Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grand Theft Education

K-12 education gets the lion’s share of California’s budget, largely due to Proposition 98 (1988) author John Mockler, a lobbyist who became a millionaire working both sides of the table. In government monopoly education, the money goes directly to bureaucracies, the state department of education, the county offices of education, and local school districts. The money is not tied to any performance measure and the education collective farm always wants more money. As we noted, educrats use it to pay outlandish salaries to local superintendents based on their “vision,” not academic results. As Loretta Kalb notes in the Sacramento Bee, they also spend taxpayers’ money on political advocacy.

The Sacramento City Unified School District has been spending money on “robocalls” to thousands of parents on Proposition 55 and Measure G on the November ballot. The robocalls, Kalb wrote, “sent the scripted messages recorded by five district trustees through its automated telephone message distribution system, explaining how the two tax measures would raise money for school programs and services that otherwise could be slashed.” Measure G is a parcel tax and Proposition 55 would extend the Proposition 30 tax hikes of 2012, which governor Jerry Brown pitched as temporary.

The robocalls did not say “Vote for Proposition 55” but were completely one sided, and obvious advocacy. The district might have hosted a forum, with speakers from both sides, but district bosses always have their eye on the taxpayers’ money. They get that money, even if they fail to promote student achievement. They get the money even if parents choose to send their children to independent schools, or school them at home. They oppose all measures for full parental choice in education, and they spend parent’s tax money on robocalls to keep taxes high. That’s how government monopoly education works. Call it grand theft education.


Student Sues Over Iowa State’s ‘Speech Code’

A 34-year-old student at Iowa State University is suing the school over what he calls an “unconstitutional speech code.”

The student, Robert Dunn, says the university is forcing him to compromise his First Amendment rights by complying with “overly broad and vague” anti-discrimination and harassment policies. Failing to agree to abide by the policies, he added, could result in the school placing a “hold” on his diploma and a “review” by the dean of students.

The “speech code” Dunn is referring to is a university policy titled, “Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Harassment Involving Students.” In August, prior to the fall 2016 semester, Dunn said he received an email announcing the new training program on “the university’s nondiscrimination policies and procedures” to be completed online.

Specifically, Dunn’s lawyers argue in the lawsuit, the policy “states that ‘gossip’ about a male student’s ‘feminine dress’ could be harassment, failing to even acknowledge that students also possess First Amendment rights that might be implicated.”

“The harassment doesn’t even have to be directly at the person,” Dunn told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “So I didn’t feel comfortable saying that I was going to sign over my First Amendment right in order to comply with campus policy.”

Dunn is a resident of Ames, Iowa. He is a conservative, member of Young Americans for Freedom, and the founder and president of Iowa State’s Young Americans for Freedom organization. He is a senior at Iowa State, where he is majoring in accounting in order to pursue a new career path.

Dunn is being represented by lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian conservative nonprofit law firm that advocates for the right of people to live out their faith.

Casey Mattox, an attorney representing Dunn, said the policy at Iowa State is “one of the worst policies that we have seen in recent years.” “We handle a lot of university free speech cases,” Mattox said, adding:

The fact that it would affirmatively state that First Amendment protected speech can still be deemed harassment by the university and then just give administrators the authority to decide what those circumstances are, when free speech equals harassment, it basically eliminates any kind of protection for free speech. You can’t be put in a position as a student where you have to fear that whatever you say could be deemed harassment if someone else thinks the circumstances are such.

The Daily Signal contacted Iowa State about the lawsuit. A spokesman said “we have no comment.”

This is not the first time Iowa State’s anti-discrimination and harassment policies are being challenged. In previous years, Alliance Defending Freedom says it contacted the university about “flaws in the policies.”

“The university had responded in 2014 that it would [be] reviewing the policies over a one-year period. The recent revisions, however, failed to address the obvious constitutional defects,” Alliance Defending Freedom said in a press release.

Dunn said on campus, he has the support of both students and faculty.

“On our campus, there’s been a lot of chill and fear about speaking out. It’s not just students, but faculty, and I think a lot of people are wishing that they could be able to speak their mind and be able to say something without walking on eggshells when the person next to them could claim to be offended,” he said.

Dunn added that he thinks the issue “cuts across ideological spectrums.”

“I think a lot of commonsense liberals are starting to wake up and say, ‘Hey, this affects us too.’”

“Whatever backlash there is,” he added, “I think the positive aspects will eventually play out. Because I definitely see a lot of liberals say if we value our free speech, we have to value free speech of those we diametrically disagree with.”


UK: Third of new teachers leave within five years: 7,200 staff who qualified in 2010 are no longer in the profession

It's not a pleasant job in today's classrooms

Nearly a third of teachers who began work in England's state schools in 2010 were not in the classroom five years later, official figures show.

Around 7,200 of the 24,100 newly qualified teachers who joined schools in November 2010 had left the profession by 2015, according to figures published by schools minister Nick Gibb.

Around one in eight (13 per cent) had left after just a year.

The Government insisted that teacher retention rates have been 'broadly stable' for the last 20 years, but the Liberal Democrats warned that ministers must work with teachers to deal with the factors that make the profession feel 'demoralised and under-valued'.

The statistics, revealed in response to a written ministerial question submitted by Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland, show that of those who joined the profession in November 2010, 87 per cent were still in the classroom a year later and 82 per cent were working as teachers two years later.

This dropped to 77 per cent after three years, 73 per cent after four years and 70 per cent after five years.

Lib Dem education spokesman John Pugh said: 'This is a damming record for Michael Gove's time as education secretary.

'It is bad enough that dedicated teachers are being driven away from the profession they love, but this is also laying the foundations for a disastrous teaching shortage in years to come if we cannot train new teachers fast enough to replace the ones which leave.

'The Government must urgently work with the teaching community to address the many factors which are making teachers feel demoralised and under-valued, as well as reversing their devastating cuts to school budgets which are putting increasing pressure on teachers and schools.'

A Department for Education spokesman said: 'Teaching remains an attractive career and we have more teachers entering our classrooms than those choosing to leave or retire.

'Teacher retention has been broadly stable for 20 years and the annual average salaries for teachers in the UK are also greater than the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average, and higher than many of Europe's high-performing education systems like Finland, Norway or Sweden.

'We want every child to have access to great teachers that aren't weighed down with unnecessary workload so they have the time and freedom to do what they do best - inspire the next generation.

'We recognise teachers' concerns and are continuing to work with the sector to find constructive solutions to this issue.'

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: 'It is deeply regrettable that so many people have chosen to leave teaching, when we need new teachers more than ever.

'Despite high demand, there has been a consistent shortfall in the numbers recruited to training courses since 2010. 'On top of this, schools are now experiencing increased difficulties in retaining staff.

'Ministers need to ask themselves why this is happening, and to take immediate action.  'They need to face the fact that schools have become more difficult and less rewarding places in which to work.'


No comments: