Monday, August 31, 2015

Jeb's College Plan Even Worse Than What He Recently Decried

If presidential contender Jeb Bush is looking to improve his standing among wary conservatives, his newest “idea” isn’t the way to do it. Let’s review: In January’s State of the Union, Barack Obama pitched a “free” community college plan, which Democrats quickly abandoned thanks to an upswell of negative feedback, including from Mr. Bush. During a visit to New Hampshire in April, Bush criticized the proposal, rightly opining, “The idea of giving something free — it’s political. It’s poll driven. Someone did a focus group. Free stuff. Free community colleges, it’s a great sound bite.”

So it’s a little strange — no, contradictory — that he embraced this week a plan that’s adopted straight from Obama’s “great sound bite.” The Hill reports, “Jeb Bush threw his support behind a Tennessee plan to give two years of community college to students tuition-free on Monday, the same plan that helped inspire President Obama’s similar proposal earlier this year.” Said the governor, “There are great programs around the country — one of the ones I most admire is a project called Tennessee Promise, where every student that participates gets their community college education, at least for the first two years, debt free, free of tuition.” The cherry on top? “If kids can’t graduate with a four-year degree in four years, there ought to be some payback to their families or to them, or there’s got to be some support for the loans they’ve taken out,” he continued (emphasis added). It’s one thing to flip-flop and side with Obama’s disastrous policies; it’s quite another to make them appear somewhat preferable in contrast.

Earlier this month Hillary Clinton unveiled her own plan to tackle sticker shock that — similar to the plans above —involves redistributing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer revenue. Bush could learn a lesson or two from his Florida colleague and campaign rival Marco Rubio, who instead advocates a free market-based platform to lower tuition costs. “When Bush proposes policies like this, it’s no wonder why Republicans haven’t won a presidential election since 2004,” notes Hot Air’s Taylor Millard. Meanwhile, back in New Hampshire, Bush boasted of his “I’m-not-kidding conservative record.” He’s got to do better than embrace Big Government-sponsored boondoggles if wants to take the reins in the White House.


Maryland College Blocks Conservative Civics Club

A college student in Maryland has been denied permission to start a conservative civics club.

Moriah DeMartino, an incoming freshman at Hagerstown Community College (HCC) in Maryland, wanted to start a Turning Point USA club. Turning Point is a non-partisan organization that teaches the Constitution and advocates free markets and limited government.

The request was denied. Heather Barnhart, HCC’s club and student organization advisor, told DeMartino that a Turning Point club could only be started is a Democratic club was also launched. Barnhart also said that the school already has a Political Science Club, and their policy is not to allow clubs that “duplicate the purpose and mission of existing clubs.”

The college allows various clubs, including a chapter of the National Organization of Women. DeMartino released the following statement:

"The college is attempting to handle this situation professionally. However, with that being said, I do feel that my right as a student activist is being denied in an unfair manner. There are other groups on campus that have a clear bias in their views, with no groups that have opposing views to them, so why is my club being denied?"



Three current articles below:

Does Australia have poor quality teachers?

In its amusing Leftist way, "New Matilda" has broached this question.  Conservative State and Federal politicians have said that the quality of teaching in Australian schools needs to be raised and this has aroused "New Matilda" ire.  So I read the characteristically long-winded article concerned right through looking for contrary evidence.  There was none. It was just a very wordy fulmination.  It was just an outpouring of rage, as one expects from Leftists. I reproduce some of it below.

Most amusing of all, they DO look at the evidence on one thing:  The policy of the last Labour government of giving every child a laptop computer.  So this wonderful Leftist idea worked wonders? No. They quite fairly point out that it did no good at all!

So are there any scholarly comments or constuctive suggestions in the article?  I can't see any.  It is just an offended shriek.

I was also amused that the two female writers confessed that they are not themselves teachers.  Leftists love "ad hominem" arguments so let me use one against them.  I taught for many years at both the secondary school and university levels and, along the way, got to see a bit about my fellow teachers.  And the unavoidable conclusion is that teacher quality is very patchy. 

And teacher training has got nothing to do with it.  Like university degrees for nurses, it may even be a negative influence.  The expansion of teacher training from one year to four has certainly not been shown to raise teaching quality.

As the "Teach for America" program has clearly shown, teachers are largely born, not made.  And born teachers are rare.  So I concur with the judgements of some of my fellow conservatives that teaching quality in our schools is often poor.

Unlike them and unlike "New Matilda", however, I have a solution that works and has been working for many years.  Teachers themselves usually decry it but the evidence has long been in.

What is needed are large class sizes so that the limited teaching talent that is available can be spread widely.  I can dig up plenty of research evidence to that effect if anybody wants it.

Teachers are the scapegoats for any shortcomings in our education system. Maurie Mulheron, the President of the NSW Teacher’s Federation, who is an actual teacher, who has taught actual students, in actual classrooms, argues that, “Many of our schools are akin to emergency wards in hospitals. No-one talks about the quality of doctors and nurses – they talk about the quality of health and the resources the hospitals need”.

Furthermore, reforms have characteristically happened to schools and teachers, rather than in collaboration with them. Funds are issued and cut upon the whim of the politician, and the syllabus, particularly Australian history, is a political plaything.

But if you ask Christopher Pyne, he will insist that a researcher once told him that “teachers are the biggest influence on student’s achievement”, and thus you do not need any more ‘resources’ aka ‘money’.

Piccoli and Pyne must be the products of exceptional maths teachers, because what they are doing is economically clever, albeit socially inexcusable. Pyne, in an article written at the beginning of the last year, argued:

“The quality of our teaching and quality of our teachers is seen as one of the important, if not most important, determinants affecting education performance…. A quality education system must be underpinned by quality teachers. The profession knows it, parents want it, our students deserve it and the nation needs it.”
Inspiring stuff. Except for the part where he says that teachers have been very bad for a while now, and despite his best efforts, he cannot sculpt a quality education system out of crappy teachers.

Apparently teachers are letting down parents, students, and, well, not to exaggerate, but the entire nation. You know how everything in the United States is Obama’s fault? Teachers are Australia’s Obama.

Can’t get a job? Thanks TEACHERS

Kicked your toe? Thanks TEACHERS

Nation goes to war? Thanks TEACHERS

If we weren’t so angry, we would almost respect Pyne’s political manoeuvre to shift all blame for everything that goes wrong onto one of the most underpaid and undervalued occupations.

It is borderline genius.

To clarify, Pyne would have us believe that it is the individuals who educate our nation’s children, who teach them to read and write, and add and subtract, and speak languages and draw, and play the bloody recorder (now THAT, they owe an apology for), and understand their bodies and sexual development, and discipline and focus, who are to blame for students’ less than exceptional results.

It is the individuals who accept the wage which may mean they can never own a home in Sydney, or claim helicopter rides on tax, or go out to fancy lunches and get drunk on Fridays, who must work harder, and study Masters and PhDs which do not necessarily correspond to more money, who need to ‘be better at your job plz’ quote Mr Pyne.

Pyne might have had a little more credibility if he had read the research correctly.

The Conversation ran an article a few years ago, which clarified that whilst teachers are the biggest in-school influence, various other school and non-school factors far outweigh the influence of teachers. Funding matters, as does socio-economic status, and available resources.

We’re no ‘Education Minister’, but we do not accept that the alleged “dumbing down” of students is a result of teacher quality.

You know what this week is, Pyne and Piccoli? It’s Book Week.

Primary School teachers all over Australia are dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. We would take your argument more seriously if you were dressed as Voldemort and Humpty Dumpty respectively. Oh, and Joe Hockey can be Robin Hood, except he steals from the poor and gives to the rich.

There is a great deal that NAPLAN cannot test. Among them is enthusiasm for learning and teacher quality.

So it’s time for Pyne and Piccoli, who have fabricated the teacher’s fall, and criticised them for not doing it all, to get all the state governments and all those Liberal men, to try and build up the teaching profession again. [How?  More money, I guess.  That's the invariant call from teacher unions.  It has never been shown to work, however]


US-style independent schools could boost grades in Australia: new report

The excerpt below is what appeared in The Brisbane Times, the Brisbane tentacle of the Fairfax hate organization.  It was a lead-in to a story in the "Age".  I read the Fairfax press most days and I have yet to see one positive story about the Abbott government since it was elected.  They are fanatical.

So how come the story below is favourable to conservative ideas?  It was a mistake, apparently.  It has now been wiped from all Fairfax platforms. Only the paragraph below remains.  CIS will no doubt publish Trish Jha's report  in due course so we will eventually see what it says anyway

US-style privately-owned public schools should be rolled out in Australia to boost academic standards, a new report by libertarian think-tank, the Centre for Independent Studies argues. Privately-run public schools, or charter schools as they are known in the US, are funded by the government and run by private entities, which have full autonomy over the schools' finances, staffing and curriculum.  The schools, which do not charge fees, could boost innovation in the sector by giving schools more freedom, and giving disadvantaged students more choice, writes the report's lead author, Trisha Ja."..

Student Fascists at a Melbourne university

Student protesters have forcibly restrained as they sought to block Education Minister Christopher Pyne from visiting a Melbourne university.

Mr Pyne arrived at the Footscray campus of Victoria University this morning to speak at its centenary celebration, from which media were barred.

About a dozen protesters scuffled with security guards and tried to block Mr Pyne's access to the building, but they were pushed aside.

Mr Pyne left about 30 minutes later in his car via a rear garage door and did not speak to reporters.

The students were reportedly protesting over Mr Pyne's proposal to deregulate university fees.


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