Friday, March 04, 2011

Texas College Scholarship Targets Only White Male Students

Only white men with a 3.0 grade-point average can apply for a new scholarship being offered by a Texas nonprofit group, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Colby Bohannan, a Texas State University student, said he founded the Former Majority Association for Equality group after fighting in the Iraq war and returning home to find no college scholarships available for white males like himself -- only women and minorities.

"I felt excluded," Bohannon, a student at Texas State University, told the newspaper. "If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?"

Bohannon went on to say that he and his friends will begin handing out $500 scholarships this summer, arguing that white male students now make up a minority group in Texas.

School officials have so far not taken issue with the group's objective, saying the scholarship is no different from one offered to students from different ethnic groups.

"From the university's standpoint, we can't take issue with a scholarship offered to a certain group," Joanne Smith, Texas State University's vice president of student affairs, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


10-hour school day on the way to boost grades in Britain (and Saturday mornings too!)

Children could go to school for ten hours a day and on Saturday mornings under a radical shake-up of secondary education. Education Minister Michael Gove wants school days to run from 7.30am to 5.30pm to improve pupils’ performance and enable them to study vocational courses alongside core academic subjects. He also wants sites to open on Saturdays and to increase terms by two weeks, to a total of 40 weeks a year.

It would mean youngsters gaining more than an extra year of teaching over a five-year period. Longer days in the state system would bring them in line with many private schools, giving disadvantaged youngsters more time in class to catch up with more privileged peers. They would also be popular with working parents who struggle to fit 3pm school finishing times in with their jobs.

Mr Gove said the measures – which would mirror exemplary Far Eastern schools such as in Singapore – would not be compulsory but strongly advised.

The teachers’ union criticised the plans, arguing that staff already have a punishing workload and that children need time to rest.

Mr Gove unveiled the plans yesterday alongside the findings of an independent review into vocational education. Led by Professor Alison Wolf, it found a third of non-academic GCSE-equivalent courses are pointless or even harm career prospects. One, the certificate in Personal Effectiveness, taught pupils, among other things, how to claim benefits.

Mr Gove said youngsters aged 14 to 16 should focus on core subjects of his English Baccalaureate – English, maths, a science, a humanity and a foreign language. He said vocational courses should be taught alongside the core and occupy up to 20 per cent of the school timetable.

If schools can manage to get all their pupils up to scratch during a short school day then they should stick to it, he said. But if pupils are failing to pass maths and English GCSEs, as more than half do, they must lengthen the school day.

Mr Gove said it was up to individual schools to decide whether to adopt the measures, but added: ‘I personally believe that people should be learning for longer. ‘Lots of schools have found having an extended school day – sometimes weekend education, or longer terms – helps.’

Mr Gove said he would not prescribe the longer hours, but has ‘lifted the bureaucratic requirement on schools to give us notice about varying the school day’. ‘The opportunity is now there for schools to offer students more,’ he said.

Academies, ‘free’ schools and faith schools are able to vary their hours, provided they teach for a minimum of 190 days a year. Comprehensives must seek permission from their local authority.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of education union ATL, criticised the plans. She said: ‘Longer hours in school do not neatly equate into higher achievement by pupils. ‘The reasons why some fail to achieve as well as they could are complex and varied. Being born into a disadvantaged family is the most significant. ‘Young people need to spend time with families and friends and to organise their own activities, or rest.

‘Teachers in the English state schools already work an average of 50 hours a week – 18 of them teaching and the rest marking and preparing students’ work, in parents’ meetings, staff meetings, and training. They need a life outside school too.’

Professor Wolf’s review attacked as ‘immoral’ the pressures of school league tables which have caused a move away from a core curriculum. She said it was ‘absolutely scandalous’ that half of all 16-year-olds are leaving school without good GCSEs – a C grade or higher – in English and maths.


Gasp! Australian private schools spend more on their students than government schools do!

Did anyone expect otherwise? What do they think the parents pay for? A most unsurprising revelation. After the Latham debacle, the Labor party would be mad to use this as an excuse to attack private school funding -- but they are pretty mad. Witness their carbon tax and fibre broadband policies

The Coalition has warned the updated My School website will undermine government funding to independent schools while failing to help parents make better educational choices for their children.

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said the government had not made a convincing case for publishing independent schools' financial data. "The Coalition doesn't believe that information being made available will add anything to the educational outcomes of either government or non-government students," he told The Australian Online. "There can only be one reason to publish non-government financial data and that is to undermine government funding of non-government schools."

Schools Minister Peter Garrett launched My School 2.0 this morning at Telopea Park bilingual school in the Canberra suburb of Barton. He said the site was "game-changing" and would give parents "unparalleled data" on school finances.

Mr Garrett warned against parents removing their children from schools simply because of the updated data, instead saying they should read the website carefully and consult their school principals. "Have discussions as you feel are necessary with the school in question," he said. "Think carefully about what you read and what you get from the site and then make your own decisions."

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos warned that the My School 2.0 website showed an alarming resources gap between government and private schools. "The gap is being fuelled by a central government funding system which is blind to the real needs of students," he said.

The union boss told The Australian Online the new financial information pointed to a need for a greater investment in the nation's government schools. But he said the information on the website remained limited, as it failed to include millions of dollars held in trust by private schools. "Literally millions of dollars in surpluses and millions held in trust foundations, assets and investment portfolios by private schools will not be shown on the My School website."

He said even on the financial information available, private schools were spending more than double what government schools were spending per student on capital expenditure and 25 per cent more in recurrent funding.

Queensland Education Minister Cameron Dick urged parents to use the revamped My School website with caution, saying he was concerned about the potential for unfair comparisons, given the complexity of the information. “The data could be used unfairly in relation to some schools; some schools have different needs, some communities have different needs ... that's appropriate that they would be funded to a different level,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

“Funding is affected by location, school programs, age and size of facilities, staffing, overall enrolment and the number of indigenous, international, non-English speaking students and students with disabilities.”

The Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens' Associations said it too was concerned with the publication of school finances. “Every school is unique and therefore not comparable,” state president Margaret Leary said in a statement. “The figures presented on the My School website are not a true and fair indicator.”


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