Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Scholarships for Murderers, Thanks to 'Progressive' Officials and NAACP‏

A thieving murderer who killed a professor is receiving an all-expenses-paid scholarship at a Louisiana law school, courtesy of college administrators and the NAACP:

When he was 20 years old, [Bruce] Reilly beat and stabbed to death a 58-year old English professor at Community College of Rhode island, capping off his crime by stealing the professor’s car, wallet, and credit cards. . . . Reilly is an admitted student in Tulane’s law school . . . The Louisiana Bar, like all other states, requires proof of good moral character and fitness to be admitted to the bar, a requirement that almost always excludes felons – particularly those who have been convicted of a violent crime as heinous as Reilly’s. . .It is next to impossible for him to become a licensed attorney even if he graduates, as Tulane University officials must surely know. . .As at least one student complained to The Times-Picayune, Reilly is taking up “another’s space in the law school even though he may never be able to practice as a lawyer because of his conviction.” But it gets worse.

Reilly is attending Tulane on an NAACP scholarship and a Dean’s Merit Scholarship. . . .Now, we know that the NAACP (and apparently the dean of Tulane) thinks it is appropriate to give a scholarship to a convicted killer.

Earlier, a left-leaning British government paid the college costs of the “Crossbow Cannibal,” enabling him to take more lives after he had previously been incarcerated for attempted murder and many violent crimes. “While pursuing a PhD in “homicide studies” at the British taxpayers’ expense, a man with a long history of criminal violence became a serial killer, noted Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal. After Stephen Griffiths’ release from prison — and a mental hospital, in which he was diagnosed as an incurable psychopath — he was accepted by the University of Bradford; the government paid his fees and living expenses. Griffiths “killed and ate three women, two cooked and one raw, according to his own account.” He’s now serving a life sentence, giving him time to complete his doctorate on 19th-century murder practices, notes education expert Joanne Jacobs.

Every criminal, it seems, must have the chance to go to college at taxpayer expense, the more morally-depraved the better — at least according to the Progressive mind, which seems to view criminals as victims of society.

(Tulane is private, but it receives not only federal funds, but also Louisiana state funds, which its law clinic then uses to sue Louisiana businesses that subsidize it through their tax dollars. Legal commentator Walter Olson has an interesting book, Schools for Misrule, that discusses the phenomenon of state-funded law clinics suing states to demand huge government spending increases — resulting in state taxpayers subsidizing lawsuits against themselves)).

Subsidies for academic underperformers are also in fashion. Maryland’s governor, Martin O’Malley, recently lavished taxpayer money on a bottom-tier left-wing college whose students could not even receive a high-school diploma at a school with rigorous standards.

States spend billions of dollars operating bottom-tier colleges that manage to graduate few of their students — like Chicago State University, “which has just a 12.8 percent six-year graduation rate,” and UT El Paso, which graduated only “1 out of 25 students in a timely manner.” As more and more mediocre students go to college, students learn less and less. “Our colleges and universities are full to the brim with students who do not really belong there, who are unprepared for college and uninterested in breaking a mental sweat.” “Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don’t make academics a priority,” according to a widely-publicized January report from experts like New York University Professor Richard Arum. “36% showed little” gain after four years, and students “spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.”


The man who turned around the worst school in Britain

Discipline and old-fashioned standards are his secret weapons

Mossbourne Academy is ranked among the top one per cent of schools in the UK. This year, 82 per cent of pupils attained five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C. Many schools in leafy shires covet such success. Eight of its students — one a teenage mother — won places at Cambridge. Ofsted rates it both ‘outstanding’ and ‘exceptional’.

Yet when it opened in 2004, it was rising from the dust of the old Hackney Downs School — closed after it was condemned as the worst school in Britain.

The man behind this transformation is its inspirational head, Sir Michael Wilshaw, whose success has earned him national acclaim and Government recognition. Now, Education Secretary Michael Gove has singled him out to be the next Chief Inspector of Schools.

As head of Ofsted — a post he takes up in January — Sir Michael, 65, hopes to replicate the success of Mossbourne across the country. The challenge is huge, but he intends to tackle it with his customary rigour.

In a week when the Prime Minister accused many schools of ‘coasting’, Sir Michael reiterates his belief in strong leadership, inspirational teaching and a firm sense of order.

Detractors have objected to the parade-ground discipline at Mossbourne; to the regimented playground queues, the scrupulous insistence on courtesy and formal terms of address for teachers.

Sir Michael’s justification for his ethos is incontrovertible: strong discipline allows for learning; without it classrooms descend into mayhem. ‘We recognise that our pupils need more structure at school, not less, if they lack it at home,’ he says. ‘Children here know there are lines which they should not cross. ‘They don’t want a badly behaved class, a chaotic school. They say: “It’s strict but we learn a lot.” It is up to every school to create such a culture of orderly behaviour.’

On his watch at Ofsted, there will be no allowances for difficult home lives, and no woolly tokenism. He abhors the idea — promulgated by Nick Clegg — that standards should be lowered to allow more students from deprived backgrounds access to top universities.

‘If you talk to our eight pupils who won places at Cambridge this year, they’ll say they didn’t want to be singled out for special treatment. ‘If you go to the top universities, you’ll be mixing with the best and it would entrench mediocrity in the state sector if allowances were made for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.’

Failing schools, he insists, should be hauled from the abyss of ill-discipline and under-achievement by heads who brook no excuses. ‘If heads are going to do something about disadvantaged children and close the attainment gap with the best schools, there can be absolutely no excuses not to deliver. ‘It does not matter about levels of poverty, ethnicity or what the child’s background is. I say: I don’t care where you’ve come from. It’s where you’re going that’s important.’

In pursuit of order and control, he supports the move, endorsed by Michael Gove, of imposing boot camp regimes in schools where laxity has led to anarchy and falling academic standards. ‘Where discipline is an issue, there is nothing wrong with Army-style rigour,’ he says. ‘I’ve employed people, both here and at other schools, who have police and Army backgrounds and they have been good teachers. They understand how to deal with difficult children. ‘It’s an absolute nonsense for schools to be turned upside down by a minority. If a youngster is disrupting a class, you deal with it quickly. You nip it in the bud.’

To this end, Mossbourne parents sign a ‘home/school contract’: they agree to obligatory evening and Saturday morning detentions for miscreants. But, equally, there are extra lessons for the gifted and talented; a plethora of sports clubs and drama and music groups — the school is a specialist music academy — all of which extend the school day well into each evening.

‘Our pupils are not obliged to come here, but if they do they must accept that we are in loco parentis and we expect parental support for us,’ says Sir Michael. And he stands by his controversial belief that in areas of deprivation, and where families are dysfunctional, teachers should act as surrogate parents.

‘It’s common sense, isn’t it?’ he asserts. ‘Where there are children whose parents — despite loving them deeply — have not the wherewithal to support them, where the estates they live on are degenerating into chaos because of gangs, school is the only chance they have.

‘If that means getting the children into school earlier, keeping them later, giving them an evening meal and escorting them to bus stops and train stations so they get home without being mugged or bullied; if it means giving them the skills and training to equip them to get a job, then I make no apologies for us being surrogate parents.’

In line with this ethos, the Mossbourne day starts early. On the day I visit, at 7.30am prompt, 220 pupils file in — smart and orderly in regulation grey and crimson uniforms — to read with teachers.

It is part of a programme to bring those who arrive from primary school without the requisite literacy skills swiftly up to speed. ‘Children who cannot read or write properly quickly become disruptive,’ argues Sir Michael.

The sceptical — and professionally envious — have suggested Sir Michael achieves such excellent results because his school creams off the best students from the surrounding area, as a grammar school does through the use of entrance exams. This, he says, is ‘bunkum’.

Geography is the sole criterion for entry: those who live closest to the school get the places. Around 1,500 apply each year for just 180 slots — and they are streamed into four sets according to ability.

Remarkably, 38 per cent of pupils do not speak English as their first language. And not only are 42 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals, 30 per cent have special educational needs. Despite all these challenges, the school is thriving.

Sir Michael is an old-school pedagogue. Authoritative but not remote, he is imbued with a strong sense of social justice underpinned by his Catholic faith. He has taught — always in tough East London schools — since the late 1960s.

His own background is modest. His father, a postman, suffered spells of unemployment, but Sir Michael benefited from a grammar school education in South London where he grew up. Thanks to a good history teacher, he read the subject at Birkbeck College, London University.

Impeccably attired in grey suit, crisp white shirt and red tie, he tours the school with me, quick brown eyes alert and interested.

He not only greets children by name, but appears to be acquainted with whole families. ‘How’s your brother? An art foundation course? Jolly good,’ he smiles.

Pupils are polite and deferential. They accord him his full title. I am addressed as ‘Miss’, and each class rises to its feet as I enter.

Mossbourne, for all its ‘boot-camp’ severity, is an inspirational school. In morning assembly achievement is publicly honoured. Laurels are presented for success in languages. A Year 7 pupil steps up to receive a certificate of merit for Latin.

‘Someone translate: “Veni, vidi, vici,” ’ Sir Michael asks the assembled 11-year-olds. A hand shoots up. The correct answer (I came, I saw, I conquered) is supplied and he beams his approval.

The school offers a curriculum similar to that of the leading independent schools. As well as the usual sports, rowing — customarily regarded as a public school activity — is on the syllabus. This year a crew will attend Henley Regatta. To those who ask ‘why?’, Sir Michael’s riposte is: ‘Why not?’


Disgusted British pupils force three girls, 15, who made vile Nazi salutes during Remembrance Day silence to stay away from school

No mention of the names or ethnic identity of the offenders. What does that tell us?

Three schoolgirls sickened their classmates by performing a vile Nazi salute during a two-minute silence to mark Remembrance Day.

The 15-year-olds have not returned to Deer Park School in Cirencester, Gloucestershire since Armistice Day, claiming they have been 'bullied' over the incident.

The girls were put into detention after the incident for the rest of the day, but many of their fellow pupils felt this punishment did not go far enough. There have been calls for tougher action to be taken against the three and for them to be educated about the horrors of war. Pupils say that the girls should be made to meet the families of fallen soldiers and visit war graves to get a better understanding of how offensive their behaviour was.

The school's head teacher Chiquita Henson said: 'I was very disappointed to learn of the actions of the three girls in a classroom away from the main ceremony.

'But I was encouraged by the strength of feeling expressed by their peers. 'The pupils involved have expressed their regret for the upset that has been caused and now wish to move on in their learning. 'We recognise that all young people occasionally make mistakes and are committed to supporting the girls' return to school.'

The girls have been off school since the incident and it is understood that it is because of the angry reaction of other pupils along with allegations of cyber-bullying.

Mrs Henson added: 'This year it was a very moving occasion as a bugle played the last post while the Union Jack was lowered.'

Veteran Allen Howe, chairman of the Cirencester branch of the British Legion, said he was appalled to hear of the incident. 'I was told by my granddaughter who is a pupil at the school,' he said. 'It is absolutely disgusting and totally wrong. I thought it was very good that the other pupils have refused to tolerate this behaviour.'


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