Monday, January 23, 2017
UK: Secondary school league tables 2016: Grammar school [charter school] children excel while comprehensives fall behind, figures show
Grammar schools allow children to achieve their potential, new Government figures reveal, while the brightest 150,000 state school children do not excel at comprehensives.
Official data released by the Department for Education (DfE) shows that 94 per cent of children at grammar schools have made good progress by the time they are 16, compared to less than half (49 per cent) of students at non-selective schools.
The figures will come as a boost for Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to overturn the ban on grammar schools imposed by Labour some 20 years ago.
Under the Government’s new ranking system – called Progress 8 – the 157,627 children who are classed as “high” achievers when they leave primary school are not exceeding by the time they reach GCSEs.
Gareth Johnson MP, who is leading the campaign for grammars, said the figures “highlight very clearly the strengths of grammar schools” and show that academic children “flourish” in selective schools.
“We shouldn’t try to pretend that all children are the same. We need diversity in education and grammars play an important part in this,” he said.
Dominic Raab MP, a former minister, said that academically gifted children must not be “held back by the dogmatic objections of the left-leaning educational establishment."
Fellow backbencher Chris Philip said the figures are a “massive boost" for the argument in favour of grammar schools, and will "silence critics”.
“I think it is very hard to see how the opponents of grammar schools can make their case when these figures show so clearly grammars help children develop ad fulfil potential," he said.
It comes after Education Secretary Justine Greening gave a strong indication that the Government will press ahead with grammar school plans in the face of stiff opposition.
A consultation on expanding selective education closed before Christmas and the responses are being analysed by officials.
The policy has divided Conservatives and angered teaching unions. But Ms Greening said this week education reforms cannot be put "on one side because people feel that there are things we shouldn't be looking at".
This year is the first time that schools have been measured for progress as well as attainment.
In previous years, the DfE has ranked schools according to the proportion of pupils achieving at least five grade A* to Cs at GCSE, including English and maths.
This measure has now been scrapped in favour of Progress 8, which measures progress of each pupil from the end of primary school up to GCSEs.
It compares pupils' results with the achievements of other pupils that have the same prior attainment and measures performance across eight qualifications.
The eight “core” subjects measured by Progress 8 are English, maths, history or geography, the sciences, and a language.
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said that it is not a fair comparison to look at grammar school progress versus comprehensives. “Grammars cream off those who can pass exams at an early age,” she said.
“But these are a tiny minority of children, invariably from better off families who can afford private tuition to cram them.
“More new grammar schools with the Tories will just widen the attainment gap between the better off and the rest – and our country will ultimately be the poorer.”
The figures, published on Thursday, also revealed a clear north-south divide with one in six secondary schools in the North West of England is under-performing.
Every single school in Knowsley, Merseyside, was failing, as were 90 per cent of schools in Redcar and Cleveland, North Yorkshire. Meanwhile, London has the lowest proportion of under-performing schools.
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said "it would be a mistake to think that Progress 8 is a trustworthy measure of progress”.
He said the majority of teachers question its validity as the results for 11-year-olds are “narrowly based and notoriously unreliable".
Nick Gibb, the schools standard minister, said the figures “confirm the hard work of teachers and pupils across the country is leading to higher standards”.
Congress looks to punish ‘sanctuary campus’ colleges that protect illegal immigrants
Forget sanctuary cities: The next heated congressional battle on immigration could be over “sanctuary campuses” — the dozens of colleges and universities that say they will resist any cooperation with federal immigration agents, unless they are forced to by law.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, introduced legislation this month to do just that, saying Congress should strip schools of billions of dollars in federal financial aid unless they start cooperating with authorities.
Mr. Hunter’s legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to keep a list of sanctuary campuses and send it to the Education Department, which would cancel federal payments for student loans and financial aid, potentially costing schools billions of dollars.
“This effort is not about telling colleges who they can and can’t accept for enrollment, but whatever decision they make will either mean they receive federal money or they don’t — it’s that simple,” Mr. Hunter said.
His bill has the backing of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which said schools that refuse to cooperate with federal agents are putting students’ security at risk.
“Affording public benefits to illegal aliens not only serves as a magnet to future illegal immigration but is a slap in the face to the thousands of disadvantaged Americans and legal immigrant students competing for those same college slots and funding,” FAIR said in a statement.
The University of California system of schools is perhaps the biggest target of the new legislation.
System President Janet Napolitano announced in November that she ordered schools and their police departments not to undertake any efforts to enforce federal immigration laws. That means refusing to disclose any information about students unless ordered by a court.
Her move was aimed squarely at President-elect Donald Trump, who has vowed to step up deportations.
“We felt it necessary to reaffirm that UC will act upon its deeply held conviction that all members of our community have the right to work, study and live safely and without fear at all UC locations,” Ms. Napolitano said.
Illegal immigrants nationwide are grappling with the looming Trump presidency, unsure of how quickly he will make good on his campaign promises of stiffer enforcement and how deeply he will delve into the unauthorized population.
Mr. Trump’s nominee to head the Homeland Security Department, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, said last week that young adult illegal immigrants known as Dreamers would not be high priorities for deportation.
Most illegal immigrants on college campuses are Dreamers. President Obama declared a deportation amnesty for them in 2012, granting them tentative legal status and work permits, which enabled them to obtain driver’s licenses and some taxpayer benefits, including enrolling in public colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates.
Mr. Trump has said he would rescind the 2012 policy as soon as he takes office — though it’s unclear whether he would also immediately cancel all of the permits already issued by the Obama administration.
Schools are moving to try to counter that as best they can. Arizona State University, for example, is looking to enlist donors to pony up cash to provide scholarships for Dreamers to keep attending at in-state rates.
It’s unclear whether schools would be willing to accept the loss of federal money envisioned in Mr. Hunter’s bill.
Ms. Napolitano’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment about how the University of California system would respond.
A number of cities and counties faced with the loss of federal policing money because of their sanctuary policies have said they will accept the penalty to maintain their status.
But schools rely heavily on federal money. FAIR said the federal government spent $128.7 billion in 2015 on student loans and grants — money that would be denied under the Hunter bill.
Mr. Hunter’s legislation specifically carves out an exception for victims of crimes, saying colleges can shield them without being deemed sanctuaries.
The University of California estimates it has about 2,500 illegal immigrant students on its campuses. Under California law, students who attended high school in the state for three years qualify for in-state tuition at public colleges, regardless of their legal status.
More than a dozen other states have similar laws helping illegal immigrant students.
Mr. Hunter’s bill doesn’t prohibit in-state tuition, but it does put colleges on notice saying that kind of perk serves as a magnet for more illegal immigration.
It's the first school year most parents have heard about Common Core. And they don't like it one bit
This is the year new national Common Core tests kick in, replacing state tests in most locales, courtesy of an eager Obama administration and the future generation’s tax dollars. It’s also the first year a majority of people interviewed tell pollsters they’ve actually heard of Common Core, four years after bureaucrats signed our kids onto this complete overhaul of U.S. education.
Common Core has impressed everyone from Bill Gates to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. So why do 62 percent of parents think it’s a bad idea? For one, they can count. But their kids can’t.
1. The Senseless, Infuriating Math
Common Core math, how do we hate thee? We would count the ways, if Common Core hadn’t deformed even the most elementary of our math abilities so that simple addition now takes dots, dashes, boxes, hashmarks, and foam cubes, plus an inordinate amount of time, to not get the right answer.
There are so many examples of this, it’s hard to pick, but a recent one boomeranging the Internet has a teacher showing how to solve 9 + 6 the Common Core way. Yes, it takes nearly a minute.
Despite claims to the contrary, Common Core does require bad math like this. The Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless says the curriculum mandates contain “dog whistles” for fuzzy math proponents, the people who keep pushing ineffective, devastating, and research-decimated math instruction on U.S. kids for ideological reasons. The mandates also explicitly require kids to learn the least efficient ways of solving basic problems one, two, and even three grade levels before they are to learn the traditional, efficient ways. There are ways for teachers to fill in the gaps and fix this, but this means a kid’s ability to get good math instruction depends on the luck of having an extra-savvy teacher. That’s especially a downer for poor and minority kids, who already get the greenest and lowest-quality teachers.
2. The Lies
The American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess recently wrote about Common Core’s “half-truths,” which Greg Forster pointedly demonstrated he should have called “lies.” These include talking points essential to selling governors and other state leaders on the project, such as that Common Core is: “internationally benchmarked” (“well, we sorta looked at what other nations do but that didn’t necessarily change anything we did”); “evidence based” (“we know there is not enough research to undergird any standards, so we just polled some people and that’s our evidence“); “college- and career-ready” (“only if you mean community-college ready“); “rigorous” (as long as rigorous indicates “rigid”); and “high-performing nations nationalize education” (so do low-performing nations).
3. Obliterating Parent Rights
Common Core has revealed the contempt public “servants” have for the people they are supposedly ruled by—that’d be you and me. Indiana firebrand Heather Crossin, a mom whose encounter with Common Core math turned her into a nationally known activist, went with other parents to their private-school principal in an attempt to get their school’s new Common Core textbooks replaced. “Our principal in frustration threw up his hands and said, ‘Look, I know parents don’t like this type of math because none of us were taught this way, but we have to teach it this way because this is how it’s going to be on the new [standardized] assessment,” she says. “And that was the moment when I realized control of what was being taught in my child’s classroom — in a parochial Catholic school — had not only left the building, it had left the state of Indiana.”
A Maryland dad who stood up to complain that Common Core dumbed down his kids’ instruction was arrested and thrown out of a public meeting.
Parents regularly fill my inbox, frustrated that even when they do go to their local school boards, often all they get are disgusted looks and a bored thumb-twiddling during their two-minute public comment allowance. A New Hampshire dad was also arrested for going over his two-minute comment limit in a local school board meeting parents packed to complain about graphic-sex-filled literature assignments. The way the board treats him and his fellow parents is repulsive.
The bottom line is, parents have no choice about whether their kids will learn Common Core, no matter what school they put them in, if they want them to go to college, because the SAT and ACT are being redesigned to fit the new national program for education. Elected school boards pay parents no heed, and neither do state departments of education, because the feds deliberately use our tax dollars to put themselves in the education driver’s seat, at our expense. So much for “by the people, for the people, of the people.”
4. Dirty Reading Assignments
A red-haired mother of four kids read to our Indiana legislature selections from a Common Core-recommended book called “The Bluest Eyes,” by Toni Morrison. I’m a grown, married woman who enjoys sex just fine, thank you, but I sincerely wish I hadn’t heard her read those passages. I guess some people don’t find sympathetically portrayed rape scenes offensive, but I do. So I won’t quote them at you. If you have a perv-wish, Google will fill you in. Other objectionable books on the Common Core-recommended list include “Make Lemonade” by Virginia Euwer Wolff, “Black Swan Green” by David Mitchell, and “Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia.
There are so many excellent, classic works of literature available for children and young adults that schools can’t possibly fit all the good ones into their curriculum. So why did Common Core’s creators feel the need to recommend trash? Either they want kids to read trash or they don’t think these are trash, and both are disturbing.
5. Turning Kids Into Corporate Cogs
The workforce-prep mentality of Common Core is written into its DNA. Start with its slogan, which is now written into federal mandates on state education systems: “College and career readiness.” That is the entire Common Core conception of education’s purpose: Careers. Job training. Workforce skills. There’s not a word about the reasons our state constitutions give for establishing public education, in which economic advancement is largely considered a person’s personal affair. (Milton Friedman takes the same tack, by the way.) State constitutions typically mimic the Northwest Ordinance’s vision for public education (the ordinance was the first U.S. law to discuss education): “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
Common Core makes no promises about fulfilling public education’s purpose of producing citizens capable of self-government. Instead, it focuses entirely on the materialistic benefits of education, although human civilization has instead long considered education a part of acculturating children and passing down a people’s knowledge, heritage, and morals. The workforce talk certainly tickles the ears of Common Core’s corporate supporters. Maybe that was the intent all along. But in what world do corporations get to dictate what kids learn, instead of the parents and kids themselves? Ours, apparently.
6. The Data Collection and Populace Management
Speaking of corporate cronyism, let’s talk about how Common Core enables the continued theft of kids’ and teachers’ information at the behest of governments and businesses, furthering their bottom lines and populace-control fantasies at the expense of private property and self-determination.Well, I coauthored a 400-footnote paper on this very topic. I’ll just summarize the list of direct connections between intrusive data-mining and Common Core from my favorite passage (in the section starting on page 52):
The documents that ‘created the (dubious) authorization for Common Core define the initative as curriculum mandates plus tests. The tests are the key instrument of data collection.
Common Core architect David Coleman has confirmed that special-interests deliberately packaged data mining into Common Core.
Common Core creates an enormous system of data classification for education. It’s probably easiest to think of it as an enormous filing system, like the equivalent of the Dewey Decimal System for lessons, textbooks, apps, and everything else kids learn. That’s by design.
States using the national, federally funded Common Core tests have essentially turned over control of what data they collect on children to private organizations that are overseen by no elected officials. Those organizations have promised complete access to kids’ data to the federal government.
Common Core and data vacuuming are philosophically aligned—they both justify themselves as technocratic, progressive solutions to human problems. The ultimate goal is using data to “seamlessly integrate” education and the economy. In other words, we learned nothing from the USSR.
7. Distancing Parents and Children
A recent study found that the Common Core model of education results in parents who are less engaged in their kids’ education and express more negative attitudes about schools and government. Does it need to be noted that kids desperately need their pre-existing, natural bond with their parents to get a good start in life, and anything that attacks this is bad for both the kids and society?
In addition, math even highly educated engineers and math professors can’t understand obviously has the effect of placing a teacher and school between a child and his parent. Parents are rife with stories about how they tried to teach their kids “normal” math, but it put pressure on the tots because teacher demanded one thing and mom demanded another, which ended up in frustration, confusion, and resentment. That won’t make a kid hate school, right?
8. Making Little Kids Cry
It’s one thing to teach a child to endure life’s inevitable suffering for a higher purpose. It’s another thing to inflict children with needless suffering because you’ve got a society to remake, and “it takes a few broken eggs to make an omelet.” One is perhaps the essence of character. The other is perhaps the essence of cruelty.
There have been reports nationwide from both teachers and a litany of child psychologists that Common Core inflicts poorly designed instruction on children, thus stressing them out and turning them off academics.The video below, courtesy of Truth in American Education and a Louisiana mother, shows a second grader crying over her math homework. A SECOND GRADER. You know, when the little people are still learning addition?
9. The Arrogance
So imagine you’re a mom or dad whose small child is sobbing at the table trying to add two-digit numbers. Then you hear your elected representatives talking about Common Core. And it’s not to offer relief. It’s to ridicule your pain—no, worse. It’s to ridicule your child’s pain.
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz said of Common Core: “You can’t dip [Common Core mandates] in milk and hold them over a candle and see the United Nations flag or Barack Obama’s face. They’re not some federal conspiracy.” Ohio House Education Chairman Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster) called Common Core opposition a “conspiracy theory.” Wisconsin state Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine) told a packed audience state hearings on the topic were “crazy” and “a show.” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) has called opponents a “distract[ing]” “fringe movement.” Missouri Rep. Mike Lair put $8 into the state budget for tinfoil hats for Common Core supporters.
Since when is it okay for lawmakers to ridicule their employers? Aren’t they supposed to be “public servants”? What part of “this math is from hell” sounds like “I think Barack Obama wrote this math curriculum”? Those lawmakers must have encountered an early form of Common Core in school, because they can’t comprehend their way out of a paper bag.
It gets even worse. I thought racial slurs were wrong, but Education Secretary Arne Duncan has no problems slinging those around in his disdain for people who disagree with him on Common Core. You may recall that he dismissed them as “white suburban moms who—all of a sudden—their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were.” So only white moms hate crappy curriculum?
And then parents have to endure a litany of pompous, sickeningly well-paid experts all over the airwaves telling us it’s a) good for them that our babies are crying at the kitchen table or b) not really Common Core’s fault or 3) they don’t really get what’s going on because this newfangled way of adding 8 + 6 is so far above the average parent’s ability to understand.
10. The Collectivism
It’s easy to see Common Core appeals to those anal-retentive types who cannot function unless U.S. education has some sort of all-encompassing organizing principle.
But there’s more. Common Core supporters will admit that several states had better curriculum requirements than Common Core. Then they typically say it’s still better for those states to have lowered their expectations to Common Core’s level, because that way we have more curricular unity. That’s what the Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli told Indiana legislators when he came to our state to explain why, even though Fordham graded Indiana’s former curriculum requirements higher than Common Core, Indiana should remain a step below its previous level. One main reason was that we’d be able to use all the curriculum and lesson plans other teachers in other states were tailoring (to lower academic expectations, natch). Yay, we get to be worse than we were, but it’s okay, because now we’re the same as everyone else!
Tech companies are uber excited about Common Core because it facilitates a nationwide market for their products. Basically every other education vendor feels the same way, except those who already had nationwide markets because they accessed pockets of the population not subject to mind-numbing state regulations such as home and private schools. But the diversity of the unregulated private market far, far outstrips that of the Common Core market. There are, you know, actual niches, and education styles, and varying philosophies, rather than a flood of companies all trying to package the same product differently. The variety is one of substance, not just branding. In other words, it’s true diversity, not fake diversity.
What would you rather have: Fake freedom, where others choose your end goal and end product, but lets you decide some things about how to achieve someone else’s vision for education, which by the way has to be the same for everyone everywhere; or genuine freedom, where you both pick your goals and how to achieve them, and you’re the one responsible for the results? Whoops, that’s a trick question, moms and dads. In education, no one can pick the latter, because our overlords have already picked for us. Common Core or the door, baby.
Posted by jonjayray at 1:46 AM