Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Poor, bright British children missing out on top universities: More than 2,000 are overtaken by less able pupils after getting lost in the 'secondary school maze'

The authors below seem unaware that IQ peaks earlier among low IQ individuals  -- and those who peak early often look relatively good at early ages.  That alone could explain the results below

More than 2,000 bright children from poor homes are missing out on places at top universities because they get lost in a ‘secondary school maze’, according to new research.

These disadvantaged students are being overtaken by less able but more well-off pupils despite their early promise.

Former Labour Health Secretary Alan Milburn, chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which published the findings, warned Britain is wasting talent on ‘an industrial scale’.

Researchers tracked the progress of high achieving pupils from poor backgrounds throughout the education system and compared it to that of their more advantaged counterparts.

They examined a sample of more than 520,000 children born in 1991-2 and looked at the proportion attending elite universities as well as prior attainment at ages seven, 11, 16 and 18.

Measures of the children’s socio-economic background such as the proportion claiming Free School Meals - an indicator of poverty - during secondary school were also analysed.

Children from poorer backgrounds who were high achievers in tests age seven were more likely ‘to fall off a high attainment trajectory than children from richer backgrounds’, the study found.

They performed worse than lower-achieving students from the least deprived families by Key Stage Four (age 14-16) at secondary school.

Lower-achieving affluent children caught up with the poor high achievers between Key Stage Two (ages seven to 11) and Key Stage Four.

This suggested that ‘substantial’ numbers of children from poorer backgrounds are being allowed to fall behind, with their chances of attending university damaged.

Of the 7,853 children from the most deprived homes who achieved ‘level five’ in English and maths aged 11 - above the standard expected of their age - only 906 went on to an elite university.

Researchers calculated that if they had the same trajectory as a child from one of the least deprived families, then 3,066 of these children would have been likely to go to a top institution.

This means that 2,160 poor children are falling behind and not fulfilling their potential displayed in primary school tests.

The report, compiled for the commission by the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions, said: ‘The period between Key Stage Two and Key Stage Four appears to be a crucial time to ensure that higher-achieving pupils from poor backgrounds remain on a high achievement trajectory.’

Universities and policymakers should provide poor students with advice to ‘encourage greater numbers of applications to elite institutions, as those with the top grades stand a good chance of getting in if they do apply’.

Mr Milburn said: ‘Each year, 2,000 of the brightest poor children who have done well at primary school seem to lose direction in a secondary school maze and so miss out on a top university place.

‘The early promise of top-performing poor children is being squandered. No doubt there are many reasons for why that might be the case.

‘But for secondary schools the research is a wake-up call for them to do more to realise the potential of each of these students.’

He added: ’It is vital that secondary schools focus harder on helping disadvantaged children convert high results at age 11 to excellent GCSE and A-level results in academic subjects and that all high attainers are given appropriate advice, access to opportunities and support to progress to elite universities.

‘If Britain’s sluggish rates of social mobility are to improve the poorest bright children must be helped to navigate the secondary school maze.’

Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust, said: ‘It is vital we do more to support highly able children from low and middle income backgrounds in state schools.

‘With the demise of the gifted and talented programmes, too many schools are not doing enough to stretch and encourage students with the potential to succeed.’


Poor white British pupils put off school by multicultural curriculum

White working class children are being “marginalised” at school after being forced to follow a multicultural timetable that shuns British traditions, according to research.

Large numbers of schools follow a curriculum that celebrates a “diverse range of pupils” while sidelining those from poor British families, it was claimed.

Head teachers told how they ran numerous projects such as Black History Month and “cultural days” to raise awareness of countries such as Portugal, Poland and Jamaica.

But it was claimed that white British pupils from deprived homes often “cannot see themselves or their lives reflected in the curriculum”, turning them off school altogether.

The study, published by Lambeth Council in south London, said that poor children were further isolated by a "small world" mentality, with parents failing to take them to the local park or visit places of interest.

Researchers called on the Department for Education to develop a "curriculum that treats white British identity in the same way as ethnic minorities”.

It comes just weeks after Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, pledged to require all schools to actively promote British values in the classroom to combat extremism.

The conclusions come amid growing concerns that working-class white British children are lagging dramatically behind at school and now perform worse than any other group.

According to figures, just 32.3 per cent of poor white British children left school last summer with five A* to C grades at GCSE.

Poor children from every other ethnic group performed better, with more than three-quarters of poor Chinese pupils and 61.5 per cent of those from deprived Indian families achieving the best results.

The gulf in results between poor white children and their richer classmates has hardly changed in the last seven years, even though the gap seen in other ethnic groups is narrowing.

Research by officials in Lambeth – one of the capital's most multicultural boroughs – was commissioned to arrest the decline of working-class white British pupils.

The study was based on interviews with 76 heads, teachers and school support staff, alongside 39 parents and 61 pupils.

Teachers criticised a culture of low aspirations and a “small world” mentality among many poor white families, claiming many parents spent hours with children in front of the TV, refusing to visit local parks.

But the study said parents themselves “lamented a lack of white culture reflected in school life which perpetuated for many the marginalisation they felt within their communities”.

It said some schools “felt that the pressure on schools to establish a curriculum which is relevant to a diverse range of pupils has possibly marginalised white pupils”.

One head teacher told researchers: “The curriculum that has been on offer has not been meeting the needs of white British pupils. There has been much emphasis in recent years on elements of black history and a celebration of cultural days such as ‘Portuguese day’. There has been nothing for the British culture.

“This might have led to a sense of them losing their identity.”

Another head said: “It seems to be easier to celebrate the good things about other cultures – the dance, the food, the stories and to ask parents to come in and share their food, their traditions with us. We’ve worked through the cultures and have left this one to last.”

One primary school teacher told how the school was “very explicit in celebrating other cultures”, but added: “There is always that difficulty in identifying what is British culture. How many of our pupils would understand what maypole dancing is about?...

“We celebrate Christmas and Easter but even that is done in a diverse way. I think white families are expected to just fit into the curriculum, it is seen as the norm for them and we focus on the children new to the country.”

Another head teacher told how Caribbean, Polish and Portuguese families had a greater sense of cultural identity but “nothing binds” white British children together.

It was claimed that many poor white British children in the area have black cultural role models and “speak with a South London patois”.


California's Absurd Intervention Over Dorm Room Sex

Legislators and activists just don't trust adults to navigate issues of consent without them.

With all the other drama in the news, the likely passage of a California law ostensibly targeting sexual assault on college campuses—approved by the state Senate on May 29 and by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on June 18—has gone largely unnoticed. Yet the bill, SB-967, deserves attention as an alarming example of creeping Big-Sisterism that seeks to legislate "correct" sex. While its reach affects only college students so far, the precedent is a dangerous and potentially far-reaching one.

The bill, sponsored by state Senator Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and developed in collaboration with student activists, does nothing less than attempt to mandate the proper way to engage in sexual intimacy, at least if you're on a college campus. It requires schools that receive any state funds through student aid to use "affirmative consent" as the standard in evaluating sexual assault complaints in the campus disciplinary system. According to the bill:

"Affirmative consent" is an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is informed, freely given, and voluntary. It is the responsibility of the person initiating the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the consent of the other person to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

The idea that "no means no" is not enough and consent requires an explicit "yes" has long been the dogma of feminist anti-rape activists. In the early 1990s, Ohio's super-progressive Antioch College was widely mocked for its code of student conduct that mandated verbal consent to each new level of intimacy. But despite the ridicule, sexual misconduct policies requiring clear, explicit agreement to specific acts continued to spread to campuses across the country.

In a Slate.com article defending "affirmative consent," feminist writer Amanda Hess stipulates that such laws should be "broad enough to include nonverbal cues." But that would leave fact-finders, in real courts or campus pseudo-courts, to try to decide such questions as: Was a head motion a nod that indicated a "yes"? Does pulling someone closer during an embrace amount to consent to sex? Does a passionate response to a kiss amount to a "nonverbal cue"?

Indeed, while many current campus codes do not absolutely require verbal consent, they strongly encourage it with warnings that "relying solely upon non-verbal communication" can lead to mistakes and misunderstandings. (The initial draft of the California bill contained such language as well.) With such rules, a college disciplinary panel evaluating a complaint is likely to err on the side of caution and treat only verbal agreement as sufficiently clear consent.

Student activists, aided by the social media, have also been conducting a reeducation campaign advocating for sexual consent. One might think sexual consent needs no advocacy; but, of course, this is not consent as traditionally understood. The norm this movement seeks to promote, according to a recent New York Times report, is to "ask first and ask often before engaging in sexual activity." Since the activists realize that this doesn't sound particularly appealing, they endeavor to "make consent cool" through various gimmicks: a website featuring a fictional line of Victoria's Secret lingerie decorated with slogans like "consent is sexy" and "ask first," giveaways of real condoms with similar mottoes ("ask before unwrapping"), and even, at Columbia University freshman orientation, candy prizes for "creative ideas" about negotiating consent.

To counter the common view that such negotiations are awkward moment-ruiners, the activists quoted in the Times argue that explicit consent can be "fun" and even ensure better sex through communication. Educational posters on the Columbia campus proclaim that "asking for consent can be as hot, creative, and as sexy as you make it."

With all these earnest reassurances, one can't help wondering if the consent evangelists really believe what they preach: The ladies (and their gentlemen allies) do protest too much. Moreover, their protestations are belied by the fact that the preaching is backed by undisguised coercion. In feminist educator Bernice Sandler's list of "Ten Reasons to Obtain Verbal Consent to Sex," the assertion that "many partners find it sexy to be asked, as sex progresses, if it's okay" is followed by "Because you won't be accused of rape" and "Because you won't go to jail or be expelled." Fun, fun, fun.

To say that sex without consent is rape is to state the obvious. But in traditional sexual scripts, consent is usually given through nonverbal cues. Of course this doesn't mean that people never talk during sex; but there's a big difference between sweet nothings and mandatory negotiations based on constant awareness that you may be raping your partner if you misread those cues. And "constant" is no exaggeration. Thus, the sexual assault policy at California's Occidental College states that "individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner" and that consent can be withdrawn through an explicit "no" or "an outward demonstration" of hesitation or uncertainty, in which case "sexual activity must cease immediately and all parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing." Whether anyone could feel "sexy" under such conditions seems dubious at best.

The feminism of "affirmative consent" is equally dubious. Indeed, this standard arguably strips women of agency in a way that traditional sexual norms never did. In the traditional script, the man initiates while the woman decides where (or whether) to set the limits. Under explicit consent rules, the person taking the lead must also assume much of the responsibility for setting the limits by making sure his partner wants to proceed—while the more passive party cannot be responsible even for making her wishes known without being asked.

While these rules are technically gender-neutral, the general assumption in campus activism is that the victim of nonconsensual heterosexual sex is female. Indeed, if there was a sudden rush of male students filing such charges against women who had failed to "ask first," it's likely that the activists would respond the same way battered women's advocates did in the 1990s when their push for mandatory arrest in domestic violence cases led to more arrests of women: by crying backlash and claiming that male abusers are manipulating the system to punish their female victims.

Until now, "affirmative consent" policies have been voluntarily adopted by colleges (though within a context of federal law that requires schools to protect students from broadly defined sexual violence). The California bill with its government mandate represents an alarming new phase in this campaign, as well as another step toward a de facto presumption of guilt in campus sexual misconduct cases. It effectively shifts the burden of proof to the accused while also requiring colleges to use the lowest possible threshold—"preponderance of the evidence"—in assessing the validity of a complaint. In practice, this means that any minimally plausible charge is likely to be upheld.

One would think that the California legislators would have some second thoughts about endorsing a bill that essentially redefines some 95 percent of human sexual encounters as rape (including married sex, since the bill specifically states that a prior relationship creates no presumption of consent). Even the Los Angeles Times, usually strongly supportive of the anti-campus rape campaign, criticized SB-967 in an editorial noting that "it seems extremely difficult and extraordinarily intrusive to micromanage sex so closely."


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