Friday, May 13, 2016

Is Harvard risking its reputation? The hits keep coming

Harvard is in the news again, and for all the wrong reasons. On Friday, Harvard Law Professor Mark Tushnet came dangerously close to comparing Christian conservatives to Nazis in a blog post. Specifically, he said this of those who he proclaims “lost” the culture war: “Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.)”

The comparison speaks volumes about the tolerance of opposing views and the regard held for those who hold a traditional worldview.

Harvard is moving so far left so fast, that even supporters of Hillary Clinton are facing the sort of hostility Harvard conservatives have coped with for years, according to RedAlertPolitics . “At Harvard, admitting that #ImWithHer is nearly tantamount to boasting ‘Make America Great Again,’” said Sam Koppleman, a 20-year old government student who supports Hillary.”

Throw in 2014’s story of a Harvard Extension club’s abortive plans to hold a satanic “black mass” on campus, and you have to ask, how can they keep this up?

Harvard has long been thought of as the gold standard in American education. They currently retain some of that cachet, but as these things continue to happen, what parent will invest in the grim outlook in the Harvard prestige futures market?

At what point does the place become such a circus, that Americans decide that other institutions have comparable prestige, and considerably more sanity?

Harvard is already a populist whipping boy, and the subject of derision as the place where elites are taught to fundamentally misinterpret their surroundings before being pipelined to Washington, where such thinking is endemic.

I myself am enrolled in Harvard’s Extension program, and was attracted to the pursuit of an education that would stimulate my intellect and advance my career. Harvard has long dined out on this sort of cachet, but with every news story that documents their cognitive dissonance of claiming to stand for “Veritas” and at the same time attacking it, they hasten their own decline.

The University of Missouri, while never enjoying the level of esteem as Harvard, suffered a 20 percent enrollment decline, and bears witness to what can happen when you allow the leftists to turn your institution into an asylum. Veritas matters.


Fiddling Away Black Futures

By Walter E. Williams

Most black politicians, ministers, civil rights advocates and professionals support Hillary Clinton's quest for the presidency. Whoever becomes the next president, whether it's a Democrat or Republican, will mean little or nothing in terms of solutions to major problems that confront many black people.

We've already seen that even a black president means little or nothing. Politics and political power cannot significantly improve the lives of most black people and may even be impediments.

Blacks hold high offices and dominate the political arenas in Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and other cities. Yet these are the very cities with the nation's poorest educational outcomes, highest crime rates, high illegitimacy rates and other forms of social pathology. Let's look at this pattern, focusing just on Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore, cities with large black populations and black-held political power for nearly a half-century.

In Philadelphia, only 19 percent of eighth-graders score proficient in math and 16 percent in reading. In Detroit, there is only a 4 percent proficiency level in math and 7 percent in reading. In Baltimore, it's a 12 percent proficiency in math and 13 percent in reading.

These results are even more depressing when one tallies the percentages of students scoring "below basic" on the National Assessment of Education Progress test, often referred to as "the nation's report card." Below basic means that a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level. In Philadelphia, 47 percent scored below basic in math and 42 percent in reading. In Baltimore, it was respectively 59 and 49 percent. In Detroit, 73 percent scored below basic in math and 56 percent in reading.

In terms of murders, shootings and other kinds of criminal behavior, these three cities are at or near the top. They also experience high rates of illegitimacy and single-parent households. Let me be absolutely clear about what I am saying. I am not saying that blacks having political power is the cause of these problems.

What I am saying is that the solution to the problems confronting black people will not be found in the political arena. I am also saying that blacks working to secure the presidency of Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders are wasting resources that could be better spent trying to reverse the tragic destinies of so many black youths.

The Obama administration, as well as black and white liberals, expresses concern with disproportionate numbers of black students suspended or expelled. They have created a practice called "restorative justice," where students are called on to repair the harm caused by their bad behavior. Under this regime, cursing a teacher or assaulting a teacher is no cause for traditional discipline.

Instead, there's talking and pleas. But I'll bet the rent money that the black and white liberal elite would never send their own children to schools where teachers are routinely assaulted and cursed. They would never send their children to schools so unsafe that students must enter through metal detectors so as to prevent the introduction of guns, knives and other weapons.

The disgraceful academic performance by black students is not preordained. In other words, it just doesn't have to be that way. The Washington, D.C., Opportunity Scholarship Program, a school-choice voucher program, has an excellent record, with 91 percent of its "at-risk" students graduating. But the Obama administration, doing the bidding of teacher's unions, has attacked the program. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., questioned Secretary of Education John King Jr. about the D.C. scholarship program during confirmation hearings.

King replied, "I do not personally believe that vouchers are a scalable solution to the equity and excellence challenge and prefer the route of public school choice." I would have asked Mr. King how that position differs from a position that says: "No black children shall be saved unless and until all black children can be saved." I don't think black people can afford such a policy perspective.



Three current reports below

Chinese student enrolments are exploding in Australia

The latest Government data for the three months to March revealed 459,621 international student enrolments over the year to date, for another 12 per cent increase over the past year.

The actual number of international students in Australia so far this year is 421,258, also a 12 per cent increase (students may enrol for more than one course, y’see), while commencements are up even more dramatically by 13 per cent.

46,370 Chinese students have already commenced courses in Aussie educational establishments this year, which is 23 per cent more than this time last year!

Big numbers, yes. Yet it’s the potential cumulative impact of the percentage increases which is the really astonishing thing.

Enrolments have increased by 36 per cent over the past three years alone, with most international students bound for the largest capital cities, drawn like scholarly flies to the bright city lights.

Well, that plus the fact that a lot of the most prestigious Universities, schools and colleges are located close to the centres of the most populous capital cities.

Small wonder, perhaps, that apartment vacancy rates haven’t been rising as fast as had been predicted in Sydney and Melbourne, despite the record construction boom.

Most of the growth in international students is sourced from Asia – a worthy glimpse into Australia’s future – and from China and India in particular.

There was a 23 per cent year-on-year increase in Chinese commencements in the first quarter of 2016, and a 26 per cent increase specifically in the higher education sector.

Meanwhile Chinese students have accounted for some 29.4 per cent of enrolments over the year to date, up from 27.8 per cent in the first three months of 2015.

Records are being shattered all over the show, and far more than could (or should) be mentioned in any one article.

There will doubtless be a few half-hearted noises made about diversification and spreading the love (or at least the concentration of risk).

But let’s face it China has a solidly growing population of about 1,381,000,000 and comparatively speaking there are very few of us. India’s population isn’t far behind at around 1.25 billion.

On balance, It appears unlikely that the supply of willing applicants is likely to dry up any time soon, so provided that education standards are maintained and establishments can facilitate foreign students appropriately, Government forecasts will continue to project nothing short of an explosion in student visas.

There has also been very strong year-on-year growth in Indian student enrolments, which one assumes (with admittedly little statistical support to my assertion) is predominantly a Melbourne thing.

Following the relaxation – ahem, streamlining – of visa rules for international students, tens of thousands of Asian students will in time go on to become permanent residents and Australian citizens.

The good fellows and my former employers at the Green Dot of Deloitte Access & Touche-Ross-Tohmatsu plc (or whatever they’re known as these days) now estimate that the higher education export industry is worth $20 billion per annum to Australia, which is even more than had previously been believed.


STEM graduates most likely to get jobs, earn more money

STEM graduates earn more money and are more likely to land a job. This was the message from The Good Education Group, which released its first Good Careers Guide today.

Figures showed people with science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) qualifications — whether from university or a vocational trainer — fared better than their non-STEM counterparts.

For university graduates, the highest average starting salaries were in dentistry ($77,000), medicine ($62,624), engineering ($62,102), surveying ($60,049) and rehabilitation ($59,603). This compared to a $52,840 average.

For vocational graduates, the highest average starting salaries were in information technology ($51,700), engineering ($51,100), education ($49,500), architecture and building ($48,200) and health ($47,400). This compared to a $46,900 average.

Good Education Group data manager Ross White said STEM graduates typically had more specialised and transferable skills so were in demand across more industries yet not enough people pursued these fields.

He said there were more people with business and management degrees alone than people with computing and IT, engineering and technology, mathematics and science degrees combined.

STEM careers also had higher employment rates.

University graduates most likely to have a job after university were in medicine (97 per cent), pharmacy (91 per cent), surveying (78 per cent), dentistry (77 per cent) and nursing/rehabilitation (76 per cent).

Meanwhile, those most likely to have a job after vocational training were in education (86 per cent), architecture and building (86 per cent), engineering (83 per cent), agriculture, environmental and related studies (81 per cent) and health (79 per cent).

Good Education Group chief executive Chris Lester said it was important more students explored STEM careers.

“With the government’s renewed focus on the importance of studying STEM subjects, it seems students would do well to consider these fields — both for positive employment and salary outcomes,” he said.

University of Adelaide Careers Service manager Sue Hervey said students took many factors into consideration when choosing a degree and starting salary was only one of them.

“In the most recent annual survey by the Australian Association of Graduate Employers, graduates listed long-term career prospects, reputation of an employer, training and development, and work content as the most important factors for them. Salary was listed by only one per cent of graduates as being the most important factor.”

Final year dental student Austin Yoo, 22, was surprised that dentists earned so much in their first year after graduation.

He said salary was not a consideration when he chose his undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide.

“With dentistry, you have to really enjoy what you are doing because you will be doing it for a significant part of your life,” he said. “Money doesn’t necessarily buy you happiness.

“If you choose it for the possibility of earning a higher salary, you are better off choosing something you have an interest in.”

Dr Yastira Lalla, who has a Bachelor of Dental Science, Master of Philosophy in Oral Oncology and is now studying a Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry in Dento-Maxillofacial Radiology at the University of Queensland, said salary didn’t factor into her career decision. “I knew that dentistry was a stable job but I never chased the money,” she said. “I always believed in following an area (I) already had interest in.

“Study has (been) challenging — it seems to increase as I move further up the academic ladder — but pursuing STEM comes with unique rewards, such as seeing your hard work published in journals, presenting your work at conferences to show others what you have achieved and of course graduation.”


Blacks attack teachers trying to help them

I have said many times that more police are what Aboriginal settlements need most.  Without security, nothing else is possible

A CAPE York school has been temporarily shut down and extra police have been rushed to the town to deal with unrest as more than 20 teachers were on Tuesday ordered to evacuate amid fears for their safety.

Education Minister Kate Jones said she was deeply concerned for the safety of teachers at the Aurukun campus of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy and promised the department would review its infrastructure and security in the town immediately.

Five extra police were sent in as reinforcements on Tuesday following an incident at the weekend in which the school’s principal was allegedly threatened with an axe and had his car stolen by a group of males aged under 19.

It was the tipping point for a union meeting of teaching staff on Monday night in which they expressed fear and called for their removal from the community on full pay while a safety strategy was negotiated.

Indigenous leader Noel Pearson, who founded CYAAA, last night strongly backed the decision to evacuate the staff to Cairns, saying the employees did a “heroic job” amid unrest which had plagued the community “for too long”.

“(There are disturbances) with fights among community members, unruly youths returning from detention and all of these problems have been rolling on for several years,” he said.

In an email obtained by The Courier-Mail, staff demanded plans for construction of a “teacher community safe precinct” to start by the end of the year, increased incentives for staff working in Aurukun, and housing needs including 24-hour security and fences being concreted in the ground.

Ms Jones ordered the Education Department temporarily move 25 staff to Cairns on Tuesday.

“The safety and wellbeing of our staff has to be our number one priority,” she said.

“After considering these concerns and resolutions put forward by staff I have given my full support to the executive principal’s decision to temporarily close the Aurukun campus of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy for a period of five school days.


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