Monday, May 30, 2016

Harvard hearts gibberish

But Leftists love a black whiner.  As far as one can make out, the speaker is complaining about black oppression in the past and saying he has risen above that.  The idea that he personally has been oppressed is ludicrous.  Oppressed people don't usually graduate from Harvard.  He has in fact almost certainly been most privileged by Harvard's affirmative action policies.  Harvard's admission policies are heavily and consciously racist -- with Jews and blacks privileged and Asian enrolments kept down

Graduation speeches can be a torrid affair.  But not for those lucky enough to listen to Donovan Livingston, whose delivery of his awe-inspiring poem at Harvard University is going colossally viral online.

Nearly eight million people have now watched the powerful address since a video of his oration was posted to Facebook on Thursday.

Many have even hailed it as the greatest graduation speech ever.

The likes of Justin Timberlake and Hillary Clinton have even shared his heartfelt rendition of his own artistry.

Those lucky enough to hear the speech live, including Harvard professors, greeted Donovan's poem with a standing ovation.

He is now a social sciences research assistant at the university, and began his speech quoting educational reformer Horace Mann:

The speech/poem:

Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.'
At the time of his remarks I couldn't read — couldn't write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge's infinite power.
Yet somehow, we've never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.
Unfortunately, I've seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
'Diversity. Inclusion'
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But I've always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won't allow me to sit still.
So my body, like the mind
Cannot be contained.


Freedom From Religion Foundation Opposes Proposed Bible Class, Recommends 'The God Delusion'

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is opposing a proposed Bible class in an Arkansas school district.

The class is the idea of Bentonville School Board member Brent Leas, who has recommended adding an elective academic bible study class to the 2017-18 curriculum.

"This is just an opportunity for us to just have the Bible as an open elective course for those students who would be interested in knowing more about the Bible and its historical and literary context," Leas recently told 5News in Arkansas. Leas argues that the class would be permissible under Arkansas Act 1440, which was passed in 2013 and allows public school courses on the Bible provided that they are academic and offered as an elective.

On May 9 Freedom From Religion co-president Anne Lauie Gaylor sent a letter to the members of the Bentonville School Board. It reads in part:

We write to inform you that bible classes in Bentonville schools - even those proposed under state law - are legally problematic under federal constitution and at odds with the basic notion that public schools do not play religious favorites. It is also at odds with Article II, Section 24 of the Arkansas Constitution, which guarantees that "not preference shall be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination, or mode of worship above any other..."

Finally, the Christian bias implicit in this proposal is apparent. If the board believes that District students would benefit from a deeper understanding of holy books that millions of Americans find meaning in, then there is no reason not to also create classes studying the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tipitaka, or, perhaps, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.
The Bentonville School Board is expected to discuss the proposal for the new course at their next meeting in June.


Australian university places still mainly filled by better-off students despite uncapping

This is a good example of shallow Leftist thinking leading to a result the opposite of what was intended.  A measure designed to help the poor has helped the rich.  Dumbing down university admission standards to help the poor sounds right for about 5 minutes -- until you look at the source of the problem. 

And the source is clearly the bad schools that the poor are forced to attend.  And you can't fix the schools by making university education dumber.  It is clear what is needed:  Restoration of discipline in the schools so that teachers are free to teach, no matter how poor the catchment area of the school may be.  As it is at the moment, a few disruptive students can hold back a whole class.

And student fees are another deterrent to the poor -- but not to the rich.  So a wealthy family can now get a university degree for their kid even though the kid might not be the brightest

AUSTRALIA’S universities ­remain the playground of the "rich and thick", who are gaining entry to degrees with low scores thanks to reforms ­designed to help the poor.

That has prompted one university head to warn that you don’t "change the make-up of the flock by leaving the farm gate open".

Thanks to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s decision to uncap university places, unis can enrol as many ­students as they wish, with the federal government funding the places and students running up $67 billion in uni loans.

It is estimated that one in four of these debts will never be repaid to taxpayers.

The number of students gaining university places with a tertiary entry mark under 50 is on track to hit 10,000 students this year.

But the target of 20 per cent of students from low-income backgrounds by 2020 is proving tougher to deliver.

The proportion of low-income students attending university had remained ­stable, at around 16 per cent, for nearly two decades.  Uncapping places has lifted it by only about 1 per cent.

University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Stephen Bebbington has previously warned the reforms had not done much to lift participation of disadvantaged kids. "As my father the farmer would have said, ‘You don’t change the make-up of the flock by leaving the farm gate open’," he said.

The Group of Eight (Go8) universities, Australia’s eight leading research universities, have previously warned that the reforms need a rethink. "Although the proportion of students from a low SES background has increased over the past five years, 80 per cent of growth still occurred in students from medium and high SES backgrounds."

There are also claims that wealthy public and private schools "inflate" entry scores with intensive tutoring that leaves those students struggling at third-level.

Curtin University researchers found that schools with higher socio-economic status inflate their students’ university entry scores and hence ­access to university.

Meanwhile, Grattan Institute director Andrew Norton said there was evidence that students from disadvantaged backgrounds who had defied the odds to make it to university performed better than their lower Year 12 scores predict.  "They are resilient and have the work ethic to succeed even if their ATARs are lower."

Some critics are calling for a new debate around whether a university education should be regarded as a prerequisite for all, citing the example of successful Australians, including Paul Keating and philanthropist and businessman Frank Lowy, who did not attend uni.


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