Saturday, December 16, 2006


Comment by Holman W. Jenkins Jr

Here's more evidence that "academic freedom" doesn't apply to anyone actually on or near a campus. The chancellor of British Columbia's Thompson Rivers University has become a public enemy after uttering judicious words on global warming on a Canadian Broadcasting breakfast show last week. Chancellor Nancy Greene Raine, previously an Olympic skiing champion and national heroine as Canada's official "female athlete of the century," told listeners: "In science, there's almost never black and white. We don't know what next week's weather is going to be. To say in 50 or 100 years, the temperature is going to do this, is a bit of a stretch for me."

The result was a "furor on campus," reports the local Kamloops Daily News. Professors have demanded Ms. Greene Raine's ouster from the ceremonial post. A Canadian government meteorologist "questioned why Greene Raine would offer comment about something on which she is not versed. He noted that no one comes to him for advice on skiing."

In fact, poor Ms. Greene Raine was making exactly the judgment that all citizens and politicians are called upon to make in the global warming debate: How reliable are long-range climate predictions? How should we weigh the costs and benefits of various policy prescriptions? Nor is she alone. Freeman Dyson, the legendary physicist and mathematician, offered similar views in a commencement address at the University of Michigan last year. For that matter, Ms. Greene Raine was kicked off a film of Canadian celebrities talking about global warming in 2005 when the producers discovered she thought spending money on poverty and disease was more urgent than spending money on climate change.

Questions of whether to adapt to climate change or try to prevent it, of how much to spend on CO2 reduction and the like, are questions the public is apparently supposed to shut up about. Message to Ms. Greene Raine and anyone else: Your job is merely to register support for "good" environmentalists versus "bad" skeptics, then submit to whatever policies the Al Gores of the world prescribe for our salvation.

From The Wall Street Journal, 13 December 2006


Below is the experience of a customer of one of America's largest companies -- Verizon. The customer has a grasp of decimals, once a grade-school basic but no longer so, it seems. Anyway, who cares if a firm charges you 100 times more than it says it will!

Last week I called to inquire about the data rate per kb for internet usage. I was quoted ".015 cents per kilobyte". Upon paying my bill I noticed that the rate was much higher- in fact $.015/kb. I called back to complain but was shocked to here "the rate is .015cents per kilobyte" and "... .015 cents is $.015".

At this point I was dumbfounded by her ignorance and hung up. Calling back I was shocked to experience this scenario a third time so promptly asked for a manager. He reiterated that ".015 cents per kilobyte is equivalent to .015 dollars per kilobyte". I then spent 30 minutes trying to explain to him how these were two very different values to no avail.

While these 4 employees gross deficiency in elementary mathematics is appalling, the fact that Verizon employees these people who are so inept as to misstate a rate by a factor of 100 is disgusting and probably legally unwise. You at this point have one customer that is very angry and frustrated due to this misrepresentation that resulted in a bill literally 100 times larger than expected.

I would suggest that all phone representatives be corrected on their erroneous math as the third representative put me on hold and stated "all the people here say .015 cents is 1.5cents" before retrieving a manager; hence the problem runs beyond the four I spoke with. Initially, I wanted a refund but after experiencing this abyss of ignorance I feel my fees will be better served towards teaching remedial math towards these employees and will be satisfied with an apology.



Lack of achievement must be hidden -- ANYTHING that upsets the leftist fairyland vision of equality must be hidden

Needham High School has abandoned its long-standing practice of publishing the names of students who make the honor roll in the local newspaper. Principal Paul Richards said a key reason for stopping the practice is its contribution to students' stress level in "This high expectations-high-achievement culture." The proposal to stop publishing the honor roll came from a parent. Richards took the issue before the school council, which approved it. Parents were notified of the decision last month. Richards said he received about 60 responses from both parents and students and the feedback has been evenly split for and against.

Richards said one parent with three children attending Needham High told him publishing the honor roll is a constant cause of stress in her family. According to that parent, one of the three students routinely made the honor roll while the other two did not. Another parent who didn't want his name used said his two youngsters, a senior and a junior at Needham High, both consistently received honors and high honors. He said he, "took special pride in opening the newspaper and seeing his kids names." He said he could also see how the publishing of names could put stress on other kids who did not make it.

Richards said publishing of the honor roll represented "an unhealthy focus on grades." He pointed out that there are lots of other ways that students achieve, such as in clubs, musicals, concerts, athletics and community service. He said the ranking of students solely based on grades goes against the school's overall mission which is to "promote learning."

The Needham Times has traditionally published the school's honor roll. Editor-in-Chief Greg Reibman said the paper has "always been interested in recognizing the achievements of all Needham students -- not just in academics but in sports, the arts, community service, and in any other way." "We understand that the school is trying hard to deal with some enormous challenges. I don't think anyone believes this alone is going to solve some of these very tough issues, but we respect the decision of the experts who certainly have the students' best interests in mind," Reibman said.

Needham High's principal said the decision to no longer publish the honor roll is not nailed in cement. Richards said it is "subject to review." He said, "We'll go through this year without it and assess the impact on the school culture."



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 Pages are here or here or here.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Letting Business Help: The Promise of Education Tax Credits

With recent election results splitting control of the national government, legislators must now confront the challenge of crafting bipartisan initiatives. There is a prime opportunity for enlisting such broad support, which has not yet been fully developed: educational choice. Most of the action in this field occurs at the state rather than the federal level, but the principle is the same. Legislation in favor of educational choice appeals to broad swaths of Democrats, Republicans, racial and ethnic minorities, and the middle class. It is popular because it cultivates rather than frustrates parental responsibility in the formation of children.

Over the last decade or so, battles over vouchers in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Florida have gotten most of the attention, but there are other -- possibly even more promising --programs that have quietly yet effectively changed the character of education funding. One key initiative is the corporate tax incentive. Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) is a leading example, and similar programs have been adopted in Florida, Arizona, and Rhode Island. This lineup of states demonstrates the potential for political success across a wide spectrum of partisan affiliation. Using the color coding that has become conventional, Florida and Arizona lean red, Rhode Island is solidly blue, and Pennsylvania is decidedly purple. All now have mechanisms in place to empower poor and middle class parents to send their children to schools that they believe will best serve their educational goals.

In Pennsylvania, the EITC enables businesses to contribute up to $200,000 to a scholarship organization (SO) or an educational improvement organization (EIO). For a one-time gift, the business receives 75 percent of its contribution back as a tax credit; for a two-year commitment, the company gets 90 percent. An EIO uses its funds to furnish improvements in public schools, such as technology enhancements. An SO provides scholarships to eligible students (family of four income of $70,000 or less) who wish to attend private schools.

As with voucher programs, such tax incentives obviously assist needy children by increasing their options. But programs such as EITC also enjoy at least two advantages over vouchers. First, the funding channel from corporations to mediating bodies (SO or EIO) to schools mitigates the danger of increasing government involvement in religious and other private schools. (It also diminishes the opposition of hard-line church-state separationists).

Second, instead of relying primarily on government as the source of funding, such programs actually encourage the functioning of civil society. In the case of an SO, for example, a partnership is formed among private organizations for the purpose of expanding access to quality schooling. Granted, government provides an incentive through the tax break, but there is an important difference between, on the one hand, collecting tax revenue and then distributing it, and, on the other hand, permitting private institutions to retain more of their income on the condition that they contribute toward a public good. The latter comports better with a vision of government as promoting the meeting of society’s needs, rather than as provider of such goods.

These programs have an impact. Dr. Ronald Bowes, Assistant Superintendent for Public Policy and Development in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, observes that the results for enrollment in Pittsburgh’s Catholic high schools have been “somewhat dramatic.” The 2006–2007 school year saw an increase of 3.4 percent, bucking long-term trends. The relative health of Pittsburgh Catholic schools is directly related to the EITC, he says: “Many parents have written that they would not be able to send their children to Catholic schools if it were not for the SOS fund.”

Yet what makes the EITC program widely popular is that it is not geared specifically to benefit private schools. It supplies aid to whichever educational programs and institutions parents and firms are willing to support. Across Pennsylvania, over the five-year life of the program, 1,900 companies have given in excess of $100 million to improve educational opportunities in Catholic, public, and other schools. Legislators looking for a “winning issue” would do well to pay attention. Here is a way they can do some genuine good for their constituents—and reap political benefit without earmarking pork for indoor rain forests or superfluous bridges.



Yet another example of unsafe schoolyards

After the freshman boys basketball team was attacked on campus last week by a group of young men who poured out of 10 cars, student athletes at Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove must now wait inside the school's gym for buses taking them to road games. Four players and one coach were injured in the attack Thursday night, in which a large group of young men drove into the parking lot, jumped out and began yelling and beating some of the players, officials said. The attackers used a chemical spray that irritated two of the players' eyes and cut another player on the head, officials said. Police and school officials said the assault was related to an off-campus altercation that happened earlier that day.

Freshman basketball coach Michael Baker said he was waiting with his team in the parking lot at the north side of the campus about 6:20 p.m. for a bus to take them to an 8 p.m. tournament game at Mira Loma High School. As nine to 10 cars pulled into the parking lot and the occupants started charging the team, Baker directed the kids into the nearby gym. The attack began before they could all get inside. "I thought I was following the last kid into the gym," Baker said. When he realized that not all of his players were inside, he went back outside, where he saw one of his players bent over a railing and four others defending him. "If myself and the four others weren't there, who knows what could have happened," Baker said. The coach was struck twice, once in the elbow and once in the knee, by a blunt object. The assault lasted about one minute, Baker said.

The Elk Grove Police Department and paramedics responded and a police helicopter hovered overhead, searching for the attackers. The boy with the head wound declined medical treatment at the scene, but his parents later took him to a hospital, where he was treated and released, the coach said. No details about the case were available Monday night from Elk Grove police.

Law enforcement and Elk Grove school district police met with parents and players Thursday night. The team forfeited that night's game but played against El Dorado High School the next night and, following an emotional pre-game discussion, won by 30 points.

Baker said his players "feel safer" with the new policy, and their parents "are concerned, but they are supportive. No one is pulling their kids off the team." Principal Douglas Craig said that the attack is believed to be a case of mistaken identity and that the attackers were not targeting the basketball team. "Apparently, there was some incident unrelated to the basketball team earlier in the day, and the team was attacked by mistake," Craig said. "I think once they realized it was the wrong people, they said, 'Hey, we better get out of here,' and took off."

Police will beef up patrols around the school, officials said. With officers already regularly assigned to the area, parents should not be afraid for their children's safety, said Elk Grove Police Sgt. Martin Pilcher. The new pick-up and drop-off procedures are only in place at Laguna Creek High School for now, but district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said the school district will look into whether the policy should be extended to other schools. Such school policies can be set by individual principals or by district officials.

Soon after the attack, word spread that students and a coach were involved in the fracas. "People were very surprised about it," said Jessica Cooper, a Laguna Creek junior who is a cheerleader and plays first base for the softball team. Still, Cooper said, there is a feeling among students that current security policies are a bit excessive. "I guess it's OK for safety, but it's also a bit ridiculous," she said, adding that a gate already surrounds the campus. "I think it's going a bit overboard."

Her father, Elk Grove City Councilman Jim Cooper, said he is pleased the school is reacting. "Is it the best idea? I don't know," he said. "But I'd rather see them do something than sit on their hands." Cooper said violence is an issue that "stretches beyond campus" and "as a city, we need to give them whatever assistance we can."


Australian mathematics education lagging

Australia's ability to win contracts for drug research trials, logistics and other high-tech causes is at risk due to a looming shortage of mathematicians, a new report has warned. An Australian Academy of Science review released today says underinvestment in maths and statistics is jeopardising the competitiveness of Australian industry and could see Australia become a low-end provider. University of Melbourne professor Hyam Rubinstein, who chaired the review, said industry submissions to the inquiry revealed Australia was in danger of losing its competitive advantage in fields like data analysis, forecasting, finance and banking systems, IT and national security.

Prof Rubinstein said Australia's reputation as a leader in maths and statistics had drawn international experts here. "But this reputation ... is only being upheld by a handful of mathematical scientists who are now near retirement," he said. "When they are gone, our world-class reputation will likely crumble. "In universities, there are almost no permanent academic staff aged under 30 and few under 40 to continue the level or breadth of research required." Mathematics and statistics departments at Australian universities had lost a third of permanent staff since 1995 and were now producing less than half the OECD average of graduates, he said. Young researchers were discouraged from staying in teaching and research positions because of a lack of resources and because of better opportunities overseas. "The commonwealth [government] course contribution to universities is close to $5000 per student for mathematics and statistics while for most other sciences and engineering it's $12,300 per student," Prof Rubinstein said. "This is killing our departments - we can't run our programs on the available funding and Australia will be the loser.

"The real key to rebuilding our mathematical skills capability is providing permanent university teaching and research positions, so we have basic research to solve problems and teachers to teach three-year maths courses to skill primary and secondary school teachers."



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 Pages are here or here or here.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cop Killer Honored at New York College

New York City college students who share a community room named for an escaped cop killer called the fugitive their hero Tuesday as the school's officials demanded the removal of the honor. A handful of campus groups at the City College of New York commended the school for allowing them to work in the name of domestic "terrorist" Assata Shakur, now believed to be hiding in Cuba. "We know that many Black people that fought for better conditions in the 70's were framed," the groups said in a statement released to "We consider Assata Shakur to be one of the people who were wrongfully and purposefully framed for her activities. "And we consider her a hero and role model for standing up for our people and putting her life on the line." [Students as judge and jury of events they know little about. No intellectual standards there!]

The chancellor of City University of New York, meanwhile, demanded the "unauthorized and inappropriate signage" be removed. "Only The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York may designate or name College and University facilities," Goldstein wrote to City College President Gregory H. Williams.

The Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community Center on the third floor of CCNY's North Academic Center was named in 1989 for Shakur, convicted in the 1973 murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, and Morales, a former member of FALN, which is a Puerto Rican liberation group that claimed responsibility for a rash of bombings in New York in the mid-1970s.

"The president and the chancellor are in full agreement, the sign - which actually was put up by students - in no way reflects the college's or the university's support for the individuals who are named," said Mary Lou Edmondson, spokeswoman for the college, adding, it "is unauthorized and inappropriate and steps will be taken to take it down."

The center is shared by the Student Liberation Action Movement and Students for Educational Rights - groups with approximately 45 members total, Edmondson said. The United Federation of Students, Union de Jovenes Dominicanos, The Messenger, The Pre-University Program, CCNY Coalition Against the War and CUNY for All! are also listed as sharing the space, according to a sign on the door emblazoned with a painted fist. A "Morales/Shakur Information Table" outside the office had literature on everything from a campaign to give used books to prisoners to a Philadelphia rally to free convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

A student in the Morales/Shakur office, who declined to be interviewed, gave the joint statement on the naming of the center. "We would like to close by saying that the American people have a right and a duty to find out the facts about this situation for themselves before they judge it," the student statement said. "And Assata, we love you."

In 2005, the FBI named Shakur, whose real name is Joanne Deborah Chesimard, to its list of most wanted domestic terrorists, placing a $1 million bounty on her head. In 1977, Shakur was convicted of Foerster's murder during a routine traffic stop. Shakur had been a member of the Black Liberation Army and was wanted in connection with several felonies, including bank robbery, the FBI said. She skipped out on the life sentence, escaping from prison in Clinton, N.J., on Nov. 2, 1979. She's now believed to be living in Cuba.

A City College student wrote a letter to the Daily News about the naming of the community center, prompting the paper to report Monday that police groups have been angered the school allowed the room to be named for a convicted cop killer. "We use tax dollars to support an institution that indemnifies a cold-blooded terrorist?" Dave Jones, president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association, told the Daily News. "She's a cowardly, cold-blooded convicted murderer who's part of a murdering sect," he told the newspaper. "She's no different from those people who flew those planes into those towers and destroyed all those innocent lives."

On her Web site,, Shakur says she is innocent. "I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one," she said. Shakur, who is the godmother of slain hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, has been heralded as a hero among the hip-hop community and political activist groups and reviled as a villain by police organizations.



Parents in a remote Scottish village are so infuriated by a decision to close their primary school that they have raised more than 1 million pounds to buy it. In an unprecedented initiative, parents in Roybridge, Inverness-shire, have been offered a bank loan and a five-figure private donation to ensure that the small school, which has served their community since Victorian times, remains open.

The crumbling schoolhouse and three leaking huts of Roybridge Primary School, nestling in a beautiful Highland glen with views of the Nevis mountain range, seem an unlikely battleground for the future of rural education. But if the parents are successful, they could set a new pattern for the provision of mainstream education in Britain's rural communities, where an increasing number of schools are being closed or amalgamated in an attempt to cut costs.

On Thursday the local council will decide whether to support the Roybridge parents, who have drawn up a detailed business plan in an attempt to save their school from closure and have raised 9,000 pounds to pay for surveyors' appraisals and architects' plans. After years of allowing the school to fall into disrepair, the Highland council has announced plans to close it and to amalgamate it with a neighbouring village. Although the school that the 30 children would be sent to is only three miles away, the Roybridge parents refuse to accept the plan and say that they are fighting on behalf of rural communities across Britain. They say that the small class sizes at Roybridge offer a uniquely intimate style of education and that without the school the village, which has fewer than 500 residents, would gradually die.

Under the parents' scheme they would pay to replace the school's dilapidated buildings and place it in a charitable trust. The council would then pay a yearly lease for the school, allowing it to remain in mainstream education and the loan to be paid off. The estimated 1.04 million building costs include 651,000 for new classrooms, 90,000 for an all-weather football pitch and 35,000 for car parking. A loan from Bank of Scotland, at 1.75 percentage points above base rate, would cover most of the costs, with the shortfall met by a 50,000 gift from a local landlord.

If the council approves the arrangement it would be the first time that parents have successfully intervened to buy out a primary school. Peter Rose, 56, who has two girls at the school and moved to Roybridge from Lancashire last year, is one of many outsiders who was attracted to the village because of the reputation of its school. He said: "We have to carry a torch here. If we are successful it could give hope to other communities. If we don't get young families to live in Roybridge, then it is going to become a stopping-off point for retired people and little else." His wife Hazel, 35, said that the intimacy of learning at Roybridge was found in few other schools in Britain. She said: "Our children love it. They go for river walks to collect pebbles for class projects or to the wildlife garden they've made in the middle of the village." Catherine MacKinnon, 40, who was a pupil at the school 30 years ago and is leading the project, said: "Politicians talk a lot about regenerating rural areas but a community needs a school at its heart."

Unlike many declining rural communities, Roybridge, a former crofting village, appears to have a bright future. The school is one of the reasons why the population has grown steadily over the past 15 years. Seven new children have joined the school in the past 18 months; a further three are expected next month.

Alan Smithers, Professor of Education at Buckingham University, said that the scheme was similar to others that rely on private finance to build and maintain new schools, but that in this case the private contractor would be unable to interfere with the running of the school. He said: "I have heard of parents trying to buy independent schools before but nothing like this. There is clearly a lot to recommend this idea."


Australia's academic women less likely to breed

Given the characteristic academic love of authoritarian government, perhaps it's a good thing. The less that mentality is reproduced the better

Some of Australia's best and brightest women are the most reluctant to breed, with female academics far more likely to be single and childless than their male peers. The reason, it seems, is that women are less able to combine the demands of academia with parenthood.

Research shows that 70 per cent of the female academics and other staff in one NSW study have children, compared with 83per cent of the men. Eighty per cent of male academics have spouses, compared with just 63.5per cent of female academics. Also, 90 per cent of the spouses of female academics worked full-time, compared with just 57 per cent of the spouses of male academics, whose wives tended to work part-time, or not at all.

Professor Hilary Winchester, pro-vice chancellor at the University of South Australia, said: "For women to be successful, they were less able to maintain a partnered relationship than men. The comments you get from women are, 'I just couldn't fit it all in."' Professor Winchester gave evidence to the House of Representatives standing committee into the work-family balance, chaired by Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop, which tabled its report last week.

Liberal MPs are leading the charge for better childcare arrangements, with Mrs Bishop describing the current system as a "mishmash" and backbencher Jackie Kelly saying childcare is a "shambles". Mrs Bishop's report recommended full tax deductibility for childcare fees, including nanny wages. Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Melbourne University Belinda Probert has researched women at the professorial level, "and what it showed up was that academic women are particularly likely to be not partnered". "That is a very high rate of marriage breakdown," she said. "Women have primary responsibility for children. Men tend to have wives that work part-time. Women have partners who have full-time (work), and are quite likely not to have partners. "We found women had given up because they had teenagers who were home alone, smoking dope, or children who needed help with homework. They say, 'I'll give up doing research', and that (research) is the key to promotion."

ANU demographer Peter McDonald said educated women "always have had fewer children". "They have a lower marriage rate," he said. "There's a tendency for men to marry down, of course, to marry someone not quite as intelligent as them, but it's also that educated women may focus more on a career for longer."

Elizabeth Watkin, a leading academic trying to "have it all", is a senior lecturer in microbiology at Curtin University and a mother of 12-year-old twin girls, Mahsa and Kimia. "It's extremely difficult," she admitted. "My husband pulls his weight, which is important, but I do feel I've been held back," she said. "I haven't been published as much as I might have been. But I want to spend time with my children."

The evidence regarding academia is troubling because Australian universities have some of the most generous maternity leave entitlements in the world -- up to 36 weeks, paid. Carolyn Alport of the National Tertiary Education Union said the entitlement, won during collective bargaining in 2003, was important. She said: "A big demographic blip is about to hit universities, with senior people getting towards retirement, and we want to be ready to meet the needs of the younger generation." Dr Watkin said tax deductibility and on-site childcare would be helpful. She agrees that women at the level of senior lecturer and above "either just aren't there, or often don't have children, and perhaps that's because they are older, and there wasn't that choice, previously. You did one, or the other".



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 Pages are here or here or here.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another crackdown on harmless student hijinks

One almost wonders if any of these self-righteous sourpusses were ever young themselves. They must not have enjoyed it much at any event. Perhaps they missed out on the sex. And it is another case of a university kangaroo court disregarding the verdict of a real court

The University of Vermont has suspended one of its fraternities until next fall for violating the university's underage drinking and hazing policies, UVM officials said Thursday. Phi Gamma Delta, known as FIJI house, was alleged to have held a party in March at which drinks were served to underage students and pledges were made to wear cowboy outfits and taunted with homophobic language as part of a so-called "Brokeback Mountain" party, according to a UVM police report.

Fraternity representatives Thursday said Phi Gamma Delta is not a homophobic organization and accused UVM police of omitting important evidence in their initial police report. The suspension means fraternity members may live in the house but may not participate in any Greek activities including hosting parties and rushing new members.

Last month, a Vermont Judicial Bureau judge dismissed hazing allegations against four of the fraternity members who had been ticketed by UVM police in connection with the party. In that case, the court ruled there was no evidence to suggest the students violated the state's anti-hazing policy.

UVM officials said the university's ruling to suspend the fraternity was based on a campus judicial hearing in July. "While a Burlington court has dismissed specific charges against individuals in the fraternity who were cited with violation of a Vermont statute, that decision does not impact the university's obligation to enforce its own policies," UVM administrators wrote in a statement on their decision.

Annie Stevens, UVM's assistant vice president for student and campus life, said the university chose to try the fraternity, not individual members, in its judicial hearing because there was not enough information in the police report to name any one individual as being responsible for the underage drinking or hazing charges. "Underage drinking and hazing are tied together in the university's hazing policy," Stevens said. "One example of hazing is furnishing alcohol to underage students with pledges present."

Under the decision, the fraternity is suspended until the fall of 2007 semester and must pay a $150 fine. To be reinstated, FIJI must also come up with a plan in which members have to go through sensitivity training and provide programming on alcohol abuse and hazing. Stevens said UVM fashioned its hazing policy after the state's 2000 anti-hazing law. Last month's case in the Judicial Bureau court was the first time the law has been tested.

Joseph Thibault, an adviser for the fraternity, accused UVM police of omitting evidence in their initial incident report that was later revealed during the Judicial Bureau hearing. "This selective omission, and others like it, framed the fraternity members' actions as offensive, when in fact no one took them that way," Thibault said. "While some of the fraternity members may be guilty of exercising poor taste, their actions did not rise to the level of committing a hate crime or engaging in hazing, as the state's attorney and the Vermont Judicial Bureau recognized."

UVM Police Chief Gary Margolis defended his department's investigation. "The officer presented the information that addressed the elements of the statute," Margolis said. "I'm not going to argue specific points, but FIJI needs to focus less on blaming police and more on addressing the problems they created." Margolis said the university is considering appealing last month's Judicial Bureau decision.


What a laugh: "Public pupils excel in VCE results"

So pupils at one school do well in their final high school exams and that is credited to the government school concerned. No mention that it was Asian kids who did well. They tend to do well in ANY school in Australia. But we can't mention race, can we?

A suburban public school has rocketed up the VCE tally board, with four of its year 12 graduates achieving the "perfect" tertiary ranking of 99.95. The result puts Glen Waverley Secondary College second in the state for perfect ENTERs, behind Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, where five students had the top ranking. Glen Waverley's quartet of perfect ENTERs also places it ahead of elite private schools, including Xavier College, Ivanhoe Grammar and Melbourne Grammar.

Principal Gerry Schiller said while the school had produced many bright students in recent years, they had fallen just short of the 99.95 mark. "After five or six years of being near but not quite there, to achieve it four times over is a wonderful result - for the school and for the students," he said.

One student, Ashray Gunjur, was still in bed yesterday morning when his mother logged on to the internet for his results. "My mum had sort of 'stolen' that letter which has my student number and my PIN," the 18-year-old said. "I looked at the score and my dad was there. He said: 'What happened to the other .05?' I think he was joking." Ashray's method of celebrating his results was perhaps a little unorthodox - the teenager headed straight back to bed. "It probably hasn't sunk in. I don't think 99.95 was ever in my spectrum of possibilities. I don't think I'm like these other geniuses here."

The other "geniuses" among Glen Waverley's class of 2006 include Aaron Chock, whose anxiety over results day woke him up at 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock yesterday morning. When he accessed his score at 6.47am, it was "a dream come true". Srigala Navaratnarajah attributed part of her success to choosing subjects that she enjoyed. "If you really love your subjects, then you will succeed because it keeps motivating you." The 18-year-old, who achieved a perfect study score of 50 in international studies and physics, said the friendly competition within the school was also a factor. "Every year we see people do extremely well, and we don't think anything is out of our reach."

Classmate Tianhong Wu, who read Japanese Manga books during the year as a break from schoolwork, said she looked on her 99.95 as a good start for university. "It just gives me a lot of confidence and I feel there isn't anything that's too hard, as long as I try." The four star Glen Waverley graduates want to study medicine at university next year, and Tianhong, Aaron and Ashray have all been offered scholarships to study at Monash University.



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 Pages are here or here or here.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006


No wonder few but the academic dregs are willing to teach there

Serious crime at high schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District has more than doubled in the past five years, while the number of students facing the most severe punishment -- expulsion -- has plummeted. The district expelled four students last year, according to state Department of Education records. In the same year, police responded to 274 crimes at Sacramento City Unified high schools that state law says should have resulted in expulsion. This gap between crimes and expulsions in the district has grown wider over time. In the past five years, expellable offenses have risen by 105 percent while expulsions have dropped by 88 percent.

State law requires that students who commit serious crimes be expelled, or banished, from their school and other regular high schools for at least a year. While expelled, students are supposed to attend community day school. But instead of expelling most students who carry weapons, deal drugs or assault teachers, Sacramento City Unified officials suspend them for a week at a time or put them on so-called "suspended expulsion," a form of discipline that takes offenders off campus for a few months but doesn't count them as being expelled. District administrators say they handed out more than 200 such punishments last year.

The softer approach in Sacramento City Unified stems largely from a 1997 complaint alleging racial disparities in expulsions -- in response, the district came up with alternative punishments to lower the expulsion rate overall. School districts of a similar size typically expel far more students: Elk Grove Unified expelled 248 students last year and San Juan Unified expelled 195 students.

Within Sacramento City Unified, crime last year was highest at Luther Burbank and John F. Kennedy high schools, police reports show. C.K. McClatchy High School landed square in the middle of the district's ranking of serious crimes last year. But a groundswell of fear and anger has erupted at McClatchy recently, following two high-profile crimes by McClatchy students that occurred on the same day. On Oct. 19, a 15-year-old boy shot a gun outside a pizza shop near the campus just as the school day began. The incident prompted McClatchy to go into lockdown, a safety procedure in which students must stay in their classrooms and no one is supposed to enter or exit the school. During the two-hour lockdown, another 15-year-old boy who was inside a classroom somehow shot himself in the hand.

Since then -- in parent meetings, coffee shops and interviews with The Bee -- the McClatchy community has spoken out. Teachers say they are frustrated at seeing criminal students return to the classroom. Students and parents describe a palpable sense of danger -- a feeling that school is a place where anything goes. "We're not talking about a kid not bringing a pencil to class, or somebody acting out in class," said Jennifer Cook, who has been a teacher at C.K. McClatchy High School for 11 years. "We're talking about somebody bringing a gun, somebody selling drugs. If a student is committing an offense as serious as that, we really need the support to carry through on expulsion."

At the end of September, Cook said, a McClatchy administrator told her that her biology lab assistant had been suspended for carrying a large knife to school. The administrator said he wanted to expel the student after his release from juvenile hall, Cook said. But about three weeks later, the student returned to her class, she said, and his job as her lab assistant. "You trust those people to do things for you and be a role model in your room," Cook said. "I don't feel that way about this person anymore. I'm wary."

McClatchy Principal Cynthia Clark said she didn't try to expel the student because he did not brandish the knife or threaten anyone with it. State law says principals should recommend expulsion for students in possession of "any knife or other dangerous object," and that expulsion is mandatory when students brandish a knife....

Weapons are a growing problem in Sacramento City Unified high schools, according to police reports from the past five years. In the 2001-2002 school year, police documented finding 21 weapons. In the 2005-2006 school year, they documented 47. The trend indicates that students are scared, said William Lassiter, manager of the Center for Prevention of School Violence, based in Raleigh, N.C. "When weapons are increasing on campus, it's because students have the perception that the school is unsafe," Lassiter said. That's what the McClatchy student who accidentally shot himself in the hand told police: He said he brought a gun to school for protection.

Schools are a microcosm of the larger community, so it makes sense that crime in Sacramento's high schools has risen as crime citywide has gone up. The city of Sacramento has seen a roughly 60 percent increase in violent crime over the past five years. But serious crime in Sacramento City Unified high schools has gone up almost twice as fast....

McClatchy isn't the only school where teachers have seen students commit expellable offenses and still return to campus, said Marcie Launey, president of the district's teachers union. Teachers at Rosemont High School and Will C. Wood Middle School were assaulted by students this fall while trying to break up campus fistfights, Launey said. In both cases, she said, the students came back to school after brief suspensions.

The apparent disconnect between crime and punishment at district schools "needed some attention," Launey said. "The McClatchy thing just brought it out into the spotlight."

Expulsion is a lengthy, sometimes complicated, process that starts with a principal recommending a student be expelled, then involves hearings with the district office, and concludes with the school board voting to expel.

More here


Brain-dead Leftism has the same solution to everything

Gordon Brown never likes leaving anything to chance. His shirts are always white and once he settles on a new favourite tie, he will stick with it for months on end. The chancellor, who has had more long-term plans than Joseph Stalin, planned his final pre-budget report last Wednesday just as meticulously. The morning papers had been briefed and the broadcasters squared. Brown, worried that the news later that day from Washington of the Iraq Study Group's report would wipe his statement off the front pages, had toured the TV and radio studios at breakfast time. Irritated by the fact that Tony Blair had already eaten into his week by timing the announcement of Britain's Trident replacement last Monday, he was determined to grab what he regarded as his rightful share of coverage.

The centrepiece of his lunchtime speech to MPs was, as everyone had been forewarned, education. Just as Blair had started his premiership with a commitment to the "three Es" (education, education, education), so Brown was following suit. Education, he said, "would be our number one priority; education first now and into the future". There would be special tuition for six-year-olds falling behind in their reading; a bag of books for every five and 11-year-old; and "year-by-year improvements in investment in our schools". Most of all, in Brown's drive to make Britain "the most educated country in the world", there would, it appeared, be lots of money.

By 2010, the government would be investing more than 10 billion pounds a year in England's 21,000 school buildings, together with university and college premises, compared with just 1.5 billion in 1997. By then, he said, state school pupils could look forward to facilities as good as those enjoyed by Eton, Winchester and other independent schools; a cumulative 36 billion would be spent over four years lifting spending on buildings and equipment to private sector levels. Instead of tax cuts, he goaded David Cameron, he was putting money where it mattered, into Britain's future. As a down payment, tens of thousands would be paid direct to each school - 50,000 pounds for primaries and 200,000 at secondary level.

Brown's flurry of announcements was enough to get Labour backbenchers cheering him to the rafters, which was the idea; he now has no serious rival as prime minister. But for everybody else there was a powerful sense of deja vu. Hadn't he said all this before? The Institute for Fiscal Studies, Britain's tax and spending think tank, soon confirmed that he had. In a detailed dismantling of Brown's figures, the IFS pointed out that for all the chancellor's talk, there was very little new money. The Tories tracked some of the announcements back to 2002. The only new money, said Luke Sibieta of the IFS, was the direct payment to schools, worth 20 pounds per pupil. Brown's goal, of lifting all spending per pupil to independent sector levels, was still a long way away. Before he stood up, the gap was 2,350 a year. After he sat down it was 2,330....

But despite the smoke, mirrors and tax grabs, the chancellor had clearly set out his stall. Even though cash will be tight from now on, education will be the "number one priority". For some, that was profoundly depressing. Blair, after nearly a decade in office, has finally got the message that money is not the answer to Britain's education shortcomings, says Andrew Haldenby, director of the think tank Reform. Only by changing the system will things improve. But Brown, he believes, still thinks cash is king. "Last week Tony Blair argued that better learning comes from reform, based on stronger parental choice and better teaching," said Haldenby. "Brown has ignored reform and spoken only of extra spending. The evidence is on the prime minister's side: school spending has already risen in this decade from 26 billion to 43 billion without any impact on the trend of exam standards."

So will smart new buildings and extra cash improve Britain's education standards? Or is it a case of throwing good money after bad? ... Will Brown be a reformer or just a spender? Will his relentless desire to keep things under tight control prevent him offering schools the freedoms they need to succeed? Anthony Seldon, Blair's biographer and master of Wellington College, an independent school in Berkshire, said: "Brown will not seek to row back on these changes. He will continue the policies including opening more academies."

Others are not so sure. "The idea that you pump in extra money and then standards improve has been tested to destruction and it doesn't work," said Haldenby. "Yet Brown seems to believe that if you lift state school spending to the level of independents you'll solve the problem of our substandard schools. It won't."


Lack of practical education forces Rolls-Royce to find staff abroad: "A severe shortage of skills in Britain is forcing Rolls-Royce, one of Britain’s leading engineering companies, to recruit half its key staff overseas. The maker of aircraft engines has had to turn to Germany and other European countries in its search for engineers and procurement executives as the pool of talent shrinks in Britain’s declining manufacturing sector. Yesterday Rolls-Royce blamed its plight on the erosion of Britain’s manufacturing base,which has left talented engineers with fewer opportunities. It also said that industry was not being promoted by universities and schools as an attractive career opportunity. Sir John Rose, chief executive of Rolls-Royce, is known to have voiced concern that the shrinking of Britain’s industrial sector has deterred school- leavers and graduates from entering the engineering industry because they fear that it will not support them throughout their working lives. Sir John is also understood to believe that some parts of the Government are promoting creative industries and the services sector, but failing to promote manufacturing. A company spokeswoman said: “Rolls-Royce has no difficulty in recruiting the required skills at graduate level, but our biggest challenge is finding the right skill sets at mid-career. This is a reflection of the one million manufacturing jobs lost over the last ten years and the loss of critical mass.” The disclosure that Rolls-Royce is struggling to meet its recruitment needs comes days after the publication of the Leitch review into skills, which gave warning that the UK’s international competitiveness was being damaged by a lack of skilled workers


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 Pages are here or here or here.


Monday, December 11, 2006

UK: School or training plan for all under-18s

Imprisoning kids in useless schools for even longer -- what a lovely authoritarian dream

Moves to compel teenagers to stay on in school or training until 18 have been set in train by the government, the Guardian has learned. Alan Johnson, the education and skills secretary, a strong supporter of raising the minimum school leaving age from 16, is understood to have asked officials to begin work on a green paper examining ways to implement the change, for publication next year. The paper will not propose forcing pupils to stay in the classroom behind a desk after 16, but is likely to seek to ensure that if they leave school they move into training, study for a new diploma or take a job with training and a qualification attached.

Mr Johnson has been inspired by reforms in Ontario, Canada, where children now face a legal requirement to stay on full-time at school or college or enter formal training until 18. Introducing a similar law here could help tackle Britain's woeful record on dealing with the significant and persistent proportion of teenagers who slip through the net of work and study. Government figures released last week show 13% of 18-year-olds in England and Wales are in the so-called NEET category - not in education, employment or training. The proportion has remained fixed throughout Labour's nine years in office, and a report this week for the Rowntree Foundation said failure to deal with this group had damaged the government's drive to tackle poverty.

Moves by Mr Johnson to use legal change to try to crack the NEET problem comes as research shows that obliging teenagers to stay on even a short time longer at school boosts their chances of continuing in education or moving into employment, as well as increasing their earning power. A study for the institute for social and economic research at Essex University investigated the progress of individuals reaching school leaving age between 1962 and 1997. During this period, leaving-age pupils whose birthdays fell in the first half of the school year were allowed by law to leave school at the beginning of the Easter holiday (a right Tony Blair's government swiftly abolished), while their younger classmates had to stay on until the end of May.

Researchers compared the progress of students in both groups and found that forcing teenagers to stay on in school until the summer increased the likelihood they would stay on in full-time education by 12 percentage points. It also raised the probability that they would gain a qualification at age 16 by between 2.5% and 3.5%. In addition, there were workplace benefits, with those who had to stay in school showing about 1% higher employment rates and earning 2% more. But researchers Emilia Del Bono and Fernando Galindo-Rueda also found that this boost at work occurred only once the school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16 in 1974, so that the extra term in school meant students took more O levels, CSEs or GCSEs. The lesson for the government, they conclude, is that spending more time at school only has a long-term effect if students use the time to gain a qualification that employers then reward. "In short, exam dates matter," the study says.


Dumbed-down science "education" in Australia

Nobel prize-winning scientist Peter Doherty has attacked the way science is taught in Australian schools, with some students studying the lyrics of classic pop songs as part of the subject. In Queensland, Cat Stevens' song Where Do The Children Play? and Midnight Oil's hit River Runs Red about environmental degradation are studied in Year 8 and 9 science classes as part of an examination of science and society. Teaching resources prepared by the Queensland Studies Authority, responsible for the curriculum, include an analysis of song lyrics from the 1970s, '80s and '90s to explore "historical and cultural factors (that) influence the nature and direction of science which, in turn, affects the development of society". Science and society is one of five strands in the Queensland junior science syllabus, compulsory to the end of Year 10, which asserts that "science is a 'way of knowing"'.

But Professor Doherty, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1996, rejected the idea that science was "just another body of knowledge". "Before science, you have to go back to before 1500; so people who think science is just one way of knowing the world should go back and live then before we had a cure for things like plague," he said. "Science is evidence-based. It isn't perfect but it's based on experiment and observation and repeating findings," Professor Doherty added. "It's a specialised way of looking at the world. It isn't just a matter of discussion; it's a matter of looking for evidence, which is the difference between science and philosophy."

Other prominent scientists and educators said the Queensland syllabus was indicative of the way science was taught in schools around the nation, with curriculums reflecting a relativist philosophy that undermined the evidence-based approach central to the subject's study. Australian Council of Deans of Science president John Rice joined Professor Doherty in lamenting the creep of relativism into science curriculums. "Relativism is misplaced and it doesn't do justice to the real philosophical thinking; it's a shallow understanding of that philosophy," Professor Rice.

Professor Rice, dean of science at the University of Technology, Sydney, said the trend in school science syllabuses around the nation was a move away from specifying the knowledge students should understand. Instead, curriculums focused on the processes students should use, forgetting that in maths and science "these things are learned simultaneously". "They focus terribly on pedagogy, and the way knowledge and content is described is flawed," Professor Rice said. "Content turns out to be a list of topics instead of an understanding of what you want students to learn." A modern science syllabus might include a topic on the physics of amusement parks rather than specifying an understanding of motion and how you predict what's going to happen to moving things.

Peter Ridd, senior lecturer in physics at James Cook University, was a member of the subject advisory committee for science that oversaw the development of the new Queensland syllabus, to be introduced from 2008 for junior and senior students. Dr Ridd, with a group of university physicists, prepared a list for the senior physics course of fundamental concepts central to an understanding of physics in mechanics, waves and optics, electricity, magnetism, heat and matter. But he said the syllabus lacked content, had insufficient detail to instruct students on physics and failed to include maths as part of the course. The use by Galileo and Newton of maths in scientific thinking revolutionised the discipline but Dr Ridd said school syllabuses today excluded maths in the study of science.

A Queensland Studies Authority spokesman said the new science syllabuses to be introduced from 2008 would specify core content and reflect national standards agreed to by federal and state education ministers.



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 Pages are here or here or here.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christians Sue University for Fraternity Recognition

Christian lawyers have filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Georgia (UGA) after school officials refused to officially recognize a Christian fraternity. The lawyers pointed out that the university permits political party-affiliated groups to have a party membership requirement but won't allow a Christian group to require that its members be Christians. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia Tuesday, states that members of the Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity "will suffer and continue to suffer irreparable harm to their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights," because the university has refused to recognize the group.

The fraternity was recognized by the university during the 2005-2006 academic year, but recognition was revoked in 2006 because of the group's requirement that members profess Christian beliefs. University policy states that "student organizations ... may not exclude members on the basis of race, nationality, ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, and/or disability."

University recognition is important because it enables groups to access meeting space or advertise their events on campus. The lawsuit asks the court to require the university to recognize the group and to pay its legal fees. The fraternity, also called Brothers Under Christ, was formed at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 and maintains chapters at 17 universities, including UGA. The fraternity says it exists "for the purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ."

Lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Christian Legal Society (CLS), the groups suing the school on behalf of the students, say UGA's policy violates students' First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and assembly. "Christian student groups cannot be singled out for discrimination," Timothy Tracey, litigation counsel for CLS, said in a statement. "The right of association applies to all student groups on a public university campus." Tracey said the university "deprives Christian student groups of this right when they force them to open their membership and leadership to students who disagree with their Christian beliefs." "The university allows the Young Democrats to require its officers and members to be Democrats," Tracey said. "Why is it then that the university is telling Christian groups that they cannot require their officers and members to be Christians."

UGA does recognize Young Democrats, College Republicans and several Christian student groups including Campus Crusade for Christ and the Georgia Christian Student Center. It currently recognizes 35 fraternities and 24 sororities. UGA Assistant Director for Clubs and Organizations Josh Podvin directed questions about the lawsuit to Vice President of Student Affairs Rodney Barrett, who did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.


There is some precedent for courts overturning similar policies requiring non-discrimination in student groups. The ADF and CLS successfully challenged a non-discrimination requirement at the Southern Illinois University in July. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled that "when the government forces a group to accept for membership someone the group does not welcome and the presence of the unwelcome person 'affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate' its viewpoint, the government has infringed on the group's freedom of expressive association." That decision relied heavily on the 1974 Supreme Court case Healy v. James, in which the court overturned a Central Connecticut State College refusal to recognize Students for a Democratic Society, a radical left-wing student group. In Healy, the court ruled that the students' rights had been "impermissibly infringed because the school refused to confer student organization status and its attendant benefits on SDS," according to the 7th Circuit interpretation of the case. The court "drew a distinction between rules directed at a student organization's actions and rules directed at its advocacy or philosophy," ruling that the former is permissible but the latter is not.

The Christian Legal Society has also successfully convinced several universities - including Ohio State University and Penn State University - to grant religious groups exemptions from the non-discrimination policies without going to trial. David French, director of ADF's Center for Academic Freedom, said religious student groups are "often specifically targeted by universities" because they are "far outside the ideological mainstream of the university, which is deeply anti-religious." French said that universities are "completely captured by an ideology that says in essence ... religious organizations should not be able to exercise their faith in a way that would be offensive to another person, or in a way that they think would exclude another person."


The Australian Left wants education reform too

"Postmodern" bu**sh** may have finally had its day in Australua

Kevin Rudd will demand "quality control" from the nation's schools to guarantee the children of working families a good education. Setting out his broad guide to beating John Howard at next year's election, the new Opposition Leader said yesterday he would not allow the Commonwealth to shovel billions of dollars in education funding to the states without schools performing to adequate standards.

As Mr Rudd wrestled with the final places on his new front bench, expected to be announced over the weekend, he promised a review of all party policy over Christmas. He said Labor's industrial campaign would be extended "beyond the workplace", saying the most critical aspect of fairness from the party was in "educational opportunity".

"I mean educational opportunity for kids from working families to have a high quality of education with high standards applied to it, and that means a strong emphasis on the quality control of education outcomes," he told The Weekend Australian. "I am not interested in simply investing and providing greater investment into education in the absence of guarantees of quality outcomes for working families." Mr Rudd's new approach will put the states on notice that a future Labor government will demand strong results from its financial investment in schools.

In a veiled swipe at Kim Beazley, Mr Rudd said yesterday that while it was "early days yet", he would be reviewing all Labor policies and wanted to do away with the "mixed messages" of the past. "The problem often in the past has been message confusion, too much on offer and distinctions not clear enough. I intend to reduce it down and make it clear," Mr Rudd said.

More here

Australia: Far-Left education-wrecker to go

A nasty piece of goods all-round. Her chief talent seems to be in bed. Her boyfriend is the Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Eric Ripper

Besieged West Australian Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich is set to be dumped from her crisis-ridden Education portfolio within days. But she will not be sacked from cabinet, after a parliamentary committee investigating her conduct failed this week to recommend any action against her. Premier Alan Carpenter yesterday ruled out dropping Ms Ravlich from Cabinet. He said the Upper House committee's report was "non-conclusive" but he refused to back her retaining education in a reshuffle expected next week....

Ms Ravlich was tarnished earlier this year by her mishandling of curriculum changes which were to have been implemented in 2007 but have now been delayed. A public outcry forced the Premier to intervene in the push to enshrine outcomes-based education.

She was also tainted by her contact with disgraced former Labor premier Brian Burke, who brokered a meeting for her with the editor of The West Australian to discuss her negative publicity. But the death knell sounded when a damning Corruption and Crime Commission report on her department's failure to investigate sexual misconduct complaints against teachers was released in October. The parliamentary inquiry examined Ms Ravlich's claim that she didn't know about the 10-month CCC probe, which was why she did nothing about the problems in her department. The issue escalated when former Education Department chief Paul Albert said he told her about the probe four times.

On Thursday, a majority finding by the committee said she probably did know and also found she had misled parliament. But Mr Carpenter said "probably" was not definitely and there was still considerable doubt about how many times the matter was referred to the minister....

Opposition education spokesman Peter Collier said the Premier should move Ms Ravlich immediately. He said the education sector had been crippled by disenchantment and lack of confidence. "Wherever she goes she will take with her a baggage of incompetence and that's a shame for her next portfolio," Mr Collier said.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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