Sunday, March 19, 2017

College Students' Fascist View of Tolerance

University of Wisconsin-Madison students universally agree: private business owners who espouse hardline political beliefs, like clothing designers who turned down Melania Trump, should have the liberty to refuse doing business with whom they disagree. This applies to a professional Muslim singer as well. Just because a Christian church solicits the singer for an Easter program doesn't mean said Muslim should feel coerced or forced into performing.

Sadly, the students' view of inclusiveness and tolerance ends there. In response to another example - legally bullying a Christian photographer to partake in a same-sex ceremony - the consensus eroded, with one student claiming, "That's such a sticky issue."

Actually, it's no different from any of the others. As Alliance Defending Freedom put it, "When faced with a situation that goes against current cultural expectations, like a Christian photographer declining to promote a same-sex wedding, the gears start grinding."

This contradiction gets to the heart of what columnist Dennis Prager, in his piece "Some on the Left Now Criticize the Students They Created," argues when he says leftist professors' denunciation of recent campus protests "should not be taken seriously." He adds, "Their leftist thinking spawned this catastrophe. Until they take responsibility for it, they are not to be taken seriously." They are the ones responsible for why students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are blind to their own hypocrisy.


Government schools are not for the Leftist elite

“Do as I say, not as I do.” That might as well be the official motto of liberals. For example, they love to lecture the rest of us to use less energy, while flying around the globe on their private jets, and living in massive homes that have equally large power bills.

Democrats are convinced they know best. We’re not as smart as they are, you see, so these elites take it upon themselves to pass laws the rest of us have to obey, ones that restrict our freedoms “for our own good.” Of course, these same liberals ignore these same rules, because they don’t want to impinge on their lifestyles.

One area where this hypocrisy is most blatant is in the realm of education. Liberals are always talking about America’s “wonderful” public school system and while it might have been world class at one time, unionization, political correctness, Common Core and other pedagogical reforms have made public schools glorified holding pens.

Here’s the most blatant case of double standards on this issue you’ll ever see, and the man who is behind it won’t surprise you one bit:

Despite opposing proposals to increase market forces’ impacts on schooling through the implementation of taxpayer-funded educational vouchers, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) sends his own children to $45,000-per-year private school in New York City, NY.

In early February, Franken took to the Senate floor to oppose DeVos’ nomination as Secretary of Education. He criticized DeVos for apparently not having sent any of her four children to public schools, implying that this diminished her qualifications for the role of education secretary: “She has never sent a child to a public school.”

The Daily Caller says Franken’s children attend the Dalton School, which has been described at “uber-exclusive” and “upper crust.” Franken himself attended a Protestant charter school called Blake.

But Franken doesn’t want other Americans to have the opportunities he did. The left pretends to care about the common man but their actions speak louder than words. What they care about most is maintaining their lofty position in society then handing down their privileges to their own children, but no one else’s.

As last November’s election results made clear, Americans are sick of being ruled over by these out of touch hypocrites. Surely there are even some on the far left who will look at Franken’s hypocrisy on this matter and call him out for it. It won’t look good when the time comes for him to run for re-election, or when (as he has threatened to do) run for even higher public office.


Australia: Literally no idea about literacy and numeracy

Blaise Joseph

In my entire teacher education degree, there was just one subject dedicated to learning how to teach literacy and numeracy. And ironically that subject included very little literacy and no numeracy.

It is unsurprising therefore -- but nonetheless concerning -- that it's necessary for the federal government to require students doing teacher education degrees to pass a literacy and numeracy test before they can be accredited to teach.

The test requires students to achieve the literacy and numeracy level equivalent to the top 30% of Australian adults (not the loftiest of goals). This week we learnt that over 5% of teacher education students didn't achieve the required level on the test in 2016 and another 3% had to re-sit the test, despite having already been admitted to a teacher education degree.

Students are charged $185 to sit the compulsory test -- and are then charged the same amount again if they have to re-sit it. They are entitled to wonder why they were admitted to an expensive teaching degree in the first place if their literacy and numeracy skills were not necessarily up to scratch.

This raises many questions. How has the quality of graduate intake in teaching degrees fallen so low that the ATAR cut-offs don't eliminate applicants who lack the literacy and numeracy levels required? What are universities actually covering in teaching degrees if an external test for literacy and numeracy is still needed? And are there teachers already in schools who don't have adequate literacy and numeracy skills themselves -- and so have no hope of passing on these basic skills to school students?

The absurdity of having to test the literacy and numeracy levels of teacher education students, who will soon be responsible for teaching literacy and numeracy, shows how from primary school through to university the Australian education system is failing to consistently get the basics right. No wonder Australia's school results have been declining in the international rankings.

It is a crucial problem that literacy and numeracy are not being taught as well as they could. They are the foundations of a proper education.


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