Monday, March 27, 2017

Trump’s Responsible Decision to End an After-School Program That Harms Children

President Donald Trump has clear justification for his recommendation to eliminate a $1.2 billion after-school program administered by the Department of Education.

Rigorous scientific evidence shows that the program, called 21st Century Community Learning Centers, harms children. Advocates of evidence-based policy should applaud the president’s fiscally responsible decision, part of his fiscal year 2018 budget request.

The role of the federal government in funding after-school programs increased substantially after Congress passed the Improving America’s School Act of 1994, which created 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Congress wanted to open up local schools so that communities could use the space more extensively beyond normal hours. The after-school program was intended to “support continuing education and lifelong learning opportunities to children and adults to help keep the country’s workforce competitive for the 21st century.”

In 1998, administrators altered the social program to provide activities in public schools during after-school hours, stating: “The goal of the program is to help students meet local and state academic standards in core subjects, such as reading and mathematics.”

Despite this lofty goal, the program has been proven to be ineffective and wasteful. Not only did the program fail to affect academic achievement, but an experimental impact evaluation at multiple sites in 2007 found a whole host of harmful effects.

Yet, Congress has continued to fund the program despite:

Failed impact on homework outcomes. From the perspectives of students and parents, the evaluation assessed the effectiveness of the after-school program based on 22 outcome measures regarding homework activities. It concluded the program failed to affect 21 out of the 22 outcomes.

For example, participation had no effect on homework and tutoring activities as reported by students. Only one outcome measure yielded a beneficial result. According to parents’ reports, participating students were more likely to be engaged in after-school tutoring activities, compared to students who weren’t in the program.

Otherwise, the program failed to affect tutoring and homework outcomes.

Harmful impacts on academic outcomes. The evaluation assessed 11 academic outcomes. Only two of these measures yielded statistically meaningful results. Startlingly, these two outcomes point to harmful impacts of participating in the after-school program.

According to their teachers, participating students were less likely to achieve at above average or high levels in class and were less likely to put effort into reading or English classes. Otherwise, the program had no effect on the other measures of academic achievement.

For example, participating students fared no better in math, English/language arts, and science grades than did similar, nonparticipating students. Further, the program did little to improve reading skills.

Harmful impacts on behavioral outcomes. Of the 12 behavioral outcomes assessed by the evaluation, six measures indicate that 21st Century Community Learning Centers produced more harm than good. Overall, teachers found participating students to have disciplinary problems that were confirmed by student-reported data.

These students were also more likely to have behavior problems in school than were their counterparts. Teachers were more likely to have to call the parents of participating students about misbehavior.

Participating students were also more likely to miss recess or be placed in the hall for disciplinary reasons. Their parents came to school more often to address behavior problems. Participating students were also more likely to be suspended than similar students.

The evaluation demonstrated scientifically that 21st Century Community Learning Centers not only was ineffective but harmful to students. Some members of Congress, however, ignore the ample scientific evidence of failure.

Responding to Trump’s budget cut, for example, Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said: “This critical program provides a direct funding stream to allow children to have access to after-school programming. We ask that you reconsider this misguided proposal.”

Barletta’s assessment is not based on the evidence. American taxpayers deserve better.

21st Century Community Learning Centers is a critical failure. Trump’s recommendation to eliminate it is fiscally responsible.


School Lesson Compares Trump to Hitler, Mussolini

A group of moms in Saratoga Springs, New York has decided to fight back against what they call the radical leftwing indoctrination that has infested the local school system.

They call themselves the “Conservative Chicks” and one of their leaders contacted me after reading my new book, “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.”

She realized it was time to take a stand after a teacher at the local high school led a classroom presentation on fascism that included a graphic portrayal comparing President Donald Trump to Hitler and Mussolini.

That’s right, folks. A tenth grade teacher at Saratoga Springs High School led a discussion on the rise of fascism during World War Two by referencing President Trump.

“It’s total indoctrination,” said Melissa, the parent who contacted me. She asked that I not use her last name. “It’s not their place to indoctrinate our children. It’s their job to teach the facts. Healthy debate is one thing but this definitely crossed the line.”

The entire lesson plan was posted on the school district’s website. But once I started poking around and asking questions, the lesson was hidden behind a password protected wall.

“Trump has absolutely no relation to World War Two. There’s no reason why he should be included with Stalin, Mussolini or Hitler,” the mom said. They are trying to link him to the leaders of that time. That crosses a line.”

Another graphics listed “early warning signs of fascism”:


Transgender Challenges

By Walter E. Williams

Determining one's own sex or that of another used to be a simple matter. First, there was the matter of appearance, whether a person looked like a male or looked like a female. If appearance produced some uncertainties, one could determine sex by examining a person's birth certificate. If appearance and a birth certificate produced uncertainties, the ultimate, absolute proof of sex was a person's chromosomes; XX marked a female, and XY marked a male. Case closed.

But those old-fashioned simple methods of identifying sex have changed. In fact, relying on those old tried-and-true methods of sex identification qualifies one for opprobrium, with the charge of being homophobic. Today — independent of appearance, genitalia, birth certificate and chromosomes — one is a male or female based on how one labels oneself.

This new liberty applies to not only sex but also race. Rachel Dolezal, born Caucasian, chose to be a black person. By becoming a black person, she became the president of the Spokane, Washington, office of the NAACP and an instructor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University. As far as she is concerned, she's still a black person now, and she has a new legal name, Nkechi Amare Diallo, which means "gift of God" in Ibo. A notable beneficiary of racial fakery is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who claimed that she was of Cherokee Indian ancestry. That helped her land a $430,000 job for a year at diversity-hungry Harvard University as a professor of law. If Diallo and Warren were not leftist, learned college professors and students would condemn their behavior as racial appropriation.

But let's explore further the idea of freeing oneself from the oppression of biological determinism. There is no better testing ground than America's colleges, which are at the forefront of transgenderism, for seeing how this might work. How tolerant would college administrators be of conservative male students, if they said that they feel womanish, going into the ladies' bathroom and showering facilities? Would these men, claiming to be women, be eligible for tryouts for the women's basketball or field hockey team?

Suppose a college honored the right of its students to free themselves from biological determinism and allowed those with XY chromosomes to play on teams formerly designated as XX teams. I would anticipate a problem competing with other colleges. An unenlightened women's basketball team might refuse to play against a mixed-chromosome team whose starting five consists of 6-foot-6-inch, 200-pound XYers. The NCAA should have a rule stating that refusal to play a mixed-chromosome team leads to forfeiture of the game. It's no different from a team of white players refusing to play another because it has black players.

It's not just college sports that would yield benefits for those escaping biological determinism. What about allowing XYers who claim they are women to compete in the Women's International Boxing Association? Then there are the Olympics. The men's fastest 100-meter speed is 9.58 seconds. The women's record is 10.49 seconds. What about giving XY people a greater chance at winning the gold by permitting them to compete in the women's event? They could qualify by just swearing that they feel womanish or suffer from gender dysphoria.

You say, "There you go, Williams, picking on colleges again!" I applaud the fact that some colleges are taking a leadership role in fighting biological determinism. Barnard College President Debora Spar wrote: "There was no question that Barnard must reaffirm its mission as a college for women. And there was little debate that trans women should be eligible for admission to Barnard." With that announcement, Barnard College joined a growing list of women's colleges — along with Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Mills College and Simmons College — that have updated their admissions policies to take transgender women's applications into consideration. The question that remains is just how much equality these enlightened colleges will permit between XXers and XYers. Will they sexually integrate all of their facilities? Or will they endeavor to develop the morally repugnant policy of "separate but equal"?


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