Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NYT Attacks Anti-PC Documentary, Defends College Censorship of Conservatives

Joseph Berger's column on education doubled as a film review. "Film Portrays Stifling of Speech, but One College's Struggle Reflects a Nuanced Reality" criticized an anti-PC documentary, "Indoctrinate U," by bringing in an incident that occurred at Vassar college that was not even featured in the movie. Berger actually defended Vassar punishing a conservative campus publication by defunding it and shutting it down for a year.

"A new documentary is making the rounds that argues, with vivid examples, that the nation's colleges are squelching freedom of expression and are no longer free marketplaces of ideas. "The film carries the striking title 'Indoctrinate U,' and was made by Evan Coyne Maloney, who describes himself as a libertarian and is looking for a national distributor. "The film borrows the technique of ambush interviews from an ideological opposite, Michael Moore, and tells how at California Polytechnic State University, a student underwent a daylong disciplinary hearing for posting a flier publicizing a black speaker whose talk was titled, 'It’s O.K. to Leave the Plantation.' "

The Times certainly likes Moore's films more than they do Maloney's.

"Does the film offer a fair picture of campus life in 2007, or is it just a pastiche of notorious events? One answer might be found here at Vassar, which faced its own dispute over what some called hate speech and others 'political correctness,' and emerged with its integrity more or less intact."

Why is "political correctness" in quote marks and "hate speech" not?

"The Imperialist, a publication of the school’s Moderate, Independent and Conservative Student Alliance, published a contributor's article in 2005 that criticized social centers for minority and gay students. The article called such centers 'ghettos' and said they turned Vassar into a 'zoological preserve.' "Students complained that the language was insulting and called for banning The Imperialist. For weeks, the issue was debated by the student association, which finances the publication. Ultimately, the group withheld its money for one year and publication was suspended."

Berger ludicrously defended the college's censorship.

"What was notable was that Vassar, a college of 2,360 students founded in the 19th century on progressive ideals -- and a place where conservatives remain a distinct minority -- hashed out the matter without violence and did not trash or burn newspapers as has happened at other campuses. "The Imperialist is publishing once again. Vassar seems to have made a distinction between forbidding publication of an idea and not allowing gratuitous racial insults to be hurled while examining that idea. 'Ultimately, free speech was respected,' said Mark Goreczny, 20, a student. 'There was a dialogue, polarized as it may have been.'"

Filmmaker Maloney doesn't understand the Times' treatment of his movie.

"Most of the article was spent addressing cases that weren’t in the film, rather than addressing what was in the film. The author also claims that 'professors, administrators and students say the national picture is far more complicated than that pictured in "Indoctrinate U,"' although I don't know how they could know that, because none of those people actually saw the film.

"One of the examples cited in the article (but not the film) was the case of a student paper published by Vassar's Moderate, Independent and Conservative Student Alliance. It was an odd selection of cases if the point was to argue that there's more 'nuance' to reality than what is shown in Indoctrinate U, because a close inspection of this case shows that it actually backs up the thesis of my film.

"The paper was de-funded and shut down for a year after publishing a piece criticizing the school’s funding of special 'social centers' for minority and gay students. But because the paper was eventually allowed to start publishing again -- the following year -- the Vassar case is presented as one in which '[u]ltimately, free speech was respected.' Sorry, but shutting down a paper for a year is not a benign event, and it is certainly not one in which we can say ;free speech was respected.' If Homeland Security shut down the Times for a year after exposing ways that we track terrorist financing, I'm sure they’d understand my position on this."

Heh! Maloney continued:

"Rather than address the multiple cases in the film where people were told to see school psychologists because they had the wrong set of views, rather than address the fact that people's academic careers were put in jeopardy for things like being registered in the 'wrong' political party, this piece ignores the evidence presented in the film to set up an alternative straw man to knock down. "And when the author finally gets around to discussing cases that are actually in the film, he minimizes them by leaving out the most vital information.”

Back to Berger's criticism of "Indoctrinate U":

"A spectrum of professors, administrators and students say the national picture is far more complicated than that pictured in 'Indoctrinate U,' a point the dust-up at Vassar illustrates. Yes, periodically there are embarrassing incidents, like the disruption of speakers at Columbia last October who opposed illegal immigration. But most colleges are still places where unorthodox ideas are explored and debated."

Many conservatives would settle for a place where "orthodox ideas" are debated -- opposition to illegal immigration is quite mainstream and popular, as shown by today's defeat of Bush's immigration bill.


British school admission policies severely handicap younger children

Babies born in the summer are at least 20 per cent less likely than those born in winter to go to university, research suggests. An analysis of university admission by month of birth indicates that 10,000 young people each year fail to go to university because they were born late in the school year. Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that although it had long been known that summer babies, who were the youngest in their class, tended to perform less well at school than winter babies it had long been assumed that the summer babies “caught up” with their peers by their teens.

Figures from the Higher Education Funding Council for England suggest that this is not the case. Boys born in August are 25 per cent less likely to go to university than those born in September. Girls born in August are 20 per cent less likely to attend than those born in September. Mr Bekhradnia said: “There can be a 20 per cent age difference between a five-year-old and a six-year-old in the same class at school. The younger child may be far behind in developmental terms and may simply not know what is going on. This can have the effect of turning them off.”

When the disadvantages of birth month are combined with the performance of students by gender, the results are more startling. Girls born in September are 50 per cent more likely to attend university than boys born in August.

Mr Bekhradnia said that disadvantage caused by birth month was easily avoidable because it was the direct result of the “administrative convenience” demanded by local authorities and schools when admitting children into reception classes at age 5. The solution, he suggested, would be to make it easier for summer-born children to be held back a year if they were struggling to keep up with older children in their class — a practice used successfully in other countries.

Chris Saleh, of the Institute for Education, said that whereas summer babies of high ability tended to catch up with their peers, less able children often failed to gain parity. “Summer babies who are less able are often less mature and, as the years go by, they do less of the curriculum than other, older children in their class. That makes it harder and harder for them to catch up,” Ms Saleh said. But she rejected the suggestion of allowing children to repeat a year of school. A better solution, she suggested, may be to give schools, families and local authorities more flexibility over when to admit children.


Western Australia clinging grimly to its "postmodern" school assessment system

Thus giving teachers a useless extra workload

The State School Teachers Union says teachers are struggling to meet the conflicting demands of a federally-imposed marking system which requires students to be graded from A to E. The union's President Mike Keely says teachers are being forced to combine conflicting directives from the Federal and State Governments which are simply incompatible. Under the Federal system teachers are forced to award students traditional A to E grades, while the State Government requires levels-based assessment through grading charts.

Mr Keely says in many cases politicians are enforcing systems without any idea of their implications. "We are now coping with the Federal Minister's A-B-C and D system and E system, even for students in year one which is absurd, and we are also coping with a levels system which for many teachers in the state is still problematic," he said.

He says the two systems are simply incompatible and the union is doing all it can to change them, but teachers are working hard to overcome the challenges within the marking system. "I have a great deal of trust in teachers. Teachers have always been able to say to students look you will do well if you pick up this course, this course and this course, in year 11 and on to year 12, we are very good at that, we have been doing it for a long time, we will tell students and parents if necessary that grade doesn't give a good indication."



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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1 comment:

al fin said...

The NYT had better be very, very careful. If Maloney decides to go after the NYT in his next film, it would probably be the end of that corrupt "news" organisation.