Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Totalitarian Impulse Rears Its Head

Gateway Pundit, via Glenn Reynolds, presents another story of suppression of free speech by liberals:
School officials at Palm Beach State College kicked members of the Young America's Foundation off campus after they saw anti-Obama literature at their table.

There is much more to the story, as reported by the Orlando Political Press:
On Tuesday September 7, 2010 at around 11:00am one Palm Beach State College (PBSC) student and two Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) members, state chairman Daniel P. Diaz and state vice chairman Eddie Shaffer, were shut down and had campus police called on them after tabling and recruiting during club rush at the College. The PBSC student, Christina Beattie, had received prior permission from college administrator Olivia Ford-Morris to promote her organization on campus via telephone and email communication.

On the day of club rush, officials approached the group and after seeing information about the organization and its ideals criticizing Barack Obama's economic policy. Ms. Ford-Morris was visibly disturbed by the material presented, published by the Heritage Foundation, criticizing President Obama's administration. College officials then called the campus police to assure the group left campus. Ms. Ford-Morris denied having ever talked to Ms. Beattie about giving permission to the organization to be a part of PBSC club rush.

This reminds me of an episode years ago, when Scott and I were just becoming politically active. There was a freshman orientation at the University of Minnesota, and campus organizations were invited to set up booths and pass out literature to solicit incoming freshmen to join. The Young Republicans had a booth and passed out anti-Clinton literature--it seems like only yesterday!

Students who were running the event disapproved of the presence of conservatives, ordered the Republicans out and confiscated their literature. Their obviously illegal action was backed up by the then-Dean of Students, who wrote a rather astonishing letter to the effect that because the University of Minnesota is devoted to diversity, there is no room there for Republicans. Seriously. (BTW, it is a reasonable guess that most of the tax money that supports the University of Minnesota is paid by Republicans.)

Our friend Peter Swanson, at that time the President of the Republican group at the U of M, came to Scott and me, and we represented the college Republicans in pursuing claims arising out of the obvious infringement of their First Amendment rights. We won hands down, and one of the remedies we negotiated was that the head of the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota was required to attend First Amendment sensitivity training at the hands of a law school professor.

We have fond memories of that occasion, but the underlying reality is chilling. I really don't think most liberals have any respect for free speech as such, and if they had the opportunity, they would shut us all up or throw us in jail.


LAUSD Facing Budget Cuts, School Year Delayed

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is in a bind. The Tuesday after Labor Day is usually when school starts for schoolchildren in Los Angeles. But not this year. Due to budget cuts, LAUSD could not open most of its school’s doors. This latest development is in direct contrast to the bailout bill that had $10 billion earmarked to bail out schools who were facing budget cuts and layoffs. Wasn’t this the point of this bill that HAD to be passed in an emergency House session? Who is getting bailed out? What was the point?

Spending is not the problem. In 2008, LAUSD budgeted nearly $30,000 per student. That is a staggering amount, especially when you consider that less than half the kids graduate. Nationally, we spend about $600 Billion on education. That’s 27 cents of every dollar, compared to 8 cents of every dollar for Medicaid. Part of the problem is that 80% of the school district’s operating budget is consumed by teacher salaries and benefits that last a lifetime. According to the LAUSD web page, a 1% cut can save $40 million.

This is a trend that will continue until our broken education system is repaired. Heritage has written extensively on education and what can be done to fix it. The National Education Association (the teachers union) wrote an article blaming a funding crisis for the layoffs, but failed to mention their unwillingness to work with the county to help solve the crisis. For parents practicing school choice and attending charter schools in Los Angeles, the LA Times had this to say:

And students in nearly 200 independently run charter schools are starting whenever school administrators want them to.


Australia: Another incompetent teacher -- dangerously so

When you make classrooms such stressful environments that only dummies or desperates would take a teaching job, this is the sort of result you have to expect. The damage wrought by the Left-inspired destruction of discipline is immense

TASMANIAN taxpayers could be up for millions in compensation if any of the high school students involved in a dodgy science experiment contract a potentially lethal blood virus.

It comes as the State Government yesterday refused to confirm whether the Dover District High School teacher who took blood samples from 18 students using the same needle had a science degree. The Mercury reports a recent report by the Tasmanian Auditor-General found that just 51 per cent of a sample group of science teachers had a university science degree.

Five per cent of teachers taking science classes had no science knowledge and were simply teaching the subject because "there was a shortage of science staff" and 10 per cent were physical education teachers with a Human Movement degree which included some science-related content.

It has also been revealed that the blood experiment is not within the Tasmanian science curriculum.

The students and their families now have a nervous six-month wait as they are tested to ensure they have not contracted the blood-borne viruses hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.

During the experiment the teacher used the same needle to collect the samples from the 18 students to test blood pH levels, and dipped it each time in methylated spirits. Medical authorities say this would not have been sufficient to disinfect it.

Australian Lawyers Alliance director Greg Barns said the State Government could face a multi-million-dollar lawsuit if any of the students test positive to a blood-borne virus.

"The State Government stands to face a massive prosecution here and we are talking millions," said Mr Barns, also a Mercury columnist. "Essentially you are looking at the medical expenses of the child for the rest of their life, damage as a result of a loss of income for the rest of their life and the psychological damage that has been caused to them."


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