Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lowering Education Expectations Hurts Texas' Children

Hurting whites to avoid facing the low educational achievements of blacks and Hispanics

Our country was founded on the premise that hard work and education are the keys to success and the American Dream. Home ownership, entrepreneurship, and especially rising out of poverty are all directly tied to one's education, perseverance and creativity. With this in mind, what is more important for our children than a rigorous education? Strong math, reading, and writing skills enable all students from a range of backgrounds to achieve their dreams.

Yet, much to our astonishment, the Texas House is reversing course after spending nearly 20 years raising standards and tweaking the accountability system. The House recently passed a bill that sunsets the accountability system, eliminates graduation exit exams, and makes social promotion easier - gutting the high school accountability system.

Almost everyone wants to get rid of the high school TAKS test. Students, parents, educators, teacher groups, and policymakers all support replacing the high school TAKS test with exams at the end of each course called end-of-course exams. Beyond that, the agreement ends.

Education reformers are trying to raise the rigor of the exams required for graduation to help students graduate ready to succeed, while the education lobby wants to eradicate high stakes testing all together. Testing opponents are successfully watering down accountability in schools; under the House bill, students can fail all of their end-of-course exams and still graduate.

For more than 20 years, Texas has had an exit exam requirement for graduation. Today, students must pass the math, science, English, and history sections of the 11th grade TAKS to graduate. These tests ensured that students did not leave high school without obtaining a certain level of basic knowledge and skills. And over time standards have been slowly raised in response to higher expectations from colleges and employers.

Over the years, high stakes tests stimulated significant gains in student learning. Today, Texas leads the nation in improving elementary and middle school math and reading. Now, just as Texas is beginning to make real progress in getting students to high school on grade level, House legislators destroyed one of the best tools we've used to do so. Only last week the Texas House eliminated high school exit exams as a condition for graduation destroying 20 years of progress and improvement in public education. And now that our tests are finally getting closer to measuring college and workplace readiness, this bill lessens their importance and reinstates "social graduation."

Unfortunately, this is not the only education back-pedaling for legislators this session. The House recently reversed the bipartisan agreement to end social promotion in Texas, replacing the currently generous loophole that allows students to avoid retention with a new loophole that makes social promotion almost inevitable.

Worse still, the House agreed to eliminate the school accountability system in 2011. It has taken Texas 15 years to build up one of the best systems in the country. It should be studied for needed changes, and there remains plenty of room for improvement, but it makes no sense to eliminate the entire system. Sunsetting the current system only makes it vulnerable to bad policy that could further erode the ability of Texans to hold schools accountable. Do legislators really think lowering expectations and academic standards will help more students become ready for the rigors of college and the real world?

Make no mistake; the House's version of the end-of-course exam bill hurts Texas students. Lowering standards and expectations does not help students. It only sets them up for failure in the real world, where results are more important than their self esteem. There's not much time left in the legislative session, but there's enough to make real improvements in public education. Legislators need to raise expectations for our future leaders.If those expectations are lowered, the hard work of education reformers over the last two decades will essentially go down the drain, leaving a horrible legacy for today's leaders and hurting the chances of young Texans to achieve their dreams.


West Australia faces teacher crisis

The report below fails to mention that a major reason for teachers resigning or not starting in the first place is the postmodern garbage they have been asked to teach -- something that has been a major public controversy and which prospective teachers could be expected to be well aware of. It is only older teachers who are hanging on until retirement that is keeping the system afloat

EXTRAORDINARY mismanagement of teacher recruitment has put WA at risk of teacher shortages for years, an international recruiting agency has found. The Gerard Daniels agency accuses the state Education Department of "clearly failing" to develop a workforce strategy, and says officials should have foreseen the problems now being experienced, including some schools still being short of teachers halfway through the school year. Teacher recruitment processes were antiquated, and the department's recruitment website one of the worst the agency had seen.

The agency report, marked strictly private and confidential, was unexpectedly released yesterday by Education Minister Mark McGowan, who commissioned the investigation in January when schools were short more than 250 teachers statewide. Mr McGowan said the shortage had now been cut to 28 teachers but he admitted there was a serious problem in attracting more teachers, particularly for country areas. WA has the oldest teacher profile of any state or territory, ensuring major challenges ahead as the rate of retirements increases.

If immediate action were not taken, the Gerard Daniels report said, years of shortages would result. Graduates were dropping with "application fatigue" after being forced to fill in the same handwritten personal details on up to eight different forms. If they got through that hurdle, many rejected the offers made to them because they were so inadequate. The report said about $18million was needed to overcome the shortages, and recommended structural changes to the Education Department.

Promising to provide money to tackle the problem, but unable to say how much, Mr McGowan said the Government was trying to recruit teachers from Britain, and to encourage retired teachers to return to the workforce, particularly those interested in moving to a country location.

But Gerard Daniels said a survey of recently resigned teachers found widespread disillusionment, and 61 per cent said they would not recommend the department as an employer. The study found 44 per cent would contemplate returning under the right conditions, but the agency warned that the department's "employment brand" had been damaged. Despite being the state's largest employer, it was a matter of "grave concern" that the department did not attract recruits. The booming resources sector had provided much competition for staff.

"The department should be held out as an iconic employment brand," Gerard Daniels said. "It is one of the oldest continuous employers in WA. We recommend that the department re-engineer its brand, including its job offer to graduates."

State School Teachers Union secretary Dave Kelly said the report vindicated everything the union had been telling the Government for years. He said the starting salary of $45,000 for a graduate teacher who had done four years of study was ridiculous against the wages being offered to young unskilled workers in the resources sector. Mr Kelly said pay rates must be raised, and innovative incentives were essential to get teachers to move to country areas. Basic requirements such as housing must be addressed urgently. "We have teachers being forced to live in motel rooms for months because there's no housing provided - it's shameful," Mr Kelly said. "These problems are not suddenly appearing. We've warned about what was happening for years."

He said suggestions by Mr McGowan that he might reinstate a rule to force graduate teachers to work in country schools was not the answer. Mr McGowan said the teaching workforce was larger than the Australian army in an area bigger than Europe, and overall the department was doing a good job.



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, May 25, 2007

Increase Educational Flexibility for States, Local School Districts

Press release below from Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Senior Republican Member, Congressional Education and Labor Committee. Yes. For my sins I do now get a lot of press releases. The many tiny teeth of bloggers are getting respect

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has empowered states and local schools districts unlike any federal education law in history. For instance, within the current law, states - NOT the federal government - design and implement their own testing systems, set academic standards, define the meaning of "highly qualified" teacher, and decide how millions in federal education funds will be spent on student achievement. While this amount of flexibility is unprecedented, I believe we must give state and local officials even greater flexibility, because a "one size fits all" approach to education simply cannot meet the needs of our nation's diverse schools.

During this year's NCLB reauthorization, Congress has the opportunity to enhance the flexibility provisions and grant greater control to states and local school districts. With that in mind, I soon will introduce legislation - the State and Local Flexibility Improvement Act - to give states and local school districts the freedom to target federal resources to best serve the needs of their students. While maintaining strong accountability standards, the State and Local Flexibility Improvement Act would:

* Allow states to waive certain statutory or regulatory requirements under law, consolidate federal education programs, and use an alternative method for making allocations to local school districts instead of the current formula if their new proposal targets more funds effectively to those areas with high concentrations of low-income families;

* Measure individual student growth to determine whether schools and school districts meet Adequate Yearly Progress, including through well-designed growth models; and

* Expand the poverty threshold for schoolwide programs, which frees local schools to consolidate all federal funds to improve the quality of the entire school.

Most notably, the State and Local Flexibility Improvement Act would empower states and local schools to use federal dollars on programs that best suit their unique needs and allow states and school districts to transfer 100 percent (up from 50 percent under current law) of its federal funds within certain programs - such as the Safe and Drug Free Schools, teacher quality, or classroom technology programs - and into the Title I program.

For example, if a state or local school district decides to transfer all of the funding that it receives under the Teacher and Principal Training and Recruitment, Education Technology, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Innovative Block Grant Programs into the Title I program, it would only have to comply with the requirements of the Title I program to do so.

State and local leaders should be given the power to use federal dollars on programs that best suit their unique needs. By building on current local flexibility options already outlined in NCLB, this measure would significantly strengthen the law's overall reforms. For more information on the bill please visit here

English Learners: It's the Teaching, Stupid

From Joanne Jacobs

Forty to 60 percent of students who start California schools as "English Learners" never reach full English proficiency; many won't graduate from high school.

My article, How Good is Good Enough? Moving California's English Learners to English Proficiency (pdf) is up on the Lexington Institute web site.

California schools lose funding when students are reclassified as "fluent English proficient," an obviously perverse incentive. Many set high standards for reclassification: ELs have to do as well or better than the average native English speaker to qualify as proficient.

But the larger issue is that many ELs go to schools that don't do a very good job teaching reading and writing to anyone. They're not reclassified as proficient because they score below-average in English Language Arts on the state exam, even though they may speak "playground English" as their preferred language. ELs become proficient in English more quickly if they attend schools that focus on building the reading and writing skills of all students.

This isn't really about teaching in English (more than 90 percent of ELs are in mainstream English classes) or teaching in Spanish. It's about teaching well.



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, May 24, 2007


Post lifted from Dr. Sanity

Siggy has an astonishing series of quotes in his special edition of the Wednesday Weekly Whacky Awards that everyone should read. Scroll down to the Thomas Szaz Award and read what some of our "finest" educators and psychiatrists have said over the last 50 years about education. If you can make it though to the last quote, then you will begin to realize why K-12 education has evolved into K-12 indoctrination--indoctrination into the leftist mindset.

Here are just three examples:
".a student attains `higher order thinking' when he no longer believes in right or wrong". "A large part of what we call good teaching is a teacher's ability to obtain affective objectives by challenging the student's fixed beliefs. .a large part of what we call teaching is that the teacher should be able to use education to reorganize a child's thoughts, attitudes, and feelings." - Benjamin Bloom, psychologist and educational theorist, in "Major Categories in the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives", p. 185, 1956

"This is the idea where we drop subject matter and we drop Carnegie Unites (grading from A-F) and we just let students find their way, keeping them in school until they manifest the politically correct attitudes. You see, one of the effects of self-esteem (Values Clarification) programs is that you are no longer obliged to tell the truth if you don't feel like it. You don't have to tell the truth because if the truth you have to tell is about your own failure then your self-esteem will go down and that is unthinkable."- Dr. William Coulson, explaining Outcome Based Education (OBE)-1964

"Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It's up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well - by creating the international child of the future"- Dr. Chester M. Pierce, address to the Childhood International Education Seminar, 1973

Or, how about this one, from the source of the quotes cited by Siggy:
"Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished ... The social psychologist of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at: first, that influences of the home are 'obstructive' and verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective ... It is for the future scientist to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for more than one generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen."
Bertrand Russell quoting Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the head of philosophy & psychology who influenced Hegel and others - Prussian University in Berlin, 1810

Fichte was instrumental in creating the "climate of collectivism" in philosophy (as Stephen Hicks has referred to it) that prevailed in Germany during the late 18th and throughout the 19th century. In this counter-enlightenment climate, the state was worshipped as the source of all reality and that which brought meaning to life. Hegel, building on Kant, Rosseau and Fichte, would go on to write, "It must be further understood that all the worth which the human being possesses--all the spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State."

Hegel's heirs went on to divide into left- and right-wing camps. The charge of the left was led by leftists like Karl Marx, who transformed Hegel's "dialectic of Spirit" into an economic and social system that depended on godless dialectic of "oppressors vs oppressed." The right-wing Hegelians tended to stress the omnipotence of the state and were less willing to abandon a deity. For more than a 100 years, the two camps have been battling it out, each trying to impose their utopian vision onto the human species.

Both Hegelian offshoots summarily dispensed with free will and human freedom; and between them, they brought forth the philosophical abomination that we now call "postmodernism".

The 20th century was the battleground where the two totalitarian branches of the collectivist philosophers vied for spiritual and physical control over humanity. The amount of death, destruction and misery they ushered in is perhaps unprecedented in human history.

By the mid-20th century, the right-wing, or nationalist, Hegelians, or national socialists (Nazis) had been defeated by an alliance of the left-wing Hegelians and those who stood for human freedom and democracy. By the end of the century, the social systems favored by the Hegelians of the left had been exposed to the world for the lie and deception it was.

But, in this new century, both utopian systems have been given new life by recruited a potent new ally in their attempts to control the minds of men. That ally is postmodern philosophy and rhetoric.

Neither can hope to remain viable in a world where human thought is free; therefore, the goal for the last several decades has been nothing less than to undermine mankind's perception of reality itself. They have been most successful in this goal at all levels of education--elementary, high school and college.

If you can convince children that objective reality is an illusion; that A does not equal A; that black is white; and that good is bad; if you can make them accept that everything is subjective and relative; then you have successfully breathed new life into doctrines that by all objective measures and standards led to the death and misery of millions of people. Through the careful manipulation of language, everything can be distorted, without the messy need to resort to facts, logic, or reason.

For the children of postmodernism, what matters is not truth or falsity--only the effectiveness of the language used. Lies, distortions, ad hominem attacks; attempts to silence opposing views--all are strategies that are perfectly satisfactory if they achieve the desired effect--i.e., furthering the collectivist agenda. Ideas and reason make way for reification of feelings; and freedom is replaced by thought control and preservation of "self-esteem" at all costs.

The postmodern assault as it is used by the new totalitarians of the 21st century is a four-pronged attack to undermine
- Objective reality
- Reason and the rational debate of ideas
- Individual freedom and freedom of thought and speech
- Progress and capitalism

The strategies used are:
- The distortion of language and meaning to undermine the individual's perception of reality;
- The use of direct or threatened physical violence to suppress speech and individual freedom;
- Politically "correct" thought control and cultural relativism to undermine reason and rational debate;
- The promotion of environmental hysteria to undermine progress, industrialization and capitalism

These activities represent the most serious assault on reality, reason, and individual freedom since the defeat of the Hegelian twins in the last century.

Radical Islamic ideology is itself an unexpected combination of several toxic threads of Hegelian thought that have merged in the last 30 years. One thread of this meme is Islam itself--a purportedly "peaceful" religion that is actually historically based on military conquest and coercion of belief through jihad-- entwined with the remnants of the left- and right-wing totalitarian ideologies of the last century.

Thus we see how that 18th century philosophical climate of collectivism is still playing itself out several hundred years later. But the battleground in our time has returned to the battlefield of the mind, where strenuous efforts are being made by the remnants of both to claim the minds of the next generation.

Even 5-year olds and younger children are not too young for collectivist propaganda to be inculcated. Destroy free will; inoculate them with political correctness; treat the "insanity" of their attachment to parents, the Judeo-Christian tradition; or their country--i.e., all traditional Western values that brought civilization, individual freedom and economic progress; achieve a "higher order" of thought by showing them there is no right or wrong; good or evil.

After that, what will be left? The tyranny of the Collective; or the State or of Allah.

Today's political left likes to think they are so different from those Hegelian "fascists" of the 20th century. They appear to have a serious mental block, particularly when they speak so disparagingly of the National Socialist Party (better known as the "Nazis") who were simply one faction of Hegelians (socialists) who happened to be ascendent over the other faction (communists) vying for power at the time. Clearly they are victims of their own educational nihilism; and by lobotomizing themselves they have failed to recognize that there is no essential philosophical difference between the collectivist left and the collectivist right. Both are vying for absolute power as they preach the gospel of moral relativism and postmodernism.

In "The Dictatorship of the Do-Gooders and Soul Murder" I commented about a post of Betsy Newmark's that links to an article demonstrating how the "social justice" advocates of today's collectivists have taken over our K-12 education system and are determinedly undermining American values with their politically correct, multicultural and anti-capitalist curriculum. I wrote:
Make no mistake about it, what those teachers are doing is indoctrinating their students minds into an unquestioning obedience to the collective.

While our popular culture refrains sensitively from prtraying Islamofascists as villians in movies out of political correctness (yet another aspect of socialism's quest for "social justice"); it does not hesitate to make businessmen evil and malignant oppressors of the innocent. Individualism, the pursuit of profit, and private property is always bad and everyone must bow to the will of the collective. Islam (the name even means "submit"), even in all its terrorist varieties, does very well by this perverted moral standard.

One very harmful result of this sorry educational situation is that there are few people--even among those who stalwartly defend the free market, who understand and appreciate the essential morality of capitalism. Certainly our children, taught by ideological purists like the ones above who are leftover from the 20th century debacle of socialist/communist tyranny--never even have a chance to rationally consider any ideas not approved by their aggressively collectivist teachers, so intent at quashing those aspects of human nature they don't like.

This is child abuse, pure and simple. It is indoctrination. It is the willful manipulation of young minds which cannot never be allowed to develop even the capability of thinking for themselves. And these perverts call it "social justice."

In fact there is nothing that is "just" about it. It represents the worse kind of oppression with the goal of enslaving the human mind. And enslavement is exactly what is required to establish their socialist utopia, since it refuses to acknowledge the reality of human nature.

Socialist ideologues like those teachers know that in a free market of ideas, their pathetic system-- which has only brought human misery, slavery and death to those who have embraced--cannot function in a real world. Thus they must "stack the deck" and take absolute control over the thinking of the utopia's future citizens.

On some level they even understand that the very foundation of capitalism is human freedom in its most classical, liberal tradition. And that frightens them to death.

Capitalism's incredible production of wealth is the economic side-effect that occurs when political freedom is present. It has been argued, and I agree, that both economic and political freedom are absolute prerequisites for moral behavior.

Children propagandized by dogmatic tyrants like the ones above have had not only their capacity to think for themselves abrogated; they have had their capacity to make moral choices taken from them.

The moral case for capitalism is not taught in our schools, nor is it argued much in our culture. In fact it has been more or less universally accepted by the intellectual elites that systems such as communism and socialism are "morally superior" to capitalism (hence more "socially just")--even though in practice such systems have led to the death and enslavement of millions, and to those unlucky enough not to die from them, they have led to the most horrible shrinking and wasting of the human soul.

The truth is that neither socialism nor communism nor any kind of religious fundamentalism is compatible with morality at all.

If one's actions are coerced by the state or religion, or both; if human activity is indoctrinated, legislated, regulated and ordained down to the last minute detail--particularly to the degree we see in other countries of the world (e.g., Cuba, China, most Middle Eastern countries, North Korea, and now in Venezuela--then how can it possibly be argued that one's actions are moral? Human behavior under such systems is not voluntarily chosen, but actively coerced.

Morality, though, must always be a matter of choice, not mandate.

One cannot hold a person responsible for actions that are coerced or forced from him. Morality can only exist when freedom of action exists; and thus moral actions in any field of human endeavor require freedom.

Conduct may only be thought of as moral or immoral when it is freely chosen by the individual. It is only then that the moral significance of the action can be assessed. It is only when we are free to act that we can exercise moral judgement.

Taking the mind of a child and feeding it exclusively on your ideological pablum is not only the most cruel and abusive of behaviors; it also ensures that such a mind becomes cognitively stunted and morally impaired (much like the minds of the teachers who so proudly perform such oppressive acts).

All totalitarian/collectivist idealogues will casually and deliberately use and brainwash children. Whether it is Fidel and his communist indoctrination in Cuban schools or the mirror image of the Palestinian's using a Mickey Mouse look-alike to make little children comfortable with the idea of murdering Jews. Both are not above the atrocious behavior of hiding behind children and using them as their shields; parents thourougly schooled in the collectivist propaganda will happily send their children to blow themselves up for Allah and celebrate when they are successful; and all of them know full well that decent people are repulsed at the idea of retaliating against innocents. But the collectivist--both right and left--could care less about the harm their despicable behavior does to the souls of the children who are used or brainwashed in such a manner. For them the individual, whether a child or adult, has no meaning except insofar as they can advance the ideology. Their total worth is only equivalent to their willingness to be fodder for the good the "cause."

Modern-day educators, psychologists, and assorted self-esteem gurus, multiculturalists, and PC policemen are the natural-born heirs of Kant, Fichte, Hegel and many others who have refined and advanced the postmodern irrationality. They are the ones who are in charge of educating your children into the accepted dogmas that now are espoused by the left in this country.of political correctness and multicultural religion. They are the people who are determined to have George W. Bush impeached--or declared clinically mentally ill; they are determined to undermine American values; to portray Republicans and conservatives as absolute evil. By this behavior they signal how desperately afraid they are that there are still many individuals and pockets of people who are willing to think outside of the ideological box they have created and who have not been fully lobotomized by their educational system.

Only those whose brains have been damaged by a defective educational system to begin with could adhere on the one hand to a philosophy advocating moral relativism and subjectivism with unapologetic dogmatic absolutism.

What is outrageous is that anyone--anyone who is capable of thinking anyway--could take these postmodern, brain-damaged collectivists seriously.

Progressing from education to indoctrination, postmodernism has ushered in an age of educational nihilism that seeks to destroy the minds of the next generation of Americans. The good news is that the biggest impediment to their grandiose plans is that they earlier suceeded in destroying their own minds on the bullshit they now force-feed the children of today.

And, no matter how they feel about it, reality, truth and reason must eventually prevail.

Australia: Last days of literature

ENGLISH literature was in danger of disappearing and should be taught as a separate subject in schools, an education conference has heard. Griffith University Associate Professor Pat Buckridge told more than 150 English teachers on Saturday that Queensland faced the "imminent disappearance of the literary canon" if literature was not restored in schools. "In ecological terms, the thing we're on the brink of losing can be thought of as a huge and priceless piece of cultural heritage to which everyone in Australia and the rest of the world has an inalienable right of access and to which - if they want it - everyone in Australia should be offered the means of access," he said.

Professor Buckridge said a major difference he noticed in current students from those leaving school 30 and even 10 years ago was how much English and world literature they had never heard of, let alone read. "Most of them have studied, in some fashion, a couple of Shakespeare plays, but unless they're from interstate or overseas or an older age group they know of nothing beyond a few mid to late 20th century novels." He was speaking at a symposium on English Beyond the Battle Lines: Rethinking English Today hosted by the English Teachers Association of Queensland (ETAQ).

Association President Garry Collins said most English teachers were actively engaged in teaching students to use language well, including correct functional grammar and engaging students in literature. Mr Collins said the association was keen to give classroom teachers a major say on English curriculum content as part of the current review of the Queensland syllabus and the prospect of a national syllabus.

Mr Welford said a literature stream for interested students would broaden choice, just as many schools offered several maths subjects. "We could have literature, mainstream English and English communication for students intending to pursue vocations pathways," Mr Welford said. Sunshine Coast University academic and The Courier-Mail columnist, Dr Karen Brooks, said a balance between popular culture texts and traditional literature from antiquity to the present was vital.



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, May 23, 2007

Socialism for tykes?

Post lifted from American Thinker. See the original for links

Inspiration is a truly wonderful educational software package, which teaches kids how to use visual learning. Gosh, I wish I'd had that in grade school - you can see outlines, concept diagrams, and basic facts, all with terrific visual icons. More than 25 million people use this product, including sixty percent of school districts in the United States, according to the company. It's a great educational product, and home-schooling parents should really consider using it.

But there is a slight flaw under the "Social Science" heading in Inspiration. For "capitalism" we see an icon showing gleaming gold bars. For "socialism" we see two hands shaking in everlasting love and peace. Socialism has not been quite as loving as all that. That isn't history or reality: It's propaganda for tykes who don't yet know enough to be skeptical. Need I say that Inspiration was based on a government-funded project?

Oh, and here's a useful quote from a socialist who is now disowned by the Left. From Brussels Journal,

"Who Said This?

'We are Socialists, enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, with its injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement, and we are determined under all circumstances to abolish this system!'

A quote from?

Adolf Hitler in his May Day Speech, Berlin, 1 May 1927 (quoted by John Toland in his book Adolf Hitler, 1976, p. 306.)"

I think the talented people at really mean well. They just don't know Western history or economics. They have been mis-educated. And they are inadvertently passing it on.

Still, maybe parents should congratulate the Inspiration crew on their wonderful work, and point out a slight flaw? Yasser Arafat was a socialist, Hitler was a socialist, Stalin and Mao called themselves socialists. They were all dedicated to human perfection in their own minds, and in the minds of millions of followers. They also caused more than 150 million deaths, using deliberate mass-murder and war. It wasn't that long ago, friends.

This is not a warm and loving track record to teach your kids. Let's not teach stupidity to 25 million kids, please. should voluntarily recall its products and correct a small but awful error. Just as you would recall a tainted drug or food product, educational software must not peddle notorious falsehoods. A kid's mind is an awful thing to poison.

White pupils in British urban schools are failing academically: why?

Are white working class families the new victims?

In a season similar to this 30 years ago, British educationalists were preoccupied with something referred to as "the great schools debate", in which the urban comprehensive was placed under scrutiny. When the media got wind of this, one particular television crew was dispatched to the school I attended in south east London, having decided it was the epitome of an underachieving, inherently multi-racial school within a poor and neglected postcode. The documentary that emerged - Our School and Hard Times - revealed the literacy of teenage pupils was dramatically below par, truancy was high, and hope was at an all time low.

The sixties outakes on the teaching staff were steeped in theories of social engineering and hinted to the camera that surroundings and social class rather than the pupils themselves, or teaching methods, were responsible. It was an argument that appears to have been around since Aristotle was a lad, and served its purpose until the issue of academic underachievement shifted from social class to race. This occurred when it emerged that the poor performance of black pupils - notably boys - was disproportionate to the size of this particular minority.

Thirty years on, and with the new century in its infancy, the poor academic achievement of white pupils in urban schools is becoming an issue. And even additives and E-numbers can't take the flak for this one. More significantly, it's the ethnicity of this group rather than - solely - social class that is relative.

Today, London's Business and Design Centre plays host to a conference devoted to tackling the issue of white underachievement. It brings together figures said to be experts in this field, and is organized by Cambridge Education Associates. In Islington, the CEA has had some success in addressing the poor academic levels of black pupils. By shifting the focus to this trend among white pupils, and largely in urban schools in which these are the minority, the organisers are showing a nerve that is absent elsewhere.

This issue of "white underachievement" has risen to the fore sporadically over the last couple of years, but with little response or action taken. The TES previously released a report on the issue ("white working class pupils have less mobility and employment opportunities than the children of immigrants who moved to the UK in the 1960s"); the Social Policy Group, the think tank established by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, published its own research last year. The latter revealed that for the first time white working class boys were falling behind their black and Asian contemporaries.

Bad parenting was flagged up as the key culprit, with the high level of success of pupils from more family-based, insular, Chinese and Asian communities cited as the standard of attainment to aim for. If the response of those present at this day-long conference mimics that of the teaching staff at my own secondary school back in the punk spring of 1977, you can bet that the short-sightedness and fear around modern racial etiquette is responsible. With poor performance of black pupils the burden of blame is apportioned to those post-Macpherson fallbacks institutional racism or "unwitting prejudice". In the case of white pupils, racism can't by cited as a reason or excuse any more than the industrial revolution or the age of the child chimney sweep. However, were this any other ethnic group, cultural alienation, lack of high-profile role models and its derogatory portrayal within the media would be brought into the proceedings.

Therefore there might be an argument to suggest the fact that urban white working class communities have endured more change, dislocation and upheaval than any other over the last 40 years, added to the racial and classcist slurs targeted regularly at this group by the press, might have some small part to play. But the greater responsibility for what is very much a 21st century trend might rest with the cult of multiculturalism.

This is alluded to within the research to be revealed at Monday's conference and where the notion of nerve comes in: "in dialogues about diversity, white ethnicity and social class is often rendered invisible and as such is not included in studies of the diverse landscape of British culture". In short, the communities that have been most altered in order to create a multi-racial society and accommodate multiculturalism have been airbrushed from any discussion or literature on the subject.

By recognising this the CEA might not have the answers on why young white urbanites are getting bad exam results, but it does highlight the fault-lines in a modern "inclusive" culture that exiles them. This in itself says more about the myth of multiculturalism than secondary education: it's one thing to build a vision on a myth, it's another to build it on a lie



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, May 22, 2007

Australian research shows the importance of good teachers and ....

Some VERY interesting findings below

SCHOOL students who have good teachers take half as long to learn their course material as those with poor teachers, new research shows. The report provides the first objective evidence of which teachers are adding value to the academic performance of their students - and which teachers are letting children down. "The top 10 per cent of teachers achieve in half a year what the bottom 10 per cent achieve in a full year," says the author, economist Andrew Leigh, of the Australian National University.

Dr Leigh tracked three years of numeracy and literacy exam scores for 90,000 primary school students and matched them against 10,000 teachers. Good teaching - measured by improvements in exam scores - has almost no relationship with teacher experience, qualifications or any of the criteria currently used by most schools to hire or reward teachers. Instead, the best teachers appear to be good at their jobs because of innate factors like personal drive, curiosity and ability to relate to students. "Most of the differences between teachers are due to factors not captured on the payroll database," said Dr Leigh. The study shows female teachers are more likely to improve student literacy, while males are better at teaching maths.

Surprisingly, it shows students in large classes performed better than those in small ones - although it doesn't claim a causative link. It also finds no positive effects of teacher qualifications on test scores, a finding which challenges the Federal Opposition's policy of paying teachers more for better academic qualifications rather than for observed ability.

The study is likely to receive a frosty reception from teacher unions and state education bureaucracies which say exam scores cannot be used to measure teacher quality. But it has been seized upon by private schools and the Federal Government. The executive director of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, Geoff Newcombe, said Dr Leigh's "groundbreaking" findings paved the way for teachers to be partly rewarded by the exam score improvements of their students. "It's complex but we can't stick our head in the sand and say it's too hard," he said.

The Federal Education Minister, Julie Bishop, said the report supports her policy of introducing performance pay for teachers next year. "This makes a mockery of education union and Labor Party claims that teacher performance cannot be measured," she said.

The schools data for Dr Leigh's study, which includes year 3 and 5 numeracy and literacy exam scores and information about individual teachers, was provided by the Queensland Education Department after NSW and Victoria had refused to make their information available. As well as being used to identify, reward and retain the best teachers, Dr Leigh says his methodology could be used to send the best teachers where they could contribute most. If indigenous students had teachers from the top quarter rather than the bottom, then the findings imply the two-year black-white test score gap could be closed within seven years. [A very simple-minded extrapolation]


Australia: Teachers reject payment by results

Predictably. Businesses get payment by results but teachers are high-minded noble idealists, of course

NSW school principals are designing their own plan to reward quality teaching in defiance of the Federal Government's push to link performance pay to student results. The body representing 460 high school heads has rejected the Government's "ideologically driven" model. They are wary of Labor's alternative, saying it is still too thin on detail.

The president of the NSW Secondary Principals Council, Jim McAlpine, said the council's plan would be "based on merit rather than performance". "[The federal Minister for Education] Julie Bishop's performance pay is going to be based on results of students in tests and that is a very narrow performance measure," he said. "But teachers who take on additional responsibilities, who undertake additional professional learning, who contribute to the further development of other teachers, merit extra pay."

From January 2008, first-year teachers in NSW Government schools will earn an annual salary of $50,250 and receive an increase each year for the following nine years up to $75,000. They will then receive no further increase unless they take up a position as a head teacher, deputy principal or principal. Top principals earn $119,000. In all there are 21 pay points in teaching, based on merit, years of experience and school size. The principals suggest creating extra salary steps for teachers who, for example, complete master's degrees and use them to help their colleagues. This would recognise the collegiality of the profession, where a number of teachers may contribute to a pupil's development.

The state Minister for Education, John Della Bosca, has also said he is open to a system of merit pay not based on student results. Mr Della Bosca and his state and territory colleagues last month rejected Ms Bishop's proposal to pilot performance pay in schools from next year, saying they would develop their own plans. Since then, Ms Bishop has said schools will be rewarded with up to $50,000 for outstanding results in numeracy and literacy. Schools could divide the money among their best teachers.

Federal Labor has said it would reward quality teaching using a merit-based system that took into account extra qualifications, professional development and working in rural and remote areas.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has said that from 2009 he would tie Commonwealth funding to the states and territories to the introduction of performance pay for teachers, giving principals more autonomy to hire and fire and providing parents with more detailed information on school performance. That information should also include cases of bullying and violence. The principals' plan is separate to another being devised by the national teacher union, the Australian Education Union.



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, May 21, 2007

British exam bungle

Alan Johnson's chances of becoming Labour deputy leader take a serious blow today from a highly critical attack on one of the biggest changes to secondary education in the past 40 years. Plans for the new job-related diplomas to run alongside A levels have been described as muddled, in danger of lacking practical content and being rushed through without being properly tested. In a scathing report, the Commons Education Select Committee today accuses the Government of not being clear about the purpose of the qualification, the learning that it will involve and a failure to involve teachers and examiners in its development. Mr Johnson, the Education Secretary, is frontrunner in the race for the deputy leadership and a champion of overhauling 14-19 education to keep more teenagers in school.

The specialist diplomas, the first five of which are to be introduced in September, combine practical work experience with academic study in an attempt to offer more relevant courses for teenagers. They came about after Tony Blair refused to abandon the A-level "gold standard" in 2004 in favour of one overarching diploma to replace GCSEs, A levels and existing vocational qualifications. Instead, the Government proposed single diplomas in 14 subjects alongside A levels, from engineering to hair and beauty.

However, in spite of asking both business and universities to design the new qualification, critics have voiced fears that it will neither offer hands-on vocational training nor be sufficiently academically demanding. The MPs lay the blame for this squarely at Mr Johnson's door. "The Government describes diplomas as charting a middle course between vocational and academic learning, but it is far from clear that those in charge of developing the different diplomas share a common understanding of what they are for and what kinds of learning they will involve," they wrote.

The select committee cautioned that there was still confusion about key aspects of the plan. Work to develop the diplomas had been "uncomfortably compressed", and there were widespread concerns that they would not be ready. Teachers, lecturers and exam boards also have had too little input into them and time to prepare for their introduction in schools and colleges next year. "Too often in the past, initiatives have been rolled out in a rushed manner, with negative consequences in terms of quality," the MPs said, adding that if more problems emerged during the first pilot, the rest of the scheme should be delayed. They also raised concerns about the continuing lack of a clear grading system and content, which meant that few universities appeared prepared to take them seriously.

The comments come as a survey of 565 teachers and lecturers reveals that almost two thirds believe that the new diplomas will be seen simply as training programmes leading to low-paid, low-status jobs for nonacademic pupils. According to Edge, the educational foundation which commissioned the research, only 3 per cent of teachers think that diplomas will appeal to middle-class students. Teaching unions said that schools needed more money and training to prepare them for the qualifications, and that A levels should be brought into the structure to break down the barrier between academic and vocational qualifications


Racist treatment of a white teacher is OK

In a new twist in American race relations, a federal court has ruled that a white teacher in a predominantly African-American school was subjected to a racially hostile workplace. The case concerned Elizabeth Kandrac, who was routinely verbally abused by black students at Brentwood Middle School in North Charleston. Their slurs make shock jock Don Imus look like a church deacon. Nevertheless, despite frequent complaints, school officials did nothing to intervene on Kandrac's behalf, arguing that the racially charged profanity was simply part of the students' culture. If Kandrac couldn't handle cursing, school officials told her, she was in the wrong school.

Kandrac finally filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and subsequently brought a lawsuit against the Charleston County School District, the school's principal and an associate superintendent. Last fall, jurors found that the school was a racially hostile environment to teach in and that the school district retaliated against Kandrac for complaining about it. The defendants sought a new trial, but U.S. District Judge David C. Norton recently affirmed the verdict. However, he did not support the jury's findings of $307,500 in damages for lost income and emotional distress.

Although Kandrac clearly suffered -- she was suspended from her job shortly after a story about her EEOC complaint appeared in the local newspaper, and her contract was not renewed -- her case didn't meet evidentiary requirements for damages. The judge said a new trial would have to determine damages, but the school district and Kandrac settled for $200,000.

While the dollars-and-cents issue may have been of paramount importance to school and district officials -- and would have lent heft to the verdict -- the more compelling issue for students, parents and society is the idea that a particular group of people can be allowed to behave in a grossly uncivil and threatening way by virtue of their racial "culture."

The key legal question was whether a school could be held responsible for students' behavior. In this case, the black children of Brentwood had been given a pass for their behavior because vulgar language was considered normal for their culture. Defense attorney Alice Paylor told jurors that the kids heard this same language at home and there was "no magic pill" to make them behave. Paylor is probably right about that, though a magic paddle might have worked wonders. Back in the day, if a student talked the way these did, he or she would have received a well-deserved thwack, been suspended and sent home to face the wrath of his or her father. That process likely would have put a swift end to the tribal tyranny now often tolerated in the service of self-esteem.

Let's be clear: What these children called this teacher is beyond reprehensible and could be only be construed as hostile and threatening. Here's a sample: white b----, white m----- f-----, white c---, white a------, white ho. Other white teachers and students corroborated Kandrac's account, including a male war veteran who testified he would rather return to Vietnam than to Brentwood.

Kandrac's attorney, Larry Kobrovsky, argued that the repeated use of "white" made these slurs racists in nature. But school officials insisted that because black students were equally abusive to other blacks, the language wasn't inherently racist.

Here's what we know without question: If majority white students had used similar language toward black students and teachers, the case would have been plastered on the front page of The New York Times until heads rolled. A black Kandrac would have a million-dollar book deal, a movie contract and hundreds of interviews to juggle. Her oppressors and those who passively facilitated her abuse would have been pilloried by the media -- their faces all over the evening news -- while the reverends Al and Jesse organized protests. But a white Kandrac -- who faced a daily barrage of insults, who had books and desks thrown at her and her bicycle tires punctured -- was treated like an incompetent wimp. She was just a lousy teacher out for money, the defense attorney said.

Though Kandrac lost her job, the real losers are the children deprived of an education by the actions of a tyrannical few. And the worst racists are those teachers and administrators who denied these empowered brats the expectation of civilized behavior. May the rest of America now be emboldened to act decisively in the interest of students who want to learn.



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, May 20, 2007

Black school boss in California had only diploma-mill degrees

A blind eye was obviously turned -- anything to get a black face in your group photographs -- and thus show how wonderful you are! It's only when he was found to be crooked in other ways that anybody looked into his qualifications

Elk Grove schools' recently hired facilities chief -- already surrounded by questions about cronyism and a controversial land deal at his former job -- claims university degrees on his r‚sum‚ that education experts say appear to have come from a diploma mill. The Elk Grove job posting required a master's degree, but The Bee discovered that the company hired to vet Frank C. Harding Jr.'s r‚sum‚ never checked his academic credentials.

On his resume, Harding, who did not respond to several requests for comment, states that he did course work at UCLA from 1972 through 1976 but received both his bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA from Edenvale University. For $2,000 to $8,000, that university will provide a degree based upon "life experience, work experience and any kind of courses taken" at a prior college, said Edenvale registrar Brian Winslow. Currently, Edenvale is a non-accredited online organization with offices in Dallas, New York and London, Winslow said. Previously, he said, it was a correspondence and distance learning organization. Winslow declined to provide an address or phone number for the university's headquarters unless a reporter paid a fee for a degree.

Clients send Edenvale their resume and transcripts and a panel of professors determines if they are qualified for degrees, Winslow said. Letters of recommendation and customized transcripts also are provided. Many legitimate online college programs exist. But education experts said the practices described by Winslow can be tip-offs that an institution sells diplomas. Alan Contreras, administrator for Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization, is widely known as an expert on bogus degrees. He looked at Edenvale's Web site, "Fake, fake, fake," Contreras said. "This is not even a close call. This is a diploma mill."

Government officials in Texas and the United Kingdom say it is illegal for Edenvale to issue diplomas from those locations. "(Edenvale) has never been recognized as a degree awarding body by U.K. authorities," Jackie Stevenson, a spokeswoman for Britain's Department for Education and Skills, said in an e-mail.

The superintendent of the Elk Grove Unified School District, Steven Ladd, said the district hired School Services of California to vet Harding's references as part of a rigorous screening process. Harding's previous jobs include posts with the Natomas Unified School District and the private consulting firm School Facilities Planning & Management. Ladd said nothing of concern arose during that screening. "The question for us is, 'Does he have the degrees?' and he does," Ladd said during a break in Tuesday's school board meeting. "You're asking questions about the quality of those degrees."

Yet it turns out the education portion of the screening never actually occurred. Ronald Bennett, president of School Services of California, at first said his firm paid another company to verify Harding's claims. When The Bee found that firm had not made the checks, Bennett said he had accidentally neglected to make that request.


Academic Thuggery

"Indoctrinate U" examines higher learning's left wing bias

IRONICALLY ENOUGH, aspiring conservative documentarian Evan Coyne Maloney received his inspiration from Michael Moore, the left-wing firebrand responsible for the anti-gun polemic Bowling for Columbine and the anti-Bush screed Fahrenheit 9/11. This isn't to say that Moore inspired him figuratively: Maloney literally stopped Moore on the street, interviewed him, and left with some helpful knowledge. When Maloney confronted the Oscar winner about the liberal slant of most Hollywood-produced documentaries, Moore responded thusly:

"I agree with you. I think this art form should be open to people of all political persuasions and not just be people who are liberal or left of center or whatever. . . . You want to encourage all voices to be heard because that's the best way to have, to come up with the best decisions in a free society. You don't want just one voice or one stream of thought being put out there. . . . Make your movies and then the people will respond, or not respond, to them."

Taking this advice to heart, Maloney posted the video of this exchange on his blog in 2003 along with a note that read "I have not yet received payment for the services I have rendered to the [vast right wing] conspiracy. I'll assume this is merely a clerical error on your part and will expect remuneration shortly." This tongue-in-cheek plea for cash was not entirely sarcastic and his fishing expedition landed a nice haul--Stuart Browning, the cofounder of Embarcadero Technologies (a software company that was named 2000's best IPO).

"He sort of threw down the gauntlet," Browning said of Maloney. "Hey, you know, why can't we make these sorts of things too? Why can't conservatives have a voice in this art form too?" Intrigued by Maloney's appeal, Browning then "sent him an email and said 'what would it cost, and what kind of projects are you interested in?' That's how we met."

"He was the guy that put up the first dollars to get" Indoctrinate U going, Maloney says in an interview. "He, and I, and another gentleman, Blaine Greenberg, decided to start a production company after I was able to convince them that there was a feature-length film in analyzing what is going on on college campuses." Browning was interested. "At that point I was pretty well versed on the topic, having read Dinesh D'Souza's books, and Bloom, Closing of the American Mind. I had read all the literature and was very open to the idea," Browning said, adding "And [Evan] looked like a college student! Even though he'd been out of college for a while, he looked the ideal guy to play the part."

WITH FUNDING IN PLACE, Maloney set out on his quest to gather material for the documentary. "We were looking for specific cases that were fairly well-documented that would show different examples of people having their free speech or free thought rights trampled on campus," Maloney says.

There was no shortage of topics. The free-wheeling film first documents the rise of the "campus free speech movement" in the 1960s and '70s, then cuts to examples of modern-day conservatives being shouted down and otherwise intimidated on college campuses. Ward Connerly is verbally assaulted for daring to disagree with campus orthodoxy on the issue of affirmative action and black professors like John McWhorter, formerly of UC-Berkeley, Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University's Law School, and Temple's Lewis Gordon all express their dismay with the current state of the academy, and the suppression of intellectual diversity therein.

From there, Maloney looks at the deprivations some conservative students have faced. He highlights the Kafka-esque nightmare faced by Steve Hinkle, a student at California Polytechnic, who the school attempted to sanction for placing a flier in the university's multicultural center announcing a speech by conservative African-American author, Mason Weaver.

Maloney points out the intimidation tactics used against ROTC recruiters on campus, including a students protest designed to shut down a college job fair the Army Corps of Engineers is attending. The litany goes on and on, with conservative student publications stolen and professors told "we never would have hired you if we knew you were a Republican." Daniel Pipes sums it up best noting, "Going to a university today in the United States is like joining a church--you have to be a believer, you have to have the right set of views, or you're excluded."

The documentary combines relatively shocking footage (one professor excitedly tells the camera "whiteness is a form of racial oppression . . . treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity") with snappy editing to create a documentary that bounces quickly from subject to subject. It's not a perfect production--Indoctrinate U tends to bog down a little when Maloney tries to ambush subjects who haven't replied to multiple requests for interviews. But these segments illustrate an important point: Rather than face a rational discussion with someone who disagrees with them, many academics simply call the cops. (Maloney even had the police called on him at his alma mater, Bucknell.)

WITH FILMING AND EDITING COMPLETE, Maloney is now looking for a way to distribute his film, which is an expensive proposition. "Your first set of prints will probably run you $20,000 to $25,000, and every set after that will be $2,000 to $3,000," Maloney says. It is virtually impossible for an independent filmmaker to shoulder that cost and convince theaters to run the films. If Indoctrinate U is going to be shown at your local art house theater, it will have to be picked up by a mini-major distributor, such as Lion's Gate, or New Line.

In order to generate interest from a studio, the film's producers have been trying to stir up excitement at the grassroots level. "At our website,, people can punch in their zip codes and when they do that, it puts a pin on a Google map. We've got thousands and thousands of pins on there now, and over 10,000 localities around the country where people have expressed interest in the film. That's a bankable asset," Maloney says. "We can go to distributors and say 'Look, we haven't spent a dime on promoting this film yet, and we've already had tens of thousands of people sign up saying they'd see this near them if it was shown there." Browning adds, "The idea is to show the demand for a film like this and show there's a ready made audience. That's the hope."

Maloney believes that his documentary has the potential to be a commercial success and hopes someone in Los Angeles takes notice. "I've gotta figure that there's at least one person in Hollywood who recognizes that there's a huge potential audience for this, and that if they think like a business person, and not like a political operative, we could very easily get mainstream distribution."

Failing that, Maloney plans to take his film directly to the people: "We've got this database of people who've already expressed an interest in seeing the film, and there's other ways of getting it to them, from DVD sales, to the iTunes movie store. One way or another, people are going to get to see this film. The only question is, 'Is Hollywood going to demonstrate that they're really nonpartisan, and do business with folks like us?'"


Australia: School geography has lost its way, say teachers

GEOGRAPHY is taught in schools as a series of issues pushing a particular opinion rather than giving students a grounding in basic facts about natural processes and human interaction with the environment. The Australian Geography Teachers Association and the Institute of Australian Geographers told a Senate inquiry into the academic standards of school education that geography, under the umbrella of Studies of Society and the Environment, had lost its disciplinary rigour.

AGTA director Grant Kleeman told the hearing in Sydney that students studied global warming but not the atmospheric processes required to understand climate change and its impact. "The traditional discipline encouraged students to look at issues from a variety of perspectives with the expectation students then formulate their own opinions rather than inculcate them with a particular perspective," Mr Kleeman said.

IAG president Jim Walmsley said the teaching of SOSE into schools resulted in geography students being "issue-led rather than being rigorous in their understanding of these issues".

Mr Kleeman said the notion of issue-based learning was introduced in the 1970s and 80s when everything taught in schools had to be immediately relevant to the lives of students. "We're advocating a return to a more systematic study of geography and history, where you look at processes as the entry point of study rather than the issue," he said.

AGTA chairman Nick Hutchinson said the perspectives pushed in school geography included radical green opinions and neo-liberal views school, when it should have a robust core as the base. "In geography, we've taken on board everything from extreme environmental perspectives through to peace perspectives," Mr Hutchinson said. "But all the time we come back to this core of the discipline, so we can deal with an issue like deep ecology, which might be as controversial as black-armband history, but we can do it within the discipline because we have tools of dissection," he said. Deep ecology is a philosophy that says animals and plants have the right to as much ethical consideration as humans. "The automatic reaction of most kids is they want to protect nature, the environment, animals and cuddly things," he said. "The job of the teacher is to show them other sides, to facilitate class discussion so they can work out their values towards issues." Understanding the processes at work in areas such as the Great Barrier Reef or cyclones destroying rainforests showed students that destruction was part of the natural growth cycle, he said.

The AGTA says geography should be compulsory for all students in years 7 to 10 as a stand-alone subject.



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.