Wednesday, October 08, 2008

University Of Northern Colorado Opposes Equality

The board of trustees of the University of Northern Colorado opposes treating its applicants and students without regard to their race or ethnicity, voting unanimously to urge defeat of Amendment 46, the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative.
"We really think that the amendment, if passed, would jeopardize the ability of the university and universities across the state to attract and foster diverse student populations," said Jim Chavez, UNC trustee and director of the Latin American Education Foundation.

UNC offers several scholarships that provide preference to students on the basis of gender and ethnicity. Under the measure, Chavez said, those scholarships would be scrapped. "It would dramatically affect the financial resources for many, many different student populations," he said.

The University of Northern Colorado must be one of the few institutions in the country that attracts, funds, and fosters many, many different "populations" of diverse students.

How much money, I wonder, does it take to support these many, many different diverse populations? I also wonder if the taxpayers of Colorado are fully informed about the extent of this expense and whether they think the benefits that accrue to their non-diverse sons and daughters from being exposed to these "diverse student populations" is worth what it costs.


Paedophile hysteria preventing men from applying to work in British grade schools

The lack of male teachers may be having a serious effect on boys' performance in the classroom as many miss out on strong role models at a young age, according to Tanya Byron, the child psychologist. She said the shortage particularly hit children from single-parent families who often went without father figures in the home.

The comments came as a campaign was launched by the Government's Training and Development Agency for Schools to recruit more men into the primary sector. According to official figures, fewer than one in eight primary school teachers are male, and numbers plummet to just one in 50 among those working in reception and nursery classes.

Dr Byron is the presenter of a television show on problem children called Little Angels, as well as a Government advisor on internet safety. She said paranoia about child abuse was driving many men out of the classroom. "There is this paranoid, over-the-top concern about paedophilia and child molestation - that it is not safe to leave children with men," she said. "These themes are running through society to such an extent that attitudes have become skewed and our anxiety does ultimately discriminate against men. This puts men off from working in primary schools because they are concerned about how they will be viewed and what parents will think of them. We have to challenge these negative and unhelpful belief systems."

Research by the TDA showed almost half of men believed male primary school teachers helped them develop at a young age. In a survey of 800 adults, it was revealed a third were challenged to work harder because of men in the primary years, while 50 per cent were more likely to report problems such as bullying to male teachers.

Dr Byron said boys - many of whom struggle to sit still at a young age - worked better with men. They also needed more exposure to males in school to show that learning was not a feminine virtue, she said. She added that positive male role models were particularly important for boys from single-parent households. "The need for strong male role models as constants in the lives of young children is more apparent than ever in light of the increasing numbers of children experiencing breakdown of the traditional family unit, growing up in single-parent families or not having a male figure at home," she said. "Male primary school teachers can often be stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children that they teach. They inspire children to feel more confident, to work harder and to behave better."

The TDA today urged men to consider applying for teacher training courses, with students and jobseekers now having less than nine weeks to apply for courses which start next year. In 2006-07, fewer than a quarter of primary and secondary school teaching qualifications were obtained by men - the lowest figure in five years.


Parents concerned about low literacy levels in South Australian schools

PARENTS are raising "serious questions" about school students' basic literacy levels because they say too many are failing simple national tests. The concerns have been raised after the state's peak school parent group viewed examples of tests given to students around the country earlier this year. Parents have described questions put to Year 9 students as "primary school standard" and want a review of the curriculum following South Australia's average results in the national literacy and numeracy tests. But primary principals want the curriculum further simplified while teachers and the Education Department have defended what is being taught in schools.

The South Australian Association of State School Organisations, which represents the parents of about 90 per cent of state school students, said the test results were more worrying in light of the "not challenging" questions. "If this is the level of question, you've got to wonder why anybody would fail to meet the minimum standard," Association director David Knuckey said. "Exactly where are the 20 per cent who have just met the minimum standards? "It raises serious questions about the basic literacy levels of our high school students (in particular)." Other parents Mr Knuckey spoke to said they remembered more difficult testing when they were at school.

The Australian Primary Principals Association wants guidelines for teachers simplified when a national curriculum is developed. President Leonie Trimper said the primary curriculum "is far too crowded".

In May, about 80,000 South Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 took part in the first national uniform testing of school students. The results, released last month, show up to 10.5 per cent of students failed to meet the minimum national benchmarks and up to 21.8 per cent just made the grade. SA students recorded scores below the national average in 15 of 20 categories and the state also had the highest proportion of students allowed to miss the test.

South Australian English Teachers Association president Alison Robertson said the standardised tests covered "a very narrow part of the curriculum". Flinders University senior lecturer in education Lyn Wilkinson agreed "more is being taught than is being tested" and felt most children were challenged further in class. "This (test) is really where you expect all Year 9 and all Year 7 kids to be. If they're not then there's cause for concern," said the specialist in basic skills testing.

Education Department chief executive Chris Robinson disputed the bar was set too low. "We don't believe that it's the curriculum that's deficient," Mr Robinson said. "The tests are designed by experts to work out what students should be able to do at their year level. The parents, with all due respect, may not be in the best position to judge what the standard of the test is." Mr Robinson said the department continually reviewed the curriculum.

The federal Education Department said the national tests were devised by state and federal governments, the non-government sector and independent experts.

State Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith yesterday said she expected this group "will use feedback to improve the tests in future years". At the time the results were released, Dr Lomax-Smith promised a raft of initiatives including intervention plans for every student who did not meet the minimum standards and coaches for principals and teachers at 32 of the state's most disadvantaged schools as part of a federally funded, $4 million two-year trial.

Opposition Education spokesman David Pisoni expected more children to score better, considering the standard of testing. "I certainly wouldn't say they (the questions) were difficult, if you were an average child you would have got about 90 per cent (correct)," he said. "If there are children that didn't meet the national benchmark, especially at Year 7 and 9 level, we've got to ask questions of the education system."


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