Tuesday, November 22, 2016

UK: Students were wrong about tuition fees, but that won't stop them going on another pointless march

Dogs bark, cats meow and students go on protests. They just can't get enough of stomping the streets in order to demonstrate their disapproval of whatever Tory ministers have done. At least it gets them out of the house.

Today marks their latest foray outdoors as thousands are set to march on Westminster. They haven't settled on any reason for this demonstration, but that's not for a lack of causes. They are seemingly spoiled for choice, as they are marching against a variety of things: austerity, the gender pay gap, and "all forms of racism and xenophobia" following Brexit (just to make it topical).

This new march is grandly described as not "just another demo", but the usual suspects – two anti-cuts student activist groups and the Young Greens – are behind it. The National Union of Students is "supporting" it as well


A Rutgers Prof Got So Irate About Trump That Police Tested His Sanity

A Rutgers professor became so upset about Donald Trump’s election victory that police took him in for a psychological evaluation, New Jersey authorities announced Wednesday.

Kevin Allred is a women’s and gender studies professor and the creator of Politicizing Beyonc√©, and given his specialty it was unsurprising that he wasn’t happy that Trump won. But Allred began to go off the rails on Twitter, tweeting his desire to kill white people. “[W]ill the 2nd Amendment be as cool when i buy a gun and start shooting atrandom [sic] white people or no?,” he asked on Twitter Nov. 10.

On Tuesday night, police showed up at his house to check up on him, and then carted him off to Bellevue Hospital in New York City for a two-hour psychological evaluation.

“NYPD just came to my house b/c Rutgers Police told them I’m a threat based on political statements I’ve made on campus and on twitter,” Allred said in a series of Twitter posts Tuesday night. “They’ve forced me to now undergo a psychiatric evaluation at the hospital. [T]hey brought me by ambulance tho i’m not under arrest technically.”

The encounter hardly improved Allred’s irate condition. “[T]his is for exercising my fucking first amendment rights. [I’m] being labeled a threat and put in a psych hospital,” he continue on Twitter.

Even though Trump is not yet president, Allred says his police encounter was “proof positive that Trump’s crackdown on free speech has absolutely begun.” He argued his suggestion of shooting random white people was not a threat because it was merely a rhetorical question rather than a statement of intent.

Rutgers spokesman E.J. Miranda released a statement Wednesday saying Rutgers police simply responded to a complaint about Allred’s statements and “took all appropriate action.”


Trump meets with controversial school reformer Michelle Rhee as she is considered for Secretary of Education in his Cabinet

Rhee is an exceptionally dedicated educator

President-elect Donald Trump met with controversial former Washington, D.C. public school chancellor Michelle Rhee, who is considered to be in the running for Secretary of Education as part of his administration.

Her husband, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, joined her for the meeting on Saturday at the billionaire businessman's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The couple, who are both Democrats, were photographed departing the clubhouse in the afternoon after their meeting and shaking hands with Trump outside.

Like Trump, Rhee has been a supporter of school choice, which calls for public money to be used for charter schools.

In September, Trump released his School Choice Policy that calls for the incoming administration to redirect $20billion in federal funds immediately to school choice - which will be in the form of block grants for roughly 11 million children living in poverty, Fox News reported.  

'We want every disadvantaged child to be able to choose the local public, private, charter or magnet school that is best for them and their family,' the Trump campaign said in announcing the plan.

'Each state will develop its own formula, but the dollars should follow the student.'

While Rhee, the daughter of Korean immigrants, worked in DC as the chancellor, she was given the power to change the under-performing city's school system under Mayor Adrian Fenty.

In 2008, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine with the headline, 'How to Fix America's Schools'.

However, the picture of her holding a broom offended and enraged teachers who felt as though the image showed her intentions of how she wanted to fix the school system by sweeping out the most experienced teachers, as she called for educators to be paid based on their performance and not by their tenure. 

The Republican president also supports teachers being paid based off of merit, which he claims rewards 'great teachers ...instead of the failed tenure system that currently exists, which rewards bad teachers and punishes good ones.'

Rhee has also been the supporter of the Common Core educational standards in the past, which the president-elect has often called a 'total disaster.'

Trump has vowed to abolish Common Core in his first 100 days as president and replace it with the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act. 

While Rhee worked in D.C., the high school graduation rates improved as well as the scores in standardized testing for math and reading.

Despite the improvements, parents and others stopped supporting her as they complained Rhee made decision with little public input about firing principals and teachers. In 2010 alone, she fired 241 teachers in the city, Fox News reported.

The appointment of Rhee – who has been dubbed 'Public Enemy No. 1' of the teachers' unions -- would be a bold move by the Trump team, and a signal that his administration is gearing up to take an aggressive stance on education reform.

Her history of backing school choice and battling the teachers' unions has also earned her support from many conservatives.

Rhee began her career as a teacher with Teach for America, before founding a non-profit group to train educators in 1997.

Rhee has served as CEO of StudentsFirst, a non-profit group she founded in 2010 to lobby for education reform initiatives.


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