Friday, January 29, 2016

Communist propaganda in a British school: Uses selfishness and HITLER to define being 'Right-wing'

That the Conservative Winston Churchill was the most unrelenting foe of Hitler got "forgotten", somehow

A LESSON for young teenagers that linked Right-wing politics to Germany’s wartime dictator Adolf Hitler and “helping people less” than Left-wingers was condemned yesterday by a senior Conservative MP.

Damian Green slammed the school for using Hitler to define being Right-wing

Former police and criminal justice minister Damian Green is calling on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to investigate urgently.

Mr Green, who was alerted to the issue by an outraged parent, said: “I cannot believe that material with this sort of glaring bias is being used in our schools. “It is shocking that no one has questioned it.

“I have asked Nicky Morgan to investigate quickly so that it can be rewritten at once.”

The offending item was a work book for Year 10 pupils, aged 14 and 15, at a school in Kent.

It invited pupils to match pictures of British political leaders with their parties and explain the difference between parties and the views they hold.

On a page about what was Left and Right-wing, the Right-wing column was illustrated with a photograph of Hitler and the statements: “Hitler; less help to the people; more help to businesses; we are not equal.”

The former police and criminal justice minister asked Nicky Morgan to investigate urgently

In stark contrast, the Left-wing column was topped with the front cover of the NHS Constitution – which sets out the health service’s values and patients’ rights.

It included a cartoon of three little stick figures holding hands and the statement that “the NHS belongs to us all”.

Statements listed below that to represent “Left-wing” views were: “Communism; NHS; helping the people; everyone should be equal.”


Nearly-bankrupt Detroit Public Schools' execs among nation's best paid

It's stories such as this one that makes me believe that urban public school districts are primarily generous employment programs.  Despite a ten percent pay cut, Detroit Public Schools executives are raking in the cash.

Oh, DPS is teetering towards bankruptcy.

From ABC Detroit:

"We obtained contracts for execs and reviewed salaries at districts across the U.S. We found the big shots at DPS are among the best paid in the entire country.

Take, for example, the Executive Director of Communications, Michelle Zdrodowski. On the same day [emergency manager Darnell Earley] delivered his grim budget speech, she inked a one-year contract for $161,111. Incredibly, that's more than Los Angeles and Chicago, the second and third largest districts in the U.S. pay their P.R. bosses. Even with the 10% pay cut, Zdrodwoski earns more than her counterparts at many larger districts we reviewed.

Detroit has also gone Hollywood when it comes to its Chief Procurement Officer. The purchasing boss in Los Angeles makes about $157,000 per year, the same rate DPS signed Medina Noor for. Even with the 10% cut, she's better paid than the bosses in Dallas and Philly, districts more than three-times the size of Detroit.

It's a similar story with Steve Wasko, Executive Director for Enrollment. He makes more than the enrollment boss in Chicago - which has 400,000 students - and Philly, which is also far larger.

The cost of living in Detroit isn't very high by the way.


British regulator allows schools to ban Islamic veils

Head teachers are allowed to ban the veil and will be backed up by Ofsted inspectors newly empowered to mark down schools where it interferes with education.

Sir Michael Wilshaw today wrote to all inspectors telling them to consider rating schools 'inadequate' if use of the veil in the classroom damages learning.

But the decision was swiftly condemned by teaching unions while the Muslim Council of Britain said it was an attack on a 'tiny, tiny' minority of teachers.

Sir Michael insisted the move was aimed at ensuring no discrimination took place in British schools.

Today's letter comes a week after Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed the right of schools - and other public bodies - to ask people to show their face where necessary.

Sir Michael said: 'I am concerned that some heads and principals who are trying to restrict the wearing of the full veil in certain circumstances are coming under pressure from others to relax their policy.

'I want to assure these leaders that they can rely on my full backing for the stance they are taking.

'I have also made clear to my inspectors that where leaders are condoning the wearing of the face veil by staff members or by pupils when this is clearly hindering communication and effective teaching, they should give consideration to judging the school as inadequate.

'I am determined to ensure that discrimination, including on the grounds of gender, has no place in our classrooms.

'We want our schools, whether faith schools or non-faith schools, to prepare their pupils equally for life in 21st century Britain.

'We need to be confident our children's education and future prospects are not being harmed in any way.'

Ameena Blake, the vice president of the Muslim Council of Britain, who is a teacher, said it was impossible for inspector to judge whether a teacher was inadequate because of their veil or because of poor skills in a brief visit.

She told the BBC: 'I think the words Sir Michael has used are very, very ambiguous.  'If you have a teacher with a face veil who is inadequate, how do you know whether they are inadequate because of the face veil?'

She continued: 'We are forgetting this is a tiny, tiny minority of teachers in the UK who would wear the face veil. 'Teachers working in the context where they would are teachers working in faith schools or they would be working in schools that are very multicultural.  'Students in those schools would already be very used to seeing ladies who might be wearing the face veil.'

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said Sir Michael was threatening schools and risked alienating pupils and teaching staff.

Kevin Courtney, the NUT's deputy general secretary, said: 'Effective communication between pupils and staff is essential to effective teaching and learning.

'However, Sir Michael Wilshaw once again has chosen to issue punitive diktats to threaten schools through the use of 'inadequate' Ofsted judgments, rather than enabling them to develop their own sensible and appropriate policies on the wearing of religious clothing at school. 'Rather than assisting school leaders, this will have the effect of alienating many staff and pupils.'

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: 'Head teachers are able to use common sense to determine whether their staff or pupils' mode of dress has the potential to hinder learning, and to establish rules accordingly.

'Formalising this sensitive issue into yet another tick-box that can be used to fail schools is unhelpful and extreme.

'Schools will already be marked down for lack of communication and/or ineffective learning in the classroom - specific guidelines on veils is unnecessary.'

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: 'Schools will now apparently be judged inadequate on the basis of an inspector taking exception to a pupil or member of staff wearing a veil and deeming it a barrier to communication.

'Ofsted should be driven by evidence. Where is the evidence that demonstrates that wearing the veil is a barrier to teaching and learning?'

Launching a drive against extremism and gender segregation last week, David Cameron said he would not support an outright ban on the veil but did back specific policies.

He said: 'I think in our country people should be free to wear what they like, within limits live how they like, and all the rest of it.

'What does matter is if, for instance, a school has a uniform policy, sensitively put in place and all the rest of it, and people want to flout that uniform policy, often for reasons that aren't connected to religion, you should always come down on the side of the school.'

Mr Cameron added: 'When you are coming into contact with an institution or you're in court, or if you need to be able to see someone's face at the border, then I will always back the authority and institution that have put in place proper and sensible rules.

'Going for the more French approach of banning an item of clothing, I don't think that's the way we do things in this country and I don't think that would help.'

A Department for Education spokesman said today: 'We fully support Sir Michael's statement today.

'We are pleased that Heads and school leaders who choose to implement policies which restrict the wearing of the veil to support effective teaching and learning will receive Ofsted's backing.

'It is also clearly right that if the wearing of the veil is interfering with education in schools that should trigger action from Ofsted.'

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said uniform policy is 'very much up to schools' and head teachers have the right to decide if they want to ban the veil.

Mr Cameron has also said he would back institutions that have 'sensible rules' over Muslims wearing full-face veils, but he ruled out a full public ban.

Mrs Morgan said: 'The Prime Minister was absolutely right to say, and we have a very clear view in this country, we are not going to tell people what they can and they can't wear, that would cut across the values we are talking about that we want everybody to follow.

'But there are times, there are institutions and organisations where it is right - schools will be one of them - where the school leaders want to have a clear uniform policy they want everybody to observe and they may decide that point, that they don't want people to wear the full-face veil.'

She added: 'It very much is up to the schools, schools will have a uniform policy.'

Sir Michael indicated his backing last week, telling the BBC: 'The Prime Minister's view that we have got to make sure that our liberal values, our liberal West values, are protected, people need to listen to that.

'The Muslim community needs to listen to it as well. We have come a long way in our society to ensure that we have equality for women and that they are treated fairly.

'We mustn't go backwards.'


Damian Lewis: Former pupils protest against Etonian actor's planned appearance at London comprehensive school

Hate, hate and more hate:  That's Leftism
Former pupils at a Camden comprehensive are protesting against a decision to invite Damian Lewis to launch the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations because the actor went to “elitist” Eton College.

The Homeland actor has agreed to switch on the laser display at Acland Burghley school, in Tufnell Park, north-west London, when the school marks its landmark birthday on Wednesday night.

But the involvement of Lewis, a local resident, has caused outrage among former pupils who say that the exclusive education he enjoyed at Eton is at odds with comprehensive ethos and values which Acland Burghley represents.

The former pupils, who have launched an online petition calling for the invitation to be rescinded, have asked why Lewis was chosen ahead of the school’s well-known alumni, such as the chart-topping reggae singer Eddy Grant, Ms Dynamite and Lee Thompson, the Madness saxophone player.

Rachel Cohen, a City University sociology lecturer who is leading the campaign, wrote on the online petition: “Damian Lewis, was educated at Eton a school that, more than any other, represents the reproduction of privilege and inequality in the UK.

“We have nothing against him as an actor or local resident, but he is a wholly inappropriate choice for this celebration of a wonderful local comprehensive school.” The petition has attracted more than 80 signatures and prompted a hashtag #RealBurghley.

Ms Cohen told Camden New Journal: “Burghley has a brilliant performing arts heritage. When I was there half my class were acting in Grange Hill. At the moment there is a public debate about whether the acting profession is too elitist, with Eton educated people very much in the public eye. This is another reason we should be celebrating Acland Burghley's achievements even more.”

The Real Burghley Twitter feed urged Lewis to make "a statement about the importance of comprehensive education" when he appears at the school.

She had been told by the celebration’s organisers that it had not been able to secure any Burghley-educated figures from the arts world in time for the event. Other Burghley graduates include John Alford, the former Grange Hill actor and Akala, the rapper, who is Ms Dynamite’s brother.

Mr Lewis declined to comment directly on the petition but added he was looking forward to the event, according to the Camden paper.

Nicholas John, the school’s headteacher, said the anniversary party was just one of a number of celebrations scheduled, which would involve a wide variety of people.

Mr John said: “Damian Lewis very kindly agreed to open the light show for us, to give up an evening of his time. The school he went to is of no consequence. We are planning to hold a series of other events over the next two years and we will be inviting many other people to take part.”

He added: “I cannot expand on who was or was not invited, and we do have a large number of prestigious alumni. However, our school community extends to people living in our neighbourhood.

“We are excited and proud to have anyone who holds value in education to come and take part. We are a community school and this event is about touching base with people in the area. We are delighted someone who lives in our area is happy to give up their time and show their support for the school.”

“We are grateful when anyone from any background comes in, if they have something of educational value to offer.”

Acland Burghley’s exterior has featured in the television series Silent Witness and Balls of Steel. It has been reported that at least four former pupils had become affiliated with Isis, with one having died fighting for the terrorist group in Syria.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The poisoning of the tree of liberty

An iceberg is heading into the path of the United States Constitution.  A destructive wave of political thought that appears out of the mainstream on the surface, but which like an iceberg has 90 percent of its mass below the surface.

You see evidence of this destructive collision when the Internet takes note of a Duke University graduate student’s school newspaper column that makes the claim that, “an urgent and overdue conversation about racism — on our campus and across our country — has been derailed by a diversionary and duplicitous obsession with the First Amendment.”

The column serves as a rationale for shouting down opposing views all in the name of being heard and having a national discussion on race, while dismissing alternative viewpoints as invalid due to their racist origins.

The same week that the column appeared, the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed Wilhelmina Wright to a lifetime seat on the federal bench.  Wright’s nomination ran into controversy when it was learned that she had written an attack on private property just as racist in a 1989 UCLA Law Review article in a piece edited by Derek Bell, one of President Obama’s mentors.

Wright’s comments however are not what is significant about the article, “Racial Reflections: Dialogues on the Direction of Liberation.” Instead, it is the academic legitimizing of an assault on the legitimacy of the Constitution and America itself that stands out.

While the words white privilege are not used, Bell’s introduction lays out the radical concepts that are bubbling to the surface a generation later as acceptable in academic circles while quaint notions like rule of law and constitutional rights are either not acknowledged or dismissed as inadequate.

Outraged by stories about school districts having kids kneel en masse on prayer rugs to have empathy with followers of Islam? This empathy through doing teaching concept can be found referenced by Bell.

Can’t understand how Black Lives Matter followers reject the obvious point that all lives matter?  The foundational answer that systemic oppression makes black lives more precious can be inferred from the article.

But the real goal is to delegitimize the old, dead white guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  Bell or one of his co-authors writes, “The framers’ ambivalence founded upon white supremacy, survived and subverted the well-intentioned efforts of even those who championed abolition and the post-Civil War amendments granting citizenship rights to the former slaves.”

To Bell’s devotees, everything is viewed through the prism of race with the very design of the Constitution meant to be used as a tool of oppression.

So the next time you read something that seems just plumb loco from a college student or professor understand that what may seem nuts to you, is likely seen as being mainstream on college campuses, and it is the dissent from these teachings that must be suppressed.

GOP presidential candidates tend to avoid education policy out of the correct belief that it is not the federal government’s job, but just as Hamlet’s father was killed by having poison poured into his ear, so must our constitutional republic die if the poison of hatred for America is not cut off at its academic roots


Fascist professor Melissa Click Charged with Assault for Handling of Photojournalist

Remember Melissa Click? She’s the University of Missouri professor who sparked an outcry after being filmed confronting photojournalists and calling for “muscle” to remove them from a public area during an on-campus protest in November 2015.

Well, Click was charged with assault yesterday for her actions.

After the initial controversy subsided, the story took a curious turn and became a public battle between state lawmakers and the faculty of the university.

Over 100 Missouri lawmakers signed an open letter earlier this month that called for Click’s immediate firing. “[Click] displayed such a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters should be enough to question her competency and aptitude for her job,” the lawmakers wrote.

In response, over 100 faculty members at Mizzou signed and published an open letter in support of click. “We believe that Click has been wronged in the media by those who have attacked her personally and have called for her dismissal,” the letter said.

Click hasn’t gotten fired, but she did get charged with third degree assault yesterday. In addition to calling for muscle to deal with the photojournalists, Click was also caught grabbing a reporters camera and helping to organize the human circle that kept journalists out of the campus quad.

The Missouri Times writes that lawmakers took this new charge as another point for their case that Click should be fired. At least two of them weighed in on Twitter:

“While the University of Missouri seems to have no accountability for their professors and their actions, the Missouri criminal justice system does,” says State Representative Caleb Jones, who has led the effort to call for Click’s dismissal. “I hope that justice gets served to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Class C misdemeanor charge Click faces could be punishable by up to 15 days in jail and/or a $300 fine, reports The Missouri Times.

In a poll we ran earlier this month, which received over 1,400 responses, more than 85% of respondents believe that Click should be fired for her actions.


Education Insanity

By Walter E. Williams

Some credit Albert Einstein, others credit Benjamin Franklin, with the observation that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results." Whomever we credit, he was absolutely right. A perfect example of that insanity is education in general and particularly black education.

Education Next has recently published a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. Coleman's groundbreaking 1965 report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity," popularly referred to as the "Coleman Report." In 1965, the average black 12th grader placed at the 13th percentile of the score distribution for whites in math and reading.

That means 87 percent of white 12th graders scored higher than the average black 12th graders. Fifty years later there has been a slight narrowing of the math gap leaving the average black 12th-grade student at the 19th percentile of the white distribution; 81 percent of white 12th-grade students score higher. The black-white reading gap has narrowed such that the average black 12th-grader scores at the 22nd percentile of the white distribution, meaning 78 percent of white 12th-graders score higher.

Eric A. Hanushek is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His Education Next contribution is "What Matters for Student Achievement: Updating Coleman on the Influence of Families and Schools." Hanushek concludes, "After nearly a half century of supposed progress in race relations within the United States, the modest improvements in achievement gaps since 1965 can only be called a national embarrassment.

Put differently, if we continue to close gaps at the same rate in the future, it will be roughly two and a half centuries before the black-white math gap closes and over one and a half centuries until the reading gap closes." I would like to know what American, particularly a black American, can be pleased with that kind of progress and the future it holds for black people.

Many see smaller class sizes and more money as part of the general solution to our nation's educational problems. It turns out that since 1955 the average number of students per teacher has fallen from 27 to 16. During the same period real per-pupil expenditures have increased more than fourfold. Today, expenditures per pupil in the United States exceed those of nearly every other country in the world. The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, ranks 15-year-old student academic performance in 34 OECD countries.

In 2012, the U.S. students performed below average in mathematics and ranked 27th. In reading, U.S. students ranked 17th; and in science, they ranked 20th. Such a performance gap suggests that smaller class sizes and bigger budgets, in and of themselves, are not a cure to our nation's educational malaise, particularly that of black students.

The most crucial input for a child's education cannot be provided by schools, politicians and government. As such, continued calls for more school resources will produce disappointing results as they have in the past. There are certain minimum requirements that must be met for any child to do well in school. Someone must make the youngster do his homework, ensure that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep, feed him breakfast and make sure that he behaves in school and respects the teachers. If these minimum requirements are not met, and by the way they can be met even if a family is poor, all else is for naught.

What the education establishment can do is to prevent youngsters who are alien and hostile to the educational process from making education impossible for those who are equipped to learn. That is accomplished by removing students who pose disciplinary problems, but the Barack Obama administration is even restricting a school's power to do that. You might ask, "Williams, what are we going to do with those expelled students?"

I do not know, but I do know one thing: Black people cannot afford to allow them to sabotage the education chances of everyone else.


Angry Cal State Prof Responds, Makes Dubious Libel Allegations

The California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) professor who denounced a group of campus conservatives as white supremacists and offered to fight them, has authored an angry response email to The Daily Caller News Foundation, accusing the publication of libel.

Over the weekend, assistant sociology professor Robert Weide became deeply upset over an event planned by CSULA’s branch of Young Americans for Freedom, which will feature conservative author Ben Shapiro and discuss the topic “When Diversity Becomes a Problem.”

Weide claimed the mere title of the lecture was meant to “intimidate” racial minorities, and offered to fight supporters of the event at the campus gym’s wrestling facilities.

The DCNF reached out to Weide for comment prior to the publication of Sunday’s piece. He didn’t reply in time for publication, but did finally send a response early Monday morning.

In it, he accuses TheDCNF of libel and claims his offer to battle supporters of the event was actually an effort to tone things down by offering an “alternative” to an “actual fist fight.” But Weide’s narrative appears inaccurate, as the conversation before his challenge consisted only of some meme-heavy ribbing — Weide appears to be the first person to seriously suggest an actual fight to determine who is stronger.

Bellow is his full message to TheDCNF. Readers are welcome to read the event page online to determine the truth of Weide’s statements:

"Greetings Mr. Neff, Actually there is only one Cal State LA student who has participated in the dialogue on FB you refer to. I did not call her a white supremacist. However, unabashed white supremacists who are not students on our campus have been posting all manner of racist, xenophobic, misogynist and homophobic memes and comments in order to intimidate our students and faculty, myself included. I will always speak in defense of our students when they are being intimidated and provoked by outside agitators.

I would be happy to give an interview to a real journalist, but Tucker Carlson’s pet project right wing hack site doesn’t quite fit that definition. I saw your slanderous hack job attempt at journalism. I was not impressed. It was a disingenuously inaccurate attempt to purvey a false narrative that I was challenging students to a fight. That is a flat out libelous lie. A white supremacist YAL supporter who is not a student on our campus was intimidating someone who is a student on our campus, in addition to the racist xenophobic memes and comments they posted.

As an alternative to fighting, I suggested that anyone who wants to prove their physical prowess, do so in a safe and controlled space where we practice Jiu Jitsu on campus, rather than engage in an actual fist fight. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is both a part of our university’s curriculum and a club sport on campus, for which I am one of the two faculty advisors. Suggesting a sporting competition as an alternative to a fight is not in any way shape or form picking a fight, nor was the person my comment was directed at a student on our campus, making your story doubly inaccurate. Of course you only posted my comment, and not the others that preceded it, as any hack job writer worth their salt would. However I used screen shot to capture all of them.

Thanks for making me famous. I couldn’t have gotten this amount of exposure from a decade of research and community activism. Being targeted by the reactionary right wing media raises my profile considerably among critical scholars. Thank you for the small role you played in that. Best, Robert Donald Weide PhD Assistant Professor Department of Sociology California State University, Los Angeles   Faculty Advisor Lambda Alpha Epsilon American Criminal Justice Association MU Chapter CSULA"

In a follow-up email, Weide also claimed to have received death threats over the incident.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pat Condell tells us like it is

Closing the minds of tomorrow today.

Campus censorship an epidemic in UK universities

School monopoly is a drag on downtowns

If schools sell real estate, downtown San Antonio is dirt poor and getting fleeced.

Inner-city homeowners and businesses pay half their total property tax bill to the San Antonio Independent School District, with little to show for it.

While the 53,700-student school system receives a "Met Standards" rating from the Texas Education Agency, the outcomes are dreadful:

    Just 15.5 percent of students passed at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam (versus 51.3 percent statewide).

    The average SAT score is 1201 (1417 statewide).

    Only 39 percent of SAISD graduates are deemed college-ready in English and math (54 percent statewide).

    The four-year graduation rate for whites is 69.8 percent (93 percent statewide). The overall rate of 80.8 is eight points below the Texas average.

Poor district? Think again. SAISD teachers earn bigger salaries across the board. Starting pay of $49,424 is $5,000 over the state average.

With a $550 million budget, SAISD expenditures work out to $10,185 per pupil — roughly double any charter school allocation in Texas.

San Antonio’s public schools are not alone in their dysfunction, says Peggy Venable, policy and legislative director at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation of Texas.

"Urban ISDs are the weakest link in the education system. Homebuyers are accustomed to hearing ‘this is in a great school district’ even when it is not. Even the most disingenuous real estate agent can’t say that about most inner-city schools," Venable said.

"Under the current monopoly-only approach, (public schools) continue to fail."

Next door, the city Alamo Heights enjoys a bustling real-estate market and high-performing schools. The Heights is home to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, the Legislature’s most powerful opponent of school-choice reforms.

Families in downtown San Antonio don’t get Alamo Heights schools. They get subpar campuses at a premium price, along with SAISD’s $71 million annual debt load.

For a quality K-12 education, parents double down to put their children in private schools while continuing to pay taxes for scholastic services they do not or cannot use.

TURNAROUND? San Antonio school superintendent Pedro Martinez plans to boost college-prep curriculum.

The Young Women’s Leadership Academy, a girls-only middle school on the city’s northwest side, is the district’s top academic performer. It has turned away thousands of qualified applicants.

SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez pledges to build two "gifted academies," along with magnet programs offering up to 45 college credits at each high school.

Meanwhile, a high churn of teachers continues to sap the district at large. SAISD has paid out millions of dollars in contract buyouts to Martinez’s predecessors.

"Until we rein in the out-of-control spending of public school districts, we’re never going to see the end to confiscatory property taxes in Texas," said Terri Hall, president of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom.

Hall and others believe San Antonio’s downtown revitalization efforts will be deflated as long as high-achieving parents are scared off by low-performing schools.

Venable says school choice — through education savings accounts — are the answer.

"When education bureaucrats start seeing students and parents as their clients and customers, schools will improve," she predicts. "Real estate should not be tied to the school district. When ZIP codes indicate that’s where the mail is delivered, not a number used to assign kids to schools, everybody wins."


Third Oxford University college joins fightback against Rhodes Must Fall campaign

Students from the Rhodes Must Fall campaign are calling for the statue of one of the most committed imperialists of the 19th Century to be taken down

A third Oxford college has joined the Cecil Rhodes row and is discussing a motion to announce opposition to the movement that wants the statue of the Victorian imperialist removed.

The move is the clearest indication yet that the Rhodes Must Fall movement is also facing stern opposition from sectors of the student body at Oxford University.

It follows a poll published earlier this month which showed more than half of students think Oriel College should not remove the statue.

Last night it was revealed St. Anne's College's Junior Common Room (JCR), which represents undergraduate students, put forward a motion to announce its opposition to the campaign.

According to Cherwell, the student newspaper, the motion resolves to "publicly announce [the Common Room's] opposition to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, and any form of politically motivated iconoclasm in the university and its constituent colleges/PPHs".

The motion "urge Oriel College to keep the statue of Rhodes and its associated plaques in their current position"; and, "lobby other JCRs to make resolutions opposing the Rhodes Must Fall campaign".

Matthew Kirtley, who proposed the motion along with Henry Williams, told the publication: "The rationale for the motion is that we both believe that the statue must stand pretty sincerely, and we think a lot of other people do along with us. I'd like to get those people to remember that they're not alone in their sentiments, and they have every right to respond to the RMF campaign.

He added: "The key principle at hand is that we don't believe the cultural heritage of Oxford or Britain should be removed based upon our entirely contingent contemporary moral and political norms.

"I don't see that the statue of Rhodes has any attached moral standing to it, other than the commemoration of his philanthropy towards Oriel and the University."


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

British PM says he'll back schools and courts which ban the veil as he outlines new rules on learning English in a bid to end segregated communities and tackle extremism

David Cameron today backed the right of schools and courts to ban people from wearing the veil in some circumstances, while insisting a nationwide ban would not be the right thing to do.

The Prime Minister said generally people should be 'free to wear what they like' and within limits live their lives as they choose.

But as he unveiled new policies for tackling extremism and segregation within migrant communities - primarily today based around English classes - Mr Cameron said he would support 'sensitive' policies requiring people to show their face.

Mr Cameron's remarks, in a BBC interview earlier today, were followed by criticism that he risked 'stigmatising' Muslim women with his 'clumsy' policy announcements.

Asked about the veil today, Mr Cameron  said: 'I think in our country people should be free to wear what they like, within limits live how they like, and all the rest of it.

'What does matter is if, for instance, a school has a uniform policy, sensitively put in place and all the rest of it, and people want to flout that uniform policy, often for reasons that aren't connected to religion, you should always come down on the side of the school.'

Mr Cameron added: 'When you are coming into contact with an institution or you're in court, or if you need to be able to see someone's face at the border, then I will always back the authority and institution that have put in place proper and sensible rules.

'Going for the more sort of French approach of banning an item of clothing, I don't think that's the way we do things in this country and I don't think that would help.'

France eventually banned full face veils in 2010 following many years of discussion. 

The Prime Minister unveiled a series of new policies today which include a threat of deportation to people who arrive in Britain to marry if they fail to make progress in learning English.

The policy applies to all migrants arriving on a spousal visa but the Prime Minister was told he risked stigmatising the Muslim community with his 'simplistic' approach.

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said Mr Cameron had to take 'more care' while former Tory Party chairwoman Baroness Warsi questioned why Muslims were targeted - pointing out this was neither a nationality or a language.

Mr Cameron defended his proposals in a major radio interview, insisting the point of the plans was to eliminate segregation in Britain. A fund worth £20million is also being created for targeted English lessons for isolated women in communities.

He visited the Shantona Women's Centre and the Makkah Mosque, both in Leeds, to meet community groups and promote his plans.

But Mr Burnham said: 'In his desire to grab easy headlines, David Cameron risks doing more harm than good. His clumsy and simplistic approach to challenging extremism is unfairly stigmatising a whole community.

'There is a real danger that it could end up driving further radicalisation, rather than tackling it.

'The Prime Minister is right to talk about empowering women but his emphasis should be on women of all faiths and none. His commitment to English classes is welcome but people will ask why his Government has spent the last few years cutting funding from these vital courses.

'Tackling extremism is the greatest challenge of our age. We are willing to work with the Government to get it right. But it is a deep-rooted and complex problem and requires a more sophisticated approach than we have seen to date and a stronger sense of partnership with the Muslim community.

'David Cameron must proceed with more care and thought than he is currently showing and Labour will continue to challenge him to get the balance and tone right.'

Baroness Warsi questioned why English lessons were being presented in a counter extremism strategy, insisting this was less important than language skills are to getting a job and helping with homework.

She tweeted: 'Why should it just be Muslim women who have the opportunity to learn English? Why not anyone who lives in the UK and can't speak English.' The Tory peer added: 'Mum's English isn't great yet she inspired her girls to become a lawyer, teacher, accountant, pharmacist, cabinet minister.'

Mr Cameron today said people who arrive in Britain to marry should improve their English within two and a half years or face being asked to leave - even if they have children while they are here.

The Prime Minister said tests will be introduced to check progress on migrants who arrive in Britain on a spousal visa and failure will mean there are no guarantees an individual will be allowed to stay.

Mr Cameron said the new push on language skills was part of a wider strategy to prevent extremism in isolated communities - insisting 'segregation needs to go'.

Some £20million will be available specifically to help women who are isolated in communities which have not integrated properly in Britain.


How your Facebook profile can get you into college: Recruiters reveal 'trigger points' they use to select students

If you think colleges aren’t looking at your social media sites while making their decisions, guess again - a new study has revealed that the number of admissions officers doing this has hit an all-time high.

The survey from Kaplan Test Prep found that there are several ‘trigger points’ that may prompt admissions officers in the U.S. to take a look into social media, and this can help or harm the applicant’s chances of being accepted.

Evidence of community service may be taken into favourable consideration, while posts that reveal negative behaviours could work against a candidate.

Posts revealing leadership and community service can help a prospective student’s chances, while evidence of criminal offences, drug and alcohol use, racial prejudice, and inappropriate behaviour can be damaging.

The Kaplan survey logged the responses of 387 college admissions officers in the U.S.

Quadrupling from 2008, 40 percent of admissions officers admitted to visiting applicants’ social medial profiles.

While most of these visits are ‘rare,’ with 89 percent of officers indicating a low frequency, 11 percent of the participants surveyed said they look at social media ‘often,’ to find out more about prospective students.

Over the past two years, almost a third of admissions officers surveyed have said they Google their applicants, with a stable 29 percent reportedly doing this.

In the survey, 37 percent of officers said that online digging positively affected the application, while the same percentage said their social media findings had a negative impact.

‘The growth of social media hasn’t made college admissions process a whole new ballgame, but it’s definitely changed the rules,’ said Yariv Alpher, executive director of research, Kaplan Test Prep.

Outside of the traditional elements, like GPA, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities, a number of trigger points can influence the decisions. 

If a candidate is applying for scholarships, it’s more likely that the student's background will come under greater scrutiny, to ensure that the applicant is ‘fully deserving.’

Social media can reflect an applicant’s interest in a particular talent, and some college hopefuls will even invite admissions officers to view their pages.

In the past two years, 42 percent of admissions officers reported an increase in these invitations.

Indication of criminal record or disciplinary action can prompt admissions officers to look for more details on the internet.

And, the occasional anonymous tip will send officers looking online for inappropriate behaviours.

In order to avoid self-sabotaging your college application, social media sites should be clean of incriminating content.


Feds Paying High School Teachers To Weed Out Global Warming Skeptics

The Obama administration is desperate to weed out young farmers who question the belief that humans are causing global warming.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will give $150,000 to North Carolina State University for an educational campaign to encourage high school teachers to use more global warming materials for their lessons. The idea is to convince young farmers and future agriculture professionals to pay more attention to global warming.

“Agriculture teachers have considerable influence over future agricultural and natural resource professionals, and adolescents may be less susceptible to worldview-driven biases,” according to the USDA grant write-up.

The NCSU program aims to recruit 40 high school teachers who will “integrate climate change topics into existing Agricultural Science curriculum” to reach 2,000 high school students over two years, reports the Washington Free Beacon.

“Education is critical among the agricultural community because although climate change threatens agricultural sustainability, skepticism of anthropogenic climate change runs high,” according to the grant.

Farmers have been some of the staunchest global warming skeptics, and liberal attempts to win them over have largely failed over the years. A 2009 survey of farmers in Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin found that less than half of them believed in man-made global warming.

For farmers, climate change is a given. These are people who pay close attention to the weather and know it’s highly variable from year to year. One year it’s too hot, the next it’s too cold, and they generally don’t see it as a man-made phenomenon. Farmers are immune to “snowmaggedon” headlines that spark debates among city-folk about how weather is linked to coal plants.

“A farmer in Iowa might deal with a 10-degree-Fahrenheit shift in average temperatures from year to year, so why worry about a 3- or even 4-degree shift over 100 years? As the old saying goes: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change,” Slate’s David Biello wrote in 2013.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Amherst College trustees to decide Lord Jeff’s fate

Field Marshal Jeffrey Amherst is no longer around to care about how modern hysterics use his name but he earned great honor in his lifetime so perhaps that is all that matters.

I am waiting for a movement to arise among the Leftist hysterics to rename places named after another military hero.   George Washington owned many slaves whom he often treated harshly.  He also had a child with one.  It is true that in his will he ordered the manumission of some of the slaves but contemporary accounts suggested that this was to keep his wife safe after he was gone.  She was afraid of a slave uprising leading to her death.  General Amherst is a saint by comparison.  Perhaps Washingon DC should become MLK DC

I shouldn't make these prophecies.  What I say in jest too often comes true

Lord Jeff’s tenure as the unofficial mascot of Amherst College may be drawing to a close.  The college’s board of trustees is expected to decide Friday whether the longtime mascot, which has drawn ire as a symbol of colonial imperialism, should be removed.

The board will announce its decision at some point after the meeting concludes Friday evening, a college spokeswoman said Thursday.

Amherst does not have an official mascot, but the figure of Lord Jeff, who wears a red coat and powdered wig, has long stood as an unofficial symbol, and the school’s sports teams are often referred to as the Jeffs.

Lord Jeffery Amherst, who commanded British forces in North America during the French and Indian War in the 18th century, endorsed giving blankets carrying the smallpox virus to Native Americans.

In November, a group of faculty voted to drop the symbol, and a group of students called on the college’s president to condemn the "inherent racist nature" of the mascot.

In a poll of students at the private liberal arts college conducted in November, 83 percent said Lord Jeff should be removed as the mascot.

In an alumni survey, opinion was evenly divided. One-third said Lord Jeff should remain as mascot, one-third said it should be removed, and one-third indicated that it didn’t matter much to them.

On its website, the college acknowledges that Jeffrey Amherst advocated biological warfare against Indians, but says "there is no evidence that any infected blankets were distributed at his command."

In the summer of 1763, when attacks by Native Americans were threatening British control, Amherst wrote in a letter to a colonel, "Could it not be contrived to send the Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians?"

In a later letter, Amherst writes: "You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race."

The protests come amid growing opposition to mascots some Native Americans find offensive, such as the Washington Redskins.

Amherst College is considered one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

Notable graduates include President Calvin Coolidge, former US Supreme Court chief justice Harlan Fiske Stone, and author David Foster Wallace.


Fight to find cheats takes schools around the world

Agencies seek to root out widespread fraud in China

BEIJING — A video camera and two plastic chairs sit in a tiny room on the city’s west side, the latest weapons in a global battle against the wave of admissions fraud striking US schools.

College-bound Chinese students come here to InitialView, one of several such companies operating in the country, to film a video interview and prove their speaking abilities match their applications.

As a record number of Chinese students stream into American universities, verification companies like this one have sprouted up to help combat doctored transcripts, falsified essays, and surrogate test-takers. They vie against another set of Chinese companies, which turn out false applications and seek to profit off the frenzy for a US degree.

The issue has intensified as China’s expanding middle class has sought prestige through American colleges — with Boston a prime destination — and schools seek to capitalize on full-paying foreign students to bolster budgets. It ripples through US campuses, where professors complain unqualified students slow down classes and hard-working Chinese students feel stigmatized.

Inundated admissions officers are taking measures to catch fraud, but with millions of dollars at stake, few schools are attempting the overhauls needed to make a sizable difference.

"Ultimately, the buck stops with US institutions," said Eddie West, director of international initiatives for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. "There’s a reason why you see the success of these verification agencies. That’s a manifestation of the problem."

Students from all over the world, including America, have fudged essays, hired advisers, or found themselves in trouble for looking at another student’s answers. But, as the largest group of foreign students in the United States, the Chinese stand out.

More than 300,000 Chinese students studied at American colleges last school year, according to the Institute of International Education, a nearly 11 percent increase from the year before. Among the 55,000 foreign college students in Massachusetts, a third are Chinese.

Justice Department officials in May charged 15 Chinese, including a Northeastern University student, in a testing scheme in which some students paid others as much as $6,000 each to take their SAT and English proficiency tests. Students in China ordered fake passports and sent them to co-conspirators in Pennsylvania, who took their exams.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, delayed numerous scores from four of the seven times the test was administered in Asia in the past year while they investigated cheating suspicions.

The College Board, as well as the company that administers the English proficiency test, take various measures to curb fraud, such as keeping SAT booklets in locked boxes until test day, when codes are texted to test administrators.

Cheating "has been going on for a while," said Stacy Caldwell, the College Board vice president for college readiness assessments. "Certainly as we’ve continued to rapidly grow our international business, the number of issues that we’ve seen internationally has certainly grown along with that.

"We do our absolute best to run down any cases of [fraud] that we find," Caldwell added.

Students attending Chinese colleges face expulsion and even jail time for cheating on their country’s rigorous entrance exam, known as the gaokao. No such rules exist for tests to study abroad.

"I don’t know how a US admissions officer at this stage can know [about] a score they receive from China," said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, an advocacy group that campaigns for testing reform. "The cheating is so widespread."

The result shows up in the classroom, where some students struggle to understand or bend the rules to pass classes. More than 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from US universities in 2014, according to a report by WholeRen Education, a Pittsburgh-based education consultancy. Around 80 percent of the cases involved poor grades or cheating.

Admissions fraud takes many forms, from faking a recommendation to paying more than $10,000 for someone to complete an entire application. Schools, especially in college-heavy Boston, admit they struggle to tell the difference.

"Do I think there are students at Tufts who have embellished their applications, in some way misrepresented themselves? Sure," said Jennifer Simons, the university’s director of international recruitment. "But I hope that there’s no one on this campus that has really cheated."

Simons, like many admissions officers, can recite a slew of suspicious application stories. She recently looked over an essay a student wrote about his girlfriend and noticed the cadence sounded odd. When she plugged a passage into Google, she discovered the paragraph was a translated Korean pop song. That student didn’t receive an acceptance letter.


British cab driver suspended and banned from taking children to school after he was reported for kissing and hugging his own DAUGHTERS

A taxi driver was banned from taking children to school after he was reported for kissing and hugging his two young daughters.

Tony Kemp, 60, from Kirkbymoorside was suspended from the school run for six days by North Yorkshire County Council after they said an allegation had been made against him.

The council refused to tell him why he was suspended, but a colleague told him he had been seen kissing and cuddling two girls outside a school - which he then realised were his daughters, who are nine and 11.

Once officials realised the error, Mr Kemp was reinstated, but he is furious at how he was treated by the council and 'devastated' that the accusation was made.

He says he can not understand why he was not told what the allegation was, and why he was not interviewed as a matter of urgency - which would have given him the opportunity to explain what had really happened. 

'The past six days have been the worst of my life since my father died 35 years ago,' said Mr Kemp, who runs Crystal Cars in Pickering.  'I'm personally devastated at the allegation aimed at me.

'I've also lost hundreds of pounds worth of business but even worse than that is that my good reputation, which I have built up over the past twelve years, has been shattered.

'I'm worried about reprisals from people who think I go round kissing schoolchildren.'

Mr Kemp's ordeal, which he described as a 'living nightmare', began last week when he was telephoned by a council official and told he was being suspended from the school run with immediate effect.

He was told that an allegation had been made against him but he could be given no more details.

An acquaintance in the taxi trade then told him that it was well known in the Pickering and Malton areas of North Yorkshire that a driver had been suspended after someone had reported seeing him kissing and cuddling two girls outside Pickering Junior School.

'That's when the penny dropped,' said Mr Kemp.  He added: 'I take children to the school from villages up on the Moors but it wasn't them I was hugging and kissing, it was my own daughters, who are aged nine and eleven and are taken to the school each day by their mother from their home in Malton.

'We have unfortunately separated and I live in Kirkbymoorside, but they always look out for me and run up for a hug and a kiss when they see me arrive.'

Mr Kemp believes a passer-by had seen his greet his children, misinterpreted what was happening and contacted the authorities to raise their concerns.

He was reinstated after he was formally interviewed by the council, and the charge was dropped.

A North Yorkshire council spokesman said: 'We have followed the Child Protection Procedures. This matter has now been investigated and found to be false.'


Sunday, January 24, 2016

University's Israel society event is attacked by demonstrators who throw chairs and smash windows

One of Britain's top universities had to be evacuated when violent protesters stormed an Israel society meeting and began rioting.

Ami Ayalon, the former head of the Israeli secret service Shin Bet and commander-in-chief of the navy, was speaking with students at Kings College London in his new role as a peace activist when the campaigners - believed to be from KCL Action Palestine - burst in.

Eyewitnesses described seeing the mob throw chairs, smash windows and set off fire alarms before the building was shut down by police.

The incident comes amid growing concerns over the rise of intimidation and the suppression of free speech on British university campuses.

Esther Endfield, from the KCL Israel Society - who were hosting the event with a group from the neighbouring London School of Economics, posted on Facebook: 'Never did I ever think that I would have to write a post like this, but in life sometimes you do things that you never expect.

'Protests by KCL Action Palestine at this event was inevitable but it was never inevitable that it would turn violent, not to the point that I have reported being assaulted to the police, which is also being investigated as under a hate crime.'

She continued: 'When did it become so unsafe in one of the global universities in the world that we can no longer hold an event without being scared of our safety?  'What if KCL Action Palestine would have come to the event with questions and challenged the speaker in a respectful and peaceful manner?'

The meeting had to be stopped after the rioters broke in.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing two police cars, two vans and more than 15 officers race to the scene. A Met Police spokesman confirmed that officers attended following reports that demonstrators had gained access to the building but added that no arrests were made.

Tonight Universities Minister Jo Johnson criticised the protesters. He told MailOnline: 'Britain and Israel share many important academic links and speakers must be able to address meetings peacefully.

'Our universities should be safe spaces for students to expand their minds, and there can be no justification for violent intimidation that curtails free speech.'


Racial bean-counting is making schools unsafe

President Obama's acting secretary of education, John King, hijacked Martin Luther King Jr. Day to accuse public schools of racism because black students are punished more often and more harshly than others.

The Obama administration has been threatening school districts with lawsuits and federal-funding cuts wherever it finds "racial disparities" in who gets suspended or expelled.

But racism isn't to blame. Black students misbehave more often. Tragically, school administrators are so fearful of saying it that they're being intimidated into ceding control of classrooms to violent, disruptive students.

That's the story in New York City, where serious crimes in schools are soaring. Forcible sex offenses are up 90 percent year over year, according to state statistics. Assaults with weapons causing serious injuries are up 69 percent.

Mayor de Blasio has implemented the Obama administration's policy of replacing suspensions with "restorative justice" - a kind of talk therapy - even for serious offenses such as insubordination, fighting, arson, assaults and marijuana possession.

The only penalty for a student at Adlai Stevenson High School in The Bronx caught with seven bags of marijuana on him was being handed a warning card that said "Please bring this card home to your parent(s)/guardian so you can discuss the matter with them."
Sounds more like "Leave It to Beaver" than 2016. It would be laughable - if it weren't so destructive.

The de Blasio administration is touting a dramatic decrease in school suspensions. That's only because the unruly students are allowed to stay in the classroom, continuing to disrupt. Last week, at a United Federation of Teachers meeting, 81 percent of teachers said their students are losing learning opportunities because of the disorder and violence.

No one believes black students should be treated differently from others. The notion that racist educators are to blame for more suspensions and expulsions of black students is preposterous, says Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald. Teaching is "the most liberal occupation."

A primary cause of student-discipline problems is the breakdown of families, Mac Donald says, which is especially severe among African-Americans. These households are missing fathers. When discipline isn't enforced at home, students don't behave in school, either.

Or on the streets. Mac Donald points out that the homicide rate among males age 14 to 17 - high schoolers - is nearly 10 times higher for blacks than for whites.

Families for Excellent Schools, a pro-charter group, is lambasting de Blasio for misrepresenting what's happening in schools. City Hall claims school crime is down, but the pols are playing numbers games, mixing minor infractions with major crimes.

In terms of serious and violent crime, schools are more dangerous than before. Assaults are up a shocking 40 percent in one year.
The mayor's coverup is an insult to caring parents and dedicated teachers alike. No wonder on this issue, de Blasio and the unions part ways.

De Blasio's lax policies are "grooming criminals" according to Gregory Floyd, president of the union representing school-safety officers. Eighty-four percent of the schools deemed persistently dangerous by the state's Education Department are in New York City.

"The mayor is saying crime is down in the schools. Crime is not disappearing. It's just that we're ignoring it," reports Floyd, who is also opposing de Blasio's push to reduce the use of metal detectors at schools.

Ignoring school crime punishes all students. But the biggest losers are from poor, often minority, families who can't afford to escape these dangerous schools.

That's why de Blasio and the Obama administration should stop the racial head-counting and adopt a color-blind approach to discipline. That would actually honor, rather than exploit, the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., who had a dream that "children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character."


Detroit Public School Teacher ‘Sick Out‘ Underway While Just 8% of Students Can Read Proficiently

Nearly all schools in Detroit were closed Wednesday due to a massive teacher “sick out,” preventing students from attending class.  Teachers have complained about over-crowded classrooms, poor school conditions, and dissatisfaction with the idea of charter school growth in Michigan.

The teachers’ sick-out includes a planned march, which will conclude near a venue being visited by President Barack Obama Wednesday. Meanwhile, 46,000 kids are unable to attend school in Detroit.  Among those 46,000, it’s likely that less than 4,000 of them can read proficiently.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, just 8 percent of Detroit eighth-graders can read proficiently. Eight percent. And just seven in 10 students graduate.

But lack of progress is due not to a lack of resources in Detroit public schools, which spend roughly $16,000 per pupil per year. According to the Mackinac Center and a separate analysis by Randan Steinhauser:

– About 75 percent of the annual District budget goes toward paying employees covered by its current collective bargaining agreement for teachers.

– Out of a new $7,450-per-pupil grant the Detroit school district will receive this year, $4,400 will be spent on debt servicing and benefits for teachers who have retired.

– The average Detroit Public Schools (DPS) superintendent makes between $121,091 and $178,871 a year.

– The superintendent can select up to two “professional associations” (unions) to be a member of each year, and the district (taxpayers) will reimburse his membership dues.

– DPS has a debt of over $3.5 billion, which includes unfunded pension liabilities.

Funneling money into a mismanaged school system has not created an environment conducive to improving academic achievement in Detroit.

Serious reforms to the district are necessary. Policymakers in Michigan would do well to enable every Detroit child—and every child in the state—to exercise school choice through the use of education savings accounts (ESAs), accounts that enable families to harness the funds that would have been spent on their children in their assigned pubic school to craft a customized education plan. They can begin by considering how to tackle the barriers to school choice that currently exist in the state.