Saturday, August 04, 2007

The teachers' party

By Ann Coulter

CNN commentators keep telling us how young and hip the audience was for last week's YouTube Democratic debate, apparently unaware that the camera occasionally panned across the audience, which was the same oddball collection of teachers' union shills and welfare recipients you see at all Democratic gatherings. Noticeably, Gov. Bill Richardson got the first "woo" of the debate - the mating call of rotund liberal women - for demanding a federal mandate that would guarantee public schoolteachers a minimum salary of $40,000. So much for the "younger, hipper" audience. Maybe CNN meant "hippier," as in, "My, she's looking a bit hippy these days."

Not counting talking snowmen, the main difference in the YouTube debate audience and the audience for the earlier CNN Democratic debate is that the YouTube debate had 173,000 fewer viewers in the 18-49 demographic. So it was provably not young and, on the basis of casual observation, definitely not hip.

As usual, the audience consisted mostly of public schoolteachers. According to CNN, the highest reading achieved on the CNN feelings-knob was for Richardson talking about public schoolteachers. (Some in the audience said they hadn't been that excited since the last time they had sex with an underage student.) B. Hussein Obama said he was for slavery reparations in many forms, but the only one that got applause was for more "investment" in schools. In Obama's defense, the precise question was: "But is African-Americans ever going to get reparations for slavery?" So a switch to the subject of education was only natural.

Moreover, a question on reparations has got to be confusing when you're half white and half black. What do you do? Demand an apology for slavery and money from yourself? I guess biracial reparations would involve sending yourself money, then sending back a portion of that money to yourself, minus 50 percent in processing fees - which is the same way federal aid works.

It was fun to hear the Democratic candidates give heart-rending reasons for not sending their own kids to public schools. Except John Edwards. He got a "woo" for sending his kids to public schools from all those "young, hip" Democrats whose greatest concern is how to transfer more money to public schoolteachers while reducing their workload. The candidates all managed to come up with good reasons for sending their kids to private schools - with extra points for reasons that involved a family tragedy or emergency - but it didn't seem to occur to any of them that ordinary families might have good reasons, too.

In her first risible lie of the debate, Hillary said Chelsea went to public schools in Arkansas. But when they moved to Washington, they were advised that "if she were to go to a public school, the press would never leave her alone, because it's a public school. So I had to make a very difficult decision." "Unfortunately," she said, it was "good advice."

Was it really that difficult a decision not to send Chelsea to public schools in Washington, D.C.? This is how the New York Times recently described the schools in Washington, which it called "arguably the nation's most dysfunctional school system." "Though it is one of the country's highest-spending districts, most of the money goes to central administration, not to classrooms, according to a recent series of articles in the Washington Post. Its 55,000 mostly poor students score far worse than comparable children anywhere else in reading and math, with nearly 74 percent of the district's low-income eighth-graders lacking basic math skills, compared with the national average of 49 percent."

So Hillary was dying to send Chelsea to the D.C. public schools, but "unfortunately" did not do so only because of the press? Did she also agonize over whether to allow Chelsea to play in traffic? She was not dying to send Chelsea to D.C. public schools. And no Democrat cares about "education" or "the poor." Democrats care about social service bureaucrats who make their living allegedly working on behalf of the poor - the famed "public service" the Democrats always drone on about - jobs that would disappear if we ever eliminated poverty. That's why Democrats keep coming up with policies designed to create millions and millions more poor people. Democrats fight tooth and nail against any measures that would actually help the poor, such as allowing schools to fire bad teachers. They refuse to allow parents with children in the rotten D.C. public schools to take money out of the public school system so their kids could go to Sidwell Friends like Chelsea.

Most important, Democrats resolutely refuse to tell the poor the secret to not being poor: Keep your knees together until marriage. That's it. Not class size, not preschool, not even vouchers, though vouchers would obviously improve the education of all students. You could have lunatics running the schools - and often do - and if the kids live with married parents, they will end up at good colleges and will lead happy, productive lives 99 percent of the time.

But Democrats don't care about the poor. They don't care about the children. They care about government teachers and other government bureaucrats - grimy, dowdy women who "woo" at political debates. Or as CNN calls them, the "young," "hip" crowd.


Australia: Lazy NSW teachers

They already have the shortest working hours of any employee group but they want to work even less

The state's 50,000 public school teachers are demanding to spend less time with students in class because they are "overwhelmed" by their workload. Teachers have launched a campaign seeking extra "release time" from classes in 2240 primary and secondary schools. They will ask the Iemma Government to increase staff numbers in schools, at a cost of millions of dollars, to cover for teachers who are out of class doing other work.

The Teachers' Federation claims too much work is impairing teachers' ability to operate effectively. "Unreasonable teacher workload is debilitating for the profession and quality public education," senior vice president Bob Lipscombe said. "For some it is also impacting adversely on their health. "Teachers have difficulty in accessing such basic entitlements as lunch and morning tea breaks." Among the demands teachers have made are:

* AN extra two hours' release time per week in primary schools;

* AN additional two 40-minute periods release time per week in high schools;

* AN extra hour of release time a week for TAFE teachers;

* EXTRA clerical and support staffing; and

* THE reduction or phasing out of playground duty.

A spokesman for Education Minister John Della Bosca said yesterday most primary school teachers already received two hours of release time every week. "High school teachers receive six hours of release from face-to-face teaching each week," he said. "These arrangements have been in place for years and provide teachers with time away from the classroom to undertake a range of activities, including time to review teaching programs, prepare assessments and work on other planning activities. "Schools also have three pupil-free days a year to enable teachers to undertake planning and professional development. "We support these arrangements and there is no plan to change them."

Mr Lipscombe said teachers were demanding the restoration of minimum lunchbreaks uninterrupted by playground duties or meetings. Teachers earn up to $75,000 a year on an incremental scale based on years of service but increasingly are being required to meet performance standards. Technology, increased professional development and the imposition of new curricula are among the issues teachers say are putting them under pressure.



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 INTERNATIONAL 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, August 03, 2007

Psychiatry's Views on Education: Some excerpts

Tracing the thinking behind modern educational corruption

"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, Psychiatrist, address to the Childhood International Education Seminar, 1973

"We have swallowed all manner of poisonous certainties fed us by our parents, our Sunday and day school teachers, our politicians, our priests, our newspapers, and others with a vested interest in controlling us. `Thou shalt become as gods, knowing good and evil,' good and evil with which to keep children under control, with which to impose local and familial and national loyalties and with which to blind children to their glorious intellectual heritage. The results, the inevitable results, are frustration, inferiority, neurosis and inability to enjoy living, to reason clearly or to make a world fit to live in."
Dr. G. Brock Chisholm, President, World Federation of Mental Health

Teaching school children to read was a "perversion" and high literacy rate bred "the sustaining force behind individualism."
John Dewey, Educational Psychologist

The school curriculum should ".be designed to bend the student to the realities of society, especially by way of vocational education. the curriculum should be designed to promote mental health as an instrument for social progress and a means of altering culture."
Report: Action for Mental Health, 1961

"Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know - it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave."
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) sponsored report: The Role of Schools in Mental Health

"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)

"Despite rapid progress in the right direction, the program of the average elementary school has been primarily devoted to teaching the fundamental subjects, the three R's, and closely related disciplines. Artificial exercises, like drills on phonetics, multiplication tables, and formal writing movements, are used to a wasteful degree. Subjects such as arithmetic, language, and history include content that is intrinsically of little value. Nearly every subject is enlarged unwisely to satisfy the academic ideal of thoroughness. Elimination of the unessential by scientific study, then, is one step in improving the curriculum."
Edward Lee Thorndike, pioneer of "animal psychology"

"...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


Australia: Nutty Steiner schools in the Victorian State system

For more superstitious Steiner thinking, see here

Ray Pereira could not believe what he was hearing. His son's teacher had just said his child had to repeat prep because the boy's soul had not fully incarnated. "She said his soul was hovering above the earth," Mr Pereira said. "And she then produced a couple of my son's drawings as evidence that his depiction of the world was from a perspective looking down on the earth from above. "I just looked at my wife and we both thought, 'We are out of here'." And so ended the Pereira family's flirtation with the alternative schooling method known as Steiner education. After this extraordinary parent-teacher interview, the Pereiras withdrew their son and his brother from the inner-city Melbourne government school that ran the Steiner stream.

They are one of a number of families who have relayed strange Steiner experiences to The Weekend Australian, including claims that AFL football was banned because the "unpredictability of the bounce" would cause frustration among children; immunisations were discouraged; and students recited verses to save their souls in class.

The allegations come as more and more children attend Steiner schools, with the education movement celebrating 50 years since the first school was set up in Australia. There are now more than 44 private Steiner schools across the country, 10 programs in government-run schools and it is one of the fastest-growing education movements in the world. But as Steiner moves into the state education system in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, questions are being raised about the alternative approach. Critics say that its philosophical basis is too religious -- even comparing it to Scientology -- to be in the secular public system. But supporters deny Steiner education is religious and argue it is a holistic approach to learning.

The alternative curriculum is based on the teachings of 19th century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who believed a spiritual world existed alongside our physical one. Steiner founded anthroposophy, which believed that by deepening the power of thinking, people could become capable of experiencing "spiritual truths". Supporters of Steiner are adamant anthroposophy is not taught to children, and that Steiner himself said the spiritual science was only for adults who chose to do it. But parents and religious experts are concerned that Steiner teachers learn about anthroposophy in their training and these beliefs seep into the classroom. "What a lot of people don't get is that Steiner is based on a spiritual system not an educational one," says cult expert Raphael Aron. "The majority of people who enrol their kids don't have a clue who Rudolf Steiner really is."

Dr Aron, who is the director of Cult Counselling Australia, said schools varied greatly in their adherence to Steiner's anthroposophy beliefs because of the decentralised nature of the system in Australia. He said there was a lack of transparency in the schools and often parents were not told about what Steiner believed, making it not dissimilar to Scientology. "We have been contacted by a few people who have come out of the Steiner system and say they are damaged and are seeking help," Dr Aron said.

Mr Pereira said he believed parents at Footscray City Primary School were deliberately misled about the role that Steiner's beliefs played in the classroom. "It is implicit in everything they do," he said. Mr Pereira, who is from Sri Lanka, said his concerns about Steiner's racist beliefs were realised when his children were not allowed to use black or brown crayons because they were "not pure". He said Steiner teachers at the state-run school recommended they not immunise their children because it would lead to the "bestialisation of humans".

But Rudolf Steiner Schools of Australia executive officer Rosemary Gentle said anthroposophy was not taught to children, although teachers were introduced to the subject during their training. "It has nothing to do with what is taught. It is just the approach to teaching," she said. "The teachers are given an anthroposophy background ... and it allows them to look into a child more deeply. You look at children as you would in a family. You strive to understand the child and recognise their emerging personality."

Ms Gentle said the spotlight was on Steiner education because of a "smear and fear" campaign being waged by a small group of people. "Steiner education has been a small, but respected part of the Australian educational landscape for 50 years," she said. Under the system, students have the same "main lesson" teacher for the first six years and textbooks are not used in primary school. Computers are banned in the primary years and television is discouraged to allow children to develop their "senses in the physical world". Reading and writing is delayed until children have developed adult teeth -- at age seven -- to focus on developing the child's healthy body.

Anthroposophy lecturer Robert Martin, who trains Steiner teachers, said being aware of the spiritual side of life enriched the education experience. He said people had many different names for the spiritual world -- arch angels, angels, intelligent beings and presence -- and they existed long before humans. "I want to co-work with the angels," Mr Martin said. "These individuals are very advanced ... Our job is to co-work with the spiritual beings."


Early concern about Steiner method

SERIOUS concerns about Steiner education were raised in a government report seven years before a policy change by the Bracks administration cleared the way for its use in Victorian state schools. The report, completed by the Victorian Department of Education, says Steiner's approach -- in which children learn to read and write after their adult teeth come through at age seven -- was the "antithesis" of the Government's program. The report was completed by two curriculum officers in 2000 for then acting regional director Greg Gibbs after Footscray City Primary School indicated it wanted a Steiner stream.

Mr Gibbs told the school he was unable to "support such a proposal" but the principal introduced Steiner in 2001. The program has caused deep division among parents, and the state Government has been forced to intervene, dissolving the school council last year and establishing an inquiry. Despite this, the state Government last year changed departmental policy, allowing programs such as Steiner and Montessori to be run in state schools.

The report examined Steiner curriculum proposals provided by Footscray City Primary School and information available online about Steiner education. Authors Pat Hincks and Janette Cook say Steiner's ban on computers and multimedia in primary school is in "direct contradiction" to department policies. "Steiner education is based on a philosophy of cocooning children from the world to develop their imagination," the report says. "This is in direct contrast to, for example, the studies of society and environment ... where the emphasis is on study of family as a 'starting point to help them understand the world in which they live'."

A Victorian Department of Education spokeswoman said specialised curriculums had rigorous guidelines.


Australia: Crackdown on politics in NSW schools

EDUCATION chiefs fear thousands of school children are in danger of having their minds poisoned by "political" activity in the classroom. The Daily Telegraph has learned that principals have received a strong warning not to allow their schools to be infiltrated by controversial political issues. A written memorandum issued by a senior education officer tells primary and secondary school heads: "Schools are not places for recruiting into partisan groups."

The memo sent by Hunter/Central Coast regional director John Mather says "issues" for schools had arisen during the state election in March. Referring to the federal poll due later this year, Mr Mather warned principals: "Schools are neutral grounds for rational discourse and objective study. They are not arenas for opposing political views or ideologies. "Discussion of controversial issues is acceptable only when it clearly serves the educative purpose and is consistent with curriculum objectives. "Such discussion is not intended to advance the interest of any group, political or otherwise."

The reminder to principals follows accusations in November last year that schools allowed children as young as five to distribute "political propaganda" against the Howard Government's controversial WorkChoices laws. Parents were outraged and one school principal was "counselled" by the Department of Education for breaching guidelines on political material.

As the latest warning was sent out to principals, bemused parents yesterday criticised a bizarre turf war between the state and federal governments over access to schools. Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop was refused permission by NSW Education Minister John Della Bosca to meet up to 71 principals on the Central Coast. Ms Bishop said yesterday it was the first time anywhere in Australia she had not been allowed to see public school heads. "This was a petty attitude . . . we (the Commonwealth) provide $1 billion a year to NSW public schools," she said. "I think the state Education Minister was frightened of what I might learn (from the principals)."

Opposition education spokesman Andrew Stoner claimed the Iemma Government had been caught "peddling politics in the playground". But Mr Della Bosca's office said Ms Bishop had given just 24 hours' notice of the meeting planned for the first day of the new school term. A request to visit Berkeley Vale Public School to make an announcement about chaplains had been approved, a spokesman said. "Neither Ms Bishop, nor any other Federal Minister for that matter, has been banned from visiting public schools or meeting principals. "Ms Bishop should know better than organising a forum for 71 principals on the first day back at school during school hours. Principals should be looking after their schools and supporting their teachers and students during school hours," the spokesman said.



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 INTERNATIONAL 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, August 02, 2007


If the Marxist ideologues weren't enough of a threat in their determination to get their nefarious clutches on our children, the Saudis are buying their way into the seizing of young hearts and minds. Though this post is based on a situation in the U.S., you can be sure that it's going on all over the west as Saudi money has spread its creeping fingers far and wide.

The basic outline of this Saudi school initiative was exposed in 2004, by Sandra Stotsky, a former director of a professional development institute for teachers at Harvard, and a former senior associate commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education. Stotsky found that Harvard trained primary/elementary school teachers were being encouraged to celebrate the life and teachings of Mohammed and the 'revelations' of Islam.

According to Stotsky, if Harvard's outreach personnel had designed similar classroom exercises based on Christian or Jewish models, "People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the A.C.L.U. would descend upon them like furies."

Oh yes, the A.C.L.U. never misses a chance to tear down our own cultural heritage. How on earth did the Islamists get into our education system? With their filthy money, of course. In Australia, the Emirates own (or have large vested interests in) countless organizations from the Randwick Racecourse to Collingwood football club. In the U.S. the story is pretty much the same with both Jimmy Carter and the Clintons known to be on the Saudi payroll. Why would they not logically also be looking at targeting the upcoming generation?

The full extent of Saudi curricular funding, and the magnitude of its influence over university outreach programs funded under Title VI, was only revealed in late 2005 by a special four-part investigative report by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). As the JTA put it: "Saudi Arabia is paying to influence the teaching of American public schoolchildren. And the U.S. taxpayer is an unwitting accomplice....Often bypassing school boards and nudging aside approved curricula....These materials praise and sometimes promote Islam, but criticize Judaism and Christianity....Ironically, what gives credibility to...these distorted materials is Title VI of the Higher Education Act....Believing they're importing the wisdom of places like Harvard or Georgetown, they are actually inviting into their schools whole curricula and syllabuses developed with the support of Riyadh."

And they wonder why we want to home-school our children. The public education system is an ideologically-loaded, dumbed down shambles, not only with Leftist pigswill but also Islamist trash.


British tyranny again

Plans to force teenagers to stay in education or training until they are 18 could cause mass truancy and criminalise thousands of young people, a teachers’ leader claimed yesterday. Raising the education leaving age from 16 to 18 would simply “prolong the agony” of school for many disaffected pupils, Geraldine Everett, chairman of the Professional Association of Teachers, said.

Speaking at the PAT annual conference in Harrogate, Ms Everett said that the issue was a “potential minefield” if not handled sensitively and that teenagers should be given some choice over whether they worked, stayed on at school or in training. “Here is a Government that has toyed with the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 in order to promote a greater sense of citizenship among our young people. Yet it proposes to extend compulsory education or training to 18, to compel the already disaffected to, in their perception, prolong the agony,” she said.

Last year Alan Johnson, the former Education Secretary, who left school at 16, said it was unacceptable to see a 16-year-old working and not receiving any training or schooling. He said that the number of 17-year-olds receiving some sort of education or training should be raised from the current 75 per cent to 90 per cent by 2015.

But Ms Everett gave warning that children for whom the system had already failed were unlikely to want to be alienated further by compulsory 16-18 education or business-led training, which is designed for purely economic reasons to fill a skills gap. “To make them conscripts is likely to reinforce failure, leading to even greater disaffection,” she said. “Enforcement could lead to mass truancy, further disruption to other learners and staff, maybe even needless criminalisation if enforcement measures are imposed.” To make sure teenagers turn up at school, college or their work placements, the Government proposes to threaten them with possible court action and 50 pound fines. Ms Everett added that providing opportunities for this age group should perhaps be compulsory, but pleaded with the Government not to turn schools into “mere exam factories”.

Gordon Brown wants to change the law to require all teenagers to stay on in education or training until their 18th birthday from 2013 in an attempt to cut the number of young people who drop out of school and struggle to find jobs. More than 200,000 under17s are estimated to be out of education, employment and training. Ms Everett suggested that more money should be spent on early years education, which would prevent the need for catchup later on. Jim Knight, the Schools Minister, said: “It is only right that we are looking at all options to keep young people engaged in education or training up until 18, whether at school, training or in a job. Those young people who continue in education or training for longer earn more, and are less likely to be involved in antisocial behaviour.”



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 INTERNATIONAL 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, August 01, 2007

Marxist indoctrination of little kids in Seattle

Post lifted from Dinocrat. See the original for links

You probably have seen this article about teachers' banning Legos in a Seattle school and then browbeating the eight year old children until they got the results they wanted:

"We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes.. We should all just have the same number of pieces, like 15 or 28 pieces."

As teachers, we were excited by these comments. The children gave voice to the value that collectivity is a solid, energizing way to organize a community - and that it requires power-sharing, equal access to resources, and trust in the other participants. They expressed the need, within collectivity, for personal expression, for being acknowledged as an individual within the group. And finally, they named the deep satisfaction of shared engagement and investment, and the ways in which the participation of many people deepens the experience of membership in community for everyone.

From this framework, the children made a number of specific proposals for rules about Legos, engaged in some collegial debate about those proposals, and worked through their differing suggestions until they reached consensus about three core agreements:

* All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.

* Lego people can be saved only by a "team" of kids, not by individuals.

* All structures will be standard sizes.

With these three agreements - which distilled months of social justice exploration into a few simple tenets of community use of resources - we returned the Legos to their place of honor in the classroom.

Children absorb political, social, and economic worldviews from an early age.We believe that educators have a responsibility to pay close attention to the themes, theories, and values that children use to anchor their play. Then we can interact with those worldviews, using play to instill the values of equality and democracy.

It's hard to say what is most offensive about this. Perhaps it is the relentless indoctrination of these 8-year olds with Marxist and feminist claptrap. Perhaps it utterly clueless tone of moral superiority that Ann Pelo and Kendra Pelojoaquin manage to infuse into every clich‚ they form. Those are bad enough. Worse still, in our view, is that these fine examples of the contemporary teaching profession inflicted on the rest of us 4,814 words to describe all this. Each one of their words should be a violation of Geneva Convention prohibitions against torture.

Australia: Selective schools improve learning

SELECTIVE schools are helping students score an extra 10 marks in the Higher School Certificate. The NSW Department of Education has for the first time released official data which shows that students at selective schools have been achieving on average an additional two marks for each subject, based on their relative performance in year 10.

The department has a database that allows it to compare students' results as they progress from year 3 to year 12. Their marks in the basic skills test in years 3 and 5 are compared. The same is done for the literacy and numeracy tests in years 7 and 8. The department also tracks improvement in students' results between years 10 and 12. This measure is called value-added, and shows that students in selective schools are lifting their performance in year 12 beyond expectations. The value-added index can often be higher in comprehensive schools, which help poor-performing students reach their full potential. But selective school students often perform to their potential in year 10, which leaves little room for improvement.

A spokeswoman for the department said there was "truth to the idea that students in selective schools are close to the ceiling of performance and that it is more difficult for them to demonstrate consistent growth compared with average- or lower-achieving students". "The fact that students in selective schools demonstrate above-expected levels of achievement so consistently is a truly stunning outcome of the selective stream," she said.

Last year the average "value-added per student" for selective schools across the five School Certificate external tests ranged from 2.5 marks in science to 5.8 marks in mathematics. The School Certificate value-added is the number of marks a student obtains above or below what might be expected, based on relative performance in the year 5 basic skills test.

But the Greens MP and education spokesman, John Kaye, challenged the department's value-added data. "Most comparisons between schools are meaningless because of the wide variations in student performance and the spread of improvements within schools," he said.

The Minister for Education, John Della Bosca, said he would establish a working group to help determine which schools would receive the extra 600 selective school places announced before the election in March. He said the composition of the working group was expected to include representatives from parents' and citizens' associations, primary and secondary principals, the Department of Education, and teachers. "Some of the issues it will take into account will include the fair allocation of places in rural, regional and metropolitan areas and the impacts on surrounding school communities," he said. "Our overall objective is to ensure the places are allocated in an equitable and sensible way."



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 INTERNATIONAL 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, July 31, 2007

Higher College Standards Stimulate Achievement

Post lifted from Democracy Project

The New York Times reports that “CUNY Plans to Raise Its Admissions Standards.”

The chancellor said he had long planned to ratchet up standards further. The new move, which has been discussed with some college presidents but has not been announced publicly, is also a response to some professors’ complaints that too many students are poorly prepared for college work, especially in math….

“We are very serious in taking a group of our institutions and placing them in the top segment of universities and colleges,” said Matthew Goldstein, the university chancellor, who described the plan in an interview. “That is the kind of profile we want for our students.”

When I started at Brooklyn College, C.U.N.Y. in 1964, on the first day of freshman math the professor gave us the final exam, saying that any who couldn’t pass it didn’t deserve to be at Brooklyn College. We all passed, and the professor spent most of the rest of the term in one of the most fascinating expositions – no one cut class -- of the nuances of Alice In Wonderland.

At that time, Brooklyn College ranked in the top tier of American colleges. To be admitted, you had to rank in the top 2% in the country. I barely squeaked in.

Brooklyn College and the other senior colleges of C.U.N.Y. currently rank well, in the top 400, and C.U.N.Y. is trying to recapture its former stature.

That’s a challenge.

CUNY is proud of its legacy as a supportive environment for immigrant talent. At present, 40% of our more than 400,000 students were born outside the United States. These students represent nearly 170 nationalities and speak 120 different languages.

My aunt Muriel, now 90 and still able to out-debate me, was one of Brooklyn College’s first students. When she began primary school, she only spoke Yiddish. She hammered me mercilessly in high school to try harder, because getting into Brooklyn College was all we could afford, and it was an outstanding launch in life. C.U.N.Y. graduates were considered top rate.

The New York Times article continues:

Still, some CUNY professors fear that the new requirements will keep low-income and black and Hispanic students from entering bachelor’s degree programs. The same concern was voiced nine years ago, when students needing remedial instruction were barred. Students, faculty and some elected officials also argued then that enrollments would plunge.

Enrollments, in fact, have grown since then. But the proportion of black students at the top five colleges fell to 14 percent of regularly admitted freshmen last year, from 20 percent in 1999, according to the university’s data. (Those figures do not include those admitted through SEEK, a program for economically and educationally disadvantaged students, who do not have to meet the same criteria.) The proportion of Hispanic students has held even.

William Crain, a City College psychology professor who fought the earlier change, said he opposed the new plan because he feared it would keep low-income and black and Hispanic students from entering bachelor’s degree programs. “This is turning the university into more of a middle-class university,” he said.

Duh! That’s the mission objective of C.U.N.Y., to give opportunities to the poor to join the middle class, and upper. C.U.N.Y. graduates, including General Powell, and the country benefited from C.U.N.Y.’s high standards.

In 1967, I attended a faculty senate debate on the SEEK program, the consensus being that it was the college’s heritage and mission to reach out. I worked in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and participated in tutoring, but most of SEEK was even more basic, like providing bus and subway fare to poor but otherwise qualified students. The program was small and fairly successful.

Then, in 1970, Mayor Lindsey expanded SEEK to insanity, imposing “open admissions” on C.U.N.Y. The New York Times article doesn’t refer to the destruction of a great university. Blogger Fausta, who attended C.U.N.Y. in the early 1990’s tells of her experience with a text for native Spanish speakers:

The professor, by lowering his standards so the students wouldn't have too much hardship, was condemning his students to sounding like ignoramuses.

Fausta quotes an article from the Economist:

What went wrong? Put simply, City dropped its standards….City scrapped its admissions standards altogether. By 1970, almost any student who graduated from New York's high schools could attend….

The quality of education collapsed. At first, with no barrier to entry, enrolment climbed, but in 1976 the city of New York, which was then in effect bankrupt, forced CUNY to impose tuition fees. An era of free education was over, and a university which had once served such a distinct purpose joined the muddle of America's lower-end education.

By 1997, seven out of ten first-year students in the CUNY system were failing at least one remedial test in reading, writing or math (meaning that they had not learnt it to high-school standard). A report commissioned by the city in 1999 concluded that Central to CUNY's historic mission is a commitment to provide broad access, but its students' high drop-out rates and low graduation rates raise the question: “Access to what?”

Dropout rates soared, and those who attained a degree were considered third-rate.

C.U.N.Y. has been trying hard to recover from its near destruction, with successes, not by pandering but by returning to its roots: excellence. And, those wanting to attend and advance their lives now try harder in high school, and in college.

Back to the New York Times article:

Some CUNY officials, like Ricardo R. Fernández, president of Lehman College in the Bronx, who were not big supporters of that change, said they had come to embrace it.

“Perhaps I have become more convinced that students are able to rise to the challenge,” Dr. Fernández said.

He added that higher admissions standards would give Lehman added cachet and help it attract some of the 8,000 Bronx students who attend CUNY colleges in Manhattan that have tougher admissions requirements than Lehman does.

Edison O. Jackson, president of Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, said higher admissions standards had increased the proportion of students in the college’s bachelor’s degree program to about half of his student population, while the college’s associate’s degree track had shrunk.

“Students are coming in and saying, ‘I want to move into the baccalaureate program and into my major much more quickly,’ ” Dr. Jackson said. “And they are.”

Australia: Pupils moving out of government schools

Which pushes some government schools to lift their game

STUDENTS have fled NSW public schools at a rate of 125 a week - equal to two busloads - in the past decade as low-fee private schools boom. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal how parents have snubbed local public schools, often in favour of new faith-based schools backed by Howard Government subsidies.

A Daily Telegraph analysis of the census data shows that in areas like Penrith there has been a mass walkout on public education, cutting their market share by almost a half of all enrolments. Almost 68 per cent of Penrith students attended public high schools in 1996, but this slumped to 54.79 per cent by the 2006 census. In the same period, Catholic school enrolments grew from 23.7 to 33.21 per cent and the "Other Non-Government" category grew from 8.4 to 12 per cent. Across NSW, government secondary schools had 67.1 per cent of all enrolments in 1996 - but this has shrunk to just 60.83 per cent. In raw numbers, about 46,000 students have vanished from public primary schools and 19,000 from public high schools over the decade. There have been similar changes in areas such as Camden, Hawkesbury, Wollondilly, Liverpool, Bankstown, Holroyd, Sutherland and Warringah where public school market share has dropped 10 per cent or more.

The popularity of low-fee private school enrolments indicates why Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has abandoned previous ALP policy to reallocate private school funding. Even in suburbs such as Canada Bay, Waverley, Marrickville, Manly, Lane Cove and Randwick parents have been moving away from public schools.

But it's not all bad news for public education. In Sydney's inner-west, Strathfield Public School enrolments have bucked the trend, surging from 39.35 to 49 per cent. Public school enrolments in nearby Ashfield and Burwood have also increased. In Baulkham Hills, the Blue Mountains, Pittwater and Ryde previous losses have been stemmed.

An Education Department spokeswoman said the public schools sector realised they now operate in an environment where "greater emphasis is being placed on choice". She said the most recent trends were positive for government schools. Kindergarten, Year 3, Year 8 and Year 11 market share had all slightly increased this year, reversing the declining trend over many years. Schools singled out as success stories include Ku-ring-gai High, Cherrybrook Technology High, Wattle Grove Public School, Arthur Phillip High, Rouse Hill Public and Parklea Public.

But Christian Schools Australia, which represents dozens of newer private schools, says its enrolment growth across NSW has increased by 25 per cent in five years. "There's no doubt people are making a choice," chief executive Stephen O'Doherty said. "Many families have gained prosperity under Howard and are using the extra income to move to affordable non-government schools. He said much of the enrolment growth in swinging seats would help determine the federal election later this year.



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 INTERNATIONAL 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, July 30, 2007

School Stops Scheduling Class Time For Muslim Prayer

A San Diego school that drew international attention for setting aside time for Muslim students to pray in the classroom will no longer do so, it was reported Friday. Instead, Carver Elementary's schedule will be reconfigured so students can say their required midday prayers during lunch. Courts have long upheld students' rights to pray on their own during lunch or recess, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. When the new school year begins, Carver will have two lunch periods, including one that will fall when Muslims typically say their midday prayer -- between 1 and 2 p.m., the newspaper reported. Another controversial element of Carver's educational program geared toward Muslim students -- single-gender classes -- will be eliminated, the Union-Tribune reported.

Superintendent Carl Cohn stressed in a July 18 memo that single-gender education is legal under federal law, but at Carver it "has become a serious distraction from learning rather than a vehicle to promote learning," according to the newspaper. Carver added the single-gender classes and a daily 15-minute in-class break for voluntary prayers last September after it absorbed a failed Arabic language charter school that served primarily Somali Muslims.

Since a substitute teacher publicly complained about Carver's practices in April, the San Diego Unified School District has been inundated by letters and phone calls from as far away as Europe and the United Arab Emirates, according to the Union-Tribune. Some alleged that the school was violating the separation of church and state by giving Muslims time to pray. The district maintained that it is legally required to approve students' request for religious accommodation.


Gross official educational fraud in Indiana

Only 52 percent of Arlington High School's original Class of 2006 made it to graduation last year. Worse, the Indianapolis Public Schools' high school program isn't adequately preparing enough of the students who do graduate for the rigors of college and life. Thirty-five percent of Arlington's graduates collected diplomas despite repeatedly failing the Graduation Qualifying Exam, which they are required to pass in order to receive diplomas. These are students who didn't pass despite having five chances to do so. They didn't pass an exam that tests them only on the eighth- and ninth-grade English and math skills they should have already mastered.

A Star analysis of data released last week by the Indiana Department of Education to the state's Education Roundtable reveals that the problem isn't limited to Arlington. Too many schools are granting waivers to too many of their students. In the process, they are undermining the state's high school graduation requirements and degrading the value of diplomas. As Gov. Mitch Daniels declared last week during a roundtable meeting, schools are handing to students "a counterfeit certificate." Ultimately, they are sending poorly educated students into an economy and society that increasingly demand high-level thinking skills of its citizens:

At 52 high schools, 10 percent or more of graduating seniors receive diplomas despite failing the GQE: These high schools account for 44 percent of all students graduating without passing the GQE, even though they account for 14 percent of the statewide Class of 2006. The list is growing: Only 42 high schools allowed 10 percent or more of their seniors to graduate without passing the test during the 1999-2000 school year, the first year students took it.

The problem is widespread: Twenty-four of the schools on the list are in urban districts. Seven are in IPS, including three of the 10-worst in the category -- Arlington, Northwest and Broad Ripple. This problem isn't limited to the urban areas. Just across from Louisville in suburban Jeffersonville, Ind., 17 percent of the local high school's graduating class failed the GQE. They still received diplomas.

Some schools have become waiver factories: Over the past seven years, seven Indiana high schools have allowed, on average, 10 percent or more of their seniors to collect diplomas despite repeatedly failing the graduation test. Four more schools have done so for five consecutive years. Those who failed the GQE at Northwest High made up, on average, 27 percent of the school's graduating classes, among the worst in that category over a seven-year period. IPS school Emmerich Manual has done little better, with an average 23 percent of graduating seniors collecting diplomas without passing the test. Fort Wayne's South Side High, an average 21 percent of graduating seniors did so without passing the test.

There's little evidence that those getting the waivers are special education students: Some argue that most of the students being granted waivers suffer from either a learning disability or are in special-education classes. While there is no breakdown currently available, that would be statistically unlikely. Learning-disabled and special-ed students made up just 16 percent of IPS' high school enrollment in 2004, according to a Star analysis of U.S. Department of Education data, the last year available. At North Vermillion High School, learning-disabled students make up just 10 percent of its enrollment. Student attrition, along with their small numbers, almost assures that they wouldn't account for a significant portion of those granted waivers.

GQE failures account for only 6 percent of graduates statewide. Those numbers are growing. One reason: School principals have the discretion to grant the waivers, guaranteeing that there will be uneven application of state standards. More will likely join those ranks in coming years thanks to a so-called "work-readiness" waiver approved by the General Assembly last year. That allows students to graduate without passing the GQE if they meet a series of requirements, including completing some sort of work-readiness assessment.

State education officials could exercise far greater oversight in this area but they haven't, claiming that there's no law explicitly saying that they must. As a result, a waiver process originally reserved for students with solid grade-point averages and demonstrated academic skills is hampering the state's efforts to improve the quality of education.

This has national implications. Several states, including Massachusetts, have adapted Indiana's process of granting waivers. Schools in those states are likely being granted a free pass as students are getting shortchanged.

The state education department can scrutinize the quality of waivers being granted as part of the auditing process instituted with the overhaul of the graduation rate formula. It should be zealous in doing so. Legislators should also give the power over granting waivers to the department in order to ensure that they are rarely granted. Tightening the waiver standards, including raising the grade-point average required to get one, is key. Requiring more evidence that the student is actually doing well academically is a must.

Eliminating the work-readiness waiver would do a great service in removing a loophole that misleads students about what it takes to be prepared for productive citizenship. The state is already struggling to end its culture of low educational expectations. Further degrading is unacceptable.



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 INTERNATIONAL 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, July 29, 2007

There They Go Again: Social engineering in our schools

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled against the Louisville and Seattle school districts, race-based student assignment policies are mostly illegal. Superintendents around the nation are seeking other ways to maintain social diversity in their hallways and classrooms.

Last week, John Edwards entered the discussion, opting for this month's faddish solution to K-12's problems: income-based integration. (The Washington Post is on the bandwagon, too.) This "assign them by income" idea is based on the premise that district school-assignment policies can achieve integration by using socioeconomic status - not yet a proscribed category. The formula is being touted by school officials, journalists, policy wonks (and, now, presidential candidates) as diversity's best hope in the current jurisprudential climate (see here and here).

As Reagan might say, there they go again, with yet another rendition of social engineering via public schooling.

To be sure, income integration doesn't collide with the same legal barriers as race-based policies. But it will founder for much the same reason that race-based policies failed. Integrating school systems, on whatever grounds, requires heavy-duty busing. Students are reassigned to schools based on demographics, not geography or preference. Kids and parents understandably balk, especially the middle-income ones (those who don't leave for private schools, that is).

They're right, too. Trying to manufacture school diversity - whether through race or income - is a well meaning but ultimately bad idea. Districts should focus on improving schools for all students and providing real school choice for all families, not on re-jiggering pupil assignment plans.

Diversity is no bad thing but in itself does little to further the real mission of schools, which is teaching all comers well. Many diversity defenders claim (some of them explicitly) that poor and minority students can learn only when they're sitting next to wealthier, white and Asian students - i.e., that academic achievement hinges on having a well-mixed classroom.

They cite various studies that claim to demonstrate this truth. Yet such a view is defeatist and, in some respects, racist, besides being disproved by dozens of high-performing, majority-minority schools. Such schools don't succeed because they're packed with middle-class or white kids but because their principals and teachers cultivate achievement-based outlooks and refuse to accept excuses (especially those based on race or income) from their pupils.

Some claim that integrating kids by income is the best way to close achievement gaps. But consider the experience of Wake County, North Carolina, which encompasses Raleigh, a booming city with a strong economy and growing population. Beginning in 2000, the district has integrated its schools socioeconomically: no school is supposed to have more than 40 percent low-income students.

Wake County has garnered much attention and media praise for this program because its test scores have risen. But compared to the rest of North Carolina, is Wake County doing a notably better job of educating kids? Not really. Between 2000-01 and 2005-06, the percentage of black, eighth-graders across North Carolina who scored at grade level on state reading tests jumped by nine points. In Wake County, the percentage increased by only 6 points.

Over the same stretch of time, the percentage of low-income, North Carolina eighth-graders reading at grade level rose by ten points, slightly more than in Wake County.

Breathless newspaper coverage notwithstanding, Wake County's educational progress does not knock the top off anything; it has roughly mirrored that of the state overall. Which doesn't justify the district's implementation of an intrusive, income-integration plan that was implemented in large part to increase test scores of low-income and minority students.

While test scores may not soaring in Wake County, logistical problems are. Demographic shifts, for starters. The number of poor residents is increasing, and that's affecting the district's school assignment plan. Thus, at the end of the 2005-06 school year, 31 of Wake's 116 elementary and middle schools were over the 40 percent low-income ceiling, and enrollments in 18 had exceeded 50 percent low-income.

Such numbers indicate that Wake County is either unwilling or unable to stick to its income-integration goals. But bigger problems are arising from parents, many of whom - upset by lengthy bus rides across the sprawling county and by annual school reshufflings that will move 11,000 students this fall - are opposing the pupil-assignment scheme. Most recently, a group of middle-income parents won their legal battle against the district's plan to force some students into year-round schools.

Other prosperous parents aren't bothering with the courts. They're simply pulling their kids out of the public system and enrolling them in private alternatives - exactly as some white (and middle income black) families did in response to race-based busing.

Parents love having their kids transported to school but their attitude changes sharply when bus rides last for hours due to social engineering. It makes little difference if students are bused to achieve racial or economic diversity - parents don't want their daughters and sons used this way. Polling in Wake County, for instance, shows greater support for neighborhood schools than for socioeconomic balance in schools.

Whether or not income-based school assignments are Constitutionally permissible, they suffer from all the other logistical, political, and parental challenges as the race-based kind. Effective school-assignment policies do not offend vast numbers of their clients. Nor do they allow only wealthy parents to exercise educational choice, while less well-off families are stuck in public-school systems that they may not like and that may not be meeting their needs.

Forget elaborately gerrymandered school districts and pupil assignment schemes. School leaders ought to be offering parents a robust menu of high-quality educational options, such as magnet programs and charter schools, and improving neighborhood schools, too. That way, families can make the best education decisions for their children, choices unaffected by their income or lack thereof.

Schools need to return to the task at hand: educating all kids, regardless of what they look like or how much money their parents make.


Schools giving Muslims special treatment

Some public schools and universities are granting Muslim requests for prayer times, prayer rooms and ritual foot baths, prompting a debate on whether Islam is being given preferential treatment over other religions. The University of Michigan at Dearborn is planning to build foot baths for Muslim students who wash their feet before prayer. An elementary school in San Diego created an extra recess period for Muslim pupils to pray. At George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Muslim students using a "meditation space" laid out Muslim prayer rugs and separated men and women in accordance with their Islamic beliefs.

Critics see a double standard and an organized attempt to push public conformance with Islamic law. "What (school officials) are doing . is to give Muslim students religious benefits that they do not give any other religion right now," says Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Law Center, an advocacy group for Christians.

Advocates say the accommodations are legal. "The whole issue is to provide for a religious foundation for those who are observant while respecting separation of church and state," says Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, based in Los Angeles. Many schools accommodate the Christian and Jewish sabbaths and allow Jewish students to not take tests on religious holidays, he says.

Barry Lynn, of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, says however that the law is murky on these expressions of faith. And the American Civil Liberties Union says overt religious symbols like crucifixes are not legal, but whether Muslim foot baths and prayer rugs fall into that category is not clear. "That's a difficult one, and it's right on the edge," says Jeremy Gunn, director of the ACLU program on freedom of religion and belief in Washington, D.C.

At the forefront of the movement is the Muslim Students' Association, which has formed a Muslim Accommodations Task Force to push for foot baths and prayer rooms. At least 17 universities have foot baths built or under construction, including Boston University, George Washington University and Temple University, and at least nine universities have prayer rooms for "Muslim students only," including Stanford, Emory and the University of Virginia, according to the MSA's website. The association did not return calls seeking comment.

Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which promotes separation of mosque and state, says he is concerned about the accommodations. "Unusual accommodations for one faith at the cost of everybody else doesn't fall on the side of pluralism," he said.

At George Mason University, non-Muslim students were asked to observe Muslim rules in the prayer area, such as keeping men on one side and women on the other and removing their shoes, according to Broadside, the school newspaper. Alissa Karton, assistant to the vice president for student life, said the article prompted the school to order students to roll up prayer rugs when not in use and move the dividers.

The University of Michigan agreed to install foot baths after talks with the MSA, said Terry Gallagher, director of public relations at the campus. Some Muslims ritually wash their feet before praying five times a day.

Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum, a conservative think tank, sees the requests as part of a movement to force the public to acquiesce to Islamic law. "The goal of Islamists is the application of Islamic law," Pipes says.

In the San Diego case, a substitute teacher at Carver Elementary School alleged that teachers were indoctrinating students into Islam. The San Diego Unified School District determined that a teacher's aide was wrong to lead Muslim students in prayer. Carver still has a special recess to allow 100 Muslim students to pray.

The ACLU, which has often sued schools for permitting prayer, says it is waiting to see what kind of policy the school settles on before deciding whether to sue. It says promoting prayers is unconstitutional. "If you start carving out time in the school day that you would not do but for the need to let students pray, then it begins to look like what you're trying to do is to assist religion," says David Blair-Loy, legal director for the ACLU in San Diego.

Thompson says such conflicts are bound to proliferate. He and other Christians, he says, are preparing to ask for equal consideration such as a Christian prayer recess. "What you're going to see out there is more of these kinds of cases as the Muslim community tests how far it can go in the public school system," he says. "If this can happen for Muslims, it can happen for Christians and other religions."



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 INTERNATIONAL 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.