Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Offended College Students Want Building Renamed

Perhaps Attorney General Loretta Lynch should come to the aid of these students. Like many of their fellow Buttercup Bolsheviks around the nation, the students at the Lebanon Valley College have been protesting “institutional injustices” on the Pennsylvania campus. They presented a list of demands to the administration, and one shows just how out of touch they are. Yes, it tops the demand of some college students for “safe spaces” against uncomfortable ideas.

Students want the administration to change the name of the college’s physical education building because it is named after the school’s former president Clyde A. Lynch. Why? As Penn Live reports: “At Friday’s forum [the student protesters] acknowledged no known links between Dr. Clyde A. Lynch and the practice of "Lynching” but said as is, the building and last name harken back to a period in American history when Blacks were widely and arbitrarily killed by public hangings and ‘Lynch Mobs.’“ At least the students at Princeton University who wanted to scrub every mention of President Woodrow Wilson from the campus lobbied for it because of what the man did and said, not because of his surname.

In a statement on the college’s website, the college’s President Lewis Thayne said in response to the demands, "Advocating for responsible change and being engaged as an active member of a community are civic virtues every member of a democracy should practice. We all stand with the concerned students who are advocating for responsible change at Lebanon Valley College.” Even if that mean those “members of a democracy” are getting offending at one of the institution’s patron’s last name, apparently.


Fired for Refusing to Call a Biological Girl a Boy, This Teacher Is Claiming Religious Discrimination

This fall a, teacher was fired in Texas for not referring to a 6-year-old girl as a boy.

Madeline Kirksey was, until recently, a manager at Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center on Clay Road in Katy, Texas, a town just to the west of Houston.

One girl had been attending the school for several months. After leaving school one Friday named “Sally,” she came to school on Monday with a new haircut, claiming to be named “Johnny.” Kirksey was fired after refusing to refer to the female child as a male or call her Johnny. Kirksey now claims that this firing was religious discrimination.

Ironically enough, Kirksey was fired on the same day Houston residents defeated the so-called “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance,” which could have allowed people identifying as the opposite sex to use public bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex.

According to Breitbart, following Kirksey’s firing, the Learning Center distributed a set of rules and guidelines to all of the teachers on how to handle transgenderism among the students. The guidelines, developed by a special interest group, the International Foundation for Gender Education, instruct the teachers to defend the student’s dignity and to let themselves be told by the students which pronouns to use in reference to the students. Additionally, the guidelines call for the teachers to “be an advocate for the student[s]” against their own parents.

The guidelines state that educators “are often more knowledgeable” than parents and that parents can be “terribly cruel to their children who express transgender inclinations.”

Commenting on the new guidelines, Kirksey told school administrators that she did not think it was the school’s job to force its beliefs onto the students, or the student’s parents. She also stated that being forced to do so violated her religious beliefs.

Both Texas and the federal government have laws against religious discrimination in employment. Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (a federal law) and the Texas Labor Code prohibit employers in Texas from engaging in such discrimination and require reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs.

This includes private employers.

Kirksey has decided to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the first step in an anti-discrimination claim against the learning center. She claims that she was wrongfully terminated on the basis of her religious beliefs.

Kirksey also reasoned that following the new guidelines would create an unhealthy environment where the students are encouraged to change their gender and bathroom preferences willy-nilly. She noted, for example, that the child previously known as Sally joined the boy’s football team after naming herself Johnny. Upon getting hit, however, the child cried and said, “I’m really not a little boy.” While these concerns are not necessarily relevant to Kirksey’s claims of discrimination, they illustrate that the school has much to consider in crafting good educational policy.

Students should all be treated fairly in the classroom, and school districts and private educational facilities do have the right to set their own curricula and policies. However, our system of government protects the traditional religious beliefs of all Americans, and forcing gender ideology upon objecting schoolteachers is the wrong way to go. It isn’t difficult to accommodate all parties here: It seems quite reasonable to allow teachers simply to refer to all students by their last name, if they so choose.

Expecting our teachers to be able to keep up with each child’s daily gender choices is a dangerous path to follow. The purpose and focus of a school should be on a child’s academic education, not on sexuality or gender. As Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, has argued, inculcating children with notions about gender change is often harmful; in that respect, it is not just that speaking about gender in the classroom is not usually germane to pedagogy, but that speaking falsely about gender is positively harmful.

Madeline Kirksey’s record as an academic teacher appears otherwise unblemished, and she should be allowed to continue with her teaching career


Australia: Education Ministers agree on reforms to improve the quality of teacher preparation

John Hattie is a smart guy and this all seems pretty sound -- in theory at least.  What is overlooked is the low quality  (semi-chaos)  of many of the schools and the resultant difficulty of attracting capable people to teach in them

Reforms agreed today at the Education Council will put in place rigorous quality assurance measures to ensure that teacher education programs are approved based on evidence about how well they prepare graduate teachers.

Professor John Hattie, AITSL Chair, said, “The reforms will help to ensure that graduate teachers are ‘classroom ready’ so they can have maximum impact on student learning. This is vital, since teacher expertise and quality teaching are the most important in-school influences on student learning.”

Early in 2015, the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) found that there is some excellent practice in initial teacher education in Australia, but the quality varies significantly between institutions. Accordingly, Ministers have resolved that all graduate teachers must be properly prepared to teach like the best.

Throughout 2015, AITSL worked constructively with teacher education providers, teacher regulatory authorities and key education stakeholders to address the concerns raised by TEMAG. The reformed system of accreditation of initial teacher education programs will be based on evidence, data, evaluation and improvement and will place a premium on demonstrating effective practice.

Key points:

    The selection of entrants to teacher education programs will be more rigorous and transparent, with all institutions considering candidates’ academic ability, as well as the non-academic characteristics that make them suitable for teaching.

    All initial teacher education students will have to pass a rigorous assessment that covers the breadth of teaching responsibilities to ensure that they are classroom ready by the time they graduate.

    A literacy and numeracy test for initial teacher education students will be implemented, to ensure that graduate teachers have appropriate personal literacy and numeracy skills.

    There will be a greater focus on building partnerships and communication between initial teacher education providers and schools for improved professional experience.

    All primary teaching students will complete a subject specialisation, ensuring that they have high level skills and knowledge in a particular subject area, as well as being prepared to teach across the primary curriculum.

Professor Hattie, continued, “Ultimately, the aim is to build a high-impact profession that people aspire to join. A profession that is as highly esteemed in Australia as it is in the leading countries of the world - and all in the great cause of advancing student learning.”

Press release

No comments: