Thursday, October 22, 2015

Conservatives Are Not Welcome at This College

At any given college campus, there are many extracurricular clubs for a variety of interests. Traditionally, this has included the political.

But now, a Maryland college student says she was banned from forming a conservative club on campus and she’s fighting back. Moriah DeMartino, a student at Hagerstown Community College in Maryland, was denied permission to form a chapter of Turning Point USA. TPUSA describes itself as a non-partisan organization that educates students about fiscal responsibility.

Their publication, Hypeline, has more on the story.

    When DeMartino’s attempts to create a Turning Point chapter were refused she approached one of the Political Science advisors on campus, only to be told that the group’s views were “too political.”  The professor went on suggest that a Young Republicans and a Young Democrats club should be created instead.

    The consistency of Hagerstown’s student organization policy is in question.

    Currently HCC student groups include clubs for the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Spectrum Club, a club whose “primary goal is to create a safe environment for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, and straight allies.”

    DeMartino is calling the school’s policy inconsistent, “There is a lack of consistency on campus when it comes to student organizations.  There are clearly other overlapping mission statements from organizations at Hagerstown.”

This appears to be another example of a college being biased against conservatives. Across the country, conservative students have been punished for everything from passing out copies of the Constitution to challenging leftist professors. Conservative viewpoints are often unrepresented in official campus publications.

Colleges are supposed to be places where students are exposed to different ideas, but that’s often not the case. Leftist viewpoints are often promoted with no dissenting views often allowed. Kudos to DeMartino for fighting back.


ACLU Sues Missouri Colleges for Denying Illegal Immigrants In-State Tuition

The American Civil Liberties Union filed multiple lawsuits in Missouri last week on behalf of three college students who claim they were wrongfully barred from receiving in-state tuition because of their immigration status under President Barack Obama’s executive action.

The ACLU’s Missouri division sued three colleges in the state for “illegally” charging those students an international rate, arguing the state law requiring the tuition hike is invalid.

The students driving the lawsuits are part of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. under the age of 16 from deportation, but does not grant legal status.

The tuition increases hit those enrolled in DACA last summer after state legislators inserted language into the preamble of a budget bill requiring that colleges accepting state funds charge “any student with an unlawful immigration status” in the U.S. the same rate “charged to international students.”

Jeffrey Mittman, the executive director of ACLU’s Missouri chapter, said the tuition raise violated state law because the language was placed in the preamble of the bill rather than passed as independent legislation.

“Unfortunately, even though clear legal analysis shows that it’s not binding, it’s not legal, it’s not a requirement—these universities then raise tuition rates,” Mittman said.

The students affected, he continued, are “lawfully present” in the U.S. and have lived, worked and “in many cases” paid taxes in the U.S. their entire lives. He said Missouri law permits students who have lived in the state and are lawfully in the U.S. to qualify for in-state tuition.

“Young people who strive to educate themselves, who work hard to get ahead, then have better jobs and contribute more to the economy,” he said. “All of those reasons combined show why it is just bad public policy, it’s wrong and it’s illegal to charge these young Missouri students inflated tuition rates.”

Cully Stimson, senior legal fellow and manager of The Heritage Foundation’s national security law program, said a federal statute signed under President Bill Clinton “prohibits public colleges from offering in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants based on their residence within the state unless that same rate is offered to all students across the U.S.”

Since Missouri has not passed a law giving in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, Stimson continued, the ACLU lawsuit “has no merit, despite President Obama’s executive action called DACA.”

“The fact is that they’re trying to exploit what they believe is a technical loophole in draftsmanship to force a court to enforce a misreading of the law because they can’t get the legislature to do what they want on a policy basis,” he said.

Stimson called the suit a “political maneuver” to further the group’s policy preferences.

“Setting aside the fact that it’s a violation of the law and the rule of law, it’s not fair to any student in any other state besides Missouri to have to pay out-of-state tuitions when illegal immigrants living in Missouri get in-state tuition,” he said.

Mittman claimed that while the principle marks an important public policy discussion, the ACLU’s lawsuits are focused explicitly on a specific question of Missouri law.

“Does this improper preamble language, which is not binding, is not legal and again, is bad policy, does that allow the tuition raise? It doesn’t.” he said.


Exam performance at mostly black Boston school queried

Eventually given the benefit of the doubt apparently. It seems possible that there were some genuine improvements

The state on Tuesday validated MCAS scores for English High School, drawing cheers and tears from the Jamaica Plain school nearly a month after the results were suppressed because of unspecified anomalies.

“Everybody was happy,” said Valentina Fernandes, 17, of Dorchester — one of the students whose scores in the math portion of the test had been withheld. “We were all jumping up and down, squealing, hugging each other. It was as if we won the Super Bowl or something.”

Officials from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have declined to say what kind of anomalies led them to withhold the scores, stirring frustration to build among some families and educators at the school, because passage of the MCAS is a requirement for high school graduation in Massachusetts.

Mitchell D. Chester, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, said Tuesday that the state concluded its investigation last week and found the scores were justified.

“They are an accurate reflection of what these students have achieved,” Chester said. “I’m very pleased to see that.”

Officials mum on test inquiry

More than two weeks after officials withheld MCAS scores, students still have not been told why.

Chester said the state did not flag the math scores because they marked an unusual level of improvement from one year to the next, noting that the school’s scores in English were also much improved. He said he could not be specific about his concerns with the scores.

“We saw some anomalies in the students’ scores and their test booklets that were hard to reconcile with a test administration,” he said.

State officials said the scores would soon be posted online, and that individual score sheets had been sent to the school for distribution.

Tommy Chang, Boston’s schools superintendent, said he was deeply proud of the students’ accomplishments and satisfied that their scores truly demonstrated what they had learned.

“Based on my own knowledge and investigation, and my conversations with the [headmaster], it makes absolutely perfect sense,” he said.

After teetering for years on the edge of a state takeover, English High has undergone an abrupt turnaround under the guidance of Headmaster Ligia Noriega-Murphy, teachers and students said. It has also brought in Blueprint Schools Network, a Newton nonprofit, to assist with academic improvement, including providing intensive math tutoring.

“We had a teacher who was a great math teacher, who basically pushed us and motivated us to progress and do better,” said Carimar Melendez, 16, of Charlestown. “We worked basically throughout the whole year thinking toward the MCAS and . . . how proud we would feel to pass it.”

Melendez said that initially it was “annoying” to have an additional math class in their schedules, but students saw the value when the time came to take the test.

Jakayla Clark, 16, of Mattapan, said there was a noticeable difference when she took the test this spring, compared to previous times she had taken it.  “I felt like I was better prepared,” she said.

Belinda Ranstrom, a business technology teacher at English High, said Noriega-Murphy’s high standards have driven her to greater performance.  “It has upped my game as a teacher,” Ranstrom said. “It’s been very hard, but it’s also been very rewarding.”

A music teacher at the school, Eytan Wurman, said he sees how hard the students work.  “They love the English High School so much that they are here for hours after school, whether it be in a sport, in a music program, in the marching band, in the cheerleaders, in the dance guard,” he said.

The students said having their scores withheld had cast a shadow over the school, even Chester told reporters last month that he had no reason to suspect cheating had occurred.

“Everyone thought that we were accused of cheating,” said Cristina Delcarmen, 16, of Roslindale. “I think it was wrong to accuse someone without any evidence.”


No comments: