Sunday, July 03, 2016

This New Law Ensures South Carolina Students Will Study the Founding Documents

The South Carolina Founding Principles Act requires the study of the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and “the structure of the government and the role of separation of powers and the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights” to be added into statewide social studies programs.

This bill, signed June 1, reinforces South Carolina’s Section 59-29-120 that required all public education students, both in high school and in college, to pass a test after a year-long class on the founding documents and principles.

The Founding Principles Act bolsters the existing law by adding an accountability clause requiring the State Department of Education to report to the House and Senate Education Committees as well as the Public Works Committee every two years. This report will outline how South Carolina educators are teaching the documents in their classrooms.

State Rep. Chip Huggins, R-Lexington, told The Daily Signal, “I was just so worried about the erosion away from our foundation, and when I say that, I think it’s time we get back to the basics. The basics in which this country was founded. That’s exactly what we wanted to accomplish with this bill.”

Furthermore, teachers will be provided with “professional development opportunities” to ensure the subject is being properly taught.

“We now have the assurance that the founding principles will be taught.” @ChipHugginsSC

“A major part of forming future citizens capable of self-government is ensuring that they are properly educated in the founding documents of our nation,” Arthur Milikh, associate director for principles and politics at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email. “This was once common sense throughout America, but now we are forced to fight to ensure that even the most basic texts—the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence—are taught.”

“These works tell us about the nature of our country, the principles for which we stand, and the way to preserve our constitutional order. Should these texts be lost to students, the next generation will be ruled entirely by popular culture and public opinion,” Milikh wrote.

Huggins, the main sponsor of the bill, said the legislation “ensures that when the standards are rewritten, the founding principles will still be included.”

The Founding Principles Act, however, does not force South Carolina public colleges to do the same.

Section 59-29-120 states that “no student in any such school, college, or university may receive a certificate of graduation without previously passing a satisfactory examination upon the provisions and principles,” but does not hold either public high schools or colleges to that standard. The accountability aspect of The Founding Principles Act only applies to South Carolina public high schools.

Even though Huggins didn’t win the battle with mandating the founding principles into state college curriculums, he believes he won the war with high schools. He stated that the important thing is “we now have the assurance that the founding principles will be taught.”


UK: How 50,000 graduates who left university last year now have jobs that do not require a degree such as working in a call centre or stacking shelves

More than 50,000 recent graduates are doing jobs that do not require degrees such as working in call centres, waiting on tables and stacking shelves.

They are stuck in ‘non-professional’ roles in sales, customer service, secretarial posts and skilled trades six months after graduating last year.

Of these, 9,180 are in ‘elementary occupations’ which includes sweeping streets, collecting garbage, washing windows, sorting mail and cleaning buildings.

The figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency will worry students who face graduating with debts of more than £40,000 following the tripling of tuition fees to £9,000 a year.

Out of 237,425 full time first degree university leavers in 2014/15, 75 per cent were in employment or combining work with studying, six months after graduating.

Some 13,900 were unemployed (six per cent) – down from 16,730 (seven per cent) in 2013/14.

Among the employed graduates in the UK, 50,350 were in ‘non-professional’ jobs including administrative, caring, leisure and service posts.

However this proportion – 29 per cent – was down from 32 per cent in 2013/14.

Some 790 graduates were working as ‘process, plant and machine operatives’ and 1,925 in skilled trades such as tiling and plumbing.

Another 9,180 were in ‘elementary occupations’ – down from 10,855 in 2013/14.

These posts include mail sorters, bar staff, waiters and waitresses, street vendors, caretakers, shoe cleaners, hotel porters, door-to-door and telephone sales people, vending machine money collectors and meter readers.

Among this group, 2,060 had graduated from creative arts and design courses; 1,305 from biological sciences and 875 from social studies.

Of the full-time first degree graduates who were employed in the UK, 71 per cent were in ‘professional’ employment. The mean salary of graduates was £22,500.


Are College Admissions Officers Equipped to Judge Who Is Ethical?

College admissions officers say they aim to admit only the most ethical students to America’s elite universities -- but what is their real goal?

Are students at elite colleges good people? They are supposed to be — doing ethical deeds is part of the admissions process. It is virtually impossible to be accepted by competitive schools without convincing the admissions committee that you engaged in hundreds of hours of community service, prompted only by a desire to “give back,” “help the less fortunate,” “fight injustice,” or something along those lines. And yet, if the statistics endorsed by the universities themselves are to be believed, college men rape women at roughly the same rate as Mai Mai militia fighters in the Congo.

Whether or not these statistics are accurate, the students themselves seem to regard each other as a bunch of rapists, racists, and microaggressors. So, according to both university officials and students, admissions officers are poor at selecting morally good people. This raises the question of whether admissions officers are even in a position to identify which 17-year-old students are ethical based on the sort of evidence available in their college applications.

But this is not the question that admissions officers are asking. Instead, they plan to double-down on making college admissions partly a morality contest. A recent report out of Harvard, endorsed by more than 80 high-ranking admissions officers from dozens of universities, argues that colleges should give the ethical qualities of applicants far more weight than in the past. They will require that students do more intensive, “meaningful, sustained community service,” and make even stronger pledges of allegiance to justice and morality. Admissions will then select those who, in addition to meeting academic requirements, are the most “ethically responsible and concerned for others.”

There is an obvious epistemic problem here, glibly dismissed in the report. If you tell students that, to get into college, they need to appear to demonstrate (in documentable form) their morality, what stops them from doing good deeds for selfish motives — not because they are virtuous, but because they want to get into college? The Harvard report simply exhorts admissions committees to “assess whether service has stirred in young people deeper questions about justice and emboldened them to challenge injustice.” In lieu of looking into applicants’ souls, they can ask them to submit letters from “a supervisor, a recipient of a service, a peer or a teacher” testifying to their moral growth. This reflects serious naïveté about how easy it is to falsely pose as a do-gooder.

Consider a case that’s playing out right now. Thomas Pogge is the director of the Global Justice Program and the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale. He has another appointment with the word “justice” in the title at King’s College London. On just the homepage of his website, the words “justice,” “ethics,” “moral/morally,” or the phrase “human rights” appear 15 times in total. Pogge seems like a college admissions officer’s ideal person. He spends his life using his intellectual talents to advocate for the disadvantaged and the oppressed. And he is widely looked upon as a moral paragon. Or at least he was until last month. Now it appears, with new details emerging weekly, that he has been systematically sexually harassing and exploiting female students for decades, offering letters of recommendation, jobs, and other academic benefits in exchange for sexual relationships. In one case he allegedly attempted to assault a student in a hotel room, and withdrew a job offer when she resisted. For all his talk about the evils of exploitation and power differentials between developed and developing countries, Pogge targeted foreign women whom he perceived to be unsophisticated about their options for defending themselves.

Pogge’s story illustrates how easy it is to use the social-justice talk and conspicuous do-gooding that make admissions officers weak in the knees as a cover for immoral, even sociopathic, behavior. If Pogge fooled thousands of experts in moral philosophy for decades even while being in the public spotlight, how on earth can college admissions committees tell which 17-year-olds are genuine based on a short paper application? Indeed, they must be astonishingly arrogant about their own abilities if they think they can tell who experienced moral growth from a community-service project just by reading recommendation letters from a student’s “supervisor, a recipient of a service, a peer or a teacher.”

Given how absurd it is to try to determine which high-school students are ethical exemplars based on such easy-to-fake data, one wonders whether recruiting moral students is the true aim of the authors and endorsers of the Harvard report. Closer examination suggests they may have another motive. The proposed community-service requirements seem like a way to force college applicants to make a declaration that they accept liberal theories about the origin of inequality and injustice — and weed out dissenters who refuse to do this or who don’t do it convincingly.

Despite the report’s claim that it is not seeking to “promote a particular moral or political ideology,” it’s clear enough what sorts of community service it’s looking to promote, and what kinds of conclusions it wants high-school students to draw from their experience. It says that students should “undertake community service and engagement that deepens their appreciation of diversity” and that “spark[s] . . . a deeper understanding of social structures and inequalities.” This is not-so-subtle liberal-speak, and we all know what it means. Promoting multiculturalism (though not European or Christian culture) is one of the main goals of the Left.

The report asks students to have a multicultural experience and to draw conclusions about the source of social problems. Are students supposed to conclude that there’s not enough Burkean conservatism? Or that we need to implement more of Thomas Sowell’s recommendations? Those ideas would conflict with the multicultural vision extolled in the report itself. It’s obvious, rather, that college applicants are being invited to derive lessons about structural racism, oppression, and that sort of thing. The proposed community-service requirements are a more severe way to force applicants to get on board with the liberal explanation for social problems, or else be barred from top colleges.

Unfortunately, the community-service advocates don’t seem to be worried that colleges will be infiltrated (even more than they already are) by Pogges who are experts at moral posturing in the pursuit of narrow self-interest — so long as the moral posturing is done on behalf of the Left.

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