Tuesday, August 21, 2012

95%  of last year's 882 NYPD school arrests involved minorities

NYPD school safety officers were ticketing or arresting students last school year at an average clip of eleven pupils per day, data released Tuesday revealed.

Black and Latino students were collared in 95% of the 882 total arrests, while blacks and Latinos make up about 71% of the city’s student body of about a million pupils.

The NYPD data, released to the City Council under a law passed last year, revealed that 1,666 tickets were also issued during the school year.  Nearly three-quarters of the students arrested were male.

“If the Bloomberg administration is serious about helping young men of color succeed, then it must address these disparities and focus more resources on educating children, not arresting them,” argued Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Top NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Lieberman was ignoring the circumstances of the complaints that prompted the arrests.  "The NYCLU’s kneejerk reaction to claim racism is as old as it is false,” he said. “It knows better than to compare arrests against population instead of description of suspects provided by victims.”

The data, which rounds out the first annual figures disclosed under the law, did not include arrests made by police officers based out of precincts.


'Mickey Mouse' subjects taken by 90% of British pupils: Soft courses to be axed from league tables

Nearly nine out of ten 16-year-olds last year took at least one ‘Mickey Mouse’ subject such as ‘cake making’, ‘party décor’ and ‘sugar confection’ which are being purged from school league tables.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is cracking down on the flimsy subjects which under Labour were billed as being equal in part or whole to GCSEs in maths and physics.

New information from the Department for Education revealed the extent to which children had been pushed on to the range of thousands of courses outside the core subjects.

Some 552,575 pupils took at least one of the so-called ‘equivalent’ qualifications last year. The number of pupils taking a core academic subject – such as maths, a science, English, languages, history and geography – halved under Labour to barely one in six.

Meanwhile the sheer number of qualifications on offer had become  so unwieldy that 225 of them were taken by just a single pupil each,  and 791 were taken by fewer than  ten pupils.

Some of those qualifications that were deemed to be equal in part or whole to maths and physics GCSEs included a course in ‘drinks service’ which was taken by just five pupils.

Just one student took ‘sugar confection’. Nine pupils took qualifications in ‘call centre skills’ while ‘party décor’ was taken by 11 pupils. Cake decorating proved more popular – it was taken by 40 pupils, while pastry craft attracted seven students.

Tap dance was popular with 22 students who took one of seven qualifications in the subject.

Just one pupil took a qualification in ‘front of house ops’ while 31 opted for ‘soft furnishings’. And four students took ‘water sports’ as a school subject. Make-up was taken up as a GCSE equivalent by 202 students while 16 took a qualification in ‘jewellery making’.

A course on ‘health and safety’ was taken by 6,025 pupils while the ambiguous ‘working with others’ attracted 22,885 pupils.

There were a total of 1.9million entries in the so-called ‘equivalent’ qualifications.

Mr Gove has despaired over how few students take core academic subjects for their GCSEs. Just one in six 16-year-olds chose subjects such as English, maths, a science, history, geography and languages.

Ministers are cutting the value of more than 3,100 vocational qualifications from this year, ending their recognition in England’s school league tables.  They hope the move will make it less likely for schools to offer such qualifications as they will no longer have any equivalence with GCSEs in more academic subjects.

By 2014, only 140 ‘equivalent’ subjects will count in GCSE tables. Tory MP Chris Skidmore said: ‘These figures lay bare how Labour lied to a generation, falsely giving them the impression that qualifications that employers will all too often regard as irrelevant were "equivalent" to GCSEs in rigorous subjects like maths and science.  Hundreds of thousands of young people are now paying the price for their deception.

‘In tough economic times, we must make every effort to ensure that our children are learning the subjects that employers and universities value most so they can compete for jobs once they leave education.

‘That is why the Government is right to remove these courses from the league tables and to promote rigorous academic subjects through the English Baccalaureate.’



Australian private schools to get more Federal funding

With 40% of Australian teenagers going to private schools, this was a no-brainer.  The parents concerned also vote.  The Labor party has obviously not forgotten Mark Latham's rout over his threat to reduce private school funding. 

It was a conservative government (in 1963 under  Menzies) that initiated Federal funding for private schools and conservatives have owned the issue ever since

Australian parents have the sort of choice that American voucher advocates only dream of

THE Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, will today reveal that every independent school will receive an increase in government funding regardless of its wealth.

The announcement, a significant victory for the private school lobby, goes beyond the government's previous pledge that no school would lose a dollar under funding reforms.

It is designed to head off the Coalition scare campaign that private schools would have to increase fees because their funding would not increase in real terms under the long-awaited overhaul of school funding.

At an independent education forum in Canberra today, Ms Gillard will say there should be government support to educate every child from the poorest and most remote school to the best known and best resourced.

"Every independent school in Australia will see their funding increase under our plan," she is expected to say. "This plan will lift school standards, not school fees.

"No matter how rich or poor your parents are or where you go to school, our nation should provide a basic degree of support to your education."

Speaking to the Herald this month, Ms Gillard signalled she wanted to swing the national debate back to Labor policy strengths such as education, disability and industrial relations.

Today's funding pledge is a massive departure from former Labor leader Mark Latham's notorious private school "hit list", which would have resulted in 67 of the nation's wealthiest schools losing funding.

Labor has been determined not to antagonise the private school sector after the "hit list" was one of the policies blamed for its 2004 election loss.

David Gonski, who chaired the first major review into school funding in 40 years, was given the task of ensuring no school would lose a dollar as a result of its recommendations. But Ms Gillard will today go a step further and say every independent school will receive a funding increase.

The states and independent and Catholic education systems have raised concerns that modelling showed 3254 schools could lose out if the Gonski model was strictly applied. This includes 227 Catholic schools, 720 government schools and 103 independent schools in NSW.

However, the Gonski modelling assumes government and Catholic education systems would redistribute funding to ensure no school was worse off.

The federal government's final response to the Gonski review was initially expected this week but is now expected next month.

The review recommended the federal and state governments boost spending on education by $5 billion a year, with the majority to go to public schools.

The model aims to address disadvantage by allocating a standard amount per student, with loadings for students with a disability and those from low-income, indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds.

The Commonwealth is expected to tip in $3 billion - double the amount the Gonski review suggested - with the states also required to contribute.

However, the funding will be conditional on schools submitting a performance plan on how they would improve student results and more training and annual performance reviews for teachers.


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