Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Supreme Court: Calif. university’s policy upheld, but school still barred from targeting Christian group

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5–4 Monday to uphold an unusual university policy that forces student groups to allow outsiders who disagree with their beliefs to become leaders and voting members. The court confined its opinion to the unique policy and did not address whether nondiscrimination policies in general, which are typical on public university campuses, may require this. The court concluded that public universities may override a religious student group’s right to determine its leadership only if it denies that right to all student groups.

Attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and Alliance Defense Fund represented a student chapter of CLS at California’s Hastings College of the Law in the lawsuit, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. The suit was filed in 2004 after the law school refused to recognize the chapter because the group requires all of its officers and voting members to agree with its basic Christian beliefs.

“All college students, including religious students, should have the right to form groups around shared beliefs without being banished from campus,” said Kim Colby, senior counsel at the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “Today’s ruling, however, will have limited impact. We are not aware of any other public university that has the exact same policy as Hastings.”

“The conflict still exists. This decision doesn’t settle the core constitutional issue of whether nondiscrimination policies in general can force religious student groups to allow non-believers to lead their groups,” explained ADF Senior Legal Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “Long-term, the decision puts other student groups across the country at risk, and we will continue to fight for their constitutional rights. The Hastings policy actually requires CLS to allow atheists to lead its Bible studies and the College Democrats to accept the election of Republican officers in order for the groups to be recognized on campus. We agree with Justice Alito in his dissent that the court should have rejected this as absurd.”

The law school’s acting dean went so far as to state in a PBS interview in April that a black student organization must admit white supremacists.

“We believe we will ultimately prevail in this case,” McConnell said. “The record will show that Hastings law school applied its policy in a discriminatory way--excluding CLS from campus but not other groups who limit leadership and voting membership in a similar way. The Supreme Court did not rule that public universities can apply different rules to religious groups than they apply to political, cultural, or other student groups.”

In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “Brushing aside inconvenient precedent, the Court arms public educational institutions with a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups…. I can only hope that this decision will turn out to be an aberration.”

Twenty-two friend-of-the-court briefs from a broad and diverse array of nearly 100 parties were filed with the Supreme Court in support of the CLS chapter, including a brief filed by 14 state attorneys general. Lead counsel Michael W. McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, argued before the court on April 19 on behalf of the CLS chapter.


Lowering teacher wages and requirements to increase teaching

Teachers often complain that they are underpaid and/or overworked. It is the purpose of this article to explore this question and expose its myth. In fact, it is the conclusion of this article that teachers are overpaid and overly qualified. Furthermore, it is this articles’ presumption that lowered barriers of educational entry would not only decrease teaching salaries but would also increase teaching capability.

Currently, the average teacher maintains five years of education coupled with a semester of student-teacher training. In addition teachers must continue their training efforts (be it through college classes, workshops, lectures or book readings) in order to maintain their teacher licensure. Let us now imagine a replacement teacher with less required educational barriers of entry so that we may compare and contrast them to the existing teacher.

To form a successful teaching lesson (one that is characterized by student learning and information retainment) takes a compilation of experience, training and preparation time (of which experience is most significant followed by preparation and training). Of the following mentioned, our replacement teacher falls short in one category: training.

It may be contested by many that a degree in education also contributes toward experience. Yet, for those who have had the luxury of watching a newly inexperienced educator fresh out of his or her program for the first time in the classroom can attest, education degrees offer little in terms of experience.

Therefore, the differences between our replacement teacher and our current teacher are merely a matter of training. How much more of an impact does five years of education have on lesson plans? The answer of course depends on what values you place on experience, training and preparation time for lesson impact. If you operate under the notion that 60 percent of lesson planning comes by way of actual teaching experience, while training and preparation time is split between 40 percent, then there may not be much to gain by increasing another year of education.......

Finally, as it has been show above, public school teachers work 25% fewer hours less per week and commute, on average, 26 hours less per year than other comparable professionals. Furthermore, it has been presented above that teachers may in fact be overqualified given the nature of their work and the variables that shape learning (notably experience and preparation time). Given this, it is within all likelihood that individuals of lesser education may well work year-round for the same pay (thus increasing hours worked by 25%) or work the same hours for 25% less in salary. Furthermore, given that the supply of potential teachers would increase as barriers of entry decrease, it is also within all likelihood that increased competition would translate into increased learning via teacher productivity.

Alas, undoubtedly I will (again) receive some hate mail from my various readers who wish to tell me how they detest opinions like mine. They actually use these 1,500 words to paint a depiction of an evil individual who doesn’t care for his students, his coworkers or his subject. But, this is far from the case! I care for them more than I care for my paycheck and more than I care for your admiration or friendship.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Credentialism reaches its absurd conclusion in Britain

An average of 45 students are now vying for every graduate position. So for 44 out of 45 applicants, their degree is useless in getting them where they want to go

Up to 270 students are competing for every graduate job amid a desperate scramble for the most sought-after positions, according to research. The number of applications has soared by 15 per cent compared with two years ago when the recession struck, it was disclosed.

Competition is being fuelled by record numbers of students leaving university this year combined with a substantial backlog of graduates left without decent jobs in the economic downturn.

According to figures, 270 students are competing for every graduate job in the consumer goods industry this year. Researchers said marketing posts in companies such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Mars and L’Oreal were among the “most sought after destinations” for students desperate to climb the careers ladder.

More than 100 students have applied for every job in the media this year and around 75 applications have been made to finance and investment banking positions.

Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, which carried out the survey, said there was little evidence of a public backlash against the banking industry. Graduates starting jobs in the City [the financial district] were also much more likely to receive a bumper starting salary, it was disclosed, with basic pay rising by 10 per cent to £42,000. “If anyone was expecting moral outrage and shying away from the banks then it hasn’t happened,” said Mr Birchall. “People are still very, very keen on working in the City.”

In the latest study, researchers surveyed 16,000 final year students and analysed the recruitment patterns of 100 leading companies. In a sign of the economic recovery, figures show that companies are actually increasing the number of graduate vacancies available this year. The number of jobs is up by almost 18 per cent to 16,288 in 2010 following two years of decline during the recession.

But the report warned that the rise “simply restores recruitment to roughly where it was in 2006”.

According to figures, a shortage of graduate jobs over the last two years has fuelled demand for well-paid positions in 2010. Overall, the number of applicants has increased by seven per cent in the last 12 months, with demand soaring by 15 per cent compared with 2008.

An average of 45 students are now vying for every graduate position, rising six times higher for jobs in the consumer goods industry, it was revealed.

Mr Birchall said: “Many of these jobs are in marketing which is one of the most sought-after destinations for students. “They pay very well, the training has been developed, in some cases, over three decades and they are seen as one of the springboards to fast-track management within these organisations.”

The sheer demand for graduate jobs means the “vast majority” of companies have already closed off applications for this year, researchers said.

In a further disclosure, it emerged that salaries at Britain’s leading employers have “increased significantly” over the last six months. The average starting pay for graduates increased by £2,000 – or seven per cent – to £29,000. In investment banking, average starting salaries soared by 10 per cent to £42,000.


No comments: