Thursday, March 03, 2011

How low can we go?

CA: Student calls police after math teacher rattles table

An eighth-grade math teacher at Atherton's Selby Lane School rattled a table to get his students' attention Tuesday afternoon, police said. He succeeded on that score. But the demonstration landed him on paid administrative leave.

Officers went to the campus at 2:26 p.m. to check on reports of a teacher causing a disturbance in a classroom and possibly throwing objects, said Sgt. Tim Lynch of the Atherton Police Department.

When officers arrived, however, they found a calm teacher with class in session and determined nothing had been thrown.

Lynch said it appears the teacher's table-rattling act startled a female student who left the class and called police from a cell phone. "My impression by talking to her was that she was disturbed by what the teacher was doing," Lynch said.

Most of the students in the class weren't bothered by the teacher's actions, Lynch said. Though the teacher "dramatically" made his point, "it wasn't a teacher out of control," he added.

Redwood City School District Deputy Superintendent John Baker said the teacher will remain on leave pending an investigation. He said he didn't know what specifically happened and would interview the teacher, the student and her parents in the coming days, as well as other students.

No complaints have been lodged against the teacher in the past, Baker said. The district put the teacher on leave because of the police response and the nature of the complaint, he said.


Why wasn't the student suspended for leaving class without permission? Or arrested for filing a false police report? This is like a child calling 911 for being punished

Keep taking English and maths in Britain till you get a good grade

Hundreds of thousands of students who fail to get good GCSE grades in English and maths are to be forced to carry on studying the subjects in the biggest shake-up of the curriculum for decades.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is appalled by official figures to be released today showing that the majority of teenagers fail to get C grades or above in both English and maths.

Sources say Mr Gove plans to accept the recommendations of an independent review which will mean that for about 300,000 pupils a year it will be compulsory to carry on studying the key subjects.

Under the rules, they will be forced to carry on doing so until they retake their exams and achieve a C grade or higher at GCSE level. Those who fail to get a good grade will have to keep on studying English and maths until they leave education at 18.

The review of vocational study, by leading academic Professor Alison Wolf of King’s College London, will today warn that 37 per cent of students achieve neither maths nor English GCSE at grades A* to C when they first take the exam. Of this group, only two per cent go on to achieve both by age 18. Some 12 per cent initially achieve an A* to C grade in their English GCSE, but not maths. About 17 per cent of them, or fewer than one in five, achieves a maths GCSE A* to C by the time they are 18. Seven per cent initially achieve a maths GCSE A* to C but not English. About a quarter – 24 per cent – of this group achieves English GCSE A* to C by 18.

Overall, the percentage of children achieving both maths and English GCSE grades A* to C rises from 44.8 per cent initially to 49 per cent at 18. But some 329,000 did not have maths and English A* to C when they first sat the exam. At age 18, 304,000 still did not.

The report will today blame the ‘shocking figures’ not on young people, but on ‘funding incentives which have deliberately steered institutions, and, therefore, their students, away from qualifications that might stretch young people and towards qualifications that can be passed easily’.

Mr Gove believes the previous government’s measures –aimed at helping boost schools’ league table rankings – encouraged hundreds of thousands of pupils to drop academic subjects in favour of easier options.

Students taking three or more A-levels will almost always have achieved at least a grade C in both maths and English, since this acts as an informal entry requirement for such courses. Conversely, most students on non-A-level, vocational courses will not.

There has been a 3,800 per cent increase in the number of children taking non-academic GCSE equivalents since Labour changed the rules in 2004. These gave non-academic qualifications – including computer skills, sports leadership and certificates of ‘personal effectiveness’ – parity with traditional subjects.

The move helped fuel a damaging collapse in the number of children taking academic courses. ‘No other developed country allows, let alone effectively encourages, its young people to neglect mathematics and their own language in this way,’ the report will add. ‘The UK is effectively unique in not requiring continued mathematics and own-language study for all young people engaged in 16 to 19 pre-tertiary education.’

To encourage schools to teach core subjects Mr Gove has already introduced an English baccalaureate A* to C in five core subjects including English and maths.

Professor Wolf will recommend that students who are under 19 and do not have GCSE A* to C in English and maths ‘should be required, as part of their programme, to pursue a course which either leads directly to these qualifications, or which provide significant progress’. Such requirements should be placed even on students who take up apprenticeships.

A Coalition source said: ‘We have inherited a disastrous system from Labour. Millions of children have been pushed into dead-end courses. ‘We want people to keep doing these GCSEs to get themselves up to a good grade. Of course there are children with special educational needs who may never achieve a C grade or above, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be continuing with these subjects.


Why Jews Are Losing The Battle For The Campus

The warnings have been there. In 2006, the US Commission on Civil Rights found that "many college campuses thoughout the US continue to experience incidents of anti-Semitism." Gary Tobin in his 2005 book "Uncivil University: Politics and Propaganda in American Education," concluded that "anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are systemic in higher education and can be found on campuses all over the United States." Across the country too many Jewish and pro-Israel students are patronized, mocked, intimidated and sometimes physically attacked, while anti-Israel professors poison the minds of America's future leaders. Yet Jewish leaders have by and large not responded effectively.

How did the Jewish community, known for its rhetorical genius, lose a critically important political battle on American campuses? Here is a thumbnail sketch:

In 1990, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, explained on Jordanian TV how the Arab Lobby can and will match Jewish political and organizational success in America (the clip is here). Zogby and his allies recognized that the campus and the media, unlike Capitol Hill, are two battle grounds that Arabists could win by allying themselves with the American left. In both venues they already had beachheads and feet on the ground. The campus was in transition politically, influenced by '60s tenured radicals who had adopted the dogma of post-colonialism, and its Palestinian version, Professor Edward Said's "Orientalism."

Moreover, America was experiencing a significant increase in foreign born Muslim students as well as increased Muslim immigration (many from countries with a culture of vicious anti-Semitism). Zogby focused on forming alliances with Marxist professors, die-hard socialist activists, African- American student groups, gay-lesbian groups and, most importantly, Jewish progressives. He also realized that an emerging anti-Israel Left/Muslim axis on campus could be better organized and benefit from an inflow of Arab petro dollars into prestigious American universities. All this was happening while many Jewish leaders, intoxicated by the Oslo agreement, were abandoning Israel programming.

Today, we can see the brilliance of Zogby's strategy: Anti-Israel sentiment suffuses the campus atmosphere. In the classroom, radical professors express the the dominant narrative that the Palestinians are right and the Israelis are in the wrong. In its mild form, the Palestinians suffer needlessly at the hands of Israeli occupiers; in its more vicious version, Israel is a racist, genocidal apartheid nation. Outside the classroom, anti-Israel groups hold conferences, screen films and conduct theatrical demonstrations that portray Israel in the harshest of terms.

Israel's advocates are rudely interrupted, prevented from speaking; pro-Israel events are disrupted; Jewish students are intimidated verbally or even physically, and are excluded from pro-Palestinian events. Pathetic attempts by Jewish groups to initiate dialogue with Palestinian students are rejected. Any acknowledgement of Israelis' humanity is seen as a validation of Palestinian oppression. Our epoch's secular religion - political correctness and multiculturalism - judges people by who they are, not what they do. Israelis are by definition always guilty, while darker skinned, impoverished, indigenous Palestinians are eternally innocent.

Far more than their parents and their community suspect, Jewish students find it challenging and often unpleasant, if not actually frightening, to support Israel on many campuses today.

Through research and interviews with campus activists and students from around the country, we are developing a compilation of anti-Israel incidents and descriptions of hostile atmospheres on campuses.

Here are just four recently reported incidents:

Hampshire College, Amherst. Last semester a pro-Israel student was repeatedly verbally harassed by individuals covering their faces. The student was called "baby killer," "genocide lover," "apartheid supporter" and "racist." After receiving an email that read "Make the world a better place and die slow," she moved off the campus. She has now returned but is still afraid to disclose her identity.

Rutgers University. Last month, a group of pro-Israel students and Holocaust survivors were made to pay an entrance fee to an event that likened Palestinians to Holocaust victims. The event had been advertised as free and open to the public; Palestinian supporters were let in without charge.

Indiana University. Last November, five incidents of anti-Jewish vandalism were reported in one week, including rocks thrown at Chabad and Hillel; sacred Jewish texts placed in various bathrooms and urinated upon; and an information board about Jewish studies programs smashed with a stone.

Carlton University, Ottawa. Last April, a non-Jewish supporter of Israel and his Israeli roommate were attacked by an Arab-speaking mob who screamed anti-Semitic epithets. Nick Bergamini was punched in the head and chased by a man who swung a machete at his head, missing by inches.

Now ask yourself: What would have happened on campus, in the media or in the community if these incidents had been directed at African American, Hispanic or Muslim students?

We have the answer: In October 2009, a noose was found at the University of California-San Diego library. Students occupied the chancellor's office. The governor, the chancellor and student leaders condemned the incident. The school established a task force on minority faculty recruitment and a commission to address declining African-American enrollment, and vowed to find space for an African- American resource center.

All this - only to discover a few weeks later that the noose was planted by a minority student.

Jewish students and Jewish buildings attacked and intimidated are not a hoax, yet Jewish leaders sit on their hands. No one calls for sensitivity training for Muslim and leftist students about the use of blood libels and anti-Semitism. No one demands students be taught about proper behavior in a civil society or about principles of free speech and academic inquiry. More and more, the ugly aspects of the "Arab street" are coming to campus. With the commendable exception of the Zionist Organization of America - which won civil rights protection for California students under Title 6 - Jewish leaders have remained mostly silent. Without their protest, why should university administrations care?


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