Saturday, December 06, 2008

Poisonous Leftist bigotry in a Canadian university

Carleton University Students' Association's (CUSA) orientation will no longer raise funds for cystic fibrosis, after a vote 17 to 2 at the Nov. 24 CUSA council meeting. The proposal to abandon Shinerama was put forward after it was "recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men," according to the motion.

"We have a diverse community," CUSA vice-president (finance) Kweku Winful said. "We need something that is more representative of the greater student [body] than just one small group . . . we need to appeal to a larger demographic." According to Carlos Chacon, vice-president (internal), CUSA's orientation has raised over $1 million for the charity since the mid-90s.

The motion was proposed by Donnie Northrup, the science faculty representative. CUSA president Brittany Smyth said the idea of switching charities had been discussed with orientation volunteers last year. "There seemed to be a lot of support to try something new," she said.


Reaction (1)

As a Carleton graduate, I was shocked to hear that the Student Association recently voted to stop a fund raising effort for Cystic Fibrosis on the grounds of "racism." This was not the work of one misguided idiot. The vote passed 17 to 2! Apparently they were under the mistaken impression that the disease affects only white people, and mostly males, so it isn't "inclusive" enough.

In fact, the disease is diagnosed in males and females equally and in Hispanics and African Americans, but not as often as in whites. When the association was vilified from coast-to-coast, they abruptly reversed themselves saying they had acted on "mistaken information" and the issue had been "blown out of proportion." Not because it was a profoundly inappropriate judgement in the first place. Imagine if we stopped fundraising for breast cancer because it affects mostly women, or Alzheimer's because it affects mostly the elderly, or Tay-Sachs because it strikes mostly Jews.

What is the principle here? That sick people with only "politically correct" diseases need apply. The Association members have disgraced themselves and embarrassed the university.


Reaction (2)

When Christine Skobe heard about the recent motion to abandon Shinerama, she said she felt "complete disappointment." Skobe is a third-year film and law student who suffers from cystic fibrosis, the disease Shinerama helps support research for.

The motion, passed at the Nov. 24 Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA) council meeting, has created a splash with national media and caused dissention amongst the student body. "The executive clearly had no consultation with students because the Carleton community has always been in support of Shinerama," said Nick Bergamini, the journalism representative on CUSA council, and the only councillor to vote against the motion in the 17-2 vote. The other vote against the motion was made by a proxy for Sean Finnigan.

Kailey Gervais, Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA) vice president (programming) and a CUSA councillor for Public Affairs and Management, has also expressed her opposition to the motion. "Every councilor that voted made a serious error," she said, because they had no time, once the motion was unveiled at the meeting, to consult with their constituents or do research. Gervais was not at the Nov. 24 council meeting, and said she apologizes to students for not being there. Her proxy, chosen by CUSA president Brittany Smyth, voted for the motion.

"The fact that the proposition contained false factual information about the [cystic fibrosis] population, shows both immaturity and a lack of research intelligence," said alumni Murray Gale.

Carleton's alumni expressed their collective disappointment in CUSA in an open letter written by Jane Gilbert, president of the Carleton University Alumni Association (CUAA). "The end result has caused significant pain to members of the broader Carleton family including more than 100,000 members of CUAA worldwide," CUAA president Jane Gilbert wrote.

Carleton University President Roseann Runte also addressed the issue in an email to all Carleton students sent out on Nov. 26. However, she did say she is "convinced that our students will do the right thing and take the appropriate course of action." CUSA has released a statement saying the motion will be revisited at an emergency council meeting Dec. 1.

Some students have been calling for the resignation of various CUSA councillors, including Smyth and CUSA science representative Donnie Northrup, who put forth the motion. "I think CUSA has taken a step in the right direction," said third-year journalism student Dean Tester about CUSA's decision to revisit the motion. He said he would like to hear a formal apology. Gervais echoed the sentiment, saying "We need a national apology because this has just gotten out of control."

The original sentiments of the motion, according to CUSA council members, was to open up the opportunity to support a charity of the students' choice. "That's great that they want to [get involved with more charities], but it amazes me that not one person there ever thought of doing two large fundraisers during the school year, one for [cystic fibrosis] and the other for whatever cause they want to engage in," said Gale. "I understand where the CUSA councillors are coming from," Skobe said. "[But] I'm also feeling like it's a slap in the face to cystic fibrosis research."


Bye Bye to any discipline in British schools

British teacher suspended over push-ups -- at a sports college!

A BRITISH schoolteacher has been suspended after making his pupils do push-ups as a punishment for arriving late to class, Britain's main teaching union said today.

Ian Jennison, a representative for the National Union of Teachers, said the suspension could have a negative impact on how teachers dealt with their students in the future. "It's political correctness gone mad. The repercussions are quite far-reaching," Mr Jennison said. "If this man is sacked for this, teachers are not going to take kids on trips, if two kids are having a fight they won't intervene, because they will be too worried." Mr Jennison said different punishments for latecomers had been discussed by the whole class and that it was the pupils who had suggested push-ups.

The Derby Moor Community Sports College, where the unnamed teacher worked, said an investigation was underway and that its "priority is to ensure that students are happy to be in school".



They seem to have taken California seriously. Four current articles below

The red ink saga gets worse

Teachers told to leave wrong answers blank

TEACHERS at a Brisbane school were told to leave wrong answers by students blank, as marking it wrong would have hurt the child's confidence. The case at Algester State Primary School on the southside has emerged in the wake of the red pen controversy this week involving Queensland Health warning teachers to stop using red pens as the colour was too "aggressive".

One teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was shocked at the recent directive to leave answers blank. "They didn't want us to write anything," he told The Courier-Mail.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Rod Welford said he was too busy to be interviewed and that he did not comment on "operational" issues anyway. "There's nothing for our minister to say," the spokeswoman said. A one-paragraph statement from Education Queensland issued later failed to discuss issues proposed.

It came after the red pen controversy played out in State Parliament again, with the Bligh Government turning the tables on the Opposition over the source of the red pen advice. It was contained in a Queensland Health kit given to 30 schools to provide a range of tips and hints on dealing with mental health issues in the classroom. The Liberal National Party had claimed the document was "kooky, loopy, loony, Left policy" but the Government yesterday revealed the kit was initially released nationally by the Howard government in 2000.

Health Minister Stephen Robertson lampooned the LNP claims, questioning who the "Marx and Engels of the Howard socialist government" were who devised the kit. "None other than comrade Dr Michael Wooldridge and comrade Dr David Kemp - a couple of loony lefties full of kooky, loony and loopy ideas if there ever were any," Mr Robertson said. [The Federal education bureaucracy is Leftist too. No doubt they slipped this one past the politicians]


Education policy gets an F

EDUCATION systems with no red pens and no wrong answers feed the delusion that our students are doing well. State education gets an F for setting up children for failure. The Queensland Health document calling on teachers not to use a red pen when correcting students' work (it's seen as aggressive and damaging to self-esteem) is so bizarre, it has to be true.

In the Alice in Wonderland world of education - where teachers no longer teach, they become guides by the side, where classic literature is replaced by SMS messaging and graffiti and history is reduced to studying the local tip (it's the environment, stupid) - nothing surprises. Read state and territory curriculum documents from the past five to 10 years and the fact is that no one fails. Learning is developmental, so don't worry if children cannot read or write as, eventually, they will pick it up.

Ranking kids one against the other or giving a test marked out of 10, where 4 means fail, is wrong as each student is precious and unique and being competitive reinforces a capitalist, winner/loser mentality. Failure is redefined as "deferred success" and reports describe student achievement with comments like "consolidating", "not yet achieved" and "establishing". No wonder parents don't have a clue where their children rank in the class. It's also no wonder that so many thousands of primary school children enter secondary school with such poor literacy and numeracy skills and that universities now have remedial classes for first-year students, teaching essay writing and basic algebra.

Fast forward to Gen-Y and the results of this care, share, grow approach to assessment and correcting work are clear to see. Having never been told their work is substandard or that, compared with others, they may have failed, Gen-Y has an inbuilt sense of invincibility and success. Ask employers about working with Gen-Y and the consensus is that this is a generation that expects never to be corrected, that promotion is automatic and that near enough is good enough. After years of being told at school that everyone has a right to an opinion - after all, how we read the world is subjective and teachers are only facilitators - no wonder many young people are incapable of working out the difference between success and mediocrity.

There is an alternative. As every good parent and teacher knows, children need a disciplined approach to learning, and to be told when they have passed or failed. Boys, in particular, need clear and immediate feedback about what's expected and whether they have reached the required standard. Look at the stronger-performing education systems of Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, and it's obvious they rely on competitive assessment at key stages and students suffer the consequences of not doing well enough.

It's ironic that Australian students, who are in the "second 11" when it comes to international maths and science tests, on being interviewed express a high opinion of themselves and their ability to do well. Asian students, on the other hand, who consistently rank at the top of the table, say that they need to work harder as they feel there is always room for improvement. So much for the smart state.


Australia: State Premier pisses into the wind

Show us respect, Premier John Brumby tells Melbourne's young. When their Leftist teachers are telling them that there is no such thing as right and wrong and that everything is relative, what chance that the kids will heed propaganda telling them to be do-gooders?

JOHN Brumby has declared war on the "me" generation of out-of-control young Victorians who lack respect and fuel crime. The Premier today will unveil a plan to restore respect throughout schools and the community. "I am concerned about an emerging culture of alcohol and a lack of respect," he told the Herald Sun.

Mr Brumby plans a multi-million-dollar campaign to steer young Victorians into volunteering for key fire, rescue, welfare and community groups. The school curriculum is expected to be changed to teach teenagers right from wrong.

The campaign, aimed at between 15 and 25, comes as crime figures show 33,911 charges were laid against people under under 18 in 2007-08, and one in five of all offences were committed by teens. "Like all parents, I am concerned when I see images of young people writing themselves off on Friday or Saturday nights, getting into fights, or just not treating themselves or other people with respect," Mr Brumby said. "I will be pushing a respect agenda very heavily next year - it's a top priority."

The Premier was speaking after the annual Schoolies Week of drugs, drunkenness and anti-social behaviour hit the nation's beachside resorts. His plan has won the backing of notorious party animal Corey Worthington - who reckons more needs to be done and has offered to advise Mr Brumby for free. Speaking through his manager yesterday, the Melbourne teenager said more amenities and activities were needed for under-18s who are banned from licensed venues. "They need to be entertained or have places to go so that they aren't on the streets where the violence occurs," Worthington said.

The wild child said he was happy to make himself available at no charge to meet the Premier to help develop suitable strategies. Organised street parties, concerts and relaxing laws so some licensed venues can be used for under-18s events were some of his suggestions. The teen became notorious in January after throwing a wild party at his Narre Warren house without his parent's permission.

Crime figures show that juveniles are vastly over-represented in public order offences, arson and car theft. Drunken violence on the streets among the young is changing the face of Melbourne's CBD. Violence and alcohol abuse is rife at elite schools and unruly teenage parties.

Mr Brumby's strategy will dominate the Government's social agenda next year. A round table of experts and parents will meet to carve out a way to teach the young right from wrong. Education ministers today are expected to declare a shared goal in Australia of better values among the young.

A centrepiece of Mr Brumby's agenda will be encouraging volunteering. He wants to lead the way by joining the Country Fire Authority as a volunteer to help protect his family farm. He said young people would be better off if they directed their energies towards volunteer organisations, sporting clubs and soup kitchens rather than trawling the streets. "Parents don't want to be lectured by Government, but I think some would like some advice on helping their kids become solid citizens," Mr Brumby said. "Schools do a great job but we can always look at whether we can do more to teach life skills to young people." He will work with Education Minister Bronwyn Pike to assess whether schools should be more involved in teaching young people to value themselves and others. "I can think of nothing better than joining up to these (volunteer) organisations for young people to learn about community respect and what it means to be part of a team," he said.

Mr Brumby said the respect agenda flowed on from the Government's crackdown on alcohol-related crime. He referred to the night when he went to the Melbourne Custody Centre with the Herald Sun to discover three young drunks being processed by police. "I was shocked when I went to the Melbourne Custody Centre to see the state some young people were in - and it struck me that nobody would get into such a state if they respected themselves and their community," he said.


Islamic school bans national anthem

School reportedly bans the singing of Advance Australia Fair at assemblies.

A BRISBANE school has banned the national anthem at assemblies and sacked the teacher who asked for it to be played. Australian International Islamic College teacher Pravin Chand was sacked in November, four months after his proposal for students to sing Advance Australia Fair was ruled to be against the "Islamic view and ethos". A memo sent to teachers at the Durack school in July and obtained by The Courier-Mail, also said "the singing of the anthem will be put on hold".

The revelations follow an outcry on the Gold Coast this week at a plan by the same college to open another campus at Carrara. A vocal crowd draped in Australian flags accused the college of promoting segregation, anti-Australian values and even terrorism. Muslim leaders slammed the protests as "un-Australian" and claimed religion should not be used as a reason to protest against a school.

School chairman Imam Abdul Quddoos Azhari yesterday denied the anthem ban and said students sang it "at every function". But Mr Chand, whose version of events was backed by a second teacher, said he had not heard the anthem once this year. "No national anthem to me means no integration with Australian kids," Mr Chand said. "Western values (at the school) are a no-no. "It's like a paramilitary camp that place."

Mr Chand's employment was terminated by the college board last month on the grounds he was "not fitting into the school's ethos". Outgoing principal Azroul Liza Khalid, who started at the school in July, said she had not heard the anthem once at assembly, although it was played two or three other times. Ms Khalid said she was told by a board member not to play the anthem or any songs on Friday because it was a holy day. In July, school assembly day was moved from Monday to Friday.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Rod Welford indicated it was unlikely a public school had banned the national anthem. "It's not compulsory for schools to play the national anthem," she said. "There's an expectation it would be played on formal occasions when the Australian flag is being raised."

A Catholic education spokesman said: "I'm absolutely confident that no Catholic school has ever banned the playing of the national anthem and never will."

School trustee Keysar Trad and Imam Quddoos said they had not heard of the ban and supported the playing of the anthem at future assemblies. The future of the proposed 60-student college at Carrara will be decided by Gold Coast City Council next year.


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