Sunday, November 20, 2011

Would you like to be a blogger?

I am looking for co-bloggers on this site. Education is such a huge topic with so many incidents and controversies to report that I am acutely aware that I only scratch the surface with this blog.

So if you are of conservative to libertarian views and would like to blog on education (you will probably have some teaching background at some level), email me on

Joining an existing blog is much easier than starting your own. Those who start their own often give up quickly for lack of readers. But this blog does have a small core of regular readers.

Florida 12-year-olds investigated for 'sex crime' after they kiss at school

Two 12-year-olds faced a police investigation for a sex crime after being caught kissing at school. Police were called to a Florida elementary school after an assistant principal was told the pair had exchanged a playground kiss.

But after officers responded to the emergency call they declined the take any action saying no offence had been committed. Now parents have accused the school of over-reacting and taking political correctness to a new level.

The incident took place at Orange River Elementary School in Fort Myers, Florida. According to local reports two girls who had a crush on a boy were talking about which of them liked him the most. One of the girls approached the boy and briefly kissed him.

A teacher on duty noticed the kiss and reported it to the assistant principal Margaret Ann Haring.

She said it was a 'possible sex crime' and called social workers at the Florida Department of Children and Families. They told her to report the matter to the Lee County Sheriff's office who responded by sending deputies to the school.

After talking with teachers no action was taken as no crime had been committed.

Haring told deputies there is an ongoing involvement with DCF. 'They went ahead and took a report and documented this because we don't know at this point whether or not there is bigger picture that somebody needs to be looking at,' said police spokesman Sgt Stephanie Eller. 'We had been called because one of the teachers observed what they thought was inappropriate behaviour."

Sgt Eller added that the kiss was not a sex crime. 'This incident is more of a simple assault, though by definition there would have to be a victim,' she said. It is not reported that the boy objected to being kissed.

The two children involved in the kissing were spoken to by the school principal Holly Bell. She said: 'Two girls were guessing who was each other's boyfriend.'

Parents at the school believe the principal overreacted by calling police. 'How I behaved when I was 12 and most of the kids that I knew, yes its exploratory,' said parent John McDaniel. 'A kiss between 12-year-olds, I would say is relatively harmless.'

Others writing in the local newspaper were outraged by the police getting involved. One wrote:'Whatever happened to common sense' while another commented: 'Principal Margaret Ann Haring needs to be fired immediately. 'It is pretty obvious she is out of touch and clueless. Two little kids kissing is a Sex Act? What an idiot.'


Maryland’s Governor Spends $553,000 on Pianos at Left-Wing Junk College

Maryland’s left-wing governor just lavished $553,000 in luxury spending on a left-wing, predominantly-black college where most students don’t have the brains or knowledge to deserve a high-school diploma, much less a college degree

by Hans Bader

Maryland’s governor just decided to shower money on Bowie State University, a school that is almost as bad as a diploma mill. When I applied to college, Bowie State’s median SAT score was 617 total — out of 1600. (My SAT score was 1520.) You could get nearly that score by leaving the entire test blank except for your name (you got a quarter of a point for each blank answer, to discourage random guessing.)

One of my high-school history teachers went there despite its bad quality because it was right near his house. He took courses like “arithmetic for college students,” and although he never fully mastered arithmetic, he was a genius compared to many of his classmates (who viewed him as a strangely studious egghead). Bowie State is a monotonously left-wing place, and one of its professors was famous for claiming that the U.S. government invented AIDS as a conspiracy to kill blacks.

Now, The Washington Examiner reports that “Maryland officials on Wednesday approved the purchase of 32 high-end pianos for Bowie State University, costing taxpayers more than a half million dollars amid a looming $1 billion shortfall. With a 2-to-1 vote, the Maryland Board of Public Works signed off on a $553,000 contract . . . Gov. Martin O’Malley and Treasurer Nancy Kopp . . . voted for the contract.”

States spend billions of dollars operating colleges that are little better than diploma mills in terms of academic rigor, yet 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 state send more and more mediocre students 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.

Although education spending has exploded in recent years, students “spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows.” “32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.” As George Leef of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy notes, “long-term average earnings for individuals with BA degrees have not risen much and in the the last few years have dipped. Also, degree holders seem to be learning less, as shown by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy.”


Generation betrayed by bogus promises: Britain's failing schools are 'forcing UK firms to choose foreign workers'

Britain has produced a lost generation of young people who lack essential literacy, numeracy and communication skills – and cannot be trusted to turn up to work on time, an influential report has warned.

It says failing schools have left employers no option but to hire foreign workers, who are punctual, work harder and have a more positive attitude.

‘It is not just lower skilled jobs – this is the perception right across the board,’ said report author Gerwyn Davies, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Mr Davies's warning came as unemployment among those aged 16 to 24 hit a record one million.

At the same time, demand for migrant workers has never been higher. Around 500 foreigners landed a job in Britain every day over the past year, while the number of British-born workers doing so has crashed by 850 a day.

Mr Davies said there was a belief among employers that the education system was not ‘fit for purpose’. ‘They argue that our education skills are too geared towards testing and written examinations,’ he said. ‘They believe many school-leavers don’t possess communication skills.’

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Mr Davies predicted that the unremittingly bleak picture painted by employers was likely to worsen.

Experts are growing increasingly worried by the scale of the crisis facing young people – more than one in five is unemployed – and warn of consequences such as debt, self-loathing and depression. ‘Youth unemployment is likely to increase further because there are more experienced people being made redundant who are perhaps more employable,’ said Mr Davies.

His quarterly Labour Market Outlook report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 public and private-sector employers, is regarded as the most authoritative indicator of employers’ recruitment intentions – and, crucially, lays bare how they perceive school-leavers.

Only 12 per cent of employers said they planned to hire school-leavers this year. And only a quarter would consider 17 to 18-year-olds.

When asked what skills the Government should focus on improving to encourage the recruitment of British school-leavers, more than half cited literacy. Forty-two per cent identified numeracy, while 40 per cent said communication and customer service skills.
'It is the employers’ perception that workers from Poland and Lithuania demonstrate a greater work ethic. This is particularly apparent in the hospitality sector but applies right across the board'

Foreign workers are also seen as more courteous and enthusiastic. Mr Davies said: ‘This is why we have seen more migrant workers in the hotel and restaurant sector. Employers were particularly enthusiastic about employing migrant workers for the customer-facing roles in hotels and restaurants.’

The survey sought the views of senior personnel staff in sectors such as public administration, healthcare and education. Largely overlooked when it was published in August, its significance has only just become apparent with the release of official jobless figures.

As well as being seen as lacking vital skills, many youngsters seem disinclined to take lower paid jobs. Malmaison, the upmarket hotel chain, says it is struggling to fill more than 100 vacancies.

Meanwhile, in just three months, the number of unemployed youngsters hunting for a job but failing to find one jumped by 67,000 to an all-time high of 1.02 million.

But last week one area – the Test Valley in Hampshire – was identified as one of the few places with more jobs than unemployed people. In all there are 1,287 vacancies against 1,058 looking for work.

Caroline Nokes, the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said: ‘We are lucky because we have a lot of people willing to invest in creating vacancies. However, business owners have told me they have difficulty finding people with the necessary skills. ‘One recruitment manager said there are a lot of people who have the qualifications but do not present well in interviews or on their CVs.

‘And people who are well educated, those with degrees, are less inclined to take some of the more menial jobs on offer.’

Another CIPD report, published earlier this month, found that employers are having trouble finding highly skilled British workers such as doctors, engineers, accountants and finance professionals.

It said 42 per cent of employers ‘currently have vacancies that they are finding hard to fill. Manufacturing and healthcare are the sectors reporting greatest difficulty’.

Mr Davies, the CIPD’s public policy adviser, blamed the problem on the ‘legacy of the last Government, which failed to invest in skills’ and instead plugged the gap with foreign workers. ‘Labour that was sought in the middle of the last decade from countries such as Poland was seen as a useful stopgap to filling the skills shortage at a time when the economy was doing really well,’ he said. ‘The problem was hidden to a large degree. Now unemployment is at a much higher level and many of the migrant workers are still here.

‘It is a failure to invest. You cannot train doctors and engineers overnight – there is a long lead time.’

Mr Davies added: ‘It is not as though hiring non-EU migrant workers is an easy option for employers because it is bureaucratic and costly. ‘It’s a measure of how much of a necessity it is for a small number of employers. The value to the country of migrant workers is very powerful across all sectors. ‘Many of our members value very highly the skills and expertise that psychologists from Australia and doctors from South Africa bring.’

The CIPD, Europe’s largest human resources professional body with more than 135,000 members, is backing the Government’s welfare-to-work scheme that has promised help finding work for 2.4 million unemployed people over the next five years.

‘I think that the key to improving the situation lies with the work programme,’ said Mr Davies. ‘It is about giving them a helping hand, giving them professional, specialist advice that involves coaching and searching for work.

‘It is this support that has been relatively lacking in recent decades that could be the difference between us improving the prospects of young people over the next couple of years or not.’


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