Friday, June 06, 2014
Two Students Suspended From Public School After Refusing To Pray To Allah
Recently, a pair of young boys in Cheshire, England was suspended from school after refusing to pray to Allah. The prayer was designed to be a “practical demonstration” of how Muslims worship.
The demonstration likely stems from pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who have been demanding that the country make significant accommodations for Muslim students.
CAIR’s has even provided instructional materials called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices” which asks schools to allow Muslim students who want to attend congregational worship to “request a temporary release from school.”
In fact, in Dearborn, Michigan, CAIR asked public schools to allow Muslim students to leave early every Friday. Of course, the superintendent complied. And similar situations are taking place all over the country.
What do you think of CAIR’s intiatives?
Muslims Demand (& Get) Prayer In Public Schools – Attack Off Campus Bible Studies
So about that "religion of peace" and tolerance, this is how it really works. Muslim supremacism is at the top, everything else is at the bottom. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is leading the charge by pushing for public school policy, and they're getting it.
CAIR's impact in the public school system is now being seen in two cases in Michigan.
The first comes from one of CAIR's press releases, dated October of 2012, in which CAIR had bullied a local school system because of passing out information about a private Bible Study class (something, by the way, that use to actually be part of the public education system in this country). According to the 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.
In his letter to the school district, CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid wrote in part:
"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. . . According to the United States Supreme Court, the First Amendment clearly requires that public school students and their parents are never given the impression that their school/school district prefers a specific religion over others or sanctions religion in general."
A school district official today apologized to CAIR-MI for the distribution of the permission slips and said district principals will discuss the issue at an upcoming meeting.
"We thank school district officials for taking quick and appropriate action once this violation of religious neutrality was brought to their attention," said Walid.
He said CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," that is designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for students of all faiths.
First of all, let me make one thing crystal clear for anyone espousing the nonsense that education, or anything for that matter can be "religiously neutral." Everything, education, work, home, community and anything in life boils down to being viewed through one's worldview, or belief system (which we usually refer to as "religion").
Second, notice the hypocrisy and downright deceptiveness of CAIR. They scream and decry permission slips to attend a Bible study, but have no problem providing these same facilities, which they want to be religiously neutral, with "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices."
There is a direct attack on Christianity, as if the Islamic anti-Christian doctrines found in their Qur'an and Hadiths, along with the mass murders of Christians world-wide they engage in weren't enough.
In another article from April 2013, CAIR shows just how religiously neutral they really are:
The Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan (CAIR-MI) 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.
Get it? Islam is like the homosexual lobby. They want to cry that they are the victims, but the reality is that they are the aggressors. They complain about a permission slip for an off campus Bible study, saying it was a "violation of religion neutrality," and within months they push the school board to accommodate Islamic prayers in public schools, even granting excused absences for student who leave early for Jumu-ah prayers.
Michigan is the testing grounds for Islamic takeover in the U.S.
It seems to be working there. Just how long will it be till they are spreading across the Michigan border with their damnable doctrines? I suppose that is up to you American and Christian patriots. How are you standing against them?
The Threat of Common Core: Confusing the True Purpose of Education
Many critics of the Common Core State Standards Initiative have raised issues about federalism regarding the adoption and implementation of the standards. While these are indeed important points, another grave aspect to consider about the standards is that they completely alter the fundamental purpose of education.
The true aim of education is to create free persons, capable of governing themselves and independent from any large entity, enabling them to pursue their own, individual goals for the sake of the common good. Education is a type of liberation that equips individuals with the proper tools to be able to discern their own future rather than have it dictated to them.
Antithetical to the true purpose of education, the Common Core State Standards Initiative simply prepares students to enter college of the workforce. The curriculum merely teaches “skills” that will supposedly help students in the workforce, rather than truly educate them.
Unlike the Common Core standards, an authentic education is more than simply an acquisition of skills for a particular type of task; rather, it provides the student with the ability to think for himself and discover who he is as an individual in the world. With this knowledge, students will be able to apply their learning to daily life by continuously raising challenging questions and learning from the world around them rather than just learning for the purpose of a job or a test.
The Common Core carries with it the underlying assumption that every child is destined to enter some form of college, whether it be community college or university, and eventually enter the workforce. However, this notion reveals how these standards have truly obliterated the true purpose of education.
In this way, the government, rather than the parents and students, decide what is the right future for each child. Furthermore, the government, with Common Core, has decided that the same future, to enter the workforce, is right future for each and every American child, regardless of the child’s abilities and aspirations.
In addition to stripping parents and students of control over education, the students are merely accessories for the government’s use. With Common Core, and the emphasis on acquisition of skills rather than authentic learning, students become simply robots for the government machine, whose only purpose is to enter the workforce so that the Unites States can “compete globally.”
The Common Core is dangerous because not only does is remove educational choice from families and communities, but it also has the possibility to remove the student’s choice about his role in the community and the world by directing every student to one future.
The removal of great works of literature from the curriculum and the replacement of these pieces with government texts and manuals emphasizes the reduction of students to simply workers rather than individual, distinct human beings. Traditionally, literature has allowed the student to ponder the deep truths of humanity and apply them to his own life. However, these informational texts in the Common Core curriculum discourage application and connection to daily life but simply focus on analysis of the particular text, without context.
Anything that the government does not deem necessary for “career-readiness” is eliminated from the curriculum; students do not really learn but merely gain skills which the government believes will enhance their performances in the workforce. With the Common Core Initiative, students essentially become experimental products of the educational system rather than individual human beings with the capacity and the liberty to decide their own futures.
Furthermore, the implementation of the Common Core reveals a threat to republican self-rule, which is so highly valued in this country. It has long been established that education is dealt with on a local rather than a national level because communities are responsible for forming the citizens and each has distinct values.
By the people giving up the power to rule themselves and handing over this basic power of education to the federal government, it fundamentally changes what a school is. Schools are supposed to be independent to reflect traditional American values in which local leaders had control over what was taught distinct from federal authority. With the Common Core Standards the national government gains control over what is taught, obliterating community authority, thus changing the character of American government. Through the nationalization of education, there is a basic assumption that there is no difference among humans in distinct communities and circumstances. This notion completely disregards the fact that human beings are unique and capable of more than just performance in a job.
The government has decided to completely alter the goals of education from cultivating the passion for lifelong learning and developing the person to think for himself to solely “career-readiness.” With this as the ultimate goal of education in the Common Core, students are reduced to mere products of the system on which to be experimented until the government decides the best method.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative greatly threatens individual liberty because it allows the federal government, rather than the parents and students themselves, to decide the purpose and ultimate goals of education. The curriculum fundamentally changes the crux of education from learning to acquisition of skills which disregards the individual humanity of each student and reduces them to products of the educational system with only one purpose-to enter the workforce. It is not the role of the government to dictate to the American children and families what their particular role is within society, yet this is exactly what is happening with Common Core.
Thursday, June 05, 2014
School leavers 'better off training for a trade than going to university’
Future generations of school leavers should consider turning their backs on university because of a sharp rise in the projected number of medium and low-skilled jobs, according to research.
The majority of teenagers are likely to be better prepared for the workplace by shunning higher education in favour of practical, jobs-based training over the next 10 years, it was claimed.
A study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) warned that the number of university leavers has dramatically outstripped the supply of advanced jobs.
Figures show that one-in-five people currently employed in low-skilled occupations hold degree-level qualifications.
But the report warned that the proportion of the workforce deemed seen as “overqualified” will escalate in the future amid a “growing mismatch between skills supply and demand”.
The study estimated that two-thirds of jobs created by 2022 – more than nine million – will be in medium or low-skilled occupations that do not normally demand a degree as a requirement, it emerged.
Many will be linked to the retirement of the “baby-boomer” generation, researchers said, taking their positions in skilled trades such as bricklaying, plumbing, electrics and agriculture.
The most “in-demand” occupation of the future will be linked to health and social care as rising numbers of school leavers are needed to look after the aging population, it was claimed.
The conclusions will add to concerns that too many teenagers are being pushed into taking a degree without properly considering the alternatives.
Figures published last week showed that the number of people applying to university had hit its second highest number on record, with 634,600 people applying for degree courses by the end of May, an increase of four per cent in a year.
At its peak in 2011, figures showed some 49 per cent of school leavers had started – or planned to start – a degree.
But speaking last year, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, admitted that large numbers of students were being forced to gain university degrees even though they were “superfluous” to many careers such as nursing and accountancy.
Lord Baker, the former Conservative education secretary, also attacked Labour’s “totally unrealistic” target to get at least half of young people into higher education, saying the move had left Britain with a major “skills crisis”.
Today's IPPR's study warned that the “golden route” for school-leavers – A-levels followed by a degree – was no longer the only option.
“It is not sufficient for policymakers to rely on increasing the number of graduates in the workforce as a way of creating more skilled jobs and driving economic growth," said the report.
“It appears from the data presented in this paper that the number of high-skilled jobs has not kept pace with the rate at which workers are becoming more highly qualified. Businesses are still creating large numbers of low-skilled jobs.”
It added: “The emphasis on general university degrees may be producing more graduates than are required in some sectors of the labour market.
“A fifth of workers in low-skilled occupations hold a higher education qualification, prompting fears that their skills are not being properly used in the workplace.
“There is also a danger that this might be ‘bumping down’ other workers in the labour market. Policymakers therefore need to encourage firms to improve the quality of jobs on of fer, to ensure they can make use of graduate skills.”
The IPPR report, which was commissioned by the Edge Foundation, used data from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills to analyse job growth between 2012 and 2022.
The study estimated that an additional 14.4 million jobs would be created across the UK over the next decade. Of those, 5m would be in high-skilled sectors, including corporate management, business, media, teaching, health professions and science.
But it insisted that almost two-thirds of newly-created jobs would be in medium and low-skilled industries.
Some 3.6m will be in med-level industries including skilled metal and electrical trades, construction and building, social care and agriculture. A further 5.7m jobs will be created in low-skilled areas, including 1.6m in care services, 1m in administrative roles, 516,000 in sales and 501,000 in transport.
Craig Thorley, IPPR researcher, called for more teenagers to move on to high-quality vocational qualifications such as apprenticeships , adding: “In their desire to ‘win the global race’, policymakers have focused on increasing the number of graduates in the economy.
“However, winning the race will require more than simply expanding general higher education.”
Jan Hodges, chief executive of the Edge Foundation, which campaigns to raise the status of technical education, added: “This research clearly demonstrates that we must continue to support high quality vocational education if we are to meet the needs of our future economy.”
A large-scale study published last week found that the overall proportion of English students claiming they get “good value for money” for a degree had dropped from 41 per cent before the introduction of £9,000 annual fees in 2012 to just 28 per cent this year.
The latest research, by the website thinkmoney.co.uk, found that 28 per cent of former students admitted to experiencing “low-earner anxiety” – when the thought of being out-earned by their peers causes stress levels to rise. This compared with 16 per cent of non-graduates.
Almost four-in-10 former students – 39 per cent – also admitted they earned “less than they once expected they would”, compared with a third of non-graduates.
Ian Williams, a spokesman for the website, said: “It’s surprising how many of these graduates think they’re now earning less than they should after taking the popular route through higher education.
“However, it’s clear former students value their degree or other qualifications highly, whether or not their salary is what they hoped for.
Universal School Choice: A Reform for the 21st Century
In his seminal work, “Free to Choose,” Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman outlined his case for universal school choice, advocating for robust voucher systems for elementary and secondary education that “would give parents at all income levels freedom to choose the schools their children attend.” (emphasis added)
Friedman’s work laid the foundation for the broader school choice movement. He knew there would be opposition to his proposal departing from the one-size-fits-all status quo. But he also knew, as he wrote in Free to Choose, that school choice options such as vouchers would “keep emerging with more and more support.” He was right.
The school choice movement is proliferating like never before. States traditionally have worked to ensure children most at risk of being underserved by their neighborhood schools are prioritized in accessing school choice options – children from low-income families and children with special needs, for example. But today, states have the opportunity to think bigger about educational freedom—for all children, from all levels of income.
As of 2014, there are 40 private school choice programs in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In 2011, Arizona passed the nation’s first education savings account option, advancing the notion of “School Choice 2.0.”
ESAs allow parents to use a portion of the dollars that would have gone to their child in a public school toward fully customizing their child’s education by enabling them to purchase a variety of education-related services and products. It’s likely Friedman would have seen ESAs as a refinement of his original voucher idea.
ESAs—like most school choice measures—are currently reserved for low-income children and children with special needs. This is a good starting point, but it should not be the end goal. As school choice measures grow more innovative, they also should become more expansive.
Parents of all income levels should be free to choose the best educational option to meet their child’s individual needs.
School choice raises all boats, for all children. As University of Arkansas professor Jay Greene writes, “Suburbanites need education reform for the sake of their own children and not just for the poor kids in the big cities. If suburban elites commit to education reform for their own children, we may finally get improvement for low-income kids in the cities as well.” Broader educational opportunity creates competitive pressure on public schools, which in turn benefits children who choose to attend.
What’s more, suburban educational options are not as good as they often are thought to be. The National Assessment for Educational Progress’ latest “report card” shows that only 26 percent of 17-year-olds are proficient in math, and only 38 percent are proficient in reading.
Research from the George W. Bush Institute’s Global Report Card shows even affluent American suburban schools districts lag in educational achievement compared to 25 other developed countries.
Friedman’s vision for school choice was not confined to a particular demographic or geographic area. Rather, he knew expanding opportunity across income levels would help both the poor and the affluent alike by creating a healthy competitive pressure on public schools and by empowering the ones who know their children best—parents—to choose the best educational options for their children. Research shows parents are more satisfied with their child’s education when they have the power to choose.
School choice options should be designed to give every child an opportunity to receive the best education possible. That is a 21st century vision for education reform.
Damning reports will show state schools in Birmingham are imposing Islamic practices
Teachers are to be sent on training programmes to help them stop extremism entering the classroom, as damning reports show that some state schools have been imposing Islamic practices and attitudes.
The reports are due to be published by the education watchdog Ofsted next week, after inspectors carried out emergency checks in 21 schools in Birmingham following complaints of homophobia, the segregation of boys and girls in some lessons, refusal to teach sex education, bullying and invitations to extremists to speak at assemblies.
It is understood six schools, including Park View Academy, have been placed in special measures after inspectors found worrying evidence of religious interference in the classroom.
According to The Sunday Times, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, will claim next week that children in Birmingham are being denied a “rounded education” to prepare them for life as British citizens.
The Ofsted boss is expected to warn the education secretary Michael Gove that his inspectors have found evidence of some governing bodies being dominated by individuals intent on changing the character of schools.
At Park View Academy, inspectors are understood to have found evidence of segregation of pupils and the omission of parts of GCSE syllabuses that were considered "un-Islamic".
However, Tahir Alam, chairman of governors at Park View and a governor at several of the other schools under investigation, has described the inquiry as a "witch-hunt".
Only two of the 21 schools are thought to have been given positive feedback.
According to a source at the Department for Education, some of the schools will be asked to attend training programmes designed to combat the problems.
Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, criticised what he described as “a worrying pattern of religious interference by governors, attempted hijacking of appointments, syllabus restrictions and cultural conformity".
Posted by jonjayray at 12:49 AM
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Obama’s racial profiling in the classroom
President Obama and his appointees are hailing this month’s 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark school-desegregation decision, Brown vs. Board of Education. Mr. Obama proclaimed that “we must continue striving toward equal opportunities for all our children” and “reaffirm our belief that all children deserve an education worthy of their promise.” However, thanks to Mr. Obama, black and Hispanic students are increasingly being stigmatized with lower expectations.
The Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 promised that all students would be proficient at reading and math by this year. Schools missed this utterly unrealistic goal by a country mile. The Obama administration set a lower target — pressuring states to create detailed plans to reduce by 50 percent the achievement gap between different races of students by later this decade. The feds have approved plans by 26 states that set lower achievement goals for black and Hispanic students, as Education Week reported.
States that fail to meet federal demands risk forfeiting billions of dollars in federal school subsidies for their schools. The federal Education Department approved Tennessee’s plan to raise the passing rate for English 2 courses for white students to 81.1 percent by 2017, while the passing rate for black students rises to only 63.9 percent. Kentucky pledged that for 2013, 56.2 percent of white elementary schoolchildren would read proficiently — and 34.8 percent of black children.
Florida’s official plan calls for 88 percent of white students to be able to read at grade level by 2017-18, while only 74 percent of black and 81 percent of Hispanic students are expected to reach the same level. The Florida PTA condemned the new scoring system in 2012: “By setting ethnicity-based goals, the door is open for continued discrimination.” Earlier this month, activists dropped off almost 6,000 petitions in Tallahassee, Fla., urging Gov. Rick Scott to abolish race-based education goals.
In most places, racial double scoring was quietly adapted as simply another bureaucratic finagling to keep federal cash flowing into state coffers. Elois Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, declared that there was “no way would these standards, which have racial overtones, be accepted if there had been an opportunity for public debate. Parents have no idea that their elected state education officials and the state superintendent of education are forcing different standards on their children based on their family income and race.”
The double standards also provoked an outcry in Virginia. State Sen. Mamie Locke, the chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, protested: “We believe that education is the ‘great equalizer’ in our society and that our system of public education must remain viable and strong. The state’s new system of benchmarks for performance is antithetical to this goal.” The state branch of the NAACP also denounced the new scoring regime.
The Education Department is requiring states to specify exactly how far each racial and ethnic group of students at each school will progress over the next several years. The spreadsheet for Washington state’s formal plan for each school contains more than 47,000 separate lines. This is a level of education planning akin to the Soviet central planners who pretended to foretell the yields for every crop on every collective farm in the next Five Year Plan. In the same way that collective farms submitted grossly exaggerated harvest data to Moscow, many local schools have been caught providing bogus test results to make it appear they are fulfilling the central education plan.
The new policy is replete with perverse incentives. Since the goal is to cut in half the achievement gap, the more that whites and Asians excel in reading and math, the more difficult it becomes to narrow the spread.
Mr. Obama has only been challenged once in public about his administration’s racial scoring mandate. NBC reporter Savannah Guthrie asked: “We have a situation in America, in 2012, where you have African-Americans expected not to reach the same level of proficiency as white in certain subjects. And I just wonder, on a gut level, does that bother you?” Mr. Obama replied: “Of course it bothers me … . We’re still going to disaggregate the information about black, white and Hispanic kids, to make sure that everybody’s moving. But moving toward this growth model of how you measure the job that a school’s doing gives every school an opportunity to continually improve without labeling them as failures, and then not giving them the resources that they need to actually step up.” Since the reporter merely asked Mr. Obama how he felt about the double standards and failed to ask any follow-up questions, the president slid by with a flurry of empty phrases.
If Lester Maddox — one of the most racist governors in the 1960s — had officially announced lower learning goals for blacks in Georgia’s schools, he would have been tarred by every editorial page north of the Mason-Dixon Line. However, when Mr. Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan strongarm states to set lower goals for blacks and Hispanics, there is scant protest from respectable venues. Because it is a given that they could not have bad motives, their policies received little or no scrutiny.
Federally mandated racial profiling in the schools is a giant step backward for America. Proclaiming a goal of reducing the achievement gap is no excuse to codify lower expectations for black and Hispanic students. It would be far better for policymakers to recognize that students are individuals instead of pigeonholing them into groups with vastly different expectations.
Louisiana Booting Abortion Business From Schools
Louisiana, with Governor Bobby Jindal behind the wheel, has taken the lead on education by championing school choice for parents and children and creating innovative programs that allow students to focus on practical skills they can use to find jobs in the real world.
Now, the Pelican State is again proving it’s the model for how schools should operate - including who they shouldn’t let past the front doors:
“HB 305 provides that no representative of a business or organization that performs abortion may provide instruction in schools that receive state funding,” Louisiana Right to Life says. “This will ensure that organizations with financial interest in abortion, like Planned Parenthood, cannot teach children.”
Dorinda Bordlee, senior counsel with Bioethics Defense Fund, who has drafted other pro-life bills for Louisiana, explained why this new legislation is a necessity:
“Louisiana families should know that their children aren’t be targeted by groups that have financial incentives to subtly sell abortion and other irresponsible behavior that is dangerous to the health and safety of children,” she said. She said pro-life groups should work to “stop abortion organizations from accessing school children.”
This bill should be common sense for any state. People who work for an organization that performs abortions have no business “instructing” children when they don’t understand basic science: life begins at conception.
Gov. Jindal is expected to sign this legislation once it hits his desk.
Teen girl Lindsey Stocker takes on Beaconsfield High School in Quebec over ‘short shorts’
A 17-YEAR-OLD girl who was suspended from her school for refusing to change out of short shorts has started a social media campaign calling on people not to shame girls for their bodies.
Lindsey Stocker, who attends Year 11 at Beaconsfield High School in Quebec, was singled out in class last month because her shorts did not adhere to the school’s dress code.
Those rules include “no short shorts, halter tops, tube tops, bikini tops or excessive cleavage.”
“In front of all my peers and my teacher they said I had to change,” Lindsey told the National Post . “And when I said no they said I was making a bad choice. They kept shaking their heads. In front of everybody.”
“They continued to tell me would be suspended if I didn’t start following the rules. When I told them I didn’t understand why I had to change they told me that it doesn’t matter — I don’t have to understand the rules, I just have to comply by them,” she said.
However Lindsey was not about to be shamed for what she was wearing and went and printed out 20 posters which she plastered around school.
“Don’t humiliate her because she is wearing shorts. It’s hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects,” it read.
While the posters were taken down within 10 minutes they started being noticed on Twitter and Facebook.
The chairman of the Lester B Pearson School Board told CJAD News that Lindsey has been suspended for not following the rules. “The rules are there to help the children learn and prepare them for their future work places, high school is a job for them, they are there to learn to function in society, so it’s important that the rules be followed,” Susanne Stein Day said. “Girls and boys have rules on dress codes; it is not a girl, boy thing, that’s not the point.”
And "Befehl ist Befehl", I guess
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Liberals Recognize Conservative Suppression On College Campuses
All along Young America’s Foundation has said that college campuses nationwide seem to be less and less objective—well now even Michael Bloomberg agrees. At a commencement ceremony at Harvard yesterday, Bloomberg stated that colleges are supposed to be a place where students learn how to think, not where they are told what to think.
Just last week, Young America’s Foundation released its 22nd annual “Commencement Speakers Survey” which reveals that 43 liberal speakers and only 9 conservatives are scheduled to speak or have already spoken at this year’s commencement ceremonies at America’s top 100 colleges. Campuses are using commencement addresses as the last and final push to indoctrinate young impressionable minds.
It is important to note that Young America’s Foundation has always advocated for both sides to be presented on campuses—not one side over the other. We frequently hear from students about how they feel as though their free speech rights are suppressed on campus and 52% said that professors often do not present alternative viewpoints when there are different sides to an issue.
Colleges and universities should be places of tolerance for all opinions not just liberal viewpoints. Recently we have seen disgusting examples of intolerance from the Left when it comes to pro-life stances and pro-second amendment opinions. Conservative students have a right to expression just like liberal students do, but it is entirely unfair for conservative viewpoints to be suppressed.
A recent poll conducted by Young America’s Foundation found that 75% of graduating college seniors noted that they were required to take diversity courses, race & ethnicity courses, or feminist/women’s studies courses in order to graduate. When viewing the content of these courses it is clear that many of these courses are not being taught objectively but rather with a liberal bias. Why is it that these courses are being required and not just offered as electives? Also, where are the conservative courses?
It’s worth noting that campus “sensitivity” trainings are on the rise yet intolerance only seems to grow toward conservative students. Students are now being asked or required in some cases to “check their privilege” at the door because every student should be on equal footing.
We are living in a politically correct environment and college and university campuses are where it starts and begins. Bloomberg’s comments are worth applauding because at least he is able to recognize the growing intolerance toward conservative ideas on campuses especially when it comes to commencement addresses.
Bonfire of 'soft' High School subjects in Britain: Media studies, astronomy and tourism could be axed in bid to make qualification more rigorous
GCSEs in ‘soft subjects’ such as film studies and leisure and tourism could face the axe in an overhaul of exams.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has already toughened up English and maths qualifications, as well as modern languages, history, geography and the sciences.
Exams watchdog Ofqual is now drawing up rigorous guidelines which could cull ‘easier’ GCSEs in hospitality and catering and health and social care.
It will publish a consultation paper this week on strict new criteria for subjects to attain GCSE status after 2016, calling for more stringent content and assessment.
Many GCSEs could be axed or have to be reclassified as vocational qualifications if they do not meet the standards. It is understood as many as 20 subjects from a list of about 58 GCSEs are under threat.
An insider at one exam board said some courses are more ‘vocational and practical than academic’, adding: ‘The question will be asked of each one, “Why is this a GCSE?”.’
Figures show that the number of pupils taking leisure and tourism GCSEs this summer is 7,461 – a 120 per cent rise compared to the previous year. In 2013, more than two-thirds of students achieved at least a grade C in the subject.
Last summer’s exam included the question: ‘Old Trafford is the home of Manchester United Football Club. 'This is an example of a major sports venue. Name one other example of a major sports venue.’
Health and social care GCSEs are being studied by 18,193 pupils this year, up 44 per cent on 2013 when more than half scored a C or above.
Questions in recent years have included: ‘Starting school is associated with which life stage? Middle adulthood, early childhood, adolescence or puberty.’
Exams watchdog Ofqual is now drawing up rigorous guidelines which could cull easier GCSEs in subjects including hospitality and catering. File picture
Tougher GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths are being introduced in 2015, followed by history, geography, the sciences and languages in 2016.
Reformed GCSEs will also be launched that year in art and design, music, drama and dance as well as citizenship, IT, design and technology, PE and religious studies.
An Ofqual spokesman said yesterday: ‘We’re going to be looking at what we think the GCSE should be and what requirements it should have ... exam boards will in future have to meet these requirements. ‘If they don’t, [the subjects] won’t continue to be GCSEs.’
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘All GCSEs should be made as rigorous and demanding as the ones we are reforming.
'We are not seeking to axe particular subjects, but they will all have to demonstrate they meet the same high standards if they are to continue.’
Britain pushes for rules that force foreign students to return home once their studies are completed after Mail revealed around 100,000 stay on after graduating
Theresa May is pushing for new rules that will force colleges to ensure foreign students go home after completing their courses, it was reported yesterday.
The Home Secretary’s call follows fresh evidence, revealed by the Daily Mail last week, which shows that around 100,000 foreign students each year fail to return to their home countries once their studies are over.
A letter from Mrs May called for ‘decisive action to protect the integrity of the system and the reputation of our education sector’.
However, her attempt to make universities and colleges responsible is understood to have met fierce opposition from vice-chancellors and Coalition colleagues.
Universities Minister David Willetts is said to be sympathetic to the colleges’ pleas that they cannot be held responsible for the behaviour of students over whom they have no powers.
Migrants who come to study here from outside Europe are a lucrative source of earnings for universities, which can charge them up to triple the £9,000 fees charged to those from Britain and the EU.
Although the number of visas issued to non-EU foreign students has fallen since 2011 – when regulations were tightened up – government surveys suggest that a large number continue to come to Britain and not leave.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 145,000 non-EU students arrived here in 2012. Yet last year, only 50,000 non-EU students returned to their home countries.
Mrs May told Cabinet colleagues in March that she wanted new pressure on foreign students to obey the rules, following evidence of bogus courses and of students working for five-figure salaries and claiming benefits.
Ideas put forward included curbs on students bringing in dependants, sanctions against institutions which allow students to break the rules, and a requirement for universities to co-operate with immigration officers to ensure students return home.
Among open Tory opponents is former Foreign Office minister Lord Howell of Guildford, who is also the father-in-law of Chancellor George Osborne.
He said earlier this year that ‘being open for business means we’ve got to welcome the right people, including a lot of students and brilliant skilled people who add to our power in the world’.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:35 AM
Monday, June 02, 2014
Public School Kids Rebel Against Michelle Obama's Healthy School Lunches As First Daughters Get Meatball Subs, Ice Cream
I know, the last thing you’d expect from the Obamas is hypocrisy. Alas, I bring you yet another example, this time regarding school lunches. First Lady Michelle Obama has been widely criticized among hungry students across the U.S., a result of school meal nutrition standards that she successfully lobbied for in 2010. Twitchy has done a great job capturing the reactions and photos to some of these lunches and it’s not pretty (click here, here, and here for examples). But CNS News decided to dig a little deeper. What exactly are Michelle O’s daughters eating at lunch? Is it in any way comparable to the lunches in our nation’s public schools? Obviously, the answer is no:
With public school students using #ThanksMichelleto tweet photos of their skimpy, stomach-turning school lunches, I decided to look at what Michelle Obama's daughters are served at Sidwell Friends school, and it turns out the girls dine on lunches from menus designed by chefs.
While the Obama daughters have enjoyed dishes like chicken coconut soup, local butternut squash soup, crusted tilapia,they also get their fill of what Mrs. Obama might consider junk food.
This week, for example, they'll enjoy meatball subs, BBQ wings, and ice cream, in addition to chicken curry, deviled egg salad and the intriguing "Chef's Choice."
Sidwell Friends has even been rated the #1 School Lunch program in America.
House Republicans have a new bill that addresses the concerns schools have about the lunch program, such as its cost and restrictiveness. Naturally, the first lady attacked the effort on Tuesday, calling it “unacceptable.” The nation is facing a “health crisis,” she insisted, and “the last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with kids’ health.”
Michelle Obama Pens NYT Editorial, Defends School Lunch Program
First Lady Michelle Obama defended her school lunch program in an op-ed published in the New York Times Wednesday. It was well-timed, considering angry children are tweeting relentlessly about their small and limited lunch options:
Obama’s primary pitch for the program was not an appeal to effective policy-making or good governance, but rather, an appeal to science. Obama correctly stated that “less sugar, salt and fat” in a child’s diet improves overall health. No one is denying this fact, and it is wonderful to allow children the option of serving themselves up a plate of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, mandating what a child eats for five out of the average 21 meals a week they consume is neither effective nor good-policy making.
The problem with the op-ed was, primarily, that it didn’t address the issue: government overreach:
"Right now, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars. Now, there is nothing wrong with potatoes. The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. That’s why the Institute of Medicine — the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC — has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program."
Potatoes? Really? It isn’t as though they are buying cigarettes or alcohol.
A recent investigation by NBC4 in Washington, D.C. found that more than 60,000 low-income children have actually been skipping lunch:
"Food service directors in Montgomery, Prince George’s, Frederick and Prince William county schools said newer, stiffer federal requirements for school lunch menus are contributing to the shortfall of student participation in lunch programs. A review by the Government Accountability Office said newly imposed federal rules, requiring healthier food options, can increase cost and decrease portion size. The report from the GAO said, in multiple school districts, “Negative student reactions to lunches that complied with the new meat and grain portion size limits directly affected program participation in their districts.”
So what is the solution to getting kids to eat healthy? Parents have been struggling with this problem for ages.
Stagnation Nation? High School Seniors’ Results on Nation’s Report Card Didn’t Budge
The U.S. Department of Education recently released grade 12 results in reading and math from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. In a nutshell, performance stayed largely unchanged from the 2009 assessment. What’s more, experts worry that students are graduating largely unprepared for college or the workplace.
Alarming majorities of students are not proficient in reading and math. In math, just over one in four students scored proficient in math (26 percent); while less than two out of five students scored proficient in reading (38 percent). Across student racial sub-groups, less than 50 percent of students reached proficiency in reading and math.
The 2013 NAEP assessment is a nationally representative sample of 92,000 students from public and private schools in 13 states that participated.
Reaction to the results was grim. As Liz Klimas reported for The Blaze:
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement that even though there has been some good news related to graduation rates and scores in younger grades, high school achievement has been flat in recent years. ‘We must reject educational stagnation in our high schools, and as a nation we must do better for all students, especially for African-American and Latino students,’ Duncan said. The results come as community colleges and four-year institutions try to improve remedial education programs, given that only about one-quarter of students who take a remedial class graduate. It’s estimated that more than one-third of all college students, and more than one-half in community colleges, need some remedial help, according to research from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. [See here.]
The disappointing grade 12 NAEP results come on the heels of a report last month that American high school graduation rates reached an historic high of 80 percent. Some experts speculate that this disconnect is the result of watered down classes and grade inflation, which make it easier for students to get high school diplomas but more difficult for them to do well on objective standardized tests because they don’t have a solid academic foundation.
But there is good news. A variety of parental choice programs are helping some 1.5 million students attend schools of their parents’ choice. Specifically, close to 850,000 families in seven states are benefiting from education tax credits and deductions that help them pay out-of-pocket tuition for private schools. More than 300,000 students are also attending private schools through 41 parental choice programs in 22 states.
U.S. Department of Education analyses have shown “that students who had attended private school in eighth grade were twice as likely as those who had attended public school to have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree by their mid-20s (52 versus 26 percent)” (p. 24). Importantly, students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (referred to as socioeconomic status or SES) who had attended private schools in eighth grade were more than three times as likely as their public school peers to have earned a bachelor’s degree by their mid-twenties (24 versus 7 percent) (p. 24). Based on its ongoing reviews, the U.S. Department of Education summarized, “For the past 30 years, NAEP has reported that students in private schools outperform students in public schools” (p.2).
Available NAEP results for grades 4, 8, and 12 over the past decade reveal students attending private schools outperform their public school peers overall by as much as two grade levels, depending on the subject. Likewise, low-income and minority students also outperform their public school peers by as much as two and a half grade levels (pp. 19-23).
Gold-standard research of parental choice programs confirms that participating students, the overwhelming majority of whom are from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, have higher academic achievement, high school graduation rates, and college-enrollment rates than their public school peers. A significant body of additional scientific research confirms those findings.
Parental choice programs also save money (pp. 29-31), and introduce powerful competitive pressure for public schools to perform better. In fact, in areas where public schools face competition for students from private and other types of schools, student achievement improves (see, for example, here and here).
Letting parents choose the education options they believe work best for their children is a tried and true way of overcoming academic stagnation and setting students up for success. Rather than limiting education options, policymakers should be expanding them.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:42 AM
Sunday, June 01, 2014
Walter E. Williams
What would you think if your 8-year-old came home and told you that "white privilege is something that white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things and they can get a job more easily"? You would have heard that at the recent 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, attended by 2,500 public-school teachers, administrators and students from across the nation.
The average parent has no idea of the devious indoctrination going on in classrooms in many public schools. What follows are some of the lessons of the conference.
In one of the workshops, "Examining White Privilege and Building Foundations for Social Justice Thinking in the Elementary Classroom," educators Rosemary Colt and Diana Reeves told how teachers can "insert social justice, anti-racist information" into their lessons that "even little kids" can understand.
Kim Radersma, a former high-school English teacher, hosted a session titled "Stories from the front lines of education: Confessions of a white, high school English teacher." She said that teaching is a purely political act and that neutral people should "get the f--- out of education." She also explained: "Being a white person who does anti-racist work is like being an alcoholic. I will never be recovered by my alcoholism, to use the metaphor. I have to every day wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply embedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose every day to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way."
But the propaganda and lunacy go even deeper. Jacqueline Battalora, professor of sociology and criminal justice at Saint Xavier University, informed conference participants that "white people did not exist before 1681. Again, white people did not exist on planet earth until 1681." That's truly incredible. If Professor Battalora is correct, how are we to identify William Shakespeare (1564), Sir Isaac Newton (1642), John Locke (1632), Leonardo da Vinci (1452) and especially dear Plato (428 B.C.)? Were these men people of color, or did they not exist?
John A. Powell, a University of California, Berkeley law professor, told his audience, "And right now, I'm going to suggest to you that race is driving almost everything that's happening in the country." He explained the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans by saying, "They took money away from protecting the levees because the levees were protecting black people."
Stephanie Baran's message to conference participants was that capitalism is the cause of racism in the world today. This adjunct professor at Kankakee Community College, who calls herself a vulgar Marxist, added that racism was invented in Colonial America by white capitalists as a tool to divide labor and keep the working class in their place.
Educator Paul Kivel explained what he sees as Christian hegemony, saying, "Very simply, I define it as the everyday pervasive, deep-seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites."
Speaker Leonard Zeskind -- according to the MacIver Institute, which covered the event -- explained that "the longer you are in the tea party the more racist you become." He added, "Parents put their kids in private schools because they're racist."
University of Iowa Professor Adrien Wing gave some of her observations about white privilege, asking, "Does having a black president change that? Has it changed that? Unfortunately, it hasn't. ... (President Obama) ends up being the front man for the system. ... He works for the master of the system of white privilege."
I can't imagine people being stupid enough to believe all that was said at the White Privilege Conference. There's something else at work. I think it's white guilt. That's why, for almost three decades, there has appeared on my website a certificate of amnesty and pardon that I've granted to Americans of European ancestry in the hope that they stop feeling guilty and stop acting like fools.
I will send my children private if I can't get them into a grammar [selective school]
The latest row to embroil the Education Secretary, Michael Gove - whether he did or didn’t want Of Mice and Men taken off the GCSE syllabus - took me juddering back to my schooldays.
That slender volume was a standard text at my comprehensive. I’d always had the suspicion that, being a novella, it was chosen because it was easier to read than, say, a weighty Dickens tome. And far easier to teach, too, when it was common for staff to spend up to two-thirds of a 50-minute lesson performing crowd control.
But reading Steinbeck was a tremendous leap forward from the texts I’d been given in my pre-GCSE year. Aged 14, I was staggered to be handed a brightly-coloured Roald Dahl book. Now I had adored and devoured Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - but at the age of seven. At 14, I craved something a little more challenging.
My comp, in rural Suffolk, wasn’t even particularly bog-standard. But it suffered, like so many mixed-ability schools, from the crushing and pervasive air of mediocrity. Poverty of ambition was the norm.
When my mother asked if I could sit an extra GCSE, in music, with the support of that teacher (I played two instruments to Grade VIII level, but had wanted to focus on languages), she was slapped down by the headmistress. “We do nine GCSEs here,” she was told. “There is no reason for anyone to do more.”
At 16 my parents got me into a girls’ grammar, over the border in Essex - one of the 14 local authorities in England that still operates a selective system. It was the biggest shock of my life.
No one did nine GCSEs there — 12, 13, 14, even 15 was not unusual. And the subjects! They studied Latin, Classics, even Mandarin. Shakespeare was on the curriculum from start. At my comp, Macbeth didn’t crop up until the final year.
Suddenly, the world was full of clever girls all gunning for places at top universities. Academic prowess was something to be envied and emulated. Most refreshingly of all, there was no disruption to lessons.
Since then, I’ve watched the attacks on grammar schools over the years with bemusement, frustration and growing anger. Last year Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw declared that they “failed to improve social mobility”. Really, Michael? Grammar schools are - sorry, that should be were - the reason a grocer’s daughter from the Midlands ended up in Number 10. Those who bemoan that the Cabinet is a cabal of ex-public schoolboys would do well to remember that.
The latest attack this week comes in the form of a study by academics from Bristol, Bath and London. They have found that grammar school pupils go on to earn more than their peers at comprehensives. Grammars, they say, create “an unequal society”, the implication being that they are a Bad Thing.
Twenty years on from studying Of Mice and Men, I see that “unequal society” in action all the time. The CVs I receive from young people who’ve attended comprehensives are invariably so badly punctuated that they go straight in the bin. One grammar school-educated friend, a barrister, would dearly love to give the annual pupillage at his chambers to someone from a state school. But when they so often lack the poise, confidence and oratory skills of their public school peers, that just isn’t possible.
The clamour for grammar school places has never been greater. My alma mater, Colchester County High School for Girls, received around six applicants per place when I was a child. Now, it is closer to 20. Last December 2,600 parents in Sevenoaks, Kent signed a petition demanding the creation of a new academically selective school in the town. But the school was blocked because it failed to clear legal obstacles put in place by the last Labour government.
The solution to improving social mobility, which shuddered to a halt some time ago in this country, is not, as the head of Ofsted would have it, to stymie the creation of more grammar schools. Far from it: let us have one in every town. But nor must children be written off at 11 as was so horribly common in the days of secondary moderns; standards must improve throughout the system.
Our neighbours in London have just sold up and moved to a village near Tunbridge Wells. They have no particular links or affinity with that town but, with two young children, they have been lured there by its excellent grammars.
With a new baby, my husband and I may be following them in a few years. Otherwise, we’ve agreed that we will have to pay.
We are extraordinarily fortunate that we are able to do so. That is what a grammar school education does for you.
100,000 foreign students go missing every year: College leavers from [South] Asia thought to be living on in Britain illegally
As many as 100,000 foreign students a year are thought to be staying on in Britain illegally after completing academic courses here.
The students – believed to be mostly from the Indian sub-continent – come to Britain to attend universities and colleges, according to official immigration figures.
But the Government’s tracking system has failed to find evidence that they ever left the country.
The missing thousands have been detected at a time when numbers of student visas and student entrants to the country from outside Europe have been scaled down steeply as part of the Coalition’s drive to reduce immigration to 1990s levels.
Some 177,000 people moved to Britain for long-term study last year, down from 246,000 in 2011.
But there is now growing evidence that many of the students who came into the country in recent years never left.
The MigrationWatch think-tank called on ministers to set up an inquiry into what has happened to the missing students and to trace those still living in the country as illegal immigrants.
Office for National Statistics records show that last year 50,000 people from outside the EU who came to Britain to study returned home, but the numbers leaving fall far short of those arriving as students.
According to the ONS breakdown 145,000 non-EU students came to Britain in 2012; 185,000 in 2011; 186,000 in 2010; and 167,000 in 2009.
Most came from India and other south Asian countries. Numbers of students from China are thought to have grown to be the largest national contingent last year.
The student gap has opened up at a time when the focus of immigration concerns has switched largely to migrants from Europe, and the probability of a new wave of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria – whose citizens won the right to work freely in Britain at the start of the year.
Some of the growing attention to immigration and its effects is now likely to switch to arrivals from outside the EU and the numbers of students, whose arrival and departure is under the control of Home Secretary Theresa May.
Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch said: ‘It is very significant that the number of non-EU students recorded as departing last year was only 50,000, compared to an average inflow over the last five years of 155,000.
‘This suggests that students staying on legally or otherwise comprise a major part of net migration. This issue of the missing students is one that absolutely must now be tackled.
‘The education industry is in denial. Whatever the benefits of genuine students, which we all accept, it is absolutely absurd to accept near to 200,000 a year with no effective checks on their departure.’
In The National Audit Office is to investigate claims that private universities are giving taxpayer-funded loans to thousands of students who don’t go to class.
Students have allegedly been claiming money without proper proof of UK residence following government reforms which allow private college students to claim maintenance loans and grants of up to £11,000 a year.
Colleges can receive £6,000 in tuition fees for each student enrolled.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:55 AM