Monday, July 25, 2011

Fair means fair; evidence must count for something

Under feminist influence, the Feds are trying their damndest to convict young male students of sexual "harassment". A wise young male would ignore coeds and date girls from elsewhere. A bitchy coed could ruin your life

As a former Education Department lawyer, I applaud Harvey Silverglate's criticism of the Education Department for undermining due process on campus ("Yes Means Yes—Except on Campus," op-ed, July 15). Its demand that schools use the lowest standard of proof in sexual harassment cases flouts court rulings protecting schools from liability for harassment unless they are "deliberately indifferent" to it (Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education). Using a higher standard of proof, like "clear and convincing evidence" of guilt, is not "indifference" to harassment. Clear and convincing evidence is often required by collective bargaining agreements.

The Education Department wrongly demands that colleges not allow students to cross-examine their accusers. That will lead to erroneous findings of guilt. Cross-examination is needed to test whether conduct legally qualifies as sexual harassment, like whether it actually interfered with the complainant's studies and made her environment "subjectively hostile." In harassment lawsuits, cross-examination is deemed essential, and weak cases have been dismissed based on what plaintiffs admit on cross-examination.


UC shows why the Government is out of Money

Recently the University of California has provided a microcosm of what is wrong with the government budget. The University system is cutting back programs and tuition is going up to pay for the budgetary shortfalls. Of course, that is not all there is to the story. Not all programs are being cut. The diversity programs are thriving.

Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing. The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time "vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion." This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.

The University of California San Diego is cutting its master's degree programs in computer and electrical engineering, showing that according to the leadership of that university it is not engineering that will lead to a productive and prosperous future but it is diversity training that is what students need most to succeed after graduation. Meanwhile prize faculty are being bid away to other schools, such as three professors from the biology department who were offered a 40% raise to teach elsewhere.

Already it is apparent that college education is the most recent bubble to start to go down in an economy composed almost entirely of bubbles. Due to unemployment and underemployment as well as due to the ever accelerating increase in costs, the lifetime earning differential of a college education is falling below the cost of that education. In general college education is becoming a bad investment.

This one example from the University of California San Diego combines many of the problems with government today. Diversity programs are emphasized at the expense of science programs in an education that costs more and delivers less. The political is emphasized at the expense of the economic to deliver high cost solutions that fail to solve anything and due to their cost interfere with actual efforts to solve society’s problems.


Surge in middle class dinner ladies expected in Britain

Another reflection of the deperate struggle many British parents have to get their kids into a decent school

Top schools could see a surge in middle class dinner ladies as parents exploit new admissions policy loophole, a government adviser has warned.

Planned changes to admissions policy which will see children of school staff moved to the front of the queue could be exploited by sharp-elbowed parents desperate to win places at oversubscribed schools, it was claimed.

Chris Waterman, who helped draft the current admissions policy, said parents would go to "any length" to get their children into their first-choice school and would target any loophole in the new rules.

But parents already in part-time employment at schools said having their children at the school where they work was a fair reward for hard-working mothers.

Huma Imam, who works as a lunchtime supervisor and teaching assistant at Brookland Junior School, Hertfordshire, where her daughter Hibah is a pupil, said: "I think it is a good idea, for me it is easier. "Of course it is a bad thing if people leave their job as soon as their child is in the school...I work very hard but I like doing it. "I have worked here for four years and I love working with the children. After my daughter goes to secondary school I am going to stay here because I like the school and it has given me so much."

Under the draft admissions rules, which were announced by the government in May, schools wishing to offer priority to the children of staff must define clearly which employees are eligible and exactly how their children will benefit. Heads are free to decide which of their staff qualify, with no fixed rules on how long the members of staff must have been employed by the school.

Mr Waterman, a former chief executive of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, said this meant parents employed by the school could quit as soon as their child had been awarded a place. He told the Times Educational Supplement: "Unless schools very tightly define what staff qualify then it could be any job for any period. "If a non-working parent wants to get a place for their child in an oversubscribed school they might only need to work part-time as dinner lady for a few weeks."

Parents have already shown themselves willing to pay heavily inflated house prices to fall within the catchment areas of popular schools, and council staff have reportedly been offered bribes to manipulate waiting lists.

The current system prevents schools from prioritising the children of staff unless the school has a "demonstrable skill shortage". Ministers believe this is making it too hard for some schools to recruit high-quality staff, but in a new report on the draft rules Mr Waterman said the new measures were unlikely to solve the problem.

He wrote that it was unlikely a needy school struggling to attract staff would be oversubscribed, or that any parent would want their child to attend the school.

The broader range of admissions policies caused by the increasing number of academies is making it harder for parents to navigate the system and the new rules will "set back fair access to schools by at least 30 years", he added.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: "We make no apologies for making it easier for schools to recruit and retain teachers and other staff. It is down to schools whether they use this power – and which staff to include if they do."


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