Monday, August 29, 2016

Support for Common Core drops to new low

People see that the idea is good but have found out how distorted it has become

For the first time, support for the Common Core educational standards no longer outdoes opposition.

According to the 2016 Education Next poll released Tuesday, among those who take a stand on the issue, 50 percent of the general public supports Common Core, with 50 percent opposed.

Interestingly, when the standards are described without using the term "Common Core," roughly two-thirds of the public support the standards. While support for "Common Core" dropped by almost 10 percentage points from 2015 to 2016, support for the standards actually rose slightly when it was described without "Common Core."

About 39 percent of Republicans support "Common Core," compared to 61 percent who support the standards as described without using the words "Common Core."

About 60 percent of Democrats support "Common Core," compared to 70 percent who support the standards as described without saying "Common Core."

Although fewer Republicans than Democrats support Common Core, Democratic support dropped by 10 percentage points in the past year, while Republican support dropped by 4 points.

For the group of people who were asked about Common Core, the exact question wording was, "As you may know, in the last few years states have been deciding whether or not to use the Common Core, which are standards for reading and math that are the same across the states. In the states that have these standards, they will be used to hold public schools accountable for their performance. Do you support or oppose the use of the Common Core standards in your state?" The second group of survey respondents was asked the same question without the words "Common Core" appearing in the question.

The poll was administered in May and June 2016, with more than 4,000 adults surveyed, including more than 600 teachers.


Stanford students, fight for your right to party

here are few students more cosseted and protected than those at US universities. Bans on speech, dress and even hairstyles have been enacted in the name of protecting students from harm. So it comes as no surprise to hear that Stanford University has taken student safety a step further and banned drinking hard spirits on campus.

Stanford’s updated student policy seeks to ‘limit high-risk behaviour’. This means that, for any undergraduate student, high-volume alcohol is completely banned from campus parties and is restricted to 750ml containers across campus. In campus accommodation, only alcohol with a 20 per cent or less strength is permitted.

If you’re shaking your head in sober disbelief, wait, there’s more. Stanford has kindly granted students the liberty of indulging in a mixed drink if, and only if, they are at an event hosted by a student organisation or in accommodation comprised entirely of postgraduates. You know, because there’s nothing quite as fun as an evening organised by the Science and Engineering Graduate Women’s Association.

Stanford is playing parent – controlling how, when and in what quantities its students can consume alcohol, even if they’re over 21. The policy was introduced following the trial of ex-Stanford student Brock Turner, who was given a six-month custodial sentence for sexual assault. Turner attributed his crime to the ‘party culture’ on campus, and, in introducing the ban, Stanford is effectively buying his feeble excuse.

This is extremely worrying. Stanford’s attempt to protect its students, with its ‘harm-reduction strategy’, only affirms the idea that students are volatile, easily driven into committing heinous acts, and incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions. This is another worrying example of how little trust is placed in students – and in adults more broadly. Giving students the freedom to drink themselves stupid might mean some messy nights, bitter regrets and difficult morning lectures – but adults must be given the freedom to make these choices themselves.


The fashion for university rape protests reaches Australia

I have followed a lot of these protests but I have nowhere seen a reasonable comparision of university rape incidence with rape incidence for the same age group in the general community.  Rapes do occur at universities.  They occur most places.  But tasking universities with rape prevention may be to task them  with changing human nature -- a notoriously difficult task

University students have crashed a university open day lecture protesting against the against the way sexual assaults are handled at universities.

A group of male and female students entered the Sydney University's Eastern Avenue lecture hall on Saturday during an information session.

They brought with them single sized mattresses with slogans such as 'protect students', 'welcome to the hunting grounds' and 'red tape won't cover up rape' scrawled across it in red and black permanent marker.

The event was organised by Sydney University Women's Officer Anna Hush who said 'We organised this event because we want to show parents that sexual assault and harassment are significant problems for students', in a report by

Among the group were victims of rape who told of their harrowing stories in front of parents and prospective students.

'I lasted three weeks in my first year of university before I was raped. Three weeks. As a first year student. And I'm still studying, but my life is completely different,' one brave female student said. 'I never expected that to happen at my university,' she said.

The student added: 'It's evident, if we want to protect our child and also allow them to have an education at a tertiary level we need to help change the system, revolt against the universities and demand change before we ever decide to sent our brothers, our sisters, our children to university'.

A short time after university security and management interrupted the protest by turned off the lights and ushered parents out of the hall in an attempt to stop the group for reading out their demands.

The 10 demands were for how universities should improvements their policies towards sexual assault and how it should be responded to.

A mother of a prospective student who was at the lecture said: 'It was so moving for me — each of those girls would have gone through a lot to get up there [and talk about their assaults].'


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