Saturday, November 12, 2011

The limited effect of political correctness in college

Sure, colleges are full of politically correct indoctrination. But how well does the indoctrination actually work? Poorly. How College Affects Students reviews the whole literature and finds that:
Net of the attitudes and other characteristics students bring with them to college, the small changes reported in students' political orientations (on a continuum from left to right) virtually disappear.

In other words, college students end up a bit leftist because they start a bit leftist, not because their profs "raise their awareness."

While college fails as a leftist re-education camp, it does have measurable effects on two narrow areas:

1. "[S]tudents' racial, ethnic, and multicultural attitudes and values":
The link persists in the presence of a wide array of controls, including those reflecting students' precollege attitudes and values, and across various outcome measures, including cultural awareness, acceptance of different races and cultures, commitment to promoting racial understanding, support for busing, viewing racism as a continuing problem, and increases in openness to diversity broadly defined.

2. Gender attitudes. College increases support for equal economic opportunity for women and intolerance for date rape, and decreases support for the view that "women's place in in the home."

Bottom line: Whether you love P.C. or hate it, don't overrate it. Colleges nudge students' views on multiculturalism and sexism. But they don't turn moderates into liberals, or liberals into socialists.


Changes in expressed attitudes may not mean much -- particularly in the area of race and racism. Since LaPiere's study in the 1930s, psychologists have known that the relationship between expressed attitudes and behavior is weak to non-existent. So the kids may learn to say the "right" thing but how they act when free to do so will be another matter.

Note also that Right/Left orientation is highly hereditary so again little real change is likely as a result of the college experience -- JR

Beyond comedy: British school with NO pupils pays £58,000 in wages to staff manning empty classrooms for months

Paid staff are being employed to work at a school which is empty and has no pupils. The last children left Welton Primary School, near Carlisle, Cumbria, at the end of the summer term in July.

And Cumbria County Council confirmed this week that the school will formally close on December 31. But despite this, catering staff, administrators, a teaching assistant and acting headteacher Sue Watson are still being employed at the deserted school - which will cost taxpayers about £58,000.

Emma Boon, of The TaxPayers' Alliance, has slammed the practice as 'unnecessary'. She said: 'There will be some winding down costs after pupils leave but anything more than having a small number of staff to shut up shop is unnecessary. 'There will be some admin to do, but this can't become a scheme to make work for teachers that no longer have anything to do, just so that they can continue to collect a paycheck from taxpayers'.

A report presented to councillors outlines wage costs as being £35,000 for three months. The report states: 'There is currently an acting headteacher, a part-time teaching assistant along with associated admin and catering staff employed at Welton School.

'They will need to be redeployed or, if that is not possible, made redundant should the school close'.

Julia Morrison, children's services director at the council said the staff were performing 'closing-down duties' and will remain on the payroll until December 31 unless they are found other jobs. It is likely that 'three or four' will be made compulsorily redundant.

She added: 'We are obliged to keep these staff until the school closes. 'The school is still open. The fact that there aren't any children is immaterial'. [Worthy of Sir Humphrey in "Yes Minister"]

Councillors voted unanimously to confirm the closure at a cabinet meeting on last night.

Mrs Morrison told them: 'Welton has provided a good education for children of the village for many years. 'But despite everybody's best efforts, the low numbers on roll and the availability of alternative provision nearby have made the school unviable'. She said there would have been only nine pupils this September, had the closure process not started.

Last year, when there were 18 children, it cost £7,000 a year to educate a child at the school, more than double the average for Cumbria as a whole. With only nine pupils, the cost per pupil would have been higher still.

Mrs Morrison added: 'The numbers are too small to make the school educationally or economically viable'.

The council has consulted staff, parents, governors and other schools in the area. None of those responding suggested an alternative to closure.

The remaining pupils transferred to Raughton Head Primary and St Michael's at Dalston, Carlisle, in September.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: 'We are obliged to keep the staff at Welton School until the school closes. 'Although children have transferred to other schools, the school is still open until it formally closes on December 31 and staff have been performing closing down duties.


Australia: Even government schools no longer "free"

THE cost of a "free education" is spiralling out of control, with parents paying for staff wages, safety upgrades, ICT, grounds maintenance and major building works in state schools.

In 2010 alone, parents of state school students paid and fundraised more than $170 million in fees, charges and contributions, Department of Education and Training figures show.

At least $16.2 million of that was through P&C fundraising and voluntary contributions, with the rest made up of school charges and levies.

It comes as the Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Associations says families are being put under increasing pressure to fund items that should usually come out of the state and federal budgets. "It is a sad state of affairs that we have got to that point," QCPCA president Margaret Leary said.

"I think the State and Federal Governments perhaps need to realise that there is increasing pressure put on schools to manage the budgets that they do have and the amount of increase in costs of running a school."

Ms Leary said she would love to see an increase in education funding but recognised governments also had their own finite budgets to manage.

Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said his members were increasingly putting their hands in their own pockets because of parents' socio-economic circumstances. In the latest QTU journal, Mr Ryan wrote that state schools had reported to the Federal Government funding review "a heavy reliance on fundraising, particularly by P&Cs.

As one submission states: 'The school and its community are being asked to bear the shortfall in government funding'. "P&Cs are raising money for major building works, airconditioning, shade areas, playground equipment, sports equipment, walkways, port racks," Mr Ryan wrote of the submissions.

"They pay for basic classroom materials ... even schools in traditionally high socio-economic areas say parents are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the cost of these valuable learning activities/resources."

An investigation by The Courier-Mail has found parents being asked to pay levies - some listed as voluntary, and some not - for staff wages, subjects, curriculum support materials, buildings, airconditioning, language programs and ICT, plus the new take-home laptop levy for high school students next year.

Parents of high school students face the greatest costs. At Brisbane State High School, all subjects have levies - including English, mathematics and science, which remain free at most others. In 2012, BSHS parents will also pay a $150 ICT fee, $200 general levy, $220 for students to take home laptop computers in Years 9 and 11 and $250 for a blazer, while textbooks cost up to $270 per subject.

DET acknowledges parents could pay more than $1000 annually for textbooks.

Queensland Secondary Principals Association president Norm Fuller said the government provided the basic costs of a good education and if schools and parents wanted enhanced resources they could contribute towards them.

DET director-general Julie Grantham said they provided "access to a high-quality, free education for all Queenslanders of school age". "State schools provide free instruction, administration and facilities to students at state schools ... Parents provide their children with the resources necessary to participate in the curriculum."

Education Minister Cameron Dick said Queensland's commitment to funding education had "never been stronger" with a record budget of almost $7.4 billion in 2011-12. "Any suggestion that the Government is short-changing state school students has no basis," Mr Dick said.

"Many parents are prepared to raise extra funds through their P&C to provide their children with an even better education - and this stance should be applauded."


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