have much looser rules. Students usually aren't going to get a lawyer for one of these hearings. The university's representative may advise the panel on how to conduct the hearing; in criminal court, the prosecutor would never advise the judge on how the trial should proceed. Criminal trials are open to the public and subject to public scrutiny. Student privacy laws keep most campus hearings closed to the public and the records confidential, known only to the student or perhaps a student's parents, depending on age. To lower students' expectations of due process, universities are advised to use nonlegalistic language to describe their procedures.

It's not defendants and trials; it's respondents and hearings. It's not evidence, it's information. Students are not found guilty; they're found responsible or in violation. They aren't sentenced, they're sanctioned. Changing the word “evidence” to “information” is an attempt to avoid defamation lawsuits because hearing boards cannot accuse students of committing crimes, Silverglate said. “It's meant to keep people from expecting that the campus system is like the criminal justice system in the real world and from expecting a decent level of fairness,” Silverglate said.

Universities once kept an even tighter leash on students, standing in place of the parent. That control loosened with the social revolutions of the 1960s, but made a comeback in the 1980s and 1990s as universities attracted more diverse student bodies and sought to provide an educational refuge from racism, sexism and other social evils. What's changed, said Silverglate, is that campus hearing boards are now deciding serious criminal matters, especially hot-button issues such as date-rape, sexual harassment and hate speech. “If the student is convicted in the criminal courts, the schools throw out the student, relying on the court's judgment,” Silverglate said. “If the student is acquitted, most schools re-try the student, convict him, then punish or expel him. It is a completely loaded deck.”


The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management consults with universities throughout the country on how to lower students' expectations of due process by removing words that evoke the criminal justice system. Brett A. Sokolow, an attorney and president of the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit, said he hasn't worked with the University of Akron. But he's not surprised that a student found not guilty in a criminal court would still be found “responsible” at the university level. “By definition, a college's lower evidence standard means that they will often find a student in violation of the conduct code for an offense that results in a not-guilty verdict in court,” Sokolow said.

It may be legal, but is it fair? Sokolow thinks so. “I think many people realize we're not convicting students of crimes, and that colleges need more latitude to ensure safety within a closed, trusting community,” Sokolow said. The higher courts have given universities a wide berth in enforcing their own policies, but they do require some due process. Evidence against a student in an administrative hearing should at least be “substantial,” he said. That standard is considerably lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the highest level that criminal juries need before convicting someone. The “substantial” standard is even lower than “preponderance,” which simply means that guilt is more likely than not 50 percent of the evidence plus a little. Sokolow figures that the substantial standard is satisfied if a third of the evidence points toward guilt. That's a very rough estimate, Sokolow said, but it's still less than half. “Because no one goes to jail, the standards are more relaxed,” Sokolow said. “The more serious the consequence, the more process is due. The courts do not consider suspension or expulsion as extreme deprivations of liberty or property, comparatively speaking.” [It can only ruin your life, after all]

Evidence standards alone are no guarantee of due process because they can mean different things to different jurors, but standards do provide a guide. “More than half of colleges use preponderance,” Sokolow said. “Many use clear and convincing. A small number use substantial evidence, but it is the minimum standard required by law.”


Plinton's former department head, Professor Raymond Cox, said a higher standard of evidence probably wouldn't have helped Plinton. The panel that heard Plinton's case decided 3-2 that he was “responsible” for “dealing drugs to a confidential informant.” “That's kind of scary, but that's the reality,” said Cox, who has a background in administrative law. “Clearly you had three people who said ‘I believe cops.’ That's a 100-percent statement.” Cox said the university is “very, very sensitive” about drug use on campus. “They're going to bend over backwards to avoid making a mistake that permits people to stay,” he said. “It does give you pause.” He said he generally supports the university's hearing process, and believes the Plinton case was an aberration. Cox sat on hearing boards during the 2004-05 school year and always thought of Plinton when he walked into the room. “The process is limited by the strengths and weaknesses of the people sitting in judgment,” Cox 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. My home page is here