Sunday, December 04, 2016
British school apologises to a Christian teaching assistant who was made to feel 'like a criminal' after she told a 14-year-old student she did not agree with same sex relationships
A school has apologised to a black Christian teaching assistant it had issued her with a written warning after she told an autistic pupil she disapproved of same-sex relationships.
Victoria Allen, 51, also said she did not like the way the biblical rainbow symbol had been adopted as an emblem of gay pride.
After receiving the warning, she threatened to take Brannel School in St Austell, Cornwall, to tribunal over the matter.
But on Monday the dispute was settled out of court.
The 14-year-old boy had interrupted an English lesson to ask her opinion on same-sex marriage.
When she gave her 'personal opinion' on the issue, the boy said he did not feel offended, but agreed when a teacher suggested he felt uneasy about the incident.
She was then given the written warning for not following the school's equal opportunities policies.
After a complaint by the boy's mother, the school launched formal disciplinary action in September.
Both parties yesterday spent the day behind closed doors at Bodmin Magistrates' Court thrashing out an agreement.
A joint statement said head teacher Andy Edmonds 'recognised Victoria Allen's right to share her Christian beliefs with students and has apologised for any upset she may have felt during the disciplinary process'.
Outside court, Ms Allen said she was made to 'feel like a criminal' for sharing her 'personal, Biblical beliefs'.
She added: 'If a child asks my personal opinion, I feel I should give it.'
However Ms Allen, a widow with three children, admitted staff should share 'balanced views'.
Libby Powell of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Mrs Allens' claim, said: 'Vicky was asked a question about her personal opinion.
'We know that there are lots of people who disagree with the Biblical view of marriage and they are free to disagree.
'What we want to say is that there has to be space for the other point of view Vicky's point of view to be there as well.'
Ms Allen attends a Pentecostal church and joined the school in 2011.
In her job as a high-level teaching assistant she helps children with a range of educational difficulties.
DeVos: Great Pick for Education Secretary
If the teachers unions are outraged by Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education, our president-elect must have made a good choice.
The two major unions are beside themselves that Trump picked school-choice advocate and activist DeVos, who chairs the American Federation for Children, an organization that fights for school choice, with a focus on low-income communities.
The National Education Association’s press release says DeVos supports “failed schemes, like vouchers” and “a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize, and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”
According to the American Federation of Teachers, the appointment shows that Trump’s administration will focus on “privatizing, defunding, and destroying public education in America.”
But the school-choice movement, where Betsy DeVos has been an activist and leader for years, is not about any of this. It is about what the teachers unions hate the most: freedom.
It is about an outrageous idea that parents should have the power and freedom to decide where and how to educate their children.
Freedom is what I thought defined our country, the secret sauce that made, and makes, America great. It is crazy that in something as fundamental as education we have so little of it. And for those with the least power, the poor, parents are totally locked into failing schools controlled by bureaucrats and unions.
If giving parents education choice was a bad idea, why do so many want it?
Thirty years ago, school-choice programs didn’t exist. Today, according to the organization EdChoice, around 400,000 children attend private schools in 29 states with help from some type of public funding — vouchers, tax credits or education savings accounts.
According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, more than a million children are on waiting lists to be accepted in charter schools. Yes, the charter schools that Hillary Clinton criticized during the presidential campaign to cozy favor with the teachers unions.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said that Betsy DeVos “uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda.”
This is laughable, coming from a union official.
The two teachers unions spent in the 2016 election cycle $33,623,843 on political contributions and $3,077,849 on lobbying to advance their special-interest agenda.
Every agenda is, of course, special interest. Betsy DeVos' special interest is advancing freedom by bringing education opportunities to poor children. The unions' special interest is keeping a stranglehold on public schools and looking out for their members and their left-wing agenda.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a high school teacher in 2014 was $56,310, with the average in the highest 10 percent at $88,910.
The Center for Union Facts shows that there are 198 employees at the American Federations of Teachers with compensation over $100,000, with president Weingarten standing at $543,150.
Regarding the claim that school-choice programs drain funds from public schools, American Enterprise Institute scholar Gerard Robinson, former commissioner for education in Florida and secretary of education for Virginia, reports that inflation-adjusted spending on education since the end of World War II has increased 663 percent, with virtually no change in reading and math scores since 1992.
In 2016 the Department of Education will spend $79 billion, up 67 percent from 2000.
A headline on the National Education Association website says, “Transgender students thrive in supportive schools.” Can you imagine the NEA worrying about Christian children getting biblical values?
Parents should be free to choose a school embracing transgender values or Christian values. It should be up to them, not unions or bureaucrats.
Having known Betsy DeVos for years, I am confident that unions will find their fears justified, and that our new secretary of education will provide leadership to significantly improve education in our country by bringing freedom and choice to families.
Leftist educators not concerned by the poor results that they have delivered in Australian schools
The latest international maths and science results suggest that Australia is a slow learner when it comes to improving school performance. Our mean maths and science scores in the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS2015) are the same as they were when TIMSS started 20 years ago.
It’s not just the Asian ‘tiger economies’ that are beating us: England, the USA, Ireland, Russia and Kazakhstan have also improved in the last decade and are now doing significantly better than we are. Australia has dropped down the international rankings to the middle of the pack.
At the same time as the TIMSS results were released, several hundred education academics were in Melbourne at the conference of the Australian Association of Research in Education — our peak educational research body. Given that the downward trend in test results has been apparent for some time, it might be expected that the education academy would be hell-bent on seeking out the best ways to teach maths and science so we don’t end up with a third-world economy.
The pre-occupation of the academy is apparently focussed elsewhere, if the presentation topics at the conference are an indication. They included such critically important subjects as ‘Thinking and doing research on female bodies differently – ‘listening’ to moving bodies’, ‘Nietzsche on aesthetics, educators and education’, and ‘Meet the phallic lecturer: Early career research in a neoliberal imaginary’. Among the several hundred presentations, 14 titles contained the word ‘maths’ or ‘mathematics’, while 10 contained the word ‘neoliberal’, and 18 contained the word ‘gender’.
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), which leads the TIMSS study in Australia, described the results as a ‘wake up call’. The fact is, the alarm about maths and science (and reading) went off a decade ago. We keep hitting the snooze button while other countries stopped crying into their pillows over neoliberal conspiracies, rolled out of bed, and got on with it.
Posted by jonjayray at 1:46 AM