Thursday, March 11, 2010

FRC Calls on U.S. Senate to Reject Legislation Containing Federal Education Mandates

Far-reaching Bill Threatens Faith-Based Education

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4247, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act. The bill's purpose is to ensure that teachers do not use physical, mechanical or chemical means of restraint against students. The bill significantly increases federal oversight of schools that receive federal funding, including many Catholic parochial schools and independent private schools, and it has been strongly opposed by the Council for American Private Education and the American Association of Christian Schools.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement about H.R. 4247:

"This bill is another example of misguided federal legislation. It increases federal paperwork and oversight to the point that there could be substantial interference with faith-based education. "Teachers generally care for their students. Should they be punished because a few teachers overstep already accepted guidelines for how teachers and students can interact? A federal mandate is unnecessary.

"Further, if Congress is so concerned with the well-being of students, why did it shut down the Washington, D.C. school choice program, which gave underprivileged students the ability to attend successful private schools instead of failing union-run public schools in the District?

"If Congress is concerned about student safety, it should begin by removing 'Safe Schools Czar' Kevin Jennings from office, not adding to his federal oversight of education. Kevin Jennings, as the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), played an integral role in promoting homosexuality in public schools. His history demonstrates disregard for our obligations to safeguard the health and well-being of the student population. He is unfit for the post to which he's been assigned, and he should be removed at once."


The University of Notre Shame

by Mike Adams

It’s understandable that student newspapers at public universities are left-leaning. The advisors of the papers are usually left-leaning and they often have a left-leaning administration leaning on them. So their coverage of issues like abortion and homosexuality is often skewed. But private religious universities once provided a safe haven for those who wished to express views not approved by the immoral minority. It’s tough to comprehend the extent to which they have fallen prey to political correctness in recent years.

The Observer, the student newspaper at the University of Notre Dame, has shown that our nation’s Catholic universities no longer provide an escape from the politically correct orthodoxy running rampant on our nation’s public campuses. And the paper has shown a remarkable contempt for intellectual honesty – not to mention the Ninth Commandment.

The Observer declined to print a column that defends Church teachings on homosexual activity, which was written by Charles Rice - a Notre Dame Professor of Law. Rice has written a regular column with the Observer for nearly two decades.

At 996 words, Professor Rice’s column is a little long. At first, Observer Editor Matt Gamber used the column’s length as an excuse for non-publication. The excuse sounded credible but, after doing a little research, I’ve concluded that his excuse is an outright lie.

When Barack Obama came to speak at Notre Dame, Professor Rice wrote an 1172-word column, which harshly criticized his appearance as at odds with the school’s principles. Note to Matt Gamber: An 1172-word column is longer than a 996-word column. That much is as clear and obvious as the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality.

But, now, Matt Gamber is saying that the subject matter of homosexuality could best by handled by printing opposing views on the subject. But why must a student newspaper at a Catholic university censor Professor Rice in the absence of some “opposing viewpoint”? And what are the implications of this new policy?

* If Professor Rice decides to write a column opposing polygamy, will the Observer withhold its publication until someone submits a pro-polygamy column?

* If Professor Rice decides to write a column opposing incest, will the Observer withhold its publication until someone submits a pro-incest column?

* If Professor Rice decides to write a column opposing adultery, will the Observer withhold its publication until someone submits a pro-adultery column?

* Finally, if Professor Rice decides to write another column opposing abortion, will the Observer withhold its publication until someone submits a pro-abortion column?

The answers to my four hypothetical questions follow: No, no, no, and no. And the reason for the pattern is simple: The Observer carves out a special “opposing viewpoint” exception for homosexuality because the Observer is intensely homophobic. And the reason for the intense homophobia manifested by Matt Gamber and the Observer is also simple: Homosexuals are less tolerant of criticism than any other portion of the American population, including feminists and Muslims.

But the consequences of homosexual intolerance are not as simple. They are twofold: 1) Homosexual intolerance tends to result in the suppression of contrary views, and 2) Such intolerance tends to make others fearful of talking to homosexuals. In other words, homosexual intolerance actually promotes homophobia.

The present situation at Notre Dame is damaging to both sides of the debate. The Observer should allow Professor Rice to present his views (as unthinkable as it may seem to present the views of the Catholic Church at a Catholic university). Then, they may decide whether the views of the opposition warrant publication.

I believe the other side should be presented after Professor Rice’s column is printed if someone at Notre Dame actually thinks the Holy Bible is unclear on the issue. If they do, the Notre Dame community will wind up with a greater appreciation of the truth via its juxtaposition with falsity.

But the prior restraint of the views of Professor Rice is not defensible. While not a technical violation of the First Amendment – Notre Dame is a private school - it is an assault on both Catholicism and common sense. And it leaves many Catholics wondering whether there is any safe haven in this land that once placed religious liberty above political correctness.


Hamburgerology comes to Britain

Maccas is now handing out High School diplomas

Work experience for many teenagers involves making endless cups of tea or opening mountains of post, with no more reward than a week off school. But they will get the equivalent of a GCSE if doing a placement at McDonald’s from today, in recognition of their newly found skills.

The fast food multinational has for years been the butt of jokes about providing dead-end jobs flipping burgers and mopping floors. Yet it now has power to award its own qualifications, which include a diploma in shift management equal to an A level. It takes on 10,000 apprentices a year, thought to be more than any other company in Britain, and trains them in hospitality skills, and basic English and maths.

Now teenagers successfully completing a ten-day work experience placement, plus a lesson in school either side, will be awarded a BTEC level 2 in work skills accredited by Edexcel, one of the country’s biggest exam boards. This is the equivalent of a GCSE at grade B or C, and the first time a national qualification has been given for work experience. Academics said this devalued GCSEs, but praised the company for offering proper work placements during the recession. About a million young people are currently not in education, employment or training, and there are fears this could affect the job prospects of a generation.

The work experience is not guaranteed: pupils aged 14 upwards will have to fill out an online application form and submit themselves to interview by their local branch. Those who succeed will spend ten days being mentored by a “buddy”, working with them in every area of the restaurant. While not left in sole charge of cooking burgers, they will help for example by “preparing lettuce”, and will get to operate the drive-through window and handle money. They must also complete a work book, and attend an induction on safety, hygiene and food nutrition, and will have an “exit” interview at the end of the placement.

David Fairhurst, who is head of human resources at McDonald’s, did work experience — “many years ago” — at his grandfather’s store in Wigan. He said: “I learnt a lot of things, such as attention to detail and how to get along with colleagues when you were the boss’s grandson. Yes we will turn people down [for work experience], absolutely. We’re looking for people who’ve got the attitude to serve customers. “The students have a role to play in taking work experience more seriously than has been the case before. We have strict guidelines on supervision, every day they will have a buddy working alongside them.

“They will serve at drive-through windows, operate the till, prepare drinks from machines, and help to clear tables. It’s a big step for young people, it takes confidence to deal with customers. “We not just trying to recruit these people, we’re exposing them to the work of work, as we don’t want a lost generation of young people with no experience of the workplace.”

Mr Fairhurst defended the qualification from criticism, saying: “They’re with us for 80 hours, and do two lessons before and afterwards at school. In academic terms, 80 hours is enough for a Btec certificate — it’s a lot of time in terms of school.” He added: “The vast proportion of young people are disappointed about what they’re asked to do on work experience, either making tea or it’s unstructured or the company is surprised to see them turn up and don’t know what to do with them.”

A survey published today by Populus, for McDonald’s, found that more than half of young people believe there are not enough quality work placements available. One in five who had completed work experience felt their host employer had not planned for them well enough.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the centre for education and employment research at Buckingham University, said: “The positive view of this is it might make work experience better for young people participating, but it’s absurd trying to value it in the terms of a GCSE. “Essentially, it’s what the experience does for young people’s future lives that matters. Schools and awarding bodies are being pushed into a situation of issuing qualifications for everything.

“There isn’t enough work experience to go round, and some schools have to resort to simulated work experience, or work-related experience such as writing about work. “Having ten days somewhere is a step forward, but making it equivalent to a GCSE is devaluing qualifications of that level, and could colour the way people view GCSEs in general.”


Australia: Education Dept. gives bullying bureaucrat a free ride

A PRIMARY school principal in Brisbane's southeast is under investigation for bullying, after Education Queensland appointed him despite him being shifted from two other schools following similar complaints. Teachers passed a no-confidence motion against a principal in the Redlands area at the beginning of the school term, which was soon after his deputy walked out.

Education Queensland has confirmed an investigation is underway.

The principal was also disciplined after an incident in a previous school where he allegedly raised his hand to strike a female staff member. Following his removal, The Courier-Mail understands he was placed in head office at Education Queensland before he was sent to the Redlands school, where he's remained for at least six years.

It comes only days after Premier Anna Bligh backed a national Say No to Bullying day, but yesterday Education Minister Geoff Wilson refused to comment on the department's decision to appoint a principal with a history of bullying. "Staffing issues at individual schools are dealt with by the Department of Education and Training," he said in a statement. "I expect them to investigate all cases thoroughly and to adhere to all processes and protocols when doing so."

Education Queensland did not respond to concerns the department was aware of the principal's record when they appointed him at his current school. 'The department can only act if a formal complaint is made. Staff are encouraged to contact their executive director to do so," Human Resources assistant director Craig Allen said. "The performance management process is in place to ensure all staff are treated justly and fairly in the workplace." Mr Allen said bullying was not tolerated.

The Courier-Mail believes the schools' executive director Paula Anderson has been contacted about the matter. The investigation started yesterday.


1 comment:

Robert said...

Regarding the bill H.R. 4247, which seems to be aimed at further eroding discipline in schools, maybe the teachers unions could actually make themselves useful, for a change, by fighting for protection of its members to maintain discipline in their own classrooms however they see fit. It would actually make them worthwhile for at least one purpose, rather than solely as vehicles for rapine, pillage, and plunder.