Friday, May 20, 2016

UK: Affirmative action for MEN?

That fewer men are going to university is totally desirable in an age of credentialism.  It shows they have wised up to useless degrees

Universities should set targets to boost male student numbers, a think-tank is suggesting.

The Higher Education Policy Institute said institutions are letting young men down as the proportion of male students continues to shrink at a worrying pace.

Researchers suggested ‘targets’ for the number of young men admitted, which could be reached by tailoring ‘official sources of information’ for male pupils.

They advocated a ‘Take Our Sons To University Day’, in which parents would take boys to see what campus life is like.

The report comes after the main Ucas deadline in mid-January, by which 343,930 girls and 249,790 boys had applied for university – a difference of 94,140 and the largest gap on record.

The report warned girls born this year will be 75 per cent more likely to study for a degree than their male classmates on current trends.

Nick Hillman, co-author of the report and the director of the HEPI, said: ‘Nearly everyone seems to have a vague sense that our education system is letting young men down, but there are few detailed studies of the problem and almost no clear policy recommendations on what to do about it.

‘Young men are much less likely to enter higher education, are more likely to drop out and are less likely to secure a top degree than women.

‘Yet, aside from initial teacher training, only two higher education institutions currently have a specific target to recruit more male students. That is a serious problem that we need to tackle.’

The HEPI said the gender gap could be down to a range of reasons, such as a higher graduate earnings premium for women than men. It said boys may be working less hard at school but also more women could be enrolling thanks to a shift to graduate entry for female-dominated careers, such as nursing and teaching.

The report noted over 80 per cent of institutions have more female than male students, yet only two have targets for recruiting more male students – excluding teacher training schemes. It called for more male role models in widening participation schemes and the creation of ‘foundation years’ aimed at boys to help them catch up with peers before starting courses.

Mr Hillman said targets for recruitment of boys should be set by individual universities and not imposed by ministers. He said taking on more boys would not disadvantage girls because the recent lifting of the numbers cap means there is no limit on how many students can be recruited from either gender.

He added: ‘Of course women face substantial challenges too. Female graduates earn lower salaries than male graduates. Lad culture can make life uncomfortable for female students.

‘But policymaking is not a zero-sum game in which you have to choose between caring for one group or the other.’

The HEPI said the gap was largest among the most deprived, with girls from poor families 51 per cent more likely to enter university than their male counterparts. And it said race was a factor too – with only 8.9 per cent of white boys from poor families enrolling compared with 50 per cent of boys of Indian heritage with the same financial disadvantage.

Universities must prove they are doing enough to encourage disadvantaged groups to apply by sending annual ‘access agreements’ to the Office for Fair Access. OFFA’s director, Professor Les Ebdon, said yesterday: ‘I welcome this important report. Participation rates in higher education of white men from disadvantaged backgrounds remain stubbornly low.’

Universities minister Jo Johnson said: ‘While we are seeing record application rates from disadvantaged backgrounds, this report shows that too many are still missing out.’


Note that shows a day in the life of a substitute teacher in a  modern class not used to discipline

SOMETIMES being a substitute teacher can be a hard slog.  It can be hard to get a room full of unruly children to respect you, when they don’t know you from a bar of soap.

A recent photo submitted to Reddit gives a beautiful snapshot of a substitute teacher’s day. The teacher was obviously asked to submit a report on how things went throughout the day, and the resulting tale involves spilt milk, fake farts, many bouts of hysterical laughter and wild dancing.

8:30am: Jackson won’t stop yelling “peanuts,” Janelle has spilt her milk and fruity pebbles everywhere, everyone won’t stop laughing, I can see her about to explode. I fear for the safety of these children.

9:15am: Dylan has started a dance party in the corner, at first it was just the boys, after Geneva joined, it’s taken over half the class.

10:00am: The fart noises haven’t stopped for 30 minutes. It started with a real fart. I suspect Hugo. Now they’re arguing which one of their fake farts would smell worse. It’s almost time for specials. I’m scared that once I drop them off I won’t find the will to pick them up.

1:00pm: The decibel level in this room has reached an unhealthy level. I’ve fashioned ear plugs out of broken crayons. Please let me survive this.

2:00pm: The end is in sight. I said the words “free time” and it was as if this room was hit by a bomb.

3:00pm: They’re gone, finally. I spent the second half of my day drafting my letter of resignation. The name Jasmin appears no less than eight times.


Hillel’s moment of truth

Two wars today are being waged against Jewish students on American university campuses. One is substantive, the other is institutional. The plight of the Jews at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is emblematic of both.

The purpose of the substantive war is to deny Jews their freedom as Jews. As the guarantor of Jewish freedom, Israel is the subject of a systematic, multidimensional assault, carried out everywhere on campuses.

On a growing number of campuses in the United States, the only Jews who can safely express their views on Israel are those who champion Israel's destruction.
Those who support Israel are subjected to continuous harassment by their fellow students.

The substantive battle is being led by Students for Justice in Palestine. SJP is a phantom organization with no national organization. As Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies testified before the US Congress last month, it is directed by former officials from non-profits including the Holy Foundation, KindHearts and the Islamic Association for Palestine that were forced to shut down after they were implicated in financing terrorist groups including Hamas and al-Qaida.

At Brown, SJP seeks to make it impossible for Jewish students to organize as Jews.  

For instance, in late January, Brown Hillel hosted a discussion of Jewish identity featuring actor Michael Douglas and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky.

SJP protested the event arguing that since both men supported Israel, the event stood in opposition to "social justice."

As Ira Stoll reported in the New York Sun, during the event, protesters outside the hall calling for Israel's destruction made it hard for the audience of several hundred people to hear what Sharansky and Douglas were saying.

Stoll added that rather than protect the audience's freedom of assembly and the speakers' freedom of speech, an assistant dean stood with the protesters and "offered to provide further support for students who had missed class to be involved in activism or who were upset by the evening's events."

In March, a consortium of student groups at Brown, including a Jewish group affiliated with Hillel, cosponsored a talk by Janet Mock, an African American transsexual activist.

In light of the Jewish group's co-sponsorship, SJP launched a petition to boycott the speech. Not wanting the protest to eclipse the substance of her remarks, which, of course had nothing whatsoever to do with Israel, Mock canceled her lecture.

These events make clear that for SJP and its allies, it isn't just Jewish life on campus that must be destroyed.

Jews as Jews must not be permitted to participate with non-Jews in organizing or hosting campus events related to issues of common concern.

In both of its substantive anti-Jewish actions, SJP tipped its hat to the institutional battle against Jewish freedom that its Jewish allies are leading.

In both cases, SJP used the fact that Hillel International - the national organization responsible for Hillel chapters throughout the US - has a policy of banning substantively anti-Jewish events from the premises of Hillel buildings, as one of its justifications for its anti-Jewish actions.

The goal of the institutional war SJP referred to is to destroy Jewish support for Israel by throwing Jewish organizations into disarray in order to destroy Jewish organizational support for Israel and through it, for Jewish civil rights.

This war is led by Jewish anti-Zionists and anti-Semites who not only reject Israel's right to exist, but reject the right of their fellow Jews to support its right to exist.

The institutional war against Jewish freedom scored a great victory last week at Brown. At Brown, the war is being led by the Open Hillel group.

Open Hillel's purpose is to deny Jews on campus the right to express their support for Israel free of molestation, on campus generally and at Hillel specifically.

As a general principle, Open Hillel demonstrated its opposition to freedom of Jewish speech in March when it condemned a StandWithUs member for attending an anti-Israel event on campus. The pro-Israel student attended the event with a robot. He did not disrupt the event. He merely stood at the back of the room with a robot and asked a question at the appropriate time.

Following the event, Open Hillel announced that it "opposes the attempts of groups like StandWithUs to monitor students and faculty."

In other words, the group rejects the right of pro-Israel students to participate in anti-Israel events.

Open Hillel's main target is Hillel. Its openly stated goal is to deny pro-Israel students the ability to promote Israel freely at Hillel.

Last week, on Remembrance Day, Open Hillel organized a film festival in which three short films produced by the anti-Israel NGO Zochrot were shown.

The films promoted the libelous claim that Israel's birth and continued existence are a crime against humanity.

The event was deliberately scheduled to take place at Hillel. The provocation was clear. If Hillel hosted the event on Remembrance Day, then it would have abandoned its resolve to prevent the substantive war against the Jews from being waged within its walls.

Jews at Brown would have lost their final bastion of free expression.

When word of the event got out, Brown Students for Israel announced its opposition to the event.

Hillel International was deluged with protests from community members and supporters.

Brown's Hillel announced that the event was canceled.

Brown Students for Israel publicly thanked their Hillel for canceling the event. Among other things, they stated, "Whereas there is an abundance of anti-Zionist spaces at Brown, ...Hillel provides a rare and small safe space for students who believe in the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. The campus atmosphere around Israel/Palestine is so repressive that most Zionist students do not feel able to... discuss Israel in public spaces. Those of us who do choose to defend the single Jewish State are subject to harassment, name-calling, derision from students and teachers' assistants, and even direct threats to our personal safety. Only in Hillel are we able to speak freely...."

But as it turned out, Hillel betrayed them.

As both pro-Israel activist Alexandra Markus and Open Hillel itself revealed, the event did take place.

Contrary to the direct instructions of Hillel International, Brown Hillel's executive director Marshall Einhorn was present at the event, which was closed to the public.

In its jubilant statement following the event, Open Hillel declared that its success in holding the event at Hillel is a sign that Brown's Hillel is now a battlefield in the substantive war against Jewish freedom.

In its words, "This event was a success... because it challenged Brown RISD Hillel to reflect on its ability to facilitate and provide space for [anti-Zionists].

Ultimately, the process of planning this event forced our Hillel to recognize its own lack of openness and to begin reworking its guidelines on Israel/Palestine programming. These guidelines will not be in keeping with the guidelines published and enforced by Hillel International in their ‘Standards of Partnership,' which have been used time and again to silence critical Jewish voices on Israel/Palestine."

The ball is now in Hillel International's court. Brown Hillel defrauded Hillel International. It lied to Hillel CEO Eric Fingerhut. It used Hillel's facility to host a group that wishes to destroy Hillel as part of its institutional war against Jewish freedom in the US. This institutional war goes hand in hand with the substantive war against the Jews.

Hillel International and its CEO Eric Fingerhut have two choices. They can throw Brown Hillel out of the organization, deny it funding, eject it from the facility and take civil action against it in court for its commission of fraud.

Or they can surrender to Open Hillel and its SJP allies and throw Hillel International into disarray, denying Jews their last bastion of freedom on college campuses.

If it takes the latter approach, then the wider Jewish community must abandon Hillel International. Its sponsors must withhold their funding and start a new student organization that will do the job of defending Jewish freedom on US campuses.                        


On the anniversary of Brown v. Board, new evidence that US schools are resegregating

Poor, black, and Hispanic children are becoming increasingly isolated from their white, affluent peers in the nation’s public schools, according to new federal data released Tuesday, 62 years after the Supreme Court decided that segregated schools are “inherently unequal” and therefore unconstitutional.

That landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education began the dismantling of the dual school systems — one for white kids, one for black students — that characterized so many communities across the country. It also became a touchstone for the ideal of public education as a great equalizer, an American birthright meant to give every child a fair shot at success.

But that ideal appears to be unraveling, according to the report from the Government Accountability Office.

The number of high-poverty schools that serve primarily minority students more than doubled between 2001 and 2014, the GAO found. The proportion of such schools — where more than 75 percent of children receive free or reduced-price lunch, and more than 75 percent are black or Hispanic — climbed from 9 percent to 16 percent during the same period.

The problem is not just that students are more isolated, according to the GAO, but that minority students who are concentrated in high-poverty schools don’t have the same access to opportunities as students in other schools.

High-poverty, majority-black and Hispanic schools were less likely to offer a full range of math and science courses than other schools, for example, and more likely to use expulsion and suspension as disciplinary tools, according to the GAO.

The GAO conducted its study during the past two years at the request of Democratic lawmakers including Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee, and Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Scott said the GAO report provided evidence of an “overwhelming failure to fulfill the promise of Brown.”

“Segregation in public K-12 schools isn’t getting better; it’s getting worse, and getting worse quickly, with more than 20 million students of color now attending racially and socioeconomically isolated public schools,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

The resegregation of schools during the past two decades has for the most part happened quietly, in the shadows of loud battles over standardized testing, teacher evaluations, charter schools, and Common Core academic standards.

Segregation has returned to the forefront of education policy discussions only recently, amid broad public debates about race, racism, and widening inequality.

The persistence of racial divisions in the nation’s public schools was underscored Friday when a federal judge ordered a Mississippi district to integrate its middle and high schools, capping a legal battle that had dragged on for five decades.

As the US District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi put it, Cleveland, Miss. — a town of 12,000 bisected by railroad tracks that divided white families from black — has been running an illegal dual system for its children, failing year after year to reach the “greatest degree of desegregation possible.”

Now Cleveland must consolidate its schools, integrating all its students into one middle school and one high school.

The Rev. Edward Duvall, an African-American parent of two children in Cleveland’s public schools, said he favored consolidation because it would save money, leaving more funding for classrooms and programs. But that wasn’t the only reason: “We can break down this wall of racism that divides us and keeps us separated,” he said, according to court documents. “And we could create a new culture in our school system that’s going to unite us and unite our whole city.”

While schools in Cleveland have never fully desegregated, many other school districts did integrate following the decision in Brown v. Board. But since the 1990s, hundreds of school districts have been released from court-ordered desegregation plans, making way for renewed divisions by race and class.

In 1972, just 25 percent of black students in the South attended the most segregated schools, in which more than 90 percent of students were minorities, according to a 2014 ProPublica investigation. But in districts that emerged from court oversight between 1990 and 2011, more than half of students now attend such segregated schools, ProPublica found.

The investigation found fault with a Justice Department that, starting with the Reagan administration, pulled back from pressuring districts on desegregation and was “no longer committed to fighting for the civil rights aims it had once championed.”


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