Friday, April 19, 2013

A Fascist disgrace

It may be just a spoof but that attitude does exist.  First posted online in 2005.

40 percent of Colorado high school grads need remediation before college

Nearly 40 percent of Colorado's high school class of 2011 needed remedial courses in at least one subject before beginning college-level work, down from 41.4 percent the year before, according to a report released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

"It's a concern to hear that anyone needs to take a remedial course — and it ought to be for everyone in the state," Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia said. "We need to save students time and want the state to save money."

According to Garcia, Colorado's remediation rate was about on par with most of the country. The difference between here and other states, he said, are the things being done to lower the remediation rate, which leads to higher graducation rates.

These initiatives include concurrent enrollment, in which students take college remedial courses while still in high school, as well as the GEAR UP, a federally-funded program in which middle school students complete remedial classes through a partnership with Adams State University. They then begin to take college courses in their sophomore year of high school.

According to the 2012 Remedial Education Report, released at Kearney Middle School in Commerce City, 66 percent of students who enrolled in community colleges and 24 percent of those attending four-year institutions needed some sort of remedial course. Among them, 51 percent required remediation in mathematics, 31 percent in writing and 18 percent in reading.

The report is based only on students who enrolled in public Colorado colleges and universities in the 2011-12 school year, the most recent data available.

Female students, 42 percent, were more likely to require remediation than males, 37 percent.

African-American students had the highest remediation rates — 90 percent among students in two-year schools and 56 percent at four-year schools. About 78 percent of Hispanic students at two-year schools needed remediation, compared with 40 percent at four-year colleges. Among white students, 57 percent at community colleges needed remediation, compared with 19 percent at four-year schools.

According to the report, among public schools, D'Evelyn High School had the lowest number of graduates requiring remediation courses at 2.2 percent, compared with 95 percent of graduates from Emily Griffith Opportunity School.

Colleges usually don't give credits for the remedial courses that must be taken before the students begin their collegiate careers, which means that it often takes more time to complete degree work. Also, the responsibility for paying for remedial course work often falls to student, their families and the state.

In 2011-12, the higher education department said the estimated total cost associated with remedial courses was about $58 million, with students paying about $39 million of that.

Garcia said lowing the remediation rate would help raise retention rates at colleges and universities. That, in turn, would increase graduation rates.

One of the goals of the Master Plan that was recently implemented by the state calls for graduation rates to increase by 1,000 students a year for the next 12 years.


Schools demanding news literacy lessons to teach students how to find fact amid fiction

When Ife Adelona saw a picture of singer Selena Gomez as an adult magazine covergirl circulating on Twitter, the 17-year-old knew what she had to do.  “I immediately went for a second source to make sure it wasn’t true,” Ife said.

A quick web search confirmed the Montgomery Blair High School student’s instincts: The photo was a fake.

“Second source” is more a journalist’s jargon than part of a teen’s everyday vocabulary. But with information so readily available via social media, the internet and traditional news sources, educators say news literacy — teaching students how to identify credible information and good journalism — is increasingly important.

News literacy programs are expanding in classrooms across the country, with a growing nonprofit sector dedicated to the cause and new education standards that require students to read and analyze more nonfiction text.

“Younger students might feel that all information is created equally,” said Alan C. Miller, president of the News Literacy Project and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked as an investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times. “If something is put on the internet, they tend to believe it.”

Miller’s Maryland-based nonprofit organization develops lesson plans, activities and curriculum for middle and high schools, teaching students to “sort fact from fiction in the digital age.” Students learn to spot bias in stories, discover what makes sources credible and verify information.

“We focus heavily on using the standards of quality journalism to assess the credibility of all news and information,” Miller said.

The program also partners with journalists who visit classrooms as part of the lessons, including editors and reporters from about two dozen news organizations such as the New York Times, ProPublica, NPR, CBS News and The Washington Post,.

NBC News national correspondent Tracie Potts has volunteered with the News Literacy Project since 2009. On a recent Thursday, she visited Ife’s media literacy class in Silver Spring.

Potts brought examples of different polls about sequestration from sources such as Gallup, MSNBC, Fox News and Business Insider. She then urged students to ask critical questions: “Who can I trust?” “Where is this information coming from?” “How can we say that one source of news is better than another?”

Being a smart news consumer is akin to being discriminating about other choices in life, she told students: “It’s sort of like going out to eat. You don’t want to stop anywhere along the side of the road. You’re going to scrutinize where your food is coming from.”

Demand to teach that sort of healthy skepticism and critical thinking is on the rise.

When the News Literacy Project first launched in classrooms, it reached about 650 students in Maryland and New York in 2009. Four years later, the project has expanded to Chicago, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and it is expected to reach about 3,800 students by the end of the school year.

The new Common Core education standards have driven that demand, Miller said. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core, which requires nonfiction to comprise 70 percent of what a student reads by senior year.

Principals and teachers say lessons from news literacy extend beyond teaching students about journalism.

At Walt Whitman High School, where principal Alan Goodwin first hosted News Literacy Program pilot lessons, Goodwin said he sees his students applying what they have learned in the classes — fact checking, research, using multiple sources — as they write papers or make decisions in their everyday lives.

“It helps students understand what they should believe and not believe and what sort of research they should do,” Goodwin said.

Virginia has not adopted Common Core, but Fairfax County recently added a requirement to teach students media literacy. The News Literacy Project plans to expand there this spring.

In October, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation announced it would spend $6 million over three years on a project called “Why News Matters.” The funds will go to schools, universities and nonprofits throughout Chicago for youth journalism programs and education.

“People are overloaded and bombarded with information,” said Clark Bell, the McCormick Foundation’s journalism program director. “Whether you’re older, younger and in between, the challenge of keeping up and engaged is essential.”

Preliminary research from Stony Brook University, home of the Center for News Literacy, shows that students who have taken a news literacy course are more likely to register to vote and learn about current events.

As she learns more about news literacy, Ife said she wants other students to understand the importance of thinking twice about what they see and what they hear.

“Sometimes as a student taking in a lot of information, you trust a lot of different sources that you shouldn’t trust,” Ife said. “They can be easily fooled.”


Australia:  Federal power grab over education rejected by the States

NOT one state has committed to the Federal Government's plan for education reform.

While some states have indicated in principal agreement to the national plan, noe of the premiers hve said they would sign up at Friday's Council of Australian Government's meeting.

This is despite the Commonwealth's offer to double every dollar spent by the states to reach a targeted increase of $14.5 billion over the next six years.

Labor premiers have joined a chorus of criticism over how the Gonski reforms are being implemented, as Western Australia insists it will reject the proposed changes.

With no national agreement, the Government will negotiate with individual states to implement the reforms, a situation the Federal Opposition describes as a fiasco.

"The idea that we would have different states being treated differently by the Commonwealth is anathema to anyone in education sector and to the coalition and if the Prime Minister continues down that track she will demonstrate that she has finally lost the plot," said opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne.

Mr Pyne also confirmed that if agreement were reached at COAG, the Coalition would not repeal any changes to education funding should it win Government.

A national agreement is increasingly unlikely, however, Labor Premier Jay Weatherill saying yesterday that he believed South Australia deserved a bigger share of the funding and that "there's been no deal done".

"This negotiation about Gonski and whole range of other issues is a very substantial discussion and it is not concluded," Mr Weatherill said.

"There is a long way to travel and we will be protecting South Australia's interests in those negotiations."

The premiers of Queensland, NSW and Victoria remained uncommitted and said any increase in education funding would mean cuts to their state budgets.

Outspoken Liberal Premier Colin Barnett said the "grossly unfair" proposal would see a reduction in spending on schools in Western Australia.

Dr Ken Boston, former director general of the NSW Department of Education and one of the five member Gonski Review panel, said even if Western Australia opted out of the agreement, the state would be able to sign up to it later.

"We never envisaged that every state had to adopt it at the same time," Dr Boston told News Ltd.

Meanwhile, universities have continued their criticism of Government plans to move $2.3 billion from tertiary education and $500 million in tax breaks for education expenses into schools funding.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Officer Belinda Robinson warned the deep cuts would likely deter disadvantaged students - those whom the Gonski review is seeking to support - from taking up tertiary studies.

"It will make it more difficult for some students," Ms Robinson said of the cuts which include scrapping scholarships for poorer students.

"It's going to affect those students who are probably most needy of having some support of being able to take themselves on this higher education path."


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Is USC Another Left-Wing Seminary?

 Dennis Prager

Last week, a USC student released 15 minutes of excerpts from videos he had made of his political science professor, Darry Sragow.  Here is some of what the USC professor said to his students:

"California Republicans [are] really stupid and racist."

" ... Republicans are 82 percent white. Losers."

"The Republican Party in California ... is the last vestige of angry old white people. "

"The Republicans are trying to prevent people of color and people of lower income from voting by requiring voter ID."

"We discovered, and this is generally true, the least flexible voter in America, the person who's less likely to change their mind about anything is an old white guy. Old white guys are stubborn sons of bitches."

"There are tens of thousands of people who are now dead because George Bush, even though he got fewer votes, became the president of the United States. That's a fact. ... I think the election got stolen. That's what I think. ... [the Republicans] stole the election. And this happens all the time."

"Probably the biggest vulnerability that Romney has ... [is] that the guy doesn't understand normal human beings."

"All campaigns have a message it communicates to the voters:

[The Democratic message is] "Vote for Obama because he's gonna create jobs and keep the peace and protect social security."

[The Republican message is] "Vote for Romney because Obama is all f----ed up ... "

"The Republican Party is increasingly the last refuge of old, angry white people who don't like what's going on in this country."

Some points regarding Sragow's statements:

1. None had anything to do with teaching.

2. Each one is left-wing propaganda, examples of the widespread attempts at our universities to indoctrinate rather educate.

3. Some are not merely indoctrination, they are also false. For example, blacks are considerably less likely than whites "to change their mind about anything" political. Since 1964, the black Democrat vote has been consistently over 80 percent.

4. Though he is teaching at a university, Sragow has no compunction about cursing while "teaching." Cursing in public is characteristic of leftism. I provide many examples and explain why in my book "Still the Best Hope."

5. Substitute "old black" for "old white" and Sragow would have been suspended, if not fired. Substitute "old white women" for "old white men" and Sragow would have been suspended, if not fired.

6. According to his fellow liberal, Tom Brokaw, "old white guys" are "The Greatest Generation." Which is it?

What was USC's official response?

As reported in the campus newspaper, Daily Trojan: "The university responded Friday with a statement affirming faculty members' right to express their views."

And in the words of USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett: "The freedom to take unpopular positions and the freedom to express those positions publicly are at the foundation of what it means to be a faculty member of a university."

For the record, in 2009 USC Vice President of Student Affairs, Michael Jackson, published "an open letter to the USC community" in the Daily Trojan, attacking the College Republicans for inviting conservative activist David Horowitz to campus. But USC in no way condemned Sragow.

Furthermore, Garrett was wrong about universities and dishonest about USC. She was wrong about "what it means to be a faculty member of a university." It is not about taking "unpopular positions;" it is about teaching truth to the best of the professor's ability. And attacks on Republicans are hardly "unpopular positions" at USC, or at virtually any other American university. On the contrary, they are the dominant positions there.

For Provost Garrett's sake, therefore, here are some unpopular positions at USC:

--Marriage should remain defined as the union of a man and a woman.

--The human fetus should have at least as much right to life as, let us say, a dog.

--America is the greatest force for good in the world.

--Fighting communism in Vietnam was a morally noble venture.

--The greatest problem in black American life is not racism or poverty but the absence of fathers.

--The most effective -- often the only -- way to stop great evil is through war.

--More men than women are more willing to work more hours at a job.

--More women are likely to find happiness in a successful marriage and family than in a successful career.

--At this moment in history, the world has more to fear from fundamentalist Muslims than from fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Hindus or Buddhists.

Provost Garrett might want to inquire as to how many USC professors subscribe to, let alone, advocate in class, any of those positions.

At the Daily Trojan website, one commenter after another articulated what may be the only solution to USC and other universities having become left-wing seminaries:

Scott: "I am paying $65,000 per year for my son to be fed this hateful nonsense? The fact that the administration is not mortified by these statements is telling. Shame on USC."

Mike: "Lost a lot of respect for my alma mater today. They won't get another dollar from me."

KJM: "I am alum and hereby withholding any further support of my alma mater."

Non-leftists who give money to an American university are usually funding the erosion of that university as well as the erosion of their own values.


Texas considers a proposal to reverse grade inflation

Grade inflation is real, rampant, and ravaging a university near you. It would be a scandal if more people knew about it.

A bill filed in March in the Texas legislature looks to ensure that more do. Called “Honest Transcript,” it is a model of brevity, at only a little more than 300 words. Yet its sponsors expect it to shake up higher education in the state and beyond. They believe that when the public gets wind of higher education’s widespread grade-inflating practices, it will put a stop to them. Others, less hopeful, think that public transparency will merely reveal public indifference.

The bill would require all public colleges and universities to include on student transcripts, alongside the individual student’s grade, the average grade for the entire class. This would help potential employers determine whether a high grade-point average signified talent and achievement or merely revealed that the student had taken easy courses.

The Honest Transcript bill was introduced in the Texas house by Republican Scott Turner, a freshman representative and former NFL cornerback (Redskins, Chargers, Broncos), and in the state senate by veteran Republican Dan Patrick. Supporters argue that its modest transparency requirement would show how grade inflation has severely degraded the significance of college degrees.

A half-century of grade inflation has been demonstrated repeatedly by national studies. Today, an A is the most common grade given in college — 43 percent of all grades, as opposed to 15 percent in the 1960s, according to Stuart Rojstaczer, formerly of Duke, and Christopher Healy, of Furman, who conducted a 50-year survey of grading. Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, has also studied the trajectory of college grades. He finds that in 1969, 7 percent of two- and four-year college students said their GPA was an A-minus or higher; by 2009, 41 percent of students did. Having been either a college student, a professor, or an administrator for nearly 30 years, I am not surprised by such findings. Nor, I suspect, is anyone else in the academy. And neither are employers. People who make hiring decisions here in Texas complain to me that grade inflation makes it virtually impossible to rank job applicants accurately, because nearly all have A or B averages.

It gets worse. A 2011 national study published as the book Academically Adrift, by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, found that our puffed-up prodigies are learning much too little. Thirty-six percent of the students it surveyed show little or no increase in their ability for critical thinking, complex reasoning, and clear writing after four years of college. Small wonder that employers are frustrated, with the annual parade of impressive transcripts hiding empty heads.

Employer concerns notwithstanding, universities have a higher calling than simply preparing future workers. Almost all of them proclaim in their mission statements that they seek to enhance their students’ capacity for independent thought. In undermining this, their noblest calling (which harkens back to Socrates’ declaration that “the unexamined life is not worth living”), grade inflation is especially harmful: It eats away at the essence and morale of an academic institution. For Rojstaczer and Healy, “when college students perceive that the average grade in a class will be an A, they do not try to excel. It is likely that the decline in student study hours, student engagement, and literacy are partly the result of diminished academic expectations.”

This, then, is the academic reality whose veil the bill would lift: Too many students are learning too little, yet their grades have never been so high.

Will Texas universities oppose transcript transparency? It’s hard to imagine a principled basis for resistance, since universities are defined by the pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination to students and the larger society. Nevertheless, one university has complained to Representative Turner that the bill would create “processing difficulties in the Registrar’s office.”

This objection comes too late, for such “processing” is now the norm. Recently, through services such as and internal school websites, students have been able to sift through the grading histories of professors. MyEdu proclaims that it “works directly with universities to post their official grade records, including average GPA and drop rates. Yes, really — these are the official grade records straight from your university.” It boasts a membership of over 800 schools and more than 5 million students. Its reach in Texas extends to nearly every public college and university.

One major concern for almost everyone involved with higher education is low graduation rates. Nationally, about half of entering students do not complete college; most of those who do finish take longer than four years, which hikes the cost of their degrees. Those who fail to graduate do not fail to acquire student-loan debt, which, lacking a degree, they often find hard to repay. National student-loan debt is approaching $1 trillion and now exceeds total credit-card debt for the first time. Sixteen states have adopted or are considering “outcomes-based funding,” through which a portion of state higher-education appropriations are awarded to schools based on certain metrics, including improved graduation, retention, and completion rates.

MyEdu has many tools that can help students graduate, but some argue that it also contributes to a grade-shopping ethos. The Austin American-Statesman notes critics who slam the site “for pandering to students interested primarily in using it to identify faculty members who reliably give high grades. A UT-Austin student survey conducted last year confirmed most students used the site to check professors’ grade distributions.”

Linking grade inflation to such sites ignores the fact that grading standards have been progressively watered down since the early ’60s, while MyEdu is relatively new to the scene. Lax university standards and old-fashioned word-of-mouth had already proven quite effective at inflating grades. Blaming transparency for grade inflation is like blaming a blemish on your mirror. If critics are correct that grading-history sites facilitate grade-shopping, however, the Honest Transcript bill could balance the access already available to students with equal access to parents and employers. The result, they hope, will be the unmasking of higher education’s pretensions.

Honest Transcript’s sponsors also hope that transparency will encourage prospective students and parents who truly care about education to avoid the majors with the easiest grading. But that’s not likely, say Arum and Roksa in Academically Adrift. Criteria other than academic standards, such as “student residential and social life,” likely drive students’ decisions, as does “the ability with relatively modest investments of effort to earn a credential” for a job. Why make things harder with a GPA-reducing return to former standards?

Such doubts transcend the current debate. Discussing property, Aristotle cautions that “the nature of desire is without limit, and it is with a view to satisfying this that the many live.” Easy grades in vapid courses are a result of the effort to satisfy that desire. The proponents of Honest Transcript aim, in a small way, to turn the many toward something nobler, and their effort may have implications well beyond Texas.


ABCs for Today’s Public School Students

A is for Alzheimer’s Disease. If you eat lots of vegetables and floss your teeth, you will live a long time and get this condition as your reward.

B is for Baconator. If thou shouldst ever eat one, thou shalt surely die.

C is for Crumbling Infrastructure, an incantation government officials mutter when they want to spend more of the public’s money on “stimulus.”

D is for Disability Insurance Benefits. Just say that your back hurts or you have a “mood disorder” and get money in return.

E is for Energy Savings, an all-purpose excuse for wasteful government regulations and mandates.

F is for Food and Drug Administration, an indispensable government agency that makes sure no food or drug will ever harm you unless it does so anyhow.

G is for Gun Control. Unless you are a police officer or a soldier, you should never touch a gun.

H is for Hunger, which was a big problem in the USA until St. Franklin D. Roosevelt banned it by executive order.

I is for Interest – what you don’t have in learning anything in public school.

J is for Junk Food, the stuff you really like to eat.

K is for Karl Marx, Karl Rove, and Boris Karloff – all famous movie actors.

L is for Let My People Go, the demand that Moses made on Pharaoh in order to get the Jewish kids out of the Egyptian public schools.

M is for Multiculturalism. Marxism has new clothes!

N is for Nanny State, because you are too stupid to make personal decisions for yourself.

O is for Oppression, which a government can bring about only in other countries, by definition.

P is for Private, a once predominant part of human life that the government had to destroy in the public interest.

Q is for Quaint, an overly delicate action no longer considered apt, such as a congressional declaration of war before the president shouts, “bombs away!”

R is for Railroad Transportation, a highly subsidized deity worshiped by progressives, especially when it is carried out on light rails.

S is for Satisfaction, a feeling that government officials will never experience until they have all the power.

T is for Trick Question, the only kind a federal prosecutor will ever ask you when you are on trial.

U is for Ubermensch, members of the power elite (in contrast to Untermensch, which comprises the rest of us).

V is for Virtue, a quality that conservatives believe can be attained by pounding people with a government hammer until they shape up.

W is for Watermelon, the model for the environmental movement.

X is for X-ray Vision, which government investigators use to discover the countless crimes we have committed without even knowing it.

Y is for Yes Men, the kind of men with which aspiring politicians and government officials surround themselves.

Z is for Zeus, the most powerful god that ever existed until the creation of the modern state.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Of Lunatics and Asylums

We tell ourselves, we parents of college-bound kids (not to mention ordinary citizens), that American campuses really aren't as bad as all that, that students can avoid the most tendentious indoctrinators and that the press tends to exaggerate. And then we read headlines like "Kathy Boudin Teaching at Columbia" and sharp reality once again punctures the comfortable cushion of denial.

I'm not speaking personally because I'm among the hyper-vigilant and politically obsessed. I read the newsletters of the National Association of Scholars, a group of academics who bravely battle campus attempts to suppress free speech and free inquiry. I scan the press for news of academia. But most Americans, I'd guess, while knowing that college faculties are dominated by liberals, don't realize quite how extreme or how deeply corrupt our campuses have become.

Consider the case of Boudin, a member of the Weather Underground, a left-wing domestic terror group. What kinds of gentle hijinks did the WU engage in? They bombed the U.S. Capitol, the State Department and the Pentagon. They planned to detonate a bomb full of nails at a soldiers' dance in Fort Dix, N.J. The bomb exploded prematurely in a New York townhouse.

In 1981, Boudin was at the wheel of the getaway vehicle when the WU held up a Brinks truck and stole $1.6 million. Her colleagues killed the driver and gravely wounded another guard in the course of the robbery. They then transferred to the U-Haul truck that Boudin was driving. When the U-Haul was stopped by police, Boudin got out of the cab with her hands up and urged the police to lower their weapons. When they did, six of her heavily armed accomplices jumped out of the back of the truck and gunned down two of the officers.

Boudin, a cradle communist (her father was Fidel Castro's lawyer, her uncle was I.F. Stone), was 38 at the time of the Brinks attack -- not a youth. She spent the next 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony murder and she is now an adjunct professor of social work at Columbia University.

Just imagine if someone who had driven the getaway car for a group that attacked and killed an abortion doctor had been offered a place at the Heritage Foundation or Hillsdale College. Of course you cannot imagine that because such a person would be irredeemably tainted in the eyes of Heritage and Hillsdale. But supposing such a hire were possible, can you imagine the outcry?

For celebrated academic institutions, a history of terror and murder is no bar to prestige and employment. Bill Ayers was a "Distinguished Professor of Education" at the University of Illinois. His wife, Bernadine Dohrn (who said of the Manson killings "First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the pig Tate's stomach! Wild!") was appointed adjunct professor of law at Northwestern.

From the great halls of our finest universities there is a reverberating silence about Columbia's decision to hire and thereby to honor a murderer, a terrorist and an enemy of the United States who has never expressed remorse.

The 5-member Orangetown, N.Y. town board passed a resolution condemning Columbia and calling upon its "neighbor" to sever all ties with the woman who was responsible for the deaths of three men. The nephew of one of the murdered officers told the New York Post "It's easy to forget that ... nine children grew up without their dads because of her actions." Very easy, especially for leftist academics. Veterans of the Weather Underground have a better track record of getting employment at leading universities than do supporters of Mitt Romney.

Each year on Oct. 20, the anniversary of the Brinks robbery, the police in Nyack, N.Y. hold a memorial service. The ceremony is attended by survivors, family members of those who were killed, and local, state and federal law enforcement officials. A small scholarship has been endowed to honor policemen Edward O'Grady and Waverly Brown.

It's a disgrace that only the police and the families of the deceased seem to honor their memories. One of America's great universities has not just forgotten; it has spit on their graves.


Hard working? Lucky? No, billionaires are just smarter than everyone else

Getting into an elite college is not a terribly good proxy for IQ but there is no doubt that the two would be fairly highly correlated

The success of billionaires may be down to more than just hard work and good luck - they may also be smarter than most, according to a study.

About 45 per cent of billionaires are in the top one per cent for brainpower, says Jonathan Wai of Duke University.

He says that the top one per cent of wealthy people and the top one per cent for brainpower strongly overlap, reports CNBC.

That ranks them as smarter than US senators and federal judges, of whom 41 per cent are in the top one per cent for cognitive ability, and Fortune 500 CEOS at 38.6 per cent.

Only 21 per cent of the US House of Representatives were considered to be that smart.

However, the study only judges brainpower by whether someone attended one of 29 elite - and often expensive - American colleges, using the colleges' admissions criteria of high academic grades to decide if someone is intelligent.

The study found that 88 per cent of billionaires graduated from college, though a lack of degree did not get in the way of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg making his billions after dropping out of Harvard.

Among members of the Forbes 400 list of America's wealthiest people, Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch industries, took degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology while investor Warren Buffett graduated from UPenn and Columbia.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Harvard while Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met as PhD students at Stanford.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer went to Harvard while his boss Bill Gates dropped out of the same university, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezo attended Princeton.

Those who made their fortunes through investments or technology were more likely to be in the top one per cent for brainpower than those who did from fashion and retail or food and drink.

Some 69 per cent of investment billionaires and 63 per cent of technology magnates are represented in the top one per cent, while only a quarter of fashion earners and 23 per cent of food and drink billionaires make the grade.


British schools 'ripping out playground equipment to avoid being sued' after millions of pounds are paid to pupils who hurt

Swings and slides are being removed from Britain's school playgrounds because of the massive rise in compensation claims when children suffer minor injuries.

Claims have become so common that education authorities face mounting bills even when children get hurt while breaking school rules by climbing walls or trees.

The compensation culture is being fuelled by lawyers offering parents no-win no-fee deals, it is claimed, with some firms even setting up telephone hotlines to encourage parents to sue.

Schools are often advised to settle out of court without contesting claims up to £12,000 just to save on legal costs. More than £4million was also paid out to staff last year.

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, told the Sunday Express: 'There is no doubt that the compensation culture has got completely out of hand. People need to accept that sometimes accidents do happen and no one is to blame.'

Figures revealed parents with pupils at schools in Lancashire have been paid almost £800,000 in compensation for their children's injuries in the past five years.

The payouts include a child who got more than £15,000 after falling off a wall and another who collected £6,000 after cutting a leg while sliding down a banister.

In Essex, school bosses have paid out £227,137 in compensation and legal costs in the past five years. A child who tripped down a step cost the council £30,544 and a pupil got £24,650 after falling off a climbing frame.

And in Kent, the county council has paid out £700,000 in compensation to children injured in school accidents since 2008. The biggest payout to a pupil was £80,000.

To win compensation an injured child has to prove there has been a breach of the duty of care owed to them by the school.

If the child has suffered as a result of negligence they can claim compensation for their suffering and funding for any medical treatment.

Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: 'Schools become so risk-conscious they no longer present children with challenges and they are wrapped up in cotton wool.'

The National Union of Teachers defended its members for seeking compensation saying many claims result from premises or equipment which have 'not been sufficiently well maintained'.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

To All the Colleges That Rejected Suzy Weiss:  Racism is racism, no matter who practices it

Pittsburgh high schooler Suzy Weiss has a 4.5 GPA, an SAT score of 2120 (out of a maximum 2400), and a slew of rejections from Ivy League colleges. But unlike most unsuccessful applicants, Weiss didn’t accept her rejection meekly. Instead, she penned a sarcastic open letter to those who spurned her — and got it published in the Wall Street Journal.

Weiss’s letter lampoons the in-vogue collegiate-admissions practice euphemistically known as “holistic” review of applications. Holistic review “frees” admissions officers from the old-fashioned practice of relying heavily on objective measures of academic success (such as grades and standardized-test scores) to determine who gets admitted. Instead, they are free to put much more stock in evidence of non-academic qualities, such as compassion and commitment to causes that might prove “valuable” to the campus community.

Weiss’s letter touches on all these points. But what seems to have most offended the academic community is her lampooning of “diversity,” the sacred cow of the modern university world.

Weiss asks what she could have done differently to get accepted at the schools that rejected her. Her tongue-in-cheek answer begins:

    "For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. “Diversity!” I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage."

Such sarcasm is seen as blasphemy in universities and colleges throughout America. Their faculty and administrative officers, and their professional associations, such as the American Council on Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the American Association of University Professors, overwhelmingly believe — firmly and unapologetically — that out-and-out racial and ethnic discrimination in college admissions is fully acceptable in the interests of “diversity.”

Discriminating against culturally “nondiverse” Caucasians such as Suzy Weiss is, in their eyes, the right thing to do. And they want the Supreme Court to recognize such discrimination as constitutional.

How do we know that? Because scores of schools and their professional associations have recently filed amicus briefs in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin making that very argument.

Abigail Fisher’s story is little different from Suzy Weiss’s. A culturally “nondiverse” Caucasian (i.e., the type of student who does not fill any of the racial and ethnic “diversity” quotas of college-admission officers), Fisher applied for admission to the University of Texas in 2008. Texas, like almost every other university in the country, takes race into account in its admissions process. Because Fisher was not black, Hispanic, or, as Suzy Weiss says, “Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything,” she was not given the same exemptions from standard admissions criteria that UT-Austin provided to other, more “diverse” students with the same or worse qualifications.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the four universities that rejected Suzy Weiss — the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale, and Vanderbilt — all joined the same brief in the Fisher case. Sadly, my undergraduate school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which used to be a place that believed that everyone should be judged on his abilities, not his race, is also a party to the brief. It encapsulates the high-sounding academic jargon and rhetoric used to disguise the ugliness of what these universities do.

The amici “seek to provide their students with the most rigorous, stimulating, and enriching education environment, in which ideas are tested and debated from every perspective,” in order to “prepare active citizens and leaders in all fields of human endeavor.” But apparently, the only way they can achieve those goals is to “take account of race and ethnicity” as factors in the “holistic review process” that determines who will be admitted.

Even though these schools all “have highly selective admissions criteria designed to ensure that all of their students (including minority leaders) will be prepared for demanding coursework and will graduate successfully,” the only criterion they all agree on that is required to achieve those goals is discriminating on the basis of race.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that Ivy League and other top-notch schools practice such ugly discrimination. After all, they had similar practices in the 1920s to ensure their schools did not have “too many” Jewish students. Today, they just want to make sure they don’t have “too many” Caucasians or Asians on campus. All they have done is change the groups targeted for discrimination.

Suzy Weiss and many other high-school seniors across the United States are being discriminated against because of their skin color or because they have an epicanthic fold in their eyes. Such racial and ethnic discrimination is morally wrong, and neither “diversity” nor anything else can justify it.

Attempts to disguise discrimination with high-sounding talk about “holistic” reviews just won’t wash. And the claim that such discrimination provides different points of view is, itself, racist. Apparently, America’s institutions of “higher” learning believe that your skin color determines how you think.

In 1965, that would have gotten you rightly condemned as a bigot. In 2013, it makes you “progressive.”


How I (Never) Taught My Son To Read

So often I hear, "Of course, your son reads well. He has a reading specialist for a mother!"

My son does read with ease, taking in entire pages in what appear to be single glances. His 2nd grade standardized tests found that he was reading at the 11th grade level. (Of course, David was not allowed to check out chapter books from the school library until he became a 3rd grader because it was against school policy. See this.)

We kept the family cars supplied with clip-on book lights so darkness had no power to stop our reading. By high school, David would take 3-4 thick novels on each day trip…so he would not run out of reading material. Usually, all had been read before we arrived home in the evening. I kept a miniature encyclopedia in the car and he read every page, more than once. I smile when people say that David seems to know something about everything because…well, he does.

But, I never taught him to read.

David learned to read without effort because he received four important gifts in life:

 *   Articulate, chatty relatives who were always discussing the past, the present, and the future; who talked about plans, books, people, animals, news, relationships, problem solving, mechanics, movies, television programs, experiences, and personal reactions to Life, from trivial to weighty.

*    A family that traveled extensively to see new and interesting things which were photographed, discussed, and described to others: Wilder’s Little Houses; Caddie Woodlawn’s home; ferries; lakes; rivers; mountains; zoos; aquariums; aviaries; caves; trails; historical markers, and more.

*    Parents who began – soon after David was born – to read aloud…in the morning, mid-morning, during lunch, before nap, after nap, in the car, in the living room, on the porch, at the supper table, in waiting rooms, while riding all the way to Colorado, while riding all the way back,…to and from everywhere and at all the times in between; parents who ended each and every day with "Bath, teeth, and a couple good books." PLUS…

*    A very wise day care provider who made one day of every week "Sound Day". Prior to those days, parents led their children on treasure hunts through their homes to fill bags with "things that begin with the sound /m/" …or /b/ or /th/…on through most of The Code in which English is written. Mitten, mouse, mug, movie, even a picture of a moustache, were carried to "school" for group discussions that went like this: "Look! David brought his cat’s toy mouse. Mmmmmouse. Listen! The word ‘mouse’ begins with /mmm/. mmmmouse. The word ‘house’ does not begin with /mmm/ but the word ‘mouse’ does. Everyone say mmmmmmmmouse."

After these 4 gifts of gold, David could easily recognize spellings-for-sounds in the thousands of words that he already knew and used. Those words flowed together into language and concepts which were already known, or were added to his knowledge base. The stage had been set and David required no other reading lessons. He is not unique. He just has a mother who understands that Language is the foundation for constructing a Life. Readers must have a variety of language ‘tools’ stored in their brains which they then use to assist them in the act of reading. Words, concepts, ideas, knowledge, sounds, and spellings are the absolutely necessary tools for a Reader. A child who knows little-to-nothing will read….little-to-nothing.

As a preschooler, David listened to the best in children’s literature, including chapter books like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Once of school age, he listened to the best in literature for young adults, and even to adult novels like James Oliver Curwood’s memorable Kazan and Baree, Son of Kazan. As a preschooler, David was not interested in trying to read the books himself, so I never had to worry that he might memorize sight words and so mis-wire his brain. He listened to sounds; to vocabulary; to themes; to language usage; to beginnings-middles-endings. He soaked up books. One day, when he was nearing 5 years old, he told me that he had decided to read a chapter book, and he did. Around the World In Eighty Days, in an shortened version, was the first book that he chose to read, then he was on his way to become a non-stop and lifelong reader.

The best reading lessons are those that teach language, vocabulary, and knowledge. One cannot read print without the ability to quickly and smoothly make mental connections between 1) things already stored in the brain and 2) the print on the page. A wise parent will make sure that their children’s time – and brains – are filled with information and experiences that will make connections between the Language of Books, and the Language of Life, simply snap, crackle, and pop!

The schools have forgotten – and now unfortunately refuse – to carefully teach the Code in Which English Is Written. How well can a person, who has never been taught the code in which music has been written, read music? To read English skillfully, both children and adults must learn the full Code for English: /b/ is spelled ‘b’; /k/ is spelled ‘k,’ ‘c,’ and ‘ck’; /f/ can be spelled with an ‘f’ or a ‘ph’; /z/ can be spelled with an ‘s’ or ‘z’; …and on through both the Simple and Advanced Code.

Look in your rearview mirrors, educators! You made a very wrong turn! DIBBLES and sight words are simply the left lane on a terrible highway! Please double back and correct your life-destroying errors. It is vital that a phonetic language like English be taught by methodically teaching the Phonetic Code for English. There is no need to blame parents or genetics or culture or poverty. Only the education establishment is at fault, with professors, teachers, and consultants pushing bad policies, fad-philosophies, and damaging curriculum offerings.

My mother, Doris Sneary Regnier, was indeed right when she said, "Children who manage to learn to read in today’s schools…do so in spite of the teaching and curriculum."


Stop saying degrees are a waste of £50,000 - they're not

Dismissing a university education as an indulgent way to eat up £50,000 is fashionable but asinine, says David Ellis

During graduation, perhaps even in the ceremony itself, there is an almost perceptible ‘pop’ of the university bubble bursting. Suddenly the only thing that matters is landing a job. Dozens of applications are duly sent out en masse, which tends to be followed by weeks of rejection letters or impolite, frustrating silence. And students are surprised by this – as if a generic letter and a 2:1 entitles the bearer to a job.

The degree isn’t the problem; this approach is.

I worked as a recruitment consultant once, and regularly advertised for graduate positions, which were always tellingly oversubscribed. With my boss, I’d select a handful for interview. Here’s an email I never sent:

‘Thank you for your application. I’m delighted to invite you to interview.

We were extremely impressed by your 2:1 from a red-brick university and though you didn’t mention the company by name, we could tell from your cover letter you were thinking specifically of us. Your apparent knowledge of Microsoft Office and Excel particularly dazzled us too, as these skills are so rarely found.

We’re glad too that you possess excellent creative and communication skills – it wasn’t immediately obvious from your application until we saw the sentence saying so. It really reassured us.

I’d like to sincerely thank you for your eight-page CV detailing your employment to date since your prestigious role as table monitor in primary school. It was most illuminating: that you took the leap to be a barista after summers spent babysitting was a bold and unusual step that is sure to help you thrive as a city consultant.

Thanks again for your application. It was like nothing we’ve ever seen before.’

My point is obvious – but I imagine a few grads are blushing. It’s uncomfortable for me to say so as I’ve made similar mistakes time over, but thinking that changing the name at the start of the cover letter decently tailors it is like heading to Primark for the best cut on a dinner jacket.

Critics of university pounce on unemployed graduates as evidence that a degree does nothing, which seems rather to miss the obvious: even for those with the best qualifications, the market is combatively tough. Too tough, in fact, to bear complacency. Every applicant must do what they can to stand out, and be prepared to put in at least a few years working up from the bottom.

A degree is likely to strengthen a job application but it won’t write your CV, edit your cover letter or charm a potential employer in interview. Dismissing a university education as an indulgent way to eat up £50,000 is fashionable, seemingly easy but, I think, asinine and crass. Anyone contemplating a degree should ignore such criticisms while noting the point: those letters tagged to your name won’t single-handedly realise your dream career.

I don’t blame my rejections on the mediocre law degree I scraped: for most applications, I wouldn’t have been vaguely considered without it, or even eligible to apply. A degree is, in most instances, an absolute prerequisite for the kind of job which offers either valuable experience or a chance for progression, or both.

You can find work without one, of course, but your options will be more limited, and while success stories of those without qualifications are well documented, not everyone is an entrepreneur, a dotcom genius or wants to pursue the kind of career an apprenticeship might serve.

Rightly or wrongly, many major employers emphasise the necessity of a university qualification – apply with a note saying a degree means nothing to you if you like, but I wouldn’t take my chances.

The benefits of university are well documented and needn’t be repeated here. The salient thing for graduates to realise is that whatever academic successes they’ve achieved, there’s either someone with a better record applying for the same position, or someone in HR who is looking for more.

A degree gives you the opportunity to more easily pursue many careers which would otherwise be impenetrable, and that alone is worth the price of admission. Graduates, brace yourselves: the months after leaving university are for figuring out what happens when plans work out, and what happens when they don’t.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Professor Calls Republicans Stupid & Racist

Tyler Talgo was fed up.  For two years the University of Southern California student had listened to the classroom ranting of liberal professors. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Darry Sragow, his political science professor, launched into an anti-Republican tirade on the first day of class.

“I knew that this was going to be a professor that was very left-wing, very biased,” Talgo told Fox News. “I knew this would be one of those classes where the professor would be biased all the time.”

So Talgo decided to fight back.  “As soon as I got back to my dorm, I decided to video his lectures,” he said. “I got inspired.”

The 20-year-old political science major bought a hidden camera disguised as a shirt button. And that’s how he was able to secretly videotape every single lecture delivered by Professor Sragow.

“It’s one thing to say this happened,” Talgo said. “It’s another thing to show that it happened.”

Talgo culled 15-minutes worth of Republican, Tea Party and conservative ranting from Sragow’s lectures and shared them with Campus Reform reporters Oliver Darcy and Josiah Ryan.

“On the first day of class he talked about how Republicans prevent blacks from voting,” Talgo said. “He also said that he used to work for Democratic candidates and it was his job to kill Republicans.”

The video shows Sragow peppering his lectures with curse words and ridicule for Republicans – with his teaching assistant joining in on the attacks.  “They’re really stupid and racist,” Sragow said at one point. “The Republican party is increasingly the last refuge of old, angry white people who don’t like what’s going on in this country.”  “Old white guys are stubborn sons of b*tches,” he noted.

Professor Sragow told Fox News that he has absolutely no regrets over any of his classroom lectures.  “I have said them many times to many audiences, and if the student had told me he was taping my comments I still would have said them,” he told Fox News. “I had had this exact conversation with many of my Republican colleagues and friends.”

Sragow said it is possible Talgo may have violated the student code of conduct by secretly taping his classes.  “While I am very candid and direct, I never say anything unless I am willing to have it repeated with attribution,” the professor said. “If he thought he was playing a dirty trick by taping me, it lacks creativity and the effort deserves maybe a C-plus.”

The video shows the professor opining on a number of issues ranging from Mitt Romney to accusations that the GOP suppressed the black vote.  “Republicans are trying to prevent people of color and people of lower income from voting by requiring voter I.D.,” he said.

During one lecture, a student asked how to stop Republicans from voting.  The teaching assistant chimed in, “Put up Panthers outside of the polling place.”  The professor responded, “Yeah, yeah. You can do that.”

He also railed on the Bush-Gore presidential campaign and claimed Republicans had stolen the election.

“Al Gore won the presidency of the United States,” he told students. “He didn’t get to be president. That’s power. He got more votes, right? We all know he got more votes. That’s a fact. You think the Bush people did what they did in Florida for fun? The presidency was at stake.”

“There are tens of thousands of people who are now dead because George Bush, even though he got fewer votes, became the president of the United States,” the professor said. “That’s a fact.”

The day after the 2012 election, Sragow trumpeted a Democratic victory in California.  “I believe we will continue to allow Republicans to live here – but Republicans will be totally, completely, utterly irrelevant,” he said. “But we don’t need them anymore. They are totally irrelevant and clinically depressed.”

He also took pot shots at Mitt and Ann Romney.  “Ann Romney to me looks like she’s out of 1955,” he told students. “I looked at Ann Romney during the convention and I thought, holy crap, this is the country club in 1955.”

As for Romney?  “All campaigns have a message it communicates to voters,” he said. “Vote for Obama because he’s going to create jobs, keep the peace, and protect Social Security. Vote for Romney because Obama is all f***** up.”

Sragow suggested that his harsh words were meant as a wakeup call for the Republican Party.  “If the Republican Party in California doesn’t broaden its appeal, within the next few years there will be more independent voters in California than Republicans,” he said. ‘We need two strong parties in the state.”

Talgo, who is a registered Republican – but considers himself a libertarian, said his video is proof that university campuses are hostile places for non-liberals.

“There are definitely some classes where professors give no regard to the other side and it’s a class that slanders people who disagree with them,” he said. “It’s hard for students. The professors are often times so intimidating you can’t bring up your own point of view. And even if you do – you risk your grade being retaliated against.”  That’s why he waited until after the semester had concluded and after his grade had been posted before posting the video.

“I’ve been in many classes like that before and in those instances I tried to stand up to the professor – and by the time the test or essay grades came back, I always felt they were less than what I earned,” he explained.

The professor scoffed at the notion that conservative students aren’t given a fair shake.  “If this student was offended, he knows perfectly well that I encourage an open debate and active student participation in my classes,” Sragow told Fox News. “He could have challenged me.”

Talgo said he hopes other students will take a stand and help expose other liberal professors.  “My major concern is that these professors are indoctrinating students,” he said.


Florida School District Responds to Child’s ‘Give Up Some of My Constitutional Rights’ Assignment

A school district in Jacksonville, Fla., said Friday it will review and investigate what happened after a father charged that his fourth-grade son was instructed to write that he was “willing to give up some of [his] constitutional rights” as part of a classroom activity.

A local attorney taught a lesson about the Constitution to fourth-grade students at Cedar Hills Elementary School in January. Last week, Aaron Harvey found a crayon-written paper that had been in his son’s backpack that read, “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.” Harvey’s son told him that his teacher, Cheryl Sabb, had instructed some students to write the sentence after the lesson was over.

The lesson taught by the attorney was part of Justice Teaching, a program started by former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis that puts legal professionals in Florida schools to teach about the American legal system and the Constitution.

“The Justice Teaching activity on constitutional rights that was conducted at Cedar Hills Elementary School is consistent with our efforts to broaden civics-based education and develop critical thinking skills among our students,” Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, said in a statement to TheBlaze. “The lesson builds awareness of First Amendment rights through a partnership with an association of local attorneys. Our possible concern rests with a follow-up activity that may have been conducted after the lesson. A review and investigation will occur to determine the facts of that assignment.”

According to a description of the lesson provided to TheBlaze, the objective was to teach students about the five rights enumerated in the First Amendment.

Harvey told TheBlaze earlier Friday that school district officials had told him the sentence came during the lesson portion with the attorney, but that his son “wrote it on his own free will.” Harvey said there was “no way” his son wrote that on his own, and said he had heard from his son and at least one other child that the sentence came directly from the teacher.

A Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman identified the attorney who taught the lesson as Carrington Madison Mead, a Jacksonville lawyer. Mead did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze.


Students Asked to ‘Argue That Jews Are Evil’ and Prove Nazi Loyalty in Assignment Linked to Common Core‏

Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked to participate in the unthinkable this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment. The objective? Prove why Jews are evil and convince the teacher of their loyalty to the Third Reich in five paragraphs or less.

“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!” read the description on the assignment, which the school superintendent said reflects the kind of sophisticated writing expected of students under the new Common Core standards and was meant to hone students’ persuasive argument abilities.

The TimesUnion reports that students were asked to digest Nazi propaganda material, then imagine that their teacher was an SS officer who needed to be persuaded of their loyalty by arguing that Jews are the root of all the world’s ills.

“I would apologize to our families,” Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. “I don’t believe there was malice or intent to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”

The TimesUnion explains more of the reasoning behind the offensive assignment:

    "Vanden Wyngaard said the exercise reflects the type of writing expected of students under the new Common Core curriculum, the tough new academic standards that require more sophisticated writing. Such assignments attempt to connect English with history and social studies.

    She said she understood the academic intent of the assignment — to make an argument based only on limited information at hand. Still, she acknowledged that it was worded in a very offensive manner. She did not identify the English teacher or discuss whether the educator faced any discipline."

Students were asked to draw on elements of the great philosopher Aristotle, and frame their arguments as either: “Logos” (persuasion by reasoning), “Pathos” (persuasion by emotional appeal) or “Ethos” (persuasion by the author’s character).

Nonetheless, a reported one-third of the Albany students refused to complete the assignment.

Whether school faculty chose this particular subject matter for the writing assignment, or if the subject matter came directly from Common Core remains unclear (it could have been the justification and not a direct lesson), but the amount of controversial lessons administered under curriculum system is indeed mounting.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Superintendent’s Shocking Comment Reminds Us That School Choice is an Uphill Battle

Is this really what the education establishment thinks of parents, particularly black parents?

As Wisconsin legislators debate expanding the state’s parental choice private school voucher program, Racine Unified Superintendent Dr. Ann Laing’s shocking comments from the last budget cycle remind us school choice is an uphill battle.

The fight is not just against unions, but the entire know-it-all education blob.

Laing was filmed in December 2011 by the Milwaukee County Black Alliance for Education Options. During her appearance, she was critical of the voucher program that had been expanded to her school district and would begin later that year.

But her criticism of the program went to a whole new level when she stereotyped black parents:

“I think Milwaukee is a good example of what will happen on a smaller scale here. In Milwaukee, it’s pretty much been white families who’ve taken advantage of private schools, with a few African-American families. The African-American families are the ones who are most prone to enroll their kids in the fly-by-night schools that cropped up after vouchers existed.

“They don’t know how to make good choices for their children. They really don’t. They didn’t have parents who made good choices for them or help them learn how to make good choices, so they don’t know how to do that.”

Is this stunning arrogance typical of the educational establishment? Do they all think they know what’s best for students and parents are just mere rubes?

The month before Laing’s comment, Debbie Squires of Michigan’s elementary and middle school principal’s association told her state’s House Education Committee that parents may want what’s best for their children, they just don’t know what it is.

But, of course, the educrats do. An unsurprisingly, their solution happens to be their one-size-fits-all government-run, government-funded education system.

After Mikel Holt exposed Laing’s condescending comment in the Milwaukee Community Journal, Laing apologized but said her comments were “take out of context.”

She said in a statement, “What I intended and what I should have said is that many parents, regardless of race, do not have access to the information or tools to make the best educational choices for their children.”

Parenthetically, what has Laing done to offer “access to the information or tools” so parents can make the best choices?

More surprisingly, school board member Rev. Melvin Hargrove, a black minister, defended her comments, saying there are “some African-American families that have been take advantage of via the school voucher program.”

When parents have “allies” such as these, who needs enemies?


Conn. Father’s Stunning Claim: Son’s School Is Teaching That Americans Don’t Have the Right to Bear Arms‏

A Connecticut father is accusing his son’s school district of teaching children that Americans do not have a constitutional right to bear arms. Steven Boibeaux of Bristol, Connecticut, is claiming that his child, an eighth-grader at Northeast Middle School, was given a social studies worksheet that is anti-Second Amendment in nature — or, at the least, opposed to the conservative view of the provision.

In an interview with Fox News’ Todd Starnes, Boibeaux said that he’s “appalled” and that the school seems to be “trying to indoctrinate our kids.” The worksheet in question, published by Instructional Fair, is entitled, “The Second Amendment Today,” and it allegedly proclaims that American citizens do not have the right to guns.

“The courts have consistently determined that the Second Amendment does not ensure each individual the right to bear arms,” it purportedly reads. “The courts have never found a law regulating the private ownership of weapons unconstitutional.”

When it comes to interpreting the Second Amendment, the worksheet provides additional parameters through which the constitutional provision should be viewed. Starnes explains:

    "The worksheet, published by Instructional Fair, goes on to say that the Second Amendment is not incorporated against the states.

    “This means that the rights of this amendment are not extended to the individual citizens of the states,” the worksheet reads. “So a person has no right to complain about a Second Amendment violation by state laws.”

    "According to the document, the Second Amendment “only provides the right of a state to keep an armed National Guard.”

Boibeaux also alleges that the teacher told the class that the Constitution is a “living document” and the worksheet seems to drive this point home, noting that “the interpretation changes to meet the needs of the times.”

“I’m more than a little upset about this. It’s not up to the teacher to determine what the Constitution means,” the father told Starnes. “I just don’t appreciate this as a parent. I expect teachers to teach my kids and tell the truth – not what they think their point of view is.”

This report comes as debate over classroom studies across America — and CSCOPE and Common Core-aligned curriculum, in particular — rages.


Australian public schools abandoned by wealthy families

I wonder why?  It wouldn't have anything to do with the collapse of discipline in State schools, would it?

WEALTHY families are deserting the public education system, with poorer students making up double the number of wealthy children at Australia's government schools.

This privilege exodus is most pronounced in high school, with more than 75 per cent of the highest earning families enrolled in independent and Catholic schools, according to analysis of 2011 census data.

The research shows a dramatic social shift during the past 25 years, with low and high income families equally represented at state schools in 1986.

"In contrast, a quarter century later in 2011, the differences are very marked: the government sector has almost twice the proportion of students from low income families relative to the proportion from high income families," said report author Barbara Preston.

In some states (Tasmania and South Australia) the proportion of students from low income backgrounds in government education is as much as four times higher than that of wealthy families.

Separate analysis of data from the My School website shows that not only do private school students attract 25 per cent more income than their public counterparts, they enjoy a higher rate of increase in government funding.

Private schools also outperform the other sectors and enjoy smaller class sizes than government schools, which have seen an increase in the student to teacher ratio.

The research also confirms the middle ground held by the Catholic education system, which has more wealthy than poor students, but mainly caters for children from medium income families.

Education experts agree higher concentrations of disadvantaged children hurt student performance, with a "drag down" effect felt across the school.

The report comes during intense focus on school funding, with the Federal Government struggling to push through its Gonski reform package at next week's COAG meeting.

"These findings highlight the importance of delivering funding reform to the address disadvantage and deliver money to where its needed most," said Angelo Gavrielatos, president of the Australian Education Union, which commissioned the report.

There are also stark differences across Australia, with wealthier states far more likely to enjoy a better social mix in their schools.

Tasmania and South Australia have the lowest family incomes and the widest social disparity, with Tasmanian school students more than two and a half times as likely to have low family incomes as high family incomes.

Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have the highest overall family incomes and the least social disparity.

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland sit near the average, with around twice as many poor students than wealthy kids at public secondary schools.

The report also states access to high speed broadband is a significant advantage for students, and enjoyed by 94 per cent of students from high income families compared with just 68 per cent of lower income government primary school students.

To be released publicly today by the Australian Education Union, the research analysed census data from more than a million students whose families provided information about schooling and income in the 2011 census.

Family income was defined as low (less than $1249 a week), medium (between $1250 and $2499), high (more than $2500) and very high (more than $5000).