Saturday, April 22, 2006

Professor Who Trashed Abortion Display Advises evading the police

Post lifted from Alain's newsletter

Highland Heights, KY -- A university professor who was forced to resign after leading a group of pro-abortion students in vandalizing a pro-life display has attacked pro-life advocates in a private email to the students involved. The email also encourages the students to "make it hard"; for police investigating the vandalism to find them. News of the email is surfacing just hours after Northern Kentucky University professor Dr. Sally Jacobson issued an apology for her actions.

Jacobson apologized Tuesday evening in an interview with a local television station, but told the NKU student newspaper she will no longer grant interviews on the advice of her attorney.

Meanwhile, Jacobson emailed the pro-abortion students involved in the vandalism and urged them to obtain attorneys and to resist being charged by police in the matter. She worries and charges will aid the pro-life movement.

"If you are named, my advice is to get your attorney to plead you down to a misdemeanor", she wrote, according to The Northerner student paper. "The well-funded Right to Life groups that are pushing for this need felony convictions, I believe, in order to file civil suits for damages"

Jacobson also told the students about the current investigation the NKU police department is conducting, even encouraging the pro-abortion students to make it difficult for police to locate them: "In the meantime, the campus police continue their investigation", she said. "If you have not yet been interrogated, you do not have to talk to them without an attorney. You can make it hard to find you. Again, I am so sorry."

Jacobson and the students involved could face as much as a Class D felony for their actions. Charges have not yet been filed against those involved in the destruction of the pro-life display but NKU Officer Rob Yelton told the student paper they are forthcoming. "The [pro-life] group has indicated that they are willing to press charges", he said.

However, The Northerner reported that the bulk of the charges will be directed at Jacobson. "At this time, we don't anticipate the students being charged", Lt. Col. Jeffrey Martin said. "They were intimidated by an authority figure into believing that this was not a criminal act".

Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter, the local prosecutor, will make the final decision on the charges, and the officers indicated they thought he would grant the students immunity but charge Jacobson for her part in the vandalism. Jacobson clearly hopes this is the case, according to the paper, as she wrote the students that she wants to help them avoid prosecution: "I want to do everything I can to keep any of you from being specifically named", she said. "And I am very sorry I got you involved in this".

Jacobson, whose classes have been given to other professors to complete for the semester, also warned the pro-abortion students to stay away from her office on campus.


Excerpts from an interview with Travis Rowley, author of "Out of Ivy"

I was a junior by the time I finally decided to criticize particular segments of the campus. Again, I was a football player, and that took up a lot of my time. So rather than immediately join some leftist student-group, I was forced to be a spectator of campus activism at first. There was always a lot of controversy on Brown's campus, and I spent a lot of time observing the behavior of my classmates. I had an immediate repulsion to them for a lot of reasons. It wasn't that I was pro-life, and they were pro-choice. Or that I was against affirmative action, and they were in favor of it. Those weren't even opinions that I had formed or cared about. My objection to liberal activism was more about my classmates' zealotry, and the fact that I knew I was forbidden to disagree or disapprove of them. In other words, I had a negative reaction to the ethic and demeanor of liberals before I even disagreed with liberal thought. I found Brown's leading liberal forces to be deviant, oppressive, and improper before I reached any other conclusions. Ironically, they were viciously labeling everyone but themselves as mean, dumb, and racist. But I saw it in reverse. In fact, Out of Ivy documents the campus left's hypocrisy, and their readiness to lie, smear, stereotype, and discriminate --all accompanied by their assertion that they were the fluffy-hearted champions of tolerance and understanding.

The incident that triggered my involvement in campus controversies was the 2000 presidential election. Some Brown students, including members of the Brown Democrats and the International Socialist Organization, traveled down to President Bush's Inauguration to protest his controversial victory. When they returned to Providence they were bragging about giving President Bush the middle finger as he walked by them. The entire campus seemed to think of them as heroes returning from some sort of glorious charge against evil. But again, I saw it in reverse. So I wrote an opinion piece for the Brown Daily Herald that condemned the protest, and very simply observed the indecency of flicking off the President of the United States. The reaction to my column was unbelievable. I received harassing phone calls, and was repeatedly called a racist, a sexist, and a homophobe-for saying that you shouldn't give the President the finger!

As it turned out, this over-reaction to what I saw as an opinion grounded in decency and common sense was typical liberal temperament. Brown's campus left wasn't much different from many other leftist groups. They made it a habit to smear anyone who disagreed with them on any issue. And from that point on, I considered myself engaged in a battle with campus liberals. I continued to criticize them, and tried to discover the roots of their behavior and beliefs. And because I suddenly found myself in the middle of campus controversies, I was also forced to quickly define my own values in order to argue effectively against them. Here is where readers are able to follow the political development of a politically na‹ve student, armed only with gut feelings and his own personal sense of right and wrong.

Interviewer: What would you say are the key ingredients of leftist ideology?

Rowley: The immediate ones that come to mind are Hypocrisy, the belief that there are one set of rules for leftists, and another set for everyone else. And Elitism, a sense that they are not only smarter than everyone else, but are inherently more caring than the populace, and that they are the only ones who feel passionate about their beliefs. But I truly believe that the underlying driving force behind leftist philosophy is a disdain for America. In fact, the entire book leads up to this one conclusion. The book is peppered with entertaining stories about my clashes with various components of the campus left, but that's merely the setting I have used to deliver the more important message concerning the intentions of hard-core liberalism. Brown's campus left wasn't made up of mild American liberals. This is the Far Left we're talking about. They are much more devious than the person who simply believes in taxing the wealthy a little more than we tax the poor. I didn't know it at the time, but I was arguing with Communists, Marxists, anti-Christians, and anti-Americans. Hatred for America was a very difficult scheme to decipher for a politically ignorant student, but I eventually found the campus left to be operating off of the intellectual premise that American liberty, Christianity, capitalism, and the United States were the root causes of all world tragedies.

To prove this, the campus left made a tireless and incessant effort to undermine America by constantly reminding everyone of certain people's claim to victim-hood, oppression caused by the American system. Homosexuals were victims. Minorities were victims. Women were victims. Muslims were victims. Indians were victims. Anyone who dared to question this premise-that certain people were injured by America's past and present-was doomed for what liberals saw as the appropriate social consequences. Their problem was, that once they marked particular people as victims, they were forced to point out the perpetrators who had inflicted such harm. If you listened closely, you would hear them saying that it was straight, white, and patriotic Christians who were to blame-the American mainstream. 9/11 couldn't have more perfectly demonstrated the reason why liberals fought so hard to maintain an image of victim-hood for certain types of people.

They desired to create a natural impulse for everyone that would prompt them to blame their own country at any turn of tragedy. I was a senior when the World Trade Center was bombed, and no other event could have exposed leftist intentions better than an incident that prompted America to defend itself. Only a few days after the terrorist attacks Brown professors and students, fearing our military retaliation, began to assert our role in causing the attacks. They were unashamedly screaming that we deserved what happened to us, that America was also a terrorist state, and that America causes pain and suffering throughout the world.

Interviewer: Tell us your thoughts on David Horowitz's fight for academic freedom. What do you think about the academic bill of rights and the whole battle overall to bring intellectual diversity to the campus?

Rowley: I've always kept an eye on Mr. Horowitz and his skirmishes with campus radicals. Actually, Mr. Horowitz's clash with Brown's campus left in 2001-concerning reparations for slavery-was one of the events that inspired me to pay more attention to my alma mater's political climate. No other event could have more perfectly exposed the type of dishonest political games Brown students are taught to play, and just how far the University is willing to go to enslave the minds of its students.

That's why I chronicle the Horowitz controversy -- as it's called at Brown -- in Out of Ivy. When Mr. Horowitz was finally allowed to speak at my alma mater in 2003 he told the audience that you can't get a good education when your school is only telling you one half of the story. That statement made so much sense to me. Most of all, it seemed to be a statement of humility, asserting that nobody has a monopoly over truth. I found this to be the exact opposite attitude of Brown's liberals. Up until that point, anyone who disagreed with them on any issue was deemed stupid or racist -- no questions asked. Mr. Horowitz's lecture was a deep breath of fresh air to Brown conservatives, despite the fact that the campus had to be dragged through one of the most venomous debates ever seen on Providence's College Hill. It actually prompted a handful of recent alumni to form the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity, an organization dedicated to continuing the fight for intellectual tolerance on Brown's campus.

Because I've seen the problems Mr. Horowitz speaks of first hand, I find it difficult to disagree with him on these issues. He seems to have a firm grasp on the history and evolution of higher education. What I have attempted to do with Out of Ivy is take readers through the halls of one elite university, with the hope that it will be a testament to what Mr. Horowitz has been saying all along about the sad state of the academy. His academic bill of rights is hardly an extreme proposition. It may be revolutionary, but not extreme. It's a principled stance that merely reminds campus citizens that colleges are not supposed to be political parties. Students should not be coerced into thinking a certain way by professors who constantly demonize particular political figures, and mock certain political ideals. Professors aren't paid to dismiss their students into political rallies that conflict with class time. Tuition payments have never been paid to ensure that students can go to class to learn what a horrible nation they live in. Aside from the importance of the call for intellectual diversity that would counter leftist philosophy, Mr. Horowitz has also been pointing out that a college classroom has a unique and specific purpose, one that doesn't include political indoctrination. Yet, Mr. Horowitz encounters such fierce opposition on nearly every college campus precisely because universities are exactly what he accuses them of being. The intellectual dominion leftists have on these campuses is crucial to the survival of their agendas. The last thing they need is honest and open debate, and for leftist professors to be restricted from corrupting the education of their students.

Australian Prime Minister condemns 'rubbish' postmodern teaching

John Howard believes the postmodern approach to literature being taught in schools is "rubbish" and is considering tying education funding to ending the "gobbledegook" taught in some states. The Prime Minister made the threat after accusing the state education authorities of "dumbing down" the English syllabus and succumbing to political correctness. "I feel very, very strongly about the criticism that many people are making that we are dumbing down the English syllabus," Mr Howard said.

Australia's most distinguished literary scholar, Leonie Kramer, yesterday agreed with the Prime Minister's criticism of how English is taught in high schools. Dame Leonie, professor emeritus in Australian literature at the University of Sydney, said what worried her was "the notion that you have to read, let us say Shakespeare, in relation to contemporary preoccupations such as race and class".

Education Minister Julie Bishop has raised concerns over Western Australia's outcomes-based education system, claiming it is "inevitable" that standards will fall. When asked about the "outcomes-based" program, Mr Howard replied: "That is gobbledegook - what does that mean?" Ms Bishop is expected to drive the reform push at the next meeting with state education ministers, scheduled for either June or July. The minister, who is overseas at present, is keen to push for greater national consistency on English curriculums, amid concerns that senior high school students are not being sufficiently challenged on traditional texts.

Mr Howard may also seek to have education standards placed on the agenda for the next Council of Australian Governments, also scheduled to be held in June. But senior government sources yesterday played down suggestions that Canberra would seek to "stand over" the states in the public debate over education standards. Mr Howard said: "I share the views of many people about the so-called postmodernism ... I just wish that independent education authority didn't succumb on occasions to the political correctness it appears to succumb to."

The criticism of teaching standards followed revelations in The Weekend Australian that a prestigious Sydney school, SCEGGS Darlinghurst, had asked students to interpret Othello from Marxist, feminist and racial perspectives. "I think there's evidence of that (dumbing down) in different parts of the country ... when the, what I might call the traditional texts, are treated no differently from pop cultural commentary, as appears to be the case in some syllabuses," Mr Howard told the ABC.

Western Australia's introduction of a Year 12 English exam that fails to penalise students for poor spelling or grammar and asks students to compare two film posters but not read a book has also been blasted by Canberra. Rather than dictating what students should know by a specified time and then grading them, outcomes-based education focuses on what students are able to do.

Mr Howard's intervention drew a stinging response from the states and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley. "Instead of telling everyone what they should read, John Howard should make his ministers read cables about the bribes to Saddam Hussein," Mr Beazley said. Queensland Education Minister Rod Welford also accused the Prime Minister of trying to divert attention away from the AWB kickbacks scandal. Mr Welford said Mr Howard's blanket denigration of school curriculums was an attempt to divert attention from "other pressing issues, such as the appalling unethical dealings by AWB, over which he has presided". "The fact is, in Queensland we do value the traditional literature as well as more popular media," Mr Welford said.

NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt indicated her state's syllabus was more likely to comply with Mr Howard's view because it had a strong base in classical English literature "NSW has compulsory Shakespeare in Years 9 to 10 and for the Year 12 advanced English courses," she told The Australian yesterday. "Other authors on the HSC reading list include Chaucer, Yeats, Wordsworth and Jane Austen. The more modern classics include George Orwell, David Williamson, David Malouf and Michael Ondaatje."

Victoria's Education Minister Lynn Kosky accused Mr Howard of being "ill-informed" on the issue. "The Prime Minister is out of touch with what is going on in Victorian schools and what students are reading," Ms Kosky said.

Mr Howard's statement was embraced by anti-OBE campaigners yesterday, who said their views had been vindicated. PLATO WA co-founder Greg Williams said Mr Howard's comments were an accurate description of the controversial system that is currently being implemented in Western Australia. "It is not gobbledegook to everyone but it is gobbledegook to the teachers, it's gobbledegook to the students and it's gobbledegook to the parents. These three groups are the only ones that matter when it comes to outcomes-based education."

Teacher of literature at the University of Western Australia Peter Morgan said many teachers were just as confused and disappointed as their students at the shift from teaching English literature to focusing on literary theory and its sub-branches. Associate Professor Morgan said the English literature syllabus in Western Australia was being replaced by a course called "Texts, traditions and cultures", which had led to a large degree of dissatisfaction and low morale among teachers. "Literary theory covers a broad range of cultural and social theory from Marxism to post-structuralism, feminism and queer theory," he said. "It's very obscure. It encourages students to use buzzwords and jargon to cover up that they have no idea what they're talking about. "Teachers are disappointed they are not teaching literature any more. They feel the subject has been hijacked by those who want to teach about race, gender and Marxism, rather than about literature. "I read what the students write, and hear what the teachers have to say, and there is a lot of confusion."



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, April 21, 2006


A new watchdog to promote research integrity was launched this week with a scathing attack on the "good chaps" network and general complacency in universities that has allowed fraud and misconduct to gain a foothold in the UK academic sector. Sir Ian Kennedy, the chairman of the board of the new UK Panel for Research Integrity, said he had found that many universities' procedures for dealing with allegations of misconduct were "completely unequal to the task", "not fit for purpose" and often "pitiful".

At this week's launch, Michael Farthing, who will chair the panel's planning group, held up a copy of last week's Times Higher, and cited a report on the suspension of a whistleblower at Sheffield University as evidence that universities were not taking the issues seriously enough. He added that whistleblowers were failing to find an ear in their own institutions. The panel - which is funded by a number of sources, including the UK higher education funding councils, research councils, government departments and, more controversially, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry - will initially cover research in the health and biomedical sciences only.

But Professor Farthing, who is principal of St George's Hospital Medical School, said he hoped it would soon cover misconduct in all fields. The panel, which has been ten years in the making, will have a permanent office and will be supported by a 24-strong board. It will not have regulatory or policing powers, but will focus on providing support and advice to whistleblowers, developing a code of good practice and maintaining a register of advisers to help institutions improve procedures and ensure that cases are handled effectively.

Sir Ian, who chairs the Healthcare Commission, said a priority would be to support universities. He said: "We looked at universities' procedures and many would not have survived attacks from anybody legally represented. They were not fit for purpose. "The issue has not been taken seriously enough," he said. "There has been a theory that researchers are generally good chaps who couldn't possibly do anything improper and a sense that all is well. But that degree of complacency fails to take into account the pressures of academic life, where the rewards for making breakthroughs and getting published bring real pressures."

Professor Farthing said that the case of Aubrey Blumsohn, the Sheffield researcher suspended after turning to The Times Higher with concerns about the conduct of a drug study at his university, highlighted the need for a panel dedicated to research integrity. "There are some sophisticated and highly concerned whistleblowers who cannot find an ear," he said. "Dr Blumsohn had been talking to the authorities at Sheffield for two years, but instead of taking his concerns seriously - and I don't know if they are right or wrong as I have not seen any evidence - they suspended him for the misdemeanour of talking to the press."

He said the panel would encourage whistleblowers to contact them and would seek to have their concerns investigated. But he acknowledged criticism that its funding sources, its base at the headquarters of Universities UK and its lack of investigatory powers could deter some.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers, said: "It needs to be, and must be seen to be, completely independent. Providing support for whistleblowers is important, but if the panel is relying on funding from bodies that people may wish to blow the whistle on, there is a clear conflict of interest."

Peter Wilmshurst, a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, who has exposed a number of research fraud cases, said: "My concern is that this is set up under the auspices of UUK. If you look at the record of the universities, they have consistently concealed research fraud and protected the crooks." Sir Ian said the independence of the panel was secured by his personal integrity and the diverse sources of funding secured.



Students will be able to gain an honours degree in only two years as part of a “study anytime” revolution for higher education. Long summer holidays will end for undergraduates on “compressed” degrees as they complete their studies a year early so that they can get on with their careers with reduced levels of debt. Others will take courses entirely at work and through online study in an effort to raise the proportion of adults with degree qualifications. They will be given credit towards their degrees for skills learnt on training courses. A common system of American-style credit accumulation will also allow students to take study breaks and complete degrees later, possibly at different institutions.

Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, said that the proposals would change the face of higher education provision. He told The Times yesterday that radical reform was crucial if Britain was to compete with the rising economic power of China and India. China overtook Britain as the world’s fourth-largest economy this month. Half of new British jobs would require a graduate qualification by 2012, he said. But, while the numbers at university continued to rise, the proportion of people entering higher education had stalled below the Government’s target of 50 per cent. “We have to be more flexible and innovative. Getting more people into higher education is both a social and economic imperative as the international competition looms large.

Higher education had to become “less supplier driven” and take more account of the needs of different customers. Traditional degrees had been organised for the convenience of academics rather than students. “The assumption was that studies would be taken over a fixed period of time, punctuated by a holiday pattern driven by university rather than student needs,” Mr Rammell said. “For many young people the traditional three-year degree allowed for a range of experience of immense personal value. But just because a model fits some people well doesn’t mean it fits all — and increasingly we live in a world where people expect that service providers will have scope to offer flexibility, not uniformity. “A model of full-time provision that dictates that an honours degree must last three years rather than a much more intensive but shorter period of time is, ultimately, supplier driven.”

More flexible courses would allow people “to learn when, where, and in ways that meet their learning needs, preferences and abilities best”. The Government was “very interested” in giving the option of two-year compressed honours degrees. “We would need to ensure the competencies and skills acquired by a student undertaking a compressed degree were the same as a student undertaking a traditional three-year course. However, I believe that two-year degree courses would offer a great opportunity to many students and would encourage those who would not usually feel able to take three years out of their lives to study to see that a degree may be possible for them.” The Higher Education Funding Council for England will begin pilot programmes for compressed degrees at five universities in September, covering a range of subjects.

Mr Rammell said that a common credit framework for universities, now under development, would help students “to complete their education at their own pace, in different modes of study, and in different locations”. The Government also wanted a greater “diversity of provider” in higher education. More degrees would be taught in further education colleges in partnerships with universities. Some students would find it easier to take degrees in the “more supportive atmosphere” of FE colleges, where they may have studied on vocational courses since the age of 14. Pilot schemes providing degrees at work will begin in September. Further education colleges and universities will offer employers “customised provision” to train staff in skills related to businesses. Mr Rammell told university chiefs last week that more degrees should be “partly or wholly designed, funded or provided by employers”.


Racism phobia can muzzle the truth

The Australian academic world can seem, at least to outsiders, a cosy place where anyone who ventures a dissenting opinion on a sensitive topic gets stomped on very quickly. Let's update the saga of Associate Professor Andrew Fraser, which took an unexpected twist this week. Fraser, you might recall, wrote to the Parramatta Sun last year about the settlement of Sudanese immigrants in the area, with the provocative claim that "experience practically everywhere in the world tells us that an expanding black population is a sure-fire recipe for increases in crime, violence and a wide range of other social problems". Fraser believes that, on average, black people have lower IQs than whites, while Asians have higher IQs.

Macquarie University banned him from teaching because of the letter, and Deakin University in Victoria subsequently directed its law journal not to publish an article by Fraser that it had had refereed and accepted. A Sudanese man complained about Fraser's views to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, which announced two weeks ago that the professor had breached the Racial Discrimination Act. Unless he apologises in a form acceptable to the complainant, he could face prosecution in the Federal Court. It's a landmark decision in the history of Australian free speech.

On Wednesday, The Australian newspaper published a letter from six American and European professors, and two other scholars, protesting against the commission's decision. They said: "Fraser has done no more than restate hypotheses offered for more than half a century by eminent psychologists and anthropologists at leading universities." (That's outside Australia, of course.) Indeed, "There is an important and legitimate academic debate going on about race, intelligence and genetics." (Not in Australia, mind you.) Moreover, "It is a sad day when governments and universities once rooted in the traditions of British liberty muzzle academics and public figures from engaging in open discussion."

I don't have an opinion on Fraser's views. Last year, when I interviewed him, he told me it was "hard to spot a white face" in Macquarie University's library, or at Westfield Parramatta. My visits to both places suggest that the professor can't count. There are lots of academics with a flawed sense of proportion whose views I disagree with, yet I wouldn't dream of suggesting the law be used to silence them. So what's happening to Fraser is quite disturbing. Sure it's rare, but maybe that's only because these days it's rare to hear an unusual view on a delicate subject coming from an academic

The other great dissenter of the last few years has been Keith Windschuttle who, in his 2002 book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, challenged the widely held view that genocide had been practised by white people against the blacks in Tasmania. The abuse that Windschuttle has received from academics has been extraordinary. In the latest issue of Quadrant magazine, Windschuttle has listed some of the personal attacks on him. An historian at Sydney University, Dirk Moses, wondered in 2001 if Windschuttle and two other dissenting writers "experience castration anxiety. That is, a fantasised danger to their genitals symbolised by the [traditional white] national ideal that makes them feel powerful and good about themselves". This statement was published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Aboriginal History. Moses has claimed elsewhere that Windschuttle was once a "fanatical communist", while Professor Robert Manne, of Melbourne's La Trobe University, has several times said he was a Pol Pot enthusiast. According to Windschuttle, both smears were invented.

Some critics have attacked the core of Windschuttle's book by claiming that academic historians never described what happened to the indigenous Tasmanians as genocide. For instance, in Telling the Truth About Aboriginal History, published last year, Associate Professor Bain Attwood, of Monash University, wrote that Windschuttle's "imputation that academic historians have compared the British colonisation of this country to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews . is a figment of his imagination". This is the same Attwood who, in the 2000 collection Reconciliation, wrote: "The severe historical impact the various dimensions of colonisation have had upon Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders . can and should be called a holocaust."

In 2003 in The Australian, Moses wrote: "No Australian historian contends there was an Australian holocaust." Windschuttle points out that one of those who did actually contend this was Moses himself who, in 2000, in the Journal of Genocide Research, wrote: "Australia has had many genocides, perhaps more than any other country."

Windschuttle and Fraser don't have much in common except that they're probably the two most prominent intellectuals to have challenged conventional wisdom in recent years. The attacks on them make you wonder how widespread low-level reprisals are for less prominent rebels, and whether others stay quiet from fear of suffering the same fate.

I don't know if what Fraser says is true, yet its truth surely affects whether it is racist. But none of his critics seem to care. Macquarie University made no effort to argue the facts with him, nor did Deakin University. A statement by Fraser's union speaks of racism, not the facts. In its letter to Fraser, the human rights commission doesn't raise the issue of truth: what matters is that someone was offended. We need less moralising, more facts.



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, April 20, 2006


Assistant Education Secretary for Civil Rights Stephanie Monroe has announced that the administration of President George W. Bush is investigating universities that have fewer women in science and math programs than feminists would like. We are more than five years into the Bush presidency, but it appears that former President Bill Clinton's feminist policies are still in force. Is Bush a feminist, or is he just a gentleman who is intimidated by feminists and unable to cope with their unreasonable demands, tantrums and rudeness? When it comes to public policy and personnel appointments, the result is the same.

The gender police have already ruined college sports for many men, forcing the senseless elimination of 171 wrestling teams to reduce the overall proportion of men to women on college athletic teams. Fresh from that attack on masculinity, the new target is math and science departments.

Universities know all too well how this game is played and have every reason to fear the worst. Just one feminist lawsuit can have a devastating effect on most universities, both financially and in adverse publicity. An internal Title IX regulation invented by feminists in the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Clinton established the "proportionality" of men and women enrolled in a college as the bean-counting goal for the proportion of men and women on sports teams. If the percentage of men on sports teams is too high, then the college can expect to be sued for alleged gender discrimination, even though men are far more interested in sports than women. If the college loses the lawsuit, it must pay the attorney's fees of the feminist lawyers. This encourages lawsuits and has resulted in million-dollar paydays at the expense of schools that rely on donations to stay afloat.

The Bush administration is now getting ready to apply this same mindless mentality to math and science departments, which are predominately male because men are more interested in those fields than women and score significantly higher on math and science aptitude tests. The National Science Foundation has an ADVANCE program that is already spending $75 million over five years to lure more women into science and engineering. Math and science departments have traditionally been based on merit and have produced code-breakers and technology essential to winning wars and preserving our freedoms. Why should we accept anything less than the best in our classrooms or on our athletic fields?

The National Science Foundation confirms that it is starting "a joint effort" with the Education Department "to do Title IX compliance reviews," which spells the end of picking the best and the brightest. Apparently that effort was initiated when Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., demanded that the Government Accountability Office review gender issues.

There isn't a shred of evidence that women are discriminated against in math and science; there are no separate tracks for men's math and women's math. There simply is a higher proportion of men than women who voluntarily choose math and engineering just as more men choose competitive sports. The feminists want a quota-imposed unisex society regardless of the facts of life, voluntary choice, human nature, common sense, or documented merit. And they use the power of government to achieve their goal.

One agitator for compliance reviews, Debra Rolison of the Naval Research Laboratory, reveals that compliance reviews are focusing on the way women students are "experiencing a different climate" in engineering and computer science departments. Boohoo. Bring on Massachusetts Institute of Technology feminist Nancy Hopkins to stage another tantrum and demand preferential funding for women to let them feel cozy in technical subjects.

Feminists expect that their whining and outbursts about alleged discrimination will intimidate men into giving them preferential treatment. Feminists want to rig the system so they will not have to compete with men, but will compete only with other women for a quota of scholarship slots, resources and professorships.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration ignores the gender disparity that is having very hurtful consequences: the precipitous decline in male schoolteachers. The number of male public school teachers has fallen to only 20 percent, and at the elementary school level fewer than 10 percent of teachers are men, giving boys the distinct impression that school is not for them. This nationwide trend is getting worse. Public school unions are dominated by feminists who have weighted teacher compensation in a way that is more attractive to women than men, i.e., toward generous retirement packages rather than better salaries based on merit, especially for teaching the more difficult subjects.

Nor do we hear anything about spending taxpayer funds to force universities to attract more men into the soft liberal arts subjects that now have a big majority of women students.


Church vilified in Australian classrooms

The Australian Multicultural Foundation recently launched a series of books for primary schools titled Harmony and Understanding. The rationale for the series is to "foster a better understanding and respect for cultures and traditions of Australian society". One hopes that the editors of Jacaranda Press's Year 7 and 8 textbook SOSE Alive 2 will study the Harmony and Understanding material, because they are in urgent need of guidance about what constitutes religious intolerance.

In its teachings about medieval life, the Jacaranda book presents the Catholic Church in a negative light, portraying its teachings as based on fear and its monks as indolent and selfish. As if that's not bad enough, the accompanying CD vilifies icons central to the church's faith. One of the scenes shows a medieval village where a heretic is about to be burned. Close by is a religious figure holding a cross incorporating the figure of Jesus; after clicking on the cross it changes into what appears to be a witch's broom. Whether intended or not, the implication is that Catholicism equates with witchcraft and superstition. In the same scene, several religious figures are shown looking at the figure tied to the stake. On clicking on the head-piece of what appears to be a senior member of the church, it changes into a dunce's cap.

That students are expected to see the church as the villain is confirmed when they click on the word "heretic" inscribed above the victim's head. It changes to "heroine" and there is no doubt where the allegiance lies of those responsible for the material.

The most unsettling thing about the Jacaranda book's treatment of Christianity is that it illustrates, once again, how left-wing thought police have succeeded in their long march through the education system. Forget Woodstock, Vietnam moratoriums and flower power; the cultural revolution of the '70s and '80s was also about the way education was identified as a critical instrument to overturn the status quo. Former Victorian education minister and premier Joan Kirner told the Fabian society in 1983: "If we are egalitarian in our intention we have to reshape education so that it is part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation and social change rather than an instrument of the capitalist system."

Instead of acknowledging Australia's success in providing prosperity, stability and peace, leftist teacher academics argue that society is, in the words of one textbook set in teacher training courses during the '80s, "disfigured by class exploitation, sexual and racial oppression, and in chronic danger of war and environmental destruction".

In teacher training, as noted by Monash educationalist Georgina Tsolidis, teachers were told "to instil in our students feelings of self-worth premised on the value of what these students already knew and the value of what they wanted to learn, rather than the intrinsic worth of what we wanted to teach. Our job was to produce young adults who would challenge the status quo through skills of critical inquiry."

While education has always been concerned with the search for the truth, it is obvious that "critical inquiry" means something different. Since the release of the Keating government's national curriculum during the early '90s, history has been transformed into studies of society and the environment with a politically correct stance on multiculturalism, feminism and environmentalism.

Early European settlement is described as an "invasion", instead of celebrating what we have achieved as a nation, students are taught "black armband" history and Australia's Anglo/Celtic culture is presented as simply one culture among many.

In English, everything from Shakespeare to tissue boxes to Australian Idol is considered a worthwhile text for study as students are taught to deconstruct texts in terms of how those more privileged in society are able to dominate and marginalise others.

Even science teaching has fallen victim to cultural relativism. Instead of recognising the primacy of western science, the South Australian curriculum argues that different versions of science are simply socio-cultural constructs.

The consequences of the long march are clear to see. Students leave school culturally illiterate, with a fragmented view of the world. Worse still, given the politics of envy and the spiritual emptiness of postmodernism, many students also leave school ethically challenged and morally adrift.


Choice is not a dirty word

An Australian perspective on school choice

The issue of government funding to non-government schools has returned to centre stage. The ALP has decided to get rid of its hit list of so-called wealthy private schools, finally realising that all parents pay taxes, regardless of where their children go to school. At the same time, the federal Government has announced a review of the formulas used to decide how much support non-government schools receive. For many Australian parents, especially those demanding flexibility and choice in their children's education and who are financially penalised for doing so, it is a review we have to have.

One way forward would be to introduce school vouchers, an idea that is not as radical as opponents make out, given that Australia already has a de facto voucher system. All students attending non-government schools, both Catholic and independent, attract some degree of state and federal funding.

Instead of education being centrally managed and funded and the state having monopoly control over the school system, vouchers allow the money to follow the child and, in turn, give parents the freedom to choose between government and non-government schools. Based on figures compiled by the Productivity Commission, the average recurrent cost to state and federal governments of educating a student in a government school is $10,003 a year. The equivalent figure for a non-government student is $5595. Under a full voucher system, all parents would be entitled to the same amount of money, possibly means-tested, to spend on the education of their children and the freedom to choose their children's school. Australian parents want choice in education. The percentage of students enrolled in non-government schools grew from 23 per cent in 1980 to 33 per cent last year. Forty per cent of students attend non-government senior secondary schools.

The benefits of vouchers are many. Empowering parents and giving them increased responsibility and control over educational decision-making is not only good in theory; the closer power resides with people the better. Experience in the US shows it also helps to strengthen community ties and community engagement represented by social capital.

At the moment, school choice for Australian parents is restricted to those wealthy enough to buy into those areas where there are successful government schools or to pay costly fees. Why not give parents on low incomes the same type of choice by providing vouchers? Such is the situation in Milwaukee in the US. And in underdeveloped places such as Puerto Rico and Colombia, voucher systems are targeted at disadvantaged communities on the basis that education represents a ladder of opportunity.

If, as a result of vouchers, more students attend non-government schools, this is also a good thing. In the independent schools sector, excluding Catholic schools, it is estimated that governments save $2.2 billion a year as a result of fewer students going to government schools, money that can be spent on health and other services.

As argued by Canberra-based education writer Mark Harrison in Education Matters: Government, Markets and New Zealand Schools, vouchers also provide increased competition and help break down monopoly control represented by the state system. "The market-based approach relies on choice and competition," Harrison writes. "It relies on increased incentives to perform, improve and change - the incentives of the market - such as the need to attract students and pressure from competitors. Competition provides strong incentives; it punishes mistakes and rewards success and provides continual pressure for improvement."

As so graphically illustrated during Victoria's gas crisis in 1998, when an industrial accident led to Esso-BHP closing down the plant, monopoly control means all are made to suffer when something goes wrong. Think of the damage that whole language and fuzzy maths teaching approaches are causing. Non-government schools are in a stronger position to resist destructive experiments such as outcomes-based education, where students no longer fail and academic studies are a thing of the past. American academics such as Milton Friedman and Terry M. Moe also argue that parental choice represented by vouchers frees schools from provider-capture, where schools are managed more for the benefit of education bureaucrats and teacher unions than for those at the local level.

One of the greatest dangers facing education in Australia is the need to attract and keep highly qualified, motivated and committed teachers. Surveys show that many become dispirited and leave the profession because of over-regulated and time-consuming curriculum and accountability measures imposed from on high. The way teachers are rewarded also promotes mediocrity, with little financial or professional incentive for more able teachers. Vouchers provide a solution in that opening the system to market forces leads to a stronger incentive to raise standards by innovation and rewarding better teachers.

Notwithstanding the arguments in favour of vouchers, there are caveats. First, non-government schools are able to succeed because they have the autonomy to respond to the needs of their communities and to manage their own affairs. In his new book, Vital Signs, Vibrant Society: Securing Australia's Economic and Social Wellbeing, federal Labor MP Craig Emerson argues that the funding distinction between government and non-government schools should be abandoned. But if the price of increased government funding to non-government schools is that they have to succumb to the same type of over-regulation and interference faced by government schools, then that freedom is lost.

Giving parents more power to choose and freeing up the education system will also fail to be effective if all schools, government and non-government, are made to follow the same centrally mandated and controlled state-designed curriculum. While there is an argument that all schools have to abide by a minimum set of regulations and accountability measures, and there may be a common curriculum in areas such as literacy and numeracy, it is also essential that schools are not forced to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach.



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, April 19, 2006


All very puzzling to the commentators but just what those who acknowledge the importance of IQ would expect. Blacks CAN usually be properly educated but, as Thomas Sowell and the Thernstroms have often pointed out, blacks as a group learn well only in high-discipline schools. Treating them as "equal" makes it too hard for them. It's the degree of discipline that will determine whether blacks learn well or not. They have to be MADE to learn, sadly. And in schools predominantly populated by high socioeconomic-status white students who learn easily and well, discipline will be low -- just what is bad for black students.

Black students in Fairfax County are consistently scoring lower on state standardized tests than African American children in Richmond, Norfolk and other comparatively poor Virginia districts, surprising Fairfax educators and forcing one of the nation's wealthiest school systems to acknowledge shortcomings that have been masked by its overall success. Even within Fairfax schools, black elementary school students are outperformed on reading and math tests by whites and some other students, including Hispanics, poor children and immigrants learning English.

The statewide disparity occurs among all age groups except the middle-school grades, but it is most pronounced at the elementary level, according to Virginia Department of Education data analyzed by The Washington Post. Black third-graders in Fairfax ranked 91st among more than 125 Virginia districts in reading and 69th in math in tests taken last year. Fifth-graders ranked 40th in reading and 71st in math. "Something is broken with the way we teach a segment of the population," said John Johnson, education chairman for the Fairfax County NAACP and the father of two students in county schools. "Despite all the things we have at our disposal, our children are being outperformed by people like us -- or people with fewer resources."

The Fairfax County schools are among the most respected in the country, and their quality has long been a draw for families. Nearly 90 percent of public school graduates go on to college or other schools. The district's SAT scores were the best in the county's history last year and 8.4 percent above the national average.

In a district so accustomed to being on top, Fairfax leaders hadn't noticed that many black students were not making the grade. "We had a perception that our performance is higher than the data would indicate, in part because of the accolades our schools get," said Superintendent Jack D. Dale. "Until you peel back the onion a little bit, you may not see areas where you are not as successful."

The standardized tests taken by Virginia students are used to measure performance under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which requires school systems to present overall performance data as well as the scores of racial groups, poor children and disabled students. In Fairfax, 59 percent of black third-graders passed last year's state reading test. By comparison, 74 percent of black third-graders in Richmond passed the test and about 71 percent in Norfolk. Statewide, the passing rate for black children was 67 percent. About 79 percent of all Fairfax students passed.

Fairfax's black third-graders did better in math, with a 75 percent pass rate. But 86 percent of their peers in Richmond and 80 percent in Norfolk passed. Fairfax did not do well against other Northern Virginia districts, either. In Prince William and Loudoun counties, 84 percent of black students passed and in Arlington, 81 percent.

A look at Maryland test scores required under the federal law reveals no similar pattern of African Americans in well-heeled suburbs lagging behind peers in lower-income urban districts. Black students in Montgomery County, a district that in many ways mirrors Fairfax, are well ahead of black students in urban Baltimore in standardized reading and math tests.

More here


In good Stalinist fashion, you hide the failures

States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress. With the federal government's permission, schools deliberately aren't counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found. Minorities - who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing - make up the vast majority of students whose scores are being excluded, AP found. And the numbers have been rising. "I can't believe that my child is going through testing just like the person sitting next to him or her and she's not being counted," said Angela Smith, a single mother. Her daughter, Shunta' Winston, was among two dozen black students whose test scores weren't counted to judge her suburban Kansas City, Mo., high school's performance by race.

Under the law championed by President Bush, all public school students must be proficient in reading and math by 2014, although only children above second grade are required to be tested. Schools receiving federal poverty aid also must demonstrate annually that students in all racial categories are progressing or risk penalties that include extending the school year, changing curriculum or firing administrators and teachers. The U.S. Education Department said it didn't know the breadth of schools' undercounting until seeing AP's findings. "Is it too many? You bet," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in an interview. "Are there things we need to do to look at that, batten down the hatches, make sure those kids are part of the system? You bet."

Students whose tests aren't being counted in required categories include Hispanics in California who don't speak English well, blacks in the Chicago suburbs, American Indians in the Northwest and special education students in Virginia, AP found. Bush's home state of Texas - once cited as a model for the federal law - excludes scores for two entire groups. No test scores from Texas' 65,000 Asian students or from several thousand American Indian students are broken out by race. The same is true in Arkansas. One consequence is that educators are creating a false picture of academic progress. "The states aren't hiding the fact that they're gaming the system," said Dianne Piche, executive director of the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, a group that supports No Child Left Behind. "When you do the math ... you see that far from this law being too burdensome and too onerous, there are all sorts of loopholes."

The law signed by Bush in 2002 requires public schools to test more than 25 million students periodically in reading and math. No scores can be excluded from the overall measure. But the schools also must report scores by categories, such as race, poverty, migrant status, English proficiency and special education. Failure in any category means the whole school fails. States are helping schools get around that second requirement by using a loophole in the law that allows them to ignore scores of racial groups that are too small to be statistically significant. Suppose, for example, that a school has 2,000 white students and nine Hispanics. In nearly every state, the Hispanic scores wouldn't be counted because there aren't enough to provide meaningful information and because officials want to protect students' privacy.

State educators decide when a group is too small to count. And they've been asking the government for exemptions to exclude larger numbers of students in racial categories. Nearly two dozen states have successfully petitioned the government for such changes in the past two years. As a result, schools can now ignore racial breakdowns even when they have 30, 40 or even 50 students of a given race in the testing population......

Toia Jones, a black teacher whose daughters attend school in a mostly white Chicago suburb, said the loophole is enabling states and schools to avoid taking concrete measures to eliminate an "achievement gap" between white and minority students. "With this loophole, it's almost like giving someone a trick bag to get out of a hole," she said. "Now people, instead of figuring out how do we really solve it, some districts, in order to save face or in order to not be faced with the sanctions, they're doing what they can to manipulate the data."....

Some students feel left behind, too. "It's terrible," said Michael Oshinaya, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in New York City who was among a group of black students whose scores weren't broken out as a racial category. "We're part of America. We make up America, too. We should be counted as part of America."

More here

NKU Does the Right Thing on pro-abortionist vandalism

Statement by NKU President James C. Votruba below. Good to see that there remains SOME committment to free speech on an American university campus

I am writing to comment on the recent destruction of an approved campus display created by the Northern Kentucky Right to Life student organization.

One of the important roles that a university must play is to be a forum for debate and analysis concerning the important issues of the day. Often these issues are surrounded by strident rhetoric and strong emotions which makes it even more incumbent on the university to create and nurture an intellectual environment in which reason and evidence prevail and where all points of view can be heard.

Northern Kentucky University has a distinguished record of addressing important public issues in a balanced way. We are proud that, as a campus, we are not the captive of one ideology or point of view. At their best, universities are not places of comfortable conformity. They are places where ideas collide as students and faculty search for deeper understandings and perspectives.

While the University supports the right to free speech and vigorous debate on public issues, we cannot condone infringement of the rights of others to express themselves in an orderly manner. By leading her students in the destruction of an approved student organization display, Professor Sally Jacobsen's actions were inconsistent with Northern Kentucky University's commitment to free and open debate and the opportunity for all sides to be heard without threat of censorship or reprisal.

It has been heartening that student and faculty groups that do not necessarily support the position of Northern Kentucky Right to Life have come out strongly in support of the organization's right to be heard through their display. This reflects a commitment to the importance of free speech and inquiry as a hallmark of our University.

Professor Jacobsen has been removed from her remaining classes and placed on leave from the University. She will retire from the University at the end of this semester. The Faculty Senate, representing more than 1,000 NKU faculty members, has taken strong action today that affirms the importance of free expression as a defining quality of the University. Our campus has spoken with a strong and unified voice. Further action may occur once a full investigation has been completed.

The action taken by the University should be considered in the context of Professor Jacobsen's entire 27 year career at NKU. Nevertheless, her recent lapse of judgment was severe and, for a period of time, has caused some in our community and beyond to question whether Northern Kentucky University upholds freedom of expression. My answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. NKU lives its commitment to free expression and responds when that commitment has been compromised.

America is, today, debating a variety of polarizing issues around which people feel great passion. It is not surprising that these strong sentiments find their way onto college campuses. However, our role is to add light to these debates, not more heat. If we don't serve this role, who will?

Source. Another article discussing the issues involved can be found 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


Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Poor countries show the way

"Education is for children, not for profits," proclaims the National Union of Teachers. "It's privatisation!", chimes in Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

The teaching unions are upset about the Government's flagship programme for 200 new Academies, supposedly "independent" state schools, and the new "trust schools". To listen to the unions, you'd think nothing was in need of reform. Their complacency is staggering. To take one statistic at random, more than 80 per cent of children on free school meals fail to gain five decent GCSE grades. That's failure on a grand scale.

Anyway, the reforms are hardly radical. To allow a few businessmen to donate a couple of million quid [pounds sterling] to gain a modicum of influence over a school's ethos, that's not privatisation. Real privatisation, however, is taking place elsewhere in the world with salutary lessons for us. And contrary to the unions' moralising that privatisation must be bad for the poor, it's happening because some of the poorest people on this planet are fed up with the failures of state education. In slums and villages that I have visited in Africa and India, parents are appalled that teachers often don't turn up and, if they do, often don't teach. Their children tell them of sleeping teachers and parents see that exercise books are rarely marked.

But these parents don't sit by, waiting for their politicians to do something. Instead, they put their children into the burgeoning private schools. My recent research has shown that between 65 and 75 per cent of children in the poorest slums in Africa and India are now in private schools. These schools charge low fees, perhaps a couple of pounds per month. They are run by proprietors who are not heartless businessmen, but who provide free places to orphans and those with widowed mothers. When they tested large random samples of children, my teams found that these schools outperform the government alternative. And they do it with teachers paid a fraction of the unionised rates.

Unions here would be up in arms about this. Touchingly, the first concern of many delegates at the conferences is that private enterprise would cut teachers' pay or make them work longer hours. But if in the free market, schools can find dedicated champions of children's learning willing to work longer hours, or be flexible on their pay and conditions, then what is wrong with that, if it benefits children? In Africa and India the market has set its own pay and conditions. Even though teachers in private schools are paid less than their government counterparts, and work longer hours, they have higher standards because they know they are accountable to parents. Poor performance could lose them their jobs; in state schools, the unions make sure that nobody can be sacked.

Last week I was in a deprived fishing village in Ghana that boasts six flourishing private schools only yards from the state school. A fisherman with an understanding of economics that would put union officials to shame, who had moved his daughter from state to private school, told me that the private school proprietor needed to satisfy parents like him, otherwise he would go out of business. "That's why the teachers turn up and teach," he told me, "because they are closely supervised." His wife, busy smoking fish for sale in the market, concurred. "In the state school, our daughter learnt nothing. Now she's back on track."

These parents understand what apparently baffles those in the unions, so used to the dependency culture of the West - that what is handed out for free is likely to be low quality. One father, living in the Kenyan slum of Kibera, summarised it like this: "If you go to a market and are offered free fruit and vegetables, you know they'll be rotten. If you want fresh produce, you have to pay for it."

Real privatisation occurs only if the customers of education are empowered, if the educational providers are made accountable to them. We have found a very effective way of doing that over the millennia - it's called the price mechanism. Only when people pay for something can they be in real control. Poor parents in the developing world recognise this with crystal clarity.

Importantly, in these poor countries, and in China too, the markets are now consolidating, with entrepreneurs creating chains of schools. These chains are starting to offer parents a brand name that they know they can trust. That's real privatisation, too, when business men and women grasp the incentive of the profit motive to improve and innovate. When businesses are free to win customers from other competitors, to expand their markets, to find ways of making the system more effective, then we will see the shake-up the education system needs.

The unions are scaremongering. The present reforms are only toying with privatisation. To bring profit and fees into that system - now, that would be progress. What could it look like here? Gazing into my crystal ball, I see chains of learning centres carrying the distinctive bright orange logo of "easyLearn", competing with those sporting the red "V" of "VirginOpportunity". Competition between these players would make good schooling affordable to all, accelerate the pace of learning innovation, and end the system mired in complacency and under-performance. I guess the unions would be right to be worried then. But parents and children could rest easy, and grasp the new opportunities offered.



Many British inner city schools are predominantly black these days -- but we don't mention THAT of course

A "culture of cool" is damaging children by placing them under relentless commercial pressure to buy trendy clothes and other goods, members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said yesterday. Discipline in schools was suffering as children became caught up in the desire to own the latest expensive training shoes rather than concentrate on their education. The annual conference of the NUT in Torquay called for parenting classes to teach families about "an all-pervasive culture of cool that is hugely undermining to positive pupil attitudes both in and out of school". Marketing campaigns aimed at children had left parents facing "challenges that as little as 30 years ago barely existed".

Nigel Baker, a teacher from Birmingham, told the conference: "Children's toys have never been so gender specific, clothing choices have never been so multiplied, children's food has never been so adulterated. They are victims of corporate strategists and rampant commercialisation. We must help parents to build resilience in themselves and their children. A resilience that says we don't need to buy Nike trainers for 90 pounds, because we can get the same quality for 25 pounds. A resilience that says we don't need to buy fatty, salty rubbish from McDonald's because we can cook better at home. "Teenagers are a billion-pound market, the relentless exploitation of which leaves parents in debt and satisfaction never met. Let's get real to the new mode of social control."

Max Hyde, a member of the national executive of the NUT, supported parenting classes but acknowledged concerns "that the Government will teach parents to say `yah', to hold a dinner party and to drive a Chelsea tractor". "We will make clear that any attempt by government to impose wishy-washy, objectionable classes will be opposed by the NUT," she said. "Parents are part of the solution, not the problem ."

However, Jan Neilsen, from Wandsworth, southwest London, told delegates: "When I hear the term `parenting classes', I want to reach for my gun. In the present climate, teenagers are demonised and so are reckless and feckless parents. It is a class question. This motion demonises youth culture. It is not the fact that they listen to rap music or wear hoodies or have their trousers below their Y-fronts that is the problem. What parents really need is a shorter working week, more wages, more holidays and better facilities."

The conference voted to campaign for "parenting skills programmes and parental support networks". Steve Sinnott, the general secretary of the NUT, said: "We want to create a culture among young people that what is right or cool is coming into school prepared to work and prepared to learn."


Teachers spied on in classrooms: "Teachers are preparing to protest against surveillance cameras and microphones that are being installed in classrooms across the UK. Surveillance firm Classwatch has installed more than 50 CCTV systems with microphones across the UK, said the Times Educational Supplement on Friday. Draconian headteachers, who have had teachers watched through two-way mirrors as well, grade teachers according to their performance under observation. Occasional observation is necessary to ensure lessons meet quality targets set centrally by the Department for Education and Skills. But the TES reported on Friday that teachers were being 'observed to death,' that surveillance was being used as a punishment, that schools were installing CCTV cameras with microphones into classrooms, and that teachers were wilting under the all-seeing Great Eye of Sauron."


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, April 17, 2006


Ernie Chambers is Nebraska's only African-American state senator, a man who has fought for causes including the abolition of capital punishment and the end of apartheid in South Africa. A magazine writer once described him as the "angriest black man in Nebraska." Ernie Chambers, the only African-American in the Nebraska Legislature, was a major force behind a law enacted this week that calls for dividing the Omaha school district into three districts defined largely by race. He was also a driving force behind a measure passed by the Legislature on Thursday and signed into law by the governor that calls for dividing the Omaha public schools into three racially identifiable districts, one largely black, one white and one mostly Hispanic.

The law, which opponents are calling state-sponsored segregation, has thrown Nebraska into an uproar, prompting fierce debate about the value of integration versus what Mr. Chambers calls a desire by blacks to control a school district in which their children are a majority. Civil rights scholars call the legislation the most blatant recent effort in the nation to create segregated school systems or, as in Omaha, to resegregate districts that had been integrated by court order. Omaha ran a mandatory busing program from 1976 to 1999. "These efforts to resegregate schools by race keep popping up in various parts of the country," said Gary Orfield, director of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard, adding that such programs skate near or across the line of what is constitutionally permissible. "I hear about something like this every few months, but usually when districts hear the legal realities from civil rights lawyers, they tend to back off their plans."

Nebraska's attorney general, Jon Bruning, said in a letter to a state senator that preliminary scrutiny had led him to believe that the law could violate the federal Constitution's equal protection clause, and that he expected legal challenges.

The debate here began when the Omaha district, which educates most of the state's minority students, moved last June to absorb a string of largely white schools that were within the Omaha city limits but were controlled by suburban or independent districts. "Multiple school districts in Omaha stratify our community," John J. Mackiel, the Omaha schools superintendent, said last year. "They create inequity, and they compromise the opportunity for a genuine sense of community."

Omaha school authorities and business leaders marketed the expansion under the slogan, "One City, One School District." The plan, the district said, would create a more equitable tax base and foster integration through magnet programs to be set up in largely white schools on Omaha's western edge that would attract minority students. The district had no plans to renew busing, but some suburban parents feared that it might. The suburban districts rebelled, and the unicameral Legislature drew up a measure to blunt the district's expansion. The bill contained provisions creating a "learning community" to include 11 school districts in the Omaha area operating with a common tax levy while maintaining current borders. It required districts to work together to promote voluntary integration.

But the legislation changed radically with a two-page amendment by Mr. Chambers that carved the Omaha schools into racially identifiable districts, a move he told his colleagues would allow black educators to control schools in black areas. Nebraska's 49-member, nonpartisan Legislature approved the measure by a vote of 31 to 16, with Mr. Chambers's support and with the votes of 30 conservative lawmakers from affluent white suburbs and ranching counties with a visceral dislike of the Omaha school bureaucracy. Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican facing a tough primary fight, said he did not consider the measure segregationist and immediately signed it.

Dr. Mackiel, the Omaha superintendent, said the school board was "committed to protecting young people's constitutional rights." "If that includes litigation, then that certainly is a consideration," Dr. Mackiel said. Some of Nebraska's richest and most powerful residents have also questioned the legislation, including the billionaire investor Warren Buffett as well as David Sokol, the chief executive of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, which employs thousands in Nebraska and Iowa. "This is going to make our state a laughingstock, and it's going to increase racial tensions and segregation," Mr. Sokol said in an interview.

The Omaha district has 46,700 students, 44 percent of them white, 32 percent black, 21 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian or Native American. The suburban systems that surround it range in size from the Millard Public School District, with about 20,000 students, 9 percent of whom are members of minorities, to the Bennington district, with 704 students, 4 percent of whom are members of minorities.

More here

U.K.: Students to get marks not worked for

Keele University has privately admitted that scores of students could graduate this summer with degree classifications that they do not deserve under plans to beat the assessment boycott, writes Phil Baty. In a set of contingency plans designed to counter the assessment boycott by the Association of University Teachers, Keele's senate last week agreed to allow final-year students to graduate as long as they had completed about two thirds of their final year.

The senate will invoke an obscure part of the constitution that allows students to graduate under exceptional circumstances if they have obtained at least 75 of the 120 final-year credits they would normally be expected to achieve. This is the equivalent of obtaining a degree despite dropping up to three final-year exam papers.

If the dispute allows for final exams to take place, and if marks are returned after a student has graduated, subsequent reclassification of a degree "will only be done to the advantage of the student", in other words, the classification cannot be lowered.

Keele insists that its emergency measures will not lower standards. But a document detailing the plans states: "Out of a cohort of 1,400 students to graduate this year, 5 per cent - 70 students - might attain a higher classification of degree than they would have been awarded had they been assessed on the full 120 credits."

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the AUT, said: "Universities would be better off talking to us to resolve the assessment boycott rather than trying to devise half-baked ideas that may make our universities a laughing stock." A Keele spokesman said: "Senate has recognised that the AUT action could disadvantage students and voted heavily in favour of using existing regulations."


Continuing Sagas in Seminar Socialism

Post lifted from Promethean Antagonist

In my last post I had noted a recent clerical project of the Communist party of China - a sort of banal attempt at reinvigorating fervor and allegiance for the socialist cause in that country. In degrees and styles, such nonsense occurs regularly in America as well. Most colleges today matriculate new students with religious-like sermons on "multiculturalism" and other politically correct chastisements. Certain students are assumed guilty for their backgrounds or the degree of success their parents have attained. Others are glamorized for their victim-hood. Of course the student's actual circumstance is not an issue since the very act of being at a university is hardly the status of one who is "oppressed."

Group categorizations are the standard of good and bad in left-land. So it is that race, skin shade, gender, and even who one directs amorous thoughts toward are measures of who's naughty or nice and who should be rewarded or punished by fiat.

In keeping with the typical mindset of the bureau-socialist, a host of gimmicks, exercises, and "activities" are regularly used in colleges and public education. The comical nature of such wastes of time holds a family likeness to the criticism and "self-criticism" sessions held by communist parties in history when they had managed to seize power over entire countries. So far, the average leftist college professor has little real power over a free society (the main reason they harbor such resentment toward America, business, and the choices made by private citizens in a free market). If they were to attain power there is no doubt in my mind that they would exercise it as leftists have always done once successful in eliminating opposition and freedom of choice. Some relatively benign professors of "Woman's Studies," "Education," "Critical Studies," or even, "Literature" would become tyrants over society at large as they have sought to be among their captive audiences in America's stockades of political correctness (its universities and public schools).

I've pasted below a typical "education exercise" that one may find in some school or university classrooms - it's in the classic Marxist style. I had read of this particular exercise before. It's one that's often used in the new "White Studies" classes that have sprung up on some college campuses recently (often under the guidance and promotion of - ironically - privileged, and often white, academics). The particular example below is taken from the "diversity" website of Melissa Bailey at Michigan State University but can be found at a host of websites (do a search for, "White Privilege Exercise").

The whole "exercise" is a classic example of the bureau-left's phony world view and their guile-laden attempts to con young minds into believing that the real world is a place where "classes" and "races" battle their lives out using such contrived fantasies as "privilege." To this mindset, any fortune or misfortune in circumstance can only be due to one's membership among a host of "privileged" or "oppressed" people. In this worldview, no one simply makes right or wrong choices that advance or diminish their circumstance - no one is an individual freely choosing sound conduct or passive victim hood. No one rises above their birth condition or falls from fortune. They are all cogs in the Marxist fantasy image of free society, a society that must be "transformed" or overcome by "revolution" (e.g. professors, "artists," and authoritarian leftist / statists must be put in a position to "plan" society - for its own good).

When closely evaluating the statements in the "exercise" one finds them to be quite arbitrary. They actually gauge nothing but are stated as if they are some sort of scientific method of finding true guilt or innocence - whether one is a victim worthy of sympathy and praise or a privileged person who has attained too high a degree of comfort or satisfaction from life ("unfairly").

I've added my own responses to this stupid exercise's statements in the hope of addressing their blatant absurdity. Humor and sarcasm are intended since such nonsense is most worthy of ridicule.

The leftist clowns who develop such "learning projects" take this stuff very seriously. No doubt some will automatically assume "racism" as my motive for daring challenge this typically ridiculous con game in the halls of "Education." Sorry to disappoint, but my motivation is something more benign and astute - anti-Leftism. Those who continually seek to promote, indoctrinate, and impose the leftist vision are the true culture of privilege.

The "exercise" and my responses are below

["] Privilege Exercise ["]

Purpose: To provide participants with an opportunity to understand the intricacies of privilege.
Time: 1 « hours
Materials: none needed
Facilitator Notes:
This is a powerful exercise and should be thoroughly processed. [typical neo-Comm-speak]

1. Participants should be led to the exercise site silently, hand in
hand, in a line. [Note the usual almost religious wording used in such nonsensical projects]

2. At the site, participants, can release their hands, but should be
Instructed to stand shoulder to shoulder in a straight line without
speaking. ["speaking" would no doubt upset the holy nature of this exercise in spiritual understanding]

3. Participants should be instructed to listen carefully to each sentence,
and take the step required if the sentence applies to them. They
should be told there is a prize at the front of the site that everyone is
competing for. [remember, success in life is, "a prize."]


If your ["] ancestors ["] were forced to come to the USA not by choice [200 or 300 years ago], take one step back.

What if your "ancestors" were slaves of the Aztecs, Arabs, or Sudanese?

If your primary ethnic identity is American, take one step forward.

Guilty of good fortune - to the rice fields for reeducation.

If you were ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one
step back.

.Why? How about if you were called names like, "fascist" for believing in free and open society, Christianity, or self-interest?

If there were people of color who worked in your household as servants, gardeners, etc., take one step forward.

If these paid employees were white, don't step forward?

If you were ever ashamed or embarrassed of your clothes, house, car, etc. take one step back.

I hated that used car my dad drove with the broken muffler -- but then again, a lot of people had used cars and bad mufflers in our neighborhood. I was obviously very "oppressed." Give me some money and free stuff.

If your parents were professionals: doctors, lawyers, etc. take one step forward.

God forbid your parents were successful. Do you get to step back a half step if they worked themselves through college or, as doctors, saved human lives?

If you were raised in an area where there was prostitution, drug activity, etc., take one stop back.

How about alcoholism or spouse-swapping?

If you ever tried to change your appearance, mannerisms, or behavior to avoid being judged or ridiculed, take one step back.

.No, no one's ever done that.

If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school, take one step forward.

There's that bogus obsession with folks from long ago who you never met. Also, why should an American grade school teach Lebanese culture when they barely teach math, reading, and writing?

If you went to school speaking a language other than English, take one step back.

What if it was German, Swedish, or French?

Give me twenty pushups lowly class enemy!

If there were more than 50 books in your house when you grew up, take one step forward.

If they were porn - OOH-HOO! (If your parents didn't like to read, you can't be part of the world socialist club!).

If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food when you were growing up, take one step back.

...then step forward again if there were churches, private organizations, or local, state, and federal government agencies to give you handouts.

If you were taken to art galleries or plays by your parents, take one step forward.

If your family liked sports and camping, you're oppressed and should get more free stuff from the omnipotent state and its taxpayers.

If one of your parents was unemployed or laid off, not by choice, take one step back.

If it was for longer than a year, chastise your parents for being incompetent and not applying to the millions of jobs available each year.

If you attended private school or summer camp, take one step forward.

If you went to a public school, sorry you can't read this.

If your family ever had to move because they could not afford the rent, take one step back.

If they were living beyond their means and had to move back to something they could afford, make a circle, touch your nose, and sing an old Beatle's song.

If you were told that you were beautiful, smart and capable by your parents, take one step forward.

Step back if they were lying.

If you were ever discouraged from academics or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.

Step back further if you couldn't get a class or job because you were light skinned or male.

If you were encouraged to attend college by your parents, take one step forward.

If you were a "victim" of everything your parents said or didn't say to you, you're an idiot - get a life.

If you were raised in a single parent household, take one step back.

If that parent was rich and a member of a chosen minority group, just stand there and look confused. There will be no parents when the revolution comes. It "takes a village" and a totalitarian communal state to raise the lumpen proletariat.

If your family owned the house where you grew up, take one step forward.

If they rented a townhouse in Paris or New York laugh at the meaningless nature of this statement.

If you saw members of your race, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation portrayed on television in degrading roles, take one step back.

If they were depicted as evil, ignorant, greedy, or fascist ask the "facilitator" why its okay to depict that phony image.

If you were ever offered a good job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.

If you were from another planet where this never happens, become a sociologist and take a college lit course then, move two spaces and collect trust fund check from rich socialist parents.

If you were ever denied employment because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.

And ask yourself why you didn't' complain to the million and one government offices or lawyers who would have sued the employer and showered you with cash (disregard question if your ethnicity or gender is white or male)

If you were paid less, treated unfairly because of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.

See last response.

If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because you cheated or lied, look puzzled and continue to protest the conditions of life on planet Earth.

If you ever inherited money or property, take one step forward.

If the government took huge sums of your money through coercion to finance social programs and college classes in Marxist Studies, just shut up and keep on paying.

If you had to rely primarily on public transportation, take one step back.

Especially if it was an airplane in first class.

If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you happend to be speeding, stealing, or murdering at the time, call a Woman's Studies professor, Gay rights advocate, or Al Sharpton for one free pass.

If you were ever afraid of violence because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were actually a victim of violence merely because someone wanted to harm you or take your property, no big deal. (Remember, this project is only designed to direct concern for skin color, gender, sexual orientation, and how much money people are paid for working...or not working).

If you were generally able to avoid places that were dangerous, take one step forward.

.off the edge of a bridge into a flaming pit of molten lead.

If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation, take one step back.

Also, try to forget about the jokes you told or laughed about involving other people or groups. (If you're black, and sing rap lyrics advocating the death of homosexuals -- one free pass. If you're Muslim and behead infidels -- two free passes and immediately go to the front of the classroom).

If you were ever the victim of violence related to your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If it was because you were light skinned or non Middle-Eastern, too bad.

If your parents did not grow up in the United States, take one step back.

If they grew up in a French Chateau - cool. If your parents were Asian and worked hard and made sacrifices to put you through school, cringe in self-loathing. If you don't want to live in the U.S. at all - leave. (There are lots of countries that are already fully socialist or half way there. You should be with them).

If your parents told you that you could be anything you wanted to be, take one step forward.

If they told you that you'd have to settle for what you're actually capable of, cry because they were realistic.

Processing: [there's a great word familiar to anyone who has encountered a leftist bureau-minded control freak]

Ask participants to remain in their positions and to look at their position at the site and the positions of the other participants.

Ask participants to consider who among them would probably win the prize.
Suggested questions for processing are:

1) What happened? [I had a divine revelation. I will now save the rainforest, give more money to the state, lick the shoes of middle-class college instructors, and give away my bourgeoisie CD collection.]

2) How did this exercise make you feel? [Classic Socialist Ed School Bureau-lesson question -- but, for the record, the "exercise" made me sick.]

3) What were your thoughts as you did this exercise? [! Like, this is sooo stupid]

4) What have you learned from this experience? [Answer; Not what you could have learned in a real class.]

5) What can you do with this information in the future? [Whine more about injustice and ask for more free stuff].


Remember, decades ago the time taken to "perform" this pathetic soap-box ritual would have been used to actually learn something academic

When a teacher or professor can be paid -- often with taxpayer money -- to use such "lessons" to promote their personal radical political ideology, the question as to who in society is "privileged' becomes clearer.

Remember; If you're ugly and diseased, have lost a loved one, if someone close to you has committed suicide, or you have retarded children.and you're light skinned, male, or financially well -off, you're "privileged." If you're relatively happy, have good relationships and a decent job and home but are a "minority," you're oppressed and can get free stuff and sympathy from middle class white kinds majoring in "critical studies."

Poor, ugly, unemployed, divorced, paraplegic white men with cancer "have all the power."'s been a privilege.

(see my "glossary of Ed-euphemisms" for further insights into the bizarre worldview of Ed-world)


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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