Saturday, August 27, 2016

University of Chicago Tells Millennials to Suck It Up, "We Do Not Condone 'Safe Spaces'"

In a refreshing and stark contrast to other universities that have seemingly tripped over themselves to accommodate every silly request from America's pampered Millennials in their never ending quest for "safe spaces," the University of Chicago has sent the incoming class of 2020 a letter making very clear that they will find no "safe spaces" in their intellectual journey at Chicago.  The full letter is presented below but here are a couple of the best comments for your reading pleasure: 

"You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement.  At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own"

Just when we thought all hope had been lost, an establishment of higher learning finally steps up to interject some rational thoughts into the public discourse surrounding freedom of expression.

The letter also directs students to a note it had previously written on freedom of expression...

The full letter can be reviewed in its entirety at the end of this post, but below are a couple of the gems that we particularly liked:

“Education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.”

Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.

In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.

For Millennials getting ready start at University of Chicago might we suggest some reading material (here) that we shared a few months back that might help you cope in the absence of "safe spaces" at your new home...

No matter where you go in life, someone will be there to offend you. Maybe it’s a joke you overheard on vacation, a spat at the office, or a difference of opinion with someone in line at the grocery store. Inevitably, someone will offend you and your values. If you cannot handle that without losing control of your emotions and reverting back to your “safe space” away from the harmful words of others, then you’re best to just stay put at home.

Remember, though: if people in the outside world scare you, people on the internet will downright terrify you. It’s probably best to just accept these harsh realities of life and go out into the world prepared to confront them wherever they may be waiting.

More HERE 

When Boston principals have freedom to hire, kids benefit

AT THE CURLEY K-8 School in Jamaica Plain, there were about 15 teaching positions open when hiring season began earlier this year. Principal Katie Grassa, however, is proud to say that she filled all those posts by May 30 — quite fast for a public school in Boston, where traditionally 90 percent of teacher hiring had been completed after July 1. Late hiring had put the Curley and other Boston schools at a competitive disadvantage, by allowing charter schools or other districts to scoop up the best candidates.

The Curley reflects the success of the city’s controversial early hiring initiative, now in its third year. As contract negotiations resume this week with the Boston Teachers Union, maintaining principals’ new flexibility in hiring has to be a top priority for the system. Meanwhile, the union has a chance to show it’s responsive to the system’s changing needs.

In the past, principals had to pick from a pool of internal candidates first, which dragged out the hiring process, left principals to choose from teachers whom other principals had turned down, and shuffled some teachers into slots they didn’t necessarily want. The district took advantage of a loophole in the teachers union contract that gave school administrators more freedom to bypass internal candidates when filling classroom openings. Lo and behold, for this upcoming school year, 82 percent of all teaching vacancies were filled before June 1. Of those hires, 41 percent were teachers of color — a priority for a district with a diverse student body.

The new hiring strategy has one costly byproduct. The teachers who used to have first dibs on vacant jobs still receive a paycheck, even if they aren’t selected for any classrooms. Under the state’s tenure law, such teachers must generally be placed in support posts such as substitutes or co-teachers.

There will be about 100 such teachers this year, at a price tag of $8 million. Those salaries pose a substantial burden. To save money, the school district is seeking contract provisions that would allow it to fire unassigned tenured teachers who aren’t even applying for jobs — that’s about half of them, the district says.

Without a fair way of phasing out teachers who repeatedly end up without a classroom, the early hiring initiative will become unsustainable in the long term, and that would be a huge mistake.

The district and the BTU have offered extensive support, including resume and interview workshops, for teachers without classroom assignments . In some cases, teachers lacked credentials that aligned with current educational needs, so the district offered to pay for special-education or English as a Second Language licenses. Only two took the offer, a system official said.

As teacher unions statewide seek to fend off a ballot initiative to allow more charter schools, a measure of flexibility from the Boston Teachers Union would help show that the collective bargaining process can be a way of solving educational problems — not an obstacle to doing so. But the greater argument for a contract change comes from the experience of principals like Grassa, who see the good that happens when school leaders and teachers have the latitude to choose each other. “Before, there was a limited pool of talent to choose from,” Grassa says. “The importance of having the choice cannot be overstated.”


From a Course on Miley Cyrus to ‘Identity-Based Housing,’ Examples of Lunacy on College Campuses

As the fall semester begins, parents, students, taxpayers, and donors should be made aware of official college practices that should disgust us all.

Hampshire College will offer some of its students what the school euphemistically calls “identity-based housing.” That’s segregated housing for students who—because of their race, culture, gender, or sexual orientation—have “historically experienced oppression.”

I’d bet the rent money that Hampshire College will not offer Jewish, Irish, Polish, Chinese, or Catholic students segregated housing. Because there is no group of people who have not faced oppression, Hampshire College is guilty of religious and ethnic discrimination in its housing segregation policy.

University of Connecticut administrators think more black men will graduate if they spend more time together. According to Campus Reform, they are building a new residence hall to facilitate just that.

Erik Hines, the faculty director for the program, said the learning community “is a space for African-American men to … come together and validate their experiences that they may have on campus. … It’s also a space where they can have conversation and also talk with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience.” By the way, Hampshire College and the University of Connecticut are not alone in promoting racially segregated student housing.

Then there’s an effort for racial segregation in classes. Moraine Valley Community College attempted it in a class titled “College: Changes, Challenges, Choices.” It mandated that some class sections be “limited to African-American students.” The college defended racially segregated classes by saying they make students “feel comfortable.” After facing massive national notoriety, the college just recently abandoned its racial segregation agenda.

For professors to use their classes to proselytize students—and for a college president to urge it—is gross academic dishonesty.

Suppose a student at Ripon College enrolls in a chemistry, math, or economics class. What do you think ought to be the subject matter? Zachariah Messitte, Ripon’s president, who is also a professor in the politics and government department, has encouraged fellow professors to disparage Donald Trump, arguing that it’s “fine” for professors to “acknowledge Trump’s narrow-minded rhetoric” in class, suggesting that Trump’s “bigotry” is a valid topic for most any course.

For professors to use their classes to proselytize students—and for a college president to urge it—is gross academic dishonesty. I’ve been a college professor for nearly a half-century. I challenge anyone to find a student who can say that anything other than microeconomic theory, with a bit of physics and biology thrown in now and then for good measure, was discussed in my class.

Adding to campus lunacy are classes such as “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame” at the University of South Carolina. Cornell University’s physical education department offers a class titled “Recreational Tree Climbing.” At Georgia State University, the English department offers a course called “Kayne vs. Everybody.”

At Tufts University’s Experimental College, one can take a class called “Demystifying the Hipster.” Skidmore College’s sociology department offers “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media.” Frostburg State University’s physics department offers “The Science of Harry Potter,” where it examines some of the tale’s magic. Georgetown University offers “Philosophy and Star Trek,” arguing that “Star Trek is very philosophical,” and adding, “What better way, then, to learn philosophy, than to watch Star Trek, read philosophy, and hash it all out in class?”

That these and other nonsense classes exist may reflect several things. There is the notion of shared educational governance, wherein presidents and boards of trustees have little say-so about what passes for college education. The faculty runs the show. Students may be academic cripples and require such nonsense. Those are the most optimistic assessments.

Or such academic nonsense may indeed reflect that presidents, academic administrators, faculty members, and students actually believe that such classes have academic merit.

College administrators like to keep campus barbarism under wraps. One of the best means to throttle their hideous agenda is for students to use their electronic devices to expose it to public scrutiny.


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