Saturday, February 25, 2012

What are my Kids Learning? Poll Shows Professors Fail Presidential History

Presidents Day celebrates America’s rich presidential history, yet the people we entrust to teach and write our history books—university professors—have a skewed view of our nation’s past leaders.

On Ronald Reagan’s 101st birthday, Young America’s Foundation released a scientific poll conducted by The Polling Company Inc. of 284 professors on their views on our past presidents—particularly on President Reagan. Those views on Reagan were not surprising. Professors have less of an appreciation for arguably the greatest modern President than do a majority of Americans. What was perhaps more alarming, however, was their disdain of our great founding presidents.

When asked to list their picks for the three greatest presidents of all-time, professors mentioned Franklin Roosevelt significantly more times than George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison—and four times as often as President Reagan.

Little Love for Founding Fathers

Professors expressed clear distain for America’s Founding Fathers and founding documents. A meager 1% of professors thought the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, ranked in the top three presidents (compared to 54% for FDR), and only 30% picked Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence.

While there are 43 presidents to choose from, the fact that Bill Clinton got six times as many mentions as James Madison is disturbing. In the poll, 87% of professors said it was “important to pass on analysis and understanding of previous United States Presidents.” But what kind of analysis are they passing on?

In the poll, three times as many professors identified themselves as liberal than as conservative. For a long time, we’ve known about the widespread liberalism in academia, but many Americans don’t realize the impact this ideological bias has on their children’s education.

30% of professors admitted in the Foundation’s poll that their ideology plays a role in their curriculum. That number is alarming enough, but we know from closely studying the intolerant intellectual atmosphere on college campuses, it is far worse than those numbers admit.

As our poll numbers reflect, the ideological sentiments being passed on to students by many professors on the Left dismiss our Founders as largely irrelevant. Is this really what we want our kids to believe?

I don’t. I want my children to see the founders as the visionaries they were. They set the stage for the greatest growth in personal freedom the world has ever seen. But that’s not the story most kids are learning in history class.

Anti-Conservative History

In fact, students are hearing little if anything positive about conservative leaders from professors. In 2011, Gallup released a poll indicating that a plurality of Americans think President Reagan is the greatest president in US history. In our poll, not one professor said Reagan was the greatest president, and 60% said he wasn’t in their top ten. When asked to grade President Reagan, they gave him a C+.

Current popular American opinion of President Reagan arguably isn’t the only way to evaluate his place in history. However, professors are not only out of touch with the American public, they’re out of touch with historical facts.

The facts are that President Reagan ended the cold war and generated the greatest period of peacetime economic growth in US History. Under President Reagan, the misery index (inflation plus unemployment) fell nearly 10 points and youth unemployment dropped more than 5%. Revenues doubled, and the country pulled out of two economic recessions. Professors can’t say the same about FDR or any other president.

The Importance of Factual and Balanced Presidential History

America’s youth look up to the presidency, and many students’ policy beliefs will result from their understanding of a particular president. Our higher education is trying to pull America to the left, and we cannot let their slanted views of historical presidents preside as fact in the classroom.

Our government has strayed from America’s founding values of limited government and personal responsibility. Americans are suffering the economic consequences. Our children must learn about the successes of these fundamental principles so they shape their future around what worked.

Professors gave President Reagan a C+, but Americans should give professors an F. It’s great that professors think presidential history is “important” to share in the classroom, but America, for the sake of our children, let’s make sure these professors get the history right.


Struggling to spk: British Firms send new arrivals on courses to stop them using mobile shorthand in conversation

Bosses are having to send young recruits on courses to ‘de-text’ their speech because they can no longer hold a proper conversation. Training is being given to school leavers who use text-speak such as ‘IDK’ for ‘I don’t know’ and ‘LOL’ for ‘laughing out loud’.

Peter Searle, UK chief executive of the recruitment company Adecco, said growing numbers of firms have been forced into action to rectify the problem. He also warned that social networking websites have created a generation of employees who lack the basic skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

Heavy use of Twitter and Facebook is isolating staff because relationships are all through a machine, he said. ‘We have instances in offices where people would rather sit at their desk and send e-mails to each other next door than walk around and have a conversation. ‘They have no respect for their manager. They don’t ask them for advice because it isn’t their social background to do that.’ ‘All the things that we think of as normal, they aren’t prepared for.’

Employers are struggling to fill vacancies because some school-leavers are unable to work in a team, turn up on time or communicate with colleagues, said Mr Searle. This includes talking in text message language. ‘They only know to interact with short “text speak” to save themselves time, so they start using text speak in conversations,’ he said.

‘They come out of school and want to get a job, but the people who are interviewing them are saying their personal social skills and technical abilities are not suited to the way things work in industry.'

Research for Adecco found that 52 per cent of employers believe the British school system is failing to equip youngsters for the world of work.

Recommendations include an ‘employment experience’ programme to be developed to give pupils a taste of what to expect in their working life.

‘We have a generation of people who are fundamentally bored and who need something to motivate them,’ said Mr Searle.

The recession had highlighted the gap between what the education system provides and what businesses want, he added. ‘There are no large environments where you can just hang up your brain as you go inside and go through the day and get paid for it [Except the public service, of course]. Our education system is failing to equip the future workforce effectively.

‘As a nation, we place insufficient value on the basic tools of employability such as behaviour, attitude and communication – in the classroom, the workplace and in the home. 'As a result, we fear a whole generation of potential workers will be deemed unemployable and lost to UK businesses.’

Mr Searle’s warning reinforces evidence from exam boards that teenagers are using text short-hand in written papers, including ‘C’ for ‘see’ and ‘U’ for ‘you’.

GCSE courses starting in September will award marks for correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. A new curriculum is expected to place greater emphasis on developing speech.


Australia: The drift to private High Schools continues in Qld.

They try to pooh-pooh it below but State schools have to be pretty bad for so many parents to abandon them -- at a considerable monetary sacrifice. Private enrolments are now about 40% of the total, which is huge and getting bigger

STATE high schools are continuing to lose students to the independent and Catholic sectors, figures released today show.

The 2012 Day 8 state school figures - the student data used to allocate staff - show that while primary school enrolments are booming, more than 4000 Year 7 pupils from last year left the sector for private education.

State primary school enrolments rose from 310,104 on Day 8 last year to 317,072 this year - the biggest jump in the sector in recent years. Education Minister Cameron Dick said there was record growth in Prep in state schools, with 1800 extra pupils in 2012, taking the year level to more than 44,700 students across the state.

"This increase reflects the Queensland Government's successful implementation of Prep as the first year of schooling," Mr Dick said.

But the state sector lost about 10 per cent of its Year 7 students when they moved into Year 8 - a figure that was slightly less than in previous years.

About 39,880 Year 7 students were enrolled in a state school on Day 8 last year. The number of students enrolled in Year 8 at state schools this year is 35,712. Overall, state secondary enrolments dropped from 174,737 last year to 174,377 this year.

Queensland Secondary Principals' Association president Norm Fuller said this number was "insignificant" and praised his sector.

"I think state high schools offer more opportunities than the non-government sectors because state high schools offer a far broader range of curriculum," Mr Fuller said.

He said state high schools also served some regional, rural and remote areas where non-government schools didn't exist. Mr Dick said the 2012 Year 8 intake was slightly higher than last year, while a record 30,700 Year 12 students were enrolled on Day 8.

He said Queensland was the only state or territory to have increased government school enrolments every year since 2006.

"Nationally, Queensland continues to have the third-highest proportion of students in government schools, with only Northern Territory and Tasmania higher," he said.

"'We know that while state schools have shown increases in enrolments this year of more than 6600 students, we also expect non-state schools to grow when we see their enrolments later in the year."

Overall, state school student numbers rose 1.4 per cent on last year, up from 484,840 pupils on Day 8 last year to 491,449 this year.

Tiny enrolment drops were recorded in the Darling Downs, South West and Far North Queensland regions, with increases everywhere else.


No comments: