Saturday, January 02, 2016

Fewer students disciplined in Mass. schools

Bad news for parents who want their kids to get an education.  What about the kids who don't misbehave?  Do they matter? Is it OK to have their classes constantly disrupted by a few?  The fact alluded to below -- that charter schools use much more discipline and get better results -- just seems to be glided over. Is the lesson from that not obvious? This is just typical Leftist adoration of bad eggs

The number of students disciplined in schools across Massachusetts declined 20 percent last year, a dramatic drop that follows a change in the way all school districts are required to approach punishment.

In all, 10,000 fewer students were disciplined during the 2014-15 school year, according to state data released this week.

Disciplinary measures are defined as expulsion, out-of-school suspension, and in-school suspension. They are imposed on students who break any of a long list of infractions, such as unruly behavior, skipping school, fighting, bringing drugs or a weapon to school, or assaulting a teacher.

Education officials heralded the decline as proof that schools are following a new state law that aims to reduce long-term suspensions — defined as more than 10 days — and ensure that punished students don’t miss lessons.

A growing body of research suggests that students who are suspended repeatedly are more likely to fall behind academically and drop out.

Although the rate of overall discipline has dropped, it remains uneven in some school-to-school comparisons. Black, Latino, and poor students continue to receive out-of-school suspensions at higher rates than their white classmates.

But education advocates were heartened by the fact that discipline rates for those students declined faster than the state average.

“To see across-the-board drops by race, disability, and language-learner status is a positive step forward for our state,” said Matt Cregor, a staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, a nonpartisan legal organization in Boston that published a report last year about school discipline.

The new data show the rate of out-of-school suspensions, which essentially means students are sent home for a day or more, dropped to 2.9 percent in 2014-15, down from 3.9 percent in the previous school year. The report does not show the length of the suspensions.

Overall, Boston public schools disciplined about 5 percent of their 58,000 students last year, data show, down from about 6 percent the year before.

State officials hope the reduction in discipline creates a better atmosphere in schools and a “more positive interventions and supports for students,” Lauren Greene, the assistant chief of staff at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said in a statement Wednesday.

Instead of suspending students, many schools have tried to work with them in the classroom, use peer mediation, small group instruction, one-on-one counseling and provide extra help for teachers.

“While we never want to limit a school from having the power to intervene in a serious situation, in some cases an alternative or additional services may have a greater impact on changing a student’s behavior,” Greene said.

While black students are sent to out-of-school suspension at higher rates (6.9 percent last year) those figures are dropping faster than the statewide rate — down from 9.3 percent in the year prior, data show.

The same is true for Latino students, 5.6 percent of whom were sent home last year, compared with 7.7 percent the year prior.

Charter schools have some of the highest discipline rates. But the data suggest that they are also using alternatives to suspension.

Roxbury Preparatory Charter, City on a Hill Charter in Dudley Square, and City on a Hill Charter in New Bedford had the highest rates of out-of-school suspension statewide — between 35 percent and 40 percent. But those percentages were slightly lower than rates at those schools the year before.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association said Wednesday that higher discipline rates at charter schools in Boston do not correlate with higher dropout or attrition rates.

“Charters have traditionally had higher standards for classroom behavior and have employed out-of-school suspension to maintain an environment in the classroom that’s conducive to learning,” said the spokesman, Dominic Slowey.

The Boston public school district is implementing measures to take before a student has to be suspended, a School Department spokesman said.

“Providing students in-school supports for social emotional well-being and academic success is a primary focus,’’ Dan O’Brien, press secretary for department, said.

While heartened by the new report, Cregor, of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, said he worries that schools are underreporting discipline, especially emergency removals. That is when a principal removes a student temporarily after he or she is charged with a disciplinary offense because the principal believes the student is dangerous.

“I’m worried about the kids whose schools are maybe saying, ‘Why don’t you take a cool-down, stay home for a couple of days, we won’t put it on your record,’ ” Cregor said.


Sorry, Clinton And Sanders, There's No Such Thing As Free College

"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see." - Ayn Rand

Candidates for the Democratic Party's nomination for president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have both promised that if elected, they would put forth legislation that would dramatically reduce tuition and student debt for public universities in one form or another. This opportunity is a lie in itself. In order for the federal government to pay for all these students, it would be necessary for more tax money to get funneled to students who hold no real obligation to complete their degrees, and a lot of students who should not have gone to college in the first place would get degrees they don't know what to ultimately do with.

The first issue to bring up regarding this progressive scheme to attract millennial voters is the financing of this project. Lindsey Burke, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, pointed out in her Daily Signal article, "Why Free Community College Is Anything But Free", a fundamental issue with financing tuition free 2-year college alone:

"Once again, the administration is pursuing initiatives to subsidize rising costs, instead of working with Congress on policies that actually would address the driver of college cost increases: the open spigot of federal student aid. Over the past several decades, college costs have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation, thanks in large part to federal subsidies."

By sending more grants and subsidizing higher education even more, that bad habit only creates the incentive for schools to drive up the costs, the ultimate reason behind soaring tuition rates. Because of this effect, every year students take out thousands of dollars in student loans to cover the cost of an education they can't afford, in order to get a degree for a job that doesn't exist or isn't available, leaving them with debt and unemployment. This betrayal of the American people takes away from ways people can still invest in themselves without being slaves to debts owned by the banks.

The idea behind free community college alone isn't about greater access to education. In today’s world, information is everywhere thanks to greater access to technologies and the internet, bridging the gaps between social mobility and economic opportunity greater than any point in human history. Looking at great sources like a local library or even the online Khan Academy alone shows just several ways people can access knowledge on their own accord. These resources are free and readily available to the entire public, the only thing that free community college would do is grow faux credentials by inflating the number of degree holders and promote more obtrusive, more burdensome, federal regulation.

The problem behind the average $29,000 student debt in America is obvious, and the reason why Sanders and Clinton don't want to talk about it is because its extremely easy to win votes by promising to give people something by taking the money, and resources from other people, by use of the government in order to provide it. Burke brings about a common sense solution to address this madness:

"Allow markets in higher education to work by limiting federal subsidies instead of increasing them, and costs will fall for students attending colleges of all types."

The second point is that the two candidates assume that there will be jobs waiting for the influx in college graduates. In a speech Sanders gave on August 11th:

"It makes no sense to me that when we need nurses, we need doctors, we need dentists, we need more people involved in healthcare, that when people leave school, for the crime of wanting to be involved in healthcare, they have enormous debts. That makes no sense... I will fight to implement as president, that will make every public college and university in America tuition-free."

Just looking at that one quote alone should point out two instant things Sanders fails to understand:

1) Sanders is the reason there are so few medical professionals right now- In my recent article discussing why Bernie Sanders is wrong about healthcare being a human right, I showed how Obamacare (which Sanders voted for and still supports expansion of) has led to the decrease in doctors and medical professionals since its implementation. According to a recent study :

"... The analysis finds that exchange plan networks include 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology specialists; 32 percent fewer mental health and primary care providers; and 24 percent fewer hospitals. Importantly, care provided by out-of-network providers does not count toward the out-of-pocket limits put in place by the ACA."

2) Government doesn't decide what jobs are needed, markets do- FreedomWorks policy analyst Logan Albright spoke of how the Obama administration distorts market projections when he stated that:

"...Throughout his presidency, Obama has labored under the delusion that a liberal arts education is the best thing for absolutely everybody. But we are living in a time when trade and vocational schools are becoming extremely important, as are technical colleges, and the good old-fashioned work experience that led dropouts like Bill Gates to become great entrepreneurs."

This should be common sense, someone with a degree in 18th century French basket weaving studies (I made that degree up, but would it surprise you if it existed ?) is gonna have a hard time getting a career started since there is literally no market for someone who is an expert in 18th century French basket weaving studies. The reason why I choose this metaphor is because most of America's students fail to understand that some degrees just have a terrible return on investment in the long run. Unless Clinton and Sanders start controlling the economy directly and can manipulate supply and demand, that scenario would also have to force them to limit what people learn and what degrees they have to choose from. That's the fault that progressives ignore, risk! When little Johnny Graduate graduates from high school and decides to major in 18th century French basket weaving studies, that is the risk he is taking,his money, his time, and ultimately his life choices; Johnny Graduate alone is responsible for himself and has to deal with the results of his decisions without dragging down other people with him, or using government to fulfill his entitlements through force and coercion.

The federal government subsidizes this bad behavior already by giving schools who want a profit, and students who want a degree, a financial steroid which creates falsified hope and pushes the real issue down the road. Bernie Sanders specifically should not be taken seriously at all (not that I am suggesting Clinton is any more economically literate), since it should be a red flag that anyone would be advocating for socialism in America while socialist Europe is literally falling apart.


Immigrant High School students do best in West Australia

Some ironies here, I think.  Spotty Anglo girl best at farming.  Chinese girl top academically

TWO public schoolgirls — including one from a state agricultural college — have taken out WA’s top academic honours for Year 12 graduates, the Beazley Medals.

Perth Modern School graduate Hui Min Tay was awarded the WA Certificate of Education Beazley Medal for achieving the highest award score in the state.

Megan McSeveney from the Harvey WA College of Agriculture was awarded the Beazley Medal for Vocational Education Training achievement.

Education Minister Peter Collier presented the girls with their medals at a ceremony in Kings Park on Thursday morning.

Miss Tay won multiple School Curriculum and Standards Authority awards for her work this year, including a General Exhibition, which are awarded to the top 40 WACE students in the state, a Course Exhibition for Ancient History, Chemistry and Physics, a Certificate of Distinction for Ancient History, Chemistry, Mathematics: Specialist and Physics, and a Certificate of Commendation.

Miss McSeveney completed Certificates II and III in Agriculture, a Certificate II in Production Horticulture and Certificate II in Wool Handling. She was also recognised for putting her skills into action in the workplace.

Miss McSeveney, who grew up on a farm in South Africa before coming to WA, said she hoped to go on to study animal science, with a long-term goal of running her own dairy.

“Hui Min and Megan have not just done well this year; they have shown a commitment to their education over many years,” Mr Collier said.

Hui Min told 6PR she was surprised to have got such high marks as she found the WACE exams hard and thought she might have “stuffed up" one of them.

Born in Singapore, she started studying at Perth Modern School midway through Year 10 when she was 14.

She said she thought her Beazley Medal win was a combination of her hard work and the support she has been given by other students and staff at Perth Modern School, which she described as a “very inspiring environment."

She now plans to study science at university for two years, and then possibly go on to study medicine.

Perth Modern School, an academically selective school, had the most General Exhibition winners this year with nine students placing within the top 40. The school also had 79 other award winners.

St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls had six General Exhibition winners and Presbyterian Ladies College and Christ Church Grammar School both had three.

Rossmoyne Senior High School students also scooped the awards with 41 winners and St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls had 40.


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