Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Yet Another College Is Sued Over Its Sex Assault Policies

Colgate University, a small liberal arts school in New York, has become the latest university hit with a lawsuit alleging that it wrongly expelled a student for sexual assault.

The anonymous student filing the lawsuit was kicked out in April, a mere month before his graduation, after he was found responsible on charges of non-consensual digital penetration, nonconsensual touching, and sexual exploitation.

According to Reuters, the student accuses Colgate of expelling him even though a preponderance of evidence pointed towards his innocence. He also says he was the victim of gender bias, that his punishment was disproportionate to the alleged wrongs, and that Colgate’s investigation was unfair.

The accusations against the student were brought by three different women, but notably their claims were only filed with the school in October 2014, even though they were all said to have occurred in the 2011-12 school year, meaning the incidents were over two years old by the time accusations were brought.

“I would like to have my records cleared, and I would like to be able to go back and finish my degree,” the former student told Reuters in an interview. “I understand that accusing someone of sexual assault like this is no laughing matter, but I also think it’s terrible to be wrongly accused like this.”

Colgate has declined to comment on the matter, because it is pending litigation.

The student’s attorney in the lawsuit is Andrew Miltenberg, a New York lawyer who has distinguished himself by representing several other college students accused of sexual assault. Notably, he is also representing Paul Nungesser in his defamation lawsuit against Columbia University.

Nungesser was accused of raping Emma Sulkowicz, the “Mattress Girl” who hauled a mattress around Columbia for her entire senior year before appearing in a sex tape in June that reenacts her alleged assault.

Miltenberg told Reuters there is evidence that his client’s conviction and expulsion were substantially caused by faculty pressure rather than a fair airing of the facts.

Lawsuits are an increasingly popular option for students who say that universities have wrongly rolled back due process protections in their zeal to punish sexual assault. In July, a California judge ruled that the University of California, San Diego, improperly denied due process to an accused student. One month later, a former student at Washington and Lee was allowed to proceed with a lawsuit alleging his expulsion stemmed from gender bias


Secondary schools fail to get teenagers into work - despite booming jobs market

The study from the pro-free school charity the New Schools Network found that, in areas with failing secondary schools, young people aged between 16 and 18 were more likely to be unemployed than adults of all ages

Young school leavers are disproportionately more likely to be unemployed even in areas which are seeing a jobs boom, new research has found.

The study from the pro-free school New Schools Network found that, in areas with failing secondary schools, young people aged between 16 and 18 were more likely to be unemployed than adults of all ages.

Campaigners for free schools said this made the case for more of the independently run schools to challenge the failing institutions and help the poorest children succeed.

In a study of the 20 local authorities with the worst performing schools, between 6.6 per cent and 9 per cent of the teenagers were not in education, employment or training.

This compared to a national average of 4.7 per cent, according to the New Schools Network, an independant charity that provides advice and resources for those interested in starting a free school.

In most of the council areas, the unemployment rate had fallen in the five years since 2010.

A number of chains have already been told that they cannot take on any more academies until concerns over standards have been addressed A number of chains have already been told that they cannot take on any more academies until concerns over standards have been addressed   Photo: Rex Features

Nick Timothy, the director of the network which is part-funded by Government grants, said: “Parents want to send their children to a school that gives its pupils a great education and prepares them for life after school – whether that’s going on to further and higher education, taking up training, or going straight into work.

“But this research shows that in too many parts of the country, secondary schools are letting down their pupils.

“In areas where there are failing schools, there are disproportionate numbers of young people not in employment, education or training – despite the fact that in almost all of these places, unemployment has fallen over the last five years.”

Stockton on Tees topped the table in terms of correlation between failing schools and NEETs, despite increased job opportunities, with 9 per cent of 16 to 18 year olds being unemployed or not in training despite the area's unemployment rate for all adults falling by 1.9 per cent since 2010.

Mr Timothy - who was an adviser to Home secretary Theresa May before the general election - said the figures made the case for more free schools to be set up to challenge those which are below standards.

He added: “We urgently need more good new schools – not just where there is a shortage of places but where standards have been too low for too long.

“Free schools are better placed to drive up standards and give parents what they want because they give more control to heads, teachers and governors, rather than politicians and bureaucrats.

“They are twice as likely as other state schools to be rated outstanding by Ofsted – and we need more of them.”


Charter schools would boost grades in Australia: new report

This article from the "Age" was taken down yesterday but is now back up.  Amusing.  Maybe too many people noticed the deletion

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 givingdisadvantaged students more choice, writes the report's lead author,  Trisha Ja.

"Disadvantaged families are not currently catered for, either because their choice of public school is restricted by zoning, or because they cannot afford school fees, or they do not want a religious education for their children," the report said.

The think tank is also controversially lobbying all state and territory governments to consider allowing for-profit private companies to run the charter schools.

A for-profit school would attract more capital than non-profits, and would run more efficiently, the authors said.

"There is no objective reason not to allow for-profit companies to operate non-government schools ... especially if they have a proven track record of successful school provision and a stable company structure," the authors said.

"Almost all other forms of education provision have a for-profit sector – early childhood education, after-school tutoring services, disability support services, technical education and training, and universities … the exception is actual management of schools."

Privately-owned public schools are becoming increasingly prevalent in the US, while similar models have been rolled out in the UK, Chile, Sweden and New Zealand.

Studies show the average impact of charter schools range from "null to small positive effects", the report finds.

But some schools have boosted results for disadvantaged students, with successful schools adopting a "no excuses" approach, with a focus on traditional maths, reading instruction and strict discipline.

Critics argue charter schools do not achieve better results than public schools, and claim increasing competition in the sector leads to greater inequality. They also warn against for-profit charter schools, pointing to evidence overseas of financial mismanagement and fraud in the sector.

Under former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett, Victorian public schools were given more autonomy over budget and staffing, making Victoria one of the most autonomous education systems in the country.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said autonomy was leading to "some great local innovation" in schools, but policies under the previous Napthine government's "autonomy agenda" – which included plans to set up "federated" school councils and give parents a greater say in the running of schools – resulted in "cuts and abandonment".

Australian Education Union Victorian president Meredith Peace said the government should be focusing on supporting under-resourced schools rather than boosting competition in the system.

"In Victoria in recent years, schools have become increasingly isolated and are forced to compete more and more with each other with limited funding. This is producing a wider equity gap and a wider gap for our kids, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds."

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the federal government is on track to increase autonomy in Australian schools, and has allocated $70 million to make public schools more independent.


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