Saturday, February 24, 2007


Comment by a U Washington Prof. on the foolish "discovery" Math teaching method that now replaces the old but proven tell-and-practice method. Why are kids subjected to educational theories that sound fine but which do not have proven results? Do all the kids in a State have to be used as Guinea pigs just so some "educators" can feel good?

Washington students are coming to college unprepared for college math, with most unable to handle basic algebra. The math remediation rate in college is now 30 percent; 40 percent of high school students can't pass the WASL after two tries; math assessment scores of incoming freshmen have plunged at the UW; tutoring companies are enjoying triple-digit growth, and the move toward reform curricula is leaving students without the ability to do or understand math. Reform advocates like to parade Washington's average scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress as a mark of success. But varying demographics, curricula and application of this exam among states makes it a completely useless tool of comparison.

Supposed myth: Our state math standards are rated F. The truth: Our state math standards were rated an F and deserve it.

Reform math advocates like to paint the criticism of state math by the Fordham Foundation as the work of a conservative mind-set. In reality, the study that flunked our state standards was directed by an admittedly liberal California mathematician who selected the rest of the committee and was the primary author of the report. It's interesting that true-blue California was given the honors as having the best math standards in the nation.

Supposed myth: The WASL is a bad test. The truth: The WASL is not only a bad test, but it reinforces all the bad aspects of reform math.

The WASL exam reflects the reform math curricula that Warfield defends: Students are not taught, but asked to discover math for themselves, practice and competence with algorithms (such as long division and use of fractions) are neglected, and calculators are heavily applied. In fact, the WASL is too easy an exam and does not evaluate key ideas and skills needed in college and the real world. The WASL is also an extraordinarily expensive exam, and its development and scoring are done by one company, which also makes some of the leading reform textbooks. The WASL provides no usable information for the improvement of student learning or curriculum. Finally, because the WASL is used only in our state, we can't determine how well our students are doing compared with the rest of the country.

Warfield suggests the math problem will be solved if we just have more patience and put more resources into teacher training and parent education. That is a myth. The truth is that the reform math methods espoused by many in the educational community have made the situation infinitely worse and a generation of students are being lost to this experiment. More money is not the solution; better curricula that model the successes in those nations and states with the most success in math instruction is the only sure approach. Staying the course, as in international relations, is not always wise, especially when we already have entered the shoals of math failure and our children are the certain victims.



Comment from D.C. by Casey Lartigue

I tend not to address points raised by people commenting on posts. In the back-and-forth of such discussions, people sometimes say things they don't mean or take extreme positions. In other cases they are just trying to be provocative, especially when they can remain anonymous.

But a discussion on Greg Mankiw's blog caught my attention. That's because a couple of the folks suggested that parents don't really have the knowledge to make decisions about the quality of schools.

Between 2002-2004 I was actively involved in the fight to get school vouchers for families in DC. I often heard the argument that parents don't know how to choose between good and bad schools and that, anyway, parents had enough choices with the school system's "out-of-boundary" options and charters (that had also been opposed).

Without getting too deep into the out-of-boundary program, I'll point out that Woodrow Wilson HS, considered one of the best schools in the city, received 520 applications from parents out of the school's zone. That is even though it had ZERO available spaces for students to transfer to the school and parents KNEW there would be few spaces available. Deal Junior High, a feeder school for Wilson, had 532 applications, but only ten openings.

At the same time, D.C. parents shunned the low achieving schools. Anacostia Senior High School had 80 spaces available, but only seven applicants. Ballou SHS had 220 available spaces, but only three applicants. In 2002, fewer than 800 of the 7,000 children who applied for out-of-boundary spots were granted permission, mainly because many of the available slots are in low-performing schools (the same problem hindering NCLB). From my on-the-ground conversations with parents, visits to schools, going door-to-door in neighborhoods, based on community meetings I attended and speeches I gave, parents were quite aware of the level of violence and the level of achievement in the schools.

The main point is, based on what I wrote above: intellectuals, experts, and politicians greatly underestimate the knowledge and information that parents have about schools.


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, February 23, 2007

Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs lambasted teacher unions today, claiming no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers. Jobs compared schools to businesses with principals serving as CEOs. "What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?" he asked to loud applause during an education reform conference. "Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, 'I can't win.'"

In a rare joint appearance, Jobs shared the stage with competitor Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Both spoke to the gathering about the potential for bringing technological advances to classrooms. "I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

At various pauses, the audience applauded enthusiastically. Dell sat quietly with his hands folded in his lap. "Apple just lost some business in this state, I'm sure," Jobs said.

Dell responded that unions were created because "the employer was treating his employees unfairly and that was not good." "So now you have these enterprises where they take good care of their people. The employees won, they do really well and succeed." Dell also blamed problems in public schools on the lack of a competitive job market for principals.

Earlier in the panel discussion, Jobs told the crowd about his vision for textbook-free schools in the future. Textbooks would be replaced with a free, online information source that was constantly updated by experts, much like the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. "I think we'd have far more current material available to our students, and we'd be freeing up a tremendous amount of funds that we could buy delivery vehicles with - computers, faster Internet, things like that," Jobs said. "And I also think we'd get some of the best minds in the country contributing."



David Cameron said yesterday that he wanted to send his daughter to a state school and, like Tony Blair before him, entered into an educational controversy. Rather than choose a grant-maintained school, as Mr Blair did, the Conservative leader is opting for a faith school. “I’m quite a fan of faith schools and we’re looking at a church school we’re very keen on, but we’ll have to see what places are available,” he told You and Yours, the BBC Radio 4 programme.

Mr Cameron — who during his leadership campaign said that he did not attend church as often as he should — has become an active participant at St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington, West London, and hopes to get his three-year-old daughter, Nancy, into the highly prized and secluded school in the church grounds.

Mr Cameron’s regular appearances at the church risks raising speculation that, like many middle-class parents, his interest in the church could at least partially be influenced by his interest in its school. Mr Cameron’s aides denied the suggestion, insisting that he had always attended church regularly, near his home in London and in his Witney constituency. They said that he had been attending the church for about two years, that it had a crãche for his children, and that Nancy was 18 months from school starting age. “He goes to the church whenever he is in London on Sunday, which is very regularly,” a spokesman said.

St Mary Abbots Church of England Primary School lies less than two miles from Mr Cameron’s home. However, there are 46 other state schools that are closer, and not nearly as desirable. The ones closest to his London home are large and with low educational standards. The school, which was founded in 1645 and takes only 30 pupils a year, is among the best schools in the borough, with parents describing it as “gorgeous” and “traditional”. In stark contrast to his predecessors, Mr Cameron has often said that he wants to send his children to a state school. His four-year-old son, Ivan, who has cerebral palsy, attends a state special school.

Yesterday, in an uncanny echo of Tony Blair’s decision to send his children to the London Oratory School miles from Downing Street, Mr Cameron told the BBC that he wanted to send Nancy to a faith school. His main concern appeared to be that Nancy would be overwhelmed by an ordinary state school, with the two closest to his home having more than 300 pupils. “I do worry that some of the primary schools — maybe I’m being overprecious and protective of my daughter — but you sort of feel that your small child is going to go into this enormous state primary school and may get a bit lost,” he said.

However, unlike Mr Blair, who was criticised for sending his children to a selective school, there is no suggestion of hypocrisy. “I want parents to have a choice. In London you have a choice,” he said.

The school has a complex admissions procedure, but parents’ chances of getting a child in are far higher if they play an active part in the church. Father Gillean Craig, chairman of the governors, said: “We’re delighted with the way he [Mr Cameron] and his wife play a strong part in the church.”


Australia: Literacy breakthrough?

Kids to learn plain English at last, apparently

QUEENSLAND students from Year 1 to Year 10 will have a new plain English syllabus from the middle of next year. It will emphasise the teaching of reading, spelling, grammar and punctuation and the importance of literature. "Curriculum waffle is out, clear English is in," Education Minister Rod Welford said. He said the new syllabus would take a "nuts-and-bolts" approach to help children write well and speak clearly while encouraging them to read and think.

The syllabus is being drawn up by the Queensland Studies Authority after a review of the preschool to Year 10 syllabus last year. The review was conducted by Sunshine Coast-based education consultant Ray Land, a former teacher and education official. Part of the draft syllabus will be available on the authority's website from next month for public scrutiny and feedback, and the full syllabus is to be ready for approval by the authority's board by October. This will allow support materials and teacher training to be provided ahead of the introduction of the syllabus from the start of Semester 2 next year.

The new syllabus was welcomed by Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Associations executive officer Greg Donaldson. "If this new QSA syllabus is going to improve the literacy levels of our kids we would support it," he said. Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said teachers had been heavily involved in the process and were satisfied with the new syllabus.

The redeveloped syllabus would be organised in three strands: speaking and listening, reading and viewing, and writing and shaping. "There will be greater emphasis on correct spelling, grammar and punctuation," said QSA assistant director (syllabus services) Bob Dudley. He said the syllabus would be more balanced in terms of the texts studied with wide range of books, poetry and plays to be read. He said material from the internet, films and television programs would also be included.

The syllabus will be much more specific than it is at present. For example, it is envisaged that by the end of Year 3 students will be able to:

* Identify and record main ideas and make simple inferences.

* Organise and sequence one or two main ideas with some supporting detail.

* Create texts that tell stories, recount, report on, explain, give opinions or transact.

* Use punctuation to signal the meaning boundaries of simple sentences.

* Create and play with representations of people, places, events and things for an audience by selecting descriptive words, images, facial expressions and gestures.

The syllabus requires teachers to use a range of measures, including phonics and whole word recognition, to teach reading to young children. Students' progress will also be tightly monitored under the new syllabus. The syllabus is being drawn up by a team of QSA staff with input from a panel of 20 teachers. Focus groups of parents have also been consulted



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, February 22, 2007

Future School

Alvin Toffler tells us what's wrong -- and right -- with public education

Forty years after he and his wife Heidi set the world alight with Future Shock, Alvin Toffler remains a tough assessor of our nation's social and technological prospects. Though he's best known for his work discussing the myriad ramifications of the digital revolution, he also loves to speak about the education system that is shaping the hearts and minds of America's future. We met with him near his office in Los Angeles, where the celebrated septuagenarian remains a clear and radical thinker.

You've been writing about our educational system for decades. What's the most pressing need in public education right now?

Shut down the public education system.

That's pretty radical.

I'm roughly quoting (Microsoft chairman) Bill Gates, who said, "We don't need to reform the system; we need to replace the system."

Why not just readjust what we have in place now? Do we really need to start from the ground up?

We should be thinking from the ground up. That's different from changing everything. However, we first have to understand how we got the education system that we now have. Teachers are wonderful, and there are hundreds of thousands of them who are creative and terrific, but they are operating in a system that is completely out of time. It is a system designed to produce industrial workers.

Let's look back at the history of public education in the United States. You have to go back a little over a century. For many years, there was a debate about whether we should even have public education. Some parents wanted kids to go to school and get an education; others said, "We can't afford that. We need them to work. They have to work in the field, because otherwise we starve." There was a big debate. Late in the 1800s, during the Industrial Revolution, business leaders began complaining about all these rural kids who were pouring into the cities and going to work in our factories. Business leaders said that these kids were no good, and that what they needed was an educational system that would produce "industrial discipline."

What is industrial discipline?

Well, first of all, you've got to show up on time. Out in the fields, on the farms, if you go out with your family to pick a crop, and you come ten minutes late, your uncle covers for you and it's no big deal. But if you're on an assembly line and you're late, you mess up the work of ten thousand people down the line. Very expensive. So punctuality suddenly becomes important.

You don't want to be tardy.

Yes. In school, bells ring and you mustn't be tardy. And you march from class to class when the bells ring again. And many people take a yellow bus to school. What is the yellow bus? A preparation for commuting. And you do rote and repetitive work as you would do on an assembly line.

How does that system fit into a world where assembly lines have gone away?

It doesn't. The public school system is designed to produce a workforce for an economy that will not be there. And therefore, with all the best intentions in the world, we're stealing the kids' future.

Do I have all the answers for how to replace it? No. But it seems to me that before we can get serious about creating an appropriate education system for the world that's coming and that these kids will have to operate within, we have to ask some really fundamental questions. And some of these questions are scary. For example: Should education be compulsory? And, if so, for who? Why does everybody have to start at age five? Maybe some kids should start at age eight and work fast. Or vice versa. Why is everything massified in the system, rather than individualized in the system? New technologies make possible customization in a way that the old system -- everybody reading the same textbook at the same time -- did not offer.

You're talking about customizing the educational experience.

Exactly. Any form of diversity that we can introduce into the schools is a plus. Today, we have a big controversy about all the charter schools that are springing up. The school system people hate them because they're taking money from them. I say we should radically multiply charter schools, because they begin to provide a degree of diversity in the system that has not been present. Diversify the system.

In our book Revolutionary Wealth, we play a game. We say, imagine that you're a policeman, and you've got a radar gun, and you're measuring the speed of cars going by. Each car represents an American institution. The first one car is going by at 100 miles an hour. It's called business. Businesses have to change at 100 miles an hour because if they don't, they die. Competition just puts them out of the game. So they're traveling very, very fast. Then comes another car. And it's going at 10 miles an hour. That's the public education system. Schools are supposed to be preparing kids for the business world of tomorrow, to take jobs, to make our economy functional. The schools are changing, if anything, at 10 miles an hour. So, how do you match an economy that requires 100 miles an hour with an institution like public education? A system that changes, if at all, at 10 miles an hour?

It's a tough juxtaposition. So, what to do? Suppose you were made head of the U.S. Department of Education. What would be the first items on your agenda?

The first thing I'd say: "I want to hear something I haven't heard before." I just hear the same ideas over and over and over again. I meet teachers who are good and well intentioned and smart, but they can't try new things, because there are too many rules. They tell me that "the bureaucratic rules make it impossible for me to do what you're suggesting." So, how do we bust up that? It is easy to develop the world's best technologies compared with how hard it is to bust up a big bureaucracy like the public education system with the enormous numbers of jobs dependent on it and industries that feed it.

Here's a complaint you often hear: We spend a lot of money on education, so why isn't all that money having a better result?

It's because we're doing the same thing over and over again. We're holding forty or fifty million kids prisoner for x hours a week. And the teacher is given a set of rules as to what you're going to say to the students, how you're going to treat them, what you want the output to be, and let no child be left behind. But there's a very narrow set of outcomes. I think you have to open the system to new ideas.

When I was a student, I went through all the same rote repetitive stuff that kids go through today. And I did lousy in any number of things. The only thing I ever did any good in was in English. It's what I love. You need to find out what each student loves. If you want kids to really learn, they've got to love something. For example, kids may love sports. If I were putting together a school, I might create a course, or a group of courses, on sports. But that would include the business of sports, the culture of sports, the history of sports -- and once you get into the history of sports, you then get into history more broadly.

Integrate the curricula.

Yeah -- the culture, the technology, all these things.

Like real life.

Like real life, yes! And, like in real life, there is an enormous, enormous bank of knowledge in the community that we can tap into. So, why shouldn't a kid who's interested in mechanical things or engines or technology meet people from the community who do that kind of stuff, and who are excited about what they are doing and where it's going? But at the rate of change, the actual skills that we teach, or that they learn by themselves, about how to us his gizmo or that gizmo, that's going to be obsolete -- who knows? -- in five years or in five minutes.

So, that's another thing: Much of what we're transmitting is doomed to obsolescence at a far more rapid rate than ever before. And that knowledge becomes what we call obsoledge: obsolete knowledge. We have this enormous bank of obsolete knowledge in our heads, in our books, and in our culture. When change was slower, obsoledge didn't pile up as quickly. Now, because everything is in rapid change, the amount of obsolete knowledge that we have -- and that we teach -- is greater and greater and greater. We're drowning in obsolete information. We make big decisions -- personal decisions -- based on it, and public and political decisions based on it.

Is the idea of a textbook in the classroom obsolete?

I'm a wordsmith. I write books. I love books. So I don't want to be an accomplice to their death. But clearly, they're not enough. The textbooks are the same for every child; every child gets the same textbook. Why should that be? Why shouldn't some kids get a textbook -- and you can do this online a lot more easily than you can in print -- why shouldn't a kid who's interested in one particular thing, whether it's painting or drama, or this or that, get a different version of the textbook than the kid sitting in the next seat, who is interested in engineering?

Let's have a little exercise. Walk me through this school you'd create. What do the classrooms look like? What are the class sizes? What are the hours?

It's open twenty-four hours a day. Different kids arrive at different times. They don't all come at the same time, like an army. They don't just ring the bells at the same time. They're different kids. They have different potentials. Now, in practice, we're not going to be able to get down to the micro level with all of this, I grant you, but in fact, I would be running a twentyfour- hour school, I would have nonteachers working with teachers in that school, I would have the kids coming and going at different times that make sense for them.

The schools of today are essentially custodial: They're taking care of kids in work hours that are essentially nine to five -- when the whole society was assumed to work. Clearly, that's changing in our society. So should the timing. We're individualizing time; we're personalizing time. We're not having everyone arrive at the same time, leave at the same time. Why should kids arrive at the same time and leave at the same time?

And when do kids begin their formalized education?

Maybe some start at two or three, and some start at seven or eight -- I don't know. Every kid is different.

What else?

I think that schools have to be completely integrated into the community, to take advantage of the skills in the community. So, there ought to be business offices in the school, from various kinds of business in the community.

The name of your publication is Edutopia, and utopia is three-quarters of that title. I'm giving a utopian picture, perhaps. I don't know how to solve all those problems and how to make that happen. But what it all boils down to is, get the current system out of your head.

How does the role of the teacher change?

I think (and this is not going to sit very well with the union) that maybe teaching shouldn't be a lifetime career. Maybe it's important for teachers to quit for three or four years and go do something else and come back. They'll come back with better ideas. They'll come back with ideas about how the outside world works, in ways that would not have been available to them if they were in the classroom the whole time. So, let's sit down as a culture, as a society, and say, "Teachers, parents, people outside, how do we completely rethink this? We're going to create a new system from ground zero, and what new ideas have you got?" And collect those new ideas. That would be a very healthy thing for the country to do.

You're advocating for fundamental radical changes. Are you an optimist when it comes to public education?

I just feel it's inevitable that there will have to be change. The only question is whether we're going to do it starting now, or whether we're going to wait for catastrophe.


Australia: Big squeals about performance pay for teachers

The Federal Opposition says the only way to ensure the quality of teachers in public schools is to work cooperatively with the states. Education Minister Julie Bishop wants to introduce performance pay for teachers and says it could be determined by exam results or feedback from principals, parents and students. If the states do not submit to the plan in the next education funding agreement, the Minister says the Commonwealth could withhold some state funding.

But Labor's education spokesman Steven Smith says that is not the right approach. "Yes, the quality of the teacher in the classroom is absolutely essential, yes we want to reward quality teaching, but doing it simply on the basis of the outcomes of standardised tests, doing it on the basis of cheap political points is not the way to proceed," he said.

The Queensland Teachers Union says the Federal Government wants to take control of the portfolio from the states. Union state president Steve Ryan says members are looking at a loss of conditions if Ms Bishop gets her way. "There are two issues here one is the proposal itself regards performance-based pay and the loopy ideas the Minister has put out in today's press, and the second issue is of course how the Commonwealth treats the states," he said. "All teachers in the state system across Australia are employed by state governments and it's curious to see the federal minister trying to interfere in that process."



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, February 21, 2007

The Swedish School Voucher System

Post lifted from British blogger Sinclair's Musings. See the original for links

DK rightly asked, after my earlier post on the politics of school choice, if I could find some details of the Swedish system to back up my claim that school vouchers would not eliminate educational bureaucracy. I found the details in a study done by two researchers working for The Swedish Research Institute of Trade on behalf of Reform. The studies focus is on whether the number of independent schools would increase, it did, but it includes this section discussing the conditions attached to the voucher:

"However, in 1990 the system was altered and municipalities were given wider authority over their own schools. They were also given full financial responsibility for the school system. In 1992 the Swedish system was further advanced and a new school reform based on a system of school vouchers was implemented. As the objective of the new reform was to give independent schools funding on the same terms as municipality schools it radically changed the rules for funding independent and upper-secondary schools. Hence, under the new law, municipalities were obliged to give funding to independent schools on a per capita basis amounting to 85 per cent of what municipality schools received. The 85 per cent rule was seen to be necessary in order to avoid putting the municipal schools at a disadvantage, since the municipalities would still have to account for various administrative and overhead costs related to their overall responsibility for the school system. The system was further advanced in 2001. Funding of independent schools would now be decided in the same way as funding is given to municipal schools. This means that independent schools receive a municipality funding that is based on the undertaking of the school and the specific needs of each pupil. On its core, the new reform entails that anyone in Sweden can set up a school and receives public funding. Moreover, pupils and parents are free to choose whichever school they like.

Still, independent schools in Sweden must be approved by the Swedish National Agency for Education and meet certain criteria in order to receive funding. They have to meet the educational standards set up for the school system and must work in line with the targets set for the compulsory educational system. They must also be open to admit all children regardless of their ability, religion or ethnic origin. Last, they are not allowed to charge fees. Among the approved schools are schools owned by teacher or parent co-operatives, non-profit organisations and privately owned firms. Municipalities are allowed to give an opinion on whether they consider the establishment of an independent school to be harmful to existing schools, and the Swedish National Agency for Education takes their views into account. However, municipalities have no veto, and are bound by law to finance an independent school once it has been approved. On several occasions, the Agency has approved schools against the will of the municipalities."

The first paragraph is a little uncertain as to whether the voucher is for the full amount that state schools receive or if it is still 85% as in the original legislation. However, this article makes it clear; Sweden now has a voucher for 100% of the amount state schools receive.

The first thing to note is the similarity to the Conservative proposals for education at the last election in terms of preventing the topping up of the voucher by parents from their private income. I doubt this is a coincidence and it does make the major criticism, cited in my earlier post, that this will be a subsidy to the rich invalid. It is, I believe, more limiting than the old Conservative proposals in that our proposal under Howard was for voucher schools to be able to select by ability which is not allowed under the Swedish system; this does remove the "cream skimming" critique of school vouchers although it is a sacrifice in terms of educational freedom.

The second is that, as I predicted, the educational bureaucracy has not been abolished. There is still a DFES-style national organisation to set the overall standards and ensure that schools stick to them. Also, there is still municipal authority bureaucracy in order to determine the level of funding that is required (perhaps to account for greater costs in different regions); this does highlight that we may not want perfect equality of funding as schools with the hard job of teaching in deprived inner cities may need extra funds for specialist support.

After some more investigation the evidence is that this scheme has worked well so far. In particular this study suggests that independent school competition has improved the performance of state schools. Certainly this was the story with the privatisations of the Thatcher years; privatisations shook up the rest of the economy in a very good way. Equally, it is popular:

"As early as 1993, a poll conducted by the National Agency of Education found that "85 per cent of Swedes value their new school choice rights" and "59 per cent of Swedish parents think that teachers work harder when there is school choice" (CGR 1997: 2). This was true even though only two percent of Swedes had exercised those rights. When the Social Democrats returned to power in 1994, the benefits and popularity of school choice were already becoming evident. They were felt both by the children attending new independent schools and by those who remained in the government-run system, which was starting to respond to parental concerns. As one Swedish professor of education concluded, "one cannot deny that the reform has made municipal schools more efficient" (Miron 1996: 79)."

Another positive to think about in conservative terms, not discussed in the studies, is that once the principle of school independence and vouchers is introduced I would expect that, over time, this will build a sizeable constituency for allowing fees. Once the principle of the independent financing is admitted it will be difficult to deny those middle classes who would like to spend a little to improve their schools; particularly as these schools will be happy to make arrangements for bursaries in return. This reform would build demand for further conservative policies.

In conclusion, I think that the Swedish system's results suggest that the Conservatives had settled on a very appropriate solution with their educational policy at the last election. It was moderate enough to be politically realistic while adventurous enough to make a real difference to educational performance and political reality. I am unsure whether the political advantages of disallowing selection by ability is worth the sacrifice in educational freedom; there is also possibly something in the "cream skimming" argument. However, it is clear that even under the limited terms of the voucher in Sweden they are highly worthwhile both in terms of results and politics. Equally, there is no serious evidence they are a particular political risk, while we did not win in 2005 does anyone seriously think that was because of our education policy?

A great way for Cameron to use the positive public perception of him he spent last year cultivating would be to have another go at selling school choice under the Swedish model.

Too few science graduates in Britain

But plenty of sociologists, no doubt

GlaxoSmithKline has given warning that a lack of UK science graduates is forcing Britain's largest drugs company to recruit from overseas to fill key research posts. Jackie Hunter, a senior vice-president who leads one of GSK's main global drug development centres, said that Britain is suffering an acute shortfall of scientists. Dr Hunter said that it was "absolutely vital" for the UK to address the issue to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the country's pharmaceutical industry and to prevent a gradual drift of jobs and investment overseas. The sector contributed 3.4 billion pounds in exports to Britain's trade balance in 2004 - more than any other industry sector.

She said that the situation was forcing GSK to seek more and more recruits from France, Spain, Germany and India. In one area, synthetic chemistry, GSK said that just 40 of 70 new placements at its research facilities in Harlow, Essex, and Stevenage, Hertfordshire, were were graduates of UK universities. Dr Hunter said that the problem had been compounded by the decision of several universities, such as Cardiff and Exeter, to scrap their chemistry departments due to rising cost pressures. "A lot of universities look at laboratory-based courses as something that is very expensive for them to run," she said. "The issue is the number of places. There is a real need across the industry [for more UK graduates]."

In response to the staffing shortage, GSK has forged links with the Societe Francaise de Chimie and other overseas organisations to attract enough high-calibre graduates. "It's an increasingly globalised labour market," Dr Hunter said. GSK employs 15,000 people in research and development globally, 6,000 of them in the UK. Britain's pharmaceutical industry employed 73,000 people directly and hundreds of thousands more indirectly in support roles. The value of UK pharmaceutical exports in 2005 was 12.2 billion, or more than 166,000 pounds per employee.



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, February 20, 2007

The progressive destruction of medical education

By Dr Amanda Neill -- a former lecturer in anatomy and related disciplines

Medical education is in serious trouble, and has been for a number of years. Recently there have been several articles questioning the level of the most basic knowledge of the medical graduates, much of it coming from the new graduates and students themselves. Surveys - some of them initiated by medical students - have revealed that they do not feel they know enough anatomy, physiology and pathology; that they are not taught, but rather thrown into a "sea" to learn in a "self-directed" fashion, and that they do not feel prepared enough to go out to practise medicine. Never has a profession's education been so mutilated, mucked-about-with, or mucked-up.

It is obvious to anyone that to fix a human body one should at least know about its components (anatomy), how these components interact (physiology), and what can potentially go wrong with them (pathology). All the rest is smoke and mirrors.

Yet the smoke and mirrors is all that the medical schools are teaching. Students these days can have remarkably good understanding of technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging, while remaining startlingly ignorant of the bones, fascia and other structures of the hand. No GP surgery will have an MRI scanner, yet every GP will routinely see patients with sore or injured hands.

One of the major reasons for the shift in what is being taught is that medical education is not being taught by doctors. Doctors are not teaching student doctors; rather science and other graduates with or without PhDs have gazumped university staff teaching appointments. It is very difficult to find a medical graduate on any university staff, and even rarer to find them in the medical schools. This is no accident.

In the 80s and certainly the 90s, medical schools started to rid themselves in a determined fashion of medical graduates on their staff and employ science graduates with strong research backgrounds to teach medical students - when they had the time. These researchers on the whole did not have any vocational training, had never been on a ward or treated a patient, and did not have a strong interest in teaching. Certainly they did not have, and were not required to have, teaching as their main priority, and still do not. Teaching of vocational degrees such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary science should never have been given to those in a research-focused environment such as the modern university. Neither teaching nor research is then done well.

When medicine and then other vocational courses first became taken over by this shift in thinking, initially medicine was taught by medical graduates, who knew what was needed, had been on the wards, and had a thorough knowledge of the human body. Gradually the art of teaching medical subjects and the need to teach them became lost as the ever-increasing number of PhDs grew and vied for positions on the university staff. After all as John Collins, dean of education for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, wrote in Weekend Health (December 16-17, 2006), there has been an explosion of medical knowledge and technology.

Whatever explosion there may be, a leg is still a leg and a stomach still a stomach. Despite Darwin's theory of evolution, these are remarkably constant, and the structures are unchanging. To fix them (the leg and the stomach and all the other structures in the body), to understand them, the doctor needs to know where they are, what is above, below, in front and behind, and what common variations of these arrangements may exist. This knowledge should not just be the province of the surgeon and the radiologist.

We live in dangerous times. Universities are currently agitating to take over, or have already taken over, the teaching of other vocational courses such as for ambulance officers, paramedics, police, physiotherapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists and nurses - and in each case the pattern is the same. Less and less of the training is done by those who have been working in the relevant profession, and more and more PhD graduates with a research focus take on the teaching and designing of courses, with a view to teaching on the side and/or to protecting their area of expertise, no matter how irrelevant. They also have minimal teaching experience. Students learn more and more about less and less relevant material. They are less ready to take on their role as a doctor, or the work necessary to do this job.

Currently in many courses textbooks are no longer prescribed, but a recommended reading list and stacks of photocopied papers and hastily prepared lecture notes are given to the students. They are told to go and get on with it - and this is in the more structured courses. Others are completely self-directed and there is no actual teaching at all. This is lazy and cannot readily be evaluated. It is subject to change on a whim and leaves the student floundering in a sea of few definites. Facts, half facts, and fashionable views are weighted the same and it is difficult to gain an ability to determine what is true and what is "true for the moment".

Most doctors want to be doctors, and although many have open and enquiring minds and may want to go further into research and other developments, this is not what medicine is all about. It is about medicine, not the latest whiz-bang gadget, or the latest theoretical approach. By all means if this is the direction the student/doctor wants to take after graduation, so be it. But a lot of current research is too narrow, precisely because many researchers lack a basic comprehensive knowledge of the body's structures. For example, pathology of the liver can affect the eye, but research about the eye will be flawed if those conducting it lack this basic understanding of other organs and what relevance this may have.


A teacher must not have girls sit on his lap

Another step towards making male teachers an endangered species

Prosecutors filed eight new child molestation counts on Wednesday against a substitute elementary schoolteacher suspected of inappropriately touching his young students. Each of the new counts against Eric Norman Olsen represents a new victim, meaning Olsen now stands formally charged with molesting nine girls. He faces up to 28 years in state prison if convicted as charged. Olsen pleaded not guilty to the new counts during a brief hearing Wednesday morning in West Valley Superior Court.

His attorney, Gina Kershaw, said afterward the allegations against Olsen have been blown out of proportion. "He's really a good guy who has been thrown into an unfortunate situation," the attorney said. Kershaw said no students have reported Olsen touched their private parts.

The only evidence suggesting his contact with them was at all sexual is a letter he wrote at the urging of police in which he admitted to gaining sexual arousal from having young girls sit on his lap. Kershaw said she believes Ontario police used coercive tactics to trick Olsen into writing a false confession. "They're good at what they do, they interrogate, that's what they did in this case," the defense attorney said.

Olsen was arrested Aug. 3 on suspicion of molesting a 10-year-old girl at the Berlyn School in Ontario. In that case, authorities said Olsen had the girl sit on his lap and rubbed her back underneath her shirt. He was charged with three counts of child molestation stemming from that case and he remained in jail while police sought other possible victims. Deputy District Attorney Jason Anderson said six of the new victims were students in the Central School District in Rancho Cucamonga. Olsen is accused of molesting all six on the same day, Dec. 20, 2005. One new victim is from the Fontana Unified School District. Authorities believe Olsen molested her sometime in the 2005-06 school year, according to a criminal complaint. The remaining victim is from the Ontario-Montclair School District. Prosecutors allege Olsen molested her sometime in March.

All eight girls were about 5 to 7 years old at the time of the alleged incidents. All the allegations involve Olsen placing the girls on his lap, the prosecutor said. "There are witnesses to it," Anderson said. "The young ladies are clear about who the teacher was and what the conduct was." Police have said at least 12 possible victims have been identified since Olsen's arrest, including the eight represented by the new charges on Wednesday.

Source. (To avoid the risk of a trial, the teacher eventually pleaded "No contest". Sentence has not yet been handed down)


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, February 19, 2007

Colleges review ethics of textbook selection

Colleges are grappling with how to balance conflict-of-interest policy with professors' authority to choose textbooks. Prices have tripled in 20 years

A Miami Dade College professor took a trip to San Francisco, paid for by a textbook publisher. Weeks later, his three-member committee selected the publisher's book as required reading for all anatomy students at MDC's Kendall campus and the department chairman approved. Retail cost at the college bookstore: $178.50.

A recent state ethics finding on the trip two years ago has raised questions about MDC's ambiguous rules for choosing textbooks. And it has opened a window into the nation's $6 billion textbook industry, whose prices have tripled in the past two decades. MDC, the nation's largest community college, is a key market for publishers, with more than 100,000 potential customers paying an average $800 a year and up for books and supplies, according to federal statistics.

The state ethics commission found probable cause that anatomy professor Alfonso Pino knew or should have known the trip to San Francisco was given to influence him. The panel declined to treat it as an ethics violation, in part because the weekend trip, which cost less than $700 for airfare and hotel, ``left little time if any . . . to participate in junket-like activities.'' Pino declined interview requests. His attorney, Mark Richard, who also heads the union that represents MDC professors, said Pino volunteered his time to review books, an essential task for educators. ''It's far cheaper to ask professors to give of their time, for just expense reimbursement, than to pay us our hourly rates to review these things,'' Richard said.

The ruling comes as universities and colleges grapple with how to construct conflict-of-interest policies without compromising professors' authority to choose teaching materials. MDC has no rules governing what professors can accept from a textbook company or what they must disclose. Pearson Education, Benjamin Cummings' parent company, had offered Pino a $250 honorarium but never paid him, the investigation found.

Professors say lucrative offers from publishers are rare. One small company made headlines in 2003 when it offered faculty $4,000 to review and require books, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education report.

The man who lodged the ethics complaint against Pino, Christopher Turley, was a textbook salesman whose book wasn't chosen. Turley has since left John Wiley & Sons, which he said did not offer trips. ''I didn't see the point of going in and competing. . . . There's no transparency on anything,'' Turley said. Norma Goonen, MDC's top academic official, said, ``This is normal practice. It's not something nefarious or horrible.'' MDC prohibits professors from accepting payment in exchange for choosing books but allows honoraria for reviewing books, said MDC attorney Carmen Dominguez. Honorarium limits are not defined, and professors are not required to report them. ''Either the lack of effective disclosure procedures or the insufficiency of disclosure in this case is troubling,'' said Tony Alfieri, director of the University of Miami's Center for Ethics in Public Policy.

At the University of Miami, a private school, professors consulting for a publisher must recuse themselves from book-selection committees, said spokeswoman Margot Winick. Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University require professors to report outside income, but conflict-of-interest rules do not cover textbook vendor trips. ''Everybody is struggling with this . . . [to] make more specific guidelines,'' said Diane Alperin, FAU associate provost of academic affairs. Broward Community College has no separate policy beyond state ethics laws. Ken Ross, vice president for academic affairs, said faculty paid by publishers to review books or attend conferences should not pick textbooks. ''We're looking to make them [guidelines] a little clearer,'' he said.

MDC's textbook policy, like some from other colleges, deals only with potential conflicts arising from books written by professors, who may not participate in selecting their own books. MDC, like other community colleges, is covered by state ethics rules. Choosing textbooks is considered an academic freedom, and the choices tend not to be treated like typical government purchases, even when public universities are involved. The state ethics commission agreed that professors do not meet the legal definition of purchasing agents. By comparison, at the local government level in Miami-Dade County, no one involved in purchasing may accept a trip paid for by a vendor. ''It may be an issue that a lot of colleges and universities should look at,'' said Dominguez, of MDC.

It's not hard to find students complaining about the cost of textbooks. ''I was very shocked [by the price]. There were no used [books] left,'' said Bridgett Shane, 20, an anatomy student in Pino's class who calls him ``an awesome professor.'' Overall, prices for books and supplies rose at twice the inflation rate between 1986 and 2004, according to a 2005 federal government audit. Textbook companies have increasingly put out newer editions of books more quickly -- every three or four years instead of every four to five years -- making it harder for students to buy and sell used books. Publishers told auditors they update information and include more interactive extras to meet professors' demands.

The March 12, 2005, meeting attended by Pino included 14 other professors from across the country. ''It's pretty widely done,'' said David Hakensen, a spokesman for the publisher. ``This is the one way that we get feedback on our product.''

A spokeswoman for Pearson's rival McGraw-Hill, Mary Skafidas, said her company also schedules regular faculty focus groups around the country to get professional feedback, though not to review specific books. She said professors are chosen for their expertise.

Invitations to conferences seem to vary among schools and departments. English Department faculty members at FIU, for example, get pizza parties paid for by sales representatives, but not out-of-town trips, said Carmela Pinto-McIntire, the department chairwoman. Biology Department members get hors d'oeuvres trays, and some professors get a stipend of $100 or $200 to review books, said Gene Rosenberg, associate department chairman. ''Trips? Gosh, I wish,'' Pinto-McIntire said. ``Nobody's ever offered me a trip.''



In an email to Benny Peiser, economist Alan Peacock [] -- now aged 84 -- compares religious education of the past with Greenie education today. An abridged version appeared in "The Scotsman". A few days ago, Sir Alan Peacock celebrated his fiftieth anniversary of becoming a Professor of Economics, successively at Edinburgh, York, Buckingham and Heriot-Watt

On Friday 2nd February at the University of Edinburgh the Secretary of State for Environment etc. delivered an excellent piece of propaganda on the virtues of the latest UN report on climate change, with all the usual arguments for an apocalyptic view, succinctly presented. He revealed an interesting fact about the 'global' nature of his department's campaign to keep us on the straight and narrow - the issue of a pamphlet for schools. This is already claimed as a great success, getting the young in line to be in profound agreement with the Climate scientists backing the Minister.

Irreverent thoughts hit me at this moment in his disquisition. Did they use rhyming couplets - remember "coughs and sneezes, spread diseases"? I recalled the naughty cautionary tale attributed to Hilaire Belloc, suitably adapted by yours truly -"Uncle George and Auntie Mabel, fainted at the breakfast table, let this be an awful warning, never counter global warming!" No prizes to the elderly multitudes who remember the original last line!

The next thought I had was even more subversive. Could those of us who questioned whether the UN predictions were firmly based on best practice science and economics be permitted to enter the 'market' of ideas and issue schools with an alternative view? Of course, tender minds must be guarded against the threat of inflammatory documents that would corrupt the morals and manners of the young but this is no argument for 'zero tolerance' of views counter to officially approved scientific nostrums.

A reasonable case can be made out against inundating schools with a confusion of different standpoints on fundamental issues regarding our future. However, I would be less suspicious of raising barriers to entry against a different view on climate change had I not read, to my immense surprise, the written evidence of the Government Chief Scientist, Sir David King, to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs (2005) concerning climate change. He categorizes sceptics who have no 'scientific training' (undefined) and other 'professional lobbyists' as likely as not to be hired guns, and, as some of other establishment figures have suggested, in the pay of the oil companies.

When some of us recently issued a detailed critique of the much-acclaimed Stern Report, which gives its economic blessing to the establishment view and is endorsed by the Royal Society, it was perhaps hardly necessary for us to state quite clearly that none of us received any financial or institutional support for our work. But it seemed advisable to do so. (See the journal, World Economics, October - December 2006 , p. 166)

I received a sound elementary education at the Grove Academy, Broughty Ferry (1928-33!) in grammar, spelling, arithmetic, singing, and bible studies for which I am immensely grateful. Of course, our daily input of religion was according to the doctrines of the Church of Scotland, but no attempt was made at converting us. I only remember one curious case where our routine was given over to the Band of Hope who were allowed to proselytize in a sensational manner on the moral and physical damage resulting from the consumption of alcohol. We were given an afternoon off in order to be conducted round a macabre visual display in large jars showing the corroding effect of alcohol on the human body with all the attendant excitement of a trip to Dundee, and then, some weeks later, were obliged to write an essay on The Dangers of Drink , and in school time .

I admit that there would be some teachers who would regard the Band of Hope's mission as entirely consonant with Christian doctrine, other than in regard to the medicinal properties of whisky. Likewise, environmental studies, which appear to be rapidly replacing traditional doctrine as the kernel of religious observance in schools, will admit the occasional display of the wares, say , of the World Wildlife Fund- much admired by the Secretary of State - or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, as friendly sects, whatever misgivings one might harbour about the effects that animal behaviour could have on emission of carbon and methane gases.

More school hysteria

To an Arizona middle school, Batman! Three schools in the north Phoenix suburb of Cave Creek were on lockdown for about 45 minutes Wednesday morning after a student at Desert Arroyo Middle School reported seeing a person dressed as Batman run across campus, jump a fence and disappear into the desert, Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said.

The student described the person as 6 feet 3 inches tall and possibly male. "We're assuming it was male, although they did have a mask on," Clark said. Officers combed the desert around the middle school. A nearby elementary school and high school also were on lockdown as officers sought the caped crusader. The result - no Batman. "It's just one of those interesting little stories that we looked into but we couldn't find anyone," Clark said.

Nedda Shafir, a spokeswoman for the Cave Creek Unified School District, said putting all the schools on lockdown was a precautionary measure. "We didn't want to take any chances," Shafir said. "We just don't want to put anyone at risk."



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, February 18, 2007

Schools ban popular childhood games

Important learning experience short-circuited

Kids call "Not it!" when they gather to play tag, and some may never be "it" as a growing number of Valley schools ban the game at recess. Tag joins the list of childhood games such as dodgeball and tackle football no longer allowed at schools across the country because of too many injuries and squabbles. "Tagging turns into shoving, and someone's crying, 'He pushed me!' " said Cindy Denton, principal at Thew Elementary School in Tempe, where chasing games are prohibited except in gym class under adult supervision

Last year, schools in Boston; Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Spokane, Wash., banned tag, joining schools in Wichita, Kan.; San Jose; and Beaverton, Ore., that had done so. Half of the 17 schools surveyed in the Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix allow tag. At one, Acacia Elementary, children can play tag, but they can't touch each other. They stomp on each other's shadows instead. The bans are for safety and civility, though some worry that kids may not get enough exercise or enjoy a childhood rite of passage.

Acacia Principal Christine Hollingsworth started a "no-touch" policy four years ago. "There's a need for kids to be active, but we were seeing an increase in the number of kids being pushed down and hurt," she said. The only exception to the "no-touch" policy is that the older boys are allowed to play two-hand touch football with adult supervision on the far side of the playground. Since starting the policy, injuries have dropped dramatically, and Hollingsworth no longer is called on to settle fights that had escalated from an unintentional too-hard tag.

Kids often get hurt playing tag, said Sharon Roland, the nurse at Jack L. Kuban School in southwest Phoenix and vice president of the School Nurses Organization of Arizona. They split their chins, scrape their noses and graze their knees, the expected injuries of childhood. But they also knock out teeth and fracture bones.

E'Lisa Harrison's son, Grant, was 8 when he was pushed and fell during a game of tag at Kyrene de la Estrella Elementary School in Phoenix. It was an accident, but Grant spent weeks with a cast on his arm, missing out on a season of baseball. Kids still play tag at his school but no roughness is allowed.

Kim Yamamoto's son, Cameron, 11, also broke his arm on the playground when he was in fourth grade, though he was playing Red Rover, not tag, at Challenge Charter School in Glendale. Students there can play football, soccer and other contact sports only in gym class. Yamamoto said she thinks it's a shame. "I remember the skinned knees and bumps and bruises from playground activities. I would not have given up any to experience the fun we had at school," she said. "We need to remember that these are kids who need fun in their day. If we control every aspect of the time on campus, are we limiting the student's access to being kids and exploring their world?"

With 700 students at Acacia, Principal Hollingsworth knows someone is bound to get hurt. But, as the kids proved, there are ways of playing classic games without putting their hands on each other. Hollingsworth hasn't had any complaints from parents. Nor has Denton, the principal at Thew. There are plenty of other things for kids to do on the playground - four square, swinging, climbing, soccer and basketball - to burn energy.

At recess Monday at Acacia, fourth-grader Raeanna Wilkinson stood on the basketball court surrounded by girls. She's "it." The rules, she explains, are that you can't touch anyone and you can't argue if someone says they got you. "Scatter," Raeanna says, and the girls run. "Shadow tag" is like regular tag, but instead of touching players to get them out, whoever is "it" stomps on their shadow. In another version, whoever is "it" stomps on a shadow and yells, "Frozen!" Frozen players must stay still until someone sets them free by running through their shadow.

Ten minutes into the game, the girls shed their jackets and sweat shirts. Yulissa Urias, 9, said, "In regular tag, people push, and you fall down and you get hurt." Now no one gets hurt, said Diane Hernandez, 9. And the game is more challenging because the angle of the sun can make it hard to get to people's shadows when they're running, even if you are close enough to tag them.



Race will not be used as a criteria for enrollment in more than two dozen urban journalism programs nationwide under settlement of a lawsuit filed for a white high school student who was rejected. Dow Jones News Fund, which sponsors the programs, and other principals agreed to the settlement in return for the legal challenge being withdrawn by the Center for Individual Rights, both parties said Wednesday. The center filed the class-action lawsuit in September on behalf of Emily Smith, 16. She said she was accepted last spring to the Urban Journalism Workshop at Virginia Commonwealth University, but one week later was rejected after program sponsors learned she was white.

The settlement requires VCU and other programs sponsored by Dow Jones to select students "without regard to race." The programs also agree to publicly acknowledge they will offer no preferential treatment or discriminate against any prospect "on the basis of race or ethnicity." Neither VCU, Dow Jones nor any of the principals admitted any wrongdoing. VCU agreed to pay $25,000 to Emily and her attorneys and admit her to the program next summer. "We're very happy with it," said Emily's mother, Jane Smith. She added she had "little concern" about Emily's reception at VCU. Emily is a junior at Monacan High School in suburban Chesterfield County.

Terence Pell, president of the nonprofit Center for Individual Rights, said the challenge was based on U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have established that colleges cannot operate programs which exclude members of any ethnicity or race. The public interest law firm litigates "reverse discrimination" cases and similar actions. "It's OK to target underrepresented people. You just can't do this based on race," Pell said in an interview.

Since 1984, VCU's College of Mass Communications has conducted the two-week summer journalism program during which students attend classes, live on campus and produce a newspaper. The program is intended to encourage minority students to pursue journalism careers. Pamela D. Lepley, a VCU spokeswoman, said the program would not change. "The program will continue and race-neutral criteria will be used by VCU in the selection of participants," said Ray Kozakewicz, spokesman for Media General Inc., which publishes the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is a sponsor of the VCU program.

The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Web site lists 27 programs in Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In a statement, Dow Jones said: "The settlement is consistent with the longtime intent and practice of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund to encourage young people of all races, cultures and physical abilities to be successful journalists."



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.