Friday, December 04, 2015

UK: University Islamic Society students 'make death threats' as they disrupt controversial blasphemy lecture by human rights activist

Radical Muslim students made death threats while interrupting a lecture on blasphemy by a prominent human rights activist, it was claimed today.

Maryam Namazie, who fled Iran's repressive regime and now campaigns against Islamic extremism, was speaking at the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society of Goldsmiths in London.

However, the event on Monday night was disrupted by students from the university's Islamic Society - which claimed that it would 'violate their safe space' because of Ms Namazie's outspoken views.

One student switched off the projector after the speaker showed a cartoon of Muhammad, while a member of the audience claimed that an activist pointed his fingers at his head in the shape of a gun and said 'boom' in a bid to intimidate him.

The Islamic Society spoke out in advance of the talk - titled 'Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of ISIS' - insisting Ms Namazie should not be allowed to speak because of her 'bigoted views'.

They pointed to a number of controversial comments she has made in the past, including describing the veil as a symbol of 'far-Right Islamism' and calling the niqab a 'bin bag'.

The president of the society wrote to the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society saying: 'We feel having her present will be a violation to our safe space, a policy which Goldsmiths SU adheres to strictly, and my society feels that all she will do is incite hatred and bigotry.'

When the lecture went ahead and planned, a number of Islamic Society activists attended and tried to disrupt Ms Namazie - even switching off her PowerPoint when she showed a 'Jesus and Mo' cartoon which depicts the Prophet alongside Christ, according to theLondon Student.

Speaking after the event, Ms Namazie said: 'After my talk began, ISOC "brothers" started coming into the room, repeatedly banging the door, falling on the floor, heckling me, playing on their phones, shouting out, and creating a climate of intimidation in order to try and prevent me from speaking.

'I continued speaking as loudly as I could. They repeatedly walked back and forth in front of me.

'In the midst of my talk, one of the ISOC Islamists switched off my PowerPoint and left. The university security had to intervene and remain in the room as I continued my talk.'

She added that a number of Muslim women stayed to listen to her talk and engage in debate with her, then apologised for the disruption caused by the other students.

'Freedom of expression and the right to criticise and leave Islam without fear and intimidation is a basic human right,' Ms Namazie concluded.

'We have a responsibility to fight for these universal values at British universities and also across the globe.'

One member of the audience, lecturer and journalist Reza Moradi, said that while he was comforting a distressed young woman one of the protesters made a gesture which implied he was threatening to shoot him.

'I was asking this guy to be quiet - he took his hand and held it to his head like a gun,' Mr Moradi told MailOnline. 'He passed towards me and he made the noise "boom" - it was very intimidating.'

In a statement, the Islamic Society accused the atheist group of 'harassment' and called Ms Namazie a 'vile Islamophobe', denying that any of its members issued death threats.

The society said: 'Muslim students who attended the event were shocked and horrified by statements made by Namazie, and peacefully expressed their dissent to the disrespectful cartoons shown of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

'These students were subsequently made subject to unnecessary bullying, abuse and violence by the ASH society and security staff. Some students were even forcibly removed from the event.'

A spokesman for the university said: 'Goldsmiths, University of London supports freedom of speech. The university follows a set of regulations to help ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the university and for visiting speakers.'

Goldsmiths Islamic Society has previously hosted a number of radical speakers including Moazzam Begg of Cage, the charity which described ISIS terrorist 'Jihadi John' as a 'beautiful, kind man'.

Another recent Goldsmiths speaker was Hamza Tzortzis, who says that non-Muslims 'should be killed' if they ever fight against Muslims and once proclaimed: 'We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech.'

The university's student union previously ran into controversy when its diversity officer, Bahar Mustafa, banned white male students from a meeting and tweeted '#killallwhitemen'.

Ms Namazie, 49, is a leading secularist and member of the 'ex-Muslim' movement which campaigns to give Muslims the freedom to leave their faith without reprisals.

In October, she was banned from speaking at Warwick University because students union officials feared that Muslims might 'feel intimidated or discriminated against', although the ban was lifted after a public outcry.


This Student Was Threatened for Her Conservative Views. University administration uninterested -- critical instead

We've reported quite a bit on the disastrous state of free speech on college campuses. For the most part, we've seen students begging administrators to protect them from anything that might be the slightest bit controversial, be it a Confederate flag or a Dora the Explorer Halloween costume. For the most part, the outrage has been administrators either joining with these students in the war on speech, or going to outrageous lengths to accommodate them. Until now.

Recently, an Ohio State student began receiving threats for a pro life piece she authored in the campus paper. When she attempted to report the threats to administrators, she got more than she bargained for:

    All Madison Gesiotto wanted to do when she met with the dean of her law school was report a threat prompted by a newspaper column she wrote pointing out the high abortion rate in the black community.

    She assumed the meeting would last 10 minutes. Instead, she said, she was there for about an hour as three deans at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law critiqued her on what they saw as problems with her Oct. 23 column in The Washington Times, “The number one killer of black Americans.”

    “This is my freedom of speech, but they kept going on and on about how, ‘This is a flawed article, it’s not a good legal piece, it’s not a good journalistic piece, either,’” Ms. Gesiotto recalled. “They asked me to explain to them why I would put that [line] in, what that means, and how I should have followed that up by saying other things to support these black women.”

    A second-year law student who writes the Millennial Mindset column for The Washington Times online opinion pages, Ms. Gesiotto said she tried repeatedly to steer the conversation back to the threat made against her, but that the deans appeared to “blow it off.”

    “I’m a very tough person. I very rarely get upset or sensitive about things,” said Ms. Gesiotto. “But I was crying in that meeting for about 30 minutes, I was so shocked. I’ve never been in a situation with people I respected and looked up to and felt so violated.”

    Ms. Gesiotto knew that many of her peers at the law school would disagree with the column. She expected to take some flak. What she didn’t expect, she said, was having administrators show less interest in her safety than in tearing apart a column entirely unrelated to her coursework.

This is a new low for campus culture, but the message is clear. The most reasonable conservative opinions are not to be tolerated, and the most loony liberal hallucinations will be coddled and encouraged. Which begs the question: why bother going to college anymore?


Too Few Students Passed Algebra? There's Math for That

Oh, the joys of a state-run education. Here’s the problem facing the education czars in New York, in the words of The New York Times: “If the percentage of students passing the Algebra I exam falls to 63 percent from 72 percent, and the passing grade is scheduled to increase by 14 points in coming years, should the test be made easier?”

See, in an effort to boost the ability for New York students to handle higher education (thanks, Common Core), the State Board of Regents announced it was going to make its Algebra tests more difficult. Success in educating the future generation, right? Problem was, students were getting the same kind of education.

So now, the brightest educational minds in New York decided that to prepare the students for college, the state has to dumb down the test so more students can pass. Still, the root problem — the state’s poor ability to educate — continues unchanged. And we wonder how college students have become so stunted as to demand “safe spaces” from thoughts — philosophies, let alone the facts — they find uncomfortable.


Behind the ‘white student unions’ springing up at Australian universities

SO-CALLED white student unions are springing up at universities across Australia, charged with supporting and defending the interests of white students who they say are becoming marginalised from on-campus life and political debate.

At least seven unofficial unions have formed at rapid speed in the past week, claiming to represent students of European descent at the University of Queensland, the University of Southern Queensland, the University of Technology, Sydney, Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, the University of NSW and the University of Western Australia.

However, there are allegations that the movement is in fact an elaborate attempt to troll universities and the media, by the likes of users of online bulletin boards 4chan and 8chan.

If it is a hoax, it is a pretty sophisticated one, with members reaching out to to share their views on the need to “advance our interests as white students”.

The proliferation of white student unions follows a similar trend in the US, where groups have built considerable support on social media and many intend to establish an on-campus presence in the new year. However, this has also been dismissed as a hoax.

Australian universities have distanced themselves from these unofficial groups, which are copping backlash on social media by fellow students and others who accuse them of white supremacy and racism. Responses to the groups on social media have ranged from “be proud of your heritage!” to “f*** off Nazis”.

Others have responded with utter incredulity: “This page is satire, right?” one person asked.

But the students behind the unions deny white pride is akin to racism, and argue they have as legitimate a place in university life as any other student group.


The White Students Union at the Western Sydney University, which formed over the weekend and is already “into the double digits” of members, is “not out to antagonise anyone”, according its spokesman.

The spokesman, who approached to write a story, said he was a 24-year-old journalism student and gave us his name, but we have chosen not to publish it because we could not verify it.

He said the group, which will seek formal registration with the university in 2016 and already has a six-person committee, was designed to “advance our interests as white students and promote a safe space where we can come together as a community and organise”.

“We’re a genuine group, we’re not doing it to troll anyone,” he told

“If you roll up to any university these days you’ll have gay safe spaces, Muslim safe spaces: in the last four or five years it’s become very politically correct.

“That’s great. I’m as PC as they come. We’re staying within the narrative. All we want is equality.”

He said he was “absolutely” expecting a backlash, but wanted to “test the boundaries of what they’re willing to acknowledge”.

“We just thought, why not? Everyone else is doing it, why can’t we do it? Anecdotally we have a lot of support from the ethnic students,” he said.

“Our main antagonists are actually the older, white academics. These people say they’re all about equality. The academics try to build this narrative that nobody supports this stuff, but it’s happening. We’re just using that language ourselves.”

Despite the hoax claims, universities are taking the rise of these unions seriously.

In a statement, a spokesman for Western Sydney University said the group was not an official or authorised student group, adding: “The university prides itself on the diversity of its university community and condemns any action that seeks to undermine this.”

The University of Technology, Sydney, and Macquarie University both said white student unions formed by their students were not official and did not reflect the views of the universities or the majority of their students.

In the “About” section of the Facebook page for the UTS White Student Union, it says the group was “advancing the rights for the people of European descent” and “anyone from any background can join”.

A spokeswoman for Macquarie University said it had publicly contacted the administrators of the page yesterday, requesting that they remove the campus image and refrain from referring to themselves as “a student organisation at Macquarie University”.

“We understand this page is likely to be part of a wider hoax, stemming from North America, nevertheless we are continuing our investigations into the origin of this page,” the spokeswoman told

A spokeswoman for the University of NSW said a Facebook page for the UNSW White Student Union was “in no way related” to UNSW or its student groups. “The university will be asking Facebook to delete the page,” the spokeswoman said.

The University of Queensland went so far as to condemn the University of Queensland White Student Union, which was formed last Tuesday, as a “racist web hoax”.

On its Facebook page, which has 378 likes, the University of Queensland White Student Union group rails against university overcrowding and “rich international students” outbidding white Australian students for rental housing and casual work.

“We’re forced to put up with an overcrowded campus that hosts thousands more students than it was ever designed for. Not enough parking, not enough toilets, not enough computers, not enough study spaces,” a post dated November 24 reads.

“We’re forced to do group work with internationals who can’t speak English, we carry the load and do all the work while our marks are dragged down.

“We’re forced to put up with the anti-social behaviour of a particular group of students who treat study spaces as social spaces and constantly attempt to ‘reserve’ public resources such as computers. Enough is enough.”

The founders of the UQ group asked not to be identified but said they represented white students “who’ve had their voices silenced by political correctness”.

“Individual people can be bullied into submission but as a group we can’t be silenced,” the group told

“Political correctness and free speech are issues that are becoming more and more important.”

The group said existing student organisations were “obsessed with catering to minorities” and they planned to establish their own society on campus in 2016.

“We’re very clear on our position that white people have every right to organise themselves and act collectively to further their mutual interests,” they said.

“We don’t think whites are inherently ‘superior’ and definitely don’t think they should ‘rule over’ anybody else.

“We think the ideas and issues we’re raising have become more relevant to students as a new strain of political correctness has swept across the Western word over the past few years promoting ideas like ‘white privilege’. There are all these nasty ideas around now that white people, particularly white men, are always ‘privileged’ regardless of their background and personal circumstances and that if they suffer hardship they deserve it, and that white people are the cause of everything that’s wrong in the world.” asked the spokesman to prove that he was a legitimate student at the university, but he said he thought it was in his best interests to “maintain anonymity” due to death threats the group had received.

Third-year University of Western Australia student Michael (who did not wish to reveal his last name) said he founded the UWA White Student Association on the weekend.

He said ensuring all students and staff spoke fluent English, making sure “the full breadth of white, European holidays and festivities” were celebrated on campus, getting racist attacks on white students recognised as racism, and having the recently dumped European studies major reinstated were among the issues his group intended to lobby for.

“Our basic aims are to represent the interests of white students on campus, as well as do our bit to reverse what we view as the rapid decline of Western civilisation, caused by mass immigration resulting in a clash of values, and the decline of family values,” Michael told

A spokesman for UWA said the university did not endorse “behaviours and actions which are deemed to be racially and culturally intolerant or offensive”.

“UWA has a strong track record on promoting cultural and religious diversity and the university is committed to produce graduates who are intellectually and emotionally comfortable with difference,” the spokesman said.

In response to accusations of racism, Michael says he and the group were not racists and “we never will be”.  “Supporting white students doesn’t imply hatred of other races, it’s not a logical accusation,” he said.  “We would be happy to work with other ethnic clubs to fulfil mutual goals.

“(Groups that represent ethnic minority groups) are nothing new, and we don’t have an issue with them. What is new is the increasing difficulty white students face in expressing their views, identity, or culture on campus without being shouted down and labelled.

“White students are not a minority, but they are currently being treated worse than most minorities, if they break rank with the left-wing multicultural orthodoxy that is hellbent of persecuting expression of whiteness.”

On its Facebook page, the UWA White Student Association points out that the university already has a Singapore Students Association and an African Student Union, among other groups, so it was “about time white students organised and started working together”.


The emergence of white student unions at universities in the US, including Berkeley and Harvard, have been suggested to be a response to a wave of recent anti-racism protests. One such union at the University of Illinois sprung up hours after a black solidarity event was held on campus. Others, however, have been revealed as hoaxes.

Dr Peter Gale from the David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education at the University of South Australia told the parallel emergence of such groups in Australia was not the first time mainstream society has attempted to redress what many perceived to be “reverse racism”.

He said it was “not unrelated” to our current political climate.

“We can go back to the late 1990s with the rise of Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party where there was a backlash from groups within mainstream Australia who even claimed there was reverse racism,” he said.

“Then we had an intensification of what I term as a politics of fear following September 11 so discourse around reverse racism increased following that.

“And unfortunately there’s a perception problem where many people don’t recognise the ongoing inequalities and difficulties that many minority groups within Western countries generally are still experiencing, which contributes to a level of resentment when we have affirmative action programs for those seeking to address disadvantage that’s been experienced by some groups.

“So where we may have a scholarship program for indigenous students, or we may have programs that seek to enhance the experience of international students on campus, and that’s perceived at discrimination, it’s very disappointing when people take that position.”

Dr Gale said it was also disappointing some people who were part of mainstream Australia didn’t “have an appreciation for the privileged position” of being at university.

“They certainly don’t have the experience of many minority groups that have had to overcome many difficulties and inequalities to get to a privileged position of being able to study at a tertiary level,” he said.

“There are many groups within Australian society where there is an ongoing inequality in terms of the participation rates in just getting to university. There's still an ongoing inequality for indigenous people in accessing university.

“We need far more of an emphasis on improving relations between groups within society rather than responses that are going to create further divisions.

“I’d be concerned that there’s an emphasis on what are the benefits for one particular group over another particular group. we should be working together to enhance interculturalism rather than further separation and segregation between groups.”


Thursday, December 03, 2015

A university and its Muslim professor

Feminism not taught there?

A professor with an interesting birthplace is in hot water for doing the unspeakable this week:

Youssif Omar saw his teenage female relative walking to Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri without the traditional Islamic headscarf. According to the Daily Mail, he assaulted the girl by slapping her across the face, dragged her violently by the hair down a flight of stairs and into his car, and drove away.

Omar was arrested for child abuse the following day and was released on a $4,500 bond.

According to his now defunct LinkedIn page, Omar was an assistant professor at the University of Missouri and manager of Artifacts Journal at the University bookstore. The school said that he was a graduate student with an assistantship that ended in July.

Originally from Benghazi, Libya, Omar was the head of the English department at the University of Benghazi Wahat Branch from 2003-2007.

Colleges were once fertile breeding ground for the discussion of both experimental and foundational western cultural ideals. Now that they've completed their transformation to brain scrambling day care facilities for maladjusted milennials, little in the way of culture remains. In such a vaccuum, savages run wild.

If this professor would like to live by these particularly heinous, barbaric cultural norms, perhaps he should consider going home.


You can’t ban racism

If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, it may seem (even more so than usual) that American campuses have gone mad. There is an uprising of screeching teachers at the University of Missouri, and Yale seems to be full of equally shrill students.

Here at spiked, we are the first to admonish coddled students for censoring opposing viewpoints, policing ‘microagressions’, banning Halloween costumes or creating Safe Spaces where students won’t be troubled by worrisome ideas. The campus quote of the year surely goes to Yale student Jerelyn Luther, addressing the head of her residential college: ‘ [Your job is] not about creating an intellectual space! It is not!’ Worst of all, campus ‘radicals’ now call on administrations to re-impose the shackles of in loco parentis that student protesters of the Sixties rightfully broke.

In such an atmosphere, it’s all too easy to be dismissive. Indeed, students’ focus on trivial or even false incidents of hatred distracts from real acts of hatred. But they happen. At Missouri, the main site of campus kerfuffle this week, someone smeared faeces shaped into a swastika in a campus dorm (seriously) following incidents of reported racial harassment. At Duke, my university, someone recently spraypainted a death threat directed at a gay student in his dormitory, and a Black Lives Matter poster was defaced with racial epithets. Such acts are unequivocally despicable, and we must condemn them harshly.

But what is to be done? How can colleges prevent such acts? Students have some ideas: here at Duke, the student whose room was defaced has asked for mandatory ‘cultural competency’ training and the introduction of a ‘sexuality studies’ major. The Missouri students’ demands followed similar lines (though some were utterly fatuous – requiring the ex-president to ‘admit his white male privilege’ – and some were plain unconstitutional – demanding racial quotas).

If universities fulfil these demands, will instances of hatred stop? Of course not. The man who writes ‘God Hates Fags’ on someone’s door will not be discouraged by some freshman seminar on ‘systemic oppression’. I’m not sure what could deter the swastika-poop perpetrator.

The truth is, proclaiming your white guilt or censoring social media won’t stop racism or help minorities. Instead, we must promote moral strength, fortitude and personal autonomy, while expressing solidarity with, and support for, victims. No doubt this is not fair. But – here’s the hard part – life isn’t always fair.


Government contributions to private schools in Australia

This is a hoary Leftist whine below.  Typically of Leftism it looks only at superficialities.  The underlying point that parents who send their children to private schools relieve the public sector from educating them is overlooked.  That is a big saving for the public system so the Australian Federal government reimburses the private schools part of what their kids would have drawn from the public system. Monica seems unaware of that point -- a point that is something of a "third rail" in Australian politics -- As Biffo Latham discovered when he tried to cut it back.  It is in other words fair and seen as fair

American conservatives would wonder at Australia's system. Where they struggle to get voucher programs going, the Australian Federal government has for decades done the equivalent. They directly give all private schools substantial taxpayer money!  And that gives wider choice. Where such programs get up in America, it mostly means parents get the chance of sending their kid to a poor Catholic school.  In Australia you can send your kid to the top private school in town and only pay part of the costs.  So 40% of Australian teens in fact go to a private High School

Monica Dux

It is a myth that elite private schools are entitled to all the bells and whistles they enjoy because parents have paid for them. This quickly falls apart if you think about it. Private schools receive huge sums of money from the public purse; very nearly as much money as government schools. If that money was being used to keep struggling private schools afloat, then it might be justified. But in many cases it is in fact used to fund the educational "excellence" that we hear about in private school advertising campaigns – state-of-the-art sports grounds, pools, outstanding facilities of every kind. As commentator Jane Caro recently observed, one school is now providing on-site baristas, subsidised by our taxes.

The myth that underpins this – that parents are simply making a choice, and are themselves funding that choice – serves to obscure the gross inequality at the heart of our education system. The implication is that parents who send their kids to state schools should stop complaining about the under-resourced, overcrowded public system because they have chosen it. They weren't willing to pay, so their kids deserve what they get.

As a teenager I was acutely aware of this divide. It was first pointed out to me in grade 6, when one of my classmates informed me that the high school I'd be attending was a "dog school", the crap Catholic school where no one really wanted to send their kids.  She, on the other hand, was going to the superior private school with hats, pressed uniforms and various state-of-the-art facilities.

Naturally, I was upset by the revelation that my school was for canines, as I'd naively assumed that my parents had chosen to send me there because it was closer to our home. But my classmate's spitefulness put me in my place, reminding me where I was from and what my parents could afford.

I don't know whether my nasty classmate got a better education than I did, but I'm pretty sure she would have come away with a greater sense of entitlement, and the self-confidence that typically goes with it. For entitlement grows naturally out of the myth that justifies the system. Her parents paid for her superior education, made sacrifices to afford it, so she was entitled to the benefits that it brought her.  

Yet once you recognise that the taxpayer is footing a very substantial part of the bill, and that elite private schools are effectively siphoning away funds that could have gone into the state system, you see the equation very differently. Far from being entitled to anything, children who benefit from expensive private educations are in fact indebted to the ordinary taxpayers who subsidised their swimming complexes and their baristas. It's everyone else who made the sacrifice – sending their kids to underfunded state schools, while the private sector hogged the education dollar.

As we grow older most of us stop believing in myths such as citizen's arrest. When will Australia grow up and see through the education myths that are doing a disservice to all our children?


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Religious education teacher at £23,000-a-year British private school says 'daughters had more fun when their parents didn't bother to educate them'

With a reputation for excellence and fees of more than £20,000 a year, St Paul's Girls' School prides itself on its stellar results.  So parents may be surprised to learn the views of one of its teachers – who claims 'happiness and success don't turn on A*s and a place at Oxford'.

Blanche Girouard, who teaches religious education at the West London school, faces a backlash after also suggesting girls were happier when they were simply expected to marry rather than go to university.

Writing for The Oldie magazine under the heading, 'Not so long ago parents didn't bother to educate their daughters – who had more fun as a result', Ms Girouard argued that 'something has gone very wrong' with education.

She went on to paint a surprisingly rosy picture of an era when 'everything seemed to be geared towards marriage' and 'parents really didn't seem to care' about educating girls.

Although Ms Girouard acknowledges that 'it seems heinous that parents had such limited ambition for their bright daughters,' she adds: 'And yet there are aspects of that era that are enviable.

Back then nobody cared about exams.' Ms Girouard was once head girl at the school, which costs up to £7,854 per term and counts journalist Rachel Johnson and Labour MP Harriet Harman among its past pupils.

She bemoans how 'today's girls aren't going on nature walks or learning poetry off by heart – they're cramming their heads full of facts'.

She adds: 'It's time we backed off and gave today's girls the time and space to work out what they actually want ... Happiness and success don't turn on A*s and a place at Oxford.'

Last night, parents who have daughters at the school strongly disagreed with the comments.

One mother, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: 'I don't worry about my daughter having too much pressure in a school situation. My girl loves being in that environment.' Another parent branded the teacher's views 'old-fashioned'.

Ms Girouard declined to comment further on her article.  The high mistress of St Paul's Girls' School was unavailable for comment.


Sir Michael Wilshaw: Urgent action is needed to improve failing British secondary schools

In the annual Ofsted report, the chief inspector of schools highlights poor standards in the north of England and the Midlands

Urgent action is needed to tackle the “deeply troubling” poor standards of secondary schools in the north of England and the Midlands, the head of Ofsted says today.

Sir Michael Wilshaw points the finger at local politicians for failing to do enough to prevent standards slipping in major northern cities and their satellite towns.

Last year the number of students in poor-performing secondary schools shot up from 100,000 to 170,000 in the space of just a year.

While it was unclear last night how many pupils were now attending “inadequate” schools, Sir Michael’s annual report says more than 400,000 children in the North and Midlands were attending schools deemed either inadequate or requiring improvement.

In the report, 16 local authority areas are highlighted where fewer than 60 per cent of children attend good or outstanding secondary schools, and make less than average progress and achieve lower than average grades at GCSE.

All but three of these are in the North and Midlands and many of them are satellite towns of major cities.

Mr Wilshaw says local councils in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield and their satellite towns needs to work with MPs, chief executives and head teachers in a way that organisations worked together in the 1990s and early 2000s to stem the poor performance of London secondary schools.

The London Challenge, implemented by the Labour government in 2003 saw struggling schools in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Lewisham, Hackney and Westminster team up with more successful schools in the city to boost standards.

“We recognise there are areas of the country which are more behind, which is why we launched our national teaching service."
Tory source

The initiative also saw independent education experts – known as London Challenge Advisers – appointed to the struggling schools.

Speaking at the launch of his fourth annual report, Sir Michael says that if cities like Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield are to be the “engine rooms” of a Northern Powerhouse, they need to work with the towns on their borders to raise attainment and close skills gaps across a wider area.

He calls for “urgent collective action” from local politicians, MPs, chief executives and head teachers of the type seen in London in the late 1990s to raise education standards.

He also calls for teachers who trained in poor-performing areas to be offered financial incentives to stay put afterwards.

He says action is needed to address the capacity issues facing England’s education system, including a shortage of high-quality secondary school leaders, especially in these two problem areas.

The report shows teacher recruitment is a problem across the country, with continued shortages in key subjects like science, technology and maths.

This is exacerbated by the number of newly-qualified teachers leaving to teach abroad or in the independent sector.

He says children in the Midlands and North of England were much less likely to attend a good or outstanding secondary school than their counterparts in the South.

But he adds the divide could not be explained away by the higher levels of economic deprivation in the North and Midlands.

He clarifies there is no difference in the quality of primary schools across the country or in the achievement of seven-year-olds and 11-year-olds at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

Last year’s report showed 71 per cent of pupils attended good or outstanding secondary schools in the country.

A Tory source said the report did show the areas “where schools had embraced education reform and got on board with a lot of the programs which are making a real difference”.

But he added: “We recognise there are areas of the country which are more behind, which is why we launched our national teaching service.

“It is so disappointing that Labour has turned away from the reforms, such as academies and free schools, which put the head teachers in charge, rather than government ministers and politicians.”


Australia:  Around 1 in 10 teaching students fail trial numeracy, literacy exam

It's mainly desperates who would want to teach in Australia's chaotic State schools -- and you can't expect much of desperates.  The States would have to get a handle on classroom discipline if better quality candidates are to be attracted to teaching 

About 10 per cent of teaching students failed to meet required standards of literacy and numeracy, results from a trial exam show.

About 5,000 students sat the test, which is designed to ensure teaching graduates are in the top 30 per cent of Australians when it comes to literacy and numeracy.

Of the students who took part, 92 per cent passed the literacy test and 90 per cent passed the numeracy test.

The testing was conducted in capital cities, as well as in Albury in New South Wales and Ballarat in Victoria.

If the results from the pilot study were replicated nationally, potentially 1,800 teaching graduates last year would have failed to make the grade.

The test will be mandatory from July next year and students will have to pass before they can graduate and go on to work in a classroom.

The Australian Education Union said the results showed a need for a minimum entry requirements for teaching courses.

Union president Correna Haythorpe said the Federal Government should focus on how students are selected for teaching training.

"We have had concerns for a number of years that entry standards for teaching courses are too low," she said.

"Students need to be identified and supported at the beginning of their teaching course, not find out at the end that they have not made the grade.

"We believe if the Government is serious about attracting the top 30 per cent, then they need to ensure minimum entry standards apply at the beginning of a teaching course."

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the findings justified the Government's focus on teacher quality.

"Parents, principals, all stakeholders in school education should have complete confidence that graduates from our universities with teaching qualifications are among some of the best and brightest in the land," Senator Birmingham said.

"We are really putting it on the universities who are training our teachers to make sure they have confidence in the capabilities of teachers before they graduate.

"It's quite fair and reasonable that universities — as the providers of teaching graduates — should be providing teaching graduates that are of the highest possible standard."

From next year, it will be up to universities to decide whether to set the test as an entry requirement or to provide it during teaching training.


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!

By Dr. Everett Piper, President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love! In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic! Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims! Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience! An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad! It is supposed to make you feel guilty! The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization!

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up!

This is not a day care. This is a university!


Princeton Grad Disappointed Administrators Gave in to Student ‘Bullying Tactics’

For years, Darren Geist walked up the steps of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs almost daily.

After class, he’d meet with his senior thesis advisor Christopher L. Eisgruber, who Geist said at times, served as more of a “mentor” than an advisor.

In 2005, Geist would go on to graduate from the prestigious Ivy League, while nabbing the renowned Spirit of Princeton Award for his work on sensitive issues including human trafficking, sex trafficking, and genocide.

Eight years later, his mentor, Eisgruber, would go on to become president of Princeton University.

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Looking back, Geist told The Daily Signal he never would have imagined that ten years later, the university would be caught in a wave of campus protests, with students calling for the building where he earned his degree to be scrubbed of its name.

But moreover, Geist said, “I didn’t imagine that the president of the university would be in some way deciding to back the protesters.”

The protesters are part of a group called the Black Justice League, which according to its Facebook page, started in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and aims to dismantle racism.

Woodrow Wilson, they believe, continues “the legacy of white supremacy and anti-Blackness on campus.”

To voice their concerns, members of the Black Justice League organized a sit-in inside the president’s office. Thirty-two hours later, the sit-in ended with Eisgruber giving into many of the student’s demands.

Among their demands, the Black Justice League asked, “the university administration publicly acknowledge the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson and how he impacted campus policy and culture.”

    We also demand that steps be made to rename Wilson residential college, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs, and any other building named after him. Furthermore, we would like the mural of Wilson to be removed from the Wilcox dining hall. We understand that a name change does not dismantle racism, but also know that the way we lionize legacies set precedents.

The Black Justice League also demanded “cultural competency training for all staff and faculty,” mandatory classes on the “history of marginalized peoples” and a “cultural space on campus dedicated specifically to Black students.”

The full list of demands is laid out on the group’s petition, available here.

Eisgruber responded on Thursday by making public an official agreement addressing each of the student demands.

Geist felt the agreement was premature, and didn’t consider the many other opinions surrounding the protesters demands.

“To make this huge decision that impacts the degrees of many, many students—myself included—without consulting them or waiting to hear their viewpoint, that to me is very troubling,” Geist said. “Especially when it’s only because of a few students who are very vocal and violated the school rules.”

Geist, who is now a lawyer, isn’t eager to speak critically of his former mentor, but after witnessing Eisgruber express his “personal view” that a mural remembering Wilson in a campus dining hall should be removed, and direct the Board of Trustees to “initiative conversations” surrounding the renaming of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, he had enough.

For a while, “I sort of stayed away from these race issues,” Geist said. But now, the situation has become “intolerable.”

    I think this got to a point where it’s become intolerable…it’s both intolerable and for me, because I care about human rights and civil rights, I think this is very bad for the movement. Unfortunately, we see the civil rights movement hijacked in some way by radicals.

He also called it a “weird double-standard, where they pick and choose what to be offended by and to me, that gives it less credibility.”

Most of them are self-described progressives and progressives have a long history of supporting eugenics, the Democratic party was the party of the South and the KKK and of segregation.

Over the weekend, Geist created a counter protest for alumni of the college to “express our concern at the administration’s approach to the Black Justice League’s demands.”

Thus far, it has only garnered 34 supporters.

Another counter-protest, however, led by current students has gained more than 1,245 signatures. Geist said in part, his effort was meant to show those students that they have the support of the fellow Princeton alum.

“Alumni are a little nervous about putting their name on something because of their careers,” Geist said.

    I wanted it to be clear that alumni are supporting undergrads that are trying to stand up against bullying tactics and are trying to really preserve the legacy of Princeton.


Why Massachusetts Gave Up on Common Core

The state Board of Education in Massachusetts has decided to retreat from common core and develop its own state tests—to the dismay of Common Core advocates.

It comes as no surprise that a “top-down, one-size-fits-all” approach to education is not working for the people of Massachusetts.

Interestingly, this policy reversal comes at the recommendation of Mitchell Chester, one of Common Core’s main architects. When a program’s leading advocate admits that it is not working, it is time to give that program a second look.

The sentiment held in Massachusetts is shared by parents, students, teachers, and school administrators all over the country. A recent poll found that approval for common core plummeted to 46 percent among teachers in 2014, a 30-point drop from 2013. Approval among parents indicates a similar pattern, with overall approval rates dropping from 65 percent in 2013 to 53 percent in 2014.

A recent poll found that approval for common core plummeted to 46 percent among teachers in 2014

For instance, students in Massachusetts are drastically different from students in Nevada and therefore require a different set of tests and curricula. Therefore, restoring control to states and localities to make informed choices for their communities will better ensure education quality.

Common Core has fallen under particularly harsh scrutiny after the National Association for Educational Progress (NAEP) released especially dismal results for 2015.

While Massachusetts has prided itself on its consistently high standardized test performance, their 2015 NAEP results showed declines in almost every category of testing. Massachusetts’ 8th grade math assessment dropped to its lowest average score since 2005, with 8th grade reading falling to 2009 levels. Massachusetts was not alone in its declining performance.

Since NAEP started its testing in the early 1990s, most states have seen slow but consistent progress. However, this year’s scores took a unexpected dip after almost 20 years of progress.

Russ Whitehurst at The Brookings Institution found a statistically significant link between state adoption of Common Core and lower NAEP scores. While some argue that the decline in test scores may simply be because students and teachers need to adjust to a new system, Whitehurst writes that “the modest correlation suggests that more is going on than disruptions in instruction associated with the rollout of a new assessment system.”

Neal McClusky of the Cato Institute came to a similar conclusion—“that the states that never adopted the Core outperformed the average could indicate that the disruption theory is correct: foregoing the transition to the Core enabled better performance.”

As Common Core faces harsh criticism in light of recent NAEP scores and pushback from policy makers, it is time for more states to consider going the route of Massachusetts and say “no thanks” to Common Core State Standards.


Monday, November 30, 2015

University Students Comforted with ‘Counseling’ after Seeing Confederate Flag on Laptop

What wimps!

University students in Massachusetts who were upset by an image of a Confederate flag sticker on another student’s laptop were offered counseling services at Framingham State University.

The offer came after the university’s “chief diversity and inclusion officer,” Sean Huddleston, described the display of the small Confederate flag sticker as a “bias incident.”

According to Metrowest Daily News, students filed two “bias reports” within the past month as a result of a student displaying the flag in some way. The most recent bias incident – reported on November 19 – was a report of a student having seen a Confederate flag sticker on another student’s laptop.

In an email to students, Huddleston did not declare a ban on displaying the flag, but claimed that it upsets some students.  MRCTV obtained the email in which Huddleston wrote:

A student reported a bias incident today, in which the image of the Confederate flag was displayed on a laptop. Many of you may be aware that last month we received a Bias Incident involving two other students for a similar issue. Although related in nature, the two incidents involve separate parties.

The FSU Bias Protocol and Response Team has been made aware of the incident, and will meet to determine any measures that may be needed to respond to the incident. Our primary goal continues to be to expeditiously address and resolve incidents of bias that impede our progress toward a welcoming and inclusive campus community.

“Many see the Confederate flag as an inflammatory symbol of oppression and constant reminder of a dark period in the history of the United States in which slavery was a legal,” Huddleston continued, while “Others may simply view this flag as a symbol of shared southern heritage and in memory of the Civil War.”

Huddleston said the flag and other symbols “are not condoned by Framingham State University, as they violate the core values of our institution and not considered consistent with our desire to maintain a safe, respectful and welcoming campus community for all.”

He further described “bias incidents” as “situations that may not rise to the level of a criminal act, but still clearly communicate offensive or derogatory behaviors.”

Observing that students on campus in general may have suffered a traumatic reaction from seeing an image of the Confederate flag, Huddleston continued, “We recognize that bias incidents are upsetting for the entire campus community, but especially for the target(s) and witness(es) of these incidents.”

“It is strongly suggested that anyone impacted by a bias incident find someone to speak with,” he wrote.


UK: We used to send young people to university to expand their horizons - now the main objective seems to be close their minds

By Katie Hopkins

Was it something I said? Hardly – because I’d only just introduced myself as part of a panel at Brunel University about the future of the welfare state when about 50 students stood, turned their backs in and walked out en masse, as part of a staged protest, actively encouraged by a member of the University staff who promptly tweeted his support:

Naturally I carried on regardless. Because, for them, I have no regard. Because they are already decided.

Or, as the Left-wing writer Frank deBoer observing the way students on campus look to silence anyone with an alternative view put it: 'What's more, we are all already decided and the thing you think is deeply ridiculous.’

After what happened to me at Brunel University I wonder if we no longer teach students how to think but what to think.

A terrifying number conform to one way of thinking. Not only do they demand that you comply with their view, but seek to deride and delegitimise anyone with an alternative opinion.

And it’s not just students. Remember the argument between Elton John and Dolce & Gabbana earlier this year over the use of IVF for gay couples? Dolce & Gabbana were not supportive of the process.

The response from the LGBT community was typical: Boycott Dolce & Gabbana. Don't debate the issue - label it and shut it down. Those preaching tolerance suddenly became the most intolerant of them all.

And it isn't just minorities who can play the offence card. Nobel Laureate Sir Tim Hunt fell victim to it earlier this year when he made a quip about the impact of women in laboratories, and was shamed from his profession.

Shunned by his peers and thrown out of UCL for sharing an off-the-cuff remark, his quote was played from the Twitter gallows as feminists threw rotten tomatoes, as a stark reminder to others that silence is easier than confrontation.

This generation of students raised on social media are fast to join crusades and shun traitors, and demand the head of the guilty served to them on a pike.

There have always been people who believe they have a right not to be offended. But in recent times their numbers have exploded, creating an Offended Young Nation.

Offence is no longer regarded as an emotional reaction. If someone is offended by something I say, they now have the right to bring a public charge against me because I have done something wrong and should be punished for it.

Three hundred thousand people signed a petition to have me sacked as a columnist; 55,000 signed a petition to have me swapped for a Syrian migrant. Neither with any effect.

Students no longer debate. They label and slate:

    When I supported Ched Evans's right to re-employment, they called me a rape apologist.

    Because I'm a Conservative-voting female, they decided I was a homophobe.

    When I criticised our immigration policy, they labelled me a racist.

    And because I am not a fan of huge divorce settlements for women, they labelled me a misogynist.

All because my views are different from theirs.

Students on American and British campuses are plagued by this lazy thinking. At Yale a Professor and Associate Master is under heavy fire for tactfully suggesting students should wear whatever Halloween costume they felt comfortable in.

The Yale offendatrons screamed out the label of first choice - racist - and want her fired because she wrote: 'If you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society.'

Sadly I fear our young society is a lot less free than we might hope.

Encouraged by Left-leaning tutors, students do not wish to open their minds to society. They want to hear what they have already decided is true.

It might explain why Brunel University students who wouldn’t listen to me thronged off-site to hear the wisdom of hate-preachers Uthman Lateef and Doctor Fikry.

Lateef has publicly stated he hates homosexuals and Dr Fikry told the students: ‘Killing the Sunni is to raise your rank in Paradise, raping a Sunni woman is a matter that pleases Allah.’

Not one student walked out of these talks - presumably because these speakers aren't whitesplaining or this is accepted thinking at Brunel and does not cause offence?

So to those who stayed and debated openly, I am grateful. Not because you stayed to listen, but because you give me hope our future is not entirely populated by closed minds.


The grievance generation

Whiny college students are protesting when their feelings are hurt

Remember the campus unrest in the 1960s? Whether you agreed with the students or not, they were protesting about things of great consequence — like civil rights, or the military draft, or the Vietnam War. They had chants like “hell no, we won’t go.” Those were the good old days.

Now we are witnessing whiney college kids marching in the streets screaming obscenities or taking over the university president’s office for what? Feeling slighted? Having their feelings hurt? Talk about rebels without a cause.

One of the trendy demand by the aggrieved students is free college tuition. And why not? Nearly everything else these millennials have ever had was handed to them for free.

I’ve traveled to many campuses in recent weeks and experienced the melodrama of student grievances first-hand. To be fair, I should note that many of the students are impressive with open and inquiring minds. It’s only a loud-mouthed minority whose mission is to shut out and shut down views they find a way to be offended by.

These leftist kids are agitated. Angry. This the hangover effect, I suspect, from the shattered utopian dreams of Hope and Change. I have noticed in recent months that these students attend my lectures not to learn anything — they know everything already — but hoping that I will slip up or say something they can label as offensive or that violates their eight-volume campus speech code.

When I ask them what they want, a typical response is a “radical transformation of the economy” to reduce income inequality, racism, sexism, and, of course, to end climate change. Government will command these changes to achieve this transformation. These are young Stalinists who are willing to suspend almost every basic freedom and civil liberty for “the greater good.”

They’re on a roll having already successfully removed university presidents and faculty for the sin of being insufficiently responsive to their latest grievance.

At one recent visit to University of Massachusetts I asked a few kids what their plans were for Thanksgiving. They practically spat at me for even mentioning this white supremacy holiday, that only trivializes and glorifies the genocide of the Native Americans by the pilgrims. Wow. Sorry, I brought it up, especially in your “safe space.” if they had their way, I would be sentenced to six months of sensitivity training.

I can’t help contrasting these campus attitudes with a recent meeting I had with a group of soldiers who had returned from Afghanistan. These brave men and women risked their lives everyday. They had real bullets shot at them, not the verbal ones that the campus leftists find so offensive. They have genuine and in some cases life-changing injuries — ringing in the ear, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and broken limbs.

They served so that the leftists on college campuses who day after day remain sheltered in their cocoons and protest the wounds to their fragile psyche of having to listen to a point of view they disagree with. The horror. How do they little darlings go on? Maybe they will do all us a favor and stay there and never graduate.

Can you imagine the tyranny you would bring upon yourself by actually hiring one of these self-righteous complainers. Within a month they’d be slapping you with a lawsuit for not having a transgender bathroom. And you’ll be thinking: Right, but did you actually finish that assignment I gave you? Employers tell me despondently that the millennials are by far the highest maintenance generation they’ve ever seen. One recruiter recently told me: “They need their hands held, they demand affirmation, they are forever whining about their feelings. We really don’t have time to deal with their petty grievances.” Ironically, when I graduated from college in the early 1980s they called us the “me generation.”

Who’s to blame for all of this? Alas, we are. The parents who caved in to every instant gratification demand they ever had, arranged “play dates,” for them, showered them with daily positive affirmation, and gave them time-outs rather than spankings. Our schools are to blame for labeling them “gifted and talented,” and awarding them towering trophies for finishing in 6th place so as not to damage their self-esteem. The college professors who corrupt their minds with hate-America ideology and now are the administrators who cave into their every petty demand.

Worst of all are the successful Americans who well-meaningly think they are being charitable by giving their money to the very universities that are indoctrinating these kids with nonsensical ideas. Why? Just stop. Society would be better off if you just burned your money.

Yes, I admit that these complaints are made of every generation. But this one seems seriously off and we made them this way. A generation that has grown up in more affluence and personal freedom than any other in history has been taught to hate the free enterprise wealth-creation process that gave them what they want in the first place. A generation that has been drilled since pre-kindergarten that the highest virtue in life is tolerance, has suddenly become the most intolerant in history.

What they lack most is gratitude. Something to think about this Thanksgiving.