Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bigoted British academics push through boycott of Israel

Post below lifted from American Thinker. See the original for links

An alliance of Islamist and Leftist groups has finally managed to drive through a boycott resolution against Israel's universities in the British faculty union, the University and Colleges Union. Offir Frankel, who directs the anti-boycott efforts at Bar-Ilan University, expressed amazement that

"the extremists who led their union to such an initiative decided not to discuss the option to pass this initiative to a vote of all 120,000 members, a decision that could have allowed the majority to rescue their union from this discriminatory action by re-harnessing the values of academic freedom, discourse and debate..."

But that's of course how the hard Left operates, by infiltrating the top of labor unions. That is an old, old tactic. It is how NOW (National Organization of Women) peddled the fraud that it represented all women in America, and how Jesse Jackson claims to represent all blacks in the country.

British Jews have hidden their heads in the sand. They have not mobilized effectively against the constant barrage of anti-Israel propaganda emerging from the Left (including the Guardian and BBC) and Islamic fascists, who are directly funded by Saudi Wahhabis. They may finally be waking up. Jeremy Newmark, of Jewish Leadership Council, is quoted as pointing out that "The UCU boycott motion is an assault on academic freedom." Indeed.

The United States is hardly immune to the new Left-fascist alliance. The World Union of Jewish Students points out that "In campuses abroad the climate of hostility towards the State of Israel and Jewish students is getting stronger." It is an ominous day for human liberty.

Discipline still problematical in British schools

Tony, a little boy in an oversized uniform, was trembling at the back of the playground. As I approached I could see why. He had fresh bruises on his face and little knife cuts on the back of his hand. At the far corner of the playground, I saw John, a large boy of 13 hovering, watching Tony and me closely. I asked Tony whether he was being picked on. His arm looked like someone had cut him with a knife. With a look of anxiety on his face, Tony denied this.

Wondering why John was hovering so circumspectly, I asked to look in his bag. He refused point-blank. I retreated, knowing that I didn’t have the power to do anything. I decided to fill in a report to Tony’s Year Head instead, voicing my suspicions. It was all I could do in the circumstances. A couple of hours later, John’s father phoned to complain that I had been wanting to look through his “private possessions”.

Thankfully, new powers that came into force just yesterday will give teachers like me the legal right to search pupils if they suspect they may have a weapon. Characters like John will no longer be able to bully kids with knives and get away with it, parents like his father will no longer be able to complain. Teachers will be able to breathe a sigh of relief that for once the Government has given them a little more power to impose order in our chaotic secondary schools. The statistics show that many schools are frenzied places. A recent report by the schools’ inspectorate reporting declining standards of behaviour in secondary schools – a third of lessons are ruined by poor behaviour.

Last year the police had to be called a number of times to avert riots at my local secondary school; one parent told me that her 15-year-old son carried a knife to school for self-defence. She, and many other parents like her throughout the country, are now grateful that the school has the power to search pupils thoroughly – with metal detectors – before they enter the premises. Finally, the school will become a safer place.

But how did we get into this sorry state where schools have to waste precious resources and time on simply checking that pupils are not carrying weapons? Ironically, the law has undoubtedly played a big role in the breakdown of order. With its focus upon children’s rights, it appears to have thrown the pupil out with the bath water. Perhaps most significantly, corporal punishment was made illegal in 1986, with teachers being stripped of many other sanctions that they used to apply. For example, we can’t detain a pupil for more than 20 minutes after school without giving 24 hours’ written notice to a pupil’s parent.

When I first started teaching in a tough comprehensive in the East End in the early 1990s, quite a few teachers would clip miscreants around the ear and expect them to behave. Generally, it worked because the pupils then weren’t fully aware that they could get their teacher sacked for doing this. Being a naive young teacher, I used this technique on a few occasions but I came unstuck when a pupil complained. Luckily, the matter was sorted out amicably – but I have never so much as touched a pupil from that day onwards.

I know that this has been to the detriment of my pupils. In particular, I have never physically attempted to break up fights between pupils or get between them – what if the pupil accuses you of assaulting them rather than stopping the fight? In April this year the law changed and now allows teachers to “use reasonable force” when restraining pupils from fighting or misbehaving.

But the law remains murky: in particular, the Human Rights Act means that children can still sue or sack teachers if they feel their “privacy, dignity and physical integrity” has been compromised. One colleague of mine was suspended for a year before being reinstated after an allegation that he had hit a child while stopping a fight was proved to be false. Often headteachers and governing bodies take the side of the pupils if there are a number of pupils saying that you are in the wrong. It’s not worth the hassle. You’re far better off letting the pupils beat the hell out of each other than intervening.

Much of the time the teacher is not, however, the target of disruption: it’s bullying and squabbling among a peer group that causes the worst problems, because disagreements can rumble on for weeks, months, years, erupting without warning in classrooms and playgrounds. The internet and mobile phones have aggravated the situation: now a nasty rumour, an embarrassing photo, a cutting remark can be spread around about a pupil within seconds and everyone knows about it. Within this climate, pupils seek revenge. Seven teenagers were murdered in London this year essentially over very trivial remarks: it appeared that they “dissed” or disrespected the wrong people.

The truth is that in huge schools teachers are overwhelmed by numbers. Pupil behaviour is much better in primary schools. This isn’t simply because the children are younger, it’s also because the schools are smaller and teachers are better able to form proper relationships with their pupils. A survey in April showed that temporary exclusions are running at nearly 10 per cent of pupils in secondary schools with more than 1,000 pupils, compared with 3 per cent in those with 1,000 or fewer children. We need to look at ways of making schools more “human-sized”.

Simply giving teachers the legal right to search pupils for weapons isn’t enough. We need to break up our larger schools into smaller, more manageable units. Above all, we must tighten the law even further so that teachers know they won’t be sued or sacked if they physically stop fights or challenge misbehaviour that blights Britain’s secondary schools.


Widespread parent dissatisfaction with Australian schools

AUSTRALIAN parents are largely unhappy with the quality of school education, says a new Federal Government report. The survey of 2000 parents, conducted earlier this year, found many believed their children were receiving a substandard education. Only 58 per cent of parents said primary schooling was up to scratch, and less than 40 per cent said secondary schooling was acceptable. Dissatisfaction has jumped since the last Parents' Attitudes to Schooling survey in 2003, where 61 per cent of parents said primary school education was good or very good, and 51 per cent said secondary education was good or very good.

Those with a child in a non-government school were happier with both education and teacher quality than those with a child in a state school.

Just over a third of parents surveyed this year said they believed their child would leave school with adequate literacy and numeracy skills. Only one in five thought their child had learned enough about Australian history, and less then half said they had received adequate science lessons. However, more than 72 per cent were satisfied with the quality of teaching at their child's school.

Premier Steve Bracks yesterday defended the state's schools, saying Victoria has the best-performing education system in the country. "Our completion rates for year 12 education and its equivalent is going up, our literacy and numeracy levels are going up, we have the lowest teacher to student ratios ever in Victoria's history," Mr Bracks said. "Also, we have committed to rebuilding or modernising every school in the state. "The survey was done before the Budget where we committed $1 billion to . . . education."

Australian Education Union Victorian president Mary Bluett said the survey did not accurately reflect parents' attitudes. "In terms of their child's school and teachers, parents say they have high satisfaction; however, when asked . . . how they think education is going, their attitudes change and that reflects a general talking down of schools. "There has been a relentless attack on standards and the quality of teaching from the Federal Government, and parents have picked up on that."



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"

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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