Monday, July 17, 2017

Rollback of Obama regulations on sexual assault beginning

Obama made men guilty until proven innocent.  That must change

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has indicated that she will loosen Obama-era guidance and practices on the department's pursuit of campus sexual assault cases. She met Thursday with survivors' advocates and feminist groups, as well as three so-called "men's rights" groups, to advise her on this process, drawing criticism and concern from the survivors and advocates.

As Slate reported, one of these, the National Coalition for Men, has published the personal information of women who have accused men of rape, and its leader has labeled women the instigators of domestic violence. The second, SAVE: "Stop Abusive and Violent Environments" has lobbied against domestic violence protections. And Families Advocating for Campus Equality takes the position that current campus sexual assault guidelines are skewed against the accused.

Candice Jackson, whom DeVos appointed as the top enforcer of sexual assault cases at the Department of Education, seemed to agree with that position in remarks to The New York Times on Wednesday. Campus rape "accusations — 90 percent of them — fall into the category of 'we were both drunk,' " she said in part. She apologized later that same day, calling the remarks "flippant."

In a rare press availability after Thursday's meeting, DeVos told reporters that "lives have been ruined" by allegations of sexual assault.

"No student should be the victim of sexual assault," she added. "No student should feel unsafe ... and no students should feel like the scales are tipped against him or her."

Last month, DeVos walked back two Obama-era regulations aimed at protecting student borrowers. Beginning with two public hearings this week, in Washington, D.C., and in Dallas, the Education Department has reopened the "negotiated regulation" process, or "neg reg" as insiders call it. As we reported:

    The "gainful employment" rule sanctions individual programs at colleges and universities based on how many students are able to pay back their loans.

    The "borrower defense to repayment" rule smooths the way for students to get their loans forgiven if their college is found to engage in fraudulent behavior, a situation that has befallen tens of thousands of students at Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, among others, in the last few years.

Consumer advocates and students spoke in favor of upholding the existing rules, while groups representing for-profit and community colleges spoke in favor of relaxing them.


Schools 'brainwash' pupils to see Tories as 'evil' and support Labour, says teacher who fronted Department for Education recruitment drive

Pupils are being 'brainwashed' in Britain's classrooms to believe that Tories are 'evil', a high profile teacher has claimed.

Calvin Robinson played a major role in the Department of Education's 'I Chose to Teach campaign, appearing on posters, adverts and online.

But the IT teacher has now come out said pupils were being 'indoctrinated to a left wing mentality' and encouraged to see the Conservative party as 'evil'.

Mr Robinson is head of computer science at St Mary’s and St John’s Church of England School in Hendon, north west London.

Writing on the Conservatives for Liberty website, he said that schools were training kids 'into a lefty way of thinking'.

He wrote: 'Our young people are being indoctrinated to a left-wing mentality from a very young age.

'Pretty much throughout their entire educational career, young people are being trained into a lefty way of thinking.

'I've seen this first hand on too many occasions and it leaves me constantly concerned.

'Some of the behaviour I've seen from teachers is outright disgusting - a very evident bias not only in their teaching practices, but in the way they present their arguments.

'I'm not talking about the obvious party political biases of 'Labour = Good, Tory = Evil', although that does happen, but most teachers take a less obvious approach along the lines of tolerance being a good thing, so long as you agree with their way of thinking.'


Britain's strictest school gets top marks from Ofsted

Katharine Birbalsingh’s ‘no excuses’ Michaela school praised by inspectors for behaviour policy and exemplary attitudes to learning among pupils. Birbalsingh is a courageous and straight talking person of mixed African and Indian ancestry.  Her father and grandfather were educators and she herself graduated from Oxford

Michaela Community School – a controversial free school renowned for its “no excuses” behaviour policy – has been judged outstanding in all categories by Ofsted inspectors.

The school in north-west London won top marks in its first inspection since opening in 2014, with Ofsted inspectors praising the school’s “lively and engaging teaching” and “exemplary” attitudes to learning among pupils.

“Since the school opened, leaders and governors have worked very effectively together with staff, pupils, parents and carers to establish a strong sense of community at the school. Pupils typically commented that they feel part of a close-knit family,” the inspectors wrote.

The school’s tough behaviour policy, which includes disciplinary action for even minor infringements of school rules, was also highly praised.

“The behaviour of pupils is outstanding. Pupils are polite, well mannered and very respectful,” the report notes.

“Pupils behave responsibly and are highly self-disciplined. They follow the school’s conduct guidelines conscientiously so that lessons run very smoothly and without interruption. The school is an extremely calm and safe learning environment.”

The Ofsted rating will come as a relief for the school’s head teacher, Katharine Birbalsingh, who left a job as a deputy head after criticising school behaviour policies in a high-profile speech to the Conservative party conference in 2010.

“All of us involved at Michaela – staff, pupils, parents and governors – are united in our determination and aspiration for our school. It is always great to receive feedback like this about what we are doing and I’m very proud of everyone at Michaela,” Birbalsingh said in response.

Birbalsingh was given approval by the Department for Education to open Michaela under the free school policy championed by Michael Gove as education secretary. But it was not until September 2014 that Michaela opened its doors in a converted office block close to Wembley football stadium.

The school prides itself on its “no excuses” disciplinary approach, with pupils given demerits or detention for forgetting to bring a pencil or pen, for grimacing at teachers or for talking in corridors when moving between lessons.

More than a third of the school’s pupils are eligible for free school meals, and the large majority of them are from ethnic minorities. The school also has a higher than average proportion of pupils with special educational needs.

The Ofsted inspectors were impressed with the progress they saw among the pupils at all levels.

“Disadvantaged pupils make substantial progress and achieve as well as other pupils. Leaders and teachers have equally high expectations of all pupils,” the report said.

“The most able pupils, including most-able disadvantaged pupils, make exceedingly strong progress over time. They are challenged by demanding work that motivates them to meet their teachers’ expectations.

“Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities are encouraged and supported effectively. They make similar exceptional progress from their starting points at a similar rate to all pupils.”

The school currently has 360 pupils in years seven, eight and nine, and has yet to have a cohort sit GCSE exams.

The inspectors’ major complaint was the school’s lack of sporting facilities or outside space, noting that except for playing table tennis or basketball, “other sporting activities are limited”.

The school has often become a cause for bitter debate on social media, especially after reports that children whose parents had failed to pay for their lunches were made to eat away from their classmates.

But Ofsted described the school’s efforts to promote pupils’ personal welfare as “outstanding”.

“Pupils are readily appreciative and caring. They acknowledge enthusiastically what members of the school community have done well and generously celebrate the successes and achievements of others,” the report notes.

Suella Fernandes, the Conservative MP and chair of governors, said: “It is testament to the dedication of our leadership and staff and the pupils themselves that we have received this grading and it is an excellent stepping stone to our future success as a school.”


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