Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Girls ‘can follow fashion without compromising intelligence’

Comments from the Head of a British private school

Young women can dress provocatively and be interested in fashion without compromising their intelligence or feminist principles, a leading head teacher said yesterday. Jill Berry, president of the Girls’ Schools Association, defended Cambridge undergraduates who posed in their underwear for an online student magazine last month. “Girls can be highly intelligent and interested in being seen to be attractive — the two aren’t mutually exclusive,” Mrs Berry told a conference of girls’ school head teachers. “Caring about physical appearance and fashion and wanting to feel good about how you look doesn’t have to be a betrayal of some feminist ideal. I love new shoes but it doesn’t make me shallow.”

One of the Cambridge students who posed in a bikini asked last month for her photograph to be removed from The Tab, a student internet site, after the student union women’s officer said that they reinforced harmful attitudes towards women. But Mrs Berry said: “I don’t think that has to be a conflict. I am saying it is about balance and not pigeonholing us.”

She also spoke up for Cambridge students who have formed a cheerleading team, saying that she had started a cheerleading team at her own school, Dame Alice Harpur School in Bedford. “It is really quite skilful — it involves gymnastics and dance. And they are loving it,” she said.

Mrs Berry, who said last week that girls should not feel guilty if they opted out of a high-flying career to focus on having a family , admitted that there were other head teachers who disagreed but said she welcomed the “raging debate” triggered by her remarks. “I am absolutely sure that there will be people who say we have to be careful about this message,” she said. “There should be women at the top of every profession and should be more women as managing directors at FTSE level. “I think sometimes women choose not to have these things. It is not that they can’t, or that they have tried and failed. There are women who say, ‘At this stage of my life that is not what I want for myself, for my family, for my life’.”

Addressing the annual conference of the Girls’ Schools Association, she said that schools were increasingly having to deal with the obsessive use of social networking sites and online bullying. Coping with the addictive nature of online networking sites, internet safety and cyber bullying had overtaken conventional parental concerns such as homework, friendships and exam stress, she said.

A straw poll of issues of concern among the association’s 187 independent girls’ schools put online networking, internet dangers and online bullying top “by some margin”. They had overtaken problems in face-to-face relationships at school. Websites where girls could post abusive and anonymous messages about their peers were a particular problem, she told the conference in Harrogate. “The reason these are such issues for girls is that they care so much more about relationships with their peers than boys generally do,” Mrs Berry said....


If affirmative action has defenders like this ...

When I give speeches on college campuses it is often the case that the biggest jackass in the audience is a liberal professor at that university. Last Thursday was no exception when Professor Elliot Cramer showed his a** in front of an audience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The speech was on affirmative action but it might as well have been on the need for post-tenure psychiatric evaluations of professors.

Elliot Cramer used to be the advisor for the Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) chapter, which sponsored my speech. That was before protestors of the group sent out fliers in September with Cramer’s picture and personal contact information included. The fliers accused Cramer of supporting white supremacy by advising the group. They were unfair to Cramer who was advising the group simply because no one else would do so. And the group has never advocated "white supremacy."

When the president of the club gave Cramer a warning that his personal contact information and picture were circulating around campus he responded in an email saying “I have a Colt 45 and I know how to use it.” He foolishly copied a protestor of the group in the email. UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp over-reacted to the incident asking Cramer to step down as advisor. Then Cramer showed true First and Second Amendment cowardice by actually stepping down.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported on Elliot Cramer in an effort to portray him as a right-wing nut job. But they messed up the story slightly. He is more accurately characterized as a left-wing nut job. His bizarre comments on my affirmative action speech were revealing.

Cramer took exception to the fact that I talked about a black female former advisee in my speech. The advisee had performed poorly in school and fallen far short of the cumulative 3.0 GPA I require of students before I will recommend them for even the weakest of law schools. But she was admitted to a first-tier law school anyway. It was a school that generally requires a 3.5 GPA for admission.

Obviously, I presented this example to show two things: 1) Affirmative action is not a “tie breaker.” In fact, race can be the dominant factor in a decision to hire or admit into an academic program. 2) Affirmative action rewards mediocrity and hurts blacks by removing the incentive to cultivate their God-given abilities. I never hurt my student by expressing this opinion. But affirmative action programs certainly did hurt her. And I would not back down from my opinion – even if I were staring down the barrel of a Colt 45.

But Elliot Cramer, the man who wrote a student saying “I have a Colt 45 and I know how to use it” still gave me a public lecture on ethics during the Q & A. He suggested I may have hurt the girl’s feelings by conveying my opinion that she was not qualified for admission to a first-tier law school – even though the woman was not present and was not identified by name.

Of course, none of Cramer’s odd objections are relevant. She knew I thought she was unqualified for law school when I told her I would not write her a letter of recommendation until she raised her GPA. I urged her to do better and then reminded her that I have a Colt 45 and I know how to use it. I’m just kidding about the last part. Only a lunatic would do something like that.

During the Q & A, I asked Cramer very specifically which ethical code I had broken by sharing that story of extreme affirmative action race preference involving a former advisee. The exchange went something like this:

Adams: Which rule or code did I violate by talking about this case?

Cramer: I don’t know.

Adams: So I didn’t violate any written rule of ethics - you just feel I was being unethical?

Cramer: Yes.

Adams: Well, I don’t care about your feelings.

(Audience laughter)

Cramer: And I don’t care about yours.

This should have been enough to silence Cramer but it did not. He stood up in front of the audience and claimed he read documentation in my present lawsuit against UNC and had determined it was without merit. He then tried to argue the merits (or lack thereof) of my case against UNC in public while on a UNC campus. The move was completely unprofessional and was followed by another very bizarre twist.

After the Q & A, Elliot Cramer came up to me and asked for the exact address of the Alliance Defense Fund website so he could read the complaint. In other words, after saying he had read documentation from the case and determined it was without merit he admitted he had not read the actual complaint. He even denied ever saying the suit was without merit less than an hour after we recorded him on tape saying just that.

Sadly, during this final exchange, Elliot put his hands on me, which almost prompted me to say “I have a Colt 45 and I know how to use it.” But, of course, only a lunatic would say something like that.

But that’s enough about Elliot Cramer’s lunacy. Let’s get to his liberalism, which is only slightly off topic. Professor Cramer, who will henceforth be referred to as “Colt” Cramer also disputed my claim that we had invited 20 professors to argue the other side, the “pro” side, of the affirmative action debate – all of whom declined our challenge.

Cramer essentially called me a liar – in public, mind you – claiming that it was he who thought of the idea of a panel debate and asked just a few professors – some conservatives – to participate. But what he failed to mention was that the club’s Vice President and an employee of the Leadership Institute together asked numerous professors. They had to take over the effort to organize a debate because Colt Cramer had to step down after saying “I have a Colt 45 and I know how to use it.” Besides, I am in a better position to know how many professors were asked because I own a TI 55 and I know how to use it.

Let me make it clear that I was not the only one treated unfairly by Colt Cramer during the Q & A that followed my speech. After a black law student admitted and then defended racial quotas for admission into UNC School of Law he was called into question by Colt Cramer who, of course, said no such quotas exist. The student rebutted him by pointing out that the same percentage of admitted blacks, roughly 13%, appears in consecutive first year classes. And that just happens to be the rough percentage of blacks in America.

Colt Cramer was rebuked on more than one occasion by students during the Q & A. Afterwards, only two things were certain: Elliot “Colt” Cramer has an a**. And he knows how to show it.


Australia: Federal education boss 'determined' to publish school results

THE Federal Government is refusing to back down on plans to publish online the results of national school tests despite opposition from some principals, teachers and parents. "We are determined to go ahead with this plan," Education Minister Julia Gillard told ABC Radio today.

From next year, the Government's "myschool" website will publish demographic information about a school's population, together with teacher and student numbers and attendance rates. It will also contain each school's results from national literacy and numeracy tests, known as NAPLAN.

Six organisations, including the Australian Education Union and Australian Council of State School Organisations, have written to the minister urging her to ensure the information is not made public.

Ms Gillard said she understood why publishing the information would make some principals and teachers uncomfortable. "But transparency is necessary to shine a light on what is happening in our schools," she said.

Ms Gillard said there would be "moments" for some schools that don't do well compared with schools teaching similar kids.


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