Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Black Professor: Ethnic Studies "Never" Teaches Ethnic Solidarity

Newsflash for the either ignorant or deceitful Marc Lamont Hill, professor of--what else-- African American Studies at Columbia University, and is--according to his website--"one of the leading hip-hop generation intellectuals in the country." Wow! That's quite a feat considering the competition. But I digress.

If Marc Lamont Hill (can we please cut the three name thing) thinks these ethnic studies classes do not teach--in general--ethnic solidarity, victimhood, anti-Americanism, pro-leftism, etc., then I challenge you, the reader, to go to your nearest college and sit-in on a Woman's Studies, African American Studies, Chicano Studies, Environment Studies--anything that ends with "studies" class, and see if this separatist teaching method is universal or simply taught among the "outliers" and "rogue" elements, as Professor Hill says: "I've never seen that to be the case."

I attended college in Minnesota, New York, and California, and on every campus, there was a plethora of self-segregated graduations. Why? Who organized them? Where did this mentality come from? If you don't believe me, I challenge you to go or call your nearest university and ask them--considering that it's graduation time--when and where the Latino graduation will be held. While you are there, take a walk through the Chicano Studies, African American Studies, or Woman's Studies departments and faculty hallways and observe the "art" on the walls; listen to the conversations among the students and their professors. The mural painted by the Chicano Studies students at my California University consisted of a gang of "brown people" carrying an American flag upside down and a Fox News reporter with fangs that were dripping blood. This was three years ago--and it's still there despite calls for its removal.

I could go on with an example after example, but I am so sure that the separatist/ethnic solidarity method is taught and advertised daily on American campuses, that I want you to see it for yourself. Go to the website of any college in the country and look at the class listings and their descriptions under the "studies" section. The results of your "field trip" may shock you, but you will quickly learn to exercise more "tolerance" if you want to get an "education" without bringing trouble into your life.

BTW: Any college degree that ends with the word "studies" is an absolute joke and should be treated as such. Same goes for self-segregated graduation ceremonies.


Fired RI teachers see the light

A school district that gained the support of President Barack Obama for promoting accountability after it fired all its teachers from a struggling school announced on Sunday it had reached an agreement with the union to return the current staffers to their jobs.

The two sides said a transformation plan for Central Falls High School for the coming school year would allow the roughly 87 teachers, guidance counselors, librarians and other staffers who were to lose their jobs at the end of this year to return without having to reapply. More than 700 people had already applied for the positions.

The agreement calls for a longer school day, more after-school tutoring and other changes.

"What this means is that they have come to an agreement about a reform effort and that will change the quality" of the education program at Central Falls, said Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, who applauded both sides for working together.

The board of trustees overseeing the school system in Central Falls, one of the poorest communities in the state, voted in February to fire the staff of one of the state's worst-performing schools. The school was under a mandate from the state to make improvements, and it opted for the mass firings after a breakdown in talks with teachers about other reforms that would have required more work, some without extra pay.

Obama, during a national address on education in March, said the firings were an example of the need for accountability over student performance.

"So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution," Obama said. "We've got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements. But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn't show any sign of improvement, then there's got to be a sense of accountability."

He continued: "And that's what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th-graders passed state math tests _ 7 percent."

Details of the agreement were to be released following a ratification vote by Central Falls teachers at a meeting Monday. The union and district had been working with a mediator since March.

"Both the school district and the union agree that while this has been a difficult process for everyone involved, the negotiations resulted in a newfound appreciation for shared responsibility, and a solid commitment to bring lasting solutions that will improve teaching and learning at Central Falls High School," said a joint statement from the union and the district.

Under the deal, teachers will need to recommit to their jobs and interview with the new principal. Other changes aimed at increasing student achievement include: a new evaluation system designed to inform teaching and learning, and targeted and embedded professional development.

Central Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo said she was pleased to be welcoming the staff back. She said that among the changes would be the reassignment of the high school principal and assistant principal to the middle school.

Central Falls Teachers Union President Jane Sessums said there had always been agreement that the sides wanted what was best for the students and that significant changes were needed.

"Working together, we and the district have arrived at a solid, forward-looking agreement that provides supports for our students and the tools our teachers need to help them succeed," Sessums said.

Senior Valerie Florez, who is set to graduate next month, said rehiring the teachers was a good idea. "It's not the teachers' fault that students don't want to learn," she said.

Florez said she used to be one of those students who didn't want to learn, skipping class and failing to do assignments, but her teachers helped her turn around.

Jonathan Beltran, a 19-year-old freshman at Roger Williams University who graduated Central Falls High School last year, had helped organize rallies and protests in support of the teachers. Beltran, who hopes one day to return to Central Falls as a math teacher, said he was happy about the agreement.

"I love the teachers at Central Falls," he said. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. I want to work side by side with them."

Antony Restrepo, who has two stepdaughters at the school, said he wanted to see improvements if all the teachers are to be rehired. But he said he wasn't sure that the problems were entirely the staff's fault.

"They just want to be in the streets," he said of some students.


A maze of mad allowances in British education

As it currently stands, anyone entering full-time higher education can receive financial support from the government in the form of Tuition Fee funding and Maintenance Loans, as well as the option of a means-tested grant. Additionally, if you have any form of disability or learning disorder, you are eligible for Disabled Student’s Allowance, which is available regardless of family income, and doesn’t have to be paid back.

Being dyslexic, my friend was delighted to discover that he was eligible for up to £5,161 worth of ‘specialist equipment’, and so applied for DSA. His experience is a prime example of inefficient and wasteful government.

After a needs assessment in September and the promise of a shiny new laptop, processing the case took over eight months. Nevertheless, the ‘essential’ technological support eventually arrived- in the form of a MacBook Pro, a printer and voice-recognition software. However, the delivery also included (amongst much more) a scanner, USB hub, a backpack, an ink allowance, and, strangely enough, an AA battery charger. Call me insensitive, but I simply cannot understand the necessity of all these items for a dyslexic university student.

My expressions of disapproval led to accusations of bitterness and jealousy. In fact, I was shocked that such items should be provided by the government, regardless of income- and without even being asking for. The response I received from my friend was, “But I’ve done nothing wrong- they’re free”. However, the gadgets weren’t free. They had been paid for by other people’s money –confiscated through taxation. They were funded with money that would have been put to better use were it allowed to stay in the individuals’ pockets, rather than paying for backpacks for dyslexics.

The country is saddled with a huge government deficit, and spending pressures are beginning to emerge: The Russell Group has warned that current higher education funding is unsustainable. Meanwhile, the Coalition government is keen to make savings through ‘efficiencies’ and will be unwilling to touch frontline services. However, the DSA appears to be something that could be seriously revised, without seriously disadvantaging the disabled in University.


No comments: