Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Pedophile" hysteria

Men are being scared away from joining the teaching profession by a wave of "paedophile hysteria", a leading Tory has warned. Boris Johnson said school staffrooms are increasingly dominated by female teachers because men are afraid of attracting false child abuse allegations. He spoke out after figures revealed women now outnumber men by 13 to one in primary schools - which have been worst-hit by the male recruitment slump.

Mr Johnson, Conservative higher education spokesman, declared that young boys needed male role models to aid their intellectual development but "potentially brilliant" teachers were deterred from entering the profession because they feared being branded paedophiles. Even bumping into a child could cause them to run into difficulties, he warned.

Mr Johnson, speaking at a conference of the Independent Schools Council in London, insisted he "did not want to go into bat for paedophiles". But he claimed society may now be over-egging the problem as he recounted his own experience on a recent British Airways flight. He said a flight attendant had directed him to sit away from his children, apparently without realising they were his own. When she did, she apologised but said the airline did not allow lone men to sit next to children they were unrelated to. "I do think one problem we have got is that we do have a kind of paedophile hysteria in this country and I find it very worrying," he said. "I think the whole thing has been ever so slightly over-egged. I don't want to attack BA unnecessarily but I think it's pretty bonkers that a grown man can be asked to move away from his children. "I do think we are over-doing the whole thing and the result is that a lot of brilliant potential male teachers think 'do I want to go through all of that malarky about what I can and can't do'. "What happens if you bump into someone?

"The result is you have got a ratio of female to male teachers in state primary schools of 13 to 1 now. "That is a huge social change and the effects of that are very damaging, or potentially very damaging on young male minds. "Young male minds do need the intellectual inspiration of a male teacher, not because males are any better than females, but it may help them if there's a male model who can help them with their intellectual development." He added: "I don't want to go into bat for paedophiles but it is a factor in deterring male teachers from thinking about this brilliant profession."

The Mail revealed last year that fewer that 10 per cent of primary teachers are men in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, in the space of a generation, the proportion of secondary school male teachers has dropped from 55 per cent to 41 per cent. The figures prompted concern that the lack of male role models is having serious consequences for boys' performance in exams. Boys now lag behind girls in every major school examination. However teachers' leaders claim that studies show boys do just as well [at what?] when taught by women.


DC rediscovers standards

Earning a D.C. high school diploma is going to become more challenging. Superintendent Clifford B. Janey announced yesterday that the school system has adopted a new graduation policy that requires all students to take four years of math, science, social studies and English, an attempt to increase academic rigor and give a high school diploma more meaning.

The policy also says elementary and middle school students must master a new set of skills, known as "learning standards," before they move to the next grade. The old promotion policy did not tie student advancement to the mastery of grade-level material.

The graduation policy will begin with students who will be in ninth grade next school year and will apply to all high school students by 2010. High school students take four years of English, three years of math and science and 3 1/2 years of social studies. In addition to mandating four years of study in each of those core subjects, the revised high school policy will require students to take more science labs and will reduce the number of elective classes.

Maryland requires four years of English and three years of social studies, math and science. Virginia students can earn a standard diploma by taking four years of English and history and three years of math and a laboratory science.

The District's new graduation policy matches those used by Texas and Alabama, which also require four years of courses in those four subjects. But experts noted that the District's emphasis on insisting that high school students take higher-level math and more science classes that have a lab component will make its policy one of the most rigorous in the nation. "For an urban district to raise a standard to this level is notable," said Matthew Gandal, executive vice president at Achieve Inc., a nonprofit group that tracks graduation requirements across the country. D.C. officials are "putting themselves in a position with some of the leading states in terms of raising the expectations. So that's a positive," he said.

The policy also applies to the 19,733 students enrolled in the city's 55 charter schools. D.C. Public Charter School Board spokeswoman Nona Mitchell Richardson said yesterday that its schools had set graduation requirements that exceeded the school system's old policy. The promotion policy will be phased in for elementary and middle school students, requiring them to acquire a core set of skills in the areas of reading, math, science and social studies.

The administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), which is looking to take direct control of the schools, praised the new policy yesterday while noting that it should focus on how to improve learning in the classroom. "An end to social promotion is long overdue," Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso said through a spokeswoman. The requirements were approved by the school board last week and presented by Janey yesterday during a news conference at Strong John Thomson Elementary School in downtown Washington.

Lyndsay Pinkus of the Alliance for Excellent Education praised the move but said it takes more than a new set of rules to bring academic improvements. Officials have to make certain "that what's being taught is more rigorous . . . and that teachers have what they need to teach that rigor, and that students have the basic supports to receive it," Pinkus said. "If you're not doing all those things along with raising the requirements then that's not real education reform," she added.

The school system's old policy allowed students to take more elective courses, a practice that allowed some students to put off taking challenging courses. For example, some high school students could take Algebra I as late as their senior year. Under the revised policy, students must take that course as freshmen.



For Jewish students, Leeds university has for some time been a source of growing concern. Such students have been forced to run a gauntlet of anti-Jewish prejudice dressed in the familiar camouflage of anti-Israel sentiment, as in the notorious (and now beaten off) attempt to gag the Jewish society. Last week, a more significant controversy erupted there. A non-Jewish German academic, Dr Matthias Kuentzel, was shocked when his planned lecture, `Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East', was abruptly cancelled by the university along with two smaller scheduled seminars.

The university insisted its decision had nothing to do with freedom of speech; nor was it bowing to threats or protests from interest groups. The meeting had been cancelled on safety grounds alone, and because `contrary to our rules, no assessment of risk to people or property has been carried out, no stewarding arrangements are in place and we were not given sufficient notice to ensure safety and public order.' But there was no security risk. No threats had been received. The only ripple was a couple of protests from Muslim students, who claimed the lectures would increase hatred and threaten their `security and well-being' on campus. The university's excuse was absurd.

Indeed, Kuentzel delivered his speech outside the university twice without security problems. Although the university secretary Roger Gair claimed in a letter to the Times that these were the two seminars that were going ahead `as planned', Kuentzel says that, on the contrary, after the cancellation they were hastily convened by private initiative off campus, in Hillel and at a hotel.

Now, fresh information has reached me which reinforces the view that the cancellation was indeed designed to suppress Kuentzel's views. After meeting the university authorities the head of the German department, Professor Stuart Taberner, told his staff that, although he didn't think censorship was the issue, if Kuentzel were to be re-invited the university would have to `look closely' at the subject of his talk. `Having now found the text of what I take to be his talk on the web,' he said, `I'm convinced that the university would want to be reassured that it was striking the correct balance between free speech - the expression of ideas - and its obligation to be mindful of the language in which these ideas are framed'.

The real reason for the cancellation was thus laid bare. It was because of what Kuentzel was saying. The implication was that his language was somehow inflammatory. But his lecture - which he previously delivered in January at Yale - is merely a scholarly and factual account of the links between Nazism and Islamic antisemitism. He argues that the alliance between the Nazis and the Arabs of Palestine infected the wider Muslim world, not least through the influence of the Nazi wireless station Radio Zeesen which broadcast in Arabic, Persian and Turkish and inflamed the Muslim masses with Nazi blood libels laced with Arabic music and quotes from the Koran. Subsequently, this Nazified Muslim antisemitism was given renewed life by both the Egyptian President Nasser and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the intellectual inspiration for both Hamas and much of the current jihad against the west.

So what exactly is the `correct balance' that this account fails to strike? Indeed, Kuentzel makes the eminently balanced claim that this history shows there is nothing inevitable about Muslim antisemitism, which is merely Nazism in new garb. The link he makes is no more than the demonstrable truth. But clearly, it is not possible to speak this truth at Leeds university. And the reason for this is surely that it draws a straight line between today's Islamic world and Hitler's Germany.

Indeed, Kuentzel sees a seamless connection between Nazism and the jihad against the west. Hitler, he says, fantasised about the toppling of the skyscrapers of New York, the symbol of Jewish power. And the Hamburg trial of terrorists associated with 9/11 heard evidence that New York had been selected for the atrocity because it was a `Jewish city'.

For Islamists, however, such a connection threatens the image they have so assiduously cultivated for themselves as the victims of prejudice. For their appeasers, it destroys the illusion that Islamist extremism arises from rational grievances such as the war in Iraq or `Islamophobia'. Worse still, those on the left who march shoulder to shoulder with radical Islamists are thus exposed as the allies of Nazism.

The result is that Leeds has now joined the growing list of universities which have spinelessly given up the defence of free speech, and thus, in the great battle for civilisation against barbarism, run up the campus white flag.



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 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.


Friday, March 30, 2007

California rediscovers equality

It's only tokenism, though

When it comes to setting academic expectations, California will no longer cut any slack for students who traditionally score low on standardized tests -- those who are poor, non-native English speakers, African American or Latino.

Since the state initiated the Academic Performance Index in 1999, there have been differences in test scores between students from various backgrounds: poor and affluent, black and white, Latino and Asian. And each spring, when the state determines how much students' scores should improve, it has set the bar lower for ethnic groups than for a school as a whole.

Not anymore. Tuesday, when the state spelled out how much kids should improve their scores, it said the same will be expected of everyone. "It's going to be more challenging for schools to meet their growth targets," said state superintendent Jack O'Connell. "But it's designed with the intention of maximizing every opportunity to close the achievement gap." During a phone call with reporters, he lauded the new method for setting test score goals as "aggressive and ambitious."

But others said it won't make a shred of difference because the new system, like the old one, lacks teeth. Under the state's system, consequences are minimal for schools and students that don't meet improvement goals.

The state Department of Education has long set different API targets for each ethnic group. For years, ethnic groups were expected to make 80 percent of the progress that was expected of the school as a whole: If a school's target was to raise its API 10 points, for example, the African American students had to raise theirs 8 points. That system drew criticism and was seen as racist. It set lower expectations for some groups than for others, critics said. State education leaders responded by changing the way they set growth targets. Now lower-scoring groups have to grow at the same rate as the whole school -- so those students have to gain more points to catch up to the state's goal of 800. "What it means is having equal expectations for all kids," said Greg Purcell, principal of Sutter Middle School in Sacramento.

The new system will not prompt big changes on his campus because teachers judge students by their performance, not by their ethnicity, Purcell said. "It's not hard to figure out which kids need the support, looking at them individually, regardless of subgroup." Purcell's school is so high-performing that it doesn't have a growth target: the student body scored 856, above the state's goal. But performance varied hugely among racial groups. To encourage African American and Latino students to catch up, the state set their target at 5 points, but said white and Asian students don't have to increase their scores at all.

How does the state calculate the new targets? All schools and student groups who have not made the 800 goal must increase their scores by the same rate -- 5 percent of the difference between their score and 800.....

But Jim Lanich, a longtime critic of the state's API system, said the new method for setting targets won't make a difference because there aren't enough consequences for schools that don't meet their goals. "We applaud a focus on minority kids and their achievement levels," said Lanich, president of California Business for Education Excellence. "But zero accountability at a lower target is the same as zero accountability at a higher target."

Schools see consequences for not meeting their targets only if they opt in to a state improvement program. Fewer than 17 percent of schools participate in such programs, according to state education officials. O'Connell countered that the state holds schools responsible by publicly reporting their test scores and goals. "A lot of the accountability and the consequences are from peer pressure in the community and the fact that you want your schools to do well," he said. "It's peer pressure, it's community pride we're talking about here. That's a key component."


A quiet homeschooling revolt

The Australian State of Queensland seems to have laws about homeschooling that are similar to Germany's. The relaxed approach to enforcement is however very different. At least since Hegel, Germany has been much more Leftist than the Anglo-Saxon countries and Australia has never had a Gestapo or any inclination towards one

An attempt by the State Government to overhaul home-schooling registration requirements appears to have failed. A new system was introduced in January to make it easier for parents teaching their children at home to legally report to the state without fear of being forced to send them to school. But Eleanor Sparks of Education Choices Magazine for home-schoolers said thousands of parents were reluctant to register with the Government "There is still a lot of distrust there. A lot of parents don't want to sign up and then have the department try to change the way they choose to educate their children," she said.

An Education Queensland report estimates up to 10,500 children are being home-schooled, but just 260 of them are officially registered with the State Government. Education Minister Rod Welford does not accept the figure though it comes from his own department's Home Schooling Review. He said he believed parents who have registered under the department's distance education scheme (4800 students) and the 260 students under the new system represented the "overwhelming majority". "There may be one or two hundred who we still haven't captured because we don't know precisely the number of children who are not in school," he said.

He said he believed the "home-school industry" had an interest in exaggerating its numbers. "I want to spread the message that it is against the law not to be registered, and secondly that it is in their interests to do that," he said. "It is not a question of bludgeoning parents into some sort of Big Brother control system. "By registering those students we can give them support such as advice on teaching text and give them some assistance through nearby schools if they want to access that."

Parents who reject the school system say they do so for many reasons. There are financial benefits to home schooling as parents do not have to worry about fees. uniforms, text books or trips. But parents say the decision to home-school also means financial sacrifices, as at least one parent must spend all their time with their children.

Amanda from Ipswich told The Sunday Mail she opted out of schools because she feared exposing her children to peer groups there. "I know that a lot of people out there think that people like us are weirdos who want to live outside society but we're not. We just don't believe that schools are the best place to put your children." Amanda, who asked that her full name not be revealed, has not registered any of her children with Education Queensland and has never followed a structured learning system.

Her eldest child, Gabby, 15, did not start reading until she was nine but is studying for a bachelor of arts at the Open University (an online higher education service that does not require any entry grades). "I enjoyed it. It was a fun way to learn and now that I am at university I don't find the work too hard. I am able to handle it," Gabby said.

Parents must send their children to school unless they receive special dispensation from Education Queensland. But Ms Sparks says governments have turned a blind eye to thousands of parents who choose to school their children ast home.

The article above by Edmund Burke appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on March 25, 2007

Road to university widens in one Australian State

A good idea. General knowledge is so indicative that it has been used as a proxy for an IQ test

THOUSANDS of VCE students could get an extra shot at university under a plan to use general knowledge tests in course selection. Under the radical proposal, the General Achievement Test would be used for the first time alongside ENTER and VCE scores for selection in some uni courses. The GAT would be used to help choose "middle band" students -- whose results fell just below ENTER cut-off scores for courses. The proposal by Monash University and the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre could be implemented by the middle of this year if schools support it.

A joint discussion paper outlining the plan says that, although the ENTER provides a "good outcome" for most students, there is a need to improve the selection process for some university applicants. "For some students, the ENTER score may not fully reflect their ability to succeed at tertiary study," the paper states.

About half of all university courses -- up to 1500 of them -- use "middle band" selection along with the ENTER score. This means that some universities look at individual subject scores when deciding whether to take middle-band applicants. But under the proposed plan the GAT -- which tests English, maths and science skills -- would be taken into account for the first time.

Every VCE student currently sits the GAT in the middle of the academic year but it has been used only to check student work and exams. The GAT could also be used as a supplementary tool to select students who have suffered disadvantage during year 12. "It is proposed that applicants' GAT scores . . . be available for use as an additional tool to increase the reliability of middle-band selection," the report states.

VTAC director Elaine Wenn said the proposal would be implemented by June if supported by schools and universities. She said Monash University had advanced the proposal but other universities could take it up if it were approved. Ms Wenn denied the plan amounted to a move away from the ENTER score as the main selection tool for university. "The ENTER score is still the best predictor of academic performance," she said. Monash University pro-vice chancellor Prof Merran Edwards said the university was trying to improve middle-band selection.

The president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, Brian Burgess, said the ENTER score was not a particularly effective way of selecting students. "That one third of students fail their first year says something about how universities are selecting their students," he said. Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Mary Bluett welcomed the plan. "We think the idea of broadening out the entry criteria is a good thing," she said. "Too much depends on the ENTER score."


Australia: Students' results just get worse

SHOCKING student test results revealed thousands of children were getting lower scores in literacy and numeracy the longer they stayed at school. The disturbing trend has emerged in a national analysis of results provided to Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop. Figures showed the 6 per cent of Year 3 students who failed to reach the numeracy benchmark grew to 9 per cent by Year 5 and 18 per cent in the first year of high school. Despite millions of dollars poured into classroom programs, 25 per cent of Year 7 students in NSW did not meet benchmark standards for numeracy and 12 per cent for reading.

The number of students meeting an acceptable standard in numeracy plummeted between primary school - where it reached the mid-90s - and high school. Ms Bishop said yesterday she was worried about the results showing the decline in student performance after Year 3. "It concerns me that too many students are still failing to meet these minimum standards," she said. "Reading, writing and mathematics are fundamental life skills that every person needs for further education, employment and participation in society."

The data, based on 2005 exam results in all the states and territories, had taken the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs almost two years to process. In NSW, females outscored males by up to 6 per cent - particularly in reading and writing. Students in Years 3 and 5 performed better than the national average but slipped below it once they reached high school. Students living in cities did slightly better than those in regional and remote areas.



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 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.


Thursday, March 29, 2007


Not enough students passing? Dump it! That Math and science are not as well taught as some other subjects is the obvious message but that must be covered up! Appearance always matters more than reality to Leftists

State lawmakers appear on the verge of dumping the math and science sections of the 10th-grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), and replacing them with a very different kind of test. The idea is to do something about the fact that so few students pass the math and science sections. But the proposed remedy is generating a lot of concern because it could mean big changes in what students are expected to learn, and how they're tested. "We need to make sure that the cure is not worse than the ailment," said Marc Frazer, vice president of the Washington Roundtable, a nonprofit group of business executives.

If the math and science portions of the WASL are eliminated, it would be the second time the state has dropped part of the exam. A "listening" section, designed to measure communication skills, was removed without controversy three years ago. Two bills under consideration - one passed by the House, a similar version by the Senate - would phase out math and science on the 10th-grade WASL. The state Board of Education then would select new tests in algebra, geometry and biology to be given right after students finish courses in those subjects. The algebra test would become a graduation requirement starting in 2013, geometry in 2014, and biology in 2013; under the Senate bill or 2014 in the House version.

HIGHLIGHTS OF BILLS to eliminate the math and science sections of the WASL:

* The math and science sections of the WASL would be replaced with end-of-course exams in algebra, geometry and biology.
* Passing the end-of-course exams would become graduation requirements in - and -, depending on the test.
* Until that time, students still would take the math WASL or an approved alternative. If they failed, however, they could still graduate until 2010 (under the House bill) or - (in the Senate bill) if they continued to pass math classes.

Both bills would narrow the field of what's tested. The math WASL now includes probability and other topics in addition to algebra and geometry. The science WASL covers more than biology. The House bill also says the new exams "must rely" on multiple-choice questions, which the WASL doesn't. It has some fill-in-the-bubble items, but among its hallmarks are short-answer and "extended response" items that require students to solve problems, apply what they've learned, or explain how they arrived at an answer.

Many not passing

End-of-course exams emerged this year as one of many ideas for solving the state's math and science problem. Students in the class of 2008 - the first class that must pass reading, writing and math on the WASL (or an approved alternative) to graduate - have a long way to go in those subjects. Nearly 85 percent of the students in that class who've taken the exam have passed reading and writing. But it's a different story in math and science, with just 56 percent passing math and 38 percent passing science. And that doesn't include about 3,500 students who've yet to take the exam.

Even before the Legislature convened in January, Gov. Christine Gregoire and Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson asked for a three-year delay in requiring passing scores in math and science for graduation. (In the meantime, they want students failing the WASL to have to pass math classes to graduate.) The Legislature is considering the delay and a number of other bills that would provide more teacher training, add new math programs and bring a thorough review of the test. The state Board of Education recently hired an outside consultant to review the state's math-learning standards.

Some argue those are more important than changing the test, because the underlying problem is that students lack strong math skills. Advocates of end-of-course exams don't dispute that. "Obviously we need to have a better curriculum, better standards and better-prepared teachers," said state Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington.

More here


Getting the kids to sit up, shut up and listen would teach them a lot more in more ways than one and it would also be cheaper

States and school districts nationwide are moving to lengthen the day at struggling schools, spurred by grim test results suggesting that more than 10,000 schools are likely to be declared failing under federal law next year. In Massachusetts, in the forefront of the movement, Gov. Deval L. Patrick is allocating $6.5 million this year for longer days and can barely keep pace with demand: 84 schools have expressed interest. Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York has proposed an extended day as one of five options for his state's troubled schools, part of a $7 billion increase in spending on education over the next four years - apart from the 37 minutes of extra tutoring that children in some city schools already receive four times a week. And Gov. M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut is proposing to lengthen the day at persistently failing schools as part of a push to raise state spending on education by $1 billion.

"In 15 years, I'd be very surprised if the old school calendar still dominates in urban settings," said Mark Roosevelt, superintendent of schools in Pittsburgh, which has added 45 minutes a day at eight of its lowest-performing schools and 10 more days to their academic year.

But the movement, which has expanded the day in some schools by as little as 30 minutes or as much as two hours, has many critics: among administrators, who worry about the cost; among teachers, whose unions say they work hard enough as it is, and have sought more pay and renegotiation of contracts; and among parents, who say their children spend enough time in school already. Still others question the equity of moving toward a system where students at low-performing, often urban, schools get more teaching than students at other schools. And of all the steps school districts take to try to improve student achievement, lengthening the day is generally the costliest - an extra $1,300 a student annually here in Massachusetts - and difficult to sustain.

The idea of a longer day was first promoted in charter schools - public schools that are tax-supported but independently run. But the surge of interest has been spurred largely by the federal No Child Left Behind law, which requires annual testing of students, with increasingly dire consequences for schools that fall short each year, including possible closing.

Pressed by the demands of the law, school officials who support longer days say that much of the regular day must concentrate on test preparation. With extra hours, they say, they can devote more time to test readiness, if needed, and teach subjects that have increasingly been dropped from the curriculum, like history, art, drama. "Whether it's No Child Left Behind or local standards, when you start realizing that we're really having a hard time raising kids to standards, you see you need more time," said Christopher Gabrieli of Massachusetts 2020, a nonprofit education advocacy group that supports a longer school day. "As people are starting to really sweat, they've increasingly started to think really hard about `are we giving them enough time?' "

Still, some educators question whether keeping children in school longer will improve their performance. A recent report by the Education Sector, a centrist nonprofit research group, found that unless the time students are engaged in active learning - mastering academic subjects - is increased, adding hours alone may not do much.

Money also has proved a big obstacle. Murfreesboro, Tenn., experimented with a longer day, but abandoned the plan when the financing ran out, said An-Me Chung, a program officer at the C. S. Mott Foundation, which does education research. Typically, she said, lengthening the school day can add about 30 percent to a state's per-pupil spending on education. Given that expense, New Mexico is acting surgically. The state is spending $2.3 million to extend the day for about 2,100 children in four districts who failed state achievement tests. The money, $1,000 a student, goes for an extra hour of school a day for those children, time they spend on tutorials tailored to their weaknesses in math or reading.


Love of terrorists in U.S. academe

Post below lifted from Phi Beta Cons

Ah, the depths of compassion that are sometimes shown by academics for their down-and-out colleagues!

Susan O’Malley, a former head of the University Faculty Senate of the City University of New York and current English professor at Kingsborough Community College, is just such a stand-up lady. Last fall she went to this governing body to plead for a job for Mohammed Yousry, the convicted co-conspirator of Maoist lawyer Lynn Stewart, for whom he worked and who supports armed revolution.

In 2005 Yousry was convicted of supporting terrorism, specifically, for translating a letter for, and reading letters to, blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. These letters concerned communication between Rahman and his jihadist supporters, relating to his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

As recorded in the minutes of that UFS meeting, the influential O’Malley put out the following feelers:

Do you think CUNY could hire Mohammed Yousry? What do you think? I have his phone number.  I could find out if he wants to be hired and if anyone would like to try to hire him. I’m just throwing it out; I don’t know. I know that it’s on appeal but it’s becoming increasingly clear that he really did just about nothing. 

To which one of her more level-headed colleagues responded:

I don’t think I have an answer to that question. Others may. As you may or may not know he’s been sentenced to 20 months and that is under appeal at the present time.

CUNY Professor Emeritus Sharad Karkhanis, who intrepidly reports, in The Patriot Returns (here and here), the machinations of leftist academics in the system, comments:

It's almost unbelievable…Queen O'Malley was…obsessed…Yes, yes, Mohammed was on her mind and she was not going to rest until she got this convicted terrorist a job. We do not know how many people she buttonholed, or telephoned, or e-mailed for him. But we sure do know that she used her position as a former Chair of the UFS to be recognized at the plenary and sneak in this "Job Wanted for the terrorist" ad.. She even made sure to notify the delegates that she had his telephone number and could contact him.

Karkhanis presses on:

1) Has Queen O'Malley ever made a "Job Wanted" announcement like this for a non-convicted, non-violent, peace loving American educator for a job in CUNY? There are hundreds of qualified people looking for teaching jobs. Why does she prefer convicted terrorists who are bent on harming our people and our nation…?

2) During her six year tenure as the Chair of the UFS, did she ever give UFS delegates an opportunity to make announcements of this nature? If not, why not?

3) Being on the PSC's Executive Committee [the Professional Staff Congress is CUNY's educational workers' union], she knew that Yousry, fired from his adjunct position at York in April 2002, was provided with all legal and contractual protection…up to arbitration…, which cost thousand of dollars, money which came from dues paying members…

Many of us know peace loving, law abiding, never-even-convicted-for-littering citizens who need work. How many law-abiding adjunct faculty have to worry about getting their two courses in order to hold onto medical benefits!? She does not worry about the "ordinary" adjunct — but she is worried about convicted terrorists! She will take these precious courses away and give them to terrorists and terrorist sympathizers!

We at the Patriot take the liberty of asking you, our readers, a question:

How many of you know, or have friends who know, a convicted terrorist and [have] his or her home telephone number?

We sure don't and believe that you don't either. But, watch out — Queen O'Malley does!

Brooklyn College (CUNY) Professor Mitchell Langbert, who brought the O’Malley’s job-plea to my attention, adds another exclamation to this intriguing testimony to the bottomless pit of leftist zealotry: “…rather than going for a Ph.D., students interested in academic jobs might just as well commit terrorist acts and be handed jobs by sympathetic left-wing academics!”

That O’Malley would publicly, without reticence or shame, beat the bushes for a felon convicted of abetting the most hateful enemies of this nation — enemies who would not hesitate to eliminate useful idiots like her in the name of establishing worldwide Islamist tyranny — illustrates once again the perverse and destructive bent of campus radicals.

When David Horowitz’s book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America was published, hostile reviewers ridiculed the idea that a professor might be “dangerous.” But Horowitz demonstrated that all too many of the nation’s professoriate negatively affect America’s war on terror.

Would that O’Malley were one of a kind — a small, sad aberration. But such is not the case.  Her championing of Youssef, with no significant opposition from her colleagues, exemplifies a deep and suicidal pattern within academe.


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 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.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A strange Catholic university

Catholic University of San Francisco Promotes Abortion, Same Sex Marriage and Contraception

The University of San Francisco (USF), a Catholic college, features on the front page of its website a festival that includes at least two films that promote abortion and same sex marriage, and a report by four USF nursing students that includes recommendations for contraceptive use. The 2007 Human Rights Film Festival (March 19th - 21st) is sponsored by USF's Office of the Provost, College of Arts & Sciences, Gender & Sexuality Department, University Ministry, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Caucus among others.

One of the films presented, "Rosita," tells the story of a nine year old Nicaraguan girl who becomes pregnant after being raped. The girl's parents are determined to obtain an abortion for her, even though abortion is illegal in their country. According to the description of the movie, "[the] parents move forward only to be forced into battle with two governments, the medical establishment, and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church." "One Wedding and a Revolution" is a sympathetic look at San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2004 decision to grant "marriage" licenses to same sex couples. The film is billed as containing "historic footage of the tearful exchange of vows between long-time lesbian activists."

Meanwhile, USF touts "as an impressive example of students assisting the community" a birth spacing study by four nursing students which was adopted by the Contra Costa Department of Public Health. Unfortunately, the study promotes contraceptives. "If there is a legitimate need for some mothers in Contra Costa County to delay subsequent pregnancies, Catholic teaching on marriage, chastity and natural family planning would have provided the nursing students with an opportunity to promote authentic, Catholic solutions," said Patrick Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society.

"As a Catholic institution, if the University of San Francisco will not support the Catholic position on issues, at the very least it has an obligation to not promote issues that directly contradict Catholic teachings on some of the most pressing moral issues of the day. "The Church is very clear that abortion is intrinsically evil, that marriage can only be between one man and one woman, and that contraception use is a sin. It is a scandal that USF, an institution that is not shy about touting its Jesuit heritage in marketing materials, would actively work against these fundamental Catholic truths."



UCAS challenged over proposed new application form

A civil liberties group has asked the Commission for Racial Equality [CRE] to intervene over the University and Colleges Admissions Service’s [UCAS] proposal to provide data about potential students’ ethnicity to Admissions Officers before rather than after the selection process is complete.

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup has written to CRE chair Professor Kay Hampton complaining about the proposal on the grounds that it would be in blatant breach of good equal opportunities practice propounded by the CRE over many years.

Monitoring forms the CRE has always argued should be anonymous, kept separate from any application form and from the entire selection process.

Where they are not this can and does allow ruthless discrimination at the selection process. This was evidenced notoriously by the use of equal opportunities data about their race being used last year to reject 289 white male applicants from consideration with Avon and Somerset and Gloucestershire Police Services.

Mr Hartup stated: “We must learn our lesson. We cannot trust Chief Constables with confidential information but they were at least breaking the law. How can we possibly allow the careers of students to depend upon the self denying integrity of Admissions Officers under pressure to come up with the results necessary to achieve maximum funding.”

“Should UCAS go ahead with their misguided policy they must expect legal action by students who can never be sure that the reason for their failure to obtain a place at their preferred institution was because their race did not fit the Education Secretary’s matrix.”

Liberty and law has written to UCAS Chief Executive Anthony McClaren urging him to drop the scheme. It has also written to OFFA [Office for fair Access] that has “a role in identifying and disseminating good practice and advice connected with access to higher education.”

More here

Australia: Literacy suffers as teachers take on propaganda roles

PRIMARY schools are swamped by a cluttered curriculum that places equal importance on issues traditionally taught by parents, such as awareness of dog attacks and nutrition, rather than the core skills of literacy and numeracy. The Australian Primary Principals Association, representing more than 7000 government and non-government primary schools, will today release a position paper calling for a charter to redefine the role of primary schools and cull the curriculum to focus on education rather than social welfare.

APPA president Leonie Trimper called on the nation's education ministers to discuss the issue at their meeting next month and form an independent group of primary educators to draft a charter. Ms Trimper said it was time to reassess the curriculum and the importance placed on different aspects of traditional subjects like literacy. "Are there things in literacy that should be of lesser importance: for example, is viewing as important as listening, speaking, reading and writing?" Ms Trimper said. "We would rather do less and do it well and make sure it's well resourced."

Ms Trimper said rather than schools supplementing parental responsibilities, the pendulum had swung too far. Schools were now forced to offer breakfast programs, values education, nutrition, personal finance, road safety, and even awareness of dog-biting and parenting programs. A joint report by the APPA and the federal education department in 2004 found that primary schools were also under-funded; for every $100 spent on a high school student, only $73 was spent on a primary school student. Ms Trimper said the needs of primary schools rarely featured in public debate or government policy.

The policy paper prepared by Greg Robson, from Edith Cowan University, says the pressures placed on primary schools "may well be undermining their capacity to deliver continuing success". "The pressures are significant, the expectations unrealistic, the appreciation of what is needed underdeveloped and the phase has lost its pre-eminence as a point of focus in education," the paper says. Professor Robson, who oversaw the introduction of highly criticised year 11 and 12 courses as head of the Curriculum Council in Western Australia, said a charter should reposition primary schools as the key phase of schooling.

The national umbrella group of parents and citizens organisations, the Australian Council of State School Organisations, yesterday supported a charter that refocused primary schools on the traditional core tasks of literacy, numeracy and socialisation. ACSSO executive officer Terry Aulich said primary schools were overloaded with excessively detailed curriculum and were forced to deal with social problems without adequate resources.



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 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.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hitler clone welcome on U.S. campuses

Recently Norman Finkelstein has been making the rounds of American college campuses-Stanford, Brandeis, Harvard, Bryn Mawr, Northwestern and more-having been invited by various departments, groups and individuals.

Many of the people extending the invitations are unaware that by inviting this person on their behalf, they are becoming complicit with neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, and anti-Semites. Some of the invitees were all too aware of what kind of person they were inviting.Finkelstein willingly collaborates with neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. Just watch him on, where a clip is posted of his appearance on a Holocaust denial program on Lebanese TV, where he claimed that Holocaust survivors are liars and that Swiss banks-which have agreed to pay back millions of dollars belonging to deceased Jewish depositors and their heirs-never withheld any money from Jews. Neo-Nazis also love Finkelstein, and for good reason. Listen to Ernst Zundel, the notorious Hitler lover and Holocaust denier who is now in prison in Germany:

Finkelstein's exceedingly useful to us and to the Revisionist cause. He is making three-fourths of our argument - and making it effectively. Never fret - the rest of the argument is being made by us, and will topple the lie within our lifetime. We would not be making vast inroads in Europe with our outreach program, were it not for his courageous little booklet, "The Holocaust Industry."

Zundel's wife and fellow Neo-Nazi, Ingrid Rimland, referred to Finkelstein admiringly as the "Jewish David Irving"-a reference to the well known Holocaust denier and admirer of Hitler. Finkelstein himself admires Irving's "historical" research.

Finkelstein also loves Hizbullah, the terror organization whose leader said, "If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."[1] Finkelstein has praised the group, saying: "The honorable thing now is to show solidarity with Hizbullah as the United States and Israel target it for liquidation. Indeed, looking back my chief regret is that I wasn't even more forceful in publicly defending Hizbullah against terrorist intimidation and attack."[2] Finkelstein is not "world-renowned," as some of his invitees claim, except among Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis, radical supporters of terrorism and other assorted anti-Semites, who constitute his primary readership and audience. He recently commissioned a cartoon-showing me masturbating in ecstatic joy to television pictures of dead Lebanese-by a neo-Nazi cartoonist and friend of his who won second place in the Iranian Holocaust denial cartoon contest. He has refused to confirm or deny that he commissioned the cartoon, even when asked to do so by colleagues at DePaul University, where he is up for tenure, on the grounds that no one will believe him. The evidence that he commissioned the cartoon is overwhelming.

It is not surprising therefore that when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his henchmen created a list of the most virulent Holocaust deniers in the world to invite to their notorious Holocaust denier hate-fest in Teheran, high among those on the list were the neo-Nazi and klansman David Duke and the Holocaust justice denier Norman Finkelstein. Finkelstein's name appeared on the schedule alongside Duke's, though apparently Finkelstein, at the last minute, decided not to appear. The reason Finkelstein has given for eventually declining the invitation had nothing to do with any principled opposition at being a speaker at such an anti-Semitic hate-fest. Instead, he claimed that negotiations with the Iranians broke down over details. He says that he wanted "at least 45 minutes to speak"- apparently because he needs at least that much time to spew his hatred- but they wouldn't agree to his conditions.

He has refused to disclose his communications with the Iranians regarding his invitation. What does he have to hide? Who is he protecting; the Iranian hate mongers or himself? He should be urged to disclose his communication, both with the Iranian Holocaust deniers and his neo-Nazi cartoonist friend.The real reason he did not attend is that he was too busy trying to testify on behalf of Hamas in a Chicago criminal trial. After listening to his proposed testimony and learning of his lack of credentials -he has never even visited Israel- the federal judge concluded that he did not have any expertise, essentially characterizing him as a crackpot. This was consistent with other, similar characterizations. A New York Times review by a leading expert of Finkelstein's book The Holocaust Industry called it:

... a novel variation on the anti-Semitic forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" [It] verges on paranoia and would serve anti-Semites around the world.

Marc Fisher of the WashingtonPost correctly described Finkelstein as "a writer celebrated by neo-Nazi groups for his Holocaust revisionism and comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany." Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic wrote: "You don't know who Finkelstein is. He's poison, he's a disgusting self-hating Jew, he's something you find under a rock." Others describe Finkelstein's theories as "crackpot ideas, some of them mirrored almost verbatim in the propaganda put out by neo-Nazis all over the world." One eminent scholar added:

No facts alleged by Finkelstein should be assumed to be really facts, no quotations in his book should be assumed to be accurate, without taking the time to carefully compare his claims with the sources he cites... Such an examination reveals that many of those assertions are pure invention.

This is the bigot who is being invited to speak on college campuses. No college should prevent him from speaking. He can get a soapbox and fulminate the way other bigots do. That is his free speech right. But no university or group that would not invite David Duke should lend its imprimatur to Finkelstein's poison. Duke and Finkelstein are opposite sides of the same hateful coin. Everyone should be free to invite the Dukes and Finkelsteins of the world to their campus, as the president of Iran did to his hate fest, but people should be judged by the bigots they invite.


British kids sentenced to rot in their failed schools

`An education ought to be very good, to justify depriving a child of its liberty." I copied this down as an angry schoolgirl, when I was reading John Stuart Mill, though I am no longer sure it was he who wrote it. In any case, it is true. There can be no justification for sentencing children to long hours in schools that are no good to 11 years of compulsory boredom, mismanagement and bad influences. There can be no justification for spending billions on this long incarceration only to let the prisoners out, having blighted their best years, unfit to deal with the world. Yet that, in this rich country, is precisely what we do.

All too many children leave school at 16 - and later - barely literate and numerate. Employers complain about school-leavers' "skills gap", meaning the wretched young things are so ignorant, incompetent and ill-disciplined that they are useless in a job, and need basic remedial training.

Colleges and universities complain that students arrive unable to construct a sentence, let alone write an essay. The brightest of undergraduates - the cream of our education system - need remedial teaching at university. Meanwhile the number of Neets - young people not in education, employment or training - has risen by a quarter since Labour came to power. Surely the disgraceful failure of education in this country is now an established fact?

Yet what is the response of the education secretary to this astonishing failure? It is to make it compulsory for all children to stay in our abysmal education system until the age of 18. Alan Johnson announced plans last week to raise the school-leaving age from 16 to 18. Children must choose between school, college, apprenticeships or work-based training. Teenagers who refuse to do so will face on-the-spot fines, Asbos and even jail. Employers who do not comply with work-based learning schemes will face sanctions, as will parents who put their children between 16 and 18 to work, without offering them training.

It beggars belief. Of course in an ideal world, all children should receive education until at least 18. Tertiary education or training ought to be available to everybody, according to his or her interests and abilities, and I firmly believe the taxpayer should pay for that. However, in the real world of British education, it makes little to sense to impose, by compulsion, the tedium and misery of British schooling for two more long years on those whom it has already failed and humiliated.

If the Department for Education and Skills cannot now make people literate and numerate by 16, if our schools cannot avoid producing disorderly children who wreck classes or play truant, how does it expect to change anything by enforcing two more benighted years of the same damn thing?

Bright schoolchildren and their teachers often talk of the relief they feel when the Asbo set leaves school at 16, so they can get on with their A-level classes in relative peace and quiet. Forcing class-wreckers to stay around would damage still further the chances of those children who want to study. The same applies to sending unwilling teenagers to colleges; they will undermine them. As for workplace training, the government has been making ambitious promises about apprenticeships for 10 years; why does it expect, suddenly, to be able to fulfil them now?

It is hardly fair to anyone to impose angry and unwilling 17 and 18-year-olds on schools and colleges they don't want to go to. School is simply all wrong for some children. It is economically unsound to impose them and their needs on employers who would rather not hire them. Though these teenagers need help and attention, forcing them to stay in education against their will is not the answer.

The real answer, which seems beyond this government or its predecessors, is to make early education work. What all children need is basic literacy, numeracy, good manners and self-discipline. Everything can follow from that, in or out of school, whatever the child's abilities. Since, however, we must despair of schools producing children who are educated in this fundamental sense, we are I suppose looking at damage limitation.

What do you do with problem teenagers of 16 to 18? Clearly it is a good idea to give them something constructive to do, and keep them off the streets. I often think it would be a good idea to offer them something that was fun, along the lines of what privileged children do. I mean extreme sports or adventure holidays. People usually harrumph with indignation at delinquents being taken by social services on expensive rock-climbing and whitewater rafting adventures, like rich kids. But these things develop character and confidence. They teach cooperation (which is why rich parents pay for them).

It is particularly good for children who have been neglected on sink estates to have some good clean fun - something more interesting than drugs and gangs. If I were education secretary I would be funding activity clubs for the Asbo set, like the Rugby Portobello Trust near me in central London, which would be so much fun that Neets would go to them willingly, and maybe get a little education by stealth. The Rugby Portobello offers sessions in music, IT, cooking and even mentorship for young people in running a charity.

Above all, as education secretary, I would consider why so many children, particularly boys, come to hate school. I do agree with the suggestion that the model of schoolroom teaching is unsuitable, after a certain age, for some children, many of them boys, and many of them the least bright or the most bright.

Mixed ability teaching is of course a nonsense, and so I suspect for many children is the feminised, politically correct conventionality and Gradgrind tedium of what passes for liberal education. So are the national curriculum and the mark-grubbing GCSE and A-level. I wouldn't blame any child of mine for opting out.

The education secretary, clearly a fairly able man, ought to understand this. He opted out of school at 15, without any qualifications. Forcing teenagers into this nonsense for still longer, until 18, is an unjustified assault on their freedom.


Fast forward on literacy IS possible

A PERTH trial of a program aimed at helping children with learning delays has achieved dramatic gains in literacy in just 10 weeks. But the principal of Fremantle-based Samson Primary School, Barry Hancock, said he was struggling to get other schools and the Education Department to look at the results. Four Perth schools took part in the trial last year of the computer-based program Fast ForWord to test claims it could boost learning in children struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other learning delays. A total of 144 students aged 5-14 took part in the trial, and were found to have made significantly better gains in language and literacy tests than a comparison group who received the standard WA curriculum alone.

On average, students who completed the 10-week program improved from being in the bottom 12 per cent of age literacy to the bottom 25 per cent. Their receptive language skills jumped from the bottom 12 per cent to bottom 21 per cent, while their expressive language improved from the lower 10 per cent to lower 18 per cent.

Mr Hancock said the program should be made part of the WA school curriculum because it was the only one that worked on the pathways in the brain to allow children to become better learners. "It's the greatest thing I've found in 40 years of teaching,'' he said. ``It teaches kids how to concentrate and to learn. "It doesn't matter how good teachers are, some kids are going to slip through the net because what you're telling them goes in one ear and out the other.'' Mr Hancock trialled the program on 36 of his students with special needs and found that all improved. Some made gains equivalent to two years of learning after just 10 weeks.

Quinns Rocks mother Amanda Cope said the program had improved her daughter Leticia, 13, who had repeated a year at school, but whose reading and writing skills were now above average. The Education Department said use of the program in schools was at the discretion of individual principals.



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 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.


Monday, March 26, 2007


A new case of legal intervention to stop homeschooling

Five "well-educated" children have been ordered into state custody by a court that applied to a second family a ruling taking a 15-year-old homeschooler from her family and sending her to a psychiatric ward. The action fulfills a dire forecast from a human rights group that the government's success in the first case would encourage officials to act against other families in Germany. The newest ruling comes from a court in Saxony and affects five members of the Brause family, according to officials with the International Human Rights Group.

Its president, Joel Thornton, earlier had told WND that, "There is an increased fear among homeschoolers about whether their children are next," after Melissa Busekros, 15, was removed from her home and ordered first to a psychiatric ward, then a foster home, because of her "school phobia." Thornton told WND the ruling in Saxony means that while the government officials have not yet taken the five children from the family home, they have permission to do so at any time. "Apparently, Germany has decided that it can determine when and where the children go to school; and where they live while doing so," noted Thornton. "The youth welfare, supported by the police force, can take the children out of the home at any time with or without notice."

The decision, according to the IHRG, said the well-being of the children "can only be achieved by their attendance in the public schools." [Hegel would agree]

According to a CBN report, the legal custody of Rosine, Jotham, Kurt-Simon, Lovis and Ernst Brause was taken away from parents Bert and Kathrin and given to the local youth welfare office. The parents reportedly can regain custody of their children only by placing them in public school. In the order, which was based solely on the parents' decision against sending their children to public school, the family also was told to pay court costs estimated at $4,000.

The judge had concluded that the children were well-educated, but accused the parents of failing to provide their children with an education in a public school. The court noted that one of the daughters expressed the same opinions as her father, showing they have not had the chance to develop "independent" personalities.

That circumstance and others echo the case involving Melissa Busekros, a case on which IHRG has been working for several weeks. "We are gearing up to continue the fight in Germany for the right of parents to control the education of their children in accordance with their sincerely-held religious beliefs. This will be an expensive battle, and we ask you to pray about helping us fight the good fight," the IHRG said. "Our efforts must be bathed in prayer, so we ask you to please continue praying for Melissa and the Busekros family, as well as the Brauses. No parent should have to watch their children being forcibly removed from their home because of their religious beliefs," the group said.

The newest decision came even though a United Nations report included some new criticism of the German school system. ".it should be noted that education may not be reduced to mere school attendance and that educational processes should be strengthened to ensure that they always and primarily serve the best interests of the child," the UN report said. "Distance learning methods and homeschooling represent valid options which could be developed in certain circumstances, bearing in mind that parents have the right to choose the appropriate type of education for their children, as stipulated in article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," it continued.

A separate report out of Berlin also noted that in the German school system, children from poor families and immigrant backgrounds are at a disadvantage, and the system does not provide equal opportunities.

The IHRG reported that the work on Melissa's case continues. As WND has reported, the 15-year-old recently released a letter through which she pleaded for permission to return to her home and parents. "I want to ask you for help, to get my right to go back to my family, as I wish," Melissa Busekros wrote in an English letter hand-delivered to the IHRG.

It was more than six weeks ago she was taken by youth welfare officials accompanied by police officers from her home first to a psychiatric hospital in Nuremberg, and then later to a foster home. "I am not sick as the doctor said and my family is the best place for me to live," she said in her letter.

The removal order in Melissa's case has been affirmed at the appellate level, where a judge also ordered her parents, Hubert and Gudrun Busekros, to be given state-sponsored psychiatric tests, raising fears that the results of those tests will be used by the government to remove the family's other five children.

Thornton said even those German families who already have fled to other countries because of Germany's homeschool ban are moving into hiding because of the possibility they could be returned to face German fines or jail time for homeschooling.

The IHRG reported it is working on several fronts to try to help Melissa and her family, with several German lawyers evaluating their options for an appeal, all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if needed. The case has gotten the attention of the German community already. "Christian activists say the case is an assault on religious liberties and the right of a Christian family to homeschool their daughter," said Speigel Online International's English-language edition. "The case has been widely reported in Christian and conservative media in the United States, with some commentators comparing the authorities to Nazis. Activists are being encouraged to pray for the girl and petition German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while one Web site is even calling for a boycott on German goods," the report continued.

Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented on the issue on a blog, noting the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole."

Melissa had fallen behind in math and Latin, and was being tutored at home. When school officials in Germany, where homeschooling was banned during Adolf Hitler's reign of power, found out, she was expelled. School officials then took her to court, obtaining a court order requiring she be committed to a psychiatric ward because of her "school phobia."

Drautz said homeschool students' test results may be as good as for those in school, but "school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens." Just last year the Human Rights Court for the European Union ruled in another similar case that any parental "wish" to have children grow up without the public school's anti-Christian influences "could not take priority over compulsory school attendance."

The German government's defense of its "social" teachings and mandatory public school attendance was clarified during an earlier dispute on which WND reported, when a German family wrote to officials objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school.

"The Minister of Education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling.," said a government letter in response. "You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement."

In Melissa's case, the local Youth Welfare Office arrived at the family home with about 15 uniformed police officers to take her into custody. They had in hand a court order allowing them to take her into custody, "if necessary by force."

The Home School Legal Defense Association, the largest homeschool organization in the U.S. with more than 80,000 member families, said the case is an "outrage."

Practical Homeschool Magazine noted one of the first acts by Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, and school-related issues. In 1937, the dictator said, "This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing."


Australia: "Outcomes-based" education shown the door

The widely criticised model of outcomes-based education introduced in West Australian schools was effectively dismantled yesterday when the Government announced the return of syllabuses specifying what students should be taught and a return to traditional marking methods.

Education Minister Mark McGowan has commissioned a detailed action plan addressing problems with the curriculum for kindergarten to Year 10 after an independent evaluation concluded the changes introduced over the past decade "cannot be regarded as a success". Mr McGowan described the evaluation report as a "cold shower" and announced that syllabuses detailing the content of courses would be reintroduced next year. The changes also include providing clear reports to parents based on grades linked to common standards, providing resources for teachers for planning and assessing students, and reintroducing traditional methods of marking, such as percentages.

Under the curriculum framework introduced in 1998, marks were replaced by "levels" at which students were working, based on the idea that students travel along at their own pace. The curriculum adopted an outcomes approach to learning that focused on what students should achieve and assessed what they learn rather than traditional syllabuses that focus on content and how and when it is taught. The state Government has faced widespread criticism over its changes to school education, particularly over the introduction of levels, and the new courses of study for Years 11 and 12, which are claimed to be of poor academic standard.

A group of teachers formed to fight the changes, People Lobbying Against Teaching Outcomes, welcomed the announcement as a step in the right direction. PLATO president Marko Vojkovic said the syllabuses and levels were two key pieces of the outcomes-based education jigsaw but there was still a way to go. Teachers will be able to choose the type of assessment they use, marks or levels, which Mr Vojkovic said was unacceptable. "Levels should be abandoned altogether," he said. "There shouldn't be a choice between a valid and invalid method; if it's invalid it should be thrown out." He said the draft syllabuses did not contain enough specific content but their reintroduction was a philosophical move away from outcomes-based education.

In a letter sent to teachers yesterday, the department said syllabuses would contain explicit descriptions of core elements to be taught. In kindergarten to Year 3, the emphasis would be on literacy, numeracy, social, emotional and physical development. In Years 4-7, syllabuses will expand to include science, civics and citizenship, and information and communication technologies. Syllabuses for Years 8-10 will cover all learning areas. The evaluation of the curriculum changes found almost 60percent of teachers did not agree the changes had improved teaching and learning or student assessment in recent years.



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 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.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Terror Supporter and Antisemitic Conspiracy Theorist Teaches at Dalton State College, Georgia

Post below lifted from Jawa Report

HassanAEl-Najjar.jpgThis is not "news" in the sense that its neither "new" nor "surprising". Imagine my, er, shock when reader Mike e-mailed me about yet another antisemitic conspiracy theorists and terror supporter in academia. Given that this is Georgia, though, I would have imagined that the good people of the state would have demanded the firing of Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar. He teaches Sociology at Dalton State College.

Dr. El-Najjar runs the website, which is not associated with Arabic satellite television station from Qatar, which is the al Jazeera, or with, a British Islamists website. No, Dr. El-Najjar's al Jazeerah is an antisemetic conspiracy website---much worse than the al Jazeera, if that is imaginable. Needless to say, they are pro-terrorism. Oh, they claim they are against "terrorism", but, like so many Muslims in the world, define "terrorism" in such a way as to exclude, you know, real terrorists.

So, who are the 'terrorists' according to Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar? The Israelis, of course! Israeli occupation terrorist forces kill youngman

While Shaikh Ahamed Yassin, a man who was the head of an officially listed terrorist organization Hamas, is called a "martyr". Similarly, Abu Ali Mustafa, the dead leader of another group specially designated by the State Department as foreign terror orgainzation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palesitne (PFLP), is also labelled a "martyr".

IDF soldier trying to find terrorists = terrorist.
Leaders of officially listed terror organization = heroes.

But Dr. El-Najjar does not simply single out those that kill Jews as "not terrorists". He also includes those that kill Americans, Iraqi police and soldiers, and Iraqi women and children in the "not terrorists" camp. From one of his stories he published today: "5 Iraqi resistance fighters were killed in north Baghdad".

Dr. El-Najjar, who supports officially designated terrorist organizations, also has the audacity to call his website the "Aljazeerah Peace Information Center". He also solicits contributions.

So, we've established that Dr. El-Najjar is pro-terrorism, but what about conspiracy theories? My case will begin this editorial: How Israel Lobby Controls US Policies: The Arab Bank Case then move to the fact that his website used to link to a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (source--no longer linked).

And then end with this, from the same news story, linked above, written by Dr. El-Najjar, and published today:
It is inaccurate to describe the war in Iraq as if it is fought between Muslim Shi'is and Muslim Sunnis...It is more accurate to describe it as fought between US-led forces and Iraqi resistance fighters. Even killing civilians is part of the war, as the evidence earlier demonstrated that Interior Ministry death squads and British soldiers were caught either targeting or attempting to target civilians to make the war appear as if it is between Shi'is and Sunnis....

Moreover, on September 19, 2005, two British soldiers were arrested by Iraqi police for driving a car bomb in a Basra street. They were freed by British forces before being interrogated by Iraqi police. This incident sheds some light on who might be behind car bomb explosions in Iraq.
In other words, all those deaths we hear about? A U.S. & British plot to make it look like civil war!! This is exactly the kind of stuff you read in the radical Islamist press. The pro-al Qaeda propaganda outlets. The only thing missing is an allusion to a Zionist plot!

Wow, that's what we call in academia "scholarship". As for El-Najjar's other "scholarship", this includes a self-published book called The Gulf War : Overreaction & Excessiveness. One of the two reviews of the book is by fellow Dalton State College professor, Dr. James A. Stevenson, who, shockingly, contributes antiwar columns to the pro-terror conspiracy website. The other reviewer? Also a Dalton State professor.

From reading a few of both Dr. Stevenson's and Dr. El-Najjar's columns, it seems likely that the pair are old-school Leninists (eg, Zionism: The Highest Stage of Imperialism; While World Capitalists Spend Trillions of Dollars on their Wanton Wars, Hunger Kills 18,000 Children Each Day). Not surprisingly, the website has many links to The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a link to our favorite peace-rage activist Rachel Corrie.

Again, none of this is "news" in the sense that its "new". Campus Watch reran an extensive 2003 Washington Times story about El-Najjar here. American Intelligence has all the still valid hosting info here. Nor, as I said, is it at all surprising that terror supporters are in academia (eg, Julio Pino at Kent State; Joseph Massad and others at Columbia, etc.). Like I said, what is really surprising is that the people of Georgia aren't demanding the immediate firing of Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar.

Or does tenure & academic freedom trump all other considerations? Including that of supporting terrorism and spreading antisemetic conspiracy theories?

PS: The President of Dalton State College, Dr. James Burran: Be civil.

And here is complete telephone contact information for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. E-mails can be sent via this page.

Double P.S.: Just in case there was any question as to whether the editor of was really the same man as the Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar, who teaches at Dalton State. A) He openly admits it and B) Here is the address listed at the contact page:

Al-Jazeerah Information Center,
P.O. Box 724, Dalton, GA 30722, USA.


Typical Leftism: Treat all kids as if they are the same. Sitting through what passes for a High School education these days may even be helpful to most but it will certainly not be helpful to all

Teenagers who drop out of school or training at 16 will face criminal action and 50 pound on-the-spot fines under plans to raise the age for leaving full-time education. Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, said that dropouts would be served with ASBO-style "attendance orders" specifying a study course that they are expected to attend. Breaching an attendance order will be a criminal offence, punishable by a 50 pound fixed penalty or prosecution. Ultimate sanctions include community sentences or fines.

Mr Johnson accepted that there was no point in forcing nonacademic teenagers to struggle on in the classroom. But he emphasised that compulsory education or training to 18 was essential to ensure that the next generation of workers could compete in a knowledge-based global economy. At present Britain has one of the lowest staying-on rates for education among developed countries, ranking twentieth in the OECD rankings, with 76 per cent of young people aged 16 to 18 remaining in education or training. "It should be as unacceptable to see a 16-year-old in the workplace without any education or training as it was to see a 14-year-old, which used to be common before the Butler Education Act [of 1944]," he said. He added that he expected the sanctions, which may also include the confiscation of driving licences, to apply only to a small "hardcore" of refuseniks.

Under the plans, training could take the form of full-time academic or vocational studies, workplace apprenticeships or training courses. Teenagers already in employment would be expected to undertake accredited training one day a week. The names of all 16 and 17-year-olds will be added to a database held by local authorities so that they can track their participation in education or training. Local authorities will receive 476 million pounds a year to employ advisers to help young people to choose suitable forms of training. The education maintenance allowance of 10 to 30 pounds a week, which is paid to 400,000 youngsters from low-income families to encourage them to stay at school, will be replaced with a new "training wage". This is likely to include a basic allowance for those who turn up to training, and "bonus" payments for those who gain qualifications and demonstrate progress.

The new measures will be phased in from 2013, when the leaving age in England will be raised to 17. In 2015 it will be raised again to 18. The older leaving age will cover pupils starting secondary school in September 2008. Currently, parents face criminal prosecution if they fail to ensure that a child under 16 goes to school. The new measures shift the legal responsibility on to the young person. Employers will face fines if they do not allow employees aged 16 and 17 to undertake accredited training. This rule will apply equally to parents employing their children in a family business.

Start-up costs of the measure are expected to be 200 million, with annual costs running at 700 million. The plans received a mixed reaction. David Willetts, the Shadow Education Secretary, said that it would be better to focus on improving education standards up to the age of 16. Richard Lambert, the director-general of the CBI, the employers organisation, said that it was a necessary step. But Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, warned that criminalising young people could alienate those already disaffected with the system. The Scottish Executive has no plans to raise the education leaving age from 16. The Welsh Assembly aims to increase the number of 16 to 18-year-olds in education or training and is due to issue a strategy this year.


Grade inflation in Ireland too

Grade inflation is a trend over time of better grades being awarded in educational qualifications that is not matched by real improvements in learning. Grade inflation is a direct function of declining educational standards.

Extensive research conducted and published on this website shows that there has been significant grade inflation in both the University and Institute of Technology sectors in the Republic of Ireland. In 1994 the percentage of first class honours awarded across the Universities was 7%. By 2005 that figure had jumped to 17%.

In the Institutes of Technology over the same period, despite a steep decline in the CAO points of entrants, there was a 52% increase in the award of first class honours degrees. Thus, weaker and weaker students have been entering the sector, only to receive ever improving grades.

Grade inflation in Irish higher education has been driven by institutions prioritising student numbers and growth at the expense of educational standards. Weaknesses inherent in the assessment process at third level have enabled an increasing divergence between academic performance and grades awarded.

Grade inflation undermines the status of qualifications and misleads the stakeholders in education, such as students, employers and policy-makers. It inevitably results in a continuing decline in the quality of education, with serious long-term implications for the competitiveness of the Irish economy.



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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