Wednesday, June 05, 2013

CAIR wants school to allow Muslim prayers, but attacks voluntary, off-site Bible lessons

How is the radical Council on American-Islamic Relations bending public school policy to its will?  Two stories from Michigan tell the tale.  From a CAIR press release:

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) said today that a Detroit-area school district has apologized for handing out permission slips for Bible study classes to elementary school students.

CAIR-MI sent a letter to Roseville Public Schools after receiving a complaint from two parents of children who attend Huron Park Elementary School about distribution by teachers of permission slips for the Bible classes at a local Baptist church.

CAIR Executive Director Dawus Walid wrote in a letter to the school district, “School staff and teachers are not to serve as advocates for one particular religion or congregation within a religion by passing out slips inviting parents to give permission for their children to attend religious instruction.”

But that’s precisely what CAIR sought in the nearby Dearborn district.

The Arab American News reported that CAIR staff “recently met with Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston to discuss concerns from some parents regarding prayer accommodations in Dearborn Public Schools.

“Dearborn Public Schools has implemented a policy which fully accommodates student-led prayer in all the schools, as well as unexcused absences for students who leave early on Fridays for Jumu’ah prayers. CAIR-MI is currently in discussion with Melvindale Public Schools to get similar accommodations for students that are now in place for Dearborn Public Schools.”

So Muslims can conduct religious activities within a public school, but Christians can’t go off-site to receive voluntary Bible lessons? What’s wrong with this picture?

Is political correctness accommodating such hypocrisy?


Classroom extremists will be rooted out: British  PM  orders crackdown on 'conveyer belt' of hate in schools and universities

David Cameron today ordered a crackdown on extremism in the classroom in the wake of the brutal killing of solider Lee Rigby.

Education and business ministers have been told to step up efforts to root out those spouting extreme views in schools and universities.

The Prime Minister convened a new taskforce aimed at tackling the spread of the sort of 'poisonous' views which can lead to violent acts on Britain's streets.

Senior ministers covering the police, education, local government and faith met in Downing Street to plot the official response to the threat posed by radicalisation.

In a statement to the Commons Mr Cameron said it was important to learn the lessons from the attack on the soldier in Woolwich.

He told MPs: 'Those who carried out this callous and abhorrent crime sought to justify their actions by an extremist ideology that perverts and warps Islam to create a culture of victimhood and justify violence.

'We must confront this ideology in all its forms.'

Mr Cameron, who chaired the first meeting of the new taskforce in Downing Street, said the Government's Prevent Strategy had closed down websites and helped people vulnerable to radicalisation.

Since 2011, more hate preachers had been excluded from the UK than ever. And 5,700 items of terrorism material had been taken down from the internet with almost 1,000 more blocked when they were hosted overseas.

But he hinted that he will attempt to resurrect the controversial Communications Data Bill - dubbed a 'snooper's charter' - to give security services more power to track web and telephone use.

Mr Cameron added: 'It is clear that we need to do more. When young men born and bred in this country are radicalised and turned into killers, we have to ask some tough questions about what is happening in our country.

'It is as if that for some young people there is a conveyor belt to radicalisation that has poisoned their minds with sick and perverted ideas.

The taskforce meeting was attended by ministers including Deputy PM Nick Clegg, Chancellor George Osborne, Home Secretary Theresa May, Justice Chris Grayling, faith minister Baroness Warsi and policy minister Oliver Letwin.

They were tasked with working 'on practical suggestions which the task force could discuss at future meetings'.

The meeting agreed that it is 'necessary to tackle extremism head on, not just violent extremism, particularly in light of the appalling murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich', a spokesman said.

In particular, Education Secretary Michael Gove and schools minister David Laws to 'look at confronting extreme views in schools and charities' and Business Secretary Vince Cable will examine ways to stamp out extremism in universities.

Mr Grayling will look into similar issues in prisons while Baroness Warsi will draw up work in communities. Experts in these areas will address future meetings of the taskforce.

Mr Cameron said: 'What happened on the streets of Woolwich shocked and sickened us all.

'It was a despicable attack on a British soldier who stood for our country and our way of life and it was too a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.

'There is nothing in Islam that justifies acts of terror and I welcome too the spontaneous condemnation of this attack from mosques and Muslim community organisations right across our country.

'We will not be cowed by terror, and terrorists who seek to divide us will only make us stronger and more united in our resolve to defeat them.'

Mr Cameron said Tory former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who chairs the Intelligence and Security Committee, would look at how the suspects were radicalised, what the security services knew about them and whether anything more could have been done to stop them.  The committee would conclude its work by the end of the year.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair made an extraordinary intervention into the debate at the weekend, launching an outspoken attack on ‘the problem within Islam’.

He departed from the usual argument that Islam is a peaceful religion that should not be tainted by the actions of a few extremists.

Instead, Mr Blair urged governments to ‘be honest’ and admit that the problem is more widespread.

‘There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology which is a strain within Islam,’ he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.  ‘We have to put it on the table and be honest about it. Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones.

'But I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists.  'It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.’

He added: ‘At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it.’


New middle school exam in Britain

GCSEs will be replaced by a new qualification called “I levels”, which will see the current A* to G grades scrapped in favour of numerical marks.

Under plans put forward by Ofqual, the exams regulator, the highest grade will be an 8 and the lowest will be a 1.

This will enable a higher grade to be added if necessary, so the whole grading system would not have to be re-done if it was decided there should be a greater distinction available to the top students.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, previously backed the creation of an English Baccalaureate Certificate under a new exam system operated by a single awarding body, but that plan has since been abandoned.

The aim of the I level - or Intermediate level - exams is to provide harder content for the pupils sitting them and greater differentiation among the highest-performing teenagers, The Times reported.

Their introduction in schools from September 2015 will mark the biggest shake-up of qualifications for 16 year-olds for a generation.

The last time such a major reform was brought in was in 1986, when the General Certificate of Secondary Education, a universal qualification, replaced the two-tier system of O-levels and CSEs aimed at different levels of academic ability.

The new changes, details of which are expected to be published imminently, will apply to qualifications in English, maths, physics, chemistry, biology, double science, history and geography.

Other subjects will not initially be included in the new system, meaning hundreds of thousands of Year 11 pupils will sit a combination of I levels and GCSEs until the reforms are completed.

In another change, coursework will no longer be part of the formal assessment in Year 11, except in science, where 10% of a pupil’s marks will be awarded for practical experiments.

Under the new marking system, many of the pupils currently achieving A* and A grades at GCSE would be expected to receive grades 7 or 6.

Ofqual does not recommend a “pass” grade, but a grade 4 would implicitly be equivalent to a pass mark.

The Department for Education will soon publish specifications for the subject content of each of the new qualifications, with exam boards working on this basis to design the new syllabuses.

Earlier this year, Mr Gove admitted that his plans to scrap GCSEs were “a bridge too far” as he backed down on proposals for a new system of eBaccs.

He said there was a consensus that the exam system needed to change but conceded that axing GCSEs was "one reform too many at this time".

Ofqual said last month, however, that a growing number of schools had lost confidence in GCSEs following last summer’s exam grading fiasco.

In 2012, tens of thousands of pupils are believed to have missed out on good GCSE grades after exam boards suddenly shifted the grade boundaries between the exams taken by pupils in January and those sat in June.

The boundaries for those exams taken earlier in the year had been found to be too low and so the change was made to prevent an excessive number of passes being achieved six months later.

Under the new system, all end-of-course exams will be taken in the summer, except for English and maths papers that will be sat in November.

This will make it harder for pupils to re-sit papers when they fall below the grades they had hoped for, as most exams will only be able to be re-taken a full year later.

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly government meanwhile wants to retain GCSEs, along with the modules and assessed coursework that characterise the current model.


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