Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Half of the new British Cabinet went to Oxford or Cambridge
Admission to Oxbridge is very competitive so there is no doubt that they get the best minds there. And it is no mystery that the best minds rise to the top of most heaps
According to details published today by the Sutton Trust, half of David Cameron's new Cabinet were privately educated. This is in comparison with 7 per cent of the general population.
Furthemore, of the 28 new Cabinet ministers, 50 per cent went to Oxbridge. This compares with 32 per cent of backbench Conservative MPs in the 2015 Parliament, and 26 per cent of all MPs, according to the education foundation.
While the figures suggest that Cabinet ministers are now seven times more likely to have gone to a fee-paying school, the research reveals that the proportion of independently educated ministers is less than that of the previous Cabinet in 2010, which stood at 62 per cent.
Furthermore, 43 per cent of the new Cabinet were educated in comprehensive state schools, a doubling from 21 per cent in 2010.
Commenting on the report, Dr Lee Elliot Major, Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, welcomed the increase in comprehensive educated cabinet ministers, but said more could still be done to increase social mobility.
”Parliament and Government should represent society. The best people should be able to become ministers, regardless of social background.
"It is good to see more comprehensive educated cabinet ministers, reflecting the schools attended by 90 per cent of children. But with half of the Cabinet still independently educated and half having been to Oxbridge, today’s figures remind us how important it is that we do more to increase levels of social mobility and make sure that bright young people from low and middle income backgrounds have access to the best schools and the best universities.”
MassResistance hammers Education Committee at public hearing on “student survey” bill
Outrageous issue reported on Boston TV, radio, & across the Internet
Legislators in the Massachusetts State House were stunned and shocked when confronted by parents from MassResistance at a public hearing on May 6 of the Joint Education Committee.
The hearing room was packed with a lot of left-wing special interest groups pushing various school bills. [All photos from MassResistance]
Parents came to demand passage of Bill H382 – to protect school children from obscene, sexually graphic, psychologically intrusive surveys conducted by the public schools without parents’ knowledge. These surveys also ask youth to reveal their criminal activity, personal family matters, and other intimate issues. (See our detailed report here.) Our bill was filed in the Massachusetts Legislature in January by MassResistance with an equal number of Democrat and Republican co-sponsors.
The issue has become so incendiary that the local Boston Fox TV and National Public Radio affiliate came to the public hearing to cover it (see below). It’s also been reported in national conservative news websites including Breitbart.com, ConservativePost.com, numerous blogs, and even TheFirearmsForum.com. At the hearing one Education Committee member, a State Rep who immigrated from Cambodia, compared it to what he experienced living in a communist country.
Unwavering testimony before the Committee
The parents were resolute, expressing their outrage before the Committee. In particular, they focused on the state-run “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” given to schoolchildren in middle schools and high schools.
Highlights of the testimony include:
From testimony by Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance:
I’d like to read just a few questions from the survey. This was given to students in middle schools and high schools. “How old are you?” The answers range from 12 years old to 18 years old. “How old were you when you had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal) for the first time?” The possible answers are "never" and 11 through 17. “In the past three months how many people have you had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal)?” The possible answers range from 0 to 6. “In the past 30 days how many days did you carry a weapon?” “In the past 30 days what’s the largest number of drinks you had in a 4-hour period?” Answers range from 1 or 2, to 10 or more. There are questions about suicide, illegal drugs, and even whether your parents text while driving.
The questions were written and the surveys are conducted in a completely unscientific manner. And because of the nature of the questions kids may lie and exaggerate. And let’s be honest: These surveys are used by special interest groups to lobby for funding.
Nobody cares how it affects the mental outlook of a child, or what a child pictures in his mind when he reads these questions.
From testimony by Jayme Allan, mother of two children in public school:
At the end of a long attachment to an email I received from the school, it said there was a survey developed by the state, and if you choose you can contact us.
I am a stay-at-home mother of two teenage children. But typically there’s either a single parent that’s working or both parents are working. We get many, many emails. Most parents aren’t going to go the extra mile and even open the attachment, and then contact the school. We trust that the schools will keep our children safe. Not just physically safe but emotionally and psychologically safe.
I have a little more time than most. I actually asked for a copy of the survey. I was shocked. I was sick to my stomach. There are 88 questions. There are five questions about “Have you tried to commit suicide.” Some kids struggle with depression. After that kind of experience, they’d need to see a psychologist. That’s going to stir up things, and most parents aren’t even aware it’s being stirred up. There are questions on “anal sex, do you use condoms, drugs, etc.” These questions don’t say “if you …”. They say “when you …” To have a flood of these questions – is normalizing this kind of behavior.
I don’t know who these people are who are doing this in our schools and accessing our children. Who gave these people the authority? Instead of “opt out" this should be "opt-in."
From testimony by Lakeilia Johnson, mother of two children in public school:
My son has not had sex. He doesn’t know about anal or oral anything. He does not know what cocaine is. And that’s on the survey as well. He does not know what heroin is. This is teaching our kids things that they don’t even know. This is something that I should talk to my kids about. It’s not appropriate for schools to make that decision without my knowledge.
Most of the Education Committee members, certainly the very liberal co-chairmen, were probably aware of the existence of the survey, and likely some were aware of the graphic nature of it. But they had never been confronted quite like this.
Both are committed leftists who generally support the radical agendas. But this seemed to get to them.
State Rep: "This is what they did at a communist country"
Newly elected State Rep. Rady Mom (D-Lowell), an immigrant from Cambodia who had been sent to a Khmer Rouge camp with his family as a young boy, was particularly shocked at the testimony, and said to one of the mothers after she spoke:
I’m just thinking of the questions being asked and I’m saying to myself, wow, this is what they did at a communist country where I just came from. This is amazing. This is what they’re trying to accomplish at our schools? I will look into it more. Thanks for coming.
Sandstone bubble-wrapped moral panic a frightening force to see
The "sandstone" universities are old and the nearest Australia has to an Ivy League. Uni. W.A. is one of them
Who does Paul Johnson think he is? The University of Western Australia’s vice-chancellor or something? It must have been something of a shock for Johnson to discover that despite what it says on his business card, he doesn’t actually run the university.
The withdrawal of UWA’s offer to host Bjorn Lomborg’s Australian Consensus think tank offers an insight into the ungovernable, undisciplined and unenlightened world of the modern university. Real authority within does not reside with its appointed executives. It derives from a mandate from the masses, like the autonomous collective King Arthur encounters in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
One imagines Graham Chapman as Arthur reining in his steed on Stirling Highway and pointing at the vice-chancellery cloisters: “Please, good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?
Woman: No one lives there.
Arthur: Then who is your lord?
Woman: We do not have a lord … we are an anarcho-syndicalist commune.
The objects of the Python satire were the dreamers of the early 1970s, a ragged group dedicated to overturning the cultural hegemony that legitimised capitalism. Today’s utopians are defenders of a new culture that maintains the doctrines of sustainability and social inclusion, and enforces the rules of political correctness on Australian campuses.
The old Left presumed to represent the workers. The new Left claims to defend stakeholders, community leaders and expert opinion.
Johnson’s mistake, they say, was to stitch up a deal with Lomborg’s think tank without consulting “key stakeholders”. He was naive to expect the deal would stick without the approval of Ray Willis, for example, an adjunct professor in something or other who The Sydney Morning Herald says has been “a spokesman for the university on climate change issues for the past seven years”.
Older alumni will be surprised to learn that the university now has a spokesman on the science of climate or indeed anything else. Does UWA also have an official stance on say, dark matter, or does it allow other multidimensional theories to be aired?
Could a student major in nonsymmetric gravitational theory without being branded a heretic?
In climate science the orthodoxy prevails and Willis — not, it should be noted, a full-time member of any faculty — is one of its many enforcers. “The appointment tarnishes the reputation of the university,” he told the Herald. “It’s like appointing Brian Burke to look after your economics.”
The sad truth is that Lomborg would be a misfit on almost every contemporary Australian campus. His dispassionate, empirical approach to economics and public policy fell out of favour some time ago. Lomborg is further handicapped by incurable optimism, confidence in free markets, his belief in the benefits of trade and his benign view of corporations.
Unfashionably, he adopts the classical liberal view of scientific, technological and industrial progress which he regards as the solution, not the cause, of humanity’s problems.
In short, Lomborg is temperamentally ill-suited to contemporary academe, a fact the hipness of his T-shirts was never going to hide. He is cursed with an open mind that makes him reluctant to bow to conventional wisdom, as a successful academic must.
Conventional wisdom has become synonymous with sound scholarship making its position impregnable. The scholar of conventional wisdom, wrote John Kenneth Galbraith, “walks near the head of the academic professions; he appears on symposia; he is a respected figure at the Council on Foreign Relations; he is hailed at testimonial banquets”.
The sceptic, on the other hand, is disqualified since “were he a sound scholar, he would remain with the conventional wisdom”.
Today’s intellectual dissenters become the object of witch-hunts pursued with medieval fury.
There has been no attempt to explain why the centre’s intention to compare the costs and benefits of development goals was a bad thing. There was no need: this was an inquisition, not an inquiry.
The protocol of academic discourse is ignored; argumentation has been replaced with accusation; disputation has given way to denunciation.
Among those overjoyed with the backdown is Guild of Students president Lizzy O’Shea, who was elected last year on a platform that included free premium Wi-Fi and “a long-term vision for catering”.
“It’s a really good sign as far as community action goes that if enough people have mobilised against something, and don’t support it, that people will change their minds,” she told the ABC.
O’Shea claims “students, staff and alumni alike are outraged” that the university would flirt with a man such as Lomborg. But how do we know? There has been no plebiscite or indeed anything approaching an open discussion.
We are told that the 150-seat venue for a staff protest meeting was full. “Others (were) turned away because of health and safety concerns,” the Herald reported.
OH&S notwithstanding, one assumes the other 1400 academics on UWA’s books had better things to do than join the posse against a mild-mannered, quirky Dane.
Many, one suspects, would have been cowered into silence, as dissenters frequently are. Moral panic, incubated in the bubble-wrapped, navel-gazing environment of a comfortably endowed sandstone university, is a frightening force.
Whatever the objections to the Lomborg centre, this is not the way that reasonable people behave. Nor does it assist the growth of knowledge. “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race,” John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty, a text that is no doubt thick with dust in the UWA library.
“If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
A crusade that was supposed to protect UWA’s standing has ended up by damaging the institution’s reputation more than these deluded vigilantes will ever know.
Its consequences for the reputation of Australian universities in general are dire.
If a liberal-minded institution such as UWA can be captured by the forces of unreason, what hope is there for the rest of them?
Posted by jonjayray at 12:56 AM