Friday, November 30, 2012

96% of political donations from Ivy League faculty & staff went for Obama

One could be forgiven for suspecting that the other 4% was split between the Green Party and the Communist Party...

96% of the faculty and staff at Ivy League colleges that contributed to the 2012 presidential race donated to President Obama's campaign, reveals a Campus Reform investigation compiled using numbers released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

From the eight elite schools, $1,211,267 was contributed to the Obama campaign, compared to the $114,166 given to Romney.

The highest percentage of Obama donors came from Brown University and Princeton, with 99 percent of donations from faculty and staff going towards his campaign.

Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania’s faculty contributed to the President’s campaign in the lowest numbers, with only 94 percent donating to the Obama campaign.

Below is the breakdown of numbers compiled by Campus Reform:

Brown University: Obama donors: 129 giving $67,728 | Romney donors: 1 giving $500

Columbia University: Obama donors: 652 giving $361,754 | Romney donors: 21 giving $34,250

Cornell University: Obama donors: 282 giving $141,731 | Romney donors: 11 giving $8,610

Dartmouth College: Obama donors: 90 giving $51,018 | Romney donors: 6 giving $2,850

Harvard University: Obama donors: 555 giving $373,556 | Romney donors: 30 giving $34,500

Princeton University: Obama donors: 277 giving $155,008 | Romney donors: 4 giving $1,901

University of Pennsylvania: Obama donors: 376 giving $209,839 | Romney donors: 26 giving $22,900

Yale University: Obama donors: 399 giving $186,834 | Romney donors: 13 giving $8,655


What has been lost

The cultivated men of the times before 1900, and for that matter the women,  wrote well indeed. Read the memoirs of Ulysses Grant, George Armstrong Custer, John Singleton Mosby (who studied Greek and mathematics at the University of Virginal). Their prose is strong, polished without ostentation, always clear and devoid of grammatical slips. Yet these were not scholars but soldiers of the Civil War.

This was the tradition of my father, a mathematician raised in the Prince Edward County of Virginia of the Thirties, and of my grandfather, a professor of mathematics born before 1900. And so I grew up with my English being gently corrected, with relatives reading to me from those marvelous books purportedly for children that combined faultless language with stories that continue to delight adults to day: Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, The Jungle Books, Alice, Tom Sawyer, The Wind in the Willows. (I suppose that they now would be called “dual use.”)  The only modern work of similar literary quality of which I am aware is The Lord of the Rings.

My grade schools of the Fifties still taught grammar and required the diagramming of sentences, now regarded with horror as a sort of linguistic water-boarding. We learned tense, mood, voice, subjunctives and parallelism and appositives. Equally important, we learned to listen to the language as well as its content, without which decent writing is nigh impossible.

With us, the written language was primary, the spoken derived from the written. In Spanish, if I know how “ajolote” is spelled, the word is mine. Otherwise it never quite is. Today among the literarily unwashed, the spoken language becomes primary. Note how “iced tea” becomes “ice tea,” ”boxed set” becomes “box set,“ presumably a set of boxes. The people who use these confusions don’t read, perhaps barely can, and do not know how the words are spelled. Participles? Huh? Wha’?

There were Fowler’s The King’s English and American English Usage, and of course Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. These today are as well known to our gilded peasantry as the Gilgamesh Epic.

An attention to meaning existed. We knew that “sensuous” does not mean “sensual,” nor bellicose, belligerent; nor alternate, alternative; nor uninterested, disinterested; nor envious, jealous; nor historic, historical; nor philosophic, philosophical; nor it’s, its.

From The Elements of Style  we learned the all-important “Omit needless words”, from Fowler:

Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
Prefer the concrete word to the abstract.
Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
Prefer the short word to the long.
Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.

But that was then. Today usage nose-dives from the merely infelicitous to the downright annoying. Note the increasing penetration of language by that form of mispronunciation, once the marker of the lower middle class and below, in which emphasis falls on the first syllable of words. HOtel, INsurance, DEEfense, REEsources, DEEtail. It is the linguistic parallel of a facial tattoo.

And there is noun-speak. “Rainwater run-off flow control barrier system improvement programs.” Aside from the lack of clarity, the endless catenation of substantives is so ugly as to make migraine seem preferable. A satisfying solution would be a chain saw—taken to the author, the words being innocent bystanders.

Why are things that once were the common property of the cultivated now regarded as fossils predating the trilobites? One reason I think is the weakening of the barriers of class. The educated cannot maintain standards of excellence when constantly bathed by television in mangled grammar and illiterate usage.

Then there is a variant of Gresham’s Law that says bad culture drives out good. Stated more carefully, in the absence of barriers of class the values of the drains of society tend to become universal. Thus we have rap music, if such it is, hanging pants encompassing  louts, piercings, and functional illiteracy. In a sentence, the vulgar have discovered that it is easier to reject higher standards than to meet them. By sheer numbers they prevail.

The death of good language is part of the larger death of all culture, springing from the same causes: the domination of society by the mob. Note the decline in the sales of books, particularly books of history, the sciences, and literature: the rapid growth in genuine illiteracy, the disappearance of symphony orchestras. We have no poets, a nation of over three hundred million being far inferior to tiny, muddy London in the Seventeenth Century. Classical music is seldom played and never written. Architecture means K Street boxes; sculpture, curious confabulations made to be sold to bureaucrats in the Parks Department.

Little hope exists of a reversal any time soon, if ever. In 1850 those deficient in schooling knew their deficiencies, and wanted to learn. Today there is an actual preference for ignorance, which is regarded as authentic or democratic and morally superior to knowing anything, which would be elitist. In politics we see a vengeful delight that control of society passes to non-European minorities without interest in any culture but that of the streets. “He is street smart,” or sometimes just “He street smart” conveys approbation that once would have been expressed by “He is a man of taste and discrimination.” Once learning or even the desire for it has been lost, they do not readily return.

The Vandals are within the gates. But they are all texting each other.


Feds: Teachers embroiled in test-taking fraud

It was a brazen and surprisingly long-lived scheme, authorities said, to help aspiring public school teachers cheat on the tests they must pass to prove they are qualified to lead their classrooms.

For 15 years, teachers in three Southern states paid Clarence Mumford Sr. — himself a longtime educator — to send someone else to take the tests in their place, authorities said. Each time, Mumford received a fee of between $1,500 and $3,000 to send one of his test ringers with fake identification to the Praxis exam. In return, his customers got a passing grade and began their careers as cheaters, according to federal prosecutors in Memphis.

Authorities say the scheme affected hundreds — if not thousands — of public school students who ended up being taught by unqualified instructors.

Mumford faces more than 60 fraud and conspiracy charges that claim he created fake driver's licenses with the information of a teacher or an aspiring teacher and attached the photograph of a test-taker. Prospective teachers are accused of giving Mumford their Social Security numbers for him to make the fake identities.

The hired-test takers went to testing centers, showed the proctor the fake license, and passed the certification exam, prosecutors say. Then, the aspiring teacher used the test score to secure a job with a public school district, the indictment alleges. Fourteen people have been charged with mail and Social Security fraud, and four people have pleaded guilty to charges associated with the scheme.

Mumford "obtained tens of thousands of dollars" during the alleged conspiracy, which prosecutors say lasted from 1995 to 2010 in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Among those charged is former University of Tennessee and NFL wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who is accused of employing a test-taker for a Praxis physical education exam. He was charged in late October with four counts of Social Security and mail fraud. He has pleaded not guilty and is out of jail on a $10,000 bond. He has been suspended by the Memphis City Schools system.

If convicted, Mumford could face between two and 20 years in prison on each count. The teachers face between two and 20 years in prison on each count if convicted.

Prosecutors and standardized test experts say students were hurt the most by the scheme because they were being taught by unqualified teachers.

Nina Monfredo, a 23-year-old history teacher at Power Center Academy in Memphis, has taken Praxis exams for history, geography, middle school content, and secondary teaching and learning.

Monfredo, who passed all her tests and is not involved in the fraud case, said the exams she took were relatively easy for someone who has a high school education. She said some people use study aids to prepare, but she didn't. And she didn't feel much pressure because it was her understanding that she could take the test again if she did not pass.

"If you feel like you can't pass and you hire someone it means you really didn't know what you were doing," she said. "I think it would be easier to just learn what's on the test."

More here

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why some conservatives oppose vouchers

Medical researchers go to a lot of trouble to test a new drug. They record exactly what they're administering, how often, and in what quantity. They solicit volunteers and randomly give the drug to some but not others. Thanks to decades of these randomized experiments, "House," "Doc Martin," and even your local GP have at least a clue as to what works and what doesn't.

As I've just argued elsewhere, most education policy advocacy is quackery by comparison. Analysts routinely claim to evaluate one policy by looking at evidence from another. When they do present relevant evidence, it is often inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading. Many education policy analysts either do not understand or do not care what constitutes meaningful evidence.

If they worked in the field of medicine, you would not let these people within fifty yards of your children, but they've been shaping the way children are taught for over a century. Education has suffered as a result. Despite a near tripling in the inflation-adjusted per pupil cost of a K-through-12 education, graduation rates are lower today than they were two generations ago, and students seem no better prepared academically.

So what's the alternative? Can you reject the quackery and demand the same quality of research from the education policy community that you do from the medical community? The answer, to a surprising degree, is yes... but there are some interesting complications.

The greatest challenge is that there is so little variation in education policy within the United States that our ability to evaluate alternatives is constrained. There are now charter school, voucher, and education tax credit programs in numerous states, but these programs are quite small. Charter schools are the largest, but even they enroll less than five percent of students. To draw firm conclusions we need to see a variety of policies operating on a larger scale.

An obvious solution is to look at the experiences of other nations, but this poses a challenge of its own: how do we know if the outcomes we observe can be attributed to a nation's policies rather than to economic, cultural, or demographic factors?

In principle, we could control for these other factors by mimicking medical experiments, randomly imposing a policy on one set of countries (the "treatment" group), while leaving a second group of countries as-is (the "control"). Not really feasible. Fortunately, medical researchers ran into this difficulty long ago—and found a way around it. Doctors can't impose restricted diets and increased exercise on entire national populations in order to measure the health effects, but they realized that when such changes occur naturallythey can still study the results. These are called "natural experiments" and they exist all over the world and throughout history, not just in medicine but in education.

For instance, many countries have two or three different types of school systems operating side-by-side. By studying the effects of these within-country variations for a large number of nations, and over a vast swath of history, we can isolate the impact of the policies themselves.

Because this approach draws on very large bodies of evidence, the source citations alone for a study of this kind would be many times longer than the present commentary. But while the evidence itself is hard to compress into this space, the findings are not. When we review natural experiments in education policy fromthe 5th century BC to the present, and in dozens of countries in the modern world, clear patterns emerge. It turns out that education is generally most effective, efficient, harmonious, and responsive to families when educators are freed from government regulations, families choose from among a variety of schools, schools vie with one another to attract and serve children, and parents pick up at least some of the cost directly themselves—in essence, a free education marketplace.

But the historical and international evidence also indicates that government funding of private schools tends to bring with it a pall of regulation that grows over time; and schools hamstrung with this red tape underperform those that give educators and families more freedom. Though the regulatory burden is usually heaviest in older and larger programs, it can be seen even in small modern U.S. voucher programs.

The upshot of all this is that vouchers are likely to smother and homogenize the private sector in the long term, causing it to resemble the bureaucratized state-run school system that voucher advocates so ardently wish to reform. Catch 22.

But the news is not all bad. State-level education tax credit programs are another way of broadening access to the kind of education marketplace supported by the historical and international evidence. The early research suggests that they do indeed raise achievement, and improve efficiency as that evidence leads us to expect. But, unlike vouchers, they do not appear to hobble educators with red tape. That does not mean it would be wise to enact education tax credits at the federal level, but it is a path that nine states have already begun to follow and the results so far are promising.

These, at any rate, are conclusions I have drawn in systematically studying scores of school systems from classical Athens and Sparta to modern Chile and America. Much more such work can and should be done. And it might be, if Americans demand the same level of seriousness from the education policy community that they do from the medical community.


One Third of U.S. Schools Receiving Stimulus-Funded 'Student Improvement Grants' Showed Declines

Three years ago, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that the Obama administration would spend $3.5 billion -- including $3 billion in stimulus funding -- on Student Improvement Grants. The money, he said, would "support the transformational changes that are needed to turn around the nation's lowest-achieving schools."

Now, after the Obama administration spent up to $2 million per school at more than 1,300 of the nation's lowest-performing schools, the data shows that one third of schools receiving SIG funding had declines in achievement -- a "not surprising finding," the Education Department said, "given the steep institutional challenges that these schools face."

"There's dramatic change happening in these schools, and in the long-term process of turning around the nation's lowest-performing schools, one year of test scores only tells a small piece of the story," Duncan said on in a Nov. 19 news release.

But the Education Department says in three main areas, there are signs of "positive momentum" and progress:


The British government minister who thinks that lessons in porn are acceptable: MP says schools are free to teach children despite impact of images on youngsters

Schools are free to give lessons in pornography, an education minister has admitted despite concerns about the impact of hardcore images on children.

Campaigners have warned that growing numbers of youngsters are hooked on graphic films found online.

David Cameron is preparing to make it easier for parents to block online porn from new computers.

But Liz Truss insisted lessons in porn can form part of ‘age appropriate’ studies.

Some teaching unions have called for students to be taught about porn from the age of 10.

But an alarming study last month revealed children as young as 11 are becoming addicted to internet pornography giving them 'unrealistic expectations' of sex.

Counsellors at Childline also report a surge in calls from youngsters traumatised after seeing adult images online.

However, Ms Truss backed teachers to discuss porn in the classroom.  She said: ‘The Government wants all young people to have high quality, age appropriate sex and relationships education.

‘The current non-statutory programmes of study for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which include sex and relationship education, can provide opportunities for schools to teach about pornography.’

PSHE, which includes sex and relationships education, is not compulsory in England unlike other parts of the UK.

Ms Truss’s admission that pornography can be taught as part of PHSE lessons will alarm parents and children’s campaigners.

While lessons on pornography would focus on the impact and dangers of graphic images online, they could backfire by alerting children to what can be easily accessed on the internet.

David Cameron is ready to take action to curb online porn. Anyone buying a new computer or signing up with a new internet service provider will be asked whether they have children when they log on for the first time.

Those answering ‘yes’ will automatically be taken through the process of installing anti-pornography filters and a series of questions about how stringent they want restrictions to be.

It follows a series of alarming cases of boys watching porn before attacking other children.

In June this year a 14-year-old boy who raped a nine-year-old girl after watching hard-core pornography online was spared jail.

His lawyer said the boy, who was just 12 at the time of the attack, wanted to feel grown up.  Sean Templeton, defending the boy, said: ‘There is a real risk that young people are growing up with a skewed view of what sex is and sexual activity.'

Ms Truss was responding to a parliamentary question from Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, who said how children find out about pornography was a matter for parents not teachers.

‘This is a matter for parents to make a judgement on,’ Mr Rosindell said. ‘I don’t think it is a matter for school teachers.

‘There is a general concern across the country that these things are becoming far too accessible for young people and the moral side of this needs to be upheld.

‘Guidance on young people is something that is something we need to ensure is there, rather than let this sort of thing become too prevalent.’

Last month the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) called for porn to be taught in lessons from the age of 10.

Policy adviser Sion Humphreys said: ‘Children are growing up in an overtly sexualised world.  ‘That includes easy access to porn and they need the skills to deal with it.’

The union called for teaching about the impact of pornography to be included ‘as part of a statutory Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) programme’.

‘Evidence suggests 10 isn't too young to start lessons on pornography, but it wouldn't be a full on lesson but the grounding would be laid down.’

The National Union of Teachers said referring to issues of porn in lessons is a step too far and that schools should only talk about it if asked by students.

Tory MP Chris Skidmore, a member of the Commons select committee, said any lessons on pornography would have to be handled sensitively.

'It is much better for schools to take control of this issue rather than simply allow children to find images on their phones in the playground.

'It would be naive to think that you could just prevent children getting access to these images.'

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC’s Sexual Abuse programme said: 'It’s a good thing for children to learn that porn does not mirror real-life and gives a distorted view of sex.

'As long as this is explained in an age-appropriate way, with the consent of parents where necessary, it can help children form healthy relationships based on care and respect.'


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PA: Community College slashing the hours of staff to dodge paying for Obamacare

Pennsylvania's Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is slashing the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time instructors to dodge paying for Obamacare.

"It's kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don't have the money to pay for it," said adjunct biology professor Adam Davis.

On Tuesday, CCAC employees were notified that Obamacare defines full-time employees as those working 30 hours or more per week and that on Dec. 31 temporary part-time employees will be cut back to 25 hours. The move will save an estimated $6 million. 

"While it is of course the college’s preference to provide coverage to these positions, there simply are not funds available to do so," said CCAC spokesperson David Hoovler. "Several years of cuts or largely flat funding from our government supporters have led to significant cost reductions by CCAC, leaving little room to trim the college’s budget further."

The solution, says United Steelworkers representative Jeff Cech, is that adjunct professors should unionize in an attempt to thwart schools seeking similar cost-savings efforts from avoiding Obamacare. 

"They may be complying with the letter of the law, but the letter of law and the spirit of the law are two different things," said Mr. Cech. "If they are doing it at CCAC, it can't be long before they do it other places."

Under the new CCAC policy, adjunct professors will only be allowed to teach 10 credit hours a semester. Adjuncts are paid $730 per credit hour.
"We all know we are expendable," said Mr. Davis, "and there are plenty of people out there in this economy who would be willing to have our jobs."


British regulator hails turnaround at schools that outlawed mobile phones

A school has been hailed for improving discipline and cracking down on bullying – by banning mobile phones.  Pupils are forbidden from making calls, sending texts or using online messaging services anywhere on the grounds.

Those who breach the zero tolerance policy have their phone confiscated – and parents have to go into the school to get it back.

The initiative has won the backing of Ofsted, which said the ban at Burnage Media Arts College in Manchester had ‘contributed to a reduction in opportunities for cyber-bullying…or disruption in class’.

It comes after the new chief inspector of schools blamed mobiles for constant low-level disruption which hampered learning and called for them to be barred from classrooms.

The college’s head, Ian Fenn, said: ‘I think mobile phones rather crept up on education – and in our experience it was a nightmare.’

A particular problem has been pupils using messaging services such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) behind teachers’ backs,  he said.  ‘We used to have kids BBM-ing in lessons or sending each other jokes.

'We tried telling pupils they couldn’t use them in lessons but it didn’t work because it was too much of a grey area.  'When we banned them completely we weren’t sure how it would be received – but the effect has been dramatic.

‘I don’t think there’s any other initiative in the last 12 years I’ve seen that has had the same impact. Apart from getting the best teachers we can, I think it’s the most important thing we have done for pupils to improve learning.’

Mr Fenn said not only had behaviour and concentration levels improved since the ban was introduced a year ago, but reports of cyber-bullying had dropped dramatically.

The ban has meant many pupils now leave their phones at home – with others only using them outside school gates to contact parents once the day has finished.

Staff at the boys’ school say the difference in behaviour has been ‘dramatic’. Parents and governors have also given their full backing.

Local councillor Bev Craig said: ‘The school has continued to see a marked improvement in its results. The latest measure in enforcing a ban on mobile phones in class is a good way of getting young people to give their full attention in class.’

Ex-pupils include architect Norman Foster and National Youth Theatre founder Michael Croft, from its days as Burnage Grammar School for Boys.

Earlier this year Sir Michael Wilshaw, the new chief inspector of schools, told how he was drawing on his experience as head of Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, East London. Mobiles were banned, ending what he called the ‘disruptive and pernicious’ menace of cyber-bullying.


Top Catholic rejects Gove's free school programme as 'problematic'

Absurd politically correct government insistence that Catholic schools must take 50% non-Catholics!

Education Secretary Michael Gove’s flagship free school programme was rejected as ‘problematic’ by the Catholic Church yesterday.

Greg Pope, deputy director of the Catholic Education Service (CES) for England and Wales, said there was a ‘perverse disincentive’ for the church to launch free schools.

Free schools are state schools  set up by parents, teachers, charities, faith groups and other organisations.

A Department for Education document for groups applying to open free schools with a religious character says that admission on the basis of faith must be limited to 50 per cent of the yearly intake when oversubscribed.

Mr Pope said this 50 per cent issue ‘works against there being a huge number of Catholic free schools’.

At the moment there is only one Catholic free school, St Michael’s Catholic School in Truro, Cornwall.

Mr Pope said: ‘When I discussed this with the Secretary of State earlier in the summer, the point I made to Mr Gove was we would be unlikely to open a new school unless there was demand for a new school.

‘If there was demand for a new 1,000-pupil Catholic school, why would we open a free school if we had to turn away pupils on the grounds that they are Catholic while accepting others on the grounds that they are not Catholic? That’s a perverse disincentive to me.’

Mr Pope said he was not against the idea of free schools and it was an option they would explore further if this ‘barrier’ was not in the way.

He said the Catholic Church does have the option of opening up voluntary aided (VA) schools – state schools run by a foundation or trust, quite often a faith group.

But if they wanted a new school to be an academy – which has more freedom than local council-run schools – they would have to open a VA school and convert.

His comments came as the CES published its annual census looking at the make-up of its schools.

It found that 70.4 per cent of pupils at Catholic schools in England and Wales belong to the Catholic faith, along with 55 per cent of teachers.

It also found that some 33.5 per cent of pupils at Catholic primary schools are from an ethnic minority, along with 28.7 per cent of those at Catholic secondary schools.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Church vs. State in Arkansas: Atheist Furor Rages Over School Trip to Church’s Production of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’‏

When one thinks of typical War on Christmas targets, Charlie Brown is, perhaps, the furthest catalyst to come to mind. Yet the popular cartoon character is at the center of an atheist-led battle in Little Rock, Arkansas, against the popular play and its production at a local house of worship.

The controversy commenced when some teachers at Terry Elementary School sent letters home to parents regarding taking first and second-grade students to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at Agape Church, KARK-TV recently reported. While the event isn’t school sanctioned, local atheists are outraged that educators are planning to take children to see the play, which includes religious themes.

“We’re not saying anything bad about Charlie Brown,” Anne Orsi, a lawyer and vice-president of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers (ASF), told KARK-TV. ”The problem is that it’s got religious content and it’s being performed in a religious venue and that doesn’t just blur the line between church and state, it over steps it entirely.”

A concerned parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted Orsi’s group and explained her concern over the letter and the stage production. In the end, she has decided to let her daughter attend, citing fears that she may face criticism and be targeted for a refusal to see the show. Orsi said that the choice non-believing parents are faced with is unfair.

If their children are kept away from the church production, she contended that they “will be singled out as being different from the majority.” The non-believing attorney dubbed the scenario “awkward” and “unacceptable.”

A portion of the letter sent home by teachers can be read, below:

    “This production will expose your child to the amazing world of theater productions and enhance your child’s creative imagination in the area of dramatic arts. . . . This production does expose your child to Christianity through some of the songs and scenes. (If you prefer your child to not attend the program they may stay at school and be allowed to sit in another classroom. Please let your teacher know if your child will not be attending).”

According to the note, the play will be at 10 a.m. on Dec. 14. Kids whose parents wish to allow them to attend will need to pay $2 to cover their transportation. Because the event is being held on a school day and is taking place inside a house of worship, non-believers are, naturally, up in arms. However, they deny waging a war on Christmas — or religion, for that matter.

“Those who stand up for the rights of children to be free from coercion aren’t making war either on religion or Christmas,” ASF spokesperson LeeWood Thomas said in a statement. “Rather this is a case of a church forming an alliance with local government to violate religious freedom.”

The church, too, put out a written statement, explaining the importance of the production to the community as a whole.

“We hope the complaint or question of a few does not override the opportunity for everyone,” it read. “This production also included a food drive for area pantries, and we hope that purpose is not lost as well.”


We're being persecuted claim Oxford University Tories as they plead for same equal rights as ethnic minorities and gays

Tory students at Oxford claim they are being persecuted and are demanding the same equal rights as gays, the disabled and ethnic minorities.

Young Right-wingers at the university's Corpus Christi College have accused political opponents of name-calling, personal abuse and intimidation because of their views.

The members of the Junior Common Room (JCR) say they are 'often actively isolated, personally attacked and made to feel unwelcome.'  They want to create a new position on the college's equal opportunities committee so they can air Conservative opinions without being victimised.

Students claimed they needed the same rights as minorities who are 'often perceived as being subject to prejudice from society,' it was reported in the Sunday Times.

The initiative came after the Tories were taunted by rival students from other parties as they watched the U.S. presidential elections on television in the JCR

The paper says they were called 'haters of gays' and 'rape apologists.'

Third-year student Samuel Roberts, 21, had proposed a motion calling for more protection. He told the Sunday Times: 'It made an atmosphere in which I felt uncomfortable.'

While Stephanie Cherrill, the president elect of the association added: ' There has been a deterioration inn the attitude of several JCR members towards people who are right of centre.  'It is my strong belief that this poses a threat to the atmosphere of intellectual discussion as well as to the welfare of members who may feel victimised.'

Their cause was not helped when Joe Cooke, a recent president of the Oxford Conservative Association, reportedly upset students as he arrived in a Rolls Royce wearing a silver suit and carrying a silver-topped cane. [A silver suit is hardly conservative.  Just bait for the Left.  I used to bait the Left myself when I was a student.  Their resultant displays of pomposity can be amusing  -- JR]

The association meets Sunday evenings for 'port and policy' talks where fortified wine is readily available.

Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson studied at Oxford and were members of the controversial Bullingdon Club.

Ed Miliband led a campaign against rent rises in 1991 when he was member of the university's Labour Club as a 21-year-old.

Lord Waldegrave, the former Tory health Minister went to the college.

But today's students claim they are made to feel unwelcome on the campus -  a view shared by Conservatives at other universities.

In Nottingham, it was reported, that the Tory group claim they have problems with the students' union and find it difficult to get even a meeting room.

At Glasgow University, Tory students fear disruption for the second year running of their £35 a head annual St Andrew's dinner.   It has the oldest university Conservative association in Britain and this year's guest speaker is former Defence Secretary Liam Fox.


Where have all Britain's students gone?

Manic regulation largely to blame

Middle-ranking universities, including those in the top Russell Group, have thousands of empty places, putting their future at risk

It is yet another case of the squeezed middle. The vice-chancellor of Liverpool University has this week joined fellow heads of middle-ranking academic institutions in complaining that they have thousands of empty places as a result of government reforms designed to free up the market in higher education admissions. Revealing a shortfall of 11,500 students this year at Russell Group universities, Sir Howard Newby said empty lecture halls are the "unintended consequence" of policy changes.

His remarks add a new dimension to the crisis that has been mounting since the introduction in September of tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year for undergraduates. Official figures have revealed a decline of more than 50,000 in those starting a degree this autumn compared to last year. But Sir Howard is now pinpointing which institutions are being most affected by this huge shift - and the challenges they may face to keep afloat.

His warning follows other public interventions by vice-chancellors, including those at Southampton and Sussex. Two interlinked aspects of the Whitehall reforms are being criticised by these heads of long-established universities that sit between the elite of Oxbridge, Durham and certain London colleges at one extreme, and the former polytechnics at the other.

The first bugbear is a deregulation that now allows those institutions at the top of league tables to take as many applicants with two As and a B at A-level as they want. Previously, there was a cap on numbers of such high-achievers at each university - known as "controlled numbers" - which ensured a more even spread.

The second - called in the opaque technical jargon so favoured by educationalists "core and margin" - has seen Whitehall shift 20,000 places away largely from universities in the middle, which still charge the maximum £9,000 tuition fees, and redistribute them towards those, usually younger, institutions where student costs have been pegged at less than £7,500.

"We have consistently argued," says Dr Wendy Piatt, director-general of the 24-strong Russell Group of universities that includes Liverpool, Southampton and Sussex, as well as Oxbridge, "that giving more places to institutions charging lower fees would neither improve quality nor enhance student choice." While she would not confirm the figure of 11,500 quoted by Sir Howard Newby, she concedes that the changes to the controlled-numbers policy mean that "Russell Group universities have had fewer places to offer to students with grades below AAB."

What used to happen was that central government dictated how many undergraduates each university could recruit annually. Within their allocation, each university was free to decide what grades they would demand from each candidate. That might be three As at Oxford or two Bs and a C elsewhere. As of this academic year, however, the number of places a university can fill with grades it sets itself has been cut by an average of nine per cent - in the case of Southampton, the number of students they can admit with grades below AAB has gone down to 1,500 out of 5,500. If they exceed that number, they face a new regime of fines.

Overall, this means that AAB students have become the target for every Russell Group university wanting to maintain its numbers. Competition is fierce for these stars (especially in a year when the number getting top marks at A-level has gone down slightly, despite government assumptions that it would go up).

Universities accustomed to demanding three As or better seem to have done rather well. Under the new rules, their numbers are no longer controlled, and they can take more of the best-qualified students. Bristol announced plans to increase its student intake by 600 in anticipation of a rush of AAB applicants.

The dilemma this causes middle-ranking universities has been set out in stark terms by Professor Michael Farthing, vice-chancellor of Sussex (ranked 21st in the top-30 league table compiled by The Complete University Guide). AAB candidates, he has complained, are being snapped up by "a few self-declared elite institutions, able to rely on historical brand prestige to attract applications".

At the other end of the scale, the newer universities report that their proportion of AAB students - usually about 10 per cent on highly regarded courses such as architecture at Oxford Brookes or marine biology at Plymouth - has held up. "These students tend to come to our universities for specific courses that we do very well," says Libby Hackett, chief executive of the University Alliance, which represents newer higher education institutions. "And so they are not going to be tempted to go elsewhere by the new freedom that has been introduced."

Professor Don Nutbeam, vice-chancellor of Southampton (15th in The Complete University Guide), reports that this year his numbers have fallen by around 600 - just under 10 per cent of the annual intake. Unable to attract sufficient high fliers with AAB, and forbidden from taking as many with Bs or even the odd C as used to be possible under the old controlled-numbers arrangement, Southampton has lost out.

Which is the logic of the market that has been introduced. If you are going to pay £9,000 per year, you may as well go to the best university that will have you. And if the level of fees is the major issue, you head to newer universities where they tend to be lower. But if it is working to the advantage of students, this market is leaving some institutions exposed.

"If universities can't recruit enough high-calibre students," says Dr Piatt, "they risk losing funding. But if they recruit too many students who haven't got AAB, they risk substantial fines." They are between a rock and a hard place.

Others go further in their criticisms. "The fact that there are fewer students at universities this year," says Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, "represents the predictable failure of the Government's attempt to create an artificial market for the most highly qualified students. It was premature of the Government to extend its AAB policy before measuring its impact. It looks like the triumph of ideology over evidence-based policy-making."

The pressure on middle-ranking universities is such that some have even resorted to offering inducements to potential AAB applicants for next year, including non-means-tested bursaries, a guarantee of accommodation, or even a free laptop to get them to commit to going there rather than be lured away by a more august rival.

"As universities adapt to the new system," laments Hunt, "nobody would complain about better bursaries for students, but those considering university should be attracted to the courses that best suit their talents, not by financial incentives".

And so there is growing pressure on the universities minister, David Willetts, to adjust the system introduced this year to remove the perceived bias against the squeezed middle. Government plans for the next admissions round in 2013 include reducing the AAB threshold to ABB. "We hope that this will go some way to improving the system," says Dr Piatt, but others feel it is necessary to go further to eliminate the distortion.

One suggestion is that it could be set at BBB - which would potentially benefit middle-ranking universities at the expense of former polytechnics. And if another government goal, of making A-levels more rigorous and ending grade inflation, is to be achieved, BBB may become a more appropriate benchmark for the most able students.

There is no consensus about what should happen next, but most agree that something must change. "This," said Professor Nutbeam when he raised his concerns, "is a wake-up call for the entire university community."


Monday, November 26, 2012

Cash is king in Chinese Education

No equality even in an allegedly Communist country.  Inequality is natural and triumphs every time, not always admirably

For Chinese children and their devoted parents, education has long been seen as the key to getting ahead in a highly competitive society. But just as money and power grease business deals and civil servant promotions, the academic race here is increasingly rigged in favor of the wealthy and well connected, who pay large sums and use connections to give their children an edge at government-run schools.

Nearly everything has a price, parents and educators say, from school admissions and placement in top classes to leadership positions in Communist youth groups. Even front-row seats near the blackboard or a post as class monitor are up for sale.

Zhao Hua, a migrant from Hebei Province who owns a small electronics business here, said she was forced to deposit $4,800 into a bank account to enroll her daughter in a Beijing elementary school. At the bank, she said, she was stunned to encounter officials from the district education committee armed with a list of students and how much each family had to pay. Later, school officials made her sign a document saying the fee was a voluntary “donation.”

“Of course I knew it was illegal,” she said. “But if you don’t pay, your child will go nowhere.”

Bribery has become so rife that Xi Jinping devoted his first speech after being named the Communist Party’s new leader this month to warning the Politburo that corruption could lead to the collapse of the party and the state if left unchecked. Indeed, ordinary Chinese have become inured to a certain level of official malfeasance in business and politics.

But the lack of integrity among educators and school administrators is especially dispiriting, said Li Mao, an educational consultant in Beijing. “It’s much more upsetting when it happens with teachers because our expectations of them are so much higher,” he said.

Affluent parents in the United States and around the world commonly seek to provide their children every advantage, of course, including paying for tutors and test preparation courses, and sometimes turning to private schools willing to accept wealthy students despite poor grades.

But critics say China’s state-run education system — promoted as the hallmark of Communist meritocracy — is being overrun by bribery and cronyism. Such corruption has broadened the gulf between the haves and have-nots as Chinese families see their hopes for the future sold to the highest bidder.

“Corruption is pervasive in every part of Chinese society, and education is no exception,” Mr. Li said.

It begins even before the first day of school as the competition for admission to elite schools has created a lucrative side business for school officials and those connected to them.

Each spring, the Clean China Kindergarten, which is affiliated with the prestigious Tsinghua University and situated on its manicured campus in Beijing, receives a flood of requests from parents who see enrollment there as a conduit into one of China’s best universities. Officially, the school is open only to children of Tsinghua faculty. But for the right price — about 150,000 renminbi, or about $24,000, according to a staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation — a Tsinghua professor can be persuaded to “sponsor” an applicant.

Parents with less direct connections have to bribe a chain of people for their child to be admitted to the kindergarten. “The more removed you are from the school, the more money you need,” the staff member said. “It can really add up.”

A school official denied that outsiders could pay their way in.

The costs can increase as college gets closer. Chinese news media reported recently that the going bribery rate for admission to a high school linked to the renowned Renmin University in Beijing is $80,000 to $130,000.

Government officials have also found a way to game the system. The 21st Century Business Herald, a state-run newspaper, reported that powerful agencies and state-owned enterprises frequently donated to top schools under what is known as a “joint development” policy. In exchange, education reformers say, the children of their employees are given an admissions advantage.

The same practice has been taken up by private companies that provide “corporate sponsorships” to top schools.

In China, education through junior high school is mandatory, and free, but the reality is often more complicated. As a child grows up, parents lacking connections must pay repeatedly for better educational opportunities. Across the country, such payments take the form of “school choice” fees that open the door to schools outside the district or town listed on a family’s official residency permit.

These illegal fees are especially onerous for the millions of struggling migrant workers who have moved to distant cites. The Ministry of Education and the State Council, China’s cabinet, have officially banned “school choice” and other unregulated fees five times since 2005, yet school officials and relevant government departments keep finding creative ways around the ban, allowing them to keep the cash flowing.

At some top-ranked high schools, students with low admission test scores can “buy” a few crucial points that put them over the threshold for admission. According to an unwritten but widely known policy at one elite Beijing high school, students receive an extra point for each $4,800 their parents contribute to the school. “All my classmates know about it,” said Polly Wang, 15, a student who asked that the school not be named to avoid repercussion.


New teacher training system in Britain designed to get smart teachers into sink schools

Another 2-year "training" course after a degree.  An extra two years relaxing in an undemanding educational environment must be attractive amid the dearth of jobs in Britain but, when the graduates face the classes they are supposed to teach, mere timeserving is to be expected in most cases

A multi-million-pound scheme to increase massively the number  of elite teachers parachuted into Britain’s toughest schools will be announced by the Government tomorrow.

The funding will help train 2,000 top graduates a year to teach in schools in inner cities and other deprived parts of the country.

The money, to be unveiled by Education Secretary Michael Gove, is the latest tranche granted by the Government to the charity Teach First, which was set up to woo high-flyers to swap lucrative City jobs for the classroom.

The Government said tens of thousands of children from disadvantaged backgrounds would benefit because the charity operates only in schools where at least half the pupils come from the poorest third of families in England.

Mr Gove said: ‘The quality of teachers has a greater influence on children’s achievement than any other aspect of their education. Every pupil, regardless of their background, deserves high-quality teaching in order to succeed in life. Teach First helps get some of our brightest graduates into some of our most challenging classrooms. We are committed to supporting the charity in its efforts to reach more schools.’

Founded by former City business consultant Brett Wigdortz in 2002, Teach First takes on only high-calibre graduates who have a  2:1 degree or above and trainees must go through a rigorous assessment process and intensive two-year training programme.

So selective is the screening that many of the would-be teachers  are weeded out and Teach First approves only about 12 per cent of applicants. The organisation already takes on more than 1,000 graduates a year who want to avoid the traditional teacher-training path, and the new money, expected to be about £7 million, will almost double the numbers.

Already the biggest recruiter from Oxford and Cambridge, the charity will next year become Britain’s biggest graduate recruitment organisation. Trainees are required to stay in the classroom for only two years, and many sign up to hone skills, such as communication, that they believe will serve them well in future careers.

But more than half stay in teaching and the most inspirational are fast-tracked into senior roles.

Mr Wigdortz welcomed the new Government funding and said: ‘This support is vital to help us achieve our ambitious aim to ensure that no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background.’

Though it began in London and spread to other cities, including Manchester, the charity is now expanding into coastal and rural schools suffering from disadvantages. The new grant, which takes Government support for Teach First to nearly £40 million, is part of Mr Gove’s plans to boost  education standards by attracting the brightest students into teaching.

In addition to the Teach First scheme, graduates with first-class degrees who specialise in subjects in which there is a shortage of teachers, such as maths and science, can be given financial incentives of up to £20,000 to train on conventional courses, and former soldiers are also being encouraged to sign up.

Meanwhile, the Government has said it will no longer fund the training of graduates who have obtained only a third-class degree. New figures show that more than seven out of ten new trainees now have at least a 2:1 – the highest proportion ever recorded.

The figures also show the quality of trainee teachers has improved in the core subjects where there have traditionally been shortages, including maths, physics, chemistry and modern foreign languages.


Britain being hit by rise in graduate 'brain drain'

The number of British students heading overseas for their first job has soared by a quarter in just three years amid fresh warnings over a graduate "brain drain".

Almost 5,200 university leavers sought employment in mainland Europe, the Far East and North America last year - up by 1,000 since the start of the economic crisis.

Official figures show that graduates from the very best universities are significantly more likely to be tempted overseas, prompting fears that Britain's most talented young people were being forced to look abroad for employment during the downturn.

Almost one-in-10 British graduates from institutions such as Cambridge, Durham, Exeter and Oxford who found jobs in 2011 were working overseas. The rate jumped to 12 per cent among British students from St Andrews.

Experts said that in some cases major international corporations were targeting students from the very best universities during annual "milk round" employment fairs.

Other students are securing jobs with multinationals based in Britain only to be posted overseas, it was claimed.

According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, around four-in-10 graduates working abroad were based in Europe, but a fifth secured jobs in the Far East and 12 per cent were in North America.

The disclosure comes just weeks after a report from the Home Office revealed that almost half of all Britons who emigrate each year are professionals and company managed - threatening the country's supply of highly-skilled workers.

It was claimed that a "large and increasing" number of executives, scientists, academics and doctors have chosen to leave Britain over the last 20 years.

Last night, business leaders expressed alarm over the latest disclosure, insisting that many British companies were struggling to recruit high-quality graduates, particularly in areas such as science, engineering and maths.

Verity O'Keefe, employment adviser for the manufacturers' organisation EEF, said: "It is worrying that the UK is increasingly losing top graduate talent to competing countries. Having invested in students during their years of study, we need to be doing our utmost to keep hold of them.

"Employers offer lucrative employment deals and pay packages to secure the best talent. If this information is not being channelled to our young people at an early stage, then we need to be looking at more innovative ways of getting this message across.   "Four in five manufacturers are currently reporting recruitment problems, if we do not act to prevent these trends, this figure will undoubtedly rise."

HESA data shows the number of British students in jobs abroad six months after leaving university in 2011.   It emerged that 5,175 students were working overseas compared with 4,060 in 2008 - an increase of 27 per cent.

Some 210 students from Oxford and Cambridge were in jobs abroad - up 35 per cent on 2008. At other Russell Group universities, numbers increased from 1,595 to 2,030, reflecting the 27 per cent rise registered nationally.

Separate HESA figures showed a breakdown of British students working abroad after leaving each university.   On average, just 3.4 per cent of working graduates found jobs overseas, but the rate soared for those leaving Britain's best universities.  Some 1,345 Cambridge graduates from Britain were in employment after six months, including 115 working overseas - 8.6 per cent.

Gordon Chesterman, director of the careers service at Cambridge, said there had been a substantial increase in students taking up foreign language courses alongside their degrees, a possible sign of wanting to move abroad.

The overseas employment rate stood at 7.1 per cent at Bristol, 8.6 per cent at Durham, 8.4 per cent at Exeter, eight per cent at Oxford, 7.1 per cent at the London School of Economics, 10.5 per cent at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, 7.1 per cent at Aberdeen, 12 per cent at St Andrews and 10 per cent at Ulster University.

Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students, said: "It's not surprising that more graduates are finding work abroad when employers are offering fewer graduate level roles and jobseekers are being asked to jump through hoops like unaffordable internships in order to get any job."

Martin Birchall, Managing Director of High Fliers Research, which tracks the graduate jobs market, said a number of global companies targeted universities such as Oxbridge every year in an attempt to recruit the brightest talent.

He added that companies such as BP, Shell and HSBC - with extensive British bases - often recruited top graduates and put them to work in offices in other countries.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "Whilst graduates, like others, do of course suffer in recessions, they fare better than non-graduates, and their prospects tend to pick up more quickly during the recovery. And demand for more highly skilled employees in our economy continues to increase.  "It is encouraging that UK graduates are in demand globally, reflecting recognition of world class excellence in our universities' teaching and research."

A spokesman for St Andrews said: "We probably punch above our weight in international job markets because of our student demographic and the recognised quality of a St Andrews degree."

An Oxford spokesman insisted the figures for the university were skewed by an increase in the number of the university's graduates being included in HESA's data for 2011 compared with 2008, adding: "Only around seven to eight per cent of students choose to leave the UK for work in each of the last four years."


Sunday, November 25, 2012

'Pupil premium': British schools will be paid hundreds of pounds to let poorer children jump the queue for places

Each lower-income child would bring £900 a year but few schools are likely to go for it.  Even though it is unmentionable,  everybody knows that is the pupils that make the school, not the teaching or the buildings.  Poor pupils are usually the disruptive ones and letting them into a school would ensure that it is no longer a desirable school
Schools are being urged to let poorer pupils jump the queue for places in return for hundreds of pounds in extra funding per child.

Ministers are inviting schools and councils to abandon admissions rules which forbid selection on the basis of family finances and give low-income families priority over the middle-classes.  Each lower-income child who is admitted under the initiative would bring ‘pupil premium’ funding to the school – worth £900 next year.

The move is being championed by David Laws, the new Liberal Democrat schools minister, who hopes to curtail so-called ‘selection by mortgage’, where families can improve their chances of getting into a popular school by buying a home nearby.

The plans risk provoking a middle-class backlash and accusations of social engineering.

Schools would be allowed to discriminate in favour of children who attract ‘pupil premium’ funding because they are on free school meals - or have been registered for free meals at any time over the last six years.

Children are eligible for free meals if their parents are on a range of benefits or the family’s annual income is less than £16,190. Up to 1.77million children attract the pupil premium.
The Coalition has already altered the admissions code to enable self-governing academies and free schools to prioritise children who attract the premium.

It is now considering extending the freedom to all state schools. They would have ‘discretion’ over how much priority they give to pupil premium children.

An Education Department spokesman said: ‘We are determined to narrow the unacceptable gap in attainment between children from different backgrounds.’


British universities tsar warns 'dreadful snobbery' wrongly forces students into taking degrees

School leavers must ignore the ‘dreadful snobbery’ which forces them to go to study for a degree, the universities watchdog has warned.  Sir Les Ebdon said too much pressure was put on pupils to get into Oxford or Cambridge, regardless of whether it is the right for them to do.

He also warned that some black and minority ethnic parents in particular were too focussed on their children studying law and medicine at top universities, and missed out on places elsewhere as a result.

Sir Les became the head of the Office for Fair Access in September, with a remit to improve the number of children from poor backgrounds who gain a degree.

Education Secretary Michael Gove ordered the publication of ‘destination data’ on where pupils go after A Levels, and challenged schools who resign themselves to children doing badly.

‘Once you accept that a child is likely to do less well than his contemporaries, you condemn that child to fall further and further behind, to never know the satisfaction of pushing  himself beyond his limits, to be a prisoner of others’ prejudice,’ Mr Gove has warned. ‘The victim of the bigotry of low expectations.’

But Sir Les, in an interview with the Times Educational Supplement, said the focus on universities meant schools risked ignoring vocational courses and apprenticeships which could be better for pupils who should be ‘choosing the subjects in which they excel and enjoy’.

He said schools should be encouraging students to take ‘the most appropriate route to realise their full potential’ and warned that society ‘really undervalues apprenticeships’.

Sir Les added: ‘One of our problems is there's such a dreadful snobbery about whether people go to university or which university they go to.  ‘I would hate to see that work through into undue pressure on schools.’

He said black and minority ethnic students are put under pressure by their parents to apply for medicine and law courses at Oxford and Cambridge, despite those courses being some of the most over-subscribed.

‘This is one of the reasons that some groups are underrepresented at some universities. We should be treating people as individuals.

‘This perceived feeling in our society that to be a doctor or lawyer is a high-status profession that black people aspire to for their children... there's nothing wrong with it, but the most important thing is that students should be encouraged to fulfil their full potential in whatever subject that is.’


After effectively barring Ann Coulter from campus, Fordham University welcomes infanticide advocate Peter Singer

After effectively barring conservative columnist Ann Coulter from speaking on campus last week, the Jesuit college Fordham University welcomed infanticide and bestiality advocate Peter Singer for a panel discussion on Friday.

According to Fordham’s media relations website, Singer, a tenured Princeton bioethics professor, spoke from 4 to 6 p.m. in a panel the university promised “will provoke Christians to think about other animals in new ways.”

Singer has long lamented the societal stigma against having sex with animals.  “Not so long ago,” Singer wrote in one essay, “any form of sexuality not leading to the conception of children was seen as, at best, wanton lust, or worse, a perversion. One by one, the taboos have fallen. But … not every taboo has crumbled.”

In the essay, titled “Heavy Petting,” Singer concluded that “sex across the species barrier,” while not normal, “ceases to be an offence [sic] to our status and dignity as human beings.”

“Occasionally mutually satisfying activities may develop” when humans have sex with their pets, he claimed.

In addition to supporting bestiality and immediately granting equal legal rights to animals, Singer has also advocated euthanizing the mentally ill and aborting disabled infants on utilitarian grounds.

In his 1993 essay “Taking Life,” Singer, in a section called “Justifying Infanticide and Non-Voluntary Euthanasia,” wrote that “killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person.”  “Very often it is not wrong at all,” he added, noting that newborns should not be considered people until approximately a month after their birth.

Both Singer and his supporters maintain that ethics experts must often confront taboo topics to arrive at greater philosophical truths.

The Catholic Cardinal Newman Society’s blog spoke out against Fordham’s decision to allow Singer a speaking event in a recent blog post. “Be assured, this is not a Peter Singer scandal. This is a Fordham scandal. The moderator of the event is Charles Camosy, a Fordham theologian,” the society wrote.

However, James Schall, a Jesuit and a senior government professor at Georgetown University, defended Singer’s appearance at Fordham in an email to The Daily Caller.

“Basically, the Church is not afraid of any idea, if it has a fair chance freely to explain its own position,” Schall said. “Normally, a university is the place, but this [issue] demands more liberty to hear the Catholic view than most places permit.”

Schall also condemned Singer’s views in no uncertain terms.  “His position is lethal really, and incoherent, but too much of the culture accepts it,” Schall added.