Thursday, September 24, 2015

A split-brain report from Boston

Don't you like those hopeful first two paragraphs below?  How wonderful that one of America's biggest problems is on its way to a solution!  PROBLEM:  The rest of the article goes into the details and they show no systematic movement in educational attainment at all. There are both losses and gains. It was just a random walk.  The first two paragraphs are just wishful thinking, to put it politely. 

Looking at the detail behind headlines and conclusions generally is a dreadful habit that I have had for decades.  It sure was enlightening in reading the guff below.  I have often found that Leftists conclude what they want to conclude, regardless of what their data show. The article below is just another example of that. It's almost like their brains were split into two halves that don't communicate with one-another

And note that we are looking at a dumbed-down test here. See the last two paragraphs below. Even on dumbed-down criteria blacks are still way behind

Black and Hispanic students made some progress this year in closing a troubling gap with white students in academic achievement, state officials said Monday as they released statewide results from MCAS tests taken in the spring.

The racial divide narrowed in many grades in both English and math scores for black students and in math for Hispanics in most grades this year, state data show. For students of all races, MCAS scores showed gains in 11 of 17 tests administered this spring, compared with 2014.

In English, black students’ scores drew closer to scores of white students this year in most grades, but the gap between black and white students remained the same in third grade and grew by 2 percentage points in seventh grade.

Hispanic students gained ground in English scores for grades 4, 8, and 10, but saw the gap grow in grades 5 through 7 and remain the same in Grade 3. In most grades, math scores improved for Hispanic students.

Looking back further, the MCAS results showed that the greatest change for minority students was in 10th-grade English, where the gap between scores for black students and their white peers has narrowed 19 percentage points since 2007, when MCAS became required for all students in grades 3 to 8.

For Hispanic students, the gap in English scores is now 18 points smaller since 2007.

In math scores, Hispanic students in the third grade jumped 11 percentage points closer to their white peers.

The most dramatic gain in math scores among black students occurred in fourth grade, where the gap in performance narrowed by 8 percentage points since 2007.

About 88 percent of 10th-grade students met the minimum MCAS requirements to earn a high school diploma, the same percentage that met that threshold for the past two years.

When the requirement took effect 11 years ago, just 68 percent of students were successful on their first try.


'There Is No God but Allah'? School Accused of Islamic Indoctrination

Maury County, Tennessee, is in the heart of the Bible Belt. So it’s understandable why the local church ladies got all shook up when they discovered that school children had been forced to declare, “There is no God but Allah.”

Seventh graders at Spring Hill Middle School spent three weeks covering Islam in a Social Studies class — enraging some parents who say the lessons crossed the line into indoctrination and proselytization.  “I am not pleased that my 12-year-old was taught the Islamic conversion prayer,” parent Brandee Porterfield told me.

Joy Ellis was a bit fired up, too. She discovered the Islamic lessons after examining her daughter’s class work.  “I was very angry that my child, my Christian child, was made to profess that Allah was the only God,” she told me.

According to the lessons, students were instructed to write the “Shahada” – “There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Students also learned the five pillars of Islam.

“That was crossing the line between teaching the culture and teaching them the Islamic faith,” Porterfield told me. “This is not teaching. This is indoctrination.”

Could you imagine the outcry from liberal activists if the students had been forced to write “Jesus is Lord'?

Porterfield said she does not have a problem with the school teaching Islam — so long as it gives other major religions equal time. But that did not happen.

"They told me they would not be teaching Christianity,” she said. “Because they only taught this one faith — to me that is state-sponsored prayer in schools.”

Ellis said it appears the school is advancing a pro-Muslim agenda. “It tells me they are trying to convert my children to being Muslim,” she said.

School officials defended the lessons and disputed some of the allegations from the irate moms and dads.  “We are not trying to convert,” Dr. Jan Hanvey, the district’s middle school supervisor, told the Columbia Daily Herald.

Hanvey said the curriculum has been in place for more than 30 years. She also disputed the allegations that the Islamic religion was taught for three weeks, telling the newspaper they spent three weeks talking about the geography, culture, economics and government surrounding the religion.

So what about other religions, like Christianity? Buddism? Judaisim?

Hanvey said the chapter on Christianity was “put off” until a later date. She told the Daily Herald by the end of the school year the students will have studied other faiths.

Porterfield told me she spoke with her daughter’s teacher and was told a very different story.  “She said they would not be covering it because Christianity is not in the school standards,” Porterfield said.

Porterfield and Ellis also took issue with the “white-washing” of the Islamic faith. There were no discussions about extremists slaughtering Christians and Jews. There were no chapters on the extremists beheading people.  “The textbook is a very cleaned up version of Islam,” Porterfield said.

Hanvey told the local newspaper that modern events have caused “fear” of Islam, going so far as to compare it to how Japanese people were treated after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Well, Dr. Hanvey, flying jetliners into skyscrapers in the name of Allah tends to cause folks to be a bit fearful.

I’ve been documenting the rise of Islam in American public school classrooms for a number of years. There’s a chapter dedicated to it in my last book, “God Less America.”

The Islamic faith is being accommodated while the Christian faith is being marginalized. If you need proof, just consider this:

A few weeks ago, a Mississippi high school marching band was ordered not to play “How Great Thou Art” during a half time show. And yet just a few states away public school children are learning the Islamic profession of faith.

I wonder what the Islamic term is for double-standard?


Campus rape panic: scaring women away from university

Why is the government collaborating in this dangerous myth?

From the panics around Satanic abuse and video nasties to paedophile rings and online trolling, the British establishment’s willingness to link arms with moral crusaders – and wreck lives in the process – never ceases to stagger. But the announcement that the Conservative government is to launch an inquiry into sexual harassment and assault on university campuses really takes the biscuit. A panic, whipped up by 19-year-old gender-studies students from Hampstead, has now been given official sanction.

Business secretary Sajid Javid ordered the review, calling on university heads to lead a taskforce to investigate the problem and draw up a code of practice to bring about ‘cultural change’. ‘Nobody should be put off going to university because of fears about their safety. If my children choose that path, I would expect my daughter to be as safe as my son on any campus in this country’, he said.

He continued: ‘This taskforce will ensure that universities have a plan to stamp out violence against women and provide a safe environment for all their students. We do not tolerate this behaviour in any part of society and I’m not prepared to let it take place on university campuses unchecked.’

One detail Javid’s speech missed out was that the alleged rise in sexual violence on Britain’s campuses, the alleged emergence of a toxic ‘lad culture’ that is leading more and more undergrad men to defile helpless young women, is a complete and utter crock.

The basis for this panic, that has incensed many a blue-haired women’s officer over the past few years, is a series of heavily discredited reports and surveys from the National Union of Students (NUS). The most often cited report is Hidden Marks, which claimed that one in seven female students has experienced a ‘serious physical or sexual assault’ and one in four experienced ‘unwanted sexual contact’.

The report, drawn from a self-selecting survey of 2,058 students, is deeply misleading. The conflation of physical and sexual assault lumps together two entirely different problems – with no explanation as to whether the ‘slapping and hair-pulling’, which was by far the most common type of physical incident, occurred in an abusive bloke’s dorm room or a kick-out-time cat fight.

What’s more, the ‘unwanted sexual contact’, which made up the bulk of the sexual-assault stats, included ‘unwanted kissing’ and ‘touching through clothes’. It speaks volumes that, across all forms of sexual assault measured in the survey, 65 per cent of respondents ‘didn’t think [their experience] was serious enough to report’. Getting gropey in the club isn’t on, but most young women clearly think it warrants a slap rather than a spot on the sex offenders’ register.

Hidden Marks pulled two neat tricks. First, it conflated a range of incidents in order to inflate the stats. And second, it repackaged behaviour that is at best ungentlemanly and at worst a bit pervy as serious crimes. Over two thirds of respondents claimed they had been submitted to verbal and non-verbal harassment, which including ‘wolf whistling, catcalling and sexual noises’, as well as ‘sexual comments that made them feel uncomfortable’. If clumsy come-ons were nickable offences, we’d all be in trouble.

But Hidden Marks is not just about sexual assault – it’s been used to push a tinpot student politico agenda. The NUS’s follow-up report into lad culture, That’s What She Said, recommended zero-tolerance policies on ‘banter’ and ‘sexual comments’, consent workshops aimed at sports teams, and the banning of anything that might be seen to objectify women. The fresh-faced feminists pushing the campus ‘rape culture’ panic interpret everything from ‘Pimps and hos’ club nights to the odd ‘alright, love?’ as a kind of cosmic act of misogyny – something that will lead, inevitably, to yet more sexual violence.

This worldview is insane. But it’s one that has, for years, bent the ear of the establishment. As US civil-liberties lawyer Nadine Strossen points out in her book Defending Pornography, American anti-sex feminists of the Eighties and Nineties influenced legal and workplace standards so that sexual expression became conflated with sexual harassment and violence. In one case that followed, an English professor was brought up on sexual-harassment charges for making a joke about a vibrator in class.

This bad influence lingers. Last year, President Obama launched a taskforce to investigate sexual assault on US campuses, stating soberly: ‘It is estimated that one in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there – one in five.’ This infamous statistic, hewn from a 2007 study of just two colleges, is so discredited that even its authors have told everyone to calm down. ‘There are caveats that make it inappropriate to use the one-in-five number’, they wrote, in an article for Time.

Rape on campus is a problem – but a mercifully small one. A 2014 report by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics suggested that 6.1 female students per thousand will experience rape or sexual assault at college. And, as spiked’s Joanna Williams has pointed out, official statistics suggest that, on average, four women per UK university will suffer rape during her studies. In both the UK and the US, non-students are far more likely to be attacked than students. That’s not to say rape on campus is trivial. When it occurs it must be dealt with, compassionately and through the courts. But this overblown crusade is distorting the problem and trivialising rape in the process.

So, why are governments going along with it? Anyone who’s ever debated a rape-culture feminist will know they’re hardly masters of persuasion. Instead, it seems that politicians, ever-hungry for a moral panic to which they might hitch themselves, are giving official approval to toxic and divisive ideas for the sake of appearing morally virtuous. The result is a culture, on campus and beyond, that is diminishing women as it demonises men.

We need to stop ceding the moral highground to scaremongerers and gutless opportunists. The crusade against campus sexual assault isn’t helping women; it’s hemming them in and rehabilitating the sort of Victorian stereotypes, about vulnerable women and lascivious men, that were for so long used to frighten women away from public life. If Sajid Javid wants his daughter to feel confident enough to go to university, he should stop collaborating in this dangerous myth.


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