Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Frankenstein Finkelstein misses out on tenure

His biased approach to the facts is an insult to every academic virtue

Norman G. Finkelstein, the controversial political scientist who has been engaged in a highly public battle for tenure at DePaul University, learned today that he had lost that fight. In a written statement released to The Chronicle, the university confirmed that Mr. Finkelstein had been denied tenure. Mr. Finkelstein's department and a college-level personnel committee both voted in favor of tenure, but the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wrote a memorandum against it, and the University Board on Promotion and Tenure voted against granting tenure. The final decision rested with the university's president, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, who said in the statement that he had found "no compelling reasons to overturn" the tenure board's recommendation.

"I played by the rules, and it plainly wasn't enough to overcome the political opposition to my speaking out on the Israel-Palestine conflict," Mr. Finkelstein said in an interview. "This decision is not going to deter me from making statements that, so far as I can tell from the judgment of experts in the field, are sound and factually based."

Mr. Finkelstein's case has excited widespread interest, in part because of the involvement of Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard University. The two scholars have sparred repeatedly in public. Last fall, Mr. Dershowitz sent members of DePaul's law and political-science faculties what he described as "a dossier of Norman Finkelstein's most egregious academic sins, and especially his outright lies, misquotations, and distortions." Informed of the news this evening, Mr. Dershowitz said, "It was the right decision, proving that DePaul University is indeed a first-rate university, not as Finkelstein characterized it, `a third-rate university.' Based on objective standards of scholarship, this should not have even been a close case."

In the DePaul statement, Father Holtschneider decried the outside interest the case had generated. "This attention was unwelcome and inappropriate and had no impact on either the process or the outcome of this case."


British class divide hits learning by age of three

The heritability and importance of IQ rediscovered (but not admitted): Disadvantaged children lagging a full year behind before they start school

By the age of three, children from disadvantaged families are already lagging a full year behind their middle-class contemporaries in social and educational development, pioneering research by a London university reveals today. A "generation Blair" project, tracking the progress of 15,500 boys and girls born between 2000 and 2002, found a divided nation in which a child's start in life was still determined by the class, education, marital status and ethnic background of the parents. The results are likely to disappoint ministers committed to improving the life chances of disadvantaged children, notably through the Sure Start programme to develop potential in pre-school years. But the research could not establish how much more stark the divisions might have been without Sure Start's introduction in 1998.

In a series of vocabulary tests, the three-year-old sons and daughters of graduate parents were found to be 10 months ahead of those from families with few educational qualifications; they were 12 months ahead in their understanding of colours, letters, numbers, sizes and shapes. Researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education in the University of London found girls were three months ahead of boys on both measures. Less predictably, Scottish children were three months ahead of the UK average in language development and two months ahead in "school readiness".

Mothers in Scotland were more likely than those in the three other countries to have jobs and set clear rules governing the child's behaviour. Similarly, Scottish fathers were more likely to read to their children, perhaps assisting early years development.

The programme - called the millennium cohort study - began tracking the children soon after they were born, recording the circumstances of pregnancy and birth, parental background and progress in the early months of life. Professor Heather Joshi, director of the programme, said previous research had showed that children from deprived homes were less educationally advanced at five and seven years old. The millennium study was the first using a big national sample to measure the attainment gap at three. The results will be used in the government's evaluation of the Sure Start programme to establish whether it is helping working class children narrow the gap.

Prof Joshi said: "Children from poorer homes are less likely to have working mothers and so they do not get so much out-of-home childcare." She could not tell how much wider the attainment gap might have been without Sure Start. She added: "These children are on a marathon. They should not be written off if they come through their early years and are not ahead in the race. The families into which they were born did not provide a level starting point. They are not leaping out of their diverse backgrounds unmarked by their early experiences."

The survey found Bangladeshi children were about a year behind their white contemporaries in "school readiness" tests. Pakistani children did slightly better. A quarter of black children from African and Caribbean backgrounds were delayed in their development, compared with 4% of white children. These results may have been linked to family income. Two-thirds of the Bangladeshi and Pakistani three-year-olds were from families living below the poverty line, compared with 42% of black children and less than 25% of white and Indian children.

Across all ethnic minority communities, 72% of children with single mothers were growing up in poverty. The study set the poverty threshold at 60% of national average family income. A Department for Education spokesman said last night: "Closing attainment gaps between different groups of children is a massive priority for us. We are working hard to provide support such as catch-up lessons, one-to-one tuition and wraparound support for children and families - for example the Sure Start programme." [Translation: Fanatical Leftist belief in equality impels us to keep pissing into the wind despite all the evidence that it does nobody any good. Jensen and Murray gave them the facts on class, IQ and education many years ago but facts are no match for ideology]



Post lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

"Thousands of 3- and 4-year-olds in Pittsburgh are at greater risk of eventually becoming criminals because not enough money is being spent on pre-kindergarten programs, according to a report released Thursday by a group urging the Legislature to fund such programs," reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

OK, so suppose you've just been convicted of a crime in Pittsburgh. You're facing hard time, and you're hoping to catch a break on the sentence, so you're looking for mitigating factors. But darn it, you went to nursery school! So much for that!

Not so fast. Check out this article from Scotland on Sunday:

Evidence is mounting that young children who spend significant periods of time in daycare while their parents work are more prone to developing aggressive and antisocial behaviour. A new study from the United States suggests that children who went to nursery during their pre-school years rather than staying at home were more likely to be disruptive once formal education began.

This ought to make life easier for parents of toddlers. Since their kids are more likely to turn into criminals whether they to go preschool or not, there's no need to stress out over the decision.


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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