Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Abolish "No Child Left Behind"

Today a House and Senate conference committee met to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was last reauthorized in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

There are numerous problems with the proposed compromise being considered (see here, here and here, for example).

But the bigger question we should be asking of Congress is why reauthorize the ESEA in the first place?

We’ve endured 50 years of federal meddling in elementary and secondary education, and we have scant (if any) hard evidence that DC politicians—whether it’s members of Congress, presidents or their education secretaries–know what’s best for other people’s children.

The ESEA was first enacted back in 1965 as a key program in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society efforts including the elimination of poverty. The law’s stated goal was to help improve academic performance among disadvantaged students. Yet ESEA spending has far outpaced both student enrollment and achievement.

From 1966 through 2012, total ESEA spending increased approximately 180 percent from nearly $8.5 billion in 1966 to more than $24 billion in 2012 (in 2015 inflation-adjusted dollars).

[Unpublished data from “Appropriations for Programs Authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 1966-2012,” available upon request from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD)/Budget Service.]

Meanwhile public elementary and secondary school enrollment (prekindergarten through high school) increased less than 10 percent over a corresponding period, from about 46 million students in 1969 to 50 million students in 2012.

In spite of ESEA spending that has outpaced student enrollment by nearly 20 to one, student achievement has been essentially flat among 17-year-olds since the early 1970s in both reading and math, increasing just two scale score points in each subject overall.

Part of the controversy surrounding today’s conference hearing concerns years of unsuccessful attempts by Congress to reauthorize the ESEA . In the absence of Congressional reauthorization, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan began unilaterally issuing waivers exempting states from various accountability provisions under NCLB without congressional approval.

While Chairman Kline and others rightly challenged Duncan’s constitutional authority to initiate this national “race to the waiver,” too many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle seem blissfully unconcerned over their own constitutionally suspect actions.

For all the popular talk in Congress about recalibrating the federal role in education so that it acts as a guardrail to keep the states in line, the word education does not appear in our Constitution, and Congress has no express authority over education. Period.

U.S. Senator Mike Lee of Utah rightly objected to the proposed ESEA compromise bill, stating that:

    ...we shouldn’t expand Washington’s control over America’s schools and pre-K programs. Instead, Congress must advance reforms that empower parents – with flexibility and choice – to do what’s in the best interest of their children. The policies in this bill move in the opposite direction.


What Congress should be doing is prohibiting any ESEA program from being reauthorized. All related program funding should be returned to the states with no federal strings attached—the most flexible plan of all.

Those funds, in turn, should be deposited into student education savings accounts controlled by their parents, not politicians—the most accountable plan of all.

Next, no piece of federal education legislation should be enacted unless the U.S. Constitution is amended giving Congress express authority to pass education-related legislation.

Finally, state lawmakers should enact and expand parental choice programs. Today, more than 1.25 million students nationwide are benefiting from parental choice programs in the states. Rigorous scientific research proves parental choice works; parental choice saves money; parental choice is constitutional; and, best of all, parental choice programs change children’s lives for the better.


Princeton Ousts Leftist hero -- the "founder" of the United Nations

Yet another student protest, yet another racist thrown under the bus. Except this one actually was racist — he just also happened to be a Democrat president and a father of the “progressive” movement.

“The Black Justice League at Princeton had demanded that the president acknowledge the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson and remove his name from buildings on campus, mandate ‘cultural competency’ courses for all faculty and staff, and provide cultural space for black students on campus,” The Washington Post reports. “President Christopher Eisgruber immediately agreed to the idea of a cultural space Wednesday night, but declined to sign the demands and promised to continue talking with students about the other ideas.”

Wilson believed in a malleable Constitution and a virtually all-powerful executive. In fact, he was in many ways the originator of the elite administrative state in which know-it-all bureaucrats make thousands of decisions that solve problems in wreak havoc on our lives. He was also quite a racist. But as David Harsanyi writes, “Like most progressives of his era, Wilson wasn’t merely a common racist, he embraced the pseudo-scientific eugenics that would haunt millions. After his election, he didn’t only say terrible things — ‘There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro’s place in the corn field’ — he institutionalized racism in the federal government, segregating the civil service in 1913. He personally fired 15 out of 17 black supervisors appointed to federal jobs, while his postmaster general and Treasury secretary segregated their departments. He’s the only president that I know of who’s ever celebrated the Ku Klux Klan in the White House.”

But you know something? We’ll bet these same student protesters are big fans of Planned Parenthood, which was founded by a eugenicist by the name of Margaret Sanger. Heck, Planned Parenthood still gives out media awards with her name on them. She and Wilson were peas in a pod on the issue, but you won’t hear that at Princeton.


End College Football

By Victor Davis Hanson

College football players are gladiators of sorts. On the one hand, they are vastly underpaid for the risks they take as well as the profits they generate for the university and the scores of jobs they subsidize. On the other, in terms of college protocols, they are pampered and exempt from rules that other students follow. Being exploited and privileged is a bad combination.

For half a century, liberals have pointed out that football players should drop the amateur pretense, join a semi-pro club, and make the money they deserve -- given that their admissions, grades, and class attendance are exempt from university rules, and warp the college experience. Why do we treat as a privileged class those who so often do not meet university requirements that are non-negotiable for mostly indebted students without recourse to such lavish scholarships and subsidies? Entire majors, curricula, counseling, and protocols were invented simply to free football players from having to be students.

Athletes are also exempt from the new liberal policing.  The university campus has grown into a scary place, given the Maoist tendencies to go after race/class/gender enemies of the people. But no institution is more guilty of such politically correct crimes than is the football team.

The majority of the African-American players on the University of Missouri team threatened to boycott their next game, unless campus diversity demands were met, including quotas to ensure more black representation on the faculty and staff.

But why then would the football team be exempt from its own ideology?  Did the players assume that their money-generating power made them far more important than the English Department or counseling staff? Did they think they were akin to nuclear plant operators and jumbo jet pilots -- or the Democratic primary field -- whose tasks are professed as far too important to be adjudicated by non-meritocratic criteria?

Nearly half of the University of Missouri’s players are African-American, four times greater than the black percentage of the general population.

Under the Obama administration’s dictates of proportional representation and disparate impact, publicly funded institutions must ensure racial diversity, even if they are not proven to practice discrimination.

So-called “merit” criteria are no excuse when racial diversity is absent. Nor is the fallback position of "no qualified applicants in the pool." In college lingo, where are the minority recruiters at University of Missouri to broaden the recruiting base and ensure a fair sample of potential recruits? Why are Asians and Latinos underrepresented? Or for that matter whites as well? Mentoring, outreach, set-asides -- could not all these tools of fairness and equality be implemented in the fashion that they are on campuses in general to ensure a richer mosaic? Are the swimming and tennis teams ethnically diverse? The equestrians? Why are the very public manifestations of university life not reflections of university values?

Feminists insist that one in four female students is sexually assaulted on campus before graduation. If that is true, responsible parents have no business sending their kids to a unsafe university like, say, Stanford, where a walk in the quad is supposedly statistically about ten times more dangerous than strolling in downtown crime-ridden East Palo Alto at night. But do feminists target the football team. If not, why not?

Nationwide, there is an epidemic of student athletes being charged with sexual assault (again, true of the University of Missouri football team), at rates far higher than the general student population. In fact, a recent study revealed that the University of Missouri experienced 63 criminal cases involving 46 of its athletes during a recent five-year period. Statistically its athletes are among the most likely of university players nationwide to be charged with sexual assault, and far more prone to be charged than non-athlete students.

Why are these incidents ignored? Has any women’s studies program conducted a study of student athletes to determine whether they statistically assault women, especially involving the use of violence, at higher rates than the general student body? The University of Missouri football team’s threatened boycott should be a wake-up call and teachable moment to reexamine the entire football program there to investigate critical issues such as diversity and sexual assault.

Deans and provosts are often evaluated on the basis of increasing faculty diversity, rather than improving student performance, faculty teaching and research, or graduation rates and employment.

Should coaches not be subject to the same criteria? The coach who goes 2-8, but whose team looks like America (Asian linemen, Latino quarterbacks, female kickers, white punt returners, etc.), in theory should receive a bonus. In contrast, the 10-0 coach, who fails his diversity goals, should be fired for ignoring the disproportionate impact of his recruiting and player-selection criteria that had resulted in massive over-representation of one particular racial group at the expense of other groups who were largely ignored.

The truth is that the university is a dysfunctional institution. Free speech no longer exists. Trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, and safe zones have created a climate of fear and bullying on campus. Affirmative action criteria emulate the abhorrent "one-drop" rule of the Old Confederacy. Campus identity is defined by race and gender, but never class.  Annual hikes in tuition exceed the rate of inflation. Faculty are paid widely asymmetrical compensation for instruction of the identical class, depending on archaic institutions like tenure and seniority. Non-teaching personnel have soared. Graduate PhD programs have proliferated, even as jobs for their graduates have shrunk. Undergraduate university graduation rates have declined. College graduates are assumed to earn high-paying jobs; but the dismal rate of bachelor's degrees translating into employment commensurate with staggering college costs and student-loan debt would prompt federal investigations of fraud and false advertising in any other institution.

At the center of such chaos and contradiction sits college football -- the most hypocritical of all university institutions. It may have survived past liberal criticism that it was a veritable money-making and exploitative industry, run amok and immune from the campus laws that govern faculty and students. But it should not survive present liberal demands for racial diversity, proportional representation due to disparate impact, and zero-tolerance for sexual assault.


Mother's agony after reading 11-year-old son's note describing how he is being bullied at new school

British State schools are a lottery

A mother was left shocked and heartbroken after reading her 11-year-old son's harrowing account of how bullies had turned his life into 'a nightmare come true'.

Kerry Mustafa, 29, read how pupils at her son's new school had hurled racist abuse at him, threatened him with a compass, and even attacked him at school, breaking his thumb.

She suspected he was having problems so asked him to write down his feelings, but was unprepared for the extent of his turmoil revealed in the note, in which he wrote that he 'couldn't cope with it'.

Ali Junior - known as AJ - wrote about being 'petrified' and said his life had become 'a nightmare come true,' at the new school, rated outstanding by Ofsted.

He also wrote that the racist abuse he suffered made him feel 'sick', as he described how pupils at his new school had threatened to fight him on Facebook. He added: 'Then I was called names, I was heartbroken.'

The 11-year-old also wrote how his life had been much better at his previous school, and after describing the bullying and abuse, added: 'So this is my life now?'

Mrs Mustafa said: 'I'm quite lucky that AJ comes to me every time there's an incident at school or something happens. 'He has even rang me from school telling me about the bullying he is experiencing that day.  'But suddenly I realised he had told me about what was going on but he had never spoken about how he felt about it. 'So I asked him to write about his feelings but I wasn't prepared for what he had to say.'

Mrs Mustafa and AJ's father, Ali Mustafa, from Hull, East Yorkshire, have accused teachers of not doing enough and have now removed him from Sirius Academy North.

They are also contemplating schooling their young boy from home.

Mr Mustafa said: 'We've reported it so many times and every time the school says they will deal with it.

'But I'd call again and I'd speak to a different person, who hasn't got any record of what was said before and what is happening to my son.'

Mrs Mustafa added: 'We want him to go to school and be around other children and live a normal life. 'But if I can't get him into another high school, I will have to keep him at home.'

Mr Mustafa, who works as a television satellite engineer for the business he and his wife run, spoke of the change in his son's personality since he started secondary school in September.

He said: 'It's completely changed him.  'He was in a fight where he broke his thumb, he's been threatened with a compass, he's been smacked in the face, he's been called racist names like Ali Baba.

'The final straw was when he received a message from Facebook asking him if he would be in a fight. For me there is no other option. I do not want my son to go back to that school.'

In a statement from Sirius Academy North, head of school Ian Ravenscroft said: 'It would be inappropriate to comment upon specific incidents, however we take all forms of bullying and prejudice extremely seriously.

'We investigate all allegations of bullying fully and put in place support as appropriate.  'The academy's dedicated pastoral team deals swiftly with any reported concerns.' [The usual British bullshit]


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