Monday, August 01, 2016

Liberal Governor Throws Poor Children Out of Private Schools

The previous Republican Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, created a school voucher program that allowed poor Louisiana students to attend private schools. Then Louisiana elected a Democratic governor in 2015, who was beholden to the teachers’ unions.  

Louisiana has had budget issues for several years now. When it came time to make budget cuts, Louisiana’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, has decided to cut the voucher program. His stroke of a pen has screwed poor, mostly black kids out of an education, just a month before schools start in Louisiana.

From National Review: 

Nikesha Hudson is one of the tens of thousands of parents in Louisiana who have, out of devotion to their children, fought to place them in private schools that participate in the state’s school-choice program. As the public-school system crumbles around them, these parents perform the due diligence necessary to enroll their children in area Catholic schools that offer the faith-based structure and consistent academic excellence that put their children on a path to achievement. 

 Her daughter, Nicole Jack, was a prime candidate for Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Despite coming from a disadvantaged community, she demonstrated real academic potential; her mother knew she’d be the perfect fit for the school-choice program and their desired Catholic school. 

 “My daughter is very gifted. She makes straight As, and she reads beyond her grade level, so she deserves to go to a better school,” Hudson told WDSU in New Orleans.

 So Hudson applied for the Louisiana Scholarship program in hopes of qualifying her daughter for the $4,800 tuition assistance. In April, the family learned she was approved by the Louisiana Department of Education. The agency cautioned that her placement was contingent upon continued funding for the scholarship. 

Hudson is one of the parents who lost her scholarship money from the state. This was despite the fact the state raised $2 billion in taxes in this past year. 

Scott McKay at The Hayride describes the voucher program as a miniscule item in a state budget of $26 billion. He describes the cuts as “an active, hostile act by the governor in service to his masters in the teacher unions.” 

Democrats prioritize teachers’ unions over children in education. They consistently fight to weaken education standards and prevent any attempts to escape the government monopoly in education or create competition to it. Children always suffer as a result, like they are in Louisiana. 


Parents and teachers should report homophobic, racist and religious bullying to the police, says British official

Parents and teachers are  to report homophobic, racist and religious bullying to the police, the Home Secretary said as she vowed to "stamp out" hate crime.

Amber Rudd says that Britain is a proud and diverse society and warn that hate crime has "no place in a 21st Century Great Britain that works for everyone".

The plan comes after a sharp rise in so-called “hate crime” incidents such as barging, spitting and assaults directed at racial and religious minorities around the time of the European Union referendum a month ago.

Mrs Rudd is today publishing a hate crime action plan which encourage schools and parents to "challenge" hate crime in the playground and report it to the police.

She will announce a survey to establish the levels of bullying in schools, while teachers will given new teaching materials to children understand that hate crime is unacceptable.

Police will also face further scrutiny to ensure they are taking hate crime seriously with a review by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the watchdog.

Mrs Rudd says: "Those who practise hatred send out a message that it's OK to abuse and attack others because of their nationality, ethnicity or religious background.

"That it's OK to disregard our shared values and promote the intolerance that causes enormous harm to communities and individuals.

"Well, I have a very clear message for them. We will not stand for it. Hatred has no place whatsoever in a 21st century Great Britain that works for everyone.

"We are Great Britain because we are united by values such as democracy, free speech, mutual respect and opportunity for all. We are the sum of all our parts - a proud, diverse society. "Hatred does not get a seat at the table, and we will do everything we can to stamp it out."

The Hate Crime Action Plan was originally drawn up by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, when she served as Home Secretary.

It comes after official figures suggested that young people account for one in 10 victims of religious hate crime and 8 per cent of race hate crime.

The Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government is currently working on new teaching materials.

The Home Office said that they will "equip teachers to facilitate conversations around international events and the impact they have on communities here in the UK".

Synagogues, churches and mosques will be given government cash to protect themselves against attacks by racists, under plans to be published this week.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, will launch a new “hate crime” action plan, including a drive to punish offenders more harshly by ordering prosecutors to press for tougher sentences in court.

A £2.4 million fund will be set up to pay for “protective security measures” at places of worship, the Home Office said.

There were reports of racist graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre in west London and laminated cards with the message "Leave the EU - no more Polish vermin" being delivered to members of the migrant community in Huntingdon.

Ms Rudd said such acts of hatred directed at any "community, race or religion" have "no place whatsoever in our diverse society" and must be "kicked to the kerb".

“Where crimes are committed we must make sure victims have the confidence to report incidents and the law is rigorously enforced," she said.

“At a time of increased concerns about a climate of hostility towards people who have come to live in our country, let me be absolutely clear that it is completely unacceptable for people to suffer abuse or attacks because of their nationality, ethnic background or colour of their skin. We will not stand for it.”

Prosecutors will be issued with fresh guidance on racially and religiously aggravated offences and encouraged to pursue tougher sentences by applying to courts.


How an Australian school ditched drugs and violence to became a "grammar school"

Sounds like a big committment of personnel worked.  Would have been expensive

Just days into his new job as principal of North Geelong Secondary College, Nick Adamou was calling the cops on his students.

Students showing up to school, supposedly to do their VCE, were skipping class to deal drugs in the corridors. "When I say it was visible, I mean visible," Mr Adamou recalls.

But cleaning up the school's drug problem didn't prepare him for the challenges ahead.

In 2014, a female student was stabbed with a knife at the school, for which a fellow student was charged.

Violent and aggressive parents regularly descended on the school grounds, threatening to beat either their own children or other kids they didn't like (invariably, those from ethnic minorities).

The principal was soon in court, seeking restraining orders against the parents.

Eating an orange during an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Adamou reflects on just how far his school has come.

In the five years since he took the job, the public school has earned the reputation as a "grammar school" among locals, with the VCE completion rate leaping from 50 to 93 per cent.

Over the same period, student numbers have nearly doubled, and the school which was once avoided like the plague is now over-subscribed.

Mr Adamou believes that in revolutionising his school, he is offering a brighter future for his students. "Education is the only way out of poverty, and we do have a lot of that here," he said. "This is why I work in schools."

A Fairfax Media analysis has revealed that schools which have most improved their VCE completion rate – that is, the number of students starting their VCE in year 10 that actually finish the course in year 12 – are located in working class areas.

The most improved schools (nearly all are state schools) have improved by up to 10 per cent over the past five years. They include Carrum Downs Secondary College, Epping Secondary College and Wyndham Secondary College.

These schools are not snagging the state's top VCE marks.

But they're quietly raising the profile of their students, by boosting the number of students doing their VCE, and by extension, broadening their students' tertiary and career options.

They're doing this by offering students mentors, introducing helpful learning apps and computer programs, applying principles of "positive education" (a fusion of positive psychology and best practice teaching), and with the help of Gonski funding, investing in youth workers and education consultants.

Teaching experts also believe that the sector has experienced a "sea change" in the past decade, as younger teachers adopt a practice Melbourne University's senior lecturer in education policy, Dr Glenn Savage, called "clinical teaching".

"It's this idea of diagnosing and understanding where a young person is at, and taking them forward using strategies that are based on evidence. Across Victoria and nationally, we are seeing a difference in the way principals are trying to measure the impact of learning in the classroom."

Dr Savage said teachers are being held "more accountable" by principals and parents, for their students' results.

"Teachers are being asked to provide evidence to show how young people are going, and how the evidence can be used to plan ways forward and make improvements for those students. While this should always have been the bread and butter work of teachers, I don't think it has been."

Mr Adamou admits that he expects a lot from his staff.

As the school grew in size, he hired a fresh crop of talented teachers, and asked them to start tracking their students' performance from year 7 to year 12, in order to identify areas where students were consistently struggling.

The teachers would involve careers counsellors in the process of working with students and their parents, in helping them develop their strengths.

Mr Adamou also launched an accelerated program and a vocational course for non-English speaking students, and word quickly spread about changes at Geelong North.

Families from Golden Plains, West Geelong, Manifold Heights, Essendon, Reservoir and Dandenong started enrolling their students.

The school still has a "long way to go" in terms of achieving competitive grades, the principal said. But to have catapulted from a 50 per cent participation rate in VCE to achieving VCE marks that nudge the top ten per cent in the state, is no small feat.

"We are now concentrating especially on getting students study scores above 40. It's not going to be long, this year will be the beginning of outstanding results."

Education academic Dr Savage said there was a common misconception that teachers at poorer schools had low aspirations for their students.

While there were unfortunate cases of this occurring, he said many schools in poorer areas were being run by passionate principals and teachers who were trying to change the culture in their community.

The best teachers were continually changing their teaching methods to suit the individual needs of the students, he said. 

Richard Jones, who has been principal at Laverton College P-12 for the past 14 months, applies that principle at his school, where 30 per cent of the students are refugees from Sudan and war-torn countries in the Middle East.

These students come to class with varying levels of knowledge, and yet the school's VCE completion rate hit 100 per cent for the first time in 2014.

Mr Jones said the key was constantly seeking student feedback – asking students to rate how well they understood a lesson at the end of each class, and explain topics in their own words.

Teachers at Epping Secondary College dealt with a 30 per cent VCE drop out rate and chronic absenteeism using different strategies.

In a bid to appeal to tech savvy students, they rolled out programs called Edrolo and Your Tutor, which give students 24/7 access to teachers and tutors online. The virtual teachers answer questions and offer supplementary classes that revise class content.

The school also runs tutorials teaching about the power of positive education – a technique increasingly used by educators (including at elite private school Geelong Grammar) to encourage students to focus on their strengths and build motivation.

"A lot of students think maths is not my forte," said principal Helene Alamidis. "The philosophy of positive education is about changing that, and showing them that they can. It's about the effort that they put in, and the strategies that they put in place to achieve."


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